You’ll never see… The rain – Moments from Copenhell part 1

It was a nice sunny morning in Copenhagen, I was residing in the beautiful Christianshavn and went out to get a pain au chocolate and a coffee to kick the day into gear, before going over the bridge to the city, to seek out a nice lunch before Copenhell started to call, where my goal was to catch SATURNUS, I did catch the last 3 or 4 tracks by them, though that was enough to see, on stage, what I’ve seen many times before, the masters of Danish Death/Doom delivering their goods, and the usual ending of the set with ‘Christ Goodbye’ always sends shivers down the back of an old fan.

The most Heavy Metal lunch ever!

The most Heavy Metal lunch ever!

But before I was headed for Refshaleøen where Copenhell took place, I had to get some lunch and as the motherfucking brutal Heavy Metal fan I am, I went to Lumskebugten, a nice lunch restaurant run by one of the legends in Danish cuisine Erwin Lauterbach. Sitting in the sun eating Danish white Asparagus with crushed black pepper and sauce hollandaise, beef tartare with eggyolk, oyster and salmon roe, drinking pilsner from Fur, a nice little island out in the Western part of Denmark, that’s Metal life. Metal life indeed materialized, when 2 pretty young ladies got a table not far from me, sporting their Copenhell wristbands, while eating a couple of good looking open sandwiches.

After lunch one should think I was headed for some music, but no, the sun was shining and the weather was just damned perfect and when I found a winebar, with an empty table in the shadow, not of the horns as DARKTHRONE would have preferred, but a tree, I had to have a glass of wine or two. It was at Ved Stranden 10, just across Christiansborg, nice service and nice wine, and a little chat about Copenhell and Metal nowadays.

GRAVE in action

GRAVE in action

Now I was ready to conquer Copenhell and catch a little SATURNUS before a little bit of SABATON, I dug the first record, but man, it has become a parody on classic Heavy Metal, but nice to see the mighty SNOWY SHAW in live action, he still has it! And the sun was still shining, before I went to see GRAVE, which I had been looking forward to.

SABATON kicking it Heavy Metal style

SABATON kicking it Heavy Metal style

Not long before GRAVE was about to enter the stage, all hell broke lose, rain and a few lighting bolts over Copenhagen, and then a hell of a lot rain, and then more… Though GRAVE has played in worse conditions in Indonesia, so they took the stage after a small delay and kicked some serious ass, while it was pissing down during their set, though Ola and company didn’t give a fuck and delivered their Death Metal without compromise and did bring some heat back into the energetic crowd.

There is wet in the GRAVE!

There is wet in the GRAVE!

The wettest show I’ve ever witnessed, but still asskicking beyond belief, I’ve been with GRAVE for a long time, and this was, how sad it sounds, the first time I caught them live, and they didn’t let me down, one single bit! I also think they did play ‘After Forever’ without being a 100% sure, though after all the weather was beautiful!

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DISGRAVED interview

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I found out about the existence of DISGRAVED when I had to do a review of their first demo, the two tracker “Demo 2013”.  After a couple of listens, hot damns and this is quite cool, I believed the band to be Swedish, until I started to dig a bit on the interwebs. The band was from France and delivered Death Metal as I’ve never heard it from down there before. The sound took me right back to the Sunlight Studio days with the fat grinding guitar sound that Tomas Skogsberg did back then, the sound that made Swedish Death Metal infamous together with bands as CARNAGE, GRAVE, DISMEMBER, ENTOMBED and the likes. A young French band sounding Swedish and quite secure on what they are doing, I had to get in touch and hear how they became shaped like that! I had a good chat with guitarist, bassist and drum-programmer Korwent and growler and lyricist DarkMorue (DM).

How did the two of you in DISGRAVED end up as a band?

KORWENT: Well, we have been good friends for a very long time, discovered extreme Metal almost together so I think playing music together was a logical outcome for our friendship! We’ve been planning to do so for a really long time, but didn’t have a real occasion to start a project! Until a day in early 2013 when we were meant to meet friends and party, and finally found ourselves alone together, then we decided to play music and DISGRAVED was born!

DM: Yeah, we already made some random Grindcore before, but not a real and serious project playing the music we really love (like early 90’s Scandinavian Death Metal). But it seems to have always been a dream, that now comes true, and is likely to continue for a long time (or at least we hope so!).

You hail from France, though have a certain taste for good old Swedish Death Metal, judging from the sound on your first release “Demo 2013”, how did the sound end up like that?

