Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Bròn Interview

While thinking about the concept of this webzine, I always knew I would want to do interviews.  I enjoy doing them, no matter which end I am on, because it gives a deeper look inside some of my favorite music.  I decided that not every band can have an interview, so I will just have to pick my favorites.  Bròn quickly became one of my favorites and I had the pleasure to interview Krigeist about his project.  I am very glad I did because he gave me so much more detail on his debut demo (Reviewed here) and what kind of journey he was hoping to take the listener on!  Check it out!

Where does the name Bròn come from?

Bròn is a Scottish Gaelic word which can be translated as sorrow, grief or mourning.

Why did you decide to start this project?

It was started almost accidentally, with no clear intentions in mind other than creating black metal with a much more atmospheric and ethereal approach than the other projects I'm involved in. I had never used synths before (outside of some very brief passages in Belliciste), and I started to play around with some ideas which eventually evolved into Bròn. The band name and concepts came around after the music was complete and I had more of an understanding of what I had created.

You have just released your debut demo, Fògradh.  What does Fògradh mean and why did you pick it for the title of your demo?

Fògradh is again a Scottish Gaelic term. It means something like banishment or exile. I'm originally from New Zealand, but Scotland has been home for the past four years. During the recording process I received news that my visa had been unexpectedly curtailed meaning I had to leave the country quite abruptly, so that sparked the idea for the name. The lyrics don't pertain to that experience in anyway, but the title still relates strongly to the themes of the piece. That experience, the themes of the lyrics and the fact that it’s a Gaelic term all tied in and it just felt right.

Describe why you decided to make one, 28 minute track instead of splitting up the movements into their individual tracks? 

There was no conscious decision to do so. Once I began toying with ideas and writing, it became apparent it was going to be a fairly long piece. I did consider trying to find points to split it into multiple tracks, but it felt much more natural as a single piece. There are recurring ideas throughout the whole thing, and each section segues into the next, so splitting it into movements seemed unnecessary.

What were some of the emotions you were hoping to arouse from your listeners?

I suppose I would hope listeners would pick up on the emotions I was trying to capture in the writing and recording. The atmosphere I was hoping to capture covered a range of complex emotions, but primarily a feeling of nostalgia or yearning for something unknown. A feeling of loss or separation from something we can't recognize or easily define. This is explored lyrically through opposing concepts, like beauty and decay, tranquility and rage, triumph and despondence. Ultimately, as is similar with all of my output, the music aimed to express concepts and emotions not easily expressed or comprehended otherwise.

Describe the recording process of your demo.  Where? How? 

The recording process was fairly long as I didn't really have any idea of what I was doing with keys. I more or less had to learn the instrument as I recorded it, so there was a lot of trial and error. Keys and bass were recorded at home in evenings and on weekends. My drumming skills were far too limited for this project, and I didn't want any other musicians involved, so I used programmed drums. Programmed drums are something I usually despise, so I tried to make them as unobtrusive as possible. I think the result is adequate. Guitars and vocals were recorded in a tight time frame with my good friend GM (Barshasketh, Haar, Acatalepsy, Caecus), as he has a better knowledge and better equipment for recording. Layering was very important in the recording process. At all times there are 4 guitars and between 2 and 4 synth parts. Again this wasn't really a conscious decision, but I didn't feel I had achieved the atmosphere I wanted until all of those parts were in place.

What are some of your musical influences? 

My musical influences are hugely varied and everything I listen to comes into what I write in some way. While writing this demo specifically, I listened to a lot of synth-based music to try and get more of an understanding of how to utilize the instrument effectively. This ranged from BM bands like Evilfeast and Kataxu to darkwave groups like Lycia as well as synth based post-punk bands. Basically, I absorbed anything with synthesizers I heard around that time to try and figure it all out.

Non-musical ones? 

As with music, every aspect of my life goes into the music I create. I suppose this could possibly account for the varying moods in Fògradh. I think of all the projects I'm involved in, Bròn has been the most unconscious since the early Barshasketh demos. There was really no plan or specific influence, just a vague, undefined idea to create a certain atmosphere and convey certain emotions.

Finally, what is in store for Bròn in the future? 

I really can't say at this point whether the next release will be another demo, an album, another long piece or a collection of smaller movements. It's still a very new thing for me, and is still yet to be fully realized. I'm working on a few ideas at present, but I won't be settled permanently for some time and won't be in a position to record for a while. I guess it will just continue to grow and develop naturally.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TKNKNTJ Compilation Review

Formed back in 2008, TKNKNTJ hails from Helsinki, Finland and plays a very relentless style of black metal.  Takaisinvaellus & Taalla Helvetissa Olen Aina Valaistunul were two demos recorded in 2008 and 2009, respectively, but were never released to the public until now.  Eternal Death is now compiling these two demos onto a cassette that will be released in August 2014.  They are already available on TKNKNTJ’s bandcamp page. 

