Interview with Metal Priest from Ukraine Thrashers Bestial Invasion

Bestial Invasion are one of the best new Technical Thrash bands to come out of Europe. Today I spoke with band leader and mastermind Metal Priest on thrash metal, being in a metal band in Eastern Europe and our mutual love of German legends Destruction!

* Congrats on the new album Contra Omnes – how did you approach writing this album compared to your previous releases?
Hello! Many thanks for congratulations! This album was created and
recorded in a completely different way than any other, which I either
worked on. On this album, I decided to remove any frames of style and
create what my heart desires. I wanted to create something special and
unique, like we did it. Many worked on the concept and lyrics, which
was missing the last album. For me it was a fantastic experience!

* If I recall correctly half the band do not live in the Ukraine – how easy is it to get together to work on the songs?
Now the situation has changed a little, now only one member of the
group lives in Ukraine, I moved to live in Hungary since November.
This does not prevent us from working on new songs. We even in this
mode we assholes many other groups in which all participants from one
city and regularly rehearse. We release releases every year.

Fate divided us and under some circumstances I moved to live in the city of Sumy

* You are not originally from Sumy are you? How did you end up there?
I come from the city of Zhitomir, earlier I was the creator and
bass player of another successful thrash band Violent Omen, with which
we released 3 albums. But fate divided us and under some circumstances
I moved to live in the city of Sumy and created there a new group
Bestial Invasion where we started our journey. I do not want to return
to this city anymore …

* Sumy is in the North East correct? Are you closer to Russia or Belarus? I presume you have a good relationship with the Russians since V. Zadiev is from there?? The reason I ask is I know some Ukrainians do not have a good relationship with Russians
That’s right! But this issue has a share of provocation, so I do
not particularly want to answer it. We are fine.

The city itself was musically dead at that time

* Is there much of a metal scene in Sumy? Do you have many International metal bands tour your region?
I lived there for almost 2 years and we were the only band that did
something and developed on the metal scene. The city itself was
musically dead at that time, but I do not know how it is now. Before
moving to Sumy, I did not know any metal bands, although I am quite
familiar with metal with the price of Ukraine

* How often do you play concerts? Are they easy to organize? Have you done much touring in the few years the band has been together?
The group only gave 4 concerts and all of them were in 2015
and in the old composition. We get a lot of offers about concerts,
even from the USA, but for us it’s very unprofitable and
uncomfortable, we prefer to be more of a studio group, we are more

* How affordable are recording studios in the Ukraine? I know many bands in the USA try to record at home or in their rehearsal studio on a computer to save money – is this the same for you guys?
Not really, since it costs a lot of money for Ukraine. Young groups
can not spend such amounts for their hobbies, so many make their own
records, which of course sound bad. Americans are so poor that they
can not afford a studio? ahahahaha

Schmier knows our group, the former guitarist of theirs Harry for us even recorded a guest solo on the first album

* With a name like Bestial Invasion I presume you are a big Destruction fan – when did you first hear destruction and were they one of the first Thrash bands you ever heard?
Destruction is my favorite German band. Schmier knows our group, the
former guitarist of theirs Harry for us even recorded a guest solo on
the first album and we did a cover on Thrash Attack, so for us this
group is important

* What plans do you have for Bestial Invasion for 2018?
From the beginning of 2018 we will continue to compose a new
album, and if everything will be fine, then we will write it in the
fall. Many ideas, but so far they are in the stage of incarnation. The
label promised to re-release our releases on the record as well, so
we’ll see everything !!!

* Are there any countries or festivals you would like to play?
It’s certainly Wacken and any other European festivals, time will
tell, maybe we’ll visit them someday

* Any final words?
Thank you for your attention! Read the code of the great Caligula
!!! Remember Death is only way !!!

go follow them on facebook

Note: Metal priest asked me to tidy up his English for this interview – I have left 99% of it as is – since 1) It’s pretty damn good and 2) I think by me editing it some of the intent / meaning may be lost.

Interview with Sanhedrin – Brooklyn Heavy Metallers

Sanhedrin play out and out metal, no shame in that game. Today I spoke with guitarist Jeremy about playing metal ,  life in Brooklyn, the making of their debut album and much more – read on

* Can you tell me some history of the band? I know you guys formed in 2015 and that you are all vets of the NY scene – but how did you all meet – how did you decide to write in that classic metal style Sanhedrin is etc
Nate and I used to play in a band together prior to Sanhedrin. When that band split up, the 2 of us kept jamming together, just hashing out riffs and ideas with the idea of eventually starting a new band. As time went on, he mentioned he had a friend named Erica who was a great singer and played bass. We had her come in to check out what we were up to and things came together from there. Over time, we learned how the three of us could best accentuate each other’s strengths and Sanhedrin was born. There was no conscious decision on what the style would be. Our sound is a reflection of what our 3 personalities give to one another when we get into a room with guitars, amps and drums.

We seem to have a lot of unspoken expectations of each other and what we expect of the material

* How did you guys approach the song writing on this album compared to your 2015 demo?
The 2015 demo actually contains 3 songs that were eventually re-recorded and put on the debut album. In terms of songwriting, we work very organically. We have songs that were written very quickly, while others were really labored over for months. Typically, I’ll come to practice with some riffs that work well together and throw them at Erica and Nate. At that point, it’s a very democratic process to turn it into a song. We seem to have a lot of unspoken expectations of each other and what we expect of the material, so knowing when a song is done just sort of happens on its own. Bouncing ideas off of each other to see a song to fruition is one of the primary joys we take from being in a band together.

* When recording did you plug straight into the desk or do it old school mic’ing up a couple of Marshall stacks?
Well, nobody in this band uses Marshalls at the moment, but it was definitely a case of plugging into amps and letting them rip. We’re certainly not opposed to using modern technology in the studio, but we really dig our live setup and try to capture those sounds in the studio. That said, we do experiment in the studio when appropriate. Overall though, the sounds you hear on the album and how we sound live are pretty much in line.

* As a guitarist what are your thoughts on digital versus analog rigs? (I have seen bands wheel in massive stacks of cabinets into clubs and see guys come in with a digital rack and a guitar. The old days it was definitely about tube amps to get your sound but it definitely seems like the digital effects have come a long way)
The only rule I have is if it sounds good, it is good. I play in a couple bands, and my gear choices really come down to what serves the song and the vibe of the band. For Sanhedrin, my rig is pretty much all analog. That said, I don’t have a moral opposition to using digital gear if it gets the point across. They’re just tools used to create the big picture. If it serves the material, I will use it no matter what.

* What tricks did you learn production wise that you utilized in your debut album?
The most important thing we did was demo the whole album on our own before going into the studio to make it for real. It’s an important process to sit back and listen to things critically and demoing songs allows you to do that. It also saves you a lot of time in the studio later mulling over small details that chew up precious time. You may hear things quite differently when you’re able to focus on the material without also having to play it. It sort of puts things into perspective so that you can visualize what you want the record to be before you go into a studio and spend precious time and money recording.

Our backgrounds lend themselves more to a realistic take on the world and a desire to bring attention to some of its ugliness

* Subject wise you guys write more about “real life” versus lyrical content of traditional hard rock bands (sword and sorcery etc) what was the deciding factor is taking that route?
Erica is the primary lyricist for the band, so I don’t want to totally speak for her on that front. That said, I think our environment and our backgrounds lend themselves more to a realistic take on the world and a desire to bring attention to some of its ugliness. There are some themes and metaphors that are less direct in some of our lyrics, but Erica definitely has something to say with her lyrics and Nate and I back her intentions 100%. I personally think that the lyrics are the most important aspect of the band’s music, and Erica delivers them with an emotional fire that is a real as anything I’ve ever heard. The world is in a real state of tumult right now, and it’s no coincidence that we titled the album as we did.

* You guys worked with Colin Marsten on this album right. He is reknown for his work with NYC extreme bands. Why did you choose to use to work with him?
My other band Black Anvil did our last record with him prior to Sanhedrin working with him, so I was already familiar with his studio and his demeanor. He was one of a few names we were looking at as the album was coming together, and it all lined up to where he became our top choice. While he is best known for working with more extreme metal bands, I knew that he would be able to understand what we were going for with our music and capture it. He has a very organic approach to recording and a great disposition as an engineer. Upon hearing the final product, I can’t imagine having had anyone else record this album. All 3 of us are very pleased with how it turned out sonically.

* What’s the reaction been to the new album so far?
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reaction. We self-released it, so we didn’t have the PR machine of a record label to put it out there. We just told our friends, put it up on Bandcamp, and the word continues to spread! We’ve gotten messages from people from all over the world telling us how much they like it, which is gratifying. It’s really cool to cut the middle man and bring your art straight to the people and let them do what they want with it.

* I know I have seen you guys play a bunch of times on NYC – but have you done much national touring yet? If so whats been your favorite city to play?
We actually have not played outside NYC yet unfortunately. Black Anvil has had a really busy touring schedule this year, so I’m mostly to blame. That said, Sanhedrin is definitely looking to get out there and play wherever people will have us in the coming months and years.

