ICYMI; Lecherous Nocturne with Olkoth

TLDR; this show ruled, it would’ve ruled even harder if you were there.

I promised myself I wouldn’t go on a tangent about the poor attendance, and I plan on keeping that promise (for this article, anyway). But really, y’all missed a gnar death metal show. Each band brought their own flavour of the genre, and absolutely killed it.

Since I’m an asshole, I completely forgot Begat the Nephilim would be gracing us with their presence. I have no idea why the hell they were that far from home, but I’m certainly not upset that I got a legitimate chance to check them out. Vocalist Tyler Smith stole the set, with his witty banter and incredible vocal range. I know a bunch of our readers are into bands like Inferi, Enfold Darkness, and Vale of Pnath. Assuming you are, Begat are 100% up your alley.

In my humble opinion, last night was all about keeping an eye on the drummers. If you didn’t, you might miss something important. Olkoth, as a whole,  totally brought their A game, regardless of some technical difficulties. But man, drummer Josh Ward is incredible all on his own. It’s impressive to watch someone blast at close to 300 BPM, its even more mind blowing to watch them do that plus bellow out some gnar gutturals and clean sing. Oh, and something something, “that guy from Nile”.

And of course, our headliner Lecherous Nocturne melted everyone’s faces off with their sweet gutturals, nasty basslines, awesome solos, and ridiculous tempos. But again, the drummer, man. Alex Lancia has some of the fastest hands I’ve seen, and I love that I got to scoot to the side of the stage to see all of those little intricacies. Honestly, that was probably my favourite part of the night.

We hope these dudes had a successful run across northeast Canada and US, and a safe trip home.  And of course, big thanks to Vertigo Freeway and Gates of Exile for cracking this bad boy wide open.

Truthfully, the real show was this skinny white boy schleppin’ around outside before the show, walking in such a contorted fashion that he could only be drunk or possessed. Maybe a combination of both. St. Patrick’s day has that affect on people. /shrugs

Happy monday everyone, stay tech!

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The State of the Scene Address 2019

At first I was going into this with a grimace on my face, ready to bitch about literally everything, but I’m actually pretty stoked with how full the shows calendar is right now. And it’s super cool to see new faces every time I venture out. And some old ones I haven’t seen in a while too. Needless to say, I’m super content, sans a few things (most of which will not be touched on here).

Dying Fetus was incredible to see. Sure, the band was dope, but it was awesome to see Mohawk Place sold out on a Sunday.
Consider the Source was equally outstanding. Though Dave and I stuck out like sore thumbs amongst the indie/ prog/ rock/ hippies? crowd, it was sweet to be surrounded by no one we knew for a change. A couple friendly faces were nice, though.
And, of course, it was killer to see a full house for a local band’s cd release show. The love is real, and it’s beautiful.

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Like that, but darker! 

I’ve heard some stellar news come from a few sleeping giants, and should those words come to fruiting, we have quite a few things to be stoked for. But I won’t yap about those in here, you’ll just have to ask around *wink*.  Of course, you don’t have to believe me. And I won’t tell you what happened the last time someone didn’t believe me. But things didn’t end well for them. So maybe it’s safe if you do..

Ohhh and I love seeing all these bands play out! YES! Go play other cities! Roadtrips are great! Go meet new people! Play with new bands! Make new friends! I support you and your ex Buffalo excursions. If you ever need help, we’re always here to help.
That being said, this brings me to… The one thing I will bitch about is this: Some of y’all need to take a god damn break from live shows. I swear, there’s like three bands whose logos I see on fuckin waaaaaay too many fliers for shows in the 716. You guys are way too old and have been doing this shit for way too long for me to have to explain this “oversaturation” thing.
But alas, ye, I have not come to complain without offering solutions. The solutions are: take a break from shows for a while, OR land gigs outside Buffalo, OR be prepared to churn out new music regularly before your sets get redundant. Or like, I dunno. Kick someone out and replace them with someone no one would’ve guessed. /shrug. Or at least a new cover everyone can sing to (it won’t be as great as this cover, though).

