Saturday, March 24, 2012

Black Rainbows: “when you play rock’n’roll, you must have fun man!”

The more I listen to that record, the more the statement becomes obvious: Supermothafuzzalicious is one of my favorite albums this year. The thing is, Italy’s Black Rainbows have reached a surprising level of excellence with their third album. Not that the previous records were bad or something, it’s just that the “pretty cool Italian stoner rock band” has become one of the best stoner/rock bands around. Supermothafuzzalicious is not as heavy or as dark as its predecessor, Carmino Diabolo; it’s even what you could describe as a “fun” record. Sounds fun, makes you wanna run around naked and hug strangers, but it also sounds like the fruit of the hard work of rock experts. Wondering how come? Well just try to measure the perfect balance on Supermothafuzzalicious: heavy riffing, cool choruses, psychedelic elements and a sick beat that will contaminate your mind before you know it. Everything falls into place; the record is so dynamic, so entertaining and simply EXTREMELY pleasant to be listened to. What else do you guys need to run to your local record dealer and grab a copy of this masterpiece? An interview with the power-trio mastermind, Gabriele? It’s your lucky day coz’ all you need to do is to scroll down that page and you’ll get to read a very cool interview in which you’ll sense the genuine passion of Gabriele for Rock.

First question is pretty simple: how does it feel to be releasing your third record?
Hey Yath!  We feel good!!  When you arrive to this point, it sure means that there’s at least someone out there who likes you! So it’s pretty satisfying. We had to work hard to get there: hundreds of concerts and lots of work at home; blood and sweat man! But now here we are and the feedback is very good so far, and everywhere! And we still are into this rock n roll life, for sure!

What does the title “Supermothafuzzalicious” mean? Is it an addition of all the words that would define the music on the CD?
Yes it is! The album title came to mind, when I was playing with the word « motherfucker » from that word I thought why not motherfuzzer, after that I was thinking to something about 70’s stuff, something delicious, and i added mothafuzzalicious… But our sound is a turbo sound! So came “Supermothafuzzalicious”!! And I thought yeah! I fuckin like it!! It sounds very nice in your ears! And I think it reminds a lot what we do and what is in the album: the use of Fuzz!!

Congratulations also on the artwork, it’s really fantastic, who conceived it?
The artwork this time is a masterpiece by GODMACHINE from UK (Carmina Diabolo artwork was made by Angryblue). For me he’s the best and most Talented illustrator right now, and we are honored to have his drawing on our best record ‘til now!


I do think the guys is super talented and the art really reflects the atmosphere on the album…
Illustrations in this kind of music are very important, they evoke what is in the music, they are very close, imaginary and psych music. Something colored and a bit dark at the same time!

Was it an easy record to make? It sounds like it was.
The production was pretty much the same on the previous albums. I recorded everything by myself in the Channel 5 Studio… So we had a lot of time to spend on the basics sounds (for me it’ s the most important passage). Have time to mic the guitar amp in different ways, or try to mic the snare with different mics… After that we go to Pino Santamaria’s bigger studio. He’s got a great sound man; and we trust him a lot... He took care of the mixing part of the album with us… Last but not least: Fabrizio de Carolis a Reference Mastering studio, the best of middle Italian master studios.

Black Rainbow's mastermind Gabriele

Supermothafuzzalicious also sounds “fun” and makes me want to party.
Songwriting of this album seems easy but is not. To a first approach everybody can listen to it but there’s more, yes the bit sometimes is fast and is rock n’ roll, and when you play rock’n’roll, you must have fun man! This is sure! In fact last song of the vinyl (the bonus track) is a cover from the mighty Eddie Cochran “C’mon everybody”. Our tribute to the roots of rock!

It’s like a big scream of your love for rock!
With these songs we wanted to explain how much we love this kind of music, how much we are in debt with that, coz’ is the music style we play… Yes, maybe sometimes we are reffered to as a Stoner rock band, but the root comes from that. We start playin’ our instruments inspired from band of the 50’s and 60’s, and 70’s… And we want to spread the word of rock n roll!!!

