"He’s (Kylo Ren) shown so far that his only way to cope with that (his inner conflict) is to let his rage run rampant"
What are your thoughts on 'The Last Jedi' and will you be watching the new anthology film 'Solo'?
"We were all big fans of The Last Jedi and will absolutely be going to see Solo. I doubt you’ll find any of us not going to see any piece of the Star Wars saga."
Your first opus set the galaxy alight and got the thumbs up from Darth Sidious, what will you be bringing to the new album due out on May 4th?
"Our new album was our opportunity to explore the pieces that we wanted to explore. The first album needed to have all the big ones, but we are now able to delve into some of the deeper cuts from the past films and explore some of the newer material. It’s definitely much heavier and more technical."
It's rare for themed-bands to make an impact internationally, so who came up with the idea of having a Star Wars instrumental metal band?
"Our drummer, Grant McFarland (aka Bobs Sett) was the one who hatched the idea initially. He had made a drum video for The Imperial March a few years prior and eventually had the idea to add other instruments to the arrangement, which is when he got the rest of us involved. His perfect pitch and excellent ears are due the most credit, as he was the one to pick apart every piece of the orchestra and map it all out for us to play. I don’t think we’d have made the same impact without his efforts. "
Do you feel Kylo Ren will redeem himself in Episode 9? Or could Kylo and Rey form the Grey Jedi?
"I don’t think there is any coming back for Kylo. He fulfilled the same prophecy as every other Sith or Dark Side oriented individual before him, which was to eventually outsmart and kill his master. I think his inner conflict will still play a factor, but he’s shown so far that his only way to cope with that is to let his rage run rampant. I suppose, however, we could always be thrown a total curve ball. I guess we’ll have to wait and see."
Surely it must get hot under your outfits, are the suits breathable? Does it take long to put them on?
"The live costumes are not nearly as bad as they look. They are designed to be as movable and breathable as possible. The original costumes used in our music videos are the real burden. Incredibly hot, heavy and always falling apart. Unfortunately for us, those are what we also spend the longest continuous periods of time in, since videos take up to eight hours to shoot. The live show is just an hour, then we’re back out of them. "
Ultimately would Dark Vader love to play a lightsabre-shaped guitar?
"I currently play a guitar with a red fretboard, courtesy of Kiesel Guitars, that we have aptly named “The Lightsaber”. I’m not sure I’d ever want the full shape just because of how skinny that would be. I’m a bigger guy, so tiny guitars look a bit silly on me."
Initially was it difficult converting the orchestral pieces into metal music? How did you go about it?
"As I said, that was all Grant. The cool thing is these songs already lend themselves very well to the metal adaptations. I think classical compositions in general are very easily adaptable in that way."
What plans do you have for the rest of the year and into the light years ahead?
"Our next tour is set for June. We will be heading back to Europe to play a number of great festivals, with some equally great names. There are some other things in the works for the remainder of 2018, but none I can talk about just yet! "
Whenever attention is directed towards the Americas, we usually as metalheads think of USA, Canada and to an extent Brazil. But it's the countries in between the northern and southern ends of the vast continent that we tend to forget about. Bordering the USA, Mexico has a vibrant metal history with a plethora of bands coming and going, with perhaps Brujeria being the most internationally-recognised bands to emerge. But like all scenes, the hive of activity resides on the streets i.e. the underground. One such band Doxa MX (originally called Doxa) knows all about this and as they prepare to release their latest album in 4 years, GMA spoke to Manuel Rojas (Vocals / Lead Guitars) to understand what makes this scene tick, what the bands plans are, challenges within the scene and a taster of what torta ahogadas is like.
"It (C3 stage) is in a street filled with bars and restaurants to which you can go before and after seeing some great international bands."
For those who have not heard of Doxa MX, could you give us a brief history of the band? Were you in bands previously?
"The band started in 2012 with my friend Erick (Doxa's bass player until this day) and I, one day in college we decided to form a metal band, I had been playing guitar and working on my harsh vocals for a few years up to that point and he was already a very talented multi-instrumentalist. After that we recruited the rest of the group and after a couple of line-up changes, we had a stable formation. We started playing regularly in the local circuit and managed to record and digitally self-release our debut album in 2014.
In early 2015, we had to put the project on a forced hiatus due to various personal problems that needed attention at the time, until late 2017 when we reformed with a new line-up (with Erick and I as the original members), an updated name and logo (in order to avoid confusion with other bands with very similar names), as well as an updated cover for our first album. Currently we are getting ready for our second LP and playing a few warm-up shows before returning to the live setting with full force."
You play a blend of Heavy and Melodic Death Metal, who or what gave you the inspirations to play such music?
"Honestly, that tag doesn't apply 100% to us, but it is the closest I could think of regarding our sound, as well as "Experimental Death Metal". We chose it because, well, we had to have one tag associated with our music and we play Death Metal-based music, while our biggest influences are Heavy Metal giants like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest, although we like to seek and gather influences from everywhere inside and outside the metal realm. We basically do what we like, without worrying about sounding a certain way in order to fit a certain mold, to me that is just limiting your creativity, and I don't want to do that, besides, it would become boring for us after a short while to play straightforward death metal, thrash, or whatever style all the time."
It has been 4 years since your debut album 'Aniquilación', will you be releasing a new one very soon?
"Yes! We are almost done with the composition process (I would say around 90% done) and hope to record it and release it sometime in late 2018 or early 2019. It's about time!"
You sing in Spanish, would you consider singing in English to expand out into the wider metal scene?
"It is something we are not completely against, but I as the lyricist, decided to write the lyrics in Spanish because it seems like a more honest approach, as well as a more distinctive one. Basically I asked myself "Where is this band from?", "What language is spoken here?" however, we are all bilingual to different degrees and don't rule out making entire albums in English in the future, it depends on what feels right at the moment."