If you have the slightest inkling that I’m talking about you, I probably am.
Thanks for reading everybody, see you at the next one!

March 2019’s Featured Band is… Contrarian!

Guys! Dave’s letting me do my first featured band! How dope is that!

It’s been a minute since TMR has done a band close to home, nonetheless one that has enough material to saturate an entire month’s worth of social media posting without repetition. That being said, there aren’t a lot of bands in this area that I’m so smitten with. Not like Contrarian, anyway. And even if you’re new to TMR, I think you should know that by now. Are you sick of it yet? Because I think Contrarian are already sick of it.

But like, it’s perfect, man. Rochester’s progressive death elite are just about to release their third full length, Their Worm Never Dies on the 15th. And guys, it’s a positively phenomenal album. I seriously cannot wait for everyone else to jam this album. I think it’s impossible to be disappointed with this one, as Contrarian do not produce sub-par music. But they have certainly pushed their musical prowess to new levels with this one.

Earlier this year, guitarists Brian Mason and Jim Tasikas were kind enough to let me pick their brains about a whole mess of things, including their upcoming release, why they play progdeath to begin with, and their other musical endeavors. There’s some good stuff in there, and I absolutely encourage you to take a few minuets and check that out.

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Ahhhhh and check out this sweet feature in January’s Decibel magazine!

And on top of all that goodness, Brian and Jim have recruited a stellar live lineup for an upcoming tour run. Bassist Bill Bodily (Inhumatus), former vocalist Cody McConnell (Goemagot, ex-Abdicate) and Patrice fucking Hamelin (Gorguts, Beneath the Massacre) will be joining our Rochester natives for an outstanding tour (regardless who else is on the lineup). It’s definitely been a minute since Contrarian have played out live, so this tour won’t be one you want to miss.

You have 31 days to fall in love with this band. And if you give them some time, you will.

15.

I tried remembering the first time I heard Coheed and Cambria, but it was so long ago that it’s been lost to memories accumulated since. I do remember getting In Keeping Secret of Silent Earth: III for Christmas the year it came out, along with I think Motion City Soundtrack and maybe a Brand New album.

IKS came out in October 2003. Sooo if you wanna do that math quick, that’s a little over 15 years ago.  As someone whose tastes in music are on a constant rotation, I can’t believe I’ve been listening to this one band consistently for FIFTEEN years. I still vividly remember listening to this while falling asleep as a kid. And cleaning my room to it. And hell, even taking a bath with this on in the background, sitting in cold ass water, waiting for the album to conclude.

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Perpetually pruney fingers didn’t mean SHIT so long as I got to the end of “The Light and the Glass”

The nostalgia that emanates from songs like “Time Consumer” and “Welcome Home” is so intense for me.  I don’t remember how many times I’ve seen Coheed, though I don’t think it’s been so many times that they all mesh together. Sure, I wish they played longer last night. I always do. But it was awesome to hear songs spanning the entire discography, from the early days of The Second Stage Turbine Blade, to their newest, Vaxis- Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures.  Of course, I’d kill to hear more of their older material, and you can bet damn well that if they start doing some 20th anniversary shenanigans, I’ll be all over that shit.

I’m ecstatic that I get to continue to watch these dudes and their music continue to evolve and their fanbase grow.  In a time when bands rise up and fizzle out quickly after, Coheed and Cambria keep chugging along. And it’s beautiful.

So, please, if you will, pardon me while I take the rest of the day to explore Coheed’s discography, in full, from the beginning. I am usually long overdue for this kind of stuff, but I am most certainly overdue for this particular adventure. Guess while I’m at it, I might as well snag my tickets for Pittsburgh, eh?

