INTERVIEW: Cam of Motherslug

(This interview is between Keith, The Odd of Direnotes and Cam of Motherslug)


[K] Who is Motherslug? What brought the band together?

Motherslug have been kicking around for six years now. Nick and Cyn are the remaining founding members, I joined after they had been jamming for almost a year with Ferg and Matt and that was the lineup for the first EP. Ferg left just prior to Three Kings in Darkness and we picked up Regan a couple of years before we released Electric Dunes.

[K] Space/scifi is a reoccuring theme on 'The Electric Dunes of Titan', how did you come up with this? What influenced you to take this route?

The title to the opening track was the last thing to fall into place and it really encompassed the feel of the album. I read a lot of classic fantasy and sci-fi; Asimov, Frank Herbert, LeGuin, Poul Anderson, Hoyle, Moorcock. In fact the title Cave of the Last God is taken from the last chapter of one of Larry Niven's books, 'The Magic Goes Away'. I guess I like the mythology of space, the great unknown void is a blank canvas and the generally dystopian nature of our inevitably high-tech future lends itself to doom.

[K] How would you say Motherslug has evolved since the initial EP?

When we started out we wanted to be the heaviest band on the planet, I'm sure most heavy bands strive for the same goal. But it became apparent that we didn't want to be playing the heaviest songs without those moments of light. It is the contrast, the mellow melodies juxtaposed against some crushing riffs that creates the heavy. We do have those moments in the earlier songs but we never realised them to their full potential. Over the years our song writing skills have improved and our shared experience of being in the band breeds a musical familiarity so we work together much more efficiently to mold a song exactly how we want it.

[K] What is the origin of the name 'Motherslug'? How did you or your bandmates manage to come up with such a unique name for the band?

Motherslug is taken from the title of an Acrimony song - The Mother of all Slugs!

[K] Motherslug isn't exactly you're typical run-of-the-mill stoner/doom metal group, there is a good bit of rock in the sound as well. What are some of your influences?

Yeah there's a quite a mixed bag in there. We all dig the core influences of stoner/doom; Kyuss, Floyd, Sabbath, Zeppelin. Regan draws a lot of influence from players like Jimmy Page, Eddie Hazel, Hendrix, Robin Trower, Sir Lord Baltimore, Cactus, Captain Beyond, Randy Holden, Blue Cheer, MC5. I grew up with Kiss and Devo, got into punk around '84 with Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Crass and Suicidal Tendencies and then real alternative stuff like The Birthday Party, Beasts of Bourbon and The Cramps. Early 90's Monster Magnet, Metallica  and Danzig. Through the late 90's I got into Cold Meat Industries, Deutsch Nepal, Lustmord and used to make my own lo-fi fucked up noise tapes. Modern day influences are Chelsea Wolfe, THAL and Scott Walker but I drag all of that musical baggage from over the years with me when I'm pondering a lyric or melody.

[K]What is the metal scene like overseas, in Austrailia?

Melbourne is the capital of live music in Australia, lots of good venues, dozens of great bands. There is a decent small scene up North in Brisbane but the rest of Australia is dead. We play with heaps of great bands you should look out for; Merchant, Dawn, Jack Harlon & the Dead Crows, Boracherro, Hobo Magic, Seedy Jeezus, Arrowhead.

[K] Outside of creating music, what else do the members of Motherslug do with their time?

Regan drives a van and work with old ladies at a charity shop. Nick does weird shit with spreadsheets, Cyn is an accountant and I am a Producer at a games company, I make video games.

[K] What was it like placing so well on so many metal Charts, Lists? Did you ever think Motherslug would be what it is today?

We were stoked to see the album get such a great response from bloggers and reviewers around the world. It made a lot of 'best of year' lists, it hung around in the Doom Charts over three months and has sold incredibly well for a total d.i.y. release from the arse end of the world. It is a testament to the production skills of John Bartels to pull the recording back from the brink and not only make it sound great but he made it sound like Motherslug - it sounds stupid but recording a live band and getting it to sound like the band is not an easy task. We were ready to trash the tapes and start again.

[K] Biggest pet peev when it comes to the music industry?

Heavy music is largely ignored by radio and media in this country despite there being a large audience for it. It's an uphill battle to get that broader recognition and we can already see from the release of Dunes that we have a larger following overseas than we have here in Australia.

[K] If Motherslug was an animal what would it be?

A slug, obviously. 

[K] Any upcoming tours/shows in support of 'The Electric Dunes of Titan' planned?

We had our launch in November last year, have played a couple of shows since and have a gig next week with 24 bands on three stages at Filthfest. Rather than go on the road and flog these songs to death we have decided to put our efforts into  getting the next album rolling. 

[K] Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions, anything else you'd like to say at all?


Thanks for taking the time to interview us, have a good one.

QUICK REVIEW: HAR - Visitation (Blood Harvest)

