Sunday, 9 September 2018

Album Spotlight: Forlorn Citadel - Songs of Mourning / Dusk

Songs of Mourning / Dusk by Forlorn Citadel is to be released in November as part of the Northern Silence Underground Series, which is aimed at giving new and as yet unknown artists a bit of a kickstart with the opportunity to get their music out in physical format. Forlorn Citadel is one of these artists and the album combines the two demos released so far into one release which will get a limited-edition CD run of 500 copies.

These two demos, individually titled Dusk and Songs of Mourning and originally released in 2017 and 2018 respectively are very different in style yet show considerable promise even though Forlorn Citadel is still in its formative years. Originally conceived as an ambient / dungeon synth project with the first demo being entirely in this style, Forlorn Citadel soon moved to incorporate black metal into the picture with the second and it’s this sound which forms the basis of where Solace (the sole member) plans to take the project.

I’ll talk about each of the two parts separately simply because they are very different and mark two different phases of the band. Dusk was the first demo released (although makes up the final part of this CD) and consists three short tracks of pure dungeon synth / ambient style music. What’s here is enjoyable and atmospheric, with serene ambient sounds combining with more solemn and dramatic medieval sounding parts to create a vivid yet calming atmosphere. In all honesty the only real thing that lets the Dusk part down in my opinion is it’s just too short to draw you in and immerse you fully in the sound. However, this was just the starting point for Forlorn Citadel and it serves well to showcase where the roots of the band lie, but it’s with Songs of Mourning where we really see this project take shape.

Released originally earlier this year, Songs of Mourning shows a much improved and much more confident sound, with the addition of black metal as a core ingredient as well. The atmospheric synths are still prominent, but we’re hearing a much more well rounded and fleshed out entity here. Synths may well be common in black metal anyway but given the origins of this band we see the synths employed with great effect and they make up a significant aspect of Forlorn Citadel’s sound, pinned together by the black metal framework. The essence of both black metal and dungeon synth is captured and comes out to the full, complementing each other well and anyone who is a fan of atmospheric black metal of this nature will find much to enjoy here.

Put together, the combined release does an excellent job of showcasing just what Forlorn Citadel is about, as well as acting as a landmark to show where this band is at now and where it came from. Songs of Mourning may well be the stronger of the two parts, but the Dusk tracks are an essential part of this too given that without them you’d lose half of the current make-up of Forlorn Citadel’s sound. I think when all is said and done, the main thing Songs of Mourning / Dusk accomplishes is it leaves you hungry for a full, proper album. It’s a solid release in its own right but also a great appetiser for the upcoming main course and that is something I really look forward to hearing, and I guess this is part of the intent behind Northern Silence’s Underground Series.

This really is a great start, and if you’re a fan of black metal, dungeon synth and ambient music this is worth getting hold of as it plays on the strengths of those genres and makes the most of the common ground shared by them, and as such the music presented will appeal to most people who like those styles I expect. Being honest, I think Forlorn Citadel is a band we’ll hear great music from in the future and hopefully will be a band recognised for doing so. Watch this space folks.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Album Spotlight: Manes - Slow Motion Death Sequence

We’ve seen boundaries pushed in black metal pretty much since the origins of the genre, we’ve also seen a good number of bands shatter those boundaries completely. Bands such as Ulver, In The Woods, Arcturus, and Solefald may have cut their teeth in the Norwegian black metal scene but have since gone on to achieve much more by moving beyond it. Manes are another such band, formed in 1993 and performing black metal up to and including their album Under Ein Blodraud Maane. In 2003 they took a radical departure with their album Vilosophe, heading in a more avant-garde direction and have continued on that path ever since, polarising the opinion of fans in the process as tends to happen.

