Jul 162015

Morean_Alkaloid-Photo by Christian Martin Weiss

Photos accompanying this interview by Christian Martin Weiss

(Andy Synn had the chance to interview the Dutch artist Morean about the three bands in which he is currently involved — Dark FortressNoneuclid, and Alkaloid. We’ve divided the interview into three parts, which will appear on three successive days. Today’s focus is Alkaloid. Check out Part 1 here and Part 2 here.)

 

All jokes aside, all three of the bands discussed in this interview have a certain “Progressive” edge to them (though I’m trying not to over-use that word if at all possible) – Dark Fortress are a Black Metal band, and Noneuclid tend (at least in my mind) towards the Thrash-y end of the Metal spectrum. However your latest band, Alkaloid, is probably the most Progressive AND the most Death Metal focussed group of the lot. Was this something you were always aiming for?

M: You put your finger right on it. Not everyone in Dark Fortress and Noneuclid is equally into Death Metal and shred orgies. And despite all the artistic freedom we take in those bands, there were quite some things Alkaloid wanted to do that would never have fit with the other bands, and I think the same is true for Obscura. So we wanted to give it one last shot to start something fresh from the beginning, where we have complete freedom to do what we want without having to fit our ideas into 10 or 20 year old band concepts – even if they’re our own. In my own artistic development, I feel that with Alkaloid many things that have been growing in the other bands finally are falling into place. And the personnel in Alkaloid [Linus Klausenitzer, Danny Tunker, Hannes Grossmann, Christian Münzner] are very inspiring, there are very few limits to how far the composers in the band can go. It’ll be exciting to see where this band will end up going in the future.

Jul 152015

Noneuclid on the sofa

 

(Andy Synn had the chance to interview the Dutch artist Morean about the three bands in which he is currently involved — Dark Fortress, Noneuclid, and Alkaloid. We’ve divided the interview into three parts, which will appear on three successive days. Today’s focus is Noneuclid. Check out Part 1 here and Part 3 here.)

 

Moving on to talk about your work in Noneuclid, which also includes your Dark Fortress band-mates Seraph and V. Santura, along with Linus from Obscura/Alkaloid, and recently departed vocalist Bruce. For those unfamiliar with the band, can you give us some background on the group?

M: We started as a group of friends playing covers together once a year. I had just graduated from the conservatory and was looking for an outlet for my metal-related ideas, and we had way too much fun playing together, so after a while we decided to make Noneuclid a more permanent outfit. That was back in 2004. I set out to write the first album with just the wish in mind to have a few songs to play; little did we suspect they’d be perceived as being this unusual. To us, it was just metal to begin with, but then things went off on a pretty wild tangent with everything that ensued in the years after.

Jul 142015

Morean-1

 

(Andy Synn had the chance to interview the Dutch artist Morean about the three bands in which he is currently involved — Dark Fortress, Noneuclid, and Alkaloid. We’ve divided the interview into three parts, which will appear on three successive days. Today’s focus is Dark Fortress. Check out the next two parts here and here.)

 

So, first of all, I just want to say thank you for agreeing to answer these questions for me/us. Both Venereal Dawn and Metatheosis were amongst my favourite albums from last year, and it’s looking very likely that The Malkuth Grimoire will end up in my top ten at the end of 2015 too.

Now, obviously I’m a big fan of all the bands you’re involved in, so this is probably going to be a pretty long and in-depth interview, but let’s start with a simple question… how the hell do you find the time for all of this?

Morean: Thanks for the compliments! How do I find time? Well – I don’t. I have to steal whatever time I put into one band, commission, or project from all the other bands and projects. It’s a problem almost everyone in all these bands has, and it’s getting worse. It’s also the reason why it takes years sometimes before a band is able to get into the studio or back on the road.

Oct 222014

 

(Our Nottingham-based writer Andy Synn ventured down to London to catch the Venereal Dawn Tour MMXIV and files this report, with video of the performances.) 

From the moment it was announced, there really was no way I was going to miss this show. Two of my absolute favourite bands, Dark Fortress and Secrets of the Moon, along with one of this year’s best discoveries, the ineffable Schammasch, all on the same bill?

Sold.

The fact that it was down in London, at The Underworld (a venue I’ve always loved) was both a blessing a curse, as it pretty much guaranteed a great sound and atmosphere for the night, but also necessitated leaving work early and making a three-hour (give or take) drive through the irritating London traffic.

Still, totally worth it.

Oct 142014

 

Here’s a rather large selection of new songs and videos released in the last few days that I decided were worth your time — and who better than me to decide how you should spend your time?  Exactly.

I’ve arranged these offerings in alphabetical order by band name. It’s quite a varied selection, so I’m hoping everyone will find something to like.

BLOODBATH

We’re now two songs into the ramp-up for one of the most highly anticipated extreme metal releases of the year — Grand Morbid Funeral, the first album by Bloodbath since 2008. The second song, “Famine of God’s Word”, was revealed yesterday through a lyric video. I’m of two minds about the song.

On the one hand, the instrumental music is just downright vicious — a brutally heavy, galloping, squalling, skin-flaying, gut-punching romp, with an eerie lead guitar melody that floats through the song like a phantasm.

Sep 192014

 

(Andy Synn reviews the new seventh album by Germany’s Dark Fortress.)

Quite often I see the music of Dark Fortress categorized as “Melodic Black Metal”, and while it is strongly, and darkly, melodic, and it’s definitely Black Metal… I still feel like that particular classification is something of a misnomer.

