Friday, April 28, 2017

Contra Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
Chris: We are having our debut release "Deny Everything" on RobustFellow Productions. At the same time, we are playing some shows in the Cleveland / Akron area and writing some new tunes.

2.How would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recordings?
Chris: Metal. To add some color to that we have a lot of different influences such as rock, punk, sludge, doom, hardcore.
Larry:  Yeah, definitely metal.  I think the rock influences are more evident than one might hear during the first or second listen. I’d like to start drawing on some more blues influences in the future.

3.In the beginning the music was all instrumental, what was the decision behind finally using vocals?
Chris: Thanks for asking that. We were playing as an instrumental for about a year or two when we decided we wanted to add another element to the band. We asked Larry because he great at what he does, it's different and we have all known him forever now.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Chris: I'll leave that to Larry. However, all the song titles on Deny Everything are completely random since they were all made before Larry joined the band.
Larry: The only real question I consider when I am writing lyrics is whether or not they fit with the overall aesthetic of the music. Which can be difficult because a lot of people will just listen briefly, think we sound like a stoner/doom/sludge band and expect lyrics about wizards, warlords, dope and other bullshit. Which is fine - other people have covered that ground - I’m just not interested in that sort of thing. The lyrics are all personal. I guess you could say that they are angry, but there are a variety of themes that run throughout. I’m not that concerned with communicating specific ideas with listeners - I’d leave it up to them to interpret them how they see fit.

5.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Contra'?
Chris: One day we were all talking about what we should name the band. It took us a few months until one day we were talking about playing video games. We started talking about old school NES games and thought it would be cool to name our band after CONTRA.
Larry: Contra also means “against” or “opposite” in Latin. Which is why I thought “Deny Everything” was an appropriate title for the record - it’s also the name of my favorite Circle Jerks song...

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Chris: There were two shows and they were both in Cleveland. One was with Acid King and the other was with Ufomammut. We have a couple more coming up that could possibly be even better than those. One is with CONAN and another RELAXER. The guitarist owns Earthquaker Devices in Akron, Ohio. I also used to play in a band (Sofa King Killer) with the drummer from RELAXER.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Chris: We want to do something. We all really want to get on a big show, a festival type of thing. Then we were thinking about doing a short tour to and from wherever that would be. We would also like to do some weekend warrior shows around the Midwest or East Coast.

8.The new album is going to be released as a joint effort between 'Robustfellow Productions' and 'Shifty Records', can you tell us a little bit more about those labels?
Chris: RobustFellow Productions is from Kiev Ukraine. Filipp the guy who runs it is awesome. We are fortunate to be working with him. He goes beyond everything I was expecting. The artwork they do is really cool as well. Shifty Records from Akron, Ohio is joining the project as well to help us out with some distribution and other things relating to the release.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Chris: We like to mix it up. I have a ton of riffs saved on my phone so we can go in many different directions. It's just a matter of us getting the time to write new songs. I foresee a lot of more riffs influenced by Budgie, some Sabbath, maybe some Motorhead.
Larry: I’ve been listening to a lot of Budgie as well and Motorhead is always in heavy rotation.  But, I’d like to see more blues creep into what we’re doing as well.

10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of stoner and doom metal?
Chris: It's been mixed but overall I think it has been positive.
Larry: It’s early, so it is hard to say. I agree with Chris. It’s probably mixed.  But, part of that is because a lot of folks put us into a stoner/doom category. I’m not really into those types of labels or sub-genres. I think “metal” is probably the most appropriate description for us in spite of the variety of influences in our music.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Chris: I mainly listen to Rock and Metal. I also listen to some sludge and doom as well. Lately it's been Dust, Cactus, Floor, Church of Misery and Witch Mountain.
Larry: Primarily the blues and a lot of hardcore punk. I go from listening to Leadbelly, Taj Mahal or Howlin’ Wolf to Negative Approach and SS Decontrol daily. There are a few other outliers as well like The Birthday Party, Morphine and Tom Waits.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
Chris: I've been playing a lot of PS4 lately. I'm a big fan of gory zombie games. For a while I was playing a lot of 8 bit old school NES games like Contra, Street Fighter, Bad Dudes. I also create websites for a living.
Larry: I read a lot. Novels as well as comics. Jim Thompson is a favorite of mine. I watch a lot of the old Hammer Films from the 60’s and 70’s as well.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Chris: Thanks for giving us some time on here. Visit our website. It's a portal with links to our Facebook, Bandcamp, Merch and all other things.
Larry: Thanks!
Contra's website:
http://www.contracleveland.com

