We live in a globalized world where there are no real distances between countries and cultures thanks to the Internet. CATUVOLCUS might be from Canada but everything about them screams ancient history. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Can you tell us the story behind the band name? What was so special about this king that you wanted his name to be your band name?
-The band’s name is a gaul word for “battle-wolf” “catu-volcus”. It also represents a gaul chief of the Eburon tribe.

Why is it that other places? History is more interesting than the history of your own country?
-I was born in France back in 1991, I must say that first of all I decided to create Catuvolcus based on my origins. Gaul history is my history!

What is so fascinating about the Gaul period? Was it Asterix (no pun intended) that turned you on to this era?
-I still love those stories but what really inspired me was a book written by Patrick Pion entitled “Celtes et Gaulois”. It is also in this book that I read about Catuvolcus. I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Roman invasions in celtic lands.

What can we learn from that time in history? What kind of stories do you focus on in your music?
-My first album was about paganism and battles but I decided to focus on history since paganism is not the way I see modern spirituality. Catuvolcus is about historical events of the gaulish period.

How does the Gaul fit into the context of black metal? Any particular theme that is particularly interesting?
-This is as Viking fits with Black Metal, history fits with black metal!

When you sing in French does that limit the potential of reaching the fans? Have the world opened up to accept bands singing in other languages than English?
-I do not think so, that is true there is not a lot of French speakers around the globe but that adds spine to the concept. It becomes mysterious and not accessible to all, the one who wants to understand has to stop and read texts.

Does being a three piece black metal band limit you in any way? Can you do whatever you envision you want to do?
-It does not limit us, what does limit us is the distance between every band member. We are all about 2 hours of driving from each other.

What kind of scene are you a part of?
-I don’t really know, maybe Folk Metal scene but I am not sure, Catuvolcus is not that folk. We are not pagan so we cannot say we are in Pagan Metal. This is a reason why I created “Gaul Black Metal” name since we are apart from these scenes.

Canada is a vast but sparsely populated country. How do you play live in a place like that? Do you visit the same places over and over?
-Catuvolcus is not a live band so we do not face this aspect of the vastness of Canada.

What future would you like to see for Catuvolcus?
-Le temps met tout en lumière. «Thalès»


A Finnish metal band. Oh crikey! That must be a first. All jokes aside EMBASSY OF SILENCE is another in a long line of bands worth to check out from Finland. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I must admit that I don’t think of Finns as funny people but when I saw your album title ”Antler Velvet” I laughed. What is behind that title?
Ines: Haha, we didn’t really go for any humour there! Antler velvet is the coating that most male deer animals get on their antlers, which they later shed off in a rather gruesome- looking manner. We thought it represents self-discovery and renewing oneself, which is kinda the whole theme behind the album.

The album’s been out a while now. How does it fare? What kind of reactions have you had to it?
Ines: Things are looking rather bright at the moment, we get new fans every day and all of the reviews on our new album have been excellent. The first “batch” of the album is, to my knowledge, nearly sold-out, so it might be that we have to get a new one rolling soon enough.

Does being Finnish put pressure on you to make the national charts? Is it a failure if you don’t make it?
Ines: Actually it takes a lot of the pressure off, since there’s so much metal music being made here, and a vast majority of Finnish musicians really do their stuff, not for topping the lists or making tons of money, but for the love of music.

It seems that wherever you turn in the Finnish wilderness there is a band. What is it that makes you Finns want to play in a band?
Ines: Wish I could answer that. As I said earlier, a lot of metal music is being made in Finland, and I think that’s the key here. It’s not just about being in any type of band, but expressing our feelings and creativity seems to come in its most natural form through metal.

How much of a camaraderie is there between the Finnish metal bands? Is there a greater DIY-ethic among the bands?
Ines: The band circles are small, and especially with small and semi-big names, the solidarity and help-a-brother mentality is quite prominent. For a few examples, if a guy in a friend’s band knows how to do gig audio work, he’s probably going to mix a few gigs, and if a band needs guest musicians on albums or gigs, the help is usually available.

What does it mean when a Finnish band makes it big abroad or wins the Eurovision Song Contest to the rest of the bands? Is there any envy between the bands?
Ines: Winning the Eurovision Song contest (completely hypothetically here, of course, wink wink nudge nudge) wouldn’t earn a band any real respect as such, but it would be considered a brilliant joke. Metal musicians tend to have a good sense of humour about themselves, and I can’t say I’ve really encountered any envy. Most of us are also avid listeners to good music, and although there might be a more or less silent consensus over which bands definitely don’t deserve all the hype, we tend to pat each other on the back a lot and cheer for the other guys.

