Furyon – “Gravitas”

Furyon – “Gravitas” (Frontiers Records)

Hmmm, sounds like a Vin Diesel flick LOL – and not a million miles away either given that the band’s take on their handle is of a prime warrior name! The music however, is somewhat mellower being a less down tuned (and prob less stoned – Ed) version of Alice In Chains, but with the powerful Americana guitar work of Alter Bridge, completed with the raw, hard rock vocals of Matt Mitchell. If my memory serves me correctly, “Gravitas” was actually released a coupla years back as a self release and promptly sold out, so this re-release by Frontiers will no doubt do justice to classic rock songs like ‘Stand Like Stone’, ‘Desert Suicide’ and ‘New Way of Living’, all of which could steam up any bar!

KULT OF AZAZEL

KULT OF AZAZEL has been at it for a very long time now. For that they deserve respect. If you like your black metal Americanized then look no further. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

For a band that has been going for as long as you guys have what would constitute success to you?
-I would have to say that keeping this band going the past 13 years, the amount of material we have written, the releases both in full length and splits we have put out and all the shows we have done. If the band ended tomorrow I could easily go to the grave knowing that Kult ov Azazel left some form of legacy. That is what I constitute as success.

Forbidden Records have rereleased some older stuff of yours. What was the idea behind that release?
-It’s been something that people have asked us to re-release for years. I had been kicking the idea around when out of the blue Forbidden Records approached me with the offer of re-issuing it. So when the guys at Forbidden mentioned they wanted the re-issue to focus on the days when we were known as Azazel I decided to not only re-issue the Order Of The Fly but to also add all music we ever recorded under that moniker that have been out of print or never released on CD. There’s also an unreleased version of our song Garden Of Shadows that we re-recorded in 2008 while we were in the studio recording Destroying The Sacred. So this has been properly titled the “Ultimate Edition” due to the bonus material that has been added to the release.

‘I have to admit that I’ve only heard one album of yours before this rerelease and I wasn’t too impressed by it at the time. Now I understand it. Is that a common thing with your music that it takes time for people to understand it?
-To be honest I cannot comment. Some love us, some hate us and some have hated us only to change their minds down the line and vice versa. Music like any art is subjective so really everyone has their own likes and dislikes and truthfully at the end of the day I don’t lose any sleep over what others think.

What is it that you like to convey with your music?
-Disgust, contempt, hatred and unbridled blasphemy.

There’s a lot of talk about USBM now as if it is a cohesive unit. Do you feel a part of it? What is USBM to you?
-USBM is nothing more than an acronym and one I don’t ever use to describe this band although others may. What it is to me is something I wish to be no part of. Another reason we do go out of our way to be part of the scene.

When you started all those years ago what was it that influenced you?
-I was influenced to play this form of music long before I started Kult ov Azazel. I grew up listening to Venom, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Destruction, Bathory, Sodom, Possessed, Exodus, Slayer and so forth. These were the bands that truly inspired me when I was a teenager. Still to this day many of them are still the inspiration when it comes down to me playing or composing music.

How have the things you’re influenced by changed with time? How different is the concept now compared to when you started?
-The concept is the same. Nothing has changed there. When I started this band we had a blueprint and I have not and will not stray from that. It is one thing time will not change. As for the influences they remain the same as well. I think a better way of putting it is over time and with age other influences have come into play but these do not waiver me from the path I set this band upon.

With a couple of releases under your belt do you feel that you are a part of a bigger entity or do you operate in your own vacuum?
-We definitely still continue to operate in our own vacuum. We want to be the outsiders. Although there are some that will always put a label on the band in some form or another we are very reclusive and avoid being part of any collective.

To me there seem to be a plastic kind of God fear in the States that dictates the agenda. How does one navigate through the bullshit of it?
-I do not see America that way. Yes, there are some religious nuts here like there are all over the world but God is fading in America. Eventually God will be dead in America. The only people that cling to God and religion are those in rural areas but technology and consumerism is changing that. These two things will replace religion here in another 15 to 20 years.

