Interview with Dr. Sludgelove

THC: Our guest is Dr Sludgelove, hi guys!

DS: Hi!

THC: Among the readers, there are people who already know you as creators of the album ‘My Space Odyssey’, about which we will talk soon. But first, let’s talk about who you are. Please introduce yourself.

Jani Papp: We’ve been playing together for about a year. The whole thing started based on my idea. I started listening to this kind of music a few years back and it caught my fancy. Then I thought I would make an album. After it was ready, I thought it would be great to perform it live. I asked Attila, with whom we’ve known each other since…

Attila: 2004.

Jani Papp: 2004, from college years. Then we found Jani Paronai as the drummer. The style was chosen because it is genuine and free of things that try to commercialize music, it is more about true emotions.

Attila: What I would like to add is that when you play genres of music that focus on virtuosity, you need to invest a lot of time to practice, during performance you need to focus heavily so it becomes less instinctive. We had this experience in the past, we started writing things that we weren’t able to play and we realized it was a problem. In contrast to that, our current style is more about instincts and it is easier to get things through.

Jani Paronai: Despite that, I am trying to bring challenging drum grooves, and I feel I have improved a lot since I joined this band. You need to learn how to play in a band, it is much more than just practicing behind a drum kit. You need to pay attention to others, adapt, and get the most out of a rehearsal or a concert.

THC: I promised that we will talk about ‘My Space Odyssey’. Which is your favorite song from the album, and why?

Jani Papp: Maybe HAL-9000, it is pretty psychotic, it is my personal favorite. Unfortunately we don’t play the ending live.

Jani Paronai: Yeah that’s some complex music. There’s also Alone into the Void. I believe structure-wise it is the most complicated one, and it is really heavy.

Attila: To me, well, we actually play songs from two albums. The second one is also Jani Papp’s brain child, it’s about the Kraken mythology. It has an opus called ‘War’, which is my favorite. It is a relatively fast song, with complex parts, it is the one that hits the hardest during shows.

THC: As Attila mentioned, the second album is going to revolve around the Kraken mythology. How did you come up with the concept?

Jani Papp: I saw this video of a chemistry experiment where someone poured some kind of material into a bowl and these awful tentacles and horns began to grow out of it. In the meantime the children to whom this experiment was shown, became mesmerized and started yelling “Kraken!”. By the way we included this as a sample in the intro of the first song. The material for the album was kind of ready in a few days, it was quite obvious what kind of pieces it needed. We’ve been polishing it a lot since then though, now that we started playing the songs during rehearsals. By the way, we started recording it a few months ago.

Jani Paronai: Last summer, actually.

Attila: Yeah there is going to be a slight delay. One reason is that during recording new ideas came up. I will take this opportunity to thank Zoli Bereczki for the work, he also gave us a lot of good ideas on how to improve the album.

THC: What to expect from the new album music-wise? Will it be fully instrumental? Are you going to use a different arrangement than guitar/bass/drums/samples?

Jani Papp: It is going to be even simpler than the previous one, it is going to be very heavy and dirty. Song will be long (the first one is around 12 minutes). There will be less of the “progressive” elements, but yes, there will be samples.

THC: How about after the album? Will you continue pursuing this style? Are you going to experiment?

Jain Papp: We have an agreement within the band that we will continue doing concept albums in the future. We already started working on an idea, and write songs together, which points to a direction that is more progressive, and involves different styles of music. And it is going to be more complex because multiple people are working on it.

Attila: The basics of the genre (by which I mean mostly sludge) will continue to provide the foundation, and everyone will throw their own ideas into the mix, which will add more spice. A number of people gave feedback that they miss vocals from live shows. This might be because we haven’t experimented with visuals yet. And if you observe those who play a similar style without a front man, visuals can improve the experience. So most probably we are going to take this route, and with visual elements, we can compensate for the lack of vocals.

Jani Papp: Attila might start doing vocals. Or we might find a good vocalist.

Jani Paronai: We might, although it is hard to find a vocalist with a good voice. Currently I can’t tell what kind of vocal style fits our music.

Jani Papp: Yes, that’s another open question.

Jani Paronai: It’s something to think through, whether it’s melodic, or melodic mixed with a hint of metalcore. It’s to be determined in the future.

Attila: And let’s say when there’s an instrumental part: what does the front man do? Dream Theater, for instance: he just goes off stage during a 12-minute instrumental mayhem, or he grabs a scooter and starts rolling around on stage. These are intriguing questions and we’ll see what the future holds.

THC: Instead of asking the concept of the 3rd album (that would be ruining the surprise, wouldn’t it?), let me ask you about your inspirations in writing music besides movies and chemical experiments.

