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 solved...it 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 invited...to 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! Yes...in 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 bit...kids 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 complains...so 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