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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Interview: Sparzanza

Recently, on October 27th, the Swedish metallers from Sparzanza released their latest album Announcing The End. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Sparzanza's vocalist Fredrik Weileby about the album, as well as some other things.

Hey, congratulations on your new album, Announcing The End, it's very nice!

Thank you! It's nice to hear.

Can you tell us something about the writing process of Announcing The End?

We went down to Spain for a week to write this album instead of writing the songs at home as we did in the past. Lot of sun and cheap beer!

What's the story behind Announcing The End?

There is no story, really. It's more the end in several meanings. Could be the end of a life, earth, a relationship.

An end of Sparzanza, or not?

No, we will not quit.

It's a new Sparzanza story right? What do you mean with that?

We kind of started over, from scratch. We have gone back a little more to our roots. We started as a stoner band and are going more in that direction again.

The cover art of Announcing The End is really nice! Who made it and what made you decide that person was the right one for the job?

Since this one is called Announcing The End we thought about biblical armageddon. It's a drawing that looks like an old, biblical picture. So, we found this guy from Greece, Vagelis Petikas. His style is perfect, he makes really detailed drawings.

Is there a story behind the cover art?

We just said the things we wanted. There's a lot of hidden stuff in the cover if you look good at it. If you know your mythical stuff, you can find a lot of cool stuff there. I won't give it away.

For Announcing The End you signed with Despotz Records, what made you decide Despotz Records is the best choice at this moment?

They basically gave us a very good offer and actually they wanted to sign us for a couple of years. Now we were out of a contract and the pieces fit together, so we decided to try them. So far, it's been really good.

Will you stay with them for your possible next album?

Yeah, we will probably release another album.

Announcing The End also marks Sparzanza's 20 year anniversary, how do you look back at those past years?

It's been a slow way upwards. It's been fun, we played many countries. We drank a lot of beer and played a lot of good music. So it's been very good.

What is the most memorable Sparzanza moment for you?

Headlining a festival in Finland where we played for 15000-20000 people or the time when we had to go to Finland on a short notice to replace Anthrax.

About things you haven't done before with Sparzanza, what is still on your wishlist for the future?

For me that will probably be playing in the United States, basically touring all over the world, like a huge band. Together with Stone Sour maybe.

Since you already have a 20-year career, what would be your advice to young and starting bands nowadays?

Don't give up. First of all you have to love what you're doing, don't do it for the money, because it isn't there. You have to do it because you love it and people will know you do. Don't give up to easily.

You already announced Scandinavian tourdates for the remainder of 2017. Can we expect some more touring in 2018?

Yeah, of course. This is just the first part of the tour, more will come.

Also planning to come to The Netherlands?

Hopefully, I never been there, so that would be cool.

Any future Sparzanza plans you can already tell us a bit about?

Not anything more than upcoming tours.

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

Thank you for the interview and for giving us the opportunity to do this. I don't think we are that well-known in The Netherlands, hopefully we will be. Keep on that heavy metal!

Sparzanza Official Website
Sparzanza Facebook
Sparzanza Twitter

Monday, October 30, 2017

Review: Forever Young Viktoria - Howls Of Protest

Up until today the band Forever Young Viktoria and I never crossed paths, in fact the name didn’t even ignite the smallest spark of recognition. They are a four-man outfit from Gelsenkirchen, Germany and they are active as a band since 2010, when the remains of punk band CDC were picked up and used to form FYV. Now consisting of four members, Mirko Hodacki as vocalist, Stefan Doktor as drummer, Malk Borowi as guitarist/vocalist and Mirko Steigerwald as bassist, they started as a punk-oriented band. After two full-lengths, The Hardest Part Of Ending Is Starting Again in 2012 and Consent To Collapse in 2014, the guys are now ready for the release of their new work in the form of a 4-track EP called Howls Of Protest, which likely is a reference to their start as a punk band. Nowadays the punk influences are still clearly audible, with the aggressive vocal lines as its most striking representative. However, FYV’s music focal point definitely shifted towards metalcore quite a bit, best describing their tunes as some sort of hybrid form between the two genres.

Opener Feel The Rope starts with a soundscape of a mass protest before the song actually kicks in and it immediately grabs you by the throat. Fierce guitar and drum lines battle angry vocal lines to gain the upper hand, classifying this song as an aggressive form of metal. Probably needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway: aggressive in a good way of course. Bring out the circle pits and walls of death… And it in no way ends here. Next up is Human Error, a song that starts even more ferocious before settling into a slower pace, but definitely matching the aggressive atmosphere its predecessor unleashed on the unsuspecting audience. If you hadn’t figured it out yet, the third song, title song Howls Of Protest, makes things perfectly and loudly clear: aggressiveness is, among others, one of FYV’s trademarks music-wise. Here too the winner in the battle of being the most aggressive contribution to the overall atmosphere is undecided. The EP ends with Apex Hunter in which the guys take the foot off the pedal to secure an end of peace and quiet… Well, that is not entirely true to be honest, with a really, really huge dose of imagination you might interpret the slightly slower pace and aggressiveness in both music and vocals a soothing end compared to the rest of the songs, but in all reality it still is a feisty piece of metal.

So all in all this can be considered a solid piece of, well, punkcore, with the right dose of speed and aggressiveness in both music and vocal lines. The guys most certainly do not hide their punk roots, but they are also not afraid to show the ‘new’ direction they are evolving into. I’m going to take the liberty of assuming that this EP is only a try out to see if the new style fits both bands and fans, and if that indeed is the case I’m the first to reassure them: In my opinion, admittedly not knowing their previous work, there is absolutely no reason to change course or go back. This work has enough punk influences to satisfy the fans of the early hour as well as more metal- or hardcore oriented fans. If you are a fan of either of these genres or if you like your music to be spiced up with a healthy dose of aggressiveness, you should check this out.

Written by Henric van Essen

Forever Young Viktoria Facebook

Friday, October 27, 2017

Interview: Moonspell

On November 3rd, the Portuguese metallers from Moonspell will release their new, special album, called 1755. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Moonspell's vocalist Fernando Ribeiro about 1755, Portugal, as well as other things.

Hey Fernando, already congratulations on your new album, 1755, I really like it.

Thanks, that's awesome!

What is the story behind it?

It's an album with an story based on a big, tragic event that happened on the November 1st in 1755 in our capital city of Lisbon, an earthquake. When we were in high school we learned that our country has a lot more history than we thought. So when we grew up, studied and kept interested in Portuguese history we decided to make an album about it, because it is very remarkable for Portugal. This album is about to be special, because we sing in our native language. It's the first time we do so on a full album. Of course we have songs, like for example Alma Mater, with Portuguese parts in it. It was probably a bit unexpected, but we are very much interested in our history and have very much inspiration. So we decided to make this our new album. It will be out really soon, it will be a bit different, still Moonspell, but it has a lot of novelty about it. Now I think our job is done, we have to go on the road. Now it's up to the fans. I never focus too much whether it is different or the same, it's up to the fans.

It seems Portugal is really important for you, is it?

Very important. When you are a band coming from Portugal, it's logic that it's a bit more difficult to get through the bands in Central Europe. We always lived with that, we traveled months away from home. We never wanted to move from Portugal, our mojo is here. Our families, our culture, our food is here. Even we act quite nomad as a band, we are that kind of people that need something that grounds them to the roots. For us, that is not wanting to move out of Portugal. Besides that it's also the emotional and spiritual feeling. Coming out of Portugal with not having many bands around made us feel like bringing some responsibility for bringing Portuguese culture into other nations. Portugal is a big inspiration for us, always has been. On this album it's even stronger, more generally for the fact that we are writing about an historical event from Portugal, in Portuguese. I don't think language is such a barrier in metal. People are more looking for the experience, 1755 is exactly that.

You just released a bonus track, the Spanish version of Desastre, why in Spanish?

The original is in Portuguese, but we always wanted to make an tribute, a thank you note, to some of our biggest fans in the world, people from Latin-America and Mexico. In Portugal, back in the 18th century, there was of course Portuguese, but the language talked on the streets was a mixture between Portuguese and Spanish. The old books from that time are a mix between Portuguese and Castellano. We decided to have a bonus track totally sung in Spanish for that strong community of fans we have there. Another reason is that, while Portugal and Spain are of course different countries, there are lot of things tying us. We can also speak the language, but not as good as a native speaker. It's also a very interesting language to sing in, I never tried it before and it sounds really aggressive and brutal like some bands I like. Even the music I am listening to now is not only in English. Since we do this album in Portuguese I am definitely more open to bands that sing in a different language than English. For sure, our new album, after this one, will be in English again, but I am really enjoying the experience with the band.

What are some of the bands you are into nowadays?

Solstafir from Iceland, they sing in Icelandic. I really like the new Ulver album, which is a dark pop album, but I think it's a masterpiece, The Assassination Of Julius Caesar. The new Satyricon is really great black metal, back to their roots, not so much rock anymore, but really dark and grim. Lots of music sounds right, things from the past, things I found in Spotify. Metal as well as non-metal. I really love listening to music, music is always based on my mood. For these last days I also listened to a lot of Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, because of the recent passing of Martin Eric Ain. For the memory.

