Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Summoning Interview

1. Can you update us with what is going on with Summoning these days?

Not very much. We some new ideas in hand but as i am still busy to
release the new kwo cd on cold spring records i have not done to much
last year, but i swear i will work more this year to get the new cd in
progress. But after all i can not say anything about details and new
sounds or what the new cd lyrically will go to.

2. When can we expect new material?

After all i will concentrate this year on the new summoning cd but there
wont be a new cd until next year.

3. I know the band members in Summoning participated in other projects in
the past, are there any current projects, if so who are they and what
style of music do they play?

I already mentioned know. Musically the new style is not to far away from
the melodies lines of summoning; just with no metal sound within and
instead of vocals we use word samples from different movies. So the
musical style of kwo is still martial industrial. The new concept is about
very religious topics which may surprise all those who still know me from
the time when i was still the singer of abigor. Beside that i did session
vocals on the new amestigon cd which will be released on hau ruck records
these days.

4. Are there any plans for a U.S tour and how would you describe a live
Summoning show?

no there are no plans at all; simply because we dont play live at all. we
dont give live concerts because of two main reasons. first we like to use
our rare time to create new songs, and not to practice old songs for a
forthcoming gig. beside our full time jobs and our other projects we dont
have so much time to do both. and second because we consider ourselves as
good composers, but not as good performers. we feel comfortable by
presenting our musical world to the listeners on the CD, but not by
presenting ourselves on a stage. being able to make good music does not
always have to be connected with being able to make a good stage acting.

5. How would you describe the musical progress over the years and what
direction do you see Summoning going into on future releases?

we spend much more time with an album now as we did in the past. in the
past i just took a guitar and had a riff, now i really work very intense on
any riff i play, and dont just grab my guitar and play whatever comes into
my mind. same goes for the production, any instrument you hear there is
test on various sound stems, and not done in 2 days like in the old

and seeing it from the composition aspect; the new songs are far more
multi layered and more filled with details. any note now is perfectly
chosen and not a spontaneous act as before. i dont consider this more
controlled, more intellectual way of making music is better or worse than
the older way. i understand people who like it more spontaneous, but
definitely the way summoning developed is the way we wanted it to develop
because it makes no sense to copy ourselves or even to try to pretend to be
the same inexperienced person we have been at the beginning.

6. How has the reception been to the newer material so far from the metal

After all the latest CD oath bound was very accepted again by the metal
community. Especially fro those who liked our releases until Dol
Guldur. Of course we realized that stronghold and let mortal ... was not
too much accepted by the "true" black metal fans of the old days. But in
those times we got a lot of new fans who normally liked bands like "blind
guardian" or just soundtrack music for computer games; so the sales always
have been constant. But with the last output "oathbound" i realize that
there was a kind of propitiation to those fans who live fort he old days.

7. You have been on Napalm Records for a long time, are you satisfied with
their promotion?

Yes of course we are still very satisfied with napalm. Max and the rest of
the old crew are very good friends of mine and although i am not a big fan
of most of the other bands on the label, i always appreciate their
loyalty to us.

8. What are some band or music styles that inspired you to become a musician?

Definitely the black metal bands from the first and second wave. And also
it sounds totally boring, i have to mention bathory, like thousand of
other bands already did. Of course in the 80ties there where also a lot of
other bands that inspired me a lot, like candlemass, sacrilege or cirith
ungol. But the initial to form an own band for sure was bathory together
with burzum and darkthrone.

9. What are some bands or musical styles that you are listening to nowadays?

Since many years by now i dont listen to metal music any more but was
searching for more extreme and dark music styles and found it in styles
like dark ambient, death industrial and so on. In this point i dont want
to mention bands or projects but check out following labels like "tesco
organisation", "cold spring records" or "loki foundation" just to
mention the most important ones.

10. How important is Tolkien to the music and are there any other
that inspire the music?

After having read everything from and about tolkien over the last 20
years. And as there is nothing really new to explore about tolkiens world
and himself as a person. Tolkien is of course nothing which i explore to
the bone nowadays. But nevertheless we decided to make summoning as a
band totally deepened on tolkiens world over 15 years, middle earth will
always have the ultimate place in the musical world of summoning.

11. What is your opinion of the modern metal scene?

Although i dont listen to new metal bands, no matter what direction, since
many years by now, i still buy a lot of metal magazines constantly to keep
up to date, but i have no special feelings about this ort hat. I just
watch the scene a little bit as an outsider, but still with

12. Any final words or thoughts?

thanks for the interview.

Sound of Middle-Earth (Official Forum)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Temple Abattoir/Nechronicles/2008/Demo Review

  Temple Abattoir are a band from Spain that plays a raw form of black metal and this is a review of their 2008 demo "Nechronicles".

Drums utilize a mixture of mid paced beats that end up turning into some really fast and brutal blast beats, while the bass playing is mixed down real low in the mix and it is all rhythm bass.

