Thursday, January 19, 2017

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German Death Metal band VENENUM decided for the latter... and it was worth every fucking second of wait. 5 years after the successful s/t minialbum, VENENUM strike with their debut full-length entitled "Trance of Death".

The album presents VENENUM on a new level of brutality and contains new & never before heard layers of darkness. The six new compositions + introduction-theme are a grand melt of unique visions and unaltered tradition, weaved & merged into a complex unit of sacred horror. "Trance of Death" is far away from being another one-dimensional tribute to the grave... it is reverence & praise, a hymn to the impending end of all things.
Twisting & turning, up & down, back & forth, entangling songs and parts evolve in a constant flow. "Trance of Death" is the most serious approach towards creating a soundtrack to Death. Join a 50 min ride through the deepest depths of ripping death, the wildest wastelands of abominable black and the darkest peaks of sinister rock. Or to be plain: on the A-side they kill, on the B-side you die. High-class songwriting skills, supremely possessed execution & performance and a top-notch production will catapult this album to one of the most signifying & relevant releases in 2017. Both immensely beautiful and intensely terrifying, this release will easily open the doors to the death metal pantheon for VENENUM.
VENENUM - "Trance Of Death"Label: Sepulchral Voice Records
Release date: 17.03.2017
Distribution: Soulfood

Artwork and layout is by Iron Fist favourite Timo Ketola (Dissection, Deathspell Omega).





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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Decades in the making, "Lost Memories" - the first album of PAINFUL PRIDE, the best hidden secret of the Swedish Hard Rock / melodic Metal scene - will finally see the light of the day. PAINFUL PRIDE was formed in 1983, and they were active until 1987. Later on, the band played occasional live shows in 1988 and 1999. In 2009 the band decided to record more songs, and in 2013 PAINFUL PRIDE returned with full force, and with their best line up. "Lost Memories" is a soundtrack of passion, dreams and nostalgia. If you like bands such as EUROPE, PRAYING MANTIS, RAINBOW or DEF LEPPARD: check them out!


 http://www.noremorse.gr
 https://www.facebook.com/painful.pride/

Monday, January 16, 2017

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This time for In the Riff We Trust we put the all important questions to Omar Zainal of Bahrain thrashers Hellionight whose debut self titled ep hit last year and my ears are still getting over the fall-out. Every metalhead knows what it's like to listen to metal at ear splitting volume until your ears practically bleed well that is what I have been doing with this ep since I have got it. Anyway what are the riffs which Omar has chosen, well read on........!

THE RIFF WHICH MADE YOU WANT TO PLAY THE GUITAR IS?

I started playing acoustic guitar at first, playing chords instead of riffs. I don't remember if there was a certain riff that inspired me, but getting into metal and learning guitar, it was obvious that I would try to play metal riffs on an acoustic guitar.


WHAT IS THE FIRST RIFF YOU LEARNED TO PLAY?

I'm not really sure which riff but I think it was Black Sabbath's Iron Man. I remember it being part of a guitar lesson showing you how to do power chords.




YOUR TOP THREE METAL RIFFERS ARE?

Jeff Hanneman
Andy LaRocque
Michael Denner & Hank Shermann


WHO IS THE MASTER OF THE RIFF?

Tony Iommi without a doubt.

THE RIFF WHICH IS THE SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR LIFE IS?

Slayer - Angel of Death




THE RIFF YOU WISH YOU WROTE IS?

Scorpions - Sails of Charon (intro riff)


THE WORST METAL RIFF EVER IS?

That's a hard one. I don't think I can remember a really bad riff but I guess any djent deathcore breakdown would be my choice of a bad riff.


RIFF FOR RIFF YOUR FIVE FAVOURITE ALBUMS ARE?

I'd be a hypocrite if I choose 5 albums out of all the stuff that is out there. The albums I've chosen are what instantly came into my mind and are definitely on my top list.

