Thursday, October 15, 2009

Alex gets interviewed with Underground Violence (5/21/09)

You can subscribe to the e-zine by sending an email to and saying you would like to be subscribed. There are usually a handful of Christian releases reviewed, and our own Elan, also writes for the magazine!

Our picture was used as the official cover for this months issue, as well as an interview and a CD review which will be posted below.

Interview with Alex Slimm of the Christian Metal Fellowship
By Walter Beck

Underground Violence: I'm here with Alex Slimm of the Christian Metal Fellowship, how are ya,
Alex: I am doing quite well, currently trying to organize all my thoughts and ideas for what is
going to happen this summer with Christian Metal Fellowship.
Underground Violence: Excellent, what exactly is the Christian Metal Fellowship?
Alex: Well, CMF was something that was started back a few years ago by Vandor. It started out
mainly as just a MySpace page, to collect the biggest list of Christian bands that made hard
music, and put links to their pages and have accurate genres with the bands so people could find
exactly what was in their niche. After some time, the page kind of died down, being dormant for
quite some time. After probably like six months or so, he decided that he wanted to do something
with it again. I began talking to him about it, and jumped on the band wagon to help out running
the MySpace page and keeping things up to date. Shortly after I started reviewing some CDs,
then emailed some bands about interviews, then from there on out it just kind of took off, getting
more and more interviews. During last summer we put together a compilation trying to help
expose some of the more unknown acts in the metal scene. We even got asked to attend a music
festival over the summer which I gave a short message at. Last month, Vandor decided to resign
his position, and gave me full ownership over the site. After thinking about it for a little while, I
decided I may need some help running the page to get certain things done, so I looked to some of
my good friends (Nicki, Phil, and Élan) and had them all come together and basically started a
"team". So to summarize CMF in short words, it‟s really just kind of an online ministry, trying to
help promote bands, and expose them to people in the Christian scene, and people outside of the
Christian scene, while showing love to everyone who comes our way, even if they are sending us
Underground Violence: So why Christian metal?
Alex: Well, hah, why not?
Underground Violence: Good answer, Haha.
Alex: Haha you can leave that in there, but I‟ll give an actual answer; well, I grew up in a
Christian home, attending an Assemblies of God church. When I was about, 11 or 12 years old, I
stumbled upon Christian hardcore music, and right off the bat, I just took a passion for it. It just
blew my mind at the time, that people could do that for God. Shortly down the road, I got
exposed to more actual metal acts, and then it just kind of took off from there. Looking at a lot of
the acts we have in the Christian metal scene, and just seeing their heart and passion for what
they do, I just have such a passion to make it noticed. Their work should not go in vain. A lot of
the times, people will overlook bands in the Christian scene, because of our beliefs. But does it
really make us any worse? We are still people, and can make music just as well as any other
Underground Violence: This is true; I've heard many great bands come out of the Christian
metal underground. One thing I find interesting and it may just be my experiences, but there
seem to be a wealth of bands in the Christian metal underground that play black metal and I find
this sort of strange, given black metal reputation in the underground as the most extreme form of
Alex: This is very true. The black metal scene is one I have become very familiar with. Although
we are often times questioned for this, as well as criticized and attacked, it seems somewhat
childish for people to tell us what we can and cannot do. What many fail to realize is its music
despite the lyrics, I understand what black metal was formed on, and I understand what its
original creators intended for it, but things evolve, they do not stay the same. I mean, if that was
the case, then music itself should not be focused on any other thing than praising God, because
music began as a way of expression of praise to God. Obviously things have changed, and it is
not limited to that. I think people just need to realize that things do not stay the same as the way
they began.
Underground Violence: I agree. Besides black metal, what are other prominent subgenres you've
seen in the Christian metal underground?
Alex: Lately there have been a lot of different genres coming up, the grind scene has been taking
quite a rise lately, and I know there are a lot of deathcore bands that are coming up with a strong
passion for God. Here and there, we can find a handful of good death metal bands coming out of
the wood work. I think the only thing we are really waiting on is more folk metal bands.
Underground Violence: Personally, I'd like to hear some good Christian doom metal bands come
out of the new underground; I'm a big doom fan.
Alex: Actually, there have been a few, three great ones I would suggest are, Dalit, Sáwol, and
Entorn. I myself have taken quite a fancy for doom over the past year. Some of my favorite ones
are Doom:VS, Swallow the Sun and Ahab. There have been a few outstanding ones make
Underground Violence: And you can't forget the pioneers of Christian doom, Trouble.
Alex: This is very true as well, and of course there is Paramecium and Ashen Mortality.
Underground Violence: So, with others I've interviewed in the Christian metal scene, they
always mention hate mail, phone calls or some other form of menacing action against them. Do
you have experiences with this?
Alex: I have received my fair share of hate mail, whether it is on some of the band fan pages I
run, one of my projects, or even the CMF page. We received a bunch of hate mail the other
week. Most of the time they are just ignorant comments made, and things they cannot actually
back up. Things that is quite easy to respond to.
Underground Violence: Well that's good. Now you mentioned that the CMF has received some
great support in the Christian metal scene, what about the secular scene, any press or
recognition from that end?
