Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Seven Sisters of Sleep / Shaman's Owl split 10"

One band that seems to be very busy as of late is Seven Sisters of Sleep. It seems like only a wee while ago that Opium Morals was released, and they have already had two splits out since then. One of those was the Record Store Day release with Ilsa, the other is this split with Shaman's Owl. And if that wasn't enough, they have been nothing short of gold.
This split is released on the somewhat uncommon 10" format. I know this is a somewhat unpopular format, but I quite like it. It's always nice to get somethinga bit different.

The whole thing has a gold and blue theme that has turned out great. Quite fittingly, the colored versions of the vinyl were also blue and gold. From memory these were limited to 200 and 300 respectively. I opted for the gold,which also came with a splash of black.
I placed my order as soon as the pre orders came out,so I was lucky enough to get some extras inside my package. The first is this set of three patches. The top is for the label that released the record, Feast of Tentacles. This is also the first time I have seen their logo, which is actually hard to see in this photo. Underneath is one for SSOS and Shaman's Owl.
The next is this amazing letter pressed insert. Again the same colour theme has been carried out, with gold writing over a blue card.
Musically this thing is a beast too. It marks my introduction to Shaman's Owl, which were actually pretty good. SSOS really stole the show though with their new track "Bastard Son". It is the band's first lengthy track, reaching just under 10 and a half minutes. The band seem to be experimenting with a few different styles in here, and it really works out great. Although it is their longest song, there is not a second that feels dragged on.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Interview with The Way To Light

The Way to Light is a relatively new musical project coming right out of Texas. I have done a couple of reviews for releases by The Way to Light now, and have really gotten into and appreciate the work. To find out more about the project and what is in store next, I caught up with the driving force behind TWTL, Austin.

LG - First and foremost, how about you introduce yourself?

AR- Austin Rathmell, I am the sole acting force behind The Way To Light. I also played guitar in the band Botfly. And have also started a new project from the ashes of botfly called FALM. 

LG - You were once part of the criminally underrated band Botfly. What happened to cause the demise of the group?

AR - The band was actually somewhat dysfunctional. The vocalist and I wanted to go one way with the project, the others wanted to go another way. As much fun as we had performing together, the band never turned out to be what we had originally intended. Eventually the split was just inevitable. Dustin (vocalist) and I always wanted botfly to be really raw, violent, and noisy. The others wanted a cleaner more polished version. So eventually we decided to end the band. We had begun to feel it was nearing its end anyway. But since then Dustin and I have rejoined and have started FALM. Which will be what we've always wanted from Botfly. Raw, Violent, and Harsh.

LG - What made you take a different approach to music with TWTL?  

AR- I never felt complete satisfaction with what I wrote with Botfly. I always thought "this or that could be better". So after the band broke up I wanted to write some music that I would truly enjoy and I didn't want to work with anyone. I was honestly tired of what I produced with Botfly. So I decided to try something different. I had been wanted to start a solo dark folk style project for sometime, so I finally pushed myself to do it. After that I just began fiddling with recording a bunch of acoustic riffs that I had been playing for years. And after about 2-3 months, "That Place Now Forgotten" was born. And I fell in love.

LG - The creative process is obviously strikingly different for a project such as this. What is involved in the creation of TWTL tracks?

AR -The creative process is somewhat different from each song/ release. I don't have a set way of writing songs, I kind of try new things each time. I think that gives the songs more originality, rather than me just plugging riffs into a formula. In the beginning I would write as I was recording. Id lay down a riff and begin adding over it and the song would just form itself in a way. Now I spend more time getting a basic layout done in my head or written down before recording anything. But I think both processes are useful, just depends on the song. Sometimes Ill start a song based on a riff I like, or sometimes even a lyric I write will give me ideas on how I want a song to sound. Like I said, its different each time.

LG - What was your inspiration for the project?

AR - One of the main inspirations for this project was the Church of Ra, in its entirety. Everything they did spoke to me on a level I can't describe. I think it was from their light that I truly found the soul to this project. Another influence, oddly enough, was the band VVegas. They have a few acoustic songs that really inspired me to create this music. They're so haunting, but they also carry hints of beauty within them. I think that is something that has truly crossed over into The Way To Light. 

LG - I know exactly what you mean about VVegas, I too have found their acoustic stuff to be gold. In my opinion, Fruition is easily one of their best tracks. VVegas is obviously quite connected to Roses Never Fade. What is your involvement with this group, and how did you become involved?

AR - Fruition is easily my favorite track as well. Within the past few months I have been working with Nick Fiction on some new RNF tracks. I am merely collaborating on this release. I am doing vocals on a few tracks. I got in contact with nick via facebook randomly a while back. We talked for a while, and eventually I talked about us collaborating on something together, and we decided on myself working on some of the new RNF songs. So we will see what comes forth. So far the new stuff sounds good, its a different mood from the original first 2 releases. But it is still solid.

LG - In a little over a year, TWTL has already produced three releases. What is in the pipeline for the future?

AR - At the moment I am working on a few tracks for a split, cant say who with just yet, but it should be a good one. I am also diligently working on a full length album. I am really taking my time with it and am very proud of where its going so far. After I finish the recordings for these releases I will start getting everything ready so I can start playing Live shows! 

LG - I'm sure the full length will be great. Where can we look to stay up to date with TWTL news?
AR - I use the Facebook profile the most, any and all updates will be posted there.

LG - Anything else you'd like to add?
AR - Thank you to everyone who has supported the project thus far. Your heart is in mine.

Austin has also just put together the first video clip for TWTL. Be sure to check it out..

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Gehenna - The Birth of Vengeance 7"

Among other things, I have been trying to get hold of the earlier Gehenna releases for a while now. The opportunity to acquire this record has appeared a few times, but it had seemed to be either too expensive or at times when there were other things I just had to buy. A few weeks ago however, I was able to pick up my own copy from a seller on Discogs (I think) for a reasonable price.

Released all the way back in 1996, this marks Gehenna's second vinyl release, after their split with Apartment 213. It contains five tracks, that are really just as Brutal today as they were 17 years ago. Any of you that have "The War Of The Sons Of Light and The Suns Of Darkness" will have already heard the tracks, as every one made it's way onto that compilation 12".
As what seems the norm with Gehenna releases, the record itself is very plain. Just plain black with no labels. Although I have a feeling there is another version out there with white labels. What I know for sure is the existence of a version with different artwork. Instead of the shot of buildings, there is a picture of a snake (as can be seen here). Included with the record is a printed lyrics sheet.
I thought I would scan a nice high-resolution image of the artwork, as I wasn't able to find such a one on the internet to make my iTunes complete. When I was doing so I noticed a rather faint image on the back of the artwork card. It is mostly red, but I could definitely make out an image very similar to the artwork present on Pulling Teeth's Witches Sabbath series.
A quick scan and some dodgy image manipulation later, and I was correct. It is the same work as number V in the Witches Sabbath series. Of course the art itself comes from Compendium Maleficarum by Francesco Maria Guazzo. 

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Rot in Hell demo tape

Another day, another awesome Rot in Hell release. I must admit, I do check Ebay and the like relatively frequently for RIH releases, but I am still really quite surprised when a rarity such as this pops up. For whatever reason, I didn't have to bid particularly high to win it either. 
This is the original RIH demo tape. Their first release, all the way back from 2007. This has later been produced into a 7", and included on the Hallways of the Always compilation.

Although the side of the case contains lists only two tracks, the tape does contain three. These are exactly the same three that appear on the later releases, which includes "Final Word" in addition to the two below.
Even though the tape is the first thing released by the band, there is still the attention to detail put into the packaging that is present on the later RIH releases. The tape itself is plain black, but comes housed in a great cardboard sleeve, which has been given a sort of grainy effect. The whole thing has a lot of Process-themed imagery.
Inside the cover is an insert similar to what was inside the "Sins of Malice" EP. The same Robert deGrimston is used, although this insert folds out into a cross shape. The lyrics are printed below the picture, although they are quite jumbled and written over the top of one another.
I also noticed the card used to create the sleeve is rather interesting. I was expecting plain card, but there is definitely something printed in there. I could never cut it open, but I sure am curious to see all that lies within....