Saturday, April 30, 2011

Testimony Interview!

We're very happy to present our interview with the drummer of Testimony. Testimony play a style of thrash that when played at the right volume, will level your neighborhood!

Foul Feast: When was the band formed?

Taylor Lambacher: The band was formed in early 2009 under the name of Quietus by Martin and Taylor. We then found Mike through a friend of Martin's after about 6 months and got Taylor's brother Derek on bass shortly afterward. We were a 4 piece for a little over a year and changed our name to Testimony due to legality issues, a little before Adrian joined the band recently.

FF: How do you feel it has evolved since then?

Taylor Lambacher: We started as a thrash metal band, we always wanted to be original but the progressive elements were much more toned down than they are now. Now we like to experiment with odd times, different keys, uncommon song structures, etc.

FF:You just recently brought a new member into the fold. Tell us a little about who he is and what he is bringing to the table thus far.

Taylor Lambacher: His name is Adrian Harris. He was a mutual friend of Mikes' (guitarist). He had been a fan of the band for awhile. We decided to bring him in to relieve Martin from his vocal duties so he could focus on playing guitar, leading us to writing more technical work. His voice has a different sound which adds another component to our music. It's very melodic, dark, and aggressive, to say the least. You will just have to wait to hear the new sound!

FF: How often do you guys get gigs?

Taylor Lambacher: Typically a few a month. We try to gig as much as possible, but we have to schedule them around our work schedules, school, etc. When we are off school in the Summer we plan on gigging as much as possible (which will happen!). We have quite a few shows lined up for the Summer, so we'll be really busy with shows and also recording. We might even hit the East coast for a couple dates if all things run smooth... heh!

FF: Have you played with any bands yet that you grew up listening to or look up to in a big way?

Taylor Lambacher: Unfortunately not :( We opened up for D.R.I. back in January in Chicago, which was a bad ass show! We have also played with some smaller label acts such as Vektor and Vindicator, but nothing too major thus far.

FF: While your music is still aggressive and fast you guys do have some progressive elements and switch it up a little bit. Is this something that comes naturally?

Taylor Lambacher: In a way it is kind of natural, but the focus has never been on trying to be a progressive metal band. It just comes out that way sometimes.

FF: Do you have any plans for future releases?

Taylor Lambacher: In the summer we plan to release a 5 song E.P. with artwork and the whole shebang.

FF: How's the metal scene over there in Indiana?

Taylor Lambacher: Its promising, there are a couple of good bands in the area such as Vultress, Altar Whore, and Angel Grave. Go check them out if you get the chance!

FF: How do you go about writing a Testimony song? Do you start out with riffs or do you get lyrics first then go from there?

Taylor Lambacher: We usually start with riffs but some songs have been written around pre-existing lyrics, so we do a little of both. Our goal is to write a different-type of song each time, so that way none of our songs sound exactly alike.

FF: Any final thoughts?

Taylor Lambacher: It was a pleasure to do this interview, we thank you very very much! Spread the word, and look out for the new E.P. in the Summer! You can check out all of our updates/shows on all of our websites, so maybe one day we will be hitting your town! ...Hopefully sooner than later. Cheers!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Infestus- E x | I s t

Infestus is a German black metal band. E x | I s t is the band's third full-length but it is also the first album completely created by Andras. Infestus's take on the genre is sure to drop some jaws. The way Andras meshes rapid aural assaults with slow, blistering sections is simply astounding. This is without a doubt one of the better black metal releases of the year thus far.

The album runs just over an hour and consists of only seven tracks. So right out of the gate one should know what they are getting into. Infestus make long and brooding songs that put the listener into a state of pure seclusion from anything going on around them. To put it simply the music is composed in a way that sucks the listener in easily and time flies up until the last second and then you'll quickly find yourself shuffling for the repeat button. It is hard to believe that this album was created by one person. The entire thing flows so well and seems very thought out. It is clear that plenty of time and effort was poured into the making of this release.

