Heavy Metal Tribune Interview – Bloodcurse, Frontman of Ilemauzar and Founder of Ventbox Productions

Mikael Bloodcurse is no stranger to the local music scene, having being the frontman of Ilemauzar since the last 90s and the founder of local promoter Ventbox Production. The man himself has always been keeping himself busy juggling between his band and organising shows. Heavy Metal Tribune speaks to Bloodcurse on some of the challenges he encounter as a promoter and the progress update on Ilemauzar follow-up album!

Ilemauzar live 2019

HMT – Greeting Bloodcurse, Thanks a lot for taking your time out for this short interview! Understand you have been busy recently with the organizing of Black Metal Day 2020 and recording of Ilemauzar follow-up album. Maybe you could share with us on the progress of the recording?

Bloodcurse – Hello HMT! Thank you for taking the time to interview me. Yeah! We are pretty busy now with Black Metal Day 2020 with all the preparation and the headliner coming all the way from Czech Republic. As for the new album for Ilemauzar, we are currently working on tracking the guitars and bass. Drums are already done in Perth, Australia. We reckon the album should be fully recorded by April and will be sent to Kick Recording Studio in Rome, Italy. Our friend, Marco Mastrobuono (Hour of Penance/Inno) will be handling all necessary reampiing, mixing and mastering of the new album. So watch our space soon for more updates.  


HMT – IIemauzar last release “The Ascension” was released in 2016, That was almost 4 years gap in between albums. What can fans be expecting from this follow-up album?

Bloodcurse – Has it been 4 years already?!!! Hahahaha! Still blasphemous as fuck! But with more creativity and more powerful music. In terms of song writing, I think we have progress into something more mature than the debut. However, not losing the essence of black metal. In fact, it’s more black metal than the first. 

The team behind Ventbox Productions

HMT – Vent Box productions have come a long way since 2013. Recently this year Dark Mirror of Tragedy from Korea have joined the expending booking roster of Vent Box and with the band recently completing a European Tour with Polish “Devilish Impression”. 2020 certainly will be another busy year in terms of booking of bands under Vent Box Production?

Bloodcurse – We have yet to know for sure and since the beginning of the Coronavirus outbreak, a few tours have been put on hold till further notice. We are definitely planning on sending more bands out on tour this year but let’s hope this fucking virus goes soon! 

HMT – Let’s talk about the upcoming “Black Metal Day 2020” on 8 March 2019 at Red Lantern. Despite the cancellation of concert locally due to the on-going Covid-19 virus. What motivates you to proceed on with the show? And will this be an annual event? 

Bloodcurse – To be honest, we were only planning to host Inferno (Czech Republic Black Metal) and 2 more Asia/lLocal bands for this event. But then I realized where my roots were in music and decided to “Make Black Metal Great Again!”. LOL!  Plus both the supporting bands we invited were somehow related to black metal or already a black metal band. So just get 2 more black metal bands on and thus, the birth of Black Metal Day. Also, since the Watain incident last year, many people have a wrong perception of black metal bands being just pure Satanic and full terror. We are not fucking terrorist and we keep our ideologies to ourselves.  We do not force our beliefs unto others like some fucking stupid religion! Plus every end of a black metal show, the people who attended the event just go back home happy. Example was the Cult of Fire show last year.  And yes! Black Metal Day is going to be put up annually like it or not!

Ilemauzar live in Indonesia

HMT – Singapore in recent times has seen a rising number of local promoters e.g. Street Noise Production, Vent Box Production and Death Sentence Production etc. organizing metal shows. However, the local authorities have also been coming down hard on performance venue. Which resulted in a reduction of performance venue. As a promoter I’m sure you must have felt the effects of this. Would there be any plans for local promoters to come together and established a common performance venue?

Bloodcurse – Not at the moment but that is a pretty good suggestion. However, as you already said, authorities are coming down hard on private venues. Establishing one is not easy as it involves time and monetary investment. It will be a shitty situation if the newly established venue gets evicted. All efforts will be gone to waste. Right now, we can only depend on the few approved venues hoping that they will continue running as long as possible until we find a better solution.  

