Visions of Atlantis – Pirates

Pirates Album Cover Art

Visions of Atlantis – Pirates
Napalm Records
Release Date: 13/05/2022
Running Time: 58:00
Review by Rory Bentley 
8/10

Ok let’s get this out the way, I hate the pirate gimmick. I hate people that do pirate voices thinking it passes as a joke, I hate people that think dressing like a pirate constitutes a personality and I DESPISE the inexplicably popular pirate metal band that I won’t even dignify by naming here. The fact that it turns out that some of the members are bigoted pond life in their personal lives only adds further vindication to my ire. Some of you are probably going to accuse me of being no fun and having no sense of humour, but I’m sure I’ll get over not getting invited to your next plastic cutlass play fight. You’re that guy at work that people call a ‘character’ because he’s memorised some old Harry Enfield quotes but most people conveniently forget to invite to the pub. You wear a t-shirt with guitars on it that says ‘choose your weapon’, you call people ‘sir’ in an affected medieval voice and you sit on a deckchair all day at the Download main stage wearing a hat that doesn’t suit you. I can do this all day but you get the idea. You quote Monty Python and you’re invisible to the opposite sex etc. Ok I’m done. You shout butt scratcher at festivals and sneer at mainstream culture because you lack the social skills to ever be part of it. Ok I promise I’m done now.

The reason I’ve just gone on that harrowing rant is that Visions of Atlantis, a band I actually quite like, popped up in the review schedule with an album called “Pirates”, with a Piratey album cover, some nautical song titles and press photos where they look like some Long-John-Silver-ass motherfuckers, and my heart sank like an anchor based metaphor that I can’t be arsed to come up with. Fearing the worst but having a soft spot for the band, I tentatively put myself forward for the review. Upon hitting play my first words were thus- ‘Thank fuck for that!’

I’m delighted to say, with no small relief, that the Pirate theme here is predominantly allegorical and the album is still the same high quality Symphonic Metal I’ve come to expect from these guys. Even more pleasingly, there is a clear evolution of the band’s sound here that for the most part works incredibly well.

‘Pirates Will Return’ opens things up with the band’s signature bombast, with robust stomping riffs colliding with high production orchestration and powerful duelling vocals from Clémentine Delaunay and Michele Guaitoli. Despite its epic approach and longer runtime, the song whizzes by and is brimming with hooks that hit with laser precision. An excellent start.

The clear focus on melodic hooks is even more present on ‘Melancholy Angel’ and ‘Clocks’, both coming in under the four minute mark and leaning in a more commercial direction. Some fans may view this as a negative but it is a style that really suits them, and in a genre that can become exhausting in its excess, taut, disciplined songwriting that still retains the flamboyance of prime Symphonic Metal is nothing to be sniffed at.

There is a nice balance between more conventional, operatic  kitchen-sink chucking and festival-ready euro bangers that makes for a varied and enjoyable listen. For every cinematic fantasy workout like ‘Master The Hurricane’ there’s a ‘Wild Elysium’ to take the edge off, which is a trick that many of their peers struggle to pull off, either descending too far into pomposity or beating you to death with endless Eurovision (Eurovision is sheer joy, the best night of the whole year, and I won’t hear a word against it! Dark Juan) entries until you have to tap out.

Not everything here works, with a couple of saccharine ballads in the form of ‘Darkness Inside’ and ‘Heal the Scars’ bringing the momentum down a little and I actually feel that some of the punchier songs could have used an extra component or repeated chorus aa they occasionally end a little abruptly. But the fact that the guy that complains everything’s too long is advocating letting a song breathe a bit longer should tell you both how much I enjoyed this record and the clear step towards focused, concise songwriting Visions of Atlantis has taken.

So rather than the horror show of cringe-inducing Jolly Roger bollocks, “Pirates” is a satisfying, meticulously constructed hour of high-quality Symphonic Metal that has the hooks and finesse to see Visions of Atlantis establish themselves as major players in the genre. Never doubted it for a second. Ahem…

‘Melancholy Angel’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Pirates Will Return
02. Melancholy Angel
03. Master The Hurricane 
04. Clocks
05. Freedom
06. Legion of the Seas
07. Wild Elysium
08. Darkness Inside
09. In My World
10. Mercy
11. Heal the Scars
12. I Will Be Gone

LINE-UP:
Clémentine Delauney – Vocals
Michele Guaitoli – Vocals
Dushi Duscha – Guitars
Herbert Glos – Bass       
Thomas Caser – Drums

LINKS:


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

Carmeria – Advenae

Advenae Album Cover Art

Carmeria – Advenae
Self-Released
Release Date: 18/03/22
Running Time:
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Well, it’s finally happened friends. I have been afflicted with the plague, after avoiding it for two solid years. But, it has afforded me the time to catch up with some stuff and get cracking on reviews. And today’s subject is the brand-new debut album from Australian Symphonic Gothic Metallers, Carmeria. Now, this is an album that’s been a while in the making and you can tell, because it is a quality product. It’s one for all of you who like a good film score, because it’s jam-packed full of cinematic elements and orchestration.

The album starts with a massive, ‘call to arms’ style overture, complete with timpani, strings, and pipe organ, giving it a very Gothic feel from the start. And the fast pace and frantic nature of the sound continues through the second track, ‘Morning Star’, which is littered with synth strings, guttural growls, and some superb operatic clean vocals from Jordan Von Grae.

This style continues for much of the album, which is littered with catchy choruses and hooks all over the place. The whole thing is also based in the minor key, which gives it a very mournful, melancholic feel. Perfect for a Gothic gathering!

