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!
Sunless Rise New Music Video “The Forgiven” & Interview
It's still a vivid sensation that Sunless Rise released their first full-length "Unrevealed" last year after more than 5 years from the amazing promo EP. It was definitely the best album in 2015 and became one of the legendary metal masterpieces for me. The band has released their new music video "The Forgiven" from the album. So I asked them a couple of things about behind the scene of the video and about their upcoming new album. First of all, check the huge video "The Forgiven"!
Where did you shoot the huge scale video?
SLR: We’ve used 4 different locations in process of making this video. The main location was Kilpola island and outskirts of Tiurula - beautiful places in Karelia (which is a fantastic territory on the North). Great open spaces, majestic forests and - the main attraction for us - some moderate-sized rocks. Most of the filming happened during first two days of our staying there. You can see us roving, dying and fighting the evil Shaman (played by Igor Grabuzov, a professional actor). The process of filming was packed with all kinds of fun activities. We’ve rented a small wooden house and made it our base. The Shaman’s scary make-up was made by our friend Maya Chkonia, she is a great make-up artist. Also we’ve made the skeleton totem and the bonfire. So, day one was all about choosing the right locations and some filming (in the evening-turning-night time). Day two was dedicated to climbing rocks and sinking into snow.
Then we’ve moved back to the city; day three was chromakey day. And in the end of day four we’ve done the black and white part. It was filmed inside the city limits during night time and featured extras, the whole crowd headed by actress Ksenia Malyagina. It was very cold and no one could wear warm clothes, the actress had to spend about three hours tied to a tree. The was one moment when she had to scream - and it came out so naturally! There was another moment when the little girl (our protagonist’s “daughter”) naturally started to cry - and we were lucky to film it too! Glad everyone survived that experience, it was truly hard.
Why did you choose "The Forgiven" for a new video?
SLR: “The Forgiven” is the album’s story-line culmination and it is also a very powerful track - musically and emotionally. We’ve had to work (a lot) on the video’s scenario, rework it and add some changes from time to time - for it to became less dependent on the whole story and be more, let’s say, apprehensible.
Are you guys working on a new album?
SLR: Yes, we’ve already started working on it. We’ve came up with its concept more than a year ago. Now we’re working the details out. Got some of new tracks shaped. But we won’t say anything about release schedule yet. Probably you’ll hear a single or two before next full-length’s release.
After the first album was finished - and it took the period of 2006 to 2011 to write the whole its material - we’ve had a lot to think through and to make some things clear for ourselves. Like, what direction we would take in the future, what new elements we should add. Still thinking it through - so, it’s a lot of work to do. But we can assure you: there won’t be profound changes in our sound, we gonna keep it recognizable!
Be sure to subscribe Sunless Rise Official Youtube Channel and check more videos!
ALL ABOUT SUNLESS RISE ON KUMI666COM (including 3 interviews!)
Short Interview with Parasite Inc. – Summer Breeze 2016 and the future
Hey, you guys have been quite silent these days, so I ask you about your highlights of the year so far and your upcoming activities. First of all, did you enjoy the show at Summer Breeze? How was the audience there?
Kai: Hell yeah, we did. In general the audience at Summer Breeze is always great and it was really fun to play for them. I only wish we would have had more time on stage.
Did you feel any difference between your on-stage experience at Summer Breeze 2010 for the first time and this time?
Kai: Hmm, compared to nowadays we were really not well prepared for that kind of stage - probably even for any kind of stage. There was a lot of chaos in the band and around the band at that time and chaos is truly not your friend when it comes to show preparations. I remembered that before I walked on the stage this year and it felt great to see how things have progressed.
I heard you played a new song “This World” for the first time at that time. Is it true? I’m curious about the reaction you got from the people there.
Kai: True it is: “This World” is one of the new songs and we played it live there for the first time. To be honest, I didn't check for any reactions but I guess they just listened to the song?
Did you have time to enjoy the fest as a metal fan? Any favorite show?
Kai: We had some schedule this year, so we missed some bands but I think everybody in the band managed to check his favorites. My personal highlights were Lost Society, Arch Enemy and Evil Invaders.
Funny story: I ran into Lost Society and took their stage picture. Since I'm not an actual photographer I simply added our logo to their stage picture that they used later for facebook. They will never know, hehe. You can check it out here: Lost Society Summer Breeze photo on facebook
Of course you also should check them live!
