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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Exclusive premiere: Dys Inbunden - Riders Of Malign

Last friday Dys Inbunden revealed the cover of their new single called Riders Of Malign, you can see it above.

Today, Riders Of Malign is released and DutchMetalManiac is proud to have the Dutch exclusive premiere of it.

Read a statement from the band below.

Riders of Malign was recorded at Endarker Studio with Magnus ‘Devo’ Andersson in October 2016. The hymn is dedicated to the titanic fire-bearer Azazel and the bloodline of Cain.
It serves as a war anthem for the formless forces of death and gives the listener not only a taste of what to expect from the next opus, but also an insight into our satanic doctrine.
Our hope is that this new song will curse the non-worthy listeners and bless those who are of the same bloodline as us. Those who walk the left hand path of gnosis and who have respect for what our art is trying to accomplish.
Hail Azazel! Hail the bloodline! Hail Satan!

Dys Inbunden wishes to thank the following:
Magnus ‘Devo’ Andersson, for his craft and amazing work on this single.
Michaela Barkensjö, for her talents and for bringing our art into a new black light through photography.
Melina Green and EAM Management for their undying efforts of promotion and support.

Listen to Riders Of Malign now:

Dys Inbunden Official Website
Dys Inbunden Facebook
Dys Inbunden Twitter

Review: Beyond Chronicles - Human Nation

The Parisian melodic death metal quintet Beyond Chronicles is a newcomer in the field, as the band was formed only in 2013. The guys (and girl!) released their first full-length, “Human Nation”, on the 21st of October this year, after their critically acclaimed EP “Shatter”, which was released in 2015. Let’s give “Human Nation” a go!

The album contains 12 tracks, and kicks off with a heavy intro, called “Ground Zero”. Rings a bell? Yes, thematically, the album turns around the current problems of humanity, e.g. terrorism and the insatisfaction of humans. The lyrics are well-written and surely the highlight of the album. Sound-wise we hear great growls and sometimes even clean vocals, paired with usually brutal riffs. The total production is raw. While that is generally not a bad thing, here it creates a disbalance which sometimes completely distorts the sound. While this can be fixed with some more technical input, the general sound of the five is not your standard Gothenburg melodic death metal, but comes with a lot of variations and sometimes even with, in my opinion, power metal influences (e.g. Upon Them). This makes it entertaining to listen through the 12 tracks and discover new twists and turns in each one of them.

Overall, the quintet is delivering with “Human Nation” a satisfying first album. As mentioned, the production is surely not the best, but the overall sound, style and intelligent song-writing make up for that fact in the large part. Beyond Chronicles is a raw diamond in my opinion, so keep an eye out for them in the future and listen to their album in the meantime! 8/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Beyond Chronicles Official Website
Beyond Chronicles Facebook
Beyond Chronicles Twitter

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Review: Albez Duz - Wings Of Tzinacan

My first thoughts when listening to the first track of the album: Ah, It's Halloween time! Creepy starts -especially strong ones- always attract my attention. The surprise after this introduction is that Albez Duz is not a band that is easily caught in one definition. Doom: yes, Sludge: yes, but also rock-elements, clean male vocals mixed with grunts and screams.

Innocent Gate for example uses a totally different approach to the dark than the introduction did. The use of church-organ reminds me of the gothic-touch Lacrimosa used to include in their music. Albez Duz easily changes the song to a dark rock sound, with elements of 80's influences, where the voice sometimes reminds me of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Third song Omen Filled Season starts heavier then the preceding songs and is a great combination of melody, dark storytelling, rock and metal. When 'Our Lord The Flayed One’ kicks in the only thing I can think is: RRRROCK! Catchy melody, nice guitars and the use of 80's heavy metal voice, combined with some great psychedelic sounds, can only drag you into the realm of Albez Duz. And when you think you had it all, the amazing grunt/scream drags you further in.

But the best thing is yet to come. The build-up of the album is quite brilliant. After being introduced to the different styles of the band, songs like Reflections, Sacred Flame and The Uprising take it all a bit further, adding more layers to the sound.

It is hard to make a clear definition of what Albez Duz' music is about. It is a combination of sludge, doomy metal, but with a thick layer of psychedelic rock. And it is great!

Written by Martijn Bakker

Albez Duz Facebook

Interview: Across The Burning Sky

In a few days Across The Burning Sky will release The End Is Near. DutchMetalManiac’s Julia Obenauer already reviewed it here a few days ago. Now she asks some questions and vocalist Aki answers, read it below.

