Often when it comes to the metal scenes of Europe, the smaller countries tend to get left out of the mix, countries like Malta have spewed out a fine array of metal bands from it's small scene. Bands like Beheaded, Abysmal Torment and Twenty-Six Other-Worlds have all made a name for themselves in their own respective ways with perhaps Beheaded being the most famous Maltese Metal band.
But it's the big bands who depend on smaller bands to carry the scene forward, bands like Bound To Prevail who keep the Maltese Death Metal style afloat and going for years to come. GMA interrogated the five-piece about their scene, their debut EP 'Omen of Iniquity' which came out last year and their future plans.
"Bound To Prevail will shortly be the first Death Metal band to headline a mainstream festival in Malta"
For those who do not know of Bound To Prevail, could you please give us a brief history of the band?
"Bound To Prevail was founded in the fall of 2014, and we quickly set our sights on staking a claim on the local underground Metal scene. We had a well-received debut live performance at the
Malta Xtreme Metal Assault Festival in the summer of 2016 which was quickly followed by a number of shows, including supporting slots for renowned international artists such as Fleshgod Apocalypse and later with Vader, Suffocation, Venom, Inc., Entombed A.D and Mayhem."
What do your families think of your music? Are they into metal music themselves?
"Most of our families are into some style of rock but are not exactly into metal themselves. That
being said, we’re glad to say that they fully support us in our endeavours to promote our style of music and that obviously helps when creating our songs and dealing with all the stress which is part and parcel of sustaining a fast-moving band nowadays."
What is the general public opinion towards metal music, is it supported a lot?
"As with other countries, metal music is not really a mainstream style of music in Malta. The reactions from non-metalheads when told that we play Death Metal are usually still quite hilarious. The stigma which is associated with metal however may be ebbing somewhat; Bound To Prevail will shortly be the first death metal band to headline a mainstream festival in Malta."
You released your debut EP 'Omen of Iniquity' last year, what was the reception like? Did you do a launch party?
"Since 'Omen of Iniquity' was self-released, we had the flexibility of planning and executing the
launch ourselves. The official release was at the Death Feast 10th anniversary in Andernach,
Germany. We also organised a launch party at a local rock club for additional promotion which was met with quite a favourable reaction from local fans who really appreciate the album. Since the release we have seen our fan base grow both locally as well as abroad through our efforts in promoting the band and our music using all means available to us"
St Helen's Basilica, Birkirkara / source: Wikipedia
Could you tell us briefly what each song title means and what the inspiration behind them are?
"'Omen of Iniquity' can be perceived by some as a concept release, but of course the lyrics are
written in a way which is subject to each listener’s imagination on how they are interpreted.
The first song on the album is about a rotten world by the hands of greed and power which at some point all become meaningless and civilisations cast into desolation and what still exists must venture into utter brutality to endure and survive, a 'Survival of the Sickest'.
'The Throne where Gods Bleed' is an unfolding tale about how the feeble always need to believe and worship something divine by creating a pure godlike personification, yet its roots are corrupt; in the end someone always has to open their mind and prove that such gods breathe, feel and bleed like everyone else!
The third song, 'Aeons of Carnage', inspiration comes from the centuries and times of vast religions with all their idols and saviours of hope only bringing on conflicts among those fools surrounded by hypocrisy who prefer to exist in an illusion of order rather than live in reality and at the final peak only the downfall of those contradicting faiths struck by chaos shall bring stability.
'Contorted Divergence' narrates the different path every individual may take yet still convene on the same sinful path, making us understand who we really are... after all we all want to dominate the pit.
And finally 'Irreverent Progeny' is about the ultimate being whoever it may be; to rebel against existence and its laws, gods and whatnot, to bring them to their knees and unleashing the bringers of ruin and conquering devastation in all its lethal glory."
What challenges as a metal band from Malta do you face? Surely it must be hard to tour abroad?
"One of the biggest issues we have is travelling to foreign gigs since the only option is air travel
which obviously presents challenges in the form of additional expenses and time. One of our
goals for 2019 is to organise European tours which make more sense for us in terms of travel
time and costs, however if a good opportunity presents itself to play in a festival or a single gig,
we’ll surely take it."
For metalheads visiting Birkirkara what sights, attractions and bars should they visit?
"Well, Malta is a pretty small country (with Birkirkara being the second largest village) so you can’t really go anywhere without bumping into a great bar or club. Malta has 2 bars dedicated to metal
music (Kickstart in Sta. Venera & The Garage in Zebbug), so if you’re ever in Malta, they’re definitely worth checking out. Other than that, there’s always some event going on every weekend, not to mention that, as with all Mediterranean islands, it’s a really great place to visit in the summer months!"
What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
"We are currently working overtime to promote Bound To Prevail beyond our shores and we’re also in talks with a number of booking and management agencies to help us organise European tours and gigs to establish Bound To Prevail as an up and coming pillar of Maltese death metal. We’re also writing new material for a new full length which we’re planning on releasing under a solid label."
Usually when you think of The Caribbean you think of white sandy beaches, palm trees rustling in the wind, coconuts laying on the floor, brilliant blue seas and the unmistakable sound of carnivals, steel drums and tropical storms.
But among all of the cliches associated with this area of countless islands is a widespread plethora of metal scenes... metal music naturally. The Dominican Republic is one such country (on the island of Hispaniola; shares border with Haiti) who along with the likes of Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago and Cuba are the leaders of the Caribbean Metal movement.
One of the most notable Dominican Republican bands Archaios gained some fame for being the first Dominican Republic Metal band to be signed to an American label... but our attention is not with them, it's with the instrumentalists Metalurgia of whom released two albums this year: "Dimensiones: Espacio" and "Dimensiones: Tiempo". We interrogated their bassist Guillermo Armenteros about his native scene, the album releases and what their band history is among other things.
