LIGHT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________________________________________________

LIGHT BLESS YOU!

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

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

SASAMASO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TODAY FOREVER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for your interest and effort.

WEEPING SILENCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EMPATIC GODS “Gods Of Thousand Souls”

EMPATIC GODS
“Gods Of Thousand Souls”
(Terrasound Records)
Polish metal of the 80s might have been looked at as a joke but Polish metal of the 10s is no laughing matter. Some of my greatest metal experiences of lately have been Polish. Empatic Gods might be new to me to they are old to the scene. This is to my ears thrash metal the way it sounded in Germany in the 80s without any of the retro stuff that seem to be going on today. This is Teutonic thrash the way progress wanted it to sound like. It’s a full on blast of good old thrash metal done the raw way. I like the way this album makes me feel like 16 again, discovering creator for the first time. Not the World’s most original sound but a sound that still works in 2012. Anders Ekdahl

EMPTY DREAMS “Lost Souls”

EMPTY DREAMS
“Lost Souls”
(-)
I’m not too familiar with the Romanian metal scene but one band that I have a relation with is Empty Dreams. I’ve been following them on and off for some years now. This is a new EP from the band that continues their journey on the goth metal road that they’ve set out on. What sets Empty Dreams apart from all the other goth metal bands is that there is a darkness, a depth to the music that many lacks. You don’t get the glossy exterior that many goth metal bands surrounds themselves with. I like that. It gives the music another dimension. Another angle to approach it from. That it is beautiful and emotional goes without saying but in a more dirtier way. I like Empty Dreams even though it took me a will to get accustomed to their sound. Anders Ekdahl

KARNAE “Evil Is An Necessity”

KARNAE
“Evil Is An Necessity””
(-)
It gets boring to keep mentioning that I’m not the greatest of metalcore fans. I can appreciate a good record when I hear one despite what sub-genre it might be. The problem with metalcore to my ears is that there is little variation in the sound the bands apart. It’s like they all bought the same manual on how to make it work. Italian Karnae have all the trademarks with the exception of the clean vocal interludes (oh I spoke too soon). This works so much better in my ears. I can fully appreciated the aggression this brings to me. It’s almost like I get a The Haunted with Marco Aro feeling listening to this. More of this stuff and I’ll be the biggest metalcore fan there is. I can fully get my head around this stuff without having to decipher all the trend rules that comes with metalcore these days. Anders Ekdahl

METAL SCENT “Homemade”

METAL SCENT
”Homemade”
(-)
Out of the blue I got sent this by some promo agency in Israel. As I know nothing about Metal Scent but like to explore the universe of metal it was with open arms that I took this one on. As the band name says this is metal in the more traditional way. As somebody who grew up on Saxon and Iron Maiden trad metal have a special place in my heart. So whenever an album full of all that is great with heavy metal (melodies, guitar solos etc.) lands on my desk I approach it with the greatest of anticipation. Metal Scent proved to be a nice surprise. This is metal in the same vein as Jag Panzer, Benedictum, Portrait etc. Metal that has more in common with the 80s greats than the 90s watered down version of trad metal. This surprised me more than I expected. An album that I’ll spin in my car driving to work. It gets me in a positive mood. Anders Ekdahl

PHENOMENA “Awakening”

PHENOMENA
“Awakening”
(Escape Music)
I never cared for Phenomena in the 80s when they first appeared on the scene. A metal opera concept album wasn’t exactly my cup of java back then. Not really my cup of java today either and with so many different musical projects that involves different musicians these days Phenomena ain’t that special anymore. Having said that if you only concentrate on the music and leave all the other stuff aside this is a really good hardrock album. Strong melodies and a cast that really know what they are doing make this a winner in my ears. And for that reason alone this album deserves your attention. If you like good old hardrock as it was done in the 80s and without any special eye to the latest trends, just good music, then you’d be stupid to miss out on this one. Anders Ekdahl

SEVEN ENDS “To The Worms”

SEVEN ENDS
“To The Worms”
(Massacre)
With an intro that made me think Terminator this could not be anything but an aggressive album. And aggressive it is. This is what I’d like to describe as deathrash. I get a distinct Morgoth/Lemming Project (that band again) feeling listening to this. There is that heavy feel to it. I also get a Napalm Death feeling, a grindcore nod in my side listening to “To The Worm”. A combo that actually works very well. That this is a full on blast of metal is just an added bonus to my ears. No fancy lettering here. No, just full on blast from start to finish in the best possible manner imaginable. This is the kind of album that I need coming my way every now and then to just cleanse me from all the other stuff I listen to. This is music that requires very little thought. This is guts music. This is so damn fun listening to, headbanging away like a maniac. Anders Ekdahl