You are on page 1of 14

www.facebook.

com/pages/The-Metal-Bulletin-paper-zine in this issue: reviews, reports, news, interviews on: Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation (Japan) Dimicandum (Ukraine) Mortal Soul (Kenya)

Zine #39

Washington state, U.S.

www.metalbulletin.blogspot.com

Deeds of Flesh

(U.S.)

Ghost Bath

(China)

Subterror

(Brazil)

Mist

(Slovenia)

Theoria

(Syria)

The Great Gamble

(U.S.)

Eye of Solitude

(U.K.)

Secret of Ankh

(Iran)

also: DEATH METAL traditional: Cleric (U.S.), Derogatory (U.S.), Harm (Germany), Torchure (Germany) technical/blast: Deprecated (U.S.), Oblivion (U.S.), Pestilence (Holland) HEAVY/POWER METAL Argus
(U.S.),

Cyntia (Japan)
(Greece),

MELODIC/GROWL METAL Nightfall PROG METAL Withem (Norway) THRASH Skeletonwitch


(U.S.), Toxic

Noumena (Finland)

Holocaust (U.S.)

WEIRD/EXPERIMENTAL The Meads of Asphodel (U.K.), Mephistopheles (Australia) www.fuglymaniacs.com (issues online, concert videos, interviews, reviews)

history of Metal Bulletin Zine Issue 1 to 20: (2006-2009): Wisconsin Issue 21 to 26: (2009-2010): Texas Issue 27 (2010) -- now; Washington state -Metal Bullletin Zine (MBZ) is a homemade publication and it is not a business enterprise in any way. MBZ is not business partners with any band, record/management/publicity company, club/bar, or any kind of for-profit organizations/individuals. MBZ is not paid money for reviews and interviews. Neither does MBZ seek to sell any product to anyone for money. -metal on the radio/internet (Pacific Time) Metal Shop (Seattle, WA): Saturday 11pm-3am KISW 99.9fm www.kisw.com FOUR ridiculous hours of the heavy stuff! Sweet Nightmares (Houston, TX): Thursday night 9pm-midnight KPFT 90.1 fm www.kpft.org Bill The Master and his pirates take over Texas!

Flagitious Idiosyncrasy Dilapidation (Japan)

in

the

Then in 2011 their EP Kakusei destroyed any doubts about where this band was heading. In a way, the EP solidifies the achievement of the debut. Of course, its an EP, so its short, even within a context of grind. That brings us to the present. The name of the album is Wallow. Clearly presenting their bestsounding recording to date, Wallow is also another loud scream of sonic yaaarg-blaaarg that continues what this has band has been doing for all these years now. Its quite the racket the way that F.I.D. goes about destroying peoples hearing. Everybodys going to need hearing aids after listening to this. Its not just in the studio, either. For instance, look up this band on YouTube performing live in concert and you will find several frenzy-whipping performances. F.I.D. is here to chew bubble gum and to play grind, and they are all out of bubble gum. Whether its Obscene Extreme Fest in the Europe or Asia, or some club in the middle of nowhere USA, the people who witness the band leave very moshed up and most likely in some form of bodily pain. F.I.D. has made a couple of appearances in the U.S., such as in L.A. and Oakland. Heres a picture of F.I.D. with those lumberjack trainhopping hoboes from Capitalist Casualties and Slight Slappers.

The hills are alive with the sound of grind and Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation. Besides possibly having the greatest name for a band ever, this group is made up of geniuses of grind. Instantly likeable, and efficiently to the point, with no time-a-wasting, the F.I.D. sound has taken over my house (a van down by the river). The band has demos from 2003, 2004 and 2006. Then, in 2008, thats when the grind hit the windmill, the bands debut self-titled album was released. Ridonculous: an outrageous collection of growling, screaming, animal sounds, thundering bass, stomping beats, blastingand lots of yaaarrgg woof-woof aaarrrgg! Bits, segments and pieces in the songs suggest all sorts of genre mixing, yet it all sounds very grind. For short moments, you may think that they are going to do a slow doom song, and it all gets busted up in grind; some riffs sound kind of rock and roll, only to get jacked up by grind. A lot of times F.I.D. sounds like brutal death metal, but its so hyper that it all turns into grind the F.I.D. way. Immensely enjoyable and boatloads of fun; F.I.D. has a certain punk rock flair that charms up the grind, too.

People into Nasum, Rotten Sound, Napalm Death and grind in general, this ones for you. www.facebook.com/Flagitious.Idiosyncrasy.in.th e.Dilapidation THE END --

Dimicandum (Ukraine)
In the previous issue of this zine, the review noted, amongst other things, about Dimicandums album The Legacy of Gaia: Listeners into modern melodic heavy/power metal and big choruses should look into Dimicandum today. There are eight songs on here. No filler, just hit after hit. Starting with the first song, The Legacy of Gaia, things just get better and sooner than you realize, the album is over with When the Sun Burns Out. What is a person to do? Have to play it again. Dimicandum sounds like melodic, traditional

heavy/power metal, with atmospheric elements and a bit of growling, but framed contextually, and keeping the music very catchy. Roman (vocals, guitars) answers some questions about the band. -Hello, you are based in Kiev, correct? How is the metal scene in Kiev for Dimicandum? Hi! That's right, we're from Kiev, Ukraine. Our scene is lagging behind the West and now just getting on its feet. We do not have the infrastructure for the development of metal music, all that is done, is done by enthusiast forces alone. The situation with the clubs is stable, it is not always quality concert halls, but there is where to play, there are some cool clubs. In general, each year the development of the scene is enhanced! What are your current objectives? In 2013/2014 we plan to release one more video, new single, and start writing the album, the material for which is now composing. The process is slow, but steady. In the summer well play some festival shows. Also, we plan a concert in Poland (autumn 2014). The new album will be a logical continuation of the previous one, both in music and in the lyrics. We found the style that does not limit our scope and our sound, so we'll stay the course. You have played more than 60 concerts, correct? What have you learned about functioning as a band? Yeah, right. In total, we played more than 60 concerts. Geographically, it is Ukraine and Belarus. The main thing on the tour is to avoid conflicts with each other :) For us, it was very easy, because in our team is very friendly relationships between the musicians. What is your opinion about auto-tune, drum programming/drum sound replacement technology, and other such things? Do you sing the chorus every time on the album or do you "copy and paste"? We think that for some bands, modern technology is a real solution. For example, when there is no way to record live drums. In our case, we wrote everything completely, all the instrumental parts, without copypaste; vocals without auto-tune, with minimal processing, etc. All lyrics in the songs also recorded completely, including repeating parts. How is The Legacy of Gaia a concept album? Yes, it's a concept album. All the songs are related to each other and placed in a playlist within the meaning and mood. The overall message of the album is legacy of our planet, what we have now and what will be left for our children. Sources of inspiration are very different, from movies, books to ancient myths and legends. 3