Is there newer stuff to materialize in the future? When can we expect to see a new Kult Of Azazel album?
-We are in currently in the writing process for the next album which will be titled Violators Of The Covenant that will be released on Negativity Records. Then there is the split 7” also through Negativity Records released last month with us and Teratism which is titled In League With Satan. This split is each bands interpretation of Venom’s classic hymn and limited to 666 copies. Anyone interested in obtaining a copy can do so from the label or directly from us by writing to us at kultovazazel@kultovazazel.com.

NEIGE et NOIRCEUR

NEIGE et NOIRCEUR is a Canadian black metal band with a twist. If you like your BM filled with atmosphere and haven’t checked out this band yet you should do so by reading this interview to begin with. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I speak no French whatsoever so everything in French sounds romantic and exotic. Could you explain the idea behind Neige et Noirceur?
-The idea behind Neige et Noirceur (translation of : snow and darkness) has always been to create original dark music in line with the cold seasons and the spirit that goes with these. I switched between different styles depending on my mood, whether it be Doom, drone, dark folk and for sure black metal. But almost everything in French, which is of course my native language. As do a lot of black metal bands around the world as a matter of fact.

From what I understand you’ve gone more guitar oriented on this new album. Was that a conscious decision or was it more a spur of the moment kinda thing?
-I wanted to start this album without wasting any time with a sleep-inducing intro. I think after all the releases I made, the public needed something going straight to the point: fast black metal.

In creating the music do you think in terms of images? How do you create the music you do?
-When I am alone at home, in autumn, winter.

How important is the graphic side of Neige et Noirceur? Does that side have to correlate with the music side or can they be two different entities and still gel?
-No, everything has to be related from my point of view. As a matter of fact, when I finish an album, I draw something directly related to the music and texts. I’ve always made all the artworks for Neige et Noirceur.

In being alone does that give you greater freedom in creating the things you want? Are there any limitations to doing it on your own?
-When you’re alone, everything is possible musically, and the only limit is your audio equipment or your lack of imagination. Many black metal bands are lacking in imagination…

I know of no other metal genre that has so many one-man projects as black metal. Is there something to black metal that suits loneliness better?
-I have no idea why. But to be honest I think many of these young individuals are in fact lacking talent, as black metal is overcrowded these days. I still carry on because I like expressing myself through this music, but I’ve never tried to be famous or anything like that. In fact, nobody knows I play/record Black Metal except my girlfriend. Today, anyone can record black metal, you just have to listen “Zarach ‘Baal’ Tharagh”, but the musicians who have a culture and talents are rare. They are the ones that strike a chord in the listeners, and their art can become a cult, as opposed to those who scream on and on that they are cult!

I only know the stuff I’ve read about the Quebecois black metal sound. Is there a specific Quebecois sound and what is it?
-Not sure exactly if there is something specific to it, but I know that in Quebec, the bands feel all brothers, which is a good of thing. Our scene is booming and it’s great but sometimes I’d wish the bands from Quebec would bring something new to the sound of black metal. At least here, we are not afraid to sing in our native language. It’s our greatest pride.

To me the geography of Canada is strange with a small stretch of the country being French speaking. What is it like to live in a part that is in minority language wise but still have so much power over the rest of the country?
-Canada is divided into several provinces (or states.), and as you’ve said Quebec is mostly French. I was raised in French. The rest of Canada needs us, so they must do business. But I dream of having my country and I’m proud of my roots and my traditions. Sadly, many do not care about Quebec’s history and dream of being American. Guess I was born on the wrong continent, as I feel much more European than American.

