Tag Archives: Metal

A HIGHER DEMISE

A Higher Demise band photo

A HIGHER DEMISE (from l-r): Joe O’Neill (guitar), Dan Pape (guitar/vocals), Mikey Lingfield (vocals), James “Dag” Farrell (drums), Rachael Tarr (bass/vocals)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Specialising in a heavy, driven, and energetic metal sound – influenced by the likes of Atreyu, Architects, and While She SleepsLondon five-piece A Higher Demise have impressed crowds and listeners across the UK these past few years, and this looks set to continue, what with the positive responses to their recent string of single releases – the latest being ‘Reconcile‘.

The quintet’s guitarist/vocalist, Dan Pape, spoke to me about all of this, how the global coronavirus pandemic has affected himself and his bandmates, the collective’s hopes for the future, and more.

How did the band initially form?

The band formed in 2011, when a few of our previous bands called it a day, and myself, James, Terry, and Charlie decided to create a band together. Charlie and Terry have since left the band, with Mikey and Rachael coming in.

How did the name A Higher Demise come about?

Originally, the band was going to be called Death Of Kings, but as we started to write music, it became obvious that the name projected an image of us being heavier than we were. James went away, and he came back to the rest of us with the name A Higher Demise, with the logic that the “King” is the highest power, and his “Death” would be his demise.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Normally, it would start with myself writing super rough riffs or song ideas, and sending it round to the rest of the band, with them adding in changes. Normally, they turn out very different to how they start out, which is great. Rachael has been known to dabble in writing full tracks, and when she does, they are amazing.

What inspires the band lyrically?

For previous tracks, we have drawn from personal experiences, and opened them up to be a broader, more relatable meaning. Giving the listener a way to connect to the song if they have been through these situations themselves.

Over the last few months, you have brought out a string of single releases, the most recent being ‘Reconcile’. How was the recording process for those?

The last six releases (‘Highpoint‘, ‘Angels & Demons‘, ‘Renegade‘, ‘Saviour‘, ‘Succubus‘, and ‘Reconcile‘) were all part of the same recording session we did in October 2018 with Oz Craggs at Hidden Track Studios. It was the first recording without Terry and Charlie, and our first with Mikey.

And how do the tracks differ stylistically to the two EPs the band had unveiled previously?

The main difference is that all of the latest tracks have been written musically by myself, as I took over the main songwriting role after Terry‘s departure. Musically, the songs have become heavier, and a driven-down, more of a metal route rather than the previous metalcore.

Lyrically, Mikey had just joined, and was given free rein over them, so they were always going to be very different to Terry and Charlie‘s lyrics.

Also, how has the reaction been to the singles so far?

The reaction has been amazing. We can’t thank everyone enough for the amazing feedback.

You have performed live at venues across the UK, and have supported the likes of Immerse, Griever, and Ashestoangels. How were they as experiences?

We all love playing in different places across the UK, and we have always found that the further north you go, the better the shows are. We did a short UK run just before lockdown with Arkdown and Confessions Of A Traitor, and they were two amazing bands, and great people.

And how is it overall playing on stage?

There is no better feeling than playing on stage. From the first note to the final note, it is bliss, and so much fun.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the band?

I think it has affected us the same as it has affected everything else. We have had to put shows and tours on hold, we haven’t been able to get together and do any writing or rehearsing, and the worst part of it is that we are all best friends, and we haven’t been able to simply see each other and hang out.

In your opinion, how will COVID-19 affect the British music industry in the long-term?

It has been nothing short of a massacre. Local venues are closing, and the ones that are still holding out are only hanging by a thread. I am hoping that I have to eat my words, and when the lockdown is lifted, and it is safe to do so, people flood to venues and pack out crowds for everyone, whether it’s an open mic night or an all-day festival.

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

As soon as we can, get back on stage, get new music recorded, and get it out there.

A Higher Demise Single Cover

‘RECONCILE’ – THE LATEST TRACK FROM A HIGHER DEMISE – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

UNDERKING – ‘The Throne’

Underking Single Cover

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

The Throne‘ – the latest track from British-American rock/metal two-piece Underking – follows on from their well-received debut offerings, ‘Ghosts Of The Past‘ and ‘Amongst The Dead‘, which came out earlier this year.

With this single, the emerging collective have seemingly taken a more melodic rock approach, in comparison to the heavier metal that formed a big part of both albums, for example, the guitar riffs, basslines, and drum beats are still alluring, and delivered at a rapid pace, but the overall sonic tone seems lighter, with less grit.

However, this has to be a positive step for the duo, as the track acts as a gateway for music fans who love rock, but aren’t so keen on the metal genre, to go and check out the band’s darker-sounding work, with a real toe-tapping tune and layered, harmonic vocals that stick in your head for quite a while after the first listen.

Overall, ‘The Throne‘ sees Underking build on the solid foundations they laid down with the albums by making subtle changes to their sound, therefore, widening the catchment area of the two-piece’s fan base.

(4/5)

Underking band logo

AFTER READING THIS REVIEW, TAKE A LOOK AT OUR REVIEWS OF THE ‘GHOSTS OF THE PAST’ AND ‘AMONGST THE DEAD’ ALBUMS, AS WELL AS OUR INTERVIEW WITH UNDERKING.

 

 

 

KILONOVA

Kilonova band photo

KILONOVA (from l-r): Joe Bambrick (bass), Ellen Hill (vocals), Jonny Sloan (guitar), Steve Rouse (drums)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

From Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Kilonova are a four-piece that have impressed fans and critics alike across the UK with a robust thrash metal sound.

Last summer, the band unveiled a debut EP, ‘Omnicide‘, to positive reviews, most notably from Kerrang! magazine, who described the offering as “hair-windmilling, neck-snapping thrash nirvana“, and with its follow-up single release, ‘Immortal‘, having been out for a few weeks now, Jonny Sloan, the quartet’s guitarist, spoke to me about such things as that, playing at Bloodstock, going out on tour, future plans, and more.

