Interview with Mithridatic

Mithridatic Logo

Blackened Death Metal can sometimes be a bit hit or miss, but with the début album Miserable Miracle from French band Mithridatic, it’s a definite hit. It’s a very strong album in more ways than one, and I was curious to find out more, so I caught up with their guitarist Romain Sanchez to find out what makes a miserable miracle…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

Hi! Firstly Mithridatic is just a band in the middle of a plethora of bands, created in 2007 in Saint Etienne France. Our inspiration is in old school death metal with some modern touches. We try to make an uncomfortable feeling, and to give much violence and power to the auditor. We pass by diverse styles of extreme metal such as doom, or fast as death brutal and using dark atmospheres of black metal.

Give us a bit of background to Mithridatic

Mithridatic is formed by 5 musicians all from the same region in France.

The drummer Kevin Paradis joined the band for the release of our demo “Hunt Is On”. Since Kevin’s entrance to the band we brought our style to a faster way, more extreme music, more hostile and oppressive. We are musicians with a lot of different influences. It allows us to pass by various styles of rhythms and various feelings. By the opportunity to have in the team musicians with a lot of technique, we want to achieve our goal: to give extreme music and to accomplish ourselves with our skills.

What are your influences?

We all have different influences, but I am going to begin my influences: the groups which marked me the most for making our song tracks are Morbid angel, Slayer, Arkhon Infaustus, Mayhem, Immolation, Angelcorpse etc. Mithridatic is a mix of an heavy atmosphere with ultra fast beats!

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

At the moment I would like to recommend Dead Congregation, Portal, Lvcifyre, Conan.… and I know Guitou is into Kerasphorus, Abhomine and Peter Helmkamp’s other works these days…

How do you feel that you fit into the wider Extreme Metal scene?

We still have a long way….But we are very enthusiastic to expose our music in various situations, we just want to play more and more!

Mithridatic Band

Give us a bit of background to Miserable Miracle – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?

The main idea of this album is to overcome different kinds of harmful situations… we describe nocebo effects, social anxiety, precarious existences…lyrics are inspired by some writings from French authors like Antonin Artaud, Henri Michaux etc. and some strange movies…Guitou had a kind of surrealist approach for its works for this album. We tried to create a ‘bardo’ state and to give a transcription of our anxiety and sickness…and this is also the way for the next album. Miserable Miracle is an important album for us because it’s our first “official” album for almost 10 years of activity. We hope the first one of many others! It also marks our entry into the French label Kaotoxin and Miserable Miracle has a better exposition than our old productions very underground. We also changed our habits of production by recording in two professional studio “DLM Studio” and “Sainte Marthe Studio”. We are all satisfied by results and by the sound of this album between old school and modern stuff. Kevin our drummer decided to record in a most natural possible way to get a sound close to our live performance. We wanted an organic and human sound.

Tell us about the album artwork

Damien Guerras’s illustration gives a free interpretation….I’m going to speak to you about mine: it represents the Adam and Eve tree in our world and society! The perversion of humankind have exceeded all the limits, the tree decomposes. The poison of perversion intoxicates our nervous system….This is a pessimistic picture of our miserable human condition.

How do you go about writing your songs?

I lock myself at home with my guitar for several days to record many riffs. It’s long process and sometimes inspiration doesn’t comes. I need time to get into a negative state of mind. Sometimes it can go very fast for example riffs of “Dispense the Adulterated ” and “Oxydized Trigger Sabotage” were written in the same week…Once riffs are recorded I send it to Kevin. It helps for structures of tracks and he makes his personal drum parts. Then we discusses of our ways to develop harmful songs…In rehearsal Alex and Remolow also composes with the material for bass parts and leads guitars. To finish Guitou places his vocals…The lyrics process is a quite difficult to describe because it’s an everyday process…. Miserable Miracle is a team work and everyone gives its personal style or feeling to get the riffs richer. Everyone is involved in an extreme vision of life and music.

How did the recording process go?

We recorded all the songs in the DLM Studio in Saint-Etienne and the mix/master was made by the Sainte-Marthe Studio in Paris. We decided to make the mix/master in Sainte-Marthe Studio with Francis Caste because we like his works on Svart Crown, Arkhon Infaustus, Kickback or Cowards for example. Francis Caste is a great professional, very fast, and an effective worker. Dupont Ludovic of the DLM Studio allowed us to record without stress at 20 minutes from home with a very good analogue equipment. Everything is very well.

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

My favourite song of the record is surely Oxydized Trigger Sabotage…I like the particular atmosphere of this track. Doom and tortured. The vocal performance by Guitou is awesome!

What does the future hold for Mithridatic?

The maximum of gigs to defend our music on stage. We hope to build and to acquire a solid place in extreme metal! We will work on new material as soon as possible! We have a lot of motivation to make a second album and to make good shows!! See you on stage!! Thanks for your interest!