Onegodless Interview

1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
ONEGODLESS was founded by me (Robin Zielhorst) in 2013. After playing technical music for a couple of years in bands like Cynic and Exivious, I wanted to do something different, a new outlet for this musical side. The starting point was the idea that I wanted a band just for fun, nice groovy metal music, to which you could drink a few beers, have fun with friends, and have an overall good evening. After writing the first few songs, it felt like I was on the right way, the Pantera/Down/Black Label Society kind of feel and attitude in the music felt really good. After some initial lineup changes, we eventually found the current lineup with Pieter Verpaalen on vocals, Yordi Lopez on guitars and Yuma van Eekelen on drums.

2.You have a new album coming out in June, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
Heavy, clear, hard, transparent, honest. I'm extremely happy with the mix, I think Tymon Kruidenier did an outstanding job. Obviously, being a bass player myself, I wanted the bass sound to be a big part of the sound, pretty much 50/50 with the guitar. I think in most metal productions, the bass is way too low in the mix. I wanted to do something different with "Mourner", and I think we succeeded in that. I just hope there's more people that like it hahaha!.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
Most lyrics are written by Pieter Verpaalen, and he has a unique approach to lyrics. He writes them so you can interpret them how you'd want. As an overall feel, his lyrics really match with the lyrics I wrote myself, with topics like depression, suicide, the ups and down of life, and the world we live in. Not the most light and happy topics perhaps, but to us it's what's worth writing about, something that makes you write down those words and fitting them in the music. Pieter is a personal hero for me for the way he works with lyrics and vocal lines. It was amazing to work with him on that.

4.Originally the band was known as 'Mourn', what was the cause of the new change and also the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Onegodless'?
We received a friendly but pretty stern and clear e-mail from the manager of the Spanish Mourn, asking if we would change our name. They claimed the name, so we didn't really have much choice in the matter. OneGodLess was a name I had in my head for a few years. It's not so much about "God" as it's about the loss of belief in idols, ideals and ideas you have when you're younger, losing faith in that kind of external hope and confirmation. It all comes down to yourself, all the hope and faith you have should be in yourself, which makes it pretty hard sometimes.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We played a few shows with the current lineup, as we were focusing on recording and mixing the album. We had a great show recently in The Hague, which I think was our best show thus far. I would like to describe our live show as energetic, groovy, honest, hard and loud. I'm curious to hear what the audience thinks about the shows, until now, the response has been great, though.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We are currently bookings shows to promote the album, dates are to be confirmed.. As we are a "new" band, much will also depend on how the album is received. But I'm positive about our future, I really believe in this band.

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
We're not really looking at the moment, wanting to control all the aspects of the album. Having a label of course has its upsides, but it also comes with some consequences that might not be worth it at this stage of the band. Of course, if the band keeps growing, at a certain point I'd rather work together with a label, but that's something for the future.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of heavy rock and metal?
Overall, responses have been great, extremely positive, people seem to like the mix of Pantera-like metal with the stoner/sludge feel we make.

