29 Sept 2021

Interview: Chainsaw (2021)


Hailing from The Netherlands and formed in 1996, the tyrants known as CHAINSAW has since been scything and slicing posers with their very own brand of malodorous Thrash Metal and spreading the message of ‘Blood, Meat, and Metal’! The following interview was answered by founding maniacs Don and Aike.

Alcohol-drenched hails! As far as I know, Chainsaw formed back in 1996. What have been some of the highlights regarding this whole journey and how do you reflect on your achievements as an underground Speed/Thrash Metal band?

Don - Oh dear. I’m way too sober to answer this question. Let’s drink some of those hails. Yes. Yes. Better now. Let’s reflect. 1996. That’s 25 years. That’s a lot of highlights. And lowlights. Well some of the weirder gigs I remember as being highlights, like the musical high tea party where we played our full bloodsoaked show in front of an audience of people with an average age of 75. Some ran, well strolled out of the venue, but then other oldies cheered us and at the end of the gig an 80 year old lady came up to us to share that she enjoyed it thoroughly. Playing at a party in Bonaire where the theme was ‘The independence of Surinam’ and most people were in original Surinam attire was quite the highlight too. First everybody ran again, then they came back and starting dancing to our crazy thrash metal. We like to take metal where it originally shouldn’t go. We feel like we are missionaries in that way. We also played quite a few vegan parties and the more we explained that all of our songs are basically about meat, the more they loved it.

Aike - One time we played in a somewhat religious neighbourhood Where we replaced another band the last minute for an afternoon show. We were surprised there was no backstage beer and no alcohol at the bar in the venue, but luckily we brought some ourselves. So we do our show, and so I was preaching to the audience about fucking your pets, fucking minced meat, killing people and things like that.. and then after the show there were some very angry people and it turned out it was a special heavy metal afternoon for children. Well we did notice there was an above average amount of kids but what the hell, if you BOOK Chainsaw you GET Chainsaw. And later we got a message from the city council that due to our ‘tasteless and amoral act’ had banned Chainsaw for life haha. Many years later someone in that same city wanted to book us for a festival but the city council had not forgotten about us and we were not allowed to play. I think that is our greatest achievement!

According to the metal archives, there are 11 bands bearing the moniker Chainsaw. Did you ever consider opting for a different name or were you never that fazed about a name that’s shared by others?

Don - We are generally not easily fazed. Dazed, crazed, yes, but fazed, no. Our music just fit the style of a Chainsaw and we so aptly named the band as such.

Actually at one time we wanted to organize a festival or a small tour with other Chainsaws, we almost got there with the Polish Chainsaw, but it didn’t work out.

Aike - The Polish Chainsaw even changed their name the ‘THE Chainsaw’ and suddenly stopped communication while we tried to plan a tour for the combined Chainsaw’s

Can you elaborate a bit on the philosophy behind Chainsaw?

Don - Yes indeed, we are great philosophers. The philosophy behind Chainsaw is that thrash should be raw and bloody, like a steak still on the cow.

Aike - Straightforward violence without any moral nonsense. And for the stage part we use all kinds of theatrics to enhance the metal experience and when you wake up the day after you went to a Chainsaw show even though you are hungover you still remember.

Who and what is the meat locker?

Don - YOU are the meat locker, but so am I.

What’s some of your favourite albums in the eternal relics of metal?

Don - Judas Priest – Painkiller, Swampcult – The Festival, Spinal Tap – Smell the Glove

Aike - Necro Schizma – Live in Zwolle, Manowar – Black wind fire and steel, Celtic frost- Morbid tales, Bathory- Blood fire death to name a few

Which bands influenced the sound of Chainsaw and what can you tell us about your themes?

Don - In the early days bands like Venom, Kreator influenced us. Later on we made songs and decided if it sounded like Chainsaw, haha, then it was a Chainsaw song, but that is what happens when you’re in a band for 25 years.

Aike - The songs are mostly about meat but also about necrophilia, traffic jams, bestiality, killing bugs. I just let my mind wander without restraint about some normal day to day stuff and it gets automatically drenched in some crazy sauce.

What can you tell us about your blood-soaked photos and live performances? Is it part of your aesthetic? And can you share with us any crazy anecdotes about shows you’ve played?

Don – Yes, but it just gradually happened. We didn’t use any blood in the beginning. Then 1 time at easter, we thought it was a good idea to slaugher an easter bunny. It was a stuffed toy with some blood inside, but it was fun. Then we expanded the idea to do the same, but to a stuffed pig toy during ‘The Butcher of Bagdad’. One of our fans, an ancient guy in a wheelchair told us afterwards that he really enjoyed that, but the pig was way too small. We decided that he was very right. Aike then created a bigger than life size pig and since that time when we play ‘The Butcher of Bagdad’, the pig comes out and gets slaughtered. It is a great bloody mess. When we first started doing it, people stepped back, but later on, people got real close and wanted to get splattered. If people are not already in a fantastic mood during our shows, they become ecstatic when the pig comes out.

Aike - We usually start the show with me rushing through the venue with a running chainsaw, so there was this time I decided to run out into the crowded street and chase some people shopping. Besides the chainsaw I also had this huge dagger strapped to my leg for later during the show were we drag a plastic wrapped body onstage, hoist it up on a pole and cut it open and blood and entrails come out. There was an elderly lady who came after me who called out to me: ‘excuse me mister, but you have dropped your knife.’ and returned it to me. haha that was awesome.

How would you respond to someone attending one of your shows that complained afterwards about getting blood on them?

Don - It hasn’t happened very often, but sometimes we do hear afterwards that some people ran out. One unfortunate girl started crying when some blood was spilled on her neat white blouse. I don’t think she was paying a lot of attention to us, even though she was close enough.

Aike - Some years ago when we opened for Goddess of desire, they prepared their fireworks for their show before the doors opened so they could start playing without delay when we would have finished our set. Only to discover that our blood had ruined most of it. However they remained calm any said: ‘well, we should have known better than to play after Chainsaw.’

How has the overall response been towards Chainsaw and how is your following in the Netherlands?

Don – Some people got quite fanatic and followed us around, we often saw a lot of familiar faces. Especially in Germany people got absolutely nuts. We’ve got a nice following in the Netherlands, but we haven’t had many gigs lately, so when we do perform again, we will have to wake them up with a bang.

What’s the current status of the members and what do you keep yourself busy with nowadays?

Don - We’re all still alive sort off. I mainly keep myself busy with another thrash band called PPTA.

Aike - I am active in several other bands, amongst them are a doom band: Swampcult that turns the short stories of H.P. Lovecraft into an audio experience, together with Don who does the guitar and bass, I play the drum and do the vocals. We’re working on the 3rd album now but we take our sweet time. And SPITZ vile doom rock where I play bass and vocals.

And our bass player Leon plays guitar in a death metal band Cacatory and also in PPTA

Are there any bands from recent years that you’ve taken a liking to, or are you mostly jamming old classics? What’s on your playlist lately?

Don - I have been listening to a lot of Shining and Gama Bomb lately. But also classics such as Darkthrone – A Blaze in the Northern Sky and random songs of Decapitated.

Aike - I usually play a few albums on over and over for months. at the moment that is ‘A baneful choir’ by Teitanblood and ‘Latexcult’ by Impaled Nazarene, Not a lot of thrash or speed as someone might expect from someone in a band like this.

What are some of your biggest pet peeves with people in the metal scene?

Don - I used to have A LOT of pet peeves, but I think I’m getting too old for that shit, haha.

Aike - Bands promoting themselves as female fronted. Nothing wrong with women in bands, but if you promote your band like that, especially when there is no clean singing, you basically say: ‘Hee, come look at the tits of our front woman!’ And another thing is bands that have names that do not fit the music. Take Annihilator for instance, brutal name, but they don’t sound like they are annihilating anything. very, very annoying.

You haven’t put out a new album since 2013. Will there be any new material in the future, and will you resurrect the chainsaw to slay the posers once more?

Don - Yes there will be! We basically have enough songs for another album and we will definitely resurrect the chainsaw when the time comes to release those upon an unsuspecting world.

Thanks a lot for your time!!! Long live the Chainsaw!!!

Don - Thanks for the interview!! Long live Death by Hammer!

28 Sept 2021

Interview: Kruor Noctis (2021)


New Zealand duo KRUOR NOCTIS play harrowing and raw black metal and have already released an excellent EP entitled "Craven Whispers" and two splits. As I was very impressed by the material on their latest EP I decided to contact the band for an interview.

Hails! Can you tell us a little bit about the formation of KRUOR NOCTIS and from which portal this malevolent entity spawned from?

Vaari: Vaark and I probably haven't seen each other for about 7 years, we used to jam a bit but never got a project off the ground together. When he asked out of the blue if I wanted to do some vocals for his project, I said yes.. I had been fairly inactive for a few years, and had not attempted putting anything vocal wise together for over a decade, so it seemed like a good challenge.

Vaark: I formed Kruor Noctis in 2006, it started as a one man entity. I always wrote black metal since around 2003 whenever I had spare time but I wanted to manifest something specific to put a far darker focus into the material I produced. I didn't want to wait to find the right people with a similar goal because I lived in a quite remote part of New Zealand and nothing would have come of it. Vaari and I had worked together in the past so when I started on new material he came to mind immediately.

What does KRUOR NOCTIS mean and what inspired the name?

