A Conversation with Jori Apedaile of Eneferens

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Eneferens is an up and coming one-man metal project out of Minnesota, the brainchild behind the band is Jori Apedaile. The best way I can describe his music as a fan is beautiful, resonating, and very introspective in nature. Jori just released his new album “The Bleakness of Our Constant” that came out earlier in November it is a fantastic album full of great ideas and very relatable lyrics/imagery. He took some time to do an interview with me about the new album and the origins/motivation behind Eneferens. I learned a lot about who Jori is and what motivates him to create such beautiful and sorrowful music.

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, firstly can you give our readers an idea of the concept and origin story behind Eneferens?

 The project started in the winter of 2015. I had quit all of the bands I was in previously to move to a different city, and inspiration for a new sound emerged with the change in my surroundings. The name Eneferens came to me in a dream one night, and I dissected the root words to form a definition: To carry within one’s self. That resonated deeply with what I was trying to do, and things developed from there.”

What is your creative process in writing your music? Are you more spontaneous or meticulous in putting your ideas together?

 It’s definitely a balance of both. I often start writing a song with something completely out of the blue, but I often have a strong sensibility and can map out where the song needs to go. Other times I surprise myself. I make a strong point to not repeat myself or develop too many songwriting habits, and some of the experimentation trying to steer clear from that has been fairly successful.

When I am I reading your lyrics there is such a sense of melancholy, and themes of love lost how do you conceptualize your lyrics to make them so simply profound?

 Lyrics are by far the most difficult part of the writing process for me because the music already says so much. That’s a very tough question to answer, because I essentially just ponder a lot, and dig deep into what I’m feeling and just hope that something of value will come out.”

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Photo By: Todd Farnham

Nature also plays a part in your themes and imagery why are these metaphors so important to the image of Eneferens?

 The approach to the whole project is to create beautiful and dynamic music. Nature is by far the most beautiful and dynamic thing, so it very easily translates in the music that I make.”

Specifically in “The Bleakness of Our Constant” what made you come up with this title for you newest output?

“Coming up with the title took me a very long time. It was difficult for me to find a name to bring these tracks together because they are all pretty different from one another. I revisited my lyrics and the very last line of Weight of the Mind’s Periapt jumped out at me: The Bleakness Of Our Constant. That was it. To me, the title represents continuing on in a trajectory that is uncertain, can be bleak and difficult, but there is always that stubborn determination to keep going in hopes that things will get better.”

I noticed the sigils on the album artwork what is the significance behind them?

“The sigil is essentially the earth and the sky joined by a very frail thin line. It represents a very delicate sense of balance. Balance is very important in the creation of my music, so I think it is a fitting image to accompany this new record.”

Which bands/artists are you most influenced by and why? Secondly what acts are you currently listening to at this moment?

“I am all over the map. Regardless of what genre an artist is, the ones that influence me the most are those that perfectly convey emotions that I can strongly resonate with. Some of the strong influences that can be found in Eneferens are early Opeth, Alcest, Katatonia (all of their discography), Rapture, and Kauan. Some artists that have emotionally inspired me but don’t necessarily translate in my sound are The National, Neuman, Hundred Waters, Sufjan Stevens, and London Grammar. My music wouldn’t be the same without them even though they’re far from metal. I’ve been listening to a wide variety of music lately: Fleurety, Lantlos, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, mid-discography Ulver, Camel, the list goes on.”

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Photo By: Jori Apedaile

It seems like the reception has been quite positive for Eneferens, how do you feel about this?

 I am very grateful for how well things are being received. It’s very validating, and it means a lot to hear that people are connecting to the music on an emotional level.”

There are so many new, interesting and compelling acts in the metal scene these days. Do you think the metal scene has seen a renaissance?

 No, not necessarily. I think things have progressed fairly naturally in the sense that so much has been done before already and that forces bands to either come up with something very unique, or try to do the same thing but better than the last band. It is an exciting time for metal though because some real creativity is emerging in order to stand out.”

After researching, I noticed you do your live shows by yourself how has that been and do you see yourself adding live members to Eneferens in the future?

 Playing live by myself has been very empowering and it has been received well. I did a northwest U.S. tour earlier this year and a common comment was that they were impressed how big the sound was for just one person. I would eventually like to put together a full live band to make the experience more captivating. We will see what happens in the future.”

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Photo By: Jori Apedaile

If you could describe Enenferens to someone who may not be familiar with your music how would you best describe it?

It’s a combination of many of my influences- black metal, doom, shoegaze, folk. As cheesy as it is, I sometimes call it “beautiful metal” because that’s really what it is. Strong melodies, dissonance when necessary, plenty of atmosphere and a very delicate balance of light and dark.”

Do you have any parting thoughts for our readers?

“Never fear to be different! The best things of all are always one of a kind. Cheers.”

