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To date, we have conducted 1617 interviews. If your band is available for an interview, feel free to contact us and we'll see what we can do. Here are our latest:

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Schemata Theory Spreads "Unity In Time"

As soon as a band releases their first album, fans and critics alike can't wait to see, or more appropriately hear, what their next full length will be like. For a lot of groups, this comes pretty quickly, but the logistics and internal goings on can create more than a few issues when it comes to releasing an album. In 2012, British outfit Schemata Theory unleashed their debut, "Dry Lung Rhetoric," with an EP, "Words Not Seen, Read Or Seen" following two years later. However, only in the past few weeks has the Reading band been able to share their sophomore full length, "Unity In Time" and fans all seem to agree, it's been worth the wait!

With this new album, Schemata Theory display the massive changes that have gone on behind the scenes, channeled them all into some truly sublime music and expressed it in a fascinating way, with an album as rich and varied as any group could hope for. To find out more about "Unity In Time," Metal Underground caught up with guitarist Huw Roch and co-vocalist Luke Wright, who unveiled many of the inner workings when it comes to the album, as well as the themes, direction changes and much more. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, "Unity In Time" is now upon us. What was different about recording your second album compared to recording your debut?

Huw Roch: When we did the first album, the band was in a very different place. We had a slightly different lineup and we sort of had one guy, who's no longer with the band who wrote everything. It was very much a case of; come in, do what was written and then it wasn't until a year later that we did the vocals. That wasn't the intention, just sort of how it played out.

This time, it was much more collaborative in the sense that we went into the studio with room to improve the songs and collaborate with Justin Hill, who's a fantastic producer, as opposed to it being a bit more robust with what we were doing. The music itself lends itself to that too. The first album is much more technical than the newer album so the songs were sort of constructed in a way that we could craft them after they'd been written, as opposed to just, "This is the way they are." That's the only way we could have done it. The vocals were a bit more interesting.

Luke Wright: They were a bit. From my perspective... When I joined the band, it was during that year period between the music and the vocals being recorded and it was quite a challenge. The previous vocalist had stepped away and the guys were looking for someone to fill that space. Miles, who's currently the other vocalist, had recorded the drums for the album. I've known these guys since school so we had conversations and they asked if I was interested. I think they'd seen me at a late night karaoke, that classic audition technique that metal bands use! So I came into it and was told, "This is the entire album. We've written everything, we just need you to put vocals on top of it." I'd never written vocals before or recorded a full album in the studio before and essentially we had maybe a couple of months to write and record everything so that it would line up with the original release schedule that we'd planned at the time.

So, going from that to now, Huw mentioned working with Justin, I think that's a massive change since a different producer was used on the original album and Justin sits very much in that metal space, he'd recorded clean vocals of his own and it was a lot more collaborative. I was thinking about the album this afternoon, around the song "Mirrors," which is a seven minute track... The "Mirrors" that we walked into the studio with, is not the one that we walked out with! Obviously, we could go through the writing process more, but essentially, me, Huw and Miles would sit in his garage and go through vocals, workshop that together and then take those demos into the studio and trust Justin to put his flavour on it and give it his guidance, certainly around the vocals because that's an area that he really excels in. The two processes were night and day.

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Dagoba Vocalist Living "By Night"

When it comes to metal music in Europe, France tends to get overlooked somewhat in favour of such countries as Germany, Sweden or the United Kingdom, but a quick read will show headbangers that France has always been there when it comes to the genre. From the likes of Trust and Sortilege to their own infamous black metal scene and one of the biggest metal bands in the world in the form of Gojira, France has always had more than its fair share of quality metal bands.

Another name which is synonymous with French metal would be Dagoba. Formed in Marseille in 1997, the band has blended styles such as groove, Goth and industrial to become one of the more revered and respected groups in their homeland. This past month, Daboba unleashed their eighth studio album, "By Night," which sees them further expand their sound and incorporate some truly stunning visuals to create a total package of outstanding work. To find out more about the record, Metal Underground caught up with the band's founder and vocalist Shawter, who had a huge amount of work to do when it came to the album. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, "By Night," is out now. Something that you notice immediately is the very 1980s look and feel to the record. Is that intentional or rather just the way which things panned out?

Shawter: First of all it's because we love all that scenery, the lights, neon and everything. Also because of the music, which had some electronic things here and there. We had to make all the visuals; the artwork, the videos, relate to the sound and have the whole package relate.

Oz: Yeah. I think it's a very smart decision. Not only does it reflect the music very well but for newcomers, especially ones who are fans of something like Blade Runner for example, they'll think, "Oh, this is cool" and be more inclined to check out the back catalogue.

Shawter: Actually, it's very interesting because most of the new fans that we're meeting, or talking with since this album released, they're really into looking into our discography. I'm really happy with that because this is our eighth album and it would be a pity if our previous seven albums were totally forgotten!

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Photo of Allegaeon

Band Photo: Allegaeon

Allegaeon Guitarist Explains New Album "Damnum"

Death metal as a genre is so diverse. From its origins as a thrash metal spin off to arguably the most popular and imitated sub-genre in all of metal, death metal has given listeners so much since the 1980s. Two of the most endearing areas of death metal are the technical and the melodic and when a band combines them, they're sure to be worth listening to. One such group would be Allegaeon, formed just over fifteen years ago as Allegiance, before changing their name in 2008.

This past Friday, Allegaeon unleashed their sixth album, "DAMNUM," once again through Metal Blade Records. To find out more about this release, the recruitment of drummer Jeff Saltzman and more, Metal Underground caught up with guitarist and founding member Greg Burgess. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Chris Caffery Discusses New Spirits Of Fire Album

The term "supergroup" can be a bit of a poison chalice at times. They always look like they'll be great on paper but when it comes to the finished product, it can at times be a little lacking. However, that doesn't mean they're always set up to fail. Just take Cream, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Down, Brujeria or Avantasia for some highly successful examples. As you may have guessed, one rising group which certainly belongs in the latter category would be Spirits Of Fire.

Formed by Chris Caffery, guitarist of Trans-Siberian Orchestra & Savatage, bass extraordinaire Steve DiGiorgio (of Testament, Death, Iced Earth among many others) and drummer Mark Zonder (Fates Warning and Warlord,) alongside former Judas Priest and Iced Earth singer Tim "Ripper" Owens, the band unleashed their eponymous debut album in early 2020 and now, two years later and Rhapsody's Fabio Lione behind the mic stand, the quartet have let loose their fearsome sophomore effort, "Embrace The Unknown."

To find out more about this record, its history, circumstances which created it and much more, we caught up with Chris Caffery, who explained everything a fan of this emerging powerhouse could want to know, including why Lione sounds different on this album than he ever has before, the origin of their mascot and even an update on new material from Savatage. You can watch it in full below, while an excerpt reads as follows:

Diamond Oz: The album, "Embrace The Unknown" is out now...

Chris Caffery: Yeah, I'm really excited for people to hear this whole record. Not that I have a particular favourite song, I think the record as a whole is just something that I'm really happy about. Sometimes when you release the first couples of singles, that could be a lot of the highlights and people might not get more, but I think when people hear the rest of this album, they're going to be even more excited, which is what I'm really happy about. Especially the metal fans around the world, I think they're going to be happy when they hear this as a piece.

Oz: Absolutely. The first album was magnificent. Where does the title, "Embrace The Unknown" come from?

Chris: Actually that came from the song title. Fabio had written the lyrics for this record, which is something I wanted to happen because the first four songs on the first album, I'd written them pretty much myself. When we were coming to this and we found out that Ripper was not going to be doing this record, I'd asked that whoever was going to be doing the vocals, I wanted them to write the lyrics and the melodies because if I'm writing this kind of music and then I have to finish everything, to me it starts to feel too much like I'm making a solo record.

So I was happy to have them do this and as far as the meaning behind this record or the lyrics, it's funny because I'll read the title or the lyrics and be able to get my own idea, the same way that you will, but the only person who's really able to answer exactly what these are is Fabio. Which is kind of cool because when I look at these titles I find meanings in them, like "A Second Chance" is kind of like our second chance and "Embrace The Unknown," people who had no idea who was singing on this record were embracing an unknown when it came out.

When I got Fabio's first finalised versions of this record and had some finished mixes, I sent it to friends, some of whom have listened to thousands of singers, nobody could guess it was him when they heard this and that's the thing that I think was really awesome because you know, as far as I'm concerned, this style and what he's doing on this record is really not something that people have heard him do before and he did it so well. He got into the character of being the singer for Spirits Of Fire and the voice of this band in such a cool way. I'm so happy with his performance and overall this record, to me, is just a really fun listen, front to back. I'll listen to this a lot more than I'll listen to other records that I've been on. A lot of times I'll finish an album and I might listen to it once or twice, or there might be a song I like but this one I listen to start to finish and it's always a really fun listen for me, especially when I'm driving. It's a good driving album!

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InVisions Break The "Deadlock" With New Album

Metalcore was undeniably most popular in the mid 2000s through to the early part of the next decade, but despite what some metal "purists" will insist, the love of breakdowns and the screaming/clean singing combination never went away. Now in the 2020s, we're seeing the rise of younger bands who were influenced by their forebears, many of whom with fresh ideas. This leads us nicely to York's own, InVisions.

InVisions were formed in 2016 and only a year later, released their debut full length, "Never Nothing." Not too long afterwards, the group followed their first outing with their sophomore effort, "Between You And Me" and now, in 2022, after a three year wait, InVisions are once more breaking through to the frontlines of modern British metal bands with their latest offering, "Deadlock." To find out more about the record, the band themselves and where they see their style of music in the current climate of metal, I spoke with guitarist Lucas Gabb and vocalist Ben Ville, who provided a huge insight into the story and emotion behind this album. You can watch it in full below.

Diamond Oz: First of all, congratulations on your new album, "Deadlock." What can you tell me about the title of this album?

Lucas Gabb: It's the first time we've used a title track, which is quite special I guess. We've been stuck in a lockdown for the best part of two years and the biggest part of our identity, which is playing in a band, was taken away and it kind of feels like you're stuck and going nowhere. The title for the track and the record didn't come until after the song was completed. I think we had most of the album completed and we were trying to name that track and so we kind of looked through the lyrics of the album and noticed that a lot of the stuff was a re-occurring factor, it was like hitting that ceiling and so once the idea of "Deadlock" came round as the song name, it just encompassed everything on the album; self doubt, trying to figure out your own worth and where you fit into the world outside of just being a musician. I think it's definitely a cool thing for us. It's captured how we were all feeling inside the last two years and put it in this box and it means we've been able to kind of let it all go and hopefully move forward.

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Praying Mantis Experiences "Katharsis"

As has been said so many times before, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal continues to be a great source of old school heavy metal music, which took the musicianship of their forebears and the attitude of punk and brought hard rock back to the streets. As one might expect, London was one of the key scenes in this nationwide movement and while one may immediately point to Iron Maiden as the capital's premier act, anyone in the know will immediately tell you of the quality of Praying Mantis.

Praying Mantis began life in the mid seventies but began to get noticed a few years later when the NWOBHM kicked into full gear. In 1981, the band unleashed their debut full lenghth, "Time Tells No Lies," which reached number sixteen in the British album charts. Unfortunately, the band broke up the next year but would reunite the next decade and release a string of albums before going their separate ways again. Not to be held down, Praying Mantis returned once more in 2008 and the next year released, "Sanctuary" through Frontiers Music, whom the band are still signed to today.

Fast forward to the present day and Praying Mantis has once again released a stunning collection of frenetic energy and lush melodies in the form of "Katharsis." To find out more about the record, we spoke with guitarist, founder and original vocalist Tino Troy, who shed light on everything regarding the album, as well as the origins and influences of the band, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and much more. You can watch the conversation in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, "Katharsis" is out now. It’s a really solid album and people are really picking up on Jaycee's vocals. This lineup has been together for a few years now, since "Legacy." Would you say that this is the strongest Praying Mantis lineup?

Tino Troy: Definitely, because we've been together for the last three albums and everything's just sort of gelled and you can see the transition between each album is just getting better and better, whereas normally it's hard to better your previous album. In the old days, bands had to work. They did an album and then went straight out on tour with it and wrote their albums on the road, which meant you’d get some sub-standard albums with only two or three good tracks. Whereas this way, we’ve actually been able to hone it and polish it. The reviews have been fantastic.

Oz: And rightly so. Obviously you’ve done the two music videos, but the one that stands out to me the most is "Cry For The Nations." That’s so energetic and powerful and it’s like the perfect song to show people who ask what Praying Mantis are like.

Tino: It's a bit of an all round song as well because you get sort of like, light and shade in the song, with the slow intro that sort of lulls you into a false sense of security and then we’re away! Funnily enough that song is like a modern day update of "Children Of The Earth," which is a track that stands out to a lot of fans, they always sing along to it at the gigs. "Children Of The Earth" was a song that was about all these ecological issues that were happening fifty years ago. Chris wrote that song in 1974 and it's taken us nigh on fifty years to start doing something about it and this sort of a modern version, "Let’s get our s.h.i.t. together and go for it!"

Oz: And of course the album is called, "Katharsis." It’s quite notable that you’ve used the original Greek spelling of the word.

