Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Words Of Farewell-The Black Wild Yonder

AFM Records
2014

As just one of many CDs that I received in the mail last Friday (April 18th to be exact with a special thanks to Dustin Hardman for the well-stocked package of goodies!) "The Black Wild Yonder" has thus far proven to be one of the better surprises. Maybe I wasn't expecting a lot out of this German collective, but that would be of no fault of their own. "Words Of Farewell", who have been on the scene since 2006 or so, are melodic death metal done right. Perhaps it is just that that term, "melodic death metal", is every-present and over-used? Or maybe it's just that there are so many newcomers in this field that it has blinded me to the fact that there are still elegant acts out, with a foothold planted firmly in the greats of the past thank you very much(!), that are doing much more then simply riding out the current fad trends? Whatever the case I owe this lot an apology and the aforementioned explanation. For "The Black Wild Yonder" is a release which you could easily use to set aside as a standard of the field and that is a good thing. A very good thing indeed! Take away the obvious, melodic passages executed with precision and written in such a manor as to flow and peak at all the right moments, and you're still left to witness a band that has marvelous "metal" aspect to their overall sound. That probably sounds as if it should be a given, but for this German lot there is a clever balance point in play between the two extremes. The melodic side of Words Of Farewell is clearly meant to appear as good as it gets (and it does so as careful consideration was obviously given to each and every line present within the band's sophomore output and, to that end, Leo Wichmann 's keyboard passages are exquisite!), but one thing that is even more enjoyable to discover (so I implore you to do just that!) is that when the band-mates concentrate on the heaviness factor of their sound it's turned upside-down/inside-out with only the BEST of the BEST leads (something guitarist Erik Gaßmus should be awarded for!) having been chosen. One could try to pin-point the rock elements in this band's overall direction on "The Black Yonder", but it's better to just point out that it is there as opposed to where it came from! Rock-based construction is nothing new in this day and age of course. For Words Of Farewell they may not be the innovators, but they've taken such a concept as far as it can be taken while still maintaining a healthy metallic  approach to their delivery. Everyone plays their part here perfectly (up to and including vocalist Nicolas Alexander Otto) so there's never an uncomfortable component to Words Of Farewell. There's never a lull in the action either as this German collective carefully moves it's peaces across the chess board paying special attention to what comes next. Beautifully-constructed and perfectly-delivered,  "The Black Wild Yonder" has made me a believer when it comes to Words Of Farewell. Even though I walked into this performance with no clue as to what to aspect I walked out of it with all of the elements dancing around in my head! With it's admirable rock and roll song construction, admission of classic heavy metal's influence in lead guitar work, moving keyboard passages and careful attention paid towards the past and present elements of melodic death metal "The Black Wild Yonder" is an absolute must-have addition to metal collections! There's nothing more to it then that! 

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DRUKNROLL-Точка Кипения (Boiling Point)

Metal Scrap Records
2014

"Точка Кипения" is the official title of this Russian act's latest (their third overall full-length output since forming in 2006) with the translation being "Boiling Point". Between that piece of information and the fact that this is all in Russian then you should have a general idea about what this four-piece is offering (at least lyric-wise). It also serves as a bit of a head's up/warning that if you can't get past the language barrier that some releases come packed with then you should turn back now. For everyone else who has stuck around then let me just say that with this one (due for release here in the states in July from the looks of it) you get pretty much everything on the menu ad then some! And that's just in the first five tracks mind you! We start off with something akin to modern metal on "Злоба" ("Rage") before our attention is quickly turned towards the melodic rock/hard rock of  "Моя звезда"("My Star"). That in and of itself was odd (especially as that second track there features acoustic passages and all!), but then track three cuts in and it's heavy rock/thrash n' roll meets death metal with more then a few quirky time-changes to make you question just what the hell is going on with this bunch! Keep in mind the fact that you're but a third of the way through  "Точка Кипения" ("Boiling Point") and there are still seven tracks to go! And pretty much that's how it goes with this one. In-between this odd mash-up of progressive power metal and heavy thrash, with vocalist Alexandr "Horror" (Svartstorm, ex-Князь Тьмы) splitting his time between a hard rock style of delivery and a death metal growl(!), "Во власти глубины" ("In the Power of Depth") throws weird sound effects at you (apparently from the hands of lead guitarist Alexey "Alex Knip" Khuzhaev)  while challenging your ideas of what can and does pass for "modern metal" here in 2014! All of which brings up a good point about DRUKNROLL's latest. Is it by definition "modern metal"? Or is this band just extremely experimental in it's approach to music? Would you label this one adventurous or write it off as being far too schizophrenic for it's own good? The truth is I don't quite know. Some of ideas here are clearly clever and the combination of heavy metal/thrash metal and keyboards & sound-effects actually works. But there are other times when it's all a system overload and it's almost as if the band had one too many wild ideas for just one simple song and would have been better suited flushing these ideas out over several songs. If I was to grade it we'd be looking at a B- or maybe even a B. That's clearly not enough to recommend "Точка Кипения" ("Boiling Point") to everyone so this one would be better saved for those who are looking for something different and off the grid.