Bandcamp: https://eneferens.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eneferens/

 

A Conversation with Dis Pater of Midnight Odyssey

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Midnight Odyssey is a one man musical entity out Australia, I can best describe the music as epic, sprawling, pensive and spiritual sounding. I was so interested  in the immersive music of Midnight Odyssey that I wanted to interview the man behind the project Dis Pater. He more than graciously answered a series of questions about what made him conceive this timeless and memorable aural journey to the stars . I learned a lot about his creative process and the symbolism behind the music. I hope after you read this interview you will take a chance and listen to his latest endeavor “Silhouette of Stars” which is a compilation of unreleased tracks from different  Midnight Odyssey eras.

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Photo by Ales Gillies and Francesco Gemelli

Could you tell us about the origin stories of Midnight Odyssey and Death Comes Crawling?

“Midnight Odyssey was a concept I had started back around 1999, when I began writing ‘black metal’ music, although it was only on an acoustic guitar. Soon I had saved up to buy an electric guitar and keyboard and soon was able to make rough recordings. I even experimented with a bit of synth music around 2003 but it was quite crude. I spent many years just writing stuff for my own amusement until I thought I might try and put something out to the public in 2007. That’s really when Midnight Odyssey truly began.”

From prior interviews I have read you came up with the moniker of Dis Pater as a symbol of the Roman god of Death. Why is the concept and symbolism of Death so important to the creation of Midnight Odyssey/Death Comes Crawling?

“For me death is the one certainty in life. It is one of a few things that we all have in common, it spans generations, eons, species, even things that by definition don’t live can still die. It is something that relates to everyone, most of us have experienced it, a lot of us fear it.”

As I listen to your projects I get such a sense of vastness, I am reminded of Big Sky Country in the US as I hear your music. Geographically does Australia hold a major influence in your creativity?

“I think the many different forms of geography in Australia, even close to where I live, does play a big part in my writing. I guess in my mind when I write about a forest I’m probably thinking about European forests, but it is the Australian rainforest that would be physically influencing what I write and relate to. But in many ways, things like caves, mountains, waterfalls, even just the sky itself are all contributing factors to me, so again, it’s all from my viewpoint here in Australia.”

There is so much symbolism of space, time, and mortality throughout all your music. Why are these ideas metaphorically significant to your creative process?

“I think these are the key factors of existence. I don’t like to write music that is tied to a time specific moment, so there are no reference to things like phones, tvs, movies, cars, guns, etc. It’s something that doesn’t change even as technology changes. Space and time will affect us and have affected us since the beginning, and will continue to affect us right up until the end. The past for me is the most important, because humanity never really changes, everything we need to know has already happened in one way or another.”

Being a one man band I think there is a lot of freedom found in this format, have you ever thought of adding others to help you develop your vision/themes (specifically in Midnight Odyssey)?

“No I’ve never really considered it for my metal projects. Guest musicians sure, but to turn it into a band is something I’m only considering with Death Comes Crawling. For me Midnight Odyssey would probably ruined if it were on a stage. I don’t think of it as music where people head bang or fist pump the air, where stage lights flash and people applause or banter. It’s really not what Midnight Odyssey is about, it’s as far removed from humanity as it possibly can be.”

You mentioned you were looking into band mates for Death Comes Crawling is there a thought of doing this band live?

“Quite possibly yes. It wouldn’t take much in terms of other people at all, but for me the real issue is time, as I’m very busy with personal and work life. It’s something that I would want to focus on 100%, not kind of stumble my way into it. I think too the style of music is far more worthy of a live setting than anything else I’ve done.”

While hearing your albums there is a huge dark wave vibe going on with the vocals and music of Midnight Odyssey in some moments (even in The Crevices Below) which in turn made you create Death Comes Crawling, what do you like most about dark wave music and why is this style so significant in your albums?

“Well I almost simultaneously got into that music at the same time as metal. For me the two went hand in hand, they were darker in tone, they were about more meaningful things, like death, more emotional and just generally weren’t popular forms of music. It was never about being a guitar god for me, it was creating something through sound that represented what I was feeling, engaging the darker more sinister thoughts within me and finding an avenue to bring those thoughts out. These concepts aren’t unique to metal by any means, and dark wave and other styles like classical music create just the same unique experiences.”

What are some bands/musicians you have been listening to lately? And do you recommend any other dark wave acts that our readers should look into?

“I’ve been listening a lot to the Ancient Records releases, and also the recent Mare and One Tail, One Head. For dark wave, well, I think the best of the most recent bands have been Drab Majesty!”

Also researching prior interviews I noticed you are heavily influenced by Dead Can Dance, I can see their influence in your music what about them stands out most to you? And are there any other acts that have the same significance in your creative process?

“Dead Can Dance embody something that is otherworldly. It is hypnotic, it is mystical and it transports you as the listener into another age. They use ancient instruments as well as new, and Lisa Gerrard’s voice to me is the epitome of beauty and danger. Similarly, Arcana are another that followed that path of sound and who have influenced just as much, particularly for their more dark medieval sound and are perhaps my favourite of all the other neoclassical bands that came out during the 90s and after. But a lot of the old Cold Meat Industry stuff like Ildfrost, Mortiis, and Raison d’être are up there as well.”

