Band Feature : Vrana – UK Blackened death metal from Bristol

Band Name:Vrana
From: Bristol, UK
Represent: Heavy riffs
Influences: Gojira, Meshuggah, Morbid Angel, Behemoth
Latest Release: Just one demo track online so far
YouTube: not yet, but hopefully have some live footage up soon
MySpace: myspace sucks
Bandcamp: not at the moment

1. How did Vrana get started?
I met Striga when I auditioned for his previous band. They didn’t want me, but they split soon after, so the two of us searched for a guitarist to start a band. We eventually found the young riff master, Nev. Having started to build a sound we advertised for a bassist, and found Paul in record time. Two guitars are better than one, so I nagged my good friend and ex-band mate Dave (of Irony Of Christ) to join, and he finally did! This solidified the line up and here we are.

2. What are your lyrical inspirations?
Generally anti-religious ramblings, with the odd HBO influence ;-).

3. How important are live shows for Vrana?
We’ve just played our first show and it went down a storm! It was great to perform live again (and pop Paul’s gig cherry!) as most of us hadn’t gigged in a while. I’d say live shows are pretty important.

4. What’s the song writing process like for Vrana? How do you come up with ideas.
So far Nev has pretty much written entire songs and demo’d them for us to learn.

5. What are your plans for the future?
We would like to get some more shows around the country, while we continue to write more material. Hopefully we’ll be ready to do a proper recording of a few tracks towards the end of the year.

Answered by Sacha.


Band Feature : Ghast– UK Black metal/Doom metal from Swansea, South Wales

Band Name: Ghast
From: Swansea, South Wales
Represent: Myrggh: Black metal, Doom metal
Influences: Kz: The Grateful Dead, Neurosis, Quicksand, The Shadows. Myrggh: My Dying Bride, Profanatica, Mayhem
Latest Release: The “Club Bearer” Single

Web Links:

1. How did Ghast get started?
Kz: My involvement started in the pub with clouded judgement, the idea was to jam, but we ended up calling ourselves Souldust and being a band, after about 3 years we changed our name to Ghast.
Myrggh: Rather conveniently for me, we formed immediately after Mulch went into indefinite hiatus. The idea was to be heavy and unpleasant. Souldust becoming Ghast marked an exaggeration of heaviness and unpleasantness. We really didn’t have any expectations when we formed, but people actually listened, so we did an album and things grew from there.
Arrr: I had a few songs written that I wanted to play, so I contacted Myrggh via his brother Mav, who also played with us for a while, and bumped into Kz in the pub and asked him, because I knew he was a drummer who played some aggresive stuff.

2. What are your lyrical inspirations?
Arrrr: Doom and feeble but slightly heroic and romanticised death.

3. How important are live shows for Ghast?
Kz: I don’t know.
Myrggh: They let us know how well we’re doing. More people have been coming recently, which is nice. And I enjoy being given the opportunity to parade around like a fool with delusions of grandeur in front of a room full of people.
Arrr: They keep us going, reminding us that people enjoy it.

4. What’s the recording process like for Ghast?
Kz: We take a long time to get round to recording, but once we are recording we are very quick.
Myrggh: We aim to get the right feel regardless of whether or not we have played our parts correctly; obviously there are limits to the severity of errors we can allow to appear on our recordings. The actual process is a bit different every time. May The Curse Bind was done as individual overdubs, Terrible Cemetery was semi-live I think. Both were done by Swine in the Compound on whatever software he uses. Club Bearer was a live analogue recording, probably 1 or 2 takes. There is usually drinking involved when we record but we try not to let it take over.
Arrrr: in and out.

5. What are your plans for the future?
Myrggh: Album number 2. Its nearly all written. Its been 4 years since we recorded the last one so its about bloody time. Life gets in the way all the time, see.
Kz: Relax (it’s only paranoia).
Arrrr: Making the second album as good as it can be.

Answered by Myrggh, Kz and Arrrr

Band Feature : Witchclan – UK Black Metal from East Sussex, United Kingdom

Band Name: Witchclan
From: East Sussex, United Kingdom
Represent: Occult/Anti-religion, Black Metal
Influences: Burzum, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, Old Corpse Road, Urgehal
Latest Release: ‘Misanthropist’ full-length, released Oct 31st 2011 Darkness Shade Records

Web Links:

1. How did Witchclan get started?

The band started in 1990 by Peter Leathley who at the time played drums and vocals. The band at the time were called Curse and had Sharad Anand on guitars and Matt Baines on Keyboards. In 1991 the name changed to Crypt, then later briefly to Hellgrind before finally settling on Witchclan in 1992. Back then the band were more of a Blackened Thrash band influenced by the likes of Bathory, Venom, Slayer and Possessed. I joined the band in 1993 and we recorded a couple of demo tapes before Peter and Sharad left the band leaving me on my own. I got more members in the band, Dave Howell on bass, James Pruden and Jon Lee on guitars and Nick Parton on drums and in 1994 we started to rehearse and write new material. In Spring 1995 we recorded a terrible demo which (thankfully) never saw the light of day because later that year we split up the band because we were all bored of it and it wasn’t really going anywhere.
It wasn’t until 2009 that I resurrected Witchclan as a solo project and released the bands 3rd official demo in 2010 entitled Descend Into Darkness. It was limited to 200 copies on tape and 20 on CD, and it had a good reception. In early 2011 I was approached by a Canadian label called The Northern Cold Productions to sign for a full length but this deal fell through and so I decided to put out a limited edition promo tape just for labels. I was friends with Paul from Darkness Shade Records here in the UK and he offered me a deal for the debut album which I took straight away. The album was released on October 31st last year and was limited to 500 copies. It’s been selling very well and is nearly sold out. That is pretty much the story so far.

2. What are your lyrical inspirations?

Darkness, the decaying world around me, misanthropy, poetry, hate. My lyrics are all from my heart, and turned into a fictional experience for the listener. I don’t write about things I don’t believe in just because it may sound cool – my lyrics are all my own real thoughts and feelings.

3. How important is it for physical releases by Witchclan?

It’s very important to me. I’m grew up in the 80’s way before all the internet came about and before MP3s were invented so for me it was all about going to the record store each week flicking through the Metal vinyl and going home with a carrier bag full of the latest Metal LPs. Walking down the street with a cassette walkman on, not a fucking ipod!! Today’s youth is too quick to click a button and download something for free and the industry is so disposable now and I see this as a bad thing. I think it’s important for true Metal bands to release physical demos and albums because this is the essence of real metal, and there are still so many people out there would recognise and support this. Support the true underground and BUY the releases – downloading is theft and is disrespectful to the bands who put their hard work and money into making it.

4. What’s the recording process like for Witchclan?

Simple, straight forward and relaxed. Being that I am the only member of the band, I can record whenever I like and there is no pressure on me to have things a certain way or do things by a certain time. I record at home and I do it at my own pace, and never rush anything. Of course it takes a lot longer being that I am the only person in the band but the end result is what I aim for and this is never compromised.

5. What are your plans for the future?

There are plans for a compilation album later in 2012 on Darkened Shade Records featuring only UK Black Metal. So far Abwerhschlacht, Mystiabllus, Orbis and Witchclan are confirmed and we are hoping Old Corpse Road will also join the ranks. This will be brand new material from all bands and is set to be a great album so we are all excited about it.
Other than that, there will be new Witchclan t shirts coming soon and next year a new album.

Answered by Matt Bass, March 2012

Band Feature : Atomçk – UK Grindcore from Newport/Bristol/Swansea/Orlova (cz)

Band Name: Atomçk
From: Newport/Bristol/Swansea/Orlova (cz)
Represent: Grindcore in the traditional sense.
Influences: Discordance Axis, Gride, Lycanthrophy, Napalm Death, Dropdead, Crossed Out, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Melvins, Captain Beefheart, King Crimson.
Latest Release: ‘Yes to Alien Victory’- ep on Grindcore Karaoke.

Web Links:
1. How did Atomçk get started?

Around 2005 both myself and Linus were living in Newport, with all the boredom and cultural mire that entails. Both our previous bands had recently wound up for various reasons and we were talking about doing something different. Initially that took the form of a drum machine grind project and we gigged that lineup around South Wales and occasionally further for a couple of years, but things got ‘more real’ once Marek joined on drums- he brought experience and lent the band more legitimacy by having real drums etc etc. Marek drummed for us for several years until he moved back to his native Czech republic. More recently Karl took up the stick throne.

