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    My Dying Bride were formed in Bradford in the north of England in June 1990 after guitarist Andrew Craighan and drummer Rick Miah co-formed the band after they had split from Abiosis, joining vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe and guitarist Calvin Robertshaw while ending Abiosis. After six months of rehearsing, the band recorded and released their demo, Towards the Sinister, which was produced by Tim Walker of Voltage Records. Its title was taken from a line in the song "Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium". The band would soon release their first single, "God Is Alone", on a small French label called Listenable. After the single had sold out almost immediately, they were picked up by Peaceville Records, and they could release their first EP, Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium, which also featured their latest recruit, bassist Adrian Jackson. The EP was soon followed by their first full-length album, As the Flower Withers.

    As the Flower Withers was followed by a big tour in the UK and the mainland Europe, and in 1992 they recorded their next EP, The Thrash of Naked Limbs. Another tour was planned, but cancelled when their current drummer had a bad fall while shooting the accompanying video. In 1993, Martin Powell joined as My Dying Bride's keyboardist and violinist, and they started the recording of their second studio album, Turn Loose the Swans. With the joining of Martin Powell, the usage of violin increased even more since their As the Flower Withers album. The album was followed by a tour and the release of another EP, I Am the Bloody Earth, in 1994. 1995 saw the release of My Dying Bride's next album, The Angel and the Dark River. The album was followed with a successful tour with some of their first festival gigs, and soon after the fans saw the release of their first compilation album, Trinity, a collection of songs from their first three EPs. In the end of 1995, My Dying Bride travelled on a three month tour with metal band Iron Maiden.

    Like Gods of the Sun continued in the direction of The Angel and the Dark River, in that it did not contain any growling vocals by Aaron Stainthorpe. This was the fourth, full length album of My Dying Bride featuring songs like "A Kiss to Remember", "For You" and "For My Fallen Angel". "For My Fallen Angel" is strictly an orchestral composition with sections of violin and synth. It is also the last MDB album to feature a violin, until For Lies I Sire. The somewhat experimental 34.788%...Complete was next, which, along with the following The Light at the End of the World, polarized fans over the band's new direction. My Dying Bride entered a hiatus after this, releasing two retrospective albums Meisterwerk 1 and Meisterwerk 2. The Meisterwerk albums are compilations that contain previously released and rare material from My Dying Bride. At the end of the hiatus Calvin Robertshaw left the band to become their tour manager and was replaced by Hamish Glencross. Originally released in 2001, The Dreadful Hours featured new material with the seventh release. The album was again engineered by Mags and co-produced by guitarist Andrew Craighan. Between 2003 and 2004, the band's label, Peaceville, re-released their entire back-catalogue in digipak format, with bonus tracks consisting of demos, remixes, and live performances added to each release (except "The Light at the End of the World").

    2004's follow-up Songs of Darkness, Words of Light showed a band continuing to expand and refine their sound and purpose. A substantial increase in live performances — once an unheard-of rarity — has led to much greater recognition by a new generation of fans. The band's next release came in May 2005, when they released the fancifully titled Anti-Diluvian Chronicles, a fully-fledged best of box set featuring three discs and thirty tracks. The band spent the winter of 2005/2006 writing material for new studio album A Line of Deathless Kings. The album was released on 9 October 2006. It was preceded by the EP Deeper Down on September 18. Shortly before the release of A Line of Deathless Kings, Shaun Taylor-Steels announced his permanent departure from the band due to persistent problems with his ankle. In early 2007, Jackson announced his departure and session-drummer John Bennett from The Prophecy could no longer stay, citing a lack of time due to work commitments. Replacements were found in Lena Abé on bass and Dan Mullins on drums. In November 2008, My Dying Bride began work on their tenth studio album, entitled For Lies I Sire, which was released on 23 March 2009. Due to Sarah Stanton's pregnancy, she had been replaced on keyboards by Katie Stone, who was announced on 27 June 2008 as an official member of the band; she performed violin on For Lies I Sire. Soon after the album's release, she was replaced by Shaun MacGowan.

    On 26 October 2009 saw the release of My Dying Bride's new EP/DVD, Bring Me Victory. Except for the title track and its video, it also includes a doom metal cover of the traditional song Scarborough Fair, a cover of Failure by Swans and a live version of Vast Choirs (originally from As the Flower Withers), performed at Graspop 2008. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of My Dying Bride's existence, the compilation album Evinta was released on 30 May 2011. Evinta featured previous My Dying Bride material re-worked as neo-classical and ambient songs. Soon after, the band announced the release of the EP The Barghest O' Whitby, which was released 7 November 2011, and consists of a single, 27-minute track. On 17 April 2012, it was announced that in a one-off show in Leeds, My Dying Bride will headline the Jagermeister stage at Damnation Festival 2012. The report on the festival's official website also stated that new album material would be premiered during the show. In May 2012 a list of European tour dates was announced for December that year. On 27 July 2012, the title, artwork, and tracklisting of the forthcoming 11th studio album, "A Map of All Our Failures", was announced on the band's website. It was stated that the album would be released 15 October in Europe and 16 October in the USA on CD, double vinyl & special edition CD/DVD. ( Stolen From Wikipedia )

    Fellow Doom trooper Michael Ventura put together this interview with Aaron Stainthope ( VOX ) from the band.

    Greetings Aaron and thank you for taking the time to do this interview. How are things?

    Aaron: Hello, it's a pleasure. Things are very well with myself and the band right now, thanks.

    It's been 3 years since you last album (excluding the extremely killer Evinta) and a year since your last EP, how do you feel this album compares to 'For Lies I Sire'?

    Aaron: As we have matured over the last 3 years so has our music and song writing ability which I think is evident when listening to the new LP. It's a quality, mature piece of work which has evolved beautifully since For Lies I Sire.

    You new album has a fairly unique title, even by your standards, where did it come from and why aren't you using your regular logo?

    Aaron: Titles, as well as lyrics often just pop into my head so I scribble them down so as not to lose them. I felt a shiver when the words "A map of all our failures" made themselves known so simply had to use them for the new LP. The logo is not a precious corporate commodity for us and comes and goes as we see fit. It looked a little out of place on the new cover so we got rid of it - for now.

    I was fortunate enough to hear 'Kneel Till Doomsday' and it's amazing. Once again you've managed to reinvent yourselves. It sounds like a mixture of your older sound with your current sound; never sounding too much like one or the other but rather a perfect amalgam, was this intentional or accidental?

    Aaron: Sort of a bit of both. The writing and the music are very much contemporary but the recording style was more retro using valve amps, speakers and mics rather than plugging instruments straight into the recording equipment, which gave us a more older school feel, which I think works well.

    As far as gigging goes, are you planning on anything major; i.e. will you grace the states with a visit?

    Aaron: We will certainly be touring Europe and we'll do our best to come to the States - we've been badgering out promoter to get us back there for a while now as it's been ages since the Dio tour. We had a blast touring the US in 1996 so are very much looking forward to returning as soon as possible. Keep checking for details.

    Taking break from the new album, I absolutely love Evinta. Do you think you'll ever try something like that again?

    Aaron: Most certainly as Evinta represented the first 9 albums of MDB and so similarly the next Evinta will represent whatever comes after that. It will be a few years away but it's certainly coming.

    You've produced a few DVD's of live shows and promo videos, will you ever have one about the bands history?

    Aaron: Funnily enough the special edition of the new LP comes with a DVD with interviews with each current member discussing their views on touring and generally being in a band and as Andrew and myself are on it too, we naturally talk about the early days with plenty of old photo's to give people a laugh. It's not exactly a history of the band but it's better than nothing. Perhaps a stand-alone DVD of the History Of My Dying Bride is something we should work on for our 25th anniversary....

    I loved '34.788% Complete' and was wondering when you're going to make the other 65.212%?