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ONE AMONG THE FENCE

Prophets of Yahweh, “Oronodromozro”

India remains a buried gem within the treasure hoard that is underground metal. Though bands like brutal death Gutslit and progressive melodic Demonic Resurrection have been gaining momentum and notoriety, everyone is still missing out on what incredible music the Indian underground has to offer.

I don’t even remember how I stumbled onto Prophets of Yahweh, but I was smitten with their first single, the first and title track off of Oronodromozro (don’t ask me how to pronounce that). And I was fortunate enough that I could get part of my preorder a couple days early so I could write it a proper review.

The album begins with a gloomy sounding guitar solo, a somber chorus chimes in in the background, and then emerges a quiet but deep growl. And then you’re yanked under by the sheer weight of the track.

The level of heavy is pretty consistent throughout, however if for whatever reason the prospect of thrashy/ proggy death metal is too heavy for you, rest assured that there are a few slower, jazzy, ambient interludes to lighten things up a bit. But don’t let that deter you; Oronodromozro isn’t so proggy that it becomes hard to follow, but it isn’t so simple and redundant that attention meanders away elsewhere.

Aside from the title track, “No More” stood out to me; it reminded me of a song that might have been on a later Revocation album (Deathless, perhaps?). It might just be me, but I hear some serious Dave Davidson inspired riffage and solos. The only thing that’s different are the vocal tones.  Jithin Peter (leads, vocals) exhibits a stellar vocal range; his high/mids are very reminiscent of Jens Kidman (Meshuggah), and his lows are purely demonic.

I don’t want to give too much away, but this album is sheer fire. My only qualm is that I wish there were another couple tracks; Oronodromozro seems to end almost too quickly after it starts.

This album is out now! You can jam it right here in the embed above, and if you like what you hear, you can head over to the Prophets of Yahweh bandcamp and scoop that bad boy right up. They’ll even send you a CD if you’re interested. Of course, if bandcamp isn’t your thing, you can find Oronodromozro on a myriad of other platforms such as Youtube, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, etc. etc.

Though this one release has taken quite a bit of time to finally become a reality, Jithin and the Prophets of Yahweh guys are already concocting ideas for their next release. If you have an opportunity to ever see these guys live, I envy you, and you should absolutely check these dudes out.

Interview; Sahil Makhija, The Demonstealer 2019

When you think of extreme metal, it’s hard to imagine incredible music being spawned from places other than Europe and North America. But truly, metal is a global phenomenon, and India is somehow found forever out of everyone’s radar. A few bands have been crept up there since the early 1990s, but the last 15 or so years have really showcased the forward momentum of India’s metal scene.

Sahil Makhija has played a pretty big part in helping that scene grow, and he boasts a pretty impressive resume; from an outstanding discography from both his solo project, Demonstealer, and his main squeeze, Demonic Resurrection, to starting the first extreme metal label in India, to hosting his own cooking channel on YouTube. And that’s not including the laundry list of session work he’s done, or his new project, Solus Ex Inferis.  I am extremely fortunate that Sahil has allowed me to pick his brain about all of the above.

Though I am saddened by some of the responses, my respect and adoration for this man remains strong.

How long have you been playing guitar? What made you want to play in the first place?

I started learning the guitar back in 1998 so that would make it about 21 years of playing the instrument. My love for heavy metal music is what made me want to learn the instrument. There is just something about metal music that inspires most of it’s fans to learn an instrument or form a band.

Were you always into guitar and vocals? Do you have any other hidden talents?

I actually started out as just the vocalist of Demonic Resurrection and after our guitarist Prashant returned to the USA after the first show that kind of put me in a spot where I had to play guitar and sing. I also do play a bit of bass and keys and have recorded both instruments on quite a few of my own releases. I also do play the drums and recorded them on my side project Reptilian Death.

Who are your major influences, musically speaking?

