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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Interview: Gonoreas

On February 23rd, the Swiss metallers of Gonoreas released their new album, called Minotaur. Time for DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen to ask Gonoreas' guitarist Damir Eskic some questions!

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Minotaur. I really like it!

Big, big thanks my friend! It's nice to hear.

When you compare Minotaur to its predecessor, Destructive Ways (2015), what is it you notice?

Hmm... we did Destructive Ways in a easier way, only heavy metal. With Minotaur we speak about our influences, and depths of the ideas and music. So, Minotaur is a little bit more dark and a little bit more complicated album.

What is the story behind the lyrical content of Minotaur?

It's not a story, every song has a different lyrical content, but it's all about life, and what's happening during it. The song Minotaur is about big obstacles that appear in our life, sometimes the biggest obstacle, the biggest enemy is ourselves. On the song, the walls of the labyrinth are made of mirrors that reflects past memories and regret. The main character tries to attack the minotaur, but attacks the mirror, his on reflex, the glass breaks and kills him. The meaning behind the lyrics is about not getting lost on the labyrinth of our mind, sometimes we can be our worst enemy.

Where do you get inspired by? 

Our inspiration now are, we by ourselves. When we composed the songs this time we only thought our way, and how to give the riffs and ideas for us only.

Since your 2011 album Apocalypse you work with V.O. Pulver in the studio. What is it that makes you return to him?

It's just a perfect way to create and record the album with V.O. and everybody can hear the great result. We love the work of V.O.

The cover art of Minotaur is made by Osmar Arroyo. He also did some covers of your earlier releases. What made him the best person for creating the cover of Minotaur? What is it that makes you return to him for the covers?

Osmar Arroyo is an great artist and he is a friend of our singer Leandro. He is a uncomplicated guy and he does great artwork. For the special edition of Minotaur, we have a different cover and another artist too. It was made by Gyula Havanczack. Gyula made covers for bands like Blind Guardian, Destruction, Grave Digger and more.

For releasing Minotaur you signed to Art Gates Records. What makes them the best label for Gonoreas at this moment?

We needed a partner who would help us. I'm a full-time musician and also worked for my wife's band called Burning Witches. Now we have too much to do, so we needed a partner who can work good with us. This is the first album with Art Gates and we must see how it will work the next time.

You hail from Switzerland. How is the Swiss metalscene?

The Swiss metal scene is great, but there are too many concerts every week in, for example, 40 km around of us. It's great but sometimes it's bad. For like 10 years we did some easy promo and much people were coming to every show. Today we must do big promo for every show.

Any bands from there you recommend checking out?

Yes! Burning Witches, Mind Patrol, Final Crusade, Hellvetica, Comaniac and Emerald.

You already announced some shows, can we expect more of them? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Yes, we now have some shows booked for the Minotaur tour. Maybe we can come to The Netherlands.

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

Big thanks for love, great metal sounds and enjoy the greatest music in the world!!

Gonoreas Official Website
Gonoreas Facebook

Friday, May 18, 2018

Interview: Morvigor

In November last year, the Dutch metallers of Morvigor released their second full-length album, called Tyrant. Time for DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen to interview them!

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Tyrant. It's really nice!

Thank you! We’ve been working on Tyrant for a long time, so it’s always great to hear people appreciating our work.

How are the reactions you get on it so far?

The reactions have been overwhelming so far. Almost every review online is hugely enthusiastic and speaks about us with lovely flattering words. We also really enjoy the fact that people don’t really know how to classify our music. We’ve been called almost everything, ranging from Hardcore Punk to Prog Rock to Atmospheric Black Metal and, my personal favourite, Eclectic Meme Metal.

When you compare Tyrant with its predecessor, A Tale Of Suffering (2014), what is it you notice?

Personally I notice a much more matured band, both musically and conceptually. The songs are more thought and worked out than on A Tale Of Suffering. Soundwise, A Tale of Suffering shows a mixture between Melodic and Folk metal with a little progressive touch, Tyrant shows a hybrid between Black / Death / Prog Metal and a little bit of Punk.

