29 September, 2015

Interview with The Seas 2015

NINa: Does having 2 full-length albums released so far (A Separation, 2011 & Give Up The Ghost, 2015) make you feel self-confident about your band and the reception these albums have enjoyed, or do you still feel that you need to 'prove' yourself musically and grab more attention of the music industry? What response to your songs do you desire the most?

Michael Sliter: We are really proud of our two albums. I think there is a confidence that comes from all the hard work that goes into writing and recording the songs. There’s something cathartic about the whole process. Releasing those albums have probably taken away some of the pressure to prove ourselves to others, but we are perfectionists - so I think it’s more about proving to ourselves that have more to contribute that what we’ve already accomplished. Ultimately, I just want people to hear our music and feel a deeper connection to it.

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Interview by Fabryka Music Magazine

The Seas - Give Up The Ghost

The Seas - Give Up The Ghost |self-released, 2015| 5/5 electronic/rock/metal

1. Battlecry, 2. Across the Earth, 3. Broken Bones, 4. The Hunter, 5. Premonition, 6. Mistakes, 7. Heterochromia, 8. Give up the Ghost, 9. All Our Weight, 10. Staring at the Sun, 11. Into the Fray, 12. Down, 13. Sharona

It's been 4 years now since The Seas released their debut album, A Separation. The musicians of this American electronic-rock quartet have a special creative bond that has naturally grown throughout those years. This has resulted in putting out another well-thought, arranged and composed album, Give Up The Ghost, offering 13 brand new songs. The music on the new release is mostly guitar driven, but all compositions offer a variety of flavors and contrasts - either tense or uplifting, and always touching.

"Battlecry" opens the album with soft guitars, switching later to a heavier tune. The high-pitched vocals (by Michael Sliter) along with the guitar (by Logan Powell) occupy the foreground, while the bass (by Jeremy Williams) and drums (by Richard Sester) provide a matching fill in the background. The tempo is rather slow and the general feel is that of despair. A prolonged scream and low tuned guitars lead listeners to the song's end.

Give Up The Ghost was thought as a concept album and thus, every song is linked with its immediate neighbors - not technically, but rather based on moods and tempo. Therefore, "Across The Earth" begins with a heavier vibe which, judging by repetitive bass lines and slow drum beats joined by emotional male vocals, is reminiscent of Tool's music. Michael controls his voice very well - his tone and range make The Seas' songs sound very characteristic. On top of that, "Across The Earth" is a memorable, very well written composition with each arrangement in the right spot, but not sacrificing the melody’s freedom.

"Broken Bones" sounds straight up goth from the very beginning thanks to a melancholic guitar tune which once goes low and deep, then reaches up for higher, melodic tones. There are also screams of panicked people, so listeners may imagine some incoming horror. Nevertheless, the entire song sounds more like an intro to a potent sequel rather than an already completed composition. The tension is growing towards the end but never reaches the anticipated apex.

The first notes of "The Hunter" jump in with a refreshing vibe, making it an instantly memorable melody. There are samplers (by Richard Sester) in use as well, which give the arrangements an electronic feel. However, the combination of vocals, guitar, and bass keeps the organic priority here. There's even an interesting synth addition which a receptive ear may associate with Delia Derbyshire's Dr Who main theme. Such placement makes it a neat contrast with the low tuned bass and high-pitched guitar riffs so the execution of this nifty idea can be considered successful. The track's mood is nostalgic and heart-opening to the point that it might make a few more emotional listeners shed a tear or two.

"Premonition" opens with weird, quite disturbing sound effects that may be an attempt at imitating the resonance of telepathic communication or even an alien's messages. This short instrumental track brings a murky and mysterious atmosphere, that could easily be utilized in a thriller movie.

You will love "Mistakes" for its well written, heavy composition, amazing arrangements and professional performance. The song's intro doesn't reveal what's to come but once it develops further, you'll know there's so much to discover with every new bar.

The transition gap between "Mistakes" and "Heterochromia" is virtually inaudible. The latter is both heavy and melancholic. It seems to be written for Michael mostly, letting him present the best of his voice. His vocals are supported by subtle arrangements written for all instruments and combined with samplers. There's also a melodic guitar solo which artfully emphasizes the emotion of the voice track.

If you loved "Mistakes", you will get definitely hooked on the album’s title song as the well. The composition is rich with arrangements, including both organic and electronic sounds. There's nostalgia, mystery and tension. The melodies will carry listeners far away, anchoring their attention with a single bass line. "Give Up The Ghost" crowns the tracklist on the strength of its amazing song writing and skillful performance.

