Having won Metal 2 The Masses - South Wales this year and slaughtered their set at Bloodstock, GMA felt it was time to grill the quintet known as Democratus. Stepping up to the plate was frontman Steve 'Moomin' Jenkins who divulged into the rapid resurgence of the South Wales Metal scene, what it's like being at Bloodstock, how important it is to support unsigned bands and the love for the Metal 2 The Masses initiative.
"Metal is like football, it's a universal language; there's always someone you can go up to in any country and go 'Judas Priest?'.... 'YES!!!', 'Iron Maiden?'... 'YES!!' and that's beautiful"
Steve what was Democratus's set like having played Bloodstock?
"It couldn't have gone much better to be fair, we kicked in and it just all sort of clicked together. We had plenty of people watching us, I do think the rain made a better promoter out of it because it had just more people in it that were trying to get out of the rain, but then I think once we got them into the tent they were like 'ooh I like this' and yeah it just went absolutely off the wall. We had pits, we had walls of death... when I said 'jump' they said 'how high?'; I love that because I love my crowd participation - I've always preferred putting on a show, I can't be one of those people who just plays staring at their feet throughout a set, so I like it when we get the crowd involved."
And what does the band name Democratus mean? When did you first get into metal music?
"I go by 'Democritus' and the reason for that being early incarnations of us thought right we need a band name and I suggested we need a couple of names to say what we're on about and they were like 'eeh not fussed' and I turned round and said that we all need to decide on something, we're in a democracy not a dictatorship. Our guitarist at the time turned round and said 'what about Democratus'? We all looked at him and went 'wooooh', so it stuck and given the nature of some of my political lyrics and stuff like that, it kind of ties in. I did a search to check there were not other bands with that name and it turns out it was a Greek philosopher; he was the foundation as it were of how democracy was set up.
I was a bit of a latecomer to it, I had friends who would try to play Korn to me when I was 13, 14, and at that point I didn't quite get it. I started to get into Hard Rock and then tiptoed into metal when I was around 18, 19 - I found Killswitch Engage and Slipknot and so it went all downhill from there. It's a kind of ongoing process because the people who say metal is dead, there is always new stuff to discover - you're just not looking hard enough if you think it's gone stale because it has not."
Do you feel at times that politics and music should not mix?
"Not at all, for starters you wouldn't have bands like System Of A Down or Rage Against The Machine, to be honest metal, rock, blues, it was all born out of the frustration of being angry at the man in question. If it's all about your art and when personal leanings come into it, then everything is open - if people don't want to listen to political lyrics, that's where free speech comes in, in that the choice of listening to something political or not comes into play. But the message is there, if people like it and want to hear it, if people want to respect or disagree with it, then I'm open to debate and it's a case of I do what I do.... A. because I enjoy it and B. because for me personally I prefer having lyrics that have some kind of meaning. I can't write throwaway nonsense, it's not me."
What sort of metal style does Democratus play?
"When I started us out I had the definition of wanting to go into Melodic Death Metal, that's where my favourite bands lie, the likes of Soilwork, Insomnium, In Flames (well early In Flames, they're not a Melodeath band anymore), but's that where my love lies and so that's where I kind of wanted to stick us. Since then with the line-up we've got, the music we've written since the first EP has branched out and is not strictly Melodeath, it's still heavy and brutal and still has it's melodies, but it opens us up to more options on where we want to go with writing music and more potential offers from promoters wanting to work with us and I'm happy with that. "
Tell us about the Welsh Metal scene, what's it like?
"What do you want to know my friend? At the moment it's good and buzzing, Sodomized Cadaver, Cranial Separation and us are at Bloodstock this weekend alone; Cranial finished as runners up to us at the Metal 2 The Masses final, straight-up Brutal Death Metal. As far as it goes there is a bit of everything for everyone, over the last couple of years (3-4) it's felt like a proper community; it wasn't always like that, there was a lot of bitching, a lot of sniping and that's just the way scenes fall apart basically.
With the closure of venues and things like that, it made a lot of bands realize that actually we're probably better off getting along with each other, support each other in order to get ourselves ahead of the game. The whole Metal 2 The Masses thing, I'll give a shout out to my boys in Incursion, Blind Divide and Cranial Separation who absolutely walloped us in terms of how they played, they pulled out sets of their lives."
Do you feel Bloodstock are leaders in supporting the underground by giving bands opportunities to play to vast numbers?
