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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Review: Deathwish - Deathwish

Since last year Belgium has a new metal band in its country. They come from Opwijk and the line-up exists of members of Dawn Of Clarity and long gone cult band Endor. Deathwish, as the band is called, are Filip de Roover on guitars, Peter Nevens on bass, Andy van Rossem on vocals and Willem de Pauw on drums. Recently, on October 1st, 2017, they released their debut EP, which is self-titled.

Deathwish give us pretty fast, heavy music on this EP, which is a bit shorter than 20 minutes. Of course the slower but heavy parts are also present, but the faster parts are really dominating. Deathwish's dark metalcore unfortunately has not very much variation in it, which could make it a bit boring for some people. Of course that depends on what you are used to in the music you listen regularly. Production-wise it sounds a bit gritty, but this is also what makes their sound more real. Sometimes it almost sounds like you are standing besides these Belgian guys playing their music in their rehearsal room. The drums are a bit loud in the mix, which can lead your focus a bit too much to Willem de Pauw and his drumkit. His drumming skills are great, that's not the problem. However, the drums being a bit too loud in the mix, gives the other band members a bit of a disadvantage.

In my opinion, this debut EP from Belgian metallers Deathwish is not very special, but it's definitely not bad. It's an average EP but, considering this is a debut EP, it can be a good first step for upcoming Deathwish releases.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Deathwish Facebook

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Interview: Heyoka's Mirror

Soon Canadian metal band Heyoka's Mirror will release their new EP, called Loss Of Contact With Reality. DutchMetalManiac's Alessandro already reviewed it here and now he also interviewed Heyoka's Mirror, read it below!

Fellow Canucks, I’m very honoured to be granted this interview and very happy that a new power trio is emerging! Andrew Balboa - vocals, keyboards and rhythm guitars, Omar Sultan – guitars, Bayan Sharafi – drums… we are all glad to meet you! So, tell us about your origins!

Why Canada? We’re cold and polite mostly, aren’t there warmer climates to live in?

Omar: My dad decided a long time ago, he said “hey, you need a better life, a better place to live in” and that’s why I moved here.

Andrew: I lived in Vancouver for a year back in 2001, I was 11 back then. In 2002 I went back to Mexico and I realized Mexico wasn’t home anymore… I needed to go back… back to the land of the maple syrup.

Bayan: I was born in Drumheller, but both my parents are from Iran.

Are any or all of you classically trained or did you just pick up an instrument and become self-taught? What inspired you?

Andrew: I’m classically trained. I started taking theory and opera lessons when I was 14 back in Mexico. What inspired me? Dream Theater’s Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence. The very first time I listened to that album, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.

Omar: I was never trained, I have never really actually taken lessons, but now I am taking proper lessons with Andy Bray from Mother Mary, an amazing English rock band from the 90’s.

When I was growing up I used to play a lot.. I was playing 6 to 8 hours a day. I used to skip school and practice all day back when I was 16 or 17. I just learnt how to listen to music and improvise a lot. What inspired me? Same as Andrew… Dream Theater.

Bayan: I decided I wanted to play drums because I wanted to be cool in high-school and drums was something I just loved doing. I had a punk band back then and the first song I ever learnt was Sex Pistols’ God save the Queen.

Is the world a better place with all this new technology for spreading the gift of music or was it better to copy LP’s to cassettes and spread it around? Why?

Bayan: Well, now it’s way better because it’s so easy to get to everybody.

Omar: Yes, but at the same time it has become easier for shit musicians to distribute their shit.

Andrew: I guess that’s one of the reasons why there’s so much shit out there right now. Anyone can now upload to CD Baby, Itunes and be instantly “famous”.

Your music is very intricate with some great influences that I hear, such as Yes and Dream Theater; tell us when and where your best times for inspiration are.

Omar: For me it’s when something big happens in my life. When heavy emotions come by, those emotions also bring a lot of ideas and energy to me and I get really inspired by that. I get inspired by emotion.

Bayan: Listening to music, feeling it and learning it.

