Heavy Artillery – A Interview With Jochum From Tank86 …   Leave a comment

Tank86 have recorded what I think is the best instrumental metal album released this year with ‘Rise’ which is a whirlwind of killer riffage, hooks and relentless power. I did this interview with bassist Jochum van Weert. If you haven’t heard Tank86 as yet, you better make it a priority now !!

1. First up, congratulations on a great album. My first question has to be give the readers some history of the band. Most people have only discovered the band since the release of “Rise” but the band has been around for a few years, am I right ?

Yeah we’ve been around for a couple of years. Our guitarist Joost and me and our former drummer Jan started the band somewhere in 2004 and we were soon joined by Floris on guitar. We released our first EP called “Ariba” in 2005. In 2007 Rogier replaced Jan on drums and we released another EP titled “Behold” in 2008. Last year Harold replaced Floris on guitar and now “Rise” is our first full length album. So yeah we’ve been around, slowly honing our craft into what it is today.

2. There has been a steady increase in the number of instrumental bands in recent years, why do you think this is and how did Tank86 come to be an instrumental act, why no vocals ?

The increase in instrumental bands is probably due to more and more people discovering how cool it actually is, both as a listener and as a musician. As a listener there is a lot more room for your own interpretation since there’s no lyrics that tell you what the songs are about, so you can fill that in yourself. As musicians there’s greater freedom in writing. There’s no conventional song structures you have to conform to and it’s easier to incorporate different styles in your music.
TANK86 deliberately set out to be instrumental for this very reason. We were in a few crappy bands before this and with TANK86 we wanted to keep things in our own hands instead of depending on a vocalist. We never looked back since.

3. A few music-related questions now. The songs on “Rise” have some odd time signatures and a lot of tempo-changes. Was this planned out or did they come from the result of a lot of jamming ?

I’d say a bit of both. Most were specifically written, but some just came up when jamming the new songs. Since we’re instrumental we have to do more to keep songs interesting. Tempo changes and odd signatures are two great tools to do it, so those have become integral parts of our style.

4. Tank86 almost can’t be tagged by any genre, it is stoner-metal one minute, then sludge, then doom, then classic metal and the band even sounds kind of like a progressive-metal band in other passages of music. Was there much thought given to the actual style or did it just come naturally ?

We just play the stuff we would like to hear ourselves. We like all the genres you just mentioned, so it’s just natural those end up in our own songs. It’s simply what comes out when we start writing. The mixing of these different styles also works very well to keep the songs interesting. A doom riff just sounds way more heavy when it comes right after a fast riff. It’s all about dynamics.

5. One thing that I didn’t mention in my review of “Rise” is the song “Gottes Krieger” features a solo by Dozer’s Tommi Holappa, how did that come about ?

After the release of Behold in 2008 we had the pleasure of doing a European tour as support for Dozer. Tommi is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, so when we asked him if he liked to contribute to our new album he immediately agreed. We sent him a demo track of the song beforehand so he knew what he was up for. When we were in the studio recording Rise, we sent him a rough mix as soon as we recorded the song. He recorded his solo in Sweden and sent it back to us so we could mix it in the track.
The name of the song was also the name of the nightliner bus we did the tour in, so that adds a nice touch. We thought it fitting for an instrumental band to add guest features by cool guitarists to the album and we think it turned out really well.

6. A lot of people have a pre-conceived idea about Dutch bands and that is they are all pot-smoking hippies. Of course that comes from thinking about all those coffee shops that sell weed. Does the drugs really play a major role in music in your country or is it just a cliché created by the Western media ?

I think it’s a bit blown out of proportion. Of course there is the coffee shops and a liberal view towards using weed, but people here don’t really make a big deal out of it. The fact that beer is legal in the US doesn’t mean everybody is drunk all the time. There’s people smoking a lot, there’s people smoking occasionally and a lot of people never smoke at all. Probably the same in every other country except the smoking here is legal, that’s really all there is to it.

