The Osiris Club

The Osiris Club-The Wine Dark Sea Review

Hailing from London, The Osiris Club have got a real corker of an album in their second effort. The Wine Dark Sea, is a mixture of psychedelic turns, progressive melodies, and pure heaviness that combines to create a saga of the most epic proportions. If their first album was the thing that broke the mould in the British music scene, then The Wine Dark Sea will be the album that breaks them into the mainstream.

The opening songs on the record demonstrate this versatility well. Mausoleum is a song that varies between heaviness that would make Mastodon proud, whilst also throwing in psychedelic elements that wouldn’t be out of place on a Pink Floyd record. The Signal and Island of Stone allow the band to show off their chops, be they vocally or sonically, and as such, there is a sense that they are battling it out for proper formation.

The rest of the album from songs such as Ring The Changes and With The Giants helps create a sense of ambience and heaviness that other bands have tried and failed to garner. There truly is a sense that the band are seeking influence from some of prog’s greats such as Pink Floyd or Gentle Giant, and that is by no means a bad thing.

The Wine Dark Sea is an interesting and diverse album, that brings a great many new tricks to the table. There isn’t a moment on this album, where the listener can get bored. They are always hooked in with a nice melody,  a change in time, or a change in guitar sound. This is something that is sure to stand the band in good stead for the future.  Be sure to check out the album when it is released on 23rd February.

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Dautha

Dautha-Bretheren Of The Black Soil Review

History and metal go very well together, this has been demonstrated countless times. There are numerous epics that are dedicated to historical sagas, bands such as Sabaton have made a living from such a thing. Yet, it is rare for doom to tread these waters. Yet, that is what Dautha do.

The songs bring with them the usual tones and melodies, that one would expect from a doom band, but with the added twist of the vocals being more present than in other releases. Songs such as Hodie Mihi, Cras Tibi (translated as Today it’s me, tomorrow it’s you) bring such strong inflexions of classical scenes that the listener finds themselves getting immersed in the story. This is further reflected in songs such as Bogbodies and In Between Two Floods.

Brethren Of The Black Soil is a good introductory effort to Dautha, and gives hints of the promise that the band has. Be sure to check it out upon its release on 16th March.

Visigoth

Visigoth-Conqueror’s Oath Review

Visigoth, the name itself invokes images of hardened warriors fighting in the humid land of Hispania, fighting off invaders and each other. The band’s style and lyrical content seem to fit such an image. Their debut album, released in 2015, was a great introduction, inspiring themes of fantasy and games, and now they’re back. The front cover of this album paints an accurate picture of a Warrior Queen, and enables the listener to really get to grips with is about to come.

The opening number is the anthemic Steel and Silver. With its big vocal lines, it driving rhythms, and solid guitar leads, this is a song that is meant to be played loud and live. A true metal anthem. Warrior Queen follows next, with big walls of guitars, hard-hitting melodies and lyrics about a bad ass warrior woman intent on bringing all to heel before her. The soft melodies in the middle, belie the hardness of the track. Outlive Them All is another fast number, singing praises to living and dying by the sword. Well, not quite dying, but earning glory and living through the ages. Hammerforged enters with harmony guitars, before moving into a clean guitar break, as vocalist Jake Rogers belts out a haunting melody. It then progresses into an absolute headbanger, continuing the epic nature of the album.

The album continues on its metal anthem cruise with Traitor’s Gate, a song that contains heavy riffs, melodious intervals, big broad vocal lines, big choruses and an epic solo or solos to boot. Salt City is a rocker, a tribute to the band’s home. Blades In The Night and the title track, Conqueror’s Oath continue the charge, bringing the album to a roaring close.

With Conqueror’s Oath, Visigoth has more than made up for the three-year gap between their albums. It is filled with songs that will carve their names into metal history, and ensure that the band develops a big rapport when playing live. Get the album when it comes out on February 9th.

Visigoth

Visigoth Interview

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In December, I was fortunate enough to speak with Jake, the vocalist of rising metal stars, Visigoth:

 

1. What inspired the name of the band and what are your influences?

“We had a big list of names, and we checked through all of them. Visigoth was the first name that wasn’t taken, or at least not by any band that was still active. The name was also pretty cool as it had historical connotations with its links to the historical Visigoth people. As for our influences, well bands like Omen, Manilla Road, Cirith Ungol, Riot, Jag Panzer, Solstice, Candlemass, Running Wild and Scorpions were big influences for us.”