Takaisinvaellus, the first of the two demos, is an extremely raw yet powerful form of black metal that is extremely reminiscent of Darkthrone’s earlier material.  Elements of old school thrash can be heard which add a slight twist onto the music and accentuate the vocals on the release which are definitely meant to be the highlight.  From high shrieks to low growls and dissonant clean singing, the vocals strike every aspect that they could, giving the music a lot of diversity.  Instrumentals are very lo-fi and ominous.  Guitars are nothing too flashy but within the context of this release, it fits perfectly.  The drums have a very hollow sound to them, giving the whole demo a very murky sound to it.  Clocking in at just under half an hour long, this is a very good length demo that shows off TKNKNTJ’s versatility. 

Taalla Helvetissa Olen Aina Valaistunul was the 2nd demo from 2009.  Sporting a more refined sound quality, this demo takes the same aspects of Takaisinvaellus and doubles them, making for one impressive release.  Once again, the vocals are all over the place, giving them extreme diversity and really shaping the music.  The guitar riffs have a ton of reverb added to them this time around, giving off a very haunting vibe to the tracks.  The sound of the kit is a ton better in this demo compared to Takaisinvaellus.  All the hits are full and clear and really puncture through the music.

TKNKNTJ is a very talented outfit and I would love to hear more material from them in the future.  They have a long way to go to achieve a clear sound, but the muddy and dark atmosphere they have right now gives the demos a very personal touch. 


Forlor Interview

Forlor is a Finnish black metal band that just released their debut demo, War & Perdition.  My review of that will be posted in a few days.  In the meantime, enjoy the interview I did with one of the members, Panzerfaust.

Where did the name Forlor come from?

- Forlor is old English and it means "Destruction"

Why did you decide to change your name from Depressive Void to Forlor?

- Well, DV sounds a little bit boring, and it was misleading name because the music isn't depressive. So i decided to change the name what sounds good, fits to my music better and what isn't already taken/used.

When did the band form?

- 2014

You have just released your first demo, War & Perdition, tell me about the writing process for that? How long did it take?

- The whole writing process did take about one month. Subjects for the songs was so clear that i did almost "see" the songs. And right state of mind boost the process.

How long was the recording process?

- War & Perdition demo was recorded between April and May 2014.

Where was it recorded?

- Guitars, bass, vocals are recorded in my home, and the drums in my friend's rehearsal place.

What are some of your musical inspirations?

- Killing guitar riffs, raw vocals, aggressive and stabbing result for the songs etc..

Non-musical inspirations?
- War, misanthropia, anti-christianity, holocaust etc..

Where can people get a physical copy of your demo?
- People can get the demo tape from Me, Merchant Of Death(de), Werewolf Promotion(pl), KVLT(fin), Neuntoter(fin) and soon Nebular Winter Productions(gr)

Is there more material in the works for Forlor?
- Yes! I'm making the new songs right now.

What is the future plan for Forlor?

- Gigs, when i'm gathered the good line-up. And i'm looking the good label for future releases.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Unendlich Interview

I got the chance to do my first ever interview with Unendlich, an extremely impressive black/death metal band from Baltimore, Maryland.  Their album, "Monarch of the Damned," just came out a while back.

Where does the name “Unendlich” come from?  What was your inspiration on picking the name?

Picking a band name to represent your music is always challenging especially if you don’t want to be stuck in one theme. I first heard the word as it is the title of the intro to Danzig - I Luciferi and it stuck with me. Unendlich means infinite in German though through the material it is representing that death is infinite (Tod ist unendlich) which is conveyed in much of the lyrics found on “Monarch of the Damned”. The word Unendlich is elusive enough to carry my creative output to more than one place.

Your recent album, “Monarch of the Damned,” was just released.  Tell me about the process of how it came to be what it is today. 

The music was written over the course of the past two years though became more focused starting late 2013 when I committed to handling all instruments and vocals. The creative process came in bursts and details were refined later. There were some early demos of the songs but I didn’t want anything to be released until my vision for the album was complete. Then in early 2014, ran a competition for unsigned bands for album art from Vertebrae33 ( Being a fan of his work I felt it would be a great chance to obtain the cover for “Monarch of the Damned” so at that time I released a couple songs and submitted them to the competition. I was fortunately picked as one of the three winning bands. Working with Vertebrae33 was a pleasure and feel he nailed the cover.

Where was the album recorded?

The album was recorded at my home studio which is a fairly basic setup. I have a history of recording so knew I could handle getting the material down though didn’t want to handle mixing and mastering. I feel after hearing your own material as many times as most musicians do when writing and recording it is best left to fresh ears for the mix. I did program the drums, though. Having some past experience playing drums I tried to make them sound as natural as possible. I would have loved to have real drums on the album but it starts to become economically challenging to record a full drum set. As much as I love the sound of a natural kit, when playing at the speeds of metal much of the hits get sampled for clarity’s sake.

How long was the recording process?
Recording was done over the course of several months in parts but all lined up it probably took about two weeks to record everything down to raw tracks. I had a work colleague, Johnny Perez, handle the mix and mastering. He is also a fan of metal and I felt he did an excellent job. I am also happy with the master of the album as it isn’t smashed like much of the music coming out nowadays so leaves some room for dynamic impact.

You play a very solid form of black/death metal, what are some of your inspirations (Bands/Musicians?)

I have a love for all forms of dark music (genre aside) but metal bands that made me want to play music growing up were Megadeth and Slayer from which I then branched out. Additional bands that influenced me are early Samael, Danzig, Paradise Lost, Satyricon, Rotting Christ, Dissection, Carcass, and Deicide. Most of the bands I gravitated towards would fit into the Black/Death/Gothic genre.
Though there are plenty of musicians that influence d my playing I have always been a fan of the essence of the song more than just one part. Genre is the execution of the song and I love extreme music but I always gravitated towards bands that retain the extreme while making something with some melody and catchiness - not just playing fast to be the most fast or shredding for shredding sake.

What are some of your non-musical inspirations?

Life experiences (I had a lot of death around me), books, history, and movies. “Hell Waits for Me” is loosely based on the book “Drowned and the Saved” by Primo Levi. “Death Waltz” contains samples from the movie “Jacob’s Ladder”, a favorite of mine. Much of the lyrics might be influenced by an external force but in some way always come back to being personal when I am writing and yelling them. I think death is fascinating to all humans as it is the unknown. This is also a reason why religion has always been an annoyance for me, as is any form of organization that attempts to “know” what happens and impose their ideas without proof. I find some just can’t let people be and follow their own free will and curiosities. Just because someone might need religion in their life doesn’t mean the rest of the world does. When words no longer have meaning in an argument without proof I understand the need for violence within the human animal. But this is nothing new to history. I find our species is constantly at odds with nature and the ego and I find this conflict a great source of inspiration.

Is new material already in the works for Unendlich? 
Without a doubt, it feels good to be done with “Monarch of the Damned” but I am also excited to write new material now. I do have one song complete and another in the works but I also need to determine whether I’ll be able to play live at some point. I would like to write with a drummer and though there are a lot of skilled musicians in the Baltimore, MD area it is always a challenge to find people that want to commit to the same thing.

Finally, what are your future plans for Unendlich?

First, get a physical CD released and determine if I will be releasing it through a label or doing an independent pressing and distribution through something like CDBaby. This is all in the works and I should know more in the coming month. Though the music industry has changed I still feel labels play an important role in promotion and distribution. Although the album was completed with a “DIY” ethic, it does start to get more difficult the more you take on. The more I can just focus on the music creation part, the better. I did the digital release as I wanted to get the material out and did some previous promotion at the Maryland Deathfest that I wanted to align the release with. Beyond that, I hope to fill out the band with some local musicians for some live shows and see where it goes from there.

Check out my review for "Monarch of the Damned" here:

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Bròn – Fògradh

Bròn is a project lead by the man behind Barshasketh and Belliciste, Krigeist.  Having only released their first demo not too long ago, Fògradh, Bròn is already impressing a lot of fans.  Sporting one 28 minute opus of atmospheric/ambient black metal, it is one of the cleanest and well produced demos I have heard in years.  Everything is in perfect balance and the sound is super clear, making for a very easy listen.

Once you start this 28 minute journey, you are immediately greeted with an ambient and dare I say, calming, atmosphere to start off.  Not long after the beautiful and slow melody starts, you are assaulted with a mid tempo black metal riff which, in different variations, the whole song as based around.  The background key parts provide a very cosmic sort of feel, making for a very massive feeling to the track.  Throughout the whole song, Krigeist balances quiet and ambient sections with the hard hitting black metal sections so well, it seems to put the listener in a trance and you don’t even realize that the tempo, style, or song has switched to an entirely different section!