Russian titles:
1. Злоба 05:00  
2. Моя звезда 04:35  
3. Самурай 04:36  
4. Во власти глубины 04:46  
5. Оборона Севастополя 06:01  
6. Белая смерть 05:29  
7. Десятая ночь 04:33  
8. Игра с огнём 05:06  
9. Бог морей 05:15  
10. Насыщение 04:44  
   
Title translations:
"Boiling Point"
1. Rage
2. My Star
3. Samurai
4. In the Power of Depth
5. Defense of Sevastopol
6. White Death
7. Tenth Night
8. Playing with Fire
9. Sea God
10. Saturation 


 Special thanks to the Metal Archives for providing the track listing and subsequent translation.  

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Noble Beast-Noble Beast

Self-Release/Independent
2014

Recently signed to their local label, Tridroid Records, Saint Paul, Minnesota act Noble Beast has been active since 2007 with a 2010 demo having preceded this, their self-titled debut-album. Lead up front by guitarist Sir Robert (whose voice, while a little rugged at times, does a commendable job of capturing the essence of this traditional heavy metal/power-metal band) and with influences running the gamut  from Judas Priest and Iron Maiden to Kreator and Emperor, Tridroid Records' latest signing is striving to hit that perfect peak and damn if they don't achieve it right out of the gate with "Noble Beast"! The first thing you're likely to notice about this quartet is how capable they are at writing memorable material. Numbers like (opener) "Iron-Clad Angels" and (personal fave!) "The Dragon Reborn" (which can be streamed at the bandcamp link below) contain so many hooks that it's almost impossible for them not to snag hold of something and pull you right in! Credit should go to fellow guitarist Matt Hodsdon (Chaos Frame, ex-Matt Hodsdon, ex-Epicurean) as, together with Sir Robert, he creates an atmosphere of epic metal proportions! The lead work of a number such as "We Burn" (which you can also stream below!) finds Noble Beast galloping into territory previously inhabited by the likes of Blind Guardian, Helloween and Iron Savior! With a stud bassist like Drew Sutphen now along for the ride and with the drum duties having been split up between Jamie Strobach and David Thames, "Noble Beast" ends up being an all-killer/no-filler CD! Guests such as John Yelland (Disforia, Judicator) and George Eliassen (Shadowdance, ex-Cipher) stop by to lend a hand with backing vocals throughout this ten-track album while the song "Disintegrating Force" alone includes harsh vocals from Aaron Lott (Australis, Chaos Frame, Cold Colours, ex-Enshrined, ex-Golgotha's Pyre, ex-Sinis, ex-Solace of Requiem (live), ex-Swatara) and a wicked guitar solo from Kevin Alter of Deretla and Invidiosus fame! And it's these guests, and what they each individually contribute (as far as style choices and their own distinct influences), that turn an A project into an A+ one! Whether you're a fan of Iron Maiden/Judas Priest/Dio-infused power metal, the likes of Helloween and Blind Guardian or even more progressive-leaning acts likes Symphony X and Kamelot this Saint Paul act has something to offer making "Noble Beast" a highly recommend release!

http://tridroid.bandcamp.com/album/noble-beast

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Sinbreed-Shadows

AFM Records
2014

 Featuring within it's ranks two members of Blind Guardian, Marcus Siepen (guitars) and Frederik Ehmke (drums), and having originally gone by the name of Neoshine (with an EP, "With a Neoshine", surfacing in 2005 and a demo, "III", appearing in 2007) Germany's Sinbreed are now on album number two with the exceptional "Shadows". With the band's guitarist/keyboardist Flo Laurin sitting in the producer's chair and producer Markus Teske (Symphony X, Vanden Plas, Neal Morse, Saga and many more) once more taking care of the mixing and mastering aspects of "Shadows" just like he did on the group's (well-received) 2010 debut-album, "When Worlds Collide", "Shadows" ends up as an early 2014 favorite in the field of European-styled melodic power metal/speed metal! With a line-up that also includes former Neoshine member Alexander Schulz on bass and the (spotlight-stealing) Herbie Langhans (Beyond the Bridge, ex-Seventh Avenue, ex-The Preachers, ex-Neoshine) on vocals Sinbreed, in an effort to put some real space between themselves and the rest of melodic power metal/speed metal scene, marches their way through album number two with cuts such as (opener) "Bleed" ("Shadows" first single), the sweeping "Call To Arms" and "Leaving The Road" staking a claim early on that this one will be epic!  Pardon the pun, but closer "Standing Tall" stands tall with it's power metal take on Iron Maiden and even as the band speeds things up on the likes of  "Far Too Long" and "London Moon" they never lose focus on task at hand, creating melodic metal masterpieces! Sinbreed's ability to write catchy numbers along the likes of  "Call To Arms", "Bleed" and "Far Too Long" is head's above the competition and given the stylistic differences offered on numbers like the majestic "Reborn" and the aggressive "Black Death" ( a monster of a cut, "Black Death" is by far the heaviest and most "extreme" number on this disc and it just BOOKS it's way right down the middle of the road!) it's hard not to be pleased by this band's obvious quest towards balance and perfection. Sinbreed has all it takes to be the voice of a new generation of melodic power metal/speed metal bands. That's of course if their voice can end up being heard more frequently then it has been. After all four years between albums is a real long stretch! Based on what's going on with "Shadows" might it just be that the time has come for all involved to push this act to the forefront? One could make that argument and I most certainly would!