    Aaron: It's a killer LP for sure though it's taken a lot of people several years to realize that. If we do something similar I think it might be an EP rather than a full LP as these smaller recordings are much more flexible when it comes to experimentation.

    Is this album a concept album or a compendium of random songs?

    Aaron: Certainly not a concept - I can't see a thread and I'd be amused and somewhat astonished if someone could create a narrative throughout the whole LP which made any sense. I quite like concept albums but we've yet to create one - perhaps an idea for the future.

    I've read that 'The Barghest o' Whitby' was originally going to be a series of EP's, will you try to make a series of albums or EP's at some point?

    Aaron: That's incorrect actually. It was going to be in 3 parts on the same EP but was never going to be three records - that's pushing it a bit. I doubt we'll do anything quite a staggered as that. We'll leave that to Peter Jackson!

    What would your ideal gig lineup be?

    Aaron: Dead Can Dance, Celtic Frost, Candlemass, Bathory - but I'm guessing that'll never happen.

    Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything else you'd like to say to the miserable masses?

    Aaron: Cheer up.

    Cheers - Aaron

    Interview By Michael Ventura.

    Official Website

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    Bobby Liebling of PENTAGRAM and James Rivera of HELSTAR will perform special one-time-only sets with members of SANCTUS BELLUM at The El Birthday Metal Fest II on December 22 at Rudyard's British Pub in Houston, Texas. The sets with Liebling and Rivera, styled Sanctus Bellum Sanctuary and Sanctus Bellum Sanctus, respectively, will see the heavy metal icons performing songs that they have rarely, if ever, performed previously during their lengthy careers. For the Sanctus Bellum Sanctus set with Rivera, the band will perform a set of classic metal covers reflecting SANCTUS BELLUM and James Rivera's shared influences. The set will include material by both well-known and comparatively underground bands and is sure to please fans of Rivera's extensive body of work.

    For the Sanctus Bellum Sanctuary set with Bobby Liebling, the band will perform a full set of '70s PENTAGRAM classics, most of which have not been performed live in decades and some of which have never been performed live at all. Speaking on the Sanctus Bellum Sanctuary set, SANCTUS BELLUM bassist Ben Yaker stated: "Anyone who knows me knows that I've been a huge PENTAGRAM fan for years and that my favorite incarnation of the band is the '70s lineup. This show has given me the opportunity to select some of my favorite-but-often-overlooked PENTAGRAM tracks that I've always wanted to hear Bobby perform live. "It's an incredible honor to be able to share the stage with Bobby, who's been the driving force behind my all-time favorite band, PENTAGRAM, and with James, who's helmed the most significant metal band ever to come out of Houston."

    The festival, which will also feature performances by SANCTUS BELLUM, CAULDRON (ex-GAMMACIDE), H.R.A., OWL WITCH and SERPENT SUN, celebrates the birthdays of YAKER and SANCTUS BELLUM guitarist Jan Kimmel. Artwork for the event by Will Broadbent Illustration, which will be available as a full color 24x36 poster at the show, features the members of SANCTUS BELLUM, along with Liebling and Rivera, animated as members of the LEGION OF DOOM.

    SANCTUS BELLUM's most recent album, "The Shining Path", was released on June 12.

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    Third and last interview of the Eyehategod saga! This time it is the turn of the guitarist Brian Patton. So here is the English, original version of my interview with this very early member of this legendary band, interview done on behalf of the Italian webzine The New Noise (The New Noise). My previous interviews, with frontman Mike IX Williams and with bassist Gary Mader, can be found HERE and HERE  respectively.

    Brian and I had to shift the timing for the interview as he had to do some extra-work. Guitars are expensive and not even at Eyehategod’s dollars fall down from the sky. Actually the other way round … But at the end we managed, and the interview was done, via chat, on Monday night September 24th 2012. Again, many thanks to these cool musicians for their friendly attitude and patience, and also, again, special thanks to Jennifer Reisberg of label A389 (releasing the new single “New Orleans Is The New Vietnam”) for organizing the interaction between EHG and The New Noise. A389 Records

    So, ladies and gentlemen, here is Brian Patton, who deeply loves blues, jazz and Butthole Surfers, who adores pizza (even if I didn’t write his howls about it before the start of the interview!) and who will reveal also some cool news about mighty Soilent Green …

    Mari – Hello Brian!

    Brian – Hi, we made it!

    Mari – Yes, we did! So, eell, let's start with this fact. During these days I realized that also Eyehategod folks have to work for surviving! I thought in my naïvete that at least you guys might be able to live on your music, that is basically the secret, or not so secret, dream of many emerging underground bands ... So I guess that touring for you guys is also an issue, if you have to cope with jobs, beside families ...

    Brian – We have never been able to live fully off of our music. We used to pretty much pay tour when we started and now we can do better but it is still not enough for me live. I still need to work when not on the road. We aren't in it for the money anyway or we would have given up long ago. We just really love playing it's pretty much all we know. Some of us have jobs that are pretty understanding about it

    Mari –   Sure, that makes sense. As to touring how did it go in your last, European tour? Are you happy with it? How did you find the reactions about the new song? I mean, the fans' reactions ...

    Brian – The reactions to the new songs have been great. I just think that our old school fans are just ready for us to get this new stuff out and we are finally getting it to them. The tour in Europe was awesome we love coming over and have been trying to come back every year, and we will be back next year with a new record so we are excited.

    Mari –  Oh yes, your fans are definitely waiting for the new record like oxygen! Although it is awesome, I think, to see how you guys are able to draw masses of people to your gigs even without any album out. I remember a previous time in Milano when you guys also played with Church of Misery ... no album out but many people were there for you, adoring in their own wild way, eh eh …

    Brian –   I still can't believe that happens! We really are happy and appreciate our fans. We have a lot of new faces and it has been a long time, before the last couple years, that we have been to Europe anyway. So we are just enjoying the fact that we are finally playing for the folks overseas and they are digging it.

    Mari –  And soon Australia ... people there are longing for you, I read some comments on forums ...

    Brian – YES! We so look forward to playing in Australia. Will be the bands first time over so we hope and heard that it will be amazing. Gonna smash them!!!!! With tone!

    Mari –   Hahaha ... For sure!! Boots and pharmacies need to sell more protections for eardrums, lol ... With Mike and Gary we exchanged impressions about the new record although I have just heard the new track obviously , “New Orleans is the New Vietnam”, which is out now as single with label A389. My impression is that, at least in the new track, your sound has evolved even more towards blues, as the song is very much full of passion still very energetic, as your style is, but even more intense feeling-wise and with a little bit of sadness more than rage or black pessimism, compared to some of your songs. But it is just one song. So is the music of EHG a bit changed after these years and after all that has happened to some of you?

    Brian –   The new sounds are based on stuff we have been tossing around for years and some as fresh as can be. We really have put a bit in the writing for it and hope for the best. It WILL be a true EHG record though and will have some slow, some blues, some punk. And just do what we do and have always done. In certain ways we have evolved a little as I would expect from any band. But we love the new stuff and hope the folks will to. So far so good. We are just trying to get that live vibe and energy that we have live on record and we are writing songs that I think do that as long as they are recorded as should be.

    Mari -  Who is or will be taking care of the recording, production and mastering? Have you got a preferred external studio or will you be doing that technical work by yourselves?
    Well, I don't ask about the label issue, as it is already known how pessimist Mike is ... lol

    Brian - The label thing is what it is, we are getting it done. In music land, as always, the business end for the most part sucks. We really fucking hate that end of things. I'll just leave it at that. We have had a few different options in front of us but I think we have figured out where we are and who is producing the recording. We will make the announcement when confirmed because now is a little premature. Next couple weeks though we will know.

    Mari - Eh, I believe it, it is not so uncommon to hear emerging bands getting immediately disappointed or struck by that side of the thing ...

    Brian - We have been around for long and feel more comfortable than we did years back, because we just know the business better. I couldn't imagine what it would be like as a young band trying to break in.

    Mari - But as to those technical parts of the recording and mastering, do you people like to follow also that aspect of the making of an album or you just trust about the skills of the sound engineers you interact with?

    Brian -  No, our feet are in 100%. I like to be there every step of the way if I can. Not a fan of just letting somebody take over what you have worked on for so long and so hard. That's why we are looking at folks that already know what we are about.

    Mari -  Cool! 100% EHG guaranteed, eh eh …

    Brian -  Absolutely.

    Mari -  You have been into EHG for so many years, databases say since 1993, although, as I read from those databases, you entered the band in relation to the only line-up change that involved the position of guitarists. I guess the New Orleans underground scene was magmatic as far as heavy bands and young wild guys were concerned at that time. How did your involvement take place?

    Brian -  The New Orleans scene at the time, and really still is, a big family. Jim and I just got along great and clicked as musicians. We simply liked playing music together. He and I were already playing in another project so when they wanted me I was ready to go. I jammed with them once then went on tour with them with White Zombie. Me and Jim are the bread in the sandwich. Hold all the meat in. We just have fun.

    Mari -   Eh, yesterday while discussing with a friend about NOLA back in time, we remembered those other bands doing swampy sludge back in the 90s, like Tungsten or Stressball, and obviously Acid Bath. Apart from Acid Bath and Audie Pitre’s tragic death, the other bands had a less fortunate fate compared to Eyehategod. How did you survive? Was it because you have always been a band with a family-like bond? Your line-up has been so stable in over 20 years ... Or was it just luck?  ... apart from the fact that you were the best, eh eh ...

    Brian - We simply had our up and downs like I'm sure every band has or will be through, and we have been through pretty much any situation together at this point and are as close if not closer than family. I would do anything for the other guys. We just have a great feeling when we jam together and that out ways all. Everybody has been that "dick" if you know what I mean and we just pick each other up and keep on keeping on. The only thing that will kill us is death!

    Mari -  That's stronger than a marriage! Awesome ... yeah, actually that is the impression you guys give, a brotherhood more than a band of guys playing together as a hobby ....  The same friend above asked me to ask you the name, or the names of your all-time favourite or reference blues guitarist(s) and why. Your love for blues is well-known, apart from the other genres that can be picked up into EHG music. I love blues although I don't know many names of guitarists well. So my friend, and the blues experts like him, will understand and appreciate your answer ...  … But I will also ask what you like also in the metal/hardcore punk realm, and if you feel interest or appreciate the present-day scene or if you are still more fascinated by the "old-school" ...

    Brian -  Not a fan of a lot of the bands nowadays, wish I was. There are a few that stand out but nothing that grabs me that much. I've been on a DEVO kick as well as Zappa. As far as blues, Charlie Patton and Sonhouse. Lightning, Howling Wolf … Shit I love it all. I'm a big Jazz nerd too. Jimmy Smith, Coltrane, Coleman.... I could go on and on. Jimmy Smith was the first to really bring the Hammond Organ into Jazz. So much soul! Also cats like Curtis Mayfield, Joe Tex, And a lot of RandB abd soul. In heavy music...It's pretty much the stuff I grew up on. Carnivore, Venom, Bathory, Black Flag, DRI, Misfits, Bad Brains, Butthole Surfers big time, Kreator, Celtic Frost. Just all the stuff that as a kid tripped me out and had stuck.

     Mari - Yeah, long live the old-school ... ! And when did you start playing music, as a child, and then getting actively into heavy music? Did you also start with hardcore punk or were you in other types of bands?

    Brian - First rock band was KISS at 4 years old. And two years after I started playing clarinet for a few years then piano and eventually wanted to switch to guitar just because it felt right.

    Mari - Oh, multi-instrumentalist and so different instruments ... that is being into music! Now I would like to ask you something about Soilent Green. Many underground bands have or pretend to have a sort of "wicked" aura maybe in order to be more attractive. Eyehategod and, even more, Soilent Green have no need of pretending anything because of the tormented events affecting bands' members in various periods. I must say I was impressed when I saw releases from you guys in Soilent Green not long after all the sequence of tragic events that struck you, and with your winning wild and groove-laden style.  I guess a change in the style might be expected. Was this "going on as before" as a way for keeping the flame of what was enjoyed with your mates alive? Or was it just the most obvious way for discharging sorrow and stress?

    Brian -  You have to understand something, Through those hard times, and a lot of them were pretty fucking hard no doubt, music was one of things that kept you grounded. Another bump in the road. Sometimes that road can be pretty intense but honestly as long as I can play I will. And I think all the guys in both Soilent and EHG think that way. It really is all I know that I love doing. We have all had shitty jobs but music, even though it sounds silly, music is our lives and I wouldn't know what to do without that feeling of playing. And all the evolution with EHG and Soilent is just natural. We don't think about it we just play what we feel.

    Mari - Are you planning or working on something new with Soilent Green for the moment?

    Brian -  We are planning on doing our first show in over two years by the end of this year and get things started again. I have a lot of stuff ready to roll but has been hard with Tommy in Crowbar, Ben in Goatwhore, and me with EHG. Plus I live in Baltimore which is not that close to New Orleans AT ALL! So we are all excited to do it and will chip at it when we can. I would like to do a new EP at the start of the year to let people we haven't went anywhere, still here.

    Mari - Oh, this is cool news indeed ... Yeah, I can imagine the difficulties with distances, in your country distances are so big among places ... Soilent Green and Eyehategod share geographical imprint (ah, NOLA ... unique!) and musical roots and quite a few sources of inspiration in spite of the different style. In particular Soilent Green has got more technical riffs. As a guitarist in both bands, where do you find more inner satisfaction in writing music?

    Brian - Like neither more than the other. There is a certain satisfaction with just locking into a groove that just rolls and is organic. And then the challenge of writing and stretching my fingers. They are both fun. I like basically play and love all aspects of it, so tempo and technicality don't have much to do with it.

    Mari - And besides musicians and life, are there other less obvious sources of inspiration for your music? Like particular books or authors, art ...

    Brian -  I love to read when I can. I'm actually reading a book by Patton Oswald, Comedy genius. Of coarse there is the obvious like Bukowski, Burroughs, Hunter S..  Art wise I love lots of guys. Like John Muth, Kent Williams, John VanFleet.

    Mari - Interesting choice ... I just would like to ask you one last thing before closing, that is: tell me about your beard ...

    Brian -  My beard is furry.

    Mari - Hahaha ... normally furry?

    Brian – It’s getting to the point whether I can stand keeping this thing. I am lazy but my wife seems to like it and won't let me shave it but that works with my laziness so I'm keeping it until it bugs me to the point to take a razor to my face.

    Mari -  … "bearded metal", eh eh … Thanks for all, Brian. It has been an honour and a privilege to be able to interact with you guys.

    Brian -  Thank you, the pleasure was all ours. Hope all was good and thanks again!

    Interview by Marilena Moroni

    EHG | Facebook
    EHG | Official Website

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    Chicago doom-metal legends TROUBLE announced in February that they recruited Kyle Thomas as their new singer following the departure of their frontman of the past four years, Kory Clarke (of WARRIOR SOUL fame). Thomas, former lead vocalist for EXHORDER, FLOODGATE and ALABAMA THUNDERPUSSY, was no stranger to TROUBLE as he previously fronted the band for four live shows between 1997 and 1999, including Stoner Hands Of Doom festival in Maryland and Expo Of The Extreme in Chicago. Thomas has also collaborated on projects with members of SLIPKNOT, DOWN, OBITUARY and DEICIDE. In a new posting on TROUBLE's official web site, the band writes, "The songs are coming along just great! We have some final guitar stuff to finish up and the vocals aren't far behind.

    "We are very impressed with the talent Kyle has brought to TROUBLE and those are just the demos! TROUBLE fans will be pleased to say the least!

    "We are all very excited about this new album and look forward to seeing you all in the spring/summer of 2013."

