Mar 31, 2011

The Grand Astoria - Omnipresence ...

The Grand Astoria continue their prolific releasing of albums with 'Omnipresence' and yes it wasn't too long ago they released 'The Grand Astoria II.' This band despite flying under the radar for most people is simply one of the best bands in the world at the moment, you could say a undiscovered (by many) gem of a band. The band is joined by an array of guests and they also pay tribute to Ray Bradbury in the liner notes as well on this exciting release. The artwork or packaging is spectacular, as it is beautifully presented and produced and it is also about an hour long so this is 'value for money' folks. If you have never heard The Grand Astoria, and you love stoner, psychedelic-rock, you will dig this. They have the fuzz of classic Fu Manchu but they bring the sound and style to the present day. They sound incredibly fresh which makes them sound like a potent force to be reckoned with. They also have a 70's rock melodic sensibility so elements of Black Sabbath appear but only to reinforce their already infectious arrangements. The main difference with 'Omnipresence' compared with earlier releases is this is more varied which in hindsight is a major bonus as it makes this an album you can listen to from start to finish with ease.

The band is built around guitarists Kamille Sharapodinov (also vocals) and Igor Suvorov or at least it sounds like that especially with all the guest players on this album. There is four different people adding keyboards for example which is a little bit of overkill but it all sounds great when all is said and done anyway. The opening two tracks, 'Doomsday Party' and 'Hungry & Foolish' come at you with killer fuzzy riffs and infectious hooks and grooves. 'Doomsday Party' is far more complex than the latter as it verges on a Atomic Bitchwax kind of style while 'Hungry & Foolish' is more straight to the point stoner-metal, simple and hits you straight between the eyes. This is a perfect way to start the album but they take some major detours from this point on and 99% of them work. 'Mania Grandiosa' is pure Sabbathian boogie and there is many songs from the Sabbath catalog you could compare it too but I will judge it on its own merits here. Along with the great feel of the song, the thing that really stands out is the vocals of Kamille Sharapodinov. All his vocals are great but he really nails this tune.

'Omniabsence' is a psychedelic, space-rock instrumental and perfectly sets the mood for the album's second half which begins with another masterpiece titled 'Rat Race In Moscow.' It is incredibly infectious with guitar work to droll over, especially with the orgasmic lead break. The feel of the song is stoner-metal-punk which is in total contrast to what follows, a 12 minute spacy epic titled 'Something Wicked This Way Comes.' In many respects, this is the band at their most traditional as they pull out a hybrid of 70's rock influences. There is a sampled speech in the middle of it that adds atmosphere but what seals the deal is the guitar work of Sharapodinov and Suvorov, these guys trade licks back and forth in an extended instrumental break in the middle of the track and it is amazing. 'The Song Of Hope' follows nicely but is maybe the weakest track on the album, its funky and strange but once you hear it a few times, it also becomes embedded into your mind for eternity.

The title track 'Omnipresence' plays like the companion piece to 'Omniabsence' and then the album ends on 'Stonewall' which is killer and the most metal I think this band has ever sounded, great track. Without a doubt if this album gets heard by more people, it will be album of the year for many of us. It is not only the best album they have ever made but one of the best albums of its kind. It is eccentric with its genre-bending but flows from start to finish without ever having a major misstep as even the weakest track, 'The Song Of Hope' is a grower. This album I feel is so good, I had to have it in the Doommantia Webstore, you will see it in there by the end of today. You need your head checked if you don't take a listen to this great album from The Grand Astoria. .....9.5/10
The Grand Astoria @ Facebook
The Grand Astoria @ MySpace
Buy It Here Available April 1st

The Hollow Men - Food Chain ...

The Hollow Men are a new band to me but it seems they have been around for some 10 years. From doing some research into the band I see they have shared the stage with bands as diverse as Diamond Head and The Atomic Bitchwax. They have been compared to everyone from Masters Of Reality to Led Zeppelin and the more obvious one, Kyuss and that is perhaps the best place to start this review. First impressions are always important and this is a primitive (all the artwork is done in pencil)  yet professional looking package and putting the disc on, you hear some fine production as well. However this Dutch trio doesn't quite cut it, something sounds  recycled and lacking but they do hit some high points within this album's seven tracks.

Direction-wise, the band is a mix of the old and the new. At times it is pure 70's hard rock, other times they head out to the desert for some stoner grooves a la Kyuss but at other times, they sound like a modern rock band like Velvet Revolver meets The Foo Fighters. This mixed bag can sound disjointed at times but when they deliver the goods, the band kicks ass, sadly it just doesn't happen enough. Songs like 'Out In The Cold' sound a bit clumsy and a touch recycled from the grunge-era so it can sound dated somewhat. They still do what they do, extremely well but I am not too sure about if some of their songs gel too well. Opening song Euphoria rocks like it's Kyuss jamming with Soundgarden while at the other end of the disc you get a song like Bleeding which sounds very country. As you can tell, this band leave their options wide open but that makes it hard to get into any kind of vibe with the disc.

Another example of their eccentric style is 'This Is Not a Love Song' which is basically punk-rock while 'Top Of The Food Chain' sounds like 80's rock similar to Danzig. Mixed into most of these tunes is a stoner-groove that threatens to explode at any moment but never does which is also a little frustrating. Also a drawback is the monotone vocals which don't help the songs too much but there is some great riffing to be heard also. 'Throne' is the best track in my opinion, it charges along in classic, desert-rock style. It might not be too original but the tune rocks hard with great fuzzy riffs and a solid groove. A few more tracks like this one would have been nice. It is hard to put this recording down too much, there is nothing really horrible about the album but there is nothing too memorable either. I think grunge fans are more likely to dig this than anyone else and lets face it, they are a dying breed so I am not sure where their core audience is. It is worth listening to but I think their versatility at playing different genres actually does them more harm than good.....6/10
The Hollow Men @ Myspace

Trend Slaughter Metal Fest Report ...



Dying Embrace

A lot of people have been wondering what the metal scene is like in India. Well, Doommantia writer Mahesh has sent in a report on Trend Slaughter which was a recent metal festival held in the country. Check it out....Ed


They came, they saw and Doom/ Death ruled the house for 8 hours….
The first TREND SLAUGHTER FEST; an extreme metal event organized by Cyclopean Eye Productions, a new extreme metal venture in association with The Undergrind and Gigbox; was a success no matter which way you look at it. If you examine the history of other successful annual festivals around the world, nearly all of them started small and grew into monster events. Looking at the way this fest went about; it has all the signs of getting bigger and better in the years to come. It is very rare to get some quality bands in India with extreme music as their tag. But luckily we got to see Five bands in Bevar Sea, Gorified, Dying Embrace, Culminant, headlined by Orator of Bangladesh. I was proud to  be a part of it and for those who missed out, look out for it the next time.

The first band to assault the ear-drums was Bevar Sea – a doom/stoner band from Bangalore and they meant business when they hit the stage around noon. Combining traditional doom sounds with a dose of Stoner Doom approach to take the fans to another world; Bevar Sea was the perfect opening act. They were actually too good to be an opener and gave a dose of Stoner doom bringing fans on their toes. Their sound was incredible and extremely heavy. Srikanth and Rahul’s guitar was a gruesome beast and Deepak on the drums delivered pounding and crashing support to the gargantuan riffs that move from extra slow to even slower to mid-tempo chugging sections. As with these festivals, Bevar Sea’s set was a bit elaborate…but the fans weren’t complaining. Bevar Sea reminded many of Doom bands like Goatsnake and Pagan Altar to some extent. Bevar Sea certainly picked up some new fans with their performance.

Orator

Then came another interesting band Culminant who played some good old School Death Thrash. There were some good Cover Songs played from many Old school Death metal bands apart from a few of their own compilation. Culminant set the evening up pretty well.
The real fest started when Dying Embrace came to play their set, much to the buzz of the fans who had waited for them to take centre-stage. I last saw them way back in 1996 and it took 15 years for me to be a witness to their awesome stage presence again. Their EP “Grotesque” and “Serenades of Depravity” are simply mind-blowing old school Doom metal albums. A lot of old Autopsy and Black Sabbath could be seen as influences on Dying Embrace. In a live setting, Dying Embrace is staggering. Vikram has a terrifying presence on vocals, delivering the morbid lyrics with a sinister edge. The drumming of Deepak Raghu is apt for this style and Jimmy’s guitaring took the fans to another world altogether. The Dying Embrace sound brought out a chilling underscore to their menacing collection of tunes. They played some old Autopsy songs and it was really one of most unforgettable moments.

After this slaughter fest, the next to come to the fore were Gorified who played some Grind Death. Gorified is a two piece band with Gani on Guitars/Drums programming and Charlie on guttural vocals .They reminded me of Inhumate and Last Days of Humanity. Although most of their tracks were a minute and a half; they had the crowd on their side with lots of mosh pits and headbanging. The highlight of their show was that they were very well aligned with the drum machine and timed it perfectly. Overall it was one amazing show.

