Graham Young- A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man

 

Progressive Instrumentalist Graham Young has recently released a full length album “A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man”. Why is he a unique instrumentalist? Young isn’t a shredder…..he plays fast sometimes as a guitarist, but seeks for lots of melodic guitar leads and emotion.  It shows throughout his latest release with flying colors. Why shouldn’t he be bundled with the millions of guitarists that write instrumentals? Graham is very keen to writing songs, and not shred-a-thons.  What I mean by that translated to English is he has heart and soul.  He looks at his songs and music as a whole…..lots of heavily layered tracks and lots of effort was put into writing this album.

Young’s music is very experimental, moody, slightly heavy….and also a genre crosser that appeals to a wide range of fans younger and older.  He has really cool and flashy moments that bring back memories for you instrumental fusion proggers of the late Allan Holdsworth and John McLaughlin as well.  He has added lots of keyboard and synthesizer parts throughout his album, as well.  His layered clean tracks are heavily rooted in reverb, delay, chorus, flange and various effects that add huge psychedelic hints too reminiscent of the 1970’s music scene.  I think I even heard some electronic xylophone at one point!

Young’s music has impressed me on many levels as a fellow guitarist and writer. His music is a big reason why TMR exists and strives to promote artsy music whether its very technical or very underground or independent.  A lot of these great artists need the help, exposure and respect of fellow artists and music lovers out there.

You can purchase his latest album digitally and physically at his bandcamp, among his other releases as well. Help keep your favorite artists around, we don’t do this stuff for free ya know.

https://grahamyoung1.bandcamp.com/music

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Voidthrone April 2018 Interview

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I’m doing a crap ton of interviews lately…..get used to it! Anyways I have the dissonant black metal badasses Voidthrone on tap for my latest piece. “Kur” is a killer album that is arriving May 4th, which is very soon……preorder the album on their bandcamp right meow. It’s a great album….I wouldn’t mislead you. Well, here it is. We hope we didn’t bore you but in fact entertain you. Hail Voidthrone!

TMR: What influenced the band to create such unusual music? I’m awfully interested, it being such an original sound.

Ron: I have a day job that involves a lot of structure, order, and methodical, deliberate planning. Writing music that was improvised, strange, and original is a great contrast to my work and very freeing. Also, I have never learned any cover songs, so my guitar style may have benefited somewhat from the Galapagos Island effect. Also, we take our time with writing. Since most of our riffs come from improvising during jam sessions, we have to be comfortable coming to practice and after 2 hours produce nothing salvageable!

 

TMR:  How did the band come to be?

Ron and Josh started playing together in the Fall of 2015. After several months of unscrewing ourselves and getting the makings of two songs down, the band grew. Everyone in the band was recruited on Craigslist, which is pretty popular on the West Coast of the USA. The only exception is Zhenya, our new singer who found us on facebook once Dan, our old singer (and he IS old. And bald!) had to move to California.
Tryouts were strange and somewhat interesting. One guitarist showed up and was basically expecting to jam on Pantera and Prong or something. About 45 disastrous minutes later, he stopped us and said, “I should probably go.”

 

TMR: How was the name Voidthrone conceived?

The original name was going to be Rotfeast, but that was a stupid idea. It sounds like a 90s death metal cover band name. Voidthrone was Josh’s idea. As it turns out, the word “Void” has exploded in popularity so maybe we will change our name to Feasthrone or Thronethrone.
…On second thought, we will probably keep Voidthrone because we already have merch made and the logo is cool.

 

TMR: What made the band want to experiment with such unique instruments like the Thai flute and Phin?

Ron’s wife is Thai and she gave him the three stringed instrument called the Phin to experiment with. It is a very particular instrument and is mostly found in northeast Thailand and Laos.

Ron: I am going to keep messing around with the Phin to see what opportunities it opens up for incorporation into metal.
As far as the flute and “ao”, which is a stringed instrument played with a bow, we met some thai musicians who were temporarily living in the Olympia, WA area working at a buddhist temple. There is probably a lot more exploration that could be done with this, but we only had them over to record music for an evening. I don’t think they had ever heard metal like this before, but they liked it and had fun. There was a very, very silly flute part that we recorded for Phantasm Epoch, but it was so silly that it completely deflated the song like a pin popping an inflated tire. It sounded like a song bird whistling at the heaviest moment, the break in the middle when Zhenya goes “blech”. Then this happy silly whistle. Hilarious to me, but ultimately just seemed forced.

 

TMR: How is Spiritual War Tactics different from your upcoming album Kur?

In a few ways. One, Kur’s songwriting was a little more “song-oriented” and less riff-oriented like in Spiritual War Tactics. We probably paid more attention to emotion and movement in the songs. Secondly, we actually had a real mastering engineer master Kur. Ron mastered SWT himself. You can probably hear the difference! Kur has a fuller sound and is less fatiguing to listen to. Lastly, we have a new singer, Zhenya, who has a very different style from Dan, our previous singer. It gives everything a very different feel.