    In an interview with Metal Kaoz, TROUBLE guitarist Bruce Franklin stated about Kyle's addition to the band, "We didn't need to change any of the [new] music [to suit Kyle's vocals]. He really knows how to sing to TROUBLE stuff because he was a fan from way back." Added Kyle: "They had given me four songs to work on when I was jamming with them in anticipation of possibly doing the album that came to be 'Simple Mind Condition'. I did demo one song, but nothing I did ever made it to the album. Things turned out the way that they have between then and now, and here I am." He continued, "Bruce and Rick [Wartell, guitar] have always been great to me as people and business partners. I was made to feel an equal back then, and the same goes for now. That is monumental for me — I grew up listening to these guys and now I am a member of one of my favorite bands. You can't beat that."

    TROUBLE 2012 is:

    Kyle Thomas: Vocals
    Bruce Franklin: Guitar
    Rick Wartell: Guitar
    Shane Pasqualla: Bass
    Mark Lira: Drums

    Source: Blabbermouth.

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    Original BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne and bassist Geezer Butler are working with producer Rick Rubin on their first recording project together in 34 years. According to Metal Injection, 15 songs have been written for the CD, with 12 making the final cut and the additional three serving as bonus tracks for different special editions. The band has one songtitle confirmed: "God Is Dead".

    Apparently, Iommi completed all 15 guitar tracks during the band's sessions in England earlier this year, and judging by the way most bands record, that would mean drums are done as well. Ozzy and Geezer are working to complete the tracks in five song increments, with the first five being worked on currently at Shangri La Studios in Malibu, California. Ozzy is tracking vocals, with Butler writing all the lyrics. As for Iommi, Ozzy told SiriusXM Liquid Metal DJ Jose Mangin that he spoke to the guitarist recently and he is in good spirits and recovery is coming along very well from his cancer scare earlier this year. Iommi, Osbourne and Butler discussed their new album in a video interview posted at Osbourne dropped a clue about the set's title, hinting, "Next year, 2013, is a good clue to what we're going to call the album." As for how Rubin influenced the band's approach to writing together again, Butler explained, "He sat us down, put the first album on and said 'listen to this', imagine it's 1969, you've just done that, what would you do next?" Iommi added, "It's taken on the flavor of the old stuff in the way we put things together, but with a different look on it."

    The project suffered a blow earlier this year when Iommi was diagnosed with cancer, although he said that playing the warm-up show in Birmingham, was a boost to his spirits. "It was great," he said. "Going through what I've gone through over the past year has been like living in a different world — being onstage and to get that (reaction from the fans) is just fantastic, it really boosts you up." BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward announced earlier this year that he was declining to join his former bandmates for its scheduled 2012 dates, as well as the recording of a new album, due to a contractual dispute. He also allegedly had his lawyers direct SABBATH to remove him from photos of the band posted at the official BLACK SABBATH web site "so as to not give the public the wrong impression about his involvement in the current BLACK SABBATH lineup," according to a statement issued by the band's publicist.

    Geezer Butler issued a lengthy retort at his own web site, writing that Ward "hadn't told any one of us he was having contractual problems, and frankly those things are worked out between our representatives, and never between the four of us let alone in public." Butler added that the band did not expect to make a lot of money from its Download appearance and planned to donate the proceeds from the Birmingham gig, saying, "Apparently, this wasn't acceptable to Bill's representatives, they wanted an amount that was so unrealistic that it seemed to have been a joke." In addition to Download, the members of SABBATH played at Lollapalooza in early August in Chicago, their only U.S. gig. The rest of the scheduled SABBATH tour dates were played by Ozzy and billed as "Ozzy & Friends."

    Source: Blabbermouth

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    Following more than a decade of perpetually mutating and expanding their unique style of rock/metal, Boston-based ICHABOD release their most progressive album to date with Dreamscapes From Dead Space this month. Conceived and founded in 1998, ICHABOD quickly formed an immediately diehard audience with several awesome demos before the turn of the century. Sporadic but steady live shows have constantly helped the band retain a solid fanbase, and since 2000 they’ve summoned forth four massive and ever-expanding studio full-lengths, culminating with the diversified 2012, released by Rootsucker Records in 2008. Amidst praise of 2012 from internationally-based media outlets, vocalist Ken MacKay decided to part ways with ICHABOD. Remaining members Greg Delaria (bass), Dave Iverson (guitar), and Phil MacKay (drums) inducted longtime friend John Fadden as new throat to help them finalize their newest material, what was then penned as the band’s swansong. Fadden’s style brought on newfound inspiration for the entire unit, and the band recruited friend Jay Adam on second guitar. Instead of disbanding, ICHABOD forged an entirely new path of musical exploration.

     ICHABOD’s fifth full-length, Dreamscapes From Dead Space, visits new territory for the band’s already expansive sound, melding elements of their sludge/doom metal roots with a more prog/psyche ‘70s vibe, adding a lot more rock to how they already triumphantly roll. Featuring nearly fifty minutes worth of otherworldly, free-flow, heavy-ass rock, recorded, co-produced and mixed by Glenn Smith at Amps vs. Ohms Studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with final mastering done by Nick and Rob at New Alliance East Mastering. The artwork bears original paintings by Mike Kent and layout but Aaron D. C. Edge. Dreamscapes From Dead Space showcases the broad range of a proficient musical force in a renaissance era. The digital download of Dreamscapes From Dead Space is on sale now, the album to see a proper CD release via Rootsucker Records/Black Lotus Entertainment on October 30th, 2012. Official info on even more new ICHABOD material pending release, and new gigs being booked now and through the New Year, will be announced over the months ahead.

    Dreamscapes From Dead Space is streaming now via the ICHABOD ICHABOD Bandcamp page
    Review copies of Dreamscapes From Dead Space and interviews with ICHABOD are available worldwide right now via Earsplit.

     ICHABOD Live:

    11/01/2012 Ralphs Rock Diner - Worcester, MA w/ Witch Mountain, Castle, Second Grave

    Dreamscapes From Dead Space Track Listing:

    1. Huckleberry
    2. Looking Glass
    3. Baba Yaga
    4. Epiphany
    5. Hollow God
    6. All Your Love
    7. 108
    8. Return of the Hag

    Rootsucker Records
    Rootsucker Records | Facebook

    Source: Earsplit PR

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    Cosmic Despair are a Norwegian/Polish funeral doom band in the vein of Thergothon, end of review. Well not really but if you know Thergothon then the music here will be more than a touch predictable. To be fair, the funeral doom here isn't bad for what it is but it is so damn predictable and at times, it all seems overly dull, even by funeral doom standards. What saves the album from being completely forgettable is the songs are short, well short for a funeral doom band that is. The bulk of this album is made up of 5 minute tracks or less and that works in the bands favor. If these were typical funeralized doom epics, it would be a very boring affair but thankfully, they keep the songs fairly straight to the point.

    The way they approach the funeral doom genre is also mixed with a generic death-doom feel at times, think My Dying Bride meets Ahab and you would be getting close to the sound of Cosmic Despair. However there is little to get excited about here. Songs drift along with zero surprises and if you could manufacture in your mind, a funeral doom band, it would sound something like this. Funeral doom has always been about being slow, slower and even slower still and this band follows that formula to the letter but bands like Ahab et al have subtle variations within their dirges, Cosmic Despair have virtually no variations at all. Tempos never change and the way songs start is also the way they finish. If you are totally in love with the funeral doom genre, you will find this album an acceptable slab of doom but if you are easily bored, avoid this.

    The album is heavy and atmospheric but that is where my interest ends.......4/10.