7. You told me about all the hard work and time that went into making “Rise.” Can you tell the readers when that process began and what went into the recording process for the album ?

I think the oldest song on Rise is about 2.5 years old, so all that time we’ve been writing stuff for the record and slowly fine-tuning everything. At the beginning of 2010 our guitarist Floris had to quit the band because of health issues, so that set us back some time. We were lucky to find a good replacement in Harold and he worked his ass off in learning the stuff and helping us finish up the writing.
We took a lot of time recording the whole album by ourselves first, after that we went into the studio to record it again professionally. This way we had all the details and layers worked out before we entered the studio. That way we could really focus on the recording itself while we were in the studio. We’ve set up our own label Rising Magma Records to release the album, so a lot of work goes into that as well.

8. The album sounds amazing, it is incredibly loud but at the same time clean and crisp with each instrument being perfectly placed within the mix. Can you tell us about Rob Van Boeckel who mixed the album and how did you come to work with him ?

About two years back we decided to experiment in a few different studios. Not to record an album per se, but just to try out different things and recording techniques. New Road Studios with Rob van Boeckel was one of those studios we tried. We liked the session there so much that we decided to record the album there. Rob is great to work with, he really knows his way around his studio and the equipment, but lets us do our own thing. He has suggestions and critique but just at the right times. We’re very happy with the recording and mixing process. On top of that Brett Caldas-Lima of Tower Studio did an awesome job on mastering the album, so kudos to him too.

9. The band has received some very good reviews for “Rise” and lots of them. Did the band embark on a major promotional campaign for the album or has a lot of been word of mouth ?

We’re very happy that people really seem to “get” our album. We do our promotion ourselves so we sent out CDs to everywhere we saw fit. The rest of it is word of mouth and that is of course the best advertising there is. That’s the good thing with the heavy rock community: everyone is very passionate about heavy music, so good stuff spreads itself. That along with the internet gives the power to bands like us to reach a big audience. Good times we live in.

10. Tank86 is an instrumental band but is the band influenced by other instrumental bands and if so, who ?

We draw influences from a lot of stuff, surely some instrumental bands as well. A couple that come to mind are Capricorns, Karma to Burn, Pelican and Russian Circles.

11. Us American people are really jealous of you Dutch folk, great bands, a great scene and of course the Roadburn Festival. What is your opinion on the scene in your country ? Is it really as good as it seems to be ?

Yeah the scene here is great. There’s a lot of decent venues, so lots of cool bands come to play here. We’re pretty spoiled actually. So for a country as small as ours we’re doing pretty good.

12. Speaking of the Roadburn Festival and live shows. Tank86 has played on the same bill as bands like Monster Magnet and Pelican which is two very different sounding bands. What have those experiences been like for the band ?

It’s been great. Like you said, there are a quite a few different styles mixed up in our music. This gives us the advantage that we’re compatible, so to speak, with a lot of different bands. There’s something in it for both Monster Magnet fans and Pelican fans I guess. Both experiences have been cool. Monster Magnet is fun because it’s over-the-top rock and roll and it’s a big band, so we get to play for a big crowd. Pelican is way more atmospheric and progressive, which is just as cool, but in a different way. We get the best of both worlds in that sense.

13. The future for Tank86 looks extremely promising. Now that “Rise” is out there, what has the band got planned for the rest of 2011 and 2012 ?

We’re currently talking to booking agencies to set up a European tour after the summer, so that’s the focus for now.  We’ve worked our asses off on this album so we’re eager to start destroying stages everywhere.
Also we’ve slowly picked up the writing again too. This album is done, so now we gig and write new stuff for the next one. It’s just what we do.

14. I think that is all the questions for now. Thanks for the interview, much appreciated. Any last words for the readers ?

You’re very welcome. No deep messages from an instrumental band, just stay heavy guys!

