Ghost Cult had the honor of chatting with Nick Holmes (Bloodbath) of Paradise Lost about their new album, Obsidian (Nuclear Blast Records), due out on May 15th, 2020. Nick shares his thoughts on releasing an album during the pandemic, the creative process of the band, the more sweeping vision behind Obsidian, how the band approached the follow-up to Medusa 2017, how he and Gregor Mackintosh work together on new material, the orchestration on the albums, Nick’s vocal harmonies, the changes in his lyrics over the years, a look back on the 20th anniversary of their debut album Lost Paradise (Peaceville), and much more. Order Obsidian here and check out the podcast: Continue reading
Dutch horror metal band Carach Angren are getting ready to release their new album, Frankensteina Strateamontarus via Season of Mist this year and Ghostcult Magazine was lucky enough to be allowed to listen to it and ask a few questions in a sneak peak listening session, courtesy of their label Season of mist, earlier this year at an undisclosed location.
Back with another ghost story to tell in their own brand of symphonic black metal, Carach Angren has dropped one of their best in Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten (Season of Mist). Forty-two minutes of orchestral accompaniment paired with eerie lyrics is all it takes for an enjoyable, yet creepy album to make its mark. While some parts come off as a little cheesy at times (which I personally enjoy for the most part in the genre), other parts in the album really pick up the intensity and left a lasting impression after only a few sprints through.Continue reading
‘Devil Is the Man’ comes from Julie And The Wolf’s forthcoming début album Ablaze, releasing on October 30th from the Audiogram label. Imagine Nine Inch Nails’s Ghost EP, put through a filter of bands like Anathema and the mellower moments of ISIS and you begin to understand the framework of Julie And The Wolf’s mindset. Julie’s hypnotic, vulnerable piano lays the foundation for vocalist Wolf Merzbacher’s heart breaking vocals and lyrics. The meshing of the two talents is breathtaking.
“We live a very intense life. Not just with the band, but keeping together families and things like that.” The deep, dulcet tones of Fernando Ribeiro are unmistakable, coated in this thick Portuguese accent, it is little wonder the forty year-old front man of Moonspell still attracts much attention from swooning nubiles. These days the Goth Metal lothario has a young son to raise which is perhaps a factor on the more mature direction Moonspell have adopted on new opus Extinct (Napalm Records). “We like to delve into the unknown. It is important to be creative when we feel inspired to do so. We had six months of touring left for Alpha Noir and Omega White, but we needed to write when we felt the need to express ourselves, to feed that hunger!”
One thing that immediately noticeable about Extinct is the concept is rooted in reality both on a global and personal scale. As Ribeiro explained, the concept came together relatively quickly. “We did not want to split our direction as we did on the preceding albums. The concept came out very early. I was thinking of extinction on a global scale which affects animals but also how human beings place a higher value on their own existence and will often sacrifice other species and the planet to serve our own selfish needs. Sonically, we have been influenced more by electronic music and used more clean vocals. It is a very desolate album.”
Extinct is indeed a dark affair, not least for the shocking image of a mutilated amputee which adorns the cover which is the work of Septicflesh bassist and frontman Spiros Antoniou a.k.a. Seth Siro Anton. “He worked on ‘Night Eternal’ for us.” Ribeiro mused on this comrade’s work. “We feel an affinity with Septic Flesh and look forward to touring with them this year. His work recalls that of Francis Bacon or Joel- Peter Witkin to me. ‘Extinct’ is an album about imperfections. That figure on the cover looks raped and mutilated but it is about the fear of what could happen and the damage that has been done. Amputee’s feel their limbs long after they have had them removed so it seemed to fit with the concept we had.”
In addition to its gruesome cover art, Extinct also has some of the most personal lyrics Fernando has ever penned. “Gothic metal has always been very fictional but we have gone through many changes in our lives. ‘The Future Is Dark’ is one song which exemplifies this. Jens and Pedro opened the studio up specially one night for me to do the vocals. It had been a difficult night at home for me and I wanted to get the lyrics on the track straight away.”
The track in question see’s Ribeiro addressing his son with the brooding chorus refrain ‘Without you there is no tomorrow’ it’s a touching moment. “Jens told me it was one of the best personal songs he ever recorded. He is a workaholic who never gave anyone a day off but he was a real team player and supportive of everything we did.”
Adding further depth to the seductive melodies on ‘Breathe (Until We Are No More)’ and ‘Medusalem’ is the use of a Turkish orchestra. “It was a big challenge to get them involved because they do not speak English nor I Turkish so we had to have a mediator in between! Portuguese music has always been influenced by the Arabic scales so we wanted to incorporate that. We didn’t go for these big Wagnerian arrangements most Metal bands use we wanted something more seductive.”
Another highlight is album closer ‘La Baphomette’, a track which sounds positively vaudevillian with its swing feel and elegant piano. “Our bass player Aires wrote this piece with the brass section but Pedro helped with the arrangement. When I listened to the melody I thought of Burlesque and Tom Waits – I love French poets like (Charles) Baudelaire. I was at the French quarter in New Orleans on our last tour and I wrote the lyrics about a burlesque dancer who evokes cosmic chaos. It is a very romantic song and a great way to end the album.”
WORDS BY ROSS BAKER
This is a weird one, readers, so bear with me…
Let’s deal with the facts first. Starset is a rock band from Columbus, Ohio, formed by Dustin Bates, who, as well being the main protagonist, also has a bit of a scientific background… he’s been to university in other words. The band’s debut album Transmissions (Razor & Tie) hit #49 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart. The band’s first single, ‘My Demons’ is now in the Top 10 at Rock Radio in the USA and has been on the chart for 32 weeks. They are quite popular.
So far, so promising new band story, right? Wrong.
Here’s where it starts getting weird. Dustin formed Starset, according to him, after being contacted by an organization called The Starset Society and its’ President, Dr. Aston Wise. Bates was asked if he was interested in forming a band to promote the organization’s message. At its core, the message is a warning that involves a scientific discovery that is currently being controlled and manipulated by an elite few.
Are you going “Uh-oh” at this moment? Good, you should be.
Remember Babylon Zoo? Yes, well now you’re starting to get the idea. This rampant silliness is all a bit of a shame for this debut because buried in the pointless over-production, the sound clippings from satellites and the wall upon wall of violins are a bunch of pop rock songs that sound fairly decent, are well arranged and, on occasion, hummable. Yes, there are tunes.
Transmissions is the sort of record that lots of people who should know better get inevitably excited about because it has classical orchestration on it which means that they will use words like “epic”, “visionary” and so on to describe a record that, if they were being really honest, sounds an awful lot like a Linkin Park tribute act playing over the soundtrack to Blade Runner. Fair play to Bates- he has got a bit of a vision thing going on – shame then that his vision is the same old hackneyed conspiracy theory trope about shadowy government agencies and mind control.
If you like this sort of thing, well you’re going to like this sort of thing. If you don’t, well you won’t. Each to their own…