(Comrade Aleks returns to NCS with another interesting interview. This time he talks with the Italian band Haunted.)
Haunted appeared in Italian Catania recently, and Twin Earth Records has already released their self-titled debut album. I was lucky enough to get it beforehand, and I must tell you – it’s something! Take Windhand stoner doom and crop their endless monotonous riffs, retaining those hypnotic female vocals and overall compositional frame; then add some charms and… and whatever else Haunted puts into their songs?… Yes, I had to find out their secret ingredients and I welcome you to share the pleasure of digging deeper in the Haunted territories. The whole band is here to tell about their brand new work.
(Our Russian interviewing fiend Comrade Aleks is back, this time presenting a conversation with Paul Kearns, vocalist of the British band Solstice.)
Solstice is a kind of unique phenomenon of the British doom scene. Being raised in 1990, the band built their reputation with two excellent professional albums, Lamentations (1994) and New Dark Ages (1998), and also with the extreme slowness with which Solstice write new songs. You’ll easily understand the situation if you remember that the band’s only original member today is the guitarist Richard M. Walker, who’s an incorrigible perfectionist. However, since 1998 the band have released a pair of splits and a bunch of compilations, though there were also demos and one EP recorded in 2013 (Death’s Crown Is Victory) with Paul Kearns on vocals.
As the band slowly strides toward their next full-length album, or maybe just to their next song, we got in contact with Paul and had a pretty cool and informative conversation, though it took some time, as does everything connected with Solstice.
(Comrade Aleks returns to NCS with this interview of Butch Balich, vocalist of the Pennsylvania heavy doom band Argus.)
Despite the Lovecraftian monstrous form of giant Argus who dwells on every artwork of this band, the Argus outfit doesn’t exactly resemble such a brutal creature. Since the year 2005 they have played a solemn and stoical blend of doom and heavy metal, bringing down on listeners stories of endurance and damnation.
The band regularly play live shows, and usually Argus do not make their listeners wait for too long before giving them some new music periodically, but three years have gone by since the release of their third full-length Beyond the Martyrs, and it’s time to ask the obvious question about new material the band has to offer. This question is well-timed, as Argus’ voice Butch Balich has some important news for you.
Earlier this month we reviewed an impressive new split by two experienced French bands from the black metal underground — Nirnaeth and Azziard. The split, which includes one exclusive song from each band, will be released on August 12 on 7″ vinyl by Kaotoxin Records — the first 7″ ever released by the label. Now we’re following that review with the premiere of a video for Nirnaeth’s powerful track, along with an interview of the band’s guitarist Mutill.
Nirnaeth, who took their name from the word for “Tears” in the elvish language of Sindarin from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, began their existence roughly 15 years ago. Prior to this split, they released two albums, Thrown Athwart the Darkness in 2006 and Splendour of the Abyss in 2009. Their contribution to the split is a track called “Nihil in Me”, and it was was recorded during the pre-production process for a forthcoming third album.
(Comrade Aleks presents this interview of Sean Deth from Ohio’s Witchhelm, whose new album Dead Nights of the Moon Fear will be released on January 1, 2017 — or possibly sooner.)
Witchhelm is the gloomy and pagan doom outfit started by Sean Deth, a multi-instrumentalist who previously played in a few extreme metal bands. Sean wrote the first tunes for the project in 2012, but officially it was shown to the world in 2015. He had been in a lot of different metal bands before that, so all of his influences took form in this twisted sinister doom metal.
Two albums, one solid EP Jötunn, and a pair of singles in just two years – not bad, right? But Sean and his companions have already finished their third full-length record! Let’s go through Witchhelm’s story with Sean and find out about the rites of Conjuring and Invocations through Dead Nights of the Moon Fear!!
(We present another interview by our comrade, Comrade Aleks, and this time he had a great conversation with Niko Lass of the French band Witchthroat Serpent.)
Who would introduce the band better than themselves? Nobody! And as we want to do things right, let’s start with the official press-release I got from Witchthroat Serpent: about their new album Sang-Dragon:
“Sanguis draconis is a thick, blood-red resin extracted from exotic trees. Since the dawn of time, it has uses in medicine, crafts, and of course. magic. And so is Witchthroat Serpent’s music: dark and heady as blood, weird as it would come from another world, and ridden with that old powerful magic men both used to practice and fear.
