Have been 11 years already since Norwegian JOYLESS released their second album which is as well, the last full-length piece they had until the release of this brand new "Without Support". As many of you already may know, JOYLESS were formed in 1996 from the band FORGOTTEN WOODS. They formed it as they needed a change away from the "true" (as they say) Black Metal that wrapped (and still wraps) FORGOTTEN WOODS.
We talk to the band's vocalist, Ida, an we also exchange some few words with the bass player, Olav, and they tell us any kind of details behind this awaited "Without Support", but we either forget about doing a little review to their whole lengthy musical career.

- Hello and first off thanks for taking the time. Soon after releasing your third album, “Without Support”, what are you currently up to.
Hello to you!
Life for us after the release will mostly consist of everyday life. 
Work, school, home and family.  We have all three pretty hectic lives in addition to Joyless. Nylon is working a lot overseas.  Olav wakes up before the birds, to travel far to work, and myself (Ida) trying to create a home on a farm outside of Bergen. 
When it comes to rehearsals and the making of new music, it is often difficult to make time. But we'll probably be able to accomplish something.  Because it is a need that we have. A need to create. It is also important to have something constructive to do besides from job and the A4 life. We have made a separate studio in the basement, so there are a lot of possibilities for Joyless future to come- or other projects. 
It is quite nice to be able to pull away, close a door and suddenly be in your own world. Even if it is just for a little while. 

- What prompted FORGOTTEN WOODS’ band members forming a band like JOYLESS?
A change was needed. Away from “the true”.
Since we liked other music forms than BM, we created Joyless, influenced by all the forms of music that we like. Velvet Underground, The stooges and so on. It’s a more personal style and Joyless gives us the possibility of being more experimental. Forgotten Woods will be drifting in the “black metal scene”. And if we someday feel like making BM music, Forgotten Woods will come to life once again. 
Why try to sound like everyone else? Why not break with the sound-trends that rules today’s music scene?

- Anyway, your debut album, “Unlimited Hate”, had a more Metal shape than “Wisdom & Arrogance” or this new release. What was the reason behind this change?
You can consider “Unlimited Hate” as the bridge that led to where we are now. A complete change from Black Metal to the style we have now would have been impossible without “Unlimited Hate”. Looking back at those days, “Unlimited Hate” was really difficult to swallow for our previous record companies.  What the heck was this kind of music?! Yet Rune and Olav had more plans to come for this band! They planned a total change of style and already then to have female vocals on future albums.

- Curiously, the band changed in some way its sound when you Ida joined the band. Had this something to do with that musical change? And why did Thomas leave the band?
The music for “Wisdom and Arrogance” was already finished long before I met Olav and the Joyless ones. So I don’t think I have been an influence on the sound part except from the fact that I was a new vocalist. And of course a female one.
It’s been more than ten years ago, so memory is a bit vague… 
Thomas was at the time buissy with personal stuff and slipped on a way out of Joyless. He has since then been on the new Forgotten Woods album “Race of Cain”, and we might come to hear from him again. Time will show. Anything is possible. 

- Have been 11 years since you released your previous “Wisdom & Arrogance”; has been any concrete reason for this? Have you been involved in any other projects?
Life. The last years have been about life. Everyday Life.  
Suddenly the interest in making music awakened again.  We built our own studio, and still we keep on learning the opportunities we have here. Rune, Olav, Nylon and Thomas opened the new studio with making Forgotten Woods “Race of Cain” album. 
Otherwise, I have been involved in a small project  as a guest vocal on Heretoirs debut album called Heretoir. 

- Have these 11 years affected JOYLESS in any way?
Of course. I think that we have become a little more mature in some points. Our lives are certainly totally different from then. At that time we were frustrated, angry youths with many expectations. Now we have gone trough metamorphosis and been beautifully transformed into a bunch of frustrated, angry adults with a lot of responsibility.

- Something that stands out since the very first moment is the album title, “Without Support”; does it have any link to the band? Why such name?
The title "Without Support" comes from the music style we have chosen for Joyless. We know that we have broken with the current sound-trend, and therefore expect some criticism for this.  We have chosen to call the album for the reaction we think will come after its birth. Our wish is not to provoke- but to be able to create the music that we like!!

- Do you think the album name has more in common with your sound than with the band in general? So, could you describe your sound to all the people that hasn’t listened to you yet?
Good question. Yes absolutely. The new album title refers to the sound. Joyless has a minimalistic style. Sometimes spontaneous. Inspired by music from black metal to 60'smusic. We feel that this style is creating an authenticity about what we are trying to express. Namely the lyrics and the feelings we are trying to create or enhance.

- Lyrics seem to be quite realistic, are they personal experiences?
Snapshots of people at their turning points in life, is the basis of my lyrics. Some of them were written almost ten years ago- and some are fresh from this moment.  Several of the texts are really dark observations from everyday life- and some are lighter.  My purpose is to say- if you find yourself in a dark chapter; remember to keep your mind towards the light!

- I consider this album as less catchy and more experimental than “Wisdom & Arrogance”. Have you tried new things with this brand new album?
First and foremost the album was recorded at our own studio, so the sound is naturally different than in Wisdom And Arrogance. We are more spontaneous this time. Wisdom and Arrogance was more planned down to the last detail. Something that is absolutely necessary, if you go into a studio where the clock is ticking- and you only have a certain amount of money available. This time we didn’t have to worry about this. Funny thing is ... when you have money, you do not have time ...
New instruments such as banjo, harmonica and organ has also been used in this album.

- Dark and melancholic atmospheres are, once more, an important point in your sound. What can you tell us about this matter?
Well, I think that when a person takes the time to reflect on things, then feelings of melancholy will follow. We found that darkness and melancholy is a beautiful and exciting thing to visualize through music. Personally, I feel that music that sounds like an indifferent air coming out of the speaker is pretty boring. It does not give much nourishment for new thoughts.

