Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Interview with Diego and Mariano of Septycal Gorge

ID: First of all, Congratulations on your latest album ''Erase the Insignificant''. Its an album for which I had been waiting to hear since quite a while now and I must admit that I was completely ripped apart by it's sheer brilliance. Can you tell me about the writing process of this album and the approximate time consumed to record it?

Marius: Cheers, man, thanks for the nice words!! We started working on new songs just few months after "Growing Seeds Of Decay" went out - so Autumn '06 -; we finished our songwriting at the beginning of 2009: as you can see, it's been a long pregnancy, lol, but necessary, because we had some line up changes and we gave our best in every song. Also the period of the recording sessions was almost long: maybe 3 months; we recorded at Dave's (our drummer) home studio and everyone went there recording everytime he had enough time - in that period (May-July '09) our private lives were really busy and don't forget everyone of us is pretty far from Dave's house... 

ID: Septycal Gorge's debut album ''Growing Seeds of Decay'' got rave reviews and appraisal for the top-notch musicianship and sickness. How would you compare your latest album with the first one? What all changes did the band undergo while writing it?

 Diego:The new album is for us a huge step up. We have a new drummer, Brutal Dave who is a really talented artist and brought us lots of speed and tightness in snare and kick above all, and also the new bass player Clod took his talent and unique sound to complete SG skills. The new songs are more structured and arranged, more technical but still keeping the “SG trademark” of our personal sound.

Marius: I think the influences are still the same, but there are many different musicians (Diego - gtr - and me are the only "survivors" from the first album) and I think that's been fundamental for "Erase The Insignificant", because developing our sounds, tastes, ideas, technical capacities passed also through the possibilities/abilities which every musician in the band could give. 

ID: Erase the Insignificant was released on Permeated Records which is a change from your earlier label Mutilated Records. Can I know the reason behind this label change?

Marius: I have good memories of the period under Mutilated Records: when "Growing.." went out, it was a label which re-started its activities after years and years of forced stop... Mutilated Recs helped us and the success of "Growing.." helped both them and us: we're so grateful to Diego Cardozo – Mutilated Recs manager – and all the possibilities he gave us in our first years officially passed in the brutal death worldwide scene! By the way, as in music, as in promotion, our goal's always been aiming the highest possible, and well, the contract with Permeated Records, of course, is something more and I hope everything's going to be better also for us.  

Diego:The label change was so natural and easy cause we felt, after the first album appreciations, that we need a new label for a greater promotion and more exposure and we knew that with Permeated records we were going to get them. Anyway we have only to say a big thank you to Diego and Mutilated to have believed in us at the very beginning, when we was a bunch of newcomers and our sound was so immature. Mutilated helped spreading Septycal Gorge name in the whole death metal scene around the world, so it’s the best thing a young band can get form his debut label.

ID: The artwork for the new album has been done by Marco Hasmann who has done a great job like always. But the cover art for Growing Seeds was done by Tony Koehl. Why was the artist changed? Is it because of a personal choice or the change in label forced you to do so since Tony does a lot of artwork for Mutilated Records.

Marius: Well, you're right: Tony Koehl used to collaborate a lot with Mutilated Records, but that's not the reason we changed cover-artist... He's a specialist with gory and spatter scenarios, and we asked him for something different, something more apocalyptic in the vein of early Suffocation… and he made a good job, we’re so satisfied about “Growing Seeds..” cover artwork! By the way, fundamentally, we simply wanted to change; we personally know Marco Hasmann, he is a good friend with the band and a fresh artist and made an awesome job. 

ID: Septycal Gorge underwent a lot of line-up changes since the very beginning. The more recent ones being the departure of Maurizio Lucà (bass) and Davide Boeri (drums). What were the reasons behind this?

Marius: Maurizio and Davide are still good friends of us - particularly Maurizio; they left just because they were fed up of playing this kind of music and admitted they didn't have enough capacities to follow the rhythms and the technical developments of the band.

Diego:It’s all about personal and musical reasons, as Marius says. Everyone has his own history and musical tastes, and these cannot affect the friendship. We left with the old members always in a good way.

ID: You guys played in The Mountains of Death festival at Switzerland earlier this year sharing stage with some of the sickest bands on this planet. How was the experience while playing at such a big event?

Marius: In 2009 MOD definitely has been the greatest event for death metal, in Europe and of course it's been a great experience for everyone of us! It rained all time but luckily... after our show, eheheh! And well, speaking/seeing on stage with people like Jon Zig, Ricky Myers, AJ Magana, Mike Majewski... has been a great emotion!

