Thursday, September 29, 2011

Interview With Ryan Henry (Reclusiam, Necare) - American Funeral/Death Doom

Infernal Dominion presents an exclusive interview with Ryan Henry - the talented force behind Reclusiam and Necare. After being active in the underground doom metal scenario for more than a decade, Ryan created his solo project 'Reclusiam' to unleash dark and macabre sounds which he could not work with while serving his duties in Necare. He has released one demo under this moniker so far and it got great reviews in the doom metal underground. After 7 years of its release, Ryan has now re-pressed the demo again for close friends and fellow doom metal maniacs. So now here is an opportunity to get familiar with this true artist and read about his experience and musical journey so far.

Thanks for giving the interview, Ryan. For the few people who don’t know about your band, could you tell us something about Reclusiam? How it came about and where it stands now?

Reclusiam began in 2004 after I had spent a few years listening to Evoken, Shape of Despair, Thergothon, Skepticism, Esoteric – basically, the giants of funeral doom. I decided that I wanted to create something darker than the work I was doing with Necare (my doom/death metal band) at the time. Something less complicated structurally but more visceral and heavy. I didn’t want to limit myself by writing verse/chorus patterned songs – I simply wanted them to meander along and build in intensity. I also wanted to incorporate more abstract dark ambient into the music. As of now, the project stands where it did upon the release of the debut album. There is no new material recorded, but there are songs in the works.

It has been 7 years since the release of the brilliant ‘’Reclusiam’’ but we haven’t had the pleasure of hearing anything from your project afterwards. What were the causes which led to this period of dormancy?

After the release of the 2004 self-titled album, I felt I had “said all that I wanted to say” with Reclusiam. A year after the CD was released, I moved to a city five hours away from the studio where Reclusiam was produced. If the project is to continue, I have to work with an engineer who knows exactly what I want, sound-wise. That engineer is Jhon Ackerman, who recorded the debut. Honestly, I’ve spent the past few years just being a metal fan and not an active songwriter/musician per se. Over the past few months, though, I’ve been working on ideas for more songs and attempting to write new material. But I won’t release anything else until the time is right and the music is as good as or better than the debut.

It is great that you have planned to re-issue your only release for fellow fans and friends who somehow missed the opportunity of owning the first press. What is different in the new repressed CD? I read somewhere that you planned on covering 'Doden' by Nortt. Are you planning to record any new music for the new CD?

This second pressing is identical to the original pressing, save for an improved rear traycard print. There is no new music on the CD. It is, for all intents and purposes, the same as it was in 2004. I would love to cover Nortt’s “Doden,” if I can work out the royalty side of things with the artist and his label. That’s something that will hopefully happen down the road on a future release.

Reclusiam' was an independent release. Are you planning on approaching any labels for any help in releasing the CD?

I have actually had offers from labels to release the album. To this day, I prefer to keep the 2004 self-titled release and any other music I record as Reclusiam completely independent. This way I retain creative control over the music, art, and media exposure. I can offer free downloads and share the music any way I’d like if I remain independent. There are pros and cons to having a contract with a record label, obviously. So if production of the album exceeds my personal financial capabilities, I might have to seek label support.

What formats are you planning on re-releasing ‘’Reclusiam’’ in? Is it only to be repressed on a CD or in vinyls, or maybe even cassettes?

“Reclusiam” will be re-released as a CD only.

I personally think that your self-titled release was one of the best works in funeral doom which I have ever heard. The somber and highly captivating atmosphere of the music creates a feeling of dread and despair within me whenever I listen to it. What inspired you to create such intense music?
I definitely appreciate the praise for the Reclusiam CD, and am extremely glad that it has affected a few listeners in a positive way. My inspirations were born out of a rather dark period that was beginning in my life. I was confused and anxious and music was my only outlet for these feelings. Rather than pour out dark, personal emotions lyrically, I simply put the negativity and hopelessness into the music. I left the lyrics somewhat abstract and open to interpretation.

After this release, where do things stand with Reclusiam? Would you be willing to ever play live?

Again, I am in the planning stages for a follow-up release to the 2004 album. Also in the works is a possible split CD with Utah doom/death metal band Nevertanezra, with new Reclusiam material. If you haven’t heard Nevertanezra, I highly suggest seeking them out. Their vocalist is Rick McCoy, formerly of Avernus, and he has expressed interest in taking over vocal duties for Reclusiam – at least for that release. Avernus’ “Sadness” demo is one of the reasons I am playing doom today, so that would be an incredible honor. As for playing live, I don’t foresee that ever happening.

Tell us about your previous Death/Doom band called ‘Necare’. It was another brilliant band, and I wish you guys had made more music. What were the reasons for Necare splitting up? Are there any unreleased tracks that you might release in the future?

Necare split for many reasons, one of which was to allow G.C. to concentrate on his work in progressive metal Vanquish -- and for me to work on Reclusiam. Recording the album “Ruin” for Firebox Records was exhausting, to say the least, and I think both of us were burned out on Necare. As for unreleased tracks, there really isn’t anything that the general public hasn’t heard. We did a couple of covers for fun in the studio and on the four-track in our rehearsal space, but those are long gone.


