Witching Metal Webzine

Witching Metal Webzine

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Degial - Death's Striking Wings

Sweden’s Degial (formally Degial of Embos) have been around since 2004 and released three demos under their old moniker before changing their name and releasing another demo, followed four years later by an EP and now, finally, their debut album, entitled “Death’s Striking Wings” has been unleashed upon mankind…

Some of you reading this will probably think “eh, just another Swedeath band” and move on, but Degial are so much more than that. Sure, they pay tribute to the old masters (Dismember, Treblinka, Merciless, Nihilist, etc. etc.) but their sound is more akin to early Possessed, early Slayer and Morbid Angel’s legendary debut, with a touch of Dissection-esque flair. You’ll find some ripping thrashy riffs alongside pummeling beats and twisted solos, with the occasional melodic hook thrown in for good measure. The raw and primitive production suits the well-thought-out yet demented song writing style of the band, although the vocals do get buried occasionally, which is unfortunate, but not too much of a distraction.

“Death’s Striking Wings” is definitely not the most original record out at the moment, but with songs like; “Death's Striking Wings”, “Black Grave (The Gateway)” and “Swarming”, it will definitely leave a shit-eating grim on even the most jaded death metal fan. It’s not “Seven Churches” or “Altars of Madness”, but it’s as good or better than anything the Morbid Ones have released since, and that’s good enough for me.

Degial’s debut is a fine addition to my collection that fits in well alongside my Tribulation, Repugnant, Angelcorpse and Cemetery Urn albums.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Vagabond's Band of the Week: Weregoat

Band: Weregoat
Year of Formation: 2009
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Genre: Black/Death Metal

Based in Portland, Oregon, Weregoat play bestial and chaotic black/death metal in the vein of Blasphemy and Archgoat. They caught my attention late last year with their debut EP "Unholy Exaltation of Fullmoon Perversity" and have recently released a killer split with New Zealand horde Diocletian. I highly recommend both of these releases to fans of rabid bestial black/death metal.

Click here to read my review of their EP.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Air Raid - Danger Ahead

Gothenburg’s Air Raid is one of the few traditional metal bands to catch my attention this year. Back in April, they released their debut EP entitled “Danger Ahead” on Stormspell Records. They also released a full length about two weeks ago, entitled “Night of the Axe”.

Things are instantly kicked into high gear with the opening track “When the Sky Turns Read”, a high-octane, straight forward heavy metal track laden with guitar solos, soaring vocals and galloping riffs that would make Iron Maiden themselves proud. The second track, “Annihilation” is my favourite off this EP, and it is a bit slower than the opener and really takes it’s time, allowing the riffs to really breathe. “The Metal Cult” is full of power and could be considered a heavy metal anthem. “Midnight Burner” is another stand out and it would have sounded right at home on a late 80s Judas Priest album. There are also two tracks from their demo tacked to the end of the EP, which serve as a pretty cool extra.

Although Air Raid hail from Sweden, their sound is very British, incorporating heavy influences from Saxon and Judas Priest, as well as the aforementioned Iron Maiden. These young Swedes have really taken the NWOBHM sound and made it their own.

“Danger Ahead” is well played, well written and well produced, leaving me anxious to get my hands on “Night of the Axe” when I get the chance. Don’t sleep on this if you dig classic, fist pumping, heavy metal in the vein of Saxon, Cloven Hoof, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Omega Reign- Arise Review

I've probably said this before and I'll say it again a thousand times: the US needs more good power metal. Power metal grew along side thrash in the 80s, the US produced some great gems like Metal Church, Apollo Ra, Attacker, and a slew of other great bands. Anyways, enough of the history lesson, I've got contemporary material today.

Omega Reign are a US power metal band from Boston, Massachusetts. Forming in 1998, 14 years later they've finally put out a debut, Arise. Perhaps it was worth the wait.

It was hard for me to pinpoint the band's sound, although a lot of it sounds like Thunder Steel-era Riot mixed with a bit of early  Anthrax. The opening song, "Doomsday," thunders across the soundwaves with its heavy and fast riffs. The song is packed with so much energy, the vocals just soar across everything. Things then slow down for the next two songs, "Prison in your eyes" and "This Poem is Goodbye." The former is a mid tempo gallop, reminiscent of something from Riot's Thunder Steel, whilst the latter is more of a heavy ballad. It sort of drops the feeling with the album for me, but it's not a very cheesy ballad at all (Poison couldn't write this good). Things pick back up with the next batch of songs. "Nocturnal" is another mid-tempo rocker with pumping riffs and hooky vocals. There's a really cool downtime section, where everything seems to just space out, then it builds up speed with a shredding solo. The next song is one of my favorites off of this album, "The Way You Lived." The main riff is just huge, and pounds your face like Thor's hammer. It doesn't sound like anything from the 80s but it doesn't sound like a modern metal band either. There's a cool clean part in the middle, with a slow David Gilmour-esque solo, and then it drives back into the dirt and grit. Another ballad, "Bitter," is played but things are quickly saved with "Killer," an all-out grooving headbanger. "Killer" reminds me of the late 70s Judas Priest riffs from Killing Machine, the fucking groove, man! And then to end it with, "Invisible World the Eidolon." It starts off with a slow, heavy gallop and then breaks out into a flurry towards the middle. A good ending bang.

For a self-produced album, the sound is rather good. Everything is mixed well and you can really hear all the instruments clearly. The vocals remind me of a young Joey Belladonna and the guitars would make any 80s power metal band proud. Nothing is too over the top, but neither does the band hold anything back.

Overall, it's a very solid album. Ballads kind of threw me off, I think there should be a limit of one per album (sorry guys!), but the rest of the tracks just kick your ass. So if you're in the mood for some kick-ass USPM like old school Riot, then pick up this little gem!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vagabond's Band of the Week: Adversarial

Band: Adversarial
Year of Formation: 2007
Country of Origin: Canada
Genre: Black/Death Metal

Hailing from Canada, Adversarial is a relatively new to appear on my radar. Taking obvious inspiration from bands such as (early) Morbid Angel, (early) Deicide, Angelcorpse, Blasphemy, Revenge and the like, Adversarial can also be compared to countrymen and labelmates Begrime Exemious in that they play some seriously mind-bending and gritty old-school black/death metal, making them a perfect candidate for the Dark Descent Records roster.