Tino: It is. Well, funnily enough, we were searching for a title and I've got thousands of them, when I'm dead all these lists of song titles and lyrics and stuff like that will probably come out and it'll go for fortunes! But Rainer Kalwitz, the artist who did this, also did the "Sanctuary" album in a very similar fashion, that statue of liberty with the spikes coming out with the skull showing and this was a transition of that basically. So we asked, "What’s the name of this art?" and he replied, "Katharsis," so we all thought, "Oooh! We like that!" It went with all the one word titles of the albums we’ve had previously, since "Sanctuary" really.

So the title works really well and it actually means purgation of the soul through one’s emotions and that shows on this album, through the whole thing from Corona virus to the decimation of the planet and everything. So yeah, that stuck with us and we thought, "We'll keep it with a K as well," which is also the German spelling, so we kept it true to his artwork. It also makes for a nice question for an interview! We've had that about three times now!

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Photo of The Ossuary

Band Photo: The Ossuary

The Ossuary Enters "Oltretomba"

There's no school like the old school, as I'm sure you've heard before. It's true though. No matter how brutal and technical metal music becomes, there will always be a fondness for the old guard that launched the genre, even the bands not considered metal by today's standards. The seventies was a time of huge change. Music and movies were becoming a lot more brave and challenged the established notions of what was acceptable. It's not surprising then that so many groups are still influenced by this era and quite frankly, its kickass music.

One such band keeping this sound and spirit alive is The Ossuary, a quartet from the Italian city of Bari, who until recently, were more known for playing death metal in Natron (with the exception of vocalist Stiv Fiore.) Only a few months ago, this Mediterranean four piece unleashed their third album, "Oltretomba" and with it came more attention to their occult rock/proto metal leanings. To find out more about the album, I caught up with drummer and founding member Max Marzocca, where we discussed the meaning behind the album's title, music videos, live plans and more.

Diamond Oz: Congratulations on the release of "Oltretomba." It's been a few months now. How do you feel the reception has been so far?

Max Marzocca: So far the album has been very well received and we obviously can't help but being happy with it. We look forward to get more promotion in order to make it known to as many people as possible out there. We played a couple of gigs by the end of 2021 and people liked it live.

Oz: What's the meaning behind the album title?

Max: It simply means the “Underworld”. This time around we were looking for one word to sum up the album concept so we ended to pick up an Italian world for it because it sounded more intense and impactful. "Oltretomba" is also the name of a horror-porn comic series well famous in Italy between the 70’s and the 80’s. The use of an Italian word was a kind of a statement to remind the world that we are Italian and we’re paying homage to our cultural tradition of cinema, music and art.

Oz What would you say makes "Oltretomba" a different album from "Southern Funeral"?

Max: I don't think the new album is much different than what we did with the previous two records. I just think it's another step in the evolution of our sound, it's a well done and well produced album where we can express ourselves better as a band. We have introduced in a more decisive way some new solutions such as acoustic guitars and there is a greater presence of synthesizers in the background, ultimately I think there was more desire to dare stylistically on our part. It's been some years since we formed and the band couldn't help but improve.

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Persefone On "Metanoia" And Representing Andorra

It's hard enough when a band is the only one playing metal in their town, but imagine being the only metal band in your whole country? For a long time, that's the situation that Andorra's, Persefone found themselves in. The progressive metal outfit have been going for twenty years now, steadily building a fan base across the globe, performing at such festivals as 70000 Tons Of Metal, all the while studying their craft and bringing new elements to their music with each album.

Last week, Persefone released their latest album, "Metanoia," through Napalm Records, their first output from a label of a major stature and already the reviews and fan response has been overwhelmingly positive. Their first album of new material in five years sees the group explore concepts and trials of the self and is as beautiful as it is ferocious. To find out more about this record, Metal Underground caught up with guitarist and founding member Carlos Lozano, who discussed the album's title and meaning, signing with Napalm, representing Andorra in the metal scene and much more. You can watch it in full below, while an excerpt from the chat reads as follows:

Diamond Oz: The new album, "Metanoia," is out now. Obviously it's very early days but so far how has the response been from fans?

Carlos Lozano: It feels like it's been really good. It's the first album we've done through Napalm Records and we're feeling the push from the label to get more people to listen to the music, so the feedback we're getting is way bigger than the last time. "Aathma" was a very successful record for us, but this one so far has been the most successful in terms of people listening to it.

Oz: What was it about Napalm Records that made the band feel like this was the right home going forward?

Carlos: We've worked with many labels in the past. We're a pretty old band at this point! The last two albums, they were like the most important for us, we were with this Swedish label called ViciSolum and there was this guy called Thomas, who was working a lot to help the band but he was just one person doing everything. Then, with this new album we had some interest from other record labels including Napalm, who were so willing to have the band on their roster, that was the key for us. So far, they haven't pushed us to do any artistic changes when it came to the writing of the music and they were willing to do whatever was necessary to get us on the roster. So, so far so good. They've been very supportive, very professional and they have a lot of people behind us, like one person for the marketing etc. so it's been a very pleasing and nice experience.

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Power Paladin Captures The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Power metal is a fascinating genre. It's perhaps the closest thing we have that captures the spirit and wonder of the metal heyday of the eighties, yet it doesn't always get the respect that many of the superb musicians deserve. It's certainly more popular in mainland European countries like Germany than it is in the United States or Great Britain, but those who love it, are devoted to the very end.

In recent years, metal music has been erupting from Iceland as strongly as the Eyjafjallajökull volcano and now it seems, they have a staple power metal band to call their own in Power Paladin. After slogging it out for a few years, initially under the simple name of Paladin, the band has now finally unleashed their debut album, "With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel," through the rapidly rising label, Atomic Fire Records.

This past week, Metal Underground caught up with the band's drummer, Einar Karl Júlíusson, to discuss the album, the problems they faced when recording it, the success of their debut single, "Kraven The Hunter," how the animated video for "Creatures Of The Night" came to be and much more. You can watch the conversation in full below, with a transcript to follow.

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Vardis Discusses "100MPH," NWOBHM & Live Music

The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal really is a treasure chest when it comes to finding music. While the likes of Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Venom and Saxon may be the most successful from the movement, there were so many talented bands with plenty to offer that it borders on the unbelievable. In Yorkshire alone, there was the Salem, Haze and Ethel The Frog, as well of coure as the aforementioned Saxon and Def Leppard. There was also another band born in "God's County," in the town of Wakefield to be more precise, whose break neck speed and love of the rock legends gave them a sound of their own and made them one of the most revered live acts of the time; Vardis.

