Visions of the Night is a Military-Inspired Black/Death Metal band from Canada. I first interviewed them for Issue # 2 of the Trendcrusher zine in 2005. Last month, their third full length album ‘Guerrillas Within Their Midst’ was released by Butchered Records. I spoke to vocalist/guitarist Wolvesblood last week after they got back from a tour of Australia, Taiwan and Japan.
Hey Wolvesblood, how was the tour of Australia, Japan and Taiwan?
Fucking awesome! So many new fans and friends, met up with some old friends from the first Japan tour as well. Never been to Taiwan or Australia before so it was great to finally check them out too! Sold all the new cds we brought also. I need to do another run of the tour shirts because we sold out of all the main sizes and several people couldn’t get one due to that. I don’t even have one for myself, the only size left is ladies small!Most of the shows had great turn outs, and this might sound like B.S. but everyone I met was really cool to hang out with. Can’t say I ran into any bad egos in any of the 3 countries.
Your third full length album ‘Guerrillas Within Their Midst’ released by Butchered Records last month. Tell us a bit about it.
There’s 10 songs in total, but I’ll just talk about a few here. The title track ‘Guerrillas Within Their Midst’ is about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I put some sitars and Middle Eastern singing in it to make it really give the feel of such. The song is still primarily death metal, but I really wanted to do something I haven’t quite heard before in the genre. The next song, ‘War is our religion’ was inspired by a quote by General Douglas MacArthur when he described his WWII Japanese opponents at the time by saying (paraphrasing) “War is like a religion to them”. I wrote it from the perspective of a modern day person (of no specific country) who would think such. It turned out really thrashy for the most part, so I figured Rob Urbinati from Sacrifice would make a great fit for a guest vocal appearance in the song. He still sounds just like he did when I was a young thrasher! ‘Lost in the Red Snow’ is about a German soldier during WWII on the eastern front, whose platoon gets ambushed and he has to retreat back through villages he committed atrocities in, things don’t end well for him. It’s primarily a black metal song, it sounds just as cold as the weather described within. There’s even a small bit of actual singing at the very beginning of the song, something I’ve never done before. ‘Utilizing hate as a motivational force’ has quite a few spoken parts, a unique guitar tone during said parts and some subtle weird sounds which I later found out are call bass drops. Despite having no love for the genre they’re generally associated with, they sound pretty cool here.
Since you are the only member of the band, what was the songwriting process like? How long did it take?
I try to pick up the guitar at least once a day and start just playing whatever comes out. Almost everyday I’ll come up with at least one riff I like. Then I record it. Some time (a week or a even month later), I’ll go back and listen to the riffs with the benefit of a fresh ear. I find some stand out more than others, those are the ones that will potentially be in new songs. Of course, then I have to find other riffs that go well with them. As per drums, I generally just hear them in my head when I’m listening to a riff, so they get written pretty easily. It’s been 5 years since the last album so I guess you could say it took 4 years to write, but there was 3 tours and lots of local shows during that timeframe that naturally detract from writing time. I don’t have a clear answer, I just find when given time, the songs will flow on their own.
What was the recording process for the album?
Todd did the drums all in one day out near Chatham, Ontario, Canada in an old church at Matt Connell’s Northwood Studio. Shortly afterwards I went back and did the guitars (except for 2 tracks where Alexander Erhardt and Warhead play 2nd guitar on) and then bass (except for the track where Jenn Kilburn makes a return). The guitars were harder than I expected because there’s a lot of parts where they’re doing different things, memorizing one guitar line is bad enough, but 2 tracks each of 2 guitars plus the additional melody guitar tracks, makes things a bit more difficult. I bought a new Jackson bass for the album and absolutely love it, it’s the only bass I’ve ever really enjoyed playing. I initially thought I’d just follow the guitars 100 %, but since it was so fun to play I ended up making lots of variations on the album and it came out great. I did the vocals last, initially I didn’t even have very many lyrics, I thought I could finish them that night at the hotel, but drew a blank. I needed them for a cd preview night in Tokyo the following week though, so since they weren’t going on a cd (and up until now no one knew what I was saying anyway), I just John Tardy’d them so no one could tell I wasn’t saying anything half the time. I later went back and re-did them with full lyrics and actually made them the most understandable out of all the releases so far.