All your songs are in English. Can your ideas for the songs be expressed just as well in Ukrainian? No, we do not have the songs in Ukrainian, Russian was [used on] a couple [of songs] at the beginning of our career. But we came to the conclusion that it is better to sing in English. This opens up more possibilities, after all, its the language of the original rock n roll. What are the problems that Dimicandum confronts for reaching Western Europe, and the Americas or Japan? Previously, the main audience was in Ukraine, then Russia and Belarus. But, after release of our album, geography of our fans greatly expanded. Currently its Poland, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Japan, France, Canada and USA. This year, two of our members must complete clearance of foreign passport, and then remains the case for [a] small [detail]: to finance our first European tour. For a start it will be Ukraine's neighbors, because going on a big tour with one album and without largescale promotional support makes no sense, everything must be gradual. Does the radio in Ukraine play Dimicandum? Unfortunately, in Ukraine there is only one rock radio station. And they play Iron Maiden, Scorpions, etc., but nothing with growl/scream vocals. All radio stations playing extreme metal broadcast are on the internet. In the U.S., some musicians, when they have a serious illness, they do not have the money because metal musicians are often not as wealthy as other musical styles. Sometimes their audience donates money for the sick musician. Can you explain something: If you are sick in Ukraine, what happens when you go to a clinic or hospital? We have a relatively free medical care, but it is effective for simple diseases. If youre sick with cancer or something like that, you have to pay a huge pile of money for treatment, and the state then does not help. Only charitable funds are doing something useful.

Is there a big problem of unemployment for young people in Kiev and Ukraine in general? I ask because unemployment is a serious problem in the U.S. now. In our country, its also an actual problem, a lot of young people after completion of higher education dont know where to attach themselves. We would like to earn a living making music, but for now it's impossible. Everyone has a job in the office. I am an internet marketer, the drummer is a web programmer, the bass guitarist tunes cars, the keyboardist works in an airline, and the second guitarist is a builder. Final question: what do you think about the videos of Dimicandum on YouTube? YouTube is a great tool to promote your music. And there's nothing bad, when fans posts video from the shows with bad sound, if the band sounds good, it can be seen and heard in any case. www.dimicandum.com.ua official website www.vk.com/dimicandum_official official VKontakte www.facebook.com/dimicandum.official Facebook www.youtube.com/user/DimicandumTV YouTube www.reverbnation.com/dimicandum Reverbnation www.metalscraprecords.com Metal Scrap Records THE END. --

Dying, Bullet for My Valentine, and Metallica, as well as Creed, Foo Fighters and Linkin Park, amongst others. Be that as it may, I think listeners into the Killswitch Engage style of rocking segments and melodic components would find Mortal Soul as a new interesting group. For Mortal Soul, determined to play this music in their particular circumstances, it is always nice to hear from listeners that support and enjoy the bands work, so remember to send them greetings. This is a band working on finding its sound, and things are looking up. Lets see what happens on their journey and where they decide to take their music. Hopefully, it only gets heavier and more metal. This is a good, solid beginning. Check it out: www.reverbnation.com/mortalsoulke Another way to be in contact: www.facebook.com/mortalsoulke --

Deeds of Flesh (U.S.)


At this stage of the game, Deeds of Flesh has accumulated enough musical capital to be considered an institution of intense/heavy/technical death metal, and not just a good band within the genre. For instance, look up reviews by people who know and you will find a general consensus that Deeds of Flesh is right up there with Suffocation, Decrepit Birth, Defeated Sanity, Origin and all the other main names of the style. Actually, Deeds of Flesh is an older name than most of those bands, with the big exception of Suffocation, of course. Their first EP is from 1995 and it was called Gradually Melted. That was followed by their debut Trading Pieces in 1996. Well, the 90s was a long time ago, and much has changed, including in the membership of Deeds of Flesh. However, with the passing of time, their solid reputation has grown; and in 2013 the band has an album called Portals to Canaan, which follows 2008s Of Whats to Come. Portals to Canaan presents several matters that might surprise the listener. For instance, would you believe that brutal/technical blasting death metal accommodates large shares of guitar melody? Thats exactly what this album demonstrates in its 40 minutes of music (including a Gorguts cover). Unfortunately, it would appear that some, including those that enjoy the style, have painted Deeds of Flesh into a corner when describing the sound. Really, thats too bad. Deeds of Flesh may be brutal or technical music, but there is much more here than nonstop blasting, zombie woof-woof. I would say that you do not need to be a math genius to understand Deeds of Flesh; the songs have enough guitar melody that it is quite easy to approach the compositions in that manner, as a gateway to the complexity. Still demanding of the listener, but it helps that Dees of Flesh has incorporated components that

Mortal Soul (Kenya)


The name of this metalcore band keeps popping up in articles, interviews and comments by bands. For instance, in issue 38 of this zine the band Skinflint (Botswana) mentioned Mortal Soul. This band started in 2010 and is based in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Mortal Soul is Peter (guitars), Leon (vocals and guitars), Celeste (drums), and Young (bass).