First off, Visitation’s intro is as creepy as they come. I’ve grown used to patiently waiting through some pretty lengthy prologues in my time but this gets to the point immediately. It features an instrument native to HAR’s homeland of Tel Aviv that while completely unknown to me, grabbed my attention straight away. It sounds to me like an arghul played in a drone like fashion, layered with haunting funeral bell and steeped in a mire of guttural groans. Weird and slightly disconcerting, it sets the scene for a relentlessly blackened EP that delivers at every turn.
Album opener, “A Shadow Henosis” is a cacophony of dissonance consisting of disembodied wails, foreboding guitar and outright ruthlessness. The mix is both terrifying and transporting. Evoking images of desolate lands and ancient evils, HAR have unearthed a timeless ambience with this track.
The diversity continues with the aptly titled, “From the Blood of a Whirling Dagger”, a decrepit whirlwind that features the dual face melting tactics of guitarists Daniel Atai and Shaul Pollack. From the outset, this song absolutely pummels with furiously paced blast beats and above average vocal work.
Closing on a high note, “Conjure the Black Flame” comes screaming out of the gate with all of the vengeance of a stirred Balrog. I’m hard pressed to find fault with any of HAR’s musical choices on this track as it is crafted with all of the diligence at their command. Again, the ethereal shrieks and howls trademark of Visitation return here and add a depth of hellishness to an already ominous vibe. With its ambitious intent, the song is quite simply brilliant and leaves little room for debate.
What I appreciate most about Visitation is its varied tempos, mid range vocals and almost complete lack of ego. This is raw black metal at its finest. Despite its overall top notch production, Visitation still manages to come across as unrefined as the best in its genre. This is no small feat considering the specifically lo fi demands of purist listeners. In a time where cassettes are being recorded in dank basements to decidedly minimalist effect, this is a welcome change. It proves that today’s generation of black metal can be just as sinister sounding as its predecessors without sacrificing tonal quality.

-EDWARD DINSLEY-


INTERVIEW: Jani of Svartanatt

(The following is an interview between Sammi Spells and Jani of Svartanatt. See her original review here.)
[SS] Hello! Thank you so much for taking time to sit down and answer some
questions for me! Please, introduce yourself.

Hey im Jani, singer and guitarist in the band.

[SS] What are some of your influences?

I dont listen to music so often actually but i have to thank Kurt Cobain cause it were the grungewave with Nirvana that got me interesed of start to play guitar in a age of 9. I got hooked when i heard the bleach album a raw mix of punk and rock. I usually get ideas to write songs at night. melodies and riffs just pops up in my head.

[SS] Who is your personal favorite musician of all time?

Its a hard one. Theres so many good musicians. Kurt Cobain and Phil Lynott maybe one of them.

[SS] What attracted you to the sound of the 1960s-1970's southern rock sound exactly?

I have been listening to 60-70’s rock since i was 10 years old and got stucked when i first heard bands like The baker gurwitz army, Thin Lizzy and Lynard Skynard some years later. Im not so much in it for some special sound. Our band just sounds like we do. If its loud enought and we got some crunchy sound then we’re pleased.

[SS] How did you guys come to be?

It were the year of 2014. I called up Daniel Heaster( drummer) and asked if he would be interesed of playing drums in a band. I had earlier seen him play in other bands and i really liked his way to beat on the drums. We both are from same city ”Gävle” so i knew him little before we started our band svartnatt. Then i hooked up up with Felix Gåsste and Mattias Holmström on a concert in Stockholm i saw some cool dudes headbanging on stage (Felix Gåsste&Mattias Holmström guitar &bass). After the show we took some beers and i asked them both if they would be interesed of play bass in a band:). Some days later we meeting up in Daniel Heasters rehearselroom and svartanatt were born! Martin Borgh(Organ) is old friend of mine that i asked some months later to join the band.

[SS] Do you have any particular writing process?

I always put the chords and melodies together as one sort of package then i tryin to figure out some cool drumbeats. Last of all i write the lyrics that is the most difficult challenge.

[SS] How do you handle nerves before a live show?

I never got nerves. I have been standing on stages since is was 11 years old so thats probably why. Its just fun.

[SS] In your downtime, what are some things that you enjoy?

When i dont write songs i hanging around with my family and friends. I love Bowling, must be the best sport in the world, you can drink beers while you playing.

[SS] What's the greatest thing about being in a band? What are some things
you could do without?

its an adventure to travel around with these fellows in the band and visit new citys and meet people that want to hear our music its just lovely. We always have a great time together!
One gig shows. When we travel for about 6-7 hours to do one show and next day is the same way home. It shows that we’re a hard-working band!

[SS] If you weren't a musician, what would be your ideal career?

Its because the music im still standing on the ground. I cant think of anything else to work with? Im musicteacher to so :).

[SS] What does the future hold for Svartanatt?

2nd of March we’re releasing our 2:nd album ”Starry eagle eye” and we’ll be touring as much as possible and hope to get in touch with some booking agency.

[SS] Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?

Thanks for all support! Stay tune fore some more r’n’r!!! Keep on rockin!!!

REVIEW: REPULSIONE - Desecrating (Wooaaargh)

Quite literally, Repulsione scared me. I'm no stranger to Grindcore, I actually own a few Grindcore releases myself, but after sliding on my headphones and expecting the same-old run-of-the-mill stuff - I was thrown off so badly by the fuzzed out Bass that it made me jump. And, that is a pretty good representation of what you'll get on the entirety of Desecrating. It's the musical equivalent of being beat over the head with a shovel - just a particularly disgusting one.

I'm not going to pretend I even know what is being said here, what any theme is, nothing. There are some scant hints, but the majority of the vocals are screamed at you with incredible speed and aggression, or so slow and low you can't hope to get what is going on. I mean, it's Grindcore, you could be listening to anything at any time and rarely catch a single work through an entire album. So, Repulsione hits that check-mark and then some.

Composition is not bad but I can't decide if I tolerate or hate the double bass on Desecrating. I do enjoy originality, but the tone is just, as I said, fuzzed to hell and back. It's like listening to a buzzsaw an inch from your ear - I am not exaggerating in the slightest. It's okay for a couple of songs, but because of the tone being what it is, how the band seems to want one bass to act as a guitar and the other to act as a straight forward bass - it just throws everything out of whack. The standard acting bass occasionally evens things out, but it can't help but feel like it's all a little off - even for Grindcore.

