Thursday, July 31, 2014

Insaniter/Initium/2014 EP Review

  Insaniter  are  a  band  from  Greece  that  plays  a  very  old  school  form  of  thrash  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2014  ep  'Initium".

  A  very  heavy,  melodic  and  old  school  thrash  metal  sound  starts  off  the  ep  and  goes  into  a  faster  direction  a  few  seconds  later  along  with  some  aggressive  screaming  vocals  and  the  music  is  heavily  rooted  in  the  80's  tradition  and  after  awhile  back  up  gang  vocals  find  their  way  onto  the  ep  along  with  a  mixture  of  both  clean  and  heavy  parts.

  A  good  portion  of  the  ep  sounds  like  it  could  of  easily  been  released  between  86  to  88  while  this  is  actually  a  younger  band  playing  an  old  school  form  of  thrash  and  after  awhile  the  vocals  and  guitar  riffing  start  incorporating  more  melody  into  the  music,  as  the  ep  progresses  the  band  start  bringing  in  a  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  along  with  some  melodic  guitar  leads  and  solos  and  on  one  of  the  later  tracks  they  bring  in  a  brief  use  of  clean  playing  while  the  main  focus  remains  on  a  melodic  and  aggressive  thrash  metal  sound.

  Insaniter  has  a  very  melodic  approach  to  their  old  school  thrash  metal  sound  while  also  being  very  heavy  and  aggressive  at  the  same  time,  the  production  sound s very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  philosophical  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Insaniter  are  a  very  great  sounding  old  school  thrash  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Core  Inside  Chaos"  and  "End  Of  Insanity".  8  out  of  10.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wyld/Stoned/2014 EP Review

  Wyld  are  a  band  from  France  that  plays  a  mixture  of  heavy  rock  and  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  release d 2014  ep  "Stoned".

  Am  radio  sounds  start  off  the  ep  before  going  into  a  heavy  70's  rock  style  riff  along  with  some  fast  and  energetic  vocals  which  leads  up  to  some  classic  rock  style  vocals  and  the  band  also  takes  a  proto  style  of  metal  and  makes  it  sound  more  modern  and  after  awhile  blues  style  guitar  leads  are  added  into  the  bands  musical  sound.

  The  following  track  sees  the  band  adding  in  military  style  drum  beats  before  going  into  a  heavier  direction  which  is  more  close  to  sludge,  stoner  or  southern  metal  which  they  also  mix  in  with  a  blues  rock  sound  and  the  following  track  starts  out  with  pot  smoking  before  returning  back  to  a  heavy  rock  direction  while  the  last  song  sees  the  band  bringing  in clean  guitars  as  well  as  being  a  short  instrumental.

  Wyld  plays  a  heavy  style  of  rock  that  brings  in  the  heaviness  of  metal  and  while  it  is  not  completely  original  the  songs  still  sound  very  great  and  contain  the  best  element s of  this  genre,  the production  sound s very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  pot  smoking  and  real  life  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Wyld  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  heavy  rock  and  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Venomous  Poison"  and  "Stoned".  8  out  of  10.  



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Rise Of The Northstar/Welcame/Repression Records/2014 CD Review

  Rise  Of  The  Northstar  are  a  band  from  France  that  plays  a  mixture  of  thrash,  manga,  metalcore  and  hardcore  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Welcame"  which  will  be  released  in  September  by  Repression  Records.

  Acoustic  guitars  start  off  the  album  along  with  a  melodic  guitar  lead  before  going  into  a  more  heavy  metalcore  direction  along  with  some  blast  beats  and  aggressive  screams  which  leads  up  to  some  spoken  vocals  which  go  into  a  more  hardcore  direction  along  with  back  up  gang  shouts  and  breakdown's.

  All  of  the  musical   instruments  on  the  recording  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  after  awhile  melodic  guitar  solos and  leads  find  their  way  into  the  music  and   the  band  has  a  musical  style  that  goes  back  to  the  early  90's  style  of  hardcore  while  also  having  the  aggression  of  thrash  metal.

  You  can  hear  a  little  bit  of  hip  hop  being  mixed  in  with  the  hardcore  elements  at  times  and  they  also  bring  in  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts  and  on  some  of  the  later  tracks  clean  singing  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  after  awhile  more  modern  elements  of  metalcore  can  be  heard  in  the  bands  musical  sound.  and  as  the  album  progresses  you  can  hear  some  death  metal  influences  being  added  into  the  bands  musical  sound.

  Rise  Of  The  Northstar  takes  the  90's  style  of  New  York  hardcore  and  mixes  it  with  the  aggression  of  thrash  metal  and  adds  in  element s of  metalcore  to  give  their  music  a  more  modern  day  sound,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  samurai  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Rise  Of  the  Northstar  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  thrash  metal,  hardcore  and  metalcore  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "What  The  Fuck"  "Samurai  Spirit"  "Tyson"  and  "Blast  'Em  All".  8  out  of  10.     

Friday, July 25, 2014

XII Boar Interview

   1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?   We are XII Boar (pronounced ‘Twelve Boar’) from the small town of Aldershot in the south of England, UK. We play no bullshit, straight to the point, adrenaline-fuelled metal n’ roll.   We're a three-piece who all met a while back through a mutual love of metal, boozing and 90’s wrestling. Having jammed together in a few bands for a number of years, it wasn't until around late 2010 that we got it together and formed the band you see today. Since then it’s just been going from strength-to-strength and we've been making serious waves in the stoner scene.  

  2.So far you have released a 7 inch and 2 ep's how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on all of the releases and also how do they differ from each other?   Musically I’d say we’re a catchy blend of punishing southern-fried grooves, intense thrashing energy and low down dirty riffs. Basically, pure unadulterated fun. We’re not ashamed to play music that makes you want to get up and enjoy yourself. There’s far too many ‘serious’ bands out there who wouldn't dream of playing anything other than blast beats and songs about their ex-girlfriend.   Our first EP ‘XII’ was a good indication of our roots; metal, thrash, stoner, groove. The production is raw and the songs are frantic, but in the best kind of way. I think it wasn't until our second EP ‘Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof’ that we really hit our stride. We stepped everything up ten notches – song writing, production, lyrics. It definitely helped shape how the XII Boar sound can be described as today.   Recently we released the 7” single ‘Truck Stop Baby’ which continues the precedent we set ourselves. It follows a more traditional hard rock structure but with a mammoth groove and swagger, which is definitely the direction we’re headed with our future songs. We’re actually just about to head into the studio to record our debut LP, which will blow your minds, trust me!  