    Words: Sally Bethhall


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    Chicago’s epic doom metal act EARTHEN GRAVE announces that the band has parted ways with longtime drummer Scott Davidson. Davidson played on the group’s 2009 Dismal Times debut EP and recently-released full-length album Earthen Grave. The band issued a collective statement this week: “We wish Scott all the best with his many other projects including his long time running Chicago's Rebel Radio,  his Sabbath/Dio tribute band Heaven & Hell Chicago  and all his future endeavors.” EARTHEN GRAVE is currently auditioning drummers for Davidson’s replacement. In the meantime, EARTHEN GRAVE will perform a special semi-acoustic show at The Iron Ward in Cleveland this Saturday, October 20th featuring Rachel Barton Pine, Ron Holzner, Mark Weiner, Tony Spillman, Jason Muxlow, and Hannah Barton. The band has also confirmed a headlining gig at the Double Door in Chicago on November 30th.

    EARTHEN GRAVE was founded in 2008 by guitarist Jason Muxlow (The Living Fields, Wintering) bassist Ron Holzner (formerly of Trouble, Debris Inc., Place of Skulls), and  drummer Scott Davidson (ex-Stonehenge, Rebel Radio). The trio recruited vocalist Mark Weiner (Trifog), guitarist Tony Spillman (Spillage), and renowned classical violinist Rachel Barton Pine who performs on extended range electric flying V violin. In late April of this year, EARTHEN GRAVE released its mammoth first album titled Earthen Grave. Produced by Ron Holzner, and released via his own Claude & Elmo Music, this layered opus showcases the range and diversity of the band's epic and commanding material.

    Stream the entire self-titled album at EARTHEN GRAVE’s Bandcamp page.


    10/20/2012 The Iron Ward – Cleveland, OH [info]
    11/30/2012 The Double Door – Chicago, IL w/ Red Rebel County, Skank, The Root Cause, Bill Ura Dik

    " of the year's most promising debuts... Earthen Grave sounds old school without being retro, managing to go through every element on which lesser bands usually fail with exquisite grace and solemn subtlety..." - Terrorizer

    "...the integrity and honesty of the musical endeavour shines through, making this a thought-provoking, melancholic metal creation with some real magic..." - Zero Tolerance

    "Simply put, “Earthen Grave” is a modern doom metal classic that will live beyond a mere best-of-the-year bestowing. 4.5/5" - Metal Underground

    "...a unique and refreshing take on the doom metal genre. 8/10" - Doommantia

    "...they take the Black Sabbath/Pentagram/Witchfinder General formula to another level by adding in Pine's lovely violin work, which gives these crushing songs an almost Kansas-ish feel to them in spots. 4/5" - Sea of Tranquility

    " of the year’s best doom newcomers." - Blistering

    " of the most unique doom sounds I have heard in a long time. This Chicago based band has certainly offset themselves from their peers. 9/10" - This Is Not A Scene

    Earthen Grave | Official Website

    Source: Earsplit PR

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    Cleveland’s long-running sludge kingpins FISTULA have just filthified the planet with their latest dose of resin-coated low-end antagonism. One of the most constantly productive bands of the modern sludge scene, FISTULA have tortured live audiences abroad and boast a lengthy discography of LPs, EPs, demos, split releases and more since their 1998 inception. Recorded in May and June with Eric Braunschweigerat Rogue Mobile Recording in Massachusetts (the vocals were recorded with Big Metal Dave at Broken Back Studios in Cleveland), the band’s latest caustic crusher, Northern Aggression, is out now via PATAC Records. The LP version of the offering is loaded with eight ceaselessly brutal anthems — including an album-closing cover of The Mentors’ “Going Through Your Purse” — while the CD version includes a bonus of FISTULA’s 2010-released six-song Loser EP, adding an additional 28-minutes to the aural beating. For ordering info, point your browser HERE. For limited vinyl and merch pre-orders, go HERE.

    In commemoration of the album’s release, FISTULA will take to the streets this week on the Northern Aggression 2012 tour. The melee begins tomorrow, Friday October 19th in Lakewood, Ohio and will roll through Indianapolis, Chicago, Brooklyn and Cambridge, along the way sharing the stage with Vulture, Coffinworm, Black Goat, Cleanteeth (ex/members Goes Cube, Hull), Generation of Vipers (members of US Christmas) and more.

    Source: The Sleeping Shaman

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    Things are shaping up nicely for Desertfest 2013 and they are now proud to welcome Texan psychedelic fuzzsters Wo Fat to the bill.

    Proving themselves over the last half of the decade to be one of the greatest fuzz bands in the US today, the Dallas three-piece are simply getting better with every stride they take. Last year’s Noche del Chupacabra smashed us in the face with swampy jams and foot stomping hooks; this year’s follow up, The Black Code, returns to finish the job, ironing out all the kinks and blowing us away in the process with an increasingly confident swagger. Tied together with Kent Stump’s ever so slightly gravelly twang, Wo Fat are at the front of the pack of up-and-coming American fuzz merchants that are storming the planet, taking their distorted tones along with them. Next stop, Camden.

    Desertfest 2013 takes place between 26th – 28th April 2013 over 4 venues in Camden, London and tickets go on sale on the 13th November at Leedstickets.Com.

    Source: The Sleeping Shaman

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    One look at the album art of Whales and Aurora's 'The Shipwreck' and it is pretty hard not to think of Ahab but what you get on this album is a different kind of doom all together. Actually it is several different kinds of doom. This Italian band blend the post-rock of bands like Cult of Luna with black metal, drone, ambient styles and even has some shades of 70's psychedelia. At first the songs on this album sounded a little awkward to me but after several listens to the album what unfolded was a sometimes complex atmospheric concept album. I must admit I am one of those geeky music lovers that can't help but admire a decent concept album and this is one of the more interesting ones to emerge in the last couple of years.

    I will get my gripes out-of-the-way first. The black metal influenced vocals get tedious very quickly with this album. I like a good growl as much as the next doomster but on this album they seem overbearing and they tend to overshadow the music at times which takes away some of the focus from the very well thought-out musical passages. The other little nit-pick is it seems a bit over produced but that is a personal criticism and many listeners are bound to disagree with me on that. The album starts with 'Refused Recounting Words' and if you haven't figured out yet that this is indeed a concept album, it soon becomes obvious what the band intentions are with this release. The songs are about the negative kind of consciousness that we all face on a daily basis and the resulting anger that tests our patience regularly. Life often pushes us to the breaking point where emotions become frayed and musically this album backs up that concept.

    Now of course a lot of listeners couldn't care less about lyrical concepts so what about the riffs? This album is not exactly a mind-blowing riffing adventure but it is interesting. The arrangements are well thought-out and it is far from generic doom metal. Some of the timings are a little off-kilter and there is a great deal of ominous, suspenseful dramatics at play with 'The Shipwreck.' Where as the opening track is interesting but not all that memorable, the second cut 'Achieving the Unavoidable' is mesmerizing from start to finish. There are more interesting, unique timings and a good mix of mellow and heavy sections. Third track is also very good; 'The Aground Hard-Ship' is easily the albums best track for me personally. They inject some heavy Sunn O))) like droning, blending doomy ambience that gets under the skin very quickly putting the listener into a trance-like state.

    'Abandoned Among Echoes' and 'Awakened By The Aurora' is where the band bring in some 70's psychedelic and progressive doom elements. There are variations in tempo, mood and instrumentation including some fine piano touches. 'A New Awareness' is one of the songs where the growls bring down what is a very fine track otherwise and I am sorry for dwelling on that but it is all I tend to hear when I listen to this track. The album ends on 'Floating On Calm Waters' which is a natural closer for this atmospheric album; heavy, distorted, mellow and aggressive at the same time, Whales And Aurora are at least not your run of the mill doom act. If there is a criticism to be made about this genre that we all love called doom metal, it is; it can be predictable at times but this band and album could never be accused of taking the easy road. It is hard to say how many doom fans will be blown away by this album. It is always intriguing but at times it is also a kind of frustrating release. There seems to be a vital element missing but pin-pointing what that ingredient is also debatable. As it is, this is a fine album that stands up on its own when put back-to-back against similar doom albums released recently but it is one you will have to judge for yourself. For fans of prog-laden doom and doomy post rock - check this out.....7/10.

    Words: Doomm@niac


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    Danish melodic doom metal masters SATURNUS will release their new album, "Saturn In Ascension", on November 30 via Cyclone Empire. The CD was produced by Flemming Rasmussen, who has previously worked with METALLICA, MORBID ANGEL and BLIND GUARDIAN, among others. The artwork for the effort was created by Frode Sylthe of (AT THE GATES, NAPALM DEATH, THE HAUNTED). A bonus track, "Limbs Of Crystal Clear" (a remastered demo recording from 1994), will be included on the limited first edition digipack and the limited double LP.

    "Saturn In Ascension" track listing:

    01. Litany Of Rain
    02. Wind Torn
    03. A Lonely Passage
    04. A Father's Providence
    05. Mourning Sun
    06. Call Of The Raven Moon
    07. Forest Of Insomnia
    08. Between
    09. Limbs Of Crystal Clear (digipack bonus track)

    SATURNUS is:

    Thomas A.G. - Vocals
    Henrik Glass - Drums
    Mattias Svensson - Guitar
    Rune Stiassny - Guitar, Keyboards
    Brian Pomykala Hansen - Bass

    SATURNUS completed a four-song demo between October 2010 and February 2011 containing the tracks "Litany Of Rain", "A Father's Providence", "Wind Torn" and "Between". The recording was mixed and mastered by Flemming Rasmussen. SATURNUS's last album, "Veronika Decides To Die", was released in 2006. The CD was produced by Flemming Rasmussen and featured a guest appearance by MERCYFUL FATE guitar legend Michael Denner. The album was nominated in four categories ("Best Metal Album", "Best Metal Track", "Best Metal Production" and "Best Metal Artwork") at the 2006 Danish Metal Awards event.

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  • 10/21/12--19:37: Saint Vitus Sunday ...
  • Quality video footage of SAINT VITUS' October 3 performance at Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado can be seen below. SAINT VITUS' new album, "Lillie: F-65", was released in North America on May 22 via Season Of Mist. SAINT VITUS recently released a seven-inch single featuring "Blessed Night", a track from "Lillie: F-65". The B-side is a live version of classic VITUS tune "Look Behind You", recorded in December 2010 at Z7 in Pratteln, Switzerland. The band's current lineup features Chandler, drummer Henry Vasquez, bassist Mark Adams and Weinrich.

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    The folks out at GoDown Records know their raaaawk …That’s why they enrolled the Italian heavy rock band Bones & Comfort in their roster. And they did well! Bones & Comfort is a “power trio” based in my city, Milano: Daniele Murroni on vocals / guitars / banjo, Alberto Trentanni on bass and Luca Romano on drums. These guys are not completely new to Doommantia: the viking-looking bass player Alberto Trentanni belongs to that cool heavy psych jam rock beast named King Bong. The band started playing back in 2006 and released their fine debut EP In Fat We Trust back in 2009. While King Bong has been taking a rest during these months, Bones & Comfort have been and are rocking hard indeed in their high-octane live exhibitions where they play tracks from their debut full-length album, Mothersheep.   Mothersheep is a powerful album marking the definitive affirmation of this trio as riff machine for an infectious, dirty and blues-drenched, southern-flavoured, dynamic rock’n’roll.  Dirty sun-baked southern rock from the grey, foggy Milano? Oh yeah! But there’s some “trve” southern, Mediterranean blood in Bones & Comfort. For example, in spite of his blond locks and beard, frontman Daniele proudly comes from the charming and wild island of Sardinia. You know, Duna Jam …

    So Mothersheep will keep you busy with 10 tracks for about 46 minutes. These tracks are sometimes quite substantial in their length for being rock’n’roll songs (they are often over 6 minutes long), but they are so juicy, infectious, involving, varied and enjoyable that you won’t realize that time is flowing away … The album includes only two tracks from the old Ep “In Fat We Trust”, i.e., the powerful opening track “We Choose Who Will Stand” and the fifth song “Road Pizza”, both cool choice. The rest of the album is brand new. By starting with the blistering track “We Choose Who Will Stand”, the band is immediately setting the rules of their game. What you’ve got here and in the rest of Mothersheep album is boiling-hot riff attacks at a tight pace by nicely distorted guitars/bass, dirty, sleazy blues-drenched melodies, southern and western atmospheres induced by occasional insertions of banjo and slide guitar sounds, cool gritty to acid vocals and alcoholic choirs, manly aggressive drumming, and a pulsating bass line that helps in making making the music solidly scarring your skin ...  Basically old school heaviness and tons of southern groove rooted in early Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin as well as in Black Label Society, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Clutch, Kyuss, The Obsessed, Down, etc. The sound is roaring, rough and dirty thanks to the production which is just (im)perfect for this style of music.

    As it may happen in these cases, while listening to the tunes you suddenly realize that you are actually wearing some long mustaches (definitely …), black leather gloves, tight leather trousers, you are driving a biiig motorbike and your boots are stained with dust from the desert and mud from a swamp. This is rock’n’roll for sweating. And if you happen to be teetotal, well, you’ll start feeling the need of an ice-cold beer …  The subsequent track, kickass “Tex Mex”, is easygoing and almost winking to glam rock. The third track “Isaac's Wife Song” is developing its charge of groove via a relaxed, mid-slow paced rock rhythm, although tension is kept rather tight until you get into the short track “Unbalanced”. One minute-long “Unbalanced” will let you draw some deep breaths with its slow, soft, bluesy lullaby-like melody. Then you can get ready for “Road Pizza”, a badass, testosterone-drenched rock’n’roll blast lead by a rumbling drumming.  The sixth track “My Crusade” starts in tricky soft, “desert-like” way but guitars will soon start roaring. This beautiful song is a quite high-energy track which, however, stands out from the previous fast tracks for its grungy component. It may just be my impression but I can catch some hints of aggressive grunge à-la-Soundgarden in both melodic lines and in Daniele’s vocal style. Daniele’s cool voice is gritty, slightly strained and warm at the same time and is sharing some features with Ozzy, Wino, as well as with Chris Cornell.

    The seventh track “Take Some Pills” is a semi-acoustic western-flavoured ballad built up by choirs and acoustic guitar with occasional insertions of slide guitar and banjo sounds. It is a deeply gripping blues ballad lead by a cool overlap of voices and a melody immediately evoking a lonesome night chant at the fire in the desert or in the bayou. You feel like singing along … I can’t but find the same aching atmospheres as  in some melancholic grunge ballads or better in that wonderful blues invocation called “Where I am Going” found in the second album by Down.  The lively rhythms in the in track “No Country for Musicians” will bring you back from languishing dreaming and straight into total southern vibes with a slide guitar rock serenade as with those great jam bands from the other side of the ocean. What follows is the southern heavy and manly metallic vibe in the ninth track “Inhale” which is so recalling beloved Clutch … Awesome super-heavy riffs here, coupled with some killer vocal parts including some insertions of voice deformation (with Vocoder or something like that).  The album is duly closed by the powerful track “Orange Blossoms and Four Swans”, a Bones & Comfort’s track that graced the Desert Sound vol. 4 compilation released by the Italian Perkele portal/webzine earlier this year (Here).

    “Orange Blossoms and Four Swans”which will flood you with the last charge of high-octane riffs and coarse vocals (with guest vocalists Luigi Galmozzi and Andrea Maglia) in pure southern metal spirit. But then the trio will lead you into some great desert and blues/psychedelic jamming before the music will be lost into the void. Only deep, manly voices will be left repeating the refrain in a sort of choir halfway between alcoholic and blasphemous gospel …
    Maybe it is time for some coffee now for your hangover …Get this kickass, heavy rocking album either at GoDown Records, at CdBaby or, better, from the band at one of their next hot  gigs listed on the band’s websites!

    Words: Marilena Moroni

    Official Website
    Bones & Comfort | GoDown Records
    Bones & Comfort | CD Baby

    Video - Bones & Comfort - Orange Blossoms and Four Swans

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    BLOOD OF THE SUN, the Seventies-rock-inspired band featuring SAINT VITUS drummer Henry Vasquez, will release its new album, "Burning On The Wings Of Desire", in North America on November 27 via Listenable Records. To help with the CD, the band hooked up with MOS GENERATOR's Tony Reed, who produced, recorded, co-wrote and handled some guitar and bass duties. A video for the song "Good and Evil", which features SAINT VITUS frontman Scott "Wino" Weinrich on vocals, can be seen below.

    "Burning On The Wings Of Desire" track listing:

    01. Let It Roll
    02. Burning On The Wings Of Desire
    03. Can't Stop My Heart
    04. Brings Me Down
    05. Rock Your Station
    06. Good Feeling
    07. The Snitch
    08. Good And Evil

    BLOOD OF THE SUN was formed in 2002 by Vasquez on drums and Dave Gryder (STORM AT SUNRISE) on keyboards. BLOOD OF THE SUN's goal from the beginning has been to carry on the tradition of the classic rock style of the Seventies, with contributions from highly respected icons Derek St. Holmes from TED NUGENT and John 'O Daniel and Rusty Burns from POINT BLANK. In 2004, the band released its self-titled debut on the independent Brain Ticket label. The group's initial lineup included LAS CRUCIS singer Mark Zamarron, SUB OSLO bassist Miguel Veliz, as well as ARCHIE BUNKER guitarists Jay Benfield and Rich Christopher. For their 2007 sophomore release, "In Blood We Rock", Richard Hurley and Ty Thompkins handled guitars while Vasquez took over on vocals. In 2008, "Death Ride" was released, with Derek St. Holmes on vocals as well as Erik Schmidt from REO SPEEDEALER and Mike Doty from THE HOUSE HARKONNEN on guitars. In addition to touring the States, BLOOD OF THE SUN played Europe extensively in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

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  • 10/22/12--20:26: The Sword - "Apocryphon" ...
  • The Sword - the band everybody loves to hate but the question remains, why? There are far worse bands around unless you are living under a rock somewhere and I am still yet to read a criticism that stands up to any scrutiny. I am not holding a gun to your head and saying "dig them" but it seems rather hip to throw shit at the band for no other reason than to join in with the rest of the elitist hate-mongering crowd. If you want proof of this, go to the Metal Archives site and you will read some of the most biased reviews you will ever read anywhere on a band. One review even went as far as to call The Sword a conspiracy and you wonder why metal fans often get accused of being stupid.  For me personally, I thought The Sword's 'Age of Winters' was a great album, one of the best albums released that year. Since then, the band took a bit of a nose-dive in quality so you could never call me just another fan-boy. 'Gods of the Earth' was a disappointing follow-up to the début while the next one 'Warp Riders' was far too inconsistent to be considered memorable.

    Enter 'Apocryphon' and The Sword have once again hit their stride, releasing a powerhouse album that is not only memorable but also mixed to perfection. If you have ever wondered what makes stoner-rock/metal such a popular genre, then listen to songs like 'Arcane Montane,' 'Cloak of Feathers,' 'The Hidden Masters,' 'Dying Earth,' and 'The Veil of Isis' which opens the album. If you don't get a musical boner from these tracks, you need to get your head and ears checked. The songs mentioned are all highlights that are over-flowing with juicy, ear-catching hooks that get stuck in your head right from the very first spin of the album. Hooks aside, this is riff-heaven with the band throwing the listener, one gargantuan monster riff after gargantuan monster riff on every song. The band never get stuck in any gear as they provide non-stop tempo changes and variations that is not exactly the norm for stoner-metal acts.

    Opening track 'The Veil of Isis' hits you between the eyes, kicks you in the balls and runs over you with the subtlety of a Mack track. The blend of catchy, monolithic riffs, sublime vocals, stunning instrumental breaks and the rumbling, bottom-heavy back-line makes the sound on this album irresistably tasty. The Sword are a song band and know the importance of great songwriting versus just churning out heavy riffs just because they don't know how to do anything else; IE: like thousands of death, funeral and some stoner-doom bands do. The opening track shows the band has return to the style of the début but with two big improvements. This is far better produced and mixed and most of the songs here are the heaviest stuff the band have ever recorded so it is refreshing to hear that The Sword haven't taken the easy road and simply recorded a radio-friendly commercial album.....this album is far heavier than anything I was expecting.

    The second track 'Cloak of Feathers' is riffy, groove laden psych rock that avoids any of the usual plodding that most stoner or doom bands usually engage in. Moving onto 'Arcane Montane' and 'The Hidden Masters' and the band are on a roll, the like of which hasn't been heard since the stoner metal sub-genre first introduced the likes of Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu and dare I say Kyuss. Vocalist J.D. Cronise still has the Ozzy croon but he seems more melodic on this album which is another step in the right direction for the band. My personal favorite track on the album 'Dying Earth' is next and it is a bone-rattling exercise in riff-rock mayhem and psych-rock insanity. While the band has one foot firmly in the classic rock of the 70's, there is also a modern edge to these songs that ensures it doesn't sound out-of-place alongside more modern sounding metal acts.

    'Execrator' is a short blast of concise psych-rock with a punk-rock edge while 'Seven Sisters' is another infectious, memorable track. In the past The Sword  have been prone to have some filler on their albums in-between the real good stuff but finally they have delivered an album that is 100% consistent all the way through. 'Hawks and Serpents' and 'Eyes of the Stormwitch' are more golden nuggets of stoner-metal with more insanely great riffing, memorable melodies and instrumental sections that raise the hairs, stimulate the senses while putting a strain on the neck muscles. The album then ends on the title-track and they throw in another surprise by blending heavy-ass riffing with electronic music. Normally this would spell disaster but The Sword nail the combination by putting together a track that is truly captivating. 44 minutes later, it all comes to an all far too sudden ending and you are left wondering why it took them 4 albums to get to this level of brilliance.

    'Apocryphon' wins on all levels - musically, lyrically, songwriting, production and performance. The album art is perhaps the albums only weak point as it looks a bit cheap and slapped together to me but most people don't give a shit about album art anyway these days. I will get some flak for this review but go right ahead, I will be the whipping boy for this album and after all my garbage existence at the moment makes any hate-mail I might get seem trivial (which it is most of the time anyway).  'Apocryphon' is The Sword’s best album to-date but it is also a touchstone album for this genre that is rather carelessly referred to as "stoner-rock." Haters will continue to hate and I mean, they have nothing better to do anyway while lovers of the band will have this on heavy rotation for years to come. As a intro-album for newbies, it is perfect and this should push their fan base into even bigger numbers. Exceptional album by The Sword.....10/10.


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    "It Was Beautiful But Now It's Sour", the new Casper Haugegaard-directed video from RWAKE, can be seen below. The song comes off the band's latest album, "Rest", which was released in September 2011 on CD, as a digital download and LP pressed on olive green and 180-gram black vinyl. The follow-up to 2007's "Voices Of Omens" was recorded at Engine Studios in Chicago, Illinois with noted engineer Sanford Parker.

    RWAKE's 2002 release "Hell Is A Door To The Sun" was reissued March 2011. The long-out-of-print album was remixed by Sanford Parker, remastered, and repackaged to include new artwork, photography, and liner notes from the band.

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    According the Mayan calendar, civilization as we know it will see its apocalyptic downfall as 2012 comes to an end. So to celebrate these end-times with full force, THE POWER OF THE RIFF is throwing one last bash for the year. THE POWER OF THE RIFF presents a massive all-ages event taking place on December 20th at The Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The lineup for this gala will feature massive sets by HIGH ON FIRE, SUNN 0))), CORROSION OF CONFORMITY playing a set that will include classics from Animosity, Eye For An Eye and more, BLACK BREATH, DEAD IN THE DIRT, LOINCLOTH (featuring members of Confessor) and VOID OV VOICES (featuring Atilla Csihar).