For those who do not know of Metalurgia, could you please give us a brief history of the band?
"The band started in mid 2012 as bassist Guillermo Armenteros's solo project. He is the driving force and main composer. He played in a number of punk and hardcore bands and decided to create an outlet for more complex music. At the initial stages of the band vocals were considered, but the idea was abandoned in favour of writing material that would not have the worries and constraints of fitting in vocal melodies and arrangements. The band released "Aleaciones" in 2013, recorded, mixed and mastered by Joel Duarte at JDS Studios. Alejandro Chahin (Macabra, Medulah) and Francis Cronox participated in this release handling drum and guitar duties. There are plans to record and revisit this album again in the future as it is currently not available.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Guillermo has more ideas and a better grasp of music and arranging in general. Elementos writing and creation process begins in April 2016. This time around Carlos Yael Santos Pantaleon (Macabra, Odioso) is at the helm behind the desk recording, mixing and handling guitar duties. Daniel Acosta (Nameless Absolution, Progenitus) has guest solos on a couple of tracks and would later join the band on a permanent basis. Mario Luis Ventura (Antihippie, Cosmic Hell) joins the band as its permanent drummer. The mastering process is outsourced to Brett Caldas Lima at Towerstudios. The band releases "Elementos" in early 2017 and take the stage the previous December at Destruccion Masiva, one of the biggest metal festivals in the Caribbean and the largest in the Dominican Republic.
The band then heads into the studio in April 2017 and begins writing and recording "Dimensiones: Tiempo y Espacio". Recording and mixing duties, as well as additional production and guitars are done by Ariel Sanchez (Nux, Epsilon). Miguel Sosa (Macabra, Medulah) joins the band after being a live guitarist during some time. The album is mastered by Brett Caldas Lima. "Dimensiones" is released the following year, to much critical acclaim.
You released your double album "Dimensiones: Tiempo y Espacio" this year, what was reception like? Will you do a Caribbean tour in support of the album?
"The reception has been positive, with many people praising its flawless execution and atmospherics. It is a huge undertaking in this day and age to release a double album, and the cohesiveness of the material is something that a lot of listeners have given us credit for. Another element that was unexpected and appreciated was the additional instrumentation (theremin, acoustic guitars, banjo, minor percussion, synths and pianos) not common in mainstream metal.
We have no concrete plans to tour at the moment, but some local shows and an album release show are planned in the near future. The cost of travelling and booking shows from the Dominican Republic to the United States, Europe or other major markets are very high. We highly value the opportunity to share our music online on all major platforms because getting out on the road is something out of our reach or cost effective at the moment."
You included some non-traditional metal instruments like the theremin and banjo, what was the inspiration behind the decision?
"The inspiration behind this was the need for experimentation and trying to set ourselves apart from the pack in metal and electric guitar driven music. Each additional instrument was over analysed and given much consideration as to where it would fit. We feel that the additional layers add to the listeners experience."
As a metal band from the Dominican Republic, what challenges are there? You share a border with Haiti, do you know of any rock / metal bands out there? What is your scene like?
"The main challenge we face is that there are no dedicated studios for the type of music we make. Some previous members who have been a part of the band no longer operate in the country and have moved abroad trying to make a name for themselves. That’s why we record and mix the material ourselves with whatever means we can come up with. There are bigger more expensive studios available that handle pop and Latin music, but we feel they don’t offer us what we are looking for in terms of expertise in our genre and we feel more comfortable handling the production ourselves, as we live and breathe this music.
I know there are some bands in Haiti, but other than that we don’t know much else about them. If its tough to make music in the Dominican Republic, I imagine our neighbouring country of Haiti, which is more impoverished, must be next to impossible.
Our local metal scene is very small compared to major markets like the USA or even some Latin American countries like Mexico or Argentina. We also don’t have dedicated venues for our genre. The members of our scene know each other as we are a tight knit group of people and its been the same group for the last 10 to 15 years, with few people and generations coming along. Local shows have an average of 100-150 attendance. If a band wants to make it, they have to move abroad. Most shows are put on by our friends and we have a collective called Santuario Producciones which organizes Destruccion Masiva, the show to play if you’re a metal band in the country. Destruccion Masiva has been held every year for about 15 years and has grown to about 1500 in attendance."
La Puerta Del Conde, Santo Domingo / Source: Diario Libre
The Caribbean has produced many metal bands from Trinidad & Tobago to Cuba, from Aruba to The Bahamas. Could you see every inhabited island in time having a metal scene and a possible Caribbean Metal festival?
"The thing about metal is that it is so divisive that either you hate or love it. There is no in between. The people that like the genre generally are in it for life and feel very strongly towards it. With internet access and global connectivity ever so more present in our daily lives the reaches of metal surely are present in every country with internet access. This is why we feel that eventually, if not already so, every country will have a flourishing metal scene, with bands putting on live shows and having original material and releases. As we mentioned before, Destruccion Masiva by Santuario Producciones, books international bands as headliners, besides the local favourites."
For metalheads visiting Santo Domingo, what are some of the places, sights and attractions they should go and see?
"Sadly, there aren’t any metal hang outs I’d recommend as must see. We’d just go to wherever a show is taking place at the time. It may be anywhere from a dive bar at la colonial zone to some mini-market or bodega. If its December, then Destruccion Masiva is the place to be. Each year its held at a different venue, but its an outdoor festival."
What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
"For the remainder of the year, we will be writing and recording an experimental EP titled, "Paradigmas" (Spanish for Paradigms). The name is a reference to a shift in what it means to be a progressive metal outfit. Our goal with this release, which is slated to be out by the end of the year, is to incorporate symphonic elements to our music. We are writing string and horn sections and one day would like to perform with an orchestra live. We feel that the music we are focusing on now could greatly benefit with these additional layers."
