When you think of countries or regions with either semi-autonomy or partial-recognition as being independent, you tend to think of unstable politics, poor societal constructs or peoples seeking to establish their own identity on the world stage. Kosovo is one example where only around half of the world recognizes it as it's own country, without going into the politics of why this is GMA spoke to Ardit Sheholli, vocalist of the Groove / Death Metal band Krieg about the Kosovar Metal scene, it's struggles (both past and present), the bands activities and relations with neighbouring metal scenes.
"We have that stereotypical thing that being a metalhead, you're a junkie, a criminal, you're covered in tattoos and you're just dangerous"
Hi Ardit, could you tell us how the Groove / Death Metal band Krieg formed?
"It all started around the year 2011 where there was just the guitarist and drummer, doing covers of Lamb Of God, Rammstein and those kinds of bands. Later on the other guitarist and I (the vocalist) joined, then we started doing cover songs of bands we liked and shortly after that we started making our own music, which years later led to this album."
How did you get into listening to and playing metal music?
"I got into metal music through Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and I got into heavier music by, I think kind of by accident. I was searching for a South Park episode which Kenny I think played some part of Lamb of God, I couldn't remember the title of the episode so I just googled Lamb of God, and Lamb of God showed up and that's when I really got into heavy metal. Other than that I was listening to rock and that kind of stuff."
What do your parents think of your style of music? What emotions do you get from being in a metal band?
"They don't understand it so that's why they don't like it, they don't even try to understand because it's not mainstream and it's not easy for the ears. So I think people have to give it a real shot, other than criticizing it without even knowing what they're listening to.
It's the adrenaline, it's so intense it's like, when I sing I push my body to it's limits where the day after I cannot feel any part of my body, everything hurts and it's just pure energy. It's amazing, it's just a very good place to escape both for writing and singing, kinda where I let everything out."
As a metal band from Kosovo, Is it hard grabbing attention from Western Europe in terms of fans and media coverage?
"It's hard to get exposure in Western Europe for many reasons, one of them is because we're a very small country; only nearly 2 million people, another reason is that metal here is still very underground, and the other is that Western countries just have more and more bands, more opportunities to get exposure. I don't know I think just it's this place that has stuck where we are."
Can you tell us more about the Kosovar Metal scene, what venues are there, how long has it been going, etc?
"For a short amount of time, as far as I can remember like four to six, seven years, there were plenty of metal bands, by plenty I mean like 10-15 metal bands; that's how much plenty is for us. So the metal scene here is relatively young, around 20 years since people started making this kind of music. It's all because of war that they couldn't do it earlier, because of the regime, but metalheads have been around since forever as the older generations tell them."
Has any media attention been paid towards the metal scene in Kosovo?
"No, metal music gets the attention I guess once or twice a year maximum, there's a show that's been going on for 13 years in a row that's called 'Rock Per Rock', it's a competitive show with usually 10-12 bands, rock and metal, so that's pretty famous where we live in. Other than that only a huge concert is around, but no, rap gets the most attention here."
The Albanian Metal scene doesn't seem to have been going long either right?
"Hmm, Albania has now more rock bands, it had a few great metal bands... it's pretty much dead, so it has like two bands that are still active and playing really good music, but other than that it's pretty much dead."
Since Kosovo is celebrating 10 year of independence, have there been any parties or celebrations?
"We have major celebrations every year, but the music is always the same, it's always mainstream music and folk music, so if you're asking about big celebrations with rock and metal, I don't think that happened before. But yeah our people really know how to party, yeah I mean the atmosphere is good and it's great, it's a lot of fun but not my taste in music you know?"
What sights or attractions would you recommend for metalheads visiting Kosovo to check out?
"I'd recommend the national museum, other than that we have the best bars ever, anybody who can imagine any style we have them. So yeah the nightlife here is amazing. I mean most of the population here is youth, from 20-30 years old so nightlife is great wherever you go."
Is it easy or hard buying gear and instruments in the capital city Pristina?
"No we have like, I mean like Pristina is really a small city comparing it to other places, but we have I think 4 or 5 music shops, most of the people I know who own guitars, basses or drums have ordered them online. So not it's not really a problem, it's just everything here is so expensive for no good reason, so it's just better to order them online; it feels like ordering them with a discount.
Most of the equipment is imported, we don't have like a factory that makes equipment here so everything is imported from China or Japan."
Have you had anyone outside of Kosovo get in touch with the band (aside from us)?
"We have been contacted by fans outside of Kosovo, like some guys from Norway and from Sweden, but they were Albanians, they were Kosovars. So it wasn't from people who were truly Norwegian or Swedish, they were the same people as us just living in a different country. Other than that, no."
What does the average person in Kosovo think of metal music? What is the public & governmental perception?
"Hmm, we have that stereotypical thing that being a metalhead you're a junkie, a criminal, you're covered in tattoos and you're just dangerous. That's wrong because the metalheads I know that live in the city I do are the nicest people I've ever met, so it's really important for us to break this chain of misunderstanding on our society.
