Gutlocker – To Be Alive

To Be Alive Album Cover Art

Gutlocker – To Be Alive
Self-Released
Release Date: 08/07/22
Running Time: 52:07
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Greetings, my dear friends. It is I, Dark Juan and I write from a very subdued Dark Juan Terrace, where we are mourning the loss of the mighty Sir Zeusington Zeus, KCVG, VC, MM, DFC and Bar, Croix de Guerre and Order of The Red Banner. The comeback kid finally ran out of comebacks. The Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover and Hodgson Biological-Warfare are understandably confused and subdued and rather sad. Igor keeps going to look for the big herbert. I can’t even bring myself to burn down a church today or take organised religion to task for their crimes against humanity. Mrs Dark Juan is relieved about this but dreadfully upset about Zeus. I have killed an entire bottle of Islay single malt in tribute to the best big boi there has ever been and yet I am still weeping. Keep this as a moment of posterity because when I get to the denial stage of grief I am likely to be fucking furious and striking out at the smallest transgression. 

Yes, I have feelings. This is as much of a surprise to me as it is to you. I can normally rely on dark humour and my considerable sarcasm to get me through. Not this time, though.

So, in a fairly desperate attempt to forget the pain, even temporarily, I have returned to the comfort of my beloved heavy metal. And today it is Woking based groove metal stalwarts of the UK scene Gutlocker who are receiving my critical attention. Poor lads. They are going to have to do something pretty special to cheer me the fuck up. Are they on to a colossal loser today? Let us find out together.

“To Be Alive” is the first full-length offering from Gutlocker and the first new music from them since 2018’s “Cry Havoc” four track EP. To say it sounds like it was something of a cathartic experience is like stating that thunderstorms are fucking awesome – there’s a single-minded, murderous intent at work here. A hyper-focus on one thing – power. “Send Them All In” sets the stage for the album in uncompromising fashion – no fucking about with wanky intros or noodling. A single crunch and then the ultrafurious howl of vocalist Craig McBrearty rips its way through the riffage and the grooves begin. Drawing from an influence pool that includes Lamb Of God, Pantera and Killswitch Engage, I’d also add The Black Dahlia Murder in there, as Gutlocker share their fluidity and intrepid moving off the well-trodden path to enhance the listening experience. Which is heavy, by the way. Heavier than the Russian Olympic weightlifting team gorging on whatever high calorie food they can lay their hands on. “Send Them All In” is a mighty opener, there’s everything from rage to barely contained insanity when Craig is giggling maniacally in between utterly ruining his own throat. There’s riffs you could use to destroy buildings, a drummer that appears to have more than his allotted amount of arms and a guitarist who clearly doesn’t regard it as an instrument, more a weapon of war. There’s also a very good bass player who is supremely accurate with all the time changes (“Make My Day” amply demonstrates this) which is a rare thing to say about bassists, as they are normally hairy palmed quasi-simians who have to be kicked to be reminded every time there is a time change. 

It’s a full on rip-roaring adventure through groove metal, this album, so far. McBrearty (who has been involved in a full on meme war for some time on Facebook) demonstrates his vocal range on “Sink Or Swim”, switching from his trademark scratchy, aggressive howl, to mid-range roaring to a low end guttural that surely would jeopardise the foundations of poorly constructed concert venues. Not a moment is wasted on this album so far – every song is played at high velocity yet the groove never stops. It’s even danceable. 

The production of the record is rather splendid as well. Everything is easily discernible and clean and the cymbals are just in the perfect place in the mix, neither overpowering the rest of the instruments or being so far back in the mix they disappear. The snare drum sound though, that’s a different kettle of fish. Regular readers will know that I am a very particular person when it comes to the sound of the snare drum, and Dean Walker’s snare sound is almost fucking insulting. It doesn’t even sound like a wet cloth being hit by a floppy salmon. It doesn’t even sound like Gargamel lobbing Smurfs (shouldn’t that be Smurves? What a strange and curious mistress the English language is) at tautly stretched calico sheets. It sounds like someone hitting a Tupperware with a bone-shaped dog toy, and this is painfully evident on “Out Of Sight” where it sounds like there’s a whole bunch of Tupperware twatting going on, and it all gets a bit clattery and messy. 

Thankfully someone removed the plastic storage tubs from Dean in time for “SFS” (also released as a single) and gave him a proper snare drum again. I’m all for experimentation in percussion, but not with Tupperware. There’s even rimshots going on during the break, where the song takes on a punk groove before McBrearty reopens that razor throat and stops singing cleanly again.

All in all, this is a mighty first full-length effort from the Woking bruisers. Sweaty, wide-eyed insanity meets rigidly controlled power and bludgeons the listener into a pile of bloody, inert flesh abandoned in the corner. However, I think a bit of quality control needs to be considered – there’s no need for an interlude and it breaks the flow of the record in an unacceptable fashion. Some of the songs can be somewhat fatiguing as well, the six minutes-worth of “Temporary Bliss” could have lost a good 40 seconds of runtime and not noticed the loss, several parts just being an excuse for blastbeats. However, and this is a fucking massive plus, the band really stretch themselves and their sound on TWELVE MINUTE album closer “A Man Too Proud”, allowing a riff of colossal magnificence to breathe and develop and eschewing their normal breakneck speed for something rather more gothic in tone and tempo – think more My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost mixed with Lamb Of God with segments that don’t actually sound too unlike a bit of Deftones for good measure. This last song is the biggest highlight of the record where the band really allow themselves to be experimental and bust out of the relatively narrow confines of their sound and reach a more transcendental state, yet remain staggeringly, crushingly heavy. This last song is absolute electric alchemy. It swirls and ambulates and is magnificently ALIVE as it morphs through differing forms in each movement.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Gutlocker 8/10 for a brilliant, yet slightly flawed debut album that really is transformed by the closing track and the wider dimensions it opens up for the listener. Still for a full length debut this is pretty fucking special and it just shows that us Brits can still kick the arses of any fucker who crosses our path and looks at us the wrong way.

Well done, chaps. And remember, Craig, you promised to be nice to me until this review was published!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Send Them All In
02. Make My Day
03. Sink Or Swim
04. To Be Alive
05. Out Of Sight
06. SFS
07. Absence Of Change
08. Interlude
09. Once A Snake
10. Temporary Bliss
11. A Man Too Proud

LINE-UP:
Craig McBrearty – Vocals 
Pete Tucker – Guitar 
Dean Walker – Drums
Ben Rollinson – Bass

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review 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.

EMQ’s With MOTHFLESH

Mothflesh Logo

EMQ’s With MOTHFLESH

Hi Everyone. Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Malaysian Melodic Death/ Groove Metal band, Mothflesh. Huge thanks to their bass player, Eze, 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?

Colloquially I go as Eze and I play bass for Mothflesh. Mothflesh was formed around late 2018. It all started when Imran, was looking for a band to perform with and stumbled upon a 5-year-old ad that listed an opening for a vocalist slot in an online forum. The ad that referenced bands like DevilDriver, Chimaira, Machine Head and other NWOAHM bands that were at the height of their popularity at the time was posted up by Eze who had trouble finding a consistent metal vocalist and at the time completely ruled out any future pursuing bass in a metal outfit in Malaysia. A little taken aback at the inquiry of the ad which included a vocal cover of an Overkill song, Eze and Imran met up and agreed to give forming a band a shot after discovering a kinship for mutual bands. 

