Monday, August 21, 2017

Astaroth Incarnate Interview

1. For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
- Astaroth Incarnate, literal meaning being Astaroth in the flesh. We are a Blackend/Extreme Metal band formed in October 2013 in Toronto. We consist of 5 members – Astaroth (Sam) (vocals/lyrics), Pablo (guitars), Ric (guitars), Sergio (bass), Emile (drums) and our vision is to bestow the ideologies of Astaroth to our hell spawns through our interpretations and relating them to our world and society of today. Our goal is to create extreme metal which feels limitless in its creative form while staying true to our roots and influences in metal.

2. So far you have released a demo and an ep, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings?
- For our demo, we didn’t have real drums and basically did the whole thing ourselves and the result was satisfactory for the time being. When our current lineup came together, we felt a lot more confident in our material and felt that we should release the album professionally so we first demoed the whole album. Following that, we entered the studio to record all the instruments by each respective member and we couldn’t be happier with the result. Our sound for this album was focused on a delivering a blackend death metal style with clear production while the overall feeling still remaining natural and not too overproduced.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
- All of our lyrics are built around personal exploration for each spawn to experience in their own way. There is fear, knowledge, punishment, strengthening, torture, judgement, enlightenment and many other subjects which we portray in our material.

4. I know that the band was named after a goetic demon, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in Occultism or Demonology?
- Our front man Astaroth (Sam) from researching and reading up on demonology feels strongly connected with the demon Astaroth and in many ways connects with a lot of the ideologies that surrounds his myth. Sam believes that through invoking the spirit of Astaroth within, we are able to connect to our spawns and talk about various aspects of life as we know it and further more into the unknown and beyond.

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how wold you describe your stage performance?
- We have had the pleasure of opening for Beyond Creation, Shining (Sweden), Origin and Goatwhore. There are lots of other shows that we have also played which have been memorable experiences. As for our stage performance, we try to deliver live what you hear on the record. We want to sound natural and at the same time use some backup vocals and occasional playback intros/interludes to bring all the layering done in the album to our live audiences. We also focus on our visual aspect and focus on giving our audience a theatrical performance on top of playing our material.

6. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
- We have setup a few shows already and are in the process of locking in some more shows from September and onwards inside Canada, notably our upcoming show opening for Aura Noir. We would also love to play abroad if given the opportunity.

7. The new ep is coming out on 'CDN Records', are you happy with the support the label has given you so far?
- We are quite happy. None of us have dealt with any records labels before and so far the support we have been receiving and continue to receive can only push us to work harder and strive to go further in our career as a band.

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of extreme metal?
- So far we are overwhelmed by the features we are getting from all over the world. No one has really said anything bad but the full album hasn’t come out yet. We have only released a single so far and the reviews on that has been generally great. We have had a couple album reviews as well and those have been great as well. When the album does come out, we would love to hear what everyone has to say. We appreciate both negative and positive reviews as they allow us to analyse how our music is being received and what we could do to further ourselves.

9. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
- We have talked about incorporating some orchestration and obscure clean vocals to evolve our song writing which are hinted in this upcoming album. We plan on experimenting further for our full length to create an even more unique experience for our audience.

10. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
- We have quite a lot of bands that we are influenced by from both metal to non-metal genres. If you were to ask of our biggest influences in writing the music for Astaroth Incarnate, the following 6 bands would suffice. Belphegor, Dying Fetus, Behemoth, Gojira, Death and Mayhem. As for new material coming out this year so far we like new releases by Carach Angren, Dying Fetus, Ex Deo, Goatwhore, Hate, Kreator, Iced Earth, Immolation, Marty Friedman, Obituary, Suffocation, Wintersun etc. There are many other great releases coming out as well which we are looking forward to.

11. What are some of your non-musical interests?
- We have quite a few. Playing video games, watching anime or tv shows/movies, cosplaying, reading books, road trips, playing sports etc.

12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
- We, Astaroth Incarnate, would like everyone that listens to the album to look at it with an open mind. Read the lyrics, enjoy the music and make of it however that satisfies you. Also, be on the lookout for our full length album which we will be working on next to bring you spawns in the near future.

From North Interview

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

From North are a new Viking Metal band from Sweden. We incorporate medieval instruments into the music. All of the members have a long history from other bands as: Stormhold, Anata, Bleed for me, Irrbloss, Sinisty, Zero Illusions, Years of falling etc etc.

2. You have an album coming out in September, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?

We would describe our music as melodic, big, heavy and dynamic backed by well-made backtracks.

