Audio Editorial – Protect Your Hearing | Planet Caravan

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Okay, so I am going to start writing audio editorials and will cover the areas I deem important. If you have questions to be answered in this forum, please send an e-mail or go to the Facebook page and ask there. I love audio and have done it for over 25 years and as this forum goes, I will share my advice, as well as experiences.

On my first column here, I want to discuss about hearing safety and how important it is to you and me. Loud volumes can ruin your ears, and you don’t want to get older and have problems that will interfere with your music. I will say it several times, YOUR HEARING CANNOT BE REPAIRED ONCE IT IS DAMAGED. Pay attention to your ears, they are what allows to play music. Wear fucking earplugs.
No matter what instrument you play, earplugs are very important. Drummers tend to lose hearing in the 1k area up to 8k from cymbals. Drummers tend to have more hearing damage than most musicians. The snare and cymbals are very abrasive especially for genres like metal; with the mix of a loud kit along with a loud monitor next to you, your hearing can be ruined for life. Wear earplugs.
Many drummers now buy headphones and get an in ear mix from house or mix their own. Singers also are at great risk of loss of hearing, and hurting their voice. As singers go, the longer they sing with a monitor, the more they will strain and hurt their voice. Earplugs help singers, and in-ear monitors make a world of difference as you hear yourself clearly and at a volume you can deal with. I strongly advise all singers to use in ears.
Guitar players tend to get damage between 600 to 6k. Loud guitar can seriously fuck your hearing up. Maybe because the amp is behind you? TRY PUTTING YOUR AMP ON THE SIDE OF YOU. I will discuss stage volume in another forum but yes you too. Wear some fucking earplugs.
Go to your phone’s app store and find an SPL meter. Don’t guess how loud you are, KNOW how loud it is, and either fix your stage volume or protect your hearing. Once it is damaged, it cannot be fixed. Don’t wait like a dumbass until you notice signs of damage, because by then you will be screwed. If you are involved in music, then your ears are the most important part of your body.
SPL METER: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.keuwl.splmeter&hl=en

PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR VOLUME LEVELS AND LOOK AT THE FOLLOWING CHART TO SEE HOW LONG IT TAKES FOR YOUR HEARING TO START TAKING DAMAGE.

I would like to add one more thing: headphone volume can be equally as bad as the speakers are an inch from your ears. Any non-musicians attending a concert should always bring earplugs.
Hopefully this will raise awareness for you and for anyone you share this with.

Jeff Fischer, an audio engineer

If you have any questions, mail us at planetcaravanmetal@gmail.com.

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GIG REVIEW | Fistful Of Steel | Planet Caravan

So Fistful of Steel, the debut gig organized by Earth One Productions, took place last Saturday at Kolkata. It was a usual day in July with slight hints of rain and a group of metalheads gathered at the venue situated at Salt Lake for a day dedicated to metal.

The first band to take the stage was Vulgustrike and they kickstarted the gig with lots of energy. They did great covers like Sepultura’s “Screams Behind The Shadows” and an Exumer number that the crowd enjoyed a lot. Rest of their songs were originals. Although the band was tight as a whole, the drummer Sayak Bagchi stole the show with his killer rolls and blastbeats. Overall, I found the band giving a lot of Pantera vibes.

Up next were the death metallers Divide Torture who are already quite well-known in the scene. Denzil Davidson managed the guitar duties remarkably well in place of their old guitarist and the drummer Bob played with unbelievable speed and precision. Like in their previous gig just a few months back, this time also they covered Cancer’s “Hung, Drawn And Quartered” that sent the crowd into a headbanging spree. The band also played a few of their OCs including the new one “SNAFU”, and added a touch of humor by giving a tribute to their new guitarist in the form of playing Napalm Death’s “You Suffer.”

The next band Xplikator delivered a heavy dose of in your face old school thrash metal. Like I did for the first two bands, I have to give the drummer Chirantan a special mention here as well. Their OCs were appreciated a lot and so we’re their covers of iconic tracks like “Raining Blood”. Personally, I liked the performance of this act the most.  The death/thrash veterans Deadbolt were next in line. I have been watching Deadbolt performing since 2013 and they have indeed gotten better with time. Nilabja had been the usual great frontman that he is, and Denzil showed his mastery with the guitars here as well. They also did a splendid Sepultura cover (“Inner Self”).

Strangulate was insane as well. They were the only band who didn’t do any covers and just concentrated on their originals. They played most of the songs from their album ‘Catacombs Of Decay‘ released last year. The overall sound of the band was of very high standards. Finally the gig ended on a high note with the old timers Evil Conscience. There is performance doesn’t need much talking about. They have been putting up electrifying performances everywhere for quite a long time now. But, in this gig, their Necrophagist cover was the best among all of the songs they performed.

Overall the gig was a nice experience and the organizers did a great job with their first venture. However I did find the attendance a bit low but I guess things will be better with time.
Cheers to Earth One Productions for pulling off their debut gig so well!

– Spirit Crusher and The Scene Kid

The images used here have been provided by Arkadeep Deb and he reserves all the rights.

Steven Wilson – To The Bone Review | Planet Caravan

Steven Wilson’s solo albums are something which I have been following since ‘Insurgentes’, 2008’s masterpiece. Well, this man can do anything starting from producing and mastering iconic metal/progressive albums to composing brilliant rock/pop albums that will haunt your soul and play with your emotions. If one digs deeper, the foundation of his albums lies within his eccentric musical ideas, mind-baffling harmonies, production skills, melodies and that too delivered with an impeccable English accent-which alone can leave quite an impression on listeners.

Cutting to the chase, ‘To the Bone’ (2017) marks the departure of Guthrie Govan (Aristocrats, Hans Zimmer) and Marco Minnemann (Joe Satriani, Aristocrats), whose absence could be felt in this album. The overall feel of this album is more pop like than his previous solo records; people familiar with ‘Stupid Dreams’ would catch the drift easily. By the way, here pop does not refer to what you hear on the radio nowadays but the pop which progressive fans will embrace; To be honest, I like to call it “art-pop” and as SW says: the balance which it has maintained can only be perceived by your ears in line with the works of Peter Gabriel, Kate Bush.
This album consists of 11 tracks, out of which 4 songs have been released as singles. The first track is the title track, which is catchy as well as intelligent from a production point of view, surrounding the subject of human perspective. The percussion in this song is kind of surprising though; it’s simple and provides the pop feel. It features Mark Feltham (long term band member of blues rock legend Rory Gallagher).
The second track, ‘Nowhere Now” at first seems like it’s out of Blackfield’s catalogue, then slowly builds up into a Prince like ambience with some distortions that oozes out the melody. This song gets better with every listen.
This is followed by “Pariah, which is one of the most beautiful duets I have heard in lately with Ninet hitting the notes with all glory. I do not know how to describe her voice, I think smoky is an apt description. Previously she played a huge part in songs like “Routine”, “Ancestral” in SW’s previous albums and this composition shows that she’s the perfect artist for the job.

“The Same Asylum As Before” is the 4th track and starts off with SW’s falsetto which I am not a big fan of. But soon it builds up into a heavily distorted section, which I love and it removes all the notion of being a pop record.
The next song “Refuge” follows a bit of conventional art-pop arrangement like the vocal tone and the drums but the song writing is spectacular here aided by a haunting harmonica and guitar solo featuring Mark Feltham. This basically describes the life of a refugee in the chaos ridden city.
“Permanenting” is my least favourite track off the album. Though it is an unconventional pop song, it sounds too happy and uplifting for this album.
The seventh song, “Blank Tapes” is a beautiful and short ballad in the line of songs like “Routine” (HCE), “Lullaby” (Blackfield) featuring Ninet again. The bass line gives me an 80’s vibe, which does not cut out the current relevance of the song but rather harmonizes with it to portray a picture of hopelessness. “People Who Eat Darkness” is the next track. It starts off with a rock n’ roll vibe and gives sort of an  Arctic Monkeys and Cage the Elephant feel, but then fades into SW’s sound which is good but nothing surprising. I’m not a big fan of this track too. “Song Of I” is like a trip hop wet dream, blissfully arranged with the right amount of electronic elements. It is one of the most ambient songs off the album; it shows how SW is capable of creating a crazy soundscape with anything. It feels like a movie soundtrack when the string section kicks in; I closed my eyes and imagined a scene of Blade Runner, and the way it synched gave me goose bumps.
The tenth track is the longest and most probably the most “progressive” track in this album, considering the surprises in this track and a long instrumental section. Despite having alot of Prince Influences, it is a fun track that will keep the listeners glued. I would rather not speak a lot about this song; trust me you will be surprised to hear this after listening to the other tracks.