The production on the album is good and it would be a lie to say anything here is raw. That being said the record still has a very mysterious quality that encompasses just as much of a dark atmosphere of any raw black metal album that comes to mind. The atmosphere that is created gives the record a great deal of depth which really makes for excellent replay value. The tone featured on the album has a certain thickness but is still razor sharp when necessary. There are many cleanly played moments spread throughout E x | I s t. When laced with the distorted tone these sections prove to be quite effective. These sections show that even some music surrounded by a sinister atmosphere can still have a certain extent of elegance.

Overall E x | I s t is highly recommended to fans of extreme music. Even with the loss of what used to be half of the band it is evident that Andras will continue to make this project the best it can possibly be. Fans of black metal will not be disappointed and those just getting into the genre may find the production values here make this a better gateway album.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Frosthammer- The Cold Wind Of Eternity

The Cold Wind Of Eternity marks Frosthammer's fifth release. Rather than making a big leap like they did with the past release they choose to expand the sound that we were all introduced to with Imagery Of the Forgotten Realm. This serves up a plentiful amount of melodies and keeps you guessing as to what will happen next. Prepare yourself for a feast of very dense and epic music.

There is very little on this demo that can even be considered black metal. Every single moment here is chock full of melody and it isn't often that you hear the guitar come into play. The atmosphere here is dark and mellow for the most part but every now and then the band does burst into an aggressive state. A solid example of this would be on the track "Where the Northern Wind Doth Blow Part 3 Abandoned In A Forest Of Wolves", the song starts with what is probably the most relaxing sound featured but not long after they explode into one of the more violent moments they have recorded. Sections like these keep the album from becoming dull and keeping hold of the listeners attention.

Another thing that is dominant on this album is the clean vocals. Throughout the string of releases it has been apparent that Frosthammer has added more and more each time. The clean vocals sound good and certainly fit the direction they have went in well. That isn't to say there are no harsh vocals. The unique raspy call is still used on occasion during the playtime of The Cold Wind Of Eternity. They also incorporate some spoken word parts, something that I am not normally a fan of but in the case of this record they work well.

Overall those who enjoyed Imagery Of the Forgotten Realm will probably enjoy this. Those who were turned off by the bands previous effort most likely won't be awed by this one. It is obvious that Frosthammer have found their sound with this release. Rather than releasing something that is filled with moments that one could say "Hey this reminds me off that song from (insert band name here)!" Frosthammer have chosen to put out something with a signature sound. Recommended for fans of music that, to put it simply just give off a dark vibe. It is almost hard for me to this metal but whatever it is, it's good in my book.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Interview with Chaosweaver from Damnum Animus

I'm proud to present an interview with the man behind the musical beast that is Damnum Animus. The debut EP, Sanity: The Lies Of the Father has created a little bit of buzz within the metal community and has gotten all around positive feedback. In this interview we discuss the process of creating the EP and upcoming releases from Chaosweaver's numerous other projects.

Foul Feast: How did this project come about?

Chaosweaver: This project actually started as an exclusively depressive black metal endeavor. I had written one song, which turned out to be The Last of My Kind. I let it drift for a while, and ended up turning it into a symphonic/depressive/ambient project.

FF: The band is currently just a one man thing, do you aim to keep it this way or would you accept like minded musicians to join?

Chaosweaver: In fact, the next album will feature multiple other musicians. I’m not going to say anything else about that until later though.

FF: Who are some of your main influences?

Chaosweaver: I am a huge fan of intense classical composers such as Hans Zimmer, so I draw some influence from them. Also, When Mine Eyes Blacken is another influence in terms of drumming and composition.

FF: Do you have any plans of future releases (with this project or any other)?

Chaosweaver: I do. For this project, I have a split coming up (no release date or name yet). I also have another EP or possibly full length (!) in the making. For my other projects, I have several things planned: Decaying My Youth has an EP in the works, The Fall of the Heretic has a full length in the making, and Invoking the Divine has a demo coming up.

