DRAG THE DEAD

Do you like your death metal dirty and raw, free of any sort of melody and other fancy pansy shit. Then read this DRAG THE DEAD interview with Antonio Andre. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

Is Saint Louis, MO a great place to be a metal band?
-It’s ok. Of course, it could be much better but it gives the local Metalheads just enough to keep them from revolting. When I was in Timeghoul in the mid 90s, the Metal scene in St. Louis, MO was incredibly fun. Back then, local shows were packed and most Metal national tours would stop here. Now, it’s been almost a 50% decline since then. The real Metalheads still keep it all alive because that’s just what we do, who we are and what we love til the end.

When reading your song titles I for one start thinking Cannibal Corpse or even Anal Cunt. How ironic are they?
-In my immediate mind of lyrics, I also thought of our to be in the Cannibal Corpse vein. I’m not quite sure what specific lyrical inspirations Donny channelled when writing but his style seems very unique and gruesome more so than Cannibal Corpse. I really love our over the top brutal lyrical content. In the future, we will lyrically explore more deeply into the mental chasms of the killer. You will see a killer’s reasoning. It will definitely be worth checking out.

Have the song titles ever gotten you into any sort of trouble?
-So far, no. I could only hope (LOL). You never know what people are thinking or what media onslought they are preparing to rip you to shreds. The lyrics are very vulgar and offensive to most of the world’s population, which is exactly what we were going for. If our lyrical content gets us into trouble that’s all the better. In my opinion, It’s all good publicity for the machine that is Drag The Dead to continue its deadly movement forward.

Do you feel that there is less tolerance today as people are getting more and more “enlightened”?
-Less tolerance against violent content? Enlightened to a more violent world? I’ll answer both ways to attempt to answer your question correctly. I do think there is alot less tolerance against violence then there use to be. With the gang violence that surged in the 90s, everyone was angry and thinking about killing. Throughout those days, it seemed like there was a worldwide natural human psyche brainwashing almost like the body’s natural “fight or flight” response to extreme negative stimulous. Everyone had a constant adrenaline rush waiting to burst through their mind’s door to fight and kill. These days it definitely feels like everyone has become enlightened to the world’s violence therefore making them very jaded to everyday violence on TV and/or in their neighborhoods. People are not so effected by violence like before; They’re not so quick to react. Most people don’t act incredibly shocked at Drag The Dead’s brutal content because they are use to watching years of violence on the news and horror movies in the theater. At the same time though, it depends on whose face you shove a Drag The Dead CD. Your grandmother probably won’t appreciate it.

How far can you take your thing before people start to kick back? What kind of reactions have you had to it so far?
-As far as how far we can take DTD until people start to battle us over our content, it’s very uncertain who our material will come across. It depends who feels like stepping onto their soapbox or whose child enjoys DTD’s content.
Actually, we’ve had no negative reactions. Seems somewhat like a media failure if you ask me. I guess we are going to have to try harder on this next release.

Death metal is not just one style. What was it that made you want to play the death metal that you play?
-When we started we just wanted to create a very solid, old school Death Metal based brutal band with musical technicalities growing per release. As far as the lyrical content we have created, I told Donny to always think in the mind of a serial killer when writing for DTD and as you can see, Donny ran with it, executed his job in a beautifully elegant and monstrous manner which actually left him drained. A job very well done in my opinion. Donny is a true Death Metal expert.

What is the American death metal scene like today? Do you feel that you are a part of it and that you contribute to it?
-With the advent of the internet, the American Death Metal scene is growing like an unstoppable weed on steroid laced fertilizer. There was a time for years when it seemed so dead but the current DM surge is awesome. I am very proud of how it has grown. As a formed, functioning, creating DM band, I think we are most definitely contributing to the DM world even if it was just in our little corner of the world. A contribution to the arts I think is still very much appreciated to whoever loves the art you craft in whatever genre.

Is touring still a viable way of promoting and building a band?
-Seems like touring is still the most important way for a DM band to get the correct exposure that is needed. DM fans love seeing DM musicians perform what they’ve been listening to for so long after the album’s release. Metal fans in general love to buy the merch as well. They love to participate in the scene. In order for bands to give Metal fans what they want, I think tour is necessary. We personally haven’t had the easiet time touring due to time and money. We are still working at it though.

