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Friday, April 28, 2017

Review: Opalized - Rising From The Ashes

Giving this record the due listen it deserves, I am darned ok with it! It has an ‘Into Eternity’ feel to it and some great artistry the way the vox careen from the hoarse metalcore sound to some great highs and harmonies. Well placed and well done! This group from Bordeaux, France have a bright future and their 7 song Ep ‘Rising From The Ashes’ certainly makes a phoenix-like entrance!

‘The Fall’, a beautiful musical intro, shows these players’ skills and is soundtrack worthy in some future film I’m sure, and is a perfect intro for my favourite song #2, the scorching orchestrated piece ‘Gives It Back’. Grand dual-axe attack with gravocals (yea I’m making words up: gravel + vocals), driving beats make this an instant concert hit I’m sure.

Check their vids and the play through of my favourite song is a grand sight. Don’t we all wish we could play like that? I know you do. The break at about 3:10 and awesome growl, hammering guitars and orchestration is clear and offers up some melodic metal in between. A very nice piece!

Not a fan of the ridiculously overused gravocals in this genre (and others) and too much grates on my nerves, but the music is played to near perfection all through, and resonates in my black metal heart. They are well placed with bouts of gifted singing that complements the ups and downs of the emotional saga portrayed in this opus.

The rest of the EP is musically sound and a real pleasure to listen to. This is not an atypical metal or death metal album; it steams with good riffs and solid bass and blistering tempo at times and leaves some damned hope for the art of musical artistry. Each song has its own flavour and resonates well with me, especially the title track, singeing fingertips and vocal chords alike.


Written by Alessandro

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Interview: Ayreon

On April 28th, Ayreon will release their new album, called The Source. DutchMetalManiac's Glenn van der Heijden just reviewed it here. He also interviewed the mastermind of Ayreon, Arjen Lucassen. You can read the interview below.

Congratulations on the new album!

Thank you!

What are your thoughts on it so far?

Well, usually this is my insecure phase, because the moment I finish an album, I think it's the best in the world. Like I can't wait to share this with anyone. Then, I have to wait like three months or something till release and in that period the album gets really bad, I get very insecure until the release, but this time I am pretty sure. We put one track online on YouTube, 'The Day That The World Breaks Down', and the reactions are really amazing. Usually, people are always bitching on YouTube that they hate it, but there were 300.000 views and everyone was positive. Besides that, presales are the best I ever had, some versions already sold out, it's album of the month in some magazines, front covers, so I feel pretty good about it.

It must be crazy. It's a wonderful album. Can you tell us a bit about the process of making The Source?

Well, I worked a bit different than usual. Basically, every album I do I work in a different way. Just to keep it fresh. For example, The Theory of Everything, I didn't have any ideas when I entered the studio, I recorded everything that came up, that became a very tense and different album. This album I worked a little bit differently, I already had 50 ideas before entering the studio, so I could be more selective. Also, this time I started with the artwork. Normally I do that at the end, but this time I thought maybe the artwork could inspire me for a story. So, I went to Google Images and I looked at many artists and I found a French guy, called Yann Souetre, his art really inspired me.

It's absolutely beautiful. How do you pick the right people for the right job?

When I start, I have no idea what project it's going to be, what musicians I'm going to ask, it all starts slowly. First I write the music and the story, after that I make a list of musicians I think will fit to this album. So, I have a very long wish list. Then I´ll contact the musicians I think fit best to the music and the concept. They don´t always do it, sometimes they are too busy, but I pick the people who I think fits best to the style.

It´s not really an easy job I would think.

Well, the contacting is easy, but to convince them, that´s hard. To arrange things, to get them fly over to my studio, to record things in their own studio, that´s the downside of Ayreon to arrange those things and to bother the musicians.

Talking about the concept of the album, it seems to me that there´s a message into it, about technology. How do you see that?

Well, basically I never try to put messages in music, because I think, as a musician, I want to offer escapism, I hate to push my personal opinion on people, I always try not to do that. But, of course, I can't help it if there are personal opinions shining through the lyrics. I come from a time before computers, so I've seen the world change drastically the last 20/30 years. I am definitely not saying this as a good or a bad thing, it's just that there are really fast changes and, basically, my albums are often about the dependence of technology. I think technology is a really good thing, but I would never become dependent of technology.

Would be horrible if something goes wrong then right?

That's it, you're hopeless. In my stories, it always goes horribly wrong. On this album, it starts on Planet Alpha, where computers shut down all the life support systems. So, it's not a good thing.

Speaking about that, the song 'Everybody Dies', it's very happy-ish but everybody dies, how did you come up with that idea?

I love contradictions, it's like Stephen King stories, when the clown comes up. It's a clown, but you simply know things will go wrong. Also like Monty Python's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, that poor guy is nailed to the cross and they're singing Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life. I like those contradictions, I think it's even heavier this way.

Yeah, it happens through the whole album, it's fun this way right?

Yeah, I did it on my solo album, there's a song called Dr. Slumbers Eternity Home, it's really happy but it's about a euthanasia clinic where you go, just to die. That makes it interesting.

How do you view metal in the music industry, for a lot of people metal is an area that they are not comfortable with. You are doing this for quite some time, how do you view the music industry now as supposed to way back when and how do you view metal in there?

I think metal has always been there and will always be there. It's such an incredible loyal audience. I've been playing metal ever since I was 17, which was in 1977. I started my first band, I played in Bodine and Vengeance and we always had an audience. Now, with Ayreon, I am entering charts all over the world, in Holland even twice number one. It's a small group, but it's a very loyal group, I love it. I think the metal is very healthy at the moment, I can't complain. My new album, The Source, has the best presales I ever had. It's a loyal audience, we still want to get the real thing. We won't listen a little bit in the background and something else the next day.

You worked with many artist over the years. Are there people you still want to work with in the future, like a wish list or something?

I have a wish list and it's like 100 singers or something. Obviously, it's great to work with your heroes, I am talking about the people I grew up listening to, like Robert Plant, Ian Gillan, Geddy Lee, David Gilmour, Ritchie Blackmore, Brian May. To be able to work with those people, who were like gods to me when I was younger, that's fantastic. I keep trying of course, but it's really hard. Like this time, I was really close to get Brian May on the album, but then he got sick. But it worked in the past, for example when I got Bruce Dickinson on the album, you just must be lucky, that there's a way in somehow.

Do these big classic rockers have a big influence on your music? I feel like they do.
Absolutely, I am not hiding it. I don't understand all these musicians who say that they are not influenced, I am totally influenced. On this album, the Rainbow, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd influences. It's just the way it is, between your 10th and your 20st birthday, that's the music that shapes your world. Having said that, I would hate to get stuck in the past, so I stay updated very much. I listen to new music every day when I go jogging.

Was there a moment while creating this album that you were stuck?

Well, I am always stuck in between albums, that's terrible. When I finished an album, I am empty, nothing comes out, I call it my black hole period, it always happens. I put everything I have in it and then suddenly it's over. There should be something new, but nothing new is coming up. Once I start an album with one or two songs, then the inspiration starts flowing. I think that's why I end up with double albums all the time. I don't plan it that way, I just write and record it.

I don't think the fans would really matter. Ayreon Universe is coming up in September. In the past, you had some difficulties with going on stage, you would rather not do that, what's the reason that you're doing it now?

I still don't want to do it. I hate it, I am just not good at it, I have terrible stage fright. I see myself as a composer, a producer, that's what I do well. As a performer, I am not really special or something. I think the catalyst was The Theater Equation, which was a theatre play of my album The Human Equation. It was such a big success and I wasn't expecting that. During the shows, I was looking into the audience and I only saw happy people, there were so many emotions going on. So, at that point I thought, if only once, I should do it, Ayreon live.

Can you tell us a little bit or is it all secret?

A little bit is fine, not too much of course, then I would spoil surprises. It has 16 singers, which is amazing, 10 of the best musicians, there's going to be a big LED-screen behind the stage with beautiful visuals, special effects. It's going to be a lot of work to arrange it, we are already working on it for 1,5 years now and luckily, we sold out three shows, which allows us to put some more money in it and make it perfect.

I can't wait! You worked with Anneke van Giersbergen for The Gentle Storm, she took the band on tour, how did that go?

Well, I didn't plan that whole project. Somehow, I got a message from Anneke saying like 'Should we do something together?' and I was sure and already working on music, so I asked what she would think of it. Then we worked with The Gentle Storm on the album, the concept and at some point, Anneke asked me if I would be okay if they would play it live. I thought it was great. Usually my projects don't perform live, so it was great that someone would play the album live and promote the album.

