Interview with Calvin from Pulverised Records

Pulverised Records is one of the first extreme metal record labels out of Singapore, a country know more for its indie and pop acts. Clarence and Hong Rui from Heavy Metal Tribune recently got the opportunity to conduct an interview with Calvin, A&R of Pulverised Records. So what does it really take for a band to be signed onto Pulverised Records?

HMT: Hi Calvin, on behalf of Heavy Metal Tribune, we wish to thank you for taking time off your busy schedule to complete this email interview with us. Without further ado, let’s start with the interview. Firstly, give us a brief introduction of yourself.

Calvin – I am the A&R Manager for Pulverised Records and maybe some of the people might know me previously as the guitar-player for Raspatul. I am 32 years old this year and have been a Metalhead for a big half of my life. Happily married to my wonderful wife, who still supports me in whatever nonsense I am doing so far, and I have 2 beautiful black cats as well. No kids at the moment; the biggest kid in the house is probably me 🙂

Pulverised Records is my only full-time commitment now and this is how I make my living these days. I admit it sure feels great to do Extreme Metal 24/7!

I also have a studio project band that I have been nurturing for too long a time. Maybe some of the people also might know Obliterhate, which is a band that I founded some years ago which features Dan Swanö (Edge Of Sanity, Bloodbath, Nightingale) on vocals and a guest guitar solo, James Murphy (Disincarnate, Testament, etc) on guest guitar solo, Terry Butler (Massacre, Six Feet Under, Denial Fiend) on bass, Erik Sayenga (ex-Dying Fetus, Warthrone) on drums, myself on guitars and Mirai Kawashima (Sigh, ex-Necrophagia) on keyboards. Also, I have guys like Death Metal legend Jeff Becerra from Possessed and Rogga Johansson (Paganizer, Bone Gnawer, ex-Edge Of Sanity, etc) helping me out with the lyrical arrangements. I have been delaying this CD release for far too long and I will probably get this release by this year.

Pulverised Records on Terrorizer

Give us a brief history of Pulverised Records.

Calvin – Pulverised Records was born in 1996 that was initially started by 3 guys, namely Leng Hiang and Ayong and myself, with an immense passion for all things Death Metal. The main push that started the label was when I listened to the Amon Amarth demo and liked it so much, I asked them if they would be interested to release a CD and they were. And after the success the Amon Amarth Mini CD, we started receiving demos especially from Sweden and from there, we went on the sign more Swedish bands. The focus from the start was that Pulverised Records signs only quality bands and also bands that we personally enjoy. During the active 4 years, Pulverised went on to sign a healthy number of Metal bands, mainly from Sweden. Some of the albums that Pulverised Records had released went on to become classic albums that are even sought after until today.

The label went on a hiatus in 2000 but Roy decided to resurrect the label again in 2004 as the label was something that he could not let go off. After some discussions and a few meetings later, Roy was wondering if I would be interested in helping him out with the label as he could not possibly handle the label alone by himself anymore. Before I could say anything, a Pulverised email account was created for me and here I am now, slogging my poor ass for Roy! Hahahaha! I was really impressed with the fact that there is actually someone here in Singapore who shares a similar mindset towards Metal music. I could definitely understand the amount of workload Roy was facing with Pulverised Records, so when he got me to help him out with the label, I was very honoured to be a part of the Pulverised family.

So from 2004 onwards, we went on to sign bands like Sathanas, Opposition Party, Quest Of Aidance, 21 Lucifers, In Aeternum, My Own Grave, etc. At almost the same time, we also licensed 2 very important Metal albums namely the last ever Dissection album ‘Reinkaos’ and Watain’s ‘Sworn To The Dark’ for Asian territories. We have also done licensing for Impiety’s previous full-length effort ‘Formidonis Nex Cultus’, and further went on to release their 2-CD album ’18 Atomic Years Satanniversary’ and the latest MCD offering entitled ‘Dominator’.

More current new bands on our roster are Master, Guillotine, Séance, Sanctification, Bone Gnawer, Axis Powers, The Black, Desultory, Algaion, Whiplash, etc.

