Eos – L’Avalé (review/interview)

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A funny thing is  happening now that I’m more in a writing mode as opposed to a ‘label guy’ mode.  All the e-mails and music that I see is being examined with a different lens.  I can finally kick back and APPRECIATE music again.  It’s hard to explain, but there are times when you’re so entrenched in your own world, you find time escapes you.  I love music.  I always have.  But when you run a label, things are much different.  If you’re not putting something out, you tend to listen briefly and move on.  You know it’s good and you’re aware someone else has put it out, and you type it into your ‘want list’ and off you go.  Now when something comes around, I can listen intently and appreciate (there’s that word again) music.  I can fall in love with it again.  I’m not worried about time lines, bands getting me art, me approving art, putting bar codes on the back of 200 records, shipping, etc.  The fun is back.  This brings me to Eos.

I am on the Fallen Empire mailing list.  I have been for a while.   I know they’re a great label.  This one came across my inbox about 3 days after I made the decision.  I listened to one song and was hooked.  I asked the Fallen Empire folks if I could have a contact e-mail for the ‘band’ and they responded immediately.

The music is what many would generically label as ‘black metal’.  To me, it’s much more.  It’s black metal that you can feel and touch.  It takes hold of your senses and pulls you in.  The sound is extremely organic in nature.  It sounds as though they plugged in and went for it without sound like it was recorded in a bedroom.

Eos is made up of two members who are known to me as “G” and “K”.  They live together and make music.  They are from Québec City and make some of the best depressive, bleak black metal you will hear all year.  I sent them some questions as finding information about them on the Internet was difficult (don’t worry, I will have links at the end for you).  If you like what you read and what you hear below, be sure to go check them out and also check out Fallen Empire out of New Jersey.  A great label that is putting out some extremely beautiful and dark music.  Bands/labels like these don’t get the press they deserve.  Enjoy!

What are your names and what instruments did you play on L’Avalé?  Did anyone else contribute?

G. : I played all the guitars and bass on L’Avalé.
K. : I played all the drums and did all the vocals on the release. No one else contributed.

Where are you from?

G. :Québec City

How did Fallen Empire hear of Eos?

G. : They wanted a Wendess’ track for the SVN OKKLT compilation, but we didn’t have any track to contribute. I then suggested Eos since we were already in the process to record some demo tracks, which led to the Katharsis track on the compilation. Mike is a great guy to work with and we hope it will be a long partnership.

How many releases do you have out?

G. Beside L’avalé, the only other release we have is the demo version of Katharsis, which is on Fallen Empire’s SVN OKKLT compilation.

Can you describe the recording process?  Can you let me know the gear you used?

G. We both studied in sound engineering, so we did everything ourselves. First, we recorded the drums in our rehearsal place with a Sennheiser MD-421 on the bass drum and on the toms, Shure sm57 on the snare and we don’t remember for the overhead unfortunately. The  rhythm guitars were recorded at our school studio with a SM57 and MD-421. The rest of the guitars were recorded at our rehearsal place as well as the vocals which were recorded with a SM-58. The bass was done with a D.I mixed with the amplifier signal. We mixed and mastered all the demo at our home-studio with Cubase 7. The result is not what we first expected but still, we had everything under our control.

Who are your influences?

G. I’d say Emperor, Deathspell Omega, Swans, etc.
K. : Deathspell Omega, Mayhem, Sonic Youth, maudlin of the Well
What are your thoughts on illegal downloading?

K. : We’re both not against it and that’s a reason why we want to put anything we will release for free download.  We cannot say how many bands we’ve discovered by illegal downloading, free download or YouTube and that we’ve went to their shows, bought their merch and their physical albums after.  As an underground band we want to be heard but we don’t expect to earn our lives with our music.  Still, we know that for some other band, it’s not the case, but illegal download still help them to be known.

Your album has a very bleak sound but also sounds somewhat hopeful.  That may sound weird for what sounds like black metal.  I think there are some melodic undertones (especially on Avale).  Is there a sense of ‘hope’ in these songs?

K. : If you can feel hope then yes there is.  As in life, if you can sense all the grey, but you can see it in a kind of objective way and get over it all, well there can be hope.

Any shows planned in the future?  What is the future for the band?

K. : We’re planning to do live in 2015 and we’re actually composing our first full length which we hope will be finished by the beginning of 2015.

Anything you’d like to add?

G. : Thanks for your interest in our music!

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Check out all of Fallen Empire’s:
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Season of Arrows/Cave of Swimmers (various reviews)

Cave of Swimmers:

Sylvia Hinz – Windserie

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If you want something completely different than anything you’ve probably heard before, check out Sylvia Hinz – Windserie.  This lady is a frequent customer of mine and sent me some of her music to check out.  This IS NOT metal, but I’ll be damned if it’s not as rebellious due to it being so unique and original in nature (very much lacking in metal).  How often to you see a person playing an instrument like a flute wearing a Napalm Death shirt?

Sylvia Hinz studied recorder at UdK Berlin with Gerd Luenenbuerger, experimental music with Dieter Schnebel, chamber music with Nigel North and ensemble leading / conducting at BAK Trossingen with Wolfgang Ruediger and René Schuh.  After receiving her diploma, she took several masterclasses ( e.g. with Marion Verbruggen ) and started working with contemporary improvisation.  Sylvia Hinz works with many international composers, e.g. Mathias Spahlinger ( DE ), Makiko Nishikaze ( JP ), John Strieder ( DE ), Javier Torres Maldonado ( MX ), Helga Arias Parra ( ES ), Hideki Kozakura ( JP ), Edgar Barrosso ( MX ), Jieun Jun ( KR ), Gilad Hochman ( IL ), Katia Tchemberdji ( RU ), Eckart Beinke ( DE ), David Lesser ( UK ), Violeta Dinescu ( RO ), Miguel Farías Vasquez ( CL ), Matthias Kaul ( DE ), Nickos Harizanos ( GR ), Anette Schluenz ( DE ), Gunnar Karel Másson ( IS ), Susanne Stelzenbach ( DE ), Martin Gaughan ( UK ), Clio Montrey ( CA ), and Idin Samimi Mofakham ( IR ).  She works as a self-employed musician, conductor, and lecturer / teacher and likes to perform solo recitals and chamber concerts in unusual instrumentation.  In 1997, she started working with the festival Klangwerkstatt Berlin, presenting at least one concert every year.  She gave her conducting debut at Philharmonie Berlin with her ensembles multiphon and Progress in 2010.  Since January 2008, she has been founding member of XelmYa ( with Alexa Renger – violin and Ehrengard von Gemmingen – cello ).

Listen:

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Weekend Nachos/Enabler/Thou/Cloud Rat/Northless/Angry Gods/Doomsayer 4/11/14

sl_14_final1Skeletal Lightning Fest Day 1: 4/11/14 at Error Records in Champaign, IL

11:00-11:30 – Weekend Nachos
10:10-10:40 – Enabler
9:20-9:50 – Thou
8:40-9:00 – Cloud Rat
8:00-8:20 – Northless
7:20-7:40 – Angry Gods
6:40-7:00 – Doomsayer

This day marked the 2nd annual Skeletal Lightning Fest in Champaign/Urbana, IL.  You probably haven’t heard of either city unless you’re from the area and that’s okay.  It’s a typical college town.  The downtown area has undergone quite a face lift in the last 5 years.  What used to be an area of town most avoided has become the cities hot spot.  Plenty of bars, trendy restaurants, etc.  Just down the road from the trendiness of downtown is an extremely small record store called Error Records.  What the store lacks in inventory it makes up with heart and support of the punk/indie/metal underground/local scene.  When I say local, it usually means the Midwest.  Many folks think the Midwest is made up of a bunch of rednecks.  While we have our share, we don’t have any more or less than other city across the country.  There are plenty of great bands in the Midwest and many you probably enjoy but had no idea they were from here.  I feel the Midwest folks appreciate music more than others due to the fact that a big city may get a bill like this every week.  We get it once a year.  This brings us to day 1 of the fest.

Once I heard this line up was playing the back room of a record store that held maybe 150 people, I immediately bought my ticket (only $14).

Ben and I arrived right when Doomsayer started.  They are an instrumental doom band for the most part with some black metal moments.  They didn’t play anything I hadn’t heard before, but the heart was there and it was a perfect way to start off the fest.  We only caught a couple songs as we had to run to CVS across the street right when we got there (record store has no restrooms).

We completely missed Angry Gods.  I was buying merchandise and running it out to my car and before I knew it, they were done.  I checked them out online and they play a mix of noise/hardcore.  Great stuff out of Chicago!

