Editora: Ethereal Sound Works
Data de lançamento: 11 Setembro 2017
Género: heavy metal / prog
Quase a começar este texto pelo fim devo dizer que uma das grandes surpresas do panorama metálico nacional desta última estirada de 2017, que agora começa, é o segundo trabalho de originais dos lisboetas Hourswill.
Se já “Inevitable”, o álbum de estreia, escorria qualidade por todos os poros, este “Harm Full Embrace” é mais uma fonte que a jorra. Nuno Damião desce da posição de vocalista e cede o trono a Leonel Silva. Esta mudança no leme do microfone traz consigo uma autêntica revolução à música dos Hourswill. Voz limpa de início a fim, um timbre único e uma versatilidade invejável elevam a vocalização ao patamar em que se encontra a parte instrumental e o conjunto sobe a fasquia do todo.
“Children Of The Void”, o tema de abertura, irrompe pelas ondas sonoras de forma esmagadora, sendo, sem sombra de dúvida, a melhor proposta do conjunto. A intensidade da guitarra, os riffs esmagadores, a voz hipnótica, todo o conjunto nos envolve e subjuga. Não se coaduna com este trabalho estar a enumerar influências, mas, curiosamente, o timbre e trabalho vocal trazem à mente uns Morgana Lefay em algumas passagens e a potência da guitarra os Nevermore. Isto não significa que sejam influências que se sintam, apenas marcos de referência sonora.
O álbum, ao longo dos seus 56 minutos, alia a potência do riff com a melodia da guitarra, da voz e a diversidade do progressivo num conjunto que surpreende. Apesar de recorrer ao clássico refrão melódico que serve de âncora aos temas, o mesmo não cai no facilitismo do refrão catchy comercial, mas consegue manter o nível de qualidade do resto e agarrar-se ao ouvido com toda a facilidade e subtileza que a excelência da música lhe dá.
Destaque também para o quase épico “Everyday Sage”, um tema que ultrapassa os nove minutos e nos transporta numa viagem repleta de melancolia onde a guitarra clássica e os riffs se conjugam e complementam.
No final temos um trabalho que bebe das melhores fontes do passado, enriquece de sobremaneira o panorama metálico nacional e oferece uma excelente proposta que merece, e bem, chegar longe.
Nihil Eyes: mental experiments (interview w/ Casey Jones)
Nihil Eyes and their debut album “Black Path” are Ultraje’s latest bet as a label. Digitally released in the second half of 2017, the debut album of this British guys is now renewed with a physical edition released and distributed by Ultraje. Casey Jones (vocals/guitar) talks about “Black Path”, lyrically and sound wise, like no one else could do it and still leave in the air what the band will bring in the not too distant future (“Black Path” can be purchased HERE)
«“Black Path” is really our vision of how we would have liked death metal to have evolved had the record companies not fucked everything up in the 90s.»
It is known that “Black Path” is a series of psychological thought experiments exploring the human condition. What kind of thoughts and postures you are dealing with?
All the songs are looking at a different aspect of the human psyche mostly in regard to aspects you’d associate with some form of mental illness. With each of the songs there’s a short story behind it and in that story would be contained a thought experiment. Within this I’d try to really put myself in various view points and really think through the motivations and thought process of the characters. I think it’s something that I found to be a useful tool for self-exploration.
For example, in the song “Nihil Eyes” I tried to really get into the headspace of somebody viewing the world from a nihilistic stand point and the dangers that can lead to – it’s one thing to say that nothing means anything but most people don’t actually believe that. So when you start to really take it on board, think of all the consequences that it can bring and just how self-destructive you can become when you do that and what you might be capable of under such circumstances. Well, it becomes a much more terrifying concept entirely and you can find yourself begging to un-see or un-think these things which obviously can’t be done, and so in the song the protagonist then turns back to god if you will to remove those thoughts from his head which doesn’t help either, so the situation becomes hopeless beyond repair.
All the songs adopt a similar thought experiment, story, lyric style, but each looking at different aspects. There are a few songs looking at grief, some looking at egotism and narcissism one at abandonment. I try and take different view points in each song to make them more interesting. At the same time I don’t think everybody wants to think about things that deeply; sometimes you just want to listen to a song and for it to kick ass, so we were pretty careful that the album still functions as a set of metal songs too.
“Black Path” sounds very old-school and it’s suitable for fans of Carcass and Bolt Thrower, but there’s a twist of modernity in it. Was it one of the main goals?
The honest answer is that when we started writing we didn’t have any goal in regard to how it was going to sound. We talked about our main influences and, from the demos we sent each other, where we thought that might go sound wise. But it didn’t end up sounding like any of us had planned. Lots of people talk about things happening organically and I’m not sure how much that is the case a lot of time. But really, I think we agree enough in our musical tastes that we also agree where things should be going. It almost just seems to happen and we can feel when things need to change.
“Black Path” is really our vision of how we would have liked death metal to have evolved had the record companies not fucked everything up in the 90s. Obviously since that period different techniques and styles of playing have come in or become more popular, so some of those modern aspects slip into your playing and in a way there are more options now. For instance, blast-beats are much more popular and sweep picking is a big thing. I think we were conscious that what we wanted to do was to write songs which were primarily the kind of songs we loved growing up and for the reasons we loved them, which was the feel and the heaviness and the hooks, and everything else should be just to enhance those aspects. It’s really easy to get carried away and just end up showing off for five minutes and completely ruin all things that made a song great, so we try and keep an eye on that.