 3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?   Jeeez, well where do we start?! Obviously we've got songs about sleazy girls and hard liquor, but we've also got songs about Mayan prophecies, flying snakes and three-eyed monsters! We’re not limiting ourselves to one area, each song definitely is a journey unto itself.  

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'XII  Boar'?   The name XII Boar is basically derived from a 12 bore shotgun. But because we’re clever we used Roman numerals and a wild pig. You could read into it and say that the name reflects the power and ferociousness of our music, but really it just sounds cool.  
 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 really pride ourselves on our live performance, we've always considered it to be a ‘show’ and at a show people want to be entertained. We see so many bands who just stand still on stage and play their songs one after another, it’s just lame! Our mentality is that if we’re enjoying ourselves then the audience will, and if we’re jumping off drum risers, spinning across the stages and tearing it up like a motherfucker every night then we can’t lose.   We recently supported Corrosion of Conformity at The Underworld, London which was immense! It’s incredible to be able to share a stage with some of your idols, so we certainly brought our A-game that night. Other highlights have got to be Bloodstock 2013 and Hard Rock Hell 2012, but some of the best shows are usually the ones that you think will be the worst. Viva la Scunthorpe!    

6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?   Plenty! In a couple of weeks we’re travelling across to Germany to support the mighty Crowbar, which we cannot wait for! Then in early September we’re flying out to both Spain and Norway to make our mark over there. Beyond that we’ll be ploughing through the UK scene making booties shake all over the place.    

7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?   We certainly are, as previously mentioned we’re about to go into the studio to record our first full-length album so we’ll be looking for a label to put it out. We've had some interest already but we’re not jumping the gun just yet…    

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of stoner, sludge and metal?   The response has been amazing really. Right from the get go, we had people downloading, reviewing and listening to our music from all over the globe. We constantly ship out merchandise to countries beyond our own and to now be invited to these places to play a live show is just a dream come true.   I think our sound appeals to quite a range of music fans; the stoner rockers like our fuzz and grooves, the metalheads dig our aggression and double kicks, the oldies like our banter and 70’s rock vibes – the feedback we get is constantly great, even my Mum likes it!  

 9.When can we expect a full length and also where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?   The full length is written it’s just a matter of recording it, which is happening mid August this year. Once it’s done we’re aiming to have it released by the end of the year. This album has it all really, everything you’d come to expect from XII Boar and more.  

 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?   Well we’re definitely influenced by stuff like Sabbath, Crowbar, High on Fire, Clutch, Deep Purple, ZZ Top, The Sword - but we all grew up listening to metal of some description. We’re not really limiting ourselves to taking influence from somewhere though, I mean Tommy listens to a lot of reggae and hip-hop whilst I like my death metal and doom. As long as it floats our boat in some way then we’ll give it a listen.  

  11.What are some of your non musical interests?   Our shared interests include - jazz mags, weight lifting, swearing loudly, Co-op pasties and bigfoot.  

 12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?   Cheers for all the support, check us out on FB and come say hi at a show. Peace!

Skyconqueror/Under The Pentagram/2014 CD Review

  Skyconqueror  are  a  band  from  Germany  that  plays  an  old  school  form  of heavy  metal    and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2014  album  "Under  the  Pentagram".

  A very  dark  and  distorted  sound  starts  off  before  going  into  a  more  NWOBHM  style  direction  along  with  some  melodic  vocals  and  the music  sounds  like  it  could  of  easily  been  recorded  in  1981  and  after  awhile  you  can  hear  some  elements  of  speed  and  power  metal  in  the  bands  musical  sound  when  they  start  adding  in  more  fast  parts.

  All  of  the  musical  instruments  on  the  album  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  solos  and  leads  the  band  uses  brings  a  very  dark,  evil  and  melodic  sound  to  the  bands  musical  style  while  still  keeping  the  traditional  metal  feeling  alive  and  after  awhile  clean  playing  and  spoken  word  parts  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording.

  There  is  a  great  amount  of  melody  in  the  guitar  riffing  along  with  some  heavy  parts  that  have  almost  an  early  thrash  feeling  to  them  while  the  music  sticks  closer  to  more  of  a  traditional  metal  style  and  one  of  the  later  tracks  sees  the  band  adding  in  a  brief  use  of  acoustic  guitars  along  with  a  power  ballad  before  returning  back  to  a  harder  direction on  the  following  tracks  along  with  some  12  bar  chords  being  utilized  on  the  title  track  and  some  of  the  later  songs  also  see  the  band  adding  in  elements  of  70's  metal  as  well  as  bringing  in  a  small  amount  of  back  up  gang  shouts,  a s the  album  gets  closer  to  the  end  there  is  an  instrumental  added  onto  the  recording  and  they  close  the  album  with  a  couple  of  proto  speed  and  power  metal  tracks.

  Skyconqueror  goes  back  to  an  era  where  heavy  metal  was  heavy  metal  and  there  where  not  many  sub  genres  and  you  can  hear  a  lot  of  what  later  evolved  into  speed  and  power  metal  in  the  bands  musical  sound  and  while  this  is  a  younger  band  from  the  modern  days  all  of  their  music  sounds  30  to  35  years  old  that  is  how  perfect  they  got  this  sound  done,  the  production  has  a  very  old  school  yet  professional  sound  while  the  lyrics  cover  a  variety  of  many  different  occult  topics.  

  In  my  opinion  Skyconqueror  are  a  very  great  sounding  heavy  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.   RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Demon"  "Horseman  Of  The  Grail"  "Under  the  Pentagram"  and  "Blade  Of  Black".  8/5  out  of  10. 

Crystal Eyes Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

We finished the recording in August last year and then Stefan left the band after 12 years of drumming so we had to find a new drummer. It actually didn't take long because our old drummer from 20-years ago was just waiting for this opportunity and he fitted in the band right away. Me and Niclas had also been playing with him in the same Judas Priest tribute band Defenders Of The Faith  since 2001 so we knew he would make it. We mixed and mastered the CD in Studio Fredman in November but didn't get a release date until the 25th of July. We've been practicing like hell and are   now ready to play all over the world.

