...a few thoughts

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Articles

Since all news actually lose their prime meaning once placed in a annual magazine, it crossed my mind I should ask some of my friends to reveal a few thoughts, in a general view, regarding the past year... how was 2003 (1) and which may be the expectations for 2004 (2)...

Some of them answered in a full extended manner while others divagated... All discussions were framed in the first two months of this year... let's see what came out of such!

Francesco Palumbo/MY KINGDOM MUSIC (label)

1. "It was a good year with few but important release like Klimt 1918 'Undressed Momento' CD and Rain Paint 'Nihil Nisi Mors' CD. The first one was acclaimed like one of the most surprising debut band with a top album in Orkus magazine in Germany . The same was for the confirmation of the value of our previous releases like Crowhead 'Frozen' CD, Deinonychus 'Mournument' CD, Room With A View 'First Year Departure' CD."

2. "First of all to have a great year and I hope to obtain a good distribution all over the world for my release. At the end of January will be out my newest releases Forgotten Sunrise 'Ru:mipu:dus' CD and Crest of Darkness 'Evil Knows Evil' CD, while in April will be out the new Deinonychus album recorded in Rome and titled 'Insomnia'. Other scheduled albums are Crowhead and Room With A View in October and the new Rain Paint and Klimt 1918 'Dopoguerra' for January 2005."

Florian Dammasch/ENID (band)

1. "Like almost every year it has been one full of light and shadow. There have been a lot of awful happenings, especially in mine and also Martin's private lives, but also within the band - and on the other side some really happy moments and great results of our work. With ENID we have recorded our new album 'Gradwanderer' (which is a wordplay meaning the wanderer walking straight but also wanderer on the edge) in September and October, together with our producer Patrick Damiani in his Tidal Wave studios in Karlsruhe/Germany. It was the most demanding experience we've made so far with the band - the result seems brilliant to us, but it has also been some kind of pure hell recording, mixing and mastering over an hour of pretty complex material within 12 days. Above all Martin and Patrick went through the fire to finish that album in the utmost genius way, and what to say... they succeeded. After the recordings the band split up, our second guitarist and our live drummer had to leave us. So, we're a trio at the moment, unable to enter a stage and with no concrete idea about the future of ENID . You see, we've paid a high price for the sensation of having recorded the best album of our career. Light and shadow, like I said. I'm of good will to continue with ENID and I'm optimistic we will do - most probably in a different way than before, but that doesn't have to be worse of course.

In the meantime I've started a new band called EISMALSOTT, together with the two left ENID members and a friend of mine called Aínvar. We have been so lucky being able to sign a contract with the German Black Attakk label (follow up to Last Episode), we've recorded a 7" named 'Best before:spring' lately and it looks like some promising thing. Hm, nah... to me it seems like light and shadow are balanced once again. The Big Balance probably..."

2. "For me personally it's like always: finding my place in life, freedom and luck... With ENID I can just hope a lot of listeners will recognize the bandwidth 'Gradwanderer' stands for in music, that they will notice how varied and marvellous the material on that album is. Code666 play an important role for the future of our band - with good promotion and good results of their work we all will be happy and strong enough to start a second attack with that band. Would be a pity to quit, at least that's my opinion.

EISMALSOTT is my big hope for 2004 - we have so much really fine material and plans to record a MCD and an album this year. I'm full of hope EISMALSOTT is going to develope to my personal play field for all my musical and lyrical ideas. After these two more releases we'll change our musical style radically, as both Johannes and I have the feeling to have ended with our area of Black Metal. If you have listened to the latest MANES release you will have an idea what I'm talking about... maybe."

Mr. Northwind/I CAME FROM DARKNESS (RIP) zine

1. "2003 was, to me, another year in the embrace of Black & Death Metal, and Occultism. Quite a few interesting books, zines and CDs came out last year, providing me some moments of real darkness and enabling me to delve further into the mysteries of life and death. I was also able to complete and release the debut issue of THE SINISTER FLAME, my new zine, in the end of the year, a fact bringing me great joy. The zine is 48/A4 pages, featuring interviews with SINOATH, BESATT, CRAFT, GRIFFAR, MORTEM, DERKETA and SHINING. Lots of reviews and some articles are included as well. Those interested in the issue can purchase a copy by sending 5 euros or bucks to: THE SINISTER FLAME, P.O. BOX 49, 57101 SAVONLINNA , FINLAND . Trades are okay, too. Sometimes."

2. "Personally, to dive even further in the bottomless sea of Occultism . I will also eventually start working on another issue of THE SINISTER FLAME, but that issue shall be a bit less about the musical side of things and a bit more about Occultism than #1. Actually I have plans to make #2 kind of like a 'split' issue, half of the contents being articles and studies concerning the Occult, while the other part is in the vein of a more traditional zine with interviews, reviews and such. But who knows. No promos are accepted now, so please do not send anything until you hear otherwise. Doing everything alone, and being constantly engaged in several things (personally and otherwise), the time I have available for writing is actually very limited. So, only after I have finished the Occult part of the next issue will I start accepting promos. Otherwise everything would get too bloody outdated. My other zine, the one I'm doing together with Tadas of LEDO TAKAS, called AD ARMA! will also unleash its long-awaited #3 this coming spring. It's a lot like #2, but perhaps not as thick fucker as that one was. http://www.metalprovider.com/tsf "

LE'RUE DELASHAY (band)

1. "2003 brought forth my lastest classical release 'The law of 8ve's' on Root of all Evil Records, along with the reformation of Theatre of the macabre. We are now currently recording material for 'Manifesting the Sorcerers Lore' which should be due out in the summer of 2004."