Vardis began life in 1973, making them one of the oldest bands in the movement and began life as more of a boogie rock band. Despite this, the presence of metal music was clear to see, or more importantly, hear and soon the group were lumped in with the burgeoning NWOBHM movement. Vardis were never one to do things by the books and nowhere was this more evidenced than their first album, "100MPH," which was comprised entirely of live recordings. Vardis carried on for a while until management issues led to their breakup in 1986.

In 2014, Vardis finally returned and two years later released "Red Eye," their first album in thirty years. As has been said though, it's the live setting where Vardis has always thrived and so late last year, the band unleashed, "100MPH @ 100 Club," a testament to both the legacy of their music and the drive which still makes them a top live act.

To find out more about this new release, as well as the history of the band, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and much more, we caught up with frontman Steve Zodiac. You can watch the interview in full below.

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Zmarlym Speaks On New Album And Poland

If you’ve never heard of Zmarlym, put this beauty on in another tab while you read the interview below.

Zmarlym only recently popped up on my radar. I listen to several Polish metal bands (Vader, Behemoth, Gruzja, Batushka--the first version anyway, Kriegsmaschine, Belzebong, Decapitated, Mgla, Truchlo Strzygi, etc.). Maybe I listen to more Polish metal than any other country other than Denmark? Anyway, Zmarlym's new album was probably randomly selected by Youtube for me to listen to because of all of these other Polish bands I appreciate. I was immediately hooked. You don't really sound like any other Polish bands that I know of, although there are occasional hints of Behemoth, Mgla, and Gruzja I suppose. Can you tell me more about the band's origin, members, and the making of your recently released first full-length album Druga Fala?

Andrew: The band Zmarlym was formed in early 2018 at the initiative of me and Mlody, who is also a drummer in another polish band Hegemoon. Me and Mlody were playing together in other bands before, so we know each other well. We invited our friend Marcin to this new project, and so it began. Material on the EP Ziemie Jalowe was created very quickly--in just few months--but for a variety of circumstances, we didn’t released it until September 2020 despite it being recorded in early 2018. In the meantime, we worked on new material, and I have to say, that before the start of the pandemic, we had composed maybe 75% of the music for the new record. But Druga Fala doesn’t contain any songs created during that time…

Since March 2020, initially due to the situation related to Covid-19 but later also influenced by other reasons, we haven’t had a place to have rehearsals. So the band was in some kind of coma. It’s not revelatory, if I would say that this was a very rough time, probably every person in the world felt some kind of depression in this time. After a few months of inactivity, which I really hated, I started to regularly play guitar again. Then the first sounds that you can hear on our debut album appeared. And I have to tell you that we did not plan to create any new music, it just happened. I mean literally, from the first riff from the first track on
Druga Fala haha, that’s exactly where it started.

So I decided to talk with the other bands members. I sent them a demo of the first song, and we decided that we wouldn't let the fact that we didn't have a rehearsal room stop us. Instead we decided to create some music remotely--just by sending files to each other. It was the very first time when we were working that way, and it was a challenging expeerience, but we were determined to do it. Why didn't we decide to finish the previous material I mentioned above? We couldn't even imagine working on that material without regular rehearsals, and that wasn't an option as it was a completely different concept.

Going back to the topic of new material that we started writing that eventually turned into
Druga Fala, this was supposed to be maybe three songs at most, released as an EP. We just wanted to get through this hard time doing something creative and then come back to the material that we orginally were working on and finish it. But the more we worked on this new stuff, the more the music sucked us in, the concept got bigger and bigger, until finally we realized it wasn't going to be just an EP; it was becoming a whole album. And that’s how it happened.

What bands have influenced Zmarlym?

A: There are a lot of bands that we were listening to, and the more I think about it… the more I don’t know how to answer the question, haha! But I can tell you some names, but this will be just the tip of the iceberg. And these are not only metal, or black metal, bands. So for sure Mayhem, Burzum, early Satyricon, Emperor, Furia, Lux Occulta (you should really check them out, they are non active at this moment but albums like a
My Guardian Anger and The Mother and The Enemy are just fucking brilliant!) but also Pink Floyd, Archive, Massive Attack, and many many others, including some electronic or even hip-hop stuff.

On the other hand, I think that Zmarlym is influenced not only by music, but also by other areas of art--like film etc. For me a big influence would be the work of David Lynch, his extraordinary approach to creation, his courage to combine often seemingly contradictory elements into one bizarre, but still coherent, vision.

I called Zmarlym "proggy psychedelic black metal" when talking to a friend, but it's even more than that. Druga Fala is incredibly varied, which is especially rare for a band's first album I think. How would you describe the band's sound or genre?

A: I really don’t know, and I have to say that we weren't spending too much time on thinking about it. If I read that someone calls our music progressive black metal, it’s good, but it is not so important for us. When we are creating music, we don’t think about locking it in some kind of genre borders or anything like that. We just follow the ideas which are coming to us and let ourselves be led by these ideas.

When we were setting up our profile on bandcamp I was wondering how to add a tag for our music besides the obvious one "black metal". In the end we added the tag "post black metal", but I have no idea if it really has much to do with what we play. Haha

I visited Poland for the first time in 2021. I spent time in Krakow, Posnan, and Warsaw--seeing a few shows along the way. I want to go back in 2022 and visit some new places including Gdansk. Do you have any "must-see" locations for foreigners like myself who visit Poland?

A: You actually listed most of the most important places, haha! But if you wanted to really get to know our country, you should just hit the road and drive somewhere away from those bigger, more famous cities. Go through the Swietokrzyskie province for example; just drive around a town like Skarzysko Kamienna or Konskie, and then maybe you would see one of the reasons why there are so many black metal bands in our country, haha! If you actually happen to be there, don't stay there for long. The climate of abandonment, collapse, and depression could consume you so much, that the subsequent therapy could be very expensive and time consuming.

Many countries have some great metal bars. I've been to some in Japan, Denmark, Czech, and the UK. I couldn't find any in Poland. Do they exist and if so, where? Can you tell us more about the Polish metal scene?

A: I don't know too many such bars in Poland. Yes, there are some, but they seem to have more of a rock/metal character than a pure metal one, like for example Od Zmierzchu Do Switu in Wroclaw or Voodoo Club in Warsaw. Moreover, some of these bars collapsed financially during the pandemic.

What’s your favorite album from 2020? 2021?

A: There were so many great albums that it's really hard for me to choose just one. But if I have to, in 2020 it would probably be
Rzeczom by Polish Odraza. As for 2021, it's not over yet, and I'm not able to choose a favorite album at the moment. Ask me in 2022, haha!

What are your touring and future recording plans?

