Enter The Labyrinth – Tomas Lindberg of At The Gates


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Nearly two decades on from revolutionary opus Slaughter Of The Soul (Earache) Gothenburg pioneers At The Gates are back with a new album At War With Reality (Century Media), a blistering release featuring all the hallmarks of their sound. Arguably the band who helped inspire the Metalcore movement, a scene the band are quick to disown, anticipation for the new record and subsequent tour has reached fever pitch. Lounging on the couch backstage at Manchester’s Academy, Tomas Lindberg takes a sip of Rioja as he explains what led to the genesis of the new album. “We are better listeners than we were in our early twenties. It was probably a big factor in our breakup. Everyone has a veto on decisions made concerning recording or touring. Working with other people, in other bands has helped us learn how to communicate more effectively. The idea of writing together came through Anders. He is the main songwriter and everything goes through him. Working with him again has been very fruitful.”

 

Considering the immense pressure and level of expectation which would preceed such a record after such a long time apart it was perhaps no surprise the group elected to begin writing and recording sessions in secret. “It could have been negative if we announced it to early. That way we only had to please ourselves.” The frontman pondered. “If we had got to seven or eight songs into the project and did not like what we heard we could have disbanded without anyone ever knowing. When we put the teaser video on YouTube back in February the album was more or less written. We had to be honest to ourselves and our fans and not second guess what we felt was right. That would be selling out.”

 

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A teacher by trade, Lindberg does not rely solely on income from At The Gates to survive. An articulate and composed gentleman, he is happy to wax lyrical upon the concept behind At War With Reality which hinges on the works of a group of philosophers and writers who comprise a largely South American literary movement known as ‘Magic Realism’:

I was inspired by the way these intertextual post-modern writers. I delved into post structuralism views about the perception of reality and how different people perceive it. These writers are often self-referential. A lot of the songs are influenced by their novels. The line from ‘Spanish song..’ is from a chapter in the book ‘From Heroes and Tombs’ of a nightmarish dream one of the main characters has about the concept of God. I felt it had to be read in this manic Spanish voice which Anton (Resseingger) delivered with such style. It takes you to a nightmare world!”

 

Indeed a couple of the song titles are derived directly from these tomes, ‘The Circular Ruin’ and ‘The Book of Sand’ both come from the works of Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. “I have been reading these authors for a while and found the concept (of Magic Realism) very inspiring. The French philosopher Michel Foucault wrote a lot of essays about structures of power but he wrote one book which was about how language could be used to alter people’s concept of reality which is ‘Death In The Labyrinth’ that song essentially explains what the concept of the record is about is in that song. There is not only one reality or truth but many.”

The magic realism movement was one born out of oppression and frustration. The ideas of these Latin authors were presented in such a multilayered way as they wrote to criticise the oppressive states in which they lived in places like Chile, Paraguay and Argentina. In ‘Heroes In Tombs’ (the movement) was already questioning how the establishment was “perverting the hearts of men.At War With Reality is somewhat a cautionary tale, a warning against globalisation. They could not explain their ideas openly so they did it through their work. We are not a political band but we are criticising the materialistic, superficial culture of today.”

 

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WORDS BY ROSS BAKER


Branching Out – Iggor Cavalera On The Music and People That Inspire Him


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Keeping it fresh and invigorating is clearly the modus operandi for Iggor Cavalera. The 44 year-old father of four (In addition to his step son from his marriage to Laima Leyton) has expressed in the past that rock and metal was getting somewhat “uninspiring” for him. Considering the ground-breaking impact of Sepultura’s Roots (Roadrunner) album with its much imitated tribal drum patterns, you can’t blame Cavalera for looking to spice things up when it came to working in a different medium like electronica. “I have to say when I started doing Mixhell, I wasn’t finding much excitement in hardcore and metal. Bands were very reluctant to come out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves. I think now there are a new wave of musicians that are exciting in metal. I needed a break from metal and rock to grow to love it again.”

