Tag Archives: doom

Underground Sounds: Spaceslug – Time Travel Dilemma

Label:
Band: Spaceslug
Origin: Poland

I got to know Spaceslug thanks to their amazing album ‘Lemanis’ (read the review here). The Polish band truly embraces the spaced out stoner sound like not many band have done in recent years. Unlike the Bongzilla’s of this world, Spaceslug really let’s every riff ride out its trajectory, not trying to go for that constant hitting the heavy riffs.

The  group has now dropped the follow up, titled ‘Time Travel Dlilemma’. On the cover we see the Space Slug travelling into the great beyond. The great print really fits the futuristic, dreamy sound of the band. What I love so much is how this all seems to come so natural to the guys, like a walk in the park. I felt that same thing when I published this short interview.

The trio seems to be taking things a bit more serious on this album. The previous record sounded great, but it is clear that more work went into this new effort. The sound is more balanced, more purposeful. Languid, easy going riffs really float by, nowhere does it really touch that solidity that is familiar from most stoner. It’s really meandering and drifting through space on the heavy but somehow mellow riffs on the titletrack ‘Orion’.

The mis seems to be on purpose a bit hazy on tracks like ‘Living the Eternal Now’, to make the interplay between the notes as smooth and dreamy as possible. Spaceslug have found their niche along bands like Mantra MachineSungrazer and maybe even some Colour Haze. On the title track Sander Haagmans from Sungrazer actually sings. There’s no real propulsion, no earthiness to their sound on this record, which distiniguishes them from the feisty, driven stoner bands with sand between their teeth. When Bartosz Janik is singing, he’s never doing that biting, agressive thing, he just sings to the void. The reverberating bass, the soaring riffs…

In space there is no wind, no weight, no direction and that is translated into the music of Spaceslug. This album definitely connects with the genre at large, but melts in shoegaze and postrock to create a new dimension. Spaceslug measures their force and slowly slides onward to stardom.

 

 

Underground Sounds: Alseyoung – Who Passes Through Fire

Label: Self released
Band: Alseyoung
Origin: United States

There’s a remarkable amount of good doom metal out there these days. Doom as a genre has not really changed much over the years, which is why it is often overlooked. The quality of doom metal is not necessarily in experimenting. The strength of doom is in its way of evoking feelings with their listeners. Alseyoung clearly got that point on their demo/debut ‘Who Passes Through Fire’.

So who was Alse Young? Alse Young is the first recorded instance of execution for witchcraft in the American colonies. We know little about the woman. Her husband accused her of witchcraft. He provided ample proof it seems. So Alse Young was soon convicted and executed for this crime. A faith that befell many back in the day. Like many cases the surrounding context made the accusations highly dubious and probably money was the main reason for this accusation. You kow how things like this go. The name sounds great for a band though.

The one man band has collected all the demo recordings into one collection, which creates pretty much an album. There’s a bit of variation in the sound, but the record sounds pretty coherent. We have the horror samples as well to add to the vibe of this ‘Puritan Witchcraft Doom’ album. From classic St. Vitus riffs on ‘The Shadow of a Woman’, with the big, colossal riffs, we move to a more sinister sound on ‘Thy Blood’. On this track we get creeping vocals and tremolo guitar play to create a more black metal ambiance. Another dimension of the sound is on ‘Blood, Stone, Soil, Fire’, which approaches the more raw, distorted doom of Warhorse.

Alseyoung is not the most tight sounding band, so the classic doom riffs are only now and then a part of the sound. The creeping, onholy sounds of the vocals in concert with the riffs gives a cavernous, underground feeling to the music. The recording quality varies here and there. This is only logical, since it is a collection of demo recordings.  What I find that a lot of the material lacks is a  serieus bit of storytelling. I mean that in the sense of the song, staying relatively constant and not really looking for the dramatic and epic moments that define doom metal. It’s all about the progression of the song with Alseyoung. A bit more dramatic climax wouldn’t hurt.

I think we might hear more from this Massachusets act in the future.

 

Underground Sounds: Tetraskel – Preindoeuropean Metal

Label: Independent
Band: Tetraskel
Origin: Spain

Somewhere in time, we became the Indo-European Europe, that we are today. Somewhere in time there was a before and that is exactly which is used as inspiration by the band Tetraskel from Basque country in Spain. A band I have not been able to find out much about, but their sound is colossal.