Diego: Playing at MOD is a big feeling cause it’s one of the best European death metal fest! We enjoyed it so much. The only problem was the weather, but at MOD you can overlook it, cause the atmosphere is always great. Lots of friends and great music.

ID: Share some of the best and worst live experiences Septycal Gorge has ever had.

Marius: Neurotic DeathFest 2007 with the old line up: maybe the sickest show we made with Davide Boeri and Maurizio Lucà. With the new line up we don't have enough live experiences, but I think our release party (21st November, in our zone) and the gig in London we made few days ago (we toured UK from 10th to 13th December) have been the best shows. Freaky partecipation of the audience, nice exibition on stage, definitely we had a great time!

Speaking about the worst… well, bad performances happen and happened and probably will happen! I’m pretty sure the worst gig was at the beginning of 2008, the last concert of our drummer Davide Boeri: we were playing in Germany, we were really hard partying, lol, and everyone of us was pretty drunk… That’s probably the worst concert we made; all the drum patterns were wrong, lots of mistakes for the guitarists, my vocals were a sort of guttural freestyle! Shameful… but people over there was crazy – and also really drunk! So none seemed noticing it… there’s also a video of that night someone uploaded on YouTube, try to find it and have a laugh! 

ID: Tell us about your band's upcoming events.

Marius: At the moment we're planning some gigs for the next years; they'll be lots of dates abroad, almost none in Italy - and, honestly, I think it's better! The news making me really happy is we're going to perform at Neurotic DeathFest 2010 with Dying Fetus, Origin, Beneath The Massacre, Napalm Death, Immolation and many more!! 

ID: What do you guys do apart from playing brutal death metal? And how has playing this extreme and ugly form of music affected your lives?

Marius: Playing this music is a vent, as art is in all its forms. By the way, as you can imagine, when you play about 20-30 underground gigs every year, it's not that easy ruling private life... If you have some private problems with your family, they risk to get bigger, also with friends/girlfriends... by the way these situations are fundamental to leave us attached to reality, if you know what I mean... Playing in cool situations, have gigs all around is fucking amazing, it's a sort of drug and you risk to forget all days reality: luckily we have common lives, without people considering us members of Septycal Gorge, but students, common workers, sons, boyfriends, stupid and useless friends, AH!

Diego: Death Metal is simply part of my life and cannot be detached to it. Music is a passion and not a work, so it will always be, cause it’s an important way to self expression.

ID: A lot of so-called puritans today detest the modern ''ultra brutal/slam brutal death metal'' and label it as ''trendy'' and ''talentless''. What are your views regarding this criticism?

Marius: Personally, I think that's not a question of "trendy" or "catchy" or what else... Fundamentally and generally, there are two categories of music: good and bad... Nothing more to add about that, except the fact I think real brutal death metal can’t be considered “trendy”: it’s ages it survives to every kind of trend, because it survives in a sort of musical ghetto; for me it’s easy noticing this feeling of exclusion from every (new or old) trend: here in Italy, the 99% of people saying they listen to metal/hardcore/extreme music only knows and supports mainstream bands; there are also some zones – like the one where Septycal Gorge were born – where it’s hard finding someone listening to Metallica (and I hate Metallica…)! By the way, my experience taught me that, when the music is trendy, it sucks…  

Diego: I personally don’t like at all slam bands, it’s not my cup of tea. I prefer bands like Deeds of Flesh Inveracity etc. Don’t know really if slam is trendy or not, anyway there are lot of shitty bands out there and few that are really really good.

ID: Tell me 5 albums which you have been spinning very frequently these days.

Marius: Terrordrome "Vehement Convulsion", Vomit The Soul “Apostles Of Inexpression”, Skinless “From Sacrifice To Survival”, Gatekeepaz "Dietro il Cancello" (Italian hip hop, uhuhuh!), Disgorge (US) "She Lay Gutted".  

Diego: Morbid Angel “Covenant”, Deeds OF Flesh “Mark Of the legion”, Alice In Chains Black “Gives way to Blue”, Insidious Decrepancy “Extirpating…” Soundgarden “Superunknown”

ID: Which bands do you consider as an integral influence on the music of Septycal Gorge?

Marius: I'm sure our guitarist and founder member Diego would answer Deeds Of Flesh; by the way, personally, I've always felt the smell of Suffocation... By the way, all the technical Californian bands which Unique Leader Recs put under contract at its beginning are our fundamental influences. 

Diego: Marius is true. For me my main musical influence in writing and conceiving music is DoF. A platter as Reduced…” and Path…” are the bible for me. Also Suffocation of course that are the masters of this style.