The fans eagerly waited for Orator to come on stage. Orator is a Death/thrash band from Bangladesh. There were a lot of expectations from this band; and they proved their mettle by tearing up the night with some amazing Riffs and Pounding drums. The fast and yet Groovy tracks made the crowd go wild. There were a lot of mosh pits and headbanging sessions all through, with everyone enjoying the performance to the hilt. Amit on vocals delivered some high quality vocal lines and monstrous guitaring. Partho’s drumming was fast and furious and both were well compliment by Vritra Ahi on Bass. The night ended with a lot of satisfaction for the fans who turned up in large numbers for the event.
Overall, TREND SLAUGHTER FEST was a thundering success. A lot of hard work put in by the promoters and specially folks like Sandesh, Kiran, Vikram and team made this the fest of the season and fans can’t wait for it to return.
Live Review By Mahesh 

Mar 30, 2011

Earthride / Doomraiser - Split 7"




Doomraiser and Earthride - two of the greatest doom acts to ever walk the earth have teamed up for this excellent little 7" and as an extra dose of awesomeness, Scott "Wino" Weinrich guest stars on the Earthride track titled 'Supernatural Illusion.' Let's start this with Doomraiser who are one of my favorite bands ever, they have released one killer album in 'Lords Of Mercy' and then released the even better 'Erasing the Remembrance' full length. That album was a 70 minute monster of flawless traditional doom-metal and they made it even more essential when they released it as a double vinyl with 2 bonus tracks, one of which was 'Dune Messiah,' originally performed by Aussie 70's proto-metal legends Buffalo. Along with those monumental releases, they have also done a split with Midryasi called 'Behind The Same Cross.'



Moving forward to last year, they recorded 'Guardian of the Great Eye' for this split 7" and it continues their impeccable high-standard of classic doom. They have always played in a general, varied style of doom-metal and this track is no different. They take the very best of influences from early Black Sabbath, mixing it with the modern doom sound of Electric Wizard and the prog-doom leanings of Cathedral. They also don't forget about traditional black and heavy metal either as inflections of Celtic Frost and others can be heard. 'Guardian of the Great Eye' is classic Doomraiser and is simply, perfection in my doom book. Earthride don't let their side down either with 'Supernatural Illusion' as this tune rips along in typical Earthride apocalyptic sludgy doom fashion. The guest appearance of Scott "Wino" Weinrich is not that important really as I hardly notice his presence to be honest. Punishing and devoid of any subtly, Earthride never let you down. This is an excellent 7" that was limited to 500 copies so I don't know if it is still available or not but my advice is get it anyway you can.......Perfection......10/10
Doomraiser@MySpace
Earthride Official

Mar 29, 2011

Raventale - After ...

In 2009 the one-man black doom act Raventale released one of the albums of the year and one of the best ever black metal/doom metal crossover albums with 'Mortal Aspirations' so I had high hopes for this new recording. On the outside, everything looks great with fine artwork in a stunning copper-color. Even the CD looks like its made of some kind of copper material, it is stunning packaging. In case you don't know, Raventale is one of those 'one man band' black metal projects, headed up by a dude named Astaroth, who hails from Ukraine. He is influenced by the likes of Shape Of Despair but with each release, that influence seems to be disappearing from the sound of Raventale as it moves into a more original direction. Normally, this would be a good thing but the songs on 'After' tell me it might not be such a good idea. These songs don't immediately hook you in last the songs on 'Mortal Aspirations' did, the concepts don't gel in the same way and I feel the riffs are not as good either but it is still fairly strong and it shows more than ever that Astaroth is a remarkable musician.

This album is also not as depressive as the last album, it is actually quite warm and melancholic even though it still has the black metalish spat-out raspy vocals. Musically it is still slow-downed black-metal with bleak doom-metal elements and if you have ever heard the band, Drudkh you will know what to expect for the most part. Album opener, 'Gone' is perhaps the best song on the disc, it is 10 minutes of black metal drowned in gloomy melancholic vibes. Guitars are heavy but with a beautiful warm tone and keyboards are used ever so economically, never drowning anything out. While this my pick for the best tune on the album, it still isn't exactly mind-blowing and it hasn't got the mesmerizing quality that was everywhere on the 'Mortal Aspirations' album. The next three songs, 'After', 'Youth' and 'Flames' come across to me as only 'half-baked'. That luke-warm feeling is also reflected in 'After's running time, only 34 minutes with only 5 tracks, the last one being un-titled. Lyrically, its all about life and death and nature's revolving cycles as reflected in the album's artwork - the worm transforming into the beautiful butterfly only to die and become food for you guessed it, worms.

The musicianship is flawless, the production is incredible,  and the artwork/packaging is excellent but sadly for me, the music is a bit lacking. The songwriting isn't up to the same standard as earlier releases as it falls flat especially in the second half of the album. One thing this album has going for it though is the mood it creates, musically and lyrically it gives the listener the feeling that life is great but don't get too used to it because a shitty time is right around the corner and life is always unpredictable. In conclusion, this is definitely worth checking out but from my perspective, a little underdone.....7/10
Raventale @ Myspace
BadMoodMan Music

Sweden’s Truckfighters to play the U.S. July 2011 ...

Fuzz rock powerhouse the Truckfighters are bringing their groundbreaking brand of stoner rock to the U.S. this July. 

From wikipedia:

Truckfighters is a stoner rock band from Sweden.  After releasing ep’s in 2001 and 2002, they recorded a split-EP with local Swedish band Firestone in 2003.  In 2005 they released their debut album Gravity X on both MeteorCity Records and Fuzzorama Records.  Their follow-up album, Phi, was released in 2007 by Poison Tree Records in the U.S. and on the Fuzzorama label elsewhere.  Latest album is Mania where the band has a more progressive sound.  Over the years Truckfighters have moved from classic stoner to progressive/alternative metal/stoner.  Their sounds has been described as classic desert rock similar to bands like Dozer, Fu Manchu (with whom they have toured), and Kyuss.  They have been featured on the MTV Sweden show “Fuzz”.




Truckfighters will be joined for most of their U.S. dates by Cincinnati, OH band Valley of the Sun.  Booking of the tour has just begun, any inquiries can be submitted to journeytothevalleyofthesun@hotmail.com

The tentative schedule is as follows:

Wed. July 13- Truckfighters - New York City @tba
Thurs. July 14- Truckfighters – Philadelphia @tba
Fri. July 15- Truckfighers – Baltimore @tba
Sat. July 16th- TBD
Sun. July 17th- Truckfighters – Pittsburgh @tba
Mon. July 18th- TF w/ VotS – Cleveland @tba
Tues. July 19th- TF w/ VotS – Chicago @tba
Wed. July 20th- TF w/ VotS – Indianapolis @tba
Thurs. July 21st- TF w/ VotS – Cincinnati @tba
Fri. July 22nd- TF w/ VotS – Lexington @tba
Sat. July 23rd- TF w/ VotS- Atlanta @tba

Truckfighters @ Myspace

Mar 28, 2011

Revelations of Doom - A Interview With Within The Torn Apart ...


Bio - WTTA started out as In Emptiness in 2006, But before that Dave started making bass drones back in 94 but didn't really start taking it seriously until 98, Dave's biggest influences at that time were Pot, Earth and Black sabbath, Dave made several tape demos from 94 or so until 2005 off of which several demos where used on the double DMA exclusive album, After 2005 Dave laid off drone for a bit and started working on other projects, Then around late 2006 Dave started going under the name In emptiness for his drones and created a short 4 track demo, That demo sat on his computer for several months, One track off the demo titled In Emptiness was released on the Spookcore records mix-tape compilation from early 2007 and it can also be found on the first WTTA demo, The other 3 tracks are lost, Accidentally deleted off of Dave's old hard drive before he had a chance to burn them to disc, After taking a few more months off from his drone music to work on other projects In Emptiness came back and the name was changed to Within The Torn Apart, One demo was made with Mr Morder before he left the band, This demo has went on to be downloaded over 7000 times, Soon after the Drone in blood out e.p was made, About 7 months later the Sun setting e.p was released, Now in this time of death which was the first full length album was released for a week on DMAR but was soon pulled off due to changes needing to be made to the album (Pat will be rerecording most of the original guitar parts from this album due to several mistakes in the original recordings) Soon after the completion of Now in this time of death Pat joined WTTA as a session guitar player and after years of session members and guest spots WTTA is a 2 man band from here on out, Dave and Pat worked on early versions of Withered in blood tide and a couple other tracks, Due to Dave being burnt out with WTTA at the time these demos ended up being sat on for several months, Then Dave and Pat started talking about working on WTTA material again later in the year and they began to put those demos back together and those tracks ended up being what is now known as Time wilts away but my work is never done, Time wilts away which was the second full length will now be released as the first full length on DMAR with Now in this time of death following it 3 months after as the second full length, Dave and Pat have begun work on what will be the third full length but at this time there is no further details on that album at this time, As for the band it is going stronger than ever, Dave and Pat have since made this .com page and WTTA is fully signed back to DMAR, Who knows what the future holds, God, Drone and heavy riffs.

