Friday, January 28, 2011

Punishment Due - Demo (2010)

Every post I'm getting closer and closer to post on time submissions, just can't wait until I start posting immediately once something new comes in. I always feel bad when I post a band and realize that they sent me their stuff a month ago. I suppose interviews and other music related stuff is to blame for that.

Christian, the guitar player in "Punishment Due" sent me their stuff in late December, not long after they actually released this demo. The band hails from Long Island, New York, still pretty young, with this being their first recorded material.
I won't be talking very much about this band, since to be honest this isn't really my cup of tea. I indeed have a rather large batch of hardcore on the blog, but for some reason this didn't attract me that much. There is a certain dose of metal on this demo, with quite specific guitar playing and also this isn't the fast, exploding hardcore I'm more used to, this is more mid tempo stuff. One could say that this band took a turn on more classic hardcore, but sadly that doesn't cut it for me.
Needless to say, despite the fact that I personally don't enjoy this project, I didn't want to ignore these guys, since I'm sure that some of you will definitely appreciate this band more than me. The four songs on this demo are superbly recorded and have a very clear sound and the actual skill with which they play their music is very professional. So, try to ignore the paragraph above this one and give this band a try! You can get in touch with them on their bandcamp page here.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Interview:Tigersuit zine

No need for any special introductions, by now you all know about my (beginning) involvement with Tigersuit zine and how much I am eager to spread the word about it. This interview was done to show you what it is all about and to get you ready for what is coming up. Read away, this is a long one!

1. Thanks for taking your time for this interview. To start off, please introduce yourselves.

M: Zdravo! I'm Dimitar (or in short Mitko). I'm still young, I'm passionated about DIY and hardcore/punk, I have various interests and love to communicate with people all over the world. If you want to get in touch with me, just write me an email and I'll try to reply you as soon as possible.

F: Здравей! I’m Filip, 17 years old, yo! Still in school and obsessed with DIY, design, photography and some other things.

2. I guess the first question should definitely be about how it all started, so lets take off from there. How did you come to the idea about making a zine and what is the general story behind it?

M: I'm reading and collecting zines since 2003/2004, but I have an interest in contributing to zines since 2005 when my friend came out with the idea to do a zine called Straight From The Inside. We prepared a lot of stuff for a short time, but it was very hard to find someone to do the layout. We didn't want to print a zine with some bullshit layout, the idea was to do something really worth it or not doing it all. That's why Straight From The Inside zine was never printed on paper. At the same time a friend of mine, who is a famous Bulgarian skateboarder, printed the first issue of his zine Катарзис (the Bulgarian word for Catharsis), it was actually a zine with Bulgarian translations of some texts from Days of War, Nights of Love and other CrimethInc. stuff. I was very excited about it and together with some other friends we decided to start a website where to publish all of the stuff that we did for Straight From The Inside and expand it with the Crimethinc. translations, texts about DIY, politics, veganism, dropping out, freeganism etc. We were very passionate crew of young people and the idea was to become some sort of Bulgarian cell of CrimethInc. collective! The website is still going strong and you can check it out at In 2006 our friends from a small Bulgarian town asked us to release their CD, the band was called Old Joe’s Anger and we decided to start a small DIY label using the name Straight From The Inside. So SFTI became a label and a small distro. Since 2005 I have been contributing with columns or interviewing bands for different paper zines all over the world.

The idea of Tigersuit Zine came out in summer 2010. I met Filip on my birthday and I liked his artwork. He did the header for and he was very excited about starting a paper zine. I was travelling a lot during the whole summer and the idea was to put out a zine with travelling stories and interviews with different people I did during my travels (I went to some great shows and festivals). And Filip was very enthusiastic to do the layout.

The problem was that my cell phone was stolen just before coming back home to Bulgaria in August. All the interviews that I did were recorded on the phone. I’m very mad about this, there were some amazing interviews there. But we didn’t stop there. I wrote a report about Fluff Fest 2010 and began sending interview questions to some cool bands. I did the interview with Analena, Filip the one with Lost In Bazaar, our friend (he plays in Expectations and Throat Fisting) interviewed Anchor, one Swedish guy (I met him at Fluff Fest and he is a singer of Forever Young, check them out!) wrote a report from the Gothenburg hardcore scene and so on. We started Tigersuit #1 on September 3rd 2010 and finished the zine on September 11th 2010!!! Really, we did the first issue from scratch just for a week! There was a Placebo show in Sofia on September 13th and I was selling the first copies of the zine at the show of the indie/pop band from the UK. The second issue was much better (it took us much longer than a week) and it came out in December 2010.

The third issue is in the works and is going to be out in March 2011. All of the 3 issues are in Bulgarian language only, but we’re planning to put out a Best Of Issue (Tigersuit #4) in June that will be in English language (!) and feature the best interviews from all the 3 issues so far. We’re planning to print best of issues in English each time after doing 3 issues in Bulgarian. So my dream is to print issues 5, 6, 7 in Bulgarian as well as #8 in English before the end of the world in 2012.

About the name: Tigersuit is a song by the Italian emo-punk band Raein. They are awesome!

F: Well, Mitko said pretty much everything, so the only thing that I can add here is that I wanted so fucking much to put out paper zine, but it was very hard to find other people who share the same pinch to do it. There were some people who liked the idea but he was the only one with whom to do it for real.

3. Were you guys friends prior to the beginning of this project or did you meet thanks to it?

M: No. We met on my birthday in 2010. I was searching for someone to do some artwork for me and we were communicating for a short time on the internet before inviting him on my birthday party.

F: In such a small country like ours the nice people don't have any other chance but to meet in one moment or the other (:

4. How many of you are involved in the work for the zine?

M: Only me and Filip are doing all the layout, editing and hard work for the zine. But there are some friends writing columns, doing interviews etc. Some of them play in Bulgarian hardcore bands such as Резервен план (Rezerven Plan) and Expectations.

5. Can you tell me something more about the Bulgarian underground scene? In a way, did it manage to inspire you to do the zine?