What makes you proud the most for being Portuguese?

I can say football, but it is such an stupid answer. Football is just what we are known from. What makes me really proud of Portugal is our culture, because Portugal might be a country in South Europe nobody bothers about anymore, but we have thousands of bands and creative people that are recognized abroad. We have great singers, writers and they really tap into this. I think those are the ones who build the Portuguese culture, the ones who tell the stories through their music or books. That's what I really appreciate about Portugal mostly. It's definitely the culture.

On the track In Tremor Dei you have a guest vocalist, Paulo Bragança, who is a Fado singer. How was working with him?

It was great, he is a very different Fado singer. He is a Fado singer, but with a lot of punk attitude. He challenges the borders of our national music, Fado. Fado for Portugal is like tango for Argentinia or flamenco for Spain, but it's a very different kind of music. It's more melancholic or sad. I think it has everything to do with us as a band and as Portuguese people. But we wanted a very special singer and Paulo is like the fallen angel of Fado, which makes him more true in his performance. We wanted a guest who brings a new tone of Portugal into our music, something more desperate and dreamy. Paulo was just the right guy for the job, it was very easy to work with him. One of his favorite bands is Bathory, imagine that. So we thought let's make this happen and I think he made a beautiful performance in In Tremor Dei.

How is the metalscene in Portugal? Are there any Portuguese bands you would recommend?

I think it's much better than what it used to be. We have one of our cult bands here in Portugal, Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, which means Sons Of Infernal Darkness. There are really great bands here, even some singing in Portuguese. For people who are more into industrial metal I would recommend one of the older bands, Bizarra Locomotiva, which translates to Bizarre Locomotive. They are an amazing band, I also feature in one of their songs. They are going to support us on our Spanish tour. In doom we have Process Of Guilt who are already on the Roadburn festival, we have classic metal like Midnight Priest. It's a good scene in Portugal, people work harder to get their stuff recognized outside Portugal.

And the Portuguese fans?

They are amazing and sometimes I think that they don't get enough respect, which is why we created our own label to take care of Moonspell things here in Portugal. It's the better service to the fans, the gigs here are full, big bands come here and are sold out. We have club shows every week, but I still think, unlike many other countries, metal isn't seen as a valid genre of music here. The fans are the better people because they are very supportive in the metal scene. Not only the older generations but also a lot of new kids who listen to metal in Portugal. I think more than ever before, to be honest.

Lanterna Dos Afogados is a cover of Paralamas Do Sucesso, why did you decide to cover this song?

I have to say it's not a song people, even my own band, expected us to cover. Because it's a very popular pop song from Brazil that we used to listen to when we watched soap operas from Brazil here in Portugal. We felt really attracted to the song because of the lyrics, which are quite sad and melancholic. I decided to bring this in with the band, because the lyrics are about the fishermen who are going to the sea and the women that stayed in the harbor and the villages. They used a lantern, so the boats could see that they are still waiting. Even while it was written by a Brazilian band, it's a very Portuguese subject. We still have that happening, right now in 2017. People that go to fish in the sea with poor conditions and they never return because their boats sunk. So I decided it was a perfect note to end the album. I think it is a very doomy song with lots of nods like Type O Negative, our favorite band. I think it's a great song to do after such an intense album.

The cover art is created by João Diogo, what made you decide he was the right person for this job?

João Diogo is a very known designer here in Portugal, he worked with many bands. He was under my radar for a couple of years. I decided that, because he is from Portugal and he understands and knows this history himself would qualify him more, together with his talent, to make the cover artwork for this album. I really love what he did, it's very Portuguese. It depicts Lisbon and a climate of fantasy that was a little bit going through the air. Of people not believing that their city was actually destroyed and that God couldn't save them. For us, 1755, is a story that needs to be told. Of course through the music, but we also tried to pass this on into the cover artwork. So that people get the story and the drama also through the visual parts. We will also apply this to the concerts.

Next week you have three special album release shows, two in Lisbon and one in Porto. What special things can fans expect on those shows?

These release shows are very important, because they are the start of a big tour that will take us all over the world for sure. It's good to start at home, we feel at home in Lisbon and everywhere in Portugal, so Porto is definitely included. We are preparing a bit more special setup, we'll try to recreate some of the atmosphere of late 18th century Lisbon on the stage. Through scenarios and extra's, it will be a really atmospheric and visual show for the fans. Of course we are going to play the new album and some fan favorites. Having a good time after that earthquake show. We are working really hard to make it perfect and to make it with an theatrical approach.

Besides those release shows and some Spanish dates, you are going to tour with Cradle Of Filth in 2018, looking forward to it?

All the time, we know Cradle Of Filth since 1993/1994, so we kind of toured with them many times and I think the bands musically click very well. I think that's important for the fans, sometimes you have bands that are too far away from each other. I think this is a match made in hell. Of course we look forward to play our new songs and I think it's important to give people something in Portuguese, something theatrical. We definitely look forward to bring this 1755 circus on tour.

Recently you revealed a new beer, called 1755 Amura, how did you come up with this idea?

It's a collaboration that we have already, we did a Moon & Spell beer with a brewery here in Portugal called Mean Sardine. To celebrate the launch of the new album, we decided to have a handcraft beer, 1755 Amura, to present it to the fans. It's actually a good idea, I think the connection of beer and metal is very good. We already sold out all our older beer. I think it's a nice gesture, many of our fans are beer drinkers and I think many of them want something with quality. A real beer, with a different taste, not the festival piss as some would say. It's a very welcome idea and our plan for the future is to also make red wine. It's one of our favorite drinks and I believe many fans also agree with this.

You also wrote some books in the past, is that something you still do?

I formed with a book publisher, so together we are setting up different stuff. I am working on the English translation of the three poetry books I wrote in the past. It's almost done, so we will release it internationally. Having it translated in English, will hopefully also make it being translated into other languages. Many people asked me why I won't translate my books, well I am not a poet, I am a musician. I don't really have the time or talent for it. I think in 2018 people will be able to read my poetry books and from that moment on I'll start publishing more books, not only by myself, but also through the label. I really like books, they are my biggest hobby and passion outside music, so I want to be more involved in there.

But not writing a new book at the moment?

Well, I am writing my memoirs but it will take some time. There will be a Moonspell biography written by a Portuguese journalist, which is coming out in 2018, in Portuguese. It will be translated in English and Spanish.

Besides the album getting released and touring, do you already have any other future Moonspell plans you can already tell us a bit about?

After this album, we are going to release our DVD, which is already ready. It's up for release in spring 2018. It will be called Lisboa Under The Spell, which is recorded here on a big three-hour show for four thousand fans. It's going to be a little movie about the last days before such an important event. So it will be a kind of different project, not only a concert, but more like a film with a concert inside it. Than eventually we will start working on a new album, we have some new stuff lined up. It will be a follow-up to Extinct, being 1755 more of a standout album. We still have that on us and will travel around the world.

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

Thank you for the interview and the support. Your country is always very hospitable to Moonspell, we have great friends there. We are coming back there with Cradle Of Filth, it's a nice chance for meeting again and for supporting 1755. I hope you like the new album, sung in Portuguese about a tragic day for Portugal.

Moonspell Facebook
Moonspell Twitter

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Interview: Nachtblut

On October 13th, the new album from German metallers Nachtblut, Apostasie, was released. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Nachtblut's drummer Skoll about Apostasie, Quentin Tarantino, as well as other things.

Hey Skoll, how are you?

I am fine, it's getting cold, but it's okay. How are you?

I'm fine! Congratulations on your new album, Apostasie. It's really nice!

Thank you! You like it? Do you have a favorite song?

Yeah, I really like Multikulturell, but the full album is very great.

Thank you, I appreciate that.

You already played some shows since its release date, how are the reactions on it so far?

Really flattering, I didn't expect that people can sing all the songs already. During the time between the release and the tour people get to the songs and sing along loud. Even before the album was released people were singing the songs, thanks to our music videos. The reactions are overwhelming. They go crazy about new songs, they sing along and we all enjoyed.

Apostasie is the first Nachtblut album with Ablaz (bass) and Amelie (keyboards) who joined Nachtblut in 2016. How was creating the album with this partly new lineup?

To be fair, the whole process of doing Apostasie already started before they joined the band. Ablaz filled in at the end of 2016 for our former bass player Trym. Amelie joined the band end of 2016/begin 2017. The process of songwriting was already finished at that moment. It's a joy to play the songs with them. Unfortunately Amelie can't join the tour because of an injury.

She broke her wrist right?

Yeah, thanks to a car accident.

How is she doing now?

Saying she's fine is too much, but she's okay. She still has pain obviously, but she's recovering. For the next tour she will join us.

Hope she recovers very well soon. On Apostasie you welcome two guest vocalists, Aeva Maurelle (Aeverium) and Tetzel (Asenblut). How was working with them?