Jani Paronai: The love of music itself is a great inspiration. When the three of us come together and start playing our instruments, we come up with something, that we record and incubate, think about how we can improve it, rehearsal by rehearsal. This is already a great feeling.

Attila: I have this point of view – which might be true for all of us -, that playing this music is a great opportunity to channel everyday frustration. When it comes to playing riffs, it boils down to your emotions and tension. Jani Paronai mentioned Alone in the Void, the riffs of which I have put together. That is the only piece on My Space Odyssey that was built on other things than Jani Papp’s ideas. When you listen to it, you can imagine what kind of emotions I’ve been dealing with at the time.

Jani Papp: Yeah, chemical experiments, and other concepts. We have a full story, like we have the concept of the 3rd album (which we keep as a secret for now), we split it into episodes. We can already feel the vibe of these episodes (which we can now call songs). Then we either apply the method Jani Paronai mentioned – rehearsal, jam, and inserting ideas into one of the songs -, or we try to figure out something driven by the vibe. I’ve been ok with this methodology so far. Obviously, you have phases when you are hooked on songwriting. To me it’s quite hectic. Sometimes there’s nothing for 6 months, then suddenly something changes and then I make a lot of progress in a week. Sometimes I just sit down and play the guitar, record the riff, incubate it, and return to it after two years, and then it becomes a song. Long story short, concept driven and Lego building are the two main methodologies.

THC: So basically, you want to tell a story with your music, as you did with My Space Odyssey, and will do with the Kraken. Do you have preferences in topics or

Jani Papp: I like to watch movies that have value, in the story, in the visuals, something that makes you want to keep watching.

Attila: What I would like to add is that concepts like these come with an advantage that if you have a good riff you don’t have to think too much what you want to say with it: you have a story you split up into let’s say 10 parts, and it determines what kinds of songs need to be written. Back to your question, in terms of interests, I’m like Jani Papp, I’m interested in everything. A few weeks ago I was reading about the indigenous people of Easter Island. They have their own mythology. It’s not very popular, but people living in different parts of the world have their own stories and you can learn a lot from them. Another example I totally dig is Mastodon, they have concepts from myths, and they fuse them with the events of their own lives, resulting in real sick stories. I love their albums. And after my brain finished processing the music, I started to listen to the lyrics and understand what their albums are really about. It is extra value when you reach this point and realize there’s a story underneath and what it’s about… it gives a new angle to the music.

Jani Paronai: Every story that has a weight, can potentially become a concept from our perspective. To me, the most interesting stories are from reality, from human history, I would like to adapt some of those. It’s because all major events in history have their weight and they can be represented in a form of art, such as World War I and World War II. I’m mostly interested in wars.

Attila: I’ve recently watched a video on the history of cyberpunk. Some of my favorite filmes are closely related to this style. You shouldn’t call it science fiction, it’s a separate genre with its own story of how it formed, and its own fanbase. I’m also planning to read books on the topic, which will probably inspire me in the songwriting process.

Jani Papp: Earlier we were thinking about Planet of the Apes, which is a classic science fiction. I love that franchise. And also The Duel by Spielberg, it has a great vibe. That would be great base material, too.

THC: Speaking of science fiction: you can see a number of prophecies that may or may not have been proven true. And in the 21st century, there are some achievements that were not foreseen. What do you think of the technological progress humanity has made so far?

Jani Papp: To me, the most astonishing things in the foreseeable future are smart implants. For example you have a chip in your brain that projects personal messages to your vision. I think this is mind blowing and I cannot imagine the implications it might have. Sometimes I feel like the physical world is being digitized at an unhealthy level. So I’m a bit concerned about this, although I have to admit there are advantages to progress in technology.

Jani Paronai: By the way, we could write a song about Nikola Tesla.

Jani Papp: That’s a great idea!

Jani Paronai: Because looking back in history, since he passed away, technology has made a 3- or 4-fold leap. By 2020 we have reached a level that it is quite impossible to imagine what will happen by 100 years from now.

Jani Papp: Yeah, progress is exponential.

Attila: Back to Tesla, the AC electric engine he invented, has only recently become a real thing in cars, which is quite contrary to the idea of fast progress. My view is that there are some contradictions. An example is artificial intelligence (AI), which gets a lot of hype nowadays, but it can only be used for things that can be translated to algorithms. Humans do a lot of things that cannot. So we are very far from humans being replaced by AI. There are some smart people who say the contrary, such as Raymond Kurzweil has this book The Singularity Is Near, in which he predicts that AI will start to improve itself at a level where progress accelerates to a level incomprehensible by the human brain. And this intelligence might figure out that we humans are harmful to this planet so it should exterminate us. But we are far from this point. On the other hand, there are some novelties that are actually interesting to me. Quantum computers, for instance, and energetics, new sources of power, that make fossil energy totally replaceable. I agree with Jani Papp that digitization can kill human related aspects, connections. Despite the fact that we are so connected on the Internet, in real life we become more separated.

