WITCHCRAFT

I love discovering new bands. In doing so I came upon Russian WITCHCRAFT. They impressed me enough to want to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

With a name like Witchcraft I get a feeling that there is a deeper meaning behind the band name. Why the choice of band name?
-“Witchcraft” as witchcraft, taking its roots from the depth of centuries, opens to us a picture of mysterious world, where all of our dreams and nightmares turns real. All of the band lyrics depend on that philosophy.

Where do you find the inspiration to write music and lyrics?
Inspiration? WTF? (I’m joking). Most of the characters were born in my dreams. I mean, they came to me in dreams, to become alive in my lyrics, or prose.

Is there one major point in music that shaped the sound of Witchcraft? What was it that made you want to play the music you do?
-I think that it is a dark atmosphere in our songs and in the sound in whole. My view of the world and human nature. We are all dark deep inside you souls. We hide our feelings, our greed, pain and tears but they are in our minds all the time. I was so impressed by dark feelings and wanted to create different songs which have the same atmosphere.They are different but you can notice that thae are all similar in mood. This is our major point in music. And the power, that moves me to create, to write, and to play music, that we plays – is my dreams. I just can’t keep them inside. Cause sometimes it’s really painful.

From what I understand Russia is a country of great divides. You got the rich and infamous in Moscow and St Petersburg and the rural cities the further in you get. What kind of influence do you get for your music from living in Russia?
-It’s really difficult question… Being a musician in Russia, and playing such a kind of music is a HARD work. But we never give up. And that crazy situation about metal in our country only instigates us to work so hard.

I’ve done interviews with some Russian bands and while they might seem successful in Russia and the surrounding former Soviet satellites they might be totally unknown to the rest of the world. How hard is it to go outside of Russia to get noticed?
-Let’s see… with a bit luck, and will to do what you want, that’s easy. Everywhere: in Russia, or England. It doesn’t matter. I’m joking, it’s very difficult to create something here in Russia, you have no enough money, no time, no any chances to sell your music. Russian bands are totally unknown outside of Russia because of a lack of good metal labels and promoters of such a kind of music.

When you are on a Russian label what advantages and disadvantages are there?
-No any advantages, they don’t want to promote your music, don’t want to pay you money, they just take your album and your rights and you are waiting for a miracle.

We live in an age where digital downloads are pushing out the physical products. What disadvantages/advantages are there to this development?
-Our CDs is not only information, its present, consists of a colorful buckled, with artworks, photos and lyrics. I think that the present makes us to change. I like to listen to new music in the internet but if I like it I’ll buy the CD. I think that it is bad for

What kind of promotion do you have to do yourself to make the band known around the Globe?
-A War down the hearts of our fans at first and the rest they’ll do themselves)

How important in playing live in order to make the band known? Does it give you any sort of bonus points with the fans if they can see that you are for “real” in a live environment?
-Live shows are as a sort of communication between our fans and the band. It bears great charge of energy. And it is a kind of drugs. We can’t live without it.

What plans do you have for the future of Witchcraft?
-Conquer the whole world!

THE AMENTA “Chokehold”

THE AMENTA
“Chokehold”
(Listenable)
I have no relation whatsoever to The Amenta. I don’t even know if the digital only release is the best place to start with but since it is the only thing I have with The Amenta I have to do with it. I would like to describe this as industrial tinged metal. Not only because they do a cover of a Godflesh track but because there is that whole monotonous repetition that is often associated with industrial labour. In my better moments I can fully appreciate the effort of bands like Godflesh or Einstürzende Neubauten. I can find joy in the monotony of constant repeating beats. I could very well be found blasting this The Amenta release at highest volume just to make a statement about how futile and pointless automated work is. I think I need to dig deeper into the discography of The Amenta. This wetted my appetite. Anders Ekdahl

CRITICAL FEAR “S/T”

CRITICAL FEAR
“S/T”
(–)
I grew up with the Big Four. They were the one that opened up my ears to a whole underground of brilliant thrash metal bands like Holy Terror, Defiance, Testament, Forbidden and a handful or more of cool bands. To this day I still hold that time in my life in highest regards and I still return to the albums of that era with great joy. But I also feel like a child on Christmas whenever I discover a new band that brings out that same kind of exuberance that the early second wave of thrash metal bands did. Critical Fear might have a bit left before they reach the really high peaks but I can still enjoy their thrash metal attempts. This reminds me of all kinds of cool bands that I’ve heard over the years. And for that I like this album but there is also another aspect of me liking it. I simply can’t get enough of the mad attack the band presents. Anders Ekdahl

DARKTRIBE “Mysticeti Victoria”

