23 Years Ago: KATATONIA release Dance of December Souls (ashes spread in the northern storm)

…it’s a memorial hail to all the Asa Viking warriors which died by the hands of christians yet still with their refusal to believe in the white Christ. As we are messengers of the north, it’s our duty to begin a huge revenge… Musically “Dance…” is a mixture of depressed and mournful moods the atmospheric way, the same goes for the lyrical side as well as productionwise featuring around 53 minutes of these songs” “Gateways of Bereavement”, “In Silence Enshrined”, “Elohim Meth”, “Velvet Thorns of Drynwhyl”, “Tomb of Insomnia”, “Dancing December” and finally a re-recording of the song “Without God”.

– Blackheim / Katatonia interview, Petrified zine #3 1994

Recorded at Unisound Studios (the re-named Gorysound Studios, again with Dan Swanö) in early April, Dance of December Souls was released by No Fashion Records on this day in 1993.

katatonia-blackheim-2

We go for that unordinary atmospheric mood all the way. All the structures have something especially different within themselves. Of course everyone can’t respect and admit it’s that way. They rather would call our music wimpy or commercial just because they can’t cope with the strong emotional melodies.

– Blackheim / Katatonia interview, Chamber of Sorrow zine #4 1993

katatonia-blackheim-1

My influences have grown stronger within my personal quest for the mysticism of my inner thoughts. I don’t need any certain influences from bands any longer, you could manage without it as long as you’re musically minded. My sources of inspiration are mostly moods, thoughts and some (un)earthly elements such as forests, nightskies, fields and seas. I get very emotional through tragic and extremely sad happenings, which I try to express through the music is an adventarous structure. Of course we still listen to a lot of music and you do get influenced whether you like it or not, but in our case it’s subconscious. I’m more into some deeper stuff nowadays, Fields of the Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy, Thule, The Mission, The Cure & Depeche Mode are all my faves.

– Blackheim / Katatonia interview, Mortician zine #4 1993

Advertisements

20 Years Ago: MOURNING BELOVETH release the Debut demo (Burden)

We started in a cold dingy shed jamming and all I ever dreamed then was to have a song on a demo and that dream came to fruition, so off to Pulse Studios we went to record what we call the ‘Burden’ demo.
Our first time recording was fantastic with Mr. A Averill and Adrian who later became our bassist. We hadn’t a clue, but that experience and receiving the DAT tape of our first recording, I remember saying to myself, I’ve made it to the top. But it was only our first step…
– Frank Brennan / Mourning Beloveth interview 2012

Recorded in Pulse Studios on 24 May 1996, MOURNING BELOVETH released their first demo tape on this day in 1996.
Engineered by Adrian Butler with Alan Averill and Kevin Byrne.

Interview: FUNERAL MOTH (Japanese Doom)

FUNERAL MOTH released their second album earlier this year. Transience is a two-song, 40-minute epic of DOOM. Heavy and slow. But FUNERAL MOTH also bring a lightness to their sound that gives the music a genuinely serene atmosphere. I was thinking about a band like LOW (slow, clear etc) when asking about post-rock influence, and it’s interesting to see the different members bringing diverse influences.
Light is probably a bad verb for Doom, FUNERAL MOTH are still HEAVY. Clear waters still mask ominous depths.

Interview with Makoto, Ryo, Yuichiro and Tomohiro, 29 November 2016.

I try to avoid the “history” question, but there are some important member changes with this album, can you explain the current lineup?

Makoto: Yes, Nobuyuki who’s the one of the founder of the band left FUNERAL MOTH last year to focus more on his personal life. Fortunately, a talented musician Ryo joined without stopping our doom endeavour. Nobuyuki was the main songwriter, but after the member change, I am writing all of the songs, so the music has changed a little bit.

Ryo: I have been a fan of FUNERAL MOTH since seeing them play on the MOURNFUL CONGREGATION Japan tour on 2010, so I can’t describe how much I was excited when the members gave me an opportunity to actually become one of the member. Now that I am a member, I am giving everything I have to keep this band going.

The booklet lists recording credits with dates and it was interesting to see how everything was recorded separately between July and December 2015. Were all the songs written for all parts before recording began in July?

Makoto: Yes, both songs were written and arranged before the recording. We had played “transience” live since 2013, and “lost” since 2014.

live 19 december 2015 at earthdom, tokyo

Drums were recorded first, does Yuichiro work from a demo recording of the guitar/bass?

