Abduction – All Pain As Penance (Black Metal)

One-man black metal project from the UK Abduction is back with the third full-length album in just as many years, a very active project to say the least. Created by Phil Illsley (Taken by the Tide, ex- Lordaeron) in what I believe would be 2016 (no real data anywhere that I can find other than that the first demo was released in October 2016) Phil has been quick to craft more and more music. Funny fact for us metal gamers but his old death metal band Lordaeron is indeed named after the Warcraft kingdom and the lyrical theme revolved around Warcraft lore. Abduction is far from that though as here we got black metal of the cosmic kind.

Having had no previous experience with Abduction I jumped with into All Pain As Penance not really knowing what to expect. One thing I was a bit afraid off is the sheer amount of albums he has put out, would that affect the quality or not? What I can tell you is that All Pain As Penance is a fine release, were fans of Mgła, Uada and Behexen will feel right at home (albeit Abdication has a different lyrical theme approach). It’s haunting melodies will trap you in its web just to consume your soul into the vast abyss. I also need to recommend the different parts at play here for a solo project. The vocals are just as raucous as one can expect when it comes to black metal, while the drums and guitar are working so well together you could think it was trance. I always find it astonishing when all this is made from one person, where none of the elements are the weak link and even the production is perfectly mixed. When it all ends in the monumental track that is “The Funeral of Cosmic Mastery” I almost get goosebumps.

I will be honest with you metal gamers. All Pain As Penance almost made me fall of my seat one its first spin, there is so much clicking with me here I have a hard time knowing where to start. I will start by saying Abduction checks every box I usually look for in black metal, a spiritual journey that almost makes me have an outer body experience. I can only imagine hearing this live, experiencing the same kind of transcendence like when Mgła or Uada perform. Production value that just hits the rights spots and memorable songs I will be listening to for a long time coming. I haven’t been able to put this record away since I started listening to it a week ago, that alone speaks for itself. It’s a joy to my ears with only the likes of previously mentioned Uada and Mgła (can they please release something new soon!?) can beat and Abduction has now found a new fan.

Written by J.B.

Label: Inferna Profundus Records
For fans of: Mgła and Uada
Release date: March 29th, 2019
Favorite song: The Funeral of Cosmic Mastery
Score: 4.5/5 Near perfect

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Interview: Cân Bardd

A band that is quickly on the rise within the atmospheric metal community is Cân Bardd. With a new release less than a month ago I wanted to pick the brains of Malo Civelli. Where does the band name come from? How did Malo become a multi instrumental talent and what’s next for Cân Bardd?

You’re only 20 years old (born April 4th, 1998 according to The Metal Archives) but already got your own solo project. Tell me a bit about yourself, how did you learn all the instruments and doing vocals?

I started music when I was really young with theory and piano. It gave me a very good base and it helped me a lot to improve my musical hear. I did almost 10 years of piano classes. My brother introduced me to hard rock and heavy metal and showed me the basics of electric guitar. From there I learned almost everything by myself, I downloaded some tabs and improved slowly my guitar skills. Concerning vocals, I never took any class or anything, I did all by myself, how to not hurt myself and be able to sing pretty much in the tone. I trained as much as I could and I have to say that I’m happy with what I’m capable of today. I’m sure I can do better and I’ll keep on training any way!

Cân Bardd is an interesting name, where does it originate from?

Cân Bardd means “Bard’s Song/Poesy” in Welsh. I love the Celtic traditions and culture and Welsh is one of the most popular language outgoing this. My music is really influenced by Celtic and folk music, so I wanted a name that reminded this influence because it’s one of the biggest of the project.

You started the project in 2016, with the first release Nature Stays Silent being released last year. You already got a new album coming out the 22nd February. Did you already have a lot of music written down before starting Cân Bardd?

When I released “A Gift for Nature”, I already had the whole album ready. I really wanted to start with a great album and be ready to release it as soon as possible. So when we signed with Northern Silence, it gave me a big boost of motivation and I wrote the whole album in 4-5 months. This is really rare for me to have 50 minutes of music which I’m proud of in only 5 months.

Tell me some of the process on your songwriting.

I usually start with a riff idea. This is something that I have in my head and it is generally a type of riff with an ambiance to it and then I try to transmit it on my DAW. Then I write others instruments around the riff like drums, rhythmic guitars and keyboards. When it’s done, I’m trying to write the following part with coherence. If I’m not inspired, I just listen to the parts endlessly to find something that really fits the ambiance and what I have in mind. So yeah, basically, I start with a melody and build up from that!

What’s your main influences when writing music?

It really can be anything. A riff I heard in a music, a painting I saw in a museum or on the internet, a poem, a mood, a sentence, or even a word. It is really convenient to be inspired by everything because it allows me to be diversified. I do not restrain myself to pure atmospheric black metal as you can hear on Abîme or Celestial Horizon. I love post black metal and folk metal and I love to be able to let these kinds of music influencing my music.

The artwork on both your albums are very beautiful, who’s done them?

The first album is a painting by Alexandre Calame, a Swiss painter the did some fantastic romantic painting back in 1800. The second artwork was made by the talented Edouard Noisette who worked on the artwork of my other project “Kaatarakt”. That’s how we discovered him and I knew he would do a perfect job for the album!

What’s next for Cân Bardd after the release of The Last Rain?

I’m going to start composing for the next release, but we’re not in a hurry. I want to take my time to write music I happy with. We released a solid album in my opinion, so now I can rest a little bit because people are able to hear what Cân Bardd truly is. That was the case for NSS, but the sound wasn’t great enough.
So now we’ll surely start looking for gigs. We have a live line up and some shows should arrive pretty soon I hope. Nothing is sure now, but this is a possibility!

I know you toured not too long ago with your other band Kaatarakt. Have you been thinking of doing something live with Cân Bardd?

As I told you, we’d love start playing live. Dylan is a professional drummer, so I’m surrounded by good musician who are used to play shows. We’re in contact with some promoters, so the plan is in a good start!

You don’t happen to be a gamer? Any favorite game and what are you playing at the moment?

I played a lot when I was 14-15 years old. I started when I was young with pretty unknown games like “Age of Wonders”, “Age of Mythology” and a little bit of car and plane simulator. Then I discovered “League of Legends” and this without any doubt the game I played the most. I don’t have any console anymore and my pc isn’t a gamer one, so this is the only game I’m able to play and I still like playing a little bit with my friends when I have the occasion!

Thanks for the interview Malo! Any last words?

Thank you for your interest and the time you took for Cân Bardd! We thank everyone who bought or listened to our new album, and we really hope that you liked it!

Interview: The Great Old Ones

A band that’s been on the forefront of Post-Black Metal for a few years now is The Great Old Ones. With crafty songwriting, a love for H.P. Lovecraft and always striving for improvements they’ve captured the black metal community. I managed to get in touch with the creator of The Great Old Ones Benjamin Guerry (guitar, vocals) and have a few words with him on the upcoming album, the new lineup, Lovecraft and, of course, gaming.

Tell me some history about the band. How did it all start?

I started the project alone in 2009, composing songs without a particular goal. I quickly linked these songs with my Lovecraft readings, and it seemed obvious to me to link these two passions. When I had enough songs to make an album, I recruited musicians and the chemistry was instantaneous. Since the lineup has moved a lot, but the envy has never been so strong.

Seeing as The Great Old Ones is influenced by H.P. Lovecraft I was wondering what’s your favorite work by him? Is everyone in the band into Lovecraft and his work?

This is a question that is often asked, and it is very difficult for me to answer it! I like the vast majority of Lovecraft’s work but If I have to choose some, I can say “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”, “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Color Out of Space”, “The Outsider”, and “Azathoth”. Each one of them has something that touches me.

Your latest album EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy was your darkest one yet, both due to the atmosphere and it leaning even more towards black metal than ever before. Was this intentional or did it just become that way when creating it?

