Many might see their latest photo as perhaps as Visual Kei, sure their Gothic-Glam crossover is one to admire and for the ladies to swoon over. But this quintet are no pushovers, in fact what we could see here is in fact the dawn of a new scene in Italy, as the guys in Beyond The Fallen go on to explain, hailing from the Vatican City (or Italy) is not as weird as it seems, or is it?
Hi guys, for those who do not know of Beyond The Fallen could you give us a brief history? Are you really from the Vatican?
"Hey there! We are Beyond The Fallen, an industrial metalcore band born and raised in the Vatican City, as odd as it may sound. We started the band back in 2014, releasing a full length album named "You Rise, We Fall". In 2015 we released a remix EP named "Re:Fall", while our latest piece of work is a single called "Anima"."
Italy has had a long-standing history with the industrial music sound, what makes it so popular there (if so)?
"Actually, metal bands and in general alternative music in Italy doesn't work out as well as it may seem from the outside. There's been probably one, maybe two alternative bands that actually "made it" in the alternative music scene, but truth is any metal band in Italy knows very well that the only way to make it is to gain attention from international labels and fans. "
You recently released your new video 'Anima', what makes the sound different in comparison to older songs? Is there a story behind the video?
" "Anima" was our first work with our guitarist Yuki, who entered the band after the release of our first LP. We wanted to evolve our sound from the very harsh, raw industrial of our first record to something more polished and modern, and it turned out to be very easy and natural thanks to Yuki's approach to songwriting and music in general, which was very different from what we've had with "You Rise, We Fall". The result was a more metalcore-ish song, with loud guitars and a lot of changes in the song moods. We kept some of our key elements though, like synths and drum-work, and the mix turned out to be an excellent starting point for us in our pursuit of a new sound.
About the video, we did something different this time around. In our first video, "Disconnected", we played a lot with dark and sick atmospheres, trying to achieve something that would confuse and impress the viewer. With "Anima" we did the opposite. The white background gives a sense of clarity, everything is bright and visible and while there are still some strange, confusing elements (thanks to our wonderful actors and costume designers) the action is quite clear so the viewer can focus more on the overall flow instead of wtf-ing about what's happening on screen."
How was it working with Utau Yume on the music video? Would you invite her on tour with you?
"We've had a great experience working with Utau Yume. It was our first time working with someone else, and her music is so different from ours that we actually were a bit concerned about how things could turn out. Instead, everything went extremely smooth. Songwriting sessions with her were very easy and fun, and everything came out naturally. Not to mention her incredible performance! We'd love to bring her with us on stage, it's something we already thought and talked about, and we can't deny that it could surely happen."
What has the international response to your music been like so far? Have you had any fans come from any countries that you were surprised by? What do people in your area think of your music?
"We've had a great support from both national and international fans. Most of them were surprised about how different "Anima" was from our previous work, but thankfully in a good way. With the release of the single we also printed physical copies of it and of our previous LP and EP, which were only digital at the time of release. We still don't know why but it seems our music gets a lot of love in Mexico.
We tried to reach countries like Germany, UK and of course the US, but the love and support we receive from Mexican fans is something we didn't expect at all and we're very happy and grateful about it. We also have fans from Japan, and our love for the people there and the country itself was what led us to write a song in japanese. About Italy, we played several shows around the country in the last 2 years, and we managed to reach a lot of people who supports us in a wonderful way."
With the popularisation of the 'Gothic Metalcore' movement inspired by Motionless In White, would you consider them and yourselves as pioneers of the said genre? Or what you describe yourselves as?
"MIW could totally be considered pioneers, but for us, we don't consider what we do pioneering at all. We had an idea, back then, to try and mix our love for the '90s industrial scene with modern metal music, and we're still working on it to get to the sound we have in mind. When we'll reach that point, fans and critics will say if what we do is pioneering or not, but for us it's just trying to express ourselves in the way we think best suits what and who we are."
Does each member have their own unique look in terms of clothing and make-up? Would it be safe to say that you're influenced by the Visual Kei scene?
"We are totally influenced by the V-Kei scene! We went a little overboard in the promo material for "Anima", but with it being a song in Japanese, mostly for japanese fans, we felt it was natural and we've had a lot of fun building our looks and outfits. Every one of us has a very different taste in style so we find ourselves talking (and arguing) about our looks often when we have to shoot a video or some promo pics. While writing and playing music are of course our favourites things to do, we surely think and work a lot about our image in order to deliver something that's carefully thought and realized from start to finish."
