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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Review: NortherN - Desolate Ways To Ultima Thule


North American Viking metal band NortherN, formerly known as Cold Northern Vengeance, will release their new longplayer Desolate Ways to Ultima Thule end of April – but we already had a listen to it, and here’s what you can expect:

All starts quite slow on opener Reyn Til Runa, but it sets the atmosphere for you, as a listener, to be transported back to Viking times – at least you would think so, as the backbone of Fall Into Winter is definitely Viking metal, but also features quite a bit of black metal influences. And exactly this transition towards black metal continues on A Wolf’s Angle, and Alaskan Ice and Woden’s Revenge being basically black/death metal tracks. Thematically, NortherN state that Desolate Ways to Ultima Thule revolves around “…dark Paganism, serial killer stomping grounds, Gnostic demonology, death fascination, hillbilly substance abuse and other assorted devil worship.” The album also features a cover of Burzum’s Spell of Destruction. Live Free of Die is then again leaning more towards Viking metal, as I would have expected from the self-proclaimed North America’s #1 Viking metal band. Exaltation from the Grave is alike Alaskan Ice in sound, while the neofolk version of Fall into Winter is a very nice closing track for the album.

In conclusion: I started listening to Desolate Ways to Ultima Thule with the expectation to hear Viking metal à la Amon Amarth, but honestly this album feels like a black metal one, with some Viking influences, to me. This is quite alright, but the one thing bothering me is the somewhat raw production. Being it deliberate or not, while this worked for me on other records in the past, here it diminishes the overall quality of the album in my opinion, which is a shame. Nevertheless, this is a solid album, so surely give it a spin if you come across it! 7.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

NortherN Facebook

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Interview: Mad Hatter


In 2017, a new power metal band from Sweden was formed, Mad Hatter. On February 23rd, they have released their self-titled debut album through Art Gates Records. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed Mad Hatter's vocalist Petter Hjerpe.

Hey, congratulations with your debut album, Mad Hatter. I really like it!

Thank you very much!

How does it feel to have your debut album released?

Very exciting! We really wanted to release this album! We put a lot of effort on this record!

How are the reactions on it so far?

Incredible reviews and reactions all around! We feel so honored that people like what they hear and they also seem to get the idea and reason of Mad Hatter!

What makes Mad Hatter stand out in the power metal subgenre?

First of all we have not lost the roots of early power metal. We keep the songwriting in prior technical composition. Power metal-bands today have gone lost in trying to hard changing directions. There are of course great new bands but our goal is to feel fresh but still bring you back that feel you got back in late 90s/early 00s.

Your band name is (just as the title of your album) Mad Hatter. Were you inspired by Alice In Wonderland when choosing this name?

Partly. We like that crazy feverish feel of Alice in Wonderland. A strange dream. A scary one.
But Mad Hatter is a good name for the band. We are inspired by all dark fairytales. Stephen King, Tim Burton and other creators are also big inspiration.

When comparing the Mad Hatter character and your band, what are the similarities between them?

Mad Hatter is mad from our point of view. But from his point of view he would say he is sane. The music of the band want to enlighten the dark and the light side of the mind.
We show you that the darkness is a scary but beautiful place to be.


The cover of the album is very nice! Who made it and what made him/her the best person for this task?

Thank you! Yeah, it suits our music very well!
Thomas Holmstrand made it! An artist from Sweden. He has worked with other bands like Shadowquest and Dionysus.

Mad Hatter was founded in 2017, now you already have your debut album released. I assume you must have a lot of inspiration. Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from almost everything. A song could pop up in my head just by trying a new guitar sound. But on this album I got a lot of inspiration by reading and painting. I have done a couple of paintings that circled around Mad Hatter. Before I knew I would later start a band named Mad Hatter. So I guess I had a flow then.

How did the writing/recording process go?

First of all I recorded some songs at home. I recorded all instruments and recorded some vocals without lyrics. Just so I didn't forget the melody.
Later Alfred (drums) practiced to the demo.
Then we contacted Ronny Milianowicz and asked him if he could help us record. He loved the songs and so it all began. I, Petter, recorded guitars, bass, vocals and keys while Alfred recorded drums. Ronny, Alfred and I did the choirs. Ronny wanted to get really good guitar solos on the album so we contacted Rob Marcello. He did an incredible job!

During the making of this album the only band members were Petter Hjerpe and Alfred Fridhagen. After the recording, Eric Rauti and Magnus Skoog joined Mad Hatter. What made them the best for these jobs?

Eric is a skilled guitar player that have played metal since before I was born! And I knew him since before because we have played together at different cover gigs around our hometown.
Magnus is a close friend to me. We have played music together countless times. Cover gigs, shows and recorded music together. We also like to drink beer together. That’s important!

Can we expect some Mad Hatter shows soon? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

We hope so! We are working on a budget so we can go on a smaller European tour at first.
We have just started as band and have no budget to get on the road yet. So we’ll come when we are able to get on the road!

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

I want to thank all who supports us and gave us such a great welcome to the metal world!

Mad Hatter Facebook
Mad Hatter Twitter

Friday, April 20, 2018

Interview: Hellavista


Hellavista was formed in 2015 when they also released a demo. Now, these Austrian metallers released their full-length debut called Robolution through Art Gates Records on March 23rd. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed them.

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Robolution. I really like it! How does it feel to have your debut album released?

Nice to hear that you like our album. Having it released is a very good feeling for us, because it was a long way from the Demo 2015 to Robolution. During the developing process we decided to get a second guitar player who had to be found. So we had to rearrange all songs for two guitars. We also had to look for a label. Luckily Art Gates Records signed us. We are already working on our next album, so we try to release new songs as soon as possible.

How are the reactions on it so far?

Until now we got only a few reviews. There will follow many more in the next weeks. Most of them are really good and a few are very critical. But it is impossible to look at music objectively. Preferences are known to be different, especially when you mix some experimental stuff to classic stuff. The more reviews come along the more we know if the metalheads like it or not. And if nobody likes our music, we also won’t give a fuck about that and will keep going on our way.