 

TMR: How did the songwriting evolve for Kur?
Mac: As a guitarist coming into a band with an existing guitarist, I didn’t want to be a soloist. Instead, I wanted to embellish the stuff Ron wrote. Writing the beginning of Kur was the point where I finally understood what Voidthrone needed sound-wise. That was when Ron and I started to write in a point/counterpoint style where every part one of us wrote was complemented by the other. Instead of taking the typical ‘lead guitarist plays the high parts’ and ‘rhythm guitarist plays only rhythm’ playing/writing approach, we organically shift our roles.

Josh: Dissonance and psychedelia was a focus. We had drive to create more dissonance than Spiritual War Tactics. We wanted to build on what we had already released; make it weirder. The more we played together, the more we figured out how to accomplish these goals. Including Mac and Austin in the songwriting process was a huge step up from doing it solely between Ron and me.

Zhenya: I can’t speak for the writing of Spiritual War Tactics. For Kur, I channeled the mindstate of me a couple of years ago when I went off my rocker for a hot minute. Writing and playing with Voidthrone is an emotionally exhausting endeavor. Delving beyond the veil feels like I’m scratching open old, festering wounds.

 

TMR: Any plans for playing shows?

Zhenya: Since lyrics and screaming is a pretty damn easy aspect of metal compared to the actual instrumentation, my efforts go into the performances we take part in. It’s my intention to make every show we do entertaining, exhausting, and enigmatic. I have been enjoying making the typical black/death metal performance style my own- the most recent addition to the live repertoire is the use of black lights and photo-reactive body paint that I smear over my black-and-white-and-blood visage. That’s not to say that what I do is all that original, of course! In any case, the more we play, the more chances I have to try new things, and the better we get!

 

TMR: What music are you guys into? What new releases is everyone looking forward to in 2018?

The wonder of discovering music, new and old, is hard to beat. The digital frontier is rife with renowned artists that we hadn’t yet encountered (Zhenya was recently exposed to Igorrr and, boy, is that his jam nowadays) and new musicians in various stages of starting out (so so so many excellent local acts that we’ve been blown away by). Some of the bands we’re excited about/have enjoyed in the very recent past: Pig Destroyer, Noceur, Slayer, Rabitrup, Igorrr, Orator, Iron Monkey, Empyrean. There are countless others, of course.

 

TMR: What are your opinions on the rising popularity of extended range instruments? There’s plenty of pros and cons, if you ask me.

Ron: I play a 7 string, fanned fret Ibanez guitar. For me, it was just time to grow up and “put on my big-boy pants” and stop playing 7 string tuning on my 6-string. The intonation is much, much better, the string tension more even, and in the case of the fanned frets, it is actually easier to play. I see no real downside to playing the 7 string, especially since we have always played in B. For now, I don’t think playing lower than B would make sense for Voidthrone’s music, so we probably won’t be djenting any time soon.

 

TMR:Double Bubble Gum or Big League Chew?

Satan.
Mac: Mints!

 

TMR: Provide any links here for any of your personal endeavors outside of your band and any projects outside of Voidthrone.

Mac: I wanna start a funk band with Austin.

 

Clearly Voidthrone and I have colorful senses of humor….I think we understand each other. Maybe?

Check out a recent show the band played this year right below here and don’t be a fool and support this cool ass band right now.

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Matter of Planets April 2018 Interview

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Matter Of Planets is an instrumental progressive rock/metal band from Ohio that has finished a follow up to their technical, intricate and smashing debut album “Ballad Of Baberaham”.  I recently had a conversation with the drummer Joel about the band amongst other things. Their new album “Somewhere Out Among The Stars Is Home” drops Friday, don’t miss it fools. Stay updated!

 

TMR: What’s the meaning behind your band name?

I originally came up with the band name when I was in Michigan many years ago visiting my Dad right after a terrible motorcycle crash. I was looking for something positive in a name, in a meaning. Light, cosmic, universal, but solid and grounding. Matter of Planets almost literally means “As a matter of fact, we are all made of Stardust” Thanks Carl Sagan!
TMR: Any information on your new album “Somewhere Out Among The Stars Is Home”  you want to share?

The last album was us figuring out how to be this band and how we were going to take our previous material and adapt it to our new form (we had a vocalist once upon a time but don’t tell anyone). The new album is definitely us very much at home with who we are now. What we are now. There’s less traditional song structures, more timing changes and multi-movement songs. Varying song length. More focus on the narrative and sonic exploration. It’s also the first time we’ve been in the studio with Roger on bass.