Whilst metal music is still condoned in some Islamic countries, there are some countries who have opened up and began to accept that metal music is not a form of devil worship but more so a safe and creative way of venting anger, hatred and ridding oneself of all negative thoughts and vibes. That it is a truly majestic and awesome way to express feelings without causing harm to others.
Algeria like it's Arabic-African neighbours has a metal scene that is growing and expanding out of it's own turf. Tunisia has Myrath, Egypt has Scarab, Morocco has a slightly quiet scene, Libya had a scene (but is rekindling), but now it's Algeria's turn and it is Lelahell who is flying the flag for the Algerian Metal scene, it is Lelahell who we interrogate regarding this shift and of course their music activities - new album mainly.
Redouane (Lelahel) filled us in with all the details.
"When you play metal there are no frontiers... the metal community is one big global family!"
For those who do not know of Lelahell, could you give us a brief history of the band?
"Lelahell is an Algerian death metal band founded in 2010. Our music is death metal with native melodies. We combine the English and Arabic languages and sometimes use other languages (Spanish and French). We actually have 3 releases (1 EP and 2 albums) and played many shows abroad (15 countries). We are 3 musicians, Ramzy on bass, Slavebaster on drums and myself Redouane on guitar and vocals."
You just released your latest lyric video, 'Ignis Fatuus', what is the meaning behind the song and what was the reception like?
"Ignis Fatuus is that phosphorescent light seen at night over marshy ground due to combustion of gas from organic matters. All those things created by humans: the money, the success, the power, and more... are fake, are illusions, an erroneous perception of the reality! It was the first song published before the official release, and people liked it a lot! You can see the positive comments in the YouTube video!"
What was the reception like for your second and latest album 'Alif'? Will you tour in support of the album?
"We got an excellent response from the audience and the Media's. All the reviews we got are very encouraging and positive: Foto Conciertos (9.5), Broken Tomb (9), Hintf webzine (8.9), Rock Hard SK (4.1/5), and many more… we have a release party in Algiers in August and a Euro tour in November, please get in touch for more information."
What challenges and problems as an Algerian Metal band you face? Is Metal music frowned upon by the general public, are there any instances where people were arrested, etc?
"Algeria is not a radical Islamist country, it is more liberal than you can imagine. We never had been arrested for playing metal. We just got some stupid manipulations from some Media's that claim that metal is the music of Satan, but it is the same problem in Western countries. The main problems are the likes of non-metal countries: no venues for shows, few rehearsals studios, no support from government, equipment and more…"
Makam Echahid, Algiers / source: World Monument Guide
It seems the entire MENA region has been touched by metal music, do you feel it has brought people together regardless of religion, culture, politics, etc?
"When you play metal there are no frontiers, we listen to the same bands, we buy the same albums, and we wear the same shirts. The metal community is one big global family!"
Do you feel it's a matter of time before the rest of Africa develops their own metal music scene? Could you envisage an African Metal festival?
"When you see the map of metal bands by country you notice that Finland, Sweden, and Norway are clearly outpacing the world when it comes to metal bands. Finland and Denmark are two of the three least corrupt countries in the world and Sweden is the most socially advanced country in the world.
That means that the development of metal music is directly linked to the social and political situation of a country, so wait and see…"
For metalheads visiting Algiers, what sights / attractions could you recommend to them to go see / do, what customary should they also know i.e. what is considered polite and what they should not do (as to not offend).
"I don’t know maybe go to the casbah (the old city), or Tipaza to visit the old Romanian ruins, go to the beach, it depends on your main interests. About the second question it is the same as in your country."
What plans do you have for the rest of the year and do you have any greetings you wish to send out?
"Starting the writing process of the third full length, an euro tour in November and working on a big tour in 2019!
Support Lelahell or die!"
Spain has always had a decent metal scene manifesting in itself, with a handful of bands going on to establish international recognition. But what about it's Metalcore sect? It's hard to think of Metalcore existing in the Iberian nation, but it's bands like Flames At Sunrise who make it known - their infectious blend of Metalcore, Post-Hardcore, Nu Metal and Heavy Metal all come together to create a sound that is truly modern yet truly distinct as it cannot be easily classified as any one genre.
Having signed to Wormholedeath in support of their debut album "Born In Embers", this ten-legged rampaging bull needs to be tamed and thus it was right for GMA to give Flames At Sunrise a right grilling interrogation.
"In Spain, most media attention goes to the greatest hits of the 80's and 90's and to the new stars of programmes such as Operación Triunfo."
For those who have not heard of Flames At Sunrise, could you please give us a brief history of the band?
"We are a metal band from Barcelona who formed in 2011. We always wanted to bring our personal visions of music, based on our influences from different modern metal styles, and create a new message from the sound experimentation.
After 3 years on the stage, we released our first EP called “Never Coming Home”. This EP contains 4 songs: “Never Coming Home”, “Take It Down” and “Bitch” (with a video-clip for each one), and “Grievance”.
The release of "Born In Embers" came out with two video-clips: “III Faces” and “Ark Flesh”, and a lot of good news. The first one is that “III Faces” got more than 1,000 visits in less than 12 hours and is proposed as one of the best Spanish video clips in 2017 by “METAL ESPAÑOL"
How does it feel to sign with Wormholedeath? What is the support for Catalonian / Spanish Metal bands generally?; do you prefer to be referred as Catalonian?
"We are very proud to have signed with Wormholedeath and it’s a real pleasure to work with people who take our project as seriously as we do. We really hope we grow up together.
About the support, is something a bit hard to talk about. There’s a real fan base who support a lot of projects in the underground, but, obviously, metal is not a mainstream in our country, or at least, not modern metal. But we try to stay optimistic and work so hard to offer something special to everyone who wants to listen to us a few minutes.
We don’t really mind nationalities. Is up to everyone consider where they came from, and where the want to belong. We belong to our music and to every place where we play it."
