While we mainly cover black metal and death metal here at Bruders Des Lichts we are also just fans of good ol heavy metal too. One of the newer power metal bands these days keeping the scene going is Pyramaze based in Denmark – today I spoke with American born keyboard player Jonah – read on
* First off congratulations on your new album Contingent its great to see you guys back without a 7 year break this time
Thank you so much for having me! Its good to be more consistent these days, thats for sure.
* How do you feel the song writing process differed on this album compared to Disciples of the Sun?
I think Disciples of the Sun was more about us getting our footing and testing the waters with this new lineup. Even though it came out fantastic, I still think we got a little lucky haha. With Contingent, we knew what we were capable of going into the writing and recording process and I think with that confidence comes some serious productivity. We are for sure firing on all cylinders these days.
I’m a big fan of writing strong melodies and chord progressions and building the song around that.
* If I am not mistaken you wrote about half of the album this time around? How do you approach songwriting , start with a keyboard riff and build out? Or do you start with a guitar part?
Actually it was more like a third of the album. I wrote Nemesis, Kingdom of Solace, The Tides That Wont Change, and the two instrumental tracks. I don’t really have a set way of writing a song. I think if I did it would get stale. Sometimes I start by sitting at the piano and I just start playing, or maybe Ill be sitting in the studio and I come up with a cool idea on the spot. I’m a big fan of writing strong melodies and chord progressions and building the song around that.
* How does a guy from Vermont end up playing in a Danish metal band?
It has always been my dream to play in a Metal band in Europe, so I guess you could say Ive just been following my dreams. Ive been signed with Pyramaze for 15 years now, since I was 19 years old. Ive been with Pyramaze since its inception and I simply sent an audition VHS tape over to Michael Kammeyer when he was forming the band and looking for a keyboardist. The rest is history.
* For those who are not aware can you give us a run down of the semi-recent line up changes and how you guys found Terje?
After Matt Barlow went back to Iced Earth, we had some struggles trying to find someone that could really fill those big shoes. We had Urban Breed for a short while, but he was unfortunately able to commit the time and energy required to make Disciples of the Sun. Jacob suggested Terje who had a full and powerful voice and we loved the demos he did for us so we went with Terje. We are glad we did because he has really been awesome and been a pillar in our newer sound!
* How did the deal with Inner Wound Recordings come about?
I think Michael actually had a contract on the table with Inner Wound before he left the band. We re-approached them once we had solidified our new line-up with Jacob and Terje and they were still excited about what we had planned. Inner-Wound is a fantastic label, and we are excited to see what the future holds!
We try leave our own personal beliefs and political views out of the equation
* A lot of the songs this time around paint a pretty bleak view of the future, for you personal how do you feel about the current information age? For example in the 80s punks used to fear “Big Brother is watching you” but fast forward 30 years social media has most of us happily giving up all our personal information on a daily basis, is this a good thing or can it only end in tears?
I really don’t think its as bad as some people make it out to be really. We try leave our own personal beliefs an political views out of the equation and focus on a positive message of unity and brotherhood throughout humanity. As with any big struggle, I believe it can be overcome by people coming together and fighting for whats right.
* I imagine you guys are big fans of sci fi movies – what are your favorite Post Apocalyptic films?
I love movies like Oblivion, Ender’s Game, Edge of Tomorrow, all the Super Hero movies etc. Basically any big Summer blockbuster with an awesome soundtrack!
* Have you seen the film Alien Covenant yet? If so what are your thoughts? Supposedly in a deleted scene Daniels (the main female lead) and James Franco’s character talk about why they are leaving the earth (environmental damage) to start a colony a good 7 light years away.
I’m embarrassed to say I actually haven’t seen it yet. I was on tour with the band MindMaze when it came out in theaters. Otherwise I would have seen it for sure.
The biggest mistake humanity can make is thinking we know all the answers.
* What are your thoughts on these Ancient Alien theorists that the Earth has played host to many advanced civilizations over the last few million years? Almost as if civilizations rise and fall over the millennia?
I think its very interesting and I really think anything is possible. The biggest mistake humanity can make is thinking we know all the answers.
* Due to the current state of politics in Europe and the US where would you prefer to live in an ideal world?
I love where I live right now (Minnesota) but I also love to visit Europe of course. My hope is that they can figure it all out over there and live in peace and harmony.
* Outside of Progpower fest in Holland what touring plans does the band have for the rest of 2017?
None as of right now, but we are always open to the possibility of a good festival or show!
* Any final words?
Thank you so much for the interview of course to everyone out there who has supported Pyramaze over the years. if you are just hearing about us now be sure to check us out on YouTube, Spotify, Itunes etc. Thank you!
The Father Of Serpents is an entity consisted of six souls, entwined with admiration for doom metal. Formed in 2015, by the members of the renown bands from the Serbian scene (The Hell/Awaiting Fear, Tamerlan, Rain Delay, Consecration), their purpose was to leave their name within the musical path paved by the old masters like My Dying Bride, Saturnus, Paradise Lost and Moonspell. Due to their professional approach and reputation beforehand, The Father Of Serpents quickly got a large amount of attention in Serbia and beyond. The band performed in Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania, supporting such names like Fear Factory, Attic, Mourning Beloveth, Caronte, Eye Of Solitude, and many more.