Track 5, ‘Relinquished’, takes the pace down a little. It’s a beautiful ballad that starts with a solitary piano. And this track really displays the silky tones of Jordan’s voice off superbly. After the first verse, vocals, piano, and gentle bass and drums are joined by the full orchestrations, and distorted guitars, making it a much grander and fuller sound. This for me is one of my stand out tracks. 

The brief lull in proceedings doesn’t last long, as ‘To Lead The Blind’ picks up the pace again. This uses dynamics brilliantly to build mystery and suspense. And there are some super vocal harmonies throughout. There’s a certain Progressive element here too, with some experimentation in rhythm, which again continues through to the next track. 

Pretty much the only beef I can find with this album is the synth strings in track 8, ‘Solaris’. They almost cheapen the whole thing, because they sound too synthesized. I mean, I know that’s kind of the point of a synth, but I think a slightly better string sound would have been advisable.

The final track, ‘Eternity’ isn’t just epic in name. At nearly 12 minutes long it’s a heck of a way to finish an album. With punchy choral vocals and synth, and heavy guitar, sitting alongside those beautiful clean vocals and guttural roars, it makes for a very dramatic closing number. 

This is a very accomplished debut from a band that have a very clear direction. I think these guys are seriously ones to watch. I love the album cover art, and the band have a definite ‘look’, too, which is pleasing, as it show’s they’ve thought about more than just the sound. And I get a sneaking suspicion there’s still more in the tank with them – this album is great, but I believe they will get even better. I look forward to finding that out in the future. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Advenae
02. Morning star
03. Carpe Noctem
04. En Rapture
05. Relinquished
06. To Lead the Blind
07. Celestia
08. Solaris
09. Starfall
10. Veil of Sanctitude
11. Halo
12. Eternity

LINE-UP:
Jordan Von Grae – Vocals
Jerry Zahija – Guitar
Mishka Bobrov – Keys
Emma Louise Nagy – Bass
Lachlan Blackwood – Drums

LINKS:

Carmeria 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.

Kimaera – Imperivm

Imperivm Album Cover Art

Kimaera – Imperivm
Self Released
Release Date: 15/03/22
Running Time: 43:31
Review by Rory Bentley
9/10

So Symphonic Metal, we meet again! What have you got for me this time? Some warbling about forest spirits? A Hans Zimmer jerk-off session with some chuggy guitars underneath? A song that’s longer than most of the Hardcore albums I review? Oh! A Lebanese Death Metal take on the Roman Empire you say? Consider me all over that shit!

Kimaera immediately distinguish themselves from the orchestral riff raff by bringing a lilting Middle Eastern tone to every song, utilising traditional Lebanese instruments and employing evocative melismatic singing. This would be engaging by itself, but when you add brutal Extreme Metal virtuosity to the equation with monstrous guttural vocals you’ve got yourself a winning formula.

The band have an excellent knack for building songs that showcase variety and technical prowess without becoming so overblown that the swelling orchestral moments lose impact through monotonous repetition. ‘De Amare et Bellvm’ condenses an album’s worth of ideas into one opening song and sets the tone perfectly for the world they have built with savage vocals, lush orchestration and mind-blowing blast beats all taking centre stage at various points to form a dense but rewarding journey that pulls you into the world of Roman occupied Lebanon.

After having to digest a lot in that opening cut, ‘The Die is Cast’ kicks in with a low-slung groove that brings you to more familiar Metal territory and gives your frazzled brain time to process what you’ve just been hit with. Once again, it is full of gorgeous modal melodies and ethnic singing with almost every new phrase providing a memorable hook. The distorted vocals manage to be unrelentingly savage while being delivered with perfect diction that allows every lyric to be heard clearly, enhancing the storytelling aspect of “Imperivm”.

This heavy focus on Caesar and the gang (that’s what I call the Romans because I’m a dumb ass that didn’t pay enough attention during history class) is brought to the forefront in ‘The Ides of March’ which sounds like the most brutal elements of Opeth colliding with the bombast of Fleshgod Apocalypse, as it tells the story of the Emperor’s terrifying power and subsequent downfall. Metal and history lessons are common bedfellows, but rarely have they been combined to such brutal effect without sounding like a Wikipedia entry (looking at you Iron Maiden). The fact that Roman occupation is ingrained in the history and culture of the band’s home country adds a legitimacy to the execution of the concept that few other bands would be capable of pulling off without coming across as a bit Spinal Tap (looking at you AGAIN Iron Maiden).

By the time we get to the epic closer to the album proper ‘Capvt Mvndi’, the song’s extended runtime feels earned, as nothing on the album outstays its welcome to the point that this may be the finest composition on the record. One big bugbear I have of Symphonic Metal albums in general is that they tend to get flabby towards the end, dulling the emotional weight of compositions by having too many songs that need serious trimming or omission. There’s no such issue here as everything has a purpose and fits together as a cohesive body of work.

After the story section of the album is over, we get a cover of the popular Lebanese song ‘Ya Beirut’ featuring the dulcet guest vocals of Cheryl Khayrallah who weaves elegantly through a joyful instrumental tribute to Kaimaera’s home city. The Metal is present but dialled back, allowing a multitude of Middle Eastern instruments to pull you into the blazing sun and city streets one last time. I will warn you the chorus is a real earworm and it’s been spinning round my brain on a loop for a week now to the point where I’m starting to worry it will never go away, but nonetheless it’s a suitably leftfield closer to an album dripping with its own idiosyncratic style.

As I was about to delve into this wonderful band’s back catalogue, I came across the tragic news that vocalist and guitarist J.P. Haddad had tragically passed away prior to the release of the album. Of course, I’d like to offer my condolences to the rest of the band and J.P.’s friends and family, but I hope they can draw significant comfort from the fact that he has spearheaded a truly fantastic record that is everything that is great about Metal in 2022. This has been one of my favourite discoveries since I started reviewing for Ever Metal and I implore you to dive headfirst into this exhilarating tale of the ancient world.

‘The Ides Of March’ – Official video

TRACKLISTING:
01. De Amare et Bellvm
02. The Die is Cast
03. VVV
04. The Ides of March
05. Imperator
06. Vi Divinia
07. Capvt Mvndi
08. Ya Beirut

LINE-UP:
JP Haddad – Vocals / Guitars
Charbel Abboud – Keyboards
Pierre Najm – Lead Guitars
Patrick Estephan – Drums
Richard Basile – Bass Guitar

LINKS:

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

Týr – A Night At The Nordic House

A Night At The Nordic House Album Cover Art

Týr – A Night At The Nordic House
Metal Blade
Release Date: 18/03/22
Running Time: 01:26:29
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Not a band I have ever come across before, but Týr get two firsts from me today by also being the first band from the Faroe Islands that I’ve come across. Whilst lyrically and thematically being all about Norse mythology, Týr have much more of a heart-thumping Folk Metal feel to them than the more outwardly Metal stalwarts of all things Viking like Amon Amarth do. Apart from subject matter, there’s everything to compare between them, so don’t assume that if you are familiar with one, that you know the other. 

This is a good enough place to start with the band though, although what makes this slightly harder to wrap your head around as an introductory record is the fact that this is a live performance with The Symphony Orchestra of the Faroe Islands, so there’s a massive Symphonic Metal style overlay here that might distract you. It actually works really well because unlike many of these sort of collaboration projects the orchestra is not overly dominant in the mix, with the focus remaining with the core four members of the band whilst simultaneously giving you a shortcut to their greatest hits from the eight studio albums that precede this. It’s also been hanging around for a while, having been recorded in early 2020 before the music industry went turned tits up, but with Covid presumably having put plans on ice this seems like a sensible choice for a release. 

Let’s be clear, this is not a slot-filler for the sake of it. These sorts of collaborations have become de rigeur since Metallica did their first “S&M”, but there’s clearly a lot of thought gone into getting the balance right and still making it sound like the band are sticking to their guns. And then let’s not underestimate the deeply Folk feel here, and its effect. There’s a massive cultural disconnect between the concept of orchestral and classical music, with its implied elitism and the middle ages “street” of Folk, which is about as blue collar as you can get without storming the bastille. That’s why I raised my eyebrows when I read about this, but they absolutely pull off the dichotomy – but it’s clear why the orchestration is played lower in the mix than the band are.

This is a band unafraid to use simple unaccompanied vocal harmonies in their native Faroese language from time to time too, which when you throw a choir into the mix as well add a hugely rich and cinematic feel to the proceedings. Check out the insanely epic ‘Ragnars Kvæði’ if you don’t believe me for sheer effect. In fact “epic” is a good word for this whole endeavour, as at eighteen tracks you get plenty of bang for your buck, but with so much variety in tone, pace and style that you don’t get chance to get bored. 

Style wise for every Faroese language Folk piece, you’ve got more Folk Metal-esque fist-pumping English language fare like the anthemic ‘Blood of Heroes’, which is one of those tracks with a singalong chorus for which no previous familiarity is required that mercifully doesn’t get ulled into Power Metal territory. It’s worth noting that the anthemic choruses work just as well even if you don’t speak a word of Faroese, because these guys know how to craft engaging and punchy songs. The band wisely alternate between style and language to keep the pace fresh and to keep the novelty of the special nature of the project, and with a vocalist in Heri Joensen who can alternate between a gruff Metal delivery, high end classically clean and nasally folk as and when it stays crisp and dynamically fresh throughout.

The audience are clearly deeply enjoying themselves and it would be interesting to watch the live DVD that goes with this, as the strength of performance alone here has my curiosity piqued enough to want to know a little more about this act. However this 96 minutes is a cracking introduction to a band who clearly can cut the mustard live, and with some solid enough tunes in their repertoire to warrant further analysis.

‘By The Sword In My Hand’ Live Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hel’s Prelude
02. Gates of Hel
03. Grindavísan
04. Sunset Shore
05. Ragnars Kvæði
06. Gavotte from Suite in G Minor
07. Blood of Heroes
08. Ramund Hin Unge
09. Hold the Heathen Hammer High
10. The Lay of Thrym
11. Tróndur í Gøtu
12. Mare of My Night
13. Turið Torkilsdóttir
14. Fire and Flame
15. Torkils Døtur
16. Ormurin Langi
17. By the Sword in My Hand
18. Álvur Kongur

LINE-UP:
Heri Joensen – Vocals / Guitar
Hans Hammer – Guitar
Gunnar Thomsen – Bass / Vocals
Tadeusz Rieckmann – 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.

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Animus Album Cover Art

Moonlight Haze – Animus
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 18/03/22
Running Time: 43:45
Review by Simon Black
6/10

Italian Power/Symphonic metallers Moonlight Haze surprised me with their sophomore release last time round, as that album had a distinctive edge and caught me out being way more than a Nightwish clone done Italian Operatic Metal style. Sadly this time round, the edge has largely gone and this is much more safe and predictable, at least at first. Now I know there’s a good market for material in that vein, but two years back I really liked the fact that singer Chiara Tricarico really pushed her voice in a couple of places rather than playing it clean and operatic throughout. There’s touches of that here, but not enough and the overall tone and energy of the pace takes a long time to get into its stride. 