How did the band initially form?

I’ve known Joe for years through the Newcastle University Rock Society. We never really hung out apart from the events they hosted. It was by chance we bumped into each other in a Newcastle nightclub, and ended up screaming along to Avenged Sevenfold together.

A jam soon followed, and once we put a few demos together, we advertised online, met Steve, and a little further down the line, Ellen. The first time the four of us were in a room together, we played ‘Straight To Hell‘, and it just clicked.

How did the name Kilonova come about?

A kilonova is when two neutron stars collide in an explosion so violent, it distorts space and time, it’s where a lot of the heavy elements in the universe come from. Joe read about a kilonova being detected when we first started jamming, and figured bit was appropriate for the raw heavy sound we were working towards.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

Our approach changes purely based on what we have. I would say typically myself or Joe will present a riff or an idea, then we will jam with it, speed it up, slow it down, add to it, etc. With ‘Omnicide‘, this approach was different on ‘Own Enemy‘, which was written around a set of lyrics Ellen had brought in.

What inspires the band lyrically?

A lot of our lyrics are based around personal experiences. In the same way a picture can tell a thousand words, a song’s lyrics can tell a narrative on how someone feels. A lot of our lyrics are based on frustrating situations or moments when you feel lost.

Having unveiled a well-received debut EP, ‘Omnicide’, last year, in March, you brought out a new single, ‘Immortal’. How was the recording process for that?

The recording process was a lot of fun. Typically, I stress out about going into the studio, because I always freak out about how long I have to get the perfect take.

Recording at Tru Studios (in County Durham) was very chilled out, in the best kind of way. Everyone involved wanted the absolute best, regardless of how many takes it would potentially need. Luckily, we managed to wrap up the whole song in a day, and we’re very proud of what we achieved.

And for those who have yet to listen to the track, how does it differ stylistically to the EP?

Our sound is constantly evolving. With ‘Omnicide‘, portions of that EP were written before the four of us had even stepped into a room together. In the time since we recorded ‘Omnicide‘, we have grown closer as friends, and have become tighter as a writing unit. I feel ‘Immortal‘ takes our favourite aspects of ‘Omnicide‘, and elevates it one step further.

In 2018, the band played at the Bloodstock festival, after winning their local heat of Metal 2 The Masses. Performing there, not long after making your live debut, must have been an amazing experience.

It was mind-blowing. Bloodstock was only our sixth show as a band. Both Ellen and Steve had previous stage experience, but myself and Joe were completely new to this.

To go from a debut show to Bloodstock in just under three months was crazy, and looking back, the performance was good, but now we have a few tours under our belts, we’re primed to show the world what a Kilonova show is really like.

Also, you have played at venues across much of the UK, and supported the likes of Lost Society, A Ritual Spirit, and Sertraline. How is it – for you all – being on stage?

Playing with Lost Society was great, it’s always amazing being able to play shows you were already planning on attending as a fan. What blew our minds even further was that we found out afterwards that Jeff Waters of Annihilator had attended that show, and had seen us play, which I’m glad we found out afterwards, otherwise I would have just frozen!

Going out on tour with A Ritual Spirit, Ashen Reach, and Nocturne Wulf was some of the best fun I’ve had so far in the band. We had a fantastic set-up, which was each of the four bands headlining their home town with a revolving line-up.

I struggle to explain how great it was to watch them all play four nights in a row, and not only are they all great musicians, they’re now great friends of ours. We have all kept in contact every day since the tour ended, and hopefully, with a bit of luck, we can head out again soon.

In the band’s opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?

Everywhere you look in the media, at the moment, is doom and gloom, but I choose to look at the positives in this. I think the current situation is bringing out the best in the metal community, as people are standing up for the local venues, and are doing what they can to make a difference. Locally, Little Buildings and Trillians are absolutely integral to the North East music scene, and seeing both of them getting support is fantastic.

Even just seeing members of bands taking to Facebook, and providing bits of content like song playthroughs is great! Although we are physically separated, I honestly feel that the community is now stronger than ever.

And lastly, what are your future plans?

Well, as with the current “uncertainty“, we cannot lay down a timeline. However, we can reveal we are waist-deep in writing a new EP, which, fingers crossed, will be released this winter. We are already very proud and excited about what we have in store for everyone. ‘Omnicide‘ was a mission statement, this is a declaration of carnage.

Kilonova Single Cover

‘IMMORTAL’ – THE LATEST SINGLE FROM KILONOVA – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

DISTORTED VISIONS

Distorted Visions band photo

DISTORTED VISIONS (from l-r): Tiziano “Tiz” Baruffi (bass), Marco Cicala (vocals), Davide “Dave” Dalla Pozza (drums/vocals), Emanuele Cicala (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Armed with an aggressive yet melodic combination of hardcore and metalcore, four-piece Distorted Visions have built up a solid fanbase, as well as winning plaudits from a host of music professionals, in their native Italy since forming almost three-and-a-half years ago.

Having recently unveiled a debut album, ‘Born Dead‘ – the result of a year of hard work – the band spoke to me about how they put it together, working with Marco “Maki” Coti Zelati, bassist of legendary gothic metal collective Lacuna Coil, the reaction the release has been getting so far, and much more.

How did the band initially form?

This project started with Marco and Emanuele wanting to create a band, with Tiziano and Davide joining soon afterwards. We began as a covers band, playing what we liked, but at the same time, we wanted to share our emotions through our music.

We recorded some songs that then became a little demo, which was the first step towards making what would be our album ‘Born Dead‘.

How did the name Distorted Visions come about?

Distorted Visions are two simple words, but they are the right representation of all the feelings we experienced in the past, and still experience every day, and it’s those feelings that are the underlying theme of ‘Born Dead‘.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

All of our lyrics come naturally: following the flow of the songs makes it easy for Marco and Dave to write something that comes out right from our hearts. They have to sacrifice some words to follow the music, but the concepts are a direct form of revolution, strong language, strong sounds, to liberate all of the anger and sickness from within ourselves.