“Witchthroat Serpent was created in November 2011 in Toulouse, France, by Fredrik Bolzann (guitar/vox), Niko Lass (drums), and Lo Klav (bass), with the aim to spread occult and powerful doom metal. The self-titled first album was released on CD in 2014 by Deadlight Entertainment, soon followed by a tape version through Zanjeer Zani and on LP by US label Emetic Records the year after.”
Witchthroat Serpent is not a clone. It has its own spells, and sure knows how to use them to enthrall the listener. Morbid groove and psychedelic tunes to seduce you to your perdition. And so too is their new album Sang-Dragon (enthralling), recorded in one day at Drudenhaus studio in September 2015. First released on CD by Deadlight Ent., it will be spread on noble black wax by Svart Records on August 26th. Before that, after just returning from a successful Spanish-French tour in May, the trio appeared on stage at Crumble Fest on June 4th and will play at Motocultor Fest on August 19th.
We had a nice conversation with Niko — informative, productive and honest.
(Comrade Aleks brings us this interview with Darryl Shepard of the bi-coastal band The Scimitar from Massachusetts.)
A scimitar is a backsword or sabre with a curved blade, originating in the Middle East. The curved sword or “scimitar” was widespread throughout the Middle East from at least the Ottoman period, with early examples dating to the Abbasid-era (9th century) Khurasan. Also, The Scimitar is a severe and dark stoner doom band from Massachusetts. It was started by Darryl Shepard (guitars, vocals) and Dave Gein (bass) when they were on hiatus from Black Pyramid. They invited Brian Banfield to play drums later as The Scimitar turned out to be their main doom project.
Crushing, sharp, and heavy, The Scimitar is a merciless weapon, but the band have been silent since their first album Doomsayer was released two years ago. I posed a few questions to Darryl to clarify the band’s current status and to go deeper into the history of The Scimitar.
(Today, Comrade Aleks brings us his interview of Chris Sigdell of the Swiss band Phased.)
Phased is a heavy psychedelic doom band from Basel, Switzerland. This project was founded in 1997 as its creators were influenced by achievements of scientists in the sphere of deep space exploration, researchers of parallel universes, and slow doom stuff as well. They never make haste, they always use their time well, and so Aeon (Czar of Bullets, 2015) was released in November 2015, six years after their previous album A Sort Of Spasmic Phlegm Induced By Leaden Fumes Of Pleasure had seen the light of day.
Will we wait for the next album so long? Chris Sigdell, Phased’s mastermind, knows the answer. But will he give this information? Let’s try!
(Comrade Aleks has spoken with Andy Beresky of Black Pyramid, and in this post he summarizes what he learned about the past, the present, and the future of the band.)
The original lineup of that famous Massachusetts-based stoner doom band is Eric Beaudry (bass), Clay Neely (drums), and Andy Beresky (guitars, vocals). Eric managed to record the EP Black Pyramid in 2008 with the guys and then quit the band. However, one of those two songs recorded with him (“Visions of Gehenna”) was included in Black Pyramid’s self-titled debut LP in 2009 where Dave Gein took bass-guitarist duties.
This nine-track-long album pulled a lot of attention with slow, classic doom stoner chords, distorted riffs, and Andy’s raw and clean vocals. Despite the very traditional material the band wrote for this album, the feedback was warm and enthusiastic, and that’s easy to explain because the songs deliver catchiness, energy, and a sincere approach. You’ll find on the album fast tracks performed at nearly attacking speed (“No Life King”), mid-paced stoner songs (like “Twilight Grave”), a short melancholic acoustic composition (“Celephais”) ,and just tons of proper killer riffs.
What a long and winding road it has been. Twenty-one years after their debut album HEart of the Ages and 17 years after their last one (Strange In Stereo), the Norwegian alchemists In the Woods… are returning with a new record named Pure, to be released in September by Debemur Morti Productions. After a wait of 17 years, remaining patient until September seems like a small thing to ask. Yet three months is still three months, and so we bring you something to sate the curiosity, at least temporarily.
And yes, we do expect more than a little curiosity, given the visionary nature of this band’s first three albums and the long stretch of years that has passed since their release. For those who may be new to the band, perhaps because you weren’t yet out of diapers when HEart of Ages made its first mark, a bit of history may be worthwhile before listening to “Cult of Shining Stars“.