Do you have any plan to show us “This World” within a couple of months in any way? For example: a lyrics video.
Kai: Unfortunately, there is no such plan. I mean, we are working on a video for that but it won't be released before the next album.
Well, you played in Norway this year for the first time, didn’t you? How was the trip to the land of mighty Vikings?
Kai: It was really awesome: Intense audience, great people all around and too much moonshine for me, haha. Good times!
Did the people there go crazy with your show?
Kai: Yes they did. We never had such an intense audience before. Big kudos to the people at Karmøygeddon!
As far as I know, “Time Tears Down” is still selling well and you have passionate fans from all over the world. How are you feeling about it?
Kai: The success is still kinda surreal to us for sure and we are still often surprised what our music moves for us and for the people. At the end of the day we just feel very thankful that it is so much appreciated.
So, time flies so quickly, we are all curious about your new record. Is everything going well with the song writing process so far?
Kai: It's annoyingly slow but beside that it's going well. The songs are growing step by step and to me they sound much more focused and intense with a tighter connection between music and lyrics. I'm pretty optimistic that people who dig Time Tears Down will also dig the new material.
How long should we be waiting for your new album? Sorry, it must be a nasty question for you, haha.
Kai: Does it count when I say “It's going to be released before Wintersun's Time II”? :P
Indeed it's a pretty nasty question and I get it almost every day these days. I'm currently at a point where I've become very hesitating with any predictions about a release date. We really want to make sure that we are as happy with the new stuff as we were when we did TTD and the last thing we will do for sure is to put something out that we are not satisfied with.
Anyway, don’t you think it’s about time for making a new official music video, do you? It’s been a long time since you released “Pulse of The Dead” and the video got a big success for spreading the word about the band then.
Kai: You mean like before it's too late and we get old and crumpled? ;)
I don't think so. I even don't want to waste too much thoughts about it now. The most important thing is the music itself... everything else comes later.
Will you play at Metal Christmas, won’t you? Could you tell us about the fest?
Kai: Yes, our last show for 2016 will be at Metal Christmas in Bielefeld alongside with Nothgard, Suidakra, Soulbound and a bunch of other bands. I'm really excited for it since I've never seen some of those bands live before and it's been a while since we had the chance to see our friends in Soulbound and All Will Know.
Thanks for your TIME!
Interview with Bloodspot about the relentless new album “To The Marrow”
First of all, I'm happy that you guys have done another great job with the new album “To The Marrow”. I got goose-bumps in my body to the marrow with full of in-your-face punchy tracks. Why did you give the title for the new album like that?
Howdie: Pete was the one who came up with the idea for the title. The working title said “Seeking Marrow”. But gradually we transformed it into “To The Marrow”, which is a more handy title and finally fits better to the meaning behind it. At least as far as I understood, it's intended to be like an advancement of “By The Horns” at all points. With the last album the band took the mission to metaphorically take the bull by the horns, which meant to grow together again as a band, because of member-changes, as well as to approach individual problems. “To The Marrow” marks the next step, to leave the surface and go deeper to the core. Both, musically and personally. As you could imagine, it isn't always easy to be in complete agreement as a group, consisting of five different characters. Every single member has to learn more and more to deal with the idiosyncrasies of the others. Otherwise it's not possible to grow as a group. During this process it can get very painful to go deeper. But if you are able to get through it, it definitely makes you stronger, personally and collectively. It's the same with the musical development.
Pete: We also wanted to intensify the relation to our fans, too. As you might know, we used X-Rays of our fans for the artwork. We wanted to have them with us in the artwork, as we want them with us, when we are on stage. The idea with the X-Rays came before the title "to the marrow", so it fits even better!
I feel the album “To The Marrow” stands on the same line with “By The Horns”, straight, solid and aggressive. I feel your total confidence with your music through the established Bloodspot-sound. What do you feel about it?
