Anguish – “Through The Archdemons Head”

Anguish – “Through The Archdemons Head” (Dark Descent Records)

Resplendent in fox furs and bathed in animal blood, there’s no doubt these Swedes will cause no small amount of people a great deal of anguish, but pets aside, they also produce epic doom par excellence! Taking early Black Sabbath (a la ‘Master Of Reality’), mixing it with ‘Morbid Tales’ era Celtic Frost and giving it Candlemass’s funeral doom touch, Anguish have arrived at a lethal cocktail that should carry a (mental) health warning: if you thought dinosaur rock was dead, beware as there is still one solitary beast lurking. Stonehenge drums, bottom heavy bass, and raw fuzz toned guitars coil riffs around you like a python slowly crushing you to death on gargantuan epics like ‘Lair Of The Gods’, ‘When The Ancients Dare To Walk’ and ‘Morbid Castle’. Most of all, J Dee’s demented vocals are like a cross between Ozzy, Tom Warrior and Lemmy – you couldn’t ask for better (the man is gonna be a star – a dark star LOL – Ed). At times the music is seemingly disjointed, but with an average song time of 6 mins I actually think it adds to the flavour and reflects a truly creative and underground release. The cover says it all really…a desolate shack atop a bloody ice strewn mountain with a foxes head stuck on a pole!!!

Dead Label – “Sense of Slaughter”

Dead Label – “Sense of Slaughter” (Rising Records)

The winners of the All Ireland 2008 Battle Of The Bands, this young 3 piece really kick it with their brutal brand of metal along the lines of Lamb Of God or Machine Head. Driven by the pummeling drums of Claire Percival (don’t get into a fist fight with her LOL – Ed), and faithfully flanked by the throat strained screechcore vox of bassist Dan O’ Grady and the dervish riffing of Danny Hall, songs like ‘Thrown To the Wolves’, ‘Dawn Of A New Age’ and ‘Raising The Veil’ may not be breaking any new ground, but man, does this band know how to kick ass!!

Burn The Sunset – “Home”

Burn The Sunset – “Home” (www.facebook.com/burnthesunsetuk)

Burn, baby, burn! This young Scottish metalcore hail from William Wallace country and whilst there may not be much in the way of sunsets in Stirling, they sure know a whole lot about burning (and looting, pillaging, raping LOL – Ed)! Mixing it furiously on this debut between the aggro of Terror in The Bruce’s hoarse vocals to the Almond / Fyfe guitars that have claymore size doses of Dimebag Pantera like riffing laced with pensive melodies on tracks like ‘Lonely & Defeated’, ‘Insincere’ and ‘The Changing Of Times’, BTS give it a kick in the bollox that brings the braveheart to the highlands!

Krossfire – Interview

Where the hell is Bulgaria?!?! Well, it’s remotely located in Eastern Europe and while it doesn’t make the news, a metal band called Krossfire have with their brand of prog / power metal. Shan Siva goes over the iron curtain to chat to guitarist Georgi Kushev!

1. Firstly, congratulations on your new album – it really is impressive given I did not hear about a metal band from Bulgaria before!

Georgi : Thank you very much. We really tried our best and we are happy that people are digging it.

2. Is Krossfire Bulgaria’s biggest metal band?

Georgi : No. We are truly an underground band and there are others like us in here. Metal in Bulgaria is not very popular to say at least.

3. Can you tell us a bit more about the metal scene in Bulgaria – is there a particular style of metal i.e. power, black etc that Bulgarian metallers like? Are there any metal festivals there?

Georgi : Well, as I said metal in Bulgaria is not that popular. All of the metal bands are underground. There are few famous rock like bands, but they are not metal for sure. As for certain style of metal I think no, Bulgarians like all kinds and styles and genres of metal. For festivals, we used to have only the Kavarna festival, but this year we will have two more which is really cool because metal music is getting more attention this way and not to mention that we will be able to see our favorite bands more often.

4. How is metal viewed in Bulgaria – this used to be in Soviet Bloc and if I’m not mistaken it’s still also deeply religious country – is it safe for metallers to walk around with Slayer t shirts and have long hair without having trouble from either the police or people in general (or both LOL)?

Georgi : Yes, it is safe now to walk with Slayer t-shirt on, LOL. It’s true that we had this Soviet block in the past and this music along with everything western was forbidden, but it’s been more than a decade since then and everything is fine now. You can see metal heads roaming freely, ?.