How did the writing/recording process of Robolution go?

We try to be efficient. Because the band does not bring in any money but costs a lot, each of us has a normal job. That means we don´t have time for endless jamming in the rehearsal room. Our guitarplayer Glaso creates a rough arrangement of the songs and notes it down for the other guys. Our vocalist Harry writes the lyrics. That´s the way we start with a song and then everyone can bring in ideas. When 3 or 4 songs are finished we record them to hear if they work or if we can make something better.

Since your album is called Robolution, what do you think about robotic technology?

Like every other technology you can use it for bringing peace or making war. This is something that you always have to be aware of. Robotic technology is very good in most cases, it should be used to make our lives easier. Robots should carry heavy things, work 24/7 for us or calculate complicated things that would keep our brains busy for weeks or years. On the other hand drones are used to drop bombs onto other people because they have another stupid religion or whatsoever. The point is - and this is treated in the song Robolution: we are exploiting robots. That’s okay as long as they don’t think about that. But as we make them more and more intelligent they might develop something like consciousness and then we are fucked. Only Satan can help us then…

For Robolution you signed to Art Gates Records. What makes them the best label for you at this moment?

We are very thankful that Art Gates Records signed us. We have heard about them from our Swiss friends EXIT,who are also in their roster. The guys from AGR are highly motivated and have a great philosophy concerning underground bands. The communication is very good and they support us whereever they can. Thank you amigos!

You hail from Austria. How is the Austrian metalscene?

Hmm, that’s a polarizing topic in some way. There are lots of big metal bands that fill the biggest venues in Vienna, so you might think that there are billions of metalheads in this small country. However, if there’s an underground concert sometimes there are 10 or 20 people maximum. That’s really sad but we don’t think that’s an Austrian phenomenon only. Maybe that’s a little bit exaggerated. There is a good underground - let’s call it - “core team”, where everyone knows each other, but this team should be much bigger.

Any bands from there you recommend?

Austrian bands we can definitely recommend are for example: Black Inhale, Irdorath, Mastic Scum, Void Creation, Darkfall, Fallen Utopia, Pungent Stench, Disastrous Murmur, die Hinichen … and many many more – we can’t mention all of them here.

On April 30th you will play the Robolution CD release show in The Viper Room in Vienna. Looking forward to it?

Of course we are glad to present it to our fans and also to people who might have never heard of us. Every concert and every metalhead who raises his or her beer for us growling for more gives us power to go on and stay on our way of making music.

Anything special planned for that evening you can already tell us something about?

Yes, we plan to have lots of booze. But first we want to give a great show to the audience.

Speaking about shows, can we expect more of them? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Yes. We hope that we can grab a support slot of a tour in autumn. The problem is that you must be lucky to get an useful offer. But we definitely will try. Apart from that we will play as much gigs we can get. If we get the possibility to come to the Netherlands we will definitely do that with pleasure!

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

We hope you enjoy our music, we hope that everyone gets the chance to see us live and please don’t forget to drink beer and listen to metal every day for your own health!

Hellavista Official Website
Hellavista Facebook

Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: When Reasons Collapse - Omen Of The Banshee


When Reasons Collapse, what’s in a name, is a Paris, France based quintet consisting of four men and a woman. Founded in 2008 they play death-/metalcore with brutal female vocals, which are the responsibility of vocalist Christina. Along her side she finds, in no particular order, Thierry and Julien on guitar, Michaël on bass guitar and Guillaume on drums. Up until today they have three releases under their belt, two demos and a full-length and they are on the brink of releasing their latest work, a full-length called Omen Of The Banshee. And that about sums up what the band members allow the world to know about them. Besides, the term ‘full-length’ must be used loosely considering the fact the album lasts only a pinch over thirty minutes. Having said that, the length of the album does not take anything away from the experience the nine songs offer you, so it’s not really an issue.

On to the tunes themselves then. After a 2-minute intro song that, due to its nature, does not actually serves its purpose, which is introduce what is yet to come, the album kicks into gear with Lies of God, which to me is a bit of a false start. The timing of the vocals is, especially in the faster parts of the song, slightly off at times, not really fitting the rhythm of the song. That seems to be a one-off miss, because during the rest of the album that problem is not that distinctly audible anymore, though not completely gone. Nevertheless WRC definitely shows potential with this release. Not only do they produce a massive wall of sound, they also manage to canalize that wall into bite size chunks of aggressive, brutal yet melodic metal with a touch of subtlety. Christina has an impressive throat that is capable of both higher and lower pitched grunts, growls and screams, although I personally like her better in the lower section. Both guitarists seems to know exactly what the other is doing, their riffs and lines intertwine nicely with both each other and the rest of the instrumental lines of the songs. The rhythm section parts are equally designed to fit the song like a glove and are equally skillfully executed. There’s room to shine and frolic for all throughout the songs, a definite plus for the album in my opinion. Despite being sometimes little more than a single riff or drum line, those intermezzos break the tension for a bit thus keeping things interesting without having too much influence on the song structure and atmosphere.

In short, Omen Of The Banshee, with great artwork I might add, offers a stiff half an hour of music that will crush you, but still has plenty of variety to avoid it sounding like an indigestible chunk of sound. And in all honesty, with this collection of songs, packed with heaviness and speed, it feels like a hell of a lot more than just thirty minutes, which is a good thing of course. Apart from the intro you will have eight songs that all fit the death-/metalcore genre unleashed on you, without either one of them being comparable to the other structure-wise. They all have that oppressive, aggressive, agitated atmosphere inherent to the type of metal and its accessory vocals. Even the slower parts breathe that tension. At the same time the guys and girl added various, at times only tiny intermezzos to the songs, lightening up the atmosphere just enough to keep you focused. An exception to this is the album closer Lost which is rather subdued compared to the other songs. There still is that atmosphere of oppression, but without the sharp edges it has in the other songs, calming your tortured nerves. I think WRC did a great job with this release, although you have to know and appreciate the type of music to thoroughly enjoy this. Highlights are Omen Of The Banshee, The Raven and Δ. [Orpheus].

