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6 novembre 2008 4 06 /11 /novembre /2008 19:55

 

Vrykoblast productions/2008


Beware, THEY are back! Two years after their first album called Atrocities That Birthed Abomination (reviewed in Yargla), warriors from Singapore Absence Of The Sacred are back with this second release called Era Of The Apostate.The artwork made by Mike Priest (vocals and guitar) is really well done and the booklet is really great. At the first listening of this album, it appears more brutal and more ‘straight to face’ than their first stuff. Especially in the riffs who are more aggressive. After line up changes (as you can read in the interview we made in Yargla), their style is more death metal, still melodic including some heavy/thrash influences but don’t worry about it, this A.O.T.S. touch is still here.

The massacre begins with an introduction with bells and gregorian chants in a dark atmosphere ironizing with this ‘religious beginning’ and introducing by what they fight against.

The first riffs of the song “Era Of The Apostate” pleased me as I enjoyed hearing that they still use keyboards and this beginning remind me of old Sigh stuff (another kickass band from Asia, Japan), after what they violently go on with this song. Thrash/death riffs, as violent as melodic surround Mike Priest vocals. ( I can notice little changes innit. Here, he sings in a more scorched way as he was more guttural in Atrocities...). Great. A really great song with an infernal guitar solo. Old school swedish death metal is still here, this song is a great moment.( and it’s the reason why I put it on my myspace profile some weeks ago, lol!). “Catalysts for cataclysms” also starts in the same line than the prvios track, still melodic and catchy, so headbangable, a break with jerky riffs in the middle of the track, and again, the melodies are as aggressive s catchy. “The Divine Failure” is the song that sounds the more heavy metal in the album. Just take the beginning riffs reminding great 80s heavy metal. Mixing thrash breaks with guttural voice and this old school melodic aspect will manage to make people who don’t like heavy metal being a bit more opened to this style.

“These Hollow Graves” or: the song I like the most in this album. A real masterpiece to me. The whole is really melancholic, the guitar riffs and especially the moments with violins/cellos reminding me a bit of old Celestial Season (as if Celestial Season would have played more death/black metal stuff). The atmosphere rendered here is really amazing. To focus on this melancholic aspect, they also include a part with piano. The main line of this song tends more to black metal. Dudes, let me congratulate you for this track that I must have been listening to 50 times now. “Elements Of Reprisal” begins in a gloomy mood, words claimed on a stressful piano melody, and is followed by another melodic death/thrash/black party with the devil. The riffs are as heavy as a huge hammer hammering the nail, and headbang is obligatory here again. “A Past Revived” instrumentally breaks the violence here. But not in a pejorative way, it appears as a real good bridge between tracks. Very progressive way, piano melodies, very present bass and undistorted guitars. An Opethlike side.

This bridge upon the Rubicon leads to “Empire Of The Fallen”, some cellos are back accompanying thrashy guitar melodies through which we can consider the great technicity of  the members. Changes of rythms eliminates every annoying moment that would give a basic song. I am sure that this track have or would have hurt more than a metalhead who saw A.O.T.S. on stage. (I wish I could too one day!). A real great song too.

Unluckily, A.O.T.S. is about to finish its work for this album! Too bad! But they’re back for the curtain call to end this cd with an Atheist cover: “Unholy War” (from  Piece Of Time). To come back with A.O.T.S.’s technicity, if they hadn’t been that good, this would have been easier to them to choose some Obituary song (I’m just dealing with a technical point of view), but they cover Atheist (really well known for their technical skills). The cover kicks ass in which A.O.T.S. manages to inject its touch, really well done.

 

A long review for this masterpiece that appeared to be something that really kicked my ass this year. I am still more and more addicted to this band. They are really cool guys and play really great stuff. A great moment spent with this cd, I really oblige you to go and check them, buy their albums and invite them to play in your place. For all Death/thrash/black freaks... and for others!

 

http://www.myspace.com/absenceovthesacred

http://www.myspace.com/vrykoblastproduction



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18 août 2008 1 18 /08 /août /2008 18:25


                                           

 Self released /2007

 

 

4 songs: 8 minutes

 

  1. Intro
  2. Bastard’s Jehova
  3. Antichristian Schizophrenia
  4. Under The Hesperus’s  Light



    The Devil seems to strike worldwide. After our asian travel, we are back in South America. More precisely, in Chile with the band Blasart. Continuing on a same reviewing line, we have here a black metal band but contrary to the previous band who was more into pure black metal, here, Blasart uses death metal elements to its art in order to intensify their brutal aspect.

     

    An orchestral overture starts the slaughter of holy angels in a gloomy and imperial mood. And all is said with the beginning of the first track “Bastard’s Jehova”. Blast beats, infernal melodies and alternation of a very guttural death metal voice and a black metal one, the whole in a fast tempo. The melodies perfectly follows each other and the whole is very well done. The name of Belphegor comes to my mind by hearing this demo (for this death and black metal mix) and the death metal vocals by moment remind me of Immolation. “Antichristian Schizophrenia” continues the feast with the same hellish ardour and the smell of burnt wings reaches our nose with this track and it’s hard not to fall in this “Antichristian Schizophrenia” as the riffs and the voices of this songs are a bit like hidden calls to destruction. Still the same and still violent, “Under The Hesperus’s Light” comes to eliminate the remaining survivors of the slaughter and this song appears to be my fave one. Reminding me a bit of Immortal sometimes, the shadow of Belphegor is also here, wandering in Blasart’s paths. Excellent track.

     

    The listener will probably regret the demo might be short but everyone should admit that it is straight and efficient. A great dose of antichristian anger for all black/death metal freaks or also for every headbanging addicted people. A great moment coming right from Chile and i saw that they’re about to release an album soon. All we got to do is to wait to hear more, but I am so impatient with it...

