Sometimes we get into e-mail exchanges with NCS readers, and sometimes we learn a few things about them that you wouldn’t know just from reading their comments here on the site. Take Ray Heberer, for example (he uses only his first name when he leaves comments). Ray is 15 years old, approaching his 16th birthday. He lives in Taiwan. He goes to a demanding school, he’s on the track team, and he began visiting this site not long ago.
Ray is also a guitarist, and he also plays bass. He’s been playing for about 2 years, which would mean he started when he was about 13. I think I was still breast-feeding at 13. The only instrument I could play with when I was 15 was the one attached to my body. So, in one sense, what Ray does sort of depresses me. And, for those of us who are a bit insecure about our own talents, this story gets worse.
Ray also composes and records his own music, he’s a fair hand with synthesizers, and he’s the centerpiece of three bands (Haemic, Dreams of Winter, and Bloodred Fullmoon), plus his own solo project (Reclusive Forest Council). It’s all metal, but because Ray evidently hasn’t yet settled on the style of music he wants to make his focus, each of these projects explores different styles.
And to top it off, Ray is good. How good? Well, you’re about to find out. We’re going to play you some of Ray’s music, including a medley of melodies from the forthcoming Dreams of Winter album that Ray created just for NCS. We predict the time will come when you’ll be proud to tell people, “Hey, I heard that dude’s music on NCS when he was only 15!” (more after the jump . . .)
Where to start? Well, let’s start with Haemic. Ray has some collaborators in this project from other countries (ah, the wonders of modern technology), but he lays down the guitar and the bass and produces the songs. So far, this collective has recorded three tracks and made them available as a demo package for free download on Bandcamp.
Haemic’s style is melodic, keyboard-enhanced black metal, more or less in the vein of late-stage Dimmu. But even among just these three songs, there’s variety. “Arch Nemesis” is an interesting mix of sci-fi electronica, croaking vocals and landslide riffage. “Graveyard” is a slow, heavy, down-tuned crush-fest of morbidity that features guitar picking which enhances the straight-from-the-asylum feel of the song. “Hellgate” is a largely instrumental track laden with bombastic, symphonic keyboards and more of Ray’s flashy fretwork.
Our blog-brother Niek has already written about Haemic and featured one of those three demo songs at Death Metal Baboon (here), so we’re going to stream a different one. Here’s “Graveyard”:
Haemic is working on a full-length album, which with luck will see daylight later this year. For now, you can get that 3-track demo for free at this location.
DREAMS OF WINTER
Now let’s turn to another of Ray’s projects, Dreams of Winter. Ray thinks of this music as goth and doom. Those don’t happen to be genres of music in which I’m particularly well-versed, so I’ll take his word for it. What I can tell you is that the music I’ve heard so far is often beautiful as well as heavy, and it shows off a very different side of Ray’s guitar-playing.
Ray has international collaborators in this project, too — a second songwriter from Germany, a growler from the U.S., and a drummer from Taiwan. He’s still hunting for a clean vocalist, someone who sounds like Mikael Åkerfeldt (Ray sets his sights high), so if you think you sound like Mr. Åkerfeldt, hit Ray up (we’ll give you his Facebook page later in this post).
To date, seven songs have been written, including one interlude that consists of a spoken poem and atmospheric synthesizers. However, none of these songs has yet been completely recorded. What we have for you instead is an instrumental medley that Ray created by himself just for this post. It consists of melodies from five of the songs written for the Dreams of Winter album, no one else has yet heard it, and I think it’s very cool. I’m very stoked to hear these songs when they’re finished.[audio:http://ncs.fileburst.com/The%20Medley.mp3|titles=Dreams of WInter – Medley]
Ray tells us that this medley was recorded in E-standard tuning, but that on the album, it will start in D, de-tune to B throughout the songs, and then come back to D. To me, Ray might as well be speaking in Sanskrit, but that may mean something to those of you who have some actual musical training.
I’ve got one more Dreams of Winter track for you that’s a more finished song. It’s called “A White Rose”, also instrumental. It’s long, but quite good:[audio:http://ncs.fileburst.com/Doom%20Song%201.mp3|titles=Dreams of Winter – A White Rose]
We’re not finished yet. Bloodred Fullmoon is another of Ray’s projects, and he’s currently working on an EP to be entitled Winter Solstice (both the band name and the EP name having been inspired by a lunar eclipse that Ray witnessed during a trip to Canada). The songs on the EP will include vocals, but what I’ve got for you as a taste of the music to come is a track that so far only includes the instrumentals. Even without the vocals, I really dig this song. It’s called “Lost In Lies”. When you hear it, you can probably figure out why it appeals to my demented tastes. Of all the songs featured in this post, I think it best shows off Ray’s shred quotient:[audio:http://ncs.fileburst.com/Lost%20In%20Lies.mp3|titles=Bloodred Fullmoon – Lost in Lies]
You’ll be hearing more from Ray in the near future. We understand that he’s cooking up something special with the aforementioned Death Metal Baboon — but we’ll let them surprise you. In the meantime, to keep track of what Ray’s up to, here’s a link to his Facebook page.
Now, some of you may be asking why I spent this much time talking about a 15-year old musician when I still haven’t gotten around to reviewing Rainier-sized piles of new label releases and self-released albums by bands who’ve been at this much longer than Ray. My answer is that I admire what this young dude is doing, I’m impressed with his ambition and his drive, and I think he’s got talent worth supporting. Also, Ray has become active here at NCS, and we take care of our own.
Besides, I just fucking felt like it. After all, one of my middle names is “Impulsive”, along with “Braindead” and “Drifting Aimlessly”. Speaking of brain-dead, it’s entirely possibly I screwed up some of my facts in this post. Fortunately, Ray will be reading this and can correct any of my screw-ups. 🙂