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Pure Metal

March 2008 Reviews & Interviews

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Psycroptic - death metal from Down Under

Almost ten years on, Australian death metallers Psycroptic are showing no signs of slowing down. Forming in Hobart in 1999, Psycroptic featuring Joe Haley (Guitars), Cameron Grant (Bass), Matthew Chalk (Vocals), and David Haley (Drums), spent the first few months together writing their own ravishing brand of death metal material which would later end up on the bands debut album ‘The Isle of Disenchantment’ which was released in the summer of 2001.

Since those days the band has gone on to tour throughout Australia and New Zealand and have joined legendary heavy metal bands for sell-out tours across Europe. The bands latest album ‘Symbols of Failure’ released in 2006 put Psycroptic on the metal world map. The band received praise from death metal fans from beyond and critics raved about the musicianship, song writing, and production on what is undoubtedly the bands best album to date!

Psycroptic drummer David Haley is one man with his hands full… full of metal! No one could ever question Dave’s commitment and dedication to Drumming and Australian heavy metal! Besides his kick ass work with Psycroptic Dave is also belting away for Australian metallers The Amenta, Ruins, and Blood Duster and he recently recorded drums for Dubai-based death metallers Nervecell’s brand new album ‘Preaching Venom’.

Psycroptic are gearing up to release there still ‘untitled’ new album and will be on the bill playing at this years Metalstock festival which will be held in Sydney on March 22 - 23. I recently caught up with Dave to discuss his work with Nervecell, the brand new Psycroptic album, offering drum lessons to fans, Metalstock and much more.

The time has come to begin our ‘Carnival of Vulgarity’ with Psycroptic drummer Dave Haley!


Cameron Edney: Hey Dave, Hows things goin mate?

Dave Haley: Good thanks...busy, but good.

Cameron Edney: Dude, firstly I want to thank you for taking the time out to chat today! I know you are super busy! Lets jump right into talking about the new Psycroptic album! Have you set a title yet?

Dave Haley: Not as yet, we have a couple in mind, but nothing set in stone yet. We'll leave it to the last minute i reckon.

Cameron Edney: Now I believe you will enter the studio in March to record the new album! What different factors surrounded writing the material for nine tracks which have been chosen for the new album?

Dave Haley: We wrote it a little differently, to get a different vibe. Joe handled most of the writing, including song structures...which usually I have a bigger part in. It has led to a different sound, which is cool.

Cameron Edney: How much involvement did you have in selecting the tunes which made the final cut on the new album?

Dave Haley: We include all the material we write. I never could understand the approach of writing twenty songs then picking the nine or ten best. Just write ten good songs to start with!

Cameron Edney: When you do enter the studio next month, will you approach recording this album in a different way to ‘Symbols of Failure’?

Dave Haley: Yeah, we have more time booked for actually getting good sounds before the tape is rolling. Im also using an amazing new Yamaha kit, which sounds great… so I’m pretty excited.

Cameron Edney: Have you settled on a producer yet, if so who?

Dave Haley: We will produce it, but we have a big name mixing and mastering it. That will be revealed in time.

Cameron Edney: What equipment will you be using this time, when you head into the studio?

Dave Haley: I’ll be using a Yamaha Absolute kit, Paiste cymbals, Axis pedals and Aquarian heads. I use Pro-mark sticks as well. Joe uses ESP guitars and Cam uses Musicman basses. Peppo uses whatever he is given.

Cameron Edney: Mate there is no doubt you are a super busy guy! Besides your work with Psycroptic you are also drumming for the Amenta and you are also working with Nervecell when do you find the time to sleep dude!

Dave Haley: [Laughs], I don’t watch much TV, that’s my secret. I just have to manage my time that’s all. I also play in Ruins and Blood Duster.

Cameron Edney: Tell us about your involvement with Nervecell, how did you end up doing the drum tracks for the new album ‘Preaching Venom’?

Dave Haley: Rami contacted me and asked me to play on the album. We worked a few details out and a couple of months later I was in the studio. It was quite a fun album to do, and took two days to get down.

Cameron Edney: Mate I want to speak to you about life on the road? Will you be heading out on tour with Nervecell or are you strictly limited to studio and session work with them?

Dave Haley: We haven’t talked about that at all. Im not at all opposed the idea, but it hasn’t come up. Psycroptic are going to be very busy this year, so it would have to work around that if it was to happen.

Cameron Edney: A few months back I seen you live with The Amenta and really enjoyed the set, and in the past I have always enjoyed your live work with Psycroptic. There is no doubt that you are an amazing drummer! Do you do anything specific to warm up and prepare for a show, besides a beer or ten [laughs]

Dave Haley: Thanks a lot. I try to warm up for about 40mins to an hour...just doing singles with my hands and feet, gradually getting faster. I try to stretch out a lot before playing too. I never drink before I play [laughs], I just cant do it!

Cameron Edney: Since the release of ‘Symbols of Failure’, Psycroptic have really taken not only Australia but the world by storm. You have had the pleasure of touring with so many amazing metal bands. Who have you enjoyed touring with the most?

Dave Haley: Each tour we have done has been great. The last European tour we did with Deicide was really cool, but they have all been awesome.

