Reaping the exterior: an interview with Håkan Stuvemark from Skineater

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With aggressively sculpted malice borne from its charnel house of blood drenched intensity and bone splintering violence, Dermal Harvest the debut album from Swedish death metallers Skineater, is an impressive and savage pleasure, a release which is equally viciously antagonistic and carnally satisfying. It is an introduction for most to a band which since forming in 2008 has instilled a primal rapture and acclaimed driven attention within a great and growing many. Seizing the opportunity to find out more about the band and its first album we had the pleasure of talking with Skineater founder and guitarist Håkan Stuvemark.

Hi Håkan and welcome to The RingMaster Review, thanks for talking with us.

Hi, it’s always a pleasure!

For those still untouched by the Skineater aggressive scourge of sound tell us about the beginnings of the band. Are we right in thinking the band was a slow moving thing for the first couple of years? What was holding it back from fully emerging or was it an intentional thing to get your sound right?

Yes, you could say we were slow moving, mostly of natural causes .In June 2009 Jeramie Kling and I recorded two songs, He Was Murdered and Dismantling, Which you find as the first two tracks on Dermal Harvest. We had them finished in September or so and sent to a couple of labels and two of them were interested but unfortunately money is an important detail overall more or less, especially in this case with Jeramie in the U.S and me in Sweden. However we worked on that issue every now and then with labels over quite some time and coming to that was kind of long time with no action, loss of great enthusiasm without losing interest though!

What was the driving intent for the band when it started?

It started when I played bass in Vicious now known as GrandExit. I hadn’t played much at all for some years, practically nothing until I joined them in 2007. Autumn 2008 we recorded their third album which I’d written a song for and it was during the recording of that song when I played the guitars etc. I woke up and Hey! This is what I’m supposed to do and I can do! I had found myself again! So that’s what drove me and still is driving me. I left the band a couple of weeks after and intensively writing songs and as you’ve heard it ended up brutal!

2011 saw Carnal Forge and In Thy Dreams drummer Stefan Westerberg join to take bass duties in Skineater, was this arguably the point the band found its impetus to move forward and break free of restraints and recognition shadows?

We had in mind to be become a five member band but as I said earlier “long time with no action……..” Stefan and I got in contact February 2011, he wondered if we needed a bass player. Yeah, sure! Then he was on board. We knew each other since we both played in In Thy Dreams. He was the addition needed, new blood in the band, new energy, another mind.

The members of Skineater have some impressive pedigrees and experience band wise between them; can you give a quick run-down of their histories before the band?

The Swedish metal inbreed haha. Well, the most essential bands of each one of us:

I (Håkan): Wombbath, In Thy Dreams, GrandExit (ex-Vicious)

Stefan: Carnal Forge, In Thy Dreams, Steel Attack, 8 Foot Sativa

Matte: Defleshed, Dark Funeral, Sportlov, Raised Fist

Jörgen: The Mary Major

Kari: Mourning Sign, Amaran

The band signed with Pulverised Records for the release of your debut album Dermal Harvest, what did the label offer which drew you to them?389264_288275817916734_1801045964_n

Yes, we ended up there on Pulverised. About the new energy and blood to the band, when Stefan joined the two of us began chasing more deals and Pulverised showed interest and over some discussion with them and contract adjustments they had us. It fitted our plans, recording deals and all that. All seemed just fine!

Dermal Harvest we called a charnel house of blood drenched intensity and bone splintering violence, and though we felt it was not ‘re-inventing the wheel ‘, it was an impressive and savage antagonist which you can only devour greedily. How would you describe it to newcomers and are we fair with all our points?

I think you got it quite right! Groin crushing, cocky death metal in an excellent blend for everyone!

The album was recorded at various locations? Was this intentional or just the things which new bands have to deal with through finance and opportunity challenges?

It’s in many ways very practical, especially due to that we are living spread over Sweden. Would work for me as I live only 25 km from Västerås where the studio is but for Stefan and Jörgen it is 400-700 km’s one way. Economic disaster to commute. We recorded the drums in the studio and the other instruments at our own places then we sent it all to Studio Underground for re-amping, mixing and mastering.

Tell us about the recording of the album, and how long the release was in coming alive from its first seeds to release.

I think we can refer a little to the previous question about the recording. However, the recording began in August 2011 when we recorded the drums. Later, maybe in November I started to record the guitars, Jörgen had been working on the vocals for a while at that time. On top of that it was the bass, must have been February 2012 and last of all Petri Kussisto recorded his guitar solos in his studio and sent them to Studio Underground. The album was completely mixed and mastered in June that year and released in February this year (2013).

Did the album evolve much during the actual recording from the original demo ideas?

We had solid demo songs/sketches but we improved practically every song. There’s always something you wanna change, small details and new ideas coming up

From an impressive start Dermal Harvest for us built up song by song to its biggest triumphs and intrusive might. How did you go about setting the track order on the album, did as much thought go into that as say the production and the art theme?

We wanted to give the listeners a good album from start ‘til end so we listened quite a lot and spent some thinking over the tracks and order. It turned out very well!

Talking about the artwork, who created the excellent cover art?

Mattias Björkbacka made it. He also produced the video for the song Dismantling we recently premiered.

skineaterThe art depicts perfectly the lyrical and sonic predatory hunger and intensity of the album, did Mattias have sounds to work with, be inspired by first from you?

Mattias and I know each other so he’d heard more than one song for sure. He and I talked a lot about what the cover should look like, many ideas and details in the air. You know, one idea leads to another which leads to yet another and so on and this Ended up in perfection!

Is there a moment of the album which you feel is Skineater at its most potent, shows the purest breath of the band?

Only one and short answer on that…On every song!

What are your hopes for the album in the progress of the band and where are you taking it out live to share its glories?

That we reach out even more; get new fans which in their order will spread our word. We are hoping to get some live shows now. The album was released early which is good and festival shows would really be something. Of course other shows too!

Again thank you for talking with us. Any parting words you would like to offer?

Thank You! That’s the hardest question! -Spread our word folks in our way to conquer the scene!

Read the review of Dermal Harvest @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/skineater-dermal-harvest/

Interviewer Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 21/03/2013

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Houdini: Into The Woods

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    Alternative rock/noise rock conjurers Houdini has for a long time been one of the most inventive and promising bands in the UK, not only with their impressive releases and live performances but also in helping and working with other upcoming bands in the Medway area in Kent where they reside. As to date deserved national awareness has eluded them but with new single Into The Woods the time of change just might have been triggered. The track is a magnetic and fiery slice of imagination and enterprise dripping with the now established Houdini sound but at the same time shows another strong step in songwriting maturity and sound contagion.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Greg Webster, bassist Giles Barrett, and drummer Tom Bonner, the band since forming in 2009 has made a strong name for themselves with fans, the critical media, and extensive radio play with the likes of The Bone Orchard and 2951561600-1Audioburger. Their first two singles What A Fire and especially Smokers Cough, in 2009 and 2010 respectively, captured the imagination of a great many whilst their debut EP a year later, Deadlines, elevated the band to one expected to make a major impact on the British rock scene. Admittedly things have not exactly exploded to that point yet but as a split release with Frau Pouch last year showed, it was not down to any lack of invention or inspiring creativity from the band.

Into The Woods as mentioned takes the band nearer to that breakthrough, and though arguably it has misplaced the catchiness which marked tracks like Smokers Cough and Deadlines, the song has evolved a richer and more expansive breath which offers an equally irresistible encounter. Opening with a sonic tease and delicious restrained guitar lashes, the song settles into a keen romp with bass and drums inciting an immediate union between ear and the lure of the more serious nature of the song, though alongside there is constantly the teasing melodic mischief and swagger which marks any Houdini songs as theirs. The vocals of Webster has an expressive tinge to them as expected, but also carries a difference to their presence which matches the sound, a growing of style and intent.

Across its flank the track twists and investigates a variety of gaits and corners within its overall strolling engagement, each adding extra intensive flavour and intrigue to a song which wonderfully never settles down into expectations or presumed stances. The single is an exceptional release and without question the most accomplished and inventive release from the band so far.

If you have yet to discover Houdini you have missed out, but hit up their Bandcamp and you can eagerly catch up and feast upon a band which brings a fresh and invigorating to British rock.

http://houdinisaur.bandcamp.com

http://houdiniband.tumblr.com/

8.5/10

RingMaster 21/03/2013

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Turbogeist: Ancient Secrets EP

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    Having fallen in love with an Alien Girl…the first single and song from UK punk rockers Turbogeist which mischievously teased these ears two years ago, anticipation going into the Ancient Secrets EP was on full alert with arguably already preconceived  reactions ready to pounce. The five track release certainly did not let down or disappoint expectations and though it did not quite light those same fervour lit fires as did the single, the EP is a thrilling and richly satisfying piece of devilment.

The London based quartet take their influences from seventies punk and eighties hardcore with particular inspiration from the likes of The Replacements, The Damned and The Misfits. Their sound though is more open than that suggests, with loud whispers of garage punk and feisty rock n roll adding their devious temptation to the energetic and raucous flavours the band taunts and pleases with. Lyrically the songs of the band and on the EP are just as cunning, the mix of sci-fi tongue in cheek pestering wrapped around  thoughts on the ‘stuttering evolution’ of man as aggressive and devilish as the infectious musical  brawling around them. Co-produced by the band and Chris Sheldon (Pixies, Radiohead, Foo Fighters), the digital and numbered coloured vinyl 10” releases of Ancient Secrets should be the first key to a deserved wide recognition for the band, which the released of a debut album later in the year will undoubtedly feed upon.

Mermaid’s Revenge winds itself in to view with sonic flames of guitar coaxing the ear whilst rhythms and bass shuffle into TURBO_CVR2position. With all things in place the track swaggers with confidence and mischief as the vocals begin the tale of man’s ill-fated attempts to conquer nature and the siren lure of the deep blue. Aided by strong group backing shouts and a muscular prowl to the gait of the song, things become more contagious and riveting by the sinewy second with the elevated energy and scorching breath of the song now a stirring punk and rock anthem for the ear. As across the release, the song fails to find that irresistible lure of the previously mentioned single but undoubtedly holds sway over the passions with accomplished intent and antagonising presence.

The following Zero Friends stands eye to ear with the listener and makes its statement on social networking and its effect, something which always feels ironic considering the unavoidable need bands today have for the medium, but Turbogeist is a band not fearing nipping on the hand that feeds. It is a brief punch of a punk song which again lifts emotions and satisfaction to pleasing heights soon equalled by Black Hole. Immediately forging through the ear with thumping rhythms and apocalyptic declarations, the track is the band at its heaviest and vigorously potent, a classic metal wind guiding its hardcore soaked concentrated aggression. Already across the EP there is diversity to the sound within the distinct umbrella sound of Turbogeist which excites and fires up expectations for the impending album.

The opening to Up Front instantly feeds the inner fervour with uncompromising bone splitting drum beats and a gravelly primal bass grind which seduces with predatory persuasion, soon joined by taunting vocals adding a tease through repetitive announcements. It is an inciting entrance which explodes into a prime punk abrasion to spark further greed in the passions for its uncomplicated yet insightful sonic and rhythmic hooks and barbed company. Ending as the favourite track on Ancient Secrets, it seals any doubts, which were barely audible, into a lost cause.

Closing song Rats is a final riot for an ardour seeping fever to devour, the stormy union of classic rock and garage punk a last infectious entrapment on the EP. Released via Spinefarm Records, Ancient Secrets confirms that our earlier set in infatuation was well placed and probably set to find deeper lust ahead with the debut album. Cross Every Time I Die, Red Tape, The Cramps, and Hagfish and you do not get Turbogeist but you come closer to their individual sound.

http://turbogeist.com/

8/10

RingMaster 21/03/2013

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Goatcraft: All for Naught

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    All For Naught, the debut album from Goatcraft certainly caught us by surprise, the release an introduction to a band which from name alone we had made inaccurate assumptions about. The name, song titles, and to some extent the cover art brewed thoughts of a band unleashing either or a mix of black, death, and occult metal with a serpentine breath as toxic as its sound. What strikingly emerged was an instrumental album which certainly moved through the insidious breath of those genres but is a neo-classical bred feast of key sculpted tracks soaked in and breeding the most compulsive shadowed ambiences.

The album does not take long to make those preconceptions a distant thought as track by track it ignites and inspires thoughts, imagery, and emotions which relish and feed upon its inciting sounds. Elegant and intensive, the release is an intrusive and captivating tempest of passion and creativity from a project borne from the frustration of its creator in regard to the state of occult and other extreme and imposing genres at the time. Formed in 2010, the solo project of San Antonio based Lonegoat was soon creating strong impressions as it began playing numerous shows opening for underground metal bands across Texas. From initially a sonic keyboard attack the sound evolved and was refined into an enveloping encounter of neoclassical piano layers wrapped within atmospheric cinematic ambiences and noir whispers. Released via Forbidden Records, All For Naught is a truly unique encounter, the result of Lonegoat creating music in isolation overlooking the dark suggestive waters of Texas which leaves the listener bristling with vivid colourful questions and scenarios which can only be resolved and explored through further involvement with the album.

Opening track Call Me Judas slowly immerses the senses in a brooding velvety ambience which offers rich menace and satanic Cover Artseduction. Immediately one is thrust into thoughts of seventies/eighties Italian horrors films, the piece a dark hearted dramatic wash which would have perfectly suited and driven on a Tenebrae or Suspiria. The resonating voice of the off kilter piano is sensational and with the throaty lure combines for an enthralling and emotion igniting fire. The track is the perfect example of each individual and distinct track and their ability to provoke feelings and mental situations, its personal journey sparking images of encroaching shadowed corners and beckoning dark temptation reaped from a malevolent yet tempting insistence.

The intense and emotionally pressuring enticements continue with compelling and skilled imagination through the likes of Infinite Death, the intricate weaves of synths and keys which deliciously haunt Journey to the Depths, and Isolation Ripens, a track which embraces the first cinematic efforts in tone and innocence yet driven by a blackened melancholic passion which opens up a multitude of emotive investigations.

Across its whole expanse, the album ensures every note and breath of the release is impacting, emotively and mentally incendiary, the composing and playing of Lonegoat stunningly innovative and impressive. Its classical seeds ripple and engross not only musically but also with the literary and cinematic essences which pervades each piece of passion enslaving music. For music which is devoid of everything but keys of numerous descriptions and a production which allows them to breathe and tell their narrative with an honest and raw yet refined craft, the intensity it bears upon the senses is immense and again startling, a presence which numerous full on black metal albums would fail to blossom within the listener.

Some tracks are mere whispers in time and others with a prominent stance, all of which holding the deepest attention. Further exceptional highlights come with Laconism of the Cosmos and Consciousness is a Disease, but to be fair every piece of music is sensational and richly inspiring to thoughts and emotions. All for Naught is an album which will surprise, maybe even shock and wrong foot, but it will also bring rewards unlikely to be found or felt elsewhere, rewards which incite the fullest fires.

http://www.goatcraft.net

8.5/10

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