- Bass is, once again, a standout into the album; it’s just great and creative…
Olav: Thank you! We are pleased with the result ourselves. Interesting bass lines can lift the music to another level.

- As well and as far as I know, most compositions have been Olav’s thing (except for some tracks). How do you work in your compositions? And where do you take inspiration from?
A song starts with a few different riffs that suit together. I show the cords to Nylon, and we record the drums. Guitar and drums together. When the basic guitar and the drums are recorded, we try out some melodies. Nylon usually comes up with these. One of us records the bass and suddenly the song is ready for vocals. Normally we need an evening to record one track. The inspiration is the feelings from nearby days as well as instant thoughts. 

- Inspiration could be bands as well, and I guess your musical influences may be quite varied… which are they?

A lot of stuff…….Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Mc5, Black Sabbath, Motorhead, the doors, Led Zeppelin, to mention a few classics.

- And finally, what are the near-future plans for JOYLESS? Are you playing live?
Olav: First off all to see the long awaited CD and LP. Then to start a new recording. Joyless have never played live. Maybe sometime in the future, time will tell.

- That has been all. Thank you again for taking the time. If you now want to add any last words; last lines are yours.
Thank you Tania and Queens Of Steel for the interview! We would also like to thank Sven and Van Records for blowing new life into Joyless.  Also thanks to our long-time friend Stoni at Problem Child Records.  I would like to end this interview with some words, written by the poet Arthur Rimbaud. Words that ‘summarizes why Joyless still exist. I will leave you here. Forget not! :


Fall of Empyrean

Have been nothing else than 6 years since American Doom/Death metalers FALL OF EMPYREAN released their previous album until this new "A Life Spent Dying". During this time, there have been several changes regarding the band; line-up changes, new record deal... The responsible of clarifying our doubts and to explain us what has the band been through during these years at length, an always being really gentle, is the band's vocalist, Richard Medina, who also anticipate us they could come for the very first time to Spain next 2011 and that there's a Spanish booking agency putting their shoulders to the wheel.

- Hello. First off, thanks for your time answering to this interview. What's currently going on with FALL OF EMPYREAN?
And thank you, as well, for the interview; we really appreciate the support. Right now the band has been keeping really busy with the new album coming out, doing interviews, connecting with the fans, and preparing for our CD release show, which will be Sat. June 12th here in our hometown. Not only are we keeping busy there, we are also hard at work on the new material for the next album, so things are good.

- This is our very first interview so, could you please introduce the band? When and why was formed, why such name ... Let's call it a little historical background of FALL OF EMPYREAN. 6 years have passed since you released "A Darkness Remembered." What have you been doing during this period? Why did you think this was the right moment to record something new?
Right now, our current line-up consists of myself, Richard Medina, on vocals, Justin Burning on guitar, Ron Clark on guitar, Dan Sobeck on bass, Kevin Leeds on keyboards, and Sage Johnson on drums. The band was formed in late 2000 and Justin, who is the founding member of the band, is the only member left from the original starting line-up, although Dan and myself joined just months after the band started. Justin started the band as a creative outlet for his music and got the name "Empyrean" from an old Anathema song. Empyrean, in religious connotations, is supposed to be the upper most sphere of heaven, so it was appropriate that we would be the Fall of Empyrean, which we really relate to the end of promise and hope. To date, we have released three full albums, which includes this newest one, one demo EP, a split, and took part on several compilations.
As for "A Life Spent Dying," it was actually recorded almost three years ago, the main reason

for the delay from then until now had to do with trying to finance the album ourselves and trying to find a label to release it. We kept falling short on money to do it ourselves, so we really tried to work with a label on it. We did get signed a year after it was recorded, but with all the issues the label had in their separation with Prophecy Productions, it kept getting pushed back longer, but we were finally able to release it this year. As for the delay between "A Darkness Remembered" and the recording of the new album, that really had to do with member issues. We had the hardest times with drummers and finding second guitar players for years, a lot of that time we never even had a complete band. So, that made it very difficult to keep things moving and getting new albums done, not to mention playing shows. But, things are back on track now, we have a great second guitar player who is extremely talented and reliable and we recently picked up Sage after parting ways with our old drummer, and he is very talented and dedicated, so things are moving a lot smoother now and should move a lot more quickly.

- You have just released your latest album so far, "A Life Spent Dying." How did you come up with the name and how do you think it's connected with the lyrics and general concepts of the CD?
Well, we come up with a list of potential song and album titles for each release, basically so we have a certain theme we can work on for the album, then we base the concept and lyrics on those titles. But, overall, everything we come up with is based on our concept of the band, which is personal depression, loss of hope, suicide, self-mutilation, murder/suicide, etc. The title of this album refers to those who suffer with depression all of their lives, can never find hope or happiness, and whether it lasts their whole life or they commit suicide, it's not about the death more than it is that they spent their entire lives dying.

- By the way, I realized the 3 full-length albums you have released so far start with the same vocal, "A." Is this something planned or just coincidence?
Actually, that is purely coincidence. In fact, I never even thought about that until you mentioned it ... I guess they all do start with "A." Now, the question is, should we keep that going or avoid it purposely? Hmm, interesting.

- What would you say are the main differences between your previous album and this new one?
Well, I believe that this album is much more diverse than our last one, we tried a few different things like adding the acoustic songs, doing a straight up death metal song, as well as having other fast parts, and added an intro. The main complaint about our last album was that, although good, it was too long and drawn out, so we tried to mix it up a bit for this new album.