How do you promote a band the best possible way today? Is it all social media nowadays?
-These days, there is alot of social media promotion going on (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube). It’s just the smart way to do things. When you’re promoting anything, you must go where your fans/customers are. We also promote via the old school ways like posters and flyers at local record stores and concert venues.

What future do you when you look into the crystal ball?
-Not quite sure actually. We are all surrounded by uncertainty everyday. As long as DTD has the opportunity to exist and create music, we will continue to bring you the deadly, serial killer Death Metal that fans love. I’ve always personally been in the world of music since I was 10 years old. If I can continue to create or produce music, I will til I have no breath left in my body.

http://dragthedead.com

EYE OF ODIN

Another Canadian metal act and another interview. This time with EYE OF ODIN. “I” refers to Grendell Skalding, vocalist for Eye of Odin / Atridr throughout. “We” generally refers to Asathor Rogerson, Alexandria Yates, and Grendell Skalding. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

How come you have chosen to sing about the old Norse Gods?
-Three big reasons.
a) When we were deciding on what the “matter” of the new project would be back in 2008 we specifically wanted to emphasize the goings and doings of mundane, ancient folk. People who ploughed the earth and lived and died without apparent consequence to the turning of great wheels. To emphasise the strength of the individual is the ultimate goal… Really the lyrics are more about having confidence and strength in the face of great adversity, and the idea that victory and death are distinctly tied together. It made sense to us because of the second reason to go with an imagined history of the Norse/Gaels of the land that would one day become Scotland. That is generally the topic of our debut album, “Winterborn”. The inclusion of the gods that those common folk invariably worshipped was a matter of consequence.
b) Asathor and I are both of Scottish ancestry, and the link between the Norse and Gaelic folk, the joining of two great houses as it were, is a matter of great historical fascination for us. Because the union of these peoples is largely pre-historic (having occurred some time in the dark ages between the 4th and 6th centures) we had “room” to tell a story–a hypothetical circumstance, a “could have been” or “what if” type scenario–wherein we could focus on the struggles of those ancient peoples without being confined to a specific historical timeline (except in the loosest manner possible). History “knows” the origin of the Norse-Gaels, and it “knows” the end… but the journey in between is a story untold by history. Again, this is the subject of our debut album.
and c) A huge fascination with that mythology, culture, and history made the choice almost inevitable. Without turning to the Classic Period of the Mediterranean, the Norse pantheon was prolific and far-reaching; it is probably one of the biggest influences on culture today–Our days are counted by the names of Norse Gods, and many of our rituals (Yuletide Trees, Eostara, etc) are carried on from the ancient Norse traditions. Ultimately, Norse Myth the source of the great English works of literature. Beowulf, for example, is one of the sole examples of North-Westernern-European epic poetry. The Niebelungenleid also comes to mind. Given that there is such a rich “untold” (compared to classical mythology) history out there. Together with Wagner’s influence on heavy metal, it only seems logical to continue the tradition.

What is that is fascinating about an ancient mythology?
-It tells us something about who we are fundamentally as animals and as people. It gives us a connection to the Earth in a way that more modern mythology simply cannot touch. Ancient religions are popular these days because people are disenfranchised from the haughty, austere scrupulousness of certain modern religions which shall remain nameless.

How come people outside of Scandinavia seem more interested in our ancient history than we ourselves are?
-Well, partly thanks to the Norse-Gaels that eventually populated Scotland, Norse heritage is nearly ubiquitous in this part of the world. Then Again, Canada’s heritage is mostly Germanic in origin. Don’t forgeet the “norse pantheon” and “norse history” applies to areas outside Scandinavia, too. At some point, anyone of Northern European descent has a touch of “Viking” in them. We are talking about prolific sailors and tradesmen with a distinct interest in outward movement and invasion of new lands.