Tank 86 Official Website

Posted July 1, 2011 by doommantia in Tank86

Katatonia – Brave Murder Day …   Leave a comment

Not every band creates a masterpiece let alone a landmark album. Most only squeak by with a “good” or a “great” recording that while admired by many doesn’t gain the cult status and the inevitable debate that others do. This in short, was Katatonia’s finest hour. This could be considered the birth of modern Doom/Death, as it doesn’t follow the path of the Peaceville three. The aforementioned were crunch heavy, riff happy and structured. Katatonia on the other hand opted to open chord over 90% of this recording as well as considerably repetitive and minimalistic with their riffs, avoiding the hallmarks of what is now traditional Doom/Death.

The production is good enough for what is here. Apparently this album was written completely in the studio, perhaps causing the minimalistic characteristics more out of necessity than intention. The guitars are not all that heavy but they are epic in a somber sort of way. There are leads woven throughout every song. The songs have a semi-droning feel to them. A sense of hopelessness and futility are ceaselessly beaten into your skull throughout the album. It also sounds as if they are in drop ‘D’ tuning. The bass follows the guitars but this only adds to the downtrodden feeling. The drums are more or less played on hi-hat, bass and snare with little to no variation. This is also used to good effect, as anything more would have caused this album to lose its sorrow filled and pointless vibe.

The vocals, provided by Opeth’s Mikael fit the music’s dreary attitude nicely. He sings clean on one song but the rest are his trademarked growls/shrieks. The lyrics are simplistic and lacking in intelligent English. Over all this is a very emotionally stark album. Its bleakness filling the listener with visions of oblivion. This is the album where the band developed its signature melancholy guitar sound. This album (like Paradise Losts’ ‘Gothic’ before it) gave way to countless copycats and sound-alikes even to this day. If there are any bad marks to be given it would be the band should have continued on in this style. (Granted ‘October Tide’ continues this style to an extent, it’s not the same).

This is a very recommended album to Doom/Death fans or anyone interested in what good Katatonia sounds like as it’s truly a masterwork of simplicity and sadness. This gets a 9/10.

Review Written By Grimdoom

Katatonia Official Homepage
Katatonia @ Facebook
Katatonia @ Youtube
Katatonia @ Peaceville

Posted July 1, 2011 by doommantia in Katatonia

The Stats For June …   7 comments

Well I be damned, June was the best ever month in terms of views, comments and posts. The view count smashed the previous monthly record but it was also Doommantia’s busiest month yet with 118 posts which included over 80 album reviews.

Nothing much as changed in where these views are coming from, the USA still tops the list but Italy has now firmly cemented its place at number two. Next comes Germany, Russia, the UK and then Greece and Australia. The 311,260 page views came from a staggering 122 countries including places I have never heard of such as Azerbaijan. In the USA, California heads the view-count with my home state of Washington right down at the bottom of the list. Back to countries, some country figures are way up especially Finland which shot up the list by some 30 places. All pages on Doommantia get viewed by the 100’s to the thousands daily with the home-page being the most popular but that is obvious. Second is the podcast page and thanks to Crestfallen’s Kev and Bob from the Soggy Bog radio shows for their continuing support. The third most popular page is the Doommantia web-store even though nobody buys CD’s anymore and that is followed by the Foundry Of Show page and keep on tuning in for that too.

I said in the May report that the site had peaked, well I was wrong so I will say it again now. The sudden jump in views can only be blamed on the extra amount of posts made possible by the new writers that have climbed on-board. I give heart-felt thanks to Sarp Esin who has done a remarkable job supplying us with insightful, detailed reviews. Daryl Adolph from Canada who is another great writer and Andrea Costanzo who is one of the most prolific reviewers on the Internet. John Wisniewski who keeps coming up with exclusive interviews including one he did with John Perez from Solitude Aeturnus. And of course I have salute Grimdoom for his reviews on some of the older doom albums which have been an essential addition to the Doommantia site. I can’t let this moment pass without thanking the rest of the Doom-Crew. Aleks Evdokimov – your interviews rule my friend, Marilena Moroni aka Mari – you are one of the sweetest doom-witches on the planet and your posts are always wonderfully entertaining and informative. Dr.Doom Metal is also prolific in his interviewing capabilities and his additions to the site are always awesome reads. Mahesh and Saul Crowley have also gave us excellent reviews and articles. Last but not least, Sandrijn van den Oever and Dr. Abner Mality – you guys are two of the coolest, most genuine people I have ever met and your work will never go unappreciated. I also have to thank Lee from the The Sleeping Shaman and Adam Drzewuck from We Wither for allowing us to share some of their interviews and live reports. Thanks to all of you.