How would you describe your sound, sounds like you have elements of Nu Metal, Post-Hardcore, Metalcore and Heavy Metal in your music.
"We tried a lot to put a genre to our music, but it got no sense. Everyone in the band got their own influences and their own way to understand music and work with it. We just try to put all of our ideas together and get to an agreement. Maybe is the time to kill all those genres in metal and talk about something more global. We like to call our music capsule core because we like Dragon Ball and ‘cause it contents a lot of different kind of genres in a song."
What challenges as a band have you had to face thus far and as musicians personally?
"As a band we still struggle with the Spanish metal tradition of the eighties. It's hard to get a new audience to listen to your songs and get involved, but little by little we are seeing results.
Each one of us has had problems dedicating ourselves to music, bearing in mind that we cannot live professionally from it yet. But we are still training as musicians and trying to expand our knowledge to become self-sufficient as a band."
Barcelona Cathedral / source: Spain Attractions
What does the song title 'Ill Faces' mean? Did you have any ideas to put forward for the music video itself?
"'III faces' refers to a Japanese proverb that speaks about the three faces that each person has inside them: the first is the one you show to the world; the second is the one you show to your friends and family; and the third is the one you only know and defines who you really are. Thus, in the music video we try to expose the three faces of a character and how the real one, the one that defines you, drags you and ends up showing itself."
Will you go on tour in support of your debut album? What was reception like for the album?
"Yes. We’re going to be touring in Spain and some places in Europe in the next few months. The reception of our album was better than we expected. We knew we were releasing an album with strange ideas and we didn't know how the public would react, but we were surprised by the wide acceptance of a single like 'III faces'."
Would you say the overall Spanish Metal scene has had more attention drawn towards it over the last decade or so?
"We don’t think so. In Spain, most of the media attention goes to the greatest hits of the 80's and 90's and to the new stars of programmes such as Operación Triunfo. The metal scene continues to be nourished by old groups and tributes, but little by little it opens up to new experiences."
What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
"We’re going to be touring and we’re going to be working on some new things that, with luck, you’ll be able to hear and see in September of this year. Thank you very much for the interview!"
With the exception of the South African Metal scene, the vast swathe of national scenes across Sub-Sahara have either come and gone or are on the rise just at a slow pace. Sure countries like Botswana might just be behind South Africa, but between them and the other scenes is a gap as wide as the African plains.
GMA spoke to Kenyan Metal musician Martin Kanja (Lust Of A Dying Breed and The Seeds Of Datura) about his native metal scene, which although isn't too far behind Botswana in terms of progression, still has a long way to go to make it's recognition internationally known; in doing so also sheds light on metal's spread across Sub-Sahara Africa.
So firstly how did you get into metal music? What do your parents think of metal music?
"I started out listening to rock and roll since high school. After I left high school I moved to Nairobi with the desire of forming a band as I am from Nakuru. I was just a teenager and I needed something heavier than rock. There used to be a show I would tune into called 'Metal To Midnight' hosted by one Shiv Mandavia, vocalist of Blackened Death metal act Abscence Of Light. I had started to formerly research about metal and I just got into it really good as I love the energy and positive power. My parents know I've always done what I love but the opposition was there. I can't fake so I just continue being myself."
Can you tell us the histories of Lust Of A Dying Breed and The Seeds Of Datura.
"I formed LOADB together with its bassist Timothy Opiko soon after I moved to Nairobi. He came up with the name and I dug it and we wanted to play metal in a fashion never seen here before in Kenya, let alone the world. Abdalla Issa Khalid came through after 4 months of it's formation. He was a student at JKUAT (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology) and he had passion like I never seen in anyone for metal. We got our permanent drummer Larry Kim after a lot of hardship as good drummers are so rare. We met guitarist Sam Kiranga sometime in 2011 and he settled in nicely as we loved his playing and dedication, and then year we went ahead and wrote the record "Cat Of Nine Tails" and released it in 2012; we formed LOADB in 2010.
We went into hiatus after its release due to various personal and economic issues in 2014. I Went into the sales and logistics end of the security industry until 2015. I became self-employed in 2015 and I could now relax and think what I wanted in life. I love metal and had always been writing music like everyday and every week. I met Dani Kobimbo as he wanted to interview me for a magazine he ran called 'Heavy And The Beast' that gives coverage on the Kenyan Rock and Metal Scene and our friendship took off. We found ourselves in studio one time in Kiserian ran by Last Years Tragedy's vocalist David Mburu, we jammed out and I was surprised how well he could sing. We decided to collaborate and and continue jamming. I went to manage my family's tourist camp in Masai Mara at the end of 2015 and I had a burst of creativity and I wrote lyrics like crazy. So I returned to Nairobi and we moved in with Dani and we wrote music and articles.
Our current drummer Lawrence Muchemi comes from my home-town and he had always hit me up, we hang out and he doubles up as the vocalist of Irony Destroyed. So we started hanging out looking for places to jam, just the three of us. Shortly after we went to Tigoni, to a studio called Realm Of Mist in June 2016. The owner Harvey Herr invited us to jam and chill at the studio and that's where we met our first guitarist Sultan Rauf as he worked there. On the same day we met Slammy Karugu whose is also bassist for the punk band Powerslide and our current bassist Mordecai Ogayo who was playing violin. We started regularly and Wilson Muia came through a few months later and we made a whole song the first day we met. The name Seeds of Datura came about one afternoon. To embody out our individual energies as one family and our thought provoking music for mankind."
What is it like being a metal musician in Kenya? What challenges are there? What is the public perception of metal music?