Here in Sweden you can easily be labeled right wing if you even talk about stuff like Odin and Norse mythology. How do you take it back from those kinds of assholes and create a healthy interest for it that has nothing with hate to do?
-This question requires a lot of attention. It’s an unfortunate association that we know too well. We are changing our name from Eye of Odin–a classic name and we will be sad to see it go–to Atridr, a less commonly known name for Odin. This partly because of a band called Eye of Odin that preached hate out of the UK. Even though they are defunct, the lingering stink still remains. If we have any hope of targeting the UK for distribution, (which we do!) we have to abandon the name. We don’t lament. This ship may have a new name, but it is the same old ship that carries us away to new lands and new adventures… and all cultures and creeds are welcome to sail except those who practice intolerance. The truth is any religion or mythos can be tainted by those who work toward fascist ideals. It is important to remember that although the Nazis in Germany were definitely fond of their Viking past they self-identified as Christians not as worshippers of an ancient and (at the time) very dead religion. I’m sure most Christians would rather not recall that ugly fact, but it is true. The Nazi’s weren’t barbarian witches. They were “good christian folk”. The tragedies that were carried out in that time were done so in the name of Jesus, not in the name of Odin. Worship of the heathen gods was distinctly frowned upon in Hitler’s regime, no matter what people say about his fascination with the occult. And that’s really where all of this begins. It’s unfortunately tied in with the German culture–a noble heritage which is unfortunately therefore sullied.The question of whether or not racial hatred and Norse myth are intertwined is something I think relatively moot. All ancient religions and cultures at some point suffered from feeblemindedness, and therefore ignorance. That is where fear and hatred come from. All religions have exclusive properties, and usually they were originally blood-based. But as times changed and societies adapted to incorporate new cultures, religion has to adapt and allow. How to promote Norse mythology free of hate? It’s really a no brainer for us. The music and the lyrics speak for themselves. Today, in a modern sense, I would not say there is any kind of blood-related exclusivity to the Norse traditions. No more than any other, certainly. In fact there is a lot of evidence to show the Norse people were very tolerant of other traditions and peoples. It would be foolish to say that racial motivations never existed in that culture, but the same could be said of any history that spans any significant length of time. It all comes down to fear and ignorance. Those are the sole legs that fascist ideals have to stand on. Without those two pillars, arguments quickly break down. People who focus too much emphasis on blood clearly have the image all wrong. Many people think that because Norse tradition has been interpreted in such a way in the past that the Northern people are supposed the descendants of Odin that it means there is no tolerance of other peoples… that fascism is the logical extension of the text… but again the same could be said for most traditions that involve “chosen people”. A much more fitting interpretation for the “Sons of Odin” would be humanity at large. We, the humans, have been chosen by Odin, and so we are all blessed and all given equal chance to become Einherjar.
I was once asked if it would be funny to see a Chinese person in a band that emphasises Norse history. I say no, it is a shared history for humanity that we all may sing about. I think it would be no less strange than a Scandinavian band emphasizing Japanese themes with their music, like Wintersun’s new record. If you don’t have fear in your heart, you can tell any story you want with confidence; it doesn’t have to be about your great grand father to be important to you.
So we carry that vision forward with our music and our message. The only hatred we sing about is between enemies–and usually those disputes we do sing about are simply territorial.
And for fascist assholes, I only have two words: “Fuck off”.

It is one thing to have a lyrical strategy but how do you write the music to fit the lyrics? What does come first to you, the song or the text?
-Sometimes, when I am lucky, the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic elements all come together with lyrics, like a sudden inspiration… the song in its whole form comes as if in a dream and it must be expressed. Other times, the music comes first, and the purpose of the tale comes next, and lyrically it is my job to create a tangible relation from the “feel” of the song to the sentiment of the lyrics. Not always an easy task. Sometimes, almost never, the lyrics come first and the song form grows up around them.

Where do you find inspiration to the music? How much of it is a conscious decision and how much is gut feeling?
-The biggest inspirations come from literature mostly, history books, stories, that kind of thing. Often inspiration comes from listening. We want this sound or this energy that we hear somewhere else by some other band, so we try to emulate it. In our own way. Other times it comes more internally. There is an idea we want to express. Due to the nature of the lyrics and the rather focused scope of our story telling, it’s usually a more concentrated effort, although sometimes a song just comes, wholly inspired, “from the gut”.

I gotta say that Nanaimo doesn’t sound like a huge town. What kind of obstacles does it bring with it coming from a smaller place in Canada?
-Nanaimo is small–about 80,000 people, 120,000 in the greater area. We live in the shadow of Vancouver. There are a lot of challenges–namely a lack of venues for our distinct sound, and a lack of a strong, united metal fanbase. Usually the fans of metal are very young, and most of the venues are bars–so there is a disconnect there. Often shows are out-of-pocket affairs just to get people out to have a good time and share in the culture. It would be nice if music were somehow able to be performed for free always, but musicians work hard and like anyone else they need to eat and buy clothes so unfortunately the money game ends up occupying a lot more time than we would like it too. It is a small culture here, like I said, so there is a lot of back-scratching going on. Favours for favours. That can be good and it can be bad… It’s really the passion of the brave few that make the scene come alive here. Then again we are fortunate to have such an active culture so near by in Vancouver and Victoria–but these are pittance compared with the scenes in larger cities in Eastern Canada. I guess the advantage is that because it is a smaller pond, it is easier to become a bigger fish.

