Monday, September 30, 2013

... into the crypt of Durham : an Interview with UNCOFFINED

To me, there's 3 essential releases coming out in October, naturally you'll read about all in these pages... Two are coming from the States but first for today is  Ritual Death and Funeral Rites - debut album by british evil Doom band UNCOFFINED !!! Haven't heard yet of this sinister quartet and their about to be registered trademark "DOOM METAL OF DEATH" ??? well, follow the guide, enjoy their creepy journey into Doom like you've never heard it before, heavy as a ton of sated zombies and as morbid and terrifying as 95% of the blackened Sludge bands all together !!!  Check out the album NOW and not in three months when the masses will put it as the best overlooked album of 2013;)

Hail Kat, welcome in the Temple and thanx for answering the following questions !
Hails Steph! Many thanks for this interview and the opportunity to reach more unsuspecting souls via the Temple!.

You tagged your style as “Doom Metal of Death”, how could you describe it to innocent ears?
Well I would basically describe it as a cross between old school Traditional Doom Metal and old school Doom/Death with some nihilistic misanthropic Sludge influences (Grief) and also the spectre of Hellhammer and early Celtic Frost looming over some parts. The Trad Doom Metal influences are more prominent musically overall, for example you could easily put normal sung melodic vocals over a lot of the riffs on our album and it would just sound like Heavy Traditional Doom Metal but we chose to utilise harsher more sinister sounding death growls and screams instead throughout the album as they help to create a more evil atmosphere. There is some faster picked deathy sounding parts musically aswell as some uptempo Frostian parts but the Trad Doom Metal influence from bands such as Early Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, 80'S Candlemass is the most prominent musically overall. DOOM METAL OF DEATH is a perfect description of our mix of styles and influences and I have never seen another band call their music that.

Lots of bands think they play death/doom because there’s some melancholy and slower moments in a few of their songs but to me it often still remains Death metal… I think there aren’t that many bands who mix true Doom and Death or death and true doom… hahaha! in any cases you’re the doomiest and heaviest at the same time I know and of corpse the most brutal vocally wise…  even Hooded Menace is faster and softer  than you !!! what’s your opinion on this and what are the main characters that you wanna highlight in your music ?
Thank you for the kind words and the compliments! I must say though I am personally a HUGE fan of Hooded Menace and have a lot of respect for Lasse and his musical work and they were one of the first doom/death bands of more recent times to bring in obvious influences from Candlemass, early Cathedral etc..which definetly did not go un-noticed by myself. Some people do seem to think just because a death metal band has some slow or doomy parts that they are "doom/death" but to me a true doom/death band has way more slower-mid paced parts and less faster death metal sounding riffs, 3 of us in the band are longtime fans of Traditional Doom Metal and that love for such music is very obvious in our own music and songwriting and is definetly the main influence overall as I said before you could easily put normal sung vocals over a lot of our riffs and it would just sound like Trad Doom Metal. That is where we are different from quite a lot of so called "doom/death" bands..we are not a death metal band just playing some slow parts here and there, we are more MUCH more Doom Metal than Death Metal musically it is just the vocals that really make us sound more death metal. Musically we just want to create an evil morbid sinister eerie cold dark atmosphere....the aural equivalent of a dark haunting sinister figure lurking amongst the shadows and graves of an old untendered graveyard that no one dares to enter especially at night!!. Someone described us more more or less as "Evil Doom", that is also a perfect description.

It is true that a great part of the album consists in  trad’ Doom mixed with death growls and incantations, are you satisfied with the way you sing on the album ? can we imagine at some point some normal singing (exceptionally or not) in the future ? do you think this would imply some different kind of lyrics? 
I am VERY satisified overall with how the vocals turned out on the debut studio recording they help to create the dark, morbid and evil atmosphere we were looking to create. There is no plans to start using normal sung vocals anytime soon even though I do have the ability to sing normal sung vocals but I do not think they would be appropriate in Uncoffined. But time will tell...I can safelt say that for the forseeable future I will just stick with doing morbid death growls and possessed screams.

There’s regular horror movies samples in the album which enhance the creepy atmospheres, where did you extract them from ? was it a collective work on this ?
The samples are taken from the old Hammer Horror films "PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES" and "THE DEVIL RIDES OUT". It was my idea to use these samples as I am a very big fan of old Hammer movies and have always liked bands who use samples from such movies as they do as you said "enhance the creepy atmospheres" and fit the lyrical subjects perfectly too for example "Twisted Shape Of Creeping Terror" is about undead zombies rising up from their graves and "Ritual Death And Funeral Rites" is very influenced by The Devil Rides Out and the subject of clandestine satanic rituals, ritual sacrifice and summoning dark evil forces from beyond this world.

The cover artwork is pretty much alike the album : terrifying ! who did work on this  and which of his previous works did decide you ?
A Swedish guy called Ola Sjoberg is responsible for the very striking album cover, he took the lyrical concepts and album title and that is what he came up with and we were collectively blown away when we first saw what he had came up with! He has desgined the whole album inlay aswell as the front and back covers and we couldn't be more satisified with the overall final result! Ola has done design work for my other band Winds Of Genocide and I have always really liked what he has came up with design wise so I asked him if he would be interested in designing our album cover and fortunately for us he was and we have have PERFECT album cover now!. Tack så mycket Ola!!.

