Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars [REVIEW]

Bringing the symphonic and technical death metal from the underground, Ex Deo are looking to make a massive statement with a powerful sound and crushing instrumentation on their latest record ‘The Immortal Wars’. If you’re a fan of bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, then this band will be right up your alley.

Opening up with the strong build up, ‘The Rise Of Hannibal’ has a strong army marching quality with its tempo and beat that it will bring the head banging as soon as it enters the room. As well as this, the overall production on the album is phenomenal as every single instrument, whether it be orchestral or by the band comes through as crisp as anything. The breakdown smashes through the walls with the sudden shrill moments of the symphonic elements making you sound like you’re in the middle of a war. It picks up the pace a lot more with ‘Hispania (Siege of Saguntum)’ and with that, the album pushes itself up even higher with the sound and the overall tone of the record. With both guitars playing of each other really well whilst the drums provides a powerful and gripping backing for the chugging/tremolo picking that makes things just become quite overwhelming but with a notion that you cant turn away.

Their main theme throughout the entire album is on Ancient Rome and it sticks to those theme quite religiously. The entire concept helps add to the entire symphonic qualities as well as the lyrics, only making this album that much more unique and exciting. Tracks like ‘Suavetaurilia (Intermezzo)’ highlight the production on this record superbly as well as the follow up track ‘Cato Major: Carthago Delenda Est!’ whose introduction only pushes the enjoyment of the record, but doesn’t overshadow the destruction that the rest of the band bring throughout the record with the vocals telling a strong tale behind its screams. The album closer ‘The Roman’ opens on a sombre note before the rest of the band provide this devastating and clutching element with the guitars that help round out the track superbly whereas the track help bring the album to such a climactic close with the album feeling near perfect by the end of the 9 track onslaught.

With this album being 5 years after its predecessor, it was tough to see what would become of the record, especially with their hiatus. With a lot of blood and sweat going into this third album, the band have made something wonderful and full of life, showing that they aren’t to be looked over and their style is far from uncouth.



Nick McLernon + Tim Madden – Make Them Suffer (9/11/16)

Just before Never Say Die kicked off into its last UK date, we got to sit down with two of the founding members of Make Them Suffer to talk about their respective career, new music coming your way and who is most likely to die in a horror film.

For those who might not be familiar with Make Them Suffer, how would you describe yourself?

N: Traditionally people know us as a symphonic blackened deathcore band.

So you guys are currently on the Never Say Die tour with the likes of Whitechapel, how is the experience so far?

N: Amazing, this is our first EU bus tour. Basically what it entails when you’re on a bus tour is that you’re on a festival rig so you could be playing between anything from 500 to 1,500 people every night, so every night’s been packed for larger venues. The shows have been sick particularly the UK just because, I don’t know, I feel as though the UK gets what everybody is about, but its only 10 days into the tour so far.

With a lot of bands on this tour following around the same musical genres and styles, what do you think separates you from that crowd?

N: Apparently we’ve got the female factor. We’re the only band on this bill, as well as a lot of bills we’re on, that has a female member.

T: She plays the keyboard.

N: Yeah, female vocals and keyboards. There’s only a few bands who can say they have both and were one of them so..

T: I think for our setlist we’re playing a mixture of styles and that’s kinda what were doing now which helps us stand out. We trialled a lot of songs and just picked the best ones to play.

Four months ago, you released the standalone track ‘Ether’, what is that song about and how did it come into fruition?

N: Okay, this song has got a bit of a backstory to it. We’re trying to move away, not intentionally but it’s happening naturally, from the real deathcore sound, take ourselves away from the pigeonhole that is deathcore and just writing whatever comes naturally to us and ‘Ether‘ was just the first song that we decided to produce and record and that’s the way it came out.

T: Yeah, we all love different styles and for us this is more of a ‘rock’ that and it came out really cool!

N: Not to say that every song is going to turn out like ‘Ether‘ as it’s too early to tell, its just the way it came out and it’s not like we’re compromising what makes Make The Suffer ‘Make Them Suffer’. Other people would argue because as us being traditionally known as a symphonic blackened deathcore, that’s just something that happened when the band first started and its not like we were intending to make the same music for two/three albums on so..

With it been quite a while since you’ve released new music into the world, are you excited to get even newer material out there?

N: Oh yeah, absolutely! I mean, we’re doing that anyway, but the fact that ‘Ether‘ had.. I feel that the reception for the track when it was released was exponentially and more widely received than previous.

T: Yeah, we did quite well for ourselves with that one.

N: I mean, in the past we had ‘Let Me In‘ which was very left of field for us at the time and ‘Ether‘ was left of field in the same way as ‘Let Me In‘ was. Not to say that it was any better, but I think it was because it was a bit more different that fans were like ‘woah, thats.. well that’s something new and something I’ve never heard before’

T: And I think that our next release is going to be our best release that we’ve done.

With a lot of bands having different experiences with processes of losing and finding new band members, what are your experiences with this?

