Having already arisen from the fairly-ignored Irish Metal scene and pushed themselves onto newer plains be it Bloodstock or Japan, Dead Label are certainly one band that cannot be ignored - any reason given will be invalid upon deliverance. Having this year dropped their infectious second album "Throne of Bones", GMA wanted to discover what drives this three-piece force. Naturally seeing as Claire was at one point our Irish correspondent, she duly answered our questions - we promised to go light on her, but this was not to be...
For those who do not know your band, could you please give a brief background of the band and what your band name means
"We started eight years ago, just writing songs and playing local gigs. The three of us were in previous bands together too, but this was our first real one! After doing an EP we then went to record our album 'Sense of Slaughter' in the UK. This was our first step into the real world. We travelled to Japan for our first big festival and it all kind of came from there. When we started it was around the time of the murder of Sophie Lancaster. We wrote a song about her murders, which was called 'Dead Label'. When trying to think of a band name, we were saying we didn't want to be labelled within metal, just being metal so we ended up taking the name Dead Label, and we renamed the song called 'Rest in Pieces'."
Things have certainly sped up since your Bloodstock appearance, do you feel it's grass-root festivals like BOA that give bands that platform to gain exposure more easily?
"Bloodstock is an amazing festival. The people who run it are very helpful from the beginning, before you even book a festival, they can be seen helping bands with Metal to the Masses. They create a platform for bands to flourish and they encourage all the things you need in getting a band to the next level. I hope we can return to play Bloodstock for many many many years."
Claire, there seems to be an increase in female musicians over the years, do you feel that the stigma towards female musicians is still there or has it gone?
"I think the stigma is dwindling big time. There are still people who are surprised but in a more pleasant way. They're has been a big change in the attitude to girls in metal. Its not just about the vocalists any more, there are female musicians being treated equally to men, which is all anyone ever wanted!"
You released your album 'Throne of Bones' this year, what was the response like? What track(s) are your favourite and why?
"The response has been massive! We had been sitting on this album for some time, so we were nervous as to how it would go down, but all the reviews have been over and above what we expected! Everyone seems to really be liking it which is amazing and we are very excited by how into the risky things on the album! Like 'The Cleansing' and 'The Gates of Hell', these were both somewhat risky for us, we obviously liked them but we weren't sure how people would react!"
With the UK pulling out of the EU are you concerned it may hinder your chances at playing in the UK?
"Yes, when the vote came in my first worry was touring. Right now, it is so easy to come back and fourth to the UK. Also were bigger bands touring is concerned, if they do not go to the UK, they may not come to Ireland. I am hoping there will be provisions to ensure the ease of musicians playing in the UK. After all, it hosts some of the most amazing festivals and bands tour all the cities. They simply have to come to good method of maintaining the ease of musicians travelling in and out of the UK!!!"
Taking interest in the Irish Metal scene, what is the current status of the scene? Is the scene still going strong? What challenges specific to the scene are there?
"The biggest challenge for the metal scene here is the population. with the amount of people who live here, you have to consider how many like metal! Don't get me wrong, the metal heads here are die hard but its just not as many as you would find in other countries. There are a lot of amazing bands though and when you do find yourself at a gig it tends to be full of energy! But there are not many options within the scene itself. Hopefully the increased number of bands here will encourage the fans to get out more and go to gigs."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year and into early 2017? Have you got any greetings you wish to send out?
"We have a lot of touring plans in the works, and we are in talks with some cool festivals for next year! We hope to tour Throne of Bones as much as possible now that people have a chance to check it out before we come to their city! We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone that supported us, particularly fans that took us on board on the Fear Factory tour. We played to a lot of new faces and so many people came up afterwards and bought merch and talked to us. That means a lot to a band and it helped keep us alive on the road!"