Whether you believe that before all of this we had the Hyperborean times or such, we know that life was brutal, harsh and primitive in the days before what we now call civilization. I’m not writing here to defend or attack our current day, but trying to paint with broad strokes what Tetraskel is about. The name itself is a shortened form of tetraskelion, which refers to the pagan swastika symbol. The band has a specific kind of artwork they use, with sort of vague depictions of humans, combined with animals in a peculiar harmony that suggests a closeness we hardly understand in this time and age.

The music is slow, droning and progressing with megalithic strides. Slow and laborous, but with a blazing epic sound to it. The music sounds very grand, impressive in its relative simplicity. The fundament is a heavy beating drum, but the calmly soaring guitars are pretty much steadily giving of that same toiling sound. The sound is a bit too wavery to compare with some of the heavy as hell stoner bands, like Conan or such, who have that monolithic heaviness. Halfway through this album I had my doubts about this one-man project.

While not having vocals is often a way of shifting the focus to the music, Tetraskel seems to lack a certain variety in their songs, but do they need it? The majestic doom feels not unlike Atlantean Kodex or even a bit of the later work by Earth at times. The heavy sound of the band has that black edge to it, which feels so incredibly dark and foreboding. It’s perhaps the knowledge that this time of the Pre-Indo Europeans is soon to be over. That’s what Tetraskel is all about, the piercing guitar work, the otherworldliness and grandeur. A forgotten age illuminated with a sound that adresses the tragic passage of time and the

Underground Sounds: Night Gaunt – Jupiter’s Fall

Label: Temple of Mystery Records
Band: Night Gaunt
Origin: Italy

Who doesn’t like old fashioned doom metal? You know, doom the way it supposed to be. Well, if your answer is no, you should look no further. You wouldn’t understand how cool Night Gaunt is.

Night Gaunts are creatures from Lovecrafts unearthly tales, most particularly the Dream Cycle. There is little reference to the Lovecraftian tale though, but that’s alright. This release has two songs that are big and bold enough to stand on their own. It’s been released as an EP and is the first act of the band since their full length in 2014. Though this is not that much material, their whole aesthetic spoke to me enough to check it out.

The first track is the tragic, gloomy title track ‘Jupiter’s Fall’. It clocks just under six minutes and immediately hits you with the slowly progressing, big riffs. The minor tones are instant guarantee’s for a feeling of sadness and remorse, but the interesting gong sounds do wake you up from the nodding to the beat. The vocals by ‘Gc’ are smooth, even seductive to be fair. Sparsely using the vibrato in his voice, there’s an uncommon subtlety to the singers delivery, which is the right sort of magic for a haunting doom album. The sound has a bit of echo to it, making it sound more cavernous even.

‘Penance’ is the other side of the 7″ this is released as, with an urgent guitar line that hits you instantly. The song is more creeping, subtle like a snake that is wrapping itself around the listener. This song then does get a bit more muscular with the sturdy riffing, that never fails to have a sturdy, gothic demeanor to it. The pulsating rhythm does its part as well,  even giving a hint of an oriental twist in the delivery.

Night Gaunt delivers on their promise. Doom with a pitchblack flavor.

Underground Sounds: Kylver – The Island

Label: independent
Band: Kylver
Origin: United Kingdom

These gentlemen from Newcastle in the United Kingdom are not just musicians, they are storytellers with a clear affinity to the works of H.P. Lovecraft if I’m not deceived by what I read about ‘The Island’. This is the second album from the Geordies (if you can use that still to refer to normal people as well) and well worth your time. Time to listen to Kylver.

The four piece has a story to tell about sailers who get lost on sea, ending up in a different realm where an ancient race dwells. The confrontation is crushing the human minds, which are not accustomed to the awesomeness of such vast knowledge and wisdom and the sole survivor begs to be released. This is a wild concept, not unakin to some of the dream-sagas of Lovecraft, but brought to you in an instrumental rock/doom/stoner way.

The sound of Kylver is progressive and explorative, combining elements of the stoner/doom sound with more playful elements, like keyboards to create these meandering passages and paint the vistas of the story. The threatening tone that you often hear, specially on albums with a nautical theme it seems, remind me of artists like Ahab. It feels like a typical stylistic direction, where the vibe of the ocean is put into the music.

The album is a continuous progression, where the progressive elements create debt and coloring to the sound. Sometimes sounding haunting and omnious, like the (almost) 10 minute epic ‘Monolith’, but other times picking up the right timbre and emotions for the section of the story the band wishes to adress. What’s most impressive is the cohesion of the tracks and the whole album. Never do your feel like you’re listening to separate songs. Though it is not very common, they could have released ‘The Island’ as a 40 minute track and it would be awesome (but tricky for the hopefully soon to be released vinyl).

