Mittwoch, 8. September 2021

Tim Rule Interview for "Fangs And Claws" Zine

Yeah, shameless self-promotion ahead:
Earlier this year I gave a slightly longer Interview for a polish xvx punk zine... and just recently found
out that it had been translated into polish, haha - so, if you have sufficient knowledge of the language,
by all means, please stop reading here, buy a copy of the actual zine and go support the good folks
of X Kły i Pazury X Zine (EN: Fangs And Claws)! For anyone else, here is the original version
(slightly edited/updated and in my best, worst english):


1. How are you? Could you please introduce yourself to everyone who doesn't know you yet?
Tell me, what exactly do you do?

Hey, this is Tim from Germany. I run BBMA Records and play in a couple of bands/projects. Forward To Eden, Castigator, Throgh Chaos & Solitude, The Rule, xResistancex, Guthmensch, Carnivore Crusher, … to name just a view. When I’m not making music, I’m either working out, painting Warhammer Figures, playing Magic The Gathering, or doing some other Nerd Shit. I’m also a huge collector of all kinds of things – since I turned straight edge (pretty much exactly 10 years ago), my addictive personality manifested itself in a love for vinyl, band shirts, mangas & comics, actionfigures, movies (dvd, bd, vhs), etc. …definitely more healthy, but maybe even worse for my wallet, haha!


2. Your own record label, playing in several bands, blog and zine in the past. Many, many activities!
How do you find the time and willingness to do all this? What does motivate you?
(you can describe what you released in 2020)

My secret is: I just hate being unproductive. While productivity can be very subjective (depending on whats on my agenda at the moment and what not), I do not allow myself to indulge in futile activities, like just hanging around or sleeping more than 5 or 6 hours at a time. It really bothers me when I’m forced to do nothing. So, as stressy as it may sound to other people, my usual romantic couples evening consists of folding/cutting/numbering some record sleeves, while bingeing a series and just drinking my essential calories in the form of protein powder with water. I’m really modest when it comes to that (and my very understanding wife is a huge support).
Regarding 2020: There have been years with more output, but it still has been a really productive year! Recorded another Forward To Eden Album, to be released in February and finally finished the Through Chaos & Solitude Album I've been (more or less) working on for the last 3 years; also to be released at some point this year. For me, the year started with the finalization of the Castigator Album, which has also been in production for a good 2 years and then, when we were finally ready and just about to plan a release tour and everything, corona hit...
The first BBMA Releases of the year were the Ritual Of Decay – awesome vegan death metal band from the States – and the Death Warrant – real heavy metallic hardcore from the UK – demo tapes.
Shortly after that, the new Vital Force EP came out (which was already planned in late ’19, but took a little longer). Russian Vegan Straight Edge 90’s Style Metalcore and really cool diy kids!
So, while Castigator was still discussing whether or not to release right now, I used the time to fast forward on the 2nd Forward To Eden Album, which I had been working on since late 2019.
This also became a huge BBMA Release, as I went all out with a big boxset, containing a flag, embroidered ski-mask, engraved knife, sewn patch, etc., etc., - the vinyl release itself with a big 12” size booklet, posters and stickers… better check it out if you seriously consider yourself vegan and/or straight edge, hehe.
Then, during the first lockdown, when we were still thinking this whole thing would soon be over, Rat (Statement, Unborn, …) came on to me with two new Carnivore Crusher tracks and since I just released the Ritual Of Decay demo and thought it was a perfect fit, I asked them for a split release - maybe 2 months later, the Split 7” EP was born.
During that time I also released the new Enslave 7” EP, Unworthy Of Life Demo Tape and Cleansing 12” EP – all killer vegan straight edge metalcore releases you shouldn’t be sleeping on!
Aaand did another run of my infamous Mixtape, accompanied by some cool Anime rip-off merch (some leftovers still available, if anyone cares).
After that, I started recording the 3rd FTE Album and was helping my brother 4Paws with some new tracks of his - so we decided it would be time for THE vegan straight edge rapcore crossover single of the century – available on spotify, bandcamp, etc. and soon to be released on vinyl.
The BBMA year ended with releases for my friends in Rats Will Fest (CD), Witness The Fall (12”), Seek Nothing (Tape), Eden Is Gone 12” and another Ritual Of Decay 7” EP.
Retrospectively this actually sounds like a fair lot, but I somehow thought corona would grant me even more productivity in terms of writing/recording music. It certainly gave me hobby time, but somehow it also came with an (at times overwhemling) phlegmatism… and there is literally nothing I hate more!
Update from September: The mentioned releases (new Forward To Eden mini-Album 12" and Through Chaos & Solitude debut Album on CD) are now released and available from bbmarecords.com/shop
Also, since Corona went into overtime, I seized the moment to record a full "The Rule" album - to be released early next year, and another Through Chaos & Solitude EP/mini-Album (and started working on a new Forward To Eden album). So, be prepared! ;-)

3. I read in an older interview with you that you booked concerts for a living. Are you still doing this? Must have been tough during the lockdown ... Was it hard to survive during the pandemic?
Many people lost their jobs.

I always booked smaller diy shows as a hobby or helped some friends crews – never did that with a financial outcome (tbh I almost always paid on top for shows, haha).
I did main work - day job - in the ticket selling (concerts, theaters, shows) business for years though. Fortunately changed to a small (veg, organic) food retail business in early 2019, which literally saved my ass now! Seeing promoters, roadies and bands struggling, really breakes my heart… I think it will definitely still take some healing time for the scene, if at all it will ever become working again.

4. What do you think of the voices suggesting that this whole coronavirus thing is a product of human exploitation of animals? And what do you think – did mankind prove its worth in the face of the global threat?