Mortal Soul has a recording called Ashes in the Wind. Fortunately for those interested, Mortal Soul has posted some tracks on ReverbNation for everyone to hear and download. Also, you can stream the complete EP on YouTube, just type the following: Ashes in the Wind Mortal Soul (complete Ep stream). Cheers to Mortal Soul for doing what they want to do. They sound like a young band, learning the ropes, and getting experience. A quick way to describe their sound is to say that they are a baby Killswitch Engage band, although on this matter, the band specifically cites as influences: Trivium, As I Lay 4

liven up the monolith of death metal. I would submit that Portals to Canaan is indeed a strong album. If you like brutal/technical but you have high standards, you demand great guitar work and attention to songwriting, then Deeds of Flesh is worth your time. The album can appear abstruse and cold, but once you listen a few times, that notion is easily dispelled. The only thing that the band is probably too conservative on is the vocals. The growling is a bit too restricted, and could stand to be looser and rage in wilder, unhinged ways. All in all, the album should be checked out because the quality is high. www.facebook.com/DeedsofFleshOfficial --

Ghost Bath (China)


Ghost Bath oscillates between random-screaming shrieking/howling black metal-ish rage, on one hand. On the other, the music brings on the somber moments, the spitting image of a cave-recorded musical endeavor for a specialized public. Ghost Bath lets loose the melancholic post-rock, like some sort of more depressive version of The Smithsangry but in a different, more subtle way. In these sounds, you will also find substantial portions of piano-sad music. Its beautifully ugly lo-fi unstable somber angry. To the so-called average person on the street this sounds like absolute, hands-down garbage trash. Case in point, one song has lots of coughing. Yes, like when you have a cough. That coughing. Yet, if when you read the first paragraph of this review, Ghost Bath peaks your interest, then it might mean that you are the audience that this music seeks. You never know, you might think that Ghost Bath is the worst thing you have heard all year. Ghost Bath could be a hoax, too: the identities are not known and they are from a place called China, or so they claim. This might be some high school kid in Nebraska, U.S. or Istanbul, Turkey. Could be my neighbor next door in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where I am right now. Ghost Bath has made this recording available for free at Bandcamp. Its only four songs, but that just means that its easy to do repeated listens. If you like weird experimental cave post-black metal, then pack your bags, were going on a road trip to Ghost Bath. There will be some coughing involved. www.ghostbath.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/blackghostbath --

Subterror! Awesome and excellent does not even begin to explain how exciting Subterror sounds. If you want to hear a band with an honest mentality about recording, politics and music, then Subterror is for you. Plus, how cool is this? Their three recordings are available for free, which is how I got them, and so can you: Desespero (2011), Subterror/Do You Think I Care? split (2012), Human Beings Should Have Never Evolved at All!! (2013). Get the free music here: www.subterror.bandcamp.com Dont be a stranger. Send them a thank you note for making the existence on this miserable, violent and disgusting planet a bit more bearable with this music. www.facebook.com/Subterror contact: subterrorcrustbr@gmail.com Samuel (drums) was kind to give answers to these questions. As you will see, Subterror has a lot to say about music and politics. -How are you all? You have three recordings? That's what it says on Metal Archives. Is that correct? Hello! Thanks for the contact and the interview! We are fine, despite the hot weather of the city. Well, these informations are correct. We started the band in 2009 and we made our first release in 2010, a demo called Desespero (Despair in English). In 2012 we released a split with a crust band from Hungary called "Do you think I care?" and in 2013 we released our split with another crust band, "Defy" from So Paulo (Brasil). At the moment were preparing our first full-length which will be released in 2014 by the label Black Hole productions into CD format and on vinyl by other labels. Subterror sounds honest. How do you record? We try to avoid a computerized record. Our preference is to record raw and honest tracks, recording without triggers or replacements. For us these details are important because we care how the sound can appear when someone listens and how we play alive, how someone see our gig. So, we try to make a record similar to our concert. We aren't "instrument players", we are not virtuous guys when we play. We play with the intention of spending what we feel, pain and anger. Just that. At the first two releases, all the instruments were recorded in the studio, but this latest record we just recorded the drums at the studio and the guitar and the bass at a friend's home. Just this last recording we use triggered drums, not so much triggered, and some things replaced. We

Subterror (Brazil)
What happens Discharge? 5 when you mix Hellhammer with

still enjoy this recording, but we won't do it anymore. We really prefer a natural record. What was happening in 2009 when you formed the band? What was going on in Brasilia and music? In 2009 we were still learning many things with the contact with several friends and underground festivals. For example, we learned a lot watching Violator and other bands in Brasilia and in Brasil. The cool thing of this city we live, especially in the period 2000 to 2006 is that the underground has always been a great mix of styles. The town never had a specific scene of punk or metal, everything was always mixed, punk and metal together, with some exceptions, of course. At that time we listened to crustcore, death metal and grindcore. We had some projects before forming Subterror, but none worked for several unforeseen, so we did a break and after a while we began to think to try something again. We always liked to live here and enjoy the gigs, but we searched a raw position. A space that doesn't speak only about European problems, North American political, wars and how life could be better if we think positively. We respect those positions, but we don't see the world that way. So, in 2009, we formed Subterror with the proposal to play a raw crust. A kind of song that we always liked. After some time we started to mix metal and crust. Was not a change on purpose, just happened. How is it recording where you live, for instance, the split in 2013? We recorded the drums at a studio and the rest of the instruments at a friend's house. We decided to test some possibilities for various reasons, one of which was money. Studios in Brazil are very expensive. The recording process was not very long because there were just 2 songs. We recorded everything in 3 weeks and 2 months to finish the mix and master. Subterror is based in Brasilia. How is the scene for Subterror there in that city and the rest of Brazil? The scene is not so big, but we have a strong friendship. We have many cool bands in the city, a scene without divisions. We played with bands of thrash metal, death metal, hardcore and grindcore, and other people. Always with much respect. Everybody together because we don't have a specific crust scene, punk or metal scene. We are a small group of great friends. Obviously we dont associate with bands of character sexist, racist, homophobic and so on. We don't play with this kind of bands. We usually play a lot in Brasilia and always is a great experience, playing on punk or metal concerts. About the rest of Brazil, it's 6

