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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Promoting Bands Part 12

Hey! \m/

Hope you enjoyed the past parts of Promoting Bands and the bands in there.

Missed them? Here they are:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

And don't forget: if you want to be featured in an upcoming part of Promoting Bands, send us an email, Facebook or Twitter message!

Here is part 12 for you, enjoy \m/

Tim van Velthuysen

1. Infant Meat Shield

These five guys from Zwolle, The Netherlands started to play their old school death metal with thrash influences not that long ago, but they already have an EP released. It's called Dead Age, contains 5 tracks and was released on May 6th, 2017. When you dig old school death, you should take a listen to this EP. You can do so below, hope you like it. If you want to see Infant Meat Shield live you can do so at Metal Madness Zundert on October 14th in Zundert or at Sounds From The Underground on January 27th in Emmeloord.

Infant Meat Shield Official Website
Infant Meat Shield Facebook

2. Carthagods

In 2015, Tunisian metallers Carthagods released their latest album, which was self-titled. Now, they are back! They recently announced their upcoming EP, which will be called The Devil's Dolls. Below you can check their lyric video of the title-track of it. These metallers from Tunisia are definetely worth listening to, so be sure to follow them!

Carthagods Facebook

3. Sifting

On September 29th, the Venezuelan-American progressive metallers of Sifting will release new album. It will be called Not From Here and is their second full-length after All The Hated (2013). Not From Here will be released via Eclipse Records, which they recently signed with. Below, you can already listen to their first single from Not From Here, enjoy!

Sifting Official Website
Sifting Facebook
Sifting Twitter

4. Asgrauw/Meslamtaea

Asgrauw, three guys hailing from Groesbeek, The Netherlands, recently released their latest effort. These black metallers shared a split with Meslamtaea, called Utopia. Meslamtaea is a one-man-band which is also playing black metal. However, the man behind Meslamtaea is surely not unknown to Asgrauw, as it is their own drummer. You can listen to Utopia below and when you want to see Asgrauw live, be sure to be at their gig with Infinity, Ibex Angel Order and Tsjuster at Kiehool Burgum, September 23.

Asgrauw Official Website
Asgrauw Facebook

5. Inferum

All five members of this mechanical death metal band study at the Metal Factory in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Tomorrow, August 18th, they will release their debut EP called Modern Massacre, but they already played some very nice gigs. For example, they won Metal Battle 2017 and Wacken Metal Battle 2017, which resulted in them playing Wacken Open Air a few weeks ago. Below you can already listen to a bit of the EP and if you want to see them live, be sure to check their tourlist with a lot of nice gigs, including their release party as support for Cryptopsy (tomorrow), Baroeg Open Air and Tattoofest.

Inferum Official Website
Inferum Facebook
Inferum Twitter

6. Witherfall

Witherfall is the dark melodic metal band of Jake Dreyer (Iced Earth, Kobra And The Lotus, White Wizzard), Joseph Michael (White Wizzard) and the late Adam Sagan (Circle II Circle, Into Eternity). In February they released their debut, Nocturnes And Requiems, of which you can check one track, End Of Time, below. Nocturnes And Requiems is dedicated to the life of Adam Sagan, who sadly passed away during the final stages of production. Be sure to check out Nocturnes And Requiems, especially if you are a fan of melodic metal.

Witherfall Facebook
Witherfall Twitter

7. Mortishead

These extreme industrial metallers from the UK already released their Gorenado EP in 2014, but recently they released another EP. It will be called Totality and below you can check the titletrack of it, including videoclip. This band is heavy as shit and a band to follow for sure. So watch their video below and prepare to be blown away!

Mortishead Official Website
Mortishead Facebook
Mortishead Twitter

8. Katla

Katla, what is that? It's the name of one of Iceland's greatest volcanos, but since a short while there is something else named Katla, which is probably more interesting for you. It's about the new band of ex-Sólstafir drummer/visual artist Guðmundur Óli Pálmason and Einar Thorberg Guðmundsson who you may know from Fortíð and/or Potentiam. They already released a few tracks earlier, but they just released Hyldýpi from upcoming debut full-length Móðurástin, which you can listen below. Móðurástin will be released on October 27th, so mark that date in your agenda.