Cut to 2018, and Manes have returned with their latest album Slow Motion Death Sequence, released
on August 24th via Debemur Morti Productions and it’s likely to be no less divisive amongst metal fans but hopefully it’ll find a dedicated audience who will appreciate what Manes are doing here. I can easily list some of the styles Manes incorporate in their sound, including but not limited to metal, electronica, trip hop, industrial, ambient, alternative rock and pop, frankly though that list is about as relevant to the sound as a list of ingredients in a cake recipe is to how the cake tastes when you’re eating it. Suffice to say, Manes see genres not as templates but as tools to create something entirely of their own, and what they’ve come up with here is something pretty special indeed.

“Endetidstegn” lays the groundwork to Manes’ latest musical vision, the initial minimalistic electronic beats and subdued moody vocals are joined by layer after layer of sound with guitars, drums and additional female vocals coming in and the song gradually building up to a powerful crescendo. There’s a stark contrast between the restrained opening parts and the dramatic conclusion of this song, highlighting the full range of sounds and emotions Manes produce on this album. It’s a great start and a springboard to what comes later, it’s soon apparent that Manes have far more tricks up their sleeves. There’s “Scion” next, with a lighter, more upbeat approach, I’ll admit at first it took me a while to warm to this particular song with the vocals coming across as jarring at first but after a couple of plays I came to appreciate it a lot more. It’s a strange thing with this album, on first listen there’s a deceptive air of simplicity and accessibility, just enough to entice you in further, after a few spins though you really come to appreciate the true depth of the music on offer here and how meticulously crafted everything is. Repeated listens are essential, the fourth will sound very different to the first.

I won’t describe every song on here, each song on Slow Motion Death Sequence is unique in its own way though and there’s some real gems to be found. “Last Resort” is one of my personal favourites, the early parts settling comfortably into familiar sounds, perhaps reminiscent of In The Woods in places as well as recent Anathema. Come the five-minute mark though this song really bursts into life, with a blast of guitars backing up powerful female vocals with raw emotion pouring out. It’s simply breath-taking and standing bang in the middle of the album serves as a real peak to some already epic sounds on either side. There's some dark moments too, “Poison Enough For Everyone” is a much bleaker and more depressive affair, with the downbeat almost spoken vocals backed up by distorted synths soon spiralling into a Reznor-esque anguished style.

There’s much more I could say about this album, suffice to say it’s one of the most unique and rewarding albums I’ve heard all year. It’s hard to draw reference points but from a metal perspective I’d say if you’re a fan of In The Woods, Solstafir and / or later Anathema stuff this will be right up your street, even though the metal aspects are only a small part of what Manes are doing here, you’ll hear more Bowie influence than Black Sabbath. Ulver would be an obvious comparison too, more because they share a similar path and spirit of adventure though rather than with the actual sound, they’re very different bands and it’s unfortunate that fans seem to have been less kind to Manes than they were to Ulver. It is sad that albums like this will often be judged negatively simply by not being “metal”, whereas in fact bands like Manes are producing outstanding original music of a high calibre in a world where innovation is much harder to find and most things have been done before. Hopefully that can be appreciated regardless of whether this is your cup of tea or not. At the end of the day I can draw all the comparisons you want, tell you what’s going on in here but simple fact is Manes stand proudly in their own place with Slow Motion Death Sequence, this is an incredibly strong, rich and rewarding album and for me I’ll go out on a limb and say that in a few years time I fully expect to be looking back on this in the same way I look back on La Masquerade Infernale and Perdition City now. Incredible stuff, give it a chance.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Album Spotlight: Ulykke - Angantyr

So, here’s a surprise, Angantyr is a Danish one-man band I came across way back, probably around 15 years ago if I recall correctly, through the album Kampen Forts√¶tter. It was an excellent if quite raw release, I’d not kept track of the band for a good while though, so it was a pleasant surprise to see a new Angantyr album arrive unexpectedly in my inbox. Now Angantyr started out as a synth / ambient project in 1997 then quickly became a black metal band, with Ynleborgaz being the man behind it all. He’s released a few albums over the years, but aside from the recent Foragt EP this is the first release since 2012 and also marks the 20-year anniversary since Angantyr’s first demo. The album is titled Ulykke and is set for release on March 30th via Northern Silence Productions.

If you’re a fan of Angantyr, chances are you’ve got a fair idea what to expect, no frills, no nonsense orthodox black metal in the classic 90’s Scandinavian style. You’ll also expect a certain level of quality, in spite of the rawness of some of Angantyr’s previous works what’s always stood out is just how well written and performed the music actually is. This is crucial to bands playing this style, especially now in 2018. After all, Ulykke breaks no new ground nor does it deviate much from its course for just shy of an hour, so if you want to get and more importantly hold people’s attention you’ve got to be top of your game. Angantyr, thankfully, is just that. The potential shown in those early albums has really come to fruition here, 20 years of experience and a considerable amount of talent, not to mention a huge improvement in the production department makes Ulykke an incredibly strong album and a first-rate example of how traditional black metal should sound and still be relevant in today’s era.

Simply put, Ulykke manages to be a captivating and spellbinding album from start to finish, made so by the fact that musically Angantyr knows how to do pull this off and knows how to keep you hooked. On the surface it may sound like just another black metal album, as you listen though the riffs and the outstanding guitar melodies set the path and lead you on an enthralling trip for the 59-minute duration. In terms of the actual songs, there’s little point isolating the tracks individually and you’ll find most of the variety on the album comes within each song as opposed to being radically different from one to the next. Each song though is well put together and packed with ideas, no one part outstays its welcome but avoids being cut short either, and the seven songs here could each be considered as one leg of a much longer journey. Ulykke is fairly upbeat as black metal goes, the harshness and intensity are there in just the right amount but there’s bucket loads of melody employed as well as an entrancing atmosphere which, in spite of the harshness of the style still has a serene, majestic and uplifting quality. Without deviating so much as to be labelled “melodic” or “atmospheric” black metal, Ulykke still manages to be both.

Angantyr’s sound most certainly benefits from the focus and singular vision Ynleborgaz has for his music. I’ll admit I’ve always loved the diversity of black metal, and the dynamic between bands who experiment and push new boundaries alongside those who firmly resist change and stick strongly to tradition is something which keeps the genre interesting. Angantyr has staked a flag firmly in a specific point and refused to move from or look outside that, uncontaminated by current trends and outside influence and for Angantyr this works extremely well. The focus is channelled firmly into this vision, and the result is something which has a refreshing purity to it. That really stands out on Ulykke, some bands playing this style might sound like they’re emulating the 90’s, Angantyr here sounds like it IS the 90’s and for all intents and purposes you could easily be convinced that’s where Ulykke is from. It’s rare to hear that on this level in all honesty, and it’s one of the key strengths of this album.

In summary then, I’d say Angantyr is far better than a band playing traditional 90’s Scandinavian black metal in 2018 has any right to be. If you don’t like that style, there’s little here that’s going to convert you I’ll admit. If you do though, you’re in for a treat with this one. It’s not always about pushing boundaries, experimenting and trying different things, with music like this it’s about performing and enjoying the style of black metal you love, sticking to your guns and keeping the black flame burning. Angantyr has a clear vision of the target, has drawn, aimed, delivered and firmly hit the bullseye with this one. If you’re into this band, Ulykke is a much welcome return after a six-year wait. If you’ve never heard Angantyr, now is a good time to find out why this band has picked up a cult following over the years. No nonsense, no frills, just first class black metal exactly how it used to be, and one I can happily recommend to anyone with any degree of liking for this style.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Album Spotlight: Insurrection - Spreading The Disease

It’s been a while, but the Sine FM Metal Zone blog returns today with a look at the album Insurrection by Spreading The Disease. They’re from Kent, formed back in 2014 by bass player Steve Saunders. So far their output has consisted of the EP Viral, which received much critical acclaim, and now Insurrection, their debut full length album which came out last year. They describe themselves as a modern metal band, list bands such as Slipknot, Machine Head, Pantera and others as influences, and with Insurrection they certainly seem to have impressed a fair few people and made a decent impact.