interesting because we create mechanisms of interaction with the other states. We played much outside of Brasilia and many bands also play here. It's like a cooperation, not competition. The bands help each other. How long has Harry been playing guitar? Harry plays guitar a few years. Well, until now the guitar had not fixed the tone, the way to specify sound. The result was always the sound of the test with the tentative to sound like old death metal style and Discharge. Sometimes we fulfill our goal. Where can people read the lyrics? Good question. I think we dont have the lyrics available on the internet, but that wasnt a thing on purpose. Soon well put the lyrics on Bandcamp and if possible on Metal Archives. About the lyrics, I write most of them, but the whole band tries to help. If someone doesn't like a lyric or some part, we try to fix. How would you describe the themes of "Alimentando o abismo" ("Feeding the Abyss"?) or "Funeral"? How would you explain the title "Human Beings Should Have Never Evolved at All!!"? Alimentando o abismo (or Feeding the abyss in English) is about the feeling of nothing the abyss of nothing, created by the elimination of any support or crumb that life can offer. Ideals of peacefulness, harmony and stuff. Think about how a life would be without meaning, value and truth, false hopes that numb us and alienate the weight of existence, a life that oscillates between boredom and suffering, elation and despair. Without illusions we fell into a kind of abyss of nothingness. Funeral is about a failure that will follow us until the end of our life. Regardless of our choices, all of them have consequences, the question is, how many wouldn't hurt anyone? Imagine the fact that you were born was enough to harm another person. Funeral is about that, a failure as a living being, an inevitable failure. Human Beings Should Have Never Evolved at All! is a sentence from the song "Hands That Mold" of Dystopia, Oakland (USA). We really enjoy this band. The song is about the progress of man and his ability to segregate disaster with this false ideal of progress and peace between us and the world. I like the fact that I can hear the bass in your music. How long has Luan been doing vocals and playing bass? Luan used to do vocals only, correct?! But now he plays bass, too. Yes, we started the band with four members, but in 2012 our bass player had to leave the band and Luan

took over bass and vocals. In fact, he had never been a singer, he had always played bass. So, I think to play the bass and sing was easier to him. It was nice because he brought some kind of specific way to play the bass and sound, a brutal and heavy way to sound, great for the kind of music that we play. Do you think that Brazil needs revolution? Is there a type of change that you would like to see? Is all politics nonsense, in your opinion? Do you think there is nothing that can be done about the poverty in Brazil? It's difficult to use the word "revolution". We have libertarian positions, but we are not anarchists or socialists. At the moment, we think that any attempt to revolution or freedom can create a new prison. Social or individual. At moment we have a critical point in human existence where the subjectivity of the individual is controlled in such an absurd way that is hard to believe that together we can make a considerable change in Brazil or worldwide. About the poverty, it is possible and an obligation to reduce it, but in the current capitalist system which we live, while this shit continue existing, together with the apparatus of the police, state, church and other forms of oppression, will surely be impossible to refrain from any form of poverty or inequality in Brazil and worldwide. Do you think that soccer plays the role of a "second religion" in Brazil? To keep the masses entertained so that they do not rebel? Maybe television in general is the "second religion"? It's probably correct in the U.S., too. "Don't worry about politics. Leave it to the 'professionals.' Just watch your tv show and be happy." In the meantime, the corporations and politicians do what they want: steal and exploit and kill. I agree but I need to say that not only soccer is the responsible for the control here. The media has enormous power over the population, probably bigger than soccer. The Brazilian media is controlled by only one broadcaster, the same which supported the Brazilian dictatorship. The other channels are headed by churches or banks owners. The Brazilian media is fascist and manipulative. They control news and create stereotypes. We dont know how it works in the USA, but in Brazil we have a big problem with sexist, homophobic and racist programs at most of the channels. Every Saturday you can join your family to watch a comedy and laugh at a joke about rape, about gays or black people. That's horrible and nobody cares. In fact, thats really happen. We learn this kind of thing in our whole life, how you say, Don't worry about politics. Leave it to the professionals the 7

professionals are the media and they want you stay where you born. Born to die in the gutter. What would you like for listeners of Subterror to do? Do you have t-shirts? Do you update your webpage frequently? Thank you for interview! Well, we would like to say for listeners of Subterror that each choice carries a guilt, take care with people and with yourself. We're not worthy of anything. Don't be fooled, by false security, we're weak. If you came here thinking that we are a metal band that like to put nude girls in our cd covers or that we accept fascist people sharing the same space with us, probably you will feel better dead. Nazi metal and nazi punks, fuck off! If you are interested in the band, we always update the page on Facebook and there you can check the informations, merch and talk to us. Again, thank you for everything! Subterror/Samuel. --

Mist (Slovenia)
Mist totally surprised me with this golden oldie classicstyle original-fountain doom. Whenever a band wants to play doom in the old style of Sabbath and Pentagram, thats a deal that I will take any time of day. Besides, its a break from 24-7 woof-woof barrage in this zine. Want to hear doom in the old style, with traditional vocals and songwriting, with the feel of Sabbaths Volume 4? Mist has a two-song recording simply titled Demo and it sounds honest, without lots of studio trickery. Its certainly a very nice beginning for Mist. www.soundcloud.com/mist-doom www.facebook.com/mist.doom email: mist.doom@gmail.com --

Theoria (Syria)
The black metal of Theoria, as found on the album Mantra (2013; five songs; 34 minutes), showcases certain two-lane structures enhanced with memorable elements that make sense to the listener relatively quickly. The sound quality is not the most polished fancy, and of course, the primal sound identity might not change the minds of some skeptics; however, if you like to search out different bands in black metal, then this is worth investigating. Consider, for instance, how Theoria seamlessly goes from raw, fast black metal with instant energy, and then transitions to midtempo and some doom-like shades. As a result, Theoria goes for a grim vibe, balanced out by atmospherics as an indispensable component. The glue holding things together for Theoria consists of clever incorporations of bits of melody smoothing out the overall songwriting, which all

makes the album one that justifies repeated listens in order to discover nuances throughout the recording. Theoria is based in Aleppo, Syria, according to Metal Archives. Syria is a country that has been in the news in the recent period due to the civil war taking place there. I dont know if Ahmad and Besherthe people of Theoriastill live in Syria. Meanwhile, Theoria is very generous and has made this album available for free at Bandcamp. As if that werent gift enough, theres another surprise from Ahmad and Besher: they have a second musical project together called Crescent Moon, an atmospheric doom death entity that has a two-song recording called The Wall of Light (about 18 minutes) that is also available for free at Bandcamp. If you like to seek out metal, Theoria and Crescent Moon present a nice opportunity for doing so. Why not get in contact with Theoria/Crescent Moon, too? As I said, I cant give definites on the personal information or the location of Theoria/Crescent Moon, only the music, which is really what matters, anyway. Hopefully this is not the last that we hear from this duo. www.theoria1.bandcamp.com www.crescentmoon-sy.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/Theoria.SY www.facebook.com/Crescent.Moon.sy --

