Interview with Shalwend Insoraths of Eibon

Singapore atmospheric black metal band Eibon has been around for 21 years. Having gone through a journey so tough that most bands probably would not survive, they are finally going to release their first full length album in 15 years, entitled “Crudified” this year. I had the privilege to conduct this email interview with Shalwend, mastermind behind the band, to share his experiences.


HMT: Hi Eibon, thank you for taking time off your schedules for this up close and personal interview.

Eibon is…

A band that is lead by frontman, Shalwend Insoraths on vocals, Pro-D-Gul on the axe and Xennoz on ambience and synths. The rest of the member are just considered sessionist as they are not involved in any recordings on any releases. Eibon lyrics, although labeled as a BM band, does not deal with satanic worshipping, or even any kinds of worshipping. We are more mystical and dark about our songs. All inspirations and ideas on the composition of the song arrangements and lyrics are solely penned by Shalwend. Some songwritings by Pro-D-Gul & Xennoz (as of the recordings on Eastern Damnation, a 4-way split album released by Eternia Records/Production). Eibon is about way of life, the spiritual awakening, humankind and many more.

What are your day jobs, and how do you find the time to indulge in performing black metal?

Music scene here is not what you can depend on for a rice bowl. All of us are definitely holding day jobs which we think are better to be kept confidential, but if you really got to know, well, we have to take your life… (Just kidding!!!) We usually find time to practice in the evening. Agreeing to the time where everyone can be present to rehearse together.

You last full length was in 1995 (The Garden of Theophrastus), which was 15 years ago. Besides the new lineup, what can fans of Eibon look forward to?

Yeah we got a new full length titled, “Crudified”, actually planned for last year (2009) release, but looking forward to release it this year (2010). That’s how Eibon usually do its work… No rush, no date lines, and if we cannot release it the year before, we just release it in the next year or so. Sometimes it’s the label, sometime it’s the band. But when the time comes, it will get release. Fans get crazy sometimes… but they understand. Some even think the band was disbanded, but we are always there actually. Just cruising at our own time, our own target.

Eibon has performed overseas in Malaysia and Indonesia. Compared to the Singapore metal scene, what are the most significant differences?

The crowd is definitely wild in Indonesia. Malaysia also got pretty nice attendance, and we just love the way they give us their warm support. Singapore? Well… even though we have a small crowd… But it is definitely a strong one. They are motivated and uplifted just to see and be with the band. Other differences? Maybe the atmosphere during the show and after the show. It makes much difference.

Singapore is a generally harmonious society, with the government promoting understanding among the people of different races and religions. What is your take on performing black metal, a genre known for its anti-religious contents?

You want to know what we personally believe? We believe religious is just a cause to differentiate and separate humanity. Gaining and suppressing the weak minds to believe in making leaders out from religious propaganda. Put it this way, as human we care and even looking at a slightest of destruction, we could not bear. I believe God did not permit the separation of humankind with brands like religion. And that every prophets or messengers sent is to relay about the way of life, about the important of lives. But there is definitely a culprit, that wants to see through that all humanity be brought down. For he had sworn, that he will bring as many humankind to join him to be burn in the darkest and blackest fire of Gehenom. He does not have the power, and see that by using human to destroy another human is just an opportunity. So he had made plans for more than 10,000 years and as you can see now, it’s fruitful. So, we believe that humanity is relatively at stake. We cannot counter these through physically challenging this culprit and his now ever growing armies of mind and heart whispering demons. Only spiritually can we counter them. So is the world ready enough or maybe paying bills and family matters are most important right now? And just let them destroy and corrupt every last one, sons of Adam and daughters of Eve and let judgment day decides what best? Call us crazy, call us infidels, but we definitely know our opus. All religions, all human races have something, some truth but most are being painstakingly twisted and corrupted. And believe us; we are not against any human, races or religion, or whatsoever. We are merely creating art, our majestic art! Art is not a crime, is it?

The Eastern Damnation split CD

We are particularly curious about your performances in Malaysia and Indonesia. These countries are known to censor metal bands and the whole metal genre is generally frowned upon. What were your best and worst experiences while performing in those countries, especially as a black metal band? Were there any interesting brushes with the authorities?

