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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Live review: Damn Pigeon, A Rebel Few at Back Alley Bar, St. Thomas, ON, Canada, November 11th, 2017


Homey with great food (parmesan-pepper wings! Yea) and a pleasant backwoods atmosphere describe the Back Alley Bar in St, Thomas ON – Canada; it was perfect. It reminded me of my small town roots and working the bars and the rock n roll was just as awesome as it was back in the day.


A Rebel Few

Cool sounding band name, good metal look, loud n proud and a desire to have fun onstage is the best way to describe Raposo-vocals/guitar, Barry Martin-guitar, Chris Spiers-drums and Adam Shortreed-bass. Self-proclaimed D.I.R.T bags -DB4L, (Driven by Integrity Respect Trust) is a great take on that outlived negative moniker and will hopefully take them far.

Expert players all, they rocked the house with a pounding crisp sound, despite several technical issues which, in their fun-loving way, played through them, made jokes and engaged us with a rousing bout of HELLYAS! Some kick ass music here and a great stage presence.

I WAS looking forward to the completed cover version of Bryan Adams It’s Only Love via your FB teaser trailer, but alas it’s a work in progress! Nice one lads, a great cut!

Their EP, As The Crow Flies available on cdbaby and on their FB page, consisting of the killer tracks, bangers all, Born Again, Rebel Few, Empires Fall, Dyin Breed, Said n Done, Serious, Who Knows, Bitter Man and Revolution were sonically and powerfully given to the small but active crowd and got us severely ramped up for the headliner…


Damn Pigeon

The utter kindness and sincerity from each of the band coming over to chat briefly before their set and sign my freebie cd’s of their latest album Whiskey Sinners and an incredible bonus of their 2014 release Re-Coop (haha!.. Pigeon, chicken coop, birds? Get it?), and a signature Damn Pigeon shot glass, currently unavailable on their website, was a testament to Canadian Kindness. Hand on heart for this generosity lads, but you can’t keep giving this stuff away!

Already spoiled by their YouTube videos from their latest record Whiskey Sinners, Haunted and Killswitch I was immediately roused with a pounding version of Rammstein’s Du Hast, ok, now we’re cooking with fire. Unreal! The lovely metal chords of Starlight, an awesome tune with the coolest chorus infused with emotion laden harmonies and screaming guitar solos.

The band was pro all the way, acting as a total team: Musicians Extraordinaire: Doug Weir (lead vox and guitars), Joe Edmiston (guitars and vocals), Steve Proctor (guitars), Steve Proud (Proudy) (bass guitars), Jason Latimer (drums), we were treated to an eclectic mix of definite power metal and rock, interspersed with vestiges of Alan Parsons Project (I heard it in there, don’t care what anyone says), Thin Lizzy, 70’s rock, 80’s anthem metal, all pulled together by their superb originality and writing.

I was particularly hit by the appearance of all four guitars out front during several songs with excellent light and smoke show, reminding me of one of my favourite concerts, Blue Oyster Cult, when all members came out with guitars, including the drummer. A truly moving moment for me; I don’t know why, it’s one of those that hits you at a concert, y’know?

Doug is an outstanding front man, hurling praise to A Rebel Few, getting everyone metal-motivated and some great humour thrown in when he thanked “Mr. Happy Face”, a loose, smiley beach ball, batted around with various ferocities depending on the song, and of course a heartfelt shout out to all veterans on today’s Remembrance Day.

The thundering, lightning strike speed of Jason’s drum solo Was. So. Cool. It felt like a Peart solo in under a minute. Fast. Really fast. Accurate. Sniper accurate.

Then suddenly a Kiss cover tune (Rock n Roll All Night) and a Cars cover (can’t recall which), strategically placed near closing and people suddenly poured onto the spacious dance floor and were giving their all. Some small town 50 year old teenage power drinkers were there (not me!) obstructing my perfect view from stage left, doing the Wobbly-Knee Tango and refreshingly annoying, again bringing me back to my old days working the taverns, but all having a good time.

This live set was amazing, punctuated with the ‘infectious’, laugh a minute Stripper Crotch. Guys, what the hell...laffin all the way to those cool riffin beats! This promises to be more ‘catchy’ than a Top 40, any day!

10/10 easy! Must see live! Must See Live!

Written by Alessandro

Damn Pigeon Official Website
Damn Pigeon Facebook
Damn Pigeon Twitter
A Rebel Few Official Website
A Rebel Few Facebook
A Rebel Few Twitter

Monday, November 20, 2017

Live review: Seita, Apophys at Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, November 9th, 2017


Today Amsterdam based death/thrash metal band Seita released their new, second full-length album called Maledictus Mundi. They celebrated this release with a Maledictus Mundi releaseparty in the upstairs venue of the Melkweg, in their hometown.

When arriving at the Melkweg I saw two big crowds of people waiting outside of the venue, but both weren’t looking like metalheads. It turned out one of those was waiting for Princess Nokia (according to the Melkweg website some hiphop/r&b), and the other crowd being there for a Finnish rockband called Sunrise Avenue. After a while I saw some metalheads waiting for Seita.

When arriving at Melkweg's upstairs venue it seems like it’s some sort of movie theater venue, even with some higher placed seats in the back. The stage was very low, only a bit higher than the audience.


First it was time for the support act Apophys to warm up the crowd. The venue, which was really small, wasn’t very full yet. However Apophys started their set at full speed. With their intense music, combined with a very intense, hectic light show, they really played a very heavy show. Drummer Michiel van der Plicht and bassist Sid van Kastel are definitely the very solid backbone for Apophys. They literally made the ground shake with their bass tunes. Vocalist Kevin Quilligan has a very brutal voice and with his movements like some kind of evil maniac he really delivered a very good show. Besides some little issues with one of the guitars in one track, Apophys played a great show!


After a short break, it was time for Seita to enter the stage. While this break only lasted for around 15 minutes or so, the venue was quickly getting packed with people who wanted to see these Amsterdam metallers. When Seita started with their first notes it was immediately clear that Seita fans are very dedicated. Having seen this Seita show I now completely understand why. They deliver such an intense, extreme, chaotic (in a good way) show! This is something which punches your body so hard, it is impossible not feeling it. The band shows a lot of energy and succeeds in bringing this onto the audience. Especially bassist Diego Gomez shows a very high level of energy. What a show!


I think this releaseparty for Seita’s new full-length album Maledictus Mundi was a great success and I would highly recommend seeing Seita and Apophys live. Great, heavy, intense shows and you won’t regret it.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen, photos by John van der Zee

Read another DutchMetalManiac live review of Seita, among others, here.

Seita Official Website
Seita Facebook
Seita Twitter
Apophys Official Website
Apophys Facebook
Apophys Twitter

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Live review: Delain, Serenity, Cellar Darling at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands, October 31th, 2017


It is October 31, the Dutch day of the Danse Macabre tour with special guest Marco Hietala of Nightwish. The expectations were high if you ask me. I have seen Delain earlier during the Moonbathers tour and also many times before, so I knew what they were capable of. Now, with such a special guest as Marco Hietala it had to be a kick ass show!

First on the stage there was Cellar Darling. To them the humble task was given to open the show and warm up the audience. And oh boy they did a hell of a job! Despite the fact that the band doesn’t have any really complex songs, they did manage to hold my attention and keep things interesting. Simply by being minimalistic. Apart from a few lightning effects, they don’t need many things to distract the audience. They are just good at what they do. This is mostly due to the strong and clear vocals by singer Anna Murphy. From the first moment she gets on stage it is clear that she can front the band. From little quiet songs to heavy melodic guitar songs, this band has it all. There are even some folk influences thanks to the addition of the hurdy-gurdy. This means that there is a lot of variation in the songs. But what I remember the most about seeing this band play on stage, is the incredible stage presence of this young lady. Without being too much in the picture she knows exactly what to do. And that’s a great accomplishment for an opening act.