to absorb the album, which is a pretty good feeling, giving you reasons to come back to this ambitious selfrelease by a young band struggling to make a name for itself. Some very pleasant economic news: this album is available for free at Bandcamp. In other news related to The Great Gamble, the bands guitar player Al Joseph has an instrumental shred album called Out in the Open and its definitely for listeners into guitar-centered shred. If you buy shred albums by Joe Satriani, Tony MacAlpine, Steve Vai and other legendary guitar wizards, AJ will be a new artist interesting to you. AJs guitar power cannot be denied, and although he is not yet a guitar jedi, he is on his way. As Yoda would say, Patience young one, be the guitar kingdom keys yours they cannot yet. Yes, hmmm, but yours and the treasure you will find will soon they be. Yeessssss. In any case, if you are a tolerant and patient music listener into prog and shred, then look into The Great Gamble and Al Joseph.

The Great Gamble (U.S.)


Would you be interested in hearing a prog metal band that really is prog? One of those bands that writes lengthy compositions without much regard to making simple music for the average listener? If your answer is a positive one, then look into: The Great Gamble and its album Book 1. This bunch is supposedly planning a return to action in 2014, given that 2013 seemed to be a year of low activity. You could justifiably make the case that Book 1 (2012) is elitist brainiac prog. Besides a very brief track (1:34), there are five full songs: four are about 10 minutes on average, and the last is some 16 minutes. Lets not kid around. The Great Gamble is music for musicians, for people with lots of patience, for metal seekers, for the selective prog listeners, and new listeners whose minds are receptive to something more complex. You can imagine that it takes repeated listens for all of this music to make sense. These songs go into meandering paths, on tangents, and its only minutes later that the band may return to the chorus. Expect guitar solos, long instrumental segments, and very proggy passages. Personally, I do remember certain passages from songs, but it takes at least a few listens 8 www.thegreatgamble.bandcamp.com www.facebook.com/thegreatgambleofficialpage www.aljosephofficial.com --

Eye of Solitude (U.K.)


The previous album by Eye of Solitude, Sui Caedere (2012), impressed me beyond expectations because said work is a bit different from what I imagine within funeral death doom. Although Sui Caedere is definitely very slow and heavy, it uses enough melody to catch the listeners attention. Logically, when I found out that the band has a new album called Canto III, I couldnt help but expect low-growl, super heavy duty funeral death doom. However, I was wrong. Or, at least, I was wrong about several important aspects. The main overall element about Canto III that distances the album from its predecessor is how wide Eye of Solitude has cast its net. The big umbrella under which all of the bands sounds can be labeled is still death doom. Nevertheless, thats not entirely correct, given the variety found throughout the songs. Namely,

blasting speed comprises a crucial ingredient in the music. Black metal energy has been embraced, and both the speed and the guitar work have mutated the frame in which the bands sound operates. These symphonic, blasting black metal passages have altered the way that the listener will understand Eye of Solitude here. Of course, there are other aspects, such as the guitar melodies in some segments, that add bright spots to the depressive doom. In addition, a small to moderate use of clean vocals brings new dimensions, as if Eye of Solitude has thrown open the doors to its music. Seeing that the growling by this band is low, guttural and indecipherable, the clean vocals add a discernable contrast. All in all, this album is a tad accessible due to the variety of styles. Yet, it still demands patience and trust from the listener. For instance, one has to wait about three minutes of introductory atmosphere, before the first song gets going. This six-track album is over an hour of music, meaning that instant gratification is not the objective. Rather, its meant to take several listens and lots of time before the clouds and dust of death doom clear up a bit and give way to the melody, nuances and intelligibility. As we know, Its difficult to be perfect, and sure enough, my ears have had a bit of trouble on a couple of different points. In my opinion, when the music is going fast, the drums sound too plastic, like a drum machine. My ears also noticed the modern production: the wall of loud noise approach seems to drown out the contrasts and shades too much, creating the sensation of an album that is a bit too loud for its own good. Despite these subjective matters, I do not hesitate to recommend this monster of an album to death doom listeners, who will be pleased with the heaviness, melodies and the effort on the part of Eye of Solitude, which has again achieved a strong success for itself. www.facebook.com/eyeofsolitudeband www.facebook.com/kaotoxinrecords --

much more) info. Metal Archives says that this duo is based in Iran, but check it out for yourself and try to contact them and see what happens. www.facebook.com/pages/Secret-ofAnkh/557965170922285 -more REVIEWS/NEWS by MMB (unless otherwise noted) DEATH METAL (traditional) Cleric (U.S.): "Gratum Inferno (Tofu Carnage Records) Cleric (Texas) follows the left-hand path where they are supposed to rot, and when life has ceased, they will find the truth beyond that has drowned in morbid devourment. The premature autopsy will reveal the carnal leftovers. Its a bitter loss, but revel in flesh, for life goes on, even after being abnormally deceased. Cant enough of that olde tyme deathe metalle? Neither does Cleric. In particular, only for the truly serious Stockholm-style voracious listeners. www.facebook.com/666cleric666 Derogatory (U.S.): "Above All Else (FDA Rekotz) Devotees into those old Earache and Roadrunner bands, you better buckle up your seatbelt for a trip back in time to early 90s death metal. I will limit this review to three observations. The riffs are clear yet heavy, with some thrashiness. Two: the songs are fairly traditional and linear. Its definitely fun and you dont have to be a wizard to understand it. Finally, Derogatory plays fast. They blast and also play at speed-metal velocity. Derogatory is not a melodic band but a sick, heavy one. The melody that is heard comes from the only place in traditional death metal: in some moments of the guitar solos. Its melody, but its not sweet, sugary stuff. Death metal: baby Malevolent Creation or baby Monstrosity. www.facebook.com/DerogatoryDeath Metal Harm (Germany): "Cadaver Christi (FDA Rekotz) Is there a company more obsessed with classic Stockholm death metal in the style of Entombed and Dismember? FDA keeps releasing these Entombedworship albums and theres no stopping now. The cynics wont be happy about this new trend. Really, though, its not like this music will make Harm millionaires. Plus, its death metal, Im not going to complain. If you like old-time death metal and you want more of it. Yes, you are a love-it-all death metaller, then consider the latest result by another reliable FDA band. www.facebook.com/pages/Harm Torchure (Germany): "Beyond the Veil (1992; reissue) (Vic Records) Vic Records reissues the 1992 album by the death