Soon after the band formed with a loose line-up of rotating lead guitarists and drummers with past guitarist Giri Ganesan, who co-wrote the debut album “Nocturnal Armour”. The band’s early sound can be best described as Groove-influenced Thrash Metal, think if Slayer’s “Disciple” had a baby with The Haunted’s “Exit Wounds”. After extensive regional touring around South-East Asia, which included 30 dates in 4 different countries, the band experienced tumultuous line-up change with drums and guitars until the introduction of Ranveer “Maddog” Singh which the band met at his album launch for his Death Metal project. As Ranveer resonated with the Groove-oriented music behind Nocturnal Armour and was friends with members of the band, it didn’t take much convincing for Maddog to fill up the missing guitar spots and inject his Death Metal technical virtuosity in the catalogue. This is evident in the single Skyfather and the band’s latest album “Machine Eater”. 

How did you come up with your band name?

We were drawn to the imagery and the nature of the moth. Moths are creatures of the night and signify a form of nocturnal or nightly rebirth and renewal. The flesh is the embodiment of this renewal. Also, it looked cool on paper.

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

We’re from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a small South-East Asian country sandwiched between Thailand and Indonesia. The Malaysian scene is inherently divided into 4 group: the Metalcore/Post-Hardcore/Synthcore/core scene; the punk scene; the Old School Death Metal scene, and Black Metal scene. Each group holds their musical preference and cultural taste in such high regard that they exist in their own little box, often oblivious and unknown to what’s going outside of it. This reinforced elitism deters younger members of their respective scenes to reach out, explore or diversify their musical palette. For bands that are influenced by genres drawn from two different scenes, like a Deathcore band, they’re going to have a lot of trouble finding a place to regularly play because they exist in two or more differential musical “realms”. The division is never good in our opinion, but we understand that it’s hard to go against the grain of culture.

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

Our Latest release is our 2nd album, “Machine Eater” which was released on the 12th of December of 2021. What puts this album apart from what’s available in the Metal scene?


I guess, a short answer to this would be that, as a band we felt that there was something missing with the state of modern Metal today. The trajectory Metal has taken is fantastic, there’s never been a more creatively liberating time especially in regards to the technicality, the groove and the sheer desire to push the physical human limits of instrumental virtuosity. However, the industry standards on production and sound quality, arrangements and even the type of synth lead you use for the ambient atmosphere have made the state of pretty sterile and almost… generic. As a result, Machine Eater takes the swing from early Groove-Metal bands like Fear Factory, Chimaira or even Decapitated and added modern elements from bands like Meshuggah, Whitecapel or Jinjer. The mix is intended to sound as gritty as we could keep it but polished enough for newer listeners not to be unperturbed by it. It’s our love letter to the two decades of Metal we consumed growing up.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We formulate our groove-oriented riffs from bands that are similar in nature with Fear Factory or Decapitated with technicality drawn from the classic Tech-Death monsters like Necrophagist and Dying Fetus. As of late, we’ve been influenced by Whammy-Driven bands like Car-Bomb and Twelve Foot-Ninja and incorporated elements of that in Machine Eater. As for the melody, resident 7 stringer Maddog, finds his roots in virtuosic Metal guitarists such as Jeff Loomis and Keith Merrow and his solos in songs like Cyberpsycho or Myriagon are pretty reflective of that. Our vocalist, Imran draws his vocal roots in early Bay-Area Thrash Metal like Exodus and Overkill. Over the years, he’s built upon his style by borrowing some vocal elements from Phil Bozeman of Whitechapel and the ubiquitous Corey Taylor. Bassist Eze draws his compositional influences from 90’s groove-oriented bands, especially Deftones who strike the right mix of melancholy and intensity. Stylistically, he’s greatly influenced by contemporary progressive metal bassists like Nick Schendzielos, Even Brewer and the recently deceased Sean Malone. 

What first got you into music?

My personal introduction to music was from playing the violin for a few years, but I knew early on that it wasn’t for me nor was I particularly interested in listening to music at the time. Things changed in high school where I had to do a class project on music, but because I didn’t consume anything at the time, a close friend introduced me to Linkin Park and System of A Down. I was pretty much hooked and the rest was history. I believe Imran and Ranveer were both heavily influenced by classic rock before the entrance and foray into the more extreme edges of metal. 

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

As a band, we’re big fans of where Jinjer or Twelve Foot Ninja is taking music today, We’d love to have a song featuring any of their members! 

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

Bloodstock Open Air or Hellfest In Europe simply because they’re so diverse and forward-thinking with the bands on their list. As for Asia, Knotfest Japan is a milestone we’d like to achieve. 

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

Probably custom-made home t-shirts; it wasn’t necessarily weird, but differently odd enough for it to stick in our minds.

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

Machine Eater is out and available in both Physical and Digital Formats. Tell us what you think about the new direction we took! We’re going heavier with 8 strings and exploring the technical depths as we go along. 

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

Peter Steele. 

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

I suppose the internet had evolved the landscape and the associated challenges and rewards that go together with them. The internet has made music more accessible and, in some sense, has democratised the market. Blogs, Webzines, Pages, Channels, and algorithmic driven playlists have made music easier to discover but simultaneously has made it harder to choose with the artist or band a listener must choose. With finite time to listen to music but an almost infinite amount of music to listen to, the listener today is often met with the classic case of option paralysis. 

For us, the internet has made it easier for our music to get international reach, but at the same time, it’s much more competitive. We’ve also got to be more connected because that’s the zeitgeist of today, being connected with your fans and being engaged. That also means that we’ve got to produce more content and at times it feels like it’s less about being an artist making music and more about content creation. The challenge or hindrance that’s framed in the question has simply evolved and technology has increased the rate of that evolution. Considering the challenges, platforms like YouTube and Spotify are great tools; artists such as ourselves would just need to be better skilled and need to be ahead of the game to better utilise streaming platforms.

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

Education: we need to focus on diversifying the form of artistic and musical exposure. When equipped with a better education on music and art, the fans get to maximise the consumption of art by consciously consuming it, whether it is the form of art, quality, or method of delivery. This in turn would force a bottom-up wave of change to occur which includes everyone from concert organisers, retail stores, A&R reps, websites, streaming services and so on.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Eze: Rammstein – “Reise Reise”

Imran: Slipknot – “Iowa”

Ranveer: Nevermore – “This Godless Endeavour”

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

Vinyl for the ceremonial experience. CD for lossless quality. Downloads for convenience.

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

We’ve experienced everything from being extorted by foreign authorities to arriving late to an international festival because someone decided to set a forest on fire and subsequently delayed our train. But a memory that we look back to fondly is when we played in Cambodia which has a pretty blossoming, but nascent Metal scene. We opened for an international festival which was organized to be somewhat like an Asian South by Southwest, but they booked the venue at a fine dining restaurant at a relatively posh part of town. As we took the stage, the diners had a few confused looks on their faces, especially since we were dressed in our staple Metal stage attire – there was even a family celebrating their son’s birthday who assumed we were performing for him. After 20 minutes of confused looks from the diners, the electricity in the whole venue (which is the restaurant) got cut by some residents nearby who were complaining about the noise we were drawing to the venue. It was probably the most ostentatious place we played, but it never phased us – we’ll play anywhere to anyone.

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

Something else within the artistic spectrum, maybe cooking. 

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

All the guys from Car Bomb 

What’s next for the band?

Maddog just purchased an 8-string guitar so that means one thing. We’re going heavier. An EP is probably going to be in the works, we like to keep our releases consistent with a release of a single or EP every year. It’s a great way to highlight our creative headspace as a unit and engage our fans. Music is constantly evolving and presently quicker ever than before – in some sense, releasing music at an annual rate keeps our finger on the pulse with the state of music and technology. Beyond our musical goals, we’d like to explore the possibility of being one of the few Malaysian Metal bands to be able to tour Europe comprehensively and share music from our little corner of the world.

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

We’re active on Instagram and Facebook. Our music is available on all major streaming platforms. Catch us on Bandcamp if you’d like to purchase merch from us directly though. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mothfleshband
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mothfleshband/?hl=en
Bandcamp: https://mothflesh.bandcamp.com/ 

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Cakes!

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

We’re good, thanks very much!

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.

March Of The Gods: Botswana Metalheads

March Of The Gods - Botswana Metalheads Cover

March Of The Gods: Botswana Metalheads
Directed: Raffaele Mosca
2014
Review by Chris Galea
6/10

Having grown up on a tiny and relatively isolated island but whose Metal scene endures, I can’t say that I find the propensity of this music genre to propagate far and wide to be a surprising quality. And yet I found “March of the Gods” to be deeply intriguing.

This documentary chronicles the history of Wrust, a Death/Groove Metal band from Botswana, but in doing so it also gives us an insight into the Metal scene of this country…the bands and sub-genres that tend to be popular there and the attitudes of Metal fans. For yes, there is a Metal scene in this African country. But it’s quite a particular one.

Wrust was formed in 2000 in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana…close to the border with South Africa. Influences cited by the band members range from the old school British scene to Death Metal bands such as Varathron, Cannibal Corpse and Rotting Christ. Into all these influences, Wrust seem to infuse the musical roots of their own country.

The ambitions, accomplishments and longevity of Wrust seem to have made them a point of reference of Botswana’s Metal scene. But to achieve that level of regard, Wrust have had to overcome numerous difficulties along the way – difficulties such as apathy and prohibitive financial costs. We discover that the band has often had to travel hundreds of kilometres to play for a handful of fans and for zero remuneration….but they still put 100% effort into those performances. I’m sure that many European and North American bands can relate to that level of dedication.

March Of The Gods Pic1

Similar feelings of déjà vu are likely to be sensed when we learn about the prejudices that Botswanan Metal fans are forced to refute: you know what I’m talking about…Satanism, metal fans as ‘troublemaker’ stereotypes and so on.

The documentary goes on to illustrate how invaluable the direct assistance of established bands is. For example, although many European and North American bands tend to neglect the area in their touring schedule, when Swedish band Entombed played there and offered genuine encouragement, fans and local bands seemed revitalised and their ambitions galvanized.

“March of the Gods” examines how the Metal scene of Botswana has developed in terms of crowd behaviour. Female Botswanan Metalheads share their own experiences too. The documentary also highlights the changes that the internet has brought about with regards to promoting gigs and promoting the bands themselves. In this respect, Wrust seem to have been on the forefront in embracing technology and social media to catalyse the band’s growth. Through my experience, such an entrepreneurial spirit tends to be what differentiates successful bands from the rest.

I get the impression that the link with South Africa is an important one, not only for Botswana but also for other African countries. The Metal scene of South Africa seems to be more vibrant but other surrounding countries seem eager to partake in that. Wrust even recorded their debut album “Soulless Machine” there before releasing it in 2007.

The documentary also goes into the image and attire of Metal fans in Botswana…something that European fans might find odd. Besides band shirts and denim and leather, Botswanan fans seem to have assimilated a ‘cowboy’ sort of image into all that.

March Of The Gods Pic2

I have to say that some scenes just don’t add anything of value to the documentary. For example, I got the feeling that some interviews could have been more eloquent and some political speeches came across as cringeworthy and have nothing at all to do with Metal. In fact, “March of the Gods” does suffer from some poor editing. Despite all this, though, it’s basically the only source of knowledge about the Metal scene of Botswana and therefore its charm remains immutable.

At the beginning of the interview, a music journalist speaks about his discovering Wrust and confesses that he realised Metal “transcends race and geography”…”it’s like a universal language”. And that’s probably the strongest message that can be derived from “March of the Gods”.

Postscript: What has happened since the documentary’s release?

Wrust haven’t released anything new since sophomore album “Intellectual Metamorphosis” in 2013. The band is still together though.

Amok, another band mentioned in “March of the Gods”, seem to have gone quiet in recent years.

Other bands from Botswana have made tentative steps into the international spotlight. For example, in 2016 Overthrust – a Death Metal band from Ghanzi (a town to the West of Botswana) – toured Europe and played Wacken Open Air festival.

Official Trailer

IMDB Entry

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3405392/

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.

EMQ’s with THRONE OF ICARUS

Throne Of Icarus Logo

EMQ’s with THRONE OF ICARUS

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview, with London, England based Groove Metal band, Throne Of Icarus. Huge thanks to them 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?

Rob: Writer/Lyricist.

Gregg: Guitarist

Rob: Icarus Originally started as a studio project but we quickly realised the tracks needed to be delivered in a live scenario to truly reflect the level of distain we feel towards modern society and all it represents.

How did you come up with your band name?

Gregg: It’s really a metaphor for mankind. It was something that we were chewing over for some time and we really wanted to find something that sat firmly with what we write about.

Rob: As Gregg says, it’s a metaphor. It depicts mankind’s arrogance as we position ourselves on the throne of history, actingwithout care or consideration for the planet we inhabit, and much like the legendary story of Icarus,we too will go a step to far and eventually suffer the consequences of our actions.

Gregg: I mean shit, we are seeing it now with the environmental crisis of flooding and forest fires in the news on a daily basis!

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

Gregg: We’re spread out between Essex and West London. The London metal scene seems alive and well and there are some really good bands coming out of the capital. To be fair, the UK as a whole has been seeing a real growth in home-grown talent which is awesome to see. We’re off on tour at the end of the year with Red Method, The Five Hundred and This is Turin who are three fine examples of the talent that’s out there!

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

Rob: Our latest release is our second single ‘Teacher’. It’s a dark story about the soul of a historic serial killer who lives within present day individuals. We do most of our own recording at Gregg’s studio but have the honour of working with Dave Chang who does all our mix and mastering. Head over to Spotify and have a listen!

Gregg: Rob’s actually the star of that video! Look out for the angry looking guy with the tattoos!

‘Teacher’ (Official Video)

‘Inhabitants’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Rob: There’s a big mix within the band from Hardcore, punk through to Death Metal, although there are obviously the classics like Slayer, The Haunted, Carcass etc.

Gregg: I’m heavily influenced by classical music while writing. I know it sounds strange but it’s all about the emotion it can generate, in turn that mood pours out onto the fretboard. From a production side of things, I’m always drawn to producers like Dr Dre for their approach and work ethic.

What first got you into music?

Rob: Metal music was my place to go during my teenage years to ‘let off steam’ and relate to a lot of the lyrics in tracks, it was the same sort of time I started to realise that ‘normal’ was bullshit, and I struggled to relate to the vacuous world of social popularity contests.

Gregg: Amen brother. I think Rob speaks for most of us there?

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

Gregg: We’ve all been really impressed with a lot of bands coming out of Eastern Europe and Russia. Slaughter to Prevail would be awesome to work with, they really are getting shit right at the moment!

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

Rob: I would love to see the guys play Hell Fest, although I’m keen to stress that Throne of Icarus are available to play any festivals so please feel free to get in touch if you like our tracks…shameless plug?

Gregg: Although we don’t have time to give you a full list…so if I had to choose I’d have to say Wacken in Germany. Always been a personal favourite of mine.

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

Gregg: Not Icarus related, but I was recognised in being in a previous band years ago and got a kebab bought for me on a night out in Southend…not very rock n’ roll. Rob actually had a stalker for a while though didn’t you mate?

Rob: No comment.

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

Rob: Make no apology for who you are and what you stand for.

Gregg: We know this past year and a half has been shit for shows and stuff, but now things are opening up get back out there and get to local shows. Support your favourite bands and venues and never be intimidated! You’ll be shocked how cool people are in the metal scene. Come and join the family.

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

Rob: Dimebag Darrell

Gregg: Lane Staley

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

Gregg: I enjoy most of it to be honest. Being creative, hanging out with some of my closest mates, travelling and meeting new people. Hate? Unnecessary politics. I have zero time for it. Also, not a fan of some venues treating artists like shit, maybe this whole pandemic will help that relationship.

Rob: I enjoy the creative process the most. I like unlocking the parts of me that have to be controlled in order to function in society. Yea, same as Gregg, bullshit politics or bitchy jealousy.

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

Rob: To make it more about talent and work ethic than who you know. Too many great bands are getting pushed to the side or never being noticed because they don’t have the right contacts.

Gregg: I’d like to go back to 1995…CD’s, packed shows and that feeling of discovering a new band from a review in your favourite magazine or track on a cover disc!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Rob: Machine Head – “Burn My Eyes”

Gregg: Guns n’ Roses – “Appetite For Destruction”

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

Rob: I’m guessing downloads, although not being that ‘tech savvy’ I miss the simple days of cassettes and CD’s.

Gregg: CD’s for me. I like having a physical copy of something in my hands as well as getting the chance to open the inlay booklet and really getting a feel for the bands message. CD artwork creation was an awesome process from an artists perspective.

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

Gregg: Although Throne of Icarus has been around for a few years now, the pandemic hit just as we were about to hit the road, so can’t name one yet! We’re back out as of October and it can’t come soon enough!

Rob: Yea, collectively we have all played some awesome shows in previous bands but this will be next level!

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

Gregg: Well, we are metal musicians in a pop world which means we all have 2nd jobs! If we’re not pulling metal gurns on a stage you can find us in all sorts of trades…Highway engineering, caring, metal fabricating, corporate health & safety…I’ll let you try and match the trade to the member!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Rob: Andrei Chikatilo, David Attenborough, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Alan Watts and Christopher Hitchens.

Gregg: I kinda want to go to Rob’s party now just to see how Andrei and David get on!

What’s next for the band?

Rob: Shows, shows and more shows, it’s time to demonstrate the power of Icarus, we’re keen to demolish venues and sell our brand of terror to anyone who wants to hear it. In addition to that, there will be more releases coming.

Gregg: We have an albums’ worth of material written but really the focus is on getting out there live to make up for lost time! We’ve got a kick arse light show to show off too which we are excited about. Next year we’ll be looking to release an EP or split, let’s see what the world offers up!

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

Rob: Facebook, Spotify, Instagram, You Tube, Apple Music, Amazon…the usual culprits. Tap out name in and we’ll come up. Head over to www.throneoficarus.com/ where everything you’ll ever need is!

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Rob: Cake, it says it on the packaging.

Gregg: Cake. When they bought out the Jaffa they realised that if they called it a biscuit it would be subject to VAT…So they called it a cake. Christ I’m boring.

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

Gregg: Nothing other than to say a massive thank you to Rick and the team at Ever Metal for the interview and support! Massively appreciated and keep up the good work guys!

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.

Mordred – The Dark Parade

The Dark Parade Album Cover Art

Mordred – The Dark Parade
M-Theory Audio
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 34:08
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Mordred back in the day were quite the unexpected thing. Ostensibly a Bay Area Thrash band, they innovatively included crossover Funk sentiments and lots of turntablism, which was then currently coming into its own through the Hip-Hop scene (although as a musical innovation and instrument it actually dates all the way back to the experimental modernist musique concrète movement pre-World War 2 if you really want to be pernickety). Either way, when we all heard their Funk-Thrash hit floor-ripper ‘Falling Away’ all those moons ago, we realised this was something quite, quite different. And to be clear, the whole Nu-Metal movement may not have happened without these boys and then Faith No More, amongst others, dragging this quirky concept into the mainstream.

Mordred’s original label Germany’s Noise International back in the late 1980’s to 1990’s have an awful lot to answer for in this regard, both positively and negatively. For a label whose raison d’être was to stand against the tide of mainstream labels and carve a place out for the Metal and Thrash scene, they (or specifically their owner and A&R man Karl-Ulrich Walterbach) did a lot of damage to the bands in their care along the way in almost equal proportion to the good. Let’s be fair, without this label and its immediate predecessor Modern Music Records, it’s unlikely that we would have seen bands like Black Flag or The Misfits get any European distribution and the spin-off Noise label successfully broke the likes of Sabbat, Celtic Frost, Kreator, Running Wild and their biggest hit of all, Helloween.

That came at a massive price at a time when independent labels were carving a niche based on not shitting on your artists and giving them a bigger share of the albeit smaller revenue pot. This was the label of choice in Europe for the scene and most of us fans had no idea what was happening underneath the hood back then. However, for a label founded by a self-proclaimed anarchist (he was a political activist whose activities borderlined enough on terrorism for the German authorities to ensure he spent the early part of the 70’s in jail, and started his first label from a squat in Berlin) Walterbach frequently used the same capitalist dodgy business techniques as their major competitors. He dictated what he wanted bands to produce (change direction at your own peril), screwed the artists with shitty contracts and poor tour support and if they did not like what they heard, would bury the release, or abandon whole sub-genres on a whim. There’s a whole book out there about it which is worth a read (‘Damn the Machine – The Story of Noise Records’ by David E. Gehlke), which uniquely gives both the artists and Walterbach the chance to present their side of the story. The label didn’t survive the 90’s unsurprisingly and in the intervening years, its catalogue has since been sold from pillar to post, although it appears there are moves to revive the brand name at least.

Back to Mordred though, who clearly have their own view on this having experienced the negative side for themselves. Poised to show up in Europe in the 90’s to tour and promote the last of their initial albums “The Next Room” in 1994, they discovered that Noise had inexplicably buried it and given no tour promotion, causing the plug to be pulled on the tour before it even got going. This showed a huge lack of foresight, given how huge Nu-Metal would eventually prove to be and Mordred’s response to that behaviour was to stick two fingers to the label and disband, rather than get dragged into a protracted legal wrangling like that experienced by Helloween. And disband they did for some considerable time, although they resurfaced for live shows occasionally, but this release marks the first new full length studio recording since 1994 (having dipped their toes in the water last year with the ‘Volition’ EP).

A lot has happened since then…Nu-Metal – a genre directly influenced by Crossover acts like Mordred has come and gone, but there is a deep revival of many acts and sounds from that period, as old farts like me get retrospective and our children realise that some pretty good shit with depth and integrity actually came out of this period, rather than just the perms or mullets, garish clothes and hairspray they had been led to believe.

This album really does musically pick up where “The Next Room” left off, but does so with a distinctly updated and modern take. The line-up is pretty much back to their peak in 1991 with the exception of the drum stool – so this is perhaps unsurprising, although Scott Holderby’s vocals have definitely dropped an octave or two in range in the intervening years. It doesn’t make a difference, as he knows how to use his voice to good effect and leads us through the sometimes controversial lyrics with aplomb, with an emphatic use of diction that weaves you into the lyrical story. The first point that strikes though is the fact that the band have benefitted from a far richer production sound than they could afford back in the day, where the tininess of recording quality could often be masked by bucket loads of reverb, that’s a trick that does not work digitally and the band have made no attempt to sound retro, which works massively in their favour – making the album sound new, modern and relevant despite the retro mood evoked by the turntables.