Mercyful Fate - Don't Break the Oath
Slayer - Reign in Blood
Judas Priest - Screaming for Vengeance
Xentrix - For Who's Advantage?
Manilla Road - Crystal Logic


A NON METALHEAD ASKS YOU WHAT DOES METAL SOUND LIKE, THE RIFF YOU PLAY THEM IS?

Judas Priest - Electric Eye




THE RIFF YOU WANT PLAYED AT YOUR FUNERAL IS?

Black Sabbath - Electric Funeral


WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT RIFFS ANYWAY?

Metal is known to be a riff based type of music. So I guess the very origins of metal would be riffs. Not only that, the amount of varsity in riffs which resulted into creating different sub genres of metal based on riffs. So yeah, riffs are that big of a deal when it comes to metal.



https://www.facebook.com/hellionight
http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Hellionight

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Posted by \m/ The Power of the Riff \m/ | File under :

                                                            Photo by Anders Bergstedt


Sweden's Vampire formed in 2011 and soon after released there first demo tape a cassette limited to 200 copies, one hundred red and one hundred white which quickly sold out but in the wake of the demos release word of mouth spread through the underground about the band and when their debut album dropped two years later it was hotly anticipated and did not disappoint. Now the band are putting the finisihing touches to album number two. We got in touch with Black String to talk about the upcoming album and also about the riffs,


What can you tell us about the new album, how far along are you into the writing process?

- We recorded the last stuff for the album while mixing the album the last few weeks. We’ve been putting what was supposed to be the final touches on the song mixes for a while, but with minor alterations forth and back. The album will be mastered tomorrow, and after that it’s completely finished.

Was the new single which was a rough mix of the track Skull Prayer any indication as to what we can expect?

- About 40 percent of the songs on the album will be fast stuff like ”Skull Prayer”, the other songs lie somewhere in between the slower material on ”Hell Awaits” and ”Blood Fire Death”, to make a little lazy comparison.



Will this track be included on the album?

- Yes; in a version that’s better mixed.

How do you think the bands song writting has developed, your first album Vampire really stuck out for me due to the songwritting which was well thought out and structured like the band were setting out to make concise statements with maximum impact. Good songwritting is something which is often forgot about in the world of extreme metal and sacrificed for shock value or needless technicality.

- I agree with you, there is too little focus in good, or perhaps ”effective” is a better word, song writing among too many musicians/bands. We’ve kept our way of reasoning about that since our debut demo already. Like, cutting out unnecessary instrumental passages that leads to nowhere, and stripping down three verses or choruses to two when needed. But sometimes we use structures that could appear almost ”progressive” compared to the simplistic way of songwriting that I just described (said without any pretentions of being a progressive band). There will be more of that on our coming album, but like on our previous album, we aren’t making the listening experience very complicated.






I wanted to ask you about the artwork with the undead creature on the cover, will it make a reappearance on the cover for the new album, from the first time I saw the artwork for the first demo the first thing that came to mind was that the artwork was very striking and the second thing that struck me was that the creature had something compelling lurking beneath his eyes, it's an iconic image and would make for a great reoccuring theme.

- There will be a living creature on the new album cover this time.








Your logo is also qreat how did that come about and who designed it?

- We got in touch through mutual friends with Martin Gustafsson, who used to sing in the bands Darkified and Allegiance in the early nineties. Martin made a couple of logo drafts that we commented on, and what you see is the one we were really happy with.

Can you give us any track titles for the up coming album? 

- I’ll give you two: He Who Speaks and Metamorfosis.

When can we expect to see a release?

- It’s scheduled for April 2017.

Now on to the riffs







THE RIFF WHICH MADE YOU WANT TO PLAY THE GUITAR IS?

- Something by Metallica, probably from the ”black album”. I remember worshipping ”Wherever I may roam”, so I guess the main riff of that song got me hooked on the guitar myself.

WHAT IS THE FIRST RIFF YOU LEARNED TO PLAY?

- It must have been ”Smoke on the water”.

YOUR TOP THREE METAL RIFFERS ARE?

- Hetfield, Iommi and Hanneman/King.

WHO IS THE MASTER OF THE RIFF?

- Tony Iommi probably.