     

    http://www.myspace.com/blasarttheartofblasphemy

  


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13 juillet 2008 7 13 /07 /juillet /2008 21:17

 

Self Released/ 2007

 

5 songs : 15 mins 17

 

  1. Vortex Of Devoured Souls
  2. Eye Of The Destroyer
  3. The Three Dark Veils
  4. Singawhore
  5. 333

 

Singapore’s forces of Evil strike back. After the very good Absence Of The Sacred, Zushakon is another horde from this country claiming war to all easy listening people. Pop music fans should go out and ran away before this demo reach their ears.

We have here one intro and four tracks of very good and hateful black metal. No concession is made here. The tracks are coming straight to our face, destroying in the same time our brain and sweeping away all wise thoughts out of ourselves. By hearing the tracks, what remains of your thoughts is to join them in their fight against weak pussies hahaha.

We can easily hear that this band takes its influences from Scandinavian old school black metal scene. As an anecdote, this demo is dedicated to Dissection and its deceased leader. And the freezing wind of Scandinavia flies over their tracks.

Blast beats, hellish melodies and hateful vomited vocals reminded me of a old Dodheimsgard touch in the track called “Vortex Of Devoured Souls” and its beginning melodies made me think a bit of Impiety, also coming from Singapore.

As to say again, a very good effort is made on the melodic point of view, these tracks seem to have been written in the beginning of the 90s. Darkthrone spirit is present in the track “Eye of The Destroyer” especially when the tempo became a bit wiser as to say mid tempo.

“Singawhore” continues the black mass here. The ghouls here still spit their venom. I really like this track, remind me a bit of the track “Total Death” from Isengard with all its devotion to The Beast. Anger feelings and satanic hate are still perceptible in their piece with the ending (but too short track) called “333”. Another back to good old black metal values with these “punkish” rythm ala Darkthrone. Catchy, really but as i told this track is really really too short.

 

To sum up, we have here a very good demo filled with hateful power, warpaints, old school spirit, the early 90s black metal fans should really appreciate what this asian band proposes to us here. We should mention that 2 of the members (Djinn and Armaros) are from Singapore and that the drummer is a session member: Radovan “Kunthammer” Draza comes from Serbia but nowadays, they took Absence Of The Sacred’s drummer : Serberuz Hammerfrost. Anyway i hope we could see them on stage someday.

 

http://www.myspace.com/zushakonblackmetal

 

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6 juillet 2008 7 06 /07 /juillet /2008 15:43
 

 

Self Released/ Feb. 2003

 

5 songs : 16 mins 24

 

  1.  Human Parasite
  2. Shed Of Blood
  3.  Beyond The Sun
  4. The Beast Lord
  5.  Tonight

Let’s continue ‘our globe trottour’ with Yargla in South America and after Impetus Malignum from Brasil and Sick Porky from Argentina, here we are in Mexico with Disgust: a death metal band that i knew once again thanks to Myspace.

This bands plays a very various death metal, not as fast as Speedy Gonzales but nevertheless as catchy as fuck and not monotonous for a second. This demo that i have been sent by their guitar player is not a new one as they released it in February 2003 before a break and their style has evolved a bit since. But let’s deal with what we have here, total death metal mixed with some other styles.

With the first track (eponymous of this demo) “Human Parasite”, the first feeling i have is to think about some less brutal Cannibal Corpse/Six Feet Under especially for the Chris Barnes voice like. Catchy riffs, binary rythm rather mid tempo, this song sounds like a mix between Six Feet Under and the french band Aiwass (previously reviewed in our pages). I am pretty sure that mister Regis Bassphematoire from Aiwass then would become a Disgust fan with this demo. ;)

“Shed of Blood” starts a bit more brutally and still so headbangable. Some guitar parts sound to me a bit Slayerlike and the voice still clones mister Barnes perfectly. I can easily imagine that more than a mexican lost his sombrero while headbanging on this song as more than a frenchman would lost his beret on it. Really good.

“Beyond The Sun” has a more heavy metal side. The whole is very melodic and sounds epic. There is an alternation of death and black metal vocals that remind me of  Pleurisy (very good dutch melodic death metal band from the mid 90s).

“The Beast Lord” comes back to a way like “Shed of Blood” as to understand mid tempo death metal. I really like this one as it sounds a bit like a meeting between Chris Barnes and Deicide. The catchy melodies stay easily in mind , excellent track.

But i have to admit that the catchiest track is the one that ends this demo: “Tonight”. The riffs seem to have been heard hundreds of times before. It is as if I already listened to that song somewhere but i can’t remember exactly where and when. The whole is rather rock (I mean the melody), the vocals still Barnes like (nothing negative here) and to come back with Six Feet Under , this track seems to have been extracted from S.F.U.’s album Graveyard Classics.

 

I will end this review by telling you that if you want catchy songs, if you like songs that you always “sing in your head” all day long, if you like death metal without neverending blast beats, just simple but efficient, you sould have an ear on “Human Parasite”. The recent news about this band is that they are about to release an album called Crucifucked that includes a cover from Creedence Clearwater Revival “Up Around The Bends”... I am really impatient to hear this stuff. So don’t hesitate and contact this band who is currently looking for worldwide promotion:

 

http://www.myspace.com/disgustmetal

 

 

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6 mai 2008 2 06 /05 /mai /2008 18:27

Time has come for an interview with Sick Porky. A very good band of stoner rock (as I allow myself to classify them) that I discovered some months ago on myspace, and Jeremias (guitar) aswered our questions:


Hello Sick Porky. What’s up there in Argentina ? What do you do these times except kicking some french rugbymen’s ass? ;)

Hey man! Everything here in Argentina is ok. We are working in our second album, doing new songs, reharsing a lot , doing some live gigs and stuff. Our plans are to release the new album in September,we start the studio work in May, so by these dates the album will be on the street.