KORWENT: The band that made me listen to Death Metal the first time was DISMEMBER, and from the very beginning I loved the grinding tone of the Stockholm bands! So even if I really enjoy a lot some American bands, my favorite sound was and still is the European sound, not only Swedish but mostly Swedish, for the tone it has. That’s why, as for my contribution to the band, I naturally incorporated elements from that scene, but I hope not to just copy past bands, and hope that DISGRAVED will develop its own identity with time, and as for this criterion the demo is in my opinion a success, as it is no copy/paste of any band I know (but if there is one sounding just like us, I NEED to listen to it!).

DM: The typical Sunlight sound is just the most perfect Death Metal sound. My favorite Death Metal Bands are true Scandinavian Boss HM-2 worshipers too, both Finnish and Swedish (DEMIGOD, ENTOMBED, NIRVANA 2002, you know what, haha), and the actual revival of the Death Metal scene led by bands like HAIL OF BULLETS, BLOODBATH and ENTRAILS may just be the best thing that happened to Music since the beginning of the century, along with the last MORBID ANGEL album…

Where are you from in France, and how’s the Metal scene around that area?

KORWENT: We are located in Gif-sur-Yvette, a small town near Paris, where we are something like one of the only three Metal bands (together with NEPENTHYS and SYNTHETIC WATERFALL), and the only band playing something that can really be qualified as extreme Metal. On a larger scale, the French extreme Metal scene is far more renowned as for Black Metal than Death Metal, which is no problem for be, but could be if you ask DM :).

DM: The French Metal scene is really active, and got many really impressive extreme formations (LOUDBLAST, KALISIA, MISANTHROPE, CATACOMB, MASSACRA, SUPURATION, AD PATRES…). To talk about the actual Old School Death Metal scene from France, you MUST check the latest records from NECROWRETCH, CADAVERIC FUMES, AFFLICITON GATES and TORTURE THRONE.

KORWENT: These bands are indeed very good! Go give them a try!

What I miss a tad about the sound of your music, is a human drummer, not that your programming is the worst I’ve heard, I just like the organic feel of a drummer. Are you planning to get one aboard DISGRAVED in time?

DM: To be honest, as the demo was fully recorded in a bedroom, it was impossible to record a human drummer.

KORWENT: Yeah, everything was recorded in my bedroom, and I mixed it on my headphones! The reason why the drums sound so fake is that, we found members to complete the line up during the recording and mixing of the demo, so we decided to release it as soon as possible, and go on with new material and the whole band! That’s the reason why the sound is so raw and the drums are so obviously a drum machine. But for the next recordings to come, we will have the real drummer and much more time for the recording and mixing, so the sound will be far more crushing and listenable!

And as for the programming not being the worst you’ve ever heard, I feel REALLY sorry for the bands having a worse programming than ours, because there is no humanization at all on the drums :D. (Well, I can come up with a few releases with worse drumsound, Anders)

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DarkMorue and Korwent

Besides finding inspiration in the music from the old masters of Death Metal, where else do you find inspiration for your music, and how do you work when writing a tune?

DM: By walking in the forest, listening old Edith Piaf songs and murdering kittens. More seriously, we both listen many genres (from Ambient Electronic Music to Goregrind, along with Progressive Rock and Industrial Metal), but we focus on True Death Metal when we’re working on DISGRAVED. The way we work is simple: It is Korwent that write nearly everything, from riffs to the whole recording and production with personal material. I only help him with lyrics and ideas, but he is the only real musician here, I’m only here to make some strange and loud noises with my throat, haha!

KORWENT: Writing a song can be just as fast as it can be really, really long if you ask me.
Sometimes, I end up with lots of riffs in a very short time, sometimes I cannot write anything for weeks, but I always find them just by sitting and jamming on my guitar, finding something cool and writing it down. I use a lot Guitar Pro because I am used to writing songs I play alone, I hope it will change, when we will be able to really use the potential of having a complete line up, because what I like the most in composing, is the emulation between people playing together and writing something in common.

I would like to ask the same about the lyrics, where is the inspiration for the lyrics found, and what do they deal with?

DM: Ahem… We just wanted to write some Death Metal lyrics. The really first version of ‘Imminent Death’ was featuring mash up lyrics of BLOODBATH and GRAVE songs… And the final version isn’t really better, just talking about stuff like “HAHAHA you will die because I’m going to murder you!”

‘Untoten Wehrmacht’ actually has more “street credibility”. We wanted to make a song about zombies, then watched the movie Dead Snow and ended with a song telling an epic story about a World War versus Nazi Zombies. We’re now just waiting to be called a NS band because of the use of the Wehrmacht word, it would make a lot of publicity and turn us into eternal legendary rock stars!