First album “Age Of Damnation” contains about an hour of apocalyptic atmosphere, presented through the gentlest of acoustic passages, in the most brutal and vicious parts. The album is consisted of ten tales of struggles against the very real monstrosities this world has created, as well as the parts of human beings, that such monstrosities have infected. These are the tales of spiritual survival, battles, wars, kicking, tearing, and biting in order to preserve at least some sanity, in the world, which has doomed us all to slavery, and connected us to a single mind-machine, in order to harvest us for any drop of quality, that we, as individuals, have.
CARACH ANGREN are premiering a stunning new video for the track “Charles Francis Coghlan” taken from their new album, ‘Dance and Laugh amongst the Rotten’, which is hitting the stores today, 16th of June.
CARACH ANGREN comment: “After months of incredible hard work, we are extremely proud to present our official horror video for ‘Charles Francis Coghlan’. Together with director Rick Jacops, we have relentlessly pushed all creative limits to transport the viewer into another terrifying dimension. Everything you see is real and produced as well as co-directed by us. Prepare to be obsessed and possessed!”
Produced by Carach Angren & Backstage Film Productions
Directed by Rick Jacops & Carach Angren
Actress: Amber Delahaye
Sound Design by Clemens Wijers Music Productions & Backstage Film Productions
Team: Brendan Gijzen, Stefan Wijers, Julien Wijers
Special thanks: Paul Kops, Ria Hendriks, Transportbedrijf Chris Wijers, Het Leukermeer, Merith Rooden
The cover art by Costin Chioreanu and track-list of ‘Dance and Laugh amongst the Rotten’ can both be viewed below
1. Opening (2:17)
2. Charlie (4:10)
3. Blood Queen (4:55)
4. Charles Francis Coghlan (6:07)
5. Song for the Dead (4:16)
6. In De Naam Van De Duivel (6:29)
7. Pitch Black Box (3:17)
8. The Possession Process (4:27)
9. Three Times Thunder Strikes (5:19)
Total playing time: 41:16
The Dutch masters of horror are back with their most flamboyant album so far. On ‘Dance and Laugh amongst the Rotten’, CARACH ANGREN are painting musical pictures that easily combine the grandiose depth of a Rembrandt with Van Gogh’s maelstrom of whirling colours and the utter madness of Bosch. This lusciously seductive danse macabre will drag you in and never let go.
CARACH ANGREN have employed all the sonic colours on their palette to dazzling effect. Their trademark whipping guitars are weaving harsh melodies and sinister soundscapes, which are beautifully contrasted by opulent keyboards and majestic orchestrations. That Till Lindemann (RAMMSTEIN) and Peter Tägtgren (PAIN) have called upon the composition talent of Clemens “Ardek” Wijers is a telling sign of his outstanding mastery of the craft. Another signatory counterpoint is provided by Seregor’s fierce rasping and shrieking vocals. Adding to the impact, Namtar has become a relentless driving force with his hard hitting yet intricate drumming. Each track on this album is a highlight on its own, while combined ‘Dance and Laugh amongst the Rotten’ simply shines.
CARACH ANGREN set out to tell ghost-stories with a set of paranormal cases recorded on the demo ‘The Chase Vault Tragedy’ (2004). This was soon followed by the official release of the ‘Ethereal Veiled Existence’ EP (2005) as a prelude to the haunting ‘Lammendam’ (2008). The Dutch had a clear vision of combining a dark baroque style of metal with horror based lyrical concepts. Their sophomore full-length ‘Death Came through a Phantom Ship’ (2010) witnessed the band setting sail to bring their eccentric and capturing live performances to audiences and festivals all over Europe. In the wake of third album ‘Where the Corpses Sink Forever’ (2012), the haunting had reached the Americas and started to spread rapidly. This recorded added a serious side to the lyrics of CARACH ANGREN. While firmly remaining in the horror genre, their tales revolve around the evils of war. This mature streak was taken a step further with the fourth full-length ‘This Is No Fairytale’, which is on the surface a darker variation of the “Hansel and Gretel” story from the Brothers Grimm collection, but also deals with the too real topic of child abuse in a dysfunctional family.
With ‘Dance and Laugh amongst the Rotten’, CARACH ANGREN are returning to “pure” storytelling with episodes that are centered on a girl playing a little too long with her Ouija board. The Dutch have pushed their unashamedly theatric style to a new intense height. You do not believe us yet? Press play and unleash these radiant ghosts into your home…
This week I spoke with A Pregnant Light mastermind Damian. In case you have been living under a rock for the last 8 years Damian has been writing, recording and producing some of the most forward thinking Black metal here in the USA – read on and find out what drives him.
* You have been doing A Pregnant Light since what? 2009 ? right? so what drives you to be so prolific after so long?
Yeah, the project started around that time, but it’s been going on in my mind for a few years previous to that. I was doing other musical projects, and when those ceased, I realized that the only way to not be let down was to just be solo. As far as being prolific, that’s an interesting term. I don’t think I’m prolific. There are a lot of bands and musicians who just record and release whatever comes to their mind. I don’t do that. I like to have concept and execution pulled together cohesively, at least in my estimation of what that is. I don’t really want to postulate on why someone does or doesn’t do something, I can only speak for myself. I write music. I think about music. It’s what I do. It’s second nature to me. It is just who I am. I write songs. For me, it’s just my lifestyle.