Vaark: At the time of the bands inception I had a keen interest in Kaosgnosticism. I wanted a name that, in some way, represented the transformation from this world to the next. Blood Night came to mind with Blood representing the life force, and Night representing the void we all came from, and return to.

Which bands influenced your songwriting and how would you describe your sound to those who haven’t heard it before?

Vaari: There are some risks with answering that question, let's just say I was 14 in the early 90's. If anyone asks what we sound like, I usually answer dense and bleak, it’s uncomfortable music for uncomfortable people.

Vaark: Dissection was and is a big influence on me, but I wouldn't say our sound has any similarities. Kruor Noctis is an aural wall of chaotic asphyxiation.

What kind of images do you wish to instil in the listener’s mind when he/she is listening to your music?

Vaari: If you are familiar with Thomas Ligotti, I want people to have that very real yet unknowable horror creep up on them. Little glimpses of the dark behind the dark.

Vaark: I never try to consider the listener when I write this music. The emotions I feel whilst writing it have an entirely menacing and hostile intent.

I’d like to know a little bit about the recording circumstances of “Craven Whispers” and what inspired its bleak atmosphere.

Vaari: Remote, very remote. Trying to snatch moments to get anything done, with no sleep and a newborn. Thankfully Vaark and I don't have a problem with honest criticism, so if it makes to the cut, then it is not too shit by our reckoning.

Vaark: I was studying philosophy and felt inspired. I wrote and recorded a bunch of material and forwarded it all to Maldorer and Vaari to have their input. It all fell into place on its own.

I feel like your ambient parts are actually quite interesting and truly dark, as opposed to how other bands use ambience to make their music sound “nice” – care to comment?

Vaari: Visions of Ulnahar is pretty fucking great. Even in the moments of prettiness, there is something building there on the horizon. Check him out. Do it.

Vaark: I wanted a meditative element to contrast our music. A space of inflection before the storm.

I’ve been interested in the NZ scene for a while now, and know quite a few bands from there (Ulcerate, Verberis, Sinistrous Diabolus, etc.) Do you think your country has a healthy scene considering how small it is? What’s the pros and cons in your opinion?

Vaari: The scene is not something that I have engaged with really, even if I have been tangentially present for an age. The pool of good, accessible drummers is a major con, but I am sure that is true of every scene.

Vaark: The talent pool is quite limited, you will find a lot of the same people in any of the bands that are any good. There is a lot of bullshit here like anywhere else. I think New Zealand being a more isolated and bleak Norway has something to do with the great sound we have here. People are recognising it more which is good.

What’s some of the best albums you’ve heard this year? Do you make an effort to check out new bands?

Vaari: I don't think I am in touch with what black metal is up to this year. Naxzul's "Irkalla" is pretty great. The newest albums that have remained getting some play are Delirant's self titled, amazing Spanish band, Vitriol "Chrysalis" and Cultus Profano's "Accursed Possession"

Vaark: The Warmoon Lord and Chamber of Unlight albums are superb, very much looking forward to the new Pestilential Shadows album also.

What’s your opinion on your neighbours’ Australia and their metal scene? Surely the greatness of bands such as Destroyer 666, Bestial Warlust, Portal, etc., cannot be denied!

Vaari: They can do them, we can do us.

Vaark: We don't have a lot to do with them. Nazxul and Drowning the Light are great.

Now I’d like you to share your opinion on the following tracks and give each a rating out of 10:

Vaari: This going to suck, nothing personal other bands, wholeheartedly believe that music is about doing what is right for you and fuck everyone else.

Vaari: Dimmu with added grit. Would probably give another spin. 6/10

Vaark: Love Seance Records and what they do, this isn't bad for what it is. 7/10

Vaark: I enjoyed this, for me it sounded as though Angelcorpse and Blasphemophagher had some grotesque offspring, enjoy the beherit worship in the middle too. 8/10

Vaari: Apparently I am going to be that prick that compares everyone to old bands. Kinda Entombed hooks with early Mayhem aggression. Not sure if for me. 6.5/10

Vaari: Ok. Just the soundtrack to my 1999/2000. This was the song that turned me on to the madness that is Steve Austin. This song is perfect example of communicating what you want heard. 11/10.

Vaark: Don't know enough about this genre, not what I'd listen to. 0/10

Vaari: No thanks. 2/10

Vaark: Again, not my thing. 0/10

Vaari: A touch more polished than I usually like, but I got distracted and started to listening to the rest of the songs on the album. They have that "something" interesting that is them. 8/10

Vaark: This is pretty unusual, I enjoyed it for the most part. 7/10

How is the whole covid bullshit over in New Zealand and how has it affected you? Do you think it’s mandatory to do exactly as the government tells us? Is humanity free or enslaved?