This would be hard because I’m constantly inspired by musicians that I am listening to and I am discovering new music everyday. When I started out it was bands like Metallica, Sepulutra, Pantera, Fear Factory, Marilyn Manson etc and then I had a lot of influence from bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth and Old Man’s Child etc. Death metal, Power metal, thrash metal, doom metal etc etc I mean my list is endless.

You have an outstanding solo project with a solid discography, but Demonic Resurrection is equally amazing. Do you have a favorite between the two?

Honestly it’s like picking between your testicles. I like em both equally but I think in terms of what I do with the projects Demonic Resurrection is sort of my ‘main’ project because it actually plays live and has been around longer and is the more well known of the two. My solo stuff is more about playing with different drummers, doing the kind of stuff I can’t do in DR. So very different projects.

Explain what influenced Demonic Resurrection using more than traditional instruments in a metal band. Did it come naturally or was it planned?

You could say it was part of our evolution. We kind of experimented with Hindu mythology, just the ideas and the artwork on our 2014 album ‘The Demon King’ and we wanted to take that a step further and we did what made sense for us musically. It was definitely something that we really enjoyed exploring creatively.

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And you’ve recently released an EP with a new project, Solus Ex Inferis. How did the band come together?

This is the brainchild of Dave Smith who had already written the songs and gotten Lord Marco [Pitruzella; Anomalous, Neurogenic, Hunhau Mitnal] on board to play the drums. He was looking for a singer and I thought it was an interesting project so I signed up and now I’m full time with the band. I am quite excited about how the EP turned out and Dave is now writing the full length album and I’m excited to lay down my vocals on the songs.

And of course, of all the music you could be playing, why death metal and its variants? Are there any not-metal projects you’re associated with?

I had a comedy rock band called Workshop but even that had some ‘metal’ in it. Metal just spoke to me and I guess death metal would be my favourite sub genre of metal, so that’s what I play. Honestly I don’t think too much about the genre when I write music, I write what comes naturally to me but I guess I just love blast beats and death metal kind of riffs.

You’re also involved with quite a bit of guest/ session work, is that something you’re still interested in? Actually asking for a friend

Hahaha, I’m always up for sessions work. I have time and I’m happy to spend that creating music in some way, shape or form. So yeah, always available. Thankfully I have my own studio and setup so it’s very easy for me to record music.

Unfortunately, your tour across India didn’t pan out, but you did manage to skip over to the UK for a few dates. Can you talk about that a bit?

I think the markets are very different to begin with. In the UK it’s a different ball game and the economics are different. In India we’ve played all over the country but perhaps we didn’t approach the tour in the right way. I guess you learn from each experience and then you can figure out how to make it work if you try doing it again. What I mean is, in India for starters we have to fly from city to city and not every city has a music venue, let alone a venue that is for metal music. We also have an agent in the UK who was able to book the tour and find us a support band that could drive us and share backline with so it’s something that worked out quite well.

In a semi-recent post, you kind of hinted that Demonic resurrection might be headed for retirement, is that true? Or do you perhaps have other plans for DR for the future?

Yeah that’s the plan. Honestly after 18 years I am just tired. I’m tired of struggling at the same shit, I’m tired of constantly being let down by people. I’m tired of constantly having band members quit and find new talent, get them up to speed and only to have them quit when they find other priorities. I mean, I don’t blame anyone for anything but I just don’t know if I have the strength to keep doing this. So right now all I know is I’m out. I’m not working on the band, I’m not writing music, I’m not planning tours. If someone wants to make something happen and they call me and it’s doable. I’ll do it. But I’m not writing 100 emails to festivals, labels, promoters and working my ass off only to be let down again.

You started one of India’s first record labels geared towards extreme music. What made you want to start your own label in the first place, nonetheless targeted towards heavy music?

I had no choice. There was not a single label in India that would release our music and I knew that if I didn’t do it myself no one would. That’s the reason I started Demonstealer Records. When I put out our album ‘A Darkness Descends’ I was able to sell a good number of copies, trade with various labels around the world, organize launch gigs etc. I thought I should do this for other Indian bands too who don’t have any other options. Of course over time I realized it was too much of a stress and not worth the effort so I shut it down. But it was born out of necessity.