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Abstracter/Dark Circles – Split (Review)

Abstracter Dark CirclesAbstracter are a Sludge/Doom band from the US, and Dark Circles are a Hardcore band from Canada.

Both of Abstracter’s full length albums, (Tomb of Feathers and Wound Empire), feature regularly in my listening. And with good reason; their brand of heavy, blackened Sludge/Doom is expertly done. On this release they contribute 2 tracks, lasting almost 20 minutes in total.

Barathrum starts off showcasing the band’s blackened aspect, with dark, murky blast beats charging through a sea of tar. This rather quickly spends itself, leading into a slow, sludgy crawl through murkiest waters as Abstracter embrace their dirty Doom side. Occasional forays into speed and groovier territories comprise the remaining running time, with the singer’s thick growl accompanying you the entire way.

If you haven’t encountered Abstracter before then this song is as good an introduction as any into their harsh, underground Sludge Metal.

But we’re not done yet, as there’s a second track; Where All Pain Converges. This is a little longer than the first and generally a bit slower and more considered. If Barathrum showcased the band’s harsher side then this one showcases their more atmospheric. That’s not to say this isn’t harsh and heavy, (it is), but that it also has more of a blatant emotive quality to the guitars than the soul-crushing nihilism of the first. Mixing slower sections with some more upbeat parts, the overall mood is maintained throughout and Abstracter once again show why they’re so very good at what they do.

After this onslaught of despair and misery, we leave Abstracter to wallow in their pit of pain, and approach, timidly, Dark Circles. This band offer up a different form of gloom with their characterful brand of dark Hardcore. Being familiar with their previous work on MMXIV, it’s good to catch up with them again and here they give us 4 songs, lasting just under 13 minutes.

Ashen starts us off with a squeal of feedback before violently picking up the pace with the band’s dark blend of abrasive Hardcore. One of the things I like about Dark Circles is their ability to inject an emotive bleakness into their raging chaos, engaging the listener and prompting them to move closer, despite the inherent danger. The second track Void follows on in a similar theme, (but with added atmosphere), and both initial tracks blur by in a haze of anger and distorted malice.

After these typically short and nasty affairs both of the next tracks are much longer by comparison, relative to this split and to their work on MMXIV. Isolate starts immediately, all blackened teeth and bile. The longer playing time allows the band the opportunity to flesh out the more atmospheric side of their sound that briefly reared its head during Void. This shows itself to be an apocalyptic Sludge/Doom influence, heavy and foreboding, before the Hardcore energy picks up once more.

The final track is called Epilogue (Quietus) OP. 28 No. 4 and is a little different, as the name suggests; here the band give vent to a dark ambient side and swamp the listener with a slow-building tense piece of drone that creates a nicely unsettling and worrying atmosphere.

Both bands have contributed some very nice work to this split release, and although they do play different styles they also have more than enough overlap and similar themes to complement each other perfectly. As splits go, this works a treat and is definitely one you should check out.

Inherit Disease – Ephemeral (Review)

Inherit DiseaseInherit Disease are a US Death Metal band. This is their third album.

Combining some technicality and lots of brutality, Inherit Disease play a classic USDM style that allows them to showcase their love of the genre and all things brutal.

The music on Ephemeral combines speedy aggression with some chunky slam riffs, producing 39 minutes of utterly depraved brutality.

The singer’s vocals are sickeningly deep, stopping just short of descending into the kind of ridiculous pignoise burping that tends to ruin bands. His voice is as ugly and as gruesome as the music.

Ephemeral is unrelenting and harsh, rarely stopping for breath as it chops, hacks and carves its way through the tracks. There’s something very satisfying about this kind of music. It’s just so timelessly appealing; despite what other musical trends and moods might take you, Death Metal will always be there. Waiting. Lurking. Ready to strike.

I like that the more you listen to this, the more you enjoy it. It’s an unstoppable juggernaut of groove and blasting, easily absorbed by anyone who has a taste for bands like Deeds of Flesh, Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Severe Torture, Dying Fetus, Defeated Sanity, etc.

For a solid fix of heavy brutality and death-dealing, Inherit Disease have got you covered.

Check them out.

Corprophemia – Abhorrogenesis (Review)

CorprophemiaThis is the second album from Canadian Death Metal band Corprophemia.

Playing savage Death Metal that has elements of the brutal and technical styles, this is a modern approach to the genre that injects a bit of Deathcore and slam into the mix to further increase the violence factor.

Canada seems to be very good when it comes to this kind of thing. Fellow Canadian Death Metallers such as Cryptopsy, Deformatory, Pronostic, Antlion and Unbreakable Hatred to name but a few have all released some top quality music in the not too distant past and we can now add Corprophemia to that list as well.