KORWENT: I think everything to know is said, we do not really focus on lyrics which mostly deal with the usual subjects of Death Metal, like zombies, massacres and stuff.

How did you end up with the moniker DISGRAVED?

DM: DISMEMBER – GRAVE – ENTOMBED. Crush these three words, and you end up with DISGRAVED. It doesn’t really mean anything, sounds catchy and is a perfect reflection of the band’s spirit. Perfect to me.

KORWENT: We were having such a hard time trying to find a good name for the band as we wanted something catchy and straight forward, but every existing cool word was already taken by at least half a dozen bands. So we started to say bullshit and mixing band names as jokes, but when we came up with the idea of DISGRAVED, we were like “Oh, that’s a really stupid name, but it’s very cool!”. So we finally kept it!

DM: And the logo is pretty sweet. Disgusting, sharp and dismembering, I just love it *insert lame emoticon right there*.

You recorded two tracks for your first demo, have you been working on more material since then, and do you have any idea of when we will hear new from you?

KORWENT: Even before the demo came out, we had a few other songs being composed, but we decided that we were going to release only two or three of them the first time, as in a style where an album is around 35 minutes long, having something longer and calling it a demo (especially when it is the first release) would have been a waste of material in our opinion. So we decided to keep these two tracks plus another which we finally did not record as we found members for the band in between, and thought we would keep it for our next release! And as for that release, we really cannot give you a date, probably during next year, but it will be like, the sooner the better! One thing is sure, do not expect us to release only a little 2 track demo like this time, the next one will be far longer!

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How has the demo been received?

KORWENT: Until now, there have not been many reviews of the demo (which is in my opinion normal, because of its duration) but the few we had are in my opinion incredible! The only thing people criticize are faults we already knew the demo had, and already planned to fix for later releases, so it’s very positive for us and makes us want to go on!

DM: Yeah, we weren’t expecting that much for a very first serious recording, so I thank you again for your review !

DISGRAVED is a rather new band, though what is the history of the two of you behind, is this your first band, or have you been a bit around?

DM: DISGRAVED is our really first real band, as we are still young students. We already did some stupid parodic Grindcore under the name of KORMORUE (Korwent + DarkMorue, you see…), everything we did under this name is uploaded on Youtube, if you want to check it… ‘Anti-Lama Radioactif’ must be our greatest hit!

KORWENT: Yeah, KORMORUE was mostly drunk shit we did during parties with a few musician (or not musicians…) friends. But I think it is what launched DISGRAVED in some sort of way: We considered that many of the riffs in KORMORUE should have been used for real songs, as they were in our opinion pretty good, so we decided to make something more serious (even if serious is not the word that describes DISGRAVED most accurately).

What records have the two of you been playing a lot lately?

DM: The new single from BABYMETAL is fucking awesome. And the new DEEDS OF FLESH is going to be my album of the year. To talk about true Death Metal, I really love the new records from ENTRAILS, JUST BEFORE DAWN and TORTURE DIVISION. Really digging the early albums of THERION too, fucking crushing masterpieces, impossible to have guessed that they’d turn into the Opera Metal, we all know them for now!

KORWENT: I really enjoy a lot the latest TORTURE DISVISION too, but I have to admit I have listened to so much old school Death Metal lately that I came to a saturation point! So I listen a lot to other bands in other styles, ranging from NOKTURNAL MORTEM to DEEP PURPLE… Just before answering that question, I was listening to “Agent Orange” by SODOM, though.

Thanks a ton for answering my curios questions, if you have something to add, feel free to fire at will!

DM: I fucking hate you, Voices From The Darkside is the worst webzine ever and I curse your whole family to be raped with a toothbrush every full-moon night. I still thank you for the time you spend, and just want to say that Death Metal will never die, Horns Up, Stay Brutal and usual shit like that \m/

KORWENT: Thanks a lot for your support, I really enjoy having contacts with people interested in the band, so that make me even more eager to have new things to release, so expect to hear from us again!