Katla Facebook

9. Blackfinger

These doom metallers with, among others, vocalist Eric Wagner (Trouble/The Skull) and guitarist Terry Weston (Dream Death/Penance) already released their debut album, which was self-titled, in 2014. In September their second full-length, When Colors Fade Away, will be released. Below you can watch the lyric video for the titletrack, which sounds really promising. Good job guys!

Blackfinger Official Website
Blackfinger Facebook

10. Midvinterblot

Swedish folk metal band Midvinterblot released their debut demo Rise Of The Forest King in 2012 and their first EP Gryning in 2015. Last year they finally released their debut full-length, Skymning. Below is the place where you can get your folk metal for now, because there you can listen to the full Skymning album. This is some really nice folk metal and Midvinterblot is a band you have to check for sure, especially if you dig folk metal!

Midvinterblot Official Website
Midvinterblot Facebook
Midvinterblot Twitter

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Interview: Karma Zero

In April, French metallers Karma Zero released their second full-length Monsters. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with guitarist/vocalist Ben and vocalist SaYmon, read it below.

Hey guys, how's life in France?

Ben: Hi, not too bad if we forget the fact that our new president will take away some of our freedoms in order to “fight” against terrorism.

SaYmon: Hey, here in France life is just like every other European countries, with our problems of unemployment and financial crisis, we live in a quite pessimistic period but even though those things we are here and trying to do just like any others, and live the good part of life! Maybe to talk about music we can regret the fact than metal scene here is still seen as an underground scene and it’s quite difficult to organise gigs or events for this kind of music!

Why did you name your band Karma Zero?

SaYmon: At the time we didn’t have a name for the band, or maybe something not definitive like WaitShiva or something like that (we used to put ethnic samples in our tracks, inspired by Indian music etc…) and all our friends told us that it wasn’t really easy to pronounce (for French people anyway…!) so we were searching something else, and we had a song called Karma Zero (again all was about Indian mythology) and everyone in the band agreed about the fact that it sounded great and was easier to remember, so we decided to take that track name for our band!

For people who don't know you, yet, how would you describe your music?

Ben: We make Metal Modern with various influences like Hardcore, Djent, Death and even Black Metal. We write without barriers by simply trying to make a violent music turned towards the live.

SaYmon: Let’s call that KarmaCore XD !!

In April you released your second full-length album called Monsters. What are the responses of press and public so far? How do you feel about that?

Ben: For now we only have positive feedback from our new album, people who follow us are very enthusiastic about the new songs, especially live.

We hope that this momentum will continue and attract more and more people to listen to “Monsters” and come see us on stage.

When you compare Monsters to your first full-length, Architecture Of A Lie, what do you notice? In what way Karma Zero has grown?

Ben: Our sound has changed, it is more accomplished, more personal than before.
We have completely revised our way of composing, everyone is involved and everyone brings a touch.
We've all progressed since Architecture Of A Lie and thanks to that today we know where we want to go.

SaYmon: As Ben said, during composition and reheasals, everyone put his influence into the tracks and we tried to mix those different styles. The point was not to forbid anything, like we could have done before. If a part in a song sounded more like black metal or something that we aren’t used to do, we made it and that’s it! We just tried to have fun and make great music! Maybe that’s why we have grown musically, by composing this way we have found our music and the way we wanna sound.

Your press release stated that, with Monsters, you're back, angrier than ever. What makes you angry nowadays?

Ben: What makes me angry is the injustice in this world, for example I am sick of seeing that we are able to raise billions of dollars to make war and at the same time leaving people starving to death.
I try to be a little more optimistic but each day brings disastrous news ...

SaYmon: Quite difficult to answer questions like that, what Ben said is so true! I would add the idea of being manipulated everyday by the medias, everything that we are told in newspapers or on TV and on the internet is always a part of the truth, you always have to compare many sources to find out what’s true or not. It’s like information is some kind of an advertisement for someone or something! Every problem in our society (unemployment , financial crisis…) makes everyone more individualistic or leeds them to radical right and xenophobic opinions, that’s really scary. It’s just like people forgot history…

Can you tell us a bit about the story behind the songs on Monsters?