2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musicla sound that is presented on the new recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The main difference is obviously the vocals which seem to be praised by everyone and I guess I should have sung the last 3 records instead of Daniel and Nico. Song wise it's probably more straight to the point than before but it's still in the vain of the great Heavy Metal from the eighties with bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, Dio, Ozzy, Helloween etc. The focus is always on the melodies and great guitar riffs. I'm really proud of this new record which already received great reviews.

3.The band was formed in 1992 when there where not many bands playing a more traditional style of metal back then, do you feel this genre has made a huge comeback over the years?

When me and Niclas started the band in 1992 Heavy Metal was pretty much dead. I think Bruce Dickinsons return to Iron Maiden in 2001 was a big change in all this and the real music has grown since then. Even though I don't think the songs have the same class or standard as in the eighties I'm  glad that grunge is dead =)

4.This is the first album to be released since 2008, can you tell us a little bit more about the 6 year gap between releases?

After “Chained” was released Nico left the band because of time issues so I took over the vocals once again. Then there was trouble with Paul so he left and Niclas came back. When we had just finished the recording of “Killer” Stefan left and Martin came back. I guess you could say we've had a real member shifting circus during the last years. Beside this we all have regular jobs and families and it's not always easy to find time or get inspiration to write songs. At least we did a 20-years anniversary show 2 years ago with old members playing songs from all records and that was great fun. Right now everything feels perfect with the new line-up so things are looking very bright.

5.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release?

I always write about things in real life but try to not make it to obvious and with I kind of fantasy touch just like Dio did. It's usually not about what you think it is =)

6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Crystal Eyes'?

There's no meaning at all. We had a bunch of ideas for a band name and we just thought this sounded best.

7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

I have some great memories opening for Blind Guardian when we were still a demo-band and then playing before Yngwie Malmsteen after our second record. The Sweden Rock Festivals gigs 2003 and 2005 are also something I never will forget. It's not easy to describe our live performance so you just have to see it for yourself.

8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new release?

We're negotiation with a booking agency right now so we just have to wait and see.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of heavy and power metal?

Extremely overwhelming. The reviews just started to end up on the internet a week ago and it looks like we've made a Killer record!

10.What is going on with some of the other musical projects these days that some of the band members are involved with?

Me, Niclas and Martin are still in Defenders Of The Faith which we started in 1993 to pay tribute to the gods of Heavy Metal: Judas Priest. This is just a band with old friends having some fun and doing some gigs every now and then. We actually played at Sweden Rock Festival in 2008 the day before Judas Priest. We made it to the final in a tribute band competition were we ended up number 3. For myself I made a guest appearance on Azoria's debut record and it turned out to be the single video a couple of months ago.

11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

I've written all Crystal Eyes songs on all records but I never now where I'm heading before I start writing. I don't think of it as a record when I write because it's all about the song in the beginning. It can be influences from anything from Def Leppard – Pyromania to Judas Priest – Painkiller. A god song is always a god song but right now I have no idea.

12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

I'm still listening to what I was listening to in the eighties. I always go back to Priest, Maiden, Sabbath, Accept, Dio, Helloween, Manowar etc. Of course I'm looking for new music all the time but it's very rare to find anything god these days, it feels like no one cares about the songs or melodies anymore.

13.What are some of your non musical interests?

My family is my only interest beside music.

14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

Buy Killer if you're into real Heavy Metal.


Big Black Cloud/Lessons In Fuck You 2/Eolian Empire/2014 CD Review

  Big  Black  Cloud  are  a  band  from  Portland,  Oregon  that  plays  a  mixture  of  punk,  hardcore  and  noise  rock  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Lessons  In  Fuck  You  2"  which  will  be  released  in  August  by  Eolian  Empire.

  Distorted  slide  guitars  start  off  the  album  before  the  music  goes  into  a  more  heavier  direction  along  with  some  shouting  vocals,  melodies  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  sounding  very  powerful  and  the  music  style  is  more  closer  to  a  noise  rock  direction  while  also  having  the  energy  of  punk  rock.

  Psychedelic  sounds  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  and  there  is  a  garage  rock  feeling  being  displayed  in  all  of  the  tracks  that  are  present  on  this  recording  and  there  are  also  a  good  amount  of  guitar  leads  and  diversity  being  present  throughout  the  recording  and  the  band  also  brings  in  a  good  mixture  of  both  vocal  and  instrumental  tracks.

  Big  Black  Cloud  creates  a  very  original  sound  that  is  hard  to  categorize  and  brings  in  elements  of  punk,  post  hardcore,  noise  rock,  garage  and  psychedelia  to  create  the  sound  that  is  present  on  this  recording,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  science  fiction  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Big  Black  Cloud  are  a  very  great sounding  mixture  of  noise  rock,  punk  and  garage  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Black  Sunday"  "Satellites"  "Hate  in  Outer  Space"  and  "Saturn".  8  out  of  10.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pord/Wild/Solar Flare Records/2014 CD Review

  Pord  are  a  band  from  France  that  plays  a  mixture  of  noise  rock  and  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Wild"  which  will  be  released  in  September  by  Solar  Flare  Records.

  Powerful  sounding  bass  guitars  start  off  the  album  along  with  some  fast  rhythm  guitars  and  a  few  seconds  later  aggressive  vocals  are  added  into  the  music which  leads  up  to  a  more  heavy  noise  rock  direction  which  also  utilizes  some  distorted  and  melodic  leads  and  the  musical  style  is  more  in  an  early  90's  direction.

   You  can  hear  a  decent  amount  of  punk  rock  elements  in  the  bands  musical  style  along  with  the  heaviness  of  metal  and  as  the  album  progresses  the  band  brings  in  a  couple  of  long  and  epic  in  length  tracks  along  with  some  shouting  style  hardcore  vocals  and  at  time s you  can  also  hear  the  guitars  alternating  between  clean  and  heavy  parts  as  well  as  the  influence  of  post  hardcore  being  utilized  at  times  and  the  music  also  uses  a  good  mixture  of  slow,  mid  paced  and  fast  parts.

  Pord  plays  a  style  of  noise  rock  that  takes  the  energy  of  punk  and  hardcore  and  mixes  it  in  with  the  heaviness  of  metal  and  while  their  is  not  much  in  the  way  of  originality  presented  in  the  music  the  band  are  still  very  good  at  what  they  do,  the  production  sounds  very  heavy  and  old  school  while  the  lyrics  cover  real  life  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Pord  are  a  very  decent  sounding  mixture  of  noise  rock  and  metal  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical genres,  you  should  check  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Staring  Into  Space"  "What  Are  Tuesdays  For?"  and  "On  The  Couch".  7/5  out  of  10.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Martyr's Tongue Interview


1.Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?

Martyr’s Tongue is currently playing local shows in PR and has been in the process of playing in the US, but that  move will come in due time.

2.Recently you have released a split with BenchPress, how would you describe your current musical direction and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

We personally don’t pay a lot of attention to things like this when we’re writing with the band. But all we can say about what we do is that, we write what we want to hear and try our best not repeat ourselves.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer material?

Every moral impurity and sin presented by man to this earth, this filth we eat as daily bread is our inspiration.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Martyr's Tongue'?

No inspiration behind the name, we just wanted something with blasphemous overtones that could relate to our sound.

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?

The best shows we had as a band so far are the shows we’ve played with our friends and bands we enjoy seeing live.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans lined up for the future?

We’ve been planning and talking every now and then with bands from the US, including Benchpress, The Infamous Gehenna, and there’s also been some talk with Ablaze in Germany, but all of this will happen in due time. We try to do these things with like-minded individuals and we also try not to rush things.

7.You have been a part of a few splits over the years, out of all the splits you have been a part of which one do you enjoy the most?

We don’t have any preference and we think each release has something very special for us.

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal and hardcore?

Although we try to not pay attention to this too much, the feedback we’ve personally witnessed has been great so far and we’re grateful for it.

9.What is going on with the other musical projects these days that some of the band members are involved with?

Almost all of us have different projects that we work on while not doing MT. Our bassist Sergio and drummer Felix play in a death metal band called Severe Mutilation. While our other guitarist Fabian has his band Ma Catharsis Et La Mort. Bradley dedicates to Martyr’s Tongue, while Axel has Magic Moments and Unit Tōgō which both features members of Heksed and VVlad from Norway, Unit Tōgō also features a great noise terrorist from Ohio by the name Malware.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We don’t know what the future holds, but we can promise as long as we’re breathing we will be making music.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your current music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

We are influenced by a lot of different types of music, including metal punk, death metal, raw black metal, and noise. We find ourselves listening to our friend’s records most of the time, among these are The Infamous Gehenna, Benchpress, Black Mask, Low Life from New Jersey, KDC, Ablaze, Northern Widows, Withdrawal, Heksed, VVlad, Deathseekers, Vermapyre and Integrity. Other bands we’ve been listening to are Reset To Zero, Rot In Hell’s newest release and VVegas.

12.What are some of your non-musical interests? 

Probably reading books, watching documentaries and movies.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Dave and Johnny from GTR Records for making this latest release possible with Benchpress!

The Black Rook Interview


1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?

(Flavio & Rubens) – Officially, The Black Rook is the duo Flavio Senra (vocals) and Rubens Lessa (guitars). Although the project itself is new, we´ve been playing together in the same bands for quite a long time – since 2000, to be more precise. Eventually, The Black Rook came as a result of all this work, for that all of our experience (all of our brotherhood, indeed) is noticeable in it.

When we speak about The Black Rook musical proposal, we simply define it as Heavy Metal – for that we collect inspiration from the roots of the genre. When we had our first conversations about this project´s musical direction, we decided to follow the “classical formula” that the milestones of Heavy Metal left to us all: simple compositions with strong riffs, great melodies and – of course – memorable choruses. Attitude, heaviness and feeling expressed through music. No more, no less than that.
2.Recently you have released your first full length album, can you tell us a little bit more about your musical sound?

(Flavio & Rubens) – By the time we were deciding which path to take in our compositions, we took a bunch of specific references amongst our all-time favorite heavy metal albums. On the top of this list we put Black Sabbath, mainly the Ronnie James Dio era (including Heaven & Hell´s The Devil you Know, released in 2009). We also collected inspiration from the album Tony Iommi recorded with legendary singer Glenn Hughes, Fused, for its very well balanced mix of heaviness and groove. Still speaking about musicians that once joined Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio´s solo albums are a strong reference to us. Finally, considering we simply adore heavy-doom metal and that we played in bands of this genre before, there´s an inevitable heritage of it in our music. Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus, for instance, are references that inevitably come to our mind when we´re composing. If we think and dig a bit more, we may find some other bands that, purposely or not, echo on our music.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

(Flavio & Rubens) – When it comes to inspiration for lyrics, our intention always was to make songs that could express (somehow) reflections about the human being condition, his place in the contemporary world, the tense relations between individual matters versus public/collective issues, and related topics. Some lyrics are more subjective, others more narrative, but all of them can be, in some perspective, related to any person – we purposely wrote lyrics that, in general, could be easily related to anyone´s life experience somehow, so that each individual could, adapting to his own personal experiences, identify him/herself with the message delivered by the song (through lyrics and music, combined, of course). In addition, it is clearly noticeable that, depending on the interpretation done by the listener/reader, some songs are easily related among themselves – for instance, the last two tracks of our album. We never had the intention of doing a “conceptual album” - and we repeat that, to avoid any kind of misconception or misunderstanding: this is NOT a conceptual album! On the other hand, it is obvious that this complex web of meanings can be identified, in which songs can be connected to each other. This is one of the strategies we had in mind in other to give this album a whole identity, an “album-like personality”, so that, by listening to it, one would not have the sensation that this is just a compilation of ten isolated singles, unrelated to each other, but an album, in its purest conception, musically and lyrically.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'The Black Rook'?
(Flavio & Rubens) – As noticeable by the front cover of our album, we use in our graphic project (and in some lyrics) material related to the semantic field of Chess. Apart from being a fabulous game, everybody knows that Chess also has a strong symbolism within itself, and each chess piece portrays an idea in the game.
It is widely-known that each side of chess represents a kingdom and an army, and that the main goal of the game is to kill the king of the enemy side (by the way, the word “chess” comes from Persian word “Shah”, which means “king”).Therefore, the entire chessboard represents the battlefield upon which the soldiers (pawns, knights, bishops and the other pieces) struggle on until death.
Always keeping in mind that each piece represents an idea, there, on each corner of the game board, stands the rook. Inside the great metaphor of chess, the rook represents the castle's walls, which shall protect the king, the queen, the bishop, and the knights. It conveys the meaning of the solid strength of an entire kingdom. But among all the pieces of chess, the rook plays an important and specific role, for it´s the only “non-human” piece of the game. The rook is a construction made of stones, a castle, a tower, while all the other pieces are miniatures of social roles played by humans – a “king”, a “queen”, a “bishop”, a “knight”, a “pawn”, titles that differ in status, but have one thing in common: under them, there´s a human being. And, obviously, all human shall die one day – due to advanced age or to war wounds. At this point we have the great symbolism of the tower as a huge construction that has witnessed many different men as kings, many women as queen, several men as pawns and knights, live and die in countless wars…and it is still there, resistant, consistent, persistent against time, in its concreteness solitude. These metaphors are present in the lyrics of our title-track (“The distant castle sees crowns fade away / Sad memories to remember and portray”).