2. What are your lyrical inspirations?

Lots of different things really- Linus writes all the lyrics so I don’t have a totally accurate picture of what he’s thinking. Common themes are politics, news events, comics and science fiction… often all thrown together in a somewhat modernist fashion. The primary concern is how the vocal patterns work with the music, it’s not Proust.

3. How important are live shows for Atomçk?

Very. We do as much as we can in that regard- the number of gigs rises and falls according what is going on in people’s lives- obviously this music isn’t our living- but I would say when things are organised we manage a couple of shows a month, and the occasional tour. We have always placed a lot of importance on the ability to actually play our songs in front of an audience, Atomçk has always practiced a great deal to make sure we can cut it live. A lot of grind bands are bedroom or studio only which is fine, but not what we are about.

4. What’s the recording process like for Atomçk?

We like to have played new material in as much as possible before we record. I will usually send whoever is recording us extensive practice room tapes etc so they will have a good understanding of what is about to go down. Being prepared like that frees up a band for the studio session- if you know the stuff back to front it’s far easier to record and that means everyone is less stressed out and more likely to play well. The usual approach is to track the drums, then the guitar. Once that is done I like to get out of the way for Linus to do his vocal takes without me winding him up and wasting time.

5. What are your plans for the future?

Having only recently replaced drummers, the next step is to start gigging again (some nice stuff lined up) and begin working on new material for various splits that are planned. Before Marek left we recorded an entire LP with James Walford (who has recorded Napalm Death, Venomous Concept and many others) so I will be looking for a label to put that out, also we have a compilation CD in the works that will collect all our previous releases and bung in some live stuff as well – mostly from the European Tour we did with The Atrocity Exhibit in 2011.

Answered by Luke

Band Feature : Thorun – UK Instrumental Stoner-Doom Groove from South Wales

Band Name: Thorun
From: Cardiff / Caerphilly – South Wales, UK
Represent: Instrumental Stoner-Doom Groove
Influences: Weedeater, Pelican (early), Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath, Mastodon, Red Fang…too many to list
Latest Release: Chorus Of Giants (6 track EP)

Web Links:

1. How did Thorun get started?

Not really a magical tale, more a case of a bunch of guys looking for the same thing…a way to play loud, slow riffs through big speakers. Myself and Jonny Evans (guitar) had already been in a few bands together and we decided to put together something new. The rest was done using the wonders of the internet. Mike Johnson (Drums) was advertising his skills through a well known musicians website and Neal Palmer (Bass) got in touch through a local forum called “South Wales Massive”. We decided to get together for a jam and things started to fit together. Within a few months we had enough material for a 5 track Demo/EP that received some great reviews and from there things have progressed nicely.

2. With being an instrumental band, how does this affect the writing process?

The writing process is not that different from writing with a vocalist, accept for the fact that vocal melodies are replaced with changing riffs and layers of guitar, bass and drums. To keep things interesting we tend to shift through parts and change things up a lot. To be totally honest there is a lot of trial and error, we all bring ideas to rehearsal and see if we can fit them together; whatever works stays, whatever sounds like shit gets binned. There is a fair amount of freedom that comes with being totally instrumental, we can just jam things out as a band without worrying about the space required for a singer, it also means that we have more room for volume!

3. How important are live shows for Thorun?

Live shows are the most important thing for us. We spend a lot of time rehearsing our live set, trying to get the sound as big and as tight as possible. Without live shows there’s pretty much no point in being in a band. We’re all in to music in a big way so playing live also gives us the chance to see other cool bands who we might not have heard otherwise.

4. What’s the recording process like for Thorun?

Very simple; we set up in a room, put microphones in front of everything and play the songs. Our last record was completed in one session and mixed over a few days. No trickery or Pro-tools magic. We don’t have anything against high production values but it just doesn’t seem to fit in with our sound. We wanted to get the clearest representation of our live sound down without the colouration.

5. What are your plans for the future?

Next step, to write more stuff. Then record a mini album and play as many shows as possible. After that we’ll see what happens.

Answered by: Keeran Williams

Band Feature : Throes – UK Blackend Metal from England

Band Name: Throes
From: Bristol, England
Genre: Drugs, Alchemy, Self loathing & Abuse/Blackend Metal
Influences: Deathspell Omega, Hell Militia, Arkhon Infaustus, Diapsiquir, Neurosis
Latest Release: Dissociative (Coming Mid 2012)

Web Links:

1. How did Throes get started?

The first incarnation of Throes was an all-together different beast. It was formed by Ex-Irony of Christ front man Sacha Darwin as a means of venting his aspirations for drumming and also for Doom laden metal. From this humble beginning and with various transformations along the way including myself joining on bass, then taking over guitars and vocals, Throes has now found its signature of sorts.

2. What are your lyrical inspirations?

To be frank over many years of being part of the UK Black metal scene or should I say the excuse of a scene. I grew fantastically bored with the standard approach of many U.K black metal bands. ” We are a black metal band therefore we have to sound like Darkthrone and wear corpse paint”. Traditionally black metal has only really been concerned about Satanism/occultism and conveying that message through the lyrical content. Although these are issues or questions addressed in some Throes songs, they are not my primary concern. Debating the metaphysical or basically plagiarising manuscripts or scared texts of which ever camp you belong to underneath the satanic umbrella has never been a viewpoint I wished to adopt lyrically.

With the various songs to come forth on the E.P the main subject matter concerned and put forward is generally focused on drug abuse or self abuse topics.

3. How important are live shows for Throes?

The live shows albeit very rare and spaced out it seems at the moment do play a key role I feel in how a band delivers its aggression and method. Bands in this day an age need to be able to perform and take their message to people in the flesh.

4. What’s the recording process like for Throes?


5. What are your plans for the future?

2012 ushers in the revelation of “Dissociative” E.P (Working title at the moment). From this there will be a select and carefully planned regime of live performances. After this is completed we can but only speculate.

Answered by Daniel Jones-Gillett

Band Feature : Scordatura – UK Death Metal from Scotland

Band Name: Scordatura
From: Glasgow, Scotland
Genre: Death Metal
Influences: Suffocation, Aborted, Cryptopsy, Cerebral bore, Pantera
Latest Release: 2 track teaser demo of our debut album.

Web Links:
Big Cartel:

1. You’ve been going since 2008. In 2010 you finalised the line up. How has this changed the band?

We went through a few member changes due to commitment issues and have finally found a line-up that works as a solid unit. The new material we have been writing is stronger and more focused than ever before, and we have been gigging outside of Scotland for the first time, in England and Wales. To have everyone in the band now pulling in the same direction is brilliant.

2. How did the the Scordatura sound come about?

Myself & Owen have written the music and lyrics since we started, and especially since we finalised the line up last year, I’ve noticed the whole songwriting process has gotten a lot easier (and a lot more fun) now that we all know what kind of sound we’re after.

We practise a lot, so we get a lot of time to jam riffs out to see if they work with the rest of the music, I’d rather have a song filled with riffs that flow together and stay in your head than a song that sounds like its been copy and pasted together on the computer in half an hour, with a slam added in the middle as an afterthought.

We’re not too bothered about being the heaviest, slammiest or fastest band, we’d rather just write some good tunes, I think that counts for a lot more!

3. Playing live and recording. Tell us a bit about both for Scordatura

Playing live is our favourite part of being in this band. To be able to get people jumping about crazy to our music and to have people shouting along with us makes it even better. It’s only in the last month that we’ve started playing gigs outside of Scotland, and it’s always good to see people you’ve never met before enjoying the music you wrote, while you’re having a great time playing it to them.
Whenever we record, we sort out click tracks etc well in advance and have all the material as tight as we possibly can before going into the studio, as it makes everything a lot less stressful and means we don’t spend more time or money than we have to.

4. What’s your opinion of the UK scene right now?

I think the UK scene has the potential to be great, it’s just not there yet. The amount of quality extreme metal bands the UK has come out with in the last few years is brilliant, only thing is hardly anyone comes out to see them play live! Hopefully things will change in the next few years though, would be great to see venues packed full of people again!

5. What’s the plan for 2012?

We already have plans to be in Europe in 2012. We hope to be doing a week long tour with some great bands in the middle of the year, and then get back out in the UK later on in the year.  We will also hopefully be releasing our debut album in 2012. We will be hitting the studio around March/April to record in Scotland and then sending the tracks off for mixing and mastering.

Answered by Dave Coia & Owen McKendrick.