Cameron Edney: Can you share a funny story from that tour?

Dave Haley: There were too many funny ones. It was the gangsta tour...

Cameron Edney: The new Psycroptic album is set to be released and you will also take part in this year’s Metalstock festival! Will there be much new material thrown into the set?

Dave Haley: Haven’t even thought about the set just yet...but I would say we'll air one or two new ones.

Cameron Edney: How did you guys become involved with METALSTOCK?

Dave Haley: The Soundworks crew are good friends of mine, they asked us to play and we jumped at it. Simple as that.

Cameron Edney: You have played festivals around the world. Do you prefer on large festival bills to get your name out to more potential fans or would you rather play your own headlining shows?

Dave Haley: I prefer smaller shows to be honest. Massive festivals can be overwhelming. Metalstock will be the perfect size.

Cameron Edney: What has been the best show of your life so far?

Dave Haley: That’s a hard one. I know the show where I played my best show. It was a small club in Germany on the Deicide tour. As far as the best one in general, I don’t really know about that.

Cameron Edney: Have you ever had any problems with customs?

Dave Haley: Going into the UK is always a prick. There customs are shit...even if you have the right documentation you still get hassled.

Cameron Edney: Dave, when you look back over your career, what do you recall from your first ever-live performance?

Dave Haley: I was a mess of nerves...Cant really recall what we played, probably a 12 bar blues thing in school. I used to suffer really badly from nerves.

Cameron Edney: As we have discussed, you have billed with many of metals greatest bands. Who is the one band you would love to hit the road with?

Dave Haley: That’s a tough one. Someone like Slayer would be a dream, but highly unlikely. Touring with Morbid Angel would be excellent, due to their history.

Cameron Edney: You have worked with many different musicians, who have you learnt the most from?

Dave Haley: Musically, I would say my brother Joe, as he has exceptional knowledge. In terms of drums, getting lessons from players such as Grant Collins really helped me improve.

Cameron Edney: With the new album getting released soon and new shows ready to be announced can we expect to see any of the shows filmed for a possible DVD release?

Dave Haley: To be honest, I haven’t thought about it. It would be a cool idea if we could find the right people to work with.

Cameron Edney: Mate, what is your opinion on downloading and file sharing. Do you think it hurts and artist like yourself? Or do you see it as a great way to get your music out to so many more people around the world?

Dave Haley: It is a double-edged sword. On one hand it’s great to get your music out there, but on the other hand it really hurts bands. The new generation of music fans believes they have the right to download your music. If that’s the case, how about I come around to your work and steal some of your stuff! It’s the same thing. Because it’s not tangible, people don’t think twice about taking music.

Cameron Edney: Dave, I want to go back into your past for a moment and give the fans a chance to learn more about the real you! Tell us about your first musical experiences!

Dave Haley: In grade Seven, the music teacher needed a class drummer. She got five of us together, and played a 'straight 8'. Who ever picked it up the fastest was the drummer. I picked it up quickest, so by default I was the drummer. It’s all her fault.

Cameron Edney: [Laughs] What have your parents thought about the music you played?

Dave Haley: Super supportive. They don’t like the style, but they do everything to support. They are very understanding

Cameron Edney: If you could be a comic book hero who would you be and why?

Dave Haley: [laughs], Flash of course. Then I could get a bit faster. Or the Invisible Man for obvious reasons.

Cameron Edney: [Laughs] We all want that one I think! Who have you been surprised to learn is a fan of you work?

Dave Haley: Everyone. Im honoured that anyone actually gives a shit. I don’t take it for granted...everyone is good at something, and most people don’t get recognition, so it’s a privilege to be able to.

Cameron Edney: Tell us, which record/song would define Dave Haley to a complete stranger?

Dave Haley: I would say the ‘Symbols of Failure’ album would… until the new Psycroptic Cd’s released. I think Psycroptic is the best representation of my musical style/preferences.

Cameron Edney: What is the one album that changed your life?

Dave Haley: Once I got ‘Ride the Lightning’ by Metallica when I was a kid, there was no turning I would say that one.

Cameron Edney: What was the very first concert you attended?

Dave Haley: I honestly cannot remember...the first pub gig I went to was a Puppyfat / Nation Blue gig at the Doghouse Hotel in Hobart when I was fifteen...snuck in to that!

Cameron Edney: [Laughs] Has there ever been a point in your career when you thought it was all over?

Dave Haley: Well, I don’t look at it as a’s just something I do. So, no, I've never thought that. Drums and music are part of my life, so its not a career. It’s not my primary income supply, so its not work as far as Im concerned.

Cameron Edney: Dude, let’s talk drums! As a drummer I grew up influenced by rockers such as Eric Carr, Tommy Lee, Charlie Benante, and Igor Cavalera. Who inspired you to get behind the kit?

Dave Haley: Lars of course. Then I got into players like Vinnie Paul and Igor...and gradually more and more players as I stated getting more into the music. Nowadays I listen to heaps of different players to get a wide variety of influences in my style.

Cameron Edney: As you were saying in Grade seven your drumming experiences started! Did you always want to be a drummer?

Dave Haley: Not really. But once I was into it, I started to love it, and wanted to explore it more. I always wanted to play guitar actually.

