Dec 222023

photo by Kostis Emmanouilidis

(On December 1st Agonia Records released a great new album by the renowned Hellenic Black Metal band Varathron, and in the time leading up to that release Comrade Aleks had an excellent discussion with Varathron‘s drummer Haris, which we are pleased to publish today.)

Varathron (translated from Greek as “extremely deep gorge”) is one of the three pillars of the Greek black metal scene along with Necromantia and Rotting Christ. Now, 35 years after the band’s foundation, only one member remains from the original lineup – Stefan Necroabyssious (vocals), but his colleagues Achilleas K. (guitar), Haris (drums), and Sotiris (guitars) joined Varathron almost two decades ago; and Stratos Kountouras (bass) has been in the group since 2012.

This is a strong, well-coordinated team of musicians, each of whom not only puts his soul into the black craft of Varathron, but also performs with other bands, giving free rein to different creative ideas. Their discography is replete with smaller releases, so the new full-length work The Crimson Temple is only their seventh in this line.

This album is a good example of infernal creativity and devilish devotion to the ideals of black metal, both in music and in lyrics, and our interview with Haris confirms this. Continue reading »

Dec 212023

(Even as year-end draws near it’s still not too late to discover new music released this past fall. Comrade Aleks discovered the debut album by the Austrian band Guyođ, issued by Kult und Kaos Productions, and that led to the following interview with two of the band’s members.)

Guyođ from Austrian Graz is a relatively new band, and Heart of Thy Abyss is their first full-length since the band’s birth in 2020. Daikakuji (bass), Rehoboth (drums), Dohrn (guitars, vocals) and Ōjin (vocals) put doomed death metal in the fundament of the album, twisted it a bit with a few black metal turns, and decorated it with sophisticated lyrics adopted from Charles Baudelaire and Herman Melville. There are some tentacles in the Heart of Thy Abyss artwork, but – a shocking fact! – no Cthulhu was mentioned in Guyođ’s lyrics. And that was one of the reasons why we organized this interview! Continue reading »

Dec 192023

(We’re extremely pleased to present a great discussion between our Comrade Aleks and Malokarpatan‘s Adam Sičák, an interview that delves into the band’s past, present, and possible futures.)

The Slovakian band Malokarpatan is well-known to those who appreciate authentic old-fashioned metal. They combined proto-black and heavy metal with avant-garde themes and told grim stories taken from native folklore and history.

The first nine years of Malokarpatan‘s career were full of recordings and gigs, but now with the release of the fourth album Vertumnus Caesar, they’re going to focus only on the composition of the new material.

We interviewed the band’s mastermind Adam Sičák about two years ago (here) and covered the band’s entire discography which consists of three albums at the moment. Now it’s time to discuss Vertumnus Caesar, and Adam always has a few good ideas to share. Continue reading »

Dec 122023

(Today we present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of Jason Köhnen, one of the two main members of the Hungarian/Dutch “transcendental doom” band The Answer Lies in the Black Void, whose new album was released in October by Burning World Records.)

The Answer Lies In The Black Void is the duo of Martina Horváth (vocals) from Thy Catafalque and Jason Köhnen (all instruments) from Celestial Season, The Lovecraft Sextet, Bong-Ra, and ex-The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble. Their first atmospheric doom metal album Forlorn was released in 2021 and got very enthusiastic feedback.

Horváth and Köhnen have continued their mysterious searches of an avant-garde vision and the result of this work is the second full-length piece Thou Shalt. Inspired by Carl Jung’s “shadow work” this new album was scheduled for release on October 13th via Burning World Records and I caught the band awkwardly right during their tour. That led to a few delays, and the interview turned out to be shorter than I expected. And yet, here is The Answer. Continue reading »

Dec 042023

photo by Markus Lohi

(Today we present a very friendly and engaging interview by Comrade Aleks with vocalist/lyricist Antti Åström from the powerhouse Finnish death metal band Dead Talks, whose debut album was released in August by Apostasy Records.)

There were two bands among others in Lohja, Finland: the melodic death metal one Funeral Jacket, which was active in the late ’90s, and its death metal heir Corpse Molester Cult, which existed from 2005 to 2019. Both bands weren’t very active, but their members remained friends until today, and almost the entire lineup of Dead Talks consists of these guys who have known each other for two decades and more.

They are Joni Laakso (bass), Henkka Åkerlund (drums), Tomi Joutsen (guitars), Timo Vainio (guitars), Jukka Veiksola (guitars), and Antti Åström (vocals). Yes, you’re right, there are three guitarists in Dead Talks and one of them is the vocalist of Finnish metal legend Amorphis.

However, Dead Talks is an independent unit, and they’re damn good at providing old-school death metal at full capacity. Apostasy Records released their album Veneration of the Dead on August 18th, and if you missed it, then here’s your chance to make up leeway. Antti Åström talks for the Dead tonight. Continue reading »

Nov 302023

About 10 days ago we were halted in our scurrying tracks by a video for a song called “The Last Howl” from Savage Lands, a metal charity project whose goal is to help preserve the forests of Costa Rica and the creatures that live there.

