Interview with Parasite Inc. – New masterpiece Dead And Alive!
It's been a long time to hear you about the new release since the successful official first album “Time Tears Down” was out. (Yeah, we, your early fans still want to clarify that “Parasite Inc.” is the original first album.) Anyway, l'm totally blown away with the new album “Dead And Alive”! Even though it's a pre-final-mix version so far, it sounds total punchy and deep already. Could you tell me about the plan for the mastering process?
Kai: Yes we are currently waiting for the mastering which is done by Fascination Street Studios in Sweden. After the long work on the album we are really excited for the outcome.
The album title sounds like Schrödinger's Cat for me, haha... Joke aside, you guys kept silence about the new album for a long time. So, I can say you were almost dead, but you're going to come back to the scene with the killer second album. Yes, you are alive. Does the title actual point out about the band, or a summary of the album?
Kai: Haha, indeed. The album title relates to what we went through within the last years. There was always a lot of work behind the curtain and everything felt alive for us but to the outside there wasn’t much happening and the more time passed by the more people started to wonder if there will be another album at all. In some moments I was even not sure by myself if we can make another album happen.
Phew, sounds tough but I’m happy with the fact that you made the killer new album! Well, you guys (Kai & Benni) are very talented artists for graphical design as well. You guys managed the amazing album art, right? How did you come up with the idea?
Kai: As for Time Tears Down, Benni was responsible for the artwork again and it took over 300 hours to render the artwork alone. I can’t reveal it yet but the artwork will basically show a mechanical heart that stands for the band and it shows some elements that connect to the title “Dead and Alive”.
Yeah, the art is absolutely professional and your fans will love it! As I mentioned above, the new album “Dead And Alive” blew me away with the non-stoppable killer 11 tracks including an intro and a cover song. I’d love to ask you track by track details. So why don’t we start from the first track “Countershock”? The short intro is obviously connected to the epic album art with the sound effects and its title. Could you tell us the hidden meaning in the title once you told me a couple of days ago?
Kai: “Countershock” describes the process of an electric shock getting applied to the heart to terminate a disturbance of its rhythm. In relation to the artwork the track represents our idea to get our new album started after the long time of silence.
The second track “Once And For All” is totally appropriate for the first main song of the album. I can feel your rage, power and passion from the fast and punchy track. It could be a new flagship song for the band. Can you describe the song for the fans who are total eager for your new album?
Kai: “Once and For All” was the first song I wrote for the album. The first 1,5 years after the initial release of “Time Tears Down” were very stressful in several ways and on some points I got that feeling that I don't have the power anymore for being in a band. The song was meant to be a kickstarter to myself, to keep going and not giving up.
The metal fans who witnessed latest Parasite Inc’s shows must know “This World” already. This song is one of my most favorites in the album with the heavy tone and the cool lyrics! Your buddies from Bloodspot joined the gang-shouts, right? How did you arrange the recording with them?
Kai: Oh, that was a spontaneous thing. They played at the Metal Christmas festival on Christmas 2017, so I just took the chance and asked them and it was awesome that they joined the session and contributed to that song.
What was on your mind when you were working on the ironic but cool lyrics?
Kai: Uh, I felt a lot of frustration and hate for some happenings and individuals in the world and then I recognized that my own feelings and thoughts basically didn't make any difference compared to these people. The conclusion was kinda that we, the crown of the evolution, are far away from behaving like that.
The track 4 is another in-your-face song: “Fall Of The Idealist”. It’s obvious that the whole album has stronger and heavier sound than the previous album and that is why I’m crazy about it! What did you want to tell via this song?
Kai: Fall Of The Idealist is a song about letting go of your ideals. Ideals can give you structure and help you going through the days. However, not all ideals are doing well to you and on some point you should reflect and rethink them.
Here we go with the fastest kickass track “Headfuck Rollercoaster”! I feel this one has the most typical Parasite Inc style and every PI fans would love it. In the chorus part, I even feel like ‘Yeah, that’s Parasite Bodom!’, haha. What do you feel about the song?
Kai: Ha, great. Everyone who already had the chance to listen to it told me the same. Personally, I have a love hate relationship with the song. I like that pushing atmosphere but the opening riff always bothers me since it’s difficult to play on my guitar. Need some extra rounds of practice with that one for sure.
You used many digital sci-fi sound effects like Transformers movies in the album. It boosts up your modern melodeath color and makes difference from “Time Tears Down”. Why did you give that sprinkles to the album?
Kai: Oh we had these sounds already on Time Tears Down but we gave them more presence this time. It's fun to use effects and keyboard stuff and I like to spice up the songs with it.
Heaviness is a distinctive matter in the album for sure. “Flesh Decadence” is one of the great heavy and furious pieces. Why are you so angry all the time? Joke aside, I think you’ve been dealing with themes like ‘degraded humanity’ or ‘machinery society’ for your music. Could you tell us your thoughts about your anger in the lyrics?
Kai: Well, why is it okay to eat a cow or a cat but it's not okay to eat a human? At the end of the day it are all living creatures, with a beating heart, red blood and the wish to live and to exist, right? “Flesh Decadence” deals with the question about our ethical and cultural values and rules how we justify our meat consume.
Agree! And the next song “Red Wine Collider” is another favorite for me and I’m curious about the distinct title. “Collider” gives me some images of quantum mechanics, haha, but why red wine?
Kai: The origin of the name came with the song itself. It’s an old ritual of me to get some inspiration for the lyrics with a glass of red wine while listening to the music. But with that song I got writing blockade and ended up having a couple of bottles somehow, haha. So the song worked as a “collider” to me in terms of my wine consume.
Comparing with typical Parasite Inc style, “Sunset Overdrive” sounds something new. It has positive and nostalgic vibe and I feel good with the mood. How do you feel about the song?
Kai: Sunset Overdrive is my favourite song on the album. After all the heavy stuff and especially after the more complex “Red Wine Collider” it was great to have a “no brainer” song without complex arrangements and just some light mood.
“Cold Silent Hell” just stands for headbangers for sure! I love it especially with the first and second verses because of the heaviness! You should add this song to your regular live set-list seriously. How about your opinion?
Kai: Agreed, the song has some heavy shit going on and a decent guitar battle. I'm excited to try it live with Dominik.
Here comes the Parasite Inc’s new anthem “Dead And Alive”! This one should be played at live as well! The song is really exciting not only with the killer tune but also with the epic gang-shout by some of New Wave of German Metal buddies (Bloodspot, Soulbound, All Will Know and Burden Of Life)! Could you tell us any episode about the recording session?
Kai: Yeah, it was super chaotic and in hurry, haha. I remember that we scheduled the session around 12:00 a.m. the day after the Metal Christmas festival in Bielefeld. But I first didn’t find the way and got late, then we couldn’t get into the rehearsal room because no one of the Soulbound guys had a key to their own room and last but not least the guys from All Will Know were missing their band register and got late as well. So things went not as planned but we somehow made it and it was a lot of fun though. We are really happy that our friends contributed their time and voices to our new album. Thanks a lot guys!
Hahaha, sounds chaotic but great outcome! Well, to tell you the truth, I’m totally not familiar with the cover bonus track! (Unfortunately, I can’t utter the title of the track so far though.) Is it a hit pop-song around 80’s or 90’s or so?
Kai: Oh it's actually a newer song that I found last year. I can't reveal much about it but it was pretty fun to do that cover and turn a 80s synth pop song into a punk metal number.
It seems 80’s pop-culture is a trend these days for example “Ready Player One”(Spielberg’s movie) or “Stranger Things”(TV drama). Did you get some influence from the trend for the album?
Kai: Yeah, seems like the 80’s pop culture got some revival these days.
Though I didn’t get any influence from what you mentioned. As you know I’m a kid of the 80’s and my earliest memories are like watching cartoons and series from that time. So this was always was a part of me and even on Time Tears Down there are 80’s metal influences and even movie based samples. At the time we finished Time Tears Down I was already playing around with that classical 80’s synthesizers, so it’s rather a natural process to us than a trend thing.
On the bonus track, I recognized Johnny from Soulbound did a great job with his bravery clean singing. And I remember once you gave your epic growls for “Neverland” on Soulbound’s album “Myllennium”. How was the reunion with Johnny?
Kai: Working with Johnny was a lot of fun. When I did the first demo for the bonus track I soon felt like that his vocals would be a perfect addition to our version of the song.
Your only one official music video “Pulse Of The Dead” from the previous album got a big success. Do you have any plan for a new clip from “Dead And Alive” so far?
Kai: Indeed we are planning on a new video or more. We have a bunch of ideas about at the moment we can’t plan anything without knowing our budget for that.
Well, we should talk about a very important thing now –crowdfunding! What do you want from the financial project?