Secret of Ankh (Iran)


Secret of Ankh is about a blasphemous spirit that would make King Diamond blush. Frozen Forest is the name of the recording and it does in fact sound like it was recorded in a cave. Its not blasting, raging black/death metal, although some of the music is exactly that, but by far the most important element is the evil-dark chanting and atmosphere. Look at it as an experiment in sick underground music. In this case, underground might actually be a correct description of this duo. Go to the Facebook page and from there you can access the free downloads, as well as a bit (not 9

metallers Torchure, a band that evidently broke up in the early-mid 90s. In the early 90s not many death metal bands from Germany received international press; not as much as bands from Florida and New York, Stockholm and the UK. Today, this album still sounds good, like a bit of a lost gem. If you have hundreds of early 90s bands, you probably have this album, or at least may have heard it. In contrast, if you have not heard this band, and you really enjoy old death metal: the sound, the feel, the headbanging vibes and the no-nonsense heaviness, Torchure should be fun. More specifically, check it out if you are partial to bands like Asphyx, Morgoth and Obituary and other bands that balance heaviness with uptempo segments. The melody found on the album originates from the guitar soloing, but of course, the rhythm/riffs stay as heavy as possible. As an album from that particular period, the music shows some thrash leanings, but played at a much heavier spectrum. Moreover, Torchure also exhibits a tendency for forays into doom, in a balanced way, combining all of these factors into a death metal entity. Stylistically on the vocals, Torchure has longsyllable roaring-growling thats guttural and that extends the sounds: no fast-quick shouting/screaming here, only super heavy monstrous growling. Torchure does have fast, blasting moments, but those parts are not the centerpiece of this midpaced death metal band, although the blasting certainly enlivens the proceedings. The old death metallers have most likely already heard this album back in the 90s, especially in Germany. Alas, 1992 was more than two decades ago. If you love old death metal, then Torchure should be put on the to-look-up list. www.vicrecords.com DEATH METAL (technical/blasting) Deprecated (U.S.): "Deriding His Creation (1998 reissue) (Unique Leader) Deprecated seeks the tracks for mass obliteration that will make the deity weep upon the effigy of the forgotten. Deprecated infects the crypts and cannot avoid the involuntary manslaughter. The act of reincremation will condemn them to habitual infamy, living the seeds of the suffering, within a liege of inveracity for breeding the spawn to despise the sun that is pierced from within. Worship music, indeed. www.facebook.com/DeprecatedUSA Oblivion (U.S.): "Called to Rise (Unique Leader) The berteknikall karpaltunnel neckbracebreakers Oblivion is to be heard, not to be read about. The guitarring, drummering and growlscreamering brings down the cloud of extremity right to your door, and lets 10

the volts just go wild. Moreover, the clarity of the sound helps those of us mere mortals to comprehend the wavelengths we are hearing. The bassering is not always upfront, but it does show up all the time, thundering and rumbling all over the place. Generally speaking, Oblivions strength, more than anything, in terms of listenability, probably is the clarity of the guitar playing. Oblivion seeks to fool no one: any and all able ears can hear the riffs being used, as the band is not hiding behind trickery in that department. The chord progression can and do go fast, yet how is it that it sounds decipherable and intelligible? Well, its not that I have especially good ears or that I have any particular intelligence; its that Oblivion makes the music that way. Oblivion sounds approachable. On the account of the guitar playing, its easy to say well done.

Further, the songwriting, Ill just limit myself to saying that the first time I listened to the full album at a reasonable, comfortable volume, I had the feeling that the songs functioned well. Part memorable, part technical/prog, part shredding, on-point drumming and great vibes all around: thats more than enough strengths for an album. As you can see, this is on Unique Leader, which says that its modern death metal performed at a strong level. This is my first time experiencing Oblivion, but I have the feeling that we all are going to hear this name more in connection to technical and modern death metal. www.facebook.com/OBLIVION Pestilence (Holland): "Obsideo (Candlelight Records) The music of Pestilence seems to cause many differing views, most likely on account of the constant style changes from album to album. Nevertheless, the 2009to-the-present Pestilence appears to have settled on continuing on the path of brutal/technical/blasting death metal. As expected, this post-reformation Pestilence chugging stop-start style is praised by some, while totally rejected by others. Closer to the truth is that it depends on ones views on fast, blasting, intense woofwoof music. If the listener wants memorable riffs like on

the 1988, 89 and 91 albums, then, Houston, we have a serious problem of unmet expectations. This is lots of chugging, zig/zag rhythms, low-string plucking in a mosquito-attention-span manner. What does all the foregoing reveal? Well, actually, not as much as one would think. It might mean that this is too wacky even for some death metal listeners; or that Pestilence cannot/will not for the life of them figure out how to do a memorable riff anymore; or, that this music is for musicians; or, that this is great stuff mostly for moshing when it is played live. Nor is it completely correct that one cannot remember this music. I dont have a particularly good memory, but I certainly do remember parts of these songs, certain rhythms, solos, vocal and drum patterns. Its easy to complain about Pestilence. It is also probably true that no album with the name Pestilence will ever reach the level of classic as Consuming Impulse because that was a special time. Approach this as Pestilence 2013, different era and lineup making music and one will find that Obsideo has many positive elements. www.facebook.com/Pestilenceofficial HEAVY/POWER METAL (traditional) Argus (U.S.): Beyond the Martyrs (Cruz del Sur Music) What is heavy metal? Argus is, in the sense of classic, traditional heavy metal. In the near past this zine has reported about several classy albums of heavy metal with singing, riffs that you can appreciate as guitar work (not just chugging rhythms) and with guitar melodies/harmonies; bass guitar that you can distinguish, with a good, solid heartbeat drumming. Some of these more recent albums include the ones by Pharaoh, Surgeon and Power Theory, who all apparently have Pennsylvania connections. Argus (also, with a Pennsylvania relation) must be added to that list. Listeners of traditional heavy metal, in the classic, basic Judas Priest/Iron Maiden (and forms/styles/bands associated with that tradition) would do well to seek this album. Just to explain further, this is NOT keyboard/happy power metal. Its guitar/bass/drums/singing heavy metal. The riffs are not happy but gritty Priest/Sabbath riffs, and a clear, solid rhythm section that keeps the songs in place, and upper midrange singing (not thin, high, happy-golucky) and with personality. Argus, here and there, shows moments of doom/Sabbath/Candlemass, but is not really a doom band. Rather, its selected moments in songs, and its all placed very well. In addition, Argus displays the element of Thin Lizzy-ish guitar melodies, a wise component to the bands sound. Dont get the wrong impression, though. Argus is no tribute group. For instance, my old ears are not 11