Hey guys! Thank you for doing this interview with DutchMetalManiac. Could you briefly introduce your band?

Hi Julia and DutchMetalManiac. I think we are the ones who have to thank you for doing this interview with us.

To introduce our band is a short story: We are just guys which hang out together - haha. Okay, there is maybe a little bit more to say: Although Across The Burning Sky has only existed for about 2 years, and "The End Is Near" is our debut, we are no newbies in this sense. We played in different bands, had some album releases and played a lot of shows in the last 20 years. Sometimes successful, sometimes less. With Across The Burning Sky we just wanted to do what we love. We grown up with this kind of music, we have done our first own steps with this genre in the scene, so you can name it a kind of „personal back-to-the-roots“. We want to play music, just as we live and feel it. Far from thoughts of success, failure, business and other shit that a musician's life sometimes brings with. We originally wanted to do it just for us.

How did you come up with the band name?

We have searched for an phrase that reflects our thoughts, our feelings. A phrase that is powerful and dignified. Energetic, epic and at the same time like a primordial force. A phrase that describes the feeling we associate with our music. And that's what "Across The Burning Sky" does.

Sky as a symbol for expansion and freedom. fire as a symbol for intensity, roughness, wildness - a threatening force of nature. Just imagine the feeling of a burning sky - and you are right in the middle of it. Across the burning sky, as a master of the elements. That’s our music. Intense, rough, unconquered, unruly but also majestic, extensive and free. Sounds kitschy, I know, but we like it.

Well, there’s a bit of a mystery around who is actually playing in the band. As I read on your Facebook page, your intention is rather to focus on the music. That’s a great concept in my opinion. Has this always been your intention, or was it rather something that evolved as you proceeded playing together?

You can say it was from the beginning. As already mentioned, we have done the whole thing for ourselves. We just wanted it. Far from any constraints. And from the moment we thought "Hey, that feels good, maybe we should let some people participate in it," was clear that we wanted to do it exactly the same way we wanted to feel it ourselves. Only the music should be the one that counts. If people like it, great. If they do not like it? It doesn’t matter because WE love it. Music will not be better or worse just because the musicians are „known“ or „unknown“. We do not want that it affect the listening of music. Really good albums are not noticed because there are no known names on it. And a lot of shit is hyped in the sky just because a member of a trendy band has left a burp on it. That’s not the kind we want that people listen to our music.

Let’s talk about your debut album, “The End Is Near”. It’s got great reviews so far, and I personally loved it as well. How did you guys approach the songwriting and the recording?

Well, it all started with a small guitar session. I (Aki) sat in my hobby cellar, took after a few years of inactivity the guitar out of the case and played around. A riff, a melody. Then two, then three. A song. Two Songs. I just could not stop. Finally, I played the whole a couple of old companions. And we thought: whow, that sounds and feels good. And so one thing led to another. As I mentioned earlier, I was not active in music for some time. There were some changes in my life, good as bad ones. What burst out of me, while write these songs, was probably a sum of emotions that had accumulated in this time and now found their valve in melodies and riffs. We then improved the one or the other arrangement together, but the most of the album comes from my pen. At the beginning we had no plans to record a whole album. We only want to collect and retain our ideas. So there was no intentional approach to the songwriting and recording of this album. It can be said: it just happened.

To me, the sound was rather raw, and I couldn’t really perceive any post-production here. While this took a bit of time, at least for me, to get accustomed to, I thought that it worked perfectly to bring back that 90s Gothenburg sound. Did you intentionally use that as a tool for bringing more vitality to the record?

Yes and no. To be honest, one has to say, since at the beginning it was not foreseeable that the material appears as an album, we naturally did not visit an extra studio. We wanted to make it just for us. Possibly with a release on Bandcamp or via YouTube and Facebook. That’s the reason that the recordings are maybe not on these high level which one is maybe accustomed to from current productions. As far as the production is concerned: We have recorded a lot of albums as musicians in the past, but never made such a production itself. It was really the first time that we have been sitting in front and behind the controls. Our experience from former album recordings helped us a little bit, but it is a difference to play only instruments, or still made it sound good. We have done our best and you should have heard the mix before Pluto from MegaWimpSound mastered the whole thing - haha.

