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.

Empire Drowns – Nothing

Nothing Album Cover Art

Empire Drowns – Nothing
Uprising Records
Release Date: 21/11/2022
Running Time: 28:39 
Review by Chris Galea
8.5/10

Sometimes darkness can be a source of warmth and solace… This is the territory where you’d find bands such as Empire Drowns. “Nothing” is only the Danes’ second release in almost 12 years of existence so I might be forgiven for being hitherto unaware of the band. Recriminations aside, let’s shed some light on this album…

I use the word ‘album’ indecisively because since it clocks less than 30 minutes I’m almost tempted to call it an EP. Anyhoo, the album (let’s stick with that epithet, shall we?) kicks off with an instrumental intro and it strikes me that there’s no logical reason as to why the intro to ‘Purity’ (the second track) is featured separately. All these trivialities fall by the wayside, however, as soon as the Doom Death sonorities of ‘Purity’ drags you into the world of Empire Drowns. 

If you’ve ever taken pleasure in immersing yourself in the woes of the British Doom Death triumvirate of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and (early) Anathema and if you are also partial to Gothic Rock, then “Nothing” will send shivers down your spine. The Death Metal vocals of Michael Hvolgaard Andersen sound fierce and expressive and sometimes veer precariously close to Black Metal temperaments. And Thomas Birk provides the album with welcome embellishments through his guitar sweeps.

But for me one of the strongest selling points of “Nothing” is the multi-faceted and intense songwriting. Nothing I’d call ‘groundbreaking’ mind you, but Empire Drowns deliver the material with palpable passion.

This was most definitely a welcome surprise.

‘Purity’ Lyric Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. I Am
02. Purity
03. Anesthesia
04. Nothing
05. Gone
06. Loved

LINE-UP:
Thomas Birk – Guitars
Kim Jørgensen – Drums
Anders Ro Nielsen – Keys
Marco Angioni – Bass
Michael Hvolgaard Andersen – Vocals

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Trouble – The Distortion Field

The Distortion Field Album Cover Art

Trouble – The Distortion Field
Hammerheart Records
Release date: 14/10/2022
Running time: 01:03:00
Review by: Alun Jones
9/10

More Trouble! Another welcome re-issue from Trouble’s back catalogue courtesy of Hammerheart Records, here we have their 2013 album “The Distortion Field”, back in circulation. This was the last studio effort the band have released (at this time) – and with vocalist Eric Wagner (RIP) absent, replaced by Kyle Thomas (of Exhorder and Alabama Thunderpussy). 

Sure enough, things get off to a solid start with a thunderous ‘When the Sky Comes Down’ and ‘Paranoia Conspiracy’, both reliably Trouble-some rockers. The album really picks up a gear or three with ‘The Broken Have Spoken’, a lumbering riff juggernaut that reminded me of Pantera. Then there’s ‘Sink or Swim’, a mighty, pacey mountain shaker with a chorus hook so big it could reel in a Kraken.

There’s little of the psychedelic, hippy journeys found on the Def American albums. Instead, there’s the almost ballad ‘Have I Told You’, which haunts like vintage Alice in Chains. The quality only dips with ‘Glass of Lies’, which is a little too barroom boogie for me – though the last section of the song thankfully reverts to a funereal Doom speed.

For the most part though, songs like ‘Hunters of Doom’ deliver exactly the kind of chugging riffology that the listener would expect. ‘Butterflies’ illustrates Trouble’s doom strategy perfectly again – slow, heavy crunch with another almighty chorus. 

Add in the bonus track ‘The Apple from the Snake’ and this is prime Trouble. Newcomers may want to start with something from the band’s earlier work, but a re-issue of “The Distortion Field” is fantastic news for fans. Add this record to your collection and keep your fingers crossed for something new in the near future. 

My mate Keith Moon was a troublemaker who needed no introduction – blowing up toilets, scrappy food fights and driving limousines into swimming pools. He was good as gold round at his old mum’s house, though. I went there once with Keith, and it was all very pleasant. Cup of tea, slice of cake, lovely conversation with Mrs Moon. Very down to earth. Until I got home later that is and spent the entire evening on the loo. Moony told me later that his mum – another practical joker – had laced my food with laxatives. Very bloody funny.