ID: Thanks a lot for spending some crucial time out of your tight schedule and answering this questionnaire. I wish all the very best for your new album and hope to see Septycal Gorge crushing the emo kids more barbarically than ever. Horns up for Italiano brutality! Take care guys.

Marius: Thank you so much, Ankit!! Sorry for the late answers, but during these last days we've been really busy! Support your own local scene, underground's fundamental for developing this music worldwide! Cheers! Have fun, have a great 2010!

Diego: thanx a lot for your friendship and support man! And for this interview of course! Wish you the best for your work.

Septycal Gorge is:

Mariano - Vocals
Diego - Guitar
Los - Guitar
Clod ''The Ripper" (Claude De Rosa) - Bass
Davide - Drums

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mitochondrion - Archaeaeon

Full Length, Independent

A band having an absolute awkward name like Mitochondrion might sound disgusting, isn't it but what we have over here is disgusting in the best sense possible.  In Biological terminology, ''Mitochondrion" is actually an organelle that generates most of the cell's supply of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), used as a source of chemical energy. But this term cleverly justifies its appropriateness as a band name since Mitochondrion's aural projections generate an absymasly dark and ominous atmosphere which act as a source of demoniacal dynamism.

Archaeaeon was independently released earlier last year and it pounced upon the Canadian undeground like a ghoulish beast. They became the talk of the underground since the release of their first two demos in 2005 and 2006. Their musical style has been the basic highlight of their praise which is an uncanny and bizarre amalgam of darkened black metal with technically adept brutal death metal. I didn't really knew what to expect from them when I began the album but the first track after the Intro ''Chapter 11'' gave me a clear insight that I had to prepare myself for a flood of sonic onslaughts which would follow. 

Into the Pit of Babel had a very coarse beginning and pretty soon, a flurry of thunderous riffs attacked my eardrums, to be followed by a chaotic dual vocal assualt only to be continued with more raging dissonace. The vocals are one of the best highlights of this album which are an amazing blend of your average Brutal Death Metal gutturals and black metal snarls and shrieks, however, the latter has been employed sparsely and as a perfect backing support.  The blasting cacophony on the first track unexpectedly disperses into a melodic verse which is caracterized by a subtle acoustic riff accompanied by synthwork, gutturals and snarls. That part gives me goose pimples on every listen! Then suddenly it faints and there is a deep silence for a few moments, just like the calm before a storm and the carnage rages on abruptly. 

The whole of this album offers this unique harmony of weird tremolo picked technical riffage with occult black metal-esque parts. The drumming has been perfect and deftly mixed with an efficient double bass work and the slower parts have also been played suavely. Archaeaeon's murky production enhances the credibility of their musical style and it  gives you an impression of bands like Demilich and Portal fused with Candian ''war metal'' connoisseiurs Blasphemy. Its just something which doesn't come out everyday. 

Although each track on the album is a sheer display of brilliant musicianship, the tracks like ''Akashic Predation'', ''Wraith'' and ''Agonizing (In The Shadow of the Hammerblow)'' especially desplay the incredible talent of these Victorian blasphemers. Creating an experimental musical piece always involves a lot of risks since either the output can be a pile of mess or it can be sheer magnificence. Mitochondrion have been able to achieve the latter of the two outputs and that too with a monstrous effect. What could be a better example than the fact that all the 666 copies  were sold out within a little while and they got signed to Profound Lore which boasts artists like Krallice, Altar of Plagues, Portal etc on its roster. Its a label which would do justice to their music and probably release more such masterpieces in the near future.

People looking for occult and apocalyptic death metal should definitely hear this masterpiece. 

This is pure horror in audial form. 

 Check them out over here

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Wodensthrone - Loss (2009)

Full-length, Bindrune Recordings
August 2009

Track List:
1. Fyrgenstréam 03:12
2. Leódum On Lande 06:59
3. Heófungtid 08:14
4. Those That Crush the Roots of Blood 10:28
5. Black Moss 12:42
6. Upon These Stones 11:01
7. Pillar of the Sun 05:26
8. That Which is Now Forgotten – 597 11:32
Total playing time 01:09:34

I have been listening to a lot of atmospheric black metal lately, and I noticed a lot of hype surrounding this debut by Wodensthrone. I generally stay away from releases that are exceedingly hyped up by people, because they always tend to be disappointing and fall way below my expectations. I decided to give this a listen but totally forgot about it; until a couple of days back. I listened to Loss in a recent train journey where it was just me passing through scenery full of trees, fields and a lot of greenery. And it just thrust me in a trance-like state and I couldn’t snap out of it till it finished one entire spin. Throughout the 70 odd minutes, I felt like I was in a different place. A different world, where time stood still.