"Absolutely! I can't thank Simon Hall, Rob Bannister, all the crew here enough for helping us, even today and through helping us plug ourselves in terms of getting media sorted and things like that. There is no other festival that I can think of in the UK that gives unsigned bands and self-signed bands that platform, and it absolutely sets Bloodstock apart. What intrigued me the first time I came here in 2008, was the potential of seeing one of my local friends The Dirty Youth; I used to go to school with their bassist and I've seen bands like that who small at that time but have grown. It's always something that's intrigued me at Bloodstock, and they've got the Metal 2 The Masses stuff going.
I've entered it with previous bands for years and I've always tried to see the positive in terms of yeah we haven't got through until this year, but I've always networked and made friends, got new likes out of it; it's always the additions that some bands may struggle in taking the advantage of, I'm fortunate in the fact of I've pestered enough people and kind of think I know what I'm doing to make the most of opportunities I get. I hear of bands who win Metal 2 The Masses and think that things will come their way, no way, this is just the start of it and I just hope now that the opportunities keep coming.
Do you believe Bloodstock brings people together regardless of culture, politics and social differences?
"Absolutely, you only need to look at the list of bands who are playing this year, you've got Demonic Resurrection from India, Lovebites from Japan, bands from all over the place. Metal is like football, it's a universal language there's always someone you can go up to in any country and go 'Judas Priest?'.... 'YES!!!', 'Iron Maiden?'... 'YES!!' and that's beautiful, I love it, this festival in particular as well just has the good sense of community. Like I said I've been coming here since 2008, and there were friends who I've made in 2008 that I still see and came out to see us yesterday, that's humbling for me as a band but also it's really nice to know that the place that I know I can guarantee you'll make friends ever year."
Could you ever see a metal band sing in Welsh about Welsh mythology?
"I believe one of my friends from Agrona is already working on a project that does exactly that, I can't remember the name of them because it's a really complicated Welsh pronunciation, but yeah there is something actually in the works so again it's reason to keep an eye on the Welsh scene. (Most people trip over Llanfair PG in it's full name right?) I was born in Southampton, but moved to Wales when I was 2, I'm actually OK with Welsh pronunciations, so you're referring to 'Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch' (just rolls off the tongue), it's lovely when drunk haha (I can imagine!!) - don't ask me to say what it means, that I can never remember.
Welsh is a great culture, I'm proud to be in Wales but I don't do the nationalism type of stuff unless it's in sports, but at the same time there's always cultures and heritage that's always interesting to look at."
Are there any hello's, greetings, etc you wish to send out?
"Massive thank you to everyone who has bought Democratus t-shirts over the months and years, everyone who has supported us to get through to the final. Massive shout out to Rachael Harrison for doing our media / PR stuff, also the usual Bloodstock crew; loved you for years and being behind the scenes has given me more respect for what you guys have done. To my friends who have turned up to watch us play, thank you, and for the rest, they know who they are :)."
Chile on the western side of South America has always had a vibrant metal scene with some notable musicians and bands making their names known far and wide, with bands like Mar de Grises and Criminal ending up with record deals with European labels in Season of Mist and Metal Blade, it's no surprise that the Chilean Metal scene goes on with bolder and greater ambitions. Leading the next wave is Weight Of Emptiness, a Doom / Melodic Death Metal outfit who released their debut album "Anfractuous Moments For Redemption" last year physically by themselves and digitally through the British label Sepulchral Silence. It was then later reissued through the Mexican label Sun Empire Productions. Thus showing their never-ending attempts to explore markets outside Chile.
Drummer Mauricio Basso (also plays in the Melodic Death Metal band Letargo) agreed to talk to GMA about the band's history, their complex sound, touring Mexico and life as a Chilean Metalhead.
"The main obstacle is that there is not much formality and guarantees for musicians in Latin America"
For those who do not know of Weight Of Emptiness, could you please give us a brief history of the band?
"Three individuals from Buin (a town near the capital of Chile) plus two friends and musicians from Santiago gave shape to Weight Of Emptiness, all of the members came with experience from being in other bands, we came together to give shape to this new experience."
You've only been going two years and yet released an EP and an album, surely that's a dream start?
"It has been a lot of work and focus, besides that it is not our only activity, but there is always strength for what we want to achieve and everything so far has gone well. It has been a lot of work these last couple of years."
Your debut album "Anfractuous Moments For Redemption" was released last year, what was the reception like?
"It has been quite good from the public and the media in general, we are very grateful for that too. We have played many shows to promote it and the reception has been incredible, even with many interesting proposals going around."
You toured Mexico last year, how hard is it to tour Chile let alone organize a Mexican tour? What difficulties can you face?
"Well, the main obstacle is that there is not much formality and guarantees for musicians in Latin America in terms of contracts and that kind of thing. Everything is based enough on trust and goodwill, especially if you're not very well known, but with great effort they put on a lot of shows and quite a few producers were interested in the band.
