Jun 062017

 

(KevinP brings us this interview of Enrico Schettino, guitarist of Italy’s Hideous Divinity, whose superb new album Adveniens was reviewed by us here and is available now via Unique Leader.)

 

K:  How does it feel to exceed expectations with the new album for the second time?

E:  It feels good indeed, if this is what people truly believe. I mean, to exceed expectations sometimes looks like the only way in death metal nowadays. Competition’s insane. And also, people’s judgments leave you disoriented.  This is our life, sometimes we are at ease with the pressure, it compels us to push the envelope.  Some other times, we decide to take a deep breath, a step back, and do our thing:  rewrite, relisten, erase, rewrite. “Ad libitum”.

In other words, I really didn’t know what “expectations” were!  Too many different awkward ideas about how a band should sound today.

Jun 012017

 

(KevinP returns to NCS with another edition in his series of brief interviews, this time talking with guitarist Mikka Lammassaari from the Finnish band Wolfheart, a perennial NCS favorite whose latest album Tyhjyys was released earlier this year and reviewed here.)

 

K: This is now the 2nd album you’ve been a part of after Tuomas [Saukkonen] handled all the duties himself in the debut, Winterborn. So has your role changed since Shadow World?

M: This is a pretty common misconception, since I was already contributing the guitar solos on Winterborn. On Shadow World my role expanded a bit as I wrote a couple songs and was more involved in the guitar recordings.

On the new album Tyhjyys, I had to step back a little bit because my little baby boy was born and I wanted to shift focus more towards life at home. I still managed to squeeze in the founding of one song and got to write the guitar solos, so I´m very pleased with that.

So my role actually got a bit smaller on the new album, but Tuomas did amazing work writing the songs and recording guitars, so all went well.

Mar 152017

 

(KevinP brings us another episode in his series of brief interviews, and this time he quizzes guitarist/vocalist Arno Cagna and drummer Dan Mullins of the UK’s Blasphemer, whose self-titled debut album was released in January of this year.)

 

So you’ve been around 25 years (since 1992) and you just finally got around to releasing your debut album.  Amuse us with the explanation why it took that long?

Arno:  The band actually formed in 1990.  Our first demo was released at the end of 1992.  From 1992 to 1995 we released several demos and received positive press in the fanzines of the day.  That led on to us receiving 5/5 demo reviews in Terrorizer magazine in the UK in 1994 and then being voted best unsigned band by their readers. So you would have thought our first album would have been released in the 1990s. It wasn’t to be though, as around 1995 the project as Blasphemer was put hold. This was due to an unreleased demo that fell into the hands of a record label.

Mar 082017

 

(KevinP rejoins us with another installment in his short interview series, and his guest this time is guitarist Alex Bouks (ex-Goreaphobia, ex-Incantation), who is now a member of Immolation. Immolation’s superb new album Atonement is out now on Nuclear Blast.)

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K:  So how does it feel to be the “new guy” even though you’ve been at this death metal thing yourself for almost 30 years?

A:  It feels real natural, like I have always been there. We have been friends for almost 30 years so its already family.  And musically it is a perfect fit.  I feel I have found my home for sure.

Jan 252017

 

(KevinP returns to NCS with a new episode of his short-interview series, and this time talks with Achilleas Kalantzis, guitarist of the mind-bending Greek black metal band Aenaon — whose new album Hypnosophy was released late last year — as well as Katavasia and Varathron.)

 
K: You’ve had some lineup changes for Hypnosophy. What was the impetus and did this affect the sound/direction of the new material?

A: Indeed. Unfortunately it was really hard for Thyragon (bass) to keep up with the band’s schedule and Anax (guitars) had to join the obligatory army service, so we recorded without him (he is still a member now though). On the other hand Orestis was already playing the Sax for us since Extance, so becoming a permanent member wasn’t a big change. Astrous (vocals) and I are usually building the first demos of the songs, so the core of the creational process was the same (no matter the final arrangements). What made a big difference to me was that I also composed and performed the bass guitar. That gave me as a composer the ability to use it in a more prominent way, leading to groovier arrangements.

Oct 202016

madder-mortem-band

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.)

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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 172016

hail-spirit-noir-2016

 

(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.

Mar 312016

Universe 217-Change

 

(Here’s the third of our friend KevinP’s monthly selection of releases for 2016, naming his Top 5 favorite albums released during March.)

Truth be told, I’ve been knee deep into “comic book research” for the past few months, but especially in March, so my attention has been split between music and yet another hobby to spend way too much money on.  And by research, I mean investigating what new books and series recently came out and what’s on the horizon so I can generate a valid “pull list”.  I was toying with the idea of doing a semi-regular column on comic books.  What do you think of that prospect?  I’m rarely, if ever, gonna discuss a book about men (or chicks) in spandex, it will be all the indie and creator-owned ones (yes, I’m an elitist snob in my other hobbies as well).  Anyways, on with this month’s best of……

Mar 112016

Universe 217-Change

 

(KevinP introduces our premiere of the new album by Universe 217 from Greece — a well-earned exception to the “rule” in our site’s name.)

Today we have the honor and privilege to present to you the fourth full-length album from Greek doom masters, Universe217. Change is due on March 18, 2016 via Ván Records and is simply the best material of their career.

While I never subscribed to the theory that vocalist Tanya carried the band, I could understand the sentiment. She is in a class all her own, like a more dynamic and powerful metal version of Janis Joplin. But Change shows a band that is on equal ground; no longer does the music take a back seat to Tanya’s soaring, emotionally driven vocals. There’s a sonic immediacy to it, with a richer and fuller sound and with more textures — the instrumental music could easily stand on its own.

Feb 292016

Oranssi Pazuzu-Värähtelijä

 

(Here’s the second of KevinP’s monthly selection of releases for 2016, naming his Top 5 favorite albums released during February.)

So much for the notion that the beginning and end of the year are slow times for new releases. We have another month stacked with quality through and through. As pleasing as it is to spread the love of great releases to people far and wide, I wouldn’t mind a slight respite during a busy time of the year (I do have other obligations and hobbies). But yeah, #FirstWorldProblem.

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