Keen Eyed – “Reflection”

Keen Eyed – “Reflection” (

Wow, this Italian band go right back to the mid 80s, when their “Metal Rain” demo scored quite a hit on their native soil along with some intense gigging towards the end of that era. Then the split! Not sure why but after a 15 year hiatus the inevitable reunion took place, the culmination of which was new songs and ultimately this album. For the most part Keen Eyed play classic rock that has its heavy moments here and there like on ‘She’s The Devil’. Equally they show their mellower moments with the use of acoustics and harmonies to the point of being AOR like on ‘Scent Of Feeling’. It’s certainly played well enough and the band show their technicality on the prog like ‘Hold Me Tonight’ that also incorporates some dextrous keyboards. New vocalist Angelo Gervasi seems able enough to cope with the differing styles both injecting power where necessary while being content to take a more laid back, trippy tone elsewhere. I think the band could have benefited from better production soundwise but “Reflection” should still ring a bell with their long time fans so let’s see if time has not overtaken Keen Eyed?


You might not know of DUSKMACHINE yet but keep your ear to the ground and you will. In the meantime read this interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

-Founding DuskMachine in summer 2004, original members Nikolai Wurk (guitar), Randy Black (drums), Peter Habura (bass) and Hagen Hirschmann (vocals) didn’t waste any time putting together song-material and a concept-idea for their debut album “The Final Fall”, which hit the stores in late 2005 to very good reviews.
Then, during the recordings for the next album – Russ Bergquist had become the new bass player – destiny struck again when new vocalist Mirko Preach decided to concentrate more on his other projects and left. But where others would give up, the band didn’t waste time and contacted myself (Joe Comeau Liege Lord, ex-Overkill, ex-Annihilator), and asked me to take over vocal duties. After listening to the new material, I immediately agreed to join and we began our work!In late 2012, we inked a Worldwide deal with Massacre Records, one of the most important independent labels for heavy music from the past 20 years. Our new CD has been just released in July 2013, and we are ready to pound the metal world with our second self-titled album!

You are now on your second album. Did the reactions of the first album meet your expectations?
-I think the cd set the groundwork for the current line up. The album was well received, but the lineup changes didn’t help to solidify anything. It’s now time for this string lineup of friends to forge ahead!

When you have a CV that is quite impressive how much tougher is it to get people to stay with you once they’ve heard the music and thought it didn’t live up to your past?
-Hahahaha! Well, we don’t need to worry about that because in our opinion this CD is light years ahead of anything else we have done.

How hard is it to come up with songs that you didn’t do on the first one for a second album?
-It’s a natural progression…sometimes it can be hard not to repeat yourself, but it’s very early in our writing career for this lineup and we’ve got WAY more to say!

When you pretty much start over again with a new band how tough is it to come up with a sound that is all your own?
-We didn’t set out to do that. We just know our instruments, what our strengths and weaknesses are and we just went ahead with it. We just went ahead and wrote what felt natural. The sound came about on it’s own.

When you place the first album alongside the second what is the greatest difference?
-The vocals. The lineup. Also that the new album is a collection of songs while the first cd is a concept album.

We all hear about the state that the record industry is in, the decline of record sales and how illegal downloading is killing the music business. But how bad is it really? What can be done to save it?
-I don’t know. It’s pretty bad. But if you love what you do and don’t do it for the money, then you’ll always have something you’re proud that you created. The money may follow. And the positive thought is that people will always want to see bands live and playing live is an amazing way to express your music with other people. Many bands now rely on merchandise to help support their finances.

With people downloading (legally) more music these days how important is the presentation of the album nowadays? What part does art work play in selling an album today?
-I think it’s all a big part. Why just put 100% into your music only? I feel that bands should put pride into the packaging and art as much as they can afford. It’s all important.

How hands on are you when it comes to stuff like lay out and art work? How important is it to you that everything is done the way you like it?
-We are very fussy and have a role in everything we do!

What plans do you have for the future?
-To keep writing and get out there live playing shows! See you soon!
Thanks for all your interest…please check us out at and


Israel might not be the place you think of first when you go looking for new metal bands but they are there if you look hard. LAID8 being proof of that. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

How are we supposed to read your name? What is behind the choice of band name?
-From left to right! If you insist, you can read it as Laid Eight. A former band member suggested the name, which refers to the symbol of infinity. We get all sorts of comments about it, but the name really grew on us and we find it kind of different.

