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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Interview: Gonoreas

On February 23rd, the Swiss metallers of Gonoreas released their new album, called Minotaur. Time for DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen to ask Gonoreas' guitarist Damir Eskic some questions!

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Minotaur. I really like it!

Big, big thanks my friend! It's nice to hear.

When you compare Minotaur to its predecessor, Destructive Ways (2015), what is it you notice?

Hmm... we did Destructive Ways in a easier way, only heavy metal. With Minotaur we speak about our influences, and depths of the ideas and music. So, Minotaur is a little bit more dark and a little bit more complicated album.

What is the story behind the lyrical content of Minotaur?

It's not a story, every song has a different lyrical content, but it's all about life, and what's happening during it. The song Minotaur is about big obstacles that appear in our life, sometimes the biggest obstacle, the biggest enemy is ourselves. On the song, the walls of the labyrinth are made of mirrors that reflects past memories and regret. The main character tries to attack the minotaur, but attacks the mirror, his on reflex, the glass breaks and kills him. The meaning behind the lyrics is about not getting lost on the labyrinth of our mind, sometimes we can be our worst enemy.

Where do you get inspired by? 

Our inspiration now are, we by ourselves. When we composed the songs this time we only thought our way, and how to give the riffs and ideas for us only.

Since your 2011 album Apocalypse you work with V.O. Pulver in the studio. What is it that makes you return to him?

It's just a perfect way to create and record the album with V.O. and everybody can hear the great result. We love the work of V.O.

The cover art of Minotaur is made by Osmar Arroyo. He also did some covers of your earlier releases. What made him the best person for creating the cover of Minotaur? What is it that makes you return to him for the covers?

Osmar Arroyo is an great artist and he is a friend of our singer Leandro. He is a uncomplicated guy and he does great artwork. For the special edition of Minotaur, we have a different cover and another artist too. It was made by Gyula Havanczack. Gyula made covers for bands like Blind Guardian, Destruction, Grave Digger and more.

For releasing Minotaur you signed to Art Gates Records. What makes them the best label for Gonoreas at this moment?

We needed a partner who would help us. I'm a full-time musician and also worked for my wife's band called Burning Witches. Now we have too much to do, so we needed a partner who can work good with us. This is the first album with Art Gates and we must see how it will work the next time.

You hail from Switzerland. How is the Swiss metalscene?

The Swiss metal scene is great, but there are too many concerts every week in, for example, 40 km around of us. It's great but sometimes it's bad. For like 10 years we did some easy promo and much people were coming to every show. Today we must do big promo for every show.

Any bands from there you recommend checking out?

Yes! Burning Witches, Mind Patrol, Final Crusade, Hellvetica, Comaniac and Emerald.

You already announced some shows, can we expect more of them? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Yes, we now have some shows booked for the Minotaur tour. Maybe we can come to The Netherlands.

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

Big thanks for love, great metal sounds and enjoy the greatest music in the world!!

Gonoreas Official Website
Gonoreas Facebook

Friday, May 18, 2018

Interview: Morvigor

In November last year, the Dutch metallers of Morvigor released their second full-length album, called Tyrant. Time for DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen to interview them!

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Tyrant. It's really nice!

Thank you! We’ve been working on Tyrant for a long time, so it’s always great to hear people appreciating our work.

How are the reactions you get on it so far?

The reactions have been overwhelming so far. Almost every review online is hugely enthusiastic and speaks about us with lovely flattering words. We also really enjoy the fact that people don’t really know how to classify our music. We’ve been called almost everything, ranging from Hardcore Punk to Prog Rock to Atmospheric Black Metal and, my personal favourite, Eclectic Meme Metal.

When you compare Tyrant with its predecessor, A Tale Of Suffering (2014), what is it you notice?

Personally I notice a much more matured band, both musically and conceptually. The songs are more thought and worked out than on A Tale Of Suffering. Soundwise, A Tale of Suffering shows a mixture between Melodic and Folk metal with a little progressive touch, Tyrant shows a hybrid between Black / Death / Prog Metal and a little bit of Punk.

The song structures are great! How does the writing process go for a Morvigor track?

One of us introduces a riff or an idea in the rehearsal room. We jam a little, and then our guitar player Sytze makes a little demo recording at home. Then we improve and improve and improve the demo till we got something we all are content with.

This is your first album with Brendan Duffy on drums, did this change something to the creating process of an album compared to creating an album with your former drummer IJdo IJssennagger?

Brendan is a fantastic guy, both musically and personally. I won’t go into details about differences between Brendan and IJdo, since they aren’t really comparable, but I can say that Brendan is a drumming mastermind and is extremely motivated, which is really inspiring for all of us.

You have two guests on this album, Jan Jongewaard (who is responsible for the programming on Voices) and Geert Omta (who plays piano in the outro). How did these collaborations came to pass?

Geert Omta has been a friend of the drummer Brendan for a long time. We were thinking about doing a piano-outro, and since Geert is studying classical music at the conservatory, it was really obvious we had to ask him for doing the outro. It was a great experience, we recorded it in a small church in the Dutch countryside, it was beautiful. About Jan, he was my English teacher when I was in high school. He had this low, intense voice, which I then, and still, found really imposing. So when we decided to do a interlude with voices, I sent him an email, and he was enthusiastic right away.

How are you going to surpass this on a new album?

A healthy combination of motivation, inspiration, exploration, experimentation.

Speaking of it, are you already working on new material? If yes, can you already tell us something about how it's going to be?

I can’t tell how it’s going to be. We already have a few ideas lying around, musically and conceptually. But, it still requires a lot of work before we can make anything public I guess.

You recently participated in the Dynamo Metal Fest BandBattle for a spot on Dynamo Metal Fest. How did that go?

Brendan is doing the MetalFactory at Dynamo, so the choice to play there was an easy one. We were very glad to see we were selected for the finals, since it’s kinda strange for a Black Metal band to compete in a bandcontest for a more modern / mainstream open air metal festival. We didn’t won, but we had a great time there, and I think we’ve made quite a impression on the bookers of Dynamo, so we might be back there another day.

You currently have three upcoming shows announced. Can we expect some more Morvigor shows soon?

Yes! We are planning a few other, mostly small local shows, which will be announced over following months I guess.

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

Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check out Tyrant!

Morvigor Official Website
Morvigor Facebook

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: Kobra and the Lotus - Prevail II

Last year Kobra and the Lotus released their first part of the Prevail album, of which you can read our review here. Now Prevail II is out and I again feel privileged to be able to review this second album as well! The album immediately is off to a good start beginning with the earlier released single Losing My Humanity, this track builds further on where Prevail I stopped. The song has the guitars and fierce vocals that bring us the all-too-familiar Kobra and the Lotus sound. The force and aggressiveness of this opening song immediately sets the right mood. I can understand why this song has been put at the beginning of the tracklist!

The beautiful Let Me Love You dials down on aggressiveness and fierceness without taking away the familiar Kobra the Lotus sound. It sounds more like a heavy rock song then it is a metal song per se. This is perhaps the power of Kobra and the Lotus and in particular with these last two records, there are quite a few variations between different styles of music, but switching between those styles sometimes happens without me actually being fully aware of it. I mean, I obviously did notice it, but all the songs blend perfectly together and it actually adds a lot of flavor to the record rather than diminishing it. The next song called Ribe is an acoustic intermezzo which connects the songs Let Me Love You with the next track, My Immortal. Ribe takes you out of all the guitar and drum violence for a few minutes, which I will address later on, and calms you to give you time to charge up for the beautiful My Immortal. This song in some ways builds on the foundation of Let Me Love You. Only this time there is more variation and the song builds up constantly eventually leading up to the beautiful high notes of Miss Kobra Paige herself. These well-controlled and clear high-pitched vocals show how versatile and talented Kobra really is.

Human Empire shows itself as being a true metal track to the bone. The guitar and drums are absolutely phenomenal here and the fierceness of the vocals again shows its face! After this violence follow two straightforward rock songs that don’t really jump out but are necessary and beautiful nonetheless even if it were only due to the fact that they again show how versatile Kobra and the Lotus as a band really is. I love how they show time and time again that they make the music that they want to make rather than thinking about whether it’s metal enough for some people.