Anneke is more than capable of doing that.

Yeah, she is just a great performer, one of the best singers in the world. The band was amazing, I remember one of the first shows, I was in the audience and with the soundcheck I had tears in my eyes.

Do you want to say anything else?

That's always a hard question. I would say, just buy the album. Well, I think this album is pretty much a reaction to my previous album, The Theory of Everything. It was very much a prog album, very complicated. This album is more like a metal album, bit more streamlined and catchy. It's a little bit of an easier album. I would say check it out.

About you saying it's a bit easier album, do you think it will reach more people?

I think so, nowadays people don't give music a chance anymore. There is so much music. If you make a different album, like The Theory of Everything you may not get the chance, because you really have to listen to it a couple of times. This album is more catchy, the message is clear. I think this can reach more people, because it's a bit more structured.

Thank you very much for this interview and good luck in September with Ayreon Universe!

Ayreon Official Website
Ayreon Facebook

Review: Ayreon - The Source

And here it is! The new Ayreon record. Starting immediately when listening to the opening song “The Day That The World Breaks Down” Arjen Lucassen again creates his own fascinating world for us to get sucked in, like he has done many times before. But this time it’s pretty clear what is going on, machines stop working and the world goes boom! The song “Everybody Dies” does a perfect job of telling you this in a very catchy and cheery way.

The album pulls something from a variety of different music genres. In general, the songs are very heavy metal, heavy guitar riffs with the incredible drum parts of longtime Ayreon drummer Ed Warby that holds it all together. But there are also some funky bass lines or even the more folk-like sounds that you might remember from The Gentle Storm. The best example for this would be the beautiful duet between Floor Jansen (Nightwish) and Simone Simons (Epica) called “All That Was” where these two nightingales are perfectly in sync with each other. This is what makes The Source, or arguably any Ayreon album so great. Lucassen knows exactly what everybody is capable of and where to put his wonderful cast and crew, which makes it sound like everything fell in to place and is where it is supposed to be.

What caught my attention when listening to the album several times is that The Source is a much catchier album than its predecessors, it often chooses a more comical or satirical approach rather than being serious, despite its dark and gloomy theme. Don’t be fooled by titles like “Condemned To Live” or “Everybody Dies” but rather expect a Black Mirror or Monty Phyton feel to it. But not in a bad way. The album still has a lot of strength and professionality. If anything, I would say this particular approach brings even more personality to the album.

For this album, none other than Queen guitarist Bryan May was asked to join, but he unfortunately had to cancel. However, you can still hear that Lucassen is greatly inspired by these legendary rockers of the seventies and eighties. Long shredding guitar solos like in “The Dream Dissolves”, high pitched male vocals that just scream glam rock and a subtle hint to Queens’ “Bicycle Race’’ in “The Aquatic Race”, where Zaher Zorgati (Myrath) showcases his beautiful Arabic vocals.

The Source is a multidimensional masterpiece that appeals to new Ayreon fans and seasoned Ayreonauts alike, that to me is already capable of being the metal album of the year!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

You can also read our interview with Ayreon mastermind Arjen Lucassen here.

Ayreon Official Website
Ayreon Facebook

Promoting Bands Part 7


I'm back with a new part of Promoting Bands for you!

As always: want to be in Promoting Bands in the future? Be sure to send us an email or message on Facebook or Twitter!

Here you can check the earlier parts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Enjoy this part! \m/

Tim van Velthuysen

1. Idek.

I already mentioned them in Part 3 of Promoting Bands, Idek., an experimental metal band from The Netherlands. Now they have released an new single, which will be followed by an EP. The single is called Haze and you can check it below. It sure is something you won't hear that often. It is indeed quite experimental, in a way very nicely worked out. Good job guys!

Idek. Facebook

2. Van Halst

Van Halst play their music with a message, on their album World Of Make Believe (which we already reviewed here) their songs speak about various social justice issues. They want to create a positive social change through their activism. The music is catchy and heavy at the same time. The very nice vocals of Kami van Halst make it even more interesting. This is a band to keep an eye on, very nicely done! Below you can watch their video clip of Questions. Be advised of the trigger warning: the video shows scenes of violence towards women. It is intended to raise awareness about victim blaming.

Van Halst Official Website
Van Halst Facebook
Van Halst Twitter

3. Wheezy John B

Wheezy John B is a one-man-band hailing from The Netherlands. His music is difficult to fit into one genre but it is extreme as fuck! He just released his debut album and you can check his music on his soundcloud (or below). He surely knows how to play extreme music, let's hope for more in the future!

Wheezy John B Facebook

4. Trap Them

Trap Them hails from the USA and their music is bleak, aggressive and angry. So, it's quite heavy! These guys know how to play some heavy and intense music. Last year they released their latest album, called Crown Feral, and I am glad I discovered their music. You can clearly feel the energy and anger put in this album, which, in my opinion, makes it even better. Something to check out for sure! Curious? Listen to Crown Feral below!

Trap Them Facebook
Trap Them Twitter

5. Trepaneringsritualen

Trepaneringsritualen is not metal, but it is dark, grim and heavy, so it could be something for you nonetheless. Trepaneringsritualen is one man who makes music in the way of industrial, power electronics and dark ambient. The sphere he creates is very intense, in a dark, grim way. Below you can see his show in Boiler Room in Berlin. Of course, being at a Trepaneringsritualen show would probably be even more intense, but now you can already take a look.

Trepaneringsritualen Official Website
Trepaneringsritualen Facebook

6. Vulvodynia

Hailing from South-Africa, here are slam death metallers Vulvodynia! Last year we already reviewed their latest album, called Psychosadistic Design, here. This is brutal, this is heavy, this is slamming Vulvodynia! This is music you have to listen to at a very high volume and you will never hear your neighbors again. Or they are blown away by the brutal sounds of Vulvodynia or they are scared to say something to you because of you listening to it. Very brutal in a very great way! Below you can check their track Unparalleled Insubordination, coming from Psychosadistic Design.

Vulvodynia Facebook

7. Pitch Black Process

Pitch Black Process comes from Turkey, the lyrics of their music are a mixture of English and Turkish, which gives Pitch Black Process' music its unique and personal approach. First song I heard from them was Halil Ibrahim Sofrası, with Necati Karadayı as guest musician. The track is actually a cover, being originally by Barış Manço, but Pitch Black Process made it a metal song, and they did in a great way! Check their version below!

Pitch Black Process Facebook
Pitch Black Process Twitter

8. Oberschlesien

Oberschlesien hail from the region in Poland with the same name. They play industrial metal and the lyrics are in the Oberschlesien dialect. Below you can see their performance of Fojerman and Richter at Jarocin Festiwal 2016, the lyrics in the Oberschlesien dialect give the music something really special. Hopefully they will play somewhere in The Netherlands in the nearby future soon, would be a great experience, I am sure!

Oberschlesien Official Website
Oberschlesien Facebook

9. Violet Cold

Emin Guliyev lives in Baku, Azerbaijan. He has a one-man band called Violet Cold in which he plays experimental blackgaze. Recently he released his latest album called Anomie. It has heavy black metal parts, but it also has it's experimental, atmospheric, dreamy parts. Anomie is a really beautiful masterpiece, coming from this one-man band called Violet Cold. Great music and hopefully there will be more Violet Cold music in the future! Listen to Anomie below!

Violet Cold Facebook

10. Jambinai

They come from Korea, they play post-rock with a lot of traditional Korean instruments, they are called Jambinai. While they play post-rock, at times they still are quite heavy, in their own way. Their music is very special and very unique, so it's something you better check out, because it's something you probably wouldn't miss. You can start by checking out their video of They Keep Silence below!

Jambinai Facebook
Jambinai Twitter

Monday, April 24, 2017

Review: Striker - Striker

Still flying the banner of the old-school, the Canadian heavy/power metallers Striker have adopted a slight change of pace in their sound as the band has gone a more streamlined, straightforward burst of their trademarked old-school sound. With a quick turn around to their new release nearly a calendar year from the last effort, the groups’ self-titled fifth full-length is released February 24, 2017 on their own Record Breaking Records.