What is your opinion of the Doom metal scene nowadays? Do you still feel the strong sense of identity as you could when you were first making music, or has your interest somehow dulled over the years?

I’m very detached from the doom metal scene. I still correspond with friends in Evoken and Pantheist, for example, but I don’t actively follow modern metal scenes of any kind. I never really fit in to the doom scene when I was an active part of it. There were great people and musicians involved with playing doom, but I always felt like I was lurking along the periphery. Still, I made some great friends and met some good people.

Both Necare and Reclusiam have had some great cover art which perfectly fits the abysmal atmosphere of the music. Who were the artists which were behind the artworks for ‘’Ruin’’ and ‘’Reclusiam’’ and what were the concepts which they had incorporated for creating them.

Necare’s “Ruin” had cover and interior/traycard photography by David Penprase, who is probably best known for the cover of Anathema’s “Serenades.” He’s a hell of a guy and 100% supportive of struggling underground musicians. Reclusiam’s cover was rendered by a UK artist named Alice Duke who I discovered through deviantART. I liked her illustrative style and she was completely professional to work with. I’m not sure what she is doing now. The concept for Necare’s cover was abstract, really. For Reclusiam, I wanted a picture to go with the theme of that spoken verse in “Litanies of Rust and Decay.” I had the artist depict a chanting priestess reading from a book of chaotic verses, standing before a barren industrial backdrop.

Besides your doom laden musical shenanigans, you are also indulged with literature and have penned a book on Zombies. Would you like to shed some light on this work of yours? Were there any specific reasons which led you to work on a topic which has already been exploited an umpteenth number of times?

I feel that most zombie literature and film focuses on gore and splatter rather than the personal struggles faced by survivors fighting to stay alive. I wanted to do something different. My book “Six”, available for download at, concentrates on a group of survivors trying to make their way across a dangerous countryside. It starts with six characters, and, one by one, they die off until there is one left. So it’s not a matter of who dies, but how he or she dies. It is a gruesome tale. Killing the undead and the living, however, is never glorified or depicted as easy. Every action has a consequence; every mistake ends in a dire result.

Coming back to music, which albums have you been spinning a lot these days? Any favorites among this year’s releases?

Mostly old stuff, actually. In the realm of Funeral Doom, there have been some newer bands that have caught my interest over the past few years. I find Ahab, Nortt, Black Wreath, and Catacombs to be enjoyable and atmospheric. Outside of the doom circle, I’m digging the work of French bands like Alcest and Les Discrets. I can tolerate some DSBM – namely Forgotten Tomb, Leviathan, and some of Xasthur’s mid-period work. On the non-metal side of things, I enjoy dark ambient like RAAN, Atrium Carceri, and Darkened Soul. As for this year’s releases, Disma’s “Towards the Megalith” and the new Exhumed album “All Guts, No Glory” are currently kicking my ass.

Thanks a lot for spending your precious time and answering these questions Ryan! The last space is all yours. If you have something to say to your fans or doom metal aficionados in particular, then go ahead!

I’d like to thank you for the interview. I enjoyed answering your questions immensely. As for all the doom fans out there, if you haven’t heard the Reclusiam album, you can download it for free in .mp3 format at – if you like what you hear, buy a CD! They will be available through me directly; through PsycheDOOMelic in Europe, and Deserted Factory in Asia. Doom or be doomed!

Interviewed by Gautam Shankar and Ankit Sinha. 
Check out Infernal Dominion's review for ''Reclusiam'' here -

You can download Reclusiam's music officially from Ryan's personal website here -
Buy the album if you like his work! 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Katharsis - VVorldVVithoutEnd