2. Could you talk us through the writing process for the new album?

“Our music was primarily written by our guitarist Lee, who would write parts or a whole song. I think Jameson our other guitarist wrote one song, we’d work together once the initial songs were created, to tighten them and make them perfect. That was the process for all the songs, I think on the record songs that stand out the most to me include Warrior Queen and Traitor’s Gate. The lyrics for these songs were always written last, usually on the day of recording.  As for what we wanted to achieve for the album, we wanted to journey to another place and time. The integral themes of the album were fantasy storytelling, and you know, finding the inner strength to deal with the challenges of life.”

3. What plans have you got for the future?

“Our album comes out in February, then we’re heading out on tour. We want to release our third record much quicker than our second one, we’ve already started putting songs together.”

 

 

 

Spartan Warrior

Spartan Warrior Interview

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I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Dave the vocalist from Spartan Warrior, here’s what we discussed:

1.What’s behind the name of the band, and where do you draw your influences from?

I joined a band called Deceiver in 1979. We played some original songs, quite blues based rock with a hint of Black Sabbath as well as covers from bands like Saxon, Thin Lizzy and Judas Priest.

My brother Neil joined Deceiver a year or so later and he brought with him John Stormont who later played with the Jess Cox Band and Battleaxe.

The bands musical direction had evolved hugely at that point and we decided to change the bands name to reflect that.

It was Spartan Warrior’s original drummer who put forward the name of Spartan Warrior. I think he was reading a lot of books on Ancient Greece and Greek Mythology and I believe he drew upon that associating the hard edge of the Spartan culture with what we were trying to do musically.

There were other suggestions for the bands name and as I recall they were all put into a beer glass so we could choose one randomly as none of us could agree. I suspect that there was more than one piece of paper with ‘Spartan Warrior’ written on it and that’s what was drawn out.

My personal influences at the time came from the 70’s Glam Rock bands such as Marc Bolan and T Rex, Sweet, Slade and Queen but around 1976 a friend of mine whose brother was a DJ in a club introduced me to Led Zeppelin and from that point my musical influences came from the classic rock acts such as Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy and from around 1978 bands such as UFO, Van Halen, Iron Maiden and Saxon.

I think that all of the guys from Spartan Warrior, past and present members, share the same musical influences that I have mentioned but also have other quite diverse tastes across the entire rock and metal spectrum that influence them… too many to mention here.

  1. What was the process behind writing Hell To Pay the album?

The band reunited in 2009 and recorded our third album, Behind Closed Eyes. That album featured four of the original members of Spartan Warrior.

Neil had wanted to put the band back together but one of the objects of the exercise was to release an album that for us set the record straight. None of us had been happy with the second album that had been released in 1984 and we just wanted to take control and responsibility for our music and put out an album that really showed what we could do.

We were all very happy with Behind Closed Eyes.

In 2011 our original bass player left followed closely by the drummer but the interest in the band was really growing so Neil and I decided to continue.

The current line-up has been together approaching 7 years now and we originally set about re-establishing ourselves as a really good live band.

It was quite natural for us then to start writing new material and we started playing some of it as part of our live set… songs like Bad Attitude and Hell to Pay.

Doing another album really was something the five of us wanted to do so we continued to play live and write songs and we started recording I think back in 2013 with Neil again at the helm as Engineer and Producer.

Neil experienced some technical difficulties with the recording process and had to modify a few things which just didn’t work and so we scrapped the recordings and started again trying to record between shows, everyday life and family commitments.

They say when things go against you they really do and there were some quite serious health issues in the band at one point which slowed us down even further.

Pure Steel had expressed their interest in us very early and we were absolutely determined to get the job done and so we pressed on and worked exceptionally hard.

We finished recording and mixing in the summer of 2017 and signed with Pure Steel shortly after that.

The new album ‘Hell to Pay’ is scheduled for release on February 23rd 2018.

We tend to write all of our songs the same way .

Neil or Dan will have a riff and the band at rehearsal work together and build the structure of the song.

Once the song is structured I take the music and work alone to write the lyrics. After that it’s back to rehearsal to add the vocals and rehearse the song until it’s tight enough to play live and record.

I draw lyrics from things I’ve seen on TV, read or things that have happened or been said on the road. Sometimes it’s just a phrase that someone says and I take it as a lyrical line and work the rest of the lyrics around that. Sometimes it’s the simple throw away things that people say or do that are the most interesting.

  1. How have things changed for the band and the music industry since you started out?

Things have changed drastically.