Vaari: The lockdown was pretty surreal at first but having to still work kinda normalised pretty quick. Cogs still have to turn, the machine just changed it's messaging. Humans choose their masters, that is what option B is for.

Vaark: New Zealand handled it pretty well. Isolation helps. I tend to turn to experts on matters I know nothing about, if our government is heeding the advice of experts then that is probably the best advice I could take.

What’s some of your favourite films of all time and what is your opinion on New Zealand cinema? I’ve seen some entertaining films from your country such as The Ugly (underrated!), Black Sheep, Brain Dead, What We Do In The Shadows, Bad Taste, etc.

Vaari: Love a good slowburn. The Wailing (2016), A Dark Song (2016) and Hereditary (2018) are my recent go to recommendations. And anything Kubrick, Jodorowsky or Lynch. NZ cinema can be fun, but it seems a little scared to move beyond the clown mask and into something real. I guess that's why Once Were Warriors (1994) was such a stand out, it peeled back that "she'll be right mate" veneer that people like to hide behind.

Vaark: Once Were Warriors shows a side of New Zealand many probably have no idea about. I am a big Lord of the Rings fan also, but I am mostly a sci-fi fan. Arrival, Bladerunner, Pandorum and Event Horizon are some of my favourites.

If your music was a weapon & could kill people, how would they die?

Vaari: Isolation tank dropped into the Mariana Trench. Enjoy.

Vaark: Pull the air from your body. So if there's air left in your lungs, they will rupture. Oxygen in the rest of your body will also expand. You'll balloon up to twice your normal size, but you won't explode.

Finally, what does the future hold for KRUOR NOCTIS? Thanks for your time!

Vaari: A full release once we navigate the current roster of riffs for the cull.

Vaark: Our split with three other groups of New Zealand Black metal acolytes has just been released. Four very strong tracks from a few long standing New Zealand black metal acts along with two newer ones. This is available through Maelstrom Brink Records both digitally and on Cassette through their bandcamp


20 Aug 2021

Interview: Helgrind (2021)

HELGRIND hail from the Cuban capital of Havana and are one of the island's most notable metal acts flying the banner for heavy music, as their own interpretation of Black/Pagan Metal is nothing short of interesting and worth investigating.

Greetings! For those unfamiliar with your band (and I assume there's quite a few), can you please give us a background on HELGRIND and tell us what you've released so far?

HELGRIND is a Pagan Metal band founded in Havana in 2012, which have released two albums and one EP till the present day. The band was founded by the guitar player Jordy Fuentes and the bass player Daniel López. The vocalist Ernesto Riol joined the band a few months later during its foundation. HELGRIND is the only pagan metal band nowadays in Cuba and its former members are: Ernesto Riol (Vocalist), Jordy Fuentes (Guitarist), Daniel López (Bass Player and backing vocals), Ramsés Limonte (Guitarist) and Carlos Cepero (Drums and backing vocals).

You call your music Black/Pagan Metal, right? Can you please describe your music style and influences?

Cataloging the metal is a difficult task due to the many sounds and themes that exist today. It becomes so difficult at times that top bands have "mutated" so to speak throughout their careers going through 2 and even 3 different sub-genres and most likely they have not even been aware of it. Some prefer not to complicate themselves and group everything under the same name, but we are of those who call things by their correct name. Our way of seeing Pagan Metal is defined by 2 important points that are the neo-pagan or pre-Christian pagan theme coming not only from Scandinavia but from any region of our planet and the absence of folk instruments in the compositions since using them would make incursions in folk metal. Our first compositions had a strong influence of melodic Death Metal with a slight presence of European folk music in the riffs and choral arrangements, but aspects such as musical maturity, collective and individual experience and the contributions of the musicians who have passed through the lineup gave a turn at the helm. The melodic was displacing the rhythmic and the presence of Folk melodies gained more prominence on an increasingly rapid base of blast beats and cold and melancholic harmonies. Right under this banner is that our music flowed progressively and gradually, without forcing it, it followed its course and we all felt very comfortable and proud. We are influenced and admired by greats like Bathory, Falkenbach, Enslaved, Folkheart, Amorphis, Skyforger, Primordial, Graveland, Moonsorrow, Forefather, Windir, Thyrfing and many other great bands.

Your lyrics are based on Viking/Norse mythology. Can you tell us a little more about your themes and what aspects they focus on?

It is an excellent opportunity to clarify that our lyrics are not exclusively about Norse or Viking mythology. The cultural background of European peoples is so rich and broad that focusing on just one was never an option. We are fascinated by literature, history, legends, fantasy from the European continent. Who delves a little into our sources of inspiration will find historical battles such as the one fought by the Cheruscan prince Hermann against the Roman legions in the forests of Teoteburg, from the Finnish epic poem Kalevala the myth of the hero Vainamoinen, and from Slavic mythology the popular legend of the Rusalka, spirit or aquatic ghost in the shape of a woman that drowns unsuspecting travelers... just to give examples. We feel identified because in addition to being Cubans we are also Euro-descendants and we are united by strong cultural ties to these themes. Our ancestral heritage demands that this legacy does not die with us and is told to everyone who wants to hear it.