How did Todd Hansen (Man Must Die, Amplitusion, Rome) become part of the recording/touring line up?
I’m friends with James from Amplitusion, he mentioned that I should meet Todd who was living in Canada with him them. So, one day when I needed a drummer I called him up and said I wanted run a few ideas over with him and that I’d pay for the beer during the meeting. Being Australian, he naturally said yes. I talked about the album first, then brought up the Japan thing (which was in the early stages but still had some offers even back then), he was cool with everything. We later expanded it to include Australia and then, even later Taiwan.
The album was recorded by Matt Connell (ex-Exhumed, ex-Fuck The Facts) . How was it working with him?
He’s 2 hours and 15 minutes from me, I need to wake up very early to record with him….and I hate waking up early, but it’s absolutely worth it because he’s one of the few people where I can have a conversation like “You know that sound they use on Aborted’s Goremaggedon album” and he knows exactly what I mean. There’s been a few conversations like that where I’m trying to describe a sound or tone from a death metal album and he knows what I’m talking about. He’s also incredibly patient. I can be pretty picky and there were many times where I’d be doing a vocal line over and over trying to get it just right. No complaints, no sighs, it’s just done when it gets done.
What are your plans for the rest of the year ? Do you have any gigs/tours planned?
The current plan is to do one big tour a year, so this year is done. That way I don’t get fired from my job and it makes it easier to find session members for also. We’re talking about next year already, but it’s only in the absolute earliest of stages, so I can’t say anything yet.
Any final words?
Yes, there’s thousands, if not tens of thousands of extreme metal bands out there. If you’re in one and are truly a fan of the genre, it’s your responsibility to help expand the style. Don’t be another generic band. I’m not talking about selling out or watering it down by any means, do something that makes your band stand out musically. I want to bring back the feeling of the early days of death metal where every band had their own unique sound while still retaining their genre style. It’s harder to do that these days of course with all the bands out there, but it’s still very much possible with effort, experimentation and not settling for anything less than the best.
Listen to the title track from ‘Guerrillas Within Their Midst’ below
Poland is a hotbed for metal bands, there are currently over 2,714 bands in the country according to metal archives. Death Metal band Vader were the first band to step into the limelight when they signed to Earache records in 1993. In recent years, the most well known bands from the country have been Behemoth and Decapitated.
Preludium are a Death/Black metal band from Poland. A couple years ago, I heard their war-themed third album ‘Impending Hostility’ and really enjoyed. I reviewed it for Underground.co.in. Earlier this week, they released their fourth album ‘Redemption’ and I spoke to their vocalist/guitarist Lukasz Dziamarski. The band also features Jan Skowron on guitars, Marcin Deszcz on bass and Piotr Ungeheuer on drums.
“The Songs are more varied than on our other albums.” says Lukasz Dziamarski about their latest album. “There are a lot of black metal influences.” The album is a departure from the war theme of ‘Impending Hostility’, it is based on the teachings of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, author of ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’. While the music was written by Lukasz and Jan, the lyrics for the album have been written by Kunal Choksi, owner of their record label Transcending Obscurity. “The idea for the theme of the lyrics was Kunal‘s. He persuaded us that it will be interesting and unique.” explains Lukasz. “There are no black metal/death metal bands that have used this kind of lyrics. So this is good for the band. I think this is very interesting for the European people because this is a completely different culture and their point of view of spiritualism, death, life, suffering is very intriguing.”