Alex: Well thus far, aside from you welcoming us with open arms, I guess as "CMF" we have
not had a whole lot of exposure to the "secular scene" yet, but I‟m hoping to change that this
Underground Violence: Well you're welcome, Underground Violence is open to the entire metal
community, Christian, pagan or otherwise.
Alex: Which is great to know; I think all organizations, zines, or whatever they want to be called
should have the same attitude.
Underground Violence: Agreed. Now I have a strange question, have you received any negative
feedback from Christians? Some churches will tell you that metal is the "devil's music".
Alex: Aha, well, actually, there are always those hypocritical, prematurely judging Christians
that you will get. Ones that do consider it the devil‟s music, and to be quite honest, most of the
time they are harder to communicate with, or come to an understanding with people who are
opposed to Christians in general. Which to be quite honest is terrible. We are supposed to show
the love of God to everyone. I mean, yeah, like I said earlier, things with heavy music may have
started out bad, and I can understand why old folks would think that, but they need to place the
ignorance aside and see we can‟t witness to everyone with a suit and tie while singing old school
hymns. It just doesn't always work.
Underground Violence: Well hopefully soon, you'll be able to bridge this gap. Now, outside of
running the CMF, what other involvements do you have with the Christian metal scene?
Alex: I am also in two projects, Gondolin and Maugrim, I guess they are more ambient based,
but both have influence of black metal in them. I am technically the "manager" for the black
metal project Vociferor; other than that, just some small here and there things, doing what I can
to help further the scene.
Underground Violence: Hey every little bit helps. Do either of your projects have releases in the
Alex: Both actually do, Maugrim has the debut, Paths of the Damned coming out on EEE
Records sometime next month, and then a split with the project Equilibrium Ablaze sometime
later this year. And Gondolin has a scheduled release with Sullen Records some point at the end
of the summer.
Underground Violence: Excellent. Are you planning any gigs with these projects or are they
strictly studio endeavors?
Alex: Both are studio endeavors, although in the future, I feel called specifically to have a
touring band in the black metal scene.
Underground Violence: Anything fleshing out with that or is it just an idea for now?
Alex: Mainly just some ideas floating around in my head, and some between some friends of
mine and me.
Underground Violence: Well with any of your projects, you're more than welcome to send copies
of your releases to us for review.
Alex: It‟s good to know that we always have support from at least one part of the secular scene.
Underground Violence: It all starts with one, man.
Alex: Then next thing I know Metal Hammer is asking for stuff too!
Underground Violence: Ha! So what are your plans for CMF this year? Are you planning
another compilation release? Your first compilation was outstanding in my book.
Alex: That we are. And thank you for that, it is great to hear that, and am sure it is inspiring to all
the bands that participated as well. I am currently contacting bands, trying to get a nice solid
lineup of songs that flows well. I am also trying to get in contact with some labels and get
assistance in releasing it, maybe have some professional packaging done for this one, hoping to
have some killer artwork as well.
Underground Violence: Excellent, any other plans this year?
Alex: There are possibly some other things that we have planned with some friends of ours, but
nothing I want to reveal, just because they are more so premature ideas. I mean, maybe some
more shirts or something down the line, but I don‟t know if that‟s considered plans.
Underground Violence: With the fourteen bands that appeared on your first compilation and
your wide support in the Christian metal underground, would you consider organizing a festival,
the Wacken Open Air of Christian metal underground?
Alex: That would honestly be more than a dream come true. It‟s something I would LOVE to put
together, and do, but it would be something far down the road, and something I would need a lot
of support doing.
Underground Violence: Well it was just an idea that popped into my head.
Alex: And a fantastic one at that!
Underground Violence: Do you see a lot of bands in the Christian scene playing gigs and
touring or are the bands you interact with primarily studio projects?
Alex: Well there is a handful that plays gigs, but usually that‟s more of the deathcore, metalcore
stuff, which can be fun to attend, but stuff more in my niche usually does not tour, at least not in
my neck of the woods. In order to see any of those bands I would have to attend Nordic Fest,
End Time festival, or some other one over in Europe. A lot of the black metal ones lately seem to
be studio projects though.
Underground Violence: The only Christian metal show I ever went to was Day of Ascension,
which was a fun and wild trip.
Alex: Yeah, I heard you drove seven and a half hours for that!
Underground Violence: No lie; got lost close to a dozen times and almost wrecked the car and I
almost ran out of smokes to boot. Many sacrifices and hard times to get to that show, hahaha!
Alex: I have seen my fair share of Christian shows. I attend secular shows as well; having
attended both pagan fests as well, which were the most fun shows I have ever been to. Quite
honestly, I love Élan, but I wouldn‟t drive seven hours to see the show.
Underground Violence: Well the reason we went is that Pat knew Élan and the guitarist
Yevgeniy, Pat said "let's go" and the rest of us said "why not?"
Alex: Haha, many adventures I have embarked on started with those same words.
Underground Violence: Well, Alex, I think we're gonna wrap it up here, any final words for the
readers out there?
Alex: Thank you for taking the time to read all I have had to say. I hope some of you have
become a little more educated in exactly what it is that we do with CMF. For those of you that
are opposed to Christians being in metal, I hope maybe this changed your mindset a little. Feel
free to message the CMF page anytime with questions, or something going on in your life, we
will answer questions to the best of our ability, and will keep you in our prayers!
Underground Violence: Thanks Alex!
Alex: Take care, brother.

