Oct 202016


Photo by Ann-Helén Moen Nannestad

(On October 28, Dark Essence Records will release Red In Tooth and Claw, the new album by Norway’s Madder Mortem, and in this new interview KevinP talks about the album with vocalist Agnete M. Kirkevaag and guitarist BP M. Kirkevaag.)


K: So it’s been 7 years since your last album, Eight Ways. About freakin’ time don’t ya say? (LOL)

Agnete: Absence makes the heart grow fonder? But yeah, about freaking time! The album has been ready for quite awhile now, so we’re very impatient to get it out there for people to hear.

BP: Feels great and yes, about bleep bleepin’ time! The grey cloud has finally lifted from this album’s shoulder.


K: With this new album, Red in Tooth and Claw, you finally break free of any genre classification (even though you were kinda hard to pigeon-hole before this anyways). Do you find this to be a blessing or a curse?

Agnete: A blessing, definitely! Rock is supposed to be about rebellion, isn’t it? And to me, that means disregarding or at least questioning norms in general. And certainly norms that would place restraints on your creativity. But I can see that there might be short-term marketing difficulties in it too. It’s hard to slap a sticker on the CD case saying “for fans of some other rock band”, since I think the references would be wildly different for different songs.

To be honest, I don’t really know of anyone out there doing exactly what we’re doing and I’m really proud of that. But it has never been our goal. Our music has just ended up being the way it is because it’s what we like and enjoy playing.

Oct 192016



In music, as in other art forms, complexity is the proverbial double-edged sword. Depending on how it is wielded, it can heighten intrigue and interest, transfixing the listener in following its labyrinthine pathways, or it can result in a jumbled mess that perversely becomes monotonous. In our humble opinion, the band whose new song you’re about to hear succeeds in making the intricacy of their composition seductive, while at the same time creating a dark and disturbing aura and ultimately branding the song in your head.

The band in question is the French group Derealized — one woman (vocalist Myriam Fischer) and three men (guitarist Man Fischer, drummer Victorien Delacroix (ex-Diluvian), and bassist Mat Roger) who meld technical skill and inventive songwriting techniques in ways that are impressive, but without losing their grip on the qualities that make a song a song, and a memorable one at that. The song is “Isolation Poetry” and it’s the title track to their new album, which will be released on October 21 by Finisterian Dead End.

Oct 192016

Reviews in Haikus


(We present another edition of Andy Synn’s three-line reviews.)

Well, it appears that “Reviews in Haikus” has become a regular monthly affair somehow, so I thought to myself… why not use it to quickly touch base with a triptych of albums I probably won’t get chance to review properly any time soon?

Oct 192016



Ten years ago a band named Black Hole Generator released a debut EP called Black Karma. After that long absence Black Hole Generator is returning with a debut album entitled A Requiem For Terra, which will be released next month by Dark Essence Records. Consider this about the people who have participated in it:

First, there is the creative force behind Black Hole Generator, Vulture Industries’ main man and long-time Taake and Helheim producer Bjørnar E. Nilsen. And then there is guitarist Arve Isdal (Ice Dale) of Enslaved and Audrey Horne, plus Gjermund Fredheim (Taake/Orkan) contributing lead guitars on three tracks, as well as additional guitars by Dag Terje Andersen. Also, the distinctive Romanian artist and musician Costin Chioreanu made the cover art.

By dropping those names, I suspect we have now seized your attention. And while we have it, we would like to share with you the premiere of the new album’s title track. It will seize your attention, too.

Oct 192016



Sixteen-minute songs present a challenge for bands who compose them, because they present a challenge for listeners. Long attention spans are not exactly a hallmark of modern culture or society. But when a band succeed in holding their listeners’ attention for songs of such length, the experience can be even more rewarding than songs of more conventional duration. And that’s what the Irish band Soothsayer have done on the song we’re about to premiere for you. Its name is “Umpire” and it appears on Soothsayer’s new album At This Great Depth, which will be released on December 30 by Transcending Obscurity Records.