Here is an interview with both these guys that now make up the drone doom band, Within The Torn Apart. This interview was done with both these dudes separately and then joined into one monster of an interview. They are about to unleash their new album which by all reports and from what I have heard is their best and heaviest work yet. They have made a slight shift from straight-out drone, ambient doom to a doom-drone mix so this should be their most appealing album for the traditional doom fan. Show some support and buy the album once it's released, keep an eye on Doommantia for the release date and other info on what should be a remarkable album from WTTA.

1. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since I last interviewed you Dave, can you tell the readers about what you have been up to since the last interview.

Dave: Not too much. Working on music here and there but, other than that, I've been taking it easy and focusing on my kids and trying to get used to being 31 now; having to accept that I had to grow up and I'm not 19 anymore.


2. I read this album will be more doom than drone. What is the reason the music has headed in this direction?

Dave: You read correctly, I've been doing this on and off for a very long time and my goal for most of that time was to sound as much as I could like Sunn O))) because I wanted to prove that, despite being a Christian band, WTTA could offer the same exact sound that a secular band could. After completing that goal, it became boring and it eventually felt like I was putting out the same song over and over again at different lengths, So, about 10 months ago when Pat and I first started working on music together, I started to realize that I can prove that same point without sounding like someone else.

Pat: Dave told me that he wanted to kind of move into a more doom direction. I think he's grown tired of doing the same kind of thing. There's a lot of drone on this record, but there's a lot of doom, as well. It's a mixed bag. I contributed to more of the doom side and he contributed more to the drone side and we kind of had a head on collision and that's what ended up on the record.

3. Tell us about the new album, can you give the readers a run-down of some of the material?

Pat: Most of my riffs on this album were from songs that I had written nearly ten years ago; We just toyed with them a bit and made them work. I was glad to finally have a project to use my material for.

For this album, I was heavily influenced by Earth's the Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull and Pink Floyd's Animals album. I like the big "epic" sounds of those records. Another influence that
will probably surprise a lot of people was Metallica's Load album. That album has a lot of slow, fat, heavy riffs. Songs like "Cure," "2x4," and "Poor Twisted Me" in particular.

As for some of the new songs:

Withered In Blood Tide is part new stuff and part old stuff. The heavy part is new, but that clean part at the beginning has been sitting around on tape since 2003. That song was partly inspired by Hyenas. I was watching a documentary about how they behave in the wild. They're like the serial killers of the animal kingdom. I wanted transform their behaviour into music somehow.

Time Wilts Away is a song I wrote 10 years ago. It's probably the biggest departure on the album from the kind of stuff that WTTA usually does. I re-recorded it for a side-project that Dave and I were gonna do, but we liked it so much that it ended up on this record.

C.O.U is a tribute to my Pops. We used a rather unconventional means of recording that, but I don't want to give away too many of our secrets. Haha.

Orion's Chamber is a good example of how well Dave and I work together. He simply hummed a riff and I translated it to guitar and added a few of my own things to it.

Crack the Pillars was the result of staying up too late and jamming at 3am. I record all of my practice sessions. I was listening back to that night's stuff and  I thought that particular riff was pretty cool. Dave agreed and it's on the album with very minor changes from the original 3am practice recording.

Dave: The new album is something else; Let me give you a basic run down of what has happened since the last time you interviewed WTTA. At that time, I had just put out the Sun Setting E.P. which wasn't even supposed to be released but, due to unprofessional session members, I couldn't release the material that was supposed to be put out which was a double disc set of all new material at that time. It ended up not getting released. So, it was all sat on.



Fast forward a year to when I sent you what was the finished version of that double disc to review for DMA. After receiving an 8 on the review, it made me think "Why?" So, I asked you and you made me realize that it was too much material to digest at one time. I took that hard at first because, like I said, the material was going on two years old at that point. The first 8 months, myself and said session guys made huge amounts of progress. Then, the second year was spent waiting on said session guys to get off their butts and work. Point being, I wasn't happy with the score. lol.I soon got over it after realizing your point.

So, the point to that long-winded answer is that I split those into 2 full length;, One was Now In This Time of Death, which you have heard, and the second was Time Wilts Away. I trimmed away the fat and added several tracks that me and Pat wrote together using riffs he had written years ago. Then, we added two tracks that I and Jason De Ron of Paramaecium worked on, one track with Sebat of Frost Like Ashes, and 2 soon to be finished tracks with Victor Griffin of Place of Skulls.

Me and Pat took several non-traditional directions when it comes to drone. Those directions were blues and doom. There is a lot of Pink Floyd influence on this album and a lot of Earth influence. You can hear some Place of Skulls influence in there as well. It's the final album that will have just pure drone on it. It's also the final album to not have full drum tracks on it. It will also be the final album to have guest spots other than vocals on it. There's a lot of finality to this album, but it's also the doorway to where we want to go sound-wise. The next album, which we have already started working on, will sound like a mix between Earth, Floyd, and Sabbath. Traditional drums and time signatures, lots of percussion, full vocal tracks from me and Pat, and very little drone actually.lol. If I could compare what we are working on now to anything it would be Camel of Doom.

4. In the past you have been influenced by Earth & Sunn o))) has anything changed with your influences that has push the new recordings into a more straight doom-metal direction?

Dave: Yes, a lot, Though Sunn are still an influence, they are not as much as they used to be, My Sunn worship was more than obvious on the first 4 releases, but not so much on Time Wilts Away and wont be at all on The Revelation Within. On Time Wilts Away, you will hear a huge amount of Earth influence in there and, like i said before, you will hear Pink Floyd in there a lot. We had planned on covering Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" but canned it due to lack of time. There's a lot of thrash influence on Pat's end. In fact, some of the riffs used were originally thrash licks he slowed down. On my end, I was hugely inspired as of late by Nadja and even more so by Coil, which is strange because Coil used to be the biggest influence for my other projects, but I brought that cold industrial sound into this album and it worked very well. I would also say Throbbing Gristle is a huge influence on what we are doing now.

5. How do you analyze your own playing? Do you ever think about it?

Dave: Nah. I don't much care. I play what I play and record it. I never second take anything; never have. I might adjust it in the mix, but never, ever, re-record anything. It's always from the first take. As for how I perceive my own sound, I think its very raw, dark, and very cold. It's from the depths of my depression and anxiety, so it's not pretty.

6. With past recordings, you have always had a strong melodic element even though some people may not hear it the way I do. Do you think in terms of melody when composing music?

Dave: I hum a lot. Most of my tunes come from just siting there and humming out the parts where most people use their instruments; I never have. I have a sweet Sony mini recorder and I hum ideas into it and translate those into whatever instrument I end up using. I also use my keyboard to create a lot o the structure and almost all melodies. My bass rarely ever see's any kind of action until it's recording time. The only time I have ever used my bass for any kind of free form drone was on the Drone In Blood Out demo

7. Back in 2009, you mentioned WTTA would be a live band but it never happen as far as I know. What happened with those plans?

Dave: That was going to happen but, due to my personal life, I had to bail on the idea. Plus, Pat joined the band and I felt it wouldn't have been fair to him to have 2 versions of WTTA. There were 3 live songs recorded with me and 4 other people. You have one of those demos on the double DMA set I sent you, but that's it for live WTTA. Maybe, in the future, Pat will come down here long enough for us to do a short tour. If so it will be recorded.

8. You sound real excited about the new album, what is it about the album that makes you so positive?

Dave: It's such a huge step into a new direction. After years of doing the same thing, it gets stale. Pat is bringing a totally new style to WTTA and that was much-needed. In fact, Now In This Time of Death was WTTA's final album, but after realizing that working with Pat was making the music fun again, that all changed.

9. So what is like working with Pat?

Dave: Great. I've had many guests and session members over the years in WTTA. Working with all the guests was a blast because they usually got things done on time, but the session members are a different story. I won't sit here and dog anyone out but, let's just say there is a reason that they never became full members. With Pat, I don't have to deal with that. When we work, it's done together and it gets finished right then and not weeks or months later. Nothing gets put on the back burner, which is a huge plus for me since we all know why the double disc ended up taking so long. That is a prime example of unprofessional session members. Pat is far from that; he is the most professional dude I've ever worked with and is an absolute joy to work with and very good at what he does. We click musically and always end up having the same ideas.

Dave
10. Has the new album got a common theme, even a lot of instrumental albums have a recurring theme or melody that holds it all together. Do this album have that element?