"First of all it's all about the degree of focus and passion you have for your art. It's not easy or anything but we don't do it for that. We do it for the love of it all. There are many challenges, Kenya being a dominantly Christian country has a negative perception towards Rock let alone Metal. Also getting equipment is also a challenge when bands are starting out. Shows don't happen all the time too and most times we have to organize shows ourselves. The scene is steadily growing and venues are steadily getting packed. The recording is also a part that musicians find a challenge in as getting the right sound for metal and getting a good producer who understands the music. They are a quiet few but The Powers have blessed us with always bumping into the right people. "
What do the authorities think of the music? Are youth encouraged to learn music?
"The authorities don't support our music of course because we embody a millennial counter-culture contrary to the popular. The youth have access to the internet at a very young age and they begin to get exposed really early. They are encouraged to do a lot of other stuff they don't like but they are seeing how much a waste it all is with all the corruption and extortion going on and they are choosing their own paths and thinking for themselves. At least from how I see things and what I've been exposed to."
How long has the Kenyan Metal scene been going? Do you know of any bands from South Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia or Somalia?; Could you see metal music reaching every African nation?
"The earliest I've heard that metal has been around must be around the early 2005's. Further back like the 70's, rock bands were In circulation. Yeah I know Threatening and Vale Of Amonition from Uganda. Haven't heard of metal bands from the other countries you've asked. Yes I do. There are very serious scenes in Mozambique, Nigeria, Botswana, South Africa, Egypt, Angola, Morocco, Guinea, just to name a few. Personally I think Africa is the most Metal place on Earth with how we are portrayed in international media and shit. It's quiet different, but the dark spirituality and ancestral roots tie very deeply with the real issues that metal chants about."
For metalheads visiting Kenya, what sights and attractions could you recommend? Are there any places that aren't generally safe to visit?
"I'd recommend the Masai Mara, Tea Fields of Limuru, Aberdare Forest, Obsydian Studios, Sanctuary Farm Naivasha. Lol"
What plans does both bands have for 2018? and are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"Content, content, content, releases, releases, releases. Yeah shout out to all the real ones in the scenes doing their thing. Shout out to Tshomarelo Mosaka of the Botswanan Death Metal band Overthrust. Shout out to Austine Nwankwo of Nigeria's Audio Inferno. Shout out to Patrick Davidson of Metal 4 Africa. Shout out to Truka Kasser of African Metal. Got a lot of shout outs but I'll take all year. Keep it heavy my people. It's either a pinkie or its metal horns \m/"
Beneath the upper echelons of the likes of Slayer, Metallica, Slipknot, Lamb of God, etc., (there are far too many big-name American Metal bands to mention) is a vast swathe of talent that stretches across the American Plains and has greater velocity than a F5 tornado. One band who is set to shake the establishment is Begat The Nephilim, whose infectious blend of Black Metal and Melodic Death Metal is enough to keep anyone orgasmic. Having dropped their debut album "Begat the Nephilim I: The Surreptitious Prophecy / Mother of the Blasphemy" last month and set to go on an East Coast tour, it was only right for GMA to interrogate this quintet.
For those who have not heard of Begat The Nephilim, could you please give us a history of the band?
"I (Cameron Dupere - Guitar) began writing music in late 2011 / early 2012 with intentions of getting a band going after several failed attempts. Later in the Summer of 2012 I came into contact with our soon to be drummer, Josh Richardson and we began jamming regularly. Within a month or so Josh introduced me to Tyler Smith who then became our vocalist and we began playing shows in the fall of that same year. After years of playing shows and several self funded tours, line-up changes (primarily rhythm guitar and to a lesser degree, bass) and a few unsatisfactory recording attempts we are ready to release our first album and play anywhere we possibly can."
What do your families think of your music, and when did you get your first taste in metal music?
"Our families have varying interests in our musical pursuits. They are all supportive in the sense that they don't discourage what we are doing and understand that it is what makes us feel happy and alive and that alone makes it worth it. I believe I must have been 11 or 12 when I received a burned CD with a Slipknot song on it and it blew me away, I couldn't have been less ready for the radical tones of metal since no one in my family had any interest in that style it made it much more appealing to my young prepubescent self."
What enticed you to mix Black and Melodic Death Metal together? How would you define your sound?
"The intention was to simply create a band that had elements of everything I enjoy about metal music. I refer to it as simply "Extreme Metal" since it combines elements of the most extreme genres i.e. Death, Black, Melodic Death, Slam, Deathcore etc."
How does it feel to be soon releasing your debut album "Begat the Nephilim I: The Surreptitious Prophecy / Mother of the Blasphemy", will there be a album launch party?
"It feels nothing short of amazing to finally be unleashing 'The Surreptitious Prophecy' upon the world. It took many long years and even more sacrifices to make this album happen but we never deviated from what we wanted to do and never compromised and I couldn't be more proud of that. We are hosting several album release shows through the North Eastern US and touring the east coast in support of the record in July."
Will you be looking to do an international tour in support of the album?
"We would love to tour internationally. I'm not in a position to say what is in store for us just yet but it is our intention to tour anywhere we possibly can after the album is released."
What challenges as an American band do you face when touring across the country?
"The main problem I personally face on tour is getting adequate rest and nourishment. Other challenges include ensuring we get from point A to point B in a timely manner and keeping morale high because nothing makes a tour drag more than shitty ego / attitudes."
What is the metal scene like in New Hampshire (NH)? What venues, bars, etc are there? What sights / attractions could you recommend to metalheads to go and see?
"There are a few bars and clubs in NH worth checking out such as Bungalow, Jewel, etc., NH was very dead for a while but it finally seems metal is returning to granite state and that is very exciting to see. The thing I would recommend most to anyone visiting NH would be to check out a local hiking trail or to visit the sea-coast, the outdoors and wildlife in NH is by far my favourite part."
What plans do you have for the year ahead?
