“This might be our catchiest, heaviest, most brutal work” – Paul Mazurkiewitz (Cannibal Corpse)

Interview with drummer Paul Mazurkiewitz from Cannibal Corpse

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on the 19th of October 2017

Hi Paul, thanks a lot for being down for the interview! Could you tell me a bit about your 3 most favorite albums?

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Slayer – Reign in Blood (1986)

That’s a tough one, a one-day answer. There are a lot of influential albums of course. But if we’re gonna stick with the heavier stuff, the bands that really got me wanting to play this kind of music, I’d say my Nr. 1 would be Slayer – Reign in Blood. Probably most people say that (laughs). But it was such a big influence for us, unbelievable. Especially that album in particular. Hearing Dave Lombardo’s drumming, that’s what made me wanna play like that. We were already fans of Slayer with their previous works, but hearing Reign in Blood just took it to a whole another level and it made me wanna try to emulate that. So that is probably the most important album in my career. Nr. 2 would probably be Metallica – Ride the Lightning. That was such a very influential album as well. It came a little earlier that Reign in Blood but when we were getting into music and Metallica was a new band and we were hearing this as teenagers for the first time, it took us to another dimension. “Whoah, what is this?!” So of course we were fans of Kill ‘Em All but then again, Ride the Lightning took it to another level. I remember hearing the song Creeping Death for the first time, it was playing on the radio and we didn’t know what this was, we got to know they were Metallica, the new album comes out, “wow we gotta see them”. Just very influential. And Nr 3 would be Sacrifice – Forward to Termination. It was such a great thrash album every time I hear it to this day, it gets me going.

Red Before Black is your 14th full-length album. What was your main goal you wanted to achieve? What do you think distinguishes this record from the other 13?

The main goal is always just releasing the music, really. We were just excited to create new stuff and get it out to the people. It’s the way we’ve done things and the way out mentality goes: We’re just writing the next batch of songs. There’s no big skin behind it other than we wanna do good and a little better than the last time. That’s what we’re always striving for and trying to do. So that was our goal, to write the next better song. To keep going forward in our songwriting, in our musicianship and all that. And I feel we have.

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Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black (2017)

I know I worked extra hard on this record, more than on any other so far and I work hard on all! For some reason this time around my mentality was “no rest whatsoever, go go go, double time, triple time” – I just wanted to do better than I ever have personally. The other guys are writing most of the riffs and the songs and when we’ve got three great songwriters spreading it all around… I mean we’ve got some diverse stuff and those guys write some amazing material. But I think on this record, to me it’s just a combination of what we’ve been doing our whole career. I listen to the songs and the whole definitely has more of an old school vibe to it, a little more of a thrashier vibe than our previous releases. So I look at it as a full circle. I tend to look at it as the best of all Cannibal. From the beginning to the 13th album, put it together, work hard, write some great songs and then you’ve got Red Before Black. I think it just stands out because the songs are so tight and precise, great brutal riffs. So I think this might be our best work – our catchiest, heaviest, most brutal work with a great guitar sound.

You even stated in the promo material that this album has got the rawest sound you’ve ever had. And I agree, it does totally sound old school!
Could you tell me about your most beloved song on the album? I’d love to hear your vision of the song, of the lyrics, some instrumental passages or a story in connection with its creation.

I guess the one that stands out to me in particular is Destroyed Without a Trace. That was the song that I had the most hand in. If you know much about the band you might have noticed the last few releases I ended up having myself more of a song that I wrote; if you see the credit it’s usually me and Rob or me by myself. So Destroyed was the one that I came up with. And the way I wrote that song was very interesting: I collaborated with Rob but this is the first time I ever wrote a song (or any of us for that matter) just by playing the drums. I had everything in my head, I wrote the arrangement, the riffs basically in my head, and I was able to play the whole song with nobody (laughs). Cause I wrote it by myself just on the drums. I worked on it for a couple of weeks by myself and then I just said “hey Rob, I wrote a song, I just need you to fill in the blanks here”. We went piece by piece and I showed them how I meant it and in couple of days we had the song done. Very interesting. But I’m so glad the way it turned out: Starting from the skeleton, just me playing a drum beat, to building the guitars and solos and putting the lyrics over the top. It turned out really good, I’m really proud of this song. But I love all these songs, all of them were fun to play and I just worked hard on all of them. Shedding My Human Skin is another one of my favorites, it’s such a great groove. The first one, Only One Will Die is another one that was so much fun to play.

It’s no surprise that the imagery of this album consists again of brutality, aggressivity, death, blood, gore, torture etc. Do you have any limit or border when it comes to lyrical themes or imagery?

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Cannibal Corpse (2017)

I don’t know, we just do what we do I guess. We really don’t touch on religion of course I mean we dabbled very little on one or two songs a few years back but that’s so minor. We don’t talk politics either. To me it’s all open if it needs to happen though. Personally, I am a father, I don’t wanna talk about murdering children, but at the same time it’s all fiction and it’s Cannibal Corpse. If I look at a song like Remaimed from the new album that Pat wrote and then I sat down and wrote the lyrics (I actually wrote the lyrics for six of the songs), I end up writing a pretty brutal story here. That’s talking about things exactly that I’m not very thrilled about personally. But like I said, it’s fictional gore, fictional horror, it’s not made to be serious so I think it’s okay. But yeah, it’s tough. In-your-face, completely brunt brutal lyrics, there’s nothing to mask and nothing to hide – we still have those but I think we like to be a little bit more of a horrific and read-between-the-lines kind of thing. But I would think pretty much nothing is out of context. It’s Cannibal Corpse, we just write what we write. I’ll just move onto the next question.

Some bands really take in into consideration what kind of a message they convey not only through their music but also through their press statements. Do you guys have a “press-plan”, do you negotiate between yourselves before the release of a new album or in a doubtful situation about what you will tell us about it?

That’s done through the record label and a third party, a guy that does an interview and then he pieces together what you read in the PR release for a new album. Of course we have the say what’s gonna go out to the public, if we’re unhappy with something we say it of course. And yeah, maybe some things we’re not gonna touch on. Some things don’t need to be mentioned I guess. We get the basics out what we feel the people need to know and if they don’t need to know, we won’t tell them.

After your first Demo “Cannibal Corpse” you have always been at Metal Blade. Did you ever receive requests from other labels and if yes, what makes you stay at Metal Blade?

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Cannibal Corpse (1989)

Metal Blade was the only label that showed interest in us. When we were formed and made our demo tape, we had a guy helping us out back in the early days in Buffalo, New York. He wasn’t our manager or anything but he was running a record store and knew some people. And who did he know? He knew people at Metal Blade because the president at Metal Blade is from Buffalo as well! So he had a connection, we had our guy that knew a guy at Metal Blade through the whole city. I think we sent our tape to ten labels or something, mainly smaller independent ones plus Relapse and maybe Roadrunner. But I know this for a fact, the response we got back was from Metal Blade wanting to sign us. So what do you do? As a young band that’s hungry and ready to make music, you get an offer and you take it. You take it because this could be the only opportunity to get your foot in the door. Luckily Brian Slagel at Metal Blade liked the demo and we got through some red tape there that was all we needed. As time went on: “Hm, we’re a small death metal band. We’re starting to do well. Metal Blade behind us, okay.” They’ve given us complete creative control, they were not interfering with anything we do musically and that’s what we needed. So if it isn’t broke, why fix it? That’s what we’ve been dealing with out whole career. It turned out to be more of a friendship than a business relation I guess. So I think it worked out well.

You are in the band since the very beginnings. Can you please tell me about your personal favorite and most unfavorable moments in the band throughout your whole career?

Almost everything has been a positive for us, beyond-our-wildest-dreams kind of a thing, so just the fact that we are still here after 30 years being arguably the biggest death metal band in the world, that’s enough right there. That’s amazing. We never even thought of any of that. So everything that has happened from day one to now is just remarkable, unbelievable and incredible (laughs).

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Paul Mazurkiewicz

Not many negatives, luckily. There were only some personal negatives and I guess the biggest one for me is being on tour about 20 years ago and getting stabbed with a key after the show in my abdomen. That wasn’t very fun. That’s probably one of the craziest things that have ever happened to me. It was back in ‘94 I guess, we just started a tour with 3 other bands, we were second show in, we just finished the show in Holland. It was a little town, 2 in the morning, everything’s completely dead, everyone left. And all of a sudden there’s a fight outside our bus. It happens to be a couple of guys from our band and our crew fighting some people. We’re like “what the hell is going on here?”. It ended up being five or six drunk guys looking for trouble basically. And they started with the wrong people, it was 25 of us. I’m not a fighter, I didn’t need to be involved in this, I was a bystander watching what’s going on. There was a bunch of yelling, a couple of crew guys involved… The next thing I remember, those guys are coming at me and all of a sudden I see blood and my side hurts. “I just got stabbed, I’m gonna die”. Five seconds go by and I realize it hurts and bleeds but I’m gonna live. Ambulance comes, gotta go to the hospital. This was the second show of the tour and we had like 30 more to go. But luckily everything turned out well, the tour went on and I was able to play. But yeah, that was probably the worst thing that happened to me. Not fun.

Which other band in the genre do you look up to? Is there also a band you have any stress or tension with?

Well I love Slayer, I mean that’s my influence, so how can I not look up to Slayer at all times? But any other bands, bands that came out around us, we know them and they’re friends. You can have that friendship and camaraderie and all that bands like Suffocation, Obituary or Morbid Angel; bands that have been around for 30 years that gives us some positive thoughts. I don’t even listen to any new bands at all though. It’s cool there are bands that were influenced by us I’m glad, I feel happy but I just don’t listen to a lot of that. So the bands that I still look up to are my “hero bands” that I grew up with. If we’re gonna play at a festival or share a stage with a band like Iron Maiden, man it’s Iron Maiden! I don’t look at them as peers, they’re above me. That’s the way I think. But yeah, it’s really cool that we’ve still got bands going after 30 years, keeping the old school alive, keeping the death metal going.

You are touring very actively promoting Red Before Black, from November in the USA and from February in Europe. What are the most satisfying moments while on tour?

Playing the show. It’s always cool going to places and different cities and everything but we’re there to perform and play for the people. That’s the most important thing. Once you’re up on stage and you’re seeing the fans and their reactions: that’s why you’re there. A lot of them are going to be new fans. Seeing the excitement on the face of new fans that never saw you before, that’s always gonna make you feel good. Just making people happy. If we can make anybody happy in a positive way, how can that not make you feel like you’ve accomplished something in life? So that’s what it’s all about.

What about your further future plans?

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Paul Mazurkiewicz

We will be touring pretty much all of 2018. If you look at how our cycles have gone, we tour for almost two years after an album. I can see that happening, that’s out immediate future. And that’s all you can really do at this point. I mean, I think we take it day by day now. We’re 30 years in, we’re not a new band looking ahead to the future, the future’s here. Now it’s like “how long have we got?”. Who knows? We’re all feeling healthy and we’re still all mentally on the same page so why can’t we just keep going and doing it for another 20 or 30 years who knows, right? We’ll see. But right, at this point in our career we gotta just take it day by day now. We’ll do these tours and more than likely the plan will be doing the tour, starting the record and doing it again. Just like we’ve been doing our whole career.

Paul, thank you very much for the interview and for your time. I wish you all the best reactions to Red Before Black!

Thank you and have a good night! I’m sure we’ll talk again soon.

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DESTRUCTION. Re-recorded 80’s thrash paired with a more sterile production

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Destruction – Thrash Anthems II (2017)

Review by Estelle for Metalegion Magazine on the 31st of May 2018

TRACKLIST

  1. Confused Mind
  2. Black Mass
  3. Frontbeast
  4. Dissatisfied Existence
  5. United by Hatred
  6. The Ritual
  7. Black Death
  8. The Antichrist
  9. Confound Games
  10. Ripping You Off Blind
  11. Satan’s Vengeance
  12. Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys cover)

RELEASE DETAILS
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: PledgeMusic
Country: Germany
Date: July 18th, 2017

LINEUP
Schmier – Bass, Vocals
Mike – Guitars
Vaaver – Drums


1000x1000.jpgCollections of re-recorded 80’s thrash songs paired with a more modern and perhaps more sterile production are with no doubt an arguable phenomenon. Even Destruction’s original “Thrash Anthems” collection from 2007 doesn‘t belong to the most beloved pieces of theirs among fans of old school-sounding thrash metal. And so it is a relevant question how a „Thrash Anthems II” collection works with re-recorded old tunes that didn’t make the cut the first time.

The 2017 collection was supposed to be a self-release as the album was of no interest for Nuclear Blast, however, after it was done, it also got released in an alternative version via the record label. The Germans gave the second batch of their worthier older tunes a more modern yet tougher, punchier, more muscular mix of guitars and drums, blending them into a thrashing combination. The production is more polished, sure, yet Schmier sounds almost as violent and nasty as he did back then and one can’t complain neither about Mike’s and Vaaver’s level of excitement nor way of playing either.

Considering the song selection; even though there was still place for some relatively beloved songs on “Thrash Anthems II” such as ‘Black Mass’, ‘The Antichrist’ or ‘Confused Mind’, one can easily have the feeling that the album contains re-workings which even most fans weren’t curious about. The album artwork isn’t the most on-point work of the band either, especially if we keep in mind that a collection of re-recorded 80s’ thrash songs is supposed to represent an old school approach in its appearance.

On the whole, “Thrash Anthems II” is not as entertaining as the original 2007 collection and it is clear that the songs do not serve to replace the earlier ones in either case – Nevertheless, they might be a good alternative for younger fans or listeners preferring a more sterile sound instead of an old school one.

Song selection: 5.5
Production: 7
Catchiness: 6
Artwork: 5
Overall: 6/10


Order Thrash Anthems II here.

MERCILESS (Swe) video interview

I’m incredibly happy I got the chance to interview Merciless (Swe) at the Fall of Summer festival 2017 – check the result here! Topics include: Euronymous, Deathlike Silence, Morbid’s Dead, bad decisions, Fredrik Karlén, the ending of something and Kate Winslet. Enjoy!

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Festival report of Fall of Summer Festival 2017

Festival report of Fall of Summer Festival 2017 –  Torcy, France; 8-9th of September 2017

Report by Estelle on the 12th of October 2017

foslineup.jpgIn spite of last-minute band cancellations as well as some unpleasant weather conditions, Fall of Summer turned out to be again one of the most varied and quality festivals of the year. It seems that more and more metal enthusiasts recognize this fact: Not only attended this year markedly a lot more fans of black, death, thrash, heavy and doom metal than in the previous years, but the visitors’ scene also got much more vivid and international.

FRIDAY, 08.09.2017

Broken Hope, starting at 14:15, showed us into what we can expect from the festival death metal-wise with some serious massive riffs and rotten, pestilent growls. Their setlist was very diverse consisting of songs off their older as well as newer titles; all played with violent energy.

German speed/heavy/power cheese-kings Grave Digger took over. Starting with the title track of their newest (and most definitely not strongest) album ‘Healed by Metal’ from 2017 I was already considering leaving, and merely with two songs off their 80s’ classics, Witch Hunter and Heavy Metal Breakdown, they did not come close to convincing – not to speak of Boltendahl’s non-consistent voice and the “clap your hands”-style encouraging. They are trying, which is undeniably respectable, even though one sometimes wishes they didn’t.  

Fortunately, the unique experience of witnessing a (Tribute to) Sortilège show among the French not only eased my misery but also gave back my enthusiasm for the rest of the day: One could not extract themselves from this huge French karaoke nor from acquiring a part of the warm, collective feeling coming with it.

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(Ttribute to) Sortilège| Photo: Estelle

Vocalist Alexis d’Hürlement accomplished the effortful task of having to take the place of genious starting Sortilège singer Zouille with ease and joy, stealing the show even from the three original members showing up on stage for the single closing song, Marchand d’hommes. It can be contemplated on why the long-announced three original members (drummer Jean-Philippe Dumont aka ‘Bob Snake’, bassist Daniel ‘Lapin’ Lapp and guitarist Didier ‘Dem’ Demajean) only made an appearance for one song at the very end, on why it seemed like it was simply a duty for them or on why the group did not play ‘seen-as-obligatory’ titles such as Chasse Le Dragon or Mourir Pour Une Princesse; however, I was personally so amazed by being able to hear the well-composed setlist live with Hürlement’s fitting voice that I rather concentrated on enjoying the moment.

(Tribute to) Sortilège’s setlist on the 8th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. D’ailleurs
  2. Progéniture
  3. Métamorphose
  4. Quand un aveugle rêve
  5. Messager (w/ Gil Di Bravo)
  6. Gladiateur
  7. Sortilège
  8. Délire d’un Fou
  9. Marchand d’hommes (W/ Bob Snake, Daniel ‘Lapin’ Lapp and Didier ‘Dem’ Demajean)
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Merciless | Photo: Estelle

My cheerfulness boosted as after the last notes of (Tribute to) Sortilège I again became conscious of the fact that I am going to catch Merciless for the second time: The Swedish death/thrash veterans have reformed last year for a handful of dates across Europe before splitting definitively at the end of 2017.
How their show was? Nothing but Pure Hate. Regarding their energy and the quality of their performance, they gave a show that was comparable to the one given at the Swedish Muskelrock with nonstop savagery, insane speed and not a moment to breathe. On a side note, even though the audience seemed to be more into the show as on Muskelrock, the pit still didn’t turn into the biggest one on the festival – which I did not let distract me from how I personally enjoyed the show. A chain of cruel shows like that for a year before saying goodbye to the industry: real tricky, Merciless, real tricky!

Getting into the crowd of the French progressive rock group Magma after a Merciless gig is like slipping into a pot of warm, steaming, whirling soup as a portion of carrots after already being peeled and chopped.
Magma, reflecting my expectations, completely hypnotised: it is not every day you have the chance to see a symphonic rock band with jazz elements, singing most of their lyrics in a constructed language, Kobaïan. Eerie, impressive and engaging enough to get you completely forget about the rain.

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Île de loisirs de Vaires Torcy | Photo: Estelle


Meanwhile we were spending a bit of time in our tents trying to (unsuccessfully) dry ourselves off, Blasphemy took over, not giving a damn about the pouring rain nor the audience’s religious views, managing to attract and override many enthusiasts with their unmistakable, profane music, lyrics and attitude. Studs, bullet belts, inverted crosses, corpsepaint and the obligatory evening-hour sunglasses highlighted the experience of seeing the satanic Canadian death/blackers live.

Blasphemy’s setlist on the 8th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. War Command
  2. Blasphemous Attack
  3. Gods of War
  4. Darkness Prevails
  5. Desecration
  6. Nocturnal Slayer
  7. Emperor of the Black Abyss
  8. Hording of Evil Vengeance
  9. Goddess of Perversity
  10. Weltering in Blood
  11. Blasphemy
  12. Fallen Angel of Doom
  13. The Desolate One
  14. Demoniac
  15. Atomic Nuclear Desolation
  16. Empty Chalice
  17. Ritual

The celebrated Canadian speed/thrash group Annihilator followed with a rather typical but not in any way dull festival setlist with lots of old-time classics such as Set the World on Fire, W.T.Y.D., Alison Hell, Phantasmagoria and Human Insecticide, besides the characterless newer titles. I am curious if Jeff Waters ever gets to the idea of playing the whole ‘Alice in Hell’ record live within a (festival)tour, much to the delight of the long-term fans; until then we ought to content ourselves with their (still decent and very much enjoyable) current shows.

Primordial are a band that consistently manage to give back the atmosphere and spirit of their records live while also retaining the quality of their sound. As the last act, the Irish group gave this particularly bleak and wet day a graceful and pleasing end with a well-chosen setlist together with their perceivable dedication. Always a pleasure.

Primordial’s setlist on the 8th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Intro
  2. Where Greater Men Have Fallen
  3. No Grave Deep Enough
  4. Babel’s Tower
  5. As Rome Burns
  6. Gods to the Godless
  7. The Coffin Ships
  8. Empire Falls


SATURDAY, 09.09.2017

As Saturday’s first, I went to see Toxik in the foreday’s mud. Expanded with their three new tracks off their 2017 EP ‘Breaking Class’ we got all the relevant 80s’ songs delivered, played decently but not as enthusiastically that I would have felt the need to get myself further into the crowd. It was, however, certainly heart-warming to see that after years and years of a break the US thrash band enjoys being on stage so much and that frontman Charles Sabin cannot thank the crowd enough for coming – Not to mention their action of inviting a French fan onto the stage to help them with the guitars on False Prophets.

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Count Raven | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh

I did not exactly know what to expect from Count Raven’s live performance. So what did I get? Surprisingly engaging, gloomy, harmonized riffs with not at all banal or worn-out lyrics, coupled with the feeling of tranquillity and the sand below my feet standing at the Blackwaters stage on the lakeside. Everything they do feels real: with a presence and setting much less theatrical than by bands of the same genre (see: Candlemass), the Swedish Count Raven managed to both convey the message they meant to through their music and show us how sincerely they mean it. Anytime again!

 


Moving on to Bulldozer, one of the groups from the high-class lineup that I was hoping to see live for years already, I found myself standing on side of the stage-separating hill in the drizzling rain, staring at A.C. Wild and his group from underneath a yellow bin liner-like raincoat and being mesmerised. A strong, fierce performance with engaged people moving around, where fortunately even the weather did not succeed to make it difficult to interpret A.C.’s words “It’s fucking whiskey time!”, AS IT WAS ALREADY FREAKING WHISKEY TIME. Show: 9.5/10, Weather: 3/10, People who gave a damn about the weather on average: 1/10.

Bulldozer’s setlist on the 9th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Neurodeliri
  2. IX
  3. Desert!
  4. Ilona the Very Best
  5. The Derby
  6. Impotence
  7. Minkions
  8. The Final Separation
  9. Ride Hard – Die Fast
  10. Whisky Time
  11. Willful Death
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Demolition Hammer | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh

Always tearing every stage and crowd apart, Demolition Hammer did not let us down this time either. Overwhelming power and tight thrash riffs at lightning speed with corresponding (but mostly moshing and fighting) fan-reaction: the old school US-thrashers once again managed to become the most impressive act of a festival, leaving absolutely no chance for the nomination for the upcoming bands.

 

 

Demolition Hammer’s setlist on the 9th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Skull Fracturing Nightmare
  2. Carnivorous Obsession
  3. Hydrophobia
  4. Neanderthal
  5. Omnivore
  6. Infectious Hospital Waste
  7. Aborticide
  8. Human Dissection
  9. .44 Caliber Brain Surgery
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Morbid Saint | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh

As the first notes of the starting Destruction System could be heard, we were hurrying to the Sanctuary stage to get our heads ripped off by another American thrash-pioneer group Morbid Saint. As after the introduction of two decently written new songs (Flesh of the Disease and Daku) recent vocalist Cliff Wagner announced that they are about to play the whole ‘Spectrum of Death’, I was blown away, I thought they bought me and that there would be no place for critique in the concert report afterwards. I was wrong: The fact that the only original member who partook in the makings of their demos and ‘Spectrum of Death’ is guitarist Jay Visser, has its strong effect not only on the band’s image but also on its sound, together with the members’ engagement. As I see it, Cliff’s hardcore appearance and vocal-style does not fit the fans’ idea of 80’s Morbid Saint either, which results that one of the most brutal thrash metal records of all time played in its entirety live sounds ungenuine and flat.

Due to the hustling-bustling audience, Coven’s show showed an utter contrast regarding the attitude and overall feeling to their gig on Muskelrock. On Muskelrock every single bystander-listener behaved themselves quiet, engaged and observant and so not only they, but also the band was able to empathize the theatrical obscure, ritual-like mood that is relevant for a Coven show. On the contrary, at Fall of Summer the audience was loud and chatty, not giving the band the chance to deliver a spirit of obscureness. Uncommonly, vocalist Jinx was even talking, storying, introducing the band and thanking the audience for coming between the songs, which absolutely contradicts one’s expectations of a show of the American psychedelic rock band.

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Coven | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh


Even despite the fact that Jinx with her 67 years is understandably not able to sing the higher tones anymore, her presence on stage can by no means be overlooked: Stepping out of her famed-for coffin; wearing her glimmering masque and scenically getting rid of it after the first few songs; tenaciously standing in one place for the whole concert-duration with no sudden moves, just the slow, gentle, (Wicked) Womanly hand-movements.
Even though the show was not free of defects and mistakes (e.g. error message at the screen at the back of the stage displaying rituals), hearing this top setlist – from where the only song that I personally missed was Lost Without a Trace – and going through the Coven-experience live still made me feel it was magic.

Coven’s setlist on the 9th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Out of Luck
  2. Black Sabbath
  3. Coven in Charing Cross
  4. White Witch of Rose Hall
  5. Wicked Woman
  6. The Crematory
  7. Choke, Thirst, Die
  8. Black Swan
  9. Dignitaries Of Hell
  10. F.U.C.K
  11. Epitaph
  12. Blood on the Snow

Marduk‘s setlist on the 9th of September 2017, Fall of Summer festival, France:

  1. Frontschwein
  2. The Blond Beast
  3. Of Hell’s Fire
  4. Materialized in Stone
  5. The Levelling Dust
  6. Throne of Rats
  7. Cloven Hoof
  8. Wartheland
  9. Legion
  10. Wolves
  11. Panzer Division Marduk

To my sadness, the festival ended for me with an exceptionally disappointing Venom show.

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Cronos | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh

Not only did Cronos have constant problems with the sound, but he even let the audience have a look behind the scenes by behaving himself extremely unprofessionally. Whispering something to the soundman every two minutes, changing bass guitars three times, making perplexed announcements like “As you can see we have some problems here *hehe*”: Am I the only one who does not feel any Satan or black metal here?

Comical, out-of-context fire effects, the abuse of the original lyrics, unenjoyable dull singing, puzzled faces and the feeling of disappointment. The man of the show who even managed to ‘save’ the situation to some degree was drummer Danté with his overwhelming energy, showing he is having fun at what he is doing, making crazy faces at photographers and simply trying to distract our attention from Cronos’ obnoxious unprofessionalism.

 

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Danté | Photo: my good friend Gábor Oláh


Surprise of the day: The fire effects without proper music are apparently not enough to satisfy the needs of thousands of Venom- and evil-hungry people.


And now, to sum up…

Strongest standout bands: Demolition Hammer, Bulldozer, Merciless, (Tribute to) Sortilège

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Île de loisirs de Vaires Torcy | Photo: Estelle


Main impressions:
+ still an excellent location; high-class lineup; no delays; decent sound; a great variety of genres; open-mindedness
– pricey and not-that-tasty beer; no shelter from the storm; music genres in the after parties ranging from 80s pop to Rammstein

Recommendations: Go!

Find more information at: http://fallofsummer.fr/
Photos were used by ‘Estelle’. Special thanks for his generous help with the photos to my good Hungarian friend Gábor Oláh.

Chaos Descends Festival 2017 – Fan footage

I still owed you a fan footage from Chaos Descends so here you go people! You can turn on the English subtitles if you like.

You can probably expect something similar from me from the French Fall of Summer Festival I’m attending next weekend – Can’t wait! :)

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Festival report of Chaos Descends Festival 2017

Festival report of Chaos Descends Festival 2017 –  Ferienland Crispendorf, Germany; 21-22nd of July 2017

Report by Estelle on the 2nd of September 2017


Dreamlike location, prominent lineup, pleasant mood, killer afterparties, Cuba Libre and a children’s railway. What more could you possibly want?

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FRIDAY, 21.07.2017

The first band I decided to see on the festival were the death metal band Vorum playing on Friday from the Åland Islands (belonging to Finland). Their crushing 30-minute full-length Poisoned Void from 2013 already got my attention a few years ago from which I got the chance to see songs live for the first time. Just as expected, Vorum played hard and with defeating energy, creating a base cheer for me that never went away ‘til the moment I arrived home after the festival.

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Attic | Photo: Estelle

After Vorum came the German King Diamond-worshipping Attic with their live ritual. To my surprise their well-composed, high-standard live performances authentically give back the feeling and also the quality of their albums. Attic continuously receives critique about their base idea being unoriginal and simply a replica of both the King Diamond style and sound however, in my personal opinion, as they model King’s approach on such a high standard, one can simply be pleased to hear more of a style that not every band would be able to recreate.
Order Attic’s new album ‘Sanctimonious’ here.

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Venenum | Photo: Estelle

After Attic came some long-awaited rigid German-style cruelty with Venenum, creating a frore atmosphere. Just as the last time I saw them, the German death metallers concentrated on their new album ‘Trance of Death’ filled with all this ugliness; these atmospheric solos, melodic riffs, unexpectable breaks and tempo changes, driving the audience into madness. To my sadness, they have not played anything from their world-class EP ‘Venenum’, even though their song Bewitched Craft could be the best death metal song written in the 21th century until now in my personal opinion.
Don’t think the new album is not worth investing in, though: Buy it here.

Later came the Polish death metallers Mgła, who I have never seen before and from whom I was expecting a lot, partly based on the everlasting hype surrounding them. Unfortunately and rather surprisingly I could not get myself engaged with the band and was not moved by their music nor by their sound.

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Chaos Rising during Cirith Ungol at Chaos Descends | Photo: Estelle


Luckily and this time not to my surprise, right after them we got to the highlight of the festival in form of the USA heavy/doom band Cirith Ungol
. Cirith Ungol’s show was far more collected and composed than at Keep It True this year, the band members were in sync the whole time and one could just see the excitement and joy on their faces on stage. I lost my mind over how Tim Baker’s voice and energy level does not seem to lower since the 70s and my face was all upon the grin about all the band’s classic songs coming after each other, all getting delivered in album quality live.

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Cirith Ungol’s setlist | Photo: Estelle

Their setlist was diverse and contained indeed every classic that one could expect from them, including the 3 encores Master of the Pit, King of the Dead and Cirith Ungol. Unbeatable.

Afterwards, before getting lost among all the people and cuba libres in the afterparty-tent, we had the chance to hear some raw black metal tunes from the Canadian Sortilegia, pounding us completely into the ground.

 

 

 

SATURDAY, 22.07.2017

The first band I got to see on Saturday were the alternative A Dead Forest Index from New Zealand on the Nature stage. Alternative has never been my thing, the whole thing seemed simply too artsy to me, making me unable to identify myself with the music or the feeling the members wanted to transmit through it. However, it still was a pleasant feeling to chill at the side of an abandoned toilet-blue pool in the sun, in the woods, listen to the two classical guitars and experience something I have not experienced before.

They were followed by the Norwegian black/sludge band with hardcore punk elements, Okkultokrati, who played on the main stage. To be honest I expected some more from them and found them rather mediocre live, leading me to the uncomfortable situation of choosing booze over a band.

Right after them I looked into Night Demon – even though I’ve never been a huge fan of them, I got to understand why others are. It shows just as well from the way they present themselves as from their stage properties that they know how to sell the band. Vocalist “Jarvis Leatherby” [Jeff Hershey, new bassist of Cirith Ungol since 2016] is one of the few people by whom I feel like they were directly born for the stage: he’s absolutely energetic, has fun at what he’s doing and has something in his attitude that attracts the audience. The huge death figure walking up and down on stage was thought to be contributing to attracting attention.

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Dread Sovereign | Photo: Estelle

I walked into the crowd of Dread Sovereign with no expectations previously only hearing their first album some time ago, and was pleasantly surprised by how fast they got me engaged. Just by looking at the crowd one could have thought Dread Sovereign belong to the first wave of doom bands from the early-mid 80s – it shows how authentically they play their music as a doom band formed in 2013 if they are able to get the attention of the older generation who could have been among the crowd on an early Saint Vitus or Candlemass gig.

I was then ready for the savagery of Deathhammer. I got exactly what I wanted: pounding energy, brutality, speed and drunkenness; just as usual from frontman Sergeant Salsten [watch my video interview with him on the festival coming out in a few days]. Besides the strong, varied riff-flow and the incredible amount of devastating power it was entertaining to see how Salsten just does not seem to give a damn: After introducing the following song he started to doubt/question himself and was not afraid of also expressing these doubts toward the crowd by the gentle question “What the fuck?”.

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Deathhammer | Photo: Estelle


As the next act I got to see the USA death/black/thrash band
Absu. They provided us with a combination of catchy thrash riffs, rotten blackened vocals and Proscriptor’s insane, bestial drumming, not leaving us any time to recover from the previous Deathhammer’s fierce effect on us.

I did indeed try to understand something from the music of the upcoming German ambient black ( D O L C H ) until I left with the thoughts of “Okay one doesn’t have to understand everything”.

Despite my expectations, experiences and the previous band, I was really much able to get myself engaged with Sunn O))) this time. I have already seen them at Brutal Assault in 2015 where I left with no traces of the band’s impact on me, however, I was curious how a small(er) festival and two years’ time can change the experience of seeing them live.
Even though the drone/noise/black metal/doom metal/dark ambient band’s insane frequencies reach as far as you can see, one gets so much more in contact with them right before the stage as one is also able to observe their movements and the lighting; and where the frequencies are so strong you feel them throughout your whole body and get an ear-pain after 30 minutes.
It contributed to getting involved that I could not leave the dark, gloomy, haunting lyrics out of consideration as Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar [see also: Tormentor & Mayhem] sang, muttered and moaned in all possible tones and pitches in our mother tongue, Hungarian for the most part.

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Sunn O))) | Photo: Estelle


After around 1,5 hours as everyone gradually came to the feeling that this gloomy, oppressive atmosphere never ever goes away again, Attila winded Sunn O)))’s performance, all the emotions and concerns one developed during the show, as well as the experiences of the previous festival-days up with an indescribable, bloodcurdling screech.

Sunn O))) is definitely not a band preparing one’s mood for the last night’s afterparty. In spite of all my expectations, in my case the band carried out the effect they are making music for: I felt myself far too emptied, weakened and disturbed for some time to get myself together and carry myself over to the afterparty tent.
Even though I still can hardly imagine myself listening to Sunn O))) at home, I indeed gained respect toward and got curious about them and I can only recommend giving them a chance as soon as you have the opportunity to hear and observe what complete darkness and eeriness sounds and looks like.


And now, to sum up…

Strongest standout bands: Cirith Ungol, Sunn O))), Venenum, Attic, Deathhammer

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Ferienland Crispendorf | Photo: Estelle


Main impressions:
+ dreamlike and kind of easy-to-find location; smooth organisation & communication; prominent lineup; pleasant mood; great people; decent sound; decent food; killer afterparties; CUBA LIBRE; children’s railway going around the festival area
– for the first time ever: nothing mentionable

Recommendations: Go! Go! Go!

Find more information at: http://www.chaosdescends.com/
Photos were used by ‘Estelle’.