All posts by Nikola Savić

Tragul

Sympho Metal Dose: TRAGUL’s “Before I Say Goodbye”

Multi-national Symphonic Metal six-piece TRAGUL released their new single “Before I Say Goodbye” on Friday, April 13th. The lyric video for the song is streaming now via the band’s official YouTube channel. “Before I Say Goodbye” presents an undeniably renewed TRAGUL, which returns with a very catchy melodic song, a rhythm halfway between the modern sound and the traditional power metal that leads to a fresh and melodic metal at its best.

TRAGULkeyboardist and founder Adrian Benegas commented: “The general concept of ‘Before I Say Goodbye’ is related to death or farewell. It could be understood as a spiritual death, a transformation towards another kind of feel leaving behind negative things for something better, a different state of the ‘being.’ Also, it could be understood more directly, specifically speaking about the departure from this world or about the death of a loved one from a first person view (as a farewell). Even if it is a sensitive subject this matter is always there, it’s like a strange feeling of nostalgia and hope about what is beyond this world, the doubt about what awaits us when we take that important step. In one way or another it is undeniable that within us is always the hope to find ourselves with something better, perhaps with ourselves in a state of “pure form”, the “true one” without the “clothing” that we use as human beings.

Benegas describes the creative process for the new single as “very smooth and natural.”

He continues to say: “I started with a rough idea about the song’s subject. Then I created like an atmosphere to support that idea and started to write the final lyric in order to start writing the main melodies. Once I had the main melodies (verses, chorus) it went very fast, I think the most important and difficult parts when you create music are the melodies, the melodies are like the ‘soul’ of a song. Once you find something you like for the melody, the rest comes easily. For the final stage (arrangements, recordings, etc), we found a very easy way to work with the guys. Once I finish the songs (main idea/demo), I send the demo so they can add their arrangements on their own instruments before we start to record the final version. Except for the bass, that is entirely wrote by Oliver, always.

TRAGUL plans to release a few more single by the end of 2018.

True to TRAGUL‘s format we will release our music in a song by song format. Which means, a song every two months with a visual support and available on all the streaming and digital stores around the world. I can’t reveal too much at this moment, but I’d like to mention that we’ve prepared a special song for Halloween (with a dark concept on it), also we will release a cover of a song from a Netflix show. That song was mixed and mastered by a great Hollywood producer who will be revealed pretty soon. I am sure the people will love it,” Benegas concludes.

Watch a lyric video for “Before I Say Goodbye” below, and follow TRAGUL on Facebook for future updates or visit their official website.

TRAGUL line-up:

Adrian Benegas – Keyboards

Zuberoa Aznárez – Vocals

Steve Conley – Guitars

Diego Bogarín – Guitars

Oliver Holzwarth – Bass

Sander Zoer – Drums

Kicking Nerve

Review: Kicking Nerve – Bipolar

Kicking Nerve from Athens, Greece put their best foot forward with their debut album “Bipolar,” an utterly relentless eleven-song set that keeps listeners on their toes from start to finish. Seamlessly blending visceral breakdowns and hardcore-isms, the four-piece take some unexpected but powerful detours in a number of the songs here.

Kicking Nerve - Bipolar

Although the album opener “Injured” serves as a forecast for a slam-centric record with its brooding two-step beats and chugs, Kicking Nerve shift gears almost immediately, dropping into “Not Dead Yet” and “Extremes” with bouncing riffs that effortlessly dip in and out of swings and blasts. Further flexing their technical prowess on songs like the pace-shifting “Circle of Hate,” the band finds inventive ways to remain engaging. This, in addition to the production sheen and perfectly balanced mix elevates the set to a level reached by very few of their peers.

Kicking Nerve run the risk of sounding scattered by deciding not to sit in one sonic space for too long and incorporating numerous metallic influences into their work, but on “Bipolar,” it only ever comes across as calculated, not to mention razor-sharp.