How did you come to sign this deal with Memento Mori rds ? were the label’s attitude and bands roaster as much important as financial and release conditions for you ?
Well, our debut studio recording was actually originally intended to only be a PROMO DEMO we didn't go into the studio expecting it to be released as a full length album but a couple days after we got back from the studio I sent Raul an unmastered track that we had put online with the help of a friend, Raul really liked it so asked to here more so I sent him the whole recording and he got back to me saying he really liked it and thought it is good enough and long enough in length to be released as a full length album and then offered us a deal to release it as an album and also offered to get it fully mastered propely so it would sound more like an album. We immediately accepted his offer and here we are only a couple weeks from the album coming back from the pressing plant at the time of typing these answers! I was already aware of some of Raul's releases having done some trading with him aswell as following his labels/release activities for a little while. The album was mastered by Javier Felez (also guitarist in death metal band Graveyard) at Moontower Studios in Barcelona Spain and he did a GREAT job with that! The album was recorded/mixed by Bri Doom at Studio 1in12 Bradford England and he did an awesome job too!


I know you’re a big Trouble fan, so why did you choose to cover Revelation’s “frustrations” (from Never comes Silence), was that a more difficult challenge ? will you send a link or CD to John Brenner?
 3 of us in the band namely myself, Jonny Rot (Lead guitar) and Gory Sugden (Bass) have been HUGE fans of Revelation since the early 1990's, in fact the old Doom band which all 3 of us were involved Blessed Realm was named after a Revelation song. We were discussing about doing a cover and Gory suggested that song and so we all agreed and it turned out really well. It took a little while until we got the cover "nailed" so to speak but I am very happy with how our recorded version sounds. I asked John for permission to record it which he was totally cool with. He has heard the cover and said he is very flattered by it and thinks we have stayed very true to the spirit of the original musically although the vocals are harsher of corpse. I will send John a CD copy of our album too. He also said our Revelation cover is the first he has heard so that's pretty cool!. Revelation have always been quite an underrated band in my opinion and hopefully this cover might make some more people check them out!?!. So many bands have done Trouble covers but not covers of Revelation songs so again it is something abit different.

How do you manage to share your time between Uncoffined, Winds of Genocide, Terrorizer blog and yours “a blog in the northern sky”… ?
I currently do not have a full time paid job so I have plenty of time on my hands right now!. Also both bands rehearse different weeks sometimes or at least a few days apart so there is no problem with both bands getting in the way of each other at the moment. I guess there will be times when one band is more busier and active than the other that will demand more focus and attention but that won't create any problems. 

In the mid 90’s you were playing in a band called Blessed Realm, some kind of Doom Rock as we can hear it regularly for a few years now… if I remember well, you told me that there should be released a compilation of all your demo recordings, right ?
There is no official plans for a demo compilation at the moment but it would be cool to see some of those old demos reach more people as Blessed Realm remains a very obscure entity even within the Doom scene..there will be alot of newer Doom metal fans that will not even be aware of that bands existence due to the very underground status of the band. One of our demos that was recorded in early 1998 "Return To Zero" has just had abit of a sound overall, some slight mastering done by the guy who originally recorded it and it does sound better than the original recording. Uncoffined currently features 3 ex members of Blessed Realm and I must say it is so great to be playing in a band alongside Jonny Rot and Gory Sugden again..we go back a long way as friends aswell as bandmates and things have never sounded better between us musically!

I know you’re not really into the actual Doom scene, what does bore you the most in it ? guys looking like old hippies from the end of the 60’s ? trendy occult images ? … ?
I have a love/hate thing with the modern Doom scene...and I must admit I do miss the days of the 90's Doom scene when it seemed more close knit and a lot more friendlier even when everyone who was into such music seemingly knew each other, all the Doom bands back then wrote and traded with each other and there was no trend bullshit involved in the scene or trend followers into such music as it was one of the most unfashionable and untrendy/unpopular music scenes to be a part of back then and the scene was full of die hard doomheads who were genuinely into such music for the right reasons plus it was before this "drone" music which a lot of people have associated with Doom since the early 2000's...where are the fucking RIFFS in that shit?!! To me playing a 40 min long drone of the same chord is NOT DOOM!!! fuck those bands...boring as fuck...I blame SunnO))) for starting that shit trend.

