Hugo Doyon-Karout 2019 Interview

Beyond Creation and Obscura are my Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden for Technical/Progressive/Experimental music, and can say helped influence the creation (HAR HAR) of my website.  It’s with immeasurable excitement to announce I have successfully interviewed bassist Hugo of Beyond Creation, Brought By Pain and Equipoise.  Enjoy the read people! I hope you’re as excited as I am!

TMR: You’re such a proficient bassist and well trained….what made you want to jump into a death metal subgenre? What influenced it?

First of all, thank you for having me on here! It’s truly a pleasure for me! Thank you for that comment! I always loved the energy and uniqueness that metal has over other music styles and technical death metal is one of the subgenres that shines with those qualities. Also, I’ve always liked the challenging aspect of performing death metal!

TMR: Tell us how the Equipoise recording went. 

Pretty good overall, with quite some challenges too! I recorded the album at home using minimal gear and focusing on getting the cleanest takes possible, which ended up being very time-consuming but worth it in the end! I started recording right after my last studio session recording Beyond Creation’s ‘Algorythm’ so I was pumped and ready to do Equipoise’s ‘Demiurgus’ right away!

TMR: Are there any plans of playing some Equipoise shows?

We have been talking about it, but it’s still at that phase for now. There are 7 people in the band – most being in active and/or touring bands – so it would require proper management and scheduling to make it work for all of us. I think that touring is going to be inevitable at some point, but we’ll see!

TMR: Your main squeeze Beyond Creation released a fantastic album “Algorythm” last year. It seems to have been well received so far! Tell us about how the shows have gone supporting the album, and how making the album was as well. What did you guys specifically set out to do differently?

Thank you so much, I’m super happy you enjoy the record! Indeed, we are very grateful for the great response so far! All the shows we did supporting ‘Algorythm’ turned out amazing actually! We got on the road to perform the album in its entirety only about 2 weeks after it came out and we were surprised on the amount of people knowing the material, lyrics and song titles, it was truly a wonderful tour! The actual recording of the album was a very special experience for me, being my first time recording in a ‘real’ studio, and Christian Donaldson (Cryptopsy) at The Grid made it so much enjoyable! We actually have studio update videos as well as tour recap video on our Youtube Channel for anyone who wants more insights on the studio/live side of things! For ‘Algorythm’ we wanted to do something a bit more dynamic and rich without going off the tracks of Beyond Creation’s signature sound. We’re always trying to reach the next level musically and to make music that we would listen to ourselves. Also, we took the opportunity to reach new kind of fans and welcome them into the tech-death subgenre with this progressive and intricate album.

TMR: What and who made you want to pick up a bass?

I had musicians in my family, but none of them played bass, so I though I’d just fill in on bass! I stuck to it and made it a passion and priority! I also learned guitar and drums not long later, but have not been able to practice as much as bass! As with any skill, you need to focus on one at a time to really shine!

TMR: Describe your emotions and feelings on recording your first album with the band since you joined.

It’s a pretty awesome feeling to finally be playing my own bass lines after so many shows playing Forest’s. Don’t get me wrong here, I absolutely love his work and what he brought to the band’s sound! But for some reason it’s always more exciting to deliver you own material and I have to say that BC’s fans and fellow bassists have been giving me the most amazing feedback, which I want to thank everyone for! This kind of duty obviously comes with its challenges but it turned out immensely positive overall for me!

TMR: Let’s be honest, when you joined Beyond Creation you had huge shoes to fill with Forest Lapointe leaving. And I’m in the crowd who thinks you’re doing a fine job at that, and adding your own style to their music and now helped write your first album with them. Was any of that going through your head at first?

Thank you so much man! Yes of course. Forest is and always be one of my favourite bassists so at first it was quite inconceivable to take his place in the band. I have to admit that circumstances made my life a bit easier, having joined the band only a few months after the release of “Earthborn Evolution”, I had plenty of time to develop my technique and sound as a fretless bassist before actually having to write and perform on a record. Also, as I mentioned above, I’ve been receiving tons of supportive vibes from the fans as well as from my bandmates so it’s been quite smooth.

TMR: Can you give some fellow artists tips to shrug off negativity? Not all of us can always handle it. Some people have ripped Algorythm I think they’re nuts for doing so!

Sure thing! Remind yourself why you’re doing music in the first place! Also, consider yourself lucky enough to have people actually check out your stuff, even if they leave negative feedback, can’t be worse than having zero feedback right ? There are so many bands out there trying to get their name out, there’s no time to get caught up in negativity! Take their advice for what its worth to you and move on. Instead of reading comments, you could be playing music, or just enjoying life, going outside, meditating etc! Even though musicians usually do music quite seriously and tend to blend their personal life with their professional life, I think it’s crucial to be able to disconnect from what you’re doing in life and tune in to who you really are deep inside. If you think what you’re doing is important, you need to take a vacation!

TMR: What tour plans do you have with Beyond Creation this year and next year in 2020? And please don’t take another handful of years between albums again

So far we have a Latin America Tour planned in April 2019 as well as an Autralian/New Zealand tour in May. Everything else is still in the works/not ready to announce yet! Oh don’t you worry we will absolutely take another handful of years until we release another record brother! We have ZERO interest in rushing into new music! I don’t think it’s fair from fans to take a band for granted and act as if they owed them any new music. As a matter of fact, that is the kind of pressure that would likely discourage an artist from creating and releasing an honest piece of music. This is serious business guys, some people actually end up taking their own life because of that kind of pressure/attitude from fans towards them. Part of the problem is that we are getting used to consumerism and instant gratification in modern society, so we are constantly in need of new things to keep our brains filled with more and more dopamine. That’s why people like singles and EPs! They get their fix, stream the song a few times online for free and move on : their brain chemistry is unbalanced! Again, it’s not fair to expect anything from an artist based on our own perception of time. With that being said, I will be working on new music all year with my other bands Conflux and Brought by Pain (on top of Equipoise’s album release March 8th and tons of session work). Back to Beyond Creation, one thing that we enjoy a whole lot is touring, especially in places we’ve never been before. So we’re really looking forward to take the time that we need to visit as many countries and continents as we can on the ‘Algorythm’ album cycle. And that alone can take a handful of years 🙂 

TMR: You guys seem to have a solid chemistry artistically and really “click”. Explain the band dynamics and how important being fluid and understanding each other musically and as people as well.

I think that the easiest thing about being in a band is playing your instrument! What’s not so easy to everybody and also not that obvious is the requirement in social and communication skills to thrive as a bandmate. Most of the things that happen in a band do not require to play your instrument, especially in self-managed band like Beyond Creation. Think about what’s essential to develop to be able to go out on the road with 4 to 20 other people for 25+ consecutive shows without losing your mind, but actually enjoying it from all faces and being excited to go back multiple times a year, for many years to come. To me, it has always been important that everyone feel part of the same “family” and have the best time possible doing music altogether, and luckily it’s been a priority for Simon, Kevin and Philippe as well. Everything else seems to come naturally when you already have sense of fulfillment from being with each other and living our craziest dream!

TMR: What’s your favorite song from “Algorythm”?

I always tend to consider the title track as my favourite, but I think that each song has a very unique vibe that deserve my own recognition. 

TMR: Describe your favorite tour you have been a part of, and what made it great or special.

Great question! When I look in the past, I try to learn from it and move on. So I would say each and every tour was my favourite since they each provided me with so much personal growth and insight about what makes me happy and give me a sense of fulfillment. Each tour has been super special and made it possible for us to meet new friends, fans and develop better practices as a business, so I highly value each one of them equally!

TMR: Any new Brought By Pain music?

Yes, as stated earlier! We’re working on a full-length, which I’m pretty stoked about!!

TMR: Tour plans for Brought By Pain?

Yep, nothing concrete as of right now, but we definitely plan on getting this band on the road again and again! 

TMR: What was it like getting that band off the ground and on some tours? Do you expect it to be a constant or just occasionally tour?

It’s been great! We consider ourselves lucky to have so many dedicated followers and fans that are constantly spreading the word about us! It’s always more demanding to get things rolling properly and get out of the ‘friendzone’ (if I can allow myself such metaphor) but always worth it in the end! I think in the long run it’s going to be both constant and occasional, taking the opportunity whenever we can, without forcing things!

Don’t forget to check out the latest Equipoise single from their upcoming album!

Here’s my favorite song from the latest Beyond Creation opus.  Yeah, maybe Hugo’s tasteful bass lead at the end has something to do with it. It RIPS. Don’t fool yourself.

A Novelist- Folie


Progressive Death Metal duo A Novelist is dropping their second album on February 8th and we have our opinion on the upcoming album, as well as an interview!