"French bands are now playing they own style of metal..... now we can feel the “French touch” in metal"
Having set the French Metal scene alight with their brandished form of 'experimental metal' to say the least, let's face it mixing together Groove Metal, Nu Metal, Alternative Metal and in later releases Deathcore into one sound, is a bold statement, not only for craving creativity but also sticking up the middle finger towards convention.
Now with their own signature sound echoing across Europe like a air-raid siren, it was about time GMA contained this unrelenting beast of a band, strap them down and give them our own form of grilling. Unfortunately all except Staif managed to escape, so he was forced to answer our questions, here they are:-
Your new album 'Ankaa' is now out, where would you place this in your discography? Would you say its the best one you've done to date? How is it different?
I guess that each band is pretty proud of its brand new album and thinks it's the best. Personalty, I'm really proud of "Ankaa", it was a huge work and I learnt many new things while doing it! It's my favourite for sure, I contributed my entire self in it as I composed the songs, wrote the lyrics (except 3 lyrics I wrote with my friend Faustine Berardo), engineered the parts and produced the album. I mixed many new styles with our metal and I think the result is described as “Modern Metal”, crossing between violent and ambient parts, but especially I believe it's a sincere and unbending opus. There is more electronic parts and more guests on it, that helped us to give a new vision of what can be ETHS. I tried to keep the essence of the band but, in the same time, to bring it in places where we never been. Each song has its own universe and I have built this album as a walk through these different atmospheres, like a passage from the oppressive darkness to soothing clarity.
French Metal music certainly seems to becoming more recognisable outside of France, could you please comment on what you've noticed regarding this?
I feel that French bands are now playing they own style of metal. For many years, the bands tried to imitate the US bands but now we can feel the “French touch” in metal, I'm really glad of this! We always had great bands who played all over the world (like Loudblast or Mass Hysteria) but since Gojira exported themselves, that, for sure, opened a door for all the other French metal bands playing good stuff. It's like if every one in the world was saying: “hey, French Metal bands can also make good metal, let's listen!” Many thanks to those bands who opened the path for the French Metal over the world!
With Eurovision coming up, have you ever contemplated playing the song contest for France?
No, I don't think we fit with the kind of music they're looking for! You can notice that no metal band has ever played for France in Eurovision. By the way that would be great to prove that France has got talent in Metal, but in France, Metal bands are seen like strange people who like to scream, the path is still long to enforce metal presence in French mass media's...
What language are you singing on your album? Could you give a brief summary of what each song means?
We are mostly singing in French, but also in English on two tracks and some parts are sung in Arabic. The name of each song give a good understanding of the lyrics, and I don't really like to explain song by song. I prefer let everybody find its own interpretation, we always wanted it like that but there are many keys in the lyrics and the artwork. "Ankaa" is the brightest star of the phoenix constellation, it's an idea of rebirth (for the band but also me personally) and in a way, a cyclical vision of time, “we go where we came from through the scale of the universe”. But it's also a vision of the human being, who can be as wonderful and creative than harmful and destructive. I find that pretty disturbing, for example, the song 'Nixi Dii' talks about infanticide, I just can't understand how a parent can kill his own child... some of my lyrics are quite violent because I need to externalize what bothers me.
How was it working with Soilwork's Dirk Verbeuren? Could you see yourselves working with him again?
That was really great, Dirk is a drums genius, it's so easy to work with such an awesome musician! He fed the drums parts and the songs with his incredible musicality, I was really happy each time I received a new song, he gave to 'Ankaa' its final touch. If we have the opportunity, that would be pleasure to work with him again! But I have to say that we also are really happy of our new drummer R.U.L who is doing a great job on stage.
Will you be undertaking a UK / EU tour in support of the album? Or have you got any dates already confirmed?
We deeply hope to make an 'Ankaa' UK / EU Tour as soon as possible! It's on booking as the album was just released one week ago. We have many shows in France for the first step and then we'll go everywhere we'll can to come present our brand new opus. I hope to quickly come in the UK because I really like to play there!
What song is your favourite firstly and for those new to Eths, what song would you recommend?