The singer has a fine set of lungs it seems, with his clipped barks reeking of aggression. His is a very satisfying voice and perfectly complements the precise and exacting nature of the music.

So what of the music? It’s well-played, well-written and well-recorded. This pretty much covers all of the bases and all that remains is for this to be played at full volume to annoy the neighbours.

The band use crushing rhythmic riffs well and mainly sound like a combination of the dynamics and technicality of Cryptopsy, the staccato brutality of Beneath the Massacre and the sheer violence and cold assault of Coprocephalic. Add some snippets of cut-short melody here and there and brief ambient synth interludes between tracks and you have a very compelling 30 minutes.

Highly recommended.

Bloodthirst – Glorious Sinners (Review)

BloodthirstThis is the latest EP from Polish Blackened Thrashers Bloodthirst.

I enjoyed their last album Chalice of Contempt, so this new EP was gratefully received. Here we have over 20 minutes of scathing Black Metal and 80s Thrash influences.

These songs continue the band’s previous path of combining second-wave Black Metal with atavistic Thrash elements, striking the right balance so that they’re poised between two styles, waiting to strike.

Blast beats and spiky riffs blur by in a whirlwind of energy and dark melodies. The songs have personality and the band embrace the roots of both genres, forging them together down the path they want to take.

I find it easy to be turned off by Black/Thrash a lot of the time, but I do enjoy Bloodthirst as they seem to have that intangible special something that raises them up to be greater than the sum of their parts. It’s the songs, of course, and the feel of them. Glorious Sinners just hits the spot for me and does what it sets out to do very well indeed.

A professional production rounds the package off, and Glorious Sinners is an eminently enjoyable listen.

Interview with Kampfar

Kampfar Logo

Kampfar’s seventh album Profan is like a fine wine that just improves over time. Their bassist Jon Bakker gave me some insight into their world…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

I’m Jon, the bass player of Kampfar.

Give us a bit of background to Kampfar

Kampfar came to life back in 1994. Over the years we released 7 albums via different labels. We are currently signed to Indie Recordings and our latest release, Profan, was out November last year. The last 13 years we have been a 4 piece, doing several tours in Europe and North America.

What are your influences?

We were teens in the 80s so naturally our favourite music and inspiration comes from that time. Can be everything from Heavy Metal, Thrash and early Black Metal like Kiss, Bathory, Celtic Frost, Sodom etc. Of newer times everything that makes a difference might inspire us.

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

There are some cool records being released nowadays. Personally I like Tribulation, Alfahanne, Mgła, Melechesh, Secrets Of The Moon and so on. I’m also into new thrash bands from Norway actually. Inculter, Reptilian and Nekromantheon rocks.

How do you feel about the Extreme Metal scene in 2016?

As I mentioned above there’s still hope for Extreme Metal. The new trend is to be different, and that may not be a bad thing. I’m pretty sick of bands trying to copy others though. It’s enough with one Abbath creature and one band like Darkthrone…

Kampfar Band

Give us a bit of background to Profan – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?

The whole idea behind Profan is to dig as far down in the filth as possible. It’s a search for hope and a journey to see if there’s anything that can save mankind. If you follow the lyrics the answer is pretty clear. There’s no hope, no hymns, no chants and no mercy. But there will be fire!

Tell us about your songwriting process?

Our process works with sharing ideas. It’s a long process for sure. One song is changed many times before everyone is satisfied. Then we meet in the rehearsal room and check the live potential.

How did the recording of the album go?

Everything went very smooth. The recording was done in different levels and places. Bergen, Pärlby/Sweden and Oslo. We’re very happy with everyone involved. Jonas and Stamos did an excellent job for us.

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

That’s difficult. I have favourites for every mood. Daimon is a killer live song while Tornekratt have a great groove and wildness.

How do you see your sound developing in the future?

To the extreme. We will not do another Profan nor Djevelmakt. If we ever find the inspiration for a new album, we will do it. If not, who knows…

What’s next for Kampfar?

We’ll play live as much as we can. We have a good package of excellent live songs now, and now its the time to get it out to the world.

Interview with Collision

Collision Logo

As I sit here listening to Collision’s latest release Satanic Surgery, it strikes me that in addition to being a very brutal record, it’s extremely well put together and just plain fun! As it’s a very enjoyable album that I keep returning to, when the opportunity arose to catch up with the band I grasped it with both hands…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

We are Collision from the Netherlands! We play a crossover between grindcore and thrash metal with a lot of punk and hardcore influences! Collision is around for 15 or 16 years now, touring Europe and sometimes we will make an album… like we just did: Satanic Surgery! Released by Hammerheart Records on CD and LP.

Give us a bit of background to Collision

Collision started back in 2000, after a trying out some guitar and bass players we found the right line up for this band and we start to write songs and perform live. We were ask to do some local supports and shows on metal festivals. From one thing came another and before we knew we were in the studio recording our first album, released by Czech Republic’s grindcore label “Bizarre Leprous”. With this album in our pocket we did a lot of shows in The Netherlands, Belgium, France and Czech Republic. We changed bassist after this and now we are still in the same line-up. We just like to do a lot of shows and sometimes we record an album, a split single or some cover songs for a tribute album.

What are your influences?

Old school grindcore, thrash metal, hardcore and crossover in general. We are 5 individuals, but I think we all love Slayer and Napalm Death haha. More influences came from bands like Repulsion, Nasum, Wehrmacht, Stormtroopers Of Death, Brutal Truth, Municipal Waste, Dead Kennedys, Anthrax, Suffocation and more!

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

I’m currently listening to Skeletal Remains (groovy old school death metal, good stuff!), the latest album from Gadget (ultra fast grindcore with cool sludge and hardcore parts), Textures (awesome Dutch band) and some old school classics that are not metal like The Specials and Run D.M.C. But like I mention before, the other members will listen to complete other music then me haha.

How do you feel that you fit into the wider Metal scene?

I don’t know, we also love to play in the crust and grindcore scene… but for us it’s not about scenes etc. We just love to play and that everybody that likes grindcore, thrash metal, hardcore, death metal, punkrock etc will love our music!

Collision Band

Give us a bit of background to Satanic Surgery – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?

Normally we sing about drinking, stupidity of religion, girls, war and horror. We used to do some politics, but that’s just not our thing.

How do you go about writing your songs?

Normally our bass player Boris will come up with some riffs. We will select our favourites and make skeletons of songs from it together with guitar player Luc. These songs are sent to our drummer Job and together we finish the song. Normally Björn (sometimes me) will come up with some lyrics and topics to scream about. Some fine-tuning and the song is finished! These days we think it’s important to have the song full of power and energy, but also needs to be catchy and have a good chorus!

I’m glad you mentioned that – is it important to for you to have a good amount of catchiness in your music, rather than focusing purely on aggression and extremity?

Hehe, I already answered this! But yes, it needs to be catchy! But we also focus a lot of aggression and extremity for sure.

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

I don’t know, I really love to play “Necromantic Love Affair” live because of the combination of grindcore riffs with a sludgy metal break. Lyrics are also hilarious hehe. I also really like “Cripple The Cross”… faster, faster!!

Tell us about the album artwork

The artwork is done by Luis Sendon, he also did the cover from our previous album and the split 7″ with The Rotted. The concept was already clear for a few months, so it was just up to him to visualise our ideas. And I must admit, he did an awesome job!

How did the recording process go?

Surprisingly smooth! We were not that prepared like the previous album, but we made nice demos for ourselves, so we finished the job in a few recording days.

What does the future hold for Collision?

We just hope to play a lot and everywhere! We have some cool shows booked at the moment, but we are still open for more! So keep an eye at http://www.collisiongrind.nl for updates!

Thank you fort he interview and the support!

Gottweist – Future Is in Our Hands (Review)

GottweistThis is the début album from Canadian Metal band Gottweist.

Gottweist’s music is somewhere between the classic Iron Maiden-influenced Metal style and a more modern one, as played by bands like Killswitch Engage, Bullet for My Valentine, As I Lay Dying, Atreyu and the like. The balance is weighted towards the latter, but the former has enough of a presence to give Future Is in Our Hands more impact than is normal for a band like this.

The album features a bright sparkly sound that might not be quite as polished as those aforementioned groups, but still works in concert with the songs themselves to present a band who clearly have a passion and energy for what they do.

The singer’s voice is melodic and smooth, backed by the odd shout or harsher vocal. The Heavy Metal influence counteracts the more modern Metalcore one in various ways, one of the more notable being the fact that the harsh vocals are very much in the minority here, whereas normally it’s the other way around, with cleans usually being restricted to radio-friendly choruses. Gottweist go the other, less-usual route; the majority of the vocals on this release are sung, and when harsher ones do appear they typically back up the cleans on the choruses.

Leads and solos are used well, adding much to the hearty songs and catchy melodies. Indeed, there’s so much enthusiasm here that it’s hard to feel jaded and dislike what the band are doing, (unless you’re just not into this kind of thing, of course).

All of the above results in an enjoyable and slightly different take on the more commercial side of melodic Metal/Metalcore. I have enjoyed their slightly-atypical spin on the modern Metalcore sound; with the traditional Heavy Metal aspects of their delivery lending a bit more depth and longevity to the music than is typical for a band of this ilk.

Given the right backing and exposure, as well as a bigger production and a slightly more adventurous songwriting outlook, Future Is in Our Hands might actually be potentially quite prophetic for their next album.

Check this out.