Can you introduce your band to us? From the very beginning to now?

 

Sick Porky started in 1997,so we have been rocking for more than 10 years.The band had lots of integrant changes,bassist,drummer,etc. But we still being the same motherfuckers since 2002. The band actually is:
Carlos -Voice
Mariano - Guitar
Jeremias - Guitar
Leandro - Bass
El Tio - Drums


Can you tell us what made you realize that you HAD TO create a stoner/rock band?

 
Satan told us so ahaha. No,really,we never thought about genres. It just came by, we all grew together listening a lot of music, rock, heavy metal, doom, stoner, sludge, hardcore, blues, classic rock etc,etc. So the final result of our music  is a mix of all of our main influences gathered in one piece.We don’t think that we are doing stoner rock, or rock or sludge or whatever you want to call us, it’s hard to classify our music, at least to us.  



And what about the influences of Sick Porky?

 

Well, as i said we listen a lot of bands and music. Many different genres, but we mostly are into heavy shit. Some of the bands we love and main influences of sick porky are Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Pantera, Slayer, Danzig, Alice in  Chains, Soundgarden, Down, Crowbar,Corrosion of Conformity, Goatsnake, Kyuss, QOTSA, Mastodon, Pelican, Isis, Neurosis, The Mars Volta, At the drive in, to name but a few.


How is the scene there in Argentina? I mean firstly, the stoner rock one but then the metal one (can you give us some bands names)? What are the most popular genres in your country?


The scene of the stoner rock is growing on, that´s a good thing. But in a slow way, i think it’s a matter of time to get a bigger scene. Actually very good bands are representing heavy rock, stoner and doom music , some of them are Taura, Buffalo, Dragonauta, Poseidotica, Humo Del Cairo, Cruzdiablo, and the pioneers Los Natas.
And the metal scene is more popular than the stoner scene. It’s an older scene too. It started in the 80´s with bands like V8, and Hermetica and today, it is really consolidated amongst the heavy fans. Today you have Almafuerte, O connor, Horcas,etc.
And the most popular music saddly don’t have anything in common with the music we listen, shits like Reggeton, Cumbia Villera take over the music market. It’s hard down here to be taken seriously with all that shitty sounds and fucking shitty bands going around people’s ears hahaha.


Is Sick Porky your only band or do you (or members of your bands) have other bands next to it?

 

No,we dont have another bands or projects. Our loyalty is to Sick Porky, we only serve to  the pig hahaha.

 

 
Are there some other kinds of music that you like apart from stoner rock,metal?

 

Yeah sure. I like blues, jazz, flamenco, etc. We love the good music, no matter what the genre is.

 
I heard a very good cover version of ‘Demon Cleaner’ from Kyuss on your myspace profile. Can you tell us more about that tribute? Who made it and where can we find on this stuff? Which bands can we find on it?

Well,the tribute to Kyuss was done by an independent Argentine label called Dias de Garage records. The label offered us to do a Kyuss cover and  we said: “hell yeah!”. It was a great idea coz you know, to us Kyuss are music gods, and a huge influence. So we recorded “Demon cleaner”, and it was an honor to us to appear in the first tribute to Kyuss ever done.

Beside Sick Porky you can find bands like Taura, Gallo de riña, Buffalo, Los Natas, Melissa, Cygnus, Avernal, Sereen, Superextra, etc. Some of these bands don’t exist anymore in these days.
You can find more info on the label´s webpage that is
www.diasdegaragerecords.com.ar


So what about cultural things there? Are you fond of literature things or in cinema?What are your cult books or movies?


Sadly in Argentina the culture matters are not too important for the government, so music, movies and literature are kinda left behind. Anyway it starts to be little changes about that, hope that in a near future all  these things will have the place in society that they deserve.
Every member of the band likes a lot to go to the movies, and read. Our favourite movies to name but a few are Scarface, The Godfather, Goodfellas, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Orange Clockwork, Taxi Driver, etc.
And our favourite writers are Charles Bukowski, Jose Saramago, Tolkien , Henry Miller, etc.

 
To come back with music what are the 5 cds you would take on a desert island (with your beers and naked ladies)?


This is a tough question man!! Only 5 ?!? Oh shit, Let me think... Ok these are my 5 choices in no special order

 
Down  Nola
Alice in Chains 
Dirt
Black Sabbath  Masters of reality
Led Zeppelin 4

Pelican  The fire in our throats will becon the thaw

 
Are some shows planned for Sick Porky in Argentina? And what about abroad? Any plans to come and play here in Europe?

 

We have a great show for April 11th  with Buffalo, Dragonauta and Poseidotica.That gonna be a kick ass gig, coz we are some of the pricipal exponents of the stoner/doom scene. So we belive it gonna be great. We always doing live shows here in Buenos Aires, at least 1 to 3 per month. After that show we gonna be in stand by, so we could work and center all our energies in the new album. But after the second semester of the year we gonna normalize the gigs, and start to play a lot again, presenting the second album.
And yes, we have plans to go to Europe in 2009. We start our tour in Pais Vasco and Spain in March 09, and we are planning to be 1 month or more. Actually ,we have a great friend in Pais Vasco who is helping us and working to make that dream tour come true. It gonna be the second tour in a foreign land, the first one was to Chile in March/April 2007,and was a great experience. To us, Europe is a bigger thing, really a dream that comes true. So, we hope to visit France, who knows, that would be fucking great.