Obviously records aren’t made the way they used to be, so some modern aspects appear in the sound in the production and mixing stages. We can record a lot more tracks now than we would have been able to in an analogue studio, and the sound quality is clearer but has a different feel. We tried to keep studio trickery to a minimum and were shooting for something that had the best aspects of old and new school. Dan Swanö [producer] had a massive impact with that too. We asked him for something that was akin to “Heartwork” [Carcass] sound wise and he came back with something that really exceeded our expectations and had all the aspects of modern and retro production we love with none of the crap. And although we’re biased, we’re also harsh critics of ourselves and we think it sounds fucking great.
It was revealed that you’re already working in the next album. How is it sounding at this stage?
We’ve only completed a few songs at this stage, but we have the structure of a full album worth of songs in place. It’s always hard to tell as things can change quite drastically in a short space of time, but I think there’s definitely a bit more thrash in the riffing this time around and there’s something a bit more sinister about the feel. At the moment, to me, it’s sounding like a cross between “The IVth Crusade” [Bolt Thrower] and “Divine Intervention” [Slayer], but there’s time for it to develop yet, so we’ll see.
At this point we’re choosing whether to record an EP towards the end of the year or to hold off for an album at the start of next year. We’ve been quite busy in that. We’ve acquired a great new second guitarist in Tomek, from Polish legends Tuff Enuff and Szymon. He has an EP with his other band Asterian coming out, which I’m mixing and doing guest vocals on, so it’s been slower going than the last year on the Nihil Eyes front, but that may be a blessing. Also, I’m pleasantly surprised at how much we’ve all improved and I think that confidence, particularly in my vocals, will allow us to be a bit more ambitious the next time around.
Bloody Times: searching for destruction (interview w/ Simon Pfundstein)
With an album released in 2016, titled “The Fire of Immortality”, Simon Pfundstein thought that some tracks needed something more and together with John Greely (ex-Iced Earth) they bring us the release titled “Destructive Singles” with two specific improved tracks. In the interview that follows, the German tells everything about this collaboration.
«I was and I am a huge fan of John and his voice, so it’s a great pleasure he wants to be a part of my project.»
Mandatory question: why did you choose John Greely and how did you both come to this collaboration?
Well, I did not choose John, we found each other and then came to a point where we both wanted to do that. I added John at Facebook some time ago and realized he commented some of my photos, we chatted together and exchanged about our music projects. He really liked my stuff and I wanted some better vocals for my songs, so I asked him if he wants to sing on the songs. I was and I am a huge fan of John and his voice, so it’s a great pleasure he wants to be a part of my project. In addition, I also help him (passive) on his own band project called Seventh Servant. So, currently it is a really nice collaboration and I’m optimistic to continue to work together.
The two songs on this release were part of the album “The Fire Of Immortality”, so what were the main points to select these particular songs to be on the release?
I was not ready for new material and wanted to upgrade the strongest songs of the debut album, but it was not easy to choose the right songs, and yet I’m not sure if we have chosen the right songs. “Pursuit of Destruction” is the most interesting, complex and strongest song I’ve recorded, so I thought we should do that song. I’m super happy with the result of the new version, so I think it was the right choice. But it’s a quite long song, so we’ve also chosen the “opener” of this track, which is “Introduction to War”. Yet I miss my favourite track “Curse of Genevieve”, that song is a bit more epic and melodic instead of hard or evil, but I think that song has something more “magic” in it. Also, I’ve played this song with an 8-string bass which gives it a special massive but epic sound (due to the octaved strings). So I hope we will do a new version of this song with Johns vocals as bonus track someday.
Not only Greely was part of Iced Earth, but also your sound is very inspired on that band. Would you say that Iced Earth is your main influence?
Don’t forget, also the drummer Raphael Saini was a part of Iced Earth, and he also brought real talent to the project. Besides of that it features two former Iced Earth members and I’m a huge fan, they are not my main influence. I was way more influenced by Manowar, my favorite band since my early childhood. I found Iced Earth then at the age of 15 or 16 or so and enjoyed to learn about all the past releases, where I especially liked “The Glorious Burden” and “Night of the Stormrider”. Bloody Times does not follow the two-guitar-formation that Iced Earth uses, instead we’ve only one guitar like Manowar. Ok, I admit, in the studio the situation may changes, as most bands record at least one guitar more. But the songs are build a way they can be played with only one guitar. Lyrically I’m more open, as long as it is good content for heavy metal. Overall I do not want to copy or to be a copy of one of these bands, instead doing something own, carrying this heavy metal styles and spirits.
In what ways do you think Jon Schaffer changed heavy metal?
Well, musically he continued the heavy metal path and delivered together with his members really good songs and developed metal a bit further. I’m mostly not attracted by new metal styles, but instead by the classical metal, sometimes called true metal, which others say it goes more into the hard rock area, but for me it’s just the real metal, starting with bands like Black Sabbath, Dio and Judas Priest, refined by Manowar, Iron Maiden and also Iced Earth. But I don’t think Jon changed heavy metal. Most of the songs are classic metal to me, sometimes with a touch more “modern” in it (especially the sound), but that’s it.
Are there any plans for a future full-length? And would it be also with John Greely or do you have anybody else in mind?
Yes, I hope so with John. I’m writing some songs right now. Make sure you follow Bloody Times on Facebook to find out more and don’t miss that when the time has come!
[Exclusivo] Fabio La Manna: guitarrista prog disponibiliza novo álbum na íntegra
“EBE” é como se intitula o segundo álbum do italiano Fabio La Manna. Será lançado pela Via Nocturna no próximo dia 28 de Abril, mas já o podes ouvir com a Ultraje.
A editora refere que “EBE” é uma «jornada para além da imaginação, das estrelas e limites do metal» com «riff soberbos». Confere abaixo…