Despite the slight sonic shift present, it’s still obvious the band is intent on going through their stellar old-school style here which remains prominent throughout this one. Efforts like “Former Glory,” “Pass Me By” and “Shadows in the Light” no longer feature wild, lengthy rhythms or expanded instrumental sections as instead they go for a simple series of charging riff-work and straightforward patterns that go more for solid beat-downs than anything else throughout here. The same high-energy attack is still there, making for a much more energetic and engaging time here with the album simplifying matters without offering up much of a change in their formula bringing this one along quite nicely. It does offer a few minor stumbling blocks in places here like “Born to Lose,” “Rock the Night” and “Freedom’s Call” where it slips in lighter rhythms and melodies from their power metal style that makes for quite a striking contrast against the raging traditional metal elements elsewhere throughout here, and it seems as though these were just the odd misshapen rhythms due to the rather strong manner they accomplished this work in the past so to suddenly see it lowered in this manner could very well be a minor fluke of the album. Still, it’s a noticeable flaw here and does bring this one down somewhat slightly even with so much else to like throughout here.

While featuring a few minor missteps here with the lighter melodies not generating the kind of enjoyment as their heavier tendencies, this one still packs in more than enough to like here with the streamlined style working more often than not and making for a nice addition to any fan of their past work or revivalist heavy metal acts. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

Striker Official Website
Striker Facebook
Striker Twitter

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Interview: Tribulance

Recently, DutchMetalManiac's Alessandro reviewed Tribulance's The Aftermath Of Lies here. Now he also has interviewed their bass player Gino Silva and guitar player Sal Flores, which you can read below.

Guys, I’m very honoured to be granted this interview! I want to say again, I love your album. I hope my 10/10 at DutchMetalManiac means something for you! Actually I’m giving it an 11/10 in honour of RIP Jim Marshall.

Gino Silva: Thank you for this! And it does mean a lot! Let me give you a quick rundown of who is who in the group; I’m the bass player; Mike Vidal, lead vocals; Brandon Lee, drummer; and Sal Flores, guitar player.

So, tell us the origins of your band name, I try not to Google too much so what DOES that word mean?

Sal: Tribulance is a made up word derived from the term “trials and tribulations”.

How and where’d you meet?

Sal: I have known Gino and Mike from other musical endeavors around the late 80’s, early 90’s. We had a couple stints with some bands but actually got together and formed Tribulance in the early 90’s. Brandon was introduced to me and Mike by Gino around 2011/2012, when we reformed the group and needed a new drummer. Although, we all grew up on the south side of Tucson so it feels like we’ve all known each other all our lives since we’re from the same area.

Are you all actually friends or is it just business?

Sal: The friendship HAS to be there or else nothing else will fall into place properly…so yes.

Gino: But, we as a band also understand it’s a business and can separate the two.

Is the world a better place with all this new technology for spreading the gift of music or was it better to copy LP’s to cassettes and spread it around?

Sal: I think new technology already has made the world a better place to spread music. The music industry hasn’t harnessed a way, however, to balance how music is marketed and sold. I think we are in an infancy stage with where the world is at with technology and the spreading and selling of music.

Your music is powerful and heavy; tell us when and where your best times for inspiration are.

Sal: My inspirations for writing music mostly come from my own personal life experiences.

Gino: For me, it’s thoughts that just pop into my head, like a movie scene, that turns into music.

Without being disrespectful to a band’s originality, I always like to cite some influences that my ear picks out or I think picks out; do you guys do this when you’re working out your arrangements? You have some great influences! Who’s everyone’s favourite band?

Sal: I really don’t have “favorites”. I could spend all day talking about artists that I’ve admired and still admire. I even admire artists who are new and just coming out with music. I can name some bands who I’ve looked up to: Boston, Van Halen, Dokken, Judas Priest, Metallica, Beastie Boys, Fear Factory and Enya just to name a few.

When writing music there is no effort on my part to purposely sound like any particular band. If it just sounds good and pretty killer to us then we roll with it. It’s not intentional if anything we do sounds or reminds anyone of another band. I realize that some inspirations may show through. But again, it’s not intentional.

Gino: For me, of course, my favorite band is Motley Crue!

Onstage, 90% and live to fight another day or 110% and see what happens the next day?

Sal: 110% all the time…every time.

Speaking of stages, you’re not on an especially heavy tour schedule as of yet; are there more dates lined up for this year? Any chance you’re coming to Canada?

Sal: If the chance presents itself and we could all pull it off and make it happen then absolutely! We would love to go to Canada!

Gino: If Canada wants us, sure! As for any future dates, we have some local shows lined up.

I want to thank you so much for taking the time for us!

Gino: No, thank you!

As we go, give us “Tribulance’s Turbulence” for 2017:

WW III or Peace on Earth?

Sal: Of course peace on earth would be awesome. But whatever happens, we’ll go out playing Metal to whoever wants some.

Aliens Land – Aliens Keep On Going?

Sal: Let the Aliens land so we can play for them and get some new fans.

Music Industry Better – Music Industry Worse

Sal: Better in some areas….worse in others. We hope that it’ll ALL gets better.

USA Beer Better – Canadian Beer Better

Sal: If they both can do the job and get us drunk enough then both sides win!

Currently reading….which books?

Sal: Way too much of a busy schedule to read. Too bad. I barely have time to read text messages!!

Gino: Not currently reading any, but the last one I read was Nikki Sixx, The Heroin Diaries.

Thank you again for taking important time to talk to little ol’ me. Do you have any last comments for DutchMetalManiac’s readers? All the best success!

Gino: Only that the album will be released May 5th. Although you can pre order it on both iTunes or at Google Play . Make sure to check us out on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter...and to all the fans, thank you!


Tribulance Facebook
Tribulance Twitter

Review: Creeping Fear - Onward To Apocalypse

Created in late 2011, French death metallers Creeping Fear have spent their time honing their skill-set with a series live dates and well-received demos that have set the group on the path to the present day as they’re finally able to put the finishing touches on their debut effort. With their work finally able to be exposed to the public, their full-length debut was released March 3, 2017 on Dolorem Records.

From the onset, this one offers plenty of utterly enjoyable elements that come about due to the bands’ rather strong and charging atmosphere. Efforts like “Life Denied,” “Swallowed by Death” and “Spreading Disease” are fueled by strong, raging riffing that takes a ravenous, buzzsaw-style of riffing to the forefront while adding together a frantic beat to the proceedings, all of which adds together into a rather pummeling onslaught of more modern templates in the genre. When these are added together alongside efforts like “Divine Casualties,” “Trenches of Desolation” and the title track which offer more loose chugging rhythms and swirling riff-work rather than the tighter buzzsaw rhythms elsewhere throughout here and brings for a crunchy variant to the faster efforts throughout here, letting this get some nice disparate elements into their sound. The problem is these are the bands’ more epic and overlong arrangements due to the slow chugging style in the riff-work, and these are on the whole far blander than they need to be since the band has plenty to like on the more plentiful faster tracks here so even with the more enjoyable tracks taking up a majority of the album these long-winded efforts aren’t that exciting on the whole. Still, this is a debut and that doesn’t strike as big a detriment as it really deserves to be since most everything else on the record comes off enjoyable enough to overlook this.

Despite having some problems with maintaining some interest in their longer efforts here with some overlong tracks, there’s plenty to like elsewhere here with the bands’ faster and frantic material that it should be appealing to those who prefer this style of thick, crunchy death metal and can overlook the few flaws here. 7.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Creeping Fear Facebook

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Interview: Assent

In January French metallers Assent released We Are The New Black. DutchMetalManiac's Alessandro already reviewed it for you here. Now he interviews Aurel, who is responsible for the vocals, bass and drum programming in Assent, you can read it below.

Guys, I’m very honoured to be granted this interview! A very good album here. So tell us about the “ascent of ASSENT!”

Hi there ! The honour is all mine, thank you very much for your enthusiastic review ! The project started in 2016 when my former band Human Vacuum split up. I was suddenly on my own and I had a ton of old songs lying in my computer in Guitar Pro format, stuff I had written along the years but never used because it didn't fit with my former band's style (which was more nu-metal). I can't stay without an active musical project since it makes my hair and skin go bad. So I began to make a selection among those songs and rewrite over them. After a few months of working alone I presented the songs to Greg (guitars) and there we are.

How and where’d you meet?

Greg used to be my boss. We both worked in retail in the same video game store and we hit it off instantly. We already had an acoustic cover band together before starting Assent.

Are you both actually friends or is it just business?

