Thursday, 21 April 2011


Here is an interview I did very recently with Joakim "Jocke" Knutsson lead guitarist with Swedish Hardrockers RISE AND SHINE, who have just released their 4th album on I Hate Records titled "Empty Hand" here is what Jocke had to say in reply to the questions I emailed him:-

Hey Jocke, Rise and Shine is now in its 18th year as band, did you ever think you would still be making music this far down the line and have four albums under your musical belt with this band?!

JOCKE:-Yes. We never had this idea that if the band is no big hit we would call it a day. We play the kind of music we love and feel is somewhat a missing link in the music scene.  When we started the music we play was not really the shit to do. Now it seems to be a small hype around it which is both cool and irritating in a way. Every average sucker has Pentagram as favourite band today, how annoying isn’t that? Good for Bobby and the guys of course and he is a fan of ours as well, I actually got to sign a record for him once. Got so confused that I forgot to ask for his autograph, haha!
About 18 years and four albums if you asked me 18 years ago I probably guessed we by now made six or seven albums. But that’s life. We feel privileged being able to record at all these days.

Please introduce the readers to the band members and who does what.

JOCKE:-Josabeth Leidi sings but prefer to call it voice and plays acoustic guitar. Sometimes she plays a recorder as well. She is half Italian and has a temper to go with it. I (Joakim Knutsson) play guitar. Me and Josabeth are the main song writers. Dennis Pålsson on the bass has been in the band since the beginning part from a stint a couple of years ago. Magnus Rydman has been on the drums for seven years now. He origins from the south of Sweden as all of us and has mainly been playing in rock and roll type of bands before joining Rise and Shine. He is stubbornly in to seventies hardrock. Daniel Josefsson is the latest recruit he played in Beneath before and is now working on Swedens #1 metal/punk magazine Close Up. We all got this infamous Scandinavian drinking habit and live in the same area of Stockholm, Hökarängen. Hök is Hawk in english that's the reason for the new logo with the hawk. Except from Daniel the rest of us were friends even before Rise and Shine existed.

Speaking of albums, you have just had your 4th full length album "Empty Hand" released by I Hate Records,  How did this (very well deserved I must say!) deal with this label come about?

JOCKE:-We sent new tracks around got positive feedback from a handful labels. We choose the one that seemed to do the best work for us. Lets face it, the label is run by a real hardrocker who loves the music not someone who is just wants to do business.

Were you familiar with much of the labels past output?

JOCKE:-Yeah I was well aware of the label and some of the releases.

What happened with your previous label partnership, was it a mutual decision?

JOCKE:-Somewhat, Josabeth was not to fond of the work they did.

 Please tell the readers in your own words a little about the new album and why the title "Empty Hand"?

JOCKE:-Hmm, I didn’t write the lyrics to that one. Josabeth thought it was a good name for an album. I guess it isn’t to positive but then again we are not always as people. We laugh a lot but we also are disappointed with life sometimes I guess that’s the reason for the title. Midlife Crises maybe.

There is as always a great mix of tempos going on.

JOCKE:-Yeah you know all members of Rise and Shine got a vast music interest. Even though we are in to doom and stuff like that it would be impossible for us to go for that tempo for a whole album. We are more like Uriah Heep in that way. Different tempos and feelings. Josabeth tend to make more doom songs than I. I tend to be closer to Judas Pries and Guns ‘n Roses in the song writing, haha!

There has been a gap of around 5 years inbetween the release of your 3rd album "Ghosts of the Past" and the new album, why was this?

JOCKE:-We work like Def Leppard and need about five years, hahaha! No I don’t know really. Trouble with record labels is one reason. Band members having “better” things to do is one. This won’t happen again. I will not tolerate that we will start working on new tunes next week. We will also try out a couple of odd cover tunes.

 How long have you been sitting on the material for the new album, has it been a case of writing over a few years for this or did it all just come together more recently?

JOCKE:-Except for “Harmony and Noise” and “Someone else’s Share” (written before the third album) we wrote the rest of the album within two months. We booked the studio and then we had no choice.

One of the songs on the new album "Someone Elses Share" has to probablys be the hardest and most fiercest sounding song I have heard by the band, it has an 80s metal vibe to it to my ears but you can still clearly tell it is Rise and Shine, what were the inspirations for this song musically?

JOCKE:-Josa wrote it I did the riffs and arranged it. For my part the inspiration was Accept and Ozzy.

Is there any plans for the band to get out onto the road outside of Sweden and undertake a proper tour at some point to support this album? You played the UK just over 10 years ago, any chance you could make a return to these shores at some point?

JOCKE:-Well if we get the opportunity we’ll come. Unfortunately getting on proper tour like support act costs a lot these days so I can’t give any guarantees. I guess if people want us to and if the album sell well it will be some gigs around Europe and hopefully even rest of the world as well.

Some of the lyrics on this album seem very dark and quite depressive, can you tell us abit about what subjects the lyrics deal with on this album.

JOCKE:-Except from “King Cliff” which is a tribute to you know who all the lyrics is about our lives in general. Well “King Cliff” is also in a way he meant much to us when we were teenagers. Dark lyrics yes. It seems a bit wimpy to complain considering that we are living in one of the richest and best countries in the world. But I guess it is back to the being in the middle of life stuff. Damn I should listen to the tune “Midlife Crisis” by Faith no More I might learn something.

You have seemed to have gone through a lot of member changes over the past 10 years, what has kept you going through the tough times, how long has the current line up been together for?

JOCKE:-Current line-up for about a year. Maybe actually that’s the thing that brought us together, I don’t know. The downside is that it takes five years to do a record and stuff when you have changes in the band all the fucking time. One thing that I can be honest with is that Rise and Shine isn’t a very democratic band. Me and Josabeth decides about 90 percent. That can be hard to accept.

Yourself and Josabeth also play in the great punk-metal crossover band Satanarchy who released one great album and you have recently became active again with this band, please tell the readers abit about this project and what your future plans are?

JOCKE:-We’ve been doing new stuff for a new album and started play shows again. Hopefully we release something later this year. It has also been shown interest in releasing “Disgraceful World” on vinyl. Max from bands like Hearse and Furbowl plays the drums and makes killer punkmetal tracks mr Violence of Gehennah fame growls his lungs out. I got this urge to play some really aggressive stuff now and then. That is aggressive in the old school way. Not the tight as fuck kind of way. That’s why we started the band ten years ago.

You run (or used to run) a label called Freedoom Records aswell as co-running Primitive Art Records, both labels are known for releasing stuff by Rise and Shine aswell as a Trouble tribute CD, various Gehennah recordings, the infamous Headbangers Against Disco 7" trilogy and you also released the first 7" by Witchcraft, what is the status of both labels right now? Are any titles still available?

JOCKE:-At the moment nothing is happening. I had some ideas for Primitive Art though which Paulo also felt was cool. Maybe it will be something released in the future. Probably like exclusive 7 inches. You need to do stuff which has the money back guarantee these days and I think we got some coming. Well a few copies of some of the records still left. Some of them are extremely rare these days like the Witchcraft 7 inch you mention.

What are the future plans of Rise and Shine, what else have you got planned for this year??

JOCKE:-Hopefully some touring and we will start writing new songs it will not be another five years for the fifth album. That is to long you might be dead and buried in five years and you know I do not want to have any regrets in the arms of death!

Many thanks for answering my questions Jocke!!

JOCKE:-Kat it is me who should be thanking you instead. Cheers!!! 

Check the bands webpages out here:-


a great older song from the bands classic "Danish Denim" 7"

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


I was eagerly anticipating hearing the new (and fourth overall) album by Swedish Hardrockers RISE AND SHINE ever since I first found out about it and I recently got sent a promo copy in the post, on first listen I was not disappointed in the slightest, this 10 track affair follows the classic Rise and Shine formula and kicks off with some awesome dual guitar riff action courtesy of Jocke and Daniel which has a strong Sabbath-The Obsessed vibe to it and frontwoman Josabeth Leidi's bluesy gritty passionate vocals are on fine form and are as commanding and soaring and powerful as ever. 