I often wonder what it is that makes a band find their sound. What was it that made you sound the way that you sound?
Tero: Our basic sound probably originated from the fact that I don’t consume vast amounts of music, but when I do, the styles vary from tender atmospheric stuff to extreme metal. I think I’m good at recognizing the good in any type of music (including the sounds) and use that to my advantage when composing the “skeletons” for our songs. When I learned to free myself from genre limitations and to not think whether “this fits our style”, our sound/style was eventually born. I guess you could call it some sort of “musical madness”. Songs become what they become by following the moods they carry. If a guitar riff sounds Russian, it’ll get played with a Balalaika, and so forth!

How much influence does the Finnish mentality have on the way you compose your songs?
Tero: A huge influence! “A pessimist never gets disappointed and shit was what this was supposed to be”…yeah, just kidding. I don’t think it really plays a role, at least in our orchestra. We do add a pinch of perverse humour now and then, maybe that’s where the Finnish mentality steps in? Then again, in my other band, Saattue (doom metal), I have to try and get really depressed in order to get any compositions done.

The Norwegians are the jolly ones, the Swedes the serious ones and the Finns are the melancholic and dark ones. The Danes are just on the side. How does the Nordic brethren influence you? Does it feel like we are one big family?
Ines: It’s not about the Nordic countries’ circle jerking, it’s more like all of the metal bands around the world have a somewhat strong sense of family, in my opinion. We can’t even say that it’s us here on our cold Northern thrones that are making the best music exclusively, times really have changed when some of the great stuff comes from France, for example! Of course Scandinavia and Finland still are the Holy Grail of metal, no question about that, but we don’t hold some mythical monopoly on the good shit anymore.

What plans do you have for the future?
Ines: We plan on doing gigs in Finland and possibly touring as well later in the autumn. We’ve already begun composing new material, a sound-junkie’s work is never done! There’s still a lot of unchartered territory and we plan to continue our promotional efforts to spread our seed far and wide. Music-wise, of course (cough).


I can’t say that I remember HERETIC from back in the 80s. I might have come upon the name once or twice but I don’t think I ever got to hear the music. Turn to 2012 and that has been rectified. Answers by Glenn Rogers (guitars) and Angelo Espino (bass). Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Why do we see a new Heretic album now?
Glenn: We just feel that there is unfinished business. Heretic has more music to give.

What was it that made you want to reform the band and not start anew?
Glenn: It took a while for Brian Korban to want to play in a band again. Julian Mendez contacted Brian, and started to get it going. As soon as word got out we were offered a slot on a short tour with Malice and Bitch. That’s when we kicked it into gear.

What kind of foundation can you continue to build on? What from the 80s can you take into the 21st century?
Glenn: The band is built on its love of playing music. For whatever reason people respond to our type of Metal. We will just do what we do, and if people like it, then it won’t matter what century we’re in.
Angelo: Our foundation is the one Brian built 25 years ago. So as long as he is at the helm of the band’s song writing, we will remain very consistent. We were all forged from the early 80s thrash scene so what you hear is what you get.

What has the internet meant for the interest in the band over the years? How much have you done to keep the band name alive over the years?
Glenn: The internet is good and bad for bands. The good side is people around the world can reach out to you. Makes it easier to connect with the fans. The bad side is free downloading kills any way to make a living in music.

What was the LA metal scene like back in the 80s? What was it like to be a part of the Metal Blade rooster back then?
Glenn: The LA scene was one big party that went on and on. The thing I remember the most was??? A lot of us don’t remember much. The Metal Blade bands were pretty spread out. We knew the local one’s like Viking, Hirax and Lizzy Borden. For the most part everyone was alright with each other, but you were mainly focused on your own band.
Angelo: The scene was thriving. It’s where it all started so I am very proud to have been part of it. Unfortunately the glam metal scene pushed true metal underground but here we are, back better than ever.

When you were in the middle of it, did it feel like you were a part of something new and fresh? How do you view the progress your kind of metal has made over the years?
Glenn: When we were in it at the time we didn’t think about the scope of what we were doing. We were all trying to get signed, play shows and hopefully make it in the business.
Angelo: We knew we were a part of something special. Metal has branched off into so many sub-genres. Some good, some, well…

How much different is today’s metal scene in LA? Where do you fit in today?
Glenn: The metal scene is underground in LA. Most local shows bring in about 50 to 100 people. Back in the day you could get 300 people in to a show. Like in Spinal Tap the audience has grown more selective.
Angelo: It’s refreshing to see there is a metal scene, but it’s total shit compared to where it was back in the day. Where we fit in is up to the people who buy our records though.

How have the metal sound evolved since you started? Where will Heretic fit in today’s metal scene? What kind of bands are there for you to play with?
Glenn: Metal still sounds the same to me. Loud drums, guitars and bass with some screaming in a mic. Most shows will have a lot of different styles of metal.