To me, mankind has just again proven how disgusting and simply greed-driven it is.
We definitely brought this on ourselves and the only thing we deserve – if we will not fundamentally change – is to die out. Mankind is still raping out mother earth as we speak. We’re deliberately destroying our ecosystem – we just accept it in the face of profit. If we continue like this, the next pandemic is just around the corner. (read the lyrics and explanations to Carnivore Crusher and Forward To Eden, if you care, as I also treaded these topics there)

5. And what about the anti-vaccination movements in Germany that deny a pandemic?
How would you rate their popularity? Do you think they are a threat, especially considering the fact
that many of them have connections with the radical right?

Yet another symptom of the coming Dajjal, Kali-Yuga, or whatever you wanna call it. It’s sad and scary at the same time. These people are heated up by social media. Subtly indoctrinated to follow someone elses agenda… and it’s not only stupid knuckledheads or alt-right folks, it’s also “normal” people from the middle of society. Their numbers are growing steadily and the future is looking bleak. We need to act while still possible. If recent history has shown as anything, then it’s that rightwing governments won’t do shit for our environment. We must strive for Earth, Human and Animal Liberation – and I believe that these can only go hand in hand.


6. Let's come back to you and what you are most associated with - vegan straight edge. Tell us about
your beginnings - how did you come across this idea, what attracted you to it?
What makes you stick to it after so many years? Does anything special inspire you every day?

I became vegetarian in 2009 (at the age of 17), after my sister and my best friend both already adopted veganism. I’m not an over-empathic or emotional person, so I simply didn’t care. I even started vegetarianism because of a bet. I was literally eating nothing but meat (and occasionally fries) for years and so my best friend dared me and I did 2 weeks. Fortunately my girlfriend at the time was really happy with that decision and so we did it together and also watched a bunch of documentaries, which really blew my mind… the impact of carnism on our ecosystem and even the market economy is simply unmatched. It is by far the absolute worst thing for the earth, the animals (obviously) and even the humans, there is.
One small example: For the so called "production" of 1kg meat, 7 - 10kg of grains (wheat) and 10 - 20.000 litres of water are needed. The majority of soy (the number one source for animal/lifestock food) is being produced in Brazil and the surroundings. That is to feed 60 billion animals (which is the estimated number of lifestock animals worldwide), while Brazil is also the global leader in hunger and malnutrition (although the soy it produces could feed its entire population more than 3 times).
Short: We can only eat meat because other people starve and die for it.
We are literally clearing the rainforest to plant soy. Killing people, animals and environment there. Then raping the poor production country and feeding the genetically modified shit to western livestock, which in return kills our own ecosystem. And then we can’t even throw the final product of suffering on the market, because no one would profit from it anymore, so the state has to intervene and subsidize the fuck out of it.
Still, it took me a while to fully adopt veganism (must’ve been in late 2013), but it’s definitely the best decision I ever took, right after the straight edge.
I started drinking and smoking all kinds of things really early, at the age of 13. It slowly became more and harder stuff, until it was the first thing in the morning and the last thing before going to bed. It was almost 100% of my financial expenses, hobby-time and probably even my personality… and I didn’t even see anything wrong with it, until I had my first lung collapse in 2011 and literally died from suffocation. Gladly I was brought back – reborn – and never looked back since.

7. The eternal question - which component is more important - veganism or abstinence?

So, while straight edge definitely saved my life, I still see it as a rather personal choice. Of course it affects you and our society in a lot of ways though – drugs are basically designed to keep you numbed, quiet and compliant. Addictions are pretty counterproductive to any kind of activism, liberation ideals and just generally suck. But I still wouldn’t call the straight edge a necessity for the whole population… like, if you really wanna stay dumb, lethargic and compliant, plus not give a shit about liberation struggles that have been fought for generations, be my guest.
Whole different story if you wanna shove animal parts into your face. If you accept the destruction of our whole ecosystem, the distressing and painful end of a sentient being which simply wants to live, the undignified reality of meat production for animals and humans, the sheer uneconomicalness, merely for your greedy, gustatory indulgence, then, when knowingly proceeding deliberately, in my book, you have given up your rights.

8. What is the difference between straight edge and a simple abstinence?
Do you think it makes sense to tear sXe away from its roots related to the hardcore punk scene?

The Straight Edge is a movement. A lifetime commitment to a certain set of rules, which not only grants you super powers, but also makes you part of the coolest family on earth.
Abstinence can be a spiritual arbitration, unrelated to any movement.
Like, abstinence is the first step. Then you take an oath and receive The Straight Edge.
Since it was born in the hardcore punk scene and still lives there, it doesn’t really make sense to extract it completely. Of course it has an influence on your whole life, but people change… I, myself, barely listen to hardcore anymore tbh… and never really listened to punk at all!
But there’s still a feeling attached to the straight edge, which I wouldn’t/couldn’t completely transport into Death- or Black Metal, haha…

9. Few times I discovered some people in the depths of the Internet who had no idea about sXe roots
or simply ignored them, distorting the image of the straight edge and making it into a right-wing
or "apolitical" ideology. What do you think about it?

I can feel you man – in my opinion that’s just stupid. You can’t commit to an ideology if you don’t do it fully. Like, taking out 3/5 things you coincidentally feel good with/fit your lifestyle anyways and ignoring the others. That’s not how it works. Simply never having drunken alcohol or smoked a cigarette doesn’t make you straight edge! …or does not eating pig and giving to charity automatically make you a Muslim? Check your facts. Do your research. Educate yourself. Straight Edge isn’t cool anymore anyways!