At times, Repulsione gave me a headache. I had to stop the album occasionally just to take a break, even on songs I enjoyed like 'An Infamous Beast'. Maybe it all sounds better in a live environment and the band was trying to stay true to that? Or, maybe there should have been more effort put into the intermingling of the instruments.

Again, the songs are good, really well done, but the fuzzed out bass should have just been a guitar - especially if Repulsione was just going to obliterate the sound associated with bass guitar. It's absolutely crushing, no nonsense Grindcore. It is utterly brutal, but when it comes to the point where I got to take a breather to save my brain from imploding - a few points might be lost. Then again, it might just be what this band is going for. If Grindcore is strictly about in-your-face aggression, Repulsione are the crème de la crème of their chosen genre.

-KEITH, THE ODD-


REVIEW: The Dahmers - Creepiest Creep (Lovely Records)

If you are one that likes the Horror Punk Genre, The Dahmers is a band that made me want to dance while listening to them. Listening to them, I am definitely reminded of the Misfits. This being said, The Dahmers reminded me a lot of the energy of the Misfits. I have to say that of new music, they are really good. I tend to be partial to music from the 70s-80s as that is what I listened to growing up, but I just have to say "wow" to The Dahmers.

'Creepiest Creep', the first song on the EP, reminds me a lot of a blend of the classic rock blended with punk. This has not only strong vocal, but the music itself will have you wanting to listen to even more of their songs. Truly my favorite song on this EP, definitely give props to The Dahmers on this song. I am usually not one that favors any form of Punk. I will listen to it, but I truly enjoyed listening to this song. I am, yet again, not disappointed when I started to listen to the second song on their EP 'Reoccurring Dreams'. Even though this song isn't more than a little over a minute long, they definitely get their point across with this song.

'Without A Face', the next song on the EP, was not exactly my favorite. I'm not saying that it is bad, only that it isn't my favorite. Of course that being said, that is because I truly favor their song 'Creepiest Creep'. 'Kiss of Dario', the last song I listened to by The Dahmers, is a really upbeat song that had me wanting to dance yet again. I was not disappointed listening to them.

Listening to this EP, it is composed of many songs that I could see being used in comedy horror movies. That isn't a bad thing either. They really know how just to keep the listener on their feet. I definitely hope to hear more from The Dahmers in the future. Great vocals, and absolutely great music.

-NIKKIE GAGNON-

REVIEW: Towards Atlantis Lights - Dust of Aeons (Transcending Obscurity)

 Powerfully emotional, Towards Atlantis Lights draws from historical moments and blends folk, doom, death, and black metal elements together in order to bring their story to life on Dust of Aeons. And, by story, I mean an epic spanning four tracks, one of which is a whopping 30 minutes (The Bunker of Life) and the other over 16 (Alexandria's Library). It's a somewhat short run time on paper, but the density and captivating nature of the yarn spun here makes every moment worth it.

Pleasantly, for a story-based album, Dust of Aeons features a bevy of vocal work. Good vocal work, at that. The fusion of unconventional folk-like clean vocals and crushing death metal vocals works incredibly well. It also provides a counter balance for the, occasionally, simply written songs. Then again, speed and over-complication is not exactly  great thing when your opening track lasts longer then your standard television program. As a guitar player, I could only imagine remembering the entirety of this album would be a superhuman feat at best.

But, that isn't to say Dust of Aeons doesn't feature a bevy of memorable riffs or compositions. Everything here is massive, monolithic, and when it isn't, the writing is teasing you with moments of death and black. The transitions between slow sorrowful doomy riffs, to crackling black, or crushing death, are done bafflingly well. How Towards Atlantis Lights manages to just change without some stop, or break, beforehand is beyond me. It's just about beyond anything I've ever heard before (at least when it comes to doom). Outside of this, there is a lot of piano work - a staple, I'm noticing, in doom's pieces to provide some variety when harsher writing isn't called for. But, despite my disdain towards the use of it - I can't deny that Towards Atlantis Lights, much like Et Moriemur, has done masterful things with the instrument.

I'll be honest, I hate most musicals but Towards Atlantis Lights isn't that, despite it having a narrative. The entire album feels like an experience, but doesn't sacrifice creative merit or provide emotion or atmosphere strictly though lyrics and vocals like your standard story-based album would. Every component is important in expressing what the group wants to say, and how they want you to feel about it.

-KEITH, THE ODD-

REVIEW: Shambles - Primitive Death Trance EP (Blood Harvest)

Since 1997, Thai grind core mainstays Shambles have continually put out brutal slabs of doom heavy demos (and even a full length release, 2016’s Realm of Darkness Shrine). With a particular emphasis on brutal, Shambles delivers yet another relentless offering in the form of Primitive Death Trance.

As a four song EP, the album is deceptively short but quick to make its point. The band makes no bones about what they came to accomplish-total aural submission. While certain tracks appear to beat an idea to death (see album opener, “Daemon”); the EP stretches each song’s limits creating more of a full length feel. It’s something Shambles does incredibly well.

The deeply resonant guitar tone Issara Panyang brings to the table is nothing short of jaw dropping. He really manages to lay down some seriously low end here, evident especially on the title track, “Primitive Death Trance”. Not to be outdone, percussionist, Thinnarat Poungmanee adds his own unique flair to the mix courtesy of his distinctive cymbal work. His ride shots ring out so clearly you’d swear he was playing in the jam space next door.