 

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What are your thoughts and feelings of the current metal scene? I have noticed more and more creative bands come through on the regular. Do you think the scene is in a good place right now?

“I think the metal scene is healthy, but there are just too many bands. I think maybe it is a little too mainstream, well at least black metal is creeping into popular society more and more. It’s become appealing to casual audiences and I think that is where a lot of problems will happen. But otherwise, I don’t think metal has anything to be worried about. The only thing is over the next ten years when a lot of the older bands will have gone, either through members dying or just breaking up because they are too old, there has to be bands to come in and fill the void.”

Specifically how has the metal scene been in Australia? Has your projects been getting a lot of support locally?

“The metal scene is okay. I don’t have a lot to do with it.  There is some support in Australia for me, but I think my bigger audiences are in Europe and the States. It’s quite diverse, in the fact that I can go to three gigs and see mostly three different crowds of people who I haven’t seen before. But I’m not really into keeping up appearances as such. There are those that I like and though we may not see each other often, we remain supportive of each other’s works and outputs.”

Have you ever got a chance to visit the United States? Are there any specific states or areas you would like to experience to help you develop your ideas and themes of your projects?

“I’ve never visited the United States and to be honest, I think the only place I would travel to specifically to develop any ideas as such would be the volcanoes in Hawaii, as that is something we don’t have in Australia. Everything else would be purely holiday.”

Are you currently working on any new material for Midnight Odyssey or Death Comes Crawling?

“I am working on quite a few things related to Midnight Odyssey at the moment, but it is too early to go into detail about that. I haven’t really got anything else started for Death Comes Crawling just yet, as the bonus track on the CD that is soon to be released was the last thing I had worked on.”

What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of your music?

“Well I read a lot of ancient and medieval history books, and latin and greek literature and poetry. It  feeds the lyrical and conceptual side of Midnight Odyssey quite well. Most of my spare time is taken up with music and collecting really.”

And finally do you have any parting words for our readers and how would best describe your music to someone who may not be familiar with your work?

“Thank you for taking the time to read this interview, and I hope you can make the time to listen to some of my output. I’d suggest headphones, at night, alone, looking up towards the stars and planets.”

Hubble Goes High Def to Revisit the Iconic 'Pillars of Creation'

Bandcamp: https://i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/midnightodyssey/

Official Page: https://midnightodysseyofficial.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dis_pater_official/

A Review of “Salt” by KHôRADA

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When the news came out about the emergence of KHôRADA I was super excited and intrigued to see what direction Don Anderson, Jason Walton and Aesop Dekker would go with the inclusion of Giant Squid’s brainchild AJ Gregory. To me this was quite the dichotomy of styles and influences that could in turn create an album so unique and mammoth that it would be genre-defining than genre-rehashing. I think this has always been the motivation of these talented musicians over the years, when Agalloch was an entity they always challenged themselves and went to higher levels of creativity, the same can be said about Giant Squid. What I see in KHôRADA’s album “Salt” is that Don, Jason, AJ and Aesop do not believe in a mediocre product, they have crafted a piece of music that is relevant, challenging and absolutely crushing. The heaviness in this album is beyond words, there is so much riffs that are doom-laden and just bleak. The sounds erupting from all the instruments absolutely engulfs you in suffocating, strange and otherworldly ways.

When you are first introduced to “Salt” there is a sound of distant horns heralding the end of the world. As the song progresses the helpless, and emotive vocals of AJ Gregory arise from the watery depths. His voice prophesizes the end of the world and the birth of the sixth mass extinction. After reading the lyrics of “Edeste” I came to the conclusion that “Salt” is going to be a hopeless, fatalistic, and nihilistic journey. As the album progressed the themes and emotions in music continued to grow and grow into utter despair and despondency. This may sound negative but I guarantee this is a positive, KHôRADA’s “Salt” is a tiring but important journey of the heart and soul. After multiple listens I was thinking more and more about mortality of not only myself but the whole of mankind. The guitars, bass, drums and vocals put the listener through a series of inner trials and tribulations and you come out of the fog with a different view of life and the inevitable doom that will follow.

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Photo Credit: Cody Keto Photography

As the album progresses the songs get more and more dense/evocative. As I am listening to all the nuances I am hearing snippets of Agalloch and Giant Squid. The guitar work of Don Anderson is always a stand out, the solos and leads he incorporates are very distinctive and melancholic. AJ Gregory’s guitars are a lot crunchier, and it really gives KHôRADA a unique identity. The one thing that really impressed me more than anything else is the bass and drum work of Jason and Aesop. The foundation they have built together really gives “Salt” such depth, intensity and heaviness. The drumming is just outstanding and there are a ton of bass leads and lines that are right at the forefront that makes the tracks all the gloomier.

The one thing you will notice above all else about “Salt” is the very apparent political statement found throughout AJ Gregory’s lyrics. He specifically said in the conception of “Salt” that it is a protest against the Trump-era and how this era will expedite the inevitable end of the world. There is such a sense of anger and hopelessness in the lyrics that it makes you really concerned about the future especially for future generations. Surprisingly enough AJ Gregory, Don Anderson, Jason Walton and Aesop Dekker tend to develop music at the most relevant times which increases the impact and weight of “Salt”. Truly this is a testament to the talent and skill they all have, I am really looking forward to seeing what type of album they will come up with next. When you have such gifted musicians in a project like KHôRADA the next album will inevitably be impactful and genre-defining. In the dark ages we are in now as human race a band like KHôRADA is the light found in the darkest recesses of the abyss.

Rating: 8/10

Official Site: https://www.khorada.com

Bandcamp: https://khorada.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/khorada/

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Photo Credit: Cody Keto Photography

A Review of Eneferens’s: “The Bleakness of Our Constant”

 

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I have spent a seemingly long time trying to figure out my place in this world, so much has happened in my life and I started seeing myself getting lost in indifference. The world buzzed by while I was stuck in a nucleus of numbness, and loss of self. I know I could always turn to metal to help through these movements in life. But lately I have started to feel indifferent about the music I have been listening to lately. The music didn’t move me as much as it used to do. And then when I thought there was no turning back for me I found a solo black/doom metal project called Eneferens.

The brainchild behind this project is Jori Apedaile out of Minneapolis, MN. I was first introduced to Jori’s mindset when I heard him talk on Jason Walton’s podcast “I Hate Music” his taste in music reflected my own tastes and when I learned more of his solo-project Eneferens. I heard a track off his album “In the Hours Beneath” and I had this illumination that this is a project I needed to dive into more. I purchased both his albums “In the Hours Beneath” and the “The Inward Cold” and spent a good chunk of time really being floored by the emotions, thoughts and feelings found in the music. There were feelings of anger, regret, indifference, mortality, nature and most importantly a resonating sense of love lost and love ignored. Every single one of these elements in these albums fit me and the struggles I have been dealing with for a couple years now. As I got lost in the music and looking into my inward self I had a chat with Jori and he mentioned that he was working on a new album and it will be coming out soon. This album ended up being his newest opus “The Bleakness of Our Constant” and this album came out at the right time for me.

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I have been dealing with deaths in my family, boredom at my job, searching for love, and being constantly reminded that the person I care deeply for has no idea how much I do care. I have found myself in a place that is just darkness, and loss that is both unfamiliar and confounding. My thoughts were all jumbled up like a jigsaw puzzle without corner pieces. I could not find rationale or reasoning behind these thoughts in my head. Then, like a sudden thunderstorm “The Bleakness of Our Constant” came out and as soon as I heard the first guitar chords in “Leave” I got lost once again in the brilliance of Enferens. Every song hit every feeling and thought I had about this current moment in my life.

The thoughts of loss, and wishing for something that cannot be while longing it to be. I can picture in my head while hearing tracks like “Awake” and “Weight of the Mind’s Periapt” a woman of beauty that is positive, energetic and just seems like the right fit even though you cannot put your finger on why you feel this way about her. Though instead of her there by your side she is in the distance, aloof and hazy. You are trying to make her aware but because of second thoughts, and your own insecurities she will never know how you truly felt about her. “The Bleakness of Our Constant” really hits home on these thoughts, images and feelings. If you have ever been in this type of situation this album will really help you understand how to navigate it and find closure even if it seems so far away.

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Listening to a “The Bleakness of Our Constant” can be painful but profound. Being reminded of past failures and the guilt surrounding it helps you grow like it did for me. I am still in a daze most nights and days and as I piece together these threads in my life I hope to be whole again. The music, vocals, lyrics and imagery in “The Bleakness of Our Constant” hits highs and lows as well as darkness and light. It is an album that gives imagery of misty woods, old houses, mourning lovers, unrequited romance and the sadness found in being ignored. This is a very personal, vulnerable and thought provoking album and as soon as you complete it in its entirety you will come to find out that you are not alone in these feelings. I highly suggest you give not only “The Bleakness of Our Constant” a listen but pay a visit to Enferens’s other brilliant albums “The Inward Cold” and “In the Hours Beneath”. As you get lost in these beautiful albums you will start to find a way out of the darkness through the cold light of the stars above.

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Rating 9/10

Bandcamp: https://eneferens.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/eneferens/

Hail Type O Negative!

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After another long hiatus I have come back to write more about my favorite genre, metal. I figured I would start with a thought piece on one of my all time favorite bands Type O Negative. If you have not heard of them before you will learn a lot in this article. If you are as big a fan as I am then I hope you can relate to my thoughts about this once in a generation band.

When you hear of the band Type O Negative so many things come to mind, some of them being nostalgia, Halloween, sex, black humor and Peter Steele. I have been listening to this band for a couple years now, but knew nothing about them before stumbling across “October Rust” years back. When I heard this album the catchiness, darkness and brilliant lyrics really sucked me in. I still feel to this day that Peter Steele is one of the best vocalist I have heard in the heavy music medium. The different ranges and registers he sings in is so versatile and really give each Type O Negative album it’s own unique personality.

