HEATHER LEATHER

You might have seen the name HEATHER LEATHER when you’ve surfed the net. I sure have. As I wanted to know a bit more I tried contacting the band. This is what I got back in return. Not too long but see it as an introduction. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

From what I understand you have been at this for a long time. What is the motivation to still keep doing it?
-Hola dude It all started in the late 1978, I walk in the store, and look at the magazine, and saw the runaways pictures, playing the guitars.

What made you want to be in a band in the first place? Was there one pivotal moment that made you start a band?
I wanted to be just like Joan Jett or Lita Ford. Being the first girl band in San Antonio, TX since the 1980’s it’s was fun and now still rockin’.

When you’ve seen trends come and go and bands go up like a sun only to fall down like a pancake does that make the choices you’ve done seem more right?
-Yes it is a lot of hard work went practicing original songs because you want to be yourself .

What kind of exposure do you get from the local fans and media? How often do you play live? What sort of hardrock/metal town is San Antonio?
-Yes I help bands sometimes. Now I finally am getting married after all these years. He is also a musician and a studio soundman. But I will still be jamming.

When you live so close to another country’s border does that bring along a larger understanding of people outside of your comfort zone? Can you benefit from Mexico being just on the other side of the border?
-Performing in Mexico (three shows) and being interviewed by two radio stations. It was sold out concerts. Also arrival on the records store was very busy so many peoples in line. Just for autographs. It was amazing.

What future do you envision for Heather Leather?
-We are going back to the studio record. And in the future I plan to work with kids to teach guitar lesson, for the communities. Help bands

HEAVEN THE AXE

Australia is as far away as you can get from Sweden. Yet I feel oddly enough closely connected to HEAVEN THE AXE. There is something about this band that is hard to resist. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I’ve tried my hardest to understand the band name but I’ve failed miserably. It doesn’t make any sense to me. Is Heaven The Axe an internal phrase that you use? What is in the name to you?
-Hey there…HEAVEN THE AXE is a term representing the sound. It’s a combination of the lighter elements of my female vocals teamed with the rough, tough and mean heavy guitars…the “AXES”. In a personal way it also means to me, taking the greatest calling of my soul, my music, songs and messages and making the greatest impact that we can with them. I value the opportunity to be able to have my words magnified so I sometimes think deeply about what it is that I’m really saying with my songs and what impact will they have on others?

Some of my best metal experiences have been Australian, like Hobbs Angel Of Death, Chalice and Long Voyage Back but you guys doesn’t sound anything like that and yet I like you. How would you like for your music to be described?
-Thanks Anders…haha you’re old skool! We’re described as Australia’s Toughest Female Fronted Hard Rock band or as someone once said “Sounds like a hot chick driving a Mack Truck” which we thought was a pretty cool visualization of the music.

I noticed that you have shared a stage with Rose Tattoo. What is it like to play with one of the biggest Aussie bands ever (together with AC/DC obviously)?
-It was wicked. Angry is my “rock ‘n roll dad” as he calls himself. The tour was awesome and we made a lot of new friends but most recently, we performed as Rose Tattoo backing Angry Anderson at
a festival we organized in our hometown of Wagga Wagga in NSW. The town was severely affected by floods so in true “HEAVEN THE AXE” style of taking your gifts and making an impact, we organized a huge outdoor concert where 9000 people attended. That’s the shit dreams are made of.

Being stuck on an island, despite how grand it might be, must pose some serious problems when you want to reach out to the rest of the world. You just don’t hop into your van and drive to Germany.
What is the hardest part being stuck so far from the rest of the World?
-Australian culture is dominated by the monopoly of mainstream TV and advertising. The hard rock sub culture is limited in terms of population numbers. We work really hard on the band and touring and a drive from Melbourne to Sydney is ten hours one way. We’ve got our sights firmly set on touring in Germany as soon as humanly possible but for now we’re enjoying every success on our own turf.

What was it that made Heaven The Axe become what it is today? Any pivotal point that shaped the band into what it is today?
-Steve and I grew up in Wagga Wagga and when we moved to Melbourne Steve’s reputation as the frontman of death metal band Manticore paved way for a network of incredible musicians to
work with. Our first songs were recorded with Mat “Skitz” Sanders from Damaged, Humonic, Terrorust and other projects. His standing as possibly the most brutal pioneering drummer in the
Australian metal scene teamed with Steve brought us a huge amount of credibility as a serious act that wasn’t like anything else around. We run the band like a family, and work with a larger group of friends who get involved with the music “just cos were mates”. The most important thing about our band is that we care about each other as people first. Not only us, but the local music industry in general. Love is a currency that can outweigh money when it comes to music.