Yuichiro: The drum tracks were recorded partially with guitar, but most of the time I played without anything. Usually drummers play with a click, I do not play along with it. I can’t bare listening to noisy clicks.

In October, when the recordings were complete, did you hear a different album than you imagined before each element was completed separately? I wonder if you saw something new as each individual part became one?

Makoto: As for guitars and bass, we spent a lot of time until all of us were satisfied with the sound and playing. We didn’t have any clear vision how the sound had to be but we tried to make raw and organic sound. We are totally satisfied with the result.

Tomohiro: I am quite happy with the result. I used strong fuzz effect on the previous album, but this time I tried to create natural sound, so the guitar is plugged directly into the amp.

How difficult was it to mix and master recordings from at least three different studios?

Makoto: It wasn’t difficult at all. Fortunately, 3 of us can do recording by ourselves so it was easy to record each instruments in their own studios. When we recorded previous album “dense fog”, Tomohiro recorded his guitar by himself and Justin of MOURNFUL CONGREGATION recorded his lead guitar in Australia. So I had an experience like this.

In the description you point out that you used some specific musical theory in this album (rondo form). Can you talk any more about this – the song, the themes – and did any particular classical piece influence your decision?

Makoto: To tell the truth, “Dances of Death” of MEKONG DELTA was the inspiration to write the song in Rondo! The concept of the song “transience” is life and death. In rondo form, principal theme alternates with other sub themes, which represents the cycle of life and death.

I saw a few reactions to the artwork, that it is not “traditionally” bleak or dark, but you have said it reflects the themes – can you say anything more about the artwork, what it symbolises?

Makoto: Yes, I think it’s not a “normal” artwork for doom album. Of course, there are the meanings behind it but it’s too personal so I don’t want to reveal everything here. As I mentioned in previous question, the theme of “transience” is life and death. From sea, life was born and after death we go back to sea. This shore is the symbolization of womb and grave.

Your sound has some of the ethereal lightness you can also find in post-rock and similar genres, do you draw any inspiration from those genres?

Makoto: Personally, I don’t listen to post-rock. I’m totally a metalhead. I’m influenced by DUSK (US), diSEMBOWELMENT, EVOKEN, and so on…

Yuichiro: I am more influenced by progressive rock, and my drum playing is not inspired from metal music, so that may be the reason why listeners refer our music to other genres.

Tomohiro: I do listen to post-rock bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, but I personally don’t reflect those music with ours. I love music with laid back atmosphere.

Ryo: Actually, I used to play in post-metal band, so those reactions from the listeners are completely understandable. If I was to describe my taste of music with one word, it would be transparent, and my favourite music spreads from jazz, trip-hop to alternative music. It always calms my feelings when I listen to them.

Makoto: And I must add MOURNFUL CONGREGATION as the biggest influences for all of us.

We have been working with you and Weird Truth for years and long may it continue, what are you plans for the next year(s) with FUNERAL MOTH and Weird Truth?

weird-truth-logo

Makoto: In January, FUNERAL MOTH will share the stage with US doom/sludge band Disrotted here in Japan. And we are writing new songs for next material but there are no fixed release plans yet. We want to release next material as soon as possible so we must kick our own ass!!!As for Weird Truth, I have many release plans for 2017. In December 2016, I’ll release split CD of Danish doom/drone band SOL and Japanese doom/industrial/ambient Begräbnis. In January 2017, I’ll release Ukraine doom band Crypt of Silence’s new album, which is co-release with mighty Solitude Productions. And I have some more plans but it’s not time to reveal them yet.

Final words are yours!

Makoto: Thanks for the interview. I hope you enjoy our album. Stay doomed!

26 Years Ago: MY DYING BRIDE finish recording Towards the Sinister first demo

Recorded at Revolver Studios over a weekend, MY DYING BRIDE completed their debut demo on this day (a Sunday) in 1990.

At the same time, ANATHEMA were recording their debut demo at M.A. Studios (they started on the Friday).