What kind of response do you get on the stuff Neige et Noirceur creates? Do you even care what people think of the stuff you make?
I think Neige et noirceur receives a warm welcome in Europe and the United States. But these are just things I see/learn through the internet, and it’s more of a feeling than something tangible. Most critics of my albums have been excellent, so I guess I’m making something of an impact. I must say, however, that I feel my worst album is undoubtedly “Crepuscule hivernal sans fin …”. I was unprepared when I recorded it. On the other end, I’d recommend “L’abime des jours, l’ecume des nuits”, which I feel is a record of total blackness and coldness. It’s ultra raw, and people think its a vulgar demo, but it’s actually one of my favorites, even with its imperfections, because it embodies winter feelings.

Will there be a future for Neige et Noirceur?
-There is always a future for people who are passionate. As I have some free time during the year to record, Neige et Noirceur will carry on.

OMISSION

OMISSION is just the kind of darkened death/thrash that I like. With a very 80s feel I can’t get enough of this Spanish band. Check them out if you like old Kreator and Sodom. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Why are you releasing the album on cassette too? Is there something to a tape that a CD can’t get through?
-We like to release our music in all possible ways tape, vinyl and CD, we are looking for a label to release Merciless Jaws from Hell in vinyl.
We used to buy tapes and vinyl back in the 80’s, so if we can have our own music in those formats, better.

To me Omission is so full of good old deathrash that I get all excited. What was the reason for forming the band? Was the vision clear from day one?
-The reason was that Patillas lead singer had some songs that couldn’t fit in MURO his previous band so he decided to do a project with Ivan, drummer of MURO. MURO split up and Patillas carried on with Omission and Ivan decided to play with Silverfist. Patillas had to find a full lineup to play the songs he created in the vein on old Kreator, Possessed, Destruction, Venom…That was really the beginning of all this, 3 demos many drummers and at least we have a stable lineup for 1 entire year.

How does the initial vision change as the band grows older and start taking on a life of its own?
-The vision is still the same, blasphemy, anti religion, old school attitude, what may change is the studio sound, ok we may introduce more melody in the solos, but that is our NWOBHM roots showing off, we try to sound better without fall in the new trendy compressed mastered sound, we like to sound the old way, if possible without mastering, but nowadays it’s almost impossible.We still went on stage with the will to take over all souls around, we don’t play a lot because of family stuff, we won’t do big tours, basically we play weekend festivals, but at least those festivals are getting bigger and bigger which is good.

Do you guys constantly feel that you are evolving or is that a bad word in your mouths? How far can you take Omission before it stops being Omission and just ends up a wet spot on the floor?
-It’s a bad word hahaha, if you call evolution from “Kill `em all” to “death magnetic”, I don’t, it’s a totally different band with the same people, and we all love Metallica until the black album, for Omission we prefer to sound like Omission all the time, like Desaster, Nifelheim, Misfits, Decayed. We may change the way it sounds but not the songs, we decided that Patillas will compose everything, so with no outside influences I think the essence will be kept, if it changes, we are honest enough to part ways, we are not here for the money…what money??hahahaha.

I know so very little about the metal scene in your corner of Europe. What kind of following do you get playing the kind of metal you do?
-Here in Spain we play in local festivals, for an average of 200 people if we play in Madrid we can get a bit more metalheads, with the second release we are getting a bit more attention from the media, it seems that people like us on stage which is good.

How much of a live scene is there for you to enjoy? Can you set up a national tour and not play to the 50 closest fans every time you show up in a new town?
-We can play like twice a month all around Spain for different people, we also play a lot in Portugal, the good thing in our music is that we can play with bay area sounding bands with black metal bands, death metal and even heavy metal bands, all the music we like which I think is great for us to be allowed to meet all those different bands.

What is it like releasing albums on smaller labels? How much of a source/tool is the underground metal scene in spreading the name of the band far away?
-We were born underground and we will die underground, all we want is to do what we want, as long as we can, we don’t want to be a 5 year thrash metal band because of all this waves that people talk, we are here to make a career our own way, we want to be here for the next 20 years, we do it for ourselves step by step, we don’t care about new trends, we are old school nearly 40, old guys hahaha.
About small labels, they invest the money that we don’t have to release our music, that’s great, than we can play live to spread our name, also one good thing in the underground is the spreading of the word, now with internet it’s easier to meet people all around the world, we appear in some splits with bands from Brasil, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, that is the power of the underground, we are all as one.