The guys have put out a unique and unusual album….much more weirder than what can be expected out of progressive bands.  It’s very inconsistent and moody, which I loved from the get go.  It’s emotional, without a doubt.  It’s very melodic and jazzy at times, as well.  I think it’s a very unique mix of music only artistic and musical people will enjoy more, as it’s not suited for commercial airwaves or your average person to be honest.  Their vast sound goes back to classic prog rock artists of the 60’s and 70’s (with some keys/organs and some synth along the way), some gutturals and beautiful singing to compliment their ambience and heaviness.  That isn’t the only influx of inspiration! Marc Linam was a guest musician on the album adding more weirdness that was a warm welcome….he did Tenor, Alto, Baritone and C melody saxophone! He also contributed Clarinet, oboe and flute to the album as well.  Now you can see how wide, interesting and  unusual the sound of A Novelist is! It’s so cool, and so breathtaking.

1. Folie Noire
2. Exteriors
3. Tombeau
4. Apparitions
5. His Kingdom is Vast
6. Strangers in the House of Auto-da-Fe
7. Acacia Crown
8. Caveat Lector
9. Stockholm Blues
10. Crestfallen
11. Learning Paralysis
12. Interiors

A Novelist:
Ben Nugent – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Keys, Effects
Alex Babineaux – Drums 


This is definitely going to go down as one of the most unique, original and cooler releases of 2019.  It’s going on the second (almost third) week of the year, so I might as well begin my best of 2019 list with releases like this and Marc Durkee’s!  To further elaborate on their sound, there’s a lot of modern progressive influences like The Contortionist and Protest The Hero as well.  A Novelist is one of the better best kept secrets, well that shouldn’t be a secret anymore to be honest.  They’re so original not many bands I could rattle off for the heck of it are so original.  Maybe the Dillinger Escape Plan because they were pretty tough to describe as well.  They’re THAT unique. Ben’s guitar playing is so wild, yet can be very tame and melodic at points.  He’s a pretty diverse guitar player Check out their upcoming release “Folie” and pre order it right here.


One of the less laid back songs, and more in your face technical wild offerings.  There’s also some longer, wild epic adventures of insanity.  This one is a straight tech shredder. 


The interview was conducted with both members, Ben and Alex. Enjoy!

TMR: Can you explain to everyone else how “Folie” is different than your debut album “Portraits”?

Ben Nugent:  

A lot of time passed between the time Portraits was written versus the material for Folie. By the time Portraits was released, we had already written material for three additional albums and matured on our instruments quite a bit. With Folie, we took our time and focused a lot more on consistency, songwriting, and dynamics.

Alex Babineaux:

I think the biggest difference on this new album was our approach to songwriting. Portraits had a free flowing style where very few parts repeat, if ever. We made a serious attempt to improve our song structuring, and I think we really succeeded. Folie has a variety of different song structures ranging from traditional pop format to the free form style of Portraits.  

TMR: I really love the wild sound you guys have created.  What factors influenced you creating such artistic and unusual music? Was it because you wanted to stand out? Or is it just because your musical tastes are diverse and all over the place? It’s a truly wonderful album, by the way.

Ben Nugent: 

 First off, thank you. We like to get weird. It’s always surprising to hear that someone else likes our music. By the time the album comes out, we have already played and recorded the material so many times and written so many variations of it that sometimes we can really lose our objectivity, though I can say that without a doubt that what other people like has zero influence on our writing. This album is just what we were hearing in our heads and what we were wanting to hear and play when we wrote the music. This album was actually written some time ago and an earlier version of one of the songs was written as far back as thirteen years ago. As far as influences are concerned, experience can obviously not be overlooked. To tell you the truth, I cannot offhand point to particular songs or albums that directly influenced anything that we have written. Feeling is a big part of what we do. I think that we are categorized sometimes as genre bending or tech death or whatever but none of those things occur to us at all when writing the material. We hear it, feel it, play it, and if it feels right, then we know it’s right. As far as bands or composers that definitely changed how I thought about music when I was younger I can give you these in no specific order, The Mars Volta, Necrophagist, The Black Dahlia Murder, Gorgoroth, Emperor, Behemoth, The Red Chord, At the Drive-in, Poison the Well, Hate Eternal, Pink Floyd, Obscura, Led Zeppelin, At the Gates, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Penderecki, Chopin, Beethoven, Hendrix, Radiohead, Miles Davis, Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Opeth, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Allen Holdsworth, Immortal, Ray Charles, Dr. John, and James Brown.

Alex Babineaux:

The sound that we’ve arrived at on this album I think is part of a long progression for both of us that began before we ever met. I was never interested in making music in order to be popular or anything like that. I’ve only ever wanted to make music that I wanted to listen to. We’re both into a wide variety of music, and I think that really shows this time around. We made something that we can both enjoy as a fan as well as be proud of creatively. I really love this record, and it makes me happy that you feel the same way. I really appreciate that. 


TMR: What motivated you guys to start the band? Was it a spur of the moment decision?

Ben Nugent:  

 We just wanted to play extreme music. We were both looking for what the other person had for quite some time and when we found it, we jumped at the opportunity to play with each other.

Alex Babineaux:

 As I said before, I’ve been wanting to make music for my own enjoyment since I was able to play. I had jammed with other people before, but I never made a commitment to any projects because they just weren’t doing it for me. When I met Ben in my first semester of college he showed me a few early A Novelist songs he had been working on. I was immediately blown away and wanted to play it. One of those songs was actually an old version of Strangers in the House of Auto-da-Fe which was then called Idee Fixe. I wouldn’t call it a spur of the moment decision, but as far as my involvement in the project was concerned, I knew this was the music for me in an instant. 


TMR: Explain the theme of “Folie” and it’s artwork.  How does it all connect? Is it a concept album?

Ben Nugent:  

If you are lucky, you will meet people in your life that make an immensely positive impact on who you become as a person. The album is a fictionalized account of the last five years of one of these people’s lives. It is also an attempt at some level to contribute to some commentary on the social climate currently in the US. In some ways what happened to this person is what Henry Rollins refers to as “The America”. This person gladly gave their whole life to other people and serving their community and in the end was absolutely devoured by it but never once complained. To me, the artwork symbolizes that we live in a world where everyone is a wolf, some just make an effort to appear otherwise. Folie is French for madness. We live in Louisiana where you have a lot of French heritage and interchanging of English and French words.

Alex Baubineaux: 

For this question I will defer to Ben’s answer. One cool thing to note though is that the artwork for the album is actually a painting that hung in our old practice space for several years. Beyond its symbolic meaning in relation to the content of the album, there’s also a personal and sentimental value to it for me, and I think for Ben too. We made a lot of memories in that place, and it makes me extremely happy to see that image on Bandcamp and all the various streaming platforms. 

A Novelist band photo 1

Looks like the guys are being held hostage….?


TMR: Are there any plans to play shows promoting your music or is it strictly studio based?

Ben Nugent:  

You know, we had tried for years to get a working live lineup together. It is really difficult to find people that are dedicated enough to play this sort of material let alone learn it. We are also really busy in our personal lives. The times that we have found musicians that could play the material, they had other stuff going on. In the future, it would be great to play some shows, but currently we are a studio project.


Alex Baubineaux:

For the time being, we are strictly studio based. We played one show back in 2011 when we had somewhat of a working lineup going, but it wasn’t great and we weren’t really ready for that. Since then it’s just been Ben and I, and finding musicians to play this stuff isn’t easy in Louisiana. It could possibly happen one day, but we both work a lot and live in separate cities so its not the easiest thing for us to put together. As it stands right now, our efforts are focused on recording the 3rd album.


TMR: How did you guys meet up to form A Novelist? Explain your band’s history.

Ben Nugent:  

I had been writing by myself for a while and at some point met another local guy and we scratched around for a bit, but that was ultimately not fruitful. We even hired Darren Cesca for some session drums, but honestly, at the time we were not serious enough to work with him. I’m sure this is common in most places, but in Louisiana, you have these pockets around the state where you have groups of really great players, but they are tiny and super difficult to find. Typically, they are in the larger cities like Lafayette, New Orleans, Shreveport, etc. These groups of players in each area will also make up several different acts. This is because where we live, there are very few people that listen to metal and even fewer playing it. If they do listen to metal, it is stuff like Pantera, Crowbar, Down, etc. which is great, but those people usually hate death metal or anything else fast. Oddly enough, those same people usually dig Goatwhore. In any event, fast playing is typically looked down on here even by people who claim to “play metal”. There really is a limited pool of players to draw from that like and/or can actually play death metal or black metal. So, you learn to play other instruments to pick up the slack. When you find someone who does play on the level, you are basically dying to jam with them to see if they can fit that piece of your puzzle. Before Alex and I played together we both had several instances of driving all over Louisiana to play with people who were “into metal”. Anyways, I moved to Lafayette for school and saw this guy in philosophy class with an Immortal shirt. He looked like a drummer, and I motioned so as to imitate someone playing a blast beat. He instantly knew what I was doing and the rest is history.


Alex Baubineaux:

Ben and I met in Philosophy 101 at UL Lafayette back in I believe 2007. One day in particular I went to class in my Sons of Northern Darkness Immortal shirt. When I was walking to my desk Ben called my name a made this gesture at me with his hands like he was playing a blast beat while mouthing the words “do you?” or something along those lines if my memory serves me correct. I remember laughing because I have no idea how he made that call, but I shook my head yes and we got to talking after class. We ended up realizing some time later that we had met once before at a Derek Roddy drum clinic when I was in high school, but that was a pretty brief encounter. It didn’t take long after our first conversation for Ben to start emailing me song demos and new riffs and stuff. The first time we played together it was just for fun and I don’t think we had established I would be the actual drummer for this project since he had already been paying Darren Cesca for session work. It must have gone pretty well because I started driving up to Ben’s place weekly not long after that. 

TMR: What is your favorite song off of “Folie” you enjoy the most or are the most proud of?

Ben Nugent:  

Well, I am proud of all the songs on the album, but I can give you my top five.

Strangers in the House of Auto da Fe is a song that I originally wrote thirteen years ago. I knew it had a lot of potential but it wasn’t right at the time, so I held on to it, and we worked it over. It’s like The Little Engine That Could.

Caveat Lector is the fourth part of a suite of six songs that are supposed to be played from beginning to end. Often times when you record stuff, the final result after production may not be what you had in mind. With this song, it is exactly what I heard in my head. I think it’s a very dynamic song and sort of showcases our writing and playing abilities.

Interiors is the last song on the album and is another song that was originally written aeons ago that was re-worked into something really impressive considering its origins.

Tombeau is the third song on the album. The title of the song is taken from a type of French funerary song written for lute and guitar. This song had some of my craziest guitar work on it at the time this album was written and I am still very proud of it. Musically, it serves as an homage to the guitarists that really influenced my playing.

Apparitions is the fourth song on the album. This is another song that I think showcases our writing and playing ability really well. This song is also sort of an homage to all those bands that let me know it’s okay to get weird.

Alex Baubineaux:

My favorite song to listen to is “Interiors”. It’s the first “new” song that we demoed after completing work on Portraits, and I’ve been really attached to it ever since. It’s been reworked a lot since its original inception, but it’s only gotten better I think. I personally am a big fan of music on the more somber side, and I think this one has some pretty soul crushing moments. 

TMR: Time to choose between your two children.  What album do you guys like more? If it’s the new album, we understand, it’s your newest addition to the family. 

Ben Nugent:  


Alex Baubineaux:

Easily Folie. I have a weird relationship with Portraits because I think I’m a different musician now than I was then. When I listen to it I think of all the things I would have done differently. I still think it’s good, but Folie is a much more focused effort. 

TMR: How do you think you have grown as artists between “Portraits” and the upcoming release “Folie”? What did you set out to do differently or did the music and writing just flow?

Ben Nugent:  

Hopefully, as you get older your playing branches out and becomes better and more diverse. Those two things are not mutually exclusive, but it seems evident to me in our playing and writing. After a while of playing together, you sort of slowly start getting the bullshit out. It’s all an exercise with the goal of getting to that sort of unadulterated mainline. I don’t know that we ever set out to do anything other than make the album we wanted to hear. There are a lot of things that you notice later that are just a byproduct of your writing. I think that we have both learned each other’s writing styles, but still know how to make each other uncomfortable. I think that is how you grow. We can push each other to the point of insanity at times, but there is always resolution because we get each other and that’s a special thing.

Alex Baubineaux:

Playing with Ben in general has been pushing me to grow as a musician since day 1. He has that sort of quality about him that makes you want to try and keep up. I’d say the area in which I’ve grown the most between these two releases is in my writing. I’ve learned to incorporate some styles and elements that come from outside of metal and worked them into these fast and heavy songs. I learned to have more fun when making these songs instead of pushing myself to only play faster, or only write heavier. The drums are still pretty intense though given this change in approach, but I find they just make more sense now. One new thing you may notice is some of these songs incorporate different variations of what are referred to as “Dirk blasts” named after Dirk Verbeuren. If you’re not familiar with what this is, I highly recommend checking the technique out on youtube. It’s some really fun stuff to play, and it opens some options up to the drummer to maintain high speeds without killing yourself. 

TMR: Who are some of your favorite underground bands of any genre you’re into right now? Provide links too, so our followers can check ’em out! That’s what we are here for, to promote and share great music!

Ben Nugent:  

Forming the Void –

Arbre Mort –

Aequus Nox –

Feral Errol –

Golgothan –

Trance Farmers –

Alex Baubineaux:

I don’t typically gravitate to much techy music these days, or a whole lot of death metal in general. I still really like that stuff, but my attention has just gone elsewhere in recent years. I’ve been really into a lot of Blackgaze bands for a while now (.neon by Lantlos is one of my favorite albums ever), and even am working on a project in that style called Good Hunter. I’m also pretty into Atmospheric Black metal, and I guess what would be considered “post-black” and things of that sort. Possibly my favorite album of 2018, Ember, was written by a Blackgaze band called Trautonist who I think deserves a lot more attention. I’ve also been digging White Ward’s debut from 2017. They have similar ideas to us when it comes to incorporating Noir elements and saxophone in metal music, but with an approach all their own. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Mare Cognitum, Mol, Der Weg Einer Freiheit, An Autumn for Crippled Children, Heretoir, Drab Majesty, Grave Pleasures, A Forest of Stars, and Unreqvited lately.

TMR: What do you do for fun? Tell us a bit about yourselves outside of the wide world of music.

Ben Nugent:

Music is what I do for fun. Alex and I also both play and write in a black metal band called Nethermost Majesty with our good friend Eric Clark. We are working on putting out an album soon. Alex also has a project he’s working on with our good friend Ty Hebert. I am currently working on a piano/vocal album that is in the vein of some more traditional Louisiana music. The third album for A Novelist is already. We are taking our time to get it just right, but it will definitely be our most intense album to date.

Alex Baubineaux:

Apart from music I’m really into fighting games. Stuff like Street Fighter, Marvel vs Capcom, Guilty Gear, etc. There’s a pretty thriving competitive scene for these games, and I like to follow it the same as I do something like football (go Saints). Typically I like to use my free time doing important things that matter, like taking funny pictures of my cats wearing costumes or spending way too much energy making bad memes.

TMR: Now, list your biggest underdog or up and coming band you think is gonna be a huge hitter or influence in the metal or prog or tech scenes. Choose one band only!

Ben Nugent:

This will probably seem lame, but I don’t find many new bands that I really like a lot. As far as underground bands that could really blow up, there is a band from Lafayette, La called Forming the Void. They are a really solid proggy doom band, and I could imagine them gaining critical acclaim for sure.

Alex Baubineaux:

This one is tough because I don’t listen to many bands of the tech or prog varieties that aren’t already pretty established. I will say though that I think 10 or so years from now, Inferi will be regarded as one of the biggest bands in the scene. 

Interview: Cory Coleman, Chernobyl Agency 2019

Just when he thought he’d be done with promoting, Cory Coleman (Chernobyl Agency, ex-FTMP) got sucked back in. And naturally, I was curious about some things, and he was sweet to let me share them with you. Have a look!

Vick Sacha: How long have you been promoting? What made you want to start booking shows?
Cory Coleman: The start was in summer of 2013, but I didn’t really grasp what I was
doing until December of that year. The first few shows I did were
absolutely terrible, admittedly; disorganized, maybe a dozen people
there, etc. As a lot of people my age, we’ve all been involved in this
scene/community in some way for a while. I remember I was 18, street
teaming and what not, then I went to performing, then I felt like I
could make some good shows happen. I got asked to help with some shows
over that summer, as I stated, but I made a giant 3-stage/32 band
festival in December that started off my Live Alive series. Of all of
them, I think you’ve been at one; I had Rings Of Saturn for one of
them in 2014.

VS: And alas, I ceased giving shits about them that night. Anyway, Who’s been your favourite band to bring into town?
CC: Its a few; Lakota De Kai, Kaonashi, Second Death, Motives. I don’t
really book bands that I’m not a fan of, or that I’m not close with,
so its really hard to narrow it down to favourites.

VS: Who are your favourite locals to work with?
CC: Favourite locals? Inertia is at the top of the list, even though I
probably annoy their drummer hard by always mentioning that they
should do a Calamity From The Skies reunion. Grizzly Run is filled
with people I’ve known for half of my life, and they are doing a great
job of blending their old school influences into a sound that isn’t
catering to popular metalcore, but isn’t exactly a throwback either.