Anyway so yeah that drone stuff bores me to sleep, one of the things I hate about the modern Doom scene, if it hasn't got interesting riffs and tempos in it then I am not interested, same goes for a lot of this "Funeral" Doom's just this same slow tempo mostly, playing slow for the sake of playing slow..shut up, slit your wrists and kill yourselves already!!!...ALL THE BEST Doom bands throughout history have had mid tempo and uptempo parts aswell as plenty of slow parts, Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Trouble, Candlemass, Pentagram,  Solitude Aeturnus, Cathedral, Revelation, Penance etc... so yeah these modern bands that play slow for the sake of playing slow bore me shitless. Also there is definetly a current trend of "occult rock" bands and quite a few it seems with female vocalists that the media and record labels seem to be tripping over each other to either sign or feature and some bands are clearly exploiting that seems that any band with a female vocalist who is posing with a fucking skull and can play a flute or sing about the occult is being hyped....there is a some good female fronted bands in this style that stand out, Blood Ceremony being one but some of these bands do not do anything for me at all as they are clearly just hopping on a current bandwagon and sound like lame stoner rock bands with a female vocalist. I would rather listen to the Coven album "Witchcraft Destroys Minds And Reaps Souls" anyday than some modern flavour of the month trend band playing 3rd rate Sabbath riffs / 70's hardrock riffs trying to be overly 60's occult and "retro" and "witchy"..another reason why I do the kind of vocals I do as I do not want to be lumped in with most of these female fronted "occult rock" bands. We stand apart from them, we are a DOOM band not an "occult rock" band. I have always been heavily interested in the occult and satanism and was writing about such subjects in my old death metal band back in early 90's so this is not a subject I have recently just started to flirt with because it is "cool" to do so. I am very much interested in such subject matter on a personal level but I won't go into that.

As for modern "Doom" / hardrock hippies...again I remember when wearing bellbottoms/flares back in the mid 90's was frowned upon by a lot of people and those who wore them were looked at as some kind of social outcasts and retro throwbacks by the majority of the music scene and society in general... for example some of the looks I got from people in my hometown back in the mid 90's when I was in Blessed Realm wearing Vitus/Pentagram etc shirts and huge bellbottom flares were ones of "WTF....who is this freak" people looked at me like I had been beamed down from another planet but is seemingly very cool and fashionable to dress and look like you just stepped out of the late 60's/ early-mid 70's and that is reflected in the modern music scene hence why even labels like Nuclear Blast are jumping on the bandwagon and signing flare wearing hippie-ish retro sounding bands when 15-20 years ago or so they would not have touched them...a lot of stoner rock bands for instance have also traded in their fuzz pedals for flutes and a cleaner sound over the past decade...I do like some of these modern retro hippie-ish bands like Witchcraft but Magnus was playing such music back in 90's in another band long before it became remotely cool but some of them are so fucking boring.....but trends come and go in the music scene and outside of it, we don't care about following trends, we just do what we do and the fact 3 of us were playing in another Doom band years ago before such music became even remotely "cool" and "fashionable"  speaks for itself. Anyone who says we are jumping on a Doom bandwagon clearly needs to research the roots of this band and it's members.
But in closing....We play DOOM METAL OF DEATH not some trendy retro stuff.  In league with Satan not Saturn!.

I’m much older than you, so your memory is certainly fresher than mine… we met sometime in 1995 in Germany at a gig of my  friends band Astral Rising playing with Mirror of Deception… what the fuck where you doing there ?! I don’t remember much except of course great times with nice guys, lots of beer , pot and beer, a visit at Nuclear Blast office, beer and pot and beer again !!!
Well I have just turned 37 years old so I dare say you are not TOOO much older than me Steph (hum, I'll be 45 in November!) but yeah I remember our meeting each other, fond memories of hanging out with yourself and the Astral Rising guys for a few days, getting drunk etc... I was in Germany at that time visiting my old friend Jochen Fopp the guitarist in Mirror Of Deception for a week or so...Those couple of shows were a lot of fun to be at, even though I do cringe at the time I got up on stage with Astral Rising and tried to sing a Black Sabbath song but was so drunk I forgot the fucking words! hahaha! I do also remember a tambourine was involved at the 2nd gig in Heidelberg (I think it was?!) - Fun times!.

If you allow me, let’s speak about your (old and new) self… About ten years ago Steve became Kat Shevil ,  I presume that you’ve had to face hard days, starting by certainly a long process to make it happen ?  From whom look have you had the most to suffer ?
Did this mature in your mind for a very long time ? Do you feel just simply happy and blooming now ?
No problem to talk about this at all although I do not bring it up in interviews unless prompted to do so as I do not want my gender being the main focus of the band, I would rather we let the music do the talking and be the main focus but I guess it will come up as a subject from time to time. Anyway Yes it has been a long process from initially "coming out" to transitioning from male to female to where I am in my life now and the whole process is not complete but I am currently much more happier, comfortable and more confident in and with myself. I have had to face some shit like predjudice from people both within and outside the music scene but those people do not matter to me, they just make my will and determination even stronger and more resilient. But I am much more happier living life as a female doubts about that!!!
my gender identity issues stem from a very early age when I was 4/5 years old. I was very aware of the fact I felt I should have been.born female since I was a kid it just took me a while to confront it/deal with it properly.

Now that the album is about to be released, hopefully Uncoffined should be more active on the LIVE front… starting with 2 dates this month in Scotland ! Are there other dates or a tour in the works ?
Well those two shows are the only ones we have planned/booked outside of the local area right now but we do want to play more across the UK and also in Europe and other hopefully the album being released will help to bring about more opportunities to play live further afield and in other countries and even possibly continents. We also have our album release party/show here in Durham City in November (16th) which should be a fun night of drinking and doom!