2. "2004 will find me putting some finishing touches on the music for an underground art film for Dr. Mangor, the publication of some of my latest essays in various magazines, and also a new Le' rue CD by the end of the year, all provided."

Vgander/HELHEIM (band)

1. "2003 was a good year concerned our release 'Yersinia Pestis'. But concerning live it happened very little. Only a few gigs, which is very unfortunate for us as live is very important. Our album got very good critics in the main press, and we feel that we've gained more and new fans with this album."

2. "Plans for 2004 is to hopefully get another contract with Massacre Records. Our new album will be called 'The journeys and the experiences of death' and will be a concept album, definitely the hardest one to make to date. Hopefully our 2000 MCD 'Helsviti' will be released this year, as a ltd ed. to the new album, or singlehanded. We would like to tour this year, or at least a bunch of festivals. One is already booked, but I'm not allowed to say which one. Apart from that there's no concrete plans."

edA-qa mort-ora-y/ Trostlos (label)

1. "A slow but decent year. Shiva in Exile released their first album and digital sales have been good."

2. "We are planning 1 or 2 experimental releases (and we are trying to find really experimental material, not just calling it that). Then we should be starting for film / TV production if everything goes well."

Roberto/AVANTGARDE MUSIC/WOUNDED LOVE (label)/ MONUMENTUM (band)

1. "As good as bad as any other year."

2. "I don't have any expectations, as usual, if not bringing back home my bones every night."

Chris/PULSAR LIGHT (label)

1. "2003 was it's a hard working year, because we have grow as a label and we have to dealed with some good partnership. I remember this year as work , work and work."

2. "I hope that this year is a good year for us we start with good releases, Dracos Hypnalis (Melodic Death Metal), STIGMHATE and SUHRIM."

Gerrit Mohr/ Century Media (label)/MOURNING CARESS (band)

1. "A good one... I have lovely private surroundings and I am a free man... business wise we had a good year at CM, although the music industry has seen better days... my own band was way too lazy."

2. "I hope the ones I love (and all the others) will have a healty year 2004. CM will be stronger then ever, so my band will..".

IkonX/xARKANEx (band)

1. "The Year 2003 has been quite a hectic year for me, both on personal and musical side of things. Involving Personal life ,this year has been quite dissapointing and sorrowful in several aspects...On the musical side of things now , xARKANEx released their debut album 'Arcane Elitism' which received noumerous positive reviews and feedback and really got embraced by the followers of Dark Atmospheric Music all over the world which is actually a very encouraging factor to keep me going further and create more!"

2. "xARKANEx are planning to hit the studio quite soon in order to Record their second Opus Which will be entitled 'Enraptured Serene Mesmerism', under the same label THE FOSSIL DUNGEON. This new Album will include 10 hymns of Atmospherical Symphonic Neoclassical Soundtrack-ish Dark Ambient. Check xARKANEx website for details (http//xarkanex.realnoise.net) and email me at xarkanex@hotmail.com "

Emil Saparevski/ CORVUS CORX (label)

1. "2003 was a terrible year in personal aspect, but in the professional field it was more than good. We release our premiere CD-NEST 'Woodsmoke'. The CD receive good reviews in the press and the letters we receive make us happy-the audience like the music of the band, the true, non commercial feeling in it, the atmosphere, sound quality.... Many distributors take the CD, although they were suspicious in the beginning-NEST is coming from Finland while we are from Bulgaria . Strange, huh?

2. "2004 will be better.We are releasing our second CD- Kajno Jesno Slonce . In ancient Bulgarian language this means something like a bright shining sun. The music here is atmospheric and epic in the same time... Dark and brings the light of the hope, Acoustic and in the same time contains some synth layers. It has been played on Gaida (Bulgarian bagpipe) and bears the whole sorrow that the heart of the mountain can take. Male orthodox choirs, the sound of the gaida that can make your soul soar; natural noises can be found in this chedeauvre."

Rogier Bos/ COLD BLOOD INDUSTRIES (label)

1. "Some 2003- highlights for us: starting a new sublabel for Atmospheric Gothic Metal ( Ebony Tears ), The Monolith Deathcult doing 2 European Tours with The Crown . We had some really great releases ( The Monolith Deathcult, Katafalk, Crustacean and more...), although sales could have been better. The fans don't really understand that by downloading and copying music it gets harder and harder for bands and labels to release good stuff. Keep supporting the Metalscene guys!"

2. "Doing a few very good Atmospheric/Gothic Metal releases: The Wounded -'Atlantic' , To Elysium -'Nightmare's Nest', Imperia (with Helena Iren Michaelsen) and Nemesea (Dutch Gothic metal like After Forever/Nightwish/Epica ) to start with. We'll see what comes after that!"

Mass/BLACK WIDOW (label)

1. "2003 was a very succesfull year for BWR, we are very happy especially about some releases like AKRON- 'Il tempio di Ferro' (much more Dark and Prog of the first), ANTONIUS REX-'Praternatual' (an unreleased remastered lost album from 80 with a strong occult and dark feeling, MAGIK!). We are also very very proud about the releases of: PENTAGRAM-'A keg full of dynamite' (a live from 78 with 2 guitars), MANILLA ROAD-'Spiral castle'-on vinyl (the best true epic Metal band ever) and to have released, after yeras and years of serching, RIPPER-'and the dead shall rise'', on CD and vinyl!!!! During 2003 we worked about some others masterpieces that will see the light during 2004. From other labels around the world in 2003 we like the albums of Mars Volta Darkness, Gae Bolg, Hidden Hand . The best concert we saw during 2003 was AKRON at Hiroshima ( Turin ), it was a fantastic thearical and spectacular night!"

