Alien Weaponry Interview by Kev Rowland


Photo By Maryanne Bilham

I’ve been wracking my brains trying to think of when last a band this young was having such an impact within the metal community, and while definitely more rock than metal it would probably be Ash, until we go all the way back to Def Leppard which was virtually forty years ago. But, while they may be young, their songwriting is complex, developed and highly political. Their live performance energy is startling, with just two fifteen-year-olds commanding the front of stage as effectively as four- and five-piece bands three times their age. But perhaps most surprising of all, many of their songs are in New Zealand’s native language, Te Reo Māori. In fact, guitarist/lead singer Lewis de Jong (15) and his brother, drummer Henry (17), are of Ngati Pikiāo and Ngati Raukawa descent – they call themselves ‘Stealth Māori.’ They attended a full immersion kura kaupapa Māori (Māori language school) until they were seven years old, where singing waiata and performing haka were a daily routine. Also ingrained in their early learning were stories of New Zealand history from a Māori perspective. In September 2017, they won the prestigious APRA Maioha award for their song “Raupatu” – a thrash metal commentary on the 1863 act of parliament that allowed the colonial government to confiscate vast areas of land from the indigenous Māori people. They have already been nominees at the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards.

The combination of thrash metal with Māori history and language has proved popular. Their latest music video for “RūAna Te Whenua” has more than a million Youtube and Facebook views, spent 2 weeks at no. 1 on Spotify’s NZ Viral chart, and hit no. 2 on the iTunes global metal chart (just behind Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills”). The band’s music has been playlisted on stations in New Zealand and around the world – from Scotland to Brazil, as well as the USA, Australia, and Germany. They are creating a real stir here in NZ, so when I was given the opportunity to interview them it seemed like a great opportunity, and I caught up with Lewis, as follows.

Kia ora koutou

Tena koe, e hoa

What or who first inspired you to form a band?

Our Dad was a musician, so there were always instruments about the house and we always had music playing, so it was almost part of our DNA. When I was little, I used to watch a DVD of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and that was what first inspired me to learn guitar. We also listened to a lot of Metallica, and I wanted to be like them, so I would have to say Metallica was our inspiration for forming a band. I used to imagine James Hetfield knocking on our door and dropping in for a jam.

How did it come about that you decided to perform songs in Te Reo? I’m aware of Te Reo being used in other musical forms but have never heard it in metal

Henry and I are of Ngati Pikiāo, Ngati Hinekura and Ngati Raukawa descent, and we went to a Kura Kaupapa Māori when we were younger. When we first started writing songs, we wrote in English, but we were inspired to use Te Reo Māori because we wanted to enter a competition called Smokefree Pacifica Beats, and using Te Reo Māori or a Pacific language was one of the criteria. We were mates with the guys in a band called Strangely Arousing, who had won the competition a couple of years earlier with a song partly in Te R e o Māori. They are a SKA band, but three of them also used to play for a metal band called Aftershock. So we thought, why not try using Te Reo Māori, but stick to our metal style?

For most people around the world, their only understanding of Maori culture is from seeing the Haka performed by the AB’s. How would you describe the culture to someone who has never experienced it?

Ha, ha. Well, if your only exposure is through the AB’s haka and then you hear our music I guess it might lead some people to believe that Māori culture is very aggressive and warlike. Well, it is definitely a warrior culture, but there is also a strong connection to the natural environment and our ancestors. Māori theology says that all people are descended from Tāne (the god of the forest), and Tāne was the eldest son of Papatuānuku (the Earth Mother) and Ranginui (the Sky father). So who you are and your ancestry is very important, as is respecting the natural world. For example, if you wanted to cut a tree from the forest to make a waka (canoe) or a taiaha (long-handled club), you would say a karakia (prayer) to Tāne to thank him for that gift before you cut the tree down. Likewise, when we were kids and we used to go fishing in the river, our Dad would always make us do a karakia before we went out and we had to throw the first fish back, as a gesture of respect to Tangaroa (the god of the sea). And, we would always bury the fish bones or shells of the shellfish well above the high tide line, so as not to cause Tangaroa grief by leaving the remains of his children lying on the beach for him to see.

Waipu is a small township, how have you been able to break out of that environment and gain wider support?

I think the internet has definitely played a big part in that – we can connect to people and people can connect with us from pretty much anywhere in the world. We get heaps of messages on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube from all over the world and in lots of different languages, which is very cool. And our families have also been very supportive with us gigging and touring in NZ – my Grandma bought a van for us to use, and our parents have driven us all over the country in the past 5 years.

What have been the most important points of your career to date?

There have been a few pivotal moments. Maybe the first was when Paul Martin played some of our Demos on the Axe Attack and invited us to open for Devilskin. That definitely opened doors for us, and gave us an opportunity to play in front of some pretty big crowds when we were only 12 and 14. Meeting Tom Larkin from Shihad was another – he produced 5 of the songs on our album and really kicked our butts in the process. Working with him definitely helped us to focus and improve our playing and songwriting. Winning the National finals of both Smokefree Rockquest and Smokefree Pacifica Beats in the same year was pretty huge – it allowed us to record quite a few songs, and make videos for them too. Last year, we won the APRA Maioha Award for our song Raupatu, which was a huge honor to be recognized by other musicians in that way. Not long after that we signed a management deal with Das Maschine in Germany and got on the bill at Metaldays in Slovenia, Wacken Open Air and Summer Breeze in Germany, and Bloodstock in the UK as well as quite a few other festivals. And earlier this year we opened for Prophets of Rage in Auckland. We are all huge fans of both Rage Against the Machine and Public Enemy, so that was pretty surreal.

Have you been able to play many gigs? I’ve been aware of Alien Weaponry since the video for “Rū Ana Te Whenua” came out, but haven’t seen you play down here yet? Are there any plans to do so?

We have only played two gigs in the South Island, in October last year as part of our ‘Trembling Earth’ tour to support the release of “Rū Ana Te Whenua”. They were in Christchurch and Nelson, but we’d really love to come back and do more. People in Dunedin often ask if we’ll come down there, and we would love to play the TUKI festival in Wanaka. We are planning to tour NZ and Australia in summer 2019, so keep an eye on our Facebook page.