Essentially, Primitive Death Trance is a purists’ album. Forget about technical prowess, if you’re looking for the next Animals as Leaders you won’t find it here. Chord to chugged chord progressions are the order of the day for Shambles and they seem content to keep it that way. There are no frills to be heard on this release which are at times to the production’s detriment. Things get off to a muddy start sonically from the outset and the dense mastering leaves little room for clarity. On one hand, this makes for a challenging listen yet on the other generates a healthy dose of heavy.

All in all, where Primitive Death Trance lacks in originality and studio chops it more than makes up for in unrefined integrity. However, exposure to bands like Pissgrave and Necrot would do Shambles and their sound a world of good. Sometimes, less is more but finding that happy medium somewhere in between is more often necessary than not.

Do their songs need work? Yes. Is there room for improvement? Definitely, but at least they’re out there doing it. In a country not exactly known for its contributions to the metal world, Shambles is staking their own claim. And that is something I can get behind.


-EDWARD DINSLEY-

ARTICLE: Writing Band Interviews for the Beginning Metal Blogger

So you started your own blog, or you took on the responsibility of interviewing a band or artist for a web-zine or blog you write for? It can be a daunting thing for the uninitiated, even after years.There have been a lot of negative articles published about writing interview questions, simply searching on Google brings up a plethora of terrifying articles about how you'll somehow mess up, or a band will hate you, just because you write something that has been asked before. On the other hand, it'll also bring up a load of advice that is put out there by people who are inexperienced or just don't like asking bands or artists about anything do with the actual music at hand. Some even claim that if you interview the wrong member of a band, it'll somehow ruin you. For one, that doesn't make a lick of sense, and two... if you happen to part of any outlet that has that viewpoint, it's probably not a place you should stay for long.

See, interviews are a very circumstantial thing. Not only does it depend on the band, the member or members being interviewed, their personalities, and their experiences but it can also come down to things like local vocabulary, grasp of the human language (if a band or artist doesn't speak or understand English or another language completely), or even the time they have to respond. Some people love to talk about the things they love, the things that inspire them, what they are doing, and so questions like 'What are your influences?' or 'What are your favorite bands?' don't seem like drivel to them. Some don't like this, though. Because after a long while of interviews or being on the road, it seems like a question they've probably heard a thousand times. Or, perhaps, they find some offense in it because they think you didn't do your research. Whatever. In reality, it comes down to the fact that you aren't only asking these questions for you. These questions are being asked because your readers. Right? And any band that expects new fans, should be willing to answer even the most common of questions. Because these aren't only being read by the interviewer, but their audience as well. Personally, I've yet to interview a band so jaded. But, the road worn are out there. Again, this is entirely circumstantial and it's something neither you nor the band or artist at hand can avoid: just ask or answer the questions to the best of your ability. If someone is offended, or misunderstands, it can't be avoided.

Now, on the side of people who ask about things that don't have to do with a artist or their musical ambitions. I understand that it's probably the best way to ask the non-typical questions. I've had my fair share of nonsensical questions (I asked Ondt Blod what animal they would be, as an example), and sometimes a response could warrant a reaction that is really funny or really interesting, but on the other hand it might get one you don't desire or piss someone off unexpectedly. Jokes, as well, are hit and miss. I've tried a few, made a fool of myself, and I felt a bit weird about it (I still posted the full interviews, however). But, your best bet is to mix these random funny or weird questions in with some more solid and informational ones. This way you have some more substantial questions to keep things nice and interesting, and avoid having nothing if something happens with the others. Again, talking from experience.

As for questions I don't think anyone should ask, I'd have to go strongly with 'What is a good/bad experience you'd had with a show?'. Only because, sometimes bands have just not toured or not toured enough to even have a story, some don't even play live. This is especially true if your writing for your own, or a blog that focuses on underground releases. I mean, it can be a great question, but it can also be a bad question. I have asked it a few times, and it has gotten some interesting results. Othertimes, it doesn't amount to much of anything. I suggest that, if you do ask it, you make sure the band at hand has some experience with shows. This doesn't mean it's always been good or bad, however. Totally circumstantial.

So, what's a newbie to do? In my experience, just take risks and ask the questions you feel you want to and that your readers would be interested in. Don't be afraid of a negative experience, because they will eventually happen at some point for you no matter what you do. There are too many numerous personalities in, even underground, metal to worry too much about it or dwell on one thing. Sometimes it won't be the best set of questions in the world, but there is also the chance that it could be, for you and your readers. Nothing is going to be perfect right off the bat, and sometimes a band or artist is new and really likes those typical questions because they read them being asked to their favorite artists. It could be something they are you really like. You never know.

To make you all feel better, here is the worst/dumbest questions I've ever asked:

Do you feel like sludge metal is perhaps a subgenre that doesn't often get as much attention as other extreme metal genres?

Why? Because the band was not a sludge metal band, but instead a hardcore band with sludge influences. In my defense, I felt the band leaned heavily towards sludge metal.

A friend of mine said they had something along the lines of a ‘Necrosexual encounter’, you have anything to do with that?

Why? Because the joke fell FLAT. Either it didn't transfer well into text or The Necrosexual just didn't get it.

How do you achieve such a large sound with only three members? Especially during live gigs?

Why? The answer is clearly just because they play loud music. Because, duh, this is a metal/rock blog and everyone plays loud music.


-KEITH, THE ODD-

REVIEW: Lumnos - Ancient Shadows Of Saturn (Flowing Downward)

Over time, Black Metal has whipped back and forth with experimentation. A few years back, you'd find all manner of genres crossing with it. You had no idea what to expect, at times you could get anything from techno-Black metal, Blackgaze, all the way to Pink Floyd-like progression, and even hip hop (New York's Romantic, for one)? That would slowly fade away, aside from a few choice examples, as people most likely saw that the experimental was mounting higher then the traditional stuff. That and some of it just was not good, or completely shat on the genre as a whole. But hey, it's 2018, and we're starting to see a nice little resurgence going on. And, thankfully, it's been pretty good.

