Interview – Ben Colton (Neverworld)

If you want to know more about the past, present and future of Neverworld, one of the most promising Heavy Metal bands from the UK, take a shot at this fun interview with the band’s lead singer and guitarist Ben Colton. Can you guess which songs he would save for the future of mankind? You will surely enjoy his list.

ben colton_neverworldThe Headbanging Moose: Could you please introduce yourselves to the readers who are getting in contact with Neverworld for the first time? What’s the origin of the band, your main objectives and your dreams? And what was the inspiration for the name Neverworld?

Ben Colton: Howdy! Certainly. I am Ben, lead guitarist and vocalist of the band Neverworld. We formed in late 2009 and the plan was always to take it as far as we possibly could. We sat down and discussed at length about the music we wanted to make and it became apparent quite quickly that we would need a suitable name. A name that would give us the scope to be the audio/visual outfit that we wanted to be. So Neverworld was born and 6 and a half years and 3 releases later here we are! Our main objectives at this point in time are to keep progressing, keep pushing the boundaries, keep playing awesome shows and to keep having lots of fun doing it!

THM: I have to admit I can’t stop listening to your brand new album, the excellent Dreamsnatcher. It’s perfect for listening at home, at the gym, on the road or anywhere else. How did the whole process to compose the album go? Was there anything you think that could have worked better in the recording period?

BC: Well thank you very much that means a lot to us and I really appreciate the feedback. The recording process this time around was actually a lot of fun. We knew what we had to do and that was better than ‘Visions Of Another World’. So every week we would go into the studio and write riffs, choruses, verses, intros etc. until we felt we had 10 songs that completely summed us up. ‘Dreamsnatcher’ is an album that defines who we are right now and for that reason it was a great relief to achieve that. We learned a lot doing our first album so we didn’t make the same mistakes. All the music was written in about 8 months and then it was a case of writing the vocal melodies and lyrics. From the writing process to the demo stage to the actual release it took 18 months which was awesome. When you’re a perfectionist, and this band has a few, you will probably always look back and say I could of done that better but there comes a point where you just have to bite the bullet and leave it to the critics mercy! So far so good!

THM: Although none of your releases are concept albums, there’s a special concept behind the band as a whole. As quoted on the review for your 2014 release Visions Of Another World, you said that “Neverworld is a place of dreams, a world we all visit in our sleep and the band explore this magical realm in their lyrics and artwork.” Having said that, what’s the link between Visions Of Another World and Dreamsnatcher? Is there any type of storyline connecting both albums, and even your debut EP Welcome To…, from 2010?

CD Cover ArtWork - Dreamsnatcher (2015)

Album Review – Neverworld / Dreamsnatcher (2016)

BC: Basically there are some links in certain songs like ‘Visions Of Another World’ and ‘Dreamsnatcher’ but we are yet to explore the Neverworld concept fully. We are writing and recording demos already and the plan is now to release an EP toward the end of this year and then a concept album. It’ll be our third full length album and that feels like the right thing to do. We’ve discussed it in the past and we all knew the day would come where we did the whole concept thing. It’s very early days yet but we are planning the story and will write accordingly to fit that. It’s likely to be pretty dark but all will become clear as to what Neverworld is and what can happen there!

THM: There are several details that make Dreamsnatcher a must-have for fans of traditional Heavy Metal. The guitars are heavier than ever, the overall production is a lot more consistent than in your previous releases, there are many interesting additional layers of intricacy added to each and every song, among other things. How do you see the evolution of your music so far, and what can we expect from Neverworld in the future?

BC: Evolve is a great word where music is concerned. It’s something you have to do to keep it fresh and interesting. We will never make the same album twice. You’ll always know it’s us but you won’t always be able to predict what’s coming! You are one of the first people to mention the added layers of the songs and I’m really pleased you noticed! That was a very conscious thing. I love the way certain bands build songs with layers. They can be very subtle and you may not notice them initially but take them out and the song can sound naked! The future of our music I guess will depend on many factors but for me I’d like us to add more progressive elements. Mainly for the reason that there really are no rules with progressive metal and I love that. I hate restrictions. Fortunately we have none really. If an idea is cool then we use it. We do exactly what we want and that is make music that we’d like to listen to!

THM: Before we talk about a couple of specific songs from Dreamsnatcher, I just wanted to quickly go back to Visions Of Another World, where you performed an amazing duet with British singer Christina Gajny in the powerful ballad Blood and Romance. Can you tell the readers more about how Christina got involved with Neverworld and how this beautiful song was recorded? And why are there no guest musicians in the new album?

BC: Christina was just meant to be for us. I woke up one day and just thought it would be cool to do a duet with a female vocalist. So I hit the net to seek one out. She was the first one I looked at and the last. I listened to her doing a cover of ‘Black Velvet’ and was blown away. She is an incredibly versatile singer with a staggering grip on melody. I think Blood and Romance really helped us. Christina was in a band called Interlock just prior to doing the duet and was fairly well known in London. Because of her when we started playing London there were actually people there to see us! I did want her on ‘Dreamsnatcher’ too but in the end we decided that we had the 10 songs we needed and also it was another 10 songs we could add to our live performance. We’d been playing pretty much the same set for 2 years and we desperately wanted to be able to pick from a bigger selection so we could give our die hard fans a new experience every time we played. However we are indeed working on the follow up to Blood and Romance with Christina. It’ll probably be called ‘A Gothic Tragedy’ and will be part 2 in the vampire/mortal love saga. Writing is under way and it will be on the EP release so if you love Christina’s voice as much as we do you can get excited about that! I know I am!

THM: Now let’s get back to Dreamsnatcher, more specifically to the opening track, the epic Into the Mouth Of Madness. This is not a regular opening song for an album, being more progressive, more melodic and a lot longer than the opening songs found in most Heavy Metal albums. I would say it’s a similar situation to what Iron Maiden did in their 1995 album The X Factor, when they had the 11-minute masterpiece Sign of the Cross kicking off the album. Why did you choose this specific song to be the first of the album? Aren’t you afraid it might be too complex or maybe too lengthy for the average listener who’s just getting to know the music by Neverworld?

BC: Into The Mouth Of Madness was actually the first track we wrote when we went back into the studio again. I think it was what set the bar for the whole album really and also sums Neverworld up in 9 minutes or thereabouts! It’s kinda got everything. The intro, the prog, the metal, the big chorus, the epic solo section, light and shade etc. It seemed the obvious choice to us to kick things off for ‘Dreamsnatcher’. If you don’t ‘get’ that track then I don’t think we are for you! So no I wasn’t worried about it putting anyone off because anyone who doesn’t like it probably won’t like the rest of the album either! From a personal point of view a lot of my favourite songs are long, epics. ‘Still Remains’ for example by Fates Warning is my all time favourite song. It has everything! I think every album we do will end up having a few epics on.  It’s becoming a bit of a habit for us! A cool habit though I think!

THM: My favorite song in Dreamsnatcher is by far the high-octane Under The Asylum. As mentioned in the review of the album, this song has the perfect balance between aggressiveness and harmony, being highly recommended for any type of metalhead from anywhere in the world. What inspired you to write this song, and can you provide us some details on the story being told through its lyrics?

neverworld_logoBC: Thank you! I’m glad you dig! It’s a lot of fun to play live too. The inspiration for the song comes from a couple of things. I grew up near a mental asylum. Near it. Not in it! It was a Victorian era one and only shut down in 1998. Going round the place when it was derelict was an eye opening experience to say the least. That place was dark. It had its own atmosphere and was the size of a village. It just oozed sorrow and woe. I’d always felt it was a great theme for a song anyway but then American Horror Story season 2 came out and that kicked the idea off again. So really the song is about the underground workings of an asylum and all the nasty shit you don’t see happening. Very Neverworld!

THM: What are your biggest influences in music? Do you only listen to Heavy Metal, or do you also drink from the fountain of Jazz, Blues, Pop or any other type of music? And if you had to select five albums that define who Neverworld are today, which ones would you choose?

BC: Haha well I certainly don’t drink from Jazz fountain but I listen to all sorts really. Obviously being a guitar player and a singer it’s either guitar or vocal based but of course I prefer it when it’s both! Heavy Metal was my first love as a child and that just captured my imagination. In later years you learn to appreciate different things. I love classic rock as in Blue Oyster Cult, Van Halen, Boston, The Eagles etc. I love prog, hair metal, Thrash, Motown, even Grunge era stuff too (although I don’t call Mother Love Bone, Candlebox, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam or Alice In Chains ‘Grunge’). I just like good music. Well played, well sung, well written. I don’t have any rules anymore. I just like what I like. Ok picking just 5 albums is a really hard thing to do but because it’s what influences my own part of the Neverworld sound it’s a bit easier. As much as I love Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Manowar I find that I am no longer influenced by them. It’s strange but I lean towards more progressive stuff now just because there are so many more elements going on to keep your mind occupied. Ok here goes!…

1. Fates Warning ‘Disconnected’ – Brilliant album by the criminally underrated Fates. This album is the soundtrack to my life. Love it!

2. King Diamond ‘Conspiracy’ – King seems to have got bigger and bigger over the years and that pleases me a lot. The guy is an evil genius and Andy LaRouque is one of my favourite guitar players. It’s not until you sit there trying to work out King’s music you realize how complex it is, how clever it is. Love this album. A huge influence on me.

3. Crimson Glory ‘Transcendence’ – This album is just timeless. A masterpiece by a band who should have been playing arenas. Very classy, very intelligent music!

4. Winger ‘Pull’ – I imagine a few people will shake their heads at this choice but Winger are an amazing collective of breath taking musicians. Kip Winger is one of the most intelligent song writers out there. When you really listen to a Winger song and analyze it you can hear all the magic that has gone into making it. I chose ‘Pull’ for the groove aspect. Some of the riffs on this album are jaw droppers! Also Kip is one of my favourite singers and Reb Beach is one of my favourite guitar players. Another big influence for sure.

5. Queensrÿche ‘Rage For Order’ – Geoff Tate has a pretty bad rep these days. Personally I couldn’t care less what people think of him as a person, he’s a God of a singer. Just watch ‘Live Evolution’ to see his prowess in all its glory. I adore this album. The songs are great, the vocals are soulful, theatrical, grand, unusual. A perfect album!

So there are my 5. Just want to give a quick shout out to Lost Horizon, Circus Maximus, Redemption, Megadeth and Magnitude 9 too. They are all big influences on my part of the Neverworld sound too!

THM: If you were given the task of saving only between 10 and 20 songs from any music genre, band or artist for the future of mankind, which ones would make it to that special playlist? Let’s imagine you would add those to a capsule that would be preserved for a very long time and opened only in a distant future, and those would be the only songs left on earth, just for you to have an idea of how important your mission would be.

BC: Haha that is a very important mission indeed! Ok all these songs mean something to me. They all helped me. They changed my life and the way I think about music. Here goes…

1. Fates Warning ‘Still Remains’
2. Candlebox ‘Far Behind’
3. Mother Love Bone ‘Chloe Dancer/ Crown Of Thorns’
4. Circus Maximus ‘The Last Goodbye’
5. Redemption ‘Black and White World’
6. Queensrÿche ‘Walk In The Shadows’
7. Iron Maiden ‘Where Eagles Dare’
8. Judas Priest ‘Victim Of Changes’
9. Manowar ‘Bridge Of Death’
10. Winger ‘Rainbow In The Rose’
11. Guns N’ Roses ‘Civil War’
12. Lost Horizon ‘Lost In The Depths Of Me’
13. Crimson Glory ‘Lonely’
14. King Diamond ‘Sleepless Nights’
15. Thin Lizzy ‘Wild One’
16. Temple Of The Dog ‘Say Hello To Heaven’
17. Van Halen ‘Runnin’ With The Devil’
18. Blue Oyster Cult ‘Astronomy’
19. Boston ‘Something About You’
20. Dan Reed Network ‘Stronger Than Steel’

A pretty eclectic mix there!

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Album Review – Neverworld / Visions Of Another World (2014)

THM: Talking about what any musician loves the most, which is playing to a live audience, what are your current and future tour plans for the UK and/or any other countries? How difficult it is for you to schedule tour dates and to be on the road for long periods of time? And what has been the band’s most memorable concert to date?

BC: It is difficult to tour for long periods due to all of us having work and family commitments. However we are planning on doing a week long tour this year with scattered dates surrounding it. Playing live is very important to us. It’s a hard feeling to beat when you’re up there and the crowd are with you. We are always looking for dates in the UK and abroad so keep an eye out for us in the near future. I have several fond gig memories with Neverworld. Our home town club shows are always special. Very well attended and there’s always a great buzz but the 3 that really stand out for me are when we played with Freedom Call at the Barfly in Camden on the night we released our debut. The place was absolutely packed! We opened and went down a storm. That was awesome. The next is again in Camden but this time at The Underworld. Purely because it was The Underworld. What an honour to play that hallowed stage. I’ve seen most of my favourite bands there so it was great to be able to tick it off the list. Lastly when we played Larissa in Greece. We left this weird building in the middle of nowhere to get something to eat thinking well this is going to be shit! When we came back the place was full! Couldn’t believe it! That was a great night playing with our friends Wardrum and completed an absolutely awesome experience. We’ve actually been pretty blessed with live shows over the last 4 years. We’ve played with some fantastic bands too. Long may that continue!

THM: Thank you very much for your time, I truly appreciate that.  Please feel free to send a final message to all our readers and all metalheads not only in Canada, but everywhere else in the world.

BC: No, thank you! It’s been an honour. I just want to say a huge thank you to all the good people out there supporting us. If I could put into words how much we appreciate it I would! The Neverworld family is growing all the time and that my friends is awesome! I really hope you all enjoy the new album! Peace and good will to you all \m/

Links
Neverworld Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Big Cartel
Imperative PR Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Interview – Fractal Generator

In this exclusive must-read interview to The Headbanging Moose, Canadian death metallers Fractal Generator translate into “numbers” their music, their admiration for all things science, the burdens of being an independent metal band in Canada, the end of the world and more!

Fractal Generator band pictureThe Headbanging Moose: Could you please introduce us to Fractal Generator, telling your story from the inception of the band until today? What’s the core factor that keeps the machine moving for the band, I mean, what’s the main reason for the band to exist? And where did you take those eccentric “names” (040118180514, 102119200914 and 040114090512) from?

102119200914: Fractal Generator is 040118180514 (Bass, Vocals), 040114090512 (Drums) & 102119200914 (Guitar, Vocals). The band formed sometime in 2007 as a death metal outlet for a few of the members of Wolven Ancestry. A demo entitled “The Cannibalism of Objects” was released in 2008. The project lay dormant until 2013, when the current incarnation of Fractal Generator was conceived by 040118180514 and 102119200914. We wanted to create a type of dark and atmospheric death metal sound that we hadn’t heard before, with lyrics inspired by various science and science fiction ideas. As for our “names”, they are a numerical representation of our actual first names.

THM: What’s the feeling of having your first full-length album finally released, the excellent Apotheosynthesis, and how did the whole writing, composing and recording process go? What are your goals and expectations now after Apotheosynthesis became a reality?

102119200914: It definitely feels great having finally released Apotheosythesis. We wrote the songs over a six month period in 2013 and refined the album through rehearsal before beginning to record at the end of 2014. 040118180514 has his own recording studio and has a lot of experience recording and mixing. This enabled us to complete the entire album “in-house” while still achieving the level of quality we wanted. Now that Apotheosynthesis is released, our main goal is to play a few shows and start working on our next album. I don’t have many expectations, mostly hope that it will reach the ears of the people who would appreciate it.

THM:  As mentioned in our review for the album, one of the most remarkable aspects of it is witnessing the very positive evolution in your compositions from your 2008 demo The Cannibalism of Objects to Apotheosynthesis. Can you share more details with us on how that change has impacted you as a band? What’s different today from when the band started back in 2008?

040118180514: When we did “The Cannibalism of Objects,” Fractal Generator was nothing more than a curious side project, and the album is composed mostly of improvised material. The drums were completely improvised and guitar was added overtop in an improvised fashion. “Apotheosynthesis” retains the spirit of improvisation in that we wrote the riffs using the improvisational method, but the songs were carefully crafted afterward to create full, meaningful compositions with a cathartic feel. I’d say the main difference between the band now and then is the addition of 102119200914, because we work really well together and can generate a lot more ideas when we are bouncing them off each other. The fact that we have 6 more years of experience as musicians under our belts certainly doesn’t hurt either.

Fractal Generator logoTHM:  It’s always a huge pleasure to see thoughtful and meaningful lyrics in heavy music, which in your case is represented by the addition of science and technology-related topics such as the chaos theory to your music, therefore enhancing its impact and density. Why did you choose to follow that specific path of science and space, mixing it with Progressive and Death Metal? And how unique do you think your music is if compared to the other bands available?

102119200914: We chose to follow this path out of a common interest in science fiction, science, the cosmos and technology. Our style is a combination of all of our favorite elements of death metal and black metal, with an experimental approach. I think our music is unique; we may have similar elements to some but I feel that our general sound is different from anything I’ve come across.

THM:  Talking about one of my favorite songs of the album, Face of the Apocalypse, I love the veracity of its lyrics (“Endless replication / A cancerous mutation / Of the mother earth / Merciless consumption / An unprecedented emergency”) in regards to what mankind is doing to the world. Is this indeed your vision of society? What was going through your mind when you wrote the lyrics for this exceptional tune?

040118180514: We knew we wanted to write a song about the human race being forced to leave Earth. As we all know, its a very real scenario that we could face as a species. However, the potential reasons for this happening are many: nuclear fallout, pandemics, environmental/climate change effects, asteroid collision, etc. It could even be something completely unforeseeable. I couldn’t decide on a single scenario I wanted to use, but I did want to focus on scenarios that are fueled by human activity. In this way the song could be seen as a warning against our current destructive ways. In the end I just kinda mixed several of these scenarios together into one crazy pandemonium, and the idea for “Face of the Apocalypse” was born.

THM: In the introspective and melancholic Reflections, it really feels like Fractal Generator wanted to add a conclusion to the story told during the whole album. How important was it for the entire band to have that type of aftermath in Apotheosynthesis? Do you consider it a concept album, and what reactions do you expect from your fans after listening to the entire record?

102119200914: Apotheosynthesis takes influence from a lot of science fiction stories and concepts. In a way it’s sort of a concept album. The songs all follow a loose futuristic storyline in a universe where humans have destroyed their home planet and have to look to space for a new home. The album explores their journey to Mars and beyond. For the track “Reflections” we wanted to shift the spectrum, focusing on the atmospheric and ambient elements more than the speed/ guitar driven approach we have on the rest of the album. We wanted to create the feeling of floating aimlessly in the cold, dark void of space, gasping for breath in a space suit slowly running out of oxygen while contemplating existence/fate. We felt this was a good way to end the album as it might provoke imagination in the listeners.

THM: Who are your main influences in music and anywhere else? I suspect you’re huge fans of the progressiveness and aggressiveness by Death, the futuristic concept by Fear Factory, the darkness by Behemoth, and of course,  you’re probably also into the works by renowned scientists such as Carl Sagan and Edward Lorenz. What else makes you want to write music? And do you have any other hobbies that also inspire you in your songwriting?

102119200914: My main musical influences are Myrkskog, Zyklon, Morbid Angel, Death and Hypocrisy. I also draw a lot of influence from science fiction shows/movies, i.e. Tron, Star Trek, Stargate, Babylon 5. As well as story-driven video games like Mass Effect, Deus Ex, The Dig, Half-life, etc. I also find inspiration in reading about new technologies, theories and scientific studies.

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Album Review – Fractal Generator / Apotheosynthesis (2015)

040118180514: I have always been a big fan of Scandinavian black metal and it’s been a huge influence. In terms of death metal, I am mostly influenced by the more progressive/experimental Canadian bands, such as Gorguts and Augury. Other than music, I’m very interested in learning about science and technology and how they can be used to make the world a better place. I am also interested in philosophy and the nature of consciousness, which is probably where some of my interest in chaos theory comes from. Sagan and Lorenz, as you mentioned, are of course highly influential in these fields.

THM: Let’s talk about the current Heavy Metal scene in Canada. I’ve had the satisfaction of reviewing some amazing Canadian bands lately the likes of id., Phantom, Display of Decay, Reanimator, Valknacht, Viathyn, Kafirun, among many others. However, it seems that day after day heavy music in Canada is becoming more and more underground, preventing a much wider audience to get in contact with most bands no matter how good they are. What’s your opinion about that, and what can or should be done to change that uncomfortable situation?

040118180514: If you want to talk about why the Canadian metal scene doesn’t get the credit it deserves, I think there are a lot of factors. For one thing, metal isn’t terribly popular among the general population in Canada for whatever reason. I’ve toured the country and you get the sense that metal is mostly met by common people with contempt, or at best, confusion. The people going to shows are mostly only the die-hard metal enthusiasts that we all know and love. The other main factor I would say, is that Canada’s geography and sparse population make it almost unfeasible to tour. Without the ability to tour, our bands are left in their hometowns to stagnate. Our government isn’t exactly helpful with arts funding either, unless you live in Quebec. I suppose one thing we could do to remedy the situation is to keep the conservative party out of Ottawa.

THM: How have your scheduling of live performances and your search for a record label been since the release of Apotheosynthesis? What other big challenges have Fractal Generator faced so far as a heavy band in a not-so-heavy world?

040118180514: We’ve played a handful of shows so far and they’ve been great. We haven’t really searched for a record label yet. I think that you mostly have to wait for a label to come to you. However, the entire structure of the music industry has changed so much, I sometimes wonder if labels might soon become the redundant middle-man in between the bands themselves and the media outlets that promote them. The revenue just isn’t there anymore to be able to feed that many mouths. Bands are going to have to take on a lot more responsibility, and I think it’s something we can pull off.

THM: A big thank you for your time, we at The Headbanging Moose really appreciate that. Do you have any final words to all headbangers in Canada and all over the world reading this interview?

102119200914: Thanks for the interview and thanks for supporting underground metal!!

Links
Fractal Generator Facebook | YouTube | BandCamp

Interview – Hateful Warfare

Take a shot at this fun interview with Hateful Warfare to have a very good depiction of the everyday life, experiences and dreams of a true underground Death Metal band from Brazil.

Hateful WarfareThe Headbanging Moose: As you’re a brand new Death Metal act, I guess we need to start by presenting you to our readers. In other words, who are Hateful Warfare? Can you please share with us some details on how the band got together, why and how you chose the name “Hateful Warfare”, where each band member comes from, and what your main goals are for the future?

Hateful Warfare: The band is comprised of Andrei (bass/vocals), Norba (guitar) and Denis (drums), a traditional Death Metal power trio. The band is a reformation of another project we had in the past, which didn’t end up working well and so the three of us decided to remain together and focus our common ideas on our songwriting and composing. The name of the band came in a moment of anger (laughs), as we were searching for a name that was impactful and that at the same time matched with our personalities on stage. Our goals for the future are recording our first full-length album, shooting a video clip, and then going on a tour of the album across Brazil.

THM: The band might be new, but there has already been a significant change to your music when one of the guitarists left and Hateful Warfare became a power trio. How has that influenced your music and the dynamism among the three band members left? What are the positive outcomes of this important change?

HW: His time with the band was short mainly due to his geographic location/distance to the rest of the band, which was a huge hassle for our rehearsals. It was decided that we would go on as a power trio, and our dynamism only tends to grow because when you’re a power trio you have more freedom in terms of composition, improvisation, harmony, acquaintanceship, among other positive points. In addition to that, Andrei and Norba are father and son, which already helps a lot. We are all comfortable in what we’ve been doing so far and this is very significant for a band to move on.

THM: I had the pleasure of reviewing your short but extremely heavy debut EP, entitled Scenarios Of Execution. If I had to describe the album in just a few words, I would say it’s old school Death Metal exactly the way it’s supposed to be. How was the songwriting and composition period of the album? How long did it take to finalize everything, and what were the highlights of the entire process to you?

HW: Thank you for your kind words, this is very gratifying for us.  The creative process was very demanding, rehearsing two or three times a week, always composing riffs and with focus on creating something new everyday. We all thought about something during the week, wrote something, created the riffs, recorded at home and then presented that during the rehearsal in order to always capitalize on something. The recording was done at the Audio Goblin studio with the local producer and musician Fábio Gorresen (Flesh Grinder/Zombie Cookbook). It took one month to finalize the recording, mixing and mastering, and after that we released a few physical copies of the EP. We believe that the impact of the EP has been very positive, making us even more excited to record our full-length album as soon as possible.

THM: I would like to know more details about my favorite songs of the EP, starting with the excellent Welcome to my Nightmare. As mentioned in our review for the EP, the vocals sound inspired by the early days of the iconic Max Cavalera. Is he one of your main influences in music? How do you prepare your voice for the thunderous Death Metal by Hateful Warfare? In addition, although the riffs are extremely dirty, the overall result of the song is very melodic. How did you manage to reach that amazing level of balance between brutality and harmony?

Hateful Warfare02HW: There is no secret, it’s just a matter of keeping the throat always moist and sing with hatred (laughs). Regarding you mentioning the song being dirty and melodic, I believe that actually comes from our influences, as this song was inspired by classic Death Metal the likes of Scream Bloody Gore (Death)  to the Thrash Metal from the album Extreme Aggression (Kreator). There’s always aggressiveness followed by something harmonious that matches perfectly with the style.

THM:  My other favorite tune, Bloody Night, brings lots of awesome elements from different subgenres of extreme music, such as Black and Doom Metal. Was that something you planned on doing, or did it come up naturally during the writing process? How does the audience react to songs that are not purely Death Metal like this one?

HW: It was something natural, we don’t write our music trying to remain 100% loyal to Death Metal. We have an infinitude of influences inside each of our heads and that was what best suited the music, lyrics thrown to the imaginary with an aggressive theme and several variations in the instrumental, stressing the heaviness and the speed at different times.

THM:  Brazil might not be considered the most metal country in the world, but there’s still a good share of incredible bands spread across the country, not to mention how crazy most Brazilian headbangers are. In your opinion, how is the current Heavy Metal scene in Brazil? Do you feel that there are enough bands, venues and concerts down there to keep the fire of metal burning bright for many years to come? What are the main issues for a heavy band in Brazil?

HW: There are excellent new bands rising month after month, incredible places spread throughout Brazil, high-skilled musicians and the utmost quality. The only disturbing things are the high costs to maintain a band, equipment with extremely high taxes, and if you do not have a studio yourself you have to pay a lot of money to rehearse every single week. What drives metal in Brazil is the underground, we have to be headbangers faithful to the art, because making a living from metal in Brazil is still a dream for all of us, some can do it but that’s just a minority.

THM: What are top 5 albums that influenced the band members the most, and how much do those albums still inspire you to craft your music? What about non-metal bands and artists, are there any you enjoy that also impact the way you write your music?

HW: The top 5 albums that are the most present in the playlists of each one of us are Piece of Mind (Iron Maiden), Leprosy (Death), Severed Survival (Autopsy), Hell Awaits (Slayer) and Arise (Sepultura). Our writing process involves the whole context of what’s going on through our heads. At the moment I don’t have any specific albums to mention, but I would like to stress out that the lyrics for the song Addiction to Kill were written based on the story of the TV series Dexter.

THM: What would be the “dream tour” for Hateful Warfare? I mean, which bands would you feel honored to play with, and what are the cities, venues or festivals you would love to visit together with those bands?

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Album Review – Hateful Warfare / Scenarios Of Execution EP (2015)

HW: There is an infinity of bands who we dream of playing together, such as Destruction, Gruesome, Cancer, Kreator, Obscura, Obituary, Sodom, Vader and so on (laughs). With every passing year high-quality festivals are born in several countries, but like any headbanger it would be a dream come true to step on the stage at Wacken Open Air, Hellfest, Monsters of Rock, Obscene Extreme, among others.

THM: In regards to your current tour dates, how are the concerts to promote Scenarios Of Execution going? Do you have any funny stories to share with us, or talk about something that went horribly wrong with the band? And do you have any plans for an international tour here in North America, in Europe or anywhere else?

HW: The shows have been taking place only in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil, and they have been very positive so far for us. We have several good stories happening every night, the funniest being our first show. We were tuning the instruments to hit the stage and the intro was already going to start playing, when we lost sight of our drummer. We sought him all over the venue and no sign of him. We spent about 10 minutes looking for him and when we finally found him he was outside talking to some friends, while we were getting absolutely mad after him for a while (laughs).

THM: Muito obrigado pela entrevista! Please feel free to send a final message to all readers of The Headbanging Moose and to all fans of old school Death Metal all over the word.

HW: First of all, thanks for the compliments on our work, and also to the space provided for the interview. To all fans of old school Death Metal, always seek for novelties in the genre, there is a lot of good stuff emerging but that’s not getting recognized as it should. This genre has a lot to be unraveled yet, and that this Death Metal vein never runs out of blood!

Links
Hateful Warfare Facebook | YouTube
Sangue Frio Produções Facebook | Website

Interview – Dominator Xul’Ahabra (Goatchrist)

Do you want to know what goes on inside the mind of a young and talented black metaller? Check out this great interview with the architect behind British Blackened Death Metal band Goatchrist, Dominator Xul’Ahabra, and you will find the answers to most of your questions.

goatchrist-logoThe Headbanging Moose: Let’s start with some basic information about you and Goatchrist, for the readers who are not totally aware of your work as a musician: could you please tell us who Dominator Xul’Ahabra is, as well as how and when the band was originated? What’s the main concept or idea behind Goatchrist?

Dominator Xul’Ahabra: Dominator Xul’Ahabra is the character I view as being the manifestation of all of my ‘left hand path’ aspects (Xul being Arabic for evil). The band began as a vessel to release music I’d written whilst auditioning for Sathamel, but thereafter I realised it could be directed and used as an application of chaos magick and the Order of Nine Angles (hence the constant theme rotation). My core vision for Goatchrist is to ascend the band to a level where I can accurately teach others about what I see as being the most advanced philosophical view that man has conjured.

THM: I really enjoyed your brand new EP, The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil. This is the type of music I believe all metalheads in the world want to hear, something that is at the same time electrifying and substantial. How were the writing and production processes for this EP? What worked really well and what were the areas where you think you could have done better than the final result?

Dominator: My gratitude to you for your compliments. ‘Enlil’ was an EP that essentially was a directed and remoulded series of songs I’d written over a large period (January 2013 to December 2014) that I saw potential in. The writing process usually consisted of myself, my laptop, obscure locations and drugs. The entire thing wasn’t written together so there was no distinct writing process. The recording occurred at my home studio, except drums which I recorded on an electronic kit at my friend’s house (who then quantised them, as my drumming proficiency leaves much to be desired).

THM: How do you sense the evolution of your music based on your previous releases, such as She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror? Do you feel there are any limits to where you can get with the type of music played by Goatchrist?

goatchrist_fb_imgDominator: I see Goatchrist as a limitless band. I think specific musical styles fit certain themes so the musical direction will always change. There must be a natural progression from release to release, otherwise peoples’ interest stagnates.

THM: One thing that really draw my attention while listening to songs like Inferno, The Triumvirate’s Flight to Nippur, Plaguewood and She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror is the exceptional harmony found in each one of them amidst all the necessary violence and negativity found in Black Metal, in other words, they’re not just disgruntled noise, and that’s corroborated by the fact the song Inferno has already been selected twice to be played on The Metal Moose Radio together with lots of non-extreme bands. How do you manage to keep your music so extreme but at the same time relatively easy to listen to? Which special techniques do you apply to the recording or editing of your songs to make them so cohesive and melodic?

Dominator: Thank you very much. Haha, I don’t know the answer to that one. I just write what I think sounds good and then play it. My recording technique is so basic, everything goes through a UX1 through Pod Farm and into Audacity. That’s pretty much all I can offer in the way of ‘how I do what I do’.

THM: Moving on to your personal life, when and why did you choose to follow the path of Black Metal? What does extreme music mean in your life and how do you see the impact it has on your interaction with the society you live in?

Dominator: Extreme music doesn’t always appeal. There’s only a few bands that actually do it well. Sure, those bands (Absu, Nachtmystium, Summoning, for example) are amongst my favourites, but as regards their influence on the society I live in, I don’t see it much. Society is only influenced by one thing, and that’s philosophy. We’re mostly all bound to a stupidly mundane way of thinking and analysing things, and it dulls our creativity and doesn’t let specific, niche art forms overly influence society in a great way anymore.