What kind of metal scene is there in Nanaimo? Do you get to play live a lot?
-There are, I would say, under 10 metal bands that play actively in the Nanaimo area. We play as often as possible… at best about 20 times a year. When you consider that it’s largely a weekend endeavour, that works out to about half of our weekends spent on stage. We stand out in this area because not many bands are as exciting on stage as we are. We like to make every gig a unique experience.

How much interaction do you have with the rest of the Canadian metal scene?
-Plenty. It is a small pond over all, so acts are very social, within certain limitations. It’s good to cross-pollinate fans. Some of our best friends are in Unleash the Archers, Scythia, and Trollband–and that’s just the “medieval metal” niche… Outside that we also have friends in the punk scene and the rock scene… but unfortunately the scene is largely divided by the prairies in Canada… If you are to the West of Saskatchewan you run with one crowd, and to the East you run with another. Not that it is an antagonistic divide–it’s just geographically inconvenient to cross that large, Winter-bound gap 9 months out of 12.

What kind of future plans do you have?
-World Domination. More specifically, we are taking a Hiatus to change our live show around and make it more exciting, also to drum up interest in our new name and new image. There will be an album sometime in the next couple years called “Songs for the Allfather” — we’ve already recorded a demo for a few of the songs but some still have yet to be completed. It’s our hope that pending the release of that album, we will be able to acquire European distribution in the near future… so hopefully you will hear “Endless Horizon” or “Winterborn” on the radio soon!

NEFESH

I might sound like a broken record but I do not care. 90% of the fun doing a webzine is to discover new acts. Italian NEFESH are one of these acts. Interview withLuca Lampis (guitarist, lyrics writer and founder of the band). Anders Ekdahl ©2013

OK, you guys are totally new to me so please give me a short introduction? How would you like to describe the music you play to somebody new to the band?
-NEFESH is a project that took form many years ago, in 2005 more or less. I wanted to start a band to play my (and then our) ideas, trying to create something original. It wasn’t easy to find the right people for this project because I was looking for good musicians but first of all good friends to work with. You know, when you have to work with somebody else to create your own music you need a nice relationship with all the other members you play with, otherwise there’s no way….
So we recorded our first album “Nefesh” (2006) and then the last “Shades and Lights”, that we premiered in a special gig in London where Sky’s cameras came to shoot us.
If I have to describe our music maybe the best thing I could say is that it’s a continuous stimulus…

When you pick a band name that is from an ancient language what it is that you want to say with the choice?
-Basically we chose the word “Nefesh” for two reasons: first of all because we were looking for a word that wasn’t in English (it’s so annoying that every band has its name in English!) and the second one was that the word “Nefesh” is a concept that in my opinion there isn’t in just one word in Italian or in English and is really close to our style of music: Nefesh means the union between soul and body…means the whole person in its spiritual and physical manifestation. Our music is pretty similar to this kind of union and this concept underpins the lyrics of “Shades and Lights”…

What is the Italian metal scene like today? What kind of bands are popular today in Italy?
-…oh…that’s an hard question. At least for me…I could say that there are a lot of good bands here but none knows about them… me neither! That is because we have a lot of webzines with tons of reviews and interviews but there are no places where those bands can go to play in. Sincerely I have not so much time to spend reading reviews but I’d love going to any live club to listen new Italian metal bands…so this is the real problem. Maybe the most popular Italian band is Rhapsody at the very moment…I don’t know…I’m not an hard follower of this metal scene actually…

How do you feel that you are accepted by the Italian metal fans? What kind of scene are we speaking of?
-I’m not sure about what kind of scene we belong to…it seems to me that our fans are really heterogenic…I think that there’s no limit about our potential audience…they just need the patience and the time to listen our music carefully…

When you release an album on your own what are the reasons for doing it that way?
-Mainly because today nobody support a band to release an album paying…but when you do it on your own you have more freedom and the complete control of your work.