The interest in Doommantia reviewing albums is now officially out-of-control. If you want your album reviewed, be ready to wait. Even with 15 writers it is impossible to keep up with the demand. My personal waiting list for reviews is over 90 albums and I know some of the other writers are struggling to keep up with the amount of music that keeps on coming in. A couple of other things, my mailing address has now changed slightly after a major screw-up by those monkeys that called themselves the US Postal Service so take note of the new information on the contact page. Also, I have to say thanks to my wife Crystal for not only putting up with the ear-splitting doom music that is constantly playing in our apartment daily but for also joining Doommantia and more specifically the web-store. She is now the person you need to address all enquiries to when sending CD’s for reviews and she also will be the one sending out the CD orders. Soon there will also be a toll-free number to place orders so keep watching out for updates. The website keeps growing and expanding and will continue to do so. Thanks to everyone that sent me get-well wishes and made enquiries about my health. I am living on a day-to-day basis so your support is everything I need right at the moment. OK, that is all for now, thanks and as usual Doom on, support the bands, please buy an album, don’t steal it if you can avoid it and spread the word on your local underground heavy bands. Over and out……………Ed

Posted July 1, 2011 by doommantia in Doommantia, The Doommantia Forum

Wreck of the Hesperus – Light Rotting Out …   1 comment

I’ve been a fan of Ireland’s ‘Wreck of the Hesperus’ brand of funeral dirge since I first heard their 2006 opus ‘The Sunken Threshold’ and while their output since has been a little disappointing, I am glad to say they are back, sicker but more sophisticated and atmospheric than they have ever been before. This album comes in an interesting package; it is presented in A5-cardboard sleeve containing 3 beautiful graphic art cards that represent each track on the album. The only words I can think of to describe ‘Light Rotting Out’ is otherworldly and surreal. They still sound like a very pissed-off Thergothon or a doomed-out Burzum or Darkthrone but this album unleashes a complex array of emotions through blackened ambiance and raw, sludgy doom that is thicker than molasses syrup.

What makes Wreck of the Hesperus a unique band in the doom scene it is what they don’t do and don’t play that makes them great. Their silences, pauses, starts and stops really makes this album the engaging, tormented experience that it is. The music keeps you guessing and keeps you on the edge of insanity for all of its 40 minutes. Starting with ‘Kill Monument’ the band stumbles along like a wounded mammoth, lurching with ominous mutated notes and eerie rhythms. They have an industrial, ambient edge but there is also hints of free-form jazz and even cinematic soundtrack music but mostly this is raw, filthy funeral sludge that is ugly, angry and monotonous but it still keeps my attention despite is repetitive bleakness.

Throughout the opening track then ‘Cess Pit People’ and the two-part ‘Holy Rheum’ sounds, noises, chants and strange instrumentation appear and constantly interrupt the flow but it mostly all works in adding to the horrific atmosphere of impending gloom. The only mis-step is some sax parts which sound a little out-of-place but apart from that, the arrangements are as mesmerizing and interesting as they are disturbing. Of course there is monster riffs of doom but the real outstanding element here is the drumming which is simply incredible. It is rare to have a band playing tempos at about the speed of a slug but still have a busy drummer in the band but that is the case with Wreck of the Hesperus’s Ray Keenaghan, this guy is always doing something behind the kit whether it be interesting drum patterns ( that have more in common with jazz than doom-metal ) or just intriguing cymbal work.