To date that have released a demo ("Thralls" - 2008), a full length ("All Idols Fall Before the Hammer" - 2010), an EP ("Prophetic plain of Abyssal Revelation" - 2011) and a split with fellow Canadian extremists Antediluvian earlier this year. I would recommend any of these releases to all fans of raw and violent Canadian filth.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Vagabond's Band of the Week: Drawn and Quartered

I've decided to start something new on Witching Metal, to add a bit more variety to the site. From now on, I will be doing a short "band of the week" mini-article about metal bands that deserve your attention.

Band: Drawn and Quartered
Year of Formation: 1993
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Genre: Death Metal

Drawn and Quartered is a death metal band from Seattle, whom a friend recommended to me a couple of months ago. They've been around since the "golden age" of death metal, but didn't release an album until 1999. Unfortunately, they are not a very well-known band, which I believe might be due to them releasing their debut so late in the 90's. They can be compared to bands such as Immolation, Incantation, Morbid Angel and Monstrosity, but really are a band who forged their own musical path.

I own three of their albums, each of which I would highly recommend. These albums are; "Extermination Revelry", "Hail Infernal Darkness" and "Feeding Hell's Furnace". This band is essential listening for any OSDM maniac.

Click here for my review of their latest album.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Deiphago – Satan Alpha Omega

Filipino warmongers Deiphago are back with another filthy onslaught of noisy black metal terror! These guys have been on a role since releasing their first full length in 2006 and producing some of the most truly “extreme” sounding metal that I have heard. “Satan Alpha Omega” continues to tread the path that these Filipino Antichrists embarked on way back in 1989…

The one thing that makes Deiphago stand out from the pack of “war metal” styled bands is their raw and brutal intensity, which puts them on a similar tier to Conqueror, Revenge, Bestial Warlust and Ampütator. The guitars are shrouded in an abrasive wall of noise that totally obscures the riffs, the drums provide extremely chaotic blast beats that are controlled with a certain element of restraint which holds everything together and saves the album from careening off the rails, the bass is much more audible than on previous works, bringing with it a suitably more disgusting atmosphere, Voltaire 666’s vocal work provides some of the most inhuman shrieks and bestial growls that I have ever had the (dis)pleasure of hearing. Deiphago’s music is not for the faint of heart.

While the music is uncomfortable and sounds like it was recorded in a mental institution, there has always been a method to Deiphago’s madness. Sidapa is a classically trained musician and his song structures are rather well thought-out before being buried underneath an uncompromising mound of nihilistic and primordial ugliness.

All in all, “Satan Alpha Omega” is a big improvement over their sophomore album “Filipino Antichrist” (which was a step-down from their debut, in my opinion) and may just be the bands greatest release yet.

War metal enthusiasts will love this album. Everyone else will hate it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Midgard- Satellite Review


Hailing from the rocky state of Colorado, Midgard have released their first full length album, Satellite. The death metal quartet draw influences from death, black, and some power metal. Reunited just last year, they're out to show the world what they can do. 

Combinations of death metal and power metal usually make for some interesting songs. There's a variety of harsh and clean vocals throughout the album, as well as aggressive and melodic riffs. "Until the Sirens Call" really embellishes the blend of genres. The harsh singing in the verses and the clean singing in the chorus is rather nifty. And face pounding riffs aren't too shabby either, but the tinkling piano kind of draws away from the aggression. "Oracle" and "Waves of Acheron" have the better pieces of guitar work, "Waves" has a cool broken chord pattern in the beginning and then breaks out into some toxic riffs and "Oracle" has a great midtempo ball buster of a riff, as well as some good leads.

The album certainly has it's moments, but there are a few places -just a few- that seem off. This might sound blasphemous, considering the band has a black metal tinge to it, but a little bit more production wouldn't have hurt. It's very raw sounding, which is great, but they aren't the type that's playing jackhammer blastbeats and tremolo picking at 300 bpm (production wouldn't be necessary then really). In some moments, the clean singing can throw the song off the rails, like the middle part in "Absolute Zero Heart," and some of the solos are off key it seems, but perhaps that's just nitpicking.

Overall, it's a pretty decent output (I wouldn't review it if I didn't remotely like it). It sounds like a raw form of Crimson Shadows, which is an awesome thing in itself. They're officially releasing the album in December, so check them out if you want a physical copy. Go listen to them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Drawn and Quartered – Feeding Hell’s Furnace

So, not long ago, a friend of mine told me to look up this American death metal band called Drawn and Quartered, whom I’d not previously heard of, although they have been around since 1993. As it turns out, not only is their brand of OSDM up my alley; but they had also put out their sixth album in June, entitled “Feeding Hell’s Furnace” on stellar Greek label Nuclear Winter Records.

The main thing I noticed about this album, is that just by listening to the production and the song-writing, you can really tell that Drawn and Quartered are experienced in the macabre art of old-school death metal and that they have truly been there from the beginning. This is not some silly “comeback album” or something along those lines, this is true death metal darkness. The production is suitably ancient, sounding as if this was recorded in the early days when Drawn and Quartered was a young band.

The vocals are deep and multi-layered, giving extra power, atmosphere and energy to the tracks; in fact, Herb Burke just might be my new favourite USDM vocalist. The guitars on this album are huge and quite possibly the highlight, the atmosphere they build around the drums and vocals is jaw-dropping, as well as the incredibly sick and twisted solos spread throughout songs such as; “Feeding Hell’s Furnace” and “Mutilated Offerings”, to name a couple.