On the positive side with the internet and all of the platforms that it provides it is much easier to raise a bands profile and make your music available.

On the negative side because of the ease with which people can access music online it’s very difficult for a band to sustain its financial viability…  I think it affects even the most successful of bands but the impact at the lower end of the success spectrum is significant and lots of bands fold because they can’t afford to keep playing.

I’m very interested in and passionate about the vinyl revival.

I really hope that the industry and fans continue to embrace and grow that. I’ve never understood why anyone would click a button for a free download of music that they like… there’s nothing better than getting the cd or the vinyl with the artwork and liner notes and then sitting listening to the music and taking in everything that the package contains.

People really have to invest in the music to keep the industry and the music alive . If we don’t we’ll lose it all!

 

  1. What did/ do you make of the whole New Wave of British Heavy Metal Movement, and your place within it?

That’s difficult to answer.

I think most of the bands who are associated with the NWOBHM movement would say the same thing… I honestly don’t think any of us gave it a thought at the time.

Certainly as far as Spartan Warrior were concerned we were a rock band playing rock music. We still are.

I see a lot of debate about what qualifies a band to be a NWOBHM band and the general consensus appears to be the band has to have been active in the period 1978 up to 1985, be British and have had a “significant release” which I think means an actual commercial release as opposed to a demo.

On that basis I guess Spartan Warrior are a NWOBHM band and we’re quite happy to be part of the club.

There are some truly great NWOBHM bands many of whom are now personal friends of mine and the icing on the cake is that I’m a fan of those bands. Bands like Avenger, Holocaust, Tysondog and Raven. Many others too.

Being associated with such great bands is something that I’m very proud of.

If that means we’re all NWOBHM bands then that’s fine by me – it’s not the tag that matters, it’s whether or not the music is good.

I’ve read interviews with some very successful musicians who were tagged as part of the genre at the time and who have been quite disparaging of it and keen to distance themselves from it. I don’t know why they feel that way.

What I do know is that the people who come to festivals and shows really do embrace the bands, the music and the sense of togetherness in a way I haven’t seen anywhere else.

I also see a lot of younger bands, who have been influenced by the bands and music associated with the NWOBHM movement, making their own music and really being proud to say that they have been influenced by the genre.

There are some outstanding young bands of that type, Toledo Steel for instance.

  1. What plans have you got for the future?

The new album is set for release on 23rd February 2018 so our focus really is on working alongside our Pure Steel partners to raise the profile for that and drive it forward.

We headline Funeral Fest in Barrow In Furness, UK on 3rd March which is a very diverse metal festival and we are in rehearsals now preparing for that.

We’ve approached a number of promoters about playing a range of European festivals so we hope that further 2018 shows will materialise as the year progresses.

We also plan to put together some UK shows during the course of the year.

We will also be starting to look at writing further material for the next album… there are already a lot of things which have been recorded over the last few years which have been put onto the back burner and which we will likely return to and finish writing.

I think we will be pretty busy!

On behalf of all of the guys may I thank everyone for their support, particularly over the last six or seven years. It’s very much appreciated and taken to heart.

We hope that you all enjoy the “Hell to Pay” album… it’s been a long time coming but we hope you think it’s worth the wait.

David Wilkinson: Vocals: Spartan Warrior.

 

 

Spartan Warrior

Spartan Warrior-Hell To Pay Review

They were forged during the height of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, they are Spartan Warrior. Legends who trod a path known to fans of the movement, they released two albums before circumstances beyond their control forced them to split. They returned in 2009 and released a highly acclaimed comeback album, and now they’re back again with Hell to Pay.

Hell To Pay, Bad Attitude, Letting Go, Count of Clowns and Something to Believe in are slabs of hard rock and classic metal that drive the album forward onto solid footing, making for brilliant air guitar and pretend singing. The band is on fire throughout these songs, the guitars are on point and the vocals are spine tingling.

Walls Fall Down and Shadowland brings the haunting riffage to the fore before going into overdrive. Covered in Lust is heaviness personified bringing solidness and attitude to it. Fallen continues the onslaught whilst In Memorium brings something extra through duelling melodies and soulful vocal breaks.

With Hell To Pay, Spartan Warrior shows that they’ve got the goods, and fans should look forward to a long career from these metal heroes. Be sure to purchase the album during its release on February 23rd.