How do you use the digital era in promoting the band? Any benefits/disadvantages in promoting the band digitally?
-We use the social networks to spread the word, it’s free, we can meet our fans and we can arrange gigs as we won’t sell millions of records I don’t see any disadvantage on it, we can sell our merchandising all over the world.
http://www.omission.es
http://www.reverbnatino.com/omission
http://www.myspace.com/omissionthrashmetal
http://www.facebook.com/satanicspeedthrashmetal

Are the underground metal fans loyal or do they too download illegally and therefore bring forth the apocalypse of underground metal?
-Back in the 80’s I had many records in tapes, did many tape trading with foreign bands and then pass it to friends in tapes, I think it’s the same now, the difference is that now everybody has a band, back than to buy a guitar was almost impossible, now every kid gets a cheap guitar and learn to play with youtube, too many bands to get the attention of the media, the problem is the millions of fake bands in internet, if you download who loses money is not the musician is the label, musicians can get some money with merchandise not with records, for underground musicians I don’t see illegal downloads a threat.

Do you have any future plans for Omission in 2012?
-We are pre producing our 3rd album, will enter studio end April and hopefully it will be released in September. Finally we will be playing in SWR Barroselas, and in Spain we have like 5 dates already booked so it will be a evil year spreading the anti religion word, also waiting to play in some central European festivals and drink some beers.

Hailz!!!

Marco Marouco

http://www.omission.es
http://www.reverbnation.com/omission
http://www.myspace.com/omissionthrashmetal

THE ORDER OF CHAOS

THE ORDER OF CHAOS might be new to most of you but that is about to change once you read this interview with this promising Canadian band. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

In using two contradicting words in your band name what is it that you want to say with the name?
-Order and chaos are two opposing universal forces, however if you look closely enough, many times there is a method to the disorder. This is especially true when it comes to music, and even more specifically in heavy metal. Whereas an untrained ear may hear only loud drums, distorted guitars and screaming vocals, someone who can fully appreciate the music will find something attractive about the seeming “chaos.” This statement is also reflected in our lyrics. Making sense of a world of chaos around us and putting it into words that we can yell at the top of our lungs. It kind of takes the edge off living through hard times you could say.

What is the main inspiration/influence for creating the music you play, the lyrics you write and the performance you give?
-Every member of the band interprets music differently but we all get something emotionally rewarding from it. I think a lot of our inspiration comes from the lives we lead and the experiences we endure as individuals, and together as a group. We have songs that were written in a moment of pure fantasy, ones that hit much closer to home regarding real life issues, and songs that were written for the sake of creating some kind of amazing musical composition. I don’t believe any of these methods are less valid than any others, but who is to say what drives someone to compose a piece of work other than the artist themselves?

Coming from Canada, does that bring anything positive with in terms of people’s interest in the band? Is there something “exotic” about being Canadian?
-I think Canada has an excellent reputation for putting out quality heavy metal. The Quebec music scene has been very strong for some time, and I think now with bands like The Order of Chaos, Striker, 3 Inches of Blood and many others coming out of the woodwork of western Canada, we’re starting to create a scene here that could develop into a strong hub of creativity. The most memorable music comes from the most united groups of musicians, producers, and everyone else that contributes to a strong musical community. The cold winters here do lend themselves to lots of basement dwelling and writing during those months though!

What is the difference being signed to a small label and DIY, releasing records on your own?
-For a long time we were a totally DIY band, and looking back now at the differences between doing everything yourself and having a partner out there getting your music around the world for you, it’s night and day. Killer Metal Records has been wonderful to deal with, and have gotten our music to places that would have never had a chance to hear it otherwise. Our international fan base has grown, album sales (for what they’re worth these days) have increased and opportunities have been presented to us that would have been near impossible to obtain on our own.