Various Artists Christian Metal Fellowship: Compilation Volume 1 (Independent)
Review by Walter Beck

Put together by the Christian Metal Fellowship, this compilation rings out strong and hard like a
Christian metal counterpart to Metal Blade‟s legendary Metal Massacre series. Even though this
is a Christian compilation, make no mistake about it, this is some of the heaviest music floating
around in that scene. Don‟t expect sweet acoustic guitars singing out plastic love songs to Jesus,
these bands are crushing the Lord‟s adversaries like sonic angels of death.

The record opens with the track “March of Malus” by Vanguard and it sounds like the march of a
vengeful holy army ready to wage war. The epic sounds are deeply rooted in black metal, but
also have a strong power metal feel. The warrior sounds of this track make it the perfect opener
for this compilation.

Fans of progressive and melodic black metal will find their allies with the next track, “Your
Beauty Embraced” by Grave Declaration. The eight-minute track is filled with raspy vocals,
powerhouse drums and bass and excellent keyboard work. The keyboards are dominant in the
track and add a magnificent and beautiful touch to counterbalance the harsh vocals and heavily
distorted guitars.

Those who prefer a raw black metal sound will love “Dawn of the Ice Hearts” (I wonder if that‟s
a pun on the legendary Mayhem bootleg Dawn of the Black Hearts?) by Wintersoul. These guys
have a sound that‟s soaked in the early Norwegian scene, bands like Mayhem, Darkthrone and
early Burzum. The difference is that production is top notch, compared to the dirty basement-
tape sounds of other raw black metal bands. The guitarist shows his skills quite well here,
shredding as fast as any death metal player out there.