How did you manage to get a record deal with Napalm?

That was organized by Das Maschine. One of the first things they did when we signed up with them was looking for a record label that they felt would suit our sound, and that would benefit us to sign with. Napalm was high on their list, so we were stoked when we heard that Napalm was keen to take us on.

Have you been surprised at the speed with which everything is happening?

We have actually been playing and writing songs together for 8 years now, and there were times when we felt like nothing was happening. Definitely, since we got management and a record label in Europe, things have sped up a lot. There is only so much that can be achieved from the other side of the world. When Ethan and I were 12 and Henry was 14 we set a goal to play at Wacken while we were still all teenagers – it was a bit of a crazy goal, and we still can’t quite believe that is going to happen this year. From the feedback we’re getting about the album, there will hopefully be more overseas touring opportunities in the near future.

How would you describe the album to someone who hasn’t heard it, and would it be possible to provide a breakdown of what the songs are about and what they mean to you?

In a metal context, I would describe it as thrash/groove metal. And then, as you mentioned above, mix the thrash/groove with haka, and that’s what we sound like. We hope people will enjoy the diverse range of sounds – there are the standard instruments – guitar, bass, and drums, but we also use some traditional Maori instruments, which can sound quite eerie and atmospheric. Our songs are quite riff-based, but they also have some pretty intense drumming and bass parts – we all contribute quite a lot to the sound, as we are only a three-piece. I do most of the singing, but all of us do sing and quite often work on harmonies in our vocals. About half of the lyrics are in Te Reo Maori, which some people might find weird if they are not familiar with the language, but it almost works as another instrument, so it’s more accessible than you might imagine.
What’s next?

Well, we’re flying out of New Zealand in early July and will do 3 shows in Australia (Melbourne – 5th, Sydney – 6th and Brisbane (Dead of Winter Festival) – 7th), then we head to Europe, where we’ll be playing at 7 festivals and a whole bunch of club shows in Europe and the UK. Ethan and I have a few NCEA exams when we get back in October, and we’ll take a break for a few months to do some more songwriting – we already have a few tracks in progress for the next album. We want to tour NZ and Australia in the summer, and at the moment it looks like we will be back in Europe in the middle of next year for the festival season. We are getting heaps of requests to tour the USA and Canada so it’s likely we’ll end up there sometime in 2019 as well.

Kia ora rawa atu

Nga mihi ki a koe

Lewis also provided me with notes about each song, as below. This is an incredible piece of work, no matter what the age of the participants and part of me wonders whether or not, in an ideal world, that this could propel them in the same manner that ‘Roots’ shot Sepultura into a different game altogether. Did I mention that they are still at school??

1. Whaikōrero – literally means ‘speech’ – it is an introduction to the second track, Rū ana Te Whenua, and talks about the battle at Gate Pā / Pukehinahina, where our ancestor Te Ahoaho fought and lost his life. The lyrics were written by Henry and Lewis, with some input from our father, who knows a lot about early New Zealand history, especially events relating to our family. The track was recorded in the Waipu Caves, and at the beginning, there are traditional Māori instruments – Lewis plays the Kōauau (bone flute) and Ethan swings the Pūrerehua (this literally translates to ‘Butterfly’, but the best way to describe it in English is ‘bull roarer’). The speaker is Henry.

2. Rū ana Te Whenua – this song tells the story of the 1864 battle at Gate Pā; where 230 Māori dug themselves into the hilltop at Pukehinahina and withstood the heaviest artillery bombardment the British army has ever delivered, resulting in a crushing defeat for the 1700 strong British forces and changing the course of history. Our (Henry and Lewis’) great, great, great grandfather, Te Ahoaho, died in this battle. There is also a very moving story about how after the battle, a young Māori woman, Heni Te Kirikaramu, brought water to the wounded and dying British soldiers – her compassion and the grief surrounding the many deaths are also described in the song. The lyrics were developed by Henry and Lewis, based on stories told to them by their father, and the many accounts of the battle in books and online.

3. Holding My Breath – This song was written by Lewis, about the anxiety of being judged and socially ostracized by peers to the point of being unable to function. He says: “It’s about something that actually happened to me. I felt so bad that I literally stayed in my room and couldn’t bring myself to leave the house or talk to anyone. I wrote the song at that time, and it was one of the things that helped me work through it, so I hope it will resonate with other people going through similar things.”
4. Raupatu – is about the law passed in 1863 by the colonial government in New Zealand, enabling them to confiscate land from anyone they deemed to be ‘rebels’. In this way, millions of acres were stolen from their Māori owners, plunging these communities into poverty and changing the balance of power and the face of history in Aotearoa / New Zealand forever. These unjust confiscations are known as ‘Raupatu’, loosely translated as ‘theft’. The lyrics were developed mostly by Lewis, and include sections from the Treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840, which was supposed to guarantee Māori ‘full power and chiefly authority over their lands, people and all things of value to them’.

5. Kai Tangata – literally translates to ‘Eat People’, but refers specifically to the ancient Māori tradition of eating the flesh of their enemies after battle. In Māori custom, the human body is tapu (sacred), and the food is considered noa (ordinary or every day), so to reduce a person to the status of food was a great insult and a way of showing disdain for a fallen enemy. The lyrics were mostly developed by Henry, based on stories told him by his father about a series of intense conflicts that occurred between 1800 and 1840 when the Northern tribes were heavily armed with muskets as a result of their contact with European settlers. In a particularly savage battle in 1823, a Ngapuhi (Northern) tribe attacked and decimated the de Jong brothers’ Te Arawa (Central North Island) ancestors, who at that time were mostly still using traditional weaponry as European settlers and traders had not yet arrived in that part of the country. The verses and chants refer to the pounding footsteps of the war parties, the taking of slaves and (severed) heads, and the ‘sweet tasting flesh’ of the enemy. The chorus refers to the parts of the full body moko (tattoo) traditionally worn by Māori warriors.