Towards the Sinister review from Holocaust zine #5 1991:

Man, I do love the British scene with such God bands like NAPALM DEATH, CARCASS, BOLT THROWER, PARADISE LOST, BENEDICTION (to mention only some names…) I think without these bands the Death Metal scene would be very poor. Am I right? Sure I am! Praise England!!! Now you can add the next band to the list – MY DYING BRIDE! I love the name, it sounds dark to me. Their debut demo “Towards The Sinister” is dark & evil as well. Don’t listen to this tape, when you feel ill, because it’ll crush you!!! MY DYING BRIDE plays slow, ultra heavy, grind you to death kind of stuff. The faster parts are also really heavy and awesome, but there’s not a lot of it! The most of the time is cold, slow and doomy! The demo starts with the longest song “Symphonaire Infernus Et Spera Empyrium” done in the wicked BATHORY meets PARADISE LOST vein with great frightening bells… Then we got “Vast Choirs” with some evil keyboard stuff, “The Grief Of Age” and “Catching Feathers”. True evil, ancient dark Death Metal…I love it!! Besides the demo the band also did a 2 song EP “God Is Alone” for french label – Listenable Records. As a result of the demo the band signed with Peaceville Rec. and there will be a LP out soonish! Can’t wait for its release. MY DYING BRIDE…more bands like this! The demo is $ 6, EP is $ 7……

26 Years Ago: ANATHEMA complete their first demo An Iliad of Woes

Recorded at M.A. Studios over a long weekend, ANATHEMA began recording on Friday 23 November and completed their debut demo on this day (a Sunday) in 1990.

At the same time, MY DYING BRIDE were recording their debut demo at Revolver Studios (they started on Saturday).

An Iliad of Woes review (mostly about the second demo) from Holocaust zine #5 1991:

ANATHEMA is an young, but very promising Death Metal outfit from UK…. They were previously called PAGAN ANGEL. In November ’90 they change the name into ANATHEMA and entered the studio to record their first demo. It was a 4 tracker entitled “An Iliad Of Woes” that went round the scene thanks to tapetrading. In May ’91 the second demo “All Faith Is Lost” was released. I prefer to talk about this one, because it’s newer and better. Hey! Note that I didn’t say the first demo is bad!!!! No way! It still fucking crushes! But the second tape is much more better. KILLER!!!! The music is slow, very slow, gloomy and doomy with interesting lead guitar creating great nostalgic/romantic moods. Yeah, the lead guitar is what I like most in the ANATHEMA’s music… Along with the vocals. They are very heavy and deep. Some moments can remind you of PARADISE LOST, but the whole thing sounds pretty original. Headcrushing stuff!!! Grinding Death!!! “All Faith is Lost” contains 4 songs and each one is more than five minutes long. The tape is obtainable for $ 5 (everywhere). GET IT NOW! You won’t be disapointed, I promise!

25 Years Ago: GOATLORD release Reflections of the Solstice (1992 Joe Frankulin interview)

TOTALLY HORRID, SADISTIC AND SICKENED… DOOM/DEATH FROM LAS VEGAS!

goatlord-rehearsal

US Cult GOATLORD with their sick doom attack classic Reflections of the Solstice!! Released on this day in 1991 by German label Turbo Music, it was released in the US the following year by JL America.

In the distro: we have a full selection of GOATLORD music in stock, including Reflections of the Solstice and The Last Sodomy of Mary

goatlord-band-3

Joe Frankulin interview from Mortuary zine #3, 1992:

TELL ME SOMETHING ABOUT THE CREATION OF GOATLORD:
– The band formed about 5 years ago in Las Vegas area. The members are: Ace Still-Vocals, Jeff Nardone-Drums, Joe Franklin-Guitar, and Jeff Schwob-Bass. We have released 2 demos which are: “demo ’87” and “Sodomize the goat”.

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
– I feel like snorting an ounce of cocaine, licking some rotten pussy and masturbating while sitting on top of a horse in a barn.

goatlord-band-2

I SAY GRAVE???
– I don’t know what the Hell you just asked??? (Hmm, I wanted to know what you’re thinking about the cool Swedish band GRAVE and what you would say about them!!!-ED)

DO YOU LIKE PORNOS???
– Only if they include a horse, two cows, a pig and some ketchup! (Damn animal fuckers!!!!!!-ED)

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE IN, IN GOD OR IN SATAN???
– Neither! Nobody in the band believes in Satan. Jeff Schwob is an Atheist, Jeff Nardone and Ace don’t know what they believe in (Maybe yet in Satan???-ED) and myself is trying to understand the Christian point of view. (Hah?? Why that????? I think there’s nothing that you could understand!!! People should more believe in themself and not in any stupid God, cool Satan or something like that!!! But I better don’t think too much, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha…-ED)