But then again, one question could be asked: why the hell to use the name of a chess piece to baptize a metal band? First of all, the symbolism of the rook in chess may be applied to Heavy Metal: it doesn´t matter how much time goes on, Metal, as a musical genre, as a cultural choice, as a way of life, does not fall, does notdie. Even if it sounds a bit “cliché” or “slushy” to repeat that, it´s the truest sentence that a fan of metal can say. We all know that during the mid-nineties the media was assaulted by the “Metal is Dead” slogan, we had metal artists neglecting the genre, considering it “old-fashioned”, “meaningless”, “immature”, etc. If we go back in time and analyze those days, we´ll easily find musicians that in the eighties played typical Heavy Metal, but that, in the nineties, changed their musical style – some adopted a more “grunge-like” sound, other a more “industrial”, and other unclassified examples. But now, in 2014, metal fans can say that Heavy Metal survived this “anti-metal ideology” (or “anti-metal fashion”, we can say…), and the genre it is still standing, just like the rook we were talking about. If we also remember that Heavy Metal has always been a victim of vicious stereotyping just because it goes against traditions and “socially-accepted” ways of living and thinking, we can, again, understand why the metaphor of the rook fits perfectly to describe the genre. It does not matter what is done or what is tried against metal, it will stand, just as a gigantic rook.

Finally, considering that every band name should have an easy-remembered and commercial name, we added the adjective “Black” to it. For a Heavy Metal band, it sounded to us the most obvious choice of color to feature in a Metal band name. We thought that including the definite article “The” in the band name would make it sound even better, giving a certain importance to it: it´s not any ordinary rook, it is “The” rook, “The Black Rook”. This is what our music represents to us, a rock-solid Black Rook, and we believe this representation makes sense to Heavy Metal fans in general, for that, when it comes to their relation with music, we headbangers usually emphasize ideas like authenticity and faithfulness – generally, more than fans of other musical genres. We see this concern for authenticity and faithfulness to metal when, for instance, fans of a specific band shows strong disapproval towards a new musical direction of their favorite band, claiming that they “sold themselves”; or when this same band goes back to old-times metal style for compositions, they´re accused of “being artificial”, “not composing with feeling” or “being a parody of themselves”. When an old-times rock or metal band does a reunion with the original line-up, there will always be a fan to claim that “they´re doing it just for the money”. Even expressions like “true metal” or “false metal” can be included in this list. The point is: for us, fans of Heavy Metal, it´s not only a matter of listening to it, but living defending it. That´s why it made so much sense to us to call our band “The Black Rook”.

5.Currently there are only 2 member sin the band, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you chose to remain a duo?

(Flavio & Rubens) – As we stated in the very beginning of this interview, The Black Rook is, officially, a duo: Flavio Senra & Rubens Lessa. However, when it comes to live performances, it is obvious that we´ll need to recruit a bass and a drummer. Then, we decided to have always some guests to fill out this role. Currently, we have two very, very special friends playing with us: Luis Carlos & Thiago Velásquez, drummer and bassist of stoner metal band Statik Majik. By the way, we truly recommend for those who might not know their music to check out their music (in Youtube, you´ll easily find their official videoclips and also professional footage of live performances). In a few weeks we´ll release a new webclip, in which the 6thtrack of our album, “Rats”, is performed by this entire four musicians line-up. Eventually, gigs will come, and we intend to record them, of course.

6.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?

We´re still completely independent, and presenting our work to labels, of course. So far, The Black Rook debut album is only available in its virtual format, for that it is expensive to release physical albums. But we really want to release it in its physical version as well. The best-case scenario would be to sign with a label (and even a “small” one would be a “major” to us in this moment!), so then it would be much more possible to release the album in its conventional CD format.

7.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal?

(Flavio & Rubens) – The album was officially released on 25th April, 2014. From that day until now, we´ve already got great feedback from webradios, podcasts, webzines, magazines, blogs and fans of Heavy Metal, from several states of our country and from various points of the world – Belgium, Austria, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Canada, U.S.A, Colombia, Egypt, Malaysia, Japan and more. Of course we would sound like two stupid, megalomaniac and idiot arrogant liars if we posed here as “Heavy Metal Big Stars”, like Iron Maiden, Metallica or other major institution of Heavy Metal. All we want to say is that, considering the circumstances – the fact that we´re, at the moment, promoting the album totally on ourselves, with no label or any kind of extra financial support than our own pockets, with the album only in virtual format -, we think that the album has been receiving good – and, so far, exclusively with the internet promotion.
8.Are any of the band members involved with any other musical projects these days?

(Flavio & Rubens) – At this exact moment, no. To be honest, we don´t have that much time to devote ourselves to other musical projects. It´s not impossible that it might happen in the future, but, right now, we´re focused on The Black Rook.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

(Flavio & Rubens) – We intend to promote the album worldwide, spreading it as much as we can, and keep on producing and releasing material (new songs and new videos).

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?

(Flavio & Rubens) – As we mentioned previously in this interview, we´re a “Heavy Metal from the Roots oriented band”, let´s say. Black Sabbath – the godfathers of us all – are a clear reference. We can identify in our album some influences of the solo albums of Glenn Hughes, Ronnie James Dio and Rob Halford, spread around the tracks. Of course, we´re speaking from the position of composers, therefore, we know exactly where some ideas came from. It´s very interesting that, when we read the reviews of our album, some reviewers, to define our music, name some references that never came to our mind – which is not a problem, of course. The fact is that each listener will “decode” the musical message in a particular way, and compare to this or that band. That´s why it´s kind of relative to us to list bands and bands that influenced us (and there are many, to be fair). We usually prefer to mention that we collect inspiration from the roots of Heavy Metal. And when it comes to music that we´ve been listening to recently, we keep constantly “revisiting the past”, for that we usually listen and listen again to these milestones of metal. However, of course we try to keep updated, and among the several bands we keep in listening at the same time, there are, indeed, some new bands. One example is one of the newest “phenomenons” of contemporary rock/metal scenario, Ghost. We got in touch with their music even before the release of Opus Eponymous  (their first full length album, released in 2010), through the “Elizabeth” EP, released in 2008. Since then, we became true Ghost admirers. By the way, they´ll play in our city in a few months, and we´ll definitely be there.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

(Rubens) – Metal aside, I work as a teacher for junior-high students. I teach Portuguese and English in public and private schools. Sometimes music becomes part of a class because I can’t avoid it, so I like to work with songs in both languages depending on the class of course. Most of the time I choose a subject and then I use a song that handles with a theme towards to a specific text (ok, it’s boring and I think not everybody would like to read about class methods here). Another thing I like to do (but time has turned it very rare nowadays) is writing poems, especially sonnets. I have a sort of them and hope to edit my textual production someday in a book or even make it available in the World Wide Web as an e-book or something like that. There is a quite of writers I really like as Edgar A. Poe, Machado de Assis, Fernando Pessoa, Samuel T. Coleridge, Shakespeare etc. Being with friends, having a good and pleasant conversation is another great thing, I guess to everybody. Not necessarily talking about music, but about so many different things. Those stuffs helped to develop the man I am so far (and I hope they keep helping me in the future).

(Flavio) – As my fellow Rubens, I work as a teacher. I teach Portuguese and Literature to High School level students in IFRJ, a federal technical educational institution here in our state, Rio de Janeiro. Just as music, teaching is one of the most fulfilling activities in my Life, for sure. I am also deeply involved in writing either academic papers related to the research I started in my Phd Dissertation (which was about Literature, Philosophy and Heavy Metal by the way) and literary work itself, poems and short stories. I usually post all of these productions in my blog ( and I´m in contact with publishing editors in other to publish a book until next year.

In my personal life, Literature and Music have always walked side by side. It´s already been fourteen years involved in these two great fields: on one side, devoting myself to studying, teaching and writing Literature, and, on another side, listening, composing and playing Heavy Metal. And I truly hope to keep on this “double road” as much as I can get.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

(Flavio & Rubens) First of all, we truly thank you for this interview, it was a pleasure and an honor! We invite all readers to check out our music. The Black Rook music comes straight from our hearts, and it is very, very rewarding for us when our songs reach people in some way. We do hope that those readers who got interested in our work after reading this interview really enjoy our songs, as much as we enjoy composing and performing them. Metal on!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

XII Boar/Truck Stop Baby/2014 7 Inch Review

  This  is  the  final  review  of  a  recording  from  XII  Boar  which  shows  the  band  continuing  their  southern  flavored  sludge/doom  metal  sound  with  the  the  7  inch  being  self  released  in  2014  and  called  "Truck  Stop  Baby".\
  A  70's  style  southern  rock  sound  starts  off  the  first  track  before  adding  in  the  heaviness  of  sludge  and  metal  along  with  some  melodic  blues  rock  style  vocals  that  also  have  a  more  aggressive  feeling  to  them  that  reminds  me  of  Clutch  and  the  music  also  keeps  more  up  beat  and  adds  in  a  more  rock'n'roll  feeling  as  time  goes  on  by  along  with  some  early  60's  style  guitar solos  and  leads.

  On  the  second  track  the  music  starts  out  with  some  clean  steel  guitars  before  adding  in  a  heavy  proto  metal  style  bass  guitar  along  with  some  melodic  70's  style  classic  rock  vocals  and  after  awhile  blues  orientated  guitar  solos  and  leads  are  added  into  the  music  and  this  song  sounds  like  the  kind  of  music  you  can  expect  to  hear  in  biker  bars

  XII  Boar  lets  the  70's  rock  influence  dominate  the  music  on  these  2  tracks  while  still  having  a  great  amount  of  heaviness  in  their  musical  sound,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  truck  stops  and  train  wrecks.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  soundign  recording  from  XII  Boar  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  classic  southern  rock  and  sludge  metal,  you  should  check  out  this  7  inch.  RECOMMENDED  TRACK  "Truck  Stop  Baby".  8  out  of  10.



XII Boar/Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof/2012 EP Review

  This  is  a  review  of  another  recording  from  XII  Boar  which  sees  the  band  continuing  their  mixture  of  sludge,  doom  metal,,  southern  and  stoner  rock  with  the  ep  being  self  released  in  2012  and  called  "Split  Tongue,  Coven  Hoof".

  A  very  distorted  sound  starts  off  the  ep  before  goign  into  a  more  southern  and  stoner  rock  direction  along  with  some  vocals  that  are  rough  yet  aggressive  at  the  same  time  and  you  can  also  hear  a  decent  amount  of  melody  in  the  bands  musical  sound  along  with  some  powerful  soundign  bass  leads.

  There  is  a  decent  amount  of  90's  sludge  and  groove  metal  in  the  heavier  side  of  the  bands  musical  sound  along  with  a  brief  use  of  blast  beats  and  the  guitar  leads  bring  in  some  early  80's  metal  elements  into the  recording  and  there  is  a  good  amount  of  punk  rock  style  energy  being  displayed  in  the  songs  and  as  the  ep  progresses  you  can  hear  some  heavy  parts  that  have  almost  a  death  metal  feeling  to t hem  at  times.

  XII  Boar  sound  a  lot  more  heavier  on  this  recording  with  their  sludge  and  doom  metal  sound  having  a  more  powerful  effect  this  time  around  while  southern  and  stoner  rock  are  still  a  very  huge  part  of  the  musical  sound  that  is  presented  on  the  ep,  the production  sounds  very  professional  for  being  a  self  released  recording  while  the  lyrics  cover  everyday  themes  with  a  touch  of  darkness.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  XII  Boar  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  doom/sludge  metal  with  a  more  southern  vibe,  you  should  check  out  this  ep.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Hellspeed  Viper"  and  "Triclops".  8  out  of  10.