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Album Review – Goatchrist / The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil EP (2015)

THM: It’s a known fact that you’re a very young guy with a huge passion for extreme music and that’s very inspiring, but what do your parents, friends and teachers think about it? Do they understand at all what you’re doing or is there a lot of misconception on their side due to the nature of the music you’re creating?

Dominator: They don’t really pay much attention to it. My mum shows a moderate interest, but it’s not her cup of tea. Some of my metalhead friends listen to my stuff but that’s about it; to most of my friends I’m just Jacob, not Dominator.

THM: Talking about your creative process, it’s remarkable that such a young person can go from traditional Sumerian folklore, like what we can see in The Epic Tragedy Of The Cult Of Enlil, to 17th century French occultism and Luciferianism as the concept for your next release, which you’re already working on. What are your sources of inspiration that help you maintain your music at such interesting level? Do you read a lot of books, focus on detailed researches on the Internet, watch a lot of documentaries or have any other hobbies that foment your creativity? And how do you know a specific theme or concept is the one you will transform into music?

Dominator: Thank you. My album concepts are based upon my own logical layout and general flow, over which researched ideas are placed. All the above aforementioned research methods are used, as well as a lot of meditation.

As far as knowing which one I’ll use, I have no set way of deciding. It just all comes together, haha.

THM: Although your young age is good on one side in terms of energy and creativity, on the other side it can also bring some unwanted consequences such as not being able to perform live at a specific venue, just like what has recently happened to you and your band. Could you tell us more about that incident and how that impacted you as a musician and Goatchrist as a band? And what are your plans for future tours with Goatchrist?

Dominator: We weren’t allowed by law to play the show, after which I made some rude comments about the venue which I sincerely apologised for. I don’t particularly want to talk about this event, but Goatchrist did suffer because of it. I have no plan to play live in the near future (not with Goatchrist, anyway).

THM: What’s your opinion on the current state of Black Metal and extreme music in general in the UK and all over the world? Do you see yourself not doing extreme music in the future or maybe not even working as a musician? Do you already feel ready to face the heavy burden that comes with a career in music, especially in Black Metal?

Dominator: Generally the same as it’s always been: shit. The UK scene is an exception, where this form of music is flourishing at the minute, though black metal is only a perfected art form in the hands of a few individuals. I’d say America has the best black metal in the world at the minute. I’ll never not play music, whether it stays extreme is simply a question of time.

I’m not sure what burden you refer to. Goatchrist is essentially my glorified hobby, the moment it burdened me is the moment I’d drop it forever.

THM: In the demo She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror you recorded an interesting cover version for Fatal Equinox (Perpetual Resplendence), by Brazilian Black/Death Metal band Goatpenis. Do you have any plans for future cover versions, or was that a once-off recorded as a tribute to one of your favorite bands? And regarding your personal preferences, who are your biggest idols and influences in music and life in general?

Dominator: Goatpenis are a band I relate to because they’re Brazilian, and I’m Portuguese. I’d been wanting to cover Fatal Equinox for a few years before I actually did it too. There might be a cover coming soon, I’m unsure as of yet. I can confirm that it won’t feature my vocals, anyway.

My personal heroes are varied in character; people from Varg Vikernes to Brian Molko. I look up to artists that push to create a certain image and sound against the trend.

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Album Review – Goatchrist / She Who Holds the Scrying Mirror (2014)

THM: What do you do in your free time (if you have any), and what bands are part of your current playlist? Are there any new or underground bands that you could recommend to people who appreciate Goatchrist and to all fans of heavy music?

Dominator: In my free time I’m usually out and about with friends, or practising guitar. I don’t have time for much else. My current playlist is an incredibly varied mix, and the top ten most featured artists would be Nachtmystium, Absu, Placebo, Scars on Broadway, Deafheaven, Darkspace, Melechesh, Slowdance, Rob Zombie and Naked City (the latter there being a truly amazing band on another level, with their album “Torture Garden” being my favourite album of all time).

As far as recommending bands to fans, there’s a fair few I could name. My vocal style is inspired by Nyogthaeblisz, who are a truly amazing outfit and well worth a listen. Conqueror and Revenge are both bands I tried to draw parallels with in the first demo, and there’s certainly similarities to Absu with ‘The Epic Tragedy…” There’s some other local bands that have a loosely similar (though incredibly powerful) sound, these being Slaughter Throne and Sathamel, who both serve as inspiration to Goatchrist. Other bands I’d recommend checking out are Grimsvotn, Written in Torment and Moloch, whose respective sole members have all contributed to my musical outlook.

THM: Thanks a lot for your time, and keep up the excellent work you’re doing in Black Metal. Last but not least, please feel free to send one final message to your fans and to anyone who’s just getting to know Goatchrist here in Canada, in the UK and anywhere else in the world.

Dominator: You’re very welcome. Thank you to everyone who’s supporting Goatchrist, I’m truly appreciative of everyone who’s given positive feedback as regards the EP. Prepare yourself for the upcoming split we have due out with Angmaer sometime in the future too. Agios o Noctulis!

The new EP is available from HERE.

Links
Goatchrist BandCamp | Facebook
SixSixSix Music Big Cartel | Facebook

Interview – Dimenzion:Psychosphere

Enjoy this “cold apocalyptic interview” with Norwegian Industrial Metallers Dimenzion:Psychosphere, where they talk about their career, the importance of the message in their music, the Industrial Metal scene in Norway, among other cool stuff.

DIMENZION PSYCHOSPHERE band photo 3The Headbanging Moose: Let’s start by talking about the band and your brand new album, the excellent Collapse. Can you tell us who Dimenzion:Psychosphere are, your history, goals and plans for the future? Also, how was the creative process for the new album and how did it differ from your previous releases?

Dimenzion:Psychosphere: About us first. We are five guys who’ve been playing together for quite a while, and for many years it was kind of a side project, since most of us had other bands with higher priority. But around 2010 we decided to put more time and effort into Dimenzion, first of all because we all felt this was the band closest to our hearts, and second, because we had more time. So we started working on our first full-length album DNA Phantom Effect, which was finished and released early 2012. Unfortunately we are not very good at promotion, so the album didn’t get the attention we hoped for, and we didn’t get very far. Hopefully will those who like Collapse check out DNA too, cos we still think it’s a great album. As far as the creative process goes, it has always been the same, but this time we had way more material to choose from, which made it easier to shape the concept and feeling of Collapse.

THM: As mentioned in the review of the album, songs like The Machine and Slaves deal with important issues our society is facing nowadays which can lead to some serious consequences in a not-so-distant future, maybe even to the apocalypse. However, despite all that negativity emanating from the lyrics, your music is very melodic and pleasant to listen to. How do you guys work on that balance between “good” and “evil” in your music?

D:P: It all comes naturally really. We like to work with different moods and styles. Though I think when it comes to the important issues you mention, they’re all pretty provoking. So the feelings about it ranges from anger, to sadness and to plain apathy sometimes, and the music is shaped thereafter. We are still angry even if we’re not screaming or growling all the time, and there are enough bands out there who do that already. Harmonies make everything more powerful if not overdone I believe.

afterlight (14)THM: Your “cold apocalyptic metal” sounds perfect for being part of the soundtrack of futuristic movies such as The Terminator, Blade Runner or The Matrix. I’m pretty sure you’re all huge fans of that type of movie and you probably get inspired by those (and many others) when composing new material. What else, besides futuristic movies, inspires the band to create music? Are there any specific books, movie genres or any other sources of information the band likes to go to for having some insights and fomenting your creativity?

D:P: The sound effects, the music and the dystopic feeling of those movies and others like them inspire us, yes. But lots come from documentaries, history, books and of course by watching/reading the news. The world is becoming a police state, with surveillance and new laws made to make us “safer”, which when you think about it, is just a way of limiting our rights and freedom. And it all makes you wanna fuck some shit up, which comes out musically instead of physically in our case.

THM: What about your code names and apparel, which seem to be inspired by bands such as Slipknot and video games like Call of Duty? Could you tell us something about how Dimenzion:Psychosphere decided to add those elements to the band, the original inspiration for that, and what they represent today to all of you?

D:P:  We have always tried to add something extra to our shows, and the all over black uniforms remove the focus on us as individuals, just leaving it to be this unit that is the show. The names came recently to fit the whole concept, by not drawing attention to who we are, but to the whole concept. Not inspired by anything particular, it just felt right to do.

THM: Collapse is your first release signed to a record label. How is it to be working with a record label for the first time in your career, and what can you tell us about your relationship with Crime Records?

D:P: It’s great to have someone to back us up with the promotion and stuff, since as we mentioned, we’re not so good at that. Our relationship with Crime started over a year ago when they heard the DNA album. And they pretty much followed the entire process up to the finishing of Collapse, and signed us even before the final mix. We liked their attitude, so we didn’t even bother to send anything to other labels either.

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Album Review – Dimenzion:Psychosphere / Collapse (2014)

THM: How is the Industrial Metal scene in Norway, a country known for being the cradle of Black Metal? Do you face any issues sharing your space with Black Metal bands and/or bands from any other music genres there, or is it a very peaceful and even productive coexistence?

D:P: The industrial metal scene in Norway is very small, especially compared to black metal.

We haven’t had any issues sharing stage with black metal bands or any other bands, so I guess you could say it’s a pretty peaceful coexistence. We know several people who play black metal, and all of them have a pretty open mind when it comes to music.

THM: Who are your main influences in music? Which bands and artists helped define what Dimenzion:Psychosphere are today, and which bands would you love to have a “dream tour” together?

D:P: It might be a cliché, but we get our influences from nearly all styles of music (with some exceptions). From all eras too. So naming bands is maybe not so “us” I think. It would have to be a very long list then. A dream tour… Meshuggah perhaps. Devin Townsend, Entombed. Someone not so far from us musically.

THM: What bands and artists are part of your playlist in your free time, when you’re not with Dimenzion: Psychosphere? Do you have any new or underground bands you would like to recommend us?

DIMENZION PSYCHOSPHERE band photo 1D:P: I guess we have our different favourites within the band, so like the previous answer, all kinds of music. We can recommend some bands we work with now and then. Deafmazjiin, Ground Zero System and Among Gods. All from Southern Norway.

THM: How about your current tour plans, especially now that Collapse is fresh out in the market? Which countries are you planning on visiting, how do you choose your setlist, and can your fans expect from your live performances? And are you going to play any dates in North America in 2014, especially in Canada, or is the focus going to be solely in Europe this year?

D:P: We have no tour plans at the moment, but that is something we’re going to start working on as soon as collapse is out. Unfortunately we don’t have a management/ booking agency yet, so that’s probably going to be our next goal. We love doing live shows, so if someone invites us to come to Canada (or any other country) we’d be more than happy to come. I think if you like our albums you’re going to love what we do live.

