Crystal Viper – “Excepta”

Crystal Viper – “Excepta” (AFM Records)

Fronted by vocalist / guitarist Marta Gabriel, this Polish HM act have shifted from the power metal in their previous album “Legends” to traditional heavy metal on “Excepta” with huge doses of Iron Maiden right from the Bomber ‘arris twanging bass right thru to the Murrayesque riffs judging by songs like ‘The Spell Of Death’ and ‘It’s Your Omen’. Ironically, it’s Marta’s voice that is the exception being rawer and of course feminine compared to Mr Dickinson, although it certainly doesn’t lack any less power! Crystal Viper also try to show more versatility on this release, offering an HM cover of Vader’s ‘Tyrani Piekiel’ (‘Tyrants Of Hell’), an extra (album only) cover of Demon’s classic ‘Night Of The Demon’, and a power rock ballad in ‘Ghosts Of Sherwood’ which will be the theme song for the forthcoming 3D cinema horror movie “Robin Hood: Ghosts Of Sherwood” – the harmony choral of which reminds me of REM’s ‘Shiny Happy People’ LOL!

Running Wild – “Shadowmaker”

Running Wild – “Shadowmaker” (Steamhammmer/SPV)

Yarrr – get ready to be keel hauled once again by Cap’n Rolf! Running Wild are German pirate legends going back to the mid 70s and formed the part of the first wave of German HM alongside the likes of Accept, Living Death and Grave Digger, although I would’ve said they were probably the most mellow of that lot. So, in many ways it doesn’t come as a surprise that “Shadowmaker” isn’t really a metal album as such, but more metalized rock with lots of 70s rock influences like Thin Lizzy on ‘Sailing Fire’, while on the more rock n roll numbers like ‘Me + The Boys’ Rolf’s voice sorta reminds me of Krokus, or even 80s Priest on the singalong ‘I Am Who I Am’. Having seen the best (and worst) side of 35 years, they called it day after their Wacken 2009 performance but last year, Rolf and guitarist Peter Jordan reactivated the band although I’m not sure who else is contributing besides them. Whether “Shadowmaker” turns out to be a comeback album or epitaph, Running Wild have turned out a swashbuckler of an album in every sense from composing to musicianship to production and finally marketing it in 3 different formats from limited 1st edition CD plus bonus DVD to double album (printed inner sleeves & clear vinyl) to limited edition boxset (2 LPs, CD/DVD, Poster, Sticker, Postcard, 30 page book)!

Stick To Your Guns – “Diamond”

Stick To Your Guns – “Diamond” (Sumerian Records)

‘…I wait for the day we can stop trying to figure each other out, and just start to understand..’. Stick To Your Guns Jesse Barnett seems more like a visionary than a vocalist, and whose band is more than a musical medium but one from which to project his viewpoints – and he has many from social justice to sexism to homophobia to organized religion to name but a few! Originating from Orange County, which had a big straight edge following back in the 80s, STYG have built up their burgeoning reputation thru relentless grass roots touring and passionate performances, as well as playing memorial shows for deceased fans, working with women’s shelters and supporting the Occupy Wall Street Movement. It’s all been done before especially when I think of pure punk bands like Propagandhi, but Barnett’s drive to enlighten has taken him to the heart of the Bible Belt to conquer intolerance thru a ‘…voice of acceptance, not a voice of repentance…’ i.e. not by crusading against it, but compassionately appealing to the humanity that it preaches but sadly does not seem to practice. It is an admirable stance which I can empathize with, along with challenging the introspectives of the hardcore scene of not accepting what is, or trying to get by but seeking to live an actual life. But what me makes me a true believer is that the music of Stick To Your Guns is no less poignant and moreover, amazingly powerful where Barnett’s hoarse voice is driven by his fueled emotions, with aggressive, heavy guitar work and the unbridled anger of the pummeling drum work completing the mix on songs like ‘Such Pain’, ‘Empty Heads’ and ‘Life In A Box’. Finished off by ‘Wailing Wall’ singalong choruses, intelligent samples from Jiddu Krishnamurti and just the right amount of emo melody in the right place, “Diamond” is exactly what is sez and the most well rounded hardcore album I’ve heard in a long, long time.

