Saturday, July 30, 2011

ORCHID : interview with Theo Mindell !!!

It's pretty rare to see young bands unanimously acclaimed like ORCHID is, since the release of their monstruous "capricorn" debut album. But there's absolutely nothing hasardous in this increasing notoriety, people are more and more nostalgic with 70's sounds and what ORCHID has achieved is pretty singular : make something delightfully new and good, with old recipes, perpetuate and refresh the heritage of Black Sabbath and more generally the 70's heavy rock style, while keeping faithfully intact the original spirit of these gloomy early years...
About six months after the album release, some nice gigs and new compositions in the work, I felt it was time to ask vocalist Theo  Mindell a few questions...

* Hey Theo, thanx this is an honour to feature Orchid here... Almost every tasty doomster speaks about you these past months, but except that you released an ep before "capricorn", which was a very nice debut , we don't know much about your history, background, etc..., could you briefly sum it up ?  
T :   Well,i started thinking about the idea of a band like Orchid in 2008 I think.I hadn't been in a band for years.I just got tired of all the B.S. that had come along with being in a band for me in the past.But I started writing songs on guitar...just really sloppy ideas with a few titles and melodies.I had played in a band with Mark Baker a few years back before Orchid.i knew he was the only guitar player that was capable of doing the kind of thing i was trying to do.i bugged him until he finally agreed to jam with me.we went through a bunch of different bass players and drummers until we finally found Nickel and then later,Carter.That was the true beginning of Orchid.

* Why this band's name ? Any common characteristics with your music or anything particular that could have justified this name over another one ?
T :   Well,surprise-surprise...I got it from the Sabbath song title.But also i wanted a band name that didn't sound like a cliche heavy metal/rock band name...Something that would kind of counter the sound of the music and evoke feelings of psychedelia and the late 60's-early 70's.I think if we had been called something really dark or evil,it might have seemed a little forced or put on.I wanted something a little ambiguous that gave us some room to grow.I've always liked the way the name hung on us.

* The EP and CD covers are simple but catch directly the attention while the inside artwork of the album is very rich and personal, as it's you who have released the general artwork,
what's your position about that ?
A few weeks after the normal version of "capricorn" (yet superb) , Church Within has released the limited "book" version, very enriched and in a special format, who did have this idea ?
T :  you know,that was the owner of Church within's idea.Oli is such a great guy in that way.he just totally cares about making cool music and giving people something really special.when we had ideas for the C.D. packaging,he never once said "ooh,I don't know.that sounds really expensive".he always goes 120% ...As far as the artwork goes,I guess i try to do things that i feel will draw people into the "Orchid cosmos" and get across the way i feel about the music we make as a band together.

* Just like your artwork, "the batcave", your rehearsal place seems to be a very special place, with an occult and refined decor ... looks like a very cool place !?
 T : ha ha!...Yeah ,it's our club house.That was kind of an attempt at "method acting"...I figure if you want to try to make music that evokes a certain time and feeling,it helps to be in an environment that sets you up to do so.I think it definitely helps us get in that zone.

 * Your sound, the general atmosphere, some riffs, the production, your look, many things made it impossible not to evoke the Black Sabbath's influence, but, as others certainly, I see before all ORCHID as their best disciples in 2011, you can't obviously avoid systematic remarks, maybe sometimes awkward or a bit tiring ?
meanwhile some songs, still perfectly in the global mood, really show a rising personality, like "he who walks alone", "electric father" and "albatross" ... how do you see the band's sound evolution for the next album ?
T : As far as the comparisons to Sabbath? I don't really get to bothered about it.I love Sabbath.they've been one of my favorite bands since i was a really little kid.I dont know how I could possibly write heavy rock songs with out that sound or identity coming out in them. It's just what i think is cool.I think there are a lot of other influences that are pretty present in Orchid's sound as well.But people will always take the shortest road to a destination even if it's pinning some kind of a "rip off tag" on you.If that's the worst name tag I ever have to wear in my musical life,I'll wear it proudly.As far as the growth of Orchid's sound...I'm not sure because I'm probably too close to it to get any true sense of whatever evolution is happening.I think Orchid knows what it is but isn't afraid to play with that sound a little.I dont think any of us want to keep writing the same song over and over.but it seems like when i sit down with a guitar and sing,there is always a little bit of desperation in the sound that comes out .that's just what moves me when i write music.even when the other guys throw ideas in the mix,they seem to get "Orchidized"..., meaning put through the natural filter that has become the sonic identity of the band.I think we're all pretty comfortable playing the music we play.we all grew up on it in some way or another.I think we all just want to keep trying to bring knew things to it that we haven't tried yet to keep it interesting.Sometimes there are challenging moments when you're getting comfortable with a new song.I guess that's just a natural part of stretching out our idea of what our band IS.
      As far as us as players...I think we're becoming a better band all the time.more intuitive with each other.the songs might be more manifested by us as a group and less of their identity taking shape it the recording process.i think with something like Electric Father or Albatross for instance,the guys in the band may have kind of felt like "whoa...i didn't know that's how that was going to sound" when they finally heard it finished and mixed...I have all these sounds swimming in my head when i sit down and write songs that the other guys aren't aware of until after the fact sometimes.When we rehearse, i can almost hear what the finished song should sound like recorded.I'm pretty hyper focused in that way.That still happens,but i think with the new stuff we're doing,those sounds are coming more directly from the band at the time of writing and arranging the stuff together.It's always been a struggle for me to let things breath.I suppose I'm trying to learn to trust my band mates with my children,ha ha! I even hear Mark's songs finished in my head when we're working on those.i have issues.

* Just as for the ep you've worked with Will Storkson for the production "Capricorn", but this time his name is mentioned first, did you work differently ? He's playing keyboards too on the album but does he also play live with you ?  
 You know,i'm not sure why that was.i think we may have felt like he drove more on that road trip than the one before so it was the right thing to do...i've definitely learned what a huge asset he is.he just has a great ear for capturing sounds and what you think you hear versus whats really going on in a song.I think we have a great balance with him as far as him letting us get a little "out there" but keeping classic sonic quality.If i were left to my own devices,our records could end up sounding like a mix of the Stooges Raw Power and Sabbath bloody Sabbath...I'd love it,but it might sound pretty soupy.I'll just keep piling fuzz and reverb on until you cant hear anything.

* What about your lyrics, you seem to be very attached to the occult image ? Who's the electric father :  a god, a guru ?T :  ha!  no...the Electric Father is a satellite listening to everything we think and do...kind of a "big brother is watching you" trip.

* The occult doom scene is actually in an interesting dynamic, do you feel particularly attached and identified to this scene ? Which bands do you enjoy most ?  T :  Not really to tell you the truth.We never set out to be a part of any scene,just to make music we loved.Sometimes timing is just on your side and there are enough bands with a slightly similar thing going that you can be associated with some musical "movement".It seems like that always helps bands get heard in the beginning.It can also be a noose around your neck if you don't have the songs and talent to transcend any attachment to what,later,might be considered a musical trend.No one says much about GruntTruck any more.but, i remember hearing a lot about them ,and other bands like them in the height of the "grunge" movement.I do love a lot of what people are calling "doom" music for sure.but i always just thought of Orchid as a dark,heavy,classic rock band.almost like really dark 70's stadium rock to tell you the truth.i suppose that's what Sabbath and Alice Cooper were... and What Pentagram were hoping to be.I've never shied away from a catchy chorus if i can put one in our songs.I just cant submit to the idea that being traditionally melodic is sounding like a sell out.i wouldn't be being true to my self if i tried to sound super sludgy and heavy ALL the time just to fit in to a musical category.But ,"doom" seems like a pretty wide and loose genre compared to the rest of a lot heavy music...Electric Wizard are pretty sonically different from The Devil's Blood or Pentagram.but,i hear people refer to all of those  bands as,whatever ,i'm not bothered.people can call our music whatever makes them feel comfortable listening to it.i like a lot of the bands that get put in that section in the record store so i'm proud to sit on the shelf next to them.

* You're born 1969, did your parents bought you "black sabbath" or "paranoid" for your first anniversary ?!!  when did your interest start for heavy musics ?
 T :  No,i don't think my parents listened to that stuff.My dad was 16 years older than my mom and was British.He listened to old sailors hymns about leaving your woman behind when you went out to sea and might die...really downer tragic stuff...Ha,maybe that's where i got the "doom" in me from.And ,he listened to classical music.My mom listened to the Beatles,Neil Young ,bowie,and Bob Dylan.that was my first introduction to music.The first two records I ever bought for myself were Yellow Submarine and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.I was ten years old i think...I've been trying to sound exactly like both of them ever since.

* What kind of deal do you have with Church Within ? Am I wrong if  I suppose some bigger labels have yet tried to contact you ?
 T :  Oh my...i don't know if i really want to get that in depth into the inner workings of Orchid's business opportunities.Oli has been so good to us.we're a pretty loyal lot.i hope to be involved with church within in some way or another for years to come even if we get some help from someone else in the future.Mark really handles that stuff and he does a great job.

* You're gonna play at the next Hammer Of Doom in November, the bill is impressive, I guess you're all  very  impatient !?  Any other European dates that could be organized in this same period ? is Germany the country where you the most interest from in Europe ?
  T : Yeah,i believe we're playing in Holland,France,a few more dates in Germany,Switzerland...we'll be in Europe for a couple of weeks.i cant wait.

* You had holidays in Europe last year with your girlfriend, Germany, ITaly and maybe more, how did you enjoy coming down this different part of the globe ? T :  It was great.I've spent a fair amount of time in Europe because of my work as a tattooer.One of my best friends lives in Verona ,Italy so I'm there at least once a year but usually was cool to share that with her and watch her experience seeing really old things for the first time.Europe just has a completely different rhythm than the states.people seem more relaxed to me.

* You gave quite many gigs since the release of the album, which songs do you especially like to play live and is there one that has always a special success ? Which bands did you enjoy most to play with ? Any interesting new bands in the L.A. area ?
T : Hmmmm...I always really enjoy playing "Down into the earth" live.It just has everything I like to hear out of a live band.Heavy groove and a real journey.People always seem to respond to that on and Eyes Behind the Wall.Maybe because they both go out with a bang...Not sure.As far as bands from L.A.? I'm not sure,we don't spend much time there.we've only really played shows in the bay area ,where were from.And,a the Planet Caravan festival that happened in North Carolina a few years back. we've played with Astra from San Diego a few times who i really like.they're phenomenal players.really great!

* Thanx for your words Theo, add anything if you wish  
T :  Thanks for your time and supporting Orchid!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

DOOMY HOLIDAYS : instructions ...

For a brief and little change, I wanted to present something different than usual, something lighter but still worth to read for and about Doomsters...   It’s summer holidays period, so  I thought it could be funny and interesting to know a bit more about people’s uses during this particular and always awaited period of the year… So I asked the following 5 questions to various people from the scene, here are the results :

1) Which song is or would be your ultimate Doom/Stoner/Metal tube for holidays ?
2) Did you ever forget to bring your teddy bear/sex toys/mother in law with you on vacation ?
3) Baskets, sandals or barefoot ?
4) What kind of holidays do you prefer : cultural, sportive, sunbath like or just cool at home with your family ? If any planed, what’s your destination for holidays this year ?
5) Do you prefer ice cones with 2 or 3 balls and which flavour ?