5. Sound Has Krossfire toured / supported both inside and outside Bulgaria?

Georgi : We play mostly in Bulgaria, clubs and motor fairs/gatherings. We have friends in the motor society in Bulgaria and they often invite us to play on their fairs. Also, we have done opening acts for the Jag Panzer and Pungent Stench shows in Bulgaria. We played few times in clubs in Greece and that’s about it nothing big. But we would love to tour/support in other countries.

6. Why did you guys start up the band?

Georgi : Purely from love for the metal music. It’s our passion and we wanted to give this passion a voice.

7. You’ve been going for over 10 years so is that easy in a country like Bulgaria – are there places for you to play live with good sound etc and good promoters?

Georgi : It’s really hard sometimes. As I said metal is truly an underground music in Bulgaria right now and arranging a show can be quite difficult sometimes. There is no such thing as promoters for metal and you have to take care of everything yourself. Of course, friends can help. Like the motor society and DoubleD music. They give us strong support. There are not that many clubs and they often don’t have good sound capabilities.

8. Listening to the music on your album “Learning To Fly” it seemed to be very much a power / modern prog type mix so was that intentional or has the band been through different sounds through its history?

Georgi : Yes, the band suffered few changes of the style direction though out the years. When we started we were truly a heavy metal band, then for a time we were more on the hard rock side because one of the band’s ex-members pulled the strings hard towards that direction. Then he left the band and ever since we got our current lineup we were able to play the music we really like and that’s the more prog/power style.

9. I can hear some influences from bands like Blind Guardian, Iron Maiden and Manowar so do you see your sound ever evolving into something more Bulgarian sorta like the Swedes did with their Gothenburg sound or the Germans did to the second generation of power metal etc?

Georgi : Well I think that we are all very happy with our current sound. We plan to get a bit more modern and heavy for the next album, but no major changes.

10. What are your plans following on from the release of “Learning To Fly”?

Georgi : Our plan is to play as many live shows as possible, hopefully to tour in different countries and to compose and make our next album.

Ok, thanks for your time Georgi!

Thank you very much too Shan & readers of Battlehelm!

ACEPHALIX


I can’t remember how I came upon ACEPHALIX in the first place but I must have read about them
somewhere and then decided to check them, out. What I heard made me think bolt Thrower crossed with Amebix and with a very strong crust feel to their metal. KH / Kyle House Guitar, LI / Luca Indrio Bass, DB / DanIel Butler Vocals. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Looking for info on the band online I found very little that could tell me what I wanted about the band. Is being secretive a big part of the Acephalix image?
KH: Fuck secrets. They are for people scared of being nothing.
LI: All it really matters is what you hear. That is what we are, that`s all we got for you. Anyway there is tons of crap about us on the internet you can look up.
DB: No. Seems to me there’s a lot of information about us online. I suppose every image is secretive in a sense though since the image conceals a much greater and vaster reality (i.e. nothing).

How important is image to a band like yours? Is there anything you’d like to say with it?
KH: Do what you love, Follow your path, embrace being nothing.
LI: Be yourself and you`ll be fine. It s really simple and it always works out. You can`t try too hard to be what you`re not, people knows anyway.
DB: Crafting/constructing image(s) is part of the creative process. So in that sense image is very important. Preoccupation with managing other peoples’ perceptions? That attachment to image is must be shed.

This might not be the smartest of questions but when asked what the band sounds like what’s you answer?
KH: Grave, Motley Crue and Driller Killer put in a Blender.
LI: It sounds like when your roommate is getting laid and your room is shaking.
DB: Depends on which record your talking about. To me the most recent record sounds like a cross between American death metal bands like Cianide and Autopsy and Finnish bands like Amorphis and Demigod.

I guess the change in people’s record purchasing also affects bands that release album on smaller labels. How annoying is it that even people on grass root levels expect to get things for free?
KH: It’s like telling the wind to stop blowing, what’s the point. There is no prize in being right. The present is the present.
LI: I don`t really care. Music is for whoever wants to listen to it. I think if someone is stealing our musc is just great.

What is it that has changed so that people today don’t think twice about downloading things illegal?
KH: The only law that can’t be broken is reality. Try changing what just happened. Only people that think they are the ones that create music feel cheated
LI: Music is for everybody it will always be. You can`t arrest a sound or try and completely own it. It`s impossible.

How important is the punk aesthetics to you in the 21st Century? Has it become even more important in today’s egocentric World?
KH: The ego does not discriminate between cultures. It’s the same ego in all humanity that needs to be special and right. Once I am aware of how it operates I can be free from its insatiable need to judge. It cannot hold self esteem so it never stops trying to get more from a false sense of superiority. I love it for the kind of dog it is and I know that I am.
LI: Today’s world is sad.
DB: Distinguishing between punk and other kinds of aesthetics doesn’t really determine what I like. I like what I’m drawn to. Personally, I’m drawn to art, music, and ideas that tend to be found in the “underground” and more obscure realms of culture, but none of these objects are necessarily punk or metal. Making “punk” or “DIY” more important aesthetically and culturally remains within the egocentric bind you are referring to–it doesn’t break out of it. Ultimately all I know are the aesthetics I prefer, the modes of being that I prefer, the aesthetic objects that I deem to be good. I try to keep the focus on my preference and not concentrate too much on what I don’t like about what other people like or what other people do. My judgment can serve to connect me with others on points of interest we share or it can create suffering because I think I’m right and they’re wrong. My experience is that it does both and is especially well trained to do the latter.

Does the whole DIY-spirit still exist in today’s underground scene?
KH: Spirit cannot not exist.
LI: I see it.
DB: Definitely. Kill Town Death Fest is a good example.

When you tour what is the single most important objective on your agenda?
KH: To eat pizza, fuck and play metal.
LI: Rocking out!
DB: Mostly to eat pastries and have a brutal growl.

Being on smaller labels I guess there is not much in the way of tour support. How do you set up an European tour and make it without having to cash out for it yourself?
LI: Touring is really hard. It`s fun but it takes preparation and you might end up losing money. Or losing your house or your job when you get back. I think record labels small or bigger ends up breaking even with the money (or close to it) or making some money. The bands are always broke, always losing money to keep doing it and living crazy life styles to keep their bands going.
DB: It’s hard. Takes a lot of hands to make happen. But it’s totally do-able.

How much do you plan for Acephalix? Do you have a master plan, an agenda for world domination?
LI: A world mass death metal orgy.

ANIHILATED

ANIHILATED is a classic British thrash metal band that has had its share of turmoil but now seem to be back for good. There’s always place for the good guys and Anihilated are certainly worth of any praise given. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

What kind of metal scene do we speak of back in 1981 when Anihilated formed? How did you fit into that scene?
-1981 was dominated in the uk by a lot of “hair/glam metal” there wasn’t much else but that, and the classics like Motorhead, Iron Maiden AC/DC etc. A lot of classic rock but no real thrash. We were firmly a punk band at that stage learning our craft and trying to morph our anger and fear into music that conveyed that sense of frustration.

When did Anihilated become a thrash metal band? What was it that steered you in that direction?
-We had been ebbing toward a heavier fast sound for some time and began the transformation in late 1983, Mark joined us on lead guitar and Si took over on vocals, it became grittier, riffier and darker. Fuelled by Marks riffing and Si’s love of really nasty metal like early Metallica, Venom, Slayer etc that was slowly dribbling into the country. Bod was fascinated by this new sound and was soon a convert to the cause. We wanted to play something more technical than the punk rock we were producing, something nastier, dirtier more dynamic and flexible

I remember you guys from the 80s. I thought you were one of the better bands from the British Iles. What was that went wrong and prevented you from hitting the big scenes?
-Thanks for that we appreciate that comment BUT we usually try to avoid this subject as we do not want to come across as whining and blaming everyone else but to put it simply, we felt exceptionally let down by those who promised us a lot but delivered very little. Possibly our own undisputed commitment to not becoming the co-operate metal whores that record companies wanted, we refused to be “styled” we refused to compromise on our lyrics and wouldn’t do the whole Satanic thing. Also the UK scene was swamped by the USA scene and UK bands were really pushed aside by that.

When you disband/take a break with what feelings do you do so? Where do you direct you anger and disappointment; at the band members, the fans or the general music climate?
-We needed a break we had spent many years together and the disappointment of our plans not being fulfilled was crushing. Mark wanted to try something else and Lee quit entirely. It was a sad time, but we all remained very good friends throughout the following years which helped us to overcome the disappointment. We remember all the fun we had more than the shit.

When you decide to start up again 20 odd years later do you have an agenda? What is it that brings back the flame to play in a band again?
-The fans relit the flame, we read so much online about ourselves and how people still loved the music, the time was right, Bod had finished his own band after returning from a US tour, Si had recovered from spinal surgery and other health issues, Mark was at a loose end and a possibility of recording a new EP was suggested. From there it snowballed, the first rehearsal ended with songs being completed. There was no agenda, it was definitely a case of seeing what happened. As soon as we did the live shows in 2010 we knew this was it and the universally positive reception to the “Scorched Earth Policy” album has justified everything.

Having been both on the inside as well as on the outside with what accumulated knowledge do you enter the music scene as Anihilated again?
-We learned never rely on anyone else; always do everything you can yourself. Don’t ever look at this as a “job”, you are just blessed that at this particular time, people want to hear what you are playing so be happy with that, everything else is a bonus. We realized that you can still make your point and still stand for your beliefs and that maybe that might mean you have to work harder or maybe you don’t get the “big break” but after all, life isn’t about money and fame it’s about what you bring in your heart and soul and what makes you happy. If you don’t enjoy it don’t do it, if it got to the point where this became a drag or we didn’t want to hang with our band mates then we would walk away. We also learned that you need to choose your allies carefully, don’t trust anyone completely, there are some unscrupulous and deceitful bastards out there who will try and take you for everything..businessmen…not my kind of people

When you have a back catalogue how irritating is it that there are people out there that makes money on your hard earned work without you getting your share of it?
-Anihilated became known throughout the world from the illegal bootlegging markets that went on 30 years ago, that’s how our music became global so it’s a kind of double edged sword for us. It is
irritating and frustrating to know about illegal downloads we know have been made on “Scorched Earth”. It is frustrating that we worked hard and someone else gets the profits but that unfortunately is business. We are resilient and you get over it and on with it. At least our music is still being spreading around the world and being heard.

Can we expect a real re-release of the old albums and not just on some hard to find Brazilian label? How would you like to see the old albums re-released correctly, or are you satisfied with the way things are now?
-We have no plans to re-release “Created in Hate” or “Ultimate Desecration”, the re-release on Marquee was strictly for the fans at a minimum cost/minimal run level. They are often on E-Bay and I suspect thousands of download sites so another re-release would be pointless. “Created in Hate” is not indicative of what we are now, whilst proud of the impact it made upon its release, it has not stood the test of time and releasing such a raw product in the slick polished and powerfully produced market of today would I believe be counterproductive. So all in all, despite the typical problems that occurs when releasing anything as it stands with our OFFICIAL releases we are pretty happy, I would say that the unofficial releases are a different matter entirely.

With a somewhat new album out how do you promote it? How do you feel that the channels of promotion has changed since the 80s? Is it easier to promote your band today?
-It is so much easier to get yourself out there and heard now, the internet, despite the whole illegal download stuff, has been a godsend. Unfortunately it does also mean that any performance can be recorded and put up for the world to see so it does keep you on your best game. Our label, Killer Metal has been excellent and promoted “Scorched Earth Policy” really well for a relatively small label.

What would you like to see in the future for Anihilated?
-We have almost completed writing for the next album, it has been a long process but we wanted to get it right. We hope to record in the early spring before playing a few select dates. We have had discussions with various European venues and promoters and will reveal dates as soon as we know them. We want as many people as possible to hear us, hear our message and maybe get a little proactive in changing the world for the better. Don’t be fooled, don’t be told what to do by cooperate whoremasters, don’t let the media decide what you believe and what you want!! We would just like to say. Thank you to all our loyal fans all over the world for sticking by us for all these years – we hope to see many of you in the coming years 🙂
www.myspace/anihilated.com

WELICORUSS

There is no denying that it only takes one band to open the flood gates. Had it not been for the success of Arkona I’m sure that we’d seen less bands from ex Soviet countries making it onto records on European labels. One that would have made an impact any which way is WELICORUSS. Anders Ekdahl ©2012 Continue reading

DRAKKAR “When Lightning Strikes”

DRAKKAR
“When Lightning Strikes”
(My Kingdom)
This was like a bolt of lightning from a clear sky. Drakkar hasn’t been on my radar for a good few years now but apparently they are still going strong. This Italian band can best be described as part of that whole power metal wave we saw coming from Italy at the end of the 90s/beginning of the 00s. Continue reading

DISGUISE “Second Coming”

DISGUISE
“Second Coming”
(My Kingdom)
Can’t say that I’m familiar with disguise even though their logo looks familiar. Most have seen it somewhere. I kind of expected this to be, well I don’t know what I expected this to be like but whatever it was the reality was something completely different. 5 years on from the previous album Disguise return with “Second Coming”. Continue reading