I also felt it was a very personal record for you; because of the lyrics as well.
Yes it is, especially the lyrics, sometimes you have the song inspired by blues rock lyrics like “Lady” that is a song that talk of women or “Burn Your Nation” rock’n’roll hymn, sometimes you have the psychedelic lyrics like “Solar System” or “Mastermind”, I like the album coz’ there is a lot of different atmospheres from one song to another, songwriting-wise and even in the way I sing these new songs!

Tell me about the groove and that “dancing” beat on the record, it really stands out…
After the last album ”Carmina Diabolo”, we wanted to make the new record, with cool beats and so it goes, inspired by rock’n’roll beats we created this album! Especially when you play live, I think you win if you have songs with “dancing” beats, cause people go to concerts yes to listen, but everybody at least wanna dance! And they reminds you cause you bit them with your beats!

Carmina Diabolo, Black Rainbow's second coming was much heavier and darker than the new album

Do you think some of your fans will be surprised? You previous records were a bit “darker” and “heavier”.
I think yes… Maybe they were expecting a Stoner volume number 3! But you can recognize it still is the same band that wants to explore new things, I think we are not a band that found a formula and that repeats it in every record, we are professional musicians and we can play also other things… Our big influence comes from the band Motorpsycho… They have explored all kinds of rock, from psychedelic to hard rock and so on. We would like to do quite the same, in the next steps we want to make something more psychedelic and loopy tunes, we are not only into stoner things, even if we comes from there!

Great, because I personally LOVE the psychedelic effects, with the use of awesome keyboards, how do you insert them to the songs, because I guess most of the songs are written based on riffs?
For the previous records I used to play all the Synths but for this album we called our friend Dario Di Gennaro, who is a professional keyboard player as well! After we done all the basic tracks, he started having fun with the songs, so we tried a lot of different things, dub the riffs or improvise on the songs… At least we cut all the shit things and kept the good ones!

Although people use the term “stoner” rock for many bands that have nothing to do with stoner rock, I consider Black Rainbows as a genuine “stoner rock” band. Even though you were just saying that Black Rainbows is a “rock” band that will explore many different territories... 
Yes, like I said before, we are not only in this kind of music, you will discover on the next albums, we are stoner oriented yes, cause we love that tune… But step by step I think we want to change and will evolve, maybe more psychedelic, maybe more hard rock we don t want to be the same band on every album… We can do better!!!

And what is the definition of stoner rock anyways?
Is the sound that bands such as Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Nebula, Monster Magnet have played in the early 90’s, it means the use of some amps, the use of fuzz, some kind of drums, detuned guitars and basses, it comes as well from late 60’s and early 70’s bands like Captain Beyond, UFO, Black Sabbath, Hawkwind…

I also think that this record will help you take things one step further, it’s potential is pretty huge and it sounds universal, any rock fan can like it!
Yes we hope to increase our fan-base… Coz’ in that album there’s much work, blood and sweat! Yes a general rock fan can find in it many things, when you listen first time it is catchy and sounds easy to listen to… But we need more audience, so we still are working hard and touring as much as possible.

How’s the feedback on the album so far?
The feedback is so good, in a few weeks we’ve sold a lot of albums, we had 2 European tours and we are doing another European tour in April with Farflung from LA, lots of good reviews and people contacted us just to say that they loved the album! This is a step further indeed!

Do you guys have any special double LP edition planned?
In April we will release on Longfellow Deeds/Heavy Psych Sounds a split album with 6 unreleased songs including 3 incredible songs from Space Rock Legends: Farflung. It will be a single vinyl, with an inner-sleeve with lyrics and credits. The artwork was done by Rise Above. It will be a limited edition vinyl and or digifile… Will be a super cool album: something like 40 minutes of unreleased music. Farflung recorded 2 of their songs at the Rancho de la Luna (Chris Goss studio) with amazing guest appearances from Dave Catching (QOTSA, EODM), Gene Trautman (QOTSA, EODM)… Really cool!

