Zero Tolerance Magazine is the UK's most diverse extreme music magazine: from black, death and doom metal through to industrial, noise, power electronics and neofolk, ZT covers what deserves to be covered and gives its unflinching support to the underground.
Swedish no-frills death metal machine Gods Forsaken return to the battlefield with Smells Of Death, and we’re pleased to be able to share the entire album here ahead of its release this Friday via Soulseller Records!
The band’s second album carries on from 2017’s debut In A Pitch Black Grave left off, proving the listener with old-school death metal of the Swedish variety featuring buzzsaw guitar sounds and vicious riffing accompanied by a thundering rhythm section and poisonous vocals. The album was produced by Jonny Pettersson, Anders Biazzi and their new guitarist Alwin Zuur, who is also known for his bass duties in Asphyx.
Gods Forsaken - Smells of Death (Full Album Premiere) - YouTube
1. Smells Of Death
2. They Crawl
3. From The Inside They Came
4. In The Pit We Shall Gather
5. The Process Of Death
6. Dead And Buried
7. The Dead Laughed
8. Birth Of Insanity
9. The Curse Of Matul
Jonny Pettersson – Growls
Gustav Myrin – Lead Guitars
Alwin Zuur – Guitars
Anders Biazzi – Bass/Guitars
Pelle Ekegren – Live Drums
Brynjar Helgetun – Studio Drums
Alcest join the roster of Nuclear Blast Records, and are currently at Drudenhaus Studio in Nantes, putting the final touches to the recording of their impending 6th, up to now untitled, studio album – due out later in 2019.
Formed in 2000, the French pair are regarded as the pioneers of the infamous blackgaze style, a unique and virtuosic mixture of black metal, post-rock and shoegaze. The deal with Nuclear Blast brings the long-term partnership with Prophecy Productions – who released all the five of the duos’ albums – to a close.
“We are happy to start a new chapter of our journey by signing a deal with Nuclear Blast Records,” comment Alcest. “We are in the studio at the moment, working on our 6th album and feel really excited about releasing this record with the help of our new partners. We will also start playing live again from May this year, so keep an eye on the dates!”
Nuclear Blast’s head of A&R, Andy Siry, adds: “Alcest have always been a band that never followed anyone’s footsteps and forged a completely new music genre by following the sound of their most hidden dreams. Therefore we are more than happy to join them along their path, support them on a worldwide level, and see where their next album will guide us to. Bienvenue à Donzdorf, Neige et Winterhalter!”
Alcest 2019 live dates (more to follow soon):
May 31: Dortmund – Rock Hard Nights, DE
Jun 01: Zottegem – Dunk!Fest, BE
Jun 07-09: Austin – Austin Terror Fest, TX, US
Jun 14-16: Mannheim – Maifeld Derby, DE
Jun 14-16: Donington Park – Download Festival, UK
Jun 29: Ferropolis – With Full Force, DE
Jul 12: Warsaw – Prog In Park, PL
Jul 20: Weil Am Rhein – Baden In Blut Open Air, DE
Jul 26-27: Sibiu – ARTmania Festival, RO
Sep 13-14: Balver Höhle – Prophecy Fest, DE
Oct 18: Leeuwarden – Into the Void, NL
Oct 19: Hameln – Autumn Moon Festival, DE
Dec 13-14: Eindhoven – Metal Meeting, NL
The dry-hopped Pilsner brewed at Stone Brewing in Berlin is currently available in over 30 countries in Europe. The hop flavoured beer is the consequence of an authentic creative spark between two entities that became international forces of nature in their respective worlds, yet came from the fringes. Enter Night Pilsner is said to combine the excellence of a traditional Northern German Pilsner with modern overtones of aggression. However, this isn’t Metallica’s first venture into the world of brewing – in 2018, they released the whisky brand, Blackened, in collaboration with the prominent distiller Dave Pickerell.