Villa Rise – “Wastelands”

Villa Rise – “Wastelands” EP (Monarch Records)

Originally hailing from Sydney, Australia, this emo post hardcore band have taken quite a gamble by firstly relocating to the UK, and now releasing this EP for FREE! Thankfully, it’s not cos it’s crap but hopefully down to some canny marketing or genuine social consciousness – certainly vocalist Jarrod Martin roars like he’s the last man on earth, while guitarists Ben Clink and Brendon Farneli have achieved a harmonious duality in their contrasting styles of clanging metallic riffola and arpeggio melodies. Completing the circle of angst and isolation are bassist Kyle Usher and drummer Alex Wood, who could fit the EP’s tale of a young man who descends into madness, because of his inability to accept the positives in his life. Wonderful.

BREATHLESS

Mallorca might not be the first place you think of when you go looking for thrash metal but BREATHLESS calls this holiday paradise home. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

First of all, we want to thank you about this interview, giving us the chance to present and let to know a little more about our band to metalheads.

How do you keep going from late 90s to late 00s and not giving up the idea of the band despite the things you’ve been through?
-As you have mentioned, things were not that easy, noticing that we live in an island, away from the mainland. We formed BREATHLESS back in ´99, Joan Font (drums) and Eduardo Moreno (guitar and vocals), with the idea of composing our own songs and enjoying to play metal live. We have been through many different and difficult circumstances in terms of line-up and personal problems. 10 years ago it was very difficult to find people interested and committed with the band, with similar tastes to our style and not being supported by anyone. But, nevertheless, we pushed ahead. In 2007, when we recorded our first EP “Breathless”, we decided to conclude with this first stage and start creating new songs to record an LP. But the other two members, Victor Arco (guitar) and Álex (bass), left the band. They were replaced shortly after that by Óscar Maestre (guitar) and Javier Martí (bass), who had already been part of Breathless in the past. So, we ended up to record “Thrashumancy” with this line-up and started to move more seriously. If we haven’t give up before, has been because of we believe in what we are doing, no doubt.

How rewarding is it when you see that very first release carrying the band’s name finally being released?
-You can see, this is what we get out of all the work of these last years, as how things started, we have finally achieved the goal that after the first EP we had in mind. Contributing to this style of music with something that we have created and feeling that both we and other bands prevent it from dying, is more than rewarding! What will come after is welcome.

I get a flashback to album covers from the 80s by Ed Repka when I look at your cover. What were you going for when you decided on this one?
-The songs in the album asked for a cover like this. The concept of the album itself, in which we talk about social issues and lyrics reflecting a sad future for the planet because of man and its evolution, had to be on the cover and recognized at a glance on it. We also wanted hand work based on our idea, we asked Juanjo Castellano to develop the concept. The artist is well knowned by other outstanding drawings for bands such as Vomitory, Putrevore, Ered, Sathanas; he welcomed the order and gave it priority. It was the first cover he made for a Thrash Metal band, he worked on it while he listened to the tracks on the album and he got inspiration from 80s Thrash. It may be a revival of 80s Thrash, it may be a kind of tribute to everything that we like, call it as you want. We wanted all that and finally we believe that we have succeed.

Being a thrash metal band is there any other era than the 80s to draw inspiration from?
-Of course. In the NWOBHM we find many of our great inspirations. These are our roots. We also have great devotion on Death Metal. There is a great variety in our tastes and influences which, directly or indirectly, we reflect them when composing. We have always drunk from these sources.

If I’m correctly informed you live in a holiday paradise. What is the metal scene like there? How do you stomach all the drunk Swedes, Danes, Brits and Germans?
-There are many bands of different styles and some have brought out some LP, and others are doing it. To name a few, this is the case of Goreinhaled (Brutal Death), with two albums already “Fetus In Fetu” and “The Art Of Sickness”, and they are now recording the third with another line-up. Unburial (Blackened Death Metal), with influences from Dissection in their debut album “Bellum Internecinum”. Decomposed Torso (Brutal Death), former guitar and bassist of Goreinhaled, that are recording their first album selfproduced. The truth is that even having many bands and different in styles, could be more closeness between them than it is and we could make more noise together. Although it is true that the situation is changing in recent times and there is more union nowadays.
Years ago there used to came around more bands from abroad and more frequently, Napalm Death, Obús, Anthrax, Sepultura, Scorpions, Dismember, Centinex… It seems that authorities are not interested in promoting metal events, they are more interested in pop or tecno. The lack of rooms and premises to organize events reduces the possibilities of creating them. There are only six metal pubs in the island, and two big venues. But even so, they do. This February, Avulsed came back to the island after 5 years, with Aggression and Desecration, both Thrash Metal bands from Barcelona, organized by Samuel Deathlight.com and Helevorn, guitar player for another Majorcan Band (Doom Metal, two LP). He’ll bring also Forgotten Tomb this summer. In what we are concerned, we are going to organize the second “Battle Camp Metal Fest” on August 11th, we’ll bring to Majorca Omission (Thrash band from Madrid, they have released their second album and they are also in Xtreem Music label). They’ll share stage with us and with bands of the island; Trallery (Thrash), Neurotic Disorder (Tec. Brutal Death), Unburial (Blackened Death) and Battlehorn (Viking Metal). Thus we create bonds between the bands here and the mainland. Last year we brought a band from Segovia, Entröpiah, making Death-Grindcore, and the festival was quite well. On the other hand, we do trade with bands of the mainland, so they come here and we play in their cities. In short, we do all is possible to ensure that the Majorcan scene also reaches the mainland.

When you don’t live on mainland Spain what kind of challenges does that bring to being a band?
-Well, nowadays due to internet, is much easier to get in touch with bands, labels, associations, etc. But it is true that many times we find the handicap of having to cross the pond for any event outside the island. Living in the mainland, offers you the possibility to move around easier, attend more concerts and festivals that are organized. Anyway, who wants something must move with all the media you have available and come up with what you want.

I have no idea what the infrastructure for touring as a metal band looks like in Spain. What places are there to play if you want to set up national tour and not lose too much money on it?
-We have not organized any tour yet. As we have said before, we organise exchanges with bands from other cities and we send and receive proposals for participation in underground festivals with covered accommodation and travel expenses. There are a large number of non-profit metalheads’ associations in many towns and villages in the mainland. We received the first invitation by Metal Bats Association, in Valencia, we are enormously grateful for their support and also letting us to get in touch with other organizers of other festivals in other cities. As the Metalmería Fest, Almería, where we will be playing on April the 7th, and have as headliners at the Danish band Artillery, as well as Desecration, Falsos Profetas and Sombras del Destino. We’ll thrash through everyone and we’ll try to give a great show, for granted.
There are still to be confirmed two more festivals. One on July 28th in Lucena del Cid, a town in Castellón and is called Metal Fox. The other will be in Malaga, called South Bangers. For the moment, we have played 8 dates in different cities, within our means, to combine them with our work. Let us say that it has been a year of score, to see how it moves the scene in the mainland. As you can see, this is the underground scene in which we operate. Largest and most well-known festivals are still to come, maybe.

When it is time for you to record how hard/easy is it to find the right kind of people to work with that understands your vision?
In our case, we got through Urban Studios here in Palma to record the disc by a colleague. Rafa Rigo and Toni Toledo rule the studio and they have been into this for many years, as well as having recognition of being great technicians, but they were not at all into metal. It was hard for them to understand what we wanted and the style we play, but they finally got the essence and the feeling we wanted, we are satisfied with their work.

Does it help that Xtreem Music is run by a guy (Dave Rotten) who is pretty experienced in all things underground metal? What have you gotten out of the collaboration so far?
-Without doubt. Signing with Xtreem Music has offered us the possibility of reaching more people here in Spain and abroad. We have done interviews in fanzines, webzines and radios. We have also received much reviews from the album everywhere, Chronicles of concerts, etc. Throughout the year we have had continuous news from all these means and where the disc has been delivered. The first gig we did off-island was at Metal Bats festival as we have said before and because they saw that a Majorcan Thrash band had signed with Xtreem Music, they made an order for several albums and grabbed ours, heard it and we were called. Dave has helped us much to publicize the band. Indeed, he has sold out the copies made for the label. He distributed them in Europe, America and a last request to Japan. They are therefore very well distributed and we are convinced that these copies come out to good metal hands.

