Interview: Swordcery

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After hearing their somewhat unusual fusion of NWOBHM and doom metal, I received the opportunity to have a chat with the members of Argentinian band Swordcery. They asked me to meet them off the coast and there I was, in a rowboat with a Zune to record the interview, and a submarine broke the surface of the ocean a few hundred yards away. Among the torpedos and cruise missiles, we talked about Swordcery and metal.

You are drummer in Swordcery, a heavy metal band from Argentina. Can you tell me how the band was formed, how long it has been around, and what recordings you have released?

Andrés: I was introduced to Marcos, Swordcery guitarist, by a mutual friend. He kind of auditioned for this classic rock band I was playing at the time, but while he was still learning the songs that project disbanded. A couple of days after that, we half jokingly bounced off the idea of starting up a stoner/doom metal band, as I had recently got him into The Sword and Elder, and we both enjoyed Sabbath and Black Label Society.

Andrés: Fast forward a week later, he came up with a riff (which would eventually be the beginning Ruined Realm) and we got together and just kinda worked on it, just the two of us. It took us some time to find out exactly how to play what we wanted because neither of us had any experience at creating that particular sort of metal, we just knew that we liked it a fucking lot and that we wanted in. At some point it just clicked and we decided it was time to look for a bassist. An acquaintance suggested Isaias, and we’ve been at it together ever since. This all happened almost exactly three years ago now.

Were there any particular challenges in becoming a heavy metal fan, and then a heavy metal band, in Argentina? What about in your local area?

Andrés: I think heavy metal enthusiasts in Argentina face the same challenges that people all over the world do: being relegated to obscurity, portrayed in negative stereotypes in mainstream media, etc. Same goes for those that want to carve an artistic career with metal. However, a particular trait of argentinean culture that I think plays a role in all things metal here is the fact that due to our recent historical background (mainly the military juntas and their “cultural protectionist” and nationalist policies), heavy metal and hard rock are still perceived, almost subconsciously in most people, as something foreign, a cultural artefact that does not belong in this country. I think that pushes newcomers away from metal and into more mainstream and “acceptable” interests.

Andrés: That said, there has been a somewhat vibrant but uninspired and homogeneous metal scene in our country for three decades now, and in my opinion it’s no coincidence that for the most part it has always overplayed and explored the same themes again and again: national pride, identity and social issues. Almost like it’s been trying to fit in in the cultural argentinean ethos. I’ve digressed a little bit, but this plays a role when you try to make your way, musically speaking, into the metal scene here: it gets really, really difficult to find a crowd that buys into your music if you don’t pray at that particular altar. This all applies to the local level as well, with the added bonus of living in a somewhat uninhabited area like Patagonia that makes gathering a following all the more difficult.

What type of band do you hope to be? Is this a weekend project for you, or do you want to play Eurovision?

Isaias: My greatest ambition is that our music gets recognition at least in our continent, and that it finds its way into Europe and the USA eventually, and for us to make a living of our art, travel and play around the world.

Andrés: Like Isaias said, definitely not a weekend project. Making a living out of our music would be more than enough, but I think we allow ourselves to dream as big as possible. Who doesn’t daydream of being the next Black Sabbath and playing huge arenas and all that, right?

4. What are your influences? Your music could be described as (approximately) a fusion between old Witchfinder General and modern groove-based heavy metal. What helped you along the road to this style?

Isaias: As a band, our influences lie mostly in bands that share the same genre: Black Sabbath, The Sword, Elder, Red Fang, and the like. I like to highlight the fact that we don’t only consume heavy metal. I think that’s part of what makes Swordcery different. Individually our influences are totally different and diverse.

Andrés: To elaborate on that, Marcos comes from a thrash and grunge background, infused with more extreme and technical bands like Amon Amarth and Meshuggah, for example. On the other hand, I’ve always been a fan of hard rock and classic metal, from old Judas and Rainbow to Manowar, and a big glam fan too, like early Motlëy or its more modern iterations like Crashdiet or Hardcore Superstar (Poison is shit though). We try to keep focused when we are playing as a band but I think all the wildly different influences subtly permeate the final product.

Andrés: I’d say we’ve always aimed, since day one, to create a big, fat, epic sound, like a moving wall of living thunder. Along the way we somehow developed a penchant for structurally complex songs. We are always trying to find new ways of making our brand of doom/stoner metal though, and we hope to reflect that in our upcoming releases.

What are the most important bands in the history of heavy metal to you?

Andrés: I know I might get shit on for this but my opinion is that the perfect trifecta of both hard rock and heavy metal was, is and will ever be Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. I’m aware that there were a good deal of bands before them that paved the way to their final sound, and bands after them that refined it, but in my opinion they were the ones who set the foundations that we still follow to this day.

Most of your music is quasi-instrumental, with few vocals. Is there a lot of interest in instrumental metal? Why did you choose to make your music this way?

Isaias: It is true that our songs are mostly instrumental, with only maybe one third of vocals, but I don’t think we wrote them like that on purpose, they just kind of came out that way, maybe due to the nature of the genre.

Marcos: I guess we made our songs that way because it simply felt right at that time. Personally, as I’m a guitarist first and a singer second, I always enjoyed the instrumental side of our songs the most, probably due to the fact that I’ve drawn lots of inspiration from bands that are highly instrumental, like Elder and Colour Haze. For better or for worse, I think this has pushed us away from the more mainstream vein of metal.

Isaias: I’d like to note that we are currently trying to shift our focus a little bit to work more on the vocal aspect of our songs, trying to come up with more interesting melodies and playing around with vocal harmonies. This doesn’t mean we are going to make another instrumental song in the future though.

Andrés: As far as interest in instrumental music goes, at least in the local level, and mostly from people that are more used to more traditional or vocal focused metal, we’ve gotten mixed criticism.

Who is in the band, who composes the music, and how do you put together songs?

Isaías: We are a three piece. Marcos sings and plays guitar, Andrés provides ambience with his drumming and writes the lyrics, and I try to fatten our tunes with my four strings. As for our composition, we never start the same way; sometimes ideas spring up while we are jamming, or we come up with a specific riff or idea in mind and then work on it, and sometimes Andrés brings a lyric and we take it from there. After that we simply work on it, the three of us.

Marcos: Instrumentally speaking, me and Isaías come up with most it, though Andrés has an active participation when coming up and picking which riffs work and which don’t. We usually try to find a way to end up with a song that the three of us feel it’s ours, which even though it might sound like its not, it’s actually very difficult.

Andrés: In the end it totally pays off because the final product is truly the brainchild of our collective ideas, which makes Swordcery almost an independent creature, a thoughtform, if you will, unlike most other bands where everything is in charge of only one or two members and one as a listener can kinda get used to a sound and see the patterns, and finally get bored with them. Sure, as Marcos says, this means it usually takes a lot of time for us to come up and finish a new song, there’s a lot of debate and brainstorming going on constantly, and sometimes there’s friction but that’s only natural, and it goes to show how much each of us care about the end product. But this synergy that we have going on, how we actively feed on each other ideas, whether they work or not, that’s what sets us apart from most bands and for me that’s what makes me feel proud of Swordcery.

Speaking on metalgate topics: have you had any clashes with censorship? What about people objecting to your lyrical content? How do you feel about the idea that there should be rules about what metal bands can sing about, or that metal bands should worry about complaints about their content or image?

Marcos: So far we’ve only been criticized for writing our lyrics in English.

Andrés: And I think that ties in with what I answered before about heavy metal still being a foreign artefact to most of the local populace and the overly pseudo-nationalist lyrical content of most local bands. People here will gladly sing along to an Iron Maiden song but if an argie band writes and sings in english it gets frowned upon. At the same time that might have kept us away from criticism because most of our audience here doesn’t have a more than a superficial knowledge of the english language.

Andrés: I personally think (and to some extent I’d say my bandmates share the sentiment) that freedom of speech is sacred, for everyone, and more so for artists because artists, and that includes comedians and the like, are the ones that usually push the envelope regarding what is socially accepted and what is not, acting as the spearhead of new ideas and lines of thinking. If you restrain that, in the name of some perceived decency, political correctness, or whatever, you’re chocking the life out of one of society’s pillars which is intellectual discourse. And anyway, as it’s been proven again and again, ideas simply can’t be restrained, no matter how much Orwellian pro-censorship idiots try to. They always find a way to seep past any barrier, and do so with twice the strength.

Andrés: That also applies to what some call self-censorship, trying to make it look like when you self-censor yourself its not really censorship. Well, I’m of the mind that self-censorship disguised as decency or whatever, although pre-emptive in nature, is still censorship, and its even worse because it means that you internalized the idea that you can’t speak your mind so much that you thought-police yourself.

