Mammoth Volume – The Cursed Who Perform The Larvagod Rites

The Cursed Who Perform The Larvagod Rites Album Cover Art

Mammoth Volume – The Cursed Who Perform The Larvagod Rites
Blues Funeral Recordings
Release Date: 19/08/2
Running Time: 42:27
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Alright, me old muck spreaders? It is I, Dark Juan, and I come to you from a completely different house to Dark Juan Terrace as I am babysitting four guinea pigs (named Death, Fire, Fear and Mortis) and a fluffy bunny (who answers to Fang) for my grandchildren. They may or may not have the names I have assigned to them in actuality. I shall leave you to judge whether or not I am an inveterate liar but will leave you with this little nugget of information – I have a lot of stories and the more outlandish ones are the ones that are probably true. I also offer the following for your consideration, dear readers. My grandchildren are composed of three entities: one who I am convinced is a fae halfling and here to be an ecological force for good if you can only get her head out of a book for more than fifteen seconds, a teenager who has not yet reached the annoying stinky argumentative bastard phase but will only talk to you when he is prised away from his technology. Although it is entertaining watching him blunder into things when wearing his VR headset. Grandchild number three is a violent dictator who constantly wishes to know which is stronger – a megalodon or a T. Rex? This has gone through several evolutionary epochs already and shows no sign of slowing down. He is also a small palaeontologist who can pronounce the taxonomic names of dinosaurs more effectively than I can speak English. In between the fights. The boy loves nothing more than a good old-fashioned straightener on the cobbles…

So, as I am in unfamiliar surroundings, I have retreated into music to calm my fevered nerves. I don’t deal well with change and Dark Juan Terrace is my safe space. By that I mean it is for everyone else’s safety as I can get a mite… aggressive and unkind when I am struggling with something. Today’s balm for my tortured soul is from Mammoth Volume, the Swedish Prog Stoners, and is their first release for TWENTY years! I tell thee, when I think of twenty years, I am picturing the 1980’s. I can’t wrap my stupid, old and somewhat concussed (I clouted it on the landing yesterday and spent the day curled on the sofa because I was dizzy and sick. Put it this way, due to enforced resting, I now know more about the Iron Warriors and the Emperor’s Children of Warhammer 40k than I ever did) head around the fact that we are now over twenty years into the new millennium. I digress however…

It’s clear when this record comes on that you’re dealing with something a bit different than your usual Stoner or Doom Metal. Mammoth Volume clearly have as much to do with Yes and Jethro Tull and Hawkwind as they do with Doomster Reich or Kyuss. It’s actually pretty fucking good. ‘Osteoporos’ rocks heavily over classical keys and stabby strings with a glorious disregard for the conventions of any music, yet with a thoughtful acoustic passage with a touch of phaser wah in the background. ‘The Lightwedge 60’s Race, Zombie Piccolos and the German’ absolutely wins the award for most batshit song title of the year, but the tune is a marvellous, twisting, snakelike thing that takes you from Space Rock to Classic Hard Rock to Psychedelia and back again via a meandering, gently noodling outro. 

The band sound absolutely magnificent throughout the record, reminding this jaded old hack of Britain’s own Lucid Sins and Red Spektor mixed with Friendship and the Hard Rock stylings of Lucifer. Production-wise, the seasoned listener is in for a bit of a treat. Every instrument is perfectly placed in the mix, and the vocals sit in a position where they can be regarded as another instrument and of equal importance to the music as the guitar, bass and drums. Even the snare sound is acceptable and you all know how anally retentive I am about snare sounds. Fuzz, phaser and wah abound in quite egregious quantities and the fucking riffs this Swedish band have! Unholy fucking Satan, the riffs. Mammoth Volume have so many riffs they operate in some kind of otherworldly riff smorgasbord. They have a sea of riffs that they swim endlessly in. They are riff mermen who are unconcerned with musical rules – ‘A Lullaby Of Doom’ proves this by slowly building from a simple riff and maracas up to a full on Sabbathian assault by the end of the song.

Unusual sounds, little bits of dissonance and flicks of classical music, bells and triangle among other things give the record a surreal, otherworldly quality and the vocals are also superb – brothers Jörgen and Nicklas do a manful job throughout. Special mention for more clearly obvious insanity goes to ‘Diablo V – Lanternsong’ due to its chucking of Scandinavian folk, spoken word passages, acoustic finger picking, flute, insanity in the lyrical department and bass horns into some kind of alchemical cauldron and coming out with something that really does breathe new life and entertainment into Stoner and Prog by creating a soup of inventive arrangements and absolute batshit nonsense. ‘Diablo V’ could be a Jethro Tull song in more than a couple of parts, and this is to the band’s absolute credit. 

Basically, I think I have just found my new favourite Swedish band. When Lucifer, Blood Ceremony and Coven come smashing together, Mammoth Volume is what you get. Album opener ‘The Kuleshov Effect’ is a mighty tune. Chunky, rough cut guitar lords it over a wailing, plaintive vocal and female backing vocals courtesy of Iza Elfström and a chorus that could level cities with ease, Mammoth Volume effortlessly show that heavy doesn’t necessarily mean fast or violent. Slow and steady can also be heavy as fuck. ‘Diablo IV’ is also all laid-back grooves and lazily threatening – like a gangster relaxing in his chair, but cleaning his nails with a large knife and staring rather fixedly at the poor schmuck in front of him. Measured aggression.