SaYmon: The idea was to make sort of a concept album base on old monster movies from the 30’s to the 50’s, each song talks about one of those classic monsters and makes a parallel with everyday life, in most of the movies, monsters are called that way just because they are different, and not understood. People are scared by what they cannot understand most of the time, and first reaction is reject in many times. The album and the lyrics talk about that, and classic monster mythology was also a way to give a particular atmosphere to “Monsters” with samples taken from old movies, that was great to create some kind of a word, and tell a story more than a ‘classi” metal album with 10 violent tracks that come one after another without any global idea…

Who are the real monsters in this world for you?

Ben: The real monstrers in this world are us.
Humanity has reached such a level of violence that today generally everyone looks away in order to preserve himself or herself. As long as we are not directly affected we do not react.
I generalize, there are obviously people who move their ass off but I expect above all a reaction of the elite of this world, those who have money and power.
And these people only react in the face of public opinion, so we must all without exception express our indignation against all this shit, boycott and consume differently to finally be heard.

Which track on Monsters is your favorite?

Ben: My favorite song is Buried Alive, it's the last song we wrote for the album and it's also the most violent. It is always a pleasure to play it live, people are very receptive and war breaks out in the pit every time! XD

SaYmon: Like Ben “Buried Alive” is one of my favorite, but I would say that the one I prefer is the one called “Monsters”, maybe that’s one of the less violent in the album, but I love the end of the track, and lyrics summarize the big idea of the album: basically we are all Monsters because as I said before, everyone in his life had to live this moment when all the people around don’t understand you and makes you feel like a monster, just because you are different or you simply have different idea.

You also have one cover track on it, Blind by Korn, why did you choose for that one?

SaYmon: We did not have a precise idea of this cover, the thing is that I had this idea about the intro and the drums that comes with this more energic and rock’n roll vibe, juste before this famous « Are you ready ?! ». So we just started with that and composed together how the track could sound if we started it this different way ! We made it for fun and put in it some of our musical influences we spoke about with your first question!

We didn’t expect so many reactions about it, that was really cool to receive messages about how people liked it! There were also negative reactions, but when you cover such a legendary track like « Blind » from Korn, you cannot expect everyone to like it, but we made it just for fun and to turn it into a thing that we like with our influences and the sound we make and like. We are true Korn fans and we support them since we are kids, we were those ones with baggy jeans and dreadlocks in the 90’s, so we never tried to do better than them, that’s just impossible!

Let’s call it a cover for fun ! ;-)

You have two songs with guest vocalists on Monsters, Julien from Deep In Hate and Emilie from Gravity. How was working with them?

Ben: They are friends, we shared a lot of scenes together and so it was all natural to ask them to sing on our new album. Especially we appreciate their voices and they complement well with Simon’s.

SaYmon: Julien and Emilie who make the featurings on «Swamp Things » and « Horror Films » are friends of us since 2013! We met them with our first album « Architecture of a Lie », and toured with their bands (Julien in CHECKMATE / Emilie in GRAVITY), with that tour we had so much fun and they became true friends, and at that time we already spoke about a collaboration for our upcoming album! So when we had the tracks we contacted them, and they said yes! That was great to work with them, they are really great frontmen!

If you haven’t checked their bands just listen to it! Emilie is the frontwoman of GRAVITY, they will release their 3rd album « Noir » at the end of this year, and Julien is now the singer in DEEP IN HATE and they are about to release « Disobey » their second album soon!

At this time, you have one show confirmed, are more of them coming soon? Maybe somewhere in The Netherlands?

SaYmon: We are actually booking shows in France for the end of 2017, and we are trying to make a European tour, maybe in Netherlands that would be great to play in your country, so if promoters want to book us, don’t hesitate and contact us!!

Any other future plans for Karma Zero you can already tell?

Ben: We are looking for a European tour at the moment and we'll start working on new songs very soon.

SaYmon: New tracks, new clips, and many more… To be continued as they say!!

Thanks for your answers, is there anything you would like to say to DutchMetalManiac's readers?

Ben: Thank you for reading us, check out our new album Monsters and tell us what you think. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

SaYmon: Thank you very much for reading this, listen to our new album and if you like it, download it legally or illegally and give it to your friends!!! Party hard, have fun, and support your local scene!!

Karma Zero Facebook
Karma Zero Twitter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Interview: Angel Martyr

On March 17, Italian heavy/speed metallers Angel Martyr released their full-length debut Black Book: Chapter One, which is already reviewed by DutchMetalManiac's Don Anelli here. As you can read below, he also interviewed Angel Martyr's vocalist/guitarist Tiziano "Hammerhead" Sbaragli.