Cameron Edney: Tell us about the first drum kit you ever owned!

Dave Haley: It was a 1960's Pearl Maxwin, blue silver covering. If I still had it, it would probably be worth a bit now.

Cameron Edney: If you were to stop playing tomorrow, what would you be doing?

Dave Haley: Not much I don’t think, as I would have to have something serious happen to stop play. I don’t know, as its just part of my daily routine

Cameron Edney: Mate, over the years you’ve been surrounded by many great drummers, who has given you the most valuable drumming advice and what was it?

Dave Haley: Grant Collins said to me 'never change anything, just add to it'. That struck the biggest cord with me. Other players such as Derek Roddy [Hate Eternal] and George Kollias [Nile] have given me great advice as well.

Cameron Edney: These days, especially when it comes to the more extreme forms of metal, all the drummers seem to be trying to out do each other on who can play the fastest, what’s the best advice you can give drummers these days who are trying to come up with there own unique styles?

Dave Haley: Focus on precision, not speed. Take from everyone you hear and incorporate it into what you already do. Each person will have an individual approach to putting new ideas into their playing, so copying someone else’s ideas will lead to your own fresh ideas.

Cameron Edney: Over time, I know you’ve been approached by many fans and asked if you teach drumming. Is that an avenue you are looking into much more these days and if so what is the best way for people to contact you for more information about lessons?

Dave Haley: Yeah, I teach in the Melbourne area. I can also teach while on tour if people get in touch in advance. The best way is to email me at

Cameron Edney: Are there any plans in the future to set up clinics around Australia?

Dave Haley: Not really...George Kollias really wants me to do some with him next time he comes out, as he is a good friend...but I have no plans to do any as yet. Maybe in the future, we'll see.

Cameron Edney: Dude, I only have a few more questions for ya! What’s the craziest rumour you had ever heard about yourself and or the band?

Dave Haley: That I make a fortune out of the band. That’s pretty funny.

Cameron Edney: There is no doubt that the metal scene here in Australia is alive and well. Besides Psycroptic and The Amenta what other killer Aussie bands should we be on the lookout for?

Dave Haley: Ruins, Aphodic Dawn, Intense Hammer Rage, Zero Degrees freedom, The Occularis Infernum just to name a few. There are some really great bands of all styles in Australia at the moment.

Cameron Edney: Dude, I agree with ya there! Lastly mate, what is the one band you never want to hear again and why?

Dave Haley: Don’t really know about one band in general, but I can do without any of that commercial pop/rock/R&B garbage. It’s the same song being played by thousands of artists.

Cameron Edney: Dave, thanx again mate for taking the time out today to do the interview. It’s been a true pleasure! Do you have any last words for our readers?

Dave Haley: Thanks very much. To the readers, cheers for reading right to the end!

© Cameron Edney Feb 2008

To keep up with all the latest news on Psycroptic and Dave’s other projects head to the following websites

Official Psycroptic Site

Psycroptic on Myspace

Dave Haley

CAFFEINE KILL - Still Bleeding Casket


Ah, industrial metal. Blame Gary Numan, but there are huge swathes of keyboard 'enhanced' gumby metal acts out there who think that pushing the button marked 'Ministry' will, in some way, make their inane wibbling in some way palatable.

Luckily, for all concerned, Caffeine Kill aren't one of them. Yes, they seem to have had an overdose of PhD Wired before thrusting every digit imaginable at the keyboard, but they seem to have a knack for hitting just the right one at just the right time. For sure, there are the usual nods to the dark Mistresses, Manson and Reznor, but the caffeinated ones have managed to put their own spin on the whole shebang.

This Bristolian trio - singer Jay Lutwyche, synth player Mark O'Grady, and guitarist Pete Seers come down firmly on the bleepside, preferring the keyboard to the guitar, but they've managed to put together a dark and atmospheric set of tunes, just the right side of rock, although there is a large EBM to what they do, which will get all the electrogoths out there taking to their beds in a swoon.

Some of the songs don't quite pass muster when they rally and pull a 'War Cry' or a 'Twisted Dementia' out of the bag, it makes everything seem just fine. The lesser numbers tend to have a peculiar urge to be David Bowie out-takes, and with his in-takes being some of the most overrated out there, it's all much better when they stick to the rock side of the fence.

There's a lot to enjoy here, especially for those who favour their mums side of the bathroom cabinet.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)

Buy From Amazon

NOTHING GAINED Gained - Nascent
Rotting Inside 2008


Really, did we learn nothing from the mistakes of the past? I thought the grey world where Korn and Deftones were lauded beyond their talents were long gone, but it seems like the Ebionites of old, there are still some people clinging on to the old ways.

To be fair, Nothing Gained make a fair fist of their chosen form of musical expression, and considering this line-up only recorded their first demo last year, there is a degree of promise in what they're doing. There are a couple of numbers where they manage to work up to a fever pitch, something enhanced by the strong voice of Emma Finch.

Yusuf Dervish and Andy Lewins are also fine guitarists, but they need to find a couple of killer tunes if they want to drag themselves out of the toilet circuit and into something bigger and better. There are some good melodies dotted about here and there, and if they lose the few nu-metal influences that are hanging over them, they could evolve into something good.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating **1/2 (2.5/5.0)

Buy From Amazon

Get ready for some electrification, as Paradox plugs Pure Metal in.


Faye Coulman: Rock and metal magazine, Kerrang! once hailed Paradox as "the new Metallica". In light of your 2008 release, "Electrify", how accurate a comparison do you feel this is?

Paradox: Well, we´re pretty far "away" from Metallica-sounds, referring to their last record…maybe a comparison will be easier when hearing their 2008-album ? We hope, Metallica 2008 will sound more like Paradox 2008 again, harhar.

Faye: Over the years the band has witnessed dramatic disruptions in terms of both line-up and record label issues. Musically speaking, how have these events affected Paradox?

Paradox: Of course that had some influence in our career. We broke up after Heresy because of those problems. We couldn´t play Bang Your Head main stage because of personal problems, and so on. But the music itself was no problem, because Charly Steinhauer is the main composer and head of the band. His music and voice is the trademark of the band.

Faye: Your sound showcases an inspired combination of both thrash metal and melodic intricacy. Are there any specific musical influences, which initially inspired you to form the band?

Paradox: Of course in the beginning there was not only Metallica and other bay-area bands, but also Black Sabbath, ACDC and other classic Heavy Metal.

Faye: How do these influences compare with the records, which you are currently listening to today?

Paradox: In the meanwhile many modern bands probably also influence our sound. We like progressive bands like Opeth and Nevermore. You might not hear a clear influence, but something is there, that adds to the classical speedmetal/thrash-sound.

Faye: Compared to former releases, does "Electrify" embody more of a thrash or melodic metal persuasion?

Paradox: It is more of a speedmetal thing. Thrash would be containing less melodic vocals and melodic metal would be containing to little heavyness and speed. No melodic metal is definitely wrong, were much harder than "melodic metal", we do have some power-metal parts with progressive elements, to make that answer clear.

Faye: I understand that "Electrify" addresses the influence of the Internet to a certain extent, for instance, in "Cyberspace Romance". Speaking either as musicians or on a more personal level, what is your opinion on such matters?

Paradox: Kai Pasemann just came up with those ideas, being a fan of the "Matrix" movies and Steven King´s "Lawnmower Man". The internet is a fantastic medium, also helpful in making and spreading news about the band, for example. Those fantasies in the mentioned movies are far from reality and its just fun to play with those ideas. But on the other hand think about science-fiction movies from the 70´s where they were talking with "mini mobile-phones" or monitoring other people - then fantasy, now reality…

Faye: August 1999 signalled the beginning of a revival for Paradox. How did Wacken Open Air compare with your previous shows?

Paradox: It was a cool show, yeah ! We had a long pause and had only a few practices before the show and just jumped on stage to show the people - here we are again ! It really was a fine thing to start the band again. The other "big" shows were ten years earlier with other musicians - no comparison to be made, every show is cool and fun to us !

Faye: The European Tour with Mekong Delta and Vendetta was cancelled this year. Aside from the obvious disappointment, what was your initial reaction to this unfortunate news?

Paradox: We (our booker Michael Hansen) immediately tried to find another band to jump in, but noone was able or willing to do the shows, either because there were other shows or no time off or whatever.

Faye: Any plans for future tours/shows to date?

Paradox: We want to play as much as we can and we are waiting for offers and offering the band all over Europe. We are playing e.g. Headbanger´s Open Air, Rockmania (both Germany), Metalrockfest (Norway) and are hoping to catch up the tour with Mekong Delat in fall. Please visit for news.

Faye: Are there any artists who you would particularly like to tour with?

Paradox: We´d like to play with Opeth, ahh, we´re playing with them in Lillehammer, hehe ! Maybe also Nevermore, Forbidden, Exodus, Megadeth, …

Faye: Having already mentioned references to the internet as regards the new album, what other issues/themes inspired "Electrify"?

Paradox: There are mainly "society-themes" or political ideas in the lyrics. For example Portrait In Grey is about a killer who is trying to forget about his deeds, to paint his blood-red memories grey. Monument is about the craze of humans to try to become immortal through putting material things like statues and buildings on this planet. Kai´s lyrics aren´t very cryptic, they all have a clear story/message.

Thanks for your interest, greetings from Charly and Kai!

"Electrify" is out now - Buy From Amazon


© 2008 Faye Coulman

OPEN THE SKIES - "Conspiracies"
Rising 2008


The self proclaimed "melodic, post-hardcore screamo band" first came to my attention a few weeks back with the rather poor single, 'He Spoke Of Success'. However, tucked awy on the B sides was a rather fabulous riff heavy track called 'A Silent Decade', a song so good, it persuaded me to give their debut album a listen.

But, um, it seems to have been a rare beacon of light in what is a rather dull album. Which is a shame because they seem to be competent musicians, and they certainly make every effort to make a rather generic set of songs seem energetic and interesting. However, it just doesn't come off.

The real weak link is the voice of Josh McKeown who just isn't angry enough when he growls, and isn't melodic enough when he croons. If you're going to go for the whole melodic screamo thing, you've got to be able to carry both off with some style and vengeance, but it all seems as though he's been short changed in the paper shop and is asking for his tuppence back, rather than SCREAMING RAGING ANGER.

But lets look for some good things. Drummer Chris Velissarides puts in an absolutely stunning performance of power, passion and precision, which will should have some bigger names coming sniffing around, and there are a handful of good songs dotted around the album, which perk up your ears when they put in an appearance.

Apart from the aforementioned 'A Silent Decade', there's 'Silhouettes On Street Corners' and ‘Keiko’s Last Smile’. They may be trying to cast their net a bit far and wide, trying to fit in so many different genres, as they are at their best when they stick to a more mainstream metalised sound.

There are also some more excellent guitar riffs to enjoy, with a particular cracker on ‘So Season Two’, and they even conjure up some rather sweet vocal harmonies on the ballad ‘Yours Faithfully’. I may seem to be coming down hard on them, but I think it's a bit early for an album, and they ought to sit down and work out who they want to be before committing anything else to disc.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** (3.0/5.0)

Buy From Amazon


After The Deafening

Well now, I suspect that's a first. A band trying to combine metalcore and ambient trance! Really, I'm not making it up.

So props have to go to the Brighton quintet for at least trying to do something a wee bit different. And on the first track 'it's track one but we didn't bother with a tracklisting', it actually seems to work. Remarkable. They claim to be influenced by the likes of Sikth, Architects, Meshuggah and Killswitch Engage, and certainly the guitar work can be traced back to Meshuggah.

The other two tracks on this demo veer quite wildly from the more straight ahead metalcore of 'it's track two but we didn't bother with a tracklisting' into the more progressive outings of 'it's track three but we didn't bother with a tracklisting' .

There's certainly a raw talent at work here, although the wildly diverse musical tones might put off the less musically adventurous folks out there. However, those of you who find that the wibbly wobbles of math-metal makes you perk up in highly inappropriate manners will find this to be of interest.

You can hear the tunes at their MySpace site.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** (3.0/5.0)

BARELY BREATHING - "Relive The Regret"

Relive The Regret

Melancholic metallers, Barely Breathing, unleash their strikingly inventive, thrash-tinged debut, "Relive The Regret".

Sweeping symphony is momentarily obliterated by a raging thrash metal assault as standout track, "Barely Breathing", begins to unfold. Flawlessly fused with intricate guitar-driven melody, frontman, Michael Cronje's voice is a particularly intriguing, demonic example of unique vocal talent. A harmonic, Killswitch Engage-style surge of clean vocals and distorted riffs ensue in rapid, high impact bursts of adrenalin.

"Probable Cause" showcases still more in terms of awesome axemanship. From the mournful and haunting to hard-edged brutality, each riff seethes with unbridled intensity. "Guns Of War" injects a further dose of venom with its infectious chugging bass line rendered all the more stunning by Cronje's full-bodied clean vocals. The blast beats rattle out with relentless mercenary precision accompanied by a series of menacing guttural screams.

By slight variation, "Marriage Of Heaven And Hell" features whirling, distorted riffs of an abstract, delirious sound quality. Presently, the lead guitar's face-melting solo slices through the solemnity like a newly sharpened meat cleaver.

Vaguely reminiscent of Metallica's legendary balladic moments, "Free Yourself" is a darkly melodic, distinctly progressive standout. Without question the most inspired track on the album, the melodic refrains accompanied by Cronje's audibly pained voice make for an exquisite combination. The climax of gratuitous rage midway is a further unexpected delight.

Equal parts demonic and sublime, "Relive The Regret" is a fiercely evocative, passionately realised piece of modern metal.
Faye Coulman
Rating **** (4.0/5.0)

Buy From Amazon

Rob ‘Blasko’ Nicholson - Ozzy / Rob Zombie + interview

Growing up, Rob Nicholson was influenced by some of the worlds greatest bass players such as Steve Harris [Iron Maiden] and Lemmy Kilmister [Motörhead]. It’s safe to say that Rob was always destined to follow in the path of his heroes. Rob Nicholson who’s better known as 'Blasko' started out playing drums, before moving on to guitar, then settling on Bass.

In 1984, Blasko joined his first major thrash metal band ‘Cryptic Slaughter’ in Santa Monica, Ca. During this time the band released the albums ‘Convicted’ and Money Talks’ which sold very well and created a fanatical buzz around the world. By the time the band entered the studio early in 1988 to record their third album ‘Stream of Consciousness’ the cracks were starting to show and by the time the band hit the road, internal disputes led to the band breaking-up during the summer tour before the bands third album would hit the shelves.

After recording and touring for four years with Cryptic Slaughter Rob then went on to play with a number of bands including Killing Spree, Prong, and legendary metallers Danzig. 1998 seen Blasko join long-time friend Rob Zombie for a national tour. It was during this time in Nicholson’s career that he came up with the nickname Blasko.

A name which has stuck with him ever since. Blasko’s work with Rob Zombie has proven to be some of his best work thus far. Recording killer bass lines on all three of Zombie’s studio albums the relationship between Rob and Blasko continues to be strong. Throughout Blasko’s career he has shown that he’s not one to stand around and wait for things to happen.

