Hellfest 2014 October | 2011 |

Archive for 10/31/2011

Torsten Ihlenfeld of Brainstorm checked in with The Age Of Metal

German power metal band Brainstorm returns with a new release. On The Spur Of the Moment, their 9th studio album. A less epic album that brings back that good old power metal crispy sound, an example of it are tracks like In The Blink Of An Eye, Temple Of Stone, Dark Life & A life To Hold. this doesn’t mean that they lowered the music quality, on the contrary the change gave to the album a more strong element that makes the band progress on a new direction.

The new album also presents some soft and melodic tracks that are the prefect balance to the power tracks, songs like Below The Line, No Sinner – No Saint, & My Own Hell, are songs that project a more fresh sound on the band that keeps them faithful to the power metal tradition that they had built through this years.

The Age Of Metal had the chance to talk with Torsten Ihlenfeld guitar player & founder of Brainstorm about the album, and the state of the band. This is what he told us:

Brainstorm just released their 9th studio album On The Spur Of The Moment, what can you tell us about the record?

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Are there any concept or idea behind the album?

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What are the main differences between On The Spur Of The Moment and your previous album Memorial Roots?

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The album was produced by Axel Heckert, how was the experience to working with him?

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You also recorded a video for the track In These Walls, what can you tell us about the concept for this video clip?

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You been on the power metal scene for a long time, how do you see the state of the power metal scene now in contrast to what it was when Brainstorm begun back in 1989?

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Are there any plans of touring after the release of the album?

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Are any plans to tour the US?

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What is next for Brainstorm?

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Interview with Erlend Hjelvik of Kvelertak

Hailing from Norway, Kvelertak play a unique mix of punk and black metal welded together with some good old fashioned rock n’roll that will completely blow your brains out. They’re just plain fun to listen to, and their music begs to be blasted at full volume while driving down the highway. Their first album, which is self-titled, came out in 2010 but only made it across the ocean to be released here in March. It’s absolutely explosive from beginning to end – I dare you to try to remain still while listening to it. There’s so many different genres and elements in the mix here, it would be pretty hard not to enjoy Kvelertak’s blending & re-molding of them all into something fantasically new. Few albums I’ve listened to this year have carried the ferocity Kvelertak displays while retaining such a rich and genre-defying sound. Right now, they’re  finishing up a US tour with Skeletonwitch and Zoroaster. Check out our chat with lead vocalist Erlend Hjelvik below.

This is your 2nd tour in North America, how’s it going so far?

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What’s touring with  Skeletonwitch and Zoroaster like?

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Can you tell me about how Kvelertak came to be in the beginning?

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Is there any moment that made you realize you’d reached a certain level of notoriety, that things were starting to get big?

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You sing in your native Norwegian, what made you decide to do that?

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Can you tell me about your lyrics? What themes do they follow?

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I’m a huge fan of John Baizely’s artwork, the cover he drew for you guys is amazing. How did he come to do the artwork for your debut album?

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Is there any particular reason why an owl seems to be a logo for you guys?

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Your debut album came out in 2010 but was only released in the US in March. Do you have plans for a new album yet?

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Your last album had a lot of collaborators from the Norwegian metal scene, do you think your next album will mirror that?

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What’s up for you guys after this tour?

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Isole talks to The Age of Metal

Isole is strangely prolific for an epic doom metal band. Their new album, Born from Shadows, is their fifth album in six years. That’s pretty ridiculous no matter which way you look at it. Even the band has no idea how they do it, as Crister Olsson tells me that he doesn’t know how they release so many albums, especially considering that there are parents of young children in this band.

The band’s new album, Born From Shadows, is definitely a doom metal album. There’s no mistaking it for anything else. Isole shows that they still write doom metal and it’s great. The vocals can be either hit or miss. Sometimes the high notes fit, sometimes the high notes just don’t belong. I wanna hear more screaming in the record. It’s some of the best screaming you’ll hear all year, no kidding, and bringing it up more in the mix at the proper times (middle-end of the title track for example) will help make it more dark in my opinion.

Either way, Born From Shadows is an astonishingly solid piece of work and another winner in this band’s quickly growing catalog, and my complaints above are minor compared to the album as a whole. Even more astonishing is that it manages to even still differentiate itself from the previous album Silent Ruins (released in 2009) because of how dark it is. Seriously. I could cut through the darkness in this record. If you’re a Candlemass fan you’ll be right at home. I can’t and won’t call it thoroughly trendsetting in the doom metal scene, but it’s still a cut above most doom metal, that’s for sure. If they continue at this pace, they’ll have more solid records than most classic rock bands in half the time.