If you’re a fan of old-school USDM, especially the bands; Morbid Angel, Immolation, Incantation and Monstrosity, whom DaQ clearly take most of their influence from, then “Feeding Hell’s Furnace” just might be the best death metal record that you’ll hear this year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Demon Dogs – Demon Dogs E.P.

Demon Dogs is a heavy metal band hailing from Seattle, featuring members of Death Squad, Coven (the thrash band with the funny songs; not the 70s occult rock band) and Midnight Idöls and a sound that fuses the best elements of the NWOBHM, Judas Priest and early thrash metal in to a unique and personal sound that sets them apart from other “retro” acts, their self-titled debut E.P. is a bloody ripper!

Their sound is characterized by thunderous double-bass rhythms, soaring vocals and big solo parts that feature in every song. The songs have a raw edge that makes them sound a lot older than they actually are, which helps to keep the band from sounding like just another retro act, as I find an overly clean sound can ruin a lot of new heavy metal releases.

If you’re a fan of Judas Priest, Metal Church, Mercyful Fate or early Queensrÿche (if you’re not, why are you reading Witching Metal?!), you should find something to enjoy on each of the four songs presented on this E.P. Demon Dogs is definitely a band to watch out for in the future!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Vomitor - The Escalation

Two years after the release of their second album, Vomitor has unleashed their third full length, entitled “The Escalation”. Those looking for evolution and innovation should stop reading now, Vomitor plays old-school alcohol drenched death metal exclusively. Falses; do not entry.

I'm not going to say much about this album, as this type of music speaks for itself, really. Vomitor’s sound is best described as a mix of early Brazillian death/thrash a la early Sepultura and Sarcófago, “Obsessed by Cruelty” era Sodom, (VERY early) Morbid Angel, early Metallica all drenched in a slathering of old-school Venom and Hellhammer ugliness. These influences combine to produce a familiar yet unique sound.

There’s plenty of muddled feedback and noise in the guitar sound, which adds a dimension of filth to the thrashing riffs and complements Death Dealer’s barking rasps in a strangely satisfying manner.  Also worth mentioning are the killer guitar solos, courtesy of frontman Death Dealer and Portal axe-slinger Horror Illogium, which sound straight out of 1986.

Once again Vomitor has delivered a killer album without changing much at all and still managing not to sound repetitive or boring. Death metal or diiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bleakwood/Ekadzati Split 7" KICKSTARTER info.

Since Witching Metal is all about supporting the underground in any way that we can, I've decided to make a quick post regarding an upcoming split between two Sydney black metal bands. The upcoming split between Bleakwood and Ekadzati is being funded by a new thing called Kickstarter. They are one third of the way to their goal of $1,500. There are some pretty cool deals for people who pledge, as well.

All relevant information can be found at the following link; http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/belulrolpusztit/bleakwood-ekadzati-split-7

Please, check this out, pledge a couple of bucks and support underground metal!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Burning Shadows- Gather, Darkness! Review

Hooooly shit, Batman. It's been way too long since I've done a review, hasn't it? Sorry folks, I've been swamped with a lot of things for my own time (had a show to get ready for and history papers to write). Well, I've got a little bit of free time, so let's try to catch up on some stuff.

Here we've got Burning Shadows, a heavy/power metal band hailing from Maryland. They released their sophomore full-length, Gather, Darkness!, sometime earlier this year. They have a good blend of US heavy metal and some European power metal influences, something akin to Hammerfall, Blind Guardian, and Iced Earth. It's as if Manowar and Falconer had a love-child together. Whilst they do use some rather symphonic parts to embellish their music, they're by no means a "symphonic power metal" band.

The album starts out with a softer sounding orchestra-style instrumental, "Overture: Hymn to Sathanas." It gradually builds up tension, with it's war drum march and bombastic lines from an orchestra, and leads the listener into the heavy stuff. The first actual song, "A Thousand Lies: A New Dark Age," keeps in line with the war march as the mid-tempo riffs plod along. The vocalist sings a baritone, which gives the song (and the rest of the album, if you will), a "macho" sound. Alongside the chunky guitar riffs are nice melodic lines, interluding between different parts of the song.

 Now, to bring it off tangent just a bit, if one doesn't look at the track listing while listening to this album, the songs are going to sound like they're fifteen minutes long. And, technically, that would be correct. However, like a true concerto, the album consists of "movements." Essentially, it's like three big songs, but each are broken into different parts. That's going to sound like these guys are pretentious, classical-listening, high-browed, blowhards, but in this case it's very well done. Each song flows perfectly together that unless one is paying attention to the iPod, the change of songs is hard to notice. So after "A Thousand Lies: A New Dark Age" comes "A Thousand Lies: Intra Vires" and "A Thousand Lies: Onward," but everything flows so well and each song sounds different enough that a listener won't be bored by listening to the same theme over and over.

Personally, the highlights of this album are: "A Thousand Lies: Intra Vires," "To Ruin & Divide: Man from Myth," "To Ruin & Divide: Kingdoms Fall," and "Breaking the Sanctuary: The Infamous Dawn." Honestly, the entire "To Ruin & Divide" portion of the album kicks some serious ass. It's heavy and has plenty of energy, and the choruses have a hooky melody that reels you in. "Intra Vires" would satisfy the people with the need for speed, although it's not superbly fast like a tech death band.

The album is produced very well for an independent band, every instrument is clear and nothing is muddled. It's a very well-written album, and the effort really shows in the work. However, some of the instrumentals are on the long side, which would make casual listeners want to switch away. The album sets at forty-five minutes, which some of the songs ranging from six to seven minutes. That being said, it's not a boring listen. It's actually enjoyable.

If you're a fan of epic, war-rallying metal, then this is something for you!

Gitchoo sum!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Necroven – Worship of Humiliation

Necroven is a one-man death metal project located in Spain and influenced by bands such as Immolation, Incantation, Gorephobia, Autopsy and other early 90’s American acts as well as Finnish legends Abhorrence and Demigod. “Worship of Humiliation” is Necroven’s debut album, which was recently released on Memento Mori Records following two demos released earlier in the year.