telling me that Argus is ripping off this or that classic band; my ears only hear echoes of influences, in a good way. Better than good, Argus is a special treat for those devoted to heavy metal that demands talent to play this style. The singer has to sing for real, and the guitar must have the riffs, and the band must have the songs. There is an air of serious talent to Argus and it would be very revealing to see this band perform in order to find out if they have the goods live (including the singer), as this album is very impressive. You will know a good thing when you hear this band. www.argusmetal.com Cyntia (Japan): Endless World (2012); Lady Made (2013) (Victor Entertainment) Cyntia believes in making songs rocking in a heavy metal way, but Cyntia also constructs super catchy, happy-joyous compositions, with a very pop, televisionfriendly style. As a result, the music depends on both the rocking and the sugary melodies to make its point. Cyntia also happens to be very good at its chosen field. It seems that this style is popular in Japan, but I dont know in particular how much of a chart-topping success Cyntia is. At any rate, it is clear that the combination of chocolate-sweet rocking songs and a tv-friendly image would inevitably find a sizeable audience.

Cyntia works the upbeat guitar vibe, including some crisp, fast guitar melodies for the uptempo songs. The guitar is from the power metal style, something like a Sonata Arctica/Yngwie-sounding feel. During these songs, the drumming goes at a matching speed, too. These songs are topped off with Sakis vocal melodies, as well as catchy choruses. As expected, some tracks go at a more midtempo, radio-friendly ear candy beat. Recommended for people into super melodic happy power metal and rock. FYI: Cyntia has a more recent EP called Return to Myself and it appears that the band might be going in a more midtempo direction, an even more hit-oriented style. Its an EP, so lets see what happens in the future.

www.cyntia.jp www.facebook.com/Cyntia.BrightStarRecords MELODIC GROWL METAL Nightfall (Greece): Cassiopeia (Metal Blade Records) (review contributed by JJ: www.fuglymaniacs.com) Nightfalls ninth studio album: Cassiopeia; 11 songs, 50 minutes. Nightfall was formed in 1991 by frontman and bassist Efthimis Karadimas. Lineup changes were effected in almost every release, with Karadimas remaining the only constant. Nightfall and lineup changes go together like peanut butter and jelly, apparently. Fans shouldn't be surprised if you follow this band. Cassiopeia is a conceptual record based on our arrogant human race and they used metaphors from Greek mythology. Cassiopeia is opened with Phaethon, the track which showcases all faces of this troop as it starts in more modern midtempo melodic note, but as it reaches the other half it gets much faster. As the album progresses one will understand that Phaethon represents the whole of Cassiopeia in a nutshell. We were pleasantly surprised and it should be noted that Cassiopeia is a very atmospheric release; keyboards are nonstop laying emotional parts, while the guitarists Evan Hensleys and Constantine's riffs, leads and melodies are fast, short and sweet; plus, not knowing when and where they are going to jump at you is a new trait for us. Usually they are predictable and expected, but not here. In addition they are carrying those distinct Greek riffs which connoisseurs will recognize right away. Cassiopeia carries elements of gothic, symphonic death and black metal, and even old heavy metal yet somehow brought together nicely. Cassiopeia is original and a must have for 2013. It does demand the full attention from the listener but it pays off big time. The saga of Nightfall continues to evolve and for the better. Rarely do you find an album that has this many elements and yet sounds so great. Production is excellent and at 50 minutes, it's perfect. Most of the time we will know if we like something after the first listen. After one spin we knew we needed to dive in for a closer inspection. We knew there was much more to hear. Sure enough, it got nonstop rotation for days and we are sure glad we did. We really like and recommend this album. Do yourself a favor and get it at your favorite store. Lets hope Nightfall keeps this up. www.facebook.com/nightfallgr Noumena (Finland): Death Walks with Me (Haunted Zoo Productions) What is your idea of 1990s metal? Does your imagination move towards In Flames and Dark 12

Tranquillity? Perhaps you think of Amorphis? Maybe your thoughts gravitate in the direction of the sounds of bands with growled vocals, memorable hooks, and melancholic tendencies? What about the continuation of that style nowadays? Do you enjoy the aesthetics of Insomnium, and possibly Omnium Gatherum, Belakor, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, and of course, Dark Tranquillity? If your answer is in the affirmative, then, add Noumena to your list. This band, however, is no novices, so worry not about Noumena being an acolyte entity. For instance, according to Metal Archives, this band has been active since 1998. It seems that, in addition, several of the band members were in metal bands in the mid 90s; therefore, as you can see, Noumena has been around the block.