Breathless has entered another new year as a band. What will 2012 hold for the band?
-This is a good year for composing new songs, and to play live as much as possible. We already have a few new ones and they come out while we continue doing our own concerts in the mainland, exchanging with other bands and accepting all requests of festivals that arrive to us. The truth is that when we’ll have a significant number of new songs, we will record our second album. If everything goes as it’s going and we can afford economically the recording, at end of year we could start recording it, maybe. But time to time.

Hope we’ll share some beers together some day.

EDENIAL

I came upon the name EDENIAL when I was searching for bands to interview. As I knew nothing about them but still found them intriguing I had to interview them Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Is the band name made up of the two words Eden and denial and in that a comment on the Christian “stick your head in the sand mentality that everything will sort itself out if you have faith” attitude??
-Yes the name is made up from those words but is has nothing to do with religion of any kind. Stick your head in the sand mentality that you mention however, is a common practice these days. People not doing what they should and speak up, being abused by authority of any kind, wronged by the media. Things are changing – like the manifestations all over the world against a system. But, how you solve that shit ? Education … students who will get so much in debt that there’s no way they will be able to pay their tuition once they arrive to an over saturated market, where is impossible to find a job that will pay for the bills. You know Chile is the only country in the world where you can profit with the State funds and get away with it … SUCK ON THAT !!! And how you solve that shit … with politicians ? ha … politicians SUCK ! They got the shit so much up to their necks on influences, crossed interests with their own businesses, corrupted motherfuckers who haven’t been able to make a single political agenda on what people really need. Pinochet lovers, Allende lovers, derecha izquierda centro, everybody loves the system. And how you solve that shit ? war … against who ? your fellow country man ? Camine. Shit yes you need faith, in whatever you believe in and especially in yourself. Attitude will get you going, that’s a sure thing. Probably you need faith and attitude and a whole lot of other things in life. Hard work, … you name it.

I have only great memories of the Chilean metal scene. What kind of metal scene are we talking about in Santiago?
-Fuck metal scene here in Chile is great. Foreign numbers come here and get so impressed that they keep on coming, which is awesome. Probably is a people’s thing in South America, cos fans in Argentina and Brasil are nuts as well. Everybody here loves the crowd. Well of course Santiago is where most of the things happen, where most of the shows take part. But don’t be fooled and you can also get to see some Dimmu Borgir cursing the sky up in Coquimbo and the riot is even greater I’d say. Also great local bands play at local stadiums and stuff in a festival lately, so Yes, chilean metal scene is great.

You don’t seem to be too well known to metal fans all over the Globe. How would you best sell your sound to somebody interested in checking you guys out?
-We aren’t ? … Fuck man don’t give me that shit ! haha. The album “From the End” it’s an album with vicious changes, up tempo and metal groove. It’s the beginning and end of crazy moments for us as a band recorded on an album. Our tunes are solid, heavy and get stuck. Great for karaoke man !, ha

What would you say is the highlight of your album “From The End”? Anything that stands out more than anything else?
-maiden
big day
from the end
….we like all of them really. The whole 12.

Chile, as all other South American countries are Catholic. How much power does the church have in the 21st century? Does the church’s power reach as far out as the music scene?
-Catholicism is the most popular religion, with very deep roots in Chilean society. However things change, and the main reasons are that even though the people need to believe in something or someone they have become more critic to catholic church, specially because cases related with sexual abuse, from head Priests and Nuns to their followers or pupils, and the protection and impunity that these sickos operated. I remember that in 1992 or 1993 they banned Iron Maiden to perform for the first time in Chile. They have returned for 7or 8 times since then, I’m not sure. We don’t give a fuck about religions of any kind.

The bands that I’ve come upon from Chile so far has all been more akin to the extreme metal side. What kind of metal bands do you interact with?
-We interact with Mar de Grises, Sacramento, Rajavana.

It is only when you search hard that you find new Chilean metal bands. What is the hardest part in reaching out to metal fans outside of Chile? Is the language barrier a major issue?
Language is not a barrier for us as our songs are in English and also in Spanish, the principal barrier for us is to make our music be available to the people.

With Santiago being a big city what kind of places are there to play live at? Any cool rock clubs that allows smaller bands to play?
-There is a few good places to play, SCD, Batuta or House of Rock and Blues, Club Rock y Guitarras, Oxido. They are great to play live.