Lumnos is one such experimental project, put forth by Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Putrefactus. His idea, which I've seen in the past but done much differently, is 'Cosmic Black Metal'. And, as a complete and utter science fiction geek (with like a half-dozen incomplete SciFi novel attempts under his belt), I couldn't be more happy to get my hands on something like this. Yes, and how appropriate that I binge watched the Star Trek TNG movies right before this.

Simplicity and hypnotic repetition seem to be the key factor in what makes 'Ancient Shadows Of Saturn' so engrossing, almost entrancing. Putrefactus uses a combination of synth and reverb-laden guitars, both pushed back in the mix far enough to feel like the music is being presented within a vast space. When vocals are present, they are distant, definitely retaining the black metal vibe - only slow, 'airy', and lacking the aggression you'd expect from more traditional examples within the genre. How appropriate it is then, that Putrefactus would bring in a session vocalist for some dicey clean vocals later.

It isn't too surprising that I, and surely you, will find Lumnos to be almost like progressive rock or metal in nature - as a lot of the techniques used here are used within those sub-genres as well. But, this really isn't anything new, and the progressive elements work extremely well within a 'cosmic' theme.

I suppose the biggest problems with the 'Ancient Shadows Of Saturn' is the overall lack of vocal content. I find this is the element that truly makes this 'Black Metal' is the vocals. Otherwise it's more or less just DIY prog-rock. But, vast expanses of time can by without a sign - and things feel very... instrumental. When they do kick in, they are fantastic - mystifying and enigmatic. That is, aside from the clean vocals, which just don't seem to be all that well done or captivating. They are almost out of place, but so brief that it doesn't really seem to matter in the long run. Still, perhaps Putrefactus could have done without their inclusion or perhaps found a more suitable place for them.

It feels like Putrefactus is on the right track here with Lumnos. Creating something different can be a little difficult to do properly and he seems to have taken the time and done it right. I'm happy to see more solid examples coming out of the gate when it comes to the recent wave of black metal experimentation. But, lets have more like Lumnos - less Black Metal 'Hip Hop' this time.

-KEITH, THE ODD-

Keep up with everything Lumnos on their Facebook here.

INTERVIEW: Corey of NEST

(This interview it between Keith, The Odd of Direnotes and Corey of NEST)

NEST is a two-man hardcore band, with definite sludge elements, from Kentucky. Recently they have released their full length 'Metempsychosis' through Sludgelord Records. You can read our review here (and laugh at how many times I refer to them as strictly sludge metal). 

[K] So, what is the story with NEST? How did it come to be? 
COREY: If I can remember correctly Kyle and I just struck up a conversation about it when I moved up here. I had known Kyle through the Lexington music scene for years because my old band They Yearn For What They Fear would play lexington frequently. I had always been aware of his various projects (which all were good) and wanted to work with him. Finally got the opportunity to in 2015 and we wrote five songs and recorded a demo at Sneak Attack Studios here in Lexington and the rest is history.
[K] What was the process behind 'Metempsychosis? What kept NEST pushing forward? 
COREY: After we got through recording the two tracks for the Spiked and Abandoned 7” we kinda just decided to hold up playing shows and just focus on writing a new record. It honestly took about a years time (of playing and writing on and off) to get the songs fleshed out that are on the album. As for the title of the album, Kyle had always had that in mind from as long as I can remember. I tried to write lyrics around the theme but a lot of stuff was going on in 2017 that was personal for both of us. I think I did a good job of staying true to the definition of what that word means and then weaving in our own personal struggles to create a ‘variation on a theme’ so to speak.
Dedication to the material kept us pressing on. This record took a lot out of us emotional and physically. This entire album is a tribute to just getting through 2017 all together. 
[K] A lot of NEST's themes seemed to be based around the human condition (depression, loneliness, anger, etc) - is there any personal experience behind this? 
COREY: Of course-Not to reiterate myself, but 2017 was a nightmare of a year. 
[K] What's the story with Sludgelord Records, how did NEST come to be signed? 
COREY: I basically just sent the album off for a potential review from the blogspot. Aaron was gracious enough (and enjoyed it enough) to offer a digital release on the label. I was very stoked and honored to be asked, not only is he a good guy, but the blogspot has been around for years and has a very strong following and presence.
[K] As I'm Canadian and the scene is a little different over here, I'm curious as to what the metal scene is like in Appalachia? 
COREY: Its great! There are a lot of bands that are doing great things in the scene. Eastern Kentucky as a whole has always had a very great and diverse music scene. People here are not afraid to take risks and create truly heavy music. I could list bands (active now and previously) for days that have contributed to the longevity of this thriving scene. Its just a easy going place full of humble and creative people.
[K] Are there any struggles associated with being a metal act in Appalachia? 
COREY: The lack of proper venues and house spots to have metal shows, and then getting noticed seems to always be a struggle (but isn’t that the case anywhere).
[K] Do you feel like sludge metal is perhaps a subgenre that doesn't often get as much attention as other extreme metal genres? 
COREY: I think it gets its fair share of attention. I don’t think of us as being a sludge band though, to me we are more of a DIY hardcore band with some 90’s grunge influences (especially on this new album). I’m a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan (let me rephrase..EARLY YEARS only) and a fan of just grunge music from that period in general so I tried to keep all those artist in mind when crafting a drum beat or projecting a influence on Kyle. Don’t get me wrong though the stoner/sludge/blackened atmosphere is clearly present within the songs as well.
[K] Whats the story behind NEST's album art? 
COREY: It kinda just happened randomly. Kyle was searching around on the internet one day and came across this fractal artist Jan Robb and the stuff just blew me away. It really spoke to the mood and vibe that we were trying to create with this album (lyrically and musically).
[K] What does NEST strive to be?  
COREY: We strive to make music that is very raw and powerful. I would personally enjoy if we became something bigger than we are now, but all of that happens in its own time.
[K] What kind've formats can we expect to see 'Metempsychosis' released on? 

COREY: CD and cassette for the time being. We are going to make the announcements sometime soon for both of those formats, but we would really love to see it get a vinyl release. We are in hopes that a label will take interest and make this a realty.
[K] What is the future for NEST? Any plans to promote 'Metempsychosis' (shows, tours, etc)? 
COREY: Yeah, we have plans to play more shows and maybe tour a little in the future. Our main focus right now is to get the album released and generate some word of mouth through PR and whatnot. Kyle and I are busy people and have day jobs and other projects we are involved in. We have also talked about starting writing for the next record in the coming months.
[K] Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, any final words? 
COREY: I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Thank YOU though for allowing us to be featured on the website. It’s very much appreciated.

REVIEW: Iperyt - The Patchwork Gehinnom (Pagan Records)

A strange mixture of Black, Death, and Industrial metal; Iperyt is a five person group from Poland- with names like People Hater, Hellhound, Black Messiah, Shocker and... Vincent  (of whom, I'm thoroughly convinced is most likely a hardcore MF who doesn't need no nickname), I couldn't have hoped to guess. But, that doesn't matter. What matters is: does the band and their music work? I'd give you the answer now, but then you wouldn't read the rest of the review - would you?

Immediately, The Patchwork Gehinnom throws a sermon at you about some vaguely important topics that relate to the modern world at hand. The band seems to put a lot of importance in it's messages, which can even be seen on the albums artwork - a not-so-clever mockery of the Baphomet that has a masked man pointing to satellites burning and the like - but I feel like it's all been kind of said and done at some point. I mean, in an era where even pop-stars like That Poppy are making a mockery of Baphomet imagery it all seems a little typical rather then shocking. This goes almost tenfold when it comes to metal. I mean, I get it, but when Grindcore has bands that should about incest, getting pink eye, and other unpleasant things (S.C.A.T., Anal Floss is Boss, and Vaginal Cadaver) - the over saturation lends to a certain numbness. But, this is coming from a passive-aggressive Canadian man. Iperyt could very well be the anthem you are looking for. Lord knows the band at least knows how to back it up with some solid tunes.

There is almost nothing by-the-books here, I can't really say I've ever heard anything quite like what I have on The Patchwork Gehinnom. It's strange, as I've mentioned, but Iperyt has a way of bringing a plethora of jarring elements, all that is black metal, electronic music, and industrial, into one tight little package - the band calls it Terrorcore, I call it Iperyt. The drums, shamelessly and intentionally synthetic at times, work as an anchor to all the chaos; as noise grinds onward and guitars scream out, if not following their machine-like patterns. Vocals are death-like, but follow a somewhat spoken-word format. It fits in well with Iperyt's sermons; the fact that the band is telling you something directly rather then expressing them.

Usually I'd complain about all this, something about the purity of music and invasive nature of computerization and whatnot - but The Patchwork Gehinnom isn't made in hopes of hiding any skill based shortcomings, the band seems to have constructed it in hopes of defining themselves. And this here? It is all definition. There is no denying the originality of the sound that has been made here. It's all their own.

With experimentation, there are bound to be hiccups - and to me that is in the execution of blast beats on this record. My god, they are awful and really show what little Iperty had to work with. They are jarring, repetitive, one-off samples, and not even pleasant to a guy who listens to some genuinely far-reaching stuff on the daily. Luckily, they are not too prevalent, aside from the track 'Phantom Black Dogs'... which also happens to be the first track on The Patchwork Gehinnom. Honestly, I don't know what the band was thinking here. Either it was personal choice, limitations, or both.

It's pretty great to still come upon bands that do something different, Iperyt has most certainly kept on with their ambitious sound over the years. It's no surprise that The Patchwork Gehinnom is about to drop on vinyl. It's a curiosity for those who enjoy the obscure, far reaching fringes of genre experimentation. And, one of the rare genre experimentation albums that doesn't feel completely alienating to those who are willing to listen.

-KEITH, THE ODD-

Keep up with Iperyt on Facebook here or their record label, Pagan Records, here for further news on Iperyt and more!

REVIEW: Antichrist - Pax Moriendi (Iron Bonehead Productions)

If you’re going to be blatantly blasphemous in a predominantly Christian country, you had better be able to back it up. Doom heavyweights, Antichrist, do exactly this on their crushing debut LP, Pax Moriendi. Hailing from western South America, Antichrist has been raising the finger to mainstream religion since 2004.

Navigating Peru’s murky metal underground with a series of self-released EP’s (ThergothonUnholy and Winter), Pax Moriendi appears to be the band’s bleakest offering yet. I had to remove my headphones and play Pax Moriendi through loudspeakers to fully appreciate the depth and scope of this massive sounding record. I figured my neighbors would thank me me for introducing them to some new world music, especially since we’re treated to their homespun renditions of Johnny Cash and Buddy Holly on a regular basis. It’s the very least I could do.

