Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Unholy Interview

Answers by Ismo Toivonen


1. Can you update us with what is going on with Unholy these Days?


All began couple of years ago, when Finnish label Ahdistuksen Aihio contact us and were interested in releasing our all demos as vinyl. Vinyls are coming back and we don't have any vinyl releases, so it sounded nice. Plus our demos are not available anywhere, and people sometimes ask for them. So, we said yes, they can do it. It began very slowly, personally I was not very interested (and too busy on other things) about the whole thing, so Jarkko lead the work with AA. But as project went towards, I became more interested and wanted to use this good opportunity to get albums available too. I think there were no albums in the shops after Avantgarde Music sold their stores out few years ago.


Kind of good thing was the information we got, that Avantgarde has sold our rights to Peaceville Records. So we started to negotiate with PV about re-releasing albums. They understood our point and maybe they also thought the fact that this is "now or never-situation" to sell some albums from dead band. At same time Relapse showed some interest about album release. But albums were Peaceville's job, so they started to negotiate about t-shirt release. So, little by little the whole thing got bigger and bigger, and now we're working hard for many directions and many projects. We also decided to open our website again (www.unholy.fi, under construction now) for information channel about our projects news.


Now We're finishing that vinyl project, designing website, making t-shirts, re-releasing all albums (new covers), and also designed new version of logo showed in last two albums. We got lot of help from many people around. Thinking the whole thing, not bad from band that is not even alive!


2.Recently you took a 6 year hiatus, what did you do during that time and what made you decide to reform the band?


We're not reformed, not as musicians at least. This project puts us together, but it's a long way from that to playing together, doing gigs, new albums etc. I don't know where these rumours come... Maybe they are more like hopes from fans. I tried to give the correct information in official myspace site (www.myspace.com/originalunholy) but obvously no one has read about it. Obviously even YOU haven't read that, even when you contact us thru myspace site.


But I never say never, we got musical ideas and WILL to do something together. The problem is more like logistic. We're living far away from each other, have families, daily jobs etc. So it's challenging to organize anything together, even if WILL to do it is this there.


3. You are considered a huge influence on the black/doom and funeral doom genres, what is your opinion on the bands that you have influenced?


I don't know about bands we have influenced... any?


4.When can we expect new material?


I'd say, it should be in next 5 years or if it's not happened in that time, it probably won't happen at all.


5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance, also are there any touring plans in the future?


I don't remember what are the best shows, so many years passed from last gig. But I've always loved playing live and never got bored to it. Of course I'd like to do it again some day, but as I commented in q2, I don't see it as very potential future. Album is possible but touring is probably impossible. But if someone comes with million dollars and ask us to perfectly organized world tour, I'd say yes. I mean, compensation must be enough to beat our daily job salary. Today we have families to feed, loans to pay etc...


6. How would you describe the lyrical content of the newer material?


It's... very... incomplete... ;)


7. Out off all the albums that you have recorded so far which one are you the most satisfied with?


No question about that, it's Gracefallen! In every way. It's pure melacholy, taken to most extreme level. Arrangements are good, compared to earlier albums, but it's also technical masterpiece. But that's my opinion only. I'm quite unqualified to answer that as composer.


8. How has the support been from Avant Garde Records so far, and how would you compare them to other record labels that you have been on?


In q1 I told everything usable about Avantgarde, so it's not good. But it's not suprise because it was always like that with AG. They were unable to organize even ONE single gig to us during all those years we were together. That tells everything.


We have good relationship with Ahdistuksen Aihio, but it's hard to say yet anything about Peaceville and Relapse.


9. Are there any current side projects, if so how are they and what kind of music do they play?


No side projects.


10. What are some bands or music styles that have influenced your music and what are you listening to nowadays?


I'm listening mostly rock music now. None of us have never been really "metal fan". Of course we have listen to Metallica, Black Sabbath etc, but mostly the old bands like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, some classical stuff etc. But also we listen to good metal music of course. For example I like Amorphis. It sounds simple basic heavy metal, but it's quite multilayered sound they are able to create, so I'm able to find new layers from music in every time I listen to it. Same thing has always been with Unholy songs I've made. I don't like to do easy "burger music".


11. Does Satanism, Occultism, or Paganism play any role in the music?


In the early year there was many themes from that in Jarkko's lyrics, but after Jan and Pasi started to make lyrics (Rapture and Gracefallen lyrics are almost completely made by Jan) some other themes came up. What those themes are, everyone can read from booklet, it's too difficult to explain, and either way, the point is that everyone can make the own rendition of them.


12. What are some of your interests outside of music?


Me and Jarkko are interested in computer and console gaming. Actually my second job is working as contributor in gaming magazine doing reviews. Games are good entertainment, and also interesting as art. I'm also a big movie freak, but games are somehow the better way to experience virtual life. TV is completely out.


It's interesting to see how gaming business has developed from early 80's (when I started to play) to own culture and from other side, the bigger it goes it feels more and more like big labels music business; spiritless way to make secure money. I'd compare todays NHL game series (and other EA games) for Smash Hits-collections in 80's. So game culture is in the same point nowadays as music was in late 80's. Small independent east-European game studios raise the artistic level, when big studios are lowering it. Just like underground and mainstream conversation in music business.


13. Any final words or thoughts?


Watch out, something wonderfull is going to happen...

Funeral Interview

1. Can you update us on what is going on with Funeral these days?
1.We are working quite hard to finnish our new album these days.We also have recruted a new singer in Sindre Nedland,as Frode F. decided to leave.
We are also in negotiations with a coupple of record-labels for a future record deal.Have a listen to new song with new singer on our myspace.

2. Alot of people consider you the pioneers of the sub genre called funeral doom, how do you feel that you have influenced the newer bands using this style?
2.This is really a great hounour for us.I really dont listen to many new bands,so I really couldnt tell.But we definetly did something noone had done back in the early days.

3. I noticed with the older material you had alot heavier vocals and the newer stuff has all clean vocals, what made you decide to do in this direction?
3.It was really a very natural progression.I grew tired of the growling,as it really doesnt challenge me musically,either writing it nor growling it.

4. How would you describe your stage performance and what are some of the best shows that you have played so far?
4.We just do what we do,really.Play our instruments as good as it gets,and trying to have a blast on stage,hopefully been liked by the audience.we havent played much live,but it was definetly cool playing in Belgium and the Netherlands a couple of years ago(first gigs outside of Norway)

5. Are there any plans for a U.S tour?
5.we have no concrete plans for a US tour at this moment.But if someone offer us a fair deal,we will absolutly concider doing it.

6. Out off all the albums that you have recorded so far, which one are you the most satisfied with?
6.Its as always the last one,as that is our newest material,and the songs we have worked on the most,trying to get it to sound as good as possible.But I very rarely listen to my own stuff,really.its always new unreleased demo- songs i listen to,to make them even better for the album recording-session.

7. How has the new material been recieved so far by the metal community?
7.very good!I have seen just good reviews so far.and that is really great!
there are of course always people that want us to sound the same as earlier or previous albums,but that will never happen to funeral.We always try to evolve.

8. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the band heading into on future releases?
8.as mentioned we progress very natural,and dont really think about it when writing songs.the new stuff will have even more and more bombastic orchestration than ever,and also our new singer makes his mark on the sound.so watch and see!
I have however included a song originally written for my sideproject Fallen for the next funeral-release,just top mess around a bit.Its veeery slow and very old-school..

9. How would you describe the lyrical content of the music?
9.on our next album we almost entirely use poetry written by the late Einar Fredriksen.So,its much despair and definetly lyrics that goes well with the music,allright.

10. What are some bands or music styles that have influenced the music that you play?10.well,its lots of older bands and older albums.some faves are Cathedral,Metallica,Black Sabbath,Paradise Lost,dead can dance and various classical composers.so its really everything from metal to classical music,really.