Stream the album on Bandcamp, and follow Kicking Nerve on Facebook.

Too High To Say Hello

Review: Kiss Kiss King Kong – Too High To Say Hello

Norway’s power trio Kiss Kiss King Kong assault listeners’ ears with highly energetic and sporadic bursts of brilliant dynamics on “To High To Say Hello.” Colorful, complex, and superbly catchy, the band’s debut album is an exceptional collection of hyperactive post-rock and noisy flights of fancy, with momentous musicianship infectious hooks scattered throughout. This album is adventurous, imaginative, and surprising. In fact, it’s the most fearless and unique album I’ve heard this year, although it’s a release from 2015.

The opening “Intro the Night” kickstarts “Too High To Say Hello” like an auditory coma. On “668: Neighbour To The Beast,” the music jolts with a start/stop frenzy that’s too tremendous to ignore. The guitarist provides an impassioned melody for each wildly creative rhythmic shift, which vary between hectic, tranquil, and atmospheric. Best of all, this song proves to be one of the most inventive and unforeseen tracks I’ve heard all year. The psyched-out guitar work is seductive, and the instrumentation on this tune veers more towards psychedelic swing than anything progressive. It bleeds into the equally exciting rock’n’roll banter “Rock All Night” and its follow-up “On A High,” making for completely unexpected stylistic shifts.

Further on, “Bordell California” lives up to the zany awesomeness of its title. It’s luscious, multifarious, and wholly confident — considering it is the longest piece on the record. It is perhaps the most experimental piece on the album, and definitely one of the biggest highlights of “Too High To Say Hello.

Post-punk trails on short “Jet Age” further contribute to the album’s overall multicolourness. The closing “Rewind” is an elegant piece with soaring vocals and tasteful melody.

Too High To Say Hello” is so inimitable. Rarely have I been so impressed with the sheer nonconformity of an album. Then again, it’s equally rare to find a modern band who strives so hard to set itself apart from the pack. Without a doubt, this one is special.

Grab a copy of “Too High To Say Hello” from iTunes. Like Kiss Kiss King Kong on Facebook.

Lelahell

Death Metallers LELAHELL Run Indiegogo Campaign

Alif is the title of the second studio album by Algerian death metal trio Lelahell, for which the band recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The campaign is active for three weeks; you can head to the campaign’s page and support the band in reaching the goal what will allow them to raise the funds for the album artwork, album’s production, production of a music video and a band merchandise.

The founder of the band, singer and guitarist Redouane Aouameur commented: “Our campaign is running since 5 weeks and will end in 3 weeks. We expect to get at least 50% of the requested amount this will help us to have a very good quality record mixed and mastered in the Hertz Studio, the sound that will perfectly feet to this album.”

The title of the album is inspired by the first letter of the Arabic alphabet. In Arabic, alif is the first letter in the alphabet, and it is used in Arabic calligraphy to determine the size of the following characters. Lelahell say they chose the title as this album “will be the main musical reference of the next upcoming releases.”

The trio’s new album, Alif, is slated as the group’s second full-length album and third release since the band’s formation in 2010. Lelahell are set to record at Hertz Studio in Poland under the guidance of well-known producers — the Wiesławscy brothers.

Support Lelahell by donating through the Indiegogo campaign, and follow them on Facebook for future updates.

About Lelahell:

Founded in 2010 by metal veteran Redouane AouameurLelahell is an Algerian death metal band hailing from Algiers. The trio comprises of Redouane “Lelahel” Aouameur (guitars, vocals), Ramzy Curse (bass) and Slaveblaster (drums). Lelahell have released one EP, Al Intizar (Goressimo Records, 2012), and one full alubum, Al Insane… The (Re)birth of Abderrahmane (HPGDP, 2014). The band also launched a documentary in 2016 titled Highway to Lelahell – An Algerian Metal Documentary, available for streaming on YouTube, presenting viewers with a solid history lesson on Algeria’s metal scene. The band have also embarked on three European tours, and also participated in festivals in Europe.