FF: Your music is far from what would be considered conventional black metal.
Lyrically what are some of the themes explored on Sanity?

Chaosweaver: Heartache and living without purpose are two of the big ones. Some have called my music too “emotional” because of this, but hey, if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it, you know? Also, religion/lack of faith in such is the subject of the last track.

FF: How did you go about writing the EP?

Chaosweaver: One of the main parts of the music is melody. I tried to infuse as much melody as possible without sounding cheesy or overdoing it. Furthermore, the cellos took a big part in the songs, so I tried to make those almost like the lead guitars of sorts. A lot of the actual writing took place on guitar, in fact, and I transposed it to cellos or strings or choirs.

FF: How has the feedback regarding the EP been so far?

Chaosweaver: The feedback has actually been rather good. The average review has been around an 80%. Minor complaints here and there, such as the abrupt starts and stops to the songs, but in due time, the critics will get their wishes.

FF: What is the meaning behind the name Damnum Animus?

Chaosweaver: Damnum Animus is Latin, actually. It means “loss of soul”. I figured it would be appropriate for the type of music I would be playing.

FF: It is great to hear underground artists doing something unique and the EP sounds excellent. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Chaosweaver: Thanks for the interview. I’d like to throw a shout out to all the people that gave me feedback on the album before its release. Also, for all those metalheads that read this, keep the underground alive. Don’t let corporate media take us over. For that reason, all of my releases with Damnum Animus will be released free of charge. Stay metal my friends.

Psycho Holocaust

"Six innocent people. Three brutal killers. One night of madness and mayhem, you will never forget..."

Psycho Holocaust is a horror flick directed by Krist Rufty. The film follows a group of young adults that take a trip to a secluded area to have some time to themselves to break away from the reality of city life. Before the group even has time to get settled in a masked killer and his crazy group of acquaintances start picking them off. Obviously this is a plot that every horror fan has bumped into a least once. The group of villains torture their victims mentally and physically. A man is sodomized with a bottle and a pregnant woman is used as a canvas for a little blood finger painting session. While all this is happening the leader of the bunch is taking video and ordering his minions around to do his bidding.

Even though the movie has a very crisp picture it reminds me of some of the old school shot on video flicks. Though at heart Psycho Holocaust is a crazy cult/slasher film later on it turns into somewhat of a torture porn movie (a term that I despise). The main thing that made Psycho Holocaust enjoyable is the fact that there is still a little cheese sprinkled in even though the film is fairly mean spirited. Containing everything from rapes to decapitations this is certainly not a film for those with weak stomachs, these scenes of brutality look realistic for the most part and it is clear that Rufty doesn't feel the need to shy away from violence.

The acting in this surprised me. I was expecting the actors to all be below average but to my surprise most of them were actually pretty damn good. The cast is lead by a familiar face to low budget horror fans, Raine Brown. Many may know her from Barricade, Plasterhead, and Sculpture along with numerous others. Most of the actors are very convincing in their deaths (with a few exceptions). All around there isn't much of anything to complain about here.

The only problem is the sound quality. At times it is nearly impossible to hear some of the dialogue. This isn't a problem for most of the film but during the scene where the two girls are talking by the water the background noise simply overpowers what is being said. Another that adds to Psycho Holocaust's charm is the soundtrack. Whoever was behind the music in this went very old school with it and it definitely added a great deal to the atmosphere.

Overall Psycho Holocaust is everything a low budget horror flick should be. The movie was shot in six days and considering the short shoot it came out great. This is up there with the other excellent low budget horror films like Stockholm Syndrome and Chaos. The violence is unflinching and although it isn't anything groundbreaking it does what it does very well. The political aspects that are thrown in could've fell flat but luckily in this films case the concept worked. It is clear when watching that all the individuals that took part in this film worked their asses off to make it the best it could be. Highly recommended to all fans of horror, even if you aren't into the low budget flicks you should find something to enjoy here.