Most of them just don't get interested in at all, it's not like they oppose it they just ignore it I guess. It's a thing that most of the metalheads I know are very open-minded music-wise, so like myself I listen to any kind of genre there is but the people who are so much into the mainstream music are so close-minded and won't even give it a chance, that's why we have such a big gap and different subcultures."
Would you say metal music is a safe and creative way of expressing anger or discontent?
"Hmm, I think every member in the band has a different answer to this, I don't think like it's expressing anger through metal, because the lyrics I write are mostly about life itself, the universe and why we are, how we are, about humans not just war in particular. I guess overall metal is a safe side for every kind of topic you'd like to sing or write about, not just war, not just anger - that's the beauty of metal."
With the album you're working on, is there a specific theme you're going for?
"The theme, or the lyric theme kind of evolved from time to time because there are a number of songs which are older, like three or four years older and there are new songs, it's just that continuous flow from theme to theme that you can't really distinguish, only if you go really deep enough. Like the first songs are about war but not directly about war, it's more about the feeling of humans being so bad to each other. The new songs, the theme is about humans and the way we are, about life, about feelings and these just tie up together. So, I think it's just one big theme."
We're over halfway through 2018, what was the first half of the year like for Krieg?
"The first half of the year was mainly us in the studio making two or three new tracks, recording all of our songs that we meant to put on the album, having band practice right before the show and the promo gig of our album so yeah that was that part of 2018. We plan on going to Macedonia later this year, maybe Albania too, don't when so let's see what that brings for us."
Would that be the first time you've performed in Albania and Macedonia? Would you look to play other countries?
"With Krieg yes, but I myself have performed once before in Albania with another band which I had a guest track with. So I'm really stoked to play with Krieg because it's our band, we put a lot of effort into what we do, so it would feel kind of rewarding to have a mini-tour around this region.
I'd love to play in England, I love those underground hardcore shows, they're just amazing and I'd love to play in Germany too, I hope we can get shows there sometime."
If you were to play in Serbia, with the past history between the two countries, would you be anxious as to what could happen?
"Hmm, I don't think so, I've had a lot of friends who went there to see Iron Maiden and Rammstein, they all spoke Albanian there and all the Serbians knew they were Albanians, but they were just there for the music and no political drama whatsoever. So I still think we would have a good time unless someone provokes or whatever, but all of the metalheads I know and in my band are very peaceful dudes, so we would just be there for the music and hope the audience would just be there for that too."
For the rest of the year, what other plans have you got other than gigging? Are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"For the rest of the year, we're planning on to make new songs, to write new songs and to revisit some older songs that didn't make it on the album, because we had a lot of tracks and had to choose which songs to make up for an EP or album. For every song we have there's a certain hidden gem to it, like some riff or breakdown, or some point that was really good and it would be a waste not to clean that up more, to make a whole song out of it. So yeah basically just refining our old material and planning to do new stuff.
I'd like to thank M&A recording studio for supporting us since day one, we recorded our album there, most of the band practice we did it there and for this album I'd like to thank the Ministry of Culture, Music and Youth for giving us a grant with what we recorded the album. Of course our fans for supporting us at every show, they're amazing and so of course are the moshpits."
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."
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!"
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!"
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."
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."
Madagascar, an island situated in the Indian Ocean off the coast Africa has always been renowned to have luscious beaches and a tropical climate, however recently a film series based on the country emerged and just last year an outbreak of the bubonic plague arose, killing hundreds. Counteracting that negativity is Madagascar's underground-yet-vibrant metal music scene.
It started in the late 80's with Apost and Kazar being the first-recorded metal bands, forwarding onto 2002 and Sasamaso was born, arguably the first female-fronted metal band from this African nation. GMA spoke to Sasamaso about the Malagasy Metal scene, it's history, what the band is up to and the challenges of being isolated from the mainland.
"Often in Madagascar, a person who listens to metal music has a father who listened to rock music in his time"
For those who have not heard of Sasamaso, could you give us a brief history of the band? Band name meaning? Lyric topics, etc
"Sasamaso is a metal band from Antananarivo, Madagascar, created in 2002. Our style is based on thrash metal, often merged with another metal style (heavier or lighter), sometimes also merged with decent Malagasy music. Literally Sasamaso means eye wash:- in Malagasy, sasa = washing, maso = eye. Our lyrics talk about everyday life here in Madagascar, frequently in metaphor."
What challenges as a musician do you face living in Madagascar?
"The situation in Madagascar is that the music becomes too commercialized; most TV and radio channels don't diffuse your music if you don't have enough money. Also, compared to other music, metal music is not yet appreciated by popular mass here. Till now, it's very difficult to find a producer who wants to support a metal band. However, many Malagasy like soft rock. So for a band who plays metal, it's necessary that he has passion, patience and strain to do his best."
How long has the Madagascarian Metal scene been going? Was there any opposition from the Government initially?
"As far as I know, the metal scene has existed in Madagascar since the 80's. In the beginning, the government censored the broadcast on TV and radio of the few groups existing at that time, but afterwards it has improved especially because of the creation of private channels. At this time, there are many metal bands who play well, there are some special metal radio and TV broadcasts, and there are mostly underground metal shows, at minimum once a month since 2017, we can say that after all, metal scene has evolved a lot at this time."