Hard to say, it's like choosing one of your children, but I would say “Anima Exhalare” which is on our second album “Tératologie”, I wrote the song and the lyrics, it's a part of me and of my story... On 'Ankaa', I like pretty much all of the songs but my favourite is the end triptych “Alnitak Alnilam Mintaka”, the lyrics mean a lot for me and the music is really a new step in our discography, a brand new horizon for the band.
Finally have you got any hello's and thank you's you wish to send out?
First, thank you for your interview and I deeply thank all those who helped us to make this album! I also really thank all of our fans that keep believing in the band despite hard times and all those who gave a chance to 'Ankaa' and listened to it. We hope to meet all of you on stage for the 'Ankaa' Tour!!!
'Ankaa' is out now via Season of Mist
"A part of what makes a piece of art beautiful is that it is one of a kind that is meant to be experienced a certain way"
Since the American Metalcore / Post-Hardcore / Screamo unit Alesana unveiled the second part of their "Comedy of Errors" music video / mini-movie, GMA decided it was about time to take the band to the grill and interrogate them via the use of pincers. The conclusion of this chapter highlights a critical turning point of "The Annabel Trilogy" (the story in which their three album concept was based on). "Comedy of Errors" (from the new full-length, "Confessions") and it's accompanying video series is complete with an intriguing storyline of love, mystery, and time travel.
Let the interrogation begin...
Overall how hard (or easy) was it to construct and release the "The Annabel Trilogy"? Will there be any more trilogies?
"The trilogy was definitely an involved venture but one that has been very rewarding. I think that over time fans, both new and old, will really begin to appreciate the level of care that went into writing these albums and stories this way. I've been finishing up the complete short story and it has reminded me just how cool and involved this idea was and how proud I am that we were able to stick with it and see it through."
As you guys call yourself 'Pop Metal', do you feel the term has had backlash over the years? Is there a stigma towards pop music that metalheads generally have?
"If there has been I have not witnessed it first hand. Genres are, and always have been, a way to categorize and pigeonhole art. On one hand, it allows for people to siphon through things and get to new things that they may appreciate more quickly. On the other hand, it causes pre-emptive opinions to be formed. For me, if somebody doesn't like my art or music solely because of a genre lent to it then that is most likely a person I wouldn't want to invite into our creative world anyhow."
You've just released your second part of the "comedy of errors" music video, would fans of your music need to listen to the trilogy to understand the mini-movies?
"It certainly wouldn't hurt. I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys the videos to try to submerge themselves into the whole universe that we have created."
What plans do you have for the year ahead? Any tours over in the UK / in Europe?
"This year we are scaling back and taking a break to focus on our families and some other ventures. You haven't heard the last of Alesana just yet, however."
What challenges do you feel up-and-coming bands these days face more than ever? Is social media too heavily relied upon?
"Social media is 100% too heavily relied upon. Back at the beginning of our career we were immersed fully in the MySpace revolution. It was a huge help for us but that is because we used it to compliment our grass roots approach, we didn't rely solely upon the internet. A lot of young bands these days write a record, record it, take some photos, slap everything on Facebook and Bandcamp, sit back and wait, and then wonder why their band isn't blowing up. Playing shows, meeting people, and building relationships both with new fans and other bands is so important and a point that I think too many bands are missing these days."
A Heavy Metal movie hasn't really been done before, so could you imagine a film being made with purely metal musicians acting out characters? If you could remake a film, what one would you choose and why? Who would act the parts?
"That sounds like a fun idea. I'm a huge fan of movies and good television and honestly I do not like remakes. A part of what makes a piece of art beautiful is that it is one of a kind that is meant to be experienced a certain way."
Finally have you got any hello's, greetings etc you wish to send out?