Andrew: Same thing for me. I listen to a lot of music, I listen to everything… from Death metal all the way to J-Pop… and everything inspires me. But music HAS to touch me. When I get touched by music I feel inspired and I feel the need to touch you. Touch you in a way only I can touch you.

As per your band name, are you all contrarians? Do you react in the opposite way people expect? The concept is awesome, do explain!

Andrew: We are all contrarians when we write our music. All of our songs talk about issues humans need to work on. Face of Void was actually inspired by Facebook. We wanted to talk about how a lot of people put on a mask when they go on social media, a lot of people want to show a fake fantasy life they actually don’t have.

In the end… If you feel identified with our EP’s main character, Mr. Loomis… Then you have some serious issues you have to work on.

Onstage, 90% and live to fight another day or 110% and see what happens the next day?

Omar: 110%. We try our best every single show to sound our best.

Andrew: I don’t think we need to keep it safe… We practice and we practice a lot, so when we go on stage we are 100% ready… Once we go on stage, we just focused on having an awesome time and putting on an awesome show.

Speaking of stages, your FB has listed quite a few past appearances. How was the reaction to the band? Any plans to make it up to Toronto? A new tour planned?

Omar: People really like us! The best thing that I hear people say is: “I’m not really a heavy metal person but I love your style… you’re so musical!” And then of course, people who are into heavy music love our different style of metal.

Andrew: Toronto? We would LOVE to go to Toronto. We’re planning on a small tour around the west coast once the EP is out. Hopefully our name will soon expand to the east coast so we can tour over there.

I want to thank you so much for taking the time for us and as we go, give us “Heyoka’s Happenings” for 2017/2018:

1. WW III or Peace on Earth?

Omar: I’m going to quote Frank Zappa: “There will be no nuclear war. There’s too much real estate involved.”

2. Aliens Land – Aliens Keep On Going?

Aliens?.... Let me tell you something about ALIENS! Aliens are already here! Why is this kept a secret? Because humans can’t handle the truth.

3. Music Industry Better – Music Industry Worse?

Everyone: Worse… way worse.

Omar: Worse and going in a really bad direction, but we’re trying to save it.

4. USA Beer Better – Canadian Beer Better?

Everyone: CANADIAN all the way!

Andrew: …. Ummmm back to question 1… THAT’S why we moved to Canada.

5. Currently reading….which books?

Bayan: The Five Second Rule. It’s about you counting down from five and knowing that once you reach one you will find an answer to your question.

Omar: I don’t read.

Andrew: I only ready music ;)

6. Humans: Tougher then or now?

Everyone: THEN!

Andrew: Everyone is so sensitive now.

Thank you again for taking important creative time to talk to us. Do you have any last comments for DutchMetalManiac’s 2300+ readers? All the best success!

Andrew: The EP will be absolutely free to download during the month of December 2017. So get it now!

Omar: Thank you DutchMetalManiac for reviewing the album, thank you for the interview and to all the readers… get the EP and get ready.

Andrew: And you should look through the looking glass.

Heyoka's Mirror Facebook

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review: Heyoka's Mirror - Loss Of Contact With Reality

The emergence of a new power trio, progressive to say the least, is always heartwarming; Canadian, even better and from colder parts of the planet, seems to inspire wondrous songs. (Can anyone say ‘Rush’?). Calgary can be no different.

Andrew Balboa - Vocals, Keyboards and Rhythm Guitars, Omar Sultan – Guitars, Bayan Sharafi – Drums erupt onto the scene with a new trio of songs that will enrapt and ensure their place in prog rock/metaldom.

Face of Void, a chilling, atmospheric piece that stars with a mixed blend of haunting and complex vox and powerful guitars – chug chugga stuff yea! Strong gravocals in there for the death metal people, intricately placed and sung. A beautiful arrangement from a very Rush sounding to a Yes sounding to a Marillion sounding to a Styx sounding to ultimately a Mirror sounding bit at about 3:15! Great!

