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Sunday, August 19, 2012

3 Flavours Of Doom: Reviews of Rituals of the Oak, Arc Of Ascent and Inverloch

Following are reviews of what in my opinion are 3 of the strongest releases inside and out side of the Doom Metal sub-genre for 2012. Each are completely unique within that sub genre and are deserving of their own sub doom sub-genre titles if other sheep were to choose to follow them....

Rituals Of The Oak - Come Taste The Doom (Eyes Like Snow)

My best attempt to describe the sound of Sydney’s ‘Rituals of the Oak’ is to suggest trying to imagine the Candlemass ‘Epicus doomicus metallicus’ album but with powerful almost celtic female vocals and a twist of John Christ flavour. But that description still doesn’t do them any justice as they really have a sound of their own.
‘Come Taste The Doom’ is the second Rituals album and it shows a decent advancement in both production and song quality to its predecessor ‘Hour of Judgement’. Strong songs with memorable Heavy Riffs and a clear powerful production are what make this 
The personal stand out tune for me is track 2 “The Horla” with its huge heavy headbanging main riff. Second stand out is the closing track “All Wells Are Poisoned” with its strong chorus echoing a sense of hopelessness for the human race. 
I can’t really write a review of this without making space for a special mention of the lead vocals of Sabine Hammered. Without these Ritals of the Oak wouldn’t sound as unique as it does and on the crescendo of “Serpentine Toungues” her vocals really get a chance to shine!
To sum up this release, if you like doom and if you want t hear something new that’s both different and good get ‘Come Taste The Doom’
You can get pretty much everything from ‘Rituals of the Oak’ HERE 

Arc of Ascent - The Higher Key (Astral Projection)

Imagine if Electric Wizard’s creative inspiration moved from Black Sabbath, and an overindulgence in every mind fucking drug under the face of the sun, onto Hawkwind and transcendental meditation. Instead of murky, heavy, not quite defined sludge with a rhythmic groove, you would get a ride through the cosmos with incredible clarity and the ability to sense everything separately, but all together at the same time. The result would be something that sounds very much like ‘The Higher Key’. 

Of all six almost equally strong tracks on the album “Land of Tides” seems to be the crowd favourite with its memorable sing along chorus. However my personal highlight is “Elemental Kingdom” with its psychedelic monk chant chorus, eastern sounding melody & rhythm and Citar like intro. ”Elemental Kingdom” seems to be the most adventurous and outgoing track. I wonder what AoA might sound like in the future if they were to keep heading in this direction?
Craig’s voice seems all the more strongly enhanced with well thought out harmonies and strategically placed backing vocals. His bass and John’s drums also sound perfect and can be heard clearly in the mix. I could never understand why Craig chose to replace Matt Cole-Baker with Sandy Schaare on Guitar. But on this album his reasons finally make sense. It’s Sandy’s guitar playing that shines and takes AoA up another level on “The Higher Key”. When he’s playing the heavy riffs it’s as heavy as all hell, but when he’s soloing or otherwise, it floats around through time and space as though it’s as light as a feather. 

In comparison the AoA debut album “Circle of the Sun”, whilst an awesome release, sounded more like early “Earache” bands playing Stoner Doom. “The Higher Key” has what “Circle of the Sun” was missing. It’s riffs seem more straightforward and basic yet are somehow more engaging, interesting and with more feeling. These guys are starting to get a bit more international attention paid to them and it’s completely deserved.

Get the digital album HERE or contact the band directly HERE  to find out how to get hold of a physical version. Do it!

Inverloch - Dusk - Subside (Relapse)

Inside the cover of the legendary Disembowelment - Transcendence Into the Peripheral album is an unidentified quote which reads “for we shall not pass this way again”. The question then that one would have to ask when listening to ‘Dusk-Subside’ is“Have they passed that way again?”
There are a few signature aspects of Inverloch sound which are clearly a part of the Disembowelment heritage. Such as heavily reverbed and delayed clean guitar strings which seem to tie this release together and of course slow grinding heavy riffs. But there are also some key differences which are different to that release such as the clarity in sound, playing and production. There less analogue chaos on ‘Dusk-Subside’ which in a way leaves less to the imagination but creates a more direct picture of the music in your mind. 

Song number one “Within Frozen Beauty” is a faster composition with the occasional nod to early 90s death grind such as Bolt Thrower. While the second track “The Menin Road” is closer to the Death doom of Disembowelment. Song Three “Shadows of the Flame” is almost a blend of the concepts used in the first two tracks. All three are solid tracks and are worthy of the bands introduction to the realm of recorded music. 
The main criticism I’ve read about this release is “it’s only 3 Songs”, which I’d have to agree with, I’m wanting to hear more! The “Dusk - Subside” listening experience is over too early and feels like a mere taster.