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The more I delved into the Type O Negative rabbit hole the more I was impressed with how diverse and epic their songs are. They have some crushing numbers that echo doom, goth, death and even some industrial metal. Then they have sounds that are almost darkly pop in nature with some punk sprinkled in for good measure. This vast, and various painters pallet of music Type O Negative created has heavily influenced so many bands over the years. Any metalhead you talk to has some respect or admiration for Peter Steele and company. One of the things that stands out most to me is how honest/relatable Steele’s lyrics are. I think we have all had moments in life when the crisp air and bonfires of Fall remind us of a Type O Negative song. The gothic subculture was also given an identity when Type O Negative hit the radio waves. To me I always felt the gothic culture thrived even back during the days of Sisters of Mercy and The Cure. But somehow Type O Negative gave the goth culture a whole new, and darkly romantic bent to society. When I talk to metal fans regularly all I hear is how awesome and relevant Type O Negative is even now. To leave such a legacy to newer generations is something to be excited about for the future of goth music/metal.

 

Some of my favorite albums by Type O Negative was “October Rust”, and “World Coming Down”. Both these albums got a ton of listens over the years. I think “Word Coming Down” is one of those albums that really hits home in a wide variety of ways. This album really reflected the internal torment and misery Peter Steele was going through. I also think a lot of doom metal acts were heavily influenced by this album for both its immense darkness/oppression and vulnerability. While “World Coming Down” was the bleaker darker aspect of Type O Negative “October Rust” was the album that showed great humor, a sense of fun and gothic-tinged romance. When I hear this album I always listen to it around Autumn time it is just so relevant to that time of year in New Hampshire. When I see Halloween decorations, pumpkins, fallen leaves, feeling the crisp air and smells of bonfires/chimney smoke “October Rust” ends up being my living soundtrack. I think most metal fans have “October Rust” in their playlists when Fall arrives. When an album that has that much renown and replayability shows once again how Peter Steele and his bandmates have played a supremely important part to the heavy music timeline.

If you have stumbled upon this article and this is your first time ever hearing about Type O Negative I highly suggest you take the time as well as your hard earned dollars to pick up some of their albums. The music is excellent, the themes are memorable and the images that come to mind when you hear them will be immediate and even relatable in a way. Hail Type O Negative!

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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/typeonegative

Twitter: https://twitter.com/typeonegative

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/typeonegative

A Review of Ulver’s Album “The Assassination of Julius Caesar”

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One of my first forays into the black metal genre was Ulver’s trilogy from the 90s. I was first introduced to Ulver because of my love for nature-inspired black metal. “Bergttat”, “Kvledssanger” and “Nattens Madrigal” blew me away with stunning black metal and folk music. Also these albums were revolutionary in the progress of black metal. I was so excited to find this band that I wanted to hear more. Since those albums Ulver always changed up their style from intriguing (Perdition City) to boring (any of their electronic albums). I kind of stopped listening to them after Perdition City. Then I was reading one of my friend’s posts on Facebook and he gave his top albums for 2017 and to my surprise what came first on that list was Ulver’s new album “The Assassination of Julius Caesar”. So I listened to the album and was utterly floored by the music in it. I have been diving more into synthpop/new wave music and to see Ulver go in this direction was intriguing.

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After multiple listens the more the album grew on me. There is some excellent stuff in “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” and it once again made Ulver accessible to me. There is still some weird and fascinating moments in the album that harken back to their electronic days, but instead of boring electronics it was interesting electronics instead. The best way to describe the music in this album is driving in a haze after a rainy night recollecting the highs and lows of life. It is a relaxing, introspective and morose album. The overarching highlight to me is the vocals of Garm, I have always respected Garm’s vocal style over the years and really missed hearing him in a bunch of Ulver’s newer albums. The tones, style and imagery he conveys in his vocals really makes “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” stand out to me. His vocals are versatile and really compliment the synth sounds and beats found in the songs. These is sense of darkness, beauty and longing all put into one package.

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I was even more impressed with the electronic and synth work in this album. There is warmth and coldness abound in “The Assassination of Julius Caesar”. I feel like I am listening to a movie reminiscing about the nostalgia and history of the 80s. The album’s lyrical content is very intriguing and thought provoking, Kristoffer Rygg seamlessly blends imagery and information about two different historical contexts and makes it into his own version of history. What really makes the lyrics interesting is how he takes these seamlessly random moments in history and compares them to the darkness and emotions of the human condition. I feel this album is especially relevant to the current events of today in a wide variety of ways. This disillusionment is real for us as humans these days.

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To conclude I consider this to be a heck of an album that could really tap into a wide variety of music lovers. I think Ulver’s has bridged the gap of obscurity to relevance. I feel this album could touch anyone who loves and appreciates music. There is something you can always relate to in “The Assassination of Julius Caesar” be it the lyrics, imagery, vocals or music. There is an undeniable catchiness to this album and it will continue to get consistent listens if you appreciate music that is dark as well as pop-driven. Ulver has crafted an album that has turned heads but also unlocked the potential they could still go for in future albums.

