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European Metal Union-June 2013
Written by Andrew Swetz    Monday, 20 May 2013 19:43    PDF Print E-mail

Soulgrind

 

This issue highlights a band I was not really too familiar with and I was not aware of them till 2 weeks ago and they are an interesting type of band, I am not really a black metal expert but I try to find some really unique bands for this column only and I think this band is really something, the name of the band is Soulgrind. They hail from Finland and have been around since the Scandinavian black metal scene emerged in the fore front church burnings and all in 1992. Instead of following the path of their predecessors Soulgrind decided to incorporate Paganism in their music, rather than Satanic and other blatantly offensive things to throw in their music like Black Metal often did. To add more dynamic to their band they included a female singer which I am quite sure not many Black Metal bands have a female singer as well which added a lot more of a melodic dynamic and a very dark gothic feel setting them apart from the rest of the scene. Soulgrind much unknown in the States of course although making a name for themselves in Europe ever since 1993 when their first album came out, so they are no strangers to the music world just the US.

With them being in the black metal label they have had a variety of different members including a former Children of Bodom guitarist and many other former black metal musicians guess they are like one close knit crazy family, in my opinion they are not much Black Metal anymore as they are more Gothic Melodic Metal with some elements of black metal but not too many with the last few albums really showcasing the singer's talents and using more keyboard and less on the Black Metal style have really become a dynamic band. After Elixir Mystica they really tried to form a new sound yet still retaining that heavy and gloomy element from the Dark Vales of Death to Kalma and then to Pakana to Origins of the Paganblood they really went in a more melodic direction.

So 2010's The Tuoni Pathway even further into an almost alternative and more gothic metal sound with even less Black Metal influence and seeming to wanting to reach a broader audience like possibly the U.S

The cd opens with "The sound of dancing Waters" a beautiful keyboard solo from Azhemin with the guitar assault from Lord Heikkinen and Toni Näykkiin, a nice balance and the singer Tanya Kemppainen even more powerful then she has sounded in years taking over for Tommi Launonen, and the drummer Agathon "the Beast" with a beautiful rhythm on the drums with Tapio Wilska's wicked bass lines. The interesting thing is when the chorus comes in it's the duel singing of Tanya and Azhemin which is a shock considering he did most of the harsh vocals for years and years quite a departure from the previous albums but throws in some harsh vocals but mostly it's a very melodic almost power metal sounding piece. Which goes into a very interesting layered guitar heavy and drum pounding "Rain before the Dawn" with the vocal grace of Tanya and the passionate growls of Azhemin a beautiful and powerful song with another great solo from Lord, which leads us into "March Butterfly" another melodic song with the slow tempo drumming and the vocals from Tanya soaring ever graceful and Azhemin's trademark growls providing an interesting dynamic almost reminding you of early Nightwish, with the guitar fury of Lord and Toni with the beautifully layered keyboards as the song fades out with another strong chorus from Tanya. So I am guessing for the fans of the older stuff might have trouble liking this as much. The next song is again grand with crunching guitars with the background vocals in a chanting faintly with some solid bass lines from Tapio, the next few songs it's a bit of a mix with the old with the new sound but overall this is probably the most varied cd they have put out, but the next song more heavy in terms of layered keyboard and more of the harsh vocal styles of Azhemin with more prominence then Tanya this time around with the guitar sharp and awesome drumming Agathon "The Beast". The following song "Farewell to Misery" one of the longer songs on the cd has a good balance of all the stuff before it with some great guitar solos some amazing vocal work from Tanya and some insane drumming. The last two songs follow with the same intensity, passion and raw emotion they have been prominent for over 20 years in Finland hopefully this will be a new opening to a larger market they really have a heck of a sound and try to re-invent themselves seems to be every few years!

Songs to consider: "The Call of Dancing Waters" "Rain before Dawn" "March Butterfly" "Farewell to Misery"

Sounds like: It's hard to describe you will just have to listen they are not really one type of sound

The Tuoni Pathway is out on Metal Femme Records you can either check them out on Facebook Soulgrind or Amazon other than that it's a tough band to get a cd from that is why I am trying to get the name out there.

 
European Metal Union-May 2013
Written by Andrew Swetz    Wednesday, 01 May 2013 12:52    PDF Print E-mail
Well, the last review brought you the melodic side of the European scene, so this next review will be the exact opposite: the gloomy, angry, dark world of European death metal. Despite the title of the genre, it's often misleading since some very prominent bands in this genre are relatively melodic in their aggression. Some examples and legends in the genre that have been around for around for 20 years or more include: Dark Tranquility, At the Gates, Opeth and Soilwork, to name a few.

This leads us to the review of an up-and-coming band from Lund, Sweden that is in the melodic death metal genre, To Dust. The band, however, has been around for a decade and you can hear that longevity in the attention to detail and overall experience. Finally, after many lineup changes, the first album is out.

