Tuesday, April 30, 2013

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

 TPOTR - The band released one of the highlights of the metal year back in 2011
with "Desensitized" further cementing the bands rapid growing fanbase.
How is the follow up coming along and do you feel any pressure to
live up to or even surpass such a monumental album that "Desensitized" was?

VO: We do now! haha, I don't think we thought about it in terms of living up to Desensitized? That's awesome if it's got that sort of reputation! The new album is coming along great, it's essentially done from our end, we're waiting to hear back the final masters, but the mix sounds fantastic, to me it definitely surpasses what we've done in the past. It was a fairly long recording process, we actually wrote some stuff in the studio this time, which was different for us.

TPOTR - What can we expect from the new album, have you maintained your signature

VO: I feel it's the best representation of what Darker Half is as a band that has existed. There's a lot that I like about both the previous albums, but we were also so new to recording with Duality that there's lots of things we would have done differently if we had the chance. Then, with the line-up changing so significantly before Desensitized, it was the first time we recorded with this line-up and also the first time we tried to produce ourselves, so both albums were massive learning curves for us.
This time round, we handled some of the production but had Dave Hammer at Defwolf Studios (where we did Desensitized) co-produce and mix it. When you're so close to something and around it constantly, it can be hard to be objective, so we felt having outside ears come in was the best option (not to mention he's much better at it than us haha). Production wise, this one is gonna sound more modern and bigger than Desensitized, but still has a traditional feel in a lot of ways. We really wanted to get a raw traditional sound on Desensitized after having a real digital sound on Duality and I think we're falling somewhere in between the two approaches this time. In terms of writing we're getting to know ourselves better and what everyone can bring to the table, pulling together all the different ideas into something that resembles what Darker Half is and should be (we don't always know haha).We're also more experienced as players which saves a lot of time in the studio. But yea, it's got killer riffs, massive vocal arrangements and the overall sound I reckon is great!

TPOTR - Back to the beginnings of the band. You really went down the traditional route of working hard building up a solid fan base. You formed back in 2003 and unleashed your first demo ''RUSH" the same year followed by the E.P. "Enough is Enough" in 2006 and of course the debut album"Duality" came in 2009 and was self-released by the band to almost widespread critical acclaim and of course your last album "Desensitized" which dropped in 2011. Do you think this DIY all for one attitude has made the band stronger and more appreciative of your achievements?

VO: Yea, we were really young haha. I was 15 when we did 'Rush' (I can't believe you even know about that! some band members have never heard it haha) It's pretty much the first time I'd ever sung. The DIY thing is pretty much essential in Australia, metal is really not on the mainstream radar (it's getting better, but definitely in 2003) so you DIY until you've got people coming to you. It makes me glad we started so young that we've got the amount of experience under our belts that we do at this stage.

I haven't really thought of it in terms of being proud of being DIY? it's just a necessity of existence at this stage. If Nuclear Blast was knocking on our door, we wouldn't be saying no, we want to take this as far as it can go, it's just those sort of guys aren't gonna 'discover' you at a pub in Australia? So you gotta make enough noise on your own that people take notice. I hope we're doing that, but it's so hard to tell how many people outside Australia actually know you. We've been really surprised just how well both albums have been received, there's no way to know what people are gonna think. In the end, the art itself is something that is gonna get done one way or another.

I'm really proud of how loyal the fans we have are, it gives me a shock a lot of the time that we're mentioned in the same sentence with bands I would've considered totally out of our league. Also, getting the chance to play with so many of my favourite bands/musicians is something I feel really privileged to do, there's a few still on the list, but we will get you haha.

TPOTR - It seems that the scene in Australia is more isolated from the rest of the metal world making it harder for bands to break through on an international level and those that do have to work twice as hard to succeed. How true is this?

VO: Well, look at an atlas? Yea, if you added up the kms we've done touring Australia, we would've covered Europe 10+ times if we were German (and probably be doing better haha). For us to break even doing a European tour, we'd need a months worth of shows (4/5 nights per week) with reasonable guarantees to make it work (just putting it out there), the travel is just too much to come for a couple of shows here and there (unless it was Wacken or something similar), but it's difficult to get on tours like that without distro/label (trust me, we were damn close on Desensitized!), which is hard to get if you're not touring? you see where I'm going with this? it can be a real catch 22. It's not impossible by any means, other bands have done it, but think about a European band of our level doing an Australian tour? I think it is harder for Australian bands, but there's other places that would be even harder than Australia. Going back the previous question, this is where DIY can hurt, just not having the knowledge of how everything works in other countries to be able hook up the things we need. We're trying to find some management/bookers in Europe/US now to help us with the next album release.