    Tickets for this devastating occasion are available now AT THIS LOCATION

    POTR | Official Website
    POTR | Facebook

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    Today we have a conversation with Simon who is an author of experimental drone / funeral project Qhwertt from Argentina, you may heard his brutal growl in more famous funeral doom project Fungoid Stream. But Fungoid Stream released their last album "Oceanus" in 2010 as Qhwertt has brand new full-length "He Who Has Known The Gardens" due to collaboration with Furias Records. What is it? About which gardens we must know? Let me answer with verses from poem "Zothique" of Clark Ashton Smith:
    "He who has known the gardens of Zothique
    Were bleed the fruits torn by the simorgh's beak,
    Savors no fruit of greener hemispheres:
    In arbors uttermost,
    In sunset cycles of the sombering years,
    He sips an amaranth wine".

    Hail Simon! You run two projects at the same time: funeral doom project Fungoid Stream and experimental drone project Qhwertt, the last one released the full-length album "He Who Has Known the Gardens" in 2012 via Furias Records. So let us start with it - how long ago was Qhwertt born? Few words about it's creation and advantages are all we need.

    On 2004, Joseph C. called me to join Fungoid Stream as a vocalist. Once the first album of Fungoid Stream was released, I started thinking about creating my own project. I've chosen funeral doom, but I wanted a more monolithic, bleak sound. Then Qhwertt was born by 2005.

    First release of Qhwertt was "Cloudland" (2006), how can you describe this album comparing it with your last work?

    Perhaps "Cloudland" has more dronic touches (Qhwertt would be under the "funeral drone doom" genre). I remember I wanted to do it even "droner", but I could not avoid the melodies, and after composition and final correction, I was more than happy with the result.

    You waited for almost 6 years before the time had come to finally produce "He Who Has Known the Gardens", how much time did it take to compose and record this stuff?

    Certainly, it didn't take all that time. There was a number of situations that delayed the releasing. Anyway, the real duration of the composition and recording process is unpredictable. I remember that the first album took less than a month to be composed, corrected and recorded. "He Who Has Know The Gardens" took more time: there was an initial stage of experimentation before composing started.

    For me the first strong impression of Qhwertt's last album was from the album's art-work, then I was amazed with it's whole conception which is based on the works of Clark Ashton Smith. Please tell us how you did come to these elements of your project?

    I am an enthusiastic reader of Clark Ashton Smith, one of the Lovecraft's correspondents,. With a similar level of horror, but with a essencially different style, Smith was an excellent narrator, and a poet as well. Besides, he was a painter and a sculptor. For the booklet artwork, I added several illustrations of the german naturalist Ernst Haeckel, taken from Kunstformen der Natur.

    I've read some poems of mister Clark and I wonder why did you choose to reflect these pictures in such mystic yet quiet extreme way? Why do you think that it was a good idea to embody these images in sounds of such experimental drone music as you play.
    My opinion is that horror (in the vein of Smith and Lovecraft) can hardly go out of tune with funeral doom. Of course, this could be wrong to some listeners, but I think it works great.

    Oh, man, sorry - forget to ask you how did you find this name for the band? Does it mean anything?

    This is a silly story. I wanted a minimalistic name, and I chose the letters of a keyboard "qwert". But after that, it seemed too minimalistic to me, so I decided to decorate it with some additional letters, trying to sound like the odd names of the Smith's characters in his short stories.

    And let us return to "He Who Has Known the Gardens", some songs are reach with very interesting and atmospheric elements besides standard drone stuff - for example "Chant to Sirius" has bloody cool keyboard's arrangements with kind of vibe from old space rock and "Epitaph For the Earth" has middle tempo electronic beat. How did you figure out the way to combine these methods with droning sound of Qhwertt?

    I could invent some plausible reasons, but the answer is: I've just tried it and it worked fine. I did know at the very moment of writing those songs that some sounds were not intrinsecally funeral drone but, as a funeral doom listener, I thought that many other funeral doom listeners would enjoy that mix of sounds.

    Can you name the leading mood and subjects of "He Who Has Known the Gardens" album?

    Every track was called as a Smith's poem. These poems explore the typical subjects in the Smith work, such as mythical lands, heavenly planets, terrifying stars, odd creatures, the forgotten past, the unpredictable future, mixtured with a bit grotesque atmosphere. I like to think that every track of "He Who Has Known the Gardens" is tuned with these subjects.

     What is a current state of Fungoid Stream? I think that it's more known than Qhwertt so how do you see place of Fungoid Stream onto world doom scene?

    Well, regarding Fungoid Stream (latest album was released on 2010), I know Joseph C. is about to start composing a new album. Fungoid Stream is his creation, I'm glad to help with vocals and some composition brushstrokes. I must say that worldwide comments about Fungoid Stream work were always very encouraging.

    What kind of responses did you get after release of Fungoid Stream last full-length "Oceanus"?

    It was great. We receive very good reviews from several websites, and specially great review on Apart from that, "Oceanus" was nominated as the best 2010 extreme doom metal album at Local scene attention was limited but, again, the few comments received had only good words and wishes.

    Songs of Fungoid Strean are based on works of Lovecraft, there're still a damned lot of his followers into metal scene. What can you say about such bands… Which visions of his works are most interesting for you?

    As a member of Fungoid Stream, I can say that one of the common interests with Joseph C. is, undoubtly, the H. P. Lovecraft work. But, it's a real thing that the important part of an album is the music, not the lyrics. Of course, lyrics are a valuable companion and tool for creating atmospheres. What I mean is: many bands use Lovecraft myths, stories and poems, but I think all of them have a different vision of his work.

    For Fungoid Stream part, what we like in Lovecraft literature is the cosmical level of horror. He surpasses the boundaries of our known universe, transporting the reader to an outer, no-human space.

    I guess that you expect such a question so I wouldn't like to disappoint you - how does it feel to be an underground musician in Argentina? We know that internet helps to break through cultural isolation but it seems that's you're happy there on your own…

    It's a fact that we have no contact with the local scene, not as Fungoid Stream or my project Qhwertt. We don't perform gigs or concerts and we won't. In my case, I don't know if that could change in the future. But I can say that Fungoid Stream never will play live: Joseph hates stages and crowded places. I think he is just like Lovecraft himself in that aspect. We were lucky to have found Furias Records. Furias had patience and support with our projects (Joseph has his own ambient project too, called Dormantgod) and we have only grateful words to them. Internet has became incredibly helpful in that way. This interview is a perfect example. We were asked to answer (as Fungoid Stream) to only one interview six years ago from a local fanzine. On the other hand, we received many from diverse places outside our country.

    Simon, I didn't seen your photos and even this interview is done only via Eduardo from Furias Records (hi, Eduardo!), are you so close personally?

    No, not at all. When we started Fungoid Stream, we agreed to use some kind of "avatar" images instead of our real faces. We are not going to perform live, never, so we chose that. Later, once Qhwertt appeared, I chose the same way: using interesting images or compositions. I hope that will not bother you. We are sending some images soon. You can mail me to

    Or can you say what your occupation besides Qhwertt and Fungoid Stream is?

    Well, I'd like to say that I'm a musician, but perhaps it's too much. My job is related to information technology, and that was the way I knew Joseph, as we became friends later.

    I would like to end our interview with your words about future plans for Qhwertt, and I would like to thank you for your time, Simon! Best regards man and thanks for this interview!

    First of all, thanks to you for giving me this space, I appreciated you have chosen my project for an interview. About Qhwertt: in the short term, I'm helping Joseph C with starting the third Fungoid Stream's album, although I think he barely needs me. After that, I'm sure I will start composing the Qhwertt's third CD.
    Best wishes and thanks again.

    Interview By Aleks Evdokimov

    Qhwertt | Orion Music
    Orion Music Furias.Com

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