TMR: What are your personal favorite albums of all time and any newer releases as well?
My personal favorite albums are:
TOOL – Aenima

The Blood Brothers – …Burn, Piano Island, Burn

Converge – Jane Doe

Aesop Rock – Labor Days

Fugazi – 13 Songs

The Party of Helicopters – Space, and how sweet it was

Bad Religion – Process of Belief

BTBAM – Parallax II: Future Sequence

The Hot Snakes – Suicide Invoice

Godspeed, You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas

Beastie Boys – Ill Communication
NAS – Illmatic
N.E.R.D – Fly or Die
Deftones – White Pony
Radiohead – O.K. Computer

I don’t know. There are so many. I come from a jazz background where my love for Big Band runs deep. I think that the early 2000’s should be known as the Golden Era of Underground Hip-Hop (Rhymesayers, Def Jux, Living Legends). Wu-Tang FOREVER!

Husbandry from Brooklyn put out the best release of 2017 with their E.P. Bad Weeds never Die. I hope that works for you.

TMR: How did you all get started as musicians?

I started playing and jamming with folks in my late teens. Didn’t get into a serious band until 2004. Joe has been in punk bands forever, pretty sure we all got started as kids in school or in our teens.

TMR: How was the recording and writing process different than your first full length “Ballad Of Baberaham”?

It was a very similar process. Different studio, bass player, and songs but other than that it was close. Well….kinda. Andy Sartain was still in the control booth but Oranjudio provided a very different environment than Electraplay had. Bigger room, different toys, a grand piano (that shows up on the record more than once). But, like last time, we were very well rehearsed, knew what we were doing before we got there, and only spent a few days recording. The songs were honed over 2 years at least so when we get in there, we bang it out.

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TMR: Chicago or New York City style Pizza?

Pat’s Cheese steaks.

TMR: What band would you guys love to play a show with currently?

And So I Watch You From Afar would be amazing! I’d take Baroness, Torche, Lizzard Wizzard, Rosetta, or Russian Circles are also choice picks.

TMR: What led Matter Of Planets to being instrumental rather than just another metal/prog band? Your band’s sound is like no other.

Gosh..It’s all the different influences. I love love prog and metal but sometimes they just aren’t any fun. We really want to have fun. It has to keep us interested as a whole, we play what we want to hear I think. That’s probably why it comes off so ADD and crazy. But at the end of the set, when I feel like I’ve run a marathon, it feels pretty damn good.

TMR: Intimate shows are the best….the only show I saw of yours was here in Buffalo at a house show. I love those types of shows, or small ones in general where you can talk to the band afterwards and have an actual interaction rather than feeling so far away. I’m not crazy for stadium shows and sold out shows.

Intimate shows are the best. I want to connect with the band/artist. I want to feel what they feel and vice versa. But there is something to be said about the vibe of a large venue too.

TMR: What are your opinions on music theory? Some artists love it and hate it.

Music theory to me is like many other things, a tool. It’s something to have in your arsenal that enhances your playing and songwriting. Do I find it tiresome when a band is overly technical? Yes. Do I think that musicians can become mired in theory at expense of the music? Yes. But on the other hand, when people want to shit on extraordinarily talented and technically gifted musicians, it makes me crazy!! That has to come from a place of jealousy and it’s sad. Just cause it’s not your think does not make it bad.

TMR: What tour or festival would your band love to play on one day?We are such a festival band.

All of them. Austin City Limits, SXSW, Pitchfork, Bunbury, Maryland Deathfest or Doomfest, big, small, national, local, whatever. I’m working on one for Columbus. I don’t know if I’d ever really want to do a big tour like Mayhem or Slaughter though. I just want to tour and play killer shows, make new friends, meet new people, see places, experience life. It’s a good time. Sometimes we are lucky enough to be able to tour with our friends and that’s a treat.

TMR: What are some of your favorite pieces of gear recording or instrument wise past and present? 

When we recorded the last album I played on a 14″x6.5″ DW Collector’s Series snare drum. I went and bought immediately after. Blake plays this awesome Yamaha SG. We play with the same stuff on tour that we record with and we’ve all spent some serious money and time over the years putting together rigs that we really like and help us craft the sounds we want.

TMR: Any endeavors you guys have outside of Matter of Planets please link here whether its music related or not.

Thanks man!

https://matterofplanets.bandcamp.com

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Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless Album Stream

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I present you the official album stream for Infinitee’s The Possibilities Are Endless. Have to say it was an honor listening to this before release day.  You can check out my Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless album review for my opinions on this masterpiece. Yeah, I said it…..it’s a masterpiece.

Enough of my blabbering, let’s get down to business.  I hope you enjoy this album, as does Tres.

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Tres Thomas will definitely give you that sad look if you don’t buy his album, as will I.

