DOOMSDAY SUN – ‘Cult Of Stasis’

(Self-release)

Doomsday Sun EP Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Cult Of Stasis‘, the follow-up to Staffordshire metal collective Doomsday Sun‘s 2017 debut, ‘Red Light Fever‘, is a concept EP, telling the story of a medical scientist, Dr. Jeremy Stanham, who, with a group of colleagues and volunteers, goes into a two-decade stasis to escape a dystopian future which has seen the UK torn apart by a bloody civil war.

Comprising of five well-crafted tracks, each accompanied by at times darkly humorous audio interludes that aid the EP’s narrative, ranging from a radio news broadcast, a radio advert, and logs detailing an exploration of Dr. Stanham‘s laboratory, to a haunting tape recording of the central character himself, this offering sees the band, now a three-piece, elect to keep the emphasis very much on doom, but expand on the best elements of their previous release.

Some of the songs, for example, opener ‘Clean The Bones‘, ‘Husk Of Augur‘, and ‘Bring Forth The Plague‘, are highly-energetic, aggressive affairs, perfectly suited for the moshpit, whereas other numbers, such as the title track, and closer ‘He Who Fights Monsters‘, are more progressive, less distorted pieces.

An overriding sense of intensity is a constant presence throughout the EP, represented most effectively by pounding drum beats, lengthy guitar solos, and a snarling vocal delivery, which fits in well with the strong narrative.

Overall, while ‘Red Light Fever‘ served as a very good introduction to Doomsday Sun, ‘Cult Of Stasis‘ substantially improves on that, showcasing a more mature and confident outfit better able to focus on developing a truly original metal sound, and hopefully, with this, will get the wider recognition they deserve.

(4/5)

TOP TRACKCult Of Stasis

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS EP – AND DOOMSDAY SUN – BY CHECKING OUT OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE BAND HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNDERKING

Underking band logo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

BAND LOGO by BEN WRIGHT

In 2018, Stoke-on-Trent three-piece Rage Cave, an outfit that had made quite n impact on the city’s music scene, decided to call it a day.

One of the members from that band, Max Jeffries, saw this as an opportunity to begin a new musical project, and after a year of doing everything solo, he decided to bring in a collaborator, who turned out to be an American musician called Dustin Burmeister.

Since last summer, the two-piece have been working hard on honing a sound influenced by a host of legendary rock and metal bands, and with not one, but two albums coming out shortly, both Max and Dustin spoke to me about what can be expected from these releases, and much more.

How did the band first form?

MAX JEFFRIES: Underking started as a solo project, pretty much immediately from when Rage Cave ended. I wanted to show how I had developed as a musician and as a person since Rage Cave‘s last album dropped in 2018.

In the summer of that year, I started writing for Underking, and decided that I was going to look for a singer and a screamer, as I didn’t really feel comfortable with being the singer of a band anymore, and I definitely didn’t know how to scream.

In the summer of 2019, Dustin offered to do the screamed vocals for the project, but I knew that I was going to have to do the singing, so, because of this, I decided to split the project into two distinct halves, one with singing, and one with screaming. The two projects that are being released on April 3 reflect this, I think!

DUSTIN BURMEISTER: I met Max online last August, he had posted some clips of these songs on Facebook asking for a vocalist, and I was interested. After listening to them, I reached out and asked if he was still looking, which he was, so I showed him a little bit of what I was about while we discussed the project, and hit it off from there!

How did the name Underking come about?

MAX: The name of the band came about in a discussion I was having with Kieron, the bassist from Rage Cave. I originally wanted to call the project Witch King, but he shot that down, as it sounded a bit generic.

Still wanting to think of some fantasy reference and the king imagery, I chose the name Underking, after the Elder Scrolls character of the same name. I thought it fit with the demos I had at the time, so it just stuck!

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

MAX: Writing for this project was really fun, as I didn’t really set myself any limits. I just decided to run with pretty much every idea until I thought it was a finished song. Starting with ‘Gravedigger‘, I thought it was a step up from anything I had written in Rage Cave, and it just progressed from there, really – with ‘Nothing But Bone‘ and ‘Hexed‘ rolling straight out after.

However, like all projects, some got thrown out, as I didn’t think they were quite good enough or going anywhere. Some just didn’t feel like I had written them, or sounded too much like other stuff I had heard, but luckily, a lot of them sounded like me, which is what has ended up releasing! I finish up with 14 tracks that I was really happy with in the end, and couldn’t be happier with how they have turned out.

DUSTIN: After getting the vibe from what Max was more or less aiming for when we first discussed the project, I came to the conclusion I wanted to write from more of a narrative point of view, each song being its own small story. They don’t tie together in any special way other than the lyrics being morbid, violent, and/or angry. These songs aren’t necessarily written from any personal experiences, just ideas and concepts.

What inspires the band lyrically?

MAX: With the half of the project that I wrote lyrics for, I wanted to go for a dark vibe – with lyrics about religion (‘Black Lungs‘), and some of my first introspective stuff with ‘Fading Colour‘.

The first lyrics that I wrote for the project, however, were for ‘Witch Hammer‘. I was really interested in studying the witch trials at the time, and the “Malleus Maleficarum“, so I just wrote  song about it! It was just a stream of consciousness, really, and I just wrote about what I was thinking at the time – with Adam (the producer) streamlining my ideas and helping them to be as good as they could be.

DUSTIN: Lyrically, I would say most of the songs on ‘Amongst The Dead‘ are very loosely inspired by horror/sci-fi movies and stories that I’ve either made my own rendition of or are original, just with similar themes.

You will shortly be bringing out two albums, ‘Ghosts Of The Past’ and ‘Amongst The Dead’. How were the recording processes for them?

MAX: The recording processes for both of the albums started in my bedroom. All of the guitars, bass, and the vocals for ‘Ghosts Of The Past‘ were recorded in my room, with the drums being programmed.

Once Dustin joined the project, he recorded his vocals at the Ragnarok Recording Studios with Drew Thompson, and we both sent all of our recordings to Adam Buckley to mix and master everything! It wasn’t easy by any means, and it was sometimes difficult to convey what we all actually wanted to each other at times, but in the end, we got there and made two records that I’m really proud of.

DUSTIN: Drew is an awesome producer. I’ve worked with him in the past on other projects and enjoyed it, so that part wasn’t hard.

Honestly, the whole process was fine, I was say this, though, you gotta have someone you can vibe with and bounce ideas off while in the studio, I’m sure everyone will agree when I say it’s hard to push 100% when you just ain’t feeling it.

And how do those albums differ stylistically to the work you did as part of Rage Cave?

MAX: ‘Ghosts Of The Past‘ is sort of a natural evolution from Rage Cave, in my opinion, with the songwriting staying relatively the same. The genre and tone of the music is very similar, and I focused on that classic heavy metal sound.

With ‘Amongst The Dead‘ on the other hand, I wanted to go for something a bit heavier, focusing on my thrash and black metal influences like Kvelertak, Megadeth, and Midnight, to name a few.

Once Dustin added his vocals over the top, though, it took that half of the album to the next level, and made it as heavy as I had hoped.

In your opinion, how will the current global coronavirus outbreak affect the British music industry?

MAX: The coronavirus will affect the British music industry in a lot of ways, obviously, but I think perhaps the main thing will be the effect it has on the live events, as Download and Glastonbury have now been cancelled, and Slam Dunk has been moved to September.

Financially, I think it will kill off a lot of small clubs, as well, so I think as soon as the quarantine period is over – we should all definitely go and contribute to our local music scenes, or if you can’t wait that long, donate to your local venues, and keep them in business!

And lastly, what is the long-term aim of Underking?