Especially if you know that after that symphonic power metallers Serenity come on stage. This band stands in great contrast with its predecessor. Where Cellar Darling most of time is very modest and straightforward, Serenity is everything but that. This enthusiastic band does have very fanatical and loyal fans. You could also hear that in the audience this night. That these people didn’t come all the way for Delain only, became clear very fast. From the first moment Serenity got on stage the fans were ecstatic! This of course, had everything to do with singer Georg Neuhauser. His endless energy and enthusiastic performance often seem a little slik. It is all very well thought off and it seems that from the beginning you are watching some kind of Shakespearean play. That doesn’t mean that this is a bad thing however, it simply fits well with this kind of music. The band plays extremely well, especially the guitarists who enjoy enough freedom on stage to do their thing. After three songs singer Natascha Koch enters the stage. Directly visible is the fact that these two vocalists work exceptionally well together. They complement each other and turn Serenity into a well-oiled machine. The audience got what they came for. The fact that Serenity isn’t really my kind of music doesn’t degrade the quality of this good show.

Then it is finally time for Delain. The set list immediately starts great with the now standardized intro The Monarch followed by the first song Hands Of Gold. This is a great starter because for the grunts in this song George Oosthoek was called on stage. His incredible grunts give this song what it deserves. We Are The Others is next. With this song I always feel a lot of familiarity. Not to tell you any details, but I also know what it’s like to be treated differently. Like many other people in this world. This song is about that and speaks to all these people, it’s okay to be different.

The Glory And The Scum, Get The Devil Out Of Me, Sucker Punch and Danse Macabre form a heavier section of this set list. Scarlet is the next song. I haven’t really spoken about Charlotte’s vocals yet. I think this mostly has to do with the fact that I’ve been to so many Delain shows, that it is normal for me to hear her sing exceptionally well. But during the song Scarlet you can really hear how great she is. Scarlet had Elianne Anemaat on cello. Of course, in the heavier songs you can also hear that Charlotte can sing, but with a beautiful quiet ballad it is a little easier. It was also a perfect time for me to determine how versatile Charlotte really is. She has grown a lot over the years as a performer. Her interaction with the audience is sincere and very spontaneous. This is also the case for the other band members. If we for example pick Merel Bechtold, this woman has been a great addition to the band for some time now and her interaction with front–woman Charlotte is a sight for sore eyes! The only thing that bothers me a bit is that Merel never plays any guitar solos. I don’t know if this is by choice, I mean I can’t imagine she can’t play a complex solo. However, Merel doesn’t look like she is unhappy in the band at all! And speaking of the guitar solos of Timo, of course they are phenomenal. In this genre of metal not many classic guitar solos are played, so I always like it when I hear a great solo.

Here Come The Vultures and Fire With Fire are performed very powerful by Charlotte and the band. After that it is time for Marco Hietala to steal the show. He is doing this a little half-baked. He starts off amazing in Your Body Is A Battleground. In this first duet with Charlotte, Marco shows what he came for. I directly noticed that Marco has a very free role tonight as opposed to being in Nightwish. Nightwish shows are being directed very tight and everybody got their own roles but when you are acting as a guest singer in a Delain show then you can do whatever you want, and that is precisely what Marco does. He is all over the place and makes contact with members of Delain, however, this is not always good for his singing voice because where he is singing well enough in the first song I mentioned, the same cannot be said for the next two songs Nothing Left and Control The Storm. In the song after that, Sing To Me, he recovers a bit. What follows are some heavy Delain songs without Marco Hietala where the band shows how much they have grown as a band. Delain has become a well-oiled machine on stage. When it was time for Scandal, the cover of rock legends Queen, Marco Hietala returned to the stage. At first, I was afraid that he would screw up this difficult song based on his performance of the last few songs. However, I couldn’t be more wrong, Marco hits every note and the band produces a great version of this wonderful song! Charlotte’s vocals are absolutely phenomenal and this is not for the first time.

Then there is only one song left that needs to be played with Marco Hietala. At The Gathering everybody jumps up and down and a confetti cannon goes off. Having Marco for this song is great, but choosing The Gathering as a closing song couldn’t have been better! It was a fantastic show that, if you ask me, could have easily been just as good without Marco Hietala. Delain is capable of much more than that. But the fact that Marco was there satisfied a lot of fans and made the evening even more special than it already was!

It was a night to remember! Thank you Delain!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden, photo by Tim van Velthuysen

Read another DutchMetalManiac live review of Delain here and our review of Delain's Moonbathers album here. Go here for our interview with Delain's Martijn Westerholt and here for the one with Charlotte Wessels in which we spoke with her about Phantasma.

Delain Official Website
Delain Facebook
Delain Twitter
Serenity Official Website
Serenity Facebook
Serenity Twitter
Cellar Darling Official Website
Cellar Darling Facebook
Cellar Darling Twitter

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Live review: Skálmöld, Omnium Gatherum, Stam1na at Backstage, Munchen, Germany, November 12th, 2017

On 12th of November, the Arctic Circle Alliance stopped by for an evening at Backstage club in Munich, Germany. The frosty name of the alliance is hinting towards the countries of origin of the groups: up high from the north, Finnish bands Stam1na and Omnium Gatherum are touring together with Skálmöld from Iceland.

This epic evening kicked off with the guys from Stam1na, who not only entertained with their Finnish-speaking songs, but also with their profound knowledge of the German language (“Mein Arschloch ist kaputt!” (a.k.a. my asshole is broken!)). Time flew by way too fast, especially for me as this was the first time I’ve seen the guys live, but surely not for the last time!

Omnium Gatherum then took over after a quick tag break. The sextet obviously had a lot of fun during their show, and entertained the crowd by constant interaction and with a broad selection of old and new songs. Amongst others, they played Formidable, The Pit, Skyline and the crowd-favorite, Frontiers. In addition, they also performed their newest track, Blade Reflection, already wetting the appetite for the follow-up longplayer to Grey Heavens.

Lastly, Skálmöld climbed the stage, and with them came the more folky part of the evening. With texts only in Icelandic and dealing with Norse mythology, the audience was drawn into the wild past of the sextet’s home country. Also here a wide variety between old and new songs guaranteed a very diverse show, from Gleipnir and Kvadning all the way to tracks taken from their latest release, such as Nidavellir, the dark Muspell and the mid-tempo Niflheimur. The audience rewarded Skálmöld’s enthusiasm with circle pits and imitations of rowing Viking ships, and really had a blast. All in all, the Arctic Circle Alliance delivered an epic evening and hopefully will come back to Munich soon!

Written by Julia Obenauer

Read our review of Skálmöld's Vögguvísur Yggdrasils here, as well as two live reviews including Omnium Gatherum here and here.

Skálmöld Official Website
Skálmöld Facebook
Skálmöld Twitter
Omnium Gatherum Official Website
Omnium Gatherum Facebook
Omnium Gatherum Twitter
Stam1na Official Website
Stam1na Facebook

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Interview: Dvne


In July, Scottish metallers Dvne released their debut full-length Asheran. At their show in Merleyn, Nijmegen during their tour with French metallers Crackhouse, DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart, drummer Dudley Tait and vocalist/guitarist Dan Barter.

For people not knowing you (yet), can you tell us something about Dvne's history?

Victor: Yeah, I am French, I moved to the UK eight years ago. There I started the band with the drummer, then the rest joined in. The first show we played was with EyeHateGod in Glasgow, which was really cool. Dan joined us when we already wrote some songs for the first EP. So from that moment we were a proper band with vocals. Before that we didn't have any vocals. Then we wrote another EP, Aurora Majesty, and toured with Fange, a band from France. They are really good, heavy, kind of noise/sludge/d-beat. After that we toured with Trudger, which are really like us, but a bit less melodic, in Europe, which was also really cool. Then we wrote Asheran, which is our last one and our first full-length album. We actually start singing, it's more composed music.

The homeland of Dvne is Scotland right?

Victor: Yeah, it is. We started the band in Edinburgh and are still based there. I am moving to London soon, but the band will stay as it is. Edinburgh is a great city and Scotland has been great to us. Our label is from Scotland as well, they pretty much released everything we did so far. We've done a music video recently for Thirst, which was filmed in the Highlands of Scotland. It's a beautiful country, sometimes bleak but also really beautiful with great landscapes. When we went to do the music video, we thought like our music is expansive, aggressive, we felt that it was a great way as a tribute to the kind of landscapes we have around us. I would highly recommend Scotland.