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Free Metal Monday: Lilith-Bloom


Self-Release/Independent
2014

Now signed to 6131 Records (http://6131records.com/site/), and with an upcoming tour in support of this 5-track demo EP being talked about, self-proclaimed "feminist doom punk" Lilith hail from Phoenix, Arizona with the 14-minute "Bloom" serving notice that five-piece is here and that they have no plans of going anywhere anytime soon! The two minute plus "Wolves' Den" serves as Lilith's introduction to the scene at hand (or dare we even say the world!) with lead vocalist Sarah M. demanding the listener's attention as she urgently tackles issues still facing modern day women in a (sadly far too dominated by hard-nosed males who remain misogynists even in this day and age) scene that should be way more tolerating then it is! That's not the only topic that Sarah (with a refreshing with an air of honesty!) takes head on (she also touches on bigotry), but it's obvious by the passion and power in her voice and in her delivery that such issues drive her and her devotion. And why shouldn't they? We are talking about 2014 after all and by now we really should have moved beyond such BS as to whether or not women should have a place in punk, hardcore and metal! Unfortunately there's still work to be done and, with an all-male backing band providing the relevant noise* that's needed for her to deliver these (all too important) message at hand, Sarah rallies the troops on "Bloom" making this 5-track EP more of a battle cry then anything else! Hardcore/punk fanatics (as well as those that love doom-laden "alternative" projects) would be well advised to check "Bloom" out as this 14-minute monster of an EP is a one-punch KNOCK-OUT blow to today's male-dominated scene! It offers up a  real fury of a soundtrack to go with it's sincere message that change is needed and it's needed now! One can tell that for Lilith (Sarah, guitarists Andre R. and Samad A., bassist Mike H. and drummer Make H.) there's so much more to be said even with "Bloom" being as good as it is! In fact it comes across as just the beginning of this band's journey and if I was a betting man I'd throw it all down (every last cent!) that "Bloom" is just the start of what will be one remarkable career!


*"Bloom" is constructed from jagged pieces/parts of old-school/classic punk rock and (street-fighting) hardcore with ample amounts of post-Pentagram doom added into the mix so that the maximum amount of damage possible can be achieved with just one click of the word "Play"!

http://lilithphx.bandcamp.com/

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

SODS Law-Rough Mix 3-Track Demo

Self-Release/Independent
2014

Real and raw "we all bleed red" punk rock from Derby. Featuring  the vocal skills of Carl Lander with bass guitar performed by Luke Mcloughlin and guitars & drums (respectively) by the pair of Rich & James Burnett (Father and son perhaps? One would assume as much given the young looking drummer of this UK act!). Special thanks/shout-out to Stereo Killer for tipping me of to this free download (link below) which (warmly enough) reminds me of the old "basement days" when both the feedback and the fuzz was soaked up under the cover of lot's of (cheap beer) foam! All I've got in me to ask is this then. "Got any more mates?".

 http://sodslaw.stereokiller.com/

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Lions of the South-Chronicles of Aggression

Self-Release/Independent
2014

U.S. metal act Lions of the South, which formed in 2008 and happens to hail from Florida (Miami), released this, their full-length debut album and only piece of recording to date, back on January 1st. Now Rock 'N' Growl Promotion has steeped in to handle the PR for this heavy metal/thrash metal trio and, having now streamed this LP two times over, it's not too hard to fathom why they've caught the attention of said promotion! This power trio, who might technically hail from Miami even if it's fairly clear to all involved that their roots can be traced all the way back to South America, features Cristobal Perez on lead vocals and guitars, Felipe Vilches on bass and Andres Nayar on drums and, thanks in no small part to the surprisingly clean, crisp and clear production job that has taken place on this self-released slab of metal, this up-and-coming three-piece is packed with promise! The likes of Sepultura, Megadeth, Pantera (and maybe even some Slayer?) has been soaked up by this trio from South Florida and then it's been chewed up and spit out in the most venomous of ways making "Chronicles of Aggression" a blistering collection of chunky HEAVINESS! Not short on talent, Lions of the South could easily make headway in today's scene if they can build on the success of this early 2014 thrash attack!

