Archive for May, 2010

Wind of the Black Mountains – Interview with Tim Sever

Posted in black metal, interview, Uncategorized, Wind of the Black Mountains with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

Here we present an interview with Tim Sever of the long-standing American black metal outfit Wind of the Black Mountains.

Good day to you, Tim.  How are you?

I’ve been good, busy as always it seems.

It’s been a whole 8 years since the last WOTBM album.  Is anything in the works?

Xaphan (Wastelander, SUmmon, Dark Psychosis) and I have an mcd recorded for Moribund that has been in the mixing process for quite some time now. After Tchort passed, Nunrapist (Cemetary Desecrator) had some old guitar and vocal tracks that he had rough recordings of from Tchort, we cleaned them up a bit and added what we thought needed to be added to make them full songs. I’m still not sure when this will be finished and sent to Moribund, but as soon as it is, it will be a day for us to celebrate. It’s definitely been a big pain and a very long wait.

Tchort, (of whom I must express my condolences of his passing), seems to have been the founding member of the band.  Why did he split from the band in 2001?

Tchort was definitely the sole and founding member of WOTBM. Unfortunately he also had his own demons that always kept him from doing more than he was capable of. I had went to visit friends in New Mexico for a couple weeks in 2001. Upon my return I had a lot of messages from concerned friends telling me Tchort had sold every part of his equipment to satisfy his addictions, which included guitars, cabinets, pedals, everything. When I got ahold of him about it, he informed me he couldn’t do it anymore, that he wanted to get his life straightened out for himself and his newly born son. He also expressed that he didn’t want WOTBM to be killed off and he wanted me to keep it going. The unfortunate thing with this was I’ve always kept myself busy with live bands as well as my kids, thus leaving WOTBM somewhat on the back burner, working on it when I had the chance.

Your first album, Sing Thou Unholy Servants, seems to have a much slower and ritualistic feel.  Your second album changes the style a bit by adding an element of speed and taking away some of the more experimental moments.  Was there a reason behind this slight stylistic change and did it have anything to do with the departure of Tchort the prior year?

There was no real reason for the change in styles, it just happened. As to where Tchort did everything by himself for the first album, he had a lot of time to go in and expirement whenever the opportunity arose. After he asked me to join him in doing this, we started getting a lot more of a full band feeling to it, plus, he always expressed he didn’t think a lot of songs on Sing Thou Unholy Servants would be able to be pulled off in a live setting. We wanted to play out live and with all the songs we had written after that album, we were able to do that. We would add live members to our ranks to be able to do shows here and there, but a lot of the shows we did, we did as a 2-piece.

Can you explain the album art for both of the full lengths?

The artwork for STUS I can’t explain too much about due to the fact that Tchort had picked that out before I was in the band. As for Black Sun Shall Rise, we searched and searched for artwork without knowing yet what the album would be called. We found the artwork and realised it went well with some of our lyrics, and we believed it also represented some of the inner demons that we are all controlled by, hence the reason for the male on the cover having his arms bound behind him with the temptations of life being there in front of him and him not being able to resist them. As for the new album, I believe the artwork and title Summoned by Shadows is pretty self explanatory. It shows a man walking into a forest with a demon hiding in the shadows. This title also goes well with Tchort’s passing as he was definitely drawn by his own shadows.

Is the unreleased album “The Return of Ancient One” supposed to be a full-length?  I have read that it was meant to be released back in 2002, but it still has not seen the light of day.  Will this ever be released?

Unfortunately, the material that was going to be used for this album was never recorded is now long gone with Tchort’s passing. Some of the riffs on Summoned by Shadows will be represented here, but as a whole, those songs are gone forever since they were never recorded. We wanted to make sure that everything recorded for WOTBM has Tchort’s preformances on it. After the Summoned by Shadows mcd is released, This band will be put to rest unless I miraculously dig up some more of Tchort’s works which I don’t see happening.

What are some of your primary influences?