Rating: 9/10

Ulver Official Page: http://jester-records.com/ulver/ulver.html

Bandcamp: https://ulver.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ulverofficial/

My Journey with Anathema

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“How did I get here? I don’t belong here…”

I have recently been listening to Anathema’s new track “Springfield” off their upcoming album “The Optimist”. When I was hearing the new song it once again reminded me of how important and relevant Anathema has been to me and my personal life. Every one of their songs found some way to affect me emotionally. The honesty and relatability found in their lyrics and music helped me through many difficult moments in my life. Anathema are one of those bands that just gets the human condition and the trials and tribulations we all go through emotionally, physically and spiritually. I can guarantee if you have no notion of Anathema that when you hear one of their songs it will immediately make you feel like they understand you. If you have ever dealt with family deaths, nasty divorces, broken relationships, spiritual conflicts and personal moments of redemption/catharsis that Anathema probably touched upon it in their extensive discography.

Anathema band photo

L-R: John Douglas (drums), Daniel Cardoso (keyboards), Lee Douglas (vocals), Vincent Cavanagh (vocals, and guitar), Jamie Cavanagh (bass), and Danny Cavanagh (lead guitar)

This band has been in my life since I was 18 years old the first album I ever bought from them is called “Judgment” when I first heard this incredibly personal album that I honestly felt that whatever feelings and thoughts I had difficulty conveying Anathema were able to make me better understand these feelings. The sincerity, sadness and honesty in this album was nothing I ever heard before. For the better part of three years “Judgment” was the soundtrack to my life at that time. I was dealing with countless bouts of despondency and had a hard time trying to understand love and relationships because I was always failing in this regard. I was confused and angry at people who didn’t get me and I was sad that my friends were in relationships and I was still left out in the cold. It was a difficult time and I couldn’t find my identity. After countless spins of “Judgment” I started getting a better understanding of these feelings and how to cope with them. Then I went further back in Anathema’s catalog and bought “Alternative 4” there was more anger and disillusionment in this album and endless questions of “why me” in my head and then as I listened I better understood why. This album fits so many moments of guilt and trying to cope with it. When things go wrong, there is always a scapegoat or someone to blame for everything. “Alternative 4” was a difficult album to get through because it helped me better understand that it was me to blame as well with my own faults and failings. I know I am not perfect and I know I have screwed things up “Alternative 4” makes you understand that regret helps you grow and that with those failings you try to become something better.

“An answer won’t come from me
Confront your own worst enemy
What does your mirror see
Is it time to face up to me?”

Anathema also touches upon the difficulties of death and the grief that follows. This could be the death of a long relationship with your lover or the death of someone dear to your life like a parent, sibling or close friend. I personally dealt with the death of my Dad, I was 21 when it happened. It was one of the hardest times in my life and made me reevaluate everything there is to evaluate about mortality. Every album of Anathema’s has songs about this incredibly sad and transformative part of life. The parallels were uncanny with my family and the Cavanagh family. Anathema is made up of 3 brothers who all lost their mother right around the same age as me and my two younger brothers. Then later on in life they lost their father, to understand these circumstances Anathema’s music has become an extension of my heart and soul. Their music has now become a super important catalyst to how I still deal with life now and the grief that comes with it when sad things happen. It goes back to the point of how relatable and honest Anathema is both lyrically and musically. And how without them I do not think I would be alive today, they made me understand that I am not alone that it will get better in time. If I was lost in my head with no outlet to vent or to have catharsis I would not get out of my head, I would just fall deeper, and deeper until there is nothing left to love in the world. Anathema’s music gave me hope, and brought light back from the dark.

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“Cos no matter what I say
No matter what I do
I cant change what happened
No matter what I say
No matter what I do
I cant change what happened
No no I can’t change”

Love and the destruction of it is the final element of Anathema’s music that many can relate to. All their albums touch upon the anger, depression and frustration that occurs when a once loving relationship fails. The album that really touches upon this aspect is “A Natural Disaster” which is once again an album that eerily parallels with my own personal experience in relationships. While the album covers Danny Cavanagh’s divorce, it still is an album of the reflection, and disappointment I found in my own relationships. The lies, madness, pain and abuse I went through over the years stuck with me like a demon latching onto a helpless host. At one point I didn’t know how to break this cycle. I always felt cursed in regards to love and relationships. I gave up and still have given up today. One thing I did know is that I could rely on the music of Anathema to help me gain clarity and closure in these past hurts. After hours of driving both in the night and in the day listening to “A Natural Disaster” I better understood why relationships are good and bad, and why the pain in the bad is really bad. And why once again I wasn’t alone in these feelings. Knowing this allowed me to find peace in myself as well as well as closure. I no longer was haunted by these demons and ghosts of the past, I was able to build upon the past and look at life in a hopeful way.