They also remain unafraid to be experimental, for example the title track itself infuses all the Thrash sentiments and mood with a deep Ska groove that should not work, but absolutely does. Why it works after all these years is that they’ve retained their political attitude, the Thrash/Funk rhythmic groove and the ability to make catchy songs with shout along choruses. The deep rhythmic core of this lies with Art Liboon’s bass and the superb interplay between guitarists James Sanguinetti and Danny White. Where the album falls a little short is that the eclectic selection of song-writing styles on here make it hard to pin down, but what it lacks in by the numbers song-writing, it makes up for in innovation and challenges to the audience’s expectations. I hope this is not just a brief flash in the pan, but a true revival, as the world needs to realise how influential these guys were even if they never got to enjoy the rewards of their innovation back in the day.

‘Demonic #7’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Demonic #7
02. Malignancy
03. I Am Charlie
04. Dragging For Bodies
05. The Dark Parade
06. All Eyes on the Prize
07. Dented Lives
08. Smash Goes The Bottle

LINE-UP:
Scott Holderby – Vocals
Art Liboon – Bass
James Sanguinetti – Guitar
Danny White – Guitar
Aaron “DJ Pause” Vaughn – Turntables/Keyboards
Jeff Gomes – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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 DARKENING SKIES

Darkening Skies Logo

EMQ’s with DARKENING SKIES

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Ashburn, Virginia, based Progressive/Groove Thrash Metal band Darkening Skies. Huge thanks to them 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?

We are Darkening Skies. We play thrash metal with a groove and progressive edge. We met February 2014, after I put out a Craigslist ad, and fate was on our side, because 1) we met our drummer, Germ, and 2) No one we met was a Craigslist psychopath (the weirdest people we met were consistently vocalists. Go figure.) We started out playing covers and just jamming, and because local clubs were only hosting metal bands who played originals, we got settled, got the writing bug, and it kind of took off from there. Writing lasted some time, so we stuck with it till we got it. Our setlist back them consisted of our first album. We started networking with other local bands and promoters and started playing out. We had a few members come and go, a few try-outs that didn’t work out, but that’s par for the course…there isn’t really a blueprint for success as a band, but we learned as we went. I moved to San Diego a couple years back, and we agreed to keep going virtually, via Zoom/One Drive, etc. We were pretty much doing everything online anyways before (writing in Guitar Pro, uploading the tabs for the other band members to Google Drive, outside of our weekly practice, which helped us have really efficient practices when we got together because each member had their timing and rhythm already down) because we loved writing and collaborating so much and still had plans. Actually, we didn’t get signed by Jib Machine Records until I moved across the country! Before I left, we had recorded all the tracks for the EP we had started working on in 2018. I actually had a cold when I recorded the vocals to ‘Swallow Your Soul’, which was the final take. We finished those in a final session we got in at Germ’s house, days before I headed to the airport.

How did you come up with your band name?

It wasn’t clever, or anything. It’s an allusion to the Blood Moon Philosophy from the Book of Revelation, “…and the sun became black as sackcloth, and the moon became as blood”. But in the moment, I was just driving through a thunderstorm on the way to class, and I looked up in the sky and thought, most days just feel like a gathering storm to me. And, if it’s not a storm you’re standing in, then you must be standing in the eye and waiting for it to hit again. It sounded like a good name to go with. Germ and I met up to talk shop, and decided to roll with it. Good decisions happen over beer and peanuts!

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

We are from North Virginia, just outside DC. The DC and Baltimore scene are pretty close. Germ didn’t grow up here, he’s from CT outside of NYC where the scene was great (So much music!) I was a Navy brat, born in Jacksonville, FL, and settling down in NOVA for about 27 years of my life. The DC scene is pretty cool, you might have to travel a bit for a show, but they are out there! There are some great bands here we’ve played with, or befriended: One Slack Mind, Omnislash, Rat Infested, Red Sword, Saint Diablo, Traverse, plenty more. Some great historical bands out of DC as well! Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Wrathchild America, Henry Rollins. Dave Grohl was from here, we periodically hear stories about him (His mom was a substitute teacher from Alexandria, VA, and even taught me in English class one day, at Centreville High School; swear to God. We got to ask her questions about Dave growing up [“Oh, he was always banging his drum sticks around when he was young, on the dash board of the car, everywhere. Drove me crazy!”] and she wrote “You guys ROCK!” on the chalk board before she left for the day). There’s another band, A Sound of Thunder (I love A Sound Of Thunder – Rick), a female fronted Power Metal band, and I’m friends with Josh, great guitarist and great guy. He’s always helped me with advice on how to be successful, and I’m really thankful for that, because they are a fairly successful independent band. They have an impressive following! Although calling them Power Metal is a bit constrictive, they really have a unique and powerful style all their own. Nina performed a theremin solo when they played live Rams Head in Baltimore! They’ve been really supportive of us!

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

“Jump Off The Bridge…  And Live!!!” our debut EP is available on all major platforms from Jib Machine Records: Spotify, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and if you’re broke just stream our EP video from our YouTube channel! (But maybe buy a shirt or shot glass from our MerchBucket, too?!)  Despite the dark album title, there is actually a funny story behind the title. I used to play college basketball, and a teammate and good friend of mine, Kenny, and I were joking with each other about our musical tastes. I was hassling him about listening to Usher and smooth R&B before games (that slow, romantic soulful stuff), to get hyped. He responded with “Well, your music is so dark and angry! It’s like, “I’m going to jump off a bridge…and Live!!””. I always remembered that story and years later wrote a song about it, and it became the album title. I reconnected with Kenny on Facebook, years later, and told him that story. He loved it! One another note, we also just released a song on a Nihlistics tribute, covering ‘No Friends’. The Nihlistics are an old punk band from New York, where Germ is from. They just signed to Jib Machine, as well, and the tribute album is coming out this summer! It’s an honour to be on a label with them. They were really helpful during the recording of the song.; Germ sung that one. He couldn’t figure out the lyrics and didn’t know they were negotiating with the label at the time, so he looked them up on Facebook to ask what the lyrics to ‘No Friends’ were, and they were totally cool and sent him back the lyrics.

‘Organ Doners’ (Official Lyric Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Oh God, we have some huge influences. Germ loves Pantera, the big 4 of thrash and most major thrash bands: Exodus, Overkill, Testament, Nuclear Assault. Huge Influences! There have been many influences along the way, and I was more into Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Dream Theater, really progressive melodic stuff. I got introduced to a lot of thrash, after meeting the guys in the band. Then I discovered Death, and Chuck Schuldiner absolutely amazed me, especially with his later material before he passed; it was so technical and progressive! After Germ joined, I got him into Opeth, Nightwish and Mastodon. He got me into Fear Factory, DRI, Suicidal Tendencies, and Nuclear Assault.

What first got you into music?