And keep on listening to grinding Death Metal!

http://www.facebook.com/Disgraved http://disgraved.bandcamp.com/

And do check out my review of DISGRAVED’s demo over at Voices From The Darkside

ARES KINGDOM – “Incendiary”

Ares Kingdom – Incendiary (Nuclear War Now! Productions 2010)

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I don’t really recall when I got into ARES KINGDOM. I have been a huge fan of ORDER FROM CHAOS since I first laid ears upon them many many years ago. The mighty Chuck Keller knows his way around obscure and thrashy riffing that latches on, and stays in the head long after the last chord has died. I was along the line also caught in the web of VULPECULA, and really miss the madness and mysticism that band possessed. Mike Miller was controlling the backbone in ORDER FROM CHAOS very straight on, a bit sloppy at times, though it shows that, that is his style, to make it sound a tad sloppy, but still powerful and to the point, you sometimes think he’ll lose the beat, but it never happens. I’m pretty sure ARES KINGDOM was my first encounter with Alex Blume, the harsh and intense growler, always making the eerie and sinister output sounding just a bit more evil, he later on roamed in BLASPHEMIC CRUELTY together with another hero of mine Gene Palubicki, mostly know from the mighty ANGEL CORPSE, a band that also derived of ORDER FROM CHAOS, showcasing Pete Helmkamp. And last but not least, when speaking of ARES KINGDOM, Doug Overby who have been handling the rhythm guitars from the very beginning of the band, and he does that quite well, as the rhythm is the driving force of this monster of a thrashy Death Metal band.

I was approached up to the release of “Incendiary” back in 2010, when it was about to be released I reckon, and of course I would like to do a review etc. with one of the bands that I adored. Then entered writer’s block, work, girl trouble and all that continued way too long, I even got tired of the Metal scene and all that roamed in it along the way, and didn’t listen to much Metal for a good while, except the sporadic review for Voices From The Dark Side.

I have begun to love Metal again, the scene somewhat, I am taking that in small bites. The cure for writers block is loud music, beer and icecold cheap whiskey, the women, well, don’t get me started on that one. Work still takes too much time, though I’m taking time to listen and tell the world about good music anyways, that is how it should be, and that is why I have dusted off this old piece of Death Metal, because it is still damned good today, and a perfect treat to accompany beer and icecold cheap whiskey.

Classic thrashy Death Metal riffs delivered at a steady not too fast pace, to an almost doomy pummeling, driving all in its way deep down in the ground, solid base rhythms, topped with the catchy guitarriffs and leads, and an aggressive bass. The vocals from Blume, a snarled and angry growl, frustrated and evil, pure grimness, that fits the sinister world of the band perfectly.

The production is nice dusty and old school, organic and gives the instruments their needed space to act with full force, the stretched riffing, nice airy drum sound and the guitar leads that fill the sound picture when they hit it off with brilliancy. A production fitting the overall arcane and dark, slight mysterious, atmosphere that surrounds this album, and the music of the band generally.

I guess you already have this album in your collection, if not, what the fuck is wrong with you man? I thought you said you liked Death Metal?

And soon to be released should be ARES KINGDOM’s newest output “VENERATION”, a tribute album to the roots of the band, together with a new version of ‘Celestial’ from the VULPECULA days and a version of ‘Oblivion’ from NEPENTHE where Blume roamed before ARES KINGDOM was formed. I am especially looking forward to listening to those 2, but well, also the rest of the album, and even more to new material, whenever that unearths.

http://www.ares-kingdom.com/ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ares-Kingdom/97935152280

ALGEBRA – “Polymorph”

ALGEBRA – Polymorph (Self released 2012)

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If you thought good old Thrash Metal was dead, ALGEBRA is here to prove you otherwise, just put on the album and ‘bang your way through the first track, the SLAYER infused ‘S.O.B.’ and indulge in the insane ‘Angel Of Death’ inspired riffs, pure intensity and frenetic moshing of these four youngans, giving new life to an old and reeking style of violence.

The Swiss band has recorded this, their debut full length and then put it in the hands of Andy Classen for the mixing and mastering duties, and damn a job both parts have done. Seldom has such sheer energy and intensity been caught so clean on tape, it almost feel like the energy outbursts from a concert, the energy and intensity hits right on.

It would be a lie to say that ALGEBRA does anything new on this record, they have taken what they like about Thrash, turned it upside down, tossed it around and assembled it as their own sound of the good old days, and then kicks some ass. The album is stuffed with killer riffs, dosed with heavy inspiration, killer vocal lines, shouted back-up choirs, hard hitting rhythms, pounding and varied drumming and a feel of something young and fresh, together with a technical approach that makes up for some great details.

With the right amount of luck ALGEBRA could be the next band to stir up the established world of Thrash Metal, as they have the talent, energy and song writing skills to slay, now they just need some exposure and a record or two more under the belt, of the same quality as “Polymorph”, this is damned good!

http://www.facebook.com/Algebrathrash