Thursday, December 22, 2016

In Ears - November & December 2016

Bringing you a monthly reviews including Pain Of Salvation, Esben And The Witch, The Pineapple Thief, Agnes Obel, Soundgarden, Type O Negative, Korn, Dark Tranquillity, Purson, Metallica, Giraffe Tongue Orchestra, Maudlin Of The Well, Celestial Season, Fight The Fight, Spaceking, Shirley Bassey, Queen, Miles Davis, Anathema.

Wish you all nice holidays! 

Pain Of Salvation - In The Passing Light Of Day
Have you ever dreamed about having a time machine? It's possible in the music world. With receiving latest Pain Of Salvation album, I can already see in my Windows Media Player a 2017 item. Jokes aside. PoS mastermind went through some serious health problems from streptococcal infection and we are happy to see Daniel back from the dead with an amazing album.

Power of their music can be also seen from having covers, eventhough new album is not out yet. Great job In The Loop!

Esben And The Witch - Older Terrors
I was having really weird phase for the past few months, where I was really disappointed by so many of my favorite artists. I am so glad, there are still some left, who are fascinating me more and more with every album. Plus, in the case of Esben And The Witch, I share a similar vision. It is really easy to jump into the jungle of mainstream, but much more valuable are listeners who truly understand you. They might be in a smaller number, than Kings Of Leon have, but you feel more connected to them. Plus, more than ever I believe they do what they really want. Otherwise, why the hell they would make eleven or thirteen minutes songs and join atmospheric black, avantgarde metal bands under Season Of Mist label. Truly exceptional band and absolutely overflowing haunting atmosphere.

The Pineapple Thief - Your Wilderness
Previous album Magnolia (2014) is one of my most favorite albums for driving a car, but this piece is becoming one of my most favorite companion for tasty lounge prog moments.

Agnes Obel - Aventine
I failed while predicting Lana Del Rey's performance at Colours of Ostrava 2016, but I am quite sure we will see there this amazing lady very soon.

No "Click"

Soundgarden - Superunknown
Big respect, but never a fan, compared let say to Alice in Chains.

Type O Negative - October Rust
Rather pass it to my girlfriend, Woods Of Ypres fan...

Korn : The Serenity Of Suffering
Autopilot. However, let see live. I truly miss days of Korn III: Remember Who You Are (2010)

Dark Tranquillity - Atoma
Album for fans, with some great riffs. Nothing more. God, Character (2005) was such a great album! Putting it right away into my sony walkman. It's such a great running music

Purson - Desire's Magic Theatre
Solid, but I apparently didn't lick the "paper" enough...

Metallica - Self-Destruct
I stopped caring for Metallica with ...And Justice for All (1988)

Giraffe Tongue Orchestra - Broken Lines
Might be a all-star project, but it's soooo dry.

Tamás Kátai's (Thy Catafalque) tips:
Maudlin Of The Well - Bath & Celestial Season - Solar Lovers: These are well respected albums, not only by Metal Storm users and it gives you a clearer idea of Tamás' taste, but they are not for me...

More no "clicks": Fight The Fight - Fight The Fight, Spaceking - The Piper at the Gates of Stone

Respect for the elders

Shirley Bassey - Tip coming from Cammie Gilbert of Oceans of Slumber. Great present for my grandma.

Queen - Innuendo
This piece was all over the BBC documentary on the Death Of Yugoslavia, which I watched at least dozen times these days.

Miles Davis - Miles Smiles is a proper challenge.

However there is nothing more beautiful than Anathema - 32:40

Friday, December 16, 2016

Rozhovor Asking Alexandria a pohled do zákulisí koncertu v Lucerna Music Bar

Vážení fanoušci Asking Alexandria,
Jako poděkování za vaší účast v soutěži o setkání s Asking Alexandria, přinášíme rozhovor s kapelou, pořízený před vyprodaným vystoupením v Lucerna Music baru 23. 8. 2016 a také několik dojmů ze zákulisí. V tištěné formě jej naleznete v prosincovém čísle magazínu Muzikus.

V tuto chvíli se nám v magazínu Muzikus podařilo zpracovat většinu nejzajímavějších témat, které od vás přišly, v rámci seriálu Hudební Psychologie.

  •          Muzikus 10/2016 - Hudba jakožto mediální sdělení – Jak je jednoduché do hudby ukrýt podtext a „zmanipulovat“ tak fanoušky? 
  •          Muzikus 11/2016 - Nakolik může správně zvolená reprodukovaná hudba ovlivnit chuť, či nechuť k nakupování v obchodě?
  •          Muzikus 12/2016 - Vliv poslechu hudby při spánku / během těhotenství
  •          Muzikus 1/2017 - Jukebox v naší hlavě – Jak vysvětlit, že nám v hlavě zní melodie, kterou už nemůžeme ani slyšet a nejde se jí zbavit?

Rozhovor najdete na tomto odkaze, a jak je uvedeno v rozhovoru, berte jej jako vzpomínku na koncert protože těsně před koncertem kapela ještě „nevěděla“ o personální změně, ke které brzy došlo. Přeji vám všem krásné svátky, za celou redakci magazínu Muzikus a její spolupracovníky.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tosin Abasi Interview - Front Cover Story

I’m not exaggerating, when I say, we were looking for a proper front cover picture of Tosin Abasi since the January of 2015, when I spoke to him in Prague before Animals As Leaders show. All regular approaches have failed. Therefore, we had to find a unique solution at Brutal Assault festival this summer. Final result: Tosin is on a front cover of December issue of Czech music magazine Muzikus.

Usually, it’s not a problem to get great pictures from a label of a PR agency, where both entities have a motivation to promote their client. Not mentioning their wish to get someone on the front cover. However, neither agency Hold Tight! PRnor Sumerian Records had a suitable vertical picture. No chance even with their previous label Prosthetic Records. We used horizontal pictures they provided us in the article, but they simple didn't fit on the cover. However, we are not talking here about some young unknown kid! There are tens of amazing images of Tosin all over the internet. We can see him wearing design clothes, holding unique guitars and having cool backgrounds. So, we thought it would be just a matter of few emails, as most of these pics are used by guitar manufacturer Ibanez for promotion. Wrong! Rights to these pieces are held by DiMarzio brand, specialist on pick-up and guitar accessories. I wish, we could have talked more and make them an offer, they cannot refuse, but any sort of negotiation was rejected in a total Godfather moment! I had to start improvising, if I wanted this thing released.

I even made a request for amateur photographers demanding cool live pictures, but nothing significant happened. Therefore, I had the last option: Catch Tosin personally again. The best option came up this summer at Brutal Assault festival where Animals As Leaders were one of the most anticipated acts. Here I have to thank the promoters, as they did the first wave of negotiation with his managers. I just had to catch him before signing session. However, as it usually happens, almost nothing went according to a plan.  

First of all, my colleague was betrayed by his camera, so I didn’t have a photographer. Luckily, on the way to the festival grounds I met a talented Italian photographer Stefania Rossi. We were hanging out together all of us, with my and her crew, but as it usually happens on a festival, technology cannot be trusted. I couldn’t reach her in a crucial time on the phone. Therefore, I was thinking to also check in the press center, if somebody else would be interested. Options were quite narrowed, as there was only one person sitting. I introduced myself in English, but we soon realized we are both Czech. Martin Semenyšín is also very skilled photographer working both privately for his platform xMartinezzPhotographyx and also cooperating with Czech magazines Full Moon and Headliner.

We were ready and even Stefania made it on time. However, manager asked us to postpone photo session after signing session, which was taking place inside the Josefov fortress. We didn’t have any issues with that, as a total hell broke out outside. Every day around 7pm, there were fireworks. Well, not usual ones, as it was still sunny afternoon. Those were ear blowing fireworks from the “fire” organs above Oriental Stage. It might have been a unique piece of art but Animals As Leaders manager was really freaking out. Plenty of festival guests were worried about their ears, but imagine any damage to the ears of professional musicians. Luckily, just before the signing session ended, it was peaceful outside again. We went out quick to check the spot for photo session. It was really simple work, as the fortress background was really unique. I just kicked away few pieces of trash (festival grounds are otherwise super clean), ripped some pieces of weed from the wall and kindly asked a single person to move. It was not crowded at all, as Oriental Stage had actually a single act that day – Japanese post rock band Mono. 

When Tosin came out, he knew exactly what to do and was ok, with just few friendly instructions. He was a true posing professional, while two photographers were shooting at the same time. We tried number of backgrounds but didn't plan to make it too long, as nobody felt ultra comfortable. Towards the end Tosin leaned towards me and said with a short laugh: "I feel a bit awkward, man." I looked around and number of viewers around was rising and I said: "Deal man, we are done. Thanx a lot! At this point, I would like to thank everybody who made this happen, including bunch of fans, standing peacefully around and enjoying the moment with us. Afterwards we just did a short phoner to promote the last Animals As Leaders album The Madness of Many. I will release English version of the interview soon...

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thy Catafalque Interview 2016

Hungarian avantgarde prog metal project Thy Catafalque and his multi-instrumental mastermind Tamás Kátai are around for almost two decades, but only in the latest years he managed to finally reach suitable audience. Very crucial role played an album Rengeteg (2011), which was the first release, after he got signed to Season Of Mist and also proving he settled well in his new home in Scotland. I spoke to Tamás earlier this year to discuss previous release Sgúrr (2015) for Czech readers at The and now I provide you our talk regarding his latest release Meta, where we also discuss his guests musicians, life philosophy and diverse music inspirations.

Hey Tamás, glad to speak to you again.
Hi Daniel, it’s good to see you again.

First of all, while listening to the piece 10^(-20) Ångström, I would like to ask you, how are the storms in your new home in Scotland? Are they as apocalyptic as those in South Hungary? One caught me there this summer and I spent plenty of summers at my grandmothers in North Croatia in Vinkovci.
No, storms are totally different in Scotland. It must be the maritime climate instead of the good old continental one we have in Central Europe. There are not really storms here. Winds, yes, huge, powerful winds I mean, especially close to the sea. Rain, yes, torrential rains, drizzle, shower. But we extremely rarely have thunder and lightning. 
I miss the summer thunderstorms when skies are getting dark, lightning flashes in the distant horizon, soft, deep murmur rolls out and storm is nearing in the air full of electricity: You sense a sort of excitement at the upcoming display of massive power filling the atmosphere. We have this at home, this is a wonderful phenomenon. The sea ruins the fun here.

Your latest album Meta is once again a musical journey. As you love hiking, I was wondering, if you can hear the sound of wind and mountains – and then present it on the album?
I hear them for sure occasionally, but really it was Sgúrr dedicated to the mountains. Metais not as much a Highland album as Sgúrr was. Though Mezolit was also heavily inspired by mountains.

Could you also mention some topics, which are included in the lyrics?
The album starts with Uránia, representing a sort of cosmic loneliness. Sirálymeans seagull and it is an allegory of passing away. In fact, most of the songs are indirectly about death in a way like a change of state. This is what “Meta” means – through something. We live in our current life form, it will change, ‘I’ will dissolve but the physical pieces of our body will reconfigure themselves into many new forms and live on in different ways. No matter will be lost.

I miss the summer thunderstorms when skies are getting dark

Ixión Düün piece has some hell of drums starting at 1:55! Are you still relying on a computer, or did you manage to finally bring some real drummer?

Of course it’s still programmed drums. It’s convenient for me, though I know a good drummer makes huge difference. But it’s really a pain to record a drum set sounding properly. I choose the easy path. But you know, nothing is set in stone.


Did you do all the grunt/growl vocals yourself on the album? In Ixión Düün, I can hear even some grind core growls – 3:15 – 3:17.
Hell no! Well, in Ixión Düün it’s me but in Malmok Járnak, Zoltán provides raw vocals and in Mezolit it’s Lambert growling. I’m not a good vocalist in any style. Sometimes I manage to pull out acceptable lines but mostly I suck big time and that’s why I need good singers.  I’m very lucky to have some around me.

Could you please, introduce us some vocal guests on the album? Glad to see, Attila Bakos joined you again.
Actually Attila is not back. That’s his vocals recorded in 2010 during the Rengetegsessions. I have already had Urániaat that time, well, at least an early version of it but it didn’t make it to that album as it would have been too long. Attila is unlikely to come back, he’s happy with his solo project and his other activities. Ágnes’s vocals on Sirály are also older recordings, from 2013 I think. She is of course well known from The Moon And The Nightspirit and her vocals on Róka Hasa Rádió and Rengeteg. Orsolya Fogarasi sings in Malmok Járnak. I met her here, in Edinburgh, she moved back to Hungary since, she has no underground music background whatsoever. Gyula is from Perihelion, a great fellow Hungarian band, really nice person and Lambert is a very well respected vocalist from black/death/thrash metal acts like Ahriman, Mörbid Carnage and Tyrant Goatgaldrakona, We’ve been knowing each other for more than 20 years. I even played on the second Ahriman demo back in 1995 and he was appearing on the Gire album more than a decade later, we shared the stage on some occasion around that time. Zoltán is from Gire obviously, my old band.

Sometimes I manage to pull out acceptable lines but mostly I suck big time and that’s why I need good singers

How did the cooperation look like? Did you meet in Scotland or everything was done online?
Everything was done online with the exception of Orsolya’s lines, we recorded her vocals at my place as she was living in Edinburgh. Everyone else managed to record their own parts at their place.

Do you give your guests complete artistic freedom or you give them instructions in advance, what you demand?
I would say I provide the rough guidelines. The big majority of vocal lines are written and all the lyrics as well but the personal touch is important and welcomed. We need to reach the best possible result and even though most of the time I have my vision, the vocalists know much better what they can achieve and how to do it and usually I use everything sent back to me because it’s just perfect. It’s not an ego fight.

In the case of song Malmok járnak - twice repeated middle part with female voice based on traditional folk, seems almost as a riddle. Surprising, but tasty at the same time…
Yep, it’s a classic pentatonic tune, traditional Hungarian style and the interesting thing is that the vocal lines were recorded on the same music but the second verse was put to a totally different part later and it worked out perfectly. It’s a rather old poem of mine anyways, around 15 years old. We had it even in the Gire times but never could make it into an actual song.

Even though you made it clear plenty of times, folk is not your priority and you are always very careful with it, to keep it balanced; it is part of your nature! I went to see let say Skyharbor from India, few days ago. They play progressive metal, but I feel Indian elements in the core.
Culture of the homeland is in the blood of the man. It’s a natural gift. I would preferably call it folklore instead of folk. It’s not only music, but the wholeness of the cultural heritage. Literature, fine art, music, geography, history of the homeland. The richness of this culture is what gives you a strong base on who you are and what you do in every minute. This a defining guiding power even when you are far from the actual place.

Where do you want listeners to enjoy the album? Steven Wilson tends to be very strict about it. ;D To be honest, I found a place – long journey in a train.
No way I will tell you where or how to enjoy any music. It’s up to you. I can imagine my stuff works well with travel though.

We can agree, in order to appreciate the album, one has to be in an appropriate mood a give it plenty of time…
It’s all up to the listener. After the album is done, it’s not my business any more.

Some listeners might be however pushed away by it. How many listens do you believe are appropriate?
No rule, your call
Any examples of your experience in this sense – Dan Briggs (Between The Buried And Me, Trioscapes) told me recently, that fans do appreciate his albums on the first listen only partially. It takes plenty of time to appreciate the albums and his favorite albums are also those, he had to listen for number of times: Genesis, Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream…
Music works in mysterious ways. I mean there are times I can listen to a certain album anytime, anywhere, many times and it won’t click because it’s not there for me, for my feelings, for my life. I listen to it 10 years later and it shows itself right away. It’s weird, the music is exactly the same - I need to change, to experience things to comprehend what it has always been talking about. And sometimes it works backwards. Some stuff loses its magic after a time, but again, because of my shifting perspective.

In Ősszel otthon, I feel huge 80’s atmosphere. Do you like Ultravox and have you heard by any chance a band called Kayo Dot? I can feel some interesting similarities…
I like Kayo Dot, just as I liked Maudlin Of The Well. I was lucky enough to catch Kayo Dot on stage in Edinburgh last year. I respect Toby Driver’s creative mind.  Ultravox however is not something I have been listening to. I love Solar Lovers from Celestial Season and on that album they covered Viennafrom Ultravox which is a pretty sweet song that way. Anyway I am influenced by the 80s electronic music which is quite obvious when you listen to Neolunar, another project of mine, rooted in the 80s.

What were some of your most interesting music discoveries from the recent months?
I am mostly re-visiting old favorites. Like I enjoy Pan-Thy-Monium very much, they were creating some truly weird stuff in the early 90s. Or I should mention Elementsfrom Atheist, that’s a beauty. There is an old Hungarian dark wave band called Nulladik Változat, I was listening to them recently regularly.


I work as a marketing guy and to be honest, I’m freaking out from a noise in an open space. I have to keep headphones with music all the time, seek empty conference rooms and keep healthy lifestyle, in order not be moody after work. What do you do personally to keep the concentration? I have started earlier this year with a meditation and it helped me incredibly. There are number of musicians, I spoke to recently, whom meditation is helping as well – Gojira, Animals As Leaders, Chelsea Wolfe etc.
It’s paramount to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I pay attention to my diet – I have been vegetarian for I don’t even remember, 5 or 6 years, I drink only water and certainly never smoked. Apart from these, I regularly run, 5, 10, sometimes 20 kilometers twice or three times a week. I have been doing this for years, it makes me feel much lighter, calmer and focused, and I also usually work out after running. As you grow older, physical activity is getting more vital in order to keep your body and mind in sharp shape.

I remember you saying, it’s a battle to finish an album. You love it, but you want to get rid of it at the same time. Personally, I also believe in my book-diary, I am writing about the rough days, I spent in Serbia during my high school studies. (Soon after NATO bombing, hate from kids everywhere, growing love for metal etc.) I have plenty of notes to finish and I also have an editor to help me, to give it a format, but I just can’t get to it – too much work, music journalism obligations. Any tips?
Nothing will be done if you don’t start on it. Get started, this is the hardest step but that’s the way. Just do it, simple as that. People tend to think too much instead of acting. Do the thing.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

In Ears - October 2016

October with Madder Mortem, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Obscure Sphinx, 
Charred Walls of the Damned, Nick Johnston, Alcest, Truckfighters, Electric Citizen, The Well, The Cure, Tool, Puscifer, Flash the Readies and Paramore

Madder Mortem - Red in Tooth and Claw
This is one of the most crucial bands in my life and I met with one of my best friends through this band. We even made our own Madder Mortem t-shirts, as there was nowhere to buy them. Now, they are back after insane seven years. They never had ambitions to be huge, but for loyal fans, they are enormous. Plus, as bands that do deserve it: You need to hear this album dozen times to get into it...

The Dillinger Escape Plan - Dissociation
You bloody freaks, we will miss u...
Especially, when coming up with the most experimental album so far and having packed venues...

No "Click"

Obscure Sphinx - Epitaphs
I don't get it. I might have found some great moment on album Void Mother from 2013, but not here.

Charred Walls of the Damned - Creatures Watching over the Dead
Everything needed is there: Tim "Ripper" Owens on vocals and Richard Christy on drums. But it's not tasty as their works in other bands..

Nick Johnston - Remarkably Human
Potential, but no effect...

Alcest - Kodama - 
Potential, but no effect again...

Truckfighters - V
Once again, bunch of solid catchy tunes and nice guitar melodies, but eventually, might be due to a production, it all blends...

Retro ladies: Electric Citizen - Sateen & The Well - Samsara
Staying in the stoner/retro field: I always had and always will have a feeling for bands with female singers. Plus, if they sound as daughters of Black Sabbath. Unfortunately, their material is not strong enough. On the other hand, this piece is pretty good, I must say

The Cure - Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
I will probably keep my only The Cure obsession with legendary Disintegration. Amen, Kyle Broflovski!

I would kill for Stinkfist, but even after multiple tries, neither Ænima nor their discography speaks to me. Therefore I rather go for Puscifer...but same as all of you prog freaks, I will listen to new Tool album, when it comes out.

Czech corner
The best Czech post rock band: Flash the Readies

One of the rare songs I love from Paramore...
Would you expect sth like this from these teenage idols?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

In Ears - September 2016

September is behind us and more and more I have a feeling, plenty of my favourite bands are getting worse and worse. Last few months: Lacuna Coil, Katatonia and now mainly Evergrey. Luckily there are new releases from Leprous and Animals As Leaders, but these are pieces coming out in about two months, so we will look at that next month. However within "Spoiled Spoiler" section, I bring you my opinion on Amaranthe and Testament, still not out yet. The rest of mentioned albums lower are as usual a spectrum ranging from avantgarde metal to crazy Balkan music. But let start with Nick Cave...

Nick Cave - Skeleton Tree
Deep, dark and spectacular. This is the feeling impact, I received while watching a documentary One More Time with Feeling in a cinema few weeks ago. I tend to brag about the quality of movies in cinema all the time, therefore when I had a chance to watch South Korean movie The Handmaiden and came across trailer for Nick Cave's latest "movie" there was no time to wait. Well, I might go to see anything quality-music related, but it looked hell of a good from a trailer, eventhough I usually hate trailers! I'm aware of Nick's global respect, but for me, it was only the guy, who is sending away that naked beauty on the cover of Push the Sky Away album, I enjoyed few years ago on the beach of Greece in my headphones. It's really hard to get into Cave's albums, but this extremely attractive documentary, based on an emotional content filled with Nick's personal loss and unique black-white 3D camera, made the the path to the beauties of Skeleton Tree much easier.

Fanfare Ciocărlia - Baro Biao - World Wide Wedding
As a half-Yugo, I have a deep feeling for Balkan music. Racism aside, gypsies know how to play! Institutions as Emir Kusturica or Goran Bregović know it very well. I was honored to speak to Goran twice, same as other masters as Dejan Pejović or maestros Boban & Marko Marković. However this Romanian twelve-piece Roma brass band was introduced to me by Czech band Circus Problem, which is one of the rare bands among Czech bands, which knows how to work with these elements and has abilities to reach larger crowds. Come on, stand up, everybody dancing!

No Click

Evergrey - The Storm Within
Few years back, you would hardly find a bigger fan of Evergrey than me. But after they released Torn in 2008 and plenty of members left, it was going down. Death Destruction duo returned, but the new album has absolutely no ideas and the lyrics are stuff, which Tom would throw in the garbage few years ago. More in a separate article coming soon...

Deadlock - Hybris
There were great moments on Manifesto 2008 and Bizarro World 2011, especially Virus Jones, but more and more their music turns into melting pile of same old goulash.

Periphery III - Select Difficulty
Is it normal that one loves Tesseract, Animals As Leaders, Vildhjarta but hates Periphery?

Testament - Brotherhood Of The Snake
Too dry Testament. Don't get me wrong, I would kill for so many of their songs. It doesn't have to be even only their first two albums, as I worship Throne of Thorns. And of course I am aware of the current line-up including Steve DiGiorgio and Gene Hoglan. Therefore, I rather go to see Death To All shows...

Amaranthe - Maximalism
Nutella with sugar, as I love to call their music and sometimes was also fun, turned into Hangover soundtrack with ambitions of Babymetal.

Upcdownc - Black Sea
Solid post rock. Some really tasty instrumental moments, but it doesn't reach the level of the genre's first class. Mainly, as nothing stays in my head, when the next album is coming on my Sony Walkman...

Avantgarde sickness

Kayo Dot - Plastic House On Base Of Sky
I love Hubardo (2013) and Coffins On Io (2014), which we were even discussing together in an interview. Impressive music with elements of 80's new wave (I hear so much Ultravox), Max Payne soundtrack and bits of Devin Townsend. However this time, it just didn't work at all. To be honest, there can be hell of music quality, but I felt weird nausea.
It might change in the future - especially, as I have to see them live. I already blew two options in Czech Republic. They always play in such an avantgarde places. Vila Štvanice - avantgarde evening, including great Czech down tempo-noise band Nod Nod. Lately even some club in the center of Prague, which nobody heard about...

SVIN - Mission
Do u like horror movies, are u party cunt or shoppingholic? Well, I love walking the night city listening to avantgarde music and inventing scenarios. However, only few songs were worth it.

Neurosis - Fires Within Fires
This was a multiple try i gave to Neurosis, glorified by media and numerous classy fans. But the combination of down tempo screamy, apparently post metal doesn't work me. Whole package gives me 2/5 level nausea.

Too early to say

Alter Bridge - The Last Hero
As usual, first impression is always low with these guys. However, it has turned from low into perfect eventually four times, so they deserve more tries from me.

Thy Catafalque - Meta
I was so eager to place Tamás' work into Avantgarde sickness, as I spent huge amount of time with his music because of an interview for Czech web The Aardvark. I felt oversaturated, but more I listen, I am aware he deserves patience.

Respect for the elders

Michal Prokop - Sto roků na cestě. Charles Aznavour for a mother in law, Czech institution David Koller for a train ride and there is always time for some The Beatles - Revolver, in this case. I am also getting back to Steve Harris' British Lion, as a preparation, for an interview with him. Same with going through Glenn Hughes's discography. Steve is a dream come true interview and in the case of Glenn Hughes, I managed to blew the chance to talk to him few years ago. I was supposed to call him at 3am. Two alarms didn't wake me up and I didn't get another phone slot...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Review - Dream the Electric Sleep - Beneath the Dark Wide Sky

It was just too tempting to give these guys 3 out of 5 points for a review at Rock&All magazine, just for giving a try, solid performance, lack of compact feeling and go away. However, they proved me, I still have so much to learn...

Seriously, I had so much work to do. Bunch of marketing reports and honestly, Ex-Yugoslavian region, I deal with at work, is not as simple, as a sunny day on a Croatian beach. People have different mentality and other priorities. They are more relaxed, they don't like to get stressed and don’t mind to do something late or postpone it completely. Whether it is a colleague, business partner or a friend, they act differently. Not necessarily with bad intentions. However, in an international corporation or music magazine (where I had bunch of other obligations and deadlines too) every second matters and 1st of July IS SIMPLY 1st of July. Therefore I was so eager to have this off my table.

I accepted to review this album because of my great relationship with Pirate Smile agency which takes care of their promotion. I get pile of offers every day, but these guys have a taste. Still, sometimes I'm too busy and underestimate this fact. I wrote a first version of album review on Beneath the Dark Wide Sky in a train on my iPhone notes. I simply catch the inspiration when it comes, as white word file is a nightmare for me. So, when an easy flow of words came to give them an average rating, I had it almost finished. However I kept listening to the album, while I was dealing with some job emails. I gave the album more space and catchier moments were hitting my brain.

Next day I kept listening to them, while I went for a walk after lunch from an office building to refresh in Karlín, Prague area filled with parks and garden restaurants. Another occasion was when one hell of cute girl name Anna, sent me a video of her few minutes monologue for me, as I was too tired last night for a skype session. I couldn’t watch it as our office server blocks pretty much everything. I kept listening to the album on the way to the closest restaurant with a Wi-Fi to watch it finally and later, on the way to the park, where I kept working on my “diary book” about the crazy days I spent in Serbia. I was remembering so much from those days - people I met, their stories and other hell of experiences, while the album was playing in my ears. In that moment I was in love.

Those few piles of cool melodies, discovered in the first place, suddenly combined together, all doubts were suddenly gone and I started enjoying the album to the full. These guys play something between post rock, melodic catchy radio rock and tasty prog. I remembered right away two bands: Sound Of Contact, featuring Phil Collins’ son and The Pineapple Thief for their hell of catchy melodies. Dream The Electric Sleep still have a long way ahead of them, but same as all of us, but they gave me another lesson of not under estimating anyone, as it was really worth giving them a chance. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

In Ears - Spoiled Special

Get a taste of upcoming releases! One of the coolest benefits or being involved in music journalism is the fact, you get the albums few weeks, sometimes even months before their release. One moment I actually realised I have bunch of great albums, which will come out during upcomming days/weeks. Get a taste of a "spoiled honour". Love it...

Devin Townsend Project - Transcendence
Our dear Devin just gave us Epicloud album #3. Take it as you wish. He has qualities to do an autopilot anytime, but I just don't feel like autopilot listener right now... Btw, why the hell do you need to start the album with a track Truth from Epicloud CD #1?

Brujeria - Pocho Aztlan
After what? 16 insanely long years, they are back and it's hell of a ride!
The power, rhythms, classic thrash approach (California Uber Aztlan) and the jokes: "Méjico LaLaLa". Plata O Plomo putas!!

Crobot - Welcome To Fat City
One more case, where I was just about to ONCE AGAIN skip an album after few seconds, as I was just too busy and would use a comment: "Another hard rock/retro album. Screw that." Some cases are true, but not this one. Listen to Hold On For Dear Life feel the essence of hard rock and give your ignorant ass a proper slap, same as I did! Next to Greenleaf's Rise Above The Meadow, it's a candidate for a hard rock album of the year!

Epica - The Holographic Principle
With a respect to the years, I worshiped this band and great albums of Mayan, I'm not going to use swear words. But seriously, what the hell? Ridiculous song structures, Fleshdance choruses, weird vocal buildings of Simone, same same same orchestral choirs and kindergarten lyrics! There are at least some heavy riffs and Mark's solid grunt, obviously a bit of am autopilot, but how can such a great lyrics writer put down on a paper stuff, he would earlier find too vague:

We are the ones to change the world now
Still in control of all machinery

Robotic legions stand in line to carry out

Minds are controlled
Doomsday has arrived
There is no escape


Forever Still - Tied Down
Solid Melodic Gothic Rock - Nothing more, nothing less

In Flames - Sounds From The Heart Of Gothenburg
Everything what you would expect from In Flames live album. Warning: Very raw sound. The picture of a drummer sort of sums it up...

Meshuggah - The Violent Sleep of Reason
If you have enjoyed the work of Meshuggah so far, I have no doubt you will enjoy this as well. For me: No change! I don't get it...

Mono - Requiem For Hell
Post rock giants are serving us a tasty compromise between 2014's "double album" heavenly gentle The Last Dawn and blacky Rays of Darkness. This piece under includes a heartbeat of a new life - Ely. It was very unique moment when I was listening to this piece, while riding on a bus and suddenly bunch of new "lifes" were smiling at each other in front of me...

Opeth - Sorceress
Same as with numerous latest releases of Opeth, first reaction tends to be: What the hell is this? Jethro Tull folk jazzy psychedelic, no comprendo. However, more you listen, more you understand this hell of an inspirational world, which Opeth always ruled.

Pg.lost - Versus
"Potential lost": Very solid musicianship and song building, but the bar unfortunately doesn't go over the losing-breath moment, which I was really hoping for.

Wang Wen - Sweet Home, Go!
Very deep atmosphere! I wanted to fall in love here as well, but there were only few islands of perfection, within innovative and unique approach. Still, it's amazing to hear such a band from China.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Bolesno Grinje Interview

Croatian death metal/grindcore institution Bolesno Grinje has celebrated last year their 15year anniversary and this year they are finalizing their eight album GRD. There were multiple reasons why I wanted to speak to these guys. Not only for their specific approach to hard core music, but also for the fact I have very close relations to exYugoslavian region and I do my best to reach all crucial bands and musicians from this area. Sorry Goran Bregović, it's time for sth heavier ;D. Next to that, Czech Republic is a second music home for them and finally, this Saturday they are coming to my hometown Ostrava.

When someone is searching for videos or interviews with you, most of them are related to Obscene Extreme Festival. You have already complimented craziness of this crowd, however, how did this festival fueled your career?
For any band Obscene Extreme Festival is a wind on the back by all means!
It helped us finding few record labels for releasing the records and also we met some people there who helped us with the gigs around...

When I saw the footage, I was glad to hear Yugo comments. ;D as “U pičku materinu“. Were you surprised and did it happen also in Italy, where you also toured?
No, we were not surprised...since there on OEF usually you can see (and hear) a decent number of Balkan people!  No, in Italy it didn't happened...there's not so much Balkan people there like on OEF! :D

Czech Republic in general, is your main destination outside of Croatia. Was it thanks to the organizers of OEF that you managed to arrange visa to play in EU country? Are you planning much larger spectrum of tour destinations now, as Croatia joined EU.
This happened by accident...the fact that we're playing more in Czech Rep. than in any other country in EU is because of the friends we have in Czech Rep. that are inviting us constantly...we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for that! When Croatia joined EU all our troubles from the past were just took us some more time to fight with the stupid bureaucracy! We're not planning a tour exactly...we just want to play wherever we're be exact, wherever is possible to go!

I must also compliment your steadily rising production quality. Especially, as it is done in-house by your guitarist Jule. My roommate is also a guitarist and a producer. Rising number of his business request and same as with you, rising quality of production, proves: “You don’t always need a well-known studio and a well-known producer.”
Thank you for your compliments! All the time we're trying to be better in any way that is possible! our kind of music you don't need a well known studio or producer...ok, of course it's better if  you have a decent studio where you can record...but the most important thing is to have there the person who knows how and what to do...and that he's doing it with passion!

Mouth full of honesty

In your lyrics you often discuss cultural and social issues. I loved your comment: “There is stupidity on this planet for at least  20 more albums.”I personally experienced plenty of those issues while I lived in Serbia and spent many months in Croatia soon after 2000’s: Post war depression, never ending race hate, rising corruption and support for radical movements, smaller wages/increasing prices. Did I miss anything? ;D
No, that's it...but would like to mention nationalism...which the bastards are using again to keep the people busy with fighting over something so unimportant...the rotten spirit of the 90's is awakening and the worst thing is that a lots of young people accepts it...

What are your daily jobs , which you hate so much?
One of us is electrician in a shipyard, one is ceramist, one driver and one is reading the water counters...all hated equally! :D 

Rotten spirit of the 90's is awakening and the worst thing is that a lots of young people accepts it...

Metal life

When I mentioned some of these bands, how are you arranging tours? Are you keeping good relationships with plenty other bands within the scene or you rely on the interest of the promoter? 
We're not a band who tours a lot...we're trying to play wherever we're invited to...and usually it happens to be smaller/shorter 2-3 days tours... Yes, we're keeping relations with a people and bands who likes what we do...that's where all the arrangements come from...

When we were talking about “shitty” jobs, what are the reactions of your co-workers on you playing in a grind/death metal band?
Oh, definitely we're weirdos!...But when they realize that we're throwing all the bad things out of ourselves this way...and that we're doing what we love...some of them might be jealous! :D

When I lived in Belgrade during my puberty and also traveling every few months to Vinkovci in Croatia, I was facing many bad looks on being a metal teenager! I was called Satanist and a member of cult by some of my classmates, religious grandmothers on streets were freaked out if they saw me in Sepultura T-shirt, but one time I was really afraid. It was really hot July afternoon in Vinkovci, when I saw a warning on Croatian TV HRT: “Church is warning people, to be extra cautious regarding metal fans. They are dressed in black, greeting themselves by a horn and listening to bands as Iron Maiden or Dimmu Borgir.” I thought I would be stoned on the street. On the other hand, there is nothing evil as: Seka Aleksić, Sinan Sakić, Dara Bubamara, Semsa Suljaković, Mile Kitić, Jelena Karleuša and the others u pičku materinu ;D
Yes, there is deeply rooted traditional christian value policy in all parts of Croatia...and Serbia of course! Today things changed a in metal t-shirts doesn't feel like you did any more...but since they are minority they can always be discriminated. The thing on Croatian TV was insane completely...can you imagine some priest doing anti metal propaganda...and seeing young metal heads as a threat! It's just ridiculous! Today Iron Maiden plays in the center of Dalmatia (a totally religious area) and nobody complains...also like those so called singers you mentioned...they are playing their shallow minded bullshit all around Croatia... as long as the business is working nobody you can come to conclusion that the money is the new religion and the new god!

Even though there is a long rock tradition in Balkans thanks to Bijelo Dugme, Riblja Čorba, Smak, Azra and many more, metal scene is very underground due the social atmosphere, I mentioned. On the other hand Croatian scene seems to be the largest in the ex-Yugoslavia. There are only few Serbian bands as Sacramental Blood (Supposed to play on Brutal Assault, but there were Visa issues). However in Croatia, I know for many years Ashes You leave and my friends from Zadar’s scene: Rising Dream. Next to that: Omega Lithium’s short small explosion and not sure how far Cold Snap pushed it. ;D
It’s hard for all Croatian bands to make a huge impact outside the country. First of all Croatian scene is so small that you have maybe 3-4 places to play your show during the whole year. You must constantly look for some shows outside Croatia, but to book a show outside Croatia people must hear about you and with 3 gigs per year in some local club promoters from Europe will never hear for you. So it’s like a closed loop you have to be very persistent to break the loop and to take band to the next level.

Money is the new religion and the new god!

If we critically look at the success and the influence of Croatian bands, I take you as the most influential – based on the issues you discuss in the lyrics and for the years of being active. Did you ever realize, you might be the main spokespersons on local social issues, if one listens to Croatian band and reads the lyrics? If we take the power of death/grind lyrics, I tend to consider you the Croatian Brujeria.
Well we don’t consider Bolesno Grinje as a band with big influence to the people. To be honest we have very small fan base and when we are writing our songs we don’t think: “this song will change the world”. We are writing our lyrics about stuff that is surrounding us, about some injustice and some other things that are pain in the ass for us. Of course someone can find himself in our lyrics and agree with us, on the other hand someone can think this lyrics are nothing but a bullshit. To compare Bolesno Grinje with Brujeria we think it’s too much, but thanx anyway he he…

I’m doing my best to study the Balkan war and also teach my surroundings about, what really happened after Second World War in the Balkans, but I was dragged once into a discussion: “What would happen in the backstage of an international festival if Serbian and Croatian band met?” I rather leave answer to you.
Probably they would get drunk together with some beers and Rakija of course...(that's what would we do!). If any of those two bands refuse to hang out together on national basis...they are an assholes!

Message for Czech readers:
We love to play in Czech Rep. it is always good atmosphere and we always meet nice people there so greetings to all Czech grind maniacs from Croatia. See you on Saturday in Ostrava!!!

In Ears - Summer 2016

Summer is a time, when you should keep your mind relaxed from daily stress and rely on your most favorite albums, during long journeys to the see with your friends or while reading, as sun is grilling you. On the other hand it's time be open to anything you get recommended or to cover albums you didn't have time for the whole busy spring. God damn it, I still didn't do my Pink Floyd marathon. Next summer! Until then, few after-summer tips. More tips coming very soon, as they would be outdated, if I included them in the August - September review.    

Dark Suns - Everchild
I follow this band for years and rarely you will find a band which is prog enough to progress so much over the years. It may serve crazy prog wankers, but at the same time, its the smooth jazzy romantic. It shows optimum taste, ideal skills and that tasteful voice. Sometimes it takes a role of a peaceful spokesperson, other time persuasive lovebird. In the end, as a proper prog material, it has both artistic wanking and sensitively beautiful choruses. Truly unique world of Dark Suns. I did my best with 2011's Orange, not only for the fact, I was searching for it for moths. But skip it, if you didn't have enough patience same as me. Go for 2008's Grave Human Genuine and the latest amazing album Everchild.

If These Trees Could Talk - The Bones of a Dying World
Sunshine reaching through the clouds, flowers fighting their way through ground - simply beauty coming through dust. If These Trees Could Talk are masters in building monuments out of nothing. Let the instruments start to talk among themselves, place one layer after another and step by step they reach a heaven. There are tons of post rock/metal bands, but only few as Sleepmakeswaves, Russian Circles or Long Distance Calling provide you those "pure beauty peaks". Yes, there is only one Barren Lands of The Modern Dinosaur and the album is not so compact as their previous releases, but still, it is an elite in post rock/metal.

Post rock greatness #2
Russian Circles - Guidance

No "Click" floor:
  • Master's Hammer - Formulæ: These Czechs are considered one of the most respectful band in the world's underground circles. Well, they are rather a cult, but it's really not for everyone.
  • Eric Clapton - I Still Do: I have respect for dinosaurs more than ever, but this was too dry compared to latest work of Bob Dylan or Tom Petty.
  • Steve Vai - Passion and Warfare: Same respect for this legend and beekeeper, but simply not for me. I rather stick to my generation guitar heroes, like the one he recommends himself: Plini
  • Lita Ford - The Best Of: Seriously, I don't get how come this woman got as many fans outside of MTV effect.
  • Ziggy Marley - Ziggy Marley: Not in a mood, if you know what I mean? ;D

  • Ambient electronics experiments - Based on the recommendation from Keshav Dhar of Skyharbor I tried these two pieces: Tycho - Awake and Telefon Tel Aviv - Immolate Yourself. Interesting experience, but nothing overwhelming. Let say compared to my obsession: The Black Queen. I gotta see those guys in Berlin this October!

Respect for the elders - Did you visit your grandmothers this summer? Good. Keep respecting the elders and visit/re-visit or discover these classics: Czech institution Lucie, Blues Pills's massive inspiration: Aretha Franklin, The Doors, Jeff Buckley, Death - Scream Bloody Gore

And finally, no Phil Collins this time. Enjoy the queen of the night, with whom I spent few weeks:
Chelsea Wolfe