DO YOU KNOW IF YOU GREAT DEBUT LP IS SELLING GOOD AT THE MOMENT?
– I’m not really sure. It has only been out a few weeks. I hope it’s selling good. What I heard from TURBO MUSIC, it’s doing good.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VIOLENCE AT GIGS???
– I think it’s stupid! People should try to have a good time at gigs!!! People can still stage dive and slam dance without getting hurt. So why does there have to be violence??? It’s dumm!

goatlord-live

DO YOU HAVE NEW MATERIAL? WHEN DOES YOUR 2ND LP COME OUT?
– We have about 3 new songs for the next LP. They are so fucken heavy!!! Our next LP won’t be out until maybe sometime next year.

YOUR INFLUENCES:
– Our influences are mostly older bands such as old CELTIC FROST, old SODOM, POSSESSED, EVOKED DOOM, VITUS.

FUTURE PLANS:
– Snort more cocaine and tour.

LAST WORDS BEFORE BRUTALLY DYING:
– Do cocaine and go to Hell!!!!!!!!!

goatlord-rehearsal-room


All photos originally shared by Dennis Hellfukker

22 Years Ago: UNHOLY release The Second Ring of Power (And what about those Shapes…)

First of all, there are different kind of shamans: some of them can SEE (like I do), some of them can change their shape, some of them can fly, some can heal etc. I can’t change my shape, but I really can see&hear Allies when they arrive. At first it will scare you to death when you meet an Ally, but later you will accept their appearance as “natural” as this text you’re reading now. Some day there is a possibility that you can make an Ally as your helper…It is pretty useless to describe true sorcery with words. You have to experience it yourself so you understand that world is really something else as you see it in normal consciousness.

After leaving Lethal Records, UNHOLY released their second album on Avantgarde on this day in 1994. We have the latest reissue (Second Ring of Power CD/DVD set) in stock.

unholy-band-colour

Well anyway AVANTGARDE MUSIC is ready to give huge budget for our next album, so we can spend a whole month in a studio. The recordings of our next album will start at 1 March and the album should be out in about 3 months.

Our new composition have more feeling and also our lyrics are very serious & not so much fictional like in “FROM THE SHADOWS”.

– Jarkko, Pagan Kalewala zine #1, 1994

20 Years Ago: KATATONIA record Brave Murder Day at Unisound

Twenty years ago this month KATATONIA were in Finspång, Sweden at Dan Swanö’s Unisound to record their classic dark doom album Brave Murder Day.

KATATONIA had used Unisound for previous releases: Dance of December Souls, For Funerals to Come… and others. After Brave Murder Day they began recording at Sunlight Studio in Stockholm.

The influences have changed quite a lot, because when we did the first album, we were mainly influenced by Paradise Lost, essentially, and Tiamat as well. On Brave Murder Day, I’m not really sure, but I don’t think we had many influences when we did that album. It was more like we wanted to try something really new for us, which led to this very repetitive sound, which I think is very dark.
– Jonas Renkse, Chronicles of Chaos (1999)

The album was released by Avantgarde in November that year.

katatonia-band-brave-murder-day

In the distro: we have several t-shirts including the Brave Yester Days design, some Katatonia CDs and the tribute double-album December Songs on vinyl

We found the front and back cover pictures in an archive here in Stockholm. They have tons of good – and bad – pictures, and we instantly fell for those two as both of them represented what we were doing at the time. The band picture is also cool, we had the photographer shoot our reflections in a pool of oil in an industrial area – I think that gives the picture a darker shade than if it was just an ordinary photo.
– Jonas Renkse, Chronicles of Chaos (2001)

Around the same time the band went on the 19-day European “Autumn Wilderness Tour” with IN THE WOODS… The last three dates were in London, Bradford and Dublin.

We did one tour in 1996, for Brave Murder Day – it was an European tour, a small tour. I think we had something like twenty dates with a Norwegian band called In the Woods… So that’s the only tour we’ve done, and then we’ve been playing some shows in Sweden, but this was a long way back. We haven’t been playing live for a very long time.
– Jonas Renkse, Chronicles of Chaos (1999)