I’ve noticed lately that more and more bands are using Facebook for band promotion instead of Myspace. What are the advantages to using one over the other?
-I think every social network is key to promote your band , music or business nowadays. How you make use of one in particular will depend on several things … shit I’d surely enjoy making fuckin movies out of any song we have as a video clip and upload them to Youtube … so depends on a lot of things, time, budget, etc. I think you have to use them all.

How are you going to make more people hear of Edenial in the future?
-Using and abusing of social networks…working with our record label (Ravenheart music) and of course touring Europe. Book us motherfuckers. We are Out.

LIGHT

LIGHT is a band from Berlin, Germany that caught my ears one day. There was something about the band’s name that made me want to know more about them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Is the band name meant to mean something special? Light instead of darkness.
-Honestly, it’s mainly derived from the fact to have a catchy name. Many bands are stuck to a certain style, because the band name forces them to do so. We wanted to choose a very simple name, and most important something that does not obviously foreshadowing a specific genre when you just hear the name.

When I picture Berlin, well any German city for that matter, I think of big gray housing complexes, rain and a generally dull atmosphere. Yet Berlin is being described as the party town of Germany. What are your impressions of Berlin?
-Sure it can be dull, sad, like any other place in the world.
Funny enough, we actually grew up in one of these gray housing complexes, but never thought about it is as a depressing area to live. It depends on how you see it and more important in which LIGHT you see it. Mainly Berlin is really like the tourist guides promise you: Hip, fast, party all the time, great nighlife, clubs, live bands, events, booze, girls. Inspiring city with inspiring people all over.

I guess there is some kind of metal scene in Berlin, as there seem to be in most German cities with clubs and places like that. What is life like for a metal band in Germany that isn’t signed to any label?
-We believe it’s pretty good. Just visit certain clubs and bars from time to time, get to concerts regularly. We have very close friendship and connections to some well-known local metal bands of any kind and we support each other whenever possible. So being not signed to any label is not really an obstacle, due to the fact the internet today offers you a lot of possibilities to manage your band and most important to promote yourself quite easy.

How much of a scene do you belong to?
-It’s fair to say that we do not really belong to a specific scene, since we are all hard working guys, and we have a wide area of interests. And it’s valid to say that we do not like extremes of any kind, because it quickly will bore us. We are open minded to any kind of music as long as it is kicks ass. You can meet us at any death metal concert, that’s for sure. Apart from that, post-rock is another favorite we all share and doom metal. And of course supporting the traditional heavy metal scene, whenever such a superstar band is in town.

What kind of live scene are we talking about for metal bands in the Berlin area? Or is it more club/house music that gets played live?
It’s pretty awesome, for any kind of metal you are interested in, even as they are only a few clubs. But you can always get what you want. There are also a lot of clubs that mix genres a lot, which is interesting as well. In regards to metal music, it seems that no band could really ignore Berlin, no matter how famous they are. Nearly every day you can see a show, and most of the time we even wonder ourselves how big the opportunities are: starting from little clubs and bars up to big concert halls.

Why does anybody want to just release music digitally? What is wrong with physical records for old school dudes like me to buy?
-There is nothing wrong – but a digitally release is quite cheap and you immediately get feedback from all over the world. Much faster than to wait weeks until someone is finally reviewing your stuff on CD/LP or tape. You simply cannot ignore this powerful medium. For the moment we just released our Promo ‘Ignition’ as a digital download only. Mainly to provide a first ‘proof of life’ and to find out for ourselves if we are on the right track. We are already in “Development Hell” to paste a full lenght album together – and we aim to serve all needs: Digitally, and the full analog package with CD/LP and tape etc. We are old school dudes too, and we love to actually ‘feel’ music and of course we like to expand our own CD/LP/Tape collection at home as well.

When you release digitally how important is the presentation? Do people that download care about stuff like art work and booklets?
-Good question, and that’s something we will take care of more in the future. So that when you buy digitally that you should get artwork/booklet as well, ideally bonus tracks and/or a video. It seems still that many bands just doing this wrong. We really just kicked it off, but we already have this in the back of our minds for the future, because it got massive potential, when used in a clever way and for the fans in fair manner.