What is it like being a Mexican Metal band? What challenges do you guys face these days?
"Basically there are two kinds of challenges: economic challenges and scene-related challenges. Regarding the economy, Mexico is one of the countries with less average vacation days a year and more average hours worked per week, so there are lots of times it becomes really hard to find the time to focus properly on a project like this, due to the fact that we all have jobs and bills to pay, and we are young and... well, everyone knows that it is really hard for our generation to come by these days all around the world and here is a bit more rough, I think. Also the costs are an issue, it takes a really high percentage of one's pay if you wish to book a studio, buy a new amplifier or get a new microphone here, basically because salaries are way lower that those in the U.S. or Europe, among other places; and the cost of them is even higher than in those countries, so it is a considerably bigger sacrifice.
Scene wise, I have read comments stating that it is very similar in most places, in the sense that here there are very few venues for local metal bands and many of those require you to sell a lot of overpriced tickets and / or bring your own amps, microphones, P.A. and everything, and even those who don't do such things usually never pay, not even with a few beers. It is easy to say "well, just don't accept it" but without that we simply wouldn't play a lot. Also, one huge problem is that most big opportunities (I would say around 95% of them) of opening to big bands, playing big festivals and so on, are only either for a couple of bands who are family members and friends of people organizing the gigs, people who can give favours to the promoters or simply pay-to-play scenarios."
For metalheads visiting Guadalajara, what sights / attractions would you recommend seeing? Are there any customs that tourists should be aware of (so not to cause offence)?
"I would recommend to them to eat some Torta Ahogadas (a delicious meal only available in this state [Jalisco]), some good tacos and basically spend all day eating, because Mexican cuisine is one of our biggest prides and is recognised as one of the best in the world. You can also check ahead which gigs are going to be happening in the city those days, there's a venue, the C3 stage, that every month has really good metal shows and it is in a street filled with bars and restaurants to which you can go before and after seeing some great international bands.
Tourists should take the precautions of planning their activities well, because it is very easy to get lost due to the fact that our traffic signals are very bad and, in many places, non-existent, so, if you bring your car, try to stay on the highways most of the time to avoid getting terribly lost. Also, avoid the yellow cabs, they are not reliable nor safe at all, just take Uber everywhere, it is cheaper anyway."
What plans do you have for the year ahead?
"We are currently working on our second album, which is our main focus for these year. We'll also play a few shows here and there."
Are there any greetings or thank you's you wish to send out?
"To all the people reading this, please keep on supporting Global Metal Apocalypse."
Norway has a long and rich history in the worldwide metal community, it's seen it's bright days with the likes of Dimmu Borgir breaking into the mainstream charts, and it's darker days with the church burnings that arose from the controversial True Norwegian Black Metal movement; of which was spearheaded by Varg Vikernes and Euronymous.
Aside from the Black Metal love affair, Norway has a diverse metal range nowadays and it's bands like Veislakt who are carrying it forward towards newer heights. GMA spoke to the "Jærcore" / Punk Metallers about their forthcoming album, the Norwegian scene and their success. Guitarist / Vocalist René Undem filled us in with the details.
"Everyone depends on it (Facebook) too much; we have to go back to flyers, posters and care more about releasing physicals for the fans"
What are the inspirations that you are using for your forthcoming new album due out in September?
"Since we've made a concept album this time around, we've been checking out some Queen and Pink Floyd to see how we can build up a story with both lyrics and songs. What kind of mode the next song shall have etc., how it can build up the whole album towards a finale at the end. When the album was in the writing progress, we stopped around the last 5 songs writing lyrics, and just concentrated on what kind of songs was needed in between those that have already been written. The album is about an underground circus were everything isn't quite as a normal circus would be like. Alcoholism, violence and stuff like that occurs."
Will the songs be exclusively in Norwegian, or will there be some English songs?
"The songs will all be in Norwegian, and in our own dialect as well. At this point we haven´t thought about doing lyrics in English, because we are Norwegian, and love our mother tongue. :-)"
Would you describe your style as Punk Metal or something else?
"We call our style "Jærcore", that´s a hybrid name for us as we are from Jæren (the name of the province) and play hardcore. But we mainly do a hybrid between metal, punk and hard rock.
With your new album will you be doing an album release show? Maybe a Scandi-tour?
"We are currently booking all over Norway for this fall, haven't thought about doing any gigs outside of Norway yet. But if people want to come and see our shows, of course we´ll play. We love playing live, that´s why we release so much music, so we can go out and play new material to people."
What are some challenges that unsigned Norwegian Metal bands experience these days?
"We're so lucky that we've signed a license deal with Rob Mules Records for our next album, so we're kinda set with the distribution. But the biggest challenges now by my opinion is that there is too much information for the common man at this point, so bands kinda "drown" in between all of this. Facebook for instance has become the new internet as I see it, and everyone depends on it too much. I think we have to go back to flyers, posters and care more about releasing physicals for the fans. In the end metal fans are still the buyers of music. All the pop shit can have streaming for them selves."
Veislakt has been going nearly 5 years, what are some of the highlights of your career?
"We've played Rockefeller in Oslo, a big club scene, that was a blast. Done a gig and became friends with Audrey Horne, and that Metalinjection and Metalsucks picked up one of our music videos last year, that was kind of a highlight."
For those visiting your home town / city, what sights or attractions could you recommend?
"Prekestolen in Lysefjorden is something everyone should check out. Stavanger City in the summertime is magical. All the beaches in Hå Kommune I can highly recommend, not for bathing, but the wonderful nature out there."
What plans do you have for the rest of the year?
"Release the album, tour and have fun."
