June 2007




Gelterkinden,  03 June 2007

Little Creek Studio  - Gelterkinden - Baselland (CH) 

Production  and Engineering-Team: V.O. Pulver und Franky Winkelmann


review by dalia di giacomo


all photos by Stefan W. Vogelaar

[The public use of these photos  is strictly prohibited without written permission]



Darkmoon live Metal Dayz 2006 
Darkmoon live release party 2005
...of Bitterness and Hate
Darkmoon at Little Creek Studio 2005
Darkmoon live Deathwish 2005
Darkmoon live Gryphonparty II
Darkmoon live Deathwish 2004
Darkmoon live MetalForces VI
Black Domain







There will be the apocalypse now. Do you remember Francis Ford Coppola's masterpiece?. The upcoming release from Swiss Melodic Death metallers Darkmoon is called Apocalyptic Syndrome and not by chance. It's the artist who takes care about the new cover art the one who came out with these words: Apocalyptic Syndrome,  just basing himself on Darkmoon's music and lyrics. This is what frontman Matthias Borer and guitarist Gianrichy Giamboi told me in the studio, and , surprisingly, the band was walking the same path concerning the title of the album. A case of telepathy?  Dark, sinister and detonating, Darkmoon will spread the syndrome that announces their definitive presence. Produced again by VO Pulver and Franky Winkelmann at  Little Creek Studio in Gelterkinden, the new album will also bring some new features in comparison with the debut cd. I thank the band and the Little Creek Studio for allowing me a visit during the recording works and for the chat. In the studio i find the producing team and the whole band except drummer Laurent Struck, because the recording concerning drums are already done. Also the rhythmic guitars, balanced between Gianrichy Giamboi and Christian Waltert are recorded. It's bassist Pascal Rechsteiner the one called to refine the rhythmic section, and from the moment that Pascal lays down backing vocals, the cooperation between vocalist Matthias is stronger. To see Darkmoon in the studio again is for me a real involving moment, to see how the chords are tested in synchronicity of spirit between guitarists and bassist under the supervision of Franky Winkelmann bassist of the the Hardcore/Thrash titans GurD and to speak in the meanwhile with Matthias about the lyrics is my first step towards the new album. the hat occurred later with each Darkmoon present and with Mr. Winkelmann has brought me nearer to the general picture of the new release. 

First off this is the new tracklisting (in no order): 10 tracks, only 2 belonging to the"old" era, 8 bright new. Gianrichy and Matthias underline the fact that the new album will be consequently more homogeneous, expression of the latest and up-to-dated compositive vein of the band. 

My Misery - Caravan of the Dead, Before the Storm , The Hate still burns, I will be the last, Falling down, I am the End, Apocalyptic Syndrome, Black Domain, Human Plague. 


Black Domain and Human Plague are the only two old tracks inserted, Black Domain is the mark of the band while Human Plague, although well known from the fans, was never recorded. In its genre this is also something new. Some of the new tracks were presented in recent concerts in particular during the 10 years celebration concert,  but 3 of them:  Before the Storm, i am the end and Apocalyptic Syndrome are a total suspence, they were never played and there is no way to listen to them before the release and , live, before the release concert that should be tentatively take place in November this year. Matthias allows me to read some lyrics, he tells me that in the new album there will be no fantasy elements, only reality oriented subjects. subjects bound to that sad reality that mankind is able to put on the stage of history. Yesterday and today, war, disgust, death, damage, shame, hate, persecution. Nonetheless there is hope. Something is not lost along the way, maybe one day governments and economy will understand. And many people too. To understand that there is a way to salvation.

This is a passage from the song Caravan of the dead:

there we are walking
tortured and stained
guided by words full
of hate and disgust

too weak to cry out the pain
no words to describe all the shame
the taste of blood in our lungs
step by step closer to death
we keep on fighting
until the last breath

From the holocaust thematic  till today there is not much to happy and proud for what human beings are able to do to other human beings, but whatever...it's a syndrome, maybe not the exitus. And also the deep labyrinth of human psyche is explored, tells Matthias, accordingly the new era of the band.