We're close friends. I got hired in that store where he was assistant manager in 2012, and we realized after a few hours that we had so many common points it was uncanny. Same love for metal, same love for video games obviously, same sense of humour, same work ethic (which now proves crucial for the band), etc. It was a match made in heaven. I knew he was a very good guitar player so when I became available and needed someone he's the first and only person I considered. Luckily, he loved the songs instantly.

Is the world a better place with all this new technology for spreading the gift of music or was it better to copy LP’s to cassettes and spread it around? Which sounds better to you?
That's a tough one. I'm 37 so I do remember the old days, where you had to buy your music first and listen to it later, read reviews in magazines, copy your records on tapes and so on. Unsigned bands would go unnoticed for decades unless the right person got the right tape, and there were less bands around because of the money and skills barrier. Nowadays there's a band at every corner because it's so much easier to make music and get it spread around (I mean, look at us !) but it doesn't make it easier because the market is saturated. There's one aspect that makes me think things haven't changed that much : money is still the decisive factor. In the old days only bands that could afford to record an album on their own to get it sent to labels had a chance. Nowadays only bands that can afford to buy a promotion plan and pay for Youtube views have a chance. I could make Assent become huge overnight if I had the funds, through paid social media harassment alone. Different system but same criteria I guess.

Your music is guttural and raw yet, I find, going to progressive lines. Which one influences this?

Well, I'm the sole songwriter in Assent so that would be me ! As a songwriter and as a music fan, that's pretty much my ideal. I've always been attracted to catchy and progressive music. I love violence, groove and technicality… at some point my favourite albums were Dream Theater's "Scenes From a Memory" and Korn's "Issues". So that's what I've tried to achieve with Assent, and I'm really happy to get this comment from you.

Without being disrespectful to a band’s originality, I always like to cite some influences that my ear picks out or I think picks out; do you guys do this when you’re working out your arrangements? Who are your favourite bands but not necessarily influences?

Nowadays I'm deeply in love with bands such as Madder Mortem and Destrage because of what I told you in my previous answer. That's exactly what they manage to pull off : songs that get in your face and make you jump around, while still being full of strange ideas, uncanny parts and innovation. I don't think they're an inspiration for the EP because a lot of it was written before I'd even discovered those bands. The very first part I wrote was the verse riff for "Remain in Darkness" fifteen years ago, and back then I was a huge Paradise Lost fan. And it shows, it's pure gothic metal ! I think another big influence I had during the writing process was Soilwork : listen to "A Part of Me" by us, then go listen to "Needlefeast" by them, and I think the similarities will appear clear as day. It's kinda hard to pinpoint a band beyond that because the EP was written on such a long period of time… some songs started out in 2003, some in 2008, all of them were reworked in 2016, and I've listened to many bands in the meantime that may or may not have influenced me.

Tell us about your guest artists F. Lemonnier and N. Muller! Are they going on tour with you?

I hired Florentin from the band Far Away for two reasons. Firstly, I needed someone who could play fast bass with a pick on the first song. The song required it, I play fingerstyle myself and I was too lazy to learn to play with a pick just for the EP. Secondly, I knew Flo can play the bass and growl at the same time, and I knew I would need someone like that for the live line-up at some point. So having him as a guest was a way to get him involved with the project and secure him as our future live bass player. And since he plays with us now, that mission has been a success. Nicolas is the mastermind behind Helioss and a very accomplished player who already performed a guest solo on Human Vacuum's album. I would love to have him as part of the live line-up, but he's a recluse who writes and records music on his own in his bedroom and hates playing onstage. Some people are just weird that way.

At what stage of your production do you decide that a particular sound is the one you want?

I had a clear vision of what I wanted productionwise : our producer Zoé H. was tasked to find the perfect balance between heaviness and clarity. What I told him was "I want this to rip faces off BUT I want everything played by every instrument clearly audible. And I want to hear the bass. Give me something modern, sharp, where every subtle arrangement can be studied with headphones on. And don't forget that bass. Basically it's whatever works as long as it's loud and crystal clear. Oh, did I mention the bass ?" And the guy delivered. He presented us with options during the whole recording process, I told him to turn up the bass… good times.

Speaking of stages, you’re not on an especially heavy tour schedule as of yet; are there more dates lined up for this year? Any chance you’re coming to Canada?

We've played one gig and we have another lined up, and that's it for the moment. It's kinda hard to get gigs in Paris because the scene is completely saturated. There's a metal gig every night somewhere, and venues are flooded with requests from bands like us. When you're starting out you're not gonna bring many people because you're unknown, so booking you is a risk organizers must be willing to take. It's a conundrum : you need to get famous to bring an audience, but you need to play in order to get famous. We're actually lucky because our live bass player Florentin has a booking agency on the side, without him there would have been no gigs at all. I'll come play wherever so like every other band around I'm just gonna say it : PLEASE BOOK US. Just give us money for the journey since gasoline isn't cheap and we need food in order to survive. But if you're willing to take a chance and have us play at your venue, let it be in Canada or Zimbabwe or anywhere, book us and we'll come.

I want to thank you so much for taking the time for us!
As we go, give us “Assent’s Assertions” for 2017:
1. WW III or Peace on Earth?

WWIII is coming our way fast, so please make sure you buy a lot of our records before it happens.

2. Aliens Land – Aliens Keep On Going?

One of them is President of the United States as we speak.

3. Music Industry Better – Music Industry Worse

I'd say worse. Some platforms work well (Bandcamp is a fantastic place for musicians and they're successful, kudos to them), but overall the system still has to find a way to allow musicians to make a living. We still pay to record, pay to play, pay for everything and don't get much back. The Assent EP alone is 4000€ I won't get back, ever. It was my choice, but it's not sustainable as an economic model. And it's the same for everyone.

4. French Champagne or Canadian Beer?

I'll go with French Champagne, but that's only because I haven't tried enough Canadian beers yet. Please educate me in that matter, my mind may change.

5. Currently reading….which books?

I used to read books, but then Zelda Breath of The Wild came out and now I can't remember what a page looks like.

Thank you again for taking important time to talk to me. Do you have any last comments for DutchMetalManiac’s readers? All the best success!

Thank YOU for the time you took reviewing our EP and preparing these questions. I hope everybody on DutchMetalManiac will give the EP a chance, you can listen to it in full on everything (Deezer, YouTube, Spotify, SoundCloud, Bandcamp…) and just getting comment is a reward in itself for us. If you want to give us some support the digital version is only 3€ on Bandcamp so knock yourself out. In general please always consider buying stuff from the bands you love as long as they don't try to rip you off : a shirt, a digital album, a sticker, a keychain, whatever… every little helps, really. We're poor bastards who fell in love with the wrong music genre.

Assent Official Website
Assent Facebook

Review: The Lightbringer - Heptanity

The Lightbringer is a relatively unknown band hailing from Québec, Canada and was founded in 2008 by two brothers, Olivier and Simon Vaillancourt-Girard. They are responsible for about everything that has to do with The Lightbringer. From composing to mixing to producing to playing guitar, bass and drums to vocals, these guys do it all. They are not a two-man outfit, though. Apart from the two brothers, whose artist names are Auraeon and Archan, the line-up is completed by vocalist Fanny Grenier aka Celestheia, Amélie Coté aka Aethera on keys and Stanislav Stefanovski aka Sol-Orcus, also a vocalist. The boundaries of their musical spectrum is set by, in no particular order, death, black and power metal, which they combine into songs with distinct melodic, symphonic touches and fantasy-themed lyrics, also known as melodeath. Having released their first fruits of labor back in 2010 in the form of the full-length ‘Quintessence Of Dawn’, they recently unleashed their latest creation on the world, another full-length called ‘Heptanity’. As the name already more or less suggests, the album, which is a concept album, has the seven primordial divinities and their power as leading subject. In their own words: The Heptanity symbolizes the alliance of the seven Gods in one omnipotent entity, creating the material dimension of Existence.

Of course a good concept, which to me is one with strength, depth and caliber, is nice, but what really counts is the music and, in case of a concept album, the interaction between music and storyline. My first impression after a few minutes of listening to ‘Heptanity’ was not exactly straight-forward, most likely because The Lightbringer’s music is far from straight-forward, and that impression never changed. All songs clock well over 6 minutes, most of them even exceed the 8-minute mark with ease, and they are all packed with an enormous amount of musical and vocal textures, soundscapes and surprises making them impossible to describe accurately. Not often have I come across a release that has been so rich in and filled with details, this must have taken a huge amount of time and patience. Take the vocals for example. There’s three vocalists, each of them with a different reach and range and each of them with a significant part in (many of) the songs. Where the male vocals vary from high-pitched, power-metalesque to deep, ominous growls via psychotic screams, Celestheia’s vocal lines are mainly operatic, bombastic although at times she sings less soprano-like as well. The music can be described in an equal manner: widely ranged and highly varied.