M: There are not so many Bulgarian bands that I’m interested in. Though, there are some good bands and we’re interviewing one Bulgarian band in each issue. We did an interview with Bright Sight for the first issue; with our close friends Expectations for the second; and Indignity (my all time favorite Bulgarian hardcore band) for the third issue. I’ve broadened my horizon on underground music so much in the last 5 years and I’m listening to a lot of different bands and music styles. Although, there are not so many interesting bands in Bulgaria and despite the fact I’m doing a zine, I don’t go to shows so often as I did before. Some of the guys from Expectations are doing For The Kids booking and they are very passionate about organizing and booking shows of good bands from abroad. They booked shows for Ruiner, Carpathian, Confronto, L’Homme Puma, Sofy Major.

What inspires me to do a zine? Mainly the communication and the ideas part of the International DIY hardcore/punk network. I know hundreds of people from all over the world who are really inspiring and seeing the amazing things they are doing I just can’t sit down and do nothing. Greg Bennick from Trial is one of them, Brian from Catharsis, From The Depths, CrimethInc. is one of them, and there are many more.

F: Well, IMHO the Bulgarian underground scene is sort of stuck right now. There aren’t many young bands to pop up, there are bands who still do shows, but they play for 5 or 10, or even more years and there aren’t many new releases.

6. I'm always interested to ask about gigs in the Balkan region. Are they happening often in your local environment?

M: There are shows in The Box club in Sofia very often, but I’ve seen most of the local bands hundreds of times and I’m not very much into their music. I respect the people in these bands, but I don’t feel so motivated to go to every show as I was doing in the past. It’s much harder to book a show of a foreign band, because the people are going to shows only when a bigger band like Sick of it All or Agnostic Front is coming to play in Sofia, and there are just a few people for the smaller DIY bands. I have a lot of friends throughout Europe and I’m more excited about going to shows in foreign countries. And I would love to visit some great European festivals such as Cry Me A River, Fluff Fest, Play Fast Or Don’t, Punk Illegal…

7. Are there any more zines in Bulgaria or similar music related projects with which you can collaborate somehow?

M: There were some paper zines in the past, but they weren’t very serious and stopped doing it after a few issues (and a very long break between the issues). There are some nice projects, but in the form of blogs and webzines. We’re the only DIY hardcore paper zine that is active in the moment, but I hope we can inspire some kids to start a new zine soon.

8. What have been your experiences with diy attitudes, good and bad, both regarding the zine and in general?

M: The bad experience is generally the lack of money. The shipping is very expensive when you order stuff from abroad and it’s very hard to run a zine, label or distro in a country like Bulgaria. There are very few people interested in buying records or zines. I’m sorry to say this, but my experience is that the older people from the Bulgarian hardcore scene have an elitist attitude towards younger kids like us. They think they know everything and are not interested in supporting the things that we are doing, because "they’ve heard it all before", they were interested in ideas, communication, activism when they were our age, but now they are not interested anymore and they talk to us as we are some hopeless romantic idealists, not in touch with the reality, which of course for them means to find your comfort and complacency. There are also a lot of negative reactions towards things like politics, veganism and/or straight edge. Some people don’t feel comfortable when we express such ideas. On the other hand there are some younger kids who have a lot of enthusiasm, but it’s not so easy to spread the word about the things we’re doing and reach them. Most of the kids didn’t know about the existence of the first issue of our zine before the printing of the second issue, which received more feedback and “advertisement”. Feel free to contact me if you have any ideas how to approach more kids without the need of money or using non-DIY channels of communication and advertisement. We still don’t want to do a facebook account or group for Tigersuit, no twitter and no bullshit myspace!

F: To quote Zegota: “Feel! I'm still here and just as real. Is this where we're left? Down, down, down. Wandered in on this. Lost on my own over time. Inside I find LOVE I've never known. There are things we should see. Given the chance hearts may dance. Though, no safety lies with this. If everything’s at stake yet there's nothing left to lose. So intense, so ON FIRE. Let loose in open fields. Every chance and every risk. All for life. And all for love. And all with honesty” DIY!

9. You have been writing intensively about veganism, animal rights and issues concerning animal cruelty. Are you part of any activist group or is the zine the only way you contribute? Do such groups even exist in Bulgaria?

M: Yes, I’m vegan and I’m contributing in any way possible to raise awareness and inspire action about human/animal liberation. I don’t find it necessary to go into details about the variety of approaches and things I’m doing in the area of animal rights, but I should make it clear, that for me veganism and animal liberation are not just a personal choice or a diet. I’m very influenced by the writings of such activists as Steve Best PhD., check out and Some mainstream animal rights/vegetarian groups exist in Bulgaria, but I’m not much interested in supporting them, because they are very elitist and middle/upper class, focusing on vegetarianism (instead of veganism) as simply a diet and consumer choice through buying super expensive and exotic foods from “ethical” capitalists, they ally with religious morons instead of social movements and they are striving for institutional reforms and legislation (if not looking for the “divine truth” and coming of Christ). I don’t like how they are using the same rhetoric as the abusers - they say that ALF are terrorists, they shouldn’t allow people with “extremist” views in their organization etc. They don’t tolerate different approaches, they’re just a bunch of pacifists with no rational social thinking, who believe that the animal abusers will see the Enlightment and stop abusing and murdering non-humyn animals, when they see how many people start eating tofu instead of meat. A lot of vegetarians are into Christianity, Krishna or some bullshit sects like Supreme master Ching Hai or the worst of all, a Bulgarian spiritual sect called Byaloto bratstvo (White Brotherhood).

So, instead of supporting such “animal rights” groups, I’m concentrating more in the field of some social projects like the project Life After Capitalism, which is a project based in Sofia with the main goal to analyze and reveal the true exploitative nature of the current capitalist system and neo-liberal agenda, to show why there are so many people around the world suffering from and opposing capitalism, what kind of alternatives and strategies are possible to be build and developed in a future society, where the spheres of economy, politics and kinship should be based on solidarity, equity, diversity, and justice. There is a website and the collective is organizing events such as lectures, open discussions and writing/translating texts by authors such as Michael Albert, Robin Hahnel, John Holloway, Chris Spannos and others. Some of the alternatives presented (but not limited to) are Participatory Economics (Parecon), Participatory Politics/Society, Inclusive Democracy, Gift Economy, different approaches to the libertarian theories and practice. In 2010 the collective published a book containing some of the best publications that appeared on the website in its first year of existence. The book is called “Докато питаме, вървим” (“Asking we walk”). The name of the book was taken from a Zapatista slogan, used by the sociologist John Holloway. The collective is now translating in Bulgarian language the book by Holloway himself called “Crack Capitalism” (Pluto Press, 2010). Some people in the Life After Capitalism collective are supporting veganism/animal liberation, others not.

