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Krisiun stops twice nearby on Destruction tour

Brasil’s Krisiun, one of the hardest working bands in death metal, is on the road again, if they ever even left. (They didn’t.) Krisiun will start a tour  with the almighty German thrashers Destruction on March 14 and will be appearing at two venues within a reasonable driving distance from Baltimore: at Empire in Springfield, Virginia on March 20 and at Mojo 13 in Wilmington, Delaware on March 21.  You will see them with North Carolina’s Widow for the first part of this tour and then they will  be joined by the delightful Exmortus of California for the latter half. You can see all the dates here.

In May 2013, I sat down with Moyses Kolesne before Krisiun played a show at Baltimore’s Metro Gallery. Yes, this interview was conducted nearly a year ago. I have been holding onto it until now, for just such an occasion as this — a new tour– which was bound to happen sooner or later with these guys! Still, I don’t typically like to hold on to an interview this long. We met at The Club Charles and  tried to chat over the sound of the jukebox. Later that night, they tore through their set, which included a good mix of old and newer tracks. I remember that it was immediately after Maryland Deathfest and everyone in attendance at the show was a bit exhausted.

Krisiun formed in 1990 when brothers  Alex Camargo [Vocal/Bass],  Moyses Kolesne [Guitar] and Max Kolesne [Drums] were just teens. Since then, they have steadily  amassed rabidly devoted fans across the world. There are few bands who tour as frequently and who remain as rooted to their musical origins, to their country and to their fanbase as Krisiun.  They are also super humble and down-to-earth people, who are willing to kick back with their fans from the mosh pit, as well as go home once in a while to see their mother. Alex uses his mother’s last name, by the way.

Fangirl photo with Moyses Kolesne.

Fangirl photo with Moyses Kolesne of Krisiun.

In this interview, Moyses discusses what it is like to be in a band for more than 20 years with his brothers and about sticking with their label, Century Media, for just as long. He also talks about their devotion to extreme music and to an organic sound, he reminds me that black metal is older in Brazil than in Norway, and he remembers their big break at the Milwaukee metal fest. There is mention of possibility of a new record in the works and he talks about some of the fests they will play (or now have played) in 2013.

During the interview Moyses said something that I think perfectly sums up the work ethic and humility of Krisiun:

“The people that are are down there in the mosh pit and the ones on stage, they are the same. Both are part of the show. Without each other, they are nothing.”

More people in metal should think this way.  Moyses also offers some inspiration and insight for struggling musicians who are impatient about having to be out on the road and sleeping in vans for years before they find success. After all, he’s been doing it for 20 years so he should know what he is talking about! I hope you enjoy listening to this interview as much as I enjoyed recording it. It begins with me asking Moyses about what it’s like to be in a band with one’s  brothers. Click here to listen.

Don’t miss Krisiun and Destruction out on the road.

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More than 30 reasons why Abigail Williams refuses to call it quits

Ever-evolving metal purveyors Abigail Williams will celebrate a decade of plying their dark arts with a 30+ city US headlining tour and a new portfolio of songs. Although many thought the band had officially called it quits, remaining original member, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Ken Sorceron says his black metal renegades shall ascend once more.

Basic RGBFor this early 2014 outing, Sorceron will be joined by veterans, guitarist, Jeff Wilson and touring bassist, John Porada, (both ex-Nachtmystium), and touring drummer, Jesse Beahler, (ex-Jungle Rot, Nightfire). In the studio, Wilson and long-time Abigail Williams guitarist Ian Jekelis will work with Sorceron on a full-length to be recorded in Chicago sometime in April. Drummer Alex Rudinger (The Faceless) and bassist Will Lindsay (ex-Nachtmystium, Wolves In The Throne Room) will complete the ensemble. Fans should expect a release on Candelight Records in late August or early September.

“Touring and recording are two different things in my mind,” Sorceron said. “Certain people you want around in the studio and certain people are more suitable in a live situation. Abigail Williams has never had a real solid lineup going from recording to live; we have always kept it moving.