Black metal is presented again with “The Scourge of Existence” by Eulogium. Opening with an
acoustic guitar melody before launching in a wall of brutal sound, these guys have quite a unique
feel to them. The blending of the acoustic with the heavier sounds that kick in creates a dissonant
atmosphere that any black metaller will appreciate.

The death metal fans will finally be pleased with the next track, “He Was Beheaded” by
Encryptor. Encryptor (one of the projects of the relentless Phil Diez) comes out just as brutal as
they‟ve ever sounded. The marks are all here; the down-tuned distortion soaked guitars, the
lightning drums and Phil‟s hydrochloric acid-drenched vocals.

Combining keyboards with groove metal sounds and a mix between harsh and clean vocals,
“Hunted by Flesh” by Veracious will give fans of a more contemporary metal sound something
to enjoy on this record. The keyboards are definitely a nice touch to this band‟s sound, giving it
an almost gothic feel.

It‟s back in black metal again with “Falling Like Ashes” by Whisper from Heaven and once
again, the melodic black metal fans will love the sound of these guys; the massive keyboards and
the choral female vocals add a very gothic touch to the sound of this band. I also love the drum
sounds of this track; they‟re all over the place and still keeping a strong rhythm. Fans of truly
epic sounding black metal and gothic metal will love this track.

The black metal sounds keep rolling with “The Age of Irrationality” by Northern Ash. Unlike the
slick production presented in the rest of the compilation, Northern Ash goes completely old
school with a production just as raw as their sound. But like with many black metal bands, the
raw production is an asset as it adds to the bleak atmosphere this band carves out. Metalheads
who like their black metal raw, grim and Kvlt will find their allies with Northern Ash.

Raw, grim black metal is up again with “The Power of God” by Nattesorg. Their production is
even dirtier than Northern Ash‟s; a lo-fi exercise in old school black metal. The audio assault of
the track, mixed with a dirty production creates a truly powerful atmosphere; this is the distilled
audio essence of an angry God‟s wrath.

Another round of raw black metal comes up with “Onward” by SorrowStorm. This is another
speed-demon, dirty production exercise in lo-fi black metal (although not as dirty as the sounds
of Nattesorg). Fans of the sound of the early Norwegian scene will find another ally in

Mixing a groove metal sound with hardcore-style vocals (and the occasional clean vocal part),
fans of the modern metal sound will like “Determined to Desire” by Amplified. Granted, this
isn‟t the most brutal sounding band here, but it is a worthy addition to the compilation and fans
of the modern metal sound will find another ally with Amplified.

The grindcore fans have their moment with “Prayer Unto Holiness” by Rehumanize.
Rehumanize is one of the best bands in the Christian grindcore scene and they show it with this
track; using their slick-production to bring out distortion-soaked guitars, insane drums and the
throat ripping vocals of Phil Diez. This track isn‟t as focused on pure speed as some of their
other work, but they still create a brutal atmosphere and fans of grindcore will love it.

Black metal is back again with “The Alpha and The Omega” by Vikarbyrgi. Their style is both
melodic and raw at the same time. The melody is heard in the creative use of keyboards and the
rawness is heard with the vocal and other instruments production. The layering of the vocals,
between a higher-pitch and a more guttural sound also adds a duality to the sound of this track,
rather fitting for the title. This is one of most unusual tracks I‟ve heard on here and it is a treat for
black metal fans.

The strange blend of melody and raw continues with “Prognostications of Victorious Travail” by
Borgazur; opening with a haunting melodic instrumental while the Lord‟s Prayer is recited, the
band launches into a torrent of pure, old school black metal. The band also shows some doom
metal tendencies during the spoken interlude. For metalheads who like their black metal strange,
dissonant and a bit melodic, you‟ll find your ally with Borgazur.

Vanguard closes out this compilation with “Hands of Fate” and we get a final blast of black
metal, this time with a strong gothic feel. The mix of epic, gothic sounds with a strong black
metal undertone makes this track a perfect closer for this compilation.

This compilation is a treat for metalheads, whether Christian or pagan. While black metal fans
will get the most bang for their buck here, there‟s a bit of something for everyone here. If this is
the introduction to a new rising Christian metal scene, take note. From the sounds of this album,
they have a place carved out for them in the massive nation that is the metal underground.

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment