Jan 31, 2011

The January Report Card Is In ...

Something amazing happened this month at Doommantia, not only did we past the last monthly record - we kill it.. Along with our usual updates on doom, stoner, sludge and drone we had a fairly busy month of interviews and reviews. In case you haven't been paying attention, we posted interviews with OCEAN CHIEF, BEATEN BACK TO PURE, PALLBEARER, REINO ERMITANO, RAMESSES, BLACK SLEEP OF KALI, SOURCE OF DEEP SHADOWS, COUGH, UNEARTHLY TRANCE, GIFTEGARD and had an inside look at the Dutch Doom Days festival with an interview with Pim from Officium Triste. There was many CD reviews as usual and most of those were great albums but hard to go past Wo Fat's "Noche del Chupacabra" for album of the month. The DMA Records store got into gear with downloads going up for grabs, I speak of Doomsower's Vintage Era, Ride The Sun's EP and Wizardrone's The Third Coming and just today the Ride The Sun EP CD will up for sale, the first DMA Records CD release. Already the response to that has been incredible and I thank everyone who has sent me emails and messages showing support for this great band. Getting past the 80,000 views for the month is another milestone for Doommantia but it wouldn't have gone anywhere if it wasn't for the writers, Aleks, Sandrijn, Mari, Mahesh, Adam and Dr.Doom Metal. Extra thanks goes out to Lee from The Sleeping Shaman who also has kindly allowed us to use some of the Shaman's outstanding interviews. Thanks to good friend Tony for tracking down just about any promo, demo, EP or full length album I ask or beg for. Thanks to the loyal readers who keep on coming back and I can tell from reading all the stats that most of you visit the site almost daily so thanks a million and of course to those of you who gave donations this month, you are the golden people and will never be forgotten. Thanks to the few people that join the Doommantia forum, we are not the most hipster forum going around but your contributions have been priceless. Thanks to Justin from Doomsower for making the glorious header you see above this post, the amp-head of doom. Cheers and bring on February.......Ed

PS: Thanks to Randy for his web-design advice, you didn't win awards for nothing ! Your help with the layout, fonts and general code bullcrap has been a huge help. Also the view count is not counting forum hits, it is only for the main Doommantia site.

Mournful Congregation Are Entering The Studio ...

Mournful Congregation are currently in the process of recording their fourth studio album as the follow up to 2009's incredible "The June Frost" album. The new album is scheduled for mid 2011 and will be released by Osmose Productions throughout Europe, 20 Buck Spin in the US, Weird Truth Productions in Asia & Obsidian Records in Australia/NZ.

The Australian band formed in 93 and recorded several demos and the last of these was re-released as an LP in 2002. All these are included with the single "The Epitome of Gods and Men Alike" on the double CD "The Dawning of Mournful Hymns" . This was followed by the release of another 7" titled "A Slow March to the Burial". 2005 saw the release of The Monad of Creation" album , although most of the material is much older, some even dates back to 1994. 2009 saw both their first live performance as well as a new full length album, The June Frost.

Mournful Congregation @ Myspace

Sorcerer's Of Doom - The Ocean Chief Speaks ...

Ocean Chief should be defined as one of the seminal doom bands to have emerged since the new millennium. Monolithic in their musical style of doom, this Swedish band from Mjolby, have submitted to the public a number of releases. All of these have conveyed to the discerning listener an unwillingness to comply with what's currently "in" and "happening" in the varied doom scene.
These guys define doom as a majestic and dirty art form. Garnering opportunities to expand mind, body and soul, their tailored songs explore the slow rhythmic hammering of iron nails into imagined long boats, while drawn out Sleep-esque riffs give wind to the sales of long forgotten pagan dreams. Drugs have never been an overt part of the band persona, yet Ocean Chief brings to us psychedelic landscapes populated by Norse gods and the ways of ancient lore.
For many people Ocean Chief continues to be one of those bands that you may have heard of but don't know much about. In an effort to correct this shortfall in knowledge I asked Bjorn from the band to answer some questions about their music and their relationship to the Norse gods.

The band issued their first demo in 2002 and have been for the majority of the time Tobbe on drums and vocals, Bjorn on guitar and Jocke on bass. In more recent times Ocean Chief have added a fourth person to the band. Can you explain the reasons for wanting to change what has been up to recently a dynamic and enduringly strong three piece?

First off, thanks a lot for the nice words. Highly appreciated. Well, since we have used a synthesizer on all recordings to add an extra dimension, we were curious on how it would be like to have one live as well. We tried it out a few times and eventually it evolved into having one in the band fulltime. The new guy, Johan, was well known by all of us, so it was not that big of a deal. Ocean Chief has been around for quite some time now, and it felt like some change in the line-up would do more good than harm. With this new line-up we can think in different ways when arranging new songs.

Many may not understand the need to have strung out long songs, for example both the Kongh split you did on Land O'Smiles and the more recent Funeral Orchestra split on the small Norwegian label Aftermath Music consisted of one song on each 12". While the majority of the population seem to suffer from short attention spans you guys seem intent on bucking the trend and heading off in the opposite direction. How do you approach song writing and do you have anything to say to those that would dare criticise the duration of your songs?

I think it all comes very naturally if ones goal is to get "lost" in music. When finishing up a song of respectable amounts of minutes, it's like you've been on a trip you don't even remember you started. It's an exploring experience because you are all in it together. We approach our song writing by learning one part at a time, mixing them together around and around before agreeing on something, and then mostly in the end we just let it go to see where it leads us... The arrangements change continuously. And yeah, you need to have a long attention span, otherwise you're lost in the wrong way!

Typical associations that can be made when listening to Ocean Chief is that you "sound like" Sleep, Electric Wizard, Toner Low but I am wondering whether you feel these similarities actually betray the essence of the band? Would you say that's a fair assessment to make?

Yeah, I would say that's fair. When starting the band I was influenced by such albums as "Jerusalem" and "Dopethrone" for sure. The heaviness of those made way for me to discover a lot more doomish acts. But as years pass by you get influenced by so much more music. But I sure understand if people compare us with those acts, since we're all fuzzed out heavy rock. Still, I found Ocean Chief as more of a "riffing" band, and most of the time even a bit heavier than the above mentioned.

Ocean Chief songs are majestic journeys; formulaic in their delivery each song builds to a heart pounding crescendo and with it comes silence as the needle hits the run out groove. What motivated you to play this music? And what is it about your music that allows for total immersion?

Actually, that's a very hard question... I guess motivation comes from life itself. Small-town-boredom has always been the recipe from where I live. There's simply nothing else to do. There's not as much activity as in former days, but it's still the main reason I still live in this place. The reason for playing this kind of music is that it's one of my favourite genres, plain and simple. It's purification in its purest form.

In an age where the record player is growing again in popularity, it seems Ocean Chief are actually better suited to CD releases than vinyl because of its limited space. Do you find CD is a better formula for the band, since you have so much more time to expand ideas? And what do you believe is being sacrificed by giving everything to the arbitrary value and life of a CD. Vinyl is king to my mind but a record costs so much money to press, it is a quandary that every band faces. Do you discuss the technical difficulties in writing long songs with your band mates with respect to the format you will eventually choose?

We have never discussed the length of our songs except for the latest LP, "Den Förste", where we knew we had a time-limit to work with, hence the somewhat "short" songs. I guess the CD phenomenon is dying a slow death due to the new technology available. Those who still buy music tends to look more and more at vinyl releases, which is cool, you get so much more in your hands.
As for Ocean Chief we are just glad someone wants to release it, since all we are struggling for is to have a good rewarding time at the rehearsal room. So far we've only worked on a DIY basis with labels that either released a CD version or a vinyl version. Next time we're looking on doing both. Next album will be our best of course!

Certainly the imagery and lyrics of the band indicates they are making more than a passing romantic affiliation with a bygone era. The tribal hypnotic iron heavy riffs emanating from guitar and drums convey a closer bond has been formed between gods and men by engaging in ritual practices on the edge of long lost harbour lined fjords. People may already know the Norse gods are Ocean Chiefs' muses. In what way do you feel connected to the Norse gods? How have you also managed to negotiate a relationship with them while avoiding accusations that any such religious affiliation automatically infers latent right wing leanings?

I find it very interesting how people looked at life and death in the old days. Before knowing the earth was round and all that. The stories and beliefs are quite extraordinary and contain a lot of fantasy. But I have to say that the Norse gods connection in Ocean Chief is mainly a coincidence. One of the first songs we wrote was called "Oden", and we thought we could spin similar songs on releases that followed. "Tor" was another song written in 2004, and in 2006 we wrote "Freja". But the lyrics have always been a bit obscure with no worshipping taking place except for the OCEAN CHIEF. Accusations of being right wing nazis or something like that have been so lame that I don't even bother to answer such assertions. Old beliefs are what they are.

The sensory explicitness experienced when either witnessing a ritual taking place or listening to Ocean Chief confers upon the person a sense of emplacement, of knowing where one is and understanding the relationship one has with their surroundings. I can only imagine therefore when writing your music that the environment in which the creative process is taking place is very important to you. Tell us about where you guys rehearse and the recording equipment you have access to in the studio?

Yes. The environment around us is one thing we are quite strict with. During all the years we've been playing we have always kept our rehearsing to Friday nights. It has always been the highlight of the week so to speak. We look on keeping it moody with just a few spotlights to get the right feeling out of it.
We rehearse in an old worn out classroom, on the second floor out of three, and have been borrowing porta studios and microphones from all around when recording. Tobbe (drums) and Jocke (bass) both know their way in such surroundings, which for me is like a geek... As for myself, I've always just cared for the music since I don't have the right interest in recording-technology and whatnot. I can tune my guitar, that's about it. It's been a blessing to have been able to record "at home", but for the next album we are looking at other options to get a change of environment and inspiration.

Yes that's right for many of us Ocean Chief live the dream, they can record their songs in the same space they practice in and the results have been astonishing. Bands would pay hundreds if not thousands to achieve the exceptional levels of high fidelity that this band has been able to capture. So I'm interested in knowing what does it cost you a month to have the rehearsal space and do you receive any assistance from the government? I ask this because I know the government can support musicians and rehearsal spaces in Sweden by providing a subsidy.

I feel like a total asshole when saying this, but we pay NOTHING a month. We are in a study circle that allows us to rehearse for free if we rehearse enough to fill up the quotes. The more you rehearse, the less you pay. Now, this is an exceptional deal that comes out of the fact that we live in this small town where there's not that many bands around. I know that in the bigger cities it's not like that at all. It's a thing that shouldn't be taken for granted for sure.

A big part of any band is their sound and Ocean Chief are surely no exception. By developing walls of guitar thicker than evil grandmas goat-lined long johns the band are up there with Sunn in terms of tonal heaviness. So tell us, about the equipment you have used and use?

How has this has evolved since the beginning of the band? In terms of tone and presence what are you striving to achieve with your sound Bjorn?

Up until a few years back I used a Marshall 800 along with a strata guitar. These days I use an Ibanez guitar and a custom built Master Volume Unit from Electric Amp, USA. It has a real organic sound and a feedback superior to most others amps. Check out www.electricamp.com for further info. But the secret ingredient has always been the old Russian Big Muff pedal which simply puts the heaviness up front. Those pedals are king and Ocean Chief wouldn't be the same without it.

Of course Ocean Chief aren't the only long boat to have emerged from the ice kingdom of Sweden. So here's a bit of demographic information, Sweden's population is equivalent to the London populace, yet it continues to punch above its weight when it comes to exporting doom bands across the world. To name just a few Switchblade, Kongh, Asteroid, Graveyard, and Witchcraft have all made an international name for themselves. So Bjorn what's the Swedish secret? Could it be the lack of sunlight, the long drawn out freezing winters, or just a penchant for drinking? If London was at the heart of the 60s musical pop movement, Sweden has since taken command of the underground, between punk and doom I can think of no other country where so many of its citizens are musically productive and moreover multi-instrumentalists.

From when I started playing music in 1995 there's always been a good climate for artists to develop and get things started. Back then there were special rehearsal rooms available with all the gear you needed for those who wanted to try out and play an instrument. That's the main reason I would say. The long freezing winters are another. The drinking part I guess has its share as well, but one beer too much and I can't get my shit together, and in Ocean Chief you need to stay sharp, otherwise you're lost immediately!
It's unfortunate though that the geographical placing and the huge distances makes it hard for foreign bands to tour this country, and therefore there's not that many venues available for good gigs. And there are strict laws of keeping the decibel limits under control at those gigs that actually do take place, which sucks. For me, travelling to Germany, The Netherlands or whatever is like entering heaven - doom-gig wise.

Like most people when it comes to music I go through phases, of late I have been spending much of my time listening to Can, Jimi Hendrix and The Doors. So what is currently on your turn table? And what up coming Swedish bands should we be looking out for?

That's an absolute truth. Different music comes and goes. At this time I'm listening a lot to late 60's rock, such as The Pretty Things, The Bubble Puppy and Ten Years After. As well as ambient artists like Brian Eno and Jääportit. In the winter I love to crank up the volume for some mind-boggling extreme doom. Tyranny, Abstract Spirit, Nightly Gale, Esoteric - to name a few favourites. Also I must mention Umbra Nihil and Bolt Thrower as recent spins.
I have more or less no idea of new upcoming Swedish bands. The one that comes to mind is the hyped-to-death-band Ghost, the new bestseller from Rise Above. Great groove, crispy production and easy listening metal. The debut album is great and I look forward to what they'll do next. Other than that, hmm... Griftegård are worth mentioning, and of course the Småland kings known as Kongh. But none of those are very "new"... There's a lot of old school death metal acts taking form so I guess I'll namedrop Morbus Chron and Maim too. And I would be a sucker if I didn't mention my other band Vanhelgd!!!

Finally, what future plans do you have for Ocean Chief? Do you have any plans to tour the continent or to come to the UK? And what about recording new material and future releases?

Recordings will be made. We have got two tunes ready and will record again when have finished putting the other songs together. Those two songs that are ready are real mind fucks to play, and really heavy. So it will be very interesting to see what they'll be like listening to...Touring will probably be minimal, so if you have the chance to catch us live you should make the effort!!!

Do you have any final words you would like to share with our reading audience?

Thanks for a great interview! We are grateful to all of you who continuously support us by buying records, t-shirts or simply just listening to our doomed music. Praise Your Ocean Chief for Rewards!!!!!!

More info on Ocean Chief at: www.myspace.com/oceanchief
Interview conducted by Pete Hamilton-Giles during January 2011.
Used with kind permission from The Sleeping Shaman
Official Website - Ocean Chief


Guitarist Rich Walker of the U.K. epic doom band SOLSTICE has issued the following update:

"After our first couple of shows, Paul Britton has decided that he will end his tenure as the vocalist for SOLSTICE. We're all very sad to lose him, and it's not a reflection of the quality of Paul's voice or his incredible ability as a frontman.

"As we get older, we all lose our hearing to a certain degree, and even more so for people like Paul and myself who have had decades of Marshall abuse, and it's this that has caused the problem. Studio work with SOLSTICE is not a problem for him, but the live environment where things can be hit or miss in terms of quality of sound onstage is. Paul's pitching had suffered on these first couple of gigs, and we felt we were all struggling."

Added Paul: "It's with sadness that I'm out of the new SOLSTICE project. After two gigs it's clear that my voice isn't fitting in. There's no 'in fighting,' no 'musical differences,' just common sense. I don't feel 100 percent and it's not fair on the band to continue trying to blag my way though the hearing and pitching problems I'm having on stage.

"I know that Rich Walker and I will remain friends and I'm sure we'll work together again at some point this year. Until then I going to get stuck into the solo album that up till now has only had 50 percent of my attention.

"I hope SOLSTICE fans around the world understand the decision that's been made and I can only apologize for the European dates getting cancelled because of it."

The band added, "As Paul says, we intend to collaborate in the summer and make a racket togther, but this time I think it will be more on Paul's home ground where we all know he can excel and hold his own.

SOLSTICE is currently searching for a new full-time vocalist. All applicants should have the following qualities:

* Powerful and unique voice
* Stage presence, and the ability to talk to an audience
* A love of the loud and heavy
* A black sense of humour
* Be willing to travel in the U.K. and Europe for shows
* Be willing to get a round in
* Be over 30 years of age.

Interested parties should email NO-SPAMmetalculte@hotmail.com (Removing the NO SPAM part) with your details, audio samples, pics and promises of large amounts of money.

For more information, visit Solstice Myspace

Sirenia - The Enigma of Life ...

Alright for the next few minutes while you read this I am going to come off as a complete asshole reviewer who is jaded and some of you will hate me for what I am about to say about this band, Sirenia. The truth is this style of gothic orchestral metal is something I keep trying to get into and I don't know why I keep torturing myself with this derivative drivel. This bands best album came out in 2002, it was their début titled "At Sixes And Sevens" and it was one of the better albums ever released in the genre. Since then the band has continued to sink deeper and deeper into banality through ever-increasing pop elements being added to their albums and an increasing use of pretentious musical ideas that go nowhere. Any of the heavy elements the band might have had before are now gone, there is absolutely nothing heavy about this at all but worse still is the ideas they present to the listener are filled with terrible lyrics, disjointed arrangements and generally forgettable musicianship. The amazing thing is they are good players so how good musicians can still come up with this boring, banal garbage is beyond me.

Guitars that used to have a bit of bite to them are gone completely and have been replaced with a weak, ineffective mainstream backing instrument. The vocals are thin and have no power or passion to them at all and that in conjunction with some of the most horrible lyrics I have heard in the last few years makes this a real chore to listen to. One could argue her voice suits the gothic style but there is a million vocalists just like her so she hasn't even got an original element going for her. But she is good-looking so I will put up a picture of her so at least we can get something enjoyable out of this review.

One of the other rather cruel aspects of this release, is these sugar-coated thin vocals go on and on and you don't get any relief till track 7, some 24 minutes into the disc when a death-metal vocal appears and that is pretty terrible too but at least it is a change and you need it by this stage of the album. The band seems to be working really hard at being big, symphonic and bombastic but they don't produce one single melody on the album that is anything above uninspired and putrid. There is also cheesy elements to further push this album into the 'steaming pile of poop' category. Just when you think it can't get any worse, they give you choirs that are again devoid of good melody. There is terribly poppy keyboards that would be better off playing behind the Wiggles or some other kind of child's novelty act and then they have the balls to add in happy piano parts, please shoot me now! There is literally only one song on the entire album that cuts the mustard and it is "Fading Star" and it doesn't come into play till 11 tracks in and I doubt if anyone will get that far into it before climbing the walls in frustration at how tedious this is.

This is predictable, musically awful to the extreme and a piss-poor attempt at trying to be classy. This album stinks like the proverbial turd and if you want some extra proof on how bad this is, listen to their first album and you will see how far this band has fallen into the sea of banality. Their début is a masterpiece compared with this garbage and that is saying something. I don't normally get this nasty in a review but this album is just offensive and should have never been released. In a word - "Atrocious." .... 2/10
Sirenia @ Myspace

Sandia Man - S/T ...

The family of primates called man who reached human status in Asia, Africa, or Europe, came relatively late to North America. Scattered fossils of individuals—notably the famed "Minnesota Maid" who apparently fell or was thrown into a Glacial Period lake —have been dated as having lived 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. They called them Sandia Man but so far there has been no remains of the man himself found except for this trio of musicians in New Mexico playing doom-laden rock. The name Sandia Man is some way is very fitting, the music they play is primitive but in a good way. On their Myspace page they described themselves as Proto-Metallic Caveman Rock and there is something very primal about the tunes on this self-titled album. But what style are they, that is a tough question. They are not really doom, not really straight stoner-metal, not really sludge either but blend all three styles to their advantage, in one word this is heavy. Two of the three members played together in an earlier line-up of Devil Riding Shotgun so they were already locked in together as musicians and it shows on this recording as there is some tight grooves throughout the 6 tracks. One listen to this and you can tell these guys worship the altar of all things Wino as at times it is a little like The Obsessed, other times The Hidden Hand but there is also a third element in there that has so far escaped me, an original element that defy's description.

Guitarist/vocalist Alan Edmonds seems to be the main star of the show, dishing out primal riffs and vocals that go along with the "caveman rock" tag. Those vocals will be the sticking point for a lot of people but everybody would have to love the guitar sound on this. This is some low-down dirty heavy guitar that deliver riffs that remind me of early Celtic Frost/Hellhammer kind of dirge but with a 90's stoner-metal edge. Starting with "Skins of the Fathers" which is based on a Clive Barker story, it begins with a lengthy spoken word intro before a bass line comes rumbling in followed by a twisting Sabbathian styled riff. The vocals are truly unique, they low and deep but not growling, they are half-spoken most of the time and have a quirky sound to them. At first it throws you a curveball but within a couple of songs they become an essential element within the music and one of the keys to making this a highly unique collection of songs. "Skins of the Fathers" is pretty typical of the album, it walks the fine line between doom and sludge without really sounding like either. "The Crows" is a plodding tune played in true Wino-Place Of Skulls-The Obsessed-Crowbar style, it is not big on flashy riffs but its more about letting riffs ring and vibrate out with their bottom-ended fuzzy goodness. Solo's likewise are also not flashy, most of them are raw and sound like they were played off-the-cuff but that gives the songs an organic live-feel which I love in music.

The only song that breaks their typical formula is the epic "Plaguewind/Endtime Endgame" which is still a sludgy, slithering riff-fest for the most part but it is noticeably more complex than the other tunes and also more varied in its arrangement. This song also uses the bass playing of Steven "Sven" Esterly as a lead instrument as it drives this song along just as much as the guitar does and I have to say that is a big feature of this album. The bass is always right up in the mix and is always a focal point, it is not just there to fill out the sound but to push the riffs out as much as the guitar is and he gets a killer sound on this album too. As a ex-bassist myself, I am always checking out bass sounds and this is one of the best that I have heard for a while. Elsewhere on the album, it is more caveman rocking and more so than the tracks that I have already mentioned. Songs like "Volcan" are primitive, basic riff-laden songs that range from a slow to mid-tempo kind of grind, it is predictable but also enjoyable head-nodding material. Listen to the 'Children Of The Grave' influenced riff that comes in halfway through "Volcan" and you will be powerless to not move the neck muscles. The songs are not overly infectious but when they do get locked into a tasty killer hook, it is very catchy indeed. If there is one song to stand out it would have to be "Sandia Man" which has the kind of riff that bands dream about coming up with, this riff is one of those rare monsters that only gets unleashed maybe twice a year. Forget the rest of the song, it is all about the riff and this riff kills. So the conclusion is this is a surprise release that I for one wasn't expecting to be this good. I believe this is a self-released album but don't quote me on that. Get yourself a copy, I know I will have to very soon. Very good album ! ........................8.5/10
Sandia Man @ Reverbnation
Sandia Man @ Myspace
Sandia Man @ Facebook

Jan 29, 2011

Lazarus Complex - The Cleansing Demo ...

Lazarus Complex is the work of one man, Jerry Wilde from Indiana who plays everything on this 5 track demo, "The Cleansing."  While this a demo that I am reviewing here, it was self-released as a full length album in 2006 with 9 tracks. Like many artists, bad luck with labels prevented the album from getting the exposure it deserved and with Jerry's serious health-problems, (which I wont go into detail here in respect for the man) it has been a battle getting these great tunes heard and spread. One spin of these tracks tells me someone needs to release this stuff and if no one else will, then I will - through DMA Records. The immediate element to grab you with these tracks is the crystal-clear, very nice production. You don't usually expect to hear a D.I.Y recording like this to sound so polished and professional.

Starting with "The Least Of These," it gives you the impression that this is world-class material and musicianship. A crushing Sabbathian riff coupled with atmospheric vocals that ring out with a irresistible melody is only a tiny part of what is great about this track. This is doomy, psychedelic and progressive all rolled into one. There is fine but quirky guitar leads and keyboards plus a rich, warm atmosphere. The song is about how people who are powerless get mistreated everyday. The title comes from the biblical quote, "What you do unto the least of these, you do unto me." Jerry seems to be singing directly from the heart as it conveys a chilling message of how fragile your existence can be. Lyrically it is thought-provoking stuff, musically it is mesmerizing in its atmospheric melodies. "Look What Life Has Done To Me" as you can tell from the title is even more symbolic of what Jerry is going through but everyone should be able to relate to the story of a man who is at the end of his rope.

The riff that opens this tune is incredibly heavy but the lead that plays over the top is orgasmic, it shreds. Backing up the great riffage is the vocal melodies which is closer to a Pink Floyd kind of vocal take than any-kind of doom-metal style. There is a heavy 70's proto-doom edge to this song and others that is similar to Pentagram but this D.I.Y recording beats hands down the production that Liebling and Co got in their early days. This is hypnotic, organic doom-rock steeped in pure quality but it is the subtle little additions he has added into the tracks that make them so good. The extra guitar-runs that interweave throughout are some of the majestic elements waiting to be discovered within these great pieces. Third track, "Sinking" opens with a riff that is up there with Sabbath, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and other doom-innovators and the rest of the song is equally as spine-chilling. I have to go back to the vocals again, his smooth delivery is charismatic and totally engaging and there is not too many doom bands where I find myself mesmerized by a voice but that is the case with me and Lazarus Complex.

Fourth tune up is "Never Enough" and it begins with a warm, fuzzy riff follow by an enchanting keyboard melody, as usual the engaging melody is matched by the floating, spacey and smooth vocal harmony. Guitar leads soar and wail in this tune that is a real showcase for how much work has gone into these songs, again why this wasn't picked up by a decent label only goes to show how retarded labels are these days. The last track on this demo, "Listen To The Snake" is perhaps the heaviest track out of the five and it also has a different blending of vocals, mixing a deep growl with a smooth, clean voice. It works incredibly well and again the guitar work is inspiring. Listen to the blistering solo halfway through for a good example of fine lead-work and I am sure you will be floored by this mans musicianship.

The album version of this released in 2006 differs greatly from this demo, it has 9 tracks and some tracks featured on this demo do not appear on the album that is listed on Metal Archives so I am curious to hear that version. Also on this demo, songs rapidly fade out which gives me the impression they are just samples so that is a little frustrating. These songs are so good that the fade-outs are cruel to the listener, they deserve to end in a more traditional way and at least half of these songs could easily be turned into epic tracks. This demo fits into the "lost-gem" category of releases and that is one thing I plan on fixing if I have anything to do with it. This is an excellent demo that is produced, written and performed by an artist with a true, yet to be discovered talent...............9/10
Lazarus Complex @ MySpace

Jan 28, 2011

Dutch Doom Days - The Dutch Doom Connection ... ( Post # 1000 )

Here is a interview with Pim (Officium Triste) about the Dutch Doom Days festival. It is unedited but I think it is still worth the read to find out more about one of best doom festivals on the planet. Thanks to Aleks and Pim from Officium Triste for putting this together.

Q: Salute Pim! Sorry for epic delay but finally I’ve composed few questions for you and the main theme of our interview is Dutch Doom Days Festival of course. Though I must ask you as vocalist of Officium Triste – what is a band’s current state?

-The current state is that we are still writing material for a new full-length, we’ve got some songs finished and others need some more work but it is getting along fine. Some other things in the pipeline too but nothing that we can announce yet. ;o)

Q: There’s no way and I have to ask you about any news about next Officium Triste’s album – do you have enough of “shit-happenings” or just deep poetical impressions during last year to transform them all in a bunch of good and hard doom songs?

-As I’m not too involved with the writing of the music I’m not sure whether things that happen in live are an influence on the music. Lyrically I draw inspiration from all kinds of things so it doesn’t have to be anything that happened to me personally.

Q: Who are in DDD command now besides you? How do you split the trust between each other?

-Well, I organized the first 4 editions and am still involved as an advisor so to speak. After the first 4 editions Felix took over and it is all done under supervision of Leon who is working at Baroeg as the main booker. Felix has worked at Baroeg to till the start of this year and I think he wants to keep involved too for the next edition which will be the 10th Dutch Doom Days.

We just work together talking about what bands we would like to see and what bands are on tour in the period when DDD happens. In the end Leon dioes the bookings as he actually works for a living at Baroeg.

Q: Does DDD fest takes place always in Baroeg Club? It’s not too spacious venue as I saw on photos, so maybe there’s a sense to change the place? Though I visited 3 Moscow Doom Fests and I guess that there’s no too much folk even in Europe who’re ready to visit doom gigs. What is your record with attendance?

-There’s no need to change venues, Baroeg can hold up to 400 people and the doom crowd isn’t that big. We have never sold out so far, I think the biggest attendance must have been 250-300 visitors. So Baroeg is perfect and Baroeg pays for everything in the end, there’s non personal money involved like other doom fests, so we don’t want to change anything.

Q: First issue of DDD took part in 2002, there were only 6 bands: Antimatter, Jack Frost, Officium Triste, Pantheist, Thee Plague Of Gentlemen and Whispering Forest. Can you remember which mistakes did you commit during organization of the festival? Or were you enough experienced due to organization of previous Officium Triste gigs?

-The idea came to mind when organizing a gig for Officium and with adding 5 other bands we just named it Dutch Doom Day and we went along from there. We didn’t make any mistakes, perhaps our time-schedule could have been a bit stricter so to speak but other than that no mistakes at all. You know, Baroeg is a professiobnal venue that has a lot of experience putting up shows, so almost everything always happens in a smooth way.

Q: You had Evoken on DDD II and as I understand you try to coordinate participants of some bands with their tour schedule, does this principle work good for you? Do you have any other principles consider organization of the festival?

- We often get offers of bands that are on tour and thety try to fit DDD into their schedule. Other bands we simply ask for a one off show and those bands travel on their own.

In the case of Evoken we set up a small tour for them around DDD with Officium Triste and Desire from Portugal. In general a lot is possible but we don’t organize complete tours anymore for bands like we did with Evoken. That’s a bit too much time consuming.

Q: Gentlemen of Doom Shall Rise said that they’re going to take a break in 2011 therefore there will be not festival in Germany. Officium Triste played twice into Doom Shall Rise – in 2003 and in 2007 if I’m not mistaken. Did you invite Mirror of Deception and Well of Souls to take part in DDD after your first gig in DSR? For Mirror of Deception played here in 2003 too and Well of Souls was – a year after it – in DDD III.

-I know Jochen and Frank of DSR really well and since they are both in doom metal bands too it is kind of logical to ask them to play on DDD just like they asked us, Officium Triste, to play on DSR. It’s the way things work you know. Next to that I really wanted to introduce those bands, like many other bands that played DDD, to the audience.

One of the important things for me is to introduce new bands or bands that are not that well-known but that are really good to the audience that attends DDD. That’s why we always have a young Dutch band playing. It’s not about having a bigger band on the bill, it’s about quality and there are lots of great bands out there that I would like to introduce to the audience.

Q: There was also Reverend Bizarre in DDD III and later they were performed in DDD V, all of us must admit that RB was one of most significant doom bands during a long period, what is a reason for it, how do you think?

-I don’t know. They came, saw and conquered. I guess that’s what happens to certain bands, they are just there in the right time and get picked up by a larger audience.

Too bad they’re gone as a band, but their music will live on.

Q: DDD IV continued for 2 days – was it difficult or natural reason for you to increase duration of festival?

-Since there are so many bands that are cool to see and so many bands touring around that time we thought it was logical to make it a 2 days event. It worked out fine. Just natural progress.

Q: Do you remember which conclusions did you do after 4th festival? Which experience do you take into account after each gig? And how do you survive such long fest? I saw few photos of you with members of other bands, so I have a questions about drinks which Baroeg Club can offer to it’s audience - which sorts of beer do they have?

-I know my conclusion after every single DDD was that it was once again a great festival. It’s so much fun having a great weekend with like-minded people and killer music. And those ingredients make you survive weekends like this. ;o)

Baroeg basically sells draft lager beer and some other Belgian beers on bottle as well as soft drinks and some mix-drinks like Jack Daniels and Coke. Just the basics I guess but enough to survive on.

Q: DDD V was 2 days long too, and there were 14 good doom bands with such doom stars as Ataraxie, Reverend Bizarre, Saturnus, The Gates of Slumber and The Prophecy. How many people did visit these gigs? And is a number of visitors equal onto first and second day?

-I don’t recall the exact amount of visitors but this one was really good. Usually we sell combi-tickets for both days and the true fans of doom metal buy those and are present on both days. Some people just come one day. In general it’s around the same amount of visitors both days.

Q: I look the band list of DDD VI and see that you invited a lot of new or not very famous bands – Mael Mordha, The River, Eria d’Or, Serpentcult, Malasangre, Helevorn and Akelei. So as we see you aimed to let people know about some bands which were not too popular at that time at least… Is it another of your principles, right?

-Exactly, we really want to introduce newer bands. That’s what keeps the scene alive, new blood. DDD have been a stepping stone for quite a few bands. People can see them on our festival for the first time and if they like it they will keep following a band and buy their albums and so on. I think that’s really important to the fest. Of course we also need bands that already have a name otherwise people might not show up. ;o)

Q: Do you have a prejudice against “gothic doom metal”? I would not like to start a discussion about question of very existence of that sub genre, but surely there are bands which play soft form of doom using sometimes violins or too much of keyboards or there’re girls who sing with mournful voices…

-Nope, no prejudice and we have had bands in this style on DDD. We try to have all subgenres of doom on DDD and one year it might be more extreme compared to another year, but it all depends on availability of bands and so on. But if we could book a really good gothic doom band we won’t refrain from doing so.

Q: We came to DDD VII and there were too many of good bands once again! But I still wonder do the profit of DDD festivals ever compensated?

-Like I said Baroeg pays for it and sometimes we lose some money, sometimes it is even and sometimes we make money. With DDD it is the same as every other gig Baroeg does. Baroeg makes a living of booking shows and trying to make a profit. It is Leon’s job to make sure this works out great.

Next to that I also have to tell you that in Holland culture gets subsidized by the government, although our current government is cutting down the amount of money that goes to cultural activities. The national government has a cultural policy, out of which the 4 big cities get an amount of money. Baroeg being located in Rotterdam is part of the local cultural policy and gets subsidized for the activities. So in a way we are secured even when we lose money on a show like DDD. I tried to explain this short and logical but that’s how it works and I know it is different to other doom fests where promoters put in money of their own.

Q: Which e-zines do help you to promote DDD festivals and how long did you prepare DDD VIII? 14 great doom bands from different parts of Europe played during festival, I guess that their merchandise was in abundance, so do bands sell enough of merch during gigs?

-Numerous e-zines help out as well as various internet metal forums and so on. Too much to mention them all.

Basically you could say it takes around 8/9 months to get it all together. Most bands who bring merch usually sell quite a bit yeah, as well as the other vendors like Doom-dealer, Grau, Millennium Records who have had stalls at DDD.

Q: I see that you not too often invited funeral doom bands, there was none in DDD VIII for example, is it difficult to find good funeral project nowadays or is it just boring personally for you?

-It’s just what you say, often funeral doom acts are projects or they don’t play live. It’s not that we don’t want funeral doom bands, it’s difficult to get a band to play.

Q: Okay, there was 9th Dutch Doom Days Festival in 2010. How did you catch up Eternal Elysium and Place of Skulls from their tour for the gig?! Do you collaborate with other metal tour-agencies?

-Yeah, since Leon is the booker of Baroeg he is in touch with many agencies and these particular bands were offered to us as they were touring by Bidi-Bookings from Holland. That’s one way of getting bands to play on DDD.

Q: If you have any energy after all of these questions can you do a brief review of the last fest? Were there any negative moments or all was alright? Happiness and joy!

-Nope, no negative moments. Perhaps I wanted a bit more visitors. The usual visitors that you see every year were there but I guess we perhaps had too many obscure bands for the ‘regular’ fans that decide not to show up. I don’t know. We always do our utmost best to bring quality. I missed out on the first day almost completely as I had a gig with Officium on another festival elsewhere in Holland. But I did see Hooded Menace that I think is a great band. Their show was okay. Revelation headlining the first night was super! One of my favorite bands.

He second day was cool too. I really like Grimpen Mire and Ocean Chief and I thought Place of Skulls once again was a real good headliner.

Q: What do you feel after each DDD? I can not imagine how many energy it gets to organize 2 days long festival and be alright after such doom celebration. Is there any time to relax for you during such days? What is DDD for you after all?

-Baroeg is a professional venue so we have people working there at every gig, so I don’t have to do that much during the festival itself besides enjoying myself and DJ’ing a bit in between the bands, haha. It’s just fun for me. I don’t have to work that hard at all. Before the actual festival I don’t have to do that much either, that always has been Leon and Felix’s job, who both work(ed) at Baroeg.

Q: Do you have a special chamber where all bands gather after the fest and spend some time siping tea or consuming barrels of beer? I’m sure that such information is quite confidential but gentlemen from which band hold the first place in a drinking competition?

-Nope, there is a small backstage room but most bands just mingle with the crowd. There are no real secrets are crazy drinking competitions or whatever. Usually everyone is well behaved just having a great time.

Q: What is your opinion about Doom Shall Rise and Dublin Doom Day festival? Do you watch for such events trying to do something greater with each fest, trying to surpass them? This question is about experience and about good, healthy competition between organizers.

-There’s no competition. DSR usually books the more traditional styled bands and Dublin Doom Day just did 2 editions and it’s Dublin, so it is great someone is doing a similar thing in Ireland. There are other fests too. There used to be a Belgium Doom Night, there’s the Moscow fest, Italy has a few I think, Madrid is the Dark. Hammer Of Doom in Germany. Some guys from Vienna do small doom festivals. There are some fests in the USA. I think it is all great. It’s good for the music you know.

We just do what we can do and we don’t look at the other fests. Of course we look at the bands they book and see if any of those bands might be suitable for us too, but there’s no competition or jealousy whatsoever. I support all those fests as it is great for doom metal.

Q: Did you ever offer participation in DDD to any Russian band? Which band do you want to see there? (Scald doesn’t count!)

-From Russia not yet as it probably is too expensive. Closest we got was Whispering Forest from Estonia. There are lots of great bands from Russia that could be on our bill. Maybe Autumnia or Raventale. If there are bands from Russia that would like to play they should get in touch to see if we can work something out. ;o)

Q: Which bands would you like to see in next DDD? Did you ever think to invite someone from old monsters – My Dying Bride or maybe Paradise Lost?

-Those bands are beyond our budget. I know what My Dying Bride costs and that won’t happen. Bands like that play their own shows and can be seen on big festivals too so we rather stick to the smaller bands that are equally good and sometimes even better.

As the next one is the 10th edition we might ask some bands we had in the past to come back. I have some ideas on bands I’d love to see but nothing is sorted yet, so you all have to wait and see.

Q: Don’t you think to release DVD-version of DDD? Look, man, I have a very little chance to ride from Saint-Petersburg to Rotterdam just for 2 nights and I bet that a lot of people would like to get such amazing document!

-Of course a great idea but it takes a lot of arranging to have it properly filmed and recorded. We had a French crew called Camisole who did film the 5th edition. There is a DVD called ‘Chronicles of Doom’ with videos of bands that played then.

These days a lot of people record from the audience and clips turn up on YouTube, so that’s as good as it gets I’m afraid.

Q: Pim, you also write for two metal web-zines doing the best to promote the most pleasant and sonorous underground genre – doom metal. How can you resume your work in 2010?

-I like most styles of metal so I write about other genres too and 2010 was a good year fro metal I think. I just love the music and love being involved so I keep doing all these things as long as I like it. I think 2011 has a lot of cool things coming up too like a new While Heaven Wept album, the first 40 Watt Sun album, Orchid’s first full-length. I think doom is getting noticed more and more, just look at the bigger labels who sign doom metal bands these days like Hour Of 13 on Earache and While Heaven Wept on Nuclear Blast. I do think that doom metal isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so it won’t turn into a new hype. It will stay underground with lots of enthusiastic people putting on shows like DDD.

Q: Look, you sing in doom band, you write about doom bands and you organize one of the best doom festivals in the world! You’re one of the most zealous Doom Cult priests! What is your aim? What else can you do for the genre?

-You’re too kind. I just love the music and it needs to be heard so that’s why I do this. I don’t know what else I could do. In the end I’m still a fan like anybody else.

Q: I bet that you’re tired after that long interview therefore I have to thank you for your patience comrade! Thank you for such great festival, I hope that it will be only grow with years! Best regards! But let us end the interview with your words about DDD X. Will it be?

-Aleks, thanks to you for doing this interview. I answered it while I was at work, haha.

Concerning DDD X I can’t tell much yet but it will be great once again. It will be at the same venue with the same nice and laidback atmosphere. If you have the opportunity come visit us as you will learn about the greatest doom bands out there!!
Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

Jan 27, 2011

Uruk-Hai / Funeral Fornication - Split ...

Check this out - Uruk-Hai, Elisabetha, Folkearth, Hrossharsgrani, Hrefnesholt, Ravenclaw (Ltu), Raben Nacht, Walpurgi, Manwe, Heimatleid, Bonemachine (now know as B-Machina), Ceremony of Innocence, Wach, Solid Grey, Drachenfeuer, Schlaganfall, After Aids, Guts for Dinner and Eismond. Close to 40 demos, around 30 split albums, about a dozen full length albums, 6 EP's, countless singles and a 6 CD box set. This is the staggering resume of ambient musician Hugin, real name Alex Wieser. His main band though is Uruk-Hai, the name is a reference to an advanced breed of orcs from J.R.R. Tolkien''s Lord of the Rings trilogy. This man is the most prolific songwriter, musician in the world that I have ever heard of and he is showing no signs of slowing down either. Hugin plays all instruments as well as all the electronics and programming on most of his releases including this split with Canada's Funeral Fornication, a depressive black metal band that has is the work of one man also, Vultyrous. Funeral Fornication  started out as a pagan/thrash/black metal act but changed its style towards depressive black metal when it signed with Hypnotic Dirge Records in Early 2009.

This split album starts off with Uruk-Hai in a total Tolkien, fantasy based concept. A theme that this musician has kept going through most, if not all of his releases. Musically it is blackened, ambient doomy stuff blended with neo-classical influences, it is bombastic yet kind of nerdy music and I say that with all due respect as I actually like most of it. Because of his incredible recording output, I have only heard a small part of what he has done but I can tell this is a huge step-up from what he was doing a few years ago. The production is much better, the songs have more direction and dynamics but it still an acquired taste. This is the kind of music you either love or hate or have to be in the mood for. There is a lot of screaming going on and samples from the Lord of the Rings movies so it is an odd blend of different elements but somehow it all works. I can't really see myself listening to this too often but I also find it intriguing material but it is something you have to judge for yourself. No amount of reviews is truly going to tell the story here.

Funeral Fornication is different again but doesn't sound out-of-place next to Uruk-Hai. This is very depressive, bleak black metal that is soaked in doom and gloom. One thing it has in common with Uruk-Hai is the synths, both bands rely pretty heavily on that sound for the atmospherics. Here they are blended with sickly, depressing guitar riffs with abrasive, harsh vocals but it all sounds kind of the same till you get to one song called "Chamber Below The Abyss" which is the only track that breaks the usual formula. It is the only track not really blackened metal but it also one of the best tracks on the entire split for the incredibly dark atmosphere. Overall, I am very impressed with this release from Hypnotic Dirge Records. One of their better releases of the last year............7/10
Uruk-Hai on Myspace
Funeral Fornication @ Myspace
Hypnotic Dirge Records

Jan 26, 2011

Ava Inferi - Onyx ...

I am not the biggest goth-doom fan in the world and to be totally brutal, the amount of goth-bands that have truly blown me away over the years I could count on one hand. I have always seen it as the friendly doom, the melodic doom, the doom the whole family can enjoy kind of stuff. Even though, some goth-doom can be very haunting and atmospheric, it usually sends me into a coma within 3 or 4 songs. However there is a few great bands in the genre but most are mediocre at best, not terrible at all but also not that interesting. Ava Inferi are a band from Portugal that I have been following since the release of their "Burdens" which I still rate as the best thing they have ever done. Now it is time for the release of their fourth album titled "Onyx" and I hate to say it but it seems the band are becoming more predictable with every release. The band are great musicians, their albums are professionally produced and packaged but in one word the songs are "bland."

The album opens with the title track with symphonic arrangements, middle-eastern influences and dramatic operatic vocals but 2 minutes in, you might as well hit the skip button because you know what the rest of the song is going to sound like. Before I go any further, you can say the same about a lot of bands but the goth-metal format is more preconceived than most other sub-genres of doom-metal. When I reviewed their last album, "Blood of Bacchus" I made the statement that I thought they still had a long way to go and that sentiment still rings true with this album. Before I start generating hate-mail from goths worldwide, ( I can see them now, black fingernails typing furiously ) the band has some strong points. Carmen Susana Simões is an incredible vocalist, one of the very best female singers within the goth-doom scene and the rest of the band are great players but songs like "The Living End" and "A Portal" are unimaginative, tedious and clichéd. I would go so far as to say, the only tracks to stand out as being anything remotely interesting are "By Candlelight & Mirrors" and "Venice in Fog" and guess what, they are the last 2 songs on the album.

While the songs do have an atmospheric element, there isn't a single melody or instrumental passage on the album that strikes an emotional chord with me as even the best tracks sound like fluff. If it wasn't for the sleek production, the vocals of Simoes and the flawless musicianship, this wouldn't be worthy as something to sit my beer upon. The style is doom-light and even the heaviest track which is one called "Majesty" sounds like a band treading water. I will end this now before I get myself into too much trouble, I don't like this much at all..........3/10
Official Site
Ava Inferi @ MySpace

Desert Storm - Forked Tongues ...

Desert Storm have released their first full length album on Buried In Smoke Records. I know very little about this 5 piece except their album is very quickly getting a lot of attention from the stoner-metal community and opinions on the band vary widely. I will do this review in reverse and get the negatives out-of-the-way first. The band obviously love Down, Clutch and Orange Goblin, so much so at times it is almost to the point of plagiarism. There is nothing wrong with loving your idols and it is pretty easy to subconsciously create songs that directly copy another band without knowing it and I think that is partly what has happened here. The opening two tracks on this album, "Cosmic Drips" and "Ol' Town sound so much like Clutch you could swear they are cover versions of that band's tunes. They are very good songs that pack a solid punch but they lack anything unique or original to be considered anything but Clutch cloned songs. The other downside to "Forked Tongues" is at least half the album is stock-standard material that is pure filler so you get the feeling they rushed into this album before having the quality goods in place.

Now that I have stigmatized the band in the opening paragraph, I will move on-to the positives. The production on the album is huge, clear but thick crunchy guitar sounds, pounding drums and a singer that sounds like he has smoked one too many packs of cigarettes in his lifetime. His throaty roar is powerful and one of the bands strong-points. The only negative to the sound of the production is the snare sound which sounds really thin and oddly out-of-place with the rest of the drum-kit, the bass drums are like cannon-fire and then you have this plastic snare sound. It is odd that would let this flaw slip by but I guess you had to be there at the time of the recording. The previously mentioned two openers kick ass despite sounding like Clutch left-overs and the following "South We Roll" is a real stomping stoner-boogie metal tune. "Smokes 'n' Liquor" is one of the better tracks on the album as it is a real bruiser with a lot of crunch and dynamics. Sadly th album goes downhill from here on as we get into the filler material I mentioned earlier. "The Jackal, Connected" the title track and the album closer "Pocketwatch" are all very ordinary. Also what is strange is the band give up on the aggression that is displayed in the album's first half and bring in some doomy passages that sound like they have listened to 80's doom-metal ( Trouble ) but sadly have no concept of how it make it sound atmospheric or interesting. The vocals keep it together and save the songs from being totally forgettable but the last half of the album is pretty weak in my view.