The Possibitlies Are Endless is available on digital platforms to purchase. Don’t be a bum and purchase this album after you listen to the stream. I want him to be able to afford to keep creating this cool instrumental insanity…..as should everyone else!

Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless

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Infinitee is an instrumental project by Tres Thomas of Tales Of The Tomb.  This is a project that is very melodic and heavy.  There’s a great use of electronics that enhances his experimental nature and further adds to the originality.  What I love as a guitar player is how he doesn’t care about speed….it’s great to play fast leads and melodies sometimes but he has a great niche of finding solid melody without wanting to play at 1,000 BPM.

What makes Thomas’ debut solo album a great offering is his combination of a wide range of influence……lots of ambience and electronics that again break up an ocassionally repetitive genre at times.  Thomas stated that he has a 2nd album demoed and music for a third album before Infinitee’s debut actually is officially released!

I’m so glad I do what I do to discover new music and artists I never heard of this is another instance that is one of at least 15 to 20 times since I started this site in February (wow almost 3 months old!). I’m so lucky to get so many album releases of the genres I mainly cover of many bands and in return preorder them helping support these artists (just like I did yesterday when I only heard one song!). Tres Thomas’ album really resonated with me, and I hope it does with the general public. I have no problem pushing a well crafted album and that is what was accomplished here.   “The Possibilities Are Endless” is officially being released this Friday April 20th.  You can preorder the album through the band camp website and on iTunes as well.

 

The Possibilities Are Endless

Track Listing:
1. Xenocybin (3:24)
2, Lost (3:23)
3. Robots vs. The Wooden Chairs Pt.1 (3:39)
4. Robots vs. The Wooden Chairs Pt.2 (5:00)
5. The Possibilities Are Endless (3:59)
6. Free (4:41)

 

InfiniteeBand.bandcamp.com

Facebook.com/InfiniteeBand

Instagram.com/InfiniteeBand

Youtube: Infinitee

Robots Vs. The Wooden Chairs Pt. 1 Playthrough

Free Playthrough

 

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Voidthrone release “Kur” music video

 

I previously mentioned these guys not too long ago.  Now, we finally have a full length track and not an album preview to listen to! It’s extremely captivating and very interesting……the dissonance adds such unique flavor to an already unusual and original sound Voidthrone is going for.

The band is exactly what music needs more of.  Not another rock or metal band that tries to strive to be original but in the end is just another generic band. Voidthrone has such a unique sound they sound like nobody in recent memory.

Kur is set to be released on May 4th which is only a few weeks away……get your preorders in while they’re available.

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Burial In The Sky releasing “Creatio Et Hominas” In June

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Burial In The Sky is a slightly more progressive band than others…..what sets them apart is their psychedelic side.  They’re not only heavy, but also melodic and atmospheric with all kinds of synths and keyboards it’s a very layered band.  Creatio Et Hominus is the band’s second album slated for a June 1st release.   They have such a unique sound the teaser doesn’t do what potentially awaits us any justice. This will be a very interesting release.

Burial In The Sky’s James Tomedi comments on Creatio et Hominus
“We want people to feel certain things that sometimes can’t be as easily expressed with the extreme side of music. We focused a lot more on the psychedelic, progressive, and atmospheric sides to the band to help evoke those emotions. From the perspective of composition, we really wanted people to be able to just enjoy this record. We tried to make it a good balance of accessible yet sonically complex and intriguing.

Conceptually, it travels into the world of perception becoming the creation of all life. The thought process is the way we perceive things guides own personal reality. So in a sense, our world is our own. The way that you see it could be vastly different than me. With this record, we take the stories of great thinkers, mathematicians, inventors, activists, etc to try and paint an entire picture of life and all its small yet beautiful nuances through the way these people perceived it.

Creatio et Hominus is a start to something more artistically. During the writing process of “Creatio et Hominus” the music started to drift deeper into an approach that we hadn’t touched on nearly as intensely. Songs like “The Pivotal Flame”, the title track “Creatio et Hominus”, and “Nautilus’ Cage” are at the apex of where we found ourselves. The sound within those songs specifically shows the natural progression of Burial In The Sky. It certainly shows where we will go on future releases as well.”

 

 

Creatio et Hominus Tracklisting
1. Nexus
2. Tesla  *All vocals by ex-vocalist Jimmy Murphy
3. Nautilus’ Cage
4. The Pivotal Flame
5. Psalms Of The Deviant
6. 5 Years
7. Creatio et Hominus (Ft. a guest solo from Brody Uttley of Rivers Of Nihil)

Burial In The Sky – Creatio et Hominus Line-up
James Tomedi – Guitars, Slide, Keys, Mandolin, Kalimba
Zach Strouse – Bass Guitar, Sax (All Sax playing on the new Rivers Of Nihil)
Sam Stewart – Drums, Piano
Jorel Hart – Vocals (ex-Cognitive, live bass for Wormhole)
Jimmy Murphy – Vocals on Tesla (only)

Facebook.com/burialinthesky
burialintheskytheband.bandcamp.com
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCNS1cGtSDdRi2C4U2jRgF8A
https://www.instagram.com/burial_inthe_sky

Coma Cluster Void- 2018 Interview

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It is my upmost pleasure to announce a very cool interview for Technical Music Review…..the obscure and dissonant Coma Cluster Void!  These guys (and gals) are a band based out of, well…..a few countries.  The big name metalheads will immediately know is Mike Disalvo one of the vocalists……he was the vocalist Crypotopsy as well.  It has taken almost 2 months to complete this interview and I truly hope you enjoy it.

COMA CLUSTER VOID

Mike DiSalvo (Vocals), Austin Taylor (Vocals), Genevieve DiSalvo (Vocals), Chris Burrows (Drums), Sylvia Hinz (Bass, Vocals), John Strieder (Guitars)

Thanks to the internet (when people aren’t debating their lives away or airing dirty laundry) for finding this insanely cool and unusual band. What makes them stand out from your average metal band? Well, lets start with the fact guitarist John Strieder uses 10 string guitars and isn’t really a fan of guitar picks.  Is that enough? No….there’s four vocalists! John also loves dissonance, which is also proved through his classical compositions. He also used strings on their debut album Mind Cemeteries.  They also released an equally as creepy and killer EP last year that powered its way onto my best of 2017 list Thoughts From A Stone.

Truth is……music in general has been watered down for years now. Thankfully I ran into this bands original work.  Coma Cluster Void goes against commercial beliefs, and stick to their own beliefs and opinions.  They are truly original, and are like nobody….which makes them just as amazing as the rest. Now, onto the interview. I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.

 

TMR: What inspired John to use 10 string guitars? Extended range is popular these days but why the biggest guitar of them all?

John: Haha! There are multiple factors that led to this instrument. First of all, the tuning. If you write tonal music, the standard tuning is certainly a convenient tuning. But I have no interest in that kind of music, so when I went into guitars, the first thing was to find a tuning that makes the instrument suitable for my kind of music.
My tuning reduces the range, so it was logical to compensate this with more strings. But this leads to another advantage for my writing: For me, melody is often unfolded harmony. And in fact, all melodies on our albums are such unfolded harmonies where the notes ring into each other. Having more strings enlargens the possibilities. And last but not least my inspiration to have really low strings came from the band Crowbar who tuned down to B already in 1988!

TMR: I love Crowbar too! Every metalhead shouldn’t need an explanation of their greatness.

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TMR: What motivated the band to write such unusual and interesting music combining dissonance, down tuning and orchestral arrangements? There’s barely any band I can truly compare you guys to, and that would be an insult because there is absolutely nothing like you guys out there!

John: Thanks for the kind words! Well, no special motivation needed, it’s just how I think and write music. Music (and art in general) is something were you can truly be free – given you allow yourself to be an individual. Conventions and boundaries don’t interest me, they are not mine. I just express my feelings with music to the best of my ability.

Mike: Simply put, John is writing some of the most innovative and interesting material I have ever heard . It’s just such cutting edge songwriting with a tremendous sense of unbridled brutality and beauty that I gravitated towards it and felt immediately comfortable with being part of the project. It was an easy decision.

Chris: Upon listening to John’s first demos, I knew he had something to offer as a composer / bandleader no one else in metal did. He consistently encouraged novel rhythmic ideas that would be typically thrown out in every other project because most ensembles couldn’t handle tackling rhythm and stacked dissonance at such a high standard, while also making it musical and emotive. I’ve pursued countless hours practicing polyrhythms, polymeters, syncopation, grids, and rhythmic space that I couldn’t pass an opportunity to contribute to albums that are as meticulously composed as it is beautiful, unrelenting chaos.

Sylvia: It feels totally natural to play this music, and to be a part of John’s wild ideas – no way to say no to something like this!

Austin: It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. I had lost faith in death metal but John’s demos had revived it. How could I say no?

Chris: There is always a feeling of excitement you get from joining a quality ensemble, especially one that you feel will push you to new limits as a musician and perhaps even as a person.

 

TMR: Where do you guys come up with the inspiration for your lyrics? There’s some weird sets I’ve noticed. It adds to the creepy themes you guys have mastered so far.

Mike: I generally get inspired by human emotions, typically on the darker side of life. I have always found it easier to write from a negative perspective. For whatever reason, it’s like “emptying the garbage” for me. Clear out the negativity through words. It’s not always personal, I do reckon with what others have experienced, or in TFAS’s case, it was purely based in storytelling with a linear appeal to where we all stand today. I draw from as many sources as I can, I think it’s important to do that.