Modern Day Hero is the next track. This song is really positive, it makes me feel good and I immediately want to fight for righteousness! Something that really fits Kobra and the Lotus and the reason they make music. You can read about this further in this interview which we did last year with Kobra herself! In You’re Insane the band goes really all-out! This is metal like it's supposed to be, straight to the point and heavy! At least that is my opinion! The fierce and powerful vocals of Kobra are back once again and she really gives her all! As a listener I was completely blown away by her power! With White Water, the ballad on the record, the band again shows their vulnerable side. The song is really beautiful and is without a doubt, like ballads have been so many times, my favorite song on the album. The classic 80s guitar solo at the end really makes the difference! That’s how a powerful rock ballad, with little bit of metal must be! Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain has been covered with grace. The band really gives color to the original song and makes the song dynamic! This coming from a guy that doesn’t even like covers! Great job Kobra and the Lotus!!!

The acoustic version of Let Me Love You is the bonus track. To me this is the cherry on the cake. Where the original track is only vulnerable in the chorus, this acoustic rendition is vulnerable the whole way through and translates the feeling of love and positivity even more than its electric counterpart!

I can only say that Prevail II is a great continuation of the path that Kobra and the Lotus is on right now! I really hope that the band continues to do this with all their positivity and love!

Thanks Kobra and the Lotus!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

We also mentioned Kobra and the Lotus in part 14 of Promoting Bands, which you can read here.

Kobra And The Lotus Official Website
Kobra And The Lotus Facebook
Kobra And The Lotus Twitter

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Live review: Nachtblut and Krankheit in Willemeen, Arnhem, The Netherlands, May 9th, 2018

May 9th, it's a pretty hot day today with a lot of sun, but a very dark evening is planned in Willemeen, Arnhem. Not just a dark evening! Two bands will play their first Dutch show tonight: headliner Nachtblut and support act Krankheit!

When the doors of Willemeen's cafe (where tonight's shows will happen) just opened, the venue stays pretty empty for quite a while. Just a few moments before Krankheit will begin their set, the café starts to fill up quite well. It’s possible that many people where just enjoying their last few moments of sun for the day.

At 20:00 the show has begun; the background music fades out and Krankheit begins their set. Immediately it's clear that the sound guys are doing a great job, the quality of the sound is very good right from the start. Luckily this remains the same the entire evening. Anton (Tony) Gassner, Christian Präauer and Roy Preissler play their set with a lot of energy. Krankheit presents themselves in a very maniacal way, with especially drummer Tony standing out with his Joker-like appearance. The set is very well done, they give all they have to give during the show, there is a very hectic light-show present and the audience is already getting quite warmed up as well. Yes, I am going to compare Krankheit with Rammstein, but not just because they are a metal band singing in German. Of course, there are some similarities, but Krankheit for sure also has their own things. A few examples being Krankheit using a lot more classical music in their tracks and the vocals are clearly different. The atmosphere of their show was also really their own, but sometimes reminded me a bit of Rammstein. Of course this is a personal opinion from someone who unfortunately never went to an early period Rammstein-show. Tonight's small venue, the heavy, drilling music of Krankheit and tonight's atmosphere made me feel that I was at one. I am definitely not saying that Krankheit is imitating Rammstein. To be honest, I think that Krankheit clearly shows that they are very able to turn these similarities into their own thing, also partly because of the addition of other aspects.

After Krankheit left the stage and it's prepared for Nachtblut, it finally is time for tonight's headliner. Right after Nachtblut entered the stage they start with the first notes of Multikulturell, the much-discussed track from their newest album, Apostasie. In case there were people present for who tonight's atmosphere wasn't strong enough yet, it at this moment, can't be a problem anymore. Nachtblut shows to be very enthusiastic on stage, something that for sure passes onto the audience. Of course tracks from Apostasie are played, a few examples being Amok, Der Tod Ist Meine Nutte and Frauenausbeiner, but also some older Nachtblut tracks will pass by on tonight's setlist, for example with Töte Mich and Antik. At some point during the show, Nachtblut serves their legendary shot-drink.

A while later vocalist Askeroth asks the audience if they want something else to drink. This of course means the start of Ich Trinke Blut. The chalice with blood is handed to Askeroth, he takes a sip and empties the remainder over a part of the audience. Askeroth also joins the audience at some moment, starting a mosh pit to heat up the audience some more. When Nachtblut leaves the stage, the audience immediately starts shouting "Zugabe! Zugabe!" Nachtblut soon comes back to deliver this eagerly anticipated encore, which contains quite a few tracks. Wat Is Denn Los Mit Dir, Nachtblut's version of the Kollegah & Majoe-track and Apostasie's bonus track, also is part of this encore, with vocals being handled by Krankheit's vocalist Christian.

This Dutch live-debut of Nachtblut and Krankheit was great and I can't imagine that there won't be any more Dutch shows for these two bands in the future. It was an awesome evening!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Read our earlier interview with Nachtblut's drummer Skoll here.

Nachtblut Official Website
Nachtblut Facebook
Krankheit Official Website
Krankheit Facebook

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review: Moker - Home Invader

A little while before I wrote Promoting Bands Part 3 I got to hear the music of the Belgian metallers of Moker, which was a reason for mentioning them in that part of Promoting Bands. At that moment this extremely heavy band had already released 1 split (with Outcast) and 3 albums (Translating The Pain (2007), Total Domination (2009), Satans Den (2014)). You can listen to Satans Den in the aforementioned Promoting Bands. A while later, in Promoting Bands Part 11, I again mentioned Moker. This time it was because of their upcoming album, Home Invader. A track of that album, Held Hostage, can be heard in that part of Promoting Bands. Since December 2nd last year, Home Invader is released. Let me already tell you for now, this is another album that hits like a sledgehammer coming from Ad de Wachter (vocals), Dirk Broeren (guitar), Michael Lemmens (guitar), Kenneth Keysers (bass) and Glenn Leuckx (drums).

While Home Invader is only 33 minutes long, this still is an album you have to recover from. It all starts with an intro titled Emergency Call. Emergency Call is very tension-building and works very well as an intro. It immediately drags you in this album and won't let you go for the coming 33 minutes.

From the moment that Emergency Call ends, these Belgian guys kick in heavily. Especially the rhythm-section is blasting very loud. You don't like pounding drums? Then this album won't be for you, because Glenn Leuckx's drums are literally pounding through your bones.

Vocal-wise Ad de Wachter is responsible for the generally extremely low grunts, sometimes a bit higher screams or a bunch of pigsqueals in for example Code 417. Code 417 is a track worth mentioning anyway. It is a very heavy track, as you would expect on an album like this, but Code 417 has something different compared to the other tracks. To be more specific: it has the only real resting point of the entire album at its end in the form of a quiet but creepy outro. While this is a transition between two extremes, this transition sounds very natural and logical.

Of course Moker's music also contains guitars. While Moker plays brutal death metal, Home Invader for sure has some special moments for the guitar in the form of some very nice solo's. Two examples of these are the solo's in Throat Snatcher and The Act Of Lacerating.

The production of Home Invader is also done very nicely. The music is of course, very brutal and pounding, but everything is very clearly audible. This, in combination with the variations in rhythm and tempo, makes Home Invader interesting and not turning into a boring wall of sound. For sure some details, like the guitarsolo's, are also part reason of this.

With Home Invader Moker again delivers a very nice album that no brutal death metal fan should miss. Home Invader is heavy, loud, brutal and very interesting. Great job, Moker!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Moker Facebook

Friday, May 11, 2018

Interview: Towers & Bridges

Recently the German metalcore band Towers & Bridges released their new EP, called Spirits, which was a reason for DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen to interview them.

Congratulations with your new EP, Spirits. It sounds great!

Thanks for listening and for your kind words. We’re glad that you like it!

How are the reactions you get on it so far?

There are mainly positive reactions, when we’re talking to people or on social media. We also got reviews in some magazines, which are a little bit more differentiated and these weren’t bad too.

You play metalcore, what makes Towers & Bridges stand out in the metalcore subgenre?

For a metalcore band, everyone knows it’s very hard to stand out of the masses today. But our musical DNA has some classical metal in it, so we try to include such influences. I also think that our singer Antun, has a strong and unique voice, especially his melodic singing.

When you compare Spirits with your earlier EP, Breakwaters (2015), what is it you notice?

Looking on Breakwaters it feels like an absolute different life. We were all total noobs regarding making a studio record. With Spirits it was the first time recording with the current line-up and our perception for the sound was much clearer. So Breakwaters was a very important learning process, what we want and what not.

You recently signed to Dedication Records, what makes them the best label for Towers & Bridges at this moment?

Dedication Records is led by very enthusiastic people and making money isn’t their main focus. As a small band like we are, this helps a lot to get our music to the people and we don’t have to sign obscure contracts or something like this.
Our main goal is growing together through supporting each other.

You also did a cover of Kendrick Lamar's Humble. Why did you choose this track to do a cover of?