With Tetzel it was pretty easy. We know each other for a long time now. He and his band, Asenblut, were supporting us on our shows last Autumn and we even know each other before. So, getting in contact with him was pretty easy. He has a great sense of humor too, so it was fun. So, it was easy to get him involved in Wat is' denn los mit dir.

Aeva and her band Aeverium were supporting Lord Of The Lost. We already knew the guys from Lord Of The Lost and I went to a show of them. We had this song, Einsam, and we knew we wanted to do a duet with a female vocalist, but we didn't find the right person at that point. I saw her, recorded it on video and sent it to the other guys. I thought the combination would be perfect and really fitting the song. That way it went, she's very professional and easy to work with. Great fun and a great person.

The track with Tetzel, Wat is' denn los mit dir, is a cover from Kollegah. What made you decide to do a cover of specifically this song?

We listen to a lot of different music and when you're on tour you like to have a good time. You drink and party. I don't remember how, but at some point this song was played at every party we had on tour. At some point you start to sing along and you just have a good time. As we like to have a good time with or fans and friends, we decide to cover this, due to the good vibe. That's the story, I would say too much liquor.

In the videoclip for Multikulturell you take a stand against racists, is there something you want to say to explain your message and views a bit more?

No, it's a good statement. Period. If I read the comments on, for example, Youtube I think it was the right time to make this statement and to piss off a lot of people.

The video is referencing to a few Quentin Tarantino movies, are you a fan of his movies?

Yeah, I am.

What do you like the most about Tarantino's style of filming?

The way stories are told, my favorite is Pulp Fiction. At one point all those little stories make one good, bigger story, I really like that. A certain aspect we used in our video are the Red Apple Cigarettes. I like the easter eggs like that.

Ten years ago you released your debut full-length, Das Erste Abendmahl. How do you look back at the past ten years?

Firstly, I can't believe it's already ten years ago. Time is really flying by. I would say we developed and we did well. It doesn't mean I am not happy about the result of Das Erste Abendmahl, I really like it. For obvious reasons we handle things differently nowadays when it comes to songwriting, sound and artwork. I think we got better in every aspect. I think, as a musician, you are too close to do a good analyze, you just do it. We are not a band sitting together and planning much for the future. We are doing it more naturally. As we like several music genres, this time we did combine these with the typical Nachtblut sound, which we already have. It comes naturally.

Where do you take your inspiration from then?

From everyday life. There's so much to get inspiration from, some news, persons you talked with or met, some attitudes or perspectives, literally everything. When you catch up a topic and you feel that the content is really driving you, you have your inspiration.

When you compare Apostasie to its predecessor Chimonas (2014), what is it you notice?

I would say Apostasie is more varied, because we didn't set end boundaries. We didn't thought about it, we just wanted to do it. You already mentioned the cover of Kollegah, which is German rap music, something I would say is still a no-go in metal. We said okay, let's do it. Why put boundaries to our music and our creativity? You can hear that on the record. We have songs that remind you of Neue Deutsche Härte, a ballad, a cover, some pagan influences in the Apostasie song, black'n'roll in Der Tod ist meine Nutte. We were not scared to use some electronic parts in, for example, Geboren um zu leben. So, you can say a lot of genres come together and extend. We really think it's varied and, to quote Askeroth, orgasmic.

At this moment you have four future shows confirmed, can we expect some more shows soon?

We are working on it, I can't confirm anything right now officially. We are planning 2018 and almost having a look at 2019, so more shows to come definitely.

Do you think you will come to The Netherlands?

We would like to, but as a German singing band it's not always easy in non-German speaking countries. We will work on it and it's definitely on our list.

That would be nice! Anywhere you want to go you didn't went already?

There are a lot of nice places on the world. Japan would be very nice. America, doesn't matter where, North-, Middle- or South-America. Shame on us, but we still have a lot of places we didn't show up in Europe.

Any other Nachtblut future plans you can already tell us a bit about, besides touring?

We will start with songwriting at some point again, not waiting too long for that. Furthermore, nothing to officially confirm right now.

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

Thank you for your support and hopefully some day we will see you at one of our shows in The Netherlands. Thank you for the interview!

Nachtblut Official Website
Nachtblut Facebook

Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: Ah Ciliz/Chiral - Origins

On November 6th, the record labels Hypnotic Dirge Records and Throats Productions are releasing a new split together. Origins, as it is called, will contain music from the atmospheric black metal bands Ah Ciliz and Chiral. I already know Chiral's music, but this will be my first time listening to Ah Ciliz. Curious!

Ah Ciliz started in 2008 as a solo project of Elmer, but nowadays Boris Iolis takes care of Ah Ciliz's vocals. You might know Boris Iolis from L'Hiver en Deuil, Marche Funèbre and/or Soul Dissolution. Marco Ceccarelli, Ah Ciliz's drummer until 2014, can also be heard as guest musician on the first Ah Ciliz track of this split, Cascadia.

Musically Ah Ciliz produces very nice atmospheric black metal, but it can be heard that variation is also something they think is important. The whole Ah Ciliz-part as well as each track on its own gives us many musical changes, so it definitely won't get boring. The second track, titled Moonlight In Night Season, let’s us hear the more relaxing side of Ah Ciliz. This folky, ambient interlude between the other two Ah Ciliz tracks, Cascadia and People Of The Stars, makes you focus even more on those. Moonlight In Night Season on its own however is also really worth it. After a short musical build-up in People Of The Stars Ah Ciliz will go full-speed once more for now.

My first time listening to Ah Ciliz was definitely worth it, with People Of The Stars being my favorite.

The second band on this split is no stranger to me. I already wrote reviews of his albums Abisso (here, together with an interview), Where Mountains Pierce The Nightsky (here, split with HaatE), Sed Auiis (here, split with Nebel Über Den Urnenfeldern and Eternal Spell), Snow/Heritage (here), Gazing Light Eternity (here) as well as a compilation he was part of (In Metal We Trust Vol. 1, here). I also mentioned him in the second part of Promoting Bands (here). Of course it's about Chiral, the one-man atmospheric black metal band from Italy.

While Ah Ciliz has three tracks on this split, Chiral has two tracks. Looking at the length of both parts it barely makes a difference, because Chiral's second track, Queen Of The Setting Sun, gives you a 15-minute experience. First Chiral unleash A Feeble Glare Of Autumn, a track you might have heard already, because it's streaming for a while now on Chiral's Facebook page. While A Feeble Glare Of Autumn is instrumental, you aren't going to miss any vocals, because it’s being a really great track as it is now. The electro-sounds are a special surprise, they fit in really nice. They are perfect for leading in its ambient-sounding end. After A Feeble Glare Of Autumn, it's time for the long Chiral track, Queen Of The Setting Sun. The dark, slow start of it immediately captivates you to be, after the addition of choir-like vocals, dragged in the unleashed world of Chiral. The recording of this track sounds a bit crispy, but intentional or not, it really fits this track. Teo's vocals, clean, screams and grunts, are amazing. Yes, Teo even grunts a bit! After eight minutes there is a short moment of rest to go full-speed again towards the end of this amazing split.

With these two tracks Chiral again delivers two masterpieces. Queen Of The Setting Sun will be my favorite between these two.

I surely recommend this split between Ah Ciliz and Chiral to everyone who likes atmospheric black metal. These two bands are definitely worth to keep an eye on.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Ah Ciliz Facebook
Chiral Official Website
Chiral Facebook

Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: Night Viper - Exterminator

Night Viper, the metallers coming from Gothenburg, Sweden, only exists for three years. However, Night Viper, who plays another kind of metal than the style Gothenburg is known for, already have their second album released today. It is called Exterminator and is released through Listenable Records.

In 2016, Emil Ridderstolpe left Night Viper and since then he has been replaced by Johan Frick. On Exterminator Johan will, together with Tom Sutton, take care of the guitar-sound. Furthermore, Night Viper's lineup consists of vocalist Sofie-Lee Johansson, drummer Jonna Karlsson and bassist Ruben Ahlander Persson.

The first thing I noticed about Exterminator is of course the beautiful cover. What a very nice, detailed work of art is this. Hopefully it promises something about the music.

After the short build-up of Night Viper's first track, No Escape, it immediately can be heard that Night Viper brings a fresh sound. Night Viper's music has a vibe somewhere between doom, stoner and old school heavy metal, but it surely doesn't sound dated. Sofie-Lee Johansson's beautiful, doom-like voice perfectly fits the catchy but heavy music, in which guitarists Tom Sutton and Johan Frick really shine. For example, the solo's in Never Win and Revenge are really worth listening to. However, thrashy riffs aren't unknown to Tom and Johan, as can be heard in Ashes and Exterminator for example. Drummer Jonna and bassist Ruben take care of the solid rhythm section here. After the first nine tracks (35 minutes) Night Viper give all they have one more time in the 7-minute during All That Remains. When the last seconds of this beautiful final piece pass, you will realize how fast the past 42 minutes have gone by.

What a beautiful album Night Viper released with Exterminator! This album is highly recommended for everyone who digs doom, stoner and/or old school heavy metal.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Night Viper Facebook

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Interview: Nesseria

On October 6th, French metallers Nesseria released Cette Érosion De Nous-Mêmes, their new album. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with them about it and their hometown metal scene, among other things.

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Cette Érosion De Nous-Mêmes!

Thanks a lot!

Your lyrics are in French, which is your mother tongue. What made you decide to sing in your mother tongue instead of English?

The decision was quite easy to take. We are French so it's easier for us to write and express ourselves in our mother tongue. Furthermore, we're thinking it's kind of easy for bands to express themselves in English. Too many French bands are inclined to write in English because they want to hide their laziness in writing and singing. On the other hand, we agree with the fact that English sonority is sweeter than French. Diction and rhythm are also more fluid in English.

What's the story behind the cover and the lyrics of Cette Érosion De Nous-Mêmes?

The central character is a projection and a representation of an idea we had for a long time: every day, you're always wearing different masks according to every situations and according to our lives too. This is the idea you can find in the title Cette Érosion De Nous-Mêmes and this is the idea expressed with the lyrics and music in À L'usure.

We are working with Alex Eckman-Lawn from the beginning. Our previous covers were dark and urban. But Alex and us wanted to get out of that. He worked on the cover by using the Diorama technique. So the artwork has the virtue to be different from the genre's classics and presents a new artistic blooming for all of us.

When you compare Cette Érosion De Nous-Mêmes with your previous full-length, Fractures (2014), what is it you notice?

More complexity in the composition and the structures but, paradoxically, the all of it is more fluid than before. We also included a lot of melodic and mind-blowing elements. We didn't assumed these aspects very much before but now, we want to put them forward. To be honest with you, we wanted to stand out from the scene we are confined to because we have many influences and it's frustrating to confine to only style.

The fourth track on the album, À L'usure, starts with acoustic guitar alongside heavy vocals. How did you come up with this idea?

This idea was brought after the line up changed. Very soon, our singer Désiré proposed this idea. We all subscribed to the project even if creating a track like this was quite difficult at the first sight! Finally, it was the faster and easier track to be composed!

Your music is very intense and heavy, how do you bring that at a liveshow?

Your question is not that easy... First, we try to be as sincere as possible. It all depends on the mood, the audience, our tiredness after some shows. It's a liveshow, with all its qualities and failings.

On November 9th you'll have the release party in your hometown, Orléans. Looking forward to it? Anything special planned for this evening?

Yes we're looking forward to it, it's always great to play in our hometown! We meet up a lot of friends and people who are supporting us for long. We are all getting old together! Nothing special is planned but playing the new full-length (as planned for all the shows to come for the release tour).

How is the Orléans metal scene?

In fact, it's very small. Orléans scene was very active few years ago, especially into the punk and indie rock scene. Now there is not much. But the fact remains that Burning Heads are still a very important reference, always very active into the punk rock scene and one of the best punk rock band in France.

You already announced some other tourdates in France. Any chance of Nesseria shows outside France? Maybe in The Netherlands?

Yes, absolutely. For the moment, we focuses on the dates in our country. But by 2018, we'll be touring abroad. And The Netherlands is one of the countries we always receive a great welcoming. Maybe is there a chance to meet you up if we come?

That would be nice! Any other Nesseria future plans you can already tell us a bit about?

The next plan is to make a new clip. We already made a clip for Les Ruines this summer and the second one is in process. Of course touring as much as possible and composing new songs for the shows to come. We'd like to put some electronics elements too, keyboards in particular.

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

Thanks to take interest in us. And if there are readers to be at our next shows in The Netherlands, make us discover your local craft beers! We can chat about everything over a drink!

Nesseria Official Website
Nesseria Facebook
Nesseria Twitter

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Exit Eden - Rhapsodies In Black

Okay, first let me be perfectly clear, I hate cover songs and what I hate even more are crappy pop songs. And let that exactly be what Rhapsodies In Black is, covers of crappy pop songs. Still I am very happy to write this review. Why you might think? Well because it’s absolutely phenomenal what these ladies are doing, which is making a powerful metal song of a well-known pop song without changing it unrecognizably. Yeah sure, that’s fun and all, just put some heavy guitars and a double bass drum under it and you got some metal. If that was all that these ladies are doing then it wouldn’t be very exciting, but this supergroup consisting of Clementine Delauney, Amanda Somerville, Maria La Torraca and Anna Brunner packs some punch. It’s clear that this group of top vocalists aren’t meant to be questioned by me as a reviewer or anyone else regarding their vocal capabilities, because damn, these women can sing. Take for instance Rihanna’s Unfaithful, it is absolutely unbelievable what happens to this song when it’s being sung by people who can actually sing. The Backstreet Boys’ Incomplete suddenly becomes a very good song with some simple changes and some folk influences, this is mainly due to the variable vocal styles of the leading ladies.

But is it really metal? Well, these songs are written as pop songs, even when they are sung by Exit Eden. The band did show me the potential of a great and well thought of pop song. When you give the song just little bit more care, it becomes a song that you wanna put on over and over again. For example, Frozen by Madonna, I myself never thought it was a bad song but wow, what a song it became! Very cool!

So, can I say that I like covers now? Sadly no. Because it on itself beautiful enough Heaven by Bryan Adams loses all of its emotional baggage and warmth due to Exit Eden’s treatment. No, the ladies don’t sing the song in a bad way, but saying it kindly, it’s a very weird choice to put on the album and it should’ve been left alone! Thankfully the rest of the choices are really good. Especially Lady Gaga’s Paparazzi and Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse Of The Heart. These two songs have been turned into full-blown metal songs!

Rhapsodies In Black if you ask me, is for anybody who knows in their heart that pop songs aren’t bad but can be a whole lot better. And of course, it’s also for people who just love good music.

Thanks Exit Eden!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

Exit Eden Official Website
Exit Eden Facebook
Exit Eden Twitter

Monday, October 16, 2017

Interview: Brian Vollmer of Helix

On Friday September 6 2017, DutchMetalManiac's Alessandro got an opportunity of a lifetime!

After seeing them many times, taking some personal pics and creating a Helix shrine of cool signed memorabilia and personalized, rare items, he got the chance to do a live phone interview with the leading man of Helix – Brian Vollmer himself! It wasn’t long but it was intense and a wealth of information for those starting a band and those who are veterans of the music wars!

Helix is still a metal force to be reckoned with; still performing live across Canada and overseas and with several of their newer releases. 2014’s fully new track listed Bastard of the Blues and 2016’s Rock It Science, a compilation of hits with one new song, (Gene Simmons Says) Rock Is Dead, it brings their total, including solo and compilation and live albums, to at least 25!

Read on! – There’s a surprise at the end!

Brian, I am so honoured to be invited to talk with you live at Planet Helix, your home. Thank you so much!

Hey, thank you for the interview, this is great!

Wow. Can’t believe I’m talking to the lead singer of the “Hardest Working Band in Canada” as is said in your book Gimme an R. You’re still working harder than ever; solo albums, a cool, festive green vinyl single, All I Want for Christmas (Is the Leafs to Win the Cup) (side note: good luck with that one, Brian…lol!) newest record Rock It Science… can you tell us of your upcoming tour?

Well, we have shows in St. John’s Newfoundland October 21st then in Brampton October 26th with Lee Aaron and then October 28th in Oshawa.

Lee Aaron The Metal Queen! No way! I saw and met you all at Metal On Ice, organized so well by Sean Kelly, of Nelly Furtado and Crash Kelly fame. It was amazing. Lee signed my shirt…with me in it, right on my chest!

(Vollmer laughs)

What’s your best, favorite heaviest, Helix album?

Well they all are, really. Albums are a labour of love, they’re like my children. You produce them and then you see them grow and then you have to let them go. But if I had to choose it would be No Rest For the Wicked (1983). The single Heavy Metal Love from that album did really well.

I’m lovin’ the new single and video (Gene Simmons says) Rock is Dead – hilarious! So IS rock dead? Has Gene contacted you about this?

(laughs) No, rock isn’t dead. Of course, that’s not what the song was about. As long as someone picks up a guitar, someone will play metal for a variety of reasons, not just money. And no, he hasn’t contacted me but… (slight pause).. he’s seen it, I’m sure he’s seen it (chuckles).

So, tell me of some of the metal influences you’ve had.

Pretty much what everyone was listening to at the time. Lemmy of Motorhead said you’re influenced by the first bands you listen to. He was also always a gentleman and did it purely for the love of the music. Also, Danko Jones for sure and Danko will be singing on my new solo album Get Yer Hands Dirty!

Whoa! A new album. What the… I have not heard of this!

Yea! My new solo project, Get Yer Hands Dirty, available by pre-sale. It’ll be on CD as well as vinyl.

THAT is so cool! Well I hope to see you with Lee Aaron on the 26th! I want to thank you so much for speaking with us and….