When I started writing the songs for this album, I actually wanted a darker, more violent atmosphere. Moreover, it corresponded well to the atmosphere of the story from which they are inspired. And the goal is never to do the same thing twice! We are really satisfied with the result.

You’ve bought in two new members to the line-up with Alexandre “Gart” Rouleau on guitar and Benoit Claus on bass. How much has their involvement had an impact on the sound on the upcoming album?

About the composition, it does not change anything because I always write the majority of the songs alone. But they have a musical level and a very artistic feeling that brings a lot to the interpretation. This will be heard on the album!

You’ve had an album based on the novel “At the Mountains of Madness” and now lately it was the Esoteric Order of Dagon (with “The Shadow over Innsmouth” for example). What will you base the next one on? The Dunwich Horror?

I can’t tell you much because I have to keep the surprise intact. But I can already say that we will propose some things a little different in terms of concept. But still in the lovecraftian universe of course.

What can fans of The Great Old Ones expect from the upcoming album?

Something very epic, violent, but very immersive and varied. Each song has its own soul, and this makes, to our eyes, the whole thing captivating. We are currently in studio with Francis Caste in Paris, and the sound promises to be gigantic!

Can we expect a tour anytime soon?

We take a break after the studio, the time to prepare well and come back with a show worked and powerful. But wait for us for the autumn of 2019!

Any particular bands that inspire you guys when writing music?

I can tell you Emperor, Opeth, Satyricon, but also classical music, movie score, etc.

Do you follow the music scene? If so what was your favorite albums of 2018?

I can’t speak for the band but only for me. I really liked the last Gorod, a band in which our current bassist plays. A real sense of melody! I often listen to the latest Spectral Wound album. A real trip.

As the blog is called The Metal Gamer I have to ask. Are anyone of you gamers, and if so got any favorite game?

Yes, there are some gamers in our band. Gart is a true lover of retrogaming for example. Personally, I have less time to play than before. However, the last blast I had with a game was surprisingly with a mobile game. I really recommend “The Last Door”, which is a point and click in pixel art with a fantastic atmosphere, a great soundtrack, and a very lovecraftian atmosphere.

That’s it, do you have anything to add?

Thanks for the interview. Be ready for a new journey even more intense and epic.

Stilla – Synviljor (Black Metal)

I’m wandering on a path that leads to a black pine forest. Behind some clouds of dark a pale lifeless moon does it’s best to give a weak light of shimmering. Eyes of pure evil is observing me when I walk down this road to my aftermath. A road who’d belongs to myths of a long forgotten time.

That is my first feeling when Stilla yet again show us mortals how psalms of nature, darkness and beauty are supposed to sound like. It’s so rotten, so decayed and just so absolutely fantastic. A wisdom of the old past that puts a mark on my soul. Never have deaths breathe felt so invited before, like a trustworthy hand that guides you when it is too dark to see or when you have been lost for a long time.

Stilla (which means still in English) is what you can call a genuine supergroup from Sweden. With members from the north to the south of the country. The members are from such acts (ex- or active ones) like Bergraven, Deranged, Armagedda, Saiva and many more. They where formed in 2011, and even if the band members are occupied with other constellations they’ll have still released four full-length albums, all with an incredibly high standard.

Their latest release is named Synviljor (optical illusions in English) and that is what it is, don’t always trust your eyes. This is perhaps their most darkest and gruesome work of art this far. A simple but such an important thing for me is actually that bands and artist write, compose and perform music in their own language. It gives so much more meaning to everything. To listen at words and phrases of old, together with perfectly composed black metal is not what we get used to so often. Stilla truly are worthy to be named one of the best just due to that.

Since I first heard their debut in 2013, I’ve been so impressed by their spiritual of craftsmanship. So well balanced, even in such extreme music. This could very well be one of the best releases from Sweden in 2018.
An perfect example of Black Metal from Sweden, and that the rest of the world can not afford to miss.

Written by K.P.