State of Nothing

The first song, "Enter Naught," is an instrumental piece with the sound of a thunderstorm and rain falling and transitions into the beautiful keyboard and piano work of Daniel Gustafsson Löfdahl. It's a great lead-in track to "Nihil Est." The opening lyrics in this harsh style remind you of the older works of Mikael Akerfeldt, singer for Opeth. In terms of the harsh vocals of To Dust's singer Fredrik Wendel, he nails the feel of the music as well as the lyrics. I have found that most European metal bands write lyrics that are very thought provoking and possess more depth than you would expect from the label "Death Metal." "State of Nothing," the title track on the CD, continues the heavy onslaught of riffs from Emil Söderdahl and Sakis Papapanagiotu, their style reminiscent of very early melodic death metal like that of early Dark Tranquility and In Flames. The guttural screams and growls from Wendel are really impressive, and the technical side of the guitar work is refreshing. Drummer Andreas Kjellner is precise and bassist Jens Varga shines here, too. The beginning of the next song, "Senseless," builds on the bass with the keyboards setting the tone for something grand as the drummer keeps the pace. The amazing vocals sound like hell has been unleashed upon the earth. This song, again, features some fantastic guitar solos and sinister sounding guitar riffs. "Connect To Disconnect" starts off with a lot of distortion and reminds you of early In Flames. The song features excellent guitar and keyboard work, and rounds out nicely with some incredible double bass. "Remorse" starts off a bit differently, yet it is another great instrumental showcasing the individual members of the band. The song "Enigma" is a great angry, hard driving track. At the onset, the vocalist yells out furiously and then the guitars come in. The song has more amazing drumming and bass work that is found throughout this CD. "No I" goes for a more traditional style that is often hard to exactly pinpoint in terms of style, but it offers very unique time signatures singular to this genre. Again, there are some really great vocals with lyrics that speak to you. Amazing keyboard work here, too. "Fruset Blod" is one of the two Swedish-language songs on the CD. The onslaught of guitars and keyboard is wonderful with chugging guitars and death growls to finish out the song. "Essence" begins with some beautiful slow guitar work. Additionally, there is a different take on vocals as Wendel starts with slightly cleaner vocals and then goes into the style he has been using throughout the amazing CD. Some exceptional guitar solos at the end of the song with a solid drumming assault from Kjellner. "Late November" uses the variation of somewhat cleaner vocals combined with the harsher style later. Again, the song reminds me of a continuation of the previous track since they seem to connect in the same way. "Mute," the final track on the CD, starts out with sharp guitar riffs and then the drumming kicks in with great bass. Next the unearthly vocals from the singer begin and then the band goes all out for this song. The pacing is a bit slower with heavier guitars in some parts along with great keyboarding. The song goes from slow and melodic to a dark, angry assault as the track fades out.

For a debut CD, it's pretty amazing what the band has accomplished, from the dark and melodic tendencies throughout the songs to beautiful, haunting and atmospheric to downright brutal. I definitely give this release a 10 out of 10, and I can't wait to see what else this band is going to do next!

Songs to Consider: Well, the CD is meant to be heard as a whole, but if I had to choose it would be the following: "State of Nothing," "Nihil Est," "Enigma," "Fruset Blod" and "Mute*

As this band is unsigned, State Of Nothing can be found on Band Camp.

For fans of: Entombed, Opeth, Soilwork, Dark Tranquility, The Haunted, At the Gates, and early In Flames.

To Dust are:

Fredrik Wendel – Vocals
Jens Varga – Bass
Emil Söderdahl – Guitar
Sakis Papapanagiotu – Guitar
Andreas Kjellner – Drums
Daniel Gustafsson Löfdahl– Piano/Keyboard
 
European Metal Union Introduction
Written by Andrew Swetz    Monday, 01 April 2013 14:48    PDF Print E-mail

European Metal Union Introduction

Hey, this is a brand new column it’s been in the works for months now I was really happy to get this opportunity to bring awareness to the European metal scene  which is really getting big I grew up with the classics like Pink Floyd being my favorite, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Iron Maiden Judas Priest  to name a few and it was not until 2004 2005 I heard a song that changed my musical tastes and that song was done by the very talented Florida based band Iced Earth the song “Dante’s Inferno” sung by the amazing Matt Barlow and then I got that cd and then it only progressed from there then after that I found out about Sonata Arctica and then it just spider webbed into so many different types of power metal, melodic death metal and then later on Viking, pagan and Norse influenced music. My goal is to really show people why this music scene is really influencing America big time heck look at all your metal core, hardcore and death metal genres especially in the last 10 years or so you can see it in those genre’s here yet Europe does not really get the credit or if they do barely credit for stuff they started 20 years ago and sometimes longer than that. I am 28 only so I am still young but amassed a varied collection of random bands over the years.