There’s certainly no denying the passion these guys show here, the tracks here are bursting with rage and energy, there’s a hell of a lot to like about this band for sure. The heaviness is there, meaty riffs and grooves plough forward and bring a sense of fire and passion throughout Insurrection, you’ve got some fierce vocals too from Connor Russell Snyder, the yells and screams delivering the raw aggression and complemented by decent clean vocals interspersed throughout. If you’re a fan of modern metal you’re going to find Insurrection ticks all the boxes for sure, and certainly the younger metal audience are going to lap this up. It does everything you want it to on that front. However, the same can be said of a lot of bands in what is becoming an incredibly saturated scene and depending on your point of view to hear of a “modern metal” band listing the influences they do will typically evoke one of two reactions. Either chomping at the bit, or rolling your eyes in your head thinking jeez, not another. You could be forgiven for the latter of course, and you’d be pleasantly surprised when Spreading The Disease prove you wrong though, as they’ve delivered a strong debut with the raw aggression you want from a contemporary metal album yet showing enough maturity and diversity to impress all but the most jaded of cynics.

I think what I like most about this album is that they’ve drawn on so many different influences that come together to deliver their music the way that they do. They’ve got a very clear vision in how they want their music to sound, but they’ve got a fair few tricks up their sleeve in how they go about delivering that. Metalcore and hardcore fans will find much to enjoy, particularly in the early songs, opener “Find My Path” and “Words Unspoken” for example. You’ve also got a healthy dose of thrash showing through as well as punk spirit and influence showing through in a lot of the songs, both in the riffing and Connor’s vocal style at times on songs such as “Spreading the Disease” and “Greed” for example. The band do ease off the throttle on “Can’t Let Go” and we hear female vocals paving the way for a great solo which even gives nods to prog and doesn’t sound out of place, even a dash of funk on "Brexit Wounds" too. “Save me” has to be a real highlight of the album where Spreading The Disease really let rip and tear at you full force and I imagine it’s ferocious live too. Another highlight is “Whores of War”, clocking in at six and a half minutes but brings together so many of the strong points of this band in one song and serves as a good taste of what they can really do.

On the surface you’ve got a blisteringly intense full on metal album which holds its own on a crowded scene, but you’ve also got a band which can go much deeper and inject their music with a personality entirely of their own, and this becomes more apparent on repeated listens. If there’s any downside to this album I’d say it’s mainly down to the fact that there’s a lot of unrealised potential here. Spreading The Disease stretch far in many directions and are certainly ambitious. However, while I can’t quite put my finger on exact points there’s times where you think that they occasionally miss the mark or more accurately they sometimes fall short of what you really know they can do. That’s no bad thing, it leaves them somewhere to go, this is a debut album and as debuts go it’s an incredibly strong release, but I did occasionally get the impression that they’re trying a lot of different things here and some of it didn’t have the impact it could have. As I say, this is far from a negative point as it didn’t make me enjoy this album less so much as make me curious as to what we may hear from this band in the future.

In summary then, a great debut, and it’s worth checking Insurrection out if this sort of thing floats your boat, and even if not it’s one well worth giving a chance, you may be pleasantly surprised by Spreading The Disease. They’ve lit the fire here, I’m sure it will burn even more brightly in years to come.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Album Spotlight: No Stars Upon the Bridge - Hallatar

I’ll be completely honest, I’ve done a fair few album reviews over the years on here and on other platforms and few albums have been as difficult to begin to write about as this one, Hallatar’s debut album No Stars Upon the Bridge. This is partly down to the circumstances surrounding the formation of Hallatar, and partly down to the sheer emotional weight of the music here and what it represents. It’s not something I can sit here and review in a conventional sense, it is however something I can gladly simply write about and just tell you about and hopefully draw your attention to and share with you all the same.

If you aren’t already aware, Hallatar is a band formed by Juha Raivio, guitarist from Swallow the Sun and Trees of Eternity, and began after the tragic death of Aleah Starbridge, Raivio’s partner and vocalist for Trees of Eternity who passed away from cancer in April last year. Raivio had collected together Aleah’s writings and poetry, and having gone to a very dark place spent a week writing the music which, combined with Aleah’s writings would then form Halllatar’s debut album. He invited Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen and former HIM drummer Gas Lipstick to record this music with him, who both immediately agreed to do so without hearing so much as a note of it, and so Hallatar was born.

Slow, melancholic doom makes up the core of Hallatar’s sound here, tipped with a rawness that really hits home the raw emotion laid bare on this album. Opener song “Mirrors” showcases this from the off, with sorrowful guitars setting the tone early on but it’s when they drop out and Tomi Joutsen’s vocals kick that this really hits home. His vocals literally scream pain here, offset by cleanly sung lamenting segments which add to the overall effect of this opening song, which goes through many different phases and contrasting elements flooding the listener with mixed yet powerful emotions. This devastating opener is followed by “Raven’s Song”, one of the spoken word tracks on here, with Draconian vocalist Heike Langhans lending her voice to these parts as well as singing alongside Joutsen on the haunting “My Mistake” later on. In places we see that Hallatar can and do adopt a more accessible and conventional approach, third song “Melt” is a classic gothic death / doom song, subtle keys enhancing the overall effect of this one, while “The Maze”, later on is quite the opposite, a very bleak and desolate piece which has to be one of the darker moments on the album.

One thing you notice about Hallatar is the synergy and chemistry between the musicians involved, the line-up is impressive on paper alone with the calibre of the musicians involved but in practice it’s literally poetry in motion. Aleah’s words brought out and set to the music of Raivio, Joutsen capturing his pain and raw emotion with one of the most powerful vocal performances I’ve ever heard him deliver, and Gas Lipstick’s drumming which, while restrained, adds drama and emphasis to Hallatar’s sound in just the right way. Heike Langhans does her part brilliantly too, her voice being naturally suited to the music here as well as to reciting Aleah’s poetry, and bearing a close resemblance to the voice of Aleah herself. Chemistry is important for any band, but here everybody has come together for this unified purpose and they give it absolutely everything they have.

The closing song, “Dreams Burn Down”, deserves special mention and has to be the one which really shows the essence of what No Stars Upon the Bridge is about, and it features the ethereal vocals of Aleah Starbridge herself. It’s a much calmer and more subdued piece than most of the other songs yet no less evocative, and possesses a calming serenity which we can only hope will be found by those Aleah left behind. It’s essentially to be Aleah’s swansong, and is the perfect epitaph and closing moment on this album.

No Stars Upon the Bridge then, is an album forged from anguish and sorrow yet also from love and beauty, and you’ll hear that reflected here. It is a tough album to listen to, and it’s not really one you will sit down and put on to “enjoy” as you would most other albums, nor would you realistically expect to. It is, however, a powerful and moving epitaph which captures a very raw snapshot of a moment in time, with shared grief inspiring its creators and driving them towards the purpose of sharing Aleah’s legacy with the rest of the world. As metal fans we’re used to hearing dark music, but I’ve rarely, if ever, heard anything which sounds quite as real as this album, it’s honest, raw and lays everything wide open for all to see, and we have to admire the courage of all involved in choosing to share this with all of us. It really is something special and succeeds in its purpose admirably, and is one I’d highly recommend.

RIP Aleah Starbridge (1976 - 2016)

Friday, 1 September 2017

Album Spotlight: HATRED - Psython

You may remember the interview done with Psython not too long ago on this site, and while it’d be fair to say that while Psython are a band who have been flying under people’s radar so far, they’re also a band which, when you notice them, you really take notice. Their last album Outputs was released last year and was very well received and rated by people who heard it, and this write up coincides with the release of their second album HATRED (Hopelessly Aware That Rage Engenders Despair). It’s been played on both the Dark Side of Metal and the Metal Mayhem shows on Sine FM and shows Psython once again channelling raw energy, passion and rage but this time in a much tighter and more focused manner. If you enjoyed the last album, this one takes what made that one good and takes it to the next level.

Opener “J√∂rmungandr”, there’s no two ways about it, is an absolute stormer, and is quite possibly the best thing I’ve heard from Psython yet. Fast, frantic yet distinctive riffs kick this one off and it’s not long before vocalist Bing Garcia tears into the fray, screaming his lungs out with a fury that I’ve not seen from too many people. The main thing you notice with Psython is these guys are full on intense, full throttle flat out balls out METAL going straight for the throat, and on top of this they can actually play to boot. It’s a lethal combination, there’s some outstanding musicianship going on here, each song packed full of killer riffs, frenzied solos and lots of little twists, turns and flourishes propelled forwards on a wave of raw passion and energy, and Psython really are at the top of their game on this.

It could be said that some songs on HATRED stand out more than others, which is the case to a point but it’d be more accurate to say that some songs take a couple of listens to fully appreciate while others deliver the payload immediately. The opener certainly sees the band playing an ace early on, songs such as “Battery Life” or “H.A.T.E.” take a no frills no nonsense approach too and will be an instant fix if they’re on your wavelength. You’ve then got songs such as “Chai Latte” or “Ten Pounds” which weren’t quite as impressive initially, at least not for me, then after a few listens you’re hearing things in them you didn’t notice before and you realise that there’s much more to these songs and the album than is immediately apparent. It adds depth to the album, I’ve played this a fair few times now and I’m still hearing new things each time, and expect to continue doing so. It’s worth mentioning the closing track, “Old Man”, a near ten minute slow and sludgy brooding epic that’s the polar opposite of pretty much everything you hear before, yet somehow seems the most fitting way to end this album.

Metal is a very diverse beast these days, something I hope is reflected on the shows we put out here at Sine FM. Amidst the many different subgenres and different paths the genre has taken over the years though, there’s bands which stay bang in the middle in the middle and get to the core essence of what made metal great to start with. Psython are one of those, they do everything you’d want a great metal band to do and if you like that raw, hard hitting no nonsense approach this one will hit the spot nicely. They’ve certainly impressed around this neck of the woods anyway, and the band describe their sound best themselves in the language of God’s own county. Reyt metal. Reyt?

- Demoniac

Monday, 7 August 2017

Interview with Danny Finch of Dead Soul Communion

While still being a fairly new band, there's a lot of very experienced hands on board with Dead Soul Communion, featuring members of Steve Harris British Lion, Synaptic, and former members of Devilment and Dearly Beheaded among others. They've just released their self titled debut album which is already making a big impact on people, including many listeners of the Dark Side Of Metal show who've been in touch and commented on just how impressed they were when they were played on air. Hopefully the future will bring good things for them, and I was recently able to speak to Danny Finch from the band and find out more about them. Here's what he had to say...

Firstly, thank you for taking part in this interview. For the benefit of anybody who may not be familiar with Dead Soul Communion, could you briefly introduce yourselves and describe your music?

Danny: I’m Danny Finch, I'm the guitarist, founder and songwriter for this album. I also do the clean vocals, but I was never meant to be the vocalist. But just couldn’t find anyone who would do it ha ha. I’m never comfortable ever describing my music or giving it a genre, I don’t like to label or kind of box in what I do. I think overall it’s just metal, and we dip our foot in some other styles too. You’ll just have to buy the album and you can tell me what our music is ha ha.

How did you all get together and what made you decide to form Dead Soul Communion?

Danny: I put DSC together right after I left Devilment, I wanted to take the ideas musically of what I was doing with that band and take it to the next level. There are a lot of changes , but it’s still very much the root of what I do. Simon (Drummer) and Kev (bassist) were both in what I think was the definitive line up of Devilment. I missed working with those guys, so as soon as I left, I started writing and made the calls to Simon and Kev who were both wanting to work with me again. You have to remember that Simon was the guy who I wrote all the Devilment stuff with for that first album, we got the sound together. So it’s only natural that we could take it to the next level, and he knows what I want, and I know how he plays and it just works. 

Who are the biggest musical influences on you as a band?

Danny: When I’m writing I tend not to listen to music, not anything that’s metal anyways. I find I’ll end up writing something that sounds like the last album I heard. So I’ll listen to a lot of podcasts or audio books or ambient music or soundtracks, something like that. I listen to so much stuff, and I have thousands of albums. I think maybe I take a little of everything, and you can hear all those styles and sounds in what I and the band does. 

You’ve all been involved in a number of other bands prior to forming this one, including Steve Harris British Lion, Synaptik and Devilment. In what ways has the experience of being in those bands as well as the sound of those bands carried forward into Dead Soul Communion?

Danny: Simon is in British Lion and Kev is in Synaptik, and of course as I mentioned before we were all in Devilment, including Dan Jackson who supplied some solos on this album. I’ve been playing since I was 14 and been in bands since I was 16. Myself Edwin (vocals) met in college in 1995 and we had an industrial death metal band called Episeed. We did a lot of demos on 4 tracks, and of course now were doing stuff on Logic and thinks are just different in the way we write and record, I never liked the whole computer based recording, but over the years I saw the advantages to it, not only from a production point of view, but as a tool to write with. I think I learnt a lot of over the years about how to write music and how to record it. I listened a lot to the producers and musicians that I’ve work with, and other bands too. I never spend any time trying to play guitar better, but I just practice writing songs. 

I think that maybe my experience over the years has taught me about the business side and the profession side of what I do. I’ve been ripped off and fucked over by so many people in the industry that I try and do things on my terms and that of the band too. We look out for each other and our business is good. We’re doing well and its growing, but it’s all on our terms and within our control. I think that’s the most important thing for me and for the band, and if you want to call it “The Product” as a whole 

Your self-titled debut album came out on July 28th, can you tell us a bit about it? What can we expect from it and who might it most appeal to?

Danny: I think it crosses a few genres and lines, I think it will appeal to not only the metal fans, but also the hard rock, the prog fans and maybe even the goth fans. I know a few people who don’t even like metal, like some of the songs they’ve heard. I’m really proud of it and I think it’s my definitive moment musically. It’s a good hard metal record with atmosphere and epic melodies. 

How was the writing and recording process for this album?

Danny: It was pretty good, I wrote most of the album here in my home studio. I guess it took about 6 months to write this album over an 18-month period, but I took a year off in the middle while I was doing the Bloodshake chorus. We recorded the drums at Simons house and everything else music wise was done here in my home studio. We did the vocals at Scorpio Studios which is my friend Jordan from Scream Serenity’s studio. 

I love writing and recording, I love the creating songs from nothing. I like how they form themselves and become songs, just from an idea or a jam. It’s the best part of being in a band. Paul was really helpful, he kind of controls my madness and helps me get to the point I want to get it. Ed was great and helping me craft the lyrics to make sense. It was a great process and it works for us. 

What sort of themes do you explore in your lyrics?

Danny: There’s a lot of emotional content in these lyrics, from break ups, to sadness, depression and suicide, to drink and drug abuse. it all kind of talks about the last three or four years of my life. I went through a real dark period in my life. I turned to heavy drinking mixed with drug abuse. I did it to cover the depression and anxiety, but I had to face it with a clear head. I had so much anger and bitterness. I’m in a really good place now and I’m clean and sober. I feel the best I’ve felt in years and musically I’m writing my best work right now. 

You also have a video for the song Suicide Lullaby, people can watch this on YouTube, can you tell us about the inspiration behind this video?

Danny: Originally I wanted a fight scene done by my friends Machete 88. I just wanted like 30 seconds of footage, but they delivered me this whole story. The video kind of took on a new vision, and it works well with the lyrical content. The lyrics and the video are about self-destruction through alcohol abuse, leading to suicide. It’s kind of how my life was a couple of years back, I wanted to drink myself to death. The concept of the video is about fighting your internal demons, hence the violence portrayed. The girl in the video is meant to symbolise an angel. Right at the end the two demons look at each other and nod to say job done. It was a great video to make and were planning to do more with Machete 88 guys in the future. 

The album has been available and selling for pre order for a while now, as well as having received a fair amount of reviews and airtime in various places. How has the response so far been? Are you happy with the response and is it what you expected?

Danny: it could be more, but we're doing it ourselves, and we're doing well. I got left with a lot of debt from the Devilment thing, so money for me is really tight. We didn’t have a massive budget to record the album, and we don’t have any money for promoting it. We're just going old school and learning how to promote this thing as we go along. 

Do you have any touring plans once your album is released?

Danny: Not for this album, but were looking to put a second album out in May 2018, and were already setting up some festival shows around the UK for the summer of 2018. Right now we are just putting our attention on to writing. I want to have a killer tight set for when we play live.

What has been the most enjoyable part of being in Dead Soul Communion so far? Also, what has been the most challenging?

Danny: Challenging has been the lack of money and budget, plus also trying to get this album to be reviewed and even listened to. The most rewarding part was handed my little girl last week the finished CD and she jumped around in joy, ha ha. 

What’s next for Dead Soul Communion once after your album has been released? What would you like to see happen in the future for the band?

Danny: We’re taking the summer off then in September we start writing album two. I’ve been messing around with ideas but in September we go full on, with plans to start recording in January 2018. I think I’d just like to see us grow, and were doing that. It’s a long slow process and a lot of work, but the pay off its gonna be worth it. It’s nice to know we are doing this ourselves. 

What are your thoughts on the metal scene in 2017? What do you like most, and least about it?

Danny: I have a big issue with the some of the labels and bands, I see so much greed. I understand that everyone is trying to make money and keep their band alive. But I see bands making big mistakes and becoming a product. It’s not so much about the music anymore it’s about “Look what crap product we have to sell you”. There seems to be a lack of original or innovative bands right now. Everyone is trying to sound like everyone else. We are certainly not doing anything new, but we take some many ideas and influences to make our sound, but my issue is bands just basing their sound on one or two bands. It’s just disposable music. I hate how many people just sit there a bitch and moan, there just doesn't seem to be the support like there was. I can see us moving away from the metal scene in the future, and I kind of wish there was a second metal scene, one that doesn't have the bull shit this current one does. I have over the past few years taken a step away from it. I still on a Friday listen to all the new bands releases that come out on apple music etc, and I’ve come across some good ones. I’ve started buying vinyl again. But I stay away from things like Facebook and YouTube, and I don’t read the comments. I don’t want to see that shit. People are just fucking it up for themselves you know, and it seems to be the younger generation that our doing it. They just want to destroy and moan, and metal starting to be separated again. Back when I was growing up you had Thrash vs Glam vs Grunge, and then there was nothing. Now you have people that only listen to Djent or EMO or Black Metal or Hardcore etc. I listen to everything and I like most styles of metal. People freak out if you listen to stuff that’s not metal. I just like what I like you know. and that’s how it should be. But I can’t stand this whole product vibe, its killing it and I’m losing respect for certain bands, but I think it’s more a thing of labels pushing that. Labels are just getting so greedy you know.

Finally, thanks again for taking part, is there anything else you’d like to add or say to people reading this?

Danny: I just want to thank yourself for giving me the time and giving us the support for our band. Thank you.