Do you see a time where every African nation has a metal band in it's history?
"If possible, it's really very nice. To prove that metal is an universal music, no discrimination."
Have you had any metal bands from overseas come perform in Madagascar?
"In 2004, Watcha, a French Nu Metal band performed here in Antananarivo; it was great. There was also an American band who played here maybe in around 2014, but I don't remember the name. If I'm not mistaken, that's all."
Are you surprised about metal music reaching Africa, let alone the world? What do your parents think of metal music?
"For us, metal music is among the best. That's why we listened and played everywhere in spite of political and cultural constraints in each country. For us, and often in Madagascar, a person who listens to metal music has a father who listened to rock music in his time, so there is no trouble between us."
What plans do you have for the year ahead and are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"For Sasamaso, for this year we will produce new songs, videos, and also our official album. We want also to convince producers here so that we can get on a larger stage. We would like to thank you sincerely for your interest for our band, and we hope that this interview will help people know that Sasamaso, a metal band from Madagascar exists :) ."
Formed by three musicians from a number of the most well-known Bangladeshi Metal bands going, Nekrohowl is a Death Metal machine primed and prepared to slaughter anything in their path. Warmonger (Warhound), Sadist (Enmachined, Homicide, Nefarmaan) and Obliterator (Homicide) lead the charge with their grit-laden style of Death Metal, and having only been around for a year yet managing to unleash a demo, single and now their debut EP 'Epitome of Morbid', things could not be any sweeter for the fearsome threesome. GMA caught up with the lads to find out the band's history, the current state of the Bangladesh Metal scene and what the EP entails.
Hi guys, firstly can you give us a brief history of the band and what Nekrohowl means?
"Greetings to GMA. To write about the history will be a total waste of time. Let’s just say that Sadist (Papai) and I wanted to create a different form of death metal which has a unique style. From the urge of playing good music, we decided to start a journey into the realm of death, doom and darkness in the name of Nekrohowl. Our good friends Demodulated (Abominable Carnivore) and Pounder (Dissector) worked on the first self-titled demo. Later on, due to some unavoidable circumstances, both of them had to discontinue and thus we asked Mr. Warmonger (Warhound, ex-Orator) to take the throne duty and thus the pilgrimage to the unholy land of despair and nothingness began!! Nekrohowl denotes the howling of the sufferer from the rampage of eternal obliteration by death itself."
The Bangladeshi Metal scene has a vast amount of bands, but few have seem to broken out internationally, what bands would you say are the most well-known in Bangladesh?
"First of all, I would not agree with the statement that "few of them have seem to broken out internationally". There is Orator and they played overseas multiple times including the prestigious "Bangalore Open Air", sharing the stage with Inquisition, Napalm Death, Belphegor etc. There is Severe Dementia, headlined in KTM ROCKS Nepal around 2012. Even Orator got the chance to play at Maryland Deathfest in 2014. I just named two, but there are actually 10 to 12 bands which are capable of desecrating the European churns of extreme metal. But the only disadvantage of doing extreme metal is "money". With proper financing there are vast possibilities to enrich the extreme metal scene of ours.
There are a ton of bands who are well known in Bangladesh to a particular class of people whom I never consider as listener or music enthusiast. And there are very few bands which has the unique style of song writing, showing true musicianship and staying loyal to themselves. To name a few: Orator, Severe Dementia, Mirrorblaze, Chromatic Massacre, Thrash, Exalter, Infuscation."
How did the Bangladeshi Metal scene start, has it been going long? What challenges are there as a band?
"The Bangladeshi metal scene started back in the early 80's, Waves, a hard rock / heavy metal band initiated the journey and very soon it was flourished by the emergence of bands like Rockstrata, Warfaze, In Dhaka etc. You can easily see that metal is not a new thing in our country albeit not a very popular thing either.
There are lot of challenges you need to face: finance, record labels (we almost have no proper metal labels), recording / sound engineers with proper skills and knowledge, just to name a few."
Would it be fair to say that more and more Asian Metal bands are being taken note of? Did you know about metal scenes in Bhutan, Laos, Nepal and Myanmar (Burma)?
"Asian bands are gradually getting their due recognition, steadily for sure, but finally it’s happening. I have played at Nepal Deathfest with my other band Homicide. I have little or in some extent no knowledge about the scenes of the other mentioned countries."
Would you agree that the Asian Extreme Metal scene seems to have it's own unique sound and style?
"Yes, Asian extreme metal has the most unique sound and style to offer."
What do your parents think of your choice of music?
"Hmm, I need to ask them (laugh)"
Could you give us a breakdown of the EP - what do the songs mean, how was the EP made, etc.
"Well the EP tells the journey of death itself as the supreme entity who conjured his wrath against the mortals. The journey begins with the intro which summons the darkness within. All the five tracks were made focusing on the key aspect of Death Metal, that is to create the uncanny sound of sheer malevolence through a unique way of expressing the nothingness within."
Finally do you have any greetings, thank you's you wish to send out?
"Thank you for the interview. It’s always great to see people appreciating our music."