What have you gotten in return from doing the album yourself so far? What has it given you that you have an album out?
-We recorded “Shades and Lights” in Lucca then mastered in Finnvox studios in Finland. We worked with Frank Andiver who liked our first album “Nefesh” and he was sure to be able to help us…so we decided to collaborate with him in his studios. I think that recording an album far from home sometimes can give you a different point of view about your own music and your own work…other prospectives…

How easy is it to find the right kind of people to work with when you want to record, or when you need art work?
-That’s not easy at all…first of all you need to find someone that have a similar sensitivity about the things you are working on. Then the most important thing is to be humil and able to accept criticisms and suggestions. That’s why I want to collaborate with people I already know…to be sure about all these things…

How easy is it today to get professional help promoting the band? What can a PR agency do that you can’t do yourself?
-That is another really difficult thing…first of all because it’s not easy to find an honest professional agency. Each agency says that it is the best one you could ever find but then it remains just words most of the time …I have to say that we were lucky to work with “Necroagency” and actually “K2Music Management”. A real professional PR agency has much more contacts than you gets, they know where promote you and the best way to do that. In most cases, especially in an underground band, musicians have other works to live so they have not time enough to spend promoting their band…and this is the point: if you don’t have the time to promote your band no one will know about you.

How important are the social media and webzines in promoting the band?
-I think that today is critical having a massive presence in social networks and webzines…people have to see that you exists, that you have project, that you play live, that you are writing new pieces and overall that you care about them, the fans…

What future do you see for the band?
– Personally I see a shining future! I’m pretty sure about the goodness of our music and ,you know, if you don’t believe in your work there’s no reason to keep going with it! I’m graduated in conservatory and in a while I’ll get a master in classical guitar, I studied in England, Spain, I played classical music like soloist in many places and some weeks ago I was in Chicago invited to play at the 2nd Latin America Guitar Fest there, having the opportunity to teach and play at Columbia College Conservatory and UNAM University…I would say that I have many other musical projects in my life but NEFESH is the one I have since I was 16…and in less than ten years I was able to start this band I love, recording two albums, to launch our second album in London, to win a lot of competitions…yes I strongly believe in this band as all my bandmates do, all of us spend a lot of energies in this project so I’m pretty sure about a shining future.

SCHOOLCRAFT

OH Canada greatest land upon earth, what do you have for us in your bosom. SCHOOLCRAFT is another Canadian act that I’ve recently come upon that I just had to interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

When you are classical trained what can you gain from that training when composing more contemporary music?
-I find the classical training really helped me gain the tone I wanted and also gave me a greater understanding of where my strengths and weaknesses are. It gave me a map of my vocal range and an idea of where I could use some improvements. Plus sometimes the vocal quality in character I want for certain parts of my songs all lies in the trickery of classical technique.

What was it that made you want to do Schoolcraft the way you’ve done it?
-It was mostly fueled by my passion for creation and being a writer before a musician. I kept hearing this music in my head and it had to come out. This music had no other home in my current projects so I started Schoolcraft to have a means of expressing and releasing this music.

When you mix different influences what is the hardest part getting them to gel? What part of each influence have you incorporated into the Schoolcraft sound?
-I find you can usually make any hybrid genre work as long as the harmonies and time signatures add up. I love classical symphony and piano music, but I also enjoy folk music as well as industrial and pop. I did my best to write these songs and take what I loved from each of these genres to tastefully insert them into my music where needed. I was worried it wouldn’t work, but that was half of the guessing game. I think I did ok with the final product. My biggest concern was the harp, but the more I got used to the instrument the more I realized, while it is pushed back in most classical music, it can actually fit in well where a melodic guitar riff was needed.

What kind of influences have you incorporated into the sound? What influences are you the most satisfied with?
-I’m hugely influenced by Ben Moody of We Are The Fallen, Amy Lee of Evanescence, and Tuomas Holopainen of Nightwish. I wanted to add something awesome they all brought to the table in influencing me as an artist and musician. I wanted Ben Moody’s song structures, Amy Lee’s vocal melodies, and Tuomas’s epicness for the orchestra. This was a first attempt with “Rushing Through The Sky” and I feel like there is more to come on my next release. I am over all satisfied with the EP and everything that was added to it.