Certainly Iggor is not the only rock musician to dabble in other genres with Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, (Who also made a guest appearance on Roots (Roadrunner), another notable example. Patton disciple and Dillinger Escape Plan vocalist Greg Puciato also makes an appearance on Mixhell’s track ‘Exit Wound’. Puciato in turn collaborated with Iggor’s brother Max and Mastodon’s Troy Sanders in metal supergroup Killer Be Killed. Clearly birds of a feather… “Greg is such a talented guy. I remember when I first heard of him when he joined Dillinger after the E.P. they did with Mike Patton, (Irony Is A Dead Scene), they found someone who could really push himself. Dillinger Escape Plan did a tour with The Cavalera Conspiracy in the states and I played him the Mixhell material which he loved. He is a big fan of Nine Inch Nails and all the industrial bands so I sent him a track to put vocals on. Mike is one of the greatest artists in music. A real genius. He can do all this extreme stuff and then the Mondo Cane project playing Italian music from the 40s! He brings a unique atmosphere to everything he does! He is a very close friend and we see each other all the time!”

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All in the Family – Iggor Cavalera of Cavalera Conspiracy


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It has been seven years since Brazil’s most famous musical siblings put an end to a ten-year family feud. The formulation of Cavalera Conspiracy saw the return of a revolutionary musical partnership and again brought credence to the old adage ‘blood is thicker than water’.

Now residing in London, England, the younger of the siblings, Iggor Cavalera, relocated last year in order to focus on his electro DJ outfit Mixhell with his wife Laima Leyton. “In Brazil there is not much of a scene for that style of music.” Iggor confessed. “Our management is here and it helps us focus on our main project. I enjoy London a lot more as a resident than as a tourist. It hasn’t really affected what I do with Max because I just take a ten-hour flight to LA but I am closer for European tours. We split our focus between Cavalera stuff, Soulfly and Mixhell so it has been pretty simple to do so far!”

Iggor may be broadening his horizons delving into the world of electronic music but The Cavalera Conspiracy are chomping at the bit to release forthcoming third record Pandemonium via Austrian label Napalm Records. It has been touted as ‘a more violent and faster record than the band has ever released’ which sound whet the appetite of long-term fans. “We never plan or premeditated what we do in Cavalera Conspiracy. We both wrote a number of things but when we got to the studio we wanted to keep it raw and powerful. It was a lot of fun to keep it spontaneous. It is quite different than then first two records. We used some really high BPM’s which were challenging to play but a lot of fun.”

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A genre crossing musician, Iggor was not always the master of equipment he is today. In the early days of Sepultura he was playing with very basic kit. Did Pandemonium see a return a more instinctive style of playing to capture the energy of old? “Both Max and I having our own band has been really good for us. We focussed on keeping things of minimal as possible. It was really challenging and refreshing playing without a big set up and very enjoyable. A lot of drummers want to play very technically and the music looses its soul. We wanted to prevent that happening here.”

 

Filling out the line-up, which includes guitarist Marc Rizzo, is a new bass player in the shape of Converge man Nate Newton. Iggor enthuses greatly about how this came about. “The bass player role is generally going to be a guest musician every time. Nate is an amazing player but of course his main commitment is to Converge and we respect that. He wrote all his own parts, you shouldn’t tell a collaborator what to do. We hope we can schedule some shows with him if possible.”

It has been eight long years now since Iggor’s exit from Sepultura with Max’s departure a whole decade prior to that. Iggor made it very clear how he feels about the remaining members’ decision to carry on with the Sepultura name. “I got to the point where I wasn’t feeling it anymore. All the joy was gone. It is like a covers band now. I don’t pay much attention to what they are doing because I am focussed on my own stuff. I think it would have been time for them to hang it up.”

While the dissolution of the classic line up happened eighteen years ago Iggor confirms that both he and Max have received some crazy offers to reunite with their old colleagues. “We have received a lot of offers but nothing that concrete. If we got something concrete we would certainly consider it. We realise a lot of people want to see the classic line up and respect that. There is no master plan behind it but I would make a record too if it felt right. I think it is important that we are still all active musicians so we could carry it off. I would like my kids to see it!”

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Getting back to present day, it was recently announced that ‘Pandemonium’ will appear on the Napalm Records imprint. This seems a curious decision as both Max’s projects Soulfly and Killer Be Killed call Nuclear Blast home. Igor explained the brothers thinking behind it. “Napalm were really excited to work with us. After we left Roadrunner we decided we didn’t want to be tied to just one company business wise anymore. They are respectful of the other projects and ensure the released dates don’t clash. Napalm have Cavalera and NB have Soulfly and both labels treat these projects as their top priority.”

Scheduling is key to an artist who has many different irons in the fire. Iggor outlines the plans for touring. “It will be tough but we want to play as much as possible with all our projects. We will be doing lots of festival appearances in 2015. I’ll be working on more Mixhell material and touring around that too so it will be fitting around that. I hope metal fans can listen to the other music I make and get something from it. The most important thing about music is to keep an open mind.”

Throughout the conversation Iggor comes across as a man content with his lot in life. These two workaholic family men have eleven children between them. “I think it our Italian heritage.” Iggor chuckled. While his nephews are plying their trade in bands (Incite and Lodykong) and have been mentored by their father, who has even taken them on tour, Iggor is less sure if his offspring will wish to carry on the family tradition. “Max is very supportive of Ritchie, Zyon and Igor’s musical careers. I will support mine in that too if they want it. At the moment my children are younger so they have time to decide what they want to do. Maybe one day we will all do a festival together!”

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Anathema: Live at Academy 3, Manchester UK


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A fearlessly charismatic outfit whose loyal fanbase have grown throughout the evolution of their sound, it really beggars belief that Anathema are not headlining venues double this size.

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Tonight’s performance is sold out and the intimate confines of the Academy 3 only help to make the evening feel that much more special. New opus Distant Satellites (KScope) has garnered much praise from all quarters and rightly so. The sweeping orchestral arrangements and ethereal vocal melodies of ‘The Lost Song, Part 1’ kick things off. The set is mainly comprised from their last four albums with particular emphasis on the current record which for some acts would be a bold statement but for this Scouse quintet it is just comes naturally.

 

Vincent Cavanagh and Lee Douglas voices are the perfect foil to each other their harmonies evoking sadness, emptiness, hopefulness and triumph sometimes in the space of one song.

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Lee’s brother John and Daniel Cardoso swap between drums are keys effortlessly adding lush electronic textures to the shimmering bedrock of guitars and strings. Lee herself is in particularly fine form lending her soaring emotive performance to ‘The Lost Song, Part 2’ and encore highlight ‘A Natural Disaster’.

 

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Danny Cavanagh is in fine fettle, showing bags of charm and charisma laughing and joking with the crowd between songs. Even when technical gremlins threaten to derail what is a truly magnificent performance during ‘Closer’, Danny comes to the rescue with an impromptu rendition of Pink Floyd classic ‘Wish You Were Here’ which fans sing along with gusto. Vincent then returns to the vocoder and belts out ‘Closer’ without a hitch. A truly incredible live experience full of such warmth and sincerity that you cannot help to be swept way in. A captivating, emotive performance from some immensely talented musicians that have carved a career from determination and a total lack of compromise. Concluding with the anthemic ‘Fragile Dreams’, Anathema demonstrate, yet again why they are literally in a class of their own.

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WORDS: ROSS BAKER

PHOTOS: LUKE DENHAM PHOTOGRAPHY


Electric Wizard – Time To Die


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As Dorset’s premier exponents of unrelenting heaviness Electric Wizard have never had it easy. Those familiar with their monolithic dirges will be aware of the turmoil the band has undergone since its inception with more line-up changes since recording 2010’s ‘Black Masses’ with drummer Mark Greening entering and rapidly departing the fold due to more issues with substance abuse and a lengthy legal battle with former label Rise Above to say that Time To Die (Spinefarm) has undergone a difficult conception would be an understatement.

All the hallmarks of Wizard’s sound remain present yet there is definitely a feeling that some ideas have been recycled with some familiar patterns reoccurring. Satan and the Supercoven are reprised in the lyrics but this is one bad trip that’s hard to get out of.

An epic peon to infamous acid murderer Ricky Kasso who allegedly cut out his victims eyes in a drug induced satanic ritual back in June 1984. ‘Time To Die’ is a vicious and negative record which starts slowly but lures you into its murky depths. The sinister hallucinogenic organ work which permeates ‘Destroy Those Who Love God’ delivers all the nocturnal Lovecraftian evil with its fitting samples from documentary ‘The Devil Worshippers’ to good effect. ‘Funeral Of Your Mind’ drags you into the vortex with a nasty tumultuous riff and Jus Oborn’s anguished vocal lurking beneath the sea of feedback and percussion which producer Chris Fielding (Conan) has done a bang up job in retaining the feel of the bands early work while allowing for some of the greater tonal clarity the later work has enjoyed.

Trance inducing repetition has long been the bands calling card and the ethos of tune low, play slow and worship Satan is adhered to with rigid stoicism. The organ adds atmosphere to the oppressive terror on ‘Saturn Dethroned’ yet this is a fairly typical effort from Osborn and company which neither tarnishes their legacy nor will increase their ‘Witchcult’ greatly in size. A consistent album which falls short of reflecting the majesty of their live ceremonies.

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7/10

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Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable – Leave Me Alone


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Stoner rock firebrand Nick Oliveri is well versed in the art of reckless abandonment. Since his departure from Queens Of The Stone Age and Kyuss Lives! (Now Vista Chino) Oliveri has terrorised stages the word over playing bass with Cali punks Bl’ast and his raucous one man unplugged show.

‘Leave Me Alone’ see’s Nick in full stoner punk mode working through the full on rawk aspects of repertoire from the bar fight frenzy of ‘Human Cannonball’ to vicious barrage of ‘Come And You’re Gone’ which recalls the bombast of Turbonegro, Nick O grabs you and does not let go.

At a lean and trim nine songs ‘Uncontrollable’ does not mess around. There are no build up’s, excess jam sections save the somewhat pointless yet pretty acoustic segue way of ‘Leave Me Alone’ itself which soon gives way to the anarcho blast of ‘The Void’. It’s familiar territory but an approach which plays well to Nick’s strengths. Those familiar with his work as Mondo Generator will know what to expect. A pull-no-punches knock down drag out affair which provides plenty of shout along hooks.

Several of Nick’s mates have got it on the act too with Blag Dahlia of The Dwarves, Kyuss Lives! Bruno Fevery and Mötorhead’s Phil Campbell all putting in an appearance to support their good buddy and while the tempos tend to wonder off, this is grass roots punk rock with a true DIY ethos and real character.

Sure there is none of the pop nous of Nick’s work in QOTSA this is a blunt instrument by which stoner rock’s Oliver Reed delivers a sermon of true punk rock zeal.

Tailor-made for the live arena the album remains up-tempo save the mid paced riot of ‘Robot Man’ complete with sirens and lyrics referring to the swat team, perhaps a tongue-in-cheek reference to one of Nick’s more infamous brushes with the law of late when he held police at gunpoint from his home after a neighbour reported a disturbance at his residence.

Oliveri is a true hellraiser in the classic mould, but where his reputation for destruction may proceed him the bloke can pen some good tunes.

7/10

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Earth – Primitive And Deadly


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Monolithic drone pioneers Earth have never stood still. Robustly experimental even incorporating tuba into their eerie webs of distortion Dylan Carlson and co-conspirator Adrienne Davies have another trick up their sleeves on this tenth album Primitive and Deadly (Southern Lord): vocals!

“Allowing themselves to be a rock band” as Carlson put it, the album features the gravel tones of Mark Lanegan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi of Seattle psyche act Rose Windows who both augment the cacophonous yet warm droning guitars and unwavering rhythms, fitting in perfectly with Carlson’s vision.

Probably their most consistent release since the genre defining Pentastar: In The Style Of Demons, Primitive And Deadly is a hypnotic and enthralling experience easily digested during a single sitting. The fact that these are the first guest vocalists’ since that 1996 release is fitting considering they provide the only light amongst the all-consuming darkness of this captivating platter.

Lanegan adds a rich, smoky timbre to the cavernous ‘There Is A Serpent Coming’ while Qazi’s contribution to ‘From The Zodiacal Light’ is an equally compelling journey through the recesses of the unconscious mind. “It’s all over now, the devils guide you” Rabia sings while the waves of distortion consume you in a passionate embrace for over eleven minutes of psyche-drone mastery.

The cinematic sensibilities remain very much a part of Carlson’s modus operandi, yet the country and western influences and additional instrumentation has been stripped back to reveal the band’s beating heart; primal slabs of distorted psyche rock which make for an immersive and intense ride which will withstand many repeat listens.

Sprawling epics are Earth’s stock in trade, yet the atmospherics of the five cuts here are so wonderfully all-consuming. Concluding with the sorrowful lament of ‘Rooks Across The Gates’ where Lanegan intones “I dropped her in the east wood stream”. Adopting a more song based approach as benefitted Carlson and Davies immensely. Surely one of the heaviest and most engrossing works of their career Earth have delivered the goods in style. Primitive And Deadly is one record which lives up to its brash moniker.

9/10

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Steak – Slab City


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Fuzzed up London based Stoners Steak peddle a distorted sound that smacks you upside the head with its rumbling bass and muscular grooves. ‘Liquid Gold’ is built on walls of powerful desert style psychedelia with the eerie compressed vocals of Kippa adding a menace and paranoia to the trip which many acts have side stepped in favour of good-time party rock.
That’s not to say Steak don’t make an enjoyable headshaking racket. The nimble fretwork here recalls players like Nebula’s Eddie Glass with a molasses thick Sleep texture to the driving riffs that powers Slab City.
Like many Stoner releases it would have been impossible not to mention Kyuss but for John Garcia adding his distinctive vocals to album highlight ‘Pisser’. You can almost hear the smiles of the band members as Garcia’s unmistakable contributions gel with the delicious riffs.

That Harper Hug (Unida producer) and Garcia’s Unida bandmate Arthur Seay are involved in the recording makes for little surprise but while they clearly have friends in high places Steak’s songwriting is lean and trimmed of the indulgent jam sections which many act of this ilk languish in. It’s unashamedly retrospective in approach harking back to the late nineties in the same fashion which acts like Witchcraft take inspiration from the 60s and 70s. Secret track ‘Old Timer D.W.’ also features some nice Led Zep slide guitar.

Unquestionably metallic, there are no bluesy jams or instrumental break diluting the potency of their delicious riff driven assault. It’s uncomplicated and go for the throat approach won’t change the opinions of those not enthralled with stoner rock but one which fans of the acts referenced here will lap up.
‘Slab City’ won’t expand the profile of the genre but it is delivered with a loving and faithful zeal which you can’t help but fall for. Sure all the flavours of this platter will be instantly familiar with fans of the genre but no less juicy and tender. A lovely rendered depiction of the Palm desert filtered through gritty London charm Steak are doing what they love and doing it in style.

7/10

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WORDS ROSS BAKER


A Therapy For Pain – Gregor Mackintosh of Vallenfyre


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Born as an outlet for grief at the tragic passing of his father John Robert Mackintosh, Vallenfyre’s first album A Fragile King (Century Media) was Gregor Mackintosh’s way of coping with the horror of losing a parent to cancer. The resulting album saw Mackintosh returning to his roots melding a love of grindcore, crust punk and doom to frightening effect, all ably assisted by the likes of My Dying Bride’s Hamish Glencross, Doom/Extinction of Mankind bassist Scoot, Paradise Lost band mate Adrian Earlandsson and hometown pal Mully on guitar. Fast forward three years, the band has been touring delivering many impressive performances, not least last years Damnation Festival in Leeds where they turned in a face melting performance. Ever the busy man, Gregor was taking time out writing for the new Paradise Lost record when Ghost Cult caught up with the amiable Yorkshireman to talk about coping with loss, addiction and new album Splinters.