The closer ‘The Great Race’ is an almost teasing, slightly remorseful tune with thunderous drums, where the proggy qualities of the band really shine for a bit, in the way the dense atmosphere is put down. This record is an experience. Did I mention the wonderful artwork? Because I should, it’s great.

Jupiterian: Cosmic crushing doom from Brazil

Though we may know Brazil as a country well known for its amazing death metal and passionate fans, there’s more to it than that obviously. Jupiterian is a whole different monster that landed with their debut EP ‘Archaic’, which was followed by their album ‘Apothic’.

The sound of Jupiterian is black as the depths of the cosmos and solid like a thick slab of meteorite hitting you in the face. Devoid of any frivolities, it’s a heavy listen, but well worth your time. So time to get to know them a bit better, before they head to Europe for some shows, where I hope to see them again.

I first met V. from Jupiterian at Roadburn and soon I got to know his newly founded band Jupiterian. An avid music fan and lover of science and sci-fi, V. is a creative force with plenty of inspiration from music and literature. Their sound is to me rather unique and unforgivingly heavy, so let’s hope they can head back to play Roadburn soon, because this band belongs on that bill. Time to get into it.

How did Jupiterian get started and what brought you guys together as a band? Did you have any previous projects that you would like to mention?

We started in 2013 while I was still playing with my previous death metal band The Black Coffins. I started to work on some riffs with a borrowed guitar I had at home, so I asked some friends if they would be interested to join me in this new project. When the band suddenly split up that year, I decided to focus 100% in this new project which would become Jupiterian. By that time, the band was called Codex Ivpiter, we were 5 guys, I was just doing the lead guitar and we had a lead vocalist, but I felt it would be easier to work only as a four piece, because I was working on the songs, themes and at the same time creating the vocal lines. After this line-up change, we also changed the name to Jupiterian and we entered the studio to record our first material, a 3 songs EP called ‘Archaic’. That was pretty much it.

Can you start by explaining the name and the concept of the band?

I have always been fascinated by mythology, especially the Greek-Roman mythology. I also love astronomy and as an amateur, I try to study and read about it as much as I can. But I am also into sci-fI books, authors likes Arthur C. Clark, Frank Herbert, Asimov, William Gibson blew my mind as a kid as much as Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard did with their cosmic horror novels. When I started the band, the first thing I had in mind was to create more than only the music, but an entire journey through all of that.

Jupiter is part of ancient mythology in the form from many gods for many extinct cultures and it could sum up all the references I had in mind. So the name Codex Ivpiter came up, but as you presume, it was terrible to speak and explain how to spell it. Jupiterian was a name that I was already about thinking for a while. When I talked to the other guys, it made much more sense and we thought it would fit perfectly for our purpose.

jupi2

What are the musical inspirations for you guys, both for the band as well as for yourself?

We have a very different background in the band when it comes to influences. I try to keep my mind opened to everything concerning music. New bands, old bands. I still feel excited when I listen to something new that blows my mind, be it metal or not and it inspires me a lot to try to reinvent the way I play or the way I want to create new stuff. As a band I could name a few like Jacula, Fabio Frizzi, Arvo Part, Anathema (their firsts albums), Graves at Sea, Asunder, Worship, Winter, Deathspell Omega, Iron Maiden, Whitehorse, Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, Blut Aus Nord, Mercyful Fate & King Diamond, Funeral Mist, Goblin, Antaeus, Cathedral, Celtic Frost and, Svartidaudi, Thergothon and so on…

You’ve just released some new music. Can you tell a bit about the recording and writing process? Who does what and how does it unfold?

Yes! We recently release our Anathema’s “Mine is Yours To Drown In” cover. Well, more like a version. We started to work on that and I didn’t want to just emulate the original version, so we tried to put some of our DNA on that. And I am really proud the way it came out.

Where do you guys get your inspiration from further, because it seems that the inspiration is a dense mixture of the fantastic, absurd, horror and science fiction. Do you derive your concepts from books or films?

That’s for sure! As I told you, I read a lot sci-fI and horror books. Also I am really into those movies, and my love for the genre is very specific. I am really into all Ray Harryhausen’s animated monsters, and also am obsessed with David Cronenberg’s work, John Carpenter, the Hammer Films movies, Amicus.. you know, the victorian-era horror movies, also mixed with some steampunk style like “First men in the moon”, “The Time Machine” and everything I can find from the gold age of sci-fI movies.

jupi3

When listening to your albums, the sound is so overwhelmingly heavy and devoid of most other elements. The returning themes makes me feel like that’s a very deliberate choice, also related to the subject matter. Is that so?