A few things. When I was a kid, I remember driving around in the backseat of my parents’ car listening to all sorts of classic rock. Later, it was the local radio stations and MTV, especially Headbangers Ball. It was so cool to see these bands I couldn’t find anywhere else. When Germ went to college, he became a DJ at the radio station and did the metal show. Additionally, a friend of his there started up a magazine, and he and two of his friends did all the metal CD reviews, concert reviews and interviews. It was awesome, great experience in Florida in the 90’s during the height of the death metal scene! I discovered rock in 5th grade; some kid had brought in Bush – Sixteen Stone, and I got inspired to pick up a guitar and replicate that sound. I was also playing alto saxophone at the time, and played baritone sax through my freshman year of high school. After that, I quit to focus on learning guitar, bass, drums, singing, etc. I kind of fell into Nu-Metal in high school, and discovered heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath after that; it was a progression! After high school, I became a music instructor for B&B Music Lessons, which got me gas and textbook money during college, and kept me afloat during the recession in the 2010’s when I graduated and looked around for a job. Teaching for them, tearing around NOVA in rush hour traffic on my motorcycle, going house to house with a travel guitar on my back and teaching kids piano and guitar, was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget.

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

Germ said Gwar! He wants to be a guest musician at a Gwar show and then have them slaughter him afterwards. If I personally could collaborate with anyone, I’d love to work with Opeth, Nightwish, or Ghost Bath; they just write such incredible music! I play rhythm guitar, so I don’t mind backing up anybody that I can keep up with, haha. I’m friends with Dennis from Ghost Bath, and been to a couple of their shows in Richmond, VA. He’s an incredible musician, and such a driven guy, but he’s always made time to talk with me about music and life. I’d be honoured to open for them anywhere, anytime. (I think Germ secretly wishes he was Mike Portnoy.)

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

All of them! Festivals all awesome! Probably Maryland Deathfest, a Monster Energy Music Festival,  Hellfest, or DEFINITELY 70000Tons of Metal! The opportunity to play in front of all those people and with all those great bands, then hang out with them. I’d love to hit the festival circuit. You know, the big European Metal shows, not the county festivals where Hootie and the Blowfish or BTO play.

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

From a fan? Nothing. Although Germs running joke is that one year, he got index cards for Christmas. Actually, that’s not a joke, it really happened. Sorry, no fans have ever given us anything other their cheers and applause, and a weird girl walked over to me to grace me with her attention, grabbing and admiring my Meshuggah t-shirt at a Rings of Saturn concert. We love the fans, its great hanging out with people and other bands at shows, and talking to/meeting new people over Instagram or Facebook.

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

Support underground music, never stop, never give up. Don’t let the scene die!

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

I’d be intrigued to see what Jimi Hendrix would be doing if he was still with us. Kurt Cobain too, he was such an amazing song writer, I have to wonder what he would be writing now with the perspective of many years behind him. But hands down Dimebag Darrell Abbott. He was such a personable guy, and I have no shortage of second hand stories from buddies I know who were fortunate enough to meet him in person.

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

I love the creativity, it’s such a great cathartic self-expression of my darker emotions, fear, anxiety, aggression, depression. The tools, hardware, and software available to write and record these days are so readily available and affordable to musicians, now! You can spend as much time as you want (or can) working on music! The downside…the music business is tough. Streaming, as a fan is really awesome to access all the music you could never afford to buy, as an artist, you really don’t make anything from it. And the recording process, grinding out multiple rhythm guitar tracks, it’s definitely work, and a labour of love. I’m not a great guitar player; I’ll spend 2 hours looping a single 2 measure lick at half speed in Guitar Pro, trying to get it down. It can be very frustrating, and has forced me to work on my patience and anxiety.

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

Tough call, I can’t say go back to the way it was, because I believe in progress. Music and entertainment will evolve no matter what anyone does and it can’t be stopped. How the Millennials and Generation Alpha gets music today is way different then how we did. Germ has kids, he said they just don’t hang out and listen to music like we did. They get it all through devices and headphones (none of our giant speakers anymore!) or as part of another medium for entertainment, i.e., songs embedded as part of a video, or a game or show or something. So, I’m not saying go back to the old way, but the music industry as a whole, and there are exceptions, hasn’t adapted to modern entertainment very well. The record industry really screwed up, and blew its opportunity to get out ahead of file sharing and MP3s. And in hindsight, Lars was right; file sharing and piracy are still a huge issue, and it costs musicians and record labels millions of dollars a year. Bands today are basically t-shirt salespeople, as a result. They make money mostly on merch, and playing shows, not record sales.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Germ says Pantera, “Far Beyond Driven”; he can still crank that album all the way up!  He’s an avid runner, several of the songs from that album are in his running playlists. I’d have to say Iced Earth – “Horror Show”, and then Death – “The Sound of Perseverance”. Those albums were my gateway to heavier power metal and later Death Metal.

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

Honestly, I’ve totally adapted to streaming. I listen to music these days 99% of the time on YouTube Music, and my wife has Spotify. It’s definitely pros and cons; if the wireless connection is weak, I lose access, and of course if a server crashes, there goes your digital stream…but that’s where we are now.  “Jump Off the Bridge…And Live!!!” was released as a digital album as a result of this. Germ loves having his whole collection right at his finger-tips, and his collection is extensive…When my hard drive crashed, years ago, it took out a 40Gb collection of mine…I still have a small vinyl collection that I’ll play from time to time, though. I stopped collecting CD’s years ago, and only buy them from local bands at shows to show my love and support. Playlists are the best invention ever. Germ doesn’t miss having his CD’s scratched or melted in the car, and I don’t miss having the CD player not play it in the morning in the middle of a harsh NOVA winter because it’s too cold when the car starts up and the player won’t read the disk, or Germ pulling his tapes out of the tape player after it gets chewed up. Scratched records! He does have a few albums though that sounded better on the original analogue medium, old punk records for example.

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

We played with a Baltimore thrash band called Omnislash at a small bar named Addy’s in Manassas, VA. Those guys are awesome and everyone reading this should check them out. They were really supportive of us, they stuck around for our set at 2AM, and they were totally into it! That was actually our 2nd show and they told us we sounded fantastic. They couldn’t believe it was only our second show ever. That was by far the most fun Germ ever had at a show. My personal favourite happened at a restaurant (that closed down afterward) named The Black Cat, in Alexandria. It was on July 13th, the night before my birthday, and many of my friends from the NOVA music scene made it out to support us and wear their Darkening Skies shirts. Most of A Sound of Thunder was there, and I got selfies with Josh and Nina. It was an emotional night for me, I thought I played the best I ever had, live, and it was one of our last shows before I took off for San Diego. With the pandemic, shows are starting up again, and one day I’d like to get on the road with Germ in a beat up van, travelling the West Coast, taking whore’s baths in gas station restroom sinks, etc. haha.

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

Well, I’m a special education teacher, and it’s just a path I followed by chance. I have a real passion for it; the service I do is incredibly fulfilling. It, of course, pays for my musical career, but takes up a lot of personal time and energy that I have to prioritize over music right now, unfortunately. Germ would  love to be a writer, and get into writing movie scripts.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Well, it would have to be someone who could cook, because I sure can’t. My wife is an incredible chef, she does it professionally, and would take care of the whole table with ease. Germ wants Gordon Ramsey. I would just sit there drinking and eating while I watch them work the kitchen. I’d say I’d want dinner with a bunch of dead people: Jesus, Jimi Hendrix, Dimebag, and then maybe Robert Downey Jr., and definitely Ryan Reynolds. The dude is hilarious.

What’s next for the band?