How is the Scottish metalscene?

Victor: It's great, there are a lot of bands doing some very interesting stuff at the moment. A really good band I would highly recommend is Sapien. Another band is Barshasketh, who play black metal, one of them is from New Zealand, but I think the others are from Scotland. I know some of them, actually. You've got Haar, a great black metal band. Haar means fog in Scottish. In Glasgow there's a great scene, but I know more about the Edinburgh scene. You've got King Witch as well, which we are good friends with. They are doing pretty great and just signed with Listenable Records. There are quite good venues. Glasgow is also great, the underground scene there isn't what it used to be, but they still have some great bands, for example The Cosmic Death, it's some kind of acid prog. They played Roadburn, Psycho Las Vegas, they are really topnotch.

You already played some shows with Crackhouse, including tonight, how is it going so far?

Victor: Amazing. Funny enough, some shows were in basements or houses. Those small places tend to be packed and when we play bigger venues, as tonight, fewer people come. However it doesn't really matter, because I think the reception is pretty much all very good. We are not used to it, since Asheran came out, people show more interest to the band. So we are going to gigs and see people knowing the music. People are much more engaged to our music then before. It's makes the show more interesting for us as well, we put more effort in it.

Dudley: If you don't know the music you can enjoy, but if you know the music, there's more. Because we released the album, it feels like people are getting a bit of experience. It makes a big difference for us.

Victor: The same story with Crackhouse, people are really engaged with their music as well.

Both bands play very intense music.

Victor: Yeah, of course. The shows are meant to be. What works for both of us and why we toured together is that both bands have a melodic edge. They are probably more into the doom/post-metal scene, we are probably more into the sludge/progressive. You can name it however you want, I don't really believe in labels these days, it's just what you play. We both have melodic moments in common. We want something melodic and not be heavy and relentless all the time. Both bands don't want to do so, but want to go through movements and change.

What is it that makes Dvne Dvne?

Dudley: It starts with the fact that we are all good friends, we can really get to the fine parts of music by communicating the way we want. Things just happen because we know each other. We know what we are trying to go for. It always brings out the best in us.

Victor: We are a band who will release a new album when we feel like we have something. What we are trying to do is make something that we generally enjoy which is melodic and heavy at the same time, with a lot of impact. To have a lot of impact we go through quiet sections and after those the energy is there. When we wrote this album, we really enjoyed jamming and writing it.

Dudley: It was fun, but not really hard. The songs flowed in.

Victor: When we had a period where we kept changing bassists, we were playing a lot of tragedy and heavy stuff.

Dudley: We even played some black metal.

Victor: We wrote two tracks on the back of the previous EP and they were heavy, old school tragedy kind of stuff.

Dudley: When we started exploring how we felt, the music came. Rather than trying to vent somewhere outside. Victor found himself and the music came. We all were in the zone.

In July you released Asheran. When you compare Asheran to the first two EP's (Progenitor (2013) and Aurora Majesty (2014)), what is it you notice?

Dudley: They were the way we were feeling at that time.

Victor: For me, the EP's were things we wanted to do like other bands. Asheran feels like it's really us.

Dudley: The EP's were us venting ourselves.

Victor: What we have done on this album is what we like to listen to. I don't listen to our own music.

Dudley: I like it, also the EP's. I have some evenings when I have a good beer, put one of my own songs on and I get goosebumps. It's a weird feeling. It took a long time for me to listen to my own songs without listening to the drums or another specific part. Just trying to forget it. One night, I will never forget, I smoked a big joint, zoned out and heard the music from listeners point of view, rather than from the person who contributed to it. That was very exciting.

Asheran is your first release with Allan Paterson on bass.

Yeah, but he left the band because he had two kids. He is a great bassist and a great friend, we had great times together, but with his kids it's impossible to tour for him. There were no issues for his replacement, but now Anderson Fry is our bassist.

What's the story behind Asheran?

Victor: Actually Dan, our gitarist, can answer that question the best.

Dudley: We came up with an idea, Dan took the idea and turned it into his own story, really cool.

Victor: We write the music first, then we get to the story.

Dan: It has influences from a lot of things, for example sci-fi and Studio Ghibli films. It's like an ark, from two perspectives, so you have people coming back that left a few thousand years ago. I like to leave things a bit open for interpretation. They come back and then it's basically a story about how they interact with the nature that has regrouped since they left.

Dudley: The earth got damaged because of what people have done to it, so they left. When they came back there were still some very small civilizations that could live with nature and life, they way it should be.

Victor: The story is much more from the nature itself, nature taken the world back and humans coming back.

Dudley: When they came back the planet had grown back to life the way the planet would. When the people came back, they did so because they lost with what they tried to do in space. The simplest way to say it is that they not learned about their mistakes.

Dan: It's a very tragic story.

Dudley: They came back and are going to do the same thing again that caused the problem.

Victor: Dan is vegan as well.

Dan: I like the planet.

Victor: We are all kind of green ecologists. Gojira also talks about that a lot. We really find inspiration in nature. We are all conscious about it, that was a point we had in common for this album.

Dudley: And we like Princess Mononoke.

Victor: Yeah, it's amazing, a very good story.

On Edenfall you have a guest vocalist, Jenni Sneddon. How did you met her and how was working with her?

Dan: I work with her outside the band and she's also in a band with my girlfriend. She came in quite late on, because there was someone else but couldn't do it. Then she stepped in, which was very cool, because she had a very short notice.

Victor: We had something in mind, so we knew how we wanted it. Guests is something we might look for in the future as well. It's interesting stuff to do. On our releaseshow we had Allan (our previous bassist) playing extra guitar and Jenni played keys and did backing vocals. So Dvne is a four-piece for now but it might change. I am big fan of bands like Magma, Ulver, they don't care about that. They want to do something and when they need more people on stage, they just do it.

Dudley: They know what sound they want and they bring in whoever they need to get that sound. The sound is top priority. It's better than taking samples or something.

Victor: I would never do that.

Dudley: It has to be naturally and honest.

Victor: Honesty is a big thing for us.

The artwork of Asheran is created by Eli Quinn, what made him the right person for this job?

Victor: I have seen his artworks. He did the cover for a release from Droid and it was fantastic. What we were after was something intricated. Eli did the artwork and Dan kind of build on that. Eli is great, we felt like the cover has everything we wanted and he is very Princess Mononoke/Studio Ghibli-inspired.

Dudley: He was happy to work with us.

Your music combines a lot of different music styles, what are your musical influences?

Victor: Isis, Tool, Mastodon, Neurosis, Inter Arma, classic rock, Led Zeppelin, we all listen to different music styles. Dan was in a band, Dudley in a rock band, I came from a classical musical background.

Dudley: That's why the music is us.

Victor: A next album probably has elements from Asheran, but it also will be different as well. I am very interested in having a keyboardplayer, maybe a bit of folk, some violin. If we can do it, we will do it. We try to not limit ourselves.

Last month you were announced as the first band for ProgPower Europe next year, looking forward to it?

Victor: It's going to be great! We will try to make things a bit special for it. It will be a Dutch exclusive, we will probably make a tour out of it. We will be on some festivals the week before and after, but I can't talk about that yet. There is another Scottish band just announced for it, Ramage Inc. . We are friends with some of them.

Do you already have plans for new material?

Dudley: We have started for some riffs and drums.

Victor: We wrote two tracks for Asheran which aren't on it. Every band does it, but our tracks are a bit long, so it's a lot of work. After this tour we will probably start really writing some new stuff.

Dudley: We are doing great, quality shows and after that we spend our spare time writing stuff. Asheran wasn't rushed, we will do take our time again.

Victor: We won't do the same thing over and over again, no Asheran 2 or something. We want to do something different.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Dudley: Look forward to the next stuff, because it will be kickass. We try to stay in control of our music. When it's the right time, the next stuff will be there.

Dan: See you at ProgPower.