10. Let's now talk about the hardline with which you clearly sympathize. How do you evaluate
the movement in retrospect? What was good about it and what went wrong? Was it misunderstood?
And above all: is there still any sense in talking about it in the 21st century?

Hardline, as a movement, was founded in 1990 by the founder of the eponymous music label and singer of the leftist, militant animal rights band Vegan Reich. It started as a means to connect and further educate like-minded people. It obviously filled a gap and soon became quite popular in the hardcore punk community. The movement rose and spawned chapters in all corners of the United States and shortly after also abroad. Complementary the Vanguard Zines were published and carefully laid out its principles (along with lots of different flyers, handed out at shows and all kinds of gatherings).
Inherent for a movement, no matter where it came from, it attracted all kinds of people. Patrick “Rat” Poole, from the UK, radical left punk artist “Statement” released the infamous Prepare For Battle EP under that banner. Earth Crisis were to release their demo/first EP on Hardline Records (which unfortunately didn’t happen for a number of reasons), Raid from Tennessee further laid out vegan straight edge principles with their Words Of War EP, etc.
This was the first time that, in a dominant vegetarian drug free scene, the phrase “vegan straight edge” was used. Also the music became more metallic and created an opening for the, what was soon called Metalcore scene.
In short: without Hardline there would be no vegan straight edge metalcore.
Besides that, it also gave room for militant animal rights activists and, if not started them, definitely were a driving force in the CAFT (Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade), Animal Defense League, Earth First! and a long list of others.
But like I said, it attracted all kinds of people, and with that also people from various political and religious backgrounds. The movement developed a momentum of its own and so different chapters might had different emphasis.
The answer to that was a further development in the movement’s ideology, made clear in the following Vanguard Issues. The spiritual advancement of the founders and core members was transported into the movement, subtly progressing it to something more comprehensive, trying to cover all aspects of life. With deep ecology and now incorporated Islamic and Taoist views, the syncretic movement made the Natural Order key to all questions.
The Natural Order is a philosophical construct, to which all life obeys. It comprises all actions and the flow of energy itself. It was, to their understanding and with best will, laid out in written form and thus naturally leaves room for subjective interpretation and misconception.
The most common are the sexual topics, which it tackles besides animal rights, politics, economy and ecology. That in the Natural State, procreation is a biological necessity, but fornication is a creation of society with dangerous side-effects (i.e. disease, addiction, etc.).
I don’t believe that Hardline condemned (non-procreational) sex and with that automatically excluded LGBT folks – it rather wanted to challenge our understanding of it and with thus stop it from becoming for some even a weapon or an unhealthy addiction.
Anyways, Hardline basically ended with the last Issue of the Vanguard Zine and the disbanding of Vegan Reich in 1999. The spiritual components lived on and got transported into new movements like the Ahl-i-Allah and later Taliyah al-Mahdi.
Though its principles might’ve been right, it’s hard to transport a historic movement into another time. For example: the pro-life debate. Back in the 90s it wasn’t all just black and white. There were lots of leftwing hardcore bands, which called themselves pro-life. I remember a particular zine from the (female) Bass player of Dim-Mak about pro-life feminism.
Obviously the scene has changed in the last 20 years regarding that matter, so we absolutely have to tackle it again and put it on discourse (if we want to transport those ideas into today).
This brings us to the next point: The Natural Order Movement.

11. What exactly is the Natural Order Movement, which manifesto can be obtained from you?
I read it and would basically say it is a hardline, but pro-choice and with strong LGBTQ+ support.
Could you briefly summarize its assumptions? Is it a real organization or movement? Is it somehow active?

It’s the idea of transporting Hardline ideals into this day and age.
It’s a laid out idea that explains the Natural Order, the way it is, as we see it. These principles are universal and will hold forever true. The MOVE indicates a drive for action and, wherever you are, if you can identify with the Manifest and feel the need to act, then it is active.

12. And how important is spirituality in all this?
How do you evaluate its influence on the vegan sXe scene or hardcore punk more broadly?

I think it’s more of a personal thing. These can go hand in hand really well, as seen in the Taliyah al-Mahdi for example, but I wouldn’t deem it a necessity.
We have lots of OG people, like John “Paramananda Das” Porcelly, Sean “Shahid” Muttaqi, John Joseph from the Cro-Mags, Harun Najwan Askari (Naj.One) and of course HR from the Bad Brains (to just name a few) who dedicated their lives mostly to spirituality and religion.
While these can help to make sense of the seemingly chaotic and at times unjust world we live in, many people also take the straight edge (or veganism) as surrogate- or compensatory religion; which is totally okay in my opinion. It’s your journey. Maybe just try to keep an open mind and stay curious.

13. To what extent are the Middle Eastern spirituality systems an authentic inspiration for you,
and to what extent only an aesthetic reference? How do you understand the Jihad?

For some years now I’m excessively studying religions. While I was brought up (mildly) Christian, the religion never really stood with me and I didn’t even knew much about it; but still developed a kind of rejection towards it, which I now started to question. I began with the 3 major religions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam), where the last one kinda stood with me, while still learning and educating myself as we speak. Research the Taliyah al-Mahdi and the Hashlamah Project if you want to know more.
The Vegan Jihad phrase however came even before that, as Shahid’s writings have always been a huge influence on me. The first Forward To Eden Shirts (with the Vegan Jihad backprint) were merely a rip-off from an old Unborn (UK) shirt – but after I read the 4 stages of Jihad by Shahid, the phrase really internalized in me. I wrote about it and explained my point of view many times since. Here is a brief summary from the lyrics in the Forward To Eden song “Jihad”:
[…] the first is to purify, to be prepared, to internalize, to seek the evil within yourself, to hunt it down, bring it to an end. The second is to speak it out, to bring the truth to those in doubt, to partake and to proclaim, to cut away and to reclaim. The third is to go outside, take action and don’t step aside, to live the change every single day, to walk the path and pave the way. The fourth is to make it clear the utmost extreme, to inflict fear - A force only to be used when ascended, to answer violence, felonies and offense […]
In short: The Jihad symbolizes an eternal struggle in all of us, against the demons from within as well as the ever-trying evil, trying to influence us. In that fight, militancy isn't something we should be afraid of, but rather embrace it.
On the new Album I also have songs like “divine nature”, in which I try to further explain my (current) understanding of it all.