Are you cumfortable with playing drums and singing in Live conditions ? one could easily think about Chris Reifert, but as drummer/vocalist do you have a kind of model or special influence ?
Yes definetly, We have only played 2 live shows so far with myself doing both drums and lead vocals at the same time but it has worked out fine so far and I have felt very comfortable (I have practiced this a lot in rehearsals too)..I am still learning and it is something I can only get better at doing the more we play live and the more experience I have at handling both in a live environment.
Chris Reifert is definetly a HUGE influence on me when it comes to drummer/vocalists. I have always been fascinated by his ability to be able to do both live, same goes for drummers like King Fowley from Deceased... I remember seeing pics of him drumming/singing in old zines like Putrefaction Zine and thinking it looked really cool and was just fascinated by that whole concept of playing drums whilst doing lead vocals at the same time so those two guys are drummer/vocalists I have respected for a long time and have most definetly had a big influence on me when it comes to playing drums and doing vocals together. But I can't forget to mention people like Dopi from Machetazo, Dino Somesse from Dystopia, Ventor from Kreator to name a few who I admire a lot when it comes to drummer/vocalists.

Time to end now Kat, what bands have you been listening to, when answering this interview ? Any French stuff played sometimes ?
I have been listening to various stuff on my MP3 player whilst typing out this interview on a computer at the local library everything from Anti Cimex to Saint Vitus has been playing in my ears! French bands...hmm...recently my friend copied me an album by the old French heavy metal band Nightmare, good stuff!!.

Please remind us all purchase details for the album and add something if you want !!! thanx
Our album "Ritual Death And Funeral Rites" will be out on CD via the Spanish deathcult Memento Mori by mid October...www.memento-mori-es ...the pro cassette tape version will be coming out also via Underground Movement in Ireland. We will have copies to sell aswell sometime in October. Many thanks for the cool interview Steph appreciate it!

... CAUCHEMAR "Tenebrario" (Album Review)

Here it is, the first full length album of Cauchemar after a long trip all over the world for the doom amigos. While there's 3 years between their debut EP ''La Vierge Noire'' and ''Tenebrario'' not a lot of things changed in their sound but they managed to fix most of the little defaults I thought their first release had. Cauchemar is actually a good version of the old school Québécois band Trop Féross (they're worth a look if you want to laugh!) as they're relying on a simplistic to the point approach and an unorthodox woman at the mic. The most important thing about the band is the total chemistry between the vocals and the riffs probably due to the fact Annick and François are a married couple in everyday's life. I was glad to hear the new album and I must thank the band for their friendship and the opportunity to write a review!

A complaint I heard was Annick's vocals. While I enjoy them, I reckon they're an acquired taste. They're much better than on the debut too, they're more adapted to the songwriting and her chops are better overall. Still, I think they're more enjoyable live as Annick has a lot of charisma and an aptness at theatricality. I can't wait to see them for the third time at Wings of Metal with Manilla Road, Satan and Midnight among others. Her vocals are well served by the catchy vocal lines, these were a strength of La Vierge Noire. Songs like ''Magie Noire'' or ''Les Ailes de la Mort'' had very catchy choruses and it's still the case here such as in ''D'Encre et de Sang''. She really managed to move me in ''Le Fantôme'' (one of the standout tracks) and in the dreamlike acoustic title track placed at the end of the album. There's some parts that doesn't work for me such as the chorus for ''Tête de Mort'' but it's still an improvement. While there's a clear NWOBHM influence here, she doesn't have the range of the great singers of the genre, she's more like a Terry Jones. I'm obviously not saying the singer of Pagan Altar has no range but his place at the helm is similar. Both are writing great lyrics with a total understanding of the music's atmosphere. I know she's a big fan of the mythical British horde but she's also a fan of Paul Chain, an influence on the track ''Trois Mondes''. The influence of the Italian doom scene is present but not thorougly, perhaps more in feel than in reality. I wish the psychedelic doom sound was more present in ''Tenebrario'' but knowing François, the sound is compromising between the classic rock and traditional doom taste of the guitarist (for example, Trouble and Pentragram) and Annick's darker and occult doom border-lining on black metal. Although some of the vocals can be hit and miss, it's really a daring task to compose metal in French especially the kind with clean and understandable vocals. Not a lot of traditional metal bands were really successful at Molière's language. ADX, Sortilège, Vulcain or Killers were able to but it's always been somewhat weird and not completely natural for many others. I think Cauchemar created a sound of their own and that, since their EP and even though this album is very good, I don't think their evolution is complete. There's hints to a somewhat more grandiose and developped sound in some of the songs and this could definitely lead to a more intricate songwriting.

To complete their sound recipe, there's good and very rockish riffs and the album is very cohesive regardless of the different tempos (mid paced to a bit faster, I guess?). It's not a slow band in any ways. It rarely even stops to have blistering Victor Griffinesque solos and it doesn't quite need to most of the time. There's no solos in Cauchemar (except the slow mournful solo in "Trois Mondes") but there's cool leads such as the one in "Salamandre". Nevertheless, I wish some songs had more leads and solos but the fact that the riffs are the main focus of the band leaves not a lot of place to intervene and it would probably be harmful to the rhythmn. It's fast and I think they could even take their time and develop some of the slower facets of their formula but that's my opinion, of course ! The album is rather short and there's nothing wasted, some songs could easily be six or seven minutes, they always were a tight band and I reckon they do that well. Their formula still really works though and for a first full length album, they took their sound further with an attention to details and some safe but present innovation.

The presence of a new bassist (Andrés Arango) is also noticeable, the bass was played by Annick on the EP and it was lackluster to say the least. It's still not sufficient to fully support the earthy and rocky riffs but there's some bass licks which are welcomed. The drums are professional albeit boring and safe, they lack power as well but that's more a symptom of the production that overpowers the guitars a bit too much. It's still a good mix though, it's clean, natural and has a fun ''do it yourself'' feel. The vocals are placed carefully behind the music as it's not the main asset of the band and this gives a pleasant cavernous and almost religious to Annick's voice. The guitars are heavier than on the EP as well but it's still pretty vintage and far from the extreme sound found in doom and stoner. Their 2010 debut still had a good production so the step is not very drastic. It has the doom spirit that I like, nothing is complicated and nothing is forced

As a big doomster, it's always a joy to hear a local band exploring the genre you like. They sail against the current in the Québec/Ontario metal scene populated mostly by death and black metal bands. There's a certain new found diversification these days with bands like Chthe'ilist or Beast Within. The scene has always been somewhat varied but technical/progressive bands are what Québec is known for since Voivod and a return to the basis of metal is appreciated, be it doom or anything else.

I must also salute the fact that their lyrics were once again written in French. in An artistic decision like that necessitates a lot of confidence and balls. Annick is the metal queen of Montréal (sorry Morrigan!) and she's definitely not afraid of anything and she's uncompromising. I like that it's a worldwide doom phenomenon with bands like Ocean Chief (Sweden) or Reino Ermitaño (Peru) who are singing in their mother tongue. It adds a certain vernacular charm to the music and it's easier to relate for the local fans of these bands. It's fun for me to sing some doom metal in my mother tongue, it's a good feeling . Their lyrics are good too, rooted in occultism and darkness while still being original and diverse. Cauchemar is quite unique in the small Canadian doom scene. They're not as psychedelic as Blood Ceremony and not as rooted in traditionalism and epicness as Funeral Circle, they play their cards well and they're are an hard working band with a lot of honesty both in their sound and their attitude.

I really liked ''Tenebrario'', it's a good first album for Cauchemar and it places them in a nice position in the doom world. Their label (Nuclear War Now !) doesn't seem to think they're a priority as there's some problems and delays with the release of the album and it's a damn shame. They're the sole traditional band on the black/death label and it always seemed weird to me. Nevertheless, I'm glad to follow the band through its evolution and even though I'd like them to push the boundaries further and to be a bit more epic, I'd gladly take another album like that. Long live the golden couple of Canadian doom.

The vinyl is available on Nuclear War Now!

*** Review by Antoine Richard - originally posted on Metantoine's Magickal Realm...

Friday, September 27, 2013


Autumn Doom Quiz – pt.II

I have a greed for doom and so our quiz goes on! Part II is even bigger than first one. Just let me remind you the questions of this quiz and I introduce you our honorable guests. Here are our questions:

1. What is the band’s state at the moment? What kind of sinister affairs do band plans to perform for autumn and following months?
2. How did listeners and critics meet band’s last album?

Two next questions are just for fun… Or so I did think:
3. "Paranoid" of Black Sabbath is an iconic song, what in this Earth can turn you paranoid?
4. Who was your childhood hero? What kind of dude did you want to become?

5. Last TV-news reminds me about it – this question is about "War Pigs". What is your opinion about conflict around Syria? Do you see any reasons to justify military intervention of one country in affairs of another country?

And here come our guests! Squally Bevar Sea strikes with riffs and sonic waves, as mystic Kimaera reveals secrets from times of yore. Bulky Ocean Chief meets with frenetic Opium Warlords in the shadow of Monolithe. Shakhtyor have left their mines and minerals as Shroud Eater once again cast away their cerements. And look… Stoned Jesus waits before dark Tombstone invite us to follow The Sullen Route.

Bevar Sea (India, stoner doom)
Srikanth Panaman (guitars)

1. Hails! We're busy writing for our next album and we're halfway there already. We've been making some demos, and been playing a song or two live as well. We want to finish writing by the end of the year and start recording it early next year. We have some festival appearances lined up for the rest of the year, and we're also in early stages of planning a Europe tour next year.

2. Way better than I expected - especially in India which didn't have any audience for this kind of music when we got srarted. We're getting asked to play mainstream festivals because they realize we have a very loyal fanbase. We hope to continue building on this with the second album as well!

3. I've been de-sensitivized extremely thanks to being an internet nerd for so many years and having been to the dark twisted corners of it, and also being a pessimist who never buys into anything. The only thing that makes me go paranoid and fucks me up are my fear of height, and fear of water.

4. I wanted to be an astronomer, the terminator, or be a ninja. I had the Rambo kit as well, so that was a big deal. I also had the spiderman suit that I wore to bed at some point. I don't think I had heroes until a lot later. Tony Iommi, Jeff Beck, Uli Roth, Michael Schenker, Phil Lynott, and Rory Gallagher are some of my musical heroes.