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Some of these moments in my life were remedied by the brilliance of Anathema’s music (and plenty of other music as well). I needed to know I wasn’t alone in these thoughts and feelings. I finally understood more about myself as well as my wants and needs. I have looked at people who touched my life in the past profoundly and found ways to keep those memories in tact because it was important to my personal growth as well as perception of the world. My life was a tired and exhausting journey and I continued to keep my headphones on and keep the volume up to help me find some semblance of salvation. I know I will go through bouts of anger, sadness and loneliness but these are all parts of what makes us human and in the end if we can keep our bearings righted that life will hopefully get easier as it goes on. Let Anathema take you on this journey as well…

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“It makes me wanna cry, caught you as I floated by.
It makes me wanna cry, just another distant satellite…”

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anathemamusic

Official Page: http://www.anathema.ws/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/anathemamusic

A Review of Mathias Grassow & John Haughm’s Album “Aurae”

 

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When one first hears the word “drone” the first images that come to mind are soundscapes that meander and lead the listener to a lull of catharsis and introspection. The tones and sound effects put the listener into a waking sleep, and helps the listener expand their imagination to even greater depths. One thing you will notice about drone music is the fact that you cannot “rock out” or dance to it. All you can do is listen and let your mind wander to the outer reaches of the universe.

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Photo By: Veleda Thorsson

Mathias Grassow & John Haughm’s latest collaborative effort “Aurae” deliberately gives this effect when you hear it closely. I have been super interested in their project for years now because I have an appreciation for the work Haughm has done through Agalloch and Pillorian, and after multiple listens loved the work of Grassow. There are moments in life when you just need to relax and forget about the chaotic world around you. The music found in “Aurae” is a perfect soundtrack to calm these moments in life. I have never heard an album that has immediately relaxed me and intrigued me in balanced doses. There is an unwavering sense of expanse and infinite when hearing “Aurae”. I see images of empty, rolling landscapes of green and wind-touched stalks of wheat blowing in the breeze that parallels with my own heartbeats. There is sense of wistfulness while being lost in the fog of shadows and light in the music. And the bleak, barren landscapes the music invokes gives glimpses of doorways that lead somewhere else to a place beyond the body and even soul.

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The brilliance of this album is that it gives listeners different experiences, one person could feel an emotion different to another person when listening to “Aurae”. When one could feel peace and serenity the other could feel suffocating anxiety. Drone music has this kind of effect which makes it such a fascinating sub-genre of music. There have been some drone albums that made me feel uncomfortable or even disturbed while others made me feel pensive and relaxed. This dichotomy is one of the key components to a successful drone album, and “Aurae” effectively does this seamlessly. The calm, tranquil art of Grassow melded with the oppressive darkness of Haughm’s music delivers an album that puts your mind through millions of emotions/feelings and somehow puts you into a better state of mind after multiple listens. If you are looking for something unique and different to listen to I would give “Aurae” a chance, if you want to journey into the astral plane “Aurae” will guide you there.

Rating: 8/10

John Haughm Bandcamp: https://haughm.bandcamp.com/

Mathias Grassow Bandcamp: https://mathiasgrassow.bandcamp.com/

 

 

Imperium Dekadenz Interview

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Imperium Dekadenz have been around for 10+ years writing some incredible black metal that is both unique and very introspective in nature. When I found out about them I noticed their albums were highly reviewed and to no surprise when I heard their album “Dis Manibvs” my mind was blown about how good, powerful and emotional it sounded. So many images came to my mind when hearing the album. I really wanted to know more about how Imperium Dekadenz came up with their concept as well as inspirations for songwriting. Horaz (vocals, guitars and keyboards) one half of the band took time out of his busy day to answer my questions. He has some great answers and really sheds light into the whole process of what makes Imperium Dekadenz write stellar albums consistently.

Firstly, since releasing “Dis Manibvs” the reaction so far has been positive, what do you think of the recognition you are receiving as of late?

Horaz: That album ended up being an immense amount of work (next to our daily jobs and businesses). Besides the time and money we invested in it there were also many emotions that took over in the recording process.. Of course it feels good to get that recognition from all these people around the world. We feel our message was understood and if we read reviews like your’s we are happy that we are able to create such intense emotions and mind-images.

Can you describe to the readers what made you conceptualize the ideas of “Dis Manibvs’? Is there any specific or interesting moments that happened when you recorded the album?

Horaz: The title is Latin and means “To the Gods of Death”. I had that idea when I went to the Emperor Nero exhibition in Trier (Germany) and found all these Roman tombstones signed with “D.M.” or “Dis Manibus” (also used with Dis Manibus Sacra). It came to my thought that our whole life is geared on death (hopefully the correct expression, hehe) and somehow it could be understood as the meaning of life, as our hope is to have a good death. The concept of the album has different scenarios handling that topic with different experiences, views and stories.

What is the creative process like for Imperium Dekadenz? And what made you come up with the name “Imperium Dekadenz”?

Horaz: Vespasian and myself start with a new song separately and if the main structure is done the other one is adding his ideas on to it. The good thing here is that it gives us various options we can run with, because if for example Vespasian does not like a new idea of mine the song will be discarded or completely revised. I think it is important that you only start the songwriting if your heart has really something to say. Meaning, you cannot force the creation of a good song, there must be a kind of salvation to put your emotions and thoughts into it. The name is inspired by the 70s movie “Caligula”. It’s about the Roman Emperor Caligula and his cruelties in ancient Rome. We love history and especially ancient history including the Romans, Greeks, Celts, Egyptians, Germans and other tribes, but it is not any main concept of the band.

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When I listen to your albums I get a huge sense of triumph and even closure in the albums I have heard. Did you intentionally write your music this way? What made you want give the music such a powerful and emotional resonance?

Horaz: To answer that question is similar to answer on the question “how magic happens?”, hehehe. Certainly it is the mixture of the different characteristics of Vespasian and me and also our different tastes and inspirations. As I already said, the most important point is to create emotional art if your heart has really something to say. The foundation of each song has to be an emotional expression of a moment in your life, the hard work comes later for the details. Maybe it is also an advantage that we start the songwriting separated. I do not know if it would be the same to create a song together with 5 band members in a rehearsal room.

When listening to “Dis Manibvs” it immediately reminded me of the many various styles of black metal from Depressive, Cascadian (Wolves in the Throne Room/Agalloch) to classic Scandinavian 90s black metal, in your opinion what black metal category would you place Imperium Dekadenz?

Horaz: It is dark, rough, atmospheric and emotional art, based on 90s Norwegian Black Metal and Doom Metal. We listen to Metal for over 20 years now, starting with demos and Cannibal Corpse cassettes on the playground to the point of obsession. Also many YouTube sessions thru all the genres and other music influences on Vespasian’s couch. I think it is correct, you can hear many influences, but on the other hand there is absolutely no band that sounds like Imperium Dekadenz.

The United States black metal scene is always growing and changing as the years go by, in your opinion what do you think of the state of black metal and even metal today, specifically in the United States?

Horaz: To be honest I have no overview of the US scene. I am not a typical scene character. I am more interested in the art itself instead of the bands and the guys behind it. My experience is that you are often disappointed if you meet any band members or to give more attention to a band’s background. I think that is safe bet, because how could someone present himself in a normal situation (for example somewhere backstage)  if you only know him as metal star. That can only fail. Well the BM scene today… or be more exactly the Post Black Metal scene, is not my personal taste. Somehow the whole appearance of these bands is too flat… I don’t know…. Basically I think it is a good thing that after all these years “Black Metal” (if you can call it still Back Metal) is one of the genres that still changes regularly.

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When listening to “Dis Manibvs” there is a seemingly spiritual connection in the music that is almost cosmic in nature, how important is Imperium Dekadenz’s metaphysical thoughts to the creative process?

Horaz: It’s hard to describe the connection between “metaphysical thoughts” and the creative process. But to describe our way until the goal is reached is simple… you have to put all your passion, emotions, time, money, sweat, blood, knowledge and skills into it… from the first tone you play on your guitar until the last adaption on the mastering. We do not spend time finding out why we sound how we sound, we spend it to create art.

There is undeniable imagery of Nature within your albums artwork and lyrics, what is it about the natural landscapes of Germany that makes you write this way?

Horaz: We grew up in one of Germany’s most remarkable landscape, the Black Forest. It is similar to a Scandinavian landscape with high mountains and dark forests. I always loved to be outside in these woods until the night falls. I think that forest is one of the reasons why I fell into love with Black Metal. It is still a very important source of energy for me and I still try to be there as much as possible. And yes… I also think that you always hear the forest in these songs.

Currently what are you both listening to as of late? Do you recommend any particular albums for our readers to check out?

Horaz: I am currently listening to Murg (Sweden), Vemod (Norway), Glerakur (Iceland), Abyssion (Finland) and Skepticism (Finland).

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Are there plans in the works for Imperium Dekadenz to tour the United States? Have either of you spent much time in the U.S.?

Horaz: We have never visited the US yet, but it is one of our big goals! We had no luck so far, but we have high ambitions and we really hope to start a US Tour one day.

Imperium Dekadenz has been around for over 10 years now, in this time span do you think your ideas and concepts have evolved? What direction do you hope to take the band in the future?

Horaz: I think it is natural thing for an artist to evolve the whole band thing. I think we did a good progression during all these years with finding new elements and improving the old strengths. It was always our main goal to intensify the emotions on each upcoming album and we will still follow that path in the future.

If you could describe your music to someone who may not be into metal but is interested in branching out how would you describe it?

Horaz: Be ready to make a journey towards your within.

And finally do you have any parting thoughts/words for our readers?

Horaz: Stay active, stay awake, fathom the darkest parts of your soul and keep the flame burning. Thank you for your support!

Bandcamp: https://imperiumdekadenz.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImperiumDekadenz/

Homepage: http://www.imperium-dekadenz.de/

Label: http://www.season-of-mist.com/

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