In Mexico, there were also previous contacts with friends from a radio program there. It was an incredible experience, lucratively speaking it was not something important, but the experience was magnificent, the people were wonderful and there were very good vibes."
What would you say Weight Of Emptiness brings to the table that other bands have not? What makes you different?
"In truth I think that influences that are not very common together in the same band can be something that distinguishes us, and the other thing is that we care enough about the sound and the effect it has on the perception of the listener."
How did you get into metal music in the first place? Are any of your family members musicians?
"Well since I was little there was a lot of music in the house where I lived, the radio was always on in the morning where there were also radio theatre programs. My uncle's had enough vinyl's and cassettes with plenty of bands from the 70's and 80's era's, and that was what I was trained with. My dad is a drummer too and that's where the drummer comes from as an instrument of worship."
For those visiting Santiago, what sights / attractions would you recommend to metalheads?
"There are quite a few shows of national Metal bands playing. Locals like the Oxido Bar are frequented almost every day of the week. I recommend Pablo Neruda's house, that has a very special vibe and is full of beautiful objects. There are also interesting museums and parks, the restaurant El Hoyo and especially outside Santiago there are interesting landscapes."
With 2018 closing up what plans do you have for the rest of the year?
"A lot of work. Another album is waiting, a new process is coming full of interesting things, new people on this trip, presentations outside of Chile, video's, we hope to surprise you with this new stage of Weight Of Emptiness"
Are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"A special greeting to all those people who take the risk of looking for new sounds and forms of expression and take them to extreme metal. Also to all the people who read your media I propose to know our band and join us on this trip. Cheers"
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"
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."
The Caribbean, along with Africa and Oceania, is one area where metal music is arguably still in it's infancy in terms of presenting itself globally; it's presence is on the rise with Trinidad & Tobago's Lynchpin having performed at Wacken Open Air, a documentary about the Puerto Rican Metal scene being released and Wacken Open Air: Caribbean Metal Battle which determined what metal band from The Caribbean was going on to play Wacken.
But our attention turns to a fledgling scene, one that is being spearheaded by Avante Guarden. Global Metal Apocalypse spoke to Vallon about the magical journey this band has had.
"I hope that more bands come forward to make the world aware that we exist here"
How did Avante Guarden get started and what challenges (if any) have you had to overcome?
"Lisa Bullard (Jayne Doh) and I (Vallon Thompson) were introduced through a mutual friend from the local music scene. She was writing songs without music and I was writing them without a singer... so we were the solution to both our problems! The biggest challenge we faced at the time was finding like minded (or at the very least interested) musicians from a scene that was mostly Bahamian Calypso, Reggae and Gospel performers."
As you're from The Bahamas, could you tell us more about the music scene over there in general? Are there any rock / metal bands out there, what is the likelihood of a scene emerging?
"As mentioned, the live scene is mainly Bahamian Calypso (known as Rake and Scrape), Reggae, Gospel and some Jazz. There is a rock scene over here that seems to be slowly growing but with limited venues. Lately I've seen new bands emerging like "Foreign Sounds" "The Core" and "We The Few," I'm loving the fact that these guys are keeping the music alive!"
You participated in the Global Battle of the Bands competition, what was this like for you? Tell us your experience, was there any other Caribbean bands participating?
"The year we participated in GBOB we were the only Caribbean band present so we felt the pressure! It was a great experience, we all had such an awesome time and were exposed to international bands (some of which I am still in contact with) and the wonderful culture of Thailand. We travelled halfway around the world... what can I say, it was AWESOME!!!"
Geographically speaking, The Bahamas is in direct line of hurricanes - has Hurricane Irma had an impact? If so what can you tell us? if not, what were the preparations?
"Irma effected the southern islands of The Bahamas, central and northern didn't really get that horrible weather. There was serious flooding and winds that destroyed a great deal of homes and property but Bahamians are no strangers to hurricanes and so we know how to prepare for storms. Also there were evacuations planned, and many relief efforts made after Irma had passed."
As a band have you performed outside of The Bahamas? If so where.
"Its just been Thailand actually, shortly after GBOB unfortunately the band started to drift apart"
Last year Lynchpin (Trinidad & Tobago) played at Wacken Open Air. Regarding The Caribbean as a whole, could you see metal scenes emerging from the likes of St. Lucia, St. Vincent & The Grenadies, Antigua & Barbuda., etc?
"Lynchpin? Really, wow that's great! Honestly I wasn't aware of that and didn't know that a metal scene even existed in those more "conservative" countries. As a scene metal has always kinda been underground, a silent scream waiting to happen and so I hope that more bands come forward to make the world aware that we exist here :) !"
How did you as musicians become interested in music? Who influences you?