On tour, Abigail Williams will perform their critically acclaimed 2012 album “Becoming” in its entirety. They will complete their headlining set list with selections from their genre-blending past and uncompromising new future.

With regard to the band’s genre, Sorceron doesn’t particularly care if people use the term “black metal” to describe the band and realizes many use it simply as a convenient way to classify the music.

“To some people, it’s up for debate as to whether what we play is black metal or not, but to me it doesn’t matter either way. I’m not thinking about genres and shit like that when writing music.” In fact, he laughs, he can’t even think of any adjectives to describe his music in print, “I’m not great with words, but I could make the noises with my mouth to help describe it.”

aw-group

Abigail Williams

Abigail Williams is also hard to place in today’s landscape of what is described at US black metal. Since their inception in 2004, the group has continuously changed personnel, and with each new performer, came a new musical influence. The only thing that has remained constant is Sorceron who is constantly seeking new personal experiences to inspire songs and developing innovative combinations of sounds that frankly defy neat categorization. Like the girl the band was named for—the chief accuser in the Salem witch trials—Abigail Williams keeps changing her story and her sound.

“The thing about Abigail Williams is that we never fit into any landscape,” Sorceron says. “I’ve become pretty comfortable with that role. I used to read the criticism about the band on the Internet, but I stopped caring a while ago. People aren’t comfortable liking a band that has changed sound over the years.”

Sorceron also emphasizes that Abigail Williams is not a “brand” but rather a conduit for unceasing artistic expression.

“My observation has been that music fans tend to think of a band as a brand. It’s the same, as clothing in some ways. Like when someone decides they won’t be caught dead wearing XYZ brand because they sell at ‘insert lame store name here’ and ‘these types of people’ like it. I’m not oblivious to the fact that a lot of fans of our early stuff don’t like the newer stuff, and a lot of the people that like the new stuff hate the old stuff. It is a challenge for some of these people to ‘wear’ this brand in public because of it. I don’t think of my music as a brand but as an outlet for creativity and a vehicle to go and see the places I want to go see and sometimes connect with like-minded people.”

Ken Sorceron

Ken Sorceron. Photo by Wendy Schreier

Sorceron found like-minded connections with the members of Lord Mantis and recently joined the band and performed on their latest recording, “Death Mask.” However, he says he keeps Abigail Williams in motion, because, “It is what I do.”

###

Confirmed dates so far include:
1/15 – Rochester, NY – The Bug Jar
1/16 – Albany, NY – Bogies
1/17 – New York, NY – Slake
1/18 – Reading, PA – Reverb
1/19 – Trenton, NJ – Championship
1/20 – Danbury, CT – Heirloom Arts Theatre
1/21 – Jeanette, PA – Gator’s
1/22 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom
1/23 – Warren, MI – The Ritz
1/24 – Kokomo, IN – Centerstage Bar & Grill
1/25 – Cherry Valley, IL – Take Twenty
1/26 – Chicago, IL – Reggies (with Charlie Fell* of Lord Mantis drums on this and each date thereafter)
1/29 – Cincinnati OH – TBA
1/30 – Johnson City TN – Mecca Lounge
1/31 – Fayetteville AR – TBA
2/1 – Fort Worth TX – Tomcat’s
2/2 – Corpus Christi TX – Zero’s
2/3 – McAllen TX – Fallback Records
2/4 – Big Spring TX – Sugars Bar
2/5 – Amarillo TX – Wreck Room
2/6 – Albuquerque NM – The Jam Spot
2/7 – Phoenix AZ – Tempe Tavern
2/8 – Los Angeles CA – Black Castle
2/9 – Bakersfield CA – Jerry’s Pizza
2/10 – Sacramento CA – The Midtown Barfly
2/11 – Oakland CA – Oakland Metro Operahouse
2/12 – Portland OR – Hawthorne Theatre
2/14 – Seattle WA – El Corazon
2/15 – Vancouver BC – The Astoria
2/16 – Spokane WA – The Hop
2/17 – Bozeman MT – The Complex
2/18 – Great Falls MT – Machinery Row
2/19 – Cheyenne WY – TBA
2/20 – Denver CO – Hi Dive
2/21 – Wichita KS – Lizard Lounge
2/22 – Tulsa OK – Downtown Lounge
2/23 – Oklahoma City OK – Chameleon Room
4/12 – Austin, TX – Texas Independence Fest

* Charlie Fell is the former drummer of Von and Nachtmystium but is vocalist/bassist for Lord Mantis.