So in the recent years, we have started to have a more open mindset on the bands we sign but definitely keeping the Extreme Metal tag in mind.

Can you give us an overview of your job?

Calvin – I guess the job of an A&R Manager is to actually listen to demos that get to us and keeping a lookout for any potentially good bands right? However, the music industry is not getting any better and I would personally find it difficult to sign a band that basically unknown. I have a ton of demos from all over the world but sometimes by just looking at the packaging from the demo, it is sometimes easy to tell if a band is of any good. If you want to present your band to a label, I think it should look as professional as possible, and not some Xeroxed cutout with a label-less CD that their mothers did in 5 minutes!

Close-Up Magazine’s Pulverised Records sampler

What is your typical day at work like?

Calvin – My typical day at work? I sit in front of the computer for a large portion of the day, listen to a lot of music and eventually hating Metal! Hahahahaha 🙂

Both Roy and me are virtually nocturnal creatures, so we usually are the most active at 3am in the morning! I guess this is the ideal time for us as we can get things done a lot quicker for the fact that people over in Europe and the USA are wide awake. Even though the both of us are based in Singapore, we still prefer to talk to each other in front of the computer because we just don’t seem to like each other’s faces! Hahahahaha! A usual day at Pulverised is always filled with emails to reply, be it from bands, labels, magazines, etc. Roy still has his family business to handle, so I would try to make sure all the loose ends are tied but of course, major decisions will have to be discussed between the two of us.

What was it that made you decide to start your own record label, seeing that with the improvement of technology, getting music has become as simple as just a click of the mouse?

Calvin – Pulverised Records was started in 1996, so we aren’t exactly at the era of modern technology at the point of time. But coming back to present time, it is indeed scary that modern technology could one day harm the music industry, which in fact, already had.

In 2004, Roy decided to resurrect Pulverised Records again as he felt that the label was simply something that he could not let go off. The first signing after the 4-year break was one of Singapore’s longest running band Opposition Party. Roy met Francis Frightful, the vocalist/guitarist of Opposition Party through some mutual friends and told him that Opposition Party had already recorded a new album and was looking for a label to release it, and so this was the catalyst as to how Pulverised Records came back from the grave again.

From there onwards, there was no stopping the label and I should say that the label is doing much better than it was before.

Music piracy has been an issue for so long and this is probably something we cannot control. Speaking from a label point of view, it does definitely hurt the sales but for the bands, it could mean a certain amount of exposure. We all know that only ‘worthy’ bands will end up having their releases on those torrent sites available for downloading so if there’s anything to blame, it will be the advance technology. Gone are the days where fans will eagerly await their favourite bands’ album release and buy them off the shelf in CD stores. But of course, there are still many who purchase albums and love the feeling of having the real thing in their hands. This is why bands still continue to do new albums and labels still continue to release albums till this day.

I don’t think music piracy will affect Extreme Metal any less than other forms of music. The popularity of Metal music has risen dramatically throughout the years and I dare say that 99% of the people own a computer at home, so downloading music is just a click away. The price of a commercial pop music CD costs lower than a Metal import CD, so I think Metalheads are more prone to downloading music in this case.

With some other local record labels that struggled and eventually failed, what was it that kept Pulverised Records going, and instead of following suit, began to sign on more and bigger bands?

Calvin – I think it’s the entire knowledge of how this music business works. Sure, both Roy and myself are Metalheads and still fans of Extreme music but it was probably the know-how of how the music industry works that kept us going for so long. A lot of the decisions that we make in the label are sometimes based on a business point of view. There were a couple of well-known bands that approached us and we could not sign; the only reason was probably because they were too expensive to afford!

Impiety – Dominator

Were there any difficulties encountered when signing bands onto Pulverised Records, especially with so many big names such as Impiety, Dissection and Watain. What are some of the biggest difficulties encountered?

Calvin – Both the Dissection and Watain albums were license deals to us, so there was no promotion involved. As for Impiety, the “Formidonis Nex Cultus” album was also a license deal, except for the Mini-CD “Dominator, which rightfully belongs to us.