11. What are some bands or musical styles that you listen to nowadays?
11.I am heavily into everything by the members of dead can dance.Filmscores of various composers.I discovered Nile,and always have that on my mp3 player when working out.And of course its the older bands and albums mentioned above.
the new Burzum is a killer too!

12. I know the band has experienced the loss of a couple of members due to death, what was it that motivated the band to keep going to this day after dealing with that dramatic experience?
12.well,just an urge to play music I guess.Having a name,and not let down the fans.
But I was very close to call it a day,though..loosing two close firends does something with you,and the band was on hold for quite a while after Christain passed.

13. Does Paganism or Occultism play in the music?
13.no,I wouldnt say that.I am really not into any "isms".But I know our previous singer was a bit into that,and there are parts of the lyrical content on "as the light.."that deal with these subjects

14. What are some of your interests outside of music?
14.I am heavily into war history,and I also collect items from the 3rd Reich.I also work out quite a lot,as well as playing my guitars,both classical and electric.

15. Any final words or thoughts?
15.thanx a lot for your interest in the band,and for your patience awaiting these answers.
we`ll hopefully get the chance to play a lot more live in the future,as we have parted ways with our singer who was very difficult to cooperate with.So I guess we`ll see you on a stage near you in a not too distant future.be sure to check out our websites from time to time for updates:
www.funeralband.no
www.myspace.com/doomfuneral
doomy regards
-Eek/Funeral

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Skepticism/Stormcrowfleet/Red Stream Records/1995 CD Review

Skepticism are a band from Finland that are one of the piooners of a style known as funeral doom metal and this is a review of their classic 1995 album "Stormcrowfleet" which was released by Red Stream Records.

Drums are very slow beats with no fast playing or blast beats while the keyboards are very dark and atmospheric sounding wih a dark ambient feel, as for the bass playing it is all rhythm bass that is all slow riffing that follows the guitars.

Guitars are all slow doom metal riffs with no fast playing or leads being utilized while the vocals are deep death metal grwls, as for the lyrics they cover Finnish Mythology and paganism such as the Kavella which is a very long poem/novel that has also been called Finland's answer to The Odyssey.

Production on this which was produced by Skepticism during May of 2005, sounds very dark while retaining a very professional feel.

In my opinion this was a very good album from Skepticism that stills sounds very havy, evil and dark even to this day, and if you are a fan of brutal atmospheric doom metal you should have this album in your collection.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Funeral/from these wounds/Candlelight U.S.A/2007 CD Review

Funeral are a band from Norway that plays a melodic form of funeral doom metal which is a style they helped created and this is a review of their 2007 album "from these wounds" which was released by Candlelight U.S.A in 2007.

Drums are mostly slow beats on this album with no fast playing or blast beats while the keyboards are very depressing sounding with a powerful melody that gives the music a dark romantic feel, as for the electronics they have a very dark sound with an avant garde edge.

Bass playing is all slow playing that follows the riffs that are coming out of the guitars, while the rythym guitars are very slow and melodic while the guitar leads are somewhat noisy with a doomy melodic feel that has some power doom metal influences.

Vocals oon this album are all clean singing with no growls which are presented on their early albums, while the female vocals have a very esoteric/new age feel to them, as for the lyrics they are very poetic, dark and depressing.

Production on this album which was recorded, mixed and mastered by Kjetil Otterson at Vektor Facilities during November of 2004 in Norway sounds very professional and you can hear all of the musical instruments that are present on this album, as for the cover of the c.d it is a rope tied in half with a dark brown background.

In my opinion this is a good album that would appeal to open minded fans of the genre that have listened to the early gothic/doom bands of the 90's and like the progression between every album those classic bands put out in that era, fans of heavier more death/doom style bands might be disapointed with this album and should probably stick with their early material.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "This Barren Skin" "the Architecture OF Loss" and "Pendulum". RECOMMENDED BUY