How has the response to your music been so far? Does it make you happy when you find out that someone from another country enjoys what you do?

The response to our music within Cuba and outside of it has been excellent so far and frankly we have no complaints. In the national arena Helgrind has been invited to participate in several of the best national festivals with good acceptance, we have the support and recognition of experts and bands of extensive experience and our live performances attract a growing public. It is true that there are aspects that still need to be improved, but in general we rate it as very positive. Regarding the international response, there is a curious factor that is always present: almost no one has heard about the small but talented Cuban metal scene and it is because for tourist reasons the image that has been projected from our island to the world is that of a sunny paradise full of palm trees, mulatas and rumba. Unfavorable? Many times yes, but it is in our favor that no one imagines there is a Cuban Black Pagan Metal band, so curiosity is guaranteed.

You are from Cuba, and as most of us know, there are restrictions on art there. Can you please give our readers a little insight into the life of a headbanger in Cuba? Are there any metal clubs/shows to go there?

Art restriction is very common in Cuba; it is something that artists have to deal with everyday. In the case of metal music: it is very complicated first because there are not many places to go or to play. Here in the capital we have a concert hall named Maxim Rock which is the core of the "Cuban Rock Agency" that only exist here in Cuba of course hahaha it is a place which mainly all weekends metal people could go there to see the bands playing and drink something, there were other places years ago of course that belongs to the government, and we can say that there are also places that by means of ourselves l we could rent for concerts and gatherings, but there are not any specialized clubs for metal, clothes stores, not music instrument stores, nothing. And another point to finish with it's that sometimes we must be careful with the lyrics and the attitudes we can have and that can be a risk in terms of freedom of expression when talking or acting.

A lot of people out there, especially metalheads, seem to be under the impression that communism is one big happy utopia. Can you comment on that?

Helgrind is an apolitical band. Politics only brings fragmentation and disunity between peoples and reminds them that the civilizations that are the authors of these ideas have collapsed precipitously, taking out the lowest and most perverse of human morality. Whoever sees a little beyond their noses will notice that it is a plot hatched to divide, weaken and keep us pitted against each other while a plutocracy and an invasive religion imposed and perpetuated by centuries of iron and parasitic blood in power increasing their weight every day. coffers with the resources of our planet. Politics is the blindfold that keeps us from seeing the real enemy.

Do you consider playing music as a kind of escape from everyday bullshit?

Of course playing music it's a way to get outside of our reality, it's a way to escape our daily life and our daily routine in this country. When we play music we are being free and we are sharing our freedom with people. We are relaxing from the stress of a whole week of work and from any professional or personal problem. We share our feelings with the audition and at the same time the audition is shared with us. That's the reason why this last time of the virus has really affected us a lot being without playing for more than a year and a half. Music will always break chains, will always set us free, that's the only reason we will always fight to protect metal and our kind.

Can you please tell us about any side-projects or bands the members are in that we should check out?

In Helgrind all members have different projects and at the same time some of them also share the same ones. Ernesto and Jordy have a common project called: We Bite!!! which is a horror punk band in which Jordy plays all the instruments and Ernesto sings. I write all the lyrics. Jordy is also the session player of drums in the thrash metal band Infector. Ramsés is the guitar player of the death metal band Congregation and Carlitos and Daniel have Folklorica – a folk death doom band, and of course we can also say that all Helgrind's members have contributed to many bands' music during its creation time such as: Dark Naberus, Saloma, Aventis, From The Graves, etc.

What are some of your favourite subgenres in metal and what styles do you dislike? Do you consider yourselves open to different genres, even outside of metal? I ask because I get the impression that people in Cuba are more appreciative of art than most people from sheltered first-world countries.

In general, we listen to extreme metal, whatever it is death metal, black metal, pagan metal, thrash metal, but also heavy metal and even power metal. In addition, many of us like Punk and hardcore as well. We listen to other genres out of metal music and rock music such as: folk, maybe some old pop but not any dance music style except for our drummer that likes Timba music maybe for the rhythm in the drums hahaha.

What have you been listening to lately?

We we have been following some bands mostly of pagan and black metal bands such as: Havukkrunu , Emyn Muil, Keys of Orthanc, Marras, Iron Woods, Land of Fog, Mirkgrav, Beleriand, Burden of Ymir, Odal and many ones. Also some horror punk bands due to the evolvement we recently have the style, we listen to some good bands: Dragnum, Grave Robber, Left Hand Black, Bliztkid, etc.

Can you tell us a little about some of the labels you have worked with so far? Have you received your share of merchandise from the labels? Have you ever traded with people or ordered stuff from foreign labels?

Until this moment we have only signed with the British label Black Spark Records and they have sent 25 CDs as a payment of their release of our album: Return To Motherland unfortunately due to the virus situation and the mail service in Cuba they have no arrive, another point is that our contract with BSR does not take into consideration merchandising as a payment for that reason we don't have our own merchandising and we can't trade anything we try to make our own merchandising with some friends out there in Mexico and United States of America but for now it has been very very difficult for Cuban fans there's nothing and that makes us very sad we will see what we can do in the future maybe with a release with a bigger label can help to trade cds and merchandise and with other ones, there are labels that have been interested in Helgrind but for now the future is unknown.

What are 10 albums you can’t live without?

Amorphis - Tales from The Thousand Lakes, Bathory - Blood on Ice, Misfits - Famous Monsters, Falkenbach - Heralding The Fire Blade, Kalmah - Swamplord, Satanic Warmaster - Carelian Satanist Madness, Dissection - Storm Of The Light's Bane, Beherit - Drowning Down The Moon, Destruction - Infernal Overkill and Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas.

To wrap things up, if anyone out there is interested in getting some of your merch or contacting the band for interviews, how should they do it? Also, I wish you guys all the best and hope that you will get more recognition for your excellent music. Thanks for your time!

Thanks a lot for this wonderful interview and for your time. It is really important to us when people take into consideration a Cuban band for an interview or a review we really appreciate it. For now people can find our merchandising and CDs in the Black Spark Records store and of course in our Bandcamp and can follow us on Facebook as Helgrind Pagan Metal, on YouTube as HelgrindCuba. Thanks again and hails from Cuba!

31 Jul 2021

Album review: Dagtum – Revered Decadence (2021)

Dagtum – Revered Decadence

The Philippines

Eastbreath Records / BRC-30 Productions

It is bad luck that the power went out as I am about to write this review. Loadshedding is common in my country. Fortunately, my laptop was fully charged before it happened. Now I'm sitting here in the dark listening to Dagtum, a Filipino band that plays dissonant and weird death metal with sludge elements. I guess the darkness surrounding me adds to the experience of listening to this band's debut album, "Revered Decadence", as the album is brimming with darkness and has a decadent atmosphere. The music itself is not really fast, but mostly moves at a slow to mid tempo full of off-kilter riffs that brings to mind a slower Immolation. The sound is also fairly reminiscent of a band like Ulcerate, including that nailing double bass that is used sporadically to add intensity. The drums are quite prominent and can be heard clearly in the mix, as can the bass. The band churns out some hard-hitting riffs and captivates the listener with a truly dense atmosphere. Three bands come to mind when listening to Dagtum: Immolation, Gorguts and Ulcerate. Whether they are influenced by these bands or not, I do not know, but the trace elements and comparisons are undeniable. Dagtum are definitely on the right track, and the debut album certainly has some truly captivating moments. The whole album glides through a series of seemingly quirky riffs and polyrhythmic segments, but they are pared down enough to maintain a certain level of cohesion. There's a lot of detail, but it's also easy to follow, making it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. It took me about three tracks to get the gist of their music, so for the average listener, patience is a virtue. “Revered Decadence” will be released on 30th of August via Eastbreath Records and BRC-30 Productions. (HT)

Album review: Adarrak - Ex Oriente Lux (2021)

Adarrak - Ex Oriente Lux 


Satanath Records

Adarrak is an international trio based in Singapore with members hailing from countries such as Spain, Colombia and Singapore. The band plays Death Metal and Ex Oriente Lux is their debut album, released earlier this year by Satanath Records.

The music on Adarrak's debut album is modern death metal through and through, including the fact that the production is as clean as a whistle, but that seems to work in their favour because that's what they were going for. Just like the previous band I reviewed, I am not a huge fan of this clean sounding production and modern death metal, including the clean vocals on some of the songs. It sounds like something taken from the Roadrunner roster, like Trivium. I don't like Trivium. Anyway, on the plus side: The music is well crafted and it definitely sounds like these guys know how to play their instruments, as each track is peppered with crunchy instrumental parts and brain-melting progressive leads. The vocalist gives off a growl that falls somewhere between metalcore and death metal, which is not surprising considering he previously sang in a metalcore band. It's fine, although I generally prefer different growls. If you like melodic death metal with clear production and prog influences, you should definitely give this band a listen, because if I am honest, the music is good, it's just not something I generally listen to. “Ex Oriente Lux” can be obtained through Satanath Records on CD. (HT)

Album review: Bloody Sadism - Eloquent Atrocity (2019)

Bloody Sadism – Eloquent Atrocity


Base Record Production

You must have some balls to be from a country like Iran and play in a metal band, considering that people from there have been prosecuted for their involvement in heavy metal-related activities. It's fucking stupid, and religion as a whole is a cancer (especially monotheistic religions) and should be abolished, along with all its prophets for committing to such pernicious propaganda, but I digress. 

