Behind The Scenes

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Let me introduce myself… By Ivona Bogner

I was born ″In a land of farmers on Hilly Balkan, far, far away″ Bloody Fairy Tale, Desanka Maksimovic) and I still live here. I did not change my address but I have been living in four countries so far.

I come from a multinational family. What a curse! In Serbia, if you are not a Serb, if you are not religious, if you are not Orthodox, if your family name does not end with ić, your life can turn to hell. During the war(s), my family faced with extreme nationalism when followers of radical politic party tried to throw us away from our home. A home my great grandparents built. I still clearly can hear their savage screams: ″Go back to Croatia!″ I was trying to explain to my great grandmother we lived with, why the toothless people smelling like hell, are screaming in our yard. When she understood, she screamed back: ″I will go back to Hitler, stupid idiots!″ Yes, she was German…

And yes… If you are Catholic, if your name is bit a different, in Serbia, everyone thought you are Croat. Nothing against Croats, but as far as I know, I have no Croatian blood. Only German, Austrian, Polish, Slovenian, Macedonian and French. I was raised by one rule: never judge people by their name, nationality, religion, skin colour…Judge them by their deeds. And that′s why I still can’t and I never will understand why when I recall my childhood memories, I recall war, hate, pain…

I was always a social person, so madness was only excuse to isolate myself and hide behind writing and music.

In my early childhood I was exposed to punk music. My uncle (mother′s brother) was a punk rocker. That word did not exist in my vocabulary. I knew I loved his hair, his needles and pins, his clothes, his boots, his friends, his music, but I had no idea what that was. He passed away when I was six years old…

Grandmother locked away his belongings, but I was too curious to find out who my uncle was. So, years later, when grandma wasn′t at home, I have opened the world of the unknown. I still keep his The Ramones pins and audio cassettes. As a tribute to my uncle and punk roots, I have had short hair cut till the end of highschool.

And metal?

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My parents decided to move from house to apartment in golden age for Serbia… 90′s. We had war, hyperinflation, embargo… And we were moving… Since there was nothing much to do during that crazy times (basically we were searching for a survival formula), my world was our basement. There, in my father′s old books, I have found newspaper article about Black Sabbath. And I was instantly hooked. One Ozzy Osbourne photo was enough. When I asked my father to tell me more about the band, he told me his father has an LP collection. And that is how I started.

At the end of 90′s, sweet, melodic and glam metal bands were mainstream. Even here, you could hear on the radio Bon Jovi, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Cinderella, Europe, Gorky Park…

We were buying audio cassettes on the black market. I knew nothing about the bands, except how they sound. No booklets, not band photos… Nothing. Who they are, where do they come from, how do they look like… Music was all that matters. And even today, 30 years later, I am proud to say: ″I still love Skid Row! I still love Europe! I love metal!“

What about writing and music journalism?

I was in the first grade of highschool. My father had part time job, as an engineer on the radio, so once I went to see his working place. While we were talking, one of editors heard me and asked who I was. I jumped and said: ″Sorry, sir, I just came to see my dad, I am leaving now!″ Next I remember: I was in a studio, reading some news. Together with fifteen girls and boys of my age, I was working our own radio show every Saturday morning. And no one knew my name! I was only a kid with great voice. I sound myself like drunk Donald Duck, so how could anyone like my voice?! After a year in on the radio, and three months on TV, I decided to leave. I am not a voice! I have a lot to show!
The next step was school magazine on senior year of high school. I had a chance to learn from amazing people and I am grateful to opportunity they gave me.

After I signed up for university, I had no free time to write.

The year of 2004 came. The hardest year of my life. My mother passed away, so sudden, so unexpected… I still remember the moment and horrible scream I heard under the shower. In a blink of an eye, I was in our living room by my mother who obviously had brain stroke. Sister was in panic, dad was on the phone, and me? From that moment, my life will never be the same. That day, part of me died. Next thing I remember: I was a choosing casket, I was choosing clothes, arranging funeral. Just because everyone thought I am the strong one. I quit my education, because in that chaos I just couldn′t organize my life. I didn′t know how. It was expected from me to cook, clean, pay bills, take care of my younger sister… Dad locked himself in the room for three months, what else could I do? How to save my mental health? Writing is the solution! Music and writing! Then you create the sum: music + writing ═ music journalism. Over the years I was writing for several European magazines, but there is only one I want to mention. Polish Sepulcros. My friendship with the magazine owner who moved to Sweden, led me to few more magazines, and today, you can read my reviews, reports, interviews and now this columns in three European magazines.

In the meantime,. I am proud owner of not one, but two university degrees, two specializations I have regular job, but most of all I am writing, traveling, I′m still in the front line or even step closer in photo pit searching for the best angle, best stories, best interviews… I have met amazing people all around the world and searching the way out of this doomed country. I am searching for freedom.

I progressed. From my neighbours typewriter to lap top, from rock and metal books to internet, from LP′s to digital albums… And if you would ask me, I would always get back to the typewriter, because, if you have never felt that pain after numerous attempts to type an article with no mistakes, you learnt nothing!

Writing and music remained my psychotherapy.

Now, when you know me, join me on my journey behind the scenes.

And if anyone still wonders who I am: I am a metalhead with a punk attitude!

ivona

 

Toxik Metal May 14th

Toxik Metal: May 14th: Death Metal / Black Metal / Thrash Metal / Folk Metal
https://www.mixcloud.com/GhostWaveRadio/toxik-metal-may-14th/

Todays’ show includes new releases from Amon Amarth, Memoriam, Enthroned, Sabaton, Abbath and Eluveitie

Amon Amarth – Shield Wall
Turisas – Battle Metal
Mystik – Nightmares
Memoriam – Shell Shock
Enthroned – Hosanna Satana
Sabaton – Fields of Verdun
Abbath – Calm In Ire (Of Hurricane)
Embludgeonment – Witch Cunt
Maniac Abductor – First World Disease
Damage S.F.P – Ruthless Fate
Riot City – Steelrider
Aegonia – The Offer
Eluveitie – Worship
Onslaught – Metal Forces

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Review: Turbocharged – Above Lords, Below Earth

Turbocharged – Above Lords, Below Earth (GFY Productions)
Review by Milos Sebalj

“BlaSwedes” are back! As far as I’m concerned, that should be news of the year! It’s been two long years since “Apocalyptic” and the wait is over! Twelve tracks of their trademark ugliness are coming soon and you cannot even begin to imagine my happiness when I got an advance promotional pack. Calling these Swedish bastards my friends has been an honor for a couple of years now. Having said that, this review has absolutely nothing to do with the friendship! This is simply fantastic musical output and probably the best Turbocharged has come up with yet.

“Above Lords, Below Earth” is the fifth full-length record by Turbocharged. To describe it briefly I will use the title of the closing track of the album, “Unholy deathpunk”. That’s exactly what this is. A deadly combination of D-beat Punk attitude, early Swedish Death Metal brutality, with just a pinch of Motorhead-like Rock ‘n’ Roll (particularly in the mentioned track). Keeping it plain and simple, Turbocharged manages to create memorable songs with simple, yet effective riffing, straightforward rhythm pounding to break your neck and in your face blasphemies. There is no place for inner reflection, deep thoughts, quasi intelligence, senseless technicalities, studio recording tricks or pristine production. Hell, this trio doesn’t even record an additional guitar track to back up the solo parts. What you see is what you get. This is aggressive music to punch you right across the mouth, and should be considered as such. There’s a statement in the informational sheet that claims “Turbocharged never came in peace” and I cannot add anything more to that. Even the label name, Go Fuck Yourself Productions, fits perfectly to the sounds emanating from these 35 minutes. As I’ve mentioned before, there are 12 tracks on this release, so the songs are less than 3 minutes in average. As Punk as it gets. Furthermore, these guys are deeply rooted in the DIY attitude, keeping almost every aspect of their creation under their own control. Well, as far as I know, the cover artwork wasn’t their creation, though it looks great, especially the choice of colors to perfectly represent the “rust” to be sanded of your speakers.

If you still haven’t, make sure to check this band out. If you consider yourself and old school Metalhead or Punk, this one must be on your top priority list. There is nothing smart I could add here. As mentioned, this is not music for your IQ to grow. If I ever need any kind of neck surgery I’m pretty sure these Swedes will have to cover at least half of the insurance fees.

Album pre-order: HERE

https://www.facebook.com/turbochargedswe/
https://www.facebook.com/GFYProd

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Review: Dunkelnacht – Empires of Mediocracy

Dunkelnacht – Empires of Mediocracy (Non Serviam Records)
Review by Milos Sebalj

Vive la France, and its Metal scene, as long as there are albums like this one. One just might expect an album like this by a 15 years old band. Their influences are clearly on display, yet their music combines them so that there is a clear view of the path Dunkelnacht threads on their own. Furthermore, the internet provides an interesting information that this started out as an ambient project. And why is that important? Let’s find out.

The French quartet on their third full length presents a variety of styles, all mixed into a highly coherent sound that should have a vast application to different fans. Brutal Death Metal meets, melodic variations, (symphonic) Black Metal passages, technical displays… In short, extreme Metal placed in a blender, switched on and poured over some ice. Shaken, not stirred. And it is quite tasty. Add some of those ambient interludes (not too many) and you’ve got yourself a nice 47 minutes of music. A bit softer that Belphegor, less of a show-off than Behemoth, more Metal than Dimmu Borgir… So, somewhere right in between.

Now, the “somewhere in between” approach might just mean that Dunkelnacht will probably end up in the average pile. However, while they could use more “hooks” to reach the popularity status of the aforementioned bands, they certainly have their fair share of memorable moments to place them above the “let’s just play some music and have fun” bunch. The French show a high level of creative imagination, necessary in such mixes. Arranging their tunes so they do not become boring or overly pretentious. Skilled musicians they certainly are, and now they prove they have skill enough to compose.

I have no idea how hard it would be to make an album like this sound a bit “dirtier”. The production is way too clean for my taste, although it does not stray into “plastic”. I can only guess they needed to sound like this so that all the nuances are clearly heard. It might just ward off some of the more close-minded fans. Still, I guess the ones who are in love with their influences will be delighted with “Empires of Mediocracy” as well. Plus, the music “hides” behind a beautiful (is that even a word in extreme Metal?) cover artwork.

What more do you need? Well, if you are in search of Blasphemy sound-alikes you will probably be very disappointed. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more thought-provoking combination of Death and Black Metal, this one is certainly for you.

https://www.facebook.com/DunkelNachtBand
http://www.non-serviam-records.com
https://www.facebook.com/nonserviamrecords

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Psyhton Interview

I’ve been a fan of Yorkshire Metalheads since very early in their career, so here’s my long overdue interview with frontman/chief poseur, Bing

*(And if any of his answers don’t seem to be written in English, that’s his Yorkshire side shining through)

Now, originally, I was supposed to interview you late last year (it’s my fault it never happened), but so much has happened since then… new album, new band member and now new covers EP…
Ta for having us! You’ve helped us out from day one, so I’m chuffed to be doin’ an interview for ya!

We’ll begin with the album, The Last Days Of The Good Times, your 3rd album in as many years… I know mature is a word that probably isn’t thrown at you (personally) very often, but as a band, you’ve really matured on this album. What have you done that’s different, and was it a conscious decision to head in a more, well, Iron Maiden, direction?
The only thing that is properly different is that we’ve had more of us chucking riffs and tunes in the mix; instead of Will writing a whole album, he wrote a few, spruced up a few he had knocking about, me and Eddie chucked in a song or two each and a few riffs… we’re saying that it’s just a more interesting album.

The Maiden/NWOBHM direction was not fully conscious, but it was definitely in there in our subconscious. The album wasn’t necessarily written any differently in terms of aiming for a specific sound, but we’ve been discussing NWOBHM together a lot over the past year; using it as a reference point and something of a rallying point as we try and stick to being a metal band…

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And the artwork, it’s certainly different… were drugs involved when you chose/created it?
Artwork has never been our strong point, but personally, I like the other albums’ artwork – I like the ideas, and they’re there if you see ’em. This one is a bit different because there is actually some ‘art’ work… did it misen wi a pen and some crayons… the idea isn’t too difficult to discern, and I have always doodled this way, lines and wotnot… so – yeah – drugs were indispensable!

I know you like to play live as often as possible, so I guess losing a band member really messes with your live schedule… so who’s out, and who’s the new addition?
Yeah – wheels came off a bit back end of 2018… briefly: Luke is out, Eddie has switched instrument and Duayne is (back) on bass!

Luke (Rodgers) decided in November that he didn’t have time to do the band, for very personal reasons. It was sad because Luke was there from before the start.

So from there, Eddie moved over to guitars; now, Eddie is a guitarist, one of the best I’ve ever known, but he’d been away from doing bands for a while, so that’s how he originally ended up on bass; as soon as the opportunity to get on guitar presented itself, it was an obvious move.

So that left the bass spot open; we had a few people get in touch, and we kinda got the feeling that some were just saying that they were into it and wanted to do it on the assumption that we were just a ploppy little metal band… once they started to have a look at the riffs, I suppose they realised they’d have a job on their hands…

So the only guy who actually learnt any of the songs got the job; and that was Duayne… which is funny, cos Duayne was the original bassist for Psython in 2014, our first incarnation!

Now you’re gigging again, what can we expect from you in 2019? Is it cramming in as many gigs as possible, or do you try and get some more high profile support slots?
We’re trying to get what we can man… we’ve done alright so far, we’ve got some gigs a bit further away (Bristol, Newcastle etc), which is cool, but we’re uncertain if it’s the best strategy for us – see how it goes.

We have to take what we can – we’re not in a position to dictate terms or even ask for payment, so while high-profile supports would be good, we can only hope that we get a few! We’ll keep on at folk like, but, as ever, it’s in the hands of the gods…

And Bloodstock? What would it mean for the band if you got through to play there?
Mate – can you even imagine…??? It’d be massive! Frankly, I’d be in a rock-star reverie all day, if we got to play…

Presuming you’re looking at it through the perspective of M2TM: If we did get there, I think we’d try to make the most of it, play like bastards! Hopefully we’d make some fans, and get some more interest from people able and willing to give us a hand wi stuff… there’d be so many cool underground bands there and so many promoters/managers etc… like to think we’d make the day count!

But, ultimately, it’d be nice to be able to play shows and festies like that under our own steam, to be asked to play… but that’s way off!

Your new EP is a very nice selection of Metal covers from the likes of Def Leppard, Saxon, Maiden and Priest. How did the idea of the EP come about and were there any covers that didn’t make it on this time, that we might get to hear in the future?
Glad you approve! There were loads of covers that didn’t make it; but it was tricky deciding on just one song per band. Really happy with how it’s come out though… I think we’ve done NWOBHM proud, even if I say so myself!!!

We did the EP for loads of reasons really; we needed something to promote once we started gigging again, something to attract attention to the album. We wanted to try out a new method of recording, that would help speed up the recording of albums; Harry recording drums at his place then sending them over to Will for guitars, vox and mixing – worked a treat!

But, perhaps more cynically, we wanted to record some songs that nailed our metal colours to the mast… we feel that there’s a lot of splitting hairs when it comes to genres; we’re metal, and we use hues from the whole spectrum of this broad Rock and Metal church! We decided that we’d like to do something to tip out hats to a time when Metal was still the unwanted child of the music scene, but was full of pride and energy.

So lots of reasons, but we’re chuffed wi how it’s come out, and we hope we’ve done NWOBHM proud… I actually got in touch wi Graham Oliver to send him the song; he lives near me and every now and then I see him dropping his mum off in the centre. He gave me the thumbs up… it’s proper mint to think that there were kids like him, playing music like that, in the 70s right where I live… and Metallica supported them in the US… mint!

But it is really tempting to do another load of covers… just cos it’s so much fun!

We all know the music industry and has been turned on its head with streaming, declining cd sales etc… So, a band in your position, trying to “further your career”, what’s missing and what needs to be done to help emerging bands?
Oh man… we need some industry magic… or a lottery win! We need someone to bang our drum, cos we’re really bad at selling ourselves and doin’ all that PR stuff…

But who knows what a career in a metal band will look like in a few years!!! I’ll stick to my guns though and repeat what I always say; you can’t analyse ‘the scene’ without taking the wider economic picture into account. Top and bottom of it, most people have a lot less money in their pockets. Couple that with the fact that the way we socialise these days does not demand that you physically be anywhere. Essentially, I reckon, people stay home to have a drink and listen to music, watch vids… save their pennies…

Until something drastic happens economically, I really struggle to see where live heavy music will be in say 10 years. 10 years ago my hometown was far from awesome, but there were half a dozen or so decent pubs where you could catch live underground metal bands… they’re gone now… and it’s hardly news to point out that there are so many ‘metal-friendly’ pubs shutting down, even in the cities!

Many thanks for your time… is there anything else you’d like to add, shit to plug etc…?
Thanks for your time man – always there to help us out, just wish we could do more for you! I’d urge any readers to check our choonz out… and then come to a show and buy some merch!!!

https://www.facebook.com/psythonofficial/
https://psython.bandcamp.com/

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