Everything worth having requires a sacrifice of some sort: interview with Elyes Bouchoucha

I have been following Myrath for some years now and I could not be happier to see them get more and more successful. Their latest album, “Shehili” took the charts by storm (pun intended – Shehili is the name of an ancient wind, coming all the way from the dunes of Sahara). Oriental metal never sounded this good, but the band did not start with just creating a strong album and went forward to a huge production of live shows. With fire jugglers, belly dancers and even an illusionist, their show caught everyone’s attention and earned them the headline spot at Sweden Rock Festival.

We caught up with Elyes Bouchoucha (keyboards) to find out more about their album and future plans, plus some fun questions to get to know him better.

Teen Art Out: With each album you expect a bigger and better response, but with this one it was really there. Do you find it to be more an acknowledgement and recognition of everything so far, or is it just a starting point?

Elyes Bouchoucha: It is both really, because on one hand we have been working really hard over the past years to reach the level we have reached today and by consequence the recognition or acknowledgment, and on the other hand it is also a starting point for Myrath as the forerunner of this unique genre of Blazing Desert Metal.

Teen Art Out: At any time during the process of a new album, do you go back and listen to the previous records to perhaps compare or see where the new one would be placed?

Elyes: We have all of our music imprinted on our minds and, to be honest, after these many years we reached a point where we can immediately recognize a tune or compare to a previous melody when discussing a new one.

Teen Art Out: You have talked a lot about your great relationship with producer Kevin Codfert and now the lyricists you have worked with. How easy is it for you to let others come into your project? I imagine sometimes egos must be put aside to recognize other people’s creative input.

Elyes: To put it in a manner that is related to our latest album Shehili, our creative process is somewhat of a collective sandstorm of creative ideas; we start with a lot of input swirling around and then move ahead by selecting what we think is best to work with and refining the rest further. It is more of a team work and everybody has a say. Our work has always been like this, a family effort where there is no place for egos because our mutual goal is Myrath’s music and its success rather than individual victories or recognition.

Teen Art Out: “Believer” was such a huge and amazing video, which now got two sequels in “Dance” and “No Holding Back”. When did you first think of the songs and videos as a trilogy?

Elyes: We always thought that we need to have a sequel to Believer as we liked the idea of Myrath’s members in an alternate reality, especially after we saw the huge positive feedback from fans and critics. The idea then came while working on Shehili, we thought it was best to build on what we already started with Believer and Zaher’s peculiar objects that transports to other realms. 

Teen Art Out: How strange is it to work with as many visual effects?

Elyes: It is very exciting to work with CGI because you can never know what the final result would be until you see it, we have to work with imagination and a green screen while hoping for the best. The results were awesome although we definitely hope to reach Game of Thrones CGI level one day, Haha!

Teen Art Out: Last year you had an extremely impressive concert at “Festival International de Carthage”, with thousands of people cheering for you in your home country. How have the international tours and success influenced the way you are received in Tunisia?

Elyes: It is not only due the international touring and growing recognition but also the amazing support of our fans in Tunisia who came in their thousands for the 3 festival concerts we did in 2017, and that of course helped in having us play Carthage International Festival 2018 as the first metal band to ever feature in the prestigious festival.

Photo credit: Nidhal Marzouk

Teen Art Out: How long does it take you when you’re back from tour to miss being on tour?

Elyes: About a day or two! Haha. It is very rewarding to be on the road with the band and getting to meet our large family of Myrath’s fans in a new city every day, it is an experience like no other and despite the tiresome daily routine of packing, unpacking and moving from city to city, once it is over I miss it immediately.

Teen Art Out: What are some pieces of home you would like to find wherever you travel? It can be places, ideas, customs, foods, anything.

Elyes: I love travel and I am very interested in exploring new places, cities, food, and customs. I do not look for home in the places I visit but rather try to experience them in their own way. I always make sure to try the local coffee wherever I go as I am a coffee addict J I also like to try new food and get to know the local areas and shops. I especially enjoy taxi rides when the local radio would be on and I get to listen to the music of the country we are in.

Teen Art Out: What are some of the things people cannot understand about being an active touring musician until they become one?

Elyes: The hectic speedy tempo of the daily routine where everything must be done in the fastest time possible to ensure being on time for the show. Life on tour is a very special experience and I honestly think you need to experience it for yourself to fully realise what it means. It is exhausting and exciting in equal measures and every day is an adventure in itself.

Teen Art Out: One of the themes we have dealt in our issues is “Art Kills”. Must Art be a sacrifice to be true and real? There is of course the myth of the lone and misunderstood artist.

Elyes: I came to realise that everything worth having requires a sacrifice of some sort. If you want to get good grades in school for example, you will have to sacrifice your leisure time and spend it studying instead. Art is similar in this aspect; if you are to connect to your creative spirit and produce art then you must be willing to sacrifice long hours of solitude and hard work. I do not think that ‘Art Kills’ per say, but it does require a great deal of effort and energy to produce it, you might be lonely at times or you may feel misunderstood but when the final result comes out, you will realise it was worth every moment. The outcome is always rewarding and worth your sacrifices.