While most of so far songs sounded guitar-oriented, "All Our Weight" brings an electronic addition just in the very beginning. A repetitive, clapped beat, characteristic of pop and hip hop appears next to more elusive guitar tunes, definitely capturing listener attention. It is later replaced by drums which along with affectionate vocals continue the main motif to the end of the song.
And again, the end of the track is swiftly linked to the beginning of "Staring at the Sun". This composition is a return to the sound heard at the opening of the album - the low tuned bass and high-pitched guitars creating memorable melodies. Gazing at the Sun is generally not recommended due to the obvious danger of having your retinas damaged, but listening to this potent song (especially with eyes closed) should please you immensely.

"Into The Fray" is yet another short interval between compositions, akin to "Broken Bones" and "Premonition". Its piano-based instrumental arrangements make it a good fit for a thriller movie, while scary breathing makes eerie food for imagination.

The first tunes of the lyrical yet heavy "Down" should make your heart beat faster through a slightly increased tempo, like in "The Hunter". The vocals are high and charged at times, later giving instrumental arrangements enough space to grow. If you listen closely, you'll notice both magic and technology present in the song. The drum beats are irregular but matched within the composition very well. The bass lines sound solid and the guitar doesn't jump before vocals. Yet another song to enjoy Michael's voice.

It's time for a cover now. The original, rock'n'roll version of "Sharona" was released by The Knack in 1979. The evergreen hit song has been covered by several other artists throughout the last three decades. The Seas had taken their shot at it as well. The tune’s atmosphere feels slow and weary at first, quite surprisingly if you consider the original source. One could tell The Seas have been inspired by Nine Inch Nails' newer songs and Reznor's method of singing, specifically when Michael sings "never gonna stop, give it up". The arrangements gradually open up and grow to the point of expressing peril, supported by very heavy, pleasantly entwined and graded guitar riffs. The cover's finishing guitar sound imitates a motorbike’s engine, in accordance with the lyrics.
It definitely has the heaviest guitars on the album and certainly speaks for the band's creative potential. If the next album is going to be this massive, it should be greeted with applause.

Sensitive listeners may identify with all the difficult theme present throughout the album - spiritual development towards original purity, strength, and balance within. Songs on Give Up The Ghost speak of accepting change as a means of progress, defying fear and negativity, separating the truth from the lies, stereotypes and imposed dogmas, then finding one's place and fulfillment in the Universe. In addition, the diversity deeply entrenched within The Seas' work make their songs feel as if they were much shorter than they actually are. Four or six minutes pass by so quickly that listeners, captivated by the sound, may take a while to realize that another song is already on. If you've enjoyed the band’s first album (A Separation) or if you love Tool and similar bands but are looking for something fresher, make sure you buy Give Up The Ghost and support the band.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, September 29th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

Interview with The Seas

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

10 September, 2015

Cerakai - I Feel

Cerakai - I Feel (song review) |self-released, 2015| 4/5 rock/punk

If you're looking for an extremely memorable track here's one which is pretty short and has massive hit potential. "I Feel" talks about the importance of understanding the world around you with your heart and soul, not just with cold logic, as expressed in the lyrics: "We believe only what our eyes can see / We don't believe how to feel no more". The downside of an industrialized society is that when someone turns out to be sensitive and uses their feelings rather than the brain or acquired skills, the less empathetic but ego-driven people unfairly judge such an individual as 'weak'. Though, said empaths are a step further - feelings help humans connect with nature, since they come from it, and this link had never ceased to exist. When we go to a forest, we first feel its energy, then our brains recognize colors and sounds, yet all these are frequencies. The living Earth feels our actions, not just physically, but on an energetic level too, thus we must care for this meaningful relationship.

UK based Cerakai's "I Feel" addresses this subject through feisty, dynamic arrangements and an emotional performance. The track opener already gives listeners a taste of the chorus. The rebellious rocking mood turns subtle when the first fire is put out. Technically, the shift between verse and chorus is extremely well synchronized. The verse arrangement is reminiscent of 80s Punk, and New Wave judging by the melodic guitars and recognizable, slightly melancholic vocals.
Cerakai knows well how to serve tension by changing the tempo. Here, it also includes a mix of vocals and a random drum beat, both of which intensify during intersections between verses and the chorus. The voice then turns into a temperamental scream while the instrumental arrangements continue, joined by bass and guitar.