Where does Beyond The Fallen go on from here (the music video release)? Debut album? UK / EU tour?
"We have a lot of material for our second LP, that should come out sometime around 2017. We'll start working in studio in October, and thanks to "Anima" we have a clearer idea about what the album will be. We can't wait to let you guys listen to it!"
Finally do you have any hello's or thank you's you wish to send out?
"We'd like to thank you for this interview of course! And also thanks to all of our fans for their incredible support, we never thought what we do could mean so much for people and every one of our fans is a reason for us to keep working as hard as we can."
Looking towards Eastern Europe and there are a load of bands out there with very little Western attention, but occasionally a band will trip the switch and cause such a surge throughout the underground that they'll make the media stop sipping their coffee and latch on to the disturbance. The latest product from the farther side of Europe is Ukrainian Metallers Jinjer of whom bolt together elements of Groove Metal and Metalcore to make something heavier than you're last hangover.
Bassist Eugene obliged to take GMA and guide us through the world of Jinjer...
For those who do not know your band, could you please give a brief background of the band and what your band name means
"Well, talking about the music seems to be a bit ridiculous, it's like describing an image to a blind person. You have to listen to Jinjer to understand fully what we are. But if you insist I will say the following... you will definitely like Jinjer if you are open-minded and enjoy diversity in music.
As for the name. Well, it's just a name. Originally there was no real meaning behind it... you know, when parents name a child John they don't usually put anything into it, just a good name. Though later on fans found some meaning, namely associating it with a distorted guitar sound: "jin-jer-jin-jer"."
There seems to be an increase in female musicians over the years, do you feel that the stigma towards female musicians is still there or has it gone?
"It is still on, but it tuned the wrong way in my mind. Too many voiceless chicks started doing peep-shows on stage instead of music... personally I try to avoid being tagged “female-fronted”. I see no real sense in differing bands by the front person's gender... we'd rather pick bands by their talents and creativity"
How did you all become involved in music? How have your parents reacted to your choice of music?
"Well, I come from a musician's family. My father used to be a bassist. And he brought me up with old-school rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and others... at the same time my elder brother was a guitarist and he introduced me into punk and grunge. So my family took it normally when I formed my first metal band. Of course the others were not so lucky. I know that Eugene was suffering from his parents blames till the recent time. "
You just recently released your latest offering 'King Of Everything', can you tell us more about the album in terms of what it regards, how long it took to make, favourite songs etc?
"The album has a certain conception. We as humans were born free and happy. No attachments to religion, state, society... We are free to choose our way, to express ourselves, free to act as we want to (unless we harm one's existence). But once we were tricked by some "king", we were fooled and enslaved. According to the "King of Everything" they are several. Choose yours):
- time (Captain Clock)
- past and other individuals left behind (Just Another)
- censorship (Words of Wisdom)
- ideology (Sit, Stay, Roll Over & Under the Dom)
- money and power (Dip a Sail)
- personality itself (Pisces)
'I Speak Astronomy' was written as a total opposition to those "kings". It is ruled by physical laws which are natural.
In general we spent about 4-5 months writing all of the songs... we were quite limited in time. When we signed the contract we only had a few songs, we were about to release a short EP, but Napalm needed a full length album, minimum 40 minutes. So we had to compose 7-8 songs during a short time. But the band managed to accumulate all the energy, creativity and inspiration... to some extent it was positive pressure – we made a very sincere album, we didn't have time to work out the material for a year or so. We expressed what we had in us honestly.
My favourite songs are definitely 'Pisces' and 'I Speak Astronomy'... these are very private songs for me. In some ways these are my confessions.
Will you be undertaking a tour in support of the album? With the UK pulling out of the EU are you concerned it may hinder your chances at playing in the UK?
"It seems that for us it didn't make any change! We are out of the EU, anyway we have to deal with British visas, which are extremely complicated! But we will do our best to visit the UK, believe me."
Taking interest in the Ukrainian Metal scene, what is the current status of the scene? Is the scene still going strong? What challenges specific to the scene are there?
"The scene is growing and developing little by little. We've got several super-cool bands, like Megamass, Zlam, Space of Variations and Joncofy, they are able to kick ass, believe me. The biggest problem is audience... we just don't have people going to live shows. There are only 5-6 cities where it is possible to bring 400-500 to a gig, and maybe 2-3 more where we can have 150-200... and that's all for a country of 42,000,000 population. And of course there are not many good clubs and venues."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year and into early 2017? Have you got any greetings you wish to send out?