The musical work is astonishing throughout the whole song.  While nothing too flashy, the guitar work fits with everything else that is going on.  Drumming is very laid back and mid tempo for the most part, which again is not too overdone and flashy, but that accentuates what everything else is doing by not taking up that space.  The one thing that really makes this track stand out is the ambient/synth work in the background.  Without the keys behind everything else that is going on, the atmosphere would not be as grand as it is throughout.  It gives the music a very comforting vibe while still delivering a punch. 

Unfortunately, this is all that Bròn has to sport material wise.  With this only being a demo, I cannot imagine what a full length is going to sound like.  I hope Bròn keeps up what they’re doing, because they are definitely doing something right!


Friday, July 25, 2014

Unendlich - Monarch of the Damned

Unendlich is a black/death metal band from Baltimore, Maryland.  Until a few months ago, nobody knew of them, or the mastermind behind the music, Michael Connors, but now you have and be glad that you did!  Unendlich, meaning forever or long lasting in German, released their debut album “Monarch of the Damned” a few days ago (July 22nd.)  It is an amazing album that sounds excellent.  The production is astounding for an unsigned band and their first release.  After doing some digging around, I was not able to find if this was recorded in a studio or not, so I guess the answer will be shrouded in mystery for a while!

Immediately after pressing play, you are met with an incredibly catchy and memorable melody that soon kicks into a barrage of black metal!  Once the beast is released, it doesn't rest a whole lot until about half way into the album when another acoustic melody breaks the intensity. 
The vocals are a real stand out within the songs.  They are growled so well that they still sound brutal but you can understand what he is saying if you listen hard enough.  It is a very Jeff Walker (Carcass) sounding growl, which fits surprisingly well within this kind of music.   There isn't a ton of switching it up with different types of vocals, which can get old after a few plays. 

Musically, this album is full of memorable riffs and extremely precise drumming.  I can’t tell if a drum machine was used or live drums were recorded, but whichever option it was, an incredible amount of time was spent getting them absolutely perfect.  The sound is crisp, clean and there are no parts of the set that are too overbearing from one another.  The guitar work is a huge highlight of almost every song.  There are catchy riffs, shredding solos, and acoustic melodies that accentuate the heaviness of the album.  The bass is never very prominent in any of the songs but that is very common in black/death metal. 

Overall, this album kicks some serious ass, especially for a debut album.  Going from no previously released material to a work of art like “Monarch of the Damned” is a huge accomplishment.  I am extremely excited to hear what is in store for the future of Unendlich!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Soul Dissolution - Cold Rays and Grey Wolves (2014)

Soul Dissolution is a 3 man black metal band based in Belgium.  Being influenced by bands such as Alcest and Drudkh, they play a brand of melancholic black metal that is unbelievably good!  Drawing inspirations from their inner struggles, the music has a very emotional feel to it throughout the 30 minute demo.  The members were very connected to their music and every song has an extremely personal feel to it.  Recorded at Celestial Event Studios, the band got to utilize a professional studio with great equipment to capture the atmosphere and they did just that. 

While the demo does featured programmed drums, it is extremely hard to tell.  The samples are very good and it sounds like there is a person behind the kit, not just a machine doing it!  Whomever took the time to program them did an exceptional job and they fit extremely well in the mix.  They accentuate the power needed in the parts of the demo that need it most and do it just as well as live drums would. 

All other instruments were performed by the member that goes under the alias Jabawok.  He is an extremely talented individual who can write some amazing riffs.  Songs like “Waves” feature a very melancholic guitar solo and a piano melody in the beginning, bringing out the emotions in the track without saturating it so much that it is hard to listen to.  The bass, like in most black metal, is hidden in the back of the music for the longest time.  There are a few parts that it comes out and you can hear it clearly and it adds a little touch into the music that you don’t regularly hear in this style of music. 

The vocals in the demo were done by Acharan.  The tone of his voice makes it seem like he is suffering through his words and letting his physical emotions pour out into his music.  All lyrics were written by Jabawok, but Acharan belts them out like they are his own and puts his all into making them as good as he can make them.  They fit the feel of the music perfectly and are not overbearing in any way, which some bands mistakenly do. 

The only bad thing about this whole demo is that it is too short!  This has left me wanting more material from Soul Dissolution.  I look forward to hearing how they grow off of this amazing start as a band and how their music develops.  You can buy this demo from the Russian label CVLMINIS but you better hurry, there are only 50 copies available for the time being!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nyarlathotep – The Shadow Over Innsmouth (2014)

Born out of a love for H.P Lovecraft and black metal, Nyarlathotep perfectly blends mystique and metal together to create a truly haunting experience on their first full length release.  Back in 2008, the band (as a 3 piece, at the time) released its debut EP entitled The End Is Always Near and then drifted into silence.  It wasn’t until 2013 that the two remaining members collaborated and came up with the concept for a full length record based off of the story of H.P. Lovecraft’s, The Shadow Over Innsmouth. 

What came to be from that collaboration is an extremely raw and intense concept album that can be either hit or miss for the listener.  Musically, the composition is amazing and the seamless transitions help keep you immersed in the story.  The piano intro is a beautiful way to introduce one into the world of Innsmouth and set the mood for the next 55 minutes.

Nyarlathotep use some non-traditional instruments in their music, like the pan flute, to make stand out from other raw black metal releases.  Elements of doom metal were also widely used within this release, giving some tracks a melancholic feel to them. Within the later tracks on TSOI, a lot of weird and scary samples are used to heighten the sense of danger while listening.  This is extremely prevalent at the end of the title track where it sounds like nails running across a chalkboard in an old abandoned school house, or at least that’s the image I got from it!

On the other hand, the vocals are extremely raw and mono-toned.  They were recorded on a cell phone, which could attribute to the way they sound.  Adding these distorted vocals into a mix of already raw music creates a lot of static noise within the tracks.  That static sometimes distracts from the listening experience and due to the album being a seamless work of art that is one thing that you do not want to happen.   If that was the sound that they were going for, they hit the nail on the head!

Overall, I am very impressed with The Shadow Over Innsmouth.  I love the raw atmosphere surrounding the whole album and the sense that there is danger at every corner.  However, I would like to see how the album would sound with a cleaner mix and less distorted vocals.  With just a few minor touch up’s here and there, Nyarlathotep could really deliver a very solid concept album and up their game even more than they did with this album. 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Facebook Page

Temple of Darkness is now on Facebook! Head on over there and 'like' our page to keep getting updates on the latest reviews and interviews!  We have many very talented bands submitting music to us and we are very excited to share this music with all of you! Please head on over and support us, every like counts!

Khristenn Corpse - Grotesque (2011)

Back in 2011, Venezuelan black/death metal act Khristenn Corpse headed into the studio to record their first full length release entitled Grotesque.  Obviously influenced by bands like Emperor and Carach Angren, the result was a powerful and haunting piece of work.  After making themselves known within the metal scene in their home country with their 2005 demo and 2010 EP, Grotesque got the attention of not only their home country fans, but also many fans internationally.  Consisting of 10 songs, clocking in right around 40 minutes long, Khristenn Corpse dominates your eardrums with extreme melodic black metal. 

All songs are extremely powerful and upbeat.  The drummer is extremely talented and the songs fit perfectly around his fills to bring out his talents within the music a little more.  Within the mix of Grotesque, the crash cymbals are very loud compared to the rest of the drum set, which can distract from the overall listening experience. 

Every song on Grotesque has a dark and eerie feel to it, which can be attributed to the roaring vocals and synths.  The vocalist has a very demonic scream that is extremely unique to anything I have ever heard.  His power throughout the songs really drives them forward.  The synths, while they don’t take the lead as often as they could, add an extra level of atmosphere to the music, giving it a “haunted house” kind of sound. 

The one thing that is disappointing is the guitars.  Their playing is outstanding, but they get buried in the mix and you can’t hear them a whole lot over the drums or the synths.  The synths are typically playing the same melody as the guitars would, which gives you an idea of what they are doing, but it would have been nice to hear them a little more to keep the big and full sound going throughout the song.

Overall, Khristenn Corpse is a force to be reckoned with.  They proved themselves with their first teasers of material in previous years, but Grotesque kicked their game up to a whole new level and they are ready to rock.  The mix at some points proves troubling, the unique sound the band has developed reigns through.  Grotesque is available through many labels in many different countries, as well as online on their Bandcamp page.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Temple Of Darkness Zine

Hailz everyone! Welcome to Temple of Darkness zine, where I will focus on reviewing and interviewing underground bands.  I would prefer to review any sort of black metal music, and maybe some death metal.

A little about myself, Samyaza, I have been listening to metal music for well over a decade now.  Black metal has grown to be my favorite sub genre and I can not listen to enough of it.  I realized how much talent underground bands have a few years ago and I finally want to attempt to spread the word about these bands that I like so much.  I, myself have an atmospheric black metal project called Aeolus, so I definitely love to hear what other bands out there are doing!

If you would like your band interviewed or reviewed, please contact me at and I will be in contact with you within 24 hours.  I will listen to every submission I get and will likely review every one as well until my to do list grows to the point where I cannot possibly do every submission I get.