5. I don't particularly have an opinion. It's a very messy political situation indeed which, if I remember right, has seen over a hundred thousand casualties in two years, but it's the story we've heard from so many places before. The civil war in Sri Lanka took 25 years to get over, and it resulted in the complete annihilation of the rebels, and a mindblowing number of civilians were lost on both sides as well. There's a hideous civil war that's been going on for over 22 years in Somalia and the country is totally fucked. Myanmar has been at it for as long as the country has existed. We humans won't rest till we're all dead, looks like. 

Yes, it makes sense to have a global Justice League type thing to help restore peace anywhere there's trouble in the free world, because face it, the last 50 years have somehow been the most peaceful in human history. That's why the UN was formed, but looks like America is running the show and wants in or everything, instead cleaning up their own backyard first.

Kimaera (Lebanon, death doom)
Jean-Pierre Haddad (vocals, guitars, keyboards) 

1. We just had our new and third album "The Harbinger of doom" released few weeks ago through German label "Eternal Sound Records", and we just finished our "Doom upon Russia" tour in Russia and Ukraine...
As for future plans, we will definitely start working on the new album and plan some more tours and fests for next year!

2.  For now all the reviews of the album are excellent. It is very well received.

3.  "Paranoid" was the first song I ever played with the band back in 2000 btw! ;)
I think one's mind and self is the main issue of paranoia!

4.  I have always been amazed by the talent of shaolin monks and the greatness of Roman generals and still am.. So I have always wanted to be a mixture of both somehow... and still do actually!

5. No I don’t see any but It is the same story all over again, happened before, happening now and will happen in the future. The big trying to eat to small, hunger for power, benefits, nothing new. We have lived that and still do for years, nothing will change. Now it is Syria's turn.
Stupid leaders and warmongers with their media propaganda met with ignorance can take people to the unknown. This world is simply full of shit.

Monolithe (France, funeral doom)
Sylvain Begot (guitars, bass, keyboards)

1. Well, we're on a roll. Our first album MONOLITHE I has been reissued in August. Now we're about to release our new album titled MONOLITHE IV. It will be out on October 18th. Then, some months later I guess, comes the next wave of our back catalogue reissue, consisting of the album MONOLITHE II and a compilation including our two EPs and some other tracks titled MONOLITHE ZERO.

2. Our last album was called MONOLITHE III and was acclaimed with a lot of praise. The promotion of the new album MONOLITHE IV has actually just started and the few feedback we got so far was amazing.

3. What can turn me paranoid is the food industry. I'm just disgusted of how it's done and how bad is the manufactured food. People who want to eat natural, unprocessed food don't have a lot of choice anymore and I think it's unacceptable. Well, I guess I already am paranoid ^^

4. My childhood heroes were the dudes from Saint Seiya. I wanted to become a Saint myself or a stunt performer or an astronaut/cosmonaut. I became none of those. Instead, I ended up in music, which is cool too and less tiring.

5. I'm totally against any military intervention in Syria or anywhere else, unless the country is directly asking for it. Which is obviously not the case here. There's too much geopolitical tension in that area of the world to fool around.
I'd be on the side of Mr Vladimir Poutine on this matter, as he's the one in my opinion who comes around with the wisest vision of the state of the world.

Ocean Chief 
(Sweden, stoner sludge doom)
Tobias Larsson (vocals, drums)

1. We are currently playing new stuff for next recording in February 2014.

2. Most were positive. Those who were negative don´t appreciate slow hard doom and should continue to listen to fast metal.

3. Watching the news. Which I don´t anymore. Highly recommended!

4. Bamse. I can´t remember what I wanted to be. A rockstar I guess.

5. Its like this: Media has one picture of it all. Both sides has their opinion. The truth is none of them.

Opium Warlords (Finland, drone doom avant-garde)
Sami Albert Hynninen (all instruments, vocals also member of Azrael Rising, March 15, Tähtiportti, Spiritus Mortis, The Puritan)

1. We continue to mix the next Opium Warlords album, ”Taste My Sword of Understanding”. It was recorded already in 2010, but because of other projects and things in life, it took us until 2013 to return to it. We hope to find some time to be able to finish the work in couple of sessions in coming three months, but you can never tell how these things will go, when working without money. The album to follow ”Taste My Sword...” is also under a slow production. At the moment the skeletal basic tracks are ready, and next move will be to do the vocals, and after that add some other sonic layers.
Albums from Azrael Rising and March 15, and two 7”s from Tähtiportti, are also coming in late 2013/early 2014, and bit later in 2014 the fourth album of Spiritus Mortis will be released. I guess this answer came closer to “boring” than “sinister”.

2. It has got even more these ”pretentious art shit” and ”unlistenable” comments/accusations than the debut, but same time there have been few people who have really loved it. Record sales have been similar to the first one, which means almost unexisting.

3. Being a “diagnosed case”, VERY many things. It would be harder to think about things that are paranoia-free elements to me. Everything that has a human connection can stimulate these states of mind, and sometimes I even feel paranoia alone in the woods – I sense this dark presence – but usually nature is a sanctuary to me.

4. I remember three above the others; Blackie Lawless, Clint Eastwood, and Conan the Barbarian (of the comics and Arnold Schwarzenegger films – especially the first one directed by John Milius; I never really got into the original stories of R.E. Howard).
I also have to mention that even before these, around 1982, I fell in love with British popstar Kim Wilde, one kind of a hero(ine) as well, who's strange emotionless and cold and tired looks mesmerized me – she was very different from all the smiling airheads! It may sound surreal, but she probably has also had an influence to what kind of “performer” I much later became myself; nonchalant, almost hostile towards the audience – not that she ever was like that, though. I am sure she is a very sweet person.
I wanted to be a rock musician since I was 7 years old, but my main interest there, right from the start, was to be a a rebel against “ordinary world”; engaged to black magic and necrophilia and the true artistic vision, instead of what all of these hedonistic heavy metal DUDES of fun loving bands like Mötley Crüe, Van Halen, Whitesnake, and even unmasked Kiss, surrounded by big-titted bimbos, seemed to be. 
Mine was the way of Venom, Witchfinder General and Black Sabbath and especially early Alice Cooper, but I believe it all really started for me in 1984 with that first W.A.S.P. album. In their actions even the obvious and overwhelming 80's sexual content was something else: dark and evil, instead of cheesy pussy-begging shit.
Later I of course found out that most of these heavy metal people were quite ordinary and easy-going common (business)men, but I myself  became an outsider and adversary; just like I as a young boy imagined these people to be, so I guess I became what I wanted to be, but NOW I would not mind bit lighter life, living in some mansion on a hill, without having to worry about everything all the time.

5. To be honest, I have been so busy with my work and health issues that I have not had time to follow the news, so I am not too aware about how the situation there is right now. These are always very complicated  and delicate things, and I am not educated enough about this particular case to really give any comments, and I wish the other people would also stick to commenting only the things they truly know about, instead of chewing shit.

I do not even know who all are now part of this; UK, U.S.A., Russia, France...???, but at least when it comes to the interventions U.S.A. have had to the world affairs, we all know how the results have been, and what the motives have been, but it is not U.S.A. alone who has fucked things up, and probably many other countries would have done the same if they just had that power, but in reality only Russia and China could have such a possibility. 
In WWII certain interventions were necessary, but the world has become so interwoven on the economical level and same time so fragile,  that if some of these interventions now would lead us close to another global war, it probably would be the last one; and very brief and apocalyptic. Then again if the whole human race would be wiped out from this globe there could be some hope for animals and plants, and water and air, but of course all of this non-human world always suffers under a war as well.

Shakhtyor (Germany, sludge post doom)
Christian Herzog (guitars)

1. We are currently writing new material for the next album which we will hopefully release some time next year. Actually, we did not play any shows during the summertime because we wanted to finish the new stuff over the summer and enter the studio by the beginning of next year. Unfortunately it seems, we spent more time at the beach than in the mine... But as we have already recorded almost half of the album during the sessions for our vinyl bonus track, it should not take that long before things are done. We are also experimenting with some ideas to spice up our live shows, hopefully we will be able to show some of this in the near future. For now, we have a couple of shows coming up, bringing us to places we haven't been before with SHAKHTYOR which is always great. Next year shall finally take us abroad, we have some plans and are in fact talking to people, let's see. Chances are good for a trip to the UK, also Austria and the Netherlands seem to be possible destinations.

2. As you know, we had initially released the album on our own in 2012 and reactions were very good at that time, several blogs gave us good to very good reviews, there was no negative feedback. This changed to some extent after the re-release through Cyclone Empire. We still received a large number of good reviews but by now, there were also people absolutely disliking what we are doing. In the beginning, this was a bit tough but then again we were pretty satisfied with the situation. To us it shows, that we are doing something special not everybody understands and this is what we want. And actually, when we started the band, we did not expect anybody to even care about what we are doing, so what!

3. Actually, not so many things, I guess, but I can only speak for myself here. I love mushrooms and although I am very familiar with the kinds I am collecting, I am ALWAYS feeling sick once I have eaten them and I start investigating, which one I might have mixed up...but actually, I have never been wrong yet...   

4. Haha, this question seems to be much more difficult and embarassing to answer than the next one. But anyhow, it turned out, that despite the Berlin wall, kids in both parts of Germany had the same idols. So both my own and our bass player Chrischan's childhood heroes were from a german series of novels about an Apache called Winnetou. He is a very popular character and the stories are very much about friendship, justice, pride, adventure etc. So Chrischan, who was born in GDR, wanted to be Winnetou himself and I, born in FRG, wanted to be his - actually German - friend and blood brother (YES!) Old Shatterhand. Both were noble and brave, fighting evil and showing that all men are equal. Isn't that great?

5. This is a very sad story. The whole region has such a long history of culture and civilization and it is hard to understand, that still people see no other way to settle conflicts but killing each other. In my opinion the current war is not anymore only a war against the repressive regime of Assad but also a war between different branches of islam and the countries supporting one or the other of them. Therefore in particular, it is very tough to judge whether a military intervention can be justified, this is no good vs. evil conflict, who's side should be fought on? The assault with chemical weapons appeared to be a reason for an intervention initially but then again - who did it? Was it Assad, his Commanders without his knowledge, the rebels to provoke an international intervention? Anyhow, in our opinion there is so much suffering, so many refugees mainly fleeing to the countries around Syria, it seems there has to be an intervention of some kind to stop this killing. But this can only be justified by a United Nations Security Council decision which does not appear to be very likely at the moment. In general, military interventions are a very delicate topic, especially if it is not about ending a war but about overthrowing a regime for whatever reason and who really knows if it is right or wrong in every single case?

Shroud Eater (USA, sludge doom)
Jean Saiz (guitars, vocals)

1. The band's state at the moment is that we are taking October to focus on writing new material and so we haven't booked many shows. We will be recording in early November for an upcoming split, and we have a couple of out-of-town shows booked in November as well. We're really gearing up to hit the road for a West Coast tour in February of 2014, so we'll be very busy leading up until then!

2. Listeners and critics seem to really be digging the last album! We've gotten a lot of praise for "Dead Ends" and that's been great. People have responded well to it and that's cool. We put a lot of work into those songs and it seems like that work is paying off!

3. I don't think much can make me very paranoid, except problematic amplifiers and effects!!! Shitty gear in general makes me paranoid.

4. As a young lady, I'd have to say my childhood heroes were probably Indiana Jones or maybe the Terminator... As far as what kind of dude I wanted to become, well I've always wanted to be a werewolf.

5. I don't like to proselytize any kind of political agenda via Shroud Eater, so my opinion is only my own and not representative of the band. HOWEVER, I personally feel that it is unjustifiable for the U.S. to take any military action in Syria, for an abundance of reasons that may or may not be as evident in the news. That's all I can say about that!

Stoned Jesus (Ukraine, stoner doom)
Igor Sidorenko (vocals, guitars)

1. We're kicking off for the fourth European tour in our short career, playing in Germany, Austria and Czech this time. Sooo many requests to come and play are coming from from France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Greece, Scandinavia and of course USA, we would LOVE to visit all these countries, but you know the way it is nowadays. We have full-time jobs here in Kiev, local shows, preparations for the upcoming 2014 LP's recording sessions, so let's hope next year we'll be playing in the places we've never been before. For now we got literally every day filled with certain activities, till the very end of 2013.

2. Funny enough, most people start digging "Seven Thunders Roar" just now, though it was released 18 months ago on CD and more than a year ago on vinyl. We hit some Top-25 Albums of 2012 polls with this record (on, for example), which is flattering, but still I think it deserves more attention than it received. Anyway, the upcoming 2014 LP is gonna be even better, so we're really happy people enjoyed "Seven Thunders Roar", it leaves them waiting for more!

3. What can turn us paranoid? Practically anything, I'm afraid. Some freaky things related to our personal life, probably, is the most disturbing stuff. Like I don't care much for the Top Albums lists and Pitchfork reviews if my family is endangered, you know.

4. For me it was definitely Kurt Cobain. Now don't ask me how come I've smashed that guitar!)))

5. The whole Syria situation is pretty fucked-up, but there's nothing quite shocking if you understand the amount of greed in the root of it all. Nothing is sacred for politicians when it comes to things like power and money. You can't have all the money in the world, you can't have all the power in the world, you can't take it with you to your grave, you can only cause suffering to the thousands of others. This is the world we live in, but anyone can make a little change by just being a better person. Who knows, maybe we could pave the better future for us and our children then.

Tombstone (France, stoner doom)
Alex and Clement

1. We just recorded our new single "Evil Seed" and we're looking for some label to release it as a 7" or a split. So at the moment we're rehearsing our set and composing new stuff. We're trying different things. We have so much different influences that it is difficult to create something of its own sometimes. So yeah, the plan for this autumn is composing new songs ,for an EP probably, and making concerts.  

2. Our first album,"Where the Dead Belong", was quite well received. We had a lot of good reviews but the truth is that we were not completely satisfied with it for a lot of reasons.  The 2 songs we just recorded are much better. We're really proud of what we achieved as it is the sound and atmosphere that truly represent the band's direction. But it's a bit early to have a real opinion about how it has been appreciated as we've just dropped it on bandcamp. Only good appreciations so far...

3. A lot of weed mixed with a lot of strong alcohol.

4. Clement: Axl Rose and Slash.
Alex: Jenna Jameson and Han Solo.

5. We're not informed enough to have an opinion about what's going on in Syria, but War Pigs is a great song .


The Sullen Route (Russia, death doom)
Elijah (vocals, guitars)

1. Now we change our location from Stalingrad to Rostov. We already write third album and prepare little shows here in Rostov and certainly in Moscow on Shadows Doom Festival V. This will be our first show after two longer years.

2. It passed two years since we presented second album. We saw many reviews but really don't know what listeners think about Apocalyclinic. But I know after third album will be released many people said - Yeahh, good stuff, I want hear more of their music.

3. Probably that we start losing a thread, connecting  us with those fine times, spirit of last days when such bands Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin really were "paranoid".

4. Everyone in our band probably want to be his own hero. Someone saw itself in certain roles depending on a situation started from literary heroes and any politicians and ended to action movies heroes from 80's/90's, but I will tell precisely, any of us didn't dream to become Sponge Bob etc.

5. It is a shame on all our world and society, there are no justifications to actions of the countries  which try to interfere in any way with affairs of others country. We really regret the peace population of Syria to which it was necessary to take the weapon in hand and to protect the relatives. Someone increases the authority because turns human lives into a nightmare, it is true "War Pigs".