"My influences were in my family actually: I had an aunt (who passed away when I was like 16) she was a soprano in the national choir and a theatre actress. Also my grandfather played guitar as a hobby so I grew up around lots of music from them. I headed in the rock direction after listening to a special about Queen on VH1, then Black Sabbath and it was all down hill from there lol!"
Finally do you have any plans for the year ahead? Are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"I'm always working on music but since AG split up I been trying to put a proper band back together (AG technically still exists but as a cover band with only myself and Treco Johnson - the bassist - still around) so I'd like to get back into doing hard rock and metal so I'm searching for another singer... or maybe I'll just screeeeam it out myself lol. Hopefully I'll have some good news for you about that soon :)! Cheers, Keep it Rocking!!!"
Essex is known for many things, some of them and some bad. It's metal scene is one of the good things and then there's TOWIE (The Only Way Is Essex) which is the worst thing to happen since My Chemical Romance being classed as a metal band.
But focusing on the metal scene, it's had the likes of Tides of Virtue, Forged In Black, Sanctorum, Dismanibus, etc grace the fertile soil from Southend and Colchester respectively. However when one speaks of Basildon, one thinks of Depeche Mode, chavs, Basildon Bond paper, Denise Van Outen., etc, and now there is Raze The Void.
GMA caught up with the Essex mob to find out how they fared with Bloodstock, the Essex Metal scene, debut EP and plans ahead.
"the title itself 'Obsolescence' covers what the current state of the world really is; the system is obsolete"
Raze The Void has only been going a year, were you all in previous bands prior? How did Raze The Void come to be?
"We have all been playing together for around with each other for 15 years nearly and just managed to get together and start a band from that after realising we all wanted to start playing and touring and seeing the world. RTV literally came from out of a dustbin a few years before we started playing the scene."
The Essex Metal scene seems to be a little quiet at the moment, could you tell us the current state of the scene?
"From Essex, apart from it being quiet, to really. There are some amazing acts in and around Essex, but you just have to sift through the venues and have a look out there and see for yourself."
Having played Bloodstock, what was your experience like? How did you end up winning a slot? What advice could you give Metal 2 The Masses bands next year who are vying for a slot?
"Bloodstock and everyone who we met from it and regarding it were amazing, very supportive and the feedback from everyone and all the reviews have been awesome and extremely positive.
For anyone out there who is going to go into it; be serious but have fun. If you believe what you do it the best thing you do, you have fun doing it and you all have fun playing with each then do it, go for it, be the best band you can band!
If you doubt anything you say or do or if you're not professional enough or not having enough fun, the crowd will sniff you and not like what they are smelling. They are as much a part of you as you are of them, so be there with them, get them involved. That okay?"
As a band are you worried at the lack of local venues with only Chelmsford's The Asylum, Southend's Chinnerys, Harlow's The Square and the Colchester Arts Centre being the sole main ones?
"It's not a worry when you can book outside of Essex and in fact, to just book in Essex, from experience, people then just seem to feel like that they will miss that one and go to another one as it's only up the road or whatever. Bra chin out into other places and leaving home has not only proved well for us, but is something that everyone should do and we in fact recommend. The live music scene is dieting but it's not dead."
Outside of music, what other hobbies or interests do you have?
"We all work full time and between that and the band; writing, playing, re-writing and down time there isn't a lot between, but some of use do things like cycling, rock climbing, wind surfing, extreme ironing; mainly physical activities. We are all very involved in quizzes and chess and some of us have other music projects going. We are generally very busy."
Tell us more about your debut EP, where was it recorded? What does the title mean?
"We recorded the EP with one of the most talented and hard working men we have ever worked with who we honestly consider family now, a man named Dan Kerr or Avenue studios; absolute genius!
The EP and from that flowing into the upcoming album is all conceptional, revolving around human error, greed, the rising of the underground movement, corruption and the title itself 'Obsolescence' covers what the current state of the world really is; the system is obsolete."
What plans do you have for the year ahead? Are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"The album is being written literally as this being typed out to you....now. We will continue gigging and getting the RTV name out there to people and then launching the new album along with more media stuff and hopefully some new merch. It's all going UP!
Shout out to Quimby, everyone who has helped us get this far, turned up and sung along with us, Nick Plews, Bob from Club 85, Ross, Phil and the boys for all their support and love and physical moves and to Neil- we hope you recover soon. "
Australia. The very mention of the country's name sparks off the thoughts of sandy beaches, BBQ's, stray kangeroo's and the Sydney Opera House. Underneath all the glitz and glamour of this glorious nation known colloquially as 'down under', Australia has a savage metal scene that has seen the likes of Ne Oblivicaris, The Berzerker, Buried In Verona, Thy Art Is Murder and Destroyer 666 among others break out into the wider international metal community over the last 2 decades.