Eyesolate

Review: Eyesolate – Noumena

Now this one is definitely a slight out of my comfort zone. Eyesolate play a style of bleak, atmospheric Progressive Metal, with Post-Hardcore interspersed into their sound too. In a bid to continue with my ever continuing broadening of horizons I decided I’d give this a look over for review.

Eyesolate are the kind of band I wouldn’t have touched a few years ago, and those who listen to the more conventional styles of Metal can safely give this one a miss from the get go. However, those who are attracted to bizarre and abstract strands of Metal are going to want to read on.

Noumena

Eyesolate’s style is a suffocating mesh of jangling, sludgy guitars. Their pacing is a slow burning type, and their songs are not too long, yet ever growing. A spiralling, haunting trudge through dank mires, their riffs claw out the speakers like skeletal branches; constricting the listener and dragging them into pits of despair. The guitar tone isn’t too overbearing. The drum work is excellent, with tasteful use of cymbals and drum fills. The bass also has a good degree of room to breathe here on Noumena which is just great.

The band is at their best as the album flows. A tumultuous journey on “Farewell” that spans over six minutes, and drags the listener right to the heart of Eyesolate’s nightmare world. The album cover is absolutely perfect for the music contained, with rather simplistic drawing which when observed carefully explains more.

A bizarre, and sometimes horrifying release, Eyesolate create their atmosphere well. I’d say fans of the style, or previously established fans of the band are going to be in for a treat with Noumena.

Links:

http://www.eyesolate-band.com

https://eyesolate.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/Eyesolate/

The Killing Hours

Review: The Killing Hours – I, Catharsis

Hailing from Miami, thrash/death metal band The Killing Hours released their debut album I, Catharsis in October 2015. If you like you some riffy, metalcorish guitars to back up your melodeath vocals, look no further.

The sounds lean heavily on the early 00′s sound, treading the line nicely between the worlds of Gothenburg and metalcore. There’s even some silighly proggier moments on the closing title track and “Reflections of.” Things will occasionally slow to a crawl, but just long enough to set a up a thrilling conclusion (“Between the Lines of Fire”).

I, Catharsis

But if you happen to be one of those who shivers at the mention of all thinge “core,” recognize that aside from the riffing structures, none of the other tropes are at play here. Vocals are mostly growls with a hint of clean singing. And as listed in the band’s tags, there is quite a bit of thrash influence o keep things more on the extreme side of things.

More importantly, The Killing Hours are just great at making killer metal songs. There are tons of righteous solos, and the drums here manage to rival some already hefty hooks. Expert pace changes, breaks, and fetching fill work keep things interesting. There are nods stylistically to everything from Unearth and All That Remains to Lamb of God to Dream Theater and Arch Enemy. And that other key element for a great album, consistency, is a big part of what keeps me coming back to I, Catharsis.

 Links:

https://thekillinghours.bandcamp.com

https://www.facebook.com/Thekillinghours

Pontus Gunve 1

Interview with Pontus Gunve

“Pontus Gunve’s music embraces the theory that music is a multi-dimensional experience and an adventure in wordless storytelling that fully absorbs the audience’s mind, body and spirit.”

This is exactly what happens on the Pontus brand new release — an EP titled “IV” which was released on February 14. I talked with Pontus about this new material, touring, inspiration, and more.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Good …

Speaking of new music, you have a new EP. What can people expect from “IV”?

A mixed bag of music. I don’t really feel very genre specific – but Progressive Rock is what I believe allows me to make the music I make. I try to pull from different influences and this EP really has a bit of everything – Heavy Rock guitars, melodic cello, heavy drums, some tabla sections, and a version of Misirlou.

IV

What was it like working on the EP?

It felt quite quick – or very productive and intense when it was happening. Time was of the essence while recording the album and we had to get as much done as possible in a short timeframe (spent 9 hours in the studio for a bulk of the recording). The band had been rehearsing for the last few weeks and I knew we had to get as much done as possible in the timespan at the studio. My idea was to create a very straight ahead recording that caught as much of the live experience as possible, and that is why all the instruments were recorded at the same time. Only the Tabla and an overdubbed guitar was added, apart from that everything else was recorded at the same time. We recorded each song roughly 4-5 times and while recording we also had a camera crew on location to capture everything.  The video was taken by Comagine (by Chris Ventura and Peter Lasala). But the full picture started around 3 years earlier – basically in late 2012. After releasing The Observer in 2013 (my first album using live instruments and incorporating live strings) I was steered in a different musical direction. My musical roots sprung out of a heavy metal and hard rock background – and I had for the last ten years explored other musical genres. Ambient, electronic, Western and Indian  classical, and a bit more experimental flare . However, with this new EP release I wanted to incorporate a heavier guitar sound, and a rejuvenation of my new found fascination with Progressive Rock.

With my newer material I’ve tried to pull from some of these influences – but also tried to simplify the instrumentation . For me incorporating the cello and tabla into my compositions and in the mix has both presented a whole set of new challenges and open doors in other places of the sonic landscape . The range of the cello presents some very interesting textures between the electric guitar and the cello . Mixing in the cello and give it space around the electric guitar and bass presents a whole range of separate challenges . The tabla added an energetic texture that when blended with amplified music moved the music forward and gave it a new vitality. Well the first step in the live recording process was to isolate the cello from the rest of the band. Eric sat in the control room while the rest of us where out in the live room .

Both the recording and mixing was done at Virtue and Vice studios in Brooklyn. Rocky Gallo recorded strings and mixed the Observer in 2013 . I was really happy with how the percussive elements and guitars / strings sit on his mixes . He understands the blend of rock and beauty really well and I’m very pleased how the mixes came out . Key is to be prepared – and I had layer the groundwork and prepped as much as possible before going into the mixing .

Are there any touring plans in support to “IV”?

No plans yet – but am hoping to arrange something for this summer. My ultimate goal (granted I can scrape together a budget for it) would be to tour India and Sweden. But lets see.

Pontus

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

Touring Northern Europe and perhaps Japan and India would be great…

Who and what inspires you the most?

Not sure I can pinpoint one specific who or what for that. Musically I write when inspiration strikes – and mostly it’s when I feel strongly about something or have an idea that I think will generate something interesting.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

I listen to all genres of music. I find inspiration in music that inspire – that is why I usually don’t stay to genres. I come from a Heavy Metal / Hard Rock background but have always found myself drawn to melodic context and music that takes you somewhere. I don’t like predictability and to me music should be about telling a story and make the listener go somewhere in the music.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Well as always – I really appreciate all who find my music enjoyable and for all who take time to listen.

Visit Pontus Gunve’s official website here.

Heartlay

Interview with Heartlay

Aaron Sadrin is a man behind a French metal project Heartlay, with whom he recently released an EP titled “Remedy.”

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Good, thanks for asking.

Speaking of new music, you have an EP. What can people expect from “Remedy”?

“Remedy” takes the listener to the next step of Heartlay’s musical evolution. It’s a darker, deeper, generally more angst ridden experience.

What was it like working on the EP?

Well i’m constantly writing, so in April i just decided to do a second EP, and i made a selection between all the tracks that i’ve made since november 2014. I was looking for something more agressive than the last release, so i took the songs that fitted the most with my visions at the time. Otherwise the recording conditions were a lot cleaner than how i used to do for Injection.

Remedy

Are there any touring plans in support to “Remedy”?

No touring plans for now.

While we are on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

Where rock seems to live: USA, Germany, UK, Eastern Europe etc.

Who and what inspires you the most?

Adversity and generally psychological hurt are the most inspiring things to me. It’s a little depressing but those emotions appeal me as an artist, whether if it comes from music or not. This is basically what i found when i started listening to darker bands like Tool or Nine Inch Nails or Alice In Chains or The Cure in a different style, it’s catchier to me when it’s about sulfur.

Some of my ideas are also coming from other types of arts like films, paintings, or even literature. I often see myself as an author who writes with audio files and riffs rather than a « real » musician, essentially because of my search for loneliness when i compose.

What other genres of music do you listen to? Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

A lot a different stuff, from Eric Serra soundtracks to Trip Hop or even well-produced Black Metal like Der Weg Einer Freiheit. And sometimes i take inspiration from artists who do not appear to sound like Heartlay, especially 80’s post punk bands such as Virgin Prunes or Bauhaus.

Virgin Prunes’ « If I Die I Die » is one of the best things that happened to me as a music fan, it’s crazy how these guys were inspired and anti-conformist, i love how this album is structured and perhaps i will try to do a sort of similar thing for a future release.

Heartlay

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you would like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

There are big things coming so stay connected on www.heartlay.com or facebook.com/heartlaymusic for the latest infos.

Jusska

Interview with Jusska

Belgian prog metal band Jusska returned in January with their new EP. The 3-track release, titled Tsuki, features ex-Monuments drummer Mike Malyan. The band, currently comprised of guitarist Leander Verheyen and singer Iason Passaris, is looking for bassist and drummer to complete the line-up and transform in a live band.

The band talked with me about their new release.

Hey folks. How are you doing?

Hi! Doing great thanks! The sun is out, don’t have to work so I’m happy.

You released “Tsuki” last week. How do you feel about the release?

I’m really over the moon about how it turned out I must say! When you finish your songs in preproduction you can never tell 100% how they are going to come out when you record them for real, especially when you leave the mixing and mastering over to someone else. In this case Stef from Atmospheres. Who did and awesome job btw! Also super stoked that we had the pleasure of working with Mike Malyan this time around. His grooves really add life and depth to the songs, unlike the super simplistic drums we programmed on the 1st ep haha. This EP is a huge step up from the last one so couldn’t be more excited about it!

How much of a challenge was to work on the EP?

Working on music is never a challenge really, it’s always fun. The only thing we have to take into acount is that we can’t spend too long writing and re-writing stuff ‘cause we wanted to release en EP every 3 – 4 months. So we cut all the crap that doesn’t work fast haha. It also gets you in a good working flow. Straight to the point.

Tsuki

What other bands similar to your genre that are coming from Belgium are you friends with?

Hmm there aren’t a lot of bands doing what we do here in Belgium unfortunately. But those that are, are definitely worth checking out like my other band BEAR if you are into more extreme stuff. My former band Atmospheres and bands like Vermillion are in the same category as Jusska though.

What is your opinion about the new wave of prog metal bands?

I would say that it’s awesome that the genre has been constantly growing the last decade. When I started playing guitar 20 years ago no-one had even heard about Meshuggah. I didn’t even know how to pronounce it right haha. To see that they are now the summum of progressive grooves and an inspiration to all these new bands is awesome. Goes to show you just have to stick to what you believe in!

Can you tell me something about your influences?

Personally I like listening to music that taps into the deeper part of your emotions. I can’t stand happy music haha, which doesn’t mean I can’t get happy by listening to something btw.

But I like things that reach my emotional side, like flamenco. Music that sweps you away. I’m also really into dark synth stuff like Perturbator. Also movies, in particular sci fi influence me I guess. I’m a kind of a sci fi geek. All those things add up in my brain and come out through my fingers on the guitar.

Jusska

What are you listening to these days?

Perturbator, love that stuff. Also, Vola is my go latest go-to-band for heavyness AND awesome melodies.

Your 5 favourite records of all the time?

Of all time? Ok some go back a while haha. I’ll try te koop it in the metal/rock/prog vibe.

Deloused in the comatorium by The Mars Volta
Chaosephere by Meshuggah
Relationship of command by At the drive in (yeah I’m a Omar Rodiguez-Lopez fan)
Aenema by Tool
Demanifacture by Fear Factory was the first album I played for weeks on end.