- How has been the reaction, both from fans and press, for this new album?
So far, so good. We have only had a handful of reviews so far and the overall feeling is that it is a good album. Of course, a lot of the reviewers have some issues, but in the end, they really do like it and recommend it, so we are pretty happy about that. The fans are always great, they give us tremendous support and have had nothing but good things to say so far.

- And are you happy with the final result?
Overall, we are happy with the final result. Of course, there are some things we feel we could of improved on, now that we have had a chance to listen to it for a while. But, every band can look back and realize there are things they could of done differently, even if it sounds perfect to everyone else. I definitely would of approached my spoken vocals differently; I do not like the way they turned out at all, but it's always a learning experience and you always have the next album to improve on things.

- For this new record you signed to Grau Records. How did you hook up with them? Are you happy now with this label?
Actually, one of our fans from Germany helped us out getting the deal with Grau, from what I have heard. I guess he is good friends with Tom, the owner of the label, and suggested that they give us shot since we were unsigned at the time, so apparently that is how it came to be. We heard from Tom shortly after that and a deal was made. As for the label, there were a few issues at first when they were still tied to Prophecy Productions, but ever since Grau parted ways with them and went out on their own, things have been moving a lot faster and smoother now, so we are very happy with that.

- Grau Records is a German label and I guess you'll play some shows to promote "A Life Spent Dying." So will be now any chance to see you guys touring Spain or more European countries?
Yes, it is more likely that we will be touring Europe than the US at this point. It is our plan and we hope to be out there in the near future. In fact, we are working with a European touring agency right now; we are part of their roster, and coincidentally, it is Lugga Music, which is a company based in your country of Spain. So, they have been working hard at trying to get us out there and hope to do so by late this year or early-mid 2011.

- If I'm not wrong, you signed with them a 4 album deal. Will we have to wait 6 more years until your next release?
Absolutely not! I mean, it is a little out of our control since the label will release it when they can, but it will never get to a point of being delayed that long again. There is a year cushion between albums, according to our deal, but I can tell you that we have a good portion of the next album already written and hope to go in to start the recording process early next year. This new album we are releasing has been recorded for a while, so we are so ready get new material out there.

- How's the production process in a band like you?

It is usually a long process. We take pride in our sound and do our best to create the atmosphere that we want. We are definitely much happier with the production of this album than the last one, which was a nightmare. We really came together for this one and were quite satisfied with the end result. Each time is a learning experience and I think we will get an even better production on future albums.

- And the composing one? While listening to your music I feel like you have no compromises when it comes to compose still having what a Death/Doom band needs.
Yes, we take pride in being a death/doom band and will always compose our music specific to the genre, a genre that we all grew up with and love. We could never take the path of Anathema, Paradise Lost, and Katatonia; we feel that if you want to completely change your music, then start a different band and use a different name. Growing as a band does not mean completely changing the style of your music, it means sticking to your true sound and improving the way you do that.

- One example of this is the 9th track of the album, "Catharsis," which it seems just Death Metal with some slow/Doom parts though but anyway it broke with the general feeling or formula of the album. What can you explain us about this song?
Well, it was something that we just threw in there to, basically, throw everyone off and show a little versatility. I think the main complaint about most doom albums, is that every song sounds the same and they tend to become monotonous, so we tried to change things up a bit and tried not to sound like every other doom album. I don't think it is something we will ever do again; it was just a little something different for this album, but I am sure we will continue to have faster parts in songs, like in "Breathe Deep the Cinders."

- Is maybe being such a different track the reason why is the final song?
Yes, it is exactly why it is the final song. I think if we would of put it higher on the track list, people may have gotten the idea that this type of song is going to be typical for all of our albums, but it isn't, so we put it at the end as sort of an afterthought.

- I'm also impressed with those kinda Southern/Stoner riffs in "A Long Silence" ...
It's interesting ... I can't tell you how many people love that part of the song when they hear it; we have gotten a lot of good feedback about it. It's funny because when Justin first wrote that song, the rest of us in the band really couldn't get used to it, but we ended up putting it on the album and now we absolutely love it. I think it's one our favorite tracks, and I am really glad that we put it on the album. It is part of our setlist when we play live. I am hoping we could try more of those type of riffs in the future.

- There's a track called "Anhedonia." Does it have anything to do, in any way, with your first album, called as well "Anhedonia"?
In a way it does, but it is not directly related to that album. I have always been a fan of using old album titles as song titles on newer albums, not every time, but sparingly; it depends. Or even using old song titles as a new album title. But, we would probably never do that for a song that needed lyrics; we would do that more for instrumentals, which this song is.

- I'm also sure your musical influences are quite diverse. Which are they?
As far as our style and sound goes, our main influences are My Dying Bride, October Tide, older Anathema and Katatonia, bands like that. But individually, we all listen to so many different styles of music, and a lot of times it's not even metal. Metal will always be my favorite style of music, but I rarely listen to it, and our bass player Dan really doesn't listen to metal at all, so we all have a diverse and wide range of music that influences us. I think it really helps in composing, that we can take ideas and concepts from all genres, not just metal.

- And where do you take inspiration from when it comes to write lyrics? What use to be your lyrics about? I think someone while listening to your music and your lyrics can feel nothing else that depression. Do you try to create some kind of connection between your lyrics and sound?
Strangely enough, I get my inspiration for my lyrics from the news, just everyday human life. I try to keep it on a personal level and what people actually go through in real life. My lyrics stay true to the concept of the band—personal depression, loss of hope, suicide, murder/suicide, and self mutilation. I really think a lot of people can relate to the lyrics and may have gone through some of these things, or know someone that has gone through these things. I don't think it will ever get to a point when the lyrics will be about myth, legend, and other fictional topics; it will always be about real life and the depression people really go through. As far as trying to create a connection between the lyrics and sound, playing death/doom, you really don't have to try, the style of the music is already depressing and sad, so it fits perfectly.