Fester- Silence

Those of you that read the review for Winter of Sin already know my strong feelings toward that album. Their debut was without a doubt one of the most unique albums to come out in that period of time and due to the band's standout sound they didn't quite break into the scene. That being said those of you who have continued to put Fester on the backburner will be hating themselves the instant they put on either of their albums. This is good, real good.

One thing that made Winter of Sin was that it has a very distinctive sound. The band seamlessly blend a number of genres and in the process make something that can only be described as Fester. The music featured on Silence is far from menacing, they embrace a style that is dripping with mysticism and is surrounded with a very gloomy atmosphere. Many of the tracks on the album have a feel that can almost be described as laid back. "The Maze" is strangely very calming as well as a few others tracks featured on the album. Fester is one of those bands that make music that you can truly get lost in, the content here is simply mesmerizing.

With this album Fester takes a more traditional approach in terms of guitar playing. The riffs here wouldn't seem out of place on some of the classic metal albums that were brought to us in the late 70's/early 80's. In more ways than one Silence is less extreme in terms of sound than the debut is. Though the album is still heavy it is hard to describe it as aggressive. One of the biggest standout tracks on the album is "Voices From the Woods". The song features one of the most enchanting choruses in metal history and features melodies that are stunning. Much like on the first release the vocals consist of weak and distant black metal esque shrieks with the occasional clean thrown in. This style fits what Fester plays well and is extremely unusual. Those who are just getting into the band may have a hard time adjusting to the vocals but overall it is all a matter of taste.

Overall Fester has impressed me once again even with my ridiculously high expectations. Fans of music in general need to get both this and Winter of Sin, if you have functioning ears you will not be disappointed. In a world where you often have trouble distinguishing one band from another Fester is one of the few exceptions that by the time the first note is played you immediately know the band, album, and track that is being played. Without a doubt this band was far ahead of it's time and they deserve a lot more respect than they currently get.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Frosthammer- Imagery Of the Forgotten Realm

Frosthammer is a Canadian black metal band and Imagery Of the Forgotten Realm is their third demo. The band has amped up their style and rather than just being driven by filth they seem to have thrown in an odd sense of beauty into the mix. This release is an odd symphonic black metal experience that can't be compared to the other bands that are abundant in the genre.

Rather than embracing the raw black metal sound the band explores a style that I can only describe as an epic movie soundtrack, with a little pinch of black metal thrown in for good measure. The band manages to create a very sinister sound that is similar to looking into pure darkness and walking blindly hoping nothing is waiting to harm you. Having previously heard Winter's Embrace this demo came out to be quite a surprise. Much unlike the previous release this demo is very far off from that old school sound that the band had harnessed. Frosthammer incorporates many symphonic elements, and rather than have the dense sound that was displayed, they take a leap of faith into a more synth driven realm that could have very easily been disastrous. Though the new sound brought forth on this demo may turn purist it will most likely also attract a new audience.

The eerie atmosphere that was dominant in Winter's Embrace is stronger than ever here. The clean vocals play a key factor in this, they add a certain feeling of doom to the mix. The melodies put images in the listener's head, at times the music would seem to be fitting background music to an epic battle or someone walking a long hall to the room they will be executed in. The bottom line is atmosphere plays just as big a role as any instrument on this release. The vocals are a mix of harsh and cleans. The clean vocals are used much more than they were on the past release. None of the vocal styles used here a powerful so to speak but the raspy cries have a fairly distinct sound.

Overall Imagery Of the Forgotten Realm is a big step in another direction when compared to the bands previous work. Whether it is a step up from what they were doing is for the individual to decide. The musicians in Frosthammer clearly know how to write songs and have the ability to make great things (which is shown on all their releases). Fans of straight up black metal may not enjoy this as much but people who aren't afraid of a little change should give it a shot.