As hinted above, we had the opportunity to interview Crister Olsson (Guitar/ Vocals) which you can find below.

Tell us about yourselves for the people who’ve never heard of you here.

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What was the process for recording Born From Shadows like?

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Is there a concept behind Born From Shadows?

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How was it working with Jens Bogren (the legendary producer of many famous metal bands)

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Do you guys intend to continue the concept of the previous album, Silent Ruins?

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How are you all so prolific, especially compared to similar artists in your genre?

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How do you all intend to tour behind this album?

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Interview with Anders Nyström of Katatonia

 

Swedish metallers Katatonia are out on tour right now with Opeth for the North American Heritage Tour. We had the chance to talk with guitarist Anders Nyström when they came to Tempe on Saturday, check out our chat below.

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Absu – Abzu (2011)

As a transplant to Arizona from Dallas, TX, I am all too familiar with Absu. Their take on the black metal genre has always been familiar yet fresh at the same time. They’re also known for writing really involved lyrics – moreso than most black metal bands who focus on Satanic themes. It’s even better that they’re from my hometown. Their new album, Abzu, has recently come out and it’s their first album since 2009’s self titled Absu album. How does it measure up?
First off, this album will please both former Absu fans and newcomers to their mythological treachery. It speeds up the frenetic pace of their self-titled album by leaps and bounds. Unlike the last album, this album has much fewer songs on it. I feel as if that increases the quality of this release compared to the last one. Each song here goes at a breakneck pace and any breaks in the speed are few and far between. This is a perfect marriage of the more experimental black metal of today’s age and the old-school black metal of year’s past.


At the end of this release we have the centerpiece of this record, the Song for Ea. It’s segmented into six different unique sections. This is the longest song of their career. It’s an amazing song that combines all of what you expect from Absu in one track. It has all of the interludes, the fast stuff, and the really fast “I can’t even keep up!” stuff.
In closing, I offer this suggestion. If you listen to more left-field experimental black metal, listen to this album and enjoy it. Then get your friends who love their satanic black metal to listen to it. They’re likely to be on board. What a great album.

Visions Of Atlantis – Maria Magdalena EP (2011)

After the success of their 4rd studio album Delta at the beginning of the year, Visions Of Atlantis returns with more great music. This time condensed on a six track EP titled Maria Magdalena. The name was taken from the 1985 german pop song, original of Sandra, and it’s the track that opens the EP. Visions Of Atlantis also took the chance to re-recorded an updated version of Last Shut Of Your Eyes, which appeared on their second album Cast Away back in 2004.

We can’t say that Visions Of Atlantis is presenting something new on this EP, other than crushing and straight forward symphonic gothic metal at its best. The symphonic and vocal work is amazing and contrast perfectly with the aggressive guitar riffs and drum power. So if you are looking for a quick powerful, fast, and melodic metal fix Visions Of Atlantis‘s new EP Maria Magdalena would do the job.

Tracklist:

1. Maria Magdalena 3:35
2. Melancholia 5:29
3. Change Of Tides 4:55
4. Distant Shores 4:01
5. Last Shut Of Your Eyes 4:58
6. Beyond Horizon – The Poem Pt. II 3:27

Iced Earth – Dystopia (2011)

After three years of absence Iced Earth returns with their tenth studio album Dystopia, an album featuring concepts from V from Vendetta, Equilibrium and Dark City. Without leaving behind the storyline of Something Wicked, the band bring back new chapters to the story, now narrated on the voice of Stu Block (ex-Into Eternity). Who stepped on the shoes of Iced Earth vocals after Matt Barlow announce his departure for the second time during the band’s show at Wacken Open Air 2011.

Dystopia not only is the new adventure of Iced Earth, but a fresh start for the band, the voice of Stu fits perfectly the style of the band. This is proven on tracks like Anthem, Dystopia, V, Boiling Point, and Days Of Rage which are the most powerful songs on the album. The production of the album makes it one of the most epic releases of this year, with a perfect balance between power and melody, tracks like End Of Innocence, Anguish Of Youth, and Dark City contrast with the power of the songs mentioned before. No doubt Iced Earth wows us again with a straight forward heavy metal album that again reassure the importance of the band in the international metal scene.