We are all into different kinds of music and Antun loves rap music. He always wanted to do a cover of such a famous song.

You are already working on your first full-length, right? Can you already tell us something about how it's going to be?

At the moment we’re in the songwriting process, but we already began to do the vocal pre-production for some songs. If you’re totally in the working process, like we are at this time, it’s hard to get distance to it and to say something objective. But my feeling is, that some songs are going to be more complex, regarding the structure. And the heavy parts will be heavier and the melodic ones more catchy. So overall maybe a little bit more of everything.

You hail from Munich. How is the metalscene there?

Munich has a lot of good bands playing different styles of metal and there is a good vibe among the scene. But sometimes it’s hard to do shows here, because there are so many bands, that you have two or even three shows at the same evening, so the audience is spread over the different clubs.
The Backstage and the Feierwerk are such great venues here, their work is so important for Munich. Without them small bands would have much less opportunities playing shows.

Any bands from Munich you recommend listening to?

Sure, you should check out May The Tempest, Heruin, Into Oblivion and Tonight We Hunt.

You already announced a gig on RockXplosion in July. Can we expect some more Towers & Bridges shows soon? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

I hope so! Playing in the Netherlands would be an absolute dream coming true! We never played outside of Germany yet. On the other hand it isn’t always easy to get out of here. We all need to do our jobs and some of us are going to start a family or already have a child at home.

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

Thanks for reading and for your time. If you appreciate bands like Unearth, Killswitch Engage or Stick To Your Guns, you should give a try and check out our EP SPIRITS on Spotify, YouTube, Deezer, etc.

Towers & Bridges Official Website
Towers & Bridges Facebook

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Interview: Jacobs Moor

In October last year, the Austrian metallers of Jacobs Moor released their second full-length album called Self, with a digital release through Bleeding Star Records coming up on May 18th. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Jacobs Moor's vocalist Richard Krenmaier, guitarist Rupert Träxler and drummer Rainer Lidauer.

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Self. It's really nice!

Rainer: Thank you very much, we appreciate that. It was a lot of work and we are happy and proud of our 2nd full-length album.

Rupert: Thank you. We worked hard on it to get a tight and heavy guitar sound but in a coloration of two guitars to get one big metal tone. And even to let enough space for the vocals.

How are the reactions you get on it so far?

Rainer: Our fans and critics around the world really love the album, so far we got great reviews and press reactions from everywhere.

Rupert: Until now we got only great reactions on this album and especially for this longplayer we tried to move forward and extend modern sound experiences.

When you compare Self to your earlier releases, All That Starts (full-length, 2014) and The Evil In Me (EP, 2015), what is it you notice?

Rupert: To do everything step by step. The EP The Evil In Me was the experiment to look where the journey is going. And to create this compact massive sound.

Rainer: The band started as a trio with Richard, Johnny Sommerer and myself. In the beginning we were just a studio project and began working on our debut album. It took almost three years to finish All That Starts, but in autumn 2013 we were finally done. Next step was to find musicians to perform live. We were very lucky and found some of the best musicians in the Austrian scene, so in 2014 the band was complete, and we started playing live. Johnny is still a band member, focusing on song-writing and acting as our “Noble Joker” as he can jump in on guitar and on bass, if one of the other guys has no time. In 2015 we have released the EP The Evil In Me with two new songs and five live-songs, recorded at our live-debut in 2014. Recording with our “new” band members went great, so we where ready to record the 2nd full-length album as a “real band”. I feel that the new album was a big progress, as we now sound like a band and we are one step closer to finding our perfect sound. We wanted to make the hardest-possible Jacobs Moor album which I think we have achieved. So, let’s see what the next album will bring…

In the studio you worked with Tony Lindgren for Self. How was working with him and what made him the perfect guy for this job?

Rainer: Tony is a well-known mastering engineer and the Fascinationstreet Studios are already legendary in the metal scene, so that was the first reason to choose them. The first test master was so good, we only had to make a few changes and the second master was the final one.

Rupert: For me it was his references and the band he is working with. That was the sound I imagined for our album SELF.

On May 18th, Self will also get a digital release through Bleeding Star Records, who also did your other digital releases. What makes Bleeding Star Records the best label for Jacobs Moor at this moment?

Rupert: First of all: reliability. Further integrity and support.

Rainer: Exactly. I know Christian Reichinger from Bleeding Star Records for several years and he is always reliable, professional and capable. Switching to a bigger, established label would only make sense, if the label shows real interest. With that I mean a label should be willing to invest some time and money to bring us to the next level and to reach more people. We have always refused to go to a label with these shitty “You pay for everything and we do almost nothing”-deals. So, we still make everything by our own, we have our own webshop and for digital distribution we have Bleeding Star.

The cover and artwork were created by Christian Taschner. What made him the perfect one for doing this?

Richard: I’ve worked with Christian for a very long time now. He made all Jacobs Moor covers so far. He always has the right image for the songs somewhere in his creative working place.

I found the painting for the new record very early in the songwriting process. We had to work on some details and issues but in the end, it turned out perfectly. I hope very much to work with him again for the next album.

What is the story behind the cover and the lyrics?

Richard: The lyrics on the album are very personal and describe how I am struggling with the world and with myself. But it`s also a cynical point of view of our society. Like we try to show on the cover-when you put away the bones and skin that differentiate us as humans we end up like the picture: eyes, flesh and teeth.

You hail from Austria, how is the Austrian metal scene?

Richard: In Austria we have very many metal bands, which play on local festivals.

All different styles of metal are there, unfortunately not many of them are known outside our country.

Any Austrian bands you would recommend listening to?

Richard: Our survival depends on us, Hollenthon and of course Elephants In Paradise.

Rainer: Ha, ha, thanks Richard, yeah Elephants In Paradise, Rupert’s and my second band which I think you already know. The most well-known band from Austria is Belphegor, other bands I would recommend for checking out are Cannonball Ride, Darkfall and Black Inhale.

You already announced one upcoming show. Can we expect some more Jacobs Moor shows soon? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Rainer: We would love to come to the Netherlands, so if any promoter or club owner is reading this interview and likes our music, feel free to contact and book us! We will do some shows in Austria in autumn.

Rupert: I´d love to rock the Netherlands!

Any other future plans for Jacobs Moor you can already tell us something about? Already working on new material maybe?

Rupert: We are already working on new material. I´m very excited about the new stuff because right now for the third LP you can´t do the same thing as one or two albums before.

Richard: I am in the middle of the writing process with my guitar players and very excited about the songs.

They are slightly different again from the previous songs but have all our trademarks in it.

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

Rupert: Listen to our new album SELF. That's really worth it. And keep your ears focused on some special riffs and solos! Thanks for reading and listening. And there are some new YouTube videos about gigging and touring out now - watch out!

Rainer: Thank you very much for the interview and for supporting small underground bands, it’s very important! And of course: listen to our music and if you like it spread the word.

Richard:Thank you all for listening to our music.

Jacobs Moor Official Website
Jacobs Moor Facebook
Jacobs Moor Twitter

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Review: Tomorrow's Outlook - A Voice Unheard

Tomorrow’s Outlook is a project band from Norway that plays heavy/power metal and that operates with a core line-up supplemented with guest musicians and vocalists. As of this year the core line-up went from a duo to a trio consisting of Trond Nicolaisen, Andreas Stenseth and Øystein K. Hanssen. After releasing their debut 34673 in 2012 they decided to kick things up a notch. Or maybe ten notches would be a better description. For A Voice Unheard they went as far as to release a genuine trailer as if we’re dealing with a full-blown Hollywood blockbuster. The reason for this is the fact the guys from Tomorrow’s Outlook not only see themselves as musicians and composers, but also as storytellers. Due to the fact A Voice… is a concept album the idea of approaching it as a blockbuster is not that weird in my opinion. In fact, to be perfectly honest I personally think it’s a brilliant idea, which they executed to perfection. It’s theatrical, bombastic, Michael Bay would be proud. Introducing your album in this rather daring, unusual and spectacular fashion inevitably raises the bar of expectations to very high where it comes to this release. In addition to that there’s an impressive list of guest musicians, among which we find Tony Johannessen from Thunderbolt and Ralf Scheepers from Primal Fear, and two well-known voice actors (Danny Webb and Jamieson Price). To top things off they also managed to have their work produced by the illustrious Roy Z (Bruce Dickinson, Judas Priest, Halford). Oh, and as far as the story goes, it’s about the Apocalypse and a solitary hero that deals with it. Pretty cheesy to be honest, but it is what it is. Having said that though, I strongly suggest to look past that and take the time to thoroughly delve into the elaboration of the story, because that more than makes up for all the cheesiness of the subject. Easily.

Anyway, I think it’s safe to say everyone knows having an impressive story, line-up, producer and marketing strategy in no way guarantees a great release. It all comes down to the music and the execution of it to be able to determine whether all efforts were in vain or A Voice Unheard really is worth your time. Well, rest assured the latter is the case here. Not only does the impressive list of musicians live up to the combined fame of the guys on it music-wise, the songs that are composed to support this line-up are equally great. It kicks off with Within The World Of Dreams, which clearly sets the musical boundaries for the entire album. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out this album is filled with melodic heavy/power metal songs with a very strong reference to the similar type of metal that was extremely popular in the eighties. You will inevitably hear some Maiden and Priest, but this is in no way a cheap copy of their music. Of course there’s no denying they have had some influence on Tomorrow’s Outlook’s music, you might even say a significant influence at times, but it definitely has its own identity. And that right there is where this album distinguishes itself from many other attempts to rewrite the eighties success metal. The quality of the musicians is undisputed, regardless whoever you look at and despite the fact the majority is not a regular member of the band, that is never audible. If I was told they have been playing together for over a decade I’d buy that right away without giving it a second thought.

The howling guitars, the often high-pitched, somewhat nervous vocal lines that are typical for the genre, the tightly orchestrated riffs interspersed with a variety of solos, the relentlessly fixed rhythm of the strikingly discrete, yet unmistakably strong and determinative rhythm section, it all breathes the same high quality. I’m not going to describe each song individually, doing that would take a huge chunk away from one of the strongest points of this album, if not THE strongest point: The overall experience of this album as a whole. I’m also not going to choose one or more favorite songs, simply because I don’t have any… or because they all are. There is no weakness to be found here, this is hands down one of the best releases of this year. I’m convinced it will show up in a couple of year lists at the end of 2018. To top things off they have added two daring, yet expertly executed covers to close the album, daring because of the fact they’re taken from two of the big players in the heavy/power metal scene. The first being a Bruce Dickinson cover, more or less the personification of the genre and the second is a cover of an Aria song, a Russian band that is also well known within the heavy/power metal genre, though mostly in the Russian scene. To make things even more interesting it so happens that two of their members also contribute to this album. If you have ever wondered what eighties metal would have sounded like nowadays, this will end your quest and fulfill your needs. However, even though this is more than enough reason to give this a fair amount of spins, this one is more than simply a modernized trip down memory lane. The quality of the compositions, the execution, the production, the subtly complex elaborated story and even the marketing with that bombastic video show the huge potential this band has. Their only weakness could be the fact they don’t have a fixed line-up. Even though never audible on this release, that might prove to be a ‘problem’ when (and if) there is going to be a tour. Fear not, though, they got it covered. There are plans to form a full line-up and start touring to, and I quote, ‘melt faces all over the world’, whatever that may be. And to end with another positive note: Apparently the new album is more than half finished, so it shouldn’t be too long before that will be released as well. This is a bunch to keep an eye out for. Definitely.

Written by Henric van Essen

Tomorrow's Outlook Facebook

Friday, May 4, 2018

Interview: Excidium

In January the Polish metallers of Excidium released a new split together with fellow Poles Warfist, called Laws Of Perversion & Filth. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed Excidium.

Hey, congratulations with your latest release, a split together with Warfist called Laws Of Perversion & Filth. It sounds great!

Thank you, nice to hear it friend!

How are the reactions you get on it so far?

Well, all reviews I’ve read ‘til today were very positive so I can say the reactions are pretty good.

When comparing Excidium with Warfist, what is it you notice? And what made them the best band for this split?

We definitely have similar inspirations, we’re labeled with same names I mean - black/thrash, blackened thrash and so on. Also their last LP is a real killer so when we got proposition to share split with them we didn’t think for long hehe.

How did the writing process of your part of this split go?

We recorded all tracks at our rehearsal place in Rzeszów, then it was all sent to guys from Left Hand Sounds in order to make it sound like it should and we’re satisfied with final work.

This is your first release with Golem on bass, how did this work out during the process of creating these new tracks?

He’s a good bass player and a long-time friend for all of us so the whole process of creation went really nice for all of us.

Your last song is a cover of Impaled Nazarene's Karmageddon Warriors. What made you decide to do a cover of this specific track?

We’re all fans of Impaled Nazarene, I sincerely love all of their stuff both old and fresh so the choice came naturally.

There is a 8-year gap between this split and its predecessor, the Decimation demo released in 2010. What was the reason for this gap?

Some line-up changes, personal things for some of us and also big doze of laziness haha.

When you compare your songs on this split with the Decimation demo, what is it you notice?

I think new material is much more mature and well produced. We’ve got still the same inspirations that we had years ago but we made some progress with songs structure and so on.

You've already announced one Polish show, can we expect more Excidium shows in the near future? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Currently, we have no live shows in plans, so who knows! Of course we would love to play in Netherlands one day!

Are you already working on new material? If so, can you already tell us something about it?

Yes, we are. We have some unrecorded songs ready, also some ideas for new ones. They sound similar to what we have released on split with Warfist.

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

Keep thrashing ‘till you die! Cheers!

Excidium Facebook

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Interview: Warfist

In 2016, we already reviewed Warfist's Metal To The Bone album (here). Now, since January these Polish metallers have a new split released together with fellow Poles Excidium, called Laws Of Perversion & Filth. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed Warfist.

Hey, congratulations with your latest release, a split together with Excidium called Laws Of Perversion & Filth. It sounds great!

Hellz! Thank you very much! Really appreciate your opinion. We did our best.

How are the reactions you get on it so far?

The feedback has been pretty good. So far, we have only been receiving reviews that rate the release as at least good. Some people complain a little bit about the sound, but you can never satisfy everyone, can’t you? As I said, we did our best to make this split be worth the attention. Moreover, the Excidium guys did a hell of a good job there as well. This is a pure punch between the eyes! That’s what we’ve always wanted from blackened thrash metal and it seems that Excidium are on the same page.

When comparing Warfist with Excidium, what is it you notice? And what made them the best band for this split?

Well, I’ve known this band for more than a decade now. Heard about them here and there, had a chance to listen to some of their songs… I’ve always enjoyed their music. It was Greg of Godz Ov War who told us that they have four new songs and could be a great match for the split release. Once he had sent me these tracks, I thought: “Hell yeah, let’s get this machine going!”. When comparing us to them, I can see a similar attitude towards creating music and I think admiration to the same bands. Our bands are both into the old school metal and it’s good to know that there are more and more bands that want to hold this banner high! Cheers!

When you compare your tracks on this split with your 2016 album Metal To The Bone, what is it you notice?

The split songs have a more of a rock’n’roll vibe to them. We decided to go back to our roots, by which I mean the times before the full-length debut album. I’m not saying that they’re a regress in comparison to Metal to the Bone. They’re just different, made with a different, more laidback attitude. Additionally, we also decided to re-record one of the demo-era songs, Sadistic Whorefuck. It’s still one of our favorite songs of Warfist and we’ve been playing it live for a long time.

How did the writing process of your tracks go?

It wasn’t much different from the way we’ve been doing it since the beginning. I bring the riffs and then we put them all together into a song. Although, as I said, this time the attitude was a little bit chilled-out. You know, the songs weren’t made for a full-length, so we thought to ourselves, why not try reviving the old spirits? I think that’s the main difference between this stuff and the rest of our most recent releases.

Your last song is a cover of Dodheimsgard's Angel Death. What made you decide to do a cover of this specific track?

We wanted to make a cover song for this release, but we didn’t want it to be anything obvious like old school thrash or heavy bands. Dodheimsgard is one of those bands that loved to change their style on every album. This is why it’s so difficult to put them into one metal subgenre. However, their Monumental Possession is really killer. Who cares if it was made because of a trend, which was being born at that time or not. This album has some very good songs and Angel Death is one of them. It’s blackened thrash metal, although made with a specific vibe. I don’t know what drugs were they taking back then and maybe because of that it was so difficult to record this song, especially the vocals 😉

In January Warfist and bass player Wrath parted ways. What was the reason for this and what's your view on this?

We’ve decided that we’re not going to discuss this matter in public. We have a new live bass player, Nechrist of Taran. We’ve played three live shows with him so far and they were damn good. So for those who have been worried about our condition after Wrath’s departure – we’re not giving up and we’re stronger than ever.