Rhythm guitars are mostly really fast black metal riffs are the mid 90's vein and you can hear some Swedish influences and there is not a guitar lead present on this recording.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams with some occasional deep growls, while the production is very raw sounding which is good for a black metal demo, since I downloaded the demo, I did not end up with a copy of the lyrics, but they seem to touch on some dark topics.

In my opinion this band is good at what they do and this is a good demo and I feel this band needs to record another demo and work on their sound some more which I know that they have it in them. If you are a fan of classic black metal in the mid 90's vein this is a good demo to listen to and it has a very raw and aggressive sound.

Recommended tracks are "Bastards Of Creation" and "VX".  RECOMMENDED  BUY.

Official website

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Trokle/Demo 2009/cd review

Trokle are a 2 piece band hailing from Norway that plays a form of Norwegian black metal in the classic vein that mixes in some death metal influences and this is a review of their 2009 demo.

Drum machines on this album are mostly mid paced to fast beats that have a very militant feel to them and there is not much in the way of blast beats, while the bass playing has a very low pitched sound and is all rhythm bass.

Rhythm guitars utilize a lot of different types of riffs ranging from mid paced to fast black metal riffing with some death metal influenced rhythms mixed with some classic sounding metal, while the guitar leads are very distorted sounding and have a very melodic edge to them.

Vocals are mostly black metal screams that are not to high pitched except for maybe a few songs and there are also some death metal growls as well as some clean singing to give the music a perfect balance, Synths when they are utilized have a very weird soundtrack type of feel to them and they are not too overdone and you would not be able to label the music as being commercial.

Lyrics are mostly written in Norwegian but the songs that have English titles seem to touch on some unholy left hand path topics, while the production is very raw sounding which is the right kind of production for this style of black metal.

In my opinion this is a good cd and I feel once this band gets signed to a record contract they will put out an album that will make them one of the best known new Norwegian black metal bands, and this is the band that will probably take this style of music into the new decade.

Standout tracks include "Unholy" and "Panzerrawn". HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Xilentium Interview

Thanks to NOOSE 303 U.S.B.S For Helping To Make This Interview Happen

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have not heard of you before?
We are Xilentium. We play music defined as Depressive Black Metal. Our music reflects from feelings, death and hatred. Xilentium is born from solitude.

2. What is going on with the band these days?
2. We are currently working on our 1st full length called "Sorrowful Journey In Depths Of Despair" It will contain the demo tracks (rerecorded) and 4-5 new tracks. We have some Rehearsal stuff out there, but the songs for the full length have not been shared yet. The album will be worth the wait.

3. I know this use to be a 1 man project and now there is a full band, what made you decide to get other people involved?
3. This band was never meant to be a one man band. In the beginning, I did all the instruments. It was hard. I devoted my life to the art of Xilentium. But in the end I lacked not having a real drummer. In 2007, I met Lord Demogorgon at a Wolves In The Throne Room Show Through A Mutual Friend. We both shared the same interest, and musical talents. So we started practicing and it was it, Xilentium was born.

4. Have you had the opportunity to do a live show yet, if so how would you describe your stage performance?
4. We do have live rituals. we had a Dvd release last year. But being loyal to the art of Xilentium we do not expose our rituals to other genres of music. Black Metal represents chaos and must remain in the darkness. Our stage performance is very dark and foggy with candles lit; very basic.

5. How would you describe your musical progress over the last couple of years and what direction do you see the music heading into during the future?
5. Now that we are a full band we have progressed enough to where we both are satisfied. Our demo has been reissued 3 times (100 Copies Each Issue) and has sold well. We are happy with the feedback.

6. How would you describe the lyrical content of the newer music?
. Our lyrical content has always reflected from our Obscure Spirit of Desolate Blackness. Suffering is the only truth we all know. Born in a Void. our souls only exist in Somberness.

7. What are some bands or music styles that have influenced the current sound of the music, and what are you listening to nowadays?
7. Our music has always been influenced by many great artist. The LLN is the most inspiring to us. We also want to elaborate on how the Concilium bands have inspired us as well. But over all, we write music from within not others.

8. Does Satanism or Occultism play any role in the music?
8. Yes, in deed, as said, "Born from Solitude". This reflection has a goal to destroy the very weak infected world, and destroy the Christian "GOD". Ave

9. Where do you see black metal heading into now that it's 2010?
9. We do not care to see through the eyes of the weak. Black Metal is dead, but there is a underground that lies within. The trend side of it will always be shit, but in between it all there is some revolutionary stuff. Black Metal will never be the same as it once was. The internet is shit.

10. How would you describe the metal scene in Arizona?
10. Arizona sucks. We have no scene only a bunch of false supporters who never go to shows unless its for there own status and Image Gain. Fuck the AZ USBMS Promoters. They Are False and shit. They Say "USBMS" but they support all metal how gay! This town is full of gothic freaks and false "Satanist".

11. What are some interests that you have outside of music?
11. The only interest we have other then the obvious is to watch humanity suffer and self destruct. Chaos!

12. Any final words or thoughts?
12. May it be a warning to all the maggots who have misused Satanism: Your stay on earth is not much longer, you will return to your voided life you have always meant to be. We will reach the Summit of Darkness" with all our Brothers and Sisters. Ave Satanas


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Akashah /The Dance Of Beltaine Fire/2009/CD Review

 Akashah are a band from the mid western region of Vinland that has been interviewed in my zine who I would describe as atmospheric pagan/black metal and this is a review of their new album "The Dance Of Beltaine Fire".

Drums cover some variety with some slow parts that turn into really brutal blast beats at times that sound very raw and has the classic 90's demo black metal feel, while the bass playing has a very low pitched tone that has a pagan approach to playing that I have not heard since the early polish black metal days.

Rhythm guitars use a lot of different types of riffs with some palm muted parts that have a very classic metal feel with a slight death metal influence and at a lot of times throughout the album they turn into some very fast raw black metal riffs mixed with some slower parts that have an acoustic feel without using an acoustic guitar, as for the leads they are very melodic and medieval sounding mixing elements of 70's metal mixed with underground European pagan metal that sound more professional than bands of that style.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams with some low pitched death metal growls as well as some clean pagan singing, while the lyrics cover a variety of topics from Celtic/paganism/shamanism mixed in with some Norse type lyrics that are very well written and studied, while some pagan metal bands usually just do it for image, which you would realize when you this band is very real about it, there are also some werewolf and vampiric themes used in some songs that are very common in European folklore.

Synths when they are utilized on some songs have a very haunting, organic and epic dark ambient sound with some samples from some movies or documentaries, while the keyboards when they are utilized has a very medieval/classical music feel, as for the production on this recording sounds very professional and you can hear all of the instruments and melodies very well.

In my opinion this is a really good album and proof that Americans can do pagan metal as well as their European counterparts and I also should mention this band has a lot more talent than some of the modern stuff that I have heard from overseas in the last couple of years, remember a majority of Americans have European blood and they can still worship the pagan gods, despite what the ignorant and stupid say, I look forward to hearing some more material from this band in the future. I feel this band will make U.S a serious impact for  pagan black metal like Judas Iscariot, Leviathan did for U.S black metal.

Recommended tracks are "Gwwyn ap Nudd""Hanged Man's Vision" and "Black Sunrise". RECOMMENDED BUY


Weltschmerz Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those who have never heard you before?
1. We are a dutch black metal band that started about a year ago. Musically, we lean more towards the traditional black metal bands from the 90's in Norway. After releasing an EP in the summer of 2009 we started looking for a bass player (I still handled the bass parts on the EP) After a while we got in touch with Vidar and after two try-out rehearsals he joined the band full time. Now we are looking for gigs.

2. How would you describe your musical sound?
2. Our music leans more towards the traditional bands from the 90s that came from Norway. I myself am a big fan of Mayhem, Ulver, Zyklon-B and others and others in the band listen more to for example Marduk or Burzum. I wouldn't say that those are our only influences, but this is what you can hear a lot in our own music.

3. What is the meaning behind the band's name?
3. Weltschmerz (from the German, meaning world-pain or world-weariness) is a term from the Romantic period in German literature. It describes a feeling of sorrow over the imperfection of the world. It was a term used by people who realized that the needs of the mind can never be satisfied by the physical world around us.

4. Have you played any shows yet and if so, how would you describe your stage performance?
4. No, we haven't played any shows yet, though we are working on getting gigs now, as we now finally have a bassist since the last few weeks of 2009!

5. What direction do you see the band heading into during the future?
5. Doing gigs, releasing a full length in the future perhaps. Mainly just enjoying making music and everything that surrounds it.

6. How has your material been received by the black metal community so far?
6. It's been pretty varied. Some people really liked the old school approach of our music, the rawness for example, which was exactly what we hoped would happen. Other liked it less though, saying we weren't tight enough or not well-produced enough, but this was intentional in a way, to keep the rawness, we only used three mics for the drums for example. There have been some reviews though saying that the EP may have been a little premature, and now a few months after the release of the EP it is something we can agree on within the band, so...

7. How would you describe the lyrical content of the music?
7. Well so far the lyrics have been written by Hreim and me (Hræsvelg) and the subjects have been a bit varied. Hunt For Souls has lyrics written by Hreim about christianity trying to convert people who don't want to be converted. The lyrics for Total War were mainly written by Hreim too, but I helped a little bit at the end, and that one's a song about war. Then there's Hymne Til Ulver, which I wrote the lyrics to, because we didn't have a singer yet when we wrote the song. This is about the insignificance of a human life in the face of the earth. While we are now so concerned with humanity destroying the earth, it's more likely going to be the other way around. The last song, Geschrei in der Nacht was written by Hreim and me together lyric-wise and it's about somebody who's about to kill himself, which happens about halfway into the song.

