The Wolves of Avalon – Y Gododdin

Y Gododdin Album Cover Art

The Wolves of Avalon – Y Gododdin
Godreah Records
Release Date: 25/11/22
Running Time: 28:00 
Review by Paul Hutchings
7/10

The Wolves of Avalon’s fourth album tells the story of the Gododdin, the northern warriors documented in ancient poems by the Welsh bard Aneirin. The band, formed by Metatron (The Meads Of Asphodel) and songwriter James Marinos, have also called in reinforcements with Tony ‘Demolition Man’ Dolan (Venom Inc), Thurios (Drudkh), Hoest (Taake), Wulfstan (Forefather) and Nico Millar (Aklash). 

The result is a 28-minute blend of darkened metal and folk, combining melancholic passages with sweeping cinematic elements that confuse, surprise and delight in equal measure. Ignore the rather awful piece of artwork that looks like a fifth year’s computer project and let your blood be stirred by the anthemic songs that cascade forth. There’s the opening ‘Through the Murdering Night’, the powerful and stirring ‘Men of Gododdin’, and the swirling, semi-Hawkwind exploration of The Shining Company. All bring something different in style and tempo, whilst delivering the story and boiling everything in one dramatic manner. 

Using different voices, changes of pace and linking to the past, The Wolves of Avalon have produced a dramatic, evocative, and passionate release. ‘Dead Men’s Cloaks’ combines dark, sombre parts with soaring segments to create a storyboard based on swords, spears, bravery, and pledges to fight until the death. Like the Meads of Asphodel, this is music steeped in the ancient ways, of history long forgotten through the ages. By the time you reach the finale, ‘Is This How It’s Meant to Be’, with its intricate instrumental passages, you’ll either be searching for the band’s other releases or recoiling in horror at the tweeness of the whole album. 

However, it grabs you, there’s no doubting the quality of the musicianship and the overall concept. It is unlikely to be for everyone, but if you like your pagan folk metal, then it is most definitely worth a listen. 

‘Men Of Gododdin’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Through the Murdering Night 
02. Men of Gododdin 
03. The Shining Company 
04. Dead Men’s Cloaks 
05. Is This How It’s Meant to Be

LINE-UP:
Metatron – Vocals
James Marinos – Bass/Rhythm Guitar/Keyboards/Backing Vocals 
Steve Wallace – Lead Guitar 
Mike Lewin – Lead Guitar 
Steve Clark – Drums 

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Dark Matter – The Rectory

The Rectory Album Cover Art

Dark Matter – The Rectory
Wormholedeath 
Release Date: 25/11/22
Running Time: 49:03
Review by Rick Eaglestone
6/10

Tying together personal stories and experiences, Dark Matter’s newest release “The Rectory” also poses questions as well as warnings to its prospective listener. 

The album opens with a real groove, but the lyrics have a dark side cloaked in between some doomy undertones, and this is followed by an early highlight for me, ‘The Healer’ as there is no hiding the 70’s occult influence that radiates throughout the track’s entirety. It is slow, brooding and solo laden and I swear if you listen close enough you can hear the swirling smoke trying to burst through the speakers. This is paired wonderfully with ‘The Great Divide’, and this combination has been my favourite part of the album.

Title track ‘The Rectory’ feeds off the album aesthetic, has wonderful melodies and is almost ethereal and I really would not have minded it being at this pace, even at nearly 13 minutes but underneath the tempo changes is a real injection of Black Sabbath although never losing its progressive rock heart.

Concluding with one final multi-influenced piece, ‘Evil Remains’ (Part II of Down In The Valley) has some great mystic wanderings and really encapsulates the overall subject matter.

‘The Children Of Tomorrow’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Children of Tomorrow
02. The Healer
03. The Great Divide
04. The Rectory
05. Evil Remains (Down In The Valley, Pt.2)

LINE-UP:
Dave Gilbert – Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Keys, Drums
Alex Perry – Rhythm and Lead Guitar
Gary Aubert   – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s With Norrsköld

Norrsköld Logo

EMQ’s With Norrsköld

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Swedish Melodic Black/ Folk Metal band, Norrsköld. Huge thanks to guitarist Henrik Bodin-Sköld for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Henrik Bodin-Sköld, guitarist and main songwriter in Norrsköld. Norrsköld started out pretty much as a studio project by me in 2013. The overall ambition of the music was to combine “the best of worlds” considering melodic metal and black metal. A large part of the inspiration for the song writing came from early 90’s Scandinavian acts like Dimmu Borgir, Dissection, Opeth and In Flames. So, the aim of Norrsköld has been “What would it sound like if all of these bands would join forces and create something with a modern production?” And we write music that somewhat corresponds to this. Norrsköld had a live performance era between 2015-2018, including European tours with Amon Amarth and Nightrage etc. Nowadays, the main focus is once again on creating and recording music as a studio project. However, live shows in the future are not an impossibility.

How did you come up with your band name?

It’s basically a wordplay with my origin (Norrland) and my family name (Sköld). Initially it felt like a natural name for the one-man studio project it all began with.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Me, I’m from the northern part of Sweden (Hälsingland region). Most of the other guys / girls that have been / are a part of the project comes from the west coast of Sweden (Gothenburg primarily).

What is your latest release?

Three singles have been released in October / November, prior to the release of our new album Prisma Aeternus (release date on Spotify and similar platforms 2022-11-07). Music videos have also been produced for two of these singles, available on our official Youtube channel.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Metal wise I’d say Dissection, Opeth and early In Flames. In general, most influence has been taken from soundtracks to movies and video games (an underrated source of inspiration).

What first got you into music?

I stumbled upon a keyboard at a very early age (4 or so). Then we have this thing in Sweden called municipal music education, where every kid gets the chance to get educated in one or several instruments “for free” during the primary school years. I believe this is one of the explanations that Sweden has produced so many acknowledged musicians throughout the years.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

It would be really interesting to record / perform an album together with a grand orchestra in a great concert hall sometime. To really explore the soundscape in all dimensions. Would also be a cool thing to co-arrange a song or two together with the Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds. 