The Outfit

The Outfit Interview

Today I spoke with Mark Nawara, a founding member of The Outfit about the formation of the band and the new album:

  1. Could you talk us through how the band got together?

 

“I’ve been playing in various bands with my brother Matt for years now, and we wanted to create something that was in your face, and no frills rock and roll. And from there I recruited a legend in the Chicago music scene, our bassist Mike. We recorded Just As One, I think it was in a studio, and it sounded great. The only thing we needed then was a singer, who was in your face and followed the attitude of what we were going for. That’s when Andy Mitchell came to mind, I’d done some stuff with him in Arizona, so I sent him an email asked him if he’d sing on the song, he said yes, I sent it to him and he recorded it, then he sent it back and it sounded amazing. We then sent it to four people in the industry to get a feel of whether we were on the right track and the response was really positive. As for our name, well we’re from Chicago, and it’s famous for being the home of Al Capone, and we’re all a bit gritty so we called ourselves The Outfit, and it just sort of stuck. We were writing the songs and sending them to one another back and forth, Andy recorded his stuff via pro tools in Arizona, and then we put them together. Everyone’s been really positive about the record so far.”

 

 

  1. What inspired the music and the writing of the songs?

 

“We all brought something to the table. Right from the off we agreed that we were going to play in our individual styles to convey what we were about. We weren’t going to try and copy anyone. I followed a straight ahead rock approach, no frills, kind of like Cheap Trick in a manner of speaking. As for the lyrics they’re very much about life issues. The listener can interpret it however they want, but the core theme is life and whatever happens in it.”

 

  1. What plans have you got for the future?

 

“We’re currently putting the live show together, and preparing to go out on tour with Soil for a few dates. We’re looking to play in the States and hopefully come over to Europe. We’ve also just given the first single Soldier Boy to radio stations and the response has been good.”

 

 

Heretic

Heretic Interview

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They’re the underground heroes who kept a movement going, they’re the band that played with Metallica and Megadeth and outgunned them. Heretic have a storied history, as a founder of the thrash metal movement. It was a privilege to talk to Brian, the guitarist in the band:

 

  1. What inspired the name of the band and what are your influences?

The name Heretic actually came straight out of the dictionary. I was searching for a band name and the word seemed to stand out as a cool metal name for the group. Over the years as the band evolved and I grew as a writer, the name Heretic started to stand more for freedom of speech and free thinking, especially during the late 80’s with the PMRC on their rampage over rock and metal lyrics. As for my influences, UFO, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin were and still are my favorite bands. Early Metallica taught me how to play riffs.

 

 

  1. What was it like being part of the thrash scene during the eighties?

That was a great time to be in a band. There was literally a great show somewhere every night in LA. So many awesome bands came out of that period. Heretic was fortunate enough to be playing right in the middle of it all. We got a chance to play with some amazing groups like: Metallica, Megadeth, Motorhead, Plazmatics, Riot, and Armored Saint to name a few. Its nice to see a lot of bands form that era reformed and still playing like us. It shows you how strong the METAL bond between generations has endured.

 

 

  1. How did you approach recording A Game You Cannot Win? Were there specific things that influenced the lyrics and music?

 

I usually right the music first and then form an idea for what it might be about after. Lyrically I tend to just right about the world I see around me, or about what I hear is going on in the news. The recording for “A Game You Can Not Win” was done in sections, three songs at a time on weekends, whenever we could scrap up enough money to pay for the session. Our initial idea for the CD was to give it a LIVE feel, or “Old School” vibe, so we kept the production on a minimalist diet. I think the next CD will be the polar opposite, walls of guitars, bass, drums and vocals -­‐haha.

 

 

 

  1. What songs do you most like playing live?

There are a couple of standouts for me personally. Two of our older songs that I love to play live are “Blood will tell” and “Whitechapel”. As for our newer songs, “Demonized” , “Child of war” and “This world called hell” seem to stand out as fan favorites.

 

 

  1. What plans do you have for the future?

I want to record new music as long as we can as a band. I have the majority of the next CD already written, hopefully there will be no unforeseen problems to slow the process down this time around. For now, it’s time to take the band out and play live as much as we can in 2018. East coast USA will most likely happen, as well as locally in LA and northern California. I would love to play some European festivals (if they will have us?) time will tell. Thank you for your interest in the band, it has been my pleasure to answer your questions.