Thanks a lot for the answers dude... The last words are now for you. Feel free to say what you want, be sure censorship won’t strike your words hahaha

Allrite man,tnx a lot to you for this great interview and for the inconditional support, we trully apreciate that. We love to be in contact whit heavy and stoner music fans like us around the world. To all the fellas in France , Sick Porky salutes you! Thanx for your time and excuse my bad english hahaha
Rock on fellas,see ya on the road!


www.myspace.com/sickporkyrock 


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4 mai 2008 7 04 /05 /mai /2008 21:48

   

         SOUND OF CHARGE / 2007

9 morceaux : 36mins 59

 

1. Cursed Cross

2. Realize Life

3. Governmental Slavery

4. Drive Intense

5. T.V.(Truth’s Vileness)

6. Slaves of Seeded Hatred

7. Thrash’til Death

8. Crucifier

9. Execute Them All (Bonus Track)

 

 

 

 

Sound of Charge strikes back, again! And this time with a greek band, Crucifier, who are not to be confused with the american band who plays black/death metal if i am right. Crucifier is the third greek band here in Yargla, after Crave for Light and Mahakala and this band smells the good old odour of cheap beers and old blue jeans jacket with patches.

You will understand here that we have pure thrash metal , and that the revival spirit of bands like Forbidden, Sodom, Slaughter, (old) Slayer, Bathory’s firsts albums is floating upon Crucifier. I think that all is said with the cover of this album which reminds us old school covers of thrash albums of the 80s, and all is confirmed with the title of their song called “Thrash’til death”.

 

All the good elements of thrash are included here. Speed rythm, agressive melodies from the guitarists from Hell, and scorched voice (reminding me a bit of Pentacle or also Ritual Carnage) without forgetting the the solis: as fast as fuck! My favorite track “Slaves of Seeded Hatred” managed to give me a nostalgic mind for that 80s spirit, because even the sound seems to have been recorded something like twenty years ago. The riffs are catchy, the drummer furious and anger is easily perceptible on a vocal point of view. Great job dudes.

 

Some might find this album not very original, yeah, but anyway, this greek troop manages to play in a really great way thrash metal. The flashback is so cool here. Some others might find this album too “cliché”, waking up old dusty ghosts who had died ten years ago, anyway, it is undeniable to reckognize that they kick ass of some new school bands who claim to play thrash metal or who also claim to be brutal.

 

Crucifier’s Cursed cross kicks my ass, and I am sure that they will kick some others and push some sick thrashheads to mad houses because of too violent headbangs. A really good album that should please people of 40 years old who miss really good thrash metal but also to kids who are curious to see how it was before.

So check this band and ask them in your town:

 

http://www.myspace.com/crucifiergreece

 

 

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4 mai 2008 7 04 /05 /mai /2008 20:40


2007/Self-produced

Please welcome that cheerful but worrying band from Colombia… They may be frightening but prove still kind enough to let you download their EP for free! (Go to their myspace page to get the link)

 

You don’t need to wait too long to realise you get to listen something different from the average metal band. As soon as the first seconds of the opening track –first seconds that remind me of the opening of the first Gojira –, a piano appears to bring us on a crazier ground. Big death riffs are mixed with cartoon-like ones as well as great breaks, possessed vocals (sometimes, I thought about Empalot), groovy solos and interesting bass parts. What else do you need ?

 

In the second track, styles like crossover and electro are used take us along new paths, symbolised by the appearance of new types of vocals, from the same mould as references like Faith No More. In any case, the whole EP is haunted by such bands as Mr Bungle, and the six songs are filled with details making the listening more than worthwhile. We also start to notice the sound is heavy and pleasant.

 

As for the remaining tracks, here’s what you will come across: keyboards parts similar to those you could hear during a paradoxical – but that word is not part of the band’s vocabulary – horror fairy-tale, crushing, bulldozer-like riffing (fast or not), loony vocals, hardcore parts, technical, syncopated attacks that wouldn’t be rejected by dreadful clowns like Cephalic Carnage, parodic ambiance parts potentially drawn from a bad soap, a chase à la Itchy and Scratchy, accompanied by an electro line, or even, last but not least, a final drum’n bass track, throning as a perfect ending for that deranged piece of work.

 

Experimento Aleph, you’ll have understood it, proves to be a very interesting discovery widely capable of surprising us again in a future that we’d wish near. How comforting to find out that madness knows no borders! One feels less lonely…

 

www.myspace.com/experimentoaleph

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24 février 2008 7 24 /02 /février /2008 21:59

                                            Impetus-Malignum.jpg
Sound of Charge/2007

7 songs: 27 mins

Here comes the first band from Brazil in Yargla webzine: Impetus Malignum, who plays a melodic black/death metal, using corpsepaints and spikes. As far as I know about Brazilian bands, I always noticed they are very focused on a rather “occult” side, such as Murder Rape, Mystifier...

Here, no keyboards are used and the musical direction is turned on variations of melodies played in a dark way. In fact, this cd was re-issued by Sound Of Charge in 2007. The line up on this cd is from 2004/2005 if I am right, and the only remaining member, Disarmoneaous (vocals/guitars), gave a new birth to Impetus Malignum.
 
The tracks are rather cool, following that melodic line with blast beats used in every track. The whole is very dark and the band makes me think of some early 90s bands such as Sacramentum, Dissection but also the first album of Mörk Gryning. “Impure Metamorphosis” is my favorite song in this demo. The voice sounds like Eisregen and the alternation between black and death metal vocals are enjoyable. This song is played in a mid tempo way and has a really obscure core.
 
To end with this review, the only wrong point I will have to admit on a personal point of view is that the cd tends to be a bit linear, several riffs souning like some others. Anyway, it is really not bad stuff. Let’s see with the future releases to come what this hateful horde will bring us.
 
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10 février 2008 7 10 /02 /février /2008 18:11

                                                      AOTSpic.jpg

  

Hello dudes. What’s up there in Singapore? What’s the weather like? How is life these days?

