Back in 2012 when I started this website, my first article was about Mad Mav. Mad Mav is a one man show and the guy does everything himself. It is 100% instrumental and even though I understand that this is not for everyone, many of you enjoyed the music I shared. I would not be able to listen to instrumental tracks non stop myself - the whole singing part is important for me! You should see me attending a concert... ! Nevertheless, here and there it is enjoyable as you have no distractions and can really focus on the instruments.
So today I will write a piece about Revald from Østerby in Denmark. Revald gets an extra point at an early stage as he actually lets the listener decide what his music sounds and feels like. Total freedom and no risk on my end to get it wrong!
There is only one album and as far as I can tell there won't be a second one because the work of Revald is called In Perpetuum which means that it is forever, to continue with no end in sight. A project rather than an album that consists of different chapters - a never ending story so to say. So far there are two chapters and Revald adds new stuff whenever he finds time between his full time job and family. Revald mentions on his own website that there are two reasons why he makes instrumental music. One being that he is not (yet) satisfied with his lyrics and the second reason is that he likes the idea that whoever listens to his music can assign their own mental image and thoughts. That's good enough for me!
Revald himselfs plays guitar, bass and keyboards. For the drumming he is using a sample-based drum software synthesizer. I would not have expected him to play everything himself and I am already impressed that he masters three out of four instruments. At the same time you will notice that the drums are definitely one of the weaker spots. Anyway, enough of the introduction, let's listen to the tracks he has released so far.
We will start with Chapter I and Dragon's Passion. As I listen to this song I wonder how Revald came up with the name for this track but at the end of the day I don't really care as the song itself - besides some of the weaknesses I will mention later on - is really good. I mean ignore the drums - which simply provide the pace - but listen to the guitar. It is quite impressive and really, there is some serious talent at work! I look at the above picture of Revald and I would not have expected such passion. So there we have it, the passion - whether it is related to a Dragon or to Revald is entirely up to you!
Decompression makes more sense as obviously, you listen and you forget about your boss, the current political situation in Uzbekistan, the fact that Italy won't participate in next years Football world cup - or whatever it is that gets you worked up! Having gone through all of the tracks several times there are elements that seem a bit repetitive but not to an extent that it would bother me - on the contrary. It seems that only the best bits and pieces find their place in some of the songs again - it contributes to the fact that you can really feel Revald's passion and the intensity he creates.
Cosmic Surfer seems like a title that could have been chosen by Jamiroquai but relax, it is still Revald. There are elements that give you a bit of an outer space feeling but there is a lot more than that. As in all songs, some really deep guitar solos and various elements of what I call traditional Heavy Metal - a few really fat riffs appear all of a sudden. This is probably my favorite track overall. I really love it - there are also parts where almost no drums can be heard and this makes a big difference.
Summit makes me think immediately of my 2007 climb of Mount Kilimanjaro and listening to the first few seconds brings back memories. I vision myself going up this amazing mountain, the worlds highest free standing mountain by the way. Yes, this is the music that brings out emotions and works very well when having achieved something you believe would not have been possible. The track is jam packed with little amazing details if you just listen carefully. The way these are embedded in Summit confirms Revald's songwriting skills.
The intro of Summit was already a bit soft but Flow is even more gentle and clearly, it brings out even more emotions. This is some beautiful stuff but it only lasts for around a minute or so. Therefore I consider this a perfect conclusion for Chapter I of In Perpetuum.
The first track of Chapter II is called Fiat Lux. This Latin phrase means Let There Be Light. It comes from the third verse of the Book Of Genesis (and God said: Let there be light - and there was light)! Anyhow, Fiat Lux was also a super weird sectarian organization led by crazy Uriella but that is a different story. The quality of the production respectively the recording does not meet my high expectations. It does not sound awful but a tad hollow and especially the drums stand out - in a rather negative way.
However, the song as such has a clear structure and whenever the focus is on the guitar, it makes you forget the not so fantastic elements. Revald clearly is on top of his game when he is playing the guitar. The different layers make Fiat Lux a very interesting piece of music. The keyboard - one can argue whether it is necessary or not - give this song a very special ambiance. I start to imagine what this piece would sound like if the keyboards were replaced by a female Chorale?
I know it is a bit of a stretch especially that you hardly find a lot of real Chorale music around. Let me explain for a second: A Chorale was a term for a specific form of choral music that is associated in particular with Johann Sebastian Bach. This is the reason why I insist on this detail. Did you know that it was and is considered useful for church congregational singing? Of course you did and this is where it gets interesting as it brings us right back to the initial meaning of Fiat Lux respectively the whole religious business. As Revald is kind enough to let us make up our own mind, I am going with that even though I know it is nuts and bat shit crazy! All in all an interesting track with its ups and downs. I for one had a great time listening and trying to figure things out.
The second track is called The Outpost and is quite fast. I wish the track - as several others - would sound a little less hollow. The song comes with a nice flow and the longer you listen, the more intense it gets. The drums are quite dominant in this track and despite the earlier comment about this being a weaker spot, it somehow works in this tune. Revald has a great rhythm going with the odd slowdown in-between. I find especially the transition from these breaks back into the faster parts quite enjoyable especially as the guitars grow in intensity.
VIII is the last track for now. A slower piece and again with the "fake" Chorale but clearly something I appreciate. The tune is quite aligned with the previous one - it comes at a different pace but seems to be a follow up to The Outpost. There is a lot of emphasis on guitar solos hence why I give this track a big fat like. The overall areas for improvement have already been mentioned previously so I won't repeat this over and over again.