Do you have fascist or neo-Nazi bands down in Argentina? Do you feel they should be censored?

Marcos: There are some, but you gotta let them do their thing. In the end if you tried to silence them you’d only be giving them publicity.

Andrés: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

According to the band bio, you write “Lyrics focus on sword & sorcery, fantastic, and science fiction themes and literature.” What literature and stories inspire you? Do you think there’s something in common between metal, science fiction and fantasy or romantic literature?

Andrés: Most of my inspiration comes from old pulp stories of the sword & sorcery genre, like Howard’s Conan and Fritz Leiber’s swordsmen stories, Bourroughs Mars and Pellucidar series; we’ve got a song based on Tolkien’s Silmarillion too, and there’s some Lovecraft thrown in for good measure. I’ve also been an avid old school Dungeons & Dragons DM for a bunch of years now and that’s always in the back of my mind when writing lyrics (Ruined Realm originally had a lyric in spanish that detailed the adventures of a typical D&D party on an ancient fallen kingdom, for example). Video games with rich lore have always been a great source of ideas as well, like the Thief series (City of Thieves is mostly about that game’s eponymous City) and The Elder Scrolls legendarium. Lately I’ve been devouring Warhammer 40.000 lore like a madman, and as a result one of our latest songs had a grimdark sci-fi theme. Finally, there are a couple of narratives of my own devising, they too hover around the speculative fiction genre with a weird, gritty bent. I guess it’s pretty clear that as a lyric writer I’m an unapologetic escapist myself. For me, lyrics about social issues or that simply describe everyday situations and feelings without a narrative backdrop, a plot of some sort, are simply boring, both when I’m writing and when I’m reading someone else’s content.

Andrés: I’m no literature major but I think there’s definitely something in common between speculative fiction and metal. What initially drew me into metal was how easily I could be taken away with it, like a switch inside that simply goes on whenever there’s some metal playing around, almost like magic. The only thing that does the same for me is fantastic literature. There’s also the fact that metal is excessive, larger than life, over the top, some might even say, and I feel that that makes an excellent background to deal with larger than life narratives and themes which other genres might not be able to convey appropriately.

You’re going to get this question anyway, but: “Swordcery” is an awkward name. Why did you choose this? Has it caused problems? How does it reflect your music?

Andrés: It simply occurred to me one day while we were driving to practice and Marcos thought it was awesome because it was new, there’s no other band named anything remotely similar. The name’s always been an issue, especially if you keep in mind that most people here are not very proficient in anything besides spanish, but we like it enough to deal with it.

Andrés: It’s a made up word that combines sword & sorcery, which as I said before is the label applied to the literary work of Robert E. Howard and others like him. If you take our lyrics into account it works. Besides, the mental image of a barbarian wielding a sword against a chaos tainted sorcerer is metal as fuck.

If people are interested in hearing more from Swordcery and keeping up with news from the band, what should they do?

You can look us up on Facebook by our name. We are also in bandcamp as “Swordcery” too. Failing that, tell your local scrying expert too look into the empyrean realm and summon us by calling our true daemonic names.

Lineup
Guitarrista y Vocalista: Marcos Corbalan
Baterista: Andres Cabrera
Bajista: Isaías Arza

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Interview with Lech

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An interesting project emerging from the murky Texas underworld, Lech makes music of nearly pure noise and calls it “doom music” rather than a form of metal, but its similarities to metal (as well as electro-acoustic and other forms) cannot be denied. After reviewing the first album from this project, we wanted to hear more and were fortunate to get in a few words with Lech.

Who “is” Lech? Can you tell us band members, your history in music outside of Lech, and how you came together to form Lech -or- decided to do so?

We come from various experimental band backgrounds.

After some time away from music we decided to get together, and put out an 8 track ep.

You describe your music as “doom music,” although others might say electro-acoustic, drone or organic ambient. What inspires your choice of words to describe the sounds that you organize into music?

Doom in our opinion is the fear of impending threat or danger, but it can be taken out of context when describing music genre.

A lot of people think of Black Sabbath as being the godfathers of doom, and no doubt Tony is the Riff master but we believe Screamin’ Jay Hawkins was the true originator.

Doom music describes us best.

Is there a connection to heavy metal, or underground metal, that informs how you compose? Or is this an entirely different style? Do you have influences from any of the following ex-metal projects: Lull, Neptune Towers, Final, K.K. Null, Suuri Shamaani?

Actually the influences of the 8 tracks we have out now come from dark classical. Requiem, dirge, and Walter/ Wendy Carlos.

How do you create your music? Are these found sounds, digital manipulated, distorted or some combination of the above?

Our stuff is all original recordings.

No sample, found, or computer manipulation sounds.

What you hear that doesn’t sound like guitars are in fact guitars. The beginning of Waterwalker is a guitar run through an Eventide Space.

The experimentation that went into our sound would have to be seen to be understood.

When you compose, what do you aim to create? Do you hope to provoke a reaction or recognition in the listener and if so, what is it?

The first thought is probably “what the hell is this?”

Which I think we accomplished without saying, and the other is the true dark side of music.

Music is sometimes misunderstood, and when it is questioned you are usually on the right track.

Is this self-titled release your first recordings? What others are present? Will this be released on a label, or is it already out?

Yes, there will be another album out this summer under the Forlorn Group Label.

Why did you choose the name “Lech”? Does it have a particular meaning?

The name LecH was chosen because of the many different connotations that go along with it.

From the perverse, to the river in Austria.

It’s the unknown.

What are your future activities — will there be touring, more recordings, promotion or collaborations?

As for touring, and live shows we can’t wait to get a road crew together, and smoke some amps.

If you could play live with any Texas metal bands, which ones would you choose?

One would be Ryan from Howling Void out of San Antonio, and the other would be Annie Clark from St Vincent out of Dallas. She’s not exactly metal, but like us she has her own sound, which we like.

If people are interested in your music, where should they go to find out more and stay in touch with Lech?

We are taking a different approach to getting our music heard, so the best way for now is links on our Youtube stuff through our PR guy Kyle Lee.

Other than that we are working on a website, and hope to get out on the road to play live.

We are taking it as it comes at this point.

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Deathspell Omega – Paracletus (2010)

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The secret to excellent marketing is found in the word “different.” A successful salesperson puts a surface on an ordinary product so it appears new, luxurious or otherwise distinctive. In music, the best method is to put a new surface on whatever is trendy at the time. Thus cloaked, it allows its listeners to appreciate the same stuff everyone else is listening to, but with its different appearance, they can claim they are different and unique special snowflakes.

Deathspell Omega took the idea of the metalcore dominant at its time — mix up dissonant and technical or jazzy riffing with metal riffs in carnival-style rotational song order based on internal interruption — and put a black metal face on it. For black metal, it relied on what Ulver and Satyricon did, which was to create long melodies that start impressively but go nowhere and require the song structure to intervene “dramatically” and interrupt before people realize that the melody is like the rambling of a drunken person. On top of this, they put choppy technical-style riffing and dissonant chords, but keep the focus on the vocals to distract from the carnival music nature of this randomness, tying it together with rhythm and the strong vocal as post-black bands like Behemoth did.

If the vocals were removed, good portions of this album would appear to have come from recent Cynic albums. Often a jazzy break goes right into hard rock riffing that comes from the pop canon, but as if the band becomes self-conscious, a more violent riff intervenes. The real problem here — as in all rock-derived music — is that unlike metal, this is vocal-driven not riff-driven. The riffs tag along for the ride as the voice tells you things it thinks you want to hear. As such, Paracletus is not only a pretender to the black metal throne, but worse, is musically incoherent which results in mental confusion and boredom.

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Peste Noire – La Sanie des Siècles – Panégyrique de la Dégénérescence (2006)

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In the dying days of black metal, people imitate it from the outside-in by adopting its techniques but not understanding its inner core. Peste Noire combines heavy metal and indie rock with black metal stylings and produces a demi-opus of distracted listening: if attended to with half a brain, as when watching television, socializing or working, it seems fine and hits the right spots of black metal nostalgia. When listened to intently, it reveals itself as having relatively random structure and imitation of tropes that go nowhere.

The surface influence on this work that immediately comes to mind is Graveland, with a side dish of the more desolate Nords like early Gorgoroth and Immortal, but as an experienced listener of metal might guess, the closer one comes to self-pity music (depressive, doom) the lower quality of music becomes. A typical Peste Noire song begins with a black metal riff which it repeats in a cycle, ending in a chord progression reminiscent of bittersweet neurotically happy and sad at the same time indie rock, then drops into heavy metal tropes like the chaotic solo extending into a lead rhythm guide to a bounding riff.

Initial aspects of this album appear favorable: instrumental prowess, deliberate production, a study of black metal. At its heart it is disunified first by lack of purpose except egotistic lamentation, and second by a refusal to structure songs around anything but a visual perspective that hides itself by constant interruption (sort of like the “disruptive” trend in business). What remains, after the listener filters through appearance and randomness, could not fill the teacup of a black metal fan.

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Dirty deeds, but not dirt cheap. AC/DC’s Phil Rudd pleads guilty to threat to kill

AC/DC drummer Phill Rudd at trial. Photo (c) BBC

AC/DC drummer Phill Rudd at trial. Photo (c) BBC

We knew the band carefully cultivated a bad boy reputation, but now it may have gone too far. AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd has pleaded to attempting to hire someone to kill a former business associate, in addition to possession of methamphetamine and cannabis. Here’s the BBC with the report:

Mr Rudd was concerned that security at the launch party at his restaurant Phil’s Place was not tight enough, according to the court summary.

A month later, the court heard, he telephoned an associate saying he wanted one of the people he had fired “taken out”.

He later offered the associate NZ$200,000 ($153,000; £100,000) as well as “a motorbike, one of his cars or a house”, which the person assumed was payment “for carrying out his earlier request”.

This most unfortunate development looks more like self-destruction than a realized plan. Rudd apparently also threatened the person in question via phone, which makes us wonder if he was trying to avoid prosecution at all.

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Marduk – Frontschwein (2015)

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Marduk attempts to return to their past of blasting melodic war-themed ultra-simplistic black metal, evoking Panzer Division Marduk more than the mysterious album which preceded it, Opus Nocturne, which remains arguably their strong point. The band incorporates some elements of tribal-industrial hybrid rhythms, but stays on point with short riffs. Arguably this mature form of Marduk offers more variation in tonal construction and riff form than ever before, but its tendency to use similar song structures and nearly constant exercise-video style tempi wears down the power of this release.

Like later Vader albums, the attempt to make the album fully intense creates a wallpaper effect where all of the intensity flows together because lack of internal variation deprives it of the context to make a truly great impact; in addition, riffs use a very similar vocabulary of rhythm and pattern, which makes songs hard to distinguish. Where Marduk excels is in, while avoiding the standard MTV form most metal bands use, orchestrating a rise of intensity that explodes into a clever use of melody and tempo change to produce a dramatic impression. The theatrical side of this band creates moments of impressive songwriting throughout the album.

Black metal vocals of the type that approach a chant more than a howl decorate this album and while much of listener focus is anticipated to be directed at these, they stand back when the guitars lay forth a mix between sawing rhythm and gentle lifts of melody, much like early Dawn albums or their militant spin-off Niden Div. 187. Frontschwein shows Marduk at their best in recent memory, and in modern warfare they have found a new inspiration, but the whimsy and mysterious nature-mysticism of Opus Nocturne was closer to black metal than what we might call this, ‘melodic war metal,’ and as a result like most rock projects it fades into repetition that becomes distinguished only by vocals and lyrics. Nonetheless good material appears throughout this album.

Tracklist

  1. Frontschwein
  2. The Blond Beast
  3. Afrika
  4. Wartheland
  5. Rope Of Regret
  6. Between The Wolf-Packs
  7. Nebelwerfer
  8. Falaise: Cauldron Of Blood
  9. Doomsday Elite
  10. 503
  11. Thousand-Fold Death
  12. Warschau III: Necropolis (Mediabook bonus track, in cooperation with ARDITI)

Tour
EUROPEAN HEADLINER tour with Belphegor (special guest) and two support acts
19.02.2015 HOL Rotterdam / Baroeg
20.02.2015 HOL Eindhoven / Effenaar
21.02.2015 HOL Sneek / Het Bolwerk
22.02.2015 BEL Vosselaar / Biebob
23.02.2015 UK Plymouth / The Hub
24.02.2015 UK Manchester / Academy 3
25.02.2015 UK Glasgow / Audio
26.02.2015 UK London / Underworld
27.02.2015 FR Paris / Divan du Monde
28.02.2015 CH Monthey / Pont Rouge
01.03.2015 FR Toulouse / Dynamo
03.03.2015 SP Madrid / Caracol
04.03.2015 SP Barcelona / Apolo
06.03.2015 ITA Turin / Cafe Liber
07.03.2015 ITA Brescia / Circolo Colony
08.03.2015 SLO Nova Gorica / Mostovna

HATEFEST 2015 with Six Feet Under, Vader and Hate
02.04.2015 DE – Leipzig, Hellraiser
03.04.2015 AT – Wien, Gasometer
04.04.2015 CH – Pratteln, Z7
05.04.2015 DE – Essen, Weststadthalle
06.04.2015 DE – Saarbrücken, Garage
07.04.2015 DE – Lindau, Club Vaudeville
08.04.2015 DE – Ludwigsburg, Rockfabrik
09.04.2015 DE – Hamburg, Markthalle
10.04.2015 DE – Geiselwind, Musichall
11.04.2015 DE – München, Backstage
12.04.2015 DE – Berlin, Postbahnhof

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Members of Demilich, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Winterwolf and Deathchain form The Exploding Eyes Orchestra

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Formed of five of seven Jess and the Ancient Ones members including Deathchain/Winterwolf guitarist Thomas Corpse as primary songwriter, The Exploding Eyes Orchestra explores a different side of garage rock which merges the nightclub chanteuse sound of the 1940s with the expansive atmospheric sound of 1970s heavy rock. The result has high emotional intensity, compelling vocals, and much of the darkness that keyboard-assisted bands like The Doors wrought from rock music.

The Exploding Eyes Orchestra launches its debut album, simply titled I, on June 12th via Svart Records. According to Thomas Corpse, the band channels material which was incompatible with the Jess and the Ancient Ones concept. Lengthy recording sessions in Kuopio, Finland during the winters of 2013 and 2014 produced two albums of material, the second half of which will be released as II in 2016, also via Svart Records.

The band prides itself on its “strong, carefully planned compositions” with classic rock influences and strong female vocals. The Exploding Eyes Orchestra has released a first track, “My Father the Wolf,” streaming below. For more information, seek out the band at the The Exploding Eyes Orchestra Facebook page.

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Paradise Lost releases “No Hope In Sight” from The Plague Within

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Seminal heavy metal/doom metal band Paradise Lost will release The Plague Within on June 1, 2015 in Europe (June 2 in USA) through Century Media Records. During the early 1990s, this band inspired death metal and black metal bands to experiment with layered melodic lead rhythm guitar over distorted power chords, and to this day holds a position both close to popular music and using underground technique.

Paradise Lost comments: “Check out the first track from our new album ‘The Plague Within’. ‘No Hope In Sight’ was one of the first tracks we wrote and it reflects a blend of styles. From death metal to gothic to classic rock. It’s like all eras of PL wrapped up into one track. We hope you all like it!”

“No Hope in Sight” follows a familiar format, which is as much Iron Maiden as Black Sabbath, using melodic hooks contrasted by slow bass-heavy chord progressions in an extended pop song format that made its debut back in the early days of MTV. The result is infectious and on the lighter side, but dark enough in spirit to attract Gothic and metal fans alike who enjoy well-composed straightforward music.

PARADISE LOST live:
29/05/2015 – Rockavaria – Munich – Germany
30/05/2015 – Rock im Revier – Gelsenkirchen – Germany
18/07/2015 – Castle Party Festival – Bolkow – Poland
15/08/2015 – Summer Breeze – Dinkelsbuhl – Germany

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Century Media re-issues Gorguts Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate

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Century Media Records has recently re-issued the death metal classics Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate by Canadian band Gorguts. The 2015 editions of these records were created in close cooperation with guitarist and songwriter Luc Lemay, who describes the history and context of these releases in accompanying liner notes. The re-issues are dedicated to the memory of former members Steeve Hurdle (R.I.P. 2012) and Steve MacDonald (R.I.P. 2002).

GORGUTS Obscura (Re-Issue 2015)

  • Gatefold black 2LP
  • Gatefold mint 2LP – limited to 200 copies (only available via CMDistro.com / Europe only – sold out in the US)
  • Gatefold lilac 2LP – limited to 200 copies (only available via CMDistro.com / US webshop only)
  • Gatefold transparent blue 2LP – limited to 100 copies (exclusive to GORGUTS’ current label Season Of Mist)
  • Standard Jewelcase CD (offered at mid-price)

GORGUTS From Wisdom To Hate (Re-Issue 2015)

  • Black LP+CD
  • Silver LP+CD – limited to 200 copies (only available via CMDistro.com / European & US webshop)
  • Transparent red LP+CD – limited to 200 copies (only available via CMDistro.com / US webshop only)
  • Clear vinyl LP+CD – limited to 100 copies (exclusive to GORGUTS’ current label Season Of Mist)

To order:

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The historical background of MetalGate

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From a recent interview with our editor:

You and the other reviewers are notorious for having incredibly harsh reviews. What would you say are your favorite metal albums of all time?

These metal albums have stayed in weekly rotation over the years:

  1. Massacra – Final Holocaust
  2. Slayer – Show No Mercy
  3. Incantation – Onward to Golgotha
  4. Sepultura – Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation
  5. Deicide – Legion
  6. Beherit – Drawing Down the Moon
  7. Cianide – A Descent Into Hell
  8. Atheist – Unquestionable Presence
  9. Demilich – Nespithe
  10. Demoncy – Joined in Darkness

The reason my analysis is different than that of other metal sites is that populist writers prioritize surface novelty and underlying similarity to mainstream rock, where I look at metal as a form of art in its own right. It should be measured by the quality of its internal organization and ability to artistically represent a vision of power. The popular “best of” lists specialize in bands that will be forgotten in a few years because when the novelty is gone, they are the same old stuff you could get anywhere else.

I keep a copy of Sepultura Morbid Visions/Bestial Devastation in every room in the house. I dislike being too far from one at any given time.

What contemporary bands should we be paying attention to?

In music as in all things, I am an elitist. This means that I want the best music available because time is short and there is no point wasting it on the trivial. Keep an eye on Demoncy, Sammath, Blaspherian, Kjeld, Desecresy, Kaeck, Blood Urn, and Kever.

Some accuse your site of manufacturing a controversy with MetalGate but the SJW infiltration of political correctness in metal has technically been going on since the late 90s. Do you think metal can actually be tamed by leftists and what is your perspective on the attempts to make metal safe?

SJWs are incapable of understanding the aesthetics of metal, which is why all leftist music tends to be metal-flavored riffing wrapped around rock or punk. Metal music sounds the way it does because its outward form represents what its composers wish to communicate. Ignoring lyrics and imagery, which are entirely secondary to composition much as production is, the music itself conveys an abstract and distant sound that makes beauty out of ugliness through a respect for power. In metal, what is powerful creates excellence, and from within that comes the elegance of form and portrayal of reality that makes great art.

Rock takes the opposite view. It is basically intense repetition with an ironic twist at the end, which means that it differentiates itself through “message.” People love catchy lyrics that embody some idea they find appealing at the time, but these are always experiences based in the individual, which is why almost all of rock music is love songs or “protest music” that wails about how inconvenient it is that some complex idea stands between the individual and a good time. You cannot both be pro-nationalist and listen to rock music.

Metal came about when Black Sabbath wanted to interrupt the hippies — what they called SJWs back when they opposed The Establishment — with some “heavy” (hippie slang for intense, epic and terrifying) realism. The West was falling apart, and the popular movements insisted that if we just focused on peace, love and happiness, all our problems would magically vanish. This focus on reality makes metal appear right-wing to leftists. It embraces consequentialism, worship of the ancient, distrust of the narcissism in the individual, and the idea of conflict itself, so that those who are strongest win. This inherently clashes with the individualist groupthink of the left, which seeks to avoid conflict and manage people indirectly through guilt.

When SJWs make metal, it ends up sounding like punk rock or rock because those forms of “protest music” reflect the individualist and yet group-oriented mentality of the SJW. Like the Christians with their “white metal” in the 1980s and the many times commercial record labels have tried to launch rock bands disguised as metal to capture the metal audience, social justice workers (SJWs) are trying to force entry by liberal ideas into metal so they can take over the space of culture that it dominates, and its audience, and indoctrinate them in leftism. Both media and labels support this because it is cheaper to make rock bands than metal bands.

Metalgate rose to resist this conspiracy and call it what it is, which is an attempt to control our minds through propaganda in music, as well as a gambit to replace what we know of as metal with a “safe” version based in indie rock. Most people do not know it, but metal generates a lot of income because metal fans are loyal to the genre over the course of their lives. Record labels could make a lot of money if they could sell the same old pap with metal flavoring. Luckily metalheads are resisting as they have resisted every attempt to assimilate their genre into rock ‘n roll, break its spirit and make it repeat the same dogma that exists in every other genre of music.

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