N: With us, coming from Perth (Western Australia), we’re a geographically isolated city and there aren’t too many people. If you lived in Perth you would understand, it’s only got a population of about 1,000,000 and the culture in Perth, even though you hear a lot of bands coming out of Perth that end up making it big, isn’t much of a music culture which is funny when you see that bands like Tame Impala and Karnivool came from Perth. For us, finding a band member within our niche genre so in the past we’ve had a couple of members of Melbourne. We’ve had a lock on Monty (rhythm guitar) who’s been in the band for a few years now and every time theres a show in Australia we just book him a flight and do a couple of rehearsals and then come to a show, so its really not that difficult.

If you could only tour next year with bands from Australia around the world, who would you take with you?

T: Does it have to suit our genre?

You can pick whoever you want, really!

N: Jeez, I can’t count of both hands.

T: Yeah, a lot of friends like Northlane and In Hearts Wake. Also our friends in Karnivool, we might be a bit heavy for them but they would be fun to tour with.

N: Yeah man.. thats a tough question, like, you hear from a lot of dudes here say that ‘Yeah man, every band out of Australia is sick!’ and without any bias, I feel the same way about Australian bands. Maybe it’s something in our waters, not to discredit any other bands of course!

If you could take back only one thing from the UK, what would it be and why?

N: Take one thing back from the UK… Cheap cigarettes, cheap booze.. Just general cheap things! *laughs* I’d be a rich person in Australia if we were paying the amount you guys pay for food and CD’s and basically everything that keeps me alive.

The entire Make Them Suffer lineup is in a horror film. Who gets killed first, who survives and who is the killer?

N: I love this! I say this about be people daily.

T: I definitely would be a fighter and be there ’til the end, hopefully!

N: The first person to die would be the fill in.. *everyone laughs* ..No no, again the fill in, you know that random person who gets killed at like the beginning of every horror film? Yeah that would be the fill in. The first member to actually die would probably be me.

T: Why? You gotta karate kick that shit!

N: The survivor would probably be Jaya (bass player) or Tim. Sean is the guy who goes in all guns blazing like ‘YOU SONS OF BITCHES’ and then just get mauled by a pack of zombies. Is that everyone? I feel like I’ve included everyone.

What can we expect from Make Them Suffer in 2017?

T: New record.

N: Yeah a new record definitely.

T: And tonnes of touring as well.

N: Yeah, lots of tours booked in 2017 that we can’t announce yet but they are good tours and big tours. We’ve got a new record on the horizon and just have no expectations on what the new record will be like. You could probably try and gauge from a fans perspective where were going, but anyone in the band would agree like that what you’re anticipating is not what’s going to be anticipated.

Any final words to your fans?

T: Thank you for the support.

N: Thank you for the support and I hope you stay true to wherever we go sound wise, stick with it and understand what were all about.

T: For the record, we write everything ourselves. No label or anything is in control of what we produce. We’re doing what we want to play, absolutely.

N: Yes, that’s a common misperception with Rise Records. ‘Ether‘ was the first track that was released through them and that’s not how things operate these days anymore, the record label doesn’t get involved.

T: Yeah, we wrote that song for us.

Aphyxion – Aftermath

For fans of Soilwork and In Flames, Aphyxion bring their own brand of melodeath to the fore-front and thankfully it sounds beautifully catchy with the right level of inspirations from newer bands to ensure they stay relevant within the musical canvas of 2016.

The vocals of Michael Vahl go from the perfect level of sombreness to the right level of screams. This can truly influence what he’s singing about as in the track Prisoner Of War he gives the sombreness of a battlefield through his more emotive style of singing. In a track like A Part Of The Solution he sings in a more croaky style that isn’t actually screaming, doing a tactic that can be compared to the greatness of a vocalist like Randy Blythe (especially with the joint effort of backing vocalist Bertil Rytter). On a track like Same Kind Of Different where the track feels more like a metalcore track he brings out the sound of a singer such as Winston McCall. This is a fascinating display of how only subtle differences can change the sound massively.

The use of electronics within the track work amazingly well and gives the last track, The Nature Of Mankind, a haunting ending and allows the album to have a huge crescendo. This is a group which thinks about their connections to the fans and something along the lines of this feels great to listen to. The use of two guitarists also feels great as they play off each other perfectly throughout the context of this piece. Both Jonas Haagensen and Bertil Rytter feels great within this release and layer their instruments on top of each other perfectly. This works best on second track where the two layer to give a solo and a more melodic nature to this otherwise quite extreme band. Given that this album feels like it’s an extreme metal album that wants to invite uninitiated fans into the genre, this is a tactic that works extremely well.

Bassist Jais Jessen has his moments to shine especially on the thumping moments of a track such as Born To Stand Strong. This song cuts through the speakers and thankfully for fans of Melodeath, this is an element that will keep fans invested. The drums work much in the same way and the power that Jakob Jensen puts into a track like Dark Stains On Ivory allows the band to keep the integral intensity that has existed within Melodic Death Metal.

This is the perfect briding album for fans of Metalcore to get into Melodeath or even Death Metal at points. Without being too alienating this is an album which has little weak points (only real exception is Can’t Be Beat which feels too standard for an album of this creativity) and many elements that will keep fans coming back for more. This is a great introduction for what the genre means and for a band only on their second album to be referred to in such a way, only stands great stead for their career. With catchy songs and a perfect sense of melody expect this group to be hitting festivals like Download in the not too distant future.