It's hard to know how long the Czech Metal scene has exactly been around as the Czech Republic (aka Czechia) has only been an independent nation since 1993 following the breakup of Czechoslovakia; originated from the Austro-Hungary Empire back in 1918. Despite it's obvious youthful existence the Czech scene has been a hive of activity for the past 2 decades. With MetalGate being such a prominent record label, bands like Awrizis, Godless Streams Of Elegy and Cruadalach springing to mind, and festivals like Brutal Assault and Metalfest Open Air becoming staple festivals within the metal music calendar, there is a bright future for this Central European nation. Awrizis filled us in with their scene knowledge.
"(Czech) bands want to be famous and rich after the first album and two gigs, it doesn’t work like that.""
For those who do not know Awrizis, could you give us a brief history of the band? What does the band name mean?
"Awrizis was created back in 2011 just as a side project for our previous bands. Then we released our first EP "Shapes of Imagination", which was very well received, we then signed and started to take this band more seriously. Our debut album "Final Hybridation" was released in 2013 and it received a lot of awards and nice reviews. After some line-up changes we started to work on a split album and went on the road again. After years of touring and some changes we could finally work on the second album…
There are no other words to describe Awrizis. If you have like 15 seconds, open YouTube, write our name and there are some evidence of who we really are. That’s the best way to describe our name."
It's been 5 years since your debut album 'Final Hybridation' and your new album 'Dreadful Reflection', what have you done differently on this album?; your original drummer left the band, was it on good terms?
"Yes, it seems like a long gap between two albums. But we’ve been busy with touring, also we recorded a well-accepted split album "Damnation & The Rotten Brood" and we wanted to do the best for our second full length album and don’t rush it. That was the main difference on this album - patience and hard work.
Our original drummer left the band after recording this album. Life on the road and work that is necessary with being in a band is not for everyone. But there is no bad blood between anyone around the band. New members are the main reason for developing this band, comparing to old times this is something completely different and better."
Will you be touring Europe in support of your new album? If not where will you be playing?
"We are right now on the road in our country doing release shows to support our new album. There are certainly some plans for the second half of the year and of course we want to bring our music to all our fans."
What struggles do most Czech Metal bands face these days? What is the scene like at the moment?
"Actually the Czech scene is right now very promising. There are some really great bands compared to the rest of the world. But the main problem is that people in or outside the bands don’t know that only patience and hard work brings the fruit… everyone wants to be famous and rich after first album and two gigs … and it doesn’t work like that."
How would you describe your sound without the use of genres? What do your parents think of your music?
"I am doing what I feel. There’s no analysis or need to describe. I write music for open minded people and I don’t force anyone to listen to it. I am fortunate to have great support from people around me."
For those visiting Havirov, what sights or attractions could you recommend?
"Whole part of Czech Republic called Silesia is well known for it's industrial environment, but there is also a beautiful nature location called Beskydy. So this unique contrast can be attractive for people I think."
What plans do you have for the year ahead? Will you looking to the play in the UK?
"There’s a lot of work to do. We need to support our "Dreadful Reflection" album. But I really can’t wait to start jamming with actual band members and bring to life some new fresh tones. I love the UK! A lot of awesome memories from touring with Dissolving Of Prodigy back in the day. It would be an honour for me to go back with Awrizis but also my second band Postcards From Arkham as well."
Are there any greetings or thank you's you wish to send out?
"Thanks to all, who feel music and passion."
South Korea is often overlooked as an emerging and strong metal scene in the Far East, of course the metal scene seems to have originated back in the late 80's with Sinawe leading the line, but on an international level bands nowadays are more or less confined to that part of the world. Wasp Sting Danger is a Crossover Metal band whose blend of Thrash and Punk is simply captivating, GMA spoke with the guys about the scene, their band, cultural issues and the recent meeting between the South Korean leader Moon Jae-In and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. We are still yet to find out if metal music has entered North Korea and been listened to by it's peoples - we live in hope.
Answers by (L-R): Seongwu (guitar), Zeztto (bass), Wesley (drums), Alo (vocals) & Woncheol (guitar).
"it is relatively hard to put on shows in South Korea. This, I think, is mostly due in part to the lack of a strong metal culture here."
For those who have not heard of Wasp Sting Danger, could you give us a brief history of the band?
SW: "After I found myself a day job in 2015, I put an ad online to look for band members. That's how I met the guys, except for Alo; my friend told me he knows this dude who broke a karaoke mic with his voice while singing metal, and there he was."
WC: "Yes, the ad was how I came to join the band in summer 2015. At first it was just SW, a drummer (can't remember his name) and myself. I used to be in a K-pop cover band before that, but it obviously wasn't the music I wanted to do. After talking with the guys, I felt that we had similar pursuits in music, so I was in. But the drummer quit before our first practice. A while later, the first official practice took place with SW, Alo, Shane (ex-drummer from Ireland) and myself, where we covered Napalm Death's 'Scum'; I've been the guitarist for WSD ever since."
Alo: "I was introduced to the band by SW's friend after I broke a karaoke mic while scream-covering Korean girl group songs on a very drunk night. After a few different attempts at music (pop, hip hop, alternative rock, musical theatre, etc), I wanted to be in a Woncheol (WC) - Guitar Alo (Alo) - Vocals Wesley (WS) - Drums Zeztto (ZT) - Bass Seongwu (SW) - Guitar band where I could experiment and create with different genres. After meeting SW and WC and sharing our thoughts, I was in."
SW: "Our first show was on summer 2016. I have been taking guitar lessons from Chuck Jenga of Fecundation (Korean technical / brutal death band), who liked my songs and introduced us to Lee Yuying of LxPxP (Korean grindcore) and Sulsa (Korean goregrind), who runs a metal venue called GBN Live House. On the first night, Alo was out of town because of his day job as an AD in film, and we didn't have a bassist; I had to play guitar and sing. Still, I felt like that day was the reason I had been alive."