F: Our friend xMissuesx from Резервен план (Rezerven Plan) released a benefit animal rights compilation with a lot of hardcore/punk/hip-hop/acoustic songs about veganism and animal liberation. The money from the compilation have been donated to different AR causes and ALF prisoners.

10. You did some very interesting interviews with Atanas P. Slavov, Raoul Vaneigem, Richard did those happen?

M: Actually only the interview with Atanas P. Slavov was done by us. He is a Bulgarian sci-fi writer and our friend. It’s a great pleasure for us to know him. He promised to write a column for Tigersuit Zine in each issue. He was the “chairman” of the Bulgarian sci-fi club “Ivan Efremov” and published a lot of books and journals about sci-fi and dystopian literature, he is organizing very interesting events and discussions dedicated to the social and political aspects of the science fiction and he is also contributing to the Life After Capitalism project. He is eating raw vegan food and he is one of the most intelligent Bulgarians I’ve ever met. You know that fanzines originally came from the science fiction clubs. And he is very interested in sci-fi fanzines, the history of zines and independent publishing in general.

The interviews with Vaneigem and Paulin were old pieces, published originally in French or English language and we just translated them. We’re focusing on our own author material in the zine, but there are some great things published in English or other languages that I know no Bulgarian would read if we don’t translate them in our language. That’s why in each issue we’re translating something interesting published before us. The interview with Raoul Vaneigem is originally from “La Libre Belgique” (2008) and the interview with Richard Paulin was conducted by Claudette Vaughan for “Abolitionist”. All the interviews in the third issue are conducted by us. But we are planning to translate some of the stuff from the legendary No Answers zine #9 by Kent McClard, done by him before HeartattaCk and being published together with the Downcast 7” on Ebullition. I’m talking about translating the same zine which contained the “rage against the machine” phrase, later used by Zack De La Rocha to form his new band after Inside Out.

11. Do you think that zines can take on an educational role? Did you ever think about the possibility that your columns or interviews can change someone's mind about a certain matter?

M: There was a song called “Education” by a vegan straight edge band called New Winds from Portugal. The lyrics of the song are about zines as a tool for education and spreading ideas and community spirit within the hardcore/punk network. I really hope that the columns and interviews can change someone’s mind about certain matter, influence people to make positive choices, inspire creativity and critical thinking. I’m very happy to send zines by mail-order to kids living in a distant town, I know how much pressure do they feel living in a small town with no hardcore or DIY scene, fashion stereotypes, the feeling of isolation and apathy within their peers, and the shit they get from their family and friends if they speak about things like veganism or straight edge. I hope that the zines and records are something really worth it and a real form of communication for them with same minded people living very far away from them.

F: Definitely! The whole idea behind the zines is to spread ideas, DIY ethics, tips, recipes for disasters and etc. In my opinion there must be more zines with recipes about cooking, making Molotov cocktails, turning a bicycle into record player, how to smash the system etc…

12. How does the process of doing interviews go for you, do you have a predetermined list of questions or just go with the flow?

M: I’m putting a lot of thoughts and awareness when thinking of the interview questions, I don’t have a predetermined list of questions and I’m using different approach depending on the person/band I’m interviewing. And I try to interview bands in different genres of underground hardcore/punk community. People with different attitude, mindset, opinions, lifestyles. Some of the zines that have the biggest impact on me are HeartattaCk, Inside Front, and Profane Existence.

13. Are your interviews done live or via mail? And which do you prefer?

M: Some of them are done live, some via email. I don’t know which is one is better, it depends on the person/band that you’re interviewing. Both ways are great if you’re striving for communication and discussion. I’m personally a shy person and feel a bit nervous when talking with inspiring people face to face. So, to some extent I feel more comfortable doing it via email. I won’t forget my first “live” interview back in 2006, me and my friend interviewed the punk-rock collective P.A.W.N.S. (Power And Wealth Need Slaves) before their show in Varna. We were very shy teenagers, but the interview went great and this is still one of the best interviews I’ve ever did. Ann and Shaun from P.A.W.N.S. are both historians and some of the most intelligent and outspoken people I’ve ever found in the punk scene. And their lyrics are really amazing. If you like intelligent punk with political message, inspired by bands like Nomeansno, Dead Kennedys, The Avengers, Submission Hold etc, you should definitely check out The PAWNS collective.

14. Time for you to ask something!

M: Are you still listening to Saetia and why do you like this band? Are there a lot of people in Serbia who ask you about where the name “Natures with no plagues” comes from?

Yes, I am still listening to Saetia, but not as much as before. Despite that I still love the band and definitely see them as an important figure in the screamo genre. What made me like their music is pretty hard to explain, but most probably the fact that never before have I heard and sensed such honesty and passion in music. You can literally touch all the emotions evoked in their music, it's unbelievable. I remember that when I heard them I instantly fell in love with both them and later with the whole genre.
Believe it or not, I think that only two or three people here asked me about the name. Not a lot of people listen to this kind of music here, basically that is the reason why the blog is in English. Similar to that, I think that generally a low number of people from Serbia follow my blog and to be honest I don't know how much of them visit, aside of a few people close to me who follow my work.

15. Care to share your top releases for the last year and all time favorites?

M: Wow, the hardest question. I’m listening to really a lot of different stuff. My favorite band seems to be Rudimentary Peni and I love insane people like Nick Blinko. OK, some bands that have impact on me: Crass, Conflict, Subhumans (UK), The Mob (UK), Riot/Clone, Zounds, N.O.T.A., Crucifix, Youth of Today, Minor Threat, Discharge, Life, But How To Live It?, Los Crudos, His Hero Is Gone, Unbroken, Trial, Catharsis, Tragedy, Orchid, Pg.99, The Assistant, Funeral Diner, Raein, Amanda Woodward, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Gather, 7 Generations, Ampere and many more. About top records of 2010: new Run With The Hunted, The Saddest Landscape, The Effort, El Banda, Thou, Rosetta, Agrimonia, Envy and many more. And I love the stuff by Eric Ayotte that came out in 2010 and I’m glad that I saw him performing live.

F: Don’t know about the records, but some of my favorite bands are: The Saddest Landscape, The Birds Are Spies, They Report To The Trees, I Would Set Myself On Fire For You, Raein, From The Depths, Noisy Sins Of The Insect, Dollores (new band from Ukraine, check them out!!!), Reversal Of Man, Suis La Lune, Saetia, a lot of crust, powerviolence, grind… The list is endless.. =)

16. What are your plans for the future?

M: To finally visit Cry Me A River, to visit Fluff Fest again. To be in good health, to be passionate about everything I’m doing, to find more nice people who share relevant ideas and are brave enough to fight for their desires. About the zine: there are so many great bands, that I haven’t interviewed yet, so many things that I want to see printed in Bulgarian language, and a lot of great people still to meet.

F: To go at Fluff for a first time, to buy shitload of records and zines, to finish school… To support local (but not only) bands. If you want some artwork to be done I would like to do it, just write me :) I hope to publish a portfolio soon (:

17. Do you play in a band beside working for the zine? And do you have any other hobbies?

M: No, I don’t play any music and I can’t sing. I have a lot of hobbies, but don’t want to make this interview any longer with talking about my hobbies.

F: Not yet, but this summer I'll play harder the bass, so I hope that the first Bulgarian screamo band will appear soon. Besides that I love origami and photographi.

18. In the end, thanks again for talking for the blog. Any final messages for the readers?

M: The first two issues were completely ad-free, but the printing cost is very high. We don’t work any jobs and it’s really expensive to print Tigersuit Zine. So we’re doing advertisements for Tigersuit #3, you can get in touch through email and send us your ads. We don’t want to have fixed price for ads. It’s a donation price. You can still send us an ad for Tigersuit #3, which is in Bulgarian language, but if you send an ad that will be published in the third issue, we will use the same ad again in Tigersuit #4 that will be in English. We’re always open to communication. Write us at or

Go vegan, listen to Lepa Brena and Ceca Veličković! Be creative, take care and watch the Monthy Python’s movies (or Serbian comedy movies, if you already have watched Monthy Python’s stuff!)

F: Question everything and do it fucking yourself!!!
“Now all we need is courage and a brick. To breathe strength and beauty into all our lives"

Distro page

Yeah there is a distro page now, though don't get your hopes up, since it is not the blog's distro page nor from my label I talked about. It is Zerdav Distro from Luka and for now it is mainly for local and regional people, since the list and prices are in Serbian. As written on that page, if you are from somewhere else, get in touch and we will try and figure something out.

That is it for now, though stay tuned, tonight I'm posting a loooooong interview I did in a day, probably the fastest one thus far.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jackals - Demo EP (2010)

Haven't posted an actual review for some time now and what better way to get back on track than with a pissed off hardcore release. And I finally managed to lower the downtime between submission and review somewhat, though I should really be even more punctual. Anyway, let's get this show on the road...

"Jackals" are a five piece hailing from Norwich, East UK. This demo brings us six songs with about 10 minutes of tunes, carrying with itself a very raw hardcore sound. I don't delve in this genre very much, so my knowledge when it comes to comparing bands is scarce, but I will do my best to describe the music featured here.
Much like the names of the tracks, the music within has a quite dark tone above the relatively standard hardcore melodies, so much that several times I was on the verge of tagging this as crust. As stated above, the instruments have an extremely raw sound, but what is great about this band is that despite that characteristic you can still hear and discern everything. Most bands with such a coarse sound make so much noise that the instruments choke one another, but here you don't have that problem. Similarly, the vocals are a primal, raspy screaming with a lot of pack howling.
Having all this in mind, it almost comes natural that their songs are quite aggressive. First five songs are really short and violent, throwing at you a fast and reckless punch. The songs have some slower sections, providing you with a bit of rest until it all goes nuts again. Now the thing is that although these songs are interesting because of the dark/primal trait, aside of that they don't really provide anything genuine. I am guessing that someone who is into hardcore more than me could say that this is pretty standard. Here we come to a point when I want to reflect on something and that is the very last song on this demo, the sixth song "You're Nothing". Unlike the previous songs, this song is much longer and it is where the band as a whole really shines. THIS song is what really blew me away. It seems that the shorter songs really minimized the talent of the band and here it comes in the spotlight. Once I heard it I had a feeling that it was another band. All the chaos, crudeness and violence are still here, but twisted with a great song structure and a lot of variation with melodies. With this song "Jackals" really show that they have an excellent talent when it comes to composition and I really think that they should focus more on these kind of songs. I am not suggesting a style change, but I think the combination of shorter/longer songs would be superb and would very well reveal their true talent and potential.

As much as I saw on their blogspot (which you can find through their myspace page found here) the band is already recording some new songs. I am quite looking forward to hear some new songs and I am hoping that they will expand their sound a bit. "Jackals" are definitely worth the attention, so keep an eye out for them.
Some technical details in the end. This EP has been self released, but also in association with "Wineblood Music", "What Would Henry Rollins Do?", "Holy Roar" and "Power Negi". It has also been released on tape by "Sly The Bear". You can buy some of their merch at the link below and you should if you can, looks interesting!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tigersuit zine page

Quick post just in case you didn't notice the change. I have added a page dedicated to "Tigersuit" zine which will be updated per issue or whatever. The third issue is due in March, again I will be contributing to it, so get ready for some zine work. Most likely I will post my stuff in English on the blog after the zine comes out in case you are interested in reading my words dedicated for non-blog writing.
I've been a bit lazy with release reviews, but stay tuned, I have some interesting things coming up.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saturday's Kids Euro tour 2011

As if "Theme of Laura" wasn't exciting enough, but "Saturday's Kids" are also planning to hit the road this year. If you missed my review about their self titled 7'' release, go back here and give it a quick read.
They are planing a tour in April, more exactly somewhere starting at the middle of the month. There isn't a fixed list of dates, instead just a rough plan. Here is what Sion told me is their idea:

April 14-21 France/Germany region
April 22-31 Austria, Serbia, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Hungary

Pretty stretched plan, but it is definitely too early for strict dates. Either way I already sent them some contacts for shows, but more help is absolutely welcome. If you can help them out, contact them on their myspace page here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

...So Yeah, We're Werevolves - Werewolfs

This will be pretty short boys and girls. I already wrote a more in-depth review of this project back in October, so if you are interested you can read it here. This is more of an update post, so no reason for me to be philosophical about it.

Somewhere mid December, Eric from "...SY,WW" wrote to me about some pretty interesting news concerning the band. They are demoing tracks for their upcoming debut self-titled LP which is due to come out this year. Extremely excited about that. But, while we are waiting for this new wolf pack strike, they are throwing at us something sweet. They will be Re-releasing the "Cadavers" ep from 2009 along with some additional demo tracks. This Re-release goes under the name of "Werewolfs" and it contains nine tracks.
The main reason that I'm posting this is that the "Cadavers" release I reviewed is actually not an official release. Seems like my network of music gathering is more underground than I thought. Needless to say, the wolves were pleased with my words for them, but I just felt it right to update the readers on this. So, the download link in the previous review will be removed and a link to the band's bandcamp page will be added. You can find the download link for "Werewolfs" over there and the page will most likely be quite important for updates considering the upcoming LP. Check it out!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Theme of Laura Euro tour 2011

Yes, the new wonder from France named "Theme of Laura" will be touring Europe this summer! If you haven't heard of them by now, take a moment and read my review of their demo (found here). Also they will be touring with their friends Oak, who you can check out here.

Here are their planned dates:

1.07 Luxemburg or Darmstadt (soon to be confirmed)
2.07 Giessen@ AK44 (confirmed)
3.07 Pilsen (confirmed)
4.07 Prague (soon to be confirmed)
5.07 Bratislava/Austria/around the area.... ( help)
6.07 Budapest ( help)
7.07 Budapest, Maribor/Graz (help)
8.07 Italy/Germany/Slovenia/Austria/Switzerland (help)
9.07 Italy/Germany/Slovenia/Austria/Switzerland/France (help)
10.07 France/Germany/Austria/Switzerland (help)

So, if anyone can help them out, you can get in touch with them on their myspace page found here or their bandcamp page here or just leave a comment.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Interview:Downfall of Gaia

No need for introductions here, because if you don't know about this band you have probably been living under a rock for the past few years. Very proud for having this on the blog, since I consider "Downfall of Gaia" to be under a huge spotlight in my book. Hope you all enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed writing questions for it.

1. Up front I want to thank you for taking a chunk of your time and doing this interview. Please, introduce yourself and the rest of the band.

Thank you as well for this interview. We are "Downfall of Gaia", a four piece band. There is Peter who does guitar and vocals, Toni who plays bass and sings aswell and the both of us are Dominik (guitar and vocals) and Hannes (drums).

2. I remember that "Downfall of Gaia" appeared like thunder from the clear sky, so to speak, quite a surprise back then. What is the story behind the formation of the band?

Dominik: Toni and me started this band back in 2006. In the beginning it took us a while 'till we found our style of music. We had more d-beat/crust - stuff that we played back then. In 2008 Peter joined the band and everything was now arranged with a second guitar. After we split from our former drummer, Sven a good friend of ours took the part of the drummer. Due to private circumstances Sven left Downfall of Gaia and with Hannes we hopefully found our final lineup. Our music developed over the years towards our recent sound, since the new members brought in their different influences and we grew as a band in our musical experience.

3. Could you give me your thoughts about your local music scene? Is there a strong diy presence? Germany gave birth to a large number of quite impressive projects.

Dominik: Germany has got a big and really active diy scene and I think we are all spoiled with good concerts and great bands. There are a lot of people who arrange concerts and keep this scene alive.

Hannes: I guess most people just don't realize how huge this movement in Germany is. We really have a big presence of the DIY spirit. As Dominik said we are spoiled with a lot of good concerts here and people got used to it. So still everyone seems to complain about nothing is going on. I think Germany has a lot of good bands that do everything on their own and this became something as a standart nowadays.

4. And your thoughts about the rest of the world when it comes to this kind of music?

Hannes: I think that the whole scene got bigger and bigger during the last years. A lot of new bands came up and the genres got more specialized. The internet took its part in this, so you don't have a problem finding the perfect fitting band for your taste of music. It's awesome that you can find a lot of very qualitative bands that care for deep and atmospheric sounds and have a serious message as well.

5. "Epos" brought a change of style in contrast to your first recordings, songs became more epic and darker. Are you satisfied with your evolution or do you want to continue it?

Dominik: I think we are all very satisfied with our evolution but of course we still want to continue and go on. I wouldn't feel comfortable if every record would sound the same. We are getting older and we are collecting more and more influences, so our sound is growing and growing. We don't want to set ourselves a musical limit which means we don't want to be trapped in a musical genre.
The Epos had more Doom and Post-Rock influences than our earlier stuff. This is a sound which we feel very comfortable with. Since Hannes is involved in our songwriting we also added some atmospheric black metal parts for example.

6. Which projects do you find to be your biggest musical influence?

Dominik: We all like to listen to a lot of different genres. We enjoy music from pop to electro to indie but related to our music our biggest influences are bands like Cult of Luna, Rosetta, Altar of Plagues, Neurosis or Mono for example...

7. I'm studying the German language, but it is still a bit rusty. For all of us who are not that much versed in your language, could you explain some of the themes you touch through your lyrics?

Dominik: Our lyrics are based on private or political circumstances, daily issues and so called life. Epos was a real personal release. So I think every song has got it's own story and there is enough space for everyone to read something into and create your own song meaning. But for lyrics + song explanations you can check out our myspace-page.

Hannes: Our split lp that is gonna be released in February deals with our world that is ruled by hate, egoism, corruption and violence and it tells the story how the humankind destroys nature and itself with its own hands.

8. What are your plans for the future?

Dominik: There will be a new record and of course we try to play as much shows as possible. In February we will release a 12" split Lp with our friends from Sweden - In the Hearts of Emperors. Hopefully we are able to hit the studio at the end of 2011 to record a new 12". Also we will hit the road in October for a "bigger" European tour. One goal for 2011 was to play the States in October but due to some private circumstances we are not able to do this tour. So we will tour Europe in October.

9. Do/Did some of the band members participate in other side projects?

Hannes: I'm the only one that plays in other bands at the moment.
I founded a Hardcore band back in 2006 called "In A Blind Fury". We are a band with political and social lyrics, but we as well got songs that express personal topics. After a Demo and EP we are writing our first full length album right now.
I as well got a modern death/black-metal band that is called "Grievous Burden". We mix our sound with genres like sludge and post-rock. We formed out of our old band "Beneath A Steel Sky" and finished our first EP that is gonna be published soon.

10. Care to share your favorite releases of 2010? And overall favorites?

Hannes: 2010 was a great year for music in my opinion.
My favorite records this year would be:
Eluvium - Similes
Jonsi - Go Do
Behemoth - Evangelion
God is an astronaut - Age of the fifth sun
Escapado - Montgomery Mundtot
Rosetta - A Determinism of Morality

Dominik: Hmmm...nice question. To be honest - I think I can't answer it because there are so many good records out there and I would forget the half of it.
"A Determinism of Morality" from Rosetta was an impressive release in 2010. All time favorites - let me think - Neurosis - "The eye of every storm". That's a masterpiece of music!
One of my all time favorites is also "Untrue" from Burial. Really great and atmospheric dubstep from the UK.

11. Do you guys have some hobbies outside of music?

Dominik: Of course! I think we are all into vegan cooking, traveling, photography / art and all that stuff.

12. Time for you to ask something!

Hannes: I'm interested in what you do besides this blog and how much time you're investing for Natures With No Plagues?

I'm a student on my final year of studies, with three exams left to finish my education. A lot of my time is dedicated to writing, both here and for other sites, as well as writing some short stories and other fiction work. As for time invested in this blog, it really depends. When people ask me this question I always remember the band "Melete". I never actually planned to write about them, but once I heard their 7'' release it blew me away and I just had to share my thoughts about their music. I guess that is why this blog has a more personal tone, since I try to present my actual momentary feelings about the music. Other times, bands send me their releases and ask to be reviewed, which I find to be very pleasurable and fun, especially since I discovered a lot of excellent bands that way.

Dominik: Do you make music on your own?

Actually yes, since I play bass, but I must admit that my projects never actually came to the phase of recording due to various factors. Most notable was an experimental nintendo band, but a lack of initiative from members killed it. Recently I started playing with my brother and for now this seems to be the most stable project, since we are very eager to create something together and we have a relatively fixed idea where we want to go. We play occult inspired crust/sludge. For now it is just the two of us (guitar, bass and vocals), but once we form the basic structure we will be adding a drummer as well.

13. Thanks so much for doing this interview, very happy to have you on the blog. Do you have some final message for the blog, "fans", friends, bands, the world?

Dominik: Thank you for doing this interview with us! It really means a lot! We are very honored that people care about what we are doing!

Hannes: I must admit I'm not spending a lot of time reading blogs for usual. But I really enjoyed yours and spent some hours reading it, its very nice to see someone putting that much heart into it! So thanks a lot for this great interview, it was really fun. And be sure to have one new person that checks you blog now quiet often.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Miseries - I Am Without Me (2010)


Having a band named "New Miseries" be an opener for the new year ain't quite hopeful, don't you agree? If nothing, we can consider it poetic. Either way, it is my fault for this coming so late if you consider the fact that the band members contacted me about posting this demo in late November. Better late than never I guess.

"New Miseries" is a five piece based in Northeast Pennsylvania bringing us sounds of hardcore with this four song demo. For all those who don't know my musical preferences very much, I'll say right away that I am not a big fan of hardcore. Most acts I consider way too generic with too much song which sound alike the previous one. There are those hardcore bands which I do enjoy and this band being here definitely puts them in that basket.
So what's the deal with "New Miseries"? Well, first of all, it's a ten minute record with two-something minute tracks, so no holding back, it just lifts you up and in a blink it throws you back to the ground. There are no standard though-guy-bullshit breakdowns, those being extremely well replaced with a change of pace and some slight shifts in melody. In addition, the massive buildups with chunks of riffs are present, but once you mix this with the previous pace changing you get quite a flowing record.
"Black & Blue" is really an excellent example of the above described flow. The 2:44 minute song starts out with a standard aggressive outburst. After a couple of seconds the melody changes in mid air into a buildup toward higher tones (so to speak), a sort of intro after an intro. The instruments become sort of lighter, but then it goes backwards and you get the instrumental section getting a much deeper tone. It all gains a gradual increase of speed, so afterwords it all gets back to that standard hardcore tempo, yet in the end it becomes excellently melodic until it drifts away.
Kinda shitty description, but hopefully you got the point. The overall composition of the demo is quite good, seeing as though the songs are short, but there is a lot going on. If my words fail to give you a picture of what it sounds like, imagine "More Than Life" but with a bit more aggressive instruments and slightly less melodic. The thing that draws "New Miseries" back is recording quality. Despite the quality being ok, I feel that it could be better especially when there is so much to be heard and analyzed.
We should keep in mind that this is actually a demo recording, so from this point it can only get better. Hopefully they will further expand their merits and correct the flaws. Definitely a potential here and you should check them out for yourself. Get in touch with them on their myspace page found here. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Natures With No Plagues - A Retrospective 2010

Upon stepping into the new year (yes, yes, Happy New Year to all of you dear readers, best of wishes and all that) I had some thoughts about making a top 10 or something list of releases for 2010. But the thing is, it has been such a good year and there are quite a few albums and bands which are number one potential and personally for me it is nigh impossible to create such a list. But instead, a stepping stone for 2011 will be written down here, in the form of a complete retrospective of what this blog has been through in the past year.

The end of May saw the birth of this blog, a migration of mine from my ex-blog, Skream Your Lungs Out (check it out, it still kicks thanks to Andrew from LHP!). Some of my older (gig) reviews were posted as a "grand" opening as well as uploads of the acoustic project from Brazil called "Lobo-guará" and the demo of the band "Barrow". Through these I started taking a different approach to uploads with a wish to incorporate a lot more writing into the posts, in contrast to the way I posted on the previous blog. As a result, the amazing "Adorno" album "Said and Unsaid" was posted with a slightly more analytic view, with the writing style just being ever increased and omnipresent in the future, a trait by which this blog is known I guess. By this time, "Adorno" announced a European tour and dates were posted here as well.

June started quite intensely with a Shades Of Grey/Melete gig review and an extremely unexpected "Melete" 7'' review. Looking at the release review I still feel so passionate about it, pretty sure that this is one of the best records in the past year. The said review was written in one breath so to speak and there is a small number of bands which really managed to invoke such a sudden rush of emotions in me, so this is absolutely a must. Sadly, "Melete" broke up, yet members continued playing in other bands, which will be featured on this blog in the future.
The two said reviews really sucked the writing potential out of me, so the blog hosted two more bands, but followed with a lower amount of words. "Viceversa" from Denmark is one of those, a great screamo band with ties to both a diy label and a blog which are being run by band members, a very passionate and friendly collective. The other band was "Dance Or Die!!!", a hardcore/punk/grind/fastcore/thrash insanity coming from Hungary.
Shaking up the emotional drainage, "Jakuzi's Attempt" saw a review much more akin to the standards of this blog. This experimental hardcore band was probably one of the first bands that I posted which broke off from the screamo string connecting all the previous posts. That resulted in quite a lot of genres being added here in the future, but at this point it was early to predict that, especially since a lot of upcoming posts were screamo. "Todos Caeran" from Canada and "2049" from USA followed, a moment when Goya and Isaac Asimov went to drink some tea, a table you should definitely join. Sweden brought us "Alenah", a hardcore spiced screamo with a lot of energy.
The end of June saw some extremely interesting releases. "Lizards Have Personalities" released their "Snows of Kilimanjaro", definitely one of the most unique albums I heard in the past year, a release filled with passion, honesty, gentleness and power which slaps you in the face and leaves you shivering. An absolutely great record. Close after LHP came "Heaven In Her Arms" with the album "Paraselene". I was so stunned by it that I had no strength to write about it, but I will be planing to write about it in the future, why and when you will see in the later parts of this wall of text. Two days after this release hit me, "Suis La Lune" also released their "US tour" material. This happens to be my all time favorite band, so the lack of words was well justified.

Where June was quite rich with content, July was kinda lacking, low in post number, but still very interesting. "Errata" was reviewed first, a not-so-known post rock fused screamo from Portugal. Shortly after the "Connections II" was released, a six way split with some amazing bands. I was so excited about it that I just posted it and failed to do a proper review for it. I guess that this is just something you don't need to write about, since this is literally a screamo bomb landing into your ears.
Posts were scarce since I wasn't at home most of the time, but the next post really snatched my attention. "Fucking Werewolf Asso" is the band in question, bringing us some catchy nintendo tunes. Ex "Go! With Fourteen O" members managed to surpass themselves and amaze us with this release. Despite the fact that I was involved in a nintendo project at the time and this came as major inspiration, this release proved to be one of the most exciting things of 2010. If you want to relax your brain from guitars and rending riffs and just want some electronic tunes, this is something you should check out. Absolutely amazing!
Next release...don't know how to start actually. It concerns "Via Fondo", a Sweden screamo band featuring members from "Anemone". The post, I think, didn't really reflect what I feel for this project and I am still at a lack of words to say what I want. Shortly put, this release is one of the most stunning and mind blowing, not only in 2010, but in all my musically aware life. Heartfelt, passionate, honest, a beautiful clash of aggression and gentleness, superbly composed and flawlessly recorded, a first strike masterpiece.
The post which followed was a review of the Adorno/Eric Ayotte gig, definitely a memory which is very well placed in my heart. A post of the split these two projects released came after, with a wish to show you what kind of magic they create.

Las Vegas based band "Caravels" opened up August, the most visited post by you boys and girls, judging by the page-view counter. It is actually justified, very interesting project and a lot of potential shown in the "Floorboards" release, definitely up high in the top ten list. A Netherlands split followed soon after, containing "Gonzo" and "Laatste Halte", bringing the sounds of thrashy hardcore/screamo.
Somewhere around mid August a new and exciting turn happened for this blog. Despite the fact that I was very happy about the writing done here and the feedback which I gained from both readers and bands, I wanted to do something more. And it all started with a review of a split between "Chaos Is..." from France and "Fuck, Wolves!" from Germany. In fact, what followed the review were interviews with members from these two bands, opening up a completely new aspect of the blog running. Although these interviews were extremely experimental (since I never did that sort of thing in my life), the process was so fun and pleasant that the interviews became regular practice on NWNP. It turned out that a lot of the interviews which I continued to do carried with themselves some very nice experiences and memories.

September opened up with a thorough review for the "Touché Amoré" and "La Dispute" split, both well known bands hailing from the USA, so no need for any special introductions now. After a few days of that post, Canada brought us "Delo Truda", a screamo project with quite a lot to offer. This review was very long and it should be read if you want the full scope of their music in words. I come to realize that this band (as well as the next one reviewed) aren't really listened to a lot by yours truly, a mistake I have to correct.
Next up came "Friendship Moves" coming from the UK. Their release hit hard and fast and it really leaves you gasping for air. If you love the legendary band "Wolves" like I do, then this band is definitely for you.
Seeing as how much I loved "Lizards Have Personalities" and how much Andrew from LHP seemed friendly, it was almost natural to do an interview, so that came up next. It was still done with a sort of generic list of questions, but nevertheless it was very interesting and I was quite happy I decided to do it. Following the interview came a first review containing more than one release, since it featured some very known and influential bands. "Zann" and their 7'' release "X" came first, after which came the "June Paik" and "Battle of Wolf 359" split, two of my very much loved bands.
Few days after that, a longish review of "Broken Chords Can Sing A Little" came up. At that time the band compiled their material and released it all together as a discography, so in honor of that the review was written. Several days later the Failed Suicide Plan/Fast As We Go Far gig review was posted as well. Quite an interesting and non-standard show, interesting bands, so you should read the writeup if you are at least a bit interested. The gig review also featured the download links for both bands, since the majority of the blog readers probably haven't heard of these bands before (myself included). By this time, dates for "Reflections of Internal Rain" Euro tour have been posted.
The very end of September brought a bittersweet stepping stone for the blog. As a lot of my you may know by now, Natures With No Plagues was created to be a label at the beginning, but due to lack of a lot of stuff it shifted into a music blog. The label dream stayed present and now the first step was made toward that goal. Thirty buttons with the logo of the blog were made and were given out to friends and readers for free. This is where the bittersweet part comes in. Seeing as though I live in a shithole of a country, shipping expenses turned out way too higher than expected and a lot of you still haven't gotten the buttons. Despite the fact that I promised before and now that you will get those, I'm kinda bummed out that it was all so delayed and became painful due to the lack of funds, since I am a student and not a working man. I will be traveling to Budapest in February and I'm guessing their shipping fees are quite lower than here, so... All I can say is that I'm grateful for the patience of all of you.