What kind of expectations do you have on the new album? What is it that you want it to achieve for you?
Glenn: The goal is still the same as it was in the 80s. We want to write and record songs for metal fans to enjoy. If we sell alot of CDs that would be great too.
Angelo: I have no expectations. We just wanted to write and record the best record possible. I hope people like it and it’s well received. We hope to get some great European festivals from it.

What more can we expect from Heretic now that you are back?
Glenn: We plan to record more CDs and tour a much as we can.
Angelo: World domination.


Another Swedish metal band to be discovered. MORTALICUM might not be the next Hammerfall but they still deserves your attention. Answers by Patrick Backlund (bass). Anders Ekahl ©2012

I kinda pride myself in knowing all Swedish metal bands but you guys are new to me. Why is it that I haven’t heard of you before?
– Hi there Anders! Well, it’s tricky for me to answer that… but I guess it proves that you are not too old to learn new tricks…!

There seems to be a Swedish heavy metal revival going on with a hell of a lot of bands getting noticed. Do you feel that you too can benefit from this interest?
– It’s good and fun that metal is alive and kicking, but it’s tough competition to get noticed so I’m not sure really. Hopefully it’s beneficial for us!

Where do you draw your inspiration from? What would you say has been the defining detail in the band’s sound?
– Good old heavy music like old Black Sabbath, but also from far too many bands to mention. We also add some classic Heavy Metal to the mix simply because we like that stuff. We want our music to be heavy but we also want to put some energy, emotions and melodies in there.

Where do you see yourself fit into the international heavy metal scene? What are your ambitions with the band?
– It’s really up to others to label our music. We just play the stuff we love! Hard rock, heavy metal and doom… Our ambition is to make great music, play live and to have fun doing it!

What is it that sets your metal apart from all other metal bands in the world?
– Maybe it’s Henrik’s clean vocals vs the doom sound? We think it’s a good thing!

Does having an album out make the band seem more real than if you just keep releasing demos?
– Absolutely! No question at all about that! We have two albums out now so we must be really real! It’s much easier to get attention from an album than from demos only.

What kind of expectations did you have on the album and how well have they been realized?
– It’s always a bit nervous to release an album. We thought it was more nervous with this album than the first, because for the second one fans have expectations of their own. We were really happy with how it turned out so we hoped it would be approved by the fans and critics and it really has so far, so we’re very satisfied!

When you have an album out, does it make it easier to get gigs and tours? Are people more willing to take you serious when you have something to show?
– Not really. It’s not a disadvantage, but it’s still not that easy to get gigs. But of course people take a band more seriously when you have a couple of albums out.

Have you painted a most desirable scenario for the band that you’d like to see happen?
– In the beginning, before the line-up and everything was complete, I had a desire to be able to play abroad with the band and we’ve now managed to play in the UK and are also booked for a festival in Malta so in that sense we have fulfilled what we wished for. But, we still would like to be able to play live more often.

What future is there for the band?
– I’m bad at predicting the future, so for now we will just sit back and enjoy the ride! Hopefully we’ll be able to have a few more albums out and also play live in more countries like Germany, Holland, France, Ireland, Greece, Italy, Spain, Austria, USA etc… and more in Sweden of course!


PUTERAEON should be a familiar name to those of you who like your death metal Swedish. Answers by Jonas. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Your new album is out now. There seem to be an increase in interest for old Swedish death metal going on now. Can you too benefit from this renewed interest?
-Hi There! Well I don’t think that we will not benefit from this. Doesn’t really matter though, we really love this style of death metal and that’s why we play it. I think we will continue diong this as long as we think it’s fun, no matter what people think of it. BUT of course it’s more fun doing the thing you love when other people love it as well. I think that people might want more than the old bands that are not around anymore, or those who are, who are not as interesting as they once where. No one named, but i think it’s great that people seem to remember what death metal should sound like, and not that newer crap that is labeled “death metal”. That new shit with bands with 4 word bandnames, using vocals that are something new shitty, screamy, but nothing like death metal vocals. That’s just crap.

I have never penned an album, let alone a second one. How hard is it to not repeat what you did on the previous one and still not lose that which made that one special?
-We try making new songs, and we don’t think that much on how the album will sound. WE try making it interesting to ourselves. There is never an idea that we want to do this or that, we just want the songs to be good. Some people might say that we have progressed since the new album is a little bit faster than the first one, but I don’t see it like that. It just happens to be that these songs are a little bit faster. Maybe next time the songs will be a little bit slower. If we would have recorded “The Esoteric Order” today I’m sure it would have sounded almost like it sounds on album. Maybe some stuff would be different but that is mainly sound wise, song wise I think it is still super and needs not to be changed. So in that sense, you know, we don’t want to progress, start doing music that doesn’t fit our view on what Puteraeon is. That was one of the things with the band name, Puteraeon (rotten Aeon), to stay rotten, don’t change because of what people might want or whatever, but to stay rotten, dirty and distorted.

Would you say that you follow in a Swedish death metal tradition? What would that tradition be?
-I think we do in a way yes. We come from Sweden and we play death metal. So in that way, yes. But also we are very influenced by the old Swedish scene. Bands like Entombed, Dismember, Grave, Unleashed, At The Gates, but also other non-Swedish bands like Bolt Thrower, Morgoth, Napalm Death, Autopsy. So i don’t know, but i guess it’s a blend you know.

When you are about to sign with a label how much of a gamble is that?
-There’s always a bit of a gamble, luckily I think it turned out really good with Cyclone Empire. I feel that they try to push for us as much as they can, and they are also diehard fans of this music so that feels great.

What do you feel that you’ve gotten from Cyclone Empire that you’d never ever have gotten on your own?
-Obviously they have much wider connections than we have ourselves and it feels good to have some stuff served on a plate for you, even though we try pushing the band as much as we possibly can ourselves. It would have been hell of a lot more work to do if we didn’t have Cyclone Empire. We are very pleased with our relationship with them.

How much of a compromise is it to be signed to a label instead of doing it on your own?
Well we haven’t compromised anything so far I think. But we always discuss with them, but so far we’ve done what we wanted. Perhaps other labels try changing the artist for whatever trend they feel is suitable, but I haven’t felt that with Cyclone. As I said, everything has worked really fine with them.

When you release a new album what is it that you want to get out of it? Do you have goals for it?
-We just want to do as good a album as possible. As i said earlier we focus on the songs and try writing as good and catchy songs as possible. So i guess the goal for us is to be as satisfied as we could with every release. It’s just a work in progress in a way. When we’re finally done and the album is released its complete. Until then everything could happen, and the songs go through a lot of transformation until they finally are recorded on the album. That’s one of the things that differ between “Cult Cthulhu” & “The Esoteric Order”, we have put a lot of more time and effort in arranging the songs this time, and in my ears and my mind I think these songs will last longer because of it.

How do you build a following in today’s metal climate? Is playing live still as good a tool as it always been?
-We can’t afford to play live as much as we would want to, but we try doing more videos and such stuff, promoting the band on internet and so. But we do play live and I think that is an excellent way to promote your band as well.

What does it give to go on tour with a bunch of other bands on these package tours that a tour on your own wouldn’t give you?
I don’t really know, bigger exposure perhaps. We haven’t done that yet. We hope for more festival gigs, to reach out for a bigger audience, because as i said in the previous question, we can’t afford to do much of these small tours. We all have daytime jobs and families to support, and even though we love what we do, we’re not going to live life like a dream and take bank loans to support a small rotten tour. We’re too old for that.

What future do you envision for Puteraeon?
-We take it day by day. Right now we started rehearsing for some shows this autumn and also plan our next video, which will be released during the autumn. At the same time we might start writing new material as well. Thanks for the interview! Add us on facebook, check out our website at and follow us on youtube and twitter! Cheers!/ Jonas


REPLOSION is an Italian progressive metal band on the rise. Be the first to name drop them among your friends after you’ve read this interview with MIKE GALLETTO – drums. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

You are being described as a symphonic/progressive power metal band. What is there in the descriptions symphonic and progressive that applies to your music??
-First of all thank you for this opportunity, we are very proud to talk to one of the greatest audiences in the metal scene. Well, I think “symphonic” is just an influence… It’s not a key factor for Replosion; On the other hand “progressive” represents the main musical reference listeners link to our instrumental sections. I’d rather talk about a “prog-oriented” style as I don’t think we completely comply with progressive stereotypes. We use to explore diverse music genres and turn “non-metal” solutions into a rock or metal sound.

What bands has been the single most important in forming your sound? Where do you get inspiration from?
-Angra, Savatage, Opeth, Queen, Dream Theater, Metallica… These are some of the most listened artists of our “musical childhood”. Today we take inspiration especially from the godfathers of non-metal genres …the inspiration comes from those styles we don’t totally know, that bring curiosity and push to musical explorations.

I keep returning to this with every Italian metal band that I interview because I think that metal should be so much bigger in Italy than it is. Why does metal have such a small following in Italy?
-Italy has two faces…many people listen to metal music, really. And many people play music too. So, you could think that interest in music is huge and this would certainly be the logical conclusion! Well, not in Italy. The other side of the equation is that our country has a musical culture so distant from rock or metal: consider that our parents never listened to Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin. Another point is the obsolete and conservative mentality of media never broadcasting certain kinds of music. Further, there are few places to play original music, you have to set up a tribute band if you want to play and get paid. When we were teens and played Guns ‘n Roses or Metallica songs, parents and friends stared at us like we were aliens. We felt kind of guilty for playing that music.