I’ve never been to Australia so all I know about your country is what I’ve seen on the telly. How hard is it to play live in the cities? What kind of live scene is there for a band like yours to tour the
country?
-Fantastic – we’ve worked to a point where were playing top venues and have a huge live pull. Not because we’ve had any major airplay on the radio, because our genre is severely under-represented on
air, but purely through word of mouth. That’s the best advertising cos it doesn’t cost us anything! We have a reputation for being one of the biggest pulling bands in the country without major radio airplay.

This might seem ignorant but I get the impression that most of the civilization lives in a circle around the coast and that the further in you go the less people/cities you encounter. How do you tour a
country like Australia without it getting boring and routine playing the same places over and over?
-You’re right, we have focused entirely on the east coast of Australian between Brisbane and Melbourne up to this point. We have Adelaide coming up. We do regional shows and we love
every second of it! Every time we go back to areas it builds, we have offers for shows most days and are working with some rad promoters. I have sacrificed a lot to manage the band myself up to this point, but this career requires that. And when I’m living my dream, I don’t need extra money to buy random shit to bring me happiness. We’re still paying the rent one year on from making this
a full time focus.

You have an album out now. What kind of responses have you had to it so far? Do you get a lot of attention from abroad media?
-The Oz media is served by advertising budgets and were an independent self managed band without that budget, however when the record was launched we have had an excellent response to the
music in a credible way. We were worried about what the media would say, being that this project is our DREAM and the amount of love and personal effort that’s gone into it – it would have been
devastating to have had a bad response. But when we got our first reviews we were blown away with what the media was saying. We are very humbled and grateful. It really means a lot to us that those
who have the power to say something to the masses did.

What kind of response do you want to the band/record? Is it enough that people just comment on the good looks of your vocalist?
-I don’t get it when people comment on my looks. I’m a chick, I’m blonde and apparently “I dress like a Whitesnake groupie in a 1988 hair metal video” but those appearances are deceiving. It’s really
funny to get those comments because it’s a blindspot for me, I’m not even AWARE I’m dressing that way…I just do! It comes naturally to me. I’m an activist, we use our bands pull to make a
measurable difference in the lives of others where we can, I write lyrics I’m proud of whether they be purely for rock n roll entertainment or something profoundly important from the bottom
of my heart. All in all I want to be a healer through my music. I love deeply and care very much for people. I’m not aware of my looks, I really don’t try to look a certain way. It’s just who I am.

Do you envision a future for Heaven The Axe so bright that you have to wear shades? What lies in the future for you guys?
-We have a plethora of shows coming up in Australia over the next six months, we are writing and recording new material everyday and we are completing our first video clip. I’m dreaming a lot of
getting to Europe and that’s what we plan on doing for 2013 should the Mayans be wrong and the world keeps on turning.

MIKE PARADINE GROUP

I have to admit that I had not heard of MIKE PARADINE GROUP before I received the album. Now that I have I’m glad for having done so. This proved to be a pleasant surprise. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

When you’ve been a member of different bands is there a desire to go solo that needs to be fulfilled? What made you want to front a band with your own name?
-It was just something to do, no special reason. I had a bunch of personal songs that wouldn’t of been right for ArcticFlame to do. I had built a studio in my backyard and contacted some local musicians if they would be interested. A guitarist from the band Bloodfeast and I started working together but his schedule had changed and couldn’t continue. One night I was one Facebook and saw that the producer from ArcticFlame’s second album was doing some material and asked to hear. He asked what I was up to, I told him about the solo stuff and said he would like to work together on that. We struck a deal for him to help write and produce my solo album as well as produce ArcticFlame’s fourth album. That’s how it came about.

The album is a digital only release. Why do it that way and what advantages/ disadvantages are there to this way of doing things?
-It’s not just available digitally. I do have a limited edition physical CD. It’s on my website. I’m old school and do like buying a CD, having it in my hands and reading the lyrics and linear notes. I will always have physical CDs even if I have to have them manufactured myself. I’m still not sold on this digital thing. I love the artwork, design and the whole experience of going to buy an album.

My jury is still out on this whole digital v/s CD battle I have going on with myself. Do you see digital releases killing the metal/music scene with people kind of expecting to get everything for free and not paying anything?
-No, most metal fans, as I have just mentioned, love the whole concept of going out and buying the album. You can meet other fans and talk about other bands and also rummage through the bins for other albums. The internet is good for searching out new music from the comfort and time of your home, but then you head out and buy the album. Unfortunately, a lot of brick and mortar stores are closing down and the only way to buy CDs or albums is through mail order. But as long as you can still get the physical item, it’s still good. You do bring up a good point of people downloading music for free and this is the biggest concern for all. People such as myself, depend on the income from the sales so we can go forward and record again. We don’t make much from live shows as the bigger bands do, so every little thing helps. I saw already about 20 websites where you get my album for free. I think most of the people that download for free want to hear the band first before they buy. Personally that was one of the things I loved about buying albums before the internet thing came around. You bought albums because of the cover artwork and hoped the music was just as cool. I would say 90% of the time, that was the case. Such is the world we live in.

The album have a bunch of different vocalists. How did you go about getting all these people to sing on your album?
-They are all friends of mine and I wanted to have different textures to different songs. As with Richard of WOLF, he has a Dio like quality to his voice but as bit harder, so I tried to pair him up with the more “angry” songs. With Michael, he has a lot of range so any song I gave him, I knew he would do well. As with me and Dave, we just went in and just picked which ones we wanted to do. The one song that didn’t turn out they way we wanted was “Taste My Fist”. At first, Dave tried it and it just didn’t seem right. We brought Michael in and he got it.

I seem to detect a theme on the album, intentionally or not. What idea did you have when you wrote the songs?
-Two things..the first was that they are all very personal feelings and thoughts from myself except for “Suzie with an Uzi” which was just to insert some humor into the album. The second was to try and bring all my favorite bands into the sound. As much as it’s all about situations that effected my life, it’s also a tribute to all the bands I’ve ever listened too. Let’s face it, I wasn’t trying to do anything ground breaking here. I just want to do a fun album where you can hang out and just have a good time listening. Nothing more, nothing less.

How much of a therapeutic process is song writing? Can writing a song cure your from whatever it is you’re feeling?
-Yes, yes you can. I tend to keep everything inside. I don’t discuss my feelings or problems with anyone. Very rarely will I do that. I just try and find a solution by myself. By writing, it’s lifting a weight from your shoulders. But anytime I write, as long as I can get my thought across, I feel a lot better and satisfied.

How important is to you that the lyrics says something and not end up being the same old tired clichés?
-It just keeps things interesting and fresh, which is what you hope for. Cliches do have a place in heavy metal. A lot of the same themes are recycled in a lot of bands. I don’t have anything against that. Fans seem to expect that but when someone comes up with an original idea, they appreciate it more. Some lyrics that I write for ArcticFlame have that same mentality but they are actually a metaphor for something else. Case in point, the song “Lords of the Wasteland” at first, just seems to be the same old heavy metal imagery if you read the lyrics. But what it really means is, all the spoiled actors and actresses in Hollywood that have everything they could ask for but then become addicted to drugs/alcohol and become nothing but zombies. Lindesy Lohan, Charlie Sheen are a prime examples of that.

Will Mike Paradine Group be a touring entity or is it more a studio project?
-At first it was just a recording project but I got such a positive outcome that I now am putting a band together. Two weeks ago I put out a call to some musicians around this area and we’ll start having rehearsals in about a week. We’ll do a few shows and then see how that goes before moving on.

Something I’ve wondered is how you deal with the situation of your side project all of a sudden becoming bigger than your main band? How do you cope with a situation like that hypothetically?
-I firmly believe there is time to do everything. It’s just a matter of managing your time right. I would never consider one band bigger than the other, they’re just different styles. And actually, one band helps out the other. If people like one band and find out your in an other, they’re more likely to check the other one out. Whether they like it or not is up to them but a least you get the foot traffic in.

What future is the for Mike Paradine Group?
-The next two albums are written lyrically. The next album will be more in the style of a Guns n Roses album with some straight, driving hard rock. I always like Steve Jones, “Fire and Gasoline” album and would like to head in that direction. It is planned to be recorded this year but exactly when, we don’t know yet. I know Dave has been working on some music but I just need to concentrate on a few things before I can sit down and start on that. I really hope this summer I can start. The third album will be a traditional metal album. It is a story I had written a few years ago and I hope to record it almost like an audio movie.

SONJA PERENDA

SONJA PERENDA might be new to most of you but give her a chance to prove herself worthy and you might end up with a new favourite. Look her up on Facebook. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

What was it that made you want to do it in your own name and not as a part of a band?
-It was just something that happened over the time. I’ve been part of different bands, but the music style they preferred wasn’t really giving me that satisfaction I wanted. So I started out with my solo performances and shows, and stuck to them. But I would still like to musically collaborate with other bands, it is always an adventure with a non-predictable result!

When you mix different styles as you do how do you end up with a cohesive mass of a song and not something that sounds like a glued together mix?
-That’s a good question! I had to think about that a bit. Well, basically I always try to give a composition what it specifically needs to transport the mood and the lyrics. Every song is like a mini role play. Sometimes, a song needs powerful operatic vocals like “Time has come”, sometimes a very laid-back soft vocal like on “Voice of Peace” (this one would definitely FAIL with a full classical interpretation!), sometimes a playful attitude like on “Victim of Miracle”. So I’m not really sure whether it’s actually the music styles I mix up so much but the vocal interpretation that varies a lot.

How do you find a style of your own? Is it through trial and error? When do you know if something works and not?
-A little bit of trial and error is in there indeed. Sometimes you have a great idea and get stuck somewhere in the middle. I know it works for me if I really dig a musical piece and enjoy performing it, have fun with the lyrics and vocal line and get goosebumps singing it. I must admit to have a big weakness for catchy melodies, sometimes simplicity is exactly the right ingredient. If a song becomes emotionally too much work and not so much fun to be finished, it is very likely just not working. Simple as that.

For somebody that is classically trained how hard is it to take that training and put it in a spontaneous context that rock/metal is?
-Ha, I’ve always been a rockin’ metal child at heart, this music is definitively my biggest love! I ended up in classical training simply because the classical way is what my voice responds to most. When I try to sing high notes in jazz style for example, I am very likely to feel some strain. If I just let my vocal chords take the high note the way THEY want, it becomes classical. My vocal chords’ choice, not mine! So I took several years of classical training, and as much as it helped my voice to gain a solid singing technique, the more and more I felt that as a main musical path, classical or opera would not be my thing, too much lack of headbanging attitude in there for my taste.

Where do find inspiration to write your music?
-Just like for most other artists, for me the inspiration really lies everywhere. Daily life experiences, personal crisis, nature themes, you name it. But I also found inspiration to be a flighty muse! If I am too locked up in my own daily business and stress, I can hardly be creative “on demand”. Keeping my soul open in spite of daily hectic is what gives inspiration the chance to fill my heart. Yet this is not as easy as it sounds.

I found you on Facebook. How much attention do you get from social media for your music?
-Surprisingly much actually. I am really a fan of social media because it gives us music lovers a chance to discover artists aside from the mainstream that the major labels promote. In fact, most of my personal favorite artists I have discovered by chance through Facebook, Youtube & Co. Same goes for my own music. There are, as I said, surprisingly many people per week who discover my music by chance and write me how much they dig it. The two songs I have been putting onto Youtube in December 2011 (Judgement Day and Silent Screams) went over 10,000 plays in a few months. THAT REALLY gave me big eyes!

Your album is a digital only release. What made you do it that way? Anything wrong with good old CDs?
-No, of course not! The album should have originally been a “classic” physical release as well. But I found that at that time, the costs coming with a physical release (pressing, mechanical licenses, booklet etc.) were just not what I could afford then. But the album was ready and I didn’t want to wait again…and wait….and wait…until I have saved enough money. So it went digital only; but I am planning a physical release of it sometime later this year as well. When the “Time has come” for that!

How pleased are you with the end result for the album?
-I wouldn’t have released it if I wasn’t pleased with the result! Of course, there are some minor issues of mixing/producing that should be made better next time. I see this as a chance to learn! It was much of an experiment and I realized how much I dig being involved in music production as well. Some years ago, I just HATED being in the studio and I just enjoyed playing live. But now I know I just worked together with the wrong people back then; no good vibes in the studio give a bad mood while recording. This album has the most proud and positive vibes I could give into it!

How do you protect your intellectual property from being mis-used/abused when it is up on Internet?
-Mainly through the classic associations like AKM or Austro Mechana (for Austria). But I’m aware that as soon as you put up whole songs on Youtube for example, it can be downloaded and you may never know what happens with the song then. And surely, the legal downloads/purchases suffer from that fact; but I see this as the shadow side coming together with all the advantages of online music marketing. Where there is light, there must be shadow too! For me, there is way more light in here. Yes, I may not earn as much off album sales as I should/could; and maybe someone somewhere in the world is stealing my intellectual property right now, who knows? Any promotion is good promotion, I try to see it like that! And: Working as a lawyer in Austria, if someone violated my copyrights, I would sue him until he cries!

Where do you intend to take this in the future?
-At least in your dreams, you should aim for nothing less than the sky, that’s my motto. In reality, my current steps are to form a band (which is not so easy because both personalities and musical tastes should fit together) and maybe to find a label to work with. Basically, I currently send my songs to anybody I can get a hold of; so be aware, you could be NEXT!