Gird your loins: Amon Amarth, Enslaved, Skeletonwitch touring US in early 2014

There are few things in this world that make me gasp. This was one of them. Clear your calendars for this tour or stop pretending to be alive. There will be so much testosterone in the room, as well as beautiful man hair.   I will be going to the show in Silver Spring.  I’m lazy, so here’s the official press release, verbatim:

amon-amarth-enslaved-2014Swedish heavy metal titans AMON AMARTH have announced a headline tour of the US for January and February 2014 in support of their newly released album Deceiver of The Gods. Very special guest on the dates will be ENSLAVED with additional support from SKELETONWITCH (NO ENSLAVED ON SAN DIEGO).

Amon Amarth’s Johan Hegg comments, “After our successful part of the Rockstar Mayhem Festival this summer, it is with great confidence we’ll be heading back to North America as the headliner in January. We are proud and happy to announce that our friends in Enslaved and Skeletonwitch will be supporting us on this raid and pillage tour across the continent! Come and join us for all the fun of a real metal show! WE. SHALL.DESTROY!”

AMON AMARTH
+ ENSLAVED
+ SKELETONWITCH
Friday, January 17 – Las Vegas, NV @ House Of Blues
Saturday, January 18 – Phoenix, AZ @ Club Red
Monday, January 20 – San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live
Tuesday, January 21 – Dallas, TX @ House Of Blues
Wednesday, January 22 – Houston, TX @ House Of Blues
Friday, January 24 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
Saturday, January 25 – Tampa, FL @ The Ritz
Sunday, January 26 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Revolution
Monday, January 27 – Orlando, FL @ House Of Blues (*no Skeletonwitch)
Wednesday, January 29 – Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
Thursday, January 30 – Norfolk, VA @ The NorVA
Friday, January 31 – Silver Springs, MD @ The Fillmore
Saturday, February 1 – Boston, MA @ House Of Blues
Monday, February 3 – Philadelphia, PA @ TLA
Tuesday, February 4 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
Friday, February 7 – Chicago, IL @ House Of Blues
Saturday, February 8 – Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights
Sunday, February 9 – Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theatre
Tuesday, February 11 – Denver, CO @ Summit Theatre
Wednesday, February 12 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Murray Theater
Friday, February 14 – San Francisco, CA @ The Regency
Saturday, February 15 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
Sunday, February 16 – San Diego, CA @ House Of Blues (* No Enslaved)

Special Amon Amarth fan pre-sale tickets are available now at: http://amonamarth.com/tour/north-america

Vreid trade common black metal themes for art, literature, history

Black metal music is rife with themes of the occult, Satanism, and misanthropy. Once in a while though, a band comes along that takes a different approach. That band is Norway’s Vreid, who use historical, philosophical and now themes from literature, nature and art in their concept driven recordings.

Vreid

Vreid

“We get a lot of very positive feedback for taking a different approach. You know, not just doing the same old ‘sex, drugs, Satan’ cliché that everyone else does,” said Vreid bassist and principal songwriter Hváll. “Some people might not find these topics interesting at all, but at least we get acknowledgement for doing something that seems sincere and honest.”