THE RIFF WHICH IS THE SOUNDTRACK TO YOUR LIFE IS?

- The main riff in ”It’s so easy” by GN’R.

THE RIFF YOU WISH YOU WROTE IS?

- The main riff in ”It’s so easy” by GN’R.

THE WORST METAL RIFF EVER IS?

- Too many to mention.

RIFF FOR RIFF YOUR FIVE FAVOURITE ALBUMS ARE?

Morbid Angel "Covenant"
Metallica "Master of puppets"
Slayer "Reign in Blood"
Mercyful Fate "DBTO"
Judas Priest "Defenders of the faith"

A NON METALHEAD ASKS YOU WHAT DOES METAL SOUND LIKE, THE RIFF YOU PLAY THEM IS?

- ”Whiplash” by Metallica.

THE RIFF YOU WANT PLAYED AT YOUR FUNERAL IS?

- I’ve had enough of that noise by then.

WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT RIFFS ANYWAY?

- They’re easy to remember.






http://vampireofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/vampiretheband
https://vampiretheband.bandcamp.com/

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Vampire/3540351959





                                                     Live in Germany. Photo by Jens Wassmuth.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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Something brutal is rumbling from the darkest depths of the German Metal underground in the shape of Morbid Panzer and their raw black thrash assault. I remember hearing their demo back in 2015 and making a mental note to check them out again. This two track ep comes from last year but I was only sent it recently but am I happy to be reminded of the band. There is not much to say but if you compare this to the demo things have tightened up without losing any of the aggression or raw thrashing vibe if anything the better sound has increased the impact. You can check out this ep along with the demo over on their bandcamp page.




https://www.facebook.com/morbidpanzer/
https://morbidpanzer.bandcamp.com/
http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Morbid_Panzer/3540393527


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'For Doom the Bell Tolls' starts of with the ringing of a bell and immediatley the concept of time hits you like a harsh reality that we are all bound to time, on top of this an eerie wind effect can be heard almost like how you would imagine the wind in outer space sounds. The intro is very dramatic and unnerving at the same time and so begins the cursed doom of 'Tweleve Bells Toll in Salem' and Nemtheangas's cries of despair echo over crawling morose guitars and drums which carry you down into the darkside of humanity. The production is very bottom heavy and warm which suits the melancholic trudging of the guitars and drums. This is the sound of doom before it became fussed up with excessive use of distortion, doom at least in my mind has a more warm and organic sound which suits the emotive side of doom, we often forget that doom is probably the most expressive and emotional of all metal sub-genres, take My Dying Bride as a case in point. During the mid section of the first track the quitars are absent and instead the bass along with keyboards make up the soundscape however in a very sparse and atmosphere building way which gives Dread Sovereign a very unique and spacey edge which calls to mind some of Hawkwinds more spacey moments, after this section in kicks the first guitar solo which is sublime, so much emotion and expression and then the bass underneath accentuating the solo is just one of those fuck me that is awesome moments. Dread Sovereign have a very unique sound even though they toy with a genre which has a very strict template. This album can not really be compared as many of you may do to Primordial. Of course Nemtheanga's voice is instantly recognisable but that is where the similarity ends. Next up is 'This World is Doomed', which is faster in pace and more of a standard doom song, think of Trouble 'The Misery Act Shows (Act II)' or Candlemass 'Black Dwarf', dynamics is what this is all about, for if they followed the first track with another sprawling piece then the album would run the risk of losing it's impact and bite. In this way it further presses it's claws into you and drags you into the dark recesses of the mind. The mid section to this at least in the quitars has a somewhat post black metal feel and then in comes perhaps the doomiest passage on the whole album. The songwriting on show here comes from knowing not only your instruments well but the collective history of metal, being aware of those underground classics such as Cirith Ungol's 'The King of the Dead', Subsequent listens reveal little subtilties in this album which make every listen a new experiance. After another spacey interlude we are spewed out of the cosmic vacuum into 'The Spines of Saturn' and here the drums shine, no not with blastmeats but with mesmerising time keeping. This track is the most spacey, cosmic and unique sounding track on here. I can hear the aforementioed Hawkwind, I can hear Sabotage era Sabbath and I can hear Soundgarden, there is so much going on here, that it is a lot to take in on first or even second listen and it becomes clearly apparent that like the album this track will reveal itself in time. The album then finishes quite unlike how it started with a cover of Venom's 'Live Like and Angel, Die like a Devil'. To sum things up this album although at first listen is a damn fine album it is an album which will reveal itself over time and a little persistence on the part of the listener. Their is so much variety going on here within the doom mold that calling the album doom alone does not give you a true indication of this albums reach, I have a strange feeling that this will be on my top albums of the year list when it comes to the end of the year. This comes out on March 3rd via Van Records be sure to make a note in your callendar.

http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Dread_Sovereign/3540363246
https://dreadsovereign.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DreadSovereign

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

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Hells Headbangers is proud to announce the signing of Hades Archer. The first fruit of this union shall be the the band's second album, Temple of the Impure. A track from their previous album can be heard below.

Hailing from Chile, Hades Archer are staunchly and proudly a duo: foul and filthy, yet fuller than most bands twice their membership. Across their prolific canon, Hades Archer have come to define - and set the gold standard for - modern black/death metal hailing from South America. Rabid fans for many years, Hells Headbangers couldn't be more pleased to work with the diabolical duo for their upcoming assaults.

Hades Archer was formed in 2006 in Santiago, Chile by N-III on guitars and voice and Infernal Desolator on drums. The band launched their first demo-rehearsals through Chilean label Kuravilu, unleashing their glorious influences such as Venom, Bathory, Hellhammer, Sarcófago, Sextrash, Mayhem, Impaled Nazarene, Bestial Warlust, Black Witchery, Inquisition, and more. Later in 2007, Hateaxes Command came in on drums. With this new lineup, the duo recorded the Penis Metal and Gloria Rex Infernvs EPs - released in 2008 and 2010, respectively - and their debut album, 2011's For The Diabolical Ages. This cult era is considered by Hades Archer where the band's history truly began.



In 2012, Hateaxes Command departed and was replaced by Skullcrusher Hammers, due to N-III’s move him to Valdivia years before. With this lineup, Hades Archer launched a number of live rituals and recorded the mini-album The Curse Over Mankind. Two years later came the Circus of Abominations split mini-album with new labelmates Slaugthbbath. Once more due to Skullcrusher Hammers moving to another city and foregoing Hades Archer embarking upon future tours, the year 2015 saw the return of Hateaxes Command to record the EP Unus Cantus Bestiae, which was later reissued as a split with Japan's legendary Sabbat.

A statement from the band reads: "For the first time, Hades Archer works with a 666% professional label like Hells Headbangers, supporting us to give our best work to date. Temple Of The Impure will be the Hades Archer’s second long-player, keeping it brutal, savage, and in a minimalist style. Yielding to cult perversions and chaos again for this 2017 mid-year, another immorality of thy light age!"

Monday, January 9, 2017

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Arkham Witch masters of metal storytelling are a band of doom loving purveyors of traditional heavy metal. They encompass all that is beloved about our genre and mold it into one unstoppable force and spew it out in mammoth proportions, encapsulating the very essence of heaviness.

How long have the band been together and could you tell us a bit about the early days and the formation of the band, how did you all meet and was it difficult to find like minded individuals?
We have been together as a band since around 2010 – in the early days the band was an offshoot from The Lamp of Thoth in a bid to place some extra songs we wanted to record. It was just me and Emily in the beginning. We released a demo which was very well recieved and after the good reception decided to become a proper band.
It wasn’t difficult to find like minded individuals – we just headed down the pub and recruited two of our mates – Mr Aldo ‘Dodo’ Delle Rose and John Demaine respectively! A couple of beers and a kebab secured their services and after a few rehearsals and a few gigs – we set off to the studio to record our debut album On Crom’s Mountain for Barbarian Wrath Records.
In the very early days – myself, Aldo and John had all been in bands together – playing tradional heavy metal and thrash and doom to indifferent audiences – but then the internet came to West Yorkshire and a whole vista of opportunity opened up before us – people started to actually like what we were doing and we were getting attention from like minded people. So it was a no brainer to be in a band together and to just carry on what we had been doing for years – this time with appreciation and interest from around the world. John Demaine has since left the band but we have two more friends who have since joined us on our merry crusade – Jay on bass and John on guitar.



What's the origin of the name 'Arkham Witch'?
It is from the ficticious New England town which H. P. Lovecraft invented – witch-haunted Arkham. The actual Arkham Witch is one Keziah Mason from his story Dreams in the Witch House – I liked the name because it was a nod to one of my favourite writers and also a nod to the tradition of metal bands with the suffix ‘Witch’
What were your influences staring out, did you all find common ground within the music and do you think their are any influeneces which fans may find suprising?
Influences starting out in the very beginning were the underground and underated bands I discovered in the early to mid ninties when I reaslised that the mainstream magazines and media were just pedalling trends and that even though traditional heavy metal and doom seemed so unfashionable and so uncool – many of the underground bands had stuck to their guns and continued to make great albums that weren’t trying to do anything ‘new’ that wasn’t outside the confines of their chosen musical forms. I think a lot of the big bands at that time seemed to run out of steam trying to keep up with the trends but the whole uk doom scene was rising up, bands like Cathedral, Electric Wizard and Orange Goblin. Then I got into the American stuff, I started listening to Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Pentagram, Cirith Ungol, Witchfinder General, Manilla Road – Aldo introduced me to Trouble’s first two albums – I found the great bands on Hellhound Records, Iron Man, Count Raven and Revelation. By 2000ish myself and Aldo were in a band called Ironstorm and were trying to incorporate all these influences into it, along with Aldo’s love of thrash metal. A few Arkham and Thoth songs are from that era. Now that we are a 5 piece band again there is a whole range of metallic influences from Death Metal to ZZ Top!

What inspires the music and lyrics, I know you delve into a lot of local folklore which may not be common knowledge to the general public, a secret history of England if you will for example, 'An Oath Sworn on the Ashlar Stone’ and ‘David Lund’. Could you tell us about the origins of these tales as I always find one of the compelling aspects of good metal has always been the lyrical content and storytelling which metal gets very little credit for. In fact I have probably learnt more history from listening to metal than I ever have from school?
Well it’s just inspired from local history really – the idea that whereever you live it is the centre of the universe and the omphalos of creation because that is where you are – each individual is a microcosm to the macrocosm! Lovecraft himself did it – all his tales of comsic horror and alien civilisations are routed in his own locality - The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath being one of the best examples of this idea – in the end the fabled sunset city Carter is questing for is the Boston of Carter’s youth. In most fantasy the landscape is a character itself and think in some of our songs (especially the early Thoth stuff) West Yorkshire looms large.
The lyrics to An Oath Sworn on the Ashlar Stone is not really historical in any sense but more of a conflation of history and myth. It was inspired by the Hitching Stone – a big boulder brought into geological solitude upon Keighley Moor and marked out as an omphalos by the slow machinations of the last ice age. It sits upon the crest of a hill and marks out not only the border of three wapentakes, but also the border betwen Yorkshire and Lancashire. It has a tube like hole that runs into it where a fossilsed tree used to be,and was once the site of a Lammas Fair. It’s easy to imagine what such an imposing edifice would mean to the occult imagination and how druids, witches and masonic neophytes would gravitate towards it, which is what that song is about.
David Lund is a more historically accurate song. He was a local astrologer and Rosicrucian who was at one time the Secretary for a mysterious Keighley based society known as The Fathers of the Rosy Cross and also The Dew and the Light, who produced an occult magazine called ‘The Lamp of Thoth’. The song is a detail in verse of his argument in the pages of the Theosophical magazine ‘Lucifer’ with Westcott and Mathers of The Golden Dawn who were trying to discredit The Keighley Father’s as charlatans and black magicians in order to promote their own fledgling organisation. Not only does West Yorkshire have an abundance of pagan monoliths and standing stones but also a strong occult history! Fertile ground for metal songs!