But despite the success of the bands above, the scene as a whole seems rather isolated when it comes to touring. It's down to bands like Aetherial who look at the challenges ahead, take them head on and forge their own path to progress forward. For Aetherial this is through the concrete metropolis of Melbourne, famed for it's Grand Prix circuit. GMA spoke to Cassandra, the band's bassist to unearth what the band is all about, what the scenes down under are like, their new single, visiting local attractions and 2018 plans.
As Fosters put it. Good Call.
"I don't see why metal [bands] can’t emerge from smaller nations like Fiji or the Solomon Islands - they would have to be creative [with music exposure]. If bands can emerge out of countries like Saudi Arabia where it is illegal to play metal, I'm sure we will see some coming out of places like Fiji - metal doesn't have boundaries!"
Hi guys, for those unfamiliar with Aetherial could you give us a brief history of the band? Were you / are you in previous / current bands?
"Hey, thanks for having us Global Metal Apocalypse! I’m Cassandra, bassist in Aetherial.
Currently, we are based in Melbourne, Australia. Aetherial was formed by Shep and myself in 2013. Previously, we both played in a stoner / metal / grunge band called Cave Of The Swallows which also featured our friend and original Aetherial drummer Mr Paul Gatt. Shep was also the former vocalist in the South Australian-based Stoner / Southern Rock band Mammoth, with ex-Suffocation / Autopsy member Josh Barohn.
We recorded our album, 'The Still Waters of Oblivion' over a two year period at Everland Productions. In 2016 we signed with New York-based management company Extreme Management Group and most recently this year to Imminence Records in the US and Truth Inc Records over here in Australia, who will be jointly releasing the album worldwide November 10th."
What is the Melbourne and wider Australian Metal scene like? Do most bands do a tour of Australia and New Zealand than SE Asia?
"From a Melbourne perspective, the scene is pretty small, there are a handful of good venues to play at in the city and some good regional venues that work hard to keep live music going outside of the city. Unfortunately over the past 5-10 years quite a few great live music venues have closed down in Melbourne due to residential developments and noise restrictions, which has made it difficult for smaller bands to get a gig. A smaller population in general will always impact audience size and peoples interest and engagement in metal, particularly as its not common in mainstream culture here.
It is common for bands over here to tour the East Coast in the main cities, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane with a few stops in-between. But the sheer distance in-between and cost that is involved with getting to these places often prevents many bands embarking on a full national tour. You see a few bands heading over to New Zealand and Asia, generally larger more established bands though."
What are the challenges of being an Australian Metal band?
"Getting your music seen and heard!! There is a lot of really good music over here, if people would take the time to listen to it! Getting people to shows is another massive hurdle over here. People will have no hesitation paying $150+ to see established bands, but will not pay $10 to see 4 local acts?
Breaking through to reach people outside of the country, even reaching new fans interstate is also very challenging. It is important to utilise social media to try and get out there and engage people, it is a continual and ongoing aspect of being in a band now, particularly with reach being limited on Facebook and now Instagram for bands unless you pay for it. Many Australian bands head overseas to Europe or the US, simply because they can reach more people and play more shows!"
You just released your new single 'The Fallen Mark The Way' from your forthcoming album, what has reception been like?
"Great thanks! We have had a lot of good feedback from our fans and made a bunch of new fans too! It’s always great to hear positive words from people who get inspired from hearing our music."
Check out the lyric video for 'The Fallen Will Mark The Way' (taken from Aetherial's forthcoming debut album 'The Still Waters Of Oblivion') below.
Seeing as Oceania is slightly isolated, could you see metal music ever emerging from countries like Fiji and the Solomon Islands? Is metal music in Australia widely accepted?
"Yes, it is rather isolated over here! We don't get a lot of bands touring here. It is a long way to come and quite expensive to travel here. Due to our smaller population the audiences are a lot smaller compared to overseas as well.
Metal music generally is not part of the everyday culture over here, like it is over in Europe. It’s accepted by those involved in the scene and other musicians, but in the general population it’s not particularly well known, well received or publicised. For example metal or even hard rock is not played on commercial radio, it’s really only played on dedicated metal or hard rock community radio shows. People over here still have a lot of preconceptions about the music, artwork and general themes of metal; most people don’t / can't understand it, they seem to find the content too confronting and don't want to be involved. Hopefully though with some amazing bands coming out of Australia now more people are becoming interested in the genre.
I don't see why metal can’t emerge from smaller nations like Fiji or the Solomon Islands - There’s probably already some killer bands over there! However, I think they would have to be creative with how they get their music out there. If bands can emerge out of countries like Saudi Arabia where it is illegal to play metal, I'm sure we will see some coming out of places like Fiji - metal doesn't have boundaries!"