8.What are some bands that have influenced the sound of your music?
8. I am hugely influenced by bands like Ulver, Zyklon-B, Mayhem, Krallice, Emperor and Keep of Kalessin. Valr (drums) is more into death metal and more modern black metal mostly. Hreim is really into bands like Gorgoroth, Burzum, Mayhem and also some more 'mainstream' bands like Slipknot or Dethklok. Vidar is still kinda new in the band, but he listens to things like Manslaughter and Napalm Death, but he also listens to other music, he even plays in a punk band called Sweet Candy Kills.

9. What are you listening to nowadays?
9. Besides the black metal bands I already mentioned, I listen to some classical music like Beethoven, Pärt or Grieg and some more medieval music like Kirksby and von Bingen, but also to avant-garde music (Diamanda Galás, Aethenor, etc.) or old electronica music (Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, etc.).

10. Does Satanism or Occultism have any influence on the music?
10. Not really.

11. What are some of your interests outside of music?
11. Currently I'm studying interdisciplinary social sciences at the University of Utrecht. Besides that, I like to watch a lot of movies, mainly thriller/horror.

12. Any final words or thoughts?
12. Thanks for the interview and thanks to anybody who listens to our music!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Akashah Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard you before?

I began Akashah 9 years ago, in January of 2001 with some crude home recordings, being the first Black Metal to come from Peoria, Illinois. It has essentially been a one man band, but I have had guest musicians and session members help out on recordings and live shows. Being mostly a solitary project, there isn't much of a "history" to speak of.

2. How would you describe your musical sound?

Harsh and atmospheric Black Metal. It's drawn very much from the early Scandinavian scene, but I also take influences from the 90's Polish scene, 80's thrash and classic metal, classical music, and Celtic folk songs. There is a certain rawness to the music, but I also pay attention to details of melody, harmony and fluid compositions.

3. What is the meaning behind the band's name?

It is derived from the Sanskrit word "akasha" which is the fifth element of being; the metaphysical plane. I started the band with the intent of making modern Pagan music based upon ancient concepts. I felt that was a fitting name, and one that would not limit me to writing about only one or two things.

4. Have you had an opportunity to do a show, if so what are some of the best shows that you have played so far, and how wold you describe your life performance?

In nine years, there have only been five live performances with Pan Ziege of Null Dynamo on drums, Aaron Dawson of Cygnus Loop on bass and myself on vocals and guitar. They have all been in small bars around central Illinois, performing as a three piece... which I think limits the delivery of the songs and therefore not very interesting. There are not many musicians in my area with an interest in this kind of music, so a stable and reliable line up has not been easy to get. Hopefully this will change in the future.

5. What releases have you put out so far?

Aside from self released demos the first full length "Barbarous" was released on Strong Survive back in 2007. I have a couple of releases through Darker Than Black pending and a possible 7" in the works. I don't like to say too much about future releases because the underground is quite unpredictable and plans fall through often. Lets just say I have a pretty large catalog of unreleased material growing.

6. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the band heading into on future releases?

I think I've developed a bit more of an original sound than before, and I am a much better musician than early on, though I still have my flaws. I would also say the scope of the music has expanded. I was only interested in doing strictly Black Metal before, but since I listen to many styles of music I continually try to expand the sound.

7. How would you describe the lyrical content of your music?

It is some what of a bardic tradition for me. Some of my lyrics are just re-workings of ancient Pagan texts, such as the "Song of Amergan" and some parts of the Norse Eddas. Others are derived from historical sources, and others are just fictitious folklore stories that I write. The themes are pretty much exclusively Pagan, though I've done a few songs concerning Werewolf and Vampire lore.

8. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music?

Enslaved, Graveland, Bathory, Ulver, Glenn Danzig to name a few. I am into a lot of music and I'm sure it all influences me either directly or indirectly. I like many variations of metal, some old punk stuff, Irish pub music, classical music, some electronic stuff, 70's rock, 80's metal, etc.

9. What are some bands or different types of music that you re listening to nowadays?

I am constantly checking out new things I've never heard, and going back and listening to things from the past. In recent weeks the most notable things I've been listening to would be the first three Rainbow albums, the ones with Dio on vocals. They were a great band at that time; very much traditional Heavy Metal with an interesting influence from Medieval madrigals. Also the Concussor demo that was just released. They are a new band from Peoria, Illinois that play some excellent, well executed old style Death Metal. Every one into this style should look into them.

10. What role does Celtic Paganism play in the music and who are some pagan authors or philosphers that you draw or influences from, also do you have any interest in other forms of paganism or occultism?