 

Due to commitments with their other projects, there was some doubt over whether a new record was on the cards but one listen to the bleak and visceral follow-up should put paid to any idea of a sophomore slump. “I knew after the first record when we did a smattering of festivals and then left it. After I bumped into the rest of the guys we then talked about doing a second record. The whole point of doing this album is to better the first. I wanted everything to be bigger on this album. We wanted the shorter aggressive songs to be more violent and the doom parts to be more extreme. Everything is slower, faster and angrier. I think we have really tried to develop our own sound on this album rather than just turn out a retro sounding death metal record.”

 

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Indeed while Vallenfyre’s music takes influence from acts like Bolt Thrower, the sound they have developed feels extremely fresh. Perhaps this can be attributed to the band’s core ethos of keeping the music full of groove and power without turning it into a pretentious technical workout. “I think there has been a bit of a void in modern death metal” Greg agreed. “There are some great musicians about but the songwriting is not there. You need hooks no matter what genre you are playing in. I wanted to bring the sounds of punk and death metal I grew up on into a modern setting. The process for writing “A Fragile King” was a really lonely one with me locked inside a room working. It was very difficult and only became enjoyable to do when the rest of the guys got involved. Splinters is a very spontaneous record with elements of all the other bands we are in. We have branched out. It’s almost like a mix tape, you have a six and a half-minute doom metal song followed by a minute of grindcore. We went into the studio and recorded naturally and kept the imperfections in. That’s why we chose Kurt Ballou as a producer as he’s not obsessed with perfection. He really captured our live sound.”

Speaking of uber-producer and Converge guitar player, Greg clearly has nothing but praise for Ballou’s methods. “We’d played some festivals with Converge and we got chatting and hit it off. It took a lot to get us over to Salem (Massachusetts) and I think Century Media were very trusting to let us do that. With Paradise Lost we are always planning everything, but with Vallenfyre we take each day as it comes.”

 

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Splinters will indeed be a record which raises the bar in terms of expectations for this “Supergroup”. The thing that makes this feel so natural is you see how even a veteran metalhead like Greg still enjoys playing in a band with a bunch of friends (Mully is still lovingly referred to as “Mully from the pub”). Despite having to fit around the touring schedule of his main band, Glencross commitments to My Dying Bride and drummer Earlandsson will shortly be getting back into things with his old group At The Gates as there is increased demand for the band to perform more live shows. Thankfully it’s something that’s in the works. “It’s a nightmare to manage. We have a spreadsheet that shows our schedule and it’s rare that we all have the same days off but we will be doing shows where we can. We are doing the Obscene Extreme in the Czech Republic, which I have always wanted to do because I love the concept that there are no headliners and no one is treated differently than the rest. We also have had a US band whom I love and respect offer to take us out with them but that’s an email I received yesterday so I can’t say anything just yet. We want to play and are open to offers.”

A Fragile King was undoubtedly hard-hitting in every sense particularly in the lyrical content. Splinters occupies a different territory which has no particular concept yet the themes of pain, rejection and addiction run rife. ‘Odious Bliss’ is about self-medicating. Things like grief you can never get over and that’s when alcohol and pills become a temptation.” Greg confirms. “I find it very therapeutic to sing about these themes. It allows me to release a lot of emotions. A song like ‘Seed’ is extremely personal and whenever I sing it, I am taken back to the head space I was in when I wrote it. People have asked if it gets difficult to perform these songs night after night which we will do more often but for me it is about connecting with these emotions. All the lyrics behind A Fragile King especially are insanely personal but I thought why not. There are plenty of extreme metal bands that sing about nonsense and fantasy like zombies and cutting people’s heads off. I don’t think many bands are singing about real death in the way we do. It is probably too close to home for some people. We did the gigs with Bolt Thrower which were for the Teenage Cancer Trust and the singer of Benediction was telling me how he related to it and Jo Bench (Bolt Thrower, bassist) was saying the same thing. My brother also had a book published which was about our dad dying but it’s not a sad book. I gave a copy to Jo Bench who has lost her mum and she said she really got a lot from it.” Splinters definitely feels more like a band effort with further influences from both the crust punk movement and the doom metal scene creating a more diverse second platter. “Everyone contributed a bit more this time. In terms of playing I really have to take my hat off to Adrian who has been phenomenal. He puts a jazz feel into the material one minute but then he can still deliver such crushing blast beats!”

On Vallenfyre’s biography Greg fondly recalls his early teens discovering bands like The English Dogs, Conflict and Discharge while simultaneously appreciating the works of Metal acts like Mötorhead and Black Sabbath before tape trading and discovering death metal and grind. Despite the nostalgic feel of this project Vallenfyre are not an act living in the past. “That was such a great time but it is about bringing the special moments from the shoots of the extreme music scene that came through the soil back in the late eighties and early nineties. I wanted to inject that into a record which is relevant today.”

 

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Briefly from there thoughts turn to Greg’s commitments with Paradise Lost. “The plan was to go into the studio in June but we kept getting offers for festivals. The new material is more adventurous than the last two albums. It won’t be what people expect. We have written half the album as of now. It’s important for me to keep PL and Vallenfyre separate and treat them with the respect they deserve. I want to tour separately just because it could be draining touring for both acts. We have done festivals together but that’s it.”

Considering how personal the lyrics of A Fragile King were, many acts would struggle to find ways to match its intensity. While the new album focuses on other issues Greg has no problem with finding yet more hard-hitting issues to discuss. “There are a couple of songs about mental illness and then there are a couple of songs which are more social and talk about how making money is put ahead of people’ feelings. It sounds very wanky when I talk about it” (laughs).

 

The first record was about being despondent and grief-stricken. There is much more anger on this record, it’s so aggressive. I can’t wait to hear what the world thinks of it.”

 

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Dust Bolt – Awake The Riot


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1986 was a great year.Master Of Puppets, Pleasure To Kill, Obsessed By Crueltyand Reign In Blood were all released that year surely making it the finest hour for Thrash Metal as a genre. Germans Dust Bolt clearly agreed with this statement providing a faithful yet enjoyable romp on this sophomore release. Firmly caught between the vicious all-out war of Slayer with generous helping of Kreator heaviness, the band impress with some searing fretwork but snarling leads and breakneck tempos. Dust Bolt’s sound wins zero points for individuality but this a record made by guys who clearly play music for the joy of doing so.

‘Soul Erazor’ even has reprising Tom Araya’s scream from the beginning of ‘The Antichrist’. It’s a faithful yet powerful take on a genre that has become somewhat stagnant in recent years save the likes of Evile, Gama Bomb and Municipal Waste.

The band experiment with song structures well enough too. The two and a half minute blast of the title track shows Dust Bolt can write a moshpit terror but there are several over the four minute mark.

The guitar playing of Flo and singer Lenny has much to do with the band’s appeal, with the duo delivering ripping solos tempered with intricate harmonies on the headrush of ‘Living A Lie’.

Sure the album has few surprises and a couple of duffers like the formulaic ‘Eternal Waste’ dent the momentum. Finale ‘The Monotonous Distant Dream’ is a double edged sword. On one hand this seven minute epic which adds a delicious touch of menace and foreboding but placing it as the centrepiece of the record would have perhaps been of greater benefit rather than tagging it on at the end.

Sure this Bayern quartet may own much to their Teutonic forbearers but there is enough to have you believe there is better to come from these fellas. A touching homage to the greats of the genre ‘Awake The Riot’ will have you hunting for those classic 80s records before you give this lot another spin.

 

6/10

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