What difficulties do you deal with promoting yourself and your music in markets outside of India?

I guess the same as any other bands have, getting people to listen to the music. Standing out from the sea of countless bands that exist today. I have done everything that I could possibly do. I learnt a lot along the way about how to do PR the right way and even ran my own metal PR agency for a while.

Headbanger’s Kitchen has gotten pretty big over the last couple years, but it looks like it’s been a bit since you’ve had guest chefs (my favourite being the dudes from Fleshgod Apocalypse). Do you plan to have more guests in the future? Do you have any guests arranged now that you’re willing to talk about?

The funny thing is I gave up on Headbanger’s Kitchen and the format of the show where I interviewed metal bands. It was not worth the effort once again and I wrapped it up. I decided I was only going to shoot cooking videos when I felt like it and I would do it with 1 camera, all by myself and put it out. It’s only when I did that and started making Keto diet recipes that the channel took off and now I do Youtube as my full time job and my audience doesn’t really care or listen to metal. Most of them don’t actually. Which is why I have no interest in getting musicians on the show to interview since that old format is not what works for me. Of course if some of my favourite musicians ever come to town I will be more than happy to have them over for a meal and feed them. Maybe I’d even do the interview then, but only for special musicians that are my personal heroes.

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Any last words? Questions, comments, concerns?

Thanks for the interview and I hope people reading will listen to the music I make and enjoy it! Cheers and Stay Demonic!

And infinite thanks to Sahil for not only this interview, but for helping the Indian extreme metal scene grow and thrive. Though I am a bit heartbroken that Demonic Resurrection will be put to rest, I am excited for what Solus Ex Inferis will be cooking up, and the future session work Sahil will be involved in. We wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors.

The Gospel of Tech Death: I

I suppose that if I’m going to go around preaching a “Gospel of Tech Death”, I should probably start at the beginning. But do I really need to yap on about how pinnacle bands like Death, Cynic, Atheist, Pestilence and Gorguts are? Nah, didn’t think so.  So, perhaps, you’ll allow me to introduce you to the bands that really pushed me towards the more technical stuff when I was in my late teens. Sure, they won’t all be death metal. Deal with it and join me in basking in the nostalgia.

In the beginning, while searching for my niche, I’d find myself up super late on Sundays so I could catch the local underground radio show. Edge Underground introduced me to a ton of music, but none of what I heard on there stuck with me as long as The Human Abstract has.  I lusted for edginess that was satisfied with Nate Ells’ screams, breakdowns and double kick drums. But it wasn’t so obnoxiously far away from any of the other stuff I was jamming at the time.  Nocturne, released in 2006, was and is such an incredible underground metalcore staple. Significantly more progressive than its predecessor, their sophomore LP, Midheaven (which I can find literally nowhere on the web) didn’t receive the same acclaim. It’s certainly the unsung hero among THA’s discog. When it looked like the project was over, The Human Abstract came back to their roots with Digital Veil.

The Human Abstract played my first metal show, accompanied by 36 Crazyfists, All That Remains and Trivium. Naturally, I was late and arrived during THA’s second to last song. But luck would have it and I was offered another chance to see them within a couple months with As I Lay Dying, Protest the Hero and MyChildren MyBride. Little did I know that one of those bands would become one of my ultimate favorites a decade later.

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RIP former potential metal gods. I mourn your premature death every day. 

Protest the Hero are one of those bands that I was fortunate enough to get into early in their careers so I could have the opportunity to watch them grow and evolve. Fortress had just come out the year prior, and I was hooked on the first listen. Their first LP, Kezia, pulled me in even further. Though a vastly different sound than its successors, punk inspired A Calculated Use of Sound was amazing in its own right. It dawned on me after Volition dropped in 2013 that without question, Protest was my favourite band. It seemed impossible for them to release anything that I wouldn’t like. 2015’s Pacific Myth further drove that point home. Four years later and they’re planning on releasing one of my most anticipated albums of 2019, and I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am.