A: We would definitely like to start playing concerts as soon as possible. However, the rehearsal room problems I mentioned earlier have delayed everything. We've only recently started rehearsing, and we are working hard to present the new material live soon.

Thanks a lot for the interview! Greetings to all Metal Undergound readers!

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W.E.B. Invites Listeners Into The "Colosseum"

Greece has always been a great place for metal music. The beautiful, historic country which has given the world so much has always enjoyed the heavier side of music and in turn, they've treated the world to some excellent bands too. One area that the Mediterranean nation particularly excels in is black metal, with the Hellenic scene forging a more melodic, traditional heavy metal approach to this extreme style and producing such legendary bands as Rotting Christ, Necromantia and Nightfall. Today, another dark Greek collective will unleash their latest album, "Colosseum," who themselves are well on their way to become one of their homeland's most revered exteme metal bands, W.E.B.

W.E.B. began life in Athens in 2002 and despite lineup changes and other setbacks, has released an arsenal of finely crafted extreme metal music over the past nineteen years. Today, fans are treated to the first offering from the current lineup, despite them being together for the past three years. "Colosseum" was already looking irresistable via the singles, "Dominus Maleficarum" and "Dark Web" and now that the final product is here, it's safe to say that fans have not been disappointed.

To find out more about "Colosseum," Metal Underground caught up with frontman and founder Sakis "Darkface" Prekas and latest recruit, bassist Hel Pyre, to discuss all things related to the record, signing with Metal Blade, how the current lineup works together, touring plans and much more. You can watch the conversation in full below.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

Photo of Obscura

Band Photo: Obscura

Steffen Kemmurer Talks New Obscura & Thulcandra

Recently, we discussed talented musicians who have masterminded more than one excellent band, that being in the form of Maudlin Of The Well and Kayo Dot frontman Toby Driver. Today will see something of a similar tone, as Metal Underground caught up with Steffen Kummerer of technical death metal wizards Obscura and black metal force Thulcandra.

Only last week, Thulcandra unleashed their latest offering of grimness, "A Dying Wish," their fourth official full length album and one which has earned high praise already. Sixteen days from now, Kummerer will see even more of his time taken up when his main project, Obscura, released their sixth album, "A Valediction." To find out more about both of these records, as well as lineup changes, influences, the importance of music videos and much more, Metal Underground spoke with this amazing talent. You can listen to the interview in full below. A transcript will follow in due course.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

Kayo Dot Frontman Discusses New Album And More

Progressive metal is a term which arguably goes against its very name. If something is easy to class as "progressive," is it really progressing? Nevertheless, there are those musicians who truly do progress and continue to push the boundaries of their music and art and no one will disagree that Kayo Dot's, Toby Driver is one such artist.

Driver originally made his name with the acclaimed avant garde metal band Maudlin Of The Well, which blended a variety of genres aside from metal such as jazz, ambient and electronic music to craft a genuinely impressive legacy that still leaves fans stunned to this day. Following the break up of Maudlin Of The Well in 2003, Driver moved on to a new project, Kayo Dot, who last week released their tenth studio effort, "Moss Grew On The Swords And Plowshares Alike." This latest offering is sure to please not only Kayo Dot fans, but also those who miss Maudlin Of The Well. To find out more about the record, we spoke with Toby Driver, who answered a variety of questions not just about Kayo Dot, but about the history of Maudlin Of The Well, working with jazz legend John Zorn and astral projection. You can watch the interview in full below, as well as read an excerpt from the chat.

Diamond Oz: First of all, congratulations on the new album, "Moss Grew On The Swords And Plowshares Alike," which is some title! I don’t think I’ve heard an album title like that before.

Toby Driver: Thank you. I really like florid titles. I didn’t come up with the title, the lyricist Jason Byron did. It comes from a biblical verse, I can’t tell you exactly what the book or verse is right this second but there’s a biblical verse which says "Go and turn your swords into plowshares," which basically means take war things and turn them into peaceful, productive things. In the case of this title, it means that moss growing over both swords and plowshares is kind of like the theme of the album, which is that everything, no matter what you do, turns back into nature and this decayed Earth. It’s almost nihilist, almost like saying that no matter what you do doesn’t really matter, whether you try to be a hero or not, it all leads to the same place.

Oz: It’s interesting as well because like you say it has like a nihilistic tone to it, but also when we think of nature we always talk about the beauty of it, so you could look at it the other way in that even the most violent things you do will become a part of something beautiful.

Toby: Totally. I’m not a nihilist at all and I don’t think our lyricist is either, so I think it’s all about, kinda like what you said, it can be a beautiful result or a painful one, but either way, nature rules over all and it becomes a part of this singularity in a way.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

Bloodred Hourglass Guitarist Talks "Your Highness"

Finland has given the world of metal music so much over the years. Whether it be the symphonic titans Nightwish, the grizzly grindcore icons Rotten Sound, black metal extremity with Impaled Nazarene or the classical grace of Apocalyptica, this relatively small country has had its hand in every sub-genre and always produced at least one band which masters it. Melodic death metal is no different, as bands like Omnium Gatherum, Before The Dawn and Mors Principium Est have proved. Today we examine another of these groups, whose new album, "Your Highness," blends crushing heaviness with some of the most lush melodies in recent years. It can only be Mikkeli's own, Bloodred Hourglass.

Bloodred Hourglass were formed back in 2005 and after a long time fighting and honing their craft, they unleashed their debut "Lifebound" seven years later. Three more albums would follow, with the most recent of which, "Your Highness" being released a mere seven days ago. To find out more about the record, its title, the use of melodies and much more, Metal Underground spoke with guitarist Lauri Silvonen. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, "Your Highness" is out now. It's quite an interesting title. Can you explain the reason behind it?

Lauri Silvonen: Yeah, I think we chose the name of the album a long time ago. The album is about strong and powerful women that have been, or still are part of our lives and also strong and powerful women from around the world. Lyrically it's about lost chances of love and life in general. So, there you go, "Your Highness."

Oz: There you go. As for the recording of the album itself, was this a smooth process? Were you able to get together or was this all done in isolation?

Lauri: No, despite the pandemic we managed to rehearse together and also we managed to do the recordings together. In a way we were more together than I think we've ever been because before, we would do it with each guy into the studio to record his parts and then comes the next guy. Now we recorded drums in a different studio and booked a cabin for two weeks. Of course not every guy was there for the whole two weeks. Some were there for only one week, or three days one week and two the next. It worked out really easy.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

Ad Infinitum's Melissa Bonny Opens "Chapter II"

It's always nice to catch up with people you respect. Whether it be family members, old friends or in today's case, bands which one is a fan of. Earlier this year, Metal Underground spoke with renowned vocalist Melissa Bonny of Ad Infinitum (then also of Rage Of Light) where we discussed the band's debut, "Chapter I: Monarchy." Now, nearing the end of the year, we once again had the opportunity to speak with one of the most talented singers in symphonic metal and discuss the second Ad Infinitum album, "Chapter II: Legacy," the plans for and making of the album, as well as Bonny's departure from Rage Of Light. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: First of all thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me today. More importantly the new album, “Chapter II: Legacy” will be out on October 29th. What would you say makes this different from “Monarchy”?