‘Redemption’ was recorded at Roslyn studio near the band’s hometown of Mielec in South east Poland. “This is new recording studio but we worked with its owner Krzysiek Godycki before. As a matter of fact this is old Chinook Studio in a new localization.” says Lukasz about the recording process for the album. “We had recording session in April/May. We recorded all instruments and vocals in 8/9 days. The rest of the 3 weeks session we took in mixing and mastering.”
“The Songs are more varied and the sound is more natural, the drums sound more acoustic than on ‘Impending Hostility’.” says Lukasz describing the music on their latest album compared to their previous one ‘Impending Hostility’. “We used many elements and arranged solutions we haven’t use before. It is still black/death metal in Preludium style but our style is more polished.”
Kunal Choksi had been in contact with the bands since 2009 when he reviewed their second album ‘Raping Mankind Disorder’ on his webzine Diabolical Conquest. “He had written to me with the link to the review and we started to correspond. He wrote that he likes our music and if I need any support he will help us with our band’s promotion.” say Lukasz on how Kunal Choksi signed them to his label. “One day I wrote him that we are searching for a label to release our new album ‘Impending Hostility’. We knew that with his several years of experience with the Diabolical Conquest webzine, he had plenty of contacts and reach. After a few weeks he wrote to me an email saying that he had found a label for us – his own label.”
‘Redemption’ is the band’s second release through Transcending Obscurity. “Transcending Obscurity is a little underground label and it has limited financial possibilities but Kunal believes in the success of Preludium and he does his best to promote the band.” says Lukasz about their label owner “At the moment cooperation goes smoothly, he trusts us and we trust him.”
The band do not have any shows coming up this year. “We want to play some live shows to promote our new album and sell some merch. We will try to organize something when we will have new album in our hands.” says Lukasz about their plans for the next few months.
Listen/Download ‘Redemption’ below
Kunal Choksi, has been involved with the metal community for nearly a decade now, first with his website Diabolical Conquest and later a record label. Recently, he started a sub label Transcending Obscurity India which is focused on bands from the Indian Subcontinent.
I met up with Kunal earlier this month to find out more about how he he started his webzine, record label and his plans for Indian bands. Read my interview with him on NH7.
Iron Maiden are one of my favorite bands. I have managed to see them live twice in Dubai. The second time was 4 years ago during their “Somewhere back in Time” tour. Here is an article I wrote about the show for Spin Earth.
The place to be on Friday the 13th was Dubai Media City Amphitheater in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.There was a gathering of not only teenagers in black t-shirts but of metal listeners of all ages, some who even brought their kids along. The reason for the gathering was IRON MAIDEN!
This was their second appearance in the United Arab Emirates, the first being 2 years ago at the Dubai Desert Rock 2007. I did have a chance to see Iron Maiden perform then alongside 10,000 other fans. This time around was special for me as they performed songs from their album “Powerslave“, which is my favourite Iron Maiden album.
The opening act for the show was Lauren Harris. I saw her also at Dubai Desert Rock 2007. She was promoting her new album “Calm before the storm”. She sounded ok, not really something I am into. Her guitarist, Richie is pretty good and had a few nice solos.The sound for her was a lot better than the last time I saw her, so I was expecting it to be a lot better for Maiden.
After short change over, it was time, the moment everyone was waiting for, The Churchill speech, followed by “Aces High“. The crowd (including me) went crazy. It was a great show. As mentioned earlier, the set consisted of tracks from the “Powerslave” and “Somewhere in time” albums. They played a few tracks that were a bit of a surprise, “Children Of The Damned“, “Evil That Men Do” and the biggest one being the 13 minute epic “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner“.
“The highlights of the concert for me were when they played POWERSLAVE, hearing the song live along with the pyrotechnics and also seeing Bruce in a Mask! It was awesome. Another was seeing Cyber Eddie.“said Vineet M.
