Author Archives: Guido

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Germany, O Germany

Today is a German national holiday, the German unity day. As an American, listening to the German national anthem, you might think to yourself “FUCKING NAZIS,” but as a German I’m pretty proud right now.

No, I’m not. I honestly couldn’t care less. But I might aswell use this holiday as an excuse to post about German metal.

So, without further ado, make the jump to listen to some quality metal.


Making money in the name of charity

Maybe you’ve heard of the Kim Kardashian charity scandal (hardly a scandal, but suitable as an example) earlier this year. If you haven’t, and if you’re too lazy to check the link above, let me break it down to you. Kim Kardashian has sold some of her clothes via Ebay, under the banner “Charity Auction Supporting the Dream Foundation.” In the end only 10% were actually donated and she has kept the rest to herself.

What does this have to do with metal, and especially with Chuck Schuldiner (pictured above)? Well, we might think that something like that couldn’t happen in our perfect metal world. After all, metal musicians seem less money hungry than women who’re only famous for getting fucked by some R’n’B singer. But we’re wrong to assume that.

Beth Schuldiner, Chuck Schuldiner’s sister, has now spoken about the Sick Drummer Magazine/Death To All Tour debacle. Again, to break it down for you, Sick Drummer Magazine has helped organize the Death To All/Chuck Schuldiner tribute tour earlier this year. The earnings of said tour were partly supposed to go to the Sweet Relief charity, which had also helped Chuck when he was dying from cancer. Now Death’s management has claimed that the owners of Sick Drummer Magazine has not paid musicians, charity, booking agents, crews or Death’s management, Perseverance Holdings Ltd., despite the tour being a success.

Those are some very strong accusations and to further fuel the fire, Beth Schuldiner has now spoken out about it, and you can read that after the jump.

I’m not going to pick sides myself, because I hardly know all of the details of this story, but I’d like to point out how incredibly weak it is to make thousands of dollars in the name of charity, and then not even give 1% to that charity. Even Kim Kardashian knew better.


Death Thrash… dead?

Death Thrash is a strange genre. It mixes Death Metal and Thrash Metal (duh), two very popular genres, but somehow nobody gives a crap about it. Sure, The Haunted were successful enough, but which other Death Thrash band can you name?

A genre that mixes two successful genres should have produced some amazing bands, right? I mean, it even sounds good on paper. Mixing Thrash with Death Metal just makes too much sense. Except The Haunted, no band of that style really got off the ground, but it produced some rough diamonds.

The band that I’ve always associated with Death Thrash, even more so than The Haunted, is Hatesphere. Not necessarily because I rate them higher (even though I do), but because they were the first band that introduced me to the style. I’ve seen them open for Chimaira and Dark Tranquillity in 2005, and they easily blew both of the following bands away. Why? Jacob Bredahl.

Jacob “Dr. J” Bredahl (pictured above) used to front Hatesphere from 2001 until 2007. He’s probably the most charismatic frontman I’ve ever witnessed live, and he sings with an intensity unmatched. He just seems to put everything into his vocals. Everytime, on every song.

I’ve been following Bredahl’s work since then. Be it with Hatesphere, Allhelluja or, most recently, The Kandidate (formerly called The Downward Candidate).

The Kandidate has just released the follow-up to their debut album, Until We Are Outnumbered, earlier this year, called Facing the Imminent Prospect of Death on Napalm Records. While The Kandidate doesn’t have the same effect on me than Hatesphere has had, it’s a band that I’d like to see more successful. But there obviously isn’t a big market for Death Thrash, or is there?

Back to Hatesphere. After Bredahl, and everyone else in the band, was fired by guitarist Peter “Pepe” Lyse Hansen, the band welcomed a completely different line-up. This line-up produced the flop To The Nines in 2009. At that time, I’ve lost interest in the band completely.

After dropping even more bandmembers, they’ve finally found a worthy replacement for Jacob Bredahl in Esben “Esse” Elnegaard Kjaer Hansen. Worthy because he sounds just like Bredahl, which he proved on The Great Bludgeoning (released in 2011 on Napalm Records).

I’ve actually just found out about The Great Bludgeoning a couple of weeks ago, which proves to me that there isn’t just no market for Death Thrash, there’s also barely any coverage of the scene. The album does come close to earlier material, and picks the band up from the ground after the boring To The Nines.

So with The Kandidate and Hatesphere, there are at least two great Death Thrash bands out there, that need more attention. Even as someone who really likes three bands of the scene (including The Haunted), I can’t even name a fourth one. I could name a few that could come close to being labelled Death Thrash (Tenet, Necroid, Untimely Demise, Maze of Torment, etc.), but they all seem to lean more to one of the two genres, rather than combining both.

Does that mean that Death Thrash is dead? Or does it just mean that I’m not informed enough? Was Death Thrash ever really alive to begin with? Or were there just a few bands who gave their best playing the best of both worlds?