What is the hardest part of being an Italian metal band? Are there any benefits to being an Italian metal band?
-The hardest part is playing with the awareness that you are doing it just for yourself and your passion… The crisis the entire music-world is living involves also Italy of course, and here the effects are risen by those factors I mentioned before. Another thing is in Italy there is no cohesion among bands. The mutual criticism that bands share make it impossible to develop a strong Italian scene. Benefits? Uhm… Next question please…eheh! This is the reason why we wanted our album to sound as international as possible, and why we are promoting our music worldwide.

Do you see a change in attitude and interest from a younger generation? What kind of music interest the younger generation?
-I’m drum teacher, and I see that teens now don’t listen to metal as much as we did ten years ago. Today many young drummers come to me asking for bands like Alter Bridge, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers… Or something heavier like Avenged Sevenfold or Trivium. Anyway when you go around and see a long-haired metal-boy with t-shirt and patched jeans, you still see Metallica, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Blind Guardian, Ac/Dc shirts… I think it’s a clear signal that nowadays’ music is hitting the bottom.

You use the social media to promote your band. How do you do it the best way in order to reach all those that might have a genuine interest in your music and not just “like” you for the sake of “liking you”?
-Well, we are using our official website a lot ( and consider social media like Facebook, Reverbnation or MySpace just as satellites. Catching the interest of people with a “hammering advertise” is not our goal. We’ll keep on promoting Replosion through fanzines, webzines, web-radios, our official YouTube Channel and website… And so on…
How hard is it to find the right kind of people to work with? What is it that you look for in people that you work with?
-“The Resting Place Of Illusion” album is the result of a very positive experience… I mean, we managed to find the best cooperation with the producers. It’s not easy when you play music influenced by many different styles and approaches. When we started searching for someone to produce Replosion first album, we paid particular attention to find open-minded people able to work together as a team… This is the key factor.

How much time and effort do you spend on Replosion? What are you willing to sacrifice to make the band a success?
-Replosion is an “home” for us. You can spend some time away from home but you’ll always come back. Then, referring to the second part of your question, well, I’d rather talk about passion not sacrifice. For sure we’ll take into serious account all suggestions and considerations about “Resting Place of Illusion” album.

What kind of support is there for a band that wants to make it in Italy? Do you get cheered on for wanting to pursue a career in music?
-If you pay agencies you get all the support you need… But let me say that we are very determined to spread Replosion music abroad. For what concerns getting cheered on, well, musicians in Italy are considered like people wasting their time. If you listen to an Italian band (no matter good or bad) you can be sure that band is doing-it with a great and genuine passion.

Tell me what do you see when you gaze into the crystal ball?
-I see the reflection of my big nose I guess…eheh…forget-it, I’m just joking. We prefer looking at the real world, doing our best to make good music day by day…
This was the last question I guess, thank you once more for this interview.
Follow us on our website , and check-out our “Turn The Page” video on youtube!


Once upon a time there used to be a strong German power metal scene. Perhaps SACRED GATE can restore some of that glory. Interview answered by Nicko Nikolaidis (guitars). Anders Ekdahl 2012

I remember reviewing your EP and liking it. Now I have an album to like. What are your feelings on the album?
– We are very glad that we could find a label which liked our stuff and released it. It is not very easy for an new band to find so fast a label. We believe we made a good album, there where many reviews we received in which stands that there is no weak song on the album and that we are a big hope in the underground scene.

How much of a progress is the album compared to the EP?
– The first 3 songs on the EP are included in the album, it is the same recording and mix. There are another 3 live songs on the EP. So the EP was just like a sign of life, a way to promote the band before the release of the official CD and maybe to gain some new fans. That’s why I think we cannot compare these two releases.

When you play power metal, does it feel like a lonely journey? What kind of interest is there for power metal in 2012?
– I would describe our music as Heavy Metal, of course we have some power metal elements but we are more into traditional, classic metal. The problem is, there are so many ‘’power’’ metal bands that play this kind of metal where you have these happy melodies and the double bass-drum running all the time, and I hate that. I think Sanctuary’s ‘’Into the Mirror Black’’ is the best power metal album ever. This album is the definition of Power Metal. To come back to the question, of course there is still a lot of interest for the established and well known bands, you can see full halls when bands like Hammerfall for example play here in Germany, but it is very difficult for the small bands to even get some gigs.