Howdie: I think you are basically right. “To The Marrow” definitively sounds like Bloodspot and has the typical trademarks to it - Punch, Groove, Aggression and Dirt . But as I mentioned before, a lot changed within the band since “By The Horns”. And I think you can hear it on “To The Marrow”. Already the fact that our songwriting evolved during the process of creation had a lot of effect on "To The Marrow". On the one hand we decided to let more room for the one who comes up with an idea. To make sure that he is possible to play out his personal vision of the song, to leave an individual stamp on it. On the other hand every single band-member was included into the songwriting more deeply this time. It made sure that the songs will come out more colorful. What I want to say is that there's more variety between the songs than on “By The Horns”. We also put more little details into the material. But yeah, it's still brutal as hell for sure ;)
Marius: We couldn't make an album that isn't brutal at all, but like Howdy said, the variety is improved. For example, Björn suggested that he'd like a song with a clean guitar melody, that's how Average white came to life. Pete's Hardcore- background brought us a monster like A Vonder of Vows, as well as Feast of the Lending Needs stems from Jaros love for Death Metal. You could say there's a solid metallic fundament with different toppings. And we wrote more songs together than in the past - e.g. Pete asked me for a fast thrashy verse in Kein Mensch Ist Illegal, and Björn threw in some ideas for Embrace the end, all of which made the songs better and more varied. But you can always hear that it's Bloodspot- we're very happy with the songs and how they emerged.
I found an interesting fact that the total running time of “To The Marrow” is almost the same with “By The Hones” and since “To The Marrow” has 10 songs, it sounds more condensed than “By The Horns”. Did it become condensed naturally, or purposely?
Howdie: I would say both. In some way we tried to unmask needless parts and leave them out.
At least I did that fore sure. To speak for myself, I wanted some of my ideas to be as reduced and minimalist as possible this time. “Public Porn” is the best example for that. This song is definitively condensed purposely. But a lot of the other songs came out absolutely naturally, ”Average White” or “To The Marrow” for example are songs that just came out nearly the same as you can hear them on the album now. At this point I have to say a big “thank you!” to Kai from PARASITE INC. and Lukas from THE GREAT COLD, who both helped me to get along with home-recording. Without that some of the songs wouldn't sound like they do now.
“The Act of Fame” is a relentless opener with the jackrabbit start and killer guitar riffs.
It tells me like ‘Stay sharp!’. Actually, I always get goosebumps with your super shredding guitar riffs. Which is your favorite guitar part of the album?
Howdie: Puh, it's very hard to pic just one. I have to name some more. I absolutely love all the little "vampyric" and "black metalish" guitar-parts, like in the intro-theme of "Public Porn" or the chords in the middle-part of "Feast Of The Leading Needs". I also love all the guitar-parts in two voices, especially those in "A Wonder Of Vows" and "Average White: Running Caverns". When it comes to riffing, "Economic
Eradication" is a manifest of neck-breaking killer-riffs, and the first riff of "Lower The Cut" is my most favorite on the whole album. I just recognize that there is no single song without killer guitar riffs :D
Marius: I love the fast verse- riff of To the marrow, as well as the rhythm guitar- break towards the end of Economic Eradication. The guitar work in Average white and Feast of the leading needs is in an unusual manner for Bloodspot, I like that too. And I have great fun with the guitar-leads of this record.
I had to grin with the title of the second track “Embrace The End” but there’s no musical similarity between the song and your first full-length “Embrace The End”. Why did you use the title for the new song? It’s not a coincidence, right?
Pete: Most things are no coincidence on this album ;) To me it´s always important to have the feeling that "circles close". Even if there is an end doesn´t mean that you have to leave something or anyone without a reason. The point is to get the best out for yourself within every end you have to face! It might help not hold on too hard on things you´re better off letting them go! In case of the song, the circle closes and starts something new: We wanted to move a little bit more to the songwriting of "embrace the end" to have a mix of "by the horns" and "embrace the end".
Marius: Embrace the end of By the horns ^^ That was one of the first tracks we had finished.
Pete came up with this title, and somehow it felt right. Some parts had a more melodic feel to them, like our older stuff -Answer my fall comes to my mind- and for that it had a connection to that era, like Pete said there was a feeling of "circle-closing".
“To The Marrow”, “Kein Mensch Ist Illegal” and “Public Porn” are my most favorites in the album. Actually, there are many kickass gang-shouts in the album. Did you get conscious about your fans to shout that together at your shows when you recorded those shout parts?