2nd track in "Empty Words" has an overall slower, brooding, darker vibe and tempo than the opening track, third song "In The Arms Of Death" is a more uptempo hardrockin' beast kicking in with a riff that MEANS business, this song also has some use of cowbell in it by the drummer Magnus which I personally love to hear and feel works so well with this kind of music, more bands should use cowbell always gets a plus point in my book!. Fourth song "I Don't Belong" keeps up the pace, full of swaggering riffs and there is a good dose of great twin lead guitar work in this song. Track 5 "Someone Elses Share" definetly takes things up a level in terms of heaviness with some crunching metallic riffage which has an 80's heavy metal feel to it actually, bringing to mind classic 80's Ozzy guitar riffing and is definetly the most hardest and aggressive sounding song on the album complete with soaring lead guitar solos bringing the album to a midway crescendo. 

The 2nd half of the album kicks off with track 6, "King Cliff" (a tribute to you know who!!) charges out of the speakers in all its Trouble worshipping glory, not quite as fierce sounding as the previous track but I am loving the awesome rockin' Trouble-esque riffing and tempo, nice acoustic outro to this song too. Track 7 "Harmony and Noise" is quite a quirky little number and abit psyched out sounding, track 8 "Dirty Tricks" is an acoustic song which seems to have been born out of a bad personal experience. "Another Troubled Mind" picks up the pace once again leading the charge into the final two songs of the album the last of which "Too Much, Too Fast, Too Loud" brings the album to it's close in fine style and is classic Rise and Shine through and through, there is plenty of variation in tempos throughout this album, something this band have always had a great knack for doing.

This album will NOT disappoint any fan of honest genuine passion filled 70s's and 80's influenced HARDROCKIN' METAL  in general and is a release which oozes groove, blues, and doom in equal measure. Watch out for a band of the week blog feature on them on the Terrorizer Magazine website VERY soon.



Friday, 15 April 2011

DIVINE EVE (Full interview) APRIL 2011 with Michael A. Sleavin. Questions by K.Shevil.

Texas Frostian Death Metal Legends DIVINE EVE are back in business with a new album in the pipeline which will be released later this year via Ibex Moon Records, the band returned to the scene back in 2008 and shortly afterwards a comeback EP titled "Vengeful And Obstinate" was unleashed via Ibex Moon, this released saw the band picking up from where they left off in 1995 when they disbanded. I recently sent some questions to guitarist/vocalist Michael A. Sleavin about the bands reformation, the upcoming debut full length album and Celtic Frost amongst other things and here is what he had to say:-