14. What can we expect from the latest album of your one-man project Forward To Eden? How did the whole creative process go? I have an impression that you develop your style and skills with each album!

Haha, thanks man! To be honest, most of the times it just kind of happens.
In early 2020, right after the finalization of the Ready To Kill For The Cult Album, I got asked for an exclusive track for a compilation, which I really wanted to do. So I just sat down and wrote and recorded a song. A few months later, the pandemic was still going on and it seemed like the compilation would be delayed indefinitely. So I recorded a Rage Of A Prophet (og xvx band from the mid ‘00s) Cover Song, with the plan to put these two songs on a split EP (which also never happened). Then, during the first lockdown and with new found inspiration from the Natural Order Movement, I wrote and recorded 2 more and decided that this would become an EP (or MLP) on its own. Summer came and the pandemic seemed to mild down a little + I realized that this would probably become a one-sided 12” and BBMA100, so I needed to make it something special and so I went all out with the layout and everything again – check it out on the Forward To Eden bandcamp right now!

15. In your lyrics you are uncompromising and you brutally show society its all sins against other living beings. How much blame lies with ordinary people and how much with corporations? Have you ever been misunderstood because of your radical approach?

When you face someone ignorant, it’s a never ending discussion. We, as people, simply don’t like being told that we’re in the wrong. We just want to be pampered and kept away from any criticism. So when we get clearly confronted with our wrongs, we only have two options: Either to deny and ignore or to accept reality and change accordingly. Unfortunately I can’t make that decision for you; I can only show you again and again, in the most drastic manner, how, with your dietary choices, you are directly responsible for a majority of the harm in the world.
Of course the direct obligation lies with the corporations, who are the essential perpetrators and executors of atrocities. But when any of us is confronted with an undeniable truth – is shown the harsh reality of things – and still chooses to continue and support a crooked system of exploitation, responsible for animal- and human suffering, as well as the destruction of our ecosystem, they are at least complicitous.
I wasn’t born vegan and I, by no means, lead an environmentally perfect life, but I refuse to stand by and just watch (let alone willingly support this carnistic shitshow).


16. As an owner of the record label you know better, I guess ;)
Tell me, what is the condition of the XVX scene globally right now?

In the last couple of years, veganism has been growing more and more into the main public. It has left its weird eco hippie niche and attracted all kinds of (especially younger) conscious people.
Also we are all connected through social media now and modern technology allows us to do anything from the save space of our apartments (which has become really drastic since the pandemic started).
So, while there are lots of xvx people globally, it’s still hard to form real bonds, necessary for a functioning scene. Also no one wants to be in a band anymore, when you can just steal some beats and be a rapper on soundcloud. Just look at me – I’ve tried to make Forward To Eden an actual band for 4 years, but eventually resigned and settled for a one-man project only.
I have many bands on my label like Caged or Defiant, who can claim to be the only active xvx band from their country (at least in the relevant genre).
Another problem is that small xvx shows aren’t really profitable anymore. A touring band needs to cover their expenses as well as the organizer/promoter. But sxe folks don’t even buy drinks and the leftwing scene (which, for obvious reasons, is the only we want at our shows) refuses to pay more than 5 bucks entry (if even)… Anyways, I’m sure ’21 will get better! Haha…
Update: It is Septemer '21 now. The pandemic is longs over. XVX Hardcore Show are happening everywhere and the scene is blooming. We have flying cars that are 100% emissionfree and eco-friendly... NOT! (sorry)

17. What attracts you the most to classic hardline bands and to all this aesthetics? Favorite albums?
And why them? And what about a regular vegan straight edge records?

Vegan Reich and Statement for obvious reasons I already talked about; still an abundant source of inspiration for me. My all-time favorite album would be Culture’s Born Of You though. The perfect mix of hardcore and oldschool metal – basically the birth of 90s metalcore – mixed with unrelentling vegan straight edge lyrics. This is also a good example of how thin the line was (and sometimes still is) when trying to distinguish from actual “hardline” I guess.
Of course you also have more outspoken (against hl) bands like Chokehold or Undying, which I also cherish (the later even had a problem with the term straight edge and just called themselves Drug Free, if I remember correctly). Another one of my all-time favorites is Morning Again’s Hand Of Hope, which is a musically flawless record to me, but lyrically (while they are really good written) has a more subtle approach on the whole vegan straight edge thematic. For me, to be vocal about your cause always adds a bonus point. I mean, just listen to Tears Of Gaia, one of my more recent favorites, I’m actually not sure if I would like them as much with lyrics about mere personal or abstract topics.

18. You must tell us how did you come to know and start cooperation with Rat from the legendary band Statement, probably the first in history, which can be described as vegan straight edge! How was it to work together?

