Portland, Oregon’s Bastard Feast (formerly Elitist) released one of my favorite records of 2014 — Osculum Infame, which Season of Mist put forth last July. The band are about to embark on a nationwide tour, and I decided to fire a few questions their way by e-mail, and received these answers (the tour dates can be found at the end of this post — and if you have a chance to catch one of these shows, DO IT!).
I guess the uppermost thing in your minds at the moment is the tour you’re on the verge of starting. And you really didn’t fuck around with this schedule — by my count, 19 dates spanning six weeks and 14 states. Are you sure you’re ready for this?
Actually there’s ten more dates — we just didn’t have them all ready by the time we needed to start promoting the tour. And we’ve been here before touring as Elitist, so this isnt anything new for us at all. This one has come together a little tougher.
Do you have hopes of adding any more dates to the schedule (the last one I saw was in Season of Mist’s Oct 23 press release)?
As above, we have added more dates and more will probably roll in till we leave, not gonna name names but we let a booking agent work for us and he didn’t get it to come together so we had to jump in and salvage 2 weeks of tour with 2 weeks until we left.
(New Zealand-based metal writer and broadcaster Craig Hayes rejoins us with the following very thoughtful and interesting interview of members of Germany’s Ancst.)
German crust collective Ancst was born from hardcore and black metal colliding at 666mph. Biting socio-political commentary forms a big chunk of Ancst’s anarchic aesthetic, and like fellow metallic punks charged with the idea that society desperately needs to change its direction, the band channels its frustrations with the world at large through a sound that’s hot-tempered and savage.
Ancst recently released its In Turmoil compilation, which collected remastered EP, split, and demos tracks, and the band’s raw mix of caustic crust and fierce tremolo-screeds has resulted in Ancst’s profile steadily rising outside of Germany’s borders. Ancst vocalist Torsten and multi-instrumentalist Tom took some time out from gearing up for a German tour to answer a few questions for No Clean Singing. They talk about the band’s beginnings, their clear-cut and rabble-rousing political stance, and what’s in store for the future.
Let’s start right back at the beginning. Was there a moment in time that inspired you both to step from being fans of music to people driven to create?
Torsten: Listening to Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”, and then watching his epic “Thriller” video, when I was six years old. Years later, I was deeply moved by Adrenaline by the Deftones—and my love for that band is ongoing. For me, creating music is just another element I use to express myself, within a DIY context.
Tom: To be honest, I can’t really remember. Music has always played an important role in my family and I started playing in bands really early, but they weren’t heavy bands. I couldn’t find people to play extreme stuff with, and so I ended up in shitty alternative and indie bands at first. Years later, I met like-minded people when I moved to the city. But, if there is any band that opened up my eyes to the world of extreme music, it’s Napalm Death. Particularly their Inside the Torn Apart album.
(Our interviewer KevinP, a notoriously hard man to please, somehow convinced Enricho Schettino, guitarist for Italy’s Hideous Divinity, to speak with him. This is what followed.)
K: The band was formed in 2007 when you left Hour of Penance and moved to Norway. What caused you to move and would you have stayed in Hour of Penance if you hadn’t moved?
E: I thought I was gonna drop death metal as soon as I’d start a new life in a foreign country… god I was wrong. About my moving reasons… a Norwegian friend of mine once told me that people move there either for love or to escape from a war conflict. In my case it was the first one. Have no clue about how things would have been in the band if I stayed, I just remember that at the time for me it was really difficult to stand the company of many Hour of Penance members.
K: Then you rejoined in 2009 for a short period of time?
E: Yes. Got the proposal to re-join and I was extremely happy to play live again with them. I was not involved at all in their new album’s songwriting process but I thought it was fair. I took it all extremely easy. Then we played in an Italian festival, apparently the sound was messy and I took all the blame. Asked if there was any problem, but everyone said “No no we’re fine 100%”… One week later, just before a fest in Switzerland, I got the call — with no face-to-face explanation to this date — saying, “We’re better off as 4 piece”. These are the facts, just want to stick to them, or at least I wanna try.
(Comrade Aleks returns to our site with this interview of Jarno Salomaa, guitarist and keyboardist for the Finnish band Shape of Despair.)
Shape of Despair is an example of solid, quiet, perfect funeral doom. They have a sense of taste and a sense of proportion, but the band’s last full-length release saw the light of day ten years ago. It’s true – since 2004, Shape Of Despair have only one EP and a split-EP, but now the time has come and they’re ready to return and crush our spirit with a new dirge.
