Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Interview with Mors Principium Est!!

  Interview conducted via email, May 2013.

WULF:  OK guys, it's been 6 long years but finally a new album has emerged!! "...And Death Said Live" is easily one of the strongest melodic death metal album to come out in a long time. While we here at Malicious Intent have really enjoyed listening to it, how has the reception been for the album on your end? Also, how have people reacted to your cover of Backstreet Boys' "The Call"? :p
MPE:  We have had really great reception from the fans, of course you lose a few people because it is not the "original lineup" but the majority of people love the new material, and the fact that we could carry on with the same style, and improve in some areas. Many people thought it wasnt possible for us to write this record, but we proved a lot of people wrong, and came out with a great album. We were really lucky working with Thomas 'Plec' Johansson in Sweden when we recorded, he really captured our vision, and gave us the end result we were looking for. 'The Call' is only on the Asian release, so many people actually haven't heard it!

WULF:  There's tons of stuff going on on the album, including guest guitar solos from Jona Weinhofen (I Killed the Prom Queen, ex-Bleeding Through, ex-Bring Me the Horizon) and Ryan Knight (The Black Dahlia Murder, ex-Arsis) did this come about? Are they personal friends of the band?

MPE:  Yes, they are both personal friends of ours, and also fans of MPE, so it was a natural thing for us. We wanted to include a couple of guest artists, and having these guys was great. Ryan is an amazing player, and has been a huge fan of Mors for a long time, so was really excited to play for us, he gave us an incredible solo too!

WULF:  The album art is really cool. One of my favorite types of metal album covers is that medieval-esque woodcut style...I was also surprised to see that it was done by Jan Yrlund! I'm not too familiar with most of his music or artwork, but "Dim Carcosa" by Ancient Rites is one of my favorite metal albums ever!! Why did you decide that he was the right person for the job? Also, I'm not sure if I understand the concept behind it... I felt the album to have a really positive, exciting vibe to it ("...And Death Said Live", i.e. the band has cheated death and is back with a vengeance!) but the cover to be pretty grim, almost a black metal album cover. What was your reason for this?

MPE:  We had an idea in mind with the concept (and yes you're right on that) and we had a style that we liked, but we really let Jan suprise us, and this was the first thing that he sent us after we talked with him and we loved it. It worked out great. It wasn't conciously aiming for 'black metal style' but we had an idea and a style in mind, and this was the result.

WULF:  Obviously there's been a ton of drama regarding MPE and guitar did you finally end up hooking up with Andhe Chandler (from New Zealand!) and Andy Gillion (from the UK)? I know on your website it said that you were looking for people to audition via the internet, but what made you finally decide on these two guys? Have they relocated to Finland, or is MPE now an international band?

MPE:  From the website, Andy joined the band first, then 6 months later Andhe joined. Andhe has been living in Finland for a year now, and Andy is still living in the UK, just flying to Finland for rehearsals before gigs etc. We had over 200 applications for guitarists, but picked the best two that not only could play, but were able to write MPE material.

WULF:  For me at least, one of the best characteristics of MPE's signature sound are the epic, atmospheric keyboards. However, it's my understanding that the band hasn't had an official keyboard player for years...which begs the question, who handled the keyboards on the new album? Are you going to have a keyboard player for future live shows, or are you going to use samples? Also, just out of curiosity, are you looking for a keyboardist or do you feel like nowadays it's no longer necessary?

MPE:  We're using samples for the keyboards live. While sometimes it would be nice to have a keyboard player there, it also brings lots of other "problems" as far as having to take an extra person on tour, and everything becomes more expensive etc. We are playing to click tracks with the keyboard samples, so that our live performance still sounds like the album does. Andy took care of the majority of the keyboard programming on the new album.

WULF:  Really random question, but Mikko Sopola (drums) is one of the founding members and has played on all of the albums except "Liberation=Termination", where the drums were handled by Marko Tommila...why was this?

MPE:  Mikko was going through some personal things here, and didn't have the time to concentrate on this album so he wasn't available then, so Marko filled in to get the record done.

WULF:  For your upcoming Japanese tour, it looks like Andy Gillion won't be able to make it and is instead being temporarily replaced by French guitarist Kevin Verlay. What's the story behind that? Is Verlay going to be a permanent replacement? How did you find him? Will Gillion be able to make it to this upcoming show in Seoul (Asia Metal Fest 2013)? Also, is it a conscious decision to not work with Finnish guitar players since they seem to be such bad luck for the band? :p

MPE:  Andy is the best man at his friends wedding, so cannot make the Japan tour, as the wedding is right in the middle of that. So when looking at getting someone to play for us, we were talking to the guy booking our tour, and his brother had previously played bass for Aborted, and had uploaded a cover of a new MPE song on youtube. So i checked him out, talked to him a bit, and when we get back from Korea he's coming to Finland to rehearse with us before we hit Japan. Gillion will be with us in Korea though! And for the upcoming Finnish gigs also.

WULF:  One of my favorite things to ask bands is for book or movie recommendations. Is there any specific literature or film that has inspired your music or lyrics, or just your life in general?

MPE:  As far as lyrics go, i guess influence comes from everywhere, but we had some sections based on Greek Mythology etc, I'm a big fan of horror / dark films, but I'm not sure if any of that comes in as an infuence as such. The new Evil Dead remake is fantastic, some great scenes that pay homage to the original, but a new take on that classic film.

WULF:  Obviously there's Asia Metal Fest 2013 coming up here in Seoul along with a Japanese tour (congratulations by the way!) later this year. Do you have a huge following in Japan? Also, are you planning on playing any other dates in Korea? It seems like such a long way to travel just for one show!!

MPE:  We just have the one date in Korea, then we are taking a couple of days to explore Seoul. We have a great following in Japan, and we can't wait to get there. Both of our Tokyo shows have sold out already, and we get to see quite a bit of the country for all the other gigs, and playing with Origin and Aeon, it should be a blast!

WULF:  What are you hoping to accomplish with your performance at Asia Metal Fest 2013? Have you played in Korea/East Asia before? What can your fans expect to see at this upcoming show? Also, do you like Korean BBQ?? The food here is killer!!

MPE:  We have heard many things about Korean BBQ!! We are looking forward to trying out the food, and seeing Seoul. Korea is a place none of us thought we would ever get to, so we are very excited. It is also our first time playing in Asia, so lots of new experiences, and actually our first show this year. So it should be a great time. We're playing songs from every album, not just the new material, so we hope everyone enjoys the show.

WULF:  Are there any other tour plans in the works right now? What does the future have in store for the band? Any plans for a DVD, future albums, etc?

MPE:  We have a couple of festivals lined up here in Finland, and a Japanese tour. We had a great European tour lined up but the headlining band wasnt gathering enough interest so that was cancelled unfortunately - our booking agent is looking for some more gigs for us for Autumn, so we hope to be on the road again soon. We have started to look at new material for the next album, so we'll see what happens, no DVD plans yet - but it would be nice to do a music video.

WULF:  Any final words or comments for the fans?

MPE:  We really hope you can make it to the gig, and enjoy our set. This is our first time in Asia to play, and we're really excited, thank you for having us! (Can't wait for this Korean BBQ!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Interview with HADES The Violet!!

Interview conducted via email in May, 2013.

WULF:  Thank you so much for doing this interview! Would you like to tell us a little bit about yourselves?  Who are you? What does your band name mean?

HADES THE VIOLET:   We are a Korea-based Hybrid Gothic Band called Hades the Violet.  The band name has two combined meanings: Hades, as you know very well, is the god of underground in greek myhology and he has a power of darkness, but also sad sensibiliy following to his love story with Persephone. Basically our music is much similar to this contrary image of the God. The color of viloet, which is followed to Hades, has a mysterious and beautiful image and this is the image that our band wanna add up on our music.

WULF:  How would you describe your sound? What other artists are your biggest influences?

HADES THE VIOLET: There is no specific musician who effects on our music. We pursue the sensibility of opposite extremes : Masculity of powerful and fast rythme of drum, guitar and bass and Femininity of beautiful, but sad melody of vocal and keyboard.

WULF:  Can your recommend to us any specific films or literature that are especially influential in the creation of your music?

HADES THE VIOLET:  More or less, our music has been effected by fantasy novels, gothic arts or greek mythology, not by any specific film nor literature.

WULF:  You are playing a gig at the Asia Metal Festival 2013 here in a few days.  What can your fans expect to see from your live performance? What are you hoping to accomplish?

HADES THE VIOLET:  As we already mentioned above, we would like to show the harmony of power and beautiful, and gloosy perfomance.

WULF:  What are your plans for the near future? Any more shows, or perhaps a tour?  Also, are you going to be releasing any music?

HADES THE VIOLET:  We are currently producing our EP and as soon as this will be completed, we are planning to have a solo concert.   After that, we will have a concert in Japan.

WULF:  That's all the questions for now!! Any final comments?

HADES THE VIOLET: Our music is based on Gothic Metal, but we would like to be a band which shows its own color of music and isn't stereotyped. We hope to have your support and interest on our music. Thank you!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Asia Metal Fest

Because I'm a master procrastinator, I've decided to wait to the very last second to announce that Judge Dredd and yours truly will officially be attending ASIA METAL FESTIVAL 2013 in Seoul!! Should be a great show whether you're a diehard metalhead or just curious, I highly recommend you check it out!! At the very least you can just get drunk with us for two nights back to back!! However, because we've received SO MANY emails from people begging us to cover the show, we've decided to try and help out by getting our hands dirty and doing some interviews with a few of the bands playing the show (as well as an after-show wrap-up if we're not too lazy). Stay tuned!! :D

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Grim Brew, TRVE Brew

Ever since I started going to Metal shows at the age of 14 or 15, I've noticed the extent to which beer and the consumption thereof has played a part in the Metal experience.  With the surge in interest of craft brews and homebrewing in the last 10 years, I've noticed the subtle ways in which Metal has creeped into the craft brewing world, as well as vice versa.

TRVE Brewing, based out of Denver, Colorado, is one of the young examples of this growing phenomenon.  I recently had the pleasure of talking with Nick, owner and head brewer at TRVE Brewing, via e-mail, about Metal and brews.


Judge Dredd: Let's start with the basics. What's your name? What is your job title with TRVE Brewing? How did TRVE Brewing come into existence? How did you initially become interested in brewing beer? How did you first get into Metal?

I'm Nick, owner and brewer at TRVE.
I'd been homebrewing for about 4-5 years before I started writing a business plan, and about six months in I finally decided on the theme. I'll be the first to admit that it came to me after visiting Kuma's Corner in Chicago. I had one of the best burgers of my life sitting next to some grandma while they were blaring something brutal like Cryptopsy. I knew Denver needed something in the same vein.
I've been a metalhead since I was fifteen. I'd been playing drums since I was eight and when I heard the intro to Death's "Sound of Perseverance" it blew my brain out the back of my skull.

Judge Dredd: I've noticed that most, if not all of the names of your beers, reference Metal albums, songs, or bands (Sunn O))), "Prehistoric Dog" by Red Fang, 'Diotima' by Krallice, "Tunnel of Trees" by Deafheaven, etc.). Is this a theme you will continue? Do you decide on a name just by whatever you are currently listening to, or is the thought process a bit more involved than that?

This is definitely a thing that'll continue. All our beers will always be named after albums or songs from bands we think are killing it. We kinda broke the system a little bit with our new Double IPA - Nazareth - since it's a quote from a song instead of a title, but the gag still works.
The naming kinda works both ways. I could be listening to something and think a beer would be great to name after it, or I might come up with a beer and hunt around for a song that fits the style.

Judge Dredd: Continuing this theme a little bit, my friends and I often describe non-Metal things (like novels, movies, dish soaps, etc.) according to different Metal sub-genres. For example, I would say the movie 'Roadhouse' with Patrick Swayze is Technical Sludge/Southern Metal with some 80s Thrash influences. Using this system, what sub-genres of Metal are pilsners, IPAs, stouts, hefeweizens, and Belgian ales? Also, what is overall the MOST Metal style of beer in your opinion? Why?

There're countless ways in which metal and beer are similar. I definitely associate certain beer styles with different sub-genres of metal. Stouts are like doom, IPAs are like stoner metal, a hopped-up American pils is kinda like grind.
I don't think that there's a style of beer that's the MOST metal, just like there's not a sub-genre of metal that's MORE metal than any other. It all depends on what you're in the mood for.

Judge Dredd: In a video interview with Billy Broas (of, he asked you about the name of the brewery, and I really liked your response. You mentioned that it's in part about making fun of people who take themselves too seriously, and of course, I immediately thought of the many many Metal elitists who sometimes take themselves and Metal way way too seriously. Could you elaborate on your response for our audience?

A truly exhausting aspect of the cultures of both Metal and Beer is the insane amount of elitism that pervades the dialogues in both circles. A person's palate and a person's ear are their own, and are totally subjective. I named the brewery TRVE as a jab to folks who I inevitably knew would come in and talk down to us and act like they know better than we do. As predicted, we definitely get the occasional kvlt warrior coming in disappointed that we have beer that isn't swill and working bathroom doors.