The first thing that hit me when listening to Necroven was the atmosphere; dark, evil, claustrophobic and cavernous. This is not the type of release where I can describe the sound of each individual instrument (although; the guitar tone reminds me a LOT of early Immolation…), as they work together as a unit to create something completely crushing. The music is mostly slow to mid tempo yet occasionally speeds up to blast beats, keeping things interesting. Speaking of interesting; our man J.R. incorporates plenty of creepy melodies in to his song writing, which definitely remind me of the older Finnish acts and which mix in rather well with the old USDM influence.

It’s impossible to choose stand-out tracks, as every song on “Worship of Humiliation” is as good as the one before and after it. It’s a very consistent and very good album.

I find it really hard to believe that “Worship of Humiliation” was composed by one individual. “Worship of Humiliation” is yet another album to add to the list of killer 2012 releases, even if you are starting to tire of the OSDM worship (shame on you if you are!!!).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

War Possession - Through the Ages

War Possession is a Greek death metal band who shares members with Embrace of Thorns, Wargoat and a few other underground acts. They previously released a demo in 2008, the same year the band was formed. “Through the Ages” is their first EP, which is soon to be released on Hellthrasher Productions.

The band draws on a variety of influences, with the most noticeable being Bolt Thrower, Benediction and Grave, with a hint of darker death metal a la early Morbid Angel, early Immolation, the early Finnish acts (specifically; Demigod and Convulse) and even the occasional grind influence in some of the riffs. Most of the songs groove along and pummel the listener in to submission, whilst occasionally straying in to darker and more atmospheric parts. The main focus, however, is on the crushingly heavy riffs and War Possession definitely delivers in that department.

This EP is also similar in parts to fellow Greek death metallers Nocturnal Vomit’s recent album “Cursed Relics”, which can’t be too much of a coincidence, seeing as one of their members provides additional vocals on the killer track “Medieval Bloodlust”.

Overall, War Possession has put out a great collection of songs that shows great potential and should hopefully earn the band some recognition in underground circles. If you’re not tired of all the OSDM worship being released recently, I would highly recommend that you track down a copy of this EP.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Engulfed – Through the Eternal Damnation

 “Through the Eternal Damnation” is the debut EP by Turkish death metal band, Engulfed. It’s soon to be released on prolific label, Hellthrasher Productions.

The band can be described as stylistically similar to contemporaries such as Cruciamentum, Grave Miasma, Dead Congregation and Burial Invocation (with whom they share former members). Deliciously old-school, doomy death metal is what these Turks have to offer.

The songs vary in pace and often speed up to blasphemous blasts, but the overall vibe is dark and crushing death/doom of the highest order in the old Incantation style. Yes, I know; this style has been done to death now, but Engulfed do a good job at this tried and true approach to OSDM worship and bring their own flavour to the table.

The guitar work is the highlight here, as the riffs range from doomy dirges to all out bestial warfare, it’s clear that Engulfed know what they’re doing. The vocals are laid down thick and deep, sounding as if they were recorded in a tomb beneath their local chapel. The production sounds very professional and organic, allowing the music to breathe and speak for itself.

There is nothing innovative or new to be found on this release, but if that’s a problem for you, then I highly doubt you would be looking for a band like Engulfed in the first place. Songs like “Summoned” and “Inseminated with Demon Seed” absolutely reek of potential and I will be really anxious to see what this band can come up with in the future.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Kill for Satan - The Final Conflict

What’s not to like about Kill for Satan? They’re an Aussie band made up of guys who’ve been playing metal for a long time, who blend black, thrash and death metal in a way that doesn’t sound forced or cliché. Now, 8 years after the release of their excellent debut album, KFS have finally unleashed their sophomore; “The Final Conflict”.

Not much has actually changed since the first album and the music is very straightforward, but songs like “Rise of the Heretic”, “Litany of the Wretched”, “Immaculate Deception” and “Origins of Iniquity” sound tight, catchy, heavy and varied enough to keep the listener interested. Headbanging riffs and killer solos are readily available here, which is all you should really expect from a band that calls themselves Kill for Satan.

Occasionally the band throws in some eerie melodies that will really force you to sit up and take notice, keeping things interesting. This is most evident in the third track “Litany of the Wretched”, a slower and more spacious song compared to the rest of the album. To top things off, there’s also Autopsy and Possessed covers at the end, which are well executed and pulled off nicely with the bands sound.

If you’re a fan of extreme metal, you should have no trouble finding something to enjoy on this album.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hellbringer – Dominion of Darkness

Australia’s best young thrash band, Hellbringer, have finally put out their debut album, entitled “Dominion of Darkness”.

If you’ve heard their previous self-titled EP, then you should already have an idea what to expect; no frills, evil sounding thrash metal that salutes old-school bands such as early Sodom, Kreator, Slayer, Possessed, Venom and the like. If you haven’t heard the EP, well I just told you what to expect!

“Dominion of Darkness” is pure thrash metal fury, catchier than the clap and heavier than hell. The musicianship is tighter than a virgin and the sound itself is totally classic, having been mastered by the one and only Harris Johns. Songs like “Dominion of Darkness”, “Deceiver’s Chamber”, “Necromancer’s Return”, “Bell of the Antichrist” and “Hellbringer” will stick in your head for days.

If you’re looking for originality and innovation, you won’t find it here, but, if you’re after a good time and some killer tunes, Hellbringer provides this in spades.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Insepulto – Morbid Spawn of Resurrection

Insepulto is a Costa Rican death metal band made up of veterans from their local metal scene who have been involved in metal since the 90s. Formed in 2008, the band has previously released one demo before unleashing their debut album “Morbid Spawn of Resurrection” back in September.

Insepulto’s sound can be described as a mix of slower death metal bands such as Bolt Thrower, Asphyx, Autopsy, etc., primal death/thrash a la early Sepultura, Protector and the like and old-school Swedeath in the vein of Grave. The songs are written in a way that showcases three totally different styles without letting one particular influence overpower the others, which makes for some fresh sounding and varied OSDM worship. Some of the songs may seem a bit samey at times, but with an average length of three minutes, you won’t have time to get bored.