I don’t even remember how I stumbled onto the Beneath the Massacre dudes. I can kind of remember getting into them right before they toured with Despised Icon, Carnifex and The Plasmarifle. The breakdowns were what attracted me ten years ago, their technicality is what keeps me around now. I took a long break from their discography for a while as I grew apart from the deathcore scene, but then I rediscovered how incredible every single one of their releases was. Mechanics of Dysfunction and Evidence of Inequity are without question my favoutites. I only got to see them once, and my heart longs to catch them live at least one more time.

Born of Osiris were the first band off the Sumerian records roster that I stumbled onto, and they were direct support on my second metal show, headlined by Darkest Hour. Significantly heavier than everything else I listened to, there were no cleans, no soft guitars, just breakdowns, blast beats, dope solos and some sick gutturals. Admittedly, these guys pushed me towards being the deathcore kid I was for a few years. But The New Reign was so solid (the rerelease kinda blows, though). And they also helped open that Pandora’s box that was Sumerian Records, and thus more technical bands like The Faceless, The HAARP Machine, Periphery and The Dillinger Escape Plan.

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Pictured: br00tal kid. Not pictured: shame. 

 

So I suppose that brings me to The Faceless, doesn’t it? Late last year I blabbed on about how I FINALLY got to see Planetary Duality live in its entirety. And even though Michael Keene was previously the epicenter for disaster, it was still fucking magical to see him get up there with three other incredible musicians and play oh so perfectly such a pinnacle album. Sure, I could yap on forever about them, but you COULD just click that link right up there and read what I’ve already yapped about.

And lastly, I played an album today that I haven’t even thought about in close to ten years. Circle of Contempt‘s Artifacts in Motion was breakbeat in it’s purest form, evermore pure than what Born of Osiris, After the Burial and Veil of Maya were putting out. I remember it being so near impossible to get my hands on (via limewire and frostwire) that I busted a proverbial nut when I finally did. They released an EP in 2012, but it didn’t have the same feel. They came back in 2016 with some new faces and a new LP, but that didn’t have the original feel either. But I’ve rediscovered this diamond among the Sumerian shit, and I still have a positive outlook for Circle of Contempt’s future.

Hopefully you’ve gotten through this. And I hope this gives a solid idea of where my musical tastes have evolved from.  So behold, our journey through techdeath has begun. A winding road awaits.

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The tech be with you. 

Faint Signal to Release Sophomore Album

Cincinnati progrock duo Faint Signal are getting ready to release their second album, Formula, but they’re asking for your help! They’ve launched an Indiegogo campaign to help with the final product.

I know crowdfunding campaigns still leave a sour taste in people’s mouths, but Faint Signal want to help give back to the community. A portion of the Indiegogo proceeds will be donated to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. For those of you that don’t know, Mr Holland’s donates quality instruments to underfunded music programs and provides a variety of services to help support music education programs.

The self proclaimed “Craigslist hookup”, comprised of Henri Eisenbaum and Randy Campbell, are no newbies to the music scene. Pulling influence from the dawn of progressive rock; Genesis, Yes, Rush, etc., they strive to aid in the rejuvenation of the genre.  Though the bulk of Faint Signal’s music was born through the two of them, this time they’ve brought in a couple of other experienced musicians to help enhance their established sound.

Of course, for now, you can jam Faint Signal’s first release on their Reverbnation, and Facebook. And if you like what you hear, scroll back up to that Indiegogo link and help some dudes (and students) out. Formula release details will be published as as they are released.

Phobiatic to Release Fourth LP

With three full lengths and an EP under their belt, German death metal project Phobiatic are almost ready to release another. Founded in 2008, Phobiatic boats members of other projects like Warfield Within, I Despise, and Fake Idyll. The death is strong with these other projects as well.