2. "For 2004 we hope to do better and better! We hope that our bands will play more concerts during this year and I hope you can help them!!!! Our releases for 2004 are: THE BLACK-'Peccatis Nostris/Capistrani Pugnatur'-2 lps-1 CD. These are the best the Black albums vere, very strong, very heavy and doooomy, this band kills!!!! MINOTAURI-Same (this Finnish Doom band is ready to have his debut album! We follow them from years and 2004 is the year of Minotauri ). PENTAGRAM-'Show'em' how (new album, new line-up, a new killer), BEDEMON-same (unreleased 70's hard-psyck album of ex- Pentagram members with Bobby on vocals. Dedicated to the late Randy Palmer, a gem to discover), L'IMPERO DELLE OMBRE-Same (debut for this Italy new band that mix early DEATH SS and Quatermass+Black Widow. Incredibles!!!) NORTHWINDS-'Chimeres' (third masterpiece for the French Gods), ORNE-Debut album for this Finnish band that we call 'The New Black Widow', PAUL ROLAND-'Strychinine' and other potent poisons (The goth minstrel from UK signed for us and this is the first release of this genius for BWR incl. many covers versions. Goth and Dark), ZESS-This band incl. some of the original member of Malombra and plays a very obscure Heavy Doom Goth like a mix of Black Sabbath , Pentagram and Candlemass ). There is more... but I want to say too much now, there are some big surprises during 2004!"

Mairtin/ METAL WORKS (magazine)

1. "2003 for me was good, but very, very tiring! We only managed to get one issue of Metalworks on the shelves during the entire year, but it was an enjoyable year, nonetheless! Some great albums came out, most notably from Negura Bunget, Forgotten Tomb, Iron Maiden, Melechesh, Mourning Beloveth, Scald, Septic Flesh, Gorgoroth - one of the best years in recent times, in my opinion! Besides that, I fulfilled a life-long ambition by interviewing Steve Harris backstage at Iron Maiden 's show in Dublin in December... so look out for that in a future issue!"

2. "Well, the first thing is obviously to put our fourth issue to rest, and to follow it very quickly (within 2-3 months) with the next one. Besides that, I have a great ambition to do two things: to form a new band, as I really miss playing music, and also to return to playing my next passion, rugby! At the moment, though, this seems like a far off dream, as the magazine takes up so much of time, but I'll work something out. My priority will remain will the zine, though, and I'm absolutely determined to release no less than three issues this year."

Tom/SYSTEM SHOCK/KMG (label)

1. "I can´t remember what happened in 2003, it´s already gone for nearly two weeks, ha, ha."

2. "We have the new MASTER album coming up. Paul Speckmann is re-terrorizing the world of extreme Metal for about 20 years now and the new album is his strongest effort since the glorious 'On The 7th Day God Created... Master' album from the early Nineties. The album will be entitled 'The Spirit Of The West' and comes up with a crushing sound as Paul has been backed up by musicians from the Czech cult Thrashers Shaark. The album features even a metallized 'Ring Of Fire' tribute to the deceased Johnny Cash. MASTER will be promoting the album with an European Tour. They will be supported by Israeli melodic Deathers SALEM who will release their first DVD soon. We are especially happy for SALEM as it is their very first European tour. Afterwards we have the Dutch Death Metal horde XENOMORPH coming up with their second album entitled 'Necrophilia Mon Amour' and they will once again combine the best elements of several styles of musical brutalism."

Moritz Neuner/GRAVEWORM/DARKWELL (band)

1. "The year 2003 was in the musical way very busy - as always - for me. I had a great year to be part as the GRAVEWORM-Crew, on such famous Festivals like WACKEN OPEN AIR (D), SUMMERBREEZE OPEN AIR (D) and METALFEST VIENNA (A) and I surprisely had to help them out since September 2003 behind the drums on several shows in Italy , Germany and Austria . With DARKWELL we started the year 2003 with a headlining Mini-Tour through Italy , Germany , the Netherlands and Austria followed by a cool Support-Tour in Austria before PARADISE LOST! Then we played great Festival-Shows with our new female voice at the WAVE GOTHIC MEETING (D), two Shows at one day at the BULLDOG-Festivals (A) & DARK MOON-Festival (A), the SUMMERBREEZE OPEN AIR (D) and the METAL MERIDIAN-Festival (D). With SIEGFRIED we did the world-LIVE-premiere at the SKELETON BASH-Festival (A) in my hometown. Furthermore I did also the first shows with SHADOWCAST starting with a cool Support-Show in Vienna (A) before CRADLE OF FILTH, as well as a cool headlining Tour through Austria in Mid-June 2003; we also played at the MONSTERS OF DEATH-Festival (A) and at the METAL KOROSKA-Festival (SLOV) and in Spring we did some support-shows at the GREEN CARNATION-Tour in Austria and Germany as well as several single-shows. Furthermore you can hear my drumming on the following CDs from 2003: GOLDEN DAWN, SHADOWCAST and SIEGFRIED."

