(Comrade Aleks conducted this interview with guitarist Conrad Viz of the L.A. band Ancient Spell.)
I had an idea to do an interview with Ancient Spell. It is a Los Angeles-based band that combines classic doom metal and aggressive thrash elements in their music. They were formed in August 2012 by the guitarist Conrad Viz and recorded two albums – a self-titled debut in 2013 and the sophomore Forever in Hell released by Minotauro Records in 2015. Well, you see – it’s interesting and, let’s say, an original mix, so it’s worthy of your attention.
Occasionally I’ve sent questions to the band, and at the same time received answers from both Conrad Viz and Donnie Marhefka, Ancient Spell’s frontman, so in the end I have two interviews with quite similar questions but with different answers. Here’s the interview with Conrad, you’ll be able to find our interview with Donnie a little bit later (during this or next week) on doom-metal.com. Enjoy the Ancient Spell.
They are only two studio albums into their career, but Crescent Lament have already carved out a strong aural identity for themselves in their chosen sub-genre. The indie Taiwanese metal band started out playing traditional symphonic gothic metal (Behind the Lethal Deceit, 2011), before switching to oriental gothic metal on their most recent album, Elegy for the Blossoms (2015).
Making the stylistic switch was an excellent move on their part — their current sound not only suits the geisha concept of Elegy for the Blossoms to a tee, but is also an exemplar of East Asian, erhu-infused metal. This is not to suggest that the band’s non-aural features are not noteworthy, though. One need only peruse the lyric booklets of Elegy for the Blossoms to see that Crescent Lament take their poetry and history seriously. In this interview, founding member and drummer Komet Chou details the historical basis of the lyrics of Elegy for the Blossoms, and his translation of the lyrics from Taiwanese to English.
(We present Comrade Aleks’ interview of Jayesh Talati, guitarist/vocalist of the Australian band Indica, whose new album Stone Future Hymns was released earlier this year.)
Indica is an experimental psychedelic doom outfit which incorporate influences of stoner and noise in its musical body. Being active since 2012, Indica has lived through necessary lineup changes, yet its core has remained the same – Jayesh Talati (guitars, vocals) leads his project deeper into his hazed trips, or rather real hallucinogenic adventures. The result of his collaboration with new members is the fresh full-length album Stone Future Hymns. Jayesh is here to share the news about Indica and its works.
(Comrade Aleks brings us another very entertaining and informative interview with the two core members of the unusual Breton band Stangala.)
That extravagant outfit from Brittany returns after three years of searches with a new refreshed sound and new avant-garde melodies which were formed under the name Klañv… Oh, well, let me introduce you to the Stangala band.
They started in far 2006 as a trio – Steven Le Moan (guitars, vocals), Thomas Coïc (drums), and Alexandre Miossec (bass). This lineup recorded the Boued Tousek Hag Traou Mat All debut in 2011, “drug-fueled” psychedelic doom rock with some Breton tunes and Breton lyrics. About two years later the band (without Alexandre this time) took part in split-record with the Stonebirds group; this work was named Kreizh Breizh Sessions – Vol.1. This time Stangala performed a highly eclectic mix of doom stoner with black metal, with some Breton colors as well.
And now? Their second full-length Klañv, released by Finisterian Dead End on the 24th of March, shows avant-garde Celtic doom black rock as it probably could be. It’s an imprecise term, but you can easily check it – there are a few necessary links down the text. Oh, and the text… It’s our interview with Steven and Thomas.
(Comrade Aleks rejoins us with an interview of members of the Finnish band Tombstoned, whose new album II is set for release by Svart Records on April 22.)
I was lucky enough to get promo of new Tombstoned album II, which turned out to be a pleasant surprise as I had never heard about them before. Born in 2010, this doom metal outfit (some may add “psychedelic” to this definition) already had an EP Searching/ Let Go (2012) and a self-titled full-length record (2013). The band acts in the form of a power-trio, with Olavi on bass, Jussi on guitars and vocals, and Akke as the drummer.
Their classic doom metal shapes really have psychedelic nuances and a few recognizable features of ‘70s rock music, taking into account that all the instrumental parts are extremely catchy (taste “Pretending to Live” or “Haven’t We Seen All This Before” and you’ll have a general view what Tombstoned are about). Oh, one more thing – good news for those who secretly love The Cure, because sometimes the intonations of Jussi’s vocal parts remind me of Robert James Smith, and that sounds cool!
Enough talk from me! Let’s give space to Jussi and Olavi to tell us how to get Tombstoned.
(Comrade Aleks re-joins us with this interview of vocalist/guitarist Oskar Tunderberg from Finland’s Domovoyd.)
