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Monday, January 30, 2017

Interview: Pikes Edge


In November, Pikes Edge released their second output, called All Of Our Beauty. DutchMetalManiac’s Alessandro already reviewed it here, now he interviews the mastermind of Pikes Edge, Pike. Read it below!

Guys, I’m very honoured to be granted this interview and want to say again, I love your album. I hope my 10/10 at DutchMetalManiac means something for you! So, tell us the origins of your band name, how you met, are you all actually friends or is it just business and then ‘get away from me’?

Hi Alessandro,

I`m very pleased to hear that. Especially from you, someone who understands our music and gave us 10/10 points. It honors our efforts and empowers us to continue writing such a great music.

Pike is my nickname. I like the English meaning of that word - it in a way inspired me to name the band Pikes Edge.

We are 5 friends which spend a lot of time together. We actually got together via music and private life. Our combination really works out, we share the same passion for music. This is really important to me, that’s our common ground. With such a foundation you’re able to create great things together. Of course the financial side of it shall not be forgotten, at least for the long run so that we can reap the benefits of our work. However, the main scope currently is thankfully our performance and music. We’re still able to afford this kind of luxury.

This is my first long distance interview from Canada; is the world a better place with this new technology for spreading the gift of music or was it better to copy LP’s to cassettes and spread it around?

With the new technologies we’re able to reach out to fans all over the world. Sometimes I am really surprised in which corners of the world our music is been heard. Of course this is more than positive. Music connects. That is one big benefit of the new technology, the environment is faster than it has been 10 years before, especially the functionality of recommending music to others is a turning point.

The downside of course is that it seems naturally to download music for free, even that certain platforms offer entire albums for free. This fact, financially damages or even destroys the smaller bands. But in spite of this current difficulties, I still remain an optimist. You could even say it’s a good promotion, which leads to more people coming and enjoying our concerts.

Your music is intricate and heavy; When and where are your best times for inspiration?

Life is my best inspiration - current instances and experiences are the main pulse.

The feeling of powerlessness which occurs when you reflect on what is going on out there - terrible wars that repeatedly plunge mankind into bitter grief and misery –triggers that inspiration. These thoughts and feelings I then try to transcribe into my songs. You know for the individual itself the power is limited, we have to move masses to create change. The masses just have to realize which power they have.

I love the pic on your website with Pike “taking out the trash’ as it were. “Denial of Service” is a real story you encountered or just what you artistically want to do to agents in general, lol? And, who’s the shadowy figure in the background?

I love that picture. If we continue what we do today, this will be the leftover – this is been represented by the picture. Our world became a playground of big companies and the financial sector. Warmongery became a common fact, mainly to gain business and money out of it. The leftovers are shadows of themselves, victims without religion, race or nationality.

Great suit n tie look! Why don’t you all wear suits?

The suit and tie look tries to pursue a different kind of ideal. A kind of storyteller which stand for our themes and represents it. An individual with a hands on mentality and the drive to change certain things. Besides the main character we strongly foster individualism - every band member has his own style. And that by the way enables us to rock the stage and have fun.

Do you consider your metal classy?

I would describe our style as a harsh and rough one, still down to earth but always willing to give the audience a kick in the ass.

Without being disrespectful to a band’s originality, I always like to cite some influences that my ear picks out or I think picks out; do you guys do this when you’re working out your arrangements? You have some great influences! Who’s everyone’s favourite band?

No worries, I guess all musicians have their key influencer. Lukas and I wrote the album. InFlames has impact on both of our styles. The result is a combination of my Heavy Metal style and Lukas’s modern way of playing – we merge our own interpretations with our styles. You see the outcome of that in our dynamic album.

Onstage, 90% and live to fight another day or 110% and see what happens the next day?

On stage we do everything in our power to transfer our passion for music to the audience. We perform every show like it’s our last one. That is our slogan which we love to share with the audience.

Speaking of stages, you’re not on an especially heavy tour schedule as of yet; are there more dates lined up for 2017? Any chance you’re coming to Canada?

We are still in the planning phase of the current year. I hope to publish additional dates soon. We will surely include one or another tour within Europe. To perform on Canadian soil would be great, of course, we hope that someday soon we will have the opportunity to do so.

I want to thank you so much for taking the time for us!
As we go, give us “Pike’s Picks” for 2017:
1. WW III or Peace on Earth ?


Hope Peace

2. Aliens Land – Aliens Keep On Going?

I guess for Aliens the humans are not really interesting, due to the fact that we’re too much focused on constantly fighting each other.

3. Music Industry Better – Music Industry Worse?

Seem like it’s getting worse – we’re fighting for ourselves, so we don’t care.

4. German Beer Better – Canadian Beer Better?

Sorry Alessandro but the Bavarian beer is the best – buzzword “Oktoberfest”. :)

Is there something you want to say to DutchMetalManiac's readers?

Alessandro, thank you very much for your time and interest. I hope that someday soon we’ll come to perform in Canada. If that’s the case, we’ll meet and drink the one or other Canadian and Bavarian beer.

We as Pikes Edge state “together, let us enjoy life - we’re all human beings”.

Pikes Edge Official Website
Pikes Edge Facebook
Pikes Edge Twitter

Review: Sunterra - Reborn


Sunterra is an Austrian band that emerged from the remains of a rock band called Virgin Seed back in 1998. They didn’t waste any time releasing a demo in 1999 called ‘In diebus illis’ (in these days). Where Virgin Seed played rock with some psychedelic influences, Sunterra turned its attention to gothic metal with a touch of industrial metal, but the psychedelic influences remained to some extent. In 2006, after two increasingly successful releases in 2002 and 2003, a truck load of reasonably successful live shows and for most people completely out of the blue, the band decided to take a break. It was effected in December that year and that eventually lasted for a decade until in 2015, again completely out of the blue, a message on the band’s Facebook page appeared stating that the band was working on new material with an altered line-up. Behold a reborn Sunterra, consisting of programmer and guitarist Ivan, vocalist and flutist Carlos, vocalist Lily and bassist Chris who is also responsible for the lyrics. The new material, at least for now, proves to be a six-song EP appropriately called ‘Reborn’. There is however more to the title than the obvious relation with the band’s awakening from hibernation, since its lyrical themes are the end and the sequential reincarnation of mankind. Quite a sinister subject to describe in the reintroduction of yourself to the world.

Music-wise there’s still the gothic metal that plays a substantial role in the band’s sound, but right from the bat it’s clear the long absence has had an influence on it as well. Rather than picking up where they left off they chose to experiment resulting in them having woven quite a large portion of dubstep and techno influences into their music, creating a more or less unique sound otherwise known as metalstep. Add to that a wide variety of vocal styles, ranging from operatic to black metal growls and everything in between and it’s not hard to imagine there’s really no telling what type of music Sunterra actually plays. The effect of this unusual mix is variable in my opinion. Fitting one moment, but equally confusing the other.

Opener ‘Reign Supreme’ would have been a pretty straight-forward gothic metal song with solid but not overly original riffs, an equally solid rhythm section and nicely interacting male and female vocal lines if it wasn’t for the dubstep noises. It’s not a bad song, but I guess the mix between metal and dubstep/techno does not really captivate me. Not just in Sunterra’s music, but in general. Anyway, the next song, called ‘Shadow In The Dark’, is a ballad, also mixed with a dash of the same dubstep/techno style, but this time it’s more fitting, making it a more coherent song. The same goes for its successor, ‘Lord Of Lies’. Here too solid riffage and a solid rhythm section mixed with the interacting vocals make for a solid song, in which Lily’s vocals are particularly striking at times. It’s obvious she definitely has potential.

And then there’s ‘This is W.A.R.’ which is the epitome of Sunterra’s sound. The music is all over the place, effortlessly alternating from dance-metal to almost doomy to sweet and soothing right back to dance-metal in the blink of an eye, but in this case that is actually a good thing. It keeps you focused at any given moment, simply because there’s no two seconds the same. Both the most confusing and most exhilarating song on ‘Reborn’. Next up is ‘Ministry Of Thoughts’, a darker song with a more unnerving atmosphere and more emphasis on the industrial side of Sunterra. Here too there’s room for dubstep influences which in my opinion do not really contribute to the song, but also do not degrade it. Album closer ‘Shut up!!!’ is a peculiar song when it comes to structure and vocal lines, but by now that is no surprise anymore. A few riffs in the background still reveal Sunterra’s original roots, but other than that it wouldn’t be out of place on any techno album.

It’s safe to say that Sunterra’s first feat of arms after awakening from their lengthy slumber will undoubtedly be received with mixed critics. I for one will probably never be a big fan of metalstep, simply because the two genres are too far apart to mix well in my opinion, but I’m sure there will be plenty of people who will truly enjoy this, including their fans from earlier. Objectively I think ‘Reborn’ is not a bad release, but it’s never striking or particularly original in its sound. Apart from that the mix of dubstep/techno with metal is quite complicated making it a tad confusing at times. Nevertheless it has been an interesting journey to hear this one unfold. Sunterra’s members are certainly sufficiently skilled to pull this off, and the production is a plus as well. If you have no clue what metalstep beholds ‘Reborn’ is as good a start as any.