The song structures are great! How does the writing process go for a Morvigor track?

One of us introduces a riff or an idea in the rehearsal room. We jam a little, and then our guitar player Sytze makes a little demo recording at home. Then we improve and improve and improve the demo till we got something we all are content with.

This is your first album with Brendan Duffy on drums, did this change something to the creating process of an album compared to creating an album with your former drummer IJdo IJssennagger?

Brendan is a fantastic guy, both musically and personally. I won’t go into details about differences between Brendan and IJdo, since they aren’t really comparable, but I can say that Brendan is a drumming mastermind and is extremely motivated, which is really inspiring for all of us.

You have two guests on this album, Jan Jongewaard (who is responsible for the programming on Voices) and Geert Omta (who plays piano in the outro). How did these collaborations came to pass?

Geert Omta has been a friend of the drummer Brendan for a long time. We were thinking about doing a piano-outro, and since Geert is studying classical music at the conservatory, it was really obvious we had to ask him for doing the outro. It was a great experience, we recorded it in a small church in the Dutch countryside, it was beautiful. About Jan, he was my English teacher when I was in high school. He had this low, intense voice, which I then, and still, found really imposing. So when we decided to do a interlude with voices, I sent him an email, and he was enthusiastic right away.

How are you going to surpass this on a new album?

A healthy combination of motivation, inspiration, exploration, experimentation.

Speaking of it, are you already working on new material? If yes, can you already tell us something about how it's going to be?

I can’t tell how it’s going to be. We already have a few ideas lying around, musically and conceptually. But, it still requires a lot of work before we can make anything public I guess.

You recently participated in the Dynamo Metal Fest BandBattle for a spot on Dynamo Metal Fest. How did that go?

Brendan is doing the MetalFactory at Dynamo, so the choice to play there was an easy one. We were very glad to see we were selected for the finals, since it’s kinda strange for a Black Metal band to compete in a bandcontest for a more modern / mainstream open air metal festival. We didn’t won, but we had a great time there, and I think we’ve made quite a impression on the bookers of Dynamo, so we might be back there another day.

You currently have three upcoming shows announced. Can we expect some more Morvigor shows soon?

Yes! We are planning a few other, mostly small local shows, which will be announced over following months I guess.

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

Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check out Tyrant!

Morvigor Official Website
Morvigor Facebook

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: Kobra and the Lotus - Prevail II

Last year Kobra and the Lotus released their first part of the Prevail album, of which you can read our review here. Now Prevail II is out and I again feel privileged to be able to review this second album as well! The album immediately is off to a good start beginning with the earlier released single Losing My Humanity, this track builds further on where Prevail I stopped. The song has the guitars and fierce vocals that bring us the all-too-familiar Kobra and the Lotus sound. The force and aggressiveness of this opening song immediately sets the right mood. I can understand why this song has been put at the beginning of the tracklist!

The beautiful Let Me Love You dials down on aggressiveness and fierceness without taking away the familiar Kobra the Lotus sound. It sounds more like a heavy rock song then it is a metal song per se. This is perhaps the power of Kobra and the Lotus and in particular with these last two records, there are quite a few variations between different styles of music, but switching between those styles sometimes happens without me actually being fully aware of it. I mean, I obviously did notice it, but all the songs blend perfectly together and it actually adds a lot of flavor to the record rather than diminishing it. The next song called Ribe is an acoustic intermezzo which connects the songs Let Me Love You with the next track, My Immortal. Ribe takes you out of all the guitar and drum violence for a few minutes, which I will address later on, and calms you to give you time to charge up for the beautiful My Immortal. This song in some ways builds on the foundation of Let Me Love You. Only this time there is more variation and the song builds up constantly eventually leading up to the beautiful high notes of Miss Kobra Paige herself. These well-controlled and clear high-pitched vocals show how versatile and talented Kobra really is.

Human Empire shows itself as being a true metal track to the bone. The guitar and drums are absolutely phenomenal here and the fierceness of the vocals again shows its face! After this violence follow two straightforward rock songs that don’t really jump out but are necessary and beautiful nonetheless even if it were only due to the fact that they again show how versatile Kobra and the Lotus as a band really is. I love how they show time and time again that they make the music that they want to make rather than thinking about whether it’s metal enough for some people.