Howdie: Absolutely! For me personally it was very important to get those gang-shout-parts more prominent on “To The Marrow”. Although i also like ambitious arrangements, I have always been a big fan of the simple and straight things. For me the best example from nowadays is Slayers “Relentless”. The Chorus catches you right from the start. “Live fast, on high, relentless, let it ride!”, it's just awesome! You feel instantly forced to lift your fist and yell it as loud as you can together with Tom. I love that!
Another reason for why I love the song “Kein Mensch Ist Illegal” (No One Is Illegal) is the lyrics. It’s dealing with a universal issue and I really empathize with it. Actually every single song in the album has strong messages. So, I’d love to hear your explanation about each of those lyrics, please?
track1: The Act of Fame
Pete: An important inspiration for me were situations when "business" tried to have too much influence on the band. In common, and that´s the more important point, it is a song about honesty and sincerity. About not running with every stream, being self-conscious and far-sighted to make the right decisions. There are too many people out there that just want to exploit others, it´s about being aware of that without being afraid of them!
track2: Embrace The End
Pete: I told you already about the song. "Death is the position to make it all count" is a central sentence in the song and nails it.
track3: To The Marrow
Pete: There are several songs on "to the marrow" that follow one topic- the imbalance of our world! In all its ugly faces of suppression, racism, economic abuse, exploitation and greed, just to name a few of them.
The lyrics are about the question, what we are willing to leave, to break these cycles of unjust habits and consumption. To go to your own marrow, to see what´s really necessary. "Confess! Avow what you really need!" We are all concerned!
track4: Kein Mensch Ist Illegal
Pete: You said it already, it means "no one is illegal". It´s about the refugee-situation in common and our position is clear with this statement! it´s just sad, that the situation stokes racism and facism so hard.
Marius: Originally the chorus was written in English language, and someday out of a sudden we changed it into German. You know, Refugees, political asylum and everything that comes with it are a very important thing in Germany nowadays, there’s a big movement from the right… often it becomes just nasty, and that was our way to say “fuck you” to all the Nazi-scum. We played the song at Kalkwerkfestival ’16, and there were many persons of many different cultures and countries and subcultures like ska, hip-hop, reggae and so on, and we made them shout altogether “Kein Mensch ist illegal”. That was fucking intense… just listen to the beginning of that song.
track5: Economic Eradication
Marius: One day Pete and I talked about lyrics and topics of songs. I told him how I feel about mighty companies making big money rebuilding countries that were destroyed by war, and that it's quite common practice to give away the award of contract even prior to war.
Pete: I believe that economy is the biggest and most dangerous part of the imbalance. The connection of politics and economy is much stronger than it should be! Politicians have too much economic interests and are steered by the finances of their countries. Society is hypnotized by the offers in the stores. The behavior in consumption of every single person and the methods of the corporations have to be changed. We can not keep this amount of prosperity without suppressing other countries and their economy!
track6: A Wonder of Vows
Pete: ...has the most emotional lyrics on the album. It´s a proclamation to the affluent society, to everyone who cannot see, that goods have a bigger lobby than people! Again economic values seem to have more appreciation than human beings! "every child that starves, is killed" is the strongest sentence of the album.
track7: Public Porn
Pete: The song is about being blinded by media abuse. The text is combined to the influence of commercials and the illusion of needing senseless stuff that keep us calm and relaxed. Focusing on their status people care less about others and more about themselves. fast satisfactions and status symbols instead of thinking about real necessity!
track8: The Feast of The Leading Needs
Pete: This is one of the most abstract lyrics on the record... "the leading needs" are motivations to gain respect from our society. Created by hate, lack of self-value or envy. This culminates in different problems like dog-eat-dog-mentality, greed, fashion and beauty craze. I like the abstract ending of the song "wrath counts praise".
track9: Average White: Running Caverns
Pete: Another title with quite abstract words. It´s about our actual political situation. Due to the refugee-debate we have a strong growth of right parties in Germany again.
They are "one-topic-parties" and have obsolete programs reminding of the Parties from Nazi-Deutschland. Needless to say at this point they have to be stopped.
track10: Lower The Cut
Pete: It matches that "lower the cut" are the last words on the album. It´s the call to cut back, to reduce and to slow down. Don´t follow the stream! Don't say what everyone says! Don't buy senseless shit and use your stuff ´til it´s broken! Don´t support the static growth! Don´t feed the hungry mouth of economy!