That’s true. This is the core of the band, we want to deliver all the heaviness with a dark, yet melodic atmosphere within it.

I would like to know a bit about your visual expressions. Rarely does a band pay so much attention to artwork, logo’s and thus creating such a complete picture. Can you tell a bit more about that?

Thanks a lot. I am glad it called your attention. Well, we are telling a story with the band I want it all to make sense to the listener, be it with the music, the videos, t-shirt and everything. For me, music is much more than what you are listening in a moment, It’s a journey.

Most of the time I am the one behind the imagery, but we are very lucky to work with great artists that get our idea and deliver a great work for us.

You’ve done some covers for the new release. Why did you pick those songs exactly?

Yeah, ‘Mine is Yours to Drown’ In was the first one and the other one is Black Sabbath‘s Behind The Wall of Sleep’. About the Anathema version, when we started the band, we talked about choosing a song to cover and this one was my first idea. It was one of the firsts extreme metal songs I ever heard when I was a kid, so recording it felt like retribution cause it means a lot to me. About “Behind the Wall of Sleep”, Cvlt Nation invited us to their new Cvlt Nation Session, and the chosen album this time was Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath”. We chose that song for two basics reasons: 1. It’s Lovecraft; 2. It would be very challenging to record a song so different from what we do cause it’s a faster song. As we did with “Mine is Yours”, we re-think the entire song and made it slower and with our approach and way to do things. Both will be available on digital format in our bandcamp in October. They are part of this 2 songs EP called “Urn”.

Like before you’re working with Mories (Gnaw Their Tongues) on this new release. How did you get in touch and get to work with him? What do you think that the impact on your sound is of his contributions? 

The first time I talked to Mories was in 2010 when I interviewed him for a metal website I used to keep here in Brazil. But I met him personally for the first time at Roadburn 2013 and then we became friends. The sound of his bands is outstanding, he is always releasing amazing albums, always working on something new and all I can say is that I am lucky enough to work with someone I admire and respect that much. I think Jupiterian sound so much darker, dense and intense because of his final touch in the process. Sometimes he also creates some extra textures and it’s by his will. Yeah man, he is definitively a big part in this band.

If you could do the soundtrack of either a Lovecraft film or a sci-fI horror combi, which would have your preference and why?

Good one! I never thought about it but when I read the question, the first movie that came to my mind was Deep Star Six. I think the movie has an overwhelming claustrophobic atmosphere. Maybe Andrzej Żuławski’s “On a Silver Globe” (wich is a movie we already used for the “Archaic” video) or Tarkovisky’s “Stalker”. I’d love to do the soundtrack for a lovecraftian movie if there was any good for his “dream cycle”, specially “The Dream-Cast of Unknown Kadath”.

What can people expect from a Jupiterian live show? What kind of experience are they in for?

We like to think our shows are like painful processions, an experience that hurts the soul cause it’s about heaviness but it’s also about sadness and darkness. It’s the worship of what doom metal means to us.

Brazil is known as a firm and established metal nation, maybe even one of the biggest in the world if you may believe the documentary ‘World Metal’ by Sam Dunn. Can you spare a few words on how the Brazilian scene looks and how doom metal fits in there?

I think there is a romantic vision about the Brazilian scene because of all the amazing bands that came out from here in the past decades like Sepultura, Sarcofago, Mystifier, Krisiun, Violator, Facada, Rebaelliun and so on, but I don’t think we can say its firm and established. There’s a lot of passionate people doing their stuff but in a very amateur way, you know. Brazil is a continental country and yet, we cannot arrange a proper tour here at least you are a real DIY band. Of course you won’t make real money and you probably will play with shitty amps on shitty venues. We have only a very few pro labels actively working nowadays, but we are still surviving because everyone involved in this, be it thrash, death, grind and so on, we are used to that. That’s how things are and still love it

We know Brazil from its death metal scene of a while ago. Which bands from Brazil are on the rise and should get our attention (and why)?

Facada is one of my favourite grindcore bands of all times. They are relentlessly brutal, it’s like a mix of the best things Napalm Death, Brutal Truth and Nasum ever released in one band, and of course with a strong (and relevant) politic approach on the lyrics. I recommend their last album Nadir. My favourite track is “Amanhã vai ser pior”.

Thy Light is amazing. They are one of the most relevant bands in the DSBM scene world wide and Paolo is a great guy. He also plays in a Death Metal band called Desdominus, which is also a fantastic band. “No Morrow Shall Dawn”, their last album, is perfect for cold and grey days.