Summoning

Summoning Interview

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I was incredibly fortunate to interview Black Metal legends Summoning last week:

 

1.   What drew you to black metal, and what made you choose the names you did for the band and yourselves?

silenius:
when we started summoning of course we did not know that this band can be alive for such a long time, but somehow we succeeded all over those years. in the beginning we just wanted to release an album to be as cool as our musical heroes and so on and so on. in the early 90ties black metal was not just music but a whole life-style which i lived 24 hours a day. everything was in the rise, and in the move and creativity was floating all over. of coursed nowardays 25 years later a lot of things have changed. summoning is of course very important for us, but meanwhile it is just a part of our live and not the center and the act of composing is far more focused and thoughtfull compared to the beginning. but of course it is an honor of us that meanwhile our music is a source of inspiration for quite a lot of younger bands. so it seems that our music has a kind of quality that spreads unto the hearts of younger generations who maybe continue this style and make their own ideas out of it.
as our whole concept is based on tolkiens middle earth concept it was necessary to use alias names to bring everything in a fitting context. the band name was inspired by “diabolical summoning” a phrase used by the norwegian band dark throne. the logo was designed and done by protector.

2.   Where do you draw your lyrical and musical influences from?

silenius: as i said, all our lyrical influences and the whole concept is dedicated to tolkiens middle earth creation, seen from a darker point of view. in our youth we of course had a long metal socialisation, but later the musical influences came fron a wider range like dark wave, dark ambient, soundtracks and-scapes, martial industrial folk and many more fields…

3.   How did you go about writing and recording your newest album?

silenius: we had some material left from the old mornings dawn session and took this as a starting point to make something new out of it. usually i compose most of the keyboard melodies, while protector adds some more melodies here and there. then he is doing all the guitars and drum pattern while i work for the lyrical concept and collect paintings for the visualisation. finally protector is doing all the mixing and mastering.

4.   What plans do you have for the future?

after our work is done we usually go on a long winter sleep…

Ginger Wildheart

Ginger Wildheart Interview

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A veritable music legend, Ginger Wildheart has had a fascinating career, from The Wildhearts to a variety of solo projects, over the past three decades, the man has become a bonafide music institution. I was fortunate enough to interview him this past week:

Could you tell me a bit about yourself, what drew you to music, and what were your influences growing up? Do they remain the same now or have they changed?

It’s funny, I just had a clothing patch turn up in the post yesterday, it’s an inverted smiley face with the word ‘shit’ on the bottom. This morning I was just telling my 9 year old son that when I was nine years old I sat watching The Sweet singing ‘Blockbuster’ on Top Of The Pops, and the guitar player had this exact ‘inverted smiley’ design on a sticker on his guitar. Right then, with my Mother yelling about how she hated what she was hearing, this music and this sticker spoke to me. It told me that I would play music for my life.
Well, I was listening to Sweet in the car yesterday, as I was driving back home from the studio. So while I’ve found a billion influences since I was nine, the same one’s have always stayed with me.

 

Do you approach songwriting differently depending on the project your working on? Or do you maintain the same approach?

It’s all the same to me really, it’s all based on the lyrics. If I don’t have a theme to the song that I can invest myself in then the song means nothing to me. I can’t just get excited about a good riff or a catchy chorus, the actually subject matter has to be something I really want to write about. I reject a lot of songs because they just don’t seem to be speaking to me about anything.

 

What things inspire you in your songwriting?

My outlook on things. I’ve always been attracted towards experiences, usually quite extreme experiences, and as I get older my perspective changes. Having a different outlook on a topic as I did when I was younger is massively inspirational to me. Luckily you get a bit more wisdom as you age. And while you may lose your looks I was a pretty ugly young man, so I think that’s a pretty sweet deal.
I have more patience and less judgement than I did when I was young, and I’m very grateful for that. I’m way less of an arsehole these days.

With Ghost In The Tanglewood soon to be released, what can fans expect from the record, lyrically and musically? Is there a song or songs on the record you’re looking forward to playing live?

I really enjoy playing any new songs live, and these songs are particularly personal, so sharing them with an audience is going to be an honour.
Ghost In The Tanglewood is a very confessional album, it’s a candid report on the human condition, which I think a lot of people will be able to relate to.
Musically it’s still melodic, which my supporters have come to expect from me, but the music is lighter than I’d normally record, and embraces my love for country and folk, which showcase the words better than loud guitars and noise usually do. I hope people are going to be affected by the lyrics more on this album.

 

What plans have you got for the future?

I want to stay busy promoting my music. I want to keep writing new music, and once I record that I would like to get back on the road promoting it.
I want my life to be that of a travelling, recording, creative musician. As long as I can make sure that my family are supported then that is all I want to do with the rest of my days on this planet.