Northless were running a little late due to car issues but they made it.  Talk about HEAVY.  When I think of doom metal this is it.  I’m not a huge fan of doom that’s so slow you forget which song is playing.  Northless mix it up quite well and the listener is never bored.  They’ve been at it for many years now and it shows in their stage presence.  Given that this place only held 150 or so, I could feel each bass note as it rattled my insides.  Given the length of their songs, they only played a few, but it was great nonetheless.

I got up front for Cloud Rat.  I was familiar with their music, but heard they were a force to be reckoned with.  What I heard was true.  A three-piece grind band that sounded like a 6-piece band.  I found myself focused on the lead singer Madison.  She has quite a stage presence and even mixed it up with the crowd while ‘singing’.  They also broke out a Smashing Pumpkins cover (can’t remember the name, but you know the song).  This band is visually stunning live and I urge you to check them out on their tour with Thou.  They have a wide assortment of merchandise and a new 7″ they just put out that you can pick up when they roll through your town.

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I kept my spot as NOLA’s own Thou were up next.  The band set up in about 10 minutes and lead singer Bryan faced the stage.  He made a joke about putting the crowd to sleep as they dove right in to the doom.  This band fires on all cylinders.  I’ve been to many shows in my day and when a band is ‘on’ you can feel it.  These guys effortlessly lay down thick riffs and soul-crushing beats and don’t let up the whole time they are performing.  The crowd was less spastic but plenty of heads bobbed up and down to the beat.  I picked up their new CD Heathen and it will most likely be in the top 10 of many year-end lists.  Just phenomenal and new spots of genius are heard with each listen.

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After this set, it was time for a much needed break.  After buying even more merchandise and getting some fresh air outside, we headed in for Enabler out of Milwaukee.  Oddly enough, these guys contacted me not long ago about putting out a 7″ and it just didn’t work out.  They put on a high energy set filled with what I would call Tragedy-rock.  If Tragedy played upbeat rock n’ roll, it would be Enabler (which is a compliment).  They are a three-piece now with a new drummer and he killed it.  Very intense set.  They are getting ready to hit the road with Eyehategod and Ringworm.  Definitely don’t miss that one!!!

The final band to play was Weekend Nachos.  If you know, you know.  If you don’t, stay in the back.  When these guys start playing, the whole place turns into a human blender.  Folks were dancing, jumping, diving, circle-pitting, etc. all through their set.  I was able to see them play about 6 or 7 years ago pre-Relapse signing and they were just as intense then as they are now.  They tour constantly and if they’re anywhere near you, go.  Enough said.  The lead singer John Hoffman acts as a ring leader for the band and the crowd.  He let folks come on stage and take over vocal duties.  No egos.  I was also finally able to buy their album Unforgivable on vinyl!

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I was trying to take pics with my cell phone and they turned out pretty shitty, but you get the idea.  Great atmosphere (all ages), friendly fans and bands, and a fun time was had by all.

The fest went on for the rest of this weekend, but I can’t imagine either day topping this night.

Until next year…

Warmline – Sad

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I should preface this review stating that I listen to ALL kinds of music.  I’m a metal fan at heart and always will be, but sometimes a release comes across my inbox that throws me for a loop.  Enter Warmline’s Sad.

This music has the odd ability to make you feel sad (no put intended) and happy at the same time.  Call it ‘darkwave’, ‘post-punk’, or just experimental, but there’s something very special in these 10 songs.  I listened to this all the way through the first time (which is rare for me as I have a short attention span).  I then played it again, and again.  It may be that this album takes me back to my late 80′s/early 90′s days of listening to bands like Front 242, NIN,  and Nitzer Ebb giving it that nostalgic feel.  Those who didn’t grow up during that time period may not gleam the same joy from this, but may find something special in these tunes nonetheless.  If Pete Steele of Type O Negative had ever created a solo record, it would sound like this.  You can almost feel his ghost in the vocals.

Sad was digitally released in 2011, Warmline’s album Sad finally makes an appearance in physical form. Side A contains the 5-track album in its entirety while side B balances out the tape with hand-picked tracks from singles, demos, and compilations including but not limited to “Black Earth”, “Instrumentals”, and “Waiting Room”, all together delivering around 42 minutes of beautifully gloomy post-punk. The tapes are professionally dubbed clear C42s with black pad print on side A and placed in clear/black plastic cases with hand cut/folded 4-panel j-cards. Limited to 100 copies, never to be released again.

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The cassette’s are beautiful as the pictures show and Ritual Tapes takes great care in each release.  Get one now before they’re gone!!!

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Listen/Buy: Bandcamp
Label: Ritual Tapes

My score: 8.5/10

A.V. Club debuts new Jar’d Loose song!

The A.V. Club has debuted “Adult Prom,” the first new song off Chicago noise-rockers Jar’d Loose’s second album, Turns 13.

The A.V. Club’s Jason Heller calls Turns 13, “a scathing blast of chest-caving fun” and “a grinding, twisted, dynamic batch of noise-rock anti-anthems full of acidic riffs and The Jesus Lizard-esque bile.”

Jar’d Loose – Turns 13

Jar’d Loose returns with the release of its second album, Turns 13. Produced by Pete Grossman (Harm’s Way, Weekend Nachos) and mastered by Today Is The Day’s Steve Austin (Converge, Unsane, Deadguy), Turns 13 sees the co-ed Chicago quartet perfect its unusual vision of acidic noise-rock, metallic thud, and classic rock sass. The album drops May 27th as a vinyl LP on Threshold of Pain Records, and as a CD and digital download on The Path Less Traveled Records.

Jar’d Loose’s 2012 debut album Goes To Purgatory was described by Decibel Magazine as a “sinewy take on noise-rock” that evoked “the ’90s and bands all the way from Karp and Helmet to Janitor Joe and The Jesus Lizard.” Much like that elder generation, Jar’d Loose bashes out driving riff-fests that could be straight-up headbanger anthems if they weren’t so weird. These are songs you’ll hum all day, yet whether it’s an unexpected chord, a bizarre vocal, or a bar of odd-time slipped in, something always mucks things up and exposes the creeps behind the curtain. And beneath frontman Eddie Gobbo’s strangulated rasp is madman poetry in the spirit of Yow – on Turns 13′s closer, “The Yarn Store,” over a hellbound stomp, he spits: “I know your girlfriend / She’s a puppet / She talks shit when you stick your hand up her / Here’s your inch / Give me your mile / We’re on a plane ride with Artimus Pyle.”

Though reverent of the ’90s, the band has sailed far beyond any definable style on Turns 13. “We consciously wanted to go deep with elements of garage rock and ’70s rock, Aerosmith and Alice Cooper, and not shy away from any potential risk,” states Gobbo. “Anytime we were on the fence about doing something on this album, we did it.” The result is songs like “Full Body Cast” and “Turning 13″ with their bluesy grooves and “Isthmus” with its acoustic hook, as well as various instances of bassist Eva Bialecki’s haunting backing vocals.

From the start, the thing that separated Jar’d Loose from the pack was its ability to be simultaneously so damn catchy and so damn odd. On Turns 13, this duality is taken to new heights. Terrorizer Magazine christened Jar’d Loose’s Goes to Purgatory as “one of the most exciting debuts of the year” in 2012; Turns 13 will no doubt be known as one of 2014′s most daring sophomore jams.

The Turns 13 tracklist is as follows:
1) The Light Took Us
2) Jackson the Pollock
3) Summer of Lung
4) Adult Prom
5) Carrion Guy
6) Full Body Cast
7) Isthmus
8) Turning 13
9) The Yarn Store

Jar’d Loose is a fixture of the current Chicago scene, wherein Gobbo moonlights as a promoter of local metal and hardcore shows under the name Unholy Empire. Jar’d Loose has torn up Chicago stages with a range of bands that points to the range of styles within itself – from Obituary to Fu Manchu – and has completed several US tours. The band saddles up and hits the road this spring for short tours with Fuck The Facts and The Swan King.

w/ Fuck The Facts:
Apr 18 – Oshkosh, WI @ The Underground
Apr 19 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club

w/ The Swan King:
May 30 – Columbus, OH @ Carabar
Jun 2 – Boston, MA @ O’Brien’s
Jun 3 – Brooklyn, NY @ St Vitus
Jun 4 – Philadelphia, PA @ JR’s
Jun 5 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Jun 6 – Baltimore, MD @ Sidebar
Jun 7 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Howlers