TPOTR - So what is the scene in Australia like. How big is the metal underground.
Will we see an explosion of Australian metal anytime soon?

VO: The scene itself is great but small. There's a huge amount of awesome bands going around, it's a little split along sub-genres sometimes, but you can't please everyone, there's just a lot more different metal than there used to be. Not everyone is gonna like everything from Cannibal Corpse to Hammerfall not to mention -core.

I think the fact that we only get to see the established US and European acts here means the bar is set really high for Australian bands to compete, so most Aussie bands who have a decent following are pretty good at what they do, even if I'm not necessarily into their particular genre. I could give examples, but there's too many bands to list and whoever I don't mention will get the shits haha, so lets just say there's a ton of ridiculously good bands here! I also think Australian metal is starting to get it's own sound to an extent, due to the mix of Euro/US influence without either being 'ours' so to speak. Which I think is great, Australians are different to Europeans or Americans, we shouldn't sound the same. We (Australia) had a unique pub rock sound in the 70's/80's but in the late 90's/early 00s it really aped the UK/US and I feel like a bit more of an identity is coming through Australian music as a whole at the moment. In case you didn't know, 'Solid Rock' off Desensitized is a cover of an 80s Australian pub rock band called 'Goanna'. The original is quite different, it's a famous song here, but it's all about Australia so don't know if it's known  in your country. We chose it because lyrically it's reminiscent of an Australian 'Run to the Hills' dealing with White colonisation of Australia.

TPOTR - How has the touring been going in support of "Desensitized"?

VO: It's been really good, we were going pretty much from July 2011 till June 2012, going around Australia a bunch of times. It was a mix of material from both albums, leaning towards Desensitized obviously, with a couple of Maiden/Metallica/Priest covers thrown in depending on the audience. We really like doing a cover or two, it's music we love to listen to, so we want to play it ourselves too. Reviews were all really positive and the reaction was sometimes pretty overwhelming at times. On one show in a really small town, too many people showed up and were going pretty crazy, security asked us what to do because they'd never seen anything like it before (stage diving, crowd surfing etc).
Dom (our drummer) and I were booked to play in Ripper Owens's solo band for his Aus/NZ tour in June, and we started recording again right after that (literally 4 days after we got back haha), so that was the end of the tour itself, but we still did another run at the end of last year and are working up the new material live now for the next release. So it's all been pretty hectic, I'm just itching to get the new album out and be playing the new songs live.

 TPOTR - Will you tour over here in Europe in support of your next album, it would be great to
get a chance to see the bands music in a live setting?

VO: Ideally yes. It would be great to play for you in a live setting! Like I said in the earlier question, the travel is really expensive, being Aussie, we're $10-20k down before we start, and have only the roughest idea if anyone knows us, social media is great, but it isn't the be all end all. We wouldn't want to come all that way to give you a sub par performance by half assing the organisation/promotion, our whole thing is about the live show, so it's gotta be done properly, but we're aching to do it! We've had a couple of really close calls where the financing fell through at the last minute which is a shame. Just to be clear, I'm not even talking about making money here, just not losing more than we can afford. But if all goes to plan then yes, we'll be coming to Europe with this release. 

TPOTR - How does the bands studio output compare to experiencing the band live?

VO: That's a tough question, I've never seen Darker Half live haha. I'd say the live show is the definitive version though. The sort of energy you get in the room is something pretty hard to match on a record, and there's no substitute for the sort of crazy stuff that can happen when you put a few hundred metal heads in a room together. Obviously there's a few differences sound-wise, we don't use any overdubs or anything live, what you see is what you get, so there's little things missing, but those things are only really there on records to try to match the intensity of the live show right? There's so many bands whose albums I didn't really get into until i saw the band live (even a DVD sometimes), then I finally 'got them' so I'd like to think if you like our albums (and maybe even if you didn't), the live show would blow you away.

TPOTR - Do you feel any affinity to the wave of bands at the moment who fall under the NWOTHM tag?

VO: Yes and no? I'm not 100% comfortable with the tag to be honest. I feel it kinda paints it as nostalgia based music, I'm heavily influenced by a lot of 80's bands, but when I heard them for the first time, it didn't sound old to me, it sounded fresh as I'd never heard anything like that before, as far as I knew at that time (2000-03?), metal was Slipknot, Limp Bizkit etc. (I wasn't a metal fan haha) But I also love a lot of newer stuff too, and I wanted to make music that was heavy but had big choruses and melodies/solos. I know we kinda fall under the NWOTHM umbrella, but I think that by calling it 'Traditional Metal' it limits it to a certain range of stuff and I can't guarantee we'll stay in that box forever you know?
Genre's are important, people want to have an idea of what they're gonna get, but it can be restrictive too. We've been called Heavy, Power, Thrash, Prog, Hard Rock, Melodic, Traditional, Classic, Speed, Punk and Shred - metal. And we've only done 2 albums, that's almost a genre every two songs! so who knows. I didn't even know you could be prog and punk haha? I just call it metal.

I do like a lot of the NWOTHM bands though, Striker and Enforcer are both great. Also dig some power metal like Nocturnal Rites and Edguy. Not sure if they sit in NWOTHM, but playing with Warbringer was great, they're the only overseas band around our age we've played with, which was a different vibe to guys who've been doing it 20+ years, maybe it's just a generational thing. They had an awesome live show by the way.

 TPOTR - Back to the forthcoming album. When can we expect to see a release date?

VO: I can't give you an exact date yet unfortunately, at this point we're aiming for August/September, It's in the final stages of mastering at the moment at Fascination St Studios in Sweden, we have the title and most of the artwork sorted (we'll be sharing this fairly soon I think) and are trying to nail down the release details at the moment. We want to make sure everything's in place to give it the push it deserves, we've had issues with both previous releases due to rushing (our own fault, to be fair) so we really want to take the time to do it right on this one.

Thanks a lot for the interview! Hope I didn't rant too long. They were some good questions. We love what we do and are stoked so many people are enjoying it with us! Stay metal \m/
Vo Simpson

Monday, April 29, 2013

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

The spirit of the NWOBHM is alive and well in the NWOTHM that Neuronspoiler deliver with their glorious metal in excelsis . Remember when metal was all about great riffs, face melting leads and a great set of melodic lung power in the shape of front man JR who does a fine job of bringing great vocals back to the forefront of metal. There is no faulting the pure undeniable metallic class and musicianship on offer here. What I love about this album is I can hear the echos of all my favourite 80's classic metal bands being brought screaming and crashing into the hear and now. In some way this is a throwback but on the other hand things have come full circle and this is again the music of our times, the kind of stuff that goes beyond mere trends. To reference one of the many highlights on this album the band "Take the Stage" and yes they do belong. To sum the album up solid riffing, incredible leads, soaring melodies and all around classic metal.
The spirit is alive, the spirit can never die!

Friday, April 26, 2013

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

Australia's Darker Half are an on the rise metal beast who play within an impassioned classic metal mold bringing back the classic metal traditions from the glory day's of thrash, power and nwobhm creating a modern but classic metal sound. You get the straight up high octane energy of thrash with in your face heavy metal like it was in the good old day's topped of with a soaring power metal vocal performance which would do the German's proud. Just listen to the track "End of the Line" for proof. Great riffing, fantastic melody and twin guitar melodies which bring to mind "Powerslave" era Maiden. "Tomb of the Unknown Solider" is another standout moment detailing the harrowing story of a disillusioned veteran bringing to mind Iced Earth at their best. The whole time you get the sense this band are on the verge of the stuff of metal legend. The feeling something truly great is around the corner and this is what excites me the most as I already have great expectations for the follow up because I feel we have not heard the best from this band yet. It seem in a scene like Australia where the country is often isolated from the rest of the world due to it's geographical location, that although it is harder for bands to make it than it is for example in Europe that there are still bands flying the flag high for nwothm and are playing worldclass metal which deserves to be heard.