John Carpenter's Body Bags

John Carpenter should need no introduction among horror fans but it is sad to see that this great anthology does in some situations. Body Bags is one of those flicks that is far from average that still has never had a quality dvd release and for this reason many horror fans have a hard time getting their hands on it. The film doesn't take itself too seriously but still stands the test of time with the three attention grabbing stories that are displayed.

Carpenter plays the role of the coroner that is handling all of the body bags. Like most anthologies he ties all these horrible tales to one another. Cracking jokes throughout it is hard not to compare his performance to that of The Cryptkeeper from Tales From the Crypt. The first story is called "The Gas Station". A job working graveyard shift at a 24 hour gas station could easily cause some paranoia. It isn't long before her  paranoia begins to seem justified. By the end of the shift blood has been spilled and the young women will be lucky to get out alive. This segment is the most intense of the three and doesn't have any problems keeping you on the edge of your seat.

The second story is "Hair", the story follows a balding man who simply can't deal with his recent hair loss. He feels as though everyone sees him as less of a man as his scalp begins to show. He begins to lose all hope until he sees an add for a brand new hair growth formula that apparently works wonders. After receiving the treatment his hair begins to grow wildly and he finds himself with too much hair for his own good. This segment is an excellent cheesy break from the serious tone that the first one had. Overall this one has some superb acting and some very funny moments.

The final segment is titled "Eye" (clever names, eh?). A professional baseball player is having some issues with his eye after a vicious car accident and is in desperate need of a transplant. Without his eye all his dreams of making it big with his baseball career would be crushed. He gets his new eye and is expected to make a speedy recovery but unfortunately he runs into a problem. His new eye used to be owned by a serial killer and as time goes on his random fits of rage begin to get worse. This section is probably the least appealing of the bunch but it is by no means bad. It just seems like the concept would work better if it was it's own full-length feature.

Overall Body Bags is one of the better anthology horror films out there. It features a cast of faces film fans will recognize and is high on the "fun factor". Those who enjoyed Creepshow, Cat's Eye, Screamtime, Tales From the Darkside, and From a Whisper to a Scream should get a kick out of this. While it isn't Carpenter or Hooper's best work it is worth a watch.

*Note: the dvd release of this film is heavily cut.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Frosthammer- Winter's Embrace

Frosthammer is a four piece black metal band from Canada. In many ways the band is reminiscent of Bathory. Expect a cold trip through realms that have previously been explored musically, but are still fun to visit from time to time. Frosthammer is an excellent band to add to the list of awesome Canadian black metal.

The band's sound is very raw but still somehow easy to digest. The playing featured here is primitive and creates that frostbitten atmosphere. The lofi playing works as a wall of sound laced with the hideous shrieks of a tortured soul.The vocals include an abundance of shrieking and some cleans thrown in for good measure. The shriek used is very raspy and for the most part weak. It sounds as though the vocalist is having some kind of struggle that I can only assume is intentional. The style works extremely well with the music especially during the opening of "Into the Perpetual Darkness" when he belts out a vicious battlecry.

Throughout the playtime Frosthammer throws a few twists and turns in to keep the listener focused. The most notable would be the track "Shadows" which is a very mellow, warm track. The calm doesn't last long though when it is interrupted by the next track's fierce and haunting tremolo picking. Rather than focusing on being evil or kvlt Frosthammer really works at embracing the ability of creating haunting atmospheres. When compared to the bands next release it is hard to say which style is better but it is obvious that Frosthammer have a solid grasp on writing and keeping a fluent atmosphere in everything they do.

Overall Frosthammer certainly shows some potential with Winter's Embrace. This release isn't anything groundbreaking but the band captures an interesting enough sound that the twenty seven minute playtime goes by fairly quickly. Seasoned listeners won't find anything new here but it is still worth a few listens to say the least. After this demo the band took a drastic turn (which you will hear about on my upcoming reviews). Though this demo is great, the band evolving was a good move (though I'm sure most purists would disagree). Give this one a chance. The demos are available for free download on the band's bandcamp page. (Link Below)

FrostHammer demos

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Damnus Animus- Sanity: The Lies Of The Father

Damnum Animus is a one piece black metal band from North Carolina. The band has various other elements entangled in the emotive web of music that is featured on this EP. Chad Nottingham handles everything you hear on the release and does a superb job handling the one man band situation. If you are in search have a happy, upbeat funfest than the next sixteen or so minutes may not be for you.