This album wont be for everyone of course, it is a harrowing extreme album with extremely long extended pieces. ‘Holy Rheum’ drags on for 22 minutes of morose-doom for example so if you like tunes that are straight to the point, you might want to bypass this album. However, being the sick puppy that I am and having a taste for de-structured, ambient doom, I have to say I am quite taken with ‘Light Rotting Out.’ In the world of funeral-doom, this is really about as ambitious as it gets. The style is not renown for being adventurous but Wreck of the Hesperus are really stretching themselves on this album while still maintaining the funeral-doom traditions. If you are a fan of the aural slime then the quality and atmosphere of ‘Light Rotting Out’ should satisfy……8.5/10

Wreck of the Hesperus @ Myspace

Posted July 1, 2011 by doommantia in Wreck of the Hesperus

IMPORTANT: Address Name Change For Review Submissions …   2 comments

IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR CD REVIEWS – PLEASE READ….

There has been a slight change in the mailing address for review submissions. Please no longer send any mail with the names Earthdog Promotions or Ed Barnard. Due to the US Postal Service’s sheer incompetence, I have no choice but to change a couple of things. The new mailing address is as follows…..

Doommantia.Com
c/o Crystal Barnard
212 North F St,
Apt D6,
Elma,
Washington,
98541,
USA

Posted June 30, 2011 by doommantia in Doommantia, The Doommantia Forum

In Times Of Solitude – New Solitude Aeturnus Comp …   Leave a comment

Massacre Records has set a July 15 release date for a new compilation from Texas doom metal veterans SOLITUDE AETURNUS. Entitled “In Times Of Solitude”, it features “demos, early days footage and rare tracks,” according to a press release.

A song from the collection, “It Came Upon One Night”, is now available for streaming on the Massacre Records MySpace page

“In Times Of Solitude” track listing:

01. It Came Upon One Night
02. Transcending Sentinels
03. Into Battle
04. Sojourner
05. Where Angels Dare To Tread
06. Rememberance Of A Life
07. And Justice For All
08. Sojourner
09. Mirror Of Sorrow

SOLITUDE AETURNUS’s latest album, “Alone”, was released in November 2006 through Massacre Records. The CD was recorded at Nomad Studios in Carrolton, Texas with Sterling Winfield (PANTERA) and J.T. Longoria (KING DIAMOND) sharing engineering duties.

Posted June 30, 2011 by doommantia in Solitude Aeturnus

Draconian – Where Lovers Mourn …   Leave a comment

Draconian is a curious entity in that they seemingly came from out of nowhere into the spot light after a few surprisingly high quality releases. This band has an uncanny way of blending Doom, Death, Gothic & Black into a highly original sound that they completely own. This release is perhaps the “blackest” of the bands proper releases.

The production is good enough for the songs within. The guitars have a very Black Metal feel to them opting for more opened chorded/single noted passages then the crunch the band would later use. They are a surprisingly epic yet incredibly melancholic. There are no solos but the leads are solid and misery filled. They only accentuate the sorrow in the lyrics.

The bass more or less follows the guitars and drums but it does sound good all the same. The drums are more or less standard Goth/Doom patterns, but they do work well with the material. The keyboards add to the vibrant atmosphere and help with the backbone of the guitar dirges. The lyrics are more typical for the style, about love and loss with a poem thrown in for good measure.

The vocals from both singers are brilliant. The male vocals go from spoken word to more mid-ranged Blackish howls to guttural Death Metal growls. The female vocals are vibrant and sharp. Lisa Johnson is by far a stand out singer and certainly one of the best female vocalists in the Metal field today. Her vocals add a more drastic yet tasteful contrast to what has become one of the more played out trademarks in underground Metal.

Overall the only complaints about this album are that after the halfway mark some of the songs start to blend together. That and that Lisa isn’t featured more prominently. Aside from these, this is a very good début album from an up and coming Goth/Doom Metal band and if you’re into the more romantic side of said style then this is a must. Highly recommended. This gets an 8/10.

Review Written By Grimdoom

Official Homepage

Posted June 30, 2011 by doommantia in Draconian