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I’d say we would fit pretty good in the Wacken context. It just feels like a natural habitat for our kind of melodic death / black metal hybrid.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Once after a gig, a guy comes up to the stage giving me a hand drawn portrait of myself, which he’d been creating with crayons during the concert. Honouring but unexpected.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Melodic metal can still be interesting! If you’re into death / black metal and want a touch of Scandinavian sounding melodies, Norrsköld should definitely be considered.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Cliff Burton. Even though he accomplished great things while being alive, I think he had a lot left in the tank in terms of composing REALLY interesting and harmonic metal. A truly open-minded musician.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Having the gift of expressing oneself in not only words, but also in tones. I believe some feelings and moods are not possible to express in words, why composing is such a unique medium for this.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Well, make better room for up-and-coming artists on the greater platforms / venues. There’s a great need of “refreshment” especially in the metal scene. There are SO many exceptionally good bands out there that get stuck in the struggle of actually reaching out. 

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Morningrise” by Opeth. A timeless classic. Delicate mix of nature romanticism, death metal aggressiveness and a haunting melancholy created with almost weeping guitars. Mikael Åkerfeldts finest.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Soundwise it’s definitely vinyl. Although in order to find an artist that actually deserves to be listened to on vinyl, download / streaming services are gold for discovering new (and not necessarily world famous) artists.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Must have been at arenas in St. Petersburg and Moscow, together with Amon Amarth. There was an overwhelming response from the audience, especially in Moscow.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Myself, I actually work in the environmental business, with focus on climate change. It’s a pretty decent work for being a “non-artsy” one. As a main alternative, I’d say being a full time author.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Not to unexpected maybe, but I would arrange a “composer’s dinner” with representatives from different genres. I’d really like to hear the stories behind how come up with their own special kind of music, and generally listen to how they create songs. I’d invite Tuomas Holopainen (Nightwish), John Frusciante (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and, resurrected from their graves, Cliff Burton (Metallica) and Jon Nödtveit (Dissection). I imagine quite interesting discussions around the table. And a lot of drinks.

What’s next for the band?

Heavy focus on promoting the new album and videos. Maybe do some playthroughs. Will also continue to write and perfect new music during next year. 

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Mostly Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. Check out our channels / accounts!

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Definitely a bis-cake hybrid.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank YOU for taking the time to notice our music! Just want to recommend everyone to give our music a listen, especially if you’re into ultra-melodic and catchy black / death metal music.

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s With Cerebral Extinction

Cerebral Extinction Logo

EMQ’s With Cerebral Extinction

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Italian Technical/ Brutal Death Metal band, Cerebral Extinction. Huge thanks to their guitarist, Michele, for taking part. 

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Hi everyone, I am Michele and I am currently the guitarist and one of the two founding members. The birth of the band happened almost by chance from the meeting with Malshum who has covered the role of vocalist since the birth of the band in 2012.

How did you come up with your band name?

The name chosen was the union of some ideas between me and Malshum. It all came naturally without there being a particular story behind it. Okay, let’s use that !!!

What Country / Region are you from and what is the Metal / Rock scene like there?

The band is located in Northern Italy even if we are all scattered around. I live in Brescia, Malshum in Peschiera del Garda, Nicola the drummer in Milan and Wally the bass player lives in Bologna, a situation facilitated by technology. I must say that in the in our area the scene as far as extreme metal is concerned is alive and well although some clubs have had to close due to lockdown but the bands are very active and interesting.

What is your latest release?

Our new effort is “Escape From Illusion”, the third studio album released on July 15th for Amputated Vein Records, which was preceded by the single ‘4 Eyes of Chaos’ here

https://youtu.be/9aW-Tp322Us

Who have been your greatest influences?

In this work we can say that we have been very influenced by a more modern sound and approach to Death Metal. Inferi, Archspire, Beneath The Massacre are among our main sources of inspiration being the right mix between brutality and melody and this is the path that we want also go with the next job.

What first got you into music?

For me, having entered the world of music was a foregone conclusion, let’s say my father being a guitar teacher and music has always been an integral part of my family’s culture, but everything happened spontaneously and naturally.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I think on behalf of everyone we would like to host Tobi Morelli of Archspire as a guest on a solo, maybe it will happen in the future.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Because of the quality that has been well known for years, I would opt for Brutal Assault, which has always been a passion of mine.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

 I would not say strange but a pleasant surprise. Everything happened in relation to my birthday and this friend and fan of mine gave me the Death by Symbolic mug, a very appreciated gift.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

First of all we thank them because we have received a lot of appreciation on our new release and we look forward to seeing you at our next concerts, follow us on our social channels for new news and content. 

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Obviously Chuck Schuldiner!!!

 What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

The creation and arrangement of all the ideas we accumulate and then transform them into a song, an album, a concept. At the same level of pleasure there is being able to do concerts which is the thing that satisfies us the most.

I hate being judged without even knowing us, but this happens in all categories.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I believe more meritocracy to rookie bands also who deserve it and this also applies to certain types of concerts and events.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

At The Gates – “Slaughter of the Souls”.

Q. What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

I would say CD, but the charm of vinyl is undeniable.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

At Move Your Fucking Brain Extreme Fest in Barcelona. Incredible audience and I was wearing a hallucinating adrenaline, the best.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I would continue to be a bus driver which is also my job or to travel all the time.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Obviously my friends.

What’s next for the band?

Our prospects are to promote the new album as much as possible live in Italy but above all abroad. We have the intention of publishing a video clip and some playthroughs to make the interest always active.

What Social Media / Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

You can follow us on our social pages:

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/CerebralExtinction 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/cerebralextinction.official 
YouTube Channel: https://youtube.com/channel/UCZ_e5OeZDD_jOhUzyq7yBCA 

Time for a very British question now. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll or a Tea Cake?

I have no idea Ha Ha Ha!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

We would like to thank all the readers and you who have dedicated this time to us. Hello everybody!!!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Burnt Out Wreck – Stand and Fight

Stand and Fight Album Cover Art

Burnt Out Wreck – Stand and Fight
Burnt out Wrekords
Release Date: 18/11/22
Running Time: 60:00
Review by Paul Hutchings
7/10

I first saw Burnt Out Wreck at a Hard Rock Hell event in North Wales in 2017. I enjoyed them then, with their basic, AC/DC feel and vibe, and their first two albums “Swallow” and “This is Hell” both worked well. Led by former Heavy Pettin’ drummer Gary Moat, the band bring an old school sound with absolutely no shame.