It isn't very often you hear something quite like this EP. Nottingham cohesively creates an odd soundscape by blending classical and ambient elements into his music. We have all heard symphonic metal, and most know whether it is your cup of tea or not but all in all Damnum Animus is putting out something that is far too different to be compared to that. Managing to encompass despair, beauty and a slew of other emotions in one moment is not an easy task but Nottingham somehow manages to make this the overall theme of the album.

Sanity: The Lies Of the Father is without a doubt melody driven. The slow, brooding melodies lurk over the listener like a black cloud. One of the main problems some people have with this style of music is the fact that it often comes across cheesy. While to the person making the music it may be the most serious thing ever created, unfortunately not everyone hears things exactly the same as the next. Luckily for Nottingham there isn't a moment where the music comes across over the top or too self indulgent.

The vocal approach consists of a strained and tortured scream. A tad more variation wouldn't hurt but in all honesty the melodies take a big portion of the listeners focus away from the vocals in the first place. Truth is, this EP would be just as good if it was an instrumental release. The most amazing thing about the EP is how this music manages to have such an impact even with the programmed drums. Sure, it still takes a little away from the overall sound but it isn't nearly as detrimental as one would assume.

Overall Damnum Animus takes a style of music that normally doesn't do much for me and made it their own. At just sixteen minutes this release crams in a surprising amount of great music whenever the project gets around to releasing a full-length I can only imagine how excellent it will be. This is definitely worth checking out if you are into black metal or just depressing music in general. It might even appeal to people who aren't into metal and in many ways it reminds me of soundtracks of incredible films like Schramm and Nekromantik. Give this one a shot.

Band Sanctioned Download:
Damnus Animus- Sanity: The Lies of the Father

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Autaric- Death Propaganda

Autaric is a four piece death metal band from Canada. The band formed back in 2007 and released their first demo in 2009. The four track demo was definitely worthy of quite a few replays and needless to say when I discovered there was a full-length in the works I had high hopes. Death Propaganda is far from a letdown, Autaric has improved in every single department that was lacking on the demo. This display of blistering death metal will leave you begging for more.

The writing on the album is excellent. Tracks like "Euthanizing The Enslaved" can only be described as flawless. It is clear that there was a great deal of effort put into this debut and it really paid off. Autaric's blazing take on death metal works as a blitzkrieg attack on all the listener's senses. The faint of heart should steer clear of this release, many bands may be labeled "extreme metal" these days but it is rare when you discover a band that is actually "extreme". In this bands case the only word that comes to mind to describe the overall sound would be extreme, plain and simple.

The guitarwork on Death Propaganda is well crafted. The band obviously isn't setting out to blow the listener's mind with pointless technicality, with this release they set out to make a good album and they succeeded in every way. The solos are nothing short of epic and when the riffs aren't dismantling you with surgical precision they are simply melting your face.

The vocals on the album are simple but effective. Some of the shrieks that are let out during the playtime are just plain ugly. Aside from the shrieks there is a fairly even amount of highs and lows.  Much like on the demo you will hear vocal layering in some sections quite effectively. The instances that Autaric decide to slow down are interesting. These moments don't pop up often but when they do they are memorable to say the very least. The epic creeping sound on "Scourge Of The Death King" is one of the best parts on this album filled with superb ideas.

Overall with the potential that was shown on the bands demo it isn't entirely surprising that this album kicks ass but by no means was it expected to be this good. This can sit proudly aside the other handful of debut albums that are of such high quality. If you are a fan of death metal it could be detrimental to your well being to not check this out, so do yourself a favor and do so. Be warned, it is recommended to have some pain killers on hand for after you finish.