6. Rage – The lyrics to this song were written by Lewis, based on an incident at school, where he told a friend something in confidence and the friend betrayed that confidence, resulting in the two of them coming to blows. The chant ‘Te ihi, te wehi, te wana’ at the end is often used in haka; and refers to the channeling of rage in order to summon power before a battle.

7. The Things that you Know – is a statement against following the rules and living a life of conformity. Written by Lewis, it expresses his own personal belief in taking risks and trying things outside your comfort zone.

8. Whispers – was written by Lewis. It is a reaction against people in power showing blatant disregard for the voices of the people (specifically Māori) in important decision making. The Māori verses relate to two recent incidences of this in New Zealand. The first was in 2004, when the government legislated to put the foreshore and seabed around the coastline of New Zealand into government ownership, even though it had never been gifted, sold by or confiscated from its traditional Māori owners. Henry and Lewis (then aged 2 and 4) and their family were among 40,000 people who marched on parliament to oppose the legislation; and a government MP, Tariana Turia (who is mentioned in the song) crossed the floor to vote against her own party, and subsequently resigned and formed a new political party, over the incident. The second incident was the participation of New Zealand in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), which overrides a number of rights granted to Māori in the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, and which has been negotiated and progressed without any genuine consultation with the many Māori tribes affected. The spoken excerpt at the beginning of the song is part of a radio interview with Don Brasch, a former leader of the (right wing) National and (even more right wing) Act political parties, and current spokesperson for a lobby group specifically set up to remove so-called ‘special privileges’ for Māori which have been put in place by various and successive governments since the 1980s in order to in some small way compensate for and right the wrongs inflicted on Māori by previous governments, who (among other things) stole their land, excluded them from voting and punished their children for speaking their own language in schools.

9. PC Bro – was written by Henry as a reaction to the modern phenomenon of reality TV shows, where the stars do more and more ridiculous and destructive things to feed the ever-increasing demands of the masses who blindly watch and follow them. The song gets its name from an episode of South Park, which deals with the same themes.

10. Urutaa – was originally written by Lewis about how conflicting expectations between people can spread unhappiness like a plague (urutaa). The Māori lyrics refer to specific events which occurred in Whangaroa harbor in the Bay of Islands, culminating in the famous incident known as ‘The Burning of the Boyd.’

In 1808, a European brig, ‘The Commerce,’ with Captain James Ceroni at the helm, landed in the harbor. In the process of showing off his pocket watch to local Māori (Ngati Uru), he dropped it into the harbor and it was never recovered. The ship left in the night, without the proper farewells, raising concern and superstition among the locals. Their concerns appeared to be vindicated when, a few days later, an epidemic broke out in the tribe, killing many people including the chief Kaitoke. (The epidemic was most likely influenza, caught from the visiting sailors, and the local people would have had no immunity to such foreign illnesses.) The plague was attributed to the cursed object (the pocket watch) left in the harbor and the survivors vowed vengeance against the white skinned or ‘spirit’ people (patupairehe).

A year later, another European ship, ‘The Boyd,’ landed in Whangaroa, and it was on this vessel that the revenge was exacted. Half the crew was lured up the river with the promise of kauri (tall tree) spars, which they were seeking as cargo, but they were killed and eaten by Ngati Uru. The warriors then donned the unfortunate sailors’ clothing, launched their rowboats and returned to The Boyd at dusk, where they proceeded to massacre the remaining crew and passengers. In the process, the ship’s load of gunpowder was set alight, resulting in The Boyd catching fire in a spectacular and gruesome event that was reported around the world.

This incident is used in the song as a metaphor for the misunderstandings that continue to plague us today – between cultures, generations, and individuals who torment each other through lack of understanding.

11. Nobody Here – Lewis wrote this song about the frustration of all his friends sitting at home on Facebook and other social media, and not actually engaging with each other in the real world.

12. Te Ara – This is a mostly instrumental song, featuring traditional Māori instruments – Lewis plays three different Kōauau (flute), Ethan plays the Pūrerehua (bullroarer) and Henry plays the Putatara (conch shell) in several different ways – he speaks through it, sounds it like a horn, breathes through it and ‘drums’ the neck opening. ‘Te Ara’ means ‘the journey’ and this song tracks the journey of the de Jong brothers’ ancestors in the waka (canoe) Te Arawa from their ancestral homeland in Hawaiki (French Polynesia) to the shores of Aotearoa / New Zealand. The haka at the end of the song is an ancient one, said to have been composed by the people of Ngati Ohomairangi (the tribe descending from the ancestor Ohomairangi) to celebrate their safe arrival in their new homeland.

13. Hypocrite – This is the oldest song on the album, and it was composed by Lewis in response to one of his teachers at school, who dished out detentions to him and a friend for not adhering to the school dress code and was subsequently observed several times to be contravening it themselves.

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STONE BROKEN – AIN’T ALWAYS EASY – SPINEFARM RECORDS

By Kev Rowland

We all have guilty pleasures when it comes to music, that one band or album that we’re not really supposed to like if we are to maintain our credibility. Well, I’m not too sure about maintaining it, as I don’t think I’ve ever had any to begin with, but back in 2001 I was sent an album by Roadrunner to review which I still think contains a great many wonderful songs, yet “friends” have mocked me for still having it in my collection. The album is ‘Silver Side Up’, and of course, the band is Nickelback. With songs such as “Never Again” and “How You Remind Me” it has been a “go to” album for me, but until now I have never heard another band that has taken that formula of strong riffing guitars, pounding drums and one singer often being tracked by another, and hook after hook after hook. Well, I have now.

This is the second album from British quartet Stone Broken, and if they’re not taking that particular blueprint and very much making it their own, then I really don’t know what to say. The band was formed in 2013 by frontman Rich Moss with guitarist Chris Davis, bassist Kieron Conroy and long-time musical soulmate Robyn Haycock on drums, since when they have been creating quite a stir on the live circuit. With the release of this, I can only see their name getting bigger, as this really is one pounding radio-friendly metal/rock classic after another. There is a groove here that makes the body move, the head nod, and the mouth smile. I am sure that there will be some naysayers, but the last time I looked Nickelback had sold more than 50 million albums, so for all the guilty pleasures there are plenty of people out there who like them (even if they hide the CDs away from their mates). Punchy, powerful, dramatic, and damn fine, this is simply superb.