Whilst working with Rob Zombie, Blasko found time to put together a side project with Coffin Case founder Johnny Coffin. The band featured Daniel Gray taking on Vocals and Guitar duties, Johnny Coffin playing guitar, Blasko on bass and DC on drums. Recording under the banner ‘The Death Riders’ Blasko and gang released their debut album ‘The Soundtrack to Depression’ and metal fans were left wondering if there would ever be a follow up to such an amazing album.

In 2003 Blasko got to do what most metal musicians only dream of… he joined forces with metals craziest maniac Ozzy Osbourne. Replacing Robert Trujillo, Blasko rehearsed with Ozzy in 2003 for the bands upcoming fall tour, but after tragedy struck with Ozzy Osbourne suffering a life threatening quad bike accident, Ozzy became bound to a bed and going to physiotherapy and the tour was quickly cancelled.

Since 2003 Blasko has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with one of metal’s greatest vocalist and last year finally got to record his bass licks on Ozzy’s latest album ‘Black Rain’. The album was an instant success and features killer tracks such as ‘God Bless the Almighty Dollar’, ‘Never gonna Stop’ and ‘Civilize The Universe’. 2007 saw Blasko finally out on the road in support of ‘Black Rain’, playing to the worlds craziest metal fans. During the last few months of Ozzy’s tour, Rob Zombie also joined the bill and Blasko and Rob would share a stage once again even if it wasn’t at the same time.

Let the ‘Countdown Begin’ as we open the ‘Trap Door’ with kick ass bassist Blasko.


Cameron Edney: Hi Rob, firstly dude, I want to thank you for putting some time aside to answer the following questions for our readers. Hows everything going mate?

BLASKO: Just living the dream man!

Cameron Edney: Mate congratulations on the latest Ozzy album ‘Black Rain’, there are some killer bass lines throughout the whole album. How much input did you have musically in the writing and overall production on ‘Black Rain’?

BLASKO I don’t write. I am not a songwriter. I leave that shit to the pro’s. I had a good amount of freedom to work on bass lines, and Kevin, the producer, was great to work with.

Cameron Edney: How long did it take you to record the new album and what equipment did you use?

BLASKO I spent some time at home working on a few different things, but the actual recording process was pretty quick. I used my Schecter signature bass and a Sans Amp rack mounted Bass DI.

Cameron Edney: Mate, as you just mentioned… you had some freedom when it came to the bass lines on the new album. When the time came to start production on ‘Black Rain’, did you approach it in a different way to albums you have worked on in the past?

BLASKO Every recording process has a different feel to it. There were some similarities to other things I have done recently however. The home studio has been a common scenario, and I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon.

Cameron Edney: While you are out on the road are you writing / working on the next studio album?

BLASKO No. Making a record is more of a spontaneous studio experience. It is difficult to get together to write while in the midst of touring. At this point it is good to keep those environments separated.

Cameron Edney: Rob I want to take a trip back in time for a moment and talk about your amazing career. Most people may be surprised to learn that when you were younger you actually played drums and also guitar, what was it that made you settle on Bass guitar as the weapon of choice?

BLASKO I thought that I would be able to get more gigs as a bass player, since all my other friends wanted to play guitar or drums or sing. In hindsight, I guess I made the right choice.

Cameron Edney: [Laughs] You certainly did mate! Early on in your career you were the vocalist for Killing Spree and also Suffer. What comes to mind when you look back on those early days?

BLASKO Well, I believe it was good to have those experiences. It was interesting and exciting to try some different things. It really makes me appreciate what I am doing now.

Cameron Edney: Over the years you have toured with the likes of Cryptic Slaughter, Danzig and Prong to name just a few. Has working with these bands helped develop the technics you are now using onstage and in the studio?

BLASKO Yes, greatly. All those experiences definitely shaped my style.

Cameron Edney: In 2005 you put together a side project with coffin case founder Johnny Coffin called The Death Riders and soon after you released your debut album. Do you have any future plans to get together with the guys and belt out another killer album?

BLASKO We are all pretty busy, but hopefully one day we can pull off record number two.

Cameron Edney: Of all the bands you have played with over the years I have always loved the work you did with Rob Zombie, tell us about your first encounter with Rob?

BLASKO I was in a band called Drown at the time, and we were clients of the same management company as White Zombie. We got the opportunity to open a few shows for them. That was the first time I met him. That seems like a lifetime ago.

Cameron Edney: Being somewhat a fan of horror movies, what did you think of Rob’s remake of ‘Halloween’?

BLASKO I think he did a great job. I like some of the recent horror remakes, and ‘Halloween’ is one of them.

Cameron Edney: Over the last few months you have been out on the road with Ozzy Osbourne and Rob has been opening the shows, how has it all been going?

BLASKO This tour has been sick. We are having such a blast out here.

Cameron Edney: Has there been much backstage debauchery going on?

BLASKO If I told you, I would have to kill you.

Cameron Edney: Rob, there is no doubt that most musicians would give there right arm to share the stage with one of the craziest rock n roll legends of our time, tell us about the first performance you did with Ozzy?

BLASKO My first gig with Ozzy was for the NFL kick-off in 2005. We played ‘Crazy Train’ in a giant Football helmet that was suspended about 20 feet in the air. Crazy indeed!