"We had our album release shows in June and are touring the East Coast in July and after that we are working on plans for the fall that are still up in the air. Our intention as previously stated is to hit the road hard as much as we can and use any downtime to begin work on Begat II"
Poland has always been revered as a massive player in the metal music world, most notably for it's wealth of history and presence in the Extreme Metal arena. Heavyweights like Vader, Behemoth and Vesania may spill off the tongue like as if it was common public knowledge, but it's the underbelly or underground that is currently driving the scene forward and it's bands like Hostia who act as part of the cogs turning the mechanisms.
This machine does not need oiling, but by examining the fluidity of the overall machine it's clear that the Polish Metal scene has a long, bright future ahead of it. Guitarist St. Anacletus (historically speaking refers to Cletus who was the third Bishop of Rome (c.79-c.92; his death) gave GMA the low down about Hostia, their history, debut album, music style, and general attitude towards metal music in Poland.
"We are not Portugal that gave Moonspell the award for promoting Portugal in the world. Behemoth would never get that kind of thank you from our minister of culture"
For those who have not heard of Hostia, could you please give us a history of the band?
"We just started to write our history! Story of 4 reincarnations of dead popes playing grindcore metal! Kidding! There is not much to say. We are long time friends, each of us played for years in different bands, but we wanted to play this kind of music in this certain line up. I told the rest about the idea and 30 seconds later we had the band!"
What do your families think of your music, and when did you get your first taste in metal music?
"Haha! Good question! My lady can stand it for a moment, that’s why we have such short songs haha! For my mum metal music is OK until the growling vocals come in. So Hostia is probably too much! I started with Metallica when they played at Wembley after Freddie’s death and then very quickly got into more extreme stuff like Death, Morbid Angel, Vader, Napalm Death and Sepultura. Slayer came quite late for me I must say.
What enticed you to play Grindcore? How would you define your sound?
"I just f*cking love it! I am into very different music styles but when it comes to playing I feel the best in the most intense, energetic and brutal short songs! Stripped to the bone, pure energy! Like a punch between the eyes! So I hope Hostia sounds like that! We consider Hostia as a grindcore metal band but with some other elements taken from hardcore, death metal or even rock and roll. We don’t want to play the same song ten times on the album. We want it to vary, but at the same time as brutal as we can make it!"
How does it feel to release your debut self-titled album "Hostia", will there be a album launch party?
"Feels f*cking awesome! It’s like the birth of a child… except the fact that none of us have a child. We are proud of it and really overwhelmed by the great response we have received till now. It feels really f*cking good! It’s not a debut album for any of us as musicians, but it feels like the new beginning for us! There was no release party because of two reasons. We want to keep our faces unknown for some time and second – as you noticed it is our debut album, and we are still a quite unknown band so it would be a big exaggeration to organize a release party."
(Warsaw University of Technology) - Politechnika Warszawska
Will you be looking to do an international tour in support of the album?
"That’s a hard one. To be honest we didn’t plan Hostia to be a very active live band when we started it. But all of us love to play live. Playing live is the reason to have a band so we will see what time brings! We are ready and open for all kind of offers. I think it all depends on if people will like our music as much to have the need to see us live. For now I can say we have some people from all over the world and places so far away from Poland like Honduras or Venezuela writing to us and buying the album so you never know what future brings! We would love to play some shows for sure!"
What is the general attitude towards metal music in Poland like? Is it well supported?
"Hard to say because we used to have quite big metal labels like Metal Mind or Mystic, but firstly it's getting smaller with number of releases and second left metal and focused on other styles of music. And then are more underground labels like ours Via Nocturna. So metal is supported mostly by small local radio stations, or late night broadcasts in bigger stations, and by internet magazines. Government would rather make us disappear than support but what can you expect from hypocritical ultra catholic neo-nationalists right? We are not Portugal that gave Moonspell the award for promoting Portugal in the world. Behemoth would never get that kind of thank you from our minister of culture. But fuck it – we don’t need that until there are many metalheads! Metal supposed to be in opposition!"
What is the metal scene like in Warsaw? What venues, bars, etc are there? What sights / attractions could you recommend to metalheads to go and see?
"Forget about Hardrock Caffe Warsaw – that’s first! There are many clubs but smaller ones changing every couple of years and I must say – cause I am really out of time I have blank head now! Most metal big club here would be Progresja Club. Then we can mention Potok Club, Proxima, Stodoła, Palladium. There was Club Rock but not sure if it exist any more. For beer you can check Rock & Roll pub next to Metro Politechnika station. About Warsaw – I don’t want to make everyone asleep by me taking next 3 hours about what you shall see in Warsaw! Depends on what you like but we have a lot of interesting places and stuff to see. Let me know if you around!"
What plans do you have for the year ahead?
"Some new videos are coming and hopefully some shows! As well as some kick ass new merch so feel free to visit us on www.facebook.com/hostiaband as well as Bandcamp and Youtube! Thank you for the interview and all readers for spending their time on checking a bit about Hostia! Spread the blasphemy!"
Portugal might not necessarily be a country that produces metal band after metal band on the international stage, instead it produces a range of metal bands with the potential to. Naturally the first metal band to spring to mind would be Moonspell, arguably the most successful Portuguese Metal export since the scene first emerged. However one of the latest bands to find the path to international recognition is the grindcore outfit Axia, whose latest album "Pulverizer" (released via Selfmadegod) is a brutal force to be reckoned with; album was mastered by Peter In de Betou (Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, Meshuggah, Hypocrisy). GMA was able to grind the band down and to analyse what makes Axia, Axia.
For those who have not heard of Axia, could you please give us a history of the band?
"Hello. We're basically a group that have been together for quite a long a time, collaborating with other bands and projects. We frequently tour and write music very often, and was the genesis of Axia. One day after listening to a stack of songs and realizing that it followed a musicality that wouldn't fit in any other of our projects, we decided that would be necessary to create a new identity capable of bring those tracks to life."
What do your families think of your music, and when did you get your first taste in metal music?