There are always bound to have some opinionated views and difficulties when it comes to working with bands, no matter how big or small the bands are. Especially when 99.99% of the bands that are under our roster are based in Europe, and different bands all have different needs. But I should say that most of the time, it was a real blast working with all the bands and all of us have a great working relationship.

We believe in releasing only great quality albums and CDs, and so the bands are always more than pleased with what we do.

I don’t see it as a difficulty but rather a disadvantage to be running a full-time label at this part of the world. There are at times where I felt that a lot of things could have been achieved if we were able to do Pulverised Records in a different continent, like say in Europe. Almost all the work done in the label are through email correspondence, but if we are able to meet up with our contacts like our working partners, the bands that we sign, attend overseas Metal festivals and conferences, I believe we could really speed up much more than what we can do now. We are based too far away from the biggest Metal scene, which is Europe and America. I feel that I could have gotten more things done if we were able to meet the bands, distributors or organizers personally. As you know, sometimes it is easier to get things done face to face. Like now we trying to get tours for our bands and we have only managed to get hold of a few so far. If we were based in Sweden or Europe, things might have been different and we can easily talk to tour promoters or booking agents, etc.

What are some of the factors that make you decide whether to sign the band on your label?

Calvin – There is an overwhelming surge of bands appearing in the recent years and because of this, I feel that the attention span of the fans and the listeners are getting shorter. There could be thousands of new releases sprouting out each single month and there are only a few that turn heads and create a sort of little rumble, but after a while, the people will focus their attention elsewhere and look forward to other new albums. Packaging have proved to be vital as well, so we will always put quality above everything else.

We get a ton of emails everyday from bands requesting us to sign them but for us as a label, we will need to take into consideration on a lot of factors when we sign a band. It could depend on whether if the bands have been around for a long time and therefore much easier to promote and sell the albums. In some cases, we would also see if a particular band has some well-known names involved, maybe on the production side of things like mixing or mastering, etc. There are too many talented bands out there that writes and produces very good music, but it has to be something special and unique that makes them stand out from the rest. The music industry is definitely one of the weirdest because it doesn’t mean that bands who play and write fantastic music would necessarily mean that they will sell. We believe in a certain ‘X-factor’ that the bands have in order to spark off our interest.

How often do you spend time listening to demos? And how do you get hold of these demos?

Calvin – To be really honest, I barely listen to the demos that we receive. And not even counting the physical demos that gets into our mail-box, we get a ton of emails from bands very regularly as well. Well, I can tell you a nice and beautiful story that we listen to all the demos that come in but I don’t want to be telling lies here.

Almost all the bands that are under our roster were approached by us personally. Like I have also mentioned earlier, there were some well-known bands that approached us as well, and obviously the bands that already had a good discography or at least a decent following needed no demo submission.

Opposition Party at Baybeats 2009

We see that most of the bands signed to Pulverised are from the extreme metal genre. What was it that made you decide to sign bands from various genres besides extreme metal? (E.g. Opposition Party, who are more known as a hardcore punk/crossover band than metal, Guillotine and Whiplash, a thrash metal band) Did it cause any conflict of interest between bands?

Calvin – As I have mentioned in the earlier question, Opposition Party was the first release that we did ever since Pulverised got back in business again. And I think Opposition Party would have no problems fitting into our roster, since they were one of the pioneers of the scene and they also have a very aggressive nature to their current Hardcore Punk / Thrash Metal sound.

I am sure that every one would also agree that old Hardcore / Crust / Punk are always welcomed by any self-respecting Metalhead! If you do remember, we also went on to sign the Swedish ‘all-star’ punk band Iron Lamb recently, which featured guys from General Surgery, Dismember and Repugnant.

I don’t see why this would cause any conflict of interest between any of our bands, since all the bands would be doing their own thing, instead of telling us who we should sign or who we should not!