Savage Lands and that song have already gained a lot of attention, in part because of the people who participated in making it. The Savage Lands project was founded by drummer extraordinaire Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth, Scarve, etc.) and musician-turned-activist Sylvain Demercastel (a current resident of Costa Rica). For “The Last Howl” they brought in guitarist Andres Kisser (Sepultura) and vocalist John Tardy (Obituary), as well as vocalist Poun and bassist Etienne Treton from the French band Black Bomb A.

The song was great, and so was the video (and we said so here), and so we jumpted at the opportunity to interview Dirk and Sylvain as a way of helping to spread the word about a very worthy cause, and very worthy music. That conversation follows, but you really should take in “The Last Howl” first: Continue reading »

Nov 242023

(Today we present a discussion by Comrade Aleks with the always-interesting Roman from the unconventional Norway-based black metal band Bizarrekult, whose sophomore full-length was released last January by Season of Mist.)

There are too many bands nowadays, and it’s difficult to keep in mind all the new releases which deserve your attention. We already interviewed Roman “Bizarre”, the leader of Bizarrekult, about a two years ago discussing the band’s long story, his relocation from Siberia to Norway, and his first Bizarrekult album Vi overlevde. The band was heavily rooted in black metal, but back then it already demonstrated a lean towards progression in other directions.

Their second album Den tapte krigen, released by Season of Mist Underground Activists in January 2023, and the sense of artistic freedom which fills it, is exciting. There was no way but to get in touch with Roman again. Continue reading »

Nov 222023

(Not long ago the former Belarusian band Woe Unto Me, now relocated to Poland, finished a  tour of Europe in support of their exceptional 2023 album released by M-Theory Audio. At a break in the tour Comrade Aleks conducted an extensive interview of the band’s co-founder Artyom Serdyuk, and at last we present that today.)

Woe Unto Me (Grodno, Belarus) crossed the borders of funeral doom metal some time ago, but we label them now as a funeral band almost by inertia. Both the EP Spiral-Shaped Hopewreck that we discussed two years ago here with one of the band’s founders Artyom Serdyuk (guitars, vocals, keyboards) and the new, third album Along the Meandering Ordeals, Reshape the Pivot of Harmony carry us further to the territories of the progressive genre with the deep atmospheric feeling.

The band just returned from a mini-tour and now the guys prepare to start another one, so I’ve tried to catch up with Artyom again and to talk about the new album and the situation around the band. Continue reading »

Nov 142023

(Not long ago Supreme Chaos Records released a new album by the part-British, part-German doom band Thronehammer, and shortly before that august day Comrade Aleks spoke with the band’s vocalist Kat Shevil Gillham. Today we present that discussion.)

Thronehammer is a doom metal band formed by guitarist Stuart West (Obelyskkh, Versus the Stillborn-Minded and so on) in 2012. Slowly he formed the full lineup, and one by one albums started to appear.

Usurper of the Oaken Throne (2019) and Incantation Rites (2021) were good ones, but the new full-length Kingslayer which was released on the 3rd of November by Supreme Chaos Records is another thing. I agree with the album’s official press-release, which says “The nine epic new movements on Thronehammer’s Kingslayer culminate into the band’s most versatile material to date, with more metal energy than ever fueling the album, with their riff savagery fully on display in every track”.

Thronehammer’s singer Kat Shevil Gillham shared a few thoughts about the new stuff and the situation around the band not long before the release. Continue reading »

Nov 072023

(We present Comrade Aleks‘ most recent interview of Cardinals Folly frontman Count Karnstein, which took place shortly before the release of the band’s newest album by Soulseller Records. He precedes it with a brief review that explains why the album is one you shouldn’t miss.)

This most productive and passionate representative of the Finnish traditional doom metal scene work without sparing themselves. Since the release of their debut full-length Such Power Is Dangerous! in 2011, Cardinals Folly got their portion of well-deserved recognition with five full-length albums, and that’s without counting three splits.

Yes, the guys spent the first years of their underground career trapped in the genre clichés and timidly adhering to the precepts of Pentagram, Reverend Bizarre, Saint Vitus, and beyond. But over the years, their dark, oppressive, sometimes epic riffs began to give way to bold, self-confident heavy metal. Cardinals Folly are still good when it comes to traditional doom, but the fast tracks, which only became more numerous with each album, sound so natural and challenging that even the most stubborn puritans of doom are unlikely to challenge the band’s primacy on the Finnish scene.

Live by the Sword is quite close in sound to the balanced pace of the previous album Defying the Righteous Way, but more often these songs break forward with an attacking gallop. Eight new tracks fit into 40 minutes and are perfectly invigorating. Continue reading »