For metalheads holidaying in Melbourne, aside from the Grand Prix, are there any attractions / sightseeing locations you would recommend?
"Yes!! You could seriously spend months here and not see everything - the great thing about Melbourne is that there is always something going on and to discover! There are some amazing music stores where you can pick up some vintage and / or rare guitars / amps / pedals like Found Sound or The Swop Shop. For art lovers, there are so many tiny galleries all over the city showing local art and The National Gallery has killer diverse exhibitions from Van Gogh to Dior to Mid Century Modern Furniture.
For wine lovers, you can take a day trip down the coast to the Mornington Peninsula or The Yarra Valley, for amazing wine and scenery. You can visit boutique spirit distilleries like Starward Whisky in Port Melbourne or Four Pillars Gin in the Yarra Valley - which seriously gives some of the English Gin a run for it money! Melbourne is paradise for lovers of good food and coffee!! With markets like South Melbourne and Prahran Markets and amazing restaurants on every corner. There are festivals for Beer, Cheese, Salami and now even a chicken nugget festival. The Great Ocean Road makes for a good drive- for beautiful rugged coastline, Healesville Sanctuary for meeting kangaroos, koalas and other native animals. And of course you can catch some local bands at The Brunswick Hotel, The Bendigo Hotel or Cherry Bar, folks over here are always up for a chat and a beer."
With your debut album 'The Still Waters Of Oblivion' out in a week's time, will there be a tour supporting the album?
"There definitely will! The Australian Tour will take place early next year with hopefully some International dates to be announced as well! But you’ll have to stay tuned to our social media pages to get the details."
What plans have you got leading into 2018? Do you have any greetings you wish to send out?
"Lots of touring and promoting our record! We currently have some killer merch available now at Merchnow and there’s some brutal new merch coming out soon! Shep and I have been co-hosting a heavy metal radio show once a month on Melbourne’s 3CR called The Heavy Session, so along with our friend and host Chris we have some awesome plans for the show as well.
We’d love to send a massive hello, to all our friends and fans over in UK - we’re working hard to come over and play for y’all in 2018!!! Thanks very much for the support!"
Forever Still are a young Danish Alternative Metal band who have without a doubt came out of nowhere, having released their debut album 'Tied Down' and then end up signing with Nuclear Blast; 'Tied Down' was then re-released', to then secure a slot on the Ronnie James Dio stage at Bloodstock is a tremendous achievement given the band has been around 7 years... well actually it's Maja Shining and Mikkel Haastrup who lead the front-line and are supplemented by live musicians (who include Rune Frisch).
Despite their seemingly sudden explosion onto the metal circuit, they've been around since 2010 and have released 3 EP's prior to their big break. Denmark has had a decent record of metal exports from Artillery to King Diamond and from Mnemic to Raunchy and are still delivering more and more top notch metal bands like Akoma and of course Forever Still.
Mikkel was up for the task of informing us what makes the band tick, the state of the Danish Metal scene, Mikkel's music tastes among other things that make Forever Still as equally if not more important than Denmark's biggest exports besides metal... bacon and Lego.
"In Denmark, we have this 'jante law ' which says that you can't think you're anything, it's just a weird concept [regarding the lack of Danish music exports'.
How long has Forever been around? What does the band name mean? What style of metal do you play?
"We released our first EP ["Breaking Free"] in 2013, and have just been going on from there.
It's a long explanation [meaning behind the band name], Maja came up with it, we talked about it and it's just the feeling of being stuck, you feel like you're forever standing still but also the feeling of when you feel at ease, you're 'forever still' - so it's a double meaning, Maja is apparently very poetic I guess :)"
It's definitely melodic, so it's like we're one of the softer bands at this festival [Bloodstock], if not the softest. But we've always been into these pretty huge choruses, that's what we really focused on the first album [Tied Down]. Maja played a concert with another band, I was like wow she's just amazing and I wanted to focus really on the vocals, so that's what we did on that.
The new one we're writing now we're trying to focus still on the big choruses, but we want to do heavier riffs cause we're really into that, and our new drummer is really really f*cking cool... I love playing with him I play bass myself so you like love him with the drums so... it's going to be like heavy riffs and big huge choruses."
So Mikkel how did you get into metal music?
"Ah, I had just started when I was really young, I started listening to... I can't even remember, I think I started off with softer bands like Placebo and then I just went into liking Nine Inch Nails, and then I got into heavier stuff like Marilyn Manson... it's just a gateway into heavier stuff and it's been an upward slope like heavier and heavier, but still I think this band [Forever Still] is into softer things as well... I enjoy listening to all kinds of music, I've been listening to a lot of electronic music lately and I really enjoy that. For me it's just melody and that's what I sometimes miss in metal right, for me at least I miss the... like if it's only screaming I get a bit bored so I like a combination."