Well, first off, let’s talk about the new album. Are you pleased with its reaction so far?

Hi there, well... we didn't expected such a good reaction from all reviews from all the world we received in this period so, it is a great satisfaction for us, but, we don't have to give up with our hard work once we reached this moment!

Do you have a favorite track off the album? What makes it special for you?

Maybe I can say Angel Martyr, because it was the first I wrote when I decided to play guitar again after a long period, it means like a rebirth for me! Anyway, all the tracks mean something and they tell something about my life experience even if implicitly and with the use of some metaphors.

For those that haven't heard of you guys, how would you describe your sound?

Sincerely? This is a question I never asked to myself, as everybody, you listen to music, you let music touching your feelings and your heart, than you embrace your instrument and something happens..... If you search a technical term for this kind of sound and riffing I can just say: HEAVY!

As most fans associate Italian metal with Rhapsody and their ilk, how have you separated yourself from the pack?

Personally we don't like to offense anybody for their music as I sadly saw especially on social networks, we can just say that kind of music doesn't belong to our vision of metal! Everybody should be free to play what they want, and everybody should think about their own business, give the maximun to reach great result and promote at best their job where you know that could be some lovers of the kind!

We always try to play or share our music in the right places where the public we'd like to have is present!

Does being based in the UK as opposed to Italy present any problems with your drummer and the rest of the band?

Now Francesco is living in Barcelona in Spain, anyway no problem, when he can't reach us in some gigs we have a session man called Emanuele Meconi, he's a great drummer too.

Do you find that being a trio create any kind of struggle with this special brand of metal?

Maybe, I don't know exactly, but I can just say that for what we play a power trio is perfect and we like it!

What plans do you have to promote the album as far as tours or videos?

We are planning some gigs in Europe and Italy, we are thinking about a official video and maybe we will search a manager really interested in the project and who believe in it!

So, we’ll end this on a fun note. If you could collaborate with one artist, living or dead, for a single who would you choose?

A page I think is not enough to reply..... hahahahahah! I can say Bruce Dickinson and Ronnie James Dio, but I can talk also for the others if I say that we would like to cooperate with Lemmy, King Diamond, Scott Columbus, Tony Iommi and many others!

Do you wish to say something to our readers?

Just saying thanks from the depth of our hearts to dedicate your time and your passion for us.... don't fear the fight, see you soon bros!

Angel Martyr Facebook
Angel Martyr Twitter

Monday, August 14, 2017

Interview: Comity

Recently Comity's latest album, A Long, Eternal Fall, was released. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen interviewed their bass player/vocalist Thomas , read it below.

Hey guys, how's life?

Everything is fine. Thank you!

Comity exists since 1996, can you tell us something about how things started?

It started a long time ago! At first we just were a regular modern hxc band, mixing stuffs with some death metal as well. But we were also fans of progressive and experimental music, and when we found out some hxc band were mixing these two worlds, we just decided to try it on our own…

From the original band, the two only members remaining are Francois (guitar) and myself (bass, vocals). So if the band formed in 96, we can consider the band as a real one with the arrival of Yann (second guitar) in 2000. Our drummer Nicolas plays with us since 2007.

When someone, who hasn't heard your music yet, asks you how you would describe your music, what would you answer?

We like to describe our music as “extreme rock’n roll”. The band mixes hxc, noise, black metal, progressive, avant garde … all the sub-genres we enjoy for decades. We just try to mix it in our own way, with a more rock than metal sound.

Recently you released Comity's latest album, A Long, Eternal Fall. What is the response of press and public so far?

It’s been very positive so far! Magazines and webzines which follow us for a long time all describe the record as our best effort. We only have great responses from both public and press and we feel very grateful about it. Everywhere but in Germany. We don’t know why, it may be cultural stuffs, but Germans don’t seem to like the band from the beginning. In 20 years we never played in Germany! We’d really like to.

When you compare A Long, Eternal Fall with your full-length of 2011, The Journey Is Over Now, what do you notice?