Variety usually is a good thing, but adding these amounts of it to your music without losing coherence is quite the challenge, especially when power metal, which in itself is prone to getting chaotic easily, is one of your main styles. ‘Heptanity’ consists of multi-layered songs that alternate between brilliant, exciting, beautiful, boring and chaotic. Now don’t leave this review after reading the last two qualifications, I will explain this. First let me emphasize that if anything ‘Heptanity’ most certainly is a great album with some amazing music, well worth your attention. I’d also like to emphasize that all members of The Lightbringer are more than capable musicians, to which I count the vocalists as well of course. The combined reach of the vocalists allow them to use extremely versatile vocal lines where multi-instrumentalists Auraeon and Archan seem to be able to skillfully cover every single style available in metal and Aethera’s key-work, though at times a bit underexposed, are an addition at about any given time without distracting too much. Nevertheless I do have some minor criticism: Every time I played this I couldn’t help but get a bit restless every now and then. And why? Well, speed, heaviness, sootiness, anger, atmosphere, variety, choirs, you name it, it’s all there… And at the same time that is exactly this album’s weakness and the reason for my restlessness: It’s ALL there.

In general the brothers Vaillancourt-Girard did a more than good job composing and mixing this, but in their attempts to cover (and use?) everything they overdid things here and there. I haven’t made a case study of this, but to me it feels as if they tried to capture every single atmospheric change and detail from the story in the music. A noble cause, but one that sadly tends to make things sound a bit disorganized at times. Adding to that a wide variety of loosely integrated musical styles, some of which aren’t exactly known for being tight and organized either, and it’s quite easy to lose track of things when you’re composing this, something the excellent sound of the production cannot cover up entirely. Having said this I still think ‘Heptanity’ definitely is worth anyone’s time. The shards of brilliance are way more common on this album than the flaws are, so I for one could quite easily listen past those flaws. Despite the fact this one probably won’t be a contender for album of the year, but I do think that, with a few tweaks, the guys and girls from The Lightbringer should most certainly be considered capable of delivering one. There is so much to discover on this release that I’m certain most metal fans will find something to their liking, regardless their preferences where it comes to genre. Try my personal favorite ‘The Sundering Hammer Of Earths’ on for size. Despite its flaws I urge you to really give this musical chameleon a chance. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for them from now on.

Written by Henric van Essen

The Lightbringer Official Website
The Lightbringer Facebook

Review: Rotem - Nacao Valente E Imortal

Hailing from Portugal in a digital format, this is the latest in the Black Progressive Metal One Man Band genre! It gargles well within this genre and I think you’d need to see a live show to appreciate it more. At first glance, this is only another deathcore/grind’em up piece but it swells with progressive pride. Digging deep into their rich history, he speaks of important historical events with a hardcore attitude.

‘A Portuguesa’ is a railing, Maiden like musical rendition of their national anthem that introduces us quickly to the playing of the band. ‘Viriato’ is a sluggish, cranky piece that I don’t like at all personally but the rest of the record is very well engineered and produced.

The 11 plus minute opus ‘Sagas de Portugal’ is good then so-so for me, as the musical overlays are kind of slow at first. It is suddenly then good again, mixes classical overtones, orchestras and other stuff in a new and unusual way. The pseudo-rap and guttural hopscotch from about 5:55 to 6:21 was neat and innovative.

If ‘Terramoto 1755’ on Nov 1, All Saint’s Day could have had a soundtrack, this would have been it. The actual 8-9 Richter scale quake, causing tsunamis and the like, destroyed most of Lisbon. Maybe they are trying to do that with a wall of sound and guitars and might quickly succeed; a powerful piece that brings some historical overtones with it.

Terribly impressed with the rest of the record! The finest elements of many genres pieced skillfully together by one person makes this an easy, willing listen. The more I heard it and found its deep underbelly of prog roots, the more I liked it. The barrage of lyrical virtuoso and hard metal playing instantly captivates and resonates and you have to be amazed at the skills of Rotem.

A classy historical play that does a great homage to his country, this would be interesting to see in concert, and would hopefully break down the stoic barrier of the classic lineup, but not replace it. The skill and grace of this composer is not to be taken lightly. I akin Rotem’s skilled underpinnings of such solo innovators such as Jean Michele Jarre of electronica fame and Aldo Nova, a classic rock 80’s solo composer.

A novel, biting piece! 8/10

Written by Alessandro

Rotem Official Website
Rotem Facebook

Monday, April 17, 2017

Review: Skyclad - Forward Into The Past

A quite interesting album to review for me, Skyclad gave me something to think about. The band combined a lot of styles, instruments and melodies in this album, and for me as a musician in a band that has a similar approach in making music but in a different light, it made me think about new experimentation.

The tracks are all different, and the styles of music in them varies in riffs not only songs, as you can find hardcore influenced riffs, prog metal riffs, folk metal riffs and more, all over layered with folk melodies and sharp vocals. There is an instrumental track on the album that can be mistaken for a Blind Guardian song if you did not know better. The instruments used vary, I at least heard some classical folk instruments, combined with modern instruments and the fusion is brilliant. Now, the quality is over the top, the instruments are heard with great ease, the vocals as well. The only small complaint I have is that at some minute points of the album it is a bit too loud for my taste, because of the layering of all of the instruments and really high vocals. I like the vocals as they are not too high in the mix, they do dominate but even then it is not deafening to the point that you need to reduce the volume. The theme of the album gave a bit of a Irish feel while listening to it, and the lyrics for the songs are great, as it gives off the feeling that you are around a campfire and listening to bards telling stories, a much more power metal feel than most.

All in all, the album is great, and I absolutely loved it from begin to end, and in all retrospect this album is one of the masterpieces that can be introduced as a power metal masterpiece. I give it a 10/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

Skyclad Official Website
Skyclad Facebook

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Interview: Noctem

Last year Spanish metallers Noctem released their latest effort, called Haeresis. DutchMetalManiac's Nikola Milošević already reviewed it, you can check his review here. Now, DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen interviewed Noctem's vocalist Beleth, you can check the interview below.

Hey, how's life?

Hey! hehe not bad. In this country if you know how you can live relaxed… Looks like I’m already learning.

For people who don't know you (yet), can you tell us a bit of Noctem's history?

Noctem is a Blackened Death Metal band with a long trajectory of more than 15 years. With 2 demos, 1 live LP and 4 albums, released with Prosthetic Records, Art Gates Records, NHR and Metal Blade Records.
After 16 years career, Noctem is one of the most active bands from Spain.
The band played on many festivals, more than 15 tours around Europe and Asia, supporting lot of bands like Marduk, Enthroned, Impiety, Napalm Death, Samael, Gorgoroth, Nargaroth, Keep of Kalessin, Taake, Immolation, Vomitory, Malevolent Creation, Incantation, Hate, Ragnarok, Melechesh and many more...

Noctem started in 2001, took a break in 2005 and is back with a new version since 2007. Now, in 2017, you have 10 years with the new Noctem behind your back, how do you look back at the last 10 years and the period before 2007?

Before 2007 the band's activity was almost nothing. Record a demo and make 5 concerts became Noctem's biggest goals in a year.

The last 10 years have been the most active period of the band, we have done about 400 concerts, we have released 4 albums since then and this has made us grow a lot and position ourselves better and better on the European scene, and find the attention of good labels outside this continent.

I do not like to look back because I think that with work you have to look forward and there is still much to do.

What makes Noctem's music unique?

I think it is this kind of Blackened Death Metal mixed with thrash, the sound is raw but not so old school like the classics of the genre. That is my opinion but people usually say that they are epic passages in songs, guitar melodies and Spanish guitars that we use in some songs.

You are from Spain, how is the metalscene in Spain?

It is a metal scene growing up faster and strong in the last years, lot of new bands are making a great job, I mean bands like, [IN MUTE] (winners of Wacken metal battle), Trallery, Angelus Apatrida, Crisix… and many more are hitting the stages outside our country. Some really great festivals like Leyendas del Rock or Resurrection fests are growing up and calling the attention outside of our borders.

