“After ‘Darkness’, which is on ‘War Tears’, we thought it would be a good idea to repeat the experience with another song in our native language,” says DARK QUARTERER vocalist Gianni Nepi. “The very first version of the song was in Italian; I wrote it for a student who eventually became one of the best sound engineers in Italy, Cristiano Grassini. The lyrics, arrangement and atmosphere of the song make it special to us.”
DARK QUARTERER released “Pompei” in 2020, marking their first album with Cruz Del Sur Music. The LP was recorded in January and February 2020 at the band’s own W.R.S. Studios in Piombino, Italy. Vocals and keyboards were tracked in May 2020 by sound engineer Andrea Ramacciotti, with mastering handled by Alex Marton of Firstinlinestudio in Follonica.
Metal Temple hailed “Pompei” as being “elegant, heavy and creative.” Metal Kaoz scored the album a 9/10 and noted it was a “truly interesting piece of music,” while Dead Rhetoric said, “DARK QUARTERER churn out material that is epic, progressive, touching and well worth the time to investigate as the aural odyssey takes you into realms rarely heard in today’s landscape.”
Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to announce the signing of cult U.S. power metallers ONWARD! The label will release their studio album “Of Epoch And Inferno” sometime in 2022.
Formed in 2000 by guitar hero Toby Knapp, ONWARD broke onto the international metal stage with 2001’s “Evermoving” and 2002’s “Reawaken”, both of which were released via Century Media Records. The albums showcased Knapp’s superlative guitar skills that blended neoclassical and melodic sensibility, as well as original vocalist Michael Grant’s smooth delivery.
Grant sadly passed away in 2012, leaving Knapp to issue his final recordings on 2014’s “New Fathoms Dawn”. The band went dormant after its release. But, after several false starts in reviving ONWARD, Knapp says the 2020 death of bassist Chris Payette spurred him to start new writing music as a coping mechanism. Now joined by new vocalist Robert Van War and drummer Bart Barkac, Knapp feels as though he has a batch of songs that pay appropriate tribute to Grant and Payette while staying true to ONWARD’s sound.
“The consensus among most fans seems to be that if I create quality traditional heavy metal under the ONWARD banner, it’s still a legitimate ONWARD,” he says. “The new songs are in the vein of traditional heavy metal with doses of speed metal, thrash and neoclassical-inspired guitar work. Robert has an Udo [Dirkschneider, ex-ACCEPT] and Bobby “Blitz” [Ellsworth, OVERKILL] vibe to his vocals and I’m really excited about it. The music hasn’t changed; I’m still using the same guitars and refusing to tune down! I hear a bit of early LOUDNESS and ANNIHILATOR going on…maybe even some nods toward METALLICA’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’.”
Van War came to Knapp’s attention through social media. Knapp regularly posted the progress of his new compositions and expressed frustration in finding a suitable vocalist. Van War got in touch then offered to provide guest vocals on a new song, but Knapp went one further and offered him the ONWARD gig.
“I floated the idea to him of working under the ONWARD name and joining me for live shows,” says Knapp. “Now things are coming together. ONWARD always flowed naturally. Doors are opening and it feels kinda like the early days. I just go with it. I am also in the process of selecting a setlist and live band situation. We have to get out there and play. ONWARD was more popular a few years after disbanding and I would really enjoy performing some of the early tunes for those that never saw us live. It’s a new ONWARD, but the spirit is very much there and we will respect our lineage.”
Knapp says he sought out Cruz Del Sur Music to do a vinyl pressing of the album. When the label heard some of Knapp’s camera phone-recorded samples, the discussions went to the next level and a deal was struck.
“That’s more of the way things happened in ONWARD back in the day,” says Knapp. “Things just clicked. Even the original album cover artist, Ioannis, got in touch with me about the new album. The engineer/co-producer of ‘Reawaken’, Brett Hansen, contacted me, too! I just think ‘Man, this is cool!’ Everyone is coming together for the cause.”
Cruz Del Sur Music is proud to announce the signing of American metal legends ATTACKER! The label will release the band’s next studio album sometime in 2022.
Originally formed in 1983, ATTACKER burst onto the scene with their 1985 debut, “Battle At Helm’s Deep”, an LP many consider to be one of the first pure American power metal albums. The band released “The Second Coming” in 1988 before splitting the next year. ATTACKER returned in 2001 and has since released four additional studio albums and one EP, the latest being 2018’s “Armor Of The Gods” EP.
ATTACKER made contact with Cruz Del Sur Music through a mutual friend of the band and the label. “We corresponded for a few months and struck a deal for the next ATTACKER album,” says drummer and founding member Mike Sabatini. “We are looking forward to this new partnership!”
In related news, vocalist Bobby Lucas has since rejoined ATTACKER. According to Sabatini, a conversation about the recent “Godzilla Vs. Kong” movie got the two men talking about working together again, and, more importantly, what a strong unit they are. Vocalist Ski, who appeared on the recent “Spiritual Warfare” single, had recently informed the band that he did not have the time needed to fully commit to ATTACKER.
“With all the stuff the world has gone through the last year and still going through, we all grew in our understanding of what’s important and what’s not important,” says Sabatini. “It’s definitely a nice feeling. Bobby truly is the best voice for this band. Add to that how excited we all are for new beginnings working with Cruz Del Sur and it makes life that much sweeter. The band and I are very much looking forward to continuing work on the new album material for a 2022 release”
ATTACKER plans on concluding the writing process for their next studio album by the end of the summer. The band will then enter Bandmother Recording in Jersey City, New Jersey, with Sabatini handling engineering duties. “The new material will have more diversity,” he says. “Brian Smith [bass] and Jon Hasselbrink [guitar] have contributed music for the very first time. Mike Benetatos [guitar] had written most of the last few albums so the injection of different ideas will add some new flavor to our sound. Mike is a little more of a technical writer whereas Brian and Jon’s material adds a little more old-school classic feel which is where we all came from musically. I think fans of the band will be pleased.”
Active for nearly four decades, ATTACKER has long been a staple of the American power metal scene. They also remain a highly-respected cult act in Europe, something that continues to drive them to this day.
“We were fortunate to have come up when the metal explosion was happening and be part of this great thing that occurred and is still occurring,” says Sabatini. “Heavy metal and hard rock is the music that speaks to me and resonates within me. Listening to the classic metal bands that got me on my path still sends chills up my spine — those types of feelings and love for this music are what keeps me and the band going. Music is in our blood, hearts and souls.
“Another big aspect is the great people we have met since reforming. We honestly had no idea what the bands’ early works meant until going to Europe and hearing from the fans. It was very humbling as we never imagined the impact ATTACKER and other underground ‘80s bands had. I should totally understand it since so many underground bands were part of my introduction to metal back in the early days. We don’t do it for a living — we’re more like weekend warriors. But hey, some people play golf, we’ll play metal until we physically cannot!”