The members of Metallica participated at every step of the process alongside the Stone Brewing brew crew: “The amount of ideals and outlooks that Metallica and Stone Brewing share are endless. I’m always blown away about how similar our paths forward have been. Our view of the worlds that we each inhabit, of creativity and process, and sense of place in relation to our peers and ‘The Man’ are almost identical,” expresses Metallica drummer Lars. “We saw how much our fans liked Enter Night Pilsner on the US tour, and we’re thrilled to be able to share it with fans during the European tour as well.”
“I remember seeing Metallica on the cover of a magazine just after the Black Album was released,” recalls Stone co-founder Greg Koch. “On the cover was a quote that resonated with me to this day: ‘Metallica didn’t go to number one, number one came to them’. I loved what that meant. Do it your way and never compromise your art. If you’re great at what you do people will come. I view that simple quote as one of the founding philosophical elements of Stone Brewing.”
Marcus Thieme, Vice President & General Manager European Operations Stone Brewing, adds: “We are incredibly proud to brew Enter Night Pilsner for the European markets here at Stone Brewing in Berlin. This beer is a high quality dry-hopped Pilsner, which we’re excited to say will be available as one of our year-round core beers. Enter Night Pilsner is here to stay!”
Quick Facts: Name: Enter Night Pilsner
Stats: 5.7% ABV, 45 IBUs
Availability: 0.5l cans, four-packs and from draft across Europe all year-round
Metallica will kick off their impending European tour this May 1st, click here for the details.
A mini documentary, The Story of Enter Night Pilsner, can be streamed below:
ZT have teamed up with our friends at Prosthetic Records to bring you an exclusive stream from Varaha entitled ‘The Midnight Oath’.
Chicago atmospheric dark metal ensemble Varaha presents one of their orchestral pieces taken from the upcoming album A Passage For Lost Years. Composed and conducted by Fabio Brienza of Varaha.
Vocalist/guitarist Fabio Brienza explains “It’s too late for Yesterday but too early for Tomorrow. The last Train just left the platform and you wonder what stories it took off with. You stumble half coherent: “Will the Night talk this time?” Blindly you just dive deep in its nonsense, because maybe there’s still Life wanting to be born… and that’s your Midnight Oath.”
VARAHA - THE MIDNIGHT OATH (OFFICIAL AUDIO) - YouTube
A Passage for Lost Years is an ambitious and creative debut, effortlessly combining post-metal, atmospheric doom and modern classical works into a sprawling palate of forward thinking heavy music.
The 9 Tracks within A Passage For Lost Years include 4 orchestral overtures composed and conducted by Fabio Brienza, and recorded by Nick Broste (Mucca Pazza, Mono, Wilco, Ty Segall, Beirut et al.), and featuring guest appearances by Nicholas Dellacroce (Bongripper), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles, Bloodiest, et al.), Nora Barton (Mucca Pazza, Mono et al.), Kristina Lee & members of The Oak Park & River Forest Symphony Orchestra. Additional recordings were captured by Mike Lust (Russian Circles, Urge Overkill, Joan of Arc, Child Bite. et al.), including a special guest performance by Chuck Bontrager (Concertmaster for the Chicago production of Hamilton: an American Musical, and acoustic and electric violinist for Tributosaurus, Nomadic, and the MWROC Music Festival).
New Midlands monster Gorgonchrist have just unleashed a startling debut album that plunges so deeply into the sewers of body and mind that you almost need to call a plumber to break down the tightly stacked layers of post industrial filth. Paul Castles puts his rubber gloves on before shaking hands with Kill Babies and Crushwalker.
ZT: Many congratulations on your debut album, The Blood of Endangered Species. Has the finished product met the expectations you had at the start of the recording process? Thank you. We entered into this with no expectations. We knew we wanted to create something different but we felt it was important not to define what different would sound like from the outset. If you set your aims in stone then you often miss the target, you don’t allow for serendipity and you throttle the voice of the work you’re trying to create. This album told us exactly what it wanted to be and we listened. We mostly heard a resounding barrage of obscenities!