WS & ZT: "Internet ad brought us here. ZT was the latest to join."
Who came up with the band name and what made you play Thrash Metal / Hardcore?
SW: "Actually it was our ex-drummer Shane who came up with the name. He went hiking on Bukhansan Mountain one day and just spontaneously sent us a picture of a sign that read "wasp sting danger". He was joking about making this our band name, and I seriously thought that it was a pretty funny and unique name for a band; after a vote, it really came to be. Musically, we were influenced by various genres: Thrash (Big4, Lost Society), Swedish Death Metal (At the Gates, The Haunted), Melodic Death (The Black Dahlia Murder), Metalcore (Darkest Hour), Hardcore Punk (Banran, No Turning Back, Things We Say, The Geeks, Comeback Kid). We wanted to put the things we liked from these genres all in one, somewhat random and new, but heavy as fuck.
Alo: "You could say that we were influenced by a whole lot of things. Us bandmates all come from different backgrounds, and we're taking that as our advantage. Genre-wise, it would be hard to put us in a single category, but I believe our experiments will lead us to something fresh, something sharp and entertaining that you could only experience through us."
ZT: "I just play for the sake of playing. I don't care about genre, I just love playing my instrument and being in a band."
You released your debut self-titled EP this year, what has the reception been like? Did you do a show in support of it? Would you / did you tour in support?
SW: "Bands like us rarely draw any attention in Korea. We were invited to do a gig after our EP release, but the reaction was so-so. However, the online sales are doing much better than expected. I guess it's because recorded tracks are more approachable than live performances. As for touring, it sounds a bit unrealistic for us because of our day jobs."
WC: "I would love to tour, but it's hard to take time off my job. However, if the touring country is close enough to Korea, I'd be more than glad to go."
ZT: "I'd go anywhere in the world for a gig. But, of course, my job comes first in priority."
Alo: "I would love to tour, but the country won't let me get out of Korea so easily. In Korea, every male adult is required to do a mandatory military service, for approx. 21 to 24 months; I still haven't done mine, and it's becoming a huge pain in the ass. Every time I want to apply for a passport, I have to run a bunch of papers and shit, and prove that I won't run away. But still, I'd gladly go through all that shit if its for a WSD tour."
Recently the North and South Korean leaders met for the first time, surely this would make most South Koreans excited to see peace is on the horizon? Could you ever see a metal band emerge from North Korea?
SW: "Many people are excited by the idea of Korean unification, but one of my friends pointed out that Trump is trying to retract American troops from Korea upon unification, which is in fact a possible threat on national security. I think that this is more persuasive. We have almost no access to North Korean metal, or North Korean anything. I think I have heard a North Korean death metal band before, but there's no way to check its validity."
WS: "It would be unbelievably awesome to see a North Korean metal band emerge from out of Pyongyang. What would be even cooler is seeing South Korean bands perform in North Korea first, and potentially have an influence on North Koreans to begin making metal music."
Alo: "I would have to go with SW's friend on unification. We were taught in schools to believe that "unification, coming together of the Korean people is our dream", but I think there's much more to think of when ending this politically and culturally complex state that Korea has been stuck in for over 60 years. If two Korea's do unify, it would be awesome to play in North Korea."
ZT: "Give me some of that TRVE Pyeongyang Naengmyun (cold noodles, traditional Korean food)."
What are the challenges that South Korean Metal bands face these days? Is it easy putting on shows, tours (both regional and international) and festivals?
WC: "Metal is very unpopular in South Korea, so a vast majority of Korean metal bands need day jobs to keep the food on the table. In a country with such a shitty work and life balance, that's the biggest challenge; but maybe it's the same for other countries too."
SW: "South Korean listeners don't appreciate metal. Our CD's won't sell and our gigs won't pay, so we all have to work full-time to survive. Being an artist in Korea is tough."
WS: "From what I've observed over the past three years, and also from what I've heard from those living here is that it is relatively hard to put on shows in South Korea. This, I think, is mostly due in part to the lack of a strong metal culture here."
ZT: "Fuck Korean music."
Alo: "Korean culture, even among Asian cultures, is very hierarchy-based, conservative and totalitarian. If a trend is set, it is considered the law to follow it - people take popularity way too seriously. Moreover, Christianity is the most popular religion here, which makes Korea pretty much a barren land for metal bands to grow on. But we wouldn't have started a metal band if we ever gave a fuck about it."
What do your parents think of your music? Are they into metal music?
Alo: "My parents came across one of our videos (this is how I found out my Facebook friends can see the shit I press like on), and now have started going to prayer nights on Friday to pray for my soul. Yes, they consider it the devil's music."
SW: "They often refer it to the sound of a pig being slaughtered. This is the norm in Korea."
WC: "I never let them listen to our music. When I was in my teens, they saw the artwork for Blizzard of Oz in my room, and they fucking hated it (they are Catholic). I have never talked with my parents about music since then."
WS: "My family doesn't like metal the way I do. They can't stand it for the most part. My mom, for the most part, supports it in other ways like feeding the band and showing up to some shows with earplugs at the ready."
ZT: "I'm not close with my family."
Do you feel that metal music brings people together regardless of religion, race, political beliefs, etc? And that it is one of very few interests that do so?
WS: "I find this question rather silly. The whole purpose of music's existence is to challenge people's thoughts and feelings while appealing to certain groups of people. All of it is subjective in nature. However, for the sake of this question, yes. I think the metal community is special in that because it is usually in small groups, we tend to hold onto it and hold it close. It very much is an open group to anyone who wishes to enjoy the same pounding excitement that is metal."
ZT: "There are plenty of idiots out there making heaps of shit about politics or religion. There's no need to say such 'idiotic' things in metal."