Soggy Bog (USA - top notch Doom radio programmer)
1) Doom over the World!
2) I always forget the mother in law!
3) If i had feet id wear sandals (just kidding, i wear sandals)
4) I like relaxing and sunbathing...with or without family..and we kind of play it by ear for destinations.
5) I actually dont like ice cream cones..i prefer cups or bowls, but for the sake of the question, it shall be
2 balls.

Karl Simon (USA, vocals/guit in The Gates of Slumber)

1) Burial at Sea, by Saint Vitus
2) I never really go on vacation... I go on tour, And I've managed to lose my teddy bear somewhere south of Tilburg, if anyone finds him please send him back. I can not sleep.
3) Boots.
4) Touring man, that's what I do touring. I don't know anything about vacations.
5) I like my ice in a whiskey glass ;)

Kev Stait (Wales, vocals in Doom Child)
1) Electric Wizard - Return Trip
2) No , if my mother in law was there I would want the teddy bear to stick in her mouth to stop the moaning ;-) I suppose a sex toy may do the same LOL
3) Converse boots [Black]
4) Chill out with family and friends I does not matter where
5) 2 balls.  Rum and Rasion / Vanilla

JB Matson (USA, drums in War Injun)

1) loaded and damned
2) NO
3) Baskets
4) sunbath/ocean city
5) Cherry, no balls

Stéphane Bourcier (France, guitars in Barabbas)

1) "Laguna Sunrise" by Black Sabbath on "Volume 4". A beautiful sunset, a beach, a big fat joint and the guitar of Iommi ... Hard to beat (although to be perfectly honest, it's "Tokyo Tapes" Scorpions which the most turned on my cd deck this summer and the "A Matter of Life and Death" from Iron Maiden).
2) Too old for the teddy bear, too inhibited for sex, too antisocial for the mother in law. But I never forget to carry a guitar (which is similar to an adult's teddy toy, right?).
3) Barefoot to better feel the healing power of Mother Earth (more prosaically, on the advice of my pedicure, which despairs about the worsening of my foot mycosis).
4) I would rather say "cultural" (to complete my image of nerd) or "sport" (to please girls going for a muscular type that takes care of his abs) but generally, it is more having rest with Family on  a beach or sofa (depending of finances). For the destination, no surprise: this summer, as every year, it was "Vamos a la Plaja".
5) For Barabbas, it is always three balls: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (with a little cream of the Holy Virgin if possible).

ED Barnard (USA, Doommantia editor)

1) For doom - Electric Wizard - Son of Nothing, for stoner - Fu Manchu's Asphalt Risin
2) Never forget the sex-toys ha ha.
3) Barefoot.
4) Cultural or cool at home. I am always moving so no movement at all is always a relief. 
5) Hmmm, I hate ice-cream. Ice-Cream to me tastes like cold vomit!

Jan "doomed poet" (Slovenia, white magic-black magic *blog*)
1. maybe Black Sabbath- Under the sun ( if you count this as doom)
2. I didn't ever plan to take those things with me
3. Sandals
4. Cultural... I was in Bretagne this year (ed : Brittany, french land of the druids) 
5. 3 balls : apple, chocholate, biscuit...

Maryline (France, Bloodrites assoc. - gigs organizer)
1) Red Fang "wires"
2) I never forget my can of oil for my doomobile! or if you want in your choice, bah, my teddy bear = Fernando, hahahah!
3) ...
4) cultural holidays this year; first we're going to see Blood Axis in Belgium, then travel through Germany to go to the Auschwitz camp and visit other camps also .... so seriously cultural this year!
5) Ball and Chain heeee pfff! Well, I eat  so rarely ice cream, you suck with your questions ! hummm good Viennetta from granny! No, seriously, 3 balls of ice  with whiskey flavour,  I've tasted it once and that was top notch!

Ollie Stygall (England, vocals/guit in Grifter)
1) Tough question…it’s all about the mood isn’t it? I reckon if I’m getting in the car ready to hit the road on holiday it has to be some Bon Scott era AC/DC. That stuff just totally sets the mood for a good time…maybe Highway To Hell!!!

2) I’m paranoid about forgetting anything when I go away so I make a big list of absolutely everything!!! I’ll pretty much go to any lengths to avoid taking my mother in law though!!!

3) On the beach…barefoot, walking round town…trainers, chilling out…sandals.

4) It has to be cultural…I get way too bored sitting by a pool or on a beach sunbathing and I pretty much avoid any level of sport. I need good weather, some cool places to explore and decent local food. If I get to meet some cool people along the way it’s a bonus. No holiday this year for me though…no money and a new baby in the house so the best I’ll manage is maybe a weekend away at family or some day trips out. Fortunately I live near the sea so always have somewhere to go for the day. If I was going to choose anywhere though I’d either go with the Perigord/Dordogne in France as that’s my favourite place on earth (my mother was French), or maybe Italy…I like history and I like pizza so it’d be perfect!!!

5)  I’m a greedy bastard so it has to be 3 balls…there has to be vanilla, that’s the king of all ice creams. After that something with a bit of fruit in it, maybe raspberry or blackcurrant and cream. If there’s some banana ice cream on the menu then I’m happy.

Cheryl Williams (USA, Stoner Hands Of Doom Festival team)

1) Earthride's "Fighting the Demons Inside You" - best road trip song EVER! Driving through the desert, top down, at sunset. Incredible.
2) Yes, but got more :)
3) Barefoot baby!
4) Beaches, museums/sights, theme parks, camping... I like a lot of different types of holidays...
5) Two balls - chocolate, mint chip :)

Sven Mihlan (Germany, Doom Metal Front zine editor)

1) Difficult question, as there is no particular song I would prefer. But asked I would maybe choose, wow, I really dig “Carnal Altar” of Serpent Venom’s actual album on The Church Within Records.
2) As I am afraid of teddy bears, don’t need no sex toys at all and sold my mother in law it is not the question of forgetting. Never needed…
3) Looking at the brown stripes on my feet…sandals, obviously!
4) None of those suggested. I’m more into exploring nature, going for walks and stuff. Doom Metal Festivals is kinda holidays too. Going to explore Scandinavia next weeks, that’s my plan at the very moment.5) Two balls of vanilla…

Jason Williams (Canada, drummer in Sheavy)

1) My ultimate tune for the holidays would be "Northern Lights" by Eggnogg. The northern lights are a winter time event. So, nice to think about that on these hot summer days ! \m/
 2) I never bring my teddy bear or mother in law on vacation with me ;) (ed : does this mean you never forget your  sex-toys ?!!)
3) Barefoot
4) I prefer at home with my family. No holidays planned for this year. Just want to spend as much time with my wife and kids as possible before school starts back up !
5) Prefer my cone with two balls ... one chocolate... one vanilla

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Formed about three years ago, this quartet from the east of France describes its musical style as some "raw stoner rock, extraterrestrial themed and doom tinted"... I'm more than ok with that description and would add willingly "all with talent" !
But one more time, it's  still difficult to understand the reasons that lead to the same eternal conclusion : why do so many quality french bands are confronted to such a lame interest from their own country ? I mean, with an ep like "from the blazing sky at dusk" already released more than one year ago, how can it be possible that WHEELFALL still hasn't  received  larger attention and given more gigs all around France ?
With Kyuss, Fu Manchu and Slo Burn quickly heard as serious influences, we've got here authentic desert rock, clearly sounding like if it was coming from the mid 90's. Some more metallic elements induced by sharped guitar riffing and double bassdrums parts can be found here and there, but the overall atmosphere remainss fuckin hot, starry (yes, not just an image, thanx to the original science fiction themes)  and groovy, while a few pinches of doomy heaviness enhance the strength of the rythmic.
France has never revealed over time true potential leaders in its stoner scene, but now, just as the excellent Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel, I think that WHEELFALL could and should be one of the few promised ones... After two weeks of intense studio work this month, the debut album "interzone" shoud be entirely recorded by the time you read this, let's hope that now good things will quickly follow (starting by a well-deserved decent deal), while waiting for this new effort you can download the ep at bandcamp for free !!! 

And here's a youtube video with a live report and new song filmed at their recent gig with Karma To Burn :

Monday, July 25, 2011

FAZ- issue 15 out now of the best french (EVIL) metal zine !!!

Are you french / french speaking / trying to learn french in an original way, and attracted by obscure (musical) litteratures ?
Yes !?!!?!! Then, you've got to know that the 15th issue (for the 10th year of existence) of FOEDUS ATERNUS ZINE has just been released... I feel sorry for most of you that such a brillant work isn't accessible in an english version, because it's as always full of many many interesting interviews and reviews, all professionnaly printed with a nice lay-out...
Not much doom covered (or almost none) ? I don't give a shit for once, cause this is dark, filthy, 100% underground and above all the knowledge, approach and style of writing of these guys are so  UNIQUE that each time I do quickly forget that... And as if that wasn't enough, I'm featured in this issue !!! yeah, through an in depth interview as the editor of IMV, the death metal zine I was running back between 1988 and 1992....

Some details about the summary :
"10 ans de longs et boyaux services au service d’un Metal qu’il est laid. FAZ vous assène un nouveau quintal d’un récital qui se veut toujours métallique. Pas moins de 25 interviews de groupes connus ou qui gagnent à l’être. En vrac et sans distinction, noir et bien corsé avec DARKENED NOCTURN SLAUGHTERCULT, MALCUIDANT, MURKRAT, de la Mort à se donner avec l’emblématique BLOODY SIGN, STARGAZER, l’excellence de NEGATIVE PLANE ne peut plus passer inaperçu, la Thrashouille corrosive d’ASSAULTER non plus, et je ne vous parle même pas d’ATTACKER BLOODY AXE. Les ancêtres de WOMBBATH, SORCERY évoquent le passé de naguère, quant à PESTIFER, LANTERN, RITUAL TORTURE, des noms qui laissent présager à une mort meilleure. Les Rockers de MAN’S GIN, la fumette de GRAVEYARD et la binouze tiède des MONGO NINJA. Et on enterrera ces 10 ans avec les ovnis de TRIFORIUM DAWN et KURHAN. Un dossier sur les fanzines de la guerre de 14 avec Liquid of Life, Spikehead et In My Veins. Des live reports, des chroniques puériles, subtiles mais toujours justes de CD, K7, vinyles et bretzels."

· Date de parution : Juillet 2011.  prix : 5 euros.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

THE HUMAN CONDITION : UK's 2011 Doom revelation

 NO please don't run away, I'm not presenting you the latest emoshit or shitcore sensation, but rather , despite a name that doesn't let it suppose, a top notch DOOM band from England ! Composed by ex-members of Unsilence, Misericorde and The River, the band was founded in 2005 by Jon (guit) but it took no more than 4 years to complete and stabilize the line-up. Nothing surprising then if the band's only entered a studio for the first time about one year ago to record a video for "the tempest", which you can view on their site; but this time it's not been too long (just a few months)  until they recorded again, for a  3 songs CD/ep called "modern maze", about which there's many great commentaries to say...                                                                     Cause, yes, we definitely don't have here a standard doom band,       THE HUMAN CONDITION can be classified in the slow, heavy, epic Doom category, somewhere directly between classy bands like Warning (or 40 Watt Sun) and Pale Divine... Though maybe not as much dominant as in these bands mentioned, vocals by Nathan are perfect, clear, hauting, melodic, filled with melancholy and striking deepness, the performance is majestuous; just perfectly in tune with the music which is very refined and epic at the same time, with heavy structures, beautiful melodies, not forgetting emotional accoustic/calm parts (far from an awkward teen ballad style !)... Like I've been immediately, I'm sure that most of you will be convinced by this enormous potencial  after listening just the song "pretending", and will do the same right after : order the CD on their site !  

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


What is amazing with the american doom scene is that you just have to look on a big festival's poster (like "doom in june", "days of the doomed"  or presently "stoner hands of doom") and you'll quickly discover at least a  semi-dozen of interesting new names ! Well, new is maybe not the most exact term as this five piece from Richmond (VA) formed in 2008, emerging and promising would fit better at the moment... Their "practice space" demo presents 3 songs (all listenable on their myspace) of some very interesting vintage doom with  noticeable  hints of sludge which contribute to make them sound pretty different from the current mass...
Female vocals performed by Dorthia Cottrell are naturally an essential element in their identity, not far the best of the genre in terms of quality and melody (Jex Thoth, Alia o'Brien...), they are sounding a bit different, sometimes close to a louder and gloomier adaptation of Lori's Acid King type of singing. While the mesmerising guitars create some very deep and spooky atmospheres, reminding me Cough at times, the massive rythmic is sometimes eying on sludge creating some more crude and sick feelings. Three songs is clearly not enough to fulfill the ritual, so more is expected quickly please ! Without any precise elements, their FB page says that first album should be out before the end of the year...
While waiting, some great live recordings can be heard on youtube, here's one from their most recent show (with Earthride) :

Friday, July 15, 2011


This is the first time I've been listening a band from Venezuela, but I know that since the late 80's South America is generally more wellknown for death and thrash metal bands than for the doom and sludge genres... Things evolute, thanx to a few very talented bands like PROCESSION from Chile and our heroes of the day : CULTURA TRES ... Their first album "la cura" had yet received an enthusiastic reception by the worldwide underground with a punchy piece of METAL, introducing elements of doom, sludge and a delightful post-something (rock or core depending of the songs)  edge, the whole stuff being characterized by a very skilled sense of composition. 
Released in March, their new album "el mal del bien" is a pretty outstanding confirmation and goes far further, of course not that I could have doubted about their abilities, but I'm very positively struck by as much professionalism and strong identity, not only musically but in the band's general attitude too. The guys exactly know what they want and by their own (production by Alejandro Londonô -guit/voc-, release of all their material, videos, tours, promotion...) they give themselves all the means to succeed, which is a real performance, knowing they've yet toured Europe, Japan and several times South America, including this spring just after this 2nd effort came out. 
Beyond being a lot more deserving than your usual occidental band, CULTURA TRES displays a rich and subtle music, based on solid mid-tempos, not crushing or raw like,  just amazingly heavy, thrick and full of subtle, catchy, hauting atmospheres (beyond the simple musical catchiness, I like very much some nice enriching nature's effects, tribal sounds...). Some specialists could always find some more or less obvious influences but I'm sorry I can NOT, I feel this is very very original music ! Groovy and always melodic, the guys never forget to make your trip intense and miscellaneous with a unique guitar sound that could simply become a kind of trademark ! Vocals don't differ from spanish to english, always very massive and deep, they are perfectly at the music's level : talented.... So, all you have to do now is to visit their very nice site and enter the C.T.'s world for eternity !!! Finally I would like to thank Vania to have kindly introduced me to this band, you rule... 

Monday, July 11, 2011


LUSCA is a german duo consisting in two Bassists (Mike and Ingrid) with a drum-machine + samples... You've easily guessed that we don't speak here about traditional doom or any kind of band usually featured in T.O.P. ; but rules are made to be broken and LUSCA can be a very valuable exception. Indeed, their very personnal style takes influences in industrial and harsh post rock stuff mainly, with frequent drone and sludge/doom hints. Their new album "exodus", presents 7 songs lasting a bit more than an hour for  a deeply apocalyptic journey, cold, sometimes repetitive -but not boring at all-, sometimes more subtle and airy. Forget any guitar sounds, just rythmics with exteme heaviness, unhealthy mid-tempos and then imagine Godflesh meets Swans meets Winter (certainly this last one which made the difference for me, between having a small interest and a real affirmed interest  for this band)... and you've got now the (nice) picture !                                                                                                There's just an exception with the musical set-up, indeed the title tack "exodus" features guitarist K. Robin, I wouldn't dare to say that this song represent the way to follow in the future, it's just that it gives more richness, variety and emotions to this song of 16 minutes and is a perfect one to close the album. One more  important thing to be noticed is the work by James Plotkin (this guy was guitarist for the legends OLD twenty years ago, in Scorn too and has worked for Sunn o))), Pelican, Isis...) for the final mix and mastering, which is, even if I'm not too familiarized with this different type of sound, a real additionnal guarantee for the unquestionable credibility of LUSCA. Finally, you should hurry up ordering the 1st edition of "exodus" (limited to 300 copies) which comes in a lovely oversized carteboard gatefold sleeve... Experience LUSCA now !


Sunday, July 10, 2011


From Rhode Island (USA), PILGRIM's a trio which has released a 2 songs ep that you really should give an ear to on bandcamp where the stuff can be dowloaded for free.
No need of several minutes of listening to point the style and identity, from the first seconds of  "the forsaken man" you feel completely crushed by their sound,  heavy, raw, massive, with particularly a compressor rythmic (almost sounding like a sludge mammoth) and gloomy, repetitive riffs. Without sounding too basic or generic PILGRIM's music is not full of complex structures, this would more sound like great traditionnal doom, not the one with melodies and lyrical omnipresence but rather the vein full of oppressive catchiness and hypnotic epic parts. I don't like to always put names as influences or references but some Saint Vitus, Reverend Bizarre or Pagan Altar albums have certainly had an importance in these guys musical education, this is pretty well digested for these two songs but as a full-lenght the album gotta show a bit more development and originality, which I'm sure will come naturally... Helped by a year of hard practising and many gigs (in NY especially) with bands like Faces Of Bayon, Naam, Natur, Nightlore, etc... they will record this 1st album in August for Poison Tongue Rds (Metal Blade sub-label run by Alan from Primordial) ... And finally another good reason to awake your interest for PILGRIM is that these guys are closed friends with ICE DRAGON which obviously can only be a fair proof of authenticity and quality !!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

1st half of 2011's POLL

 In order to achieve a first point on this very prolific year 2011, here's a poll I did this week with about twenty people invested in one way or another in the obscure underground circuit of DOOM (musicians, editors, etc...). There's no special conclusion like "and the winner is ...", it's just a picture of everyone's tastes at this precise moment and the only thing, in my opinion, which the results show, is that the musical diversity of this style (and its sub-genres) has never been so rich... Thanx to all of you who have "played the game", if there's any straggler who want to participate, then send me your answers quickly and I'll update the topic... Cheers !

* Marilena Moroni (Italia, contributor for Doommantia)
                                                                                                                                                              Aaah... so few choices for a super prolific year...
   Well here are my answers :

  - 3 best albums for 2011 (random order)
    Witch Mountain - south of Salem
     Ice Dragon - the sorrowful sun   
     Sigiirya - return to earth

 - best live performance : Red Fang

 - best new band : Slabdragger

* Walter (Holland, Roadburn crew)

  - best albums :
    40 Watt Sun - the inside room
    Saturnalia Temple - aion of drakon 
    Loss - despond

 - best live performance : 
    Woven Hand - Roadburn 2011-

 - best new band : Year of the Goat

* Laurent Lignon
(France, contributor for Metallian mag and Doom

 - best albums :
   Pentagram - last rites
   Ava Inferi - onyx
   Children of Doom - doom, be doomed or fuck off

 - best live performance :
   ex aequo Church of Misery and Goatsnake at  Hellfest

 - best new band : Barabbas

* Vania Vossifova (Bulgaria, underground activist, sweet little  guru !)
 - best albums :
   Red Fang - murder the mountains
   Graveyard - hisingen blues
   Hijos de Mayo - in sound underground   

 - best live performance : I've only been to two significient
   events this year but if I have to choose beteween
    Paco de Lucia and Kyuss Lives ! - the second one :)
 - best new band : not sure what you mean by new
  but Swan Messiah. Though the debut album is from 2010,
  I discovered them this year.

* Olv' -unholy smoke- (France, editor of the awesome
  Foedus Aeternus Zine)

Yo Steph !

- best albums :
  Negative Plane "stained glass revelations"
  Bloody Sign "chaos echoes"
  Stargazer " a great work of ages"
- best live performance : Any...
- best new band : Attacker Bloody Axe -antichristian metal axe

 Bye, bye !

 * Dean Tavernier (Usa, vox&guit in Stone Magnum)

 - best albums
   The Gates of Slumber "the wretch"   
   Pentagram "last rites"
   Autopsy "macabre eternal"

- best live performance : Scythe "Chicago debut performance"

- best new band : Carmelized

* Carcinos (France, vox in Huata)

 - 3 best albums : only two
  Dopethrone - dark foil
  Barabbas -s/t-

- best live performance(s) :
  Weedeater at Roadburn, Ghost and Clutch at Hellfest
- best new band : Ghost !


* Vesa Karpinnen (Finland, bass in Fall of the Idols)

 - best albums :
    Hell "human remains"
    Pentagram "last rites"
                                                                                                             - best live performance : Pentagram -Helsinki, April 2011-
- best new band : The Wounded Kings

* Jonhaton Rossi (Usa, vox&guit in Pilgrim)

- best albums
  Burzum "fallen"
  Ice Dragon "the sorrowful sun"
  Faces of Bayon "heart of fire"

- best live performance : The Melvins - Boston Mass (june 2011)

- best new band : Ice Dragon

* Bertrand "baphomet" Marchal 
  (Belgium, 's boss) 
   - best albums :
     Ixion "to the void"
     The wreck of the Hesperus "light rotting out"
     Barabbas "s/t" 

  - best live performance : /

 - best new band : Barabbas 

* Ron Rochondo (USA, vox in Ice Dragon)

 - 3 best albums :
   Sunsmasher - mammothian/loud/cult
   Heliotropes - ribbons 7''
   Hexvessel - dawnbearer

  - best live performance : Pilgrim @ church in Boston

 - best new band : Monolithian 

Oliver Richling (Germany, Church Within rds)

  - best album : Orchid "capricorn" 

 - best live performance : Blood Farmers (it was about time !)

- best new band : Serpent Venom 

* Maurizio Fromentin (Italia, underground activist)

  - best albums :
   Orthodox "baal"
   Black Oath "the 3rd aeon"
   Necro Christos "doom from the occult"

 - best live performance : Black Oath
 - best new band : Serpent Venom

* Kimi Kärki (Finland - Guit. in Lord Vicar and Orne)

- 3 best albums :
  Sigiriya "return to earth"
  The Gates of Slmuber "the wretch"
  Pentagram "last rites"

 - best live performance : Pentagram @ Helsinki
 - best new band : Sigiriya

   * Rodolphe Beuchet (France, vox in Barabbas)                              
 - 3 best albums :

 - best live performance(s) :
   Carlton Melton -Combustibles, Paris -
   Ghost and Electric Wizard @ Hellfest

- best new band : Huata

   * Lasse Pyykkö (Finland, Guit. in Hooded Menace)

 - 3 best albums :
   Necros Christos "doom of the occult"
   Autopsy "macabre eternal"
   Negative Plane "stained glass revelations"

 - best live performance : Candlemass @ Roadburn
 - best new band : Horse Latitudes

* Pierre François
  (french globe-trotter, actually in Holland, bass in Atolah)

 - 3 best albums (so far)
   Weedeater "jason the dragon"                      
   Ramesses "possessed by the rise of magik"
   Pentagram "last rites"

 - best live performance : Acid King -Paris 04/11 -

- best new band : Morast

* Jason Mc Cash (USA, bass in The Gates of Slumber)

- best albums : I'm drawing a blank...
- best live performance : Sabbath Assembly @ Roadburn
- best new band : Yet So Far (well I haven't heard them yet, but with this line-up how could it not be amazing ?! - line up from Revelation's "yet so far" album)

* Mike Schwer (Germany, high end Bass in Lusca)

 - 3 best albums :
   40 Watt Sun "the inside room"
   Primordial "redemtion at the puritan's hand"
   A Storm of Light "valley of death"

 - best live performance :
  Caspar Brötzmann Massaker @ Roadburn

- best new band : 40 Watt Sun
* Alessandro Drughito Santori (Italia, guit. in L'Ira del Bacano)

  3 best albums :
  Doomraiser "mountain of madness"
  Graveyard "hisingen blues"
  Orchid "capricorn"

  Best live performance : Yawning Man -Rome-
  Best new band : none

* Stéphane Le Saux (France, just myfuckingself)

- best albums :
  The Gates Of Slumber "the wretch"
  Blood Ceremony "living with the ancients"
  Ice Dragon "the sorrowful sun"

- best live performance : Candlemass -special "epicus..." 25th anniversary show at Roadburn 2011-

- best new band : Barabbas and Stone Magnum

Sunday, July 3, 2011

BLOOD FARMERS : int' with David Szulkin

No real need to present you this exceptionnal doom band, as this is yet the 3rd time I'm posting about them in T.O.P. !!! So if anyone wants infos about their (cultish) older releases, please read particularly the first previous post. For my greatest pleasure, BLOOD FARMERS came back with force in the actuality in 2011, so I thought it was the moment to speak with its talented compositor, guitarist David Szulkin, about the recent european tour, the future split 12'' and new album, horror movies and more...

* You played a reunion show at the Doom or Be Doomed fest in 2007, followed by a Japanese tour with Church of Misery in 2008, then nothing during 2 years, until the Born to be Doomed fest in 2010 and the first real tour this april… So what do you think is the exact date of B.F. ‘s reformation ? ! Have you been just you 3 coming back since the first show ?   
We  did a reunion show for our friends John Brenner and Josh Hart of Revelation in 2007, that was with my cousin Phil, the original bassist, (R.I.P.) Phil's brother Ross from OGRE came in on 2nd guitar so we had all three cousins up on stage. Ross and the drummer from OGRE backed us up again when we toured Japan, but they were never full-time members of the band or serious about it, they basically just helped us out for the tour. Eventually, Eli and I decided to go with our friend Tad Leger on drums, we'd been jamming with him since around 2005. In 2009, I started writing new material and we got together. WIth Tad, we played a second festival for John Brenner & John Gallo (Orodruin) in 2010, and now the European tour & new album as well. So that's the story on the lineup, I'd say we've been most active in the past 7 months or so. Very happy to have Tad in the band, as my friend and a great musician.
·     * So David, how do you feel after your first European tour ? How has it been playing with Black Pyramid and other bands ? Were the Roadburn and Hammer Of Doom particular shows or everything has been equally good everywhere ?
       I feel great about it. Black Pyramid were great, playing with Pentagram and Electric Wizard were longtime dreams come true. Roadburn was one of a kind, just the ultimate gig to play for our style of music, and Walter was so gracious to have us play not once but twice! Hammer of Doom was great because some fans who really wanted to see us traveled to the show such as my friend Glen Gauci from Malta. We had one group of fans who traveled all over to see us, several different countries! I got sick on the otur so I was suffering physically most of the time but it was an amazing experience and I feel really lucky. The last night in Finland playing to a sold-out crowd with Pentagram was a great show, one of the best memories I'll ever have! 
·    * Did you prepare the tour rather intensively or nothing special ? Even if it’s just for pleasure and you couldn’t have much to loose, I suppose you did feel a little bit of pressure before the tour starts, or what ?
      Yes, it was a lot of pressure especially starting the tour with Roadburn. We were living in different states so I came back to the East Coast to prepare for the tour and had to drive 5 hours to rehearse with the rest of the band. Also to work on new material. I wish we could have rehearsed more, and it would have been even better if Roadburn was the last stop on the tour so we could have been playing shows for a couple of weeks culminating in that! 
·     * On your last FM page there’s a photo which is described as the artwork/cover for the forthcoming album, it’s dated from 2009, is it still this one scheduled ? logically,  it’s radically different from the previous ones, there’s a great predominance of black and violet (“the colours of your funeral” like written in the chorus of my fave’s DEATH SS song “black and violet” from 1983 !) … like the old ones, is it a picture taken from a movie ? could you explain the choice ?
     It's from a movie poster I liked. The movie is called Encounter with the Unknown, from the 70s. I don't know if it will be the final album cover.
   * You cite St Vitus and Black  Sabbath as main influences and  are basically categorized in trad  DOOM, there’s a great part of  truth in that but I feel that your  style goes further, being  much  more musical than most  (all ?)  other trad doom bands, I mean  who else does deliver  such  incredible (generally long,  tortured, but so tasty)  solos and developed 70’s psychedelic /proto hard rock touches ? Except Blue Cheer, which influence did give you such a groovy psyche  feeling ?
     Thank you! Yes, Blue Cheer was a big influence up there w/ the biggest of all, Black Sabbath & St Vitus... Leigh Stephens' solos on Vincebus Eruptum. Who else do I like...Billy Gibbons, Jim McCarty of Cactus, Joe Walsh w/ James Gang, Leslie West, Hawkwind albums like Space Ritual, Pink Floyd, I really like David Gilmour's playing. And listening to lots of '70s bands like Frijid Pink, Cactus, Sir Lord Baltimore, Bloodrock, Grand Funk, and so on.
·     * Back in the 90’s you were rather mysterious, no photos or press features;   it’s kind of strange but  when I saw you live at Roadburn, I was first a bit surprised by finally seeing you physically  and musically, sorry for the cliché, but it’s been something like “shit, it’s a fuckin’ dream that finally comes true” , I suppose you heard those comments many times from European fans ?
     That's amazing to hear, I did have a great experience meeting fans who'd has the albums for a long time and never thought twey'd see us play live. Those sort of compliments make everything worthwhile!
·    “thousand yard stare” the new song that you played on the tour sounds  really great, will it be that one on the soon to be released split ep with Solluby ?  any other songs written yet ? Have you been contacted by any other label for a full length album ? What’s your expectations towards the near future of B.F. ?
     "Thousand-Yard Stare" plus one more by us will be on the split with Sollubi. Yes, another half-dozen songs written and counting - we just added two more last night, one by me and another by Tad. I've been playing with Eli for 25 years and he says this is the best he's heard me play and the best material I've written. "Night of the Sorcerers" is another one we did in Europe, "Headless Eyes" is a more recent track. I'm excited to get the record out. We will debut all the songs from the new album live at Stoner Hands of Doom XI in August.
   * Almost all of your songs are usually (from rather to very) long, I feel there’s nothing calculated at all in that, but how can you explain it ?
    Sometimes it's because I would take long guitar solos. And we would set out to do epic songs. "Head" music.
·     * Back in the 90’s you played once at the CBGB with Hole, fans didn’t like it very much… do you think it could be different now ,  are people more open-minded towards doom ?  It’s not a comparable situation but how did you feel playing with Children of Bodom in Munchen ? Did you feel a difference between their audience and doom freaks ?  
      We got good reactions in Europe, much better than what we got back in the day in the U.S. However, it;s not so different. When we did that show with Children of Bodom, the promoter and our tour manager were laughing at us saying no one was coming to see us, all the people were there for a separate part of the club to see Children of Bodom. We only got a few people, but the ones who did show up to watch us LOVED it and we didn't want to stop playing that night! There was a big difference between the two crowds, aside from the difference in the turnout. I like our fans a lot better!