It was the first time for some like Asanga M seeing Iron Maiden live. “I had some high expectations going into the concert” he said”This was one of my favorite bands and not only the band that got me INTO heavy metal but into playing guitar in general. I probably would not have picked up a guitar if I had not heard The Trooper.“
Overall it was a great night. Great performance by the band. The sound was also really good. I have been looking to this tour for some time now (since I last saw them live) and I am glad i got to catch it. Can’t wait to see them on their next tour.
Djinn and Miskatonic is a doom metal band from Bangalore, India. The band (Jayaprakash Satyamurthy on bass, Gautham Khandige on vocals, Siddharth Manoharan on drums and Sriram K.R on guitars) combine Doom Metal with parts of Sludge, Stoner and Death/Doom Metal. They were in Mumbai in the first week of September performing at Metal at the Tavern (Thane) in support of the release of their debut album ‘Forever in the Realm’. I caught up with them there for an exclusive interview.
“It was like the communion service where the Holy Spirit did not show up” says Jayaprakash Satyamurthy about the delay in manufacturing of the CDs. “We had a good show and we had great sound. There were even a few people moshing.”
Jayaprakash was earlier part of stoner doom metal band, Bevar Sea. “Gautam and I were jamming and writing songs even before Bevar Sea started and then in the first year when Bevar Sea starting happening we started looking for a drummer and could not find the right one, then Siddharth came along” says Jayaprakash about the origins of the band. “We started jamming regularly with Siddharth in early 2011. Then when I left Bevar Sea, it seemed like time to start doing this full time. Sriram came in initially as a guest guitarist for the Motorhead tribute and then we thought that this came off well and for some reason he seemed to like playing the songs; so we continued jamming, which was earlier this year.”
“Some of the songs have been around since 2011; I have some demos of myself playing through these songs with my cats in the background” says Jayaprakash about the songwriting of their album. “Last year was a really bad year for the band, we had just 2 or 3 show and it was looking dismal for us as a live act. So we said fuck it, lets just record our songs and put them for free download. We figured no one was going to hear us live, so let them have these good studio tracks to listen to. But as it turns out we have had a lot more shows this year, so the timing for the debut album has been really good.”
The album was recorded at Area 51 studios in Bangalore, which is run by Premik Jolly, guitarist for Threinody. “We had got most of the Motorhead cover recorded at Premick’s studio. After tracking the song we had such great chemistry with Premik that we decided to record the album there” says Sriram. “The album was completely recorded at Area 51, as we did not want substandard drum sounds and he has got the best stuff in town” added Jayaprakash about the recording process.
Bangalore is slowing becoming the “Doom metal hub of India” with bands like Dying Embrace, Bevar Sea and Shepherd all based in the city. “It initially comes from a small cluster of friends like Srikanth, Chako (Bevar Sea guitariasts), Sriram, Gautam and myself, that were all on the same internet forum 8 years back. We used to be talking about the same music and we went from talking to being in bands with each other.” says Jayaprakash about the surge of Doom metal in Bangalore. “That’s why you have a small cluster of bands that knew each other well and have similar influences. I think it’s going beyond that now; I have spoken to some younger musicians, who are not any personal friends of ours, but have heard these bands and have started to play doom, not quite the same way we do or Bevar Sea does. The small cohesive scene is expanding and now everyone is moving little to the side and doing their own thing. We are no longer all playing in each other’s footsteps and establishing our own identity. I don’t think it’s going to be a very small and close knit scene any longer; each band is going to be forging a bigger identity than a common ground. It’s like a big bang happened and now the molecules are spreading through space and time.”
‘Forever in the Realm‘ is the first release by the sub label of Transcending Obscurity. “Kunal kept suggesting to us this January about doing something and we kept withering about. Once we had an album recorded, it all made sense because we put in a lot of money recording the album and producing it as well. We were dreading putting in a lot of money again manufacturing the cds and marketing it. Kunal’s offer came back and we thought it was the right time, we had a product and he has a framework for manufacturing and selling it. It takes a burden off us; we are no longer a band shopping a few songs around.”