SW: "Yes. At least I think us bandmates have become good friends regardless of political and religious preferences."
Alo: "I believe the meaning of music lies in its being a communicator, or, like in the question, "bringing people together". Not just metal, but music in general. In music, sounds and rhythm are put in a specific balance and order to transfer a certain emotion / thought / or something in between: sometimes it overpowers common language, and moves us in a very primitive & intuitive way. As for metal, I believe there isn't a language as energetic and powerful, and the emotions / thoughts involved are also intense. This is probably why closer ties are formed among metalheads than fans of other genres."
What plans do you have for the year ahead and do you have any greetings you wish to send out?
ZT: "Thank you kindly for your attention. My plan for the year is to return to Azeroth 4 months later."
SW: "Best of wishes to everyone who's reading! I'm learning drums, and thinking of starting another band."
WS: "Hey y'all. Peace."
WC: "My plan is to keep WSD going, and do some side projects on grind, power metal, blues rock, etc."
Alo: "Thank you for the interview, and greetings to everyone who's reading! We are writing new songs whenever we can, and I hope we can finish enough songs to put together into an album by this year.
And.... Fuck personal plans. Time is overrated. Eat, drink and fuck more. Be happy. Peace!"
The UK and Nepal have a long standing history with each other, right from the early days of the Ghurkas through World War 2 and into the modern day, the British-Nepalese bond is strong indeed. Aside from that the metal scene out there is thriving despite it's lack of representation on the international stage. Bands like Dying Out Flame signed with Spanish label Xtreem Music, Kalodin had a stint in Singapore and Antim Grahan's activities are unknown, but here are three bands who have had an impact on the wider global metal community. However, there is one band who arguably is waving the flag for the Nepalese Metal scene, scheduled to perform at Bloodstock Open Air this year, Underside are on course to make history as they tell GMA it's not easy being a metal band from this landlocked Himalayan nation.
Hey guys, can you give us a brief history of the band, how did you form, were you in bands previously?
"Yeah we formed after the guitarist (Bikrant) and I (vocalist KC) met at the Silence Festival in 2010, Dr. Pandu (guitarist) and I were in a band before Underside. Our first show was at Silence Festival 2011 and later on Nishant Hagjer, the drummer from Undying joined Underside and has been with us for 3 years now"
Nepal has a really good underground scene with bands like yours, Antim Grahan, Kalodin and Dying Out Flame gaining attention overseas; and your festival KTM Rocks too, what are the main challenges that you face as a Nepalese Metal band?
"Yes it is a pretty decent scene, however not many bands have been able to break out, like all 3 of the other bands you mentioned aren’t active right now. Which is the main problem, bands form and split up easily and don’t thrive. There are so many social and economic problems (we can go on all day) that it’s a fight to be in a metal band everyday in a country like Nepal, but it’s something worth fighting for.
What are your plans before your date with Bloodstock Open Air, how are you guys feeling? Will this be your first time on British soil? Will you be doing a tour of the UK.
"Yes we are super excited and I’m writing to you from Singapore as we are in transit. We are heading to New Zealand for 3 dates with Twelve Foot Ninja and then to Australia for 4/5 headliner shows (across April and May) with several local bands. We have a few shows to be announced back home in Nepal for the end of July before we go to Bloodstock.
This is not our first time in the UK, but we can’t express how excited we are for Bloodstock, we will have something special and worth watching for everyone there. Regarding tour plans I think we are still finding a few shows, but open to any offers and invitations."
The UK and Nepal have a long-standing history; most notably the Ghurka's fighting alongside the British in both world wars, how important is it to remember the relationship we have as nations and as people?
"I think it’s important to remember that humanity should come first irrespective of race, nationality, religion or anything. But it's very cool and beautiful that a mutual love and respect exists between the 2 countries and it should be cherished."
Have you had bands from the likes of India, Bhutan, China and Bangladesh come over to play? How hard is it to organize a gig or indeed a festival?
"Not very often, it’s super difficult to pull off shows. We do our own festival (Silence Festival) and do small shows with some bands from India and stuff, but it’s super hard to stay afloat."
Your new album is set to be released soon, will this be released via a label?
"We actually released our LP independently without any label and have already started working on our first album for early 2019. There are talks but nothing solid so far, we have been an independent band and it’s been okay so far, but if we get a good offer then why not."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
"It’s been a good year, we toured India and played 3 shows, we did a six-show tour in Nepal and are now on the Australia and New Zealand tour, ultimately Bloodstock and hopefully more touring and working on the record."
Emphasis are not holding back nor are they slowing down, the Estonian Progressive / Symphonic Power Metallers have signed a deal with Japanese label Red Rivet Records. Thus giving the band the momentum to reach deep into the Asian market and help expose not only their music, but the rich vibrant sounds the Estonian Metal scene has to offer. It has been two years since the sextet dropped their debut album "Revival" and now they're revelling in their latest offering "Soul Transfer", deviating away from the structural guidelines laid before them in search of a truly inspirational sound for the album as the band go on to explain... it did not happen by sheer accident.
How does it feel to release your second album 'Soul Transfer'; especially on Japanese label Red Rivet Records? Where does this place itself in terms of the band's history and the wider Estonian Metal scene?
"Estonia is a small country and our metal scene is very small as well. Actually, there's only one metal label – Nailboard Records. Many years ago they signed bands, but now they work more as a distribution company. So it means that we have no choice and it's pretty common that Estonian artists sign deals with foreign labels. So, as you know, our previous album was released on the Italian label "Underground Symphony". This time we sent our record to a list of labels over the world and we were happy to get positive feedback from Japan. Red Rivet Records offered us reasonable conditions and we're still happy about our co-operation. And yes, for us every action and step forward is kind of achievement."
Regarding the 'Soul Transfer' track-list, could you explain the meaning behind the percentages?; Assuming it ties in with the album title?