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TMR: Are there plans for any sort of live show at any point? I have a feeling it would be very dark and creepy if you ever do.

John: No plans yet … bringing together five people from Oregon, Michigan, Montreal and Berlin on one stage – also considering the various other commitments of the members – seems to be impossible as of now.

Sylvia: But never say never;)

John: However, XelmYa (Sylvia on recorders, Alexa on violin and guests) tours quite a lot (next station: Tehran, Iran), and they also play compositions by me. Chris tours with different bands, and would be happy to hold drum clinics for CCV and other material.

TMR: What inspired the band name and where was it derived from?

John: In a predecessing project, I had a song named “Lux Aeterna Void”. “Lux Aeterna” means “Eternal Light”. The song and song name depicts a depressive image of the hoped eternal light being just a void, a black hole. The Coma Cluster of galaxies became a real-world meaning for “Lux Aeterna”. Also, Cluster chords are my favourite kind of chords and are used throughout our records (and my music in general) in all different kinds and flavours.

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TMR: What inspired John to not use picks? I saw the one play through video and it blew my mind as a guitarist.

John: It’s just how I started to play guitar. I use the flesh of the fingers similar to like harpists. Not using a plectrum gives interesting opportunities, like using more than one finger to play a chord using strings that are not next to each other. In general, I just do what works best for me.

Sylvia: *cough* i am the one using a pick – the skin at my fingertips is simply too thin for playing the bass without it.

TMR: How tough is it to keep these unusual rhythms and tempo changes under control especially from Chris’s and Sylvia’s points of view in regards to the rhythm section? There’s so many odd sections and speed changes it takes serious talent and patience to perfect this music you all are creating.

Sylvia: Haha, yeah, sometimes it’s tough, but always fun & definitely worth all that work. In my case, dealing with weird-ish rhythms in contemporary classical music is helping a lot

.John: These tempo changes are actually changes of the subdivisions, like from regulars to triplets or quintuplets. So there’s always one tempo each song (the whole “Thoughts From A Stone” is based on 80 bpm!) as a red thread. Somehow Chris and I are both no fans of arbitrary tempo changes, we prefer to have calculative relationships.
About the rhythms, I want them to be expressive and convey certain feelings. Making a note longer or shorter can add a lot of tension – or release.

Chris: There’s no speed/tempo changes, every new rhythmic motif is modulated fluidly and precisely. Though it sounds like we’re high on ayahuasca or falling down the stairs simultaneously, we have an intricate road map that guides and prepares us for each section.

John: Aya … wut?

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TMR: What initially motivated everyone to get into classical music and eventually adding orchestral parts to Coma Cluster Void as well?

John: It’s just my way of thinking music (melody, harmony, rhythm) poured into different ensembles of instruments. For me, it’s the same, just different instruments. It seemed logical to me to frame the “metal songs” with this side of my music on our records. But also, contemporary “classical music“ is where I came from. I was always a metal listener, but starting a band came many years later.

Sylvia: As a classically trained musician, my musical socialization began with baroque and renaissance music, much Bach, and also contemporary music and jazz.

TMR: How come there aren’t any videos of John playing the classical pieces he has written? I personally loved “To Abandon Oneself”.

John: Thanks! Well, in classical music, composers and performers are specialised. Composers spend their time in mastering the craft of composition, and performers spend their time mastering the craft of performace and interpretation. So for me it’s rather weird to play in Coma Cluster Void – and I still see myself primarily as the composer in the band.

TMR: What led to Sylvia’s choice of the recorder and inspirations behind it? Excuse my lack of knowledge on the instrument, my only experience with one was the cheap plastic ones we were supplied with in grade school…..lol!

Sylvia: I started playing the recorder at age 7, first in a group at the music school from the second year on together with a friend. Since I grew up in the country side near the coast, sounds of wind and water were always present, and for me are best represented by the instrument recorder. Being a professional player, I often hear remarks like yours – it’s a pity that the instrument is rarely played on a concert level because children are tortured with it in school. Feel invited to explore my music and my videos on youtube and soundcloud ( https://www.youtube.com/sylviahinzrecorder / https://soundcloud.com/sylviahinz )! the recorder is an amazing instrument.

ccv_sylvia hinz and recorders

TMR: John you mentioned you did the artwork for both CCV releases and Thoren’s Brennenburg….do you have any other drawings/paintings/artworks you have done you would like to promote or share?