The influence of death metal giants like Suffocation, Origin, Cryptopsy and Dying Fetus are heavy amongst their discography, but don’t let statement form a bias against them. Phobiatic offer their own flavor of technical death metal, but don’t think for a minute that their complexities take away from the brutal foundations of their music.

When I asked drummer Kai Bracht about Phobiatic’s upcoming release, he said that they’ll still offer a high level of technicality, but are bringing other metal influences into their material.

Their newest jams are currently in their mix/master stage, but for now, you can catch Phobiatic’s three previous LPs and their EP, as always, on their bandcamp. I’m stoked to hear what goodies they’ve got cooking and we wish them the best of luck with their hunt for a record label worthy of their material.

Interview; Levi Dale, The Ritual Aura 2019

Amidst the sea of generic, run of the mill promotional crusades, The Ritual Aura‘s Levi Dale has devised a rather interactive game of sorts in anticipation for the band’s third album, Velothi.  Curious as I was, Levi was kind enough to let me pick his brain about the new record, the campaign, and a few other things. Have a look!

Dave Jurenovich: What’s your musical background and how you were brought up artistically?
Levi Dale: I started playing guitar when I was 11, so 14 years ago now – mostly self-taught, and it just took over my life for a very long time. My mum has a pretty good taste in music so I was exposed to a lot of it growing up, lots of rock and metal with bands like Guns N’ Roses and Metallica. As tastes got heavier I was introduced to technical death metal and it completely flipped my perception of what you could do with music and guitar.
I pretty much knew then and there that was what I wanted to be doing, no questions asked.

DJ: What inspired you to begin The Ritual Aura?
LD: TRA started as a creative outlet for the music I was writing in 2012/13 – my first serious attempt at writing a record – which eventually became our first album; Laniakea.
I met some great musicians in the process and it all just went from there. We shared similar goals and got along really well, all just wanting to create interesting music and push what we can do.

Vick Sacha: Out of the vast array of music you could be playing, why death metal?
LD: The immense creative freedom and diversity within the genre is something that really stands out to me, yes there are stylistic conventions we tend to gravitate towards, but people are constantly finding new and unique ways to push the boundaries; through various sub-genres and styles there’s always a god-tier gem of an album to discover right around the corner, and the quality is only getting better each year.
I also just really enjoy writing and playing interesting material, so it was either this or… I don’t even know what I’d be doing, probably classical music.

VS: You’ve concocted a rather interesting and elaborate PR campaign for your newest release, Velothi. What inspired you to send your fans on a crypto-historical scavenger hunt?
LD: A big inspiration for it was Cicada 3301 and their yearly puzzles, alongside some other ARGs I had come across through the magic of Youtubeland.
The whole idea of an alternate reality game is really interesting to me, so I just started planning puzzles, not really expecting much. I ended up spending days on it, and eventually was confident enough to put it out there.
It also gave us another means of interaction with the community, which is always welcome.

VS: Your campaign has been up for a little over a week. So far, has the response been what you were expecting? What do you predict for the future outcome?
LD: Seeing everyone work together to solve the clues has been both humbling and amusing – you guys are awesome.
The feedback so far has been great, people have solved each tier in 24 hours or less, so I may have to kick things up a notch for the final stretch..

Velothi

VS: What correlation does said scavenger hunt have to do with the album’s content?
LD: While it’s not massively intertwined with the record itself, certain puzzles serve as a way to introduce people to album-relevant lore and point them in the right direction for reading material, should they want to learn more.
I’ve scattered a few things in there that’ll make a LOT more sense when the album drops. Little hints and previews are everywhere!

DJ: What can you say about your upcoming album and what sets it apart from the rest of your library?
LD: Velothi is easily the most experimental and ambitious record we’ve done so far, from the change in approach to writing, to the sheer amount of guests and styles woven into things, everything has been scaled up since Tæther.