Time Manager starts as a beautiful speed metal ditty and continues as a metal banger sure to get me another complaint from the neighbors – stellar playing, hammering and strumming and vox! “I…WANT…!” at 1:12 kicker! Screaming death metal vocals mezzoing into near operatic overtones is spectacular. The dual axe attack at 3:33 is superb. Slowing this down at 5:35 of this 9:13 song is revealing of their prog rock admiration. 10/10 just this song alone.

Finally rounding out this triplet of tempo, is the 11:53 Chronovisor, an intricate, keyboard heavy piece that needs to be heard on headphones. I normally don’t use them, but this is so instrumentally superior, I feel I am missing the experience and bits of music that escape into the ether. Beautifully blended, this is one of the best songs I have heard all year. Love the work at 3:00 onwards. Hair rising!

An outstanding record, looking forward to further Loss of Contact with Reality!

10/10 - easy

Written by Alessandro

Read our interview with Heyoka's Mirror here!

Heyoka's Mirror Facebook

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Live review: Max & Iggor Cavalera Return To Roots, Overkill, Insomnium, Deserted Fear at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands, November 26th, 2017

It's a cold day in Utrecht. Tonight the Cavalera brothers are coming to Utrecht for a show in TivoliVredenburg. They are going to play Roots, the phenomenal Sepultura album, released when they were still part of Sepultura. Hopefully this Brazilian-tinted show brings some higher temperatures to Utrecht.

The venue's doors are open early, at six o'clock to be precise. Of course there is a reason for this. It is all because of the fact that there will be four bands on stage tonight and they all want some time to play.

At half past 7 the first band, the German death metallers Deserted Fear, kick off this evening. When Deserted Fear plays their first notes the venue is quite empty, probably because of the early kick-off time. It for sure isn't because of the band, because they're playing a very good show. However, while they're playing, more and more people are coming inside. The energy and passion coming from Deserted Fear while playing is really standing out. At one point their guitarist says that this is their second time playing in The Netherlands and that this venue is a nice upgrade compared to their last gig here, which was in The Cave in Amsterdam. With this set and their enthusiasm while playing, they are definitely worth this upgrade. People who came inside later did miss a great show for sure.

After Deserted Fear left the stage and the roadies finished preparing the stage, it's time for Insomnium to enter the stage. At this time a lot more people were inside the venue and a big part of them seemed to be Insomnium fans. With their partly atmospheric metal it can be a bit difficult to get a grip on it, just right after Deserted Fear's ramming death metal. Of course, this isn't due to Insomnium's music, which is very nice. In my opinion, it would be a better choice when Insomnium played before Deserted Fear instead of afterwards. However, Insomnium plays a very great set and the earlier mentioned Insomnium-fans can be satisfied with this for sure.

The third band of this evening is Overkill. While I heard a few songs from them earlier, I have to be honest with you, I never really took time to listen to more music from them. Why didn't I? To be honest, I really have no idea, because they're worth it for sure! It's a shame I didn't know this earlier. With their heavy thrash metal they go full-speed right from the start. A lot of energy is coming from the stage and Overkill perfectly managed to transfer this to the crowd. This results in the crowd going insane for the remainder of the evening. A lot of hair is going through the air, a lot of metal-horns can be seen and there is a giant moshpit going on. Overkill's cover of Fuck You, originally by Canadian punk band Subhumans, results in a lot of middle fingers in the air and a lot of people shouting along. Overkill delivers a perfect show, they really blew me away and I am sure I want to see them more in the future. In my opinion Overkill could easily be headliner of this evening and I am curious whether tonight's headliner can surpass this or not.

After the first three bands it finally is time for tonight's headliner, the Cavalera brothers and co are entering the stage for their Return To Roots show. The crowd tonight is really varied age-wise. There are people who probably know the Roots-album from the moment Max and Iggor Cavalera released it with Sepultura. On the other side there are people who listened to it later and who maybe haven't experienced Sepultura with Max and Iggor. However, all tracks being played are very loved by the enthusiastic crowd. They also play a little part of Black Sabbath's Iron Man, while the legendary Ace Of Spades by Motörhead is part of their encore. The Cavalera's and co delivered a very nice show and based on the final applause from the crowd many thought the same.