When can we expect something that we can touch, finger and put in our CD-players?
-Definitely this year. And it should come along as cd, lp, tape – also merch will be available like buttons, lighters, patches, t-shirts … the more, the better! We are also in talks to make our digital promo a physical record, because we already received a lot of requests to that. So hopefully soon you can take your fingers into action!

How hard is it to do it DIY today with all the technology available?
-DIY Promotion via Internet is not that difficult, when you know how to handle it. We deal with that internet shit all day long at work, so it is not that challenging to set up accounts, link pages, create a web presence at all. Just place it on a couple of prominent sites like facebook, reverbnation, myspace or bandcamp. Done. This it how it works for us.

How far in on the journey that is Light are you now? Where do you see this journey taking you?
-We have only just begun. Ignition.We really have a lot of plans – not to forget about the first album we currently working on. We also have many ideas in our think tank, so it’s not just another hobby. Let’s see were LIGHT is taking us.

Thanks a million for the Interview!
May LIGHT bless you and your loved ones with miracles of love, faith, hope, joy, happiness and good health to enjoy life.

_______________________________________________________________

LIGHT BLESS YOU!

love, kiss, praise us via …
FB: http://www.facebook.com/irreversibleretinadamage
RN: http://www.reverbnation.com/irreversibleretinadamage
BC: http://irreversibleretinadamage.bandcamp.com/
SC: http://soundcloud.com/irreversibleretinadamage

official website:
http://www.light.de.com

SASAMASO

Did you know that there is a metal scene on Madagascar? Rado, Sasamaso’s bassistis was kind enough to enlighten me about his band and the scene in general. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Madagascar doesn?t seem to be the place you start a metal band in. What was it that attracted you to metal and how did you come in contact with it?
-I heared rock music since childhood (I was 8~9 years old), my father listened often pop, ballad, FM in the begin of 90 (The Police, Scorpions, Toto…), and I also appreciate that. About 1997, some friends who already listened metal suggests metal bands known in our country : Metallica, Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Slayer, Cradle of Filth… and the ambition of create a metal band began to obsess me.

From the little bit of Sasamaso I’ve heard I can tell that you have a rather unique sound. What influences you?
-We listen all type of metal, but also all type of music : jazz, tropical, traditional music of Madagascar.

Searching the net I only came up with five other names of Madagascar metal bands (some disbanded). What is the scene like on Madagascar?
-In Madagascar, there are actually about twenty metal bands. You can visit on Facebook: Mozika mavesatra malagasy, mavesatra.org looking for details.

You don’t seem to be too active releasing music on CD/tape. How hard is it to get your music down onto CD/tape in a place like yours?
-We did our previous recs like this: vocal and drum recording at studio, and the rest at home (with a simple PC). But we judge that they’re not saleable: to have sound’s quality better, it’s better
to finish all at studio, but it costs expensive.

Do you think you limit yourself when you sing in your native tongue than had you sung in English, or are we the World so enlightened today that we see beyond language barriers?
-It was just our choice to do lyrics in Malagasy. But it doesn’t prevent that we’ll sing in English later.

What does the general public think of heavy metal? It is now 2012 but at times it still feels like we live in the dark ages as regards to people’s reactions to certain things i.e. metal.
-Metal is not appreciated in Madagascar. For slow rock, pop rock, it’s not bad. But for really metal, it’s still pity: in Antananarivo, I estimate in 5 percent maximum, but in other cities that’s worst. Some
remarks: The media in Madagascar is actually disappointing : the tube doesn’t show without paying something. Some radio and TV broadcast program music metal but it’s very limited : 1 hour per week maximum. Consequently, it’s very difficult even impossible to find metal producers. Because of poverty, the most of people have a taste, a tendency of music easy to listen: music is one of leisure, metal is one of kind of music; some kind of music needs more time of listening for be appreciated. However, there are 2 or 3 organizer who dare to arrange live “very underground” during that new bands can expose their music. There is also the site facebook who attracts the young, more bands
especially new bands possess facebook’s page.

Africa as a whole is often thought of as one place by us on the outside. But not everything is poverty and famine. Why do you think so few heavy metal bands make it out of their respective
countries (South Africa excluded) to a broader international audience?
-Maybe because of metal’s fan number are still poor. Also, many country in Africa are Muslim, we know that this religion restricts some strange culture.