For further info




Are their any other folk takes in your discography which are so obsure as to be unknown even by your most dedicated fans?
Probably one from the Thoth days which was only released as a demo on a tape that came with the diehard edtion of the first album. It is called On the Hill of the Beltane Fires and is a song about Baildon Moor, specifically the etymology of the name, which some scholars think is derived from the Baal of Phoenician worship. It’s all about a druidic sacrifice at Beltane!

Of course there is also the reoccurring references to Lovecraft in your songs. What keeps you coming back to him for lyrical inspiration?
I think it is the same reason that anyone still reads him now in the 21st century – he was a true original and a visionary and I am glad now that he is getting the recognition he deserves. Like any great writer his work is open to a myriad of different interpretations and explorations, and upon re-reading him I always find something new, or something old that sparks off a bout of songwriting.
Having said that, the idea behind I am Providence was to expunge this influence for a while – and to take the concept of Arkham Witch to it’s logical conclusion. The original idea for the album was a cd with 70 minutes of music all focused on the stories and concepts of Lovecraft – then we would leave the old gent alone for a while. But don’t worry – we still have a few Lovecraft inspired ditties up our sleeves!



What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
I think our biggest challenge has been trying to stay active in the face of everyday life. Last year we only played one gig due to various reasons, so in 2017 we want to play as many gigs as we can and get as tight as we can!  
What do you think about online music sharing, do you think it's a case of 80's tape trading on a larger scale or does it do more harm than good?
I think that if the underground metal fans were like the ordinary everyday consumer then it would be a big problem. But most of the fans in this scene want to support the bands and are also completists. If they do not have a physical copy of the album they will buy it eventually and also a lot of people buy both the cd and vinyl if availble. I think they would rather give their money directly to the bands at gigs and over the internet, or to the reputable and dedicated metal labels who support the scene. I think the internet and sharing gives a lot more scope for checking out bands and finding something you like, but I also miss that element of surprise when you would wonder into a shop and buy a cd of a band you knew nothing about, and if you didn’t like it straight away, you would have to listen to it a few more times before you made up your mind because you had invested 15 quid in it!
We’d be as rich as the Stones if only we had sold as many records!
Old school genres of metal seem to be making a hugh come back as of late with so many bands springing up defending the fate and turning their back on modern production and digital sounds turning to the ways of yore for inspiration, has this effected the popularity of Arkham Witch in anyway and do you feel a connection to any current bands on the metal scene?
Yes we consider ourselves a part of a scene and we are connected to all the bands and festivals we have played with. We are probably most connected to two stalwarts of the doom metal scene namely, Iron Void of England and Forsaken of Malta, both musically and due to the shared history we have!
I don’t think the trad/doom metal resurgence has affected the popularity of Arkham Witch really – we are probably riding along its waves – but even if there was no one listening we would still be doing this for our own gratification and mental wellbeing. It’s in our blood!
What's happening in the band at the moment, what are you currently working on?
Currently we are working on Get Thothed Vol III – which we hope to have out as soon as possible this year. Most if not all the songs on the CD willl be unreleased Lamp of Thoth songs that never saw the light of day for one reason or another, so I will be excited to finally record them and get them out of my system!
Then hopefully on to the next album. We recorded five tracks last year for a new album but they were put by the wayside to record Get Thothed vol II, so we will have to see where we are with everything!


What does metal mean to you?
Heavy Metal is the alchemical marriage between music and imagination, it is an electric literature in sonic form which amplifies the primal words of true and valid experience through images and sounds conjured up by the fundamental forces which lie dormant but ever ready to awaken in even the most slumbering of hosts. If musical genres comprised a Kabbala – metal would be its Kether.
Why doom metal?
It’s slow like me! Also, song structures mess about with time and can induct you through the hours and minutes – a long well constructed doom song is sometimes the shorter distance.