TRACKLISTING:
01. When the Sky Comes Down
02. Paranoia Conspiracy
03. The Broken Have Spoken
04. Sink or Swim
05. One Life
06. Have I Told You
07. Hunters of Doom
08. Glass of Lies
09. Butterflies
10. Sucker
11. The Greying Chill of Autumn
12. Bleeding Alone
13. Your Reflection
14. The Apple From the Snake

LINE-UP:
Rick Wartell – Guitars
Bruce Franklin – Guitars
Kyle Thomas – Vocals
Mark Lira – Drums
Rob Hultz – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones 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.

Sea of Snakes – The Serpent & The Lamb

The Serpent & The Lamb Album Cover Art

Sea of Snakes – The Serpent & The Lamb
Metal Assault Records
Release Date: 14/10/22
Running Time: 42:00 
Review by Paul Hutchings
9/10

Drawing deep from the well of Metal, Hard Rock, and Stoner with an additional serving of Doom, the debut album from Los Angeles quartet Sea of Snakes should resonate with those who like their music to combine genres. It’s a sludgy sound that combines Black Label Society with Alice in Chains in a high octane ten-track riff fest. 

Opening with the powerful ‘Start a War’, Sea of Snakes begin the release with a pounding, high tempo driver of a track that immediately gives notice of intent. Thick riffs combine with Jason Busiek’s superb throaty roar. Reminiscent of Zakk Wylde and Chris Cornell, Busiek’s delivery fits ideally with the overall tempo of the song, which bristles with energy for the first part, slowing to a more powerful yet slower pace and then hitting the speed button once again as the song picks up speed. It’s a huge opener, a statement of intent and a testosterone fuelled rampage. 

It’s Sabbath worship next on ‘Demon Seed’, a slower but crunchier piece which sees Busiek bring a swagger to his vocals as the slow burning riff cascades. There’s more than a hint of the bluesy side of Down, such is the NOLA feel, but whatever the influences, it’s a song that soaks deep into the bones. The riffs keep coming, a dirty, fuzzed up feel on ‘Get the Gun’, whilst the crunching doom-soaked ‘End of the Sun’ drops a different style, less urgency, more sludge with some bone jarring segments that could damage foundations. Busiek can vary his vocals as well, moving into a slower, more measured but still emotive pace. 

Continuing in the variation of style comes the haunting ‘Dead Man’s Song’ which is a little grungy, echoing the kind of evocative piece that Alice in Chains delivered so well. It’s a poignant track, the ringing vocal over some superb guitar work from Jim McCloskey. It’s perfectly positioned in the running order, allowing a breather before the tempo increases for ‘Third Kind’, a groove-based hard rocker that’s addictive in both feel and delivery. The deluge of riffs continues with ‘In Hell’, whilst there is more Sabbath-tinged darkness on ‘God of Creation’. 

The final two songs don’t let up. ‘Hands are Tied’ is an intense ride, fires burning as the band turn up the fuzz substantially. It’s heavy, it’s rowdy, and it’s intoxicating. To conclude the album with a track as powerful as the sludge ridden ‘The Ritual’ merely shows the quality on offer here. 

For a band formed only two years ago, “The Serpent & The Lamb” is an assured debut release. There’s a confidence about it which is fantastic, the sheer fury with which the tracks crash in bruising and in Busiek, they have a singer who can really adapt to the range the band bring. 

‘Third Kind’ Official Video


TRACKLISTING:
01. Start A War
02. Demon Seed
03. Get the Gun
04. End of the Sun
05. Dead Man’s Song
06. Third Kind
07. In Hell
08. God of Creation
09. Hands are Tied
10. The Ritual 

LINE-UP: 
Jim Mccloskey – Guitars
Jeff Murray – Drums
Jason Busiek – Vocals
Lorenzo Almanza – Bass

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.

Wolf Counsel – Initivm

Initivm Album Cover Art

Wolf Counsel – Initivm
Self-Released
Release Date: 30/09/22
Running Time: 56:00 
Review by Paul Hutchings
8/10

Although Wolf Counsel may have formed in Switzerland, this international band has now laid down deep roots in Ireland. It may be no surprise then, to find that their music is dark, gloomy, filled with mournful vocals and crashing riffs. 

“Invitim” is the band’s fifth full-length album and if you like your Doom filled with funeral pace, then this should be one for you to check out. The band is steeped in the sound of the 1970’s, capturing the feel of the time alongside a more contemporary feel. Big riffs, swirling passages and strong, thunderous percussion is very much the order of the day.

Formed in 2014, the band have been proactive musically, with 2019’s “Destination Void” their most recent release. Drawing their influences from a wide range of bands, notably Cathedral, Solitude and Aeturnus, the band are bolstered by the arrival of new singer Con Doyle who joined in 2021. His vocal range provides a wide scope to deliver the mythical lyrics that explore death and days gone by. 

With most songs lingering around the six-minute mark, this isn’t an album for those who want a quick hit, rather, it’s an investment into a deep journey through haunting passages, complex movements, and heaviness itself. Whilst every track is slow, there are some moves away from the traditional Doom plod. The title track does at least have sections where the pace picks up, although the crushing parts soon dominate the title track. 

First single ‘Farewell’ anchors the album, and by the time you have reached it, you’ll be familiar with Doyle’s unique harmonies, his delivery, and the way he weaves his vocals around the band’s hammering layers of Doom. There’s little to disappoint if you are fan of heavy riffs that cascade like a waterfall from start to finish. But there is also plenty of versatility hidden within the album. ‘Raven Dawn’ is just one example, the punishing grind punctuated by flashes of slicing lead guitar that appears. 

The musicianship is first rate throughout, main songwriter Ralf W. Garcia is no mean bass player, his low-end rumble locking in tightly with drummer Reto Crola. Songs of death are delivered on an epic scale, each track bringing its own story and subtly different style. Ultimately, Invitim is a release that should be on your radar if you are a fan of anyone from Sabbath to Trouble, Candlemass to Sleep. 

‘Aeons’ Official Audio


TRACKLISTING:
01. Healer 
02. Torchbearer
03. Ruins 
04. Aeons 
05. The Old Ways 
06. Invitim 
07. Raven Dawn 
08. On Stranger Shores
09. Farewell


LINE-UP:
Andreas Reinhart – Guitars
Ralf W. Garcia – Bass, Vocals
Ralph P. Huber – Guitars
Con Doyle – Vocals
Reto Crola – 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.

Ars Onirica – II:Lost

II Lost Album Cover Art

Ars Onirica – II:Lost
Ardua Music
Release Date: 23/09/22
Running Time: 40 minutes 
Review by Paul Hutchings
9/10

Although Ars Onirica was originally formed in 2003, it was only when Alessandro Sforza (Invernoir, Veil of Conspiracy) decided to develop the band as a solo project that it really became a living entity. Playing a blend of Doom which stretches from the 1990’s to current day, you’re sure to reflect on the influence of the likes of Novembre, Katatonia, early Anathema and Paradise Lost. Sforza released the full debut “I: Cold” via Solitude Productions / BadMoodMan Music in 2019. 

“II: Lost” sees the direction shift slightly, moving through intensive passages of haunting, ethereal sounds, dramatic soundscapes and shimmering segments that contrast with crushingly heavy, Death Metal blasts. The tempo varies throughout, with the delicate intro of ‘Lost’ as gentle as it gets, a beautiful combination of Anathema and Riverside at their most sensitive. 

The tempo slowly builds, a subtle rope of tension that indicates something bigger is likely to arrive. Swathes of synths add a texture to the background as Sforza sings. Unsurprisingly, ‘My Heart … Your Tomb’ moves things on to a darker plane. The vocals are harsh, the music doom laden and full of despair but there’s an unexpected twist as the track momentarily switches from the funeral pace before returning just as swiftly. 

The combination of darkness and light is one of the most appealing things about this album. The melody surges through even the heaviest of songs, such as the ferocious stomp of ‘Daydream’ with its feral vocals that send a shiver down the spine. Yet the rich clean works excellently as a foil to the growls in a way that few bands achieve. 

Unsurprisingly, the masterpiece is a lengthy nine-minute epic which combines everything that is good about this album in one majestic, sweeping piece. ‘Forever and a Day’ is the song, and it works on every level. Brooding, melancholic tempos switch with more aggressive passages. The tempo of doom is maintained throughout, and even drifts calmly into the final two tracks, including the grand finale ‘On the Wall’. 

