PRAYER “Danger In The Dark”

PRAYER
“Danger In The Dark”
(Escape Music)
What struck me the first time was how much this sounds like the pseudo-hardrock of the 80s you heard on movie soundtracks like Top Gun, St Elmo’s Fire and its likes. It might have worked in that environment and in that era but I’m not too sure about it working today. This is like listening to the first couple of Bon Jovi albums. I liked them back in the 80s and whenever I hear tracks from them today they put a smile on my face. This is in no way a bad album by this Finnish band. I just can’t shake the feeling of this being too clever done for their own good. But if you like your hardrock from that period then this will be a treat for you. I can see myself listening to this while driving, dreaming I’m a Top Gun pilot. Anders Ekdahl

WAYLANDER “Kindred Spirits”

WAYLANDER
“Kindred Spirits”
(Listenable)
I’ve been aware of the name Waylander for a long time now but for various reasons I’ve neglected to check them out in depth. Yet I suspect that this will be metal right up my alley. I kinda have high hopes that this will blow my socks into tomorrow. I feel like it is time for some really cool, epic folkish metal that will dust the cobweb of my furniture. Now that I hear the music I can’t for the life of me understand why I haven’t checked them out before. This is the kind of metal that I can stomp my feet to and headbang like a mad man to in my living room. If anybody were to compare this to Amon Amarth I’d say that they are… not totally of their marker. There is that same kinda groove going here. Great! Anders Ekdahl

ZONARIA “Arrival Of The Red Sun”

ZONARIA
“Arrival Of The Red Sun”
(Listenable)
If you don’t have a Swedish, Norwegian or Finnish band on your rooster you are not a serious metal label. Or so it seems anyway. It is hard to imagine that any label should be without a Nordic band. That seems like a sure way to die a quick death. Zonaria is another of these bands that I’ve read about but haven’t checked out. I can’t say that I have any greater expectations on this album. I basically just hope that it won’t disappoint me terribly. For some reason I always think of Luciferion when I see Zonaria’s name. Don’t know why. But now that I have heard the music I must have had a subconscious connection because this is technical death metal the same way as I remember Luciferion to be technical. Think of a cross between latter day Death and Atheist mixed with a big dose of atmosphere and you get “Arrival Of the Red Sun”. Anders Ekdahl

ELEGY REMAINS “As Centuries Collide”

ELEGY REMAINS
“As Centuries Collide”
(-)
I have will not rant on about how I don’t get the whole metalcore explosion. I will instead try and concentrate on the music that German Elegy Remains play, even though they do have the typical break downs and the screamy vocals that seem to make it metalcore. This is not my first choice of metal to listen to but when it does come around I try to take it for what it is. I do not know why all the breaks and stop and start gets to me so much. I do not consider myself that impatient that I can’t sit down and listen to it as the music meanders up and down the scales. Given the time this deserves I do find it entertaining enough to enjoy it. I just need to adjust my head to it. Anders Ekdahl

KARYBDIS “From The Depths”

KARYBDIS
“From The Depths”
(-)
To those who say that there are no good bands on the British metal scene I have thing to say. You haven’t dug deep enough. If you just bother to remove the top soil you find a myriad of cool new bands, of which some are just simply great. Karybdis try to add a groove to their death metal. I applaud their effort. And it does work too. This is death metal that is both rough at the edges as well as stomp-your-foot-friendly in a manner that will appeal to most fans of death metal. Those that Karybdis might not appeal to are those into the most melodic of the genre. But for the rest of us this might just prove to be a new favourite on the death metal scene. Anders Ekdahl

ONE WITHOUT “Numbers”

ONE WITHOUT
“Numbers”
(OW Records)
I’v been meaning to check this band out for the longest of times but I don’t seem to get round to it. Until now that is. I have no idea what to expect. All I know basically is that they use dual vocals, which kinda makes me hope that they are akin towards Draconia. Only a three track digital only release this might just be the introduction that I need to this band. Well it didn’t start too bad. Although I got some metalcore vibes to begin with this is more along the way of the tried and tested Gothenburg sound with the added feature of a female voice. It wasn’t as awful I had feared. Actually I came to like it. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before but they do it well enough to stand out (a bit). Anders Ekdahl

SATELLITE BEAVER “The Last Bow”

SATELLITE BEAVER
“The Last Bow”
(-)
I really liked the whole stoner rock thing when it happened even though I never got round to checking out Kyuss. I liked that whole groove thing that these bands got going. It was so much better than grunge because it lacked the whole slacker attitude that grunge had. This time around they let the music do the talking and left the posing to others. I liked that laid back attitude. Don’t know where it stands in 2012. But Polish Satellite Beaver (strange name) has got a Monster Magnet feel to their groove (don’t know how much stoner that is) that I kinda fell for. I like that this swings back and forth in a comfortable manner. This is only an EP but it does show promise for a full length album. Anders Ekdahl

SWITCHBLADE ROSIE “Nocturnal Guest”

SWITCHBLADE ROSIE
“Nocturnal Guest”
(-)
Switchblade Rosie sound like it could be an AC/DC cover band or a sleaze band from LA circa 1986. And I wouldn’t mind if it was either of the two. But the truth is something completely different. When I see jazz mentioned in connection with metal I get a sense that it could end up an even stranger Dillinger Escape Plan. I did not have to fear that with Switchblade Rosie. This is nowhere near as strange to decipher as I feared. It is in fact quite easy to understand. There is a progressive metal side to this that makes it enjoyable and frankly really good. Don’t know if it will appeal to Tool fans but I can see fans of Opeth going for this too. Or if your ears are tired from listening to Meshuggah all day long. Then you can rest them listening to this. Anders Ekdahl

VIPER VENOM “In Venom Veritas”

VIPER VENOM
“In Venom Veritas”
(-)
I really hope this doesn’t sting too badly. No, I take that back. I really hope this one stings like hell. Anything but being dull is appreciated. I’m not going to hope for this to be like a cross between the bands Viper and Venom because that I do not know if I want to hear. This Italian band might prove to be what the doctor ordered. Luckily the music is anything but a bad. This is heavy metal with a female voice that doesn’t try to bring forth vision of angels. I can’t help thinking of bands like NY’s Meanstreak or Wench or even PMS that too had that rough edge to their metal. Which is kinda strange because I thought I was the only one that remembered them today. And perhaps I am. Any which way this turned out to be just what the doctored ordered. Anders Ekdahl

ABSOLACE

ABSOLACE came from out of nowhere and knocked me out. I had to find out more about this band so an interview was set up. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Absolace are totally new to me. What can you tell us about your humble beginnings?
-The band was formed in about late 2008/early 2009, to track our debut album ‘Resolved[d]’, which was released in July 2010. The songs though, go back quite some time. It started off kind of as my own writing project, then I got Jack (guitars), who is an old friend of mine, to jam some of the songs with me. We actually went into production just before approaching the rest of the band.

When you come from a place not known for its music scene does that make it harder to be taken serious by the rest of the music loving world?
-Well I wouldn’t say harder to take seriously. Actually people kind of get a bit curious when they hear of a band from Dubai. Its more that its harder to get your music out there, just because of the difficulty of touring in places like Europe and US when you live so far away.

Have you ever felt that you’ve had to prove yourself worthy in a way that you would not have had to had you come from Europe or the US?
-Well yes it does get very frustrating being stuck over here. Believe me all we wanna do is just get our music out there. But we are cooking up some plans, I think you’ll be seeing us very soon.

When you release and album does it feel like you’ve made and can sit back or is it now that the journey begins? Take us through the emotions that run through you?
-No not at all. I think the positive thing about our lack of touring schedule means that we can still ourselves busy with writing music. We already have some ideas brewing for even more music to come.

When do you know that you are ready to release an album? Do you go on gut feeling or are you more strategic?
-Hahahah no not much strategy I must admit. It’s more like, we all get writing, and when we feel we have enough material, we go into production for however long it takes. We try to stick to a schedule as much as possible, but other things do end up getting in the way. We finish when we finish, and once it’s all ready to go, we release it.

How hard is it to find the right kind of people to work with? How do you avoid all the big talkers that promise wide and deliver short?
-Well actually, most people we work with, ranging from all the band members, to designer, to people working for our label, etc, are mostly people we have known for a while. We trust them, and we know they are realistic people. We rarely get ourselves into a situation where someone promises everything and we are gullible enough to fall for it.

We live in a day and age that almost requires that everybody has a computer and broadband connection to not be out of the loop. How can you best take advantage of the social media to further the band?s cause?
-The internet is great for what we’re doing. I mean a few years ago, the pre-myspace/facebook/twitter/youtube era, everybody’s internet time was spent all over the place, and spread very thin. It was difficult to pinpoint where to focus all of your promotion. Now most people’s net time is 90% spent on the above mentioned social networks. That’s where a lot of bands are discovered and made into what they are today. Not only that, but it gives great feedback and insights into your fanbase. We can tell everything about our fans, where they’re from, what age they are, how they heard of us, etc.. It’s great!

How do you reach all those people that still don’t have access to the net? What ways are there still left outside of the electronic in reaching people?
-Well not many people are left out from the internet these days to be honest. Having said that we don’t stick entirely to the internet to promote ourselves. We keep trying to push our radio play. We try to encourage people to buy merch at our shows to wave our flag around. When we throw gigs, we do the traditional flyer and poster thing too. The internet is great, but it’s not absolutely everything.

What would you say has been the greatest experience being in a band so far?
-We’ve had our fare share I think. For me, our two trips to play in Lebanon were the best. That’s just my opinion. The first was opening for Anathema in Beirut, and the second was playing at the prestigious byblos festival. Also I’ll never forget it.

What future do you see for Abosolace?
-Well we’re not done yet, not by any stretch of imagination. Ideally, we would like to see a couple of European tours, and a US tour, under our belts in the next couple of years. Plus another full-length album. We’ll just see what happens.