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “Tsuki”?

As always I recorded all guitars with my axe fx 2. My guitar is a modded Ibanez RGA 8 with DiMarzio D-activator pick ups. I don’t exactly know what Mike used actually haha. But He did a hybrid technique of actual drumming on kickpads, keyboards and programming some other parts. The bass sound was a plug-in from protools.

Besides the release of the EP, are there any other plans for the future?

We are trying to expand into full band. So if anyone is interested, get In touch and let’s jam! We are eager to start playing live. In the springtime we will release another EP with 3 songs, so we are working on that as well now. After that it’s on to the full length I guess, and world domination of course. [laughs]

Any words for the potential new fans?

If you like heavy grooves and epic vocals, give our new EP TSUKI a spin, I’m sure you’ll dig it.

Follow Jusska on Facebook.

Aitor (Flute)

Interview with Alms

Alms is a Progressive Rock project created by the Spanish multi-instrumentalist Aitor Lucena Martínez, who has just released the sophomore album titled “An Irosmic Tragedy.”

In the interview for Progstravaganza, Martínez talks about the record.

Alright, first things first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Well, hehehe, for me, life itself is absurd and meaningless –I talk about it in “An Irosmic Tragedy”-, and I’m really having much fun with mine. In all my cynicism and nihilism, I consider myself a happy man, so I’m always fine, thank you!

Speaking of new music, you have a new album. What can people expect from “An Irosmic Tragedy”?

As I always say, expectations are boundaries. “An Irosmic Tragedy” is a concept album about my personal vision of life, a Symphonic Progressive Rock piece of 42 minutes structured in three sections according to each one of its phases –childhood, adulthood and elderhood-. And that’s all I can say about it. Of course, I always express my own thoughts and feelings in my music, but the listener’s interpretation could be different, and that’s how it should be. I’m not willing to condition the listening experience of the audience, and in fact I think I’m not entitled to do so.

What was it like working on the album?

It was challenging, fun and exhausting. After “Beyond”, my debut album, I wanted to keep in the same line, but knowing there were some aspects that I had to improve. When I came to the idea of a concept album about life –we can say it’s a prequel to “Beyond”, which is a musical journey through the afterlife-, I started working on it knowing that, this time, I would need some collaborators in order to avoid sampling. Organizing and coordinating all the recording sessions with the other musicians was a really hard work, but I got to know many awesome people who helped me a lot and gave me other perspective on my own music, and the result is, in my opinion, brilliant.

Cover

Are there any touring plans in support to “An Irosmic Tragedy”?

There are no plans yet, but there is an intention. I’d like to play “An Irosmic Tragedy” live, and I’m currently thinking in how I could do it, taking into account that I need many musicians on stage, many hours of rehearsal (I have my job and I also have to study, so I don’t have enough time at the moment) and a strong economic support. As soon as I get all these, of course there will be concerts.

While we’re on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

Spain would be the best and most logical starting point, but I’d love to tour every country in the world. I love to travel, and I’d do it more often if I had the chance, so for me touring around the world would be fantastic.

Who and what inspires you the most?

I don’t get inspired by anyone in particular, but I get inspiration from almost anything that makes me think. A good movie, the nature, a book, a conversation… If I can extract a particular idea, I can develop that idea and tell it with music.

What other genres of music do you listen to?

I love Classical Music, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Folk, but I listen to any band or musician that makes me think and feel something, no matter the genre.

Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Doubtlessly. In fact, my music can be described as a mixture of everything I listen to, and the main reason I make, play and love Progressive Rock is that every fusion is fair. Also, as a guitar player, I’ve learnt from the music of Bach, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and many others that influenced my playing and writing.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

I would like to thank you all. The reception of “An Irosmic Tragedy” is being amazing and all this support from the audience and media is the best reward an independent musician can get.

Links:

http://www.alms-official.com

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