In a way, listening to "Forked Tongues" is kind of frustrating because the band is full of potential and has all the dynamics required for a kick ass southern-metal/stoner-metal band. They have the potential to the be the British "Down" but at least half this album seems to be a after-thought. I can still recommend you check it out but it is a "listen before you buy" deal with this album......6/10
Desert Storm MySpace

Jan 25, 2011

DarkBlack - Midnight Wraith ...

Ok why I am reviewing this, well someone told me they sound a touch like early Trouble, seems I was duped because apart from a slight similarity in the vocals to Eric Wagner, there is no doom metal on this at all. Darkblack play the kind of heavy-metal you old-man might have listened to - traditional power-metal, N.W.O.B.H.M kind of stuff. Basically this is Iron Maiden meets Lizzy and that sound is so obvious, you can't compare them with anyone else really. The band are good players, Tim Smith is an incredible bass player/vocalist and guitarists Anthony Crocamo and Rob McConlogue lay down some nice leads but the riffs and songs just don't cut it for me. The EP opens with "Doom Herald" and 2 minutes in, I am already thinking about listening to some early Maiden, why listen to a copy when you can have the real thing, right ? Next tune, "Power Monger" more or less repeats the formula left from the opening number but with a bit more grit and dirt. "Golden Idol" sounds like another galloping Maiden tune but with Thin Lizzy inspired guitar work coming from the axe-duo. This is the peak of the EP for me, a nasty little metal tune but 3 tracks in they seem to be repeating a formula AC/DC style.

The title track is the most metallic and the most heavy overall so will most likely appeal to the readers of Doommantia than anything else on "Midnight Wraith." The EP really falls apart on the last track "Broken Oath," it is not that it is bad but it just so predictable. When the last track begins, the EP is less than 20 minutes old and I always get the feeling I have been listening to this band for an hour as everything just sounds all the same. One of the other problems is the thin production and it is true, the metal records of the early 80's were also thin-sounding recordings when you listen to them now but in the case of Darkblack, this nostalgic production only makes this a even more lack-luster affair. Luckily as musicians, the band are awesome so they deserve to be doing something better than this. You can play old-school HM but you need to make it interesting and have a thick enough production for it not to sound weak next to other modern-day releases. Listen to Sinister Realm for example, they have a total old-school approach to writing and playing but their recordings sound huge. Darkblack would have slayed them back in 1981 but now this just sounds too much like recycling a style of the past without any modern balls to the songs and sound. Still some old-school metal fans will appreciate this EP.............5/10
DarkBlack @ MySpace
Stormspell Records

Windfaerer - Tribus ...

Windfaerer are an odd bunch, a three-piece band that is called folk/black metal by most of the media but incorporates atmospheric elements that have more in common with epic doom bands. Even stranger is they sound totally European and yet come from New Jersey, U.S.A. In its ranks the band has Mikheil Gonçalves - Vocals, Guitar, Bass (Grimus, Skies Devoured, Death by Names, Engorged Anal Tumor, Sporadic Suicide), JP Andrade - Drums (At Rest, Skies Devoured, Death by Names, The Breathing Process, Grimus, The Ciem Show) and Valc(ek - Violin and yes you read right, a violin. If you think that sounds off-kilter, one track titled "The Beautiful Death" features bagpipes but it is these elements that give the band their folk/viking metal leanings. Before hearing the album I read somewhere they have a sound reminiscent to the UK’s Forefather, having that little nugget of information didn't help me any as I am not too familiar with that band anyway. So I went into this album, totally fresh, open-minded and having no idea what to expect. What I got was an album that surprised me one minute and bored me crazy the next, in one word - perplexing.

On the plus side, Windfarer< do something not many bands in the black-metal genre do and that is they adapt to different cultural sounds, they blend in European influences into their songs that are sometimes beautiful, sometimes haunting but always atmospheric. Starting with "These Walls (Frozen in Time)" and ending with "The Seafaerers' Legend" the album takes you on a bit of a journey that can be both aggressive and dramatic at the same time. Using incredibly striking melodies, the black metal aggression is diluted with folk and atmospheric doom elements. This twist to the tale gives the album an aura that is very unique. You also have to keep in mind that Mikheil Gonçalves plays all the guitar, bass parts and delivers all the vocals. When you listen to this and take note, it is all just one-man, it is a remarkable recording. The downside to the album is it is fairly complex musically and they play a style that at times, seems direction-less. Is it folk-metal, it is black-metal, it is really up to you to decide and while I am on the subject, what an obscure sub-genre is folk-metal. It makes doom-metal seem mainstream. Is there any such thing as folk-metaller ? I don't think I have ever met one, I know the style has its fans but those people listen to other styles as well. I have never heard of a dedicated folk-metal listener, anyway just a thought.

When all is said and done and the vikings have gone home, I was fairly impressed with "Tribus" as it threw me a curve-ball and made me appreciate a style I have never really spent much time listening to and that on its own makes it important. It has enough of the blackened metal elements to still be considered a "heavy" record but it also has some challenging, atmospheric passages to make it engaging from start to finish. However, while I couldn't find a weak track on here, I couldn't find everything to blow me away and for the bagpipes, ewwwww - I hate bagpipes. If there is one instrument that needs to exterminated, it is the bagpipes, what a ghastly instrument. Despite all that, this is an interesting, atmospheric album.....7/10
Windfaerer @ MySpace

Beaten Back To Pure - To Live and Die in Dixie ...

„I bet you can squeal like a pig. Weeeeeeee!” - that quote from John Boorman's 1972 masterpiece „Deliverance” represents a common view of the Deep South of the US with its eerie environment and rough inhabitants hostile to all strangers. Ben Hogg, vocalist on duty with southern metallers Beaten Back To Pure who fouled this world with nasty records like  "Southern Apocalypse”, as well as frontman of all-star thrash/sludge outfit Birds Of Prey where he bangs his head alongside none other than Erik Larson and Dave Witte, proves that people of the south are not what they are stereotypicaly thought to be. I asked Ben about the future of BBTP and his other bands.

Beaten Back To Pure released its last album so far „The Burning South” in 2004 and it was a hell of a banger. Do you have any desire to make another record together again in the future?
Ben: Man, we've been trying. We had a change at the drum throne this year so that has moved things along on a faster track. Perhaps we've let our side projects get in the way somewhat but we love each other and jamming together. Shit, I've moved seven hours away from our „home base” and I still have every intention of doing my parts when they are ready for me. I think we've got nine songs together for this one. I still got some words to write. All this moving and shit made me pretty slack.

Is it going to be very similar to „The Burning South” with its bluesy, swampy, dirty sound?
Ben: Yeah, we haven't reinvented ourselves, although there are new elements. If the people liked the last couple of records they will probably like this one too. The working title for the album is „Southern By The Disgrace of God”.

Does your band-name mean something specific or is it a word play?
Ben: Mostly just word play. Most people think it has racist overtones, but they are wrong. The name existed prior to us using the confederate flag as imagery. Perhaps that is an unfortunate combination, but fuck anybody that gets caught up in that shit. It's rock and roll, not social commentary. Me and Vince Burke [guitar-player] came up with the name over some beers back in 1998 or so at a bar named Rosy's. It was probably our tenth name we presented to the band mates of the moment and I'm shocked it's the one that stuck.

You managed to complete three albums with Birds Of Prey in only four years. Concerning how busy the guys are, that's pretty impressive. What made you work so fast?
Ben: Well, Birds Of Prey don't take a ton of time in the writing process. Bo Leslie and Erik Larson (guitar-players) write a bunch of what they deem „metal” riffs that don't really have a place in their daily bands [Alabama Thunderpussy and The Last Van Zant], they get together over some beer and arrange them and then we add Dave Witte [drummer of Municipal Waste, Burnt By The Sun] and Summer Welch [bass-player of Baroness] to the mix. All those dudes are completely pro, so they tend to know shit from shine-ola. We then schedule studio time and get the damn thing done.

Read The Rest Of The Interview At - We Wither Blogspot

God Ox - Abyssal Gigantism ...

“New York, NY – January 1, 2011 – The mighty Lord God Ox, may He be exalted, created the universe. In order to spread the truths of the Ox-gospel and honor the Lord’s power, five high priests of the Church of Ox have created Abyssal Gigantism, now available for download exclusively through iTunes.

Based in New York, home to the most wicked of sinners, the high priests recently completed several crusades throughout the northeast and New York City’s boroughs. Collectively referred to as God Ox by their devout followers, the high priests enable the Lord to manifest through live sludge metal performances. God Ox has digitally released their first album in order to better reach distant followers, particularly those who face bigotry when worshiping publicly in intolerant and defamatory communities.

By downloading Abyssal Gigantism, listeners will join a momentous period in the history of the Church of Ox. Never before have the high priests been able to directly engage so many followers in preparation for their Judgement. Your action will please Lord God Ox, may He be exalted, by acknowledging the significant accomplishment in recording and distributing this album, which is also available for purchase in person at God Ox performances and rituals.” (press release)

When God Ox’s album arrived for the review last week, I must confess I was a bit perplexed by the language used in the above press release. Not being able to listen to the tunes immediately I went to check on the band’s myspace page, and I got even more perplexed. I could not find any “normal” bio for a horde of heavy or bearded metallers but a sort of Decalogue of a (fake?) religious movement (Principles of Oxism, Oxmology, etc.) and related psalms (the lyrics, which are quite remarkable, by the way).

Not the first time I happen to see something like this (e.g., with the psychedelic band Black Science, but probably they were serious in their esoteric philosophy …).

Well, I guess Oxism is a fake thing if the band writes they come from Mount Oxlympus, NY and their influences are not only St. Thomas Aquinas, John Scotus Eriugena, St. Augustine and Black Sabbath but also Frisky Dingo, and Atomic Robo, lol …

Anyway, as the reviewers at The Soda Shop and on Hellbound webzines remarked, these guys know how to write smartly and, well, rather pretentiously without revealing what they actually play.

So this was the occasion to say “let the music speak”.

And in God Ox’s debut album Abyssal Gigantism the music howls …

Before starting scanning the album, here’s a few more “solid” info about the band members.

God Ox is a five-piece US band from New York. Members, aka the “high priests of the Church of Ox” call themselves as Myth Ox, Beast Ox, War Ox, Frost Ox and Axe Ox aka Captain Riffwright.

Their “unholy” names are Ben Abelson (vocals), Phil Salvagione (guitar), Gabriel Marin (double neck guitar), Evan Burke (bass) and Dan Kurfirst (drums). They are all experienced musicians. In particular Abelson, Salvagione and Kurfirst have been playing together in the “cerebral fuzz rock” band Scribes of Fire for years.

The first impression of God Ox’s music is of being weird and majestic.

The sensation becomes persistent after several spinnings of the album. Abyssal Gigantism is drenched with sludge and doom of the finest kind and of ever growing charm. So all welcome and nothing unexpected for Doommantia. However God Ox album is extremely multifaceted, so that it actually sounds weird and full of surprises.

The “revelation” of God Ox is manifested through several musical styles adopted by the band in a way that may leave purists, again, perplexed.

The tracks, carrying quite inspired titles, range from, let’s say, rather classic sludgy doom to laid-back sludgy southern metal to mid-paced proggy to experimental, heavy sludge-doom. Vocal parts and the awesome performance of the guitarists (one of whom uses a scenic double neck guitar) make the tunes boil.

The vocal parts are particularly impressive. Vocalist Ben here delivers an astonishing performance as far as tonal ranges are concerned. Ben’s voice can be charming or disturbing, yet it is always powerful, stable, incredibly versatile and effective in contributing at the different atmospheres in the developments of these long tracks.

The opening track “Benevolent Severity” swallows you with its distinctive and addictive stream of early Sabbath/Saint Vitus sulphureous doom obscurities blended with unmistakeable NOLA-styled sludge in the vein of mighty EyeHateGod and Weedeater announced by a soft slide guitar solo. Here as well as in the other tracks Ben’s vocal style tends to be mid- to high-pitched but it hauntingly varies from epic clean chanting almost à-la-Messiah Marcolin to harsh nasty hissing and screaming.

The final slight acceleration of the riffs towards the end of the first track is a hint of what will come after, i.e. the mid-tempo “Ox Flu Zombie Apocalypse” with its changes in melody, their rather technical, heavy plodding riffs relentlessly interacting with intense vocals (ranging again from clean passionate to fierce, ghostly growls) and so reminding of Mastodon’s, High On Fire’s or Baroness’ complex heaviness. Likely it’s the pre-Ox background that starts seeping through the tunes …

After the monumental, dark heaviness and the march-like push of the first two tracks, the third track, Eriugena, is a long travel through the damp of a southern mossy swamp. Some great sludgy riffs alternate with long, softer, melancholic, laid-back bluesy southern metal jams where suffering and slightly melancholic clean vocal parts are inserted. The whole sounds and atmospheres here unavoidably remind so much (and so obviously, but very pleasantly) of Down’s style. The voice is again and continuously changing and incorporates the stream of passion typical of blues and southern sludge.

The fourth track, Pestilent Dogmata, is a charming mixture of the previous dense, heavy and melancholic sludgy riffs and rarefied psychedelic desert rock atmospheres delicately evoked by reverberating guitars.

Vocals again follow the oscillating rhythms and here more than elsewhere recall Chris Cornell’s. Pre-Ox experiences coming out again (go and give a listen to the charming Scribes of Fire’s album Zauberer and you’ll get the feeling of how these guys love Soundgarden).

The fifth track, Priest Infection, adopts a southern sludge riffing as intro. Then it rapidly evolves to a “weird” core where southern sludge is not only powered by rather technical riffing so much à-la-Mastodon but is as well deformed by dissonance. The latter involve both riffs and distorted vocals. The result may sound a bit “experimental” and reminds me a bit of my fave Faith no More album, King For A Day … fool For A Lifetime.

The last track, The Ontological Argument For The Existence Of Lord God, hopelessly hookes you with its irresistible start in pure Pantera-style riffing. But the “easy” start rapidly gives way to the complex, multi-faceted style tasted before, made of that incredible, technical but not cold or sterile build-up of riffs, boiling hot southern sludge atmospheres, experimentation with dissonance, rapid changes in rhythms and pace, from “fast and furious” to slow and even drony. Slow and solemn tunes get dominant towards the end of the track, when the album fades away via a solitary keyboard sound. In this last, amazing track Ben Abelson again stretches his vocals on a remarkably wide range.

A further special mention goes to a visual aspect of the band, i.e., the band’s graphic logo. As duly noted in The Soda Shop, the logo is a clever and only seemingly unreadable construction of tracts where the band’s name is combined with several religious and anti-religious symbols. The graphical construction is almost an optical trick as it changes rapidly when stared at. The hidden God Ox name is suddenly “revealed” to the eye in the centre of the shape. The name is surrounded, overgrown (encrusted?) by religious symbols like a cross (which is also inverted) and a menorah-like shape. The graphic style of the construction also recalls the elegant Kufi writing style employed in the most precious manuscripts of the Qur’an and the braided tracks may remember some Celtic decorations. The God Ox emerges and obscures the rest. Brilliant …

Technically, or rather coldly, one may see the six tracks composing the album as a sort of “catalogue” of what the band is able to play, so one may wonder whether the band has still to find a personal, unique style. Sludge doom? Southern sludge metal? Experimental/technical proggy sludge-doom?

But these five guys are so good in playing whatever they feel like that one may not be actually bothered in enjoying awesomeness in variety.

And the top quality of this first offer is so much promising for what will come next from these five Ox priests …    9/10

God Ox’s album is out on label Auditory Essentials and is available exclusively as digital release through iTunes.

As a side note I would like to paste another, this time serious, press info which further increases my admiration for these musicians:

 “A collaboration of slow hairy stoner metal, God Ox takes heavy music to another level of experience – one complete with religious cult fantasy and a way to fight world hunger. At the God Ox concerts, you’ll worship the Lord God Ox (may he be exhalted) and you can support the Heifer Project (www.heifer.org), all while headbanging to the death.”

Review by Marilena Moroni (Mari)

God Ox @ Myspace

God Ox @ Facebook

itunes.apple.com/us/album/abyssal-giganism/id395303588 - God Ox @ I Tunes

The Heifer Project

Jan 24, 2011

Pallbearer - Carrying The Casket Of Doom ...

True doom... I am being honest when I say that I rarely make a mess of my pants over it. Apart from the classics it rarely gets a "look in" at my listening rotation, so rest assured when I do make a mess of my pants then it has to be good.

Pallbearer come from Arkansas, USA and play true doom with flair and conviction and stand out from the hordes.

As the great Doomlord says "Nuff said!"

How did Pallbearer form? Did it involve the disintegration of any other bands? And if so, was anything carried from a previous band and into Pallbearer...

[JR] Brett and I have been playing music together literally since the day we met years back. We met while we were in college and jammed and things have just fallen into place since then. We have had an ongoing project called SPORTS since 2005, which is an improvised heavy and psychedelic drone project, but we had always been secretly working on these little side projects when timed permitted. Pallbearer was an idea that sort of gestated over the period of a few years, and then finally came about in late 2008. We all love true doom and wanted to create some ourselves.

[BC] SPORTS had gotten to a point where it was difficult to play, because we played with something like fourteen heads and all the cabs that naturally go along with that. Hauling that shit around and having to set up just got to be a chore after a while, especially considering there's an extremely limited audience in Arkansas for that sort of music. Setting up a literal ton of gear and playing to an audience of five got to be kind of depressing after a while, so we decided to work on a project where we could play through less gear, so if we played and three people saw it, we wouldn't have the extra kick in the ass of having to deal with so much equipment... And like Joe said, we've always loved doom and it was natural to move into that context. Arkansas has a pretty strong doom community, with some truly incredible bands, but most of them have harsh vocals and kind of a sludgy feel--not that that's a bad thing--but we thought that we could bring something different to our area by embracing more of a traditional sound while retaining some of the psychedelic aspect of SPORTS. Also, we were both going through very dark times for different reasons, and Pallbearer provided the perfect outlet and sort of catharsis for feelings of despair and hopelessness. After writing a few songs and getting a better idea of how we wanted to approach our songwriting, we realized we needed another guitarist. We had been friends with Devin from the local music scene, and had been fans of his previous bands, so we asked him to join and luckily he did. It worked out really well in that regard, though we've had a revolving door of drummers.

With the very well received demo under your belt and what are your plans for the new recordings?

[BC] We recorded about 85% of the upcoming full length on analog tape, until we ran out of tracks, and finished up the last bits and pieces on ProTools. The process has been a long one, due to our combined schedules and perpetual brokenness, but we're very close to being done... It'll have the first two songs from the demo and three newer ones. I think people will enjoy the new songs; they were written after we'd gotten more comfortable with what we perceived our sound to be, so they're a bit more mature in structure and complexity, while still being focused on visceral impact.

[JR] The full length is definitely miles beyond the demo in my opinion. We spent quite a bit of time crafting every aspect of it rather than rushing it out, so we hope that's reflected in the finished product. We also have some new material in the works for splits and other limited releases. Not sure when those things will surface, but they're definitely brewing.

During the recording of the album the decision to exclude "Gloomy Sunday" from the demo was made? Is there any particular reason? For me it was one of the best songs on the demo, it just invoked a very real sense of hopelessness.

[BC] Actually we never planned on including "Gloomy Sunday" on the full length, as we wanted our debut to feature all original material. I agree with you, there is a huge sense of hopelessness within that song, which is why we had to cover it. There may be a possibility that we'll re-record it sometime in the future, but it's not very likely. We intended the song to be exclusive to the demo.

[JR] At this point, we would like to move on with new material rather than continuing to re-visit past stuff. Who knows though, we may change our minds at some point.

Why did you choose Chuck Schaaf (Rwake) as an engineer?

[JR] We've known Chuck for a while now, and his current band Deadbird is one of our collective favorites. Chuck approached us about recording and we jumped at the chance. The experience doing the record with him has been phenomenal and we're looking forward to doing it again in the future.

[BC] I've been a huge fan of all the bands he's been involved in, he has an analog tape machine, he knows his shit when it comes to tone, and is a true brother in metal! What more reasons would anyone need?
As with a lot of bands who play a similar style, the key to the good sound is very dependent on tone. What defines good tone to you? What gear do you guys use?

[JR] I could probably talk about this forever, but I'll try to keep it kind of short. We're total tone hounds. For me it's all about Acoustic amps. I have been collecting them for a few years now and the tone is hard to top in my opinion, at least for what we're doing. What I use live and in studio is my bass dual-amped into an Acoustic 270 and Acoustic 370. The 270 runs an Ampeg 8x10 and the 370 an Acoustic 408 (4x15). With the right EQ settings, the tone is pure vintage crush. As for basses, I've been switching them around a bit lately due to some technical problems. My favorite is my '91 Fender P-Bass, but it's been out of commission for quite some time unfortunately. I also have a Kramer DMZ5000 aluminium neck and Epiphone Thunderbird bass that I bought for a backup.

[BC] I run my Gibson SG through my fuzz and delay pedals and split the signal into two heads. I switch heads around occasionally, depending on what is working at the time, but lately I've been using one of the brown Acoustic G120 heads through an 80s era Peavey 4x12 with the mids cranked and a Carvin MTS3200 through a Sunn Fender reissue 4x12 with a more crunchy sound. I've found that running two (or more) heads creates a fuller and heavier tone than using just one. I also just recently picked up an HH amplifier similar to the ones that Pink Floyd utilized and it has been continually blowing my mind. We used it for many of the leads on the new record; it has a really unique tone that I really love.

Now onto the vocals... It is fair to say they sound like Ozzy? Do you agree? What do you think the key to being a good front man is?

[BC] I don't know if they sound like Ozzy... I've heard various comparisons as to whom people think my vocals sound like, but I'm not really trying to sound like anyone in particular except myself. As for being a good frontman, I can't really say! When we play, I get absorbed in the music, and whatever I do onstage is simply a reflection of that. I'm not really conscious of my "performance" or whatever.

I wasn't suggesting that they were a direct copy of Ozzy but merely reminiscent, do you find it challenging to put equal amounts of yourself into the guitar and the vocals or are you one of the lucky ones who find it natural?

[BC] Oh, I wasn't offended by any means, but I don't ever think about who I may sound like. When we started Pallbearer I tried a few approaches to singing until I found I guess what you could call my natural voice...the easiest vocal timbre for me to execute that also allows me the most range. I'm just glad people are into the vocals, as I most definitely think of myself as a guitarist and songwriter over a vocalist. I'm fairly comfortable playing and singing, as when I first started to learn guitar, I sang along since I figured I didn't want to have to deal with a separate vocalist in any bands I might later form, ha! So, I'm pretty used to doing both at once, but it can get kind of tricky now and again coordinating between rhythm and lead playing, plus dancing on effects pedals and singing. I just try to know the songs so well that I don't have to consciously think about what I'm playing on guitar and can just concentrate on singing.

Do Pallbearer prefer a live environment to the studio/practice space? What is the reception like to your live shows where you live? Do the locals get it or do you have to travel further afield?

[JR] We enjoy both quite a bit. I think we're finally getting to the point where people are really latching on locally. We struggled for a while to even have an audience outside of our group of friends who faithfully showed up to gigs, but now we're actually drawing a decent crowd when we play. It's not really something we've ever been used to, so it's a new and interesting experience for us.

[BC] I particularly enjoy the writing process, bouncing ideas around and working together to create songs we find interesting. We consistently send recordings of parts we've come up with to each other, so even when we're not practicing regularly, we can still be collaborating on new material. Of course playing live is a fun experience too, especially when we have an audience that is into what we're doing. Otherwise we might as well be in the practice space!

Can you describe the songwriting process?

[JR] We've gone through a few different phases of how we've written. In the early days, Brett and I jammed almost every day, working on slowly crafting riffs; no drummer, just guitar and bass. This is how all of the early incarnations of The Legend and Devoid of Redemption were written. Things have changed since then, as songwriting has gotten more complex and schedules have changed.

[BC] Generally we write separately at home and send parts back and forth through e-mail. It works pretty well this way, because concentrating on a part alone allows us to write more harmonically complex sections than we probably would in a jam room sort of atmosphere because in a jam room, everyone is there to jam/practice, and so it's not very productive to have everyone else stand around while one of us diddles around with some idea they're working on, then teaches it to everyone else, etc, especially since practicing has unfortunately become a semi-rare thing for us. With the e-mail, we can construct more complete sections with rhythm, lead, vocals--whatever--and then get bandmates' comments immediately, while still being able to write music comfortably at home whenever inspiration hits.

What about environment? Your area is attributed to one of natural beauty; do you think if you came from say, the urban sprawl of NYC you might sound differently or do you feel writing is attributed to mere influences and the necessary skills to convey them?

[JR] Our surroundings don't really have an influence on me when it comes to song development.

[BC] Pallbearer is more of a manifestation of internal influences than external... If anything, we try to present a sense of grandness along with melancholy. There have been times in practice where I've said, "This needs to sound like it's played from the top of a fucking mountain!" so take from that what you will.

Do you think your sound is comparable to any other bands?

[BC] People online have compared us to all kinds of bands, some of the comparisons being totally perplexing to me! But that's cool... I guess people will always find something to compare a band to in order to describe it to others, but I've never written anything with the intention of sounding like any other particular band. I'm sure there are subconscious influences in there, and obviously we're writing in the context of doom, so when people say we sound like Sabbath or Trouble or something, of course the influence is there, but it's kind of a lazy comparison. My goal is to make our songs catchy and memorable, filled with conviction, but also interesting from a technical standpoint, and to explore what we can do within the boundaries of our sound.

[JR] There are riffs and things here and there that may remind us of other bands, and it usually serves as a referential "place-marker" when we're composing songs. As time has gone on, especially after writing the newer material for the full-length, I think we've continued to drift away from having too many of these parts.

What is your opinion on the doom scene at the moment compared to say, ten years ago? Do you think it is easier or harder for doom bands to gain recognition and/or label interest these days?

[JR] Filesharing and mp3 blogs have really changed everything. That's one big reason why we released the 2010 Demo for download before we could afford a release of the official version. Luckily doom metal is still a relatively undersaturated genre of music, so it's not flooded with thousands of "myspace bands" to weed through before finding one good thing. There seems to be a pretty good level of integrity kept within it, even with the ease of releasing music these days, even though I still find myself drawn to the classics much of the time.

[BC] I try to keep up with what's going on in the doom scene, but many newer bands don't really do it for me like the classics. There are definitely some good ones, but I usually find myself listening to older stuff most of the time. There's too much throwback worship going around, bands trying to sound like vintage band A mixed with vintage band B. Some of these bands are cool, but it's rare that another band 20 or 30 years on improves on the sound of the original by copying it as closely as possible. I'd rather hear bands take their influences and twist them into something their own. That's just a minor observation though; there are still plenty of bands unleashing some unique and crushing interpretations of doom! Ultimately, I'm just glad the scene is thriving, and as long as bands play with conviction, then that's what really matters.

I agree with that, also as time goes on it is getting increasingly difficult and as audiences get older they get increasingly harder to please too. But the demo has been well received right? It would appear so.

[JR] Yeah, amazingly enough, the demo has been almost universally well received so far, which really blows my mind since the internet really seems to bring out the elitists or critics who tend to pan anything that's not like, say, Vitus or Pagan Altar.

[BC] I suppose that some people can be more easily attracted to music that sounds like music they already like, but eventually too many sound-alike bands/artists can water down any genre. Not just metal. Maybe it's the prog-head in me, but I feel like music should be adventurous! Why water down one of the most wonderful things in life by making it predictable?

The demo has had a great reception so far! Almost everything I've seen and heard has been positive, and I'm really glad about that. We put a lot of work into our songs, and it's feels good to know that people are connecting to them.

[JR] I think one of the biggest factors in our music writing is trying to make something that we would want to hear even if this wasn't our project, if that makes sense. I think we tend to be a bit hard to please too, just as music fans, so trying to accomplish that goal can be a bit arduous. Hopefully our being somewhat obsessive pays off to anyone who might be listening!

Final question and one I have been dying to ask, have you ever been a pallbearer?

[JR] I have, but really the primary influence behind the name comes from the fact that during the beginning days of the band, a loved one was losing a nearly decade-long battle with illness. The crippling weight of depression and the burden of knowing the inevitable end was near had a lot to do with not just the name but also the atmosphere within the songwriting. The other guys, too, were going through various hardships that added to this collective despair. Even though that time has passed, we're still trying to instill that paradoxical sense of fear and beauty in our doom.

More info on Pallbearer at: Pallbearerdoom.Com

Interview conducted by Jas via email during December 2010.
Used with kind permission from The Sleeping Shaman
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