Melissa Bonny: The songwriting process was very different and so the end result is as well. I would say that the big difference is that “Chapter I” was recorded and written with the additional view of a producer who would supervise everything, whereas this time we only worked together as a band, from the beginning until the end. We were only involved with two other people: Elias Holmlid for the orchestration and Jacon Hansen for the mix and post production. So, this album is very much us and I think you can hear it in the music that there’s an evolution. It’s a little bit younger, fresher and heavier.

Oz: Absolutely, I think that was immediately noticed when “Unstoppable” came out. Even people who loved the first album were praising it as the best Ad Infinitum song yet. It’s a very cool music video too with the fire and everything. How was the recording process for the video?

Melissa: It was fun. We planned everything with the video director Ralf Leitner and we travelled to Austria for this video and for the next one (“Afterlife.”) The only difficulty we had was the fact that it was in the middle of the pandemic, so we didn’t know if our flight or the train would be cancelled, or if suddenly the border of one of the countries would close. So it was definitely a little bit stressful but finally when we were all there, we were ready to film, it was fantastic. I remember that it was pretty cold, we shot during the night and as we started to film, the adrenaline kicked in and we knew we were all about to create something special. I was wearing a shirt and short clothes but I couldn’t feel anything because I was so like, “Yeah! This is finally happening!” and also with the fire around, it was so cool.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

Whitechapel Guitarist Discusses New Album "Kin"

Back in the 2000s, the metal scene was presented with a new and popular sub-genre named deathcore. Like many other styles that gain a large following, it received plenty of detractors, particularly from seasoned metal fans. But also like most styles which receive criticism, there's always one or two bands which gain the respect of even the most bitter of naysayers and almost certainly, the bands which received the most praise was Whitechapel.

Formed in Knoxville, Tennessee in 2006, the band are still going strong fifteen years later and are less than two weeks away from unleashing their latest album, "Kin." This eighth full length follows on from the previous release, "The Valley" and continues to see the band evolve their sound, songwriting and lyrical output. To find out more about "Kin," Metal Underground caught up with guitarist Ben Savage. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, “Kin,” is out on October 29th. It seems like it’s come about quite soon considering it was only announced at the end of August.

Ben Savage: I know, it’s nice. We’ve been sitting on this album since the last note was recorded in January, so we’ve been sitting on it for a good eight months and we’re ready to get it out.

Oz: Why has it taken eight months to release?

Ben: Just the mixing and the mastering and album art, which was started after the album was finished. I suppose that took about a month and also the vinyl printing, plus everything’s all backed up with the pandemic so it takes time.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

Naraka Guitarist Talks Debut Album "In Tenebris"

France has an interesting history when it comes to metal music. Geographically between the United Kingdom and Germany, two countries which are more famous for their metal, they are often overlooked. Nonetheless, if one knows their history, they will be able to tell you that the French have always been there, giving the world such bands as Trust, Sortilege and more recently, Gojira, Dagoba, Beyond Creation and Fractal Universe.

Last week it was the turn of another French band to hit the scene, as Naraka, featuring former Dagoba drummer Franky Costanza, burst on to the stage with their debut album, "In Tenebris." Draawing comparisons to such bands as Septicflesh, the French four piece have already begun earning rave revuews for their work and will soon be hitting the road to support their full length introduction. To find out more about the band, Metal Underground caught up with guitarist Jean-Philippe Porteux, in an interview which you can watch in full below.

Diamond Oz: First of all, congratulations on the release of your debut album, “In Tenebris.” What can you tell me about the title of the album?

Jean-Philippe Porteux: Thank you. “Tenebris” is a Latin word which in English means “Darkness” or “Hell” and as a title for our music, it’s a good thing, we think.

Oz: Definitely. I’ve been listening to the singles and they’re very striking. It’s very fierce music.

Jean-Philippe: Thank you. There is no concept about the band or the album, but there are three songs which are only orchestration and no vocals and these all have Latin titles, which is to underline that these are the instrumental songs.

Oz: And how important is orchestration to your music?

Jean-Philippe: That’s an influence from the bands we like. We’re fans of Septicflesh, Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Fleshgod Apocalypse, things like that. We have many more influences like Gojira or, for me, old stuff like Pantera or Sepultura, but I think orchestration brings a little melancholy or sadness. As the guitars and drums are very aggressive, I think the orchestration can bring some melody. It’s a good thing

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

Massacre Vocalist On "Resurgence" And HP Lovecraft

Florida is known for so many things; Oranges, sunshine, beaches, Lisa Simpson's geography pageant costume, but to metal fans, it will always be the home of American death metal. It's easy to point to the likes of Obituary, Morbid Angel, Deicide and Death, but one of the best albums of this time, "From Beyond," was given to the world by Tampa's own, Massacre.

Though Massacre followed "From Beyond" with the stellar EP, "Inhuman Condition," things would soon take a disasterous turn with the sophomore album, "Promise," which led to vocalist Kam Lee quitting, extremely negative reviews and ultimately, the band's demise. Several attempts were made over the years to restart the band, including a somewhat successful run from 2011 to 2014, which saw the group perform at the 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise and a new album, "Back From Beyond" being released in 2014, before they disbanded again a few months later.

Two years later, Massacre were back, this time with Kam Lee on the mic once more, but legal issues forced them to use the names Massacre X and Gods Of Death, before a lengthy court process awarded the rights to the Massacre name to Kam Lee. Now, Massacre are just a few days away from unleashing their fourth album, "Resurgence," which they claim is the follow up to "From Beyond" and thus far, fans have been very happy with what they've been offered. To find out more about "Resurgence" and the story behind it, Metal Underground caught up with Kam Lee, who revealed all the details about the record, the legal process, the influence of H.P. Lovecraft and much more. You can listen to the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: On October 22nd the new Massacre album, “Resurgence” will finally be out. It’s been a long time since Massacre fans have heard you fronting the band, unless they’ve been to a live show, of course. So first of all, how does it feel to finally put out a new Massacre album?