We’ve been able to share bills with amazing bands, both local and national, that we may not have if we were elsewhere

* Speaking of playing NYC what would you say are the pros and cons of being a band in NYC – I know probably half the bands in the country would die to relocate to a major city like NYC or LA and half the NYC bands would die to move out to say Richmond VA or Philly.
There’s a lot to like about being in a band here. We’ve been able to share bills with amazing bands, both local and national, that we may not have if we were elsewhere. I think my favorite thing about being a musician here is being in a melting pot of music in general. Every type of music has a home here, and you get exposed to sounds from all over the globe living here that people who live in less diverse places may never get exposed to. I’m a generally curious person, so hearing all these different sounds definitely informs what I do.

There are drawbacks too. The obvious one is the cost of living, which is really high here. Couple that with making music in an era where it’s been devalued in a lot of ways, and it can be stressful sometimes. It’s also tough to find rehearsal space, and venues have a hard time staying afloat here too. That said, there are a lot of great people here who work hard to put on shows and keep things vibrant in the face of hardship.


* Have you guys played overseas as Sanhedrin yet? If not any plans to do so?
We would love to get overseas. In fact, our record is doing pretty well in Europe so we would like to go over there and play for all the great metalheads over there. All in due time I suppose.

* Sanhedrin is Greek for “assembly” or “council” right? What does the name mean to you guys?
It is Greek as well as Hebrew. I suggested the name when we were trying to figure out what we should call ourselves. We feel like naming the band after a “council” accurately reflects our creative process. In terms of songwriting and how we go forward with presenting our art, it’s important that we do so with a sense of unity amongst each other. We make the decisions as a team, not as one individual telling everyone else what to do.

We will be playing a couple shows in the Bay Area of California

* What can we expect from Sanhedrin in 2018?
Well, in January it looks like we will be playing a couple shows in the Bay Area of California. We’re still working out the details, but we are really look forward to that. Erica used to live out there and played in some pretty accomplished bands, and I know she’s excited to show her old friends what she’s been up to lately. After that, we hope to get out of town when we can and spread the word of Sanhedrin with as many people who will listen. We’ve also begun writing the next album, and I expect we will get a lot done on that front in 2018 as well.

* Any final words?
I just want to give a big “thank you” to everybody who has supported us to this point. We have been pleasantly surprised and touched by the feedback coming our way upon releasing “A Funeral For The World.” It’s been very encouraging and we hope to see as many of you all as we can in person in the coming year.


Interview with Crypt – Aussie Death Metal Legends

Today I spoke with Nathan from Crypt, Aussie Death Metal legends – for those who don’t know they were a big name down under who were active from 1990, splitting in 2000 only to reform in 2016. here’s my interview with guitarist Nathan

Why the break for so long? Were you guys all doing the family thing or?
At the time we stopped in 2000 the band had run out of gas. There was no plan to any of it, we just went our separate ways. I kept playing in bands and Cliff was doing Audio stuff, Allan was drumming in the Hymies for a long time too. Resurrecting the band happened naturally, Chris from Infernal Devastation asked Cliff about reissuing the 90s stuff which got us back in touch with each other. Initially it was just going to be about making the music available again but eventually the idea of us playing became a big deal to us all so we booked some shows that went really well and before long I was writing new songs.

The scene has a renewed energy with so many younger people being into it, there’s some exciting new bands and labels around- its great!

How has the DM scene changed since you have returned?
The scene has a renewed energy with so many younger people being into it, there’s some exciting new bands and labels around- its great! There’s also a lot more scope in metal now, it used to be metal and nothing else, now people into extreme metal listen to all kinds of stuff, its really helped to broaden the sound of extreme music, from stuff like SUNN O)))) to some of the newer synth stuff like Pertubator and S U R V I V E, even extreme noise shit like Russell Haswell or Fushitsusha is likely to be found in record collections that contain a lot of metal. Look at a band like Faceless Burial, all 3 of them are in other projects, Max and Alex play ALL kinds of music.

How was it to play with Nocturnus? Were you in contact with them in the early days?
It was great to see Nocturnus, although I would have loved it if Mike Davis was on guitar, that guy was out of control. I wasn’t in touch with them back in the day but those first 3 Nocturnus releases (up to the 7″) are killer, The Key is obviously a classic.

Both Death Metal and to a slightly lesser extent Black metal have thrived in Australia – do you see much similarities between the Queensland DM scene and say the Tampa one of the late 80s early 90s?
Not much other than both places being humid.

Brisbane has a very rich history of interesting bands. It’s a strange place.

Can you tell our readers what the scene in Queensland is like these days?
I moved to Melbourne in 2004 so didn’t have much to do with the current scene there until recently. It kind of feels much the same these days, there’s a lot of metal and punk bands around and only a couple of venues so not much has changed there. I’ve always found the scene in Brisbane a little claustrophobic being a smaller town there’s the same faces at every gig when it’s a local band, and a whole other crowd that appears for internationals. That said, Brisbane has a very rich history of interesting bands. It’s a strange place.

What are your thoughts on the new cannibal corpse album?
Haven’t heard it, I stopped listening to them when Chris Barnes departed.

How did the deal with EVP come about?
I work at the label, we were originally going to self-release but Mike who runs the label was keen to do it on EVP so of course we said yes!

Bandcamp exists now, not just an awesome place to discover music but a great tool for bands/musicians/labels.

Is there anything you miss from the old days of the scene? Eg: writing letters instead of emails? The thrill of discovering new bands and hunting down rare import copies of their vinyl etc?
Not really, it’s much easier now to get your music heard – there was no internet when we started out hahaha. It was exciting discovering new stuff back then but a lot of that had to do with our ages at the time I think. The 90s were a bad time for vinyl, it got to the point where new albums didn’t even come out on wax, whereas now everything comes out on vinyl. And venues are much better now, they usually have good PAs! I’m not all that sentimental for the ‘good old days’, things are just as good now, you just need to work a bit harder to cut through all the crap that’s out there. also Bandcamp exists now, not just an awesome place to discover music but a great tool for bands/musicians/labels.

Has your guitar set up changed much over the years? What would you tell your younger self if you could send one message back in time as far as guitar playing or gear?
Yeah it’s much better now I can afford real good shit haha! But the basic idea has stayed the same -using a tube head with built in gain, and a flanger pedal. I’ve never found a distortion pedal I’ve been totally happy with. Back in the 90s I was using a Peavey Ultra Plus head, now I have a 50W Soldano head in tandem with a Fender Prosonic head, the gain in the Soldano is the best I’ve ever heard. If there was one ‘gear’ related thing I could tell my younger self it would be to buy as much 70s Fender stuff as I could, it was real cheap in the early 90s and is worth a fortune now!

We’re definitely wanting to play in the USA next year

What goals would you love to achieve this time around?
Yeah playing MDF would be amazing. We’re definitely wanting to play in the USA next year, we have tentative plans to do so in the 2nd half of 2018. There’s almost an albums worth of music written for a new Crypt album so hopefully we can get that out next year too. We’re spread out across Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne so we need to plan when we’re going to get together and get the most out of it, we only tour once a year so generally recording is done at the same time while were all together.

Any final words?
Thanks for the interview! Anyone interested in what we’re up to head to our facebook page –

French Atmospheric Black Metal Band Cepheide release their new album Saudade

Oh man I just love these guys..last week French Atmospheric Black Metal band Cepheide released their new album Saudade. I don’t know about you guys but I am old and jaded and have “heard it all before” but someone these guys always continue to push the boundaries of Atmospheric Black metal, with their music.

Here is the link to the bands bandcamp – listen to it and at the very least go to their facebook and give them a like – at the best buy the damn album from them even if it is just the digital download. If anyone deserves your hard earned money its these guys.

album cover and tracklisting below:

1.I.Une Nuit qui te Mange 09:56
2.II.Madone 06:31
3.III.La Lutte et l’Harmonie 07:47
4.IV.Le Cinquième Soleil 07:18
5.V.Auréole 08:54

more info:

Here is an interview I did with the band December last year : click here

Interview with Palmistry – Montreal Doom

Palmistry are an up and coming doom band based out of Montreal Quebec. I am a great believer in cities as musical scenes and yet again Montreal does not fail to produce another great band. Read the interview and learn something

* There is not really much about the history of the band online – so can you tell us how the band came about?
We had a band together from 2013-2015 called ALPHA WAVES , with K.B on vocals and members of “Warslaves” . We left the project aside because of schedules , but some tracks just stayed with us and we felt like they would be amazing for a traditional doom project .

* How did you guys decide that it was doom that you wanted to play together?
It kinda came naturally because we are huge doom fans . We wanted to get into this dark place with the story telling and the general vibe , so doom was just IT for us.

* Have either of you played in any local bands before Palmistry?
Yes, C.B is the lead vocalist and bass player in Warslaves & lead guitarist/vocal in Shezmu.

For now it’s just us writing music and telling stories we want to tell

* Since you are a husband and wife duo have you figured out how you guys are going to pull this off live? I think the days of “traditional vocals/bass/drums /guitar bands” line ups are not so limiting – I just saw Swiss group Bolzer perform Friday night and they are a two piece with a huge wall of sound and it works.
For now it’s just us writing music and telling stories we want to tell. It’s nice to create something as a couple, especially doom music since we love it so much. But it’s not definitive that we will be only 2 members and what we want to do for live shows. For now, this is our baby and we’re just having fun creating.