So yeah, if you dig spaced out Stoner groove with added Prog madness, you’re gonna fucking love Mammoth Volume. Dark Juan officially does!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Mammoth Volume a superstoned 10/10 for a simply incredible album. It hits every mark Dark Juan has for music. It’s heavy, it’s interesting, it’s inventive, it’s performed with verve and gusto and it’s fucking good fun trying to work out where it’s going next. Especially when you’re wrong. It even has a mad little 70’s porno keyboard solo in ‘Medieval Torture Device’.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Kuleshov Effect
02. Diablo IV
03. Medieval Torture Device
04. Want to Join Us? Come Back Later!
05. Osteoporos
06. The Lightwedge 60’s Race, Zombie Piccolos and the German
07. A King and a Tyrant
08. A Lullaby of Doom
09. Diablo V: Lanternsong

LINE-UP:
Jörgen “Aston” Andersson – Vocals
Daniel Gustafsson – Guitars, Keyboards
Kalle Berlin – Bass
Nicklas Andersson – Drums, Vocals, Percussions

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.

EMQs with PLANEPACKED

Planepacked Logo

EMQs with PLANEPACKED

Hi everyone. Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with USA based Progressive projected, Planepacked. Huge thanks to frontwoman and project mastermind, Jessica Kagan for taking part. 

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

My name’s Jessica Kagan (and I use she/her pronouns). I’m a keyboardist and more recently a vocalist. Planepacked basically evolved out of my deep delves into composing after I stopped taking formal piano lessons at the end of high school. So far, Planepacked has exclusively been a solo act, though I’ve worked with session musicians and engineers to get things made. I released a debut LP in 2017 and a quick electronic-only EP in 2019.

How did you come up with your band name?

I didn’t come up with the name Planepacked – someone’s copy of the video game “Dwarf Fortress” did (read the history at https://dwarffortresswiki.org/index.php/Planepacked). I just made the decision at some point to make that my artist name. I didn’t really commit to that name properly until 2014-2015 or so, which was when I gradually started making more of an effort to brand and promote my work more intensively. That being said, I think it’s a good fit for the densely packed, hyperkinetic, heavy music I aim to create.

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

Currently based out of New England – Greater Boston in particular. It’s not the biggest scene and I’m not very deeply attuned, but there’s plenty going on. Plenty of big acts playing in Boston, Worcester, Providence et al (the Palladium in Worcester is a favourite for gigs). One particular thing I seem to notice is that the Metal “scene” around here is especially closely intertwined with Punk / Hardcore / Emo / Screamo et al, which definitely adds local flavour.

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

The things coming out soon are the “Transactinides” LP and the strictly related but separate “War Song” single. The single came out on January 28th and the album proper should release on April 8th.

Who have been your greatest influences?

In rough order of discovery – there’s a lot of classical music (particularly 20th century “impressionist” composers like Debussy, Ravel, Vaughn Williams), tracker music from 90’s video games (I’ll take a moment to shout to Alexander Brandon of Tyrian, Unreal, and Deus Ex fame) and an ever growing melange of Metal, Electronic, Prog, et al artists. My evolving shortlist of band recommendations for tracing direct influences on Planepacked is as follows: Bal-Sagoth, Sigh, Igorrr, Blut Aus Nord, Devin Townsend, Samael, Autechre, Susumu Hirasawa, and Arca, who just made the list (congratulate her)! That’ll probably be more notable once we get to the album after Transactinides, which is deep in development.

What first got you into music?

My family always had a strong musical background – my mother took piano lessons in her youth and particularly encouraged me to cultivate my own skills, and my dad is a member of a Garage Punk band called The Penetrators (the ones from Syracuse, since there’s apparently two others).

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

I’d like to get a remix album going one of these days – basically, anyone whom I contract would get song multi-tracks and carte blanche to make what they see fit using them. At some point, I may have to try reaching out to the more Electronic artists on the influences shortlist and see if I can get their attention. I’ll look more recently, too – maybe the folks at the recording studio I used (Nu House Studios) would be interested in such a project?

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

I’m not sure. I think the obvious gimme would be a festival that caters both to Extreme Metal and Electronica musicians, just on account of Planepacked’s style. Bonus points if they have the ability to quash omicron for the duration or more.

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

Fans really haven’t sent me much in the way of gifts. I can be a private person at the best of times, so I guess that if you want to show support above and beyond just purchasing my music and any merch I bring out, you could donate to some charities. I’ll take this time to recommend the Internet Archive, which is already an important part of humanity’s cultural legacy and which needs to be kept as vital as possible.

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

TELL YOUR FRIENDS ABOUT US.

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

A tough question! Were I granted such powers of necromancy and credible assurances that anyone I resurrected wouldn’t be brought back wrong / otherwise in an unwanted form… perhaps Sophie (also all dependent on her consenting to this)? I can’t say I’m directly familiar with her work – in fact, I only really learned that she existed and exerted so much power over recent popular music when she died. There’s something about that I find especially sad and poignant.

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

This is a rose with a thorn – the rose being that my role as a musician allows me to express myself and create songs that I want to exist through the power of my mind. The thorn is that despite my efforts, I only have so much time and motivation to channel this part of myself. That, and the fact that I still need to sleep 8 hours a day, like my fellow humans.