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Zephaniah-Stories from the Book of Metal (2014 Re-Release)

Self-Release/Independent
2014

Six years has passed since Indiana's Zephaniah first released "Stories from the Book of Metal". Recorded at JTW Recording Studio in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (with producer Joel Wanasek working side-by-side with Zephaniah on this unheralded gem!), "Stories from the Book of Metal" was the band's lone piece of studio work during their initial five year run (2005-2010). With the band now reformed and two new members, guitarist Tony Rudny (Beneath It All) and drummer Cody Johns (Viking, 80000 Dead), pairing up with the returning original members, (vocalist) Logan Detwiler (Valhalla), (guitarist) Justin Zych (Viking, Vindicator, Valhalla) and (former drummer turned bass guitarist?) Ian Bender (Beneath It All), Zephaniah can turn their attention towards their upcoming sophomore, "Reforged". That release should drop sometime later this year and it's worth repeating this little bit of information that has been making it's way around the net (especially for long-time fans of the group although even those who might be new to this Indiana-based band's distinct take on heavy metal would do well to jot this note down as it's bound to be a headbanging good time!). Per the promo material: 

"The band will triumphantly return to the stage to headline the USA's Warriors of Metal Fest VII from June 26-28, 2014 in Columbus, Ohio where the band will play their entire debut CD, "Stories from the Book of Metal" from start to finish."

That sounds like it would be an epic event given the overall strength present on Zephaniah's debut album! On any other day you could call this one straight-up power metal, but that tag would seem to fall short as there is much more to this release then initially meets the eye. Helped out by the stellar production, "Stories from the Book of Metal" features catchy melodies and fairly lethal lead solos that flirtatiously dance between speed metal and European-style power metal. On the one hand it's a somewhat smooth take on the genre (with Logan Detwiler's clean singing giving the band a bit more flash and class then what one might expect from a band of this particular field), but there's little chance of mistaking this album for anything but METAL, what with (amazing) drummer Ian Bender pounding the living daylights out of his drum set and all! Even more amazing is the fact that the bass playing of (the departed) Tyler Sumwalt is actually discernible(!) as that is something that is far too often for my tastes buried in the mix. and finally we are treated to some rather nice piano passages courteous of guest musician Adam Guingrich and it has to be said that the direction that the band took when it came to "Stories from the Book of Metal" is something to be admired. For comparisons sake you could look towards the likes of Hammerfal and Dragonforce as (quite honestly) those two names were thrown around long before I even was aware that this album would be getting a re-release. As source material goes both bands would seem legit although it has to be said that Zephaniah's debut album is colored in differently then those two bands making "Stories from the Book of Metal" a tastefully assembled piece of speed metal/power metal. It's also one that should most assuredly be added to ones' metal collection and it's an album that has me anticipating what this band can pull off on their 2nd full-length adventure!


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Friday, April 18, 2014

Thunder Lord-Heavy Metal Rage

Iron Shield Records
2014

Chile's Thunder Lord (possessing one truly metallic moniker!) will have this, their (originally self-released back in 2012) sophomore output, re-released by Iron Shield Records at the tail end of this month. For fans of traditional heavy metal  we're talking about nearly 38 minutes of no-frills, straight to the heart of the matter, true metal with influences such as Running Wild, Grave Digger, Exciter, Iron Angel, Sodom, Living Death and Blind Guardian playing a huge part in this band's development. Since 2002 this Santiago-based outfit has been churning out their own brand of rough & ready heavy/power metal with a pair of demos (released in 2004 and 2005 respectively) having preceded their 2008 full-length debut album, "Hymns of Wraith in This Metal Age" (also self-released). That album was over an hour long(!) so this one could be viewed as a bit of a letdown in that department. But, only in that department friends. For you see, everything else about "Heavy Metal Rage" is golden. Semi-rough vocals of the metallic kind ride atop waves of club-worthy, down and dirty riffs that, with one eye closed in the darkly lite confines of an underground metal venue, could easily pass for music from the "good old days"! Sound's promising right? Well, it is! What works well for this lot (and thus this album) is their ability to transform those previously-mentioned influences into a rather nifty, (charmingly) rough around the edges, sound of their own that recalls many a great old band while effectively carrying itself in a proud manor that says "We are Thunder Lord. This is who we are. This is what we sound like and this is what we stand for. Love us or loath us it makes little difference to us as we will keep on cranking out the riffs OUR WAY!!!!". And personally I find myself loving the likes of Thunder Lord more and more as we find ourselves inundated with more and more generic rock and generic metal on a daily basis. This is true heavy metal/power metal with anything flashy or sparkly. There no keyboards or symphonic moments. There's nothing to suggest that this is anything but no-holds-bared heavy metal  by heavy metal fanatics for heavy metal fanatics. It's just meant to be enjoyed as is so do just that-enjoy it. I know I did and so will you!