9/10

COLOURATURA Seeking Qualified Musicians For Live Gigs

In a posting on the bands facbook page reads;
Attention to all Wheeling area / Ohio Valley / Morgantown / Pittsburgh, etc folks. We are putting a band together to play the music of COLOURATURA live.

What we need is COMMITTED and SERIOUS players who can handle a consistent rehearsal schedule and a multitude of styles including (but not limited to) pop, rock, funk, progressive, metal, electronic and experimental music. This includes commitment to mastery of material that is in odd / changing time signatures.

Repertoire will consist of original COLOURATURA music, past, present and future, along with a variety of covers from the above genres. The idea is to be a WORKING BAND and we will be seeking paid gigs.

What we need is:
Keyboards
Bass
Drums

The current lineup is
Nathan James (vocals, horn, etc)
Derek Pavlic (guitar)
Christian Mikula (sax + auxiliary sounds)
Ian Beabout (sound, flute)

If this kinda life looks interesting to you, please get in contact with me by any means necessary. WE WILL HOLD AUDITIONS, so there will likely be written parts given out prior to the audition. TBA.

Contact:
Ian Beabout
[email protected]

PS this is what we sound like.

Links:
| Official Website Coming Soon | Facebook | MRR Profile Page |

Season Of Tears | Homines Novi Album Review August 2017

Season Of Tears | Homines Novi

Label: Independent
Release Year: 2017
Country: France
Genre: Symphonic/Progressive Extreme/Industrial/Gothic Metal

Band Members

Matt – Guitars/Growls Clean & Backing Vocals
Lena – Synth/Piano/Cello Clean & Backing Vocals
Volac – Bass Guitars/Growl’s
Gaetan – Drums Percussions
Julliette – Lead Clean & Backing Vocals

Guest Musicians

Vanessa Dijoux & Jimmy Delassus – Additionnal talking on ‘Desynchronization’
Philippe Catalano – Accordion on ‘Wanderland’

Choir

Sopranos – Cécilia Melon, Hélène Pitois, Léna, Juliette
Altos – Gwenaëlle Le Rallec, Hjördis Léonardon, Maïlys Abraham
Tenors – Ismaël El Mechrafi, Flavien Maleval, Gaétan, Matt
Basses – Jean-Baptiste Riou, Aymeric Biesemans, Nikolaj Bukavec, Frank Loray

 

Contact Links 

Season Of Tears Official Website

Season Of Tears Official Facebook Page

Season Of Tears Official YouTube Channel

Season Of Tears Official Bandcamp Store Profile

Season Of Tears is a entity that is a total ‘Melodic Freak Of Nature’. Haling form Rennes France, the band is a well balanced blend of Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Epica and Delain. Formed in late 2013 every member of the band has a deep rich heritage of all being multi instrumentalists individually. The band’s melodic intensity is met perfectly with its brooding dark themes lyrically in a harmoniously dark beautiful cacophony of progressive melodic symphonic death metal.

Now in 2017 Season Of Tears unleash one of the strongest debut albums I have heard in the last 20 years with Homines Novi. The album Homines Novi (literally “New Men”, the term “men” referring here to the whole human kind) is based on reflections and stories about the evolution and the future, how what people do now will affect all our lives and how what happened to people will affect their own future. It has a strong connection with transhumanism and technological evolution’s, but also with nature, ecology and life experiences.

Homines Novi has a lite dystopian-horror theme running through it that paints a grim picture of a dystopian society. There are 11 songs on the album plus the main song called ‘The Protocole Of Evolution’ TPOE that spans a entire 17:19 of the album and is multi tracked over five songs. It is this song that is the full anchor of Homines Novi.The Protocole Of Evolution’ comes in the tradition of multi tracked songs like After Forever’s and Epica’s The Embrace That Smothers that happened over After Forever’s Prison Of Desire album and was finished on Epica’s Design Your Universe due to Mark Jansen’s (ex After Forever, Epica) departure from After Forever to form Epica. Homines Novi also has a very strong avant-garde element that it has some very unorthodox and unusual surprises on it that I will highlight as this review goes forward.

 

Desynchronization starts out with a very wicked science fiction like spoken word as if it were part of a dystopian utopia. It is met by sound effects of machinery before the deep thunder tuned down bass comes in and it takes off with a more symphonic death metal chord progression. There is a dynamic exchange of vocals throughout the initial frenzy of melodic brutality. There is also a great backing vocal passage going on much in the vein of a cyber-choir. These exchanges going in and out between the lead clean female vocal and the fullness within the masculine death growls. It gives this track a particular duet quality. This entire track sounds like a machine scene directly out of a Terminator film. This song transitions smoothly into the following song Desecrated.

Desecrated starts out with a deep hellish bass/drum rhythm section. The rhythm section has some heavy industrial elements. The chord progressions form a passage that practically stalks the mind and senses of the listener. This song is definitely for those who favor rhythm sections over stringed sections. The keyboards come in a create a balancing atmosphere that allow the listener to settle in for the melodic assault that awaits them. Once again the female clean vocal comes in to carry the track until it is met with a clean male vocal and male death growl. The level of brutality certainly caters to the more death metal minded audience. This track is relentless from the first note to final note. The death growls play very well off the double blast beats in the rhythm section. There is a break where there is a violin section along side a beautiful acoustic guitar melody.

The Second Cemetery explodes out of the gate with heavy double blast beats, a bass that is more of a percussive instrument and some over the top symphonic vocal harmonies that all tie together in one beautiful harmonious balance. The assault finally gives way to more symphonic passages that are compounded with almost thrash metal style riffs. The grit and crunchy chord progressions are in perfect harmony with the death growls. There seems to be a pattern forming thematically on the album in that the band meets the instrumental intensity in perfect time to the vocal and lyrical intensity. There is also a rare clean male vocal that carries the track briefly. There are also various breaks where the clean female vocals are really a anchor along with the various guitar solo’s that seem to be a dark horse element on the album. This is a very melodic track overall.