What would you say set Sacred Gate apart from all the other power metal bands past and present? Why should we listen to you guys?
– I think we have an album with strong songs, and I am sure that every metalhead will have a good time listening to the album. The songs have a lot of energy and heaviness but also many great melodies. I am a big Iron Maiden fan, I love this band, but listen to their last albums, are you satisfied with that? I am not. So if I would listen to a band like SACRED GATE I would give this band a chance and buy their CD to support them. The underground bands are the ones who need support. But many people prefer to go to a show and pay 100 € than to go to a local gig and support the underground bands, or to buy the CDs of the big bands, even if their material is not good enough.

Is Germany still a great place for heavy metal? What kind of media interest is there for national bands?
– I think it is one of the biggest markets for heavy metal, the biggest metal labels are from Germany and there are many great festivals. But in general there is more interest in the well known bands. There are some magazines dedicated to the underground, that present new bands and help them become more popular. But it is very difficult to get a story or interview in the big magazines, especially when you have released only one album. It is my opinion, but I think the media is interested more in foreign bands than in national bands, I don’t know why, maybe they think that every band from outside Germany is better than the German bands.

When you are relatively small and just have released an album how do you best promote it? Any chance of joining a major tour for maximum exposure?
-The best thing for a band that wants to promote its album is of course playing as many gigs as possible.
But as I said, even getting gigs is not so easy if you are not well known, because many organizers don’t give this chance to the bands. The most times we organize the gigs ourselves or with some friends who also play in other bands. Like every other band we dream of a tour as support for a bigger band, but this is very expensive and you need very good connections or a rich label. So, neither we or our label can afford something like that. Maybe a label like Nuclear Blast or Metal Blade could send a newcomer on tour but this is another story.

How much is it politics and how much a genuine love for metal when it comes to being seen in the right kind of places? How much are you ready to sacrifice in order to get the band seen and heard in all the right places?
– That’s a very good question, politics is very important, this is the truth. There are so many bands that make great music and don’t even get a deal for an album. We played about a month ago a concert with High Spirits, the guys played a day before our show at the Rock Hard festival in Germany. After the concert they said: “Guys you are much better than the most of the bands at the festival yesterday”. It is great to hear something like that, but it also makes as angy, and I think many other musicians feel the same way. We all have our families and jobs, and we live from our jobs and not from the music. We combine these two things and it works. We are not yet a band that goes 2-3 months on tour and I cannot say how it would be to do something like that, to be away from home for some months. But if it was on a professional level and we could pay the bills by earning money with music, then for sure we would do it.

How important has the art work been in establishing an identity for the band? How important has it been that just by glancing at the art work you should know that it is a Sacred Gate album?
– First of all I have to say that our artwork was painted by Jowita Kaminska who is also co-owner of our label. She realized the idea we had about this apocalyptic scenario. There is a connection between many songs on the album and the artwork. I think the artwork is very important, I still remember that when I was 15-16 years old, I bought many albums only because the cover looked great, hahaha. So when you want to sell a product, the whole package must be good. In this case the music, the cover artwork and the booklet design. Of course music is the most important thing, but the fans rather prefer a CD with a nice cover and booklet, than one that looks very cheap. Iron Maiden became so famous because they made great music, and because of Eddie, hahaha. When you see the artworks of Maiden, Manowar, Blind Guardian etc, you know exactly from which band the album is, because most of them work with the same artists since years, and have their own style.

What importance does the choice of band name have to the aesthetic of the band?
– A name that sounds good with a logo that looks good is very important, especially when you want to sell a lot of T-shirts, hahaha. A name must be simple but also has to stick to your mind when you hear it for the first time.

What future is there for Sacred Gate?
– We will see, we always plan things step by step. We want to play as many gigs as possible, but the main target this year is to enter the studio in autumn and record the new songs for the next album. We want to play in summer 2013 in some festivals, so if you read this and you organize one, don’t hesitate to contact us!


I had not heard SKELATOR before I got the new album. I immediately knew that I had made a mistake and that this was the stuff I’ve always been into. So an interview with Robbie Houston (Guitars) and Rob Steinway (Guitars) was set up. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Skelator is a great band name. It is like some kind of super hero fighting evil? Where did the name come from to begin with?
Robbie: Skeletor is the arch nemesis of He-man. He is a badass villain. We changed the spelling a bit.
Rob: Not a super hero but a sinister villain! Max and Jason came up with the idea when generating band names many, many years ago. From the moment Jason heard the name he knew that it had to be the name for the band.

I get the impression that there is a conceptual part to your new album. What can you tell us about that?
Robbie: The last 12 tracks tell the story of Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone. Elric is one of the greatest most twisted antiheroes of all time. He wields his sword “Stormbringer” that eats the souls of friends and enemies alike. Our album tells the story of how Elric returns to his home to overthrow his cousin Yyrkoon, who has usurped his throne, and destroy his own homeland and race.
Rob: The Elric story has a lot of variety too, which enabled us to really put forth a diverse amount of material on the album. The story itself is an epic tale, highly recommended!

When you do something like that, do you start with the music or the lyrics? How do you fit it all together to make it a cohesive unit?
Robbie: We write little bits at a time. Sometimes a riff or sometimes a chorus. We start with a little idea and add to it. Then as we get progress on a few ideas we look at how they all go together. Slowly the piece takes shape. Then we add more. Then we delete little bits that don’t work. Just bit by bit.
Rob: Our song writing process can really happen in any order. The verse and chorus of the song Agents of Power started off having the vocals and lyrics, and we wrote the musical backing behind it together. We’re very much a band where we spend a lot of time experimenting with different song ideas or the ways the songs go together and determine what flows the best. Sometimes we get frustrated with this process, especially if we’ve been working on a song for a long time, but in the end it definitely yields the best result. Skelator is not the type of band where one person does all the writing and the rest of the band shows up and plays exactly what the writer says to play.

What part does the art work play in this day and age when people download rather than buy a physical album?
Robbie: Artwork is rad. We understand that downloading us very convenient for everyone. We love to have an iPod with hundreds of albums. But nothing is better than looking at an LP sleeve while the record is playing. I hope that more people are actually looking at the digital album covers that come with the downloads.
Rob: Artwork is part of the whole package, just like the lyrics. Like Robbie said, mp3s and iPods are convenient, but physical albums are a whole experience. Metal is less about “singles” or popular songs on the radio (at least in the USA where real metal gets close to zero air time), and more about the whole album. I hope that people that check out our album get to appreciate the artwork and layout!
When you’ve been around a while, having released a couple of albums what is it that still drives you to do the things you do? What motivates you guys to better yourself?
Robbie: The things we do are what drive us. Songwriting, playing live, and recording are the things that we love and want to do. We have always done these things and always will.
Rob: In addition to that, I think seeing excellent underground bands and listening to their recordings is a very driving force. Hearing the new Slough Feg album is very motivating or seeing a performance by Midnight Idols or Phalgeron makes us all want to get back in the practice space and hash out some more tunes.

I get the impression that you’ve seen bands come and go that you could play the socks off that have been offered it all and blown it all. Does it ever feel like you’ve been passed over because you will not bow down?
Robbie: Unfortunately our style of music isn’t at the top of the charts. If our goal was to make a lot of money we would be making screamo or autotuned hiphop. But our goal is to make true metal and to continue to get better at doing so. I am proud that we have always made the type of music that we wanted and that we have gotten as good at it as we have.
Rob: We’re making metal because we love it and this is the type of music that we want to listen to. We might not have a ton of cash or have our own jet to fly around the world and play shows, but for us this is about the music.

How important is it to be true to yourself and not sell out to be able to do it all over and over with 100% integrity?
Robbie: Nothing is more important. If you lie to yourself you lose the ability to love.
Rob: Being true to yourself and maintaining your integrity is king.

Do you feel that if you stick by it your time will come too? How much are you willing to sacrifice to make the band break big?
Robbie: Breaking it big is not the goal. If we can achieve that along with making great music then it is a welcome bonus. There is no sacrifice to play and write and record. Our lives are all structured so that we can make music because that is what we wanted and is most important to us. It would only be a sacrifice if we gave up those things.
Rob: I think of it this way. In the USA, the type of band that makes it big isn’t the type of band that we want to be. Look at most labels and the bands that are on there, they’re popular right now and they’re the type of music that is popular. Give it a handful of years and they’ll fade or change styles to whatever the next trend is. We don’t care about making it big, we just care about creating epic heavy metal!

How much confidence do you have in your choice of metal? Has there ever been a time when you’ve felt like quitting?
Robbie: I only thought about quitting when I was a lot younger, before the love of this art grew to be part of my character.
Rob: Never. Once I learned about heavy metal and I picked up the guitar I’ve been completely hooked. I think we all experience the occasional musical frustration, but that can be remedied through practice.

What ideal future would you like to see Skelator on the future
Robbie: Being able to tour off and on a few times a year and making a great sounding album with well written songs every year or two until we die.
Rob: Continuing to make heavy metal with these gentlemen, put out albums and EP’s (which also get released on Vinyl – yes it sounds better!), road trip around the USA and Europe every so often so we can bang our heads in as many different countries and cities throughout the world.
Cheers and thank you for the interview, Anders. Check out our ReverbNation page for samples of our music!