The riffs are savage and crushing, the drumming polished yet groovy and punishing, the bass surprisingly prominent and the vocals deep and guttural in the vein of Karl Willets and Craig Pillard. If songs such as; “Epitome of Rigor Mortis”, “Corrupting the Righteous” and “Sumerian Throne of Evil” don’t get your motor running, you’re probably listening to death metal wrong.

There’s not much originality to behold here, but if you’re in to bands such as Vanhelgd, Interment, Omision, Anatomia, Terminate and others who play old-school death metal for the love of the music, then “Morbid Spawn of Resurrection” should be right up your alley.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Abysme - Strange Rites

 Old-school death metal worship is a hard musical formula to fuck up, really, especially when your band boasts a founding member of a killer OSDM band like Funerus! Abysme also count former members of Aus-Rotten and Crucial unit among their ranks. This three-piece band hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania have been around since 2006, but so far only released a demo in 2009 and their debut full length, “Strange Rites”, earlier this year on Hellthrasher Productions.

Abysme play a putrid blend of early 90s European and American death metal, sounding most akin to early Autopsy and Immolation with a heavy dose of early Entombed and Dismember thrown in to change things up. The tempos range from slow, to mid, to fast and the songs sound very raw and primitive with the occasional chaotic guitar solo.

There’s not too much more detail to go into regarding this album, but killer tracks such as; "Beyond The Seventh Door", "Gift to the Gods", "Terminal Delirium” and “Remarkable Conqueror" tend to speak for themselves and showcase some well-written and honest death metal.

Highly recommended for fat old dudes who wear leather jackets.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Interview: Insurrection/ING

Interview contributed by James Goatfukk.

1. Metalized hails Bryan!!! First of all, it's a great honour for me to have a chat with one of the oldest veterans from the South African Metal ''scene'' Haha. Seriously, I was like ''holy fucking shit'' the first time I laid ears on your former Death Metal band called INSURRECTION! I did not think that a band from my own country could actually produce truly bone-sawing and UNIQUE Death fucking Metal the way INSURRECTION played it, thus I would like to ask you to please give us a little background on your past involvement in INSURRECTION and how you got involved in Metal in the first place.

Thanks for the kudos James and always good linking in with the underground. Personally it all started for me when I got a dodgy tape of Manowar and Iron Maiden back in 1986. From there i was addicted to metal. I was pretty much sold on trying my hand at playing something that gave me the same feeling of power metal gave me. I grew up in a town called Springs on the East Rand and it was here in 1990 where I picked up my first guitar. From there it pretty much became a relationship. Now Springs was a very backward town, so going out and partying was always a death defying act if you were wearing a metal t-shirt. So basically I spent a lot of time practicing and drinking with like minded metalheads, all of whom also started messing around with instruments. Out of this Resurrection was born. We released a demo called "A good day for dying" soon afterwards. Back in those days it was all about tape trading so we managed to get some attention from outside the town and had a song or two make it to radio. We then realised that the name was already taken and so Insurrection was born. At about this time things started heating up politically in the country and it was a fitting name. Soon after a second demo called "Truth", our drummer moved away and bass guitarist left and the line up of myself (leads and vox), Jimi (drums), Dean (rhythm) and Morgan (bass) was born. Together we seemed to gel as both friends and musicians and basically started bringing in all our respective influences. I was very much into punk, psychobilly, thrash and death metal, and this started to mould what I started playing. We then released a demo called "Trinity" and after some great reviews, we started to take off. We then decided to add a more African flavour into the material we started writing and that's where a fair amount of uniqueness came to rise.

2. Did South Africa actually have a scene back in the early 90's? If so, was it any good? How would you compare the scene of that era to the one of today? Which bands from the old scene do you remember and which ones would you recommend for our readers to check out?

I started going to live metal gigs at 16 sometime in 1988. Back then a good turnout was 20 odd headbangers living the religion. The first real sign that there was a scene growing was when Odyssey played at the Standard Bank Arena and there was a pretty big attendance in the early 90's. From there on it seemed to grow exponentially with Urban Assault playing on the skateboard tour of Tony Hawk. Then there was Napalm Death, a true eye opener and an insane mosh. A scene was born!!! Considering I was living in Johannesburg the scene was pretty cool. There were always faithful attendees and everyone was headbanging and moshing. That crowd participation was what made every effort that much better. Venues at one stage didn't want us to play because railings were being smashed in moshpits and people were getting injured. Despite this, the scene really grew to the point where we were playing to at least 300 people a show. The biggest turnout I remember was greater than a 1000 at a music fest at the old Doors in Johannesburg. I would say that during this time there was great camaraderie between bands and fans alike. I cannot say how it is in Jhb at the moment but I find that here in Cape Town there are too many chiefs and too little Indians. Fan support is so segregated and there in an air of elitism between bands. The odd thing I find is that there can either be a good turnout or a shit turnout at a gig which indicates that some people are more interested in partying it up than actually supporting bands. The diehard fans are there but there are also those that shy away from watching anything that hasn't come from overseas. Personally I have watched pretty much every band that has come out of the area... I just sometimes wonder how many of them can say the same. Metal to me is a lifestyle and I find that some of the bands that arise are doing it for popularity and to get laid rather than to live it. After the band ends you never see those guys again as if swallowed up in a 4th dimension. I just truly hope that people will eventually see the light and create a genuine brotherhood as we did with Metalmorphosis, Jaded Jane, Retribution Denied, Sacrifist, Groinchurn and Pitt amongst others. I would check to see if you can find any of those bands.