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Interview with MUTANK's Stephen "Steve-out" Reynolds

Left to Right, Steven "Steve-in" Breen (Rhythm Guitar), Ahmed "On-Meds" Saad (Drums), Stephen "Steve-out" Reynolds (Bass and Vocals), Liam "Lee" Hinchey (Lead Guitar)

Having just reviewed MUTANK's latest release, "M.E.C.H. Metal", YESTERDAY (April 17th, 2014!) I managed to pull off an interview with the band's bassist/vocalist, Stephen "Steve-out" Reynolds! I have to give a huge shout out to Stephen for his prompt insanely quick response and I'd just like to say that I wish more musicians and/or bands were this responsive/approachable* and if you are looking for a up and coming band to throw some support behind then I highly recommend this Montreal four-piece! You can read my review of their speed metal/thrash metal-infused crossover album below (which I HIGHLY recommend to all metalheads!!!!!) and if MUTANK happens to play anywhere near you then by all means check this lot out! From the sounds of things you will not be disappointed as this act comes across as one which can and will back up the strength of their studio work on the live stage!

 
 

Andy (A)-Could you give us a brief run-down on whose who in MUTANK?

Stephen "Steve-out" Reynolds (SR)-First we got Steven "Steve-in" Breen. This motherfucker is a rhythm machine, always on point with his riffage so long as he's got a few wobbly pops in 'im. Most solid guitarist and solid dude I've ever played in a band with. He's the main proponent of any punk influence you hear in the tunes. He once punched his own dick because he got mad at it. 
Next up is Ahmed "On-Meds" Saad. He's been compared to late 80's Lars Ulrich which is fine by him as he's the biggest Metallica fan I know. He only really picked up drumming when we started the band and the progress he's made is indescribable, people often don't believe me when I tell them that because we only started this thing less than a year ago. He's the sober one and "secretly" wishes he were a guitarist.

Liam "Lee" Hinchey is a mean motherfucker who I have been playing in bands with for a long time. He shreds like Satan on a surfboard and doesn't take "slow" for an answer. He joined after the first album was written so expect some crazy shit of his to appear on the next offering. He's also in a death metal group called Crosstitution, be sure to check them out!

Lastly there is I, Stephen "Steve-out" Reynolds. I play bass and do vocals. My favorite pass times are playing frisbee, long walks on the beach and getting inebriated with MUTANK followed by puking up the contents of my stomach into a pentagram drawn on the floor and reading omens in the pizza chunks. Renowned sesquipedalianist, I write the lyrics and do a lot of the artwork too! 

There are a lot of other people who do a lot of shit for MUTANK that I wish I could mention here but I don't want the whole interview to be just this question so, YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! TANK MU!
A-Certainly this won't be the first time (or for that matter likely the last LOL!) that you've been asked about the name, but let's get it out of the way first and foremost! What's in a name? Especially one as cool as MUTANK?

SR-MUTANK is a portmanteau of the words "mutant" and "tank". I came up with it while I was taking a dump at work. It's just got a ring to it, you know? I texted it to Steve-in along with a pile of other names and he mentioned it back to me a few days later and I was like "What the fuck is that?". The rest is history.


A-Give us a brief bio on MUTANK if you would please?
SR-It all started with me trying desperately to get in the band "Wetmetal" which contained my buddies Mike Molloy (former MUTANK guitarist) and Steve-in. The project was coming to an end so instead we started writing our own shit and began looking for a drummer. After trying out a few pretentious numb-skulls we found On-Meds (this was around April/May of 2013). Dude knew exactly where we were coming from with the tunes, and was very chill but professional. From there we started jamming flat out and things started to flow... and QUICK. After a couple of months we got offered a show we couldn't refuse, and, even though we didn't have a set, we said yes. We pushed ourselves to write what is now the first album just so we could play that show. Soon after Molloy decided to move away so we brought in our good buddy Lee who added to the insanity that was MUTANK with his unique play style (particularly his solos!). Since then it's been a roller-coaster ride from hell! Soon after our first show we rushed into the studio with our new guitarist and recorded "M.E.C.H. Metal". Currently we're just trying to stay alive and write our next album! 

A-"M.E.C.H. Metal" is just your latest and greatest correct?
SR-Well, if by "greatest" you mean "only" then yes. I'm personally very satisfied with everything about this album, along with the history and the process of making it. We've still got a lot of riffs on the back burner and a lot more shit to scream in peoples faces. All these factors combined mean you should have some new MUTANK jams to bash your skull to by the end of this year!



A-Any story behind the "M.E.C.H. Metal" title? 
SR-Well, M.E.C.H. Metal means "Middle East Coast Heavy Metal". Despite being based out of Montreal, our drummer is out of the Middle East and the rest of the members hail from the East Coast of Canada. We put em together and it sounded cool. Voila!



A-Fave tracks of the moments  from "M.E.C.H. Metal"?
SR-Jeez, that's a tough one. I think the track "MUTANK" is my favorite at the moment. Some of the songs on the record I wrote when I was much younger and some are brand new material. The song MUTANK is a good mix of these two styles with riffs stripped from songs I wrote when I was 16 mixed with some new stuff inspired directly by my buddies Mike Molloy and Steve-in. The lyrics are a resounding statement of discontent and disconnection from the general bullshit of everyday life that I think a lot of people can relate to. It's all summed up with a big "FUCK IT, WE'RE MUTANK". I'll give "Heavy Hand of the Doomsday Clock" honorable mention as I get goosebumps every time I hear it. 


A-Now, the album is epic, but what should people expect out of a live MUTANK show?
SR-A shit-ton of energy, pits, loudness, blood, fast fucking music, terrible jokes in between songs and a bunch of ugly dudes running around the stage like they're on PCP.


A-Who are some of the bands that you've shared the stage with so far and who would be on your dream bill?

SR-We haven't got many big names under our belts, hopefully that changes soon. Our first show was with Lich King which was really fucking cool. I really hope we get to play with Municipal Waste at some point! Suicidal Tendencies would be another dream come true, one of the best live sets I've ever seen. Odd Future is another personal one, they have crazy pits and it would make for a really radical show. It's obvious to say "The Big Four" but honestly I hope those guys retire soon to make room for the new generation of scum-dumplings.
 

A-Any favorite shows so far that spring to mind?
SR-Days of our Lives.


A-LOL! OK, what's the one thing that MUTANK must have backstage at all of their shows?
SR-A backstage would be nice. After that, cold beer, warm beer and ice tea!


A-Changing gears some here, but from the sound of it you guys are fans of old school speed metal and thrash as well as crossover eh?

SR-We've all got very varied musical tastes but the place we are succinct is in regard to no-nonsense, l.a.f. in your face crossover-thrash metal. That being said, a lot of other influences work their way into songs in places you may not necessarily expect or notice. We're not happy just dong what our predecessors did and living up to the thrash stereotype, although we will always remain true to our thrash roots!


A-Verses time! Metallica vs. Megadeth. Who really slays the beast?
SR-Depends on the era and who in MUTANK you ask. I'm Megadeth all the way. They are the reason I play music, without Megadeth there would be no MUTANK, but the same could be said for Metallica.
A-OK then, D.R.I, C.O.C. or S.O.D? Who comes out on your top? Whose the best of the best?
SR-I would imagine the band would be united in saying "D.R.I.". Me and Steve-in are jamming that shit out constantly. I don't wanna say whose better or worse because that's hard to define and I don't usually like to pick favorites, but come on, where do you think "crossover" came from!?

A-Slayer or Anthrax?
SR-Megadeth. 


A-LOL!
 

SR-Seriously, this one is hard for me to decide. I would personally say Anthrax, but I know at least half the band if not all of them would go with Slayer. To each their own. I don't think it's such an easy comparison.

 A-If you could be on any tribute album whose would it be?
SR-Probably Suicidal Tendencies, if they ever get around to the suicide part. MUICIDAL! 

A-So true! Stephen, are there any other bands from your area that our readers should check out?
SR-Warsenal, Chemical Way, Powered by Death, Venomenon and the list goes on. The thrash scene here in Montreal is really growing, it's an exciting time!  Also, anyone into death metal should check out Lee's other band "Crosstitution"! 

A-Warsenal totally shreds! I'll have to check out the others though as I'm not familiar with the names. But anyway, let's say that MUTANK actually conquers the world. What now?

SR-Our music would probably turn to shit, seems to happen when any band becomes hugely successful. I would shave my head and sing about my "Dharma Eye" a lot, appoint an ostrich as the President of the United states, sleep in a garbage bag full of chicken fingers and pay terminally ill children to have fist fights for my entertainment. Honestly, I think no matter what happens I'll end up in a basement somewhere writing riffs without a dime to my name, no teeth in my head, and body-sized pillow as a wife.


A-Parting shots? I give you free use of the mic for good or bad! The last word is yours!
SR-Listen to MUTANK every day and tell 10 friends about MUTANK or you will get stampeded by rhinos! This shit happened to a buddy of mine just because he went on vacation with his metal hating girlfriend and didn't get his daily dose of MUTANK. Now he's in intensive care! Please, go download our "pay what you like" album M.E.C.H. Metal (mutankthrash.bandcamp.com) and be sure to donate hundreds of dollars to help pay for his hospital bills. Make sure to like us on Facebook (facebook.com/bonebrainsnotdemolishers) so you can get constant updates on his condition! Please direct any "get well soon" messages to mutankmail@gmail.com! MU TANK IT WON'T HAPPEN TO YOU! SO DID HE!



Review of the awesome "M.E.C.H. Metal":
http://metalmark.blogspot.com/search?q=Mutank-M.E.C.H.+Metal

*I will not name any names, but there a few bands that I've been trying like crazy just to figure out how to PAY FOR their album in order to review it with NO RESPONSE WHATSOEVER! And I'm talking about dozens of inquests through messages on Facebook, postings on Facebook, etc. If that is how you treat people who want to buy your merchandise then that speaks volumes about your attitudes toward the listening public!