For A Long, Eternal Fall we wanted to write shorter songs and to be very careful about its structures. We wanted the record to sound more “straight forward” but in the same time we wanted to keep all that crazyness, with a progressive touch. It’s pretty challenging to have all this in shorter songs. But when I heard our previous L.P I can tell we succeeded and it’s very rewarding.

A Long, Eternal Fall sounds very loud, how did the recording process go?

As usual , we recorded everything live, all together in the studio, and very fast, in less than 6 days.

We really like the way we sound when playing live, we like to hear the natural sound out of our amps. We worked a lot on it. And that’s why we want to find this particular sound on our records.

What is the story behind the cover?

The cover follows the concept behind the lyrics. It comes from a quote of Emile Cioran: “Time is shut, unreachable.” We wanted to keep our visual gimmicks: black and white photos with just a colour added on it. “Time is marching on ruins.” We sent this sentence to Peggy Le Guern, a great artist we absolutely wanted to work with. We asked her to draw a huge clock in it’s very particular way.

She finally added all the characters you can find on the cover.

It represents time as an unreachable mountain, with the human race trying to reach its top.

The tracks on A Long, Eternal Fall, don't have titles, only Roman numbers, what's the reason for doing so?

We also named the tracks like that on our three previous full lengths. As I said all our records are concept-albums, and you can find the same lyrics throughout the whole record. That’s why we don’t give particular names to our songs. And it’s a way as well to unify the record, we want the audience to listen to it in the chosen order.

Your music is very powerful and energetic, how do you bring this live and what does a Comity concert look like?

As I said before , the goal when we are recording is to capture the energy and intensity we deliver when playing live. So a good Comity gig sounds exactly like the record.

Where do you get your inspiration from, within music and besides music?

We get our inspirations from nearly everything, lives we live, the movies we watch, the book we read, paintings… we don’t really get our inspiration from other bands. We’re here for a long time, and so when we discover new bands, and even if we enjoy it I don’t think it does influence Comity’s music. I hope we finally found our own sound, all the music sub-genres you can hear in our music is now “digested” as we say in France.

How has Comity grown since 1996?

We had an almost immediate success with our first album “The Dues Ex Machina As A Forgotten Genius”. Comity surely was the right band at the right time. Since then, it’s been more hazardous, depending on how labels promoted our records, and depending as well on how much we match with the new “hype”, because the underground follows the same path than mainstream music. It’s all about following the new “fashionable” kind of music. And in a year or two it will be another one…

What would you love to do with Comity, that you haven't done before?

We’d like to tour in the U.S, in the U.K and in Germany, three countries we never had the chance to play in. We have a new project we wanted to work on for years, and it’s finally on its way.

We absolutely want to release it in 2018.

Any shows you can already tell us? Maybe in The Netherlands?

For now, most of the gigs are scheduled in France, but I hope we’ll be fortune enough to tour all over Europe and to come back in Netherlands, we didn’t play there for ten years.

Any other future plans for Comity?

Yes, we have a second secret plan that might be out as well very soon, a very personal one.

Both this projects don’t include new Comity material, so we’ll try to release it as fast as possible.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Thanks for the time you gave us by reading this interview, hope we’ll see you on the road!

Comity Official Website
Comity Facebook
Comity Twitter

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Interview: Deliverance

French black/sludge metallers Deliverance recently released CHRST, which is already reviewed here by DutchMetalManiac's Henric van Essen. As you can read below, he also interviewed Deliverance's guitarist Etienne Sarthou.

Hello, how are you?

Fine, thank you!

Thanks for the opportunity to do this interview. You’re based at Ile-de-France, Paris, like many, many other bands. What is it about that particular piece of France that so many bands hail from there?

I'm not sure. I guess the fact that Paris is such a great cultural city helps a bit! A lot of good music comes from Paris and France in general this past years, it’s true.

Sludge and black metal are seemingly very far apart. Why did you decide to combine both in your music?

It just feels natural to mix those elements. I really wanted to keep what I like in black metal: the cold atmosphere, the epic structures, the dissonance and typical vocals, and to add the heaviness of sludge and post metal. But there's plenty of different stuff in music we love which have a direct impact on what we do.

I have been told your band name comes from the seventies cult movie ‘Deliverance’. Is this true? And if so, what is the connection between you and that movie?

I just love this movie! And I think there's something really dark and twisted in this movie that connects with our music.