Abske Fides is a great Funeral Doom metal band from São Paulo and reunite some of my oldest friends in the scene. N., the bass player, joined us for the Chilean tour we did this year. He also plays in Noala and Au Sacre Des Nuits and is always delivering amazing music, be with his bands or with his solo projects. We’ve been working together for many, many years now in a lot of projects and you can hear a jam we did on the track “Daylight”, in the end of the song.

Mythological Cold Towers is legendary. They are active for more than 20 years now producing great albums and putting amazing shows. Their last album, “Monvmentvm Antiqua”, is fantastic!

Infamous Glory is an old school death metal band featuring K. from Abske Fides. “Bloodfeast” is a death metal worship with all the elements we love in the genre.

Rakta is a brilliant – way beyond any label – band from São Paulo. I love what these girls do and to see them live is an incredible experience. One of the best active bands in Brazil nowadays.

Deaf Kids just released their last album called “Configuração do Lamento” and it’s one of the best 2016 albums so far in my opinion. This power trio deliver an hypnotizing punk with a lot of tribal-driven rythms. A trully unique band.

What future plans does Jupiterian have?

We have 4 shows in Europe in late October, it’s a mini tour with our brothers from Mythological Cold Towers. We’ll play 2 gigs in Belgium, one in Czech Republic and the last show will be at Dutch Doom Days in Rotterdam, NL. After that we will focus on finishing the lasts songs for our next full length and record it in the beginning of 2017. We have 3 new songs, one of them are on our setlist, and 2 structures not finished yet, so i’d say the next album is 70% done.

If you had to describe Jupiterian as a dish (food), what would it be and why?

Maybe it’s a Brazilian feijoada, cause it’s black, dense, fat, it’s hard and slow to digest. Actually it looks like a disgusting swamp haha

 

Your ultimate Lovecraft soundtrack part 2

Continuing on the topic of audio expressions of Lovecraftian lore, love and random fandom, I would like to take you down to a more serious form of expression, that is more Roadburny in nature.

The Doom that came over Lovecraft

To me, ever since Thergothron, doom is the ultimate music for reading Lovecraft. There’s been some great stuff on that, so I’m now venturing into personal recommendations. It’s something about that heavy pummeling, the anticipation and the cosmic stand still. In Lovecraft’s work, humans are the most puny, insignificant things. The slow pace of doom feels remniscent of that, so that’s the core of what I was looking for and I found kindred sounds.

A bit different for starters than, Nikoletta from Arizona makes Stars Eat Worlds, which she dubs surfer metal. Though this is just a demo, it shows a lot of promise. If the surf can take over a bit, it might become something grand to listen to. The songs now sometimes end up just being barrages of noise, lacking the atmospheric.

Now, I know I’m pushing this even further, but Mr. Zoth and the Werespiders produce a drone like music, infected with dungeon synth and ambient elements, to create a harrowing, nerve wracking sound effect, great for your Lovecraftian moments. More cool, these guys are designing games too.

If you can get into it, some really good, blistering noise could be working in your favor. Xothun does a great job in creating eerie soundscapes of crackling distortion and screams. Might be too much again, but I must say I dig it.

Again more ambient/drone, but with a name like Erich Zann Chamber Orchestra we can hardly ignore this Polish contribution to the sonic pantheon of Lovecraftian idolatry, right?

Time to get serious, with no other than Obed Marsh. This Perth, Australia originated group of doomsters makes the sounds of uncanny sludge and  heavy proportions. This is the soundtrack to which the nameless ones rise from the deep and sing their unholy songs to ancient Cthulhu. This is indeed exactly what I ment, talking about doom.

I got to see Arkham Witch play live in Malta, where they did songs from their old band The Lamp Of Thoth. The old school heavy metal mixed with doom is catchy and just in a very simple way cool. I think they’re a nice listen during the enjoyment of a good New England story.

My personal favorite and I think one of the most awesome bands out there is The Great Old Ones. Already having an awesome bandname, their sound is monolythic, grand and full of the looming danger that is represented by the great old gods. This is the right atmospheric tune for your moment of immersing into the cosmic horror of H.P. Lovecraft.

A bit more theatrical, but also dirty and grimey is the Dutch collective Swampcult, who pay homage to the master of the cosmic horror with their recent album. The album is a version of the Lovecraft story ‘The Festival’, in its entirety and it’s  one gloomy immersion that you’re facing here.

Enjoy these bands, they’re really cool but also channeling their very own experiences and feelings with the stories of Lovecraft into music. That in itself is a great thing. Listening to these bands might allow you to explore new flavors and colour to the timeless works of Lovecraft.