Dave: Dying, death, rebirth. That's all I will say. Anyone who has any sort of depth will pick up on this upon the first listen.

11. You are very prolific when it comes to recording projects. Is it because you love writing and recording or are you never satisfied so you have to keep on trying something new?

Dave: A bit of both. My mind is always going 100 miles an hour due to an anxiety disorder and being bipolar. So, to curb the depression that stems from that, I write all of the time. Music is 90% of my life. It heals and takes my mind off of life's struggles. I have cut a lot of my projects down though. TMD is over. I have one album left to release and that's it. Other than WTTA, I don't really have anything I'm working on at the moment, but I do have plans for an industrial project later this year, plus I will be getting back to my horror scores.

12. Have you worked out how the new album will be distributed?

Dave: Not yet. We were looking into a few things but, at the moment, we're not sure yet.

13. After the new album is released do you have any plans for the next chapter in the life of the band?

Dave: More work on The Revelation Within. Not too sure from there. We plan on stretching work on that out 6 or 7 months, This album will have a lot more time and effort put into it than anything else WTTA has ever done. WTTA will be around for a lot longer, I will say that

14. You always seem to be working on other projects as well and you have the forum site. Do you want to give those things a plug?

Dave: Sure, although TMD is over now, I am fixing to release the final album which, in my opinion, is way better than the first album. Then, there is the second CBFDIB album that me and Eric will eventually be finishing later this year. Me and Pat will be making a Within the Torn Apart.com page soon. The forum has been revamped and it no longer accepts new members. It's as strong as ever but, from here on out, is only for the people who originally joined it. A closed society if you will, but the forum is opened to where anyone can read everything on it and all of the downloads are available; just no more members. There will still be updates, new links, etc, nothing really else has changed. As for anything else I'm doing, like i said earlier, I will be working on an industrial project later this year similar in sound to Ministry, Circle of Dust, and Coil. That's about it for now.

15. Not many would know about you Pat so I guess you better fill them in now. Tell the readers a bit about yourself ?

Pat: I grew up and still live in a very small town in VA. I've been blessed to have a very supportive and close-knit family who supports me in whatever I do, especially music. When I was five years old, I started playing guitar. I saw the video for Metallica's "One" and that was it, man. That was when I decided I wanted to become the king of the riff. Haha.

My Grandfather bought me this cheap Japanese electric guitar, which I still have to this day, and I started learning chords and the basic stuff like that. I think the first song I ever learned to play was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. That was the first song I ever played in front of an audience, as well; it was at my first grade talent show. The amp I used at that time had this built in distortion effect, so I played the metal version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star complete with this Steve Vai-like whammy-bar dive at the end that broke my high E string. Haha.

I only took maybe two guitar lessons, but they didn't help me much at all. I guess I already had my idea of how one should play the guitar and what it should sound like in my head and whatever the teacher was trying to do sounded wrong, haha, so I dropped out of music lessons and tought myself with tab books and Guitar World. My music teacher in high school helped me a lot too.

Other than music, I'm a huge movie buff. I love horror, spaghetti westerns, and stuff like that. In my time away from making music, I create art, I like to cook, and I'm an avid knife collector.

Choko aka Pat
16. Now that you have teamed up with Dave, how does it feel to be playing doom? It is not really the music you grew up with is it? Correct me if I am wrong.

Pat: You're right; it's a pretty big change from the music I usually write/play. Primarily, I'm a thrash metal guy. I also play punk and a little blues; my two biggest influences are James Hetfield and Stevie Ray Vaughan, so I'm used to playing FAST. I love playing and writing doom and drone, though, because it's a challenge for me to play at a slower tempo and not go a million miles an hour all of the time.

17. How would you describe your musical techniques? Do you have a particular style of playing?

Pat: I just try to play with a lot of feeling. I'll try to play what feels right as opposed to what's 'right' musically; Simply put, I don't like to use too much music theory. If it feels and sounds right, it works for me. Sure, I like to use certain scales and modes but feel, emotion, and atmosphere come first.

For example, since this album featured no drums or anything to keep time, I had the freedom to not have to play in any time signature and I wanted to use that to my advantage to make my riffs sound a little uneasy and chaotic. However, I was so used to playing with a metronome and in time, some of my early demos didn't have the chaotic or uneasy feel that I wanted. It was actually a little hard for me to play out of time; it's usually the opposite for some people. I guess I'm fortunate in that regard. Haha.

I ended up using the metronome in an unconventional method; I used it to deliberately play out of time; I would skip beats, play before or after the beat, or ignore the beat altogether. I'm sure a lot of purists out there would frown upon not playing in time and say "that's wrong" or whatever, but it really gave the music this out of control vibe. It may not be "right" musically, but it gave the music soul. After all, if the song has no soul, who wants to listen to it?

As for my style, I like to use a lot of palm muting, pull-ons, and hammer-offs. I like to make all of the riffs sound fluid and almost bluesy.

18. You live with an illness, like I do. Do you feel this inspires you to play doom? I was speaking to Jerry from Lazarus Complex (who also has serious health issues) and he said the way he feels physically, doom is the only music he can play and that his sickness actually inspires him in some ways. Do you feel the same?

Pat: I got sick in 2003. I have COPD and severe-persistent asthma and I've nearly died from it a few times. I'm not able to work and I can't go outside much. It's hard to even go buy groceries.

I get inspired by the notion that I have to do something with the time I have left on this Earth and not waste it. To be honest, being sick is the farthest thing from my mind when I'm making music. If I weren't writing music and keeping busy, I'd sit and think about being sick all the time and I would get depressed. I use music to take my mind off of being sick.

19. Lets talk guitars, what equipment to do use?

Pat: For this album, I used my mid-80's ESP Explorer (which Dave affectionately calls "The Brown Thing." Haha.) for almost all of the heavy parts, which is 98% of the record. It's got a Seymour Duncan Screamin' Demon humbucker in the bridge and a Seymour Duncan PAF at the neck. To get the tone I wanted, I switched it to the middle position, which is both pickups at the same time, but I dialed back the volume on the bridge pickup a bit to fatten it up a little. It's tuned to standard E, but I tuned to drop D for a couple of songs.

I also used an ESP Eclipse with EMG active pickups for two songs that I tuned down to C# (C-Sharp) for.

For the few clean parts, I used a Jay Turser semi-hollowbody with Seymour Duncan P-90 pickups. I love that it almost sounds like a strat, but it has an even more bell-like tone and is a bit fatter-sounding.

For most of the album, I used AmpliTube Effects Modeling & Recording software. For a couple of songs, I went the traditional route and mic'd my trusty old Randall RG100 amp with a Fender 4x12 cab with Celestion speakers and I used an Ibanez SM-7 distortion pedal and a Digitech Acoustic Simulator pedal. Most of what you hear is me plugged right into the computer using the AmpliTube Software, though.


20. How do you and Dave put together the music for WTTA? You live in different states, so how does it all work?

Pat: We'll sit and talk on the phone about song ideas. I have my guitar out most of the time and we'll come up with stuff or I'll have a riff that I had written previously and we mutate it into something that works. I record all of my stuff in my little make-shift studio and then send it to him, then he'll write his parts or use something that he had written previously that works with the riff. We produce it together over the phone and once we're happy with how everything sounds, Dave mixes everything together.



21. Among the 3 of us, we have talked about the destruction of the underground scene before but what is your thoughts on the future of doom-metal?

Pat: I think the future of doom metal is very bright. With all of the crazy stuff going on in the world today like, we doom guys certainly have a lot of stuff to write about. We can voice our opinions and emotions through our music and hopefully change the world for the better. People in the world aren't happy with the way things are going and I think their musical tastes will change in order to reflect that. I think a lot of the bubblegum stuff will fade away because the world isn't all sunshine and rainbows. I think that's what doom is all about.

22. Back to playing, what gives you the most satisfaction when composing music?

Pat: Knowing that I'm hopefully making my friends and family proud. This album is dedicated to my Pops (Grandfather) who passed away in August. He always enjoyed hearing me play, even if he wasn't the biggest metal fan out there. I just want to make him proud. I know he's in heaven looking down with a smile.

Hearing Dave's reaction to the music we're making together is very satisfying to me, as well. For the first time ever, I'm confident in my abilities as a guitarist.

23. We all know the underground scene in America has no real support anymore so what do you hope to achieve with the release of the new album?

Pat: Just having it heard and appreciated is achievement enough for me; that maybe someone will take the time to listen to it. I'm not interested in groupies or getting rich. I just want people to hear our hard work.

24. What is it like working with Dave?

Pat: He's the Lars Ulrich to my James Hetfield. Haha. We work great together. We very rarely butt heads over anything and, when we do, it's almost immediately resolved. We pretty much have the same taste in music and the same motivation, so we're the perfect team.