Cameron Edney: When you landed the gig with Ozzy, who was the first person you told?

BLASKO My wife.

Cameron Edney: Dude let’s talk about life on the road….There is no doubt that you’re an amazing bassist do you do anything specific to warm up and prepare for a show?

BLASKO Thank you for the compliment. I usually play through most of the set before we go onstage.

Cameron Edney: You have had the pleasure of touring with so many great bands, is there one show that stands out amongst the many years of mayhem as the best ever?

BLASKO Wow, that is too rough. There have been so many great shows. I suppose most recently, playing Madison Square Garden in NYC was quite an accomplishment.

Cameron Edney: What's the strangest/funniest thing that has ever happened to you on stage?

BLASKO At this point, nothing stands out as being overly strange.

Cameron Edney: Rob, over the years you have shared the stage with so many great bands. Who have you enjoyed touring with the most?

BLASKO I have been very fortunate to have played with such great musicians. It would be impossible to single anyone out. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey right?

Cameron Edney: Mate, you have appeared on some amazing metal albums. From all the albums you have appeared on what is your favourite to listen to and why? Is it even possible to narrow it down?

BLASKO It is impossible to narrow it down. I do still listen to The Death Riders record quite a bit.

Cameron Edney: Do you have any last words for our readers?

BLASKO Thanks for the interview. Please come visit me at blasko666 myspace

© 2008 Cameron Edney

STIGMA - "When Midnight Strikes!"


Revelling in a wealth of blistering classic horror-inspired insanity, "When Midnight Strikes!" is one brutal, razor-sharp shock to the system.

Opening on an overload of random Hammer Horror style sound effects, melodramatic intro, "Walpurghis Night", bleeds seamlessly into the explosive, "I Am Dracula". Rapid and multidirectional as a serial killer suffering attention deficit disorder, "I Am Dracula" showcases superior musicianship of almost supernatural pace.

Similarly trained to inhumanity is frontman, Stefano "Vlad" Ghersi's inexhaustible vocal capacity. Rapid and relentless as machine-gun fire, the high impact blast beats of "Silver Bullets And Burning Crosses" pose little challenge to Ghersi's cast-iron chords.

With its rhythmically infectious riffs and snatches of sinister soundscapes, "To Be Really Dead…" is both elaborate yet adrenalin-fuelled to almost physically exhausting effect. "Flesh Ritual's" darkly melodic twists and turns, together with Ghersi's incredible vocal stamina, render this one of the most tension-filled, climactic tracks on the album.

Evoking Stigma's trademark fixation with all things grim and haunting, "Beneath The Crown Of Eternal Night" features a somewhat creepy, chaotic interlude as the chilling, densely harmonic guitars build to a frenzy of smouldering intensity. A lethal and unrestrained attack of slow-burning spite, "A Call For Vengeance" is a stunning masterwork of bloodcurdling screams, chugging bass and flawlessly timed solos of almost epic sound quality.

Despite the fact that cinematic excerpts surface, on occasion, like great theatrical dollops of fake blood, "When Midnight Strikes!" remains a remarkably well-crafted, complex piece of extreme metal. Fresh eerie delights will doubtless be unearthed with every listen.

Faye Coulman
Rating **** (4.0/5.0)



Eh? Really? It might be all my fault for not reading the press release, but on grabbing this CD, I looked at the cover, went "ho-hum" female fronted goth metal" and prepared myself for a second rate Epica impersonation. I did not expect Diamanda Galas fronting a black metal King Crimson tribute act. Because that's what I got!

There really ought to be some kind of warning message for records like this. I don't want Parental Advisory, I want Mental Advisory. Really! A Russian born, French based, classically trained pianist mixing up huge swathes of goth, metal, Tori Amos and gibberish into a frightening world of baroque'n'roll, isn't the kind of thing you stumble across every day of the week. Nor would you want to.

It's a mad, mad world you're being invited into, and it's not one for the faint of heart. Most of the tracks are built around some very basic metal riffing, but then the insane caterwauling begins and the weebly wobblies kick in, and you're left with that feeling you got after watching Tod Brownings "Freaks" for the first and last time.

Doubtless, this is 'art' in all its farty sense, something that is way beyond my ken. Thankfully. However, in between the banshee like wails, there is definitely a talent at work here, as the intricate arrangements and layered music displays, powered along by the bass player and guitarist from the French extreme metal band, Misanthrope, who themselves claim to be inspired by the spirit of Moliere.

So it's easy to see the common ground as Ayin Aleph claws her way through the likes of 'Valpurgis Nacht' and 'My Bloody Marriage'. Factor in some grinding guitars from Kill II This fella, Mark Mynett and it's an unholy racket.

Musically, there are common links to acts like Aesma Daeva and Lorde Of All Desires and Le'Rue Delashay, but Ms Aleph is in a world of her own, when it comes to assimilating her influences. That's when she's not recording four seconds of silence and programming it as Track 13. I doubt you will ever have heard anything quite like this, which is in itself a major achievement in our over saturated musical world. If you're considering a nervous breakdown anytime soon, you may want to consider this for your own personal soundtrack.


Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** (3.0/5.0)

Ayin Aleph

OPEN THE SKIES - "He Spoke Of Success"


A fresh faced band of young bucks from Surrey, Open The Skies flagrantly describe themselves as "melodic, post-hardcore screamo". For which they should be taken outside and beaten about the head with a Fugazi album until they beg for their mammies.

Now they're quite obviously going for the Enter Shikari market, and the lead track on this single will certainly draw in the punters who, for some inexplicable reason, thing that said Enter Shikari are not a bunch of no talent chancers. But, and it's a big but, there is some good in Open The Skies.

You have to wait until the third track on the single arrives but for a furious, riff heavy, slab of seriously raging hormones, then you have to cock an ear to 'A Silent Decade'. It's streets ahead of the lead track and raises a flicker of hope in my manly bosom that these particular kiddywinks may be worth keeping an ear out for, and that their debut album "Conspiracies" might, just might, be the real deal.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating *** (3.0/5.0)

Dynamic Arts 2008


After a number of listens I still can't work out whether Primitai are simply a young, new, heavy metal band that show potential but need to develop their lyrics away from the cliché infested bunch included here, or whether they are more calculating than that and are simply having a laugh delivering a bunch of tracks packed with phrases that wouldn't have sounded out of place on that "Bad News" release. However, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt either way because whatever the aim or intention they've actually produced a decent album here that, if they are serious, shows considerable promise.

"Deathhammer" and "Destroyers" may be titles culled from the "Kerrang Book of Heavy Metal Songs" but they hit the spot and show a band influenced by the Maiden's, Priests and AC/DC's. Music wise a lot of this stuff is spot on, heavier than all three trad-metal bands mentioned, but with the guitars delivering exactly the sort of sound guaranteed to herald the tuning of an air guitar or two, and the rhythm section solid and forceful.

Lyrically and vocally though are the area's for improvement here. Singer Graham Christie may always possess a voice that will be an acquired taste.

More gravelly than even Lemmy, there are tracks here that suit his style perfectly yet times when you wish he would just attempt to squeeze a little more melody from his pipes. Lemmy is a perfect role model here of course and might also be worth referencing if ever considering a song again in the vein of "Lights Out".

The stand-out track in terms of poor lyrics, it's a cod-aggressive swear fest that would have been so much more effective with a well written put down or two replacing the procession of expletives.

At present I can see this band appealing mainly to the disaffected youth, which is something of a shame really. A bit more nous and a little more care and there may be a band here that will attract all generations of metal fans, not just the youth. I do look forward to hearing a second album though as they certainly have something good, it just depends what they do with it.

Bill Leslie
Rating ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)

Buy From Amazon

PRIMITAI - "Through The Gates Of Hell"
Green China 2007


After a number of listens I still can't work out whether Primitai are simply a young, new, heavy metal band that show potential but need to develop their lyrics away from the cliché infested bunch included here, or whether they are more calculating than that and are simply having a laugh delivering a bunch of tracks packed with phrases that wouldn't have sounded out of place on that "Bad News" release. However, I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt either way because whatever the aim or intention they've actually produced a decent album here that, if they are serious, shows considerable promise.

"Deathhammer" and "Destroyers" may be titles culled from the "Kerrang Book of Heavy Metal Songs" but they hit the spot and show a band influenced by the Maiden's, Priests and AC/DC's. Music wise a lot of this stuff is spot on, heavier than all three trad-metal bands mentioned, but with the guitars delivering exactly the sort of sound guaranteed to herald the tuning of an air guitar or two, and the rhythm section solid and forceful.

Lyrically and vocally though are the area's for improvement here. Singer Graham Christie may always possess a voice that will be an acquired taste. More gravelly than even Lemmy, there are tracks here that suit his style perfectly yet times when you wish he would just attempt to squeeze a little more melody from his pipes.

Lemmy is a perfect role model here of course and might also be worth referencing if ever considering a song again in the vein of "Lights Out". The stand-out track in terms of poor lyrics, it's a cod-aggressive swear fest that would have been so much more effective with a well written put down or two replacing the procession of expletives.

At present I can see this band appealing mainly to the disaffected youth, which is something of a shame really. A bit more nous and a little more care and there may be a band here that will attract all generations of metal fans, not just the youth. I do look forward to hearing a second album though as they certainly have something good, it just depends what they do with it.

Bill Leslie
Rating **1/2 (2.5/5.0)

Primitai website

NEX - "Dansylvania " Rising

Ooh, I really didn't like the debut album from Nex. If memory serves, I called them "an even worse Bullet For My Valentine". Which is the worst insult I can throw at anyone.

But dang and blast it, if this single preview of their forthcoming "A Clockwork Heart" album isn't an absolute cracker! I never saw that coming. Sure, they're still peddling the whole punk / metal hybrid thing, but by dint of actually writing a good song and then borrowing some blasting Rocket From The Crypt style horns, they've only gorn and dahn it!

Worryingly, the other songs, 'Witch Hunting' and 'Before The Storm' left my mind resolutely unblown, but they they've already exceeded my expectations, so who knows, maybe the album will be a killer after all.

Stuart A Hamilton
Rating ***1/2 (3.5/5.0)

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**** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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