What inspires the band lyrically?

We wanted to express negative emotions that we felt during the recording of ‘Born Dead‘ through music: depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, paranoia, or the feeling of alienation from society.

On the subject of ‘Born Dead’, how was the recording process for that?

It was very hard, as it took, more or less, about a year to write and record all of the songs for the album: it was a nightmare for all of us. It was also the first time we had approached the music and recording in professional terms.

From the beginning, we changed and modified every song until the last days before the release date, as we wanted our work to be as good as we were imagining.

How was the experience of working on the release with Marco “Maki” Coti Zelati? 

It was very stimulating for us. He is a unique man, and quickly became a sort of adoptive father to us, because he taught us how to write songs, how the process of a normal recording session works, and, last but not least, how to live and approach this world musically, and as human beings.

How has the response been to ‘Born Dead’ so far?

Very good, and exceeding our expectations! We would like to thank every single fan, from the newest to the oldest, who are continuing to support us. We obviously hope that the response will grow in the future, but it’s been great to have had such positive feedback!

The band have performed live at venues and festivals across much of Italy. How is it – for you all – of playing on stage?

Every single moment we are on stage is breathtaking. It doesn’t matter if it’s the smallest venue we have ever played: it still feels like playing on the greatest stage in the world. We only want to play and make our crowds enjoy the product that we are offering, while making the most of the time spent on the stage for all of you overall!

Also, a few years back, you won the Rock In Park contest – which was headed by a jury of well-known Italian music professionals. That must have been a very positive experience for the band.

Yeah, it was a lot of fun! We had participated in the previous year’s contest, and had finished sixth: it had been a great test for us, that formed our perseverance in what we had to do to improve on and off-stage, and it made us stronger as a band, as well as in our own lives.

Winning was a great emotion, but that wasn’t the most important thing, it was to grow together as a unit.

In the band’s opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the music industry in Italy?

It’s all blocked at the moment, and we don’t know, along with everyone else, when live shows will return.

The music industry will have to make some serious changes, as now, artists will have to reinvent and understand what they are capable of doing: live streams, video performances…all of that can be a temporary solution to this problem.

Keeping in touch with each other has been difficult, as we can’t do all of the stuff that we used to do: for example, recording something in a certain way is trickier, as not everybody has the same gear at home.

We know this period has been, and continues to be, hard, but, along with all of the other musicians in the world, we have to stay strong, and we will not be defeated by this situation.

And lastly, what are your future plans?

Since we don’t know exactly what will happen in the future, we simply don’t know. We hope to reschedule the shows that were planned to promote the album, and we can’t wait to be back on stage with you guys: together!

Distorted Visions Album Cover

‘BORN DEAD’ – THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM DISTORTED VISIONS – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

DIE EGO

Die Ego band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

PHOTO by GGTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Since bursting onto the scene in 2018 with their demo ‘Songs For The Insanity‘, London three-piece Die Ego have built up a following within the UK capital’s metal community with a heavy, powerful, eardrum-splitting sound, and highly-energetic live sets.

With an eagerly-anticipated debut album, ‘Culto‘, coming out a few weeks from now, the band’s guitarist, Diego Ignacio Fardel, spoke to me about its recording process, musical and lyrical inspirations, what can be expected from the upcoming release, and much more.

How did the band first get together?

Things got started around 2014. At the time, I was jamming and writing songs with a couple of friends from another band I used to play in back in 2011. Once we had a bunch of demos ready, we decided to take things a bit more seriously and look for a singer, and that was when Gabe (vocals/bass) came into the picture. We musically clicked instantly, and that was the beginning of our journey, as we never stopped working together, writing songs, and developing the band.

After a few line-up changes, and a lot of work pushing the band forward, we met Dave (drums) in 2018, and things started to take shape, as we finally started gigging and working towards our goal.

How did the name Die Ego come about?

Die Ego means the death of the ego, to stop caring only about yourself, and pay attention to what’s going on around you, to become more grounded.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

We listen to loads to different bands and styles, from classic metal, to alternative, rock, thrash, doom, the list goes on. We don’t set any boundaries when it comes to write music and always try to write songs that resonate with us without caring much if it fits any “style” or “genre“. We try to blend our influences, and come up with something that sounds exciting to us.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Our lyrics focus on modern society problems, 20th century horror novels such as ‘Lovecraft‘, Shakespeare‘s ‘Emilia‘, to name a few, and dystopian realities.

Myself and Gabe write the lyrics, and we both take different approaches towards it. Gabe is hugely creative, and has the ability to write lyrics out of anything he reads – novels, stories, politics, etc. To me, it’s more natural to write about personal stuff and reality, in most cases, but we help each other a lot, anyway.

Next month, you will be unveiling your debut album, ‘Culto’. How has the recording process been for that?

The recording process was an extraordinary experience. We got into the studio with a bunch of gigs under our belts, and with a clear idea of how we wanted the record to sound.

We had the opportunity to work with Alessio Garavello at his Rogue studios in Wimbledon Park, and it felt he was the fourth member of the band, as he understood our spirit, and the direction we wanted to go in. He truly pushed us to be the best we could possibly be, and I would highly recommend him, as we were beyond happy with the results, and we cannot wait to share it with all of you.

And how will the upcoming release differ stylistically to the band’s 2018 demo, ‘Songs For The Insanity’?

Songs For The Insanity‘ was a handmade demo we put together while we were writing songs, and it was never meant to be an official release. We only did it because promoters were asking us for material when we were booking gigs, and that’s all we had recorded at the time.

We were, and still are, surprised at the good reaction the demo had, and how far it took us, however, ‘Culto‘ will be our first official release, and we will finally be able to showcase the songs as they are meant to sound.

I guess the initial demo captured the band spirit, and some people understood it. At the moment, it is still available on our Bandcamp, but I’m not sure if it will remain on there. I guess it will be a good album to keep as memorabilia for our hardcore fans! (laughs). Those three songs were re-arranged, re-recorded, and will be included on the upcoming album, where you will be able to hear the difference!

You have played at such London venues as The Black Heart, the New Cross Inn, and the O2 Academy Islington, and last year, you performed at the Camden Rocks festival. How were they as experiences?

We love playing anywhere, to be fair, but there are some places that have a special place in our hearts. The Black Heart is one of those, as we played our first show there in 2015, have played there a few more times since, and we love it.

Playing at the O2 Academy Islington was something we did not expect. It was our second gig with this line-up, and luckily for us, we covered for a band who couldn’t make it.

The venue is amazing, and as the gig was rolling, we saw it getting packed! We will never forget that night, and there’s some footage of the show available on our YouTube channel if you want to check it out. It feels special when you have the opportunity to play at the venues where you normally go to see your favourite bands.

Festivals such as Camden Rocks are a different experience, as you get the chance to perform in front of a more diverse crowd, and people are more open to discovering new bands. It was fun to do it, and hopefully, we can repeat it once the album is out.

And how is it overall being on stage?

Being on stage is the best thing that can happen to an artist, musician, actor, etc, as you can express yourself from every single pore of your body and connect with the people in front of you. I have no words to express how much we all miss being loud, raw, and very cathartic on stage, what with the current situation we’re all going through, but, fingers crossed, live music will be back at some point this year.

On the subject of the current global coronavirus situation, in your opinion, how will it affect the British music industry?

It affects not only the bands for not being able to go out and make a living out of their music, but also the venues, promoters, roadies, basically every single person who makes a live show possible.

I see musicians putting their best efforts into recording themselves at home, making virtual collaborations, and trying to get the best out of this situation. It’s the same for us. I just hope this comes to an end by the end of summer, as otherwise, the consequences will be much bigger than we could imagine, because if smaller venues cannot survive the pandemic, and are forced to close, then thousands of bands and music workers will be affected. We could only hope for the best, and look after each other.

And lastly, what is your long-term aim?

The same as we have had from the very beginning, basically, get our music out, connect with people, grow our fanbase, and take this dream as far as we possibly can while having a good time and making the most out of it. Being in a band has loads of ups and downs, and it isn’t the easiest job in the world, but it is worth doing if you truly love it!

Die Ego Album Cover

‘CULTO’ – THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM DIE EGO – WILL BE RELEASED ON JUNE 12, AND FURTHER INFO ON THAT – AND THE BAND – CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

REALMS

Realms band photo

REALMS (from l-r): Jordan Ness (bass), Matt Shore (guitar), Karl Lauder (vocals), Jed Cooke (drums), Jonny Ford (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

South Yorkshire five-piece Realms have made quite an impact on their local rock/metal music scene since unveiling debut EP, ‘Echo Chamber‘, in 2017, with a compelling, dense post-hardcore sound, heavily influenced by the emo outfits of the 2000’s.

With the band’s recent offering, ‘Burn The Orchard‘, effectively showcasing more of their originality, resulting in an overwhelmingly positive response from critics and fans alike, two members of the collective – vocalist Karl Lauder and guitarist Matt Shore – spoke to me, in-depth, about this, the quintet’s approaches to songwriting and lyrics, how they think coronavirus will affect the British music industry, and much more.

How did the band initially form?

MATT SHORE (guitar): Me and Karl met at uni when we were living in the same dorms. We got talking, and realised we had a very similar taste in music. We had both played in bands before, and we decided we wanted to try forming something together. However, because we’re lazy, the band didn’t actually take shape until after we had finished uni.

Karl already knew Jed from a previous band, and after they had both moved back to Doncaster when they finished uni, we persuaded Jed to record some songs me and Karl had written together. We told Jed that since he had already written the drum parts and recorded the songs, he might as well be the drummer, and he never disagreed, so he’s been stuck with us ever since.

We found Ford and Jordan through online ads in early 2016, and we’ve been going ever since then!

How did the name Realms come about?

MATT: We really wanted a band name that was just one word. We had been throwing around random words for a while, and eventually, Realms just stuck. I think it had something to do with what we would call a nightclub if we owned one, or something to do with Yu-Gi-Oh

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

MATT: So far, we have always written the music first. It’s usually all done separately. Me or Ford will be jamming at home, will come up with a part that sounds good, and then develop it into a song on Guitar Pro.

With ‘Echo Chamber‘, there was a bit more collaboration where me and Ford might start a song, and then send it to each other to see if we could think of any other parts or ideas, but with ‘Burn The Orchard‘, it’s a 50/50 split of two songs that I wrote individually, and two songs that Ford wrote individually.

We don’t usually share the Guitar Pro files with the rest of the band until they are complete in our eyes. If we’re on the ball, Jed might write some drums to the GP file before we take the new song to practice, if not, we’ll just hash it out all together and see what comes out.

KARL LAUDER (vocals): It can vary when it comes to writing vocals and lyrics, but ultimately, I wait until Matt, Ford, and Jed have laid the foundations, and then I pick it up and work in melodies. I’ve learnt the hard way not to write bits prior to this because of the fluid nature of songwriting and how drums can really change the flow of a song. Sometimes, the melodies sound better on piano, and we can put piano in our songs, which is what happened with ‘Freefall‘.

My lyrics are 50/50 between pre-written and heat-of-the-moment, though I usually have a theme prior to the song being written, then we take it all to the practice room to iron kinks out. Sometimes, some vocal patterns that work in your head just don’t work when it comes to reality.

What inspires the band lyrically?

KARL: I treat my lyrics like an open therapy session ultimately. Whatever is eating me up, something I struggle to say to people in a close setting, etc. It’s an expression of, usually, my frustration of living in an unjust world and dealing with any emotional issues I have, yet I cannot address them directly to that person. I am an opinionated person, and I think that helps to pick the topic for each song I help write.

Recently, you brought out a new EP, ‘Burn The Orchard’, which has been positively received. How was the recording process for that?

MATT: We recorded ‘Burn The Orchard‘ in our friend’s (Liam Dodd) bedroom. We recorded ‘Echo Chamber‘ with him too, and since we were happy with how that sounded, we thought we would go back for round two.

It was a pretty chill experience mostly, we tracked some rough demos with him to begin with, so we could think about any extra production, we wanted to sprinkle into the songs and then went back to get the proper takes done later on. We just programmed the drums for the sake of simplicity. The guitars were done after that, then bass, and the vocals last. We quad-tracked the guitars to flesh them out a bit, and make them sound chunky.

It was quite a long, gruelling experience, to be honest (laughs), we often left our sessions feeling exhausted and mentally drained. I think it was about two full days to track the guitars.

KARL: Tougher than previously, but that was because vocally, it was a massive improvement. I discovered I can sing higher than I thought was possible, and it was really fun doing a song with all clean vocals to be honest. Doing all the screaming in a day was tiring, and I would have preferred to break it up, but we smashed it out the park, and I’m happy with the finished product.

And for those who have yet to listen to the release, how does it differ stylistically to ‘Echo Chamber’?

MATT: I think we learned a lot from writing ‘Echo Chamber‘ and playing those songs live that we incorporated into the new EP.

Looking back on ‘Echo Chamber‘, it feels a lot more “safe” than the new material. We were writing songs that we wanted to sound like other bands, whereas with ‘Burn The Orchard‘, we already had our own sound and identity, so I think it was easier to write songs that just sounded like Realms.

We definitely worked in some different influences and sounds that people maybe didn’t expect from us this time, especially the song ‘Freefall‘, which is entirely clean vocals and clean guitars with a lot of strings/piano layers.

KARL: For me personally, it’s just a massive one up on ‘Echo Chamber‘. Vocally, it’s 100 times better, from a songwriting standpoint, it’s 100 times better, and lyrically, I feel it’s more rounded, but knowing we can pull some of the things off that we did just makes me pumped to get back to the studio to see what we can make next.

You have played live at venues across Yorkshire, as well as in Birmingham and Nottingham, and have also supported the likes of InAir and CaveKiller. How is the experience – for you all – of performing on stage?

MATT: I love how every show is different. The show with CaveKiller, for example (who are great by the way, awesome dudes), was during that massive storm earlier this year. I can remember driving down the motorway to the show in all that awful weather wondering if I was crazy going out in weather warnings just to play a show, but when you get there, and you’ve finished playing, it’s always worth it.

Being on stage is a lot of fun, and chatting to the other bands afterwards or to people who enjoyed your set is awesome. It’s also a good excuse to get together with the boys for a night out.

KARL: I honestly dread it most nights, but in my opinion, it’s what drives me to be as good as I can be live, and when you really nail a good performance, there is no better feeling. Even if the people in the crowd weren’t into it, knowing we got up there and played as well as we could is such a good feeling.

I always get nervous, and even though we’ve been playing live for as long as we have, it never seems to get any easier. I’ll be the first to admit I’m my own worst critic, if I don’t feel I personally did as well as I could live, it really bums me out, and I tend to beat myself, but luckily, the lads will perk me up.

In the band’s opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?

MATT: I’m worried about the venues. I’m hoping that they’re getting enough support through all this. I’ve seen that a few venues have set up fundraiser campaigns to make sure they can stay open during all of this, and to be fair, the support I’ve seen so far has been really good.

I’m looking forward to all the music that will come out of all this. This is the perfect time for bands and musicians to be locked away, and to work on their craft, and I think we’re going to have bands releasing some ace tunes at the end of all this.

I’m also hoping that once all the restrictions have been lifted, people will have a new appreciation of the local scenes. I’m hoping the “you don’t miss it until it’s gone” mentality kicks in, and that people will start attending local shows a bit more, especially if they have spent this lockdown period discovering new bands that they might not have checked out before.

KARL: Like Matt has just said, ultimately, it’s the live venues and live music scene that will suffer the most. Any small business is going to feel the pinch, and ultimately, I don’t know if some will survive.

And lastly, what are your future plans?

MATT: Our plans originally were to play some shows in support of the new EP, but that’s been put on the back burner, so we’re using this time to work on new music. Me and Ford have been furloughed, so we’ve had a lot of time on our hands to write songs. It’s been a more collaborative effort this time with joint inputs into what we’ve been working on which has been fun.

We want to steer away from releasing EPs for a little while, and focus on releasing a few singles in the future. EPs take a long time to get written, recorded, and released, and we don’t want such a long gap in releasing new music as we did between ‘Echo Chamber‘ and ‘Burn The Orchard‘.

We’re also hoping to record these singles in proper studios, so we can up our production standards, and take ourselves out of our comfort zones a little bit, so cost comes into it, as well.

KARL: During lockdown, we are currently working on some songs ourselves, and the plan is to do them as singles. I’d love to write an album, but the time it takes to write one means we wouldn’t get it out for a while, and the business model is kinda changing now to single-based stuff to get picked up and noticed, etc.

Burn The Orchard‘ was a big step in the right direction for us, so we are hoping to use everything we have learnt from these songs, and carry that into our next few releases, which we are hoping will be sooner than our latest EP, so watch this space, I guess.

Realms EP Cover

‘BURN THE ORCHARD’ – THE SECOND EP FROM REALMS – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

SUFFER UK

Suffer UK band photo

SUFFER UK (clockwise, from top left): Michael “Chobba” Crutchley (vocals), Jack Kent (drums), Ash Edwards (guitar), Jack “Coop” Cooper (bass), Kie Whitehouse (guitar)

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

‘HEAVY SILENCE’ EP ARTWORK by SHINDY DESIGN

Suffer UK are a five-piece from Wolverhampton that combine a diverse range of metal sub-genres, including deathcore and metalcore, to establish a distinctive, overpowering sound, which the band themselves describe as “Black Country brutality“.