- And, at last, what are the near-future plans for the band?
Well, we plan on promoting the new album by doing a lot more shows, here in our hometown and around the states, as well as hoping to tour Europe soon and doing some festivals out there. We will also continue to work hard at completing the material for the next album and hope that we can get back in the studio sooner than later. We will just keep busy and will be a lot more active now that everything is back on track with the label and band.

- That would be all. Thanks once more for your time and feel free to add any last lines to our readers.
We would just like to thank your readers and all of our fans for their continuing support and for their patience during our layoff between albums; we will make sure that never happens again. Like I said, now that the band and label are back on track with the release of this album, things should move a lot more quickly now and we will be as active as we have ever been. Thank you so much for the interview and review, your support is appreciated and we are looking forward to doing this again for the next album!



After several years ASPHYX surpised us (or not that much considering all the times we have seen these kind of reunions with the only aim of earning some money) with a reunion show and, a bit after, with a brand new studio album. This may do some people wonder; why have they done that, what will happen with this reunion... Their drummer, Bog Bagchus, talk to us about their latest release "Death... the Brutal Way" and all the questions this might do arise on us as well as their future plans, which relesing a DVD and another album figure among them.

 - Hi Bob, first off let us thank you for your time and for reviving Asphyx.
Bob-Yes.Thanx for sending the interview,Tania.Much appreciated!

- Let's start with your latest album, "Death... the Brutal Way". Personally I think that title can fit with both some of your lyrics and of course also your music. Why did you choose this name for the album?
Bob-Yes,the title fits perfectly.Well,Death The Brutal Way is a slogan we already use since 1989.Metalion from the Slayer Mag.once came up with it and we started to use it.It fits our music the best.No compromise.

- In my opinion this album still keeps that Old School sound and obviously the very own Asphyx hallmark and I guess that's what all the Asphyx fans expected from you. Are you happy with the result of this full length? Is it difficult nowadays to keep this sound alive?
Bob-Yes,it still has,of course,all the typical Asphyx elements.It's hard,brutal,heavy,raw and very straight forward.We do not want to play anything else besides this.We are very happy with the outcome of Death The Brutal Way.The songs are great and the production is great.It's not difficult for us to keep our sound alive.Asphyx will always be Asphyx.

- And of course, the one I'm sure you're tired to answer... How has been it's feedback? Both by press and fans.
Bob-The feedback has been great so far.As well by the press and,most important,by the fans.Of course there are always people who don't like it,but that's ok.But for 95% we get great response.

- You have always had a really personal style that makes your music be so recognizable. Now in this CD you mix that Old School sound with some modern touches, but you're still that recognizable, which I think it's one of the Asphyx ingredients for success. Is your music just what it comes out from you or in some way do you try to not disappoint your fans?
Bob-Modern touches?? Can't think of any,really.I hate modern approaches,haha! But,seriously,it all comes very naturally to us.When we sit down in the rehearsalplace and work out Paul's compositions it all falls
into place,like it did in the past also.This is our very own style and this is what we want.We only think of ourselves,to be honest.It must be 100% Asphyx,nothing else matters.If WE like it,then the fans will like it.

- Maybe that unique sound is due to that Death Metal sound mixed with some kind of Doom (or slow) parts so I can imagine your influences are varied. Which are your main influences? Also as drummer.
Bob-Yes,we always had the heavy doom in our songs.That I like the most.But we have various influences and they are:old Venom,Hellhammer/Frost,old Messiah,Slaughter,Necrophagia,Majesty,Master,Winter,old
Death etc.My own influences,as a drummer are:Abaddon(Venom),Chris Witchhunter(Sodom),Ron Sumners(Slaughter),Joe Blazer(Necrophagia) and Steven Priestly(Celtic Frost).Not the usual drummers,but I like them the best.I don't care for technical shit,I'm only into straight forward powerrumble.

- You have published this new album nearly a decade after of "On the Wings of Infierno" and after a reunion show as well. When and why did you start writing new stuff?
Bob-We started write new stuff in the beginning of 2008,I think.Paul came up with the riff of Scorbutics,and Martin and I were amazed by it,so 15 minutes later Scorbutics was born.From that point on
Paul just kept writing riffs and composing songs like hell! Unbelievable!! It all sounded awesome.Well,Death The Brutal Way is the result.It wasn't planned or so,it just happened very natural.

- And talking about writing and the composing, how has it been? How uses to be in a band like Asphyx? As well as the production process.
Bob-Well,the guitarist,in this case Paul,comes up with riffs,he starts to compose a song of it,send it to our Gmail and then Martin and I are checking it out.And shortly after that we go into our rehearsalroom and
start jamming.The production process of the new album has been mostly between Paul,Frank(our engineer) and Dan Swano.

- In the album we can find a track called "Asphyx II (they died as they marched)". Is this a second part of your "Asphyx (forgotten war)" or does exist any kind of connection between both songs?
Bob-No,it's not a sequel of it at all.It stands by itself.There is no connection,except that it deals with war.Also musically Asphyx II is a total different song.Total doom devastation.

- Paul is the newest band member (besides Martin's return). Do you think is he bringing something new to the band? Was lacking something before he joined you?
Bob-Paul definitely brought new blood to the band.That's for sure.He's very enthousiastic and has alot of ideas.Good ideas.It's thanx to him that there is a new Asphyx album.
Well,in the On The Wings Of Inferno period there was something lacking for sure within the band.It didn't had the real bandfeeling we had in The Rack days.I mean,the On The Wings...period was a good period and is
a good album for sure,but personally I didn't got too excited about it all back then.That period feels "empty" for me.Same goes for the God Cries period.No magic as well. But when I think of the Embrace the Death,The Rack or The Last One On Earth times it feels very good right away.Classic times!!