Label: Nordvis Produktion
For fans of: Skogen and Grift
Release date: November 30th, 2018
Favorite song: Myr (very hard to choose from)
Score: 4,5/5 Near perfect

Karg – Dornenvögel (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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Austria have done so much for the people, who have always had the music attached to the heart, or very close to it. All the way back to the 18th century and forward, that is the first reason of two.

The second one is, that if there is something that will make all metalheads say something good about Austrian metal/atmospheric scene it’s because it’s legendary..with bands in the frontline like Belphegor, and for me, a personal favorite…Summoning. But this is not an article about them, this is about the one man band Karg (not to be confused with the Viennese Hardcore act, with same name).

Karg is here with it’s sixth full-length released album, Dornenvögel (German for The Thorn Bird). V.Wahntraum, more famous as the multiartist J.J. Who also is the driving vocalist behind Harakiri For The Sky.

Karg was formed in the summer of 2006, and between 2010 to 2014, it existed as a “complete” band, meant for the live scenes. Karg stopped to play live in June 2014 for various reasons, but it has not stopped J.J. to continue his work in the studio, and in 2018, he succeeded to deliver his latest work.

The sixth studio album, Dornenvögel, may be his most complete album to date. An album that is not afraid of speaking about sorrow and grief in the most depressive, direct way. Phrases of misery, that seems to be forever stuck in the shadows, but still..still there is also a melancholic touch, with that in my mind..I will say that it’s a divine hand trying to reach in the dark after it’s partner to find a path through the mist. Karg have also made a excellent choice of guest musicians from acts like Lunar Aurora, Downfall Of Gaia and many more. Because of this release, a reincarnated Karg will be risen up from the ashes to perform live in 2018/2019.

There is so much influence from genres, that I lose my count, with everything from Post Metal to Shoegaze, Grunge, but never without the Atmospheric Metal as a ground. The result. An magnum opus with dark dystopian tales…pure art from this multiartist (that is also the creator behind a very beautiful artwork, so to say). A work that will grab people to the core, with it’s music, with it’s lyrics, and conquer the souls in a never-ending loop of solitude.

Written by K.P

Label: AOP Records
For fans of: Alcest and Harakiri For The Sky
Release date: November 16th, 2018
Favorite song: Advent
Score: 3/5 Good

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Ifernach – Gaqtaqaiaq (Black Metal)

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From Canada there is a one-man army in Finian Patraic who has his own band Ifernach. Since the first EP dropped in 2016 he has managed to do not one, not two, but SIX albums (including this one). That’s quite insane really. I haven’t managed to listen to all of them but I was interested to hear how the quality has been seeing he has released so many so quickly. From what I heard non of them were bad, some were worse than others and Finian could probably skip an EP or two to make a full-length with the better songs in his favour but it is still admirable to do what he does, as a solo artist.

So what kind of music does Ifernach play? While it’s old school black metal at its core that doesn’t tell the whole truth. Gaqtaqaiaq offers a lot of different styles. Be it the atmospheric passages that makes one draw parallels to Lord of the Rings infused metal a la Summoning, or the more savage yet melodic parts that’s more within the second wave of black metal from Norway with the likes of Gehenna, Immortal or Emperor. That’s also where the strength of Ifernach lays. How all these ambient, acoustic and raw elements comes together to create a rather wicked and chaotic black metal experience. While I still think there are some ups and downs (I tend to skip “Elle danse avec la mort” for example as that songs seems out of place to me) during the almost 30 minutes of playtime Gaqtaqaiaq is Ifernach best offering yet. During these two years he has honed his craft and for those out there that want some savage spiritual black metal then this will be an album to check out.

I do wonder do how many albums Ifernach can release before starting to repeat himself too often or drop in quality though. Finian is a talented musician that’s all for experimenting and improving his craft. Giving time, trimming the fat and you got yourself not just a good but a great underground black metal act. Fans of old Immortal or waiting for a new album with Gehenna should have a good time here.

Label: Nekrart Productions
For fans of: Immortal and Gehenna
Release date: March 28th, 2018
Favorite song: Extinction
Score: 3/5