Deliverance is not yet a well-known band. Can you tell us a little bit about its history and its members?

For the past 20 years, I've been playing drums with French metal act AqME. I also work quite a bit as a recording and mixing engineer. I met Pierre when I recorded his previous band Memories Of A Dead Man. I thought he had a perfect voice for a bunch of songs I had in mind. That's how it all began. We worked on our first EP called "Doomsday, Please" which we released only on vinyl. Then Sacha joined the band on bass (he's a famous French tattoo artist), as well as Fred on drums (Junior Rodriguez, BLVL...) and Julien (who also plays with me in AqME).

Congratulations with ‘CHRST’, I think it’s a very impressive album. How did the creative process leading to it take place?

Thank you, I'm really glad you like it! We took our time because we wanted to do a great first album. I actually had a double album in mind, but I realized it was a bit too much to swallow for the listener. And probably for us too. So we decided to focus on the best songs and the album became only stronger with just those six songs.

Who is or are the creative masterminds behind the music of Deliverance?

It’s Pierre and I. I write the music, Pierre writes the lyrics. Usually I work at home. When I feel that the song is good, we start playing it with the other guys and Pierre takes whatever time he needs to write lyrics and develop the concept behind the song.

Where do you get your inspiration for the music and lyrics?

Music wise, I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. From pop, rock, to the most extreme forms of metal. I'm obsessed with songwriting, which means that music needs to follow what I consider a logical and natural path. So as long as the music is well written according to my personal standards, it can have a direct impact on what I write. Lyrics wise, Pierre reads a lot of philosophy and literature, in which he finds a never-ending inspiration. Famous writer "Dostoievsky" have had a tremendous impact on Pierre and the concept behind CHRST.

One of the things that struck me when listening to ‘CHRST’ is the compelling, oppressing atmosphere it breaths. Is this a deliberate choice?

Yes definitely. But we need contrast to enhance this feeling of oppression. This is why we have many different atmospheres and "quiet" parts in this record. Heaviness becomes even heavier that way!

A release of this quality sets the standards and expectations very high for the future. How do you feel about that?

We're all really happy and proud of CHRST. I Still can't find anything I would change in this album. It gives us a big deal of confidence for our next record. We have a lot of great ideas we will develop in the near future, we actually already have worked on a bunch of really cool new songs.

Speaking of future, how do you see your future?

Concerts and records... Some more concerts and some more records! Deliverance is here to stay, we still have a lot to give.

Do you have touring plans? And if so, is Holland on the to-visit-list?

We have a bunch of concerts coming in France. But we definitely want to play abroad. Holland would be great of course!

Once again thanks for your time, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Thank you and to all your readers!!

Deliverance Facebook

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: Zeroscape - Finish Dem

Let’s start this review with a little challenge: Try to imagine yourself what a reggae singer doing a rap to the rhythm of a heavy guitar riff would sound like. Failed? No worries, you’re most likely not alone. Succeeded? Congratulations, you have a pretty good idea of what Zeroscape stands for, although in all honesty the above challenge in no way covers the true value of their work, being described a hell of a lot more simplified than it actually is. This Toronto, Canada based quartet has created an entirely new genre called ragga-metal by mixing reggae, rap and metal since their founding back in 2001, following the belief that every and all type(s) of music can be molten together. I’m the first to admit reading about this unlikely mix caused a few raised eyebrows, but of course I was more than willing to give Binski (vocals), JJ Tartaglia (drums), Speshalizt (guitar) and Matt Hudson (bass) a fair chance to convince me this was and is a good idea. The best way to do that is giving their latest release, a full-length call ‘Finish dem’, a good handful of spins.

The intro is exactly that, with a boxing speaker boasting about the band’s show performance WBA-title-fight-style. It flows into a slightly altered, yet still all too familiar riff made famous by the known-by-all Rocky Balboa movies and performing band Survivor. A brilliant move when you think about it: It conjures a smile of recognition and pleasure on your face while grabbing your attention at the same time. I don’t think there’s a single living soul out there that has not ever heard this piece of music. Anyway, if the song build around the illustrious riff, ‘The Funeral’, could be seen as Zeroscape’s audible business card they might be on to something with their peculiar mix of styles. They immediately put their money where their mouth is, somehow mixing rap, reggae and metal into a coherent, uplifting song. A concept they re-invent with a twist throughout the album, which, I must admit, does not always turn out as good as in ‘The Funeral’.