A couple of days ago I saw comments in internet about Resurrection Fest poster. Foreign people saying… “Spaniards lucky bastards to have this great festivals…”, "you dont know how lucky you are..." well this is simply amazing. 10 years ago no one thought about this can happen. So we need to continue working and supporting our scene, festivals and bookers to continue growing up.

In September last year you released your latest album called Haeresis, how's the response you get from press and fans so far and are you satisfied with it?

The answer is being great. The new album Haeresis is getting a great impact in the specialized press and the metal heads. So we can be more than happy.

I don’t know the total sales yet but the special edition we made of 666 copies with cadaver scent is almost sold out. This had a great impact, Haeresis was the first album in the world released smelling to rotten flesh. We have less than 50 copies and we will sell it in the next concerts.

What's the story behind the cover art of Haeresis?

The cover was made by Seth Siro from Septic Flesh. We know Seth from some years ago and we asked him for a special artwork, we just gave him some info like “topic”, “something explicit”, “big impact” and he unleashed his magic. About the final result we haven’t changed almost anything, it was perfect from the very beginning.

You've toured a lot during the years, what is the most fantastic memory you have from it?

We made a lot of friends in the last years touring Europe. It is a great satisfaction when you are going to play in some city and you receive lot of whatsapp and facebook messages telling you “see you there fuckers”, “Party night after the show”… We are simple people and very friendly, so it is very easy to us to connect with the people.

The best memory I can remember right now is play in front of full venues in China. I never thought it can happen. I think this is the reason why we will tour again there.

About touring, you already announced a few festival shows and an Russian tour, can we expect some more shows in 2017?

Yes we announced this week a new European tour with the Polish metal band Batushka. We will take part in the European Pilgrimage part 2. Was a great surprise when Massive Music contacted us and asked "guys are u available to do this tour?" We said... for sure!

We felt like after so many efforts for years people value and consider the band in a good position.

We will be in Netherlands the following dates.

26.05.2017 – Rotterdam / Baroeg.
27.05.2017 – Nijmegen / FortaRock In The City.
28.05.2017 - Utrecht / De Helling.

Any other future plans for Noctem?

Yes we will release next month a new single. Called “A Cruce Salus”. This was a bonus track recorded in one of the best studios of Spain “Millenia Studios” in Valencia. Raul Abellan offered us the possibility to record a new song and we didn’t doubt it.

This song is in the same thematic of our album Haeresis and will be online very soon, accompanied of new merchandising designs and cover artwork. We will play it in our upcoming tours.

Is there anything you want to say to DutchMetalManiac's readers?

I want to thank you for this great and complete interview, and say Hey! to all the Dutch Metal Maniac readers, we meet you guys next month in the upcoming gigs. Stay brutal brothers and sisters.

Noctem Official Website
Noctem Facebook
Noctem Twitter

Review: Harlott - Extinction

Drawing from their storied history, Australian thrashers Harlott have emphasized the 80's Bay Area thrash scene and blending it with the Teutonic melody and grit, they focusing on high energy, up-tempo music with lyrical influence from war, religion, chaos and the human condition. Bringing new guitarist Jake Weber onboard, the groups’ third full-length effort was released April 7, 2017 on Metal Blade Records.

Offering their strong, raging sound to its fullest, there’s not a whole lot to dislike here as the band brings their full-throttle attack to its fiery best. Efforts like the blistering title track, “First World Solutions” and “No Past” are based mainly around a churning, driving series of riffing that brings out plenty of utterly ferocious rhythms here, diving and bombing into galloping territory bringing out the fullest intensity in these rhythms. Playing most of these tracks are dynamic speed-drenched numbers complete with crunchy patterns, a thunderous rhythm section and a truly intense drive to crush forward with the oppressive riff-work featured here as the need for the fastest, most ferocious riffing possible carries this one for the most part here. When this one drops off that intensity for melody like “The Penitent,” “Better Off Dead” or “And Darkness Brings the Light” there’s still plenty of ferocious rhythms around this blistering attack that it really manages to hold itself quite nicely here as the deeper churning patterns allows this to feature plenty of blistering sections while managing to sound close enough to their general sound without being recognizably off from the general attack. There is a case to be said here about the album being somewhat overlong with a few too many tracks here which make it feel somewhat like a slough in the second half to plow through even more of the same general attacks over and over again. It works nicely but trim this by a song or two and it would improve significantly.

An utterly impressive and near-flawless release, this is a truly ferocious and fiery retro thrash offering that covers the gamut of the old-school thrash scene in fine form which makes this one of the standout groups in the scene and an easy choice for fans of their past works or the style in general. 9.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Harlott Facebook

Friday, April 14, 2017

Review: Assent - We Are The New Black

Hmm. This duet (I’m always shocked when I see metal groups as duos, but, it’s the world I guess) is quite impressive as the intro, ‘The Dust and the Screaming’ (cool name) with strings shows a bend towards prog! Very nice and captivating and flowing into the title track which rips with great production, clear and sharp and some good harmonies. Amazing solos and good metal feel to this all around.

‘Reaching Out’ is one of my favourites here as the raunchy guitars do reach out to me as does the arrangement musically. Good use of the guttural vox and has a good video feel if they ever make one.

The vox solo in ‘A Part Of Me’ at about 00:30 onwards is awesome. I am always amazed at this capability and give full points to that, although it is not my preferred vocal style. A heavy mix of dare I say, rap? and hardcore, this song has a great party feel to it, chorus is a great sing along!

‘Remain in the Darkness’ sports some excellent opening piano and launches into the death-growls mixed with some nice singing for a very approachable song! As a longer track, it has some very good solos; nice stuff!

The opening battery of ‘Insomnia’ startled me! It sounded like the crescendo from Rush’s ‘Cygnus X-1’! Excellent! The low key vox are great and spring some industrial overtones into the mix. The regular singing is a pleasant surprise with the guitars merging seamlessly into the rocking parts of the track. The more I hear this, I have to venture it is now my favourite song and making my next mixtape.

Overall this is a great effort and looking forward to them on the stage. They have been working hard on songs for some years and they can finally bring it to the open. I’m glad for the 6 song EP as I don’t think I could take a whole 14 songs of this in row, but a great listen all around.


Written by Alessandro

Assent Official Website
Assent Facebook

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Interview: Comaniac

On April 7th, Swiss thrashers Comaniac released their new album, called Instruction For Destruction. DutchMetalManiac's Don Anelli reviewed it here, he also interviewed them, as you can read below.

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

We’re happy to get a lot of attention through webzines and reviews for “Instruction For Destruction”. Most of them are very promising. They recognize a high originality in our Thrash Metal sound and that’s exactly what we wanted to achieve with this second offering. Of course: there are a few reviews here and there who are skeptical and are struggling with the melodic musicianship we add to the classical aggressive thrash sound. But that’s all right because they also seem to have trouble to categorize us. We’re Thrash but we don’t sound like Slayer. We’re Heavy but we don’t sound like Iron Maiden. We’re old school but we have a modern production. Well, we don’t care about those genres. It’s just the music we love that’s coming out of the speakers when you put the new record in.

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

My favorite track is Track 5 called “How To End It All”. It’s funny but this track didn’t get a lot of attention in the reviews so far although I think it’s the most interesting. Well, maybe the song is not enough “Thrash” as I personally call this song “The Ballad”, haha. It’s not a “real” ballad if you could call it that way but the lyrics and the process of the songwriting was very personal for me as it reflects a state of the band as Comaniac almost broke up. For me I can hear the struggle I went through at this time in the dark destructive atmosphere the song creates.

This was recorded at KHE Recording Studio. Why did you decide it was right to record there?

It was pretty clear for more than a year that we’d come back to the KHE Recording Studio after we had such a great result with our Debut Album “Return To The Wasteland”. We already recorded our first offering there and still have only the best words for this Recording Studio.

Why did you decide to work with producer Kusi Hospenthal? Did he bring out anything special to the material while you were recording?

Kusi wasn’t only our producer but also the guy for all Recording work at the studio. He had impact on the sound and the mix of the album rather than the actual songwriting as this was already done when we entered the studio. But still it’s very helpful to have another musician around while recording just to remember you to tune your guitar every goddamn minute and hit those cymbals harder until they break.

With a new guitarist and drummer joining before the release, how have Stefan Häberli and Valentin Mössinger been accepted into the fold?

We knew these guys for quite a while and even had a jam together many years ago as we still were in school. So we had high expectations as they both seemed very talented back then but these guys just topped it! It’s great how they brought their musicianship into the songwriting. It’s also their effort how Comaniac developed within the last year.