I know of a metal scene in Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa but from what other countries in Africa have you come upon metal bands?
-None.

In a perfect world where would you like to see Sasamaso go?
-Firstly; succeed to persuade Madagascar that there is an another music that is called metal; that is among the best types of music in the world. Afterward, get an opportunity to show our music in other countries.

I hope that I give you satisfactory response (except 9). Or else, don’t hesitate to contact us. Maybe I cannot reply you immediately (we have not connection permanent), but it’s sure that I will answer your mail.
See you later
Rado

TODAY FOREVER

TODAY FOREVER was a nice surprise. So much so that I felt a need to know more about them and their hardcore. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Is Today Forever metalcore? How would you like to describe the music of Today Forever?
-We wouldn’t label our music Metalcore. We simply call it Hardcore and are well aware of the fact this is no precise characterization anymore. Here’s our description: Short songs, lots of rythm changes, screaming vovals, rare repetitions, occasional melodies, hard to dance to.

How do you avoid being lumped in with a certain kind of bands? Is that really up to you to decide?
-Unfortunately not. People associate our music with bands we never listened to. Since there are so many bands around today people seemingly need some kind of orientation, this is why they try to put labels on the music. I don’t like that. I listen to all music that inspires me no matter what people say about the genre it belongs to.

When naming your band do you think extra hard to come up with a good explanation or do you just settle on a combination of words that sounds good?
-Great question! I have to admit it could have been just the word combination thing by the first look. Actually we had something in mind. The meaning is: Whatever you do here and now could have some kind of eternal value. It’s a call to live alert and aware.

When you are relatively new to the fans how do you gain their interest? And how do you keep it?
-We acquire most of our fans at live shows. People who see us play are mostly impressed. So we try to play live as much as possible. We also made some video clips for the last records and will try to do so with the recent one. There are some struggles we have to overcome right now, since we separated us from our drummer.

In an ever decreasing sales market how do you go about finding an audience for your music? What kind of ways is there to build a fan base on?
– I understand where your question is coming from. We are not the band to ask about marketing strategies actually. We play our music as good as possible and promote our shows and records as good as possible with the help of the common networking platforms and some help of our labels and
friends. It’s very simple and it works to our satisfaction. No further strategies.

In a market that increasingly heads towards downloading how important is the art work/booklet layout?
-We are all thirty-somthings and grew up appreciating the cover artwork of records. We still like that and this is why we decided to have a pretty substantial one on the recent record. Probably it doesn’t
mean a lot to the young generation. Some kids dig it though.

What kind of record market are we heading towards when people are more interested in downloading specific songs instead of full albums?
-If you can’t grab the bull by the horns – grab him by the balls. That means: If record sales are not the measuring stick for modern peoples music appreciation anymore give them something else they can spent their money on. And that is: The unforgettable and unique experience of a live show. Here we go.

How important are the lyrics to you? Do you have anything specific to say with the lyrics?
-Very important. But the lyrics I write don’t hold a specific message that limits them to one single way of right understanding. I think the real message is inbetween the lines, something you’d need to fill in for yourself. That’s what art should be able to do.

How do you know when you written a great song? Do you decide that democratically or is there somebody that has veto?
-We know that the song is great when we get goose bumps rehearsing it. Or at least that’s what I would say. When I’m anxious to play a song, that is a good sign. Mostly all of us feel something that we like to call “esprit” then. Very hard to specify.
What plans do you have for Today Forever?
We are looking for a new drummer right now. We will play as much live shows as possible to promote the new album. We can’t wait to get the songs out there.

Thank you for your interest and effort.

WEEPING SILENCE

WEEPING SILENCE might not come from the biggest of islands in the Mediterranean but they sure pack a punch. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Is Weeping Silence a Goth metal or a doom metal band? What are the biggest differences between the two styles?
-Weeping Silence is an atmospheric gothic/doom metal band with various influences from within the styles and other genres too. Labelling styles is tedious yet sometimes required for people out there to get an idea of what they are about to pop into the CD tray. Nowadays all styles have evolved so much that blends of music are to be expected. As a general thought, I’d say that on one hand doom metal originated from the works of Black Sabbath, with songs like Iron Man and Electric Funeral. Then pioneer bands like Saint Vitus, Trouble, Pentagram and Candlemass helped doom metal to be the style that we know today. Lyrically it is very versatile and could have many themes although the most common are death, despair and sadness. On the other hand gothic metal originated from bands like The Cure, Joy Division and Sisters of Mercy. The style was continually evolving and in the beginning of the 90s bands like The Gathering and Anathema incorporated gothic into metal; by the end of the decade bands like Tristania and Within Temptation evolved gothic metal into symphonic/gothic metal developing the style further. Musically the style is dark, usually more melodic and less heavy compared to doom metal. Lyrically it is also very vast but common themes are dark and mystic topics and their beauty.