John: I do mixed media paintings on canvas and paper, but also digital artworks for my own band and other bands. There’ll be a lot more in the future (more dark, more grim), but for now there’s some recent, old and very old stuff on my deviantart-account: https://johnstrieder.deviantart.com

TMR: The most overused, stereotypical and annoying question in any interview that is asked every time……any new music on the horizon? 🙂

John: Definitely!!! I already have a good concept for the next record, and I’m full of riffs and ideas 😉

TMR: Thoughts From A Stone has a vinyl version I’m tempted to grab……any plans for Mind Cemeteries? The record itself looks hauntingly beautiful as well. That’s one thing I like from current vinyl releases, a lot of them are very artsy….my favorite being Between The Buried & Me’s Parallax EP and Parallax 2 full length box set vinyls. Absolutely stunning.

John: Yeah, I love good looking records and booklets you can dive into. Something that demonstrates to the listener that our music is everything to us. It was a great opportunity to create an etched vinyl. And indeed, a vinyl version of “Mind Cemeteries” is in the making. Thanks to the good people at Translation Loss!

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TMR: Who are some of your current favorite bands in the technical/progressive scene and the metal scene as well? And do any of you feel bands overdo themselves just to grab attention? That tends to happen occasionally in those genres.

John: My favourites are death metal bands especially of the 90’s that pushed metal to new heights and wrote albums that continue to be a great listen. Well-known bands like Morbid Angel, or forgotten ones like Excruciate.

Sylvia: Since i am constantly surrounded by sounds and noises, i don’t listen to music at all – only to the stuff my collaborators send to me for remixes or whatever action required. my favourite artist is silence.

Mike: For technical metal bands, I really dig Gigan, Artificial Brain and Gorguts to name a few. I am a big progressive rock/metal fan so I relate to that style more. Some of what I am or have been listening to are Caligula’s Horse, Wobbler, Porcupine Tree/Steven Wilson, Opeth, Anekdoten and Mondo Drag. This just scratches the surface because I listen to alot of prog. I do find some of the tech bands are too over the top for my taste. What I find happens is that, yeah they can play but it ends up lacking any real soul. Personal preference, that’s all.

Chris: Symphony X, Sikth, Meshuggah, and Opeth laid the groundwork for everything about great composition in progressive metal to my ears. There are many others of course but if I had to choose the top 4 it would be them.

TMR: What are you guys listening to these days in general and who are your favorite artists and bands?

John: In the metal realm, Albums like Cannibal Corpse’s „The Bleeding“ or Crowbar’s self-titled never cease to be a joyful listen. For dissonant art music, I have to mention Arnold Schoenberg, Alban Berg and Anton Webern, Ruth Crawford, György Ligeti, Sofia Gubaidulina, Brian Ferneyhough, Isabel Mundry, Rebecca Saunders, …

Sylvia: Rarely i listen to old school punk oder stuff like bone dance or einstürzende neubauten to survive bureaucratism.

Mike: All I do is listen to music. It’s a sickness I think, haha. I am heavily spinning the last two Tribulation records, all Hexvessel, the new Steven Wilson, Dunbarrow, the Miles Davis electric era, Pallbearer-Heartless, Dungen, Neurosis, Songs: Ohia, Spelljammer, Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen…….damn I could go on and on…

John: So in other words, when Mike is finished with all the listening, there’s nothing left for Sylvia anyway.

Chris: These days Thoren, Jordan Rakei w/ Richard Spaven, and Kimbra (lots of other trip pop artsists, too) are my #1 listening pleasures.

TMR: How did such a band from totally different parts of the world come together? Its not like you all live in the same neighborhood…..this is totally unique.

John: I just searched for the best musicians willing to go on a ride with me 😉

Sylvia: A couple of lucky coincidences & loads of listening & tons of messages – voilà!

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TMR: How was it going from a heavy and technical band like Cryptopsy to CCV for you Mike? They’re both metal, there’s no denying that….but they aren’t even remotely close as far as sound goes. Did you want to try something totally different you haven’t done before?

Mike: Yes for sure, the last thing I want to do is to repeat what I have done in the past. The past is the past, it’s all about moving forward. I never want to rehash the same shit. That said, there is a style to what I do that is wholly me but by opening yourself up to different approaches, it certainly helps you grow as a musician. I love a challenge and CCV has given me a chance to bring different ideas to the table, in a very extreme manner of course.

TMR: If any members have any music or art in general they want to plug in they have released or working on, please feel free to do so right here.

Sylvia: I have several ensembles, the most active ones are XelmYa, (a trio with me on recorders, Alexa Renger on violin and guests on violoncello: https://www.facebook.com/XelmYa ), and Umbratono (a mexican-german collaboration, consisting of me, and Antonio Rosales on bass clarinet, as well as guests on violin and violoncello). XelmYa can be heard on Mind Cemeteries and Thoughts From A Stone. I also do solo recitals, master classes, conducting, and other projects (https://www.facebook.com/Sylvia.Hinz.Recorder ) …

Mike: I have another project called Akurion ( https://www.facebook.com/AkurionOfficial/ ), it’s with Rob Milley on guitar (Neuraxis), Oli Pinard on bass (Cryptopsy) and Tommy McKinnon on drums (ex Neuraxis, ex Augury). We just finished up recording and it’s now in the hands of the wizard himself, John Strieder, who is handling the mixing and mastering of the album.