25. Has the new album got vocals? I don't think it has as I haven't read anything about it. If not what emotions do you hope to unleash through the music?

Pat: No vocals on this one. The overall vibe of this record is mournful, at least from my side of things.. I lost my Pops in August and I wanted to get my emotions out through the music. A lot of what you hear is me trying to stay sane throughout the whole grieving process.

26. Once this album is out, do you have future plans for more recordings with Dave?

Pat: Absolutely. We're already working on the next record. It's going to have a lot of old-school doom mixed with a very small amount of drone and a few other things tossed in the mix. I'm already excited about some of the early stuff that we've come up with. It's very experimental.

27. Thanks Dave and Pat for the interview, any last words?

Pat: Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my music and give people a peek behind the scenes of what goes into making the whole WTTA thing click. I hope I won't alienate too many fans by being the "new guy." Haha.

Thanks Ed. It's been a pleasure.....Pat.

Dave: God bless. Thanks to anyone who listens to what we do.

WTTA @ Facebook

TROUBLE - Revelations (Life or Death) ...

Trouble fans have had these songs for years in one form or another but I finally came across an album with all these songs in the one place. This is not a review, just a heads-up for Trouble fans.....Check it out.

Restored & remastered by Patrick W. Engel at „Temple of Disharmony“ in September 2010

Trouble's recording history in the '90's began with two albums for Def Jam, namely "Trouble" followed by "Manic Frustration". After that, Rick Rubin, Def Jam's owner, got into some serious financial trouble. And Trouble found themselves with no deal. This was the time, 1994, when the legendary "One for the Road" demo was published. Guitarist Rick Wartell tries to reconstruct the whole story: "When we recorded 'One for the Road' in 1994, the deal for the 'Plastic green Head' album was already in place. So why did we record that? Pre-production?" His colleague Bruce Franklin knows better: "Yeah, I think we were just seeing what we had. Every tour we do, we see all these people with different kinds of bootlegs. We thought, what the hell, man, all these people are making money off us. We were not making money, so we decided to bootleg ourselves. We recorded a demo, printed 1,500 copies, sold it for cash right there on the road, and for once we made money ourselves. The record company did not make money, the bootleggers did not make money, we did."


Was it all "Plastic green Head" material on "One for the Road"? Bruce: "Two songs ended up on 'Plastic green Head', I think. 'Requiem' and 'Going home'. No, 'Going home' was on 'Simple Mind Condition'. 'Another Day' was the other one." "The rest would be exclusive then", adds Rick. "The songs were recorded in a studio, it wasn't a great studio, so it wasn't album quality, but still good. A good demo - that's all."
The mentioned "One for the Road" demo was also published on the two CD's "Demos & Rarities", part one spanning 1980-1995 and part two 1984-1994. What about those CD's? "Actually, we took those CD's from the bootleggers", laughs Rick Wartell. Bruce explains: "It was literally a bootlegger's release.

We got in touch with him and basically said: 'If we see you, we will kill you'. He said: 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry'. And then he sent us all the copies he had." So White Stallion Records was the original bootleg label? Bruce: "Yes. We talked to the man and told him how unhappy we were." Rick: "And then we heard that he started bootlegging someone else. There is some very early stuff on there." Talking of bootlegs, the earliest ever Trouble bootleg must probably be the live Chicago vinyl recorded in 1983, the one with the fantasy artwork on coloured vinyl. "Oh yeah, I've seen it", remembers Bruce Franklin. "I think that is a bootleg of our live recording." Rick: "Ah, that's a good one." "We have the original tape of that", states Bruce. "It is not a bootleg from a fan, it is from us." Rick: "Wow, we should put that one out on vinyl, too. We used to sell that tape, the tape was around everywhere. So somebody out there must have decided to do it on vinyl." There is some exclusive stuff on there, Trouble covering Accept's "Son of a Bitch" and even "Confused" by Angel Witch. "Yep, that's it", finds Bruce. Rick: "On that same tape we also did 'Children of the Grave'." Bruce knows better: "No, we played it at the show but it was not recorded because we were running out of tape. That was the very last song of the set."

Available From High Roller Records

The Moon Mistress & Snakerider – Obsessed by Cursed Wastelands ...

'Obsessed by Cursed Wastelands'  is a two-way doom-metal split from Eastern Europe. It features the Russian doom band The Moon Mistress and Snakerider from the Ukraine. Two incredibly heavy acts but with two vastly different approaches despite having similar influences. The Moon Mistress are more on the droning side of doom while Snakerider are more in the traditional stoner-doom vein. One thing both these bands have in common is the influence of bands such as Electric Wizard and Sleep are those influences do shine over the course of this 30 plus minute split out on 'Pestis Insaniae Records.'

Starting with two tracks from The Moon Mistress who are the most 'way-out' of the two bands, they deliver two killer tracks that have a total other-worldly quality. The band takes psychedelic-doom to the outer regions of space and bring it back to earth with a gigantic thud especially in the track 'Witches.' There is large amounts of reverb and psyche-out interplay within its musicians along with a floating, cosmic atmosphere. The distant vocal approach gives the music a tripped-out vibe and is also kind of creepy in its own way. The Moon Mistress take a slightly different approach here compared to their 2010 demo, it is less plodding and more diverse but still very heavy. The other song from the band on this split, 'Metropolis' is equally as mesmerizing. Without a doubt, this band is one of the best new bands to emerge from Russia and it is only a matter of time before the rest of the world catches on.

Snakerider however are a bit more generic, influenced by Ufomammut, Sod Hauler, Electric Wizard, Colour Haze and Bongzilla, all these influences are obvious throughout their 4 songs which are more concise than the Moon Mistress tracks but also more predictable. However, they still deliver the stoner-doom goods. The opening track from them, 'Us, Who Saw the Reason' is a sludgy, filthy beast of a tune. It follows the stoner-doom blueprint to the letter but it is incredibly infectious, the riffs get you hooked immediately. 'In Her Eyes' has the band hitting the gas slightly, it is also more dynamic and has great vocals. 'Cold Seas' is about as generic as this kind of sludge-stoner-doom can get but its second half makes the journey worthwhile, it simply burns with doom power. 'Four Twenty' is about (as you might have guessed) the smoking of the mighty weed. Yes, once again predictable subject matter but musically, heavy as f**k.

The Moon Mistress are the best band in my opinion on this split, they just sound more interesting to me but that is not taking anything away from Snakerider either. They are one band that will appeal to bong-addicted sludge doom fans everywhere but don't expect anything unique. They simply follow the example created by their influences but at the same time, they do a kick-ass job of it, really heavy band. So, you can't go wrong here. If you are looking for something incredibly crushing from two newish bands, this is an essential split album to pick up. For fans of Electric Wizard, Bongzilla, Sleep and Sons Of Otis. ....8.5/10
Snakerider @ Myspace
The Moon Mistress @ Myspace
Pestis Insaniae Records

Lord Vicar Do The Splits With Funeral Circle & Griftegård ...



Two split 7" releases from Lord Vicar released in the last 3 months, one is better than the other but both very collectable. The first one is a split with Funeral Circle released on the Eyes Like Snow label. Lord Vicar's one and only track is a killer doom track titled 'The Fear of Being Crushed' and if you have already heard Lord Vicar, there is no big surprises, just more classic doom-metal played the way it should be played. Funeral Circle's has two tracks, the first is 'The Hexenhammer' which is perhaps the best song I have ever heard from the band, you got to hear this. The other track is a cover of Witchfinder General's 'Burning A Sinner' and it is a decent version, not really great but they give the original a fair run for its money. Overall, this is essential if you are fan of both these bands, a great Lord Vicar tune, a Funeral Circle monster in 'The Hexenhammer' and a good Witchfinder General cover. It is a must have situation...........9/10



The other Lord Vicar split released in January on Van Records is with the awesome Griftegård. This one is not so great mainly due to the choice of tune from Lord Vicar. It is a cover of 'Do You Believe?' which is a song originally written and performed by pop band, The Cardigans. I had to hunt around the Internet to find the original version of this song but I wish I hadn't, it is pretty awful in my opinion. Nevertheless, Lord Vicar doom the song up and make it listenable but out of all the cover versions you could choose, why this one? The Griftegård song on side B is called 'A Deathbed for All Holy' which is a throwaway tune by Griftegård standards. I love this band but this song is not up to their usual standard and sounds a little like a filler track dropped from their last album. I wouldn't kill yourself over this 7" unless you are a fanatic of these two bands but it is decent enough......6/10

Lord Vicar Official MySpace
Griftgård @ Myspace
Funeral Circle @ MySpace

Mar 27, 2011

Wooden Stake - Dungeon Prayers & Tombyard Serenades ...