2. "The next week I will start the Recordings as first for the new DARKWELL CD, coming out in April 2004 followed by several headlining shows through Germany, Austria and hopefully Swiss and the Netherlands. Furthermore there should be a release from a band from the Netherlands for whom I played the drums on their new CD back in Spring 2003, as well as in mid-February the Debut CD of Austrias STERNENSTAUB - www.sternenstaub.org - for whom I recorded the drums back in 2002. As this years new drummer in GRAVEWORM will start hopefully in March the first US-appearance at several shows and festivals followed by a big European Festival-Tour between April and August 2004. In Spring 2004 we'll record the new CD followed by several shows around the world. Furthermore I will play drums on the upcoming studio-sessions from SHADOWCAST, ST.LUCIFER (former ABIGOR), as well as some surprise acts."

Adi Mihailov/BESTIAL (label)

1. "2003 was a good year for us. Even if the number of people dedicated to the underground are smaller every year. We released two albums (in fact debut albums) of Marsyas and Din Umbra . We also re-printed the old albums of GOD ('From the Moldavian Eclesiastic Throne' and 'Sublime'). And we produced a new T-shirt for Negura Bunget (the model 'N Crugu Bradului')."

2. "We have great plans for this year: we want to release the new album of GOD , called 'Aura', and to reprint the old titles of Negura Bunget, Abigail and Avatar . We also want to build a section of our website for people outside our country (in this moment, www.bestial.ro is designed only for Romanian users)."

Thorsten/ EQUINOXE (label)

1. " 2003 was a really good year for our small label. With Neon Dream and Slyde we had much success with the releases of two newcomers and are really happy about the really good reviews and reactions we received about them. On the other hand we are a little bit afraid about the fact that sellings of CDs are going down in generall because of illegal downloads and CD copying. Especial for small labels as ours this could become really dangerous."

2. " For 2004 we hope that the people remember to support the artists they love to hear. Also we hope that we could release some more succesfull CDs as in 2003. First of all the new CD of German Gothic heroes The House Of Usher . And last but not least we hope that our new sub-label e-noxe specialized on the electronic way of music will be a success, too."

Samantha/VIRGIN BLACK (band)

1."2003 was a busy year for us. We released our second full-length album 'Elegant... and dying' through Massacre Records in Europe and The End Records in the U.S. The album has received much praise from critics (eg. 15/15 Legacy; 9/10 Orkus).

May 2003 saw us leaving the shores of Australia and flying to the U.S. to do a West Coast tour with Antimatter (Duncan Patterson, x- Anathema ) and Agalloch . After America , we then went to Germany to perform at the Wave-Gotik-Treffen festival in Leipzig . The response was incredible, even better than what we could have imagined."

2. "Our main focus now is writing. We plan to begin recording the next release mid-way trhough 2004, and it promises to be an even bigger project; something very different. It is highly probable that we will return to Germany again this year to play a few 'special' shows, but this hasn't been confirmed. It is a difficult task for a band coming from Australia ; but it has been an exciting time for us."

Mark Riddick/ The Fossil Dungeon (label)

1. " 2003 was a successful year for The Fossil Dungeon, a label owned and operated by members of the neo-medieval group The Soil Bleeds Black . We published seven releases in 2003: The Soil Bleeds Black -'Mirror of the Middle Ages' CD, Mephisto Walz -'Nightingale' CD/7"EP, Butterfly Messiah -'Eternal' CD, Dawn Desiree -'Dancing, Dreaming, Longing...' CD, Mirabilis s/t 7" EP, The Fossil Dungeon Program.02 compilation CD-R."

2. " Plans already set for 2004 include: Dark Muse -'Ghosts in the Ethereal Garden' 2xCD, Chirleison -'A Whisper' CD, Hexentanz -' Nekrocrafte', CD, Mythos of the Mediterranean 2x7" compilation."

Tyko/ TENHI (band)

"Next full-lenght album will be recorded this spring/summer and hopefully released next autumn. Also plans to make a music video for some song from that album. Moreover rumour about a small european tour this spring, but we will see what happens. Anyway the spring is going to be very hectic."

Alex Kurtagic/ BENIGHTED LEAMS (band)/SUPERNAL MUSIC (label)

1. "I personally have never liked years or ages ending in 3. However, during 2003 we put out three excellent releases: HATE FOREST's 'Purity' CD, DRUDKH's 'Forgotten Legends' CD, and THE MEADS OF ASPHODEL 'Exhuming the Grave of Yeshua' CD; the latter was album of the month in Terrorizer and gained accolades in the commercial press, even though we are a tiny underground label and never been into that sort of hype. We also started producing merchandise, both band-associated and 'ideological': With our 'Anti-Human' mugs we transformed the mundane drinking of tea into an anti-social statement, and an expression of disgust for the human race; we also launched HATE FOREST 'Scythia' polo shirts - radical fashion for the radical Europhile. The foundations were laid for the offensive of 2004."