Tracklist:
01 – Dystopia
02 – Anthem
03 – Boiling Point
04 – Anguish of Youth
05 – V
06 – Dark City
07 – Equilibrium
08 – Days Of Rage
09 – End Of Innocence

Steffen Kummerer of Thulcandra checked in with The Age Of Metal

Thulcandra has become the path to the past towards a revive of the old school death metal scene that ruled through the 90′s. And their flag is the sound that they took from Dissection and The Unanimated, and made it their own. Is not a copy but a progression, I would say a transcendence of that sound adapted to the 21st century. Their new album Under A Frozen Sun – check our review here – is raw and straight forward hell in your face. Fierce guitars, banging drums and the most grunted vocals out there, indeed one of the best albums of the year.

Last week we had the chance to chat with Steffen Kummerer one of the brains behind the band, we talked about the band, The influences, the album, the line between Obscura and Thulcandra and the future of the band. This is what he told us:

For those who don’t know, can you tell us what is Thulcandra and how it came to be?

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What was it about Dissection and The Unanimated that made you, bring back their sound now after almost 20 years?

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Thulcandra just released their second album Under a frozen sun, what can you tell us about the ideas and concepts behind this album?

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This project is different at what you been working with Obscura, are you planning on having Obscura technical elements on Thulcandra’s music?

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Recently we talked with Greg Mackintosh of Paradise Lost about his also side project Vallenfyre. do you think is a movement in the making of resurrecting that old school death metal sound?

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Thulcandra worked again with Kristian Wåhlin (Necrolord) on the making of the cover art, how has been the experience of working with him?

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Are there any touring plans for Thulcandra? and those plans will include the USA?

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What is next for Thulcandra?

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Insomnium – One for Sorrow (2011)

Finland’s Insomnium recently released their fifth album, titled One for Sorrow. It’s very dark – not to say that it’s depressing, but the album has the feeling of being resolved to a lonely, somber path. Guitarists Ville Friman and Ville Vanni’s beautiful work immerse the listener in powerful dual guitar lines that are the backbone of the album. The orchestral keyboards wafting in and out in the background are haunting, and the combination of deep, death growling and triumphant-sounding clean vocals meld everything together perfectly. My only complaint about the album is that I would have liked to see a little bit more experimentation. ‘Decoherence’, a slow instrumental track, is a nice change of pace in the middle of the album, but aside from that, a lot of the album is very similar sounding fare. I feel that Insomnium could stretch their boundaries a little bit more: they sound as if they have much more lying in wait and have not yet reached the peak of their potential. Overall, a very solid release that will satisfy fans of melodic death metal and one of the best albums I’ve heard so far this year.

Last month we talked to guitarist Ville Friman, you can check out that chat here.

 

 

Check out the video for ‘Through the Shadows’:

Interview with Warbringer

Los Angeles based thrash metal band, Warbringer, has attracted lots of attention and spinning a lot of heads lately. Not only because of their new album Worlds Turn Asunder is one of the most brutal releases of the year so far – you can check out our take on it here –  but also because of their current headlining North American tour, which is their first headlining tour in their career.

Warbringer form part of the new wave of thrash metal that has been making a big impact in the metal scene since the last decade. Not only they take their roots on their predecessors (Slayer, Metallica,Exodus, Megadeth) but they have given their own touch to the way of doing thrash metal. which is a more faster, brutal and crisp.

So during their stop here in Tempe, AZ last week. The Age Of Metal had the chance to sit and talk with John Kevill frontman of Warbringer about the tour, the album, and the current state of the band.

How is the tour going so far?

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A couple of weeks ago you released your 3rd album Worlds Turn Asunder, what can you tell us about the album?

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The album was produced by Steve Evetts (Sepultura, Symphony X & The Misfists) How was the experience of working with him?

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What are the major differences between Worlds Turn Asunder and your previous album Waking into Nightmares?

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Carlos Cruz (ex-Hexen) is the new member of the band replacing Nic Ritter on drums, how has been the experience of working with him so far?

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Last week you released the video clip for the track Shattered Like Glass, the video is quite psychologic, what can you tell us about the concept of the video and the character portrait on it?

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You been touring non stop with big names like: Exodus, Napalm Death, Overkill, Soilwork, Kreator and even played Wacken open air back in 2008, what does it feel to accomplished so much in technically a short period?

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Warbringer is part of this new wave of american trash metal with bands like SkeletonWitch, Havok, Toxic Holocaust and Municipal Waste, how do you see this new wave in contrast with that one back in the 80′s?

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After the North american tour you will be in Europe supporting Arch Enemy, what are your expectations of this tour?

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http://youtu.be/-5wqtSFuGLc