- All members of the band are involved with different musical projects, some of them are really active bands. Did this suppose any problem for the recordings? I don't think so for gigs since it seems you still keep in mind that idea of not doing tours, don't you?
Bob-We have no problems at all.The schedule of Hail of Bullets and Asphyx are all in cooperation with eachother.As for Asphyx,we don't do any tours.

- You have recently played at the Maryland Death Fest, that was your very first visit to the USA, how was that experience?
Bob-The experience was great and we got great response! We had a killer time out there!! We go back next year again,since we couldn't play our full set due to "overplaying" by a band before us.

- People who assisted to your show saw a Martin and Wannes having a little duet. Wannes has also done some backing vocals for the album and I really think he has a great voice. Have you ever thought any of you of including a few more vocals by him?
Bob-Wannes does do backing vocals now and then.He did some on our new album as well.Yes,he has a good voice indeed.But Martin is the main vocalist and should do 99% of the vocals.

- A few months ago you played in Barcelona at the Battlefield Extreme Fest II sharing stage with some Spanish bands. What are your memories of that show? I'm sure some readers would love to know your opionion!
Bob-Yes,Barcelona was great! One of our best shows for sure! Killer!! We have great memories of that show and the day after.The bands who played there that night were also great!! We enjoyed it alot! Looking For An Answer and Graveyard are brilliant bands!!

- A lot of years have passed until your first demos or "The Rack", what has changed since then in Asphyx? I mean both as musically as personally.
Bob-Well,musically pretty nothing.We always stay the same.Personally alot.We have,an cliché,grown up and take things less personal now.We can relativate things alot more and talk to eachother when something
is happening.

- And what has changed since then in Bob?
Bob-In me ALOT.Like said,I'm alot more open now then I was back then.Also I have a family now,a wife and 2 sons.They are the most important for me.
For the rest,I'm pretty much the same as it comes to personal interest.I still adore horror movies and still am a 100% metal fan.And I do visit Formula 1 races,which is another passion for me.

- And finally, which are the nearest future plans for the band? Will this be just one album and some shows?
Bob-Well,playing a show in Berlin in 2 days,we will release a split 7" with Hooded Menace from Finland and there will be a new album as well.But first there will be a live dvd from our elease show in Essen/Germany of Death The Brutal Way and that dvd will also contain the whole bio/history of Asphyx as well.Featuring ex-members etc.It will be out in the beginning of next year.

- That's all, Bob. Thank you a lot and our best wishes with Asphyx, hope to have the chance to see you again in Spain!
Bob-Thanx alot for this cool interview,Tania!Cheers! We hope we'll play in Spain soon again!!!


Hail of Bullets

Multifaceted Ed Warby could be considered habitual in Queens of Steel in fact, here's a third chat with him but, this time, regarding a quite young band but with a deluxe line-up and, as it's natural after hearing their albums, has always gotten amazing reviews.I'm not talking about other band that death metallers HAIL OF BULLETS, that in less than 10 years will release their second album, "On Divine Winds"; a record that, for logical reasons, has gotten once more an awesome feedback. Next to the band's drummer, Ed Warby, we chack their history and the details which compose this brand new full-length by the Dutchmen that revive the Death Metal's golden are in their country.

- Hi Ed and thanks for dedicating the time for third time in less than two years. So for not changing the tradition; as always: what are you currently up to?
Hi Tania, and so we meet again! I’m currently enjoying some time off, which is a rarity in my life! To keep myself busy I’ve agreed to record and mix a Thanatos (Steph and Paul’s other band) song for an upcoming split single with Asphyx.

- Before getting into the upcoming HAIL OF BULLETS’ album I would like to start with a little background story of the band. How did HOB come together?
Steph had the idea for HoB already as early as 2004 but as soon as he asked me Gorefest got back together so it never happened. A few years later the plan came up again and this time we did go through with it. I knew Paul already, but Theo I’d only seen once and Martin was a complete stranger to me so we decided to get together first to see if we liked each other. This happened in Theo’s hometown Amersfoort, he took us to a few bars and we got unbelievably drunk, had loads of fun together and the next morning we dragged our hung-over corpses into Theo’s garden to make our first band photos. The rest, as they say, is history…

- And how did you come up with the band name? Though it’s obvious it fits perfectly with your themes.
We had a hard time coming up with a good name, I think we had a list of 300 names but none of them was “the one”. We wanted something war-related, I remember we almost settled for Warkult until I stumbled upon Hail Of Bullets somehow, and that was it!

- There are not so many bands “reanimating” this music style that good. Was there a concrete reason you wanted to play this kind of music?
Absolutely. We all feel that death metal these days is not what it used to be, so the idea was to start a band that played the kind of death metal we like hearing ourselves. Simple, straightforward, catchy, groovy and HEAVY! Most bands these days are only concerned with speed and couldn’t write a decent song if their life depended on it, it may sound brutal at first but I just get bored after a few minutes. Give me the old masters like Entombed, Bolt Thrower or Autopsy anytime.

- All your lyrics are about war; did you already have this idea when forming the band? Because I think Martin is the perfect guy for that kind of lyrics.
After our drunken get-together we started discussing the musical direction for the band, I made some demos of songs I had and as soon as Martin heard them he decided he’d found the perfect vehicle for his long dreamed of Eastern Front concept. It all fit together perfectly and within a few months the HoB style and concept were fully developed, pretty amazing when you think about it..