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interview with N.W.O.B.H.M. band The Deep


One week ago today I covered the 2013 debut-demo from London's The Deep. You can check out that review right here (http://metalmark.blogspot.com/2014/04/the-deep-demo-2013.html) and up-front let's just call it like it is. Had I heard the 4-track demo before the cut-off date for my "Best of 2014" list it would have easily made it as it's about as good as you can get when you're talking about classic heavy metal! This (soon to be household name if the metal gods would just get up off their lazy butts and do something about it!!!!) N.W.O.B.H.M. act, which has ties to bands such as Deep Machine, Rogue Male, Angel Witch and Vardis,  was kind enough to sit down and discuss the past, present and future and for that I give a hearty "Thanks" while I throw some devil horns up in the air as homage to what has proved to be one dead-serious kick-ass heavy metal outfit!

Andy-First things first. Tell us about The Deep would you please?

The Deep-Well, although it’s a new name, the roots of the band go back to 1982 when most of us were together in a band called Deep Machine. It was a great band. There was myself on vocals, Tony Harris and Paul W. Smith on guitars, Andy Wrighton on bass and Steve Kingsley on drums. I think we all felt it was the best band any of us had ever been in, and we felt that we really should have been signed up by a label. Thirty years later we decided to have a jam together and it was brilliant, so we decided to re-form. However, by now the name Deep Machine was being used by a different line-up, hence we adopted the name The Deep.

Unfortunately, two of the members; guitarist Tony Harris and bassist Andy Wrighton couldn’t continue with us. Andy was already heavily committed to Tokyo Blade and found working in two bands impractical. Sadly, Tony developed an ongoing physical illness which makes it hard for him to play guitar anymore – which is a terrible shame. Although that was very disappointing for us, we were very lucky to get back in touch with an old friend, guitarist Mick Feleppa. Then, after quite a search, we eventually found bassist Don Whiberley.
 

Andy-Wow, it sure sounds as if you've come a long way just to make it to this point! As hinted at though your band has ties to some of the greats, heavy metal and N.W.O.B.H.M bands alike! There is a lot of experience packed into The Deep. Just how do you keep it all contained?

The Deep-Yeah, we’ve all been around and played with some great musicians in other bands too. I was with Airrace for a while and also in another band with drummer Les Binks of Judas Priest. Steve was in Rogue Male after Deep Machine split up and was also in Vardis for a time. Curiously, both Deep Machine and The Deep historically have ties with members of Angel Witch. Kevin Heybourne was with Deep Machine just prior to our line up forming and our current band, The Deep, had Kevin Riddles on bass for a few months.

There’s no doubt that in terms of experience we’re very fortunate. However, more importantly, I think we are all very creative people and as a band we all gel. The personality mix has a great bearing on the effectiveness of a band and when things are in equilibrium, the creative processes flow. When we were looking to recruit new members our drummer, Steve Kingsley, was especially keen to find the right people as well as the right musicians. We’re all different personality types, but the balance is good and we all respect each other and listen to each other. I guess we’re all pretty grounded really.
 

Andy-I've just got to say that your 2013 demo is fantastic! How did that come about? What has been the reaction to it so far from fans and critics alike?

The Deep-Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say so. Well, we were keen to record quite early on because we already had the songs. Most of the stuff we’d been playing was mostly written by myself and Tony Harris in the eighties. We’d spent most of 2013 trying to get the line up completed and we’d got to the stage where we had Mick on board and we’d been working with a bassist by the name of Bob Allen. We’d been rehearsing for weeks and were getting ready for the demo when Bob decided to quit too.

By this point we just decided to go ahead with the recording and let Mick and Paul play the bass parts. It was actually a good friend of ours Terry Whiberley who suggested we try out his son Don, who was a bassist. Boy were we glad we did! First we jammed with him at a rehearsal and then threw him in at the deep end (no pun intended) by letting him record one of the tracks. He impressed the hell out of us so we asked him to join and he finished the demo with us.

We were all pleasantly surprised with the demo as an end-product. Things often sound good in the studio, but when you take them home and listen, you start to hear problems. This demo just seemed to sound pretty good from start to finish. The engineer, Steve Good, has had a lot of experience with rock bands and is into rock music. The recording studio is actually part of the rehearsal complex where we rehearse each week, so the engineer had heard us dozens of times and knew the sound we wanted before we even started recording. That obviously paid off for us. Plus the approach has to be right. If you treat it like a demo it’ll probably end up sounding like one. We treated it like an album and try to play well, and hopefully that shows.

Reception has been great, very positive from public and press alike. So we’re very happy with that. But it’s still early days and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us yet.
 

Andy-Well, I'd argue that you're more then have way there if the EP is anything to go by! And speaking of which, some labels have shown interest in sighing you correct? Based on the strength of that EP alone I'd wager! 
The Deep-That’s true, there are a number of labels showing interest, but we’re in no rush. Our focus at the moment is to promote ourselves and we believe the best way to do that is to gig. We also believe our strength is going to be in our live performances. Hopefully, from that we’ll develop a following. When the time is right we’ll decide how we’re gonna go about doing the album, either as part of a label, or independently.

Andy-Count me in then on your that following! I'm on board and ready to roll! Now, we all know that the studio has been kind to you (again, the 2013 demo is killer folks!), but it also sounds as if The Deep has already made a splash on the live scene. How has the reaction been? Are there some shows coming up that you'd like to plug?