I think all labels should not follow so much of the musical trends happening, and try to sign bands that they sincerely believe in. There are of course some bands that were signed to some of the biggest labels and we just do not understand what the hype is all about. I guess this is why the music industry is probably the weirdest thing to comprehend. It is definitely harder to get attention these days but as long as we continue to sign killer bands and make more right choices, I am sure we would get the attention we duly deserve.

Amon Amarth – Sorrow through the Nine Worlds

Pulverised Records was one of the first record labels in the region to sign bands that got big throughout the years (Amon Amarth). Any chances of signing of bigger bands in the near future?

Calvin – I think there is no denying that we will always be tagged as the label that discovered Amon Amarth during their demo days and releasing “Sorrow Through The Nine Worlds” Mini-CD. Roy got the Amon Amarth demo from the band and totally enjoyed it, so he wrote to the band and asked if Pulverised Records was able to release something for them. They wanted to sign for just one record deal and so they went to Abyss Studio and recorded their debut Mini-CD release. They ran into a lot of problems as that was the label’s first release and everything was new to them. Furthermore, to release our first release on a digipak format back in the day was an even bigger challenge. Things were not that advanced during those days so it took a while before we managed to get the digipak release out. But all the efforts had paid off and we are very proud to have release a digipak Mini-CD of such high quality.

They really deserve what they have achieved for sure and I wish them all the best in their future endeavors. The amount of hard work, dedication and commitment that these guys have given to the band is not as easy as what it seems, especially when they are playing Extreme Metal. Believe it or not, we still have requests from some fans asking us to re-issue the “Sorrow Throughout The Nine Worlds” Mini-CD, but we just cannot do it because of contractual issues.

As to whether we will sign any bigger bands in the future, I really have no clue to be honest. We recently have had a few bigger acts approaching us again, but this is all about the money issue.

Let’s pose you a question that is popular with interviews with record labels. Seeing that metal is generally considered an “underground” genre and that Singapore has a lack of music shops that sell CDs from the metal genre, what is your take on music downloads, as a label that deals with metal?

Calvin – The times have changed by miles for sure but with everyone moving on to better technology, there are so many things that gets done way faster because of the Internet. I’m sure that I speak for everyone when it comes to illegal downloading happening in the recent years, and this is something that all of us cannot avoid. As much as we would like to stay ‘true’ and ‘underground’, it is a fact that CD sales have dropped tremendously and also hurt the entire industry, so we are no exception as well. I think the best way to protect ourselves from disappearing from the market would be to keep a constant track on what is happening in the industry all the time.

Well, of course I cannot possibly make blind assumptions and think that every Metal kid these days would just download and not buy or collect albums. In fact, there is still a huge legion of fans out there who are crazy and very serious Metal collectors, which is probably why labels are very much willing to spend on doing up some really unique and collector-worthy releases. For example, look at how vinyl releases are still widely accepted even in this age. Labels would sometimes release the LP version bundled with some limited edition merchandises like patches, stickers or posters and in some cases, put out extra bonus tracks just for the vinyl release. One thing that we have noticed is that bands these days like to release their albums in a CD/DVD format as well. This is indeed a very good idea to attract the fans to buy albums as they do not just only want to listen to the music; they want to see the bands in action too.

I feel that the music industry in general is rather saturated these days. It is so difficult to stand out among the rest when there are thousands of new releases coming out in a month. The music industry is basically on a bullet train ride if you ask me; every piece of information is spread so fast and unreleased albums are already leaked out for downloading even months before the actual release date. Having such a source for the fans would mean that it is creating a form of promotion, but there still lies the unfound possibility that fans might not pick up and purchase the album when the CD is out.

Seeing that the bands on Pulverised Records are from all over the world, what are your views on the trend of the metal scene in Singapore in the next 5 years?

Calvin – Again I have to be truthful here, I barely know what is happening with the current Singapore Metal scene at all. I do have some friends who tell me some stuff from time to time, but I do realize the number of Metalheads here have risen by a large number in the recent years. Extreme Metal is gaining more acceptance, which is always a good thing. But in general, the Singapore Metal scene is still at an infancy stage and we have a lot of catching up to do.