- With your previous “…Of Frost and War” you were signed to Metalblade Records, how did you hook up with them? I bet a few more labels were interested in signing you…
Yeah, we sent +/- 10 promos to different labels and most of them were interested so we had the luxury of choice. Metal Blade is a label that means a lot to us old bastards because of their role in metal history so they already had an advantage over the rest, but as soon as we started dealing with them we knew this was our label. The passion for metal was obvious from the start and they really, really like the band. Our A&R guy still comes to as many shows as possible and the relationship we have with them is fantastic. A few weeks ago we actually met Brian Slagel, who is a legend as far as we’re concerned, and we were blown away when he said he was such a fan of our music!

- Metalblade is such a big label that I think their promotion of the band has been just awesome…
When we signed they promised we’d get good promotion, but we never expected to be such a priority act for them. I was pleasantly surprised to see huge ads in all major magazines when our first album came out, and this time they’re going to do even more for us. Another sign we’re in good hands.

- “On Divine Winds” will be your second full length album. It isn’t out yet, but I guess you have already heard some comments about it so; what are your expectations for it and how have been the critics for it so far?
The first reviews are insane: 9,5/10 and album of the month in Rock Hard, 95/100 and 10x Metal Of Honor in Aardschok, 6/7 in Metal Hammer DE, 15/15 in Legacy, etc. And almost all critics feel that this album is much better than the first one, which is more than we even hoped for. When you have such an acclaimed debut it’s there’s always the fear of not being able to live up to it, let alone surpassing it…

- I think being a (named) “super-band” is a two-bladed knife; some people will prise your music just for being you but expectations regarding anything from you must be really big so, I guess, you’d like to fulfil your fans’ expectations…
Of course, when we signed with Metal Blade there were some people that felt we were only using our names to get ahead, but names don’t mean shit if the music isn’t good. We know very well that expectations are high, higher than if this was “just another band”, so we work even harder than we normally would to do the best we can. On the other hand, we do this first and foremost for ourselves, we’re our own biggest fans and we only play stuff that we really dig. Since we all love old school death metal we have a good sense of what’s good and what isn’t when it comes to our own material.

- Was this time, due to this, harder the creation process than in your debut?
A bit, yeah. Writing took longer and we were more critical this time, Martin even had a case of writer’s block at some point. When you do a first album you’re still fresh, bursting with ideas, there’s less pressure because you don’t know how it’ll be perceived yet. The second album is always notoriously difficult since you have to live up to the standard you set before, and many bands fail. In the end it all turned out well though, I decided to just keep writing the best stuff I could come up with, and the other guys really pushed me to make the songs even better so I was still changing riffs and arrangements right before we started recording.

- And what are your feelings about being considered an “all-star” band?
With all due respect for the other guys, but I don’t think we’re stars at all. Martin had a good run with Pestilence and Asphyx, and so have I with Gorefest and Ayreon/Star One, but I don’t feel like a star because of it. Paul, Steph and Theo have been around making metal for a long time, but Houwitser and Thanatos are pretty obscure bands so the term “all-star” doesn’t stick. When I think of “all-star” bands I see fat, jaded old guys throwing together a shit album to make some quick cash, we couldn’t be further removed from that.

- “…Of Frost and War” was a concept album based in the WWII, and this time the story’s about the Pacific War, which I think is an interesting part of the history but people don’t use to bring special attention to it. Why did you choose this matter this time? Explain us a bit about it.
After The Eastern Front we needed a subject that was just as brutal and dramatically interesting, and at first I didn’t think the Pacific was that subject. Martin was really enthusiastic about it though, and once he started reading more about it and telling us stories we became convinced he was right. It was a gamble, because not many people in Europe know much about it apart from Pearl Harbor and the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whereas everybody knows about Germany and Russia.

- Could you consider this album as a conceptual one as well?
Definitely. The album starts with the attack on Pearl Harbor, but then we go back in time to the origins of the conflict and work our way up to the Japanese surrender. So it’s not 100% chronological like the first one, but close enough.

- Martin has always seemed to be quite interested in the war stuff; are these time lyrics written by him too? How was the research of those themes?
Yes, every brilliant word is his. He read piles of books on the subject and he even paid a visit to the US fleet for additional inspiration. This part of the war isn’t as well documented as for instance the Eastern Front, so gathering enough information was a lot more difficult this time, but he delivered splendidly.

- The name of the album is strongly connected to the CD, but I guess some people don’t know that. Could you explain us the meaning of its title?
On Divine Winds is derived from the literal translation of the Japanese word Kamikaze: kami means god, and kaze stands for wind. It ties in with the cover artwork, and the song Kamikaze features the line “On divine winds they died”.

- You have produced the album yourself, how was that process? I think it might be extra work but, on the other hand, no one as a band member knows how do you want your music to sound like…
In reality I’ve been more or less “producing” Hail Of Bullets from the promo onwards, but this time I actually got credited for it. It was a lot of extra work for me because we decided to record the guitars and bass at my home studio, in all I’ve been working on this album for over 9 months. But like you say, I know better how we should sound than someone in a studio who’ll be recording a pop band next week, so I’m glad we did it this way, even if it meant lots of sleepless nights!

- The mixing was done by Dan Swäno (as your previous works), which you have worked with several times; how was everything? And how did the final result end up? Though nowadays, and knowing his abilities, it seems like a stupid question.
Dan was once again a pleasure to work with. He was doing testmixes early this year already to make sure we got the best possible sound, and we spent about a month on the final mix. The end result is amazing, it’s much better than we could’ve dreamed and it blows the first album away completely! There’s much more room for detail, and it sounds heavier but clearer at the same time, Dan did a truly wonderful job.

- Your music has always been truly old school Death Metal and Holland has always had a strong DM scene, bands as ASPHYX or PESTILENCE are good examples, though it seems the best period for it were the late 80’s/early 90’s, or maybe the better known. But, how’s the extreme Metal scene like in Holland nowadays?
Not the way it was, that’s for sure. Asphyx are still important, probably the best band we have these days. I like God Dethroned as well, and there’s some cool new bands like I Chaos and Bodyfarm, but that’s about it I guess. Pestilence are back and boring as ever, and Gorefest split up again last year.