Written by Henric van Essen

When Reasons Collapse Official Website
When Reasons Collapse Facebook
When Reasons Collapse Twitter

Friday, April 13, 2018

Interview: Crescent


The Egyptian metal band Crescent was formed in 1998, released their debut album Pyramid Slaves in 2014, was the first Egyptian metal band to tour Europe and now they released their new album The Order Of Amenti through Listenable Records. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed Crescent's Youssef Saleh and Ismaeel Attallah.

Hey, congratulations with your new album, The Order Of Amenti, it sounds really nice!

Many thanks, glad you liked it!

When you compare The Order Of Amenti to its predecessor, Pyramid Slaves (2014), what is it you notice?

The Order of Amenti is more mature, dark, and highlights our tendencies towards creating a black metal atmosphere with a death metal sound!

The Order Of Amenti is a tribute to the Ancient Egyptian gods. What means Egypt for you and what makes it that way?

Other than the fact that Egypt is our home where we grow up, it is also a huge inspiration. Egypt with all its history, culture, and present is always teaching everyone something about life (or perhaps the afterlife as well?). The ancients found their inspiration in the environment, everyday life and things we learn as we go by, hence their reflection of such teachings in the mythologies and the stories about the Gods. We, also, get our inspiration from the same sources.

For releasing The Order Of Amenti you signed to Listenable Records, what makes them the best option for Crescent at this moment?

Listenable Records is an extremely renowned and respected label! We know, like most people do, about their history and how they were/are the home of many of the great bands in metal today. We knew that we were going to deal with decent people who are passionate about metal and who knew how to help their bands achieve their goals. We are always working together coherently to get the best result out of everything we do and that makes it the best option for us!


The cover of the new album is made by Michał "Xaay" Loranc, what made him the best person for this job?
Xaay is a great artist and he has experience with many famous bands like Behemoth and Nile. The guy knows what he’s doing and how to reflect what the band is asking for. Not to mention his productive feedback and always involving us in the process. We tried with other artists but Xaay was just the best one for it.

You hail from Egypt, how is the metal scene in Egypt?

The metal scene here exists pretty much from the mid-90s. However, it faced a hiatus due to allegations of Satanism and inactivity when it comes to concerts and whatnot. It took many years until it picked up again only to be demolished by the devaluation of the Egyptian pound, thus inactivity again, but we are doing our best to contribute to its revival.

It must be noted that the scene here is still not mature enough and it is quite young, we get many attendees to concerts (around 1000 people) but it lacks the purchasing culture, not enough webzines, no record stores, only one venue that hosts metal concerts, not even one record label and no competitiveness when it comes to festivals (it is pretty much just one professional fest, which is Metal Blast).

How is playing in a metal band in Egypt?

It has its challenges of course. As I mentioned before, it lacks the basis on which the band can survive. Only a few people buy CDs and/or merch and there’s no real basis for growth. Not to mention that due to the currency devaluation, equipments prices tripled, organizing a concert costs tripled as well and so on! Not to mention the occasional societal pressures from bullshit media allegations about how such music poses a danger to society, luckily no one buys from that crap anymore (maybe just a few).

Any Egyptian bands you would recommend?

Definitely, keep an eye on Ahl Sina as they are currently recording their album!

You were the first Egyptian band to tour Europe, any plans to come back to Europe in the near future? Maybe also playing in The Netherlands?

Absolutely, we always make it to Europe 2-3 times a year! We would love to play in The Netherlands; we actually performed there during our tour.

We are confirmed for Party.San Open Air in Germany and we are absolutely psyched about it, we cannot wait to unleash The Order of Amenti there! We might reveal another appearance later this year in Europe, possibly a place where we have never been before.

You are also announced as headliner of the Metal Blast Festival in Egypt, looking forward to it?

Hell yes! It has been almost 2 years and a half since the last time we performed in Egypt, due to the issues I’ve mentioned before.

It is always great to perform at home and to be on the forefront of the scene’s revival and growth!

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

We hope to perform in your hometown in the near future!

Keep the Extreme Metal flames burning!

Cheers
Youssef Saleh and Ismaeel Attallah
CRESCENT

Crescent Official Website
Crescent Facebook
Crescent Twitter

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Interview: Despicable Heroes


In December last year, the Dutch metallers of Despicable Heroes released their EP, Arrival. They also reached the semi-finals of the Dutch Metal Battle. At those semi-finals DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen interviewed their guitarist Kevin Bos and their vocalist Koen Vroom, which you can read below. In the end, they also won this semi-final, so they will appear in the final of the Dutch Metal Battle too.

Hey, congratulations with your latest EP, Arrival, which was released in December last year, it's really nice!

Kevin: Thanks!

Koen: Yeah, it's nice, right? We are also really satisfied with it.

Kevin: For sure! We are working hard and are very enthusiastic. It's doing great with some nice shows.

Koen: It gives us a boost in terms of productivity. We also really want to do shows again.

When you compare Arrival with its predecessor, Shipwrecked, released in 2013, what do you notice?

Kevin: There are less tracks, but the total album length is higher. Of course that means the tracks have become a bit longer. The most easy way to describe it is probably that we became more mature in creating and playing our music. Shipwrecked was still a bit of just being heavy and ramming in the direction of metalcore, even with a bit of hardcore. Now, we are just making real metal. So, the tracks have become longer.

Koen: They also became heavier. The idea behind it is that it has to be powerful. Besides the tracks being well-written they also are really powerful. That is our goal and I think we succeeded in that.

You (Koen) wasn't part of Despicable Heroes during Shipwrecked, right?

Koen: No, but we are friends for about seven years or something now. I did contribute my vocals to one track on Shipwrecked. That already was very nice and since that time we kept contact. When they played in the area, I often went to the show and joined them for a song. It's a really nice group. At one moment they asked me to join them as vocalist. At that moment I was too busy for it and it was too far away for me. A year later I got a relation with someone coming from Ede, which made it all a bit more attractive. I already wanted to join them and now it was with less distance. Earlier I was just worried about it costing too much. Now, everything turned in the right direction. So, that was when I joined them. It was already clear that it was a right match at the first rehearsal.