Teen Art Out: How competitive would you say you are as a person? Is it safe to play Monopoly (or other games) with you 😊?

Elyes: I don’t think of myself as being competitive but I do enjoy a good challenge! It is definitely safe to play Monopoly with me but you should also bring out your best game because I won’t make it easy, I play to win! haha.

Teen Art Out: What is your limit for adventure-seeking? Do you go on the scariest rides in an amusement park, would ever skydive?

Elyes: The scarier the better! I love a good adrenaline rush and I always go for the adventures that push my fear limits further. I would definitely try skydiving one day when the opportunity comes.

Finally, thank you very much for this nice chat and stay blazing desert metal 😉

Interview by Simona Mihalca

Sabaton put on last-minute headline show at Hellfest even after Joakim loses his voice

After Manowar unceremoniously dropped out of Hellfest, Sabaton were announced as a last-minute replacement. They had played at Knotfest the previous day and were invited to headline Hellfest on a day’s notice.

Aftert lead singer Joakim Brodén loses his voice, bandmates Pär Sundström, Chris Rörland, and Tommy Johansson step up to deliver the vocals for a great show.

If that was not enough, Sabaton also invite a few fans on stage and set up a table to eat and drink with Joakim

Sabaton are playing tonight at Graspop Metal Meeting and you can watch their show here:

Interview: ZFG

Teen Art Out: Let’s start by asking you how you guys ended up together to form a band?

Trev: We all had our own separate projects going at the time we decided get together in the studio. Josh and I met through a mutual friend a few years back and hit it off immediately. We ended up becoming roommates. I knew of Josh and that he is a beast of a drummer. He knew of me and dug what I did. We always wanted to jam together. I knew that we met for a reason other than just being roommates. Our projects at the time weren’t showcasing what we do as musicians. So we planned a day in the studio to let loose which lead to Sam on bass. Sam and I have known each other our whole lives. Our dad’s were in a band together. It’s crazy it took 27 years to actually play together. First time was when I was MDing for Diamante on a short tour run a year back. I played guitar on Dia’s record so they asked me to bring some of my guys out. The universe spoke and told me to call Sam for the gig. Immediately, Sam and I had a music chemistry as well as being family. His groove is so deep. Sam and Josh together are one frightening rhythm section. So he was our go to for bass. Jules and I kept running into each other in the Hollywood Jam circuit. He was doing his solo thing. Very soul, R&B Pop. When we were looking for a singer to get in with us, he happened to post a video of him performing on stage. He’s one hell of a performer. He went to his high register which then morphed him into Steven Tyler, Myles Kennedy, and Axl Rose cocktail. I text him to see if he would be into the idea of doing a rock project for fun. He was all about it. We walked in the studio not knowing what would come of it. Just to make music with no rules or overthinking. Just to have fun. The phrase we said was “No commitment unless we have to commit.” So we called the session ZFG (Zero Fucks Given) We recorded Holehearted that day. The band chemistry was undeniable. The vibe and love in the room was undeniable. We knew at that point, this was bigger than us. We had too much fun creating that song and that was it. We dropped our projects and became ZFG. It stuck as the band name.   

T.A.O.: When coming up with your sound, how did you describe it to each other?

Trev: My pop called us heavy Earth, Wind and Fire. We laughed but it’s kind of right on. It’s a mix of funk, rock with a touch of sexy. You want to sing chorus’ and at the same time move to them, mosh to them. We bring a bunch of our separate influences into one. It’s exciting.   

Jules: This was something so new to me. Although I always listened to everything, I never thought I’d be in a rock band. When I heard the first few bars of the track that Trev sent me to write to, I immediately was impressed by the sound of it all and found it very easy to write to. I just brought my own thing to the table, which comes from the realms of RnB and Soul. We described to each other as ZERO FUCKS GIVEN. Obviously we’re rocking out, but the ingredients to the recipe are coming from different corners of the world. We’re unique.   

Sam: I wouldn’t say that we ever sat down and had a discussion about what sound we wanted for the band. Everyone just bring in our own style and influence to the music. Even though the end product is very rock sounding there is a lot of other influences that are a huge part of the sound. That’s part of what makes this band so fun, everyone can bring in and try whatever they’re feeling and it leads us to some pretty awesome outcomes creatively.

T.A.O.: What were your wishes for your first studio material and how has the result been similar or different than your expectations?

Josh: We just really wanted to bring the shell of the songs we had written to life and create something unique and something we all were proud of, I can safely say it definitely surpassed all our expectations. We all had a similar visions as to how we wanted every song to come to life and I feel it went above and beyond that mark. Its funny, you go into the sessions with certain favourite songs you create, and you come out afterwards with new favourites. Its a beautiful process.Trev: I feel at this point, going to the studio will always be greater than our expectations. We now sit with each other while we write with all acoustic instruments. Guitar, Bass and Josh has this crazy cajon on crack and we figure out harmonies, grooves and arrangements. When we get in the room and hear with our gear turned up and for real, it’s only mind blowing.
Sam: I’d say that we just wanted to come out of the studio with something we could be proud to show the world. We came out with exactly what we were after but I think the process of being in the studio turned out to be above our expectations. The process of writing and fleshing our the songs in the room together really just went to another level. I think there’s something to be said for not having an exact layout of the song and just seeing where you can go creatively in the moment.  

T.A.O.: You all bring different experience, with other bands and tours. How is it going from that to starting a new band?

Josh: For me I had always been the ‘hired gun’, as a session player. So it was so nice to be able to really give a part of me to these songs and create something with my brothers that is authentic and real. These songs and this sound is who we are, theres no smoke and mirrors or pretty production coverups. Its raw, what you see and hear is what you get.  

Jules: I was doing the solo artist thing for a few years in LA. It was awesome because it taught me how to take care of my business, how to deal with musicians and producers and such. The great thing about being in a band when it works is that you’re not the only captain of your ship, and you’re happy about it. It’s inspiring because you know you won’t be alone facing challenges and successes along the way. Happiness is meant to be shared at the end of the day. This is our happy place.   
Sam: I look at it like a new adventure. Every project is different and some allow you to express different things. Any time you can create something new with people you connect with is always an incredible experience.

T.A.O.: A recent study I encountered read that “becoming a successful artist is more about who you know than how creative or original your art is”. Would you agree with that?

Josh: It can be sometimes a case of who you know, but thats not the ‘end all, be all’. If you’re a carbon copy of the artist to your left and right, your music will be here today, gone tomorrow. I know between us, we all know a lot of people in this industry from all levels, yet its not about trying to win them over just because we ‘know’ them, its creating something that is unique and special to us, and connecting with the REAL people in charge of this industry.. The FANS! The rest falls into place.

Trev: From experience, its not ALL about who you know. You really have to make a name for yourself and be humble. People only want to work with people they love hanging with. There will always be someone “technically” better than you but it’s not about that. Be yourself, be respectful and bring your own vibe to the music. People will catch on.   

Jules: To make it simple. If you suck at what you do, everyone you know will know, and you won’t get anywhere with it. It’s best to be great at your craft, and surround yourself with great people.   

T.A.O.: You are preparing for quite the extensive tour. What can we expect from ZFG on stage?

Trev: A lot of fun energy! We want to provide an escape for the person watching us. Make them forget about the stress at work or at home. Get lost in the moment with us like we do with them.  

Jules: Backing Trev on this one! ENERGY and CONNECTION!!!   

T.A.O.: When starting a new band, the hope is that it will last for many years. However, if someone were to take a normal job, the prospect of signing up for something for 5-7-10 years or even more could be quite daunting. How do you see that part of it?

Jules: There is nothing normal about this “job” haha. It’s a relationship, it’s a pact, it’s a vision. It’s not daunting, it calls for epic years ahead of us.   

Sam: I don’t really see it as something daunting. Everything is just so natural and free flowing with this band. We always have a great time no matter if we’re writing, rehearsing or hanging out. It never feels like work or a commitment with these guys.  

T.A.O.: A musician friend of mine just said that “the myth of the rock star is almost like that of the Greek Gods”. How do you feel about this myth, and what is actually happening?

Josh: What goes on tour, stays on tour.Trev: myth of the rockstar? Haha The truth is it’s not 1985 anymore. For the most part everyone has toned down the crazy. We are all human beings with our own unique talent to bring to this life and this world. We are all rockstars. I want to eliminate the pedestal. 
Jules: I guess we will see how it plays out. It’s not dead, superstars are still walking our earth, and the concept of it is evolving with our society.   

Sam: I guess I can see the comparison. Every once in awhile you get someone who explodes onto the scene and then kind of burns out from the pressure. In a way it’s kind of like Icarus. The myth of the rock star is something so built up in peoples mind. Then there’s also the side of it where someone starts to think of themselves in that way when they find some success.   

T.A.O.: Do you feel that you have a social or political responsibility through your art, messages, and examples set in the public eye? Or can you exist outside of that?

Josh: Yeah, its a strange time we live in, especially with social media, everybody has a voice, yet very few people are tolerant of other peoples opinions. If it goes against the current popular flow of thought then its deemed negative. I prefer to stay away from saying or leaning to any one side, ESPECIALLY politics, religion etc. That just causes separation and divide, which is sad and serious steps in the wrong direction. I just want to create music for people to escape from all the every day bullshit, no matter where they stand in life.

Jules: No politics or religion in our music. It’s all about sex 😉   

T.A.O.: Last but not least, dream big! What are the highest hopes, the dreams, the big things you would set on a vision board?

Josh: I see us playing at Wembley Stadium, I can genuinely see it clear as day right now… I can’t wait.

Trev: We gotta play the Forum here in LA. It’s a dream I know we can accomplish.  

Jules: Greek god myth, all the way 🙌🏼   

Sam: My dream would be to keep making more music and do more shows with these guys. This is just the beginning.  

Septicflesh live in Bucharest – concert review

The first months of 2019 were pretty quite regarding big shows, but somehow March and April unleashed the mayhem. Everyting started on a Saturday night, on 31th March, when I was heading to Quantic club to attend a very special show of one of my favorite bands. Maximum Rock announced that Septicflesh will return to our lands months ago and the hype got really real.

Science of Disorder was the first act of the night. Knew nothing of them and had no expectations. Though I arrived a short time after they started playing I managed to listen enough to have an opinion. The first thought that came through my mind was the similar sound they had to Septicflesh. Actually, I think they might have been the closest band to the headliner from that night, which is never a bad thing. I always enjoy seeing bands that come from the same range of vibes and sounds. Not saying they have the same songs or hit the same notes, but was definitely something different from those generic fast heavy riffs. They had a pretty decent public which they managed to engage and keep alive. The funny thing was the aspect of the band members. For what was going to happen that night in Quantic, the guys seemed a bit „soft”. However, the show was a real success and got the audience hyped for rest of the night.

Photo by Carlos Funes

Diabolical was the band that caught my attention from the very first song. Though I find the capes a bit generic and mainstream for this kind of bands, their unique sound was really intriguing. There was this perfect balance between heavy riffs, melodic parts, and growling and kept me there, starring. They made such a transition between the first band and those who were to come, that you would have no doubt you came to the right Death/Black metal show. Diabolical is certainly a band focused on atmospheric elements, from the black capes to the warm light colors and a constant feeling of darkness. You know a band is good when the people outside the venue are starting to come and watch, nodding their heads and whispering to each other, while keeping their eyes on the stage. I really hope to see them again soon.

Photo by Carlos Funes

About Krisiun I don’t precisely what to say because I knew them before but I was never really a fan. However, they made a show to remember and the audience loved every moment. Despite their raw riffs coming from Moyses Kolesne, the brothers Kolesne are the perfect driving force behind the band with vocalist Alex Camargo‘s brutal “approach”. It was a show on point, full of energy, moshpits, and smiles, marked by surprising cover. I didn’t get the chance to see Motorhead live, but Krisiun made “Ace of Spades” sound really authentic.

Photo by Carlos Funes

After half-an-hour set change and sound checking, we finally got to be introduced to the Greek Gods. In my opinion, Septicflesh is one the best bands one can see live. They know how to put up a show like no one else. Their connection with the audience, the way they are always trying to engage the people, the record-like sound, the attitude of Seth, all of these are the pieces of an exceptional show. The only downfall was the heavy amount of dry ice which never really cleared so anyone could catch a proper view of the band. In a way it was a plus for the atmosphere.

Photo by Carlos Funes

The classical „Destroy Style” Septicflesh atmosphere never really left the stage. The show started with „Portrait of the Headless Man” and lasted a little more than an hour, where each song seemed to have every human emotion playing on stage with the raspy high-pitched vocals of Seth.

The thing I love about Seth, the leader of the band, is how he interacts with the crowd and how he s trying to make them a part of this huge orchestration. You could really feel that each band member was well prepared to give everything they had, and so they did.

Photo by Carlos Funes

We got the chance to listen to songs from Codex Omega like “Enemy of Truth” and “Martyr”, but the best moments of the show were the crowd became really enthusiastic were during “Pyramid God”, “Prometheus” and „Persepolis”. However, “Anubis” was the moment when everyone lost their minds, singing, screaming, jumping, feeling every note.

Photo by Carlos Funes

I didn’t realize how full the club was until I called it a night a left the club. The night overall was a big success, and I cannot wait to see the bands again, soon. Until then, many thanks to Maximum Rock for make it happen this time.

Godsmack/Like a Storm live in Bucharest – concert review

On a lovely 1st April Monday, a perfect combo I might say, my steps took me to Arenele Romane, where I was going to fully enjoy a Godsmack and Like a Storm show. I knew the schedule will have no delay so I was at the venue by 7:30 PM.

Photo by Carlos Funes

Like A Storm is a band that came to our lovely country from New Zealand. I am a big fan of those guys for some years now and had some expectations regarding their show. With a sound so loud it forced me to wear earplugs, the guys took the stage, opening things up with lead singer Chris Brooks on the didgeridoo (very unusual instrument for such a band). As this was a first for me, and likely for most in attendance, but the combination of didgeridoo with the heavy guitar riffs of Matt Brooks, coupled with the strong bass lines of Kent Brooks, seemed to work perfectly. Like A Storm performed a short, but extremly energetic set that included past hits such as “Wish You Hell”, “Become The Enemy”, and closing with “Love The Way You Hate Me” (favorite song). The last song had a little special moment when Chris threw himself in the audience, jumping and singing around. They engaged the public in such a way that by the end of the show they definitely left with a strong romanian fan base. However, the sound was so loud I could barely understand the vocals in some songs. Overall the show was great and raised to my expectations.

Photo by Carlos Funes

So this was Godsmack’s second show in Bucharest. Usually, two days in a raw shows make me skeptical about the audience. To my surprise, the show was almost sold out (the first one was a full-house) and there was little space to move or breath.

Áfter the usually “move things around the stage” break, the Boston natives attacked with the song “Someday” from their latest release “When legends Rise”. With his trademark vocal power, frontman Sully Erna delivered a high energy set with records like “When Legends Rise”, “Unforgettable”, “Someday”, and “Bulletproof”. Guitarist Tony Rombola delivered the goods in his own inimitable style, and although he may not be flashy, he can certainly hold his own music wise, putting out some of the heaviest guitar riffs.

Photo by Carlos Funes

As for Shannon himself, he is just a treat to watch, putting on a drum show that might as well stand for himself. With arms flying in ways that the human body isn’t meant to move or catching his drum sticks while holding down the beat, Shannon truly is a master at what he does. However, the highlight of the drumming part was the battle between Sully and Shannon, “Batalla de los Tambores”. Featuring two drum sets that move out towards the front of the stage, Sully and Shannon have a drum off, taking turns drumming back and forth and also together at times with killer precision. Judging by the smiles on their faces, this might be their favorite part of the show too.

Sully didnt’t waste too much time chattering between songs, so Godsmack delivered a killer 2 hours set of heavy rock, which also included hits from the past including “1000HP”, “Cryin’ Like A Bitch”, “Voodoo”, and “Whatever”. Still, I don’t know if it was because of the stress or weariness but Sully missed many notes on some songs, kinda ruining them. Also, the sound was still a bit too loud, but far better than what Like a Storm had.

They closed out the evening with “I Stand Alone” and a funny cover of ACDC’s Highway to Hell. Godsmack is one of those bands that let you know the rock n roll is alive and well. And nothing tells you that more than the Godsmack women panties from the merchandise area. :))

About the organization there is not much to say. They were on point with everything, there were no lines at the bars or at the counters, the access was on time, no delays in the schedule, everyone left happy. Overall, the night was pretty awesome and I can’t wait to see both bands again soon. Until then, thank you Metalhead for making things happen.

Photos by Carlos Funes.

What Men Want

What an awesome movie!

That is not the way I usually start a review, but this movie needs it. It is just so fun an powerful, so fresh. It is a good (romantic) comedy.

It follows the same idea as the classic “What Women Want”, only gender swapped. As you can imagine from that sentence, a lot of people (“man-babies)” will be offended about it. But worry not, because the movie proves them wrong.

Taraji P. Henson, whom you might know as Cookie in Empire, is masterful as a leading lady. She is funny and witty and dramatic, powerful, and yet flawed. She truly owns the movie. While the movie is a great win for diversity, with a woman of colour as the main character, her work stands tall for herself, not needing to be representing a whole group of people.

We see her character, Ali, work in a sport talent agency, where she is repeatedly left out of the “boys’ club” and told to “stay in her [female] lane”. Yet again she was looked over for promotion because “she doesn’t get men”.

The following night, at her friend’s bachelorette party, Ali meets a very obvious sham of a psychic, who makes Ali drink some strange tea. As we later find out, it had a mix of marijuana, extasy and Haitian plants. After a minor head injury suffered that night while out at a club, Ali is now able to read the inner thoughts of men.

Her new power proves to be hilarious and scary when used on her loyal, trusting, and very amusing assistant. Once she embraced her new power, she managed to outsmart her colleagues, trying to sign the young new basketball superstar. In doing that, she had to convince his dad/manager, played by Tracy Jordan, who is exactly what you would expect from a Tracy Jordan character. In order to impress him, she pretends her one-night stand is actually her husband.

What goes on is entirely predictable, but thoroughly enjoyable. You know the structure of a romantic comedy, mixed with some work-place drama. I will not give away more of the plot, because it is really worth seeing.

Image result for what men want

All in all, the movie is funny and quirky. It allows Taraji to shine and show us all what she is got. Once again, I must say that this movie is not going to win Best Picture anytime soon. However, it is a movie we can all enjoy, a fun outing with your friends. And, if it happens, while you do that, to understand a bit more about what men or women want, then all the better.

Review brought to you by Hollywood Multiplex Bucuresti Mall

Test your fear of heights and step into virtual reality at the Museum of Senses Bucharest starting March 1st!

Forget reality as it is!

With spring’s arrival the Museum of Senses and Loop Virtual Reality have prepared a series of adventures that will totally stimulate your senses. Whether you choose to test your fear of heights, the VR simulator of the educational experiences, you are guaranteed to find something to suit you.

The well known project that will test your fear of heights from the Internatics Interactive Expo is  going to be available to the public within the museum where nothing is as it seems. Get ready for increased heart beats, a good dosage of adrenaline and take a step towards defeating the acrophobia.

Kat Walk Mini is the platform which allows you to truly walk in virtual reality! Get ready to reach a new level of immersivity and reach new universes while being totally safe. The whole system is sustained by a rotative core with a backrest which becomes useful for resting from time to time.

Loop VR at the Museum of Senses

That’s not all! Since we believe in virtual reality’s immense power to change the world, we are preparing a series of educative VR projects meant to open one’s mind. What if you were able to take a stroll in a capsule through the human body? What if you could visit Everest, study and visit other planets of draw without any limits? All this and more will soon be available only at the Museum of Senses.

Come thrill your senses and explore new universes!

This is a partnership between Loop Virtual Reality Solutions and the  Museum of Senses.  For more information you may contact us via  loop@vrsolutions.tech or info.ro@museumofsenses.com.

Brutal Assault 2019 – Bands Update

Let’s kick off this band announcement with the well-known metal workaholics! Swedish metal eminence SOILWORK spawned in Helsingborg, anno 1995 by guitarist Peter Wichers and vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid. The band’s unique blend of melodic metal has developed at a staggering rate, most notably with the “Natural Born Chaos”, produced by Devin Townsend. Despite a few line-up shuffles, SOILWORK continues to release strong albums and conquers the fans worldwide, even after 20 years. Now, with the new highly acclaimed album Verligheten, will SOILWORK dominate over the fortress!
In the late 2016, a statement was made about a new album of the Swedish sludge/grindcorers THE ARSON PROJECT, claiming that we were about to witness 23 minutes of straight harsh audio violence. And we got it! Now, this Malmö based quartet will spread filthy tones through their outstanding music full of violence and hatred on Brutal Assault as well.
Dreamy musical landscapes painted by the most delicate nuances. Hills of endless imagination built stone by stone with a gentle talent. THE CONTORTIONIST represents fearlessness in musical expression, designed to please the artist as much as the audience. This band makes progressive metal music, anchored in the heavy sounds that drag the individual players to the stage, yet still unmoored by convention or expectations. There is a time, when you simply need to ease a little, and THE CONTORTIONIST will help to make it happen.
Outstanding, shocking, unbelievable, breathtaking and many more is the Japanese self-called “brutal orchestra” VAMPILLIA. It’s not just a band, it’s something that you have to experience in order to believe it. Each record of this ensemble represents something different, just as their shows do, which you can call an emotional roller-coaster. After their successful tour with Alcest, will Brutal Assault warmly welcome these freaks again in Czech Republic!
Detroit: MI’s WALLS OF JERICHO are not just noteworthy because they are a metalcore band with a screaming female on vocals. They are also worth remembering because they have been adeptly balancing old-school hardcore, thrash metal, and “chugga-chugga” metalcore with a ferocity and dedication unmatched by many of their contemporaries. WOJO became an iron sureness not only on the hardcore field and not just because of their music, but also due to their attitude and distinguished performance full of blasting energy of their front-woman Candace Kucsulain.
2018 marks the twenty-seventh year of PRIMORDIAL’s seminal career, and the return with their ninth full-length Exile Amongst The Ruins, they have lost none of their vitality. Once again building upon their signature sound, the follow up to 2014’s “Where Greater Men Have Fallen” is a more raw, “old school sounding” record than its predecessor. Hitting home, with what vocalist A.A. Nemtheanga describes as “a direct energy” and wielding an urgency that is undeniable, the Irish quintet once again effortlessly blends elements of Celtic folk and black metal like no one else. One thing is certain – not only the Czech fans will welcome PRIMORDIAL with a warm hug!
Picking their name from a line in Demolition Hammer’s ‘Human Dissection’, California’s SKELETAL REMAINS not only have proven their exquisite taste when finding the right moniker, but also musically by citing Death, Pestilence, early Gorguts, Morbid Angel and the afore-mentioned NY thrashers as influences. With their insanely good album Devouring Mortality, SKELETAL REMAINS are coming back to conquer what’s theirs on Brutal Assault!
Retro-rock visionaries MONSTER MAGNET spent much of the 1990s struggling against the prejudices imposed upon the image and sound by alternative rock fashion nazis. In fact, it wasn’t until that movement’s late-’90s decline that the band’s dogged persistence finally paid off and their fourth album, Powertrip, catapulted to gold sales status on the strength of its massive hard rock hit “Space Lord.” In the meantime, MONSTER MAGNET managed to become one of the most successful and influential bands associated with the so-called underground “stoner rock” scene. Nowadays, it seems a little bit off to call them underground band, since these guys are a huge deal.
All thrashers, beware! DEMOLITION HAMMER are coming to set things straight in the fortress! New York City’s one of the best thrash acts are back with a helluva record Tortured Existence, which shows the band in their best shape!
An absolute honor is to announce legends of psychedelic rock, Chicago based act full of witchery and surrounded by mystical magic – COVEN! This is the first band which brought sign of horns to metal music. The first band using occult lyrics and singing about satanism and the first satanic band which had a big song in charts. Jinx Dawson spawned COVEN in late 2016 with a new line-up to arrange more sabbaths all over the world and we are pleased to say that one of these magical sessions will happen on Brutal Assault!
Back in the day, a claim was made about the HELLHAMMER, that this band will never come back, because it’s absolutely impossible to reform a band so closely linked to a very specific and unique time period. However, here we are, standing before something that will remind us of these times – Tom Gabriel brings us TRIUMPH OF DEATH! It is a project with an open end. Apart from vague considerations to, perhaps, release an occasional live EP, Triumph Of Death will not record any new music but is solely dedicated to performing both well-know and obscure Hellhammer songs.

Amorphis/ Soilwork and Jinger- concert review

You know, December was fun, holidays and all, but did you ever go to an Amorphis show in January? One that was announced in August 2018? The hype is real, I am telling you. So, on this very cold evening of 22 January, in the year of Metallica/Slayer and others big gigs, I ice-skated my way to Arenele Romane, the Venue where the first big show of the year would take place. An interesting mix of Soilwork, Jinger and Nailed to Obscurity starring the finish classics of Amorphis.

Nailed to Obscurity, photo by Carlos Funes

Nailed to Obscurity is a band I didn’t know. Saw them on the poster and thought I’ll give them the live chance, so I got there shortly after they started playing (on schedule). They caught my attention really fast, as I was quite confused about what I was listening to. Went there for some melodic death metal and got some really nice mellow parts and clean vocals, combined with heavy guitar riffs and heavy drums (specific to the genre). Their approach to this style is definitely unique, with many twist and turns which gets you caught in a spiderweb. Even though I fell in love with their latest album “Black Frost”, which might be the apex of their “experiments”, I am eagerly waiting for a fifth studio album. Other than that, the show was really good, from Raimund’s voice (which happens to have a wide-range in it, with smooth transitions from low growls to clean), to a very good sound, low dark lights and lots of energy and smiles. I am sure they already had many fans in the audience but everyone loved them, overall.  

Jinger was a bit “outside” the line-up but still, put a hell of a show. Under some green and yellow cold lights, Tatiana showed again her great vocals skills, singing both with clean vocals and growls, with a contrast one has never seen before. It is really impressive how easy it seems for her to go from brutal, fast, low growl and high screams, to girlie clean vocals, a thing that can be enjoyed at its best on “Pisces”. The metalcore/progressive band was the twist of the night, one that the audience loved, but of course, Jinger has a pretty big fanbase in Romania.  Still, there wasn’t a lot of movement from the band on stage except for Tatiana, who kicks and punches and engages the crowd like a Xena of metal. The band knows their craft and they absolutely shred live, from the riffs to the intricate bass to the percussions and the dive-bombing bass drops, the band was on point.

About Soilwork I can say one thing: they are better live than on record, which was clear from the start, as they got the’s crowd attention within seconds. Dave and Sylvain’s guitars wove an amazing mesh of riffs that match perfectly with Sven’s keyboards. On the other side, Bjorn’s vocals are the power behind every moshpit. As the night was getting closer to the end, the venue was already boiling and getting really crowded, so the band had plenty to work with. Soilwork is all about power and energy and they managed to give us a great collection of old and new songs from the treasure trove that is the band’s back catalogue. Also, the chemistry between those up onstage and those in the audience is very real and pretty catchy. No matter how much you’ll try to get over and focus on something else, you’ll fail. The show was a full-speed ride.  

After a short soundcheck and a session of equipment moving, Amorphis finally came on the stage. Well, not immediately, but after a short tease with the intro from „The Bee”. The tension was growing and the public became really impatient as we all were waiting for Tomi Joutsen to take over. The concert started exactly as the song goes, with a wave of power and energy. We got the chance to enjoy songs from “Queen of Time” as Wrong Direction or Message in the Amber, but also some old “trademark”Amorphis songs. Silver Bride brought a general emotional state in the audience while House of Sleep raised all of our voices (not only when Tomi passed the microphone). There are some particular things that make Amorphis really impressive in a… different way. Their music has lots of soul and feeling, so the shows are usually full rides through hell and heaven. The connection between the band and the audience is also fantastic and you always get this feeling of “intimacy”. Also, their live performance is so close to the recorded version, it hurts, no matter the venue or the location. This is a plus that makes every show more than a live experience. You resonate with the band, being on stage, you can see them, you can feel them (because the guys are very expressive and intense while they play)  but also get covered in emotions as you hear live what you’re used to hearing in your earphones, ‘cause that’s where the journey of a fan usually begins.

Regarding the organization, can’t really complain about much. The venue was properly heated, the entrance had decent traffic so people didn’t have to stay in cold too much. The bars were, as usual, always busy, with long lines, so maybe some more people on that area next time. Also, the merch stand was pretty impressive, with a wide range of possibilities (Amorphis and Jinger had some really nice t-shirt designs). Other than that, the sound and the lights were flawless. Congratulations to the engineers and everyone who made this happen. We’re off to a good year!

DEVIN TOWNSEND announces new album ‘Empath’

Canadian heavy music artist Devin Townsend has officially announced the release of his forthcoming new album ‘EMPATH’ for the 29th March 2019.

In the lead up to the album’s release, Devin will walk fans through how ‘EMPATH’ came together with a series of documentary episodes recorded as phone conversations during the course of the albums recording. Watch him explain more in this video: https://youtu.be/lZBcGuM_UpE

Devin comments: “Hello everybody, this is Devin Townsend and I would like to formally announce that after almost a year and a half of working, I have finished ‘EMPATH’. Now this record has taken me down a lot of very interesting psychological and technical avenues and the process was documented from the very get-go by a series of documentary videos that I have done, that outline everything from the gestation of the idea to the actualisation of it, through all the existential ups and downs that went on. As such this record is different to any record that I have released thus far, and trying to get people on board for what it is versus what it isn’t, I think needs to be dealt with in a different way.
Stay tuned for the making of ‘EMPATH’ – the video series.

Over the past few years, the success that Devin has slowly worked for has fortunately come with the power to control his own creative destiny. The recent successes with the DVD from a sold-out Royal Albert hall, or his 2012 ‘Retinal Circus’, or last year’s ‘Ocean Machine’ live DVD with the Orchestra and Choir of State Opera Plovdiv has put him in a position where with the new album ‘EMPATH’, he will once and for all define himself as a musical force outside of any particular genre classification.

On this album Devin has decided to see what would happen if all the styles that make up his current interests were finally represented in one place. To finally shake the fear of expectation, and just do what it is he was meant to do creatively, ‘EMPATH’, true to the name, is about allowing the audience a feeling for a variety of musical emotions. The musical dynamics represented on this single album are broad, challenging, and immense. To approach this sort of work with a long history of what makes heavy music ‘heavy’, allows this to be done with a type of power rarely heard.

Joining Devin on this album is Frank Zappa alumni Mike Keneally as music director, as well as Morgan Ågren (Mats And Morgan, Frank Zappa, Fredrik Thordendal), Anup Sastry (Monuments, Periphery), Samus Paulicelli (Decrepit Birth, Abigail Williams), Nathan NavarroElliot DesagnesSteve VaiChad KroegerAnneke Van GiersbergenChé Aimee DorvalRyan Dhale and the Elektra Women’s Choir.

A bold statement with massive production values and dynamic, uncompromised musicality. This is a statement about not only pursuing creative freedom in a conservative scene, but also trying to show that heavy music is truly a valid musical tool.

‘EMPATH’ will be released on Limited 2 CD Digipak (including an entire disc of bonus material), Standard CD Jewelcase, Gatefold 180G 2LP Vinyl + CD + LP-booklet & as digital album. The full track-listing is as follows:
 1. Castaway
2. Genesis
3. Spirits Will Collide
4. Evermore
5. Sprite
6. Hear Me
7. Why
8. Borderlands
9. Requiem
10. Singularity Part 1 – Adrift
11. Singularity Part 2 – I Am I
12. Singularity Part 3 – There Be Monsters
13. Singularity Part 4 – Curious Gods
14. Singularity Part 5 – Silicon Scientists
15. Singularity Part 6 – Here Comes The Sun
Last year Devin announced a special ‘An Evening With’ tour that would see him performing acoustically, as well as taking part in a fan Q&A at each show.

The full list of dates are as follows, many of which are already sold out:

7th March – The Piano Man Jazz Club, New Delhi, India SOLD OUT
8th March – Levi’s Lounge, Mumbai, India SOLD OUT
29th March – Savoy Theater, Helsinki, Finland SOLD OUT
30th March – Savoy Theater, Helsinki, Finland SOLD OUT
31st March – Sodra Teatern, Stockholm, Sweden SOLD OUT
1st April – Edderkoppen, Oslo, Norway SOLD OUT
2nd April – Bremen Theater, Copenhagen, Denmark
4th April – PassionKirchhe, Berlin, Germany
5th April – Stodola, Warsaw, Poland
6th April – La Fabrica, Prague, Czech Republic SOLD OUT
7th April – Freiheiz, Munich, Germany SOLD OUT
9th April – Kulturkirche, Cologne, Germany SOLD OUT
10th April – Grunspan, Hamburg, Germany
11th April – Bravo Kerk, Haarlem, Netherlands SOLD OUT
13th April – Reading 3, Tel Aviv, Israel
24th April – Bush Hall, London, UK SOLD OUT
25th April – Bush Hall, London, UK SOLD OUT
26th April – St George’s, Bristol, UK SOLD OUT
27th April – City Varieties, Leeds, UK SOLD OUT
29th April – Jam House, Edinburgh, UK SOLD OUT
30th April – Glee Club, Birmingham, UK SOLD OUT

Remaining tickets can be found here: https://bnds.us/hotp9q

Devin’s varied back catalogue is also being celebrated with lavish vinyl box-sets under the name of ERAS. Having already released parts 1 and 2 earlier in early 2018, the end of the year saw the release of part 3, which features some of his most recent work with Devin Townsend Project, including the albums ‘Accelerated Evolution’, ‘Epicloud’, ‘Sky Blue’, ‘Transcendence’ & the first ever vinyl release of the second part of the DTP’s now legendary Royal Albert Hall show. Order your copy of this deluxe 10 LP box-set here: https://devintownsendproject.lnk.to/ErasIII


DEVIN TOWNSEND explains more about his upcoming album “EMPATH”