"I've been consuming music ever since I can remember of my existence. I was still a child when I first started to collect entire tape discographies from the 60's/70's, heavy metal was gradually introduced during my curiosity incursions through my friends collections.
I think metal music eventually became much more respected and user friendly than it used to be 20 years ago. People tend to respect and appreciate the musical/skill abilities from a given musician, even if they do not enjoy the music there's a lot more recognition and value."
What enticed you to play Grindcore? How would you define your sound?
"Extreme metal as always given me a sense of excitement and freedom. There's such huge energy stream gleaming when the music is playing that it makes the heart beat synchronizing with the the tempo.
I wouldn't describe us as a grindcore band, I rather say that The backbone of AXIA‘s music is an hybrid raid of extreme paced songs, infused with infinite levels of self-inflicted negativity and hopelessness."
What was reception like for your album "Pulverizer"? Was there a album launch party?
"We're still collecting opinions and reviews about the new record, but so far the reactions are quite above what we initially expected. We did a release show during the almighty SWR - Barroselas Metalfest XXI, along with a line-up of awesome bands which actually went pretty great."
What challenges do you face as a band in Portugal?
"Well, Portugal is developing quite fast during the last couple of years. Things have change a lot and nowadays the only obstacles are the geographical position and of course the low wages. Musicians are getting better and more ambitious, there's a lot more planning and creativity."
What is the general attitude towards metal music in Portugal like? Is it well supported?
"If we take in account the population size, I would say that Portugal is one of the best countries to play live shows. With a good promotion campaign, an underground show can easily achieve a massive attendance of 200/500 people depending on the band popularity."
What is the metal scene like in Porto? What venues, bars, etc are there? What sights / attractions could you recommend to metalheads to go and see?
"Porto became a crucial landmark in what regards to music, there's very few chances that any band won't play Porto during a tour that features the peninsular area. There's many great places to visit, to enjoy live music or simply to listen and buy old rarities. Make sure you don't miss Bunker Store, Piranha, Zhe isuisria."
Tucked away in the Eastern corner of Europe is Belarus, a country born from the ashes of the former Soviet Union. Belarus in it's literal translation means 'White Russia', but the metal music scene it has is far from white, in fact it's rather dark, bleak and atmospheric. Enter the Atmospheric Black Metal band known as Raven Throne and their sixth album "I Miortvym Snicca Zolak", which focuses on Slavic poetry as it's main topic and delves into the Belarusian poetics of yesteryear. GMA spoke to Raven Throne about the challenges faced as a metal band in Belarus, the new album and how they came to use their mother tongue as choice of language for the songs.
"Our late lyrics are in Belarusian, so we are definitely in the segment of Slavic culture"
How did Raven Throne form and what do your parents think of your style of music?
"Raven Throne was formed in 2004 in the town of Polotsk, Belarus, by the people who are keen on the philosophy of black metal. The line-up has changed many times since that time, but the band has been moving forward making records and playing concerts."
Will you be doing a tour in support of your impending new release - "I Miortvym Snicca Zolak"?
"Yes. We are going to play some gigs in support of the new album. Details will be later."
For those who cannot read Belarusian, could you give us a break down of what each song means?
"It was always difficult for me to explain or interpret my own lyrics. There are many personal, many things I have experienced, many images and metaphors in my lyrics. I like the flow of consciousness, images from the subconscious. I can quote Sergey Dovlatov on this subject “I thought I was writing a history of the human heart”.
If we talk about the new album lyrics, then the songs were written based on the poems of Belarusian poets who worked during the most terrible and merciless years for individuals. That’s why the key for understanding should be found in those years."
What is it like being a metal band from Belarus? Easy? Difficult? What challenges are there?
"It happened that Raven Throne was always in certain isolation from the community, hangouts, etc. Is it difficult to be a metal musician in Belarus? Now it is much easier, but there are fundamental differences with Europe still."
For those metalheads visiting Minsk, what sights and attractions could you recommend?
"There are many examples of Soviet Empire architecture style in Minsk. There are some more ancient monuments and very clean streets in the city. Minsk is a very organized. It is not much inferior to other European capitals."
Would you prefer your music to be called Atmospheric Black Metal or Slavic Metal? What are your thoughts on sub-genres?
"We do not attach much importance to genre frames, cliché, labels and titles, etc. Traditionally this is called atmospheric metal but historically our roots are in black metal. The forms of our music may differ from the canons of the genre, but this is the result of our natural evolution and development only. Our late lyrics are in Belarusian, so we are definitely in the segment of Slavic culture.
Who designed your artwork and did you have any input into the design e.g. ideas for it?
"The ideas for the artworks belong to us. Sometimes our friends help us. The label also participates in the realization of the final result."
What plans do you have for the rest of the year? Are there any greetings you wish to send out to fans, etc?
"We have many plans. These are creative ideas, writing of new material, preparation for the future gigs. Stay true, be yourself. Improve yourself in everything."
Romania has a rather solid underground metal scene with perhaps Negura Bunget being the sole metal band leading the scene forward and onwards. Far from it's shackled Soviet history, Romania has emerged as a driving force within Eastern Europe and has offered itself as a rather promising nation on many fronts, metal scene included. One new band on the block is the Post-Black Metal entity Váthos, having only formed last year they have released two singles to date, both of which were met with appraise from the Romanian Metal community but also older, established bands, GMA spoke to the band about their scene, the future ahead, the band's origins and the best things to do in their dwellings, that is the capital city of Bucharest.
Could you give us the history of Váthos, where the members in previous bands? What does the band name mean?