VS: Who’s been awful to work with?
CC: Awful to work with; one was a pop-punk touring band that was just
basically pissed the whole time because they knew I had tried to drop
their tour, since the headliner (who was the only reason I took the
tour) dropped. They actually told me (not realizing I was the
promoter,) that they just wanted to “play their set and get out of
there,” The other was this rather….interesting kid, who booked his
“band” on a show of mine. For weeks, he told me he never received
tickets, so I told him to just bring whoever he could. Show time
happens, and not only is his “band” not there, but tickets are being
handed in that, because of the tracking on my ticketing site, were
his. Turns out, his “band” didn’t exist. Good news; he realistically
only scammed me out of like $16, so in the grand scheme, not that
crazy of a screwjob or anything. There was also a band from Watertown
I think, that hopped on a show that just had like a $6 ticket attached
to it, sold nothing, but told the venue that they were “promised” $60,
so the venue paid them and then made us pay them back. I have a good
solid 3-5 bands on my “blacklist” locally. And probably a dozen or so
on the larger scales.

VS: What’s your favourite currently open venue?
CC: My heart tells me I’m supposed to say Casa Di Francesca’s because
that’s where we do things, but honestly, I’m giving it to the Rec Room.
Chris Ring/After Dark did a fantastic job of creating a comfortable
venue that fits quite a crowd, but also gives people room to escape
with the upstairs areas. We actually had an event there in the first
few weeks, when we hosted Storming The Heavens. Might not be the last
one we do there either….so stay tuned.

VS: How about one that’s closed?
CC: Closed venue; SO MANY. I’ll say The Icon, loved the area there, I
wanted to look into reopening that myself, but it doesn’t appear to be
for sale. A runner-up mention is warranted for Palmeri’s in Niagara
Falls, and Evolution in Depew. I got to see ETID/Poison The
Well/others at Evolution, and up until last year, that was my favorite
ETID holiday show.

VS: If you could bring anyone to town that you haven’t already, who?
CC: Honestly, its dream-booking for me; I’d want to bring Poison The Well
or Drowningman back. I’ve got a lot of bands on my radar that I want
to bring here; The Drowned God, Lionheart, if the Jonbenet would stop
fucking teasing and give us a reunion, I’ll book that in a second.

VS: I don’t think that many people actually know you founded/ helped found
FTMP. Have you really been in the shadows more compared to your fellow
FTMP cohorts?
CC: I will correct that assumption; FTMP was created probably a full year
and a half before I joined on. As far as the shadows are concerned, it
wasn’t intentional, but it wasn’t displeasing to be considered in the
shadows compared to them. I was, and still am, very picky when it
comes to who/what I will book. So when I’m booking 1 show a month,
compared to the 12-15 my cohorts were doing, the shadows is where I
would be. Most knew I was part of the organization, they just rarely
saw me. One of the main differences I noticed between myself and the
remainder was that I would schedule shows around my job, where they
would schedule their job accordingly to ensure they could do all those
shows. Kudos to them for the time-management, but I just didn’t feel
the  need to book more than a couple times a month, so it was what it

VS: You obviously had a falling out with Greg, can you briefly (and
vaguely, if you see fit) go through the sequence of events that led to
your decision to quitting?

CC: I have avoided this question for almost a full year. Not for lack of
things to say, not for any reason other than I didn’t think it would
benefit anyone.
To describe everything and do it justice, i’d have to write you a
thesis paper. To summarize, a lot of business decisions were made that
I didn’t agree with over a couple years before the falling out in
question. I’ve called it a “divorce,” and I remember being told that
the other side had proclaimed that “I didn’t share their vision”, and
that is probably the best way either of us would be able to put it. So
as much as mud-slinging could happen, I’d honestly rather leave it in

VS: If events panned out differently, would you still have stepped out of
the promoting game, even for a brief hiatus?
CC: What happened was less than desirable. In early December, I was
silently suffering from post-concussion syndrome, I was having trouble
sleeping to the point of hallucinating. It was physically making me
unable to function other than going to work, and even then I was
basically on autopilot. I couldn’t quit my job, so booking had to be
the one thing to go. So I made my sad announcement, and it was going
to be done. I had 5 shows left. The first one got cancelled due to
illness in the band, the second was due to all but one band dropping,
and the third was rerouted and I couldn’t secure the new date due to a
show that I found out did about 6 people. So out of that, I had 2
shows that went on as scheduled. I didn’t even attend what was my
“final” show; I hired someone to work that.
When I retired, I realistically wanted to possibly come back after
summer was over, do a couple shows to make amends for the cancelled
ones, and walk away with no regrets. Of course, when you go 2 for 5 in
the end of your run, you can’t be content with that. So, I discussed
rescheduling a couple things for a proper sendoff, ending my career
before the summer ended. That was the plan, however….

VS: You’ve been suckered back into promoting by a pretty solid group of
individuals. Who are they?  And how’d they convince you to come back,
especially so soon?
CC: The idea was to do a few shows with bands we wanted to bring here,
which has been my idea the whole time, just bringing bands we wanted
here. The grand scheme was to find/remodel and reopen a venue of our
choosing. This is still the plan, we’re just taking our time in doing
so, but we’re having fun booking the things we’ve done.
The agency itself is 5 people; myself, Felix Cruz & Ed Slowinski are
the “main” agents, so to speak. We’ve also contracted Rachel Surdi for
our design and marketing help because she’s amazing at what she does,
and Kahlil Sarikey from Inertia fame has stepped up to help us at
shows whenever his schedule aligns with ours, and I’m happy to have him
in any capacity, as he’s just an all-around great dude to be around.
I didn’t take much convincing after the initial comeback. It somehow
worked where the transition from my “tying up loose ends” May comeback
to a full-scale thing was seamless. I filed for our LLC, starting
purchasing new sound equipment to bolster the sound at our spots, and
we’ve generally been doing what we can to improve ourselves every

VS: Why’d you choose the name, “The Chernobyl Agency”?
CC: When I first came back on the scene in 2013, I was the frontman for
critically-acclaimed (by maybe 3 people) metalcore band My Girl,
Chernobyl. The credit for the name goes to my dear friend Sarah, the
explanation behind it is very 2013 of me, as I’d proclaim “what girl
isn’t a meltdown?” Fast forward 6 years later, and I’m the meltdown at
this point.

VS: How did you convince a relatively fancy Italian restaurant to start
hosting metal/ hardcore shows?
CC: That happened by chance, I think we were going to just stick to
quieter/indie alternative shows there, but we took a chance and put a
heavier show there due to time frame, and it worked well. Ever since
then, we’ve had great success there, and honestly, the relationships
we have with our showgoers is essential to that. All I ever ask
patrons to do is make sure the respect the venue that is allowing us
to do this.

VS: CA hasn’t been around a whole year yet, but has already garnered
national attention.  Did you use this boost to your advantage?
CC: I saw us doing good things, but I did not see it happening this
quickly. I remember the national attention happened within a 4 day
time span; I got a call at work from an agent who wanted to ensure that
his act could find a last-minute show due make up for a cancellation.
This act ended up being Sworn In, and due to the unorthodox nature of
it being in an Italian restaurant, the internet was eating it up (pun
not intended, but not being taken out either). This has resulted in a
couple more bands coming under our radar, a few more things being
offered to us. Every show we do, we still have people telling us that
its wild that the restaurant is allowing us to do such a thing. I
think its great, I wish more venues would be open to the idea of
hosting things once in a while.

VS: What can we expect from CA in the future? Do you already have plans
for, er, expansion?
CC: Expansion has been talked about, mostly to further the reach of not
only our local bands, but the neighboring cities locals as well. I’ve
discussed adding a couple more people to the roster, but that will
probably come at a time when we book a non-metal show, as I’ve lost
touch with  a lot of the bands in the other genres. Mostly, we’re just
going to spend 2019 trying to put on crazy shows and even weirder

Interview: Contrarian, 2019

International prog/death Contrarian are about to release one of this year’s most outstanding albums. Project masterminds Brian Mason and Jim Tasikas were kind enough to allow me to pick their brains a bit about Their Worm Never Dies, the future of Contrarian, and, well, you’ll just have to take a look for yourself!


What’s the story and inspiration behind this concept album? How’d you come up with it?

Jim: I always begin the creative process with a story in my head. The story is then translated into the artwork. And then finally, I begin the song writing process. In this album, we really wanted to dive in head first into an old school approach on the concept. Much of the music today is very opinionated and thus casting judgements. This time around we really wanted just a fantasy concept with cool story and characters, much in the vein of King Diamond or Iron Maiden.


What relation does this have to do with the bible verse, Mark 9:48?

Brian: The bible verse, I believe, is Jesus talking about a dump that represents hell and it’s a quite literal thing. You’ll be eternally eaten by maggots in an endless fire. Jim chose a whole different approach to that for this story and combined it with a few different lores.

Jim: Yes, this concept fantasy borrows from three classic stories. The idea of the Evil Eye in Mediterranean cultures, the story of the Anglo-Dragon Whiteworm, and obviously some twists of the aforementioned quote in the bible.


You’ve said Their Worm is better than To Perceive is to Suffer, what specifically about this album makes you think that?

Brian: I think the songs have a few years of song-writing practice behind them. They feel more complete and thought out to me. This record has a definite feel to it that I enjoy. I also think the mix and production of the album is far superior. Lastly, the concept aspect of it helps really make it a complete unit.

Jim: The songs are streamlined in a way that I believe catch the listener in the proper way without sacrificing the refined detail that we are trying to achieve.


What’s your favourite track off this record?

Brian: I’m torn between “Whomesoever…” and “Among the Misled”. The former is just a great, epic tune and that entire middle section gives me chills still. The latter is just such an odd song, but it grooves hard when it grooves. I just love the drums on “Among the Misled” as well.

Jim: Since the last album, I have been getting messages and reviews saying something like “great songwriting, but you guys need to let loose on a few tracks!” Well, the final track on the new album, we do just that!


Do you think this is going to be your Magnum Opus? Or is that farther off in the future?

Brian: So far, this is beyond my favorite. We are also always changing and switching things up, so who knows.

Jim: We definitely have a few more in us and some great ideas!


In a previous interview, Brian said that the band, musically, is “where we should be”. Can you elaborate more on that?

Brian: I just feel the first two had some growing pains attached to them, both in writing and performance. I feel with this record, we have found our pocket. I feel we have the right formula right now. We have the right balance of tightness and looseness. We gave our engineer, George Bokos, a massive headache with mixing and mastering to make sure it was where we wanted it to be. That stuff feels locked in now. We both like things to have a live feel them. For instance, I don’t ever write solos for Contrarian. When the record button gets pushed, that’s when I’m writing the solo. I like the looseness it creates. Odd bends and weird runs sometimes make it in and I love that. A minor squeak in the rhythm track is always welcome. I feel we have the right amount of that stuff in this production. Old school.


With Their Worm nearing its release date, you’ll have released three LPs in less than three and a half years. Will frequent releases be a continuing trend with Contrarian?

Jim: Yes, of course! I believe for us, the creative process is the main focus and enjoyment always!


You never seem to never stop writing, so how far is album #4 on the horizon? Or perhaps I should be asking how close is it?

Brian: Correct… Jim never stops writing. A concept is already figured out for another new album and artwork is being created.

Jim: We are trying to follow the Iron Maiden model of a new album, every two years!


Aside from Contrarian, George [Kollias], (Nile) has only done vocals for his own solo project (and an old band in the 1990s). And truthfully, I wasn’t even aware that he could do vocals until Perceive. When did you decide that he would do vocals for the latest two releases?

Jim: Being in Contrarian, you have to be a certain type of metalhead. It is very cerebral. We all have to be in sync with the concept and vision at hand. Without sounding too precious, you have the be a veteran/educated metalhead as well. The fact that everyone in the band is a Generation X-er I believe is an advantage for us. It is an advantage because we are old enough to have a natural memory of metal since its conception, and young enough to be up to date on modern trends within the genre. Hence, it just naturally happened George ending up doing the vocals.


The two of you are interested in a vast array of music, and I think it’s safe to assume the same for the other guys in the band. So simply, why progressive death metal? As opposed to, well, anything else?

Brian: Because I have done everything else. Ha. Seriously, it comes from the time Jim and I grew up in the 80’s. Death, Atheist and Cynic were, and still are, huge on my influence list and I was happy to finally get the opportunity to do something along those lines.

Jim: Nostalgia, simply put. As Brian said, we are of that generation. I think that is why people are surprised to find out that our music is not a generic parody, and they really appreciate that.


It’s been a minute or two since you’ve played a live show. Now that you’re about to release another solid record, what’s the likelihood for a tour?

Brian: I have a few commitments with other bands to handle, but that usually winds down come summer time. I’m completely open as long as we have the right people with us.

Jim: We are getting together with a booking agent. I really think some shows and festivals will happen soon.


Would you consider a full tour, about a couple weeks’ worth of dates? Or some “weekend warrior” shenanigans?

Brian: Barring any conflicts, I open to anything really. I have a lot of time available to take off work.


You’re essentially an international band, and you have a rather prolific drummer, who’ll likely be releasing two albums in 2019. Hypothetically, would you be touring with the guys on the album, or would you seek out live musicians?  Do you have any lead candidates for fill-ins?

Brian: We’re trying to figure all that out now, but it’s very preliminary. We have ideas and a couple committed people as I understand it.


Jim, what’s the scoop with Delirium Endeavor?

Jim: Delirium Endeavor was real nerdy instrumental metal fusion thing that Ed Paulsen and I did. You can find some posts on YouTube.


Brian, can you talk about your other projects? I thought there were only two, but then another one crept up into my awareness.

Brian: I’m a bit of a band whore. I’m always juggling a few projects around. My main project right now is Sulaco. Kind of a Grindy/Death/Proggy kind of thing. I don’t know. I’m really bad at the metal genre’s.  I’m also in a band with Chris from Sulaco called CHRMR (pronounced Charmer). That project is more melodic, slower and has a 90’s Rock feel to it. It gives me and Chris a chance to slow down and chill for a bit. It’s a really fun project with some really great song writing and excellent dudes. I just finished a 16 year stint with my old band, BML. We were an instrumental prog, fun, happy time band. That was my main project for many years, but we all felt it was time to move onto other things. I have been known to join indie projects and even somewhat country/rock type things. I like to keep myself on my toes and stay out of my comfort zone. I’m also currently writing some 70’s style instrumental prog-rock/jazz stuff, ala Gordian Knot, Brand X stuff to do with the former drummer from Psyopus. I just haven’t gotten a chance to complete anything yet, so it may or may not come to fruition.


Contrarian has an obviously stellar future ahead, have you considered where you might be vs where you’d like to be in a few years? How about further into the future?

Brian: I just let things fall where they may. We’ll see what happens. I feel, as a project, we are getting better and better at this thing.

Jim: We always aim high. We always give it our best. We are in contact with booking agencies so that we may be able to do some live shows for our fans!


Anything else? Last thoughts? Questions, comments, concerns?

Brian: Thank you Vick for all your support. You rule.

Jim: Yes, thank you for paying attention to our music. It means a lot to us!


And I cannot thank Brian and Jim enough for taking the time to reply to my inquiries.
Their Worm Never Dies drops March 15 via Willowtip Records. For the time being, you can jam their first single off the new record, “Exorcism“. And of course, their previous releases, To Perceive is to Suffer and Polemic.  Preorders for Their Worm are live! And you can find them on both Contrarian’s bandcamp and Willowtip’s online store.

Darkest Horizon December 2018 Interview



Darkest Horizon is fresh off a European tour with the legendary WINTERSUN, a killer new album and also just partnered up with my promo friends in India Proximity Productions! This band is off to a great start, and will do you well if you’re into that epic melodic death metal sound.  Check out my interview with the lads right below!

TMR: Tell me how Darkest Horizon was formed and what influenced the band name.

Darkest Horizon was “founded” in 2008 with one old friend Till (He’s now playing in Precipitation) and me (Olli). We had an idea for making old school Melodic Death Metal combined with catchy melodies and epic backround layers, so we got Chris as an talendet Main Songwriter. We worked together in a cool and relaxed way. We had like different drummers, bassplayers and a rhythm guitarist till 2010. So during that time we had to pick up musicians who fitted perfectly in our band. I think it was back in 2009, when I called Jonas for joining us as a bass player, the funfact was,that he wasn’t a bass player, he was an talented guitar techaer at this time, but he took it good like always, “Okay… then I think I have to buy me a bass”. So during 2010 we had a stable band (yes… we thought that at that point), 5 songs and were ready for some recordings. So we hit the Empire Studios under the direction from Rolf Munkes ( he’s working with bands and artists like Michael Schenker, Crematory, Bülent Ceylan and Labels like Nuclear Blast, EMI, Sony etc. ) During this process our old drummer Massimo Sardo left the band, because he had other plans in live, so I had to sample and play some drum passages for the record… me… as a guitarist. And after the recordings our session guitarist Kevin wanted to focus more on his projects and left the band. The funny thing was, on the same day, Daniel called me and told me that he has listened to our unpublished material and was blown away and if we need a fill in guitarist we should call him first. So I said to him that  we won’t call him for this, because we want him as a proper member and he should come to the next rehearsal. I´ve known him for years, I´ve played with him in some bands before and he fits like the fist on the eye to Darkest Horizon. He was laughing and said of course he will join us and now we’re here. So during 2011 we prepared our live set up and the first shows and festivals came up and we decided to get Darkest Horizon to a professional band. The influence is quite intereseting because everybody is listening to different styles of music. Chris is making our main inlfuence beside our personal ones.  Jonas is more the new metal guy, Daniel is more on Oldschool Melodic/Death, Pagan and Black Metal, Enis has the melodic death taste, same like me and Chris got the Epic stuff.

TMR: You guys recently opened up for the legendary Wintersun! How did that go? 

That was funny as well. I recived a “What’s up” from Teemu if I´ve checked my e-mails and if we want to do this. I had no idea what it was. When I´ve checked my e-mails, I saw the invite for all the request shows and I thought we will definitly do this. So I got the green light from the other band members at the same day that we’ll supporting these guys. 