 

Mike Priest: Hi Kev! Well, Singapore is an average Asian metropolis, with the expected skyscrapers and crowded public transportation. Since Singapore is along the Malayan peninsula, the weather is humid and hot, with bouts of rain that comes along occasionally. Life here is basically a 9-to-9 routine for most, but there are the ones who do not conform to this system, such as our clique. Living in Singapore gets tiresome due to how miniscule our country is in comparison with the rest of the world, especially when you have a growing population of 4.5 million people. Claustrophobia and agoraphobia are common symptoms of which I feel are developing on a subconscious (and unhealthy) level in many Singaporeans, symptoms of which are the result of the inevitable.

 

Hans: Greetings dude! Well, just the same old stuff basically. It’s pretty much a rat race here, everyone is just busy with their own stuffs. It can get pretty suffocating at times. I’ll be wrapping up my Bachelor’s this year so some changes in life are bound to happen, for the better I hope. Haha! The band’s moving forward as well the way I see it, which is really good! Weather is pretty random currently. It was raining mad just before I did this.

 

Can you give us a little history of A.O.T.S. from its beginning to now? How much stuff did you release? And what about the line up? Have you always kept the same one or some changes occured?

 

Mike Priest: The inception of A.O.T.S. started with myself (vocals/guitars), after the dissolution of my old band DISDAIN in 2002. I sourced for a line-up for three years, and I finally found Hans (drummer/keyboardist), who was recommended to me by a mutual friend. We started jamming together in January 2005 with two songs of which I wrote. The songlist started increasing as we constantly practiced. We never played covers because A.O.T.S. was never meant to be a cover band…it wasn’t our thing.

 

We had a bass player named Tommy, whom we played our first few shows with in 2005, but he developed major attitude problems and we ended our professional relationship with him in early 2006 before the recording of our debut album “Atrocities That Birthed Abominations”. Hans brought our second bass player into the band, Justin, who recorded on “Atrocities…” and our “Promo 2007” EP release. He played numerous shows with us from early 2006 to late 2007, but we mutually agreed to end our professional relationship with him as he lacked the commitment necessary to bring A.O.T.S. to the next level.

 

I brought Darren (guitars) into the band in early 2007 as I found that he would be a great asset to the band, not to mention our musical chemistry as I did vocals for his band DISINTERIUM and watched him grow as a great guitar player. Due to the absence of a bass player, our sound engineer/co-producer for our upcoming sophomore full-length CD, Mike K, volunteered to join A.O.T.S. as a full-time bassist. Mike K is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a graduate from Berkley. He has gained much experience through the years from playing live (ex-Raven Bitch, a thrash metal band in the 1980’s) and working with bands. Mike K recorded the bass on our upcoming sophomore release “Era of the Apostate”, and I find his playing and experience extremely valuable to the band. For now, A.O.T.S. comprises of Hans, Darren, Mike K and myself, and things are going extremely well.

 

How was your first album perceived in your country? And abroad?

 

Hans: Fair enough I think. We did not really do anything large-scale with local promotions whatsoever, but posters were all up at the right places where they should be seen, so it did get the necessary attention and triggered the right responses. The local response to this album in general was more of a gradual one. So towards the end of 2006, months after we released the album, we then started seeing the increasing sales and restock requests from the various distros that were distributing our CDs. Honestly though, we do not really care much about the local response to this one. The local scene is one as such that people do not really support their own scene, except for bands in which they own friends are playing. Even that, they expect freebies. We know that very well, and hence right from the beginning we have always set our minds to focus on establishing ourselves overseas.

 

As we expected it to be, the overseas response was way better and far more positive than that of the local one. People like yourself, for example. Hahaha! Within the first couple of weeks of the album release we have received more than 4 requests from various online radios from Australia, US, Belgium, and a few others from other countries, to airplay our song. That was really fascinating. Bands from all over the world, originating from different countries, have also offered doing trades with us. Overseas distros such as Asian Rock Rising from Japan has also been very supportive of us, and we really appreciate it. And then we get to participate in a couple of compilations under Poetry of The Dead promotions shortly after the release as well. So as you can see, the world outside has been far more welcoming and are more appreciative towards our music. We will not waste our time on people who don’t matter. We’d rather cater to those truly deserving ones!

 

Concerning Singapore’s scene, can you tell us a bit more to us Europeans who only know Impiety for example? What are the main bands there? And what about labels/zines there?

 

Mike Priest: The Singapore scene is still in its infancy, compared to the scene in Europe, the United States or even Japan and Indonesia. The scene here is mostly segregated, and there are many newcomers who claim to listen to or know the metal genre, but most of them are just full of horseshit! Not knowing their roots (from classic rock to NWOBHM to thrash) and wearing cheap bootlegged band t-shirts without listening to the bands at all. I’m sure that there are posers such as these in every scene in the world…I just hope that they either realize what Metal is truly about, or quit this current phase they are in!

 

There are, of course, real full-on metalheads here who contribute to the Singapore scene and give their support. Besides the mighty Impiety, there are bands like OSHIEGO, DRACONIS INFERNUM, DEUS EX MACHINA, BHELLIOM, SUICIDE SOLUTION, ARBITRARY ELEMENT, MEZA VIRS, VRYKOLAKAS, HELVETTE, ZUSHAKON, DISINTERIUM, CELESTIAL SERENITY and newer bands like PSYCHOTHERAPY, CRUCIFIXION and XANADOO who really show potential and show how the Asian scene in general is rising, slowly but surely.

 

The main labels in Singapore would be Pulverised Records, Vrykoblast Productions and Konqueror Records. There are other active metal labels here, however they are not worth mentioning due to their underhanded and disrespectful methods of dealing with bands. For zines, the main one is Dark Legions, which does an excellent job for a local zine.