Hails Michael, first of all how did the initial reformation come about, what or who instigated it, I thought it was a real shame the band disbanded in 1995, but your reformation was a very welcome does it feel to be active again and picking up where you left off?
Michael:- Greetings, feels great to be back and thank you for the support. The initial reformation came about when I received the bands copies of "Upon These Ashes Scorn the World" when it was released in 2007. Matt, Tyson, and I thought it was fair that Xan received however many copies he wanted. Also at the time my other band RAPE PILLAGE & BURN (which Matt also plays drums) was in search of a lead guitarist, Matt, Richard, and I thought we should see... So after some searching, I found out he was living in Dallas, phoned him up and met that night for some alcoholic libations. I had not seen or spoke to Xan in a long time and it was a good meeting of once fractured old comrades. I gave him some discs and set up a time to audition...We rehearsed together and played a couple of riffs of old DIVINE EVE songs and something in myself awoke. The 3 of us looked at each other in a weird way, I think it awoke in them as well. Then back to business of the RPB audition. After that short rehearsal RAPE PILLAGE & BURN chose another lead guitarist which eventually did not work out either, another story for another time. A couple of months passed and Matt and I had a few conversations about DIVINE EVE as RAPE PILLAGE & BURN was kinda dormant at the time. I again phoned up Xan and in early 2008, we had our first rehearsal in over a decade which was quite a memorable moment! Things have been moving forward since Toured Europe, released the E.P. played a few select shows... It was a shame that we disbanded in 1995 but to be honest looking back I feel it was natural thing to do. All of us were very young and also the music industry was changing. At least for extreme underground metal music, a division. Black Metal was eclipsing Death Metal and the whole scene was changing. Record labels were pressuring bands and a lot of the bigger bands admittedly put out some mediocre or watered down material. Or even worse became jump around or nu metal. I'm glad we were spared this... But yes we lost a lot time in the years that passed. This Time is Now for Us...
You signed with Ibex Moon after getting back together,  how did this deal come about, the label seems to be a perfect home for the band, they released your "comeback" "Vengeful and Obstinate" EP  in 2010 and are due to release your debut and long awaited full length album, can you please give us some info on your upcoming full length, title, some songtitles etc. When can we expect a release? And what can we expect from this recording?
Michael:-Well, John from INCANTATION/IBEX MOON Records has been a friend and supporter of DIVINE EVE for a very long time. He was one of the first in an American Death Metal band to hear our demo before we licensed it through Nuclear Blast Records. Matt and I played it for him in Matt's car behind a club in Dallas back in the early 1990's. I was so young that I was unable to see them perform as it was a school night. IBEX MOON Records is a perfect home for DIVINE EVE, the deal came about basically when I saw John at Maryland Deathfest 2008. It had been a long time but old friends are always old friends. We initially got a deal for the release of the RAPE PILLAGE & BURN "Songs of Death... Songs of Hell..." E.P in 2009. Having known John and this industry it was only natural for DIVINE EVE to go with a label that actually supports underground music. Plus he will answer his phone when I call unlike many other label folks. As for a "comeback" I guess one could call it that, for us the "Vengeful and Obstinate" E.P. is more "shorthand" for what the album will be. The Debut record will be out on IBEX MOON Records in late 2011. The album is Untitled thus far. As for studio time we plan to begin recording sometime this summer with an early September deadline. The album will be tracked at Klearlight recording studios with our now Bass guitarist Scott Cooksey once again engineering. We recorded the "Vengeful and Obstinate" E.P. with him behind the board before he officially joined for those unaware. Currently we are in pre-production with tentative titles for songs "A Nameless Thundering Voice", "Divine Eve", "Cold Black Currents", "Vessel of the Dark Stained Heart", to name a few, however this can change. As for expectations on this being our debut record,I would say if you are a fan of the Doom Death Metal that DIVINE EVE creates, you will be very eager for more. I assure you this!
Divine Eve have always had a very noticeable Celtic Frost influence to my ears, what other bands fuel and influence your overall sound? I always thought the opening of "Last of the Sunset Faded" from your 1993 "As The Angels Weep" EP sounds a lot like the beginning of "Circle of the Tyrants"!!.  I personally love the obvious Frost worship that rears its ugly head throughout your recorded output so far!! Can we expect more Frostian riffage on the full length?!
Michael:- Ah yes the intro riff for "The Last of the Sunset Faded", yeah it has a CELTIC FROST feel to it. Hell, I sing that song. The rest of that song is quite diverse, doom parts, fast parts, and a NWOBHM kinda break....Good observation though. Of course CELTIC FROST is an influence as well as many others. BLACK SABBATH, HELLHAMMER, WINTER, AUTOPSY, MOTORHEAD, CARNAGE, SODOM, VENOM, BATHORY, NIHILIST/ENTOMBED "Left Hand Path", CATHEDRAL's "Forest of Equilibrium", old PARADISE LOST, DISCHARGE, and to many others to name. One of the things DIVINE EVE always will have is that certain aspect of the songs like we've done in the past. Just compose and create songs with riffs, parts, fast/mid/slow, and back up the material with what we feel is strong lyrics. This is something that will always be intact, so as for will there be "tasteful" songs on the debut record like the material we have already composed and recorded. Yes.
