Yes, it’s a cliché, and no, I don’t care if writing professors from here to hell say to avoid clichés at all cost, but Heinz was on to something… It has been six years since Lock Up’s last album, and three years since Kevin Sharp (Brutal Truth) replaced much-beloved vocalist Tomas Lindberg and very simply, good things come to those who wait. Continue reading
Lock Up will be unleashing their new album, Demonization, in March via Listenable Records, and the second single has made its way online. Continue reading
Lock Up will be unleashing their new album, Demonization, in March of 2017 via Listenable Records, and the first single has made it’s way online. Continue reading
Swedish extreme metallers At The Gates have been keeping themselves busy on the road, and venturing into new areas on each stop. Their venture took them to Knotfest in Devore, CA where they played to a packed second stage area on the Saturday of the two day event.
It has been over a year since they released At War With Reality, their first new album since 1994’s Slaughter of the Soul. Being away from the music scene under this moniker since the band stopped, guitarist Martin Larsson spoke about how different their writing approaches were, versus prior to their abrupt stop years ago.
“The actual writing [is] not much difference, but the collaboration is so much easier. Now we’re so spread out. In the 90s we were all in Gothenberg…um I wasn’t so nevermind…basically Gothenburg.”
“But now the drummer’s [Adrian Erlandsson] in London in the UK and three of us are in Gothenberg, and the bass player [Jonas Bjorler] is about three to four hours away in Sweden. With the internet and email and files to Dropbox and what have you, usually what happened on this album is Anders [Bjorler] made a demo and then once he’s satisfied, in a second we can all listen to it wherever we are and comment on it. Ideas bounce back and forth over the internet.“
“I think we spent the better part of a year just sending ideas back and forth and doing demos. We had such a full idea of the album already when we went into the studio. I think that’s the big difference – the whole collaboration is so much easier.”Photo Credit: Hillarie Jason
During the time away from the band, the various members were at various times involved in a number of other bands and projects. Frontman Tomas “Tompa’ Lindberg was involved in The Crown, Disfear, Skitsystem, Nightrage and Lock Up; guitarist Anders Bjorler was with The Haunted and now his solo project; bassist Bjorler is with the Haunted; and Erlandsson with Nehain, as well as his stints in Cradle of Filth and Paradise Lost. Larsson himself is currently playing with Agrimonia when At The Gates has down time.
Have doing other projects re-energized the members of At The Gates towards adding a new spark into the band? “Maybe in a way yeah. I guess doing other stuff always gets you excited to do At The Gates, I suppose. A lot of outside influences and ideas or whatever, so I guess so,” he said.
When it comes to the touring side, Larsson explained how they balance out who will be touring with what band and aligning schedules to make it work in the long run.
“With the other bands it’s first come first serve, so it’s an easy rule to follow. Whatever band gets the booking first has the privilege. All of us do regular stuff on the side or At The Gates is on the side. Mostly Tomas and Jonas have regular proper jobs. They work part-time during the week. We mostly play weekends. We’ve done that for this year since the album came out. We’ve done a couple of tours. We did a US tour for three weeks in March. Right after this we have a week in Australia and a couple of dates in Japan. It’s mostly weekends.”
“There’s a lot of travelling just doing weekends. I feel like I’ve been jet lagged constantly for about a year, but playing is such a pleasure. You don’t mind it at all. We’re privileged that we get to do this and that people still want to see us.”
Since the band has reformed, At The Gates has found themselves touring new territories they were unable to visit the first time around. Larsson spoke about some of their target areas they wish to hit.
“I’m a bit of an explorer myself. I always like going to places I haven’t been before. We’re going to South Africa in March. I’m stoked to do that. I’d like to play more in Eastern Europe and Asian countries. We’ll take it gradually.”
He spoke about their visit to China, one of the newest frontiers for many artists in recent years.
“We played China twice. Things haven’t really happened in China metal wise, but they’re starting to. First time we were there we played to 100 people, and the second time 200 people. There’s a progression. Things are happening. It’s exciting. It’s like when we started 25 years ago.”
Aside from their upcoming US tour with The Haunted and Decpaitated, he also unveiled another upcoming tour stop on a cruise. “The cruise in the Carribbean – 70,000 Tons of Metal. We’re playing that. This is the first time under that name. We did the Barge to Hell ones, which is kind of the same. That one had even more focus on the extreme metal. I guess this one is all around metal. It’s going to be great.”
Lastly, he talked about the possibilities of a new At The Gates record and whether it was realistic to talk about one yet. “No. I’m not saying we’re not gonna but we don’t know. The only plan we have at the moment is not quitting. So we’re going to take it as it comes. We’re already booked until August. Once this goes down we’ll just sit down and see.”
“We’re not going to push it. If there’s more music – fine. That’s good. I’d like it there to be more music but we’ll find out.”
Lockup have been working on new material for a new album. They posted an update:
Shane & Nick have been writing and recording some new songs for the Lock Up # 4 this past week which went very well,it’s coming together slowly.
My first encounter with Danny Lilker was 27 years ago. Relatively new to thrash metal, I bought Nuclear Assault’s The Plague and that clanking bommm, buh-buh bommmmm of the bass and striking image of a gangling mass of black curly hair stirred me to investigate more. Though he blazed a different trail than mine over the next 25 years, it amazes me upon reading Dave Hofer’s in-depth biography from Handshake Inc. how many times those trails crossed. Death, blackened doom, electronic metal…all twisted and perfected by the constantly low-fi, yet always curious and inventive Lilker.
Hofer paints his subject with warmth, familiarity, and honesty. Having ‘roadied’ for Brutal Truth in 2007 he swiftly became friends with Lilker, and has spent the last six years interviewing and researching for these 160 pages. That warmth is translated into the style of the book, loosely peppered with scrapbook-style photo insertions and dialogue consisting almost entirely of interview transcripts from Danny and many of the people he has encountered down the years.
Lilker’s words veer from self-deprecating – ‘I’m a slavic mutt’, he asserts almost from the off when discussing his Polish / Ukrainian ancestry – to remarkably laid back: even when discussing the tragic downfall of his beloved elder sister Barbara, an influence on his musical direction and lost to drugs when Lilker was just eleven. It was Barbara who introduced him to his lifelong love of ‘pot’, a recurring theme throughout the book and a road seemingly travelling parallel to his love of and devotion to creating music. Brutal Truth vocalist Kevin Sharp sums up his first meeting with Lilker thus: ‘The first time I met him, he said it was “Nice to meet me”, then said, “I have some pot. Want to smoke it?”. That was about the extent of it.’ His memory, though, is undimmed, recalling all manner of musical detail such as how the drum sound on the first Brutal Truth album was achieved, and how his arm was a bloody mess through chafing against his bass during those sessions. Every band he’s had an involvement with, even for one live gig or a day in the production booth, gets a name-check: it’s a phenomenal quality that displays his love of what he does.
The near-unswerving reliance on pure interview material becomes a little dry as the book progresses, and the intermittent flood of ‘picture pages’, containing often unnecessary images such as every Brutal Truth record cover under the sun, do break up the occasional monotony. It does, however, allow Dan and the people who know him to paint a picture we’d kind of expect. His likeability despite a laconic bluntness; his breakneck levels of creativity; his need to play music; all fondly recalled by all contributors just as myriad anecdotes affirm his legendary status. The ‘metal comedian’ Steve Hughes calls Lilker ‘…the Yoda of the metal underground’, whilst Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway refers to him as ‘Just a music sponge’. Cadaver’s Anders Oddington recalls how he was assisted in a crowd surge at Roskilde by Lilker; and Immolation’s Ross Dolan talks with reverence about Dan’s navigational skills, referring to him as a ‘Road map’.
Whilst not the easiest read there’s an undeniable attraction in such a wealth of information, opinion, humour and love for one of metal’s most prolific, influential and hard-working characters. The history of extreme metal oozes from every page and, for that reason alone, it’s something that all underground rats will devour.
The Sunday started a little bit late due some technical problems with my mode of transportation. But luckily enough Grave was there to cheer me up. Grave gives you a full force band with the strength of a bulldozer. The filled up room might have given them that little bit of extra energy, to give us a hell of a show. Although Grave can sometimes disappoint you because of the typical show they put on, they pumped you up with their well known classics, they didn’t live up to their reputation at all. It was the best show in ages, according to the voices all around me.
Misery Index is a known force at the Neurotic Deathfest and didn’t surprise me at any point. But they did interest me and this is a very good live act! For those who don’t know this band, they are pretty versatile with their sound and play with different styles in the death metal genre. The biggest mistake for me was to stand in front of the pit, that hurt.
Just like Misery Index, Severe Torture is a name that you can find often on the bills from previous years. I am proud we have these kind of bands from the Dutch grounds and we see that we do take part in the death metal scene. I am not proud that the following band named Pestilence comes from the same land. I heard of their bad live reputation but I wouldn’t believe it. I have to admit they were right. I am sorry for being so negative, but I cant find a single positive thing about this band. They sucked, and this needs to be said. If you read this and you are in a band, don’t follow Pestilence’s example. This band was known for their awesome shows and good songwriting, but with this new lineup, they are on the edge of extinction. They only float along on their former pride.
Once again the national memorial of casualties of the second world war fell on the same date as the Neurotic Deathfest. Strange enough this was one of the most epic moments of the whole festival, all death metal fans were quiet for a moment of silence (exceptions for some nitwits that just can’t keep their mouth shut). It gave me shivers. This is the example that it doesn’t matter how brutal you can look, you can still have some decency. The bands also took part of it and that is why Pentagram Chile started a little bit later than they should have. They gave us a whirlwind of a show with a guitar sound that was beyond recognition. Their debut album came out last year which is pretty late for a band started from the 80s. They played a nice mix of thrash/death with a sound that clearly evolved since the early days of this band.
Pentagram were a pretty good lead in to the final band of the Neurotic Deathfest, which is not a death metal band at all, Dark Angel. They gave us some much needed thrash metal. The band around Gene Hoglan seemed to be a welcome guest at this death metal festival, unfortunately the drums were pretty loud in contrast with the guitars which was a bit of a downer for this show. Luckily after a few songs the sound guy woke up and set things straight. After that we were happily surprised by some nice high quality thrash metal. All hell broke loose when the front man Ron Rinehart turned the venue into a party zone where beer was flowing richly. After this we left the festival with a smile on our faces.
WORDS: KAAT VAN DORMALEN
PHOTOS: SUSANNE A. MAATHUIS
UK-based Evile is one of the leading exponents within the so-called revival thrash metal movement. The band formed back in 2004 and with three critically acclaimed albums under their belt they’re slicing themselves a nice piece of the action. Let’s see what Skull, their latest record, has to offer. Continue reading