So as a band you're Melodic Metal, but have different sounds going on at the same time?
"Yeah yeah, on the new album we want to like focus on... like I said I'm really like into electronic music so I want to make that a bigger part of the next album, but like I said still focus on the riffs and I'm into really interesting rhythms at the moment so we do a lot of songs and try to play in different time signatures that are really weird but try to make them sound easy to listen to"
Is the Danish Metal scene still as strong as it has been? Would you say it's the smallest in Scandinavia?
"Nah I think it's getting better, but like we're really focused on getting out of the country because there's not a lot of like... the audience there is too small so we really enjoy in playing outside Denmark especially in the UK, you've got such a strong community for metal.
Yeah I think so, Denmark didn't used to be that much into metal, I think when we started there was like this feeling that you had to sound like an 80's metal band to be anything big in Denmark and it just doesn't work outside the borders. But in Denmark, we have this 'jante law (Janteloven)' which says that you can't think you're anything, it's just a weird concept and I think that's the reason why you don't see that much music coming out of Denmark"
So what do your parents think of metal music Mikkel, what support do you get from your family / friends?
"My parents aren't into music, actually my mum really hates music so she's like if there's any kind of music... when I grew up she was like 'can you f*cking just turn that off!'. My dad is really into jazz and stuff, but really doesn't like heavier music so yeah I didn't get anything from them heh.
The way we built this band it's just Maja and I doing everything ourselves without any support from anyone else and that's how we started, I think the first album has quite an isolated sound as well and that's just because we were like 'we can do this'. We just do everything ourselves, so we recorded it and mixed it, shot our own videos and everything. I think that it worked out really well"
Having just finished your set, opening the main stage at Bloodstock, what plans have you got for the rest of the year?
"We're playing Sabaton Open Air next week [was 19th August], then we're going back to the studio to just record and write, so that's the plan for the rest of the year and then hopefully the album will be out early next year and we'll start touring a lot. We've been on some amazing tours at the end of last year and at the start of this year with Lacuna Coil and Children of Bodom, so hopefully we'll get some great support for us and then do a headline tour as well"
Aside from the core Scandinavian countries, would you play in the Faroe Islands? What do you know about the metal scene there?
"Yeah I would love to, they've got the G! Festival up there, I would love to play that and I would love to see the nature up there. My best friend is from the Faroe Islands, so yeah, we'd love it.
I don't know a lot about the music from up there actually, they've got all these strange names as well because they call themselves something from their own language [Faroese]"
Finally do you have any greetings, thank you's that you wish to send out?
"Yeah I would just love to thank Bloodstock for letting us play this festival, it's been amazing!"
'Tied Down' is out now via Nuclear Blast.
Truth be told, Israel is one of the more active metal scenes in the Middle East (let's not get political here) alongside the likes of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, the Gulf States (Bahrain and Kuwait; Qatar less so) and to a certain extent The Lebanon.
Salem, Orphaned Land, Arallu, Melechesh, they've all graced and kissed the golden sands of this Mediterranean nation, the latest to walk in their footsteps are Nothing Lies Beyond. A Melodic Death Metal force with enough ferocity about them to challenge the already-overloaded Swedish (nay Gothenburg) Metal scene.
So what makes this Israeli outfit an exciting one to watch? Well let's find out.
Guys in recent years the Israeli Metal scene has been flourishing and breaking international ground, what would you put this success to?
"Hey! I think that the reason that the Israeli metal scene is flourishing in the past 3-4 years and actually getting some recognition on the global ground is because there are more interest from the local bands to break into the global scene.
It's not something new of course, every band wants to get as much attention as possible, especially I think if you are living outside of the main music areas like the US and Europe, but the thing that helped us in the past years is mainly in my opinion, the whole digital era. There are more ways to bring your music to other people then there were before, when you needed in the past to send physical CD's or cassettes, now you can send a digital version of the album and of course the whole Facebook and YouTube platform.
So to summarize it, I think that because of the digital platforms, many Israeli bands and also as I said, bands that are not from the US or EU, can now reach new exposure levels.
Would it be right to say that metal music offers Israeli's a means of expressing discontent during dangerous times? E.g. war, attacks, etc. But also can metal music bring the world together regardless of social, political and religious differences?
"Well, you can say that the music that we make gives us a way to get our words out, about politics or any other difficulty that we face in our country.