I’ve read that your metal is being described as modern or alternative. What does that really mean? How different are your metal to other band’s?
-We get described as many different things and it always feels like we don’t precisely fit into any genre, so we made one up: New Wave of Alternative Metal!
Being an alternative band means not sticking into straightforward metal, because we put a lot more emphasis on the melodic parts, and mixing in a lot of influences from a wide spectrum of genres, which sometimes are opposites to each-other. But basically we do what sounds good to us, we each love different things in our music and we want to mix and mash them all together to create cool new shit.

Why is it that we haven’t seen more metal bands making it out of Israel? What is the metal scene like in your country/area?
-The scene in Israel is very diverse and there are some incredibly talented musicians who are always trying to get out and break the glass ceiling, so to speak. It’s hard breaking out from there but we think you’ll hear a lot more cool bands in the future.

What is the support for metal like in Israel? Is there a scene to speak of? How much media coverage is there? Do you have places to play?
-The scene is small but very embracing and supportive, kinda like a family. Media cover is rare but still exists: we have podcasts, webzines and magazines, but word-of-mouth is still better then all of those.
In the last few years there was a huge growth in international exposure, both in and out, and we also have big-names coming over, like the Ozzfest, Metallica, Lamb of God and a lot of folk, death and progmetal, which are very big in Israel.

What kind of reactions do you get when people realize that you are from Israel? Do you feel that there is a community feel being part of a global metal scene?
-Usually when people hear where we’re from they’re quite surprised there is any metal in Israel at all, but when we start to play it’s all about the music and we’re all just a bunch of metalheads banging our heads, having fun and having a pint.

When you have a record to promote where do you turn to get the most exposure for it?
-Social media, of course. Word of mouth is always good, but Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are our main channels to the mortal people. Sometimes we like to dress our drummer as a chicken and hand out flyers! (not really…)

When there are events like ESC (Eurovision Song Contest) Israel is represented. How badly do you want to be a part of the European community? How European do you feel?
-We feel we have a lot more in common with the European culture than the Middle-Eastern one. Having said that, we don’t consider ESC as a representative of the European culture we are part of. Meshuggah from Sweden, much more likely. We do, obviously, have ME influences as we are Israelis, and it just cannot be taken away or for granted. Take one of our songs for example, “Necessary Evil” – it is heavily influenced by middle-eastern music and we also incorporate Arabic scales in our other songs.

Is there a modern Israeli culture to speak of? How much of that culture do you incorporate into your music? How much do you look to the past for inspiration?
-There is a very established cultural world in Israel – it is heavily influenced by the melting pot which is the country today. Lots of Morrocans, Russians, Etheopeans, West and East Europeans as well as Iranians, Indians and whatnot came into the country since it was established. It’s all one happy mess! And as we said in our previous answer we are drawing influence from it all.

What kind of lyrical topics do you deal with? How important are the lyrics?
-Lyrics are the reason we started writing music in the first place, as a vessel to our emotions and as a mean of self-therapy.
Because of this heavy emphasis on the lyrics our singer Tal makes it her point to make sure that everybody understand the words and hopefully relate to the content, unlike many other bands (that we love, by the way), where it sometimes really hard to make the lyrics out when the singer is only screaming or growling.

What future would you like to see?
-They promised jetpacks. We want our jetpacks already! (Then we can incorporate that into the show, and headline festivals while flying on a hoverboard above the crowd, showering them with awesomeness.)


THRUDVANGAR might be a strange name to pronounce but the music is easier to understand. Read this interview with Christian to get you started. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

Let’s start with the name. THRUDVANGAR has to my ears an Icelandic ring to it. Where does it come from and what does it mean?
-It comes from the north Mythology and it´s the home of the thundergod Thor. It´s called “Land of Strength”.

Your sound is being described as Viking metal but to me that is Bathory and you guys sound nothing like that. What is Viking metal and how does it differ from black or death metal?
-We haven’t give us this name to our banner, it´s only called from magazines and his writers. We don’t know how to sound the Viking metal, is it Death metal with lyrics on this or Black metal with this theme? Everyone have a own interpretation to this. We say always “ We playing metal” .