Great question! I moved to San Diego shortly before we got signed. We had over 50 songs written, and we both didn’t want to throw that away. We decided to do all our work online and share it with the world 100% digitally. We use tools like Guitar Pro to collaborate and write music (that’s why your music teacher tells you to learn to read music kids!). We also have a studio in Germ’s basement for recording. I’m house hunting right now, and plan to contract to build a badass studio in MY basement, next year. So, what’s next?  We’re going to promote the hell out of this album first, and we have a few lyric videos in the works that you’re going to love.  We have some merch ideas that will come out later on our MerchBucket, at www.merchbucket.com/collections/darkening-skies.
We’re mastering a special song for the holidays right now, and that will be out by Hanukah. Our next EP, “Demon Core”, will hopefully be out next winter. We’re going to take our time and get the recording the way we like it, then eventually have it produced and release the next album. I can tell you right now that the production and sound quality will blow our current EP out of the water. We’re more experienced with tracking, signal paths, etc., and Jib Machine Records has an amazing sound engineer, Brandon, who is gonna take care of us next year.

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

Twitter and Instagram are our most active. Youtube for official videos. We have a Facebook page, but really haven’t seen much activity on that platform lately.
www.facebook.com/DarkeningSkies
www.twitter.com/Darkening_Skies
www.instagram.com/drkngskies/
www.youtube.com/user/DarkeningSkiesBand/videos

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Um, yeah, I have no idea what that is. I’m kind of a bagel or English muffin guy.

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

First, thank you so much for interviewing us! There are a billion bands promoting their creative works on social media, and we’re honoured to receive your attention. Thank you for your time as well! We really appreciate you supporting us! I think what you are doing is great! You’re supporting bands who are working hard and love what they do. Please keep doing it! Please support local and independent bands these days as much as you can! Kids, take the time and have the patience to learn a musical instrument; it will change your life.

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 TERRORFORM

Terrorform Logo

EMQ’s with TERRORFORM

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with San Antonio, Texas based Groove/Thrash Metal band, Terrorform. Huge thanks to guitarist/vocalist, Case Rodriguez, 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?

Case Rodriguez. Guitar/vocals. We’ve officially been around for over 3 years with this current line-up, originally, it’d been our singer Leo and I…and then our good friend Zach filled in on drums and then my nephews ended up taking the throne for Guitar and Bass when the time came…and we’ve been golden ever since.

Sick bunch here, man! I love these guys man, they’re such great musicians.

How did you come up with your band name?

At first, we were using a project name “Zero To Death” when it came time to debut live Terrorform became the name. Terrorform had been shot around once or twice and in the end that’s what we became.

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

We originate from the American Midwest, The Texas Gulf Coast. Our scene is beautiful, you can catch a variety of heavy hitting metal and rock bands where we come from. We have the Gulf-Coast-Thrash and it’s coming together strongly. Last GCT show we played the energy was real, the pit was live, guitars were smashed and everything was alright. Texas metal and rock is great man!

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

We have just released our brand new single ‘Intruder’ through PACgroove Records. Check it out on YouTube, Spotify and iTunes.

‘Intruder’ (Official Visualiser)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Hard to say, we have A LOT of influences going on.

Personally, Death and Megadeth have always peaked in my influence. I also love Jazz!

What first got you into music?

I was born and raised in the metal and rock family. It wasn’t until this one time I was 9 years old, my sister and I switched bedrooms and she’d left a “KISS Greatest Hits” in my new room, I put it in the Batman-Stereo and within 5 seconds my entire life was changed by a simple bass line.

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

I wish we could get Dani Rabin from, fusion-jazz-rock band, Marbin to play a solo on one of our groovier songs. Lol, that’d be something else.

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

The “Hell and Heaven” fest in Mexico sounds like a damn good time.

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

Somebody else’s guitar pick! Im guessing it was more of thank you token, for them to give it to me. I have it in my wallet for when I have to one day battle the Beelzebub in a rock-off!

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

Stay tuned is all! We’ve got a lot around the corner…lots of new music! Fast. Heavy. Tricky. Groovy. Shredding!

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

Well, there’s a lot of people I wish I could bring back, music wise, It’s between Dime and Hendrix. I can’t imagine witnessing something so surreal.

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

The art of it. It actually takes magic to bring music to life…especially live. Sometimes I wonder if music collaboration and composing is a rare phenomenon in the universe. Whatever it is we eventually figured it out and are here because of it.

Only thing I hate, is not being able to be even more of a musician than I already am.

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

Streaming, they can at least give us a penny per stream and not 1/3 of a penny. There should be better reception for these types of things. Without music there’s no streaming platforms. I’m sure there is way to make those ends meet just a little more than they BARELY already do.

Buy your favourite bands CD’s, Merch and vinyl!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Adolescents – Self titled “Blue Album”. KILLER ALBUM front to back!

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

Everything has its pros and cons. Vinyl is magic.

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

We’ve played A LOT of really memorable shows small or large. I’d have to say it was back in 2018 when we first started and opened for DOYLE (Misfits guitarist). Because of another bands error we ended up being direct support.

At the start of our set, it was like “Who are you guys?” and towards the end of our set the crowd’s reaction was immense and overwhelming.

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

I wish and still want to pursue being a Voice-Over Artist for animated productions, cartoons and anime.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

My band and best bud/crewman Lol.

What’s next for the band?

New EP coming real soon! All that follows with a new release. Music videos, new artwork merch etc. We want to come to your town! Hook us up with your local fastest and grooviest and we’ll show up to throw down!

We are working ahead planning an even further releases. Might be just a single, another EP or Full length. Time will tell on that one.

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

www.facebook.com/TerrorFTX
www.instagram.com/terrorformtx/
www.terrorformtx.bandcamp.com/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/1yV5uyS0DOeGrRYNWJX5Ky
www.youtube.com/channel/UC-cWMOml9GK1UnY-Rhv2v5A

Listen to our music on iTunes and good streaming services.

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Why not both? Hahaha. You could say the same for Terrorform.

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

THANK YOU SO MUCH to all our followers and listeners. I can’t say that enough…in due time I hope you’ll dig what we’ve planned to further release. I hope to see the entire world someday.

Terrorform promo pic

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.

Thy Dispraise – Lost Era

Lost Era Album Cover Art

Thy Dispraise – Lost Era
Ghost Label Inc
Release Date: 20/02/2021
Running Time: 35:12
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

Music, as we all know, is the only truly universal language. It doesn’t matter where you’re from in the world, everyone can understand a sad song because of its minor key, or an uplifting song because of its pace. So, if you’re at a gig, and you and your neighbour don’t speak the same language, it’s still possible to feel connected to them through the shared understanding of the music you’re hearing. This works across every genre of music and should really be embraced worldwide for the magical thing that it is. However, in a good few countries, our wonderful genres of Rock and Metal, and indeed western culture, are frowned upon at best, and at worst are outlawed for being blasphemous and satanic. Iran is one of those countries. So, it’s not often that you get an Iranian band popping into your album review pile. It’s also one of the countries that we at Ever Metal are yet to get any hits from on our website, along with a few other countries, such as North Korea, for much the same reason.

But today, metal fans, I’m hoping that might change. Thy Dispraise, the subject of my musings here, are a Groove/Metalcore band from Iran, founded by Abtin Zahed, in 2012. Officially, they have released two singles, a self-titled EP, and this full-length album. And not only are they challenging the authoritarian rule of their country by simply existing, but they’re also pushing the boundaries even further, as they have a female vocalist as well. That is extraordinary bravery for their art, and before I even get onto the music, I’ll note that they have my absolute and utmost respect for their passion to fight against oppression.