Bloody Sadism is a solo project from Iran playing Brutal/Slamming Death Metal and while I am generally not really into this style, I can at least appreciate the band's output to some extent and respect the fact that they come from a country like Iran and have the guts to play this kind of music.

"Eloquent Atrocity" is the debut album by Bloody Sadism, which contains 10 tracks of skull pounding brutality. The album was released by Spain's Base Record Production on CD in 2019.

The whole disc has a squeaky clean production, which I have noticed is quite common for this style (I generally prefer a rawer sound). The guitar sound is verily clear, and the riffs are pretty easy to pick out. The vocals are rather typical of this styledeep and gutturalbut well done and not lacking in execution. Each track is well recorded, featuring a series of cookie monster vocals and heavy slam parts, coupled with themes involving misogyny, gore, and of course sadism. There's nothing remarkably unique about it, though it's good for what it is.

All in all, if you are a fan of this kind of brutal/slamming death metal and want to hear some heavy and groovy shit with themes about killing woman, then you should definitely listen to Bloody Sadism. (HT)

25 Jul 2021

Interview: Garden of Eyes (2021)

Hailing from the murky tombs of England, GARDEN OF EYES is the morbid manifestation and solo Death Metal project of Nattskog, a metal maniac with a slew of projects under his belt. Read the interview to learn more about the world of Nattskog and his ventures.  

Morbid greetings, Nattskog! You seem to be quite a prominent figure on social media when it comes to reviews (both written and youtube videos). I'd say that takes some dedication! Much respect! Can you start by telling us a little about your webzine, and then we will get into your musical projects with the next questions

Hails! I appreciate those words of support! My webzine is to dedicated to supporting what I deem to be worthy Heavy Metal of any subgenera. It is a simple venture but one I find truly rewarding, getting to support and listen to killer underground music!

If I'm not mistaken, you are of Norwegian descent but live in England? Are you able to understand/speak Norwegian? Are you proud of your heritage? And what is your opinion on metal from Norway? Do you have any favourites?

I am indeed, I was raised in the UK but of Norwegian parentage. I am able to speak Norwegian but definitely not perfectly! Pride is not the word I would use, on the merit I didn’t achieve anything, I just happened to have DNA from a certain location! Norway is a beautiful country with a fascinating history though, so I will always enjoy spending time there. As for Norwegian Metal, I am indeed a fan! Naturally the Black Metal bands of the 90s are a huge inspiration but in more recent times; Deathhammer, Condor, Evoke, Obliteration, Mork and plenty more are doing Norway’s underground proud.

Can you tell us a bit about your death metal project Garden of Eyes and how it came to be? What are the main influences and what sound are you trying to achieve?

GARDEN OF EYES is inspired by a Swedish and Finnish Metal primarily but also plenty of other things. Of course American and South American Death Metal is hugely important to me, but in the sound there is also plenty of Heavy Metal influence from 80s NWOBHM and Speed Metal, definitely some Thrash and Doom in the mix too. I want GARDEN OF EYES to reflect my adoration and dedication for Metal as a whole, however subtly that may be.

How has the feedback been so far for your latest EP titled, "Boomhammer"? Are you happy with the outcome? Will there be a full-length in the near future or do you plan to refine the sound a bit more?

The feedback has been phenomenal! The reviews and interviews have generated a very supportive response which I am truly grateful for. The vinyl has been selling well and most importantly to me, it has been going to many different corners of the world, which I always find exciting! I do plan for a full length, but I have various goals in mind that need to happen first, such as live shows, adding a drummer and perhaps some more small releases to refine the sound as you put it.

Can you tell us something about the term "Eldritch Death Metal" and the connotation behind it? What kind of themes are you exploring with Garden of Eyes?

Eldritch Death Metal” is a term I found fits the bands spectral sound perfectly. The word “Eldritch” is heavily used in reference to Lovecraftian literature which is a huge inspiration thematically, especially by proxy of our dominant theme being lore from the game Bloodborne. Cosmic horror and Death Metal are a perfect pairing of forces in my opinion. We explore horrors far beyond the reaches of this measly universe.

Your musical project Garden of Eyes seems to be part of the new wave of British Death Metal that has spawned some incredible bands as of late. What is your opinion on the current state of death metal from England? The scene there seems healthier than ever and it wasn't always the case! What are some killer death metal bands from the UK these days?