I know Teemu in person since the Paganfest Tour in 2015 and met him for some guitar lessons in Helsinki as well. He´s a cool guy and during the Shows we all figgured out that we fit perfectly togehter, in person and from the music. These shows been the easiest and best we ever had, because everybody knows how to do it the professional way. Especally the hangovers with Asim.. 

TMR:” Your album “Aenigmata” was recently released.  Go into detail about the theme, lyrics and what influenced it.

AENIGMATA is a collection of thematic songs, each containing conundrums or puzzling questions of our world and universe. “Can man become machine?”, “What is enlightenment?” and more. It also features the problems of enigmatic paradoxes like the “Omnipotence Paradox” and inexplicable phenomena known to mankind. AENIGMATA explores thought experiments on a philosophical as well as a scientific level. The songs often contain mysterious sounding notes, ranging from somber melodies to melodies with a more fantastic touch.




TMR: What was the best moment in Darkest Horizon’s history as a band?

We had a lot of great moments in our history, I think you can say every milestone we had were the best moment so far. For example, the first recorded album, the first big festivals, the festivals abroad from Europe, the first tour, the shows with Wintersun etc. But I can say from my point of fiew, that every concert or business we did with Darkest Horizon was filling the experience scale, if it was good or bad. Because you gain a lot of impressions on the road and this is what’s important for a band. You learn how to deal with anything and that’s a lesson in life you can’t probably gain beside having a band. 

TMR: What was the writing process for “Aenigmata” like? Any struggles or was it easy? What did you do differently this time around?

That was a new experience as well. Because we thought we would release it in 2016. We  had troubles with the recordings or some issues like some other bands had. We just wanted to have a 100% finis product. It was easy to record and nice to work in the process, but finding the right sound… dude… one year mixing and painting the details… that was pain in the ass.

And of course we did something different in the process. Everybody recorded their parts on their own. I mean of course we stayed in touch during the time, but everybody could bring his own influence down. So it was amazing. But next time we´ll check out a new kind of path during the process as well. Doing it all the same would be boring. 

TMR: Does Darkest Horizon have any shows coming up?

Yes! But I am only allowed to say that we´re playing on the 22nd of December near our home area in Darmstadt at the Goldene Krone with Sapiency, Corbian and another band. We’re doing there a Christmas special, so get your tickets and get suprised! We are really looking forward to this event! There are a lot of other requests through Europe but I can’t say something more because we’re actually planning this beside the recordings. 

TMR: Talk about your newfound partnership with Proximity Productions.  Your band has had some good things going on lately, and this is just another one of them.

Yes! First I want to thank you guys that work togehter. Honestly I am more on the booking and songwriting level but we all experienced a great time when we have been to Sri Lanka where we met Harsha of Proximity Productions. So Jonas contacted him this year and we started working together. We hope that we will reach a higher level by his (Harsha’s) international contacts and especially in Asia for we would love to come back and visit more countries and cities (and of course play gigs there too!). This cooperation started very good and we hope that it will grow and grow and well… let’s see, where it leads us!

TMR: What are your goals for 2019? Anything cool planned?

Yes! We played a lot of shows this year in Germany and at the neighboring countries so after the awesome experience in Bucharest we are working to get our asses more abroad from Germany, for some club and festival shows. Beside this we’re working on new material. After releasing “Aenigmata” in October we have like 10 new songs and are working on them. We haven’t decided yet how and when we’re releasing these songs. But there is something cooking for 2019 and it smells definitely good.

TMR: How did everyone become a musician? What albums and artists helped you make that decision?

We all grow on each other. So everybody in the band did his part on the other one I think. Of course I wont be able to be that muscian I am right now without the guys and I think I can say this for the other members as well. 

For my personal development beside Darkest Horizon was Wintersun. In the first point they blew me away with their first Album. So I started a year before their debut release the guitar playing business. But after listening to that high skilled guitar music, I saw the long path I had to go. Beside that Teemu Mäntysaari is my guitar instructor.

TMR: What is everyone interested in outside of music and Darkest Horizon?

Time besides music and the band is a very thin line. We’re all working beside our band and the rest of the time is focused and saved for the band. For sure we’re having a life beside the band but that’s more like calming down from the daily routine and enjoying good company with some friends or doing sports and other simple activite like anyone else does.

Prophetic Scourge 2018 Interview




Prophetic Scourge released a killer album this year “Calvary”.  It was a kick ass, groovy and proggy time.  Get to know the band right below and check it out as well!

TMR: What is everyone’s favorite song off “Calvary”?

Hmmm, that’s not an easy question to answer, but probably THE HIEROPHANT –  Bringing Lost Sheep Back To The Fold. It’s the song we spent the most time writing, and it ended up being a great distillation of our various influences. It’s also the song that we sent to KLONOSPHERE for their first listen. We’d already recorded a video for it (check it out on youtube) so it seemed to be a perfect introduction to our music.

TMR: When did the band start writing for “Calvary” and how long did the process take? Were there any difficulties?

I’d say writing started late 2015, the final song was finished just 2 days before the cds were pressed (the outro to THE CULTIST that’s only present on the physical album), so almost two and a half years. The only real difficulty we had is that we all live in different towns, and need to travel 300km for rehersals and writing sessions. As such, progress was made in spurts of intense activity, which in some ways actually helped as it means that we were always completely focused when we worked….

TMR: What shows does Prophetic Scourge have lined up for the rest of the year?

We’ve just returned from a tour of France, Switzerland and Spain, which went perfectly. We were very well received (especially by the Swiss!). We’ve got 3 or 4 shows still to come this year, in Toulouse, Agen and Montpellier. We’re also planning a tour next April, in France again, and probably with gigs in Holland, Belgium and hopefully England. We’re also looking in to the Summer Festivals, though nothing’s confirmed as of yet. 

TMR: Any music prepared for a follow up?

Indeed there is, and it’s going to be awesome! I’d say the second album is about 85% done. The style is the same as CALVARY, with long average song length, complex structures, and a very progressive vibe. I feel we’ve gained a certain level of confidence in our writing, and I fully expect the second album to be a step up in quality all round….

TMR: How and where was “Calvary” recorded? Did you take any different recording or artistic directions compared to your debut EP? 

We recorded Calvary in our rehersal space, with our good friend Xavier Collard and his “travelling” Steel Mind Studio. He’d previously mixed and mastered our debut EP, but we’d done the tracking ourselves. This time round he was involved from the very start of the process, the difference being immediately apparent in the sound of the album.



TMR: What influenced your band name and how did Prophetic Scourge become a band?

We became a band after a previous band called Scars On Mumansk (again awesome band to check out on youtube) split up. Romain and Jon played guitars and drums in it, and had developed a good feeling for each others playing style. They decided to start a new project. Robin had done some filling in for SOM, so they knew they could work well with him. At that point Robin and me (Josh) had been playing together for a while, and he knew I was desperately seeking a new band at the time, so everything fell into place nicely…

Before we chose a band name, the lyrics to 3 songs had already been written (THE CULTIST, THE GOD KING, and THE MAGUS), whose themes were ancient Egypt, ceremonial magic, and spiritual insanity. We brainstormed to those themes and came up with PROPHETIC SCOURGE as sounding like it coherently conveyed our style and themes – which both tend to be somewhat magniloquent. 

TMR: What is the band’s favorite song(s) to play at shows?

Again hard to say, I can’t speak for the others (though I expect THE HIEROPHANT would pop up a couple of times). I’d personally go with THE ALCHEMIST, as I love embodying the characters I wrote for it. 

TMR: Upcoming releases you guys are looking forward to? And what has everyone enjoyed from 2018?

Our favourite releases of 2018 are from Beyond Creation, Aborted and Conan.

TMR: Who got you guys into extreme music and eventually influencing the formation of Prophetic Scourge?

Well my Mum and Dad listen to a huge range of music: from classical, to polyphonic folk, to prog rock, Motown, Stax, and the list goes on (though funnily enough, not metal); so was I raised to be vey open minded about music. Amongst others were Pat Metheny, Jeff Beck and Joe Satriani – I used to love electric guitar, and I remember telling my parents that I liked “the fast music” (I was probably 4 at the time). I was also a huge fan of the cartoon Thundercats, and I don’t know if you’ve listened to the theme song recently, but that shit’s pretty much Speed Metal for kids! 

Later influences were Origin, Limbonic Art, Ulver, Ageless Oblivion, early Panzerchrist (Battalion Beast FTW!), Deicide, and my all time favorite band Krallice! 

TMR: Just under a month of “Calvary” being released how is everyone taking to your new album? I really dig it, and hope it sees more light in the metal community.

Cheers! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it! It’s been pretty well received with mostly positive reviews (and some ragingly enthusiastic ones), and we sold a buttload of digipacks on tour. Obviously not everyone has been on board; a few journalists have not always appreciated the average song length and structure; but that was always going to be unavoidable playing 9 minute long Death Metal songs. Not everyone is in to a progressive approach to songwriting, so fair enough… On the whole though, things are good, and we’re looking forward to a lot more live shows to give people  the full, close-up experience of our music.