HMT – We’re 5 days away from Black Metal 2020, what can metalhead expect from this event? And will there be any preview of Ilemauzar new material?

Ilemauzar live at Metal United Worldwide 2018

Bloodcurse – 3 words for the metalhead as taken from Mayhem’s cult song! PURE FUCKING ARMAGEDDON! We might preview 1 or 2 tracks from the upcoming full length like what we did at Cult of Fire show last year. Stay tune!

HMT – Alright we have come down to the last question. Any last words to your fans and critics out there? 

Bloodcurse – Support your scene! Raise your Devil’s horns! 

Heavy Metal Tribune Interview – The Ironfist

One of Singapore long standing band Blackened Heavy Metal Band “The Ironfist”is back! Formed back in 1998 as “Ironfist”. The band is return from it’s long hiatus! Heavy Metal Tribune speaks to frontman Alhuzzred on the band return and upcoming show on 8 March 2019 at Black Metal Day 2020.

HMT – Hi Alhuzzred! Many thanks for accepting this email interview! It’s been a long while indeed! For the benefit of our reader, could you provide us with a short introduction on the band?

Alhuzzred – Hails brother Clarence! Arrrggh its an honour to be interviewed by you! Its been a long time since we communicated..i guess over a decade has passed since..The Ironfist is your friendly neighbourhood Black N Roll / Blackened Heavy Metal band. We play our own brand of heavy metal, mixing diverse  elements into our metal (punk/ rock n roll / speed metal / hard rock) and especially our acquired taste of raw f*cking  black metal which is prominent in our hymns. The themes we touch upon are normally tongue in cheek eroticism , fantasy fiction and with a twist of local or Asian delicacies..If you look at our songs past and present, ive always enjoyed making reference to Singahorrian  (or SEAsian)historical events / characters / and culture.We formed originally in 98-99 till 2010 and went for nearly a decade of hiatus.. Now the Fist is back in business pillaging and plundering stages and your delicate eardrums! The Genghis Fist Machine rides back into town!

HMT – For a local metalhead like myself, who has been involved in the local metal scene for awhile. The Ironfist is a familiar name. However, I can see there’s a new line-up here? Could you tell us what happen in between the band hiatus?

Alhuzzred – disintegrated due to multiple factors and i found myself unable to hold everyone together i like normally did. It was realy disheartening. Pressure from work and family commitments also played a huge role in the hiatus. The new lineup that you see currently is not new at all actually. All of them ive known for more than 15 years running and all of them have contributed to the Fist in the past in one way or another… Ash (guitars / bass) have always been a supportive member behind the scenes, lending a helping hand now and then.. Damien (guitars) was our original recording engineer and co producer in the early 2001-2003 releases.. and Dim Mok (drums) has always been the kamikaze animal behind the drum throne and was with us since 2004. Even our Fistial Crew for eg. Xiluman (Ground Ops / guitars) had sacrificed and stood in as an axeman during those few moments we got sh*t by our own members.. So its safe to say that the current team are in fact old pals who have now become the core of The Fist..

The Ironfist live 2019

HMT – Considering you’re the founding member of the band from the original line-up. How do you compare to the local metal scene from 10 years ago till now?

Alhuzzred – Phew! Its such a vast difference as compared to the past metal scene. I realized that the crowds currently are more reserved and quiet as compared to what i used to experience. Nonetheless i see the scene is booming and blooming, with the great organizers continuously bringing in great foreign bands and also the flourishing of great new bands nowadays..Not forgetting the reformation of many of the old legends…Also i see many new and younger faces but in full support of almost everyone around..thats really cool..Plus  the current presence of social media if used positively is really a good tool…The last time i only relied on emails and physical flyers.. then again for the past decade ive been really a recluse neanderthal fella..

HMT – The band has since released it’s long awaited EP “Tyrannikal Adversaries”, how has the response been?