- All of you grew up into the period of the music you’re currently playing in HOB; how do you manage to play that old school music and keep that vibe still updating your sound? Even your music is 100% old school it looks like you’re not afraid of using a few modern elements too and making it fit into the present.
The only modern element in our music is the sound and the way we work, everything else is totally and hopelessly old-fashioned. We’re mostly driven by the love for death metal of the late 80’s and early 90’s and it’s easy to write in that style because to me it’s not like a coat I wear, it comes straight from the heart. For me it’s still contemporary music, not something from the past. When we started working on our first promo we all agreed that we wouldn’t go for a retro, shitty-sounding production and fortunately Dan has found the perfect balance between old school brutality and modern audio fidelity.

- When we did the DEMIURG interview you told me 2010 was going to be a year dominated by HAIL OF BULLETS due to the big promotion you were going to do for it. What are those promotion plans? Will be a tour announced soon? Anything in Spain?
Hail Of Bullets isn’t really a touring band, the promotion for the album is found more in doing interviews and such. Of course we’ll be doing shows to promote it, but we’ll keep doing it the way we have before, so that means mostly festivals and one-off clubshows in foreign countries instead of a month long tour that only costs money. Spain will definitely be in the plans, we had a great time last year and can’t wait to return!

- Are there any other near-future plans for you?
I’ve decided to take the rest of the year off from recording, and then I’ll start working on the next 11th Hour album. I plan to take my time for that one, but I already have a few great songs written for it.

- And talking about Spain and gigs (and I know that’s, somehow, a bit off-topic), you will soon play at the Madrid is the Dark Fest with THE 11TH HOUR; what are your expectations?
The festival takes place at the end of October and I’m really looking forward to it though, Pim and Bram played there before with Officium Triste and they said it was unbelievable. Spain has been very kind to the 11th Hour with reviews as well, so I think it’s going to be a night to remember!

- That’s all, thank you once again and congratulations on your new alum. Now, as always, if you want to add any final words; last lines are yours.
Thanks again and I’ll be looking forward to our next interview! ;-)


Arson Anthem

ARSON ANTHEM is a band that started out being just a parallel project by Phil Anselmo, Mike IX Williams and Hank III (moreover, the group is completed by bass player Collin Edgar Yeo), without any doubt, names that are more than familiar to anyone who's a bit familiarized with Metal. paralelo de Phil Anselmo, Mike IX This Hardcore/Punk (with elements from different music styles and a more varied sound that the standard on the genre) band at the 80's vibe, was formed almost by coincidence, by the aforementioned Mike and Phil. Soon after released an homonymous EP, but hasn't been until this 2010  when this "all-star band" has release their first full-length album, "Insecurity Notoeriety";a work with fury and DYI attitude all around. We have the chance of getting in touch with the band', Mike IX Williams (singer for EYEHATEGOD as well, among other projects), who explains all the quartet's history and their future plans.

- Hi Mike, first of all thanks for taking the time. A little after the band’s album; what’s ARSON ANTHEM currently up to?
Sure, no problem, glad to do it. Anyway, yeah we're just planning a short USA tour and checking out peoples reaction to the new record!

- Before getting into your album I would like to start with a band’s introduction: how did it get together, when and why it was formed, etc.
Well, me and Phil have known each other forever since we were kids and have wanted to get a band together since then as well. So in 2005 Hurricane Katrina happened and destroyed New Orleans and I was misplaced and homeless and was just getting out of jail and I had lost everything so Phil said I could live out here on his property in the guest house and we started hanging out again everyday and listening to and burning old music I had lost. The time was perfectly ripe for us to jam and we got Hank III's ass down here and Collin Yeo on bass and went to fucking work, knocking out a the whole first EP in less than a week from riffs that everybody had in stock. After that it wasn't such a retro thing, it was more like, let's live in the now and make Hardcore sounds from waaay back but more modern and we all wrote songs and riffs and it came together. A total disregard for what other folks think...

- And how did you come up with its name? What does it mean?
I actually had a dream and the words were in there,but we were already trying to come up with something simple yet conveying a feel of old school Punk and it got thrown around and it really stuck. It's got the image of setting the house on fire and carrying that banner into the night, proud and screaming... Fucking sick hardcore.

- You guys sound as a Hardcore/Punk band from the 80’s, even with some Thrash elements. Why did you decide to play that kind of music? Did you grow up listening to that type of bands? It seems is, somehow, a tribute to that decade.
Of course we grew up listening to all that stuff when we were younger, Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Adolescents, Zero Boys, Jerry's Kids, Germs, Void, Sheer Terror, Die Kreuzen, State of Alert, Gang Green, Agnostic Front et al but also Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Sodom, Exodus, Destruction, Bathory etc... Like I was saying the first record is more of a tribute but this album I feel is just a new band playing what we want to hear, which just happens to be a throwback to earlier days. We're all very happy with the way it came out.

- Do you think things could have been different for you if the band have came out during the 80’s?
This was the group I always wanted to have in the 80's, y'know when I was involved in the scene of that day; tape trading and doing fanzines and blasting Hardcore Metal and Punk, fueled up and all of that, but obviously it couldn't have happened then. But there is a moment for everything, and AA came together at the exact right time... I had Hardcore Punk and Thrash bands back then but none ever reached the level we have with this one.