How do you use your previous experience the best to bring forth Schoolcraft? What have you learnt to avoid?
-Above all: honesty with myself. This may sound super silly, but all along I have been, I guess what you could call, a stereotypical “Goth”. I always knew it, but never embraced it enough. And even when I took on music as a full time commitment and financially stressed myself for the greater good of my art I had less time and money to dress and look the way I’ve wanted to. I also in my early years got poked fun at and called an “Emo Kid” for my darker artistic e_xpression. So I have been suppressing that part of me for a long time, but it finally had to emerge into this new project. I am starting to incorporate more of an organic, fantasy influence from my Native American roots and I hope to bring out that in me on my next bunch of songs and photo shoots. I have yet to incorporate Native American music because I am not sure where it will fit just yet, but my lyrics have always been influenced by ancient stories. I have also learned that I am a lone wolf when it comes to writing. I work better by myself and it’s better for me this way.

Why did you stop at an EP and not a full length album? What is so great about an EP?
-Well, I’ve been writing since I started Schoolcraft 2 years ago, but due to money, time, and picking my best pieces I only had a small amount of songs I felt comfortable enough with to attempt to manifest. I have enough songs now for a full release, but they will need some time and care before I head into the studio. This EP I felt was just a introduction and some simple slower songs I really wanted to get out of my system.

What are your opinions in the debate digital v/s physical releases? What are the benefits contra disadvantages?
-I personally, as an artist and a giant music fan, love and prefer Physical CDs. I actually just sat on eBay today, while doing my homework, waiting on a bid to end for Jack Off Jill’s “Clear Hearts, Grey Flowers” because it is out of print and one of my favorite albums at the moment. I also don’t mind digital if I can’t wait and really want to hear a new release. This file sharing going around isn’t a bad thing to get out your music. But fans truly do need to understand that they only way artist can make MORE music and tour out to their country is if they are buying the albums. I also think digital isn’t a bad idea for international sales because shipping costs are through the roof these days!

How does Schoolcraft fit into the Canadian rock/metal scene? Are there any bands similar in sound?
-I am honestly still trying to figure that out. I thought I was a black sheep until I found LEAH from Vancouver and her release “Of Earth And Angels.” She is leagues beyond me in knowing her sound and ability as a performer and song writer. But it was nice to hear someone who did symphonic and celtic rock! I still feel like out of place at shows because I usually never fit the bill. I feel my heart and music belong in Europe. People over there just seem to care so much more about my style of music and supporting it.

What are your intentions with Schoolcraft? What do you want to achieve?
-Go big or go home! Or well, stay at home in my case haha. I have big plans. I need more time with my image, but it know it will be great the more it progresses over the years. I plan to infuse my gothic love with Native roots, I hope I can achieve it tastefully. I have plans for a second album, with some recreations of old demos and a distorted Cello in place of where an electric guitar is expected. It will be heavier and more angelic in the slower ballads. I would love to tour europe and eventually play with an entire string section for a few bigs nights, or something like that. But for now my task at hand is getting my managerial team organized and making sure the next release is what I want in sound and structure. I have some new heads in the game this time and I have a good feeling about them, so we’ll see!

How will you take it one step further now that the EP is out?
-Even though the EP has only been out for 2 months I honestly feel like I have already hit the roof on steps with image, e_xpression, and the live show. I have already been taking in steps further in my next release. Lots of behind the scenes stuff right now. But I will be revealing it slowly starting January 2013.

http://www.facebook.com/schoolcraftofficial
http://www.twitter.com/lindzriot

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING

THUNDER AND LIGHTNING came out of nowhere but hit me straight between the eyes. If you can’t trust anybody you can always trust the German metal bands to be true. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

When I saw your band name I immediately came to think of Thin Lizzy’s last album. Where did the idea for the band name come from?
-I know it looks somewhat obvious that our name comes from the Thin Lizzy album, but the fact is, that it very little to do with that. Aside from ?The Boys Are Back In Town?, which is kind of the blueprint for the typical harmony guitar parts in many metalsongs, I really don’t listen to the band to be honest. The name Thunder And Lightning is a lyrical phrase that very often pops up in metal songs I like to listen to, like ?Beyond The Black Hole? by Gamma Ray or Accept’s ?Thunder And Lightning?, so it just seemed to fit our style of music very well.

The German metal scene has always been good. How do you feel that you can best benefit from it in furthering the band’s name?
-I agree, it has always been strong. The problem today is that there way to many bands for too few concerts. You always are up against an army of bands that you have to compete for slot on festivals. And many times that leads to a situation where very few bands help each other out, and that is sad in my opinion.

What would you say has been the single most important factor in shaping the band’s sound?
-Playing good equals a good sound, nothing less, nothing more.

What kind of status does heavy metal have in Germany today? How trend sensitive are the German metal audience? How much outside influence is there from the American bands?
-I’m getting kind of confused from time to time how sensitive the scene is. I mean there was a time 10 years ago where every Helloween-like band was called a clone, and not original enough. Today everybody is getting excited when an assload of retrometal bands comes around, who aren’t doing anything new either, funny sometimes. If American bands are influencing the scene is hard to tell, they are influencing myself a lot, I really love the newer Machine Head stuff and our other guitarist Benny is a big Dream Theater follower.

What kind of responses have you had so far to the ?Dimension? album? Have you noticed that it fairs better in certain parts or the world?
-Great response from everywhere in the world. We even sold copies to Japan, Australia and Russia. There were no real placed where it did particularly.

How satisfied are you with the album now that some time has passed since it was released?
-The press liked it, the fans liked it, and we too. Our record company’s work was a little let down, to be honest. They had a booking agency connected to them, and they said, well if you guys stay active and book shows yourself, it will be easier for us to book shows for you. We said, ok fair enough. So we booked 20 shows ourselves, they booked one, which was an epic fail financially and didn’t get us anywhere, you do the math. There was a support show in Berlin which they offered us. No money, no real headliner in a restaurant basement. Awesome, we bring the fans in our hometown, don’t get paid anything and the other guys are having the benefits. You know what, we are better off booking stuff for ourselves, haha…

How do you find the inspiration to keep promoting the band even though the latest album is rather old?
-We are recording a new album a the moment, so we thought it may be a good idea to send out a couple of promos for last ones to get some people interested beforehand.

What ways are the best today in promoting a band? What role do the social media play? Has playing live lost some of its pulling potential?
-Social media is very important today, if you are not present, other bands get far more recognition. Since most of it is free, why not use these tools. Live concerts still gather the most interest in band.
They are the number one selling point for cds also.

What will the future see for Thunder And Lightning?
-The new album will be calling ”In Charge Of The Scythe” and will be release hopefully in the first half of 2013. Check our Facebookpage (http://www.facebook.com/tnlmetal) for updates, the first studio-dairies will be uploaded to our youtube-channel as well. Stay tuned, it will be awesome!

XENOSIS

Like everybody else I think Meshuggah is some of the wildest and weirdest metal that there is today. That aside I have no idea what it is that they are doing that is so infectious and seem to rub off on so many bands. Which is why I want to find out more about XENOSIS. Anders Ekdahl © 2013

I know absolutely nothing about Xenosis. What can you tell me to get started?
-We are a 4 piece Progressive Death Metal band from Cornwall, UK formed in December 2009.
Since forming we have strived to create an original sound; taking influence from many genres, including jazz, world music, groove and prog, with death metal at the forefront. Crossing strange time signatures with melodic interludes and destructive riffs, it has resulted in a sound that is attracting fans from all aspects of the metal community and beyond. In August 2011 we had the pleasure of signing to record label Wormhole Death/ Aural Music, and in January 2012 we recorded and mixed our debut full feature album with Mathlab Studios.

I get a tech vibe when I listen to your music. What kind of influences have been your main in forming the sound of the band?
-There are simply too many to list! Each member that has been involved in Xenosis has had eclectic and varying influences. While there are technical sections, and we have taken a lot of influences from mathcore and technical death metal, we like to incorporate everything and anything.

If you were to name the 5 most influential bands in the genres that have shaped your sound what would they be?
-We all have very different ideas that all get put into the ‘meliting pot’ Bands like Fantomas, Nile, Dillinger Escape Plan, Estradasphere and Diablo Swing Orchestra are some of our personal favourites, but as a band we are always looking for more experimental and interesting music, varying from Classical to Bossa Nova to Grindcore.

When you write songs what comes first, the music or the lyrics? How important are the lyrics?
-When writing the music will usually be written with a subject in mind, but the lyrics are always paramount. As well as wanting to make music that is original and different we have always a strong theme of conspiracy and human misanthropy driving the songs forward.

How important is the art work to you? What do you want it to say to the potential buyer?
-We have chosen to incorporate symbolism used by various secret societies. Stephanie Full of ‘Spirit Of The Forest Art & Photography’ did a great job of representing our lyrical themes visually, which is important part of making our CD stand out amongst others.

