CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC Invades DOOM OVER VIENNA Festival

When it launched in 2006, Doom Over Vienna was a small festival that featured five bands in one evening — hardly the staggering multi-day adventures Europe typically offers metalheads. But, like any festival worth its salt, it continued to grow to the point where organizers had to tack on a second day in 2012, cementing it as the European autumn doom destination. For the 13th installment, set to take place November 9-10 at Viper Room Vienna, Doom Over Vienna will have a decidedly distinct flair when three of Cruz Del Sur Music’s best doom bands, APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE, HANDS OF ORLAC and KING HEAVY, partake in the festivities.

Festival organizer Jürgen Dickstein says the decision-making process for Doom Over Vienna is a difficult one since he’s often flooded with requests from bands to play the festival. “For our festival, I’m always in search for something special, something that has its unique sides and edges and something that touches me in one way or the other, whether it be from songwriting, sound or taking a special approach to music. Also, a rather important point is that I mainly choose bands that did not or very seldom play in Vienna or Austria, so we always had a lot of bands who played at our festival the first time outside their country, first time in Austria/Vienna or over here for the first time since quite a while. So, it’s always a longer process of finding a lineup completed by bands that I want to play, also considering the circumstances of a very low festival budget, which makes it hard to book all the bands you want to have here.”

Jürgen was familiar with all three Cruz Del Sur bands prior to booking them for Doom Over Vienna. APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE are already festival veterans, having played the 2016 installment. He caught HANDS OF ORLAC at Dublin Doom Days and Doom Over Scania and has seen KING HEAVY at Malta Doom and Escape Metalcorner, making it an easy choice to bring all three over for 2018. “I’ve known the label for a long time as Cruz Del Sur always has fantastic bands in its stable,” says Jürgen. “So, I have quite some records of this label at home! I’m very happy it’s three of them playing this year as well. Additionally, it’s an honor [Cruz Del Sur owner] Enrico will be at the festival this year — I’m looking forward to meeting him in Vienna.”

Doom Over Vienna 2016 marked APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE’s first-ever appearance on European soil. Since then, they’ve released their new LP, “From Gold To Ash”, which was hailed by Angry Metal Guy as “an album full of riffs, melancholy and a complete lack of pretension.” Drummer Corey Webb says festival-goers should expect a raw and unfiltered version of APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE, who, heading into 2019, will head back into the rehearsal room to work on new songs in addition to more festival dates.

“I think having a bit of familiarity with the club and the arrangements will be beneficial, actually,” he says. “There are so many other great bands that we are also looking forward to seeing and this year, we will have a bit more time to see the city, which will be great. The setlist is shaping up to include a good amount of material from the new album, but there are also a couple of surprises from the early days, including a song that we have only performed live a handful of times in this band’s existence. Anyone who has spent a bit of time with the new album knows that it is heavy in an emotional way as well as sonically, which translates very well in a live setting.  Expect to be doomed!”

HANDS OF ORLAC are still supporting their well-received 2017 split with THE WANDERING MIDGET and have since added a fifth member to their lineup. The band was originally asked to play Doom Over Vienna a few years ago, but were unable to do so due to their relocation to Sweden. However, bassist The Templar says the band are eagerly awaiting their appearance, after which, they’ll resume work on their third full-length album.

“We’ve waited impatiently until we got invited again,” he notes. “It’s going to be great to see so many good bands, old friends and be at one of the top doom metal festivals in the world. Since we’re now playing as a five-piece, we’ll play some new material. It’s a different sounding band compared to the recent and far past times. But according to our three leading rules, the show is going to be horror-filled, heavy and mind-affecting as it is supposed to be.”

 

With their new “Guardian Demons” album still fresh in the minds of the doom scene, KING HEAVY is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Chilean bands who have played Doom Over Vienna like POEMA ARCANUS. Bassist Daniel Pérez Saa says KING HEAVY has prepared a special set for the festival, with heavy emphasis on “Guardian Demons” as well as their previous studio offerings. Heading into 2019, Saa says KING HEAVY has already started thinking about a new album, but will continue to spread their word of doom across Europe.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the festival,” he says. “We’re eager to share the stage with bands close to us like IRON VOID, who we toured with in 2015. We’re also excited to play alongside APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE and MIRROR OF DECEPTION, among others. We are a band that is very concerned about our performance onstage. Our sound has grown to devastating levels of late, something we noticed during our recent dates in Chile. Without a doubt we are a band that excels in the live setting and I think that shows in our attitude and sound.”

WHILE HEAVEN WEPT’s ‘Vast Oceans Lachrymose’ Lineup To Embark On ‘Farewell’ European Dates

In early 2015, WHILE HEAVEN WEPT mainman Tom Phillips had to regrettably pull the plug on the band’s European tour in support of their latest studio album, “Suspended At Aphelion”. The decision led to Phillips’ unexpected retirement from the metal scene, effectively putting the revered doomsters on ice. However, Phillips and his bandmates have long sought to make amends to the European crowds who have so strongly backed WHILE HEAVEN WEPT over the years. Now, as 2018 draws to a close, the most recent incarnation of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT that started with 2009’s classic “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” will play its final shows together on a run of European dates that begins November 16 at Germany’s Hammer Of Doom festival.

“I agreed to do these shows to give everyone else — the band members, our fans, even myself some closure, especially since the last tour was cancelled,” says Phillips. “The other aspect is the circumstances and priorities of the musicians involved are simply not aligned with what an actively touring band requires anymore.”

The “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” lineup — rounded out by bassist Jim Hunter, vocalist Rain Irving, second guitarist Scott Loose, keyboardist/harmony vocalist Michelle Schrotz and drummer Trevor Schrotz — have been holed up in a Virginia rehearsal room putting together a setlist that is not only representative of the latest era of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, but the band’s storied past as well. According to Phillips, some of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT’s most memorable shows have taken place on European shores, including their 2010 appearance at Hammer Of Doom alongside Irish metallers PRIMORDIAL, which was not only Irving’s third show with the band, but also where the “Triumph: Tragedy: Transcendence” DVD/live album was recorded.

“We’ve always had a great time sharing the stage with PRIMORDIAL,” he says. “I think we’ve played with them more than anyone else in our history — and that’s always been such a great insight into the scope of melancholia and epos. Of course, we’ve also had the great honor of playing with heroes, family and upcoming bands who have gone on to become some of the biggest names out there like ALCEST and GHOST. Most of all though, it’s connecting directly with the people who really care about what we do and again, that’s what these upcoming shows are really about.”

The shows will offer another treat for fans — a limited-edition shirt commemorating the 30th anniversary of the band. “It’s an exclusive design by Gustavo Sazes, who has done the covers for our last couple of albums,” says Phillips. “There’s quite a few layers to the design and it definitely correlates to ‘Fear Of Infinity’ and ‘Suspended At Aphelion’. Personally, I think it turned out amazing and while it does represent our 30th anniversary, for now, it will be available exclusively at the concerts.” `

While these European dates signal the end for the “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” era of WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, it does not mean the end for the band. Phillips says there is an entire album of unfinished material that sits between “Fear Of Infinity” and “Suspended At Aphelion” in which he may look to finalize at some point.

“In the end, I’d started on a solo project prior to being involved with the WALPYRGUS album [2017’s ‘Walpyrgus Nights’], but with the WHILE HEAVEN WEPT shows coming up, I haven’t even looked at that again. But for WHILE HEAVEN WEPT, as long as I’m breathing, WHILE HEAVEN WEPT exists, even if the lineup changes for the nth time or we are strictly DIY on a small, independent scale. Only time will tell. For now, it’s time to commemorate a milestone and the end of an era!”

 

WHILE HEAVEN WEPT 2018 European tour dates:

November 16 – Hammer Of Doom, Würzburg, Germany
November 18 – Temple, Athens, Greece
November 24/25 – Dutch Doom Days, Baroeg, Rotterdam, Netherlands
December 7 – Under The Doom VI, LAV Lisboa ao Vivo, Lisbon, Portugal
December 8 – Madrid Is The Dark, Madrid, Spain

THE SMOKELESS FIRES

German metallers LUNAR SHADOW will enter Glooven Studios in Leipzig to begin work on their sophomore album, “The Smokeless Fires”, which will see the light of day in early 2019 via Cruz Del Sur Music.

 

The follow-up to 2017’s “Far From Light” will mark the first LUNAR SHADOW album to feature new singer Robert Roettig, who replaces Alex Vornam. After a couple of live appearances with DESASTER, SPELL, TOKYO BLADE and VISIGOTH and a much-needed break away from the guitar, lead guitarist Max ‘Savage’ Birbaum started assembling new songs, which, as he explains, will take LUNAR SHADOW in a new, but also familiar direction.

Robert sounds different — his vocals are a bit more high-pitched than before, yet he still has this obscure-Valusian touch to it,” says Birbaum. “I’d say that the album sounds a lot like LUNAR SHADOW, yet with some new elements. I guess you could say that there are more black metal-influences this time, more DISSECTION riffs and even some blast-beats, but still held together by twin guitar leads. Yet, as always, I just do what I want to do, so there will also be a piano ballad plus a song with New Wave-influences. The album sounds like if WISHBONE ASH played ‘Far Away From the Sun’ by SACRAMENTUM back in 1976 while having sex with a dryad.”

 

Whereas “Far From Light” tackled lyrical topics about death, “The Smokeless Fires” will be about another crucial element of the human spectrum: passion. “‘The Smokeless Fires’ are our passions, the things that drive us on, keep us going, prevent us from death, things that break us down, shatter us, make us vanish,” notes Birbaum. “[New song] ‘Laurelindórenan’ is inspired by the writings of Tolkien, ‘Red Nails (For The Pillar Of Death)’ and ‘Conajohara No More’ are based upon stories by Robert E. Howard. The lyrical themes haven’t changed that much, I still write about life, death, lost love, depression, ancient cities, broken swords and ghastly spells.”

 

The album’s artwork was created by Portland, Oregon-based artist Adam Burke, who previously handled the band’s 2015 “Triumphator” EP. Depicting a storm of fire lingering around two lovers, the album cover, like most of Burke’s work, is visually-appealing and fits the album’s themes perfectly. “The combination of two, forming something strange and beautiful,” says Birbaum. “Love is maybe one of our strongest passions. We long for it, we lose it, we starve ourselves to get it, we throw it away, when we weary. Love is important. And a good reason to die for.”

 

“The Smokeless Fires” track listing:

1. Catch Fire
2. Conajohara No More
3. Roses
4. Pretend
5. Laurelindórenan
6. Red Nails (For The Pillar Of Death)
7. Hawk Of The Hills