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

Get streaming services like Spotify to pay artists more per stream and you’re at least one step closer to a more equitable industry.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

A more recent favourite – “Modern Closure” by 4mat. This is heavily chiptune-inflected electronica with great arrangements, huge and colourful chords and plenty of cool synth sounds. “Nadir” is more immediately accessible, but “Modern Closure” is worth whatever time you need to appreciate it.

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

The music is the important part, not so much the medium! …you got any phonograph cylinders?

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

There’s only been one live gig so far… and that was strictly an open mic night arranged by the school I get my singing lessons from. That being said, that did give me a chance to show off ‘War Song’ to a small set of the public and I can now say that I’ve technically performed at the Middle East in Cambridge! I’ll need to find a way to get more shows going.

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

I’ve still got my writing hobby (biggest thing in that realm is my urban fantasy / sci-fi series, Endian Project) and I’m a web developer in my day job. Between those two, I think there’s still a lot of room for creativity and exploration.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I think I’d like to reserve dinner parties for people I’m close with in real life. Best to protect their privacy.

What’s next for the band?

Album 3, as of yet, is in the works. It needs a name! I don’t know when it’ll be out, but hopefully it’ll take less time than Transactinides needed to release. I would like to put together a touring band at some point, but at this point, I think my other ambition (find local musicians to collaborate on a new project) is more plausible. Other than that, nothing’s set in stone.

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

Everything we’ve got at the moment is available through our Linktree.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

They are an ancient warrior’s specialty and perfect fuel for fighting against the Goa’uld. (I spent a lot of 2020/2021 watching Stargate SG1 and do not have a strong opinion on this question otherwise.)

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

Not so much at the moment! But I really appreciate the interview, and hope everyone enjoys reading it.

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 PRONOGRAPHIC SUNSET

Pronographic Sunset Logo

EMQ’s With PRONOGRAPHIC SUNSET

Hi everyone. Welcome to another EMQs, this time with Leeds UK based Experimental/Avant-Garde/Progressive Rock/Metal band, Pornographic Sunset. 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 Pornographic Sunset, we play Experimental/Avant-Garde/Progressive Rock/Metal.

The unholy stars that brought us together aligned in December 2018 and we began taking our demented show to the stages of Leeds in April 2019.  In November 2019 we released our first EP, “The Bastard Shows His True Colours”, and after a pandemic slumber we re-emerged in December 2021 with our second EP, “Gold; Flesh; Dirt”.

How did you come up with your band name?

Beauty is a complex topic, intellectualised throughout the millennia by manyfold thought currents and yet deeply connected to our most basic instincts. We had a long debate regarding the soothing allure of natural, simple, recurring celestial events and their relationship with the erotic power of fabricated visual stimulation. Eventually, we agreed that the name “Pornographic Sunset” best encapsulated a philosophical complexity that runs parallel to the band’s ethos.

We also drank a lot of whiskey that night.

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

We are from Leeds (UK), a city that we love for its thriving music scene. Great bands like Catchfire Barons, Helve, Knim, Kitsch and Brasshand keep us out late at night having a great time, but it’s important to recognise that the scene owes a lot to the availability of welcoming rehearsal spaces, such as the Rock’n’Roll Circus, and a range of live music venues, from the Primrose Inn to larger spaces.

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

We just released the EP “Gold; Flesh; Dirt”, it’s the second chapter in a planned four-parts storyline.

Who have been your greatest influences?

We would probably not exist without Mr. Bungle, Frank Zappa, Devo, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Soundgarden, Primus and the Butthole Surfers.

What first got you into music?              

We all have a Rock and Metal background, which probably means Satan was involved in getting us into music in one way or another.

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

We would be intrigued to enter a room with someone with a completely different approach from us, for example a talented electronic musician such as Squarepusher.

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

We feel that ArcTanGent would be the best fit for us: it’s a smaller festival with a very diverse line up of bands that push the boundaries and seek innovative musical solutions. We are also quite fond of trigonometry.

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

We received a very pure and completely undeserved form of love.

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

We believe live music is one of the best experiences we can have in our lives: it brings together artistic expression, community, and fun. Support your local music scene, go out to see small unsigned bands playing in small, run-down pubs at the end of the road. Enjoy the music, connect with the people, have a great time. We believe there is a lot to gain for everybody.

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

Frank Zappa kept on pushing the boundaries of music until the very end of his life. What could he do if he came back, even if just for a few years, in modern times?

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

We love writing, recording and, above all else, playing live shows.

We hate never having enough time and money to write more, record more, and play more live shows.

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

We don’t care much about the music industry; it does not affect us.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Miles Davis – “Bitches Brew”. It is an incredible blend of Jazz and Rock, breaking the mould from the point of view of composition, recording and post-production.

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

USB drives freely distributed at live shows – we don’t put all our music online, picking up USB drives from us is the only way to obtain our full EPs.

We want as many people as possible to experience the (old-fashioned) ritual of inserting the (modern) USB drive in a music-playing device, making the act of listening to music more wholistic, bringing the body and tactile sensations to the audience.

This is also a way for us to emphasise the importance of live music, we absolutely love playing live and we want our local music community to know we care about them, that they are special to us and that this USB drive is for them. Technology is beautiful, we love what the internet has given us and all the music we can access. But there is more out there, and it is worth the effort. We don’t care about streams/views/likes, we want to look in someone’s eyes as we hand over a USB drive and make a true connection.

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

Each show we play is unique: we never play the same setlist twice and we try to debut at least one new song every time we go on stage.

We have played to full rooms and to empty rooms, to people who liked us and to people who hated us. Sometimes we played perfectly and other times we stumbled. It doesn’t matter, every experience was meaningful, and we can’t pick one over the others.

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

Very hard to tell, but our guess is that we would be a manager, a bin man, an analyst, and a bartender.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

The Beer Snobs (like God, they are three but one), legends from the Leeds music community.

Steve Greekshire, a legend from the Leeds music community.

Phil Stiles from Final Coil, a legend from the UK music community.

Homeless Jim, a mysterious figure who guides lost musicians with his wisdom.

Taylor Swift to bring us all together, help us reflect upon our lives, and guide us towards the rapture.

What’s next for the band?

Writing a lot of Metal, Rock, Reggae, Jazz, Bossa Nova, Funk, Folk and possibly Hip-Hop music.

Playing gigs around the theme of how we have been tempted by gold, flesh, and dirt during our debauched lives.

Recording our upcoming third EP, “Death to the Poet”.

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

Facebook is our primary channel for interaction: https://www.facebook.com/PGSunsetBand/

Our website is worth exploring: http://pgsunsetband.co.uk/

We also have some content on our Youtube channel, including the video for our track “Self in Solution”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCA56xTFaj8

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

If you really believe it, they can even be pies.

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

We are Pornographic Sunset, and we are fucking with you.

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.

Epoch Of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis

Nucleosynthesis Album Cover Art

Epoch Of Chirality – Nucleosynthesis
Self-Released
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 48:48
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon from the hallowed lands of West Yorkshire, where pendulous skies abound, the moors brood and beguile you in their sparse and barren splendour, and where the Smellhounds are currently emitting scents that could conceivably be used for ethnic cleansing in some less salubrious regimes. Mrs. Dark Juan is currently sat across from me in the lounge, creating yet another warped objet d’art dragged from the blackest pits of her imagination whilst giggling her little head off at Joe Lycett telling stories about how he had to come downstairs while living with his parents when experiencing some tumescence after a saucy dream about Idris Elba. This scenario was indeed chortlesome.

Oh, how I laughed as I wondered what it would be like to have an erotic dream instead of the blood-soaked horrors that pass for my dreamworld. Especially as I woke this morning from dreaming of having slaughtered my way through an entire company of Russian Spetsnaz using nothing but my teeth and a combat knife. Their combat wrestling training didn’t count for anything much considering how easy it was to tear their arms off and beat them to death with the wet ends…

Such violent imagery reminds me of the slew of action movies that thrilled young Dark Juan in the Eighties – Commando, The Terminator, Predator, Cobra and the like as well as all the video nasties like Anthropophagous Beast and Cannibal Holocaust. These all shared one thing, and that was an epic soundtrack. Which, and this for once is a fucking bang tidy segue, leads us on to the music of Epoch Of Chirality, being a one-man musical project emanating from the somewhat fevered imagination of Mr. Richard How of the South-West of jolly old England.

This is EOC’s second release, after Richard’s debut EP which was entitled “Dawn Of Chirality” in 2020. As a quick aside, Chirality is a property of asymmetry important in several branches of science. The word chirality is derived from the Greek χειρ (kheir), “hand,” a familiar chiral object. Basically, it means a non-superimposable mirror image of an object. Now we have that bit of Wikipedia bothering out of the way, I can begin to describe “Nucleosynthesis”, this being the process that creates new atomic nuclei from pre-existing nucleons (protons and neutrons) and nuclei. Which is a rather fitting way to describe a second musical release then, “Dawn Of Chirality” being analogous to the Big Bang, and “Nucleosynthesis” being the creation of the Universe. Or at least Epoch Of Chirality’s universe, which operates in a kind of dark light, neon dripping Blade Runner-esque dystopian galaxy of electronic soundscapes merged with the cutting fury of heavy metal.

As regular readers of my terrible ramblings will know, I have a real soft spot for synthwave (be it Outrun, or Vapourwave (I REFUSE TO USE THE RUBBISH AMERICAN SPELLING!) or whatever) and two of my absolute favourites from this style of music are Master Boot Record (an Italian madman who identifies himself as an IBM 486 Central Processing Unit. Remember them? Oh, and he has an unhealthy obsession with ASCII) and Gunship (British, absolutely brilliant and now can be forgiven for their travesty of a former band, Fightstar, mainly because they have brought Tim fucking Capello back to the attention of a rapt audience, thankfully without the purple spandex). Both of which are big fucking boots to try and fill. Epoch Of Chirality leans more toward the cinematic soundscapes of MBR and also doesn’t employ any vocals, letting the music try to hold your interest all by itself, rather than following the electro-pop stylings and emotionally fraught singing of the worthy British combo.