The Protocole Of Evolution Suite’ is a multi tracked 17:19 epic that gives Homines Novi a conceptual album appearance. It spans the next five tracks on the album. This is the more progressive portion of the album. There are various elements of anything between Epica to Frank Zappa in their diverse nature.

TPOE Part I – Firewind starts off with a heavy drumline section that is met with a vicious tuned down rhythm section that breaks and soon gets atmospheric. During the atmospheric section that is brief it sets up for the opening verse that will be reprises at the end of the epic on TPOE Part V – A New Dawn. This has some heavy harmony parts to it that allow the listener to get settled in for the melodic adventure over the next five tracks. There are some very wicked rhythm chord progressions and time signatures in this as well.

TPOE Part II – Far From Home transitions seamlessly off of TPOE Part I – Firewind into a almost blackened death metal low fi guitar riff. The riffs continue in a all out melodic assault. The death growls and clean vocals play perfectly in time with the viciousness of the bass/drum rhythm section. This is a straight away all out assault overall. The vocals are increasingly sung with a stronger conviction and this track demonstrates that. The guitar solo’s get stronger as the album progresses and this track also demonstrates that.

TPOE Part III – Homines Novi takes a turn towards more special sound effects. It sounds like machinery at work developing something in a lab somewhere. Soon it takes on a soundtrack score style giving it a very suspenseful sound and appearance. This is met with symphonic keyboard atmospheres. Maintaining the seamlessly continuity of the TPOE Suite, this track seamlessly transitions into the next track, TPOE Part IV – Wanderland.

TPOE Part IV – Wanderland smoothly picks up where TPOE Part III – Homines Novi . This time the seamless transition comes in form of a classical theater style male operatic voice met with a unorthodox accordion. This is where the TPOE Suite gets a more Frank Zappa style avant-garde experimental element about it. This element is not traditionally found nor native to the Progressive Symphonic Death Metal genre. It demonstrates the bands ability to think outside the box and not be pigeonholed into cliches. This protion also takes on a very heavy stage play 1920’s to 1940’s Broadway Musical element. The metal elements are gradually worked into this track. The accordion really adds another level of unorthodox atmospheres to the album. This track seamlessly transitions smoothly into the final track of the TPOE Suite, TPOE Part V – A New Dawn.

TPOE Part V – A New Dawn picks up smoothly where TPOE Part IV – Wanderland however with sheer metal brutality. The opening chord progressions are straight up progressive death metal. The riffs come right after the senses of the listener. This is one melodic assault right after another melodic assault. The dual vocals come in and out between the clean beauty of the female vocals and the beastly male death growls. The clean male vocals are a further hook by which the band keep the attention of the listener. Towards the end there is a reprisal of the first track in the TPOE Suite from the first track TPOE Part I – Firewind . Such reprisal gives the TPOE Suite a proper closure.

Damaged Process starts off with a very dark bleak opening with a strong thunderous rhythm section in perfect harmony with the beauty & beast elements of clean vocals and death growls. The instrumental half of the song is heavily avant-garde in nature. There is some notes that play off a abstract narrative in the instrumental that give the entire song a level of exquisite experimentation. The track even takes on some symphonic black metal style low fi guitar riffs.

Exalt starts out with a heavy symphonic metal element with keyboard atmospheres blended perfectly into the background of the stringed sections. The rhythm section comes in and adds depth and layers into the instrumental compositions. This also takes on some very heavy progressive metal elements ie .. various chord progressions and time signatures that play off one another. The Beauty & Beast metal element remains here. There are some theatrical elements and breaks that add another layer into the track. The theatrical elements remind me of some of the earlier 20th Century circus elements.

Restrained starts off with a sick relentless thunderous rhythm section. The bass is used again as a percussive instrument that runs perfectly alongside the double blast beats. Soon symphonic atmospheres of various keyboards and guitars add layers into the composition. Both stringed and rhythm sections are met with a clean male vocal with warmth and grace. The female vocal comes in and the death growls underneath all create a form of controlled chaos throughout the track. This is the final song on the album and the band uses the duration perfectly to tie all the elements used into one smooth finale.

Season Of Tears Homines Novi is certainly not for everybody. However if you are into Symphonic Death Metal with industrial and progressive elements this album could be for you. It may take a few spins to really get into it. Season Of Tears as a band come into their debut sounding like a band that has been in the business at least 10 to 15 years. Homines Novi is certainly one of the strongest debut albums of this style of music I have heard in 20 years. The album is well written and produced. Season Of Tears have a album they can certainly put on the stage live as well. A band like Season Of Tears guarantees that this style of metal will never go extinct. I am giving Season Of Tears Homines Novi a 5/5.

 

Making Of Homines Novi _ Part II-1 : Studio

 

Making Of Homines Novi _ Part II-2 : Studio

 

Dream Theater | Images And Words 25th Anniversary Retrospective

Dream Theater | Images And Words 25th Anniversary Retrospective

Label: ACTO Records
Release Year: 1992
Country: USA/Canada
Genre: Progressive Metal

 

Band Members – Iamges And Words Lineup

James Labrie – Vocals
John Myung – Bass
John Petrucci – Guitars
Mike Portnoy – Drums
Kevin Moore – Keyboards

 

Track Listing

Pull Me Under – Kevin Moore 8:14
Another Day – John Petrucci 4:23
Take the Time – Dream Theater 8:21
Surrounded – Kevin Moore 5:30
Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper – John Petrucci 9:32
Under a Glass Moon – John Petrucci 7:03
Wait for Sleep – Kevin Moore 2:31
Learning to Live – John Myung 11:30

 

Contact Links

Dream Theater 

Dream Theater Official Website

Dream Theater Official Facebook Page

Dream Theater Official Twitter

Dream Theater Official YouTube Channel

Mike Portnoy 

Mike Portnoy Official Website

Mike Portnoy Official Facebook Page

Mike Portnoy Official Twitter

Kevin Moore

Kevin Moore Official Facebook Page

[email protected] Images And Words Cover Story

[email protected] Images And Words Cover Story 

The year 2017 sees Dream Theater celebrate the 25 th Anniversary of their ICONIC sophomore album, and the album that is credited for saving the entire progressive rock and metal genres from extinction Images And Words. The band are even doing an entire world tour to celebrate this monumental milestone in recorded music history. To many they looked upon this release as nothing short of a ‘Miracle’.