Kai: We’ve started a campaign for our new record on May 11th..Usually we are not that kind of band that asks their fans for help because we basically want to give and not to take. But with the goal to make “Dead and Alive” better than its predecessor we came to our financial limits and paying the entire production on our own became no option. So we decided to ask our fans for help to deliver them the new record in the best way possible.
Do you have any message to your fans who want to support Parasite Inc. through the crowdfunding?
Kai: Thanks a lot to everyone out there who has supported us so far. We feel totally proud and thankful to have such a supportive fan base and friends! The funding is running until June 10th, so if you missed that we are doing it, you can still help us here and get some specials in return: Parasite Inc Crowdfunding!
Okay, it's gonna be the final question. You guys will be back on stage at Summer Breeze Open Air this year, right? So, will it be the album release party for you?
Kai: Indeed “Dead and Alive” is going to be released on this year’s Summer Breeze festival and we are happy to be able to celebrate it with a release show there. We are totally looking forward to that.
Parasite Inc. Page on Kumi666com here
You can check lyrics of Parasite Inc.'s releases on Lyrics Library
2018 New Year’s Greetings from the bands! – www.kumi666.com
Happy New Year everybody! Here's the first post on 2018. To come straight to the point, I asked two simple questions to the band on kumi666com: 1) What was your biggest highlight of 2017? and 2) What is your New Year's resolution? So, my big thankfulness goes to the following bands with their exciting answers!
Bloodshot Dawn, Sunless Rise, Black Therapy, Parasite Inc., Meadows End, Kambrium, Soulbound, Leviathan, Bloodspot, Sight Of Emptiness, Sapiency, All Will Know, Irreversible Mechanism, Ravenpath and Burn Down Eden!!!
"The highlight of our year was hearing the final mix of Reanimation our new record! Over the whole of 2017 we have been shaping the sound and music from writing to recording and also writing the lyrics! With all the changes in the line up it has been a fresh challenge that we have embraced and enjoyed! To hear Per Nilsson's final efforts and the way he helped expand our sound was nothing short of a dream. The fact that me and Morgan are huge fanboys for his work in Scar Symmetry it made it all that more special.
Our New Years resolution is to play in new territories around the world to try and bring our music further field! Naturally we plan to visit our faithful fans as always to. Also we plan to blow crowds away with our updated set and live show so keep your eyes peeled for live devastation!!
Happy new year to all our friends in Japan!"
/ Bloodshot Dawn Go to Bloodshot Dawn Page
"For our band the highlight of the year was presenting our new track during Japan tour. The journey itself was something of landmark nature to us. It was our first live experience outside Russia. And it was so amazing. Events like these fill us with energy and make us keep going.
In 2018 we're planning to fully concentrate on making our new concept full-length album. Can't predict to release date, not even approximately - because there's tons of work to do and the whole idea is pretty monumental."
/ Sunless Rise Go To Sunless Rise Page
"Our biggest highlights of 2017 was the European tour with Wintersun and Whispered. We had a lot of fun, met a lot of people and made great memories. For New Years... we have something big in the works, so we are keeping our fingers crossed on that!"
/ Black Therapy Go To Black Therapy Page
"Highlight 2017: New rehearsal room + finally back in songwriting and recording. Resolution 2018: Give 100% for the upcoming album + play as much shows as possible!"
/ Parasite Inc. Go To Parasite Inc. Page
"2017 has mostly been about recording our fourth full length album. We've worked hard and spent most of our time in the studio or in the rehearsal room and we can close 2017 with safisfaction. The biggest highlight of 2017 though must be the signing of a record deal together with Black Lion Records for the album to come! We can easily say 2018 will be an exciting year!
Our New Year's resolution must be to continue to work hard and have fun! To keep having a high rate of interaction with our fans and to make sure that our coming album becomes as great and widespread as the material and our fans deserve!
Happy New year Kumi and all readers! We wish you nothing but the best!
Thanks for your continous support of Meadows End! Devilspeed into 2018!"
/ Meadows End Go To Meadows End Page
Our biggest highlight was meeting our fans at RockHarz Open Air 2017! Thanks for this great support!
Our New Year‘s resolution is to make our best album so far! And it looks already very good that we will do it! Get well into 2018!"
/ Kambrium Go To Kambrium Page
"For us 2017 was certainly again a fantastic year full of memorable events. A couple of weeks ago we started working hard on new songs and on bringing Soulbound to its next stage of evolution! Stay tuned! We promise you thrilling news for the next months! As well this years highlights were, of course, the shows and festivals we've played. For us the "Metal Christmas 2017 Festival" was one of our best shows with an awesome crowd and a lot familiar faces. We are very proud and thankful to see people being touched and inspired by our music and to see that the crowd of fans who are following us is growing bigger and bigger every year.
Beside the stage we are also happy being blessed with interesting talks and making new friends in music business. Those people are vital for our progress and as always the list of fellows that we feel thankful for is long. We are overwhelmed by the support and back-up we get. Additionally we are happy to welcome back Jonas on bass guitar after he spent a year abroad. At same moment we’d like to thank Johnny Ramirez for his incredible effort and devotion he put into our band while stepping in for Jonas on Bass.
Finally we want to thank our friends, families and fans for backing us up and giving us the opportunity to do what we love! Stay safe and healthy and have a splendid new year!"
/ Soulbound Go To Soulbound Page
"Our highlight this year was obviously to finally get back together after nearly four years apart and to start making music again. I guess we all didn't really notice before how much we missed each other and making music together, because no matter what we did on other project, it never was quite the same as with Leviathan.
Our biggest goal for 2018 is to get back on stage in March and to finish the new record in order to be able, to release it in early 2018. We can't wait to be out there again to play shows and create new music. It has been way too long since the last concert and the last album."
/ Leviathan Go To Leviathan Page
"It might be a quite spontaneous christmas-show in Bielefeld with our friends of Soulbound and All Will Know.
There was plenty of sweat, blood and enthusiasm and it was the last show of a very exhausting year. More sweat and blood in our next shows! We intent to create new songs and a new record, but it will take as long, as it needs. So we still don´t know, when we will enter a studio... but that's an important topic these days.
/ Pete and BLOODSPOT Go To Bloodspot Page
Sight Of Emptiness
"I would say that actually was open for the mighty Slayer, share the stage with ...you know... one of the pioneers of metal, it's more than dream come true. You can't explain it with words. It's kinda like ascent in there where you feel actually to share the stage with people like that. I would say like that every single metal band in the world has been influenced by them. So, get to know them, share the stage with them. It was dream come true actually for Sight Of Emptiness. So, yeah: Slayer! 2017 highlight!
Well, to start recording the new album as soon as possible. That would be the first step. And then, with that, comes along on touring. So, obviously as every band in the world we want to promote the album as much as possible and go to places that we've never been before and we'd visit the places we've been before. You know, it's always good to get together with the old and new friends. So, yeah, that would it be for us: A new album and then touring."
/ Eduardo & Sight Of Emptiness Go To Sight Of Emptiness Page
"Our biggest highlight in 2017 was definitly our show last Friday in Frankfurt! It's our hometown and we had an awesome crowd at the 35th anniversary of our good friends Tankard!
Our new year's resolution: release our 3rd studio album and play some great shows!"
/ Sapiency Go To Sapiency Page
All Will Know
"Our 2017 highlight was releasing our new album Infinitas and well, new years resolution... maybe to play the new songs a lot live and show and celebrate them with as much people as possible! "
/ All Will Know Go To All Will Know Page
"Our biggest highlight in this year of course that we’ve finished recording of our 2nd LP album.
We have a lot of suggestions to come and play shows in different part of the World, so our goal in next year will be finally come and play in all these places and countries, to meet lots of new people and have fun, and, of course, play music. Have a nice holidays and Happy New Year!!"
"Our biggest Highlight in 2017 was the Gig at Rock unter den Eichen Festival (RUDE)
and for next year, we are going to record our 2nd Full Lenghth Album \m/"
/ Ravenpath Go To Ravenpath Page
Burn Down Eden
"I guess the biggest highlight of 2017 was the 10-day tour in summer. It was a great experience.
In 2018 we want to release the 2nd LP and play as much shows as possible... maybe another tour, too. We wish you great holidays, too. Greetings!"
/ Burn Down Eden Go To Burn Down Eden Page
TOP 10 ALBUMS 2017 on WWW.KUMI666.COM
Time flees away without delay. While I’ve been doing busy, 2017 is almost over now. I’m feeling there are too many good albums to pick only 10 this year. Anyway, I show you my current favorites from this year's releases and I shout this out loud that every single album from top 5 in the list is worth the number one. Plus, I mention Song Of The Year 2017 and some other good albums dropped from top 10 in the bottom. So, here we go.
Number 1 : "Tarot" - AETHER REALM
Number 2 : "Dead Shores Rising" - DESERTED FEAR
Number 3 : "Old Scars, New Wounds" - ACT OF DEFIANCE
Number 4 : "Heal" - BLOODRED HOURGLASS
Number 5 : "Mirror City" - SYMPULSE-E
Number 6 : "Phamtom Anthem" - AUGUST BURNS RED
Number 7 : "Will To Power" - ARCH ENEMY
Number 8 (1/2) : "Shadows Inside" - MISS MAY I
Number 8 (2/2) : "Infinitas" - ALL WILL KNOW
Number 9 : "Poetry of the III-Minded" - SHADE EMPIRE
Number 10 : "The Eclipse" - SERENITY IN MURDER
Next 12 albums as near to top 10
Song Of The Year: SUNLESS RISE - "Flywheel"
Happy New Year and Stay Metal!!!
All Will Know’s new video “Behind Your Mask”
All Will Know's brilliant new music video "Behind Your Mask" from the upcoming third full-length Infinitas is available now!
Preorder INFINITAS here!!!
"Behind Your Mask" Lyrics
You keep feeding their desires.
With a blatant twist in mind.
Only reaching for the helpless.
A shepherd leading just the blind
So you know I used to follow. Not anymore!
I‘ve seen through you and carried on.
(You) make them believe no other sun will shine again
- But yours that is painted with false-faced dedication
Free from the shame.
I‘m better off without your light.
I can‘t believe it took so long
We live to shine.
We‘re better off without your light.
Your barren ways lead us no more
You said your offer won‘t come twice.
That I should leave it all behind.
A glimpse of doubt can make you nervous.
Who would have thought?
I paved your way and felt regrets.
Turned around and set an end. Don‘t be so shocked.
This blinded sheep has seen a light
No make-believe can block the sun forevermore.
Behind your mask I found the weakest of them all
I gave it all
– all that you claimed while giving up what I deserve.
Surviving is not living in your realm
Now feel the sting of disappointment.
Find another one to blame.
For the reasons to your downfall.
For your loss within your game
Lyrics for the entire Infinitas album here!
Check all about All Will Know on kumi666com.
Sunless Rise’s Brand New Single 2017 – “Flywheel”
Flywheel is the newest official release from Sunless Rise. It sounds just a typical SLR tune but you also can find something new. Musically, it’s built on a battle between brutality and sweetness, has fast fearless verses, relentless breakdown, philosophical catchy chorus and bridge, tasty solos and even some gang shouts! I love it! And the lyrics would tell about inertia, resignation, meaninglessness, awareness and rejection from damnation. Sunless Rise keep on evolving with their typical and new great music. Keep an eye on them!
Visit Sunless Rise Bandcamp and buy Flywheel as digital single. Pay for music, support Sunless Rise!
All about Sunless Rise on kumi666com here !
Hey! Just back off for a while.
Really think you can call it a move?
How does it feel to live in denial
Now hear the fucking truth!
Unbecome a flywheel
Make it stop
Hey! You're slowly dying!
Always busting your balls for some shady goals?
Slow it down, realize — there's only here and now!
Only here and now
It’s your life that you're wasting
Only here and now
You can finally change it
On the downward path
Ebbing with the flow
It’s your falling stream
On the downward path
Subsiding with the flow
Into the void
You tell me it’s alright?
You say there’s nothing to change?
Stop the presses: you’re decaying
Take a glance at yourself, you degenerate
Trying to hide in your rathole
You will rot there, there’s no escape
Seeps into your blood
Like a transfusion
Out of bounds, let the image materialize
Stuck in between
Sad memories and dreams
Far from reality
Inside this nothingness
Choice is the last thing that you’ve got!
Stop pretending to be the person you’re not
Seeking for motivation
In race with obliteration
On the downward path
Ebbing with the flow
It’s your falling stream
On the downward path
Subsiding with the flow
Into the void
Burn down all that makes
You regret your past
Start it all over
Find a nerve to crush
These mental chains
To leave this deadly maze
Sunless Rise Japan Tour 2017 – Part II. Interview
Part.II - Interview about the Japan Tour
Note: Japanese version (日本語版) here
Could you tell us your very first impression of our country after hitting the streets in Tokyo for the first time?
SLR: Tokyo is intense! This city and its citizens, and its architecture, and the whole vibe - so very special. Tokyo wears its own cultural image proudly. And the good weather made us all very happy. We’ve felt like being catapulted into hot summer right from cold and rainy Saint Petersburg.
In Tokyo everything is eye-catchy and very beautiful, it’s a city of bright lights, high buildings and huge crowds. The quality of roadways surface is exciting, the cars are very cool - even old models. Another cool fact: in Tokyo car traffic is very pedestrian-friendly, peopler on streets obviously outnumber vehicles. The city is very green - which brings chilling vibes into this concrete jungle. Lifestyles there are fast-paced though. Japan is so different from Russia and Europe in general.
Did you have time to visit any place for sight-seeing in Tokyo and Osaka?
SLR: Fortunately we’ve had the whole first day off and we’ve managed to spend most of our free time walking around Tokyo. The very first thing we saw after the airport was Shibuya station - and when we’ve came out of it into the city - wow, we got lost inside a kaleidoscope of impressions. The city turned out to become especially fantastic after dark. Before the gig we’ve visited Asakusa, the city’s ancient district, where the spirit of traditional Japanese culture lives on. This recharged our spiritual batteries to the max.
We didn’t have too much time to walk around Osaka - came just in time to start our soundcheck and after the gig went straight to eat and sleep (we had to go back to Tokyo really early next morning).
How did you feel the cultural difference between Russia and our country?
SLR: Oh, definitely. Of course you can’t call it a deep analysis - but we’ve had a very strong feeling that the key element to everything Japanese people do is RESPECT. You guys really respect your own traditions, foreign traditions, Nature, each others and yourselves. Traditional designs are presented everywhere in city life - be it houses, restaurants or shops. You can see some people wearing traditional costumes. Your eye catches traditional elements even when you’re driving fast down the highway - some very typical roof shapes here and there, or private camping sites with those little gardens and arbors.
In public spaces people never try to cut the line they tend to do the opposite - stepping aside and making way to others. No one seems to hurry, cars are slow too - it’s amazing that everything is always done on time.
In fact, Sunless Rise took a role of co-headliner with Shade Empire and Serenity In Murder for 3 shows in Tokyo and Osaka even it was the very first Japan Tour for you guys. That was really cool, huh?
SLR: It was a blast! No matter how many tours there are in our future - this trip we’ll never forget. Before the tour we felt exhausted for certain reasons, but the experience turned out to be so inspirational. We’ve had a proof that people really love our music and we must move forward no matter what.
So, how was the first show in Japan? Did you satisfy with the audience in Osaka?
SLR: It was our first ever performance outside Russia. Osaka gig blew our minds. The crowd reaction was phenomenal, people waved back to every gesture, they screamed and showed a crazy support. Some even sang along - unimaginable! We could never expect that so many people in country as far as Japan know our songs. And suddenly we realized: wow, they all were waiting for us! Some dude told us that he was listening to “Nothing To Save” on his every ride to institute. Some dudes came all the way from Hong Kong to see our set. Some brought Russian flags - they’ve set them in front of the stage and we’ve signed them. The number of people was not very huge but the support was unbelievable.
And then, I finally met up with you guys for the first time at the first show in Tokyo, woohoo. Of course the show was a blast and I felt absolutely special with the graphical projection right behind the stage. It reminded me the DT’s stage set, was really cool to see the projection perfectly syncing with each of the songs. I love it. Do you usually use it for your shows in Russia as well?
SLR: We are so very glad to finally have a chance to meet you! Your help with bringing our music to so many metal fans here in Japan is priceless! The gig in Unit was the best gig in Sunless Rise history. So many people, such a great feedback. They started circle pits, slam danced, waved arms and rocked out like crazy. We did our best to give this energy back, no chance to fail. The gig was perfect, every band was fantastic. We’ve had a big signing session.
Every show on tour was very well-supported, people rocked out and bought merch.
Did you feel a huge difference between kinda Russian way of stage setup and our style, about equipment or crew?
SLR: The whole process was organized surprisingly well - people here don’t fail each other (in Russia it’s not 100% like that). Every venue was equipped with very good gear and all the professional services were provided with high class specialists. These guys are top in their job, they’ve even studied our tracks beforehand to set the show just perfect. Actually I’d recommend to most sound and light engineers in Russia to learn from their hard-working and all-focused colleagues in Japan.
Well, the second show in Tokyo was the finale of the tour. The venue was a bit narrow than the previous one but the energy of you guys on stage was overwhelming and was a killer show again! Did you like the audience in Tokyo as well?