The Deep-Actually, apart from a couple of low-key unannounced warm up gigs we’re just started to book them now. Don had to learn all the material and we’ve been tweaking song arrangements and also been writing new stuff too. We’ve got a few confirmed dates booked from May onwards. The biggest one so far is a metal festival, Metalwave 2, just outside London, which is really cool. A few of our NWOBHM friends are playing that one too, so that will be fun. I think the audience is going to expect a lot from us because back in 1982 we had a great reputation for live performances. I can promise you that we plan to deliver this time around too.

I also can’t wait to play in Europe again, that was brilliant last time around. We’re looking at playing one or two of the festivals there next year. Maybe we can get some dates arranged in the States next year too, fingers crossed. There are numerous bands we’re looking forward to playing with: Chariot, Midnight Messiah, Soldier, Monument, Weapon UK, House of X…just to name a few. It would be especially nice to do a gig or two with the current line up of Deep Machine, so audiences can hear all the songs from the eighties, the ones we play and the ones they play. I think fans would really appreciate that.

Andy-All of that sounds awesome and I wish you guys nothing but the best! How can our readers get in touch with you about purchasing the demo?

The Deep-The web site won’t be up and running for a few weeks yet, in the meantime they can email us: the(dot)deepnwobhm(at)btinternet(dot)com
Or drop us a line on our Facebook page:
http://www(dot)facebook(dot)com/thedeep(dot)nwobhm


Andy-Well, I'd just like to encourage all of our readers to check out the band's 4-track demo for themselves and, if you live on the other side of the pond, see The Deep live! I thank you once again for taking the time to talk with us and be sure to keep in touch!

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Despot-Satan in the Death Row

Self-Release/Independent
2013

With a trio of EPs due for release starting sometime later this year, "Satan in the Death Row", which was the first full-length release from one-man project Despot, is worth investigating if only so that it can serve as some sort of foundation/introduction to this Brazilian black metal project. The biography of Despot seems simple enough. Formed in 2008 by sole member Marcelo Murrer (formerly of Necrocult and Unholy Massacre Marcelo takes care of all of the music here incl. vocals and instruments), Despot hails from Belo Horizonte, Brazil (the same sinister area that brought us Sepultura and Sarcofago among others!) and while this might just have been the group's first full-length release it wasn't Despot's first foray into the studio as three demos were issued between 2009 and 2010! With "Satan in the Death Row" the oddity doesn't simply begin and end with the cover artwork (no idea about that one friends...) seeing as Despot enjoys a hearty breakfast featuring just about all kinds of meaty metal! There's hints of  German thrash (early Sodom and Destruction) as well as the music of Despot's hometown (Sepultura, Sarcofago and even Mutilator). There's (of course) the black metal influences (Celtic Frost, early Rotting Christ and Bathory) and even death metal influences such as Immolation, Angel Corpse and Morbid Angel. But then there's also influences and sounds that you just can't quite put your finger on. As the drum parts here are programmed, which is the (unfortunately) one of the chief complaints about "Satan in the Death Row", there's a slightly off-setting mechanical vibe to the material but even beyond that the music of Despot is just....different. Sole member Marcelo Murrer obviously knows what he wants by this point in time it's just that Despot (even for a eclectic black metal band) bring so much to the breakfast table to devour that there are occasions when it gets downright messy! Still, there's just something about "Satan in the Death Row" that makes you want to hear more from Murrer's project so I'll be keeping an eye out for the new EPs so that we can further explore the music and the madness that lies at the heart of Despot. Until then, should you feel adventurous and in need of some simple mind expansion that is, give this album a workout of your own. You never know, but you just might find yourself as keenly drawn in by the odd appeal of this Brazilian one-man project as I and many others have been!

http://despotband.bandcamp.com/

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Mutank-M.E.C.H. Metal

Self-Release/Independent
2014

Everything about this release from the band name to the album title and subsequent cover art just spells out "metal" doesn't it? And sure enough this Montreal-based four-piece are metal. It just so happens that it's more along the lines of SPEED metal with some tasty crossover thrown in for all the rads, rockers, punks and bangers who remember the glory days when all the best bands had abbreviated handles that meant something (D.R.I., C.O.C., S.O.D., M.O.D., M.D.C., etc). For comparisons sake it's more that first one (D.R.I.) when they had morphed into more of a thrash metal act along with influences ranging from (later-day) Suicidal Tendencies to the "Big Four" ("Heavy Hands of the Doomsday Clock" sounding for all the world like a punk-worthy Megadeth!). Why it's only just now that I'm hearing about this mosh metal bunch is a question I have no good answer for, but this latest release from Mutank, which was released this past February, needs to be shared with all as it's just too damn sexy cool to be kept hidden under wrap! Oh, and did I mention that you can pick up this cool 8-track release on cassette tape? No? Well, I am now so what exactly are you waiting for? Snag and bag "M.E.C.H. Metal" and all will be good with your soul....

http://mutankthrash.bandcamp.com/



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