3. Your lyrics deal with Norse Paganism and Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?

Everyone in the band has an interest in the Norse history and mythology. We grow up with this stuff, it is a part of who we are. This also goes for Andreas, our sixth member who writes the lyrics.

4. What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'From North'?

From North is where we come from. We grow up in this part of the world, so what better name to take...

5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Our next show will be our best show! Ask us again in a year..

6. Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?

We have our release gig for the upcoming album on the 20th October @Sticky Fingers in Gothenburg. After that we aim for upcoming festivals and more club gigs.

7.The album is going to be released on 'Downfall Records', are you happy with the support that they have given yo so far?

We are definitely happy with Mike and Downfall. He has done a good work so far and looking forward to further collaboration.

8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of folk and viking metal?

We are surprised and really happy with all the great feedback so far! It makes you proud seeing fans using the From North logo and commenting on and supporting the music. We get a lot of curiosity on the rest of the album; and if you like the first song “From North” you will not be disappointed in the rest!

9. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We are really happy with our concept! Mixing different styles of metal and medival instruments into the signature From North sound! Next album is already in the making…

10. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Hard to say because of the broad range of our musical taste. We are all metal heads first and foremost but we have influences from many times, places and styles.

11. What are some of your non musical interests?

Some stuff we like: Growing beard, drinking mead, riding motorcycles, sword fighting, drinking Minttu mixed with J├Ągermeister = the from North shot (Drink at own risk), and enjoying our beautiful nature; fishing, hiking and camping.

12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Keep supporting metal in general and From North in particular! Rock on and see you at a stage near you soon!


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Astaroth Incarnate/Omnipotence - The Infinite Darkness/CDN Records/2017 EP Review


  Astaroth  Incarnate  are  a  band  from  Toronto,  Ontario,  Canada  that  plays  a  very melodic  form  of  blackened  death  metal  along  with  some  elements  of  thrash,  groove  and  doom  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  ep  "Omnipotence  -  The  Infinite  Darkness"  which  will  be  released  in  September  by  CDN  Records.

  An  almost  silent  soundscape  starts  off  the  ep  along  with  some  spoken  word  parts  a  few  seconds  later  and  after  awhile  powerful  sounding  bass  guitars  and  drum  beats  are  added  onto  the  recording  along  with  some  melodic  guitar  leads  and  when  the  music  speeds  up  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  can  be  heard.

  A  lot  of  melodies  can  be  heard  in  the  guitar  riffing  while  the  riffs  also  mix  in  a  great  amount  of  thrash,  groove  and  doom  metal  elements  along  with  the  vocals  being  a  mixture  of  black  metal  screams  and  death  metal  growls  and  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  as  well  as  most  of  the  tracks  being  very  long  and  epic  in  length  and  at  times  the  music  gets  very  brutal and  acoustic  guitars  are  also  used  briefly

  Astarath  Incarnate  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  melodic  black  and  brutal  death  metal  and  mixes  it  with  some  elements  of  thrash,  groove  and  doom  metal  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  fear,  knowledge,  punishment,  strengthening,  torture,  judgement,  enlightenment  and  occultism  themes.

   In  my  opinion  Astaroth  Incarnate  a  very  great  sounding  melodic  blackened  death  metal  band  with  elements  of  thrash,  groove  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Curse  Of  The  Black  Plague"  and  "Re-Creation".  8  out  of  10.    

In Twilight's Embrace/Vanitas/Arachnophobia Records/2017 CD Review


  Poland's  In  Twilight's  Embrace  have  returned  with  a  new  recording  that  continues  their  melodic  approach  to  blackened  death  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017 album  "Vanitas"  which  will  be  released  in  September  by  Arachnophobia  Records.

  A  very  fast  sound  along  with  a  great  amount  of  blast  beats  and  tremolo  picking  start  off  the  album  while  also  introducing  melodic  guitar  solos  and  leads  onto  the  recording  and  the riffs  also  use  a  great  amount  of  melody  as  well  as  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Vocals  bring  in  a  mixture  of  death  metal  growls  and  grim  black  metal  screams  while  the  songs  also  bring  in  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  the  music  also  adding  in  a  decent  amount  of  90's  Swedish  influences  and  as  the  album progresses  clean  playing  can  also  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  there  is  also  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  parts.

  In  Twilight's  Embrace  create  an  album  that  goes  into  even  more  of  a  melodic  blackened  death  metal  style  than  their  previous releases,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  disillusion,  doubt,  negativity,  solitude  and  darkness  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  In  Twilight's  Embrace  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  melodic  blackened  death  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Fan  The  Flame"  "Futility"  and  "The  Great  Leveller".  8  out  of  10.  