"Shout out to my entire Revival family of artists! You can check everything out at revivalrecs.com"
BAND: Descent From Aten
LOCATION: Clacton-On-Sea, Essex (England)
GENRE: Technical Progressive / Deathcore
During the night of brutality, GMA's Rhys Stevenson slipped outside to have a natter with fellow county-men Descent From Aten. A five-piece Progressive Technical / Deathcore group who are progressing currently with the re-mastering of their EP and are also cementing the foundations for their new album. So this is what happened (you can hear the whole interview above, below are 6 questions we hand picked that we liked most):
Hey guys, so how long has the band been going and what does the band name mean?
Artis and I were researching conspiracy theories about Ancient Egypt and aliens, things like that and so we had written down a few names to do with the conspiracies and (another member takes over), the main meaning behind the band name is basically aliens ruling over Egypt at the time of
Akhenaten, when head binding began and all of that paraphernalia. The songs we do are about aliens ruling over Egypt so we try to get Egyptology in there as much as possible, I would say 'The Apostasy' kind of follows this because this means to lose faith in something. But basically the alien god Akhenaten told everyone to stop worshiping the other gods, so basically they are apostatizing because they are losing faith in all of the other gods.
Would you consider yourselves the harder or softer version of Nile?
(all moan), well they're Death Metal and we're more Technical Metal I'd say, (like Born of Osiris?), yeah that sort of Born of Osiris style really, we're more drifting towards that area of music, even Veil of Maya. Theme wise, well Nile for sure as the lyrics are near enough the same topic.
What non-music influences do you take on-board into your music and general life?
Perry King: I take a lot of influences from philosophers, I like philosophy a lot and like the Dalai Lama has a lot of things you can learn from.
Member 2: I'm sort of an agnostic at the moment, I don't really care to be honest, I don't have any religious views apart from the band and games (laughs), I'm a bit of a nerd and guitar is my life so I don't really, I guess I'm just a guitar nerd and I don't differ out so I just play guitar, that's all I do basically. I play a lot of war games so I would liken myself to a chaotic guy, I just like to kill everyone... kill everyone... (laughs), as a guy I'm just a f**king joker, life is a big joke, that's me
Member 3: Well for me I'm not into much religious stuff either, I don't take many public figures really (another member interjects with 'Justin Bieber, another quips afterwards 'who doesn't?').
Patrick Barker: I agree with Perry and the whole philosophy thing because well I sort of appreciate people who can say things that mean something, that's just outside metal but with me I'm mostly just into music and stuff, playing bass and gaming as well, we're all nerds basically (all agree), I actually game quite a lot surprisingly, too much. (So you would have your own avatar in Skyrim if you could?): pretty much haha. (another member quips 'That's where I wish I was Trevor Phillips from GTA, he just gets away with everything, he probably wants to kill you just doesn't want to!'). Yeah again I'm not really religious, I can appreciate why people believe in religion but it won't make me believe in it, but honestly if someone said to me 'I believe in God because this random thing happened to me and since then my life has been great', I'd be like well fair enough, other things could have caused that (all laughs) but yeah I play a lot of games still, I'm just like a massive gamer like I'd also say slightly political at mind, sometimes maybe, but especially if it's to do with UK politics and American, so like what's going on in America, the whole Government shut down thing I thought that was ridiculous, that's given me an idea for a song (bus screeches). but yeah with the whole NSA case (libel remark made), they are going to know what you are looking at on the internet. (Perry interjects with: 'this is what happens every time Pat and I sit down, we'll always talk about one thing and then he'll divert and go onto something else like the surveillance, Xbox one, camera spying, etc, he's like this all the time').
Member 5: As for religion I don't really believe in anything, I was born as a Christian and was baptized and everything, but as I grew up I don't really follow it by heart, I'd definitely stay with the gaming as I play Skyrim, Battlefield and GTA quite a lot, (another member interjects with 'I'm not a gamer and that's because I can't afford a console', another replies with 'you're missing out white herbert, oh and if anyone's listening into this audio Perry looks a lot like Wade from GTA 5 (see below), if anyone plays GTA 5 and sees Wade he does look like him a lot, he just needs the clown paint and that's it, he'll be Wade').