DARKTRIBE
“Mysticeti Victoria”
(Massacre)
I have a very special relationship with French metal. Have had so ever since I heard my first French metal band back in the 80s. Darktribe could very well be another new French metal favourite. It started on a high note with a very symphonic beginning and it carried on that way. I couldn’t help thinking of Heavenly when I listened to this. I love metal with bigger than life arrangements. Which is why I love Kamelot, Rhapsody and any band that have the guts to go that little extra and not be afraid of being called pretentious. There is bad pretentious and then there is good pretentious. This is good pretentious. Why play it safe? You only live once. For that reason alone I like “Mysticeti Victoria”. Every once in a while you need something that takes you on a journey far away from everyday life. Anders Ekdahl

SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA “Malediction”

SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA
“Malediction”
(Listenable)
I’m not gonna go on about how much I do not like digital downloads. Sarah Jezebel Deva’s name shouldn’t be unfamiliar to any with the slightest interest in metal. Having sung back ground vocals for Cradle Of Filth and been a member of Angtoria amongst other things Sarah have paid dividends to be considered a integral part of the British metal scene. “Malediction” is just a three track EP but boy is it good. This is one of those records that you wish you could hear more of. It is not enough to spin this one on repeat. You need to have more to chose from. Sarah moves effortless between the gothic and the blackish in a way that just makes me love her even more than I already do. If you are already familiar with her this will be just more of the great. For those yet not familiar this is as good a place as any to start. Anders Ekdahl

DEVIL “Magister Mundi Xum The Noble Savage”

DEVIL
“Magister Mundi Xum The Noble Savage”
(Soul Seller)
With a name like Devil (no, not the Phantom’s dog) you kinda expect this to some sort of black metal, at least in the vein of Witchfynde or Witchfinder General and in a way it is too. This is retro hardrock that has a lot in common with the early NWOBHM bands like the aforementioned but also draws heavily from the whole 70s hardrock scene. I guess if you like The Devil’s Blood, Witchcraft, Grand Magus or any of those kind of bands then this will be to your liking too. I gotta admit that I like this new wave of retro bands that we’ve seen popping up the last 5-6 years. Not everything has to be super brutal evil to be good. You can be just a s cool and evil by taking it cool too. Anders Ekdahl

I SPIT ASHES “Inhaling Blackness – Reflecting Light”

I SPIT ASHES
“Inhaling Blackness – Reflecting Light”
(Massacre)
I Spit Ashes are another new German metal act making a name for themselves with their debut album. This is metal that makes me think of a less death metal Dark Tranquillity or a more controlled At The Gates. There is a strong Swedish air to this album. I like that it makes me think Swedish metal. This was a positive experience. I can’t put my finger on what it is that makes this so very attractive. It might be the use of keyboards as a sound filler or it could just simply be that the songs are good. But there is something to this album that grabbed me from the get go. It could be that this just reminds me so much of At The Gates that I don’t want to stop listening to it. Whatever the reasons are this is good no matter whom they remind me of. Anders Ekdahl

SCORNAGE “ReaFEARance”

SCORNAGE
“ReaFEARarce”
(Massacre)
Scornage as a name seems so very familiar yet I can’t remember if I’ve heard the music before I got sent this new album. Any which way this is thrash metal the hard way. Nothing fancy going on here, just plain in your face thrash. This is brutal the same way Legion Of The Damned are brutal. Not that I’m comparing the two bands I’m just stating a fact so that you’ll have some sort of reference in understanding what Scornage are all about. I like this kind of thrash that are borderline. You don’t really know if it is death, thrash or deathrash. You just gotta go with the music and enjoy it for what it is. That to me is pure joy, when you don’t have to worry about having to type cast the music. Anders Ekdahl

SYBREED “God Is An Automaton”

SYBREED
“God Is An Automaton”
(Listenable)
Sybreed made me think Fear Factory when they burst onto the scene in the 90s. I really liked the sound Fear Factory presented. It felt fresh and new and got me to look deeper into the whole industrial scene. Sybreed will not have that effect on me simply because I do not need to dig anywhere to fully understand where they are coming from. This to my ears sounds like a cross between Fear Factory and In Flames. An on paper perhaps strange mix but which in reality works very well. Not having any idea what to expect from Sybreed I have to admit that I was positively surprised by how good this is. And while perhaps not the most original in most parts Sybreed have managed to make something great pout of already overused ideas. For that I applaud them. Anders Ekdahl

UNHERZ “Die Wahrheit liegt dazwichen”

UNHERZ
“Die Wahrheit liegt dazwischen”
(Massacre)
That trends goes in cycles are nothing new. What once was regarded as over and done with comes back to haunt us again. I’m not saying that all hardrock of the 80s was bad. It was just some that were worse than other. Some were really good and has therefore stayed with me. Like this Belgian band Underdog that impressed me back in the 80s. Not that Unherz in any way sound like Underdog. I just came to think of them. Unherz are on their third album. They must have been a German secret because I haven’t heard of them or even heard their music until this third album dropped by. That they sing in German might have something to do with it. Not that it matters really. I love(d) Japanese hardrock/metal without understanding a single word. This is pretty much sing-along hardrock with an edge. Not as polished as I had thought it would be. I could see this working in a dark underground club as well as on a stage in full daylight. Anders Ekdahl