Myself and Tchort pretty much listened to everything from old school black metal, death metal, and the early German thrash  bands. I also listen to a lot of the old east-coast hardcore and such.

Does Wind Of The Black Mountains play live?

Tchort and i played a few shows with just the two of us, but we also did many shows where we recruited live members. Past live members included Nunrapist (Cemetary Desecrator), Azazel (Left Hand Trinity), and Lord Nuzzi (Serpent Crown).

Do you find that the black metal scene is still going strong?

I believe it is, some of the bands are getting a lot more exposure out there now than what could have been fathomed years ago. The lines have become so dilluted now though, and it seems that if a band will throw on some corpse paint just to be labeled black metal and follow a lot of the trendy aspects of it. Unfortunately, unless you’re one of the old school bands that started out doing this 20 years ago (give or take a year or two), the shock value it used to hold has been lost.

What are some of your favorite albums of all time?

I could probably be here all day doing this. Like I said before, I have quite the diverse liking for a lot of extreme musics. Some of the earlier bands that got me into this that I can still listen to to this day are the obvious like Venom’s Black Metal, Celtic Frost’s Into Mega Therion, onto bands like Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, Possessed, Sodom, Kreator of course. And then into bands like Behemoth or the old hardcore bands like Agnostic Front, Sick of it All, or what have you. It’s so hard for me to talk about favorite albums, styles, or even bands, cause each band and each album bring their own thing to it and all of them have certain aspects I like more or less than other recordings from the same bands.

Do you have anything that you’d like to add or promote?

I would definitely like to thank you, Max, for showing your support and interest in WOTBM. Hopefully the new album will be out soon through Moribund. Also, please check out my main live band, Genocya. We put a lot of the elements from the bands I’ve listed in this interview into our music, and we’ll be having a new cd out very soon. Thanks a ton!!

Thanks so much, Tim!


Metal Songs That Make Me Lose My Mind (Part 1)

Posted in Absu, avant-garde, black metal, death metal, Drudkh, Equilibrium, folk metal, Mayhem, Suffocation, viking metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

Everyone knows the feeling.  You know…that feeling when a song just clicks.  You get a rush of adrenaline, a shiver runs up your spine, and little goose pumplets form on your skin.  From that moment on, that song will always make you want to sprout wings and soar above everything or unsheathe a weapon and lay waste to all evil fiends in your path.  Nearly uncontrollable energy is bursting from the aura surrounding your body.  Well, I personally cherish the moments when a song can elicit these powerful emotions.  Thusly, I present you with a collection of songs that truly make me lose my mind.  (As an aside, I limited it to one song per artist.  I also included the specific time in the song that gets me excited/turned on.)

Absu – The Coming of War

The Sun of Tiphareth is an odd album in the Absu discography.  It marked a departure from the death metal sound of their prior album and early demos in favor of slower, epic black metal.  Immediately after The Sun of Tiphareth, Absu added a thrash element to their albums.  While they were able to execute this black/thrash sound in a most excellent fashion (Tara…holy shit…), the sheer quality of this release makes me wish they would return to the slower sound for at least a song or two.  I’ll always remember Absu playing “The Coming of War” as the finale to their set when I saw them play live.  Despite the sound being utter ASS in that venue, the ridiculously epic riff broke through and made me a fan of this track.  My favorite Absu song?  Perhaps.  “She Cries the Quiet Lake” and “Night Fire Canonization” provide some competition, but it’s definitely up there.

Moment in particular: 2:44-4:13

Suffocation – Effigy of the Forgotten

I don’t gravitate towards death metal all that often.  However, when I’m feeling the need, I usually order up some tech-death.  Suffocation wholly fulfills my tech desires with their seminal Effigy of the Forgotten album.  While the album is full of moments that blow me away, it is the tempo/riff change during the title track that wins out in the end.