STORY OF JADE

STORY OF JADE are not as scary an entity as the y might at first appear. If you like your metal tinged with horror or if you just like good metal then this is for you. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I get the impression that there is a greater concept tot Story Of Jade than just being a metal band. Can you please enlighten us to what that concept is??
-Try to look at Story Of Jade as a Horror movie saga… we’ve got Jade, who’s a sexy and crazy narrator and character of her own creepy, black humor stories. The main characters of her stories are the “Demons of Fear”. Fear is a constant presence in our concept just like it’s a constant presence in life. Four ages of life and four demons of Fear: “The Fear in Childhood”, “The Fear in Adolescence”, “The Fear in Adulthood” and “The Fear in Old-age”. “The Damned Next Door (know your neighbors!)” album is like the first movie of the saga, is an introduction to the stories of Jade. The title is a metaphor: Fear’s always there, like a neighbor, and it is way better to know the ones who lives next to you than ignore them… you never know!

Italian horror movies have for a long time been considered some of the greatest. What is it about Italians and horror that goes so well together?
-I really don’t know!!!! Yet, Italy has got a lot of big name in Horror… from Fulci to Argento in movies and from Death SS to Daemonia in Metal, and that is one of the very few things that make us proud to be italians.

What is it about horror and metal that mix so well?
-It is about atmosphere, i guess…. you can’t create a sulphureous, dark, evil atmosphere playin’ pop music ahahaha and then, Metal is the Devil’s music, isn’t it? We’ve always been into Metal and Horror, it’s been natural for us to mix these things up.

Horror movies are the most spat upon film genre and still the most popular. What is it about horror that intrigues so many?
-Someone got scared, someone just have fun with it, it is a very subjective thing.

What has been the most successful melding of hardrock/metal and horror so far in history?
-There are a lot of examples, King Diamond, Alice Cooper, Daemonia, Death SS… but if I should choose just one band… I’d say Snowy Shaw’s “Notre Dame”.

When you are in a studio, a very sterile environment how do you best prepare to get in the right mind to record what will essentially be your masterpiece??
-Redbull, herbs, beers and some rehearsals.

Does the cost of making a video make up for the exposure it generates?
-For a band like us, it was inevitable to make a video clip. It gives a better idea of the concept behind the band and… it was fuckin’ awesome shootin’ it!

How do you bring the whole concept of Story Of Jade to the stage? What kind of set up would be the ultimate to make it all come together perfectly?
-We use to perform our shows with the help of an actress/performer who interpret Jade on stage, to bring more theatrical elements… the “ultimate setup” would be work with an entire theater company!

Are there places to play today that can do justice to the concept of Story Of Jade?
-There are a lot of good venues and club out there, but what “do justice to the concept of S.O.J” is the people who get it!

How far ahead are you in the concept at this point in time? Have you mapped up a full album series already?
-The saga has just begun… hope we’ll be die hard like the motherfuckin’ Freddy Krueger!

WORMHOLE

WORMHOLE came as a surprise to me. With little expectations I was blown away by what I heard. Perhaps one of my favourite metal experiences of 2012. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

With a name like Wormhole and an album title like “The String Theory” I kinda expected some sort of spaced out math metal http://battlehelm.com/wp-admin/profile.phpexplosion. How much of science nerds are you guys?
Wormhole: Not so much. We would say that the band members have always shared a blend of passion for science fiction and love for the scientific research field. A blend which also stands as a never ending search within our inner side. In some way, both our monicker and the album title are the result of a ceremony of opposites, a link between the two main lyric topics of the album, but also between our diverse musical influences. For what it may concern the relationship between Wormhole and science, our approaches differ a bit: some of us bring dreamlike and visionary elements in composition, while the others keep a down-to-earth attitude, which is our best way to shape things in their ultimate form.

How hard is it to come up with a concept for your band that hasn’t already been done? How hard is it to be original?
Wormhole: First, we are not sure that the Inner/Cosmic concept dwelling in “The String Theory” has not been inquired yet. We could quote Voivod as an influence for the choice of two sides for a single direction towards both universal and inner knowledge, especially because the Canadians rewrote the progressive approach of the Seventies within a spaced out electric (and eclectic) soundscape. We could also quote a bunch of literature and musical influences that have contributed to build up what we love to label as our “post-dark” sound, a personal approach to gloomy riffs and vocals with a lot of “post” and wave arrangements. Originality is among our primary aims, still to be pursued in our future efforts.

When you write with a cohesive theme as you guys do on “The String Theory” how hard is it to tie together all songs to make for one unit?
Wormhole: We must say that all the songs of the album don’t tell a story in the true sense of the word. They are rather related to two main themes: a trip inside one’s innermost feelings and a trip through the universe (or, if you prefer, the multiverse). Since those are our favorite themes, we didn’t find it hard to write with that aim in mind. Later on, we linked the songs together so they could stand as a sequence of episodes. The last song, which was also the last one to be written and recorded, came full circle. It was divided in two parts telling the story of the album itself.

How does the String Theory fit in with the concept of the album? Do you believe that the different shapes of life resonate at different intervals?
Wormhole: The String Theory is the heart of the album simply because its mathematical model allows for the existence of a stable wormhole that could be used for space/time trips. Without such theory, the classical physics could only admit unstable wormholes and thus unusable. If you translate this concept into a metaphor you’ll find the reason why the trip is the Freudian “fil rouge” of the entire album.

You seem to have had a set mind that the band should be fronted by a woman. How hard was/is it to keep this idea alive when you face line-up changes?
Wormhole: Well, it wasn’t that difficult even when our former singer left the band. In fact, in 2006 our music slowly started to sound heavier and the choice for a different vocal style seemed to be the best one to underline our new direction. If you listen to our old songs you’ll find that our style has always evolved and changed during all these years. Music is at the centre of the band, not people.

Do you have an image that you like to follow through on too? Do you want the band to look a certain way?
Wormhole: Definitely no. We don’t want to look like goth or metal people do. We don’t care about fashion. We just want to use music as a means of expression and purification.

With a title like “The String Theory” how do you translate that to an image you can use as a cover?
Wormhole: The string theory aspires to become a “theory of everything”, that is a model that connects all known physical phenomena. The idea of “connection” lies behind our lyrics, so we translated this concept into the cover of our last album. Every item you can find in the artwork is a reference to one of the songs contained in the album or to a song from our previous work: a crow, a broken watch, a doll, some leaves, the girl at the window and so on.

When you have a band as successful as Lacuna Coil are world-wide how much expectations are there on you to do the same journey, all other comparisons apart?
Wormhole: Lacuna Coil are the big thing now, and when a group of musicians reaches such popularity though being born in Italy, they deserve unconditioned respect, apart from our personal appreciation of their music. When we started this band, we didn’t have any intention to imitate or resemble anything coming from the female fronted metal scene. It was just that we had had complete different (and male fronted) musical experiences, and we wanted to try this way for a new project. We didn’t even have the intention to play “metal”, “punk” or “dark”, but only to follow our inspiration out of any labelling boundary. In other words, Lacuna Coil never influenced us, but it could be very interesting to share a bit of their popularity!

When one national metal band makes it abroad how much of an inspiration does that become for others to also make it big?
Wormhole: We have always tried to keep our feet on the ground. The only reason why someone like Lacuna Coil made it abroad is because they had a wide perspective, out of the narrow boundaries of our country, which sometimes can make it very difficult to be appreciated for what you are, believe us. However, this represents a good example of professional approach and attitude to the musical thing, something very difficult to find in Italy.

What lies at the feet of Wormhole for 2012?
Wormhole: We hope to promote “The String Theory” with a small tour, and we especially hope to reach as many people as we can with our musical proposal. Contact us, listen to our Reverbnation uploads and, above all, get a copy of “The String Theory”! Last but not least, thanks to the Battle Helm staff for this opportunity!

XENESTHIS

XENESTHIS might play modern metal but fear not that this is another of those despicable NU metal bands that plagued us a while back. This is cool metal. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

In choosing a band name that starts with an X how much of a pronunciation issue have you opened up for? Why go with this word as your band name?
-Well of course, sometimes people don´t know how to pronounce the name at first, but when we chose it we liked the pronunciation as well as its statement and look. The “X” at the beginning and the “S” at the end of “XENESTHIS” sound dangerous, a bit like a hissing of a snake. And there´s also a personal story to it. XENESTHIS is the name for a sort of tarantula. When our drummer joined the band, he told us that he has several of these spiders at home. We liked the idea and were looking for a band name at this time. And as there were no another bands, labels or brands with this name we decided on this word. Snakes and tarantulas make a good combination, isn´t it?

Your music is often described as modern metal. What is that really, what is modern?
-To us, modern stands for adjectives like fresh, free, unbound, to the point. Classifications are of course not the perfect way to describe music, but if you tell people none at all, they think you have no plan about what you are doing – even if this is wrong. As we have so many different influences in our music, “modern” seemed to be a good term to comprehend them all.

Where do you find your influences and inspiration? Any one thing that stand out more than others as your main inspiration?
-Raffael who is writing most parts of the music says he is inspired by bands he loved since his teenage years, like Pantera, Dream Theater, Extreme, but his inspiration also is depended on the day’s condition and mood which is connected to the direct environment – fellow human beings, experiences he had during the day. On some days this mood suddenly condenses in a song – which can be slow and calm on the one day and more aggressive the other day. And as always the own attitude towards life, the whole personality plays a big part in a creative process. My inspiration for the lyrics is also the world surrounding us, the changes in society and the tiny and bigger dramas in our lives. Making music and writing songs has always been a kind of therapy for me. So some songs are related to this very personal topic of being in and out of love, full of passion for someone, the feeling of despair and helplessness, when relationships break up and friends fall seriously ill, the realization that we are not immortal – and fate can strike us when we expect it the least. Sometimes my lyrics have also a socio critical approach, f.e. I wrote the lyrics to “Raised Fist Armed” when students in Austria went to the streets to protest for better education and did a sit-in for month at the university.

In the last decade or more the stage for great metal has moved from Central Europe to Northern Europe. Why is it that so many great bands are now coming from the north and not the south? Does this make you work harder in proving yourself worthy too?
-The support in Northern Europe is stronger than ever. While artist in the North are paid for being in a band, cause it’s obviously considered there as a common job, musicians in the South have to earn their living by doing other jobs. Short spoken: Making music here is considered just as a hobby, it’s a hard and long way to be seen here as a professional, but we are trying our best.

Do you feel like you are a part of a scene or do you stand all alone fighting not only non-believers but also other metal fans?
-It appears that people got very inflexible and uninterested in discovering new forms of music. While Kerry King and James Hetfield are well accepted, young and talented bands have to fight for attention. If you have a look at the current metal-magazines, you’ll find mostly music of the 80’s and even 70’s. It’s time to thank Lemmy and Mustaine and to open up for new stuff. Art needs development.

With what kind of motivation did you enter the studio to record “Thou Shalt Not”? How do you think it all turned out in the end?
-We really wanted to record that stuff as we were doing some heavy songwriting the months before. It´s feels like being pregnant. You know the songs are already there, but nobody except the band has heard them. So you want the baby to be born in order that you can release it into the world. We were really eager to hit the studio and it turned out really well. It also helped that we had a lot of confidence in our producer Nobert Leitner who cares to get the meaning and feeling of the song on tape.

With an album out what is that you want to achieve now? Is everything made now?
-The most important thing for us by recording an album is to make a bit more of our vision of music, of our dream, come true. We got good reviews, the German Metal Hammer magazine named us “Heroes of Tomorrow”, our video got in a short time over 45.000 views and we played some fine concerts with the new material. We had fun and hope other people enjoy our music as much as we do.

I´m so old that I haven´t really grasped the impact sites like Youtube can have. How important have the social media become in bringing the band to the audience?
-Social media are of course a good possibility to gain some recognition from people you wouldn´t reach otherwise. Most of our listeners on Youtube come from states outside Europe, mostly the USA, Southern America and also from Asia. Without these possibilities it would have been very hard to reach them. On the other hand die-hard fans are mostly people you convince during concerts. Especially in a time where you can fake so much in the studio and polish your qualities there, people have become interested to see if the band can perform live as well as on CD.

What kind of future is there for Xenesthis?
-The future of XENESTHIS is full of fun, good music and nice people…and tons of gold bars of course.

YOUR TOMORROW ALONE

Do you like My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema but feel that they’ve wandered too far off the trodden path. Look no futher than YOUR TOMORROW ALONE. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

What is it that is so great about the Bristish doom?n?gloom scene of the 90s with band?s like Anathema, Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride?
-The English Gothic doom scene of the 90’s was great. A key period for the birth of a musical style that would become labeled differently from what had been considered doom up until that moment. The bands you have indicated are to be considered musical pioneers , for being able to blend different musical influences, reinterpret them and create something new!

How does an Italian band end up sounding like an amalgamation of the above mentioned bands?
-We are all fans of the English scene of the 90’s and of the bands you have mentioned, so our sound primarily reflects their peculiar style, although it isn’t the typical sound of our homeland. On the other hand, we feel very influenced by other bands like Opeth or Katatonia, not to mention the Italian progressive rock scene of the seventies.