This is the band’s second release, following their 2015 debut The Soothsayer. It consists of two songs, of which “Umpire” is the first; the second, which is not as long, is “Locusts and Moths”.

Oct 182016


Monday morning, Oakland waterfront

This wraps up our coverage of the second installment of CALIFORNIA DEATHFEST, which took place from October 14-16, 2016, in Oakland, California. As was true of my posts on Day One and Day Two, I haven’t written fulsome reviews of the performances I saw on the final day, though this time I have included a few more impressions than in the earlier installments — but I’ve once again included photos and videos I made using my iPhone.

Yes, this is a half-assed way to document a festival compared to what you will probably see from a few of the more well-healed metal publications out there who employed professional photographers and videographers. However, because “Half-Assed” is in fact my middle name, I’m being true to myself.

Oct 182016



During this past weekend two very good German bands released a split in which each of them covers a song by the almighty Bathory. The bands are Ultha and Morast. The split is available on Bandcmp now and will be released on 7″ vinyl by Vendetta Records (Halo of Flies will have copies for U.S. distro). The songs will also be included in a Bathory Tribute Compilation to be released later this year by CVLT Nation. Here are a few thoughts about the split, plus streams of the songs:


In March of this year I posted (here) an interview of this new German black metal band along with a stream of a song from their debut album Pain Cleanses Every Doubt, which was originally released by a group of European labels last year and then re-released in April 2016 by Translation Loss Records.

And then in August I also reviewed the band’s new EP, Dismal Ruins. Both releases were so very good that I was eager to hear Ultha’s cover song for this new split.

Oct 172016



(In this new edition of KevinP’s short interview series, he talks with guitarist Theo Lyratzakis of the Greek band Hail Spirit Noir, whose new album Mayhem In Blue will be released by Dark Essence Records on October 28.)

K:   I think it’s pretty safe to say that most people are gonna view this album as easily the best of your career. As much as I loved both prior releases, compared to this new one, dare I say they sound “half-baked”, almost “disjointed”.

T:  Ha!  Well, that’s always good to hear!  Thank you kindly.  Knowing you are a fan, it means a lot.  We obviously wanted Mayhem In Blue to be our best album to date.  It’s the difficult third album and a lot of work has been put into it.  Not that either Pneuma or Oi Magoi disappointed us in any way but this is where we are now.  And we need to express ourselves as keenly and accurately as possible.  So you know, thanks.

Oct 172016



Across four albums beginning in 2008, the music of the Austrian band Karg has changed with the moods and maladies of its sole creator, J.J., who is also a member of the fantastic Harakiri For the Sky. A fifth album named Weltenasche will be released in November by Art of Propaganda, and it reflects still further changes in Karg’s musical journey. As a sign of what it holds for listeners, we’re pleased to bring you the debut of the album’s second track, “Alles wird in Flammen stehen“.

The song exerts a powerful attraction, interweaving elements of black metal and post-rock, combining hard-driving rhythms and pummeling heaviness with shining, shimmering lead guitar melodies that cast a haunting spell.

Oct 172016



(Andy Synn reviews the eagerly awaited new album by the UK’s Mithras.)

In the interests of transparency I’d like to lay all my cards on the table right away. As some of you will know I’ve been a pretty big Mithras fan for a long time now. In fact not only did I select the band for my 34th edition of The Synn Report way back in April of 2013, it also happens that I’ve struck up a friendly relationship with Mithras mainman Leon Macey in the intervening period between then and now.

On top of all that, in two weeks’ time Beyond Grace are lucky enough to be opening the London date of the band’s long-awaited UK tour in support of their new album (their first in nine years), so I can’t say you wouldn’t be justified in having a few concerns about my overall ability to be even semi-objective in this instance.

So, if you’re really that unsure of my ability to offer a clear critical appraisal this time around, perhaps it might be best to think of this less as a strict, set-in-stone review, and more just a textual primer for what to expect in advance of the album’s release this Friday.

After all, if worst comes to worst, you can just ignore everything I’ve written here and check it out for yourself, because the whole thing is now available to stream in full!

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