"We are a newly formed band and consolidated our line-up in 2017, when our vocalist and bassist, Radu Alexandru and Dany Ice joined the band to fulfil the remaining roles. As of 8th February, the official line-up is as follows: Ducu Rusul (solo/rhythm guitar), Alexandru Gainusa (solo/rhythm guitar), Gigi (drums), Dany (bass) and Radu Alexandru (vocals). We are fairly new, but the feedback that we received from our community was positive and really exploded as we launched our first single, "Curse of Apathy", it reached 4,000 views in over 4 months. We followed up with our second single, "Shape of..." that received positive feedback as we've tried to "bend" the black metal sound, to add even more of our influences.
We received positive and supportive feedback from local bands, and also multiple invitations to participate and support artists that have 15-20 years activity in the local scene (more about local bands, activity and the Romanian metal scene vibe below).
Our members had previous projects and/or bands but right now Váthos is our main band/project and focus as we strive to add our influences and ideas to project our vision in the black metal genre (more details about this bellow).
Our band name, Váthos means "depth" and it's of Greek origins; original word spelling: βάθος. We wanted to go with a name that reflects the depth and quality that we want to add in our songs, from guitars, drums, bass to vocals, lyrics and of course the image/artwork (that we are starting to work on)."
You released your first two singles, what has the reception been like? Will we see a debut demo / EP this year?
"We released our first single "Curse of Apathy" on 29th November 2017, and the feedback received from friends, family and the Romanian metal community blew our minds to a degree that we could not believe it. It shocked us to hear words such as, "bringing a fresh and unique sound to the black metal genre", "quality of the music and the live performance was on par to a old experienced band from the first live performance" (keeping in mind that we just started our live performances) and also the constructive criticism, words of wisdom if you will, from improving our sound and live performance, interacting with the crowd, improving our equipment and overall idea of presenting our songs and sound to the public, unreal and excited that empowered us even more, we want more it. Our second single, "Shape of.." was released on 3rd March 2018 following the vibe of our first single and we wanted to present more of us and as a follow-up on to our first single.
A brief description, "Curse of Apathy" was written drawing inspiration from the daily life in Bucharest as it reflects the vision in which each individual spawns the feeling of apathy, following the same routine, over and over again. "Shape of.." was written to continue the story of our first single. What would happen if an individual wakes up from their apathetic daily routine? They will see the shape of.. (things that revolve around them). This is where we wanted to leave it open for interpretation as each listener will have their own thoughts to reflect upon when they do wake up.
After our next concert on 18th of May (where we will have the honour to play along side Akral Necrosis and eterans of our local scene Mercy's Dirge) we will focus on our future album to be named "Underwater", from artwork to finishing the rest of our 5 songs as we would like to feature 10 songs in total on the album. We currently do not have a set date for release as our wish is to record the full length album at once when the songs will be ready and we are confident enough that the Váthos sound and vibe is perfectly mastered as we will not settle for less."
You play Post-Black Metal, what are your inspirations behind the choice of sound (bands and lyrics)?
"The post black metal sound came from each member of the band, through influences that our favourite bands inspired us to achieve a sound of our own.
Bands that we love are many and different in genre, a few of them would be, Belphegor, Harakiri for the Sky, Kistvaen (Romanian band), In Flames, Disarmonia Mundi, Kataklysm, Cradle of Filth, Taine (Romanian band), Rammstein, Paradise Lost, Dark Tranquility, Whispered, DevilDriver, Sopor Aeternus, Uaral, Between the Buried and me, Gojira, Carach Angren, Deftones, and so many other bands that are a big inspiration to us and if we continue, it will just make up the all interview of just our favourite bands.
Lyrically speaking, our vocalist Radu Alexandru came in with ideas that reflect the human nature of man, written in a narrative way, in some cases depicted in images that reflect the idea of each song, emphasizing on suiting the inner eye and not just the ear.
What are the challenges that most unsigned Romanian Metal bands face?
"The challenges that most unsigned Romanian Metal bands face are many, there aren't many labels that will sign a heavier sounding band. In our country, extreme metal is still seen as an "outcast" genre as the mainstream scene is filled with pop music that is heavily supported by our media, TV, radio and through heavy publicity.
Metal music is supported mainly through our underground scene which isn't that big to start with even though we have so many great bands and artists covering almost all genres / subgenres and lately the quality started rising up and up as with our favourite bands.
We highly recommend if you want to check some of our bands out, you can do so at the following, Browse bands by country - Romania - Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives"
Would you agree that in Eastern Europe, Black Metal is well supported? What makes the Exteme Metal scene out there special?
"We have our share of black metal bands and the scene is rising in Eastern Europe, that is true and we get more and more exposure and support as we are known for our Folklore, eccentric sounds and instruments. The extreme scene gets bigger and bigger through outdoor festivals and concerts."
What do your parents think of your style of music? Are they into metal too?
"Well, all the members of the band are fully grown adults, each with their own job and responsibilities. Our parents were very surprised and supportive of our band, live performances but had no impact on our decision of making and playing what we love."
For metalheads visiting Bucharest, what sights or attractions could you recommend?
"One of our country's forte would be the beauty of nature, landscapes and our festivals, so why not combine them? We know and recommend a lot of outdoor metal festivals, Rockstadt Extreme Fest (Rasnov, near Brasov County) Dark Bombastic Evening (Alba Iulia Fortress, Transylvania), Ghost Gathering (Rasnov, Valley of the Fortress), ARTMania (Medieval Fortress of Sibiu), OST Mountain Fest (Busteni, Romania) and so many more. Also, we have many indoor festivals in the capital alone."
What plans does the band have for the rest of the year (that have not been mentioned above)?
"Our future plans for the rest of the year, finishing up the album, recording it and creating the artwork that will bring the visual aspect to life. We are currently debating on which of our songs to do our first music video and many live shows as possible as we love to interact with the public and our audience's reaction is really important when presenting new material.
We would like to thank Metal Global Apocalypse Team and Rhys Stevenson for the support and implication in the Metal community, not just in UK but all around the globe."