3. What was the reason for INSURRECTION to split? Do you have any idea about any of the other member's whereabouts?

Well, in 1996 we started considering going overseas to try and make our mark. By then Morgan had decided to leave the band so we were using Andre from Sacrifist on bass. In 1997 Dean and I hopped on a plane to the UK to start getting set up. Jimi, our drummer was meant to join us once he got his car sold. Sad to say he never did, and Dean and I started to drift apart. There were some very good opportunities on the horizon for us. We had pitched a concept that a few bigger name record companies liked and it was a case of doing a few shows in the UK to see how it goes. It just wasn't destined to be and by the time I got back to SA, Jimi was on his way to the UK. All a fuck up in timing I guess. These days Jimi lives in the UK and plays for a band called Neverborne and Dean lives in Cape Town but his taste in music has very much changed and I haven't seen or spoken to him in about 4 years. I speak to Jimi all the time.

4. Did you have any particular vision for the direction of INSURRECTION's music back then? What inspired you to play in a Death Metal band in the first place? How did you decide for instance: ''Ok, this is the type of music I want to play''?

I guess it was a case of what music I could recognise most with. I loved thrash but death metal was my passion. This was very true to the rest of guys as well. The fact that death metal was also pretty limited back in those days, made it all that more unique. Not everyone could get the guttural thing going without it becoming monotonous so there was a niche. I just really enjoyed the way it blended in with the music and all the other guys were very for it. Being from Springs we were an angry yet friendly lot LOL. So growling and playing really fast was always a good way of letting off steam.

5. I think it's safe to say that INSURRECTION had a personal identity of its own; do you agree? If yes, please elaborate on your answer, and tell us what you feel made INSURRECTION's sound diverse compared to most other Death Metal bands in those days?

Agreed, it drew influence from more obscure acts blended with African flare. The use of some of our local native languages added to that air. We were also pretty big on the occult and we brought some of that influence in to create a more mystic type sound. So, as jumbled as that all sounds, it seemed to blend well for us. As for other death metal, the Americans were good at finding originality; I just feel that after the first few legendary bands came out, newer bands drew too much influence from those acts. Pretty much the same can be said about many bands these days. I like quite a few, but love those who really stand out because of their originality.

6. Which bands influenced the sound of INSURRECTION and how did the idea came about to incorporate African elements within your sound? From a personal stance, I can detect some touches from bands like MALEVOLENT CREATION, SUFFOCATION, BOLT THROWER etc. Did any of the aforementioned bands influence you in any way?
All the aforementioned bands did have a great impact on us. I am/was a seriously big fan of those bands. The pinnacle of death metal for me will always be Malevolent Creation's Ten Commandments. To be honest we were very much inspired by that. I'd say some of the other bands that impacted us greatly would be Sepultura (prior to Chaos AD), Morbid Angel  (especially Altars of Madness not the crap they've just put out) and Death. We decided to create a more unique element in our music much the way Sepultura did. Being African, it would only make sense to bring in elements of our continent and country into play. The most recognisable South African percussive sound would be that of gumboot dancers and it seemed like a cool idea to bring that feel in. So we went to the extreme of adding in gumboot dancers and African drummers which we sat and recorded at a flea market with a dodgy hi-fi and crappy mic.

7. What inspired the band's moniker and how was it chosen?

After we discovered our first name Resurrection was taken it was a bit of a bummer. It had a ring with the anti-religious theme we were going for and was meant to be a play on telling people to wake up. When we decided to change the name we wanted to keep the same ring in the name so that the change would be pretty smooth. Luckily Insurrection as a name was falling into place as an uprising against the political conflict in SA and was open to the religious connotation as well. Logo was however always a struggle and we eventually decided on a straight typeset.

8. Did INSURRECTION get to play many gigs back then? Who are some of the bands you've shared the stage with and what were some of the best experiences for you as far as playing live with INSURRECTION? Are there any funny or vivid stories you can share with us?

We probably ended up gigging most weekends from one side of Gauteng to the other. Then there were the odd few tours to Pietermaritzburg and Durban. There were very few metal bands we did not share a stage with and the list would be endless. We did however play a lot with the same guys, usually Metalmorphosis, Sacrifist and Jaded Jane. There were many great experiences; most memorable would be playing in Potchefstroom where the police raided with at least 50 officers and a K-9 unit. Safe to say there was a cop to every patron that night LOL. That night we did the trashing of the hotel room thing where we lifted a box of streamers and built a wonderful column from the ceiling fan to the ground....and proceeded to switch it on!! Almost a fire that day. Others include our first gig which was to 600 people, drinking blood on stage (don't laugh....we were trying to be extreme) while dressed in monk habits!! The drunken parties we had in the process have all faded in my mind but I can guarantee you, those were some of the greatest times of my life.

9. What was the greatest achievement for you with INSURRECTION? I mean, of course the band wasn't very well-known outside it's home shores, but you still got great joy out of playing brutal as fuck Metal, didn't you? For me personally, I would say that ''Umnikelo'' was your greatest achievement, as it is one of the best Metal releases from this country ever!!!

Umnikelo was our crowning achievement and made its way onto 5FM and the likes. We were interviewed on Portuguese radio where they played the whole EP and interviewed us for about an hour. It was only meant to be for 15min. We used to get mail from around the world, mostly from Europe after a write up on the EP was done in Terrorizer magazine. We were extended an opportunity to go on tour with Sinister and Vader but because things fell apart...well you know the rest of the story. While playing, I loved every moment of it. I pick up a guitar from time to time to churn through some of the old tunes. I've also contemplated rerecording some of those tracks for shits and giggles.

10. What can you tell us about the ''Umnikelo'' release and the main concept behind it? What does ''Umnikelo'' mean and who was responsible for the lyrics on that album? It contains only 5 songs, although the songs aren't exactly short, so I think it's relevant to see it as a 'mini-album' - do you agree with me? Can you give us a synopsis on what the songs ''Anointed in Blood'', ''Inkosi Sikeleli Ukufa'' and ''Freedom Fighters'' are about? 