Domovoyd is an extravagant experimental doom quartet from Finnish Seinäjoki; the band have existed since 2010 and the guys were both talented and lucky enough to get a contract from Svart Records. Their music is dreamy, heavy, loud, and slow – it’s not for everyone, yes. But their albums Oh Sensibility (2013) and Domovoyd (2015) earned the band a solid reputation.
Oskar Tunderberg (vocals, guitars), Niko Lehdontie (guitars), Dmitry Melet (bass), and Axel Solimeis (drums) do their doom magic and weave their psychedelic spells into a heavy dormant trance. Are they still here? – I wondered. And yes, they answered, they are here. This interview with Oskar discovers different aspects of Domovoyd and shows some things from a new angle.
(In this post, Latvian music journalist Evita Hofmane presents her interview with guitarist Teemu Mäntynen of the Finnish post-metal band CRIB45 — who are about to embark on a Baltic tour this week.)
What’s behind this Finnish band’s name – CRIB45? Let’s take a short glimpse into their worldview and music. Our guide is vocalist and guitarist Teemu Mäntynen.
First of all, we have to make a short introduction for all those who haven’t heard about your band. What is CRIB45?
Crib45 is a Finnish post-metal band, that puts its focus on the doomier side of the genre. The music combines dark, but soothing atmospheres with crushing groove made by a wall of guitars and drums, along with multiple vocalists. I guess that the main part, which differs Crib45 from other post-metal bands, is that where many rely on the hardcore background of the genre, we come from the alternative rock’s direction. You can hear the influences from bands like Deftones, A Perfect Circle, and such, while at the same time there are the obvious influences from bands like Neurosis and Cult of Luna as well. I guess that those are the key elements that make Crib45 what it is.
Last year a group of European labels released the debut album of a German black metal band named Ultha, bearing the title Pain Cleanses Every Doubt. I somehow managed to miss it, even after seeing a comment about Ultha on a post I wrote last August about the final recording of the tremendous German band Planks — a comment which disclosed that Planks‘ Ralph Schmidt was a member of Ultha. That was a stupid error on my part, but thankfully one I’ve had a chance to rectify.
What put Ultha on my radar screen after that previous oversight was the news that the excellent U.S. label Translation Loss will be re-releasing Pain Cleanses Every Doubt on April 29, which I suspect will give Ultha the attention they deserve among North American listeners who might have missed their remarkable debut last year, as I did.
There are some interesting stories behind the origins and music of Ultha, as I learned when I reached out to the band with a series of e-mailed interview questions. One of those interesting stories concerns the reasons why Ultha chose the musical path reflected in this album — because it sounds almost nothing like what you would think of as German black metal (or even, more broadly, traditional Northern European black metal). While many North American black metal bands continue to reach east across the Atlantic for their inspiration, Ultha have gone in the other direction, resisting the stagnation they sense in much of the black metal coming out of their homeland and drawing inspiration from such U.S. innovators as Leviathan, Xasthur, Ash Borer, Fell Voices, Wolves In The Throne Room, and Weakling/Dispirit.
(We present Comrade Aleks’ interview with Igor Sidorenko of the Ukrainian band Stoned Jesus, with photos by Oscar Szramka.)
Here come the robots! The outfit Stoned Jesus (Kiev, Ukraine) was revealed by the Solitude Productions label in the year 2010, with the label then releasing their first (after two demos) full-length release – First Communion. Stoner doom from Stoned Jesus acquired new features and developed over the years and became more artistic, energetic, and alive, so the number of the Stoned Jesus congregation has grown steadily.
In February 2015 they released their third album – The Harvest — and the idea of doing an interview with them began to take shape gradually, but their busy concert schedule became a serious obstacle on the way to transfer this plan into life. Anyway, Igor Sidorenko (guitar, vocals) took the time to answer the quiz directly from the epicenter of another tour. And one more thing – it’s not just another doped stoner band, check the “Here Come the Robots” song… you know.
Salute Igor! How are you? What’s going on in Stoned Jesus’ life?
Hey! We’re currently on tour with Mars Red Sky and Belzebong, so I’m writing this to you from a nightliner, with Goat’s 2012 album playing in my headphones.
(Last September I sent interview questions to Poland’s Mgła, the creators of one of the best albums of 2015 — Exercises In Futility. Mgła have been very busy since then, and I had given up hope that the questions would be answered, but yesterday we received them. Some of the topics have been overtaken by time, but others remain relevant, and I hope you’ll find the answers as interesting as I do. I thank M. for answering the questions when it would have been easy to forget about them altogether.)
Forgive me, but I would like to ask you a few questions about the lyrics to the songs on the new album before getting to the music. I read them before listening and thought they were eloquent and powerful (as usual), though quite bleak and even nihilistic. They changed my mood and state of mind before hearing a note, as if preparing the way. What inspired you in your writing this time?
Life itself, as obvious as it may sound. That’s what the album title refers to. The lyrics are a condensed form of our commentary to the world.