You've already announced two Polish shows, can we expect more Warfist shows in the near future? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Unfortunately, we were forced to cancel these shows, as we speak. Our drummer got injured and there was no way for him to play the drums for some days. We’re not thinking about more live shows, for the time being. We would like to focus on recording the songs for the third full-length. However, I think we may play one or two shows before summer holidays, but it’s too soon to reveal more details. It would be awesome to come to The Netherlands one day, man! Perhaps after the release of the third album we’re going to try and organize some gigs in the Western Europe, but time will tell.

Are you already working on new material? If so, can you already tell us something about it?

The new material has actually been finished. The creating process, I mean. We have ten brand new songs. The album will be a concept about the history of Zielona Góra. There will be some grim and terrifying stories from our hometown, which include serial killers, cannibalism, wars, witchburning, etc. As for the musical direction, it’s still METAL!!! However, this time we’ve decided to go a little bit outside of the blackened thrash frame and there will be some more influences, which you haven’t heard before in our music. I think the new stuff may surprise some people. The plan is to record it in late July and release it at the beginning of 2019.

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

Thank you for the interview and your support. I hope there will be a chance to chat about the third album. METAL TO THE BONE!!!

Warfist Facebook

Monday, April 30, 2018

Interview: Black Emerald

In February, the Reading, UK-based metallers of Black Emerald released their full-length debut called Hell Can't Handle All Of Us. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently spoke with Black Emerald's drummer Connor Shortt about Hell Can't Handle All Of Us among other things.

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Hell Can't Handle All Of Us. It's very nice!

Thank you, glad you enjoy it. It's been a long time working on it.

Black Emerald was already formed in 2005. Can you tell us something about its history?

The band formed in 2005, it was Edd and Simon at school. It has many lineups since, like I don't know how many lineups there actually been. I joined in 2012, we were a five-piece at that time. Two guitarists, a bassist, a singer and me. One guitarist left that year, so the guitarist became lead-guitarist, our bassist became rhythm-guitarist and Simon picked up bass. Then our rhythm guitarist left, so down to a three-piece now. So, there have been many different lineups, but we've done some really cool gigs. They played in Oslo before I joined the band, which is something I really like to do. We played Bloodstock, done a couple of tours.

Since when is this lineup?

This lineup has been since the end of 2013.

So now it is stable?

Yeah, this is the most stable lineup the band has ever had. I now am the drummer for half the band's life which is good.

Hell Can't Handle All Of Us is your full-length debut, how does it feel to finally have it released?

It is such a relief. We started recording it back in 2015. We've been talking about this album since 2013, since we became a three-piece. It's such a relief just to be able to say that we have a full-length release on release-day. This is sort of what Black Emerald are, something to send out to people. Something to be proud of.

How did the writing process of Hell Can't Handle All Of Us go?

So, with writing generally Edd or Simon will come up with a riff, take it to practice and then we jam that for a while. If we can't figure out where to go with something in about twenty minutes or so, we scrap it. We're fairly brutal with that sort of stuff. If we come up with something and it's not going well after twenty minutes, we kill it. That's that. Then we generally carry on from that jam stuff and it kind of all gets squished down into a track. I don't really write any guitar or bass parts at all, but Edd writes in horrible time signatures, so I generally edit quite a lot. He write a riff and I tell him how to play it in 4/4 instead of the horrible time signatures he plays them in. I write drum parts and then I edit stuff. Edd and Simon write most of the other stuff. We do that, take it into the studio and see what happens.

You recently played some shows since the album was released, including a launch party in your hometown, Reading. How did the audience react to it?

They really enjoyed it. The closing track of the album, Jonestown, went down really well. We were very pleased with that, because it's 9:55 long. They really enjoyed that one. I think that's the favorite track of our album for all of us. It was the first time ever that we played it live. With a backing track because we got a choir and samples. It's nice that the track works for so long. It finally got out and everybody enjoyed it. It was a really good night.

Your music sounds like it contains a lot of different styles, how would you describe your music yourself to someone who hasn't heard it yet?

I think we have to be quite careful and just say metal. Because we really don't fell into a specific subgenre particularly. Some of it is proggy, some of it a bit bluesy, stoner or sludgy. One track that is going to be on album two is actually very ultra, which is probably like 190 bpm thrash. We kind of jump subgenres quite a lot. Some of it is also a bit hardrock as well. It's quite difficult to describe, just because we can't give ourselves a subgenre. We can do so for songs, but not for the complete band.

What are your musical influences?

Musically I like classic rock: Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, stuff like that. I also grow up listening to a lot of grunge: Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, like that. I also like poppunk, so I think Travis Barker was quite a big influence on my drumming, which is an odd thing for metal. I go to many gigs and the drummers have spectacular feet, but I do much with my hands. A lot of what I do is hand-difficult, not foot-difficult. The Rev of Avenged Sevenfold is another big influence on me. Simon likes heavy, bluesy stuff: Clutch, Eyehategod, stuff like that. He also likes stuff like Johnny Cash. Edd loves bands like Thin Lizzy, Journey, sort of '80s, AOR. Anything with big hair and big guitarsolos, Edd loves it. He is also a massive Taylor Swift fan, he really is into countrypop. I am a massive Kanye fan. We all have way different influences. We actually did a small Kanye cover to open at the album launch. We bring a lot of odd influences from everywhere in a kind of already odd band.

You have 2 guests on this album: Craig Mcbrearty of Gutlocker doing guest vocals on Life Of Anxiety and Andy Gunn of Remnant as guest guitarist on Voodoo Princess. How did these collaborations come to pass?

Gutlocker and Remnant are two of the bands we gig with the most in the local scene. So, we known those guys for years, great guys. We wanted something a bit heavier and a bit angrier on Life Of Anxiety. So, we thought Craig would be the ideal guest vocalist. When we did Voodoo Princess, we wanted a couple more guitarsolos in it, so we thought this would be absolutely perfect for Andy. I think Edd sorted that probably. Andy came to the studio, listened to the track and wrote that solo very well. Great job by both of them.

How was working with them?

It was really easy. We talked with them before at gigs and stuff like that. If either of them are at a gig that we are doing we generally get them up to do the guest part live. So we got Andy to do the Voodoo Princess solo at the album launch.

The artwork is made by Andy Pilkington of Very Metal Art. What made him the best person for this job?

If you go on his website and look at who else he worked with and how good the quality of what he made is, it's always excellent. That's why we got him to do the album artwork. He also made the lyric video for Dr. Stein. It was quite an easy decision, he just does incredible work. We thought that if we are going to do a full-length album, we would make sure to do it properly. So we got Andy on for the artwork and the video.

I saw on your Facebook page that you just signed to Enso Music Management. Are you happy with it?

It's great! I can't actually remember when we first met Rachael. I think it was in 2014, but we did a pub gig in Reading. We were supporting one of the bands from Enso and we met Rachael there. We also supported Cambion at The Sanctuary in Basingstoke. So, we have known Rachael for years and we got offered to sign to Enso. It was an incredibly easy decision to make. I think we got the offer and then we had signed the contract within 48 hours. It was a bit of a no-brainer. So, we are really pleased with that happening. I can't wait to what's comes from it.

Currently you have three shows announced.

Yeah, we got The Dev in Camden supporting Fury, Ffli Stock in Dragonffly in Pontypool which we are headlining, Facebarmageddon in November. Last year's edition of Facebarmageddon was amazing, it was such a great time out.

Can we expect more Black Emerald shows soon?

We definitely got more in the works. We are trying to get some shows which would be absolutely incredible if we did manage to. I don't know if that will happen, but I hope so.

Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

We would love to. I know Enso has people out in Europe. Europe is definitely our priority to get out into. There are many good scenes. What I said earlier about Oslo, I would love to go there. I would love to go to The Netherlands, Germany. Poland got a great scene. So, it will definitely be interesting to be able to do a tour around Europe. I guess it just a matter of finding time and contacts for that.

Any other future Black Emerald plans you can already tell us something about?

We are already working on our second album, we already got a couple of tracks finished for that and a couple of tracks we are working on. Furthermore I think we try to get as many gigs as we can. See what happens.

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

Find us on social media, listen to the album if you can. Check out my other band InAir. InAir is much less heavy. Thank you!