The setlist we pretty much make before every show, depending on how much time we have. We do try to mix old stuff with new stuff, but I guess lately the majority of songs come from the Collapse and DNA Phantom Effect albums.

THM: Thank you for the interview, or I should say “takk for intervjuet”. Do you have any final words for your fans in Norway, Canada and all over the world?

D:P: First of all thank you for giving D:P some attention and we hope that the readers will check out our music. If you want to get the latest news from Dimenzion:Psychosphere you can join us on Facebook or check us out at dimenzionpsychosphere.com.

Links
Dimenzion: Psychosphere Official Website | Facebook

Interview – Lelahel (Lelahell)

The Headbanging Moose talks to the leader of Algerian Death Metal band Lelahell, Redouane “Lelahel” Aouameur, about their new excellent album, their plans for a world tour, his full-blooded passion for extreme music, as well as the current state of Death Metal in Algeria. Support Lelahell or die!

lelahelThe Headbanging Moose: First of all, congratulations on the release of your first full-length record, Al Insane​.​.​. The (Re​)​Birth of Abderrahmane. Could you tell us a little about how Lelahell was born and how difficult the band’s path was until this album became reality? What were the easiest and the most arduous parts in the recording process of the album?

Redouane “Lelahel” Aouameur: Thanks for your great support! And for giving us the opportunity to talk about our music and our band!

Lelahell is an Algerian Death Metal band founded in 2010 by me (Lelahel) and started first as a one man band. One year later it was joined by Slaveblaster (drums) and Nihil (bass), two talented musicians from the band Barbaros.

In July 2012, Al Intihar EP was released on Goressimo Records and officially distributed by Sevared Records in the USA.

In January 2013 we started to record drums of our first full length album, two months later we started the recording of bass and guitars. The vocals were recorded in August 2013 just before our first tour. After that I was going to mix and master the album, but it was difficult to find a suitable sound for our music which was the most arduous part of the recording process, so we decided to search for a producer, and by the time we could find someone for that we were already in December 2013.  The album was mixed and mastered by Ivan from Athropocide Studio from Belarus. He did a great job, this guy is very patient and talented! But very slow lol! Because the album was finalized in March 2014.

The easiest part was the writing process because it was something very natural and without any stress, everything came from our guts!

ImpressionTHM: Songs like Al Intissar and Hillal do not only offer the fans the traditional Death Metal  they’re looking for, but they also carry some interesting and relevant message in their lyrics, especially in regards to the Algerian culture. Can you tell us more about how those songs were created and what they truly mean for you?

Lelahel: “Al Intissar” is an hymn to victory and all against those fuckin’ losers who complain all day long without doing anything from their lives. Move your ass fucking assholes! It was the first written song of the album, and maybe the most interesting.

The other song, “Hillal”, has a more philosophical concept and it is about the interaction of the human with the nature. The main riff is taken from a melody used in a song called “Into the Past” from our first EP, and played differently. And maybe we will do the same thing in the next album?

THM: Another song that caught my attention in Al Insane… The (Re)Birth of Abderrahmane was Mizmar, which also contains elements of the Arabic culture. Although you’re a traditional Death Metal band, are you considering one day recording any songs that are more connected to your country, and consequently less brutal, like the acoustic and tribal songs Sepultura added to some of their albums in the past?

Lelahel: Maybe just an intro or a prelude of a few seconds, we are a Death Metal band not a folk or other kind of metal band. The main concept of Lelahell is brutality through melody! 

THM: How much do you think that singing in French is beneficial to your music? Don’t you think that the French language can become a barrier for Lelahell to enter the North American and European markets, which are more than essential for the survival of any band?

lelahel02Lelahel: In general we don’t sing in French, we used French in only one song, “Hypnose”, and we used also Spanish in “Hermanos”, a song from Al Intihar (our first EP). Maybe we’ll use Italian, German or another language in our future albums. We just do that in one song only in each release, it is the trademark of Lelahell! But in general we use English, Algerian and classical Arabic in our songs, and I don’t think that it will be a barrier to enter the European and American markets! Nowadays many known bands use their native language in their music.

THM: This topic might be a little delicate, but many people believe that the African continent, in special its Islamic countries, are not a place for Death Metal or any type of heavy music. What’s your opinion about that? Have you ever suffered any type of discrimination inside or outside Algeria because of your music and origin, and if so, how do you deal with this type of issue?

Lelahel: I play metal for more than 20 years, and never got any problem in my country, I think that you have a false idea about our countries which is transmitted by your media. Outside Algeria we played in many Europeans countries (France, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Malta), I also played in Belgium and France 10 years before with my previous band Litham, all without any problem.

THM: What can you tell us about the Death Metal scene in Algeria? How does it differ from the state of Death Metal in countries like the United States, Canada, Germany, Brazil and Japan?

Lelahel: We can’t say that there is a Death Metal scene in Algeria. Actually there are only a few bands which are active. And the main problems are the lack of places for playing and rehearsing! This is why bands disband after 2 or 3 years of existence.

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Album Review – Lelahell / Al Insane… The (Re)Birth Of Abderrahmane (2014)

THM: What are your tour plans now that you finally have a full-length album to promote, and how are your fans and first-time listeners reacting to your new songs at your live performances? Are there any specific songs that are receiving more positive feedback than others?

Lelahel: We played a few weeks ago at the Malta Death Fest, it was the first gig after the release of the album  and we got very positive feedback from Maltese and many European death metalheads! The song that received more positive feedback from all listeners is actually “Kalimet Essir”.

Our next plan to promote the album is an Euro tour planned for December of this year booked by Axa Valhalla productions from Romania. The confirmed dates are in Germany, Switzerland, Poland and maybe France. Stay in touch for more news!

THM: Who are your biggest idols in music, and to what extend have those bands or artists influenced what we can hear in your debut album? And did you consider recording a cover song of any of your main influences in Al Insane… The (Re)Birth of Abderrahmane or did you feel the album should have been 100% original, just the way it ended up being?

Lelahel: We don’t have any particular idols, but we have two main sources of inspiration: everything which is related to Death Metal and all brutal stuff, and the second is our local music. With those two things we can write more than 100,000 albums, no?

In my opinion no one can be 100% original in music except if you are living in another planet!

lelahell02THM: How do you see the future of heavy music in Algeria and in the rest of the world, especially in regards to Death Metal, a music genre always marginalized by the vast majority of the society? In addition, do you believe the Internet has been having a more positive or negative impact on your band and on Death Metal in general?

Lelahel: Back to the early days: the tape trading and paper zines and such things, when the people where more supportive to small underground bands buying demos and going to small shows! Nowadays things have really changed, people prefer to spend thousands of bucks for going to a festival with big bands instead of 3 or 5 to support their local band. The internet has its benefits because it is really easier for a band from all around the globe to spread music and all info than before, but the technology and mp3 really killed the charm of music. People became lazier!

In the future I think that things will go on the same way!

THM: Thanks a lot for your time. Feel free to send a message to all true Death Metal fans all over the world, especially to the ones here in Canada that are starting to enjoy the music by Lelahell.

Lelahel: Thanks a lot for your great support! And stay brutal!

You can purchase our album from our webstore.

SUPPORT LELAHELL OR DIE!!!

Links
Lelahell Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Interview – Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka (NeraNature)

In an exclusive interview to the Headbanging Moose, Polish singer and songwriter Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka talks about NeraNature’s latest album Disorders, as well as her inspirations for singing and composing, her favourite bands and artists, the music industry and more. And there is also some very good news for the fans of Darzamat!

neraThe Headbanging Moose: Let’s start by talking about your new album, the excellent Disorders. After three long years, your fans are finally able to enjoy more of that Gothic and alternative music found in Foresting Wounds plus some new elements, without losing the band’s essence.  How was the creative process of the album, what inspired you the most for composing it, and what in your opinion are the main differences to your first album? What influence did the fact that you’re sharing your time between Poland and the UK have in the musicality of Disorders?

Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka: We started making new songs over a year ago. The good thing was we felt we had all the time in the world, as we didn’t have time limit and didn’t have to rush. We got down to work separately and having a base ready forwarded it to each other for further ideas. For the first time in my life a few songs started with my vocal lines and music was created after. It’s a pretty nice experience I might take advantage of in the future.

In terms of the lyrics my greatest inspiration is life itself. I keep observing people around me and I try being in somebody’s shoes, to understand what’s in their heads and why they act this or that way. I am a very empathetic person, so it’s quite a natural thing for me to see through someone’s eyes. Then I choose a common denominator for and I write.

When me and Marcus started the band we promised ourselves to push the boundaries of our own limitations and habits and no matter the music trend, do what we feel like doing, search different styles and keep developing. I would say that the main difference between ‘Foresting Wounds’ and ‘Disorders’ is that the latter is softer and more electronic.

Living in a new place gave me plenty of new impulses. I found out new things about the world, other cultures and myself. It got me out of my comfort zone and made me even more melancholic and pensive which you can hear on the new album (laugh).

THM: Do you have any extra material left (a cover version, a brand new composition, a totally different version of an existing song etc.) you didn’t feel like adding to the album for a given reason, just like what happens with many different bands and artists when releasing a new album? If so, are you planning on releasing that anytime in the future as a single or bonus track, or is it something you’re going to keep just for yourself?

Nera: There is always some extra stuff left which is not a part of the album for a certain reason. If I feel something kind of doesn’t belong in what we’re doing at the moment, I just drop it, and to be honest, never come back to it. I just know that working on the next album my heart and my mind will be in some other place, telling updated stories.

THM: Although the whole album sounds very personal I consider Twisted, one of the top moments of Disorders for me, even more personal, especially in regards to the lyrics. Not only that, it also feels very organic and you look very, very joyful in the music video. Can you tell us more about this specific song as to how it connects to your persona, in other words, what does Twisted truly represent in your career and in your life?

Nera: I agree, ‘Twisted’ is one of my favorites on the album. The song and the video is a portrait of a woman who cannot find happiness in the real life, so she begins to live in a self made world with her imaginary friend and lover. No matter how unreal it seems, it’s a thing that keeps her alive. As Albert Einstein said “A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.” Some people can treat it as a mental affliction but for me it is just a parallel world, which makes your life bearable and more exciting. Is it a personal song for me? Yes, it is (laugh).

THM: The beautiful ballad I Play, another one of my favorite songs in Disorders, also seems very introspective and emotive. I’m not sure if I can ask you that, but was it inspired by a special moment or event in your life and, if so, can you share more details about it with your fans? It’s always nice to know how an artist generates such honest and heartwarming music.

nera02Nera: This song is about people too sensitive to accept callousness and cruelty in this planet. In other words it is about discovering misanthropy in yourself after what you have experienced. It is about a will to reject the system created by man to enslave another man. It is also about my losing faith in man as such because of his chasing after money and his own comfort and his unthinking, consumerist attitude towards our planet, the only one we have.

The whole album is set in the boundary points between what for some is still the norm, and for others is madness. I’m trying to describe the emotions of people glowing with reluctance to this world. The reasons for their inadequacy may be different, but their fears and feelings are very similar. Hence the title “Disorders”.

THM: I guess most people, including yourself, probably consider Mistaken the most alternative song ever composed by NeraNature. Is that a sign of how your music might sound in the future, and how has the reaction of your fans been to this song so far?

Nera: We like the idea of finishing the album with some odd song, as the end is the beginning of something new.  We did it on the previous album with the song ‘Someone’ and now with ‘Mistaken’. We can’t predict the direction the band will follow in the future though, because it depends on what will catch our attention, what will inspire us and what stories will be ready for us to tell. The fact is that ‘Mistaken’ was composed by Marcus and me only and I can’t say we won’t make some more composition like that one, because be both like playing with electro flavour and  austere texture. Time will tell.

So far I heard opinions that the song is intriguing. Still, most people prefer the ‘regular’ songs like ‘Twisted’ and ‘Drifting’. De gustibus non disputandum est.

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Album Review – NeraNature / Disorders (2014)

THM: It seems that you have embraced the new way the music industry is doing business nowadays, which means making available to the market only the digital version of your album, with no physical copies to be purchased anywhere. What are the main factors that made you opt to market the album only that way, and is there a chance your diehard fans will be able to buy a Disorders CD anytime soon?

Nera: With this album we decided to try to deal with the modern way of publishing, which omits people not involved in what we do. I personally needed some fresh and organic connection with myself, so I recorded my vocals all by myself in strange places like my car, for example. All that work on the album was one big experiment that ended up with no deal, no label, no strings attached – there is just us and the listeners. We made the music, the cover and the video with our own hands, using the tools we had. As simple as that. I think it was a one-time thing and I am sure we will cooperate with wiser and more experienced people in the future. Also, some limited physical copies might appear one day, but at the moment we’re good being out of business.

THM: You might have already answered this question a billion times, but what is the probability of you, Nera, being in a Symphonic Black Metal band again, being it Darzamat or any other band or project, even if it’s only as a guest musician for one single song? Is that type of music still present in your life? If so, which Symphonic Black Metal groups do you usually listen to and recommend to your fans?

Nera: I surely need some space for my alter ego (laugh), so I won’t leave Darzamat that easily. We are getting some stuff ready and the very first sounds are being made, so stay tuned for further info.

When it comes to music I’m not into one genre only. Let me just name some metal bands that were and are important for me: Tiamat, Emperor, The Gathering, Samael, Arcturus, Green Carnation, Opeth, Watain, Burzum, Limbonic Art, Ulver, System of a Down, Antimatter, Porcupine Tree, Bathory, Amorphis, Anathema and my latest discovery- Devil’s Blood.

THM: How about other bands, artists and music genres? What’s currently in your playlist for your day-to-day activities? I’m pretty sure you listen to a lot of Gothic, alternative and atmospheric music from the UK, right?

Nera: Actually, I don’t listen too much to Gothic music. I try not to limit myself and I reach for different stuff according to my mood. Lately, for instant, I listen to classical music and some jazz. If you checked my playlist now you would also find things like Kings of Leon, Riverside, Peccatum, Solstafir, Agnes Obel, Leszek Możdżer, Depeche Mode, Pink Floyd, Cocorosie, Ihsahn and Dead Can Dance. As you can see, I like a bit of this and that.

nera03THM: You probably know how huge the Polish community is in Canada (over a million Canadians claim full or partial Polish ancestry) and especially in Toronto, where over 4% of Torontonians are from Polish descent. However, besides the Blackened Death Metal by Behemoth, it’s really hard to find any material or to have any live concerts from Polish bands here in Canada. Why do you think this happens, and how likely is it to have NeraNature playing live in Canada and the US in the future?

Nera: That is a very good question, but to the Canadian agencies and promoters (laugh). I can assure you I would love to come and play with NeraNature and Darzamat, so I’m waiting for your invitation 😉

THM: Thank you very much for your time and for sharing with us all those details about your music and your life, and please feel free to send a final message to all your Canadian fans and to everyone else in the world that enjoys the music from NeraNature.

Nera: Thank you very much for your time, attention and support.

Remember to think for yourself and keep in touch with your soul! Wish you all the best! Nera

Links
NeraNature Facebook | YouTube
Darzamat Official Website | Facebook | YouTube

Interview – Chris Thompson (Sovereign Council)

While “the moose” takes a summer vacation to tame Eastern Europe, have some excellent beer and, of course, praise Iron Maiden, please enjoy this very interesting interview with guitarist Chris Thompson, from Canadian Symphonic Metal band Sovereign Council, conducted by Brazilian journalist Renata Santos for the website Portal do Inferno. See you guys in July!

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Sovereign Council (photo by Vertigo Productions)

Portal do Inferno: Hello, Chris! Thank you very much for the interview. It is a pleasure having Sovereign Council at Portal do Inferno. First of all, how would you describe the band to the Brazilian audience that don’t know you yet? What are your main influences and in which way have those influences contributed with your songs?

Chris Thompson: Thanks for having us; we’re honoured to be here. That’s a tough question, and one that we get asked quite often. We often find people comparing us to bands like Lacuna Coil, Kamelot, Nightwish, Within Temptation, etc etc. I agree that we do share certain aspects of our sound with these bands, but we’re certainly very different at the same time. All of these bands have influenced us in some way, but we also draw influences from a lot of places people would not necessarily expect. I think our love of heavier music – Meshuggah, Lamb of God, In Flames, and Gojira, to name a few, – is what gives our music more edge in the guitar and drum lines compared to some of the more traditional symphonic metal bands.

That being said, we also draw a lot of our influences from hip-hop, rap, classical, and rock. A lot of our lyrical influence comes from philosophical texts as well as personal life experiences.

P.I.: Symphonic metal is a really well-developed style in Europe, with bands like Delain, Epica, Nightwish, among others, but we cannot find many representatives in North America. How is this style seen especially by the Canadian public?

Chris: I think there is a real niche for this sound here. We’ve noticed a trend with reviews from abroad; everyone in Europe, South America, and even the USA is shocked when they learn that we’re Canadian. Here in Canada it is a little bit difficult for us. We end up being the odd band out in a lot of the shows we play simply because there aren’t enough symphonic bands in the area. Most metal bands around here are hardcore, progressive, or thrash metal. Overall however, our music and our performances are always very well received.

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Chris Thompson (photo by Orest Dorosh/Front Row Pics)

P.I.: The band’s debut album, New Reign (2013), was released with no record label. Here in Brazil it is very difficult, expensive and demanding for a band to release their own material without the support of a record label. What about Canada? How is it to be an independent artist?

Chris: It was a lot of hard work, but at the same time I wouldn’t say that it was overly difficult – certainly not beyond the reach of any really committed artist anyway. In some ways, unless you get offered a really great deal, it’s actually beneficial to remain independent. I think that so long as you work hard you will have success as an independent artist in the Canadian scene. There are different levels of success. We are certainly seeking support from labels and management organizations, but we aren’t about to sell ourselves short either. When the right deal comes along we’ll definitely jump at the opportunity to further our career.

P.I.: Tell me a little bit about New Reign in regards to the composition and recording process. What inspired you to record this album from a lyrical and musical standpoint?

Chris: New Reign was a project in the making for quite a while. Each song began as one or two guitar lines and built up from there. Generally speaking, I come to Alex with a guitar line that I feel has potential and he takes it and adds bass, drums, string sections, etc. For the most part we let the music write itself, if that makes sense. Certain songs, New Reign for example, took several months before it was completed, but others such as Down The Rabbit Hole, were completely written in one sitting. We just make sure that we’re never forcing anything; the music needs to feel organic and flow naturally.

We almost always have the music written before the lyrics are even thought about. We really listen to what the music is conveying emotionally and then base our lyrics around that feeling and atmosphere.

Much of the album was inspired by our own life experiences, both musically and lyrically speaking. I think we’ve succeeded in telling a story with our music, and most people seem to really connect with the theatrical story-telling on an emotional level; that is to say that many people can relate to these common human experiences.

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Alexander MacWilliam (photo by Orest Dorosh/Front Row Pics)

P.I.: Listening to the tracks from New Reing, we can notice many melodic and vocal variations. The songs go from clean to guttural vocals and the beautiful and delicate vocals by Lisa Thompson, who makes great duets with vocalist Alexander MacWilliam. The comparison with bands that have female and male vocals is inevitable. Names such as Lacuna Coil, Kamelot, Nightwish, among many others end up being mentioned. Does that bother you? How do Sovereign Council differentiate yourselves from those bands in this aspect?

Chris: This is a great question. It certainly doesn’t bother us. It’s almost always a good thing to be likened to any of those bands; and I wouldn’t say that we actually try to separate from or associate with those bands. Our sound is very different and yet, in some aspects such as vocals, similar. One thing that does separate us is our theatrical storytelling and live performance. Moreover, Alex’s growls and screams also help to separate us even further. I do feel personally however, that our biggest difference lay in the guitar lines and drum lines. Our guitar lines are very complex in their composition; at times our guitars carry a melody and a counter melody together and leave the rhythm to the bass and keys.

P.I.: In the beginning of May you had the opportunity to be one of the opening acts for German Heavy Metal band Primal Fear in Toronto. How was that experience for the band? The music by Sovereign Council is very different from what Primal Fear do, so how did the audience react to your performance?

Chris: The show with Primal Fear was an amazing experience. Primal Fear is an extremely talented band and it was an honour to open for them and to meet them. The audience reaction was not too unlike our usual experience with new crowds. A lot of people look very confused through the first half of the first song, but it doesn’t take too long for us to win a crowd over. The uniqueness of our sound always throws new listeners for a bit of a loop, but it almost always wins them over quite quickly. By the start of our second song in the set we had won the crowd over, especially once Lisa began to sing. We like to think of her as our ‘secret weapon’ – in our standard set she isn’t in the first song so when she appears in Sweet Poison she really blows people away.

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Lisa Thompson (photo by Orest Dorosh/Front Row Pics)

P.I.: In 2013, you played several concerts in Canada with Brazilian band Santuarium, from Rio de Janeiro. How did you get to know each other and how did that opportunity to tour together come up?

Chris: We actually met them by chance. Their manager at the time was looking for supporting acts for their Canadian tour. She found us on Facebook and asked us if we wanted to join the tour. After meeting with her on Skype and listening to Santuarium’s music we decided that we would love to work with them. So from there, her and I worked together to set up several shows with our two bands. We got the opportunity to play some football with them in Toronto before a show, which of course was a lot of fun! We played a friendly match of Sovereign Council vs. Santuarium; which effectively worked out to Canada vs. Brazil. Needless to say, Brazil won the match, but it was a close game! Later on, in November, we hooked up with Santuarium for two more shows, which was great.

P.I.: What do you know about the Brazilian Heavy Metal scene and what’s your opinion about the musicality of our bands?

Chris: I actually know very little about the Brazilian scene and the only Brazilian band I’ve had the opportunity to work with is Santuarium. That being said they are incredibly professional and talented.

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Sovereign Council (photo by Orest Dorosh/Front Row Pics)

P.I.: Can we expect a switch in the future, this time with Sovereign Council touring Brazil together with Santuarium?

Chris: We have actually discussed this, and it very well could happen. There are no solid plans in place just yet. I am traveling to Rio de Janeiro to meet with some of the members of Santuarium in July this year so who knows what plans will develop for the future.

P.I.: What are the plans for the future of Sovereign Council? Are you already working on any new material?

Chris: Our future is a very bright one in my opinion. We’re a young, hard-working, talented, and focused band. We’re constantly working hard to improve as individual musicians and as a group and our live shows keep getting better and better as a result. We are starting to reach out to various groups for assistance and we’re hoping to begin touring outside of Canada in the near future.

As for new material, I can’t give away too much information, but our second full-length album is well underway. It’s definitely got a heavier feel, but it stays true to the Sovereign Council sound that has been so well received on New Reign.

P.I.: Thanks again for the interview, we appreciate that. Feel free to send a message to all the readers from Portal do Inferno.

Chris: Obrigado Renata! Esperamos ver você e seus leitores quando fizermos uma turnê no Brasil!

Check out the original interview at Portal do Inferno in Brazilian Portuguese and English by clicking HERE.

Interview – Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear)

Let’s get ready for Power Metal icons Primal Fear to “deliver the black” here in Canada next month with this exclusive interview with one of the best and most respected metal singers in the world, the amazing Mr. Ralf Scheepers. Metal is forever!

Ralf ScheepersThe Headbanging Moose: First of all, I have to say that the new Primal Fear album, Delivering the Black, is a true Heavy Metal masterpiece and it will be for sure one of the best albums of 2014. There isn’t a single moment of the album that’s not pure and direct metal, especially the kick-ass songs King for A Day, Rebel Faction, Inseminoid and Delivering The Black. How was the creative process of the album, and how were you able to come up with such fast and powerful music even after almost 20 years of the first Primal Fear album?

Ralf Scheepers: Thank you very much! I’m glad that you like it!

We are in the great situation to have 4 writing members in Primal Fear, so basically we come up with many different ideas for an album and put them together as a short list of which could be on the album and which might fit to the flowing of an album. This is also a very important key when you put an album together. This time Mat and Magnus were coming up with the basic playbacks of the tracks and we sat together and worked on vocal melodies and lyrics. For some tracks I have worked on the playbacks to find my ideas on it and some of them were written together, as mentioned before.

This is basically how we are working on every album.

THM: I’ve been checking the music charts and it seems that Delivering the Black is doing extremely well, especially in Europe and Japan, and of course the band is huge in South America too. However, it’s not that easy to find your music or many other Power Metal bands available in the stores here in Canada and in the rest of North America. How do you see this “cultural barrier” here in North America against many subgenres of Heavy Metal that are not Death or Thrash Metal? Do you believe the Internet is being of great help for bands like Primal Fear, Chthonic, Amon Amarth and many others to penetrate this quite conservative market?

RS: I don’t consider this as a cultural barrier rather than judging it by seeing the size of the continent and the fact that we all still have to struggle against the illegal downloads. So to answer your second part of the question: I see both sides. I see the possibility to promote yourself as an advantage and on the other side I see the illegal downloading as a disadvantage.

THM: Talking about German heavy music, the past few years have been amazing for most of the bands from your country. For instance, in 2014 we’ve already had really awesome albums from Primal Fear, Axel Rudi Pell, Van Canto, Iron Savior and Gamma Ray, last year we had one of the best Helloween albums of all time, there are also other excellent bands that are not Power Metal like Hard Rock band Motorjesus and Metalcore band Caliban, among others. In your opinion, what’s the secret for such a rich, diverse and creative heavy music scene in Germany? Is it just the beer, or is it something else?

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Album Review – Primal Fear / Delivering the Black (2014)

RS: It’s definitely the beer, yes! 🙂

Well I think we had the opportunity to jump into this genre as music fans in the 80’s, especially the NWOBH era was creating a lot of great musicians here in Europe…. It’s somehow learning by hearing. So if you had or have the talent to play the guitar or to play the drums or to sing, you change from a fan into a musician by yourself and that’s what happened a lot over here.

THM: Going back to the new album, there’s a very interesting partnership with the gorgeous Liv Kristine in the Japanese bonus track version of the ballad Born With A Broken Heart. How did you guys end up choosing her for this track? In my opinion, this version is more beautiful than the original one, so why didn’t you add it as a regular track instead? And after some stunning duets with Liv Kristine on the new Primal Fear album, Simone Simmons on New Religion, and Tim “Ripper” Owens on your solo album, who else would you love to record a Primal Fear or Scheepers song together on vocals and why?

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Liv Kristine & Ralf Scheepers

RS: The basic idea was to add a female voice to the chorus for this track, just as an interesting color and so we did that for the album version. For the Japanese bonus track we thought it would be a great idea to remix the track and use more of Liv’s input on it. It both worked out and we’re all happy about both results, for the album and for the bonus.

We never really plan those things in a long term rather than listening to the tracks we wrote. Sometimes we hear additional voices, male or female to add a different color to it. Sometimes we don’t see or hear the reason to do that.

THM: Regarding your solo album Scheepers, from 2011, you re-recorded a song from your Tyran’ Pace years, the excellent Saints of Rock. Why did you choose this song to be part of your debut solo album, and are there any plans for another Scheepers album soon? If so, is there anything you could share with us about it?

RS: As the idea for “Saints of Rock” came up from me back then in the 80’s I thought it would be a good idea to modern up the sound of this track on my solo album. It was so much fun to re sing this one and to do all voices of the chorus on my own this time. Back then Charlie Huhn (Victory) helped me out doing the choir.

There are no plans for another solo album. This year our focus is to tour the world.

THM: You’ve recently finished a series of concerts with the Rock Meets Classic Tour 2014. How did you get invited to be part of this project, how was the overall experience, who were some of the musicians there with you, and what were the highlights of the tour for you?

Rock Meets Classic 2014

Rock Meets Classic 2014

RS: As Mat Sinner is the musical director and co producer of this event he thought it would be a good idea to add some male voices to the already existing female choir. So he has offered me the possibility to join in and I did. In the second and third year I was alone as a male choir member and in the forth and fifth year Sascha Krebs (Musical artist) has joined in. It was and still is a great experience every year! To be on stage with some of my idols and stars from the 80’s music scene is simply an amazing experience! It’s great fun. Every night you hear those popular tracks combined with the classical sounds of strings, trumpets and trombones, it gives me shivers and goose bumps. It’s an amazing vibe and atmosphere on stage!

We had Ian Gillan, Lou Gramm, Paul Rodgers, Alice Cooper feat. Orianthi, Joe Lynn Turner, Steve Lukather, Eric Bazilian, Jimi Jamison, Mick Box and Bernie Shaw from Uriah Heep, Steve Augeri, Midge Ure, Marc Storace, Dan McCafferty, Bonnie Tyler, Robin Beck and Kim Wilde with us. This is listed in no particular following.

THM: You’re not only the frontman of Primal Fear, but you also have your solo career, you’re part of different music projects such as Rocks Meets Classic, you’re a vocal coach, you provide singing lessons, you’re a microphone development consultant, you provide file processing, among many other activities, including your personal life where you have to take care of your son, work out at the gym etc. How are you able to manage all that? And what’s the advice you have for any artists and musicians that want to perform as well as you do on stage without losing track of all other things in life?

RS: I simply juggle duties and do not do everything at the same time! 🙂

Sometimes my focus is more on one thing and then again on the others when it’s necessary. To set priorities is the overall key to all this. I think as a grown up person you don’t need any advices to handle your life right? 🙂

Primal FearTHM: There haven’t been any Primal Fear concerts in Canada since 2010, and even before that there were only very few Canadian dates whenever the band came to North America. Now that you have a fairly bigger tour with four concerts schedule in Canada for 2014, in Quebec City, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, what is the band preparing for your Canadian fans so eager to see you guys playing live again? Will there be any special songs in the setlist, or any other surprises at all?

RS: We are all looking forward to this and we are happy that there are more cities planned for Canada this year! In our existing setlist we have tried to add the most significant songs. On the other hand we also took care that there is a reasonable change in the flow of the songs of our live set.

THM: Which bands or artists (including all types of music) do you enjoy listening while at home with your family, at the gym or on the road? What about Canadian bands or artists, what are your favorite ones and why? And are there any new bands from anywhere in the world you would recommend us?

RS: When I have time to listen to other music I listen to every kinds of genres. I’m very open to all kinds of bands and songs with melodies. As I am not really up date what’s new at the market I am not able to recommend anything right now.

THM: Thank you very, very much for your time. Please feel free to send a final message to your fans here in Canada and to invite everyone to the Primal Fear concerts here. I’ll be there at the Mod Club on May 3 in Toronto to bang my head with some pure Heavy Metal, no doubt about that!

RS: As mentioned above we are looking forward to perform in more cities of Canada this year! It would be awesome if you all could join in for a show in your city and to rock out and hang out with us for a non alcoholic beer or two. 🙂

Primal Fear North America 2014 – Canadian dates

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May 1, 2014 – Quebec City, Quebec | Le Cercle TICKETS
May 2, 2014 – Montreal, Quebec | Foufounes Électriques TICKETS
May 3, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario | Virgin Mobile Mod Club TICKETS
May 11, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia | Venue Nightclub TICKETS

Links
Ralf Scheepers Official Website | Facebook
Primal Fear Official Website | Facebook

Interview – Geir Arne Dale (Humbucker)

Excellent drummer (and a great guy too!) Geir Arne “The Cannon” Dale talks to The Headbanging Moose about the history of his Hard Rock band Humbucker, their excellent new album King of the World, the music scene in Norway, his “dream tour”, his favorite Canadian bands, among some other cool stuff. And, of course, he answers the mysterious question “Who is Dirty Nelly?”

GA LIVE HAUGESUNDThe Headbanging Moose: Let’s start with some details about the history of Humbucker: although the band was created back in 1998, it was only in 2012 with your debut album R.O.C.K.S that Humbucker really became alive. In addition to that, your official website states that “In 2000 the band had five original songs and made a demo that did not do any good for the band. In 2002, due to difficulties combining their day jobs with the rocking, the band called it a day and took a “vacation” that lasted until 2010!” What exactly happened with you guys? And why was that 2000 demo so harmful for the band?

Geir Arne Dale: Well, the demo wasn’t directly harmful for the band, but it was what it was. We didn’t have a singer back then for starters. Three of us shared the vocal duties and let’s face it: We’re better musicians than singers so the demo was made more for ourselves than to make something happen for us. But you know, we believed even back then in our stuff so we shipped it around a bit. Most of the record companies didn’t even answer us. And the few that did were very short in their description of the project’s future: “No!” 🙂

Back then we were only in it for fun, and in 2002 we thought a vacation would do us good as some of us changed day jobs and all of a sudden had to leave for weeks at a time so it became difficult to get the rehearsal routines going as they should. We also was, let’s say, a bit tired of each other I think after heavy partying for four years. We didn’t take it too serious back then. The focus was all wrong. We were all like Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. Taking all the fun right there and then, not caring about the future, so a break was needed. After eight years, in 2010 we started again to see if it still worked. It certainly did and after getting new singer Jan Boen in, we decided in 2012 we had everything we needed to make a record. The before mentioned five songs from 2000 were re-recorded and ended up all on the first album R.O.C.K.S, so something good came out of the old days eventually! The response from that album was mind-blowing and that gave us a reason to do another one as we have just done. Who would have thought that back in ‘02! 🙂

LogoTHM: The beautiful country of Norway is renowned for its many Black Metal bands, such as Mayhem, Burzum, Gorgoroth, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon and many others that pretty much helped define that music genre. How was it to grow up as a Hard Rocker in an essentially Black Metal country, and how difficult it is for any Hard Rock band to succeed there?

GAD: WOW! You’ve done your homework Sir! You know the black metal guys did their music and we did ours. It wasn’t hard at all cause in the eighties the melodic hard rock scene was just as big in Norway, if not bigger, and the two genres didn’t do too much together. The black metal bands from Norway have really set their marks on the world. They’ve done a great job for themselves for sure. And all these bands have created more interest for Norwegian rock in general too, so it’s all a good thing and I think everyone that does any kind of Norwegian rock owe these guys a big thank you. They’ve been excellent promoters for all of us.

THM: As mentioned in our album review, King of the World is a truly kickass Hard Rock album. How was the whole creative process for the album? What worked well, and what ideas did you guys have to give up because you felt they were not good enough?

GAD: The writing process was very relaxed as we wrote the songs in between gigs during last part of 2012 and during 2013. We were finished with the last song just a few weeks before we went into studio to start the album. Like I said before, we thought we would only make one album so we didn’t rush anything. We wrote the new songs just as much to widen our live set. When it was clear that we wanted to do a second album, we were almost there with the songs. We recorded drums and bass in our nearest town called Notodden with acclaimed engineer Njal Frode Lie. Then we moved the operation to Trondheim. That’s why we did the drums and bass in Notodden so we didn’t have to drag the drums to Trondheim which is pretty far from where we live.  We met up with one of Norway’s most decorated producers, Mr. Hallgeir Rustan. From a small country like Norway, he has produced albums that have sold worldwide some 25 million copies all together and he’s also produced over 40 Top-10 hits in the UK so he knows what he’s doing. I went to school with him in 86/87 and we’ve kept in touch from time to time since then. We all had a great time in the studio except Lars Stian, the bass player, who did his part in Notodden and had to stay home to perform his day job during the time we were in Trondheim. The atmosphere was great with lots of jokes being thrown around. Hallgeir has an incredible know-how when it comes to arranging songs and he did an amazing job for us. He’s the one who founded Stargate you know so he’s a guy who knows his business. When his two partners decided to move to the USA, he stayed home and is doing his thing from there. We can’t thank him enough for the job he did for us and co-producing with him is one of the nicest experiences I’ve had in years! I really hope we get to do it again ‘cause I think we then would be able to develop our music and sound further.

We’ll see… no one knows what the future brings, but I don’t see us do another album without Hallgeir… With Hallgeir to produce and engineer, Beau Hill to mix and master, Mr. Cordelières on the artwork and Hugh Gilmour to design the package and put everything together, we really feel we have found ourselves a “Dream Team” here! I can’t remember a thing that really didn’t work well actually. We had a great time working with this album and it was all a joy.

THM: This question might sound silly, but one of the best songs of the album, Dirty Nelly, seems to be inspired by some special girl. Who’s she? What’s the story behind that song?

KING OF THE WORLD PIC - BAND stone3GAD: Hahaha! Well, it’s a cool question cause it could very well be for real but I’m very happy  to say it’s not!:-) I wrote that song so I can tell you it’s all pure fiction. I’ve never, thank GOD, experienced a girl like that. At least not that I can remember…and I think I would have! BUT: There’s probably thousands of “Dirty Nellys” out there and guys who wonder what their baby’s up when she comes home with the morning light with her boots in her hands so who knows…maybe someone will recognize the situation…:-) Thank you for liking the song.  I appreciate that. It’s one of my favorites on the album too!

THM: How about your tour plans to promote the new album? Are you playing only in Norway, or are there already any dates being scheduled for other European countries and even other parts of the world, like North America?

GAD: We are going to tour Norway as much as we can this year. You know, it’s easiest for us as we’re here. But in September we plan to embark on a month and a half tour in Europe. We would most certainly love to tour North America if we could! We have a lot of favorites from that part of the world: Coney Hatch, Triumph, Loverboy, Rush…you guys have produced some serious rock bands during the years so we’ll do it if we can. Only trouble is that it’s so damn expensive you know, so we will have to see how the new album does for a starter and take it from there. But who knows? We would love to shake hands with you at a show one day Sir!:-)

THM: What would be Humbucker’s “dream tour”, I mean, which bands would you just love to go on tour together, and why?

GAD: That’s a great question and a very tricky one to answer actually…there’s so many…but if I have to mention one band, I think maybe a tour with Whitesnake would be great for us. Mainly because of the audience. I think the audience would have picked up on us a bit too as both bands represents the same time period in music style. I think a lot of their fans would have like our stuff too, so some gigs with them would have done us real good…

THM: When Humbucker started in 1998, Hard Rock was still really big on the radio and TV, fans loved buying the albums of their favorite bands, and there were no such thing as illegal downloads, so it was basically a paradise for any new Hard Rock bands and an easier path to success. On the other hand, nowadays any new or independent band has to work their asses off to get some recognition, and even so no monetary return is guaranteed. How do you see this evolution of music and media, and how does it impact what Humbucker are doing or plan to do in the future?

Humbucker_KOTW

Album Review – Humbucker / King of the World (2014)

GAD: It’s really hard to say what will happen. All I know is that if people keep wanting music without paying for it, I think the music scene will be very boring in a few years. When all the old heroes and arena bands are gone, few can take over cause they will never get there ‘cause of devastating income. It costs a lot to keep a band alive and if you don’t get a radio hit or something on TV, it’s very hard to make it to arena-level just by touring. I think that if we want new arena bands to continue we just have to pay for their music, simple as that.

But the world moves on you know so we have to adapt in a way. I’m just not sure that we will ever have the time we had in the eighties and early nineties again. We probably never will, but one can only carry on as long as possible and hope something “happens”… My only advice to people would be: Buy the music! Everyone can afford it so why not? Music business today with all the piracy and streaming is like asking a carpenter to build you a new dog house for your Shetland Sheepdog…after putting a lot of work into it, after he’s made an awesome place for your dog, you don’t want to pay him for his work? I just don’t get that…..

Our mixer/masterer Beau Hill in the US said that if we had released this music in the eighties, we would have been instant worldwide dominators. Today that’s not possible. That says a lot…

THM: The album art from King of the World is awesome and couldn’t be more Hard Rock than that. Why and how did you choose Ludovic Cordelières of Rusalka Design for designing the front cover, and how much did the band influence on his process of generating it?

GAD: Thank you very much for those nice words! I appreciate you bringing that up because Mr. Cordelières most certainly deserves it! If you want to see how he made it, and other amazing artworks of his, please visit his website at www.rusalkadesign.com. For an album called “King Of The World”, I don’t think anyone could have made a better cover! It’s just the perfect thing…That “guy” on the cover IS the king of the world! 🙂

The cover was an already existing artwork of Cordelières called “Monarch”. I was searching the internet for pictures to use for the cover (The album was originally going to be called “One Size Fits All”) when his site turned up. I looked at this picture and as we also had a song called “King Of The World” on the album, I just thought that would be perfect and totally awesome for the title and we talked about it at rehearsal and decided to go for it. I then sent Ludovic a mail asking if he would let us use it. Luckily he answered back with a clear yes, and I then asked if we could add some stuff and suggested a couple of things added to make it more “Humbucker-ish” to put it that way and he didn’t mind at all. He’s a fantastic guy and I loved working with him. Everything came back with exactly the right addings and it turned out great. We added the “R.O.C.K.S.” cover under the left foot there and added some more instruments, had our “H” placed on the hat and “Priscilla” on the nametag on the honey box. “Priscilla” is a song title from our debut album, so people who have that album knows “who’s there”… That’s pretty much it. The rest is the original artwork. I asked Hugh Gilmour what he thought of it and he said: “It’s classic, a bit provocative and very rock and roll! I Love it!”  For us that means: Perfect! 🙂

KING OF THE WORLD BOOKLET center pic 2 copyTHM: How much do you know about Canadian Heavy Metal and Hard Rock? Are any Canadian bands part of your day-to-day playlist? If so, which are your favorite ones and why?

GAD: Personally, that’s a very easy question to answer. There’s a lot of great Canadian bands! Always was too! I have to say I’m a huge Coney Hatch fan! “This ain’t love” is one of my favourite songs to date! I love the drum sound on that record! I was stunned when I heard it and I still enjoy listen to them today. Triumph is another favorite. I think that the “All The King’s Horses/Carry On The Flame” track from their “Surveillance” album is one of the finest pieces of music ever made in the genre. The groove and tempo when “Carry On…” takes over is just awesome! And the vocal lines on that song are amazing with one of the coolest “bridges” out there. (As a matter of fact, I had to listen to it again as we speak!) I think Thom Trumbo did a phenomenal job producing that album at the time. Again with a great drum sound exactly as I like it! I had my youth time in the eighties you know so there you go… 🙂

THM: Thanks a lot for the interview. Do you have any final words to all Heavy Metal and Hard Rock fans worldwide, especially to the ones in Canada that have recently discovered the music from Humbucker?

GAD: Thank YOU Sir! You know, we need all the help we can get in this business and fine people like yourself who devote your time to pick up bands that you don’t see on the cover of Rolling Stones Magazine every day, is fantastic! It’s really really helpful and very appreciated indeed! To the fans in Canada who like our music: We are honored that you do! And if you like “King Of The World”, please check out our debut album ‘R.O.C.K.S’ too! Due to change of distribution partners in Norway, the new album is unfortunately delayed worldwide but will be available at Amazon and wherever you buy your fine music during first half of April. We don’t take anything for guaranteed and every new fan is a thrill! If you want to join our Facebook page we would surely appreciate it! Just follow the link here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Humbucker/194616527226293.

Please also visit our website at www.humbucker-rocks.com for more news on the band.

Thank you very much again and cheers to everyone from Norway!! 🙂

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