Have Inverloch passed the way of disembowelment again? My answer is “No”. This is a new band with traces of its past laced into the sound. Whilst I was skeptical at first, I applaud Inverloch for making the bold change from the d.usk name so as to make that separate distinction from Disembowelment. They have however crossed an intersection in highway of their predecessors. But they are headed off on an overgrown dirt side road through a darkened forest, much liked that featured on the EP cover. Dusk-Subside contains the fruits from only the beginning of this new journey. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

NASUM Interview

Thanks heaps to Ami of The Mighty Scoop for hooking up this interview and also to Jesper and Anders of NASUM for taking the time to answer these questions.  NASUM will be playing in Auckland later this month (See below poster for details), so if you live in New Zealand and are thinking of going, don't waste this one time opportunity to catch this awesome band got get your tickets ASAP!!!
1) You are playing in New Zealand for the first time this year (21 August 2012), what are your expectations of that show and your visit? What can the audience expect from your Live performance?
Jesper: Well, uh, a bunch of really fast music very loud? You know, what we do isn’t anything that hasn’t been done before – it’s five guys who scream and make a hell of a lot of noise whilst engaging in on-stage frenzy. I guess as with all live brutal music, it’s about being there in the moment and being sucked into the energy that comes out of the performance, for band as well as audience. Nothing I verbally try to describe will do the shows any justice, you just have to be there. Nasum has a big bank of songs, and on these shows we’re playing our best stuff and pushing the envelope a bit further, making everything harder, faster and more frantic than we thought we could. As this is a farewell tour, we have this last chance to prove that Nasum is and always was non-compromising, oppositional and deadly serious about grindcore. Also, going to NZ is obviously special for us – it’s close to Antarctica for fuck’s sake! Antartica is definitely a grindcore continent. Also, Ulcerate will open for us. Gotta love Ulcerate. Hopefully there will be a local grind band on the bill too.
Anders: The question is: what can we expect from the audience? If I don’t see one Orch stagediving, I will be very disappointed!

2) Your website has a gallery of peoples Nasum Tattoos and mentions that you have seen a lot more since you’ve been on the Farewell tour. What other unique things have you experienced on the tour? Please describe a few highlights.
Jesper: Well, it’s a bit like coming home from the war I guess. The band has been away for a long time, and just like coming home after a long time you don’t really know how things have changed. We knew there was some anticipation, but that it would be like this was overwhelming. How much Nasum has meant to people kinda took us off guard, and the lengths at which people go to see this is humbling. In LA, there was an entire family – mom, dad, two sons and a daughter - who had all travelled from Peru to see us. In a Czech fest we played there were a bunch of grind dudes from Saudi Arabia who knew everything about the band and had travelled there to see us. Stuff like that. Also, the sheer energy in the crowd at some of these gigs is pretty massive too. Can you imagine looking out over a hall at the Maryland Deathfest filled with of 3000+ people and every single person is moshing like mad. Or standing at Hellfest in France playing grindcore – this underground thing – in front of 10000 people? Insane. I am baffled every time. We never experienced shows like this before.
Anders: Although the huge stages and massive crowds are good for the ego, it’s the little things that stays in my memory. Like when we played a bar in Ventura, California. When we got there I was almost angry at the size of the venue. I thought: “Why have we been booked to a place where you have to set up your stuff on the sidewalk OUTSIDE of the club as there is virtually no space inside?” But after wolfing down a few pizza slices in the kitchen and seeing some of support bands go mental, our show turned out to be one of the most intimate and crazy things I’ve done. It was one hundredth the size of the crowd at Hellfest but very fun.
3) How did you make the choice to have Keijo Niinimaa from Rotten Sound on vocals for the Farewell tour? How is he working out? What was the main reason for a farewell tour?
Jesper: We fumbled around with a bunch of suggestions that felt so-so for a while, but noone really felt perfect. When we finally actually thought of Keijo it was like ”aw, hell, he is the obvious choice, how did we not think of this immediately?” We wanted the person to fill this role to have a great voice and be an awesome performer of course, but also, importantly, that he would have a closer connection to the band. We’ve all known Keijo for years, his own band Rotten Sound has opened for Nasum on a few tours, and they also recorded in Mieszko’s studio when he was alive. So he was a friend of the band, of Mieszko, he has a great voice and vocal range, and loves Nasum on top of it all. We are obviously happy that he wanted to do it.
Anders: One important thing to notice is that Keijo doesn’t do just Mieszko’s vocals, he does mine as well. On the first two albums I sung a lot, but live it was all covered by Mieszko – so the fact is that Keijo is actually doing something closer to the albums than what Mieszko did back in the day!
Nasum 2012