It’s possible that some parts of “II: Lost” maybe a little clichéd and predictable, but for me, the contrasting elements provide something rarely heard these days. That may be more about my naïvety, but I’ll leave you to judge. For me, this is a splendidly dark and gloomy minutes which will be played time and again as those dark evenings begin to creep in.

‘My Heart… Your tomb’ Official Video


TRACKLISTING:
01. Lost
02. My Heart … Your Tomb
03. Daydream
04. Regret
05. Forever and A Day
06. Together … Alone
07. On the Wall

  
LINE-UP:
Alessandro Sforza – All Instruments / Vocals

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.

Trouble – Live in Stockholm

Live in Stockholm Album Cover Art

Trouble – Live in Stockholm
Hammerheart Records
Release date: 02/09/2022
Running time: 01:17:00
Review by: Alun Jones
8/10

Stockholm, Sweden: sometime in the early 1990’s. At this point in their career, legendary Doom Metal instigators Trouble were signed to Def American records and starting to shift a few extra units. The Chicago band were invited to play in Sweden by fellow pioneers Candlemass, and it’s this gig that provides the music for this double LP live extravaganza. The release covers the never before available, complete set from that evening. Fully remastered by Erwin Hermsen at Toneshed Studio , it’s now unleashed as a double album on seductive, alluring vinyl. 

Track wise, the PR blurb casts this as a “greatest hits” set, and rightly so. Of course, there’s a healthy selection from the Def American albums, such as a blistering ’Come Touch the Sky’, the brilliant ‘Memory’s Garden’ and a crushing ‘End of My Days’. Older tracks also get a fair showcase too, with ‘Psalm 9’ and ‘The Skull’, amongst others, proving how this band achieved their legendary status.

So, this live collection is a great overview of Trouble’s music at this point in time. What’s also encouraging is that the sound really is impressive, the remastering has done a fine job of polishing these tracks. Unlike many live offerings, this album has a reassuringly clear – yet still live and raw – finish. ‘The Misery Shows (Act II)’ is a great example – the mellower parts shimmer, though the crunch is still present when needed.

“Live in Stockholm” is indeed a good place to dive in for anyone who wants to sample Trouble’s catalogue. For the long-term fans, the performance and sound both offer a worthwhile addition to the collection. Personally, there’s nothing new, song wise, here for me – so I really can’t mark this release any higher – but a solid release nonetheless.

You might think that characters like Ozzy, Tommy Lee or Lemmy would’ve been terrible for getting me in trouble in the past, but they were all sweethearts really. The person who got me in more trouble with crazy antics than anyone was actually, believe it or not, new wave pop princess Belinda Carlisle. She was a total deviant. Scary. I can’t tell you anymore because she still thinks I died of an overdose in a Tijuana brothel in 1985. And quite frankly, I’m scared of her. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. R.I.P.
02. Come Touch the Sky
03. End of My Daze
04. Plastic Green Head
05. Fear
06. Memory’s Garden
07. The Misery Shows (Act II)
08. Psalm 9
09. Run to the Light
10. All is Forgiven
11. Psychotic Reaction
12. The Skull
13. Revelation (Life or Death)
14. The Tempter

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones 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 CTHULU DREAMT

Cthulu Dreamt Logo

EMQs with CTHULU DREAMT

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA/UK Djent/ Doom/ Death/ Prog project, Cthulu Dreamt. Huge thanks to their guitarist/vocalist, Reed Reimer, 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?

I’m Reed Reimer, and I play guitar and vocals (as well as other stuff) for Cthulhu Dreamt. I started the band with some friends in mid-2020 as a project to work on in Covid lockdown, and more importantly as concept to help me process my experience at having lost a child and dealing with loss, grief, and depression.

How did you come up with your band name?

I knew when it began that there would be a backstory to the project that was rooted in a science fiction and the Cthulhu mythos, so we tossed stuff around that’d make for a good metal band name, and also related to the story. Eventually, using the quote, ‘In His House at R’lyeh Dead Cthulhu waits dreaming, yet He shall rise and His kingdom shall cover the Earth,’ we took Cthulhu Dreamt as it was apropos to the thesis.

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

We’re from all over. I met a few of my friends who contribute to Cthulhu Dreamt through social media, so Jake is in Utah, Chris is in the UK, and the rest of us are in Minnesota, USA. The scene here in the Twin Cities of Minnesota is fantastic. There are so many bands here creating killer music, and because of the size of our city, we get most tours coming through here, so there’s always something new to listen to, or awesome bands to watch.