Kevin: For sure! First, we went to eat something with everyone, also to chat a bit with each other. At that moment we also knew it was the right decision. We even didn't need to do an audition.

Koen: I already knew I would fit in with the guys, in terms of how I am. We are friends, I knew I could handle their humor, I knew I could handle Kevin and I knew Kevin could handle me. A match made in heaven. It is super, I am really happy that I chose to join them.

On Shipwrecked you (Kevin) did the vocals. Besides that you already knew each other, was there another reason for getting a new vocalist in Despicable Heroes?

Kevin: At the beginning we started with the three of us, the drummer, the bassist and I. Soon I noticed that I was very busy with a lot of things. I was taking care of getting all in the right direction, talking between the tracks, tuning and playing my guitar and screaming, that cost me a lot of energy. The next step was that Sander, our guitarist, joined and I changed to doing vocals only. That went very well. In the meantime I was writing new tracks and we soon noticed that we needed a second guitarist for those. I wrote all that, so I also picked up the guitar again. However, that made me doing all those things together back again. So, it again cost me a lot of energy and I barely noticed what was happening in the audience. So, when we started writing Arrival I knew we needed a new vocalist. I also wanted to have fun and enjoy, we won't be the new Parkway Drive or something like that. Let's start with having fun, which means a guitarist joining and me doing vocals or a vocalist joining and me playing guitar. Unfortunately, it became the second option.

Koen: Yeah, I am sorry. I am not very good at playing guitar, otherwise I would maybe handle that.

You hail from Barneveld.

Kevin: Yeah, Gino (the bassist) and I hail from Barneveld, the drummer is from Lunteren, the other guitarist is from Ede, everyone a bit further away.

Koen: And I hail from Zevenaar, which is almost Achterhoek. So I am living the furthest away, but I also feel a little bit like someone from Barneveld.

Kevin: You are living in Ede for half the time.

Koen: Exactly, I am very often in Ede. We rehearse every week.

Barneveld is a place in the Dutch Bible belt. Is that something that gives struggles sometimes?

Kevin: No, not really. We rehearse on Friday evening, which goes without struggles. We aren't a satanic band or something, so we can do our thing. I don't have the idea that Barneveld limits us in that. In my opinion it's a nice contrast we can show to the outside, rather than it limiting us. Of course, we also were a christian band originally.

Koen: On the other side, we aren't getting subsidy from the church. They don't support us, but they also aren't against us.

Also congratulations on reaching the semi-finals of the Dutch Metal Battle which is tonight. How did the latest round go?

Kevin: It went great, otherwise we wouldn't be here.

I understand that, of course you won that round. However I meant how did the show go?

Kevin: The show went very well, we were the third band of the evening, just as we are tonight. We went to that show with the idea that we wouldn’t win, but just for playing a nice show. In the end we won the audience price and the jury price, that gives a huge kick in your self-confidence.

Koen: That was something really nice, we went to that show without expectations. We were pretty relaxed and had quite some fun with the other bands that evening. It was fun, we were all in it together, but we didn't begrudge each other. It was really nice and during the announcing of the winners you of course get a little bit nervous. In the end we first won the audience price, which we already thought because of the way that person was saying it. After that they again called our name because we also won the jury price. That was amazing, that we hadn't expected. We just had a lot of fun during the show. Apparently that was something that has been seen, which is nice. I think it means that you're doing great when you win without going just for winning. That of course is how it feels.

You also didn't expect that during the evening?

Kevin: No, there was a real good band before us.

Koen: The competition was strong. All bands were very difficult to compare to each other. One of them was very melodic, while we play less melodic. We have a lot of technical stuff in our music, but what is standing out is the lower and heavier part of it. Some other bands had the more melodic part standing out more. It depends on what the jury judges about or whether they judge about the total package.

Kevin: To hear your name two times afterwards is amazing.

Looking forward to tonight, what do you think about it?

Kevin: The same!

Koen: I try to not make it a competition in my head, but of course there is a very big price attached to it, which keeps staying in my head a bit. Of course we play because of playing our music, but the fact that there is a possibility to win it is always in your mind. I am not nervous right now, but I will be before our show. Of course those nerves will be back when the final band stopped playing and the jury will announce the winners. We just want to play our show for playing our music, which is something we also want show that.

Does that also include trying not to think about it too much?

Kevin: We just go to play a nice show.

Koen: We will throw a party during our show and we like to show that.

Kevin: The audience that doesn't come for a specific band, doesn't care about it being a band battle or not. We just want to entertain them.

Koen: We will see at the end of the evening which band wins. Of course it would be nice if that would be us.

Your music sounds like it has a lot of energy in it, how do you transform this to the stage at a gig?

Kevin: By being who we are to be honest.

Koen: We also get a lot of our energy from playing our music. Even during rehearsals it is difficult to stand still. We really enjoy creating and playing our music, which is in my opinion why it sounds very convincing. It is my outlet, I work in the home health care. There I am very calm and I have to be normally social. Here I can scream, jump, dance and everything I want to do and this is what I can put my energy in.

Kevin: We just go, when we are on the stage, the switch flips. We are on stage for the audience, the audience is there for us. So, just do whatever you like to do.

Koen: I think we are also very proud of our music. For us, there is no doubt about whether our music and our show are good or not. It's good to us. I think that we have some sort of self-confidence that we bring onto the stage because of that. I don't know whether that contributes to a better show or not, but to me it is something very important. We made this and I am proud of that. I am also proud to propagate that to people.

How do you prepare for a show?

Kevin: Beer.

Koen: Two beers to get on the right level and a bottle of water for on the stage. I noticed that I am getting older. When I played shows 10 years ago I could handle it a bit better compared to now.

Kevin: Time to exercise!

Koen: Exactly, I have to work on my fitness. It costs quite some energy, I for sure have muscle pain tomorrow. It is totally worth it though. I think I prepare too little compared to what I should do. That also is because I don't have any idea about how to prepare. I didn't have a vocal coach or something like that. If things will go very well for us in the future, that is something I have to look for. Until that moment we will just do what we like the most and in the way it works for us. After that we will see when that time comes.