I don’t know about you, but when I think “Melodic Black Metal”, my mind immediately goes to the masterful Dissection and all their ilk, and while the earliest Dark Fortress albums certainly fell in line with that style, their third album, 2004’s Stab Wounds, signified the beginning of a major stylistic shift, one that has, over the years since, led the band into deeper, darker waters.

The addition of Morean on vocals for 2008’s Eidolon seemed to be the final piece of the puzzle necessary for the band to fully manifest their new-born identity, one of fire and anguish and boundless creative freedom, and paved the way for the complex and multi-faceted metallic madness of Ylem, perhaps the band’s finest hour thus far.

Venereal Dawn is certainly a spiritual follow-up to Ylem in many ways – indeed, without many of the creative seeds planted by that album much of Venereal Dawn simply would not exist – and yet it is far, far removed from being a simple copy.

Intimately progressive and hauntingly introspective, it is perhaps a less extreme and less technical album than its predecessor, albeit still dripping with black fire and venom, yet it remains just as challenging and creatively ambitious, and always true to the band’s own unorthodox ethos.

Aug 202014

Photo by Guðný Lára Thorarensen and Guðmundur Óli Pálmason

Here’s a quartet of things I saw and heard over the last 24 hours that I thought were worth your time. I could have sub-titled this “The Exception to the Rule Round-Up”, because the vocals are almost all of the clean variety.

SÓLSTAFIR

I’ve written about every advance track that has appeared from Sólstafir’s new album Ótta, which will be released by Season of Mist on August 29 in Europe and September 2 in North America. So I guess it stands to reason that I’m going to write about the full-album stream that premiered yesterday at Noisey.

I love the album, but I’m not sure were going to review it. We didn’t get our promo copy of the album from the label until less than 24 hours before the stream went up (and only about 10 days before the European release date), and I do sometimes wonder what the point is of writing a review when everyone can hear the album for themselves, especially when there are so many other albums whose music is less accessible that are also worth praising. There’s always a point to bringing music to the attention of people who might not be aware of it, but anyone who regularly visits our site couldn’t possibly remain unaware Ótta.

Anyway, whether we write more about the album or not, you really should go listen to it. Among the previously unreleased songs, “Non” in particular has been getting repeated spins among our staff. The goddamn riff at the end is just glorious. Go here — you’ll be glad you did:

Jun 262014

Yesterday was an eventful one in the realms of metal, with enticing new-album announcements and new songs. I’ve collected a few of the most interesting items here. I stayed up late at a metal show last night and am now rushing to get my ass out of the house and onward to my fucking day job, so I’m presenting the new songs without my usual commentary (which I may add later).

DARK FORTRESS

More than four years have passed since Germany’s Dark Fortress released the fantastic Ylem. Finally, after a few postponements, a new album is ready. Entitled Venereal Dawn, it’s scheduled for release by Century Media on September 2 in North America (and September 1 everywhere else) and yesterday its cover art was revealed. The cover is a painting by a Netherlands-based artist named Nespress Danielewski and it appears he has created other art for the album as well. I really, really like this cover and am interested to see what else he’s done for Venereal Dawn.

Of course, I’m really interested in the music, too. The press release says: “Expect epic song structures, mighty sonic cathedrals, virulent and sinister magic and lots of unexpected twists and turns as the bands drags you screaming and headbanging through the abysmal roller coaster of their universe once more.” Oh yes…

https://www.facebook.com/officialdarkfortress

May 242014


(photo by Natalia Kempin/Natalia Die Hexe, used with permission)

(Andy Synn provides the following introduction to a new documentary now streaming over the web.)

Dark Fortress are, without a doubt, one of my favourite bands, and their last albums, Ylem, is similarly one of my favourite albums.

Why am I telling you this? Well it just so happens that Dutch public-service broadcasting network NTR has just released a 50-minute documentary on the band’s frontman Florian Magnus Maier (aka Morean) and his composition of a double-guitar concerto entitled “Schattenspiel” (“Shadowplay”) for the Zaterdagmatinee, whose premiere performance took place at the Royal Concertgebouw, Amsterdam.

Now I actually already knew that Florian/Morean was a gifted composer (go me), with some impressive credentials to his name, but actually watching him piece the whole thing together, keeping all the changes and instruments in his head at the same time, really gives you a whole different insight into the process and the man behind it.

Nov 302012

photo credit: Natasha Xavier

We’re delighted to present here Andy Synn’s recent interview of famed guitarist and producer V Santura (Dark Fortress, Triptykon).

Before we get into the interview I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to Victor (V. Santura) for answering the questions I sent to him, which were originally written to be asked and answered during the UK leg of the band’s current tour. Despite the delay I really appreciate how he engaged with the interview and worked with the material.

I’d also like to thank Stefan for helping set this up, since (as you all know) Dark Fortress are amongst my favourite bands. So thank you Stefan!

********  

Firstly, how is the tour going?

Well, what shall I say? I guess it’s a typical UK underground tour which means it is not exactly the glamorous rock-star dream coming true, haha. Sometimes the circumstances are a bit “adventurous”, but no matter how many people are attending the shows, the reactions of the audiences are fantastic. I also have the feeling that the band is very well in shape at the moment. Personally I enjoy playing live a lot and shows like the one in London for example had something truly magic. It’s those moments why you are doing all of this.

 

How are you finding your UK tour mates?

Very good, both bands have strong material. I’ve been in contact with Ethereal for a while and even know some unreleased song ideas. And I know Wilson from Saturnian since several years. Nevertheless I have to say that Saturnian kind of blew me away with their tight and super professional musicianship. I also like their album a lot. Go and buy it!

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