Hey, .listen…(slight pause)…why don’t you come to the pre-release party here in London next week?

(stunned silence). Umm, you’re inviting me to Planet Helix?

(laughs) Yea, it’ll be a great time. Just email me and I’ll send details.

Oh, wow thank you so much, that’s an honour. Thanks so much for your precious creative time and we’ll see you at the show!

Thank you!

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our DutchMetalManiac readers?

Yea, Buy the records, keep buying the records and support your bands!


As of this writing, Alessandro has quit his job and will be going for a week of rock n roll mayhem. An exclusive invite for DutchMetalManiac to the home of the legendary Brian Vollmer, frontman of Helix! He will be reporting on this tour as it happens...stay tuned!

You need to grab once in a lifetime opportunities; there are other jobs!

Helix Official Website
Helix Facebook
Helix Twitter

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Review: Enzo And The Glory Ensemble - In The Name Of The Son

Enzo Donnarumma from Italy recorded together with his Glory Ensemble the longplayer In The Name Of The Son. Sounds biblical to you? Well, there’s a reason…

… Enzo plays Christian gospel-metal! And knowing that you’re not astonished to find tracks named after bible passages, such as Psalm 8 or Isaiah 53. It starts with a super-melodic instrumental intro composed of flutes and violins. The Tower Of Babel kicks off quite fast with some guitar riffs, before again imploding into an atmospheric sound à la Avantasia. Singing is scarce on that one as well, only sometimes a choir can be heard. More Avantasia and Symphony X feeling comes up with the first biblical track, Luke 128, with clear chants from Enzo, accompanied by a female choir in the back. Female chants are quite predominant on the record, as for example we only hear the choir in Psalm 8. And while these first tracks are still somewhat fast, the fifth one, Gory To God, can perfectly pass as a track on a meditation playlist. It’s very calm and soothing – but as far from metal as you can get. Psalm 133 then picks up the speed and throws in some folkloric elements into the mix. Magnificat is another slow one before the most metal of them all, Isiah 53, comes up. This one’s definitely recommended for any power metal fans! And, wait a minute, there are even some growls on The Trial! And then there are a couple more power metal songs before the whole thing closes off with the bombastic If Not You.

In conclusion: Enzo’s longplayer is very well produced and you can tell that he’s a great musician. The diversity of the songs, combined with the aforementioned points, then even convinced me, not-such-a-fan-of-powermetal and atheist, to like this record. Sometimes it’s still a bit over the top for me, but hey, that comes with the genre! Still, I would warmly recommend this to any powermetal fan or to someone who’s on the lookout for some softer tunes. 9/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Enzo And The Glory Ensemble Official Website
Enzo And The Glory Ensemble Facebook

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Review: Chrysilia - Et In Arcadia Ego

Chrysilia is an Athens, Greece based symphonic folk metal band, with a line-up consisting of six musicians. The eye catcher is no doubt the multi-talented front woman, vocalist and co-founder Chryso Stamatopoulou, who is a classically schooled singer with an operatic touch. Along her side she finds guitarist Teo Ross, Jim Ramses on bass, Simon Kay on drums, John Matzakos on keyboards and Odysseas on violin. Co-founder Elias Pero and producer Bob Katsionis also play important roles, though not in the spotlights. Chrysilia, named after Chryso’s daughter, was founded as a band early in 2016 by Chryso and Elias, but started as a concept quite a bit earlier. Based on the evolvement of Elias’ compositions from his 90’s epic power metal band Sovereign, the concept project slowly but surely steered towards being a band, culminating (for now) in the release of their first full-length. Et In Arcadia Ego is a concept symphonic folk metal album with a romantic edge, a description to which the band would like to add the term ‘soundtrack’, due to it sounding like a metal-based motion picture soundtrack, according to the band.

Lyrically based on the concept of Arcadia, an variously interpreted mythological dreamland, the story of Et In Arcadia Ego is a metaphorically translated version, telling about a journey in time and fantasy, myths and reality, fairytales and politics, life and death itself, through the eyes of a girl growing up. Of course her name is Chrysilia. The setting is of course the Peloponnese, which is said to be where Arcadia is located. Concept-wise this is an exceptionally well-thought-out album, also expressed in the title, which is an often quoted, never fully fathomed phrase. Hopefully the band managed to translate all this into the music itself as well.

Opener By The Gates Of Ypsus is the first sign they indeed might have done just that. If you ever wondered what you could expect from soundtrack metal, this is the perfect song to be tutored. Like in a motion picture soundtrack there’s an abundance of soundscapes and intermezzos depicting either emotions, atmosphere or changes in the story line. Bombastic, but with the right amount of power and heaviness to classify as metal, this song definitely sets the tone for what promises to be a great album. The music provides a perfect frame for Chryso’s vocals, augmenting rather than supporting them. More than once a strong opener spells disaster for the rest of an album, simply because its quality cannot be matched, let alone surpassed. In this case, however, things are very different. The great prologue finds its equal in its successor called The Menalon Trail, another cleverly composed, powerful song in which the music augments the vocals in a similar way.

Up next is the mandatory power ballad, Desperate Wings, in which Chryso’s romantic side takes over, a role that fits her like the proverbial glove just as much as the role of power vocalist fits her. Most striking in this one is Odysseas’ violin work though, leading the song from the depths of its composition. As a bonus the album ends with an orchestral version of this song, in which the combination of Chryso’s voice and Odysseas’ swirling violin is even more convincing. That one, however, is to be found only at the end of the album. Before you get there, there’s much more to enjoy on Et In Arcadia Ego. Whether you pick the sweet Chrysilia that grows from a sweet lullaby into a full-blown folk song, the beautifully tensive and emotional The Fifth Season, with, once again, great violin work or the slow, relatively heavy King Of A Stellar War, all songs as well as the performing musicians’ contributions breathe the same high quality. In all honesty, I could have picked any song in this summary, I really cannot find a mediocre song on this album, which I consider an impressive achievement.

Having thoroughly heard and enjoyed this, it’s obvious the band’s addition of the term ‘soundtrack’ to the description of Chrysilia’s musical genre is spot on. Parts of this release could indeed very well be taken from a motion picture soundtrack, but when compared to an actual soundtrack there’s an essential difference. Unlike in real soundtracks the music on Et In Arcadia Ego is coherent at all times, with logical variations in speed, heaviness and rhythm without losing the required variety and atmospheric impressions a concept album needs. When you look at this from a strictly metal-oriented point of view you might not be fully satisfied, simply because it’s not a pure metal album. Not even close I’d say, but that doesn’t change the fact I consider this one of the best releases of the year, if not the best. Music, rhythm and vocals are tuned and in sync to near-perfection and there’s a definite emphasis on atmosphere over power, although it in no way can be called a powerless release. This album has a little bit of everything without losing track or coherence. The compositions are works of art that have been thoroughly thought through to ensure music and vocals complement instead of co-exist. Sweet release, this one will rank high in my year list for sure. Highly recommended.

Written by Henric van Essen

Chrysilia Official Website
Chrysilia Facebook

Monday, October 9, 2017

Review: Into The Arcane - Het Verlangen Der Geest

Dutch atmospheric doom metal band Into The Arcane formed back in 2016 and are teasing their first full-length, which can be expected around the end of the year, with a four-track EP called Het Verlangen Der Geest.

First up is The Glass King. Into the Arcane entitle their sound as “atmospheric doom rock”, but with their first track they’re far from any slow, dragging melodies that you might expect now. Rather, it’s actual mid-tempo rock intermingled with death metal and doom influences, and the lengthy songs switch between vocal and instrumental parts. The Innocent Hunter then rather fulfills the doom part with its slower pace at the beginning and the black metal influences you can perceive, but then switches to a more fast-paced sound quite alike the first track. Nicely enough though, for variation, the track’s second part is nice, slow and atmospheric and cut out for the autumn moods we’re in now. In general, variety plays a big part in Into The Arcane’s sound, and it’s fun discerning all the different influences that went into the EP – all that while the guys still maintain a certain trademark sound, as can also be perceived on tracks number three and four, What Lies Beneath The Shroud and The Slumber Of Man.

In conclusion: Into The Arcane have laid out a great EP, wetting the appetite for what’s yet to come with the longplayer. What impressed me most is the diversity of their sound, which makes Het Verlangen Der Geest very fun to listen to – so this one comes highly recommended! 9.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Read part 8 of Promoting Bands, in which we also mentioned Into The Arcane, here.

Into The Arcane Facebook

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Interview: Vuur

Anneke van Giersbergen already has a great musical career. Of course, it all started with The Gathering, she worked with Devin Townsend, Ayreon, Danny Cavanagh and formed The Gentle Storm with Arjen Lucassen, besides various solo albums. Now, she formed a new band, Vuur, in which she presents her progressive metal side. On October 20th, Vuur's debut In This Moment We Are Free - Cities will see its release. DutchMetalManiac's Glenn van der Heijden, who reviewed the album here, and Tim van Velthuysen met Anneke and spoke with her about Vuur, the album and freedom amongst other things.