Thankfully, EOC manages to stand proud with the music and is fresh and original sounding. Every song brings a different flavour and mood, ‘Maiden Voyage’ being particularly schizophrenic with 80’s tinkly bonk Bontempi keyboards meeting martial drumming, eastern sounding flurries on keys transforming into glockenspiel runs and then trumpets and gothic piano taking over with the occasional stab of electric guitar until it switches gear and tempo and turns into a rampaging metal beast. Album opener ‘Dawn Of Chirality’ beguiles with waves of soft, foamy keyboards building slowly into pure, full on metal riffing with coruscating waves of electronic sound beneath it as the drums build into a percussive, machine gun wall of sound and the oh so 80’s keyboard rises magnificently over it all and I’m just waiting for Airwolf to rise out of its secret volcano hangar dramatically through the caldera and shoot down shitloads of bad guys. ‘The Abyssal Fleet’ is pure cinema in musical form, being an Imperial march full of bombast, and easily conjuring the image of a grim and mighty fleet of battle-scarred starships slipping their moorings and travelling towards a warzone where the hellish power of their particle beam weapons and explosive gravitic lances will level the surface of an enemy planet in short and terrible order. ‘Undercity Rising’ has my imagination running riot with images of muties emerging from under Mega-City One with murder and mayhem on their minds, and only a thin line of Judges to meet them.

Every tune on the album evinces a feeling of big-screen theatrics from the age of neon-tinged dystopian nightmares. ‘Labyrinth’ could easily be the soundtrack to an epic car chase through a darkened, mirror universe Miami, scattering the shattered bodies of unwary pedestrians in the wake of speeding vehicles exchanging gunfire and grenades, while our muscle bound hero escapes all attempts on his life with witty one-liners and an assault rifle that miraculously never runs out of ammunition. Apart from the middle eight which makes it sound like you’re going to enter some kind of dark tunnel or dread fortress before the song returns to speed and chunky fucking riffing and the full-on car chase aesthetic. The last tune, ‘Paradox’, brings back memories of the more esoteric moments of Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark in the intro and is so bright, shiny and Tron-like it made me weep tears of joy for a childhood lost to Satan worship, extremely perverse sexual encounters and absinthe, before turning into the most metal song on the album. There is also a magnificent guitar solo that also made me become highly excited and spasmodically jerk around the lounge and has raised the ire of at least two Smellhounds and Mrs. Dark Juan. It is a most fitting climax to an album that is utterly perfect for hitting a motorway at 3am with 200 miles to cover. You too can experience the feeling that you are fleeing hordes of heavily armed bastards in shiny black Jaguars on your work trip to Basingstoke simply by popping Epoch Of Chirality in the CD player and letting your imagination run riot.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Epoch Of Chirality and Ever-Metal will not accept any legal liability for the fact you’ll probably hit 130 mph on the M1 in your Vauxhall Corsa just outside of Luton and will have to explain to Hertfordshire Police that the music made you do it, and that there isn’t in fact a horde of heavily armed bastards racing after you in shiny black Jaguars intent on letting your brains escape through your nose via the medium of 9mm Parabellum bullets.

On that happy note, if you like Master Boot Record, Carpenter Brut, Pertubator, Gunship and the like, you’ll probably adore this. I do. If you are more a trve metal kvlt person, you’ll hate it because it has more influences than guitar, bass, drums, drugs, misogyny and alcoholism and it will fry your little brain. For everyone else, I officially declare this record fucking brilliant. You should give it a bash.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards the full 10/10 to Epoch Of Chirality and loves the magical, 80’s arcade aesthetic of it all so is off to Arcade Club in Bury in short order to go and destroy hordes of filthy alien enemies on R-Type II to a soundtrack of Epoch Of Chirality resounding through my headphones.

‘Labyrinth’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Dawn Of Chirality
02. Undercity Rising
03. Caravan To The Midnight Mountain
04. Boreal
05. Pyramid Cybergod
06. Maiden Voyage
07. The Abyssal Fleet
08. Labyrinth
09. Paradox

LINE-UP:
Richard How – Multi-instrumentalist uber-talented BASTARD!!!
(Especially because I can’t even fucking play the guitar properly, let alone anything else…)

LINKS:

Album Advert

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.

Bjarte K. Helland – Maniae EP

Maniae EP Cover

Bjarte K. Helland – Maniae EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 18/06/2021
Running Time: 22:51
Review by Simon Black
7/10

It takes all sorts to make a genre and body of music that is the Church of All Things Rock And Metal. That means that for those of us who plough through a couple of hundreds records a year in order to encourage you to support the artists (whether we like them or not), it means you have to be prepared to be taken out of your comfort zone and occasionally be pleasantly surprised. This short, but fascinating EP is a solo project of Quadrasonic, FastLoaders and Pitch Black Mentality drummer Bjarte K. Helland. It’s also an entirely instrumental piece, focussing on a complex hybrid of Progressive Rock/Metal and Jazz Fusion. However, you would expect him as a drummer to dominate the sound and the mix, but he doesn’t (although the footwork is phenomenal). If anything, the strings are front and foremost in the mix, particularly Jarle H. Olsen’s rather fantastic and effortlessly fluid guitar work.

This is obviously intended to be a studio project, but despite the choice of style it’s remarkably easy to listen to and although the openers ‘Lyssa’ and ‘Light of Erebus’ are pure Jazz Fusion, the more straight ahead Rock beat of ‘Monolith’ illustrates that there’s plenty in there for the more heavily inclined without losing that subtlety and complexity. Jazz Fusion is often in danger of alienating its listeners by going down an overtly showy road, but because this piece focuses on melody and catchiness first and foremost – rather than appealing only to those who know or care about the difference between a secondary dominant and a tritone substitution, diminished or otherwise. Bottom line is for those with a Prog bent, then this is going to tick a few boxes with its technically dazzling but fundamentally listenable approach to a style of music that isn’t for all but which works like a dream here.