ZT: These aren’t conventional song structures. How much time did you have to spend working on the material? Neither the song structures or the tunings are conventional. We intentionally chose an odd and unusual tuning to erase any familiarity from our fretboards so we could be free from all conventions. Without any predefined form we simply worked on each song until it felt complete, some came together quicker than others but in every family there’s always a more difficult child to raise.
ZT: With songs of this nature is the producer even more important than usual to help create the unwieldly sound you are seeking? You’re right to pick up on the production of this album. It was like trying to organise a bag of angry hornets whilst being savagely beaten with a shovel. There are lot of disparate sounds to weld into a cohesive whole. The production is certainly important to make the chaos work but is it more or less important than the performances? Probably not as one defines and accentuates the other.
ZT: So for now you’re going by the names of Kill Babies and Crushwalker? Yep. Wanna fight about it?
ZT: Is the anger on this album fueled by personal angst and grief or a much broader picture of things you see and experience in the world? It’s probably a mixture of both as one influences the other. Anger is a wasted emotion and there are many who could do with having gallons of the stuff sucked out of their minds. The Blood of Endangered Species is a reflection of this – it’s the angry drunk who cannot understand why they’re alive, it’s the junkie parent trying to read their child a nursery rhyme and it’s the ‘you win, I lose’ conundrum. It’s the Zero Sum Game of our time. Gorgonchrist does not hold angst or grief – but we understand it and we sense it every day of our lives. This is what that sounds like.
ZT: Did you rope in any friends for any of the songs or is it just the two of you? Everything you hear is the work of us two. It felt important not to dilute that. This extended into every aspect of this album – writing recording production artwork, the whole lot.
ZT: Can you tell us something about the atmosphere and mood of the album? If you look at the current climate of the UK, in fact the world, we live in uncertain times. There is no faith in our leadership. There is no faith in one another. We’ve been divided, again. There is a definite sense that we’re on the brink of something terrible from which there will be no going back. Think of this album as that brink. Yes, it’s an angry album but look around you and you don’t have to question why.
ZT: The industrial apocalyptic sound is similar to Nathrakh and Fukpig, bands you may be close to perhaps? We certainly share an affinity with these bands in terms of sound and attitude. Incidentally we asked Fukpig to marry us but they declined so we’re now focusing on making babies with Nathrakh. In all seriousness we have previously worked with Nathrakh’s live drummer so there is a loose connection there: kinda like a faulty plug.
ZT: Like Fukpig you’re masked up……………. If you saw our faces you would understand why! Our aim is to remove all elements of ourselves from Gorgonchrist. It is an entity of which we are merely instruments.
ZT: Where did the inspiration for the Penny Black artwork come from? The Penny Black is such a globally iconic image and it seemed to encapsulate the imagery created by the album as a whole. ‘The Blood of Endangered Species’ as a phrase can be interpreted in many ways and, through the use of the Penny Black, we felt that the immediate impact is faithful to the core message. It lends itself to social divide, environmental demise and moral sparsity. It’s rare and it looks like the beginning of the end…..just like Gorgonchrist.
ZT: The album is on Birmingham record label, Clobber. They seem to have a number of interesting underground projects…. Yeah, Clobber is a great UK underground label that is really beginning to make its mark on the scene. They are fantastic people with a real hunger and drive to support bands in the extreme metal scene in particular. They approach things in a DIY but well organised way and show such passion about the projects that they invest in. Their roster is building fast and, for a band like Gorgonchrist, it seemed like the perfect fit at this point.
ZT: What images are you trying to conjure up with the band name? The smashing together of cultures reflecting the global community we exist in now. A world where our similarities in economic, political and social models are more closely aligned than they’ve ever been – yet we believe we’re more divided than ever before. Everyone needs to question who is highlighting the divisions and to what end. We’re in danger of being unwittingly walked back into the darkness and it’s this crossroads that Gorgonchrist conjures and encourages people to think about.
ZT: Is Gorgonchrist a side project or a force of feral violence that will be with us for the foreseeable future? Gorgonchrist is already dying, we plan to stick with it through the various stages of decay to its inevitable extinction. It won’t die quietly, you can bet it’ll stay rabid and feral to the very end: the deletion of it all.
ZT: Thanks for talking to Zero Tolerance. Finally, Kill Babies…. Do you like Jelly Babies?
Only their heads.
It was a night full of fine quality progressive metal, executed brilliantly in a wonderful atmosphere, when The Ocean recently called by one of the best beloved independent venues in Leeds.
Switzerland’s Herod kicked things off with tight riffs and a powerful blast through their some of their latest album. The front three’s synchronised rocking and the infectious groove soon caught the eye (and ears), their clear enjoyment passing over to the crowd. Signed to Pelagic Records and with former The Ocean member Mike Pilat on vocals and guitar, it’d be hard to find a better opener. Current vocalist for The Ocean Loïc Rossetti joining for a song was great to see too.
Fresh from releasing the best album of their career so far, Downfall of Gaia brought a moodier atmosphere with their doom-infused post-black metal. That’s not to say spirits dropped – the blistering speed blending into delicate segments filled with melancholy, climatically rising and falling was wholly absorbing. In the dark and relatively compact surroundings of The Brudenell’s main room, it was incredibly effective.
With just about all six of the live band fitting onto the stage, The Ocean started with the first two tracks from their latest album, Phanerozoic I: Paleozoic. Understandably, it was a setlist based mostly around their past two albums, from some of their newest monoliths to a few of the shorter, almost sing-along cuts from Pelagial.
The clear sound quality and the band’s own technical prowess would have made for an enchanting performance on its own. But combined with the thematic blue and green lighting and vocalist Loïc’s energy, enthusiasm and engagement, it elevated this to a mesmerising experience. The feeling of the songs really rang through and it helped bring the ocean and other concepts to life. Barely a note or foot was put wrong during an enthralling 90 minutes of progressive metal magnificence.
Catch The Ocean on the remaining dates of their European tour. Or listen to The Ocean, Downfall of Gaia and Herod online and wait for them to come to a town near you.
Hellripper‘s forthcoming EP is another slab of charred granite from Scot James McBain. Here he speaks to Paul Castles about his new release and the reissue of his album Complete & Total Fucking Mayhem.
Hellripper @ The Unicorn - 27.9.18 - YouTube
ZT: Your new EP, Black Arts & Alchemy, is out on April 5 – How are you feeling about it, James?
Yeah, it’ll be out in early April. I’m feeling really good about it and can’t wait to finally get it out there! It contains some of my favourite work to date and it is my best sounding release yet.
ZT: Were there any significant differences to how you put this record together compared to previous releases?
Not really, my process has been more-or-less the same since the beginning. Everything is still written and recorded by myself at home. I am always trying to learn new recording/mixing techniques however, and I did spend quite some time trying to get a heavier drum sound to make the sound fuller on this recording.
ZT:It was mastered by Joel of Toxic Holocaust, how was it working with him?
Yeah, that was cool as I’ve been a fan of his work for quite some time now – both his musical output and his mixing/mastering. We had a few chats over e-mail and he had everything done really quickly. The end result was even better than expected!
ZT: The new EP is on Reaper Metal Productions, have things gone well with them?
Things have been going great with them so far. I have been friends with Thomas (label partner) for a while now due to a shared interest in death metal and some non-metal music and I have been a listener of Reaper’s (label owner) podcast, ‘Hellcast’ for a few years so it was cool to be able to work with him. It seems that we all have a similar vision of how we want things to be done etc. and we all get along so I couldn’t ask for anything more really at this stage!
ZT: And they’ve also released a remastered version of the Complete & Total Fucking Mayhem album – Can you explain the thinking behind that? The original version of the CD was self-released in a limited quantity and has been sold out and out-of-print for quite a while now. They were fans of the compilation and expressed an interest in releasing an updated version with three additional tracks (from my 2018 non-album releases) that were not included on the original version. I have had quite a few people enquire about a repress too, so it made sense. The repress contains updated artwork and a new layout which (in my opinion) is a great improvement over the original release so I’m happy with how that has turned out too!
ZT: For those new to Hellripper just explain the format of the band. Is it still essentially a solo project, James?
Yes, Hellripper is written and recorded entirely by myself. It started as a solo project solely because I could not find like-minded people to play this type of music with me. I do now occasionally get friends and other musicians to contribute things like guest vocals or guitar solos to songs, but for the most part I do everything on the studio recordings. The band ended up getting a lot more attention than I ever thought it would so I ultimately decided to recruit a live line-up of musicians in order to play shows. The live line-up has changed quite a bit over the past couple of years but I’m hopeful and confident that the current line-up will be the same for the foreseeable future.
ZT: Are you happy to maintain this arrangement for now?
I am used to this arrangement now and I feel like it is working well so I have no desire to change that at this time. If new material starts to sound stale or lacking inspiration then I would consider changing things up a bit in some way – possibly getting others involved with the studio recordings but for now the process will remain the same.
ZT: There are a number of interesting solo ventures such as Foul Body Autopsy and Abduction – do you take a particular interest in artists who are going through a similar process to yourself
I have in the past looked at how other solo ventures do things such as how they go about playing live and recruiting members or how they record their music etc. but now that I have my own process and I am used to doing things my own way, I don’t pay as much attention to that stuff anymore. It is always interesting seeing how other people do things regardless of whether they are a full band or a solo project. You can always pick up helpful tips or ideas from others, whether it be songwriting, recording, marketing etc. Everyone has a different way of doing things and I’ve been given advice that just doesn’t work for me and I have given people advice that just doesn’t work for them. It’s helpful to know different ways of doing things so you can put your own spin on them and come up with your own methods that work for you. I always encourage people to go it alone if they are having trouble finding band members or whatever and am always happy to answer any questions people have regarding how I do things and any methods that I think might be helpful to them. I try not to draw attention to the fact that Hellripper is a one-man band as I don’t think it should make a difference to a listener. I did used to mention it quite a bit early on as I thought that’s what you “had to” do ha,ha but I’d rather have people judge the band on the music rather than how many members are in the band.
ZT: You’re playing with Midnight at the Dome in London in April, they’re a band you have a strong bond with. I’ve actually never talked to the guys in Midnight but I have been a massive fan for ages now and I guess the styles of our music are quite similar. I’m really pleased that we have been given the chance to play with them and are looking forward to that show immensely! The last time we played in London was great, so I’m definitely excited about going back.
ZT: You must be looking forward to some interesting live shows you’ve got coming up in the UK and into Europe
We’ve only played twice in Europe so far and both times have been amazing so I’m really excited to get back over there on this tour. We will be sharing the stage with some amazing bands which I am really grateful for too. We’ve been lucky to get some great shows and be a part of some cool festivals this time around and for a first tour, I couldn’t really ask for much more! I’m also looking forward to meeting all the people and fans that are coming to any of the shows. It’ll be cool to finally meet some people that I have only spoken with previously online.
ZT: You’re playing at a pre-Roadburn event ‘Ignition’ in Tilburg – Hellripper are perhaps not your average Roadburn band!
Ha,ha, I would agree with you there! Roadburn is obviously one of the best festivals in the world and the lineup is always special but yes, does not usually include bands of our style. The pre-show party however which we are playing has had its fair share of speed/thrash bands in the past such as Evil Invaders, Attic and Butcher. I’m beyond pleased to be a part of Roadburn, no matter how small a part haha and it will be our first show in the Netherlands too which is quite cool!
ZT: Can you just confirm who’ll be on stage with you on this tour?