^ Perry vs Wade, yup we see a resemblance
So as a group does it matter where a band comes from, so you have bands coming out from Africa, Asia, etc people say 'yeah its music that's all that matters', does it really matter where they come from?
I wouldn't say so, if you make music you make music man. Music is for everyone, I wouldn't say it was for someone who was from a specific country or area, do what you want to do, music makes you feel good about life so f**king crack on with it. (Even when you got countries with political regimes who state if you play metal you're dead?). Really? Oh, I wasn't actually aware of that, but my view on that personally is that's ridiculous, (members interject: 'to be honest if that's the case I would want to do it more', 'I think the whole point is it's about people rising up against the Government', 'I think music is everyone's right, it brings everyone together but yeah there's not many people in our home town, but when you play at a metal gig loads of metal people come from all over, you know it should be everyone's right', 'its like we've just summoned them', 'If you enjoy music in any form, then just do it, I don't understand why people are like 'urgh metal, going to kill that person now' (laughs); 'well no because everytime you walk down the street, you hear someone playing rap on their phone loudly, you know you don't just get the urge to stab them' (laughs).
So you know 2014 is practically upon us, what plans have you got next year?
New album. In the start of December (the 6th) we're going to be sorting out the drums for the album so yeah we're going into the studio to record our full length album, which should be out around Spring-Summer time really, but that's sort of a rough estimate of when it's coming out. I mean we've written it all out, but the thing is we have to line it all and perfect it basically, it's all written out theoretically and so we have to practise and learn it, some of the stuff we end up writing it takes time and so it could end up taking longer because of how technical the album might be. Compared to the EP the album is a lot more different, it blows it out the water and so we feel people will rate us more than they did with the EP.
Finally have you got any hello's, thank you's, greetings you wish to issue to your friends, fans, family, maybe your boss at work?
I just want to thank the metal community in general, I've had a lot of random metalheads add me on Facebook because they've heard our music and thought that we were good.
I'd like to thank people like Lewis cause he 'naked Lewis', because he knows who he is, all the fans who come to our local gigs, the main ones that got us going really so I would like to say thank you to them.
I want to say thank you to some of my band-members as well because they never really like my music but they're there to support the band the whole way through, I'd also like to thank my mum as well for giving me the courage to go on.
I'd thank my family, my nan and my grandad for just being supportive and I know they think the music is a load of s**t but there's no way to sugercoat that, I know they're always supportive and I'd probably thank my mum whose probably looking down at me like 'learn to sing normally', but also the guys in Acrania for putting a word in about us to get us on Night of Brutality, the fans for sure, all our supportive friends and basically the general metal community for being such awesome people.
I'd like to thank my friends for supporting me, with the band and everything and also the bands we gig with because all of the guys we meet are cool to get along with and we enjoy their music as well.
Cheers guys and stay metal \m/
“The ‘core’ sub genres did come from Metal, so they are still Metal. It is up to people to think what they think is Metal”
Deathcore, often dubbed as the illegitimate derivative of Death Metal, has built up its own legion of followers all over the world in recent years. Despite every dispute, its popularity is rising day by day. Enter Abandoned World, a young Deathcore / Metalcore band hailing from Sweden. Founded in mid 2012 and on the way to releasing an EP, the band toured Bangladesh last month and played at the Eastern Dark Fest. GMA's Bangladesh correspondent Nabil Abaddon had a rendezvous with Bnar Aziz (vocals), Samuel Talebi (guitars) and Kim Liljendhal (bass) just before their performance, right outside the venue.
Is this the first time that Abandoned World are touring outside of Sweden? How excited are you?
Samuel: Very excited! Everything is new to us here, like it’s a new culture, so far from Sweden. Totally on the other side of the globe for where we come from.