VITER are a new and promising metal act from the Ukraine that are on the up and go with their new album out now. I interviewed Yulian – vocal and Bohdan – bass. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I came upon you by chance surfing Youtube. How much effort have you put into getting known outside of Ukraine?
Yulian: VITER is new enough band – recently we recorded our first longplay and a promo-campaign is about to begin. Nevertheless our previous EPs were accepted quite well all over the world we won’t stop at reached at the moment and will continue our expansion to Europe and rest of the world.
Bohdan: Besides, we took a new musical direction at the longplay and now we are by the way bursting through old fans’ conservative unreadiness for changes. Guys, changes are an important part of our musical nature, you take it or not.

What kind of responses have you had so far to you music? How much of an interest have you had from places outside of the Ukraine?
Yulian: We get very diverse reactions on our music – from the most positive to full completion mixing with shit. I think this is normal. We are not too cranky and are ready for any reactions.
Anyway, it’s a great pleasure to receive positive feedback from our the most enthusiastic listeners who send it to us in social networks. You should know – you give us strength in this fucked up world.

You have a new album ready to be released now. How would you say it differs from all your past recordings?
Yulian: Yes, the music of new album is quite different compared to previous recordings on EPs. Honestly, I can’t imagine a band saying “yeah, our musical stuff is fully identical to all our previous shit”. Someone compares us with RAMMSTEIN and IN EXTREMO, and some people just relish what we make. As for me – all these comparisons is crap. The main thing is that music should rock us and roll us, and if somebody else also – that would be great.
Bohdan: By the way, rocking and rolling is the essence of our new aesthetics – now and for some future. Though we play music that sounds heavy and metal-like, in fact we begin to consider ourselves now as a rock band and this tendency is only increasing.

What do you expect that this new album will do for the band? What do you want to get from releasing it?
Yulian: Well, since Ukraine is not very rich country, we want to get a lot of cash. Besides, to win MTV award and receive at least 5-6 million of likes on Facebook. Then we will know that we spoil our lives not in vain.

How hard is it to get things done the way you want when you live so far from all the great producers and record labels?.
Yulian: But we live close to Chernobyl zone. I think, it will compensate everything in course of time.
Bohdan: But we learnt and still are learning how to do many things by ourselves.

What has been the hardest task to achieve so far?
Yulian: For the time being everything goes easily. I don’t even know what to say – maybe to get completed work on CD from recording studio till the end of current era.
Bohdan: Everything goes easily only as a result of hard work. For me the hardest task is to secure safety of kozobas and people around me and kozobas every time during preparations for live performances.

Would you say that Ukraine is your best bet to make it big? It is one hell of a large country. How does a band go about touring such a place? The distances between towns must be huge.
Yulian: I suppose that life of the band here and in Europe or USA has not many differences. On tours everywhere there is always the same shit – you sleep little, eat little and have a fucking lot of road troubles and inconveniences. You just accept this damned circus in your life or not!

From what I understand technology is still a hard thing to get if you live in the Ukraine. Not everybody has a computer at home and internet connections have to be done in coffee shops. How much does this affect the way you can promote your band?
Yulian: Oh yeah, it’s really painful question. You asked what the hardest task to achieve was and now I recollected the hardest one ever – so it was the hardest thing to send these huge amounts of sound files via internet to our sound producer sitting all day in shitty coffee shops, and the sound producer had to receive them at the similar place. But as it’s impossible to buy ample USB flash drives which would accommodate all necessary information, we had to go to coffee shop 4 times every day during the month. It was terrible.
Bohdan: And we’ve got mutual collective hatred of coffee.

Can we talk about a Ukrainian metal scene? What kind of bands do you socialize with?
Yulian: Well, my personal favorites are bands like TIK, Dzidzio and KAMON! I’m not sure that this is all 100% true metal, but it’s ok with a drive there.
Bohdan: No, Yulian, it’s not 100% true metal… Nevermind, he is completely lost.

What future are there for Viter?
Yulian: Well, in the very near future we are planning a tour in support of album, in which I hope we won’t burn anybody with our pyrotechnical devices and leave unharmed ourselves as well.
Also we plan to film one or two musical videos for the new album in the nearest half of the year.
Thanks for the interview and visit our web page – for fresh sounds and videos and our Facebook profile – !

ALTAR OF OBLIVION “Grand Gesture Of Defiance”

“Grand Gesture Of Defiance”
(Shadow Kingdom Records)
It’s not that often I get to hear new Danish metal. From having been a country to look to for new, great metal (especially if you only lived 20 minutes with a ferry and 60 minutes to Copenhagen) the Danes have trailed far behind. So whenever I get to hear a (to me) new band from Denmark I take the time to enjoy the moment. This is heavy. I don’t think I’ve heard a Danish band as heavy as this before. I’m a huge fan of doom metal and this I think is my first Danish doom metal band. This is doom that has nothing to do with Candlemass. Think instead bands like Revelation and the whole early Rise Above catalogue mixed with bands like Witchfinder General and you get a pretty good idea where this band’s coming from. Anders Ekdahl