Yeah, that also just kind of happened… I was trying to start an ethic 90s style metalcore band since 2012. Was sending riffs back and forth, but never really found the right people for it. Then in late 2013, just after turning fully vegan (I was a 90% vegan apologist for a long time), I just recorded some tracks on my own, but without drums, because I had no Idea how to play or program them and put them online, asking for help from the world-wide vegan edge community. With that, I coincidentally came to Rat (via facebook) and he just went and recorded drums for the first demo version of Indirect Cannibalism for me. Unfortunately that was also it for the time being – I waited almost a year for him to record the rest of the demo tracks (sent him a couple more), which but somehow never happened. We stayed in contact though and talked a lot since… and eventually I did get him to record drums for 4 of the songs from the Ready To Kill For The Cult LP, haha.
Anyways, our (virtual) friendship grew and then in mid-2015 we finally met for the first time, when I went to London for a festival with some friends.
After that, must’ve been late 2016, he reached out to me with some new Statement tracks he wanted vocals for (the Decide EP). I was baffled and also honored and definitely wanted to do it!
Apparently that didn’t go too bad and so we started working and some conjoint projects, like Carnivore Crusher, Guthmensch and The Rule. With one of them just having recorded a new EP while I’m writing this Interview – be prepared for some more info really soon!
Update: Yeah, it was the new Guthmensch EP - check it out! ;-)

19. You certainly talked with him about the animal liberation. You are both radical about it, but wasn't Rat chasing you away in extremism anyway? Where is the line you wouldn't cross in defending nature?

Oddly I always felt attracted by extremes – wasn’t it the same with the straight edge and veganism one day? The funny thing is, once you’ve embraced and internalized it, it doesn’t feel extreme anymore at all! Let’s take veganism for example, the extreme concern for the wellbeing of our earth and all life upon it. Can we really be too militant about this? What I’m rather afraid of is: what if we’re not militant enough about it? I highly doubt that a flexitarian diet and reducing our carbon footprint by 25% in the next 20 years will be enough… and seriously what’s the worst that can happen if were giving it our all right now? Will the world get “too good”? Will we have too much wealth and will the ecosystem be too thriving? That’d be really scary, right? I’m afraid that for certain people it actually is! After all the status quo is really beneficial for 1% of the population, so let’s rather aim for the exact thin line of not letting it all fall to ruin, while still somehow keeping a crooked and dying system artificially alive.
We need an economical revolution; for the earth and for the 99% of us. That revolution won’t come by itself and sadly it also won’t just come with the next Beyond Meat Burger.

20. What is the condition of the pro-animal movement in Germany?
Are you active or have you been active in any group?

For the moment my activism is confined to music/lyrics, writings (flyers/handouts/articles) and of course the periodical donations to various organizations and sanctuaries (with basically any and all proceeds from the label).
Animal Equality and PETA still have great, active street teams where I occasionally have been involved and some friends still are.
Besides that you can always do something by yourself when you see it. You don’t necessarily need a crew – one person alone can make a great difference with direct action!

21. The fight for animal liberation has been going on for decades. Various methods were used,
many different tactics were chosen. Which would you describe as the most effective?

There have been many legendary activists, like Keith Mann, Jane Goodall, Barry Horne, Melanie Joy, Peter Singer, Walter Bond and a long list of anonymous ones. All these had very different approaches in their activism - from a theoretical or scientific method to unrelenting direct action; from writing, over demonstrating, to burning down laboratories. Different approaches with different impact and I am not here to judge or rate them, but to see a common denominator: Veganism.
That’s where it all starts and what it eventually boils down to; the lowest, and likewise the biggest common denominator. The easiest, most basic thing and while it seems unspectacular and passive, it also has the single biggest impact.
This does not mean that it should end here, but it is a means to an end. From this point on, you can go to any and all other forms of activism, but without veganism to start with, you’re lacking the basic foundation and for all and everyone to just embrace this single ethic would eventually mean the end of the necessity for activism.

22. We are getting to the end so maybe let's relax the atmosphere a bit. By following your instagram posts, we can see that you have a lot of distance to yourself and great sense of humor. What is the most funny thing about XVX scene to you, which sometimes seems to be too bloated and serious?

Yeah, I don’t take myself too serious I guess. While Forward To Eden is 100% serious and unadorned showing the reality of things, it’s still an art project and doesn’t fully reflect my own personality. After all I also do The Rule, which has a more humorous approach and xIDOLMASTERx, which is a whole different story, haha…
Anyways, while I sometimes may write harsh, gloomy lyrics or my Instagram feed may portray me as a loathsome, offensive brute, I’m actually a rather jolly character. So, while there definitely is more than enough to be angry or sad about in this world, I always deemed negativity as futile. But as long as it gives you incitement, I won’t generally rate the PMA over an NMA.
Depending on the current mood and situation, I see the need for hard and angry hardcore music just as much as for bleak and depressive metal and while we also have positive melodic hardcore, I think what we’re still lacking is heavy xvx dance/party music. Therefore, if I’m ever going to start a 20th project and work on my keyboard skills a little, it’ll be xvx eurodance! So be prepared for when the clubs will be opening again!
Update: they still haven't... but I actually started to rehearse some keyboard and synthie stuff, haha

23. You also seem to be a fan of older horrors, or at least I've seen a quite impressive collection of movies you have. 5 unquestionable horror classics are...

Haha, yeah… as I said, I am terrible collector scum and therefore our apartment looks more like a thrift store…
Number One: Evil Dead (1981). A true original classic which laid the foundation to my all-time favorite movie: Evil Dead II.
Number Two: The Thing (1982). While being a re-make from a 50s classic, I’d also deem this quite original and authentic, with some of the best special effects in movie history.
Number Three: The Fly (1986). Another one that’s actually a re-make from a 50s classic… see above!
Number Four: Alien (1979). Do I really need to say anything about this? If you actually haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor, immediately stop bingeing the latest Netflix original and thank me later.
Number Five: Hellraiser (1987). The later follow-ups of the franchise are shit; granted. But 1 and 2 are absolute classics and on heavy rotation!