It’s not until we’re at the halfway point of ‘Midnight Haze’ that this album really starts to pick up the pace and step up to the mark. From that point forward it’s almost like I’m listening to two very different sets of material fused together, and that latter half is way more effective than the radio-friendly drift of the first half. I really am not going to spend any more time discussing the first five songs, as it really is from that sixth song that this becomes worthwhile.

From then on to the end, the pace belts up a couple of notches, bringing some much needed energy and a lot more technical virtuosity to boot. And in a good way too, as being overtly technically showy can really drown out the song structures. Not only does this salvage things somewhat, but from here on Tricarico is really pushing her voice more, and that slightly more dangerous edge saves the day.

She does turn the operatic back on for the album’s closer ‘Horror & Thunder’ but then there’s also a male voice to duet with to provide tonal contrast, which again works well. Duet’s aside, I really wish (and I said it when I reviewed the “Lunaris” album a couple of years ago) that they would ditch the overt radio friendly elements and concentrate on the heavier belters, because that’s when their sound becomes stronger and more distinctive. Nevertheless, not a bad effort but not as strong overall as their sophomore.

‘Animus’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Nothing
02. It’s Insane
03. Kintsugi
04. Animus
05. The Thief And The Moon
06. Midnight Haze
07. Tonight
08. Never Say Never
09. We’ll Be Free
10. Ritual Of Fire
11. Horror & Thunder

LINE-UP:
Chiara Tricarico – Vocals
Giulio Capone – Drums / Keyboards
Alessandro Jacobi – Bass
Alberto Melinato  – Guitars
Marco Falanga – Guitars.

LINKS:

Moonlight Haze Promo Pic

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 APOLINARA

Apolinara Logo

EMQ’s With APOLINARA

Hello Everyone. Welcome to another EMQs, this time with Ukrainian Symphonic Gothic Metal project, Apolinara. Huge thanks to her 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 Apolinara – an independent Symphonic Gothic metal artist. I’m singer / songwriter and piano player. I started this solo journey in 2019. Since then, I found brilliant and experienced session musicians, arranged 11 tracks, and recorded the album ‘Shadows and Signs’. It will be out on February 22, 2022. You can listen to promo single ‘Shadows and Signs’ already on any streaming platforms along with other 2 songs ‘Slowly’ (demo version) and ‘Wonderful’. I’d like to name musicians who worked with me on the album:

Apolinara – lyrics, music, arrangements, lead and back vocals
Alexander Kasiarum – drums
Vyacheslav Khabarov – lead, rhythm and bass guitars
Tatyana Krasavina – cello
Julia Polishchuk – violin
Brien Engel – glass harp (Slowly (acoustic))
Fabian Morales – growls
Max Morton – mixing, mastering, sound production

How did you come up with your band name?

Apolinara is a creation of my imagination, kind of a variation of my own name – Polina. It’s a Slavic name as I was born and raised in Ukraine. It’s rooted to St. Apolonia and Apollo from Greek and Rome mythology.

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

I was born and raised in Ukraine but for the last 9 years I reside in the US. Due to my family situation, I’m moving quite often. My family is always “on the road” that’s why I can’t speak of some precise country or region. I think it’s fantastic that nowadays any band from any country can find the correct audience around the world. Social media is not always “evil” 😉

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

‘Shadows and Signs’ promo single was released in December 2021, and the full length album under the same name is coming on 22.02.2022! 

Who have been your greatest influences?

I grew up listening a lot of classical music. My dad hooked me on Classic Rock and Heavy Metal – The Doors, Deep Purple, Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath. Later on I become a fan of Nightwish, Within Temptation, Evanescence and Lacrimosa.

What first got you into music?

It was my personal desire to start music lessons when I was 6. There are no musicians in my family. So I still don’t know how and why I was so motivated. I just always knew – I want to be a musician.

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

I have a dream to collaborate with Swedish singer / songwriter Mattias Lindblom.

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

Wacken Open Air! I don’t think any explanations needed… 

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

Nothing weird so far, only nice ones. For example, last year I got wood burn artwork of my picture.

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

Follow your Path to the Light through a Darkness.

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

Jim Morrison 

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

I love composing and recording. Also I truly enjoy teaching music. What do I hate? Honestly, I hate unreliable people…

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

I won’t, because as every other industry, the music industry is changing rapidly itself. We are living in a very “speedy time”. Sometimes it’s hard simply to keep up. So, I don’t want to change the industry, I would like to change the mind of most musicians to become more versatile and seize the opportunities of digital world and social media.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Once” by Nightwish

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

I don’t want to compare digital and physical music formats. They are serving different purposes. Digital downloads are bringing wide opportunities for artist to get discovered which is great! Physical vinyl, cassettes and CD’s are for collectors. Personally, I would choose CD.

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

After starting Apolinara, I’ve done several online live streams on Facebook and Instagram. I played my songs and favourite covers. They went great and surprisingly warm.

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

Only a musician. If I couldn’t compose and perform – I would focus on teaching.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

You know I live far from my parents and sister’s family. Last year my grandmother was 90 years old but because of coronavirus protective regulations we couldn’t have a proper party. I’m not dreaming to have a dinner party with celebrities, I want to gather my own whole relatives for dinner! Of course, as a big Nightwish fan, I’d love to have an opportunity to chat with Thomas and Floor about music someday.

What’s next for the band?

Album release on 22.02.2022 – “Shadows and Signs” – is the biggest step for Apolinara at this moment.

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

For free songs and other information I’m inviting you to visit my webpage. For physical CD’s, full album mp3 download and other merch we are opening the shop. Also Apolinara’s music is available on Bandcamp, Spotify, YouTube Music, Apple Music and any other streaming platform of your choice.
Website – https://www.apolinara.com/ 
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/apolinaraofficial 
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/apolinaraofficial/ 
Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/artist/0xnuO1CWHnawkUWxeenT0O 
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/c/Apolinara 
Bandcamp – https://apolinara.bandcamp.com/ 
Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/apolinara 

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Ha ha ha! I just googled it. Wiki says they are biscuit-sized cakes. Who am I to question this? But you can send me some for degustation.