Underground Sounds: Wretch – Wretch

Label: Bad Omen Records
Band: Wretch
Country: United States

Losing friends is a sad thing and sometimes it can be extremely hard to get over that. When you lose a friend who’s a band member, I can only imagine how much stronger that bond may be. Not to trivialise friendship, but band members share time together like no other. Jason McCash and Karl Simon shared that for a good decade in The Gates of Slumber. McCash left the band in 2013 and soon after passed away following a heroin overdose (according to metal archives).

So this album is catharsis, it’s grief in musical form. Gone are the stories of swords and sorcery, this is about the grim reality. It’s Karl Simon picking up the pieces and continuing down the road of amazing doom metal albums with this new outfit Wretch. The artwork instantly screams that old school doom vibe at you and that’s what you get.

Opener ‘Running Out of Days’  is a tribute to J. McCash and opens with those gargantuan Sabbath riffs, making you instantly get into the groove of this band and (if you like) bang your head to it. There’s something really down to earth to the sound of the band though. It’s not striving for grandeur, but for something real. Slowly the riffs roll by and a thundering rhythm section vigorously fills the void around the vocals of Simon, which are laden with emotion.

There’s something tormented to the way Simon delivers his vocals. After the initial venting on the first two tracks, the following seems to wind down and go into an almost psychedelic, spacy direction. Spiralling guitar parts and dreamy vocals form a much more convincing and warm sound from the group. There’s even an interesting instrumental track, titled ‘Grey Cast Mourning’, that surprises the listener with its gentle nature.

Closing the album, we return to the traditional doom roots. With its iconic cover and great tracks, this is one to stick with you. Hopefully Karl Simon feels like unleashing some more tunes on the world.

Underground Sounds: Spaceslug – Lemanis

Label: Independent
Band: Spaceslug
Origin: Poland

I’am still lookin for shrines and altars
Mind’s ignoring, what eyes have shown
– ‘Photon Lander’, Spaceslug

If you like surfing on those astral waves, than you need the right soundtrack for being weightlessly floating and slowly wobbling along. Polish stoner titans… wait, that sounded way to solid… Polish massive space slugs Spaceslug (it’s not perfect, but kinda cool sounding) from Wroclaw have exactly the sountrack for you.

The sound of these gentleman is somewhere in between My Sleeping Karma, Radar Men From The Moon en Earth or Sleep (not sure yet). The group has released with Lemanis their very first album and it’s a homerun. The cover is already epic, depicting a snail or slug facing the enormity of the galaxy, depicted in its full awesomeness.

Opener ‘Proton Lander’ is like one of those hypnotic clouds in space you sometimes see depicted, you get lost in a swirling mass of riffs and repetition that feel so loose and relaxed that you just soar away with them. When the cool guitar lines start to build up the vocals kick in, with a repetitive line being chanted: “I know the space, I know the haze”. It says a bit about the imbibed inspiration I suppose.

It also works to connect the band to the more spaced out stoner scene, though apart from the heavy foundations, there’s something way more spacy in the music of these guys. Meandering guitar tones, wavery bass lines and drums that keep it all together to create slowly cascading tones of the infinite. A track like ‘Hypermountain’ illustrates this well.

The vocals offer the aura of mystery and being in a sort of cultish environment. As if the vocalist has secrets to offer that no one knows of. In the mean time the music just warbles on in a manner that displays little care for things like gravity, which is interesting to listen to.  I absolutely dig this record full of space stoner. “I know the space, I know the haze, alright!”

Possessor: a horror film disguised as a band

Did you hear that awesome album by Possessor yet? You should, because it blends all styles into a potent cocktail of gritty,  grimy horrorcore sludge.

You can probably rant on about the Sabbath-esque influences and noisey southern swagger, but these Londoners sound unique and awesome, so I thinought it would be a good thing to get in touch with them and get into it with these gentlemen.

Graham Bywater, Matthew ‘Bean’ Radford and Marc Brereton were keen to answer some questions about their music, horror films and their new album.

How did Possessor get started? Were you guys involved with other bands before?

Marc: I was in quite a few bands before Possessor and I still am, but this is definitely the most fun. I’ve known Graham for years as we met back in college and used to record stuff in his bedroom. We always talked about playing together, but it took until now to come into fruition but when Graham asked me to be a part of Possessor it didn’t take long to commit when I heard what he was pumping out.

Graham: Marc was the only person I met at college who didn’t really have strict guidelines and restrictions to what he was into. He wasn’t ashamed to say he loved Green Jelly. The dude had literally no pretensions. He also immediately reminded me of Sasquatch so that was good.

Bean: I know that Graham and Marc have known each other since they were very young, but my personal involvement with Possessor began shortly after Electric Hell was released. I met Graham by complete coincidence. We were both on our way to a Fu Manchu gig in London and had stopped at the same pub before the show for a few pints. My Iron Monkey T shirt was enough for Graham to start a conversation and we soon started talking about music. Graham mentioned Possessor. I’d actually heard of them and had really liked them; they were also looking for a permanent drummer so I offered my services.
My “audition” consisted of a night together, drinking beer and talking about Guns n’ Roses. By the end of the evening Graham had gone missing and Marc had seen my girlfriend naked. This pretty much set the benchmark we have followed ever since!

So what bands do you guys like and influenced your sound?

Graham: It varies greatly depending on the mood. We drove through a rain storm listening to ‘Canadian Metal’ by Darkthrone on the way to a gig recently. That was a very heavy and inspiring moment and has kinda stuck with me. That album, ‘F.O.A.D’ seeped its way into the sound of Dead by Dawn. Other bands that have been on repeat recently are Midnight, Pentagram, Enslaved, Death Evocation, Misfits and some band called Metallica. The Shrine and Bongzilla have been on my iPod a fair bit and that new Kvelertak album is crazy. I normally aim to discover a band a day if possible. Even if they suck.

Marc: Everything.

Bean : I feel really passionate about music. I listen to blues, classical and jazz but at the center of it all is a love for heavy metal. Black Sabbath are the beginning, middle and end for me and they are a huge influence on my playing. From there my tastes go in a lot of different directions. All the way from LA Glam to Death Metal. Classic stuff really. Obituary, Priest, Black Flag, Iron Maiden, Love/Hate, Entombed; I could go on and on.
In terms of influence on Possessor: For me it’s about those bands who can capture an energy and put that on tape. Motorhead’s Overkill comes to mind as does Charles Mingus’ Blues and Roots. On the Mingus album you can hear the band whooping and howling as they play. It’s such a live, un-tampered, vibrant sound. It’s an odd comparison but it’s exactly how I’d like Possessor records to sound.

21502_1065708576814203_2895016722674837009_n

I understood that you guys are not originally London folk from an interview with Doomed and Stoned. Where do you guys hail from and is how would you say it impacts your sound?

Bean : I’m originally from a small village in Kent. It’s fair to say that it was a fairly isolated place without easy access to town. As a result my childhood was spent reading and writing stories and playing in the nearby woods, close to churches and graveyards! All of this helped me to develop a good imagination which in turn guided my interest towards fantasy tales and horror stories. Ever since I’ve had a disposition towards the occult as an aesthetic, which is why I find Possessor so appealing. It’s also why I’d love people to experience the band in the same way as they would a ghost story or slasher movie!

Graham: Kent. Staplehurst via Sevenoaks. I’ve always been more inspired by nothing than everything.

Horror flick are as I understood an inspiration too. How do you know you’re catching that vibe when writing a song?

Graham: Possessor are basically a horror film disguised as a band. It’s just a natural part of our sound and is effortless. I guess it has a lot to do with the decade we were born in and to this day I don’t really know anyone who isn’t totally nerdy about cinema. I got into bands like Maiden and Helloween around the same time I discovered films like The Terminator and Re-Animator and I knew from a very young age that music and film go hand in hand. People seem to pick up on that with Possessor which is good.
When we younger me and Marc used to spend our Sunday afternoons watching Hills Have Eyes and Evil Dead and the natural instinct was to follow it up with a beer and a jam.
Maybe we should write a musical. I reckon we could do a gig within a film, like in the woods with the Blair Witch or in the kid’s dreams in Nightmare on Elm Street.
Bean : For me, a good example of this would be The Creeps (from Dead by Dawn). It started as a jam on some percussive ideas for another song, but hearing the drum played back in isolation was so evocative of all things voodoo. It put an image in my mind of cannibals dancing under a volcano while their cooking pot boiled. I think the best Possessor songs can make a direct connection to the mind’s eye.

How do you guys pick your artwork? Because it instantly gives off that film vibe. Is it created from scratch or do you use existing images?

Graham: This album took a bit longer as we wanted to outdo our previous concepts without losing the originality. We always go for simple and mysterious imagery but the idea of the faceless character of past releases has become something else with this design as it reveals slightly more.
We often use really old public domain photos that just jump out at us. I normally edit and rework the image until it looks like something new and creepy but always surreptitiously empowering. We don’t talk about the art much as it really should just speak for itself. We like mysterious figures and forms, not blood and gore.