MAX: Underking started out as a bedroom project, but has become an international one with a fair few people involved at this point. I would love to continue this for a long time, and develop it even further.

My goal when I started writing the first song was always to put a modern spin on some of my favourite classic sounds, and I think I’ve achieved that with these two albums, but there’s always room for improvement. I would love to push this sound as far as it can go, and I’m going to keep writing and hopefully play some gigs in future, if the stars align!

Underking Album Covers

‘GHOSTS OF THE PAST’ & ‘AMONGST THE DEAD’, THE DEBUT ALBUMS FROM UNDERKING, WILL BE RELEASED ON APRIL 3, AND FURTHER INFO ON THIS – AND THE BAND – CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

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THE ESCAPADES

The Escapades band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Inspired by captivating pop melodies and energetic rock, Newcastle-upon-Tyne collective The Escapades have crafted a dynamic, original sound, and a truly mesmerising stage presence that is rather reminiscent of the most iconic of live music performers.

With their most recent single, ‘Cut Me Loose‘, being released to a positive response, and having had over 10,000 streams online so far, frontman Kieran Taylor spoke to me about that, the band’s journey up to now, upcoming single, ‘I Can’t Get Enough (Of Your Rock & Roll)‘, and more.

How did the band first get together?

Had a beer in Filthy’s (a bar/music venue in the band’s home city) with a couple of pals, next thing you know, we were all in a band.

How did the name The Escapades come about?

Well, an Escapade: An act or incident involving excitement, daring, or adventure. Speaks for itself.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We like to lock ourselves in a room, you need to just let loose and see what comes out, some days, you have it, some, you don’t.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Love and loss have been a heavy influence on plenty of bands for decades. We’re another one of those bands.

You have so far brought out a few singles – the most recent being ‘Cut Me Loose’. How were the responses to them for you all personally?

Cut Me Loose‘ really popped, it had that classic 90’s rock chorus, and people absolutely loved it. It got airtime in the USA, on the BBC, and landed in a few Spotify playlists. It’s a strong tune.

And next month, the band will be unveiling a new track, ‘I Can’t Get Enough (Of Your Rock & Roll)’. How was the recording process for them?

We recorded the track with Sam from Pigs x7 at Blank Studios (mint, by the way, we recommend those guys), we threw down some guide guitar tracks, then we built up from the bottom to the top. Drums, bass, guitar, vocals, and then we chucked a boatload of harmonies and little twinkly bits of sparkle at the end.

Also, what can your fan base expect from the upcoming release?

Big things. We have a lot of interest from radios and curators all ready, we’ve been sorting the pre-release for a while now, and it’s all starting to come together. We can guarantee this will be your new favourite Escapades song, because it’s certainly ours.

The band have firmly established themselves on their local music scene, and have supported the likes of Kashmere and Youth Illusion. How is the experience – for you all – of playing live?

If you’ve ever seen us live, you’ll know that we like to put on a show. We invested in wireless guitar systems, and there’s nothing quite like jumping off the stage, standing on a table, and blasting out a solo with a circle of fans around you. You can’t really put a price on moments like that, we love our fans.

And lastly, in your opinion, how will the coronavirus outbreak affect the UK music industry?

I think we’ll all have some amazing material coming out after all of this has finished, as lots of very talented people have had time to really sit in and be creative. I can’t wait for this to finish because of the trouble it caused, but I also can’t wait for the bands to show us what they have.

‘I CAN’T GET ENOUGH (OF YOUR ROCK & ROLL)’ – THE UPCOMING SINGLE FROM THE ESCAPADES – WILL BE RELEASED ON APRIL 10, AND FURTHER INFO ON THIS – AND THE BAND – CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

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HUSH MOZEY – ‘Trim The Roses’

(Set In Stone Music)

Hush Mozey Single Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Trim The Roses‘ – the new single from Bristol four-piece Hush Mozey – is an offering that keeps the powerful rawness and poetic lyrical content that formed important parts of their two well-received EPs – 2018’s ‘Tales Of Bigotry‘, and last year’s ‘Pretty Little Seance‘ – however, there is a noticeable change in the band’s sonic make-up.

The quartet, with the exception of an acoustic strum which opens the track, eschew the guitars in favour of a slower-paced, more melodic sound, containing an underlying orchestral layer, which combines effectively with a soft vocal delivery, that, at one point, is accompanied by a brief rendition of campfire favourite ‘Kum Ba Yah‘.

All of those give the song a real dream-like quality, putting the listener into a state of pure relaxation, just what is needed in these uncertain times.

Overall, ‘Trim The Roses‘ shows off, to much effect, another, more mature side to Hush Mozey, just how broad-ranging they can be, and should enable the Bristol collective to continue on their upward trajectory.

(3/5)

FOR FURTHER INFO ON THIS TRACK – AND HUSH MOZEY – CHECK OUT OUR INTERVIEW WITH THE BAND HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

DOOMSDAY SUN TALK TO US ABOUT THEIR NEW EP

Doomsday Sun band photo

DOOMSDAY SUN (from l-r): Matt Hudson (vocals/guitar/keyboards), Tom Hubball (drums/vocals), Rhys Bryan (bass/vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

In 2017, Staffordshire metal collective Doomsday Sun unveiled their debut EP, ‘Red Light Fever‘, to a positive response.

Since then, the band have added another member, drummer Tom Hubball, boosted their profile on the local music scene with a series of doom-laden live sets, and been working on a follow-up offering.

Cult Of Stasis‘ was meant to be coming out this Friday, however, due to the current global coronavirus outbreak, the release date has been put back to later this year.

The three-piece’s vocalist/guitarist, Matt Hudson, spoke to me about the EP’s recording process, what can be expected from it, and much more.

How did the initial idea for your forthcoming EP come about?

The initial idea came about after an encounter with someone on our travels. He was a man whose world was falling apart around him, but he was so set in his ways that he couldn’t leave it behind. He was trapped in the past, essentially, and being left behind.

Cult Of Stasis‘ is a concept EP that tells the story of his life, his unhappiness with modern life, his attempt to escape it, and what ultimately goes wrong for him.

From where did the title ‘Cult Of Stasis’ originate?

Cult Of Stasis‘ is a nickname we gave to this man and his followers, for lack of a better term. His followers helped him preserve the past, and in turn, that’s where he kept them, so they were a group, or cult, of people, figuratively frozen in time, or in stasis, even.

How was the recording process for the EP?

Actually tracking everything was no problem. Recording went very smoothly, very little pre-production was required, and errors were minimal.

However, actually being able to just do that was the main issue, every obstacle you can imagine cropped up during the recording process, people lost their jobs, relocated, one of us even got hit by a motorcycle and had to spend nearly a month in hospital.

We lost a lot of time because of all this, but outside of the difficult periods, we can all say we really enjoyed doing it, and we’re proud of ourselves just for getting through it!

How would you describe the new release, musically and lyrically?

We write to reflect the story, so it’s pretty downcast and heavy, on both fronts. I’d say we straddle the line between rock and metal, so it’s more of a purposeful heaviness than outright aggression, but even so, there’s a couple of surprises on there.

Lyrically, it deals with the progression of time and some of the downsides to that, and the hurt that can come from a person’s failure to accept that progression.

How does ‘Cult Of Stasis’ differ stylistically to the band’s 2017 debut, ‘Red Light Fever’?

Cult Of Stasis‘ differs enormously from ‘Red Light Fever‘. In the past two or three years, we’ve become a lot more focused on maintaining a sound that is our own, and I think ‘Cult Of Stasis‘ is a really good representation of that, whereas with ‘Red Light Fever‘, I think it’s quite obvious we’re still developing a sound, and there’s songs or sections of songs that just sound out of place.

In addition, we’ve introduced the story element that ties all of the songs together. ‘Red Light Fever‘ was a collection of songs, but ‘Cult Of Stasis‘ is a collection of songs that tell a story.

And lastly, what can your fan base expect from the EP?

We’ve worked very hard to best ourselves since our last release, and I feel confident that we’ve done it, so fans who have enjoyed our music from the start can look forward to more of what they enjoy, but in an improved, more cohesive form.

Beyond the music, there’s a story there for fans to discover, if they so choose.

Doomsday Sun EP Cover

‘CULT OF STASIS’ – THE SECOND EP FROM DOOMSDAY SUN – WILL BE RELEASED SOON, AND FURTHER INFO ON THIS – AND THE BAND – CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

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DUNGEON

Dungeon band photo

DUNGEON (from l-r): Chris Parker (drums), Daragh Markham (guitar), Luke Drew (vocals/guitar), Olivia “Liv” Airey (bass)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

In the last couple of years, four-piece Dungeon have been making quite an impact on the London metal scene with a fast-paced, aggressive, and at times, dark sound.

The band have so far brought out two positively-received EPs – the most recent one being ‘Purifying Fire‘ – and last autumn, supported hardcore collective Inhuman Nature on their tour of the UK and continental Europe.

The following is what the quartet had to say on all this and more:

How did the band initially form?

We had been friends for a good while before forming from drinking/working at various metal bars in London. Luke and Liv had been sharing ideas back and forth, around the same time, Chris and Daragh were at a loose end, and were up for doing something new as well.

Everything fell into place pretty quickly after that – before long, we were rehearsing in a decrepit, moldy studio in Soho.

How did the name Dungeon come about?

We liked the name and the imagery around it, and it was more or less available! Available one-word band names in the world of heavy metal are like gold dust.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Broadly speaking – early thrash/speed/black metal and the darker-sounding heavy metal bands from the 80’s, as well as classic UK/Swedish/Japanese hardcore. To be honest, though, it’s something we try not to get too hung up on – a lot of bands spend too much time obsessing over this or that influence, and trying to nail a particular sound.

Most of the classic acts, whether it be Judas Priest or Slayer, didn’t start out as genre bands, which is something we’ve tried to avoid as well.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We’ll bring song ideas, riffs, etc, to rehearsal before fucking around with different drum patterns and structures until we can mold it in to something interesting. Some songs fall into place straight away, some take a bit more work, and there are times when it’s best to leave something instead of “forcing” it.

Nothing gets thrown away, though – there is some material on ‘Purifying Fire‘ that pre-dates even over first demo!

What inspires the band lyrically?

Cult horror films, 80’s Satanic Panic paranoia, and the more unsavoury parts of British history.

So far, you have brought out two EPs – 2015 debut ‘Unholy Speed Attack’ and last year’s follow-up ‘Purifying Fire’. How were the reactions to them, for you all personally?

From what we have heard good, we’ve had attention from around the world, which is great, and means a lot to us.

Last autumn, the band went on a tour of the UK and continental Europe, supporting Inhuman Nature. How did that go?

The last tour was great! Inhuman Nature are great guys, played killer sets every night, and they actually have put out a DIY cut-and-paste zine documenting the tour!

The run took us to some new countries for the first time, hitting up the Czech Republic, Poland, France, and The Netherlands, as well as some of our favourite places in Germany, like Berlin and Wiemar. There were some great turn-outs to the shows, and then some interesting gigs with some even more interesting local bands…hail Lille!

We’re pretty sure none of us ever want to see the inside of a roadside McDonald’s again, for as long as we live.

Also, you have also performed live at venues such as The Old Blue Last and The Black Heart in London. How is the experience – for you all – of playing on stage?

Playing London shows is always a blast, there’s always a great turn-out for our hometown shows and loads of energy, which, as any band will tell you, adds to your experience on stage.

