All posts by Alec Vanthournout

Abhiruk Patowary

Interview: GAIA

Abhiruk Patowary is a young multi-instrumentalist from India, who is about to launch a debut album with his project GAIA. In an interview for our website Abhiruk lets us know about his musical beginnings, the album, his future plans…

Let’s start from your early music beginnings. How did your musical career begin? When did you start playing? Which groups have been your favorites? Please tell us something more about your early life.

I started playing piano around 9 years ago. I was playing Western classical music until a fine day I heard some kids in my school play metal and I became obsessed. Ever since it was my dream to form a metal band and write an album. After which I started to play drums which was one of my first steps of playing metal, then I learned bass and then finally guitar.

Opeth and Pantera were my gateway drug to metal and have been my influences. Apart from these two, for this particular bands modern metal bands like Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, August Burns Red, Periphery, TesseracT, Skyharbor, were some of my influences.

As for my early life, I don’t think I can answer that since I’m too young to have an early life.

Abhiruk Patowary (GAIA)

How did you go about forming Gaia? Who was the most influential when the band started its musical journey?

I wanted to write groovy metal core stuff, but couldn’t find people to join me so I wrote the entire album on my own. Then I got Nathan from Intervals to play drums on five of the tracks. One particular thing that has been really influential is going to gigs and seeing bands both underground and international.

In the beginning, did you have some “fixed” tempo in composing songs or everything was a product of jamming, improvising?

All the basic structures were basically me noodling around the guitar for hours and recording it on my laptop.

How would you describe Gaia’s music on your own?

Gaia’s music is simple, groovy modern metal music. I think that’s the best how I can describe it.

GAIA - Aerial

Tell me about the writing and recording phases of your debut album Aerial.

After I get the basic structure done, I start to layer with other guitar sections and synth parts, then I track bass and finally the drums. Before tracking drums I roughly program it just to have an idea.

How do you see the metal scene in India? Can you recommend us some bands to check out?

Metal scene in India is growing rapidly and there are many potential bands which maybe be big names in the future. Some bands you can check out are Goddess Gaggged, Scribe, Acid Pit, Dymbur and Warwan.

Abhiruk Patowary

Do you consider yourselves a part of any specific cultural movement, however peripheral?

No I don’t really think so.

Are you also involved in any other projects or bands beside Gaia?

Yes. I also play bass for Acid Pit and drums for Paroxysm.

So, what comes next for Gaia?

Next step for Gaia is to go live, find musicians to join the band, which has been started and also start to write Gaia 2.

Follow GAIA on Facebook and Instagram.

Enceladus

Review: Enceladus – Arrival

Prog/Power metallers from Texas, Enceladus, have been around for a few years, and they have recently returned with their second album “Arrival.” Why the hell didn’t I know about them earlier? Now, thanks to the PR wire, I got a promo copy of the album which is a real t(h)reat.

The style that Enceladus plays is pretty standard, comparing somewhat with more traditionalist 80s metal throwbacks, yet they manage to sound different and fresh when compared with a lot of the other bands that attempt to play in this particular style.

Soikkam’s vocals are gravely and rough, standing at the very center of the counter-tenor wails of Rob Halford and the husky baritone of Blaze Bailey. During the choruses of such catchy anthems as “Distant Land” and “Blueprint” the vocal work almost punches past the rest of the arrangement. While he doesn’t soar into the higher stratosphere too often in the manner that most in the genre do, he more than compensates with sheer power.

Enceladus - Arrival

Although the voice alone gives this album a heavy yet melodic edge, the entire arrangement pounds the sonic threshold of the listener into submission. Whether its faster songs like or down tempo stomping machines, there is a consistent picture of a mighty fist slamming itself down on a stone table and commanding your undivided attention. Balancing out the simple yet aggressive riffs and backing instruments are flashy leads of guitarist Geo Roessler.

“Arrival” is a powerful statement from a band that is hungry to show what their abilities are, and according to this they have much more to offer. Grab this record, you’ll not regret.

Links:

Bandcamp

enceladusband.com

Second To Sun

Review: Second To Sun – The Black

Well, this is quite impressive. “The Black” is the second album from post/black metallers Second To Sun and it’s a stunning piece of work filled with lush soundscapes and bleak moods, but also darkness.

Second to Sun - The Black“The Black” is an ambitious piece, with lots of intricate ideas and approaches woven into the music, and it’s a very rewarding listen as a result. It seems like on every listen, there’s another little element that you pick up on because there’s so many layers to Second To Sun’s sound. It’s just so atmospheric and well-constructed, and it really draws you in as it progresses.

A good element of the album is that there’s certain  groove riffs and ideas that span over the entire length of the album, really helping the piece to worm its way into your head, and there’s just so many good songs to contend with.

All in all, “The Black” is a pretty solid release. Second To Sun have really made it count with this album, and it is memorable for all the right reasons.