You have always had a good mix of tempos from Crushing slow Doomed out passages to  mid paced Frostian parts and faster Swedeath style parts, I always love it when bands mix up their tempos you guys are a perfect example of a band who does this with very effective devastating results. Can we expect more of this from the new material?
Michael:-Yes, that we get compared to a lot of European and Scandinavian metal is good as those bands we consider the style we see things more eye to eye on. I always thought that those bands in Europe and Scandinavia were only following the model we do of BLACK SABBATH and MOTORHEAD kind of rock/metal hymn structure or idea. To make songs we would like as fans of this music. These concepts are nothing out the ordinary for us as a band, the style of music we play was almost non existent back then in the US, and kinda still is. Some bands were doing Doom Death Metal but none in our region. Plus we have known many of those bands over the water since the early 90's from tape trading and fanzines. So for us to have chaotic tempo changes, crushing doom parts and the like was nothing strange to us. If regional bands get that label that we fall into but are no where near I see as just coincidence... We have always tried to mix tempos and create a bit a chaos with our songs so as far as your observation. You can expect similar material as well as up date material for what we consider the future of DIVINE EVE.
You hit the road in Europe with Incantation amongst others in early 2010, how was this tour for the band? Must have felt great to finally bring your live assault across the pond?! What were the highlights of this tour? Do you have much live plans for 2011?
 Michael:-To have had the opportunity to Tour Europe was monumental for us. As we have always had a stronger following in Europe and to finally be able to bring our live performance over the water was one of many highlights in my experiences in being a member of DIVINE EVE. To share the stage with long time friends INCANTATION and having Kyle pull double duty and play drums for us live as well as INCANTATION was unforgettable. Many moments to remember, all the shows were very well received by the audiences. Many times after we played I was approached by someone younger and unfamiliar with DIVINE EVE that would praise us and how much they enjoyed the show. Highlights were of course playing all the shows for me but London, all the Spain and Italian shows, and Czech Republic were all great shows! We hope to return sometime in 2012. As for shows in 2011 a few select ones we already played and so far confirmed the Rites If Darkness festival in San Antonio Texas at the end of this year.
What else have you got planned with the band, what other releases are in the pipeline? what are your other future plans?
Michael:- As for right now, we are proceeding in the pre-production phase of the album. Composing new material, writing lyrics, and concentrating of making the content of the record with extreme importance. There will be a companion release to be recorded during or shortly after the recording of the album is complete, news on this is still pending so watch for details. We are playing this years Rites of Darkness festival in San Antonio Texas at the end of this year. Some shows may be played in between then and now but nothing official as of right now. As for future plans, after the album is released we plan to Tour Europe and the USA in 2012. After that we plan to continue and record DIVINE EVE material into the end of time. 
 You are also a member of Rape Pillage Burn, this band is still active right? Whats the future plans with this band, is Richard Cabeza still a member? How did you end up hooking up with him?
Michael:-Yes, I am the vocalist/guitarist for RAPE PILLAGE & BURN...We have been dormant for several years do to outside obligations in life as well as other creative outlets. Richard got busy with UANANIMATED, the same time Matt and I got busy with DIVINE EVE but things are coming together and regrouping. Yes Richard is still a member as well as Scott Cooksey will handle lead guitar duties from now on. This is the first announcement that we have a full line up now but only after the completion of DIVINE EVE's current obligations will things happen... RAPE PILLAGE & BURN will be up and running in 2012 and will record our debut record "AUDIBLE HELL" although this title may change, some time in 2012. Matt and I have been friends with Richard since DISMEMBER toured the states in the early 1990's. It was quite natural to start a band together now that he resides in Dallas. He has been in Dallas for about 6 or 7 years now...
Thanks for partaking in this short Q&A session, any last words/plugs readers?!
Michael:-Thank you and Eternal HAILS for the interview! As for DIVINE EVE, watch our facebook for updates and more news to come. Same goes for RAPE PILLAGE & BURN, Both bands have pretty much abandoned myspace so follow us in facebook. News and details will come for both bands on future releases and plans. The music industry is in transition and we plan on taking more control and do things in a different manner to keep our fans and supporters satisfied. We will be opening an E-store SICK SERENADES for E-commerce, digital downloads, and merchandise sales very soon!

current line up of the band is:-
Michael A. Sleavin - Guitar, Vocals (Infernal OakRape Pillage and Burn)
Xan Hammack - Guitar, Vocals (Crimson Relic)
Scott Cooksey - Bass (Azathoth)
Matt Killen - Drums (Infernal OakRape Pillage and Burn)

website address:- 

Video for "Grievous Ascendance" a track from the "Vengeful and Obstinate" EP.
"Last Of The Sunset Faded" from the "As The Angels Weep" EP.

I also featured the band in my most recent Terrorizer Magazine website band of the week blog which can be found here which has a scaled down version of this interview featured:-