What Was Happening In 1992 ?

The conditions for a successful metal band were very grim in 1992 to say the least. In America the nation music station MTV had all but abandoned the heavy metal genre in a nutshell. They would trade heavy metal in for bands out of Seattle Washington like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Tad, Green River and bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Smashing Pumpkins on the Grunge Rock side. They would also cater to more of the Hip Hop R&B with bands like Cypress Hill, Boys 2 Men, etc …

Exceptions to this were bands like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, White Zombie, Corrosion of Conformity, Pantera, a new upstart band TOOL and Dream Theater. You had Dallas’ Z-Rock nationally syndicate a full 24/7 metal format both on AM & FM stations throughout the United States and Canada and KNAC from Los Angeles attempt to nationally syndicate a full heavy metal format nationally as well. Another thing you would of thought was working against a band like Dream Theater was the fact that in North America progressive rock music had seem almost entirely dead since the late 1970’s.

As a matter of fact Prog Rock became the PORN of rock in a way that most prog purists in North America were at one point ashamed of purchasing progressive rock albums in the shops at the time. Both progressive rock and metal bands had been relegating basically from stadiums and arenas to small theaters and night clubs. However in what seemed like the ‘Perfect Storm’ working against the band, Dream Theater not only thrived in this atmosphere but flourished.

Images And Words – The History

After a lack luster reception 3 years earlier with their When Day And Dream Unite, Dream Theater knew there would have to be a change. Little did they know it was going to be a change at the Lead Vocalist position.

After Charlie Dominici’s departure from Dream Theater, the band auditioned nearly 200 people across the nation including former Fates Warning vocalist John Arch, before James LaBrie, then of the Canadian glam metal band Winter Rose, sent the band an audition tape. After a short jam session, he was named Dream Theater’s new lead singer, and remained so ever since.

With James LaBrie on board, the band was signed to a seven-album contract by ATCO Records, which by the way also signed Pantera, and shortly after began recording their new album in late 1991. The lead single, “Pull Me Under”, gained the band considerable commercial success with its airplay on MTV and radio, garnering them a top 10 hit on Billboard’s Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. When the album was released, it sold at a steady pace, helped by an extensive world tour.

Dream Theater originally intended to release a double album, but this was rejected by ATCO, causing several songs to be omitted from the album. One of these songs, “A Change of Seasons”, would later be re-recorded by the band and released on an EP of the same name in 1995.

The song “Take the Time” includes samples from Kurtis Blow’s “Christmas Rappin'” (“Hold it now”), Frank Zappa’s “Dancin’ Fool” (“Wait a minute”), and Public Enemy’s “Power to the People”, (“Come on”). James LaBrie had appeared as a guest vocalist on Fates Warning’s 1991 album Parallels, for which the band was credited as “Dream Theatre” in the “special thanks” of the album’s credits. Dream Theater responded by thanking “Fatez Warning” in the credits of Images and Words.

Images and Words was played in its entirety on several occasions during the European leg of the 2007 “Chaos in Motion” tour, in celebration of its 15th anniversary. On July 7, 2012, at a concert in Austin, Texas, the songs “Pull Me Under”, “Another Day”, and “Metropolis” were performed as an encore to celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary. Additionally, “Surrounded” was performed during the main set.

In 1993 Dream Theater Live At The Marquee would include 3 songs from Images And Words those include Metropolis Pt 1 – ‘The Miracle And The Sleeper’ , Another Day and Pull Me Under.

In 1998 Dream Theater’s Once In A Livetime live album would feature ‘Take The Time’, Pull Me Under’, Metropolis Pt 1 – ‘The Miracle And The Sleeper’ and ‘Learning To Live’ from Images And Words.

In 1999 , due to the insane popularity of ‘Metropolis Pt 1 – The Miracle And The Sleeper’, Dream Theater would release a entire and ambitious concept album inspired by Metropolis Pt 1 – The Miracle And The Sleeper affectionately titled ‘Metropolis Pt 2 – Scenes From A Memory’.

In 2000, Dream Theater would go on to play the entire Metropolis Pt 2 – Scenes From A Memory in New York’s Starland Ballroom. This would be filmed for the band’s first ever DVD concert titled Metropolis Pt 2 – Scenes From New York. A special reworked edition to Metropolis Pt 1 – The Miracle And The Sleeper would be featured and called Metropolis 2000 – The Miracle And The Sleeper along with Learning To Live.

In 2008 , as a tongue and cheek humorous gesture towards the moderately successful ‘Pull Me Under’, Dream Theater would release Greatest Hit (…And 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs) . Then-drummer Mike Portnoy explained in the album’s booklet that the selection of songs were carefully made in order to appease both the newcomer and the already existing fan by offering up different versions of songs on other albums to “make the newcomer want to buy the albums from whence they came” and to “give different versions of songs already on other albums” to the current fan. He also suggests that a third disc should’ve been included called “The Epic Side”.

In 2013, the album was reissued on vinyl as a limited edition 180 gr. double LP.

In 2017, Dream Theater celebrated the 25th anniversary of Images And Words on the “Images, Words & Beyond” tour in Europe, starting on January 30 at the Auditorium Parco Della Musica in Rome, Italy.

The Album Cover

In a March 2015 interview with Teamrock’s Prog branch, artist Larry Freemantle sat down and answered a few question concerning the iconic cover to Images And Words. The following information is courtesy of Prog @ Teamrock.
[email protected] :
How did you get involved in the project?

Larry Freemantle

“At the time they were with Elektra, and at that time they didn’t really have an art department. I was with Atlantic and was assigned it like any other project. They had some company they were somehow connected with called Access Images. It was a pre-computer graphics time, and everyone was just getting into computer work. Access Images was one of those companies that did that sort of stuff, before Photoshop became huge. And they had a few people that worked there, so I sort of oversaw that project.”