Kevin: For sure. When preparing the stage the warming-up almost goes without noticing.

Besides tonight you already announced three upcoming gigs, can we expect more of them?

Kevin: When it's up to us for sure. We are already working on some more shows, but we can't tell something about that yet. Let's hope that, for example, Brainstorm this year is possible, that would be very nice.

You are also already working on new material, right?

Kevin: Indeed. The next EP is coming. We started working on it a few weeks ago. We are allowed to use two fantastic guitars build by Bo-El for that, which is amazing. Bo-El is a guitar builder from this area. This EP will be a bit more melodic than the last one. In my opinion it will be a nice step after Arrival.

Koen: We will look to what more we can get out of us. Trying to push ourselves a little bit further. Watching what more things are in Kevin's mind, he is mainly busy with writing it. The tracks are also very nice, again. It perfectly fits the direction we are headed in so far, but in my opinion it also adds something extra. Just a different flavor or something, which I really like. You can for sure listen to the tracks after each other or in a different order. They all will fit in our set for sure and that won't be at the expense of the energy.

Do you already have any idea about a release date or not?

Kevin: It will for sure take three months to be finished, so it probably will be autumn.

So, you (Kevin) are mainly writing. Where do you get the inspiration from?

Kevin: I do indeed. I mostly get my inspiration from other music. When I listen to a band, I often think about what would sound nice added to it. That idea is staying in my mind for a while and at some point I start working on it. Out of the blue I am sitting behind my computer and I suddenly get the right feeling. That's when I pick up my guitar and get for example a riff out of it. I'll bring it to rehearsal and then we'll work on it together.

Koen: Working on it, expanding it, trying different things that could be added to it.

Kevin: Yeah, that's what mainly happens in the rehearsal room. I often bring one or two riffs to rehearsal and we transform that into a track together.

Koen: It is also very nice to see how for example a guitar riff by Kevin gets picked up by the drummer. Kevin hears what he does with it and he maybe didn't have that in mind, but really likes how it sounds.

Kevin: That way we play things to each other. Two or three rehearsals later we are finished and have a full track to rehearse with the entire band.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

Koen: We like to play gigs, so in case you have a nice festival or show: bookings@despicableheroes.com and also enjoy listening to our music on Spotify.

Kevin: Thanks DutchMetalManiac!

Despicable Heroes Facebook
Despicable Heroes Twitter

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Review: Aetherian - The Untamed Wilderness


Greek melodic death metal band Aetherian released its debut album The Untamed Wilderness already back in November last year, but it’s never too late to review, right? So let’s give it a spin!

Everything starts with Wish For Autumn Twilight. This is a mainly instrumental intro that floats between very soft passages and some aggressive drumming, paired with deep growls. A very nice prelude to what is yet to come! Dark Earth is more aggressive than its predecessor, especially because it’s marked by aggressive drumming right from the beginning. You get some time to catch your breath though in this 7-minute song with an instrumental bridge in the middle and another melodic fade-out at the end. As The Veil Fades has some Insomnium-moments in it, while Black Sails is marked by some nice acoustic guitar chords in the beginning, in the middle and at the end. Seeds Of Deception is generally more somber regarding its atmosphere, but things lighten up again somewhat with the intro of Shade Of The Sun. Not for too long though, as we enter then the most brutal passage of the entire album! Clouds Gathering is a very soft, instrumental interlude: acoustic guitars are teaming up with a cello on this one for some bittersweet melodies. Things then speed up again with The Rain, a track that pays tribute to Omnium Gatherum and Be’lakor again, so right up my alley and very melodic, albeit the growls and heavy guitar riffs. The Path is closing off the album and is also a Scandinavian-sounding melodic death metal track, but more midtempo in pace than its predecessor.

In conclusion: Aetherian claimed in their accompanying info sheet that they can compete with the Scandinavian pioneers of the melodeath genre – and it’s very true! The Untamed Wilderness is quite a diverse album and well-produced. The guys themselves are great musicians, so it’s a joy to listen to them throughout the entire album. Aetherian play classic melodic death metal alike the bands mentioned above, so if you’re a fan, you should check them out! 9.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Aetherian Facebook

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Review: De Profundis - The Blinding Light Of Faith


British death metal combo De Profundis celebrated their 10th anniversary last year. Meanwhile, it’s been already three years since they released their brilliant album Kingdom Of The Blind – so about time for the new one, which is entitled The Blinding Light Of Faith and will be released on 10th of May.

Obsidian Spires is a great, more classical death metal track to start the album with. Especially stick to the very end for some provocative narrative ;) next up is the first single of the album, War Be Upon Him. Like its predecessor, it’s more brutal in sound than the songs of Kingdom Of The Blind, but also a very good track with an awesome instrumental bridge two thirds in. And then, finally there it is, De Profundis’ hallmark: Opiate For The Masses comes with the first jazz-part in the album. Brutal drumming awaits on Bastard Sons Of Abraham, while Martyrs is another great blend between death metal and some more experimental sequences. It gets overall more mid-tempo, and thus a bit more relaxed, on Godforsaken, before Beyond Judgement offers another round of ass-kicking. Bringer Of Light, a more melodic death metal track, then already closes off the album.

In conclusion: as usual, De Profundis deliver a quality album with killer production and musicianship. As I had hoped, the guys maintained their hang on blending in all sorts of genres. Still, while The Blinding Light Of Faith is darker, more brutal and less experimental than its predecessor, it’s another gem. Absolutely recommended! 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Read our other De Profundis reviews here (Frequencies) and here (Kingdom Of The Blind).
Also be sure to read our interview with De Profundis' guitarist Shoi here

De Profundis Official Website
De Profundis Facebook
De Profundis Twitter

Friday, April 6, 2018

Interview: Titans Fall Harder


Last year the French metallers of Titans Fall Harder released their debut EP, called Evolve. In January this year, they released their new single, called Machine World. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen recently interviewed Titans Fall Harder, read it below!

Hey, congratulations with your last year released debut EP Evolve and the more recently released single Machine World, both are really nice!

Thank you!

Titans Fall Harder is a relatively new band, can you tell us something about the short history of the band and how Titans Fall Harder came together?

Well, at the very beginning Titans Fall Harder was created in the fall of 2015 with the meeting of Eliott Tordo (keyboards), Matthieu Mervant (guitars) who were already working together on another project, and Niels Quiais (drums). We worked together on a demo and quickly found Stéphane Hacquard (bass) and Clément Casagrande (vocals). Both were funny but great encounters. We then decided to work on our EP Evolve and so on! That was the very beginning of Titans Fall Harder.

You combine a lot of different styles in your music, how would you describe it to someone who haven't heard it before?

When we are writing new songs, we don’t really take care about the music style, we just want to create something related to our universe. We could describe ourselves as a ‘sci-fi metal band’ because that’s the only thing that link our songs. We add orchestral, electronic, metal, movie soundtrack stuff in our music so it is a mix of everything as long as it belongs to our music universe.

Who are Titans Fall Harder's musical influences?

We have several influences, it depends on the side of the music we focus on. For example, instrumental parts are really based on modern metal bands like Gojira, Dagoba, Meshuggah, After The Burial, but sound designs and orchestrations are more influenced by bands like Septicflesh, The Algorythm, Fleshgod Apocalypse or video games soundtracks and especially Mick Gordon's DOOM one. We are also very influenced by film soundtracks such as the ones from Star Wars, Matrix, Alien, Blade Runner and Mad Max.

Since there is a lot to be heard in your music, how does the writing/recording process go in Titans Fall Harder?

As you noticed there is a lot of elements in our music so we have to be very disciplined if we want to be efficient and creative. Most of the time, Eliott begins the process with concept ideas, atmosphere or a guitar riff. Then with Matthieu they work on the structures and riffs of the songs. We all give them feedbacks and when the song is accepted by everyone, we all work on arrangements in order to give the song a particular feeling. Finally, when everything is written we begin the production process.

Your music is very heavy but also a bit atmospheric sometimes, especially due to the added electronic sounds. How do you find the perfect balance in this?

We usually try to write our music as something living and full of shade, so we add orchestrations, including electro stuff, at specific and chosen moments of our songs. We don’t think that we found the perfect balance because some bands like Gojira are giving those same emotions without using so much stuff but now it belongs to our music style so we want to assume and improve it. For the future we want to add more sound designs to our songs in order to go further in the science fiction theme.

When you compare last year's EP Evolve with the new single Machine World, what is it you notice?

It’s really hard to compare them both. Evolve was made nearly two years ago, at this moment we were still wondering about what kind of music we wanted to play, now this EP is not really corresponding to what the band wants to become. With Machine World we wanted to give our fans something more actual about our music, but then we realize that our future records won’t be like that. Therefore, Machine World was more a kind of music and video experimentation than a real taste ofwhat will be the future of our music.

It all sounds very epic and energetic, how do you transform this to the stage when performing live?

You said the main word: energetic. At this time, we don’t have the live setup that we need to give a real science fiction atmosphere during our concerts so we focus everything on the feeling, the connection and the crazy atmosphere between the crowd and us. We worked a lot on our motions, on the best way to make the crowd following us in our universe. We transform all the song’s samples for concerts and we only keep the most useful VST in order to focus on real instruments. We rehearse a lot so we are trying to give the public the most authentic version of our songs in an intense way.

Speaking about live shows, you already announced two shows in April. Can we expect some more Titans Fall Harder shows in the near future? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Of course! We will add a few shows for this year especially some really cool support gigs (Fleshgod Apocalypse, Promethee…) but we also are in an intense writing process at the moment. So now we are focused on our future projects but keeping a real booking activity the same time is really hard. In order to answer your question, we won’t come to the Netherlands at the moment but be sure that we are looking for some ways to go abroad and especially in Europe. We would be more than happy if it could happen!

Already working on any new material?

Yes we are currently working on some cool stuff! We began to play live since the beginning of 2017, that’s not so old but now we all have the feeling that Evolve needs to have a “sequel” with a new story and an upgraded music. I won’t tell you anything else but stay tuned, it can come really soon!

Can you already tell us something about it?

I can already tell you that it’s gonna be really heavy!

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

The support and feedback from everyone means a lot to us so feel free to listen to our music and give us your feedback, we need it! Thanks a lot for your questions!

Titans Fall Harder Facebook

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Interview: Absalem


In 2016, a new Spanish metal band called Absalem was formed. On November 24th, they released their debut album called Chaosvolution. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen interviewed Absalem about Chaosvolution, among other things.

Hey, congratulations with your debut album, Chaosvolution. It's really great!

Hello there! and thank you!

Your sound is quite unique, how would you describe it yourself to someone who doesn't know you yet?

We don’t know exactly how to describe it… Usually for the death metal fans we’re considered as a progressive band and for progressive guys we’re considered as a death metal band… So, maybe, our sound is some kind of mixture of melodic death metal and progressive music.

How does it feel to have your debut album released?

It feels great! For some of us it was the first time we recorded ever, and it’s awesome to be able to hear yourself in Spotify and think “oh! we are that band!”.

You formed in 2016 and already released your debut full-length in November 2017, which is pretty fast I think. There must be plenty of inspiration, where do you get inspiration from?

Each band member had their own inspiration, and trust me, it’s fairly different from one member to another. Summing up I could say we were inspired by bands like Korn, Deftones, Foo FIghters, Death, Dream Theater, The Agonist, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Jinjer, Amaranthe or Gojira.

How did the writing/recording process of Chaosvolution go?

We recorded the whole album ourselves, in our rehearsal place and with our own means. The one responsible for our recording, mastering and producing was our guitar player Miguel and it’s thanks to him that we managed to get a decent quality sound in the CD. Finally we took our time for recording and each one tried their best and worked really hard in each recording session and for that we are really proud of our CD and ourselves.

The artwork, which is created by Rubén Manchado López, is really great! What is the story behind it and what made Rubén the perfect one for this job?

Rubén is an old friend of some members of the band, he’s not only an outstanding artist but he’s also a very talented musician. When he heard our songs for the first time he liked them so much that he offered to make the artwork for us, and, indeed, he did a great job.

You signed to Art Gates Records for releasing Chaosvolution. What makes Art Gates Records the best label for you at this moment?

They’re a dedicated metal label and thanks to them we are learning some valuable lessons about how to work properly in music.

You recently parted ways with your guitarist Álvaro Fonseca. How do you feel about that situation?

It is sad, he’s a very close friend of us and parting our musical ways with someone like him is not easy. Out of this musical context we are still being close friends and of course we wish him the best on his life.

Does that mean Absalem is going to continue as a quartet or is there going to be a replacement?

Indeed, we need a replacement and in fact we’re searching for it.

At this moment you haven't announced any shows, can we expect some shows soon? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Right now our priority is to find a new guitarist and prepare the setlist with him or her, then we will search new shows in our country. Touring in Europe will have to wait, we’re still a small band and we don’t have the means to do that, but as soon as we get them it will be a pleasure to play in The Netherlands.

Do you already have any plans for new material or not?

We have some ideas for a new album but, as we said, right now we have other priorities.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

Thank you for the interview, and we’d like to say hi to all the readers!

Absalem Facebook

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Interview: Horrorscope

photo by: nstation.pl

Last year, the Silesia, Poland-based thrash metallers of Horrorscope released their 6th full length album, called Altered Worlds Practice. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Horrorscope's Krzysztof 'Xycho' Kłosek (bass) and Lech 'Blackpitfather' Śmiechowicz (guitar) as you can read below.

Hey Krzysztof and Lech, how are you?

Krzysztof: Well, I'm fine, evening chill out with something to drink.

Lech: Thanks I'm fine , just back home from 12h work today.

Congratulations with your latest album, Altered Worlds Practice, I really like it!

Krzysztof: Nice to hear that, thanks.

Lech: Thank you very much, you like that stuff?

Yeah, I do.

Lech: It is our 6th full length regular album but in fact we even have a demo from `98 too, but don't try to listen to it, please, haha. It was eons of time ago and we were young and inexperienced haha.

Okay, just discovered Horrorscope with this album.

Lech: Fine, this is a better option for your ears.

You come from Silesia, Poland, what does the Silesia-region mean for you?

Krzysztof: It's the most industrial region in Poland.

Lech: It's rather industrial and the biggest agglomeration in Poland I think, lots of people, including us, are just living here.

Krzysztof: That's why hard work is in our blood.

Lech: Maybe yes, but we are not miners, you know. Hard work is inscribed in thrash metal, because of really hard practice and some technical skills I think.

But do you see Horrorscope more as a Silesian band or as a Polish band?

Krzysztof: It's not an easy question. Our region has a difficult history.

Lech: Yes, you're right. Rather Silesian, but we are a Polish band for sure. We are proud of that, man!

Krzysztof: Exactly.

Lech: This area is deeply touched by WWII and some animosity.

Krzysztof: We have Polish, German and Czech roots, for that reason the people here in Silesia are more open minded that the rest of our country for sure.

Lech: Between citizens, Silesia was always used and torn apart politically, but today is digital society era, so we are talking online and I hope there will be no borders and no fights anymore.

So, just for me understanding it the right way. You are a Polish band, but very proud of the Silesia region?

Krzysztof: Exactly! This is our mark like the Bay Area in the USA.

Lech: I like this comparison too, we like the Bay Area thrashers kingdom.

I understand that.

What makes Horrorscope unique in the thrash metal genre?


Krzysztof: Thrash for us is the root, but we like crossing the borders. We like visiting death, heavy and many other styles and mixing them in our Horrorscope style.

Lech: I don't know, it's you who should hear the difference in music, am I right? I think we are doing our best as musicians and as a band. Radical thrashing machine - we used to describe our music like that, you know...

It definitely sounds nice for sure!

Lech: It sounds just like a real band because it's live sound. No VST plugins and no Kemper profiler were used during the recording sessions.

You also have a guest musician doing a solo on the track Parallel Worlds Practice, Sergio Klein. How was working with him?

Krzysztof: He's a great guitarist, a great guy and a friend of us, so it was a pure pleasure for us.

Lech: We've been in contact about cooperation, many times we've met at the gigs and we've shared one stage. We've known each other since he joined The Outside so it is a longtime friendship.

As the last track on your album you have a cover of Entombed's Wolverine Blues. Why did you choose to do a cover of this track?

Krzysztof: Because it's a nice piece of shit. We all like Entombed.

Lech: I think it's just a tribute and respect for the Swedish cult band, and we really enjoy performing this song live and at the rehearsals.

Krzysztof: We had recorded thrash and heavy metal band covers in the past. The next in line was a death metal band cover and we've done it.

But any particular reason for this track?

Lech: We were having fun doing this.

Krzysztof: It's more a rock 'n roll song than a death metal track. That's the reason, I think.

Lech: This track is more heavy and ironically fits to the rest of our songs.

Krzysztof: It's a good song, finally.

Lech: We are kind of rock 'n roll too, but more heavy or on speed.

The artwork of Altered Worlds Practice is made by Natalia Jonderko. What made her the best person for this job?

Krzysztof: She's a very talented person who is close to the band and understands our ideas.

That can be seen for sure indeed.

Lech: We were working conceptually with all illustrations, and she was doing old school type sketches, you should see some reports from this work. We shared the making of, have you seen it yet?

No, haven't seen it, but will do soon for sure.

Lech: You're welcome, you can check it out here.

Last year Horrorscope existed for 20 years, how do you look back at those years?

Krzysztof: Well... all of us had their better or worse days but... We like the way we've chosen, the music we play.

Lech: Now we are adults, but with the same metal in our veins.

Krzysztof: Exactly!!

Lech: For many years we've been trying to build a solid brand, we make our music desperately and honestly.

Krzysztof: Everybody and everything is changing, but the main goal is still the same.

Lech: The music scene and business is changing, everything is different but we play our music with ever greater passion and experience. What we do now is better and mature, also from the production side and sound of the band.