I view this whole thing as a marathon, and to get to the finish line you have to put in the work. You have to work hard and create. For all the projects and music I have released, there is so much more inside of me. There are only so many hours in a day, and doing it alone is a challenge. Every day I feel like I’m running out of time. I know tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. I just want to leave behind a legacy of quality music that means something and can survive beyond my life. Making music is a gift, but it isn’t something to be taken for granted. You have to work at it. Make it better. So, I think the best way to honor this gift is to keep at it, and continue to stretch yourself and challenge yourself. I don’t want to reach the end of my life and stand before God and have him say that I didn’t give it my everything. I want to use every bit of this small seed that was planted in me.
* So what does the name “A Pregnant Light” actually mean?
I have always shied away from answering this question in the past. I think too many things are explained and there needs to be a sense of mystery. I don’t think I’ll ever go into detail describing that my lyrics actually mean, because it is important that the people who care enough to ask dig into them and pull their own meaning. Whatever that may be, if you come to that meaning, then it is valid. I don’t want my interpretation to change what it means to you. But, I suppose I can explain the name of the project, since I did recently in a private conversation when I was contacted with this same question.
It has to do with the music, which is very masculine, and strong and brave being mixed with the sacred feminine. I am fascinated with the idea of pregnancy, and what it means to women, especially as a man- since it’s something I cannot do (carry a child). Pregnancy is almost universally regarded as miraculous and beautiful, so I wanted to pair that with the music that I make out of loss, pain and my expression as a man, a strong man, to have that other side represented. It has to do with the occult in the truest sense of the word: mystery. The mystery of sex, God, creation and life.
I have zero audio training and no prior experience, I am totally self-taught, through much pain and struggle.
* My understanding is that most of your albums are self produced – are you self taught ? or did you go to audio engineering school? What advice if any can you give kids who want to get into recording and producing their own music?
Yes, all my music is self-produced. I did use a studio and studio musicians on my full-length LP, and I imagine I will continue on in that vein for the future, but for everything else, I am the the artist and engineer. I have zero audio training and no prior experience, I am totally self-taught, through much pain and struggle. I love the process of writing and building the song, but I really loathe recording as a process. I enjoy playing, but to make it sound the way I want, I hate that part. I’m never happy with my work. I think I’ve gotten a bit better over the last twenty or so releases with APL, and it should be noted that I have the exact same recording equipment as the day I started. So, any increase in sonic fidelity or production technique isn’t due to new gear, it’s just learning to better use what I have.
I think that is a very important point. So many people, especially musicians like guitarists, think that if they chase this mythical tone by getting a different guitar, or amp, or pedal, that they’ll be closer to their ideal. For the most part, that’s totally false. I have a very nice, but very simple guitar rig. No effects, just guitar a cable and an amp. So, with those few tools, you have nothing to hide behind. Any sort of effect on the recording is all done in post-production. It’s not necessary to the song, but of course, I use it sparingly to add to the atmosphere. If you strip it all away, you won’t find that it’s much different. I believe strongly in taking a simple thing as far as you can take it.
I don’t think I will ever reach a point where the guitar won’t fascinate, intrigue and thrill me. I don’t want to muddy it or get caught up in distractions. Simplicity is truly the essence of all that I do, from a gear perspective. Musically of course, things get very complicated, but it is important to have that firm foundation. I really don’t feel qualified or anything to give advice on recording or producing your own music. As I mentioned, it’s my least favorite part of the process, but I can’t rely on anyone else and no one wants to work as hard and as much as I do on my vision. It’s understandable. If I could afford it, I would just pay for studio time and an engineer to have at my beck and call, so I could just focus on the music, and not the capturing of the music.
My advice to anyone is simply: do it. Just get involved and do it. Don’t make excuses, and embrace your limitations. Creativity will find a way if you work at it. Use whatever you have. The hardest part is starting. Start today.
* After all these years what would you say is still your biggest hurdle in creating new music?
That’s a great question – certainly I am my own worst enemy. I don’t have bandmates or creative partners to blame. This is my own, and mine alone. It is challenging to reign in on creativity. It is not a faucet that can be turned on and off at will. Creativity comes in rushes and may not come for a while after that. It is important to have a situation in which where those creative moments can be captured without distraction. It’s a manic state, almost. Sometimes, it means going all day, or all night, without rest. No food or water, no communication with the outside world, just pure working on the task at hand. Once you’ve gotten the song, or the product, it’s important to look at it objectively and try and edit any extraneous ideas, or build on the skeletal ones. Of course, I love the music I make. I make the music that I want to hear, so when I make a song, it has to strike me deeply. It has to resonate with me, otherwise it’s a waste.
How can I expect people to be passionate about something unless I am passionate about it? It is almost a competition with myself, to out-do or out-preform my last song. When I think about the songs, I don’t think about my peers or people doing things along the lines of what I do, although I am pretty unique in what I do. That uniqueness wasn’t intended. I didn’t set out to be different. I happened organically by processing all my influences. But, when I look at what I do, I view it as shooting for the stars. I want it to be considered classic and timeless. I want it to be legendary, not just an expression of a passing moment. Already from the time I’ve started this project to now, many people who made music have come and gone. It’s about continuing to fight. Continuing to build. Every day is important. Every song tells the story of my life up to that point.
