VAN CANTO Interview

With their aptly named 4th album “Breaking The Silence”, a capella band Van Canto are unique in using their voices to mimic the sound of conventional rock instruments. Shan Siva gets the word from lower ‘rakkatakka’ vocalist Stefan!

1. LOL – who’s sick idea was it to start an a capella metal band and why (not)?!

Stefan: It was started an a project and turned out to be a great band. Why? Because it’s cool to have a band that sells records and plays on the biggest festivals around the world, haha 😉

2. I must confess, that when I first heard about Van Canto I thought it was some kinda joke band – what made you think that it would be so successful?

Stefan: We never expected anything, so we are just as surprised as you are. But we didn’t plan it as a joke. It’s hard work and we are working professional so I think in the end it’s ok to have some success.
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Virgin Steele – “Age Of Consent”

Virgin Steele – “Age Of Consent” REMASTER (Steamhammer / SPV)

Originally released in the late 80s, this was ‘barbarian romantic’ metallers Virgin Steele 4th album although described by vocalist Dave DeFeis as ‘…the one that got away..it was sent out without any promotion or fanfare (and) many people were completely unaware of its existence…’. Given that, DeFeis has gone outta the way this time round to do this album justice by firstly re-mastering all the songs resplendent in two formats: double digipak incl. new booklet with rare photos and new liner notes by David DeFeis; Double digipak incl. new booklet with rare photos and new liner notes by David DeFeis. Continue reading

The 11th Hour – “Lacrima Mortis”

The 11th Hour – “Lacrima Mortis” (Napalm Records)

The 11th Hour is a Dutch/Swedish collaboration between 2 death metal veterans Ed Warby, known mainly for his work as the drummer for Gorefest and Hail of Bullets, and Rogga Johansson, the man behind countless bands such as Paganizer, Ribspreader and The Grotesquery. Together, they made 2009’s doom release of the year in “Burden of Grief”, a bleak concept album about the last days of a man dying from a lung disease. Laden with funeral doom, a morbid sound and contrasted by some of the most beautifully melancholic melodies ever, it was hauntingly captivating. Continue reading

Wolfsbane – “Wolfsbane Save The World”

Wolfsbane – “Wolfsbane Save The World” (www.wolfsbanehms.com)

Famed thru singer Blaze Bayley after he joined Maiden back in the 90s, Wolfsbane had a short if illustrious life of 3 albums before finally impoding in 1994. Now, 17 years on, Blaze has rejoined the original line up and this self produced album of ‘don’t give a fuckery’ is the result – and a fine effort it is too! Engineered by guitarist Jase Edwards, the first real challenge after so long must’ve been of recapturing the band’s classic sound of traditional British rock mixed in with a healthy dose of Brit eccentricity. Continue reading

Anvil – “Strength Of Steel” / “Pound For Pound” / “Worth The Weight”

Anvil – “Strength Of Steel” / “Pound For Pound” / “Worth The Weight” REISSUES (Steamhammer / SPV)

By now this Canadian band need no introduction: having cried welfare thru their 2008 rockumentary “Anvil! The Story Of Anvil” – the highest grossing rock documentary in UK rock history I might add – these guys found a new lease of life and things certainly look rosy with their latest album “Juggernaut Of Justice”. Capitalizing upon this have been the inevitable cash ins and with a mega compilation already being released by Sony, SPV have made a prudent move to re-release (in gate fold colored vinyl no less) Anvil’s 4th, 5th and 6th studio albums. With songs featured in the rockumentary like ‘Toe Jam’ and ‘Mad Dog’, these were crucial albums in what should’ve been Anvil’s career development. Continue reading

Metal For Cancer – “Let’s Unite In Rock”

Metal For Cancer – “Let’s Unite In Rock” (www.metalforcancer.com)