 

How is metal considered in your country? I mean is metal seen as “forbidden” or does mentality change? Is it hard for bands to play live there? What are the main poles where bands can play?

 

Hans: It’s pretty much a grey area over here. No one really discuss it openly in publications or whatever. Neither did the religious hypocrites who’re against it. They don’t display their attitudes publicly. CDs are available at big record stores like HMV, but at the same time they do not promote any of the titles available. They don’t airplay any of it, only commercial bands. But ever since Dark Funeral came here back in 2002, I must say things have started to change gradually. And that change has developed even more rapidly when we have Slipknot came in 2005 (I know what you’re thinking man...but it’s true!). Ever since then bands after bands have started coming in, and people are opening up to it. We had Dream Theater, Mayhem and Slayer in 2006,  Megadeth and Heaven and Hell in 2007, and earlier before those two AOTS had the honour to share the stage with the mighty Japanese Kult legend SABBAT! As for this year, Anthelion (awesome sympho-BM from Taiwan) just played here last night, that show was really awesome! Helloween will be coming next month, and many more to come! So it seems that the general attitude has changed, slightly for the better if I may say.

 

However, this opening up is still more towards overseas bands and as far as the local arena is concerned, there has yet been any more positive development coming along, except for bands making better releases which is, well, better than nothing. Hopefully with our new upcoming release (which has been mentioned in UK’s Metal Hammer mag), we will be able to bring about some changes that will make people here look at us local bands in a different light.

 

It’s easy for local bands to play, there are clubs that do such shows but most of the time the bands don’t get paid, and the attendance could get pretty bad. Overseas bands hardly come here due to some organisers being afraid of making loses should the bands not be in high demand or are not popular enough. But this is slowly changing as I mentioned above that more and more acts are coming every year.

 

What are your influences for A.O.T.S.?(on a musical point of view?). Listening to your first album, I noticed old school elements. You seem to be fans of old school stuff, am I right?

 

Mike Priest: You are correct on that, Kev! As the main songwriter for A.O.T.S, my influences are bands such as Atheist, Sepultura, Carcass, Slayer, Death, Dark Angel, Metallica, Testament, Sodom, Entombed, Hypocrisy, Dismember, Sinister, Massacra, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Disincarnate, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Marduk, Nifelheim, Bewitched, Necrophobic, Monstrosity, etc. I’m also influenced by the “newer” generation of bands such as The Haunted, Soilwork, At the Gates, The Forsaken, Dew-Scented, Dark Tranquillity, Insomnium and Opeth. Hans is mainly into morbid and obscure Black Metal, whereas Darren is mainly into symphonic and neo-classical Metal. Mike K is mainly into early Thrash Metal and Jazz Fusion. All these influences play a factor in their creative contributions to their parts in the songs, and definitely to my utmost satisfaction.

 

I heard some tracks from your second album. You play now on a more violent way. Can you tell us about the main differences between both releases? How did it come to you that you had to bring more brutality in your style? Was it because you are now listening to more brutal bands or else?

 

Mike Priest: Our “Promo 2007” EP songs (the violent songs) are not in our second album actually…they are meant for our third release.This upcoming second album is more of our old material transformed and adapted to continue where “Atrocities…” left off. You can expect Melodic Death Metal with a touch of Black and Thrash Metal. We also did a cover of “Unholy War” by Atheist, which Kelly Shaefer (Atheist) himself gave his stamp of approval.

 

Our third release will be more in the veins of technical and ferocious Death/Thrash like Massacra, and it is a natural progression from where we started from. As you keep writing songs and playing with the band, you naturally feel the tendency, as a musician, to keep progressing and writing more elaborate and complex song structures. This has nothing to do with listening to more brutal bands, but more of taking your current musical sensibilities to the next level and develop yourself as a better songwriter and musician.

 

And what about your lyrics? What influences you when you write them?

 

Mike Priest: A.O.T.S. albums are generally concept albums from a lyrical standpoint. “Atrocities…” was written about the degenerate nature of mankind and the fallacies of which we commit but deny through blatant lies. From exposing the abhorrent side of human nature (‘The Malignant Strain’) to the horrors of war (‘Our Glorious Dead’) to the culmination of everything inexplicable (‘Atrocities That Birthed Abominations’). 

 

Our upcoming CD, “Era of the Apostate” was written about the decline of civilisation, not only in the Western Hemisphere, but civilisation as a whole. It is a global event; a slow-motion apocalypse. What we see on the news and what we experience in the world today are obvious signs of extreme social decay and how we have grown apathetic towards others. We have religious extremists running around with bombs strapped to themselves, governments laundering dirty money stained with the blood of innocent lives, increasing taxes and suicide rates, global industrialisation, blatant irregularities in the weather, etc. This CD is about all of that, how we are living in the Era of the Apostate. The apostate would be a religious extremist in this case, and if you transfer that literally, we are living in a time of chaos and the corruption of virtues, from a religious and/or moral standpoint.

 

Except music, do you have other cultural interest? Cinema? Literature? Can you tell us more about cinema and literature in Singapore?

 

Mike Priest: I enjoy reading books on all kinds of topics, both fictional and non-fiction. My current reading list comprises of Max Brooks “World War Z”, William Gibson “All Tomorrow’s Parties” and Natsuo Kirino “Out”. For cinema, I enjoy provocative and surreal films, such as films by Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Darren Aronofsky, Charlie Kaufman, George Romero, Harmony Korine, Danny Boyle and Richard Linklater.