However, I think the Asian Metal scene have improved by leaps and bounds for sure. Looking at what bands like Impiety, Sigh or Chthonic, etc have done so far, it shows a very healthy Metal scene coming out from the East indeed. But then again, I still feel that there are still a lot that the Asian and South East Asian Metal scene have to learn. In terms of promotion and exposure, bands still have insufficient recognition. I like to believe that a contrasting culture between Asian and Western is probably one of the factors. In Asia, our tradition and beliefs have taught us to be humble and down-to-earth, so I guess there is a sense of reservation instilled in our minds due to our upbringing.

The Asian and South East Asian Metal scene are definitely opening a lot of doors and opportunities are gradually flowing in. I do see more Asian Metal bands being involved with labels and compilations and even going on some small tours regionally and even in North America and Europe.

Having said that, touring as a full-time band is still something that is unusual and perhaps to the point of skeptism, from the Asian point of view.

Any chances of seeing more local bands being signed to Pulverised Records?

Calvin – I guess there could be a possibility. But the criteria is the same for bands anywhere around the world that we sign, we will only release and sign bands if they are of high standards.

Any advice for aspiring bands out there?

Calvin – While I totally agree that the band’s music is always important, but we also take a very serious note on the band’s image as well. As much as we try not to be narrow-minded in some sense, but would it make any sense for a Black Metal band to be dressed in casual t-shirt and jeans for a band photo-shoot? I am sure everyone grew up listening to their favourite bands and the first thing that caught their attentions would be the band’s imagery content.

But personally, I believe that the band themselves also have to work really hard on their own promotion and also another important factor would be that the bands have to be on tour regularly. It’s easily understandable since fans love to go to shows and watching a live band on stage is a much better experience than hearing them on an album. Touring will only benefit both the bands and the labels in this case. The aspects of making a band successful is that besides being musically talent and having a flair for good songwriting, the members of the band should be ready to sacrifice almost everything they have and just strictly focus on the band as their full-time commitment.

Once again, thank you for agreeing to the interview.

Calvin – No problem, the pleasure is all mine!

Roy and Calvin, Pulverised Records

Pulverised records on MySpace.
Official website

Click here to view the pdf version on!

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Clarence & Hong Rui

Album Review: Demonic Resurrection – The Return to Darkness

Demonic Resurrection [INDIA]
The Return to Darkness
Full Length
Symphonic black/death metal

Fans of Sam Dunn’s documentary, Global Metal won’t be a stranger to this band. Demonic Resurrection’s The Return to Darkness is their 3rd full length album, and also the final chapter in their Darkness trilogy.

The new lineup

While The Return to Darkness retains the main basis that Demonic Resurrection’s music has always been built upon, the first thing that will most likely strike fans is the slight shift in the music style of the band. Sahil “The Demonstealer” delivers his vocals in a throaty, death metal manner, instead of the familiar higher pitched black metal vocals in the previous album and EP. Another notable change in musical direction is in the instruments, with lesser black metal style trem-picking being replaced with more death metal riffage and the inclusion of a lot more blast beats (courtesy of new drummer, Viru). Keyboards remain a key feature in the music, constantly maintaining the atmosphere and ambience of the music. Clean vocals are much more polished compared to the previous records, with Sahil taking over clean vocal duties as well, compared to the previous album, where a sessionist was recruited.

The Return to Darkness box-set

Right from the introduction instrumental track “Between Infinity and Oblivion”, The Return to Darkness brings the listener on an interesting ride in a fantasy world. The music manages to translate and let the listener feel the emotions that the protagonist is feeling, the sadness (the ballad-ish intro of Lord of Pestilence), despair (A Tragedy Befallen, especially with the utilisation of clean vocals and slow clean guitar work) and anger (The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance).

Lyrics-wise, if you are familiar with Demonic Resurrection’s previous works, this album will not let you down, this being the last chapter of the Darkness trilogy, with lyrics themed around darkness, war and sadness. However, if this is your first record from Demonic Resurrection, you might be left confused as to what is going on.

The production of this record is very polished, proving nay-sayers of Asian metal bands that Asian bands can come up with good production quality as well.