No, it’s not some kinda sick joke: the Metal For Cancer Dragon Slayer All Star Project was founded by Australian based Neo Classical and Power metal musician Richard Ofsoski, after the passing of his wife due to cancer. Being by Cheryl’s side every step of the way and witnessing the battle had a profound effect on Richard, who was determined to do something, and so MFC became his crusade. Harnessing support from Swedish musician Henrik Flyman of Evil Masquerade, the two produced the track ‘Let’s Unite In Rock’, which is very Dio sounding – and what better inspiration could one want, given his association with a similar charitable cause – Hear ‘n’ Aid – in the 80s. With 100% of the proceeds going to the Australian Cancer Research Foundation, MFC have produced an excellent song, for a worthy cause, and inspired by a legend. Continue reading

Take The Seven – “Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious”

Take The Seven – “Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious” (www.taketheseven.com)

Kicking off the new year in thankfully mellow style comes this promising band from the heart of England. Essentially playing soft punk pop, the real clincher of TTS are their unashamed melodies and harmonies on tracks like ‘Through The Crossfire’, ‘History Is Written By The Victors’ and ‘Duchess’. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that they are almost AOR, especially in the guitarwork, reminding me a lot of late 80s US bands like Tyketto in those passionate melodies. Despite the heavy sounding titles of their songs, there seems to be an unpretentious, easy going nature to the band in matching their music so TTS offer a lotta promise in the making. Continue reading

BEEHLER

Beehler. The Man. The Band. The Legend grows….anyone who is a professed ‘Heavy Metal Maniac’ who grew up in the 80s will know who Dan Beehler is. Moreover, they’ll remember the sound that defined the band he sang AND drummed for – Exciter. Almost 3 decades on and he’s now back again with that ‘pounding metal’ sound from hell!!

Hi Dan, lemme say first off that as a fan who bought “Heavy Metal Maniac” all those years ago what an honor it is to finally interview you! I actually wanted to speak to you at Metallica’s Marquee show in ’83 but you were such a big dude I felt a little intimidated being just a 13 year old kid LOL – lemme say how much I respect you for being a drummer / vocalist. As I remember, it was only you and Zoetrope’s Barry Stern (RIP) who pounded and screamed in unison!!

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CIRITH UNGOL

Arguably one of the most enigmatic bands at the turn of the 80s, California’s Cirith Ungol remain one of the cult bands in the mists of metal history. With demand still for the band, Metal Blade will be releasing “Servants Of Chaos” and Shan Siva got a once in a life time opportunity to interview drummer Robert Garvin!

Greetings Elven ones – as a fan of Moorcock and Karl Edward Wagner I haveta say that your cover to “Frost n Fire” remains a classic to this day! I take it that you’re Tolkien fans so what did you think of Peter Jackson’s interpretation of LOTR? I must confess I sill have a place in my heart for Ralph Bakshi’s animated version….

Robert: I can’t speak for all the other members but I thought it was very well done, hoping now for a multi part Elric saga!

I haveta ask, using the name Cirith Ungol so blatantly, did u ever get into any trouble with the Tolkien people legally?

Robert: A company in the US Saul Zaentz bought the rights to make “The Hobbit” and the LOTR in animation. We asked permission to use the name for our band and it was granted. I still have the letter granting us permission to use it. In retrospect we should have used a different name as everyone thinks this was something that held us back as it was to hard to pronounce or remember. Continue reading

Wasted Sinners – “Unleashed And Dangerous”

Wasted Sinners
“Unleashed And Dangerous” MCD
(www.wastedsinners.com)

LOL – with names like Dude Rock and Pete Sin, be prepared for some serious kick ass rock n roll – although tempered by remaining members Gary Dainty and Roxx Hydi! And that’s pretty much the essence of London’s WS, GnR fire mixed in with the cool groove of Buckcherry on songs like ‘Fakeness’, ‘Drugs And Angels’, and ‘I Want More’. It’s not too threatening but not exactly wimpy either so I can see a wide appeal for these guys, especially if they have a good live act to match, cos their musicianship is certainly up there and they’ve got bunches of energy! Continue reading