 

 
Welcome 2 the Court Interview with Skillzbeatz
Written by Billy Lyve    Friday, 31 August 2012 12:22    PDF Print E-mail
Shockwave: Skillzbeatz, we have been hearing a great deal about you and Urban Hit Promotions, can you give us more information on UHP?
Skillzbeatz: Urban Hit Promotions is a company I started less than two years ago initially to help with the promotion of my own work but it soon started growing in popularity in London and the U.K, people started to hear about it and I started to promote for my associates in the business and its been a snowballing ever since. We currently have a free promotion service where we Tweet tracks or videos on rotation to our over 41,000 followers, which is growing daily. We do have strong guidelines we follow and don't just promote anyone, we promote quality music only.

Recently you relocated from London to Vancouver CA. What prompted the move and how is the music scene in Vancouver?
I had been visiting Vancouver for a while as my parents moved here five years ago and in that time I had started to make some good contacts here in the music game like Defenders of the Faith & Eliza Smith. Over time I noticed how the scene was in Vancouver liked the way it operated. There is a can do attitude here and people seem to work with each other rather than against each other which is the opposite of the standard in a huge city like London. Don't get me wrong it still takes a lot of work and it's by no means a small city but London is London.

As a producer who are some of the artist/companies you have created work for?
I've worked with a whole range of artists, companies and even genres. These include the U.K Drum & Bass A list like Navigator, Harry Shotta, Skibadee, Eksman & Shabba D to Disney, the BBC, artists from SODMG, Maybach Music, Black Wall Street, other well known UK artists like Frisco, Youngman, Meleka, and Skrilla Kid. I've also worked with a whole host of U.S & Canadian artists but I have to give a shout out my man Billy Lyve out of Baltimore. We have a lot in motion with not just music, but business all round.

We also hear that you have linked up with Live Vision management, what can we expect to hear from the new alliance?
Well Live Vision is a Vancouver based company that I initially started to work with through Urban Hit promotions. The owner and I are forming a partnership with them and Urban Hit to extend our already deep networks, we're putting together something special. Also separate from that I'll be on their books as a Producer/DJ so they will be handling that side of my business from now on

Can you tell the readers where they can find out more info on Skillzbeatz and Urban hit promotions?
You can check me out at Skillzbeatz.com and also if artists need to step to the next level come by UrbanHitPromotions.com and we will see how we can help.
 
Welcome to the Court Interview with Dungeon Masta
Written by Billy Lyve    Thursday, 02 August 2012 18:31    PDF Print E-mail

Shockwave:We hear that you are the new face of east coast "gothic hip-hop". Can you tell us about that style of music?
Gothic Hip Hop is a bridge to the realm of the morbid era. When horror core was just making a name for itself, me and my legion decided to bring forth an evolution of a beginning of a rightful end. Morbid is a culture of Hip Hop using all knowledge to expand beyond simple reason.

Brooklyn Zu!!! Can you tell the readers a lil history on this legendary crew?
"Brooklyn Zu" was put together by Old Dirty Bastard of Wu Tang Clan. I came into the picture around 96. The group is 12'O Clock, Zoo Keeper, Dutch Mastah, Buddha Monk, Shorty Sh**t Stain, Murdoc, and O.D.B. then came the Zu Ninjaz, Zu Manchu, and Zu Bullies. There is a lot of us! We just as deep as the Generals! Now I got my own group, which is a branch off from the "Brooklyn Zu" tree, which is "Dirty Clanzmen" (ODB tribute group)! We keep his legacy going, and we takin' no prisoners!

As a disciple of Ol Dirty Bastard, how have things been since his passing?
Not going to front... There have been a lot of stressful times! I miss my brother, and on the reals, it really has taken a big toll on me 'because he died on my bornday! So every year that I celebrate the day I was born, I also am in mourning of his passing. But on a brighter note, I accepted that situation as transference of energy!

Who are some of the artists you have had a chance to work with outside of the Wu Tang clan?
Judah Priest, Montana Tripp. I've done shows from Big Daddy Kane to Rakim! Right now I've been focusing on doing features with Indie artists! They're hungrier! I'm currently working on the new album, "The Adventures of Ezekiel Rage"! There will be some surprises, so look out for it!

We know you stay working, but when is your next project dropping?
Well, since you asked, the next project that is coming out is "Dungeon Masta presents morbid society hell has a face, Vol. 2"! The release date for that is October 30th. Before that, I have a special project in the makings called "The M.A.N. Album"! It will also feature up and coming Indie artists. It should be finished by September, and then I'll give you a release date on that. The Dirty Clanzmen album, "O.D.B. 4EVA", will be finishing up soon along with the mixtape album, "C.I.B. Dirty", coming soon! I'm also on my peeps, Rkitech anti skinny jean's LP, "The Radio Show" which will be official by October.

Where can the readers find more info on you?
I'm on Twitter @DUNGEONMASTA, Facebook.com/DUNGEONMASTA, or google me! I'm not hard to find! If you want to book me, holla at Justis Hype or email sohloprorecords@gmail.com!
 
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