Well, we are definitely not allowed to perform as we pleased in Malaysia. For what I hear now, not even with spikes, nor any face paint. It’s not the image we want to portray anyway. What’s important is that our presence shall at least dominate and terminate these ‘heart whisperers’. We don’t blame those (authorities) for putting us in jail, or stopping our performance previously, because we believe it’s not the image they are afraid of… it’s what is in the music. The inspired will enjoy our tunes, only these intellectuals will question and analyze what hurts them in a very disturbing manner. In whatever images we come, in their vile eyes, they only see Hell’s coming. Well, authorities or not, the Council of Hell, the 19 have already surfaced, so what’s it gonna be? Evil doers and religious preachers who led souls after souls astray will have to answer. Their powers are slowly dying… As we are appointed by Hell, we shall continue our dark opuses whether they like it or not… Time is running short… How long can they rule? The interesting part is that, they let us go with no verdict. Just like that. But it’s no surprise, we know who engineers our release.

Eibon has been constantly plagued with line up problems. Have you ever felt like giving up? What was it that kept you going through the tedious process of finding new members and keep on doing what you have been doing?

Not a problem for me, as I am the soul of Eibon. Doesn’t matter who wants to leave. It won’t stop me. Even if alone, I’m willing to fight a good fight. That is my way, my path. I’ve seen more trouble days, but nothing is stopping the music. Definitely nothing is stopping me spreading the message.

Eibon can be considered a veteran band in the Singapore metal scene, considering its 21-year long history and all the ups and downs that the band has gone through. What can gig-goers for the Metal Assault gig expect?

Well, it’s not like we are gonna fly, bring down fire from the sky or pull out rabbits from a hat. But definitely we are going to be entertaining them. Motivate and uplift them and ensure everybody’s happy for at least one moment of their day.

Most of the local black metal bands play straightforward black metal, with few playing its deviant sub genres such as atmospheric black metal. How did you come to the decision to play atmospheric black metal, or was it your interest from the start?

It sort of comes in naturally… I didn’t expect “The Garden…” to come out that way. During that time, 1995, what bands plays that sort of music; we had that music since 1990, only manage to put it out to album cassette in 1995, all thanks to Mr. Ghani (the Dark Old One) & the Dark Artz Production. Some friends mentioned that if we had released them earlier, it would be a definite trend setter… But that is not the case, inspiration comes and we create… The intellects will come in knowing its worth and claim it’s theirs to sell. So you see, the inspired always gets blocked by the intellects. It’s just how this world works.

Shalwend, you are a multi-instrumentalist. What is your musical background and any preferred setup of each instrument that you play?

Well, both my parents are musicians. My dad is a multi-instrumentalist (keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, etc) and sings cover songs for weddings with his friends, and my mom, she sings in my dad’s band also during wedding occasions. During my toddler days, I always follow them to their band rehearsals in the old kampong at Siglap and sometimes I will personally plays the tambourine or shakers just to put some essence into the music. I always sit around when they are doing band discussions and stuff. It’s not an easy task, so it’s actually nothing new to me about band line up. As for setup, a person like me never thinks. I do with what I have and make do with it. There’s no planning, no thinking, up on the stage it’s all natural.

Any means for fans from overseas to get your releases?

I’ll be having a site up soon for the world to get our stuffs. Currently follow us through www.myspace.com/eibonsgp or Eibon (Singapore) on facebook. Both sites are handled by our master of symphony, Xennoz. Any questions you can just sent through… He will definitely answer.

Any tips for aspiring bands?

Don’t give a flying fuck about what others say! It’s your world, it’s your art, even if they intentionally destroy your art and not let you move on; just remember that you and/or your band possess that special something. If creating and being inspired is in your nature, in your blood… Then don’t stop at nothing. If your intention to become famous and popular through playing Black Metal, DON’T bet on it! Don’t look down on other bands, learn and share the experience and gain experience. Expose yourself through gigs, you’ll definitely learn lots. Don’t brag and don’t boast… trust me… there’s nothing you’ll gain through it. Finally, BE YOURSELF!

Thank you once again for the interview. Eibon will be having their first performance of the year of 2010 at the upcoming Metal Assault gig (pre-sale tickets available at La Vanita).

Read the pdf version on scribd.com here!

Eibon on: Facebook, MySpace
You can email Eibon here or to Shalwend here.

Current merchandise/releases:
Eastern Damnation Split Album
T-shirt and stickers coming soon!

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

Album Review: Suicide Solution – Shake Well Before Abuse

Suicide Solution [SINGAPORE]
Shake Well Before Abuse
2009
Full Length
Heavy metal/hard rock

Having been in existence since 1995, Suicide Solution is one of Singapore’s oldest (and one of the most well-established) heavy/thrash metal band. Initially started as a heavy/thrash metal band, Suicide Solution began to fuse certain death metal aspects in their sophomore effort, Halloween Holocaust, with the introduction of growls in some of the songs. However, the music remained deeply rooted in old school metal. That led us to wonder how their follow up would sound like…


Released on their own Media Corpse label, Shake Well Before Abuse is Suicide Solution’s third full-length album. Boasting a brand new line up of Joe Suicide (guitar and vocals), Evigan X (guitar), Faust (drums) and Rudolf Stryker (bass), this album is a good mixture of old school heavy/thrash metal and hard rock.

From the opening track, Ain’t Missin’ That Much, right to the closing track, Zombie Nation, Suicide Solution manages to bring you straight back to the 80s when loud heavy metal music, long hair and a rebellious attitude reigned, with lots of strong sing-a-long melodies and choruses and bluesy (but blazin’ fast) guitar solos.

Lyrical themes range vary, from cheesy heart break lyrics (Love is Stranger) to zombie theme lyrics (with a deeper meaning to them), which allows people from all walks of life to relate to their music. Couple that with fast and furious guitar work and riffage from the guitar duo (Joe and Evigan), the music is aggressive and shreddy, making it a good listen. Shake Well before Abuse definitely does has its light-hearted moments (Drugs N’ Kisses), where a Chinese sounding riff is played in the intro to the song.

Joe’s vocals, as per earlier albums, are reminiscent of Ozzy’s, but with a more aggressive edge. Guitars used to record this album are Gibson Les Pauls, and their choice of weapon definitely adds a nice touch to the album with their trademark growly tone.

The album mix is loud and clear, with none of the instruments compromised.

Recommended to fans of old school hard rock/heavy metal. If you loved The Dark Adventures and Halloween Holocaust, this album will not be a letdown as it carries on the direction that Halloween Holocaust set (minus the harsh vocals on some tracks).

View the pdf version on scribd.com here!

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

Interview with Demonic Resurrection

Being one of the pioneering black/death metal bands out of India (where Bollywood films and music are probably the main entertainment exports), Demonic Resurrection has beaten all odds to become one of the most recognised faces in the Indian extreme metal scene. They have been featured in acclaimed film producer Sam Dunn’s documentary, Global Metal, alongside other prominent bands such as Lamb of God and Sepultura. I had the extreme opportunity to conduct this email interview with Sahil “The Demonstealer”, vocalist and guitarist of the band.


HMT: Give us a brief introduction to the band.

DS: We are a 5 piece Metal band from India, we play what we like to call ‘Demonic Metal’ which is a mix of death/black and power metal. The bands current lineup is Mephisto (Keys), Husain (Bass), Daniel (Lead Guitars), Viru (Drums) and myself – Demonstealer(Vocals Guitars). The band has been around for a decade almost and in that time we’ve gone through a number of lineup changes. We released our debut album Demonstealer (2000) just 9months after forming. A Darkness Descends (2005) was our 2nd effort and saw a complete shift in the bands sound. We also did an EP called Beyond The Darkness (2007). And our most recent release with the new lineup was released on 15th Jan 2010 titled ‘The Return To Darkness’.