14045941_1214117925306600_687400667040053116_n

If Possessor was allowed to do a live soundtrack to a film, like bands have been doing on Roadburn Festival for example. Which film(s) would you love to do the score to and why? (and how would it sound)

Marc: Lord of The Rings!! (needs no explanation)

Bean : Something thrilling, visceral and brutal. Texas Chainsaw Massacre would suit us perfectly. That, or a compilation of machete attacks from Friday the 13th.

Graham: The Lost Boys or perhaps Motel Hell? Something trashy and eye catching. Or perhaps it would be even more insane if we played a heavy set to something like Open Water or even a collection of bits from Jurassic Park. Dinosaurs stomping and sharks chomping to the riffs!
A festive gig set to Christmas Evil could be good too.

How would you describe the writing and recording trajectory for your latest album (which is so awesome)?

Graham: Pretty natural. There’s a certain sound, style and spirit to Possessor that writes itself. Having said that this album is definitely edging more towards being filmic and the end result certainly feels more like a group effort this time round. We took a while creating this album because of time restrictions and work but the actual performances themselves were done live and on the spot. One take on most tracks.

Bean : It was recorded really quickly. The drum tracks were done in a single afternoon and in the majority of cases they are first takes. We really wanted to retain the energy and spontaneity of those fresh takes so we deliberately moved through the process quickly without poring over the details or refining them. We wanted this to be a brutally real album with imperfections and accidental highlights. I’m proud to say I think we really achieved that.

12928271_1124781777573549_5779603557994640522_n

If I say that you guys sound like Black Sabbath and Kyuss meeting at a Danzig show, how does that score on the chart of interesting comparisons you’ve heard?

Graham: Well I love Kyuss and Sabbath so that’s fine with me. I’ve noticed we have been compared to Venom and Therapy? a fair bit, and to be honest I don’t get that at all. One review said we sounded like early Electric Wizard crossed with Bathory (?) I think I prefer your description mate but to be honest I don’t really think much about comparisons. We sound like Possessor.

Bean : One of things I really value about Possessor is the wide variety of comparisons that have been applied to us.
People have said we sound like Metallica, L7, Prong, Ministry, Slayer, Pantera and Rob Zombie too. I love that it is difficult to pin us down. The best bands always have something unique about them which is exactly what I think Possessor are striving for

What is a Possessor live show like and are you guys planning to hit the continent soon?

Bean : The Possessor live experience is a heavy one. Our hope is the audience gets on board in the same way we are; basically to celebrate heavy music and have a good time.
We would LOVE to play future shows on the continent. Our recent show at Sonic Blast in Portugal was a huge success. European metal fans made us feel so welcome and really seemed to “get” what we do. I’d be happy to experience some more of that.

Graham: Yeah, that was great fun. I think our live performance often depends on how well we are rehearsed. We like to keep it raw and exciting and ever so slightly theatrical. Depending on the night and the beer intake we may wear a form of war-paint or corpse paint purely because it amuses us and brings to mind the old school craziness of Alice Cooper or Gwar. Other shows can be pretty slick with heads down and feet on the monitors. I think that sometimes a sloppy gig with shit loads of passion and energy is more memorable than being a predictable and routinely structured one. I don’t know why anyone would want to see the same exact performance twice.
We would love to travel and play more outside of the UK, so…

Marc :..Set us up with some dates.

What are the future plans for the band?

Graham: Have some fun and try not to go insane in the meantime. We will be releasing a special something for Halloween this year so keep an ear out for that. One thing we really want to do and have discussed in depth is put out a covers EP. That would be fun, but it could go either way. The songs would have to be weird enough to be worthwhile. We wouldn’t just be covering Ace of Spades and War Pigs.

Bean : In the immediate future? Hopefully more shows. I’d really like to take Dead by Dawn on the road and see people react to these songs. We’re at a stage now where we’re trying to build the profile of the band and that means getting out there and showing people what we’re all about. Beyond that… Write. Record. Do it all again, only bigger and better!

Marc: Burn stuff!

Finally, if you had to describe Possessor as a dish, what would it be (and why)?

Marc: Spicy shepherd’s pie, it’s heavy and hot.
Graham: Fajitas. Loads of heavy flavors with some added cheese.
Bean : Old fish heads and beer – because our food budget will ALWAYS be weighted towards beer.

Any other thing you want to share? 

 ALL: Thanks for having us. And Stay heavy.