2. "2004 began in earnest: our woozy heads had not yet fully recovered from all the champagne, and my neighbour's dog had not yet claimed its turkey carcass, when HATE FOREST sent us a rare email to inform us of their intention to record three albums this year. Three albums! These are, if we understood correctly: two HATE FOREST full-lengths, one of them being an ambient-style recording like 'The Gates', and a third DRUDKH full-length. It looks, therefore, as if this is going to be a busy and very energetic year - not least because we are in the process of adding new bands to our roster, which we will announce later. Available now are our HATE FOREST polo shirts, which come in four different sizes (although, by the time of writing, we have already sold out of the smallest size until the next re-print). Visit our webstore for details and image. They look and feel great, and, to my knowledge, they are the first and only (radical) Black Metal polos ever made. Beyond this our genius brains are working on additional merchandise ideas-consumable agitprop to break the mold and terrorise the Marxist plague! Feminazis, humanists, Christian Socialists, cosmopolitanists, cultural saboteurs, hippies, trendy airheads, TV-addicts, and peecee terrorists: beware. No update is complete without hammering down once again a recapitulation of our confirmed forthcoming releases, to with:
CAPRICORNUS' 'Alone Against All' CD (March), HATE FOREST 'Battlefields''CD (May), INFERUM '...Taur-Nu-Fuin...' CD (t.b.a.), HATE FOREST 'Scythia' re-issue cd (t.b.a.), HATE FOREST 'Blood & Fire / Ritual + bonus' CD (t.b.a. - new addition!), MAYHEM 'Out from the Dark' shape picture disc (t.b.a.), and BEWITCHED 'Hibernum in Perpetuum' re-issue cd. Memorise it."

JF/GURKKHAS (band)/ DEADSUN (label)

1. " The 2003 year wasok, in fact it has been grat in terms of the qualities of the bands we have signed, but not so good in sells i would say. the market has been down during several months and our sells have suffered. Anyway, this has not stopped us in our progressiona nd we have now a lot of great bands in our camp!! I would like more people to have a look at our compnay,we have fuc'in bands and a new website to discover them via MP3, videos!!"

2. " We hope to grow and grow in good size to be abble to help more and more our band. We thanks all people who believe in us and fuck the others!"

Martin Schindler/ MANTUS (band)

1. " The year 2003 was a good year for MANTUS and Black Heaven. We released "Weg ins Paradies", the full time album of MANTUS, and the "end of the world" E.P. of Black Heaven with new songs, Remixes of older songs and a coverversion of "Puppets" by Depeche Mode. Both releases were successful and the reactions we got of the magazines and fans were very positive. But there were also lots of unpleasant things in 2003, for example the Irak war and George W. Bush and the terror in too many countries because of religion or territory..."

2. " I think the year 2004 will become very successful and extraordinary for my projects. With MANTUS we have finished the recordings of our new Single and Album. In May we will release the single 'Keine Liebe' as a limited edition together with a DVD Single. The DVD Single contains the videos 'Keine Liebe' and some older MANTUS songs. Probably the album called 'Ein Hauch von Wirklichkeit'' we will release in August, also in a limited edition with a CD containing only piano versions of some songs of the album. The CD will be released under TRISOL, because we made a new contract for 2 fulltime albums. Everything is very costly produced and I hope the people will like it. At the moment I'm working on new Black Heaven songs and I already have some ideas for a great release. But concrete there is nothing planned for the next future."

Patrick/CALLENISH CIRCLE (band)

1." The year 2003 was pretty good for us. We released our 4th album 'My Passion//Your Pain' on Metal Blade Records. The album got atremendous response worldwide. Furthermore we did a nice Benelux-mini-tour with Dismember, some cool summerfestivals (Wacken Open Air & Summer Breeze) and in October we did a full European tour with Exodus & Nuclear Assault among others."

2. " Upcoming year we will hopefully play some more festivals and mini-tours but first we need to find a replacement for our drummer Gavin, cause he will not be available after February to play with us live. So at the moment we are looking out for a session-drummer that can help us out the rest of the year. Furthermore there are plans to re-release all our pre-Metal Blade Records material on a 2-CD though Karmageddon Media. That means the Lovelorn-demo ('95), our debut-album Drift of Empathy ('96), the Escape MCD ('98) and our 2nd album Graceful... yet Forbidding ('99). Last but not least we will start writing new material for our 5th album that we plan to record early 2005."

Guido Heijnens/KARMAGEDDON MEDIA (label)

1. " 2003 was a very hard year with too many people in our way. I rather forget this year, although music wise we did release some killer albums for sure! I get very annoyed by now by all those shitheads who know everything better, but probably spend their day with downloading and wanking! Music might be on dying path... let's hope 2004 is different."

2. " Release good albums, support our bands and enjoy the music!"

Adi Ilie/hmm.ro (site)

1. " 2003 was pretty bust, with a lot of work, some major dissapointments but also a lot of achievements. No great deal of artistic or musical discoveryies (I must say that no new album impressed me, but only a bunch of DVDs) but I thnink that some inner evolution took place, as a result of several contact with some persons."

2. " I'd like to continue on the way that we are and to be able to improve ourselves, to step further and to make more money."

Daniel Dorobantu/THY VEILS (band)/PENDUL (site)

1. " One of the greatest. Thy Veils signed a contract for a DVD release and 'The Diaphanous Depressions' album got worldwide distribution and great reviews."

2. " Releasing a new studio album (the 5th, entitled 'The Call') and starting to perform live."