I have been strongly inspired by Celtic lore in recent years and the lyrics certainly reflect that. I have written songs pertaining to Celtic holidays like Samhain and Beltaine; lately I am interested in Druidic shamanism and Celtic spirituality. It is an interesting view of the world that is reflected in the knotwork art of the Celts, where this world and the next weave in and out from one an other. Also have an interest in the concept of the the underworld, Anwnn, and cthonic deities associated with it. I would also say there is a Celtic slant to the music it's self, borrowing some ideas from Irish music. That said, I would not consider Akashah to be another "folk metal" band.
I am interested in Paganism and the occult in general, be it Greek, Norse, Roman, Persian, etc. As for books The Mabinogion, The Tain, The Norse Eddas, surviving records of Greek historian Posidonius, "The Pagan Celts" by Ann Ross, "The Philosopher and the Druid" by Phillip Freeman, "The Celtic Twilight" by W. B. Yeats are all good books. Also some of Freya Aswyn's writings are interesting. I am currently reading "The Celtic Heroric Age" by John T. Koch.

11. What are some other interests you have outside of music?

Well I'm pretty absorbed by music most of the time, but other interests would be culinary arts, ancient history, archaeology, high quality beer, Irish whiskey, obscure horror films, and sex.

12. Any final words or thoughts?

Thanks for your interest and support. Band contact and samples can be heard at the official myspace: http://www.myspace.com/akashah

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Welltschmerz/Cry For War/2009 EP Review

 Weltschmerz are a band from the Netherlands that plays a raw form of war induced black metal and this is a review of their 2009 e.p "Cry For War".

Drums are very fast on this recording with a lot of brutal blast beats that bring back memories of some of the heavier Swedish black metal bands of the 90's with some slow parts at times, while the bass playing is all fast and distorted.

Rhythm guitars on this e.p are fast black metal riffs with some slower palm muted parts as well as some melodic tinges while the lead guitars have a perfect balance of speed and melody which makes the music stand out from other bands of this style.

Vocals are mostly high pitched black metal screams with some lower blackened death metal growls and at times the music has some ambient noise style samples while the lyrics cover war topics. As for the production it sounds very raw which is perfect for this style of black metal.

In my personal opinion this is a really good band, it seems like the practiced really hard for only being around a year and with some more experience and music recorded, I can see this band go really far.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS are "Total War" and "Hunt For Souls" and I would advise everyone to go their MYSpace page or email them on purchasing this release.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Ophidian Forest Interview

Occult Black Metal Zine interview
1. Can you update us on what is going on with the band these days?
Otrebor: We’re currently wrapping up tracking for our third album. We released the official version of Redbad, our first album, a few weeks ago.
Amalgamoth: The official release is a re-issue of our 2007 album, which came out as an extremely limited edition CD-R. This re-issue is on a beautiful pro-printed CD and the artwork got a serious overhaul. It was hard work and took a very long wait, but we now have something that we can be proud of. Last summer also saw a cassette version of "Redbad", because I expected there would be an interest for this old school medium. Turned out to be correct. At this moment we are working on promoting this 'oldie'.

Zaragil: I'm in charge of the MySpace page and I'm trying to let people know that Redbad is finally released. There are some problems, though, as the copies meant for Europe haven't reached our label yet, but I hope they will, so that we can all finally start advertising the album properly. It's a bit annoying knowing that a lot of people already have it, but I'm still waiting to see what it looks like.

2. What is the meaning behind the band's name?
Otrebor: When I came up with the name years ago, the combination of words conjuring up images of a forest whose branches were so dense and tangled — like a den of snakes — that no light could penetrate, inspired my imagination. Seemed like a great name for a black metal band. The words might have different meaning for the other members, and they can tell you themselves.

Amalgamoth: We are all aware of the oft-used "Forest" word, but it's obviously the "Ophidian" part of the name by which we like to distinguish ourselves. Aspects of our music may adhere to old-school BM idiom, but we all have a progressive stance towards the use of exotic words or neologisms.

Zaragil: It creates an intense mental image, and sometimes gives me inspiration. Of course, after a few years of living and breathing it, telling people about it, looking at the name every time I turn on my computer, it's sometimes simply two words, like a part of me I don't really think about, just use it. A bit like a body part, I guess. I'm still not bored from hearing it, and I still think it's a damn good name for a band, so I guess that's the best thing about it.

3. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the material heading into on the third album?
Otrebor: Since the third record is basically recorded, it’s only going to get weirder, with WTF segues and time signatures, more fucked keyboards, more convoluted arrangements, more catchy songs, and more intensity, all mired in a sonic concept that we’re going to keep secret for now, but I think I can say that it will be our “in the forest album,” which, although it’s been done before, I can pretty much guarantee hasn’t been done quite like we plan to do it.
From there, I’d expect our albums to be different again, while still sounding like the same people played on them. The last two albums’ starting point was my drum recordings, as opposed to Redbad starting with Zaragil’s guitar compositions. The different approaches have yielded unique results, and I look forward to creating subsequent albums with different approaches in the future.