Moment in particular: 1:23-1:58

Mayhem – Key to the Storms

Does Ordo Ad Chao stack up to De Mysteriis or Deathcrush?  Many say no, but I wholly disagree. De Mysteriis perfectly captures the atmosphere and the madness of the Norwegian black metal scene and consequently, has been one of the most lauded black metal albums of all time.  Mayhem made the correct decision though and moved forward.  Every consecutive album was an entirely new creation that built upon their established formula and took risks.  And now Ordo Ad Chao, arguably their most disturbing album and the first to feature Attila Csihar since De Mysteriis.  The songs have a raw, improvisational feel that is executed flawlessly.  Whether it be the surprisingly technical drumming, the avant-garde riffs, or the unsettling vocal performance by Atilla, I always find myself consumed by this album’s sound, time and time again.  “Key To The Storms” contains some of the most profound moments of sheer madness and raw emotion that I’ve experienced in any album.  Perhaps some may find Attila’s descent into insanity during the latter half of the track silly.  I do not…  In fact, I find it believable and therefore all the more unnerving.

Moment In particular: 1:57-end

Equilibrium -Des Sängers Fluch

While Equilibrium’s first album Turis Fratyr maintained a delicate balance between creating epic melodies and crafting a beautiful atmosphere, Sagas focused way too much on usurping the already perfect epic vibe of Turis Fratyr.  The result was a whole lot of sugary sweet and familiar folk metal melodies that sounded overblown and consequently, ruined the awesome vibe that could have been created.  That being said, I cannot deny some truly epic moments hidden within.  “Prolog Auf Erden” always sends chills down my spine and the single off the album “Blut Im Auge,” is undeniably catchy.  However “Des Sängers Fluch” is probably the only song on the album that recreates the atmosphere of their first album.  Brilliantly paced, the song takes its time building up to the various explosive, high-energy moments.  And, oh my…they are beautiful.

Moments in particular: 3:37-4:36, 7:08-end

Drudkh – Sunwheel

I believe an explanation of my recurring fantasy with Drudkh will help explain my love for this song.  Whenever listening to Autumn Aurora, Drudkh’s second full-length, I imagine myself experiencing them live in concert.  I’m standing near the stage outdoors, the band and the crowd is surrounded by nature, the skies are grey but sunlight is shining through a hole in the clouds, there is a light rain and the air is warm.  Let me tell you…If I were to experience this in real life, my body would cease to function because of the overload of positive stimulus.  To have the full effect though, they would have to be playing “Sunwheel,” my favorite track off Autumn Aurora.  The riff that breaks through about a quarter of the way though, as well as the ensuing guitar solo, are legendary.  These evoke a feeling of pride and happiness in me that is insurmountable.

Moment in particular: 2:29 – 4:03

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3.  Coming soon!


Interview with Dave Murray (The Deserts of Traun, Estradasphere)

Posted in Estradasphere, interview, Sculptured, The Deserts of Traun, Tholus, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 6, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

When did the idea to create the grand “Deserts of Traun” project first come to you?

It was a project started in the mid 90’s actually. We performed each piece of the trilogy one time only and made demos. There was art being projected above us as well. After Estradasphere I felt compelled to do something ‘solo’ that i could be as proud of, so I put my mind to re making the project and taking it from demo form to an actual record.

Can you explain the concept/story of Deserts of Traun?

It’s changed in order to fit what was possible recording-wise. In fact, I’ve changed it a third time and that’s why I am calling it version 3. Version 3 is a science fiction story with a lot of detective elements. The concept itself is about using music as the only vehicle for broadcasting a story. You have to use your imagination while the music hints at things. It’s very nebulous and since a musical story has a different pace then a written one (which has far more control) the object is just to allude to story.

Why did you decide to release Part III: Lilac Moon, before Parts 1 and 2?

Well, I set out to make a condensed ‘best of’ “The Deserts of Traun.” Then as I was fitting things together and including new material like “The Black Metal Princess” I felt that there was in fact a new story brewing and it sounded like a final chapter to me. That’s all.

It states on your website that the final installment “Version III” of the Deserts of Traun saga is going to be released this year.  What happened to Version II?  And will this year’s release be the definitive and complete result of the Deserts of Traun story/project?