Wodensthrone are a 5-piece band from north England and their music, while undeniably black metal has a lot more to it. They use a variety of instruments such as a flute, keyboards and even a harp (at times) without sounding annoyingly ‘epic’ or pretentious. The songs bear similarities to ‘Wolves in a Throne Room’, ‘drudkh’ and ‘Weakling’, but this band is not a cheap imitation or a clone at all. They are an excellent band in their own right and Loss has just proved it.

The atmosphere generated in this album is spectacular. You feel yourself getting lost in it as the world passes you by. The production is excellent. The lo-fi production adds another dimension to the music, but all instruments are clear and audible. The Songwriting and musicianship is brilliant and very mature, which is very impressive considering that this is their debut album. The riffs are excellent; They alternate between crushing brute force and beautiful melodies. The softer acoustic and clean sections are simply stunning and very nicely used and are hypnotizing, to say the least. Keyboards accompany almost every riff and is a very prominent feature of this album. But its not overdone and does not ruin anything. It creates a brilliant atmosphere that does not let go of you till the end. The vocals are mainly shrieks. There are certain variations at some parts when they add low raspy vocals too, but they are hardly used. The drumming is very good. The best element about it was how seamlessly it fits in with the instrumental passages as well.

As good as the first 3-4 tracks are, the later half of the album is what excels and places this release in a different league altogether. ‘Black Moss’ is an epic which features some brilliant riffs and has plenty of complex twist and turns. Hréowsian on drums excels in this song. ‘Upon These Stones’ and ‘Pillar of the Sun’ has one of the most beautiful instrumental sections I have heard in a long time. The final track ‘That Which is Now Forgotten-597’ is the most atmospheric track of the album and provides the album with a very enjoyable conclusion.

In short, Loss is a brilliant album. An absorbing listen and it leaves a profound impact on the listener. It would definitely make it to the top-3 releases of the year for me. These 5 guys know how to get it right. A pagan/black masterpiece which is definitely worth your attention.


Embryonic Depravity - Constrained By The Miscarriage Of Conquest

Full length, Permeated Records
November 2009

Embryonic Depravity is one of latest ensembles in the UK brutal death metal scene. They recently released their debut full length entitled as ''Constrained by the Miscarriage of Conquest'' on Italian label Permeated Records which also has bands like Septycal Gorge, Vomit the Soul etc on it's artistic roster and both those bands have slayed with their latest ventures.

There has been a sudden upsurge in the underground brutal death metal scene in UK with bands like Amputated, Fleshrot, Kastrated, Crepitation, Ingested, Infected Disarray etc raising the sickness quotient. Previously known as Odium Incarnate, Embryonic Depravity has joined this brutal brigade with elan.

I wouldn't really tag Constrained.. as something exceptional but the efforts of these British sickfucks are pretty noteworthy. This album is a must listen for fans of US style gut wrenching brutality. Like a majority of other brutal death bands, Embryonic Depravity take their basics from American goremongers Disgorge and given it their own twisted and deviant shape.

Their style can be easily described as ruthless brutal death metal with nicely layed technical dissonance. One complaint which I have is the playing length which is just under 27 minutes. There are a totality of 10 tracks so it makes up for an average of almost 3 minutes per song with the longest song being the title track which lasts for about 5 minutes. Another good factor which can be noticed is judicious usage of slams or breakdowns being employed. They are mixed with the merciless blast sections in a handsome ratio and doesn't let a monotone to evolve.

These young musicians seem pretty spot on with their musical intricateness. Rob Newson the vocalist has delivered a ferocious guttural onslaught which is bound to create a buzz in the listeners ears. The dual guitar bombardment by Pete and Will is also well executed a la Severed Saviour, latest Deeds of Flesh and somewhat Defeated Sanity. The percussion has been fairly good with efficient double blass sections, grooves and hyperblasts. The mixing and mastering has been conducted at the 16th Cellar Studios in Italy who have previously worked on Hour of Penance, Blasphemer (Ita) and Vomit the Soul and have granted this album a great modern sound. All the instruments have been fairly audible and maleficently fluent.

So it has been a promising overall effort by these young turks and has left me enthusiastic about their future material. Currently they are looking forward to massacre UK with the upcoming ''Erasing The UK Tour'' where they would be sharing stage with Amputated and fellow label mates Septycal Gorge and Vomit the Soul. A good exposure would do the trick for these guys and the rest would be done by their musical artillery.

Recommended for fans of ultra sick, bowel regurgitating and technically savoured death metal.


Official Myspace: