Interview with Cruz

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Please introduce your band. When was the band formed?

CRUZ is a death metal band from Barcelona that was formed in 2013 by Imanol (guitar), Joao (bass), Xavi (drums), Albert (guitar) and Vali (vocals). The initial idea, even before the line-up was completed, was to play some dark and raw mix of punk and metal, but soon we ended up adopting a sound and style closer to old school Swedish death metal, although with a strong punk influence. The band recorded a demo tape that year which was nevertheless released in 2015 by Raw War Tapes from Spain. By then, Albert and Vali had left to pursue other projects and Benja (guitar) and Javi (vocals) had replaced them, completing the line-up that continues up to the present day.

Can you tell us about your main influences?

Our influences for CRUZ are mainly old school death metal bands like Unleashed, Dismember, Entombed, Necrophobic, Bolt Thrower and Autopsy among others, as well as bands like Celtic Frost, Slayer and Sepultura, and hardcore punk bands like Discharge and Anti-Cimex.

How would you define your sound?

Swedish-style old school death metal with a strong punk influence.

This October you released your new album ‘’CultoAbismal’’. How did the recording sessions go and how has the reception been so far?

The recording session took five days, and the mixing took a few more days. JaviFélez from Moontower Studios did a great job and was very patient throughout the whole process. Brad from Audiosiege also did a great job mastering it. The reception of the album has been really good, a lot of reviews have been coming up since the release and all of them are very positive. We also embarked on a European tour in late August-early September and the response of the people who came to the shows was great. People are also asking us to play here and there, so we are very happy with the situation of CRUZ at the moment.

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Any particular concept behind ‘’CultoAbismal’’ you would like to discuss?

There is no specific concept behind the album, although all the lyrics deal with supernatural entities, ancient cults, parallel dimensions, ungodly worlds and other dark subjects, which is what the amazing cover art made by César Valladares illustrates. The songs “CultoAbismal” and “TumbasCiclópeas” are inspired by Lovecraft though, and I guess that it would be fair to say that the concept behing CRUZ is very Lovecraftian.

What inspires you the most?

At a musical level we are inspired by the aforementioned bands and any band with killer riffs and a dark sound. Lyrically, anything related to the dark concepts described above, ideas and stories that we get from books, movies, series and even history and philosophy. On a different level, we all come from the punk scene, so we are into DIY ethics and we like to play in places that embrace this way of thinking and doing things.

What are you listening to these days?

We all like different genres of music, so we listen to many different bands depending on our moods. We like bands that range from metal and punk to ambient and folk, with everything in between, although there are certain classic bands that you always end up going back to.

Any live shows planned for the rest of this year?

Not for this year, but surely for the next.

What does the future hold for Cruz?

Our idea is to continue playing live here and there, especially to promote our new album, but also to plan a new tour for 2017, maybe in Scandinavia or even the US. We will work to make the band more known among anyone who appreciates this kind of sound. We will also start writing new stuff to make our set list more varied, and also with a second album in mind.

Ayahuasca – Yin

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My lack of knowledge is what triggered my curiosity. Ayahuasca is a brew of various psychoactive plants. The brew is used as a traditional, spiritual medicine in ceremonies among the indigenous people of Amazonia. It is also a cool name for a band. Ayahuasca is a three piece band from Toronto, Canada. ”Yin” which was released on the 9th of September is their second, full length release.

Twelve tracks are included in this album. So let’s take a sip of this blend to see what it’s about. First of all, the band’s music is quite diversified. It’s a rather intriguing blend of progressive metal, grunge, punk and sludge. You can add some really nice vocals to this pot. Now, our drink is ready. It may taste a bit strange but exciting at the same time. There’s a certain sense of epicness throughout this album. And it is something that i felt from the very first song of this album. ”Yin” at times sounds mesmerising but there where also parts that felt like taking on an epic journey. I think that we’ re talking about twelve good written tracks and it is also difficult for me to pick a favourite track. Beautiful in its technicality, this album needs to be heard many times. Rest assure though, you will be rewarded. Certain layers of charm will unfold in front of you.

So my suggestion for today is ”Yin” by Ayahuasca. I certainly enjoyed this album and therefore i would like to recommend it. Personally i’d give it a 9 out of 10. Here’s a link where you can also listen to Yin.

Minerva Superduty – Gorod Zero

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During the end of the last decade something really interesting took place here in Greece. We’ re definitely living in interesting times but no, my introduction doesn’t have to do with the country’s economy. I’m referring to all those bands that emerged and the birth of a scene that’s worth checking out. Bands that have so far presented us with some exceptional works. One of these bands is Minerva Superduty.

For those of you who don’t know about the band let me just state that they come from Kalamata, Greece and that ”Gorod Zero” is their second release. We have already talked here about their first album ”Minerva Superduty”This album revealed to me a perfectionist band. And that’s because they took care of every last detail. I’m talking of course about the music (Ω3 will always be my favorite track) and the album’s front cover art. Their video clip for ”Sklenos pt.1” was simply a piece of art.

As it has already been mentioned ”Gorod Zero” is their new album. It was released on the 17th of october. Eight new tracks are included in this album. So, what’s new here? Well, the answer is many things. First of all Minerva Superduty are no longer an instrumental band. Yes, they have added vocals to their music. Lyrics and vocals were written and performed by George Papageorgiou at Twin Picks studios, Athens GR. I must say that was quite a surprise for me. I mean, a few months ago the band had presented us some of their new songs in a live show here in Athens. Without vocals though. In my opinion this addition marks a certain shift in their sound. I’m not claiming that they have broken their ties with their first album. But i feel that ”Gorod Zero” sounds a lot darker than the previous album. It’s as if they had a load of fury inside of them and they finally let it go. I don’t really want to classify their sound or something like that mainly because i’m having a hard time trying to describe it. Chaotic hardcore or post hardcore? Powerviolence perhaps? Don’t know. Perhaps we’ re missing the point here. But when you find yourself in a situation like that you know you have found something special.

First of all, production wise ”Gorod Zero” sounds great. Despite the album’s technicality the purpose is simple. Self expression and make the listener abandon his safety zone and explore new soundscapes. Personally this album makes me think of post apocalyptic sceneries. This is one of these albums where you must listen to it from top to bottom. Don’t pick tracks in a random order. There’s a reason for that. The band is trying to tell  a story here. And they’ re rather successful at it. As for a favorite track? I think i’ll go with ”Negative Dialectic” and ”Acephale”.

Trying to sum it up i would have to say that i enjoyed this album. These guys didn’t lower their standards at all. There’s no doubt in my mind that ”Gorod Zero” is an excellent album. Probably one of this year’s best albums. Check out this link and discover your own truth.

Afmagt – Den Sidste kamp Taber Du Alene

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We’ re back with another review. Afmagt (danish for powerlessness) was formed in early 2016 by current and former members of Hexis, No Fealty and Iron. On the 14th of October the band released their debut ep ”Den Sidste Kamp Taber Du Alene”. I don’t speak any danish but according to google translate (that’s a rather risky translation i have to say) the album’s title means ”the last game you lose alone”. So, five tracks are included in this ep. The band’s music is a more than exciting blend of hardcore punk and d-beat. Before you do anything make sure you turn up the volume. First song is called ”sidste udvej” and it’s damn amazing. Listening to it i was like ”O.k gentlemen you have my attention now”. ”Det yderste mørke” is the album’s second track and this is another awesome track as well. But wait there’s more. Enter ”Svarta strack”. In my opinion this is one of this album’s best tracks. ”Håbets sidste bastion” is just another great track from this album, full of raw hardcore energy. I loved this track’s intro. Last but not least we find ”forrådt” and all i can say is that this shit is the bomb. I must admit i loved this ep. All of its 5 tracks. To me it sounds fresh and definitely inspired. Thumbs up also for the album’s production. All songs sound as heavy and massive as they should. They made a fan out of me and i’m pretty sure the same thing will happen with you. Den Sidste Kamp Taber Du Alene is recommended for all hardcore fans.

Empty Vessels – Throw Your Shadow

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Let’s talk a bit about a gem recently unearthed from the underground. Empty Vessels is a two piece band, formed in 2012 in New London, Connecticut, U.S. Back in 2015 they released their latest, full length album ”Throw Your Shadow”. Nine tracks are included in this album. First thing that made an impression on me is the album’s production. I think it is simply great. So thumbs up for that. The band’s music is a more than exceiting blend of post hardcore, punk and sludge. These are key ingredients to create something special. There is no doubt in my mind though that the band has managed to put it together. In my opinion ”Throw Your Shadow” is an album that needs to be heard loud. Your neighbours may feel uncomfortable but there is no other way. Here what you have is an album that is full of raw punk energy. It is hard for me to choose a favorite track. I can’t get enough of songs like ”Two Skeletons”, ”Omega” and ”Keep From Wilting”. Listen to this album and discover your own favorite. Personally i enjoyed this album therefore i would like to recommend it. So this is our suggestion for this weekend. Check out this link

VVORSE – Näkyjä Helvetistä

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VVORSE is a four piece band from Jyväskylä, Finland. ” Näkyjä Helvetistä ” (finnish for ‘visions from hell’), which was released on the 11th of october, is their debut, full length album. Their music is a blend of crust punk, hardcore and a bit of sludge. Nevertheless crust punk is the main element in their music. All lyrics are written in finnish but that’s not really a problem because as we’ said so many times before, music is a universal language. And i think these guys here manage to get their message across. Nine tracks await for you here. I must admit this is some stuff. We’re talking about pure, raw energy. It didn’t really take too long for me to like their music. From the first song i was like ”O.k gentlemen you have my attention now”. And the rest of the songs proved to be fast and heavy as hell. For example check out ”Haudantekijä”. This is my favorite song from this album. D-beat/ crust as it should be. Personally, i must say i enjoyed this album. Therefore i would like to recommend it. Here’s a link where you can also listen to ” Näkyjä Helvetistä ”.