Wooden Stake continue their reign as the best newcomer in the occult, true doom scene with their full length masterpiece, 'Dungeon Prayers & Tombyard Serenades.' Since September of 2010, Wooden Stake have been incredibly prolific with releases starting with the 'Vampire Plague Exorcism' EP, the 'Invoke the Ageless Witch' 7", the split with Blizaro, another split, this time with 'Druid Lord' and a another great 7" titled 'Black Caped Carnivore.' There is over a full length album's worth of material right there if you can find them all-seeing as most of their releases so far have been in limited quantities but finally a label has come to this little Halloween party to release a full length album from them and how fitting it is that none other than 'Razorback Records' who have done the dirty deed. When I first heard Wooden Stake I was aware they were something very special and they would climb the underground doom-metal ladder very quickly and that is exactly what has happened through a lot of media coverage and that string of killer, almost flawless recordings.

This two-piece horror/doom true-metal act consists of the haunting vocal incantations of Vanessa Nocera and the mesmerizing and heavy, hypnotic guitar and drum work of Wayne Sarantopoulos. The band is incredibly atmospheric and have managed to carve out their own unique style that blends everything from Black Sabbath to Obituary to Hellhammer to Jex Thoth to Electric Wizard - you could say that have all the bases well and truly covered. Vanessa Nocera is the witchy woman on vocals and bass and her captivating vocal lines and melodies is just one element that makes Wooden Stake such an engaging band to listen to. The other outstanding ingredient is the creepy atmosphere they inject into every song, they have a unique feel for the music that few bands have ever come close to obtaining. The album opens with 'Cadaverum Caecorum Liber,' which is a tribute to the Blind Dead movies, from ’70s Spain. The spoken word vocal approach pushes you into a surreal state of melancholy which doesn't last long as it is soon destroyed by some earth-shattering, old-school riffage and hypnotic gloomy atmosphere.

Vocals move from the ethereal to the totally demonic while musically, Wooden Stake keep you guessing with genre-bending arrangements. One minute is traditional doom, then it gets psychedelic, then black-metal and then it might go totally early 70's occult-retro a la Black Widow or Coven. They even break out into N.W.O.B.H.M passages just to throw you a curve ball here and there but essentially, this is old-school doom-metal, mysterious and spiritual. 'Salem, 1692' continues the melodic gloom in such a way it makes Blood Ceremony and Jex Thoth sound positively friendly. 'Tortured into Eternal Repose' and 'Die Rache der Hexen' are more, blood curdling tales of witchcraft that sound like they are coming from Edgar Allen Poe himself. The music is basic but that only makes this even more chilling and spooky. The production on the album is also primitive but the raw, hollow sound seems to suit the band perfectly.

'Six Feet of Earth... And All that it Contains' keeps the lo-fi, demonic doom going and the instrumental 'Cemetery Closes at Sundown' is the perfect chill-fest interlude that leads into another highlight, 'Skullcoven.' Vanessa Nocera's constant vocal variations and personas continue to mesmerize but it also the Sabbathian riffing that is also completely enchanting, this duo seem to be locked into a formula that is all theirs while keeping their influences firmly intact. The sleaze factor comes into play often much like what Electric Wizard did on their last record, it is sexy, filthy doom-metal made for incense-filled rooms and late night seance sessions. 'Anguished Atonement' and 'Bleeding Coffin' close out the album just as heavy and spine tingling as it began but it may seem a bit repetitive by the end of it all depending on your personal tastes.

The overall feeling I get when I hear this band is one of pure enchantment and it seems like they have perfected their sound and style with 'Dungeon Prayers & Tombyard Serenades' but I also think they can do even better and this is just the beginning of a long, successful reign as one of the doom-metal giants of the underground. In conclusion, Wooden Stake are unique in many ways, they have a stunning original vocalist in Nocera and a truly gifted musician in Wayne Sarantopoulos but what is also mind-blowing is they cross over so many genres with their song-writing. It is doom, both old-school and modern, it is black-metal, traditional heavy metal and it is early 70's occult and psychedelic rock. It's supernatural, mysterious, mystical, majestic, superstitious, spiritual, spine-chilling and eerie and of course, very heavy and to top it all off, the artwork is great, gray and ghostly....Highly Recommended..........9.5/10
Wooden Stake @ Facebook
Wooden Stake @ MySpace
Razorback Recordings

Mar 26, 2011

Aldebaran - Buried Beneath Aeons ...

Aldebaran come from where else, Portland, Oregon. It seems that town has built up a sizable quota of these kind of doom bands and Aldebaran are one of the best at delivering really slow droning stoner/funeral stuff. This is the kind of music that causes you to lose bowel-control as its earthshaking, mind-frying music and they have taken it to new extremes with one 28 minute track on this release. 'Buried Beneath Aeons' has great artwork made by Dan Seagrave who has done artwork for Entombed, Benediction, Funebrarum, Pestilence, and Vader to name just a few and the production on this recording is also impressive. If you have any interest in this genre whatsoever, then this a band that you must check out especially if you a blend of Grief, Ahab, Evoken and Corrupted sounds enticing.

There is not a lot to be said about this really except it is comprehensive in its crushing and minimalist approach. The song creeps along with subtle variations to keep it interesting, the drumming is primal but pounding, the rest of the instrumentation is also stripped bare but wonderfully emotional and dramatic at the same time. Due to the overwhelming length of the piece, it is not as immediately satisfying as say the 'Dwellers in Twilight' full length album but it grows on you if you give it time. To make an extended track like this one, everything has to flow and the band do an incredible job at making this a hypnotic 28 minutes of doom work. The most noticeable factor about this Aldebaran release is they focus more on the atmospherics than they ever have before and this element is what makes this engrossing, up to the last monolithic note. If you are already a fan of the band, this is a no-brainer, you will need to pick up a copy as soon as you can. For everybody else, pick up this and the 'Dwellers in Twlight' full length and experience one of the best US bands in all their earth-shattering glory...9/10
Aldebaran @ MySpace.com
Parasitic Records

Mar 25, 2011

Graveyard - Hisingen Blues ...

Via Nuclear Blast

When Swedish doom/stoner outfit NORRSKEN split up in 2000 it gave birth to two new bands. While one remaining member founded WITCHCRAFT, the rest of the band went on to form something really rare, something obviously unique – an honest sonic feeling that is now known as GRAVEYARD. A group that stands for no boundaries, no limits at all. Playing all sorts of rockish music makes GRAVEYARD stand out from the crowd. Be it classic rock, blues, jazz, folk – you name it – the authentic quintet makes it sound real at any time. With wide influences spreading throughout different genres, GRAVEYARD always stay top notch in what they do – giving the listener a broadened spectrum of emotions, moods & feelings. BLACK SABBATH meets ROLLING STONES meets LED ZEPPELIN meets JANIS JOPLIN … the list could go on longer and longer… While other bands just count on their neo satanic attitude or revived old school imagery, GRAVEYARD deliver it all along with stunning tunes that take you on a journey to a long lost decade of true musicianship.

“Hisingen Blues” was produced, recorded and mixed in a raw, authentic yet strong and clear way by Don Alsterberg (JOSÉ GONZALES, JUNIP, SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES, THE INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY) in Don Pierre Studios / Gothenburg, where the band together with Don has managed to create a totally analogue recorded and mixed production that skillfully combines a 70’s vibe with a more powerful modern sound.

Besides their amazing, catching music, over the years GRAVEYARD have also scored with overwhelmingly great visuals (covers, merchandise, band pics) all over which makes a just perfectly harmonizing package.
In late 2010 GRAVEYARD drew the attention of Nuclear Blast Records who immediately signed the promising band on the spot.

Teaming up for the release of their second album “Hisingen Blues”, the world can expect nothing less than a true masterpiece of rock music and a band and label showing what they’ve got up their sleeves!

Commented head of A&R Andy Siry: “We are honored to be working with GRAVEYARD from now on! These guys are the most unique and amazing band the so called retro rock scene has to offer although GRAVEYARD are MUCH more than this. Keep your caps peeled – GRAVEYARD is upon us – 2011 will be the year of the ‘YARD!”

Commented the band: “It feels great to work with such experienced and dedicated people as the Nuclear Blast crew. Awesome!! It’s a label that's founded by old school tape traders that obviously are good at what they do, since NB is one of the few big independent labels that manages not only to survive, but to expand in today's difficult music climate. Peace, love & chemical warfare!” - GRAVEYARD

“Hisingen Blues” was produced, recorded and mixed in a raw, authentic yet strong and clear way by Don Alsterberg (JOSÉ GONZALES, JUNIP, SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES, THE INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY) in Don Pierre Studios / Gothenburg, where the band together with Don has managed to create a totally analogue recorded and mixed production that skillfully combines a 70’s vibe with a more powerful modern sound.