Well when we started writing for that EP we decided that we wanted to introduce the overseas metal audience to the sounds of Africa. It is after all; the Dark Continent. We decided to throw in some of the local language as well for good measure. Umnikelo means sacrifice and it was used in the context of it being a ritual mix of European magick and African witchcraft. I wrote the lyrics on the album with the exception of "Ritual", which was done my Morgan. One could say it was a mini album time wise. Looking at some of the albums around that time you would find 10 song albums clocking in at about 30min. I wanted longer songs that meander between different moods. Anointed in Blood is about the political upheaval in the post apartheid era. There was constantly blood spilt by lemmings while their masters were lining up to climb onto the gravy train. "Inkosi Sikeleli Ukufa" is a take on the South African national anthem Inkosi sikeleli iAfrica which means god bless Africa. We swapped iAfrica for ukufa which means death. It was a song highlighting the world's ignorance to what was actually going on in the country. From 1994 on, we started seeing relentless corruption, unemployment rise, and crime soar, especially the murder rate. What's worse is nothing much has really changed, in fact more rampant nowadays. “Freedom Fighters” is about South Africa having 2 political parties of the same race fighting each other because of their predominantly tribal differences. In this era there was meant to be reconciliation not factionalism, but was all done under the guise of freedom fighters, a redundant term in a post apartheid country.

11. So now, years later, you formed the band ING - what can you tell the reader about your latest band and what inspired you to get involved in Metal again?

When I returned from London after seeing all the bands I wanted to on my bucket list, I moved to Durban in 1999. Before I knew it I was in a band with Henk, Jason (ex Desial) and Jaimie. We decided to call that band ING and that's where it all began. Metal is really a lifeline for me and without it I would shrivel up and die. So starting again was a natural step. At that time I was on lead guitar and vocals and we were churning some of the old Insurrection songs along with totally new material. It was heavy and fast and still very much death metal. For me it was really cool to play with the best muso's in metal in Durban at the time. Those were some seriously talented dudes.

12. What would you say are the main differences between ING and your previous band; INSURRECTION? Have you played in any other bands after the demise of INSURRECTION or is ING the first?

I guess the main difference is that Insurrection had more a serious theme to it which predominantly covered the political and religious landscape at the time. There was also a pretty big occult influence. ING is more geared towards taking the piss out of everything. The days of taking everything so seriously had come to an end. Now we prefer paying attention to how silly everything has become. Politics, religion and culture has become so fractured that it's like walking into a shopping mall that sells all the same shit, just with different branding. At some stage you realise that if we take stuff too seriously, we end up being old miserable bastards. After the Durban chapter of ING, I ended up in Cape Town. I had a well deserved break before joining Sacraphyx on bass in about 2005. I was with them for about a year before we all went our separate ways. At least I made a cameo appearance with them on the Konkhra tour. It was then that Henk moved to Cape Town and we started ING again.

13. With ING, you recorded and released your debut offering in 2009 titled ''It's a Sick Thing'' which is quite a good first effort if you ask me! The style on your debut album is old school Death Metal with a good dose of Thrash elements; do you agree? How would you describe the sound of ''It's a Sick Thing'' to those who haven't heard it? Are you fully satisfied with the material on your debut?

There is a little known fact that we had a release prior to "It's a Sick Thing" called "It's a Hate Thing". This was a very thrashy release and very much my first attempt at a home recording. Paul played with us on that release and he was adamant that the vocals be thrash/punk. I tried my best at it and it sounded like something but was all a bit off the mark with electronic drums and my attempt at recording. Some of the songs on that release found its way onto "It's a Sick Thing". I was very happy with the tracks but still pretty inexperienced on the recording side. A lot of work can still be done on that. On this release I did the guttural vocals again, and all music was arranged by Henk and me.

14. You have told me recently that you were planning to re-record some of the songs from ''It's a Sick Thing'' because ING have become more Thrash-orientated, and that you feel more attracted to this style; is that right? What can you tell us about the new direction of ING?

Now doing thrash type vocals, we are busy working on a new album that will have no processed sound influence in it. I want all the guys in the band to deliver their best performance and not sit afterwards and correct everything. I find bands these days are doing drum replacement of their actual drummer and not using real amps. It's one thing not having a drummer and then using a computer to make drums and totally another story when you have one but sit and replace him. To me that loses the whole humanity in a recording. So the idea here is to have natural everything with the sound coming from real drums and amps. Once we get that right we may redo all the old songs for release later. We just want to get this album under the belt and guarantee it will be the most aggressive stuff we've come up with.
15. I've seen some of your live pics here and there, which tells me that ING plays gigs quite frequently or just whenever the opportunity presents itself? Do you have a booking agent or do you organize gigs yourself?

We usually organise our own gigs and get invited onto bills with some of the other bands. It all remains pretty informal for us. Personally, until there is a huge attendance at gigs in big venues, the exercise of organizing booking agents seems somewhat redundant. Yes it's good to present yourself as professional, but until sponsorships, endorsements and radio play start inflating the scene, it's pretty fucking useless. Let's face it, booking agents aren't really interested because what would their cut be on fuckall? LOL. If you're doing this for the money in this country, you're just kidding yourself. Expenses are always going to be greater than income. If you stick around, you're doing it for the love of metal!!!

16. Doesn't it irritate you when people at your shows just stand upright all stiff and just basically nod their heads, as if they're headbanging?

Well you find those that nod their heads and those that go completely fucking insane. ING has become synonymous with violence and there has been a fair amount of blood and bruises. But a sad thing that I've started to see is people who are only in the scene to prove a rebellious streak or image rather than a passion for music. For me metal is a brother/sisterhood of like minded maniacs and there is nothing worse than weak minded twits, trying to piss off their parents, infiltrating our culture. We need them as much as we need a bad case of Herpes!!


17. Many foreigners are under the impression that the majority of white people from South Africa are all racists, when in fact, it's actually not like that at all -- the media paints it that way, so outsiders buy everything they hear on the news like sheep. If you don't mind, please explain to our readers what's really going on in South Africa, and who that piece of shit Julius Malema is... ING wrote a song about him, right? What can you tell us about the song and what it is about?