As for me… there’s one more reason to do this interview, for the band will play in Moscow in January 2015, and that’s why we got in touch with Jarno Salomaa (guitars, keyboards). He’s here to tell us about the future release of Shape Of Despair, his international all-star doom-project Clouds, and a few more things.
(In this post we welcome metal interviewer Karina Cifuentes to NCS, and happily present her discussion with Spencer Prewett, the phenomenal drummer of a Vancouver band we’ve been following since early days — Archspire.)
Hello everyone! My name is Karina Cifuentes. I was born in Colombia, but I live in Norway and I’m here because of Black Metal basically. I had to live the BM dream with forests, darkness, and so on. I have been interviewing my favorite bands since 2008 and I do this because it really makes me do more research than I would otherwise and I get lots of knowledge that way. I’m also working with a Black Metal documentary called Blackhearts (https://www.facebook.com/blackheartsfilm) So here’s my first contribution, an interview with Spencer Prewett from my fav tech-death band Archspire.
When did you start playing drums and what appeals to you the most about drumming?
The first time I started playing was when I was a kid. I was 8 years old when I first got my drum kit, but I didn’t actually start practicing drums until I got into metal and that was when I was 17. Now I’m 32, so I’ve been playing for quite a while. I find extreme drumming really appealing. I respect rock and blues drumming, but it doesn’t excite me the same way as Cryptopsy or Nile did.
Which drummer has inspired you the most and why?
Flo from Cryptopsy when I was younger, because when I was 17 I had a fake I.D. and I could go to my first Cryptopsy show. My first real metal show ever, and I didn’t know much about Cryptopsy. I was so blown away how fast the band and the drumming were, and that was probably what really affected me. So Flo was my biggest influence originally, but every year that goes by I discover a new band or I discover a new drummer or a new style.
(In this post we present KevinP’s interview of Tim Charles, violinist and clean vocalist of Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris, whose new album Citadel will be released on November 7 (November 11 in the U.S.). You can listen to two of the new songs while you read, here and here.)
K: So would this be the first interview you have done where the name of the site is diametrically opposed to your position in the band?
T: I guess so! But despite the name of the site, you guys have always shown NeO great support over the years regardless, and so I’m very happy to be chatting with you today about our new album.
K: We are coming up on the release of that album, Citadel, on Nov 7. What would you say is different and/or what were you able to accomplish this time around as compared with Portal of I?
T: When we first started writing Citadel we didn’t have any meetings to discuss the direction of the new songs. We simply just did what we’ve always done and write music until we were happy with the song. Personally we were very proud of Portal of I and we loved the songs, so when it was so well-received, that gave us a lot of confidence to forget about the outside world and just back our own judgement and have faith that as long as we love the new stuff then the public will enjoy it also.
We definitely noticed that there were some new sounds being explored, but honestly it wasn’t really until the end when it was completely done that we realised it was actually quite a bit different. It’s still very much NeO, but honestly I’m not sure we could create 2 albums the same if we tried! It’s always been in our nature to explore and move forward musically, and to me Citadel just sounds like another step forward.
I guess one other difference between the albums is that Portal of I was more akin to 7 separate stories, all related to each other, that when put together create an album. This new album, however, was created in a more conceptual way with the music largely flowing continuously from start to finish and hence is more one unified piece.
(Andy Synn presents his interview of Orion, vocalist/guitarist of Poland’s Vesania (and of course a member of Behemoth), whose new album Deus Ex Machina is coming our way. All photos accompanying the interview were taken by Aleksander Ikaniewicz.)
In case you missed out, I previously featured Polish behemoths Vesania in the 22nd edition of The Synn Report, covering all three of their albums, addressing their underground (sort-of) supergroup status, and comparing their Symphonic/Blackened Death Metal hybrid sound to Emperor, Zyklon, and Dimmu Borgir.
If you want to read more about them, then head on over here to check out what I originally wrote, then come back to this article to get some updated goodies.
You see, recently I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to conduct an interview with Vesania main-man Orion, since the band are in the first stages of promoting their upcoming fourth album Deus Ex Machina.
It’s a short, but ultimately revealing, interview, where you really get a feel for the drive and personality of the members behind the music, and of the difficulties inherent in pulling together a band made up of such busy musicians, as well as the growing theatricality of the band’s stage show!
On October 14, Broken Limbs Recordings is going to release a limited edition cassette split by the Dallas-based band Cara Neir and the hell-based band Venowl. At the risk of traumatizing frail psyches, we’re premiering Venowl’s track, “Scour (Parts I and II)”. And we’re accompanying the premiere with the first-ever interview of this mysterious entity.