The first of October punched through the door with the amazing mathcore/screamo band "Colors" and their release "Palindromes". Due to my correspondence with the members from the band and the overall friendliness they showed, an interview was done. But between those two, an interview with the Brazilian band "MOTIM" was done and it was quite an advancement, since unlike the previous generic questions, this interview was done live over chat. I was a bit skeptical whether I will pull it off and make it interesting for the band, as well as for the readers. Needless to say it went great and it was a lot more personal and amusing to both do and read. The interview also had download links for albums released by "MOTIM", so check it out. As stated above, "Colors" interview followed, also a live one featuring interaction with two members instead of just one and probably the funniest interview I did so far. Extremely friendly dudes, big hugs for all of them!
From the opening of this blog up to this point in October, old links I posted on my previous blog were featured here as well, in the form of compilations under the name of "Endless Howling". Going by alphabetical order, the howling ended with the amazing Italian hardcore band "While You Wait". It was fun having a retrospect of previously uploaded stuff and hopefully you can find something of interest.
Mid October passed without adventurous maneuvers with just standard review writing. First in line was a 7'' split release between "Hidden By The Grapes" and "Lambda", a clash of indie and post rock, both bands hailing from Austria. After the split came up the unknown band "...So Yeah, We're Werewolves" and their 2009 release, a band hailing from the USA which I found by accident on the "Colors" myspace page and instantly fell in love with. I am due to give you some updates on this band, but that I reserve for the near future.
This was a definitely turbulent month, but I had no idea that something coming up next would shake and devastate me so much. Out of clear skies came "Vestiges" and the monster they released by the name of "The Descent of Man" swallowed us and sent ripples through the world. A perfect amalgam of crust, post rock, hardcore and black metal, this is a release standing next to "Via Fondo" on the very top of my 2010 list. Not only did this take me by surprise, but it consumed me so much, staying on "repeat" on a regular basis. I was at a loss of words at the moment and threw just a few words in the initial post, instead focusing on getting in contact with the band. A quick post about things I missed to review (containing bands such as "Downfall of Gaia" and "Envy") was posted, but it was shadowed by the interview I managed to do with "Vestiges". It was not a live interview, instead a list of questions was sent and I have to say that this interview is the most "professional" one I did thus far. Keep the interview in mind, I will be getting back to it shortly.
Following the massive impact hit of "Vestiges" came a time of quite relaxing and calm tunes. A gig review of the "Went" show was written as well as a writeup about the beautiful "Lion Cub" release named "Seneca". "For Want Of", Texas based screamo punk band, and their self titled 7'' sealed the massive month of October.

November opened with a bit nonstandard band, experimental project from Portugal named "(aura)", followed by "The Bridgeheads", quite a sorrow-filled review for this indie/post punk band from Slovakia. Shortly after these two, came an Italian screamo hope and wonder, "Ogni Giorno". If you are into "La Quiete" (and who isn't?), but with a nice touch and twist, then this deserves your attention.
A post dedicated to promotion of my friends projects was due somewhere mid November. The first part of the post was reserved for "That's Punk" blog and label, which released a cd-r of the absolutely legendary emo band "The Pine". The second half went out to the amazing Bulgarian zine "Tigersuit" and their first printed release. Mitko, a good friend and one of the masterminds behind the zine asked me to contribute some of my writing to help out the zine for it's next issue. Time was short and I was really busy to give some new quality writing, so we talked and at the end it was decided that my interview with "Vestiges" gets added to the zine's second issue. Yes, my work got translated into Bulgarian and six pages were dedicated to "Vestiges", which made me immensely proud. I will be talking about the second issue in depth soon and also about the upcoming third issue, for which it is planned for me to write a review of "Heaven In Her Arms - Paraselene", but more on that is yet to follow.
Until the end of the month three more reviews have been posted. "Innards" and a feature of their capability to meld various influences into something unique, a tribute to the now dead band "Gonzo" and in the end "Ten Thousand Leagues", a wave of nostalgia hitting me while this superb screamo band is playing on my speakers.

December opened up with some collaboration work with a great friend Luka. In the course of many conversations with him we saw that we are really kindred spirits when it comes to both music and our plans on what to do with it. For now, we have done several collaborative interviews, but we plan on expanding our work onto a label. Our work began with an interview with "Light Bearer", an extremely awaited band from the UK.
Promotion day came soon, this time for "Kid Sister Everything" label which is based in Chicago, as well as the releases done by the label, "Mountain Asleep" and "Antilles".Work with Luka continued, so the interview with "Protestant" was posted and also a small post where Cory from "Protestant" asked us some questions.
After that I had a period lacking the desire and willpower to post anything, but "Theme Of Laura" smacked me back in place. French old school emo/screamo a la "1000 Travels of Jawaharlal" and "12XU", this band came as a true refreshment. Just proves how much the French screamo scene dominates.
After the blissful time of French emo, struck the Romanian crust/hardcore band "Mediocracy" in the form of an interview Luka did with Viez. At this point my pc died and I have to opt for a laptop which had non of my music and shit on it, so it kinda caused a dry season when it comes to writing. December finished slowly with "Low Places", a sludgy hardcore band from Los Angeles and "Saturday's Kids" and their 7'' selftitled record, bringing us sounds of experimental punk directly from the UK.

Writing this and reading it afterwards, I come to realize how much I am proud of this blog and how much wonderful people I met through it and all the great things I did and plan to do. 2010 was definitely a great year, filled with amazing music and interesting projects. I have to thank all of you who follow my work. Thank you for every comment, good or bad. Thank you for all the emails and submissions from bands who are interested in being here. Thank you for all the kind words, attention and fun times. Happy New Year and may we continue to connect under the waves of underground music and diy culture.

Stefan xmoonxhowlerx