Written by Henric van Essen

Earlier, Tim van Velthuysen interviewed Sunterra, check it here.

Sunterra Official Website
Sunterra Facebook

Friday, January 27, 2017

Interview: Maggot Twat


Maggot Twat is back! They just rereleased their 2006 album 8 Bit Apocalypse, which we reviewed here. DutchMetalManiac’s Henric van Essen now interviews one half of Maggot Twat, Pete Manzella, better known as Pizzer Manwhat. Read it below.

Hello, how are you doing?

Doing well thank you. I am sitting in a library, I am stoned and drinking coffee. It’s a good day so far.

Thanks for the opportunity to question you about Maggot Twat. Can you tell us a bit about Maggot Twat’s birth and its history?

Maggot Twat was born in the suburbs of Chicago in the late 90’s. All my pals were obsessed with death metal and were going to shows and whatnot. I honestly didn’t get it at first. What the hell is this growling cookie monster vocals??? After a while of being around it a lot, it grew on me. I would go to shows and see all the serious, brutal mofos and thought “what if I can play this style of music and make it fuckin hilarious???” Give these people something that’s heavy as fuck and interesting to listen too, but be the most immature jagoff that I can be. At this time, my brother Dan just bought a digital 8 track and small studio setup. I starting writing riffs and gross lyrics, programming drums on his sequencer. Song after song started flyin out of my ass. I was used to writing rock style riffs from previous projects. But this was a whole new game. The first song written was Tard Alarm, followed by Stuffed Animal Orgy. We needed a name fast, so one night me and the dudes were hangin out at Dennys and my friend suggested we name the band Maggot Twat. That was it. We started playing out. Each show getting more and more insane. We always tried to top each show. Everything from beating ourselves in the head with pots and pans, jumping offstage into garbage cans, sawing guitars in half. Then came the projector and the gross videos. Soon after came the addition of our third member. Our puppet drummer Dickpancakes. Yes we have a puppet that plays a tiny puppet drumset at our shows. Everything kinda came together over the years, and now here we are…. A bunch of Jagoffs.

Saying you play a peculiar type of metal would be a gross understatement. You claim you play this to grind against the grain of death metal scene. What is your beef with that scene?

No beef. We’re just way too weird and retarded to try and make a serious band in this genre. We love the metal!!! But for me I am the most creative in my song writing when the element of humor is added. I just cannot be serious. I am like a fuckin clown. So I wanna take that spirit of silly immaturity and bring it into an environment that is not silly, and see what happens. Who’s gonna get it? Who’s gonna walk out the door? Who’s gonna go nuts and love it? Who’s gonna protest that we never play that venue again? (which actually did happen(I’ll tell you later))

When listening to ‘8 Bit Apocalypse’ the idea of being in the middle of a video game came to mind more than once. What, if any, is your connection to video games?

Like most suburban kids growing up in the 80’s, all we did was play Nintendo. For hours on end we played the classics. I remember there was a shooting in the neighborhood, and I couldn’t get Dans attention. He had been playing Zelda for 8 hours straight and his brain was sucked into the game. We were brainwashed with repetitive 8 bit music and sounds. Blips and blops of the different sound effects. So naturally when we got older and started a goofball band, it was just inevitable that it would find its way into the music. Not just for the track 8 Bit Apocalypse, but randomly splattered throughout the songs.

I have listened to ‘8 Bit Apocalypse’ quite a few times, and it always managed to conjure a wide grin on my face. It’s obvious your music is not intended to be taken too seriously, with all the sounds, speed changes and weird lyrics. There is no doubt you definitely know how to play though. What are your thoughts and ideas on releasing more ‘serious’, less frolicking, less sound-riddled music?

Well.. I have many other side projects that are serious in nature. But nothing in the metal genre. I play the Sitar on the side, I play in a rock band. But when it comes to metal, it just doesn’t come out right if there’s no smart ass approach to it. I can’t make the connection in my brain to let the juices flow if there’s not something lyrically intriguing. And what intrigues me is when I can write something that makes me literally laugh out loud or actually shocks me. Being ashamed that my own brain was responsible for that horrible idea or thought. Hahaha.

I couldn’t help but wonder if you pretty much record whatever pops up in your head at any given time. Can you tell us a bit about the creative process around writing music for Maggot Twat?

Our first album “Stuffed Animal Orgy” had all the lyrics written first before any music was written. I wrote riffs and beats around the rhythm of the lyric patterns. It was a more freestyle approach to song structure and piecing ideas together. 8 Bit Apocalypse was written the other way around, with the music coming first, and same goes for Imp of the Perverse. That approach had a more traditional structure to it. More chorus’ and sing along type vocals. There’s no right or wrong way to write any music. Unless were talking about stupid ass rap. Whatever good idea comes to you first wins. I’ve written guitar riffs in my head just bangin a stick on a metal pole in the park. Being a not so serious band actually lets us have the freedom to pull any idea out of thin air and make it work.

As you say yourself, there will be two types of metal fans after they have listened to your music. Those that love it and those that will run away screaming. Is that last group a bother to you?

I don’t really give a flying fart if people don’t get it. It’s only when they try to shut us down or interfere with what we’re trying to do. At one point there was a group of people protesting that we never play a particular venue. I’ve seen people rip our flyers down from street poles and bathroom walls. Ha. Cryin and pissin about how this stuff should not be in public. Some people really, really don’t want us to exist. But on the other hand, their hatred for us gets people talking. And that’s always a good thing. There used to be a website that had a chat room discussing local Chicago bands. And Maggot Twat was a hot topic of discussion. People would say the worst things about us and they talked and talked. Pretty soon we were playin in bigger clubs for more people. So let the haters hate. Word.

This release is not new, it’s a re-release of your 2006 album with the addition of a single new song. Why did you choose to do this instead of releasing a completely new album?

We had been split up for a couple years and were throwing the idea around of making a comeback. Only under the conditions that we keep on the same trajectory that we had with 8 Bit Apocalypse. Keep it stupid and heavy. Seeing Red Records suggested that we do the re-release and try to expose it to a broader audience and get it the attention that it should have had from the start. It definitely recharged our retard super powers and got us back on track.

Speaking of releases, despite being around for almost two decades you have unleashed only two releases onto the world. Why is that?

We actually have three studio albums. Doh! Nobody seems to be aware of our album “Imp of the Perverse” What happened was I was diagnosed with Tourettes Syndrome during the writing process. I was having a hard time with work and just doing day to day stuff. This seemed to reflect in the lyrics. Songs about mental disorders like pantaphobia and of course OCD and Tourettes, seemed to make for a more darker album. Of course it has its funny songs like “Eating Elvis’ Shit” and “Turbo Jagoff” A lot of those songs we still play live. But for some reason that album went completely unnoticed. I personally think it’s some of my best song writing, but because it wasn’t funny all the way through, it didn’t work. Or it just wasn’t promoted enough.

Are there any plans of releasing more new material within a short span of time?

Yes. I’ve got silly string flyin outta my bunghole right now.

Do you have touring plans outside Chicago or even the US?

We’re working on taking it to the next level and planning little mini tours. So, yes sir.

Thanks for your time, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Don’t take things too serious. Don’t have a steak and wash it down with dunkin donuts coffee. Don’t walk backwards chewing bubble gum during a parade in the state of Wyoming. Stay away from things of a repetitive nature. You’ll end up with Tourettes. Wash your fucking hands once and awhile. Take your vitamins, try riding a unicycle. Give yourself a fucked up haircut, and never, ever, beat off at work in the bathroom without double checking to make sure the door is locked.

Maggot Twat Facebook

Review: Maggot Twat - 8 Bit Apocalypse


Maggot Twat is, as they describe themselves, a two-idiot outfit from Chicago, Illinois, completed with a puppet drummer, forming the most awesomely stupid metal band in the universe. And man, are they spot on with that description. Born in 1998 from the twisted ideas of two brothers, Pete and Dan Manzella, nicknamed Pizzer and Spam Manwhat, the Twat’s prime goal, or maybe even their ethos, is to more or less mock the tough, serious and angry side of death metal. Between them the two divide all tasks within Maggot Twat when it comes to playing or singing evenly. Nevertheless, when in need of help following their quest the puppet drummer, called Dickpancakes, is always ready to chip in some of his drumming skills. Despite being around for almost two decades not many people have ever heard of Maggot Twat. The reasons for it are quite simple: their type of music is not exactly well-known, let alone sought after and on top of that they have only released three albums so far. The first cannot be changed easily and the latter won’t change with this release either, because it’s a remake of their 2006 release with the addition of just one new song, the album closer ‘James Brown Ointment’.

So what type of music do they actually play? Well, to be honest, I have no clue whatsoever, which undoubtedly is exactly what they intended to achieve. I suppose the first thought you had when you read the title of the extra song is an excellent indication of it, but if I had to explain it in a more review-like manner the best description I can come up with is twisted death metal with some thrash influences mixed with a large, no, a huge dose of weirdness, consisting of tempo changes interspersed with all kinds of weird sounds and samples. Imagine playing a 1990’s Mario Bros game with metal inspired music as soundtrack. Happy death metal if you like. Hard to imagine? Definitely, but don’t let that stop you from giving this a try, if anything this will bring a smile to your face regardless your musical preference. These guys are never serious and neither should you when giving this a spin. You’d be challenged to stay serious anyway with song titles like ‘Raped By An Ape’, ‘I Fucked A Train’ and ‘A Vampire Bit My Balls’. And trust me, the music perfectly fits those titles. If Maggot Twat would have laws, there would probably be only one: Have fun!