Are you going to tour to promote these releases? Any chance to see you guys on stage in France soon?
We have played in December with NY heavy psych band Naam. The Paris gig was just awesome! Maybe in April we’ll be in south-east France… Just check the dates on the web right here!

On the song “Burn Your Nation” you say you wish you were born in the USA. You ever been there? And did Black Rainbows play any shows there?
Absolutely. You know US is the land of rock n roll… The entire story started from there… So it’s just a fun sentence, like some sort of verbal tribute! But we’ve never been there… But we are planning to go so soon!!! Very soon... Stay tuned!

Behind The Line: Great video for the second track on Supermothafuzzalicious!

What’s you’re wildest dream? Like the rock’n’roll artist you’d most like to tour with?
Wildest dream?! 6-months touring; non-stop and visit all the countries. Not sure if we go on tour with Kyuss, Monster Magnet or Fu Manchu… Maybe all three of them!!

Great! Thanks Gabriele for the fantastic interview and thanks to Xavier for Longfellow deeds records!

Friday, March 9, 2012

CHRISTIAN MISTRESS – Interview with the Mistress behind the mic: Christine Davis

I’d already loved Christian Mistress' first LP; “Agony And Opium”, out on 20-Buck Spin last year. With "Possession" however, their second coming, the band has taken things to a whole new level. Christian Mistress has signed a deal with Relapse Records, and “Possession” has got everything a great record needs: catchy songs, fantastic artwork and an singer that truly stands out. Christine Davies has an outstanding voice; full of Metal Power and filled with Blues Passion. More than enough for you hard&heavy rock maniacs to check out this very promising band.
Until then, enjoy the interview with the band’s n°1 asset: singer Christine Davis.  

My first question is extremely simple: what or who is the “Christian Mistress”?
Well, Reuben (drummer) drooled this name onto the page he was drawing on. We hated the name at first but grew to like it for it is somewhat rude and has a good, memorable ring to it. No secret meaning really, we just like the connection to the Virgin Mary in a sacrilegious sort of way.

Can you tell me more about the band’s line-up? The band was formed a few years ago; you guys played in other bands before?
I met Ryan at a show I played with his previous band.  We hit it off; he and his friends were all at the front of the stage headbanging with more fury than I had ever seen.  One year later I moved to Olympia, WA from Portland.  Ryan and Oscar had been playing together for a few years off and on and they asked me to join them. This was in 2007, I told them I thought their songs were killer but I wanted to wait until I knew who else would be in the band. Eventually, they got Reuben (drums) and Jonny (bass) who were friends of mine already because they dj'd at a club I was the bartender at. We already got along great and I loved their tastes in music and attitudes so I decided there was no way I could pass up trying to start a band with all these awesome people.  Reuben is and has been my favorite drummer of all time and Jonny is such a great bass player and even-mannered person to be around at all times.  I joined the four of them in 2008 and we have been going strong ever since.

Things seem to have gotten to a new level with that new CD. How did you guys land on Relapse Records?
We have been happy with Relapse, they are very easy to work with and good people. They listen to us, have time for us and gave us the budget we needed to record the record on 24 track analog as we wanted to.  It seems like a great fit for us so far.  We were happy with 20 Buck Spin but wanted a budget to work with for the recording so it would have been Relapse or another label so I can't say that it was necessarily a big step, just a natural progression. We never actually signed to 20 Buck Spin, they just happened to be friends of ours that offered to put out our first record. The response from metal heads worldwide was enough to make us realize that people were going to continue to listen to CM and we might as well look for ways to fund making our ideal record.  The music industry is a strange beast and Christian Mistress was quickly swept up in its tide before we had a chance to see it coming.  Signing to a label didn't change our process; Relapse gives us complete artistic freedom music-wise.