Congratulations on your new album and band. You played a couple of shows in Drachten and at Dynamo Metalfest, how were the reactions of the audience?

I do look back at those shows very good, because we thought we are going to do a try-out show in a small venue so we could make some mistakes and learn. Then it was sold-out very quickly, so we put it in the big room, which was also sold out superfast. There were many people coming to our very first show ever, so we were very nervous, because now it must be a very good show. We pulled it off and after it we did some festivals, also in some other countries. Festival audience is also a bit different because they don't necessarily come for you and you have all new, long, complicated songs, but everybody reacted very well.

So, you didn't anticipate that big reaction?

No, we knew we made a good album, but you'll never know how people will react.

The writing process of In This Moment We Are Free - Cities included seven people, how did it go?

I started writing with Joost van den Broek, who also produced the album. Every Tuesday for a year I was going to the studio, besides writing everywhere I was going. In the end, when the songs were finished, the band came and we recorded the songs. They add a lot of personality and are great players. For example, when I think that Ed Warby, the drummer, can do nice things at some moments, he would do it much cooler.

Because you know him?

Yeah, but still they do things more amazing than you thought they would.

Was choosing Joost van den Broek a no-brainer for you?

Yeah, we played together in The Gentle Storm, where he was doing keyboards. He isn't a tour animal, so he wanted to go back to the studio, so I asked, whether or not he would produce a new metal album when I would form a band and he said yes.

All tracks are named after a city you've been, was it difficult to choose the cities?

Yeah, there are so many cities to choose from. I already got a lot of angry messages from people who said I didn't include their city. So maybe I am going to make Cities Part 2. You have your favorite places to go, I wanted some European, some South-American cities.

Your album is a lot about freedom, it's a very central theme, what is your message about freedom and how does it relate to Vuur's lyrics? What is freedom for you?

That's a good question, because freedom is for everybody something else. If you live in a country which is in war, it means something entirely different than, for example, for me when I live in Holland, a peaceful country at the moment. So, we have the opportunity to be free as an artist, in your mind, to express. If I express something in my music, I feel the responsibility for it to be important, because there are people listening to it. I should have a message. My message is always positivity, I am a firm believer in it.

With the past years with terrorism do you think that sort of freedom is threatened at the moment in the world?

I think in Paris, or everywhere where are bombings, terrorist attacks or any kind of conflict, there is also always a kind of undercurrent flow of people who come together and help each other out. Those new communities formed all over the place where something is happening. We always focus on the bad things in the media, why can't it be like "this bad thing happened, but then this happened"? People are coming together and help each other out. You see it now with Donald Trump, the worst possible president you can have, but still there are people who think if the government is not helping me anymore, we will do it ourselves. That's positive. I don't understand why bad things are happening, but I do understand that also very good things are happening.

It's a great album, how are you going to surpass that on a new album?

I don't know! I am happy you like it, I put everything I had in it. I think that's exactly what I need to do next time. To have good focus, make it together and make something real honest, because that's how it is.

You were waiting to do this, but you didn't have the musicians for it. Now you have, is it everything you hoped for?

Yeah, even more. The guys in the band are really fantastic, they all have been in other bands, we have some all-star band. The latest recruitment is guitarist Jord Otto, he is a really good solo-player. I feel like every element is in order. There's nobody missing, we can do what we like, because we have great musicians.

Is there a democracy?

No, not really. Everything is my idea; however, the band is pushed forward due to the characterizing. I didn't want it to be me and a bunch of guys, but everyone has their own fingerprint in it.

Can you tell us something about the beautiful album cover?

The whole album has to do with freedom, duality, darkness and light. I wanted to have the artwork represent that, so the guy is made out of stone and is carrying this heavy city on his head, but there is also green and light. I wanted to make a balance between darkness and light.

Again, the positivity which is important.

Yeah, maybe we should all embrace the darkness in ourselves, but also the light. It's too much this or that sometimes.

The media is like that, right? Social media also adds a darker side to it.

Yeah, but there are also people on social media who, for example, put cat movies on it, that's good. The normal media have the tendency to represent only bad things.

You are going to tour with Epica and Myrath, looking forward to that?

Yes, I think the three bands together make a good diverse musical evening, we are going to play a lot of Vuur stuff of course, but also some Devin Townsend and Gentle Storm.

So Vuur is your dream come true?

To be honest, yes, and that's why I wanted to stay. So, I gave the band a name, it’s a train that is now running.

Earlier you already tried giving your own band a name with Agua De Annique, but that kind of failed.

Vuur is much clearer. The difference is when I just left The Gathering I came up with a band name, but nobody knew it was me. Now it makes sense.

Aren't you going to miss all the other, non-heavy stuff, you did?

I am not stopping with that, the only thing I did was giving Vuur a band name, so all the heavy things will be under Vuur's name, with hopefully the same people. Everything else I would do under my own name, so it's just a bit more clarity and it won't be all at the same time.

So, you will stay a workaholic?

Yes, I like singing and working. I am happy that I have so much work.

In December you have the headline shows, can you tell us something about it?

On 10 December we are in Utrecht and we do three shows in Paris, Vosselaar and London. So, four headline shows with Scar Symmetry and My Propane, Jord's band. We are going to do a lot of Vuur stuff, but also some old stuff, it will be big shows. Utrecht will be the only Dutch show for the moment we are going to do and then we will tour in 2018 and of course then we will also come back with Dutch club shows.

Do you have anything to add for our readers?

The most important thing is that we are happy to tour. Tomorrow the video for My Champion - Berlin will be online, which is exiting.

How was creating that music video?

Cool, actually there is a great story especially for people being Dutch. The lights in the video are the lights of Bløf. I worked together with Bløf for their new album, Aan, which is a great album. When I was with them on their live show, the lights on stage were really nice. I told the guy who would made our video, who also worked with Bløf and we could hire them. So, we have their lights on our video. We made a cage out of light, it's a performance video, because I wanted to let people see the band.

Because Vuur is your dream come true, is there something you are scared of?

This is a period between making the album and releasing it, so now there is this vacuum. You are waiting for the album to come out, nobody has heard it and you don't know how people are going to react.

I talked to Arjen (Ayreon) a while back and he was really scared for The Source coming out, I couldn't believe it. Is it also like that for you?

Most artists are really happy with their new album and think it's all that it could be and then it’s done and there is this vacuum comes and you get really scared. There's always a wave of fear, a moment of doubt.

Are you always yourself or do you put on some mask at some moments?

I am always myself, when I put on a mask which I sometimes tried, I always failed. Honesty is the best thing, real honest people like Devin Townsend or Arjen Lucassen make, in my opinion the best music possible. It also brings fear, awkwardness but it beats wearing a mask at all times. When I try, I always feel uncomfortable.

Even in those countries in South-America where you practically need bodyguards to escort you?

Yeah, but it's awkward, strange because I feel I am just Annie!

You still have angry The Gathering fans, right?

Yeah, it's ten years ago. It's not that bad anymore, but I got a lot of angry messages. Now the bodyguards only need to maintain the positive fans.

Thanks for your answers!

You can also check two parts of Promoting Bands in which Tim van Velthuysen wrote about VUUR here and here, as well as an interview with Anneke van Giersbergen by Glenn van der Heijden here. Joost van der Leij also wrote an live review about Dynamo Metalfest with VUUR in its lineup here.

Vuur Official Website
Vuur Facebook
Vuur Twitter

Friday, October 6, 2017

Review: Vuur - In This Moment We Are Free - Cities

Well first let me say that I feel absolutely privileged that I can write this review of the debut album of Anneke van Giersbergen’s VUUR titled In This Moment We Are Free - Cities. The expectations for this album were very high. Anneke van Giersbergen, ex-The Gathering and for me pioneer of the female fronted genre, who hasn’t made any metal since the beginning of her solo career in 2007, other than guest appearances with Devin Townsend and Ayreon, is going to make progressive metal. How is it going to sound? And when it was announced that colleague and friend Marcela Bovio was leaving the band because of musical differences, anticipation for the album reached an even higher peak. With the exception of Marcela Bovio and Delain and Purest Of Pain guitarist Merel Bechtold, VUUR’s personnel is the same as that of The Gentle Storm, Anneke’s collaboration project with Arjen Lucassen, which is also the only metal music Anneke van Giersbergen let us hear in a long time.

VUUR exists of longtime Anneke van Giersbergen alumni Ferry Duijsens, Johan van Stratum, Ed Warby, and newcomer Jord Otto. If I want to talk about the album I have to begin with Ed Warby. Because when hearing the opening track My Champion - Berlin, it is already clear that in addition to Anneke’s versatile unmatched vocals and leadership, Ed Warby is the absolute backbone of the band. For anyone who thinks that VUUR’s music has any resemblance to the music of The Gentle Storm, considering the fact it has almost the same band members, let me be clear, VUUR is totally different. In the second song Time - Rotterdam, you can clearly hear the progressive side of the band. Anneke shows what she’s made of and uses every skill and talent she has to show what VUUR is all about. Loud, raw and crystal-clear and always with Anneke’s warmth, modesty and positivity. Now, when I say raw, I don’t mean ontological or without having any idea, no Anneke’s vision is clear. VUUR is here to stay! Something else that she was clear about is wanting to have Joost van den Broek as the producer of the debut album. You can hear that he had a great hand in making In This Moment We Are Free - Cities and the order in which the tracks are placed on the album it’s also carefully thought of.