Is it important that you metal has a name? Isn’t it enough to just be metal?
-How I said, No. We don’t need any subgenres.

I remember a time when you as a demo band had to settle for a 4 track porta studio to record. Nowadays even the tiniest demo sounds like it was recorded with a million bucks. How do you know where to go to get the best possible sound? How much of a gamble is it to enter a studio?
-We are on the lucky side that we have our own little studio where we have recorded all of our cd´s. But the most of bands I know going this way today. It is not only the money to do this, it is also the time you can take for this. But, yes it´s right, You can bring a lot of money the a very good studio today.

When you play the kind of metal that you do how important is the graphic side? Does it have to show what your music is about?
-For me: not so much. That is the only thing where I have nothing to do with this. But I think there some layouts where you know which band it is, that’s cool but not important me.

What kind of lyrical themes are you dealing with? How important are the lyrics and how do they work with the music?
-Our theme is the north mythologie, I think that the way while the people are call it viking metal.

Why is that German bands are so fascinated by winter and snow? I’ve come upon numerous bands that either have something about frost or winter in their names or in the titles of their records.
-I would say the most bands with this titles are black metal. It´s cold and dark in winter, the right time for this music to get this drive all around.

When you promote an album what is the most important thing to remember? How do you get people interested in your metal?
-Playing live is the best way to promote your album. Today you have the chance with the internet,Facebook and so on.But young bands today forget this. They recorded a cd and they are happy about this and they wondering why nobody knows the band. That the wrong way I think.

What kind of scene is there for the kind of metal that you play both in Germany but also in the rest of the World?
-We have different Peoples in front of stages. There are fans of Black metal and Death metal and peoples they never heard metal before. That is great and I hope it will so go on anywhere we play.

How does the future look for THRUDVANGAR?
-We don’t know it, but I hope that we can play together in the future like in the past and that we came a little bit around


TORTURE KILLER is another Finnish band that has been around a while now but needs to be heard by more people. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

Would you say that the band has lived up to the expectations you had on it when you formed all those years ago?
-I think we´ve done well. It’s not like we ever had any goals in any case, we´ve taken everything as they come and I think we are just normal reason headed guys who never dreamed of becoming anything big or so. We formed the band to play music we like, because doing it makes us feel good. Now, looking back – I think we´ve managed to write a few good chops, the collaboration with Barnes was cool and you can’t plan things like that – that just happened, and working with him felt really flattering and fulfilling, I guess that’s the thing people will remember us for anyhow, so why try to downsize it…back in the beginning it was trying to come up with the next decent song to play, and I think that’s what it still is for us.”

The Finnish metal scene seems to be full of bands playing all forms of metal. What is about the extreme form of metal that suits you Finns so well?
-I really don’t have an answer for this one. I guess its an outlet in many cases because were not exactly known as open and talkative people. We just keep things to ourselves, maybe music gives us somekind of a pressure valve, who knows?”

Is it important to TORTURE KILLER to be a part of a scene? Is there a Finnish metal scene per se to speak of?
-Obviously if there wouldn’t be an audience for us, we wouldn´t have any shows and playing live is a big thing, one of the key reasons why you do it. I was grown with a lot different scene back in the early 90´s when people printed black and white fanzines, traded demo tapes and had letter correspondence with each other, and that’s what I consider a “scene”. It was more of a hands-on type of approach where you actually had to work to get your metal, and I loved those days. Of course there are active concert organizers, familiar faces you see when going to shows and they are the scene nowadays, it’s a lot different from what it used to be but still, it’s the modern form of things. Especially here in our hometown a lot of those people are personal, really good friends so in that regard its nice to feel you’re a part of something special group of people who you can connect with.”

When a Finnish metal band is doing well do you feel a sense of pride or is it more envy?
-Personally I feel none of those, I guess its cool in some ways, but hardly has any effect on what I or we do. Usually the metal that breaks out is a bit more melodic, so not really what I listen to too much…no reason to feel envy that for sure, none of the others success is away from ours… you are what you make out of yourself, and you will get the recognition if you deserve it.”

Do you look at TORTURE KILLER to be a Finnish band or do you see it as an international band?
-Definetily Finnish. The music itself is universal I guess, theres no specific finnish identification to be found I think, but I look ourselves through as people and music is just what we do. We like the late 80´s, early 90´s death metal, a lot of it is from Florida which we certainly take inspiration from. But we are Finns no doubt.”

How pleased are you with you latest album? Did it live up to the expectations you had going into the studio?
-I´m pleased with it… theres a few songs that turned out really good like the title track, “written in blood”, the sound is what we were looking for and I think each song has its attraction, some groove, some have athmosphere… I think it’s a decent mix of things. We would’ve liked to continue doing EP´s because “I chose death” was perfect for us in every way, but as we still owed one album to the label, you get “Phobia”. From now on id like to concentrate on the A+ songs but like I said, I think each song has its appeal and it would be very hard for me to pick the ones to leave out.”

With a name like TORTURE KILLER you can’t very well sing about the birds and the bees. What kind of lyrical contents are you dealing with?
-This time we took a conscious step away from the gore and sheer brutality to more psychologic horror… less graphic horror and more of the psychological. Its digging deeper into the human mind and tells 9 different tales of violence.”

Back in the 80s it was hard to get your hands on new metal albums. Today you just click a few times and then the records are on its way to you, either in digital format or as physical ones. How do you make sure that people actually buys your albums? What do you do to get them to pick up you album?
-Theres nothing really we can do about it, it’s like fighting the wheel that keeps on turning… all we can do is try to write the music we can, if we succeed some people will buy it. I still buy the albums I like because I want the physical copy, and the cover artwork is a crucial part of the record. And im sure im not the only one still thinking like that. I download stuff too, theres just too many released to buy all of em, but if I like something I still buy it.”

What is the live scene like in Finland? What kind of clubs are there to play or are you left to playing your local pub/youth center?
-Were fortunate to live in a town that’s sized enough to have a few rock clubs, also we’ve had very good crowds where ever we play in here so we are doing ok. We´ve done youth centers a few times and actually those shows have been really cool, young kids who are passionate but under aged to get into the clubs make a really good crowd. “

Do you see a future?
-No. Can you? All I can do is to plan what I’m going to do next week, things will happen and each of us are going to deal with the things that come ahead. For us a band, we are taking a small break, we need to re-charge the batteries for awhile but I know I still carry music inside me, and when the ideas are materialized, im sure there will be more Torture Killer music done.


UNSHINE yet another Finnish metal band that are new to me. I had to interview them to get to know more about them. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

As I know next to nothing about you guys perhaps a short introduction would be in order?
-Yes, of course! UNSHINE is a Finnish druid metal band with five members, vocalist Susanna, guitarist Jari, bassist Teemu, drummer Stibe and me (Harri), guitarist. The band was formed around ten years ago in Helsinki, Finland. Our music has reportedly elements from folk, gothic and symphonic metal. We do not like to think very much in categories, good groove and melodies are the be-all and end-all for this band. Lyrics are very nature-oriented, as one could suggest from ‘druid metal’. We have two albums (Earth Magick and The Enigma Of Immortals) out and the third one (Dark Half Rising) will be released on 23rd of August via Massacre Records. This album will be our first for an international label, we’re proud of it and looking forward to get on the road and present the material to druid metal crowds.

How do you as a band make sure that you stand out from all the other metal bands fighting for the same crowd? How do you avoid being just another band?
-I think the only way to stand out is to concentrate totally on your own thing. If you consciously and constantly bring artificial outside elements from the other bands you admire, it might weaken your chances to be more individual and separate from the crowd in a fresh way. In band activities, there is always some driving element which pushes the band to go and continue despite of whatever difficulties there always comes down the way. If the spark for the music lights instinctively from the heart, it cannot be totally wrong.

There are just so many chords you can play on your instruments. How do you come up with something that hasn’t already been written? What are you combination of sounds that make UNSHINE unique?
-In Western music tradition, all possible combinations of chords and pentatonic scale exercises have been already used countless of times during history, of course. To create unique sound, you have to arouse the spirit inside the music alive. Music is not about calculating an optimal formula, it is about making real magic. If elements of a single song, including musical performance, melodies, lyrics and especially atmosphere created by these all are in harmony, it is possible to come up with unique music. We draw inspiration from depths of nature’s mysteries, earth, sea, air and fire and in more concrete level, also from each other’s playing at rehearsals.:)

Is it important to have an album cover that catches the attention of the record buyer when he or she browses through the new releases?
-Yes, practically. It’s a healthy thing for musicians also to care about their album cover art. If it’s boring nonsense, nobody pays attention to it. Nowadays, an obscure cover also weakens the chances that a possible new listener with a small mobile phone screen would go and click the link to music behind it. More and more records are now printed in vinyl format (which is a great thing) and it’s important that the cover art looks good also in larger format. We really aim to release also in vinyl format in the future.

How much freedom do you have in choosing who you want to work with in the studio? Do you
have a dream team that you’d like to work with and if so why?
-Many bands, like us for example, have nowadays own small home studios, where it is possible to record in relaxed conditions without that sometimes intimidating pressure of time versus money in the bigger commercial studios. Of course, for example, drum recording and mixing etc. are those things that we can’t really make at our own facilities. It’s basically a financial question. However, I think that an expensive studio does not always mean that the music which comes out from there is equally better, history has proven this…So, having your own studio is really great and I think we’re not going to change that custom. About dream team, maybe it would be interesting to experiment some day with a good producer.

When you see yourself being place in a compartment (to you dismay or not) where do you see yourself ending up?
-If you mean categorization, it would be nice to see us as an original and professional metal band that follows steadily its’ own path. On the other hand, it would be horrifying to see us as an uninteresting, unprofessional and vague band.

Are the lyrics important? When you write them do you think about them being there forever to be sung in years to come or are they more spur of the moment kind of things?
-Yes. To us, music is born from combination of lyrics and musical performance. The themes are definitely not from highly topical daily issues, if you know what I mean. The lyrics and the message (yes, we do have a message!) behind them are related to the relationship of man and nature and the aim to better reconnect with our ancient roots to Mother Earth. So, it would be good if someone in the future, decades or centuries after this interview, finds some meaning and importance from our lyrics. That would a perfect goal.

How do you best promote a band these days? Have printed magazines outlived themselves? Is it all electronical nowadays?
-Good music promotes itself! Most of the promotion is now done electronically, I think FB is nowadays very important channel for many bands, sometimes even more important that the band’s own pages. With our new album ‘Dark Half Rising’, for the first time, we have an international record company behind us and this opens up also better chances to get promotion on printed magazines. I believe that printed magazines, like real books, will never die out totally.

Are the social media still a great way to spread the word of the band or have they too outlived themselves and alternative ways are being created?
-The social media seems to constantly renew itself nowadays, it is interesting to live during these times and spread the word about the band. You have to be fast and also follow the progress, this is sometimes irritating but at the same time it also creates unbelievable chances for unknown bands like us.

Is there a future for UNSHINE?
-Yes!! The whole music industry is in some kind of a crisis to due world-wide record sale problems and the current reasons which have led to it, but I hope we will get a chance to publish music also in the future. There is very much music written for the future use of UNSHINE and we will continue playing it as long as we and our listeners enjoy it.


I love old school looking album covers and the one to WARFECT’s latest album is about as old school as it gets. Anders Ekdahl c2013

How important is the band name in presenting the intent of your musical explorations?
-Hello, Kristian from WARFECT here! Well, I think it’s quite important. You want a name that reflects your music and hasn’t been used before. People should be able to guess what genre the name represents just by looking at the name and the logo.

You play thrash in a classic way. How much thought has gone into finding the right kind of sound and how much has been pure gut feeling?
-I would say our sound has evolved over the years and that we’ve finally found a sound we really like. It takes time and unless all members of the band think alike you might struggle finding it. We feel that EXONERATION DENIED really showcase our energy and the future of the band.

What era of the thrash metal age do you feel has been the greatest and why?
-Personally I like thrash from all periods but I think everyone in the band is a big fan of thrash from the late eighties to early nineties and we get a lot of inspiration from that era. At that time thrash was raw and made a good compliment to the cross-over thrash that was going on.

How important is it that the art work looks the right way? Do you have any fave artists from the 80s when art work really stood out?
-I think the artwork plays a crucial part of an album. More so back in the day than nowadays unfortunately, due to the digital era. When you first got an LP that you’ve wanted for some time you sat down, listed to the album from the first track to the last while studying the cover artwork in detail. It was good times and the young people of today don’t even know what it was like. Ed Repka and Dan Seagrave are great.

When you land yourself a record deal how much work does you still have to do to promote the band?
-The band always needs to promote itself as much as possible, with or without the backing of a label. Usually the label has more funds to do so but it lies in the band’s interest to reach as many people as possible and it takes a lot of work.

How pleased are you with your latest recorded work? Did it meet the expectations you had on it?
-We are very happy with the outcome and so seems the press! Yeah, it turned as we wanted. One reason is of course that we did almost everything ourselves and no-one but the band was involved during the recording process.

When you are to record how do you know that the producer you’ve picked is the one to get you the sound you want? What do you do if your vision for the sound doesn’t match the producer’s?
-That’s the main reason we produced the album ourselves. That way we could do as we pleased and no-one was telling us what to do or not to do. Many bands hold on to one producer over several albums because then you know what you get.

What ways are there to promote the album now that it is out? How do you intend to get the most out of it before you start thinking about the next one?
-We’ve already started making songs for the next album! Social media such as Facebook has become very powerful when it comes to promotion. Touring is really important. We have just shot our first music video which premiers online shortly and this is something we’ve wanted to do for some time. I think music videos are important because people want to see what they get. Personally when I check out a new band the first thing I look for is videos.

Is playing live a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Nowadays I think that’s the number one way to reach new fans and getting the band on the map. It’s the best way to be seen by people that’s never heard of you and where you get to meet them, sell merchandise and spread the unholy word.

What lies in the imminent future?
-We’ll try to get out on the road in support of our album. We’re currently looking for a booking agency to help us delivering thrash metal to the masses! Buy our albums, be sure to check out the video when it’s released and keep supporting the thrash metal scene!


”Liber DCLXVI”
I only know of Aleister Crowley from the Ozzy song. I can’t say that it gave me any greater interest in anything esoteric or philosophical but as a myth builder it sure is a great source. I have no idea what ABBEY Ov THELEMA is all about as this is my first encounter with this Balkan black metal mob. I kinda expected this to be along the lines of Dimmu Borgir but this is so much more chaotic than that. This kinda makes Deathspell Omega seem like a pleasant stroll in the park. Talk about avant-garde. But beneath all the chaos there is a black metal that n parts can be listened to without getting a headache. Listening to this kinda feels like having Stendhal’s syndrome. This isn’t the kind of album that you get into on the first listening. It will take a couple of spins just to get accustomed to. Getting to understand it will take even more time. I’m just at the beginning of getting to understand this. Anders Ekdahl

ACACIA “Tills Döden Skiljer Oss Åt”

“Tills Döden Skiljer Oss Åt”
Yet another Swedish death metal lot? As I’ve stated earlier I’ve given up on trying to keep track of all Swedish metal acts. I just let them come to me nowadays. It is so much easier that way. ACACIA could be anything from In Flames to Entombed to Marduk for all I know, or something completely different. To my ears there is more of a black metal sound to this than anything else. Add to it a progressive touch and a symphonic air and you get… well I don’t know what you get. And while not being totally original (it does remind me of something) it is kinda refreshing to hear a sound like this coming from a Swedish metal act. Whatever it is that this reminds me of, I like what I hear. There is a melancholic feeling to this that appeals to me. Anders Ekdahl

CEREBRUM “Cosmic Enigma”

“Cosmic Enigma”
(Amputated Vein)
I don’t know if it is because my brain is getting older or if it is because that particular part of the brain is about to be full but I seem to have a harder time keeping track of what bands I’ve heard and what bands I’ve heard of. CEREBRUM is one of these bands. I don’t know if I’ve heard them or heard of them before. Musically this is easier to keep track of. This is death metal is the more brutal school. Think early Suffocation and bands in that school and you got the sound pinned down. This doesn’t require a degree in advanced physics to understand. If Jazz was death metal this is probably what it would have sounded like. You just gotta love this kind of death metal. Anders Ekdahl