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

Thank you for having me. Stay Metal, check out “Shadows and Signs” by Apolinara on February 22, 2022, and let’s Fire Up!

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.

Emetropia – Equinox

Equinox Album Cover Art

Emetropia – Equinox
Self – Released
Release Date: 23/02/2022
Running Time: 53:00
Review by Rory Bentley
7/10

Symphonic Metal eh? Some people love it, some people would rather get a sledgehammer to their intimate regions than listen to it. Personally, I love it when it’s done to its full potential. My favourite band in the whole world is Nightwish, who are the best at it and take my worried mind to somewhere that feels like magic, like I’ve been plonked in the middle of an epic movie with the most fantastical score. I also love the harder, more Progressive approach of Epica, as well as the explosive precision and sheer number of bangers that Within Temptation deal out, these are the big three and barring a few exceptions here and there, these are the ones I fuck with. It is an incredibly difficult style to pull off and there’s a reason why the big players have remained at the top of the tree for so long, rarely equalled and never bettered at producing overblown yet accessible music that has festival crowds roaring every word back at them.

Swedish quintet Emetropia are one of this year’s pretenders to the Symphonic throne with their debut album “Equinox”, but can they force their way into the great halls of orchestral bombast, or will they be another band that is met with shrugs, or worse ridicule for throwing their pompous hat into the ring? The answer is somewhere between these poles.

First the good stuff- the song writing, and production here owes a lot to “Wishmaster” era Nightwish, with driving pace, dramatic orchestral stabs and battling guitars and keyboards that stave off the potential for plodding po-faced mawkishness. ‘Seasonal Warfare’ forgoes the brooding, snooze-inducing intros of many a Symphonic also-ran and punches you with a velvet glove. ‘A Summer Breeze’ then builds on this momentum with more wholesale late 90’s Nightwish aping that once again does not overuse the orchestral elements and lets the full throttle Metal band beneath them shine front and centre. The clarity and heft of the production in this opening is very impressive considering this a debut and the band don’t have the London Studio Orchestra to rely on like Tuomos and the gang.

The solid ebb and flow of ‘That Fateful Night’ continues this show of compositional prowess, segueing beautifully between chugging verses and explosive bursts of Symphonic power. The band clearly have a firm grasp of their sound and identity even if originality isn’t paramount. The fact that they avoid the more embarrassing Gothic tropes of Symphonic Metal is a big plus here, favouring a brighter, more pastoral tone that marks them out from the eye-rolling faux melancholy of many of their peers.

Special praise must also go to lead singer Lisa Wallenberg who channels the graceful power of Epica’s Simone Simons throughout the record, always in control, never straining and cutting through the busy mix beautifully with an angelic, soaring soprano tone. When a band wears this much Nightwish influence on their sleeve, the gigantic spectre of Tarja has the potential to hang heavy so the fact that Lisa has a brighter, less weighty vocal quality goes a good way towards preventing unfavourable comparisons to the operatic Finnish powerhouse. Lisa is clearly a very proficient singer, however there are times where I’d like to hear more urgency in her voice and a little more character to the pristine perfection of otherwise incredibly impressive performances like the rousing chorus of ‘Procession Of Kings’.

Where the album predominantly falters for me is the runtime and subsequent pacing. There’s not quite enough sonic variety to prevent fatigue by the time we get to closing cut ‘His Final Endeavor’ (thankfully it is), which itself runs past the 11 minute mark. I would have happily consigned the more Power Metal by numbers ‘The Old Gods’ to a B-side to make the epic closer more palatable by the time we get to it.

Inevitably with a band on their first album that wears its influence on its sleeve, Emetropia currently lack a strong enough identity to push this score a little higher despite being very proficient at what they do. I hope this comes with time as the potential is very clear even at this early stage of their career. Overall this is an above average effort that provides an enjoyable listen and largely sidesteps the cheesy pitfalls of Symphonic Metal and gives me the warm, fuzzy feeling that I get from 90’s Nightwish. Definitely one to keep your eye on if you like your shredding with a side of string section.

‘The First Leaf Falls’ – Official Lyric Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Seasonal Warfare
02. A Summer Breeze
03. That Fateful Night
04. Lord of the Blizzards
05. The First Leaf Falls
06. Fall’s First Storm
07. The Old Gods
08. Procession of Kings
09. His Final Endeavor

LINE-UP:
Lisa Wallenberg – Lead Vocals and Lyrics
Liam Strand – Songwriting, Keyboards, Orchestras, and Vocals
Olle Renius – Lead Guitar, Vacking Vocals
Jonatan Jakobsson – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Oscar Heikkinen – Drums
Kristoffer “Bobo” Pynnönen – Bass

LINKS:

Emetropia Promo Pic

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

EMQ’s With AGE OF ATHENA

Age Of Athena Logo

EMQ’s With AGE OF ATHENA

Hi everyone. Welcome to another EMQs interview this time with Canadian Symphonic Metalcore band, Age Of Athena. Huge thanks to their Guitarist/Vocalist, Zachary 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?

Hello! My name is Zachary and I play guitar and scream in the Symphonic Metalcore band, Age of Athena! I met our pianist Nathan in university. We started jamming and writing songs, and bam! That’s when we decided to make a band together. A year later we found Helen and Michael on Kijiji, believe it or not! After that, everything just fell into place and the rest is history!

How did you come up with your band name?