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Uhtcearu Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
We are a Wisconsin based metal band trying to combine meaningful lyrics with music that still has the aggressiveness of extreme metal.

2.So far you have released 2 albums, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings?
We have had the pleasure of recording with Shane Hochstetler at Howl Street Recordings in Milwaukee for both of our albums. He has helped us achieve our goal of creating a raw, yet defined sound. Musically, we are fans of many metal genres and wanted to create a sound that is not limited to the confines of one genre.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Our lyrical themes revolve around personal and societal unease with a hint of supernatural pondering.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Uhtcearu'?
Uhtcearu (oot-key-are-oo) is an Anglo-Saxon word that translates to pre-dawn anxiety or nighttime sorrow.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Well we are currently driving through Ontario to our first date on the Rite of Passage Tour, so are expecting these will be some of the best shows we have played as a band so far. As a three piece, it is important for each member to bring energy to the stage.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Yes, we are in the midst of our first official tour which includes 3 Canadian dates, and 7 throughout the U.S.

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
Right now we are more focused on developing our sound and gaining experience as a band, but are what open to whatever lies ahead.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of melodic black metal?
The reception has been great so far, especially with the release of our new album. People seem to react to our music as a breath of fresh air in the scene.

9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
Noel, our drummer was just in Europe with Painted Caves, a Milwaukee based Middle-Eastern infused psych-rock band. He also plays in Population Control, which is a thrash band from Milwaukee.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
In the future, we will continue to refine our sound and will not limit ourselves to the patterns set by our previous releases.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Though we are all avid and dedicated metal heads, our music tastes range from jazz-fusion, pop, blues, hip-hop and Polish folk music.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
Dustin, our guitar player is a history PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota. Zach, our bass player is a craft beer connoisseur. Noel, our drummer jogs occasionally.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you to everyone who has listened to and supported our albums. We greatly appreciate the growing fan base we are cultivating. Cheers! 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Syn Ze Sase Tri Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?

-First of all hello and thanks for your interest in Syn Ze Sase Tri. Since we finished the recordings, a lot of things kept us busy. The mixing process which was quite hard since we live in Romania and the mixing was done in Italy, same thing with the artworks, and besides these we had to make a lot of rehearsals to be prepared to go live, many preparations for the stage props that we use in our live shows, interviews, photo sessions, plans, preparations and all the duties that need to be done to offer to the public a 100% experience. Basically as any professional band we must make everything to meet the highest expectations.


2.In September you have a new album coming out , how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

-The way i see it, is a step forward, more mature and closer to what we had in mind from the beginning of our journey 10 years ago. I cannot say that it is the same or different from what was before only as the sound quality, which is at a much higher level. But musically, we just followed our normal and natural path. And the result is what you can hear on this album. It is our biggest accomplishment so far as a band, and we are proud of it.


3.According to the facebook page you refer to your music as 'bloodstained black metal', can you tell us a little bit more about this term?

-Yes of course. We decided to call our genre 'bloodstained metal', not black metal, because our music incorporates elements from many metal and rock genres, so it will be improper or unfair to mark it as black metal or any other strict therm. Bloodstained because of the story we tell through our music, which is based on the bloody history of our Romanian ancestors. So, it's metal, but bloodstained.


4.Your lyrics cover Ancient Dacian Legends and Romanian Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in these topics?
-From my point of view each of us, no matter the religion or race or nationality, we all must respect and remember our roots, the things that were the base of what we are today. It is sad to see that today's life is taking a turn or better said is aiming to a globalisation, and in this way the identity is left aside. It is not about nationalism or other form of social movement, it is just to remember and never forget what is our identity. Sadly the young generation is very detached from history, and we try through our music and efforts to open their interest and to make them to read and make a little research about their origins, which is not a bad thing. They can choose to be whatever they want, but they must never forget who they are.


5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Syn Ze Sase Tri'?
-The name is inspired by a pre-Christian prayer dedicated to a deity, prayer carved on a gravestone which was discovered by archaeologists here in Romania, which translated would mean “I’m with triple six”.  This number, 666, being away from the occult meaning, in many cases in the pre-Christian mythology being assigned as the limit between the world of gods and men, a sacred number. The prayer itself was incorporated into the song “Ruga” (The Prayer) a song that ends our first album. The prayer and its discovering were neither confirmed nor denied by the historical / archaeological facts, but have become the perfect starting point for the whole concept of the band.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
-The best shows so far for us were the ones in which we opened for the biggest names in metal, such as Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem, Dark Funeral or Carach Angren. Why? Because at that level of organisation and the importance of the events, we had our chance to prove in the same conditions and to the same public that we are close to their level, a fact that the public shared with us, and was somehow our certitude that we are doing the right thing.
 About our stage experience i like to think that is very dynamic and that it gives a strong feeling. Our songs are variate and each song gives a different feeling and vibe. The biggest surprise for me was when a few years ago in Germany at one fest, i saw a man in the front row of the public who was so touched by the emotions sent by our ending song "Inaripat Si Impietrit", that he was crying the hell out of him, and after the show he confessed that even if he did not understood a thing from our lyrics due to our Romanian language, he felt the song very strong. So i think that our show are very theatrical and cinematic due to all the stage props we use, but in the same time the music sends a very sharp feeling with a strong intensity.