In conclusion, tonight was a very nice evening with four very great shows. As a nice extra, all of tonight's energy (and heat) made the cold night more bearable for me on my way back home. For me, Overkill's show was tonight's highlight, but the other shows were also definitely worth it.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Read our review of Insomnium's Winter's Gate here.

Max & Iggor Cavalera Return To Roots Official Website
Overkill Official Website
Overkill Facebook
Overkill Twitter
Insomnium Official Website
Insomnium Facebook
Insomnium Twitter
Deserted Fear Official Website
Deserted Fear Facebook

Monday, December 4, 2017

Interview: Atlases

Recently Finnish post-metal newcomers Atlases released their debut EP, called Penumbra. DutchMetalManiac's Henric van Essen already reviewed Penumbra here. Below you can read his interview with Atlases' Ville-Veikko Laaksonen.

Hi, how are you doing?

We are quite fine at the moment. Thank you for asking.

Thanks for the opportunity to interview you and congratulations with your debut release. I like it a lot. With whom do I have the honor and can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Thank you. Interviews are ok as the questions do not repeat themselves. Always good to have some freshness and curveballs thrown at you. We thank you for liking our EP. We like it too, and stand behind its end result. I'm Ville-Veikko Laaksonen, the founder of Atlases. I work as a main composer and lyricist for Atlases. I play guitar in this band. I'm also sort of a band agent at the moment for booking shows and tours. We are currently looking for an agency and management to take care that side of things, so we can maintain our focus on writing, rehearsing and touring.

It is said Atlases came into existence when new material for Oceanwake was written eventually resulting in a full-blown band. What is the story behind this, especially considering the two bands aren't all that far apart music-wise? And how, if at all, is the title of the album opener An Era We'll Bury connected to this?

Yes, I had written a good amount of songs for the 4th Oceanwake album. The songs were quite a lot shorter and more melodic than the previous material, say on Earthen or Sunless. I was excited and thrilled about the songs written. Eero, the singer of Oceanwake demoed some vocals for these songs. But then I think the rest of the guys felt that they had been left out of the process. The songs were pretty much finished demos with drums, basslines, guitarmelodies and arrangements. The songs weren't the only thing that caused some sort of arguments. There were a lot of things causing bad blood within the band at that period. Time was an issue. Not everybody lived in the same city etc. The making of Earthen was hard as hell. We weren't happy with the mix and we changed our opinions about things daily. That process really ate us out. Earthen is a very good album and I'm proud of it. When I decided to take the new material in new direction, not everybody was ready for it. That being said, we decided that a change would be good for both parties. I decided to form a new band around this material written, and the guys from Oceanwake found a new guitarplayer. Win win. And sure the Atlases material sound like Oceanwake because I have written the songs for both bands. Atlases is not a Oceanwake 2 though, in my opinion, not even close. Atlases and Oceanwake has very different styles of players, and you can hear the difference from the first note played. An Era We'll Bury is an opener for our EP. The title says it all.

There is relatively little time between the founding of Atlases and the release of Penumbra. How did you manage to produce such a quality product in so little time with a completely new band? And, along the same lines, how is it possible to find a group of musicians with the right 'click' to form such a homogeneous band that fast?

The main thing was that the songs were finished and ready demowise. Everybody loved the songs, and it was a rather easy process to record those. First I asked Rami to join and record the drums. From work I got Jamppa to do the vocals. Jamppa knew Jerkka and Nico. Atlases was found rather quickly. Jerkka is a professional studio engineer, so this material was in good hands from the beginning. Jerkka mixed, mastered and recorded Jamppa's vocals. Jerkka also did our first lyricvideo for Medusa and a full blown video for Shards Of Broken Light with his friend Niko Kinnunen.

Every release summons a certain atmosphere within the listener and Penumbra is no exception, striking me as gloomy yet strangely relaxing. What atmosphere did you want Penumbra to breathe and why?

Penumbra is a very dim and dark release with a hint of hope within it. The songs are crushing but still ethereal. The songs are me and us.

Song titles are often an indication of the lyrical concept of said song. What, if any, are the lyrical concepts or subjects of Penumbra's songs, or even Penumbra itself?