The album title “Ordinary Lives” is it meant as a critique of modern society? Why chose such a bland album title?
-Yes, the title chosen, “Ordinary Lives” is to be seen as a critique of modern society: precisely, it indicates the union that often intervenes between every day life and the lies in which each and everyone of us is forced to shelter in order to survive in a society that is becoming colder and more indifferent towards the small or big personal problems that afflict everyone.

Where did you draw inspiration from for the songs writing to the album?
-The inspiration comes from the every day life of all the members in the band. This album is to be considered as an entirety of various emotions, all source of inspiration for the band. From achievements to failures, from dreams to illusions: anything that can trap you in a limbo of joy and pain. Changing feelings of hate and love, of hope and desperation aimed at striking the human soul and keeping you alive. On the other hand, every emotion can contain different meanings and be ambivalent

How do you go about choosing cover art work? Does it have to match the album title? Which comes first, the art work or the title?
-In this case, the title came first. It was communicated to our graphic agency (Adhiira Art), that visually developed it, creating the final artwork. Therefore, the artwork corresponds to the title of the CD: the faceless man, dressed elegantly, ready to face the reality of everyday life, must choose which mask to wear, in order to lie to himself and to others.

When you have two vocalists how hard is it to write music that utilizes both vocalists the most? Why the decision to have two vocalists?
-To be honest, we believe that having two singers has made things easier for us. With a growl vocalist alternating to a clean one, we were able to express as best as we could the multitude of emotions and feelings that pervade “Ordinary Lives”. From the writing point of view, such two different vocalists have surely given a great helping hand in the making of the work. This is the main reason why we have chosen to use two vocalists. If we hadn’t, we probably would not have been able to express ourselves to the fullest.

How hard is it to come up with songs that are good enough to end up on an album or works playing live?
-The work behind writing every song was thorough and kept us busy for two years. This is the only way to structure songs that are sufficiently valid to become part of a full length album. The complex arrangements are the product of hard work from all the members of the band. The same goes, naturally, for what regards live activity.

Where does Your Tomorrow Alone fit into the Italian metal scene? Is there an audience for you type of metal in Italy?
-In Italy there are excellent bands that propose a sound similar to our own. Bands that are famous even abroad, like Novembre, The Foreshadowing, Klimt1918. We hope to insert ourselves in the same scene of these bands and to attract a good portion of Italian fans, but also international ones.

How do you view your chances competing for the World’s metal heads with your brand of metal?
-As we have already mentioned, our goal is to attract those that are still interested in gothic and doom metal. Probably nostalgics, given that today other subgenres of metal are becoming important. We are perfectly aware that we are playing music that is somewhat “vintage”, but we are also aware that it is what we enjoy the most and want to continue doing. We hope to do our best by playing the music that we love..

What ways are you using promoting the band to make 2012 the year of Your Tomorrow Alone?
-The bigger portion of promotional activity has been and still is managed by My Kingdom Music, that is that is supporting the release of Ordinary Lives pretty well. From our point of view, we are intentioned to carry out an intense live activity, both in Italy and abroad.

BEGRIME EXEMIOUS “Visions Of The Scourge”

BEGRIME EXEMIOUS
“Visions Of The Scourge”
(Dark Descent)
I have no idea where Dark Descent find all these bands that sound like they’ve been through a cement mixer before they end up on record. I like it. There is something to be said about music that sounds like it has no smooth edges. This Canadian troupe is about as raw as it gets without it ending up sounding like a blender gone mad. I love early VoiVod. “War And Pain” is one of my all time fave records. Begrime Exemious sound nothing like VoiVod yet it is the closest I get to comparing them to anybody. Maybe throw in some Slaughter too and you get the picture of what they sound like. Sick, basic and raw as hell metal on the edge of thrash and whatever. Anders Ekdahl

DEMONICIDUTH “Valley Of Decision”

DEMONICIDUTH
“Valley Of Decision”
(-)
I believe in neither God nor the Devil. I really don’t care if you sing your praise to the one above or the one below. You can whatever religion you may as long as the music you make is good. OK, there are exceptions to the rule. I do have my standards but basically I believe in the right of free speech and we at Battle Helm are strong believers in the right to express yourself any which way you like. Which brings us to the Swiss band Demoniciduth. Whenever I get a letter that says that “we have a stand on our local square where we debate with atheists and Muslims” I know that this will be as hardcore believers as Watain or any other of those black metal bands that take their music as serious as religion. Just on the other side of the stick. So, what do they sound like then? Is this 100% waste of time and effort? This is Christian black/death metal but not anything like Horde. This is quite heavy. And not a waste of time and space. I like it. There is a charm to it and the fact that you don’t really hear any of the lyrics should entice all you into good black/death to check it out. Anders Ekdahl