Apr 142023


(Comrade Aleks has it right — Затемно (Zatemno) is an out-of-the-ordinary black metal band. Almost everything about the band raises questions, and so Aleks asked many of them in this new interview.)

Russian black metal project Затемно / Zatemno (“After Dark”) appeared in Sergiev Posad in 2011. Back then its members were Vasily Suzdalsky (vocals, guitar, drums, accordion), VVurd (guitar), and Japetus (bass), who left the band in 2018. The accordion is not a typical instrument in this genre, although you might remember two bands that occasionally add it to their arsenal, but Zatemno is an atypical project in itself, even if we’ll leave the accordion behind.

The EP Into The Ashes / Во прах (2016) and the full-length In the Noose / В петле (2019), released by the British label Aesthetic Death, gave many black metal fans something that is now difficult to find – an original concept and non-trivial musical solutions that fit well into the black metal format and ideology without unnecessary antics and pathos. It’s something that’s better to be experienced personally.

Alcoholic delirium as a method of communicating with the other world, the voices of devils pushing for suicide, the gloomy spirit of the Russian hinterland, and black anger were also embodied in Zatemno‘s second album In Hell / В аду (2022). Vasily labels it as “obscurantism and cemetery jazz”, and we had a conversation with him, as I don’t really know what that means. Continue reading »

Apr 132023

(In early March of this year Xtreem Music released a new album by the Spanish Basque Country death/doom band Sönambula, and today we follow that with Comrade Aleks‘ interview with the band.)

The epic doom metal band Samarithan and the melodic death metal band Hopelessness were among the bands I interviewed in March and both of these bands are from Basque Country. And it starts to trouble me, as by some bizarre coincidence I made another interview with a band from Basque Country a week ago. This time it’s the bloodthirsty death metal monster Sönambula.

The band was founded in 2015 and its creators didn’t waste time: Two albums, Secuela (2016) and Bicéfalo (2018), appeared one by one; two more split-CDs followed them in 2019 and 2021, and the EP Infected Roots (2022) was another hard punch in the gut last year. And now the third full-length Estasis interrumpida is revealed to the world. Let’s try to take a look at what lurks within. Continue reading »

Apr 122023

(We have been thoroughly enjoying the new album by Maze of Sothoth (see our review here), which has only been out a few weeks now under the banner of Everlasting Spew Records, and so we’re also happy to present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of band founder Fabio Marasco.)

This technical death metal band from Bergamo, Italy offers quite an intensive experience of dogmatic and morbid cosmic horror. Based in 2009 Maze of Sothoth declared a clear connection with the legacy of H. P. Lovecraft through the few songs of its debut Soul Demise (2017) and then the band disappeared from radars until 2023. Extirpated Light is their new full-length work — as grim, torturous and hostile as those creatures which inhabit the darkness of extraterrestrial plains.

Maze of Sothoth is the one of those rare bands with a relatively stable line-up; at least there weren’t any changes since 2012: Riccardo Rubini (guitars), Cristiano Marchesi (vocals, bass), Matteo (drums), and the band’s founder Fabio Marasco (guitars, synths). And naturally Fabio is the one who can tell Maze of Sothoth’s story better than anyone. Continue reading »

Apr 072023

(In this new interview Comrade Aleks talked with Jason Asberry, one of the two people behind the St. Louis-based melodic black band Stormruler, whose most recent album was released to considerable acclaim last fall.)

Stormruler from St. Louis got the contract with Napalm Records right from the start. Their first album Under the Burning Eclipse (2021) and the second one Sacred Rites & Black Magick (2022) were both released under the Napalm banner. I believe that made the way for their epic and melodic black metal to reach listeners remarkably easier.

Jason Asberry (vocals, guitars) and Jesse Schobel (drums), with the help of guest musicians, conquered European crowds in a grand tour that started in March, but somehow they found the time to answer a few of my questions and shed some light on their black metal art. Continue reading »

Apr 062023

(Today we present Comrade Aleks‘ extensive interview with Philippe Courtoisfounder of the foundational French extreme metal band Misanthrope, who are still alive and well 35 years after the band’s inception.)

The ancient city of Angers, Maine-et-Loire, is famous with its rich history, and you may have heard about Angers Cathedral, Château d’Angers, and the Apocalypse Tapestry. At least you may have heard of the liqueur Cointreau and it’s not a bad choice after all. But the city is known to metalheads for another historical event – almighty Misanthrope raised its head when Philippe Courtois (also known as S.A.S. de l’Argilière) gathered the band’s first line-up in 1988 proclaiming his manifest of hate to mankind.

The band gained well-deserved recognition fast, as their avant-garde and technical death metal demonstrated a unique blend of influences stretching far from metal music. French lyrics, a highly artistic approach to the songwriting, and energetic live performances soon became the band’s trademarks, a features which differentiated Misanthrope from other death metal maniacs.

