Posts Tagged ‘Metal’
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
With just over 2 months to go for the end of the year, there’s been another killer release from the Indian metal scene; Burn up the night by heavy metal band Kryptos. The band are one of the oldest surviving metal bands in India. Over the past 18 years they have released 3 albums.
Burn up the Night released through AFM Records features a straight up 80’s heavy metal sound which will appeal particularly to “old school” metal fans. I enjoyed the album as the songwriting and production contrasts with the sterile sounds of upcoming bands
I (Peter ‘Trendcrusher‘ K.) spoke to vocalist/guitarist Nolan Lewis about their change in sound, music videos and their recent European tour.
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NWOBHM band Mythra have been cited by Lars Ulrich of Metallica as one of his his early musical influences. The band reunited last year after 30 years and released a compilation album Warriors of Time: The Anthology via Skol Records. Mythra are now signed to High Roller Records and are heading to the studio to record a new album album titled Still Burning.
I spoke to the band about their The Death and Destiny’LP, their deal with High Roller Records and also what to expect from their upcoming album.
Read my interview with Mythra 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
Who: Allfather The band consists of Alan (guitar), Andrew (bass), Joe (guitar), Kieron (drums) and Tom (vocals).
“Andrew (bass but at the time guitar) and I were talking over twitter about bands and stuff. Our kids went to the same small school here in Medway and one day he asked if I wanted to play bass in a band he wanted to get together.” said vocalist Tom about how the band got together. “I said I couldn’t play bass but used to shout into microphones about ten years before and would love to have a go again. That was summer 2013, we finally got to play something in December 2013 (we tried a cover of Raging Speedhorn – Fuck the Voodoo Man) and basically took it from there. Our current line up came together earlier this year when Joe joined on 2nd guitar and now it feels like we are really onto something.”
Where: Rochester, UK
What: The band released their 2nd EP, ‘Bless the Earth with Fire’ last month. “It started off as five tracks but we thought we would add Blood Red Sunset on at the end as a bonus track. We thought it was as strong as the rest of the material but it was recorded in a different studio and has different production on it so it wouldn’t really fit in.” said Tom about the release. “Our approach has always just to try and write aggressive as fuck songs that are full of hooks and catches without sounding too contrived. Overall our tone and sound is sludgey but we try not to limit ourselves to worrying about genres. We try and write what sounds good. Hopefully you’ll hear elements of hardcore, doom, straight up heavy fucking metal, bits of stoner and even a bit of bounce.”
“Lyrically there is probably an overall theme of death, I mean come on, we are a metal band. Andrew and I share lyric writing duties. For us they need to mean something but also sound fucking cool if you’re singing along.” said Tom explaining the lyrical themes.
How: “The songs were written in 2014/15 and we recorded it at the end of last summer with Jason Frye at Son of Sun studio in Margate. In terms of songwriting our general approach is that Al (lead guitar) or Andrew come up with some guitar demos, we out them up on Soundcloud for the band to listen to, we pick what we like, take it into a studio and work it through” said Tom describing their songwriting process. “We keep reviewing and tweaking it until we think it is good to go. We are now working on new material and it’s the first time Joe has done it with us so we are looking forward to seeing what he can bring.”
“I think about 5 days. A day of drums, a day of vocals and then about 2 and half days of guitar and bass. Those were hard days but well worth it. Doing vocals I drunk a whole bottle of honey and still came away with no voice” said Tom about how they recorded the EP.
“Keep playing shows where and when we can. We all have jobs/families etc. so touring is going to be hard” said Tom about their plans for the rest of the year. “Also writing new material. Not sure how/when we’re going to try and release it but it would be nice to have a couple of new songs coming out by the end of the year but we will see how it goes.”
Stream/Download ‘Bless the Earth with Fire’ below
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.
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.