Amalgamoth: The 3rd album will sound quite different in terms of composition. The foundation of "Redbad" was formed by Zaragil's harsh killer riffs and his unique "Croat tone". The keyboards on that album are sparse and less prominent then we have now. On the album we are currently working on I mostly composed the melodies on top of the drum tracks, which were followed by the guitars, thus essentially being a process in a different order.
The result of this is that the merciless rage and anger from "Redbad" has evolved towards something moodier. The melodies of today are more progressive and there is more room for subtle ambient elements. It's like we've enhanced our skills in black metal origami, heh heh. You'll see.

Zaragil: I'm not sure if I have actually progressed - I've been playing the guitar for ages now, my playing isn't any better or worse now than it was during the recording of Redbad, and I still don't think I have used everything I have. I can still just start playing guitar and come up with a number of riffs, but, granted, now I make more demanding music than it was in the beginning. We have learned how to work better and make different things come to life. Our methods of work have also progressed in that now we actually discuss things before giving them a green light. The music became more complex in some aspects, less complex in some others, but we never make two similar songs, so there is sometimes a big difference in approach between songs on one and the same album. And we make them sound as if they were all parts of a bigger whole. The good thing about all this is that there are no rules, all albums have straightforward as well as complex songs.

4. How has the feedback been to your music by the pagan/black metal community so far?

Amalgamoth: Somehow a lot of people already noticed us before this official release, and most can really dig what we're doing and standing for. I don't know why, but for some reason we are particulary appreciated by Americans and Australians.
Last summer someone in Queensland even ordered 3 cassettes of "Redbad" at once! Despite the interest from outside Europe, we've also had the pleasure of doing interviews for zines in Sweden and Finland last year (Funeral March and Behest, both printed zines). And back in 2008 we even got a very positive review of the original "Redbad" promo in Metal Maniacs, which totally made our day.
The few less positive comments mainly concerned technical aspects, like the shortcomings of our operating method by exchanging digital files. And a few have had comments about the album mix, but those judgements were most likely based on hearing soundcuts in a low bitrate ratio. So far, no one has complained that we try to imitate someone, which is a compliment by itself!

Zaragil: I think that most Pagans expect trendy folk metal stuff, and become surprised when they hear us because we're quite aggressive. Most black metal fans are either used to hearing expensive sound (not us) or bands with no riffs, concept, lyrics, atmosphere, conviction (again, not us) and we might be a slight shock to their systems. The hardest part of it all is to make people listen, as we can't force anyone to sit down, concentrate and just bloody listen to the music. It's the MySpace thing, they just hear a few song beginnings and think they have heard it all, but by doing that they miss the whole thing. But I'm not complaining, it took a while before we started getting noticed, but now... a month ago one person actually said "you're everywhere, so I came here to see what it's all about". We had excellent feedback from some people I respect, members of the bands I like, or liked even before I had a band, and some of them also bought Redbad. There are some great people around, as serious about their music and views as we are, and we help each other. And then again there are those who are jealous but I'm not wasting my time on thinking about that.

5.Do any of the band members have any other projects going on besides Ophidian Forest?
Otrebor: I’m currently solidly involved in two projects, Ophidian Forest and Botanist, my solo project, whose debut album will be released on tUMULt sometime in 2010. I’ve recorded records for a prog metal project called Rubicon, and a grindy/thrashy EP by a band called Hellnaut. Those last two can be sampled on Myspace. In terms of actual, performing bands, I used to be in a grind band called Utter Bastard. With me, we recorded an album (never released) and a split record with Japanese band Gesewa that coincided with a Japanese tour.
There’s also high possibility that I’ll be doing session drums for a known San Francisco area one-man black metal project, but it’s still too early to really confirm that.

Amalgamoth: I have been invited to play drums on a Zaragil project. I also want to make a solo album with long keyboard pieces and electronic percussion. I'm working on that one when I have spare time left. No idea when it'll be finished though.

Zaragil: Yes, I have gathered some ideas, waiting to be recorded properly, and asked Amalgamoth to join the project on drums because, for what I have in mind, Otrebor would be overqualified, haha. And Amalgamoth has never played on a whole album before, so this will be a nice, spontaneous, refreshing thing to do - just for our own pleasure. Apart from that I have recorded a solo album last year - the project is called Vovlieh and the album name is "The Halt" - it was released two months ago as a digital-only album and can be purchased on all major digital music stores. You can also hear the whole album on http://www.myspace.com/vovlieh - and, as usual, try to hear all songs as they are all different. It's a black metal ambient minimalist concept (s)avantgarde archeofuturistic thing... more simple explanation would be "A man in a forest, playing to the trees." Did it just for myself, and some people who discovered it, and actually listened to it, liked it. It's not music for everyone but it seems that people who would be into it somehow find it.