I could name a factor for the commercial failure of the genre, with Metalcore’s rise, a genre that comes close to Death Thrash but without the more extreme parts. Further dissecting the if’s and when’s would take too long though. I’ll just leave you with the latest music video by The Kandidate, and a song from Hatesphere’s new album after the jump. Enjoy what’s left.

Image credit: Lykke Nielsen


The lost art of not understanding shit

Seemingly everyone on the internet speaks, understands or at least knows a bit of English. I don’t have any stats to back this up, but I think it’s safe to say that the rise of the internet has helped a lot of people learning said language. I know it has helped me a lot.

I’m not a native English speaker myself, and besides the internet there is something else that has helped me improve my English. Music. “What the hell are these guys singing about?” was a question I’ve asked myself quite often when I was younger. So I grabbed a dictionary and started translating lyrics by bands I’ve loved. Pretty disappointing in some cases (note that I’ve grown up in the middle of the Nu Metal boom).

Improving my English, and understanding lyrics, made me lose something else though. The naivety of judging songs by their sound, rather than their lyrical content. Judging singers by their ability to sing, rather than their ability to write coherent sentences.

Obviously I’m judging singers by their singing qualities, or lack thereof, but it’s hard to take someone serious if he writes like Fred Durst, even if he sounded like Bruce Dickinson. Singing and writing belongs together, just like playing guitar and writing your own riffs. If you’re only doing half of these things yourself, I consider you less of a musician.

But back to my youth. When I was a teenager and I’ve loved a song, I naturally sang along to it. Even if I didn’t know what was actually being sung. I went with the sounds of words, rather than the actual words. This is difficult to understand for our English speaking readers, because you’re used to having music that is performed in English. English speaking music has been dominating the music world for decades. But think of it like this: if you really like a certain Rammstein song, you go to catch Rammstein live and they play that very song, you want to sing along to it. Even if you don’t understand German. So you just go with what you think is being sung and sing it. It doesn’t have to be right, it just has to sound right.

Losing that non-knowledge can be a downside, if you’re listening to badass music with dumbass lyrics. In trying to regain that naivety, I’ve started to listen to a bunch of bands with non-English lyrics, for example Asesino – who feature lyrics in Spanish. I know that Cristo Satánico (Asesino’s 2nd album) has some kind of badass storyline, and I know that ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’ is about some guy fucking his girlfriend’s mother, but I don’t care.

I don’t care because I love Cristo Satánico for its music. I love it because Maldito X (Tony Campos – pictured above) has a killer voice for Deathgrind, something I’ve never expected when he was still the bassist for Static-X. I don’t give a crap what he’s singing about because it might disappoint me and make me appreciate the album less.

I’m happy with my naivety. I do appreciate good lyrics, but sometimes I just don’t want to listen to the words but rather the music as a whole. And that’s easier when you don’t speak the language.

And with that being said, click the more button for some ear candy. Enjoy your naivety.


Ex Deo: Of Romans and Canadians

What do Ancient Rome and Canada have in common? Ex Deo. Ex Deo is the brainchild of Maurizio Iacono, otherwise known as the frontman of Kataklysm from Canada.

In 2008, Iacono had decided to start the side project, which he would use to honor his Italian heritage. A year later, Ex Deo had released their debut album, Romulus, which had also featured the entire band of Kataklysm  – with Jean-François Dagenais playing lead guitar, Stéphane Barbe switching from bass to rhythm guitar and Max Duhamel playing the drums –  including occasional Kataklysm live bassist François Mongrain, and former Blackguard keyboarder Jonathan Lefrancois-Leduc.

Following the release of Romulus, Ex Deo started mainly touring Europe, including a tour with Paganfest, which had also featured Korpiklaani, Die Apokalyptischen Reiter, Unleashed, Alestorm and Blackguard. I’ve personally seen them on that very tour myself, and can savely say that it’s well worth catching them live.

After that touring circle, the band members went back to Kataklysm, to record and release their 10th studio album Heaven’s Venom in 2010. 2 years later, Kataklysm started touring Germany in support of their new DVD, The Iron Will: 20 Years Determined. That’s where I’ve caught them live just 6 weeks ago.

After the gig, I’ve got to share drinks and chat with Maurizio Iacono, Jean-François Dagenais and Stéphane Barbe. I don’t remember how I’ve gotten home later that night, but I do remember that Iacono had told me about Ex Deo’s upcoming 2nd album, and the already released music video for ‘I, Caligvla.’ Curious (and still a bit drunk), I’ve decided to stumble to my computer and check out said song (video posted above). And I was blown away.

‘I, Caligvla’ takes everything Ex Deo had done on their debut album and kicks it up a notch. More melodic, more brutal, more symphonic, more epic. On August 29th, the band released the follow-up to Romulus, Caligvla via Napalm Records. The opener isn’t the only epic monster of a song on the album, but it’s by far my favorite. But check out the album yourself and let me know which is your favorite. There surely are enough great choices to pick from.

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