Athelstan/ANGELSIC (label)/FOREFATHER (band)

1. " 2003 started well with the successful release of the debut SYMBEL CD 'We drink-hymns and counsel of anglo-saxon heathenry', and now this limited release is almost sold out. Since then Sceott (of SYMBEL) has gone on to release the debut CDR of his other project BRETWALDAS OF HEATHEN DOOM, on his own label King Penda Productions, featuring accomplice Dagfari Wartooth. He has also release the 2001 SYMBEL demo on cassette. Other labels have expressed interest in releasing SYMBEL material, so the future is looking bright for this heathen metal monolith. On the FOREFATHER front, towards the later end of 2003 we have been recording and mixing the 4th album to be titled 'Ours Is The Kingdom', which will be released on Karmageddon Media (Hammerheart) in early-mid 2004. Karmageddon will also be re-releasing all the other FOREFATHER albums in conjunction with the new album. They will feature in digipak form with extended artwork and 2 bonus tracks on each album. Mixing for these extra tracks is currently being finalised. We are very much looking forward to our time with Karmageddon, and can't wait to release this album which has been in our heads for far too long. The artwork will again be done by Chrille Anderson, and of this work he says it's his best ever! The album features 12 tracks of varying pace, from insanely fast to melancholic and slow, with some extremely memorable tunes. We definitely feel it's our best album to date."

2. " Regarding the label plans for 2004, we hope to continue with our increasingly successfuly mail order service and release some new SYMBEL material which is in the making. At some point we would like to do a vinyl release as well. Catch up with news and find links to FOREFATHER and SYMBEL at: http://members.aol.com/AngeliscE ."

Lenti Chiriac/ HMM (magazine)/ Romania Radio

1. " I can say it was O.K. For me, except the radio & TV shows and also the Heavy Metal Magazine, the most important subject was the Rock Am Ring Festival in Germany . At this festival I have make interviews with Metallica and Marylin Manson. Meantime, it was the year in which Heavy Metal Magazine was choose one of the media partners for the Wacken Open Air festival in 2004."

2. " This year Heavy Metal Magazine will celebrate 10 years of existence. Maybe, it will be a party and I will organize an concert. Hope to get more radio shows at the national romanian broadcasting corporation and to put more rock videos on MTV Romania during the whole day."

FLOODLAND (band)

1. <mr.smiss>

" I think 2003 was a little bit difficult for the band. The year before we made great efforts to create a good album, 'Decay', which was the best thing we ever made up to that moment. At least in our opinion. Well, the album got very good reviews from the press, but nevertheless it did not succeed as well as our earlier work 'Ocean of the lost' from 2000. First of all that was the fault of the CD press company, who had a bad delay and supplied our album long after the reviews and ads in the magazines. But besides we got some existental doubts about our approach to music, although we knew that 'Decay' was quite a professional work. So in spring 2003 we started to work on some new material, and we tried a new way of composition and texting. We thought we would have a new concept of music then. But instead we got somehow confused with the new stuff, the process grew slower and slower and none of us was ever satisfied with anything we did that time. There was very much talk, much of 'thinking it over', but it did not exactly lead us anywhere. In early summer 2003 we all felt musically worn out, disappointed with the poor outcome of the sessions and unsure whether we were on the right way. So we decided to timeout FLOODLAND and have a break until the end of the year. The idea was to have six months of real thinking, cooling down and get some distance to the latest facts. I had a feeling about this like it would get us to a final situation in one of two options: either we will meet again half a year later with the want to proceed with floodland, or we will split the band and declare the whole thing finished. Guessing the future of the band was a hardly satisfying situation, but on the other hand there were our families who enjoyed the break very much. I realized in those six months, how much of my children's development I was missing all the years! But to all the fans - there's no need for sadness: all of the Floodlanders started to miss it very soon: the stage, the rehearsals, the studio - and the fun ...! Not long after the summer we met again and restarted the discussion. The break would last until december, but we'd have a meeting after new year and check out what was left of FLOODLAND in each of our hearts..."

<burn:hard>
" As far as for my part there was sure much left in my heart, but there was another part that grew stronger and stronger and that was the idea of a solo album... So that input of taking a half year´s break was very much mine... First of all I didn´t feel well at all, because things like the money (missing) and such shit were getting more and more important instead of the musical development... And second there are some discussions about the future musical style, whether we should stay 'true' Gothic with modern influences like samples and sequencers, or if we should search for a more futuristic and at the same moment maybe more commercial approach... At that point I felt the urge to beg the band for a break to work on was in my head, but not reserved for the band, musicwise... Nowadays I miss to play live very much, and I miss the regular rehearsing with my second 'family'... So there is no doubt for me that we will fight for FLOODLAND and work on the new album again very soon ..."

2. <mr.smiss>

" That meeting for new directions to FLOODLAND took place in the first week of January 2004 in one of our favourite clubs. There is not too much to say about it - we are going to start the thing again! There will be some new circumstances for the music, but it will be something similar to the old FLOODLAND stuff. We will work on more new material, perhaps pick up some of last year's ideas and recycle them and put all that onto the stage. We plan to do the new stuff as live songs which work in the studio as well. So maybe less electronics than on the last two records - or maybe less automatic machines and more live stage work. If we want, there could still be loads of electronics in it... Last year's break is not definitely over by now, because the band got a little lesser importance to its members in the last months. But I think we are on the way back into music and this year will see a new bloom of FLOODLAND. Maybe the rosebud will not open this year, maybe only in 2005. That is OK for me, if the music needs the time. We are not in a hurry."

<burn:hard>

" There is not much to add, as far as we are looking for a new rehearsal room now, which we will maybe adjust to loud music on our own *ggg*... We hope that all our fans out there on this planet haven´t forgot us and are still waiting impatiently on the next FLOODLAND album... it will come on the market as soon as we can manage (I can blab out that it will deal with our home town Vienna)... And of course there are some requests for the band to play live again, not only in Austria , but also in Hungary and the Czech Republic ... So hopefully these wishes will come true very soon, too..."

