Crepuscular calm: the Dark Serenity Interview

Introducing hard rock trio Dark Serenity

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?

We are Dark Serenity, composed of members Zach Barnes (bass), Kate Emrich (guitar and vocals), and Mike Bergamo (drums). We started writing music in Kate’s basement back in high school, which is where we met each other. We were brought together by a similar level of ambition in addition to the obvious shared interest in being in a band and creating music.

Had you been in other bands before?

We haven’t been involved in other bands before, but we went through a few line-up changes until we discovered which members would stick. I’m sure it led to a change in style and direction, because we are a group that values the insight of each individual member.

What inspired the band name?

The band name means that there is light in the dark, and more specifically that the motivation for life and light lies within the reality that death and darkness are inevitable.

Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?

We didn’t approach the formation of the band with the intention of sounding a certain way. We wanted to create a sound that sounded like us, one where each one of us used our respective influences to make our own sound.

And that instinct still primarily drives the band now it is more experienced or has new aspects evolved over time?

I would say the same things still drive us. Those things being the intent to succeed in our field and inspire others to do the same, as well as to live our own lives the way we want to.

Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?

I would say our sound has matured, basically, as we have as musicians. We write in different song structures and utilize our instrument’s capabilities more fully. We can write parts that complement the other instrumentals more effectively, and more clearly communicate our messages.

Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?

It’s both. When you deliberately try new things you tend to find a more of an organic movement and vice versa.

Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?

We are inspired by the creations of many of the greats, such as Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Who. That being said we’ve never deliberately practiced their songwriting approaches.

Is there a particular process to the band’s songwriting?

Yes, typically we write by picking a key and a time signature, then doing an improv session within those specifications. The body of the song usually comes first, with the bass and drums; then the guitar, and then the vocals are written last.

Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?

More often than not our lyrics cover subjects that include and challenge societal norms. We have songs about deviating from said norms.

Could you give us some background to your latest release?

Our latest release is our debut album that we released last year. It’s called ‘Memento Mori’ and is eight tracks. It was a live tracked album, which we did on purpose to emulate the experience of a live performance.

Give us some insight to the themes and premise behind it and its songs

The themes we mentioned discussing our commonly used lyrical themes are the themes we applied to the tracks on this album.

Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?

We go into the studio with our songs completed. We don’t like bringing unfinished material because there’s no guarantee you will come out with something you’re happy with. When a song is complete there’s not really a question as to whether or not it will turn out like you had hoped.

Tell us about the live side to the band, obviously a favourite aspect of being in the band?

Live we deliver an animated and authentic performance. We’ve been told that our passion for what we do is obvious and felt throughout the room. We want to deliver the best version of ourselves.

It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it?

We have found it difficult yet worthwhile. We are lucky to have been brought up as musicians in the metro Detroit area where there are a lot of music fans and a decent number of live venues. It’s arguably harder to get your foot in the door when there are several other groups going for the same goals as you. However, in addition to that difficulty, you also find the most support from the other musicians. You have to work hard, break a sweat, then gain respect…But the respect that you gain is worth it.

How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something positive within a realm flooded with artists and a short attention society or more of a necessary trial?

Bands nowadays need to utilize social media to their advantage, just like any other form of entrepreneur. You’re selling yourself as the product, basically, and in today’s market, you need to unapologetically market yourself with the tools everybody else is using to have a shot at mainstream success. So yeah, not being able to properly use social media can hurt your career, but most likely, will stunt your growth overall. There are obviously always exceptions to a rule, though.

Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?

Thank you for having us! We just want to add that you can find our music on every streaming platform, and that you can find us on Facebook or Instagram. Please show us your support!

https://www.darkserenityofficial.com   https://www.facebook.com/pg/darkserenityband   https://www.instagram.com/darkserenityband  https://twitter.com/Dark__Serenity

Pete RingMaster 06/11/019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferi – Self Titled

VRPICoverArt

Having missed like many their self-titled album when it was released in 2012, it is with thanks to Memento Mori for resurrecting the potent and thrilling offering from Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferi (V.R.P.I.) once again for us all to devour. The album is a pestilential treat of satanic death metal with a melodic veining and raw surface which simply fires up the imagination. The band has been called Mexico’s best kept secret but with this second outing for their album you suspect their unwilling privacy will be no more.

Consisting of members of Necroccultus, Sargatanas, Ominous Crucifix, Supplicium, and Leper Messiah in its line-up, the 2009 formed V.R.P.I. has forged an intensive and impressive reputation in their homeland’s extreme metal depths moving further afield. Their debut album has been the main cause of that, its ravenous spreading of the band’s contagiously vindictive sound insatiable and sure to incite a wider hungry spotlight this time around.

The album comes in nine chapters starting with the sinister Serpents Council. From its opening desperate and haunting air the track swiftly expels a controlled rabidity of riffs and rhythms bound in a sonic web of intrigue and enterprise. It is a caustic proposition especially with the raw throaty vocal squall of Rubens Nergal, but it spears that with a virulently enticing swinging groove which attaches to the stride of the song and the intimidating guitar designs forged by Ignis Deo, Edgar Ramirez, and Jesus Inukai. It is a short and potent provocation to get album and thoughts prepared for the creative torment ahead, which soon descends on the senses through Ceremony Of The Impure. The antagonistic rhythms of drummer Daniel Sanchez instantly cast an intimidating frame coloured further by the heavy lilted tones of bass from Angs Balandran. It is an intensive barracking but one tempered by the rich evocative hues of melody clad guitar and vocal chant in the background. The track does not ignite thoughts and passions as strikingly as expected and hinted at by the previous track but still has them simmering contentedly with a keen appetite.

That hunger is soon fed a tasty voracity through Towards Battlefields, its predatory breath and stalking gait flavoured with a compelling bass sound amidst another acidic weave of riffs and sonic confrontation equipped with turbulent enterprise and a rigorously captivating groove. The track is a formidable and threatening slab of addictive hostility, death metal at its feverishly creative and intensive best matched by the very brief Ravenous Apocalyptic Raids. The track is a swift scourge of malevolence and destructive enterprise which impressively leads straight into the just as nasty and riveting Purification By The Sword. A rancorous fury of crippling rhythms and scarring riffs blaze across the senses immediately, the latter’s alignment with a scorching sonic whining irresistible. The track proceeds to lurch and twist with bestial predation and intensive urgency before settling into a more controlled but no less insistent stalking with abrasing vocals and melodic toxicity nestling menacingly over the continuing rhythmic provocation. The best track on the album it is a monstrous infesting of ears and passions, alone a reason to take V.R.P.I. eagerly to your vulnerable breast.

Its might is matched by the rising from dark depths of Leviathans Coronation. Like an awakening subterranean beast, the track flexes its rabid muscles into a destructive air as bass and drums build a tumultuous cage of lethal rhythmic violence. Its sinews continue to ripple as riffs surge purposefully alongside a sonically fuelled melodic emprise which begins to paint the track’s demonic canvas. The track continues to test and challenge, frequently shifting its gears in gait and violating ears in dark intrigue and enthralling sound. It is a real brute of a song but one wrapped in an ingenious beauty and invention which is death metal as organic as it is singularly inventive.

Both Nine Kingdoms and Hunting And Sacrifice keep the grip of the album tight even if certainly the first of the two with its varying degrees of persuasion slips in stature to those before it. With a driving nagging groove and rhythmic unpredictability the track still leaves satisfaction high before its successor unleashes its hellacious and malignant fury upon the senses. Strange to say for a track intent on corruption and viciously imposing enmity there is an elegance to the song which seduces as its tears thoughts and emotions to their bare bones. It is an impossibly magnetic onslaught which makes way for the savage Necropolis Rising, a track unleashing all its lures and spite upon the ears in again absorbing and emotionally jaundiced manner. The further into its maelstrom it goes the more infectious and addictive it becomes, preying on the passions with skilled enterprise from each of the Irapuato sextet and a combined imagination.

The album is completed by tracks from the first demo of V.R.P.I.; the raw trio of Serpents Council, Ceremony Of The Impure, and Towards Battlefields more than decent inclusions which show the seeds from which the excellence of the album has emerged. For death metal in its best creative throes of adventure, ingenuity, and sheer malevolence, Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferi, band and album, is a no brainer recommendation, especially if the likes of Morbid Angel, Deicide, and Vital Remains appeal.

Vexilla Regis Prodeunt Inferi is available via Memento Mori now @ http://memento-mori.es/

https://www.facebook.com/VRPI666

9/10

RingMaster 01/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Morbidity – Revealed from Ashes

Morbidity-RevealedfromAshes

Forging a ferociously gripping old school death metal bred presence with the fury of thrash and more grooves than to be found on the tread of a wet weather racing tyre, Bangladesh metallers Morbidity presents one of the furiously compelling and thrilling extreme metal release of the year. Revealed from Ashes is an insatiable torrent of raw and predatory death metal which infests and consumes ears through to emotions but comes equipped with barbarous hooks and gut foraging grooves to equally give the imagination a torrid and welcomingly intensive examination. It is not a release to sculpt new realms or templates for their seed genre but employing existing strains of voracity and rapacious ingenuity as it does in the band’s own refreshing and seriously invigorating way, the album is a comfortably impressive onslaught.

Hailing from Dhaka, the quintet of vocalist Defiler (Ex-Slaughter Cult), guitarists Skorcher (Retribution) and Azerate ( Nuclear Winter, Ex-Catastrophe, Ex-Urfaust), bassist Sethos (Ex-Idolatry), and drummer Nefarious goes for the jugular with every note and rhythm unleashed. The band’s influences such as old school Grave, Morbid Angel, Dismember, and Death, as well as the likes of Carnage, Slaughter, Impaler, Kaamos, Grotesque, Entombed, Cancer, Benediction, and Venom openly spice up the irrepressible Morbidity sound and it is easy to see why the band is garnering and earned strong attention and support in their spot on the globe.

The album breaths out an atmospheric mist initially as intro instrumental Decaying Souls spreads its haunting enticement. As death knells toll a thrash seeded stride crosses ears to the senses, a mystique kissed Metallica like groove entwining their swiftly satisfied welcome as the otherwise weighty coaxing of the track warms the imagination and appetite for the impending fury of Incarnation Of Death. The second track unleashes the floodgates of a voraciously intensive rhythmic testing and similarly eager riffery. Acidic grooves and continually twisting guitar enterprise binds the raging rhythms and song intensity as tightly and magnetically as they do the seamless step into a more reserved but no less rabid passage of suasion. Skilled sonic expulsions burn impressively on the senses to add stronger toxicity to the impressive storm whilst the guttural scourging masked as a vocal deliver from Defiler, just hits the submissive sweet spot perfectly.

There is a familiarity to the track and the following Let There Be Chaos, as across the album, which defies a real sense of originality but only adds to the roaring pleasure found in the searing might and weight of the incitement. The third track again unleashes a bestial ferocity and uncompromising flood of thrash seeded riffery and death metal corruption to remind that no matter how enjoyable and impressive some of the modern twists on the genre are, there is something about the origins of death metal which hit the primal instincts for unrivalled rewards.

Both Morbidity and next up Pits Of Eternal Torment ensure the foot is firmly on the accelerator of intensive confrontation and energy. The first of the two bruises air and senses with an avalanche of merciless rhythmic provocation around which the guitars spin a delicious sonic web of enterprise and vitriolic expression. The track sears the hair within ears as its lights thoughts and emotions but as elsewhere it is the pure primal sound of the bass which even within swamps of oppressive sound and adrenaline sets the brutal tone. Its successor is one of a couple of tracks which labours in the wake of those around it, though to be fair with body flaying rhythms and toxic acrid flavouring to the eventful exploits of the guitar and psyche lethal riffing, it is impossible to resist or dismiss the lure of the track.

The title track storms the barricades next leaving an exhausted and thoroughly contented wasteland of emotions, its barbarous hostility and prowling predation constantly prone to tearing chunks from the senses just riveting. Again the track loses some of the early potency of songs but still grips tighter than a dead man’s grip whilst its successor Skullcrusher reignites the richest reactions and passions again with its virulent temptation of malevolent riffs and slowly stalking rhythms beneath the darkest vocal presentation and poison yet unleashed by Defiler. It is a tsunami of spite and depraved death bred maliciousness but one easily happy to hold back at times to prey slowly upon its victim with intensive and intrusive sonic creative violence.