VS: The date of your upcoming release’s date is still ambiguous, and 2019 is far from over. When do you think you’ll announce a release date? Or does the answer to that lie within your PR campaign?
LD: People have been really patient regarding a release date, and I should finally be able to shed light on that in the coming month or so. The goal is early to mid-year, and with recent developments on vocals and mixing of the record I’m pretty confident we’ll be finished sooner than that.

VS: Do you want to talk about any session musicians you’ve recruited on this record?
LD: Currently there are 11 session musicians spread across Velothi – by far our largest guest-list yet.
This album introduces several new instruments and styles into the TRA palette, from violin/viola (Ryan Cho) and operatic vocals (Adrianna Tentori), to nylon (Nick Padovani) and fretless guitar (Fountainhead).. just to name a few.
Everyone has done an incredible job with their parts and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

VS: I can’t imagine that you’ve stopped writing, so how far into your next release are you?
LD: Nothing is really concrete yet, I’m still looking at candidates for lore/concepts beyond Velothi, but have a couple of ideas.
Prior to writing our last album I immersed myself in Japan’s folklore for a few months and the stories that really stuck became ideas for songs, which lead to inspiration for the music itself.
I generally prefer to start with the story and themes before writing any music.
Velothi was pretty much the same story, so there’ll probably come a day soon where I sit down and work out where to take things next.
If you break each album down so far, we’ve covered sci-fi, horror, and fantasy – so i’d like to continue the trend and mix things up again next time.

VS: You announced late last year that Velothi would be released on your own label, Ire Harvest. What were the deciding factors that led you to start your own label?
LD: I started Ire Harvest following TRA’s departure from our previous label, to serve as a dedicated platform for the projects I’ve been working on/plan to release in the future, and eventually help other bands with a bit more experience under my belt.
In the time TRA has been active I’ve handled a lot of the background work, and figured if I’m already doing it I may as well be building something that has the potential to grow into its own entity and maybe help other people out one day.

VS: Can you briefly talk about why you took on Lūmenwood as the second band on your roster?

LD: Lūmenwood is a side-project I’ve had in the works since late last year, alongside Brandon J. Iacovella – the other guitarist in TRA and riff-vanguard in Proliferation. We’ve since completed the line-up for a debut, featuring some excellent musicians, and the material we’ve put together so far is sounding great.
Hearkening back to the previous question – giving Lūmenwood a platform from the very beginning also helps with insight from a label perspective, regarding the problems I might encounter that TRA is perhaps beyond running into.
Murphy’s law in full effect and all.

DJ: Do you think you’ll ever play any shows in the future?
LD: We have in the past for special occasions (like the launch of Tæther), so I wouldn’t rule it out moving forward.
Currently we’re spread across 4 different continents though, so albums are and will likely always be the main focus, but if the stars aligns we’ll be there!

VS: The lot of you are still fairly young, as is The Ritual Aura itself, what does the future hold for you?

LD: I feel like we have a LOT of ground left to cover as far as writing music goes.
Velothi continues the tradition of a paradigm shift between records, one we’ve strived for with each album so far, and will continue to aim for in the future – this really helps keep things fresh and interesting as time goes on. Maybe next album will be about cake! Who knows? and that’s exciting!

VS: Any last comments, questions or concerns?
LD: Thank you for the great questions!
I hope you and your readers enjoy Velothi when it finally drops, it’s been a blast putting it together these past 2 years, and I can’t wait for you all to hear it.

New single coming very soon! Solve the puzzles to hear it early.. much love <3

https://www.facebook.com/theritualaura
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And I cannot thank Levi enough for taking the time to answer. You know the drill, guys. You can find all of The Ritual Aura’s music on bandcamp and a bunch of other music platforms. Any additional details will be posted when we know them. And most definitely keep your eyes peeled, your quest is not yet over.