SLR: The last Japan show was very warm and intimate. The audience - we can’t praise enough their massive support. At every of those three shows.
As you know, I gave you guys “Ichiban” (means “number one”) bandanas cos “Unrevealed” is a literally and definitely number one album in 2015. There’s no doubt it’s a true masterpiece. So that was really fun when you guys reappeared on stage with the bandanas, haha. Who got the idea?
SLR: This was our singer Ivan’s idea, he was assured by local musicians that it would be alright to wear it on stage. The crowd seemed to like it 🙂
As you promised to fans in Japan, you played the fabulous new song “Flywheel”.
It has fast and extreme verses but the chorus part is absolutely melodic and beautiful. I love it. How did you feel to play the song on stage for the first time?
SLR: This track is intended to sound great live. And it proved to sound great live, just as we thought. There are parts to mosh to and melodic choruses to balance the rage. It was cool to see people wave hands as one during those chorus parts. We’ve said it before and will say it again: you guys are fantastic audience!
Did you finish mixing and mastering for “Flywheel” already? (It's available now.!)
SLR: We’ve finished mixing it right before the tour and it’s out now, today. Sorry it took so much time answering your questions - but hey, good news: “Flywheel” is now available via Bandcamp, YouTube, iTunes, Spotify etc. We hope people like it. This track sounds not very typical to Sunless Rise, but we try our best to stay good songwriters. And there are much more new stuff to come.
How about the whole album? How many songs did you finish writing so far?
SLR: The process has started. We’ve already wrote enough tracks to fit the album, even more. It’s a big work that we want to execute perfectly, so it would satisfy our creative ambitions. The concept and arrangements take a lot of time and energy. Sometimes we rewrite and rearrange nearly 100% finished tracks if it they don’t sound right.
Is it a long way until its finalize?
SLR: It is very hard to predict the release date or even month. Definitely not this year. The album seems to become another “opus magnum”, complex and conceptual. But we promise: it won’t take as long as “Unrevealed” release!
Would you like to come back to Japan with the next album? Of course all of your fans in Japan would love to see you guys again anyway.
SLR: We dream about coming back to Japan every day since we came home. To present a new album, or even before that! Still full of positive emotions, memories of your country and your people are very warming, This trip made it sure: we do the right thing and we believe in ourselves. And we like it. We’ll try to keep our audience excited, huge thanks to every one of you! And a big personal ARIGATO to you, Kumi!
Ivan(John) Smirnov – Vocals
Alex Becker – Guitars
Sergey Shulzhenko – Keyboards
Boris Plaksin – Bass
Alexey Mallovsky – Drums
Here's my long live review for Sunless Rise Japan Tour 2017.
All about Sunless Rise on kumi666com.
Sunless Rise Japan Tour 2017 – Part I: Live Review
Part.I - Personal Live Review
The sun was shining and the sky was blue… The day that the talented Russian guys entered the live venue UNIT for the very first show in Tokyo was blessed by the weather.
Since I’m a huge fan of Sunless Rise for a long time and have been working hard for them to spread the word about their music and its existence towards the world, I was deeply moved by the fact: “Finally the time has come!”.
Unfortunately, I have been super busy with my regular job these months and couldn’t been to Osaka for their very first show in Japan. So, the second show on the tour but the first show in Tokyo became my first experience for them live. After the rehearsal, John(Ivan) came for me to the entrance of UNIT and gave me a backstage pass, and then I met up with the whole SLR guys at the hall in the venue finally. I was totally overwhelmed by my situation, was literally shaking. Anyway, I gave them some gifts, took some photos and talked about our first meet-up.
Well, the latest gig that I saw at the venue was Whitechapel. So the size of the stage should’ve been enough for Sunless Rise as well. I placed myself around the right side towards the stage, and when the lights of the hall went out, the screen behind the stage started projecting the sharp and beautiful “Sunless Rise” logo vividly. All of SLR guys were ready to rock on stage already and we started screaming for them. When I found out the opener of the show in the evening was “Eidolon” from the intro, John shouted out for making us crazy. As we all know every single SLR song in their releases is perfect, but “Eidolon” was absolutely appropriate for opener of the show cos it has the dramatic intro and gave us time to make enough noise before setting into the first verse. Wow, what a band! They were doing so awesome on stage not only with precisive play but also with passionate performance! I’m completely in love with their music for a long time, every single part of their releases is my favorite and this time I found out they also are great live-act as well. So, all of them: Sergey, John, Alex(B), Alex(M) and Boris were doing awesome on stage to blow us away. The graphical projection behind the stage was perfectly syncing with their futuristic modern metal and was displaying the lyrics effectively at the beautiful chorus part.
“Konbanwa Japan!” John greeted to the audience with the Japanese word and we replied him with passionate yelling, and then he introduced the second song “Reborn”. Since the song doesn’t have any growl part, it was a surprise when they revealed the song as the first music video from “Unrevealed” but it means they have enough confidence for what they do with their whole music and that’s absolutely fantastic, huh? So, with the snowy music video on their background, they played through the beautiful song sacramentally on stage. The title John mentioned as the third song of the set made me scream louder. “Recovering The Truth” is my super fave among their new songs in “Unrevealed”. Feeling Alex’s killer drum sound not only with my ears but also with the huge vibration to my body was really exciting! I also love the philosophical lyrics with four temples (Serenity, Mercy, Discord and the forth one should be Catharsis in my opinion). Their passionate performance made me feel stronger love for their music than before!
“The Forgiven” had a place as their fourth song on the set. The projector showed us the dramatic music video behind them while they were playing the song perfectly. Alex and Sergey were showing us their fantastic clean vocals through the chorus part. As you know, the song is built on kinda miracle merger between beauty and insanity, and their magical play was only stunning at the show.
The next song: “The Burnt And The Frozen” which is the most brutal tune from “Unrevealed” led an epic circle pit, was just overwhelming! It seemed they were just like masters using carrot and stick to make us fanatic for their musical universe. John was extremely beast at the song and Boris were doing wild as well. Alex’s drumming were very sharp and loud! There was nothing starved for a true metal show, huh?
As they promised to Japanese fans before leaving their country towards Japan, their brand-new song: “Flywheel” was revealed on the tour. It has really brutal death metal verses and absolutely catchy chorus part with clean vocals, is just a typical Sunless Rise style but sounding more modern than their old familiar songs. I really loved it and can’t wait its official release day. The lyrics which had been displayed on the screen helped us to sing the unfamiliar song with them anyway.
Fun times go by so quickly. The final song of the night was their long time flagship song, “Nothing To Save”! Alex was concentrating his absolutely godlike guitar play and Sergey’s fingers were sliding on his keyboard smoothly and beautifully like a gold medal figure skater.
Being one of witnesses for the genius solo battle between the guitar and the keyboard in real was an absolutely ecstatic moment. That was spectacular!
I was thankful for my situation: there was one more time to experience them live next day! Lucky me!
Live in Tokyo - Day 2 was killer again.
However my review became long already, so I’m gonna focus to write some different points from yesterday. First, there was no projection behind the stage at the show. Actually Shibuya Cyclone that located at the bustling area in Shibuya is a smaller venue than UNIT, but I felt there were kinda special energies between the band and the audience at that evening, so the show became mind-blowing one! They played an additional song between “The Forgiven” and “The Burnt And The Frozen” and it was “Awakening”, hell yes! I couldn’t stop my super stoked feeling and goose-bumps in my whole body with the live-played sick tune! It reminded me the moment that I listened to their music for the first time. It was somewhere in 2010, their music blew me away at once, I hardly could sit still and wanted to get in touch with them ASAP but they were not active on Facebook at that time, so I wrote them via MySpace(!!!) later and they gave me mp3 of their promo EP 2009 as free. I was really into their huge-fountain-like music and was eager for more new songs from them. After a couple of years passed by, suddenly they broke the long-time silence, went active on Facebook and mentioned about their comeback to the scene. It made me crazy again and I offered my first interview with them ASAP. That was the trigger to get into their support obviously. From that point, I’ve been working on spreading the word about the band via interviews, giveaway action and distribution for “Unrevealed”. So I was deeply moved by the fact that I became a part of the audience at two shows in Tokyo and was absolutely proud of those talented Russian musicians who were perfectly playing their set from the metal masterpiece on stage in full-force in front of us. To return to the point, “Awakening” was definitely gold at the show. I was just hooked on the sound explosion, was letting myself into the huge numbers of musical notes they were making and I was just feeling it. Every single sound of instruments and vocals they release on stage was just magical at that moment.
Well, I need to mention one more special thing about the final show in Japan.