Did you feel any extra “pressure” now that you’re releasing a record on an important record label?
Not really, we had already written all the songs for the new record before we signed to Relapse.

How is Possession different from your previous material?
We are excited that it turned out with such a heavy, amazing sound.  It is a bit different than our last LP, “Agony and Opium” so we are anticipating the response to the songs.  Because we are so close to them, hear them, play them a million times - it is hard to hear the freshness that people hearing the songs for the first time can enjoy.  Also, I am glad it is finally out because it has been a long time now that we have been playing some of those songs.  We first expected this record Possession to come out in 2011 so we are thrilled that it is finally out and available for people to hear.

I feel that your major influences are the earliest metal bands, like in the beginning of the 80s, when the frontier between hard-rock and heavy metal was very thin…
I agree, more of the merging of hard rock, heavy metal and heavy punk rock - we absolutely love the early Scorpions records from the 70's.

I really loved the guitars, especially the very classic metal stuff… And also the fact that there is a fantastic melody on each one of the songs. Is it something you specifically focus on?
I think so, the songs have intent to sound good and this is what we think sounds good so that must be all there is to it.

Your voice is clearly the band’s biggest asset. You have that bluesy swing to your singing. That’s the 70’s influence I guess…
A lot of my favorite bands are from the 70's - Uriah Heep, Motorhead, Scorpions, Hawkwind, Blue Oyster Cult - it's true.

And how do you guys compose? Very complex process or just jamming’?
The songs come easily for us; we have a strong chemistry together as musicians. Oscar writes the main guitar riffs and then we jam them out at practices. I listen to the completed or near completed songs and then decide what the vibe is going to be for the vocal parts and lyrics that I write. This is the typical Christian Mistress writing process and if the songs on Possession are any different from earlier Christian Mistress songs, it is because we have evolved together as musicians into a more cohesive direction. The last song on the new album - All Abandon, was really the song that shaped the style of all of the songs on the record. So, there definitely was a plan stylistically for all of the songs on Possession to have a certain brooding, heavy yet raw and exuberant feel to them.

I Love the artwork as well, seems a little bit “mystical”. Does it mean anything specific?
The central element is my hand with the fate lines radiating lightning.  The plants beneath them are the black flowers from the song 'Haunted Hunted' on Possession.  And of course the original Christian Mistress symbol that was on Agony and Opium is making an appearance again in the background.  We were honored to have Benjamin Vierling make this painting for us.

Are you guys touring already? Any chance to see you in France?
We will be in France in April 2012.  The dates should be up on our website soon:

What’s Christian Mistress like on stage? In 3 or 4 words?
Take this riff to the grave.

What’s the coolest thing we can wish you for 2012? Like what are your craziest dreams for the band??
I want to tour Japan and play lots of crazy shows in France!

Any last word for your French fans?
We hope to see you in France this April and make sure to come say hello at the shows!

Thanks To Christine and to Frank for making this interview possible!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

TERRORIZER – "Stay away from the Zombie disease"

Terrorizer is without a doubt one of Metal’s most mythical bands. The super-group was formed in the late 80s by legends Pete Sandoval, Jesse Pintado, David Vincent and Oscar Garcia. After a few demos and a split-CD with Nausea (another recently reformed early US Grindcore band), Terrorizer released THE album that would define Grindcore: “World Downfall” in 1989. And then nothing; for 17 long years.
Quite suddenly, in 2006, the band returns with the controversial “Darker Days Ahead”. The line-up featured Jesse Pintado, Pete Sandoval and unknown members “Wolf” (vocals) and Tony Norman (bass) and the musical style is a little different, more Death Metal; less Grindcore. And just as the band seemed to be on track again, tragedy strikes with the passing of founding-member Jesse Pintado. 
But that wasn’t enough to kill the passion, the “Terrorizer Fire” inside Pete Sandoval’s very guts. And again, surprisingly, Terrorizer returns with “Hordes Of Zombies”, a new dominating record and a line-up completed by new guitarist Kat Culture and original bassist Mr David Vincent himself.
To hell all the controversy about grindcore or not grindcore; the new record is powerful, catchy and full of brutal Death Metal hymns.
Enjoy this long and very interesting interview with Anthony “Wolf” Rewhawk, as Terrorizer’s back, stronger than ever. (Pictures by Raven Spirits and Isabel Avila)

Wolf, how does it feel to be promoting a new record, 6 years after Darker Days Ahead?
It feels super awesome! Mostly because we actually wrote the music back at the end of 2008 and it's finally seeing the light of day.

The circumstances were very dramatic I guess in 2006, when did you decide that you had to record a new record?
Pete (Sandoval – Drums) actually called me at the end of 2008, and asked me if I'd be interested in recording a demo for a possible full-length release with Terrorizer. It was at that time that we talked about Jesse's absence. Pete told me that he was still carrying the Terrorizer fire burning passionately.  And he also reminded me that Jesse would've wanted for us to continue.

Can you tell me about the new line-up? I mean of course the return of David Vincent and the new guitarist Katina Culture?
Actually we were already working with someone else for the session bass playing duties.  But the label suggested we get David, since he recorded with Terrorizer for the "World Downfall" album, and since Morbid Angel is on the same label, they thought this would make sense.
To be honest, we thought he would be too busy with Morbid Angel's highly anticipated album "Illud Divinum Insanus".  So, when Pete asked David to join us as a session bass player, we were surprised that he was interested and made time from his busy schedule.  Of course, by the time he came on board all the material was already written.
As for Kat Culture, when Pete and I first talked about putting a demo together for a new Terrorizer release back at the end of 2008, it was then that he asked me about whom we should get to play guitar on the new album.  Since Kat and I have been playing together for more than a decade, and the fact that she was one of the last guitar players to play with Jesse, since he played in Resistant Culture post Napalm Death (Kat and I's other band) it seemed like the right progression for me.  I told Pete that I could ask her to at least play on the demo.  She agreed to participate at that level, and after the demo was recorded Pete asked me, "can we keep her?"  I asked her, and she happily agreed.  Kat's been playing guitar since her childhood, she is classically trained, she also plays cello and is a recording engineer. She is extremely comfortable with her guitar, which in my book more than qualifies her for this sensitive work. 

Pete; how’s your back doing? And how did the recording go??
Pete: Well, I recorded the drums for this album in January 2009, before I had my back surgery, and the recording was fun.  At this time I've had about a 90% recovery so far, and I do feel much much better than I did before the surgery.  I'm well and strong, ready to go out into battle on the road again!!!!   I'm also rehearsing and exercising daily.  I'm so on fire, loving this new Terrorizer album so much, as it will conquer and destroy!

Ok, back to the new record. I see every Terrorizer release as an “event” on it’s own, since it’s a rare phenomenon! Do you feel the fan’s demand for new music?
Wolf: The true fans of this band kept asking us to come up with a new record, so we did. And this time around we'll make sure to come up with another new one as soon as possible.  As a matter of fact, we already have new material that we should be tracking within the next few months.  Our main goal is to keep albums coming on a regular basis.

And are you planning to keep every Terrorizer record like an “event” that happens every 5-6 years, or is it possible that the bands gets into a more “regular” rhythm?
Oh yeah, Terrorizer will definitely get in a good rhythm and release records on a more regular basis.  Since now we have a solid band, with solid extreme music values.  And the fact that us three, Pete, Kat, and I are able to work together well on the creative process, it will make it easier for us to come up with our killer legacy.

The first thing that comes to my mind when I think about the new record is: Dominating! Is it the feeling you wanted to transmit?
Yeah of course, our main goal was to write a brutal album for the sake of domination, a forceful domination that possesses the strength and power to light up the extreme metal torch with a blackened grind/death fire.

And how do you input that domination feeling? Do you focus on this while composing? I also love the dynamic on the record; it’s almost groovy sometimes!
When Kat and I sat got together to write material for the demo, I had a few musical arrangements in my head.  The first song to come out of this collaboration was "Hordes of Zombies", it was at that point that our fire lit up and we knew that the spirit was with us. The rest of the songs came together painlessly in a good way, and even though we had come together to only write 5 songs, the spirit gifted us with 13 plus a ton of riffs that we would use later when the time was right.
The writing of this album was a very special ceremonial experience for Kat and me.  We opened ourselves to the spirit of the band, to the point where we became vehicles / conduits for it.  The process was so natural that we actually wrote this whole album in one weekend.

There are a lot of discussions about the band’s style among the fans. Grindcore, Death, Brutal Death Metal…Do you pay attention to that?
Of course we pay attention to what fans are saying, but in the end it is the spirit that dictates our direction.
And do the fans reactions influence the way you compose?
We're firm believers of people being their own leaders and of people making their own choices.  If people really want to express constructive criticism, we're always open.  But if someone is just having a bad day, or they just hate their life and want and or need company in their drowning misery, that's where we draw the line.  We actually wrote a song about that kind of person, the song is "Wretched".

Generally speaking, some Metal fans take their favorite bands very seriously, and it’s particularly true for a band like Terrorizer, that is considered an institution. Do you feel that the band has a mission or particular responsibility?
Most definitely! Our mission is to create memorable brutal extreme metal music that marks the time and place of our reality today. Our philosophy is driven by the need to survive in these dark and uncertain times. We believe that a human without dreams and desires is not living life at the fullest.  So a big part of our philosophy deals with the struggle for liberation of the true human spirit.

And how would you describe Hordes Of Zombies, especially compared to your previous album?
"Hordes of Zombies" is the incarnation of our true nature, as musicians and as people.  We don't have to feel like we wished we were playing another style of music at all.  We love traditional extreme music in all it's forms, whether black, death, or grind, we are fans as well as creators.  As far as the previous albums, all I can say is that they each represent their own time and place, and they each have their own magic and or energy.  With that said, we feel that we have created a new monster ready to devastate and to continue the legacy!

I felt the music is indeed different from the “original” Terrorizer album, “World Downfall”, but I feel that the band’s “spirit” is the same… Does it show in the lyrics, or concept of Hordes Of Zombies?
I'd have to agree with you that the spirit is definitely there.
"Hordes of Zombies" is a concept album, it is our view of modern society today.  It depicts humans as a species in a dream state, idealizing illusions and fantasies of a world that doesn't exist. Lyrically it examines the sicknesses, whether mental, physical, and or spiritual, from the lack of either true perspective or just plain apathy, and in some cases ignorance. "Hordes of Zombies" as a song and as a title depicts most humans going through life neglecting their true nature as all their dreams and aspirations were removed when they entered adulthood. It is at that time that the human loses their peripheral vision and can only see what's at eye level.  "Hordes of Zombies" as a title or a album concept is not a sci-fi horror story for the sake of entertainment only, it's actually a real horror story taking place in front of our eyes. Just think about the fact that we're depleting the earth from very important elements for the purpose of energy.  They say that those elements are equal to female reproductive organs, without them the time will come when the earth will give life no more. As of now we've polluted a high percentage of the water, the air, the food, etc.  Today more than ever it's clear that humanity is on the verge of some major changes, these changes will definitely affect us all in one way or another. It'll be at that point that the zombie wont be able to provide for himself anymore and he'll be hungry and thirsty for your food, water, fuel, etc.
Any last word for the Terrorizer fans? Best wishes to everyone reading this interview.  Stay close to the things that keep you healthy and away from the Zombie disease.  Much respect to everyone. Cheers!

Thanks to Rose and to Wolf for the interview!