Dvne Facebook
Dvne Twitter

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Kobra And The Lotus - Prevail I


When it comes to Kobra And The Lotus, I am relatively new to the band. Even though the band already has three full-length albums under their belt. Prevail I is this third album. The first song on the album has a really familiar name, it is called Gotham, named after the city where Batman lives. If you listen clearly, you can even hear the Batman tune, although the guitars are a lot heavier in this one! When the vocals start immediately after that, it becomes inescapably clear to me what an extraordinary lead woman Kobra Paige is. At first glance, her vocals aren’t really that special, you might say, yeah, I’ve heard this before, but these vocals are so incredibly powerful that you immediately know what this band stands for. Because that’s what goes through my head when listening to this. You can’t compare the vocals with anything else I have heard in this genre. They are unique, granted, at times they are somewhat simplistic like many of the catchy choruses on the album. Now, I don’t mean simplistic as in not well thought off, no I just mean catchy. The choruses remain in your head, so that if you go to a live show, you can easily sing along with them.

The second song TriggerPulse starts with some heavy guitars. Again, just like the first song the chorus is catchy, almost a little pop like. But the song is accompanied by a really strong rhythm section and a very powerful guitar riff, which makes it a full-blown metal song. When listening to the next song on the album You Don’t Know you can hear that it was meant to be the first single. This song was also my first acquaintance with Kobra And The Lotus and one an acquaintance that has been! If you, upon hearing that song for the first time, only pay attention to the drums than you might think you are listening to Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 but when those heavy guitars come into play, you can clearly hear that it’s Kobra And The Lotus. Despite that it is not a typical Kobra And The Lotus song. The next song Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber) is a very heavy song with tight guitar riffs and outstanding drums, this song is easily one of the best songs on this album. Kobra Paige is a force to be reckoned with, with her threatening and powerful vocals. Less prominent is the ballad Light Me Up. But the song does exactly what it needs to do, it breaks the heaviness of the album by being a beautiful intermezzo.

The next song, Manifest Destiny, is with some distance the best track on the album if you ask me. Vocally, lead singer Kobra Paige shifts into a higher gear! In the chorus she uses all her vocal capabilities and opens all of her registers. What amazing vocals this woman has. The song Victim is about being responsible for your own actions, I only agree to this to some extent, but I am not here to advocate life lessons, but to review a good album. Anyway, this song is heavy and transfers the message very well. Check The Phyrg is kind of an different song. Why? Well, the song is completely instrumental and it has a lot of guitar violence! It is pointless to me to try and describe everything that is happening in this song, because there is so much going on and it’s truly epic. Despite the catchy chorus again from the next song Hell On Earth this song is the most lugubrious song on the album. The song has a lot of threatening vocals and a very threatening tone overall. Again, there are these very tight guitar riffs and outstanding vocals. The variations in the vocals fit this song very well. While Hell On Earth is very dark, the title track Prevail is really positive and patriotic. It’s a nice positive closing song on this nice album.

If I have to describe Kobra And The Lotus, then I would say it’s accessible metal for people that don’t listen to metal very often, but also for true metalheads. It’s a wonderful band that deserves the attention it gets, because if their live shows are as good as their studio material, then people are in for a very good time!!!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

Kobra And The Lotus Official Website
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Saturday, November 11, 2017

Live review: Lynch Mob, SFD (Searching For Daybreak), Ryder at The Rockpile, Toronto, ON, Canada, November 4th, 2017

Ryder


A super pleasant surprise of good ol’ fashioned rock n metal! They were playing as we got into the venue, already jammed to the gunnels, so missed some of their tunes, but what was heard was fabulous. You know when the sound of a band you’ve never heard but hits you just right? Great audio and a tight presentation, James Ryder: vocals/guitar, Andrew Bloch: guitar, Tim Freyr: bass and Billy Smith: drums from NYC garnered lots of love. Lovin’ their song Do or Die! No swag CD’s there but their EP IV, is available through their Facebook. They were pleasant as all grits at their merch table. Remarkable performance after driving 20 hours and then having to drive back! Putting on some rock n roll miles in addition to the miles they have already put on! Hilarious FB bit back at the hotel post-show. Keep goin lads! 9/10

SFD (Searching For Daybreak)

 

Admittedly, I was doing some intense networking here, but what I did hear was pretty good. More of an Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Shinedown groove especially their song Scream, (so not ultimately my favourite), but very solid and pretty intense presentation. Garrett Alto: vocals, Brad Black: guitar, Zakk Scott: bass and Steve Scott: drums do a great job as the act before Lynch Mob, ramping everyone up and getting the fists pumping. Their CD So Far Down is available on their Facebook. With a long and storied resume, playing with some big acts, these lads are sure to please the 90’s music fans, with some good rock riffs and beat laid down for the newbies of the world. 8/10


Lynch Mob


From the set list, it pretty much went as expected with the unseen bonus addition of the Dokken gem, Tooth and Nail. Their musicianship and onstage presence was awesome and their experience shone through, navigating the above-average annoying, high-flying phone fans. A few pictures, OK, I’m taking them too, but wasting a front row space and videoing the whole show? C’mon!


My highlight was seeing Mr. Scary performed in its entirety. A scorching 5+minute guitar solo that has been my favourite (except for Triumph’s Rik Emmet’s Rock n Roll Machine) from the Dokken classic album Back for the Attack. Lynch powered through this in his inimitable style, searing riffs and face-melting licks and I am glad I got to see this up close in this excellent venue.


Oni Logan’s vox are as searingly great as ever, glad you’re back in brotha! and the backbone pound-sound of drummer Jimi D’Anda and Sean McNabb’s thundering, chest-burster bass completed this perfect rock picture. Sorry, I can’t take a picture worth a damn, but I hope these convey the feeling of that night’s vibe. (I was trying not to be one of those clowns with their phone in the air for too long).


Sadly, the troupe didn’t come to the swag table except for Sean where I got my copy of Brotherhood signed but alas, my Back for the Attack cd will probably remain blank forevermore.


Overall 9/10 great show!


Written by Alessandro

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: Mindkult - Lucifer's Dream


As a follow-up to their 2016 EP called Witches’ Oath Mindkult released their debut full-length album Lucifer’s Dream. Venturing more into the occult realm with fuzzy force!

After striking the first string you can definitely feel doom and smell the disgusting smell of sulfur in the air straight from lucifer’s throne. Followed up by a creeping guitar solo that feels like a melancholic blues lick to get you in the mood. With the clean vocals they hit a mark not many bands could pull off. A very empty, distanced sound but still prominently apparent. It’s really Ozzy Osbourne-like in an early Black Sabbath way but still it’s not a copy but really inspired by.

In any form or way you could classify this as stoner-rock, doom, metal but the most important tag is definitely the groovy elements. It captivates you and drags you down to hell to follow Lucifer’s Dream. The album is very cohesive and doesn’t feel unfinished when the last note strikes. The duration of the album is just enough to keep your attention with it all the time.

For clever use of known elements within stoner/doom metal I rank this album 8/10.
Because Mindkult didn’t really reinvent the wheel but surely helped refine it.

Written by Joost van der Leij

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: Drakkar - Diabolical Empathy


The intro, featuring The Arrival is bizarre, complete with eerie whispers, monkeys and other jungle sounds. Perfect for the All Hallow’s Eve season and finely introducing this very experienced and historical band! From Mons, Richy (Guitar) - Pat (Guitar) - Leny (Vocals) - Adrien (Drums) - Humungus (Bass) are again very welcome into the metal world!

A long and storied past, they have overcome much adversity and risen strong with this heavy, powerful piece. They have done many past shows and the only current one I see on their FB is as support for Tank and Raven! Unfortunately I am nowhere near Maasmechelen to see this incredible lineup.

Drawing from themes such as Padre Pio’s stigmata, the mind of Jefferery Dahlmer and the works of Goya, they are a very entertaining, intelligent group of songs.

Stigmata is my favourite with crunching string abuse and broken, guttural vox.

There is some crazy thrash/speed and power metal riffing and chords in Rose Hall’s Great House with hardcore musicianship and great tempos. An upbeat song indeed!

The Witches Dance with its Maidenish guitar duets and wailing fills is fast, angry and instantly recognizable, this is the stuff we air-guitared to!

Thundering metal albums such as these are punctuated by ground-pounders by a seeming hit and Lucifereo Moderno is it. Now my favourite song, sorry Stigmata, you lose out. The perfect arrangement is metal meets melodic metal with crowd revving chants sure to be a live hit.

Although I don’t get the inclusion of 1:21 West Allis, it would make nice filler at the end of a cassette tape.

The remainder of this record gets raves all around; powerfully played and well produced, it’s a metal dream!

The closing warbled outro of Opening Towards the End inspired by Carmen’s Bizet, is a bizarre little piece like the intro, balancing the album off but I would have preferred another full song.

9/10

Written by Alessandro

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review (+ contest): Insurrection - Extraction


Near the Canadian capital city Ottawa is another city named Gatineau. Several metal bands hail from this place, one of them is called Insurrection. Drummer Philipe Moreau-Latreille, bass guitarist Francis Girard, vocalist Stef Jomphe and guitarist-combo Antonin Perras-Foisy/Vincent Laprade Séguin are the current members of Insurrection and recently they, released their latest album called Extraction. After Prologue (2008), Fracture (2010) and Prototype (2013), Extraction is the fourth full-lenght album from these Canadian metallers.

First of all, a little warning! Did you train your neck muscles lately? Because you're going to need them! This album is a real neck-breaker, full of blastbeats and brutal metal. If you're looking for an album with a point of rest in it, this isn't what you're looking for. So, I suggest you already start training those muscles to handle Extraction.

From the first notes of opening track System Failure, it's immediately clear that these guys know how to play some very brutal metal. Especially the very heavy bass and drums are standing out. You can hear the bass-snares blasting trough your speakers, which sounds really awesome. Guitarists Antonin and Vincent play very brutal riffs, but regularly, they let us hear that they can also play some cool thrashy riffs. Vocally, Stef can do a lot with his voice as he shows on this release, ranging from low and high growls, via screams (Pull The Plug), till pig squeals at the start of Le Prix A Payer. Sometimes he sings in English, sometimes in French, which is probably because of their origin. At Data Extracted... End Transmission, the vocals are taken care of by Stef together with guest vocalist Bruno Bernier, whom you might know from Obliveon. Besides the brutal sound and extreme vocals, there are also some tempo/rhythm changes present in Extraction, which also really keeps your attention.

With Extraction, Insurrection delivers a really nice album. They grip you and shake you 40 minutes long. Then they leave you alone with the feeling that those 40 minutes were going very fast, but it’s definitely worth it all.

Want to win a CD of Insurrection's Extraction? You can get a chance by:
1. Sharing our Facebook post of this review and commenting on it after you shared (be sure to share publicly, so we can see it)
or
2. Retweeting our Twitter post of this review.

After November 12th we will pick one winner. Good luck! \m/
Writers of DutchMetalManiac can't win.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Pre-release party review: Brian Vollmer at Planet Helix, London, ON, Canada, October 27th, 2017


Here it is! The event of a lifetime! Why I quit my job for rock n roll!

The week was a blur, an amazing double bill at the Rose Brampton for Helix and Lee Aaron (our live review), more running around and prep work and then the ultimate 3 hour voyage to a nearby …Planet.

When we got there, the house, which has been featured on MTV Cribs, is outwardly garish, slick and very red. Simply beautiful. Darker as it got, we waited for a few minutes, soaking it all in, watching guests arrive and trying to stem the bit of nervous anticipation of going into one of your favourite rock stars’ house!

Squawking back the front iron gate, we’re hit with the Halloween-ness of the setup. The amazing food spread inside the living room, the smell of mouthwatering appetizers cooking, the scary noises and since The Devil Was Having a Party Tonight, (Helix’s latest single, on wickedly slick red vinyl) that’s who answered the door.

Introducing ourselves, a quick hello and a friendly don’t bother with your shoes, and some chit chat, Vollmer-Devil was off to mingle with an already packing up event. Rockers and friends mixing together, completely friendly and hyper-costumed, it was a good ol’ fashioned house party.

The sounds of Vollmer’s new solo release were playing, to rave applause and congratulations. Featuring Canadian icon Danko Jones on the title track and background vox of amazing Cheryl Lescom, the album is a fabulous release of 7 covers and 2 originals:


Buff’s Bar Blues (Alex Harvey)
Rock n Roll Outlaw (Rose Tattoo)
If You Need Me (Wilson Pickett)
When the Bitter’s Got the Better of You (original: Kelly/Vollmer)]
Rock n’ Roll /Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll (Velvet Underground/Long John Baldry)
Gudbye t’ Jane (Slade)
Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac & Peter Greene)
Get Yer Hands Dirty (original: Brown/Kelly/Vollmer)

Indeed the guitar and writing of famed Sean Kelly is also underscored on the record (see Helix/Lee Aaron live review for more Sean)!

Perhaps not metal in the sense hardcore metallers are looking for, but check these songs; they have deep roots and personal connections to Vollmer and are a part of rock and metal history.

As over 100 people now poured into the narrow house and onto the outside deck, even amidst the oncoming stormy rains, I met many people in the rock industry; Doug Weir of Syre and now Damn Pigeon! I was floored. Such an awesome guy and hopefully (take heed, Tim!) a possible review of their new record!


Also, Jim McKormick CEO of Allstage, prime supporter of live music, they have an app at Google Play/App store!....Fritz and Kaleb, Helix drummer and guitarist…too many to count. Everyone with a kind word, everyone with a hug and a handshake; it was overwhelming.

Vollmer’s wife Lynda was the ultimate hostess and made sure everyone was not drinking and driving and were well fed, amidst ordering the Devil to mop up some spills, ha! The next album needs to be called “Domestic Metal”! You are the greatest!


The “Helix Bucks” as I call them were an awesome piece of swag, a fitting invite to the Devil’s Party! (Conceptualized by Don and Tracey – these are not for copying and posting without express permission).


As the rains wore on it was time to venture out after some heavy hearted goodbyes; an amazing groove at Planet Helix, and a successful launch for the new record, hopefully to be repeated!

10/10 – Record
15/10 – Hospitality and Welcome


Written by Alessandro

Read the earlier interview DutchMetalManiac's Alessandro did with Helix vocalist Brian Vollmer here.

Helix Official Website
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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Live review: Helix and Lee Aaron at Rose Theatre, Brampton, ON, Canada, October 26th, 2017


In a beautiful, about 890 seat venue named the Rose Theatre, Brampton ON – Canada, boasted by one of the volunteers as the 2nd largest stage in Canada, not a bad seat in the place, we were thundered with the opening riffs of Long Way to Heaven and Wild in the Streets by “The Hardest Working Band in Canada”.

Aptly named after doing over 300 shows a year for many years and recently coming off the 2017 Sweden Rock Fest, these lads delivered a high energy heavy metal cascade, and, playing all the hits I hoped for, live.

Lead vox Brian Vollmer howled out their best metal anthems like When The Hammer Falls and of course Rock You and Dirty Dog with true vocal precision, the voice not having changed in years, probably due to his professional ‘Bel Canto’ training and living a clean, not so rock n roll lifestyle these days..well maybe a little.

The guitarist duo of Kaleb Duck and Chris Julke hammered their axes with wild abandon, coming up close to the audience and driving their guitars forward at us, showing us that we all have only about 6 Strings, 9 Lives left, so we had best make use of them! Bassist Daryl Gray, sporting the infamous HELIX bass, and drummer Greg “Fritz” Hinz, the backbone of the animal, relentless and thundering with a welcome drum solo that sounding like machine gun fire.


The eventual slowdowns of Deep Cuts the Knife and Make Me Do (Anything You Want) gave them a bit of a respite while getting some avid fans up and moving (I know, NOT the fast tunes?!?) much to the chagrin of the venue’s ushers who were eventually lulled into letting some people rock out.

We were also treated to a rare, archived song Danger Zone, from the-oh so missed guitarist Paul Hackman, days. A sounding rocker and hoping to be on a B-side somewhere!

A host of other hits (in no particular order) The Kids Are All Shakin', Even Jesus (Wasn't Loved In His Hometown), No Rest for the Wicked, Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' and probably their most popular and successful, Heavy Metal Love resounded with cheers and appreciative applause from us old rocks, er rockers.

Awesome metal show lads!


After a brief beertermission, Lee Aaron, The Metal Queen was amazing us with her near identical pitched vox and incredible onstage sensuality that hasn’t changed. She gives women’s empowerment a makeover every time she hits the stage and her songs and career are a testament to that.

While experimenting over the years with metal, blues/jazz and pop rock, she and her tight knit band, backboned by her drummer husband, claimed her roots here in Brampton, writing songs in her basement years ago, to the applause of proud Bramptonians.

Hits such as Tom Boy and Hands On may not be the shrieking metal indicative of our beloved blog but these metal roots are important. Her band was tight and expert and the hammering guitars of Sean Kelly (of Metal On Ice fame) made even pop songs like Whatcha Do To My Body sound metal.

There was a bonus for us that she played a track, unreleased from her new upcoming LP. (Not Fire and Gasoline). Diamond Baby, an amazing soulful rocker that shows her musical adaptability to almost any genre. Check the tracklist!


Lee is happy and extremely active onstage, talks with everyone and is always up for a laugh. She has been getting into music debuts as two male fans were treated to screaming (not badly either) Whatcha Do To My Body at stage left. (I made my debut thusly at Metal On Ice sound check. Story for another time). As well, a longtime female fan of about 30 years got to intro the song, and it was amped!

This was the first time ever seeing Metal Queen live and it was an excellent metal pounder that holds true in the metal world today. A powerful voice propelled it to the back of the theatre and we all sang along.

Lee Aaron has reinvented herself and her band and has exposed many generations to many genres; influencing many including the metal world, even while not intentionally attempting to be “metal”. This performance would do any metal scene justice and the intensity and power of the performance from the entire band was palpable; we all felt it.

Keep up the 10/10 performances, both of you!


Written by Alessandro

Read the interview DutchMetalManiac's Alessandro did with Helix vocalist Brian Vollmer here

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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Interview: Sparzanza


Recently, on October 27th, the Swedish metallers from Sparzanza released their latest album Announcing The End. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Sparzanza's vocalist Fredrik Weileby about the album, as well as some other things.

Hey, congratulations on your new album, Announcing The End, it's very nice!

Thank you! It's nice to hear.

Can you tell us something about the writing process of Announcing The End?

We went down to Spain for a week to write this album instead of writing the songs at home as we did in the past. Lot of sun and cheap beer!

What's the story behind Announcing The End?

There is no story, really. It's more the end in several meanings. Could be the end of a life, earth, a relationship.

An end of Sparzanza, or not?

No, we will not quit.

It's a new Sparzanza story right? What do you mean with that?

We kind of started over, from scratch. We have gone back a little more to our roots. We started as a stoner band and are going more in that direction again.

The cover art of Announcing The End is really nice! Who made it and what made you decide that person was the right one for the job?

Since this one is called Announcing The End we thought about biblical armageddon. It's a drawing that looks like an old, biblical picture. So, we found this guy from Greece, Vagelis Petikas. His style is perfect, he makes really detailed drawings.

Is there a story behind the cover art?

We just said the things we wanted. There's a lot of hidden stuff in the cover if you look good at it. If you know your mythical stuff, you can find a lot of cool stuff there. I won't give it away.

For Announcing The End you signed with Despotz Records, what made you decide Despotz Records is the best choice at this moment?

They basically gave us a very good offer and actually they wanted to sign us for a couple of years. Now we were out of a contract and the pieces fit together, so we decided to try them. So far, it's been really good.

Will you stay with them for your possible next album?

Yeah, we will probably release another album.

Announcing The End also marks Sparzanza's 20 year anniversary, how do you look back at those past years?

It's been a slow way upwards. It's been fun, we played many countries. We drank a lot of beer and played a lot of good music. So it's been very good.

What is the most memorable Sparzanza moment for you?

Headlining a festival in Finland where we played for 15000-20000 people or the time when we had to go to Finland on a short notice to replace Anthrax.

About things you haven't done before with Sparzanza, what is still on your wishlist for the future?

For me that will probably be playing in the United States, basically touring all over the world, like a huge band. Together with Stone Sour maybe.

Since you already have a 20-year career, what would be your advice to young and starting bands nowadays?

Don't give up. First of all you have to love what you're doing, don't do it for the money, because it isn't there. You have to do it because you love it and people will know you do. Don't give up to easily.

You already announced Scandinavian tourdates for the remainder of 2017. Can we expect some more touring in 2018?

Yeah, of course. This is just the first part of the tour, more will come.

Also planning to come to The Netherlands?

Hopefully, I never been there, so that would be cool.

Any future Sparzanza plans you can already tell us a bit about?

Not anything more than upcoming tours.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Thank you for the interview and for giving us the opportunity to do this. I don't think we are that well-known in The Netherlands, hopefully we will be. Keep on that heavy metal!

Sparzanza Official Website
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Monday, October 30, 2017

Review: Forever Young Viktoria - Howls Of Protest


Up until today the band Forever Young Viktoria and I never crossed paths, in fact the name didn’t even ignite the smallest spark of recognition. They are a four-man outfit from Gelsenkirchen, Germany and they are active as a band since 2010, when the remains of punk band CDC were picked up and used to form FYV. Now consisting of four members, Mirko Hodacki as vocalist, Stefan Doktor as drummer, Malk Borowi as guitarist/vocalist and Mirko Steigerwald as bassist, they started as a punk-oriented band. After two full-lengths, The Hardest Part Of Ending Is Starting Again in 2012 and Consent To Collapse in 2014, the guys are now ready for the release of their new work in the form of a 4-track EP called Howls Of Protest, which likely is a reference to their start as a punk band. Nowadays the punk influences are still clearly audible, with the aggressive vocal lines as its most striking representative. However, FYV’s music focal point definitely shifted towards metalcore quite a bit, best describing their tunes as some sort of hybrid form between the two genres.

Opener Feel The Rope starts with a soundscape of a mass protest before the song actually kicks in and it immediately grabs you by the throat. Fierce guitar and drum lines battle angry vocal lines to gain the upper hand, classifying this song as an aggressive form of metal. Probably needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway: aggressive in a good way of course. Bring out the circle pits and walls of death… And it in no way ends here. Next up is Human Error, a song that starts even more ferocious before settling into a slower pace, but definitely matching the aggressive atmosphere its predecessor unleashed on the unsuspecting audience. If you hadn’t figured it out yet, the third song, title song Howls Of Protest, makes things perfectly and loudly clear: aggressiveness is, among others, one of FYV’s trademarks music-wise. Here too the winner in the battle of being the most aggressive contribution to the overall atmosphere is undecided. The EP ends with Apex Hunter in which the guys take the foot off the pedal to secure an end of peace and quiet… Well, that is not entirely true to be honest, with a really, really huge dose of imagination you might interpret the slightly slower pace and aggressiveness in both music and vocals a soothing end compared to the rest of the songs, but in all reality it still is a feisty piece of metal.

So all in all this can be considered a solid piece of, well, punkcore, with the right dose of speed and aggressiveness in both music and vocal lines. The guys most certainly do not hide their punk roots, but they are also not afraid to show the ‘new’ direction they are evolving into. I’m going to take the liberty of assuming that this EP is only a try out to see if the new style fits both bands and fans, and if that indeed is the case I’m the first to reassure them: In my opinion, admittedly not knowing their previous work, there is absolutely no reason to change course or go back. This work has enough punk influences to satisfy the fans of the early hour as well as more metal- or hardcore oriented fans. If you are a fan of either of these genres or if you like your music to be spiced up with a healthy dose of aggressiveness, you should check this out.

Written by Henric van Essen

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Interview: Moonspell


On November 3rd, the Portuguese metallers from Moonspell will release their new, special album, called 1755. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Moonspell's vocalist Fernando Ribeiro about 1755, Portugal, as well as other things.

Hey Fernando, already congratulations on your new album, 1755, I really like it.

Thanks, that's awesome!

What is the story behind it?

It's an album with an story based on a big, tragic event that happened on the November 1st in 1755 in our capital city of Lisbon, an earthquake. When we were in high school we learned that our country has a lot more history than we thought. So when we grew up, studied and kept interested in Portuguese history we decided to make an album about it, because it is very remarkable for Portugal. This album is about to be special, because we sing in our native language. It's the first time we do so on a full album. Of course we have songs, like for example Alma Mater, with Portuguese parts in it. It was probably a bit unexpected, but we are very much interested in our history and have very much inspiration. So we decided to make this our new album. It will be out really soon, it will be a bit different, still Moonspell, but it has a lot of novelty about it. Now I think our job is done, we have to go on the road. Now it's up to the fans. I never focus too much whether it is different or the same, it's up to the fans.

It seems Portugal is really important for you, is it?

Very important. When you are a band coming from Portugal, it's logic that it's a bit more difficult to get through the bands in Central Europe. We always lived with that, we traveled months away from home. We never wanted to move from Portugal, our mojo is here. Our families, our culture, our food is here. Even we act quite nomad as a band, we are that kind of people that need something that grounds them to the roots. For us, that is not wanting to move out of Portugal. Besides that it's also the emotional and spiritual feeling. Coming out of Portugal with not having many bands around made us feel like bringing some responsibility for bringing Portuguese culture into other nations. Portugal is a big inspiration for us, always has been. On this album it's even stronger, more generally for the fact that we are writing about an historical event from Portugal, in Portuguese. I don't think language is such a barrier in metal. People are more looking for the experience, 1755 is exactly that.

You just released a bonus track, the Spanish version of Desastre, why in Spanish?

The original is in Portuguese, but we always wanted to make an tribute, a thank you note, to some of our biggest fans in the world, people from Latin-America and Mexico. In Portugal, back in the 18th century, there was of course Portuguese, but the language talked on the streets was a mixture between Portuguese and Spanish. The old books from that time are a mix between Portuguese and Castellano. We decided to have a bonus track totally sung in Spanish for that strong community of fans we have there. Another reason is that, while Portugal and Spain are of course different countries, there are lot of things tying us. We can also speak the language, but not as good as a native speaker. It's also a very interesting language to sing in, I never tried it before and it sounds really aggressive and brutal like some bands I like. Even the music I am listening to now is not only in English. Since we do this album in Portuguese I am definitely more open to bands that sing in a different language than English. For sure, our new album, after this one, will be in English again, but I am really enjoying the experience with the band.

What are some of the bands you are into nowadays?

Solstafir from Iceland, they sing in Icelandic. I really like the new Ulver album, which is a dark pop album, but I think it's a masterpiece, The Assassination Of Julius Caesar. The new Satyricon is really great black metal, back to their roots, not so much rock anymore, but really dark and grim. Lots of music sounds right, things from the past, things I found in Spotify. Metal as well as non-metal. I really love listening to music, music is always based on my mood. For these last days I also listened to a lot of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, because of the recent passing of Martin Eric Ain. For the memory.

What makes you proud the most for being Portuguese?

I can say football, but it is such an stupid answer. Football is just what we are known from. What makes me really proud of Portugal is our culture, because Portugal might be a country in South Europe nobody bothers about anymore, but we have thousands of bands and creative people that are recognized abroad. We have great singers, writers and they really tap into this. I think those are the ones who build the Portuguese culture, the ones who tell the stories through their music or books. That's what I really appreciate about Portugal mostly. It's definitely the culture.

On the track In Tremor Dei you have a guest vocalist, Paulo Bragança, who is a Fado singer. How was working with him?

It was great, he is a very different Fado singer. He is a Fado singer, but with a lot of punk attitude. He challenges the borders of our national music, Fado. Fado for Portugal is like tango for Argentinia or flamenco for Spain, but it's a very different kind of music. It's more melancholic or sad. I think it has everything to do with us as a band and as Portuguese people. But we wanted a very special singer and Paulo is like the fallen angel of Fado, which makes him more true in his performance. We wanted a guest who brings a new tone of Portugal into our music, something more desperate and dreamy. Paulo was just the right guy for the job, it was very easy to work with him. One of his favorite bands is Bathory, imagine that. So we thought let's make this happen and I think he made a beautiful performance in In Tremor Dei.

How is the metalscene in Portugal? Are there any Portuguese bands you would recommend?

I think it's much better than what it used to be. We have one of our cult bands here in Portugal, Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, which means Sons Of Infernal Darkness. There are really great bands here, even some singing in Portuguese. For people who are more into industrial metal I would recommend one of the older bands, Bizarra Locomotiva, which translates to Bizarre Locomotive. They are an amazing band, I also feature in one of their songs. They are going to support us on our Spanish tour. In doom we have Process Of Guilt who are already on the Roadburn festival, we have classic metal like Midnight Priest. It's a good scene in Portugal, people work harder to get their stuff recognized outside Portugal.

And the Portuguese fans?

They are amazing and sometimes I think that they don't get enough respect, which is why we created our own label to take care of Moonspell things here in Portugal. It's the better service to the fans, the gigs here are full, big bands come here and are sold out. We have club shows every week, but I still think, unlike many other countries, metal isn't seen as a valid genre of music here. The fans are the better people because they are very supportive in the metal scene. Not only the older generations but also a lot of new kids who listen to metal in Portugal. I think more than ever before, to be honest.

Lanterna Dos Afogados is a cover of Paralamas Do Sucesso, why did you decide to cover this song?

I have to say it's not a song people, even my own band, expected us to cover. Because it's a very popular pop song from Brazil that we used to listen to when we watched soap operas from Brazil here in Portugal. We felt really attracted to the song because of the lyrics, which are quite sad and melancholic. I decided to bring this in with the band, because the lyrics are about the fishermen who are going to the sea and the women that stayed in the harbor and the villages. They used a lantern, so the boats could see that they are still waiting. Even while it was written by a Brazilian band, it's a very Portuguese subject. We still have that happening, right now in 2017. People that go to fish in the sea with poor conditions and they never return because their boats sunk. So I decided it was a perfect note to end the album. I think it is a very doomy song with lots of nods like Type O Negative, our favorite band. I think it's a great song to do after such an intense album.

The cover art is created by João Diogo, what made you decide he was the right person for this job?

João Diogo is a very known designer here in Portugal, he worked with many bands. He was under my radar for a couple of years. I decided that, because he is from Portugal and he understands and knows this history himself would qualify him more, together with his talent, to make the cover artwork for this album. I really love what he did, it's very Portuguese. It depicts Lisbon and a climate of fantasy that was a little bit going through the air. Of people not believing that their city was actually destroyed and that God couldn't save them. For us, 1755, is a story that needs to be told. Of course through the music, but we also tried to pass this on into the cover artwork. So that people get the story and the drama also through the visual parts. We will also apply this to the concerts.

Next week you have three special album release shows, two in Lisbon and one in Porto. What special things can fans expect on those shows?

These release shows are very important, because they are the start of a big tour that will take us all over the world for sure. It's good to start at home, we feel at home in Lisbon and everywhere in Portugal, so Porto is definitely included. We are preparing a bit more special setup, we'll try to recreate some of the atmosphere of late 18th century Lisbon on the stage. Through scenarios and extra's, it will be a really atmospheric and visual show for the fans. Of course we are going to play the new album and some fan favorites. Having a good time after that earthquake show. We are working really hard to make it perfect and to make it with an theatrical approach.

Besides those release shows and some Spanish dates, you are going to tour with Cradle Of Filth in 2018, looking forward to it?

All the time, we know Cradle Of Filth since 1993/1994, so we kind of toured with them many times and I think the bands musically click very well. I think that's important for the fans, sometimes you have bands that are too far away from each other. I think this is a match made in hell. Of course we look forward to play our new songs and I think it's important to give people something in Portuguese, something theatrical. We definitely look forward to bring this 1755 circus on tour.