* How do you approach your songwriting – does it start with a guitar riff that you build on? or more of a mood or feel you want to get across? Enlighten us!
I am at my heart, a guitar player. That is where I feel like I am best able to express myself. I hope that if anyone takes anything away from APL, it is the guitar playing and the feelings that I express through playing that instrument. For songwriting, it always starts on the guitar. Sometimes a mood or a feeling will spur a certain sound, but I am truly in love with the guitar. It just starts at one riff, and then I add, and I hear the whole thing in my head and I just try go get across the emotion in my playing.
Purple is power, and pride and strength, but it is also soft and warm
* The color purple comes up a lot in your work, its definitely a recurring theme for you – considering in spirituality purple and violet represent the future, the imagination and dreams, They inspire and enhance psychic ability and spiritual enlightenment, while, at the same time, keeping us grounded. Do you think that is relevant for you – or is there a different meaning for you?
I would say you are dead-on in your observation. I agree with all the things you said. There is another meaning I would add – Growing up in Manhattan, Kansas, the biggest thing was the Kansas State University. Everyone in town wore the school colors, which are purple and grey. Some of my earliest memories are people wearing purple, and wearing the color as a sense of pride and identity, like my dad. He graduated from Kansas State, and always wore school colors with pride. Everyone in the whole town did. It wasn’t until later in life, when I moved away, and grew up that I realized that purple is often considered a “feminine” color, or at the least, a non-masculine color that boys don’t really wear. But growing up, everyone wore purple. So it is a part of who I am, not for love of the college, but for the meaning and symbolism. Later still in life, especially when you get involved in punk rock, hardcore, and metal, things are really stark, Often visually represented with black and white. It was unappealing to me to just emulate even though I find that keeping traditions alive is crucial.
For all the reasons you mentioned, and in the music that I was making, purple just seemed to make sense. It’s not black metal, it is informed by black metal, but it’s not adhering to those guidelines of non-music i.e.; satanism, etc. I don’t worship Satan. So, to call it black, that would be disingenuous. Even though I believe in God, I am a flawed and desperate human being, so to say it’s white, that would be misrepresenting myself as well. Life and expression is more complicated than that. Purple Metal just makes sense. At first, yeah, a lot of people snickered at it – but then when they dig into the songs and the lyrics and the presentation, they see that it makes sense. Purple is power, and pride and strength, but it is also soft and warm. It is inviting and rich, but can also be intimidating and fearsome. It just fits perfectly.
* You were a punk rocker before you got into Black metal right? What punk bands did you rate back then?
Well, first of all, I still consider myself a punk rocker first and foremost. It is and will always be my first love. As my taste grew I was always sure never to forsake the things that originally made me excited for music. APL is really the culmination of all my years of obsessive music listening. You know, I could list out all the bands that were formative to me, but I would drive myself crazy thinking of bands and not wanting to leave any band out of the list! I’ll say that initially what drew me to punk rock and hardcore was Nirvana, and from there I discovered things like Black Flag, Sonic Youth, Fugazi, etc. After Nirvana, the bands that really changed my life were mostly the skate punk bands from Southern California in the early to mid 90s.
I was also really into the melodic hardcore bands from that era like Good Riddance, but quickly drifted into more aggressive hardcore. I have a tremendous love for straight edge Youth Crew hardcore as well as classic more “tough” hardcore. I still love and follow punk rock and hardcore to this day. I am really proud of my hardcore band Prison Suicide (also on CSR) and we have a second LP coming out this year. Prison Suicide are my best friends in the world and it’s great to play that kind of music with them, even though we have all played in other bands in the past together. It’s a great group of guys and I’m proud of what we are doing. I think our sound is kind of akin to a more angry, and less positive Youth of Today.
I also really think it’s important to note that so many of the “classic” bands didn’t just repeat themselves.
* What was the Black metal band that you finally heard and went “oh wow now I get it”
Bathory. Without a doubt. The greatest to ever do it. They have everything you could ever want or need. Their first six LPs are of course classic and blueprints for the genre, but I even love some of the later stuff. Requiem is a bizarre, weird thrash record. Totally worth listening too. Metal tends to be a genre where people fixate and get really stagnant. For example, I think Ozzy was the third best singer Black Sabbath ever had. I would much rather listen to any of the Dio records than the Ozzy records. The guitar playing on Mob Rules and Heaven and Hell is outstanding. I also am totally fascinated by Born Again, the record they did with Ian Gillan. I was turned onto it by the producer to recorded Aksumite’s Prideless Lions LP. I could talk forever about it. Even if you look at a band like Mayhem, they are really advancing sonically from album to album. Same with Celtic Frost, Mercyful Fate, etc. I enjoy staunch and stark black metal that adheres to the old traditions, but I also really think it’s important to note that so many of the “classic” bands didn’t just repeat themselves.
Funeral Mist, who push the boundaries in every way
* Are you pleased with the way Black Metal has progressed sonically since the days of Venom and Hellhammer? (to me artists like Ulver and Burzum really pushed what was “acceptable” and still called BM, especially Ulver)
Yes, and no. I think there is such beauty and power in those early Venom and Hellhammer records. Bathory, too. I sort of touched on this in the previous question, but it’s important to note that I am really a contrarian at heart. I really hate progressive rock, I always say I like regressive rock. Stuff that maintains and holds onto that raw spirit. Yet, I love when bands incorporate exciting elements, which is often labeled as “progressive” but I think it’s just influences manifesting in different ways. Voivod is one of my all time favorite bands, but I wouldn’t say they’re progressive… they’re Voivod. They create their own world. So, maybe in a sense, they have progressed from beyond the constraints of what we apply to the world of metal.