I will be joined by Joseph Quinlan on guitar, Clark Core on bass and Max Southall on drums. I will be on guitar and vocals. The rest of the guys are all great musicians and I’m looking forward to touring with them. They are all friends of mine too which helps greatly.
ZT: With your love of old school black metal have you any plans to catch the forthcoming film about Mayhem, Lords of Chaos?
I actually just watched it a couple of days ago. It was a lot better than I expected, although some parts definitely stretched the truth a bit. Varg drinking chocolate milk while murdering Euronymous… ha,ha. But overall, it wasn’t a bad film. Some elements were clearly meant to take the piss out of the scene. Although not entirely accurate, it was an entertaining watch.
ZT: Your home town of Aberdeen is known as the Granite City – Is it still as tough as ever?
It’s still grey… it’s still cold… ha,ha. I actually live down in Fife now, about two hours out of Aberdeen and like it a lot here. It’s a lot more peaceful than Aberdeen. It’s also really close to both Edinburgh and Glasgow so I can attend ‘bigger’ shows and events more regularly than before. I can see myself living in another country at some point in the future but I’ve got no specific or immediate plans for that.
Some of us here are ZT are long in the tooth enough to have got quite excited hearing of new music from Chicago’s Usurper – it’s been 14 long years since their last full-length, with them disbanding in 2007 – re-establishing themselves (quietly!) in 2015… It is with great pleasure then that we’re pleased to collaborate with their now-label Soulseller Records to unleash ‘Warlock Moon’, the fifth track from brand new album Lords Of The Permafrost.
The album will be released on 22 March, but get your ears around this in the meantime!
Usurper - Warlock Moon (Track Premiere) - YouTube
Formed in 1993, Usurper released their first demo in 1994. Since then, the band have recorded five full-lengths, one mini album, a rarities CD and toured 17 different countries around the world. Usurper’s blend of ’80s inspired thrash metal, classic heavy metal anthems, over-the-top chaos and hints of dark, melodic atmosphere have been a trademark of the band since day one; they don’t preach any political/religious ideologies, or sing about any socially relevant topics. Instead, werewolfs, monster folklore, alien invasions, ancient civilizations, ancient battles, cryptozoological creatures, hauntings, prophecies, time travel, and the paranormal – in addition to their trademark ‘metal anthems’ – are the essence of their lyrical themes, which combined with their music and artwork create a strange fantasy world of dark heavy metal horror.
Lords Of The Permafrost was recorded and produced between July and August 2018 at Electrical Audio, Chicago by the band and Taylor Hales and features a cover artwork by Juha Vuorma. The band states: “After a 14 year hiatus, Usurper are proud to return with our sixth full-length album entitled Lords Of The Permafrost. Back when we formed in 1993, we had the goal to create heavy, memorable songs with the anthemic quality of traditional heavy metal, combined with the heaviness of death metal, the fury of thrash metal, the atmosphere of black metal and the straight-forward, ass-kicking of ’70s hard rock…. 25 years later, we feel we have stayed true to our original objective and have recorded the quintessential Usurper album. Lyrically these songs explore topics such as monster folklore, the paranormal and other obscure tales, all while being delivered with a lethal dose of heavy metal bravado. Usurper never have, and never will chase trends. We have only returned to bring our next chapter of metal to the Worldwide Warriors of Iron and Rust, and kick maximum ass!”
1. Skull Splitter
2. Beyond the Walls of Ice
3. Lords of the Permafrost
4. Cemetery Wolf
5. Warlock Moon
7. Black Tide Rising
8. Mutants of the Iron Age
Rick Scythe: Guitars & Backing Vocals
Joe Warlord: Drums & Percussion
Dan Tyrantor: Vocals
Scott Maelstrom: Bass
“The band displays a heaviness that is accessible without redlining the guitar sound into ear fatigue territory, and while Joe may be an apocalyptic warlord, his wavering meter and charming flubs make this a display of heart and soul instead of more perfection and factory setting metal ennui.” ZT’s Kevin Stewart-Panko 4.5 out of 6