The third track is The Martyr And The Saint - Beirut where guitarists Ferry Duijsens and Jord Otto show that you don’t always have to open all registers of your guitar to clearly be present. The same goes for bassist Johan van Stratum who other than doing what he is supposed to do on every song, clearly announces his presence on the fourth track The Fire - San Francisco where he, with some beautiful baselines shows that he is definitely irreplaceable. Next up is Rio’s song Freedom. Here Anneke shows that if you build up the song in a good way you can let the listener feel what you as an artist think that freedom is all about. Then there is the London track, Days Go By, this song had to familiarize people with the music of VUUR and boy did it succeed. What a powerful and spectacular song in which Anneke utilizes her vocal range and skill set. Then it’s up to Santiago’s Sail Away. A catchy chorus with many moments where the musicians have the time to shine. Shredding guitar solos and again a prominent role for drummer Ed Warby.

Valley Of Diamonds - Mexico City, a song with a very threatening undertone, an outstanding buildup and a great variation in vocal styles. Musically it’s one of the best songs on the album if you ask me. Your Glorious Light Will Shine - Helsinki reflects the positive vibe I talked about earlier, again, this song is very interesting musically and it’s very hard to describe everything that’s happening in this one song. The guitarists Jord Otto and Ferry Duijsens do an outstanding job on this one. The same applies to the next song Save Me - Istanbul which brings a bit of culture to the table. Again, Anneke’s vocals are phenomenal with powerhouse Ed Warby in the background. The guitarists are shredding again like no tomorrow. The beautiful closing song Reunite - Paris is a real power ballad where Anneke thinks about the question what has happened to the level of tolerance in the world, a critical note but with the sentence “I will watch over you” still blaring through your speakers. The song is a beautiful closing track from an outstanding debut album and speaks about all of the horrible things that has happened in the world regarding terrorism and the growing intolerance in the world. I think it is no surprise that the song Reunite is coupled with the city Paris. In every song the album title In This Moment We Are Free comes back, it’s a central theme. Do you want to know how Anneke thinks about freedom or how this album came to pass? This and many other things I discuss with yours truly in an interview I had on the seventh of September. It is uploaded tomorrow on DutchMetalManiac.

VUUR is here and they are here to stay! Spread the word!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

You can also check two parts of Promoting Bands in which Tim van Velthuysen wrote about VUUR here and here, as well as an interview with Anneke van Giersbergen by Glenn van der Heijden here. Joost van der Leij also wrote an live review about Dynamo Metalfest with VUUR in its lineup here.

Vuur Official Website
Vuur Facebook
Vuur Twitter

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Review: Eon - Purgatory Inherited

Well! Retournez to the French Riviera en Toulon where some hyper-cool riffing at 1:38 takes place from the lads of EON (aka Element of Noise – cool!) on the lead track, Hatemakers, of their latest effort! I also am OK with their self-branded genre of ‘Fuckin’ Metal’ – ha-ha! Finally, someone that files it all under ‘M’ for Metal (although there are glimmers of deathcore and others in the mix, artfully played, I think).

A somewhat off putting Texas Chainsaw look to the FB page too. A little hokey for me but what the metal, right? Perhaps a more Heaven and Hell concept rather a slasher film as I don’t make the connection – frankly, I’m tired of that look on metal albums and yearn for something original. However, I’m also no graphic artist, so I’ll shut up about that.

The next and favourite track is Legacy of Shame and it rocks with Annihilator/Overkill overtones! A pounding piece of primordial pus destined for greatness. Some almost Scream-O work with Hokuto-no-Ken and not to my liking at all – too disjointed and just an abrupt ending.

The title track launches right into the Gravocals and keeps them going with decibel-laden vox through 00:58 – 1:12 – powerful stuff and good power to it all.

Immediately drawn to the title of Fuck Off Day, this is one angry song, if it’s possible to be angrier than the rest. Supernaturally fast riffs at about 2:37 onwards!

Scar, is by far, my new favourite! Some excellent thrash metal riffing right from the start and the jam is kept going. Some songs seem created on a certain type of vibe and this one had a good groove in the room when it was written or played. This is that hit-making (if that’s what you’re looking for) feel you need to get that song out of your system. An excellent feel and foot stomping damage-causer is sure to please even the hardest of cores.

Overall, this is a very good album and takes its place in the metal world. Some great talent and hard work has gone into this nicely engineered and technically precise recording. It’s a pleasure to listen to even though several songs just aren’t my thing. This is the wonder of metal, some are forged with an expert smithy, some, the smithy gets tired and some songs are OK but others are not. They keep this hammering however and have crafted a nice metal sword worthy of……..


Written by Alessandro

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Interview: Fireback

Recently the French metallers of Fireback released their first full-length album, called Theory Of Happiness. It's the follow-up of their debut EP Wake Up, released in 2012. Below you can read the interview DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen had with Fireback's guitarist/vocalist Joe.

Hey, how are you?

Hey man! We're fine, thank you. Thanks a lot to take some time for us.

Fireback is already 8 years old, can you tell us a bit about the history and its members?

We've had line-up issues every now and then since the beginning, hence the release of the album a couple of years after the creation of Fireback. Yet we've been together for three years now, and finally step up to this album project. Seb (lead vocals) and me (Joe, guitar/vocals) are the only founder members left. We enlisted Alex on drums in 2014, Thibaut on bass a couple of months later, and then Aurel on guitar right after.

What's the story behind your bandname?

Seb and me were looking out for a punchy monicker that wasn't sounding too « gore ». One day, at university, we came across a book by German philosopher Feuerbach. In terms of pronunciation, that lead us to Fireback. We already had this idea but from this day we thought it was definitely a cool bandname. We loved the concept of backfire, the idea that when you're doing a mistake, you have to pay for it one day or another, that kind of « what goes around comes around » thing. This makes sense regarding our lyrics too: we do think that enslaving people with power and money is something humanity will have to pay for, one day or another.

When someone who haven't heard your music before asks you how it sounds, how would you describe Fireback's music?

That's a tough one, it's always hard to describe your own music. Same thing when we're asked about the genre we play. Is it hardcore metal, deathcore, metalcore? Hard to say. Some people think we're a hardcore band, some say we're metalcore. It depends on point of views and what the people feel when they listen to our music. We do think we're a metal band. Each member brings his personal touch and influences. It's no surprise you can find many different things in our sound. The main thing for us is to play something powerful that people like to move to when we're playing live. We love live communion, that's what drives us.

Recently you released your latest album, called Theory Of Happiness, how are the responses so far?

So far so good! We've been doing a release party on May 19th in a club that we know pretty well. A lot of people showed up, they loved the show and the album as well. Some people have always something to say about your music of course, that's what this world's diversity is all about. We're always very open minded to criticism as long as it's constructive. But as I said before, so far so good.

Theory Of Happiness is your first full-length, how does it feel to finally have it released?

Having your record finally being sold in record stores is one big relief. It's a hard work to achieve. You have to be constantly precise and meticulous, remain alert. Once it's over at last, you're really happy. After a little pause in writing, we're now ready to start working on the next one!

When you compare Theory Of Happiness with your debut EP, Wake Up (2012), what differences do you hear?

That's funny because I listened again to our EP recently, and I still think it's cool. People are often jaded by their previous works, they always want to sound better next time… But I honestly think the EP's ok. We'd worked a lot on it, particularly in terms of sound. Of course there are some differences. It doesn't sound the same because we didn't record at the same place. Drums and bass don't sound the same because musicians are not the same anymore. Yet the spirit of Fireback can be found in both lyrics and music on the two recordings.

In your presskit, you state the following about the album title and its lyrics: "The title of the album speaks by itself and sums up what the lyrics are all about. We're living in a world that's dominated by a growing oligarchy which tries – through advertising and media – to force feed us a theory of happiness and teach us how to be « happy ». A human existence threatened by the lethal domination of money and power." Do you think there is a solution for this problem, and if so, what do you think it is?

We're not here to find solutions. We don't want to be that « holier-than-thou » kind of guys, we're just watchers. We express our thoughts, our reflections about the world that surrounds us. There are solutions of course, but which one is the good one? What we see and what disappoints us is the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Knowing that a human being is able to enslave another man with his power is something we don't find fair. Regarding the album title, it's about powerful people that want to tell us how to be happy, what to like… through advertising and media. Buy that car and you'll be happy, buy that household product and you'll be happy, listen to that singer, buy his merchandising and you'll be happy… Even while being fully conscious of that, you still feel like someone's trying to lobotomize your brain. We're sold a theory of happiness, a concept created by capitalists to sell more and more, and gather money endlessly. Why? To become richer than the rich and making others poorer than the poor. This total imbalance is lamentable.