6. What are some of the bands or music styles that have influenced the musical sound of Ophidian Forest?
Otrebor: Personally, just about any and every album I’ve ever heard with drums. I do a bit of melodic instrumentation on upcoming album #3, which I suppose is influenced in my mind by classical music.

Amalgamoth: Vocal wise, I'm down with demonic hateful screeches in the style of Horna.
But because I don't want to do that all the time, I also like a bit of heroic viking cleans now and then, like at the beginning of "Pagan Pride In Hell". Currently I'm exploring the extremes of my low range.
I now also sing in a super low guttural voice like Tibetan monks can do.

Zaragil: We're all huge music fans, and I'd say that everything we hear influences us in a good way or in a "this sucks, so I won't do it with MY music" way. Personally I like, listen to, think and live black metal, but anything from black to power, or ambient or classically influenced, can do. Things I don't like are overproduced or jazzy music - if I had to draw a line I'd say that I'm more influenced by the music genres that originated in Europe, but it's not a general rule.

7. What are you listening to nowadays?
Otrebor: The three Debemur Morti Arckanum re-issues. Pestilential Shadows “In Memoriam, Ill Omen.” Botanist’s first two albums (I’m still recording the second one and just finished the first).

Amalgamoth: I listen to various stuff, not just metal. Today I have listened to a beautiful gloomy CD with Bach cello pieces, but also to "Black & White" from the Stranglers, as well as "Mysterious Semblance" from Striborg. My latest CD purchase was "Holnijimnjok" from Tjolgtjar, who mixes 70s blues with lo-fi black metal and lots of occult insanity about extra-terrestrial entities who want to take over our minds.

Zaragil: All the Moonblood recordings, one by one, and also a lot of Greek black metal. A while ago I told myself I'll pay closer attention to the Greek scene some day, and the day came last year - now I'm making up for all that I have missed. There's just so much to discover, whereas, for example, when talking about the Scandinavian black metal scene, it's all about just a handful of bands which maybe recorded one or two good albums each and should have retired a decade ago but the money keeps them alive. And it seems that the Greeks were doing great albums all this time and no one was noticing.

8. When I read your lyrics they seem to be very well written about Norse Paganism, what are some pagan philosophers that have influenced the song writing?

Amalgamoth: Norse paganism is based on the Edda. An age-old scripture that was our Bible of the Norse and Germanic lands. The Christian religion has tried to destroy and corrupt our precious mythology, but now that the church is losing ground there is a renewed interest in stories based on our culture, not some compilation from the Middle East. I can recommend the books from Loren Auerbach, Miranda J. Green and Raymond Buckland. These authors have written important books about Druids, the Celts, Wicca and Witchcraft and those are just a few of many interesting people. I also support the World Pantheist Movement and the principles of Naturalistic Paganism. I can also very much recommend the underrated Viking films from the Icelandic film director Hrafn Gunnlaugsson. People should snap out of their infatuation with the "13th Warrior", because there are much better Viking films out there. Gunnlaugsson had a keen eye for authenticity and a genuine understanding of Viking culture, without wanting to make a Hollywood puppet show out of it.

9. What are some of the other things you find interesting in life besides music?

Otrebor: Nature and animals, languages, exercise, massage therapy, nutrition, video games, and women.

Amalgamoth: I can't live without music, it's a component of my blood. But what I also find interesting is how to make a living. I've had many jobs throughout my life. I'm now beginning to earn some money by working as a guide for mentally and physically challenged people. The interesting thing is how I'm trying to help people while being a misanthrope at the same time. The thing is that many people afflicted with severe mental disorders or deficiencies are far less likely to exploit, deceive or betray you, because they just are how they are. They don't try to be someone they are not.
I'm also interested in languages, I've been studying Russian for a few years now. It's still hard as hell, but I'm growing more familiar with it.

Zaragil: For me, music is connected to everything else - it's not a separate part of my life. So whatever I do, there are some of my worldviews and attitudes involved in doing it. That's the best thing about Paganism - it can be applied to all the other aspects of life. But to answer your question - right now, today, I'm taking a bunch of photos of small things - to cut the long story short, even though the camera on my cell phone doesn't have autofocus I realized that I can use the videocall camera for pretty outstanding macro shots. Anyone with the same problem reading this - try it. But generally, I try to read a lot, mostly alternative science - I say "alternative" because it's still not generally accepted, but it's amazing to notice how the ancient Pagans and today's quantum field scientists are saying basically the same things. Also, animals, Nature, long walks with my dog, and whatever I find worth studying. There's always something, and then something else. And almost everything is better than wasting time around ordinary humans.

10. When can we expect the next album?
Otrebor: By next, we’re talking about album #2, Plains. One can hope within three to four months.
11. For those that are not familiar with your band what are some of the links they can reach you at, so they can hear your music, or learn more about the band?

Amalgamoth: Visit our myspace page (http://www.myspace.com/ophidianforest) and our dedicated website at http://www.ophidianforest.com.

12. Any final words or thoughts?

Otrebor: Thanks for the time and opportunity.

Amalgamoth: Thank you for your interest. We are grateful for genuine interest from zines that can be bothered to give a damn.

Zaragil: I'm thankful for any exposure we can get. We're obviously not a live band, so things like this interview, and our MySpace page, are the best exposure we have right now. And we're not one of those bands looking to sell 5 DIY copies on eBay and remain obscure - we have things to say, and we'll keep on saying them for as long as it takes. Heathen hails!

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Gorthaur's Wrath Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard you before?
Of course!
Gorthaur's Wrath was formed back in 1998 by Myself and three other members from various Croatian black metal bands that existed at that time.
Since then we recorded 3 demos, one video, toured through Croatia, Slovenia, Italy and Bosnia, changed more than a few band members with me as the only
remaining original member.
Now, after 5 years spent in the studio and having assembled a new line up, our first album - "Ritual IV" will finally be released during the next few months.
Also our new promo cd, consisting of two new songs - "Devil speaks" and "One with us" - is already available .That's the one that you're reviewing.

2. I know that you got the band name from Tolkien novel, what was it that interested you about the name?
Well, at the time when I formed the band, I was 17 yeas old and I was reading a lot of fantasy books, among them also Tolkien's material.
So i took the old name of Sauron from the ancient times - "Gorthaur".
The original idea was to name the band Satan's Wrath, but I considered that to be too direct and as Tolkiens books were full of metaphors and
Gorthaur being the metaphor for the biblical Devil, the choice was made.
So we became Gorthaur's Wrath.

3. I noticed when I listened to your old material it was in the raw black metal vein of the 90's what was it that made you decide to change your style to the way it is now?
Yes, that's true.
Well, at the time when we started with the band, the idea was to create a raw and primitive black metal sound that inspired us in the first place to listen to black metal. In the first demo we did exactly that, but already on the second one you can hear more death metal influence's and later on we continued to develop even more towards a more experimental sound that we're still searching for today.
As the time went by and band members changed, different ideas and visions of the band sound evolved.
So today you could say that we play extreme metal in general, with lots of different influences because we try to make the music that we would like to hear ourselves. We are also inspired by a lot of different music styles, so that can also be heard in our present songs.

4. What are some of the best shows that you have played so far and how would you describe your live performance?
Our best shows so far would definitely be:
- Our first appearance on the "Storm of hate festival 2001" in our Country's main city Zagreb where we also recorded our first video for the song "Shadow Mirrors" .
- Our first appearance in Sarajevo 2005 (Bosnia and Hercegovina) was also great a show
- Definetly our last show which we did in Zagreb again, a month ago.
Our concerts could be described as huge releases of unrestrained energy from both sides, our fans' and ours.

5. Are you searching for a record label, is so, what kind of label are you looking for?
We are in the process of negotiating with a few labels at the moment and we will soon acknowledge which is the one we decided to work with.
The only important thing for us is for the label to promote us as much as possible and give us maximum support.
Everything else is up to us.

6.What are some of the bands that inspired you to become a musician?
There are many, too much to mention.
But in the beginnings those where W.A.S.P., AC/DC, MAYHEM and many,many more.

7. What are you listening to nowadays?
Almost everything. For me, there are only two different music types: those I appreciate and those I don't - which are as good as nonexistent as far as I'm concerned.
I listen mostly to Marilyn Manson nowadays. I consider Manson to be the only band that still plays and didn't made a single bad or boring song. And that is really something that you should admire, at least if you ask me from a band's point of view.
I can always listen to old black metal albums of course. I'll just mention Dissection, Behemoth and Samael as few of the best.
There are very few new metal bands and bands in general that I can listen to nowadays. The scene has become too crowded with boring and unoriginal bands.

8. How would you describe the lyrical content of the music?
My own personal philosophy, life experiences and occult researches. If you read the lyrics, you will be able to find more details there yourself.
It is my mind and soul in words.

9. Does Satanism or Occultism play any role in the music?
Plays a main and most important role. The band evolved into a powerful force that could be described as an opened portal for the greater deities.
In the beginning we were just another band, but years of hard work and sacrifice made us into who and what we are today.
Greater knowledge, wisdom and strength. And we are on our way straight to the top.

10. What are some of the interests that you have outside of music?
Most of the time when we don't record or play, i spend my time reading, watching movies or documentaries and doing martial arts or gym.

11. How would you describe the extreme metal scene in Croatia?
The extreme scene in Croatia is very weak, except for a few bands. Weaker than it should be and than it once was. But i guess only the strongest survive.

12. Any final words or thoughts of destruction?
Thank you for your time spent with our band. Stay strong and support the underground because that's where we all come from!