With the digital/download scene the art work and lay out seem to be of a minor interest as well as the album format. What are your opinions of this whole new way of consuming music?
-The internet has changed the way we shop for music, as well as how we purchase it (or not, as the case often is). Presenting an aesthetically interesting image for your music is just as vital as it always has been, but it is still far more important to make music people like! From vinyl to mp3 this has always remained true. The digital market allows us all instant access to more music than ever before, this can only be a good thing.

Is playing live a viable way for you to promote the band? What kind of venues are we talking about?
-Yes!! Playing live has always been the best thing about heavy metal and its followers. The promotion that comes from playing in any venue will always over-power social media in our eyes. People having fun, coming to shows and enjoying themselves is what this industry is based on.

Do you feel that you are a part of a scene? How do you know when you become a member of a scene?
-Our local scene in Cornwall has always been great for us, beer, metal and friends just down the road has got to be good for any band! You know you’re a member of a scene when people remember your bands name the next day!

How do you know where to look for the right kind of people to work with? How do you know what people to trust?
-People who forget that metal is about the music, and the people who enjoy it, and focus purely on financial gain, or trying to appear ‘cool’, should be avoided. Not only can they not be trusted but if allowed they will poison whatever you create, whether they mean to or not.

What future do you see for Xenosis?
-With the release of our new album which is due for release very soon, we plan to take up opportunities touring, playing festivals and anything else we can do to get our music heard! Having written most of a second album as well, we will be looking to get back into the studio at some time during 2013. Watch this space!

ARZ “Turn Of THe Tide”

ARZ
“Turn Of The Tide”
(Unicorn)
Canadian progressive rock/hardrock has for the longest of times had its forerunner. Don’t know who I’m talking about? RUSH of course. If you ever so slightly touches on prog and come from Canada somebody is likely to scream RUSH at you. As ARZ are new to me I’m not going to hastily throw RUSH at them. I’ll give them time to prove me wrong. They could turn out to be Dream Theater-esque instead. That this is progressive there’s no doubt about. From the very first note to the last this is progressive in a Rush/Dream Theater crossover. I’m not even going to pretend to understand the going ons behind the music but I like what I hear. I also get an old Marillion feel, or a British 80s prog rock feel to be more correct. Seeing as I like that period I like this album. Highly recommended for those into prog rock/metal. Anders Ekdahl

BINGO “Ett grindslagsmål i 2 delar”

BINGO
“Ett grindslagsmål I 2 delar”
(Discouraged Records)
I really tried to get into Swedish HC and grind in the 80s and for most of the time I got it but almost as often it just went right over my head. BINGO from northern Sweden might prove me wrong and really get me turned on to grind. Or not. First of all you gotta be able to stand a bit of chaos, or a lot of chaos if you’re gonna like grind. I might be too uptight for the chaos that comes out of my speakers. But at the same time a bit of chaos doesn’t hurt every now and then. With no kind of reference to grind I have no idea what this might sound like. I want to mention bands like Agathocles or Fear Of God because that is the closest I come to grind In my memory bank but that might be bands too old for anybody to remember them. Not a grand aficionado of any rank I like this. Anders Ekdahl

BLEED THE FREAKS “All Is Lost”

BLEED THE FREAKS
“All Is Lost”
()
After having discovered the big four it was time to move on to newer and perhaps better things. And what better place was there in the 80s for thrash than the Bay Area. Bands like TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL, EXODUS and a handful of others changed my view on extreme metal. To this day I keep returning to the earlier albums by these bands. To call this hardrock is to do the band a great injustice. This has more in common with the Bay Area thrash that we saw in the wake of Testament and Death Angel. There is an edge to this that. This is the kind of metal that I spun day and night in the 80s/early 90s. Metal that followed in the tracks of Exodus monumental thrash. Metal that competed with Testament for the throne as thrash kings to be. Cool stuff all the way through. Anders Ekdahl

CELTACHOR “Nine Waves From The Shore”

CELTACHOR
“Nine Waves From The Shore”
(-)
I did an interview and review for their demo CD I think it was. I thought that they had potential back then. Now it is time for the full length album. Hopes are high and expectations are large for this to be a full on blow of pagan/dark/ call it what you like metal. This is so much better than I remembered this Irish bunch to be. As somebody that have a hell of a problem telling pagan and heathen metal apart from black metal I will call this black metal on the more epic (not symphonic) side. There is that great feeling of get ready for a battle to the music. Close your eyes and you can almost picture how the warriors gather getting ready to fight the ultimate fight. This is the kind of confidence boasting metal that we all need every now and then to get through life’s hardship. Anders Ekdahl