"We will tour non-stop till the end of 2017. This is out priority. We kindly send our regards to every British fan of Jinjer, stay strong, friends, one day we will hit the stage in your neighbourhood."
Following their stint across their homeland, US Drone Metal purveyors Sun O))) were more than accommodating to sit down and talk to GMA, although we could only see Attila's face underneath the cloak.
Hi guys, how was the recent US tour? What did you enjoy about it the most?
"Hi, the US tours went great. We split the US into 4-5 legs and we did separate runs. My favourite show was MOOG festival in Durham. It was pretty loud, they moved us to the outdoor stage cause they were expecting the building ceiling to fall down and I heard we still cracked some walls... also it was good fun to hang out backstage with the guys from Wutang Clan."
Will there be a UK / EU tour surrounding your European festival appearances? Or will it come later?
"We will have a smaller European tour at the end of August. There will be no UK date this time cause it is mostly south / middle and east parts of Europe. Though I love to play in the UK with Sunn O))) personally so I am looking forward to more dates in the UK. Hopefully next year.."
For those who don't know, could you explain in simple terms what 'Drone Metal' entails?
"I think it has something to do with the tradition of meditation, Indian ragas, mantras and altered state of consciousness. In a way it is a contemporary representation of the same ideas. It is called "Drone Metal" because it is heavy, loud, extreme and psychedelic... but the message is similar: open your sub / supreme conscious, open your mind, fall into a trance, leave your body behind, take a spiritual journey... "
What is the hardest part of touring for you as a band ?
"For me it is packing at home and travelling, missing flights and connections all the time.
But once I made it up to my people I enjoy it still so much. I love all the guys in the band (and the crew) and it is super fun to hang out every single time! Once I am there I just love touring!"
Regarding your latest album 'Kannon', what is your favourite song and why? What makes 'Kannon' a stand-out album?
"My favourite is probably 'Kannon III'. It has some cool melodies behind it. For me the most special aspect of this album is it's spiritual connection to the female potential and female energy in general. It is something I wanted to write about for a long time. It is obvious that female potential and energy has been suppressed big time through the history. Every single mainstream religion has been suppressing female potential and energy big time. I think it is a really big shame of mankind and I think we should bring back the balance one day. In a way you could call me a "spiritual feminist" ;-) (you can call me whatever, but I think that in a real society all leaders should be 50 / 50 woman and men)"
After your tour and festival appearances, what will your next plans be?
"I still have the same plan: making more albums and playing them live."
Finally have you got any hello's or thank you's you wish to send out?
"Yes. I would like to thank all of our fans for being with us on this spiritual journey. We keep banging and opening the doors to higher realms together, stay with us!"
Having already arisen from the fairly-ignored Irish Metal scene and pushed themselves onto newer plains be it Bloodstock or Japan, Dead Label are certainly one band that cannot be ignored - any reason given will be invalid upon deliverance. Having this year dropped their infectious second album "Throne of Bones", GMA wanted to discover what drives this three-piece force. Naturally seeing as Claire was at one point our Irish correspondent, she duly answered our questions - we promised to go light on her, but this was not to be...
For those who do not know your band, could you please give a brief background of the band and what your band name means
"We started eight years ago, just writing songs and playing local gigs. The three of us were in previous bands together too, but this was our first real one! After doing an EP we then went to record our album 'Sense of Slaughter' in the UK. This was our first step into the real world. We travelled to Japan for our first big festival and it all kind of came from there. When we started it was around the time of the murder of Sophie Lancaster. We wrote a song about her murders, which was called 'Dead Label'. When trying to think of a band name, we were saying we didn't want to be labelled within metal, just being metal so we ended up taking the name Dead Label, and we renamed the song called 'Rest in Pieces'."
Things have certainly sped up since your Bloodstock appearance, do you feel it's grass-root festivals like BOA that give bands that platform to gain exposure more easily?
"Bloodstock is an amazing festival. The people who run it are very helpful from the beginning, before you even book a festival, they can be seen helping bands with Metal to the Masses. They create a platform for bands to flourish and they encourage all the things you need in getting a band to the next level. I hope we can return to play Bloodstock for many many many years."
Claire, there seems to be an increase in female musicians over the years, do you feel that the stigma towards female musicians is still there or has it gone?
"I think the stigma is dwindling big time. There are still people who are surprised but in a more pleasant way. They're has been a big change in the attitude to girls in metal. Its not just about the vocalists any more, there are female musicians being treated equally to men, which is all anyone ever wanted!"
You released your album 'Throne of Bones' this year, what was the response like? What track(s) are your favourite and why?
"The response has been massive! We had been sitting on this album for some time, so we were nervous as to how it would go down, but all the reviews have been over and above what we expected! Everyone seems to really be liking it which is amazing and we are very excited by how into the risky things on the album! Like 'The Cleansing' and 'The Gates of Hell', these were both somewhat risky for us, we obviously liked them but we weren't sure how people would react!"
With the UK pulling out of the EU are you concerned it may hinder your chances at playing in the UK?
"Yes, when the vote came in my first worry was touring. Right now, it is so easy to come back and fourth to the UK. Also were bigger bands touring is concerned, if they do not go to the UK, they may not come to Ireland. I am hoping there will be provisions to ensure the ease of musicians playing in the UK. After all, it hosts some of the most amazing festivals and bands tour all the cities. They simply have to come to good method of maintaining the ease of musicians travelling in and out of the UK!!!"
Taking interest in the Irish Metal scene, what is the current status of the scene? Is the scene still going strong? What challenges specific to the scene are there?
"The biggest challenge for the metal scene here is the population. with the amount of people who live here, you have to consider how many like metal! Don't get me wrong, the metal heads here are die hard but its just not as many as you would find in other countries. There are a lot of amazing bands though and when you do find yourself at a gig it tends to be full of energy! But there are not many options within the scene itself. Hopefully the increased number of bands here will encourage the fans to get out more and go to gigs."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year and into early 2017? Have you got any greetings you wish to send out?
"We have a lot of touring plans in the works, and we are in talks with some cool festivals for next year! We hope to tour Throne of Bones as much as possible now that people have a chance to check it out before we come to their city! We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supported us, particularly fans that took us on board on the Fear Factory tour. We played to a lot of new faces and so many people came up afterwards and bought merch and talked to us. That means a lot to a band and it helped keep us alive on the road!"
Truth be told, Israel is one of the more active metal scenes in the Middle East (let's not get political here) alongside the likes of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, the Gulf States (Bahrain and Kuwait; Qatar less so) and to a certain extent The Lebanon.
Salem, Orphaned Land, Arallu, Melechesh, they've all graced and kissed the golden sands of this Mediterranean nation, the latest to walk in their footsteps are Nothing Lies Beyond. A Melodic Death Metal force with enough ferocity about them to challenge the already-overloaded Swedish (nay Gothenburg) Metal scene.
So what makes this Israeli outfit an exciting one to watch? Well let's find out.
Guys in recent years the Israeli Metal scene has been flourishing and breaking international ground, what would you put this success to?
"Hey! I think that the reason that the Israeli metal scene is flourishing in the past 3-4 years and actually getting some recognition on the global ground is because there are more interest from the local bands to break into the global scene.
It's not something new of course, every band wants to get as much attention as possible, especially I think if you are living outside of the main music areas like the US and Europe, but the thing that helped us in the past years is mainly in my opinion, the whole digital era. There are more ways to bring your music to other people then there were before, when you needed in the past to send physical CD's or cassettes, now you can send a digital version of the album and of course the whole Facebook and YouTube platform.
So to summarize it, I think that because of the digital platforms, many Israeli bands and also as I said, bands that are not from the US or EU, can now reach new exposure levels.
Would it be right to say that metal music offers Israeli's a means of expressing discontent during dangerous times? E.g. war, attacks, etc. But also can metal music bring the world together regardless of social, political and religious differences?
"Well, you can say that the music that we make gives us a way to get our words out, about politics or any other difficulty that we face in our country.
But I can say the same thing about any kind of music from any part of the world. Music gives us a way to express our feelings and thoughts, no matter what separates us – religious, social status, political differences.. We can hear the music that somebody else created and just enjoy.
I don't know if metal music in specific, or any music for that matter can "bring the world together", but I'm sure that nobody would pay any attention to the artist's nation, religion, etc.. if the actual music is good for the listener.
Your debut album 'Fragile Reality' came out 22nd July, could you give us the background behind it and what your messages are?