But I can say the same thing about any kind of music from any part of the world. Music gives us a way to express our feelings and thoughts, no matter what separates us – religious, social status, political differences.. We can hear the music that somebody else created and just enjoy.
I don't know if metal music in specific, or any music for that matter can "bring the world together", but I'm sure that nobody would pay any attention to the artist's nation, religion, etc.. if the actual music is good for the listener.
Your debut album 'Fragile Reality' came out 22nd July, could you give us the background behind it and what your messages are?
"The album's main topic is the struggles that we have to face in our life, I think that "Closed In Chains" and also "Lost" are the songs with the lyrics that pronounce the idea behind "Fragile Reality" in the best way. We tried to present our music in the best way, and I think that the outcome was perfect."
How supportive is Israeli society of metal music, does the Government know about it? How hard is it for metal music to exist in the Middle East?
"I can say only our opinion about the whole Israeli's music preferences so maybe some people will think differently about the whole situation..
In my opinion, metal music is not so "big" in Israel, there were times that the crowd in shows was bigger and there were more local bands, but I think that it depends on the whole environment and "musical era" of the specific time..
Nowadays, people connect more to pop or electronic music because it's catchy, and in our country specific also for Middle Eastern style (not my cup of tea to be honest), so I do think that maybe in the 90's, the connection to metal music and the whole genres that it includes was bigger.
I think that metal music could exist in any place, as long as people keep listen to it. Maybe in some countries in the Middle East it's "forbidden" or something like that, but in Israel we can play as much as we want and whatever we want to play."
Will you be embarking on a European or 'Eurasian' tour to promote the album? Surely the UAE would be an ideal location as well as Israel in the Middle East?
"Actually, we are not planning to go on tour yet, there are some private issues that deny us from touring at this moment, but I do think that in the right time we will start planning our first tour.
We will try to play our music as much as we can and in any place that will be available, not only Europe (that is our main goal for now), but also maybe in Japan and other places in the East that in my opinion has great potential."
Talk to us more about the Israeli Metal scene, what festivals are there, clubs, markets, in fact what is a day like in Israel?
"OK, so first of all, the metal scene in Israel is not so big. There are many people who love metal music over here, but if you compare it to the numbers in Europe... It's really not so many.
Nevertheless, there are local producers that try to bring over here an international band every couple of months, so we do enjoy a variety of metal bands that come to Israel and perform. Regarding festivals and clubs... usually there aren't any festivals over here, not in metal anyway, we do enjoy the shows over here, but usually it consist of a local band as an opening act (as we were for Children of Bodom), and the headliner.
The clubs for metal are also few, as I said before, I know that in the early days there were more clubs that gave metal bands an opportunity, but one after the other they closed the gates and now there isn't as much as used to be.
In terms of the day here in Israel, it's pretty much the same as in any other place (only probably hotter haha)... we do live in a country that has its own problems, if it's local problems or international problems, but I think that every person here in Israel just try to live his life quietly as possible.
Is it true that Israeli's have to do service be it army, navy, air force? Have any of you done this?
Yes it's true. In Israel, when you turn 18 years old (not at the very moment... it could take up to a year until you can get recruited, but usually its at the age of 18), you are joining the army. For men its about 3 years and for women it's 2 years of service, they are changing it a little bit now but it will remain in the area of those numbers.
Usually everybody has to recruit to the army but you know..There are special cases sometimes. Alon and me already finished our service, and the rest of the guys are doing it now or about to start, we can't elaborate on what we did during our service but I can honestly say that this experience toughen us and made us ready for the "real world".
I do know some bands that the army torn apart because the band members couldn’t meet on a regular basis due to their jobs... so it really depends on what you are doing in your own service.
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
"We are now focusing mainly on the album release and all the things that it includes, if it’s the CD release and after that we are planning a massive release show, so mainly this is what we are focusing on for the next 2-3 months. After the release show we will continue performing and maybe start planning our tour, and beside that we will start in early 2017 to work on the next album's music.
So it's going to be a busy year!"
Finally have you got any greetings you wish to send out?
"Well first of all, we want to thank you guys for the interview, it was a pleasure. We also want to thank all of our followers around the world for the support that they give to us. We hope to see everybody soon on stage and we hope that you will like our album."
Spanish Modern Melodic Death Metal outfit SynlakrosS have been rampaging around the block since 2008 and since then have released one demo and two albums, the second "Death Bullets For A Forajido" dropped back in May. With their sharp rise in the Spanish Metal scene and the line-up only changing the one time, things are looking bright for this hot property.
Check out their music video "Curly Wolves" below.
We aimed to keep the band cornered but as they ran and hid, the band's front-woman Patricia Pons was more than happy to seek the members up and bind them together, whilst she directed her answers to our questions.