7.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
-Of course. Since we finished the recordings we had a lot of gigs here in Romania, in which we started to promote the fact that in this year's fall we will release the 4'th chapter of our story, and in september we will have a european tour which will be the first leg of the promotional tour of the new album, tour that will be continued in the spring of and throughout the rest of the 2018.


8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of symphonic black metal?
-For us it was quite surprising. Not many times being compared to big names like Dimmu Borgir, Emperor or Cradle Of Filth. We received more and more good reviews with each album, and we receive a lot of good feedback from fans around the world. We hope that in the near future to be able to reach to all of them and to give them our bloodstained experience.

9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
-Two of my band mates, the drummer and the lead singer are playing in some other band like Malpraxis and An Theos, bands that are also very good and have their own identity and message. I cannot say much about their activity in those bands because i am focused on Syn Ze Sase Tri, but for sure i can recommend them to be listened.


10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
-Headlining the biggest metal festivals in the world! Haha. We will do our best to get at the highest level as possible, but in our band is quite difficult to predict the future because we have a lot of ideas and only time and the public will be able to take us where we must be. Of course being a bloodstained wolf pack, we are moving forward with no intentions to step aside. We will get you all under the sign of the wolf! Haha


11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
-Me as the composer and founder of the band, i was very moved by the conceptual music. The Wall of Pink Floyd, or the music of King Diamond, Avantasia or even better Scenes From A Memory of Dream Theater were my guiding point. I always wanted to make music which has a story. I like to listen to something that keeps me nailed to the music for the entire album, not just on some tracks. But of course other bands from extreme music such as Dimmu Borgir, Emperor or Cradle of Filth, had a big impact over me so from all those Syn Ze Sase Tri was born. I listen to anything that sends an emotion, that has something to say. Otherwise is a waste of energy and time.


12.What are some of your non musical interests?
-I love riding motorcycles, horse riding, carving, painting, working with leather and organic materials, nature, reading, anything that can give me a state of relaxation but in the same time to give me the opportunity to become much better as human. The good thing is that many of these things help me a lot with the band. So it combines the use with the pleasure.


13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
-Listen to our music and you will find out other great musicians who joined us on this album, buy our CD's, come to our gigs, and support our band. But don't forget to do this with all the bands. Without you, we cannot exist. Without us you have nothing to listen to. So try to support the metal scene as much as you can. Not just the big bands. Once they were like us.
 Follow us on our facebook page and visit our website www.synzesasetri.ro

 Rock on and get bloodstained! \m/

Friday, August 11, 2017

Usnea/Portals Into Futility/Relapse Records/2017 CD Review


  Usnea  are  a  band  from  Portland,  Oregon  that  has  been  featured  before  in  this  zine  and  plays  a  blackened  mixture  of  sludge  and  funeral  doom  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Portals  Into  Futility"  which  will  be  released  in  September  by  Relapse  Records.

  Dark  yet  melodic  riffing  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  clean  singing  vocals  and  chants  a  few  seconds  later  which  also  leads  to  more  of  a  heavier  funeral  doom  metal  direction  while  the  vocals  bring  in  aggressive  sludge  style  screams  and  death  metal  growls  are  also  used  at  times.

  All  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  while  the  solos  and  leads  are  done  in  a  very  dark  yet  melodic  fashion  along  with  some  black  metal  screams  also  being  utilized  at  times  and  clean  playing  is  also  added  into  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  the  music also  brings  in  a  great  amount  of  dissonant  structures  and  all  of  the  songs  stick  to  a  very  slow  musical  direction.

  Usnea  creates  another  recording  that  remains  true to  the  blackened  mixture  of  sludge  and  funeral  doom  metal  from  previous  releases,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  dystopian  and  science  fiction  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Usnea  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  black,  sludge  and  funeral  doom  metal, you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Lathe  Of  Heaven"  and  "A  Crown  Of  Desolation".  8  out  of  10.