We wanted to come up with a name that sounded very large and in charge. Avengers: Age of Ultron came out a year prior and I remember thinking that movie title (and movie) felt huge! So that’s where we got half the name… the other half came from browsing a list of Greek gods and goddesses because that’s what everyone does when coming up with a name, right? Right!? We decided to go with Athena, the goddess of war and protectress. She is a balance of chaos and protection – good and evil. Similarly, our music is a contrast between the chaos of Metalcore and the sweet Symphonic sounds of our female vocalist.

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

We are from Toronto, Canada! The scene is great – we know a lot of local talent and have played with quite a few of them! We’re lucky to be in a city where there is a large audience for Metal bands! That’s all you can ask for really! The Agonist and Spiritbox are popular Canadian Modern Metal bands and it’s really cool they’re experiencing international success – there is hope for Canada!

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

We just released our first single, ‘Dance With The Devil’, on October 29th. Our second single, ‘Together We Fall’, dropped on November 26th. Our debut album, “Gate To Oblivion”, came out on December 17th, 2021! This album has something for everyone – from heavier Metalcore screamed breakdowns, to smooth and angelic Melodic vocal melodies.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Synyster Gates from Avenged Sevenfold and Slash from Guns N’ Roses. Their song writing is genius, and their solos are very memorable and well written. When writing, I try to create solos that listeners can hum, sing, and air guitar along to, just like these two guys do! As a band we are all inspired by a variety of different artists of different genres. This works to our advantage as it brings in new perspectives and ideas stemming from all different kinds of music.

What first got you into music?

It’s strange to say but honestly 2007’s Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock! That game changed my life forever. I remember getting the game for Christmas and playing “Slow Ride” by Foghat. From then on, I was obsessed with the guitar. When I could play all the songs on expert mode in the game, I thought it was time to graduate to the real thing. I haven’t stopped playing since, always trying to challenge myself and test the limits of my own personal “expert mode”.

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

Honestly, we love so much music and so many bands that I would be very happy to collaborate with anyone. I think having any strong female metal vocalist would be awesome on our tracks – Simone from EPICA, Vicki from The Agonist, Courtney from Spiritbox, and Tatiana from Jinjer, to name a few.

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

Obviously, there are a lot of huge festivals in Europe… but playing Heavy Montreal in Canada would be very special. I’ve attended as a fan several times and have always had a blast!

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

My Mom gave me a Fruit Roll-Up once.

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

Don’t give up on your dreams. Hard work pays off!

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

Jimmy “The Rev” from Avenged Sevenfold. His whacky song writing was genius, and his absence has really been felt by the band and fans alike. Gone too soon.

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

I like hearing music come together sonically as a full band. Jamming out tunes for the first few times can be rough but when everyone comes together and brings their A game, I’m very satisfied with the music we make.

Honestly, I hate feeling the comparative / competitive pressure with other guitarists. I get stressed when I can’t play something as well as I would like, and I get stressed when I can’t play at the level my heroes and other contemporary metal guitarists play at. Taking a step back, not letting it get to my head too much, and only comparing myself to… myself, is helpful when trying to chill out about it.

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

Unless your name is Taylor Swift, you need a second job. Music has been getting less and less financially sustainable for the average everyday musician.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Guns N’ Roses’ “Appetite for Destruction”. It’s the greatest rock n’ roll debut album ever. The song writing is genius. Those punk ass kids from L.A. had no business writing an album like that!

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

Umm… don’t kill me, but downloads. I’m young, I’ve embraced the technological age, and streaming services are just easier and more convenient. I don’t even have a CD player anymore! However, I think streaming compresses the audio a little bit. So, CDs are my best bet for clear audio fidelity.

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

Probably our last gig at Bovine Sex Club downtown Toronto. It was the last gig we played before the pandemic hit. We’ve done a lot of gigs playing as sort of a cover band and this was our first show playing wholly original music. I loved it! We had a lot of fun playing and hanging out with our friends Anger By Design and Driftglass. There was a great turn out in the audience as well!

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

Pro gamer. 1v1 me on Call of Duty bro.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Adele, John Mayer, Jack Black, James Corden, and Jesus Christ – to make things spicy.

What’s next for the band?

Our debut album “Gate To Oblivion” arrived in December which was exciting. We’re very happy to be releasing music into the world for the first time! We just filmed a music video so stay tuned for that! Beyond that we’re looking forward to joining the world in getting back out there and supporting live music and playing some shows ourselves!

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

Our music is on all streaming platforms! You can find it and check us out at
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ageofathena
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ageofathena/
Website: https://www.ageofathena.ca
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5cqA1zq210eUdlakOih8sN
iTunes: https://music.apple.com/ca/artist/age-of-athena/1587830112 
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/ca/artist/age-of-athena/1587830112

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Hahaha I don’t think I’ve ever had a Jaffa Cake… but after some research I am going to say biscuit!

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.

Wilderun – Epigone

Epigone Album Cover Art

Wilderun – Epigone
Century Media Records
Release Date: 07/01/22
Running Time: 71:14
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Rarely is it that an album comes along which leaves me completely lost for words and in complete awe. Over the years a few artists have managed it. Devin was one, with “Empath”. Much earlier in my musical listening life, Queen’s “Innuendo” album left me speechless too. But in 2020 I had the pleasure of reviewing “Veil Of Imagination” by Boston, Massachusetts based Symphonic Progressive Metal band Wilderun, and that left me in much the same state… 

Well, now they’re back with their new release, and bugger me, they have done it again! This album is ridiculous, and I simply do not have enough words for it (I’m pretty sure I said similar in my last review)! So, without further ado, I will try and explain why “Epigone” is a modern masterpiece. 