With the collective’s second EP, ‘Heavy Silence‘, having recently been unveiled, the rising quintet spoke to me, in detail, about that, their journey so far, and lots of other stuff.

How did the band initially form?

Basically, Chobba had wanted to start a band for several years, and had spent at least five of those years pestering Ash to start one! Ash would say “No” regularly, but Chobba was a persistent son of a bitch! At a New Year’s Eve party, Chobba managed to get a “Yes” out of Ash (whilst very drunk), and Jack just happened to be at the party, and was all for the idea!

Coop was actually found on an online forum (similar to a mail order bride site, except we didn’t have to pay anything), and he said, “Yeah, I like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I’ll have a go“, and somehow, he decided to stick around when he actually heard us! That just left Kie to come on board shortly before our debut show, he knew Jack prior, so he was the easiest member to recruit, plus the lure of a debut show alongside Annotations Of An Autopsy was too good for him to pass up!

How did the name Suffer UK come about?

Originally, we went under a different name before this line-up was fully formed, but we opted to change, for various reasons, to Suffer after Jack suggested it, and so far, it has gone well for us.

The UK part of the name is simply just to differentiate from other bands across social media, as there are many that have the word Suffer in their name somewhere!

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Musically, we take influence from all over the place! None of us listen to one set genre of music with influences ranging from metal, hip-hop, rock, blues, and sub-genres of all of those mentioned and more!

The band’s style is however, heavily influenced by bands such as Traitors, Bound In Fear, Bodysnatcher, The Acacia Strain, Filth, and many more.

What would you say is your approach to songwriting?

So far, we have simply experimented with various ways of writing and haven’t really settled on one way yet! We have spent time as a whole band in the practice room, writing and jamming ideas together.

This has given us songs such as ‘Taxed Slaves‘, ‘Establishment‘, and ‘Slither‘, but we have also spent time writing alone or as just one or two, for example, ‘For We Are Wretched‘ from the new EP was written at home by Ash on his own, things changed when we all got to hear it in the room, but 95% of that was all Ash. ‘Out Of Darkness‘ was written by Kie and Jack in the room on their own, too, so it’s varied from the start with us.

However, we feel we’ve written something worthy of release every time we have, no matter which way it’s been done! We are sure we will continue to experiment with other ways of writing, and seeing where it takes us!

What inspires the band lyrically?

Lyrically, everything is written by Chobba, so this one is all down to him! Sometimes, things are written from life experiences, and sometimes it’s fanciful fictional tales! Other times, it’s about trying to be clever and having hidden meanings and messages through various metaphors, and other times, it’s just about being blunt, in-your-face, and straight-to-the-point!

A major factor in the lyrics up to now has been of angst towards the state of the world, governments, and other factors! These themes can be heard in songs like ‘Establishment‘ and ‘For We Are Wretched‘.

Recently, you have unveiled your second EP, ‘Heavy Silence’. How was the recording process for that?

The recording process was really fun, but also very challenging! We worked with Ant Wall at Firestorm Productions in his small yet very high quality home studio! Due to the size of the room, we were never actually in the studio all together at one time, and we spread the process out over the space of a few months, due to other commitments from both parties.

We all feel we learnt a lot in the studio with Ant, and progressed greatly over the few months we spent working with him, and the extra time for each session allowed us to rewrite, or in some cases, finish the writing in the studio. It was a lot of travelling back and forth, but was well worth it when we heard the final product!

And for those who have yet to listen to the new release, how does it differ stylistically to the band’s debut EP, ‘Slerm’, brought out last year?

Firstly, when ‘Slerm‘ was being written, we were actually still a four-piece, and Kie hadn’t joined yet, so his influence and fresh ears changed the style of our music going forward immediately, but to summarise, ‘Heavy Silence‘ is heavier, far more refined, and has a much wider tone.

We are playing in a lower tuning on our guitars now, too, so that has been a big factor in the sound, new vocal techniques and also having Ant produce has helped massively, as well! We also feel the songs are structured and wrote much better in general than those first few songs, so the progression is most evident for us.

Also, how has the reaction been to ‘Heavy Silence’ up to now?

Its been great so far! A lot of people seem to be surprised, and didn’t expect what they were hearing! We’ve had some incredible reviews come in from various outlets, and that, for us, is so humbling!

Also, the numbers have been great! We’ve hit over 2,000 listeners in the first month since the album was released on Spotify, and over 5,000 streams, too! Both videos of the singles have hit over 10,000 views on YouTube, and the EP stream itself isn’t far behind!

Overall, the reaction has been incredible, and we are really thankful to everyone that has listened, shared, and liked it! We honestly can’t believe it sometimes when we take a step back!

You have performed at venues across the UK, and have supported the likes of Annotations Of An Autopsy, Old Wharf, and Harbinger. How is the experience – for the band – of playing live?

This is a real varied answer for us, as we all seem to take different things away and enjoy different aspects of each experience, but to sum it up, it’s what makes being in a band worth it! We all love the journey to and from shows together, and the banter and laughs it brings, but when you get up on that stage, no matter who is there or  where it is, it’s the best feeling in the world. The adrenaline it brings out is an incredible feeling and getting to do it as often as we have in our short period as a band has been insane.

Playing alongside bands such as Annotations Of An Autopsy, Black Tongue, Waking The Cadaver, Sentenced, and many more, has been an experience we don’t think any of us will forget any time soon, either. It’s just an all-round brilliant experience that we hope continues in the near future, and takes us as far as possible!

In the band’s opinion, how will the current global coronavirus pandemic affect the British music industry?

It’s a super tough time at the moment for everyone involved in the music industry. We’ve lost a ton of shows, including our first headline show and our first UK tour, but so has everyone else, so we can’t be too disheartened by it!

Currently, to sum it up, corona has fucked it, and it’s completely cack, but it will recover, this will pass, and we believe that once shows are allowed to take place again, the industry will thrive and be better than ever before! It may take some time, but it will be worth the wait!

And lastly, what is your long-term aim?

Long-term, we really want to travel as far and wide as possible! It has always been a dream for us, so that is a huge goal and aim, but otherwise, we just want to keep having fun, improve in every aspect, build a fan base, and stay humble with everything that comes our way!

Its been a really fun 11 months together, so we want to keep that momentum and enjoyment going for as long as possible! Chobba would also like to add that he does not wish to play in the arse-end of Arkansas as a one-off Tuesday night show, but will happily play in Bilston for a bag of chips and a beer (Just not on a school night).

Suffer UK EP Cover

‘HEAVY SILENCE’ – THE SECOND EP FROM SUFFER UK – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

YOUTUBE

 

 

UNDERKING – ‘Amongst The Dead’

(Self-release)

Underking Album Cover - Amongst The Dead

REVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Comprising of seven well-crafted tracks, ‘Amongst The Dead‘ is one of two debut albums by British-American rock/metal outfit Underking, but if you are thinking that this offering is a continuation of ‘Ghosts Of The Past‘, then you will find that this is not the case.

Whereas the other release was a natural evolution of the work Max Jeffries had done with his previous band, Rage Cave, and very much led by him creatively, the tables are turned in this, with Dustin Burmeister now at the helm, which results in an overall darker, more intense approach to proceedings.

The album lyrically covers different aspects of the themes of death and the afterlife, for example, murder motivated by revenge (‘Deadman‘), the destructive nature of warfare (‘The Way Of Man‘), situations destined to end in a grisly fate (‘Lost Souls‘), and the romanticisation of death (‘Gravedigger‘), which are all conveyed by a snarling vocal delivery full of anguish.

These are accompanied by an effective, fast-paced sonic combination of immensely heavy guitar riffs, chugging basslines, and pounding drum beats, seemingly tailor-made for the moshpit.

All in all, ‘Amongst The Dead‘, along with Underking‘s other debut release, showcases two talented musicians, from both sides of the Atlantic, that have got together and produced something which best utilises their creative skills, and should result in them gaining a devoted legion of followers.

TOP TRACKDeadman

(4/5)

READ OUR REVIEW OF UNDERKING’S OTHER DEBUT ALBUM, ‘GHOSTS OF THE PAST’, HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

RECKLESS HARM

Reckless Harm band photo

INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN

Reckless Harm, a metal/beatdown four-piece from Birmingham, have quickly made an impression on their home city’s music scene, playing high-energy live sets at venues such as The Flapper, Scruffy Murphys, and the Hare & Hounds, as well as releasing a positively-received debut single, ‘Karma Bites‘.

I recently spoke to the band to find out more about them, and the following is what they had to say:

How did the band first get together?

We started as a two-piece, just demoing hardcore music in a home studio. We decided after a while that we wanted to start playing shows, so we found a vocalist. Soon after, we gained a new vocalist, and a live drummer, and we started playing shows more frequently.

How did the name Reckless Harm come about?

Reckless Harm is the legal term for moshing/crowdkilling. It means to hurt someone without direct intention, but due to your own actions, which you should have foreseen, would cause injury.

What are the band’s main musical influences?

Many artists in the hardcore to deathcore spectrum such as Bulldoze, Malevolence, Thy Art Is Murder, Knocked Loose, Shattered Realm, Backtrack.

What would you say was your approach to songwriting?

First, we write music that we feel will engage a live audience well. Lyrics will often be pre-written, then we will choose a set of lyrics and adapt it to fit the song.

What inspires the band lyrically?

Betrayal, anger, disappointment, pain. Any kind of injustice to us or other people can be used as influence.

So far, you have brought out one single, ‘Karma Bites’. How was the recording process for that?

Karma Bites‘ was the final song we recorded out of all of our demos at that time, so it didn’t take as long as some of the others, but we felt it was the strongest song out of what we had written at the time.

And how has the reaction been to the track up to now?

People have mainly enjoyed it, but now, they want to hear newer music from us, as that song is growing stale, as it’s our only release so far.

The band have performed live at venues across their home city of Birmingham, as well as in other places like Manchester, Derby, and Bristol. How is the experience – for you all – of playing on stage?

We put our all into every performance, but a high-energy crowd will encourage more energy on stage. Personally, we love playing out of Birmingham because we enjoy seeing new reactions to our songs.

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

It’s tough for all artists, but we think it’s created an opportunity for people to write new music while they have nothing else to do, so we’re expecting some good releases at the end of this summer.

And lastly, what is the band’s long-term aim?

We think touring the world, and just taking Reckless Harm as far as it can go. We really look up to artists like Malevolence and Parkway Drive, who are self-managed bands who make the most out of everything they do.

Reckless Harm Single Cover

‘KARMA BITES’ – THE DEBUT SINGLE FROM RECKLESS HARM – IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THEIR FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM PAGES.

 

UNDERKING – ‘Amongst The Dead’ TRACK-BY-TRACK

Underking Album Cover - Amongst The Dead

COVER ARTWORK by ERSKINE DESIGNS

Recently, British-American rock/metal duo Underking unveiled two debut albums – ‘Ghosts Of The Past‘ & ‘Amongst The Dead‘ – and one of the members, Dustin Burmeister, went through every one of the tracks featured on the latter, in detail, with us:

‘NOTHING BUT BONE’

When I had first heard this song, I knew I wanted to take a more experimental approach with the lyrics then I really ever have with a song, nothing crazy, I just wrote from an interesting point of view.

I had explained this to Max, and while talking with him about it, I concluded I wanted to loosely describe a simple scene where, more or less, a man is walking along, and has the unfortunate luck of being abducted! Once that was decided, I began to write with that idea in mind.

I really enjoy how the song turned out, I think the song, instrumentally, is a banger, regardless of my vocals, and it was fun to kind of not only use this one to experiment lyrically, but vocally, as well.

At around 51 seconds or so, I come in with a southern yell-style of singing, if you will, which was something I hadn’t really done before, but for Max, I wanted to try and mix more than screaming into this song and throughout the project.

I feel like the song turned out great, and is a stand-out on the album. It’s definitely one of my favourites, and was a great choice for the first single release!

‘DEADMAN’

I wanted to orient this song around someone who had committed a crime, but one made in the name of another, revenge, I suppose you could say. In this case, a man was acting on emotions in response to an innocent dame who had been slain from a blade to the throat by a man of power who would surely get away with it.

The song lyrically follows him from the start of this story to him being on the run (hence the lyric “dead man walking“) to him coming to terms with this ordeal while riding on without fear, knowing he will fall yet believing what he’s done was the right thing.

Deadman‘ was the first song I heard and wrote to for ‘Amongst The Dead‘. It’s also the only song on the album I have a “love/hate” relationship with, by that, I mean I love the song musically, but writing to this one was a challenge because of how parted the song was constructed, and I just don’t feel like I really pinned down what I wanted lyrically, regardless of if I got the point across or not.

I honestly really do adore how the chorus bit turned out, though, with me screaming “Deadman” and what not, I really enjoy that whole part. I’m also just a very critical person when it comes to how I feel I should be, which is something I’ve learned to level with because being in a band is a team effort, so all opinions definitely matter!

I’ve also been told by a decent amount of people that they really enjoy the song, so again, it’s not that I am disappointed in this one or anything, I’m just a picky mofo! (laughs)

‘THE WAY OF MAN’

I’m one of looking at things from a lesser perspective, I guess that means I would rather read things out for what they are rather than cast a “pretty hue of colour” over things just to fool myself.

This is the vibe I more or less wanted to get across with this song, with the topic being war, sin, etc, mainly things we, as humans, tend to do that seem to have a more destructive after-effect, rather than a long-term peace-bringing one. We seem to fall down this endless cycle throughout our history.

Just like every one of these songs, they were written from my mind, with my opinions, so on and so forth, so I don’t mean to offend or anything like that, I appreciate and thank all those who serve in the name of our countries, but I feel we can all agree that while rather out of reach, we would like to obtain peace over destruction.

There’s a bit in the song where I kind of go on about someone who was full of life and had theirs ahead of them until the call came knocking, wherein they fall into the “cycle of conflict and combat“, and I feel like this part was intended to showcase how easily one’s life can change course and how completely out of your control that can be.

Again, I really like how this one turned out, it was a fun one to write, just like all of these songs were, with Max writing such solid songs. It’s definitely another one of my personal favourites off of the album, that’s for sure!

‘LOWLY DOG’

I think I may have stated in the past that these songs weren’t really written from a super-personal place, as in these lyrics aren’t necessarily coming from personal experiences and what not, BUT this one is a slight exception in the sense that we all either deal with or have dealt with some sort of “man on our back“, commanding and demanding expectations out of those “beneath” them, while maintaining that one thought in the back of your head, “One day, I’ll be on top, and where will YOU be?“, hoping to put that person in their place, or at the very least, give them a taste of their own medicine, so I would be lying if I said, while writing this, I wasn’t pulling emotion from personal experience.

Other than ‘Nothing But Bone‘, this one might have my favourite opening with the “Oh yeah” leading into the bridge where I come in with “CHAINED!“. I think this one also has the catchiest chorus with “Break your chains Mutt” I often found myself repeating this in my head throughout the day and not even realising it sometimes because of just how easy it was to remember. I’m also happy with how the bridge turned out, very catchy bit, as well, leading into the final verse before the ending chorus.

This one was the second single we released from ‘Amongst The Dead‘, and I’m glad it managed to become labelled as a single, because I do think it does a good job of showing the diversity of the album.

‘LOST SOULS/GRAVEDIGGER’

Lost Souls‘ and ‘Gravedigger‘ just feel like big songs, and I’m glad we ended the album with them because of the lasting impression, I think, that they can leave, as well as both of them just conveying that darker tone both lyrically and instrumentally. These two are easily my top favourites, and I’m glad these didn’t end up becoming singles, for the simple fact that I was hoping to save the best for last.

I know I’ve gushed a lot over most of these songs as they all have bits and pieces I love, but these two songs, to me, are the fullest and most complete, and they really encase what I think Underking is musically.

Lost Souls‘ also has a killer solo by a local UK artist, Rainless, who just kills it here, as well as in ‘Deadman‘. I just overall am really proud of how they turned out, especially ‘Gravedigger‘, because I was able to get Max to sing along with me, really hammering home the project with us both monstering over the song.

Lyrically, they were both written with similar themes, and I feel like one compliments the other, which I think is the reason why I wanted to write my thoughts on them together other than them both being monstrous.

Lost Souls‘ mostly toys around with the ideas of death and the afterlife, while also the feeling of coming to terms with these “endgame” situations, expressing things like isolation and being condemned, whereas ‘Gravedigger‘ (which was not only vocally one by Max and I, but we teamed the lyrics here, as well) seems to kind of romanticises death while pushing away from the living, welcoming the consumption of the “deepest, darkest dread“.

The album ends with a clip of ‘THE‘ gravedigger digging away at the soil, endlessly, while the eerie tone of church bells rings on, slowly fading out. Who knows, maybe he is still digging?


All in all, Max hit a home run with these songs and just this whole thing, I’m just so happy and honoured to have had the chance to not only write lyrics, but scream for this project, as well. It was an awesome experience, and I’m looking forward to possibly working with Max later on down the road.

‘AMONGST THE DEAD’ – THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM UNDERKING – ALONG WITH ‘GHOSTS OF THE PAST’, IS AVAILABLE NOW, AND YOU CAN NOW FIND FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND BY CHECKING OUT OUR INTERVIEW WITH THEM HERE.