The ending track is perfect-a signature Wilson ballad with a memorable melody. The song is an anti-thesis of current human ambitions. It provides a perfect ending to the album by saying,” It’s not the years you pass, it’s about the moments that last” signifying the importance of the later.
In conclusion, this is a very well-balanced album which will attract more audience to explore SW as well as it’s a homage to some of the idols that SW’s has grown up listening. To prog fans, you need to be patient with the album as it will grow on you slowly; songs like “Detonation” will be a part of your prog playlist soon. I loved the album slightly less than Raven. To the Bone is a bit more accessible than SW’s previous works but it is not a bad thing; The way he blends all elements is something to experience from this album.

Overall Rating8/10

Sayandip Pahari (Guest Writer)

 

Upcoming Gigs In Kolkata

We at Planet Caravan always try to support all the local organizers of old school rock/metal gigs. So here’s three of the upcoming gigs to be held in July and August. Try to attend all of ’em!

1. Fistful Of Steel (July 29th)

Earth One Productions are a newly formed group of organizers in Kolkata aimed at betterment of the local music scene. They are about to strike there first blow with a killer lineup this Saturday at Muzik Factory, Salt Lake.

Lineup:

Strangulate (death metal)
Deadbolt (thrash metal)
Evil Conscience (death metal)
Xplikator (thrash metal)
Divide Torture (death metal)
Vulgustrike (thrash metal)

Venue: Muzic Factory. Sector 5, Salt Lake

Passes: INR 150/-
Paytm to 9051336340 to book them or you can collect your physical pass by contacting
the following numbers:
North Kolkata – 8017838486
Central Kolkata – 8017217882
South Kolkata – 9051336340

2. Fatal Attack! (5th August)

Thrash Bengal Regiment is another newly formed group in the local scene, with the intention of promoting the thrash metal acts and giving them a platform. They even managed to bring down two great bands from Bangladesh – Turn Hostile and Thrash! Be there at Mohit Mancha, Dum Dum to have a “thrash” experience.

Lineup:
Dreadhammer (thrash metal)
Armament (thrash metal)
The Neighborhood Thrashers (thrash metal)
Deadbolt (thrash metal)
Turn Hostile (thrash metal)
Thrash (thrash metal)

Venue: Mohit Mancha, Dum Dum

Passes: INR 200/-
Go to this link to book them or you can collect your physical pass by contacting the following numbers:
Aniruddha Bera: +919232475165 (Ballygunge/Gariahat/Dhakuria)
Abhirup Bhaumik: +919800152459 (Jadavpur/Tollygunge)
Subham Ghosh: +919804431339 (Behala)
Rishav Bhattacharya: +919804654870 (Dumdum)
Avishek Roy: +918017838486 (North Kolkata)
Avinaba Sengupta: +919163498962 (Jadavpur/Garia)
Argha Kamal Ganguly: +917829756552 (Bangalore)

3. Strength of Steel II (20th August)

I think there’s no need to introduce Kolkata Old School Metal Association. The flag bearers of Kolkata’s old school heavy metal are back with thier 7th gig and this time they have the death metal giants form New Delhi as the headliners. Also, an old thrash metal band from Kolkata will be reuniting in this gig.

Lineup:
Fragarak (death metal)
Infernal Diatribe (black metal)
Falcun (heavy metal)
Blakhole (punk)
Xplikator (thrash metal)
Sky Riders (hard rock)
Mortar (thrash metal)

Venue: Triguna Sen Auditorium, Jadavpur University

Passes: INR 250/-
Go to this link to book them or you can collect your physical pass by contacting the following number: 8017838486

You can also get the passes at the venues of the gigs as well!

 

Fragarak Releases New Track

Experimental death metal band Fragarak from New Delhi, India released a new track from their upcoming second album just a few days back. A Spectral Oblivion‘ will be a 11-track concept album and the band has taken an “experimental approach to heavy metal” and the album.  They even got the Australian drummer Louis Rando (Impiety) to record for the album.

“In Rumination II – Reflections” is a 11-minute long track which has many progressive and melodic elements which makes it stand out from the conventional death metal bands. Particularly the guitars sound very well, from the heavy riffs to the acoustic parts.

Here’s a link where the album can be streamed:

These guys will be going on a seven city tour after releasing this album. They will be releasing the album at Kolkata Old School Metal Association’s seventh gig Strength of Steel II on the 20th of August at Triguna Sen Auditorium, Jadavpur University, Kolkata. They will be playing there alongside 6 of Kolkata’s great bands. Be there to witness some pure old school magic. Get your passes now!

 

Loathfinder – The Great Tired Ones Review | Planet Caravan

Godz Ov War Productions are about to release the debut EP of a band called Loathfinder in April. They are a blackened doom act from Poland, and we just received an advanced promotional copy of ‘The Great Tired Ones’ from the label to review.

Before I go into the tracks of this EP, the first thing that I liked about this album is the fascinating cover art which has been done by Robert A. von Ritter (Outre, Diabolizer, Witchmaster) with the design and colours being the creations of Maciej Kamuda (Nekrofilth, Kingdom, Ectovoid). The mixing and mastering on this has been done by Haldor Grunberg of Satanic Audio (Azarath, Thaw, Blaze Of Perdition).
The very first track itself establishes the slow morbid death/doom metal sound of the EP. The gainy riff has a bit of stoner doom influences of the likes of Sleep and Electric Wizard and the vocals sound along the lines of Obituary’s Tardy. The melodies and the melancholy guitar interludes add a different flavor to the song. The next track “Feast On My Entrails” goes a bit more aggressive and the tempo changes are really good.

“Scents Of Regression” begins with a pounding bass intro and has a oppressive atmoshphere throughtout the riffs. The vocals are also tighter in this one and needless to say this one’s my favourite track from this record. The EP ends with the title track which has a very eerie intro and has melodic guitar interludes like the first song. The guitar works reach a new level here and the melodies have been perfectly placed alongside the riffs.


Overall this is a typical blackened doom sound with the band not going into any ‘experiments’ at all. But they have done a very decent job with the music and the mixing. This is likely to appeal a lot to the old school crowd.

Written by – Spirit Crusher

Sinner – Tequila Suicide Review

Even though front-man Mat Sinner must surely have his hands full with his many projects (Primal Fear, Voodoo Circle, Silent Force, the Rock Meets Classic project), he evidently still finds plenty of time for his band, Sinner, who have been part of the German heavy/ power metal scene in various forms since 1982, selling over a million albums worldwide.
Due on March 31 via AFM Records, ‘Tequila Suicide’ is the German heavy metal band’s eighteenth studio album, being co-produced by Mat Sinner and Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69), and features Matt on vocals and bass, Tom Naumann and Alex Scholpp on guitars and Francesco Jovino on drums, plus special guest artists such as Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, Firewind), Ricky Warwick (The Almighty, Thin Lizzy), Pete Lincoln (The Sweet) and Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear).

The record kicks off with a bang, opening with fast and hard rockers such as “Go Down Fighting”, a fast number with a punkish feel and the title song “Tequila Suicide”, one of the highlights of the album with its energetic licks and catchy hook. The record transitions to a strong midsection, straddling various genres such as the power metal rocker “Dragons”, “Battle Hill” a hard and impactful metal number with a slight Celtic feel, and then going mellow in the fine ballad “Sinner Blues”. The latter part of the album continues delivering hard rock/ metal songs that, while fun to listen to, ultimately fail to stand out much, with the exceptions of “Gypsy Rebels” and the closing track, “Dying On A Broken Heart”, another soft number that gives the album a memorable ending.


Ultimately, while there is nothing on ‘Tequila Suicide‘ that hasn’t been done before, it still makes a worthy addition to the collection of any diehard metalhead, delivering a power packed mix of catchy vocals over frantic guitars and chugging bass, along with some really awesome album art – one hopes that Sinner release their next album soon.

Written by: Akshit Bajaj