The lyrics for this album deal with the relationship between individual and society. What was the inspiration to go in that direction?

It’s mainly personal stuff we took inspiration from. For this album the lineup change and the broken existence of the band during this period of time had a big impact on the lyrics and also on the music in general. The writing of lyrics often start with only one word which describes a certain state of mind in a specific situation. We then try to name this “social phenomenon” and try to go on from there. That’s why our lyrics always have a personal origin but often can be interpreted into different directions – if in a social, political, religious or ethical content.

Given that the majority of your career is traced back to the old-school sounds, is there any particular favorites you feel the most inspired by?

I can’t think of only one particular favorite who inspired me or the band the most. We try to get as many inputs and musical inspiration as possible. Almost like a sponge we love getting involved with new original music. But you might know this questions a lot of interviewers ask: “If you were on a lonely island far away: Which record would you take with you?” Well, my answer would be Pantera – Cowboys from Hell. Probably the coolest record ever…just a tiny bit ahead of Sepultura – Arise.

What was the musical climate like for Thrash Metal in Switzerland when you guys first formed? Have you seen any change since?

As we started back in 2012 we had quite a lot of thrash metal bands around and we were just ready to hit the stages. But many bands were just ahead us – musically and playingwise. Now - five years later – it’s kind of sad that just a few bands from back then are still alive. Of course there were new bands formed but the vibe in general really changed. It’s more like a resignation mood right now as no one really wants to do this “one step out of the comfort zone”. I think it’s time for a Swiss Thrash Metal band to stand out of this lethargy!

Ever since your MetalDays Festival appearance, your career is gotten a lot more attention. Does that still mark an important date in your career thus far?

Of course it does. It’s one of the highlights we had with the band and it truly gave us a boost. I remember after getting back home from the festival in early August we just wrote and finished a lot of songs for the album. We had like a real flow. Also a lot of people reached out to us to ask for another album. We just wanted to get this thing out!

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

We already released a few pre-releases on youtube and also a playthrough video where you can actually see what we’re doing on our instruments. We thought this would be a nice way to show our fans how we developed on this new record. We also did a Music Video to Track 1 called “Coal” with a cool but evil story.

Considering tours we’ll be playing a small Eastern Europe tour in June 2017 and will conquer Germany in August. Of course we hope to say hi to our Dutch Metalheads while touring. Let’s see what happens!

So, we’ll end this on a fun note. What’s your all-time favorite city to play live?

My favourite city is where people enjoy our music and where the connection between band and headbangers is real. You know it’s like the definition of “home”. It’s not a place, it’s not a name. It’s a feeling. Sooo cheesy, goddamit!

Do you wish to say something to our readers?

I thank you for reading this and showing interest in upcoming bands! This again sounds cheesy as hell but if there were no fans we couldn’t do what we do! Thank you Dutch Metal Maniac for your support!

Comaniac Official Website
Comaniac Facebook

Review: Comaniac - Instruction For Destruction

Continuing to spread their thrash roots, Swiss thrashers Comaniac have spread their old-school intensity and formula throughout their career as the band has grown in stature and technique in the intervening years following a lot of special touring and shows. Following up their debut offering, the quartet’s sophomore effort was released through SAOL on April 7, 2017.

Much like their previous work, the band offers a stellar mixture of dynamic old-school influences into their attack for a generally solid approach. Driven by the chunky mid-tempo riffing of “Coal,” “Bow Low” and “Heart of Stone” the general emphasis here is on tight rhythms offering that explosive charge into the faster, more frenzied sections of the tracks. Balancing these styles together doesn’t always work, but it hits more than enough here to feature a fine mid-tempo chugging as a main source of attack for the majority of the album which keeps the energy level going strongly for the most part. It’s when the album deviates from these efforts as on “Suborned,” “Guarding Ruins” and “How to End It All” which manages to cause this one to stumble where it goes into a series of abstract ideas, featuring jangled riffing or semi-ballad that really just sticks out so much against the rather fun thrashing on offer here that highlights the fact that some of this features bland, uninteresting riffs. Basing a large majority of the patterns and arrangements off the simplistic chug-rhythms featured here tends to make several of the tracks come off as bland and lifeless which is quite problematic when this one clearly shows an ability to cope with energetic chugging patterns, so the sporadic, hit-or-miss nature of these is a bit troubling. It's less of an issue as it was on the debut, which shows some solid growth to fix this but it still pops up here which causes this to come off a bit better overall even with this issue coming into play once again.

Still prominently featuring an issue that popped up from before but also managing to fix it in some regards, there’s an obvious growth featured here that makes this come off rather nicely for fans of their previous work or fans of less dynamic old-school thrash who can stomach the flaws. 7.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

You can also check our interview with Comaniac here!

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Review: Tribulance - The Aftermath Of Lies

A Tuscon, AZ band that has been re-forged from the fires after about 20 years!

Sporting a cool look (love the eye-balls) and classic power metal sound, at first listen, I was awesommed by the 00:15 holler of ‘Oblivious’! Sounded like Ripper Owens actually and kept me intrigued. I am hyped for this! The playing is actual and definite power/heavy metal and a refreshing drink of cold beer from all the shite out there!

The strength keeps going with the head-banging fare of ‘Conflict’. The entire song IS a head-bang, the chorus and riffs are all awesome. The lyrics and vox are crystal clear and powerful as is the entire production.

The title track is great with excellent speed and explosive bouts of guitars. This is great fare for any Marshall stack at 11. (RIP: James C Marshall April 5 2012). The solos are ripping and make me feel happy all over! Well written and emoted!

‘Betray’! Easily my favourite with all the changes and amazing screams brings back my faith in the music industry! ‘The dreams we designed!’ Love it! The intro bassline and subsequent guitar attack to ‘Initiation’ kick! The break at 3:04 and subsequent chug-chugging smoke and can easily be listened to at Neighbor-Hating levels. These are all concert fare and one can see the swaying, bobbing heads and bodies.

The Slayer-like speed of ‘Walk the Talk; is outstanding! Tight playing and overall feel make this a great track. The changes are head-bob worthy especially around 2:50 onward – love it!

No question, this whole album rocks. They are ALL equally great and ring out to the heyday where an artist wrote ALL good tracks on an album, each standing alone and able to win awards. The crispness and metal feel to this album make it playable all the way through, combined with excellent writing and artisanship in the music.

Great energy on stage from the FB videos and a great microphone voice!

Easy 10/10, maybe 11/10!

Written by Alessandro

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Review: Raptor King - Dinocalypse

74 billion years ago the world was reigned by a king named Raptor V. One day, while in the middle of his morning ramble in a lava torrent, he saw some sort of portal open and because curiosity got the better of him, he dove in. As fate would have it, the other side of the portal was located in 2015, close to the Pont de Sevres in the city of Boulogne-Billancourt in the Parisian suburbs. When the gate closed, Raptor V was trapped in 2015, but after smoking a couple of freshly rolled joints and seeing some girls frolicking around in the streets he decided his new surroundings were destined to be his world from that day forth. In order to actually become the supreme master of this world he recruited two acolytes he met on the corner of the street. The one is called Nightsmoke, who only smokes at nightfall, a guitarist/illusionist known for his mystery, and the other is called Don Coco, holder of the chic, a percussionist with manners. Conquering the world and become its supreme master is no easy task, so in order to accomplish this they needed a plan, which was to take the worlds by means of becoming a sludge metal band with big balls. Raptor King was born.

A year after their debut 'Dinocracy', the world has awakened in complete chaos. A gigantic creature called Pelletor has messed up the entire world, leaving Raptor King without fans to please, booze to drink and thick-as-fuck booty to eat. This of course upsets King Raptor and it forces him into a triple reaction. The first is sadness and a fear of lacking strength to overcome this, the second is jerk off in front of the apocalyptic landscape and the final, and probably most sensitive, is him contacting his acolytes Nightsmoke and Don Coco. Together they tell the tale of the fight between King Raptor V and Pelletor on their second EP called ‘Dinocalypse’. Legend has it that listening to one of their creations evokes the feeling of an angel whispering the meaning of life in the bottom of your ears. Needless to say this I have to witness and experience myself. And I of course am curious to find out if King Raptor can reclaim his title of supreme master.

Weird, funny, insane, childish, ridiculous, I’m sure either of these terms will and can be used when people read the above story and there are probably a lot more similar comparisons to be found as well. I personally have no problem whatsoever with this type of approach of creating music. The world and what is happening in it at the moment is serious enough in itself, so why not be a bit less serious in your music. Either way, regardless their intentions and your preferred description this is not applicable on the actual music itself. Raptor King’s musical efforts definitely deserve more flattering critics than that, because if anything these guys know how and what to play. The EP kicks off with the title song, which starts like a power metal album should start: A bombastic musical frame, a choir sort of humming along, all the ingredients to build an epic anthem, right? Wrong. If there would be a king of deception Raptor King would be a strong competitor for that tile for sure, because whatever they play, it definitely is not power metal. It doesn’t take long to realize that, though, half a minute into the song the first sign of what Raptor King is really about appears. Raptor V himself clears his throat a couple of times as if posing a warning of what is coming, just before all hell breaks loose when the song continues with a thrashy rhythm that merges with a more hardcore punk rhythm within seconds. It’s fired up pace and countless breaks make this a great opening that sets the standards pretty high right from the start. When played live, I’m sure this one will be a guarantee for sore neck muscles and bruises. Definitely pit material.

No chance to get used to it though, the second song, appropriately called ‘The Witch’, shows a much darker side of Raptor King putting the doomy part of sludge into their musical equation. The songs changes pace and thus atmosphere a few times for a couple of seconds, giving it a sharp edge, an impression that is strengthened by Raptor V’s insane screaming and growling in these parts. In my opinion the best song on the album. Next up is ‘The Long Way To Rock’, slow, at times heavy song in which clean vocals are alternated with death grunts. And then there’s the appropriately named ‘Fight ‘n’ roll’ which is exactly the feeling this song conjures up when you listen to this. Its high speed rhythm, backed by insanely composed rhythm section lines, sets the atmosphere ablaze to which the once again insanely screaming Raptor V happily contributes. Add to this its sing-a-long-ish chorus and you have the perfect battle song. The album closes with what can only be described as Raptor King’s vision on a ballad. It’s called ‘Lonesome Raptor’ and it offers a soothing end to the explosive adventure of defeating Pelletor. When you hear Raptor V’s hoarse voice combined with the singing guitar riffs you could be forgiven for imagining yourself in a smoke-filled bar with nothing but cheap scotch, shady types and dubious girls. The absolute end however, is somewhat different, leaving room for, indeed, a sequel.

All in all ‘Dinocalypse’ is an EP that will please many if you ask me. The story backing this release up might not, but in all honesty, does that really matter? I think the story is not to be taken too seriously, Raptor King just wants to have fun making music, and that is exactly what this release breathes. In the end it all comes down to the quality of the music that is offered, which is no issue whatsoever in this case. Raptor V, Nightsmoke and Don Coco are skilled musicians with a good eye for composing great songs. So to those that really feel the story is a major obstacle for giving this a chance, man up and forget about it. You’ll enjoy the tunes. The rest can give this a try without hesitating. You too will enjoy the tunes.

Written by Henric van Essen

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Interview: Nervochaos

Today Brazilian metallers Nervochaos will release their new album called Nyctophilia. DutchMetalManiac's Don Anelli already reviewed it for you here and below you can read his interview with Nervochaos' drummer Edu.

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

The reactions so far have been great, both from the media and the crowd, but most important is that we are pleased with the new album. I think we’ve managed to gather all elements from the band and from our past releases and have it all on the new material. I believe it is our best album up to date.

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

All tracks are special but of course I have a few favorite ones. For example, “Ad Maiorem Satanae Gloriam”, is a very unique song and different from everything we’ve done so far…it has more of that rock’n’roll vibe but it’s heavy and catchy too. Another example would be “Ritualistic” which has more variety, it’s more extreme and I would say it’s a very Nervochaos style of song, same goes out to “Dead End”. “Moloch Rise” is one more example, it’s a very old school straight forward Death Metal style of song.

This was recorded at Alpha Omega Studio. Why did you decide it was right to record there, especially being outside of Brazil for the first time?

We’ve worked with Alex Azzali (owner of Alpha Omega) in our last two albums. First we’ve worked with him only doing mixing and mastering of the album “To The Death” in his studio. So we recorded in Brazil and send it to him do the mixing and mastering jobs. Then, for the album “The Art of Vengeance”, Alex flew to Brazil for the recording and again took mixing and mastering to his studio in Italy. We’ve liked the outcome of both albums and it felt like a natural step for us to do the new album, the whole process, over his studio in Italy. So we had a summer European tour booked (July) and decided to stay longer (August) in Europe and record the new album there.

Why did you decide to work with producer Alex Azzali? Did he bring out anything special to the material while you were recording?

As I’ve mentioned above, we were happy with the cooperation between us and Alex. He understands the band, our proposal and managed to make us sound better but without losing our vibe, our characteristics and our proposal. He also gave us some good ideas to the songs and its structures, so like we say over here, ‘we don’t change the line-up of a team that’s winning’.

Your new record will be released on the legendary label Cogumelo Records. What was it like when they decided to release the album?

This is the 3rd studio album Cogumelo is releasing and we’re very happy to be part of such a legendary label. They’ve signed us in 2012 and since then I think both sides are very pleased with the partnership and how things are working. We’re the hardest working band on the label, so besides all the re-releases that they do, I think we’re the best selling active band on the label. We’re proud to be part of that team and we hope that partnership lasts many more years.

Now that Thiago has rejoined the lineup after a decade away and new members Cherry and Lauro Nightrealm onboard, how has this new version of the band been accepted by the fans?

It’s been great and mainly because it’s the strongest line-up the band ever had. All musicians are experienced, bring their own baggage and together there’s the needed chemistry. We’re a touring band so the new line-up got tight very fast and the best way to promote and get accepted by the fans is thru the live performances, thru all the touring. So with the new album, most of our fans already know what to expect from this line-up and from the band.

The last three tombstones on the cover art are for the three guests on the album. How did you get them to record their parts for the release?

Good point! We weren’t planning any guests on this album, but during the recording process we were visited by a few friends that happened to be in the area and we’ve decided to invite them to do something on our new album. Bolverk (Ragnarok) gave us all the guitar riffs for “Vampiric Cannibal Goddess” song. Seb (Into Darkness) and Leandro (R.N.S.) did guest vocals on some tracks. It was a pleasure and an honor for us to have them as guests in our new album.

When you first started out, did you ever foresee the band having lasted this long?

Not at all. I never even thought about how long the band would last. At first we wanted to have a band and be able to play some shows in our town. Then we wanted more, we wanted to release albums and do tours. It all happens so fast and naturally that now when I look back 20 years have passed but somehow I still feel ‘fresh’ and looking forward for more 20 years. We do it for passion and not fashion.

For those unfamiliar with your sound, what makes the perfect Nervochaos song?

We’re not trying to invent the wheel or be the fastest or goriest band on Earth. We do what we like and we don’t want to be limited by music styles or musical labels, so if we have to classify our music, I would say we do extreme music. We’re an 80s fueled blackened extreme band with raw, aggressive, dirty and passionate music ranging from old school Thrash Metal, old school Black Metal and old school Death Metal but it has a HC/Punk feeling added to it. Our lyrics are mainly about the occult arts, Satanism and mythology but we do have a few lyrics about today’s harsh reality that we all experience in our day-by-day lives.

If you could travel back and give your younger self career advice, is there anything you would tell them?

Believe in yourself and just do it. Life’s too short to not pursuit your dreams. Never give up your dreams for somebody else, stay true to yourself and your beliefs. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Stay sick and keep it fuckin’ METAL!

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

We’ve released 3 video clips for the new album. We already did a 15 dates Latin American Tour with Krisiun and we’re doing an 7 dates Asian Tour together in May too. We have a huge Brazilian Tour being booked for June, July and early August. We also plan to tour Europe in September and October. And hopefully for November and December we’ll be touring somewhere as well.

So, we’ll end this on a fun note. What’s your all-time favorite track to play live?

With seven studio albums out it’s not always the easiest task to choose songs for a 30 minute gig or even a 45 minute gig, so we try to choose the songs people like the most. Personally I enjoy a lot playing all our songs and I wish we could play more often less well-known tracks which are a bit more challenging…to mention one of my all-time favorite track to play live I would say it’s “Pazuzu is Here”.

Do you wish to say something to our readers?

First of all, thanks a lot for such an interesting interview and for the support. Check us out on tour. For updates visit our website. For passion, not fashion…to the Death!

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