Kam Lee: Actually, it feels justified. I guess that’s a good way to say it. It took a long time to finally do the album that the band deserve after “From Beyond,” because pretty much everything after “From Beyond,” not counting “Inhuman Condition” because it’s an EP and the majority of “Inhuman Condition” was recorded during the “From Beyond” session anyway. A lot of people don’t realise that that’s how it goes sometimes with EPs, but the only thing recorded for the EP that was new would have been the title track and “Warhead.” The other two songs were recorded prior, during the “From Beyond” sessions.

So, I never felt that the band had a proper follow up to “From Beyond” because after that, the band was pretty much out of my hands. Other characters took over, I’ll put it that way and then the albums that followed and all the problems that followed… Everyone can see the result of thirty five years in between and what happened. But yeah, it feels justifiable, like I finally got a chance to redeem the band and myself in the band because of it.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

Photo of Hate

Band Photo: Hate

Hate Frontman Explores The History Of Rugia

Poland has long had a great history with metal music. It was the first country behind the iron curtain that many metal bands were able to perform in and the Poles themselves have a tremendous history of producing many awesome bands. From the thrash metal fun of Acid Drinkers, to the pioneering death metal of Vader, the blackened death metal stars Behemoth and the vicious black metal courtest of Blaze Of Perdition, Poland has always been the masters of Slavic metal. There's one more band which needs to always be in the discussion when it comes to Polish metal, which hails from the capital city of Warsaw and has been decimating stages and ears for twenty five years now: Hate.

Beginning life under the name Infected and then as Somuchhate, the band released a string of demos before their debut, "Daemon Qui Fecit Terram" was unleashed in 1996. Since then, the band has only got stronger, creating a loyal fan base the world over and crafting a legacy of excellent extreme metal music. Tomorrow, Hate will release their twelth studio album, "Rugia," their second through Metal Blade Records. To find out more about this album, Metal Underground caught up with the band's frontman Adam "ATF Sinner" Buszko, who revealed the inspiration behind the album's name and much more. You can watch it in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, which I’m sure I’ll mispronounce, "Rugia"...

Adam Buszko: *corrects pronunciation* It is a Slavic name, in an archaic Slavic language, but I have no problem with it (soft g pronunciation).

Oz: And is this a Polish Slavic word or from the Balkan territories perhaps?

Adam: It’s actually Pomeranian so it’s close to the Baltic sea, because it’s the name of an island of the Baltic Sea, which is now the German island of Rugen. So "Rugia" is an archaic Slavic name for it and it was a religious hub ten centuries ago. Also it was like the last bastion of Western Slavic paganism because this was the place where the famous Arkona temple was located and they were pagan until the twelfth century. Poland had been Christianised for two centuries at least and those tribes who lived in that area were actually the enemies of the Polish princes and later the Polish king.

Oz: Nice. Did you choose to name the album as a tribute to that resistance?

Adam: Yes, exactly. You can call it a tribute album or something like that for this reason, especially since I’m so inspired by the history of this place, those tribes and their beliefs, culture, philosophy and so on, I felt it would be a good idea to restore their history in a way, to remind us of this great heritage. That’s why the album is called "Rugia."

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Blood Red Throne Opens The Imperial Congregation

Ask any metal fan about Norway and the first two words that spring to mind are, "black metal." That's completely understandable, given the nation's infamous black scene of the nineties which put the genre on the map, but Norway has always had so much more to offer than corpsepaint and shrieks. Take for instance, death metal, which saw such bands as Cadaver gained the attention of Carcass who signed them to their own label Necrosis, or the more progressive sounds of In Vain, who have been going strong for nineteen years now. Perhaps however, the most prominent name in Norwegian death metal, will always be Blood Red Throne.

Blood Red Throne began life in 1998, following Daniel "Død" Olaisen and Terje "Tchort" Vik Schei's departure from Satyricon. Tchort in particular had roots in death metal, being a member of one of Norway's first death metal bands, Green Carnation, before playing with other black metal bands such as Emperor and Carpathian Forest. Eventually the band released their debut album, "Monument Of Death" in 2001 and would go on to become an established name in the whole sub-genre.

Fast forward twenty years and Blood Red Throne, now only featuring Daniel Olaisen from the original lineup, has unleashed what could be their most vicious beast yet, in the form of their tenth studio album, "Imperial Congregation." Boasting stellar music and incredible artwork, Blood Red Throne are once again proving why they're the ambassadors of Norwegian death metal. To find out more about this record, we put some questions to Olaisen. You can read the interview below.

Diamond Oz: Congratulations on your new album, "Imperial Congregation." What would you say makes it different from your previous full length, "Fit To Kill"?

Daniel Olaisen: Thanks! Most definitely. This is our 10th album and we wanted to do something special and step up everything. Main focus was to write the best riffs and songs and give them a worthy production. Ronnie Björnström mixed and mastered the album and it's the best production we've ever had. Also worth mentioning, the leads on this album are better than ever. Melodic and epic, It's simply our best album!

Oz: What was the recording process like for this album? Was it affected by the pandemic in any way?

Daniel: Pandemic doesn't affect anything. The last decade I've recorded all guitars, bass and vocals for all my albums in my home studio. We don't rehearse. I write most of the songs and record them and then the other guys put on their stuff. Meathook also wrote a couple of songs and I helped out with some riffs, leads and arranging them.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

The Agonist Singer Discusses New EP, Beer And More

Everyone knows that when a band starts out, it's a long way to the top and they'll have to endure some very hard times to get where they are. Some bands don't just fight their way to recognition and fame, they battle to stay there, which only makes them more endearing. Take The Agonist, a five piece from Montreal who worked damn hard to make it, and still had to keep the wolves at bay and deal with all manner of adversity. But fight they did and now, they're arguably better than ever with a legion of devoted fans.

At the end of 2019, the band released their sixth album, "Orphans," but touring for this magnifficent opus was sadly cut short thanks to the pandemic. Nevertheless, The Agonist has done what they always have and soldiered on and now, almost two years later, the metal world is being treated to a brand new EP entitled, "Days Before The World Wept."

To discover the meaning behind the title, why the group decided to release an EP instead of a full album, their recent partnetship with Vox&Hops/Brewtal and much more, we caught up with vocalist Vicky Psarakis. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new EP, “Days Before The World Wept” is out on October 15th. What can you tell me about the title of the EP?

Vicky Psarakis: Well the title is from one of the songs on the EP. It’s pretty representative of the lyrics on the album and I felt like it was just the strongest title. It’s a title that you read and you can’t help but feel something while reading it and when we were trying to think of an EP title, it was just the one that stood out the most to me.

Oz: It’s a very strong title and very evocative, as well as being appropriate for the real world right now.

Vicky: Funny enough, I actually wrote the lyrics to that song way before any of this craziness started with the pandemic and all that. I actually wrote it in mid-2019, so it has nothing to do with the current situation, however I can see how one would relate to it.

Oz: Yeah, unfortunately it seems it’s going to be one of those titles that people will associate with the pandemic.

Vicky: And that’s OK because I think the way I write my lyrics anyway, they’re always up for interpretation and I like writing in a way where anyone can relate based on their own experiences, because I think the song is stronger when you do that. If you write about something specific that you only relate to and no one else, then you’re not really grabbing someone and pulling them towards you. So I’m perfectly OK, like, when I hear other interpretations of my lyrics, it actually makes me smile.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

1914 Treads Where Fear And Weapons Meet

Heavy metal has long had a fascination with history. Whether it's ancient Egypt, Greece & Rome, the medieval kings of Europe, feudal Japan or the two world wars, metal has always studied these people and events and documented them through their music. Of course, World War 2 gets plenty of attention, it being the biggest war of all time, but if one looks at the war which preceded it, a four year tale of suffering, violence and fear is in store. Bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica and Sabaton have all dedicated songs to the subject, but one band from Ukraine, who are quickly making a name for themselves, focus entirely on the global conflict. Appropriately enough, the band in question is 1914.

1914 were formed in Lviv, the largest city in Western Ukraine which itself has a very interesting history, the quintet combine black, death and doom metal perfectly to tell stories from the Great War, from the famous battles of Verdun and Paschendale to personal dramas faced by everyday privates. In two weeks (October 22nd,) 1914 will unleash their third album, "Where Fear And Weapons Meet," which is as dark and brutal as ever, but also contains a theme of hope. To find out more about the album, and to be schooled on the Eastern front of the war, we spoke with the band's vocalist Dmytro Kumar. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, “Where Fear And Weapons Meet” is out this month. I find 1914 to be a very interesting band because it grabs the listener’s attention for all manner of reasons. So with that being said, how is “Where Fear And Weapons Meet” different from “The Blind Leading The Blind”?

Dmytro Kumar: First of all, “Where Fear And Weapons Meet” is totally about hope. It’s not about death. It’s not about mud or suffering, it’s totally and completely about hope. Every soldier, while they were in the trenches, only had one thing: hope. If you compare these two albums, “The Blind Leading The Blind” was totally about the shitty mud in the trenches, about death and suffering, so everyone on every track had died.

On this album, you get a lot of stories about heroes who survived, became a hero and went back home. So that’s the main difference, it’s not about death. Even our art, where a wounded soldier is reaching out for Death, covered in blood and having lost some of his body parts, but Death refuses to take him. He wants to die but Death looks at him and says, “No. You deserve to live.” I have some other stories that go from the first album to the second and then to this one, but I don’t want to spoil it before the album is released because it won’t be interesting!

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Illudium Founder Discusses California And COVID

When one thinks of California, images of sunshine, surfing and celebrities immediately spring to mind. But this sprawling area of the United States has much more to it than the Hollywood cliches. It contains some of the most lush forestry in the country, the staggering height of Mount Whitney, vast lakes and of course, the Mojave desert, which all come together to create a contiously interesting landscape and climates. Music has always been a big part of California's history too, be it the surf rock of the Beach Boys or the Bay Area thrash metal scene, but perhaps no one has captured the spirit and soul of the state more genuinely than Illudium.

Beginning life in 2011 as a solo project of Shantel Amundson, Illudium released its first album, "Septem" in 2016 and now, five years later, the world is being treated to a second helping from the Santa Cruz native. This new album, "Ash Of The Womb," encapsulates the true spirit of California, from its known beauty to its turbulent relationship with mother nature and is set to be released through Prophecy Productions on October 15th. To find out more about the album, we caught up with Shantel Amundson and discussed everything from the title to how she recorded her vocals while battling the COVID-19 virus to the deep seated love and pride she takes in California. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, "Ash Of The Womb" is out on the 15th of October. What can you tell me about the title? It’s a very interesting title, very dark and evocative. For you, what does the album title mean?

Shantel Amundson: You know, it’s hard for me to go into great depth about it because it is a very personal title, in terms of the choice. The elements of the album is something that I feel people can relate to without me having to go into my own personal depth as to what it means to me. But it’s basically meshing together these two elements that people don’t often relate to one another, which is death and birth and also, death within birth. There’s some other environmental aspects that are going along with the album thematically, but that’s basically the choice of the title for me personally, embodying that idea.

Oz: Is it important to you to have that mystery when it comes to your album titles and lyrics?

Shantel: Yes, it is. For the time being, yeah. It’s just a personal decision. I think that overall this album has a lot to do with the personal and collective experience, for me, of just living in California for the past four years and everything that’s happening, on all levels, with the world right now.

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"Now Is The Time" For Perpetual Etude

It's always exciting to get discover a brand new band and to get it on the ground floor as they take off. The past decade has seen so many thrilling and fascinating artists make a name for themselves in the metal world and the 2020s, despite the obvious setbacks, have been no exception.

In less than two weeks, October 15th to be exact, another newcomer will burst onto the scene, when Swedish quintet Perpetual Etude unleash their debut album, "Now Is The Time." Though it only features eight tracks, each song is guaranteed to pack a hell of a punch and showcase the talent the group possesses. To find out more about the album, the band's formation, how big of a role eighties metal music plays in their sound and more, we caught up with the band's founder, Magnus Mild. You can watch it in full below.

Diamond Oz: The new album, “Now Is The Time” is out very soon. What I’ve heard has been great, high energy heavy metal. Do you feel you were able to take that spirit from the eighties and translate it into modern day?

Magnus Mild: Thanks very much. I don’t know really. I think it’s the music that formed me as I grew up. I’ve found that it was pretty natural, if I don’t think about writing in a certain genre, then this is the thing that comes out naturally. I think I’m so heavily influenced by the music that it’s purely from the heart that I don’t try to make it sound like this or this, it just pops out from my head.

Oz: I think that’s why it comes across so well. There’s a lot of retro bands now who just copy Maiden or Saxon, but Perpetual Etude has its own energy. As for the album itself, obviously, “Now Is The Time” is a great title for a debut album, but what does the title mean to you?

Magnus: In the beginning it started out as a smaller project. I always like to sit down, play guitar and write songs and I had a bunch of songs that didn’t suit any of the other bands, so I thought, “Why not make a demo of these songs?” So we released the first song, “I’ve Got The Power” and after that we were contacted by two labels, from which we chose to sign with Black Lodge Records and I just felt, now is the time to do something with all these songs. I’ve got a lot of songs on my computer that have never seen daylight but this time I thought, “Why not do something about this?” So it all became very clear, now is the time to do it. It all sounds pretty natural.

Read Diamond Oz's full interview »

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