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

We’ve got a new single “TRACE Amounts of Death” releasing on August 5 from our upcoming EP: https://ampl.ink/CDTraceAmounts
The track is among our heaviest, though it still takes a journey and mixes genres, which is kinda what someone should expect when listening to Cthulhu Dreamt.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Musically, influences are so varied, but generally, anything that makes me feel something: Gojira, Mastodon, Deftones, Opeth, Imogen Heap, Igoorrr, Muse, John Powell, Animals As Leaders, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Regina Spector, Bad Religion, Lagwagon… so much stuff.

What first got you into music?

To be honest, the first instrument I ever played was the saxophone, and that’s because Lisa on the TV show The Simpsons played. But before that, my parents always had music playing, whether it was my mom’s 50’s bubblegum music, or dad’s classic rock: Zeppelin, Floyd, Rainbow, or Black Sabbath.
I think my love of music blew up when I first laid my ears on “Rust In Peace” by Megadeth, and “…And Justice For All” by Metallica. From there, I descended the rabbit hole to glory.

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

I think Igorrr would be a trip to collaborate with. Their style is so rad to me, and I think we’d work well together. And if Igorrr isn’t available, Hans Zimmer could shoot us a call, LOL.

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

In 2022 it’d be ArcTanGent… this way when we weren’t playing, I could go and watch some of my favorites!

Whats the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I haven’t gotten anything weird… yet. At least nothing I would consider weird.

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

The message would be that I’m so grateful our music is meaningful to them, and I thank them for their support.

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

Dimebag Darrell.

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

I love creating. Whether it’s music, words, videos, or projects with other people, the act of making things is my lifeblood.
On the flip side, I don’t really hate anything about being a musician per se, but it does become a slog sometimes. I love starting stuff, but working on them and bringing them across the finish line doesn’t have the same dopamine rush.

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

If I could change one thing, it might be having the creatives get a larger share of the pie. I don’t know if it’d take much, but at fractions of a penny per stream, maybe a slightly bigger fraction would be okay?

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

There’s a few, but one that consistently is in my tops is “The Shape of Punk to Come” by Refused. It just slays so hard, is a beautiful mix of sounds, and makes me feel good.

Whats best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

For practicality, downloads/streaming. For best experience: vinyl. CD for sound quality 100%.

Whats the best gig that you have played to date?

Cthulhu Dreamt, being a concept studio project, hasn’t played any shows yet, but creating the music video for ‘Change of Scenery’ was an awesome experience.

If you werent a musician, what else would you be doing?

Urban planning, or working on the railroad in some capacity.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

After friends and family, my backup dinner would be Dave Grohl, John Powell, Edgar Wright, John Scalzi, and Keanu Reeves. This would be predicated on the assumption that we would all be friends and stay in regular touch afterwards.

Whats next for the band?

We’ve got an EP releasing this fall, which will begin the momentum into the announcement and launch of the Cthulhu Dreamt TTRPG that we’re creating in collaboration with game studio Action Fiction. Combining an original game, novel, and sprawling original soundtrack, this is a massive project in the universe of Cthulhu Dreamt.

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

https://cthulhudreamt.com
IG – @cthulhu.dreamt
FB – @CthulhuDreamt
TW – @CthulhuDreamt
https://cthulhudreamt.bandcamp.com

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Because I’m from the US, I had to look these up. From the picture, they look like a mini cake biscuit hybrid… but I’m going to side on cake based on how I imagine the texture.

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

Thank you for supporting the Cthulhu Dreamt project! We look forward to bringing you so much good stuff in the near future!

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 MNRVA

MNRVA Logo

EMQ’s With MNRVA

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA Doom/ Sludge/ Stoner band, MNRVA. Huge thanks to their Guitarist/ Vocalist, Byron Hawk, 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?

Byron Hawk. I play guitar and do vocals for MNRVA with Kevin Jennings (bass, vocals) and Gina Ercolini (drums). We were all hanging out having some shots of tequila shortly after Lemmy died and stumbled into the idea of doing a Motorhead cover band. On the spot came up with the name and a set list on a napkin, lol, and shortly after that started working on the songs. We did some really cool and fun shows for a couple of years and then decided to morph into our own thing. We knew we wanted to be in the broader Stoner/Doom/Sludge/Psych umbrella and each picked a song to cover that we liked and that set the parameters for our sound. After that, we went right into working on our own songs.