- AA has a great line-up, do you think you’ll have a broader public into the Metal scene thanks to Phil Anselmo? And into the Extreme Metal scene because of you and Hank (besides Phil)? Hank also has a strong Country career, so I guess some of his “Country” fans will try AA as well…
Obviously and of course Phil's gonna draw more mainstream fans to AA and vice-versa. We've had fans of each of our bands come to shows and try and see what it was all about sometimes with mixed results, positive and negative but at least nothing in between. I'd rather people either love us or hate us than be ambivalent. At one gig in Nashville a Country fan of Hank's came out and was so angry at the music he tried to start a fight with our security guys! Funny thing is after we finished playing he bought a t-shirt...  So it is possible to win over stubborn close minded people.

- EYEHATEGOD and AA play totally different music styles; what does AA provides you that EYEHATEGOD can’t and vice versa?
They are both terroristic outlets and very cathartic for me. I love both bands tremendously, so I cant really separate the feelings I have for each. The differences in the music are obvious and both provide me with a certain kind of mental and physical creative challenge..

- “Insecurity Notoriety” is your first full-length album. Why did you wait all these years to release it?
It took a while to get out since its on Phil's own Housecore Records and there were a few bugs to work out as far as distribution and other releases etc.. We wanted to get out the Warbeast LP, the Evil Army LP and the Haarp stuff.
- And do you feel excited about this debut or are you just used to it?
Oh, I'm totally excited about it. I will be for a long time as I think this is a fun sick angry raw record that we are very proud of. 

- How has been the feedback for the album so far? I guess some people will be waiting to hear a second PANTERA or EYEHATEGOD, and the AA’s sound has nothing to do with it.
Yeah like I kind of said before, people will maybe expect a certain type of sound but should open their ears and at least check it out. Any fan of a hard fast sonic attack will love it but it's of course nothing like our other groups except for the heavy aggressiveness. The feedback so far has been great, fans from all over the world are spreading the hate.

- The sound on the album is similar (in style and attitude) to the sound on the “Arson Anthem” EP but improved, sounds more professional…
We really put a lot into the song writing since we all contributed and wrote songs, and me and Phil did the same with the lyrics; put a ton of time into making them interesting and bizarre. The sound this time too is not as fuzzed out but still remains nasty and the structures not as simple for the most part, so yeah I guess you could say more professional but with a more fucked up attitude and sense of chaos.

- The album has been released by Phil’s label, Housecore Records; how positive is that for you as a band? I mean, I guess that gives you more freedom and confidence than working with someone who’s not involved in the band.
Absolutely. Most record labels are a tool of the devil so its amazngly nice to have 100% total freedom. This label is completely devoted to the bands and will put out some amazing recordings in the coming future.

- When listening to your music I have the feeling you’re a bunch of guys just wanting to have fun. What are your aims to get with ARSON ANTHEM?
I'd say fun is a priority, but at the same time we want to bust your eardrums with the noise...

- All of you play in bands of such different styles. So I’m wondering what are your main influences as singer?
I have favorite vocalists but I don't really try to emulate any of them y'know. I love old Alice Cooper, H.R. from Bad Brains, Paul Rodgers from Free & Bad Company, old Rod Stewart, Dez Cadena and Ron Reyes from Black Flag, John Brannon from Laughing Hyenas and tons more. As far as influences I think I draw a little bit from here and there but also smoking and drinking wine and vodka don't hurt either. Also screaming at my girlfriend is always very good practice.

- Will be a tour possible for ARSON ANTHEM? I bet all of you have busy schedules… Do you see any chance of touring Europe anytime?
Believe me we are trying, but like you said its really hard with everybody's schedules. We are all trying to keep busy with all our bands and work a few tours into the works. For example I have OUTLAW ORDER and another project called CLASSHOLE and an experimental dark evil noise electronics duo called THE GUILT OF..., Hank has his deal going on which is basically three different bands, Collin is in PONY KILLER, and Phil has all kinds of shit he's working on including a new solo project he's fleshing out as we speak.

- I read the band started as a side project of you, Hank and Phil; is it still like this? Or does it have become an established band?
It always starts as side project and then evolution takes off and who knows what could happen. I just look at it as which band I'm working on at any given time is what I'm giving my million percent to. I would consider ARSON ANTHEM as an established group however.

- This interview’s mainly focused on AA, but I guess some people might be wondering what’s going on with EYEHATEGOD? Since your last full-length studio album came out in 2000.
We've been through a lot since that LP came out but actually we put out "Preaching the End-Time Message" in 2003. Hurricane Katrina set us back a few years  and Jimmy Bower being in DOWN has has stopped us from properly writing a new full length and a number of other problems we have faced but we have six or so songs together to bring in the studio when we get it going. We've been super busy for years since the storm and have toured Europe twice and the America numerous times. We are touring the USA again in December and doing the Euro- fests in June.

- After all these years into the music scene, is still there any goal you would like to get you haven’t yet?
I've in bands since I was fifteen years old and I've done quite a lot but there are a ton more places to go, places to play and goals to conquer. I want to tour the Earth and do as much as possible before we expire. Life is too short and I want to do it all.

- What’s the best and the worst thing of being into it? Have you ever thought of quitting?
There are times when I've been frustrated and wondered what I was doing this for but it always comes back around to my love for music, extreme and otherwise. I'll keep making sounds and writing forever even if it's just for me personally in the underground.

-  And finally, what are your plans for ARSON ANTHEM?
To take it as far as we can with this band do some shows and write some more and put out more records, its too good to not develop further.

- That’s all, Mike. Thank you again for your time. Now if you want to add any final words to this interview feel free to do it.
Thank to Queens of Steel for the interview!! Cheers! Also my book "CANCER as a SOCIAL ACTIVITY" is currently out of print but will be back in its third printing very soon. Check me out on Facebook and Myspace.com/nolanine and don't forget to go to Housecore Records at  > thehousecorerecords.com <
See you soon....