XII Boar/XII/2011 EP Review

  XII  Boar  are  a  band  from t he  United  Kingdom t hat  plays  a  mixture  of  stoner,  sludge,  doom  metal  and  hard  rock  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  self  released  2011  ep  "XII".

  A  very  heavy  sound  starts  off  the  ep  along  with  some  aggressive  vocals  and  the  energy  of  punk  rock  and  they  also  add  in  the  heaviness  of  sludge  as  well  as  adding  in  solos  and  leads  that  bring  a  stoner  rock  vibe  to  the  bands  musical  sound  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  have  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  Slow  doom  metal  guitar  riffs  can  be  heard  in  the  bands  musical  sound  at  times  and  the  second  track  sees  the  band  bringing  in  a  brief  use  of  clean  playing  along  with  some  classic  rock  elements  along  with  a  brief  use  of  bass  leads  and  the  band  also  brings  in  some  of  the  90's  southern  metal  sound  into  their  musical  style  at  times  and  they  also  bring  in  a  brief  instrumental  before  bringing  back  vocals  on  the  last  track.

  XII  Boar  brings  in  a  very  old  school  and  retro  sound  that  is  very  heavy  along  with  a  great  amount  of  energy  that  the  bring  in  their  southern  influence  sludge  metal  style,  the  production  sounds  very  heavy  while  the  lyrics  cover real  life  themes.  

  In  my  opinion  XII  Boar  are  a  very  great  sounding  mixture  of  doom  metal,  sludge,  southern  and  stoner  rock  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  those  musical  genres,  you  should c heck  out  this  band.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Beg,  Borrow,  Steal"  and  "S.K.O.L.".  8  out  of  10.

Crystal Eyes/Killer/Massacre Records/2014 CD Review

  Crystal  Eyes  are  a  band  from  Sweden  that  plays  power  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Killer"  which  was  released  by  Massacre  Records.

  A  very  old  school  power  metal  riff  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  solos  and  melodic  vocals  and  the  guitar  leads  the  band  uses  are  in  the  NWOBHM  direction  and  all  of  the  musical  instruments  sound  very  powerful  along  with  some  anthem  style  chorus'es  and  the  bands  sticks  mostly  to  an  80's  style  of  metal.

  While  the  music  is  all  in  an  old  school  direction  it  has  a  more  modern  feeling  as  a  result  of  the  way  it  is  produced  and  the  music  combines  a  more  hard  rock  style  of  heavy  metal  with  German  style  power  metal  while  also  having  a  more  dark  and  less  happy  approach  to  the  genre  and  some  of  the  vocals  seem  to  have  a  Mercyful  Fate  influence  to  them  at  times.

  Acoustic  guitars  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  along  with  a  couple  of  the  later  tracks  being  a  power  ballad    one  of  which  also  sees  the  band  bringing  in  a  brief  use  of  growls  and  the  following  tracks  return  back  to  a  more  harder  and  old  school  style  of  heavy  metal  with  some  elements  that  border  on  the  more  commercial  side  of  the  genre  30  years  back  along  with  a  sound  that  reminds  me  of  Accept  during  that  era.  

  Crystal  Eyes  plays  a  style  of  power  metal  that  also  brings  in  the  melody  and  hard  rock  and  traditional  metal,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  fantasy  and  real  life  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Crystal  Eyes  are  a  very  great  sounding  power  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Warrior"  "Forgotten  Realms"  "The  Lord  Of  Chaos"  and  "Dogs  On  Holy  Ground".  8  out  of  10.        

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reaper/An Atheist Monument/Massacre Records/2014 CD Review

  Reaper  are  a  band  from  Germany  that  plays  a  traditional  form  of  heavy  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "An  Atheist  Monument"  which  was  released  by  Massacre  Records.

  Distorted  clean  playing  starts  off  the  album  along  with  some  melodies  before  going  into  a  heavier  musical  direction  which  also  leads  to  guitar  solos  and  leads  becoming  a  part  of  the  bands  musical  sound  and  after  the  intro  the  music  starts  going  into  a  more  traditional  metal  direction  along  with  some  vocals  that  have  a  rough  and  melodic  sound  to  them.

  Blast  beats  can  be  heard  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them  and  the  music  sticks  mostly  to  an  80;s  style  of  metal  but  with  a  more  modern  day  production  and  the  music  sticks  to  mostly  a  mid  paced  direction  while  it  also  has  its  fast  and  slow  moments  at  times.

  There  is  a  brief  use  of  growls  on  one  of  the  tracks  while  the  music  never  gets  heavy  enough  to  qualify  as  death  metal  an d  the  music  also  shows  elements  of  the  style  of melody  that  evolved  into  speed  or  thrash  metal  and  while  the  vocals  are  very  rough  the  singer  also  shows  he  get  signed  with  a  lot  of  talent  and  melody  and  some  of  the  later  tracks  shows  a  brief  use  of  spoken  word  samples  and  clean  playing  before  making  a  return  back  to  a  heavier  musical  direction  and  the  last  track  brings  in  a  brief  use  of  female  vocals.

  Reaper  plays  a  very  traditional  form  of  metal  only  the  ways  that  veterans  can  play  this  genre  as  well  as  updating  their  musical  sound  for  the  modern  day,  the  production  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  philosophical  and  anti  religion  themes.

  In  my  opinion  Reaper  are  a  very  great  sounding  heavy  metal  band  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  musical  genre,  you  should  check  out  this  recording.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "Realms  Of  Chaos"  "Hail  The  New  Age"  "Taste  My  Revenge"  and  "Fields  of  Joy".  8  out  of  10.

Unisonic/Light Of Dawn/Armoury Records/2014 CD Review

  Germany's  Unisonic  have  returned  with  a  new  album  which  shows  the  band  continuing  their  hard  rock  approach  to  power  metal  and  this  is  a  review  of  their  2014  album  "Light  Of  Dawn"  which  will  be  released  in  August  by  Armoury  Records.

  Dark  and  epic  sounding  synths  start  off  the  album  giving  the  music  a  feeling  of  a  fantasy  movie  soundtrack  and  after  the  intro  the  music  starts  going  a  more  80's  hard  rock  metal  direction  along  with  some  melodic  vocals  which  leads  up  to  a  more  German  orientated  power  metal  direction  being  added  into  the  music.