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

Acetic Voice charged raging with the full force of thrash onto the Greek metal scene back in 1988 and released four kick ass quick fire thrashing demos they however sadly never got the chance to release a full-length before falling into obscurity but we may not have heard the end of the story  because thankfully the band have become active again and plans are in the works to record new material. So until then let me tell you about one of Greek metals best kept secrets. Acetic Voice play an aggressive form of thrash more akin to teutonic thrash. With more of a bite especially in the vocal department where at times the vocalist even sounds like Abbath from Immortal or more like Abbath sounds like him, in fact it would not surprise me if Abbath heard this demo back in the day. Check out the two tracks below lifted from my favourite demo 1990's "Behind Bars" for proof of this bands undeniable thrash attack. Each of their demos are well worth checking out if you can get a hold of them through trading.

Monday, April 22, 2013

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

There once was two witches who met on a dark windswept night in the depths of a forbidden wood which stood on the side of the forsaken mountain of heaviness know as  the sacred Sabbath. Their names' were lady Doom and lady Stoner, they exchanged their wisdom of the riff and made a pact to bestow upon the world Absolute Blackness.
Here we now have the result of that fateful meeting. An album which melds doom and stoner through a seamless marriage in praise of heaviness and the riff. The one thing that stands out is the bass playing on this which is nothing short of phenomenal, each bass riff compliments the guitar to devastating effect taking each  riff to new heights of heaviness in only the way master Geezer could do. The bass is so important as to why this album works for it is here that the doom inherent on this album stems from with the guitar presenting more of the stoner vibe and together they work to complement and enhance each other. It's nice to see a Sabbath influenced band where the singer does not try to sound like Ozzy but on the other hand the vocals do need some work and are the only weakness on this album. Don't be fooled into thinking this band are mainly sabbath clones because their unique approach is all their own particularly in the psychedelic flourishes which are spread throughout this album. The band have achieved an almost perfect balance of the two styles with the band playing in a loose freeform jam which does take your mind on an almost spacey drug induced journey. Check 'em out for yourself and enter the Absolute Blackness!


Monday, April 15, 2013

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

New Brunswick, New Jersey's Forlorn Path formed back in 2008 and headed down the musical path which would lead them to their monumental debut album I now hold in my hands. Before this came two E.P.s namely " Being Towards Death" in 2010 and "Intifada" in 2012 both equally great in their own right and now this the epically majestic and towering statement of intent " Man's Last Portrait" and if indeed this was their last portrait they would have secured their name for the ages. Forlorn Path play what could be described as Progressive/Melodic Death Metal but that  would simply do the music a great injustice such is the depth and intricate playing on offer, embellished with subtitle music flourishes. Death metal seamlessly binded with dissonant melodies and interspersed with thoughtful and devastatingly effective piano flourishes. Evocative and showing a depth far beyond the bands years this is an emotional descent into the depths of mankind's darkened soul. At first the album and band can be quite deceptive and on the surface don't appear to be anything out of the ordinnary but man does this album deliver once you crack it's shell open and gaze deep into it's heart and soul. Amazingly the band are an Unsigned/independent band which in this day an age proves my point that the best bands are to be found working away in the shadows perfecting their art and releasing underground classics which sadly go largely unnoticed by the average metal fan which is a crime against music. I have spent the last three day's living with this album trying to find it's true essence in order to write a review which could do the album justice but the real beauty of the album is in that which goes unspoken. I could pick apart the songs one by one but it would only ruin the magic. So I say only this to you go to their bandcamp page where you can listen to this album and also download it for free or pay what you want. This is one of those bands that once their music pulls you in to it's world a world which all great bands are able to create which is unto their own then you will be a fan for life. So what are you waiting for go now and prepare to find yourself in awe and spellbinded by this truly epic masterpiece.

Be sure to show your support and check out their offical Facebook page.
You can also pay a visit to their offical website.
                           The album cand be heard and download from their bandcamp page.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

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

As soon as hit play and the furious thrash assault comes rushing through your speakers rattling them to near destruction. I am taken back to a time when thrash bands were dirty, full of unbridled raw energy and in your face. When the influence of punk could still be heard. When everything wasn't so precise and clinical but pure thrash energy and that's the essence of thrash right there, it's that chaotic energy you feel could just erupt into Armageddon at any moment. From the get go this band offer up a short razor sharp thrash attack that's raw to the bone and is presented with blisters and all, this is not the pro-tooled squeezed of life in some blind search for audio perfection squeezing the very metal out of the music. You know if you heard this band live this is exactly how they would sound and some bands spend a career trying to capture that. The E.P, is short which works in it's favour because the only problem I could foresee for this band in the future is that although this is great music in small doses but over the course of a full lenght the energetic thrash fest could become tiresome because of it's more simplistic punk influenced approach, imagine if Reign in Blood was twice the lenght it would lose it's impact so my advice to this band would be keep it short and sweet. On the other hand this could be there very own Reign in Blood and next will come there South of Heaven. I look forward to hearing more from this band who definitely deliver the goods.


Be sure to check out their offical Faceebook page and show your support!https://www.facebook.com/ravish.speedthrash

Thursday, April 4, 2013

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

We sat down and put our questions to the rising metal beast that is MUTALISK and here is what they had to say!

TPOTR - When did the beast that is Mutalisk come into being?
MUTALISK - Mutalisk came into being about a year ago after we parted ways our bass player, although we have been playing as a band for over 3 years

TPOTR - What's the idea behind the name?
MUTALISK - We actually took our name from a Starcraft character. There is no affiliation with the game

TPOTR - Tell us a bit about your style, it incorporates more the just simple Death/Thrash and has a definite progressive edge to it?
MUTALISK - It’s definitely more than just Death/Thrash. I've actually heard a lot of people tell us we sound pretty black metal which is interesting because none of us are die hard black metalers. We are very interested in the possibilities of music and try to add something new to each song.

TPOTR - Who are your influences?
Our influences are Atheist, Cynic, Symphony X, Megadeth, Rush, Jason Becker, Herbie Hancock, Wintersun, and many more.

TPOTR - Where do you see the sound of the band going in the future?
MUTALISK - We see ourselves as an ever changing band. We write music that sounds good to us and if you listen to the oldest tracks compared to the newest tracks the sound difference in a year is quite a lot. The songs were writing now sound nothing like our demo but they all have a defined style that makes them unique to us.

TPOTR - Listening to your music I could see a definite progression from each demo. The music doesn't seem to be tied by any constraints or affiliation to one particular style which is refreshing.

TPOTR - Tell us a bit about the local metal scene in your area, their seems to be a lot of metal bands springing up like Extinction or Vengence. Do they put liquid Metal in the drinking water or something?
MUTALISK -  Haha I don’t think so. The metal scene around our area is quite incredible. It was big even before we were on the scene producing bands like Warbringer and Abysmal Dawn. Right now we are some of the senior bands in the scene and there are tons of new bands springing up all over ventura county and the valley.

TPOTR - Do you feel a connection with all the bands?
MUTALISK - Very much so. Jordan(Guitar, Vocals) was in Vengence for a while so we have been affiliated with them since the beginning. Extinctions been around for about a year now but all the members have been part of other bands that we have played with for a long time so ya were all pretty good friends.

TPOTR - You independantly released your own E.P have you had any label interest since?
MUTALISK - Not really but were not really looking. Independent is the way to go. We’re not really interested in being owned haha. Those tracks were actually just the rough cuts of some of the songs that are going to be on our album.

TPOTR - So are there any plans for a debut full length in the works?
 MUTALISK - Yes there are.

TPOTR - That's good news for fans. When will the album see the light of day and what can we expect to hear on the new album?
MUTALISK -  Due to our scheduals we havent been writing much this year but we plan to hit writing hard this summer and hopefully have something out by 2014

TPOTR - Will you tour maybe over here in Europe to promote the album?
MUTALISK - We would love to tour over in Europe!

TPOTR - That’s just about it unless you would like to add anything.
MUTALISK - I think that pretty much covers it. make sure to follow us on facebook and soundcloud! All our music is free to download. Keep it metal!

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview you and I look forward to hearing the album.

Be sure to check out their Facebook page and show your support!https://www.facebook.com/Mutaliskmetal
You can check out all their demo material and download for free from their soundclad page!http://soundcloud.com/mutaliskmetal
They also have an offical website which is worth checking out!