"The album's main topic is the struggles that we have to face in our life, I think that "Closed In Chains" and also "Lost" are the songs with the lyrics that pronounce the idea behind "Fragile Reality" in the best way. We tried to present our music in the best way, and I think that the outcome was perfect."
How supportive is Israeli society of metal music, does the Government know about it? How hard is it for metal music to exist in the Middle East?
"I can say only our opinion about the whole Israeli's music preferences so maybe some people will think differently about the whole situation..
In my opinion, metal music is not so "big" in Israel, there were times that the crowd in shows was bigger and there were more local bands, but I think that it depends on the whole environment and "musical era" of the specific time..
Nowadays, people connect more to pop or electronic music because it's catchy, and in our country specific also for Middle Eastern style (not my cup of tea to be honest), so I do think that maybe in the 90's, the connection to metal music and the whole genres that it includes was bigger.
I think that metal music could exist in any place, as long as people keep listen to it. Maybe in some countries in the Middle East it's "forbidden" or something like that, but in Israel we can play as much as we want and whatever we want to play."
Will you be embarking on a European or 'Eurasian' tour to promote the album? Surely the UAE would be an ideal location as well as Israel in the Middle East?
"Actually, we are not planning to go on tour yet, there are some private issues that deny us from touring at this moment, but I do think that in the right time we will start planning our first tour.
We will try to play our music as much as we can and in any place that will be available, not only Europe (that is our main goal for now), but also maybe in Japan and other places in the East that in my opinion has great potential."
Talk to us more about the Israeli Metal scene, what festivals are there, clubs, markets, in fact what is a day like in Israel?
"OK, so first of all, the metal scene in Israel is not so big. There are many people who love metal music over here, but if you compare it to the numbers in Europe... It's really not so many.
Nevertheless, there are local producers that try to bring over here an international band every couple of months, so we do enjoy a variety of metal bands that come to Israel and perform. Regarding festivals and clubs... usually there aren't any festivals over here, not in metal anyway, we do enjoy the shows over here, but usually it consist of a local band as an opening act (as we were for Children of Bodom), and the headliner.
The clubs for metal are also few, as I said before, I know that in the early days there were more clubs that gave metal bands an opportunity, but one after the other they closed the gates and now there isn't as much as used to be.
In terms of the day here in Israel, it's pretty much the same as in any other place (only probably hotter haha)... we do live in a country that has its own problems, if it's local problems or international problems, but I think that every person here in Israel just try to live his life quietly as possible.
Is it true that Israeli's have to do service be it army, navy, air force? Have any of you done this?
Yes it's true. In Israel, when you turn 18 years old (not at the very moment... it could take up to a year until you can get recruited, but usually its at the age of 18), you are joining the army. For men its about 3 years and for women it's 2 years of service, they are changing it a little bit now but it will remain in the area of those numbers.
Usually everybody has to recruit to the army but you know..There are special cases sometimes. Alon and me already finished our service, and the rest of the guys are doing it now or about to start, we can't elaborate on what we did during our service but I can honestly say that this experience toughen us and made us ready for the "real world".
I do know some bands that the army torn apart because the band members couldn’t meet on a regular basis due to their jobs... so it really depends on what you are doing in your own service.
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
"We are now focusing mainly on the album release and all the things that it includes, if it’s the CD release and after that we are planning a massive release show, so mainly this is what we are focusing on for the next 2-3 months. After the release show we will continue performing and maybe start planning our tour, and beside that we will start in early 2017 to work on the next album's music.
So it's going to be a busy year!"
Finally have you got any greetings you wish to send out?
"Well first of all, we want to thank you guys for the interview, it was a pleasure. We also want to thank all of our followers around the world for the support that they give to us. We hope to see everybody soon on stage and we hope that you will like our album."
Russian Metal music tends to get overlooked by the international scene with perhaps the exception of Arkona and Pagan/Folk Metal bands alike, or perhaps Katalepsy of whose Death metal brethren we speak to in the form of Ascent. Ascent are lead by Anna Dizendorf on vocals, yes the term 'female-fronted' was avoided because let's be honest, do we say 'male-fronted'? No, 'female-fronted' is not a decent term to be used, anyway enough debating said topic.
Ascent have just released their debut album "Don't Stop When You Walk Through the Hell" back in June and coinciding with this have inked a deal with Ukrainian PR / label Grand Sounds Promotion, GMA decided it was time to catch up with this beautiful bunch.
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