"Soul Transfer is a concept album, an entire complete original story where the order of the compositions are arranged in a certain meaningful sequence. All the tracks are combined through smooth transitions or short instrumental sketches, which underlines and complements the full picture of the idea. In order to understand what we wanted to convey to the listener, you need to listen to the disc from start to finish in one session: from zero to one hundred percent with a total duration of 73 minutes. So, in the album, three main lines are closely intertwined: the inner world of feelings and memories of the character, the world of virtual reality created by a super computer, and the real material non-industrial world and its society, manipulated by gadgets and social media.
Using non-tradtional metal instruments can sometimes be considered unorthodox (in this case a saxophone and trumpet). What gave you the inspiration to include said instruments? How was it working with Raul Sööt and Allan Järve? Can we call the album 'Avant-Garde' or 'Progressive Jazz Metal'?
"I expected such a question... creating music for "Soul Transfer", initially I did not think about jazz instruments, as well as about violins. The album was at the stage of mixing... there were a lot of instrumental parties and it did not sound boring. But one evening, when the light at the end of the tunnel was already close, I went to the shower. Standing under the hot water, I thought: damn! I want to add something else, why not the jazz sounds? After two beers I opened my computer, sketched out my ideas, and messaged one saxophonist. In the morning I got a negative answer from him. I was quite mad and decided to make a last effort. I wrote a message to one of the best musicians in Estonia - my former harmony teacher and tenor saxophonist Raul Sööt. Next morning he answered me that it will be interesting for him to take a part in this project.
After that I was thinking about trumpet. Then I messaged to Allan Järve, who was my friend at the Viljandi Academy of Culture. He quickly came to my studio and we recorded a trumpet for two tracks in an hour. Raul Sööt took the task very responsibly. He recorded his parts at the studio with Cristo Cotkas, there were several sessions. When I mixed the album, including their parts, I realized that this is exactly what I would like to hear in the end. The other members of the Emphasis were shocked. They listened to the songs several times and said that it sounds cool, albeit unusual. Avant-garde it or not – let the reviewers to decide :) But for me this record is exactly what I always wanted to record, even at those times, when in our group were only three members - me, Katya and Vsevolod. Ten years passed and we did it! I want to say a big thank you to all the musicians who shared this work with us - Raul Sööt, Allan Jarve, my friend from Moscow - Oleg Lutskevich, and also my colleague Julia Mets and my student Alexander Smirnov."
Assuming there will be a tour to support the new album, are there any countries you would want to target? Will there be a music video released in support?
"Currently, we don't plan any tour activities. Our album release party took place in Rockstar's club in Tallinn on April 14. The most of the songs we played for the really first time in our lives and we really enjoyed that! The crowd was amazing. We decided to focus on promotional stuff. Yes, we have some great plans about music video .. but let's see! :)"
For metal fans travelling to Tallinn and wider Estonia, what sights / attractions could you recommend seeing?
"Rockstar's club – the oldest rock club in town, actually! Hard Rock Laager Open Air, of course. If you want to discover more, I totally recommend you to visit Narva, home town of three of our musicians, and got Art Club "Ro-Ro“. Believe me, there's really special atmosphere :)"
What plans does the band have for the rest of the year that have not already been indicated earlier?
"We are planning to open our online-shop, finally! There you can find our musical stuff and some really cool merchandise. As Anna said, we also have some plans about music video, but.... now we're not ready to discuss it. However, GMA will be the first source who'll get a link ;)"
Anna (vocals): "In autumn, we plan to play more shows. This spring was really hard for us!"
Max (guitars): "And we also plan to continue with the new material."
Pavel (guitars): "... 3,5 of the songs done :D"
Are there any greetings you wish to send out to fans, friends, family, etc?
All: "We wish you to visit more live shows and support local underground scene!"
Most people would associate Taiwan as one of those countries you could find labelled on the inside of some of the garments you own, but for metalheads it's known as a vibrant metal scene with ChthoniC as their leading export... following in the Oriental Black Metallers footsteps are a legion of metal bands who are ready to take the Taiwanese scene forward onto newer and greater heights.
One such band is Frost Tears (冰霜之淚), whose blend of Symphonic Gothic Metal and Oriental Metal is so amazing that you would lost in trying to find a band who can be compared to this majestic group. GMA spoke to the group to find out what life as a Taiwanese Metal musician is like, plans for the year ahead among other things. Answers are gratefully and surprisingly received in both Taiwanese and English.
"'Joyous shout' is a song which returns to the pure combination of power metal and symphony metal"
How long has Frost Tears been going and has any of the members been in previous bands?
"冰霜之淚迄今已經㒟立八年，到目前為止，歷經三任鼓手᧤現任鼓手 Ibara 第ℛ任᧥；三任貝㠾手᧤現任貝㠾手 Mone 是第ℛ任᧥；吉他手 Dio 是第ℛ任᧤鍵 盤手 Yu 則在 2016 年離團，主唱 Len
與吉他手 Taku 一直是原始團員。目前並不 積極尋找㠿任鍵盤手，因為㒠們覺得改變樂器編制也許是個有趣的ℚ情。在 2017 年在演出的配置加入了一位大提琴手 Tetsu.
It's been 8 years since Frost Tears was formed by Len (Vocal), Taku (Lead Guitar) and Ibara (Drums). The other present members include Mone (Bass) and Dio (Rhythm Guitar), who are the second members at bass and rhythm guitar. Tetsu, our current cellist, joined us in 2017, which may be an interesting idea or choice to change our band formation due to former keyboardists leave in 2016."
What is it like being a metal musician / fan in Taiwan? What is the scene like and is metal supported well?