The release comes to an imposing and intrusive close through Unholy Resurrection, its demonic persona and pit spawned malevolence soaking every syllable and psyche splicing chord. The track is an absorbing intimidating final attack bringing an excellent album to an impressive conclusion. Revealed From Ashes maybe short of true originality but it brings everything you could wish for in a death metal release. Morbidity is without reserve a strong recommendation for all after old school malice.

Revealed from Ashes is released via Memento Mori shortly http://memento-mori.es and on vinyl via Me Saco Un Ojo Records http://www.mesacounojo.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Morbidity/133630130030339

8.5/10

RingMaster 07/07/2014

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Sinister Realm – World of Evil

SINISTER_REALM_Promo

With an air of doom to its open classic heavy metal heart, World of Evil the new album from US metallers Sinister Realm is one of those releases which just grabs you by the emotions and thrusts you into a world of muscular anthemic temptation and fiery melodic enterprise. It is an exciting and pulse racing encounter which leaves senses and appetite alert and hungry for more, something you can argue few bands in the heavy metal genre has achieved in recent times. The Allentown, Pennsylvania quartet has no problem in recruiting the passions and hunger though, certainly on this their third full length release, and without necessarily breaking down existing walls they offer something refreshingly different.

The eight track album has an imagination and depth which also takes in the essences of rich flavours outside of its core sound, this fusion rising to songs that use open influences from the likes of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Ozzy Osbourne, and Mercyful Fate in a shadows clad intensive union that sparks off of essences from bands such as Candlemass and Memento Mori. Formed in 2008 by ex-Pale Divine member John Gaffney (bass, guitar, backing vocals) and Darin McCloskey (Pale Divine, Falcon), Sinister Realm followed up a four-song demo with the well-received self-titled album in 2009, followed two years later to good acclaim its successor The Crystal Eye. Released through Shadow Kingdom Records, World of Evil takes the band to another plateau of accomplishment and one suspects acclaim, the quartet of Gaffney, vocalist Alex Kristof, guitarists John Kantner and John Risko, and drummer Chris Metzger, raising not only their own bar but that on modern classically sculpted heavy metal.

The first thing to say as we delve into the release is how impressive and deliciously imposing and creative the bass work of Gaffney is, 611-228x228throughout the release its throaty steely tone revolving through seductive  to carnivorous but perpetually darkening the shadows, breath, and creative presence of songs wonderfully. It is a bestial predator which gives an intimidation and menace to every second of the release taking the listener into hidden dangers tempering the melodic flames which equally enhance and fire up the release.

Opener Dark Angel of Fate escapes from a stark threatening ambience, exploding into an eagerly paced romp of crisp rhythms and that instantly calling bass sound. Riffs too grip attention with their unspectacular but directly invitational attack whilst the excellent vocals of Kristof parade the song’s tale with expression and strength. As becomes apparent across the whole album, the anthemic lure of the song is dramatic and potent, a power metal like charge fuelling the imaginative engine for the melodic invention to flare off from. It is an excellent start soon backed up by the following pair of Bell Strikes Fear and the title track, even if they fail to quite live up to the impressive welcome of the album. The first of the two holds more of the expectations you would assume from a classic metal song but with good backing vocal shouts and the excellent guitar play not forgetting the bass threat expanding its presence, the track is a rewarding encounter equalled by  its slower intensive successor, the song a more than decent companion to thoughts and imagination.

The grooved enticement of The Ghosts of Nevermore with its familiar yet undefined touch marks the epically breathing song as another major highlight. As guitars coax the appetite with those acidic grooves the bass unveils its own predatory but simultaneously beckoning lure, the union bringing greed into play towards the rich weave of the song. Hunger for it is accelerated by the fine craft of the guitars and the rising symphonic atmosphere infusing the air. The captivating track is just the start of a scintillating passage within the album, Prophets of War stepping up with its confrontational rhythmic sinews and antagonistic riffs next to lead the listener and thoughts into a battlefield of climactic emotion and riveting endeavour. The bass again steals the biggest share of the passions, but every aspect of the track recruits full eagerness and instinctive subservience to its towering inventive declaration, the melodic and adventurous exploration of the initial dark premise as it moves towards its climax especially enthralling.

The pulsating and deviously addictive Cyber Villain has blood surging around veins with irresistible ease, the song a thumping example of choice heavy metal whilst the instrumental The Forest of Souls calms down emotions and energies with enchantingly creative poise before evolving into the vibrant key for final track Four Black Witches to unlock its brooding malevolence and doom like gothic presence. Approaching nine minutes of classic genre fare it is a captivating if slightly overlong conclusion to an excellent release.

World of Evil is a thrilling fascination brought by a band in Sinister Realm which is giving an arguably well-worn genre a new kick of creative adrenaline.

www.facebook.com/sinisterrealm

8.5/10

RingMaster 06/08/2013

 

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Sorrows Path – The Rough Path Of Nihilism

Greek metalers Sorrows Path are classified as doom metal but listening to their satisfying new album The Rough Path Of Nihilism, they cover a lot more ground than that. Certainly their core is a slow and deeply plundering dark hearted wrap offering despair, demise, and death, but it is fused with some fine gothic, heavy, and power metal traits to make for a fully engaging and captivating release. Though not a ground breaking album sound wise it has a heart and strength which sets it apart from many other similarly driven releases.

The journey of the band to this point has been fraught and marked by tragedy. Formed in 1003 by Takis Drakopoulos (bass) and Kostas Salomidis (guitar) with the shared inspiration of bands like Memento Mori, Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass, the band grew to a quartet with vocalist Angelos Ioannidis and drummer Kostas Farmakis. 1995 saw the band playing plenty of local shows as well as the release a well received demo. That same year also saw first the search for a replacement on drums but also tragically the death of Drakopoulos of a serious brain disease. Shell shocked the remaining pair eventually resolved to carry on and with a new line-up continued to gig and went on to record material though it was never released.

Mandatory military service put the band on hiatus for a couple of years in 1998 but on its return to performing disaster struck again with Salomidis almost becoming paralyzed because of a neck problem caused by a devastating motorcycle accident a few years before. Five years of pain, courage and determination followed as he began the road to partial recovery and being able to play his guitar once more in some capacity. 2005 saw the band finally rehearsing again, working on old songs and writing anew. The band after another line-up shift released their remastered first demo along with the ’96 promo tape they had recorded to try and get label interest, through Eat Metal Records as Resurrection. Shows continued at pace and in the summer of 2008 the band entered the studio with known Greek metal producer, musician and composer Vangelis Yalamas to begin recording what was to become The Rough Path Of Nihilism.

With a current line-up of drummer Fotis Mountourism, bassist Stavros Giannakos, and guitarist Giannis Tziligkakis alongside Ioannidis and Salomidis, Sorrows Path released the album through Rock It Up Records and their long journey to their first true debut album was over, a rewarding release for all it is too.

Opening on the warm ambience and acoustic/voice introduction of All Love Is Lost, the album draws one in immediately, though not with the sound initially expected. It is a gentle caress with a heated atmosphere to revel in which eventually evolves in to an emotive insurgence with spears of gothic metal and a doom laded breath. The perpetually shifted start sets one up perfectly for what is to come, the song itself a slow burning pleasure which excels further with every listen.

Not every song hits the spot due to personal tastes but all left a captivation in their wake and an invitation to return which will not be declined. The likes of the destructively thrilling Dirty Game, with its twisted groove and infectious tease, the magnetic Mr. Holy, and Queen Of Doom, a song of shadowed seduction, wash the ear with skilful and impassioned invention, each unpredictable  without straying from its obvious intent. The best song though is without doubt Prostitute, another gothic lined track which prowls with a wanton heaviness and taunting air. With scorched yet sultry guitar play lighting up its dark corners the song sears itself upon the senses and mind, a lingering wickedness to endure time.

Sorrows Path captures the imagination throughout The Rough Path Of Nihilism and will no doubt reap the rewards for their strength and determination over the years from their very satisfying release.

www.sorrowspath.net

RingMaster 26/09/2012

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