Unpretentious is probably a good description of Burnt Out Wreck. They play hard rock ‘n’ roll with plenty of rhythm, in part due to a dual guitar attack as well as a solid rhythm section in Paul Gray and Alex Carmichael. Moat’s vocals echo Bon Scott and Udo Dirkschneider at times, but he brings his own unique style to the songs. 

11 songs span an hour of music which is enjoyable from start to finish. You can admire the solidity of the tracks, the quality of the musicianship and the witty lyrics. From opening track ‘Big Up Yourself’, the chug of ‘Turpentine’ and the finale of ‘I’m A Loser Too’ it’s all good stuff. Sure, it’s not going to win any prizes for originality, but sometimes comfort is what we want and Burnt Out Wreck bring it in spades. 

Moat has put blood, sweat, and tears into this album. “These are eleven of the best songs I’ve written. This really was the ‘difficult third album’, inspired by the worst one and a half years in my life, but the result was worth the struggle, and this is something I’m really proud of. I invite you all to Stand and Fight“.

With new guitarist Richard Upson shredding for fun and in some style throughout, this is an album that demonstrates that there can be a future for bands who want to create honest, good-time music. They can do the more sentimental stuff, such as the melodic ‘Blood, Sweat and Tears’, and bluesy delivery (‘I’m A Loser Too’) but it’s when they kick out the jams on songs like ‘Big Up Yourself’ that they really hit their peak. And when they do, then it’s worth every minute. 

‘Stand And Fight’ Official Video



TRACKLISTING:
01. Big Up Yourself
02. Stand and Fight
03. Lion
04. Ain’t Done Nothing Wrong
05. More than Anything
06. Pain and Suffering 
07. Turpentine
08. Blood, Sweat and Tears
09. Wake Up
10. Take It or Leave It
11. I’m A Loser Too

LINE-UP:
Gary Moat – lead vocals/ rhythm guitar
Alex Carmichael – bass guitar/ backing vocals
Andy McLaughlan – lead guitar/ backing vocals
Richard Upson – lead guitar/ backing vocals
Paul Gray – drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Hutchings and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Candlemass – Sweet Evil Sun

Sweet Evil Sun Album Cover Art

Candlemass – Sweet Evil Sun
Napalm Records
Release Date: 18/11/2022
Running Time: 54:00
Review by Rory Bentley
7/10

Let’s begin with a confession – I love Candlemass. In fact I love pretty much all Epic Doom from Solitude Aeternus to Crypt Sermon. The combination of disgusting riffs and theatrical vocals sprinkled with arcane lyrics and melodies is a real blind spot for me to the point where I sometimes overlook the flaws of albums that fall into this category in a way that I wouldn’t let, say, a Thrash band get away with. Add this admission to the fact that Candlemass are the inventors and kings of this shit, and you can see there is a definite risk of me giving their 13th (oooh spooky) record an easy ride. With that in mind let’s get the negatives out the way before wanking off Leif Edling for the rest of the review. 

First things first the album is too long considering the relative lack of variety on display here. This is a common accusation levelled at latter day Candlemass records, with songs often staying on an idea for too long or lacking structural discipline. Opener ‘Wizard of the Vortex’ is a good example of this, staying in the tried and tested Doom lane until the last few seconds where it brings in creepy mediaeval melodies and spooky layered vocals before abruptly moving onto the next song. I would have loved to hear this idea expanded on rather than tacked on the end as a jarring afterthought. I mean the song still absolutely slaps, but it had the potential to be even better with some tweaking.

As alluded to earlier, the limited variety on display here makes more superfluous cuts such as the solid, but unremarkable ‘Crucified’ seem like unnecessary inclusions that stop the album from being the lean killing machine that could sit in the lofty company of the band’s late 80’s output. Even the guest vocals from Avatarium powerhouse Jennie-Ann Smith on ‘When Death Sighs’ fail to add the sort of change of pace and tone the album needs. Don’t get me wrong she’s obviously fantastic because she’s incapable of nothing less, but she only appears for the chorus hook and she’s way too far down in the mix to truly leave her mark on the song. I can understand the reservation to show up Johan Langquidst on the mic but come on lads – when you’ve got someone with pipes like Jennie-Ann in the studio you need to let her off the leash.

Despite these pretty major gripes, I really dig this album and I’ve played the absolute shit out of it since I got it. When Candlemass are at the top of their game, which is quite often over the course of this record, they’re damn near untouchable at this whole Doom schtick. The title track is a melodramatic banger with a super catchy chorus and a riff that you could remove tattoos with. Particularly props must go to Johan Langquidst’s pantomime villain vocals which really sell Leif Edling’s beautifully silly lyrics. His voice has understandably changed since his sonorous, more clean style on the band’s debut album, but his more weathered, raspier tone sounds just as commanding and is delivered with an audible wink.

Major props must go to producer Marcus Jidell, who captures the band at their thundering best with a lively and crisp mix. Despite their defiantly dated song-writing approach, the band still sound very contemporary, with a guitar tone younger bands would kill for. Although some fans may prefer a more rough and ready production job and a heavier dose of reverb, Jidell’s approach works very well and stops the band sounding like a throwback. Ironically they have gone in the opposite direction of many of the younger Doom bands they have influenced, who often appear obsessed with attaining a deliberately retro sound.

Despite my earlier complaint that the album is too long, there are plenty of highlights scattered from front to back whether it be the storming full-throttle ‘Angel Battle’ early on, or the supremely satisfying Viking rager ‘Scandinavian Gods’ towards the end of the record. For a heritage band to put something out that’s so good that I can compare it to younger hungrier acts without being unfair is no small feat. Nearly 40 years into their career, Candlemass still have plenty to offer and “Sweet Evil Sun” is a worthy addition to a legendary catalogue.