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Instagram

The Mercy Stone

Video: The Mercy Stone Launch “Wail Song” Clip

Taken from the press release:

A 12-piece experimental rock ensemble, The Mercy Stone has launched a new studio performance video for the song “Wail Song” taken from their album Ghettoblaster. The video is available on YouTube

Founder of the project, guitarist and composer Scott Grady stated, “‘Ghettoblaster’ uses many different genres/styles of popular music with elements of classical composition. With ‘Wail Song,’  I was looking to take The Mercy Stone into a jazzy/funky musical space. A lot of the musical ideas come from the fact that I play a little bit of many different instruments. Once I had a good idea of how the piece would unfold, experimenting and improvising on strings, winds, and percussion helped generate many of its melodic and rhythmic elements. This is one of the most challenging and most fun pieces that we play. Much of the piece fluctuates between meters frequently, so it keeps us all on our toes. Getting everyone in the band to really groove through all of the rhythmic challenges definitely took some time.

The Mercy Stone was founded by Grady in 2016. After spending several years studying music composition in an academic setting, he sought to put his composition chops to work within a project that would have the substance and sophistication fitting for a contemporary-classical concert stage as well as the accessibility that would be palatable to rock audiences. After finishing a master’s degree in music composition in 2015, he spent the next year and a half exploring how to achieve this synthesis. Understanding the pitfalls of music fusion, Grady wished to create a classical/rock hybrid style that was organic, drawing inspiration from his years of absorbing, studying, and performing all flavors of popular music (classic rock, pop, reggae, metal, funk, psychedelic/experimental rock), world music (West African drumming, Flamenco, Eastern European dance music,) along with the Western art music he studied through his years in academia. 

The Mercy Stone recently started work on their sophomore full-length release.

While ‘Ghettoblaster’ was entirely instrumental, this new album will have several tunes with vocals. It will be exciting to share a very different side of The Mercy Stone when all is finished,Grady commented.

Remark

Review: Remark – Keep Running

There’s really no reason to fault Moscow alt rockers Remark for wanting to ride the flannel-clad ‘90s bandwagon. It’s certainly a nostalgic commodity as of late, sure, but the five-piece execute those thick layers of guitar with the least conceit or egotism. Instead of marring their production with slight shoegaze elements, they keep their crisp arrangements muted and poised, letting the songs surge and sway with a more reflective and thoughtful tone.

Keep Running

Remark don’t really rage, either — two author tracks on the band’s new EP “Keep Running,” ‘Comeback’ and ‘Purple Haze’ come close to disrupting the album’s overall mud-tempo chug, while singer Yanas airs his grievances with a tuneful voice instead of falling into any aggro dramatics. But it never happens — “Keep Running” sternly approaches its dreary mood with just a dash of atmospheric distortion, letting its sepia-toned gloom flourish with a controlled tension. It’s grunge for a new generation, though you get a sense these guys would see that as a compliment.

Links:

remarkband.com

Instagram

Facebook

DID

Review: DID – Dissociative Identity Disorder

Here is an excellent album from the debutants on the progressive rock scene: a French group DID put out their debut full-length release entitled “Dissociative Identity Disorder” in November last year, a concept record which in the band’s own words tells “the story of a man.” DID, in its core, operates as a quartet featuring Regis Bravi on drums, Didier Thery on bass, Patric Jobard on acoustic and electric guitars, and Christophe Houssin on keyboards. They are joined by a number of guest vocalists who helped them to tell the story. These include Michael Sadler of Saga, Marco Glühmann of Sylvan, Oliver Philipps of Everon, Alan Szukics of Opium Baby, and Maggy Luyten (Ayreon, Nightmare).

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Allow me to truly begin by stating that many instrumental sections on “Dissociative Identity Disorder” are dazzling and intriguing and that the instrumental portion of the album is incredibly well-arranged. Talented solos and arrangements from the band members are easily the album’s highlights with tracks like “The Sun” and “Lock Up” presenting themselves as easy standouts.

The performances here are exceptional, both instrumentally and vocally, and sound natural despite the host of guests at band’s disposal. Diehard prog fans will relish the back-to-back synth solos.

With “Dissociative Identity Disorder,” DID has put attention on themselves as a group to look forward to within the progressive rock scene. While not necessarily groundbreaking, it’s exceptionally refined given how big its ambitions are, and it boasts some impressive production values. If nothing else, DID offer a work that balances instrumental and vocal performances more equally than on some of the releases of the similar orientation. It also manages to have just the right amount of camp and compelling drama, making it perhaps the most intriguing prog releases of 2018.

Links:

Bandcamp

Facebook

FG

Review: Forest God – Back to the Forest

Forest God is a relatively new project coming from Aalborg in Denmark who recently release a new EP entitled Back to the Forest. The project is led by composer Peter Kiel Jørgensen, who is joined by a number of guest musicians throughout the record.

Back to the Forest requires careful listening in order to be fully appreciated. It is definitely not the kind of stuff you can put on as a soundtrack for other activities – complex music, full of twists and turns, yet not unnecessarily complicated, or weird for weirdness’ sake. In fact, the music has a beautiful, natural flow, a clarity and melodic quality. Even though guitars make up a prominent part of the sound, they never get to the point of overwhelming the other instruments. As in most experimental music, however, the foundation of  the EP’s sound lies in the rhythm section, especially in the jaw-dropping drumming patterns provided by Martin Haumann (Myrkur).

Head-spinningly complex without being cold and sterile as other efforts in a similar vein, Back to the Forest can easily be listed as one of the top releases of 2018. In fact, the sterling musicianship, coupled with an admirable sense of restraint, focuses on creating cohesive, highly listenable tracks rather than pointless displays of technical skill.

Links:

Facebook

Bloody Rabbeat

Interview: BLOODY RABBEAT

French deathcore five-piece Bloody Rabbeat answered our questions about their recent EP “Use Your Head,” and more.

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

Hi! Well despite the current situation in France in 2018 and our personal preoccupations, Bloody Rabbeat still brings us together as friends and in a positive and constructive atmosphere!

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

The EP was indeed released in May 2017. It is made of 4 deathcore-oriented tracks and lasts around 20min total. These four songs deal with self-reflexion and hindsight regarding oneself, it allows us to tackle issues which are dear to us with a twist of humour all the while remaining faithful to the metal universe.

You can expect our music to sound like some kind of atypical deathcore with other influences kicking in at times as well as elaborate compositions conjuring up different atmospheres. You will also hear a special guest on the last track, I’m thinking Ricky Myers from the band Suffocation.

What was it like working on the EP?

It was a rather natural process. We sought the right kind of compromise between our budget and our expectations. It was recorded at home so there was no pressure for us; once the recording phase was over and done with we forwarded the tracks to Mobo from Conkrete Studio who did a great job with the mixing and mastering. Jeff Grimal worked on the artwork in parallel then we took care of the marketing side ourselves, which turned out to be rather tedious!

Use Your Head

Are there any touring plans?

We did a tour in France in late 2017. It was a terrific experience and we would gladly do it again. In the meantime we’re working on the next instalment and on upcoming shows.

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

Ideally we’d like to go on tour quite about everywhere; but if we are to be reasonable why not go and visit a couple of European countries now that we’ve played in many regions in France. The only problem is that it’s rather time-consuming and the logistical side is also demanding, all the more so since we do not have a tour manager, also we’re quite busy with our respective jobs.

Who and what inspires you the most?

We draw inspiration from many things from our daily routine to write and compose. We’re also influenced by a certain number of bands that we like, the main ones being As Blood Runs Black and All Shall Perish for the more deathcore side of our music.

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

We all have different tastes: some listen to classical, jazz, trip hop, others prefer trap and all of this nourishes our 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 first of all thank you very much for the interview! Come and follow us on social networks where you can keep up with the latest news, watch our videos, check our tour dates… You name it!

Links:

Facebook

SoundCloud

Bandcamp

Lautreamont

Review: Lautreamont – Silence of the Deceased

Russian trio Lautreamont were brought to life to assault the senses, striking the listener continuously with discordant walls of pandemonium and persecution. “Evil” causes this immediate impact with extremely huge basslines and hypnotizing strident guitars before breaking. The instruments almost decline, slipping away delicately into descent before launching an avalanche of dissonant guitars and a frenzied attack of blast beats, signalling a chaotic finish. If there was ever an assertion of what Lautreamont are about this first track is surely that.

Silence of the Deceased

“Father” may be a more brutal and destructive track. Moments shatter into an uneasy state whilst others fall into a decay where its nothingness consumes your very being. Lautreamont have showcased an adept mastery of the sickening malady that this genre elicits, packing on layer upon layer of abhorrence, neurosis, and absolute cruelty as is further explored in tracks such as the title song. The unendurable pressure of its soundscapes is at times unfathomable. A song-by-song dissection is of no use, as each song displayed here pursues the same code of sweeping disarray, assembled to be music that demands to be swallowed as a whole.

Whilst not the most severe in spatial terms the drumming by Vladimir Fomenko on “Silence of the Deceased” is near perfect. Lautreamont play smartly, often settling on for ear-shattering cannonade of noise rather than counting on the blast beat to strike desolation.

The sound of “Silence of the Deceased” simply destroys; the mix is completed with as much intricacy as can be absorbed. Lautreamont can take you into contemplation and then let you down in your own decay in just a few seconds. This is intelligent metal.

“Silence of the Deceased” is out on May 7th; pre-order it here.