Do you ever feel restricted by strict scene rules as to what you can or cannot do as a metal band?
-I’m very much against placing boundaries on the music we create. I believe that if you go into music (not just heavy metal) with the mindset that only certain sounds should be produced, or it can only be 100% heavy all the time, or that you shouldn’t do this and that, you’re selling yourself short as an artist. I’ve always thought of myself as a musician first, and a metal head second. There is absolutely no reason for us to not try something, or neglect certain ends of the creative spectrum just because we feel obligated by somebody else’ opinions on sub-genres.

How hard is it for a small Canadian band to tour the World? Are you restricted to playing the backyards and alleyways of smaller cities?
-Canada being as big as it is, and as sparsely populated as it is considering its size, does present a few obstacles to a touring band. We’re used to long road trips between gigs, and playing in smaller cities along the way to bigger ones. Western Canada especially isn’t exactly optimal for touring, but it’s just another road block to overcome doing what we love. The real goal of the band in the next year or so is to make it over the pond to Europe and start touring there. We feel that the environment in that part of the world is more accepting to our music and there is much more of a scene for it there than there is here. Don’t get me wrong, the metal community in Edmonton is great! I love playing shows here to passionate music fans, but it’s somewhat of an island on the sea of prairies.

When you are a small band on a small label what chances are there for you to get on the bigger tours/festivals across the globe?
-There are some big fish in the sea out there to contend with! I think a lot of it comes down to achieving maximum global exposure publicly and to having a professional attitude privately. There is so much music out there these days that it’s tough to say what will be the next big act. The only thing you can do is make sure enough people hear your music that whatever percentage of them will appreciate it and demand you play at the next festival/show/tour. Also, and perhaps even more importantly is to build good relationships with others involved in the band community. Nobody wants to work with an unprofessional, disorganized or otherwise undesirable group of people, and this is very true in the professional music world.

How well pleased are you with your latest album? Does it live up to the expectations you had entering the studio?
-I think our last album really reflects the band as it is now more so than the first. Whereas our first album was mostly written by John Simon Fallon, mostly due to the fact there were some lineup changes quite close to the recording time, the second was much more of a group effort of every band mate. It displays the talents of all members quite well and is more of a definitive record for us. I look forward to recording the third because it will once again expand the horizons of the band and bring us together as an even tighter unit than before.

Do you feel that Killer Metal Records are the best choice for the time being?
-Absolutely, KMR has done a lot of ground work for us and has done a great job spreading our name and music to a much wider audience than we would have otherwise been able to reach. Having a business relationship with someone who lives a continent away at one time may have been difficult or impossible, but with the internet at our disposal it’s like he works right next door. Not to mention being located in Germany he is in somewhat of a heartland of heavy metal. KMR has done an excellent job looking after us this far, and hopefully we’ll continue with a great partnership in the future.

What is it that you want to achieve with the band? Any grander plans for the future?
-The immediate goals of the band include the final preparations for the recording of our third album, and continuing to support the release of our last one. This includes setting dates for a European tour this year and keeping active writing new music. This year we also introduced a new member to the group. Ryan King of Edmonton metal band Quietus (who will also be releasing an album in the near future) will be permanently filling bass guitar duties for us. I think there are some exciting developments around the corner for The Order of Chaos and time will tell how grand they may be. Keep posted by following our Facebook fanpage and website at www.theorderofchaos.ca

John Saturley

ANCARA “Chasing Shadows”

