Swedish occult rockers Ghost Have announced their new album, Meliora, which will be out on August 21st from Spinefarm/Loma Vista. The new song ‘Cirice’ can be streamed and downloaded from the band’s website here:
‘Cirice’ marks the recorded début of Papa Emeritus III, who was announced last year and again in a late night television commercial trailer for the album.
Meliora Tracklist: 01. Spirit 02. From The Pinnacle To The Pit 03. Cirice 04. Spöksonat 05. He Is 06. Mummy Dust 07. Majesty 08. Devil Church 09. Absolution 10. Deus In Absentia
For Part II of our interview with Adam Zaars of Tribulation, Ghost Cult’s Armen Haczmerian touched on a few more topics surrounding the new release, The Children of the Night (Century Media). It will be released in a few different formats. Century Media has also prepared a special box release with extras such as… a pendant with cord. But jokes aside, the band has added a couple of extra tracks to that release.
“There will be two bonus songs on the CD. One of them is ‘Laudanum Dreams’, we had released on our last 7″ we were selling on our last tour in America. The other one is a cover of The Cure’s ‘One Hundred Years’. We like this song and recording it went really well. There are also two demo songs on a 7 inch EP, which is also included in the box release. Also, we might publish another cover we recorded in the future. I can’t reveal anything now, you will find out soon (laughs).”
Signing to one of the biggest players in heavy metal market, Century Media, which is another shift from band’s recent stance on big labels. But Adam offers a firm clarification.
“Century Media has been great so far. To make things clear – we wouldn’t have signed a deal with any label that didn’t put us in full control when it comes to song writing. The reason we signed was purely commercial – to get a better promotion… and so far it seems to be working! We don’t regret not signing to a bigger label before releasing The Formulas of Death. But we’ve always known we’re something else… shape-shifters, I guess”, Adam chooses his words carefully but with confidence. “I think it was the right time for us to show everyone what Tribulation is really about. It was great to work with Invictus and Ajna Offensive, but we can’t stay in one place for too long. So when we got a real chance to show everyone what Tribulation is, we made the decision.”
Tribulation hit the road again in April, before going on European tour with Melechesh and Keep of Kalesin in May. Adam speaks of the band’s touring plans for the next few months.
“We have not many festival dates confirmed as yet, but we’re playing at Tons of Rock in Norway in June. We will be at Temples Festival in Bristol in May, and Hellfest in France a month later as well. We are not planning a UK tour at the moment, but we play at London’s Incineration Fest, and Temples so at least we have two dates in the UK now (laughs).”
Speaking of touring, there were huge controversies on Tribulation’s recent Polish tour with Behemoth, who were the headliner. One show in Poznan was cancelled, and all the supporting bands played in a different (and smaller) club.
“Well, it’s quite bizarre, I’d say. Especially for us, coming from a very secular country like Sweden. It would never happen over here! It was a huge shame, that local government was persuaded by religious fanatics, and managed to get the show cancelled. Those groups of catholics were protesting outside venues on every show. But that was fine! It actually helped the tour (laughs). However, it’s ok to speak your mind up, but if you try censoring, it just turns really ugly.”
Tribulation are destined for success, as their music gather new auditorium, and their style expands further beyond the frames of death metal. But while we can be sure the band will be constantly evolving, Adam does not rule out a return to more vicious and primal variety. Perhaps teaming up with Tobias Forge again, and doing another long-awaited Repugnant record would be an idea?
“Of course! I still listen to the extreme music, so I’m still into it. Tribulation is a journey, it’s something else now, and also at the moment I’m quite busy with the band. But in the future, why not?”
Sweden – one of the strongholds of metal music. Year after year bands from that part of Europe storm the scene, breaking through to the top of the heavy metal charts worldwide. One of the most recent examples is Tribulation. Ten years after their inception, the band takes the global stage with signing a recording deal with Century Media, and the upcoming release of their eagerly anticipated third LP, The Children of the Night. Tribulation have confirmed their aspirations by going on American tour with two of the biggest extreme bands to roam the stages around the world today – Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth in February and March.
“It was fantastic tour to be on.” says Adam Zaars, part of the guitar force of Tribulation. “Touring with two of the biggest bands in extreme metal nowadays was a pleasure, and the people showed up early for our performances, which was amazing.”
And there is nothing surprising about fans’ reaction. Tribulation’s reputation as excellent performers is growing.
“We started 5.30PM in some days, and they were there to watch our shows! That was also probably the easiest tour we have been on so far. Both headlining bands are huge and extremely professional. But they are also great people, and they took good care of us (laughs). We shared our bus with other Swedish band, Aeon, so we had a really good time.” adds Adam.
The new record of the Swedish quartet is a massive statement and a demonstration of musical and technical abilities. It is also a perfect example how right influences can make your music unique.
So who are “The Children of the Night”?
“It describes the band but also everybody who listens to the album. But most of it it’s a description of our personalities that make Tribulation.”
The new music is even more melodic and atmospheric than The Formulas of Death. And there is something that bonds Tribulation with other Swedish bands like Dissection, Tiamat, Opeth, Morbus Chron, or Ghost B.C.
“I guess what links our music to Dissection and all those bands you’ve mentioned is Swedish folk music. It’s played a big role in our lives. It’s something we grew up with. It’s in our blood.”
One of the highlights of the new album is epic ‘Winds’ – its construction, melodies, Gothic theatrical atmosphere resembles of that of Cradle of Filth from late ’90’s. Are Tribulation secret worshippers of the controversial Suffolk band?
“No, you’re not correct (laughs). Actually we’ve never listened to them… But maybe you are right, I don’t really know as I never listened to their music, but this is the first time someone has found this similarity (laughs).”
The Children of the Night is a logical consequence of Tribulation’s musical development through the years. Some bands want to remain in certain formula, the other want completely new approach every time they enter the studio. Adam is clear on this matter.
“We didn’t really sit down and plan anything. I actually thought the album will turn out quite differently – I thought it was going to be a lot longer, more spacey and ambient (laughs) but it turned out to be something else. We try to never think about the end product. We try to rely on our intuition. And this is what we’ve always done, I guess.”
The new album is very well produced, and an ear will catch that a lot more time was given for putting everything the right place. Adam voiced his disappointment with studio time in the past, but this time he is happier about the comfort of putting everything together in the studio.
“We spent 4 weeks recording it. We have wanted four more weeks to be honest. But sometimes you can only get limited time. But we feel we managed to do it well anyway. I mean, sometimes you work better when you’re under pressure. But time spent in studio was for us really inspiring. In fact, we moved around. We had three main studios: first one for the drums, second one for guitars, bass and vocals, and the third one for all the other additional instruments. It was very satisfying, actually.”
That may sound like a lot of hassle, and be potentially distracting. But having been on a budget, that was the most optimal decision the band had to make to achieve the best possible sound quality. Mr. Zaars goes into more detail.
“It was all pulled together by Ola Ersfjord, our producer. It was purely economic solution. We wanted to record the drums in a proper room, but it turned out our budget was too tight to do the whole work there! So we moved to Nicke Andersson’s new studio, located in his basement. It was like a playground almost for us (laughs). Overall it was a great experience, because every studio was different, and we’re always looking forward to something new”.
That’s right… legendary British metallers Paradise Lost who, along with Anathema and My Dying Bride were known as the “Peaceville 3” who effectively launched the entire Gothic Metal sub-genre, will be returning to their deathly hallows on new album The Plague Within on Century Media.
The bands’ fourteenth studio album was produced by sound maestro Jaimie Gomez Arellano (Ghost, Ulver, Cathedral) at Orgone Studios in London has a planned release date of 1st June (UK & Europe) and 2nd June (US/Rest of World).
Nick Holmes comments: “We wanted to approach the new album differently this time by embracing the band’s VERY early days. We have written a very dark, yet melodic album, but this time many songs definitely have a death metal edge, which is something we haven’t done for a long long time in Paradise Lost.”