With such a track, Cerakai may reach out to Greenpeace or any other legal ecological organization about its placement on a various artists compilation album (in case they have another musical project to be announced). Undoubtedly, "I Feel" will be a perfect match, with its intense, rebellious vibe and the main theme referring to humanity's increasing ignorance towards its natural environment. It's enough to mention that the pushy industrial society hasn't yet developed any affordable and successful ways to let the entire population escape Earth in case of a global, man-made catastrophe. Hopefully, "I Feel" will raise the awareness of its subject matter among music fans.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 31st, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

12 August, 2015

New Breed Invasion - Eternity

New Breed Invasion - Eternity (song review) |self-released, New Breed Invasion, 2015| 4/5 industrial metal

New Breed Invasion is the new musical project of Daniel, the founder of Sekten7 and Tribeleader. Akin to Sekten7's music, the new track brings a rough, rhythmic, and industrialized vibe filled with chunky, vibrating guitar riffs and predatory vocals.
The atmosphere is dense and heavy but listeners will find the track quite easy to get hooked on thanks to well put together repetitions. Drums and guitars are put to the forefront, while the hellish voice remains a bit subdued throughout the entire track. Lyrics are rather spoken in a possessive way than sung. A simple looped yet melodic arrangement makes the guitar riffs sound mighty. Since the song is so down-tuned, any graded arrangements or sounds coming above the low scale make a big difference and engage the listeners better. This happens with the chorus, where the riff is higher and spread broader - also joined by vocals reminiscent of both 1980s Goth/Cold Wave and 90s Industrial Metal times. Fortunately, the track is not kept in any "trendy" style and therefore should age gracefully. Moreover, the guitars resonate with a slightly djent-esque distortion giving them a modern vibe.

Parts of the track are very memorable, but listeners will probably find this out only after a few additional plays. That's a good thing, since the song may not become boring after being looped on repeat.
The arrangements aren't complex, so they won't engage the logical part of your brain, but the dynamics will definitely make your heart beat stronger. The rhythm is so concrete and visual that sometimes you can easily imagine an audio graph with the dotted waves joyfully jumping along the scale.

Daniel as a sole member of the band wrote the track, played all the instruments, and then mixed and mastered it. Personally speaking, the drums could still have been cleaned a bit more, since the guitars and vocals have some depth or 'echo' effect but the drums sound too dry - specifically the cymbals sink into the composition without much of a footprint.

"Eternity" could be illustrated with a thought-provoking music video with rapidly moving, distorted images in low quality, where nothing is polished - similar to the visuals behind 90's Schnitt Acht. There could also be an additional background story like those found in The Fields of The Nephilim videos.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 11th, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

02 August, 2015

Beer Killer - What Else

Beer Killer - What Else (song review) |Dogozilla S.R.L.S, Start Living Or Die Today, 2015| 4/5 hardcore/punk

Beer Killer is an Italian hardcore-punk quintet. The musicians’ influences and sonic experiences vary from metal, hardcore and punk through funky and electronic-dance to classical and jazz genres. The line up includes Fulvio (guitar), Miki (bass), Manuel (drums), Panga (guitar), and Viktor (vocals). Their musical careers began at the end of the 80s, except for Panga who started playing guitar in 1997. They performed several live shows and their tracks were played on various local radio stations. In addition, Miki - a former DJ - collaborated briefly with the once famous indie electronic act Apollo 440.

"What Else" begins with a short electronic arrangement which could illustrate such lofty themes as the Universe and its galaxies, space travel, spirituality, and more in that vein, thanks to its vibration. It then turns into an in-your-face hardcore song, clocking in at less than 3 minutes. The arrangements are fueled with edgy guitars, rebellious vocals and a fast-paced rhythm that emanates rough masculine energy all over.
The two guitars collaborate nicely with the bass in both verses and choruses. The riffs are simple, yet graded to increase the sonic tension when necessary. The intensity and dynamics run high through the entire track and hit listeners like a tornado mixed with a twister. It should be noted that Beer Killer has a very skilled and convincing drummer - Manuel plays like a well-oiled machine on this track! In addition, the drum beat is very exposed, perhaps even stealing the show from other instruments. The vocals are aggressive and coarse, and would definitely sound homely in any hardcore song.

"What Else" is a potential hit to the point that you can definitely see yourself rooting for the band to perform it live. The production sounds a bit dirty however - maybe this is what real hardcore fans like - allowing for a virtual trip to a venue rather than enjoying the track on a home stereo alone. Moreover, the song's arrangements bring back the original feel of old-school American and UK hardcore-crossover sound represented by the likes of Agnostic Front, Disorder or Broken Bones - the bands that inspired Beer Killer to form their own group. If you're in love with Ministry on the other hand, the speedy riffs here will keep you pleased as well.

Beer Killer's forthcoming album Start Living Or Die Today will be out in September 2015, available on iTunes, Amazon and other digital distribution channels. Interesting trivia: the band received the permission of the Madrid Pardo Museum to use a famous painting by Hieronymus Bosch as its cover.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 1st, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

Cerakai - Against It

Cerakai - Against It (song review) |self-released, Cerakai, 2015| 4/5 Punk/British Rock

Cerakai is a UK based producer and musician with over 10 years of experience in the field. He's been measuring his song writing and compositional skills against various music genres to find the best match for further musical development. Now he presents a brand new punk-rock track, making a solid departure from his previous hip-hop and electronic compositions released on the Within Your Realm solo EP.

"Against It" blooms from the very beginning with open dynamics provided by accented drums and high-pitched guitars, followed then by the bass and straightforward, shouted vocals. The mood and performance are as spontaneous as the punk attitude requires. The vocals have a taste of a 'young & rebellious' yet sound 'metallic', probably thanks to a mic filter. The arrangements are melodic but also include a mix of metal and hardcore sounds. The graded, vibrating guitar riffs and filling drum beats found in the third part of the composition make for a neat change from the simplistic punk rock songs which you may have heard before. The rhythm changes help the composition remain interesting by shifting the listeners' attention.

The song writing as well as the rhythmic, smart and well rhymed lyrics sound great. Consider this: "I was born in the ocean and dragged from the sea, I got goldfish lungs and I can't breathe (…) There's a bunch of vultures cycling me, I gotta find my way back to the sea". As you may suspect, the theme of "Against It" calls out for resisting things you are forced to do against your needs or will and the overall world-wide bigotry supported by the lack of human empathy. The song is quite memorable and could easily engage the audience to sing along with the band's leader when performed live. It may happen soon, as Cerakai is planning a national UK tour to promote the album.

On a final note, a few things you should know. Firstly, the reviewed track is a slightly different version to the final one appearing on the upcoming album, which you'll be able to buy from on-line music distributors in the last quarter of 2015. Secondly, Cerakai doesn't have a solid line-up yet as they've just formed mid-2015 - various guest musicians were invited for the album’s recording while Ben, the group's founder, sings and plays the guitar on each of the twelve songs. Finally, the mastering and production sound as if done a bit intuitively in this version, so an overall cleanup may be needed before the final release, since the current mixdown gives the impression of a live event rather than a studio version. Undoubtedly, the song's quality will be improved for the final release.

Overall, if you like bands that perform for the joy of playing and bringing pure British Rock energy at the speed of 145bpm, then Cerakai's sounds may be ideal for you.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, August 1st, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine

23 June, 2015

Cerakai - Only You Know

Cerakai - Only You Know (song review) |Gracie Productions, Within Your Realm EP, 2015| 4/5 electronic lounge

Cerakai is a UK based producer and musician with over 10 years of musical experience. Despite playing in a UK band before, he traveled to Sydney, Australia, where he launched a solo project. This probably lets him get more control over writing and managing own content for further development.

Fans of mellow lounge music will definitely enjoy this well balanced song at its “just about right” length. "Only You Know" includes arrangements written for several instruments. The graded, organic bass lines sound moody and velvety. The synth is high-pitched, cold and at times resonating. The occasional guitar riff vibrates nicely and pins into the arrangement like a needle. The beats are quick and dry. On top of all this, there are also delicate male vocals reciting the lyrics. The voice is matched well to the subtle yet groovy atmosphere.

The composition is simple and based on sweet repeating arrangements. Nevertheless, it sounds 'multidimensional' thanks to the vibration of each sound - the bass brings a lot of warmth, countered by the coldness of the synth. Both always oscillate, catching your attention in their opposing ways. Therefore, the human brain's hemispheres seem to be equally involved in processing these sounds - their math (through the timing of repetitions) and harmony (overall mood) together.
However, the track undoubtedly needs a matching intro and outro, that would help emphasize the body of the content better and 'zap' it into a shapely form. Without these, the song has no frame and opens with the same synth-bass arrangements which continuously repeat to the very end.

Finally, what makes the most for an electronic song’s potential is its audible charm and power, but also repetitions that get you hooked. In case of "Only You Know", we can't talk of any overwhelming sonic impact, but the pleasing repetitions are definitely here. Despite the song's gentle vibe (definitely not meant for headbanging), it has a chance to catch on with the right crowd, thanks to memorable fragments in which a sampled female voice repeats "you know". So, a short part of this track could potentially be successfully used as an advertisement jingle.

Cerakai provides music for movies and TV shows as well. Within Your Realm EP which was released in May 2015 is also available in US. It has aired on BBC Radio as well.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, June 22nd, 2015. Proofreading: Mike 'Vesper' Dziewoński)

Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine