ACHERON

It took me a long time before I actually lent ACHERON an ear. Don’t know why because the band has been in my consciousness for a very long time. If you like your metal extreme Acheron will deliver. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

It feels like Acheron has been in my consciousness since the beginning of time. How would like to compare the young Acheron with the older Acheron?
Vincent Crowley- Yes, I have been doing this band for over half my life. The difference between the older ACHERON and newer ACHERON is just simple evolution. This band will always stay true to its roots, but the music and ideology will continue to push forward and strive to combine the greatest elements of ACHERON from the past and present. I think the song writing is stronger these days and the band is just so much more powerful than it was in the days of old. Perhaps that is because Kyle Severn (drums) and myself are the older warriors and our two guitar player Max Otworth and Shaun Cothron bring in some new energy since they are the young guns. Their enthusiasm has made us even more motivated to keep this Satanic Musical War Machine alive. I must say that the last 5 years has been the greatest time in ACHERON, which includes recording and playing shows. It may have took 20 years to get to this place, but I am really enjoying the spoils of war.

When your career goes up and down does it ever become frustrating that you time after time have to start over again with a new label or a new line-up?
VC- Hell Yeah! That is why the band has broken up several times. You bust your ass trying to make things happen and then people or labels you work with just drop the ball. We are presently looking for a new record label, so that always is a pain in the ass. I just hope the next one at least can do a good job with us, As for the line-up, Kyle, Max and myself have been playing together for about 7 years. (Kyle and I about 12 years.) That is longer than most bands stay together. (Ha, Ha) Our new 2nd guitarist Shaun has been with us about a year and is working out great. Everyone who has seen ACHERON before says this is the best live line-up that we ever had. I think the positive attitudes from all the present members are paying off.

In working with smaller labels do you ever feel limited in the things you want to do but can’t because of monetary reasons?
VC- Absolutely! People are always amazed with the status we hold in the underground without really getting a serious push by any of our past labels. Sure, some labels took out some ads and pushed us a little, but nothing serious like most bigger labels do for their bands. And no tour support what-so-ever! It would be nice to find a label that has the balls to promote and support and band like ACHERON. Over 20 years of playing Metal and we are still fucking hungry to play music! Can’t say that about a lot of bands.

What is it about death metal that is so fascinating? Could Acheron be Acheron had you played plain old heavy metal?
VC- I really hate labels. We have always been called Black/Death Metal, a mixture of both genres. But if you listen to our music there are indeed many hints of plain old Heavy Metal. I personally like most Metal music and I’d totally be into playing some old school metal on the side.

How does Greek mythology and Satanism correlate? Why the choice of band name?
VC- In modern Satanism ALL mythologies are very important. Satan is used as an archetype, not an actual being. My beliefs are far more detailed then some devil worshipper inverting the words in the Bible. In the Satanic philosophy “Satan” is only one of many mythological characters you can use as a power source. One may prefer to use a Greek character instead? The Devil has existed in ALL cultures, such as PAN, SET, LOKI or whoever. I picked ACHERON because it was the river that led the lost souls to Hades. And our music in a way does just that, it leads the listeners down a dark path.

How important for the band is it to have a very specific/prolific philosophy?
VC- Very important. Since I write the lyrics, I want what I create to be something I would agree on or enjoy reading. ACHERON is a part of the Left Hand Path. That means our concepts and ideas will always be based upon the darker elements of the world. The Occult, Anti-Religious, Violence, Sex and Rebellion will always be the ACHERON way!

You have a high profile but you’re still not big enough to tour extensively on your own. How do you go about touring and promoting the band the best possible way with the limited resources I guess you have at your disposal?
VC- We just play select shows and festivals for now. I don’t really se that changing unless we actually get a good record label to sign us and push us. We are actually getting ready to play the NEUROTIC DEATHFEST in Holland and do a Brazilian Tour with OBITUARY in April 2012. We have been keeping busy, lets hope it gets even better.

With an extensive back catalogue as yours, how do you choose songs to play live? Are there ones that are more important than others?
VC- I interact with the fans a lot! I get their input and find out what their favorite songs are. Also, you get to learn their favorites playing live. I swear I have never done a show without hearing people call out for “Fuck The Ways of Christ” or “Ave Satanas”.

When writing new songs how do you avoid repeating yourself? Do you have every note written memorized so that you?ll not repeat yourself?
VC- You just have to do your very best. I think we have done a pretty good job of making all our albums sound different, but still in the ACHERON style.

Does the future for Acheron look bright? What can we expect in the nearest future?
VC- Our goal is to find a new record label and record our next album “KULT DES HASSES”. People really enjoyed our last album “THE FINAL CONFLICT: Last Days of God”, so we hope to return with some stuff they will really like. Lots of new and different ideas on the next album, but bringing back a lot of the Old School ACHERON elements. And lyrically it will be like a mix between “LEX TALIONIS” and ANTI-GOD, ANTI-CHRIST”. SO keep a look out for us and hopefully we shall see you al very soon! Ad Maiorem Satanae Gloriam!

ANDROMEDA

ANDROMEDA is a Swedish progressive metal band but don’t let that put you off. This is a metal band for all of us who love metal, period. Martin Hedin (keyboards/production) was kind enough to answer my questions. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Being progressive doesn’t really say that much as everybody seems to have their own definition of what progressive is. How do you like to describe Andromeda to somebody new to the band?
-We play progressive metal. All kidding aside… I agree that ”progressive” doesn’t really say that much. So the best thing is probably to check our youtube channel out! youtube.com/andromedaonline

When you start a band I guess you have some sort of influence palette to draw from. Who was it that inspired you to start/form Andromeda?
-None in particular. We all have very different influences. Johan Reinholdz (guitar) and Thomas Lejon (drums) probably bring most of the ”metal” to the table. My strongest influences are bands like Genesis, Queen, Pink Floyd, Marillion etc.

I gotta say that when I saw the title of your new album I thought you’d changed style completely and gone thrash on me. How hard is it to come up with a good album title, something that will sell the album while not giving away too much?
-Of course that’s hard. But I think we managed to capture the essence of the album with ”Manifest Tyranny”.

Does being Swedish bring with it any good stuff when you enter the international scene? Do you feel you get that extra bit of attention because of where you come from?
-No.

Something that fascinates me is that despite the poor live scene in Sweden tons of new bands keep popping up under every stone turned. What is it about Sweden that gives life to so many bands?
-I think it’s directly connected to music education. We’ve had a very good system called ”kommunala musikskolan” for many years in Sweden. It made it possible for almost every kid to go learn an instrument of choice from the age of ten.

How hard is it to write a new album? When do you know to stop writing and start recording?
-I think it’s never easy making the kind of music we do. We really get into the details, you know. Usually the songs are completely written and arranged by the time we start recording, except for things like backing vocals etc. “Go Back to Sleep” was an exception, we only had the main parts of the song when we recorded drums. Then I edited the recording to fit the ideas as we progressed.

In choosing a studio, what do you look for? What kind of criteria does a studio have to live up to for it to be a pleasant experience?
-Well, we don’t have the money to choose a studio. We work in our own, borrowing stuff from friends and so on. This time the mix was done in Sunnanå Studios outside Malmö – only because Markus Nilsson, who did the mixing with me, works there. Not that glamorous, eh?

Once you’re done in the studio you have the arduous task of promoting the album. What ways are the best and most rewarding when it comes to promotion? Is performing on morning shows on TV good promotion?
-You tell me. Unfortunately we are just a bunch of confused musicians in the band. We are very good at making music but when it comes to promoting it we haven’t got a clue. It’s a good thing that we have a good label working for us now. The facebook-ads seem to pay off, but of course morning shows on TV might be even better. I wonder how many people are ready to take our stuff in the morning though!

What does the live scene look like for Andromeda? Are you a touring band? What kind of tours would you like to get onto?
-We’ve always wanted to tour a lot, but that hasn’t happened for some reason. With our new bass-player and label we feel stronger than ever, so right now we are trying to book a tour in the fall. Not confirmed yet. We are playing a few festivals this Spring, it’s going to be lots of fun!

How bad has it to be before you call it quits seeing as you guys have been at it for some time now?
-I think we will keep going for as long as we find it interesting working together. The music industry sucks, but we’ve known that all along. Nothing’s gonna stop us ’til the inner circle falls!

ON TOP

ON TOP might not be the band on everybody’s lips but if you like metal with a strong 80s feel then this should suit you like hand in glove. Interview answered by Jaron. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I like the cover to the album “Top Heavy”. There is that 80s sexist but innocent look to it. How much lies in an album cover to sell an album?
-The way I see it, the average person will look at a CD and judge it by its cover, no matter what unless they already know what it sounds like. The audience for our style of music is mostly male-based and any guy with an interest in women will see our album cover and be drawn towards it. The girl on the cover is hot, there is no doubt about it. Once the cover grabs that persons attention enough to cause them to physically pick it up and check it out, the battle is more than halfway over.

You guys don’t play the usual bullshit stuff that we get drowned by day in and day out. Where in lies the charm of this more retro approach?
-The three of us come from a very heavy background of playing in thrash and death metal bands. The heaviness of the music definitely originates there, but the flare and charm comes from our love for rock n roll. Many say rock n roll is all about the youth… well, we are the youth (I’m 23, Danny is 21, and Alex just turned 18) and I think playing music that we can relate to is key. 80‘s hard rock was all about having a good time, dealing with chicks, and the excess of everything else surrounding life. Most people can relate to those things at one time or another. We are all big fans of bands from that era which definitely shows in the music, especially in the guitar work. Throw in a little attitude and some of Alex’s little jazz techniques on the guitar and I think you’ll find ON TOP.

There seem to have been a never-ending carousel of band members coming and going. How frustrating is it that you have to spend time on looking for new members instead of using that time to promote and move the band forward?
-In terms of wasting time, it is insanely frustrating! However I am very happy with where we have ended up. We are very fortunate that we come from an area where there are a lot of eager musicians. Finding people has never really been too big of an issue. Danny (drums) and I have been the only constant members since the first live incarnation of the band. It was nice to work with different guitarists because it helped us figure out the exact sound we were looking for. All of the guitarist from the past were a blast to work with and all helped get us to where we are now. Thanks guys, you won’t be forgotten!

What kind of live circuit are we speaking of in the Tri-State area? Is it bars in backwards holes in the country side?
-No not at all… we try and stay centered around more populated city areas. We will play wherever, but we have been mainly playing bars, clubs, and small venues around NYC and Philadelphia. New Jersey is always good to us as well and Delaware deserves a shout out. Glitter City Productions have gone out of their way to help us out in the Delaware/Philly rock scene and it is starting to pay off, we owe them!

When you play live what kind of audience do you attract?
-Our audiences are usually pretty evenly represented by young adults and middle aged men and women. Definitely more men than women though, haha!

Is playing live still the best way to promote a band? Or does that come down to what kind of hardrock/metal you play?
-Well In our case, I think live is the best way. When we play live we like to cut loose and really push the songs a bit harder than what you would hear on the album. Alex’s guitar playing is really something people need to see in person, he is the improv-king, quite a spectacle.

On my side of the pond I always get to hear how great the college radio scene is. But from what I can understand that one is too pretty much run by commercial forces regulating what is and isn’t played. How do you go about getting promoted on the airways?
-A LOT of emailing, and sending out discs! We have been pretty fortunate so far. Most of the college radio contacts that we have acquired have been very enthusiastic about getting some of our tunes on the air. I think stations like WSOU out of New Jersey really give hope to metal bands. They have been supporting the scene forever. As far as I know WSOU has never played our stuff but they are a huge contender in metal radio in the area and are a great model for other stations who HAVE played our stuff.

Is Internet radio and pod casts a viable option in getting promoted? I mean people all over the world can get to hear your music by a click on their computer.,
-Yes, absolutely. They say any press is good press. If internet radio and pod casts are playing ON TOP songs and people are listening, then it’s a win-win situation for us. Granted you never know how many people are listening, but hey, it can’t hurt!

When you plan for a new album do you have the previous in mind or do you start afresh and just let the good times roll?
-We are currently working on a new album as we speak. We have about half of it written and it definitely sounds like ON TOP. The last album definitely is in the back of our minds, but this is the first album we will be writing with Alex. He had some stuff on Top Heavy but most of that album was written before he was in the band. The new stuff is definitely a forward progress for us in every way in terms of musicianship. There is a lot of feel and rhythm in the new tunes as well. Just as heavy as the first but we are definitely rocking a lot harder on this one! So to answer your question, it is a little bit of both, leaning more towards letting the good times roll.

So when do you think we could expect a new album from you guys?
-If all goes accordingly, we hope to record towards the end of summer and have it out in the fall or beginning of winter! Keep your eyes peeled!

SkurL

I found SKURL one day when I was surfing through Reverbnation. A French goth metal band is all the info I need to get going. So in order to find out more I just had to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

When you do things on your own how do you know what to start with?
-The first step is the composition of the main guitar parts and the way they work together. When the main ideas are fixed, I start programming the drums to get the basic structure of the song and put on the guitar riffs. Then I record properly all drums and guitars, adding fills, breaks, leads … and finally bass guitar. When the instrumental parts are completed, and hopefully the lyrics ready, then I record the voices.

There are so many sub-genres within metal that it is hard to keep track of them all. Why have you chosen a gothic metal approach?
-It’s not really a deliberate choice, let’s say it’s the crossroads of my music influences. It suited rather well to the style when I started the project. Since then, I joined C. in a darkwave project called Our Scars, that is clearly goth branded, while Skurl new demo combines various elements of dark, gothic, doom and even black metal.

In spreading your music digitally does that open up doors that ordinary promotion wouldn’t bother knocking on?
-Making music is for me an individual pleasure that I enjoy the way I actually do it: when I want, as I want. I’m not into being in a band and playing concerts, what I like is the creative process. Internet and the social networks are a good way to get in touch with other musicians, to share your tracks with anyone that might like them, and of course to discover tons of bands from everywhere in any genre you like. It’s clearly a way for amateur musicians to reach people and to share their music, especially when you’re not performing on stage…

What is it that brings the greatest inspiration to SKurL? Anything that means more than the rest?
-What I am the most receptive in music is the general atmosphere that a record or even a song sets in. I also appreciate the balance of raw and aggressive sounding brightened with some melodic guitar riffs. Lyrics also take part in the process to support the ambiance coming out of the music.

What kind of environment does Lyon bring to a metal artist’s creativity?
-Lyon is a great town, and very dynamic regarding arts and cultural exhibitions. Really nice, with a rich past, an architecture and atmosphere that ought to inspire especially romantics and goths… Lots of cool places to party all night, some good records shops left too. The metal scene is rather active, with many local bands. Lyon has several halls of average capacity that enable to welcome lots of the bands touring across Europe, and you can generally expect a few hundreds of metal freaks in a cool ambiance. Italy, Switzerland and of course Paris are not so far and offer other opportunities…

How important is the French culture history in the creative process of SKurL’s music?
-There is no need to expand about the validity of anybody to have detailed notions of his own country’s culture and history, and its legacy will inevitably influence a creative process. By the way, national culture, history and traditions clearly do not enter in Skurl’s scope of thematics and concerns…

-Has modern technology enabled the process of recording alone? What kind of advantages do you have in doing it on your own?
Technology has changed everything as far as you can both create and record your own music on your computer with a minimum of device and music knowledge. Obviously your lap top will never replace the talent of a skilled musician and the sound control of a professional, but it tended to generalize the access to decent recording for music amateurs. And when your band used to have to record his live tape in his garage, you can now record it track by track, still in your comfortable home studio, built specific files for each musician, correct mistakes, include samples and electronic effects… This particularly fits with composition, as you can built a song instrument by instrument, therefore play different instruments, and use of a lot of artificial tricks to enhance the result. Virtual instruments offer almost unlimited possibilities for that.

What is it you want to achieve with SKurL?
-Skurl is a personal outlet and a way to satiate my music addiction, there is no other ambition… In 2009, I searched for someone to join the project, and the result gave Our Scars, which was an unexpected but very good surprise! Digital exposure enables to meet and to exchange with other music freaks. The future should bring new opportunities of collaboration, with musicians possibly, and an art worker hopefully, because it’s clearly not my chosen field.

How will 2012 help you bring forth the project even more?
-The priority for 2012 will be for me and my mate C. to achieve Our Scars’ first release. Most of the tracks are completed and we should spread the disease within the forthcoming year. I should have some time left to record some new Skurl tracks, and also we’ll see how it goes…

Homepage: http://skurl.free.fr/

BLACK CROW KING “To Pay The Debt Of Nature”

BLACK CROW KING
“To Pay The Debt Of Nature”
(BadGod Records)
You can say whatever you like about Wolves In The Throne Room and their organic take on black metal. You might think that American black metal is an oxymoron. You might even be of the opinion that all these bands that pop up from out of the North-western forests should crawl back under the stones they came from. That you are free to feel. I on the other hand welcome the explosion of USBM that we’ve seen lately. Anything that challenges the traditional setting gets the thumps up from me. Black Crow King would very much like to not be lumped together with any other band, or at least that is the feeling I get from listening to “To Pay The Debt Of Nature”. There is a meditative side to the band, even though it is meditation with razor blades, that is a bit challenging at first. You need to get your head straight to fully appreciate the opening 8 minutes. Otherwise you’ll just shut it off and continue on to the more easy-listening black metal albums in your collection. I found myself liking this more than I thought at first. I like the meditative chaos that Black Crow King creates. Some might even go as far as calling this crap. I say that this is interesting. Anders Ekdahl

CITIZEN CHARLIE “Up Yours”

CITIZEN CHARLIE
“Up Yours”
(RockSector Records)
I often wonder why hardrock/metal is so male dominated on the performer side. With half the population or more being female there should logically be just as many females being good at playing hardrock/metal and not just be satisfied with being the spectator. Thankfully we see an increase in females taking action every year. Norwegian Citizen Charlie’s album might have been out a while now but it seems that it hasn’t been given the right kind of promotion because I hadn’t heard of it before it dropped by my mail box. There is a minor bluesy feeling to the bands hardrock (yes, Charlie is a woman, the rest are guys) that gives me a slight Whitesnake/Thunder feel. Hardrock in that vein got my juices flowing in the early 80s. I still manage to go wild over it if it is done the right way. And this is pretty much done the right way for me. There is an attitude to it that I like. A “we take no shit” kinda feeling. Anders Ekdahl

ANTOINE FAFARD “Solus Operandi”

ANTOINE FAFARD
“Solus Operandi”
(Unicorn)
Antoine Fafard is a blank slate to me. I have no idea who he is or what he’s about. For all I know he might be the worst artist ever. Or he could be the best ever heard. Either which way this ends up I’ll be an experience richer. I have no prior relationship with the Canadian label Unicorn but from what I’ve gathered they seem to be very progressive oriented. “Solus Operandi” is proof of that. This is music that requires a large bit of your attention and not something you listen to while vacuuming or doing the dishes. This is music for those of you who have an interest in music that goes beyond the usual conventions of hardrock/heavy metal. It is for those of you who like your music eclectic and don’t mind fusions of jazz and rock and whatever more. There are moments when I too walk this path and Antoine Fafard proved to be a much better artist/guitarist than I ever thought he’d be. Anders Ekdahl

DAVIDIAN “Our Fear Is Their Force”

DAVIDIAN
“Our Fear Is Their Force”
(Massacre)
The first reference I made was Machine Head when I saw the band’s name. Then I remember that cult that was at a stand-off with the FBI many years ago, was it in Waco, Texas? When I started to listen to the music I was immediately struck by how much they reminded me of different bands but none particular. This is like an amalgamation of 30 years of thrash metal. From Kreator to, well Machine Head really. At first I was majorly disappointed. Don’t know why but I somehow had my hopes up for some really good thrash. Once I got my head round it I realised that this isn’t as bad as I first thought. Davidian have some pretty good grooves going for them. OK, the vocals are more death metal and the blast beats might set you wrong but the music is pretty cool mid tempo thrash. Or is it? I’m kinda starting to doubt my ears. At times it does remind me of The Haunted in their heavier moments. But then I get a strong death metal feeling. Gotta consult my books on this one. In the meantime I’ll enjoy it for what it is; a good metal album. Anders Ekdahl

JELLYFICHE “Symbiose”

JELLY FICHE
“Symbiose”
(Unicorn)
There used to be a band called Jellyfish that was to say the least eclectic. This Jelly Fiche are Canadians and since they release records on Unicorn you can safely assume that they’re going to be quirky in one way or another. But this is nowhere near being too quirky. There is something to the French language that is so romantic. Don’t know if it is the pronunciation or what it is but I melt whenever I hear French sung. Jelly Fiche have the music to match the language. This is romantic progressive hardrock if there ever was such a genre. This is so good that I’m pretty much stoked outta my head. Not in million years did I expect this to be this great. I gotta rush out and look up more albums by Jelly Fiche. Canada holds a great musical treasure in Jelly Fiche. Anders Ekdahl

KING “Forged By Satan’s Doctrine”

KING
“Forged By Satan’s Doctrine”
(Deathgasm Records)
Coming from Colombia you can pretty much paint any kind of picture you like and we on the other end of the world will eat it up like sugar. If you want to make out that you are homicidal lunatics for a drug cartel or if you are satanic ritualists running around in the forests sacrificing whatever it is you sacrifices doesn’t matter. We’ll just buy it without any hesitation. I honestly don’t care what picture you paint as long as my conscious is OK with it (not that I condone any sort of violence). I do have a soft spot for bands from South America that goes back to the 80s scene. King are black/death metal in a sort of primitive way that only relies on pure aggression and nothing more. I kinda like that. It is refreshing to get to hear an album that isn’t full of all kinds of symphonic impressions. It is pretty refreshing to get your ears cleaned out by a full on metal blast. That King provides. While not implying that they invented the wheel again there is a charm to this that leaves me wanting to return to it again… and again. Anders Ekdahl