How did you come up with your band name?

Gina came up with Owl of Minerva but there was already a band out there with that name, and a bunch of bands with the name Minerva. So I suggested dropping a couple of vowels to make it distinctive and pick up some social accounts and it just stuck. Here we are four years later.

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

We are from Columbia, South Carolina in the southeastern United States. The scene here is really good, especially in our narrower three-state area of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. There’s a “Southern Sludge” tradition in Atlanta, GA, Savannah, GA, Columbia, SC, and Raleigh, NC that has spread across the region. Lots of great Stoner-Doom bands right now—Space Coke, Dayglo Mourning, Doomsday Profit, HolyRoller, Embr, Hot Ram, Dyerwulf, Bog Monkey, Sawzall Doll, Auralayer, Oakskin, Cosmic Reaper, Big Oaf, Witchpit. The scene for Stoner-Doom is really growing.  

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

Our album “Hollow” just came out with Black Doomba Records, and our video single for the title track ‘Hollow’ is out as well. The songs are on Bandcamp and Spotify and you can buy the CD via Bandcamp. The video was cut together by Anthony Stagliano from his indie film Fade. It really captures the doomy and trippy vibe of the song.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Guitar wise, early stuff like Randy Rhodes, Van Halen, Rush. Edgar Rivera from Solitude Aeturnus was a huge influence on me. He played so flawlessly, balanced melody and feel with fast but precise picking, and was a stickler for details, carefully writing and reproducing every solo, and he constantly practiced. Learned a lot from him. I still remember sitting in his room and dropping Kill ‘Em All on the turntable as soon as we got it home from the record store. Of course that changed everything.

What first got you into music?

I still remember sneaking into my sister’s room and checking out all of her albums—Black Sabbath “Vol.4”, Queen “News of the World”, ZZ Top “Fandango”. It went on like that. Those album covers drew me in.

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

Our friends in Embr and Dayglo Mourning just collaborated on a Down cover for ‘Bury Me In Smoke’ and made a super cool video for it. Sounds and looks killer. Would love to collab with them on something.

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

Tough question. There are so many big ones, I mean who wouldn’t want to play Download or something like that? As for genre-specific festivals, we really want to play Maryland Doom Fest. Ripplefest of course. Hammer of Doom or maybe Keep it True in Germany. Doom City Fest in Mexico looks pretty cool. Playing with, meeting, and getting to see cool bands is always the reason to play festivals.

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

Never really got anything weird. I guess I’m not weird enough to inspire weird in return.

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

Many thanks for listening to, following, sharing, and seeing MNRVA. Any scene is all about participation. Without it, no scene. Without a scene, no real reason to create and play.

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

In the great guitarist debate between Rhodes and Hendrix, I might say Hendrix. Both, along with SRV, had lots of music ahead of them. All gone too early. But I’d like to see what Hendrix would have continued to do with tone. Stoner-Doom all traces back to Sabbath and Hendrix. What other tones would have come from Hendrix that we could draw on today? Wish we could answer that one.

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

The creativity and the achievement of goals. If you don’t enjoy those two things, you’ll have a much harder time. I really hate all of the things that get in the way of achieving goals. And they are myriad. Creativity is easy. Achieving goals is hard work. I guess I’m a bit of a workaholic and a bit stubborn. But you kind of have to be both to make strides in music. Not going to get very far sitting around or giving up.

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

The fact that musicians are the last to get paid. I understand why the structure is what it is, but it is even more difficult now to be a musician than ever if you are really trying to make it a profession.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Far too many honestly. But one of my all-time favourites that I think still influences me today is Fates Warning “Awaken the Guardian”. It was seen as Proggy back in the day, especially as Fates Warning evolved. But that is a really Doomy record. Great Doom sound and guitar tone along with some all-time great riffs.

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

I’m a CD guy. I know vinyl is having its resurgence, which is great, but CDs are inexpensive, easier to store, and sound great. What’s not to like? I always try to buy CDs at shows when I can to support the bands I like and see.

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

We recently got to play the Gravitoyd Heavy Music Festival in Austin, TX. An awesome lineup—The Atomic Bitchwax, The Well, Valley of the Sun, Howling Giant, Horseburner, Tia Carrera, Yatra, Thunder Horse, High Desert Queen, Switchblade Jesus, Doomstress, Temptress, Silent Monolith. It was a great show overall. So many killer sets that day! Many thanks to Gravitoyd for having us come and play.

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

I’d probably do a small label or be a show promoter. I’ve dabbled in organizing some shows and have thought about doing a small label since the 1990s. All work and no money, much like being a musician, but once you get the music bug you’re a lifer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

An artist, philosopher, musician, politician, and scientist walk into a room. Would make for a great joke, or maybe a dinner party! Give me one of each at random. That would certainly be interesting.

What’s next for the band?

We just recorded a video for our next single from “Hollow” for the song ‘Not The One’. Hoping to have that out late summer, early fall. We are signed on to play New England Stoner and Doom Fest in the fall. Super looking forward to that!

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

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram primarily for socials. Bandcamp, YouTube, Spotify and other streaming services for music.
https://www.facebook.com/mnrvasc/

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

After looking it up, I’m gonna say biscuit. But in the US we call them cookies. My youngest kid used to call soft cookies, cakies. Let’s make that happen internet!

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

It’s been a really wild ride going from quickly getting the band together and putting out an EP in 2019, having all that momentum disrupted by the pandemic in 2020, and then jumping right into signing with Black Doomba in 2021 and putting out the record in 2022. Seems like a blur. But I can’t say enough about having supportive PR in C Squared Music, a label that puts work behind their artists in Black Doomba, and all the cool bands in the scene that get it and really support each other. We’ve had lots of great experiences so far and are looking to have some more.

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.

Aptera – You Can’t Bury What Still Burns

You Can't Bury What Still Burns Album Cover Art

Aptera – You Can’t Bury What Still Burns
Ripple Music

Release Date: 17/06/22
Running Time: 40:00
Review by Paul Hutchings
7/10

Based in Berlin, Aptera is a combination of musicians drawn from all over the globe. Well, Italy, Belgium, US, and Brazil to be precise. Named after the site of the battle between the Sirens and the Muses in Greek mythology, Aptera are another all-female band to add to the ever-increasing list of musicians that are now holding their own in the world of Metal. 

With their debut EP released in 2019, now is the hour for their debut release to be unleashed and it’s a decent listen. Combining several styles, it’s almost impossible to pigeon-hole the quartet but a couple of listens throw out influences including Mastodon, Sabbath, Neurosis and even the fine Messa (whose album Close released in March is well worth checking out). 

It’s by no means the finished article, but the rawness and pure energy is part of the appeal. The vocals are at times ragged and yet they work well, bringing a dour, haunting delivery that sits comfortably alongside the heavier, sludgy tracks that dominate the release. ‘Selkies’ for example, switches from up-tempo semi-Thrash to slower, Doom laden segments with ease. There’s some decent guitar work laced across this release, and the thick riffs and powerful rhythm section ensure that the songs are appropriately damaging. 

‘Days of Void’ is pretty much Sabbath worship, but when the song is as compelling as this one, who really cares. Aptera bring heaviness combined with enough variation to make it more than simple adulation. 

Whilst most of the themes in the album centre of mythological tales of rebellion, revenge and rising from the ashes, there can’t be much challenge to the penultimate song. ‘When the Police Murder’ is either a statement about the problems in the US, or outrage at Sting and co for doing damage to ears with their music. I’ll plump for the former. And whilst most songs sit in the short category, averaging around the four-to-five-minute mark, Aptera end ‘You Can’t Bury What Still Burns’ with a gargantuan eight-minute song in ‘Nepenthes’ which switches between frantic speeds and crushingly slow slabs of doom-laden metal. 

It’s not an album that will make my top releases of 2022, yet there is ample to unpick and enjoy. For a debut it stands solid and true, and Aptera are yet another band to put on the list to keep an eye out for in the future. 

‘When The Police Murder’ Official Visualizer Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Voice of Thunder
02. Selkies
03. Mercury
04. Unbearable Stain
05. Cosmosis
06. Days of Void
07. When the Police Murder
08. Nepenthes

LINE-UP:
Michela Albizzati – Guitar, Vocals 
Celia Paul – Bass, Vocals 
Renata Helm – Guitar, Backing Vocals 
Sara Neidorf – 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.