Bnar: We feel amazing to be here! It's such an awesome opportunity and an honor to be here in Bangladesh.
Do you guys have any knowledge of the scene here in Bangladesh? Have you checked out any of the bands before leaving for Bangladesh?
Samuel: Not too much. But we knew a little because we have a friend from Bangladesh. He lives in Sweden now. He told us about the scene here. There are not many opportunities but there are a lot of die-hard fans I heard.
Kim: When we got this opportunity to play here, I checked out some of the bands in the line up and we were like “man we gotta get down there!”
So how did you guys form the band and how long have you been playing together?
Bnar: Well it is a funny story. It all started like a mini project, basically it began with my former guitarist and I. We met on the internet and we were looking for bands. So we started practising together. I knew Samuel from before, so I just asked him if he wanted to play with us and he said yes. So we three started jamming together. The band grew from there and within a short time we got our bassist and drummer. We have been playing as a band for almost a year now.
Kim: We are trying to be patient and just take up the opportunities that come in the way. When this tour came up, we were just flabbergasted. It was unbelievable for us. It is an honour for us to be here and we really want to show the crowd why we are here and give our best shots.
Does Abandoned World want to play here more often?
Samuel: Of course we do! We want to show the crowd what we are made of and we want to keep coming here. We are talking with the organizers and we are planning on touring some other countries around Asia as well, may be some time around Jan / Feb next year?
Kim: It is still in the planning stage. Lets see what happens.
So Abandoned World has got a single on YouTube? Are you guys planning / working on your EP or album, or something else?
Samuel: What we are going to do now is to shoot a music video and we are looking for a good studio to record stuff. We have our materials ready now, may be we’ll write a bit more. Then we’ll hit the studio. We will release another single, then the album. After that we will probably just tour around! I recommend you to check out another single we have out now, it's called "Madness from Within".
Kim: Yeah that song is a pre-production and we just want to show the people that we are working on some new heavy material. We are going to play this song tonight and trust me it is going to be mayhem!
Although sub-genres like Deathcore, Metalcore, etc are rising quickly all over the world, these “core” sub-genres often get bad rap from Metal fans who are purists. They often do not consider these sub-genres as Metal or ‘real Metal’. As Abandoned World is a Deathcore / Metalcore band, what is your opinion on this?
Bnar: Personally I think that if they do not see that as metal I do not have any problem with that. I mean that's their perception of what they think is metal. The “core” sub-genres did come from Metal, so they are still Metal. It is up to people to think what they think is metal. It is totallty fine to us. That's what we feel about it. We do what we feel like doing and we are doing Metal music that we know. Deathcore / Metalcore is what people labelled us as.
Samuel: Well I think they love it how it is you know. I think you are missing out! (laughs)
What are your influences as a band? Can you suggest a few albums that inspires Abandoned World?
Samuel: Well loads of bands I would say. It starts from Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera to Suicide Silence, Born Of Osiris, Lamb Of God etc etc…… Ummmm the albums would be :
Deep Blue - Parkway Drive
Sacrament - Lamb Of God
The Discovery - Born Of Osiris
Tomorrow We Die Alive - Born of Osiris
Thank you for giving us your time. Any words for the fans and readers?
Samuel: Get ready! It's just the start! We have a long way to go and a lot of times to be here! We love what we do! We are loving Bangladesh! The crowd is awesome. Thank you!
Bnar: Like Samuel said, we are just getting started, so get ready! Basically we love all our fans. It would not have been possible without all our fans. We thank all our fans and it is an honour to play here.
I interviewed Jonny Davy of Job For A Cowboy to catch up what is new with the band, what's in the closet for the quintet and what is the path behind them like. Tune in for future plans, past events and much much more.
I caught up with the local Colchester lads Thames Burial (former Echoes Fall) outside, yeah outside as that's where they wanted to do it. I spoke to them about their latest release, gig supporting Sacred Mother Tongue and their latest antics. Naturally we had giggles on this one. Have fun.