9.Are any of the band members currently involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
I'm currently working as a session bass player for various bands, recording album in my home studio, and I'm still involved with Exivious and Our Oceans, and writing solo pieces for bass, recording them and releasing them online. Yuma is playing with Exivious, Our Oceans and Cartographer, Yordi is playing with Red Eyes and recently founded a new project called 3D Monster.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
I think the style we have, the songs I've written and combined with the lyrics and people in the band match really well. Musically, I don’t think a lot will change, but I'm not really thinking about the next record yet. First "Mourner", getting that released and out in the world, and we'll see after that how it all goes. It's more important for me everything feels good, and the music is honest and close to the heart.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Influences are Pantera, Black Label Society, Down and Black Sabbath. Those are the bands I got most of my inspiration from. Those are also still the bands I listen to mostly when I listen to metal. Besides that, I like pretty much everything, as long as it's good. Whether it's Kendrick Lamar, Meshuggah, A Perfect Circle, Dimmu Borgir, Deep Purple, Eminem, Dr Dre, Miles Davis, Anaal Nathrakh, Bill Evans Trio, Alain Caron, Devin Townsend, Deadmau5, Sia, Karnivool, Katatonia, Pain of Salvation, Led Zeppelin, Red Fang, Tipper…

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
I started doing Yoga recently, I liked that a lot. I'm a big fan of nature and animals, my 3 cats are always a good part of my day. I also like to travel with my girlfriend, we've gone to Asia for a few times now, and we love it there. It's great to be out of the Western world every once in a while.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for the interview. And for the people out there: be sure to order the CD and/or shirt at our website www.onegodlessofficial.com. Thanks for all your support, we hope to be grooving on a stage near you soon!
 

Callus/Through Blood, Sweat, Piss And Pain/2017 EP Review


  Callus  are  a  band  from t he  United  Kingdom  that  plays  a  mixture  of  stoner,  doom  and  thrash  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2017  ep  "Through  Blood,  Sweat,  Piss  And  Pain".

A  soundscape  and  spoken  word  samples  start  off  the  ep  and  after  the  intro  the  music  goes  into  more  of  a  thrash  influenced  direction  and  after  awhile  aggressive  vocals a re  added  onto  the  recording  the  solos  and  leads  also  bring  in  an  old  school  style  of  extreme  metal  and  there  are  a  lot  of  80's  influences.

  While  a  lot  of  the  music  is  rooted  in t he  past t he  stoner,  sludge  and  doom  metal  elements  gives  the  songs  a  more  modern  feeling  and  you  can  also  hear  all  of  the musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  the  recording  and  the  riffs  also  bring  in  a  decent  amount  of  melody  and  while  the  music  is  mostly  slow  or  mid  paced  it  does  have  its  fast  moments  and  one  track  also  brings  in  a  small  amount  of  clean  playing.

  Callus  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  thrash,  sludge, s toner  and  doom  metal  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark a nd  apocalyptic  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Callus  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  thrash,  stoner,  sludge  and  doom  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should c heck  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Chimp  Militia"  and  "The  Root  Of  All  Evil".  8  out  of  10. 


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hive/Parasitic Twin/Crown & Throne Ltd/2017 Full Length Review


  Hive  are  a  band  from  Minnesota  that  plays  a  mixture of  crust,  d  beat  and  hardcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2017  album  "Parasitic  Twin"  which  was  released  by  Crown  &  Throne  Ltd.

  A  very  heavy  crust  sound  along  with  some  d  beats  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  aggressive  hardcore  style  vocals  a  few  seconds  later  and  melodies  along  with  elements  of  post  hardcore  can  be  heard  at  times  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  sounding  very  powerful  and  a  touch  of  metal  can  also  be  heard  at  times.

  Throughout  the  recording  you  can  hear  a  great  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  the  solos  and  leads  also  bring  in   an  old school  crust  and  d  beat  style  while  the  music  still  sounds  very  modern  at  the  same  time  and  a  great  portion  of  the  tracks  are  very  short  in  length  while  there  are   also  a  couple  of  long  and  epic  tracks  as  the  album  progresses  while  a  later  song  introduces  atmospheric  drones  and  clean  guitars  along  with  a  few slides  onto  the  album  and  spoken  word  samples  are  also  used  briefly.

  Hive  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  crust,  d  beat  and  dark  hardcore  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  sound  of  their  own,  the production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  dark  and  apocalyptic  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Hive  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  crust,  d  beat  and  dark  hardcore  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Low  Hanging  Fruit  Of  War"  "Foot  Binding"  "Intruder"  and  "Heaven's  Gutter".  8  out  of  10. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Onegodless/Mourner/2017 Full Length Review


  Onegodless  are  a  band  from t he  Netherlands  that  plays  a  mixture  of  blues,  stoner,  groove  and  sludge  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2017  album  "Mourner"  which  will  be  released  in  June.

  A  brief  intro  starts  off  the  album  before  going  into  more  of  a  heavier  and  melodic  southern  groove  metal  styles  along  with  some  sludge  style  screams  a  few  seconds  later  and  you  can  also  hear  all  of  the  musical  instruments  that  are  present  on  the  recording  and  spoken  word  parts  are  also  used  at  times.

  When  solos  and  leads  are  utilized  they  add  in  touches  of  blues rock  while  some  of  the  music  also adds  in a  more  modern  stoner  style  and  all  of  the  songs  stick  to  either  a  slow  mid  paced  musical  direction  while  always  remaining  heavy  and  having  influences  that  start  in  the  70's  up  to  the  modern  era.

  Onegodless  plays  a  musical style   that  takes  groove,  stoner  and  sludge  metal  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  a  very  heavy  recording,  the  production  sounds  very  professional while  the  lyrics  cover  dark and  real  life  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Onegodless  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  groove,  stoner  and  sludge  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Calm"  "Unstable"  "Salvation"  and  "From  The  Ashes".  8  out  of  10.   

     

 

 

Harvestman/Music For Megaliths/Neurot Recordings/2017 CD Review


  Harvestman  is  another  solo  project  from  Neurosis's  Steve  Von  Till  that  plays  a  mixture  of  psychedelic,  folk  and  drone  and  this  is  a  review  of  his  2017  album  "Music  For  Megaliths"  which  will  be  released  in  My  by  Neurot  Recordings.

  Acoustic  guitars  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  atmospheric  soundscapes  which  also  gives  the  recording  a  neo  folk  feeling  as  well  as  synths,  psychedelic  and  avant  garde  elements  and  at  times  the  music  brings  in  a  very  shamanistic  and  ritualistic  atmosphere  along  with  some  drones.

  A  great  portion  of  the  tracks  are  very  long  and  epic  in  length  while  also  mixing  in  elements  of  krautrock  and  noise  at  times  and  after  awhile  electric  guitars  are added  into  certain sections  of  the  recording  along  with  a  few  melodic  leads  and  some  tracks  also  add  in touches  of  ambient  and  electronic  music  and  some  songs  also  add  in  guitar  slides  and  after  plenty  of  instrumentals,  vocals  long  with  spoken  word  parts  are  finally  added  onto  the  recording  briefly.

  Harvestman  plays  a  musical  style  that  takes  post  metal,  neo  folk,  noise,  drone,  and  psychedelic  music  and  mixes  them  together  to  create  something  very  original,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  song  themes  focus  on  ruins,  monuments  and  ancient  sites  of  worship. 

  In  my  opinion  Harvestman  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  post  metal,  krautrock,  psychedelic,  noise  and  neo  folk  and  if  you a re  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  solo  project.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "The  Forest  Is  Our  Temple"  "Cromlech"  and  "White  Horse".  8 out  of  10.

Monobrow Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?
Right now we are finishing up the inserts that will be included with the vinyl release and trying to organize some shows in and around our region (Ontario and Quebec) for the summer and fall.