4) Shane Embury and Barney Greenaway of Napalm Death both cited hearing Nasum, and Inhale/Exhale in particular, as a definite turning point which helped them to rediscover grindcore and thus led to the recording of 2000's acclaimed Enemy of the Music Business.(Terrorizer #140, Spring 2005). I imagine this would be an honour to be referred to in that way by these people, but what do you think Nasum did differently that refreshed the Grindcore sound?
Anders: I believe the history with Napalm Death started with Barney wearing an “Inhale/Exhale” t-shirt in a video. That was unreal! And then we heard the stories and as some point I even heard something about the grindcore-unfriendly Mick Harris though “the band on N was quite good” after receiving a bunch of albums from Relapse, but in all honesty that can very much be a creative memory. Honour isn’t strong enough, it was baffling to realize that the band that inspired us to 90% when the band was formed a) knew about us and b) liked us so much that they claim WE inspired them. It still is quite sick, although we have a friendly relationship today. Anyway: I think there are a few reasons to Nasum’s success: 1) We have always been very serious about our grindcore, from the very beginning. Although some of the early – and late lyrics – perhaps didn’t have that political edge that is so closely connected with the band, we never fooled around too much and especially not with the music! 2) Once we started to add our own touch to the sound, leaving the quite strict form based on our sources of inspiration, we got a clear identity quite fast. We brought groove to grindcore and kept the doors open to other genres solely to pick inspiration, not to turn into some kind of mixtape circus act switching styles within the songs. 3) We put a lot of effort into the vocals and especially the vocal patterns, and thus creating real and memorable songs.
5) Where might Nasum have been today if it weren’t for the tragic death of Mieszko Talarczyk? What might have happened in the 7 years since the 2004 boxing day Tsunami?
Anders: It’s totally impossible to say. In a best case scenario we would be still alive and have another 4-5 records in the catalogue, but in a worst case scenario we would have disbanded by some other reason and never seen the 20th anniversary. Nobody knows. In 2004 we did our first headlining tour of Europe and felt a “break” coming and we had some slight plans to go into the studio and create something spontaneous on the spot, but that was the only plan we had when things went down the shitter.
The Late Mieszko A. Talarczyk
"Mieszko never had the chance to be a hero or a survivor. He most likely died in the first wave.
I do know that the last thing he did was to protect his girlfriend so in my eyes he died as a hero." - Anders

6) Tell us about “Coldworker” and “Burst”. What are they and why should we check them out?
Jesper: Burst was a band that me and my friends started as kids, and which gradually grew from a crusty punk band to a hardcore band to end up as a pretty brooding, progressive metal band. Burst was the reason I had to leave Nasum about a year prior to Mieszko’s death – the band started touring a lot more and grew gradually, and I felt I couldn’t handle two touring bands. As much as I love Nasum and always had, I had to make a choice. We made a bunch of albums and put them out through Relapse Records, and I am thoroughly proud of them. It has nothing to with Nasum or grindcore, rather it is more melodic in the melancholy sense, and slightly more experimental and metallic. Check out ”Origo” or ”Lazarus Bird”.
Anders: Coldworker is my (only) band, that was formed in February 2006 and so far has released three albums. I had about a year off from most musical adventures and eventually started to look around in my hometown for new people to play with. I found a few, and then some more and the ball got rolling quite fast. Coldworker is a death metal band. Someone once described us as “if Cannibal Corpse was from Europe” and that’s a good description. We like the American style of riffing but most certainly have an European edge to our sound. Coldworker hasn’t tour that much and up until now never really been judged on it’s own terms. There are ALWAYS comparisons to Nasum in the reviews, which is totally annoying and unfair as the only connection is me. For more info and samples and stuff, visit

7) Would you ever consider continuing the current line up after the farewell tour, perhaps under a different name? Why?/Why not?
Anders: No. There are many reasons. The biggest one is that we have other bands that more or less waits for the Nasum thing to be over, and we need to get back to “normal life” and continue where we were. Another reasons is that whatever music this new band with same line-up would play, people would scream for Nasum songs and then we’ll just be Nasum under a new name playing Nasum songs and that, if anything, is milking it. So that’s out of the question. I’m not ruling out the possibility that some of us meet again for a project or something, because we play well together, but as of now we will not continue in any shape or form.
8) What is the future of Grind core?
Jesper: Grindcore will probably always exist. I don’t think it could ever be widely popular, but then that isn’t the point. This is a subgenre of a subgenre, and the oppositional nature of grind will probably keep it alive and healthy in the margins of the underground. Three ”new” bands I like are Magrudergrind, Wormrot and Massgrave, and I hope i’ll get new hope for the future when we go to OZ and NZ and see the local supports get jiggy with it.

9) I saw that you played a show (or some shows) with my good friends ‘brutal truth’. How were those guys on stage and in person these days? 
Jesper: They’re awesome. Fuzzy and scuzzy, but awesome and sweet. I can’t believe fucking Brutal Truth (and Dropdead!) opened for us in the US. 
Anders: To be completely frank, they are not “Extreme Conditions…” Brutal Truth anymore, but on the other hand they haven’t been that for a long time. Brutal Truth today is one big “fuck you” finger up the butt on… well, everything. They are super cool though, and Danny Lilker is quite the entertainer. You hardly have a boring time when he’s around.

10) Anything to add in closing?
Anders: Thanks for the support. Early on in this interview you asked about our expectations, and once the tour and show is done we will share our thoughts and if the expectations were met or not, as we have an ongoing tour blog at Check that out, and thanks again for the support!