Tuesday, 17 February 2009

The French metal scene has imploded following the past five years, with acts rippling across France, into their neighbours, and across the water. We’ve managed to catch up with one such act, which appears to be taking the helm, emerging as successors from the underground. God Damn has exclusively been speaking with Metal Mayhem on their latest up and coming debut album "Old Days".

Metal Mayhem: How long have you spent recording Old Days?
God Damn: Actually the recording sessions were quite fast for Old Days; all together it took less than ten days. But only thanks to a huge work, for several months, on pre-recording with our staff mate who did our first demo in 2007 and our studio engineer at Studio Cartellier.

MM: What are your overall feelings on the debut, Old Days?
GD: We are very proud of this material! It sounds like we would have been recording for months, and we hope people will appreciate it as much as us! Seriously, we have a quality first album to defend on stage.

MM: When did you first start writing Old Days?
GD: After the release of our demo in early 2007 we were already thinking of the next true step for the band. So naturally we wrote some pieces that grew older with our musical point of view, and finally we realized that we had enough tracks and money to make an album of our own.

MM: You’ve already cited main influences within your biography (predominantly Southern American), but what do you feel are your main influences?
GD: We can hardly hide them! All the bands of the NOLA RnR and metal scene such as Down, Crowbar or Eyehategod among others, also some old groups of the 60s 70s like Black Sabbath or The Who, which come from our musical background. But it will take ages to write them all down!

MM: You’ve played with famous acts such as Firebird, Ultra Vomit and Phazm. Did playing with such groups help get you to where you are now?
GD: These gigs brought us a new audience day after day, and it’s made us more confident on stage. We also made good friends on the road too. And it helps us to correct some details, professionally speaking.

MM: You’re currently working with The Rock Runners agency as well as being signed to Nip Down Records. How has this success had an impact on the band, and were you prepared for it?
GD: It added a new way of working with others, we were used to a much more underground way to promote ourselves! It’s a good thing to have some guys behind us to do a proper job. We could easily focus now on our music. Actually we know The Rock Runners staff for several years now and Nip Down Records are true partying mates so it s helped us to converse daily. And thanks to Nip Down we are beginning a partnership with Season Of Mist distribution. Its a whole good thing but also brings endless late night arguments inside the band.

MM: When you were playing at Hellfest 08, what kind of reception did God Damn receive?
GD: We were very excited to play there! Every year we went there with our backpacks, tents and alcohol artillery! But this year we were playing twice next to the campsite on Friday and Saturday although the audience were mostly in front of the main stage, but it was cool already to meet new people and legends such as Slayer or Motorhead.

MM: How have God Damn been received locally?
GD: We have good numbers of people that follow us in our area so the gigs are fucking great, its like playing at home every time!

MM: I will quote; God Damn created a new explosive way of making shows. In what ways are your shows so explosive?
GD: You know much of the actual metal scene in France is made of extreme bands with fast beats, and an angry living, so they don’t have time to enjoy on stage! We just play some kick ass stoner metal, so we have plenty of opportunities to booze on stage with the audience. We are often there less than an hour to fully enjoy the booze, so we give it all away to them and take time to communicate. We manage to bring some warmth around here with music that leads you to a party at the bar after the show!

MM: Can you explain to our readers, what your involvement is being in The Red Neck Metal Crew, and what is it, that this organisation does?
GD: The Red Neck Metal Crew is developed in several countries now, so naturally we were discussing, with bands of mates met on road to create it in France. It is a way to unite bands like us, such as Phazm or Addicted with the same South RnR influences, and not only for the playing side of things! It’s much a way of life made from booze, grass and Sunday hangovers. It will lead to gigs across France during this year.

MM: You have your own association, Dead Burgers, how has that been progressing?
GD: The Dead Burgers brought us the opportunities to organize concerts in Lyon and its area, with the exchanging gig process: We make you come here and you help us to go there. It’s a good way to travel often and to create working contacts. Everyone is pleased with it; we have done it for years now and it still works actually.

MM: What does God Damn plan on bringing forward to the metal industry?
GD: We want to create a bit of actual metal that is listened, or “used to be listened to” by many metal fans, although has not been played as much as it should, in France in particular. Also proving that a French band can do it in the southern way!

MM: Will we catch you in the UK, any time soon?
GD: Actually we aren’t booked yet in the UK but we hope to come someday soon!

"Old Days" is to be released on the 21st February, with Nip Down Records.


Posted by Posted by Andy at 1:20 am
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Saturday, 7 February 2009

Progressive metal, with melodic additions, folk movements, restrained keys, and cogent vocal takes, welcome Cathis Ord. And although you’ve heard all of this before (similar to Opeth, Katatonia, etc) this is not a canny replicate. Moreover, an expansion to similar themes and an effort that easily deserves recognition. Cathis Ord, is also (surprisingly) an uncharacterised solo project. Containing just the James Russell within its vicinity, he has been able to capture everything commendable in the genre.

Here at MMuk, we’re rather humbled by Russell’s latest offering, as a single entity he’s achieved most aesthetics all too many groups merely outcast. There are two tracks on the demo, with the entire disc clocking in at around 22:24. The objectivity upon highlighting this is that for either of the tracks (particularly pertaining to the length of eleven minutes) to hold much water, they must be blessed with rich and compounding song writing. Russell presents excellent song writing, further complex song structure combined with atmosphere dubbed in a wealth of beauty and artistry. He’s certainly synthesised our checklist. Each track has their fair share of acoustic, melodic and metallic doom-esque passages; in addition it’s the way they’ve been moulded which makes Cathis Ord as fresh as it is breath taking.

This isn’t exactly an innovator nor does it have to be, though Russell has brought to the fore a formula worthy to any commercial release. And sure, it is a little rough around the edges, with the mix sounding ‘muddy’, production periodically being sparse, and the drum programming staying within their stereotype. Yet these idiosyncrasies fail to mask an albeit, wondrous journey. A simply exceptional contribution.

9/10 Metal-Mayhem.co.uk

Posted by Posted by Andy at 7:38 pm
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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

With ilks reminiscent to Children Of Bodom, Arch Enemy and Carcass, it’s extremely facile although unwise to suggest that Grim Drowsiness are too late in latching the commercial bandwagon. There is a specific lack of ambition that is resoundingly disappointing with this EP, as the capabilities and potential within the band are squandered by blindingly obvious (and periodically low brow) song writing.

Yet, Grim Drowsiness are extensively good at what they do. Aside from the minor anomalies, the band are easily one of the more objective quintets around, progressing with a clean coherence through each track, often felt from their very forerunners. It’s effortlessly easy to slam the door on various personal performances through the EP with successive lead, bridge, and vocal sections beckoning the question; to what extent has this demo been finished?

Sonically, this is rich stuff, proving bang for your buck based on the mixing quality the record exudes.

This isn’t a demanding release for the listener, that will work as an easy stepping stone for newcomers of the genre, but invites a hit or miss attitude for experienced users to adopt. Grim Drowsiness’ biggest hurdle lies with their own stylistic positioning. Everything the group has achieved has already been done so since 97’. And although Grim Drowsiness will most certainly prove popular locally, they are an incremental update to the genre.

6.5/10 Metal-Mayhem.co.uk

Posted by Posted by Andy at 12:13 am
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