Wilderun’s previous offering began with a track that was over 14 minutes long, and absolutely huge. I didn’t think it was possible to make a sound any bigger than that track. Turns out I was wrong again! While this record starts with a beautifully haunting acoustic number, we are introduced to the epic track next, with ‘Woolgatherer’. It’s insanely gigantic in every imaginable way, not just in length, and it all starts from the position of stunning, beautiful gentleness, both vocally and instrumentally. This is the most ridiculous prog I have ever heard – delicate, yet flamboyant and sumptuous, it sails you away to some sort of weird, and a little dark, symphonic Atlantis that simply should not be possible, or at all plausible. Massive orchestrations, intricate cross rhythms, close harmonies, clean vocals that soar, and demonic growls that tear at your soul, and it’s all rounded off with guitar riffage and bass wizardry that moves through so many colours during the track.

And this is very much how this album continues. Darker than their previous album, it really is an absolute genius masterstroke, and I am in total awe of the musical brains behind Wilderun. Magic. That’s what it is. There is no other word to describe it.

‘Ambition’ serves as a pause within the album, and is a haunting and sinister soundscape, which feels oppressive and insular – almost like being in a submarine deep under the ocean. This leads into ‘Distraction – parts I-IV’ which creates a 20-minute Progressive Metal Juggernaut that takes us to the end of the main album. Its orchestral elements are frankly stunning. I have visions of it being performed by a full orchestra in venues like The Royal Albert Hall, or Sydney Opera House. And the skill of every single musician in the work is exhibited perfectly within these tracks. The guitar solo in part III is just nuts! 

I implore you though – do not let that be the end of the album. Purchase the full works that have the 2 extra tracks, because if you don’t, you’re depriving yourself of more brilliance. ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ is heavy and crunchy, but still retains that beautiful orchestral element, and a choral element as well. And the Synth remix of the opening album track ‘Exhaler’ is equally as beautiful, but somehow more haunting. 


Stunning. Absolutely, totally and utterly astounding. Everything is perfect. If I could give a million out of ten, I would. Probably my album of the year already and it’s only January. It’s going to take a massive amount of beating. I’m feeling emotional right now. If you like prog, classical, or anything symphonic, and want music to make you really feel something, you need this album. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Exhaler
02. Woolgatherer
03. Passenger
04. Identifier
05. Ambition
06. Distraction I
07. Distraction II
08. Distraction III
09. Distraction Nulla
10.  Everything In Its Right Place (Bonus – only on CD & digital)
11. Exhaler (Synth Mix – Bonus – only digital)

LINE-UP:
Evan Anderson Berry – Vocals, Guitars, Piano
Dan Müller – Bass, Synths, Orchestrations
Jon Teachey – Drums
Joe Gettler – Lead Guitar
Wayne Ingram – Orchestrations

LINKS:

Wilderun 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 IMMATERIUM

Immaterium Logo

EMQ’s With IMMATERIUM

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Polish Epic Symphonic Metal solo project, Immaterium. Huge thanks to main lady, Ma’ar Gareth, 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 real name is Małgorzata but it’s too hard to write or pronounce for foreigners, so I use the  English version, Margaret. My music is influenced by many bands because I like almost all kinds of metal, and I’m a fan of soundtracks too. So, I would just call it ‘Epic Symphonic Metal’. Still better than calling it ‘Epic Symphonic Melodic Progressive Metal with Djent and Opera influences”.

I formed this project because I couldn’t deal with the amount of ideas that I had in my head. I could create a whole fantasy universe during a boring lesson or write lyrics for a concept album when I had a few free days. When I had a lot of song lyrics, I decided to learn music theory. I never believed I could to that, but after about ten months I wrote the orchestral parts for my first real song (Hymn of The Warmaster). The songs I wrote before? Well, let’s pretend they never existed.

Then came the worst part. Finding band members. Where I live, I have only a few friends, and they aren’t interested in music, especially in my genre. I browsed the internet but everyone was like: ‘new project? Wow, great, I want to join!’ Then there were two weeks of silence and a response: ‘Sorry, I can’t write anything and I quit.” Finally, I just found musicians for hire. I asked if they are interested in music like this, they wrote the rest of the song, and we all were happy.

How did you come up with your band name?

I knew it had to be some kind of reference related to science, sci-fi or fantasy. I had a few options: Exocortex (brain-computer interface), TechMage (as the name says, the magician dedicated to technology), Mechanomachia (Titanomachia was a mythical ancient Greek war with titans but make the titans mechanical), CyberSkull (can’t imagine how cheesy that would be), Kyber (crystals used in Lightsabers in Star Wars universe), Korriban (a sinister planet in Star Wars), Katana (sorry, taken!), a bunch of technobabble like ‘quantum/cyber/space + random word’ names (bonus points if they were in Latin), and then the final choice: The Eye of Terror, Warp Storm, or Immaterium. All of them are related to a fictional realm from the Warhammer Universe that could be called ‘the opposite of reality’. Think about hyperspace in Star Wars but with monsters, demons and suffering souls that drive people into insanity.

My stage name is just my English name with more letters. Margaret sounds like a normal girl, while Ma’ar Gareth sounds like some kind of ancient magician or goblin warlock or whatever like this.

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

I’m from Southern Poland, also called ‘Bieszczady’, and we’re the home of the legendary Tech-Death band Decapitated. I’m not very much into the local scene, but the bands that I can recommend are: Kalt Vindur (Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal), Hermetic Evolution (Djent/Industrial Metal), Diaboł Boruta (Folk Metal) and Neolith (Death Metal).

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

The latest, and also the first release is the EP called ‘The Primal Evil’.

Who have been your greatest influences?

The first two bands that gave me the idea were Nightwish and Epica. If they can play metal with orchestral music influences, why can’t I? Then I dived deeper and found many Symphonic Death Metal Bands: Ex Deo, Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Shade Empire and Wintersun. But the band that helped me make the final decision was the band that I love with my whole heart: Mechina.

What first got you into music?

Weird story. When I was a kid, I absolutely hated music. The thing I disliked the most was lyrics. Love, broken hearts, romances… boooring. Then, when I was 14, my classmate started listening to Rammstein in front of the whole class. That was it. Raw, heavy, and catchy. I fell in love with that band (now I like still like them, just not that fanatically). This led me to the whole big, vast realm of Metal. The beginnings weren’t so easy. It was very hard for me to find something more impressive than Metallica, Slipknot or Nirvana. When I thought I almost lost my interest, I accidentally saw a Facebook ad about Behemoth. That was a revelation. Finally, I found what I was looking for and with all those years I was discovering more and more interesting music, not only Metal.

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

Brittney Slayes, the vocalist of Unleash The Archers. No one can change my mind that she is the best vocalist in Modern Metal, and one of the greatest vocalists in the whole Metal history. She can do pretty low and deep cleans, high Power Metal screams, and even opera, that is all I need in my music. But that’s just a dream, too perfect to be real.

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

ProgPower. I like Prog and Power, I play Prog and a bit of Power, do I need more?

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

Someone paid $4 on Bandcamp, when my price was $0.90. I had only one song, I could give up at any moment, but someone trusted me that much. That person believed I can do more. That was heartwarming.

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

Not only my fans, but fans of any underground band: if you can’t or don’t want to spend money and buy my things or donate to my Ko-Fi page, you can always help me in many other simple ways. Share my music or posts, tag your friends, tag me under other people’s posts, recommend me to other people. It costs nothing, takes only a few minutes or even less, but it helps a lot.

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

Probably Alexi from Children of Bodom. I wasn’t a big CoB fan, but they influenced many bands that I love: Kalmah, Skyfire or Norhter. Without him, the Melodic Death Metal scene would feel empty and ordinary. He and his band have many worthy successors, but those bands wouldn’t be the same without his influence.

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

Storytelling. I love telling or retelling stories. Writing music lets me unleash my imagination, it’s like creating fantastic events and universes, or travelling through places that no one else could think about.

And the thing I hate is music promotion, marketing, and social media. Wake up, send messages to bloggers, add posts on Instagram or you will lose all your reach and engagement, then browse through playlists and submit your music, then go back to Instagram and look for followers. Earlier I posted only when I had something to say. Now, after the Instagram change, I need to do it three, four times per week or their damned algorithms will bury my account.

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

I would grab all those scammers, lock them in a big underground cage and throw a bunch of spiders or cockroaches on their heads. Why? I’m frequently looking for a new ways of music promotion and the amount of scammers is unbelievable. All this ‘5k Spotify streams in 2 days, 10k likes on Facebook, you will go viral and be the next Lady Gaga, and every time you tag #music, don’t forget to DM us for promo!’ gives me a gag reflex. Someone should take care of those scammers and bots. I heard about way too many artists who get scammed by very believable and professional looking morons. Before you pay for any promo, do research. Don’t trust anyone who promises you too much in too short time for too little money or who got hundreds of five-star reviews from fake accounts.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Mechina – “Progenitor”.

(Beware, spoilers!) Every time I promise myself I won’t cry during  the lines ‘At any moment this will end, my final breath, like embers turning to dust’ or ‘The price we pay begins with boundless pain. Awaken, only to die’. And I fail. The goosebumps I get during the orchestral parts feel like some kind of frozen mist. The beautiful and powerful voice of Mel Rose plays with my feellings. It can make me feel like I was one of the characters from the story: depressed like I was the one who got betrayed by her own sister, lost like the character who got deprived of memory in order to survive or awed like the creators of godlike machines. Enough spoilers, go and listen to this band (in chronological order of the story!) and visit their Wiki to understand the awesome lore. Seriously, this could be the sci-fi series in history! 

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

Of course, the feeling of holding a vinyl or CD in your hands is a special kind of experience but not everyone can buy them. I don’t have enough space to hoard hundreds of CDs, ordering CDs from more underground bands in other countries is expensive, and sometimes I just like a few songs from the album. My personal choice is to buy music from Bandcamp.

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

I never played a gig because I’m in an international project and the whole logistics would be too complicated and expensive. I only took part in a few gigs as a fan and the best one was a Vader live show (the scene was very low, someone pushed me and I fell on the scene. Fun times.)

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

Now I’m studying photography and that’s what I’m going to do in my life. Aside from that, I would be a writer if I were smarter and better at marketing. I hope I will be able to go back to writing one day.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Thomas (ex Gloryhammer), Christopher (Alestorm), Jonne (Korpiklaani), Michalina (Eluveitie) and Arjen (Ayreon). Let’s order a big pizza and a lot of beer and we can party long after the dinner!

What’s next for the band?

A full-length album. I will be back even stronger with even better music. Trust me.

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

Instagram was my favourite site ever but after the algorithm changes, I hate it, but I still need to use it because it gets a lot of attention (comparing to other sites). This platform is still pretty easy to get reach (use hashtags, comment, follow people and they will come to you). The engagement is pretty high too (30 likes with less than 300 followers, while on Facebook where I have over 150 likes, I barely get one like per post.)

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Both. Biscuit is a subtype of cake. Trust me, I’m a certified baker (seriously).

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

Three things:

Thank you for responding to my message and I wish you a nice day.

Remember people, a healthy dose of sleep is very important in your life.

And the last thing: support the underground because a long time ago, all the legends were small bands.

Immaterium 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.