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Interviews   

Costin Chioreanu: between two worlds


The visual dimension has always been a key component of metal aesthetics: one only needs to think about the amount of seminal bands who have been fishing in the whole history of art for their artworks – Morbid Angel, Burzum, Reverend Bizarre to name a few – to realize than the music and the art world often melt together.

We talked about that with Costin Chioreanu, whose work you probably came across without necessarily knowing it. A multifaceted artist, he designs posters, artworks and tshirts for many bands from Arch Enemy to Opeth, Neurosis and Ulver, but also directs animated videos, and works on stagedesign, for Mayhem's last tour for instance. On top of that, he plays himself in several bands like Bloodway, as well as works on several more personal projects and exhibitions.

Armed with this extremely rich and varied experience of both the music and the art world, he tells us about the relationship of the metal fans to art, and about his own. Because in the end, the medium of expression doesn't matter: the goal is always to serve a higher purpose.

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Interviews   

The Smashing Pumpkins: Billy Corgan doesn't give up


“At some point a band stops being a band and becomes more like an institution”, says Billy Corgan in the following interview. And there’s no question of giving up on his own institution, The Smashing Pumpkins, detached from all the original musicians except himself, although he describes it as merely a “concept of a band”. Corgan is now the soul of this “concept”, and has perhaps always been.

On the occasion of the release of Monuments To An Elegy, the second-to-last album in a cycle called The Teargarden By Kaleidyscope, Corgan shares whith us his feelings regarding his band (one of the greatest symbols of 90s rock), their music and the current state of rock music. This is an artist who refuses to compromise his investment in The Smashing Pumpkins, or to bow down to those who claim that everything that could be done in rock has already been done. This is a man whose well-considered, lucid and honest words make for a fascinating read.

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Interviews   

Gerard Way goes about his romance on his own


After post-hardcore-sounding beginnings under the leadership of Thursday’s Geoff Rickly, My Chemical Romance had their big break in the mid-2000s, when they became the spearhead of the emo wave (here it is, that divisive word) and were named one of the most influential rock bands by the readers of Kerrang! magazine. After a few slack years and an eventual split on March 22nd, 2013, Gerard Way, the band’s singer and mastermind, makes a bold return with Hesitant Alien, his first solo album, far removed from the dark atmospheres of the early years of his career.

So, is Gerard really that hesitant? Not quite. Puzzled by the sheer size of the monster My Chemical Romance had become, yes; put off by the workings of the musical industry, definitely. But the choices that have led him to make this new album show that the man is assertive: more than just a record, he was trying to create a new world, in which he would make no compromise and pay tribute to the great figures that made an impression his teenage years.

In the following interview, the singer talks about his career, from New Jersey to the big society events of the music industry to the writing of comic-books, about his influences, and about the driving force behind it all: emotion.

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Interviews   

Vesania: the machine is on its way


Tomasz Wróblewski, aka Orion, has had a busy year. As a bass player with Behemoth, he released the eagerly awaited and largely acclaimed The Satanist in February, then went on tour for a year. Now, this time as the leader/singer/guitarist, he’s back with his own symphonic black/death metal band Vesania and a new album, Deus Ex Machina, seven years after the previous record, Distractive Killusions. The least you can say is that he’s had time to refine that one, and you can hear it in the overall dramatic quality of the record and in the extremely rich arrangements (including strings, drums, a harpsichord, a saloon piano, Spanish-sounding trumpets and various scary ambient noises). When you listen to this album, you understand where the richness of the latest Behemoth records comes from: it’s all due to keyboard player Krzysztof “Siegmar” Oloś, who’s responsible for the orchestrations of both Polish bands.

We’ve talked to Orion to shed some light on the years Vesania was on hiatus and the way the band goes about its music. And of course, we couldn’t fail to talk about Behemoth and ask for his opinion on Nergal, one of the great figures of extreme music.

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Interviews   

Dave Lombardo: the philm of his life


Even if Dave Lombardo was never Slayer’s leader, it’s hard not to compare his situation with that of Mike Portnoy and Dream Theater. Both men are extremely influential drummers in metal, and both now enjoy a freedom that allows them to sign up for as many projects in as many genres as they want. When Lombardo tells us in the following interview: “I’ve done more in the past two years than what I’ve done in ten years with Slayer”, we are inevitably reminded of Mike Portnoy’s confession a few months before that: “What I’ve done over the last four years, I never would have been able to do if I stayed in one band.”. Both also claim to be much happier now.

Listening to him, there’s no doubt the man who once played in one of the Big Four is fulfilling his potential in his current artistic life, far from Slayer’s crazy touring rhythm and the energy that demanded. He’s just released a second album with his trio Philm, is already planning a third one (to be released in April), is about to go back on stage alongside Mike Patton and Fantômas, is taking part in a cartoon pilot for Disney and in the soundtrack to horror movie Insidious 3… Far from being a thrash drummer only, Lombardo is a jack of all trades, and that’s precisely what he’s always claimed.

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Interviews   

Dark Fortress push back their own ramparts


Only time will tell if Dark Fortress’ latest record, Venereal Dawn, is merely a gem, or rather a masterpiece of extreme metal. But given the band’s musical progression and the presence of Morean (aka Florian Magnus Maier) and V. Santura (Victor Bullok on his birth certificate) in the line-up, we should have seen it coming. The former is a singer who’s making a career in the Netherlands as a classical composer. The latter is a guitarist, who’s been playing for seven years now with Thomas Gabriel Fischer, aka Tom Warrior; at first he was merely a tour guitarist in Celtic Frost’s last hours, who later became a founding member of Triptykon, a band that now boasts two albums unanimously recognized as great works of dark metal. In other words, these two are talented musicians.

But they’re also smart musicians, who are being honest and realistic when it comes to themselves and the current metal community. The long interview you’re about to read is extremely interesting on many levels. It helps us understand the efforts the band has put into this new album, but also helps us metalheads understand ourselves, and our connection with the genre we love.

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Interviews   

Richard Z. Kruspe: The balance between Rammstein and Emigrate


Guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe doesn’t lack honesty. In 2008 already, when Emigrate’s first album was released, he told the media how distressful Rammstein’s creative process was for him – that very distress being the reason behind his side-project. Seven years later, Kruspe is back with a second album, Silent So Long. Now more than ever, Emigrate is a counterweight to Rammstein and allows him to fulfill his artistic potential.

The guitarist-turned-singer has developed his vision and his project, which has now become an open, collaborative entity, with Kruspe as the conductor. In the following interview, he explains the genesis of Silent So Long and his state of mind within Emigrate, as well as the balance his own band maintains with Rammstein. The honesty in every answer is a credit to him.

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Interviews   

Bloodbath: Nick Holmes plunges back


“I don’t like being too predictable”, says Nick Holmes in the following interview. And he never was, not once, in the 25 years he’s spent with Paradise Lost. The doom/gothic metal band’s musical U-turns have often surprised the audience over the years, but they always remained true to themselves and the changes were always successful. So it was basically just another surprise to learn he’d joined Swedish death metal supergroup Bloodbath, alongside several members of Katatonia and Opeth, to replace heavyweight singer Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth). For the vocalist, it was a perfect opportunity to slip back into his “Old Nick” persona, retrace his steps and revive his teenage passions, which never really left him.

For us, it’s also a good opportunity to talk about his relationship with death metal, his beginnings with Paradise Lost, and what drove him to try his voice at growls again. As a counterpoint to his interview, guitarist Anders “Blakkheim” Nyström, a long-time fan of the singer and of Paradise Lost and a lover of old school Swedish death metal, gives us the other side of the story, for an even more complete understanding of Grand Morbid Funeral, Bloodbath’s new album.

The last part of the interview contains a few revelations about Paradise Lost’s upcoming album, comments on the band’s live experience with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra, and a report on the progress of Katatonia’s next album.

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Interviews   

Cavalera Conspiracy: The brutal brothers


Max Cavalera is in Olympic shape, and good luck to you if you want to keep up with his crazy rhythm! Not only does the man lead all the projects he takes part in, but three of them delivered an album in the space of a year: Soulfly released Savages, Killer Be Killed created their first record, and now Cavalera Conspiracy is releasing a third album, Pandemonium. He did warn us the last time we talked: even without a single riff written, he had a precise idea what this album was going to sound like. It was to be inspired from grindcore, “very brutal, very aggressive, and fast”. Those same three words come back all the time in this new interview. Too bad for those (starting with his brother Igor) who have to deal with his “dictatorship” during recordings: Max is commander-in-chief and his vision is law. At least it proves that trust is still going strong between the two brothers, and that they’re closer now than ever. Actually, the only innocent victims are their immediate neighbors, and the cops who had to come pounding on the door…

Max tells us all about the very “underground” creation of the album, his motivations, and the musical relationship he’s had with Igor ever since they were children. And to think he’s already planning Soulfly’s tenth album next year…

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Interviews   

Jim Root: "We’re Slipknot and we’ll do whatever the fuck we want, because we’re Slipknot."


Eagerly awaited, and hotly debated before it was even released, Slipknot’s new album will finally be available on October 20th. This is the first record in six years for the band, and the very first without two of their historic members, bassist Paul Gray (who passed away tragically on May 24th, 2010) and drummer Joey Jordison (who less tragically “did not leave Slipknot” but was still shown the door last December). The nine musicians – or is it seven? Or is it nine again? Anyway, the musicians from Des Moines have overcome their ordeals, even if the road ahead is still long, as guitarist Jim Root seems to suggest several times in the following interview.

Jim Root is one of the key people behind this opus, entitled .5: The Gray Chapter, in memory of the late bassist, whose presence remains palpable. Root remained true to the band and was deeply involved in the composition of the new songs, which seems to have cost him his place in Stone Sour. Some light still needs to be shed on that subject, but he does talk about it at length towards the end of the interview. Before that, though, the guitarist talks about Slipknot’s fifth album (or the sixth, if you consider Made. Feed. Kill. Repeat as a proper record), of which everyone in the band is very proud. And never mind the malcontent, whom he just brushes aside after answering the criticism regarding the melodiousness of Corey Taylor’s singing. It was also a good opportunity to ask a few questions after the band’s two newbies, although #4 seems to have fun trying to hide their identities.

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  • Friday, 28 November 2014 à 18:51
    Dave Lombardo: the philm of his life
    Monday, 24 November 2014 à 15:59
    Dark Fortress push back their own ramparts
    Friday, 21 November 2014 à 13:29
    Bloodbath: Nick Holmes plunges back
    Thursday, 6 November 2014 à 20:07
    Cavalera Conspiracy: The brutal brothers
    Tuesday, 4 November 2014 à 2:14
    Bring Me The Horizon step onto a new road
    Sunday, 5 October 2014 à 2:13
    Slash: creative fire
    Wednesday, 1 October 2014 à 19:31
    James Michael: "Sixx: A.M. has changed my life!"
    1/3
    base
    kprod