In a move that follows Gregor Mackintosh rediscovering the vile in his side-project Vallenfyre and Nick Holmes seizing the Bloodbath cowl and mic stand, the band have been progressively returning to their traditional sound following their late 90’s/early 00’s dalliance with electronic music and minimal guitars, with 2012’s Tragic Idolreclaiming the hearts and minds of many of their old fans, while introducing the band to a newer audience.
The new issue of Ghost Cult’s digital magazine is out now! Ghost Cult #19 features an in-depth interview with The Atlas Moth’sStavros Giannopoulos. The June release of The Old Believer (Profound Lore) was a previous Album of the Month for us. Other features include Arch Enemy, Anathema, EyeHateGod, Killer Be Killed, Tombs, Whitechapel, Cradle of Filth, Prong and Lionize. We also have special features such as Metal Book Reviews, a recap of Maynard James Keenan’s (Tool, A Perfect Circle, Puscifer) Birthday Celebration, Unsigned bands, album reviews and more. As we do every issue we present concert reviews from around the world from the likes of Neurosis and Ghost B.C., as well as metal festival reviews like Maryland Deathfest, Scion A/V Rockfest and the inaugural Temples Festival. Read it on our site and download it for your smartphone or tablet.
Rock and Shock 2014 in Worcester, Massachusetts was arguably the best yet. Previously, R&S never had a great pre-party show that ever caught my eye. This year however, they put all the previous year’s pre-parties to rest. The sold out Worcester Palladium crowd was greeted to underrated opening band, Jess and the Ancient Ones, which set the scene of an occult ritual. This was only a prelude to the pre-party as the night concluded with an amazing show from the legendary, King Diamond. Having it been almost a decade since the King’s previous show in the area, the anticipation for his set to begin was almost unbearable. Before we get to The King, I believe Jess and the Ancient Ones deserve quite a good amount of praise.
Not ever listening to a single note that JATAO have recorded, I was very interested in what was so special about this band that King Diamond himself handpicked for his North American Tour. A fellow fan in the cramped pit filled me in that this band had a similar vibe to that of Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats as well as GhostB.C. and other similar occult/psychedelic rock bands. His description was very accurate and only after half of the set was I finding myself in love with this band. The 70’s rock vibe mixed with Jess’s amazing vocals and her dance moves on stage really set the mood for what this night was all about. My personal favorite track was the 12-minute epic entitled ‘Sulfur Giants’ in the middle of the set. Not knocking any of the other tracks played (‘Prayer for Death and Fire’, ‘Astral Sabbat’, and ‘Casteneda’ to name a few) but this song gave me the same “Wow” factor as Blood Ceremony’s ‘Oliver Haddo’ does. Unfortunately we only got 6 tracks from Jess and The Ancient Ones, but it was a willing sacrifice for what was to come.
As soon as the crew on stage started setting up, a giant black tarp fell down from the ceiling and blocked our view. So as if the anticipation was bad enough, it just got worse. However, the long wait finally ended, the tarp fell, and slowly but surely each member of the band made their way up the staircase behind the drum kit. Finally, King Diamond, made his way up the same staircase, holding his cross-shaped microphone, made out of human bones, in the air. Then the evil ritual began as the first note of ‘The Candle’ was struck. Upside down crosses, a giant pentagram, and a creepy iron caste fence between the band and the crowd, made the atmosphere complete as the fans attempted to hit King’s falsettos (and failed miserably mostly). Fan favorites such as ‘Sleepless Nights’, ‘Eye of the Witch’, ‘The Family Ghost’, and ‘Welcome Home’ (complete with Gramma!) got the Palladium’s volume to ear deafening levels. Of course what would a King Diamond show be without a couple of tracks from Mercyful Fate? Well we got two tracks which made me more than happy. In fact, the entire floor started moving the instant the ever familiar riff to ‘Evil’ started and did not calm down until after ‘Come to the Sabbath’ ended. One of my favorite parts of the evening was when Gramma made another appearance during ‘Tea’ with, yes you guessed it, some tea in a tea kettle for King! It is without a doubt that the downside to this evening for all was after the 14 songs had been played and the night came to an end.
Overall, this night will be one of my favorite shows this year, let alone ever. King Diamond’s vocals were beyond what I expected out of the man who has been doing this for over 30 years and is a survivor from a triple bypass surgery. As equally as astounding is how great Jess and the Ancient ones ended up being. Sure some fans wanted Ghost or 3 Inches of Blood, but JATAO certainly made a statement on this night opening up for such a legendary name. I can only hope that when this new King Diamond album comes out (whenever that is) that I get the privilege of seeing him tour once more. If you were foolish enough to not attend or simply did not live close enough to a stop on this tour, then you best hope for a second chance.
Huntress and Battlecross joined forces early this summer for a tour, and we were lucky enough to catch up with them in the 013 venue in Tilburg, the Netherlands.
The opener of the evening was the local band Purest of Pain, and started with a promising intro. Guitars unwind and state what kind of band Purest of Pain actually is: a no nonsense, modern death metal band that actually slaps you in the face every time a note strikes and reaches your ears. The vocals of this band are strong, it is like the vocalist pushes its emotions trough your skin and bones and throws its dynamic screams all around the place. It is still quite calm in the venue while Purest of Pain is playing, but as the end of the show is near the venue is quite filled to see Battlecross to play.
At first I wasn’t too familiar with Battlecross, but according to the name I thought that this was some kind of power-metal band. But soon I came to realize that I was completely wrong. Battlecross is a band, a band like Devildriver always tried to be, but always failed at. They succeed in this concept of thrash and power grooves, bringing you music that is accessible and commercial, but without coming across as a commercial band. I personally hope they will keep this vibe. Super tight, with strong songs that get you by the throat, Battlecross is a nuclear explosion full of energy. Catchy vocals exchange with constant aggressive screams, and this brings a diversity, and every song starts off like a steamroller. The first pit of the evening is to be written with the name of Battlecross. Although they bring nothing really new to the genre, but still they know how to bring you a good, refreshing sound.
Do you know the musical Wicked? Well, during the intro music for Huntress I was afraid I landed in a performance of Wicked. But their vocalist Jill Janus came on the stage dressed as a wicked witch; crawling, lurking in the audience and then opened her throat and let out a supersonic scream. It was immediately clear that this is a very strong vocalist. Other that I thought before, “oh this is that kind of band with a fucking hot chick in it”. I think 9 of the 10 times I would be right, but this is the first time that I wasn’t. Huntress is a very entertaining and tight band, and Jill is a hell of a frontwoman! Jeez! I enjoyed every minute of it. The music sometimes is a bit simple, but sometimes we get some nice gems from the musicians on stage. In the meantime, Jill was crawling over the stage doing some songs, while I watched the audience mainly consisting of men in their mid-life crisis, which totally gave me the giggles. If you don’t quite know Huntress, they are as theatrical as Ghost B.C., with a little hint of Manowar. They play simple, occult themed, straight to the point metal. They are a good band, but not a magnificent band with sick riffery and huge guitar solo’s etc. However, they are solid, enjoyable, and fun to watch. And for that, we thank you.
Ghost B.C. has positioned themselves as one of the most interesting – and polarizing – bands in music today. Not at all black metal, but with all of its satanic trappings; candy-coated pop without any the sweetness; gimmicky but presented with a conviction that is admirable. You either love them or hate them, but you know who they are. I have loved the band since the first time I heard ‘Year Zero’. Deny it all you want, but the moment you heard the choral bellows of “Belial, Behemoth, Beelzebub! Asmodeus, Satanas, Lucifer!” You were caught off-guard and they had your attention. I would dare say that those who do not like them have to grudgingly admit this band takes their music as seriously as their image. But can they deliver all of this dichotomy, pomposity and schtick live?
The answer is a resounding YES. Ghost has created a sound that appeals to a broad range of rock fans. The have the melodic sensibility to corral rock/hard rock fans, the horror/punk edge that appeals to the punk rockers, and the lyrical/visual melancholy dripping with keyboards that woos the Goth crowd. Even with that mix, their music still has enough crunch and groove to appeal to many metalheads, especially those who appreciate singing as opposed to the screamers that dominate the genre. The crowd is as undefinable as the music they have come to experience, but one word that could be used is dedication. While the crowd was very respectful of the rockabilly-tinged crooning of Seattle-based opener King Dude, it was clear from the t-shirts, face paint and chatter who the throng was there for.
From the background music, to the lighting, to the incense, to the cathedral-like backdrop complete with stained glass windows, Ghost knows how to set a mood. Much credit has to be given to the attention to detail that makes you feel as if you are part of a satanic church service as much as a show, and that it’s more than just throwing on some face paint and a costume. This band is so 100% committed to their image and its presentation, even a non-fan can respect it.
The Nameless Ghouls filed onstage to the gloom of ‘Masked Ball’, and launched into ‘Infestissumam’. His Unholiness Papa Emeritus II strolled onstage and up to the microphone for ‘Per Aspera ad Inferi’ complete with his Pope-esque robe (with inverted crosses), the mitre (tall pointed pope hat), and the staff bearing the huge Ghost logo on its top. He is striking figure, and all of his movements, gestures, and speech patterns during his between-song commentary shows this man has done his Papal homework. Stoic, never headbanging, never so much as a sway or dance, he really bears himself as the role requires. The front line of Ghouls are quite animated, and interact with each other and the audience more than some reviews would lead you to believe. The band’s musicianship was tight and quite exceptional, able to nail the genre-skipping their songs demand with ease. The fans were screaming along to every word, swaying and dancing, and there was even a pit now and then. The last song performed was ‘Monstrance Clock’, and ended with the band leaving the stage to the crowd’s chanting of the lyric, “Come together, together as a one! Come together for Lucifer’s son!” I have not seen this kind of intense reverence for a band since I saw Neurosis last summer. These folks are INTO IT. And it was a damn good time.
For all of its darkness, it was fun, amazing concert experience. Even if you are not their biggest fan, do not pass up the opportunity to see Ghost live – it will be worth every penny of that ticket.
I have been asked more about the Ghost B.C. the last few years , and what I think of them as a legitimate band than any other question about music. Insanely catchy, totally blasphemous, and seemingly playing a joke on all of the humorless hipsters and elitists who hate them more than a tech death fan hates emo kids moshing at a show. While part of me says all of Ghosts entire being is gimmicky, and the band would be just solid if it were a bunch of dudes, there is no denying the quality of the players, or the songs. When the dust settles years from now, I believe they will be remembered for the impact they made on this era of music, and not the aura and schtick that makes people discount them.
This EP is really not that much different than their other recorded covers, or really any of their recorded output. Except that this EP was produced by Dave Grohl, and these are some of the best and most fun covers the band has done to date. The title track is the Roky Erickson song ‘If You Have Ghosts’ which is pretty evil sounding compared with the original. They give it their own bombastic treatment, as you’d expect them to, and it works well. Despite the hilarity of the idea of this band covering ABBA, I can’t really get past the fact that I hate ABBA deeply, as every self-respecting metal fan ought to. Still, ‘I’m A Marionette’ works as a cover, and I suspect this will be the big hit that carries this album. Army of Lovers‘ ‘Crucified’ has no irony at all actually, and is also one of the top songs herein. The best cover, and perhaps the best cover the band has done is Depeche Mode’s ‘Waiting For The Night’. This rendering is down right bliss inducing, whether you count yourself a DM fan, or not. The live version of ‘Secular Haze’ from Infestissumam is solid. Sonically the cross between the carny vibe and church music is great, and just cements the intelligence of the band to me. Once again, nothing new from this band, but still enjoyable.