THC: Can you imagine a time when people become fans of music generated by AI?

Jani Papp: Definitely

Jani Paronai: Yes.

Attila: Looking at current pop performers, this is already the case. There’s a guy who is experimenting with feeding music samples of industrial metal to a neural network. There’s even a live stream where this music is continuously generated. You can hear it’s not flawless, but there are already enjoyable parts. We might not yet be ready mentally for this to fully appreciate it.

THC: Last question. Is humanity doomed?

Jani Papp: If the current trends continue, in 100 years our bodies will diminish and we end up in tanks like in the Matrix, our minds uploaded to a server. And we will remote control robots.

Jani Paronai: Human evolution will become negligible because robots will do everything for us. The endeavors to accelerate and to control the whole planet. People will reach a point where people become completely motionless, and they eventually become spheres.

Attila: In terms of morals, humanity is on a downward spiral, and would deserve extinction. It would probably benefit Earth. Thinking about the timeline of Earth and the Universe though, it seems that we are only a glitch in the system. If human extinction becomes a reality in a thousand years, or a million, it doesn’t matter from the Universe’s point of view. Whether we become spheres, or we remain creatures on their feet, we will see.

Listen to Dr Sludgelove

https://drsludgelove.bandcamp.com/

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A playlist for the winter from the realms of winter

As winter approaches, it is time to prepare for the cold, but not with blankets and hot chocolate. No. You prepare with weed, vodka (or other kinds of spirit you prefer), and a playlist that keeps you moving and scares the wolves. This post is a journey to the realms of winter, with some cold and cool music for your playlist.

Let’s start with a compilation / split of three bands: Pressor, Diazepam, and Soom.

Pressor (see a short review of their previous show) brings you beautifully dirty riffs with two songs, Royal Witch, and Geeked Up Cookie Monster. The former has an official video, you can watch it here:

If you want to hear more from Pressor, you can find good stuff on Bandcamp. Weird Things is the perfect example of the band’s sound, energy and style. Four snapshots from the depths of hell, all of them are low tuned, and are going to punch your eardrums with incredible heaviness:

Grave Full of Weed is their album from 2012, a cannabis themed work with some scandinavian death and roll influences, and a twisted dark ending.

Returning to the split. With the song Sinking, Diazepam delivers a similar feeling compared to that of the Pressor songs, but with a different sound. As the band name suggests, you will find slow, sludgy stoner metal. If you enjoy Sinking, you should definitely hear the full length Chemical Justice, a powerful collection of great quality. Personal favorite is the title track, but it is worth taking the time to consume the whole material, because it is full of energy, blues, and anger.

Unfortunately, the band split up in 2016, but you can (and should) listen to their stuff.

The compilation ends with Soom’s slow, noisy piece Крізь трембіту до легень і навпаки (translated to Through the trembita to the lungs and vice versa by Google, and it seems to make sense). The short description of the band on Bandcamp, by the way, says “Smoke music, Listen weed”, and it is 100% accurate: their music takes you to places you’ve never been before with its reverbs, delays, distortion, folk influence, and cold noisiness. The album Ніч на полонині (Night on the Meadow) is perfect for frozen nights:

If you like it, you will love the 2018 opus Джєбарс (Djebars):

From this particular album, Під променем тьмяним захована мрія (Under a Gleam the Dream Is Hidden) seems to be the best one, with its madness… oh, and that melody! It is also worth mentioning Коляска (Wheelchair), which you will recognize by the distorted harmonics in its intro. It has a music video, in which you can join a guy wandering around in a city, and peek into his altered state of mind thanks to the vibrating pictures and colorful effects.

That is some strong shit so far, and there’s more! Meet Megalith Levitation from Chelyabinsk, creators of super fuzzy, super sludgy, superslow metal, a special deadly mixture of doom and drone. With the album Acid Doom Rites, each song is a meditative psychedelic journey that makes your time dilate, and makes you levitate. The album is full of mood shifts between light stoner riffs and heavy, low tuned, cold ones, with everything you can imagine in between.

That’s it for now, you can start creating your playlist from the above, and hopefully you can expect similar posts later. If you want to do research, it is recommended to checkout [addicted label].

Meduzer & Vanta – Pulse 2.0

A few months ago, a video interview with the post/stoner electro rock band Meduzer was published on The Highly Creative, and as a part of the session, we had a conversation about their self-titled debut EP.

If you liked the EP, and the song Pulse in particular (if you missed the video, watch it, highly recommended), then we have good news for you! Meduzer teamed up with stoner/sludge/doom metal duo Vanta to create the 2.0 version of Pulse, which is a combination of a remix and a cover of the original version.

Vanta added vocals, additional guitars, drums, and also kept the original vibe, making Pulse 2.0 a catchy, yet heavy stoner piece with philosophical astronomical lyrics, a personal 2001: a Space Odyssey or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

You should definitely check out what Meduzer and Vanta came up with, you can find Pulse 2.0 on Bandcamp:

Fun fact: the vocals start at 0:42.

Tool – Fear Inoculum : A First Impression Review

Considering the impact of Tool on rock and roll, it’s not a surprise that today is a very special day for the whole community. After almost five thousand days of waiting since the release of ‘10,000 Days’, the new album is out, and you may ask the question: what have these guys been doing all along? If you listen to ‘Fear Inoculum’ (which is a must, no matter whether you like Tool or not), you will hear the answer.

The guys have found a 50-50 balance between experimenting and remaining Tool-esque. You can hear the former in totally new concepts for percussions, exciting synthesizers, and novel vocal harmonies (which are beautiful, by the way). Altogether, Tool literally took the time to come up with something unexpected. You can also hear the latter: familiar riffs from the days before the long wait, Tool-esque polyrhythmic moments, and tasteful effects on the guitar and bass. But what’s more important, everything that Tool does is a whole new universe worth exploring.

You might have been waiting for The Album That Will Blow the Mind of All Mankind, or something very similar to your favorite Tool album. Either way, you wont get disappointed, because ‘Fear Inoculum’ is something in between. What will definitely blow your mind, though, is the audio quality, which is beyond words.

This is a day to remember if you are a metalhead. Before you go to sleep tonight, take the time and listen to ‘Fear Inoculum’.

Here’s the title song as an appetizer:

Interview with Arsis Thesis

An interview with doom metal band Arsis Thesis, a journey to the world of Pangea.

Arsis Thesis
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Bandcamp
https://arsisthesis.bandcamp.com/
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https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMbww4dn3geLu1kSWPQQvQA

Concert review – Dürer Kert, Budapest, Hungary, May 15th 2019

Ænthropy – it is rare that you see and hear a cellist in a metal band. Here, the sound of the cello gives the music a special taste (a feeling of contemporary classical music). Furthermore, these guys operate outside the good old 4/4, and mix beautiful harmonies with unconventional grooves. The show was solid and sounded great.

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Her Highness – a duo of a bassist and a drummer, bringing you a slow (not extremely, but comfortably slow) storm of sound, with really intense distorted bass. All riffs are heavy and of the stoner kind (hence the name), and the whole thing is so well orchestrated that it made the whole place resonate.

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Dungaree – the only band with vocals at the party, and those vocals were impressive. And so was the performance: modern rock and roll played with confidence. Someone mentioned the influence of Audioslave, others felt a hint of Clutch, with some additional twists, of course, and some very satisfying riffs.

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Methadone Skies – as one can guess it by the name of the band, this is some serious stuff, with epic song structures, bittersweet melodies, and interfering echoes. Those who were there, were lucky because Methadone Skies played a magnificent show, with professional sound magic and great enthusiasm.

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Photos by Ádám Bálint / Tadder Művek

Concert review – Auróra, Budapest, Hungary, April 30th 2019

King Furia – opening with a mixture of doom, death, and black metal, King Furia brought some melodic darkness and ghost noise infused dissonance to the place. They showed that they know how to capture bitterness and dark moods with music in an enjoyable way, and how to use guitar effects wisely. It was a rock solid performance, a great start for a great night.

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Arkas – you can call it aggressive jazz, experimental instrumental metal, or whatever that pops into mind, the music of the duo Arkas is very intriguing, and hard to summarize in a single word: full of tempo changes, twists, blast beats, unexpected shouting, and surprisingly satisfying melodies. They played with confidence and high energy, and covered a wide spectrum of sound.

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Pressor – headbangers’ heaven from Russia. These guys are doing the math (sometimes literally, with time signatures), and know exactly what metalheads want, and it’s obvious why Pressor is quite popular among sludge lovers. Dirty, loud, heavy, and distorted, a combination you would need after a couple of hours of beer and thc consumption. It was a hell of a show!

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Hladna – this was not a concert, but a ritual. Before it all began, a shaman took a handful of white powder from a sack and covered his face with it. Hladna started to produce noise with brass and woodwinds, guitar and human voice, which all ran through different effects, producing feedback and interference. Time evaporated in a whirlpool of heavily modulated noise and strobe light. The whole thing was quite unbelievable.

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Photos by Ádám Bálint / Tadder Művek