After playing the new song “Flywheel”, they suddenly left the stage with the words “… We’ll be back soon!” and all of the spotlights on stage blacked out. I was like “Whaaaaat??? What’s goin’ on with them??? Is there any technical problem or???” and we were totally confused by the unknown situation for a while. After few seconds from their leaving, they came back on stage again… with Japanese bandanas on their heads. Oh my gosh, that was the ones I gave them yesterday at the first meet-up. You know I chose those bandanas for them cos the Japanese word “一番(Ichiban)” printed together with the Japanese flag means “Number One” and Sunless Rise and “Unrevealed” are just appropriate for the extreme word, aren’t they? Of course, the audience there reacted great with their epic looking and their very final song of the Japan Tour “Nothing To Save” became definitely special. As I mentioned it above already, every single song of “Unrevealed” is perfect and I love them all, so I felt something missed without “Ghosts Of The Past”, “Lost Path” and “Sunless Rise” which were dropped from their set on the tour, but on the other hand, I already have another dream for their second Japan Tour with a new album + those not-played songs. Since Japanese metalheads love complicated technical fast piece, those songs should be played anyway then. *grin*
Well, on the final day, I had more time with the band before and after the show than last evening, so we had nice talking, took some photos again and filmed their short message for fans in Japan. That was fantastic as well. They even gave me a beautiful Russian coin and loads of Russian sweets. I’m still very thankful from the bottom of my heart for everything they did for me and all of their fans here with their amazing music and wonderful personalities, was really happy to know they are currently working hard for their new album and would love to come back to Japan soon.
Once again, thanks a lot to my epic Russian heroes: Sergey, John(Ivan), Alex(B), Alex(M) and Boris. Until next time, keep going with the “Ichiban” music! We love you so much!
Part II. Interview here!
All about Sunless Rise on this site here !
Exclusive interview with Sunless Rise right before the first Japan Tour
I had a very short but exclusive interview with our beloved guys from Russia right before their first Japan Tour. (Japanese version here.)
How is the recording for a new album going?
SLR: Pretty busy days. For the last month we've been concentrating on our upcoming shows in Japan, so the new album went on a "pause" mode. We'll get back to work as soon as we return from Japan, there's still a long way to go with the arrangements and lyrics.
"Unrevealed" is still selling well in Japan but you guys announced there are few copies(digipak) left til sold out, right? Do you have any plan for reproduction?
SLR: We've been quite surprised with the feedback from the people. We'd love to thank everybody who purchases our album and merchandise on Bandcamp, downloads it via iTunes or Google Play, streams the songs via Spotify. Seriously, to have so many people willing to support our efforts, it means a world to us. And, yes, you're right, we're almost out of our digipak copies of Unrevealed. About the reproduction — we have decided to re-release Unrevealed in a jewel case version, as a lot of people have been asking for it since the very release in 2015.
Are you ready for the upcoming first Japan Tour?
SLR: Hell yeah, we can't wait for the tour to start. It's not only the first Japanese tour, it is the first Sunless Rise tour outside Russia. So these shows will be very special for us. And, of course, we want to make it special for all people who will attend our Osaka and Tokyo events, so we are bringing some exclusive merch items, Unrevealed CDs in a jewel case (it'll become available worldwide only after the tour ends), and some new material.
Can we expect something special about setlist?
SLR: Yep. We're going to play a brand new song and you guys will be the first to hear it live. Hopefully, it will appear on Bandcamp/iTunes/Spotify/Google Play before we leave for Japan, so you will have time to learn the words, haha.
You can also check my past interviews with Sunless Rise via the link below:
Interview About the Music Video "The Forgiven" (Dec.-2016)
Interview About Insight of "Unrevealed" (Dec.-2015)
Welcome Back Interview (July.- 2015)
All about Sunless Rise on kumi666com here
Interview with Aether Realm about the second full-length “Tarot”
Finally our long waited time is coming to an end.
ÆTHER REALM the super talented DIY folk metal band from North Carolina has finished preparing for the second-full length “Tarot” and I luckily joined the first listening party for crowdfunding backers. It was absolutely exciting moment with full of mind-blowing tunes! I’m still in love with their first full-length “One Chosen By The Gods” but “Tarot” actually showed me much wider range of their musical universe with various amazing tracks than I experienced with the debuted album. “Tarot” is a prime candidate for the best metal album in 2017 for sure.
So I quickly decided to send a couple of questions to Jake about the album.
It was in 2013 that I had an interview with you for the first time, Jake. Time flied so quickly, the upcoming album “Tarot” already showed me a huge development of your band, congrats!
First of all, could you explain the reason why you guys took such a long time to finalize the album after the successful crowdfunding campaign?
Jake: Well I think there are a lot of factors here, but I’ll try to cover the big ones. For one, despite having much more success with our crowdfunding campaign than I envisioned, compared to bands signed to big labels, our budget was really really small. What that means when it comes to working with other talented people to try to achieve our “musical vision”, is that if we want really good work, we have to be okay with being pushed back when bigger budget projects come along for them. Kile Odell (the talented producer/engineer we worked with) has projects that are significantly easier than ours on a regular basis, and they usually pay more. He did us a huge favor with all the time he put towards making Tarot sound the way we envisioned it sounding. A related factor is that Aether Realm is a fun project that we’re all passionate about (shit, it’s basically my life), but it doesn’t make us any money. Anything coming in through merch or digital sales or anything, just goes directly to help offset the cost of trying to make cool art. We all have full time jobs, so we have do a lot of work to make sure we can take the time off required to do things like tour or spend time in the studio. In my case, when we were deep in the mixing process, I was working days as a pharmacy tech at Walgreens, then driving ~3 hours to Greensboro, working on the mix all night with Kile, then coming back to work in the morning. Rinse. Repeat. It didn’t work out very well, I eventually had a pretty bad car accident where I fell asleep driving and totaled my 4runner (Our normal touring vehicle actually. I’ve got a replacement vehicle, but it’s not exactly suitable for tour, so I’ve still got to figure out how we’re gonna take care of that. One thing at a time I guess). The work situation wasn’t great, we were understaffed and I ended up with more responsibility and less pay than I wanted-ended up quitting and spending 2 weeks just basically living with Kile at the studio to finish the mix.
All this was after some pretty significant delays (originally we had hoped to get everything by October 2016, the Alestorm, Nekrogoblikon tour…what a wild thought!)
TL;DR - There’s a old saying that everyone wants work to be good, cheap, and fast-but you can only ever pick two. We’re not wealthy, but we don’t want to compromise the quality of the music, so fast was the option that was sacrificed.
I noticed “The Magician” has no place in the new album. Originally, the song was written for the album, right? Why did you do that?
Jake: It was a tough call-if we could have figured out a way to include it and still get the album out when we wanted to, we would have. The first hurdle was that the stem files for the recording have been lost to time-a side effect of recording related songs years apart I guess. We could take the original master file and try to EQ match it to the rest of the stuff (and that’s likely how we’ll do it for the vinyl release), but then we run into a second hurdle. We wrote about 80 minutes of music within the Tarot theme, and I don’t know if it’s a quirk of the replication process (when you just burn a CD at home, that’s called duplication, and generally you can have up to 80 minutes per cd, but you end up with a CD that doesn’t consistently work with all players. Professionally, you generally go with replication-a process that involves some kind of glass master disc? I don’t know a lot about it other than it results in a more consistent product) but the company we work with for CD production has a limit of 74 minutes per disc. We could have done a double album, but again, that’s more money, and we just don’t have a lot to waste there. After discussing it a whole lot, we decided that if something had to go, it had to be The Magician. It’s still one of my favorite songs I’ve written, and it hurt not being able to include it. In my mind it’s part of the album, and if I could compress down all 80 minutes of music do a single bite sized song, it would either be The Magician or Tarot. We just didn’t want to deny anyone the ability to listen to new music for the sake of something fans had already heard.
To be honest, tarot cards are kind of mumbo jumbo fantasies for me like any other fortune-telling tools and I’m not familiar with meanings behind those cards. So, could you specify the album cover art? I like the mysterious art anyway!
Jake: Well for the CD cover, we worked with KolaHari . Tyler found his work first (he and Heinrich follow a lot of really talented artists on social media, and tend to introduce me to artists that I realize I’d like to work with in the context of band commissions). We didn’t give him much direction actually - he’s a tattoo artist based in *I think* London? He’s done tarot themes in his work before, and we just told him about the theme of the album, talked about some elements he’s used in his work that we like (he’s used that phases of the moon motif a few times and I think that looks really cool, and I think his style of clouds is nice) and mentioned maybe just having some kind of character doing a reading would work well. He took that and ran with it, and we were very pleased with the result. He presented us with a few options (his art photoshopped with different backgrounds) but ultimately we took the black and white version, and tyler worked some of his own graphic design magic on it, made it grungier, and did some manipulation to the text for the album title and the Aether Realm rune at the top, as well as modifying the dimensions of the entire piece to make it fit both a square (for digital purposes) and a slightly wide rectangle (for the digipak).
