Less than a year ago, Acolyte frontman Malekh spoke to me for an interview on SoundShock’s Breaking The Waves section. Since then, the progressive black metallers have signed to Mordgrimm and are set to release debut album ‘Alta’ (see review here) in May. Certainly, it’s an exciting time for the Manchester band. But that’s not it. Listening to ‘Alta’, it’s clear that 2013 is shaping up to be an exciting year for British metal debuts too. I have a follow-up chat with both guitarist/composer Malekh and frontman JT to find out how life has changed since landing a record deal and completing an astonishing debut album.
Without a doubt, Viza were one of the dark horses of Hammerfest 5. Hundreds of people dropped their inhibitions to sing, dance and smile to the eclectic seven-piece’s unique and multicultural music. The L.A band had the rambunctious energy to get a conga line started and even a mosh pit, despite being one of the less heavy acts of the festival. I spoke with Oud player Andrew Kzirian a few hours before that spirited performance at Stage Two…
After releasing a near-perfect debut album with ‘Runaljod – Gap Var Ginnunga’, conceptual Norwegian project Wardruna are ready to continue the trilogy with second instalment, ‘Runaljod – Yggdrasil’. Headed by ex-Gorgoroth drummer Kvitrafn and made complete in the studio by his ex-band-mate Gaahl, singer Lindy Fay Hella and hardanger fiddle-player Hallvard Kleiveland, the project take inspiration from the ruins of Norway’s indigenous heritage to create stirring ambient folk music. With the collective now heading to London in October, I found out more from mastermind Kvitrafn on the unique atmospherics and strong Norse concepts that beat at the heart of the band.
Greek brothers Sakis and Themis Tolis initially founded Rotting Christ as Black Church in 1985. It was around that very time that the Second Wave of black metal was beginning to miraculously emerge over 2,000 miles north in Scandinavia, making the duo a most unlikely and unexpected musical force. Rotting Christ might be from warmer climates, but they have a rightful stake for their influence in evolving black metal sounds and have gained equal – if not more – notoriety than most black metal acts for their band title over the years, with certain Government authorities forcing them to cancel performances and other angered fundamentalists turning up to protest their shows. But all of that hasn’t and still isn’t getting them down. More than 25 years on from their formation, they have completed and released album number 11, with the stunning ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’. Just hours before its European release, I talked with frontman, guitarist and main composer Sakis Tolis about the new direction of the album, the financial turmoil in Greece and the controversy that has followed them across the globe.
It has taken some time for French act Soror Dolorosa to blossom into the beautiful, dark flower they are today. After Darvulia, Peste Noire and Celestia drummer Andy Julia formed Soror Dolorosa with ex-Funeraell members Franck Ligabue, Hervé Carles and Christophe Guenot in 2001, it took them nine years to release their first album ‘Blind Scenes’. Luckily for us, Soror Dolorosa have proven they aren’t just a flash in the pan, with a brooding, atmospheric second record in ‘No More Heroes’. The four-piece have completed another chapter of their musical lives – detached from their black metal roots – capitalising on their evidently rich streak of creativity. I interviewed frontman Andy Julia about the quartet’s latest journey into cathartic pastels of cold.
From one-time cold black metal to crusty heavy metal, Darkthrone have effortlessly skipped between the many sub-genres of metal music to carve their own legacy into the minds of horn-raising, mosh-obsessed laudits of metallic debauchery. Their sound might have changed, and so might their perspectives, but there’s one constant that the duo – comprised of Fenriz and Nocturno Culto – will always have; their burning passion and undying love for heavy metal music. With album number 15 around the corner, I interviewed Darkthrone multi-instrumentalist and co-founder, Fenriz about the band’s newest creation, ‘The Underground Resistance’.
As far as debut records go, you won’t come across a more ambitious, polished and beautiful piece than Caladan Brood’s ‘Echoes of Battle’. The American two-piece have taken their love for fantasy-inspired black metal and built a truly immersive 71-minute masterpiece, thematically based on the ‘Malazan Book of the Fallen’ – a fictional fantasy series written by Canadian author Steven Erikson. I interview mysterious members Mortal Sword and Shield Anvil for SoundShock Webzine, to find out more on the band’s love of fantasy, Summoning and the recording of their untouchable debut album.