Black Metal will always be a hot button and a subject of debate as to what it is, and what it isn’t. I love it, but I have no interest in having that conversation. I get that many of the people integral to it’s creation are around and will say what it is, or isn’t – however, I think when you create as an artist, once you release it into the world, you no longer own it. I don’t mean it in a literal sense where you have no control over its sale and distribution, but I mean that it enters the collective consciousness and takes on a life of its own in the ears and hearts of those who take it in. Like, if you were to ask me who my favorite active black metal band is… I’d probably say Nifelheim. I love how steadfast and true they are, but I also might say Funeral Mist, who push the boundaries in every way. People who debate what something is or isn’t, are missing the point. The only thing that matters is if it is good, or bad.
People love to get on the internet and claim that APL isn’t black metal, or it isn’t post-metal, or it is, or it’s post-hardcore, or it’s whatever. It’s meaningless. APL is very obviously a metal band. Of course there are other influences that are apparent, but I like to think that I have unintentionally pushed the sonic palate of what is and isn’t metal. APL is metal. You can go on with descriptors from there, but it’s a pissing contest. APL belongs to the metal family tree, and from that tree many branches and vines grow. If you want something that is immovable and static, invest in a concrete block, don’t claim to be a part of a culture that is a living thing- to continue with the metal as a tree analogy. If you don’t like what you see growing, just stay on your little branch and shut up. Count yourself lucky to be a part of this amazing artistic expression that is music. You could be living in some third-world country, fighting for food to survive, clean water, and safety from war and the unforgiving force of mother nature. Instead, if you are reading this – just be happy and grateful you get to life a blessed existence and shut the fuck up about what does or doesn’t belong.
* Were you surprised by the fans reactions to your brilliant cover of Madonna’s “Live to tell?”
I was totally caught off guard. I didn’t know what to expect. The last thing I wanted was for it to seem like a gimmick. It came from a real place. I truly love Madonna. I grew up listening to The Immaculate Collection in the car with my mom for years. I am a huge Madonna fan. I was also really lucky to have Sigrid from Hammers of Misfortune play organ on that song. She and I were talking online about how metal bands only ever want to cover metal songs. Songs belong to the world. A good song can be re-interpreted in almost any style. Somehow, it came up that I wanted to do a Madonna song, and she was excited about it. It was a bit of a struggle to find a song that would fit well in the context of APL, but when I was listening though the Madonna catalog, I knew “Live to Tell” would be the one. I wanted to pick a song that was recognizable to people, a radio single. It would have been easy to pick an obscure album ballad that no one had context for and to re-work it.
As an extra bonus, Sigrid asked if her friend (and bandmate in Amber Asylum) Kris Force could sing on it. I was absolutely shocked. I am a huge fan of her work. She even played cello on Neurosis records! Neurosis is a top 5 band for me for sure. But her own work is amazing and totally genius. I felt like I was so early in my career to have two such amazing ladies jump on and take part in this fledgeling project at the time. It was an amazing cosign from those ladies, and people really liked the track. I feel like it comes across as sincere, and not some plea for attention or press. People recognize that. I am grateful to have really smart supporters. The people who listen to APL are from all walks of life and musical taste. It’s really great to have such a diverse and interesting supporter base. I am grateful for all of them.
* How did your partnership with Colloquial Sounds come about?
I started the label to release an Aksumite cassette and six years and 75 releases later, here we are. If I would have known this was going to happen, I would have picked a way better name. I hate the name! At least it abbreviates well. CSR sounds good.
* Its pretty much accepted practice now that the majority of people favor streaming as the most popular way to “consume” music, however in metal fields vinyl is still extremely popular and in Black Metal and Punk circles cassettes are thriving to. What is you preferred format for people to listen to APL on? What about you, yourself on music you rate? Lps?
So, this is also a great question. I make APL available on all formats for the reason that I don’t believe in being a format elitist. Of course, I have my own preferences for formats, and they change! Some stuff I love on CD only, some stuff on vinyl, some on cassette, etc. My goal is that no matter what your preference, physical or streaming/download – you can have access to APL’s music. My preferred format for people to listen to APL is whatever will give them the most comfort and insight to take in the music. I am of course a believer in paying for the music you love and enjoy, and I’m well aware that illegal downloading is a big part of the story and probably a big part of why many people know APL. If you pay for a streaming service, or buy a CD, cassette, or LP, that’s totally fine with me. You have access to APL. There is a larger conversation to be had about the “fairness” of how streaming services pay artists, but I find it’s best to just be grateful and make my stuff available in every outlet possible. APL isn’t exclusionary. It’s for anyone with the ears to hear, and the heart to listen.
All that moving and changing surroundings was really formative to me. I had to look inward for happiness.
* I am a great believer in certain locations (towns cities countries even) having an influence on artists? Where you born and raised in Grand Rapids Michigan? Can you tell us a bit about life there?