Recently you revealed a new beer, called 1755 Amura, how did you come up with this idea?

It's a collaboration that we have already, we did a Moon & Spell beer with a brewery here in Portugal called Mean Sardine. To celebrate the launch of the new album, we decided to have a handcraft beer, 1755 Amura, to present it to the fans. It's actually a good idea, I think the connection of beer and metal is very good. We already sold out all our older beer. I think it's a nice gesture, many of our fans are beer drinkers and I think many of them want something with quality. A real beer, with a different taste, not the festival piss as some would say. It's a very welcome idea and our plan for the future is to also make red wine. It's one of our favorite drinks and I believe many fans also agree with this.

You also wrote some books in the past, is that something you still do?

I formed with a book publisher, so together we are setting up different stuff. I am working on the English translation of the three poetry books I wrote in the past. It's almost done, so we will release it internationally. Having it translated in English, will hopefully also make it being translated into other languages. Many people asked me why I won't translate my books, well I am not a poet, I am a musician. I don't really have the time or talent for it. I think in 2018 people will be able to read my poetry books and from that moment on I'll start publishing more books, not only by myself, but also through the label. I really like books, they are my biggest hobby and passion outside music, so I want to be more involved in there.

But not writing a new book at the moment?

Well, I am writing my memoirs but it will take some time. There will be a Moonspell biography written by a Portuguese journalist, which is coming out in 2018, in Portuguese. It will be translated in English and Spanish.

Besides the album getting released and touring, do you already have any other future Moonspell plans you can already tell us a bit about?

After this album, we are going to release our DVD, which is already ready. It's up for release in spring 2018. It will be called Lisboa Under The Spell, which is recorded here on a big three-hour show for four thousand fans. It's going to be a little movie about the last days before such an important event. So it will be a kind of different project, not only a concert, but more like a film with a concert inside it. Than eventually we will start working on a new album, we have some new stuff lined up. It will be a follow-up to Extinct, being 1755 more of a standout album. We still have that on us and will travel around the world.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Thank you for the interview and the support. Your country is always very hospitable to Moonspell, we have great friends there. We are coming back there with Cradle Of Filth, it's a nice chance for meeting again and for supporting 1755. I hope you like the new album, sung in Portuguese about a tragic day for Portugal.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Interview: Nachtblut


On October 13th, the new album from German metallers Nachtblut, Apostasie, was released. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Nachtblut's drummer Skoll about Apostasie, Quentin Tarantino, as well as other things.

Hey Skoll, how are you?

I am fine, it's getting cold, but it's okay. How are you?

I'm fine! Congratulations on your new album, Apostasie. It's really nice!

Thank you! You like it? Do you have a favorite song?

Yeah, I really like Multikulturell, but the full album is very great.

Thank you, I appreciate that.

You already played some shows since its release date, how are the reactions on it so far?

Really flattering, I didn't expect that people can sing all the songs already. During the time between the release and the tour people get to the songs and sing along loud. Even before the album was released people were singing the songs, thanks to our music videos. The reactions are overwhelming. They go crazy about new songs, they sing along and we all enjoyed.

Apostasie is the first Nachtblut album with Ablaz (bass) and Amelie (keyboards) who joined Nachtblut in 2016. How was creating the album with this partly new lineup?

To be fair, the whole process of doing Apostasie already started before they joined the band. Ablaz filled in at the end of 2016 for our former bass player Trym. Amelie joined the band end of 2016/begin 2017. The process of songwriting was already finished at that moment. It's a joy to play the songs with them. Unfortunately Amelie can't join the tour because of an injury.

She broke her wrist right?

Yeah, thanks to a car accident.

How is she doing now?

Saying she's fine is too much, but she's okay. She still has pain obviously, but she's recovering. For the next tour she will join us.

Hope she recovers very well soon. On Apostasie you welcome two guest vocalists, Aeva Maurelle (Aeverium) and Tetzel (Asenblut). How was working with them?

With Tetzel it was pretty easy. We know each other for a long time now. He and his band, Asenblut, were supporting us on our shows last Autumn and we even know each other before. So, getting in contact with him was pretty easy. He has a great sense of humor too, so it was fun. So, it was easy to get him involved in Wat is' denn los mit dir.

Aeva and her band Aeverium were supporting Lord Of The Lost. We already knew the guys from Lord Of The Lost and I went to a show of them. We had this song, Einsam, and we knew we wanted to do a duet with a female vocalist, but we didn't find the right person at that point. I saw her, recorded it on video and sent it to the other guys. I thought the combination would be perfect and really fitting the song. That way it went, she's very professional and easy to work with. Great fun and a great person.

The track with Tetzel, Wat is' denn los mit dir, is a cover from Kollegah. What made you decide to do a cover of specifically this song?

We listen to a lot of different music and when you're on tour you like to have a good time. You drink and party. I don't remember how, but at some point this song was played at every party we had on tour. At some point you start to sing along and you just have a good time. As we like to have a good time with or fans and friends, we decide to cover this, due to the good vibe. That's the story, I would say too much liquor.

In the videoclip for Multikulturell you take a stand against racists, is there something you want to say to explain your message and views a bit more?

No, it's a good statement. Period. If I read the comments on, for example, Youtube I think it was the right time to make this statement and to piss off a lot of people.

The video is referencing to a few Quentin Tarantino movies, are you a fan of his movies?

Yeah, I am.

What do you like the most about Tarantino's style of filming?

The way stories are told, my favorite is Pulp Fiction. At one point all those little stories make one good, bigger story, I really like that. A certain aspect we used in our video are the Red Apple Cigarettes. I like the easter eggs like that.

Ten years ago you released your debut full-length, Das Erste Abendmahl. How do you look back at the past ten years?

Firstly, I can't believe it's already ten years ago. Time is really flying by. I would say we developed and we did well. It doesn't mean I am not happy about the result of Das Erste Abendmahl, I really like it. For obvious reasons we handle things differently nowadays when it comes to songwriting, sound and artwork. I think we got better in every aspect. I think, as a musician, you are too close to do a good analyze, you just do it. We are not a band sitting together and planning much for the future. We are doing it more naturally. As we like several music genres, this time we did combine these with the typical Nachtblut sound, which we already have. It comes naturally.

Where do you take your inspiration from then?

From everyday life. There's so much to get inspiration from, some news, persons you talked with or met, some attitudes or perspectives, literally everything. When you catch up a topic and you feel that the content is really driving you, you have your inspiration.

When you compare Apostasie to its predecessor Chimonas (2014), what is it you notice?

I would say Apostasie is more varied, because we didn't set end boundaries. We didn't thought about it, we just wanted to do it. You already mentioned the cover of Kollegah, which is German rap music, something I would say is still a no-go in metal. We said okay, let's do it. Why put boundaries to our music and our creativity? You can hear that on the record. We have songs that remind you of Neue Deutsche Härte, a ballad, a cover, some pagan influences in the Apostasie song, black'n'roll in Der Tod ist meine Nutte. We were not scared to use some electronic parts in, for example, Geboren um zu leben. So, you can say a lot of genres come together and extend. We really think it's varied and, to quote Askeroth, orgasmic.

At this moment you have four future shows confirmed, can we expect some more shows soon?

We are working on it, I can't confirm anything right now officially. We are planning 2018 and almost having a look at 2019, so more shows to come definitely.

Do you think you will come to The Netherlands?

We would like to, but as a German singing band it's not always easy in non-German speaking countries. We will work on it and it's definitely on our list.

That would be nice! Anywhere you want to go you didn't went already?

There are a lot of nice places on the world. Japan would be very nice. America, doesn't matter where, North-, Middle- or South-America. Shame on us, but we still have a lot of places we didn't show up in Europe.

Any other Nachtblut future plans you can already tell us a bit about, besides touring?

We will start with songwriting at some point again, not waiting too long for that. Furthermore, nothing to officially confirm right now.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Thank you for your support and hopefully some day we will see you at one of our shows in The Netherlands. Thank you for the interview!

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