Besides that, Philippe played an important role in the world-wide metal underground as he’s a co-owner of the French metal label Holy Records alongside Séverine Foujanet. A lot of bands from the ’90s started their career with HolyNightfall, On Thorns I Lay, Orphaned Land, Septic Flesh, and more. Continue reading »

Mar 312023

photo by Marissa Godinez

(On April 28th 20 Buck Spin will release the debut album of Lunar Chamber. As the label says, it offers “a deluge of jarringly brutal metal, overwhelming progressive physicality and instinctively accomplished memorability inspired by Buddhism, the East and esotericism.” It piqued the interest of Comrade Aleks, and he reached out for the interview that follows.)

20 Buck Spin just released two albums by the bizarre and progressive death/black crew Ulthar, and if you scraped your brains off the wall after listening yo their Anthronomicon / Helionomicon albums then here’s another challenge for people of strong spirit and thirsty minds.

Lunar Chamber’s debut EP Shambhallic Vibrations is a concept work of spiritual journey through the sonic plains of all things extreme and progressive. The album was mastered by Colin Marston of Gorguts and mixed by Greg Chandler of Esoteric; these two bands serve as good references to the avant-garde and complex music of Shambhallic Vibrations.

The band’s line-up is Timeworn Nexus (guitars, vocals, programming, songwriting), They, Who May Not Be Perceived (guitars, vocals, songwriting), Æther Lotus (fretless bass), and K. Paradis (drums). Right, the Lunar Chamber crew mostly keeps their anonymity and there’s no information in Metal-Archives yet, but Timeworn Nexus holds few secrets from our readers.

(Thanks to Jan of Sure Shot Worx for organizing the interview.)
Continue reading »

Mar 282023

(We present Comrade Aleks‘ interview of Ion Santos, a member of the Basque Country melodic death metal band Hopelessness, whose roots go back more than two decades, and who are now alive and well after a long recording hiatus, with a new EP released last year.)

The Basque melodic death metal outfit Hopelessness never hurried. Founded 22 years ago, this band lived through two splits and released only one album, Broken Tears in Solitude, back in 2005. Their road was rocky, but it seems that they found the way out and returned to an active creative pace. I found Hopelessness‘ EP Mukuru, which saw the light of day in November 2022, a decent example of melodeath, and I invite you to taste it right now as you’re reading this interview with band guitarist Ion Santos. Continue reading »

Mar 272023

(Today we present Comrade Aleks‘ extensive interview with Kobold from the UK black metal band Old Forest, and under other guises a participant in Ewigkeit, Nattehimmel, Jaldaboath, and more.)

The first stage of Old Forest‘s career wasn’t robust: The band started in London, 1998, released the debut album Into the Old Forest in 1999, and was disbanded in 2001. It was re-formed in 2007 and the wheels turned faster this time. Despite the band’s mastermind Kobold’s occupation in a few more bands since then, Old Forest recorded six more full-length albums and some smaller releases.

Kobold played with the famous In the Woods…, did some “Monty Python” with Jaldaboath, and experimented in his solo project Ewigkeit, but he always had enough time to keep his black metal Old Forest alive, and this March the new album Sutwyke is to be released through Soulseller Records.

So here we are… ready to breathe deep the smell of rotting foliage and the raw soil, and feel the cold wind of ’90s black metal while reading the interview we did with Kobold.

(Thanks to Jan of Sure Shot Worx for organizing the interview.) Continue reading »

Mar 242023

(Comrade Aleks had a very cordial conversation with one of the three Fernández brothers who make up the Epic Doom Metal band Samarithan, and we’re happy to share their discussion with you today.)

During the endless searches for perfect doom I’ve met Samarithan, a trio from the Basque Country consisting of three brothers: Alberto Fernández, Guillermo Fernández, and Carlos Fernández. They started their crusade in the name of epic doom metal not long ago: the trio released four singles one by one from 2020 to 2022 and it culminated with the debut full-length Tales of Doom released one year ago by Demons Records.

The album bears the bliss of Doom Gods and this noble and dedicated endeavour has a lot to offer to dedicated followers of the Doom Cult, even despite some obvious and unavoidable influences. These Tales of Doom are to be told by one of its masters – Carlos Fernández, so heed the call of Samarithan and let the Doom into your hearts. Continue reading »

Mar 232023

(On March 10th Me Saco Un Ojo and Pulverised Records released the excellent debut album of the Costa Rican death metal band Astriferous, and soon afterward Comrade Aleks conducted the following interview with Astriferous members José Pablo Phillips and Felipe Tencio.)

Savage and fearless, Astriferous have spread truly cosmic horror in a form of death metal since 2018. They turned into a trio after minor line-up changes, two demo recordings, and an EP, The Lower Levels of Sentience (2020). Nowadays it consists of two original members, José María Arrea (drums) and Felipe Tencio (guitars, vocals), as well as José Pablo Phillips (bass, vocals), who joined the band later in 2020. One of the founders, Federico Gutiérrez (guitars, vocals), left it around the release of Astriferous’ full-length album Pulsations from the Black Orb.

That album was released little more than a week ago, but I bet that you remember both the album’s artwork and the songs’ insane pressure from an NCS Premiere. These men from Costa Rica know how to play with madness. Continue reading »