 

Unfortunately, cinema and literature in Singapore is nothing but a sad joke. Due to censorship and creative restraints, the ‘artists’ in Singapore can only produce mediocre work or complete rubbish. The school system here also conditions a mentality that does not exercise creativity, but rather conditions their students to adhere to strict guidelines and commit text by memory, only to spit it back out during the exam period. These ‘data processors’ are championed for their academic abilities. Even art students are subjected to such conditioning, and thus I believe that they have already set a limit to their creative potential on a subconscious level. However, there are always exceptions to the majority. There are creative artists here who aren’t recognised by the government, nor funded by them due to the nature of their work. These are the ones who think outside the box, and I applaud them for it.

 

I can’t blame the system for this because the republic of Singapore has been in existence for only 43 years. For Singapore to even try to rival the arts and culture in Europe or Central Asia is basically like an ant trying to lift a tow truck. Our culture here is a mish-mash of Malayan, Chinese, Hindu and European cultures, and it is this exact reason why true Singaporean culture is non-existent, just borrowed from others and thrown into the blender.

 

With which bands would you like to share the stage? Every dream is permitted for this question...

 

Mike Priest: Death, Carcass, Atheist, Emperor, Celtic Frost, Judas Priest, Mercyful Fate, At the Gates and Slayer.

 

Hans: This is tough man, there’s far too many bands in my head! Hahaha! I’ll try: Immortal, Amoral, Marduk, Nile, Iron Maiden, Destruction, Sodom, Yyrkoon, Suffocation, Vader, Deicide, any more and I’ll end up not stopping at all!

 

How did you come up with metal? How old were you when you first started? Who were the first bands you listened to?

 

Mike Priest: I grew uplistening to country and evergreen songs, but I got into Seattle grunge and Bay Area Thrash bands when I was around 12 years old, bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Metallica, Slayer and Dark Angel. I also discovered NWOBHM bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Venom, Raven and Samson while exploring the world of heavy music. I craved something heavier in my teenage years, and I started making a few friends who were into the same music that I was. They recommended bands like Morbid Angel, Deicide, Acheron, Zyklon-B, Bathory, Emperor, Necrophobic, Mayhem and Immortal. From there I explored and ventured into the fathomless depths of the extreme metal world on my own. I had my first band when I was 16, a Death Metal band by the name of Tomb Butcher. And the rest, like they say, is history.

 

Hans: My journey is pretty unique and is slightly different from other metalheads, I must say. You’ll know why later as you read on. The first time I ever came across Metal was when I saw Metallica on TV. I was only 4 and I was very inspired to pick up drums. But I was too young then so instead I picked up keyboards first. Later on I picked up drums for real when I was 10, along with classical guitar, and by then I was listening to the stuffs like Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Def Leppard, RHCP, etc. It wasn’t till I was 13 that I started listening to early Thrash Metal like Testament, Flotsam and Jetsam, Annihilator, etc. and at that same period of time I was very into game music and soundtracks, especially those of Squaresoft games (now known as Square-Enix). The defining moment came to me when I was playing Final Fantasy X, and had my first encounter with Death Metal. If you’ve played the game you would have known which song I’m talking about! Haha! And that was it, from then on it’s a journey of no return. Death, Deicide, Suffocation, Grave, Unleashed, Malevolent Creation, early Sepultura, and many more. And then came Emperor and Marduk. That fully transformed me to become the Black Metaller that I am now.

 

Is A.O.T.S. your only band or do you have other ones? If you do, can you tell us more about them?

 

Mike Priest: I’m also playing lead guitars and live backing vocals for Impiety. I recorded on “Formidonis Nex Cultus” and was on the Storm of the Antichrist Tour with Watain last year. I do vocals for Darren’s band Disinterium and I have my solo black metal project Sect Insanabilis, which will be releasing a three-way split with Helvette (Singapore) and Exetheris (Greece) this year.

 

Hans: Right now I’m also involved in a Black Metal band called DRACONIS INFERNUM with whom I’ve just completed the recording process for the new upcoming debut release. I’ve also recently joined ZUSHAKON as their new drummer. I’m also working on a solo Black Metal project known as EQUILIBRATUM for which I’m planning to put out a record sometime mid-year.

 

Besides those, I’m also actively involved as a sessionist. So far I’ve had the honour of doing session keyboards for a couple of truly great local bands such as ARBITRARY ELEMENT who released their debut album called “Process of Extremination” end of last year, as well as ROUGHCAST who will be releasing their debut full-length, known as “Astarothic Disaster Masterpiece”, later this year. In the past I’ve also played with Darren’s band DISINTERIUM as session Bassist. But despite all these, AOTS will still be the main priority for me, and for this year that shall be my main focus as well.

 

What is your favourite beer?

 

Mike Priest: Brewerkz Indian Pale Ale and Boddingtons.

 

Hans: Sapporo, Asahi, Yebisu, Brewerkz IPA, Heineken.

 

Do you know some French bands?

 

Mike Priest: Massacra, Agressor, Loudblast, Yyrkoon and Benighted are my favourite bands from France! Bezukry is good too! ;)

 

Hans: Now that you’ve asked, I just realized that actually my listening staple these days have been full of French bands. Hahaha! Some of them are: Vociferian, Vlad Tepes, Black Horizon, Deathspell Omega, Benighted, Eternal Majesty, Bloodlust, Bloodsoaked, Yyrkoon, Merrimack, Carnal Lust, Handful of Hate, Arkhon Infaustus, Anorexia Nervosa (technically speaking they’re still a French band right?) And not to forget this really awesome and under-rated band who are among the first few bands who traded with us: Malevolentia!

 

What do you think of Myspace? Is it helpful for the band?

 

Hans: As far as we’re concerned, it has been a useful tool of maintaining a great relationship with other bands who’re miles apart from us, getting our music across the globe more conveniently and effectively, getting in touch with labels, distros, and show organisers as well. I mean lets’ face it. Even true underground black metal bands today, a lot of them stay in touch with one another through MySpace. The thing about MySpace is that you have the control. You choose who you want to associate yourself with. And upon viewing people’s profiles, one should be able to tell pretty easily if that person is a true Metal warrior worth knowing, or just another cocksucking poser or trendwhore. So those who claim that MySpace and bands who’re on MySpace are sellouts, they are just too stubborn to think rationally. If bands on MySpace are sellouts, then what are those “true” people doing still wearing their Mayhem/Infernal War/Blasphemy/whatever-band-you-consider-kvlt t-shirt? These bands are all on MySpace. They should be discarding their Vinyls already! The fact that even bands like those are on MySpace already shows us how helpful MySpace as a tool of communication has been. In this information age, such things are inevitable and if we can make it work for the better of us, then why not? In the first place, we wouldn’t have known each other had it not been for MySpace, and I wouldn’t be answering this question right now! Hahahaha!

 

And what do you think about tapes? As far as I am concerned, I think that it is pitiful that tapes are dying but I may be too much old school minded though I am making a webzine and not a zine on paper ha-ha.

 

Hans: Honestly I really miss those days, and sometimes I do reminisce about those times when tapes were still widely in use. But we have to admit that tapes have its own limitation, especially where longeivity is concerned. Unfortunately it cannot outlast CDs or vinyls even for that matter, and it is indeed a great waste for me. So I do share your thoughts to a certain extent. But I guess we gotta face up to reality, and it would be a much bigger waste if we let our music be lost forever as those tapes get mouldy and can no longer be played. To me the music has to come first, formats are secondary. And whichever format could preserve the music it contains for as long as possible, that would be the better option. Metal music is timeless, so we’ll need a matching format that could last till our next few generations.

 

What are your projects to come with A.O.T.S.? Shows? New release?

 

Mike Priest: We have a music video coming out soon for “Dawn of a Dead Aeon” from our Promo 2007 EP. This video was done professionally by our friends at Lux-Solis.Net (who are also our photographers) with added assistance from our other friends. Without these people, this video would not have been possible.

 

We are currently looking for a label home and licensing deals to release “Era of the Apostate” in Asia, Europe and the US. We will be planning a regional tour sometime this year, but it depends strictly on the schedule of show dates around the S.E. Asian region. We definitely would love to play in Europe in the near future.

 

Well, this interview is now ending. Let me thank you for the answers and for now you have the last words.

 

Mike Priest: Thank you for all your support Kev! We would like to thank A.O.T.S. supporters from all around the world, andwatch out for the upcoming release of ERA OF THE APOSTATE.The Apocalypse Awaits!

 

Hans: It’s been an honour, Kev! Thanks for this great interview, and your neverending support for the Death Squad. Infernal Hails to all our supporters globally! The Era shall approach unhindered! See you at the pit real soon!

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3 février 2008 7 03 /02 /février /2008 22:37

quelltheskies.jpg

2007/Autoproduction

3 songs : 15 mins 

1. Crown of Fire
2. Solitude
3. The Impostor


And here comes another band I discovered thanks to Myspace. And they are coming from Finland. This band as i first thought is one that should have been reviewed by my mate Sasha Disto because i am really sure that Quell The Skies is the real kind of band that kicks his ass, but anyway, the stuff is so good that i had to review them by myself. Ending with the personal notes, let’s begin with the musical aspect of the cd.

Well, let me begin with: “This band kills!”. They give us a very original type of death metal (the main style used) sometimes sounding a bit more deathcore and sometimes more atmospheric. Quell The Skies never falls into the trap of linearity and they manage to keep the listener’s attention throughout the whole tracks. We may say here, only three: such a pity!
The first track, “Crown of Fire”, with its very thrashy beginning riffs, reminds me a bit of some Six Feet Under, for the voice but also for the rhythms used. A little electro interlude reminding me of Diablerie comes and breaks the violence, "a bit odd", some might say, "but really original" I'd answer. After what a little jazzy moment filled with more hardcore vocals re-opens violence. With these kind of structures, the name of Lykathea Aflame comes to my mind. Not especially in the musical similarity but more in the originality. The whole is so headbangable! The twisted stuff offered here is really professional and the sound is really good. I think that several people should see their faces punched by this song (and by the whole cd). We can enjoy then a really good moment with “Crown of Fire”, and it goes on with “Solitude” that will please all brutal death freaks. Riffs are as agressive as melodic, the vocals varying from very guttural to hysterical moments (personal note: a bit in Mike Patton’s way at 1"15).
Some more atmospheric moments brought by the riffs remind me of the Australian band Alchemist. The work brought on the musical point of view is really amazing. The drummer is excellent, I am notably thinking about the little interlude that starts at 2"45 but on this moment we have the joy to hear that the guitarist also masters his instrument very well, excellent solo here. I have to admit that it was hard for me to have one favorite song in the whole stuff, but finally “Solitude” gained my favour.
What can I say about the ending track called “The Impostor”? You’ll say I am becoming too old if I am still saying that it kicks my ass. Must say it's a very insane track. Agressive in its whole, the deathcore moment innit a bit in All Shall Perish or Despised Icon way are really good. I also thought of our french  band Benighted by moments here. The use of keyboards tends to give a grim and a bit worrying moment. The finnish wind that tends to freeze your blood. Men, the guys from Quell The Skies are freaks.

To conclude, and it is hard to stop here, we have a really good piece here. Really original work of death metal mixed with elements from other styles. I don’t remember if they have a label but if they don’t I claim that it’s unfair because this band really deserves to gather interest. Taking the listener very far from boredom and monotony, the moment spent with them for these 3 tracks was for my brain as heavy as a good booze. Poor neck should I say...

Contact them:

www.myspace.com/quelltheskies  

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