Saturday, January 14, 2012


Every Krux record is like an event. This doom “supergroup” took everyone by surprise with its impressive first album in 2002. The talent combination of Leif Edling (Candlemass), Jörgen Sandström (ex-Entombed, Torture Division, The Projecy Hate…), Peter Stjärnvind (Nifelheim), and of course Mats Léven (ex-Malmsteen, Therion…) worked out perfectly to produce that “magical” and immediate alchemy. Very shortly after that first record the line-up was completed with guitarist Fredrik Åkesson (Opeth, ex-Arch Enemy) and keyboardist Carl Westholm (who’d already played with Leif Edling in Candlemass).
The second record, “II”, came out 4 years later and I personally found it stronger. Krux had really found a unique personality, combining traditional doom with heavy riffing. Six years after “II”, the band is back with a new record, “III – He Who Sleeps Amongst The Stars”. And I do not need to tell you that you must grab it, because you already know that. “III” is another masterpiece by the band, albeit being different from the first two albums. It’s more psychedelic (just look at the cover to understand that) and a bit more epic as well.
Leif Edling more or less composed the entire record, and you can clearly hear the mastermind’s influence, as some passages resemble to the “Roberte Lowe-era” Candlemass. But this can’t possibly be a bad thing. Especially that Krux is totally different from Candlemass because of the more traditional doom and psychedelic approach.
No need for further introduction anyway, ladies and gentlemen, Jörgen Sandtröm will tell you everything you need to know about Krux and their new album.

I have a feeling this new album will sound very...psychedelic.

It took you more than 5 years to release your third CD. A matter of inspiration or is it the band members busy schedules? 
Jörgen: The inspiration has been there and we have been talking about making this record for over two years and finally we all got some time off to put the songs on tape.

I see every record you release like an “event”, something pretty rare and very awaited. I guess it’s pretty cool to feel the fan’s demand for new music?
Jörgen: Yeah, when you put it that way I can see what you mean. It is pretty hard to get us all together to record and play live but when we do get the time over to do it… It is all fun! We just did a show here in Stockholm, we didn’t manage to get the whole band together even once for rehearsal but once upon stage we had so much fun and it all worked out just fine.

Krux is a genuine “supergroup”, is it easy to work with 5 other very talented and recognized musicians? 
Jörgen: Are you kiddin’ me!? Working with these super-humans is fantastic. As I said, we didn’t manage to get the whole band to rehearse before the show I just mentioned. We didn’t rehearse AT ALL before we recorded the drums. Peter went into the studio without even having heard two of the songs and still he managed to record them the same session… Over a weekend. Theses guys are freaks of nature and it is a total honor to play with them!

The perfect line-up, right before your eyes

How do you compose and arrange the songs? I understood Leif comes up with most of the music?
Jörgen: After the last album we had some wishes within the band that we should get together and write the songs in the rehearsal room.. That didn’t happen unfortunatly. So Leif wrote all songs except one song that I did the music for. When we were in the studio we did re-arranged just small parts here but that was it I guess. Leif is a master songwriter!!!

Leif, you also play in Candlemass. Is it easy to separate the Candlemass and Krux composing? Aren’t you afraid sometimes both bands sounds might sound alike?
Jörgen: Leif says no.

Is there any particular theme on the new album? Who’s the one who sleeps amongst the stars anyway?
Leif: He who is at peace with the world and himself, and sees fulfillment.

I found it VERY psychedelic…
Leif: is zen metal!

I also found it more Metal and epic, in the sense of “heavy metal”…
Jörgen: We think so to. That was one of the first things we said when we heard the material come together.

What I really love about Krux, is that you guys manage to mix the rock vibe of doom with the heaviness and the epic of “Scandinavian” Metal. It’s like traditional doom but with a Scandinavian sound and personality.
Jörgen: I guess it shines through being in those other bands that we are in or have been in over the years.

I’m also annoyed by bands that play very heavy doom metal but without focusing on the “feeling” and the groove. You guys manage to inject a lot of feeling and groove. Do you specifically focus on that, or is it 100% instinctive?
Jörgen: When we started the band as Devil Sun we wanted to sound like the old school doom metal bands like Trouble, ST Vitus, Pentagram etc… All these bands had great songs. I do like some of the bands I guess you refer to but it is not what we wanted this band to be.