On the other hand, we have fallen in love with this sound during the recordings. Surely at the end there are always things that could be done better, and we would make better in retrospect. But, we quickly realized that this raw sound very authentic reflects our feelings. On the one hand there is a certain live-feeling. Plug in, rock on, kick asses. On the other hand, it is developing its own dynamics. You could say the songs are brought to life in this way. It just seems more tangible, more honest, more intense. Therefore, at the crucial stage of production, we decided not to change the basic character of the original recordings. Of course, we finally have cut, cleaned, filtered frequencies, raised and optimized. We did of course a few things in post-production. But not in the sense of "cut all corners and edges" to get a smoothly produced and bombast-blown album. We grown up in a time where each band had its own special sound, that made it exciting to listen different bands even of the same genre, they could still be distinguished. Today, to be honest, the most albums sounds same. Smoothly produced, with a huge soundboost. Without corners and edges, and in many cases also without independent charm. Sure, we also like bands and albums with this sound, but many can hardly be distinguished when you hear them in random loop mode.

How long did it take it to get the whole album done?

We record the first tune in summer 2014 and we pushed the last controller in August 2016, before the final mix went to mastering in beginning of September. But you have to say that this period really covers everything. From the beginning of the first note to the last song. Nothing existed before. We recorded every melody, every riff already during the songwriting. In the summer of 2015, at a time when the songs were already written and all guitars, drums and bass recordings were ready, we had to interrupt our work for a few months for personal reasons. It was not until the beginning of this year that things really went on. We wrote then the missing lyrics and started with the vocal recordings. With all wanted and unwanted pauses, we took 2 years. If all the non-productive phases were removed, it was perhaps 15 to 18 months. At the beginning, however, we were not in a hurry. Only in the beginning of 2016, when MDD offered us that they want to release the album, we also had to keep a schedule.

I also find your artwork very cool – who designed your cover?

Oh, we are very pleased to hear that, because for us it is not just a decorative accessory. For us the artwork, and of course especially the front cover, is an equal part of the album, like a song, or the lyrics. The whole artwork was made by German airbrush artist Lies Maria at „Brush’n Roll“. We get in touch with her via Kai from MDD. The background was, we love these hand-painted covers of the 80s and 90s. Many of them tell their own story, or a story that fits the plot of the album. We wanted something like that too. When we talked first time with Maria about a cover design, she was thrilled. We told her roughly what was going on in some lyrics, but do not want to gave her any guidelines. We just meant it could be something gloomy, threatening, maybe something apocalyptic, something with death, destruction, warlike, something that also fits to death metal and as well to the album title - haha.

A few weeks later she surprised us with that. Kali, according to the album title, awaits the approaching end as the goddess of death, destruction, but also of renewal. A second proposal for the front cover was the Skull, which is also used on our Merchandise and on the inside of the CD Tray. Since we couldn’t decide between the two motifs, we have used both in this way. Although the album is not about such Hindu mythology, the artwork fits perfect to the atmosphere we wanted to create. The front cover has its own „life“ and offers the viewer different interpretative possibilities. It is related to "The End" and symbolizes a "beginning" at the same time. In retrospect, we can’t imagine a cover that would have been more appropriate.

Your record is clearly influenced by the 90s Gothenburg death metal sound. Any bands that you particularly love from this era?

Since we have experienced this time in our late teens, we love them all :-) It was mainly the first albums of bands such as Dark Tranquility, Unanimated or At The Gates, from which we could not get enough of. At that time a huge wave was launched, which also captured us. Soon you could hardly count the bands and albums of this genre, but I think we have taken them all - haha.

Are you planning any tours or festival appearances to promote your album?

Originally we had not planned to play tours and concerts, but we also had not thought that it would become a regular album release at a label. Never say never. And although we would be no longer "anonymous", we would definitely think about interesting festival offers. Let us see first how the whole develops. The album release is in this week, until now no CD was sold yet, and who knows whether a larger number of people want to listen at all or even want to see us :-)

To me, the only pity was that your album was “only” half an hour long. Do you guys have more material in stock, and can we anticipate on another record soon? Do you have any plans in that direction?

"The End Is Near" contains all songs that exist at this time. There was the moment we thought "Nine songs are enough" and since we were dealing with the completion of the album from this point on, there was no songwriting, and so no more songs. We wrote this 9 songs while we doing the recordings. During the production process it was not foreseeable how long the songs and album would ultimately be. We have also shortened the arrangements during the production of some songs, because we felt some refrain repetitions as too "boring". Here and there a minute - and we would have had 40 minutes :-) There are still a few ideas and rough melodies that were not used, but these are at best fragments. I admit, we thought about recording somehow another song for the album, but all the songs so far gave a coherent whole. Each song in itself was something special and yet part of the overall atmosphere. We did not want to destroy these atmosphere by recording a song that would only be a gap filler. And so we decided to leave it at that.

Plans for another record? On the day when "The End Is Near" was in the CD pressing plant, we have in fact for the first time thought about whether there will be a succession album. It is still much too early to say something about it. "The End is Near" is just being released. We can already imagine to continue to write new songs and to publish a new album in 1-2 years. Concrete plans are not yet available, but we love what we do - so why not?

I’m always curious on the view of others on the current metal scene. What do you guys think about it? As said before, your focus is clearly on the music. Do you think that metal music is getting too commercial these days?

Well, it is always quickly said „everything was better in the good old days“. But I'm not sure. Perhaps the memory is deceptive? There has always been a big commercial mainstream in the metal scene. Today, Metal is perhaps something more recognized. You're not gagged any more when you're a Metalhead. But in the scene itself, many things were similar. There were already so-called and hyped all-star bands and they exist today. There were already media and magazines that did not perceive anything outside the mainstream - and they exist today too. The "problem" is, nowadays there is much more of everything. More bands, more media, more releases. This makes it a little more difficult to orientate. Perhaps, therefore, many prefer to stick to known names. But if you are really interested, you can still find them. The treasures. The albums with great feelings. We do not want to join the general tenor about the commercial in the metal scene. There has always been and always will be. The only thing we really find that was much more family in the past. Bands had sending flyers of other bands with letters. Bands sold CDs of other bands at concerts. They supported each other more, there was not such a big competition-, and ego thinking. Okay, the scene was also smaller and probably this is also a very subjective way of looking at things. We liked it sooner and we still like it. You can find good and bad in everything. But we also do not have to be in the middle of it. We enjoy the opportunity to focus on the music at the end of our days ^^

Any bands or records you are currently really into, or are looking forward to?

To be honest, mostly we are still into bands and releases from our youth. Sure, we know that we live in the year 2016, but a big part in us has remained well hang in the nineties. We have, of course, got an insight into the current roster of our label and we like many releases of MDD such as Dementia, Thormesis or the upcoming Ctulu album. We also have notice that Dark Millenium has a new album released after 23 years. This one I like very much. Otherwise, I like to discover on Spotify or YouTube one album and band after another. If you are not looking for something special, you can often discover great things.

Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

First, thank you for the opportunity to doing this interview.

To your readers: keep continuing to support zines and blogs like this one. Sites like these are the ones who are constantly digging new and keeping this scene alive. And don’t forget to check out our album. I’m sure you can listen it on Spotify or anything similar. If you like it, feel free to buy a physical copy, to support our work and of course the work of our label, which always had believed in us. Support the underground and finally:


Across The Burning Sky Facebook

Interview + album stream: Countless Skies

In September, DutchMetalManiac’s Julia Obenauer reviewed Countless Skies’ album New Dawn. You can check that review here. Now Julia interviews bassist/vocalist Phil Romeo, read it below.

Hey guys! Thank you for doing this interview with DutchMetalManiac. Could you briefly introduce your band?

Hi, we are Countless Skies: a four piece melodic death metal band from Hertfordshire, England.

How was the band formed? Did you know each other before?

James and Ross have been close friends and metal enthusiasts since school, often playing guitars together and dabbling in the idea of having their own band. They met me years later, introducing me to the genre. We produced a demo (Hatespire) in my home studio, before I became their fixed bass player and clean singer. Nathan was found later, whilst searching MySpace for available drummers.

How did you come up with the band name?

“Countless Skies” is the title of a great song by the band “Bel’akor”, a huge influence in our song writing.

Let’s talk about your album, “New Dawn”. It got really good reviews so far, and I personally loved it as well, especially the diversity between the songs. How did you guys approach the songwriting and the recording?

Most of the songwriting is handled by James, who will oversee the final composition of not just the individual tracks: but the album as a whole. Everything is written into software like Guitar Pro, often traded back and forth between the rest of the band to pitch compositional ideas or tweaks to their own parts.

New Dawn was recorded at HVR Studios, under the expertise of Danny Biggin.

How long did it take to get the whole album done?

Just over a week of full time recording every day. We actually slept at the studio itself.

The album cover also very nicely reflects the tone and mood of your songs in my opinion. Who designed it and how did you choose the cover?

Our artwork has always been a testament to the talent and skills of Carl Ellis. We send him our music and explain what we are after. He will then send us several ideas, rough drafts of what he believes will work as an artist. The band narrow down the choices and Carl works on the final draft, making a few edits until it is finished.

I heard some influence from Dark Tranquillity in your songs. Which other band(s) inspires you and your songwriting?

Bel’akor, Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, Devin Townsend, Wintersun.

What’s your opinion on the current melodic death metal scene? Any bands you are really into at the moment?

The scene is very much alive and kicking, with bands like Raze the Void, Aghast, Dorylus, and Cerberus Unchained. Perhaps not Melodic Death, but definitely check out Spectral Darkwave, Everest Queen, Outright Resistance and the unforgettable Footprints In The Custard.

You will be touring the UK with Whispered in September. Are you excited?

Unbelievably so, we’re all big fans of the band. Not only are we excited for our first tour, we will be sharing the stage with an exceptional band. It should be a great experience for us.

I saw that you played quite a bit of shows in the UK already in the past years, amongst others also during Bloodstock Open Air. Any of the greatest and/or most bizarre moments on or off stage you feel like sharing?

Watching Paige Lee (Outright Resistance) smash a light fitting with a confetti cannon was a pretty splendid sight, even if accidental.

Ross being interrupted by a drunken stranger, mid song, to ask the crowd for a rizzler was a little strange. Especially when he fell off the stage immediately after.

Any chance to see you live on stage in the rest of Europe someday, apart from the shows in Ireland in October?

We are certainly hopeful, having all shared the dream of travelling and performing our music outside of the UK.

Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Thanks for reading and we hope you enjoy the album. Keep supporting your local bands, venues and promoters!

Thank you for doing the interview!

Stream New Dawn in its entirety below.

Countless Skies Official Website
Countless Skies Facebook
Countless Skies Twitter

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: Betrayal - Infinite Circles

All of the sub genres of extreme metal have had some critical moments in them when they started to be boring and repetitive, and death metal is no exception. Betrayal won't blow your mind with some crazy technical, blistering riffs or super fast blast beats at 300 BPM, but even with all that considered Betrayal is a great band, and this album is a great feat of recording and song writing.

To begin with, the album starts with a more atmospheric track not really giving a hint at what is coming after it. The following tracks are pure greatness made into songs. The songs are fast but not too fast, they have some acoustic breaks or endings, melodic riffs, great grooves and some great neoclassical shredding and masterful solos. The recording quality is superb, the vocals are not too high in the mix, the guitar is mixed well as to not be over-dominant in the mix, and the bass is a great filler in the riffs. But the drums are what set this album apart for me. The drum sounds is perfect. The drums are not clicky, and have a more than acceptable sound to them. The bass drum is perfect for the record, as I can't tell if there was a trigger involved or it is just the natural sound of the bass drum.

All in all, this album is by far the best I have heard in a long time so far, and I predict a great future for both the album and the band in the future, I give it a 10/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

Betrayal Official Website
Betrayal Facebook

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Review: Alcest - Kodama

Alcest is returning after a 2-year hiatus with a new album; Kodama. The doomy-shoegaze band fronted by Neige or Stephanie Paut to friends has returned somewhat to their dark metal roots (what else do you want with a band fronted by ‘Neige’) and have made a pretty radical change from their former album Shelter, though to call it full on black/doom is a very far leap. It has some sounds though that are definitely darker than before, yet there is still a lot of shoegaze. All in all it is not as much a commercially viable album as Shelter yet lacks no diversity and is a very nice follow-up.

Alcest being pretty new to me, it is hard to say what the return to their black metal means for die-hard fans. Alcest has never been known for their hard music, I can imagine, and going on Shelter this album has way more guitars, complexer, faster drums and shouts which are legendary. There is even some blastbeats going on in Eclosion, the second track. What I liked most about this album though is the nice variation, which I sometimes miss in shoegaze/post metal. There is no soft start building and building endlessly to a climax and then cutting off only to pretty bluntly say “here’s your delivery” and be done with it. Alcest makes a very nice effort to flow from one climax into the other or just go back from a soundwall to a very small bare-bones sound. It makes it a bit complex to listen to, perhaps, but it pays off to take it all the way through. Sad to say this album only lasts 6 songs and only half are around the 8 minute mark; though in this genre the hiatuses can be longer and the pay-off even less.

Fans of God is an Astronaut and Solstafir will surely find some things on this album they very much like, and all in all it isn’t a bad effort on its own. It will not make Alcest the biggest band in metal but they make a nice corner for themselves to hang out.

Written by Frank van Drunen

Alcest Official Website
Alcest Facebook
Alcest Twitter