* Have you played many live shows to date?
No not yet. We want to be really satisfied with the album before we go live and it’s nice to keep some mystery for now.

* How do you guys go about writing songs? Do you start with a guitar riff? Lyrics? how does it work?
Usually the riffs are what comes first . We like to create a mood and then tell a story. But we both write lyrics randomly when we get inspired by something, so it depends on how we feel really

Tarotology , Palmistry, demonology and occultism in general has always been a huge part of K.B’s life

* Do you guys follow any occult paths? if so what ones and why?
Tarotology , Palmistry, demonology and occultism in general has always been a huge part of K.B’s life. It’s something she studied for years and still do.

* What’s the recording process like for Palmistry do you map everything out on a home computer first? Record everything live starting with drums? Please explain the process
Most of the songs were born on an acoustic guitar. Just jamming and composing. Then C.B records everything on his computer and we take our time to listen to it and flow with the vibe and lyrics. Then we add the vocal.

* What has the reaction been like for your demo so far?
The reaction to the demo has been great. Traditional doom fans gave us such good feedback , and people who weren’t used to the genre got into it, so it’s fucking amazing

* I see the band is based in Montreal (beautiful city) are you both born and raised there? if not where from?
K.B was born and raised in Montreal and C.B is from a small town called GENTILLY, 2 hours outside Montreal.

Montreal’s metal scene is indeed fucking amazing

* Why do you think Montreal has such a great metal scene?
Montreal’s metal scene is indeed fucking amazing. People TRULY love the music, not many posers and bullshit. The bands here just support each other SO MUCH it creates this great vibe and respect at every shows. Montreal is known to be super open minded and diverse, especially in the music scene. You can feel the love and its seriously magical at times.

* I know you guys are working on a full length album when can we expect it and what can we expect from the album?
We would love to put the album out at the end of 2017/ beginning of 2018. We’re not rushing it ! We want to get into this really dark place and just experiment with the vibe and vocals

* What goals does Palmistry have for 2018?
Writing more music, shows , maybe doing splits with other bands. Lots of partying and rituals

* Any final words?
Stay tuned and spread the love !

Interview with Rance – Atmospheric Black Metal from France

This week I Spoke to Gaetan of Cepheide about his other band Rance, if like me you are a fan of Atmospheric Black metal then ya gotta check these guys out! Here’s the interview:

* What does the name Rance mean?
We were looking for a single name or french word. Something simple because this is how we feel the project, that differs from «traditional» or «romantic» black metal aspects. The voice is not omnipresent in the band, we didn’t wanted to be conceptual in order to keep the project really «open». After brainstormings, Rance came to us as an evidence.

Our music is sometimes depressive but always luminous

* You describe Rance as Luminous black metal – please describe to readers who have not heard you before what this means?
«Luminous» was first found during the composition period to name a few caracteristic riffs. Lila wrote it physically for the first time the day we had to play on stage and describe the band to the booker. This word stayed because we felt it as an evidence, and people around us were curious. Our music is sometimes depressive but always luminous, almost positive sometimes and really different from traditional black metal

* Does this differ from your work in Cephiede? Some bands happily include their noisier work and their more atmospheric work on the same albums – why divide the two?
Gaetan : Although both are Atmospheric Black Metal projects, the process and feeling about music is very different. To draw an exaggerated line, you could say that Rance is a live project, while Cepheide is a studio project. What I mean by that is for Cepheide, the composing is done prior to playing. When we get to play, it’s mostly about polishing the details, and enjoy playing the new songs together, but the song is mostly done by the time we enter the rehearsal room. With Rance, it’s the exact opposite. Yann and Lila agree on the first chords, and we play for hours until a structure comes out of it. We have a fairly similar vision of what we want for the dynamic of our songs so they end up feeling “alive” or “instinctive”. The concretization is also different. With Cepheide we very much value the recording process. Tracks are recorded on click, instruments per instruments, and we’re constantly looking for a sound identity. This add up to many hours of work, and we’re extremely exigent about the final result. For Rance, it’s again different. Our first EP was recorded live. The goal was for our tracks to be bearer of emotions, while assuming a more “garage” production. To conclude, I’d say both projects are as pleasing as they are different.

* How did you find the other members of Rance and what do they think of your work on Cephiede?
We quickly met after I moved to Paris. Yann and Lila know each other for a long time. I was actively looking for a band, and we instantly got along, be it musically or personally. Anthony, a friend from Strasbourg, my hometown, took care of vocals on the first EP and our 3 first live shows. Today, the project is mainly instrumental. We mutually respect each others projects, although Rance and Cepheide aren’t closely related on a personal level.

It becomes a moment of total abandon which I have a hard time defining

* How do you find just playing the drums in Rance as you also play guitars and sing in Cephiede – is it more relaxing or?
Gaetan: There are two musical aspects and musical energy that are very different. In Cepheide, there is a opposite force that is quite interesting. There is the melodic aspect of guitar that requires a bit of concentration, or even a strong focus as it’s the songs root, while singing brings to a state of self forgetness, by the energy it takes and the emotions it creates. When singing is exacerbating, it sometimes happens that you’d finish a sentence or a scream and wonder how your body coped with it. It’s quite interesting to wonder about this coordination, how the body reacts when confronted to those two opposite reactions to music.

For Rance, playing the drums and always writing music together allows me to simply be driven by Yann and Lila’s melodies, which is extremely pleasant. Doing so, it happens that the drum patterns change from one day to the next, depending on the feeling of the moment. The physical aspect of drumming is also very important. There are moments of real effort, and when those efforts react in an instinctive way to Yann and Lila’s melodies, it becomes a moment of total abandon which I have a hard time defining, and that’s why each live show with Rance is a very intense experience for me.

* How did you guys record the songs for Rance? Professional studio or a home set up ? Do you record live or is everything layered (drums recorded then guitars then vocals?)
Gaetan : As mentioned earlier, we recorded our first EP like we would play during the rehearsals. We recorded everything together, including vocals, because it was important to us to do it that way, all together

* All of the songs on the EP have peoples names – are they based on actual people or?
Gaetan : Indeed, this often puzzles people, but it was not our goal. First of all, during the band’s first year, the project was instrumental, and with no intention of fitting black metal codes, so the titles just came out naturally, without any question and Lila is very inspired for that.

* Do you intend to do any live shows as Rance? Touring?
Gaetan : Yes, live matters a lot to us. We played a few shows for the release of the demo, and some more are scheduled for the end of the year.

* What kind of feedback have you had on the EP so far?
Gaetan : We had more than we would have hoped for. We had a lot of live offers and support. It’s really important for a first release. We haven’t took the time to prospect for reviews or that kind of things, because we were all very busy on our sides, but we’re going to look into it so that this EP gets to shine a bit more before we release the next one!

This is the role of our EP : push to introspection, to find his own creative impulses

* What is the image you have used on the artwork and does it have a symbolic meaning for Rance?
Lila : This form is abstract. Everyone can get his own interpretation. Concentric shapes may evoke a radiation symbol, a galaxy (see Galaxy du tourbillon, drawn by Lors Rosse, 1845), the “7 cercles du purgatoire” (illustrated by Gustave Doré in La Divine Comédie, Dante), a corridor, or a matrix. Something fruitful and conducive to the opening, a substrate from which spout a creative force. This is the role of our EP : push to introspection, to find his own creative impulses. I grown with Rance music and marked universe for 3 years old. Our music, both dark by the style (black metal) and luminous in its interstices, gave me the answer natural to do this draw ant the technic I used to make it (black ink).

* What can we expect from Rance in 2017? Full length album?
Gaetan : We hope to release something new by the end of 2017. We don’t know yet if this will be a 2 tracks EP or a full length album, but there will definitely be a new release soon!

Interview with Walpyrgus – North Carolina hard rockers

Walpyrgus was formed in 2012 in Raleigh North Carolina to write, record and perform hard rock / heavy metal music. They’re influenced by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, old Slayer , The Ramones, The Scorpions. Today I got to speak to Scott and Peter from the band – read on

* First off congrats on the album it sounds retro but with a totally fresh spin on it – how long were you guys working on this before you went into the studio?
Peter Lemieux: ‘The Dead of Night’ and ‘We Are the Wolves’ were the first demos I ever heard, so really since the formation of the band!

Scott Waldrop: Yes, Peter had a home studio right there in our jam space so we recorded lots of demos of these songs right when we started the band in 2012. It was about 3 years of long nights in the basement and several gigs in The Carolinas – and at some Fests to “test” the songs in front of a crowd. There were different incarnations of the tunes and we tweaked them several times before eventually going into “Volume 11 Studios” here in Raleigh NC to get the drums and guitar rhythms done. We of course, are all inspired by older bands from 70’s prog to 80’s punk, but we use modern gear.

For instance, Charley and I play through Mesa Boogie amps with modern guitars containing emg pickups. Him and I discussed guitar tone when we started the band – whether we wanted to play Gibson SG’s through old Marshalls or go full “meathead” metal with the sound. So, we opted to use our pointy guitars with sizzle tones and that ethos of “modern tone” verses “old school song-writing” followed us aesthetically unto the album’s completion. Basically, the philosophy was, “Let’s write cool classic metal songs in the vein of the early 80’s masters but let’s take advantage of technology and not make this band a retro novelty by going out of our way to track down vintage gear and record on analog”.