With its eerie introduction, “Forgotten in Nameless Suffering” threatens to alienate even the most diehard listener. This notion is quickly dispelled, however, once the song itself actually opens. Intentionally slow, sludgy riffs are laid down thick and grimy courtesy of guitarist, Zaren and pave the way for Agalariep’s inhumanly guttural vocals. The low end utterances of “Hacked Up For Barbecue” era Mortician come immediately to mind as Agalariep chokes out mangled growls like bitter wind gusts in a graveyard. I envision the very stone of Christ’s tomb being painstakingly dragged away as the track soldiers on. Taking cues from doom pioneers, Grief, this is as deliberate and as mind numbingly punishing as it gets.

The all pervading ominous overtone continues and is even amplified through tracks like “Obscurantism” and “In the Dark and Mournful Corner”. The latter features Antichrist at their most subtle. The piece plays like a movement, effortlessly flowing from one section to another. Dual layered guitars and choral swells lend a welcome arty feel to the mix. At one point, I nearly leaped out of my skin as spoken lines obscured by daunting distortion reared their ugly heads. Jump scares are just one of many bonuses one can expect while listening to Pax Moriendi in the dark.
Album closer, “You Will Never See Sunlight” is as cheerful as it sounds. By this point, f you were looking for sunshine and roses your delusions should be all but shattered. Impossibly slow and purposely brooding, this is the perfect conclusion to an already weighty work.

Again, Antichrist makes liberal use of atmosphere here in the form of naked piano and hoarsely whispered lyrics. Truly haunting, this is a memorable memento worth sticking around for.
While certainly not for everyone and not exactly suitable for every occasion, Pax Moriendi is a welcome distraction in a world gone completely insane. It is a relentlessly cruel effort that is equally as inspiring as it is dissident. There really isn’t any getting around it-this is a must have for any fan of overwhelmingly brutal music. If Antichrist is any indication, Peru is well on its way to international recognition on the frontlines of underground metal. It’s about time.

-EDWARD DINSLEY-


REVIEW: Ziggurat - Ritual Miasma EP (Blood Harvest Records)

Musically, Ziggurat's Ritual Miasma seems to hit the mark with clinical precision. There are almost no mistakes, nor much error, to be heard here. It's exactly what you'd expect from something that calls itself 'Blackened Death' and the EP is so brief that you aren't exposed to any noticeable band quirks. But, this also means you don't get a whole lot of band traits either. There is no doubting the overall quality of Ritual Miasma, but perhaps it can be a little too by-the-numbers. Especially in the realm of experimentation, as the group has merely only went as far as mixing genres, rather then do anything distinctive or noticeable with them. There just simply isn't anything here that would make me think 'Hey, that's Ziggurat!' if I was to listen to it sometime down the road. A little bit of muck, a little blip, or shred of human error would have went a long way here. There is no tone or atmosphere, no depth, I am just being told by the vocalist that this is a big bad scary album, etc - It doesn't make the EP bad, or poorly constructed, but it makes it somewhat forgettable.

Ritual Miasma doesn't quite mate the genres of Death and Black metal together, such as bands like VAMPIRE or Whipstriker - but, it instead seems to consist of certain elements the band has taken and pieced together in a way that feels right. It's got plenty, and I mean plenty, of Black Metal tropes throughout it's short length, and a fair amount of Death when it comes to clarity and vocal style. However, I can't help but feel like it doesn't quite fall on either side. The 'Black' metal elements are lacking the sizable amount of distortion that is usually found within the genre, a lot of it is about enormous hideous waves of sound - cleaning it all up is a extremely odd choice. I just don't feel like it has the same overall effect. On the flip side, the 'Death' elements are mainly saved for vocals and making the blackened stuff feel slightly more chuggy. It makes everything feel a bit... Frankenstein. Like a lot of the bands favorite elements from these genres were chosen, incorporated, as something Black AND Death but not Blackened Death. It doesn't feel new but it's not unacceptable either, just really straight forward and expected.

I can't go without mentioning Ziggurat's fondness for blast beats. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to find many other albums or EPs I've covered that feature this much drum-kit abuse (R.I.P. drum-kit, though). I can't exactly place how I feel about them, not because they sound bad, but because blast beats like this are heard quite a bit on the very raw, primal, sort of black metal you find on some cassette labels - only this drum work is all properly mastered, extremely clear, and doesn't quite feel like your brain is frying due to the sheer volume of the high-hats. It's a clarity that almost feels a little perverse, in some odd way. Perhaps, because of my troubled love towards raw black metal. Way to make me feel conflicted, Ziggurat.

Again, Ritual Miasma isn't really bad in any way, Ziggurat seems to have a lot of potential. If a band's work is it's child then this one is a beast, but if it's one of natural conception or cold hard experimentation... well, that is something I can't quite pinpoint.

-KEITH, THE ODD-

REVIEW: NEST - Metempsychosis (Sludgelord Records)

Relatively new, Sludgelord Records has been quite successful when it comes to it's pick of representative bands - most likely due to Sludgelord's long history as an online webzine. They've certainly taken their passion to the next level, using their knowledge to pluck the best of the best from the dankest (and I mean dank in the traditional sense) sub-genre there is: sludge metal. It's a sub-genre I've only rarely attributed to bands like Buzzoven, only because it's never really rose to level where I could take it as more then a curiosity. Now I'm not so sure, first there was Coffin Torture - now NEST? Finally, I feel like maybe sludge might be coming into formation as a clearly defined thing thanks to both this label and these bands (so Wikipedia can't sit there telling me that Alice in Chains and the Melvins are sludge anymore. Seriously, don't ever use Wikipedia for metal).

To me, NEST is a whole different breed then most of the genuine sludge I've ever come across. Metempsychosis is a thunderous, angry, depressive, and emotional journey expressed through the most dire way possible. Yeah, there is nothing clean or hopeful here - it's a human hell and it feels like hell here. But what makes it a little different, especially, is the more brief and metallic approach NEST takes. It's very close to the sort of music you'd hear from the likes of DIY hardcore, only a bit slower and bit... blacker? The last third of 'Gallows of Forever' and the track 'From Darkness In Me, Illuminate' are probably the best examples of this.

Unusually, NEST does not dwell on it's tracks or rely on long drawn out sections; songs generally don't outstay their welcome, or stay too far past the 5 minute mark aside from Metempsychosis's nearly 10 minute finale. It was actually surprising to me, that these songs could be so brief but maintain their heaviness - as I've long attributed sonic 'heaviness' to slow bass-laden riffs (I'm sure I'm not the only one).

Thankfully, the music is just as heavy as promised, but the doom-like influence I've come to expect from the genre is down played to great effect - almost in an effort to show that NEST is capable of far more then that, and will offer more then that down the road. It leaves a lot of room, I think for a future exploration of sound - which is something I really like. And, lends to a whole lot of variation within the short amount of time that Metempsychosis runs. No long drawn out introductions either, which is somewhat a staple of sludge.

NEST is a staple of what sludge metal truly is and what it can truly be. In a time where bands, projects, and groups seem to skirt every sub-genre and definition seems to be at a minimum, bands like this need to exist. And, even if you aren't one who finds Metempsychosis particularly important as I do, it's still a damn fine record.

-KEITH, THE ODD-

Make sure to check out NEST's Facebook for updates and more about Metempsychosis here. And, Sludgelord Records for future releases and updates here.

REVIEW: Svartanatt - Starry Eagle Eye (the Sign Records)

Much like many other kids born in the 80's, my parents were born in the 60's. They were teenagers in the 70's and grew up around the true heyday of rock. I grew up with a deep passionate love of many of those bands; probably my deepest love was for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Now almost anyone can sing along with "Freebird", "Sweet Home Alabama" or even "Simple Man" (though admittedly that last one was popularized by Shinedown for many people my age). Most people also know the classic "That Smell" (which is my personal favorite). These songs bring me right back home, to my childhood in South Mississippi, though I have not been home for many years. Now what does all of this have to do with Svartanatt?

They are quite reminiscent of Skynyrd to me. They sound like they were ripped right from the deep pocket of southern rock that many people (myself included) love so much. You would never guess that this band came from Stockholm, Sweden. First and foremost, that deep, raspy, rich voice of Jani Lehtinen is just the kinda voice that would make me say "Oh, that's a good ole boy!" Now don't get me wrong, I love all types of music. I enjoy all types of vocals. But, there is something about the southern rock vocals that just touches my soul.

Of course, the vocals wouldn't be enough to bring this kinda vibe to life. With Svartanatt, Felix Gasste on guitar, Mattias Halmstrom on bass, Martin Borgh on organ and Daniel Heaster on drums had just as much to do with this sound as Jani. This was just such a perfect mixture of talent.

"Wrong Side of Town" is probably one of my favorite tracks. I mean there wasn't a song on Starry Eagle Eye that I would dare call weak. This one just happened to be the one that I wanted to replay a few times. I usually gauge an album not on how many times I want to hear it, but on how much it inspires me to write again or how calm and at home I feel listening to it. This album hits all marks for me! I would recommend this album to anyone.

-SAMMI SPELLS-

Check out Svartanatt on Facebook.

REVIEW: Divine Realm - Nordicity (Independent)

Divine Realm's album Nordicity is an absolute must in my books. Listening to the songs on this album left me wanting to listen to more by them. It was a perfect blend of symphonic melody intertwined within some of the songs. There was just one thing that I truly wanted more from this album, to hear more from them. For those who enjoy listening to Instrumental Prog, you will most assuredly like Divine Realm's Nordicity.

The first song on the album is called "As the Crow Flies". At a mere 1:20 this song is nothing short of absolutely beautiful to listen to. To be 100% honest, the beginning is my absolute favorite. It starts with a subtle guitar intro, and then grows even more. It, though short, is a relaxing song to listen to.

"Autumn" is the next song on this album that though a bit more upbeat, just as great as the first. The guitarist truly makes their guitar "sing" in this song. I can definitely understand why this was called "Autumn". If you close your eyes while listening to this and try to imagine it, this would definitely be the theme of Autumn being fast forwarded. Another song that has not let me down.

"Whitewater", to be perfectly honest, has to be one of my favorites to listen to on this album.  This song reminds me of the Whitewater rapids. Sounds weird, but this song starts of strong, and keeps going strong.  Divine Realm definitely knows their stuff, and it shows in this track.

"Revival" is the fourth song on this album, I will say, is my absolutely favorite song on Nordicity. Not only is every note strong, but also the song is very relaxing. "Revival" is by far one of the most beautiful songs I have had the pleasure to listen to. Major Kudos to Divine Realm for writing such a beautiful song that one could truly relax to.

The last song on this album is titled "Hanging Valleys". I have one thing to say about this song, and it is very strong. Listening to this song, it is written with strong emotion behind it. This is very obvious with every single note that is played, and not surprising a great addition to this album.

Listening to instrumental music is so great to listen to, but when you find an album this good, it makes you want more. Nordicity is one of those albums that I have to say makes me want to listen to more of Divine Realm. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to every single song. Each and every song was written with such great emotion, and if I had to rate each song I couldn't. Yes Revival is my favorite song on the album, but to rate least to favorite I couldn't. Each and every song was amazing. All I can say is that I definitely want to hear more from Divine Realm, they are great to listen to.


-NIKKIE GAGNON-

Keep up with Divine Realm on Facebook.