Does this mean this release is a meaningless piece of nothing? No, it does not, even though many people will probably disagree. Underneath all silliness and revelry it’s clear these guys do know how to compose and play music, displaying their skill time and time again. The riffs are fast, tight and heavy, the rhythm section at times inimitable, the vocals vary from screamo to deep grunts, everything you expect from a quality metal band. It just never lasts that long. If you want a good taste of what the guys are capable of, try album opener ‘A Vampire Bit My Balls’, the machinegun-like ‘I Fucked A Train’ or, if you can overlook the weird noises, the raging ‘Sexy Plants’. So all in all this is a re-release that will not be everyone’s favorite due to its satirical approach of music, but it’ll brighten your day anyway, as long as you don’t expect a full-blown death metal album. There’s no use in rating it either, simply because there’s nothing to compare it to. S.O.D., M.O.D., Green Jelly and the likes roughly have the same modus operandi, but still they’re nothing like Maggot Twat. I consider this release nothing more or less than a fun way to spend some spare time and so should you. I feel that is exactly how it was intended. Oh, and as for the new song: It fits the album like the proverbial glove. Judge for yourself and see if you can keep yourself from grinning every now and then.

Written by Henric van Essen

Maggot Twat Facebook

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Premiere: Three new Slagmaur tracks from upcoming album


Soon, Norway's Slagmaur will release their new full-length album, called Thill Smitts Terror, on Osmose Productions. The artwork, created by Slagmaur's founder General Gribbsphiiser, is now being finalised, and when it's finished (very soon), a date will be announced. Now, ahead of their concerts at Stardust VI Festival in Brooklyn, USA in February and at Inferno Festival in Norway in April, there will be three tracks streaming. DutchMetalManiac is proud to be part of that streaming.

Listen to them below. If you don't see the player, be sure that the URL says '.nl' instead of, for example '.com'.



Slagmaur Facebook

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Interview: Thyrane


Finnish black metallers Thyrane just re-released their 1997 demo called Black Harmony. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen now interviews bass-player Daemon, read the interview below.

Hey Daemon, how is life in Finland?

Just survived the midwinter pagan feast barely alive, snow and frost everywhere so life’s okay at the moment. Year 2016 came to its end and it’s time to make plans for the present year. Exorcise and perform dark rituals and other mean stuff for the year 2017.

Where does the name Thyrane come from? What is the story behind it?

Blastmor got the name from Marduk’s song called Deme Quadem Thyrane. He used to listen to that album a lot when it came out and our band needed a name, the song hit hard so there it was... THYRANE.

A lot of metalbands hail from Finland and people often say Finland is a real metal-land. How do you think about that?

I agree that many successful metal bands come from Finland, but bands like us enjoy very narrow popularity. Mainstream metal can be heard everywhere. But that’s not a bad thing, let’s consider that it would be like the gateway theory, first the mild stuff gets you into the scene, and the real stuff really kicks you hard when you dare to take it!

Which bands do you see as your influences?

For me all black, doom, death metal and then again really old stuff like Black Sabbath etc. Of course Norwegian and Swedish black metal has affected a lot to our music as an influence.

Where do get your inspiration from, lyrical-wise?

In the early years Blastmor made most of the lyrics, I contributed some lines. Later on other members took part in the writing process. It widened the outcome. I usually listen to the music first and get the ideas there, like visualize a situation, or create a story that would somehow back up the music. Sometimes you take a sip or two or more of the good ol' Absinthe, which also can help the writing process, but then again you might get something you don’t even understand yourself.

You were active from 1994 until 2006 and recently reformed with a partially new line-up, what made you decide to reform?

An old friend of ours, a festival promoter from Oulu, Finland had bombed Blastmor for years that we should do the last gig we never did back in 2006. So we got together with a new drummer and guitarist and rehearsed for the gig. After the festival gig HM announced that she had no time for the band but we others felt that maybe we’ll do few more gigs if there is a chance for it. We were lucky enough to get a new talented keyboard player to join the band. Few rehearsals with the new line-up were convincing and promising. All the guys were so ready and eager so why not - let’s blast.

What are the biggest differences between then and now you see in the metalscene?

Everything is more categorized and boxed like Folk metal, Pagan metal, etc. I think it ties the artist to a certain style. Marketing men have their claws on everything. Also everything is done more professionally than in the early days; that’s not a bad thing though, but when it goes too extreme I think something is lost. Luckily there’s still a very lively underground scene bubbling underneath, all over the world.

Thyrane’s music has changed a few times over the years. You started with pure black metal, did something with industrial black and ended up playing more symphonic black. How do you look back at Thyrane’s 1994-2006 period?

As in hindsight wisdom? We did what we did musically because back then we wanted to do it. We stand proud behind every record we've made. In my opinion these records just reflect our progress as musicians and songwriters. You can hear what we listened at the time and slightly even get the idea of what was going on inside the band and our personal lives.

Now that you reformed, what are your future plans? Any touring? New music?

Absolutely to play gigs, perhaps even small tours…and I’ll give you a secret; Blastmor has given us some new riffs to chew, the new line-up is brilliant, stars are lining correctly with planets so there might be coming something new out of the pits. Only the Dark Lord knows.

Thank you for the interview, is there something you want to say to the readers of DutchMetalManiac?

Be true to yourselves and stay Black Metal!

Thyrane Facebook

Monday, January 23, 2017

Review: Battery - Martial Law


Taking their influences even further, the Danish thrashers under the banner Battery have continued to bring out the bands’ absolute dedication to the old-school Bay-Area style of thrash which has been a part of the group’s history from the start. Being the last recorded output of long-time drummer Andreas Joen before leaving the band, the sophomore release was originally released November 25, 2016 on Punishment 18 Records.

As was the case for the bands’ career, the vast majority of this one concerns the absolutely frenetic and enjoyable bursts of old-school flavored thrash metal. Tracks like “The Rapture,” “Proxy Warfare” and “2083” take plenty of influence from the Bay-Area style here with the fiery, crunchy riff-work and that ever-familiar rumbling series of bass-lines that clang and rattle along with the music quite nicely like many of their compatriots. With these being the more vibrant and intense tracks, they capture that sense of frantic, engaging thrash-scene effectively with the tight, ripping rhythms being given that old-school sheen due to the crunchy riff-work while also allowing for the group to descend into more laid-back and mid-tempo gallops in “Kukulkan” and “Evoke the Morbid” in order to offer some rather nice diversity which rounds this out nicely. That also does highlight the main issue in that the album is incredibly one-note and one-sided in its appreciation and devotion to the scene that it never once comes off all that original in terms of appearance and generally feel. This one manages to play that same general tactical approach in the old-school riffing and blistering leads which really makes for a rather familiar time that really overwhelms and lowers it somewhat. As well, the fact that it’s quite short due to the tight, frantic rhythms does lower this one somewhat as the intensity levels do bring it back down from what it could’ve been as they’re over before it really matters. However, it’s not nearly as big a detriment as the overall familiar attack.

Although it does have a rather familiar approach and attack that does get hindered here somewhat, the overall infectious attitude and enthusiasm that’s featured here is quite able to overcome much of that in order to make a solid and worthwhile if non-essential choice for revivalist fanatics or less-discerning thrash fans. 8/10

Written by Don Anelli

Battery Facebook

Friday, January 20, 2017

Interview: Acidiun


On February 1st, Swedish metallers Acidiun will premiere a double single with one of the two songs being the first released song of their debut album. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen spoke with them, read it below.

Hey guys, everything ok in Sweden?

Everything is okay with us! It’s a warm winter here in Sweden, only about minus 17 degrees Celsius.

Acidiun, what’s the story behind the bandname?

There is actually no “cool” story behind the name Acidiun. When the band started Axel and Oli were 15-17 years old. Therefore a name that sounded badass at the time was chosen.

Acidiun exists since 2008, can you tell us something about what happened with Acidiun since then?

Well, the sound of our music is now more mature and versatile. Through a couple of line-up changes we feel that the best time is ahead of us. Nowadays we’re also much more socially capable regarding promotion, social networking and making new friends and good contacts. Sum of it all, we have matured both as professional musicians and as individuals over the years.

Your music can be described as a mixture between deathcore and metalcore. Since there are many deathcore/metalcore bands nowadays, what makes Acidiun unique?

For starters, what makes us unique is that we neither use clean vocals nor choruses in our songs, compared with the modern metalcore scene where that is the standard. In our case, every Acidiun song is based on riffs evolving into new segments that proceed into another. At the same time we manage to make the transitions and the new segments compatible with the theme of the song. Apart from that, we feel that the blend between Deathcore/Metalcore with a touch of hardcore and thrash makes our music unique. In addition we always give the listeners some grooves and breakdowns that you can dig.

What are Acidiun lyrics about?

Up until now our lyrics have been about things that we’ve been interested in. This includes games, movies, literature, tv-series and comics. For example our song Bob is about the tv series Twin Peaks and Strolling Downwards is a play on Divina Commedia and Orpheus and Eurydice.

You’re working on new material for your debut album, can you already give us some more info about what it will be like?

It is going to be a concept album about a story we’ve written ourselves. It will be fast, diverse and heavy. Lyrically it will have a dark theme.

On February 1st you’ll premiere a double single (Urges from the upcoming album, and Moshnado), can you tell us something about those songs?

Let’s start with “Moshnado”. The song is everything our liveshows represent: Raw energy, singing your heart out, groovin and moshing your ass off. It’s about releasing all your energy at once and escape everyday life.
“If you lost who you are, and you don’t know what to do you can always come to us and fuck this shit up too”.

Moving onto “Urges”, the first single off our debut album. We can’t tell you a lot about it because we don’t want to spoil the concept of it just yet. What we can tell you is that this song narrates a very important part of the story.

Can we expect some touring in 2017?

We cannot disclose that information at the moment unfortunately; this is however something we really want to do but only time will tell.

Thanks for doing this interview! Is there something you want to say to our readers?

We hope that you will enjoy our single and that we hopefully can come to a venue in your area soon. Thank you for making this interview and bringing light upon Acidiun.

Acidiun Facebook
Acidiun Twitter

Interview: Cowards


Early December, French hardcore sludge black metallers Cowards released Still. Now, DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen interviews them. You can read it below.

Hey guys, how are you?

Fine, thanks.

For people who don’t know you yet, how do you describe Cowards’ music?

It's bleak, exhausting, catchy and above all, exhausted.

Early December you released Still, how is the response so far?

Response seems fine, a couple party poopers here and there, mostly insane comments on how we might be misogynists or fake black metal.

Everything is just as expected.

Who are your influences in music?

It ranges from Celtic Frost to Sade, take your pick.

Where do you get inspiration from for the lyrics?

We keep our eyes opened when it would be so much nicer to not see how ugly this place is.

On the track Like Us Matthias Jungbluth is featured. He is also from Throatruiner Records (your recordlabel), how is working with him?

It's a breeze. He is as dedicated as he is reliable.

He's backed us up since day 1, we'll always back him up.

Loyalty is key.

On Still you also did two covers, in your own style. You Belong To Me is a cover of The Police’s Every Breath You Take and One Night In Any City is a cover of The Horrorist’s One Night In NYC. Why did you choose these two songs?

They range so far out our usual genre and we absolutely love these songs. It seemed like much better cover ideas than covering Integrity or Eyehategod.

Still isn’t released that long ago, but are you already working on new music?

Not yet. Give it a month or two and we'll be back at it.

Can we expect some touring in support of Still?

Touring might be a bit thin this year also, lots of stuff going on for all of us, but we definitely are going to take it out on the road.

At last, is there something you want to say to the readers of DutchMetalManiac?

Thanks for reading this.

Cowards Official Website
Cowards Facebook

Review: +MROME+ - Noetic Collision On The Roof Of Hell


While scouring these guys up on the ‘Net, I didn’t expect to find a duo from Andrychow, Poland doing such cool work. It’s hard to tell anymore who’s a band or just a bunch of 0’s and 1’s, but whatever gets the sales or fuels your artistic needs, I suppose.

From my quick searches, Key V on guitar, vox and programming and P on drums seem to make it work. Perhaps this is a start of a new genre of ‘Techno-Metal?’ Nah! This is ok for a one-off but it won’t have a 40 album collection like Deep Purple. Check out the interesting liner on their bandcamp page about…the world. The title of your next album should be “Rebels, Dandy Bums and Filth Lovers.” Love it! There is good lyrical content here and the writing needs to be commended on its own merits.

Nicely balanced production and articulate sounds! ‘Colors’ is excellent even though I was hoping for a cover tune of Ice-T’s. Talking of covers, I was pleasantly surprised to see a cover of Danzig’s ‘How the Gods Kill”. This is a superb rendition, coarse and throaty and a great homage to the original. Well done and a 9/10 on that tune alone!

The opening salvo of ‘Locust Follows Word’ is refreshingly speed metal with a wall of slow grinding power metal afterwards. A very good tune that leaves me satisfied. Pssht! Next cold beer please!

This is a great album and fares better than some that have a full band. I’m mixed about it as I prefer and want to see a full band (as I’m sure all aspiring musicians want to see also) but the musical composition can’t be denied. It’s powerful, dark and really, who will think about whether this is created electronically or done by a band? I would like to see it done by a live band, but not willing to go see a Chemical Brothers setup for metal.

7.5/10

Written by Alessandro

+MROME+ Bandcamp

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Interview: Carach Angren


On January 16th, Carach Angren was playing a show in Doornroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands together with Fleshgod Apocalypse and Nightland. Before the show, DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Clemens ‘Ardek’ Weijers, Carach Angren’s keyboard-player. Read it below.

Hey, can you tell your name?

Clemens Weijers, Ardek, from Carach Angren.

Today (in Nijmegen) and tomorrow (in Eindhoven) are the two Dutch shows between a lot of shows in other countries. Since you are a Dutch band, is it good to be here for the moment?

It’s very good, because today is a sold out show apparently and that’s amazing. We just played Amstelveen and that was also for a lot of people. So, for us, The Netherlands has been very good lately, thanks to a certain party. Not only that, but it’s nice to get all the recognition, because we are Dutch and we tend to be proud of that. It’s really cool to see that so many people come out to a metalshow. I was just downstairs a little bit and it was awesome.

You also mentioned it, you played in P60 in Amstelveen on Christmas Eve and it also came in a lot of mainstream media, because an Christian political party wasn’t happy with it. How do you look back at that show and the time before?

It was really unexpected, because I was with my girlfriend in Mexico for a month after our US tour and then I landed here. Literally one day later all this started. So, I was like wow, we have been touring the whole world basically, also places where you would expect complains. Then we return to the most liberal country in the world and then it was like that they wanted to forbid us. They wanted to stop the funding for P60. Then all the reporters started calling, from all the mainstream media. Those people also said that it was ridiculous and we would make a story out of this, so for us it was only good promotion. With that I’m very happy and we were able to make a point out of the fact that we can say whatever we want. People can come or stay away and I think the guys from the party made a little bit of a fool out of themselves, to be honest. The show was amazing, a lot of people, it was a great night, so it was win-win-win in the end for us.

What are the most important differences between playing in your home country and playing somewhere else in the world?

Well, it always feels as home and sometimes that’s difficult, because we started here. Twelve years ago, we were playing a lot in Holland, so people also know us as ‘that little band’. Like playing for ten people, because that’s how we started. That also keeps us normal, we never tend to be like rockstars or something. For us, it’s a challenge, because we want to prove and show that we have grown, that we bring a better show every time. It’s really nice that people are recognizing that. Home country is always special in a way to prove ourselves once more.

For the differences, for example if you play in Japan, that’s really crazy. We play songs, people know the songs. Those are songs that I made in my little attic or something and that people on the other side of the world know is really special. That is something I will forever take for granted.

To come home here and play a sold out show, it can’t be better, it’s awesome.

You saw a lot of the world, what was the most special place?

It’s really hard to say, because every country is so different.

For example, the US is very good for us, cause the people in the US love us, people are crazy and really outgoing. They come to me and start hugging. Euro people are a little more distant, they enjoy it probably as much, but they show it in different ways. Mexico, for example, is completely crazy, they go out of their minds, even before you played one note. That gives you a good vibe. Some audiences are more like watching, they are more distant, but they love it as much and they come afterwards and say that it was amazing.

Every country is a bit different, for us the US is amazing right now.

This tour is with Fleshgod Apocalypse and Nightland. How is it so far?

Very good. We know the guys from Fleshgod Apocalypse a long time, we toured with them in America, in Europe with Septicflesh. We go along very well, we know each other. We know what to expect and it clicks very well.

The Nightland guys are great too, so it’s an amazing package and I am very happy to be on the road all together.

You are also back in the studio, right?

Yeah, we’re done, but you’re right, we just finished!

Can you already give us a sneak peek of info?

Yes, we went a bit silent in the studio, because we were very busy and usually it’s a long time until release. We went to Peter Tägtgren’s studio to record drums, we recorded guitars at Tidal Wave Studio in Germany and I recorded vocals and orchestra at my place, my studio. Then we went to the mixing process at the end of December and literally when you heard the fireworks of New Year, I was sitting behind my computer mixing the orchestra. It has been crazy, but that’s what we love. It’s done now and we are super proud of it, it’s amazing.

It’s another horror story again, it will have different substories, a bit like Where The Corpses Sink Forever again. The last one was really dark and in the face, now we are a bit more melodic again. It also have a lot of clues, there are a lot of things in there that people can discover, but if you don’t want that, there is still a lot of metal, a bit for everyone. Can’t wait to release it.

So, you hope to get a lot of new fans?

I hope so, that’s what it’s all about of course. To spread the music and built everything.

You already mentioned it, you are also working with Peter Tägtgren. How is working with him?

Super cool, he is a great guy, great musician and producer. He did some awesome work, but at the same time he is just a very hardworking guy, we get along very well. I know how he works, he knows how we work. When I was in his studio with my brother Namtar, it was all really cool, it went really fast. So it sounds a bit boring but it’s awesome. It’s all super hard work and passion about the end product. I worked with him, I had the privilege to work with him on Lindemann and Pain, that was awesome. The songs he writes, to be able to work on that, it’s amazing. Every time we work together it goes more smooth. Also this time, when he was mixing the guitars, drums and bass I was already listening to it and tweaking my orchestra to it, that’s why I think the end product is the best we have ever done. Sometimes you go into the studio and it’s a total chaos and it’s done before you know it. Afterwards you wish you could have done another detail or something. To me it’s like 100 % now. It was always 100 %, but you know what I mean.

You and Namtar are brothers, how is it to have some family in your own band?

It is different than otherwise in a way, because we are brothers, but it is the same with Seregor, the three of us have this kind of pact, because it’s hard. We are in a band, we have to work a lot, to sit in a tourbus together. It’s not just sitting on a chair and enjoying the rockstar life, it maybe looks like that on the outside, but it is actually super hard work. So, we are all like family, we talk a lot, discuss a lot. Everyone has a specialty in the band and you have to recognize that from each other, respect each other. For me and Namtar, we have two younger brothers, they help out sometimes. It’s awesome, we are the same in some way, but we also have our differences. For example, my brother Namtar is very good at technical stuff, that’s his thing and it’s really amazing. He build this new thing I have on stage, my new toy, which you can see later.

Your lyrics are all about stories, what made you decide to do it that way?

Well, when we first started I was talking a lot to Seregor. We are both dedicated horror fans, he came up with all those little stories he had read, Limburgian saga’s and stuff. Then I said, okay let’s do a quick demo, I want to get something out there to say that we are alive. So we did The Chase Vault Tragedy because we found some links on the internet. I thought it was easy to use one story to build the music upon that. I thought like yeah, but probably everyone is doing that, but it turned out that not many people would do that. We also do it in an different way, we took that and developed it and we always try to be better at it. Now we can’t do without it, it has to be a story all the time. I think we became very good at it, people like it. For example, when I start composing, I need a story in Carach Angren to feel what it is about. I can’t just write a song about the weather or something. Maybe I could but it is not what I want.

Also, like Seregor, he is a storyteller. If you see him on stage you’ll see that. It is all fitting together like that.

What is your favorite Carach Angren track ever?

Haha, difficult question, it’s hard to say. I mean, now I am of course completely into the new tracks, that’s always the newest baby, but people don’t know it yet. Every track is a bit different, for example live I like songs like Departure Towards A Nautical Curse and Sir John, but to listen or compose The Funerary Dirge Of A Violinist is cool, The Sighting Is A Portent Of Doom is nice as a keyboard-player with a lot of layers in there. Every song is a bit different, that’s because it is a story. It is hard for me to pick one.

You are already in a band for a while. What advice would you give to young and starting bands?

Don’t give up too soon. What I’ve seen a lot, is that they start a band, they buy all the right equipment. They start and after two years they think like ‘We don’t have any success, maybe we should quit.’ That’s really sad, because I think you should never quit, only when you think that you don’t want to do it anymore. In this day and age, even more than before, you need many years to establish something. For us, it took maybe already 5 or 6 years to our first album, now we have been together almost 14 years until things are really moving. I always say you need at least ten years to establish a band and you should never forget that you should have fun. We started playing, the three of us, in a caravan in our mother’s backyard. She thought like what the fuck is happening there, but we had fun, drinking beer and jamming. There was no audience, no one and we had fun. We still try to remember that every day and it’s really amazing that so many people enjoy it. If you go in like you need success within two years, you are doomed. So I would like to advice, be passionate, be patient and work hard, then eventually it will work, I am sure.

What does success in a band mean for you?

To me, to write songs that we like and that other people enjoy. When I write something, people come to me after a show and say that it is really helping them, that gives me goosebumps, because people are struggling out there, have a hard life, have to work hard and if that somehow gives them joy, that’s amazing. For me, that’s success.

And of course, that we are able to do this every day, that’s also amazing.

Because it is just 2017, what was the band that surprised you most last year?

That’s difficult to say, because I don’t listen to a lot of bands these days, it’s really hard to say, to be honest.

Can you say what band you are looking forward to the most, in 2017?

Also really difficult, because we do this every day, we sit a lot in the tourbus. Sometimes people think that it’s all about metal and in the tourbus it goes on. Because we do this all day, sometimes we listen to classical music or whatever, something else. There are cool bands, for example a band like Ghost, I respect that a lot, the whole imagery and how they exploded, I respect that. To be honest, there’s not really a band I am really into right now or looking forward to. Maybe it’s really bad, but I always look forward to soundtracks and stuff, that’s what I am into. Sometimes I even listen to old soundtracks from games of the ‘90’s, like Doom soundtracks. I am really an old school guy, right now I am playing this game, The 7th Guest on my phone, it’s from ’93.

I am more of a maker, I started with the piano. Also with the album, I had an old organ that I have since I was 10 years old, I plugged it in, that’s what gets me crazy.

Where would you be without music?

Like dead. I can’t do without it, I would probably do some other art then, because I have to get it out somehow. I always have this vision about what I want to do, right now we are developing in this horror metal band, I am a creator, it’s not only about the music, but always thinking like what can we do. Even with Instagram, some bands post them sitting on a table, but for us it’s always like, fans are looking there, and almost everything has to be a piece of art. So, I am always creative, without music, I would maybe make paintings, photographs or something. Music is my thing, I can’t think otherwise.

Besides new music, which is upcoming, and this tour, are there already other plans for the future of Carach Angren?

Yeah, of course the new album and we want to be more around in Europe, because it’s been like 4 years that we did this. Sometimes it’s difficult, because there are so many bands. It’s really hard to get the attention, because bands are touring everywhere. Although you have fans everywhere, not every promoter knows you. This is now very successful for us, and for us it is important to return again soon and tour more.

Anything else you want to share with the readers of DutchMetalManiac?

Thanks for the questions, thanks for all the support and looking forward to the show and the other shows in Holland.

Carach Angren Official Website
Carach Angren Facebook
Carach Angren Twitter

Review: Tytus - Rises


Another great album to hit my review box, as Tytus, which name I could not pronounce, does have a complicated name, the music is great.

The opening of the album is great, with some odious music with some chanting that gives the track a great feel to it, and a nice prelude to the next track. The next track and the subsequent track are great, all of them do show dedication of the band towards the songs and the album as a whole. The best way to describe the genre of metal that Tytus plays is a classic heavy metal that most people love with high vocals and masterful melodies of the riffs.

The thing I disliked most about the album is the levels of the guitars, as they are a bit too high for my taste and killed the vibe on a few songs for me, I do not know if the band wanted a sound like this or the engineer mixed it like it is but I do hope they improve that one on the next album. Overall, the rest of the mixing process turned out great, as the vocals are just in the right spot and not overarching everything else and for that I give the engineer full props.

In general, this is a great album, I loved it and would definitely recommend it to others, I give it a 8/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

Also, be sure to read our interview Tim van Velthuysen did with Tytus' guitarist Mark Simon Hell here.

Tytus Official Website
Tytus Facebook

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Interview: Tytus


In October Italian metallers Tytus released their debut full-length, called Rises. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen now interviews guitarist Mark Simon Hell, read it below.

Hey, how’s life in Italy?

Yo guys! Uh… Hard to answer this one in few words and /or without sounding too depressive … let’s just say that in this country pizza and coffee are still top rate!!!

Where does your bandname, Tytus, come from? Is there a story behind it, and if so, what is it?

This name came out during rehearsals. There is no special story… we just wanted a short name that sounded powerful and in line with the atmosphere of our music. Somebody said :”what about Tytus?” and everybody liked it. We then checked the internet to see if any other band had already used it and we found out it actually was a character of 80s toys and ‘toons series Masters of the Universe: “TYTUS the giant fights for peace”… PERFECT!!!

In October you released your debut full-length, Rises, how is that feeling?

“Rises” is something very special to us… We personally put a lot of efforts and work in every aspect of it, from the composition and arrangements of every song to sound productions, lyrics, graphics… Everything, really! It was finally out in October (for Sliptrick Records) and we are very satisfied with the final result.

I think it’s a great heavy metal album, what is the response so far?

Thank you, it’s great you said that, we really appreciate! The response so far is actually very good. The feedback we have from people who became new fans after listening to the record is very rewarding: they basically say that “Rises” is a very honest piece of work, with good, inspired songs and very well played. To get so many new followers and such good reactions make us very proud of our creature… and willing to hit the road to play it for everybody!!!

On the album you have a few guests, Conny Ochs, Will Wallner and Tilen Durden, how was working with them?

Conny Ochs is a friend and a real creative talent: he also realized our cover art work… with my small label and booking (Kornalcielo Records) I set up some shows for him. When he came to Trieste (our hometown) he stopped by the studio and did some vocals on 325 AD song. His contribution has been decisive, because we were a bit stuck on that song… we are enthusiastic for what he did for us, while he was recording everybody was like “Hell Yeah!!”

We knew Will Wallner for his work with the American band White Wizzard, and we thought that his heavy- ‘70s-style-rock guitar playing would have been perfect for us… He was going back home from a holiday in Croatia just while we were finishing recordings, so he came to the studio to leave a “cameo”: a great solo, again on 325 AD track. He is a very cool guy and great professional… Number One!!!

Tilen has been our first singer and in fact some lyrics, melodies and arrangements in “Rises” came out of his bag! He is a great musician and a very cool fellow! We had some artistic disagreements that made him leave the project after our Spanish tour a couple of years ago, but he still is a very good friend of us, so we really liked him to take part in something whose genesis owe it to him a lot!

Conny Ochs also took care of your cover artwork, are you happy with the result?

On top of being a great singer and composer, Conny is also a professional graphic designer. We asked him to do the artwork because we have seen works he did and we liked them a lot. He really surprised us because with very few hints from our part he was able to perfectly match what we had in mind, and he did it in a style completely different from what he usually does! And then again, we are enthusiastic for what he did: he realized a cover which is very intense and warm and at the same time has a great impact, which is exactly what we wanted!

You are announced for the lineup of Metaldays 2017, excited?

A lot! It is amazing!!! We have been chosen among so many bands just on the basis of our demo… to participate to one of the biggest Metal festivals in Europe… in times when “pay to play” and such amenities look like the only way to achieve anything… This definitely is to us a great satisfaction!

It’s going to be real cool!!

Can we expect some more touring in 2017?

Hell Yes! We have planned some gigs in Italy and nearby countries like Austria, Slovenia, Germany… you can follow us on our website or Facebook to see where we are going to play next!

Any other future plans for Tytus?

We are pretty busy in promoting “Rises” at the moment. We would like to make another video and put out a 12” vinyl version of the record… But we are also very inspired and therefore already working on new material for the next album!!!

Is there something you want to say to our readers?

Huge Thanx to you guys from DutchMetalManiac for your support and to everybody who read so far!!! Seek and Destroy!

Ciao

Tytus Official Website
Tytus Facebook

Review: L'Homme Absurde - Monsters


The great thing about ‘post-black’ music is that you never quite know what to expect. L’Homme Absurde takes known and unknown paths in their debut album Monsters.
Opener Sold is just very, very nice. Melodic, dark and with a hook. The guitar riffs are simple yet accelerating and the combination with the drums is great.
Second song Villains gets to the point where the black metal is just a bit too long for my taste…and just at that thought it changes and different sound kicks in. And then another change! The screams and grunts are a red line in the whole, but different musical takes make the sound more interesting.
Apathy is a place of calm refuge in the disturbing world of L’Homme Absurde. Well.. at least the first two minutes it is. Then the darkness erupts again.
Disillusion is almost the longest track on the album, spinning over seven minutes. The interesting thing about the album is that the music can get to the point of annoyance, but always just when it gets to that point, there is a change. Where Villains started with a calm guitar melody, Disillusion ends with it, making connections again with the thematic approach on the album.
Next in line is the longest and best track on the album, Wanderer moods change, the balance is amazing and the emotions are getting under your skin.
The song Strayed has tunes that make me think of The Cure, or -a bit more recent- Nada Surf. These parts make that I believe that post-black has a great future, because it turns its back toward all ‘traditions’ in the genre and combines black with (post-)rock influences, making it interesting for a broader audience.
Basically the last two songs do not add any difference to the album besides ten minutes more of the nice spectrum of L’Homme Absurde.
Monsters is a nice debut showing that L’Homme Absurde has the guts to mix traditional black with post-rock/wave sounds. If they would dare to work this out even more in a next album they can really be an addition to the existing post-black legion.

Written by Martijn Bakker

L'Homme Absurde Facebook

Interview: Sunterra


On January 20th, Austrian band Sunterra will release their new album, called Reborn. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen interviews bassplayer Chris, read it below.

For people who don’t know what Sunterra sounds like, how would you describe your music?

Actually our music is a symbiosis of old-school heavy guitars, male grunts, female voice an electronically related music like trip hop, dub step or techno.

In 2006, Sunterra decided to take a break for an uncertain period, now you’re back. What was the reason to decide this was the right time to come back?

The reason whipping out Sunterra from the tomb is, that we’re looking for new challenge. We missed the stage and the audience for the last years. And, of course, our personal drive to create something unique.

Compared to the last lineup (before the break), there is one lineup change. Now, guitarist/programmer Ivan is part of Sunterra, how did you met him?

Ivan answered on an insertion, posted by us to find new musicians.

What made you decide he is the right one for this job?

I don’t know, perhaps the chemicals between us worked and we felt his capability.

In January, you will release Reborn, what are the differences compared to your early albums?

One essential difference is, that we us electronic parts, drums & synths. It’s a new ground for us, but we like to experiment and the challenge, that comes with new styles.

What are the lyrics about on Reborn?

The topic is an old one, like you know it from Orwell’s novel “1984”. But it is also an actual one, if we’re looking on our today’s society. Reborn deals with the uprising of old gods, with supervision of thoughts and feelings and also with the hope for a new start.

What is the story behind the cover of Reborn?

The Egypt goddess Isis was worshipped as the goddess of death and reincarnation. If you drop this myth on Sunterra’s history, then she can also be responsible for our restart.

Can we expect some touring in the near future?

I don’t know. Actually we’re working on new material for our next output. But if bookers contact us for tours or concerts, we definitely don’t say no.

Is there something you want to say to DutchMetalManiac’s readers?

Have fun with our new album “Reborn” and check out our old material.

Sunterra Official Website
Sunterra Facebook

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review: Aratron - Darkness Is Coming


A happy 2017 to all and this first review of me celebrates all good things with doom/boom/ka-choom Metal. The quartet from Sliedrecht, South Holland, despite some lineup changes, have done ok for a long time with at least 3 other releases. Their newest is solid and guttural; mostly ‘guittaral’ (my own made up word here) as the axes seem to take over the sound. Vox is nearly non-existent and is too bad, as the album is powerful and has some great rhythms. Lead singer Ronald even notes others have ganged up on his vox as is shown on their Fb page, and takes it quite good humouredly.

The about 2 second bassline into ‘Primal Shrine’ was good. The rest: meh.

Impressed as I was with the album getting better, it’s a frigid uphill climb for me, but lovers of “Traumatizing Thrash Metal’ (haha love that one) will enjoy it immensely. ‘Slow Decay’ actually rocks with some glimmer of crunching power chords and some good slower tempos.

‘The Glory of Chaos’ is great! An outstanding intro and my favourite song here. Decent playing with some reminding of Slayer, Razor and Overkill for my likings. The axe work at about 03:36 kicks and there will definitely be happy times for those in their concert mosh. This is speed metal not thrash and very articulate. The outro at 04:46 to end is classic and puts some nice finishing nails into the woodwork.

The rest of the songs are good and the titles are cool, lending themselves to some underpinnings in prog rock, due to the lengthier ones, such as ‘The Dark Curse’; a 6:25 plodding, moody, somewhat repetitive piece which is very good. I hear VoiVod in there and it impresses me. Again the near-absence of the voice is too bad as some lyrics would be nice. And since there’s not many liner notes anymore….

Overall, I find this a good album and worthy of a buy. If the band can keep up with the personnel changes then they will get some traction and move forward, I think. Turn the mixing knobs and get that voice back in there lads!

7.5/10

Written by Alessandro

Aratron Official Website
Aratron Facebook

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Interview: Victorius


On January 13th, German power metallers Victorius will release their album Heart Of The Phoenix. DutchMetalManiac’s Don Anelli already reviewed it (read it here) and now you can read his interview with Victorius’ guitarplayer/songwriter Dirk Scharsich below.

For fans who are just getting exposed to your work right now, how would you explain your music to them?

Fast, catchy, and all in all melodic metal music with clear vocals and typical ridiculous lyrics.

So, you have a new album coming out soon. What preview can you give us to expect from the release?

I would say that this is our best album so far. Of course every band says this about new records, but in our case it’s true, ha! This time we just did what we wanted to do. We did not think much about “this must sound like this and that and blabla”. We just plugged in our guitars and started to write the music we like so to say.

Do you have a favorite track off the album? What makes it special for you?

My personal favorites are Hero and Empire of the Dragonking, the 2 singles for the album. In my opinion these 2 songs are typical Victorius songs. Fast, catchy and great melody-lines.

This was recorded at KR Studio. Why did you decide to record there?

We recorded the previous 2 albums there, so it felt natural to do it once more. Never change a winning team!

Why did you decide to work once again with producer Lars Rettkowitz? Did his experience with the band bring out anything special to the material while you were recording?

As said we worked with him on the previous 2 albums. He is a great guy and producer and treats us like a big brother. The fact that he is the guitar player for another super melodic happy power metal band (Freedom Call) brings also fresh but very well-fitting influences into our music.

You've recently had some big tours with artists like Freedom Call, Van Canto and Grailknights. What were those experiences like?

Never go on stage while the headliner is still doing soundcheck! :-D No just fun. Well I would say tours and shows like that are much more professional. You play in front of way more people than you usually do as a young upcoming band. You know you must deliver a killer show and play as tight as possible.

What plans do you have to promote the album as far as tours or videos?

Tours and videos ;-). And of course interviews. I don´t know what else to do than these things :-D

So, we’ll end this on a fun note. What’s your all-time favorite track to play live?

Blood Alliance from our “Dreamchaser” album. It’s the slowest and heaviest song in our liveset. It’s kinda easy to play on the guitar so I can pose alot, walk around on stage and make fun on the other bandmembers :-P

Do you have a special message for DutchMetalManiac's readers?

Thanks a lot for this interview! I hope you will check out our band, like it, and maybe even buy our new album (and all the old ones too, haha!).

Victorius Official Website
Victorius Facebook

Review: Victorius - Heart Of The Phoenix


Following their current trend, German power metallers Victorius have been continuing to hone their skills in the live format as the bands’ recent hiatus has allowed them to produce a tighter, more vibrant sound through all the enhanced activity they went through. With the live activity resulting in a three-year gap between releases, the groups’ fourth full-length will release January 13, 2017 on Massacre Records.

Almost immediately, it’s apparent that the bands’ hard work has paid off in dividends as there’s an immense blast of forceful and power-packed power metal. Tracks like “Shadowwalker,” “Hero” and the title track take the same general approach as before which takes the form of sterling rhythms, triumphant vocals and sparkling melodies interwoven into a tight, charging speed-metal core, forming the essence of plenty of spectacular power metal bands throughout its history. As well, efforts like “End of the Rainbow,” “Die By My Sword” and “Hammer of Justice” tend to be more emblematic of the genre’s more current output of more chugging-centered patterns that hold off the driving rhythms layering plenty of the keyboards and vocals over the driving drumming and explosive guitar melodies that adds worlds of harmonious rhythms to the tracks throughout here by adding the triumphant nature to a strong baseline of work that gallop along at rather nice mid-tempo speeds. The strong melodic interjections work quite nicely here at forming a blistering sense of power running through a toughened exterior, though it does highlight the fact that the band does dip into those shallower depths somewhat frequently and brings about a rather formulaic approach which doesn’t need to be there with the album working nicely with the stronger rhythms generating quite a lot to like here and the lighter approach does undo a lot of that good will. It’s not completely extinguished but does bring it down somewhat.

While it’s still a somewhat new and novel experience for the group, there’s plenty to like here with the bands’ rather impressive attack getting utilized to its fullest extent which has the great effect of making this one a wholly worthwhile release for fans of triumphant, highly melodic power metal. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Victorius Official Website
Victorius Facebook

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Interview: Ithilien


In February (for USA: March), Belgian Folkcore band Ithilien will release their album called Shaping The Soul. DutchMetalManiac’s Henric van Essen reviewed Shaping The Soul already (here) and now he interviews vocalist/guitarist/bouzouki-player Pierre. Read it below!

Hello, how are you doing?

Hi!
This is Pierre from Ithilien (vocals, guitar and bouzouki) and I’m really glad meeting you!
2017 seems very promising for us, so … Very good, thank you!

Thanks for allowing us the opportunity to get to know you a little better. Ithilien is the name of a fiefdom in Gondor, from Tolkien’s ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. How, if at all, is Ithilien the band connected to that famous work?

You’re welcome, it’s a real pleasure for us. Indeed, the name Ithilien comes for Tolkien’s work but to be honest, the content of our songs, the concepts and themes of our albums, are not really related to ‘The Lord Of The Rings’. It’s not an easy task for a starting band to choose a name. It has to be original (meaning no other band using the same name) and somehow, it has to reflect what that band is going to become in the future. We searched for a long time and when we came across “Ithilien“, we knew we found it.

Can you tell us a little bit about Ithilien and its history?

Sure! It all started about 10 years ago when I tried putting a band together. This is when the name was chosen, and to be honest, that’s the only thing left from that period. Unfortunately the first difficulty that you encounter when creating a band is finding the right musicians, those with, not only talent, but also the same goals, expectations, perseverance and professionalism. With time I met those people and since 2011 things started to get serious ... and I'm so grateful we met each other. You won't reach far as a band if you don't have the right team. So, to me Ithilien really started in 2011. Before that it was more a garage band that was searching for its own identity. Since 2011 there has been some evolution on a musical and personal level thanks to the great musicians in the band themselves. In fact, I think this evolution is best expressed as maturity. And since then, we’ve signed with Mighty Music (DK) for our first album (From Ashes to the Frozen Land) and now with Wormholedeath for our upcoming album SHAPING THE SOUL, we’ve been several times on tour in Europe and Japan with, among others, Eluveitie and Skalmold.

Finding a suitable, capable and competent guitarist or drummer can be a daunting task, let alone finding a suitable, capable and competent hurdy gurdy or bagpipes player. Where did you find and/or met such specialized musicians?

It’s all a matter of patience, perseverance, and a little bit of luck. And when the time’s right, you’ll find the right people. To be honest, the band started as a regular metal band. We weren’t using any folk instruments. To be more precise, we didn’t even search for it. And someday, a young and very talented bagpipe player that saw us on stage, wanted to join the band. And we said ‘Why not?’. So we tried and we liked it a lot! And you know the world of folk musicians is like some sort of community. People know each other (especially in a small country as Belgium). So once you enter that community, you start meeting other people, and eventually Ithilien ended up with a hurdy gurdy, a bagpipe and a violin. All a perfect match!

You play a combination of styles that is hard to combine due to their respective characteristics, roughly folk and metal. What made you decide to combine these two quite different styles?

I’ve personally always liked both folk and metal. But, as you say, its combination is not that trivial. So from a musical perspective, I have always liked their respective sounds and rhythms, and from an intellectual point of view, combining both was a very appealing challenge. But of course, when writing music, all members are involved and all members bring their own personality in some way.

Congratulations with ‘Shaping The Soul’, it turned out really great in my opinion. Compared to its predecessor there’s a distinct stronger emphasis on the folk relative to the death- and core metal. I personally like this shift, it adds more depth to the sound. What, if anything, is/are the reason(s) behind it?

Well, you have to know that when we wrote FROM ASHES TO THE FROZEN LAND (2012, Mighty Music (DK)), there was nobody playing folk instruments in Ithilien. It’s only short after releasing that album that we have met Sabrina (Hurdy Gurdy) and Hugo (Bagpipe). When writing SHAPING THE SOUL (2017, Wormholedeath (IT)), the situation was totally different simply because those folk instruments were present. Somehow I also think that maturity plays an important role.
Anyway, I totally agree when you say it adds more depth to the sound. We tried to use each instrument as they are meant to be used. And we’re all very proud of the end result.

The vocals are all harsh, which strongly contrasts with the at times sweet tunes. Is that a deliberate choice?

I'm personally used to listening to bands with harsh vocals. Now of course, those which are not used to this kind of vocals, will have some difficulties to appreciate it. You definitely need some time to get used to it and feel the feelings behind. Anyway, this is the way I sing and the way I can express the most my feelings with my vocal cords. All instruments and lyrics work together towards one same goal, the overall harmony to express certain emotions.

You state that your goal with ‘Shaping The Soul’ is to share your experience of grief with the listeners. Despite this it never sounds very grievous. Can you explain that a bit more and can you tell us how that has been translated into the songs? And where does that grief originate from?

Of course, I’m really glad you ask! Before writing the album, we had to decide its concept, its main theme... And our absolute goal was to write about something that applies to everyone, yet could be interpreted in a very personal way. But what’s important, is that we didn’t want to write about drinking or battles which at that point felt a little childish for us, but we wanted to talk about something that really matters to people. Something that touched people. Something in which people could place their own story, their own feelings. I personally was in a very bad period of my life, undergoing an important loss, and that’s how the idea of using ‘grief’ as concept arose. It’s often said that music can be stronger than a therapy. I couldn’t agree more on this as composing SHAPING THE SOUL really helped me move forward.

We’ve done our research and we found out that grief could be theorized (called the Kubler-Ross Model) in 5 important stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I won’t go into the details but basically anyone that undergoes an important loss in its life will go through these 5 stages. It’s important to understand that we’re talking about ‘loss’ in general. It can be losing a parent or child, the end of a relationship, unemployement, ill health, death... or any other loss that matters to you! And here comes the answer to your question concerning how it is translated into the songs. The album SHAPING THE SOUL is constructed with that Kubler-Ross model as skeleton and every song of the album has its corresponding stage. The first song BLINDFOLDED represents denial (it seems more obvious now, isn’t it?). LIES AFTER LIES and SHAPING THE SOUL are a manifestation of anger while IF ONLY obviously represents the bargaining stage. EDELWEISS feels depressing while THE BEAR DANCE represents acceptance.
I think knowing this, our readers should listen to the album while carefully reading the lyrics and trying to analyse which stages are represented in each song. To me, I think it all makes so much more sense when you know this, and without this analysis, you can’t fully appreciate the album. You’re just missing something...

Do you have touring plans in the near future?

There’s a few tourdates that we will be announcing in the beginning of January. Besides that, we have touring plans for a near future, but nothing that we can talk about yet.

Thanks for allowing us to question you. Is there anything left you would like to share with our readers?

Thank you for your time and support. Of course we invite everybody to join us on our social media and as we get a lot of questions from people, we’re actually planning to answer them with videos in the near future. So if anyone has questions for us, just click on the link here under and ask us anything you want.

www.ithilien.be/faq.html.

Thanks again!

Cheers!

Ithilien Official Website
Ithilien Facebook
Ithilien Twitter

Review: Ithilien - Shaping The Soul


Ithilien, named after a fiefdom in Tolkien’s ‘The Lord Of The Rings’, is a seven man/woman metal outfit hailing from Belgium. Although seven members appears to be a lot, this is mainly due to the use of special instruments. The complete lineup consists of Pierre Cherelle on vocals, guitar and bouzouki, Tuur Soete on guitar, Benjamin Delbar on bass, Jerry Winkelmans on drums and percussion, Hugo Bailly on bagpipes, Sabrina Gelin on hurdy gurdy and nyckelharpa and last but not least Myrna Mens on violin. Together they produce a sound that takes the raw tunes and vocals from metalcore, mixes it with a pinch of death metal and then, to top it off, adds a substantial dose of folk and folk metal. This rather unusual mixture, called Folkcore by Ithilien, is the genre of which Eluveitie is the uncrowned king and it doesn’t exactly come as a shock that their influence is clearly audible in Ithilien’s work.

That influence however, is not overly apparent, in fact, where their debut still held quite some references to Eluveitie’s type of music, Ithilien manages to create more of an own sound on this new release called ‘Shaping The Soul’. Since the release of their debut, back in 2013 they released ‘From Ashes To The Frozen Land’, they obviously have evolved towards more emphasis on folk relative to metal, where the balance tipped the other way on ‘From Ashes…’. By awarding a bigger role to folk-related instruments like the hurdy gurdy, the violin and the bagpipes Ithilien creates a genre-defying sound and it also adds a significant amount of complexity and variety to their songs, piquing my interest and potentially making this release a memorable one.

Merging these two opposite sounds into one homogeneous and balanced whole however, is quite the challenge. Nevertheless Ithilien succeeded in rising to it as far as I’m concerned. Despite the at times abundance of folk influences I never got the feeling of overkill in any of the songs. Right from the first tones of opener ‘Blindfolded’ it is clear where this one is heading. Along the violence of the raw, heavy riffs, the upbeat drums and the harsh grunting the more unconventional instruments already demand a small yet notable role for themselves. This role grows as the album progresses, placing the violin, bagpipes, hurdy gurdy, nyckelharpa and what not emphatically in the spotlight, without diminishing the role of the death- and coremetal. Even though both styles are pretty much in complete harmony, it still feels as if there’s an ongoing battle between them where fierceness and intensity vary continuously and that is led by a compassionate vocalist.

Whether you pick the mighty ‘Shaping The Soul’, the marching ‘If Only’, the raging, heavy ‘Edelweiss’ or the lively, raise-your-spirits type of song ‘The Bear Dance’, the friendly rivalry between styles and the accompanying instruments is ever-present, making this release a more than interesting musical journey. Both guitars alternate attacks and collaborations with the folk instruments time and time again and vice versa, all within the musical borders set by a great rhythm section and Pierre’s grunts that add an extra raw layer to the overall sound. Despite the somewhat gloomy goal Ihtilien has with ‘Shaping…’, which is sharing their experience of grief with you, its atmosphere, though not particularly merry or uplifting, never strikes me as overly depressing or grievous. This impression is strengthened by the presence of two songs that are almost completely devoid of metal influences, the soothing ‘Walk Away’ and the sweet ‘Emma’, which offer some rest for the wicked.

Needless to say that in my opinion Ithilien has conjured up an impressive release with ‘Shaping The Soul’. Those that can appreciate metal with distinct folk influences will definitely devour this, but I’m certain there will be many more metal fans that will enjoy this one a lot. Great tunes, expert musicians, the use of rare instruments, originality in both music and, up to a certain extent, compositions, a decent production, there’s not much to complain about here. This album, to be released in February, already occupies a spot on my 2017 shortlist for album of the year.

Written by Henric van Essen

Ithilien Official Website
Ithilien Facebook
Ithilien Twitter

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Review: Vesen - Rorschach


Finally returning to active duty, Norwegian black/thrashers Vesen have brought forth a concept album about the deteriorating mental state of an individual and how they deal with that told with the traditional sense of style found in their previous work. As the four-year break has brought along their same progressive edge to the forefront, the groups’ fourth full-length was released December 16, 2016 on Soulseller Records.

As what was so prominently a part of the bands’ past catalog, there’s a loud, raucous attack featured throughout here that makes for a generally explosive effort. Fueled by efforts like “Damnation Path,” “Pray for Fire” and “Target: Horizon” that are full of furious, swirling thrash rhythms and a generally full-throttle approach, the vast majority of the release carries this high-energy surge through the material aided nicely by the dark, filthy production style that adds more life to the proceedings. Unleashing the thrashing riff-work to delve into a raucous charge with the high-energy, fire-spitting rhythms that are nicely topped off by the darker patterns featuring plenty of the swirling black metal patterns that are introduced here to give this one quite a prominent darker facet to the music. Balancing it out quite nicely are “Blood, Bones and Pride,” “Vulgar, Old and Sick Blasphemy” and “Away the Tormentor” that are efforts which drop the high-energy thrashing in favor of the slow, sprawling elements that extend this one out far longer into epics that counteract the tight, vicious thrashing elsewhere here, which is a nice feature though it does seem somewhat out-of-place here with the slow, ponderous rhythms being quite jarring against the more vicious, intense stuff throughout here. It does get a little slack here being that this is a concept album requiring those be placed here to carry the storyline out, but it’s still somewhat of an issue.

As there’s a lot to like here with the bands’ vicious and intense side rather than the more epic, sprawling material which holds it back, those few minor problems are just enough to knock this one back and makes this one really for the most devout and undiscerning fan of blackened thrash metal. 8/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Ghost Of Mary - Oblivaeon


Ghost Of Mary is an Italy based melodic gothic/death metal band founded in 2015, although the first steps on the musical path date back to 2014. The six-man-outfit plays a surprising mix of gothic and death metal with distinct classical influences, presumably making their music quite complicated to write and create. Apparently however, this didn’t set the standards high enough yet, because they took it upon themselves to release a concept album, an allegory about life and death, as their debut, which, like composing within their musical style, is not exactly a walk in the park. Such high standards call for high expectations, so let’s see if they can live up to the self-set challenges.

‘Oblivaeon’, as this release is called, opens with an intro that summons a dreamy, somewhat melancholic atmosphere that maintains into the early stages of the next song called ‘Shades’. Vocalist Daniele Rini’s crooning joins the slow, sleepy song which bursts into flames only a while later, transforming the vocals from sweet into grunt in the blink of an eye only to once again transform, this time into a low screaming, just seconds later. This transforming of the vocal style turns out to be a repeating theme throughout the entire album, Daniele does not hesitate to change styles time and time again. He switches from deep grunts to clean screaming shouts to a hoarse roar to crooning in no particular order and vice versa. As impressive as that may seem, it does have its downside, there’s a reason multifunctional vocalists are rare. Even though Daniele is a great singer who definitely has the potential to become a multifunctional vocalist, there’s still some room for improvement. It’s in no way insurmountable, but here and there it is audible he does not control every aspect of his vocal range and the use of it fully. Yet.

This, like I pointed out, is only a minor letdown, it does not take away anything of the overall quality and attractiveness of the album. It’s a very enjoyable musical journey with an abundance of quality in my opinion. Every now and then you run into a band that has the makings of a great band and that manages to impress right from its start. To me Ghost Of Mary is such a band. In fact, even though there’s room for tweaking here and there, in my opinion Ghost Of Mary is the one of the most promising bands I have heard in years. It may be a bit rough around the edges, unpolished if you will, as if they’re still searching for the right chemistry in both vocals and music, but that is something that time and experience will solve I’m sure.

‘Oblivaeon’ has plenty of gems to be discovered along the way. The contrast between the heavy death metal riffage and the dreamy classical parts in Ghost Of Mary’s music is stunning at times, keeping things interesting throughout the album. Most noteworthy songs must be the mighty ‘Shades’ and the jittery ‘Nothing’, but there really is not a bad song on this album. The guitar tandem Mauro Nicolì and Gabriele Muja form a perfect collaboration, jumping from massively heavy to adorably sweet and they still manage to squeeze in a few raging solos as well. The drum kit is occupied by Damiano Rielli, whose solid, strong and rhythmic drum work flawlessly tracks the rhythm set by both guitarists and singer Daniele. Together they provide the perfect frame for the classical instruments, played by Joele Micelli, to wander around in. Sadly both the classical parts and, be it less evident, the bass lines sometimes drown in the violently mixed vocals, guitars and drums. Joele and bass player Nicola Lezzi are great players, if not excellent, but their parts are definitely underexposed on ‘Oblivaeon’, which prevents them from shining. To me this seems to be a production issue and as such easily solvable.

There is no doubt you will hear a lot more from The Ghost Of Mary in the near future. Provided they keep growing, improve the production and are able to find the right chemistry to lose the somewhat chaotic use of the various styles of both music and vocals they could have a great future ahead. Time is their ally, and, thanks to this release, so am I. This one is worth a special mention in my year list, you should definitely give it a thorough listening to.

Written by Henric van Essen

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