Fractal Cypher November 2018 Interview



Fractal Cypher has recently released a new piece of music and I chatted with Vincent and Simon about the album, the band and other various topics.


TMR: Which of your albums do you prefer more and why?


Vincent : It’s a hard question to answer. I’d say neither of them is my favorite. I like every record we did, they are just really different. However, I have to say that we are really more comfortable and confident when performing the new songs. The reason is that we learned how to work together and we wrote and built the songs in a way that everyone feels comfortable so we can use the talent of each band member at its best.


TMR: Where was your band name inspired from?


Vincent : The band name  Fractal Cypher is originally an idea from Simon, the singer and Ludovick the keyboard player and composer. For those who probably don’t know, Fractal  is a term employed most of the time to describe a geometric shape or a design. It’s a geometric form or object that constantly evolves from its initial shape. Cypher means: a secret method of writing to transmit a message or a code. We thought it would be cool to put the two concepts together, which means a repeating secret code that constantly evolves on itself, so it’s finally a message that can never be found.


TMR: Tell everyone how Fractal Cypher came to be.


– Vincent : The band was founded in august 2014 by Simon Lavoie, Ludovick Daoust and Myself. I met Ludovick back in the days at college, we were in the same music program and we were sharing the same musical interest. Few years later I met Simon in a band contest (Canadian final Envol & Macadam contest) in Quebec City. At that time, Ludovick had a few songs written for a few years already and he was looking to form a band with me.  I contacted Simon and asked him if he would be down to be part of it. After listening to the tracks we had at the time, he didn’t hesitate to join us. A few weeks later, old friends of us Steven Cope on drums and Tommy Fradette on bass were joining us as well. That’s how Fractal Cypher is born.


TMR: What attracted you guys to progressive and experimental music?


Vincent : The main reason is probably because our musical influences are very large and diversified. Everyone in the band has a different musical background that touches a lot of different styles. We see progressive metal as a style with no barrier, we can do whatever we want, switch from a style to another, have a  jazzy song and a really heavy/djenty song within the same album and everything have its place. We like it when an album offers a roller coaster effect, something that is nonlinear and interesting to listen to. This is why we decided to tag our music as progressive.


TMR: Describe the writing and recording process for your upcoming release “Prelude To An Impending Outcome”. Did you guys do anything different musically or recording wise this time around? Where was everything recorded?


Simon : We recorded at the studio The Grid in Montreal, with Christian Donaldson and Marco Fréchette. This is the same studio where we recorded “The Human Paradox” in 2016.


Concerning the writing process, we worked the same way we did for our previous album “The Human Paradox”. The main songwriter of the band is Ludovick, the keyboard player. He usually completes the songs in term of structures and melodies and we go over them in band. They evolve to their final stage during this time. The lyrics are composed mainly by Simon, the singer, with a few exceptions where other members of the band contribute.


Compared to our previous album, I’d say this one sounds more how we really sound live. We took care to use our real tone, especially on guitar and bass, when we mixed the album. In terms of songwriting, I’d say the songs are more refined and more mature.



TMR: Favorite song from your upcoming release?


Vincent : I love every song on the record, but I have to say that i like to jam “Coming Back To Life” quite a lot. The guitar solo is really cool to play on this one.


TMR: Does Fractal Cypher have any upcoming shows to support “Prelude To An Impending Outcome”?


Vincent : Yes ! We are going to do a release show on January 11th 2019 at Foufounes Electriques in Montreal. So if you are in that area we hope to see you there !


TMR: How did everyone’s journey as a musician begin and who primarily influenced your craft whether it’s a person or a band?


Simon : This is a complicated question to summarize into a single straight forward answer. We’ve all been attracted into metal music around 15 y/o with old bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica or Black Sabbath to name a few. Afterwards, we discovered bands such as Children of Bodom, Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Nightwish, Sonata Arctica and so on. Looking at those guys certainly gave us the will to do something similar and grab our first guitar, bass or drum kit. What comes after is only hard work and dedication to the craft, the art and mainly because we love it. It’s too hard to pinpoint one artist who changed everything. We all got influenced by the same artists/bands while growing up and ended up together by a twist of fate, a lucky twist that is.  


TMR: Go into detail please about the album title and ep and what everything means.


Simon : Since it’s a 4 song mini album, the album title doesn’t summarise the overall topic of the songs on the record. We wanted a title that gives a statement about what’s coming next. So, this mini-album is kind of a Prelude to what’s about to come. Also, it keeps to mystery about it. What’s the outcome? We like when things are not too literal and can be interpreted in a great number of ways. So we’d like to say to make it your own. What’s the meaning? You tell us!


  1. Who designed the EP cover? It looks cool!


– Vincent: Thanks, glad you like it! This artwork has been done by Mikio Murakami from Silent Q design. He also did the artwork for our previous album The Human Paradox. The work this guy does is simply amazing, you should definitely check out his site.


TMR: You have 8 hours of driving 4 hours each way. What 5 bands discographies do you choose?


  • Toto
  • Scar Symmetry
  • Pink Floyd
  • Periphery
  • Twelve Foot Ninja


TMR: How did your music video for “From The Above And To The Stars” go? Describe your experience.


Vincent: It’s been a really cool experience but a lot of work ! It was not our first music video so we knew what to expect but you really have to stay focus and patient. The video has been filmed in 2 segments, one day with the full band and another one with Simon only. The first day with the full band took approximately 12 hours to shoot. We filmed every band member one at a time and everyone did 8-10 shots each on a 8 minute song…so that is why it was quite long.  We rented a light kit to create like a space/sci-fi ambience to fit with the theme of the song. It took another 3-4 hours just to install the light kit and set everything, so yeah, it’s been a lot of work but we are really proud of the results!


Edgard November 2018 Interview



I got a great opportunity to get to know EDGARD a solo artist with a bluesy/prog/jazz style that isn’t technical but very emotion and feel based… Robin Trower.  This guy is  something else man, check out his music ASAP.  Here’s a quick interview and attached are some of his tunes.  Enjoy!

TMR: Explain the history of Edgard and what influenced the band name.

As I’m playing my own original music, naturally I decided that the project would be under my own name Edgard.

TMR: I understand you are working on a debut EP.  How is recording going? Do you have any news you can share?
I’ve recorded my debut Live EP “EDGARD | Live at Bedrock” at Bedrock LA Studios in Echopark. It was an incredible experience to record  4 original songs of mine, live tracking simultaneously all the parts and capturing the moment’s energy. The EP was mixed and mastered by Arthur Luna and features alongside me Brian Singer on bass, Alex Frizzell on drums and Nathan Lorber on keys.
TMR: What made you want to blend so many sounds? I’ve recently listened to your live EP and it’s really cool! Kinda proggy, bluesy and jazzy…like a modern day Robin Trower. 
I’ve always found to write songs in the most distinct  styles and vibes. Through different sounds, portray certain emotions. I appreciate the kind words! Yeah.. my own blend of rock, blues and prog. Funny enough, I enjoy very much Robin Trower!
TMR: Who were your favorite artists growing up? And who are some of your favorite bands right now? Any great gems you can recommend?
I’ve alway been extremely inspired by Jimi Hendrix since I was a kid. Derek Trucks is another huge influence of mine. Jeff Beck, Eric Gales, Mark Lettieri, Eric Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughan… Check out these amazing artists Marcus King Band and Artur Menezes!
TMR: Are you familiar with the Threatin scandal that’s been taking over the internet lately? That’s the guy that booked his own european tour and supposedly self funded it that has been all a lie.  Any opinions on this insanity?
Yeah, I’ve heard about it. Unbelievable, I’d say. The whole story is messed up. It kind of reflects on nowadays industry demand on expressive numbers on social media and also practices of generating fake digital audiences being banalized. You never know what’s occurring on the other side, though…
TMR: Are there any upcoming shows for Edgard? I assume there has to be something soon to support your upcoming EP release.
I’ve just came back to Los Angeles from a short 3-week tour supporting my debut Live EP release. I’ve performed 3 shows in Rio de Janeiro, my hometown. First at Dumont Arte Bar in Gávea, then at Ganjah Lapa near downtown and finally at Bar Sobe in Jardim Botânico. I’m currently booking new dates and working on more material.
TMR: What is your favorite piece of gear you currently own? And something you are dying to have?
I believe it’s my electric guitar, LsL Custom Saticoy “Kaleo”. She was custom made for me and it’s a delight to play with. 
TMR: How did you get into music? What factors influenced it and did you think you would be doing it as a living rather than just for fun?
I’ve always had music in my life. I’ve picked up the guitar when I was 7 years old and have been developing my own sound ever since. To make music is beyond me. Is my passion, it is who I am. I’d be doing anything different.
TMR: What has been your single most important highlight or event as an artist? And for your band Edgard, as well.
Releasing and performing my own music in my hometown to a packed house with dear friends, family and a warm crowd.
TMR: Your favorite or best show you played? And on the flip side, the worst or most embarrassing show you were a part of?
I’ve performed at a local blues bar called The Sand Dollar Lounge in Las Vegas. We’ve performed for 3h and we were on fire that night. The crowd was amazing, enthusiastic and just kept on buying us drinks onstage. And it wasn’t embarrassing, but a weird cancer it was during a show in Colorado on Christie Huff’s tour. There was a wind storm and everything started to fell apart mid-set. We carried on and finished the songs and kept moving with the set.
Live At The Bedrock EP

Noise Trail Immersion October 2018 Interview



I had an opportunity to talk with Noise Trail Immersion regarding their upcoming album, band habits, musical recommendations and other random topics. Their upcoming album “Symbology Of Shelter” is officially released November 2nd.  You can check out one song off that album “Mirroring” right here.  Enjoy!

Noise Trail Immersion:

Fabio – vocals
Nebil – guitar
Daniele – guitar
Lorenzo – bass
Paolo – drums

TMR: What do you think is your biggest improvement or best adjustment on your upcoming release “Symbology of Shelter” in comparison to your first two albums?
Compared to our first self-titled EP, we think that “Symbology of Shelter” is something completely different, both sonically and artistically. Compared to Womb, we’d say the basic approach is somehow similar, but with this new release we feel like the overall quality is higher, the songs flow better and the Mathcore/Black Metal influences are blended together more effectively. One of the main adjustments was centered on focusing on the writing process, trying to structure the album as a cohesive and homogeneous piece of work, rather than an ensemble of songs stylistically similar.
TMR: How was the band formed and what led to the meaning of your band name?
We’re just 5 guys who happened to hang out together in the same city, we like the same stuff music-wise and we are all very serious when it comes to having a band. This project is something very important to every member of the band and we dedicate to it almost all of our free time. The band name has no real meaning, they’re just three words we thought sounded good together and basically, that’s it!
TMR: Describe your original and unusually awesome sound.  What made you guys want to mesh black metal and crazy mathcore? Your music is incredibly intriguing and not like a lot out there right now.
Thank you very much! Well, We always felt like Mathcore and Black Metal are two worlds that are very distant from the point of view of their historic background and the general attitude that characterizes them, but we think a common thread can be found sonically in their will to create an extreme form of sound: we always thought that the dark, misanthropic and evil sound of Black Metal could match well the crazy and chaotic structures of Mathcore, so we started writing tracks that are chaotic and dissonant but at the same time heavily influenced from Black Metal especially in the vocals, in the chords and in the riffing.
TMR: What are the band’s plans for the rest of the year and going into 2019 outside of your new album? 
We’re going to promote the album as much as we can with both online PR and touring: we have already some gigs confirmed in Italy for the rest of 2018 and we’re starting to organize a 2019 European Tour together with a band we really love!
TMR: Go into detail about the lyrics and theme behind your upcoming release.
The lyrics of the album are kind of a stream of consciousness that revolves around concepts like the inner crisis experienced by everyone’s conscious self, that uses “shelters” in various forms to satisfy a compelling and nefarious need to attach meanings to life. The theme of man’s relationship with moral and religion is also very recurrent, as well as the impossibility to know an ultimate truth. In a certain way, and the artwork surely has a role in this, this new work can be seen philosophically as a prosecution of Womb, reprising the aesthetic of the feminine element but also the existential theme of questioning life in its entirety, starting by a different point of view though: the concept of shelters.
Symbology of Shelter_Artwork
TMR: Who do you want a play a show with you haven’t yet?
There are many bands we would love to play shows with of course, some of them are Plebeian Grandstand, Dodecahedron, Amia Venera Landscape, Ulcerate, Gorguts, Converge, Thantifaxath, Ion Dissonance, Artificial Brain, Cult of Luna, Neurosis, Celeste.
TMR: What are you guys listening to these days? Any up and coming bands you want to suggest?
We listen to as much different music as we can. In the metal field, we love the new wave of dissonant black metal/death metal and Blackened Hardcore of course, but we’re also following the Mathcore scene, as well as many Doom and Post-Metal bands. Apart from Metal and Hardcore, we like tons of other stuff, especially Ambient, Electronic, Neo/Dark Folk, Contemporary classical music, Math Rock, Noise Rock, and many other genres, especially the ones where more artists are into experimentation in general right now.  Some up and coming bands we suggest are Storm{o} (Mathcore/Screamo), Onryo (Mathcore/Tech-death), Convulsing (Black/Death), Soldat Hans (Doom/Post-Rock),  The Clearing Path (Black/Death), Mico (Mathcore/Sludge),  Un (Funeral Doom).
TMR: What’s your writing process like? How long did it take to put together “Symbology Of Shelter”?
Most of the times we start with some guitar ideas, a riff or maybe just some weird chord or sound that somehow we find interesting and that can “set the mood” for a track. In parallel, we start arranging the song with drums and bass on Guitar Pro software and that’s really when the song starts building more and more on itself and can take unexpected directions and changes from the original idea. This time, in particular, we worked very hard on constructing the album as one long track, eliminating clear transitions between one track and the following one and making the whole thing sound like a monolithic work.
TMR: How did the video for “Mirroring” go?
This time we didn’t want to do the usual playback video, the first thing we all agreed with was that we as a band didn’t want to appear in the video and then we started to think of something that could be visually appealing but also with an artistic sense that has a connection with the overall idea of the new album. So we had this idea of shooting footages in various churches of our hometown Turin and then doing a very frantic video editing work to match the mood of the track “Mirroring”.
TMR: What did you guys think of Frantic Fest and who was your favorite performance? You had legendary bands such as Hideous Divinity, Hirax, Enslaved, and Sadistic Intent included in that lineup.  
It surely was one of the best festivals we ever played at. The lineup was amazing, as well as the audience and all the kind people of the staff. Our favorite performance was probably the one from The Secret, they really smashed it.
TMR: Put together your dream tour, 4 bands only! Who do you got?
Plebeian Grandstand, Dodecahedron, The Secret, Ulcerate.
Noise Trail Immersion Logo

Micawber September 2018 Interview


Death metal band Micawber is on a September headliner tour with support from Ahtme and Lago.  All bands are promoting new releases and I highly suggest you check out these extreme metal gems! Their bassist Marv answered the questions. The guys are stopping in Tonawanda this coming Monday the 24th, don’t stay home with a case of the Monday blues and check out some great tech/groove death metal bands ya duds!



TMR: How has Beyond The Reach Of Flame been taken by the metal community?

Seems like everyone really likes it which is great. Its pretty different from our last releases due to the addition of our new guitarist Derek Debruin, but we all dug the what we were coming up with which is always most important to us. We write what we like and if other people happen to dig it too thats awesome, which they have.
TMR: Can you go into detail about the history of Micawber a bit and how it formed? I only found out about you guys a few months ago, and been a pretty big fan ever since.

Well Leighton and Tyler have been in the band since about 2007, with various style and lineup changes since. I joined about 8 years ago cuz the guys were going on tour a bunch, which is what I always wanted to do. Since then we’ve lost and gained a few members. Derek being the last guy joining about 3 years ago. We’ve been doing really well with this lineup and think we’ve finally got it solidified.
TMR: What is the main theme behind your latest release?

You know the typical metal shit, politics, religion, partying, etc. Haha
TMR: What are your favorite lyrics from Beyond The Reach Of Flame?

Mine personally are Full Denim Jacket which is a play on the title of the film Full Metal Jacket. But basically it’s about partying and rippin it up on the road.
TMR: Favorite show you guys have played?

When we played The Whiskey in L.A. opening up on the Sepultura tour, that was pretty surreal.
TMR: Who is your favorite band right now?

I really dig the new Black Fast album. We’d love to hit the road with those guys soon!
TMR: Who influenced you to become musicians?


TMR: Recall some of your favorite moments in Micwaber.

All of them haha

TMR: What were/are some of your band’s biggest or most pivotal moment(s)?

Probably getting signed by Prosthetic Records and opening up for Sepultura.
TMR: It’s your last day on this earth. What is your Last Supper consisting of?

The original $5 box at Taco Bell.
TMR: What are your favorite metal genres?

Any of them that are loud, fast, and your parents (usually) don’t like.
TMR: Rattle off bands you guys think are up and coming in the metal scene.
Our buddies in the Wisconsin band Toxic Ruin are rippin it up. Our buddies in Gorgatron are doing cool shit too, they’re some road dogs for sure. Also, our fill-in guitarist, Billy Zahn’s band Frosthelm is about to drop a new album, so be on the look for that and check all those bands out!
TMR: Marry Fuck Kill, choose one option for each! Peter Griffin (from Family Guy), Homer Simpson, and Wonder Woman? And…Go! Have some fun with this one!
TMR:What are you guys interested in outside of the band?

Drinking, gambling, and partying in general.