This is a new term to me, but I have seen it a couple of times now. My opinion is aligned with yours here, England has a healthier scene than ever! It seems to come in waves here, back in the day we had some obvious bands pioneering Death-Doom and some underground gems like Decomposed, plus obvious legends like Bolt Thrower, Benediction and Cancer. Additionally bands like Adorior and Grave Miasma have always carried the torch of fantastic Death Metal for many years. But now we have a mass of maniacs playing Death Metal which is great! I recommend Grave Miasma, Adorior, Coffin Mulch, Vacuous, Consecration, Celestial Sanctuary, Seven Doors and Decrepid. I am just thinking off the top of my head, so apologies to the many talented allies I have here!

Can you tell us a little bit about some of your other bands besides Garden of Eyes and their musical styles?

GARDEN OF EYES has become my main musical focus (with a few things happening quietly behind the scenes). While I chose to indefinitely put most of my projects on hiatus, that is NOT to say they won’t return at points. Sykelig Englen is the longest running which is more traditional Black Metal which became more dissonant in its later releases. Hexivoid is far more otherworldly Black Metal with a cosmic theme and more inspired by Icelandic bands and the likes of Deathspell Omega and Portal. Ritual Flail focuses more on a Medieval Black Metal sound inspired by obscure 90s bands that used synths but in a way that did not tame the Black Metal spirit. Blasphemous Degradation played Blackened Death Metal inspired by the likes of Black Witchery, Blasphemy, Conqueror, Archgoat, Revenge, Proclamation etc. And I did have various others including Arboretum (Death Metal), Chernobyl Mutation Experiment (Thrash Metal) and Graven Crypt Tower (Death-Doom) but that is going even further back.

Your English is excellent! It seems to me that the process of writing reviews comes naturally to you. I can only aspire to write excellent reviews like you one day, even though I am older. What do you think makes a good reviewer and do you think it's necessary to have a degree in English in order to write good or valid reviews?

Thank you, in fairness it is my dominant language, I am not a maestro of juggling languages like an aunt of mine who speaks about 7. Reviewing does indeed come naturally to me, but that isn’t due to some inherent skill with articulation as much as it is an untamed passion for great Heavy Metal and a burning need to assist in its conquering of the underground. I think your reviews are really cool man, I do not really compare writers to each other as I try not to do with bands too much as it can be unhelpful. I failed English in high school (possibly due to refusing to show up, preferring to listen to Kreator records if I recall correctly) but I would say my vocabulary and understanding of English is fine regardless due to reading in my own time. Thus no, I don’t think a degree or any level of English (or any language) qualification makes a good reviewer, they’re just words. What makes a good reviewer is a passion and genuine desire to support Heavy Metal (or whatever they choose to review). You can feign intelligence, you cannot feign passion, that is my attitude. Plus, I am in no position to say what is and isn’t valid, if you are supporting what you deem to be worthwhile, it is valid!

What are some of your favourite zines/webzines currently, what are some of your worthy labels from the underground that you would like to give a shoutout to or recommend?

There is a ton lately! Cthulhu zine, Soulgrinder zine, Tough Riffs, Bestial Desecration, Headsplit’s newsletter, Discarnage zine, Decomposed zine, Slowly We Rot zine and Bardo Methodology are some of the finest print works in my mind! Webzines, I enjoy yours for a start (hence me doing this), GBHBL, Ave Noctum, Metal Bite, Astral Noise, Blessed Altar, Metal Hellvoluion, Metal Temple, Grimmgent, Cadaver Garden, VM Underground and probably 10000 more I missed!

Older zines like Ultimate Darkness, Slayer mag and Ultra Damaged are key inspirations to my own. On which note, I do also have a print zine, though one still in its infancy with 2 issues called Shrieks From The Abyss and additionally contribute to Legions Ov Darkness, both paper zines aside from my main webzine for anyone interested!

I believe 2021 has been a pretty excellent year for metal so far. Can you tell us some of your favourite albums of the year?

It really has! Some key new albums for me are: Grave Miasma, Qrixkuor, Craven Idol, Asphyx, Herzel, Blazon Rite, Lucifer’s Hammer, Morbific, and many many more! Go read my webzine for more opinions haha!

To wrap things up, can you tell us about your future plans for Garden of Eyes, including some details about your other ventures? Thanks again for your time! All the best!

GARDEN OF EYES is working on being able to put on a crushing live show, hopefully sooner rather than later! I am naturally always writing material too! I am also working hard on my webzine and fanzine, along with my YouTube! As for the rest, they may be dormant, but who knows what can happen! I am also working on a couple of cool demos with co-blasphemer K who has been present throughout my musical journey. Otherwise, let us see what Heavy Metal conquests occur, I never force things, I just do what I must.

Thank you for taking the time to interview me and support the underground as a whole! Stay true and support real Heavy Metal!!!