The first thing that I noticed is that the music is expertly done in all phases: a professional sound, capable (and non-barked) growling, good traditional singing, and catchy songs. This is the bands fourth fulllength album, and with it, Noumena runs the gamut of upbeat riffs and growling, while also working midtempo catchy segments and gothic/melancholic traditional singing and mellower moments. Songs have the multiple guitar approach: the low-tuned semi-thrashy riffs, which are then topped off with a layer of very earfriendly guitar notes. This method of writing is represented throughout the album, and evinces a great deal of care taken in the compositions. The bands previous Anatomy of Life album is from 2006, and this one is from 2013. As for this long pause in action, I do not know if the band broke up and then reunited, but the results here speak to a band working hard on each song, and its readily clear that Noumena has crafted a work that goes very well with the classics of this particular style, namely In Flames, Dark Tranquillity and Amorphis. Whether its Amorphis Tales from the Thousand Lakes, or Dark Tranquillitys The Gallery or Projector, Noumena has many qualities that also appeal to those attentive to the current practitioners of this sound, such as Insomnium. To end, give this album a few serious listens in order for

the complete picture to emerge, and I believe that you will agree that Noumena has delivered quality. www.noumena.info www.facebook.com/Noumenaband www.noumena.bandcamp.com PROG METAL Withem (Norway): Point of You (Sensory Records) People knowledgeable are already familiar with the batch of high quality traditional, melodic prog metal bands from Norway, headed by veterans such as Pagans Mind and Circus Maximus. Bands in this genre build reputations for talent, making their names appreciated amongst the listeners of the style. Withems debut puts the band in a good situation vis--vis the genre and its public. Those who will become part of the audience are the picky, elitist, traditional-talent-demanding listeners who prefer singers that can really sing and that do the soaring vocals that touch the sky. Such listeners demand guitar players that shred, solo and play fluid melodies, and skilled rhythm sections, of course. With this album the band has done a great job of executing three phases of the traditional, melodic prog metal game: ability, songwriting and production. This album is on Sensory Records, a top place for prog metal, which means that before this music is published, the band has done serious quality control. Withem is prog, but all the songs are manageable for simple-minded listeners like myself. The songs are very easy to remember, and thats a nice break from all the woof-woof zombie metal that I have been listening to today. Its not an exaggeration that Withem writes songs that sound like hits. In short, highly recommended for the genres public. www.withemsite.com THRASH Skeletonwitch (U.S.): Serpents Unleashed (Prosthetic Records) The melodic black thrashings of Skeletonwitch abate not, unknowing of sea changes or directions of the winds. Thrash riffs, black metal leanings, shriek vocals, speedy always, blasting often, and on-mark energy songwriting. To my ears, Skeletonwitch delivers quality once again, and this time with some surprises. The biggest one this time around, Id say, is the dedication spent on more memorable guitar soloing and melodies; and on that score, the band registers a solid success. Those traditional heavy metal melodies are showing their presence in the midst of the big thrashing riffs and the black metal tendencies. All of this makes Skeletonwitch a most interesting, well-organized puzzle of metal periodization, all condensed into their signature structures. 13

Whenever a band goes beyond the novelty aspect or when the new band shine wears off, then we can start to see what we have: a band to forget or remember? Well, five albums since 2004, thats no one-and-done deal. Metallers who have not given a chance to Skeletonwitch certainly should do so now as the ship sailed a long time ago, but its not too late to find out what you have been missing. What does this band have to do for you to give them a chance: show up at your door and play your backyard vegan barbecue party? www.skeletonwitch.com Toxic Holocaust (U.S.): Chemistry of Consciousness (Relapse Records) All the rumors are true, Toxic Holocaust is an aggressive potion of Motorhead rough-gut vocals and speedfreak energy, plus early Bathory black thrashing primal riffs. On this album, like their previous ones, its total black thrashing punk growl metal, and all the songs sound like part of one big thrashfest. One song just flows right into the next one, and in such fashion the recording is suddenly finished: 28 minutes, 11 songs. Listeners already familiar could be pleased that they got more of what they wanted, or could just as easily complain that its more of the same; and it is more of the same. Well, what else is a band called Toxic Holocaust supposed to do? No jazzing it up here, no experimenting with the tuba and banjo here, its thrash. Its not the most mind-boggling thing in the world and it sounds like this band could have recorded the album in a week, in a riff-after-riff nonstop barrage. From the perspective of this listener, this music is a-ok, tons of great vibes and tunes. Definitely recommended for un-uptight thrashing maniacs who want music to be a good time. www.facebook.com/ToxicHolocaust WEIRD/EXPERIMENTAL The Meads of Asphodel (U.K.): Sonderkommando (Candlelight Records) For as long as I can remember, this band has always been weird and experimental. They show that they can write catchy stuff, with almost pop or punk sensibilities, if they wanted, but they prefer to throw themselves into the eye of the storm of the weird. It sounds that for the black metal punk Pink Floyd moments of this album they have tons of guests. It also sounds like they have spent lots of time into this project. It is 1 hour and 10 minutes long. It is extremely vulgar, and also beautiful; poppy at times, demented at others. Approach only and only if you like the very weird side of metal: at times they

sound like geniuses, and at others they sound like a bunch of street punks who in their fantasy dreams wish they could write those classic concept albums like Pink Floyd and the Beatles; but alas, they are a bunch of black metal punks, and they cant help but make quality fuglyeautiful sounds. www.themeadsofasphodel.com Mephistopheles (Australia): Sounds of the End (Willowtip Records) The first impression might be brutal death metal, and while the growling/screaming and heaviness may further support that thesis, the realities of the sound complicate things. The guitar sounds very little like death metal, despite the low tuning. Really, the guitar sounds very little like norm-restricted metal, period. Is this jazz, prog and math guitar played in a heavy way? Mephistopheles is no easy listening experience. Its a puzzle of heavy and technical jazzy math growl metal. Sometimes the music goes fast. Correction, make that: blasting fast. Just as likely, the drummer sounds like hes doing a drum solo, inside of a bigger composition. Maybe the audience is the brutal death metal listeners, but anyone who likes dissonant and twisted songwriting will enjoy the bands refusal to comply with strict rules by making off-putting, brainiac fast experimental metal. Shouldnt Voivod listeners enjoy something like Mephistopheles? If a person wants more than linear, predictable songs, then Mephistopheles would be one band to look into for something a bit different. www.facebook.com/MephistophelesAustralia -CORRECTION: RE: The previous issues review of Sorrows Path (Greece) stated that the bands debut album was published some 20 years after the bands founding in 1993. That information is incorrect. The album The Rough Path of Nihilism was released in 2010, some 17 yearsnot 20after the bands founding, according to Metal Archives. -December 30, 2013

14