·    * You ‘re from NY just as Winter who had about the same history as you (just a bit earlier, but released one album, had problems with their label, then splited up, then reformed, played at Roadburn too this year…) , do you know them and had the opportunity to see them live (not at the Roadburn cause that day you were in Germany) but  one week  before in NY for the very very first reunion show ? 
      We met the guys from Winter at Roadburn, Walter introduced us. I had Into Darkness on cassette from a long time ago, but I never saw them live and unfortunately we had to play a show in Germany while they were doing their set in Holland. Very nice guys, and it turns out a friend of Eli's from NY named  Tony Pinissi played keyboards with them.
·    * Sure there’s been some Italian bands too and even before you , but are you conscious that you’ve certainly been an influence for some actual bands in introducing a weird occult 70’s movie touch to your music ? Any new band that you particularly enjoy ?
       I know we influenced some of the younger doom bands cause I hear it from them, it's always a great feeling and very flattering to hear. New bands I like, Sollubi, we're doing a split vinyl release with them. I like the Swedish band Graveyard-we are are all big fans of theirs and unfortunately we missed seeing them in Europe several times by no more than a day while we were traveling. 
·   * Speaking about that, one got to know  that you work for the important   GRINDHOUSE RELEASING, could you  explain     exactly the vocation of this  company and the nature of  your job there ?
     Grindhouse Releasing is a film   distributor based in Hollywood,   dedicated to the preserving, restoring   and releasing horror and exploitation   movies. I run the theatrical division of   Grindhouse Releasing. I supervised the   North American theatrical releases of   EVIL DEAD, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST,   Duke Mitchell's GONE WITH THE   POPE, PIECES, Bill Lustig's MANIAC,  and more. I feel it's important to keep these movies alive on the big screen the way they were meant to be seen, it means something to me, so it is really a labor of love I share with my friends at Grindhouse. I've been responsible for booking and promoting screenings all over the country, as well as abroad, at film festivals, midnight shows, colleges, at major theaters. Other titles I've booked include CANNIBAL FEROX (a.k.a. MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY) and Lucio Fulci's THE BEYOND, which was rediscovered and released thanks to my friend Sage Stallone of Grindhouse. GONE WITH THE POPE was a first-run release, a 1970s movie our company finished and released for the first time in theaters in 2010, I booked the theaters and handled all the publicity... GONE WITH THE POPE was written up in VARIETY, the LOS ANGELES TIMES, the VILLAGE VOICE and many other places.
      I am now working with Bill Lustig and his company Blue Underground on a big theatrical release of Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE which will open October 21 & 22 across the U.S. and some theaters in Canada, as well. 
       Working for the Oscar-winning editor Bob Murawski (THE HURT LOCKER, SPIDER MAN 1, 2 &3) of Grindhouse, I co-produced the DVD of I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, the great U.S. horror classic written and directed by my late friend, David E. Durston. On my own, I produced/directed all the extra features for MGM's LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT DVD, a project which I pitched to them based on the success of my book on the making of that film. Another project of mine finally coming to fruition is the DVD release of the late, great Texas horror film director S.F. Brownrigg's SCUM OF THE EARTH, a.k.a. POOR WHITE TRASH PART II. 
·   Are you more or less exclusively interested by old horror/occult movies from the 70’s ? Is there    any new film makers, which for example could give a new breath to the genre,  that you dig  ? 
Y      Yes, I pretty much just watch '70s movies, I must admit. My friend Jim VanBebber...I hope he gets to make more movies! I am also working on a script for a proposed U.S. version of the Coffin Joe movies. That is very exciting to me so again, I hope it happens.

Thanx a lot David !