2.In May you have a new album coming out, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
I think this is the most focused album of ours.  It is a bit of a concept album so we really tried to make sure the entire album flows together really well.  Overall this is probably our darkest/angriest sounding record both in composition and production.  The main difference when compared to our previous albums is the addition of lyrics.   While we remain an instrumental band we had Ryan Kjrr, a friend of ours, come up with a story to go along with the music.  Those that are familiar with our previous recordings may also notice the the synthesizers play a more prominent role than in the past.  The album really acts as a soundtrack to the story Ryan came up with.  It's the first time we try anything like this so it will be interesting to hear people's reactions and thoughts.  Overall we are extremely happy with how everything turned out, from the music, production, artwork and of course the lyrics.

3.So far all of the music has been instrumental, are you open to using any vocals in the future?
We have been doing this since 2009 and have established ourselves as an instrumental band.  I can't see us ever adding a vocalist to the mix but that's not to say that we would not be open to maybe adding vocals to a track or two a future release.  If we feel that a song can use vocals then we would certainly be open to it, after all vocals are just another instrument.

4.I know that the bands name means 'knitted brows' in Russian, how does this time fit in with the musical style you play?
It really doesn't other than maybe it shows that we don't take ourselves too seriously.  And in the past people have commented that they can hear our sense of humour in our songs, although this album may not be as humorous as some of the previous records. 

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
We've had our share of good shows and bad shows.  It seems the more the audience is into it the better we play and come out feeling really good about our performance.  One of the most fun shows we've played was in our hometown of Ottawa in 2012 as part of the All That is Heavy festival that was headlined by Blood Ceremony and Iron Man.  Great crowd, great bands and everything went really smoothly.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
We don't consider ourselves a touring band.  Our personal lives and work commitments don't really allow for any extended touring.  We will try and support the new release with shows within a few hours drive from Ottawa and if all goes well we may head out to the east coast of Canada to play in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  We'll see what happens.  In general we rely on the internet to spread our music and attract new listeners.  Blogs and sites such as yours are essential for us as is YouTube, Facebook, Instagram etc.

7.The new album is coming out on 'Trill Or Be Trilled Records', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
There isn't much to tell.  It's our own label that we are using to release Monobrow records.  We've discussed potentially adding other bands and turning it into a collaborative effort to support each other and increase our network but it's still very early right now and we'll see where it takes us.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of stoner and doom metal?
People that take the time to get into our music generally like it.  We get lots of positive feedback and album reviews indicate that people do like what they hear.  We struggle a little bit because we are instrumental and I think we're likely losing a large percentage of the metal/doom/stoner audience because of that.  It's unfortunate because we really feel the music speaks for itself and if people would give it more of a chance they may find that they really do like it and won't miss the vocal element.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We're already working on new material and hopefully we can get back to the studio and have another album out in the next 24 months.  We're talking among ourselves as to whether or not we want to write a "sequel" to The Nacarat or if we should move on to a whole new idea or even not do the concept album thing again.  So far the new material sounds like the logical next step after The Nacarat.  The key for us is to keep writing and being creative, we really don't like repetition (i think our songs and albums showcase that) and we like to keep things fresh and moving.  It''s a big part of why we have been able to get to where we are.  4 LPs and an EP in the span of about 8 years is decent catalog of songs.  We would have never thought as an non-touring instrumental band from Ottawa we would be where we are today.  Musically we keep evolving if you listen to our first record and then listen to this latest one I think you would hear a significant difference.  We have definitely grown and we have a lot more attention to detail without losing the energy of our younger selves.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
So many to name.  We are all huge music nerds and listen to all styles of music.  I think the obvious influences can be heard in our music like Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Pentagram and any of Wino's bands, Funkadelic.  But on a more subtle level there are tons of bands and artists that influence and inspire us. 

11.What are some of your non musical interests?
Similar to our musical tastes, our non musical interests are varied.  Movies, books, basketball, tennis, beer, food, beer, food, beer, food.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you for taking the time to check us out and for sharing our work.  We hope that those who hear it enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it!