Posts Tagged ‘death metal’
Jon Pettersson is no stranger to the Metal world, he is a member of bands like Wombbath, Ashcloud and Just Before Dawn. A couple months ago, Transcending Obscurity released their debut album Den Förstörda Människans Rike from his new project Henry Kane is newest band from and it sounds awesome. The albums combines buzzsaw grinding guitar riffs with deep growled vocals in Swedish. I spoke to Jon about the album, horror movies and the possibility of Henry Kane live shows.
Read my interview with Jon Petterson on the Everydayhate blog
Seputus was started by Steve Schwegler in 2005. After a hiatus, he revived the band in 2013. The band also features his band mates from Pyrrhon, Erik Malave and Doug Moore . Their debut album Man Does Not Give was one of my favourite death metal albums from last year. I was blown away by their mix of death metal, black metal, grindcore and noise.
I spoke to Steve Schwegler about the album, their unique sound and also their plans for the future.
You started Seputus in 2005. What inspired you to revive the band again in 2013?
Steve Schwegler: The goals of the project changed somewhat over the years. Seputus was done “for fun” mostly at the beginning; there were not any goals in mind at first other than writing music Doug and I would enjoy listening to. Frankly, I revived the band in 2013 out of emotional necessity. During the last couple years of my military career, I took on a wildly different job than I had usually performed. I experienced some events during that time that brought back a visceral desire to write aggressive music.
After picking the guitar back up and woodshedding for a while, all of a sudden I had started considering songwriting ideas that I had never thought of before. Although I wouldn’t say it stopped being fun, Seputus became more personal for me at that point. I had a lot of heavy emotional feelings during those years, and I had been compartmentalizing them to ensure I could handle my military work properly. Finally, it just got to the point where I needed some sort of catharsis, and I ended up working on the album basically non-stop when I wasn’t performing my duties as a military member. Writing the music and trying to interpret my emotions “accurately” was extremely gratifying for me.
The lyrics from your debut album Man does not give draw from personal experiences. Can you tell us a bit more about the album?
Steve: It’s important to mention that Doug Moore wrote all of the lyrics for this record, and that they are his thoughtful reactions to the music that I presented him with. The simplified, overarching theme of the album is that of disgust for the actions of mankind. Doug painted very deep, descriptive vignettes of different situations in each individual song. I cannot encourage people strongly enough to read through the lyrics themselves, and take some time to decide what they mean on a case by case basis. Doug’s lyrical work on this album is, in my humble opinion, some of his best.
From a musical standpoint, Man Does Not Give was a deep exploration of the negative feelings I had about life at that time. I used the opportunity to ruminate on what kind of person I thought I was, and what I was capable of doing with my life at that point. Themes of betrayal, deep-seated fear and personal anxiety fed a lot of the songwriting. Despite the depression I felt at that time, I found that I was incredibly productive when writing music. I wrote all the songs on the record, from start to finish, in a period of six months. And I mean that quite literally, because that was the manner in which I wrote MDNG. I kept coming up with ideas that would continue the flow of the previous song I completed. The first song you hear on the album is the first song I wrote, and so on throughout the entire album.
After I was satisfied with the songwriting, I mixed and remixed the record alone, second guessing myself on the results for nearly a year and a half. I wasn’t entirely sure how to achieve the sound I was looking for. The process of creating MDNG was a daunting, arduous task. It was a learning experience that I am grateful for, but I don’t think I’ll ever write a record in that manner again.
The album sounds like a jaw dropping mix of death metal, black metal, grindcore and noise. How did you develop this unique sound?
Steve: I’ve nourished my obsession with quality extreme music for well over a decade now, and my tastes have continuously evolved. The collective listening experience of all the amazing albums I’ve spent time with have had the most profound influence over my writing process. I’d make the analogy between writing an album and what is said about authors of great novels; they loved reading great writing too. Inspiration has been essential to me for creation. I spent a great deal of time developing the sound of Seputus by asking myself what I’d love to hear from an album. It is accurate to say that, besides meeting my personal needs, this album also functions as a love letter to the extreme metal community.
You engineered & produced the album. What do you feel are the main advantages of producing the album yourself?
Steve: The main advantage of producing the album myself is that I had total control over the engineering process and the artistic direction of the record. I could instantly make creative changes born from conversations with Doug, and by referencing my own extensive notes as I listened to the demoes continuously. I used all the available tools at hand to make sweeping artistic decisions in real time, and once everything fell into place, finishing this album was one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve ever had. It is also, obviously, infinitely cheaper in a monetary sense to make an album yourself.
That being said, I’d caution that it is very time consuming and stressful to assume the responsibility to produce an album yourself. When deciding to do it yourself, understand that the outcome and the responsibility falls on you; an album is forever. So to all the DIY’ers out there that may read this, don’t be afraid to enlist your closest confidants to put ears on your work during the process. It is an eventuality to lose perspective on the albu
m’s sound over time, and the input of my friends and fellow musicians have been crucial for my sanity.
Pyrrhon also recently released an EP this year. How do you manage between both bands?
Steve: As far as splitting responsibilities between both bands, compartmentalization of our time has been the most effective tool. Pyrrhon and Seputus are two very different entities songwriting wise, so it has not been difficult to split our time between them. Doug focuses on one project at a time lyrically, and does not generally allow any cross-pollination between bands when doing so. I follow the same philosophy; I set aside a particular timeline to engage the mindset required for one band or the other. I’d also like to mention that Pyrrhon completed the “Running Out Of Skin” EP before I joined the band, so the outstanding drum work is all Alex Cohen’s doing, not my own.
The album is being released through PRC music. How did you get signed to the label?
Steve: Doug reached out to multiple labels while shopping the album around, and Remi from PRC Music was quick on the draw to contact us. He showed a great deal of enthusiasm for our album right from the start, which is reflected by the fact that he put the additional effort forward to press vinyl for us. We got along right away and he made us an excellent offer, so we were thrilled to sign with PRC Music!
What are your plans for the rest of the year? Are there any shows/tour planned in promotion of the album?
Steve: At this time, and for the foreseeable future, Seputus will remain a studio project. We’ve found ourselves incredibly busy with Pyrrhon as of late, in addition to the complications of our personal lives. Forming a live lineup for Seputus is, at this juncture, nearly impossible for us to commit to. However, I will not say it will never happen. I’m still creating new Seputus material, and we may decide to do it live in the future if the right circumstances align.
Thanks for answering all my questions. Do you have any final words?
Steve: A great deal of attention and care, from many parties, was put into making the best record we could. From the heartburn of our endless production process, to Caroline Harrison’s amazing artwork and Alan Douches’ final mastering at West West Side Music, it has been a labor of love. Creating this album was a super real experience, and we are extremely proud of Man Does Not Give. So to everyone out there, we humbly ask that you give it a shot. Lastly, I want thank everyone who has given it a chance and passed us their words of encouragement. Thank you.
Jeff Loomis is known as the guitarist for Nevermore. He has since joined death metal band Arch Enemy. He has a solo project as well as one with notable muscians such as Alex Webster and others in Conquering Dystopia. Next month, he’s doing a multi-city tour of India, in the following cities – Delhi, Guwahati, Chennai and Bangalore. I spoke to him about his different projects and what has kept him going on for so long.
Read my interview with Jeff Loomis on Transcending Obscurity
Pulse of Nebulea are an international progressive death metal band. I first met Hisham and Martins (vocalist and guitarist of the band) when they were part of a band called Samosa Terror in Dubai close to a decade ago.
A couple years ago, Martins linked me to a single from the new band he was working on with Hisham. The track was ‘Elusive Elation’ and I was really impressed by the instrumentation as well as production. They have finally released their self-titled debut album earlier this month. The 8 track album has been described as “Progressive death metal” however you can hear hints of melodic death metal and even power metal. The catchy guitar riffs are well complemented by growled vocals. ‘Triumph of the Sun’ and ‘Drone’ are a couple of my favourite tracks from the album. An impressive debut release, Pulse of Nebulea are a band to keep an eye out for in the future.
I spoke to Hisham and Martins about the album, and their future plans.
You have been working on your album for some time now. How does it feel to have it finally released?
MP: It feels absolutely fantastic! So much time and effort was put into writing, producing and recording it, I really thought it was never going to end.
HC: We poured a lot of ourselves into this album. Listening to the final product reminds us why it was done in the first place. Hearing this album is like listening to our thoughts. That, in itself, fills me with immense pride.
Hisham and Martins were part of a band in Dubai. How did Dirk Verbeuren become a part of Pulse of Nebulea?
HC: Yes, we first met and formed a band when we were in high-school in Dubai. Noticing our similar interests we immediately clicked and knew we were going to be working together for a long, long time. Both of us being huge fans of melodic death metal, especially the old school Swedish kind, we naturally have always loved Soilwork. When Martins started looking for potential drummers, Dirk was obviously our first choice.
MP: I got in touch with Dirk through my friend and co-producer Matt Wicklund (Ghost Ship Octavius, ex-Warrel Dane). At first when I reached out to Dirk, I did not get a response for several months, because he was on tour. I also spoke to several other drummers, received many demo recordings, but didn’t quite find the right musical fit. Eventually Dirk replied back and said he really liked the two demos I sent him, which later became the singles we released in 2014, and decided to take part in our project. After we had done the first two demos, we absolutely loved the collaboration and asked Dirk if he would be interested in becoming a member of the band, to which he agreed. As a result, Dirk did more than just record drums for the album, he also took part in arranging the songs and breathing life into them. As a result the whole collaboration turned out far better than expected, I honestly can’t imagine having worked with any other drummer.
Your self-titled album is a killer mix of death metal and progressive metal. Tell us about the album.
MP: Hisham and I have always been fans of progressive metal. For me, personally, Edge of Sanity and Opeth have been huge influences. Musically the album is a mix of all the different kinds of music we like, there is death metal, black metal, groove, orchestral elements, and even power metal, for example, before I added the guitar and keyboard melodies, Triumph of the Sun sounded just like a Manowar song.
HC: Vocally, the aim was to diversify, mixing different genres and vocal styles to create a unique and versatile sound. Also, we aimed to take the listener on a journey to try to experience events and themes which occur constantly around us, but are only subconsciously perceived. With astronomical themes, like Triumph of the Sun, the sun turning into a red giant, and hardships of suffering a man goes through without questioning the reason, like Elusive Elation.
With Hisham in Germany and Martins in Latvia, how did you manage to write and record the album?
MP: Since we already keep in touch on a daily basis, it really wasn’t all that difficult, thanks to modern technology that permits it. We already make an effort to see each other in person two times a year, which gives us time to also work on the songs in person. Hisham and I both have home recording capabilities, so we record on our own, exchange ideas and spend long hours fine-tuning them over Skype.
HC: I record vocals in my basement with a cheap mic and interface, Martins is the one with an actual studio. I took two trips last year, in March and September, to fly to Latvia to do the final vocal recordings for the album. Dirk did all of his parts in LA and sent them to us, as we proceeded with the recording process. Martins handled everything else on his own.
The album has been mastered by Dan Swanö (Unisound). How did that happen?
MP: Mixing this album was quite a serious ordeal for me. Even though I do have a reasonable amount of experience, mixing my own music is always the worst, it never feels done and there is infinite room for improvement. I spent an absolutely insane amount of time mixing this album and was never really quite satisfied with the result. Eventually, I made the decision to take a vacation, an entire month off from the project, when I got back, I sat down and finished it. Turns out that stepping away from something that had become an obsessive habit and clearing my mind, was all I needed. I knew right from the beginning that I wanted the album to be mastered by a name engineer, to give it that extra sparkle on top, so I had contacted three different engineers. Dan replied quite quickly and said that he’s extremely busy and will probably be unavailable until late autumn, but told me to send the mix over anyway, and he will have a look. It didn’t really work out with the other guys, but Dan got back to me in 4 days time with a finished master and the response: “Sounds fucking great I must say. Great mixwork!” That was single best response I could have ever gotten as an up and coming engineer and artist, especially, since Dan is one of our musical idols.
What have you been listening to lately (metal and non-metal)? Are there any acts that have inspired you of late?
HC: During the album writing process artists like Dark Fortress, Cattle Decapitation, Be’lakor, Opeth, Insomnium and Sikth made a serious impact on the different vocal techniques I implemented and experimented with. And lately I’ve been really enjoying the new albums by C.B. Murdoc, Black Crown Initiate, In Mourning and Ihshan.
MP: Well, Hisham already mentioned a lot of artists that I also really enjoyed, but I suppose musically, a lot of the compositions were heavily inspired by orchestral music and scores from films and video games. The longer and more atmospheric songs heavily rely on slow buildups and extensive layering, which is something I learned from composers like John Williams and more contemporary artists like Leprous. Atmosphere is something I believe many artists these days overlook when recording and producing albums, which is something the Black metal artists usually aim for as the single most important element, as opposed to technical proficiency that most modern bands focus on. One of the most life-changing musical experiences that I’ve had in recent years, that made me re-think the importance of composition and structured chaos is Gorguts – Colored Sands, an absolute must listen album to any metal fan who is looking for something out of the ordinary.
What are your interests/hobbies outside music?
HC: I am a full time architecture student, which takes up nearly all of my free time outside of music. As architecture is a creative output, it gives me inspiration for developing new ideas in music and vice versa. When I do get free time, I either spend it watching TV shows, informing myself about history, geography and politics, or I just go outdoors.
MP: Since I work full time in software development, I don’t have a lot of free time either, which is probably why it took three years to get this album done. But I really enjoy drinking craft beers, watching and reading science fiction, space operas, and fantasy.
Is the band going to be a studio project or a live band also? Do you have any plans to perform live soon?
MP: We are currently putting together a line-up for live shows and we will be embarking on a short Baltic regional tour this September. With this we aim to gain experience and build on the momentum in order to play festivals next summer.
HC: The main difficulty is finding a suitable drummer, as Dirk is unable to join us due to his obligations with Megadeth.
Thanks for answering our questions. Do you have any final words?
HC: Thanks for having us! Please, check out our album and videos on YouTube.
MP: Hopefully our fans won’t have to wait 3 more years for the next album.
Both: Jus drein jus daun!
Listen to Pulse of Nebulea below
Tyranny Rising is an upcoming death metal band from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Members of the band have been part of the metal scene in UAE for some time now. Last month, they released their debut EP ‘Prepare to Die’.
I spoke to vocalist Borna about the EP, recording at Haven studio and also their plans for the rest of the year.
United Arab Emirates is not a country known for its metal scene. How did the band get together?
It’s a really lost story. But to summarize, we all met when we were in school. Mon, our drummer, relocated between many schools, which was a blessing in disguise because that’s pretty much how he met all of us. Eventually, when he decided to start a band, he introduced us to each other and we formed a band called “Story of Grace”. When Story of Grace disbanded, Mon formed another band with Mark (his brother who was also in Story of Grace) and after a few months, they decided to ask Bassel and I to join as the Guitarist and Vocalist, respectively. We then contacted Crabz, who was Mon’s friend in his final year of high school, and he was happy to join us as the Bassist.
What made you decide to start a death metal band? What about the style appeals to you?
We all come from different backgrounds, different cultures, and although we love Metal, our tastes in specific genre differ. For example, I’m more into Melodic Death Metal, which influences my style of Vocals. Marco and Bassel are into Death Metal. Mon is into Nu Metal, and I’m not really sure what Crabz likes. It doesn’t really matter, because he’s the Bassist anyway. And we all have our influences of Thrash Metal.
To sum it all up, basically, we love all types of Metal and we love the music we write. We don’t aim to make it sound like any genre, really. We just put our minds together and write what we want to write, and what we think sounds good to us.
Your debut EP ‘Prepare to Die’ released last week. What are the songs on the EP about?
The title of the EP says it all, really. Go for the Throat, Power Overwhelming and Burn them to the ground are pretty much about change, and fighting back through Power and Hatred. But, Venture is my personal favorite in terms of lyrics. It tells a story. I’m not going to go to anything specific, because the story may differ depending on the readers’ perception. We have lyrics out with all songs on all stores and streams, so everyone can check it out for themselves.
The EP was recorded by Hand at Haven studio. What was the recording process like?
Working with Hadi Sarieddine was the best decision we’ve made in this band. Amazing producer, amazing personality, and man is the guy talented. Just a great experience over all. The process of the recording and mixing was rather quick, but we had difficulty with the timing of our release. We had a lot of other issues on the side which we had to deal with before releasing the EP. And we apologize for the long wait. But it’s out now, and even though donations are welcome, it’s completely FREE to listen and to download.
What are your thoughts on the metal scene in UAE?
The metal scene is a really touchy subject, unfortunately. A lot of hate. A lot of cancelled shows due to phony complaints, which just ruins everything for everyone, including the reputation of the people working hard to host gigs. On the bright side, there are more bands coming in from outside the Gulf area, which is a good thing. But the biggest issue, in my opinion, is that there aren’t enough all age shows. Gigs in Dubai, are MOSTLY in the same place, with the same set of bands taking turns to play every week or so, with the same faces showing up to support them. A lot has changed over the past decade, and it’s getting worse and worse. Hopefully we will see a change for the better.
Do recommend bands from UAE and the Arabian Gulf region that we should check out.
There is massive talent out there. A lot of amazing bands. We have played a lot of grindcore gigs, alongside great bands like Gates of Gomorrah, Project Skvll Fvck, Maticrust, In Times of Despair and many more. Apart from the grindcore scene, you should definitely check out Alpha.Kenny.Buddy, Voice of the Soul, and Benevolent.
What are your plans to promote the EP? Do you have any shows planned?
Unfortunately, we do not have any booked shows at the moment, we are busy writing some more music and working on hopefully getting some merch out there. We’ve had a lot of requests for merch, so we will have something coming up in the near future.
Do you have any final words?
Support, support, support. You don’t need to go to every single event in order to be a fan or a supporter. We hear a lot of complaints about people not “supporting the scene”. The sad truth is that the same people refuse to attend other events apart from their own, so how can you expect any different from others. And lastly, support new upcoming bands and give them a chance.
Listen to ‘Prepare to Die’ below
The metal scene in Dubai has been quiet for the past couple of months. However that changed last weekend, Finnish melodic death metal band Insomnium performed at the Music Room.
I was expecting the gig to start after 10 pm but when I reached the venue I realised that the openers Smouldering in the Forgotten had already finished their set. It was good to finally meet the guys later in the night.
I have been listening to Insomnium for a decade now. The first album I heard by them was “Above the weeping world” and was really glad that they played songs from the album like “The Killjoy“, “The Gale” and “Mortal Share“. The band started off their set with tracks from their recent release “Shadows of the Dying Sun” and covered their entire discography. They were in top form and put on a great show. The audience were equally enthusiastic, I noticed a moshpit going during their faster songs. Here is the entire set list they performed
I was glad to see a good turnout for the show. It shows that metal is still alive in the city. Overall it was good night thanks to Metal East Records. Looking forward to Finish doom metal band Swallow the Sun next month.
Here are a couple of pictures of Insomnium I took on my phone.
De Profundis are a death metal band from UK. I first heard about them when there were supporting band at the Iron Maiden in India in 2007 however I never had the chance to hear their music. Last month, they released their 4th album “Kingdom of the Blind” and it sounds really good. I spoke to their guitarist Shoi Sen about their album, their experience in India and more.
The band released their 4th album “Kingdom of the Blind” last month. “It follows from last year’s EP ‘Frequencies’. Its 9 tracks of uncompromising progressive Death Metal.” said Shoi about the allbum. “We decided on this album to go for the jugular ie shorten the songs and go faster.”
“Actually the songs from EP and the album were written and recorded at the same time. For the EP we choose the more direct songs and kept the slightly more prog songs for the album.” said Shoi about how the album compares to their previous release, “Frequencies” EP.
“The major difference is that we down tuned to D which automatically made us sound heavier and nastier.” said Shoi on the changes they made in songwriting and recording. “We had a line up change during the writing of the album, our old guitarist Roman was asked to leave. When Paul (Nazarkardeh second guitar) joined we were in a position for the first where both guitars were on the same page with regards to technique and musical ideas.”
“Kingdom of the Blind” has been released by Wickerman Records. “Our management looked for a deal, for once I had nothing to do with hunting for a label which was a good thing. I think it works better from a negotiation point to let someone else than yourself deal with the business side of a band. ” said Shoi about how they got signed to the label. ”Wickerman gave us the best deal financially and it still early days but let’s see what they do with the album. We knew our relationship with our previous label Kolony Records was over for some time.”
“Well ‘Frequencies’ was voted best self release by readers of Zero Tolerance magazine which is a huge deal and our bass player Arran entered the TOP 10 bass players poll on the back of the EP, so I would say the EP did us a lot of good.” said Shoi about the response they got for their EP ‘Frequencies’. “We toured a fair bit with that album including a UK tour with our awesome brothers of Demonic Resurrection.”
The band has toured across 24 countries in the past decade. “Without a doubt our 2 shows back in 2010 in the North East of India. Guwahati and Shillong were just plain awesome, the fans were fucking rabid metal nutcases. I am so hoping we can get our asses back there with this album, it would be a killer show.” said Shoi describing the shows that have stood out in his memory.
UK is considered by many to be the birth place of metal however not much is known about the underground metal scene there. “So many good bands in the UK dude, unfortunately all the media coverage seems to be devoted to the Scandinavian hordes, it pretty much looks like they are the only one who can do metal these days which is so bullshit. Anyway check out bands like Formicarius, Beyond Grace, Spires, Reign of Perdition, Scythian.” Shoi recommends bands from the country.
De Profundis are no strangers to India. In 2007, they opened for Iron Maiden and since then have performed multiple times. “They are very enthusiastic that’s for sure but very young. When you go to metal festivals in the UK you will see different generation which isn’t the case in India.” Shoi shares his thoughts on the metal scene in India. “The other issue with the crowd being so young is there is a lack of merch sales, which is pretty much the main income for bands these days so it’s a little difficult to tour India due financial exposure but you know what it doesn’t matter the crowd’s enthusiasm makes up for the loss of sales.”
“Well we were supposed to be touring for a month with 2 huge US death metal bands but that has been postponed for now which is a bit disappointing. But not much we can do so we focusing on writing the next album which is well under way.” said Shoi about their plans for the rest of the year. “We will be on the road a lot next year and really expect to play India. We are planning on doing a video soon as well.”
“Well people of India keep supporting De Profundis like you have from the early days.” said Shoi with a special message for their Indian fans. “Buy, download Kingdom of the Blind if you want proper metal with no cheesy gimmicks and hopefully see you all soon to create the pit from hell at one of our shows!”
Listen to “Kult of the Orthodox” from the “Kingdom of the Blind” below