Black Emerald Official Website
Black Emerald Facebook
Black Emerald Twitter

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Review: NortherN - Desolate Ways To Ultima Thule

North American Viking metal band NortherN, formerly known as Cold Northern Vengeance, will release their new longplayer Desolate Ways to Ultima Thule end of April – but we already had a listen to it, and here’s what you can expect:

All starts quite slow on opener Reyn Til Runa, but it sets the atmosphere for you, as a listener, to be transported back to Viking times – at least you would think so, as the backbone of Fall Into Winter is definitely Viking metal, but also features quite a bit of black metal influences. And exactly this transition towards black metal continues on A Wolf’s Angle, and Alaskan Ice and Woden’s Revenge being basically black/death metal tracks. Thematically, NortherN state that Desolate Ways to Ultima Thule revolves around “…dark Paganism, serial killer stomping grounds, Gnostic demonology, death fascination, hillbilly substance abuse and other assorted devil worship.” The album also features a cover of Burzum’s Spell of Destruction. Live Free of Die is then again leaning more towards Viking metal, as I would have expected from the self-proclaimed North America’s #1 Viking metal band. Exaltation from the Grave is alike Alaskan Ice in sound, while the neofolk version of Fall into Winter is a very nice closing track for the album.

In conclusion: I started listening to Desolate Ways to Ultima Thule with the expectation to hear Viking metal à la Amon Amarth, but honestly this album feels like a black metal one, with some Viking influences, to me. This is quite alright, but the one thing bothering me is the somewhat raw production. Being it deliberate or not, while this worked for me on other records in the past, here it diminishes the overall quality of the album in my opinion, which is a shame. Nevertheless, this is a solid album, so surely give it a spin if you come across it! 7.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

NortherN Facebook

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Interview: Mad Hatter

In 2017, a new power metal band from Sweden was formed, Mad Hatter. On February 23rd, they have released their self-titled debut album through Art Gates Records. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed Mad Hatter's vocalist Petter Hjerpe.

Hey, congratulations with your debut album, Mad Hatter. I really like it!

Thank you very much!

How does it feel to have your debut album released?

Very exciting! We really wanted to release this album! We put a lot of effort on this record!

How are the reactions on it so far?

Incredible reviews and reactions all around! We feel so honored that people like what they hear and they also seem to get the idea and reason of Mad Hatter!

What makes Mad Hatter stand out in the power metal subgenre?

First of all we have not lost the roots of early power metal. We keep the songwriting in prior technical composition. Power metal-bands today have gone lost in trying to hard changing directions. There are of course great new bands but our goal is to feel fresh but still bring you back that feel you got back in late 90s/early 00s.

Your band name is (just as the title of your album) Mad Hatter. Were you inspired by Alice In Wonderland when choosing this name?

Partly. We like that crazy feverish feel of Alice in Wonderland. A strange dream. A scary one.
But Mad Hatter is a good name for the band. We are inspired by all dark fairytales. Stephen King, Tim Burton and other creators are also big inspiration.

When comparing the Mad Hatter character and your band, what are the similarities between them?

Mad Hatter is mad from our point of view. But from his point of view he would say he is sane. The music of the band want to enlighten the dark and the light side of the mind.
We show you that the darkness is a scary but beautiful place to be.

The cover of the album is very nice! Who made it and what made him/her the best person for this task?

Thank you! Yeah, it suits our music very well!
Thomas Holmstrand made it! An artist from Sweden. He has worked with other bands like Shadowquest and Dionysus.

Mad Hatter was founded in 2017, now you already have your debut album released. I assume you must have a lot of inspiration. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from almost everything. A song could pop up in my head just by trying a new guitar sound. But on this album I got a lot of inspiration by reading and painting. I have done a couple of paintings that circled around Mad Hatter. Before I knew I would later start a band named Mad Hatter. So I guess I had a flow then.

How did the writing/recording process go?

First of all I recorded some songs at home. I recorded all instruments and recorded some vocals without lyrics. Just so I didn't forget the melody.
Later Alfred (drums) practiced to the demo.
Then we contacted Ronny Milianowicz and asked him if he could help us record. He loved the songs and so it all began. I, Petter, recorded guitars, bass, vocals and keys while Alfred recorded drums. Ronny, Alfred and I did the choirs. Ronny wanted to get really good guitar solos on the album so we contacted Rob Marcello. He did an incredible job!

During the making of this album the only band members were Petter Hjerpe and Alfred Fridhagen. After the recording, Eric Rauti and Magnus Skoog joined Mad Hatter. What made them the best for these jobs?

Eric is a skilled guitar player that have played metal since before I was born! And I knew him since before because we have played together at different cover gigs around our hometown.
Magnus is a close friend to me. We have played music together countless times. Cover gigs, shows and recorded music together. We also like to drink beer together. That’s important!

Can we expect some Mad Hatter shows soon? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

We hope so! We are working on a budget so we can go on a smaller European tour at first.
We have just started as band and have no budget to get on the road yet. So we’ll come when we are able to get on the road!

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

I want to thank all who supports us and gave us such a great welcome to the metal world!

Mad Hatter Facebook
Mad Hatter Twitter

Friday, April 20, 2018

Interview: Hellavista

Hellavista was formed in 2015 when they also released a demo. Now, these Austrian metallers released their full-length debut called Robolution through Art Gates Records on March 23rd. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed them.

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Robolution. I really like it! How does it feel to have your debut album released?

Nice to hear that you like our album. Having it released is a very good feeling for us, because it was a long way from the Demo 2015 to Robolution. During the developing process we decided to get a second guitar player who had to be found. So we had to rearrange all songs for two guitars. We also had to look for a label. Luckily Art Gates Records signed us. We are already working on our next album, so we try to release new songs as soon as possible.

How are the reactions on it so far?

Until now we got only a few reviews. There will follow many more in the next weeks. Most of them are really good and a few are very critical. But it is impossible to look at music objectively. Preferences are known to be different, especially when you mix some experimental stuff to classic stuff. The more reviews come along the more we know if the metalheads like it or not. And if nobody likes our music, we also won’t give a fuck about that and will keep going on our way.

How did the writing/recording process of Robolution go?

We try to be efficient. Because the band does not bring in any money but costs a lot, each of us has a normal job. That means we don´t have time for endless jamming in the rehearsal room. Our guitarplayer Glaso creates a rough arrangement of the songs and notes it down for the other guys. Our vocalist Harry writes the lyrics. That´s the way we start with a song and then everyone can bring in ideas. When 3 or 4 songs are finished we record them to hear if they work or if we can make something better.

Since your album is called Robolution, what do you think about robotic technology?

Like every other technology you can use it for bringing peace or making war. This is something that you always have to be aware of. Robotic technology is very good in most cases, it should be used to make our lives easier. Robots should carry heavy things, work 24/7 for us or calculate complicated things that would keep our brains busy for weeks or years. On the other hand drones are used to drop bombs onto other people because they have another stupid religion or whatsoever. The point is - and this is treated in the song Robolution: we are exploiting robots. That’s okay as long as they don’t think about that. But as we make them more and more intelligent they might develop something like consciousness and then we are fucked. Only Satan can help us then…

For Robolution you signed to Art Gates Records. What makes them the best label for you at this moment?

We are very thankful that Art Gates Records signed us. We have heard about them from our Swiss friends EXIT,who are also in their roster. The guys from AGR are highly motivated and have a great philosophy concerning underground bands. The communication is very good and they support us whereever they can. Thank you amigos!

You hail from Austria. How is the Austrian metalscene?

Hmm, that’s a polarizing topic in some way. There are lots of big metal bands that fill the biggest venues in Vienna, so you might think that there are billions of metalheads in this small country. However, if there’s an underground concert sometimes there are 10 or 20 people maximum. That’s really sad but we don’t think that’s an Austrian phenomenon only. Maybe that’s a little bit exaggerated. There is a good underground - let’s call it - “core team”, where everyone knows each other, but this team should be much bigger.

Any bands from there you recommend?

Austrian bands we can definitely recommend are for example: Black Inhale, Irdorath, Mastic Scum, Void Creation, Darkfall, Fallen Utopia, Pungent Stench, Disastrous Murmur, die Hinichen … and many many more – we can’t mention all of them here.

On April 30th you will play the Robolution CD release show in The Viper Room in Vienna. Looking forward to it?

Of course we are glad to present it to our fans and also to people who might have never heard of us. Every concert and every metalhead who raises his or her beer for us growling for more gives us power to go on and stay on our way of making music.

Anything special planned for that evening you can already tell us something about?

Yes, we plan to have lots of booze. But first we want to give a great show to the audience.

Speaking about shows, can we expect more of them? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Yes. We hope that we can grab a support slot of a tour in autumn. The problem is that you must be lucky to get an useful offer. But we definitely will try. Apart from that we will play as much gigs we can get. If we get the possibility to come to the Netherlands we will definitely do that with pleasure!

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

We hope you enjoy our music, we hope that everyone gets the chance to see us live and please don’t forget to drink beer and listen to metal every day for your own health!

Hellavista Official Website
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Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: When Reasons Collapse - Omen Of The Banshee

When Reasons Collapse, what’s in a name, is a Paris, France based quintet consisting of four men and a woman. Founded in 2008 they play death-/metalcore with brutal female vocals, which are the responsibility of vocalist Christina. Along her side she finds, in no particular order, Thierry and Julien on guitar, Michaël on bass guitar and Guillaume on drums. Up until today they have three releases under their belt, two demos and a full-length and they are on the brink of releasing their latest work, a full-length called Omen Of The Banshee. And that about sums up what the band members allow the world to know about them. Besides, the term ‘full-length’ must be used loosely considering the fact the album lasts only a pinch over thirty minutes. Having said that, the length of the album does not take anything away from the experience the nine songs offer you, so it’s not really an issue.

On to the tunes themselves then. After a 2-minute intro song that, due to its nature, does not actually serves its purpose, which is introduce what is yet to come, the album kicks into gear with Lies of God, which to me is a bit of a false start. The timing of the vocals is, especially in the faster parts of the song, slightly off at times, not really fitting the rhythm of the song. That seems to be a one-off miss, because during the rest of the album that problem is not that distinctly audible anymore, though not completely gone. Nevertheless WRC definitely shows potential with this release. Not only do they produce a massive wall of sound, they also manage to canalize that wall into bite size chunks of aggressive, brutal yet melodic metal with a touch of subtlety. Christina has an impressive throat that is capable of both higher and lower pitched grunts, growls and screams, although I personally like her better in the lower section. Both guitarists seems to know exactly what the other is doing, their riffs and lines intertwine nicely with both each other and the rest of the instrumental lines of the songs. The rhythm section parts are equally designed to fit the song like a glove and are equally skillfully executed. There’s room to shine and frolic for all throughout the songs, a definite plus for the album in my opinion. Despite being sometimes little more than a single riff or drum line, those intermezzos break the tension for a bit thus keeping things interesting without having too much influence on the song structure and atmosphere.

In short, Omen Of The Banshee, with great artwork I might add, offers a stiff half an hour of music that will crush you, but still has plenty of variety to avoid it sounding like an indigestible chunk of sound. And in all honesty, with this collection of songs, packed with heaviness and speed, it feels like a hell of a lot more than just thirty minutes, which is a good thing of course. Apart from the intro you will have eight songs that all fit the death-/metalcore genre unleashed on you, without either one of them being comparable to the other structure-wise. They all have that oppressive, aggressive, agitated atmosphere inherent to the type of metal and its accessory vocals. Even the slower parts breathe that tension. At the same time the guys and girl added various, at times only tiny intermezzos to the songs, lightening up the atmosphere just enough to keep you focused. An exception to this is the album closer Lost which is rather subdued compared to the other songs. There still is that atmosphere of oppression, but without the sharp edges it has in the other songs, calming your tortured nerves. I think WRC did a great job with this release, although you have to know and appreciate the type of music to thoroughly enjoy this. Highlights are Omen Of The Banshee, The Raven and Δ. [Orpheus].

Written by Henric van Essen

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Friday, April 13, 2018

Interview: Crescent

The Egyptian metal band Crescent was formed in 1998, released their debut album Pyramid Slaves in 2014, was the first Egyptian metal band to tour Europe and now they released their new album The Order Of Amenti through Listenable Records. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed Crescent's Youssef Saleh and Ismaeel Attallah.

Hey, congratulations with your new album, The Order Of Amenti, it sounds really nice!

Many thanks, glad you liked it!

When you compare The Order Of Amenti to its predecessor, Pyramid Slaves (2014), what is it you notice?

The Order of Amenti is more mature, dark, and highlights our tendencies towards creating a black metal atmosphere with a death metal sound!

The Order Of Amenti is a tribute to the Ancient Egyptian gods. What means Egypt for you and what makes it that way?

Other than the fact that Egypt is our home where we grow up, it is also a huge inspiration. Egypt with all its history, culture, and present is always teaching everyone something about life (or perhaps the afterlife as well?). The ancients found their inspiration in the environment, everyday life and things we learn as we go by, hence their reflection of such teachings in the mythologies and the stories about the Gods. We, also, get our inspiration from the same sources.

For releasing The Order Of Amenti you signed to Listenable Records, what makes them the best option for Crescent at this moment?

Listenable Records is an extremely renowned and respected label! We know, like most people do, about their history and how they were/are the home of many of the great bands in metal today. We knew that we were going to deal with decent people who are passionate about metal and who knew how to help their bands achieve their goals. We are always working together coherently to get the best result out of everything we do and that makes it the best option for us!

The cover of the new album is made by Michał "Xaay" Loranc, what made him the best person for this job?
Xaay is a great artist and he has experience with many famous bands like Behemoth and Nile. The guy knows what he’s doing and how to reflect what the band is asking for. Not to mention his productive feedback and always involving us in the process. We tried with other artists but Xaay was just the best one for it.

You hail from Egypt, how is the metal scene in Egypt?

The metal scene here exists pretty much from the mid-90s. However, it faced a hiatus due to allegations of Satanism and inactivity when it comes to concerts and whatnot. It took many years until it picked up again only to be demolished by the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, thus inactivity again, but we are doing our best to contribute to its revival.

It must be noted that the scene here is still not mature enough and it is quite young, we get many attendees to concerts (around 1000 people) but it lacks the purchasing culture, not enough webzines, no record stores, only one venue that hosts metal concerts, not even one record label and no competitiveness when it comes to festivals (it is pretty much just one professional fest, which is Metal Blast).

How is playing in a metal band in Egypt?

It has its challenges of course. As I mentioned before, it lacks the basis on which the band can survive. Only a few people buy CDs and/or merch and there’s no real basis for growth. Not to mention that due to the currency devaluation, equipments prices tripled, organizing a concert costs tripled as well and so on! Not to mention the occasional societal pressures from bullshit media allegations about how such music poses a danger to society, luckily no one buys from that crap anymore (maybe just a few).

Any Egyptian bands you would recommend?

Definitely, keep an eye on Ahl Sina as they are currently recording their album!

You were the first Egyptian band to tour Europe, any plans to come back to Europe in the near future? Maybe also playing in The Netherlands?

Absolutely, we always make it to Europe 2-3 times a year! We would love to play in The Netherlands; we actually performed there during our tour.

We are confirmed for Party.San Open Air in Germany and we are absolutely psyched about it, we cannot wait to unleash The Order of Amenti there! We might reveal another appearance later this year in Europe, possibly a place where we have never been before.

You are also announced as headliner of the Metal Blast Festival in Egypt, looking forward to it?

Hell yes! It has been almost 2 years and a half since the last time we performed in Egypt, due to the issues I’ve mentioned before.

It is always great to perform at home and to be on the forefront of the scene’s revival and growth!

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

We hope to perform in your hometown in the near future!

Keep the Extreme Metal flames burning!

Youssef Saleh and Ismaeel Attallah

Crescent Official Website
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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Interview: Despicable Heroes

In December last year, the Dutch metallers of Despicable Heroes released their EP, Arrival. They also reached the semi-finals of the Dutch Metal Battle. At those semi-finals DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen interviewed their guitarist Kevin Bos and their vocalist Koen Vroom, which you can read below. In the end, they also won this semi-final, so they will appear in the final of the Dutch Metal Battle too.

Hey, congratulations with your latest EP, Arrival, which was released in December last year, it's really nice!

Kevin: Thanks!

Koen: Yeah, it's nice, right? We are also really satisfied with it.

Kevin: For sure! We are working hard and are very enthusiastic. It's doing great with some nice shows.

Koen: It gives us a boost in terms of productivity. We also really want to do shows again.

When you compare Arrival with its predecessor, Shipwrecked, released in 2013, what do you notice?

Kevin: There are less tracks, but the total album length is higher. Of course that means the tracks have become a bit longer. The most easy way to describe it is probably that we became more mature in creating and playing our music. Shipwrecked was still a bit of just being heavy and ramming in the direction of metalcore, even with a bit of hardcore. Now, we are just making real metal. So, the tracks have become longer.

Koen: They also became heavier. The idea behind it is that it has to be powerful. Besides the tracks being well-written they also are really powerful. That is our goal and I think we succeeded in that.

You (Koen) wasn't part of Despicable Heroes during Shipwrecked, right?

Koen: No, but we are friends for about seven years or something now. I did contribute my vocals to one track on Shipwrecked. That already was very nice and since that time we kept contact. When they played in the area, I often went to the show and joined them for a song. It's a really nice group. At one moment they asked me to join them as vocalist. At that moment I was too busy for it and it was too far away for me. A year later I got a relation with someone coming from Ede, which made it all a bit more attractive. I already wanted to join them and now it was with less distance. Earlier I was just worried about it costing too much. Now, everything turned in the right direction. So, that was when I joined them. It was already clear that it was a right match at the first rehearsal.