“We have one more show coming up this year and that’s all we are sure of now” says Jayaprakash about their plans for rest of the year. “We will continue jamming and write songs. Writing is a constant process with us. We want to promote the album as much as possible; we are willing to work with organisers across the country.” Signs off Sriram.
Listen to ‘Forever in the Realm‘ below
Chaos are a thrash metal band from Trivandrum, Kerala. I first heard of them last year when they released a video ‘Game‘. A couple of months Chaos released their debut album ‘Violent Redemption‘ and it kicks ass. The album will take you back to Thrash metal from the 80′s. ‘Violent Redemption’ has received positive reviews from media around the world.
Find out more about the album, its production and also their future plans in my interview with their lead guitarist Nikhil below.
Hi guys, congrats on winning the “Best Metal Artist” award at the Radio City Freedom Awards. How does it feel? Were you your expectations prior to the awards ceremony?
Thank you very much Peter! It feels amazing. The fact that we were nominated amongst such heavy weights itself was indeed an honor for us! And winning it? Didn’t see that coming at all. Totally unexpected, and absolutely blown away by the support that we’ve been getting over the past month or so. We’d like to thank everyone who’s voted for the Popular Choice category! And of course the jury for thinking that we’re worthy.
You released your debut album ‘Violent redemption’ earlier this year in March. Can you tell a bit about the album?
Violent redemption has been in the workshop since the band has been conceived way back in 2005. And over these years, we’re tried out different things. Some of it just stuck on with the band.
Majority of the material that you hear on ‘Violent Redemption’ has evolved with the band, with us playing them faster every year! And of course, there are songs on the record like ‘War Crime’ which just happened while we were in the Studio.
What was the songwriting process for the album? You have been around since 2005, how long have you been working on these songs?
Most of the songs in the album starts off with me and JK talking about a subject that’s worthy of turning into a song. It could be something that we saw on the news, or something we’ve read somewhere. The lyrics come first and the riffs and the song structure follows. How long have we been working on these songs? Since the day we’ve started jamming back in 2005.
I have been listening to the album for the past week and its sounds great. Keshav Dhar has produced the album, how was it working with him?
Keshav is an amazing producer. He has this uncanny ability to just blend in with the band and get involved in what the band’s doing, be it making a kick ass record or partying like there’s no tomorrow! As a band, we were really comfortable with the way that he was working.
Last year you released a video for the song ‘Game’. Tell us a bit about the production of the video.
The entire credit for that goes to Kiran and crew of Red Ray productions. They’ve put in a massive amount of effort to make that happen. The whole video shoot was indeed a great experience for us. Since the people that we were working with were damn good at doing what they do, we didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Overall, the video came out good and we did get a lot of new people to listen to our stuff thanks to the video.
Kerala is not known for its metal scene; What are the bands from Kerala that you think we should check out?
Well, Kerala should get more credit! We’ve got a few great bands, coming out with awesome material! For instance, our brothers from ‘Heretic’ and ‘The Downtroddence’ are ready with their albums. In fact, ‘Heretic’ already released their album online, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. ‘The Downtroddence’ is ready with their album, and I can’t wait to listen to what they’ve done. Do check them out as well. Then there are bands which are extremely talented like ‘Blind Fate’ and ‘Decaying Humanity’, of whom you’ve probably never heard of, but trust me, you will. To be honest, the music that’s coming out of the state is a s good as its from anywhere in the country. And I guess we’ll still have to work on getting the music across to more people.
Do you have any gigs planned in the coming months?
Our management is working on the same, getting CHAOS and Violent Redemption to as many cities as possible and yes very soon you can catch us live!
Any final words?
Do check our album out if you haven’t yet! Hope to see you all soon! Cheers!
French heavy metal band Hacride were in Mumbai last week as part of the Deccan Rock tour organised by Orka Entertainment. I met their vocalist Luis Roux and drummer Florent Marcadet before they performed at Club Escape.
Check out my interview with them on NH7.