‘When Death Sighs’ Official Lyric Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Wizard Of The Vortex    
02. Sweet Evil Sun    
03. Angel Battle    
04. Black Butterfly    
05. When Death Sighs feat. Avatarium
06. Scandinavian Gods    
07. Devil Voodoo    
08. Crucified    
09. Goddess    
10. A Cup Of Coffin (Outro)

LINE-UP:
Johan Lanquist – Vocals
Lars Johansson – Lead Guitar
Mappe Björkman – Rhythm Guitar
Leif Edling – Bass
Janne Lind – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rory Bentley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s With Star Circus

Star Circus Logo

EMQ’s With Star Circus

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with UK 70s/80s inspired Rock band, Star Circus. Huge thanks to Vocalist/Guitarist, Dave Winkler, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Hi! I’m Dave Winkler. I sing and play guitar in Star Circus. I guess I’m the Ringleader.

Star Circus really started off as an album project rather than a band. I had accumulated a load of songs over the years, a couple were played in previous bands, but most were just demos that hadn’t worked out or been put forward any other projects. Towards the end of 2017 I sent producer Tony Wilson (TotalRock / Mia Klose / Scardust) a bunch of MP3’s and he really took a liking to them. A few awesome musicians got onboard, and 5 years later, after getting distracted with tribute bands US tours with signed artists, a pandemic, laptop malfunctions, we finally have “Separate Sides”!

Running parallel to that, over the last couple of years we have released 4 singles that feature on the album. The first one was ‘Love Is The Enemy’ back in February 2020. I put a band together and we did a single launch show, then we all know what happened shortly after! However, during lockdown it became clear that Star Circus needed to be a band. After a few line-up changes, we now have a great bunch of players completed by Sophie Aurélia Young (Bass / Backing Vocals), Jon Crampton (Guitar / Backing Vocals), Alex McArov (Drums) and William Robertson (Keyboards / Guitar / Backing Vocals).

How did you come up with your band name?

As I mentioned, it started as a solo project that evolved into a band. I had previously been in a lot of bands where everything we did was a group decision and I found that a lot of tours and international shows would fall through because life got in the way. I’ve been fortunate to work with some awesome musicians over the years, so the idea was that if we got offered some great opportunities, I would take them and whoever was available would do the shows, so it would be a cool bunch of songs with a revolving cast of people, a ‘Star Circus’. That concept has now changed, but it’s a cool name so we kept it.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are based in London, where I was fortunate enough to grow up. I’m sure you and many of your readers will be aware that there has been a thriving music scene in London for many decades. It takes some dips, old places close and old friends disappear, but it never really dies. There are always great gigs, club nights, bars and events to go to on the rock and metal scene particularly in the Camden and Holloway area where we’re based. There are some new places opening, but great venues like the Underworld, the Electric Ballroom and the Forum have survived.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Our previous single, ‘Bridges’ came out on the 26th August. The debut album, “Separate Sides” will be released on 2nd December. It will be preceded by one more single and an accompanying video, a live-in-the-studio version of ’Times Get Tough’. So, look out for that!

Who have been your greatest influences?

Watching the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on TV that got me into rock music when I was 11 was huge. So, Queen, Extreme, Metallica, Def Leppard and Guns ‘N’ Roses were early influences. Later I would pass a second-hand record shop on my way home from school and grab anything from Iron Maiden to Bowie, Black Sabbath to the Police and try and absorb it all.

What first got you into music?

As a kid in the 80’s I really liked a lot of radio pop music, back when people wrote real songs… I was obsessed with Top of the Pops as a toddler! This was before I’d heard a lot of heavier rock music, as my parents weren’t really into it. I like to think some of the hooks and anthemic ideas in my songs are rooted in that stuff. Everything from Duran Duran, Nik Kershaw, Level 42, Belinda Carlisle, stuff with great melodies. Not very Metal! That came later on. 

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

There are a lot of people I’d love to work with, but if I had to choose one it would be Brian May. He’s such a distinctive guitar player, a great songwriter and a lovely guy.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I really love Sweden Rock Festival, I fly over there every year (pretty much for the last 20 years) to meet up with friends and see great bands. There are some bigger international festivals like Wacken and HellFest which we would obviously be thrilled to do, but Sweden Rock is my home-from-home.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Many years ago, I got a Playboy Bunny-shaped cushion handed to me at a show at the Underworld, think it was supposed to be an early Christmas Present.

More recently our former guitarist got a Valentines card sent to his place of work from a fan in Holland. He wasn’t too happy about it – we still don’t know how she got the address!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Have… a good time… all the time.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

I’m gonna go for David Bowie. A Bowie-less world really sucks, he had so many amazing ideas, I just thought he’d live forever. 

Though Eddie Van Halen would be a close second. Luckily, I got to see Van Halen support Bon Jovi at Wembley when I was 15, then never again. Would have been great if he’d made it over to the UK in the last 25 years, but it wasn’t to be.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I really love touring, playing shows night after night and becoming an unstoppable rock n’ roll machine, it’s one big adventure. I also equally love writing and recording, putting songs together piece by piece. What I don’t enjoy so much is the social media promo stuff – sometimes upwards of 20 takes talking to a phone screen, Facebook glitches, fiddly little Instagram stories, all that. Sophie’s (bassist) much better at that stuff than me. I’m old, I’d rather just hand out flyers or talk to people on the phone!

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I feel, since the advent of emails being the primary form of communication, along with social media private messages, the lack of response frustrates me. I’d rather hear ’No, sorry. We’re not interested’ than… just nothing. In my experience it’s more often labels, agents, venue promoters and management that don’t respond. Bands tend to be a little better at it, but often can’t be of much help! Since we can’t rewind the clock to a time when people answered the phone, maybe it would be better if musicians took more control and responsibility of different aspects instead of such a big team of middlemen. We would have better and more direct communication and more power. And now half my friends in the industry are gonna hate me, ha ha!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Thanks for saying ‘one of’, it gives me a chance to give a different answer! I’m gonna go for Megadeth – “Countdown To Extinction”. Many of my friends would go for “Rust In Peace” which is also great, but for me ‘Countdown…’ was where Mustaine really hit his stride with the songwriting. There’s just a perfect mix of great playing and big anthems. So there you go, some metal, finally! Next interview it will probably be something by Rick Springfield, Bryan Adams or Belinda Carlisle!

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

That’s a hard one to answer. All of them have different place in my life. I guess I don’t download many albums anymore. Digitally I tend to stream stuff, so downloads probably come last. My car has a radio and CD player, so CD’s are still very integral to me. I grew up with cassette tapes, so there’s a lot of nostalgia attached to them, much like CD’s. Taking the shrink wrap off, unfolding the sleeve and checking out the photos and lyrics, putting it in the tape deck and hearing songs for the first time, long before YouTube and Spotify existed. It was all so exciting! Vinyl is amazing, but it’s a luxury purchase for people nowadays, in that sense it’s the best format. But it’s impractical, sadly I don’t get many opportunities to listen to proper records nowadays.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

That’s a really tough one. My old band opened for Skid Row at the Electric Ballroom many years ago, that felt like a great show, even though I broke my guitar strap 4 songs in!

I’m hoping the best shows are to come with Star Circus. Maybe it will be our album launch at the Camden Underworld on 26th November, come down and find out!

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Not a lot probably! I discovered I make pretty awesome vegetable soup during lockdown. Maybe I could open a soup kitchen?

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

The original line up of KISS in full makeup and my 95-year-old grandma. Just to create all kinds of confusion and awkwardness.

What’s next for the band?

The album launch gig is at the Underworld on 26th November, we’re pretty excited about that one, and we’ve put together a killer bill. The album comes out 6 days later, we’re feeling pretty positive thanks to the reactions from the press so far! Next year we have a tour and a couple of festivals lined up for the Summer, can’t say too much yet so watch this space for announcements.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

We have a website and are on all social media platforms. Check out the links below:

https://www.starcircus.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/DWStarCircus
https://www.instagram.com/dw_starcircus/
https://www.youtube.com/c/starcircus
https://twitter.com/starcircus_band

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I personally believe they are very small cakes. Micro-cakes.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Hope to see everyone reading this at the launch, or at some shows next year. We won’t disappoint you! Keep the rock rollin’!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s With ExpiatoriA

ExpiatoriA Logo

EMQ’s With ExpiatoriA

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Italian Heavy/ Thrash Metal band, ExpiatoriA. Huge thanks to their vocalist, David Krieg, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name Is David Krieg, and I’m the singer of ExpiatoriA. The band was formed at the behest of the brothers Massimo and GB Malachina (lead guitar & bass) between the end of the 80’s and the first half of the 90’s. The line-up was led by the charismatic figure of singer Massimo Cottica (a prominent figure in the Genoese underground at the time). Two demo tapes were recorded: “Tribute To Death” and “Symphonies Of Decomposed Human Flesh”. The band also participated in the compilation “Nightpieces” with the track “Sufferin’ Days”. In those years ExpiatoriA played an aggressive mix of techno thrash and obscure metal, and the band built a solid reputation thanks to the excellent reviews and live performances. Unfortunately, however, there is a setback when Max Cottica leaves the band to move to Ireland. The group was no longer able to continue with a new singer in the years to come and in the end broke up. 

In 2010 ExpiatoriA returned to the scene involving Max Cottica again, at least at the beginning. After numerous other vicissitudes and a decisive turn towards doom sounds (as was in the original intentions), the line-up reaches its current and more stable stage, with myself (David Krieg) on vocals, Edoardo Napoli on guitar, Fulvio Flux Parisi on keyboards, and Enrico Meloni on drums, as well as the Malachina brothers, of course, a.k.a. the initiators of the project.

How did you come up with your band name?

ExpiatoriA is the ancient Latin concept of “scapegoat” in the liturgical meaning of the Catholic religion. We have chosen this moniker by overturning its destination: we are no longer the freaks, the outcasts, the strange, the unwanted, and we have no sin to atone for (except those for which we accept responsibility as reasonable beings); in a sort of new inquisition, it is now WE who point the finger at the TRUE sinners and demand their atonement.

What Country / Region are you from, and what is the Metal / Rock scene like there?

We come from Genoa, Italy. The local rock / metal scene is always in turmoil and is capable of producing remarkable and even historical realities: two essential names above all, Necrodeath and Sadist. 

The problem of Genoa is the excessive provincialism of the experts who find it hard to believe in REALLY alternative productions, as well as a certain “laziness” of a part of the public who prefers to complain about the absence of important events, only to sin of guilty absenteeism when such events are finally organised. Not to mention that a large section of the public is controlled by the dominant media and totally ignores the real rock scene. 

Despite this scourge, there are brave pioneers who get involved, and among a thousand ups and downs, they manage to organise remarkable evenings or events (see the recent Metal Valley Fest with Voivod headlining, in which we also participated). In addition to this, it must be recognized that there is no shortage of valid bands. I’ll mention a few names, but there are so many: Abysmal Grief, Segno del Comando, Loculo, Winternius, Malombra, Tenebre, Stramonia, et … There are still many out there, and they are all valid.

What is your latest release?

“Shadows” is Expiatoria’s full length debut. It represents the culmination of a long and troubled journey that began in 1987. After several demo tapes, multiple line-up changes and forced breaks, the band finally freed itself from all those negative factors that have always held back its growth, and now it is ready to stay and leave an important trace in the scene.

“Shadows” will be released on November 4 2022 via Black Widow Records and Diamonds Prod. The album contains 6 tracks of doom, gothic, obscure and atmospheric heavy metal. Pre-orders are open on our Bandcamp page: https://linktr.ee/expiatoria 

“Shadows” features the contribution of some outstanding musicians within the Italian rock and metal scene: Diego Banchero (founder and bassist of label-mates, the dark prog band Il Segno del Comando) in “Asylum of the Damned”, Edmondo Romano (wind instruments for countless projects and bands) in “Asylum of the Damned”, Raffaella Càngero (voice of heavy-prog-folk band La Janara) in “Ombra – Tenebra Part 2”, and Freddy Delirio (keyboards in Italian cult horror metallers Death SS) in “7 Chairs and a Portrait”.

The song writing process has often been hindered by the pandemic and the rules to contain it, but this adversity has only strengthened our determination to pursue the goal of making a work that has been postponed for too long. We thought like a family, supporting each other, and the result is a deeply felt album, aimed at those people who don’t just listen to music superficially.

In this sense, “Krieg (My Last Song)” is an example of emotional identification.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Above all, the mighty King Diamond (both as a soloist and with Mercyful Fate). Then I could say Candlemass (and the Doom scene in general), the most obscure NWOBHM and also a pinch of dark prog. In some aspects, I could say that due to the harmonic construction of the songs and dramatic theatricality, we have some affinities with Type O Negative.

What first got you into music?

The will to create by myself what I like most to listen to. In a way it’s about giving life to your favourite music, the one that no band has ever produced in a single form: I’ve always liked the idea of taking the elements I prefer from my favourite artists and combining them in a single style. Which eventually becomes “mine”.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

I would have liked to collaborate with Antonius Rex very much, but unfortunately, his departure makes this desire impossible. I generally like to establish artistic and human relationships with other musicians, and I consider it an honour in equal measure to work with big names as well as with emerging bands. So, point blank, I’d tell you I’d like to sing on a Void of Silence album.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I’ll give you an unusual answer, considering the kind of music we offer, but I’d really love to play at the Obscene Extreme Festival if the latter weren’t exclusively dedicated to death-grind-brutal: because it has to be really fun and crazy. But it would damage our dark image, haha!

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Not a real gift (intended as an object), but a personal fan of mine (who has become a real friend over time) travelled several km to visit me at my home and get to know me.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Go to live gigs as often as you can: the scene, whether it’s ExpiatoriA or any other band, must be supported in order to continue to exist. And if you are part of a band, too, don’t wage stupid wars among the poor: we are all in the same boat. It is the most banal, but also the most sincere message that I can send.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

All those who left too soon and who could have given much more to the music. Unfair to mention only one.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Considering myself an interpreter even before a musician, I take on the burden of an experience that is at the basis of every aspect related to making music, be it compositional, interpretative, management in life or more generally professional. 

In this sense, even the most pleasant aspect (which can be expressing oneself creatively) hides the other side of the coin: the spasmodic search for a catharsis which not only can also leave you in pieces, but which is not always replicable with the same intensity every time. This makes me feel the responsibility of reaching a compromise between the sincerity of my artistic expression and the duty to always maintain a high level of professionalism. In this dichotomy reside both the things I love and hate most about being a musician.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

I would reform the whole record industry all over again, including the perception that people have of it, including those musicians who don’t know how to relate to it in a reasonable and productive way.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Aaarrghh!!! Too many to mention. So point blank, I say “Don’t Break the Oath” by Mercyful Fate.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Vinyl Forever!!! I benefit from all the aforementioned supports because I am not a caveman incapable of evolution, but the vinyl remains the best way to enjoy music, artwork and various details.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

The next One, I hope. Our goal is to improve from time to time.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I really don’t know… for sure, always something related to artistic expression: Given my propensity to tell stories by playing with images and words, perhaps a writer or a film-maker.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

King Diamond, Lemmy (back from the dead), the wrestler Undertaker, Jim Carrey and Julian Assange.

What’s next for the band?

Play live wherever possible: starting on November 5th, we will begin a mini Autumn tour in northern Italy, after which we will record a split with our friends Segno del Comando based on the same idea, some sort of concept album. The creation of a video clip is also in the works. The car has started, and there is a lot of gasoline.

What Social Media / Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

We’re on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Bandcamp: https://linktr.ee/expiatoria 

Time for a very British question now. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll or a Tea Cake?

Muffin.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Embrace the Shadows and join us in this journey through the dark. 

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Euphrosyne – Keres

Keres Album Cover Art

Euphrosyne – Keres
Self-Released
Release Date: 25/11/22
Running Time: 29:38
Review by Laura Barnes
9/10

Praise be to the malevolent gods, for we have been blessed with more Black Metal! Today’s offering is Black Metal from all the way from sunny Athens, delivered to us by the eclectic Euphrosyne. Euphrosyne are architects of what is now called ‘Post-Black Metal’: Black Metal that boldly breaks the sacred laws forged in Norway back in the nineties. With clean vocals, brass instruments, and a high production quality, Euphrosyne are pioneering an exciting and accessible form of Black Metal. 

Euphrosyne are all about atmosphere. Album intro ‘Black Opal’ makes this clear from the get-go, guiding us towards the album’s heart with a saxophone-led instrumental piece that conveys an eerie sort of beauty. Don’t be fooled, however – Euphrosyne aren’t here to coddle you. The wall of noise that hits you the second that intro ends is an immense one, thick and foreboding. From the get-go, their artistic vision is clear: take the best of Black Metal’s sheer intensity and raw emotional power and combine it with melodies that allow you to make sense of the confusion, find meaning in the chaos. ‘When My Fears Conquered All’ is a perfect example of this. The verses are a whirlwind of guttural vocals and echoing guitars, while the clean vocals of the chorus are clear and hooky enough to make you press that replay button. 

Interestingly, the melodic parts of Euphrosyne remind me of a very different band: Skunk Anansie. Indeed, Efi Eva’s passionate vocals are slightly reminiscent of Skin’s, but the comparison goes deeper than that. Much like Skin, Efi Eva has an ability to take complex emotions and sing about them with striking authenticity. Her lyrics are both articulate and haunting – when she sang out ‘I was drowning as a child / Inside my mother’s belly’ I stopped what I was doing and became deeply fascinated with the narrative of the song. In a genre that often expresses the unspeakable, Euphrosyne’s eloquence gives them a distinct identity. 

Also worthy of note here are the brass instruments played throughout “Keres”. The White Ward influence is clear, but not overwhelming. Where White Ward’s saxophone inclusion gives their music a distinct noir feel, Euphrosyne take a more bluesy approach, particularly on ‘Within The Ages’. On this track, it isn’t just the brass that provides the blues influence, but the guitars, too. It is clear that Euphrosyne aren’t just throwing random instrumentals at the wall and seeing what sticks. There is a clear thoughtfulness to their approach that makes “Keres” a unique and cohesive album. For this reason, you should really listen to this album. Don’t listen to it on shuffle. Don’t have it on in the background while you play the new God of War game (although that would be a pretty dope experience, I have to admit). If you allow yourself to truly get lost into the music, then you will see this album for what it is: an outstanding debut from outstanding musicians. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Black Opal
02. Pale Days
03. When My Fears Conquered All
04. Sister of Violence
05. Sunbringer
06. Within the Ages
07. Keres

LINE-UP:
Efi Eva – Vocals
George Gazis – Bass
Kostas Mamalis – Drums
Alex Despotidis – Guitars

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Laura Barnes and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

It Might Not Be Metal But It Makes Metal What It Is

It Might Not Be Metal But It Makes Metal What It Is
By Dark Juan

It might surprise you all to hear that you are just as likely to find me listening to Cabaret Voltaire or Siousxie And The Banshees or some obscure Disco classic, as you are to discover me spinning the latest Metal platter. This is because it took me rather a long time to understand that most forms of music have some redeeming qualities, and that it furthers and broadens your understanding of the righteous faith and the One True Path that is Heavy Metal to listen to other styles and forms of music – as an example, all round superb gentleman, rock singer extraordinaire and my musical hero Mr. Graham Bonnet, a man whose CV is peerless and includes stints with Rainbow, Alcatrazz, Impellitteri, and MSG as well as being a solo artist beyond compare, started his musical career being a backing vocalist for the Bee Gees as well as performing in the decidedly not Metal The Marbles, before finding the One True Path. 

I have frequently trumpeted my thoughts about the Metal fan who confines him / her or their self only to Metal missing out on some of the things that made Metal what it is (the likes of Sir Lord Baltimore and Coven, Free and The Doors, Ten Years After and Atomic Rooster, Blue Oyster Cult and Iron Butterfly) and form the bedrock for everything that is Metal today – whether or not that might be Five Finger Death Punch or Anaal Nathrakh. This music of the past is still relevant because it is the living history of Metal and without it, and the bands and performers who played it, Metal would not exist.

There’s hardly any species of music out there which has had close to zero, or at least a marginal influence on Heavy Metal, and I am here to tell you that all forms of music are just as viable and exciting as Metal if you listen with an uncritical ear. Disco and Funk are ridiculously complex compositions that require incredible dexterity and skill from the musicians playing them. Disco and Funk is where the bass player shines, as some of the basslines are phenomenally complicated and they are what drives the whole platform-soled shebang. 

Synthwave is the neon-dripping sound of the 80’s action movie and the musclebound lead man quipping his way through the thousands of enemies he is mowing down with his M60 machine gun and leads you down paths of nostalgia for early 80’s TV shows involving customised helicopters / cars / motorcycles or soldiers of fortune being captured and fortuitously imprisoned in a large metal barn with a fully functional vehicle and all the scrap metal and welding and cutting gear (including masks and gauntlets) you could ever wish for if you had a requirement to escape said capture in an armoured battlewagon. And they are left alone to do this without any form of check on them because they are making so much noise while they do a bit of frontier metalwork. 

Psychedelia took the basic building blocks of the Blues and Rock ‘N’ Roll, then ingested a bath-load of LSD and then recorded the subsequent, cosmic, rainbow-hued results and used them to foment social change in an America that was rooted in traditional values and violently opposed to any form of social development that didn’t involve women knowing their places and a shirt and tie being worn. See McCarthyism. Without the hippie, you wouldn’t have the Metalhead, so remember that the next time you’re sparking up a joint and having a beer and give thanks for free love and respect. After all, they are still values that the Metalhead cherishes, otherwise the mosh pit would be a brutal and anarchic place where injury and suffering would be commonplace, rather than the good-natured bump-a-thon where everyone helps if someone goes down. Apart from pit killers. Those tiny-dicked buttnuggets can get to fuck. 

Without the Post-Punk, the Goth Rock and New Wave, you wouldn’t have the entire Gothic or Emo aesthetic and love of exploring the darker side of humanity and feelings that are a central plank of just what this thing called Heavy Metal is. Without the initial explorations into electronics that Delia Derbyshire, Kraftwerk, Throbbing Gristle and Whitehouse pioneered there would be no Industrial, no Nu-Metal, no Neue Deutsche Harte, no Stadium Rock, no Limp Bizkit (granted, this would not be a bad thing. Dammit, Delia Derbyshire, why couldn’t you have picked up a skillet instead of a Moog?) or Linkin Park, or Ministry. 

Even Pop has its place within Metal, when you hear backing vocals or a particularly perfect melody – Bon Jovi, for example, and to a lesser extent Ghost owe lots of their sound to Pop music – ABBA are a pervasive influence on those worthy Swedish Satanists as they are to Bon Jovi and other stadium-friendly rockers and metallers. Roky Erickson is an influence on any Metal band who has listened to guitar music at any point in the past fifty years – Even Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) can be proved to have had an impact on contemporary Metal at some point when Ugly Kid Joe of all people covered ‘Cats In The Cradle’. Just look at some of the Metal covers of classic Pop songs:

  • Rammstein covering Depeche Mode’s ‘Stripped’.
  • Ghost covering ABBA’s ‘I’m A Marionette’ and Roky Erickson’s ‘If You Have Ghosts’.
  • Disturbed butchering…. I mean covering Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound Of Silence’ and Genesis’ ‘Land Of Confusion’ and very famously, Tears For Fears’ ‘Shout’.
  • Marilyn Manson covering every Pop song ever written – Soft Cell’s ‘Tainted Love’, Eurythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’, Depeche Mode’s ‘Personal Jesus’.
  • Nine Inch Nails covering Adam Ant’s ‘Physical’.
  • Urge Overkill covering Neil fucking Diamond’s ‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’.
  • And, of course, the best cover version of all time, being a gloriously over-the-top Scandinavian Folk Metal band covering a British/ German Disco Funk song – this being Turisas doing their barnstorming version of Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’.

Even the more extreme side of Metal has got on the Pop bandwagon – Surely the absolute, arse-puckering horror that was the cover version of Heaven 17’s ‘Temptation’ by Cradle Of Filth and their priapic little howler monkey of a vocalist is burned on the psyche of every Metal fan, never to be spoken of again? My Dying Bride turning Simon and Garfunkel’s version of  ‘Scarborough Fair’ into a miserable Yorkshire dirge? Well, my friends, I can easily fucking top that psychological torture for you – Even The Berzerker, erstwhile hyperextreme Australian blenders of Grindcore and Gabba Techno decided to hop on to the Pop cover bandwagon with a most esoteric choice of song. 

Yes, The Berzerker elected to do a cover version of ‘All The Things She Said’ by Russian faux-teen, school uniform-wearing pretend lesbians T.a.T.u. This went exactly as you might imagine. It sounded like someone putting up a metal shed really quickly with a man grunting in a most inappropriate fashion considering the subject matter of teenage schoolgirl lesbian shenanigans.

My point, then, is that Metal has a lot of diverse and, upon initial inspection, undesirable influences. The ultimate point is that there are NO undesirable influences, regardless of what your viewpoint is on Trap Metal. If you want Metal to not be stagnant, then you must accept that Urban music is going to creep in there, as well as other styles. I mean, hell, if you’re prepared to accept a bunch of shrieking Japanese fake-teen idol girls battering the senses with a mix of kawaii J-Pop antics and Metal, and I know a lot of you are, you can accept Nik NXK or Sam Astaroth roaring at you over Urban beats. 

Metal EVOLVES. Metal has sucked in everything from the Blues to Classical music over the decades (Whitesnake, The Quireboys, The Black Crowes, Guns N’ Roses to Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Nightwish, Dream Theater, Rhapsody Of Fire), twisted them out of all recognition (Stoner and Doom have strong links to Blues music) and they have become new versions of Metal. Look at the explosion of Rap Metal in the 90’s – Public Enemy and Anthrax discovered that the two styles can mix and mix explosively, leading to a flurry of copyists, but with a few unique and viable bands coming out of it. Thrash Metal is Metal and Punk colliding and the likes of Carnivore and Nuclear Assault amply demonstrate this by sounding distinctly different from traditional Metal bands like Accept, Iron Maiden or W.A.S.P. Hell, even the band that supposedly started it all, Black Sabbath, don’t believe that they are all that Metal, with Tony Iommi himself describing their sound as “Heavy Blues”.

It is instructive to listen to music other than Metal in order to further your understanding of Metal and Extreme music. Henceforth, I would like to share with you a few of the songs that I enjoy, that aren’t anything to do with Heavy Metal per se, but have had an influence upon it, but most importantly, they are just absolutely brilliant music.

‘Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)’ – ABBA. The absolute pinnacle of 70’s Pop music. Lushly produced with an absolutely earth-shaking chorus and hook and performed with gusto and enthusiasm by a bunch of people who had raided the bonus bins of Nylon clothes manufacturers for their stage outfits.

‘Young Girl’ – Gary Puckett & The Union Gap. Listen to the lyrics. They are well dodgy and a precursor to Dark Angel’s ‘The Death Of Innocence’. It’s also a superb vocal performance throughout the song and it has uncommon power and presence. Even if it is slightly uncomfortable listening to the protagonist contemplating boffing jailbait, but as a misguided but ultimately well-meaning attempt to drag the horror of paedophilia into mainstream thought it’s a good one.

‘Animal’ – Aurora. Neurodiverse Norwegian semi-feral pixie is dragged out of her native forests, still with leaves in her hair, and proceeds to beguile and panic the listener with cheerful-sounding tinkly-bop Dance Pop with a lyric that could only be described as “Fucking Metal”. Should be well known to the Metal fan because of her contributions to Wardruna. See also ‘In Boxes’ and listen carefully to the lyrics there too. The lass is a bit of a dangerous one.

‘Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon’ – Neil Diamond. A powerhouse vocal performance on this song, again about a young lady not yet being legal for shenanigans of a sexual nature, shows the versatility of a simple melody and guitar line intertwining and clearly demonstrates that less really can be more when it comes to composition.

‘One Night In Bangkok’ – Murray Head. An utterly batshit song from a batshit musical (Chess), performed in a batshit fashion by Murray Head, and written (incredibly) by ABBA’s Benny and Bjorn, this is an absolutely out to lunch song about playing chess around the world set to some of the most danceable Electro-Pop the Eighties had to offer. A proto Hip-Hop Rock crossover because of Head’s vocal performance on the verses, it’s a curiosity that absolutely has a grip on my musical tastes.

‘Tokoloshe Man’ – John Kongos. A clear contender to show just where Rock music and Psychedelia first crossed over, this is a muscular and dynamic tune that is a close, yet utterly different contemporary to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, with a strong Folk and Blues bent underneath the amplification, yet it is clearly a bona-fide attempt to create Hard Rock.

‘Baker Street’ and ‘Night Owl’ – Gerry Rafferty. The eight-bar sax line on the former by Raphael Ravenscroft is well known, but I wish to draw your attention to the absolutely incendiary guitar solo by Hugh Burns. A man who brought emoting on that instrument to a whole new level, it is an absolute piece of guitar mastery that showed that even Rock music had oodles of soul and feeling, and the lyrics occupy a very bleak place in the human psyche. ‘Night Owl’ is similar. The subject of the lyrics is a lonely soul indeed looking for an indefinable SOMETHING and is therefore easily able to elucidate the alienation that most fans of Extreme music have suffered at some point in their lives.

‘Whip In My Valise’ – Adam Ant. A song that is sleazy and scary in equal measure. The influence on Metal of the album ‘Dirk Wears White Sox’ is small yet pervasive. Without Adam Ant, there would be no Nine Inch Nails, Society 1 or Genitorturers. Lo-fi Punk production plus the limitations of Ant’s voice limit the impact of the whole thing until you listen to it carefully.

‘Das Modell’ – Kraftwerk. The starting point of all modern German Pop music and the precursor to all Neue Deutsche Harte, along with NEU! Experimental and curiously detached from humanity, yet still capable of surprising warmth, Kraftwerk were true innovators in music and their influence is still heavy in Electronica of most forms.

‘House Of The Rising Sun’ – The Animals. I don’t need to tell you about this all-time classic that has been covered by many a Metal band with varying degrees of success. Even Five Finger Death Punch have had a stab at it. Poorly.

‘California Dreamin’’ – The Mamas And The Papas. When hippies finally went proper Rock ‘N’ Roll and created a song that transcended itself in so many ways it was comfortable with a mainstream audience, rockers, hippies and even parents.

There are many, many more songs and artists in my collection that I could tell you about that have had some form of influence on our beloved Metal, but I shall leave you with this – 

“There’s so much music for you to choose, so don’t just be a Metal dude. It’s cool, fool.”

This from American Thrash maestros Sacred Reich, on their clunky, ham-fisted but ultimately well-meaning Funk song, ‘31 Flavors’ that was released on their classic album “The American Way”. They said it better than I ever could.

Go and expand your minds and you’ll find a new appreciation of Metal sitting at the end of your musical rainbow. Goodnight.

Disclaimer: This article is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.