How did you guys end up working with Bruce Franklin from Trouble?
Jörgen: As I said, Trouble was a major influence on this band from day one. Rick and Bruce are fuckin’ phenomenal guitar players and to me they rank higher than KK and Glenn (from Judas Preist)… Adrian and Dave… (Iron “guess who” Maiden) etc... Leif have done a bunch of gigs with Candlemass and Trouble so I just dropped the idea on him and asked if he could ask Bruce to put down a solo on the album... Leif asked and Bruce was happy to do it. It gives me chills every time I hear it!

Do you have any “favorite” songs on the album? I know my favorites are “Hades Assembly” and of course “Prince Azaar”, very epic one!
Jörgen: If I have to pick one out then it would be Hades Assembly.

Now about the future: Are you going to tour, and any chance to see you in France?
Jörgen: I doubt there will be a full tour. It is hard enough to get us together for a few gigs you know, haha… We do get some good offers from festivals so I really hope that Hellfest will contact us! I love that festival!!

Any ideas about the next album yet? How do you guys “plan” things? Do you decide what you want the album to sound like before working on it?
Jörgen: No, it is to far away to even start thinking about one yet. We have made three albums and that was our initial goal. I am not saying that we will not do a fourth but at least we managed to make three as we hoped for!

I also saw that the record’s going to be released as a limited edition blue vinyl. Who’s handling this release?
Jörgen: True. It is out on Black, Blue and Blue/White vinyl through High Roller Rec. They look and sound fantastic!!!

Are there going to be any special CD editions as well?
Jörgen: No, just a regular CD.

Do you get involved in the design of these “special editions”? It seems important these days to offer collector records to make people actually buy the music…
Jörgen: I know. They package the music with all kinds of things nowadays to make people buy instead of download. I am not a big collector but I do buy albums that I like and support the bands that I want to support. I buy the vinyl if it is released on vinyl that is or I just take the CD that is in front of me. I don’t give much for the extra DVD when bands makes silly faces in the studio etc…

Any last words to our French fans? Like maybe to convince them that the best way to start 2012 is to listen to "He Who Sleeps Amongst The Stars"?
Jörgen: It is the best way to start any day from now on!!! Push the Hellfest promoters to book us, buy our albums and t-shirts, come to our shows! We are the Hades assembly and we rock!!

Million thanks to KRUX and to Lena for making this interview possible!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Old-school Death Metal has become the hot new topic over the last few years. Everyone wants to sound dirty, everyone wants his nasty guitar fuzz and everyone wants to sing about zombies and disgusting mutilations.

The things is, very few bands are going to top or even equal what’s already been done in the 90s. Even worse: some of the bands that invented that sound back then, are still doing very fine today!

Nonetheless some labels like Dark Descent Records still manage to find some new & fantastic old-school Death Metal bands. Who said the Metal Scene isn’t as inspired as it used to be? Seems on the contrary that it’s more active and talented than ever. Last year, it was all Miasmal, Disma and Entrails. And I have to say 2012 is starting really fine with the first Horrendous record, The Chills.

Horrendous play pure Death Metal, the old-school way. It’s raw, nasty, heavy, groovy, and it has that punk urge that makes you feel primary rage. You’re thinking “nothing special” right? True. Even though the guys really master the art, and most songs have an immediate and strong impact.

But hang on, there is more my friends. Horrendous really stand out because of one special ingredient they add to their Death Metal: EPIC. I just love the epic here, with songs that are a little longer than average and that develop melodies and deep feelings. Two songs literally blew me away: “The Somber (Desolate Wings)” and the closing “The Eye OF Madness”. The first one has this unbelievable melodic passage, with mind-blowing leads. “The Eye Of Madness” is just as impressive, as it’s a 9-minute epic piece, preceded by a keyboard intro (“Sleep Sickness”).

Another thing I wanted to mention is the band configuration: the power-trio set is always special and gives more groove to the songs as well as extra space for bass (the finish of the song “Fleshrot” is amazing).

Horrendous also made me think of Fatalist, another American old-school Death Metal band influenced by the Sunlight Studios sound. And what I noticed about such bands is that they manage to combine the urge and raw energy of the early Swedish bands with the precision and musicianship that are typical of the American scene.

Haven't heard of Fatalist in a while. The Deapth Of Inhumanity is one fine Death Metal album...

Again, there’s nothing fundamentally new here, but these guys sure know what they’re talking about and The Chills is real fine album that will definetly please the specialists.

2012 has barely started and we already have a VERY serious Death Metal record brothers. Happy New Year!


Sunday, January 8, 2012


American Death Thrash is a split CD that came out on HPGD Productions last year. And although the HPGD releases may sometimes seem just too “weird” and sick, I was surprised not to see many features about this particularly excellent split CD.

Here’s one thing I’ll keep on repeating like an old fart every time I’ll tell you about a split CD: I love this format, and there are 3 major reasons for that.
First: it’s a nice opportunity for bands to release new or alternative material that didn’t fit on any of their regular albums. Second: it’s a fantastic way to discover new bands featured with more established ones. Third: I just love the “compilation” idea and the “battle” between two bands.

Split-CDs are also an opportunity to make cool and original artworks 

I knew very little about Sacrificial Slaugter before listening to American Death Thrash. The guys hail from Southern California and they have already released 2 LPs in the past ten years. Their sound is harsh, fast and very “Thrash Metal”. In fact they play exactly…Death/Thrash Metal!

The powerful riffs are extremely sharp and the musicianship is very tight. They actually sound a bit like Scandinavian bands, with an epic edge to all of their songs. But the permanent groove that naturally flows out of their songs also makes them typically American.
Sacrifical Slaughter really came up with heavy and epic stuff on their side, with outstanding lead guitars by Nekro Nick. That first side is concluded with one of their best tracks: “Acid Reflux”.
Also note that this is the first material they release since their 2009 LP “Spontaneous Suicide”; and it perfectly incarnates the Split-CD title: “American Death Thrash”.

The second band featured on American Death Thrash is newcomer Enfuneration. And trust me, they won’t stay newcomers for long. The band hails from Oklahoma City and this is the first official material they ever release (they released a 35 minute demo in 2008 though). And man that stuff is good!

Enfuneration plays classic Death Metal in its best form: heavy, epic, mystical and totally old-school. What I love about old-school Death Metal is that it’s always been about writing actual SONGS. It never was about having a speed or technique contest. And Enfunration sure can compose some fine songs, full of melodies, dynamics and cool hooks. And what struck me even more is their ability to mark their territory and impose their style with only a few songs. I know a lot of more established bands that would sell their soul to be able to write such mature and strong songs.
I was impressed with that young band, really, as there are some  epic songs here like “Bearing Their Scars” or “Grieving Process Denied”. They actually reminded me of The Chasm, the fantastic occult Black/Death Metal band from Mexico.

Amercian Death Thrash is a really cool release that perfectly fills the split-CD missions: Sacrifical Slaughter get to release their first stuff in 2 years, and you guys will probably discover the awesome Enfuneration. Definitely a release you need to support, because the only winner of that “battle” is the “metalhead” that’s getting 42 minutes of great Metal!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Nekromantheon - Cowboys From Hell

You probably don’t know much about Nekromantheon yet. And if you pretend you like Thrash Metal than you need to be ashamed of yourself about that. Nekromantheon is a power-trio that has landed straight from hell (they might tell you they’re from Norway, but that’s just for the cover) a few years ago. Their first record came out in 2010 and remained confidential (High Roller Records released the 12” and Duplicate Records released the CD version). But things are about to change my friends, as “Rise, Vulcan Spectre”, their second LP is coming out next January; via the highly recommended Indie Recordings. Therefore the timing was perfect for a little interview with Christian “Kick” Holm, drummer of the band. It’s time to catch up dudes, Nekromantheon are one of the best Scandinavian Thrash Metal bands around.

My first question is pretty simple: what does your name Nekromantheon mean?
Nekromantheon was a temple in ancient Greece where you could communicate with the spirits of your dead ancestors. Roughly translated it simply means "Temple of the Dead". Pretty cool stuff, we actually visited the ruins of the temple a couple of years ago, and the air was filled with unholy chants from beyond the grave.

How does it feel to be releasing your second record?
Great! We're really happy with the way the album turned out, and feel we've expressed the feeling we wanted with the new material.  Sounds more evil than before, too, which is always good.

That's probably their buddy Vulcan, chargin' through hell with his machete

You’re releasing it on Indie Recordings, which is a well recognized  record label, seems like an important step forward…
Forward into Battle? Forward to Termination? We got a good record offer from some guys who seem to handle things seriously and accepted it. We wanted the label to take care of business, so we could take care of the music. Indie seems to do that, which is cool. 

Does it add any extra pressure? Knowing that you’ll be much more viewed and listened to?
No. We don't make music so that other people can have something to listen to, we make music for ourselves. If other people like it, good for them. If they don't, so what? 

The album name is also enigmatic, what does “Rise, Vulcan Spectre” stand for?
Vulcan was the Roman equivalent to the Greek god Hephaestus, lord of blacksmiths, craftsmen, metals, artisans and volcanoes.  For us he represents the art of making something with your bare hands, and symbolizes the spirit of 80's metal in a very appropriate way. "Rise, Vulcan Spectre" is simply a command to bring back the spirit of old school metal, instead of the plastic trend that's been going on for too long. 

Nekromantheon is comprised of Sindre (Bass Vocals), Christian (drums) and Arild (guitars, vocals)

How does it compare to the previous LP?
Faster, dirtier and more evil! Definitely better. Plus, Arse does all the vocals this time, and we feel it helps keep a wholesomeness to it all.

The songs are a little big longer this time around; there are more variations within them…
Yeah, this time we worked more on each track instead of making lots of short tracks. Think that was a good idea, cause it lets us play around more, and leaves room for some killer solos, haha!

Was it something you guys planned from the beginning?

The album also seems more homogeneous. When were the songs composed?
We stared writing new material early 2010, but things were kinda spread over about a year I guess. In my opinion, the songs are more varied this time, but the overall feeling of evil and darkness is present all the way.

The songs also sound VERY spontaneous, how were they composed and recorded? Jamming and live recording?
Arse makes the riffs, and then we jam on them until we get the arrangements into place. We record one instrument at the time, but we don't use click tracks, sound replacements or that kind of stuff. Maybe that's why it has a spontaneous feel to it?

The sound is something I love about Nekromantheon. How do you make it sound so filthy, yet so powerful? Any special recording gear?
No special gear, just basic stuff and our own ears. It's a big deal for us to make it sound right, so we just do our best while mixing, that's all. 

You guys play 100% Thrash Metal, what are your precise influences?
We listen to all kinds of stuff, but the most influential albums for Nekromantheon would probably be Slayer - Hell Awaits, Dark Angel - Darkness Descends and Sepultura - Schizophrenia. It shouldn't be a problem for a proper metalhead to figure out our other influences, the lyrics are packed with hails and homages.

Would you agree if I say that you specifically play Scandinavian Thrash? People call it black/Thrash. I personally hate that name, to me its just THRASH METAL! What’s so special with Scandinavian thrash?
We would simply say thrash metal, yeah. But our new LP is way too evil to be put in the same category as party-thrash bands, so we would feel more comfortable sharing sub-sub-genre with Aura Noir, Nifelheim or Sabbat (Japan). The Scandinavian thrash bands do seem to be on some kind of path, though. The new Antichrist album is amazing, by the way.

There is sort of a “revival” for thrash these days. You feel you belong to this scene?
Yeah, why not? We're just glad to hear more people are making the kind of music we wanna hear. 

Nekromantheon's first album Divinity Of Death came out last year and it's just as sick as the new one 

I haven’t heard of you guys touring? Did you play any shows after the release of Divinity Of Death?
We toured in the US and Canada around May/June 2010, and did some festivals here and there. Touring is fun, but we kinda prefer doing single gigs. Less hassle. 

How would you describe Nekromantheon on stage? In 3 words?
Fast. Dirty. Evil.

And have you planned any tours?
We're doing a short tour around Norway in February, together with Aura Noir. Some festivals are planned for 2012, but no bigger tours yet.

Wanna experience them live? That's a overview of what carnage these guys are capable of...

What are the songs about? Blood and street fights? Are your lyrics serious, or just fun?
The new LP is all about defeating a greater enemy, reviving ancient gods and learning true wisdom. You decide what you wanna put into it, but if you read the lyrics and bear the meaning of the album title in mind, hopefully our point will get through some way or another. 

Kick, you also play with the very cool band Audiopain; are we going to get a new record from that band soon?
Depends on how you define "soon". We've made a couple of great new tracks, but it's gonna take a while before you'll hear them. Things are moving slowly in the camp.

What would you guys like to add; maybe to convince our readers that Rise, Vulcan Spectre is the ideal Xmas gift??
Rise, Vulcan Spectre would be a TERRIBLE x-mas gift, as it's released on January 13th - way too late! If you're in need of a gift for a fellow thrasher, get the Condor - Speedwagon EP!

Thanks To Eileen From Indie Recordings for making that interview possible!