I can only think of one other metal band from Malta, Beheaded. How big is the metal scene on Malta?
-Malta is a tiny island of around half a million people. However, this country produced big bands such as Beheaded and other closer to our roots such as Forsaken (to mention a second). For the small population we have, we can stand proud of the regular attendance to concerts and festivals in the country. So, I’d say the metal scene in Malta is big at heart!

Coming from an island must mean extra difficulties that mainland European bands don’t have to deal with. Can you name some things that make life extra hard for you as a band coming from an island?
-You can say that twice! Living on an island means that you are physically constrained. To play live outside our borders means to incur travel expenses larger than of mainland bands. This is the biggest problem.

You have two full length albums out but they are 3 years apart. How much momentum do you lose when it takes that long between albums to be released?
-Composing an album usually takes about a year for us. We are on a good spell of composition for the past few years, and Weeping Silence is riding a good wave for creating music. The biggest obstacle is attracting record labels with the financial power and willingness to invest in a band that is not already a giant. The music industry has been reduced to downloads and bankrupt record companies and bands. Of course, this is reflected in the years that it takes to publish a record. Do we loose momentum? The situation pushes one to loose hope more than momentum … it’s the endurance that is tested mostly here!

How fickle and ADD are the fans today when they can access everything instantaneously? Howe hard is it to build a following today?
-People today tend to be impatient. Everyone has the right to be as patient or impatient as he/she feels appropriate, yet sometimes it takes more than a half-hearted listen to appreciate music. I know that some of the best music I’ve listened to took me some time getting used to. Yet this helps with its appreciation. This is the famous ‘it grows on you’ addendum! Now, downloading allows people to have things instantaneously and thus reduces the need for patience, which sometimes contributes to a trend of not dedicating the time necessary to listen to an album well enough and absorb its musical content.

How long can you work on an album before it starts to get tedious and lose its charm? When is enough enough?
-Well there is no magic number I can magically chum out … However, it is true that after some time, maybe years, musicians get bored of the composition and want to move on. I get this feeling after recording an album and endlessly listening to mixes and master versions of it. I would need to take a break from the album and allow some time to adjust back to normality.

How hard is it to find the right channels for your music to reach the right kind of crowd? How much leg work do you have to do yourself for it to happen?
-The channels are in fact the promoters and the magazines like yourself. Without the right support bands tend to fade away, regardless of how good they are. It’s hard, believe me! And it seems that the more time passes the harder it gets. Yet, the feeling of accomplishment that is achieved through music can never go away!

Does the art work have to match the music or can it be something completely different than expected?
-It could be both. The artwork is normally a vision of what the artist sees in the music.

With the music you play does a lyrical theme follow? Can the lyrics be about anything or do they follow a scheme?
-Weeping Silence usually carries a life experience theme for the music. This has fit nicely with our styles over the years. ‘End of an Era’ was more melancholic than ‘Theatre of Life’ and this was evident from the lyrical theme too.

How are you going to make Weeping Silence even more prolific on the international metal scene?
-The band has now recorded the new third album. It features me (Joe) on backing vocals, apart from Rachel as main. It also features Anders Jacobsson of Draconian as guest vocalist. The album is heavier than any of our previous albums, and it also carries a stronger doom theme than Theatre of Life. We are in the stage of discussing deals with record labels. We are happy with our current record label – Ravenheart Music Records, yet our contract was for one album and we need to re-negotiate an agreement. Hopefully we will see this new album hit the shelves this year. We are looking forward to what you, out there, think of it. We would also like to thank you and all at Battlehelm Mag for this interview … and all our fans and friends who have followed and supported us for all these years. It is truly an honour to have your support – keep it metal!