To promote their most recent album, Welcome Farewell, which dropped March 5, Vreid launches a 14-day North American tour on June 16 (supporting the Assyrian black metal band Melechesh). Most Vreid fans know that the group rose from the demise of another great band, Windir. Following the untimely death of Valfar, the singer of Windir, some remaining members– Strom (lead guitar), Sture (rhythm guitar), Steingrim (drums) and Hváll (bass)– formed Vreid in 2004. Vreid’s sound is hard to pin down, but the band often uses the term “black and roll” and acknowledges influence from 70s rock and 80s traditional metal as well “true Norwegian black metal” for their sound. Some reviewers have said that the recent album sounds very much like Windir.

“I think it is really hard to describe our own sound. I make the music and let people make the description,” Hváll said. “Maybe when I look at Welcome Farewell, we have kind of embraced things we have done in the past, but it is not something I really think about. I just write the songs as I feel at the time I don’t really reflect that much about how they are going to turn out. Whatever happens; happens.”

While Hváll may let the divine muse have her way musically, the lyrical themes of the songs have definite basis in reality. Historical and philosophical themes have always been important in Vreid’s music. Several of their previous albums have been based on historically accurate accounts of the Norwegian resistance during World War II. Hváll even holds a bachelor’s degree is history and political science and taught these subjects for a few years before completely devoting his life to music.

With Welcome Farewell,  however, he allowed his love of the natural surroundings of his community to speak to him about what the music should say.  Welcome Farewell also derives its inspiration from the writings of Arne Garborg and the art of Otto Valstad, both of whom lived in the same region more than 100 years ago.

01framside“Over the last few years I have been doing a lot of hiking around in the area where I live in Norway. On the start of my usual hiking trip there is a big museum where the artwork of Otto Valstad is on display,” Hváll said. “Valstad has captured the surroundings of the nature of this place where we lived, these forests I have been walking around for years. And while some things have changed, other things are pretty much the same. The timelessness in his paintings is what fascinated me.”

Likewise Hváll said he identified with the themes broached by Norwegian author Arne Garborg.

“He used a lot of Norwegian folklore and mythological stories to illustrate his points. I am not into science fiction or supernatural things, but he used these elements from our history to create his points and a reflection of society from when he lived, and I identified with that,” Hváll said.

Somehow, Hváll found the commonality between a 21st century Norwegian musician and a writer and artist from the 19th century.

“They lived 100 years ago, but I find many similarities in the way they were thinking; it is the same way that I think. In many ways, I have felt a stronger connection to their artwork than I do to more modern literature or artwork,” Hváll added. “It was not a direct subject or a concrete thing that triggered me, it was the atmosphere that I see in their work that inspired me to create the music and the lyrics the way we did this time.”

Although their inspiration comes from Norway, language-wise Vreid’s current albums have been in English instead of the regional Sognamål dialect characteristic of the Windir recordings and some earlier Vreid songs.

“Some people like when we sing in Norwegian; they think it sounds more authentic and they like that atmosphere,” Hváll said. “But by having English lyrics, I can communicate with a lot more people. Also it’s natural for me to write in English, because I tend to read more in English, and I watch movies in English. The last three albums were all in English, but there is no rule about that.”

What is for certain, however, is that future recordings will take shape in Hváll’s own home studio built piece by piece over the last several years.

“When you go into a studio it can be a stressful,” Hváll said. “You have two or three weeks depending on your budget, and you have to be finished by then. When I have my own studio, I don’t see it as a recording session itself.  You have a lot of time to record things and try out things. For me it has been extremely important to have my own little ‘cave’ that no one can interfere with.’

Hváll also said he hopes that in forming Vreid, the memory of Valfar has been honored.

“When I look back at my time with Valfar, I don’t look at it as if he was just someone that I played in a band with—that was a really important thing that we did for many years—but he was my closest friend, so I remember all the great times we had together. Vreid has sounded a bit different than Windir, and we never had the intention to copy Windir, that would be wrong. We created music the way we wanted to do it and had to build everything from scratch again.  I think Valfar would have been really satisfied with what we are doing today.”

Hváll said he and the band look forward to mingling with their North American fans, which he said are “a lot more open and come up to us before and after shows and talk to us about our music, which is different from Norwegians who tend to be more silent. If people are interested in your music and ask about your band, I have a lot of respect for that, I think it is great. These are the people who make our music alive. I love chatting with people when we are on tour.”

Vreid’s tour dates are listed below. Unfortunately, the band reports that, “our rock solid drummer Steingrim has to sit out this tour due to work-related issues. He will surely be missed, but we have been aware of this for a while and have the perfect replacement for him. Tomas Myklebust will join us for this tour. Myklebust is a maestro drummer who did the UK tour with us last year when we toured with Paradise Lost. He did a splendid job then, and has worked his ass off rehearsing the new material. Hope to see you on the road.”

VREID

w/ Melechesh, Lightning Swords Of Death, Reign Of Lies
6/16/2013 The Joint – Los Angeles, CA
6/17/2013 DNA Lounge – San Francisco, CA
6/18/2013 Hawthorne – Portland, OR
6/19/2013 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA
6/20/2013 Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC
6/21/2013 Pawn Shop – Edmonton, AB
6/22/2013 The Exchange – Regina, SK
6/23/2013 The Zoo – Winnipeg, MB
6/24/2013 Station 4 –  St. Paul, MN
6/25/2013 Mojoe’s – Joliet, IL
6/26/2013 The Smiling Moose – Pittsburgh, PA
6/27/2013 Wreck Room – Toronto, ON
6/28/2013 Foufounes Electriques – Montreal, QC
6/29/2013 Railroad Tavern –  Keene, NH
6/30/2013 Europa – New York, NY

INTERVIEW: Noothgrush packed for a European tour

Noothgrush

Before their Saturday appearance at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest, Oakland, California’s Noothgrush will complete a short tour of Europe. Guitarist Russ Kent and drummer Chiyo Nukaga were kind enough to take a few minutes answer some questions before they left the country.

What recording material will you be focusing on for your set list?
RK – A wide range of songs from our discography.

Any new songs?
RK – No, we haven’t been writing, just preparing for upcoming shows.

What has been your most memorable show experience?
RK – There’s a lot… Tours with Seized and Corrupted were loaded with riotous times.

What are your future plans, such as recording or other projects?
RK – Right now we are just getting back into playing together and doing some of the amazing things we’ve been offered. We have some riffs and ideas that will (I hope) lead to new songs and ultimately a new record but we’re taking one step at a time here…. we’re all very busy “adults” now, you know.

Are you doing any other shows either before or after MDF? And if so, where and with whom?
CN – Right before MDF X, we will be on tour with Alderbaran in Europe. (See dates for the Procession to Extinction tour here.) We’re also playing on the Southern Lord’s Power of the Riff fest on June 21 in San Francisco and June 22 in Santa Cruz, Ca.

RK – We hope to be back on the East Coast later in the Summer for the Southern Lord Festivals but that isn’t in stone yet. We will also play the 305 Festival in Miami in July.

Will you have any special or unusual items for sale at MDF?
RK – Yes, in fact, we will! A split 5″ with Suppression that was supposed to be released years ago was Finally just pressed by Fuck Yoga and it comes with an actual puzzle. It is completely fucked up! We will also have some new t-shirt designs and vinyl of all the recently released and re-issued items.

Any special greetings for your fans?
RK – Yes! It has been a long time since we played on the East Coast. The interest and support we have gotten from those who love our music after all these years is beyond belief. We are very pleased to be playing again and we are working hard to make sure that you get exactly what you want to hear from us and delivered in an appropriate manner.

What has been your most memorable show experience?
RK – There’s a lot… Tours with Seized and Corrupted were loaded with riotous times.

What are your future plans, such as recording or other projects?
RK – Right now we are just getting back into playing together and doing some of the amazing things we’ve been offered. We have some riffs and ideas that will (I hope) lead to new songs and ultimately a new record but we’re taking one step at a time here … we’re all very busy “adults” now, you know.

And anything else you want to add?
See you all at MDF!!! We can’t fucking wait! 

__________

Read the previous Metallomusikum profile of Noothgrush here.

Abigail Williams booking DIY tour in support of CD release

Ken Sorceron (Photo by Mary Spiro)
It’s been said a dozen times that each new Abigail Williams recording sounds like a new band. And I have read that the band hails from New York, California and now most recently, Phoenix. Look at photos of the band over the last several years and you won’t recognize the members from year to year. Maybe it is appropriate then,  that a band named for the chief accuser in the Salem  Witch Trials be a little cagey and hard to classify; her story is always changing to suit her mood.
One thing, I do know: whatever guitarist and vocalist Ken Sorceron and company are doing these days is something I like. And yes, I liked what they were doing before, too. My guess is that Sorceron writes songs that interest him without trying to sound like anything or be anything, he writes to please his own ear. Sometimes people like it, sometimes they don’t. Either way it is always different.

And why not? Any really artist should, first and foremost, create to please himself or herself. Why create art you are unhappy with or are ashamed to have ascribed to your name? It is with this attitude that one should listen to the new effort from the group, Becoming, slated for official release January 24 on Candlelight Records.

The CD contains just six tracks, but they are lengthy and complex compositions–the longest, Beyond the Veil, is more than 17 minutes. The recording should be listened to from start to finish in it’s entirety. I dislike typical CD reviews because I wouldn’t want anyone to tell me what I should think of someone’s music  before listening to it, any more than I would want someone to taste my own food before I ate it. But I will offer this: Becoming contains some of the most evocative and powerful compositions that I have ever heard in what one might roughly describe as the black metal genre. The overall effect is that the listener should “become” swept away into a kind of meditative state and held in this grip throughout every song.  This is not background music, but something that will possess and captivate you, leaving you feeling its impact for some time after the last chords resonate from your speakers.

Or you may hate it completely. But that decision is yours.  Give it one listen at least and decide for yourself.

A tour with Dark Funeral from east to west across the US was supposed to begin on January 29. When Dark Funeral abruptly cancelled their tour on January 16,  Abigail Williams was left in the lurch. Here is what Sorceron said about that situation and what he and the band plan to do next.

When you found out that Dark Funeral was canceling their tour, what was the first thing you did?

Well I found out when I first woke up so I think I took my morning piss and then I decided to try and salvage a tour for ourselves and started contacting people and putting together some routing.

You already have dates booked for the last two weeks of January. What is your plan for salvaging the tour dates between then and when you join Deicide back in Springfield, VA at Jaxx in March?

We had actually one week booked already so my plan is to have at least 14 more shows for a total of 3 weeks of shows booked. So far it’s looking good.

Since you are basically in charge of when and where you can play, how will this change the overall vibe of the tour? I mean basically you are in charge and you are the headliner, but it is a lot more work for you.

Well seeing as how it’s last minute it still won’t be perfect, but we will at least get to play a longer set and since our songs are so long people often complain when we only have time to play 2-3 songs.

Switching topics to the new recording: I was personally really moved by the entire recording and actually wished it were LONGER! Your writing really seems to evolve. Who do you listen to to keep yourself inspired? How about books? What are you reading these days?

I listen to anything from Neurosis, Death In June, Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, Dead Can Dance, A Tribe Called Quest, Philip Glass, Drudkh, Russian Circles and Emperor and I generally read on subjects such as string theory, spirituality, occult, ancient civilizations and a bunch of weird stuff no one will have any idea what I’m talking about. Yeah but I pretty much only read the shit that everyone else who doesn’t know math reads: Brian Greene and Michio Kaku and all that.

How do you want people to feel after they have seen one of your shows or listened to “Becoming”? What do you want people to think of when they hear the band’s name mentioned?

Well I want them to feel good of course. I suppose feeling anything is better than nothing though!

What’s your hope for 2012?
More world travelling and meeting people all over the place. Same thing I did in 2011 I guess.

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Get the latest updates on Abigail Williams DIY Tour 2012 on their Facebook page.

Listen to a Soundcloud stream of the Abigail Williams’ new recording here: Abigail Williams – Becoming

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