A music video of The Unreleting Surge of Vengeance is available on their MySpace page and YouTube.

Now that the Darkness trilogy has ended, we wonder what Demonic Resurrection will come up with next?

Recommended to fans of melodic and symphonic black or death metal. Demonic Resurrection’s previous EP, Beyond the Darkness, is available for download. Check out their MySpace page for more information.

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

Views from the Pit: Between the Buried and Me

Set List:
1) Obfuscation
2) Disease, Injury, Madness
3) More of Myself to Kill
4) Ants of the Sky
5) Mordecai
6) Swim to the Moon
7) Selkies: The Endless Obsession
8) White Walls

Between the Buried and Me, consisting of vocalist Tommy Rogers, guitarist Paul Waggoner, drummer Blake Richardson, guitarist Dustie Waring, and bassist Dan Briggs dropped by Singapore on 16th March 2010, part of their Great Misdirect World Tour. And the editors of Heavy Metal Tribune were there to catch all the action LIVE at the Substation.

The editor with Blake Richardson and Dan Briggs 

The event had a lively start, right outside Image 2001 in Far East Plaza, as fans gathered there at 4pm for a Meet & Greet with all members of the band. Cheers erupted as the band was spotted making their way into the shop, and the band gamely shook everyone’s hands and posed for some pictures. BTBAM was, surprisingly, a very friendly band, given their pedigree of having performed alongside Swedish heavyweight Opeth, as well as Dream Theater, during the Progressive Nation tour. The editors successfully clinched autographs of all band members, as well as some snapshots with the band.

The gig itself was off to an incredibly late start, with entrance into the hall beginning only at 8.30pm. The news was that BTBAM had serious issues with the transport of their equipment and lost some of them in the process. Everyone got a little impatient, a minor argument occurred (and someone fainted), but the crowd finally managed to enter the hall without other tangles.

The gig was kicked off by a lucky draw, before the band finally appeared. And BTBAM started on a high! The crowd was truly roaring as the band appeared. The first two songs, Obfuscation and Disease, Injury, Madness, which are off their latest album, The Great Misdirect, got everyone nice and warmed up. The band was very tight technically, with drummer Will Goodyear true to form here. The amazing and rapid changes in tempo and time signatures left the editors in a ditz right from the get-go.

Sound at this point was first-rate, given the tiny venue, although the vocalist was struggling to be heard throughout the gig. BTBAM shifted gears, going all the way back to their first album, the self-titled Between the Buried and Me, playing the first track off that album, More of Myself to Kill. This was quite a surprise to the editors; the gig actually managed to cover an entire range of songs throughout the band’s discography. The next song was Ants of the Sky, from their fifth album, Colors. This song is one of the editors’ absolute favorite, and the country rodeo-esque finale of the song was played with delightful panache.

Nothing as brutal as a “XIE XIE NI!”

At this point, the crowd was getting a little hard to ignore. Chants of “Mordecai” punctuated the gig, which seems to be the crowd favorite. And BTBAM finally obliged. The 200-odd crowd was truly moshing and crowd-surfing now, with the editors witnessing multiple surfers at any one time throughout this song. They truly brought the gig to a climax.

A second high was hit, as the band played arguably the best song off their latest album, which is the 17-minute long opus, Swim to the Moon. Once again, the technicality of the band was on full display, as they went from melodic harmonies to insane complex riffs, from soft dynamics to blast-beats. The stamina of the band was simply incredible, especially that of the vocalist, Tommy Rogers. Changing between vocal duties and mashing the keyboard, Tommy’s showmanship was a sight to behold. Very impressive and commanding indeed.

For the encore, the band performed Selkies and White Walls, from the Alaska and Colors albums respectively. The band barely rested as they came out, yet the songs were still as powerful as if they had just begun playing. The gig ended in the same high as when it first began, truly a hallmark of a great band in the making. The editors left the gig breathless, sweaty, and looking forward to the next Great Misdirect.

Read the pdf version on here!

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | JJ Yeo

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 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 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
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 here!

©2010 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

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