And what is the most memorable Horrorscope-moment so far for you?

Krzysztof: Every new album is one of the favourite moments but also every gig - especially the gigs with our metal idols like Megadeth, Testament, Flotsam and Jetsam.

Lech: Hahaha yes, there were 6 even 7 most memorable but, from a different view we also had some funny moments too.

Can you tell something about those funny moments?

Krzysztof: Better not. The funniest moments weren't linked to alcohol every time.

Lech: I remember how the mother tape was destroyed during the recording on the old equipment, it was before 2000. Now it's funny but it wasn't at that time. A little scary but it's a fact so... We straightened the crashed mother's tape, that died before recording the guitars.

Lech: There was a concert on which I fell off the stage and the guys were looking for me, they did not know what was happening. I disappeared.

Ouch

Lech: The smoke generator was working and I didn't saw the end of the stage. So I fell, but nothing bad happened, my guitar was saved, I was not, haha.

Nice to hear nothing bad happened. Talking about the future then. What's on Horrorscope's wishlist for the future that you haven't done before?

Krzysztof: Well... You had to ask about that 10 years ago. But seriously speaking, we have some ideas. However, now we're concentrating on gigs and the promotion of Altered Worlds Practice.

Lech: We will plan a concert with Exodus and Iced Earth and then we want to successively get ready for the next new album and at the same time doing regular shows as always. We like these moves.

Sounds interesting. Since you already exist for quite some time, do you have any advice for young and starting bands?

Lech: The best advice is to be yourself and do what you feel, do not listen to business advice. Honesty, respect and team work is working.

Krzysztof: Go on, keep thrashing, make the music you like, be yourself, practice your skills and someday you'll finish it all.

You already announced some shows in Poland and two festivals in Germany and Czech Republic. Any chance of more Horrorscope shows? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Lech: We'd like to play in the Netherlands one day. It is about some plans maybe, we are really into those shows.

Would be awesome seeing you play here.

Krzysztof: So we're waiting for an invitation, we often play in Germany, so it is a small distance to visit The Netherlands.

Lech: Would be great, yes. Let's try to work on it. You have supposedly the best fresh milk there. I would like to convince myself.

Would be nice! Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

Krzysztof: Well... Support small bands, not only the major ones, go to the gigs, not only watch Youtube. Buy CD's and other merchandise, because the bands need your support.

Lech: Listen to Horrorscope and we invite you to gigs, maybe in Holland I hope too. Nie rozkazuj kurwa! Haha (it was a joke :) )

Krzysztof: Yeah, maybe one day we'll meet together in front of the stage and drink some beer or something.

Lech: Milk. It would be a great pleasure for us.

Krzysztof: Yep.

Would be nice! Thanks for your answers!

Krzysztof: Thank you Tim!

Lech: Thank you, pleasure on our side, thanks for your interest in our music. Respect all metal maniacs.

Horrorscope Official Website
Horrorscope Facebook
Horrorscope Twitter

Monday, April 2, 2018

Review: Sons Of Apollo - Psychotic Symphony


Okay, so if you read my earlier reviews, then you know that I am not a big fan of reviewing an album track by track. Sometimes I will do it, but in case of the album Psychotic Symphony from supergroup Sons of Apollo it’s virtually impossible! The album really stays true to its name. Upon listening to the album for the first time, it immediately becomes clear that we are dealing with phenomenal musicians in their purest form. The title of supergroup is therefore well deserved!

The opening song God of the Sun actually consists of three parts. In the first part you can hear heavy guitars, powerful drums, and raw rock vocals. After five minutes the song becomes calmer and it is apparent that singer Jeff Scott Soto has quite versatile vocal capabilities. I am saying quite because I think that with Sons of Apollo it isn’t about the vocals and to be perfectly honest, I do not find the vocals that inspiring or mind blowing, but that might be a matter of taste. Don’t get me wrong, Jeff Scott Soto does exactly what he has to do, he can carry the songs like they were meant to be sung, with a lot of dedication and he definitely belongs in this supergroup, because it all fits really well together, but I can’t escape the feeling that I think something is missing. Like he can’t bring his A Game all the time. But this might also have to do with the fact that this guy has some amazing musicians that are surrounding him. Take for instance keyboardist Derek Sherinian, in the song Labyrinth he plays an amazing keyboard solo, one that is nothing less superior to the constant guitar violence of virtuoso Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. This in my opinion underappreciated guitarist, who had the extremely ungrateful job of helping Mr. Axl Rose by replacing Slash in Guns and Roses, a much better choice than Slash if you ask me, on this album shows that he is much more than a replacement of an overachieving rock icon who isn’t half as good as people make him out to be. Nonstop Mr. Bumblefoot gifts the listeners with stunning solos and tight rock riffs. Like I said earlier, the album does its name justice. By placing all of these wonderful musicians together, it sometimes can become a little bit of a contest to show which musician has the best skills. This last remark might be a little harsh, because that would mean that they didn’t think about the structure and the content of the songs, which I think isn’t the case at all. On the contrary, I think that the musicians find each other very well and everything is well thought off, even the smallest details. Halfway down in the tracklist there is the song Alive. In this song we can definitely hear that Jeff Scott Soto is more versatile than you might think at first. This is because of the quieter intro of the song.

The last song of the album Opus Maximus is completely instrumental and serves as a perfect closer. Here, Sons of Apollo show what a bunch of great musicians they are once again! But I haven’t really talked about one very important thing yet and that is fantastic drummer Mike Portnoy. This man shows during the whole album that he is a phenomenal drummer who can throw out the most complex drum parts thinkable! He excels without letting his attention slip for even the second! This man is absolutely great!

Sons of Apollo is a band which you might have to get used to, the musicians are technically very good, but it sometimes lacks a little bit of passion. The vocals don’t excel and the song texts are merely superficial. All of this is more than made up for by the fantastic musicians that the Sons of Apollo are! In my opinion Psychotic Symphony is an album for the real music lover!!!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

Sons Of Apollo Official Website
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Sons Of Apollo Twitter