Besides their amazing, catching music, over the years GRAVEYARD have also scored with overwhelmingly great visuals (covers, merchandise, band pics) all over which makes a just perfectly harmonizing package.
In late 2010 GRAVEYARD drew the attention of Nuclear Blast Records who immediately signed the promising band on the spot.

Teaming up for the release of their second album “Hisingen Blues”, the world can expect nothing less than a true masterpiece of rock music and a band and label showing what they’ve got up their sleeves!

Commented head of A&R Andy Siry: “We are honored to be working with GRAVEYARD from now on! These guys are the most unique and amazing band the so called retro rock scene has to offer although GRAVEYARD are MUCH more than this. Keep your caps peeled – GRAVEYARD is upon us – 2011 will be the year of the ‘YARD!”

Commented the band: “It feels great to work with such experienced and dedicated people as the Nuclear Blast crew. Awesome!! It’s a label that's founded by old school tape traders that obviously are good at what they do, since NB is one of the few big independent labels that manages not only to survive, but to expand in today's difficult music climate. Peace, love & chemical warfare!” - GRAVEYARD

THE DOOMMANTIA REVIEW .....

If you are like me and are what most people think of as a boring old fart, you grew up in the 1970's with the sounds of classic hard rock, blues rock, psychedelic and progressive rock. Metal didn't really even come into being till the trail end of the 70's and that was mainly brought on by the 'New Wave Of Heavy Metal' coming out of the UK at the time. Even Sabbath wasn't metal till some one gave them that tag in the later part of that decade. Move forward some 30 plus years and the 70's sounds still survive, sadly not in the mainstream music world anymore, that scene is the property of corporate rock, computerized and manufactured pop, hip-hop, rap robots. Then you get the woeful production on modern records, everything is so horribly compressed, it sounds like crap. Here is a good article on compression - Npr.Org

One of the reasons why the 70's sound has and will never die is people will always want to hear 'natural' sounding rock bands without the gimmicks of modern recording techniques and without the bullshit, manufactured image and marketing. This return to the 70's style has been going on for years but it really never went away, it's always been there, it just got pushed into the background for a long time, that's all. These days bands like Ghost, Blood Ceremony, Noctum, Witchcraft, and Orchid still wave the 70's rock flag high and proud and Graveyard are no exception except for one thing. Graveyard avoid the occult rock angle that so many of these bands are obsessed with, they also don't follow the typicalBlack Sabbath blueprint either. Graveyard are more blues-based and to me at least, sound less clichéd and sound more natural. Blues has its fair share of clichés too and Graveyard do indulge in a quite a few of them but they come off sounding honest and sincere.

Graveyard have a powerful presence that is just like most of the 70's rock gods, that supergroup element that makes them sound larger than life in some ways. It is a quality of songwriting and performance that you either have or you don't, you can't acquire it, it has to come naturally. 'Hisingen Blues' is 'organic' and I hate to use that term but there is no other way to describe it. They are not original but if you are going to take this approach to making music, you are going to sound like someone else. In the case of Graveyard there is hints of Zeppelin, Steppenwolf, Deep Purple, Hendrix, Cream and yes even just a touch of Sabbath in there too. The album gets off to a flying start with 'Ain’t Fit To Live Here' which is a mid-tempo shuffle that reeks of bluesy magic. Vocalist Joakim Nillson has the classic rock voice down to a fine art, drummer Axel Sjöberg is on fire behind the kit and there is a loose but solid kind of energy going on within the players.

'No Good, Mr. Holden' slows things down a bit with a kind of Hendrix inspired blues, the solos in this track are extra juicy examples of how to make the guitar speak to the listener, rather than just going through the typical motions. The title track, 'Hisingen Blues' has melody lines to die for and is a track that is instantly glued into your brain and it will never leave, it is predictable but also incredibly infectious. I wont give anything away but you will be singing the lyrics to this one for a long time to come also. 'Uncomfortably Numb' is the longest track on 'Hisingen Blues' and has an atmosphere about it that says early 70's vinyl, you can easily forget it is a CD you are spinning while listening to this track. This sounds like a dusty old rock relic from 1972 especially in the solo sections. 'Buying Truth (tack och förlåt)' is perhaps the only time on the album where they lose some momentum, while the guitar work is great, there is a lack of spark in the tune for me.

'Longing' is an instrumental led by electric and acoustic guitars before organ takes the lead. The atmosphere is again, pure 1970's and that organ plays a major role in capturing that vibe. In the next song, 'Ungrateful Are The Dead,' it is a return to the mood that was on the earlier 'No Good, Mr. Holden.' The two songs are very similar to my ears but they are not recycling themselves at all, it is more of a case of sticking to what they are good at, bluesy rock, so two songs out of nine having a similar feel is not a bad thing especially when it sounds this good. Next up is 'RSS' and it is heads down, no bull boogie rock with lots of energy and groove. Yes, it is basic, predictable stuff but it is so cool and great to listen to while washing down a beer or two. The album ends on something different again, the much more mellow and contemplative, 'The Siren. It is a bit of a lack-luster way to round out the album in my book, this track would feel better if it was in the middle of the running order but still, I can't really complain too much.

A few things stand out about this album that make it a cut above most other bands riding the 70's retro-rock wave. The guitar work and drumming is flawless, the vocal performance is one of the best and most charismatic you will ever hear and the lyrical themes are majestic and entertaining. Songs about Lucifer, demons and giving into various temptations always works for me. The production is perfect, it sounds analog but I don't know that for sure as I haven't research it but it has just the right balance of everything. It is also a grower of a recording, if you dig it on the first spin, by spin number 10 you will be addicted to it. It's not perfect but it is a step-up from their self-titled release and will surely push them to a whole new level of acceptance from the flared trouser wearing, hippie-rockers out there. I say buy it now......8/10.
Graveyard @ Facebook
Nuclear Blast

PS: You know this is out on Nuclear Blast right? Strange but so fricken wonderful !!!

Mar 24, 2011

Last Days Here (The Story of Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling) ...

Expect a review within the next week or two but in the meantime here is a sneak preview from the movie. All I will say right now is I knew Bobby had drug issues but I never knew he got this f**ked up. The movie is more heartbreaking than anything else and some people will be in for a shock watching some of the scenes.


Consummatum Est - Hypnagogia ...

Italian's Consummatum Est have delivered one of the surprises of the year in the funeral doom genre with this album titled 'Hypnagogia.' Listening to this last night made me think that sometimes, simple really is better and I think that is case when it comes to the funeral doom genre. It gives room for the music to breathe atmosphere and makes for a more mesmerizing listening experience. What Consummatum Est do is take fairly simple yet effective guitar work and inject into slighty complex arrangements and the result is totally engaging for the most part. The band is really just two people, Vastitas - Keyboards and Moerke - Guitar, Vocals but they enlist the help of guest musicians to fill in the blanks and thankfully, no drum machines here, they have a real human behind the kit and that in itself is unique with two-member bands. One of those guest spots is filled by Esoteric’s Greg Chandler who supply's some extra vocals. Consummatum est  is Latin for "It is completed", the last words of Jesus on the cross in the Latin translation of John 19:30. The band was formed in 2003. They released a very good debut in 2005 called 'Funeral Procession' but haven't done much since but maybe that is why this album is so good as it sounds like some real care has gone into the writing and production for this album.

The band is best compared with Colosseum and especially Shape of Despair but there is more to the band than just copying the typical funeral, gothic doom style. While this band could never be called original, they do have a certain unique element going for them. It might their symphonic sound that does it, the use of strings, organ and synths sounds huge and kind of orchestrated and there is some excellent female backing vocals that makes some of this very hypnotic. There is only 4 songs on 'Hypnagogia' that stretch out past the 50 minute mark, songs range from 11 to 15 minutes but each track flows beautifully. There is a variation of vocal styles that stop this from being the usual sound of blackened growls and nothing else but they are also very predictable at times - this is really though only one of two weak point's in the band and this recording. The most interesting track is the self-named 'Consummatum Est,' this track has Esoteric’s Greg Chandler on vocals along with 3 other vocalists as far as I can tell. The intense male vocals on the track is complemented by the female singing and while musically this is a heavy, dark piece, it is the vocals that keep your attention. Musically it is what you expect from a funeral doom act, downtuned heavily distorted guitars, piano-driven passages and a depressive atmosphere.