Version 1 was the originals with Alfred (Daedelus), Joe, and myself in the mid 90’s. Version 2 (the Lilac Moon era) will remain unfinished, I guess, or will be absorbed by Version 3 which is what I am working on. The reason I am not finishing Version 2 and calling it there is because all the new material I wrote was not fitting the story I had outlined with Lilac Moon. I tore my hair out trying to arrange it but in the end I decided that the music would be better if I had somewhat more freedom to rehash the story and reorder/repurpose the music. The music is the most important part, so in order to bring the entire, final Traun to life I have put together a new storyline to follow. It’s a very difficult job trying to create a workable story from your complex and somewhat non negotiable musical score (if I can call it that).

How difficult is it to try to tell a story without the use of lyrics?  The music on Lilac Moon is superb at creating images and conveying feelings.  Is this something that you aim for intentionally?

I aim for it and it always nice to know that it works sometimes. Under a microscope the story kind of sucks on its own, it has holes and problems. Paul McKee and I have talked about adapting it to a real animated movie – but to do so would require a rewrite on its own to hold up traditionally. However non-traditionally, since it’s really just an add-on feature to the music, I don’t worry about it. It’s loose, it’s mostly about bullet point events, emotions and motive etc… that can actually pass as a story hinted at by the music.

The cover art for Lilac Moon is excellent.  How does it tie in with the story?  Will you return to Colby Bluth for future artworks?

The cover art is from the scene/track “The Desert of Traun” where the main character is crossing the blue desert on lizard back to the elevator in the distance. Colby is a friend and talented artist and I will definitely be working with him for the Version 3 stuff.

It seems that the animated trailer for the project by Colby Bluth is currently offline.  What was the purpose of this trailer and will it be coming back?

Just found out myself – I’ll email him and find out.

(Editor’s note:  After the interview, the editors found the animated trailer on youtube.  It can be viewed below.  Enjoy!)

Why did you split from Extradasphere in 2002?

The main reason is I didn’t like touring the way we were, and I needed to be more responsible with my finances. At that time it was not possible to create a safe and manageable business with them and I had bills to pay. Needless to say I didn’t like this and it led to non-cozy feelings.

What was it like working with Don Anderson and crew on Sculptured’s ‘Embodiment’?  Do you find that your eclectic styles mixed well?

It was great – professional and fun. He just gave me the stuff and basically I wrote and recorded the drums and sent them back. That’s all. Nice, great guy. Yes, I thought the styles worked well.

It seems that Tholus was originally the project of Mike Johnson and you were drumming for the band.  It’s my understanding that when Mike was unable to finish working on the project, you picked up where he left off and assembled an entire lineup.  Was this a one-time thing just to finish the album or is Tholus alive and planning another album?

Pretty much. I picked up where he left off – even though it was his music – because I had put a lot of time into the drums and actually had recorded them. I couldn’t bear to let the ball drop on this so I painstakingly got other people to finish the parts. It was a one-time thing – but Mike has mentioned he is working on new stuff. If it happens great – if not then that is OK too. I feel satisfied with Tholus and that part of my musical history with him.

You are one of the few musicians who truly creates a sound that cannot be classified into any set genre.  Do you find it difficult to work with other musicians/labels because of this style?  How do you think the listeners usually respond?

To me – post-Estradasphere – it seems normal to try new things by mixing up genres. I’m surprised I don’t see more of it still. But YES. It is nearly impossible to market because the industry is set to standards/genre. I couldn’t get Traun signed anywhere although the people at the label liked the music.

Is there any genre of music that you enjoy playing the most?

Death metal and jazz or fusion.

You seem to have a very broad taste in music.  What types of music do you listen to?  And what are some of your favorite bands/artists?

Meshuggah, Cynic, Dimmu, 80’s music. I do have a varied taste. I like the differences in musical genres and what they offer to the imagination. People usually can’t take my itunes library shuffle without becoming distracted or getting a surreal look on their face.