Alhuzzred – The EP is actually a re-release from our old back catalog.. To us personally, Tyrannikal Adversaries EP was the main core of what The Ironfist really was, is and ever shall be.. It will always be an iconic release for us and from us as it opened many opportunities in the past.. So i believe that amongst all our past releases, it would be good for new listeners to experience and start off with this specific EP.. Response was awesome and we are left with super limited quantities in which i won’t further press in future…

HMT – 2019 indeed was a busy year for the band, with the band performing at Buried Alive – Vol III performing with the likes of Evil from Japan and local metal legend Rudra. How does it feels to be back performing to such crowd?

Alhuzzred – Honestly ive gotta owe it to Daniel of DSP..This was the second time he encouraged me for The Ironfist to regroup and kick off once again…To be playing with the lineup of great bands was undeniably  a dream come true for  me as I was already a fan of EVIL..and this would be the third time to share the stage with Rudra (our last show was with them as well) and brothers of Bloodstone!It was really exhillirating and the crowd was totally  awesome! To also see new faces at the frontline as well as old pals from the past..truly a heartwarming exciting experience that i will never forget! It was like a big family reunion!

HMT – Are there any plans for the band to release an follow-up full length album anytime soon?

Alhuzzred – Yes sir very much indeed! Metalheads can expect

  • a short EP coming soon
  • a special split release
  • a Live release
  • and lastly, a full length coming soon …Everything above hopefully to be completed this year!! so watchout for our announcements!

HMT – 2020 will be another exciting year for The Ironfist with the Black Metal Day 2020 being the first show of the year. What can fans be expecting from the band?

Alhuzzred – Actually it will be the second show and back to back to back with another show just a day before.  Our Double The Dragons special! DOUBLE DOSE of Total FSITRUCTION!!Thanx to Mikael and Ventbox for inviting us! We hope that we will be entertaining the audience as much as we did in the past gig! Am really looking forward to have an insane time onstage and offstage! argghhhhhh!

HMT – We have come down to our final question, any last word for the fan?

Alhuzzred – The Ironfist is one band that has NO fans.. We only have friends and supporters.. and we appreciate all those who purchase our merch, who come to our shows, who enjoy our music. Cos they are the ones who help us grow! It has always been a practice to get to know each and everyone who supports our art as we would like to personally thank all of em.Support your local band FIRST before others!.

Stay Clean , Stay away from substances, and come and watch the Ironfist LIVE! Thank you brother for this great opportunity! Hails to you and HMT and keep up the metal spirit always!!! Its great to be in touch with you once again!

“Win or Lose nought to choose, all men are equal when their memory fades…No one knows, friends or foes, if Valhalla lies beyond the grave!” – Deaf Forever

Heavy Metal Tribune Interview Devilish Impressions

One of Poland Melodic Black/Death Metal heavyweights Devilish Impressions performed in Singapore for the first time as part of the second edition of Metal United World Wide organised by Vent Box Production. We spoke to frontman Quazarre on the bands experience.

Hi Quazarre, thanks for taking your time out for this interview! First of all, the band have recently completed your first Asia tour, how has the response been?

Hi! Thanks for letting us talk about the band here at Heavy Metal Tribune pages! 

Getting back to your question, it has actually been our second run across Asia. We did this massive trek all over China and Taiwan nearly three years ago which is actually believed to be one of the most, if not the very most, extensive run any foreign rock or metal band ever played out there. Anyways, this time around, thanks to Vent Box Productions, we have managed to reach out to fans in Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong. The response has been overwhelming! You know, playing such events makes you think that all you do as a musician actually ends up right there, exactly at that very special spot wherein there’s only you and a bunch of your band mates expressing certain feelings throughout words and tunes that apparently turn out to be as important to you as their creators as to those people who stand among the crowd, to people who truly enjoy them and indentify themselves with them. And, well… I’m loving it, man! The feeling that something you came up with at a certain point of your life can actually touch someone else’s heart on the other side of the globe as deep as you can only imagine. Can’t think of any better reward and I send my best regards to each and every maniac we’d met on the road! 

For fans who might not be familiar with the band, would you mind giving them a short introduction of the band?

Well, I hate this sort of questions, honestly hahaha! But yeah, here you go… 

Formed in 2000, formerly as a side, studio project, Devilish Impressions had become stage active six years later. We toured Europe and beyond and shared stages with many prominent metal bands ever since. So far we released a demo, 4 full-length albums, one EP in between and… actually one more EP is set to come out very soon (“Postmortem Whispering Crows” – out 13th September via Non Serviam Records)

The dominant or the most audible subgenres we may be referred to are certainly Black and Death metal. On the other hand though, there’s much more into it. If you, for example, take a closer look at those more melodic parts of our music, like guitar leads and so on, you’ll easily notice that they even refer to classic, heavy metal patterns. There’s also some thrash riffing here and there, so, I’d say we’re pretty much open-minded when it comes to incorporating different elements into our creation, for as long as it sounds coherent of course. To sum it all up, while being somehow loyal to the core of the Black / Death Metal genre we always try to expand its territories, try to reach out beyond its limits and boundaries. Yes, we’re fans of music in general, not fans of Black Metal only. No matter what means of expressions we use, to me an atmosphere plays a key role here. Also personally I’d always follow bands that have more to say, those who have this “something” within their offerings on top of their abilities, rather than those who shine through thanks to better musicianship skills that usually make them more technically advanced only. Obviously, lyrics, artwork and stage presence always come on top of it. And I think all these factors are somehow inseparable, and that each and every one of them serves a “higher” purpose of creating one, solid monolith that eventually speaks for itself. 

Your latest album “The I” was released back in 2017, how was the album received from fans and critics? 

Luckily enough it was released to a critical acclaim worldwide, having scored many maximum notes in plenty of important magazines from all over the globe. It has also made it to a bunch of the top lists for 2017 metal albums. To those who are not familiar with “The I” as of yet, I would say it’s our most mature, multi-layered and complex offering up to date. I’m not saying it’s the most original work out there yet it certainly has its own, unique flare to whatever had been created in Black / Death Metal so far. 

May you share with us back when “The I” was written were there any concept/idea you had behind the album? 

As expressed in the album’s press-note, the title chosen for the new record is not only a phonetic acronym of the band’s name (The I = DI), but above all it reflects the manifesto we stand for since the very first day of the band’s activity, which is the notion of freedom of choice and will. A supremacy of an individual over any external factors being imposed on us by others, with special emphasis on religion and its convictions, dogmas and paradigms. “The I”is a rebellious manifesto targeted against all those who stand opposed to anything that drives us towards individual perfection.As commented by Darky, a long-time friend of the band considered to be its spirit member and who has also contributed to the album’s lyrics: “Following on the notion that one can never reach full potential out in the open being a slave at heart it all comes down to – plain and simple – rising above and stepping over and beyond all force-fed limitations in order to accomplish honest satisfaction, fulfillment and unsuppressed growth as an individual”. So, it’s about setting ourselves free when it comes to our very own lives, towards decisions we make and paths that I believe we should create rather than blindly follow… As in many other lyrics from Devilish Impressions we do attack religions and those considered to be their leaders for not being open to people’s independent try outs of finding answers on their own, for having those people cracked under their whip while usurping the decision-making powers of each and every human being for themselves…  It’s about the need to stand up for the way we perceive the world individually, not as a whole collective which is constantly being imposed by others from abovewithwhat’s good or bad, imposed by the truth proclaimed as “the only right one”. 

With last release in 2017, has the band begun writing on the next follow-up album? If so, what can the fans be expecting from this follow-up album? 

As I have briefly mentioned earlier on, we’ve got this new EP “Postmortem Whispering Crows” coming out in three weeks from now on. These are unreleased tracks from the “The I” album recording sessions. For some reasons we just considered them inconsistent with others that landed in the “The I” album’s tracklist. I mean, lyric-wise they still fit within the concept behind the latest full-length but musically we felt they were way to diversified, thus we decided to mix and master them once again in a different way we did the album and put them out as a separate release. I do think these are killer songs regardless! Those who are familiar with the band’s previous offerings though can easily notice never we had played this way before, but that’s why I believe some may find it really interesting to see the band explore slightly different areas again. It’s hard to say though if that’s the path we will follow on the next full-length record if you ask me… Devilish Impressions’ music has always been heading towards an unexpected directions. 

Quazarre, I understand, you also play in another side project ASGAARD. The band’s latest album “Stairs to Nowhere” was released in 2012, do you have any plans for the group?

I’ve been quite busy with Asgaard up to 2004-2005 when we released and later promoted live the “EyeMDX-tasy” album. After that other guys in the band started their families, settled-down-for-life kind and so on. Having quite easily realized  that we won’t be as active as before, that we won’t be doing lots of shows or recording on a regular basis anymore, I decided to fully focus on Devilish Impressions instead. And that has actually made Asgaard more like a studio-project while Devilish Impressions have become a full-steam live machine ever since. Indeed, “Stairs to nowhere” came out in 2012 and apart from having appeared at a couple of selected shows after the album’s premiere we’d rather remained quiet ever since. However, I can tell you now that the new album’s in the making. Yes! Asgaard’s newest album (7th in the band’s career) has been on my radar for over a year now but, due to many reasons, it still requires a couple of months to have it completed. I mean, we have got all the instruments tracked and laid down apart from vocals, which is my duty in the band, and to record some additional parts of synthesizers afterwards. But, if all goes smoothly, I shall hit the studio within a month or so to do my job. Once I have done that there will be only mixing and mastering left, which we are planning to do right after the vocals’ recording session. But then, of course, we still need a bit more time to finalize the album’s design and artworks so I would say we shall be ready with everything by the late Autumn.

Being the founding members of DEVILISH IMPRESSIONS since 2000, what keeps you going as a musician for over 19 years? I understand you’re also the band manager, how do you juggle doing multiple roles in the bans? 

I simply got used to it. What keeps me going? At the end of the day I believe that doing something out of pure passion is the most important thing and as such it should remain the only reason for being a part of the scene. If you by any chance happen to succeed then that’s fine, if not? Well, it doesn’t really mean you’ve got to stop doing your own thing, at least not until it makes you proud and happy doing it, right? So, yeah! I would say passion and the need to express my inner self is what drives me do these things and makes me who I am throughout all those years. 

As this is the band second Asian tour, have you encountered any interesting things during your trips to Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong?

Oh, too many to mention them all, hahaha! To cut it short, fell in love for all those beautiful places we managed to visit plus both maniacs and just randomly met people were super-friendly. Yes, we all truly enjoyed it and can’t wait to hit the shores of South-East Asia again!

Any last words for your Asian fans?

On behalf of Devilish Impressions I would like to send our loud hail out to all our fans in Asia! I promise we shall return! Meanwhile make sure to be on a lookout for the coming of our “Postmortem Whispering Crows” EP. 

Thanks you Q for the interview! 

Thank you! I do hope our paths cross again… Cheers!

Quazarre / Devilish Impressions 

Manifestic – Anonymous Souls

Too many thrash metal bands these days preach the “modern” sound, infusing lots of elements from other subgenres of metal into their writing. Oftentimes, the high quality, sterile production value ends up making them sound too “modern” (ironically, ha), leaving me missing the days when thrash metal had that raw aggressive edge to them.

Enter Germany’s Manifestic. While reading the band bio, there are claims that they play thrash metal in the vein of Megadeth – which would have gotten me a little bit wary – my favourite album being Rust in Peace, and their later material being a little bit, erm, modern for my liking. Fortunately this was only after actually listening to their material.

Anonymous Soul is the band’s debut full length album. Right from the opening riff of the title track, one is reminded of the sound popularised by progressive thrash bands such as Vektor and Vexovoid. Not only do the vocals sound similar to those of the aforementioned, but the razor thin guitar tones are also reminiscent especially of Vektor. This comparison doesn’t just end in the production and the tone of the bands, but also in the playing. The most obvious would be in the strings department, in guitarists Rob’s and Samy’s phrasing, and the way the rhythm and the lead complement each other.

Musically, the band also takes influence from the technicality showcased on bands like Death‘s later works (think Symbolic-era), but with a larger dose of melody. For instance, moments like the intro of Code of Silence would have fit comfortably in arena rock of the 80s. At the same time, the easy shift between different tempos and the progressiveness of the writing often harkens back to the works of Vektor on albums like Black Future, although Vektor does take a much speedier approach on their playing. That said, there is sufficient aggression on the album to cater to headbangers, like the Slayer-esque moments on Time will Collapse.

I can see how the Megadeth references may have come into the picture, with the speed and dexterity that each of the band members showcase on their instruments. So if you are suffering from some Vektor, Vexovoid, or even Divine Chaos withdrawal, Manifestic‘s debut would be a good way to hold off the symptoms.

Your Introduction to Black Metal in Singapore

Along with the recent saga came a surge of interest in the black metal genre. Just look at posts on alternative media such as this:

Perhaps it is in good time that we also introduce some local (Singaporean) black metal acts as well. In no order of preference, we present to you… Black metal in Singapore.

1. Impiety

When it comes to black metal in Singapore, who could forget the mighty Impiety? Formed in 1988, Impiety‘s discography spans the entire extreme metal genres. Beginning with the traditional 2nd-wave of black metal sound on Asateerul Awaleen, Impiety‘s style has transformed over the years to incorporate more bestial elements on albums like Formidonis Nex Cultus (which has a thrashy vibe), to the more progressive works on Worshippers of the Seventh Tyranny.

Their material has drawn comparisons to such legends as Blasphemy, Sarcofago, and Angelcorpse. Along with their long-running history, the band can easily be considered one of the black metal legends coming out of Southeast Asia, let alone Singapore.

2. Abhorer

Speaking of legends, how can one not speak of Abhorer? With a string of demos, splits, EPs and just a single full-length album, Zygotical Sabbatory Anabapt, the band’s musical style has remained one of the cornerstones of the black metal sound coming out of Singapore.

3. Rudra

Vedic metal band Rudra burst into the scene in 1992, but it was not until 1998 that the band released their now landmark self-titled album. Unlike Impiety or Abhorer, Rudra adopted a more death metal leaning sound, while incorporating elements of Vedic philosophy and spirituality into their lyrical themes. What made them such a unique band is the ability to also fuse Eastern elements into their musical output, into a sound that they can proudly call their own. The band even got local filmmaker Jacen Tan to direct one of their music videos, which launch remains one of the most memorable events personally.

4. Infernal Execrator

A considerably younger band than the aforementioned, Infernal Execrator takes much of their musical cues from bands such as Impiety, along with other black/death metal legends such as Infernal War, Blasphemy, and the likes. With 2 full lengths under their belts, and their latest offering being last year’s Obsolete Ordinance, Infernal Execrator is definitely a force to be reckoned with.

5. Ilemauzar

Ilemauzar takes a more traditional black metal route compared to their compatriots, incorporating symphonic elements into their musical output. With their debut album The Ascension, the band has managed to capture the blackened hearts and souls of the Southeast Asia region. Fronted by mainman Mike (who also runs regional booking agency Vent Box Productions), the band has already garnered a sizeable fanbase through their tours in such countries as the Philippines and Indonesia.

6. Draconis Infernum

Draconis Infernum remains one of those local bands that has stayed close to my heart, being one of the first Singaporean black metal bands that I really got hooked onto. The band burst into the extreme metal circle in 2008 with their debut full length album, Death in My Veins, and has continued destroying the eardrums of their followers with Rites of Desecration & Demise, and The Sacrilegious Eradication. The band also has the honour of being the first band to perform on German black metal festival, Barther Metal Open Air in 2009.

7. Balberith

Band leader Khaal is also the founder of Ravage Records, a record store that feeds to the desires of local true metal fans. Balberith takes their cue from bestial war metal bands such as Blapshemy, and even regional acts such as Zygoatsis in their musical style.

The list is non-exhaustive as new bands come, and old bands leave their legacy. Know of any bands that we should have mentioned, but failed to make their appearance here? Leave your recommendations in the comments below.

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