We definitely do this band to play live, as mentioned before, we’re old friends, so getting to travel, and to play loud and fucking fast together on stage is an unbeatable feeling.

And lastly, what are the band’s plans for the near future?

We’re in the early stages of writing for our next release, whatever form it ends up taking, and hope to be back in the studio as soon as possible.

Dungeon EP Cover

‘PURIFYING FIRE’ – THE SECOND EP FROM DUNGEON – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

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VENUS DEMILO

Venus Demilo band photo

VENUS DEMILO (from l-r): Jake Worboys (bass), Josh Adams (guitar/vocals) , Ryan Williams (drums), Tom Anderson (vocals/guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From Liverpool, Venus Demilo are a four-piece that specialise in an energetic, hook-laden alternative pop sound, influenced by the likes of Bombay Bicycle Club, Jimmy Eats World, and The 1975, as well as lyrics that are relatable to anybody who has been through any kind of mental turmoil.

Last year, the band brought out their debut EP, ‘The Rest Is Just Noise‘, and with a follow-up release, ‘Northern Lights‘, due out in the next couple of weeks, vocalist/guitarist Tom Anderson spoke to me about that, performing live, and more.

How did the band initially form?

This is a long story, so I’m going to condense it as much as possible. Me and Josh have been playing together since we were 12 in different bands. I then started Venus Demilo at university with Ryan and a couple of mates – the band has changed quite a bit since then, Josh has come in, as well as Jake.

How did the name Venus Demilo come about?

We try and pretend that it’s more “arty” than this, but it actually came from The Simpsons.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

It varies every time we write a new song. Sometimes, we’ll write in the studio and build the track from the drums up, and then there will be other times that I’ll be sat with a guitar, and a chord progression and melody will start to emerge.

What inspires the band lyrically?

A lot of our songs are about mental health. Some are a reflection on what it’s like to battle with it, and others are about trying to keep as positive as possible when things seem at their worst. There’s also a few love and break-up songs in there for good measure.

You recently unveiled a few new singles, the latest one being ‘Purpose’. How has the response been to those so far?

Great! It’s always nerve-racking to put new music out there, but then it’s also exciting, as with each song, we’re trying something new.

And the tracks have been taken from the band’s upcoming EP, ‘Northern Lights’, which was put together at Parr Street Studios in your home city of Liverpool. How was the recording process for that?

It was hectic – I work as a producer there, which gives us a lot of freedom in how we record things, but it also ends up that we record in small chunks, rather than all at once. We did all the drums in one day with bits of bass, and then recorded guitars and vocals between my studio room at Parr Street and my house. I like doing some bits in my house, because it keeps some of the DIY vibe.

Also, how will the release differ stylistically to last year’s debut EP, ‘The Rest Is Just Noise’?

We’re using a lot more synths on this EP. The title track is dominated by ethereal soundscape parts. We’re slowly working our way away from being an indie band, and working towards being more alt-pop.

And when are you currently planning on getting ‘Northern Lights’ by?

The whole EP will be out on April 10.

The band have played live, mainly in Liverpool, and have also supported the likes of Vista Kicks and Hayes & Y. How is the experience – for you all – of playing on stage?

We love it. With our style of music – driving drums, big hooks, plenty of half-time – it’s just a massive explosion of energy that you can’t always capture on record.

And lastly, at the moment, we are in the midst of a global coronavirus outbreak. In your opinion, how do you see that affecting the UK music industry?

In the short-term, it’s going to be awful – musicians, as well as anyone else that relies on the gig economy, are really going to struggle. I think in the long-term, it will change the way the music industry will operate day-to-day – I can see a lot more musicians creating from home, and using online tech more and more to reach their fans and other musicians they’re collaborating with.

Venus Demilo EP Cover

‘NORTHERN LIGHTS’ – THE SECOND EP FROM VENUS DEMILO – WILL BE RELEASED ON APRIL 10 VIA SPINNUP, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

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