It’s like if Gary Holt from Exodus was hired to come into The Grateful Dead’s practice and whip the guitarists into shape

* How did you write for this album – does it start with a guitar riff? Lyrics? Does everyone bring ideas to the studio or do you rule with an iron fist?
Peter Lemieux: Scott, for the most part would come up with the skeleton tracks, i.e. rough guitar and some vocals! We would flesh out the songs together, at rehearsal, but also on the side with guitar jams and rhythm section practices!

Scott Waldrop: That’s right. I will write a song in my home studio with a drum machine. I’ll do a simple guitar version with my example vocals/lyrics then take it to the band. At band practice, we’ll pick it apart and scrutinize all the tempos, the rhythms, chord progression and fills. I give the guys something simple so that they can all bring their expertise to it. Peter will add all his cool quirky drum fills, Aune will fine-tune the melodies and vocal harmonies, Jim is always the “master” editor usually adding the minutia that give our songs their signature dynamics, and Charley basically just swoops in and polishes our guitar playing up completely. He obsesses over how many time we’ll palm mute on a 16th note and have us bend our Schneker harmonies 100 times until he’s somewhat “okay” with them, ha ha. He gives me the kick in the ass I need to NOT be a sloppy hippy of a musician. It’s like if Gary Holt from Exodus was hired to come into The Grateful Dead’s practice and whip the guitarists into shape, ha ha.

* How was the recording process? Did you guys use a lot of analog gear or was it all plugging right into the desk?
Scott Waldrop: No, we were in a proper studio for most of it but at the same time we did record in Pro-Tools. We didn’t use analog at all but Tom went to great lengths to make the album sound as organic as possible. It’s funny – we were tempted by those “reels” as both of the main studios we recorded the main tracks in down here in Raleigh NC have working vintage reel to reel machines. First, we went to Volume 11 Studios (owned by Mike Dean of Corrosion of Conformity) so it’s like the C.O.C. “nest” in there – full of all kinds of amazing boutique effects, amps and vintage gear.

Mike Shaffer of local thrash legends Blatant Disarray engineered the drums and rhythm guitars. He even played some rhythm on “Torch” during the solo section which he didn’t get credit for on the liner notes so I’ll give it to him here, ha ha. Recording everything in that studio was incredibly fun. There’s such a cool atmosphere and history in that room.

It’s rad being surrounded by Corrosion of Conformity’s road cases and there’s this guitar stand Motorhead gave them, guitars Metallica gave them etc. Anyway, then we took the album a few blocks away over to long-time collaborator and Twisted Tower Dire engineer/vocal coach John E. Wooten of Widow and just a long-time friend. He’s the guy I call if we need help with vocals or if I need help moving a piece of furniture. That said, recording vocals with him is pretty much the “fun stuff” being in a band is all about.

When we get together in the studio and start working we joke around between takes, laugh at ourselves, and you know- it’s like we’re still 20 years old. Wooten did however, wind up going to college for audio engineering and was mentored for a long time by producer James Lugo (if you google this guy his resume/client list is insane. I went over to their studio one night to help fix a cable and they were recording vocals for a Disney movie, ha ha ha. Anyway, so Wooten helped us produce the vocals. Many of the vocal melodies are his ideas and he probably should have received a little more “defined” credit on the liner notes as well.

He (Wooten) sang with us a lot on the album too on the back-up vocals. After vox, Tom Phillips took over orchestrating keyboards and editing EVERYTHING. He painstakingly nudged things bit by bit to keep the organic integrity of the album. The hours he spent doing this were unbelievable but it’s the main thing that holds the album together as sounding “vintage”. Once you “snap to the grid” it sounds like modern robotic production which turns a lot of people off including myself. I really wanted something between “Powerslave” and “Nevermind The Bullocks” when I referenced the overall ”sonic wall” I wanted to hear. After Tom was done putting it through the “While Heaven Wept” ringer (which was an epic process to say the least), he sent it over to long-time trustee Kevin 131 of Assembly Line studios to mix it (again, look at his resume – the guy’s a bad ass) and finally over to Kevin’s mastering counterpart Bill Wolf to give the album its final polish. And there you go! That’s a how a Walpyrgus album is made.

* You and bassist Jim were in OCT 31 together right – how did you guys meet? There has to be a good story there!
Scott Waldrop: I’ve never got this question, ha ha. It is a good one! Jim and I grew in the DC Metal scene and we were both Deceased fans. I saw his band Springheel Jack play with Deceased one time (we must have both been under 18 at the time) at the legendary Safari Club and I knew one day I would “steal” him ha ha. He was a totally awesome bass player back then already. He was this super tall and gangly kid with hair down to his ass and looked like Cliff Burton. I thought, “I need dudes like this in my band!”

Anyway, we knew each other for a while from the scene and when October 31 needed a singer Tony Taylor (TTD) tried out and got the gig. I think Tony kind of talked King into bringing me along as a “side package” because they wanted a rhythm guitar player after losing Kevin Lewis. Tony knew I was a big Deceased and that it was kind of like a “dream come true” for me to play in a band with King. So, Jim and I wound up riding together a lot on October 31 trips because I drove this little ford ranger pickup that only seats two.

We’d haul the gear in the back and put the other guys in Brian’s car. Jim and I were immediate kindred spirits with very similar senses of humor and tastes in music so having each other’s company made those long rides across the Midwest tolerable.

So, yea, we have like 20+ years- worth of voices and comic routines we entertain ourselves with on car rides to this day. Our bandmates pretty much just sit back and listen to us talk nonsense in weird voices for hours on end. I suppose the most pertinent bit of information is that him and I discovered early on that we had a very natural-flowing relationship when it comes to writing music. It’s very easy for us to sit down with guitars and get creative and we know each other’s weird quirks, as well as likes and dislikes. He can analyze seconds of me playing a guitar riff, then say, “Keep the first ‘Dead Kennedys’ dinga-ling, keep chugging on ‘Seek & Destroy” and do the ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ funk stop,” – and I’ll know exactly what he’s talking about.

Woman universally love him

* How did you find vocalist Jonny? Historically for so many bands, everyone spends years learning how to play guitar, or drums, how to write songs whatever and many singers are just like “yeah let me try that” whereas real singers like Jonny usually are very hard to find
Scott Waldrop: Jim Hunter was the talent scout that found Jonny, ha ha. He called me one day back around ’07 and was like, “Man, there’s this band of teenagers in a band called Viper I just saw last night and they’re way better than us!” We were looking for a singer at the time so Jim insisted I go check them out. So, I went out and saw Viper play at The Berkley here in Raleigh and was amazed by this guy’s stage presence and voice. Jonny is one of those guys who just resonates good vibes to everyone he comes across. He’s very magnetic which is the most important aspect of a lead singer. He’s the sort of person who’s just great at whatever he tries to do. He was a great athlete in high school. He knows how to look cool and present himself aesthetically that’s a little more over-the-top than most be never seeming to appear as though any effort is put into it. Woman universally love him and nonetheless he’s married to his high school girlfriend. I don’t know what the hell it is but the man has some swagger and some sort of “it” factor that is very special. So those are some of the things I love about the guy and why I like having him as our lead singer.

I’m just glad he wanted to be friends with me, ha ha ha. He’s like this super charming, talented, beam of light who helps me channel my creative ideas. So, yea, we were just EXTREMELY lucky to find him when we did. You know, aside from all of his natural talent & mojo, he grew up playing bass & singing in his Dad’s church. The Aune’s are a very interesting and tight family. They’d been grooming him to be an awesome musician since he could walk & talk basically. He knows music theory from stacking hymn harmonies as a second nature. I’ve played with guys that have formal classical music training/college degrees like Tom Phillips and Jonny can have a conversation about counterpoints, Mixolydian, and minor 3rds with the best of them. I remember his Dad saying at his wedding that one of the things about his son that amazed him was his ability to excel at the things he loved to do. They had photos of him being projected on the wall from when he was this badass high school athlete, then there were photos of him when music came into his life and he was starting his own bands, and then lots of photos of him and his (now) wife & mother of his child Nicole growing up together. My point is, he’s a very focused, intelligent, loyal, dedicated guy. He’s the architype of the sort of person I want as a friend and a bandmate. I never worried about him. He’s solid.

* In my opinion, its great seeing younger guys like yourselves playing almost a throwback to 80s style metal – tons of great guitar parts but also super tuneful songs. How did you guys get into this style of playing?
Scott Waldrop: As far as “music career” shelf life is concerned – I’m way passed my expiration date and indeed am older than dirt! Me, Tom, Jim, and Charley are in our 40’s. You must have been looking at Carlos, Peter or Jonny, ha ha ha. Thank you though! I feel young physically and mentally. Well, Charley I met back in the mid 90’s and he grew up with the whole Raleigh North Carolina scene – bands like Corrosion of Conformity, & Confessor.

Me, Jim & Tom grew up in the 80’s/90’s in the Washington DC music scene which entailed everything from punk/hardcore like Fugazi, Bad Brains, Minor Threat and the massive death/thrash metal scene centering around the community King Fowley of Deceased created. Up in D.C. there was ALSO the whole Pentagram / Maryland Doom Scene. You know- like most of the Hellhound bands were from the DC/Baltimore area like Revelation (Jim’s old band), Iron Man, Internal Void etc.

In the city there was some awesome grass roots seminal heavy music & punk we were lucky to be a part of and witness. But a few miles out in the suburbs there was something else going on. Kids were watching MTV and seeing the California hair bands. In 1984 my neighborhood was full of teenagers who had their bedroom walls covered in Motley Crue & Van Halen posters. That music was like teenage religion back then so it made a big impression on me.

Peter Lemieux: Believe it or not, my dad got me into playing the old school traditional metal! He took me to all the concerts while I was growing up and we’ve gone to see each other’s bands play countless times! The Dude plays Tony Iommi in a Black Sabbath Tribute for, Pete’s sake!

I’m budgeting time between writing music and perusing new horizons like the world of ultrarunning and charity work

* Are you aware of bands like Sumerlands and Eternal Champion who are also kind of in this modern retro genre?
Scott Waldrop: I’ve heard of Eternal Champion and I know this genre has been stirred up and that it’s simmered repeatedly since the mid 90’s so it’s never really gone too far out of fashion in the grand scheme of things. I used to be very involved in meeting and fraternizing with bands and I’m sure there’s lots of amazing talent out there, but now that I’m 41 I like to spend my time differently. I don’t drink alcohol anymore and just prefer to stay away from too much nightlife when possible. It’s not that I don’t care or want to encourage younger people to carry on this music or feel jaded in any way. I just have but so many hours in my day and days left in my life so I’m budgeting time between writing music and perusing new horizons like the world of ultrarunning and charity work (not to mention most importantly my beloved wife and teenage son). So, yea, I know about them but don’t go out of my way to listen to new music and I do wish them well. I supposed I’m just acting my age. I’m still and extreme person but those characteristics of my personality just manifest in different ways rather than me going out and getting wild and crazy. When I play with newer bands I always very much enjoy seeing younger people playing this music and loving it as I do – it proves that the genre is timeless which is a beautiful thing. When I look around at all these younger bands it makes me feel like heavy metal has won. When I say that I mean that heavy metal has carved out a place for itself in popular culture. It’s universal in its energy so new generations keep tapping into it. It’s here to stay. I think metal will (in the long run) be a very defined genre separate from rock, rap, blues etc. It has its own culture which is ever-flowing, so kudos to bands like Sumerlands (I love that name) and Eternal Champion for taking “carrying the sword with a burning skull impaled on its tip”. That run-on phrase sounded cooler and more metal than “carrying the torch”.

I’m cool with a lot of wiccan ideas and I’m very much into spirituality

* Am I right in thinking Walyrgus is a variation of the word Walpurgis ? In Germanic folklore, Walpurgisnacht literally means “Witches’ Night”. Are any of the band practicing pagans? if so what faith?
Scott Waldrop: Yes, we wanted the band to be about occult and supernatural topics. No, we aren’t into anything like that at all. It’s all about dark fantasy metaphor because the words involved in its general vernacular sound cool. I’m cool with a lot of wiccan ideas and I’m very much into spirituality but I’m my own animal. I navigate ethereal matters on intuition and through meditation. I don’t identify with any religion or group in-particular. I feel like to be in touch with spirit you need to remove yourself from religion or groups. Too much vernacular and dogma blur the focus of the mission which is to know spirit and not to belong to a secular group. We’re all stardust that will succumb to the same final singularity. The second you ever arrive at any feeling like, “Okay, I’ve got this, there’s nothing more to learn or understand”, you’ve cut yourself off from the possibility of further growth. Health and wellness have become of paramount importance to me as a sober alcoholic. I think it’s incumbent upon on all of us to continuously evolve as individuals and a species. That entails letting go of ego and seeking mindful consciousness as much as we can access it. Religion groups with which we identity our spiritual or philosophical perspectives is all too often fashion. What’s worse is conviction, as it drives a wedge between people with conflicting beliefs. So Walpyrgus is just nonsensical tales of witchery and cartoon Armageddon. We’re no less or more serious than Scooby Doo is about catching ghosts. Let’s keep it real! I’ve seen what those dudes look like in the Renaissance Festivals. You think those boys could hold their own in The Viking Age??? Those were some scary times. You could legally walk up to some dude and be like, “I want your house, your wife, your children, …and I’m going to fight you to the death for them.” And if the dude killed you, he got to keep all your stuff fair & square! So, no, there’s like some Pagan “nature energy stuff” I relate to but I’m rather glad I don’t have to make my way in The Dark Ages. I like doing 100-mile foot races. That’s my idea of channeling my inner pagan-toughness. That’s where I find a lot of my spirituality. I’ve been to a lot of conventions, festivals – even people’s houses who were practicing wiccans, purported witches, and voodoo practitioners and it felt way too much like Cosplay to me. I’m like the saxophone player from “The Lost Boys” ‘cause “I still BELIEVE”.

It’s pronounced “WALRUS PENIS”

* While we are on the subject of the name – what’s the correct pronunciation and who came up with it?
Scott Waldrop: It’s pronounced “WALRUS PENIS”. Okay got that joke out of the way. The proper way to say our name is: “WALL PURRRR GUS” That’s “Wall” as in “The Great Wall of China” or Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” if you like. Then “purrrr” as in the sound a cat makes. And lastly “GUS” as a dude named Gus or “Gus G.” if we want to get all Heavy Metal Nerdy about it.

* You guys are from North Carolina right? How’s the metal scene down there? The Carolinas have a long history of producing great bands: COC, Confessor, Nile etc. Any idea on why the 2 states are so prolific considering you don’t have the population numbers like say California, NY or Florida does?
Scott Waldrop: Yea I think it’s because of the college scene down here. There’s a huge art/music culture which has existed here for a long time. You have just in one small area some of The American South’s top colleges clustered very close together in the Raleigh area. I’m talking about North Carolina State, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Duke. And then you also have a bunch of very old and venerable smaller colleges like Peace College, Meredith College and so on and so forth. There’s a constant influx of intellectual people flowing in and out of the area so there’s never been any shortage of clubs to play at or bands to play with. There’s a special “energy” here that’s very conducive to playing music. For instance, in downtown Raleigh there is one giant building that houses a club called The Maywood which is a great nightclub for metal/punk/indy bands. In the same building, there is a studio owned by Mike Dean from COC called “Volume 11” studios which is famous around here. Also, still in this same building – there is this massive labyrinth of rehearsal spaces so you can walk through there on any given night and like here like 20 bands rehearsing at once. COC and The Connells are in there sometimes. Also, downtown one of our main landmarks is an outdoor amphitheater you see as you drive through the city called The Red Hat. Slayer played outdoors there last week so all of Raleigh was being shook by “Angel of Death” ha ha. This amphitheater has a mosaic of a giant oak tree (our city’s symbol) which softly changes color like one of those meditation salt rock lights (if you have any idea what the f**k I’m talking about by that). It’s a very giant breathtaking art installation which really accentuates the city’s skyline and I know it must be surreal for artists on stage to look out on this see of faces under this trippy flickering mural. I saw Blondie there while there was a full moon over the buildings, over the hue-shifting mural, and over the amphitheater full of faces dancing on grass. She commented on how magical our city is. I turned around to take stock of what she must have been taking in from the stage and I, “Yea our city is pretty damn awesome.” Just within Raleigh, you have tons of clubs to play in like Slim’s, King’s, Deep South, The Pour House, Southland Ballroom, Berkley, Black Flower, The Lincoln Theater, The Ritz etc. etc. That’s not even talking about Durham and Chapel Hill which as two close-by cities with lots of other clubs. So, yea, we have it good down here culturally as a place for musicians to fraternize. Also, you know – when you’re talking about the music scene down here and you only mention metal, you’re only “scraping the surface” of the actual music scene because Indy Rock, Indy Folk, & Punk down here are pretty much everything. There’s a whole radio station devoted to it and of course the scenes cross-pollinate a lot. I think also it’s slow-paced down here compared to DC or Atlanta.

In the Carolinas, we pretty much grow crops, go to college, brew craft beer, swim in the ocean and hike in the mountains. I’d say our state is a fairly “existentially aware” sort of place as the culturally there seems to be an emphasis on enjoying life and you know – not giving too much of as shit about what nightmares are transpiring in The White House. There is room to breathe here and really think about art and music. This wonderful state is a place people come to visit for Holidays to have fun. It’s a major sports destination. It has the best beaches on the East Coast of North America and the most beautiful mountains (The Smokey Mountains) in the East – google photos of them, they are right out of a J.R.R. Tolkien story with their ever-rising mists. Our beaches are the cleanest, full of beautiful shells, ancient lighthouses, and boast most of the best surfing on the East Coast. To the west in Asheville you have some of the best mountain-loving hippy right wing liberal culture in the country. In the middle of the state, you have Charlotte and Raleigh which are major metropolitan hubs generating big income, sports, and influential people.

To the east you have a beach culture so distinct and desirable people come from all over this giant country and Canada just to spend a little time here. I think all the aforementioned is why you have such a perfect breeding ground for bands to be born out of. We live in a place that celebrates life and places value on the quality living and not necessarily “how much you can get done before you drop dead”. I was born here in North Carolina so I have to give it a big “shout out” and I believe everything I just said despite my inherent predilection for this place. This is my home and I love it. Great things manifest here!

* Have you guys done much touring on this album yet? If so what has the response been so far?
Scott Waldrop: We haven’t toured. The furthest this band has gone out of The Carolinas was Chicago for Ragnarökkr Metal Apocalypse and also back to Chicago this year when that fest became The Legions of Metal Fest. We’re going to Ventura California this October for Frost and Fire III (Thanks Jarvis!). The response has been quite good from all the reviews I’ve read. Of course, there are bad reviews of our music because not everyone will like your music but I’ve never heard us be accused of be sloppy or uninspired on stage. I’ve got a great team and I practice guitar a lot to keep up with those dudes. It helps that Carlos has been touring with Weedeater too because when he comes home and we do local gigs, he’s really in shape on the drums. People seem to consistently say the band is “tight” and that our enthusiastic energy is infectious on the crowd.

So, that’s exactly what we set out to do in the very beginning back in 2012. I want people to watch Walpyrgus live and think, “These guys belong together, they look like a gang, you can tell they work towards a common goal, they have vision, they’re a team, there are no weak links, no one looks like they wish they weren’t on stage, etc. etc.” Yea, I want you to think ALL that, ha ha ha. You know when you see a band and they’re great but there’s that one person that just looks like they don’t quite belong and that the band had to “settle” on this individual as a bandmate? I want us to never have to be like that.

You know, there’s always that opening band were each member looks like a very dedicated metalhead musician with sweeping chops and wild hair and all that… BUT they’ve got that one guy: a mediocre bassist who’s “competent” but playing with a pick. He’s wearing khaki Old Navy cargo shorts and some “regular person” T-shirt (maybe a well-worn white “Hard Rock Café” Las Vegas” shirt). We’d like to avoid that. It’s painful for the audience to look at something like that. It’s awkward for everyone involved.

In Walpyrgus as a rule, each member is integral to our live show. When we started this band one of the points was to be a great live band. When Peter left it was crushingly sad for us as I could not think of anyone that was worthy of replacing him down here – at least anyone that I knew personally already and trusted. There was only one guy I was willing to replace Peter with (and this was Peter’s suggestion too) – Carlos Denogean from Salvación. The only problem was that Carlos lives 2.5 ours east on the ocean in Wilmington. Still, it was worth us to travel to have him to hold our integrity as powerhouse line-up. That’s not to say he doesn’t sacrifice to drive to us as well because he does and we much appreciate it. Carlos kept this band alive.

* What can we expect from Walpyrgus for the rest of the year?
Peter Lemieux: You can expect to see us in Ventura, California the weekend of Oct 6-8 at Frost and Fire III with tons of other great bands! (including Twisted Tower Dire featuring Jonny, Scott, AND Jim!!!)

Scott Waldrop: We’ve got a very cassette version of “Walpyrgus Nights” coming out. Watch for announcements on that if you’re a tape person. I’ve got lots of new songs demoed. If Enrico at Cruz Del Sur wants another Walpyrgus album we’re going to start putting it together. Jonny and Charley have young kids so that makes things trickier with timing things. I have a teenager, several other music projects, and a whole “career” (if you will), around my distance running & charity work so I need real momentum or enthusiasm for projects (running or music) to justify focusing my time on them. I spend so much time in the studio and out on trails training that budgeting my time & sleep while not letting my family life suffer, has become an obsessive science.

That said, I’m sitting back and watching how “Walpyrgus Nights” is being received throughout the year to gauge whether or not The Universe is pushing me in the direction of a second album or just allowing the legacy of this one great (in my opinion) set of songs to stay intact & unblemished. We know if we do a follow it cannot be half-hearted as we put what I would call an almost immeasurable amount of thought and energy into these songs. If we tried to rush a follow up without enough forethought I’m sure fans would notice and may be disappointed. So, as with everything – the future of the band is tentative but generally bright.

* Any final words?
Scott Waldrop: Yes, thank you so much for taking interest in us and letting us talk. Yes, as an end note to plug my charity – I’m an ambassador runner for The Herren Project. We raise money and awareness around mental illness and addiction which is born from it. We want to break the stigma society holds around these topics. It shouldn’t be considered weak or embarrassing to ask for help when you or a loved one suffers from something like alcoholism.

No, this sort disease is not like cancer – it is psychological and we humans don’t know much about our own brains. In cosmology we pontificate and hypothesize about the implications of dark energy yet we unable to quantify our own consciousness!? I believe these problems (mental illness & addiction) shouldn’t be considered taboo and that people with mental illness need to be helped – not be made pariahs or unnecessarily incarcerated.

Obviously, drugs and alcohol effect many of us “music people” and for some of us the day comes when the party ends and we find ourselves alone in dark places. If you relate to this please check my page There is help. You can also connect with me personally on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at the handle @ultrarunvegan …As for WALPYRGUS, you can also connect w/ us with the handle @walpyrgus on FB & Twitter. Better yet – you can find links to all our social media, book us for shows, buy our merch, buy & listen to our music THANK YOU & GOOD BYE (FOR NOW)!

Interview with Power Trip The New Kings of Thrash

* First off congratulations on the amazing chart success you guys achieved with Nightmare Logic. Were you surprised with all the chart placing’s that you got?
To be honest, I didn’t know we were on any charts! What charts are or were we on? That’s cool to be on any chart, I guess. Unless it’s like your hospital chart or something and you have cancer, that wouldn’t be a good chart to be on.

If you give a shit about your record then it takes a very high level of focus to sit and write the songs

* It’s been 4 years between Manifest Decimation and your newly released “Nightmare Logic” – why the big gap? what was going on?
We were touring the entire time. If you give a shit about your record then it takes a very high level of focus to sit and write the songs, so we needed time dedicated to where all we could do was eat, sleep, and write the songs. So we had a lot of tours and life just going on, it took us about 3 years after Manifest was released to start writing again.

* This is your 2nd record with Arthur Rizk right? What would you say are the biggest differences in what you guys did on Nightmare Logic to Manifest Decimation?
We knew what we were doing this time around. We learned a lot, recording MD. For me and Blake, it was our first LP we’d ever worked on. It was a huge learning experience. So since then, Arthur has been producing records and he’s only getting better at his craft. We wanted to “trim the fat” from the songs, and making sure this record was like a polished circular buzzsaw. strong and clean in the center of it, but still rough and razor sharp around the edges. Personally, I was a better vocalist now. We were wiser and older and knew what we wanted to improve on from the last record, and i think we accomplished that.

* This is your 2nd album with Southern Lord right? How did you come about getting signed to such a legendary label?
Greg Anderson, founder/owner of SL had heard of us through a friend. He checked out the music we had, we had just released the self-titled 7”, he liked it and wanted to sign us. So we said yes. It was really very simple.

* Even though you guys are all relatively young I’m hearing some classic metal/hardcore influences in your songs? How did you guys get into such old school bands as your influences?
There’s very few good modern bands our there that really excite us. We don’t think very many modern thrash or metal bands are doing a very good job, so we’re writing songs we want to hear. I don’t consider us young though. We’ve been a band for almost 10 years, and I’m 31. Our youngest member is 26. So most of us are 80’s babies, and I can remember growing up with hearing bands like metallica, sepultura, napalm death, slayer, anthrax, etc… I had a neighborhood friend, and he had an older brother who listened to lots of punk and metal bands so that was probably my first real introduction into the harder underground, and it’s stuck with me ever since.

* Can you give us a brief history of how the band came about for those readers who may not be familiar with Power Trip?
We came together in February, 2008. Blake heard I was wanting to start a heavy NYHC influenced crossover style band, and he hit me up to jam. I didn’t really know him, and he was really young in comparison – I was 22, he was 16 – so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. His parents lived in the same suburb as my parents, so one weekend when I came to visit from college, we got together and wrote pretty much the whole demo in that first session. That was the spark.

* Seems like every time I turn around you guys are on another tour – what’s been the best tour you have played so far?
Hard to say, there’s been so many good ones, but I think I would pick our recent headliner that we did in support of Nightmare Logic. Every single show was great, not one bad one. For every city we played, it was the best show we had performed in that city before. It was our first time headlining a tour off of a record we just released, to be doing that whole thing for the first time felt really great. It was exhausting, but it was the best reactions we’ve ever had, everywhere we went.

What happens in the van, stays in the van, man

* Any crazy tour stories yet? They say you experience more one year on the road then the average person does in their lifetime.
What happens in the van, stays in the van, man. I will say this: I do want to one day write a book, or a comic book, or a movie, or anything that’s a comprehensive, accurate portrayal of touring. I just want to get all my friends together, tell tour stories for hours, and then we construct a narrative around that. It would be so easy to write, and if you layout the premise well enough, you could do sequels because you’d have so much material, so many stories.

* Touring with bands like Iron Reagan and Napalm Death you must learn a lot – what’s the one bit of advice that you would give yourselves from 2011 if you could go back in time?
2011? It would have been to work harder at MD. I would have given ourselves advice on recording. I don’t think we put out a bad record, but looking back there’s a lot of things I would change.

We always have a great time in Springfield, Missouri

* You guys have any favorite tour towns yet? I know some bands prefer to play places like say South Dakota over NYC as the fans are so appreciative that you made the trip out to play for them, unlike say a “jaded” NYC audience.
I really love Texas still. Texas is #1. I really like playing NYC, the two times we went to Russia, Moscow and St. Petersburg, have been incredible. I’ve really liked our shows in Finland and most of the UK. Toronto and Boston are both really good to us. LA and SF, too. In relation to the South Dakota vs NYC thing, we always have a great time in Springfield, Missouri. The shows aren’t huge, but the kids are just so awesome and energetic that it doesn’t matter.

* How’s the local Dallas scene these days? Are their many bands playing old school Thrash like you guys there? (For some reason I imagine you guys probably still have some nu metal bands knocking about the local scene…)
To my knowledge there really isn’t any other bands from our area trying to do the thrash/crossover thing, but I’m also not too strongly in touch with the modern scene around here. I do like this band called Creeping Death. They’re kind of like us, in that they started as a hardcore band with metal influences, and now have morphed into a full on metal band. But their style is straight up death metal.

South America, Australia, Japan… I want to go anywhere that’ll have us

* Any countries on your wish list of places to play that you haven’t played yet?
I really want to tour South America, Australia, Japan… I want to go anywhere that’ll have us. The world is both big and small and there’s still so much to see.

* What can we expect from Power Trip for the rest of 2017?
Business as usual – just touring, touring, touring

* Any final words?
Thank you for the support, and asking unique questions! You are a good interviewer.

Interview with Loss – Nashville’s Reigning Kings of Doom

After a lot of back and forth – I finally had a chance to talk to the guys in Loss this week – in case you do not know these guys pretty much made the “doom album of the year” with “Horizonless” now go read this interview and learn something new

* First off guys congrats on the new album , what was it like to work with Billy Anderson?
Tim Lewis- Thank you and I can say with Billy you will witness a lot of caffeine consumption.
That mixed along-side of making a slow record actually turned out incredibly well. Overall, we knew we were writing a more dynamic record this time around and Billy helped accentuate various dynamic moments throughout the record. He allowed our creative flow to take the reins, to be honest. It was by far the most productive and sane experience for us in the studio. He is a great producer to work alongside of and has a “one liner” for every sentence spoken in the room.

Billy took one look at the gear list and was sold on moving

* How did Billy take to Nashville – if I am not mistaken doesn’t he have his own studio in the Pacific Northwest? What was the decision on bringing him there as opposed to you guys recording at his home base?
TL- Yes, Billy’s studio is located in Portland, OR.
We recorded the album at Welcome to 1979 here in Nashville and the name says it all when it comes to the gear at the studio. Billy took one look at the gear list and was sold on moving forward with doing the album here.

* Billy is known for recording bands live – is this how you guys prefer to record or is it something you guys were totally comfortable with?
John Anderson- All of our songs are written, arranged, and repeatedly performed in our
rehearsal space live, so recording them live is a natural step. That said, hearing everybody that’s standing around you in headphones, while their amps are isolated in various locations throughout the building, can take some adjustment, but we’d done it before.

The live scene has exploded here lately

* Nashville isn’t really known for its metal scene – is there even one there these days?
JA- Nashville, as a whole, is growing at an alarming rate these days, so every scene is growing right now, along with the population. We’ve become the “It City,” according to various publications, so the live scene has exploded here lately, with almost too many options on a daily basis. And, yes, that has brought us some metal shows and tours that would never have happened here five years ago.

* The band has been going for about 12-13 years now right? What’s the trick for longevity? Especially when most bands don’t last 5 years?
TL- First I would say it’s not a trick at all. It’s honoring what this band stands for. We have
always said that “if any member of LOSS were to leave for whatever reason, LOSS would be finished”. The course in which we compose and arrange these songs helps reflect the musical aesthetic of our very different personalities. We are true to what LOSS is. LOSS is four men telling various truths of what we see in ourselves and the world around us.

We feel free to ignore the rules
and allow the songs to take sharp turns

* It’s actually really hard to play so slow and still be interesting – what’s the secret to doing so?
JA- Dynamics are the key to remaining interesting, for us. Rather than adhere to any prescribed formula for what “this type of music” is supposed to sound like, we feel free to ignore the rules and allow the songs to take sharp turns, if that feels right to us. We’re actually not slow all the time, which I think helps us to stand out, or at least not bore ourselves. There is also an emphasis on melody in this band. There has to be feeling behind the slow passages, or they will lack atmosphere.

* You guys singing a lot on death and dying? What’s the closest you have come to death so far?
TL – For myself I have had my life threatened by disease and have moved forward from it, for now. Most of us in life have all had close calls or threats. How one chooses to acknowledge the weight of what death truly is, in my opinion, can define whether the mental wielding of death is actually a proven truth or simply an illusion.

* What’s was the doom band that really turned you on to the Genre? I remember buying Cathedral’s Forest of Equilibrium, so slow and so crushing. That did it for me
TL- For myself and everyone in LOSS, Black Sabbath will always be such a huge influence on the feel of what later grew into the doom genre but, the first record that I bought that really opened me up to the specific genre of “doom metal” was when I purchased Candlemass’ Nightfall on cassette at the ripe age of 16. So many people at that time hated the record because it wasn’t speed or thrash metal and I was absolutely obsessed with it. It was like listening to magic.

JA- For me, I would cite My Dying Bride as the band that first sparked my interest.

* I would imagine the “talent pool” for doom metal musicians in Nashville compared to Country musicians – how did you guys find each other?
TL – I had moved to Nashville from Dallas and met Mike through the underground metal radio show he had at the time. He was already friends with John and Jay. Mike, John and myself started discussing the possibility of a band and developing its structure through our past and current struggles. After less than a week of discussing it, they introduced me to Jay for the first time as well as asking his interest in forming this doomed assembly.

If you’re going to visit Nashville, don’t go to Broadway or 2nd Avenue

* Do you guys play much locally? Last time I was in Nashville it was a Tuesday night and all the bars downtown had world class bands playing in every bar but they were all country! Is it hard to get gigs locally?
JA- We prefer not to wear out our welcome with local shows. Playing locally every weekend, or even every month, sets a lot of bands up for diminishing returns. People get burned out, they take your appearances for granted, or they start to feel like it’s more of an obligation than an event. By all means, if your crowds keep growing, go for it, but with us, we play a very specific kind of music, made for a very specific mood. We don’t make a very good weekend party band. And, if you’re going to visit Nashville, don’t go to Broadway or 2nd Avenue unless you want to see country bands. That area is paid-for and marketed-to the tourists, who you can easily identify by their cowboy hats.

* Speaking to locals in Nashville, they said the city is rapidly transforming with so many people relocating there from all over the country. Can you see Loss staying in Nashville or has the band ever talked about relocating?
TL – I love to travel and explore so I would never say “never.”

Either to a major city or somewhere more remote?
TL – Remote

You couldn’t help but feel
everything in that room

* You guys are not one of these bands that lives on the road – but what’s been your favorite gig played to date and why?
TL- I would say in Berlin with Worship. That gig was insane and so many great people and the overall gut nature to it. Mike and Daniel (Doommonger) doing vocals together was sick.

JA- Yes, that final show of our European tour (in Berlin) sticks out for me as well, and it goes to show that the best concerts are not always the ones in the biggest venues. Everything was right in our face that night, and the place was crowded with maniacs. You couldn’t help but feel everything in that room, like there was no barrier between band and audience. That said, our show a few years ago at Maryland Death Fest was also amazing, to look out on such a vast ocean of faces.

* What more can we expect from you guys in 2017?
JA- Holy Mountain is about to issue some new shirts for us, which will be available in their web store soon. Profound Lore did a really cool longsleeve of the album artwork, and to answer a popular question, yes, there will be a short sleeve version of that same design, as well as some others that have yet to be revealed. We currently have some shows lined up for the fall, and we’re working on what will happen after that.

Thanks for the interview guys
Go follow these guys on facebook here

Interview with Dream Troll – Melodic Metal from the UK

Its not often you get younger bands who’s skills are so good they can play like they are geezers from the 80’s glory days of metal (Sumerlands and Eternal Champion are two that spring to mind) I have to admit I first heard about these guys on the news as their good friend who did some backing vocals for them is a politician and his enemies falsely accused him and by default the band of being Nazis (due to runic s’s they had in their logic) but after seeking them out and listening to their tunes I became a fan – today I spoke with their guitarist Matt – read on!

* Congrats on the album its killer – how old are you guys? As you definitely are well versed in classic metal riffs and leads
Cheers! We’re all approaching our mid-30s. So when we were first getting into metal we were listening to 80s and early 90s rock/metal. Even the cartoons, kid’s TV shows and computer games around that time were unintentionally metal! So I think that subconsciously had a big influence on why we were drawn to awesome cheesy metal riffs and harmonised guitar solos.