Full Length, Norma Evangelium Diaboli


Germany's Katharsis are no strangers to the pumelling underground black metal phenomenon which has been increasing incessantly since the past decade or so. The band was formed in 1994 but it wasn't until the advent of the new millennium that they actually unleashed their first full length, which was suavely titled as ''666'' in pure satanic devotion. Their blackened satanic noise has been pissing on all modern trends ever since then and the release of their third full length ''VVorldVVithoutEnd'' is no exception. This is such a crazily structured album title, which I suppose was the result of a missing 'W' on their keyboard. Jokes apart, 'VV'' sounds/looks more kvlt than 'W' so they already score a win point here.
Now the next win point would go absofuckinglutely for the sonic assault which this album emanates. If you feel that you have been already exposed to the vilest and most chaotic black metal assaults from the second wave BM luminaries, then I am sorry to prove you wrong. This album has taken conventional black metal to the escalating heights of atonal chaos. It unleashes such cavernous sounds upon your ears that you would be compelled to yell - ''wtf did I just hear?''
Its totally an adrenaline surge on your veins and specially your ears. The highly treblish and atmospheric production value of the album makes me feel that it was written in the devil's studio itself, buried 666 feet below an ominous German concentration camp with cries of incessant torture resonating around. 
Its fierceness could be described as nothing but a sledgehammer cutting through your flesh and ripping each and every single vein inside. The riffs are extremely chaotic but they still manage to remain memorable. 
They have simply taken their evident Darkthrone influences from the early releases to a more atmospheric and dissonant level. The tracks are long and have been structured very nicely to keep one's ears busy. Unlike a typical Norsecore album which gets tedious due to the monotone of the musical structures, VVorldVVithoutEnd thrives a little more on focused songwriting instead of simply being a sloppy, bed room black metal album. Drakh's piercing vocals are a very important constituent of this album. The cavernous reverb on his already menacing vocals adds a very fiendish atmosphere to the essence of the music.
His guitar duties along with those of Scorn are the pivotal elements behind the creation of an album as ominous as this. As I said above, they have taken their early influences to newer heights by creating a very atmospheric dissonance, more like a 'buzzsaw' sound which is capable of piercing the listener's ears. 
M.K.'s drumming is also a tad varied than a lot of typical BM albums where the drummer is mostly busy blasting and hence creating a snore fest for the listeners. His drumming here is very good and suitable for the string onslaughts of Scorn and Drakh. He switches from blast beats to slower beats and relies on delicious cymbal work for crafting a praiseworthy percussive performance. 
I must say that VVorldVVithoutEnd is not meant for everyone and it demands a lot of labor from the part of the listener. It might take sometime for you to get into it, but trust me it only gets better after each passing listen. The cacophonous ambiance of the album is something which you won't easily get to hear. I am often reminded of the notoriety which an album like ''Salvation'' by Swedish masters Funeral Mist had achieved. So if you are still interested in listening to the album after reading this description, then waste no time in getting your hands on it. 
Maybe take a preview of certain tracks like ''Eden BeloVV'', ''Wytchdance'' or the amazing self titled ''VVorldVVithoutEnd'' and see for yourself. For me, this album is a certified masterpiece and I highly recommend it to everyone who enjoys chaotic yet compositionally adept black metal.

Final Verdict - 8.5/10

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dissection - Storm of The Lights Bane

Full Length, Nuclear Blast Records

Here I am reviewing an album that has been reviewed countless times. Majority of metal heads own this album, or at least they should. I picked this album for my second review because this album has always meant a lot to me as growing up and even still it is flawless and a masterpiece in my eyes. There is so much to say about this exquisite mixture of black and death metal.

Dissection formed in 1989 in Strömstad, Sweden and released 3 full length albums and numerous eps, live albums and demos earning themselves easily one of the most well known Swedish metal bands. Frontman Jon Nodveidt was convicted of murder in 1997 for which he had to serve 7 years in prison. Shortly after his release from prison in 2004, he resurrected Dissection with a new line-up and went on to create their last album 'Reinkaos' which was released in 2006. Reinkaos was a very different musical offering and it received a mixed reception from fans and critics alike. Just a few months after its release, Jon Nodveidt committed suicide in his Swedish apartment. It is said he killed himself because he completed all he wanted to achieve in life. In a way I agree with him because the two master pieces he created: The Somberlain and Storm of Lights Bane. Though the world of extreme metal lost a genius and a legend, his glory shall rest forever in our hearts.

It was an arduous task for me to pour my unending love for one of my most favorite albums in mere words but I somehow mustered the courage to do so. This colossal masterpiece entitled as 'Storm of Lights Bane' opens with a dark yet beautiful and haunting instrumental waltz intro "At the Fathomless Depths". It prepares you for the magnificent "Nights Blood" which begins with a perfect tom rolling drum while the guitars start off with a thrashy Slayeresque riff juxtaposed with melodic guitars which are reminiscent of traditional heavy metal a la Iron Maiden. Jon's lyrical brilliancy is another factor to praise with dark poetic lines like "I drown in the colour of your eye for a black heart will only find beauty in darkness" that will never leave your memory after hearing this song. His vocals are poisonous and scathing whilst being extremely soulful and decipherable. They blend perfectly with the guitar melodies and create a stellar and hypnotic effect on your senses. Another noteworthy factor is the implication of majestic acoustic guitar sections which creates a mystical atmosphere and relaxes you in the middle of the song while the tempo slows for the rest of the song. The most memorable song off the album “Soulreaper” is an icy and cold melodic blackened death masterpiece. Albeit the entire album is extremely memorable, 'Soulreaper' remains my favorite.
“Where Dead Angels Lie” is perhaps one of Jon's most epic creations. It's slow and mournful mood compels the listener to get lost in the arcane atmosphere which it weaves around oneself. "No Dreams Breed in Breathless Sleep" by Alexandra Balogh leaves to content and wanting to hit repeat on this beautiful, mournful piano piece.

I could seriously go on and on with these descriptions but then as I wrote earlier that describing a timeless classic like this in mere words isn't really possible. Their music is like a drug which hallucinates you and enslaves your senses with its grandeur. Nothing else would come closer to this magnum opus, ever.

The legacy lives forever.

Written by: Ruthless
Score: 10/10