"Reduction of abundance. The first step is the one that sates!"
“Public Porn” I mentioned in the previous question is appeared as the first music video from the album, right? Could you tell us about the location, concept and any episode behind the scene during the shooting?
Pete: Yes, it´s the first video. We produced it all for ourselves. We filmed it at Björn´s home. He owns a house together with his brother and I live there too. I did all the technical stuff, filming, light, cutting, post-production... I had several ideas for the episodes each of us is playing in the video. There are also shown some of the X-Rays our fans sent us for the artwork. To me it´s quite funny, that the scenes we play seem to fit our characters a little bit. I just want to sit and be boring, Jaro is our occult preacher, Howdie needs the longest time in the bathroom, Marius is the mad guy and Björn is simply the best in BLOODSPOT! ;)
The video is about all the lyrics of the entire album. It´s not only about "public porn". The lyrics are not always straight focused on one topic. There are some escapes to other related topics, or maybe other songs. AND: I would prefer you make your own interpretation if that´s OK!? There are really plenty of symbols hidden in the video, I don´t want to explain them all at one time. I hope you will have fun to watch it over and over again to find them all...
Who is responsible for the album art?
Pete: We also did the Artwork together. It took a really long time to satisfy everyone in the band. I made several suggestions and prepared many prototypes. We all had different pictures of what our music sounds like at the moment. This is the reason why the artwork grew from different parts, that i wanted to put together to a homogeneous result. All in all, i think I worked more than 8 month on the artwork...
I need to tell you that you always make killer band shirts! I often wear each of them. Who did work on the newest shirt design?
Pete: Thanks. We try to have different styles. We don´t want our shirts to look all the same.
We created the actual shirt together, too... I created different designs during the recording-sessions. But in the end, we decided for this design, which took about 3 minutes to create :D
Bloodspot is the total live band, right? Do you have any plan for local or worldwide tour with To The Marrow already?
Howdie: Yeah, you are right. And it's absolutely necessary to get us back on the road again!
We would love to tour worldwide (especially Japan for sure!) with "To The Marrow", but unfortunately it's not that easy to organize a tour at such a big range. All of us need to do regular jobs, so we don't have enough time to book a big tour completely by ourselves. But quite recently we've got a new booking-partner, who will help us to organize shows throughout Germany and also here and there in Europe. Right now we are working very hard together to create a good tour-package.
Marius: You're definitely right about Bloodspot being a live band. As a band we grew up on the road you could say, there we found ourselves, and we found out what we want to do. With the five of us together it almost feels as we were meant to be on stage. It may sound a bit cheesy, but the pure energy that comes up at a gig keeps us going. And it is highly rewarding for all stresses and strains... if you listen to a Bloodspot record, you hear the songs. But the real Bloodspot is to be experienced live on stage. I get the chills just thinking of our upcoming 10th Anniversary Show... There's nothing that comes even close to the feeling when delivering a good show- the adrenaline, the sweat, the euphoria, the energetic exchange with the fans. Every time we want to give our absolut best, and we're enjoying ourselves very much. We're very happy and grateful for having that privilege.
Thank you so much for your time for my interview!
Howdie: Thank you Kumi for your boundless passion and support!
Marius: Yeah thank you, you're amazing!
Trick Or Treat – “Rabbits’ Hill pt.II” – Insight of the concept
I’m an indie extreme metal supporter and my site stands just for it, but I’d love to write my feelings for the incredible concept album “Rabbits’ Hill pt.II” created by my favorite Italian power metal band Trick Or Treat.
It was more than a decade ago when I was totally into “Watership Down” by Richard Adams for the first time. I read it as Japanese edition “ウォータシップダウンのウサギたち” at that time. Time passed by, Trick Or Treat pulled the trigger for my passion for the epic adventure again with their two concept albums.
So I finally read the book as the original English edition lately. The story never gets old and blew me away over again! And I also found out once again, such a talented band Trick Or Treat is. The tunes and lyrics perfectly describe the Watership Down universe in their way, that’s just incredible!
If you are a fan of both of Watership Down and metal, I bet you’ll never be disappointed with the album, so please try it.
Trick Or Treat drew the first half of Watership Down in Rabbits’ Hill pt.I (covers “The Journey” and “On Watership Down” in the book) about 4 years ago and finally the second half of the story: Rabbits’ Hill pt.II (covers “Efrafa” and “Hazel-rah” in the book) came out this summer with more sophisticated sounds.
Here’s my very personal review for Rabbits’ Hill pt.II about the great collaboration between “Watership Down” and metal. I rarely write album reviews for my site cos everybody has different feelings and tastes about music and you can get what you feel only by listening to it with your own ears, not from other people’s words, never. You even can start it with YouTube. And if you feel good with it, you can buy it wherever as long as it’s a regal way and can support metal. I never want to act like a judge for any music, so this review covers some insight of the concept with my love for the story and the album without rating. I hope you enjoy it.
Note: It could be spoilers for the story of Watership Down. So if you don't know the story so far and want to read the book, please remember the following review could show you some detail of the story especially second half of it.
Watership Down is an enormous adventure about “fight for freedom” through a bunch of brave wild rabbits and the book contents stories from two different rabbit’s worlds. One of them is the main story drew up a chronology of events as adventures of the wild rabbits, and the other one stands as “traditional story” a kind of rabbit’s bible told by the rabbits and it often gives them some bravery and hits for how to cope with their struggles for life with their enemies. So, Trick Or Treat dealt with both of them in the album and the opener Inlé(the black rabbit of death) is just about the most dreadful existence(the black rabbit of Inlé) in the rabbits’ myth. As an extreme metal lover, I’m happy to hear some growl part in the song honestly. The word “Inlé” comes from the rabbits’s original language Lapine and it means literally “moon”, and second meaning of it is “darkness”, “fear” and “death”. So, it could be some death metal song, *grin*. Anyway, the song is edgy and aggressive, and it’s just appropriate for the opener of the album. Great piece! It’s a contrasting pair with Prince with a 1000 enemies the opening track of Rabbits’ Hill pt.I pointed the rabbit folk hero(in their myth) El-ahrairah. It’s just like darkness and light. You can find them in both of cover arts.
I also should mention the fact that all those fabulous arts through Rabbits’ Hill pt.I & II are done by Alessandro Conti the amazing singer of the band.
Well, in the ending of the first half of the story, Hazel (the protagonist rabbit) shot down by a farmer at Nuthanger Farm right after the raid for hutch-rabbits there in the name of freedom. Together Again is the song about Hazel’s return from his chasm of death (related songs: I’ll come back for you and Bright eyes from pt.I) and the reunion with his buddies especially his young brother Fiver who didn't give up his existence. The short, calm and gentle song gives a new hope for the story.
Cloudrider is a song about Kehaar the sea gull saved by the rabbits, and it’s definitely one of my favorite songs from the album. Like Bigwig (Thlayli) says “You know, he made me feel I could fly too. That Big Water! I wish I could see it.”, Kehaar is wings of hope for the rabbits, and Trick Or Treat is my Kehaar setting me free (at heart) like a bird in the blue sky. Such a brilliant song with full of positivity they created!
The Hazel’s give-and-take idea through the rescue of Kehaar and a mouse reminds me the famous quote from Confucius ‘the good you do for others is good you do yourself’, by the way.
The epic adventure heads toward the merciless rabbits empire - Efrafa with the almost impossible mission organized by Team Hazel-rah. The intro of Efrafa shows you a creepy and cruel mood enough already. It’s a song about Blackavar imprisoned by Efrafan officers because he tried to run away from Efrafa once before. No matter he is imprisoned in a dark hole or not, Efrafa itself is just a big prison for him and many simple rabbits there. The song starts with Blackavar’s grief but it leads to a light in the dark brought by Bigwig. I’m always moved by Bigwig’s everlasting strength built on friendship, charity and justice. The chorus part shows you there’s a hope for escape from the hell.
Never Say Goodbye is another song of hope between Bigwig and Hyzenthlay. It’s a song about Hyzenthlay‘s longing for freedom and Bigwig’s conviction for escape. With a relationship built on trust, freedom’s not a dream anymore. The mission-impossible of Team Hazel-rah stands on the brighter future of Watership Down warren. They made through the crisis of their home warren at Sandleford (related songs: Spring in the warren, Premonition and Wrong Turn from pt.I) and the sham nation of Cowslip’s warren (related songs: False paradise and Between anger and tears from pt.I) and finally found their new promise land Watership Down (related song: Rabbits’ hill from pt.I), but without female rabbits like Hyzenthlay, there’s no hope for their future. I always love the story of “freedom call” or “freedom fighters”. Sara Squadrani did a great job as Hyzenthlay to express her long time eagerness for freedom. It’s just soulful and beautiful.
Trick Or Treat is often described as Happy Metal. The Great Escape is just a party piece in that way. The story for the escape from Efrafa stands extremely critical but the song itself has very positive tones and that’s why I’m into the song. The lyrics start from the courageous determination between Bigwig and Efrafan rabbits right before the escape from Efrafa into the storm and it covers along the way towards Watership Down warren including the breathtaking scene with the rabbit’s trick: using a men’s boat arranged by Hazel and Blackberry. With the exhilarating chorus part, the song is filled with an exciting mood and positive energies. That’s just brilliant!
Here comes General Woundwort the fierce Efrafan emperor. The regime of terror is the the only way to rule the world for him and he got frantically mad with the bunch of death-defying prison-breakers leading by Bigwig. So They Must Die is very aggressive metal piece with the edgy sound and Tim Owens’s charismatic vocals. It describes very well for General Woundwort’s extreme ferocity and such a twisted obsessiveness.
Well, The tale of Rowsby Woof is one of my favorite songs in pt.I with some Celtic folk song atmosphere. It’s taken from rabbits’ myths with an El-ahrirar’s trick. It’s told by Dandelion as usual before the following Efrafans’ attack. So, in order of the book, the song should be stood between Beware The Train (instrumental) and United but as long as the tale could sync with Nuthanger Farm’s watchdog, I think the band found a good position for the song. So, United shows you the determination for being brave under the flag of brotherhood and freedom, and the preparation for the upcoming final battle. The song has a good vibe and stands as a booster for the following highlight: The Showdown.
Team Hazel-rah has been saved over again by Fiver’s visions, Bigwig’s strength and Hazel’s wisdom inspired by El-ahrirah’s tricks. The Showdown is a song for their showdown literally via the final battle at Watership Down warren and it’s my most favorite song in the album. The tunes and lyrics are absolutely brilliant and I almost forget about the fact it has 10:47 as running time. I want to shout this out that my hat goes off to genius Guido Benedetti for the full deck of amazing songs! In the middle of the song, once the hope almost dies down with the Bigwig’s defeat through the epic fight with General Woundwort, but Lord Frith didn’t reprobate Bigwig, Hazel and his all buddies and gave them another trick for the demise of the battle. I have huge goose-bumps every time with the epic final lines: “We see the rising sun, we feel the rising sun, WE ARE THE RISING SUN.” Just a perfect song for me.
The grand finale of their adventure is filled with hope and brighter future, but every life has its ending. Last Breath is the most beautiful and emotional song I’ve ever listened to in my whole metal life. It’s just like touching to the softest part of my heart and I can’t resist tears every time listening to the song. I really love the epilogue of the story and this amazing song as well cos both of them are extremely pure and peaceful. Now Hazel is going to accept his final journey towards another paradise in bliss with his body behind. Alle’s vocals are just overwhelming and beyond perfect to describe that sensitive moment. With his final shout: “Farewell my land”, I even have to catch back a sob every time. I have to say any words can’t be enough to describe how fantastic this song is. All you can do is to experience it with your own heart and ears.
Trick Or Treat’s “Rabbits’ Hill pt.II” got an epic victory with their incredible songwriting ability and technical play, plus endless positive energies and passion for what they do. The album is definitely one of the best releases of the year for me.
Last of all...
I love readings. It’s much better than movies and TV programs in many ways. But I just shout this out MUSIC IS A MIRACLE! I’d love to pay my endless respects for all genius metal musicians. I just want to say thanks a lot for them from the bottom of my heart.
My thankfulness goes to every single reader of my blog as well.
To metal brothers and sisters united under the metal flag,
Pay for music, support metal bands!
Trick Or Treat are:
Guido Benedetti (Guitar)
Leone Villani Conti (Bass)
Luca Setti (Drums)
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