都沒᭷幾個金屬樂團ྍ以ᡂ為主流，也因Ṉᡃ們在這八年來所學到的心態，便是 做ᡃ們想做的音樂即ྍ，要跟隨閃靈的 腳 ṉ並不是件容易的事，而即使像閃靈身 為ྎ灣最紅的金屬團，卸下樂手光環ᚋ，
ChthoniC as Taiwan's most known metal band has their own way of standing in Taiwan and so do we. In fact, few of Taiwan's (or maybe countries / religions besides Northern Europe) metal bands became famous. So even if we still try to fulfil our destiny in our own way, our conclusion for Metal in Taiwan is simply make perfect music, and THAT IS ENOUGH. "
You're about to release your fourth EP 'Conscious Being' in a few weeks time, will there be a tour in support of the release?
"目前還在企劃中，ྍ能在六᭶，因為ᡃ們沒᭷足 夠 的經費同時做 夠 多的ⓐ行 和ᐉ傳活動，所以也不急，一件一件的完ᡂ就好ࠋ
Actually, we are planning for a tour in Taiwan to begin maybe in June, so things like funds searching or promotion activity is now in process."
Have you played outside of Taiwan, if so where? What challenges as a Taiwanese band do you face when booking overseas gigs?
"ᡃ們曾經在 2015 年到過日本，2016 年到馬來西亞演出ࠋ對ᡃ們而言，演出內
容與器材ࠊ場地並不是問題，觀眾也都 夠 多ࠋ其實對ᡃ們而言，最困難的是籌ࠋ措旅費
We've been to Japan in 2015 and Malaysia in 2016. Shows were perfect for their own when the most difficult part is still the operation funds."
What did you differently for the new EP in comparison to your previous releases?
"因為團員變動，創作方式自然也會改變ࠋ新的 EP 除了首支單曲 Joyous shout 回到像 power
或 symphony metal 那種比較直ⓑ的音樂型態之外，另外三首則是以 現在的編制去重新改寫第一張
The new single 'Joyous shout' from 'Conscious Being' is a song which returns to the pure combination of power metal and symphony metal. Others are remade versions of 3 songs from our first EP which has improved tones, path of mixing and in some parts a change of lyrics and melody. It's a way for us to face and challenge our past."
For those visiting Taiwan, what sights / attractions could you recommend? What bars could you recommend?
"對於訪問ྎ灣的遊ᐈ，你ྍ以推薦哪些景點 / 景點？你ྍ以推薦什麼酒吧
'Jiufen' for 1 day touring and 'Revolver'͛ for alcohol."
What plans do you have for the year ahead?
The first priority is to complete our next new album despite our slow working progress, but we'll still make a try."
Do you have any greetings you wish to send out?
Hey guys we are Frost Tears from Taiwan! We welcome you to subscribe to us on our official Facebook page 'Frost Tears 冰霜之淚' to get the latest information of us! We wish to see you, Thank you!
With only a month to go before one of the biggest music competitions hits our screens, AWS from Hungary are raring to go to lay waste on the masses at this years Eurovision Song Contest which will be held in Lisbon following Portugal's win last year. It's not often a metal band gets put forward to represent their country, indeed the genre has only managed to secure one win - Lordi from Finland.
But following Lordi, a slew of metal bands emerged: Terasbetoni (Finland; following Lordi's win), Eldrine (Georgia), maNga (Turkey) and Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko (Albana), now it's Hungary's turn to put the volume up past thirteen and let the lads in AWS fly the flag for the metal music scene worldwide. GMA spoke to the lads who form this Post-Hardcore/Metalcore outfit about their trip through the national selection in 'A Dal', their home town, future plans and the meaning behind their chosen song.
See how AWS won 'A Dal' and began their journey to the Eurovision Song Contest in Lisbon below.
"We do hope there will be more metal at Eurovision from now on... it’s not as easy to consume as pop music for example.""
For those who do not know of AWS, can you give us a brief history of the band?
"Sure, we’re a five-piece band playing Modern Metal. We founded AWS back when we were in the same high school. We started with English lyrics (Fata Morgana album), but then switched to Hungarian (ÉGÉSFÖLD and Kint A Vízből albums). We’ve released three albums so far and we are working on the fourth one. We have toured Hungary many times and also played shows in Europe, for example we recently played a gig in London."
You chose the song 'Viszlát Nyár' to participate in the Hungarian preselection show 'A Dal' and subsequently won it, what does the song mean and were you surprised to win? What were emotions like on the night of the grand final?
"Of course we were surprised! We are a metal band that’s going to Eurovision (laughing). We were shocked at first but then we went to our favourite spot in town to celebrate with our friends. We were happy for our victory. Our song is about dealing with death. We think that in our culture we make things harder for ourselves by avoiding the topic of death carefully and sometimes forget about the fact that our time here is not infinite. Sometimes we forget to pay attention to the loved ones in our lives and we only realize these things when we lose them. If we could give more thought to the fact that we won’t be here forever, we could live a happier, fuller life and spend more time with the people and things that are important to us."
Will you be looking to do a tour before or after your Eurovision performance? Will 'Viszlát Nyár' be featured on a new album?
"Yes, for sure. Originally we wrote the song as a first single for our new album coming later this year. We will play a lot of festival gigs in the summer."
You play a mix of Post-Hardcore, Metalcore and Melodic Metal, do you feel metal music isn't well represented in Eurovision as much as it could be?
"We do hope there will be more metal at Eurovision from now on. Since this genre is quite heavy, full of strong emotions, it’s not as easy to consume as pop music for example."
Surely representing Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest will be your biggest achievement; what made you enter 'A Dal' in the beginning?
"We didn’t think about the ESC in the beginning. We just wanted to show our music to a broader audience in Hungary. And we are going to Lisbon with the same goals: we are glad to have this opportunity and we would like to give our best shot to show people our music."