‘Light Of Erebus’ (Official Visualizer)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Lyssa
02. Light Of Erebus
03. Monolith
04. Rabid

LINE-UP:
Jarle H. Olsen – Guitars
Ric Fierabracci – Bass
Bjarte K. Helland – 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 THE GREY

The Grey Logo

EMQ’s with THE GREY

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Cambridge, England based Instrumental Post Rock/Metal band, The Grey. Huge thanks to drummer, Steve, 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 Steve and I play the drums; Charlie plays guitar and James plays bass.

We’ve been a band for around 4 years now and have released 2 records as well as a couple of singles. I first met the others quite a few years prior to when we first started jamming when we played a show together in other bands. I have a feeling I was jokingly dressed up as an 80’s rocker in leopard print spandex and a giant blonde wig, picture Dee Snyder haha!

I’m not entirely sure but I think we were supporting one of Bill Steer from Carcass’ other bands which in of itself is pretty cool. After that Charlie and I kept in touch through Facebook and he asked me a few times to come and jam with them but due to living about an hour away and playing in other bands I always put it off until one day I took them up on the offer and the rest is history.

How did you come up with your band name?

So, we didn’t want anything too obscure or something that sounds cool but really didn’t mean anything and so decided upon The Grey for a specific reason. As a band we like to play with the dynamics between heavy and lighter sounding parts and felt like The Grey represents the juxtaposition between this nicely.

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

We would call ourselves Cambridge based however we all live about 30 minutes to 1 hour away and as a result I don’t really feel like we associate with any one scene however we have been “adopted” by the London Doom Collective (www.facebook.com/londondoomcollective/) who put on loads of great shows and play at the Club 85 in Hitchin with bands like Everest Queen and Ritual a lot who while being musically different to ourselves are still great to watch and hang out with.

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

“Dead Fire” album – Released through Ripcord Records.
www.ripcordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-fire

‘Petra’ (Audio)

Who have been your greatest influences?

This is a difficult one to answer as it really depends on the context. As a fan of music and drumming I would have to say John Bonham, Stewart Copeland, Roger Taylor and Mick Fleetwood and having parents buying records in the 70-80’s. I was introduced to music through their band’s and they are all drummers who help to define the bands they are members of. Later this would evolve into the punk bands from the mid 90’s to early 00’s from labels Like Fat Wreck and Epitaph such as Pennywise and Bad Religion and later developing into hardcore with bands on Revelations, Good Life and Dead & Gone Records.

What first got you into music?

Neither of my parents are musical however I have fond memories as a child of going through their record collection and pulling out classics like the first Sabbath record, Thriller and Dark Side Of The Moon and the feeling of putting on headphones and sticking the needle on the record still evokes something inside me.

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

For me that’s an easy one, Aaron Turner. I’m a big fan of Isis and just about everything he does. I’m also going to answer on behalf of Charlie the guitarist as I know he’s a Big Alice In Chains fan so I think for him, it would have to be Jerry Cantrell.

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

Easy, Roadburn.

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

There hasn’t been anything really weird however Charlie and Jim get a lot of fans nerding out on gear. I’ve had 2 people say they were brought to tears watching us live, one of who cried a little when he told me so that’s probably the strangest fan interaction, I’ve had.

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

Thank you and we really do appreciate your support.

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

Jesus…He’s pretty rocking right?

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

I love the comradery, whether it’s in the studio, rehearsing or playing shows. I hate disco load outs!

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

The disparity (monetarily) between the artists and those who facilitate them.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

First one that comes into my head is “Rumours”.

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

For supporting the band, CD’s. For the experience vinyl, for convenience downloads.

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

We’ve been lucky enough to tour with Will Haven so that will always be the answer to that one.

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

Probably my day job, being an engineer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Jesus, Ghandi, Freddie Mercury and the 2 guys I play in a band with…I’m fair like that!

What’s next for the band?

We’ve just released our latest album on CD with Ripcord www.ripcordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-fire

and will be back on the road touring as soon as we can.

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

All of them…
www.facebook.com/TheGreyUK/
www.instagram.com/thegreyband/
www.thegrey2.bandcamp.com/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4IOraLrm86hXDzMKNhJEST

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Soft, spongey, orangey delights that are eaten however the hell you like.

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

Nothing other than thanks for listening to me ramble on and please check us out…

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.

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3

LTE3 Album Cover Art

Liquid Tension Experiment – LTE3
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 16/04/2021
Running Time: 61:39
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

It’s hard to believe that it has been over 20 years since the first Liquid Tension Experiment (LTE) CD popped into my letter box but on listening to the band’s 3rd album, it feels much less than that.

For the uninitiated, LTE was formed after 4 academically trained musicians got together in one room hoping that something worthwhile would emerge from their collaborative efforts. The musicians were guitarist John Petrucci and drummer Mike Portnoy, who at the time were both parts of Dream Theater; ex-King Crimson bassist Tony Levin and keyboardist Jordan Rudess. Well, something worthwhile had emerged…in fact so productive was the chemistry between them that Jordan Rudess ended up being invited to join Dream Theater…where he remains to this day. The first LTE album was quickly followed by another but that was the distant 1999.

In a nutshell LTE is an instrumental band that inhabits the boundaries of Progressive Metal. The beauty of this project is that there are no significant constrictions, whether artistic or commercial, on what to create. Having said that, I’d say that “3” feels Jazzier, Bluesier, Funkier and perhaps more eclectic than the previous 2 LTE albums. And yet the source of the music is immediately recognisable. Case in point is ‘Beating The Odds’, which John Petrucci recently described as the “feel-good song of the pandemic”.

The tracks I liked most are also the ‘weirdest’…the most adventurous…of the lot: ‘Liquid Evolution’ and ‘Rhapsody In Blue’. The latter track, in particular, seems to possess the musical playfulness often associated with Frank Zappa.

When you hear Tony Levin extracting a series of harmonics from his bass, you know that Chris and Kevin (whoever they are) are about to embark on another journey. I’m referring to the track ‘Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey’ (Note: the 1st LTE album had featured a track called ‘Chris And Kevin’s Excellent Adventure’).

‘Shades Of Hope’ contains some of the emotional intensity of ‘Out Of The Blue’, a track that appeared on Petrucci’s recent “Terminal Velocity” solo album.

Mike Portnoy sounds relentless in ‘The Passage of Time’, the closest the album gets (musically speaking) to Dream Theater. In this track his drumming works particularly well with Petrucci’s fiery riffs.

All musicians are in excellent form, individually and collectively. There’s no doubt in my mind that this third LTE outing delivers on its potential and expectations in leaps and bounds.

‘The Passage Of Time’ (Official Video)

‘Hypersonic’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hypersonic
02. Beating The Odds
03. Liquid Evolution
04. The Passage Of Time
05. Chris & Kevin’s Amazing Odyssey
06. Rhapsody In Blue
07. Shades Of Hope
08. Key To The Imagination

LINE-UP:
Tony Levin – Bass Guitars, Chapman Stick
John Petrucci – Guitars
Mike Portnoy – Drums
Jordan Rudess – Keyboards

LINKS:

Liquid Tension Experiment Promo Pic

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 ROBYN FERGUSON

EMQ’s with ROBYN FERGUSON

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with South African based Guitarist, Vocalist & Prog Prodigy, Robyn Ferguson. Huge thanks to Robyn for taking part.

Robyn is a passionate musician from South Africa who knows how to work hard and play hard! Known for her dynamic live performances and adept guitar skills with acts like Adorned in Ash and Sistas of Metal, Robyn has been flying solo the past 2 years with 3 powerhouse releases now under her belt. The last year has not been easy for Robyn and her Satellite EP “Harbinger” follows close on the heels of her hugely successful debut EP “Alizarin”and sophomore EP “Falling Forward”. In her mental, emotional and spiritual journey to rise above health challenges. Robyn states that “there were many challenges faced and some that are still being faced. I am happy to say that, despite all these battles and still having some nerve damage and paralysis in parts of my body, (like 3 of the 5 fingers on my left hand), the creation of this album has been so liberating and exciting. This past year has completely kicked me into a different frame of mind and I’ve found myself looking at the world through a different lens. This year has pushed and pulled me like no other and I hope that this record will bring hope to those who are facing their own battles and inner demons.”

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

Robyn Ferguson, I’m a guitarist and vocalist and have been a solo musician since 2019

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

I’m from South Africa! The scene is small but solid!

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

My latest release is my satellite EP called “HARBINGER”; a 2 track EP that closely follows my EP called “Falling Forward” from earlier this year.

‘Premonitions’ (Visualiser)

‘Apparitions’ (Audio)

Who have been your greatest influences?

So, so many, but I have to foremost mention Devin Townsend, Karnivool and Polyphia!

What first got you into music?

I think, I was just born with a love for it.

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

The epic Devin Townsend!

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

I honestly want to play them all, because it’s my dream to play on the stages of the world.

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

Their napkin…who knows why they had one.

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

Do what you believe in, and push forward!

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

The legendary Mr. Ronnie James Dio!

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

Creation, composition and being on stage are among my favourite things. I hate hauling gear…my poor back!

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

Most definitely Egos!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Polyphia – “Renaissance”

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

All of the above haha!

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

Rock no Rio in Angola was so, so amazing!

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

A Graphic Designer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

My five personalities. 😊

What’s next for you?

Collaborations…and a lot more music, so watch this space!

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

www.robynferguson.com/
www.instagram.com/robyn_aia/
www.facebook.com/officialrobynferguson/
www.twitter.com/robyn_aia
www.robynferguson.bandcamp.com/releases
www.youtube.com/robyn-ferguson
www.open.spotify.com/artist/00147tpTlsA5XELYX03vuO

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

My answer is…42. 😊

Robyn is proudly endorsed by Ibanez Guitars South Africa

#ibanezsa #ibanezsouthafrica #ibanez

Represented by David Devo Oosthuizen

Devographic Music Media, PR, Events & Artist Management Agency – South Africa
devo@devographic.com

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.