Modern Day Hero is the next track. This song is really positive, it makes me feel good and I immediately want to fight for righteousness! Something that really fits Kobra and the Lotus and the reason they make music. You can read about this further in this interview which we did last year with Kobra herself! In You’re Insane the band goes really all-out! This is metal like it's supposed to be, straight to the point and heavy! At least that is my opinion! The fierce and powerful vocals of Kobra are back once again and she really gives her all! As a listener I was completely blown away by her power! With White Water, the ballad on the record, the band again shows their vulnerable side. The song is really beautiful and is without a doubt, like ballads have been so many times, my favorite song on the album. The classic 80s guitar solo at the end really makes the difference! That’s how a powerful rock ballad, with little bit of metal must be! Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain has been covered with grace. The band really gives color to the original song and makes the song dynamic! This coming from a guy that doesn’t even like covers! Great job Kobra and the Lotus!!!

The acoustic version of Let Me Love You is the bonus track. To me this is the cherry on the cake. Where the original track is only vulnerable in the chorus, this acoustic rendition is vulnerable the whole way through and translates the feeling of love and positivity even more than its electric counterpart!

I can only say that Prevail II is a great continuation of the path that Kobra and the Lotus is on right now! I really hope that the band continues to do this with all their positivity and love!

Thanks Kobra and the Lotus!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

We also mentioned Kobra and the Lotus in part 14 of Promoting Bands, which you can read here.

Kobra And The Lotus Official Website
Kobra And The Lotus Facebook
Kobra And The Lotus Twitter

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Live review: Nachtblut and Krankheit in Willemeen, Arnhem, The Netherlands, May 9th, 2018

May 9th, it's a pretty hot day today with a lot of sun, but a very dark evening is planned in Willemeen, Arnhem. Not just a dark evening! Two bands will play their first Dutch show tonight: headliner Nachtblut and support act Krankheit!

When the doors of Willemeen's cafe (where tonight's shows will happen) just opened, the venue stays pretty empty for quite a while. Just a few moments before Krankheit will begin their set, the café starts to fill up quite well. It’s possible that many people where just enjoying their last few moments of sun for the day.

At 20:00 the show has begun; the background music fades out and Krankheit begins their set. Immediately it's clear that the sound guys are doing a great job, the quality of the sound is very good right from the start. Luckily this remains the same the entire evening. Anton (Tony) Gassner, Christian Präauer and Roy Preissler play their set with a lot of energy. Krankheit presents themselves in a very maniacal way, with especially drummer Tony standing out with his Joker-like appearance. The set is very well done, they give all they have to give during the show, there is a very hectic light-show present and the audience is already getting quite warmed up as well. Yes, I am going to compare Krankheit with Rammstein, but not just because they are a metal band singing in German. Of course, there are some similarities, but Krankheit for sure also has their own things. A few examples being Krankheit using a lot more classical music in their tracks and the vocals are clearly different. The atmosphere of their show was also really their own, but sometimes reminded me a bit of Rammstein. Of course this is a personal opinion from someone who unfortunately never went to an early period Rammstein-show. Tonight's small venue, the heavy, drilling music of Krankheit and tonight's atmosphere made me feel that I was at one. I am definitely not saying that Krankheit is imitating Rammstein. To be honest, I think that Krankheit clearly shows that they are very able to turn these similarities into their own thing, also partly because of the addition of other aspects.

After Krankheit left the stage and it's prepared for Nachtblut, it finally is time for tonight's headliner. Right after Nachtblut entered the stage they start with the first notes of Multikulturell, the much-discussed track from their newest album, Apostasie. In case there were people present for who tonight's atmosphere wasn't strong enough yet, it at this moment, can't be a problem anymore. Nachtblut shows to be very enthusiastic on stage, something that for sure passes onto the audience. Of course tracks from Apostasie are played, a few examples being Amok, Der Tod Ist Meine Nutte and Frauenausbeiner, but also some older Nachtblut tracks will pass by on tonight's setlist, for example with Töte Mich and Antik. At some point during the show, Nachtblut serves their legendary shot-drink.