In my opinion there’s two factors contributing to this. The first being the overkill of styles and genres they use within their songs. There’s various amounts of reggae, rap, ska and whatnot combined with almost every metal genre thinkable to be found making the overall feel somewhat restless and jittery at times. Despite these flaws, none of which are a matter of life and death and which can be solved quite easily, this still is an interesting release. Every single song definitely has potential and to be honest the result of this unlikely marriage of styles more than exceeded my expectations. They got it right most of the time, however, I think the overall result can be improved when they hold back on the (metal-)genre-hopping a little and manage to tweak the style-mixing some more. It sometimes feels as if they’re not in sync at all times. The guys can take on metal, reggae, rap, ska and whatever style you can think of with relative ease and Binski has the multifunctional throat to support them doing so. They’re not even afraid to spice up epic songs, proving this by ending the album with the Bob Marley cover ‘Get Up, Stand Up’.

The other, probably most influential factor is the production that sadly is not helping here either. The sound is a bit thin here and there, resulting in the focus being drawn to the higher tones in those parts, leaving bass and drum lines in the shades. Also at times it feels as if they maxed out their equipment, like in ‘Gold Digger’ where the combination of riffs and high speed drums sounds kind of muffled, out of detail, making it hard to identify the separate instruments’ rhythm lines and keep track of the rhythm itself. The same happens in ‘In Lust’. A shame really, I’m curious to find out how it would sound without these production issues.

So to summarize the keyword for this release is ambivalence: both impressive and, at times, drowning in its diversity. There is no doubt Zeroscape has good musicians, a ditto vocalist and some pretty good ideas composition- and style-wise, but the over-diversity of styles combined with the somewhat poor production pretty much renders that underexposed. The fusion of seemingly incompatible styles turns out to be a surprisingly good idea, but it takes very precise tweaking both composition- and production-wise to get it just right and that’s where the guys have some work to do. If they can solve the production issues, tweak the abundant use of styles a bit and tune the mix some more, this really is a great concept with lots of potential. All this being said, I still enjoyed this release as it is, it has plenty of surprises to discover and for the most part the songs are solid, making it easier to overlook its flaws. Plus, they get bonus points for having the guts to mix styles that are in essence so far apart. No small feat. I suggest you judge for yourself and give these guys an honest chance.

Written by Henric van Essen

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Review: Seven Spires - Solveig

Formed back in 2013, Boston-based symphonic metallers Seven Spires have toiled through the trenches cultivating an utterly rabid fanbase for their use of more extreme vocal stylings alongside the traditional classical opera-style vocals for the genre. After several early releases for the band, their full-length two-act debut album is released August 4, 2017 on SOAL.

Attempting to explore their own unique take, the group brings about a rather familiar yet still strikingly original take on the symphonic metal movement. On the surface, efforts like “Encounter,” “Choices” and “Stay” feature rather prominent chugging riff patterns, plenty of swirling melodic hooks from the dynamic keyboard-work and plenty of furious double-kick drum-beats that are all part and parcel to the format at play. Bringing along tight speed-metal patterns in the riffing gives them a sense of liveliness and energy, especially compared to the mid-tempo work elsewhere throughout efforts like “The Cabaret of Dreams,” “Closure” or “Serenity” which forsake the more metallic elements of their sound for operatic passages and plenty of strong vocal work in that regard. That does separate this one somewhat from most other efforts in the style with the ability to switch between soft soprano vocals and soaring operatic wails yet still able to maintain their deeper growls which pop up sporadically. Overall, there’s not much to dislike here unless you count the exhaustive running time with this one really lasting quite beyond what it should as there are way too many tracks here. Some of the weaker efforts in the second half could’ve easily been trimmed down and the interludes could’ve been eliminated altogether so this one doesn’t feel like a drag to get through which is the case here even though thankfully the tracks don’t really drag all that much. It’s the only aspect keeping this one down.

For a debut offering, this is clearly a strong and rather fun offering that only has some rather slight learning curves that can easily be ironed out in the future which makes this a rather promising act to look into for all fans of melodic female-fronted metal or those looking to expand their symphonic metal collections. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

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