Posts Tagged ‘Black metal’
Satyricon are legends in the black metal scene. Their contribution to the black metal scene not just in Norway but its significance worldwide is undeniable. This year marks the 20th anniversary of their third album ‘Nemesis Divina’.
As a young metal head listening to Satyricon over a decade ago, I no idea that I would interview the band. I spoke to drummer FROST about ‘Nemesis Divina’, their shows in India, and also their upcoming albums. Read the interview on Transcending Obscurity
Who: Slaves BC The band consists of Josh (Vocals/Lyrics/Drums/Art), Sean (Guitar/Vocals), Rick (Guitar), Adam (Live Vocals) and Brandon (Bass)
What: The band released their album ‘All is Dust and I am Nothing’ earlier this year. “All Is Dust and I Am Nothing” is a concept album based upon the book of Ecclesiastes from the Bible. Ecclesiastes is one of the “Books of Poetry” in the Old Testament of the Bible. Many religious scholars contest its right to be included in the Bible. I can see why! At first glance, it does not really seem to fit in with the rest of the teachings and stories of the Bible. Ecclesiastes is basically like, “Go ahead, eat that dry aged steak, drink that 18 year old single malt scotch, and bang that attractive person. You can do that, but you won’t feel any better. Nothing matters. You’re all going to die and no one will remember you.” Since I was a kid, I’ve been drawn to this book. It offers a very interesting perspective on life and makes you question everything.” said vocalist Josh aboutt the album. “Ecclesiastes is extremely bleak, hopeless, and repetitive. We just tried to match the book with our music. Maybe if we had amassed a supergroup using members of Portal, Altarage, Coffinworm, Lord Mantis, and Chthe’ilist we could have come close to the spiralling darkness of this book. In all seriousness, we might as well have been writing pop punk. Nothing brings you down and makes you want to die more than reading through Ecclesiastes.”
How: “The songwriting for the album went very smoothly. Most of it was just Sean (guitar) and I just sitting down and being like “lets pretend to write sweet music” and cool stuff just kind of fell out along the way. There were a couple times when I was like, “Ok, Sean. Write something terrible” (the Slaves BC word for awesome and terrifying metal). Sean occasionally would have 10 minutes of writers block and I would just pour us both a shot of whiskey and then we would write something we loved.” said Josh about the writing process for the album.
“We started recording “All Is Dust…” in 2012 before we signed to Veritas Vinyl. We assumed we would have to put out whatever we did ourselves, so we just started recording it. But not long after, Veritas signed us. They wanted us to put out a split 12″ before doing the full length album because we had no following. In doing this, this pushed back the full length 4 years due to the amount of time it takes to get vinyl made these days. I mean, Veritas sent out for the vinyl for “All Is Dust…” in May of 2015, and we didn’t get it back until February of 2016. Those were the 4 longest and most agonizing years of my life. Just sitting on all this music that we were so excited about for so long. But its finally out! So we are on to writing the next one!”
“The recording process was fantastic, because we record with Matt Very of Very Tight Recordings. We did it in a couple weekends with Matt, but those weekends were spread out over several years. And in those weekends, we were recording stuff for our splits and the Veritas Vinyl Christmas compilation. After recording with Matt, I never want to record with anybody else ever again. Matt is something of a tone guru. He obsesses over it and makes sure that we are making the best possible sounds and that he is perfectly capturing it. He comes up with all this little neat tricks on the spot for us to try that always work out great. We call him “The Wizard” because he brings out the best in us. Plus, he loves terrible sci-fi channel movies. So like, I’ll laying down vocal tracks or playing drums, and I get to watch Sharknado 2 while doing it. #AllForTheGreaterTone” said Josh describing their recording process for the album.
6 years ago, I was writing for Indianrockmp3 and got an email from a band I had never heard of before, Heathen Beast. The band had emailed me about their debut release, ‘Ayodhya Burns’; The bold artwork and themes really surprised me . The band members used pseudonyms, no one knew who they were despite India having a relatively small metal scene.
The band returned last year after a 3 year break with a new EP ‘The Carnage of Godhra’ and their entire discography was released on CD by Transcending Obscurity. Today, the band release ‘Rise of the Saffron Empire’ their most venomous tracks yet. I spoke to the band about the EP, the themes in their music and more.
Kolkata is not a city known for it’s metal bands. How did you get into metal?
The original line up of Heathen Beast was born and brought up in Mumbai. Later some of us were transferred to Kolkata on work. Since then we expanded our band to many parts of India with our main base in Kolkata. So we are quite new to the metal scene here. We all got into metal differently, some of us through friends, some of us through discovery via the internet and some of us via older siblings. It’s a different story for each member of this collective.
What made you decide to start a black metal band? What about the style appeals to you?
The absolute purity of black metal is what drew us to the genre. It is a genre that stands for something, it stands against something and it is never afraid to draw blood. It is the most primal form of metal and the perfect vehicle for us to express our hatred. It’s an ideology, a message and one that provokes thought. Very few other metal genres do that.
How has the response to your previous releases been? Have you faced any threats or complaints?
We are too insignificant for anyone to give a shit about us. So far we have had no threats or complaints. The response for all our music till date has been incredible. The fans have been more supportive than ever.
You went on a 3 year break after your first 2 releases? What was the reason behind it?
We are not full time musicians and life gets in the way and fucks us all. We have to move cities, change a lot of things around so sometimes it takes time to make music. Most musicians these days are all trying to balance life and music so we are doing the same. We are clear that this is 100% passion for us so we will do it at our own pace and we will do it right.
Your new release ‘Rise of the Saffron Empire’ has received accolades from around the world. How does it feel now that the EP has been released?
The feeling is amazing when people get your music and understand it. We don’t want posers listening to our music, we want people who not just like the music but also follow the ideology of the band. So we are happy to hear from most fans that they not only like the music but they relate to the lyrics and the ideology of the band.
The themes behind your music are current social and political issues in India. What is the main reason behind it?
Religion is the reason, God is the reason. Even the political events are driven by these man made creations and it is the most powerful force right now in our country. It is what is destroying what we have. It’s what needs to be spoken about right now. So we could not think of anything else that made more sense to sing about. However they are assholes out there who always go, but what about this and what about that, why are you not singing about this topic or that topic? We want to tell them you bastards if that topic is important to you then you should do something about it. So yeah fuck politics!!! Fuck political cocksuckers!!!
You have incorporated more Indian sounds on your recent releases. How did that happen? Have your taken formal music lessons in Hindustani music or percussion?
We have mentioned before that Heathen Beast is a collective and there are many elements that need to come together to complete this puzzle. So there is always some member who can bring a certain element to the table. Some of us have learnt Hindustani Classical and Carnatic Music while we were growing up. So we have that knowledge and we constantly strive to learn more and soak in as much musical knowledge as we can.
The production on the EP sounds better than your previous releases? Did you do anything different during the recording?
We are a beast that keeps growing and evolving. For us we do not look at production of EPs as better or worse. We only look at what is it that the material needs. How can we create a sound. How can we make the message stand out. For us our production is all about being raw and dirty. It should be abrasive and should be like a sonic assault without sounding like those programmed metalcore and deathcore robots.
All your releases are available for free download. What is the reason behind it? Do you personally like the digital format, which is intangible compared to cds and vinyl?
For us it has nothing to do with the format. It’s about spreading the music and the message. From day one we have said our music is always going to be free. Even when we signed to Transcending Obscurity we told brother Kunal that he can release it however he wants but we will release it for free as well on our pages. We know there are fans who want to own the music and support the bands and we really appreciate that because we can make the next album with lesson tension about money. But in principle we will keep the music free. This has always been the plan.
You have only released EPs so far. Is there a plan to record a full length album in the future?
“We think the age of the album is over now. The attention span of people has fallen and we think the 3 song format is the best way to get our message across.”
“We will always be open to recording an album one day when it makes sense for us. We are also full of surprises so you might just get an album next instead of an EP. You can never tell with Heathen Beast.”
Do you have any final words?
Hailz to all the Heathen Beasts in the world. Let us destroy religion and the concept of god and free the minds of men and find true freedom. Hailz!
‘Stream/Download ‘Rise of the Saffron Empire’ below
Smouldering in Forgotten are an extreme metal band from Bahrain. They have been around for a decade now and have released 2 full length albums. To mark their 10th year as a band, they released a single “Siren of Truth” earlier this month. I spoke to their vocalist Mardus and drummer Busac about their new single, being a metal band in Bahrain and also their upcoming album.
It has been 10 years since you started the band. How does it feel looking back?
It’s been one hell of a ride for us, going through phases, learning curves, and achievements. All this definitely added up to an unforgettable experience. We are just die hard metal fans that also aim to be the most evil sounding band in the country. The journey has been fulfilling so far, but is far from over.
How did the band get together? Was it easy to find like-minded musicians in Bahrain?
It wasn’t as hard as you might imagine as the Bahrain metal scene is fairly small, especially considering this was back in 2005. Everyone knew everyone else and it wasn’t hard to come across people with the same interests. The lineup started with Mardus, Busac, and Void, and the band grew from there. We were joined by Tael and Husam, who really were the final missing pieces to completing the SIF sound.
Tell us about the scene in Bahrain, how much has it changed in the past decade?
The scene is small but also very strong. It has been steadily growing and improving over the last decade and there is so much potential that the world has yet to see. The only downfall about the scene is the lack of frequent events. As it stands, proper metal gigs happen about once a year on average, which sometimes discourages a lot of the musicians here. Although in hindsight this could also be a useful filter to bring out the ones who are truly passionate about their art.
What are the bands from Bahrain that we should check out?
Rain in Hell, Lunacyst, Motor Militia, Bloodshel, M.U.S.T, Through Sunken Eyes, Majaz, InsideOut, Narjahanam. Just to name a few.
To celebrate 10 years as a band, you have released a new single “Siren of Truth”. Tell us a bit about it.
We went with a more straightforward approach to the song writing. We tried to keep it catchy, groovy, but still true to the extreme sound. Just something that gets the audience moving. For lyrics, we talk about a fictional creature that causes chaos everywhere it goes, so much chaos that it has eventually dug its own grave and is cursed to remain there forever, feeding on itself.
Siren of Truth is also significant to us because this was the first track we were actually able to record live drums. Since the band started, we struggles with locations and equipment, which made live drum recording almost impossible, so we resorted to using a drum machine to be able to continue with the music.
The single will be on your third album. Tell us about it. At what stage is the album at the moment –writing or recording?
The album is still in its writing phase. A lot has already been written and we definitely have a clear direction on where we want to take our sound next. “Siren of Truth” is already foreshadowing how we approached the music writing for the album. Lyrically, we decided to tackle some taboo subjects that happen in the real world.
How different will it be compared to your second album “I, Devourer”?
I, Devourer was a completely separate journey because it was more of story-telling. The album tells an entire story, with each track representing a specific chapter in that story. We talked about topics such as revenge, insanity, wars, and death.
Do you have a tentative release date for your third album? When can we expect it?
We’re definitely aiming to push our standards even higher with this album, so we can’t promise a specific release date until we’re sure we have something that is worthy. Realistically though, we’re aiming to have something ready by mid 2016.
Listen to “Siren of Truth” below
The discovery of the mp3 format has changed the way music fans buy over the past decade. The sale of CDs has decreased and as a result had a huge impact on the music industry. Record labels are still struggling to adapt to the buying habits of music fans.I have noticed a rise in independent music labels for metal music. Some of them are Blastasfuk, Memento Mori who I have featured in the past. These one man labels keep the fire burning in the underground.
The label I am featuring this time is Blood Music. Based in Helsinki, Finland the label has put out some awesome releases this year like Irreversible Mechanism who I featured in May, GosT among others. I spoke to label owner J about how he started the label, his most memorable releases so far and also what is next from the label.
Hi, you have been running Blood Music for 4 years now. How does it feel looking back?
J:It’s a feeling that can’t truly be put to words – the emotions condense to an infinitely dense marble that fits into the palm of your hand but contains all the energy of the known universe. It has all of these emotions wrapped up, many of which have never been able to be realized. The label’s very first release did well, and it has been a constant, exponential growth without a single moment of slowing down. It’s beyond surreal, as I know how rare it is to experience a project that encounters very little resistance, it’s almost unheard of! It’s not my first project by a long shot, and I’ve never come anywhere close to this before. It becomes eerie, like – why this / why now / why does everyone suddenly care?
Because of the high output of the label in such short time and high outpouring of support, each project effortlessly folds into the next as a kind of infinite map. I don’t have the time to feel all the emotions that go along with this because as soon as I take a short break to celebrate, 1000 more e-mails come in, more material goes out of print, and more bands are ready to go with new material. I have a duty to keep up with the thousands of people who are expecting things, and I want to be able to meet as many of those expectations as possible, so long as they’re humble and realistic.
Instead of expanding, I intend to forcibly start slowing down the signings and the output of the label, as I would like to soon take time to sit back and reflect on each project, savor the taste of the full release cycle and not just fit the emotions in when it’s convenient.
In short, it’s completely overwhelming, and I’m still not sure how it all feels. I only have time to taste short glimpses of it.
How and when did you decide to start a label?
J:The seed started in early 2011, only a few months before it actually came to fruition. Although the idea to run a label has been in the back of my mind for twenty years.
In the late 2000s, I had been phased out of the freelance work I was doing, and all my savings was disappearing as I tried to get work going – but no one was hiring.
In 2009, I decided to hitchhike around the world indefinitely and ended up in all kinds of random places with small jobs off the coast of Africa and in islands throughout the Atlantic. After only a year, I ended up back in an attic in Tampere (a couple hours north of Helsinki) and was bored out of my mind with no job prospects and nothing going for me. I was really only interested in collecting records, and I walked down to the record shop once a week, spending the rest of my savings on vinyl. I eventually got frustrated that so many albums I wished for were not released, were long out of print, or were pressed in atrociously poor quality editions. So, I made a list of projects I’d like to see on wax, and the bands that came to the top of the list were maudlin of the Well, Lykathea Aflame, and Sigh. So, I contacted them all.
Your first release was Maudlin of the Well 4xLP + 7″ Box Set. How did that happen?
J:I received replies from all three bands I initially wrote. The reply from maudlin of the Well was that the vinyl rights to “Bath” and “Leaving Your Body Map” (their companion albums which gained cult popularity after the band’s demise) already rested with another label. I checked the other label (Antithetic Records)’s social media, and it sounded like they were short on cash. So, I wrote them and offered to go 50/50 on the box set with financing, work duties, and rewards split down the middle. They thought it was a perfect opportunity, and we went forward – simple as that.
I learned a ton from that experience, and it was definitely valuable to work with a partner who’d already done a few releases, in order to make less mistakes than the average first-timer would. Nevertheless, it was a slow process for both of us with a huge learning curve. In the end, we sold it out quickly. We broke even. Everyone was thrilled. Then the box started selling for $400 on eBay a few months later.
I wound up working with Lykathea Aflame and Sigh shortly after.
What have been the most memorable releases so far?
J:I get asked this a lot, and it’s getting harder to answer. The easier question would be “what have been the least memorable releases” because there are very few of those. I am proud of every single release I’ve done and very enthusiastic about the work put into all of them.
The motW Box was originally a source of immense pride for me, soon replaced by the Strapping Young Lad 7xLP Box, soon replaced by the Moonsorrow 14xLP Box, soon replaced by Perturbator “Dangerous Days” (the label’s first break-out album).
But I have to look at artists themselves as whole projects because I’ve achieved a ton with a good number of artists already, and so many projects stick in my mind – such as the Cloudkicker releases, which were done as the first “professional open source music releases” in history. SERDCE “Timelessness” is just a phenomenal album that I’m happy to have been a part of – and bringing perhaps the first Belarusian band into a very small piece of the international spotlight. Aquilus had a mere 900 fans on Facebook, and with one vinyl release with Blood Music, they became an extremely well-known and respected player in the atmospheric black metal scene with nearly 7000 fans! Nightbringer, Ne Obliviscaris, and Beyond Creation all exploded immediately after I worked with them. GosT went from near obscurity into a major player in the retro-electro scene, and Dan Terminus as well. Irreversible Mechanism and Corpo-Mente had smash debut albums.
It’s so hard not to dwell on all the projects, they all mean a lot to me, even the ones that aren’t as successful. I choose them because I admire the art endlessly.
What is the biggest problem that you faced so far?
J:Finding the time to rest and finding the time to sleep. Also, the label is overloaded with contacts – too many e-mails to answer. And some people can get really aggressive.
I also unlocked the rights to a band who had their catalog frozen for ten years, and instead of signing to Blood Music, they signed to a major label. That was near the beginning, but I’ll never forget that!
Do you do any marketing? If yes, what kind?
J:I tend to limit most of my marketing to social media and a few forums. I’ve always been very bad at coordinating with blogs and magazines, although I try. I think blogs and magazines get frustrated with me too. I’ve only very recently started hiring publicists because I just don’t have what it takes to forward the albums to people to review. It’s better if someone who is more skilled does that. I do love to see coverage on my bands’ albums, even negative coverage can be fun and sometimes hilarious.
I would say the marketing has been very much based on word-of-mouth. I think that has been one of the reasons that people are excited about the label is that most of them found it in a very organic way which hasn’t been very pushy. I’ve also been quite an adamant supporter of: if you don’t like what the label is doing, you can leave now. Some people take great offense to that, but those that stick around can respect that this is such a personal project.
Most of your releases are available through Bandcamp at Name Your Own Price. What is the reason behind it?
J:There are a few reasons to this, the most major one relating to a book I read about the the modern world of media. The book is not very well-known but is very well-researched on the ins and outs of records in the modern world – and it states that freely available media is helping to financially kill the media industry but it also has produced many positive results. I thought it sounded like a counterintuitive concept but one worth trying. I also had worked with Cloudkicker and Perturbator who have all their material at Name Your Own Price, and it works for them. I also have fielded a lot of complaints over the higher-than-average pricing of my vinyl releases [which I do believe are justified, considering the care and money invested into them]. I thought, well … the physical versions will have to remain costlier than average, and the digital will be freely available for those that can’t afford the physical.
It probably backfires on some bands, but overall I enjoy the impact that it makes. I like to see the music spread around, and I think Blood Music releases bands that people want to check out – strong takes on old classics or something very new. It gives a good platform for people to try and see if they like it. If they do, they can choose to donate. I believe people are more trusting when you offer more trust to them. Not all but many, and I like the way these concepts interplay.
How do you manage to run the label all by yourself? Do you have a day job?
J:I often surprise myself, but it does take 12-18 hour working days to get everything done. There is no time for a day job. I have to prioritize things as much as possible to accomplish everything in the correct order. My to do list is unreadable now, I just keep the things I have to finish at the forefront of my mind and write them on the to do list multiple times as I think of them, and they all get completed based on pending deadlines. It makes some things go slower – and some packages take some time to ship, but they all do ship. The 1-2 month time it takes for some packages to send really freaks some people out who are not used to it. But I believe many people need more patience in their lives, so I think I’m doing them a small service.
You have released music from different genres on your label, ranging from death metal (Irreversible Mechanism) to black metal (Ifing) and even electronic (Perturbator). What do you look for in a band before you sign them to your label?
J:I am a huge fan of many genres and have been for many years.
I want to find bands that personally speak to me in a very strong way, regardless of genre. I want to organize a musical palette that has a throughline but is not limited by style. There are intense boundaries set up to segregate one crowd from another, and some metal heads like to attack non-metal heads at metal shows, and that’s plain stupid. The best way to enrich the entire cultural palette of the world is to cross reference and build upon each other’s work. Most things get stale when sticking within a certain regimen of how people expect you to behave. I think many of my artists have become inspired to add loads of new influences to their music they wouldn’t have just by being on a more open-minded label. I encourage them to warp their sound, collaborate, go harder or softer (depending). It can only mean good things.
Have you been in a band before? What instrument do you play?
J:Yes, but nothing worth mentioning at all. I’ve played in several kinds of rock and electro bands that went nowhere. I also used to compose a lot with analog synths in the late 90s/early 00s, a short time before the actual ‘retro synth’ movement began. I’ve always wanted to write a solo metal album, but it’s never come out. Lots of ideas but no results.
I can actually shred on guitar. I can play bass and synthesizers as well. Perturbator asked me to shred on his next album, but he got tired of waiting for me to have free time, so it never happened. But it was nice of him to think of me. Maybe another album or another time. For now, it’s more important that I help these guys in other ways.
Any advice that you have for anyone planning to start a metal music record label?
J:It is one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had. Make sure you have enough money saved for three times your first release, in case that release goes badly. You can then decide if you want to try again or quit. Also, work only with projects you love. It costs a LOT of time, energy, and money. If you want to do it right, you have to be ready to show a lot of respect to artists and fans and yourself too – finding that balance can be hard.
What are the upcoming releases from your label?
J:The most sought after ones are surely the Emperor box set, the next Perturbator album, and the next GosT album.
But there is a lot of great stuff on the horizon, such as the Grey Aura debut double album, Star One (Ayreon side project) on vinyl for the first time, the Thy Catafalque early works pressed for the first time professionally, Gire (incredible, obscure Hungarian death metal) rereleased, Rïcïnn (Corpo-Mente singer)’s debut album, the Perturbator early EPs, ambient legends Carbon Based Lifeforms hitting physical publications, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum on vinyl, and ultimately some great new albums being developed by Irreversible Mechanism, Xanthochroid, Ifing, etc.
Thank you very much for inquiring and being interested in the label!
Here are some the recent releases from Blood Music that you should check out:
It has been a while since I posted here thanks to my day job, and I’m resuming with a new feature that I’d like to kick off. I first saw it on Milliblog where is it called “Top recent listens” and today, I decide to finally get it done. Since I listen to a lot of music (Indian and International bands), I thought of featuring a few bands on the blog that I really enjoying without interviewing them. This is going to be a monthly feature (if work permits) from now onwards.
Here is what I have been listening to this month.
Dying Embrace/Dusk – “Through corridors of dead centuries”
Two of the oldest extreme metal bands from South Asia have come together on this long awaited release by Cyclopean Eye Productions. The Dying Embrace (India) side features new material from them in over a decade. Being a fan of the “Doom” avatar of Dusk (Pakistan), I really enjoyed their side of the split. This is death/doom metal recommended for those who preferred metal that sounds “raw”. Read my interview with Dusk here.
Demonic Resurrection – The Demon King
Demonic Resurrection from Bombay are one of India’s most popular metal band. I did a story on them recently for the BC/MC zine. Their latest album “The Demon King” which released last month is a story about Good and Evil and how Evil triumphs. Each song on the album tells the story from a different character’s perspective. I feel this is their best album as yet, in terms of songwriting and production. After their appearance at Wacken Open Air earlier this month and their UK tour last month, they ought to be playing gigs across India in support of the album.
The Down Troddence – “How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You”
The Down Troddence from Bangalore took the Rolling Stone Metal Awards by storm in June by winning 8 awards and also putting up a great performance. This album released in January and I only heard it much later in March, since then it’s been on heavy rotation. The album has a good mix of Indian melody and aggression. Definitely a band to keep an eye out for in the future.
Animals As Leaders – Joy of Motion
The latest album from Animals As Leaders is one of my favourite albums of the year. I have been listening to the album constantly ever since it released. “Another Year” is a stand out song. Tosin Abasi, Javier Reyes and Matt Garstka have released a masterpiece that will be very hard for anyone to top this year.
Non – metal
Until we last – Earthgazing
In the past couple of years, there has been a surge in the number of post-rock bands in India. One of the best bands among them are Until We Last from Bangalore . Earlier this month they put out their first release “Earthgazing” and it sounds great. A short release of just 4 songs, I was left wanting for more; looking forward to a full length released from them soon.
The Supersonics – Heads up
The Supersonics from Kolkata are one of my favourite Indian rock bands. I have been waiting for the release of their new album since they got back together in mid-2012 after a short break up. After the first couple of listens, I was not disappointed at all. My favourite track is “Strawberry“, can’t help singing along to their chorus. The album is 10 tracks of straight up rock and roll. Easily one of the Top 10 releases by an Indian band this year.
Dying Embrace/Dusk – “Through corridors of dead centuries” is available from Cyclopean Eye Productions
Demonic Resurrection – The Demon King is available in stores across India.
The Down Troddence – “How Are You? We Are Fine, Thank You” and The Supersonics – Heads Up are available from OkListen.com
The second release by Woods of Ypres “Pursuit Of The Sun & Allure Of The Earth” is now available for pre-order on Earache Records. The album is a special on for me as it is the first Woods of Ypres album I heard. In March 2005, just over six months after the release of the album I did an interview with front man David Gold. It appeared in The Frequency, a publication of Fusion Radio which is the internet radio station for the Scarborough campus of University of Toronto.
How did you come up with the name Woods of Ypres??
The original Woods of Ypres was formed in May of 2002 as a 3 piece in Windsor. The name came from a song title from another Windsor band called “Fact of Death”. We heard about it at the same time we were searching for a name and they gave us permission to use it. It meant a lot of things at the time, having reference to the park on Ypres Rd. in Windsor (when we all lived in Windsor), the battle of Ypres in WWI which had significant Canadian involvement (making reference to us as Canadians and our history), and the “Woods” part of it having reference to traditional ‘black metal’ themes (of being inspired by nature, etc…).To my knowledge, Woods of Ypres is the first black metal band to ever originate in Windsor.
Describe the band and its music
I like to describe Woods of Ypres ongoing style as Black & Doom metal, because we are both, and not completely one or the other. “Pursuit of the Sun…”, the latest CD is in more of a doom vein than the “Against the Seasons” demo which was more “cold” and black. It comes across as comparable to the band Opeth to a lot of people with the frequent use of the acoustic guitar and the light to heavy dynamics, but the Opeth style is only a reference point.”Pursuit…” was more of an experiment on how the same themes of black metal would be expressed in a summer setting as opposed to winter, which is more traditional for black metal. For example, whereas it’s easy to find comfort and collect your thoughts in the darkness of the winter, it can be an agonizing experience if you find yourself miserable in the summer when the sun is shining and there’s nowhere to hide from it, and everyone can see you suffer. It is the soundtrack for those emotionally heavy, hot and humid, sad summer days.
The next CD (due out by the end of 2005) will be a full return to our “cold” black metal sound, similar to the “Against the Seasons” demo, but more developed by experience. We have 12 new songs that we’re working on right now and I can already say that it will be the best Woods yet!
Tell me about your first album “Against the seasons”. Is it going to be re-released??
Our 1st album “Against the Seasons: Cold Winter Songs from the Dead Summer Heat” will be officially released for the 1st time ever this summer! It has only been available in CD-r/Demo format up until now. The whole album has been re-mixed and re-mastered and it now sounds HUGE! Way bigger than it ever did! It will be available direct from us at http://www.woodsofypres.ca, at any CD retail store in Canada and at The End Records Mailorder (www.theendrecords.com). We are very excited to finally have it released properly, almost 3 years later after it was recorded.
Are you signed with any label??
Woods of Ypres is being released by the new upcomming music label “Krankenhaus Records” here in Mississauga. This label will do big things this year!
How would you come up with the lyrics in your songs?
The lyrics are always inspired from coping with terrible stuff. They are a mix of sadness, frustration, disappointment and hope. They are definitely not your typical ‘heavy metal lyrics’ but they are true to us, and have become a big part of the reason why we bother to make music.
How has the Response been to you music in Toronto?
I interpret the overall the response as good from the way that so many people feel inclined to spread the word about Woods of Ypres after they hear us. They recognize what we do as something special, because the can see that the music is also very special and meaningful to us. I also like the fact that people who bother really analyze our music realize that there is much more to this band than what can be said with comparisons to Opeth or Ulver. I appreciate that because thought there may be a few similarities on the surface, we are inspired from very different places and the end results are in fact very different. We never went out to be anyone else but ourselves, Canadian kids raised on metal who are now Canadians who make metal.
An old friend of mine used to have a theory that because there are so many bands in the world that you’ll probably never hear the band you and your brain would like the most (based on your own unique characteristics).From the reaction we have been getting, I think it’s okay for me to say that we have found some of “our people” because we hear from a lot of listeners who just “get it” and can immediately identify with it. The music, the themes, they effortlessly get it. It’s as if their brains were craving something specific, that didn’t yet exists and we fulfilled the demand. To them, “Pursuit of the Sun…” is more than just “Weekend Heavy Metal Purchase #666” and we really like that. Though surely, we realise that WOY is not for everyone, but it seems that the people who like it, really like it!
Are you going to be playing live soon??
We were set to play at the Northern Lights Festival but it was recently canceled, apparently due to slow ticket sales and the fact that a corporate metal tour booked their Toronto date on the same weekend as our festival. Woods of Ypres doesn’t have any shows currently scheduled.
What are the future plans for the band?
Dan Hulse (bass/recording engineer), Jessica Rose (keys) and I will be concentrating on developing songs for the new album right up until recording begins this summer. We are planning to do some serious gigging once Woods: III is released. 2005 will be another ‘writing year’ but we plan to make 2006 a ‘working year’ and play a whole lot more live shows. We don’t plan on doing an album next year, but who knows. We are always writing so something may come up anyway. But for right now, our focus is making the next album as good as we possibly can. “Against the Seasons: III – “The Deepest Roots & Darkest Blues” will be out at the end of this year.
Any final words??
Check out http://www.woodsofypres.ca for news and updates. + Visit the forum!