To wrap things up: Revald is a great musician and has given us a few really great instrumental tracks. He has been working on this for quite some time and I hope he continues as I enjoy his work. Someone show the guy how to run a crowdfunding campaign so he can work on the overall production and get some decent drums into his tracks. I would personally participate with a few bucks as I am sure the result will be fantastic. He already has demonstrated his skills and if you just take the time to listen track by track, you won't be disappointed either.
It really is a small world! As some of you may remember, a rather long time ago I wrote the occasional review for bands that were managed by Vodoo Queen. I have remained on friendly terms with their CEO, Yvonne Loveland although we did not have much contact on Facebook. It was always my intention to write at some stage again for one of the bands they look after but as I have a rather busy life, I never got the chance so far.
Today I am nevertheless happy to write a piece about Methane following a message Yvonne sent me a few weeks ago. And this is where it gets interesting! At this stage I am also one of the few posting pictures on Instagram. 80% of the pictures are following my frequent travels and contain buildings, beaches or ... flowers. But I also use the account to post concert pictures or invite folks to visit this website. Success is limited with a mere 400 followers so far. What is frustrating is also the automated likes you get and the loss of followers if you do not post regularly. What is my point? There is no loyalty to be honest but one of the most loyal followers I have on Instagram is Methane!
Therefore I am really excited to introduce you to this band! So the first question I want to answer concerns their name. Based on a 2014 interview on Youtube I learned that when looking for a decent name, all the hard sounding stuff was already taken. So they came up with Methane and it makes sense as Methane is used as a fuel, it can be explosive and on top of that it contains four atoms of hydrogen!
Now, in regards to their music I have heard different descriptions online: elements of Groove Metal, Southern Rock, Trash Metal and Heavy Metal. I am sure that this is somewhat true but on a personal note I really don't care. I appreciate that bands are influenced by other bands and have their roots but putting a label on it is not always helpful. We need to listen to the music and make up our own mind. Putting bands into a certain drawer may limit their audience from the get go and on the other hand it may not give the full picture.
Anyhow, Methane are Tim Scott (bass and vocals) and his brother Dylan Campbell (guitar), both are Americans who live in Sweden. They are joined by Jimi Masterbo (guitar) and Olle Ekman (bashing the drum kit since 2017 and replacing Andreas Strom). So far the band has managed to release two EP's. In 2014 they released Southern Metal and just a year later Spit On Your Grave. They have also a couple of great music videos out there - I especially like the 2014 Hang Me High as it involves bikes, booze and chicks! Before you guys get bored, take a look:
The intro is beautiful and you may expect a ballad but as soon as the bikers enter the bar this changes. Do you notice something? It really is not possible to put a label on Methane or to stick them into any kind of genre drawer! The word unique may not be applicable either but their music clearly has a large variety so rather than comparing them with other bands, we better focus on Methane. Which is exactly what we are going to do by listening to their debut full length album called The Devil's Own.
The title track The Devil's Own hits you hard from the first second with nicely distorted guitars and a certain darkness that keeps you company for the remainder of this track. The vocals are quite interesting as Tim is rather shouting the words but in a controlled manner which I find quite impressive. The refrain makes this a good tune for a live gig as fans will be happy to participate and support the band by shouting things like "give away your soul"! There are some interesting riffs which somehow manage to have quite an impact the more I listen to this track. In some Youtube review (Hello Finnish Metal Heads) it was mentioned that there seems to be a bit of an echo on the drums. I did not observe that but felt that the drumming has occasionally a touch of early Bay Area Trash Metal - but that is just my humble opinion.
Scars And Bars does not have a happy beginning either and the darkness prevails. I feel that this track is more intense than the previous one and a bit harder. The rhythm of this tune is an open invitation to bang your heads - you don't really have a choice! There is a short solo around 3 minutes into the song which is the icing on the cake. This track was on their 2014 Southern Metal EP.
The next track, Blood, Sweat And Beer, has also been released previously (2015 EP Spit On Your Grave). The intro is a bit lame and too long (40 seconds) but what follows afterwards is top notch even though the songwriting is in my opinion a little limited. That does not matter as Blood, Sweat And Beer is a track that seems to be really fun when performed live (Whiskey.....drinking!) It is quite obvious that the lyrics of the refrain are not too difficult to remember. In fact, I am ready!
Pray For Death gives you a decent amount of Southern Rock influences at first. Solid musicianship but the track does not stand out. It fits perfectly amongst the other tracks on this album but it does not kick my ass. Intense yes but I am just missing something which may be due to the fact that the previous 3 songs were quite strong and expectations are getting high!
Now it is getting really interesting! Stone Garden is a bit balladesque and Tim demonstrates that he has a soft spot. Listen! Ring any bells? Find out for yourselves and feel the intensity of the chorus. At first I was worried, then I took the time to listen a few more times and now I am really delighted! This track is why I love discovering new music: there are so many hidden treasures.
The time has come for Methane to Spit On Your Grave! You don't need to be a genius to figure out that this song has been released previously. I am not a genius either but the first 3 minutes are boring. Then, hope comes up after 3:10 minutes when they step it up a bit but unfortunately the track finishes the way it started - uninspired.
72 has an interesting start with a certain delay in the guitars. I tried to figure out the technical term but I gave up after an hour of watching related Youtube videos. The track heads into the same direction as Spit On Your Grave at first but the refrain and the guitar solo towards the end makes this a track that I consider ok.
If you Peel Of Your Skin with the same force as Tim starts this track you may apply for a gig at the Walking Dead! Powerful, tough as nails and a lot of aggression. The guitars are going nuts and the impression this tune leaves is one of an organized chaos and that is what makes it interesting. I admit at the same time that listening to Methane all afternoon is intense - as is their music.
Make up your own mind, leave me a comment but before you do that, listen to Blood, Sweat And Beer!