  Guitar  solos  and  leads  when  they  added  into  the  music  gives  the  music  a  more  old  school  hard  rock/heavy  metal  feeling  and  there  is  also  a  good  mixture  of  both  clean  and  hard  parts  along  with  some  acoustic  guitars  being  utilized  at  times  and  they  also  bring  in  a  few  power  ballads  and  some  of  the  tracks  have  a  more  anthem  aor  orientated    feeling  to  them  along  with  all  of  the  musical  instruments  having  a  very  powerful  sound  to  them.

  There  is  a  great  amount  of  diversity  being  displayed  in  all  of  the  tracks  while  the  music  always  remains  true  to  a  more  melodic  musical  direction  and  as  the  album  progresses  the  music  gets  a  little bit  more  faster  almost  close  to  speed  metal  and  synths  also  make  their  return  in  certain  sections  of  the  recording    

  Unisonic  remain  true  to  their  hard  rock  approach  to  power  metal  bringing  in  a  great  amount  of  melody  and  catchy  hooks  into  all  of  the  songs,  the  productions  sounds  very  professional  while  the  lyrics  cover  real  life  themes.

  In  my  opinion  this  is  another  great  sounding  recording  from  Unisonic  and  if  you  are  a  fan  of  this  band,  you  should  enjoy  this  album.  RECOMMENDED  TRACKS  INCLUDE  "You  And  I"  "Blood"  "For  The  Kingdom"  and  "Manhunter".  8  out  of  10.  

Planet Of Zeus Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?

One day after the release of the album we embarked on our greek tour, playing 16 shows in all greek major cities. We got the chance to play most of the album's songs live and the immediate feedback we received really helped us realize that we are on the right track. We also had the honor of playing at 4 european festivals. Heavy by the Sea in Athens, Glockenschlag Festival in Hamburg, Exit in Novisad and Rock im Ring in Bolzano.

2.Recently you have released a new album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical direction of the new recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

All these years of playing together made us stronger as a musical team and gave us the confidence to record the album live in the studio. That was a big change for us. We established a more raw and groovy sound, that resembled the energy between us in our live shows. We didn't want to make the album vintage sounding, although our most beloved recordings come from the past. We had the songs ready and really believed in them, because we thought that we were getting closer and closer to establishing our own sound. A seamless blend between blues,hard rock and metal, genres which share some common values.Sincerity, groove and riffs.

3.The band has been around since 2000 but waited 8 years to release the first album and since then it has been 3 years in between releases can you tell us a little bit more about the gaps?

We could label the first 8 years, as our formation period. In 2000 we were 16 years old and played our first gigs, but as you know the distance from conceiving the idea of a band to actually having one , that has something to offer, is quite long. After the release of our first album, "Eleven the hard way", we started touring around Greece, with one purpose. To become a great live band, that makes people dance and have a good time. Just like the bands we admired. We rehearsed in a daily basis, trying to improve both our songwriting and playing skills as a team and not as individuals and slowly gathered the experiences, that would later become songs and make some people actually relate to them. When "Macho Libre" was released we had just become quite a big name in Greece and this fact led to our first European tour, which was a life-changing moment for us. It made us realize, that we're actually far more united and determined as a team outside of our comfort zone. We slowly started playing some European festivals, like Stoned from the Underground and Exit, shared the stage with many of our musical heroes, from Ozzy to Clutch and all this things led to booking our third and most lengthy European tour ever, which starts on the 28th of August and consists of 36 shows in 42 days.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the new release?
"Vigilante" is probably our lyrically most diverse album. It starts with "The great Dandolos", which is a song about a famous Greek gambler, "Nick the Greek", who was said to have gone from rags to riches about 73 times. He had no respect for money, donated enormous sums in charity and his life was all about the game. There are songs like "Second Coming", "Tornado", "Vigliante", " Disappointment Blues" and "The Beast Within", which address sociopolitical matters in a quite aggressive manner. There are plain feel-good songs like "Burn this city down" and "Sky High Heels". And last but not least, there is one love song called "No tomorrow".

5.I know that the band name is related to Greek Mythology, what was the decision behind using it as a band name?
The name was actually conceived in a period, when we were listening to Jimi Hendrix's Experience and several other stoner-psychedelic bands. So, when we heard of Planet of Zeus(Jupiter) in our of astronomy classes, we immediately felt we had gotten ourselves a name.

6.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
One of our most memorable shows was our first sold-out gig in Athens, at the historic "Aν club", a show that made us feel obliged to all these people who believed in us and gave us a mission of "keepin' it real" for them. One year later, in Athens again, at "Gagarin205" 1200 people attended our show and made us feel like local heroes. And last but not least all the shows we played around Europe, sharing the stage with bands that we love and admire, like Clutch, Hermano, Brant Bjork, Monster Magnet, Ozzy, Machinehead etc.

7.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
answered in question 3.

8.The new album was released on Ihaveadrum  Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
Ihaveadrum records is an independent record label we founded in April 2014 after not getting the offers we wanted from several record labels. Ihaveadrum records from now on, will be a sanctuary for bands, that we love and have problems finding a record label.

9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your newer music by fans of stoner rock and metal?
Since we've tested our new album both on the road and through the stereo , we feel really blessed , that the people who listen to it, dig the direction we are taking and understand the reasons we felt the urge to do it. Nowadays, our audience has shifted more to rockers and metallers than stoner fans, because we also have moved to more straight-forward song structures and don't have enough nice psychedelic jams for them.

10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
I can't specifically say, but I think we are getting closer to writing our best songs. We want to incorporate all the things, that made the songs we love from the past special. Freedom, ignorance of danger, not giving a fuck...But not in a vintage sounding way.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Band of Gypsys, Allman Brothers band, Muddy Waters,Wishbone Ash, AC/DC, Rage against the machine, Mastodon, Metallica, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Clutch. We enjoy listening an array of musical styles. From the history of Blues, to afrobeat, to Dj Premier's whole discography, to Jaga Jazzist.

12.What are some of your non musical interests?
We are creatures of the night and so we enjoy everything that involves a bar playing nice tunes, beer and nice company. As we 're growing older we are getting fonder and fonder of tasting delicious food. We also watch tons of documentaries.

13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

In a period of time, when  90% of mainstream music produced, seems to be aimed at children under 12, support the bands you love and treat you with respect.See you on the road...