Kevin: For sure! First, we went to eat something with everyone, also to chat a bit with each other. At that moment we also knew it was the right decision. We even didn't need to do an audition.

Koen: I already knew I would fit in with the guys, in terms of how I am. We are friends, I knew I could handle their humor, I knew I could handle Kevin and I knew Kevin could handle me. A match made in heaven. It is super, I am really happy that I chose to join them.

On Shipwrecked you (Kevin) did the vocals. Besides that you already knew each other, was there another reason for getting a new vocalist in Despicable Heroes?

Kevin: At the beginning we started with the three of us, the drummer, the bassist and I. Soon I noticed that I was very busy with a lot of things. I was taking care of getting all in the right direction, talking between the tracks, tuning and playing my guitar and screaming, that cost me a lot of energy. The next step was that Sander, our guitarist, joined and I changed to doing vocals only. That went very well. In the meantime I was writing new tracks and we soon noticed that we needed a second guitarist for those. I wrote all that, so I also picked up the guitar again. However, that made me doing all those things together back again. So, it again cost me a lot of energy and I barely noticed what was happening in the audience. So, when we started writing Arrival I knew we needed a new vocalist. I also wanted to have fun and enjoy, we won't be the new Parkway Drive or something like that. Let's start with having fun, which means a guitarist joining and me doing vocals or a vocalist joining and me playing guitar. Unfortunately, it became the second option.

Koen: Yeah, I am sorry. I am not very good at playing guitar, otherwise I would maybe handle that.

You hail from Barneveld.

Kevin: Yeah, Gino (the bassist) and I hail from Barneveld, the drummer is from Lunteren, the other guitarist is from Ede, everyone a bit further away.

Koen: And I hail from Zevenaar, which is almost Achterhoek. So I am living the furthest away, but I also feel a little bit like someone from Barneveld.

Kevin: You are living in Ede for half the time.

Koen: Exactly, I am very often in Ede. We rehearse every week.

Barneveld is a place in the Dutch Bible belt. Is that something that gives struggles sometimes?

Kevin: No, not really. We rehearse on Friday evening, which goes without struggles. We aren't a satanic band or something, so we can do our thing. I don't have the idea that Barneveld limits us in that. In my opinion it's a nice contrast we can show to the outside, rather than it limiting us. Of course, we also were a christian band originally.

Koen: On the other side, we aren't getting subsidy from the church. They don't support us, but they also aren't against us.

Also congratulations on reaching the semi-finals of the Dutch Metal Battle which is tonight. How did the latest round go?

Kevin: It went great, otherwise we wouldn't be here.

I understand that, of course you won that round. However I meant how did the show go?

Kevin: The show went very well, we were the third band of the evening, just as we are tonight. We went to that show with the idea that we wouldn’t win, but just for playing a nice show. In the end we won the audience price and the jury price, that gives a huge kick in your self-confidence.

Koen: That was something really nice, we went to that show without expectations. We were pretty relaxed and had quite some fun with the other bands that evening. It was fun, we were all in it together, but we didn't begrudge each other. It was really nice and during the announcing of the winners you of course get a little bit nervous. In the end we first won the audience price, which we already thought because of the way that person was saying it. After that they again called our name because we also won the jury price. That was amazing, that we hadn't expected. We just had a lot of fun during the show. Apparently that was something that has been seen, which is nice. I think it means that you're doing great when you win without going just for winning. That of course is how it feels.

You also didn't expect that during the evening?

Kevin: No, there was a real good band before us.

Koen: The competition was strong. All bands were very difficult to compare to each other. One of them was very melodic, while we play less melodic. We have a lot of technical stuff in our music, but what is standing out is the lower and heavier part of it. Some other bands had the more melodic part standing out more. It depends on what the jury judges about or whether they judge about the total package.

Kevin: To hear your name two times afterwards is amazing.

Looking forward to tonight, what do you think about it?

Kevin: The same!

Koen: I try to not make it a competition in my head, but of course there is a very big price attached to it, which keeps staying in my head a bit. Of course we play because of playing our music, but the fact that there is a possibility to win it is always in your mind. I am not nervous right now, but I will be before our show. Of course those nerves will be back when the final band stopped playing and the jury will announce the winners. We just want to play our show for playing our music, which is something we also want show that.

Does that also include trying not to think about it too much?

Kevin: We just go to play a nice show.

Koen: We will throw a party during our show and we like to show that.

Kevin: The audience that doesn't come for a specific band, doesn't care about it being a band battle or not. We just want to entertain them.

Koen: We will see at the end of the evening which band wins. Of course it would be nice if that would be us.

Your music sounds like it has a lot of energy in it, how do you transform this to the stage at a gig?

Kevin: By being who we are to be honest.

Koen: We also get a lot of our energy from playing our music. Even during rehearsals it is difficult to stand still. We really enjoy creating and playing our music, which is in my opinion why it sounds very convincing. It is my outlet, I work in the home health care. There I am very calm and I have to be normally social. Here I can scream, jump, dance and everything I want to do and this is what I can put my energy in.

Kevin: We just go, when we are on the stage, the switch flips. We are on stage for the audience, the audience is there for us. So, just do whatever you like to do.

Koen: I think we are also very proud of our music. For us, there is no doubt about whether our music and our show are good or not. It's good to us. I think that we have some sort of self-confidence that we bring onto the stage because of that. I don't know whether that contributes to a better show or not, but to me it is something very important. We made this and I am proud of that. I am also proud to propagate that to people.

How do you prepare for a show?

Kevin: Beer.

Koen: Two beers to get on the right level and a bottle of water for on the stage. I noticed that I am getting older. When I played shows 10 years ago I could handle it a bit better compared to now.

Kevin: Time to exercise!

Koen: Exactly, I have to work on my fitness. It costs quite some energy, I for sure have muscle pain tomorrow. It is totally worth it though. I think I prepare too little compared to what I should do. That also is because I don't have any idea about how to prepare. I didn't have a vocal coach or something like that. If things will go very well for us in the future, that is something I have to look for. Until that moment we will just do what we like the most and in the way it works for us. After that we will see when that time comes.

Kevin: For sure. When preparing the stage the warming-up almost goes without noticing.

Besides tonight you already announced three upcoming gigs, can we expect more of them?

Kevin: When it's up to us for sure. We are already working on some more shows, but we can't tell something about that yet. Let's hope that, for example, Brainstorm this year is possible, that would be very nice.

You are also already working on new material, right?

Kevin: Indeed. The next EP is coming. We started working on it a few weeks ago. We are allowed to use two fantastic guitars build by Bo-El for that, which is amazing. Bo-El is a guitar builder from this area. This EP will be a bit more melodic than the last one. In my opinion it will be a nice step after Arrival.

Koen: We will look to what more we can get out of us. Trying to push ourselves a little bit further. Watching what more things are in Kevin's mind, he is mainly busy with writing it. The tracks are also very nice, again. It perfectly fits the direction we are headed in so far, but in my opinion it also adds something extra. Just a different flavor or something, which I really like. You can for sure listen to the tracks after each other or in a different order. They all will fit in our set for sure and that won't be at the expense of the energy.

Do you already have any idea about a release date or not?

Kevin: It will for sure take three months to be finished, so it probably will be autumn.

So, you (Kevin) are mainly writing. Where do you get the inspiration from?

Kevin: I do indeed. I mostly get my inspiration from other music. When I listen to a band, I often think about what would sound nice added to it. That idea is staying in my mind for a while and at some point I start working on it. Out of the blue I am sitting behind my computer and I suddenly get the right feeling. That's when I pick up my guitar and get for example a riff out of it. I'll bring it to rehearsal and then we'll work on it together.

Koen: Working on it, expanding it, trying different things that could be added to it.

Kevin: Yeah, that's what mainly happens in the rehearsal room. I often bring one or two riffs to rehearsal and we transform that into a track together.

Koen: It is also very nice to see how for example a guitar riff by Kevin gets picked up by the drummer. Kevin hears what he does with it and he maybe didn't have that in mind, but really likes how it sounds.

Kevin: That way we play things to each other. Two or three rehearsals later we are finished and have a full track to rehearse with the entire band.

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

Koen: We like to play gigs, so in case you have a nice festival or show: and also enjoy listening to our music on Spotify.

Kevin: Thanks DutchMetalManiac!

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