I am not from here, I am from Manhattan, Kansas. However, I think a massive part of who I am and how I see the world and operate comes from the fact that I moved around so much as a kid, because of my dad’s job. I lived in 6 or 7 states before hitting high school age. All that moving and changing surroundings was really formative to me. I had to look inward for happiness. As a result, I say that I’m from Kansas, but really I’m just as much a stranger there as anywhere. Life is fine here, it’s really the same as anywhere else. I don’t know if I’ll be here forever, but I can assure you that being here has no affect on my music. Everything for APL comes from within.
* What we can expect next from A Pregnant Light?
I never reveal my plans.
*Any final words?
I want to thank you and your readers. Join the Lilajugend.
Lavadome Productions has inked a deal with Australian cataclysmic Death Metal force Eskhaton for the release of band’s third album entitled Omegalitheos.
The Omegalitheos phenomenon will exhibit powerful 14 songs of psycho violence brought to levels above its predecessors.
You can now listen to unmixed and unmastered samples of Omegalitheos. This is just the hint of what’s to come. The cover and the force of the finished songs shall be revealed soon. Expect nothing but TOTAL DEATH.
Today, The Ajna Offensive sets August 18th as the international release date for Reverorum ib Malacht’s highly anticipated third album, Ter Agios Numini.
Reverorum ib Malacht’s newest offering, however, isn’t all that new, having been composed and compiled and reworked and redesigned over the past 10+ years, kept lingering in a haunted and purgatorial state until just a few months ago. Therefore, those who came to understand and marvel at the likes of Ur-kaos and De Mysteriis Dom Christi will find Ter Agios Numini to be equally as dense and vast and inspired. And yet, Ter Agios Numini reveals another complex dimension of the band, all the while being unapologetically Reverorum ib Malachtian: cryptically, murkily terrifying and simultaneously cathartic with moments of sublime remoteness.
In the meantime, hear one of Ter Agios Numimi’s most epic tracks – the nearly 22-minute “Long into the Time Beyond
Tracklisting for Reverorum ib Malacht’s Ter Agios Numini
2. Long into the Time Beyond
3. Reverorum ib Malachtum
4. Dwellings are His that Die
California-based classic death dealers NECROT unleash the fetid fruits of their Blood Offerings debut full-length. Released on June 9th, 2017 on CD, LP, and digitally via Tankcrimes and on cassette in partnership with Sentient Ruin Laboratories, the eight-tracks comprising Blood Offerings were captured by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer (Vastum, Graves At Sea), mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Nails, Gatecreeper), and will come sheathed in the unholy cover craftings of Marald Van Haasteren (Bolt Thrower, Baroness).
Forged in 2011, NECROT features current and past members of Acephalix, Vastum, Saviours, Watch Them Die, and Atrament. The band unleashed the audio bone-crush of their The Labyrinth full-length last year via Tankcrimes and Sentient Ruin. Spewing forth eight tracks amassed from three hard-to-find and long out-of-print demo tapes, the record reaped critical acclaim from fans and media alike compelled by the band’s unrepentant Autopsy, Bolt Thrower, and Sacrilege worship. Decibel Magazine hailed NECROT’s “classic, bursting-at-the-seams, crawling-from-the-grave-still-decaying sound”, while Invisible Oranges wrote “NECROT are as old-school death metal as old-school death metal gets. Their songs would have been welcome presences on early classics by Master, Bolt Thrower, and Autopsy and yet, NECROT has a punk rock soul that refuses to die”. Last Rites concurred noting that “Death by pitiless decimation is the principle mandate here.”
With Blood Offerings NECROT continue their quest for total aural warfare perhaps at an even more severe and damaging level than before, unleashing upon the listener a concrete-thick wall of total death metal chaos that strides forth with absurd belligerence and reckless aggression.
Formed by the initial duo of Luca Indrio on bass and vocals (Acephalix, Vastum, ex-Lawless), and by Chad Galey on drums (Ex-Vastum, ex-Bruxers, Atrament, Caffa, Rude, Mortuous), and subsequently rounded out by Sonny Reinhardt on guitar (Saviours, ex-Watch Them Die), Necrot are one of the most punishing, savage and treacherous death metal acts to ever tread californian soil. Formed in 2011 initially as a side-project of Acephalix, Necrot have since then built a devoted following in their native Bay Area and beyond, and have become known as a merciless and bloodthirsty death metal killing machine thanks to their bulldozing live sets and their savage and butchering recordings.
Since inception the band has only made their music available as very short and hard to find demo tapes that are now completely sold out, impossible to find and have become something of a cult object or collector’s item, elevating the band’s reputation to that of absolute cult and DYI monument in the Bay Area underground metal scene. Taking queues from legends like Asphyx, Bolt Thrower, Grave, Discharge, early Sepultura, early Morbid Angel, and Entombed, Necrot have thus far existed as a power trio with the build and attitude of a bloodthirsty tank.
Necrot’s music is a literal onslaught of buzz-sawing death metal riffs and bone crushing rhythms – an authentic sonic bludgeoning that can batter the listener’s flesh into complete submission within seconds, and which owes much of its crude heaviness and primitive ferocity to old-school death metal and thrash just as it does to (crust) punk.