For some of the other art in the CD package (manly the insert) we used photography from Randy Edwards some tiled textures from Adrian Baxter and by the way, Adrian did the art for the vinyl edition of the album whenever we finish with that, it’s AMAZING) and a piece by Michael Meadors.
Sorry for the wall of text-just so many people have provided us with really fantastic art for this whole project and I want to make sure everyone gets acknowledged.
As far as the theme for the album itself, it all started with The Golden Tarot (authored by Liz Dean, illustrated by Melissa Launay). My friend Casey had bought the deck in 2012 or 2013 maybe? It became a regular activity when our group got together-play games, maybe go out and hike the railroad tracks, and at night light some candles and read each other’s fortunes. I’ve always been a skeptic with any sort of supernatural stuff, but I think there’s a kind of magic in allowing yourself to believe something that you rationally know is just powered by suggestion. Sparked by Melissa’s magical renditions of the major arcana (check them out here, still my favorite tarot art to date http://www.melissalaunay.com/gallery/books/the-golden-tarot/ ) I presented Heinrich with the idea to do a themed album one night while driving back from a late cookout run. I liked the idea because I’m absolutely terrible at thinking of things to write lyrics about, and this gave me a framework to build on. Heinrich seemed to agree this was cool, and so everything we worked on from then on was with that theme in mind. Initially my interest in tarot cards was pretty shallow, but 5 years of writing about them has granted me at least a little bit of relevant knowledge. We hadn’t started any sort of focused effort on planning a new album yet, though we were still writing riffs and coming up with ideas. We’d I think done 2 or 3 DIY tours at this point, and were all still living in Greenville, NC. Jack Rodriguez-Dougherty (then still unmarried and just Jack Dougherty) was still in the band.
I remember The Magician starting out as a Guitar Pro file, and later a Logic file, called Wish. Strength was mostly written around the same time and we debated which we would record, and there were ideas that made it into TSTMTS that were already in existence in Guitar Pro or just as piano ideas. Later came The Chariot, though at that point most of the songs had been started, with some ideas for songs that never made the final cut (I’ve still got a guitar pro file somewhere for a song called “the lovers” that was a RIPPER, but just never got fleshed out. Will probably re-use).
Okay, let’s move on to the track by track insight. Could you add your interpretation to the following track list?
Track01 - The Fool (7:54)
The dramatic opening track discloses you a lot of new aspects of the band already and leads you to their brand new musical journey.
Jake: So the Fool, the card itself, depicts a carefree traveller taking the first step on their journey. Face turned the sky, head in the clouds, they don’t realize that their step will lead them tumbling down a cliff. There’s a dog tugging at The Fool’s leg, representing reason and realism, trying to stop them from hurting themselves.
I’ve seen aspects of myself in different cards over the years of working on this (I saw myself in the Magician for a long time when things were going well and I was a little more, uh…full of myself). Now though, I see myself most in The Fool-head in the clouds, very gung ho about going on new adventures (like big tours with Alestorm, or grandiose musical ideas), and perhaps the most apt parallel, hopelessly disorganized, forgetful, and prone to wanting to do “big things” despite being a broke ass 24 yr old in a band, haha.
So that manifests lyrically in this song as a bit of self reflection. During some of the darker times during the creation of this one, I felt like attempting to continue to create music was pretty hopeless, and I hated everything I was making, and led me to feel like I was continuing to live in the shadow of what we had done in 2012 with OCBTG. I (kind of cryptically I guess) describe attempts by others to bring me out of that state, and how facing your own flaws and shining a light on your own personal problems can hurt a lot (…the light she shined on me, it burned me deep down to my bones…) despite the fact that that’s probably the healthiest thing for a person in that situation (…but the flesh that sloughed from the bone was blackened and diseased. That flesh was not my flesh…), and kind of punctuated at the end by an attempt to command myself to try to do the shit I want to do, because we have a finite amount of time to do it. Not intended as a lecture towards anyone that finds themselves deep in the grip of depression, but just a personal coping mechanism.
Musically, I was being influenced a lot by Mike Low’s writing style in my old band Oubliette, Wilderun, Opeth, and Insomnium. Heinrich did some sick sound design in this one as well, and really fleshed out a lot of the guitar parts to include some good harmonies.
Track02 - Tarot (4:23)
I’m sure the title track immediately blows you away. It’s just intensive and easy to make you into the song!
Jake: Heinrich took this melody/chord progression I had written for the chorus and made this insane rhythm guitar part for it. That kind of set the stage for the writing of the whole thing-fast, riffy, but anchored by a catchy chorus melody, and polished with 2 great guitar solos (first Taylor Washington of Paladin did a guest solo, followed by Heinrich), a really fun breakdown section by Donny, and overall some of my favorite orchestral work by Dan Müller of Wilderun (who, by the way, did all of the big orchestral arranging for the entire album. Thanks Dan!) I think this song kind of encompasses most of the elements of what we want to be as a band.
Track03 – The Tower (2:56)
Short but there are full of tasty guitar melodies in this track.
Jake:Yeah, this is one of the ones we started a long time ago. The hook in this song has been written since 2012, and we figured we wanted to kind of test ourselves in a way-could we do a song without any synth elements? I guess people that listen are gonna decide, but I’m at least glad to have a song we can faithfully re-create live even if my computer explodes mid concert and we lose all our orchestral tracks.
Track04 – King of Cups (4:59)
Great party piece and has some similar vibe with “The Chariot”. It would be a lot of fun if you experience the song at them live!
Jake: I can describe all the shorter, fun ones more or less the same way. We take a melody and chord progression, Heinrich fleshes it out into interesting guitar parts, tyler takes my boring programmed drums and plays them in a fun way, and (at least for this album), Donny throws in cool ideas for breakdowns or leads or solo sections (this one is the same way. Heinrich and Donny have back to back solos, and Donny wrote this fun like, 80s hair metal riff/solo-I think it’s cool juxtaposed against Heinrich’s more like, Jeff Loomis style approach here). Oh and Chris Bowes from Alestorm did a guest verse. We got drunk at his house one night and wrote some ridiculous lyrics!
Track05 – Death (4:28)
It has some impressive combination between killer blasts and guitar harmonies right before the beautiful chorus part.
Jake: The musical inspiration on this one ranged from Bodom & Hypocrisy (the “theme riff” in this song reminds me a lot of Eraser, and I hope (perhaps unrealistically) that it can be even a fraction as beloved by the metal community) to Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 (go play the Ice World, you may hear some similarities in the chord progression).
There’s a combination of my own layered voice and Philip Reed’s choir arrangement going on in the chorus, and it’s probably the first time I’ve heard my own singing voice in a song and not really had any problems with it. I think it came out well!
Lyrically, this is one of the songs describing more personal issues as opposed to being a fun short fantasy story. Working on the same thing for so long and not really having much to show for it put me in a bad spot emotionally multiple times. Like with most of my lyrical stuff, there isn’t really some big point I’m trying to make, more just doing my best to describe the feelings and emotions that I have experience with.
Feeling so bad that you want to die is something I think a lot of people have dealt with, certainly more people that admit to having dealt with it, and I guess I hope if anyone that likes this is in that state, they can listen to songs like this and maybe feel less alone.
Track06 – The Chariot (6:24)
The song became their flagship tune since it was released as a new single in 2015. You may know the song as their first music video as well.
Jake: Not much to say. You’ve heard it, it’s a fun bouncy banger about overcoming the obstacles that life throws at you!
Track07 – The Devil (8:45)
Black, symphonic and melancholic but absolutely punchy piece! You can see obvious new aspects of their music through the song. One of my favorites.
Jake: This was a really neat one I think, because it’s one of the ones we stepped out of our comfort zone on the most. Kind of a spiritual successor to the title track from One Chosen I think. Big evil sounding riffs and chord progressions, amazing orchestrations by Dan, Tyler pushed to complete exhaustion from the speed we’re making him blast (sorry dude!), Heinrich facing the same issue from the speed of the string skipping verse riff, Donny with a flamenco influenced acoustic interlude out of nowhere (he originally wrote it as a joke, but I told him we had to keep it)-it goes all over the place. We didn’t do it like that on purpose, it’s just where the music happened to go, you know? Shout out to Escher (NC) for being the primary influence on the big staccato diminished riff just before the outro.
Track08 – The Emperor (2:48)
The shortest track in the album has some tasty Bodom vibe in its melodies.
Jake: Not too much to say on this one-just a fun track. I was listening to a lot of Kalmah at the time, haha.
Track09 – Strength (6:17)
Simply soak into the groove and you may encounter with some nice surprise by the guitar solo somewhere in the second half.
Jake: One of the earliest ones we started working on within the Tarot theme, I’ve been off and on worried that it wouldn’t really “fit”. I think with Kile’s consistent production style, the way Heinrich altered the chorus riff in the second half for a more “metal” chuggy feel, and tyler’s use of like, uh, double kick flams? (I’m not sure what the actual term is, but whenever he leads into a beat with a quick one or two kicks), it ends up working and feeling like Aether Realm-whatever that means, haha. Donny’s solo on this one is one of my favorites too-you can hear jazz background I think!
Track10 – Temperance (5:27)
You can feel the band’s musical growth and depth with this track. And you may find Jake can manage not only killer shouts but also gorgeous clean vocals.
Jake: Donny wrote the whole acoustic part up until before the vocals, and I think it serves well to bring the listener out of Strength and into the kind of repetitive prayer/chant in Temperance. Philip and his choir knocked the choir vocals out of the park, Dan did fantastically on the orchestrations, and Heinrich’s guitar work when it gets heavy has got a lot of nuance (like it always does)
Lyrically it’s just kind of a self reminder that sometimes you need to slow down, find your quiet place, and take a breath. I’m guilty of judging my self worth based around my artistic output often, and that means that when I take breaks I feel pretty guilty, but people definitely can’t just go all out all of the time.
Track11 – The Sun, The Moon, The Star (19:09)
Needless to say, this is the longest track in their entire releases. The colorful hymn should spread into your body and soul. It’s appropriate to close their new musical journey.
Jake: I’ve already written such a wall of text in here already, I wouldn’t really be able to cover this one in depth without making it unreadable I think, haha. Heinrich and I shared the writing here, and everyone involved did a great job. It’s a story about what it means to leave the comfort of home, go on an adventure, and a reflection of what you’re giving up when you decide to do that. I hope people can listen all the way through, it’s a doozy of a song, and we hid some of our favorite parts on the whole album near the end.
There was a replacement of a guitarist after the previous interview with you, right? Could you introduce Donny Burbage to your fans?
Jake: Hey fans, this is DONNY!
Donny, this is fans!
I’ve find you’re going to have a big European Tour with Alestorm this year, woohoo. Could you show us the tour dates so far?
28.9 - Bochum, DE @ Zeche
29.9 - Berlin, DE @ Festsaal Kreuzberg
30.9 - Munich, DE @ Backstage
1.10 - Budapest, HU @ Barba Negra
2.10 - Zwickau, DE @ Break Out Festival
3.10 - Frankfurt, DE @ Batschkapp
4.10 - Hamburg, DE @ Grünspann
5.10 - Hannover, DE @ Faust
6.10 - Vienna, AT @ Simm City
7.10 - Cologne, DE @ Essigfabrik
8.10 - Bern, CH @ Gaskessel
9.10 - Toulouse, FR @ Bikini
10.10 - Rennes, FR @ L’etage
11.10 - Rouen, FR @ Le 106
13.10 - Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
14.10 - Nijmegen, NL @ Doornroosje
15.10 - Pratteln, CH @ Z7
16.10 - Nuremberg, DE @ Hirsch
17.10 - Stutgart, DE @ Club Universum
18.10 - Lyon, FR @ Transbordeur
19.10 - Sion, CH @ Le Pont Franc
20.10 - Selestat, FR @ Rock Your Brain Fest
21.10 - Paris, FR @ Elysee Montmarte
22.10 - Antwerpen, BE @ Trix"
How about Asian tour or any other countries?
Jake: We’d love to do it, and I hope we have enough money one day (touring is expensive when you’re a little band!)
Do you have any information/thoughts about “Tarot” you want to share with your fans?
Jake: I think we covered it all here. I’m really just excited that anyone at all wants to hear music that we’ve made. Thank you for enjoying it!
ÆTHER REALM - "Tarot"
Available on June 7th, 2017
ÆTHER REALM are:
Vincent "Jake" Jones – bass, vocals
Heinrich Arnold – guitar, vocals
Tyler Gresham – drums
Donny Burbage — guitar
Band photos by Randy Edwards
Top 10 Albums 2016 on Kumi666.com
2015 was a year of Sunless Rise - Unrevealed as runaway leader.
Here we go with Top 10 Albums 2016 on Kumi666.com.
And the next nine albums are:
Allegaeon - Proponent For Sentience
Caliban - Gravity
Freedom Call - Master Of Light
Bloodspot - To The Marrow
Starkill - Shadow Sleep
Whitechapel - Mark Of The Blade
Kambrium - The Elders' Realm
Asenblut - Berserker
Burden Of Life - In Cycles
Other good ones: Breakdown Of Sanity(Coexistence), Nothgard(The Sinner's Sake), The Descent(The Coven Of Rats) and more...
Thank you so much for the great metal year!
Live Review – Trick Or Treat First Japan Tour day 2 @ Palooza
I still have no idea where I should start writing about the unforgettable evening with Trick Or Treat as my highlight of the year. That was just overwhelming with a huge fun of the show plus very nice talking with them about their brilliant music and funny cultural differences between Italy and Japan. Anyway, I'd love to tell you about their show, about their live performance and the audience at that night.
When I passed through the entrance of Palooza with the band, a Japanese support act was still playing there. I met up with a couple of my friends quickly and took up our stand in the pit when the setup for Trick Or Treat had started, but the hall was packed with the audience already and we couldn’t reach to the front row. Suddenly, the hall became dark and the people there started yelling eagerly to Trick Or Treat for their enter on stage. After the sound of rolling thunder broke the darkness, finally members of the band showed up on stage and the people became more crazy coz it was just Trick Or Treat's very first Japan Tour and all of us knew the first song of the show at that evening was Inlé (the black rabbit of death). It couldn't had been better than any other song for the opener of the show cos it’s the killer first track from their latest masterpiece “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2” and the brilliant album art was exuding its existence as a backdrop on the stage. I was singing the entire song together and was enjoying their passionate performance. I still have very special feelings for “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2”, so when Alle shouted out about the second song Cloudrider, I went hyper again… or I should say the audience went crazy for the hopeful song about Kehaar and the Watership rabbits. Such a positive song, such a brilliant band! My mind was already filled with joyful feelings at that moment.
Premonition from Rabbits’ Hill pt.1 was the third song they played. Everything of the enormous adventure started with the Fiver’s vision. My mind was floated between Sandleford Warren and the show, shouted the chorus part “Escape from here…” like the in-trance Fiver. Since their second full-length Tin Soldiers was their major debuted album in Japan, Loser Song they played as the fourth song at that night made us feeling great. And I already got Trick Or Treat are such brilliant live performers with the precise and energetic playing and the amazing vocals. The whole band looked joyful on stage and it made me happy enough to be a part of the unity for a big metal party. And I know I was not singing alone. (That's cord words for all Trick-nerds, haha)
A decade of my love for Trick Or Treat paid off with the next song – Evil Needs Candy Too. How could I imagine that the time for Trick Or Treat show in Japan come true until the couple of months ago? It was just fun to sing together the evil and funny chorus part with full force. I’m totally familiar to get some pain in my neck and body via metal shows but I found out that muscles of my face started weary already cos I was smiling all the time through the show so far. All hail happy metal.
Well, the next song was the band’s playtime pt.1 – Let It Go from the Disney movie “Frozen” but a metal version. I actually had some obvious feelings from two different aspects about it. It was simply fun to see how my beloved band arranged and played the world famous hit song for a joyful metal party. On the other hand (and it’s an important thing for me), it was very first time ToT Japan Tour, so the 60 minutes of their setlist was too short for me. I wanted to hear more songs from their fabulous albums. It's not murmur to the band. I have such a strong love for their original songs and a huge excitement for the first experience of their show :)
Leone’s bass solo refreshed my complicated feelings, and then the time for rabbits is back! Alle asked to a fan in the front row to get a rabbit beret for the next song - Rabbits’ Hill. The song is one of my 3-top-fave in the pt.1 (Wrong Turn and The Tale of Rowsby Woof are the rest of them), so I went crazy and of course the whole audience as well. I was singing the song along with the band and was closing my eyes for a while to feel the Watership breeze brought by the beloved guys with their killer performance. And, Alle’s vocals were just amazing!
The next one was their very early time’s song - Like Donald Duck. This cartoonish song was fun to hear in their show cos the whole members looked absolutely enjoyable. I didn’t miss that Alle dropped some lines from the song actually but that’s live. You should take it pleasure that you could experience many small differences as special memories at every single show. *grin*
Cartoon out, anime in, and it was time for boys. Alle asked to the audience for help for the next song - Saint Seiya’s theme. Our applause goes to Alle for his perfect singing with whole Japanese lyrics, and I was happy to see their love for Japan stuff, woot! Nuff said.
It’s time for a prison break, time for freedom! With the following song The Great Escape, I was really blissful and was singing the song along with the band again. I love guitar solos in the song. Guido and Luca have beautiful forms each other through their great guitar performance and it made me more into their show. All hail guitar heroes. Well, I’m very familiar with overwhelming drumming (I love blast beats) since I’m a big fan of extreme metal, but Luca’s drums were good enough to satisfy me at the show.
What a fancy evening. Michele Luppi from Secret Sphere joined on stage for the next song Take Your Chance. This is one of my fave in Tin Soldiers along with Freedom. It was kinda magic to be one of the witnesses for the original duet :D
Too sad to know the next song was the final song but United, hell yeah! Alle toled us Tony from Sonata Arctica was too busy to join the show tonight, so he needs to sing it alone, haha. His jokes made us smiling a lot and wiped out my gonna-miss feeling. Now we should be united for the finale of the big party. All of the audience there kept jumping with the band and was singing the epic chorus part. Trick Or Treat were Hazels and we were Bigwig, Fiver, Dandelion, Blackberry, Pipkin.... at that moment. “It’s the time for deliverance now! United we’ll be strong!”
The blissful time was over… all we could do was keep applauding and yelling to the band for the unforgettable time with their brilliant performance. That was a blast, real blast! I’ll never forget about the evening forever.
As far as I could see, there were a couple small sound problems attacked them but it could happen often at that class venues. So the blame should not go to the band, and who cares? That’s live. Spirit is the matter! Their energetic and happy performance covered all troubles at that evening!
After the show, I met up with Guido again and talked about the show, about their music and more. In our conversation, I confessed my dream to him: I’d love to see complete “Rabbits’ Hill pt1 & 2” show one day, using a big screen on the back on stage reflecting Alle’s art work and some scenes from Watership Down novel would be perfect. Adding choirs would be great too. It’s just a dream, but I don’t think it’s impossible. Like Alice says “The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe it’s possible.”
I had a real blast at that evening, got unforgettable memories from the great Italian band! I can’t thank enough to these guys: Alle, Luca(V), Leone, Luca(S) and especially to Guido. We love you! Hope to see you guys very soon.
Until the next time... May the trick be with you!
Sorry for my blur live photos. I was busy myself to enjoy the show at that time :)
Beautiful picks: Luca's pick, Special pick for Japan, Guido's signed pick.
I gave them those El-ahrairah trophies as "Rabbits' Hill pt.2" album of the year + Inlé.
Interview with Trick Or Treat – Rabbits’ Hill pt.2 and The Upcoming Japan Tour
It could be a quite long interview cos I have too many feelings and thoughts to Trick Or Treat since I got an imported copy of their debut album “Evil Needs Candy Too” in 2006 via a CD store in Tokyo. However they have been one of my all-time favorites, they became an absolutely special band for me after the decade with the incredible album “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2”. I couldn't stop my passion to write down my review for the album quickly. Check it out here. So, I had an interview with Guido Benedetti from the band and asked a couple of my interests about them but I tried to focus on the latest and biggest masterpiece and the upcoming Japan tour to make it short.
To Japanese readers: 日本語版はこちらからご覧いただけます
We all Japanese fans are absolutely excited for your upcoming Japan Tour. Finally it comes true! How are you feeling about the fact you’re going to strike the land of the rising sun for the first time? Are you excited as well?
Guido: Yeah, we are really excited. Japan is a country we love and we are very happy finally to play there. And of course we hope you will like our show. We have some surprise for these gigs…so why not be there?
Why did it take such a long time to make the first Japan Tour comes true even you are signed with a major record label in Japan? Have you ever known you have a bunch of fans in Japan from your early era?
Guido: With our second album “Tin Soldiers” in 2009 we had the chance to be published by King Records in Japan, and results were very good. From that point we started a collaboration and we are very glad to visit this country for the first time! And we hope to meet all our fans of early era, a lot of things to talk!
Well, I’d love to shout this out loud over again that your latest record “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2” is such an amazing masterpiece! I’m very thankful to you for the super brilliant music! Actually I love both of the pt.1 & 2 but strongly feel pt.2 is much more advanced than pt.1 and it’s just perfect! In fact, you have been keeping on evolving so much from your first album. Every time you release a new album, it has more depth, various colors and professionalism than past ones but you never drop off your direction of what Trick Or Treat is. That’s really awesome! One of your original members Luca Cabri’s withdrawal affected for your musical progress this time?
Guido: Oh, thank you!!! We are very happy you liked it.
Luca was an important member of the band, and wrote a lot of songs in the past. We shared a lot of gigs, tours, recording sessions, and we are still friends, but you know sometimes things changes, especially for an “underground band” like us. In fact after his departure we simply write our ideas like in the past and we liked the results as well. I think we are changing a little our sound year after year cause we are growing up every year a little bit…it’s hard to say, but we are growing old…ahahah
Did that member-change actually make you force to take such a long time to release the pt.2?
Guido: Not really, we had to wait a long time for the release of “Rabbits’ Hill pt.2” due to label change. The album was recorded in the first part of 2015, but waiting was worth to have the right time to promote the album properly.
So, could you introduce us your latest new Tricker, Luca Venturelli?
Guido: Luca Venturelli is our friend from the early first steps of the band, so for us was the natural choice to ask him to join the band 2 years ago.
For me especially is a brother and I feel really “complete” when I play with him on stage.
It’s a pleasure to see him play, it’s a very talented guy and also a good composer.
What else? ….he pay me a lot of money to say that! …ahahahah
Peter Jackson, JJ Abrams and you guys Guido Benedetti and Alle Conti are my most venerable artists who have the super excellent expressive ability for legendary sagas. As a big fan of “Watership Down”, I could be very picky against releases related with the story but you just blew me away with the bunch of perfect songs! Why did you choose the famous adventurous story for the concept of your latest two albums?
Guido: Really thank you, I'm not worthy, I‘m really blushing! ahah
In 2005, during the recording of our first album “Evil Needs Candy Too”, we saw the movie(Watership Down) together and we wanted to make a concept album, cause in the past (when we were kids) everyone of us saw the movie and the story were really “intense and impressive” for us to remind our childhood emotions. So we tried to bring them into the songs.
Did you plan to divide the whole story in two from the start?
Guido: Yes , cause it was very difficult to describe all chapters, characters, and story in one album.
There are many wonderful guitar riffs and solos in the album. So, could you tell us which guitar part is the most favorite highlight for you?
Guido: Thank you again! For me “The Showdown” is one of my favorite of the album, but also the final part of “Last Breath” have a special “mood” for me.
Your technics for the lyrics are so amazing as well with the emphersized emotions and the magnified and expanded adventures. You used many tricks in those lyrics, for example the first track “Inlé”: the first half goes objective by written in the third person, and it becomes subjective through the eyes of the black rabbit itself in the second half. That’s a pretty good idea to increase its frightfulness. How did you manage those interesting lyrics? Do you basically compose music first?
Guido: Really good question, very careful.
I wanted to change person to describe better the scare of rabbits about Inlé, cause I found similarities when humans try to describe death, the fear of the unknown, and self belief that death (in this case the rabbit of death) is always evil. In fact in the end of “Last Breath”, Hazel discover that Inlé is a part of El-ahrairah myth. It depends, I usually write music first with vocal melody. Then I write lyrics and arrangements.
Actually I can’t drop every single song of the album from my favorite but I can say “The Showdown” is the greatest piece ever. Music and the lyrics are perfectly combined and it formed as an epic verse. It gives me huge goose-bumps always. Perfect! Why did you make the song as such a long length?
Guido: Cause I like long songs! But I wanted to show all the feels of the rabbits during the battle, sometimes scared, sometimes desperate, but also brave and resolute.
I also want to mention about “Last Breath”. It is the most beautiful and sensitive song I’ve ever listened to in my metal life. Umm, did you think about your children when you were making the lyrics? I feel so with the very touchy part: ”If they could learn from our life and take it all to save them from hell, to let live them free, they are still young.”
Guido: Touchè! Yes I was thinking about them, but also to future generations.
It was like they have to learn from the past mistake to make a better way to live together in peace and awareness. (yes it sounds a bit peaceful message, but I think is the only way to follow)
Could you leave some message to Japanese fans?
Guido: Hey, we are gonna coming to Japan, we can’t wait. Hope to see all of you in the front row. It’s time for having fun!!! OK?
Thank you Kumi for this amazing interview. See you there!!!
Thank you so much for your time for my interview. See you around!
May the trick be with you!