A while later vocalist Askeroth asks the audience if they want something else to drink. This of course means the start of Ich Trinke Blut. The chalice with blood is handed to Askeroth, he takes a sip and empties the remainder over a part of the audience. Askeroth also joins the audience at some moment, starting a mosh pit to heat up the audience some more. When Nachtblut leaves the stage, the audience immediately starts shouting "Zugabe! Zugabe!" Nachtblut soon comes back to deliver this eagerly anticipated encore, which contains quite a few tracks. Wat Is Denn Los Mit Dir, Nachtblut's version of the Kollegah & Majoe-track and Apostasie's bonus track, also is part of this encore, with vocals being handled by Krankheit's vocalist Christian.

This Dutch live-debut of Nachtblut and Krankheit was great and I can't imagine that there won't be any more Dutch shows for these two bands in the future. It was an awesome evening!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Read our earlier interview with Nachtblut's drummer Skoll here.

Nachtblut Official Website
Nachtblut Facebook
Krankheit Official Website
Krankheit Facebook

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Review: Moker - Home Invader

A little while before I wrote Promoting Bands Part 3 I got to hear the music of the Belgian metallers of Moker, which was a reason for mentioning them in that part of Promoting Bands. At that moment this extremely heavy band had already released 1 split (with Outcast) and 3 albums (Translating The Pain (2007), Total Domination (2009), Satans Den (2014)). You can listen to Satans Den in the aforementioned Promoting Bands. A while later, in Promoting Bands Part 11, I again mentioned Moker. This time it was because of their upcoming album, Home Invader. A track of that album, Held Hostage, can be heard in that part of Promoting Bands. Since December 2nd last year, Home Invader is released. Let me already tell you for now, this is another album that hits like a sledgehammer coming from Ad de Wachter (vocals), Dirk Broeren (guitar), Michael Lemmens (guitar), Kenneth Keysers (bass) and Glenn Leuckx (drums).

While Home Invader is only 33 minutes long, this still is an album you have to recover from. It all starts with an intro titled Emergency Call. Emergency Call is very tension-building and works very well as an intro. It immediately drags you in this album and won't let you go for the coming 33 minutes.

From the moment that Emergency Call ends, these Belgian guys kick in heavily. Especially the rhythm-section is blasting very loud. You don't like pounding drums? Then this album won't be for you, because Glenn Leuckx's drums are literally pounding through your bones.

Vocal-wise Ad de Wachter is responsible for the generally extremely low grunts, sometimes a bit higher screams or a bunch of pigsqueals in for example Code 417. Code 417 is a track worth mentioning anyway. It is a very heavy track, as you would expect on an album like this, but Code 417 has something different compared to the other tracks. To be more specific: it has the only real resting point of the entire album at its end in the form of a quiet but creepy outro. While this is a transition between two extremes, this transition sounds very natural and logical.

Of course Moker's music also contains guitars. While Moker plays brutal death metal, Home Invader for sure has some special moments for the guitar in the form of some very nice solo's. Two examples of these are the solo's in Throat Snatcher and The Act Of Lacerating.

The production of Home Invader is also done very nicely. The music is of course, very brutal and pounding, but everything is very clearly audible. This, in combination with the variations in rhythm and tempo, makes Home Invader interesting and not turning into a boring wall of sound. For sure some details, like the guitarsolo's, are also part reason of this.

With Home Invader Moker again delivers a very nice album that no brutal death metal fan should miss. Home Invader is heavy, loud, brutal and very interesting. Great job, Moker!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Moker Facebook

Friday, May 11, 2018

Interview: Towers & Bridges

Recently the German metalcore band Towers & Bridges released their new EP, called Spirits, which was a reason for DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen to interview them.

Congratulations with your new EP, Spirits. It sounds great!

Thanks for listening and for your kind words. We’re glad that you like it!

How are the reactions you get on it so far?

There are mainly positive reactions, when we’re talking to people or on social media. We also got reviews in some magazines, which are a little bit more differentiated and these weren’t bad too.

You play metalcore, what makes Towers & Bridges stand out in the metalcore subgenre?

For a metalcore band, everyone knows it’s very hard to stand out of the masses today. But our musical DNA has some classical metal in it, so we try to include such influences. I also think that our singer Antun, has a strong and unique voice, especially his melodic singing.

When you compare Spirits with your earlier EP, Breakwaters (2015), what is it you notice?

Looking on Breakwaters it feels like an absolute different life. We were all total noobs regarding making a studio record. With Spirits it was the first time recording with the current line-up and our perception for the sound was much clearer. So Breakwaters was a very important learning process, what we want and what not.

You recently signed to Dedication Records, what makes them the best label for Towers & Bridges at this moment?

Dedication Records is led by very enthusiastic people and making money isn’t their main focus. As a small band like we are, this helps a lot to get our music to the people and we don’t have to sign obscure contracts or something like this.
Our main goal is growing together through supporting each other.

You also did a cover of Kendrick Lamar's Humble. Why did you choose this track to do a cover of?

We are all into different kinds of music and Antun loves rap music. He always wanted to do a cover of such a famous song.

You are already working on your first full-length, right? Can you already tell us something about how it's going to be?

At the moment we’re in the songwriting process, but we already began to do the vocal pre-production for some songs. If you’re totally in the working process, like we are at this time, it’s hard to get distance to it and to say something objective. But my feeling is, that some songs are going to be more complex, regarding the structure. And the heavy parts will be heavier and the melodic ones more catchy. So overall maybe a little bit more of everything.

You hail from Munich. How is the metalscene there?

Munich has a lot of good bands playing different styles of metal and there is a good vibe among the scene. But sometimes it’s hard to do shows here, because there are so many bands, that you have two or even three shows at the same evening, so the audience is spread over the different clubs.
The Backstage and the Feierwerk are such great venues here, their work is so important for Munich. Without them small bands would have much less opportunities playing shows.

Any bands from Munich you recommend listening to?

Sure, you should check out May The Tempest, Heruin, Into Oblivion and Tonight We Hunt.

You already announced a gig on RockXplosion in July. Can we expect some more Towers & Bridges shows soon? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

I hope so! Playing in the Netherlands would be an absolute dream coming true! We never played outside of Germany yet. On the other hand it isn’t always easy to get out of here. We all need to do our jobs and some of us are going to start a family or already have a child at home.

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

Thanks for reading and for your time. If you appreciate bands like Unearth, Killswitch Engage or Stick To Your Guns, you should give a try and check out our EP SPIRITS on Spotify, YouTube, Deezer, etc.

Towers & Bridges Official Website
Towers & Bridges Facebook

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Interview: Jacobs Moor

In October last year, the Austrian metallers of Jacobs Moor released their second full-length album called Self, with a digital release through Bleeding Star Records coming up on May 18th. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Jacobs Moor's vocalist Richard Krenmaier, guitarist Rupert Träxler and drummer Rainer Lidauer.

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Self. It's really nice!

Rainer: Thank you very much, we appreciate that. It was a lot of work and we are happy and proud of our 2nd full-length album.

Rupert: Thank you. We worked hard on it to get a tight and heavy guitar sound but in a coloration of two guitars to get one big metal tone. And even to let enough space for the vocals.

How are the reactions you get on it so far?

Rainer: Our fans and critics around the world really love the album, so far we got great reviews and press reactions from everywhere.

Rupert: Until now we got only great reactions on this album and especially for this longplayer we tried to move forward and extend modern sound experiences.

When you compare Self to your earlier releases, All That Starts (full-length, 2014) and The Evil In Me (EP, 2015), what is it you notice?

Rupert: To do everything step by step. The EP The Evil In Me was the experiment to look where the journey is going. And to create this compact massive sound.

Rainer: The band started as a trio with Richard, Johnny Sommerer and myself. In the beginning we were just a studio project and began working on our debut album. It took almost three years to finish All That Starts, but in autumn 2013 we were finally done. Next step was to find musicians to perform live. We were very lucky and found some of the best musicians in the Austrian scene, so in 2014 the band was complete, and we started playing live. Johnny is still a band member, focusing on song-writing and acting as our “Noble Joker” as he can jump in on guitar and on bass, if one of the other guys has no time. In 2015 we have released the EP The Evil In Me with two new songs and five live-songs, recorded at our live-debut in 2014. Recording with our “new” band members went great, so we where ready to record the 2nd full-length album as a “real band”. I feel that the new album was a big progress, as we now sound like a band and we are one step closer to finding our perfect sound. We wanted to make the hardest-possible Jacobs Moor album which I think we have achieved. So, let’s see what the next album will bring…

In the studio you worked with Tony Lindgren for Self. How was working with him and what made him the perfect guy for this job?

Rainer: Tony is a well-known mastering engineer and the Fascinationstreet Studios are already legendary in the metal scene, so that was the first reason to choose them. The first test master was so good, we only had to make a few changes and the second master was the final one.

Rupert: For me it was his references and the band he is working with. That was the sound I imagined for our album SELF.

On May 18th, Self will also get a digital release through Bleeding Star Records, who also did your other digital releases. What makes Bleeding Star Records the best label for Jacobs Moor at this moment?

Rupert: First of all: reliability. Further integrity and support.

Rainer: Exactly. I know Christian Reichinger from Bleeding Star Records for several years and he is always reliable, professional and capable. Switching to a bigger, established label would only make sense, if the label shows real interest. With that I mean a label should be willing to invest some time and money to bring us to the next level and to reach more people. We have always refused to go to a label with these shitty “You pay for everything and we do almost nothing”-deals. So, we still make everything by our own, we have our own webshop and for digital distribution we have Bleeding Star.

The cover and artwork were created by Christian Taschner. What made him the perfect one for doing this?

Richard: I’ve worked with Christian for a very long time now. He made all Jacobs Moor covers so far. He always has the right image for the songs somewhere in his creative working place.

I found the painting for the new record very early in the songwriting process. We had to work on some details and issues but in the end, it turned out perfectly. I hope very much to work with him again for the next album.

What is the story behind the cover and the lyrics?

Richard: The lyrics on the album are very personal and describe how I am struggling with the world and with myself. But it`s also a cynical point of view of our society. Like we try to show on the cover-when you put away the bones and skin that differentiate us as humans we end up like the picture: eyes, flesh and teeth.

You hail from Austria, how is the Austrian metal scene?

Richard: In Austria we have very many metal bands, which play on local festivals.

All different styles of metal are there, unfortunately not many of them are known outside our country.

Any Austrian bands you would recommend listening to?

Richard: Our survival depends on us, Hollenthon and of course Elephants In Paradise.

Rainer: Ha, ha, thanks Richard, yeah Elephants In Paradise, Rupert’s and my second band which I think you already know. The most well-known band from Austria is Belphegor, other bands I would recommend for checking out are Cannonball Ride, Darkfall and Black Inhale.

You already announced one upcoming show. Can we expect some more Jacobs Moor shows soon? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Rainer: We would love to come to the Netherlands, so if any promoter or club owner is reading this interview and likes our music, feel free to contact and book us! We will do some shows in Austria in autumn.

Rupert: I´d love to rock the Netherlands!

Any other future plans for Jacobs Moor you can already tell us something about? Already working on new material maybe?

Rupert: We are already working on new material. I´m very excited about the new stuff because right now for the third LP you can´t do the same thing as one or two albums before.

Richard: I am in the middle of the writing process with my guitar players and very excited about the songs.

They are slightly different again from the previous songs but have all our trademarks in it.

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

Rupert: Listen to our new album SELF. That's really worth it. And keep your ears focused on some special riffs and solos! Thanks for reading and listening. And there are some new YouTube videos about gigging and touring out now - watch out!

Rainer: Thank you very much for the interview and for supporting small underground bands, it’s very important! And of course: listen to our music and if you like it spread the word.

Richard:Thank you all for listening to our music.

Jacobs Moor Official Website
Jacobs Moor Facebook
Jacobs Moor Twitter