SÓLSTAFIR have entered the album charts in several countries in the first week after ‘Berdreyminn’ was released worldwide on May 26th. It is actually hard to overstate the massive achievement of a band coming from a volcanic island close to the arctic circle in the North Atlantic midway between Europe and America that sings in Icelandic and that has evolved a highly original style of music very much their own. Excluding the multiple high scores in digital charts across all platforms worldwide and focusing on physical charts, these are the album’s current results (with expected top positions from their native Iceland and other countries still missing):
Finland #20 National album charts
France #121 National charts
France #2 Metal charts
Germany #30 National album charts
Sweden #8 Vinyl charts
Sweden #18 Hardrock charts
Switzerland #42 National charts
UK #39 – Top 100 independent album chart
UK #24 – Top 40 rock/metal album chart
The cover art by Adam Burke and track-list of ‘Berdreyminn’ can be viewed below.
On previous news, SÓLSTAFIR have released their first video for a track taken from ‘Berdreyminn’
Frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason commented on behalf of SÓLSTAFIR: “Videos have always been a medium that we are taking seriously. Therefore, we have worked with excellent visual artists like Bowen Staines and Vesa Ranta on previous clips. We are privileged to have been able to enlist the team of Nico Poalillo and Peter Beste to create the imagery for ‘Silfur-Refur’. They have directed and produced a video that beautifully illustrates our song – at least in our minds. We are giving Nico and Peter our heartfelt thanks for their amazing contribution to our musical vision. The video’s meaning is a puzzle, which we are leaving for you to solve as we don’t want to spoil your imagination spinning stories of its own. We sincerely hope that you enjoy ‘Silfur-Refur’ as much as we do.”
SÓLSTAFIR have previously announced their first European tour in support of their forthcoming full-length ‘Beyrdreyminn’ (out May 26th) in June.
The tour will kick off at the Download Festival in Paris on June 10th and afterwards the enigmatic Icelandic rockers will continue to perform in England, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and France before a final show at the Spanish edition of Download in Madrid on the 24th of June.
SÓLSTAFIR commented on the tour: “We are stoked to be back on the road and doing up ‘n close personal club shows between summer festivals. Some of the small venues are expected to sell out fast – so better get your ticket right away.”
10 Jun 17 Paris (FR) Download Festival
11 Jun 17 Brighton (UK) The Haunt
12 Jun 17 Colchester (UK) Arts Centre
13 Jun 17 Leeds (UK) Brudenell Social Club
14 Jun 17 London (UK) Old Blue Last (SOLD OUT!)
15 Jun 17 Breda (NL) Mezz
16 Jun 17 Dessel (BE) Graspop Metal Meeting
17 Jun 17 Utrecht (NL) Tivoli de Helling
18 Jun 17 Hannover (DE) Musikzentrum
19 Jun 17 Dresden (DE) Beatpol
20 Jun 17 Karlsruhe (DE) Jubez
21 Jun 17 Colmar (FR) Fete de la Musique
22 Jun 17 Lyon (FR) CCO Villeurbanne
23 Jun 17 Toulouse (FR) Rex
24 Jun 17 Madrid (ES) Download Festival
08 Jul 17 Neskaupstaður (IS) Eistnaflug Festival
28 Jul 17 Balve (DE) Balver Höhle (Prophecy Fest)
29 Jul 17 Neuensee bei Lichtenfels (DE) Rock im Wald
11 Aug 17 Rasnov (RO) Rockstadt Extreme Fest (exact date tba)
18 Aug 17 Borre (NO) Midgardsblot Festival (exact date tba)
Music will always be inspired by the environment in which it is created. With its incredible array of highly diverse landscapes ranging from white glaciers via volcanic bizarreness, moss-green bubble-fields, deep fjords, and frost-cracked mountains to black beaches, Iceland has shaped a host of astonishingly original and fiercely individual bands such as SIGUR RÓS, BJÖRK, and SÓLSTAFIR.
SÓLSTAFIR embody the ever-turning wheel of seasons with their shifting light, darkness, and colours, extreme Northern climate, the stark contrasts, the closeness of beauty and deadly forces of nature, the impressive sceneries that have the bones of ancient gods enshrined in them like hardly any other band in every aspect of their existence.
SÓLSTAFIR are not like any other band. Their latest album, ‘Berdreyminn’ underscores this statement. As its title “a dreamer of forthcoming events” aptly describes, the four Icelanders have taken their already impressive evolution one step further. The band has continued to amalgamate haunting melodies, psychedelic phases, as well as strong undercurrents of classic rock and hard rock with echoes of their metal past. Yet SÓLSTAFIR’s focus is not on style but pure emotion. ‘Berdreyminn’ is eclectic by a conscious choice to make feelings audible and transform taste as well as texture to sound. Genre borders are not broken but simply ignored. Musical influences are gathered from a wide range of sources, re-arranged, and woven into new patterns. Melancholy, longing, anger, joy, pleasure, pain, and other emotions are fulling this album.
Despite leaning clearly towards an expression that can be described as rock today, SÓLSTAFIR have their roots in metal as their debut full-length ‘Í Blóði og Anda’ (2002), which translates as “In Blood and Spirit” still witnesses. Instead of today’s Icelandic gravel throated siren chants, frontman Aðalbjörn Tryggvason spat forth vitriolic crusty vocals and all strings were forged with black metal. Already their next albums ‘Masterpiece of Bitterness’ (2005) and ‘Köld’ (2009) marked stations of a continuous evolution. SÓLSTAFIR went further along their solitary path and obviously left any categorising box with the ground-breaking follow-ups ‘Svartir Sandar’ (2011) and ‘Ótta’ (2014), which received high critical acclaim and attracted new fans in equal measure, while managing the difficult feat of keeping most of their earlier following too.
SÓLSTAFIR have set sails to new horizons with ‘Berdreyminn’. Yet the Icelanders brought their home with them and the silhouette of their vessels remains easily recognisable. Welcome aboard on a new adventurous musical journey into uncharted territories.
Today, Svart Records sets August 25th as the international release date for Morbid Evils’ highly anticipated second album, Deceases.
A counterpart of sorts to vocalist Keijo Niinimaa’s older group Rotten Sound, Morbid Evils have become known for exploring slower tempos and the lower end of the sonic spectrum, all topped with a fascination with the morbid realities of our hopeless existence. Having so far survived touring with Voivod and the impending global eco-catastrophe, Morbid Evils spent the best part of 2016 hidden in sweaty underground conditions perfecting their craft, working on the follow-up to their 2015 album In Hate With The Burning World. Comments Niinimaa, “When producing these tracks, I paid special attention on making things as heavy and suffocating as possible, to emphasize the deadly seriousness of the world this music is taking us to.”
Come 2017, the band emerges from the pit with a paean to death, split in six sections, each examining the subject from various positions. Titled Deceases, the album takes a bold leap from their sludge-death metalish origins and towards a more original, minimalist approach. The air hangs heavy as droning, buzzing walls of downtuned guitars grind against punishingly pummeling drums in slow motion and everything around us seems to be another step closer to death. While wallowing in the unpleasantries of life, Morbid Evils manage to churn out something wholly original in the congested sludge metal genre – if a grind/drone hybrid existed, it might sound like this. With their downtuned slo-mo aesthetics, nasty black metal-ish buzzsaw guitar harmonies, and a drone metal-like sense of space in music, Morbid Evils are on a path of their own.
Adorning the album cover is the painting “Tukala Pietari” by Jerker Ramberg. Sounds on the album were captured on tape and mixed by Keijo Niinimaa, with mastering duties handled by Pelle Henricsson of Tonteknik. The album will be released by Svart Records on CD, LP, and digital formats on August 25th, if the world doesn’t end sooner. Until that time inevitably comes, hear “Murder” – the first track to be revealed from Deceases – at Svart’s Soundcloud .
The aforementioned cover art and tracklisting are as follows:
Tracklisting for Morbid Evils’ Deceases
1. Case I – Murder
2. Case II – Dead Weight
3. Case III – Evaporate
4. Case IV – Tumour
5. Case V – Death Breat
6. Case VI – Abacinated and Blind
To coincide with a full North American tour supporting comrades Blood Incantation starting today, London’s Qrixkuor shall be releasing Incantations From the Abyss via Invictus Productions on June 30th.
Qrixkuor was born of flame and baptised in blood in the year MMXI. Their first utterance was the 19-minute demo Consecration of the Temple, containing the track of the same name and “Morte Datores,” which was recorded in the West Midlands in mid-MMXIII and released unto the world at the debut live ritual, on April 26th MMXIV. The demo was continually self-repressed in small quantities until new music became the primary focus, eventually selling around 400 copies.
As work progressed for MMXVI’s debut MLP Three Devils Dance for Invictus Productions with The Fires of Samhain: Intium festival in Dublin on Halloween MMXV planned as the eventually overly optimistic release date, a rehearsal for the festival was recorded and released at the festival as the Rehearsal 09/15 demo, limited to 50 blood-stained copies, to showcase a rough version of a new track entitled “The Divine Architect,” a cover of Demoncy’s seminal “Winter Bliss,” and a re-interpretation of the title track from Consecration of the Temple by way of exhibiting the progression two years’ worth of rehearsals and shows since the original demo’s release.
Now, to further the momentum established by the critically acclaimed Three Devils Dance and more so as a timely release for Qrixkuor’s impending North American invasion, Invictus Productions collects both long-sold-out demos on one convenient compilation. Set for both CD and vinyl release, both formats have remastered by Vassafor’s VK and feature layout by SeventhBell. Full list of tour dates and venues are as follows:
June 7th – Victoria, British Columbia @ Logan’s Pub
June 9th – Vancouver, British Columbia (Covenant Fest III) @ Rickshaw Theater
June 11th – Seattle, Washington @ Highline (w/ headliners DEMONCY)
June 12th – Olympia, Washington @ Obsidan
June 13th – Portland, Oregon @ High Water Mark
June 14th – Oakland, California @ Golden Bull
June 15th – Los Angeles, California @ Union (w/ headliners SADISTIC INTENT)
June 17th – San Diego, California @ Til Two Club
June 18th – Las Vegas, Nevada @ The Garth
June 19th – Tempe, Arizona @ Yucca Tap Room
June 21st – Denver, Colorado @ Meadowlark Bar
June 22nd – Santa Fe, New Mexico @ Meow Wolf
June 23rd – El Paso, Texas @ The Rockhouse
June 24th – Dallas, Texas @ Reno’s Chop Shop
June 25th – New Orleans, Louisiana @ Siberia
June 27th – Austin, Texas @ The Lost Well
June 29th – Houston, TX (Destroying Texas Festival pre-fest) @ BFE Rock Club