* Can you give us a brief history of the band? There really isn’t that much online about you guys
We’ve all played together in previous band over the years; I used to play in a tech-metal band called Tangaroa with Si (drummer) between 1998 – 2008. I also played in a band called 222 with Si. There have been smaller, more unknown projects me Si and Paul(guitar) have been involved in.

After years of trying to push myself creatively, trying to push myself to write unusual, unconventional metal with crazy time signatures, discordant bizarre scales, I wanted to write music purely for fun. I wanted to have fun with all the metal clichés that created the foundation of my guitar playing. Pay homage to all the influences that shaped my guitar playing style at an early age.

It was late 2015, Paul and I started to get together every weekend, we’d drink his crazy homebrew and play guitar. We had no goals other than wanting to write music for fun! There were times when we were jamming ideas and we’d both have to stop in hysterics because one of us would throw in a ridiculously cheesy harmony or melody!

I’d take the ideas back home, start creating song structures, write accompanying synth parts and program drum ideas.

We inevitably got Si involved and he started learning the drum parts. Soon after we asked Rob if he wanted to take on vocal duties. We’d worked with Rob in a covers band/party band called Stephen Hawkwind.

* What bands got you into metal growing up?
Originally it was a lot of 80s and early 90s rock metal that you’d typically expect; Especially Iron Maiden and Guns n Roses for me… Metallica, Megadeth, Ozzy, Sabbath, Aerosmith, Whitesnake, Slayer, Queen, AC/DC, Dio, Kiss, Def Leppard, Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, Motorhead, Meatloaf, Pantera.

Then came the mid-90s – most metallers won’t admit their musical guilty pleasures from around that time haha!

In the late 90s and onwards our musical tastes drastically expanded, we started getting into a lot of extreme and experimental styles of metal.

* How many years have you being playing guitar and did you take lessons at all or all self taught?
I started playing guitar when I was about 12 years old, I had guitar lessons for the first year then I was self-taught. So I’ve been playing 22 years!! I think I should be a lot better considering I’ve been playing for 22 years (!!!) but I reached a stage about 10 years ago where I felt comfortable with my technical abilities and have enjoyed focusing on creativity and writing.

We wanted our artwork to tick a lot of the cheesy metal stereotype boxes

* How did you come up with the idea for the album cover art? Who painted it for you? What’s the feedback been like?
He-Man!!! Haha! That’s the majority of the feedback we’ve had!! We wanted our artwork to tick a lot of the cheesy metal stereotype boxes; swords, castles, buff metal warrior, dragons, skulls, lightning…

The He-Man similarities weren’t intentional, but it goes back to what I mentioned earlier how we’re obviously unconsciously influenced by 80s culture!

The artwork was done by a friend of ours, Andy Sykes, AKA Hexjibber. We wanted the artwork to reflect the music; to be on the blurred line of – is this serious or not?! A lot of people seem to ‘get it’ and have said they really like the artwork.

They had an agenda and they weren’t going to let facts get in the way of a good smear story, right?!

* So what was the story with that accusation that you guys were nazis? Storm in a teacup? Political assassination of your mate or what?
Yeah, a blatant smear campaign! The tabloid scum were happy to throw us under a bus to get to Richard Burgon!!

We’ve known Richard Burgon (politician/Shadow Justice Secretary/Labour MP for East Leeds) for a long time. He’s a huge metal fan and genuinely decent, honest guy. He used to put on an all-dayer in Leeds that Tangaroa used to play every year.

A few months back we went to see Gojira in Leeds. Rick was asking about Dream Troll and asked if he could do a guest spoken-word piece on the album. I immediately agreed, not only because I love his political speeches but also because of the absurdity of the Shadow Justice Secretary doing a guest piece on a metal album by a band called Dream Troll!!!

So before I explain the accusation I’ll give you some context.

Last year, we were posting song names on Facebook, replacing the word ‘roll’ with ‘troll’ …Silly wordplay:

God gave rock and troll to you… long live rock n’ troll… you can’t kill rock and troll… We sold our soul for rock and troll… We built this city on rock and troll… For whom the bell trolls… etc…

To continue the joke, I thought about photoshoping a parody album cover of one of the above titles. The simplicity of the Sabbath-We Sold Our Soul, cover made that one an obvious choice. I made the pastiche/parody album cover, uploaded it… That was it…

Fast-forward to April 2017. Rick uploaded a photo of himself announcing his spoken-word collaboration with us. The Tory-backed tabloids saw it and started digging… They found the Sabbath parody cover on our social media pages, from which they were able to fabricate a ludicrous scenario where we ‘delight in Nazi symbols’ and claim that we spell our name in German military font, complete with an umlaut over the letter ‘o’…!!!

Leading up to the release of the tabloid article on the night of the 15th April, we were informed of the accusations and the impending article. Rick and the Labour Party press office had already provided The S*n with an explanation and context of the image including photos of the original Sabbath cover. But they had an agenda and they weren’t going to let facts get in the way of a good smear story, right?!

* How would you compare the metal scene when you guys were growing up to today’s scene?
It would be unfair for me to compare today’s metal scene to the scene when I was growing up as I was way more involved in it back in the day! I’m a retired veteran now haha, soon to make a comeback and probably complaining about how it “wasn’t like this back in my day!!” – “these kids with their beatdowns and 9 string guitars!!”.

A lot of experimental extreme metal on Relapse Records pushing the creative boundaries

* If you had a say in the matter do you think you would rather have been in a teen back when you guys were growing up or a teen today? (me personally I am glad I was a teen back then and not now)
That’s a tricky one! When I was young I would do anything to get my hands on new music. Buying a new album was a real luxury back then! I would try and copy as much music from friends onto tapes or buy cheap records at car boot sales, stay up to watch Headbangers Ball or listen to the Radio One Rock show… I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have YouTube and Spotify back then! It would have been great…… or would it?! When music is so freely available it loses its value; it’s doesn’t feel as special anymore! Music is so disposable now.

Also, during the 90s, rock and metal music was changing A LOT! It was an exciting time for music, even up until the late 90s with a lot of experimental extreme metal on Relapse Records pushing the creative boundaries and some great new melodic metal bands like Children of Bodom.

So I’m glad I experienced evolution of rock and metal throughout the 90s, even if it did include the birth of nu-metal! I wouldn’t change it.

* Yorkshire has always had a great metal scene – how is the metal scene in Leeds these days?
It’s still going strong. We’ve definitely got our fair share of extreme metal bands and metal bands of a heavier nature here in Leeds, so I’m not sure how Dream Troll will fit in when we start gigging …But, I’ve got to confess – I’m almost 35 now! I’m not as involved in the Leeds music scene as I was 10-15 years ago!

A recent highlight in the Leeds metal scene was the return of Canvas after 17 years! Their album ‘Lost in Rock’ has to be one of my favourite albums of all time! A real hidden gem in the rock world. A very weird album – it’s definitely not for everyone! Si, Dream Troll drummer, was asked to join

Canvas and was set to be part of their reunion until he broke his arm in a motorbike accident at the end of last year.

There are still a lot of interesting bands coming out of the Black Metal scene

* What are your thoughts on more modern metal genres like Deathcore and Black Metal?
I’m not a big fan of Deathcore… I love Black Metal though! Emperor are one of my all-time favourite bands. There are still a lot of interesting bands coming out of the Black Metal scene; loads of great experimental Black Metal.

I’m a big fan of many other modern metal genres, bands like Meshuggah, Dillinger Escape Plan, all of Devin Townsend’s work, Ephel Duath, Textures, Car Bomb, Destrage, Soilwork, Behemoth, Mastodon, Bodom, Brutal Truth, Dimmu Borgir, Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, Gojira… I’m very open-minded to new styles of music.

It’s not self-indulgent unnecessary guitar wankery, it’s really well thought out melodies and chords

* Are you guys familiar with the new wave of American bands that love the NWOBHM scene?
Yeah, the NWOTHM bands are great. I’m a huge fan of Eternal Champion and especially Sumerlands!! The Sumerlands album just keeps getting better; really nice natural warm production, fantastic song structures, and the guitar work (!!!!) – it’s not self-indulgent unnecessary guitar wankery, it’s really well thought out melodies and chords all intertwined. Love it!

Other bands that spring to mind… I’m really enjoying Visigoth, it’s so metal!! Lunar Shadow – Far from Light, sounds like a demo, but it has loads of great harmonies and melodies… Witchtower, Striker, Skull Fist are a few others that I’m enjoying at the moment.

Although Dream Troll aren’t trying to replicate the authentic old sound like a lot of the NWOTHM bands, we seem to get associated with the whole niche subgenre because of our obvious appreciation of the old rock and metal clichés and themes.

* What more can we expect from Dream Troll in 2017?
Gigs!!! I can’t wait to play some gigs! After Si’s motorbike accident, a small line-up change and getting a bassist, we’re finally preparing to play some gigs. We’re also in the middle of recording 3 new songs. We’ll be releasing one of the songs on a split 7”.

* Any final words?
We’re really keen to keep things moving – we’ve written loads of new songs, slightly different sound to the songs on The Knight of Rebellion, but they still have the signature Dream Troll catchy melodies, maybe inspired even more by 80s culture! Our new singer is helping us to evolve our sound and bringing a lot more to the band. We’ll be playing gigs soon, so promoters/bands, get in touch…