Michele Giorgi/ Code666 (label)

1. " 2003 was an incredibly active year for code666, started with big names like ABORYM and NEGURA BUNGET, the bands represented two completely different ways to approach extreme sound: innovative, technology driven and futurists ABORYM; ancient, pagan and obscure NEGURA BUNGET. Along with them we had the double cd sampler 'Better undead than alive', a double CD featuring all the bands in our roster and many extras, like video tracks, interactive and a contest. This Compilation led into a new concept, not only a sampler to check the bands, but a complete sound track witha proper life and a common feeling linking the music. Than we had MANES and KONKHRA, another big pair. The masters of Death-Thrash witht heir best album since a while. A pure hammer to crash listeners into an endless headbanging. Beside we had MANES, a completely renewed band that produced one of my favs in the whole musical scene for 2003: electronic, trip hop, metal, post-rock, whatelse? All took part in this unique album for a great personal result. In the same period we launched our sublabels Dreamcell11 and GoreGore with their releases DISMAL (for Dreamcel11) and a three way split CD with the leading Italian brutal bands (on GoreGore). The year ended with three incredible proposals: ATROX, UNMOORED and HANDFUL OF HATE. Three bands with distant personalities but all of them ahead in the respective scenes. As usual Code666 presented the whole extreme metal landscape, from technical Death/Black to avantgarde schizo-metal to pure carnal black. I think we had a great year with some of our best releases so far, so no way to complain about a so brilliant period. We also launched our new website, a great webstore and the label forum, all along our way to reach the highest degree in professional attitude. During the last months, Davide Tiso from EPHEL DUATH decided to open his own label into most interesting and weird tendencies for avantgarde/contaminated metal and founded Amaranth recordings. We are all waiting to hear what this great artist will be able to discover and release in the next months. The year ended with the birth of a main label to support and cohordinate our work: Aural Music will be our base and our mothership while continuing to act also under the glorous old flags."

2. " 2004 will be even more exciting, with all the different projects going on under the Aural Music flag. We will have new releases from every label acting under this mark so it will be a year full of releases. As for code666 we will have in the first part of the year CARINOU (from the former PUISSANCE mastermind), ENID, VOID OF SILENCE, then DIABOLICUM, AGHORA, THEE MALDOR KOLLECTIVE... So much good music I can barely remember. Add that Aural will have it's first own band: Mechanical Poets releasing their album after the Summer. But you will have to discover all the treasure we are preparing little by little."

Alex Brandusesc/THE BEAUTY OF PAIN (label)

1. " What can I say about 2003? Only few words of what I left behind. I released the first VOKODLOK CD but unfortunately everything stopped there. I wish I had produced some other cds and even sign some bands from abroad but due to the fact that in room the music industry is not working properly this couldn't be possible. Concerning the distribution, little by little it begins to work as it should do."

2. " For 2004 I hope there will be more releases and I am already planning two certainties: DIVINE MUZAK and GRIMEGOD. I'm not giving up the idea of releasing some foreign bands and I want to use this opportunity to ask the bands to send their demos for a possible deal."

Giuliano/ENSOPH (band)

1. " 2003 has been an important year in the life of Ensoph. We had recorded our second full-lenght album 'Opus Dementiae', we had played some important gigs with bands like Killing Miranda, Novembre, Mortuary Drape, Ephel Duath and Cinema Strange (just to name a few), and we had finally found a really good deal with Cruz Del Sur, that believes in us and in our music. We don't want to remember the bad times, just the positive ones."

2. " Great gigs & tons of promotion! About concerts we have planned a mini italian tour with our friend Novembre and the great Asterius from Germany, but we are planning a great number of gigs in north italy to improve our live experience. We are also working for some european dates (we are interested especially in great German events like the legendary Wave Gothic Treffen). Our new site is still under construction; we have some special surprise in it for our net-fanatics fans, like videos and inedite tracks.The main events in 2004 will be without doubt the coming out of our new album. Be sure that 'Opus Dementiae' will change your way to think about extreme music..."

Andy/ WINDS/AGE OF SILENCE (bands)

1. " 2003 was a great year for me both musically and on a personal level. We recorded everything for the Winds album except for the drums (which were recorded the year before) and I also had some great experiences in the studio during the production, where we managed to work very well together as a team, with more members in the band present at the same time during the recordings than what we've done before. On a personal level I quit my part time job over the summer and I'm now doing the music more or less full time, and I've also gone from living in a small apartment in the city to a nice house in the countryside. 2003 was a great year."

2. " For 2004 I have many things going on. Carl and I mixed the new Winds album in Vancouver, Canada in early January, and I got to meet and work with some fine people in the industry who have previously worked with the likes of Metallica, Fear Factory and other multi million selling bands. That was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. I'm also busy right now tracking the synth for Age of Silence. That will probably take me until the end of March and then we will mix that album in April. I also participated on two tracks playing mellotron for a band called Subterranean Masquerade earlier this month. I hope to finish my solo album this year and I will surely write some more Winds material for the fourth album. My soloalbum is quite unfinished yet so I only have limited information available. What I do know is that it's most likely going to be an EP, with probably 4 songs. The material so far is all written by me for guitar, I've recorded some ideas on acoustic and clean electric. I also plan to do piano and some orchestration to add to it. Jan Axel will do the drums, although not in a similar fashion as we're used to from Winds. It's going to be a quite mellow album with some progressive and intricate melodies here and there. I'm also working on vocal ideas and I'm unsure whether I'm going to perform them myself or whether I'm going to get some different people to do it. Nothing is for sure at this point but I'm going to finish this as soon as I have the time."

Oyvind/FRANTIC BLEEP (band)

1. "2003 was indeed a very good year for Frantic Bleep. Our main goal for the year was to (hopefully) get signed with a good record-label. We released our demo 'Fluctuadmission' in November 2002 and we spend a lot of time to promote the band around the world. We received positive feedback from 4 labels, and we ended up receiving offers from 2 of these. We had been in contact with Lee Barrett of Elitist/Earache since late 2002, and we ended up getting an offer from Earache in the spring 2003. We felt really honoured that a person like Lee Barrett showed so much faith in us, since he also has signed bands like Emperor and Opeth in the past, and obviously has a great ear for talent. At the same time we also received an offer from Andreas Katsambas and The End Records. At first we hoped to be able to sign for both labels so they could work more effectively in their own territory ( USA and Europe), but since Earache has an office in the US we didn't think Earache would say yes to this. The Earache contract was a very big standard contract (40+ pages) and we didn't want to spend the next six months negotiating with them, so we turned the offer down and signed a 3 album deal with The End. The deal we have with The End is very loose and there's no traps or unfair demands in it. Lee Barrett later asked Earache to get a licence from The End so they could release the album in Europe , and they said yes. This is the first time Earache have said yes to licence an album so we are quite happy about that. We also spend the year writing music for the upcoming album. We started briefly to write in January 2003. In February/March Patrick and Paul went away on tour with Madder Mortem supporting Opeth, and we basically wrote the whole album the months after the tour had ended. In June/July our old drummer Karl Arthur Renstrøm left the band and we replaced him with Stein Erik Svendheim, a very talented drummer from our town. We clicked immediately at the first rehearsal, and I must say that he's perfect for the band. We also started to record the debut album in October/November. We are still working on the album as I write this (February 2004)."

2. "We hope that 2004 will be an even better year than 2003. As mentioned, we are still working on the debut album. When we are recording an album we want it to be as good as possible (we're a bunch of perfectionists). We are done with the basic recordings, and we'll hopefully finish the bass and some additional overdubs soon, but the vocals will take some more time to finish. We are currently working with a new singer (Mr Kjetil Fosseid) which has worked out great so far. It takes some time to work out the melodies and adapting them to the music. The new songs are heavier than most of the songs on the demo. Maybe not as extreme, but the songs are more based on groove, melody, feeling,dynamics and experimentation. We hope to finish the recordings around March/April 2004. We also hope to be able to do some live shows after the album is out. Since Paul Mozart Bjørke (bass, Vocals) only is working with us in the studio, we might need a session bass player for live situations. I don't think we'll be able to do any major touring after the debut album, but we hope to be able to do some shows in Norway at least, since the new songs sounds really good live. We'll also start working on new material when we finish the recordings. We have a lot of material lying around as well, so we hope to release the second album in 2005."

Jan Transit/KARMAKOSMETIX (label)/ex-IN THE WOODS... (band)

1."I got to release the two first attempts on my new label, karmakosmetix, which have sold pretty well. Besides this, I've gained lots of experience on a personal level, related to jobs etc etc. I've started drumming in a band which is an old dream of mine. We' re called Black Bone Chapel, and there will be at least a 7" released this year."

2. " Wanna have more releases out on kkx + finally start to record an album on my own, yeah!"

Roy Kristensen/Imhotep (magazine/webzine)

1. " Well, frankly speaking it's not much to tell you. I released Imhotep #9, did less interviews and reviews than I would like to do and I listened well to metal as usual. This may sound like a big thing, but I have had less motivation than ever, worked way toooo much and got less inspired. Though, I must admit that if I have had the necessary money Imhotep would turn into something big because we got major distribution in Norway , Finland and Sweden . But, as said, I lost inspiration. On the good side I have slowly but safely become involved in love towards the end of the year. So, things are getting better..."

2. " 2004, a fine year... and better. Fact is, the web-page is getting better all the time. I have found motivation once again, I listen to Metal all the time and I have begun to do more and more reviews and interviews again. Imhotep #10 'On-Line' is developing all the time and now I'm getting more and more ready to begin working with Imhotep #11. We are 14 contributors and I in Imhotep now, and I think the future is there for us. In other worlds, we're ready for World Domination. Imhotep will not only be a pure Metal magazine, as a few of us also love music that is not Metal, and we're mainly speaking Progressive Rock in here. In addition I hope we will also strive for development in Imhotep. In the end Imhotep will become every metallers wet dream. So, everything looks better now. It's Spring and soon the Inferno-Metal festival is upon us. What can be better than an infernal Easter? Eh, maybe a black Christmas..."

Andreas/THE END (label)

1. " This was the year we have expanded our mail-order and our distribution labels for the USA . We were able to release some really big names inlcuding The Gathering, Marduk, Enslaved, In The Woods, etc. We also had the first all The End USA tour with Agalloch, Virgin Black and Antimatter. So overall a busy but very satisfying year."

2. " The goal this year is to concentrate mostly on the label and really stand behind our big priorities. We will have the new Winds, our recent signing Crisis, plus help develop new but talented bands like Subterranean Masquerade, Age Of Silence and Frantic Bleep. Our main goal is to continue releasing albums that stand out of the norm and offer a unique and often challenging sound. Also, a goal is to slowly expand back to Europe and set a presense there."