“Scour” should be approached with care, or carelessly, depending on how risk-averse you are. At 21 minutes, it’s longer than many EPs and as long as what some bands call an “album”. It lasts as long as Venowl needed it to last. Like all their music, it’s improvisational, almost all of it recorded live in the studio this past July. “Harsh” doesn’t begin to describe it. It’s like a symphony of pain.
The pacing of the song ranges from slow to glacial. The ponderous drum hits and occasional cymbal crashes become the only life preservers you can hang onto as the tide pulls you out into this bottomless black sea — a sea of howling dissonant noise, raw, distorted chords, and nails-on-the-chalkboard feedback. Huge, groaning sounds give way to grinding riffs that generate a squall of brutal, abrasive cacophony and long spaces filled with the reverb-death-rattle of titanic notes.
It’s inexorable doom, an abyss of hopelessness, a miasma of death. The only sign of humanity that rears its head are barely human shrieks and distraught yells that emanate from what must be a very deep pit of emotional despair.
(In this post you will find BadWolf’s interview of Jamie Walters, aka Athenor, of Cleveland’s Midnight.)
Cleveland’s Jamie Walters struck gold (though maybe he didn’t know it) when throwback metal outfit Boulder became inactive and he formed his one-man project Midnight. Part black metal and part cock rock, Midnight has won over a surprising number of fans with a mixture of powerful hooks, depraved lyrics, and shocking imagery. The band’s 2011 album, Satanic Royalty, made me a fan. Their set at 2013′s Maryland Deathfest made me a devotee. Now, with their sophomore LP, No Mercy For Mayhem, I am a fanatic. Still, Walters’ music has the hooks, but perhaps not the ethics we as listeners demand from modern rock music. I got on the blower with Walters to see what satanic royalty has to do with sexism and an undying love for AC/DC.
I don’t see that many interviews with you.
Jamie: No, I try not to do too many interviews. I don’t know, over the internet. . . I’m not really an internet type of person, so over the internet you get kind of just like short answers, kind of half-ass, and then over the phone it’s always just like, ‘hey, we’re just talking’. I don’t like talking to people but it’s like, sometimes it doesn’t come across as an interview, because then you start talking about the Steelers, the Lions, kind of stupid shit — you know? — that has nothing to do with an interview. So.
You’re from Ohio, you’re like, you’re an Ohio boy, and you never play Ohio.
Jamie: Well, I wouldn’t say never, but not as much, you know, I guess just as much as any other cities.
Well, I mean, you played Cleveland maybe twice last year, you’re from Cleveland. . .
Jamie: Yeah, yeah.
. . . and you’re about to do this Hell’s Headbangers warehouse show.
Jamie: Okay, it’s just a warehouse, essentially, so I’m sure you’ve been to a warehouse, it has a bay door, a garage, and all that kind of stuff, and it’s a warehouse. You know, it’s basically like a private party here, just do a little gig here in the parking lot and play in the, you know, the bay doors, and just have bands play, and just have hotdogs and pop or whatever the shit and those guys are good and it would be cool. And of course they think on a little more bigger level I guess, and it’s like yeah, well, just have it open to everybody…. I thought it would be like a private party at most, you know, 40 people or something like that, but I guess beyond that it grew bigger than we anticipated. I don’t know. We’ll see, but it seems like there are a lot of people coming.
(Our interviewer KevinP produced the following fascinating discussion with Semjaza, the main man behind the Greek black metal band Thy Darkened Shade, whose new song “Saatet-ta Renaissance” we premiered earlier today — here – and whose new album will be released on October 31 by W.T.C. Productions.)
K: So we are coming up on the release of your second album. For those people who heard the debut, what can they expect, and for those completely new to the band, what are they going to experience?
S: The experience depends on the eye of the beholder, however, I am sure that those with hearts of Fire will experience the same Luciferian energy invoked for the debut, but this time we are even closer to the source, the Waters of Nun. The manifestations of the Devil are many and His names countless, we will capture as many as possible in our albums.
K: I’ll admit to not being all that interested in lyrical content (for the most part) but that seems to be a huge part of what you are doing here.
S: Yes, our art is not one-dimensional since we invoke Chaos. A synthesis of lyrical, musical, and visual art amongst others that can be translated into mantras, sigils, postures, and invocations for those who have the will to gaze beyond their mundane life and evolve. In fact, we are aiming to express our black flames sonically. It is therefore, a mirror of ourselves and represents the will of our Gods as we experience it.