24. Thanks for the interview! I hope it was not boring. Any last words?

Loved it. Feel free to hit me up on social media for further best-of lists, or let me rate yours!
Also: Stay Vegan, or Go!

Mittwoch, 17. März 2021

Forward To Eden Record Booklets (a little anthology)

 The aim of this posting is merely to provide high quality digital versions of the Booklets
from the last few Forward To Eden Records, because I have been asked more than once
and have already seen bad scans wandering around... anyways, here's a little anthology:

Forward To Eden was founded by myself in 2013.
The goal was always to start a cool vegan straight edge 90's style metalcore band and tour the world.
Yeah... never happened... instead you just got a collection of poorly recorded one-man band stuff.


The first compilation cd of everything until late 2016 (slightly re-mixed and mastered)
Song 1-3 is the 2015 Demo CD-R. Song 4-5 is the FTE Side from the 2016 Split with Content With Dying. Song 7 is the first promo track from 2014 (with Rat from Statement on Drums).
...and here's the booklet!
(Also contains a brief explanation of the Vegan Jihad and some other content)


When Blood Covers Morality (2017)
The first 7" EP. Same Recording session as everything else from 2015 though.
Kind of realized that this won't be an actual band anymore and went forward on my own.
(also the last record which is basically unmixed/mastered, because I was stupid, haha)
...and here's the booklet!


A Human Artefact (2018)
The first actual debut Album, co-released with the mighty Catalyst Records!
Unapologetic vegan straight edge metalcore with an actually listenable quality!
...and here's the booklet!


Ready To Kill For The Cult (2020)
The sophomore LP and a next step in professionality. Same ethics.
...and here's the booklet!
(which is actually huge and has a lot of extra content about the vgnx kvlt)


A Jihad For The Sake Of Nature (2021)
The new (mini-)Album, which has just been released. Another step forward.
No booklet yet. Just buy the damn thing! bbmarecords.com/shop
Might add digital files in a year or so...


Also, if you're new to this and now wanna get the anthology vinyl box, with even more info,
exclusive artworks, posters, etc. ...well, you're lucky, there's still a handfull left, check it out: 
https://bbmarecords.com/product/forward-to-eden-a-jihad-for-the-sake-of-nature-boxset-pre-order/

Donnerstag, 31. Dezember 2020

Top 10 Releases of 2020

 By now you might've figured that this blogspot is mostly dead...
But here's my Top 10 Releases of the year again (with adjusted rating system):

Panopticon & Nechochwen – Split LP (Bindrune, 12”) 110%
Melodic, emotional, at times progressive Black Metal with Folk Elements.
Really versatile. Panopticon side is a tad stronger. Still love both though.

UADA – Djinn LP (Eisenwald, 12”) 107%
THE modern Black Metal Band if you ask me.
A highly anticipated release that doesn’t let down.

If you’re trying to play brutal, H8000 Style 90s Metalcore in the ‘20s
and it doesn’t sound exactly like this: leave it. You’re doing it wrong.

Ancst - Summits Of Despondency LP (Lifeforce, 12”) 102%
Blackened Crust Metal(core) with a twist

Funeral Leech - Death Meditation LP (Carbonized, 12”) 100%
The epitome of filthy Doom Death Metal

Signs Of Spring - Yes, You're An Angel EP (Wretched / Paranoid, MC) 97%
XVX 90s Style blackened melodic Metalcore 

Havukruunu - Uinuos Syömein Sota LP (Naturmacht, 12”) 95%
Viking/Pagan Black Metal

Eden Is Gone – Scattering Of My Malice EP (Bound By Modern Age, 12”) 92%
90s Style Blackened EdgeMetal(core)

Cleansing – Dark Current EP (Bound By Modern Age, 12”) 90%
Unyielding Straight Edge Metalcore

Witness The Fall – Closure LP (Bound By Modern Age, 12”) 90%
Melodic oldschool Metalcore

Noteable mentions in no particular order: Vanguard - Rage of Deliverance EP,  xUntold Sufferingx –Demo EP, Ceremonial Castings – Salem 1692, Ritual Of Decay – Tremble Before Violence EP,
Ritual Of Decay / Carnivore Crusher - Split EP, 
Memento – Demo 2020, Castigator -
Impressions From The Abyss LP, Unworthy Of Life - Enslaved EP, Enslave -
The Impeachment Of Man EP, Forward To Eden - Ready To Kill For The Cult LP,
Audn - Vökudraumsins Fangi LP, Grima - Rotten Garden LP, ...

Also, if anyone cares, here's a small recap of my own releases during this year.

Sonntag, 29. Dezember 2019

Top 10 Releases of 2019

The only post for this year, wow...
Anyway, I decided to give you my top 10 again and this time I also came up with my very own
rating system; which maybe will be used more often in the future for reviews and stuff.
There are 10 categories with a diverse evaluation weight, where 1 (or even 0) is the lowest score
and 5 (or 6 in a very special case) is the highest. The results will be given in percentage
and basically everything over 90% is record of the year material. Over 80% is damn fine.
Over 70 is still good, but under that number it's probably generic or mediocre at best.
Feel free to send in your bands release and if I can find the time, I might give you an
honest response!

So, for the undeniable number one (which really took it's time to appear this year):
Cattle Decapitation - Death Atlas LP - with an incredible rating of 105%

So, we have a really nice 2xLP Gatefold (released via Metal Blade Records) with a great artwork. Just a Picture on the Inside and Inlay sheet is a bit simple, but it works. Solid 5 points.
Musically, in my opinion, they just keep getting better. Tbh, I didn’t really had them on my radar
until Monolith Of Inhumanity (2012) and their earlier stuff is a little too much grind for me – I mean, is it anything but grind? Anyways, since then they kept adding melodic death and black metal parts into their individual style of grind-metal. For this new Album, it’s the most diversified and exciting
I have heard all year – it basically tackles all styles of metal there are, while creating something completely new on their own. More than I could've asked for.
Plus, they have probably the best Vocalist there is and ever was (in extreme metal). Seriously, there are lots of great Vocalists around and of course, a lot is just matter of taste, but I can’t think of
anyone who is capable of anything close to what this guy is doing! Definitely 6 points!
Also we have great lyrics here - sometimes a bit cheasy, but very refreshing for grindcore!
And I love it that Travis and (depending on the line-up) most of the guys are vegans, so you can
even take those lyrics serious – the true soundtrack to the end of the world!
Everything else is just top-notch. Technicality it's – as always – over the top. I can’t even get
my head around their easier riffs… makes it really thrilling to listen to though! Production is
simply outstanding – everything sounds perfect and the vocal-mix is a pure eargasm. Also love
the audio-samples at the beginning/end of each side of the record – cool 90s analogy.
Favorite Track: Death Atlas. Simply mesmerizing. Fast and heavy metal riffage with a melodic refrain and an atmospheric ending you just wanna fall into that endless sleep to.

The number two, which actually was my number one for the longest time of the year:
King Apathy – Wounds - their farewell LP with a rating of  97%
So, we got a nice vinyl (fancy colored options), a cool label (Lifeforce Records) and an
awesome Artwork – really love the style and the imagery. Plus points for an inlay with a lot of
thoughtfull extra writings/infos about what the band stands for and what this album is about,
but a minus point, that for the outstanding album it is, it's only a thin standard jacket…
would’ve loved a nice gatefold with an actual booklet or something! Still a solid 5 though.
Musically, we have really atmospheric (post-)black metal that builds itself up slowly,
 just to fully discharge into pure, raw emotions, while still maintaining it's own character.
This record has it all – calm clean guitar parts with beautiful melodies, doomy atmospheric parts
to just dive into and fast black metal shredding with emotionally charged screams…
BUT (complaining on the highest level here) it feels like some song structures are re-occurring, couldn’t really distinguish half the songs at a first listen; and the singer – although I really like his style and what he’s doing – has very little variation in what he is doing (which some folks even
seem to prefer though, so it's not necessarily a minus point for everyone).
Lyrics are superb – best I have read in ages. Of course the vegan/nature thematic is especially appealing to me, but even if you try to leave that aside, they’re still very well written and some phrases like “extinction is not death, it’s the end of birth” are so deep and, when I first heard them, touched me on so many levels, I would even wanna get them tattooed! 6 points out of 5, man!
Also I have a ton of respect for the guys behind the band, especially Matthias, who started this as
a one-man project and is still the main song-writer. He’s so damn talented (also active in a bunch
of other bands – check his discogs), plus someone I can actually relate to.

Now for something completely different and even for me kinda suprising... number three:
Idle Hands - Mana - their debut LP with an astonishing score of 94%

Nice vinyl version, comes with booklet and poster, on a really cool label (Eisenwald Tonschmiede)
Not my favorite artwork, but it fits the aesthetic. 5 points.
Music is really refreshing – something completely new and different for me. Something to
actually dance and sing along to, but also to contemplate about and just feel it… no idea if it's
heavy metal or goth rock, also reminds me a bit on Woods Of Ypres though.
Anyway, my favorite "not extreme metal" record for this year (and probably even longer).
Fast and catchy song, hymns that get stuck in your head, doomy & emotional parts…
this one definitely has it all! Could even be played on the radios I guess?
But, it took me a 2nd listen to appreciate them tbh – it's way different to what I usually listen to –
but fits the atmosphere and everything. Love them now – still think the deep singing could take
parts with some screaming here and there, but that’s probably just the prejudiced me.
Lyrics are a bit weird here and there – hope they’re not 100% serious – but mostly cool
and fitting to the music (depressive goth rock meets fantastic heavy metal).
Length is just Perfect – wanna listen on repeat all day! I still feel like the songs are not not all
equally strong, but tunes like "Give Me To The Night" are damn earworms!
Bandmembers and the whole aesthetic they're using looks like they're timetravellers from the 80's.
I kind of don't get it why they choose to release on a black metal label, but along with the
odd lyrics and the unique sound, this is definitely a plus point for me!
It's nothing too difficult or funky, but well-written and exciting. Everything else is on point I guess.

Number four, hailing from Australia:
Frostveil - Ephemeral Visions - their debut Black-Metal LP with a solid 93%

First off: this is a solo-project and exists in different incarnations. While this one is their debut
  bm album, their already was a full abum in 2017, which was completely ambient/dungeon-synth
though... so don't get this confused when you're checking them out. But it's both great!
So, for the review: unfortunately this one was only released on a CD (with a really good artwork),
and although a tape version is also on it's way, this has to be accounted for as a minus point.
Give me a nice vinyl pressing and I will more than gladly correct your score!
Musically we have really well written melodic black metal with recurring rhythms and patterns
(which in this case, for this kind of music, is a good thing though). Fast tremolo pickings,
heavy riffings plus fantastic melodies accompanied by fierce, but precise drummings and a wall
of atmospheric synths – sth to really dive into. Never gets boring – fast & heavy parts, as well as hooks that get stuck in your head and emotional/heartfelt interludes + piano and lots of different synthie effects - can't believe that this is/was all just one 20 yeart old dude! Fuck me!
Vocals are good, fitting, distorted guttural shrieks – nothing over the top, the typical bm stuff.
No Idea about the lyrics, couldn't yet find them, but Jake is a vegan leftist, so they better be good!
Album maybe is a tad too long - you really need to let yourself in on this and give it the attention
it deserves, so you gotta have time for this journey, otherwise it's pointless; or at least you
won't have the ultimate experience of dreamy and emotional, songs like "Echoes Of Existence"
or "Longing", which are simply beautiful but then directly next to those, there are also tracks
like "Valiance", which make you feel like getting summoned directly onto the battlefield
of a fierce Viking battle! It's all really well-written. Nothing progressive or over the top difficult,
but it just fits. Wouldn’t want it any other way here. Also it's no major-label high-end production,
but especially for black-metal, I couldn’t care less. A true hidden Gem I guess!

And to make the top 5 just as diverse as possible, here we have, next to a death metal, a metalcore,
a goth-rock and a black metal album, a hardcore EP as well - place number five:
Caged – Burning Rage Of A Dying Planet - the phenomenal debut EP with a rating of 91%
Only a 7” EP, but damn I love the Artwork and the layout - also was released on a rather cool label
(Bound By Modern Age Records), so go and check them out!
True 90’s Style Metalcore/metallic Hardcore – if you liked To Ashes, you’re gonna love this one!
Starts off with a nice Maroon style melodic riff until Ivan’s distinctive vocals set in and catapult you back into the Purification era – serious militant vegan edge lyrics right in your face!
The B-Side then sets a contrast and starts with a typical 90's hardcore chugg that invites to dance - music and variety on point - 5/5 bbma crosses. Lyrics are great – heartfelt, authentic and full of emotions. You can still hear that they're from Italy, but that also has it's own charm I think.
All in all, maybe a bit too short, but perfect for a 7” debut. Now I’m hooked for the album!
Don't you dare to disappoint me! Better bring that with you on the next tour!
Super cool and interesting people that keep the scene alive. DIY Hardcore at it’s best.
Nothing over the top fancy, but good old metallic hardcore like it’s supposed to sound + a really
nice production (yeah, maybe it’s good to not pay homage to each and every detail of the 90s)

Started this whole list way too late this year and became tired of writing detailed reviews...
Might add them at a later point, might not. Here you go with my numbers 6 to 10:

6. Misþyrming - Algleymi LP - 90%


Melodic Black Metal from Iceland. Very diverse and exciting. Kind of "black'n'roll" in some parts.
Some songs/riffs are clearly stronger (or at least to my liking) than others, plus vocals could be
a bit more diverse. But other than that, it's a really solid, atmospheric but still catchy album.
Artwork and booklet are somewhat obscure. Production is top-notch. Vinyl is a bit quiet,
but that's probably for the better - you can really dive into the different instruments and synthies.
Didn't even knew the band before this, but I also like it much more than their previous stuff,
so it's alright I guess. Don't know anything else about them, but it fits right in with Mgła,
Cult Of Fire, Svartidauði, etc. - so check them out if you like that I guess.

7. Mgła - Age Of Excuse LP - 90%

Same old Mgła, if you liked their previous albums, you will also like this one.
But I don't really wanna talk much about them because of 2 things:
Their political views (mainly the singer and guitar player, who is but also the lyricist and main
song-writer) are somewhat catchy/shady... I don't believe that they're full-on Nazis,
they don't propagate any rightwing mindset or something, but I also can't justify his support
in some other projects anymore; might be just unpolitical and stupid, but I rather try to seperate
the art from the artist here (still a big minus point though). So, this one, plus that I don't have a vinyl copy yet - they just released it digital and now everything is slowly following up (with vinyl being the slowest) - are the main reasons why this is only place number 7. The music is fantastic and
this could've been ranked so much higher if it weren't for the giant douche behind it.

8. Woe - A Violent Dread EP - 87%

Solid melodic Black Metal from the States. Not sure if this EP can live up to their sublime
full-length from 2017, which is still on constant rotation here, but nevertheless this is one of my favorite recent/current bands around. Also was released on one of the coolest RABM labels
(Vendetta Records). Nice diy style screenprinted fold-cover and a one-sided 12" with a
screenprinted b-side, which is kind of a waste, but also looks really cool!

9. Blut - s/t LP - 85%
Raw atmospheric black metal from germany and one of the best kept secrets in the scene I guess.
Fantastic song-writing by a super cool dude (Chriss Dettmer - just google him),
with maybe just a little too much love for the true 90s sound. Be sure to listen calmly and
undisturbed at full-volume on a high-end stereo or really good headphones, or just don't.
I still feel like Track 1 is the strongest and for me it really could've been a better mix/master, other than that it's a damn solid debut - it's almost like early Burzum, but with a decent guy behind it!

10. Cleansing - The Pleasures That Lead EP - 81%

And another bbma release - finish 90's style edge metal(core) done right.
Unfortunately just a tape (but a cd version is coming soon). And I feel like the second half
of this EP is somewhat stronger than the first half... songwriting, vocals - everything, idk.
Anyway, one of the best demos I've heard in a while, so be sure to not miss out on them!

Quick overview of places 11 - 20 if you wanna do some research yourself now:
Enslave – Spiritual Authority & Temporal Power, Falls Of Rauros – Patterns In Mythology,
Panopticon – The Crescendo Of Dusk, Inclination – When Fear Turns To Confidence,
Renounced – Beauty Is A Destructive Angel, Vital Force - Hard To Be A God,
Divided Life – The Death Of…, Watch Me Die - Demo,
Die Young - Defective Machines, Contention - s/t, ...