Judge Dredd: As someone who has dabbled in homebrewing, I know that picking the right ingredients for a new brew is of the utmost importance, and that it can take a long time to perfect a recipe. How do you go about picking the hops and other ingredients for a new brew? How long does it take you to perfect a new recipe?

To be honest, I've gotten REALLY lucky in that I used gut instinct to come up with some of our recipes and they turned out damn-near perfect. Stout O))) and Hellion both haven't changed at all since their initial batches since we honestly can't think of a single way we'd want to change them.
Tunnel of Trees is another story entirely since I've been continually tweaking it from day one and am only just now really happy with it. One of the best aspects of our small system and unexpected popularity is that we rip through batches really quickly and are able to make a lot of tweaks to recipes. It's also given me a lot of time to familiarize myself with our system enough to know how certain ingredients or processes are going to change the end result.

Judge Dredd: From what I understand, craft brewing is especially popular in Colorado (New Belgium, Left Hand, and Great Divide just to name a few of the larger ones). Why do you think this is? Also, do you feel there is a lot of competition as a result?

We had a strong start 15-20 years ago with the big wave of craft brewery openings in the 1980s, all of who you name above were a part of. These dudes and ladies paved the way for little guys like us to get open by enlightening a ton of people to great beer.
Craft beer as a whole at this point is not at all about competition, or if it is it's very friendly competition. We're out at other breweries whenever we can be and other breweries are stopping in here all the time. Since craft beer as a whole only JUST surpassed 5% of the entire beer market, it's very much still an "us versus them" mentality with craft beer fighting together against the big three.

Judge Dredd: From what I can gather, it looks as though you only sell your beer at the brewery, or takeaways via growlers. I know the brewery is still very young, but are you looking to eventually expand to regional distribution in the future, or do you prefer to keep the business local?
I still haven't really decided how far out I want to take this. There's a certain degree of beauty to the simplicity of what we're doing - we brew beer and listen to metal, and that's it. The upcoming battle for shelf space in liquor stores in Colorado (and around the country for that matter) is about to get brutal, and I'm not sure I want TRVE to be a part of that.

Judge Dredd: For many Metalheads, it seems as though beer and Metal go together like peanut butter and jelly. From all the way back to Iron Maiden's collective, herculean ability to down thousands of beers on a tour, to the present where one has bands like Municipal Waste getting their very own beer produced by Three Floyds Brewery. Do you think there is an inextricable link between Metal and beer? If so, why do you think that might be? Additionally, do you think that relationship has changed at all as craft brews have gained in popularity?

I like to think that part of the appeal of metal is the escapism of the whole genre, and part of the reason humans have loved booze for six thousand years is that it makes them feel unlike their normal selves. That desire to get away from reality is present in both domains.
Why beer though? My guess is that it's cause beer's always been the working person's drink, and metal's always been the music of lower/middle class working folk. It's a natural fit.
It's unfortunate that the dominant beer of metal is the macro-lager. I know not every hesher's gonna want to drink craft beer, but I'm hoping I can get some of them to try something different than a Banquet or Peeber once in a while. Seems to be working so far!

Judge Dredd: In our hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, we have a brewery called Free State Brewery. In the past, employees and customers alike have commented on how Free State brings the community together and encourages the exchange of ideas. What part do you think your brewery plays in the Denver community, or even just the Denver Metal community? How would you compare the Metal community with the craft brewing community of Denver? Are they mutually exclusive?

The cool thing about the crowd at our brewery is that it's the weirdest mix of people imaginable. A couple of my metalhead friends were in the brewery for one of our beer releases and were amazed at how many "normals" there were in our taproom. I love that part of what we're doing. We expose the bangers to good beer and the normals to great tunes.

Judge Dredd: What would be your advice to someone who wants to start homebrewing or even start their own brewery?

If you're gonna start homebrewing, dive the fuck in! Don't get all neurotic about every little aspect of a brew day, and don't overanalyze what's happening at every moment. It takes time to tune yourself in to how things should progress so in the beginning I can't stress enough that you just need to chill the fuck out and brew. Focus on good sanitation and proper fermentation temperatures and your beer will be perfectly good, if not great.
If you're one of the thousands of people looking to open a brewery these days, all I can say is get ready to have your ass handed to you day after day. It's a shitton more work than you're imagining.
Mostly I would just recommend being different. Don't just be another boring brewery blending in with all the others. If you do something fun and original, you'll kill it.

Judge Dredd: Any last words?

Drink beer and worship the riff!


Visit the Trve Brewing website here.  If you are in the Denver, CO area, then you can visit their brewery at this location:

227 Broadway #101
Denver, CO 80203