[email protected] :
How did you come up with the idea?

Larry Freemantle
“The concept of what was on that cover came from the band. I tried to make it look compositionally like an old painting from a design point of view. I remember I met with the band and we sat down and went through everything. They were very hands on in the early days. John Myung was probably the key person I met along with John Petrucci. Kevin Moore and Mike Portnoy were also very much involved too. They were very specific about what should be where on the sleeve. It was just a matter of trying to piece it together. So they wanted a little girl, they wanted the bird flying and that style of room. It was a collage of engravings and illustrations which I thought was pretty cool. The engravings and the room were from old engravings book that we spliced together, and the sky was worked into it too. As for the font, I had that created and hired a calligrapher, John Stevens, as I wanted it to be personalised and to look like a type font.”

[email protected]:
Stylistically, it’s reminiscent of some of the 70s album sleeves. Is that something that you were conscious of?
Larry Freemantle
“Those guys and myself were huge Hipgnosis fans and that it’s pretty obvious. And in fact, later on they actually used Storm Thorgerson to do some the art for their Falling Into Infinity album. I’m a big fan of how that stuff was done pre-computer. The sleeve is a little dated now, simply because you can see how well things are done today. So I look back and think that I could have done it in so many different ways. Those Hipgnosis phenomenal sleeves are beautiful and haven’t dated, and I suppose Images And Words holds up to some degree. I like the fact that it is a collage rather than, say, it being all photographic.”

[email protected]
Who was the girl who features on the cover?
Larry Freemantle
“The girl was somebody that the photographer, Dan Muro, chose and I think he just cast someone for that. It wasn’t anybody specific for the band. I remember that the flaming heart logo was physically created, and they made a model of it and then photographed it.”

[email protected]
How were the band to work with?
Larry Freemantle
“The guys were down to earth and from Long Island, where I’m from, and we were the same age. They were easy going and it’s always easier to work with a new band than someone who has been around for a long time. In the beginning they were so happy just to be doing some of the stuff we were doing, and it wasn’t a big budget job. They were a very serious and professional band right from the start. A lot of bands are like the deer in the headlights when it comes to ideas so their attitude was quite unusual. They were always great when they came to the table as they always had ideas.”

 

A Breakdown Of Reason – A Track By Track Analysis Of Dream Thetaer’s Images & Words

Pull Me Under

Pull Me Under was the first song and first single off Images And Words. Pull Me Under is by far the band’s most well-known song. Originally titled “Oliver’s Twist” in instrumental form, the song was added to the album late, replacing Don’t Look Past Me. The song catching on in the mainstream surprised the band, as they had written Another Day in hopes of it being a hit single, due to its softer, more melodic nature. According to Mike Portnoy, Pull Me Under’s success is proof that “the fans like balls and chunk”.

Pull Me Under peaked at #10 on the Billboard Hot 200, skyrocketing the popularity of the album. A video was shot from it using stock footage of the band performing along with conceptual footage. The conceptual footage has nothing to do with the song and was created without any input from the band. The character in the video is referred to as both a vampire and a werewolf by members of the band, who admit they don’t understand what the video is about or what its relation to Pull Me Under is.

The song’s success led to Images and Words going Gold in 1995, and it has become the band’s anthem, though they admit they are sick of playing it. The compilation album Greatest Hit (…and 21 Other Pretty Cool Songs)’s name refers to Pull Me Under as the band’s only major mainstream hit. The song was included as an unlockable song in the game Guitar Hero: World Tour as the song the player plays during the credits, and then as a part of an unlocked set taking place in “Valhalla”. It does not include the abrupt ending with the “would melt” lyric in this game.

Another Day
This would be the second song from Images And Words and the second song released as a single for radio play consideration. John Petrucci wrote Another Day about his father, John Petrucci Sr. who was diagnosed with cancer. John Petrucci Sr. would be the subject of another Dream Theater song, Take Away My Pain from Falling Into Infinity following his death. The video for Another Day follows the song’s lyrics, with a father and son spending time together. MRI scans are visible in the background, tying in to the cancer theme.

Another Day is a melodious ballad with pop sensibilities. The song was written to be accessible, and was presented with radio, single and video releases. Another Day does build up to a crescendo, though it never becomes heavy, instead going into a soprano sax solo by Jay Beckenstein from Spyro Gyra. Jay Beckenstein also owned the studio that Images And Words was recorded in. Though Another Day was written to be accessible and a possible hit, it was surpassed surprisingly by Pull Me Under which became the band’s biggest hit.

Despite a single and video, the song never caught on in the mainstream, the video not being used by MTV and the EP release being considered the rarest commercial release by Dream Theater, often fetching large prices on eBay. The video features the young girl who was the model for the cover of Images and Words.

Take The Time

Take the Time is a song by Dream Theater. It is the third song from their second album, Images and Words. Take the Time is the third radio single release from the album and its second video release.

Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy said of this song:

“We decided to write a song about everything we’d been going through for the past 3 years – looking for a new singer, a new label and new management – just all the changes we made and all the frustrations we went through, but have it coming from each of our 4 different perspectives. So, we broke it up, and said, ‘Okay, you take the first verse, you take the second verse,’ went away, wrote lyrics about our feelings about all the stuff we were going through, and then put it together. Then we wrote the chorus together. That was the first time we had ever done that, and it’s the only song on the album where the lyrics were actually written by everybody.”

A video was shot for Take the Time and a radio-edit was released, though neither were used. The video is for the most part a performance video with some mild conceptual elements.

The sampled voice saying “Ora che ho perso la vista, ci vedo di piu” used during the song is from the film “Cinema Paradisio”. The voice saying “Wait a minute...” is sampled from the ending of Frank Zappa’s “Dancin’ Fool”, “Hold up!” is sampled from “Christmas Rapping” by Kurtis Blow, and “Come On!” comes from “Power to the People” by Public Enemy.

Take the Time was originally known as “Grab That Feel”.