The real magic of the album is in the arrangements and the ethereal female vocals, there is moments of true brilliance on this album like when the crushing heaviness falls away to piano and keyboards backed up by female chants, totally mesmerizing stuff. Lyrically, it is a bit strange at times -

In orgy of dolls and ravens parades over the sea'
All is phosphoric and full of flies'
The stench of dead flesh was too strong,
Can you count all the teeth and tongues on the ground? ( Dolls and Ravens )
Or
The choir of the dead,
Recites its three rosaries,
The crown is like a noose,
The seventh grain is a vertebra,
Worms swarm in twisted tongues,
Blood from the ears and tears in the hands,
Sperm in heaven for crawling angels,
Sperm in heaven for thirsty virgins,
Amen. ( Vertebra )

The album does however head in the wrong direction at times, moving into goth-doom clichés and spoiling the atmosphere. In 'Hypnagogic Prospectus' which is a great track till the mood is shattered by a cheesy, romantic passage that is typical of a lot of goth bands. Even something like baroque music is used in one section of 'Vertebra' and again the mesmerizing vibe is destroyed, not only do these sections changed the atmosphere but they sound totally out-of-place. Despite a couple of horrible missteps, 'Hypnagogia' is still a great album. It is not going to change the world or make you think of funeral doom in a different way but this is one classy album....8.5/10
Consummatum Est @ Facebook
Consummatum Est @ MySpace

Mar 23, 2011

Ramesses Set To Release Chrome Pineal May 16th ...

Via: Ritual Productions

Ritual Productions will be releasing our first LP on May 16th 2011!! Chrome Pineal is a mind expanding alchemic experiment that towers majestically amongst Ramesses’ catalogue. This is the missing link in the band’s evolution into Possessed by The Rise of Magik, the second full length Ramesses release this year!  The 12” features three brand new studio recordings and three live tracks, recorded in 2007, Denmark as well as brilliant artwork by the French surrealist Clovis Trouille.
Tracklisting: 1. Chrome Pineal, 2.Blazoned Fauna, 3. Men of Horror, 4. The Tomb (live), 5. Before the Jackals (live), 6. Black Domina (live) .

One Black, Electric Funeral (Interview with Orchid) ...

Orchid have released what many consider to the be the best album unleashed on the world so far this year. That album titled 'Capricorn' is a monster album that I gave a 10+/10 rating in my review and that is a first for your truly. Dr Doom Metal put together this interview with guitarist Mark Thomas Baker.


Bio
.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..ROCKING HARD with our dark, psych-sonic blues assault ...tearing down the centuries old corruption and tyranny that is organized religion...telling the truth to the sleeping brothers and sisters of this once great nation...undermining the super wealthy and powers that be who have taken hold of this land!.. ..we are ..ORCHID......sons of the new dawn...the thorn in the heel of hypocrisy...the seeds of cancer in the bloated bellies of the rich...we are YOUR children... YOUR scion who have come back to cut your throat from ear to ear and take the throne. Hide your blonde, fair-eyed daughters...let them cower with your sons...hide your precious live stock for we shall slaughter them all and spit their blood at your tall white gates!! this day is ours...the hour of ..ORCHID.. IS UPON YOU!.. .. To contact us: ..orchidrock@gmail.com.. .............. .. .. ..


Dr.D: Hey Mark! Thanks for this interview! I know very little about the history of Orchid. So let’s begin this interview by providing the details.
M.: Sometime in 2006, Theo approached me wanting to put together a band that wrote and played music in the mold of late 60’s/early 70’s hard rock & heavy metal. The bands mentioned were Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Blue Cheer, Pentagram, as well as some psyche stuff like early Pink Floyd and Hawkwind. We started playing late that year with different people and by around October of 2007 we had the lineup we have today. I think how the band is today is pretty much exactly how it was envisioned.

Dr.D: I know that most members were in other bands before Orchid. Were you always experimenting with the 70’s sound as musicians?
M.: Yes and no, but not really like we’re doing it today. We just play how we play with the understanding that some things don’t work with the style of music we’re doing. We know by now what’s going to work in a song and what’s not.

Dr.D: Perhaps the key characteristic of both “Through the Devil’s Doorway” and “Capricorn” is the 70’s vibe. With more bands adopting this style every day were you afraid that you might be labeled as “yet another 70’s occult” type of band?
M.: I’m not sure that any of us ever gave a thought or care to how we would be labeled. We just wanted to make music that we would like to listen to. None of us ever realized that there was a genre called Doom that we were going to fit into. I think getting labeled as a ‘70’s occult band’ is pretty much exactly what we’re going for, so I don’t see how it could bother us.
Dr.D: What you find so special in the 70’s music anyway?
M.: Well for me personally it was the most creative and best sounding period of rock music. The equipment sounded great and people were artists about their craft. I listen to Rush – Fly By Night or Caress of Steel at some point almost every week and am still amazed by the songwriting/playing/production. And really it’s not even just heavy music side of that era that is great. I can be listening to the radio and Steve Miller Band will come on and I’ll marvel at the production and tones and the way the vocals work together. Things were just quite simply done well back then.

Dr.D: How hard was is to capture the feeling of a musical movement of 40 years ago? I mean nowadays the equipment is different the production is done with different methods and lately with all those mp3’s the audience seems to have changed the way they listen to music.
M.: I’m not sure it’s easy to answer that. We worked hard at having it come out the way it did. Everyone involved has to be going the same direction. But really, this is just how we sound playing these songs. It’s not like we’re role playing or something. We put our souls into it and craft it over many hours and a lot of thought.

Dr.D.: It feels almost like a sin that you guys haven’t released “Capricorn” on vinyl. Are there any plans for a vinyl version of the album?
M.: Yes, there is supposed to be vinyl of both Capricorn and the EP sometime this year.

Dr.D.: There are many contemporary bands that share your enthusiasm for the 70’s scene, like Witchcraft, Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony, Lord Vicar. Have you heard something recently that made an impression on you?
M.: My personal listening tastes are not so much in the Doom genre. I think Graveyard is good. I like some Dead Meadow songs. I like some of Black Mountain. Most of the time I find myself listening to the same old stuff I’ve always loved, UFO, Rush, Deep Purple, Sabbath, etc.

Dr.D.: You know there are hundreds of comments about the similarity of Orchid with Black Sabbath. Are you bothered by the comparison or you find it flattering in a way?
M.: I guess it’s the easiest thing to grab onto about our sound. Obviously, I think there’s much more to our sound than that. I mean, yeah, it’s supposed to sound like Black Sabbath. It’s supposed to sound like songs that would have been made in that era. But, if that’s the only thing you get out of it, you’re missing the point. I don’t really play solos anything like Tony Iommi. Nickel doesn’t play anything like Geezer, Carter certainly doesn’t play anything like Bill Ward. Theo doesn’t sound like Ozzy. He sings similar melodies, but the voice is very different. There are some similar riffs, but there’s more to it than that underneath the surface. At this point it’s so hyped in that regard that people tell me, “hey I finally heard your stuff, I expected it to sound more like Sabbath than it did”…

Dr.D.: I read somewhere a comment “…early Sabbath, the best Sabbath, didn’t last enough time…” I was wondering do you feeling the same way?
M.: Yeah, definitely. I do like the Born Again album though. Besides that and the first two Dio era albums, I’ve never even heard any of the other stuff that came later.

Dr.D.: Now that the album is finished and you are in a more “relaxed” state (I assume) is there something you would change on “Capricorn”?
M.: Not really, it took forever to make it. I’m happy with the way it came out. We really grew up as a band and figured out how to play together during the making of it. I have amazingly great memories of all the long nights of tracking guitars and all that.
Dr.D.: One of the strongest aspects of the record is Theo Mindell’s work on the vocals. I couldn’t help noticing that at some parts his style is close to Blackie Lawless or other singers that wouldn’t fit on a doom/stoner band. What are Theo’s influences really?
M.: But Blackie Lawless doesn’t sound anything like Ozzy! haha. He always says Steve Marriot is a main influence for him as well as Ozzy and John Lennon. We’re really just a Rock n Roll band underneath the witchy sound and occult artwork. I think Sabbath was the same way. I bet they told people they played Rock n Roll music if anyone asked them.

Dr.D.: Would you see Orchid experimenting with other styles sometime in the future? Let’s say less typical doom/stoner stuff?
M.: I really don’t know. People who have heard the songs that are going on the next record have said they sound a bit more aggressive and direct. We’ll have to see what happens. I don’t have the master plan.

Dr.D.: You are signed to the European label The Church Within Records. With bands such as Seamount and Lord Vicar on their artillery I think you are in the right place. How did that collaboration started? Should we expect a European tour any time soon?
M.: Oli wrote me one day and liked what we were doing and it grew from there. It’s a great home for us. He understands what we are doing and is very supportive in letting us create our art. We’d love to find a way for his releases to get better distribution in the US. We are scheduled to do 2 weeks in Europe with Seamount the second half of October. We’re booked for Hammer of Doom VI on October 29th.
Dr.D.: So Mark thanks again for this interview! If you would like to reveal some of the plans of the band for the future, or say a couple of words before we close…
M.: It’s great to see some people like what we’re doing. Hopefully it can keep growing and more people can get the chance to check it out. The next album is already written and getting worked out as we speak.
Interview By Dr Doom Metal ( Dr.Dooms Lair )
Orchid @ Myspace
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