I Built The Sky – The Zenith Rise

I Built The Sky – The Zenith Rise
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/11/2019
Running Time: 43:29
Review by “Dark Juan”
10/10

Good afternoon, dear friends and acolytes of the slightly left field version of whatever bastardised sort of religion that’s entertaining me in my thoughts these days. I am Dark Juan and today is a momentous occasion for I am writing this in a) the early afternoon, b) sober and c) with Igor the Evil One “assisting” me by crawling under my left arm and refusing to move, rendering the blood supply to my left hand absolutely useless and causing numbness and discomfort. Like what I appear to do to nubile young ladies when I’m on the pull. Apparently telling them it is the will of God is not the way to go. Neither is Satanic chanting and brandishing your sacrificial dagger and telling them you are going to cut out their beautiful, still beating heart and drink the lifeblood from its last laboured pulsations as the life fades from their dark kohled eyes. Also, being a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and wearing your sacred colander when you go out does not a successful encounter make. Wearing an Ever-Metal.com t-shirt does in fact turn you into a pussy (or cock) magnet though, so I suggest you all render yourselves irresistible to the opposite sex and purchase one immediately, and you too could be drowning in clunge…

Where was I?

Politicians are all cun… no. I did that last review and I do like to try to keep things fresh and novel for you, my good people. Ah yes… I Built The Sky. A solo project of an obviously possessed Australian musician who appears to have about 47 fingers on his fretboard hand, judging by the speed and complexity of his soloing and general playing! I’m quite scared for him because the price he must have had to pay the devil for this level of talent means that he’s going to be suffering extraordinary levels of punishment in Hell for quite some time. I Built The Sky is an instrumental project, and my first task is to assess whether the music suffers from a lack of vocals. It doesn’t. Not having the distraction of a vocal allows the guitar to breathe and to allow other instrumentation to come through and not have to compete with some wailing cretin trying to be the centre of attention. I also enjoy the style of playing on this record – its progressive, not in the naming songs after Cirith Ungol and dwarves sense, but in the experimental and satisfyingly complex sense. There are unusual time signatures and dissonance and all manner of good things here. Remember Yngwie Malmsteen and the fact that his musical prowess appeared to be built entirely from how fast he could play arpeggios and scales and he only had a singer to bridge the gap between guitar solos? I Built The Sky are nothing like that. They are built more on the Joe Satriani and Steve Vai principle of exploring the outer reaches of what the guitar is capable of as an instrument. Also, he quite clearly has mutant hands with elongated, prehensile fingers because some of the solos he plays appear to be physically impossible to us non mutants with normal hands. Bet Ro Han wouldn’t have any problems playing “Arpeggios From Hell”.

There’s a pleasing sub-djent quality to some of the songs on here too – opening track “Up Into The Ether” reminding me greatly of Infinitee in particular and having an excellent djenty central riff. On the middle solo, there’s some fearsomely fast picking going on as well, but I like the outward looking, expansive feel of the music, where on the slower bits it’s allowed to grow and spread in front of you. Here’s a musician with that rare ability to know just when to shut the fuck up playing and allow the music to breathe and become a living thing. Second track “Journey To Aurora” is probably the nearest we get to actual djent on the album – it straddles the fine point between full on djent and the pinnacle of heavy metal guitar playing and switches seamlessly from one to the other and back again before going into Floydian explorations of inner space before coming back out spitting venom because it clearly didn’t like what it saw in there. And from the point of view of a (admittedly very poor) musician I am blown away by the complexity of the arrangements of the music as well as the high quality of the actual songwriting. There is not an extraneous piece of music on the whole record. It all fits perfectly together and is surprisingly legible and easy to listen to. I find myself preferring instrumental albums more and more these days.

My favourite tune on here is the staggeringly massive “Wormhole Traveller”. Holy fuck. Jesus Holy High Christ in a chariot driven sidecar from the stars. It goes from black metal warp speed to introspective slow grind industrial to glorious goth metal solo, out – Tool’s Tool for musical creativity and complexity and still remains groovy and listenable. It is very very good and has left this hellpriest a metalgasmed out dirty, sticky, drained and sated mess on the lounge floor. Which I’m sure you’ll agree is a fine outcome, if a slightly disturbing image that will be sticking with you for your evening meal. Thank me later. Mrs. Dark Juan won’t. It’s such a persistent stain. So, we have extreme talent, musical promiscuity, staggering technique and an ear for a good tune and no need for squealing attention seekers. Dark Juan is pleased. And spent. If you like dense, complicated music that will give you something new on every listen, then I Built The Sky come highly recommended – however if you wish to listen to something boneheaded and simple, this ain’t for you. Cerebral music for cerebral people. Or guitar enthusiasts who will spend their lives picking the record apart note by note. Good luck learning it, chaps and chapesses. You need fingers that can do the Kessel Run in less than nine parsecs to keep up with some of it.

Marvellous.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Mate – for Ro is Australian and has so far avoided my notably dodgy sense of humour about where people come from) has tossed another shrimp on the Barbie and cracked open a tinnie in the back of its ute (ah, that’s more like it) and awards I Built The Sky 10/10 for a whooping skyrocket of a record. Well done, sir, well done. Bonzer.

I Built The Sky are:

Rohan “Ro Han” Stephenson – Antipodean guitar wizard.

TRACKLISTING:

01. Up Into The Ether
02. Journey To Aurora
03. Wormhole Traveller
04. Stellar Evolution
05. Light Pillars
06. Stars And Darkness
07. The Zenith Rise
08. The Only Way Out Is Up
09. Diamond Dust
10. Moonbow

LINKS:

https://www.ibuiltthesky.com
https://www.patreon.com/ibuiltthesky
https://www.facebook.com/pg/ibuiltthesky
https://www.instagram.com/ibuiltthesky https://open.spotify.com/artist/4URPAJlk8ay7npvNVVLpKN
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJZ2ZyMR9pgwXeV7uT_akDg

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.