The album is called “Come Forth To Me” and we have several guest musicians helping out. Listen for the likes of Lord Worm, Luc Lemay, Jean-Marie Leblanc, Sylvia Hinz, Austin Taylor and Genevieve DiSalvo. It was great bringing in such talent to be a part of what we were doing. We are hopeful that the record will be released in October 2018.

John: Besides my pieces for classical instruments ( https://www.facebook.com/john.strieder.composer.artist/ ), I’m currently revisiting a 2007 founded microtonal metal project called Infinite Nomad ( https://www.facebook.com/Infinite.Nomad.Official ) with Lee Fisher on drums (ex Psyopus, Commit Suicide).

Austin: I make heavy sounds in Dimensionless ( https://dimensionless.bandcamp.com ) and recently I’ve been working on a new project: Self-Destructionist ( https://selfdestructionist.bandcamp.com/releases ).

 

TMR: It’s been great chatting with you guys and getting to know you all, and your artistic visions. I personally hope CCV is around forever, as are John’s uber creepy and awesome classical compositions. I have a new found respect for your group. Stay true to your art my friends.

Voidthrone to release sophomore LP “Kur” in May

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Voidthrone is a dissonant blackened death metal band that is geared up to release its second album on May 4th.  A short album preview was just released for your listening pleasure.  Upon listening I’m very intrigued being into dissonance and creepiness I think this will be a very fun and moody album.

 

The band is hoping to top their debut “Spiritual War Tactics” and gain serious ground with “Kur”.  There should be a full track ready in a few weeks, hopefully.

Kur Tracklisting
1. Modern Hellfire
2. Kur
3. Phantasm Epoch
4. Their Recursive Communion

Voidthrone is:
Ronald Foodsack (ex-Obnoxious) – Guitar, Phin (Thai stringed instrument)

Mac Boyd (ex-Dad Jazz) – Guitar

Joshua Keifer (ex-A Flourishing Scourge) – Drums

Austin Schmalz (Phorusrhacidae, ex-Topless Pit) – Bass

Zhenya Frolov (MCMJ) – Vocals

 https://www.facebook.com/voidthrone
 https://voidthrone.bandcamp.com/
https://twitter.com/voidthroneband
 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5bm3oUxXAkt7_kcj79VuHA
https://www.instagram.com/voidthronemetal/

Rivers Of Nihil- Where Owls Know My Name…..Best of 2018?

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Rivers of Nihil has been an underrated force in death metal in the modern age.  Their last album “Monarchy” was a modern day death metal masterpiece with sweet artwork to boot. What makes the Pennsylvania natives stand out more and more is their lack of concern what people think of their music.  R.O.N is out to make very obscure music in a fairly repetitive genre.  What makes “Where Owls Know My Name” a top release in my eyes very early in 2018 is their increased willingness to experiment……leading off, heavy use of saxophone throughout the album.  Yeah…..a big instrument in Jazz music used in death metal. Tacky, right? Not even close! It’s used perfectly to omit the greatest mood changes throughout the songs on the album.  Background instrument? No way, man. We’re talking about up close and personal….saxophone leads!

What else does their latest album also offer? Jake Dieffenbach sings on “Where Owls Know My Name” as well! The band’s first two albums were primarily growled, but the band threw some great curveballs for their third full length.  Andy from Black Crown Initiate (another grossly underrated progressive death metal band) sang lead vocals on the title track, as well.  This also marks the band’s new drummer Jared Klein as his first album he’s recorded with the band.  Guitarist Brody shines on this album as bright as the sun itself…..it’s awfully tough to put his efforts into words.

There’s also some occasional trumpets and acoustic guitars scattered throughout the album as well……..and even some keyboard/synthesizer parts as well.  Don’t let all of these experimental ideas and non traditional death metal elements turn anyone away.  The album is still plenty heavy for any metalhead no way has the band ditched its death metal roots.  The album has flawless production, as well.  I swear it checks every single box off on what was expected, and then some.

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The latest band photo was shot near a river….. No really, it was.

 

Rivers of Nihil delivers quite possibly the coolest and most complete album of 2018. I can’t say how happy I am the great coverage this album has gotten so far….this band has flown far under the radar for so long its about time people have woken up.  The album art is freaking amazing as well. I love unusual and creepy covers. There’s also some occasional electronics which weren’t prevalent before. “Where Owls Know My Name” is just perfect on every level……there is absolutely no weaknesses.  The worst part of the album is when its over…..good thing there’s the repeat option.

After you listen to the whole album buy the sonofabitch.

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