So, onto the music. With the knowledge of their location, it’s not a surprise that, lyrically, their music is philosophical and socio-political at its core, but they do also include fiction and conceptual ideas. Musically, it’s crunching and full of progressive elements, and the vocal style is angry and brutal!! There’s also some really clever melody patterns and cadences that introduce the sounds of traditional ethnic, folk-based music, but It’s definitely full of groove too, in a very pleasing way.

The album starts with an instrumental soundscape, full of melancholic guitars, that doesn’t really give away many clues about what is to come. Then, as a complete opposite to the first track, ‘The Unknown’ comes along to punch you in the face, with crunching riffs, pacey rhythms, and harsh, growling vocals.

There are some fantastic and unexpected clean vocals dotted about too, ‘Wrong Core’ has a good example of this, which adds an extra depth to the song. I think this is one of my standout tracks of the album actually. It’s fast, groovy, and has some great soloing on the guitar.

But my favourite track on the album has to be the final track, ‘All Is Lost’. This brings everything back to the sounds of the opening track. It’s more of a mournful classic hard rock ballad, with beautiful clean vocals, exquisite vocal harmonies, and soaring guitar solos. However, it still has the punch of groove and more Modern Metal subtly planted in it. Stunning track.

My one criticism is I would like the bass to be more rumbly than it is. I think music with this much grit is really enhanced with some hellishly powerful bass, but it does tend to get lost behind the guitars. However, given the heritage of the band, and the circumstances which I’m guessing this album has been recorded, mixed, and mastered in, really who am I to criticize a single damn thing? This is a great album, from a band with immense courage, pushing boundaries and striving for equality, and any band doing that will always have my full respect and support. Peace.

‘Post-Ending Life’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Stardust
02. The Unknown
03. Freefall
04. The Game
05. Outflow
06. Wrong Core (Tribute to Lamb of God)
07. Deceitful
08. Post-Ending Life
09. All Is Lost

LINE-UP:
Abtin Zahed – Guitars
Sheyda Mohamadi – Vocals
Alireza Shafiei – Vocals
Mohammadreza Rezaei – Guitars
Mohammad Mirboland – Guest Drummer

LINKS:

Thy Dispraise Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth 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 TENSIION

Tensiion Logo

EMQ’s with TENSIION

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Brisbane, Australia based Death Groove duo, Tensiion. Huge thanks to guitarist, Phill Corpe, 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?

Phill Corpe, I play guitar, write & produce.

Myself and Travis hooked up in 2014, with nothing more than an idea to knock out a song or two, and just see if it works…turns out it did.

And we really haven’t stopped since then.

How did you come up with your band name?

Throwing ideas around between us…till something sounded not as shitty and cliché as other options. We started out with the name KILL[UR]SELF…which looked pretty cool aesthetically, but the name grated on me after a few years.

So, we changed it to TENSIION…sounds ok, looks ok….hasn’t annoyed me too much yet.

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

Brisbane, Australia…We have an insane amount of talent, in many genres, not just rock/metal…it’s a great music scene.

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

“Subterfuge”. It’s a five track E.P…the single off it is ‘Dead Weight’.

‘Dead Weight’ (Visualiser)

Who have been your greatest influences?

It’s probably more of an era thing, more than specific bands, stuff that was happening mid 80’s to mid-90’s from varied genre’s, was a golden age that was a pretty big influence. Friends, experiences, travelling, collaborating…all plays a part.

What first got you into music?

Parents, then radio, tape trading with school friends.

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

The best collabs are with people you can connect too, learn shit from, and have a good time with…so whoever covers those bases and is up for it, then im down.

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

I have no major aspirations of playing huge festivals…happy to roll as a punter…but, hey, I wouldn’t say no to Graspop. Great beer selection, and chilled as fuck.

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

Well, that question just highlighted the fact we dont get enough gifts.

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

I’d happily tell each one personally, it won’t take long.

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

We could do with seeing Lemmy again.

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

I love the creative part, and being able to take it wherever I want…you can get too close to the mix though doing everything yourself, which can make it hard to know if its shit or really good sometimes.

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

Fuck off Spotify…music has no value with streaming.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

My first record was “Mickey Mouse Disco”, so that’s pretty special.

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

I buy vinyl, always will…but they should all come with a download card now. I listen to music most in the car, so can’t live without digital.

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

Studio project only at this stage…but who knows, never say never!

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

Sheesh, ummm, other stuff I enjoy doing.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Friends…friends are the best.

What’s next for the band?

We usually take a break for a bit, recharge, do other stuff…then see if we’re up for it again after some time off.

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

www.facebook.com/tensiionband
www.tensiion.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCIaCHtbcbYFLV4pvotf9YGA/videos

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

So glad you asked that question, I think they are!

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

Cheers for checking out our stuff.

Tensiion Promo Pic

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 STRUCK/DOWN

Struck/Down logo

EMQ’s with STRUCK/DOWN

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Kent, England based Doom/Groove Metal band, Struck/Down. Huge thanks to vocalist, Linden Twyman, 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?

Linden Twyman, I am the vocalist of Struck/Down. Started in 2013, performing original music as ‘Wookie and the Wizard’ a 2 piece acoustic act (with myself and our guitarist Will). Eventually grew into Struck/Down, and after finding our missing members in the shape of Tommy, Ian and Andy we developed our signature doom/groove metal sound.

How did you come up with your band name?

I made a band name out of two different labels at random local practice rooms. I thought it sounded cool! The rest as they say is history.

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

We are from Kent in the UK. The scene has potential to grow into something more. There are many fantastic bands and loads of talent that come out of Kent. We have a few excellent venues (e.g., ‘The Booking Hall’ in Dover and the ‘The Forum’ in Tunbridge Wells). With more venues like this, there is real scope for a thriving scene.

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

‘Charisman’, the third single of the upcoming EP release titled “From Demons”.

‘Charisman’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Black Sabbath, Black Label Society, Pantera, Black Stone Cherry, Mastodon, Deep Purple, Metallica.

What first got you into music?

I wanted to perform; looking up to my cousins playing in bands in the local scene I knew that was something I wanted a part of.

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

Miley Cyrus.

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

Ozzfest.

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

Applause.

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

Thank you for your support during these challenging and unusual times.

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

Dimebag.

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

Hate most: gate keepers in the music industry (i.e., influential people in the music scene who decide what is and isn’t relevant to the scene) Love most: the effect music can have on someone on an emotional level and connecting with people through our music.

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

Distributing wealth amongst the musicians and not the shareholders.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Dirt” by Alice In Chains.

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

CD’s.

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

The Alma Inn in Bolton, February 2020. Our last big gig before the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Full-time tattoo artist. Find him at @lindentwyman on Instagram.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Ozzy Osbourne, Napoleon Bonaparte, Barry Scott, Jodie Marsh, Russell Howard

What’s next for the band?

Continue pushing the singles we have already released, working towards the eventual drop of the EP “From Demons”, getting back into the practice room and hopefully (fingers crossed) gigging again soon.

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

www.facebook.com/StruckDownUK
www.instagram.com/struckdown_official/
www.twitter.com/StruckDownUK
www.struckdown.bandcamp.com/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4k0hYswFpdMPtuSMiiKlPr
www.youtube.com/struckdownbanduk

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Its. A. Cake.

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

Check out Father Bernard’s story through our single releases, starting with ‘Wandering Child’, to ‘Death Row’ and recently ‘Charisman’. Expect more singles in the coming months to continue our story. In the meantime, please follow our socials and check out our self-produced music videos on Youtube and our music on Spotify and all major streaming services. Support your local scene and your local bands, and we look forward to seeing you at gigs very soon.