ANCARA
“Chasing Shadows”
(DKS Music Oy)
Naming your band after the Turkish capital might not be the brightest idea (despite the different spelling). It’s a rather anonymous band name. This Finnish band are nothing but anonymous by the sound of their hardrock. Perhaps a bit too mainstream for my taste but with the success of Finnish bands like Lordi or Nightwish they might garner the interest that they deserve. This is hardrock the way it sounded in the 80s. Strong melodies, an up-tempo beat and large vocals. When bands like Bon Jovi or Cinderella or Poison or Warrant ruled the charts and set enough young girls hearts afire with their sugary hardrock to light up a smaller city. Ancara are no worse than any other of these hardrock bands. I quite like the melodies. In fact I have nothing at all against the band. This is good enought o be played over and over again. Anders Ekdahl

AKPHAEZYA “Anthology IV (The Tragedy of N)”

AKPHAEZYA
“Anthology IV (The Tragedy of N)”
(Code666)
French Akphaezya is at best weird and at worst totally off the wall. This is metal that twists and turns more than an eel about to be captured. This is metal that is not for the faint hearted. This is metal for those of us who thinks Norwegian Atrox or 3rd and The Mortal are a blessing. This is metal that makes you take notice, not music you do the dishes to. Call it avant-garde, call it theatrical, call it abstract but please don’t call it bad because this is far from bad. This is so good that I just want to keep on playing it till my computer burns up. This is red hot and heavy in a totally different league. Mix a bunch of different ethnical influences and you end up with a mishmash that on paper might seem like a mess but on record works wonders for the mind. I have nothing but the greatest of awe for “Anthology IV (The Tragedy of N)”. Anders Ekdahl

ELMSFIRE “Thieves Of The Sun”

ELMSFIRE
“Thieves Of The Sun”
(Massacre)
I have tried to but failed miserably trying to understand the greatness of Tolkien’s books. I understand the movie “St Elmos Fire” better. Not that I know if Elmsfire have anything to do with either but that was what came to me the first time I saw this album. Other than that I get a feeling that this is another epic power metal album that could be either the greatest thing since sliced bread or just a total turd. As I’m a big sucker for anything epical in power metal this turned out to be right up my alley. I know that this kind of metal is big in Germany, Italy and Greece and I can understand why. There is something very titillating about grand arrangements and heavy guitars. Something that brings me back to the books of Tolkien and the world he created. This is my literary journey. This I understand better than that of Mordor and whatever all is called in those books. Anders Ekdahl

FOR THE IMPERIUM “S/T”

FOR THE IMPERIUM
“S/T”
(Lifeforce)
We as Swedes are being attacked from both east and west. It started with the explosion of the Norwegian black metal scene and now it’s followed by the metal explosion in Finland. It’s like being crushed between two giant blocks of concrete. We have to show our muscles now if we as a metal nation shan’t be crushed by the two opposing forces. For The Imperium is not your typical Finnish metal band. Straying from the traditional power metal or extreme metal that we’ve become used to this is like the black cat. With more of a metalcore approach mixed with some tech/math metal this is some pretty weird stuff. Not weird in hard to get but more in that it twists and turns and shifts from this to that within seconds. It takes a while to get used to and I’m not sure that I will ever get fully used to it but as a break from the more traditional metal that I’m exposed to this was what the doctor ordered. Kinda cool in the end. Anders Ekdahl

GOROD “A Perfect Absolution”

GOROD
“A perfect Absolution”
(Listenable)
I know that you shouldn’t judge a cat by its fur but I felt nothing when I saw the band name Gorod. It didn’t bring anything with it. This could be the worst kind of AC/DC rock ever or the best death metal I’ve heard since the late 80s. As it turned out Gorod aches more towards the latter. This is death metal in the good old Death/Gorgasm school of technical wizardry. Think tempo shifts and a massive riffing and you get a pretty good picture of what this sound like. If you liked Death’s “Sound Of Perseverance” album you sure are going to like this, if you can take it a bit more extreme. My jury was out on the last proper Death album and still hasn’t come back. I don’t get that feeling with Gorod. Maybe because I discover them in the middle of doing their thing. This isn’t exactly my thing a 100% but I sure can appreciate it on my good day. Anders Ekdahl