Would these be the same foreigners that believe we have lions roaming free in the streets of Johannesburg and Cape Town? I think in general, the white people that are left in this country are starting to feel disenfranchised. They are by far a minority at less than 10% of the population and suddenly find themselves at the mercy of racist words spoken by the likes of Julius Malema who has a made his hate for all white people pretty clear. He has been the most vocal on how he believes all white people own everything and that they are all criminals. This is the president of our own government's youth league, the same league where all our future presidents come from. He has done this with very little reprimand and continues to do so without actually understanding the power of published words. We only need look north to Rwanda to understand how misplaced words can start genocide. Personally, my share in the economy is paltry compared to that of Julius Malema who is building a multi-million rand home and whose watch cost the same as my house. Luckily we have some sensible people in this country of all races, and Julius is certainly not the voice of the full population. The fear here is that his words resemble that of Hitler and if we do not take action against him, we can expect the same outcome. This is why we wrote a song called Julius. If only to create awareness between people who really don't give a shit about what's going on around them. Yes there is a widening gap between rich and poor but to assume that only white people are rich is a fallacy. We have rich white, black, coloured, Indian and Chinese people in this country.......the vast majority of each group are not. It is far easier for Malema to sit on a podium and point the finger at white people because there is a charged history there. To do so to gain politically and financially is nothing less than irresponsible.

18. An imbecile is an imbecile, whether he be pink or blue; do you agree?

Agreed!!! An asshole is an asshole no matter what. We find them here in all races and all cultures...usually driving a BMW!!!

19. So ING's music should be seen as an expression of unadulterated hatred and rebellion against what's morally "accepted" within this scum society; is that right? Would it be valid to say that there's some punk running in your veins? What would you say is the main ideology behind ING?

Well we all have punk running through our veins, whether you like it or not. If you have felt the need to tell someone to fuckoff like a boss or a cop, you have it. The world has become way too politically correct. Our whole ideology has been to have people go "ooooffff, he didn't just say that?". What we have to say is meant to make people feel uncomfortable and externalise their most inner thoughts. This may not be so present in all our lyrics but more in the actual show. We make no bones about whom and what we hate.....

20. Tell me what the following songs from your debut album are about: ''Martyr Master Blaster'', ''Fuck China'' and ''Jewish Nazis''.
"Kill, kill, kill, its Mohammed's will", Martyr Master Blaster is about those suicidal maniacs from the Middle East who blow themselves up in the hopes of martyrdom. It's not so much a dig at them as it is urging them to carry on doing so. The entertainment value is priceless.

"Cheap Chinese imports make my fucking life a hell", Anyone who is as much a gadget junky as myself will know that if it's manufactured in China, it's bound to break just after the guarantee runs out. Conspiracy maybe, who knows, but this is what happens when you decide to jail your workforce and have them pump out half the world's electronic goods. And these are the same people who have nukes and ICBM's..pfffft!!!!

"In the land of Canaan rise the infantries of Zion", Jewish Nazis is about how Israel has exerted force in Palestine my returning every attack 10 fold. If someone throws a stone, they pull a gun so to speak. Many innocent people have died through their bloodlust.

As you can tell, our subject matter is very much a mixed bag and doesn't really attach itself to any particular side. It's more a case of encouraging hate to sit back and watch the world implode. Cynicism at its best... but, fucking entertaining LOL.


21. What are your thoughts on conservative idiots that put censorship on Metal?

To be quite honest, if they can do it for Metal then they can do it for pretty much every other genre of music. Metal may encourage a few to do some pretty stupid things, and if they do, it purely highlights their lack of IQ and understanding the difference between what is right and wrong. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Censorship arose out of the need to blame horrendous acts on something. All they really need to do is look a little closer to home to find those answers. To take this one step further, pop, rap, hip hop, R&B et al encourage everyone to fuck mindlessly. With it comes the spread of HIV and AIDS. Which genre of music is indirectly responsible for more deaths? A weak argument I know, but valid when metal has become everyone's flogging horse.

22. What the hell does ING mean and how was the name chosen? Is there any metaphorical meaning behind it or is it just some random made-up name?

To put it in perspective, a name of a band usually associates itself within a certain subject matter. We decided to go for a very open name where we can explore a wide variety of subjects without being confined to anything specific. In addition, you can appeal to a wider audience. To cut to the chase, all good verbs end in "...ing", hating, drinking, fucking, killing to name a few. It also lends itself to the chaotic approach that everything is nothing and nothing is everything. Truthfully, we were all pretty fucked when we came up with it.

23. Please list 10 albums you can't live without.

Slayer - Reign in blood
Deicide - Deicide
Cannibal Corpse - Kill
Mad Sin - Survival of the sickest
At the gates - Slaughter of the soul
The Exploited - Beat the bastards
Sepultura - Arise
Soulfly - Dark ages
Slayer - South of heaven
Death - Individual thought patterns

24. If any maniacs or distros out there want to get in touch with the band in order to get your material -- how should they do this??

Well the easiest and most wide spread would be via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ingtheband, we are also on Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/inghatesquad, and lastly we can be seen on Reverbnation at http://www.reverbnation.com/ingtheband. Other than that, they can drop us an email at ing.theband@gmail.com

25. I hope you enjoyed answering my questions, as I don't have any more left... Tell me, was this your first ever interview??? HAHAHA!! I wish you and your band ING success and hope I can smash a beer with you someday! Of course, you are going to buy me the beer :) Last unholy words are yours.

Awesome interview and thanks for entertaining all my bullshit. I've done interviews before, but not one quite this extensive......brought up some good old fading memories and thanks for that. I look forward to when we and your readers can all meet and wave a beer to some good heavy metal. We aren't a bunch of elitist twats. We are friendly and approachable. Come talk to us. All we ask, is that everyone spreads the word and join us on these social networks to keep up to speed with our comings and goings. Last but not least, we are all brothers, fuck everyone else......Cheers \m/