What did the judges say to your style of music during 'A Dal'? Has your song 'Viszlát Nyár' had any radio slots across Europe?
"Not yet, but there is an English version in the making, you might hear that soon! Not all the members of the jury were familiar with our style of music, but we received amazingly high from them in every round."
For those metalheads visiting your town of Budakeszi, what sights / attractions could you recommend seeing?
"You should check out our giant pines and our wildlife park with boars, bears and deer."
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
"We are sticking to our original pre-Eurovision plan: we are touring in Hungary and recording our fourth album. We are going to release it at the end of this year."
Finally what can Eurovision viewers and attendees expect from your performance?
"We can’t tell you too much about it in advance, but they can be sure to see a true AWS show full of power and pyro"
Metal music is unmistakably global, we've seen the rise of metal bands from all corners of the globe, from Brazil's Sepultura to New Zealand's Ulcerate and all the countries in-between and... basically everywhere. However it's multinational bands and projects that just show the solidarity this music brings irrespective of religious, cultural, political or societal traits... Metal is the Mecca of open-mindedness. Akheth, a project generally central to Canada features members from American, Dutch, Iranian and Mexican backgrounds and as they drop their debut single it's only right that they get all the attention they deserve because Akheth are not just a band, they are a prime example of 'metalisation' (a portmanteau of metal and globalisation; I just made it up); that is the power of metal music bringing different nationalities together under one roof.
Akheth gave us an insight into their world, their new single, their paths to metal and the challenges of being a project separated by vast lands and open seas.
How did Akheth come about? What does the band name mean and how did that come about?
"The band started from the first demo of 'The Asylum' we did back in 2015. It was a song that I had written in 2011 for my band at the time. When I saw a few YouTube videos of Mahafsoun singing I asked her if she'd be interested in recording vocals for the song. We finished that demo but didn't create Akheth as a band until late 2016. The name of the band is an Egyptian hieroglyph that represents where the sun rises or sets. I chose this name for the band because I was looking for something original and short and Akheth was the name of the first song I ever wrote back in 2006, so it has a special meaning."
Seeing as you all live in four countries, do you send recordings over the net or do you meet up on occasion?
"Mahafsoun and I have met a few times but most of the work we do is through the internet. I send the guys complete demos with guide vocals or just the skeleton of a song when I'm still working on it. From there they learn it and add their own thing to it. There is also a new song that we are working on for the EP on which Mahafsoun wrote the main piano parts, it is the first song we are writing together. Next month (April) Mahafsoun and I will meet and practice the vocal lines for the new songs."
What (apart from the previous question) challenges do you face as an international band?
"Sometimes communicating ideas over the internet is difficult, you can't really explain for example a melody or a complicated section over an e-mail. Besides that recording everything separately, specially with a low budget is hard because you have to take all those different tracks recorded in different places and make them fit together. Of course with the technology we have these days it's a bit easier but some of us are still learning and getting more experience as we work more on recording music. Lastly the cost of getting all of us together in the same place, every time we want to do it one of us has to get a flight somewhere."
Mahafsoun, what was it like growing up as a metal fan in Iran? What does your family think of metal music?
"During the time I lived in Iran, I was only eight years old. Because of this I never got to experience what it's like to be a metal fan growing up in Iran. However my mum and dad nowadays enjoy some metal. In the beginning they didn't really care about it, but after I showed them the different sub-genres of metal, they each found one that they really enjoyed listening to. I believe that for each of them, they enjoy metal more nowadays especially because they know that I have such a strong connection to the music and the culture."
You released your debut single 'The Asylum' this year, what has the reception been like and how did you come up with the single title?
"At the time of writing The Asylum and other songs I had the idea of making them all fit together in a concept album. The story is about the human mind and how insane it can sometimes be. So at the beginning of the story everything is somewhat abstract but getting to this song, The Asylum, you start to figure out what it was all about. At this point we aren't even talking about the full length, since we are working on the EP, so we'll have to see if we keep the same subject.
So far the reception has been great! People from all over the world ordered our CD's and merch, as a new band we didn't really expect that so we are very thankful for the support. Not only that but people also liked our music and we were lucky to have Mark from Epica as a guest on the song!
Will the single be included on your impending EP / debut album in the future?
"Our EP will contain 5 new songs and we will include 'The Asylum' as a bonus. Although for our first full length album we talked about re-recording the song because this single was basically home-made and we had some comments about our production quality. So yes! we will have a much better version of 'The Asylum' but it'll have to wait until we record our full length."
How would you describe your style of metal? Who influences you?
"Right now we only have that one song out so it is still too early for people to really know what our style is. However in a review for Metal Injection they called us Progressive Symphonic Metal and we really liked that term because it doesn't limit us to play the same thing all the time. We have so many influences that go from Progressive Rock all the way to Black or Death Metal and everything in between. I think our music will definitely reflect that. Also each one of us has different tastes and styles of playing our instruments or singing.
The good thing is that we are all open minded and so is most of the metal community, our core will always be metal so I think most people will find something that they enjoy in our music. For our EP we are working on a ballad, also other longer songs with middle eastern vibes and instrumental sections. Some songs have more orchestra and others are more riff oriented so you guys can get an idea. The beauty of Symphonic Metal is that you can do so many different things with it and when you throw in the progressive part you get even more variety.
As far as specific bands that influence us I'd personally say Opeth, Dream Theater, Tool, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Evergrey, David Gilmour, Steven Wilson to mention a few. Mahafsoun likes Deftones, A Perfect Circle, Septicflesh, Moonspell. There would be too many to mention them all!"
What plans do you have for the year ahead and are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"Our plans for this year besides the EP are making our first official videos together! We'd like to thank you and everybody for supporting Akheth and we hope you keep an eye out for our EP towards the second half of the year!"