Your lyrics are part English, part French, why did you decide to do it this way?

Our singer Seb decided to mix both languages. He thinks that French can help people in our country to understand the lyrics, and that English (on choruses for example) expands our message to non-French speakers. Many bands use English because it sticks to the rhythm. English is more melodious. But we chose to harden things a little bit with French parts, which are a more direct medium for us to deliver our message in our homeland.

What do you think about singing in English versus singing in a foreign language?

Some people like it, some others find that almost scandalous because one is not supposed to mix different languages within the same song. Even if we're not for globalization, we're defenders of multiculturalism, and linguistic diversity is part of it. Using our mother tongue is a nod to our original culture. It may become a benefit too at the end of the day: some bands got famous by using their native tongue, the most well-known being probably Rammstein. Strip German from their lyrics and you will lose the genuine spirit. Some French bands like Smash Hit Combo or L'Esprit Du Clan do sing in French and are able to export their music abroad.

Can we expect some Fireback shows in the near future? Maybe in The Netherlands?

We have some shows booked in France but nothing planned in The Netherlands for the moment. But why not in a near future, we'd love it!

Any other future plans for Fireback you can already tell us about?

We're currently writing our next album, slowly but steadily. We plan to shoot a new video, and we'd like to tour Europe if we find a good opportunity.

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

First I'd like to thank you for the time you spent with us on this interview. We appreciate it, thank you so much. Thanks to the readers that have read this interview. Our album is available at shows but also online through Big Cartel or by getting in touch with us directly through Facebook. Check our first video for Desolation on YouTube. Feel free to check our Facebook page for any information regarding the band. Thank you all and see you soon!

Fireback Facebook

Monday, October 2, 2017

Interview: Samael

Samael, the industrial black metal masters from Switzerland are back! On October 13th they will release their new album, Hegemony, which also marks Samael's 30 year anniversary. DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Samael's guitarist/vocalist Vorph about Hegemony, amongst other things.

Hey, congratulations with your new, upcoming album!

Thank you very much!

Looking forward to releasing it?

Yes, it has been six years in the making so I look forward to have it finally released.

It's a really cool album.


In January you signed with Napalm Records for releasing Hegemony, as it is called. What made Napalm Records the best label for releasing it?

We have tried a few labels before, we had a agreement with Nuclear Blast for three albums. We actually finished the album before looking for a label to release it and Napalm was already interested in us before. This time we really wanted to have an label that could spend time on us. About Nuclear Blast, who are great but very big, I was sure they would not spend so much time on us. We discussed about it with the people from Napalm, who are very dynamic at the moment, really on the rise. They are the best option for us.

When you compare Hegemony to its predecessor Lux Mundi (2011), what do you notice?

I see it as a following. Since some time already we tried to focus ourselves to what we thought was the most important. Trying to have an album that we can say here it is what we are. In the past we had a lot of experimentations and we enjoyed doing them, but somehow those were not exactly what really belongs in our core. With Lux Mundi, our previous album, we reached that point. We finally had an album of which we could say, this is what we are, what we do. This album is build on that, kind of next level.

The cover of Hegemony is created by Patrick Pidoux, who already did some other Samael covers. What's the story behind this one?

We spend some time on the cover, it's a long story. At some point we thought we would like to name the album Samael too. So, we went with the cover, but we already had a song called Samael. So we thought that if the album was also called Samael, it would put so much focus on that song and the rest will not have the places they deserve. So, we went for the opening track, Hegemony, which we thought would fit. We changed some little details and now it is how we wanted it.

The lyrics are mostly about the world we live in nowadays, what do you think of today's world?

There is a big connection with this album and the present time. That wasn't really something we were looking for, it just happened that way. On the previous albums we always pretty much isolated ourselves, created our bubble and stayed in it. After recording we came back to reality. Nowadays, you almost can't do that. Information is coming at you all the time, it parasites on creative things and that made the connection. I don't see it as good or bad, but it's true.

When I read the lyrics it came to mind that it describes a lot is wrong in nowadays world.

I don't know, I am not trying to judge it. There has been a lot of wrong things before in a different way. Personally we are trying to be the best possible in the world we live in. It's a fact that at the moment a lot of people are stepping back. Maybe they are afraid of the future or because of things they are unknown with. The media also scares them all the time. I don't think we judge it, we said it the way we feel it. It's more a reflection, a mirror of the world. It's not a confrontation but a response. When something comes at you, you take it for granted or you react. There is also part of reaction in the lyrics.

Hegemony marks Samael's 30th anniversary, how do you look back at those years?

I don't really look back. Of course, as we're talking about it, I do. This is our 30th anniversary, but furthermore we didn't plan anything special. We didn't want to have a special tour or something. The best way to celebrate it for us, was to do this new album. We're not looking in the past, we aren't a nostalgic band. We look forward, we come with an album which is really strong. It makes sense of the many things we have done. We are moving forward, this is not an album which is looking at the past.

Since you already have a long history, is there anything still on your Samael wishlist for the future?

Of course there is, a lot of things. It's always the same thing, do a new album and do a tour. Now, when the album is done, we want to present those songs. We already played live many times, but we haven't played much of this material. We want to present it to the people, play it live to them. After that, I don't know. Probably at some point, we feel like we should do a new album, it's like a circle-thing. It's very basic, but it still gives a kick. It doesn't have to be more than that.

Nothing on your wishlist you haven't done before?

It's pretty much playing shows, there are many places we haven't played so far. I would say Japan, we look forward to play there once. It might happen next year, hopefully. We haven't played Asia in general, Australia, didn't play a proper tour in South America. We played some shows there, but we would really like to play something like ten or twenty shows in South America. A lot of other places too of course.

You and Xy are brothers. How is having family in your band?

It's been easy for us. At the time we started playing together, still living at our parents' place, so we always played together. We were rehearsing every day. After our bassplayer joined in, you can't keep that tempo, so at that time we rehearsed around three times a week. Now, there is some more distance, we don't live together, we each have our own live. We still have the connection through the music, so it's kind of a red line for both of us. When I remember things in my life, quite often I think of it as around which album it was. Those are the landmarks of my life. This is the backbone of my life.

Since you formed in a period without internet, what do you think about it, as an artist?

It changed a lot of things, but it was also progressing. So I got used to it, I can't tell you whether it is better before or now. Of course, somehow it's better today, communication is easier. When you made a song you can distribute it through internet to a lot of people. Back then you have to record it on cassette and then you will have to find people to send those cassettes to, which made it a really slow process. At that time it all went very slow, you had to share flyers to get people hear about you. Nowadays it gets a lot faster, but on the other side there are a lot more bands so it's more difficult today to be noticed. We probably are lucky to already have a name before it got out of proportion as it is nowadays.

And what about piracy?

Of course on a different level, but it also existed before internet. There will always be people who love to hear music, but don't want to pay for it. There's nothing you can do against it. Personally, besides playing music, I also am a fan of music. I always paid for my music, it is some sort of respect.

You already announced four upcoming tourdates at this moment. Can we expect more tourdates in support of Hegemony?

Definitely, at the moment we are looking for an European tour, but nothing is confirmed yet, so I can't give you any info yet.

Will The Netherlands probably be part of it?

We will definitely want to come to The Netherlands, if we can't do a clubshow there, we will come to a festival. It's one of the places we played a lot, especially in the early days. It always is a good place for us, so we are definitely looking forward to that.

What are some differences between audiences you saw?

There can even be a difference between the audiences in the same country. You'll never know how the response is going to be. You have to convince the people at the concert. We always prepare to give a great show and look to make a connection with the audience, that will decide how the show will go. When that connection is made, everything will go great. If not, you have to fight through the show to keep the people interested.

What does a Samael show look like?

Well, you should come to see one.

Would be nice!

Well, we play our songs and try to give them a different dimension than on the record. Studio and live are two different things and so we aren't trying to do it live the exact same way as in the studio.

What do you like more, touring or studio?

I like both, at first I liked playing live more, but then I learned to love the studio. Studio times are great times too, it is more intellectual, you think and discuss about your music and try things multiple times. Live is more like you know your songs and you have to show it, I really like that too. Live and studio are two absolutely different things for me, I really like both of them.

Besides releasing Hegemony and some, already confirmed, shows, are there already any other future Samael plans you can tell something about?

Actually no, but I think this is already quite something. This is a very exciting moment and we will see. We will look forward to what's coming.

Thanks for your answers! Is there something you want to say to DutchMetalManiac's readers?

It was a pleasure. I hope they going to check our album, Hegemony and I hope they are going to like it. Because we spent a lot of time on it and I sincerely think this is our best album, like every artist will say when they have a new album, but just listen to it and make up your mind.

Samael Official Website
Samael Facebook
Samael Twitter