Surrounded

Surrounded is one of Dream Theater’s more abstract songs. The exact meaning of the lyrics has eluded fans since its release. The song at one time was dedicated to Arthur Ashe, a tennis player who died of AIDS. The general tone of the lyrics is spiritual, though no literal meaning can be ascertained.

Compared to many of the songs on Images and Words, performances of Surrounded have been rare. Dream Theater performed the the song very scarcely, though it has recently seen a rise in popularity. The reason the band hasn’t played it often may be because it is a “Kevin Moore song” though they routinely play other songs he has penned such as Pull me Under. Live performances of the song may vary wildly from the album version, often with extended lengths and atmospheric solos.
On occasion, alternate live versions have heavily quoted the song “Sugar Mice” by Marillion, to the point of James LaBrie even singing some of the lyrics from that song, as well as quoting the guitar solo from the song “Mother” by Pink Floyd. Jordan Rudess is also known to play keytar during live performances of Surrounded. During the Chaos In Motion 2007-2008 tour,

Dream Theater performed an extended version running at 15 minutes.

Of course like most music in relation to people’s individual personalities and moods, the exact meaning of the song could fracture into many different impressions upon the general audience.

Metropolis, Pt. 1 – The Miracle and the Sleeper

Metropolis, also known as Metropolis, Pt 1 – “The Miracle and the Sleeper” or simply Metropolis Pt 1 is a song by Dream Theater. It is the fifth song from their second album, Images and Words. Metropolis is one of the band’s most beloved and popular songs, despite never being a single. The concepts from Metropolis eventually led to the release of Metropolis Pt 2 – Scenes from a Memory in 1999.

The lyrics to Metropolis have been the source of much debate and analysis with Dream Theater fans, with the band themselves being evasive regarding its exact meaning. A popular theory is that it is about the founding of Rome (Metropolis) by two brothers (Romulus and Remus); however, it is an unofficial explanation. The release of Scenes from a Memory, surprisingly enough, complicated matters, with the album continuing some themes (both lyrical and musical) from the song, but having a much more literal story that did not seem to definitively explain the original.

Metropolis is a very progressive and varied song and is one of the heavier songs on Images and Words. The song is most known for its extended instrumental section, which was some of the most difficult and complex music the band had written and performed at that time. As with many progressive songs, the song has multiple sections and changes.

The “Pt 1” in the title was originally added by John Petrucci as a joke, as no sequel was ever intended. However as fans demands began to increase, and the popularity of the song eventually led to a second song being written. That second song was originally conceived as a 20 minute epic originally intended to be on Falling Into Infinity; however, it was cut from the album at an early state, before the song was completed. Lyrics for Metropolis Pt 2 were never written and the only recording of the whole song is a rough rehearsal. However, various sections of the song were worked into Scenes from a Memory, most notably the entirety of Overture 1928, and most of One Last Time.

Metropolis was also known as “Crumbling Metropolis” early on.

The song was originally written when Charlie Dominici was in the band, and was played live at every show in 1989, although this version had a different intro and a slightly shorter outro.

Under A Glass Moon

Under a Glass Moon is a song by Dream Theater. It is the sixth song on their second album, Images and Words. Despite never being released as a single, Under a Glass Moon is one of the band’s more popular songs especially in live sets. It was written by John Petrucci.

This song was the most obvious Easter Egg on the album cover itself.

Under a Glass Moon is one of the heavier songs on Images and Words, known for its signature opening and crunching riff. The song is mid-tempo, and contains one of John Petrucci’s more famous guitar solos.

In a testament to the strange titles Dream Theater songs can have before lyrics are written for them, Under a Glass Moon was originally known as “The Battle of Jimmy Cocoa and Fish-Face”.

Wait For Sleep

Wait for Sleep is a song by Dream Theater. It is the seventh song off their second album, Images and Words. The song is notable for being one of only two songs penned completely by Kevin Moore, the other being Space-Dye Vest from Awake 1994.

The song is said to be about a friend of Kevin Moore’s who he claimed had “a spiritual void” who struggled with her beliefs regarding the death of a friend

Along with Space-Dye Vest, Wait for Sleep is one of only two songs penned completely by Kevin Moore. The song features no drums, guitar or bass, though live performances occasionally use a full-band arrangement.

The song, much like Only a Matter of Time before it, lent a lyric to the title, the line “Where images and words are running deep” is the source of the album’s title.

Performances of Wait for Sleep are somewhat rare, especially since Kevin Moore’s departure from Dream Theater. The band rarely plays the song as it is on the album, usually instead opting for a full band arrangement that fans usually refer to as the acoustic version, due to John Petrucci’s use of acoustic guitar. Some versions, particularly early ones have been known to have been extended in length, usually due to an elaborate intro from Kevin Moore.

Learning To Live

Learning to Live is a song by Dream Theater. It is the 8th and final song off the band’s second album, Images and Words. It is also the longest song on Images And Words.

Through Learning to Live is heavily metaphorical, some sense can be made of it. The song is said to be about the AIDS crisis, which in 1992 was quite prevalent. The opening line “He had no time for pain, no energy for anger” is said to be borrowed from the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, said to be an influence on John Myung.

Learning to Live is the longest and most progressive song on Images and Words and is the band’s first officially released song to go beyond ten minutes long. The song reprises the piano theme from Wait for Sleep, making the songs somewhat of a pair.

Live performances of Learning to Live are quite common, and even when the band does not play the entire song, it is a common element in medleys

It should be noted that Change Of Season’s was suppose to be on Images And Words. When the band released its Images And Words Demos 1989-1991 on the installment of Official Bootlegs in 2005, the original instrumental demo was included. The band would release Change of Seasons in 1995 as a EP with various other live performances. Images And Words also is a real rarity in that it was one of the few progressive rock or metal albums to avoid the second album or ‘sophomore jinx’. Images And Words was like a rebirth for Dream Theater in both lineup and sound for the band. Images and Words was a moderate commercial hit, reaching number 61 on the US Billboard 200 chart. It is also Dream Theater’s only album to be certified gold by the RIAA, and remains their best-selling album to date, selling more than six hundred thousand copies. It is still the bands bestselling album to date.