What is the metal scene in India like? (E.g. Your brothers of the extreme sub-genres of metal?)
The Indian metal and rock scene are both growing and in India the scene is still very united though with time the rock scene and metal scene will definitely exist as separate entities. However India has many great bands like Kryptos, Exhumation, MyndSnare etc to name a few. We have a good number of festivals like ‘The Great Indian Rock’, ‘Independence Rock’ and ‘Resurrection’. What we majorly lack is good networks and support for bands to tour and release albums on record labels. However things are slowly changing. We had no international metal bands playing here till a few years ago and in the last few years we had Iron Maiden come 3 times, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Eluvitie, Maelifice, Hammerfall, Megadeth, Machine head among others. So the Indian scene is growing rapidly and I do believe it will be a force to reckon with in a decade.

How does it feel like being one of the most prominent metal bands out of India, with the name Demonic Resurrection coming to mind to most when Indian metal is mentioned?
It definitely feels great because we’ve really worked hard over the last decade to get where we are today. We’ve all made personal sacrifices to play the music we want to with Demonic Resurrection so this makes it all worth it.

India is known more for its Bollywood movies and music rather than its metal scene. What was it that turned the band mates to not only listen to metal, but also write metal music?

I think apart from Norway being famous for Black Metal due to the Church burnings I think most countries are known for things apart from metal except in the metal world 🙂 Having said that I think all of us in the band got exposed to English music through family and friends and eventually fell in love with metal music when we heard it. I guess all of us at some point felt inspired to learn the instrument we play and join a band and at some point everyone joined Demonic Resurrection. One of the things I love about metal music is it inspires you to want to learn guitar or drums or to sing in a band which is probably why we have so many young metal bands.
Let us now talk about your latest album, The Return to Darkness. The first thing that struck me was the shift in vocal styles – more throaty, and definitely more brutal and aggressive. Was it an intentional shift in the way you deliver your vocals or was it a natural progression?
I think that was just a natural progression because for me it’s all about variety and since the album carries forward a story I felt the need for many vocal variations and I knew that I wanted to do something vocally that sounded better and more aggressive than on our previous releases. If you listen to the clean vocals also they are not the same as what you hear on the older albums because that was mostly sung by ‘Pervez Quadir’ a sessions singer and this time I decided to do everything myself and make it good enough to be on the record.
Another thing that I noticed was the reduction of black metal trem-style riffing, but instead, death metal style riffing became more prominent in the new album. There was also definitely much more blast-beats. Was this the intended effect as well?
This is probably more because after the last record I’ve been getting more into death metal and I’m very inspired by bands like Anata, Arsis, Necrophagist, Nile, Behemoth etc and I think that’s showing in my guitar playing and song writing style. Also Viru our new drummer has definitely shaped the sound to a large extent because he was more into bands like Meshuggah, Sikth, Textures etc and some of that influence has definitely come into play even if it’s not in an obvious way. So it’s really this combination of a shift in musical influences and the new members that shaped the new album sound.

It was mentioned that with a new logo for the band, it represents the new direction of the band’s music. How so and what can fans expect from this new direction of Demonic Resurrection?

I think the new album ‘The Return To Darkness’ showcases the bands new sound so once the fans hear the album they’ll know what we are talking about. How this sound translates into the next album is yet to be seen, going by the past we’ve changed our sound with each record but yet keeping intact that distinct ‘Demonic’ sound. We will wait and see how it goes from here.

Demonic Resurrection managed to rope in renowned artist, Xaay, for the album art direction and the design of the new band logo. How did that come about?

We had actually selected a local designer who we were working with and on the sly Mephisto had contacted Xaay to do the artwork and when he replied saying he’ll do it we were pretty excited and it seemed like the most logical thing for us to do. His artwork is fantastic and we felt he would definitely do justice to our music and deliver something great, which he did. 🙂

The lyrical contents of Demonic Resurrection often deal with fantasy. Where do you draw inspiration for lyrics from?

Well thankfully I have a wild imagination, I can come up with a lot of wild stories and ideas which is where most of the albums theme and story has come from. This album basically tells a story and that’s exactly what the lyrics do but in between all this there are my personal experiences and emotions that make up a large part of it, however it’s all cleverly woven into the lyrics. However now that we are done with the darkness trilogy we’ll have to see what I can come up with.
Demonic Resurrection was one of the bands that were featured on Sam Dunn’s documentary on metal, Global Metal. How did it all happen, and how did it feel to be featured along global metal giants such as Sepultura and Lamb of God?
Well Sam’s company wrote to me saying they are shooting this documentary and that Sam wanted to interview me on the phone and that’s where it all started and I got around to organizing a concert for them to film when they came here and it was awesome to be part of the whole thing. I later received a mail saying they wanted to use our track ‘Apocalyptic Dawn’ on the global metal soundtrack and I was like ‘Hell Yeah!’ and then Universal Music Canada got in touch and finally we made it to the soundtrack. It felt great to be alongside such great bands.
Sahil, you are also the owner of Indian metal label, Demonstealer Records. What is it like to manage a record label in a country where the rock and metal scene is small?
It’s one of the hardest things to do and because of the fact that music wasn’t available easily here, downloading has become a trend and once people are used to free stuff it’s very hard to get that mindset to change. Thankfully at least for local bands people think it’s worth spending some money, even if it’s just a loyal few who make it possible to run this label. I released Behemoths ‘Evangelion’ last year and lost a lot of money because people just would rather download the album but I’m still going to keep going for as long as I can. Hopefully change is around the corner.
Any chances of catching Demonic Resurrection in Singapore?
We are constantly working towards booking gigs outside India and touring abroad, so we definitely hope to make it to Singapore sometime in the near future. We’ve already booked performances at Inferno Festival in Norway and Brutal Assault in Czech Republic.
One last question: any parting words for aspiring bands out there?
The only way to make it is by hard work and determination. Ofcourse you need good music to start with but persevere and it will pay off.

Cheers & Stay Demonic!

The Demonstealer
Thank you once again for taking the time off to reply to our questions 🙂 We wish you and Demonic Resurrection all the best for your upcoming endeavours

The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance

View the pdf version on scribd.com here!

The Return to Darkness is now available. Contact the band on MySpace or Facebook for more information.

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

Interview with ChthoniC

Clarence and Ling from Heavy Metal Tribune had the extreme privilege to do an e-mail interview with Doris Yeh, bassist/leader of Taiwanese black metal band, ChthoniC. In this interview, we get to see Doris’ point of view from matters regarding their music, their image and politics.


Clarence: Hi Doris, on behalf of Heavy Metal Tribune crew, we would like to thank you for giving us this opportunity to conduct this interview. We are very honoured to have Chthonic on our interview section.

How are things going in Finland? Did you manage to learn any Suomi language?

Doris: Everything is fine here. The people from Spinefarm Finland / Universal Music are very nice, and I also met many people and friends during those few days. The weather is pretty cold here (-18 Celsius degrees), and the city Helsinki is all covered by snow, like a huge cake 🙂

I didn’t learn any suomi language here, but I remember the word “Sauna” because I went to a public sauna with friends, and I can’t even stayed outside over the snow land for over 3 min!

Ling: Chthonic had an extremely privileged honour to play at Wacken 2007. How was that experience like, to represent the entire Asian metal genre to a greater population of metal-listeners?

Doris: Actually before we get on the stage, we lost every instrument when we transferred flight in Frankfurt airport. So we borrowed all the instruments from the stage team. But when we stepped on the stage, the venue of our stage were all fully packed, and the fans were so crazy and always put their hands up and shouted with us.

That was a really fantastic experience for the band.

Clarence: Chthonic has been around for 14 years. But it was only after the release of the English version of 9th Empyrean and your appearance at the Fuji Rock Festival that you garnered more attention from the worldwide metal scene. How did all these (label distribution in US & Japan Festival appearance) come about?

Doris: Sometimes things just keep coming to us. After releasing 9th Empyrean, we’re starting to reach out the label companies outside of Taiwan. And then the foreign promoters and booking agent start to contact with us, we get on to bigger and bigger stages afterwards.

Ling: If you had to choose one word to represent the sound and ideology of your band’s music, what word would it be?

Doris: I can only describe a similar feeling of the word in Taiwanese that is 「衝!」And I don’t know how to translate into English… 🙂

Clarence: Since Chthonic’s formation back in 1995, a lot of extreme metal bands have spawned in Taiwan. How different is the scene now, compared to the late 90s?

Doris: I think Extreme Metal scene here is getting bigger, and also full of variety. In the past, people who are playing metal are more into 80s metal or speed and progressive metal. ChthoniC has a hard time in the beginning. But after the band got success, we roll up a trend of playing death/black/folk/thrash metal. And also because of the popularity of internet after late 90s, bands and fans in Taiwan can also get different kinds of music information easily, that brought up a certain degree of growth into the metal scene.

Ling: Any informed metal listener would know of ChthoniC’s journey from obscurity is one that is nothing short of extraordinary. If a new band would aspire to reach ChthoniC’s level of musical success, what advice would the band impart?

Doris: We do have some awesome profiles, but I can’t say now ChthoniC has already achieved their ideal success, we still have to be more active and positive things to get into next level. But I think have your own independent thoughts, make the band not just another genre of the music but has its own personality, give the whole band a unique soul, not just a shape of the music.

Clarence: Let’s touch on the topic of politics. This year has indeed been a great year for the Democratic Progressive Party, where they won all three seats in Taoyuan, Taichung and Taitung. Any expectations or hopes for the upcoming election in 2012?

Doris: I’m not the supporter of DPP, I’m the supporter of Taiwan Independence. Any party who support Taiwan Independence and human rights in on my side. President Ma has no sense of direction for this country. He is totally incompetent to protect the benefit of the country and also incapable of bringing happiness to the people. What I can expect is I hope people can really understand treasure the real value of democracy and choose a better person to lead the country.

Ling: Since ChthoniC has always been at the forefront of conveying politically-driven messages in their music or otherwise, does the band ever see their music getting played in China? Can music truly be a medium of unification?

Doris: We don’t limits playing in any countries, but China government limits every freedom of people, including art and music. I think we can play in Hong Kong and Macao but can’t get into China. But as I know there’re already a lot of ChthoniC fans over China, they can find their way to grab our music and see our live on the internet. Freedom exists in every normal human, we give our message of freedom to them, hope someday they can find a way to get their own freedom like they find a way to get our music!! 🙂

Clarence: Back to the music. What are the plans of Chthonic this year? Can the fans expect a new album?

Doris: We’re now writing new stuff, hopefully we can go into studio early next year. And this year we’ll play more shows all over the world.

Ling & Clarence: Any last words for the fans in Singapore?

Doris: We do hope to see you guys soon!!!

Once again, thank you for taking the time off your busy schedule to do this interview with us. On behalf of Heavy Metal Tribune, we wish you (and the band) the best of luck in your upcoming tour, and we hope to see Chthonic perform in Singapore soon!

View the pdf version on scribd.com here!

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Ling & Clarence

Guttered Down the Gutters: Draconis Infernum

DISCLAIMER: 
The following material might be classified under highly controversial and might offend certain communities. Viewer’s discretion is advised.

(I’d like to thank everyone for your kind reminders that this may land me in jail; like the dude who was racist. However this band that we are featuring is a Black Metal band, and they may have certain image to keep, and the answers to the interviews might be sensitive and offensive, just almost like how sometimes Russell Peters is but these people are just musicians, artistes and performers. What they say might be just part of their act, and may or may not be what they truly believe in. I hope you enjoy a little freedom of expression at this point of time. -cyn) 

As we’ve promised…
We had this in mind for a really long time, and wanted to approach Draconis Infernum,
Yet we were really afraid we might be the ones to get guttered literally.
So slowly, carefully, we approached them and proposed our unorthodox interview idea…
But pleasantly enough, everything was well. Much to our surprise, they are very spontaneous people, took time out on a week night to meet us, just to finish this up.
You might want to check out the photos at our official Facebook Profile:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=1842&id=100000839082293&l=00f45f4e63


Editor’s Note: Due to the sensitivity issues, I shall take down the images,
Just to lessen the risk a little bit. But the link to the High Reso PDF files is still valid.
Please take your time to go over there to read it.
And you can view (and download) a high resolution copy of this interview at
http://www.scribd.com/doc/27599511/GDTG-Draconis-Infernum
Check out Draconis Infernum on MySpace:
http://www.myspace.com/draconisinfernum©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | CynnedCynner

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