The lyrics are written in "I" form. The stories are about distorted images of self, veiled in concept of deceptive surroundings and nature. Some of the stories are about of my thoughts and feelings, some are fiction. Escapism is also very involved within the stories.

What inspires you when you're writing music and/or lyrics?

I get inspired with everything I see, feel, hear. I get inspired with nature, colors, weather. I get inspired with people I meet. I get inspired with dreams and music. Penumbra as a title portrays this era of our existence.

You have started with a bang and at full speed. That sets the standards pretty high for the future. How do you feel about that?

We are stoked about our future. We've had written songs together for a while now. There are at least three composers in the band. We are currently recording new songs for a future special release. We know our standards, and we are not going to put out something unarranged or unfinished. The new songs are a bit more crushing than the Penumbra songs.

While we’re at it: How do you see both your and Atlases' future?

Atlases needs a proper agency and management to push this forward. We are working our asses off to achieve that. We have done everything by ourselves for this far. To get further, we are going to need some help and luck. Pest Records is our label, but we are releasing something new and special by ourselves early next year. The EP has got some good reviews, so we hope that some suitable labels sees us also. We haven't been discussing with Pest yet for the future. Distribution is one the main things we lack of at the moment.

Assuming your EP gets good critics, which I think it will, you are likely going to be expected to do some touring, who knows maybe even worldwide. What visions or plans do you have when it comes to touring?

At the moment we are our own agency. So every past and future show is somehow arranged by us. Early in 2018 we are touring the Baltic. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. We have some Finnish shows to come during the spring. Festivals in Finland and in mainland Europe is one thing we hope we can get arranged.

Thanks for the interview, is there anything left you would like to share with our readers?

What can I say…support us by buying our EP, by coming to gigs, by spreading the word about us. And for all potential agencies, managements and labels, check us out, we are worth it.

Atlases Facebook

Friday, December 1, 2017

Review: Damn Pigeon - Whisky Sinners

Hearing this for the first time, I was surprised the avenue taken was not more glam metal given the tremendous experience of lead vocalist Doug Weir formerly of Syre, but they are a collective writing band with incredible versatility to cross genres and delve into more progressive overtones. Seeing them live was an experience! (Check our live review here)

The team is: Joe Edmiston (guitars/backing vocals), Doug Weir (guitars/lead vocals), Steve Proctor (guitars/backing vocals), Jason Latimer (drums/backing vocals) and Steve Proud (bass guitars/backing vocals), all Canadian, all metal, all in the St. Thomas/London ON area.

The album is perfectly produced by Proudy and Proctor (I don’t really know, I just liked all the P’s together) and is a blistering rendition of what an eclectic mix of prog rock, metal and ‘harmonious funk’ (yea, I said it…) are all about.

From pounding rockers like Starlight and Killswitch to melodic haunting tracks such as my favourite Haunted, the ‘slow’ song, powerful and tear jerking, Meet You in the Sunset, this record should be a new standard of rock and metal, leaning towards a more progressive edge, easily done if they wish it, as there are scads of experience and know-how with this group.

Dreaming is a soulful bluesy slow one that pulls the heartstrings, my definite fave for hopeful days in the future; we need more songs like this. That guitar echo literally sparked a memory back to the days of seeing Aldo Nova. That is something else boys.

Fourteen tracks and each one is in its own world with its own view of the world; a very well done crisp album, punctuated with another fave, Stripper Crotch. Killer chords and beats and sure to be a crowd-chanter, this is what fun rock is all about. Everywhere, the sad girl song, is belted out soulfully with amazing harmonies, maybe even enough to make some Canadian radio airwaves?

In all, this is an amazing 14 track album (beautiful value here as opposed to the standard 9 or 10) and hopefully, as a sounding board for getting some radio airplay and more exposure to our Canadian metal acts, which hold their own, in any generation.

10/10 overall, but each song can easily touch that score on its own!

Written by Alessandro

Damn Pigeon Official Website
Damn Pigeon Facebook
Damn Pigeon Twitter