I ask Matthias from what comes his great ability to depict destruction and disease in just few well directed words. Blood in our lungs, the apocalypse told in 4 words, a tuberculosis view of a merciless crawl. Matthias answers me that the motivation to write better and better lyrics is just naturally grown up in himself. Do you remember or have you ever read with attention the lyrics of Dust in my Eyes? (available on the band's myspace site...?) His attitude has always been there.

Second important point: the new album will be more thrashy: ahhh have Darkmoon left their Black Metal roots?? No, not completely at least Before the Storm, I am the end and , obviously Black Domain are, for example, soaked with Black Metal elements. Nonetheless the band is moving more towards a Melodic Death/Thrash hibridization. Guitaristt Gianrichy tells me that this is what he really likes at the moment, what he likes to play and compose, while Gianrichy remains the Black Metal torch bearer. One of the questions is who got the inspiration for the musical textures? Lyrics comes mainly from Matthias except a couple of songs from Gianrichy ( for example Black Domain and Before the Storm), but music? Music comes mainly from both guitarist Christian and Gianrichy, who , by the way, still have to record their solos. Then the inspiration is refined and completed by the rest of the band. A team work which is normal in a combo with such a stable line up of friends who know themselves from the school banks. But attention, i was told once more, how much important a drummer can be. New musical horizons can become reality only with a valid drumming sustain. Perfectly introduced and taught by former drummer Hubi, the new Alsatian tank Laurent is able to transport the formation right there, where the 2 guitarists want. Precision is one of his features acclaimed and appreciated by his band mates. 

Although the atmosphere is cool, it is not as relaxed as i found out in 2005: why? I ask Matthias. "Of course!", he answers, "that's why we are still working, while the other time we were at a final point in the production". ah yes...clear! and believe me, to record a new album is no easy work, actually. I also ask all Darkmoon whether they are satisfied to record again at the Little Creek Studio and whether the production team is perfectionist. Yes, everyone is sincerely satisfied, and yes the production is very attentive but also very cooperative and interactive : ideas flow from both sides, everyone is mind opened to suggestions improvements and confrontation. Ideal. and all Darkmoon point out that the studio itself has much improved with new software, new technique 100% in digital direct capture.

I ask both Matthias and Gianrichy confirmation concerning the release date of the album. End of July all components must be ready for a release planned for end October or first half of November through the Austrian CCP Records, while the distribution in Switzerland will be Non Stop Music Records.

Effects. I ask Matthias which effects will be privileged. Matthias tells that this time very probably there will be no intro and that some echoes will be inclement.

I ask Christian which are his impressions about this new album, how his is living the construction as guitarist and whether he meets often Gianrichy besides concerts and studio. Yes they meet often, he say, only that's way is possible to create something together with exchange of ideas and feelings. The new riffs pulse literally under his skin, technically is a step further. And i immediately add : will Darkmoon become a technical Death band, is this the evolution? "No, no" tells Christian, Darkmoon are always melodic, there is no intention to become a technical band, but technically as far as it concerns the execution of the riffs, this album marks a wider ability and more fun and satisfaction in playing. I ask now Christian which songs are his favorite ones. "Each song is cool difficult to say, maybe "The Hate still burns" with its melodies, but also Caravan of the Dead is super for me. Falling Down is more thrash, therefore also another song i like particularly". Answering the question whether the production is perfectionist, Chris too says yes, it is, and so it must be. Laughing he adds our songs are like models that will be enrich by the proper make up before going the cat walk! Chris too underlines the new equipment of the studio. And do you have a new guitar? i ask. Yes, i have, but always eine Ibanez. i ask him whether he is critical towards the band's works. Chris tells me he is not. Not so critical as it may seem. "Others are more critical than i", he assures me. 

After the recording of the bass lines of 2 songs, Pascal finally finds tries to find some rest on the sofa near me and Christian. On the other hand he allows me gladly a little bit of intrusion and of course i don't waste the possibility to gather some impressions from Darkmoon bass-player. Particularly interesting are , for me, two things: his backing vocals and the co0peration with another bassist: producer Franky from GurD. Bassist versus bassist? Pascal laughs, absolutely not, on the contrary Pascal can only welcome the advantages derived from Franky's suggestions. i wonder whether the duty of a bassist is bigger than one normally thinks. I mean, it's not only dum dum dum. Pascal laughs again and looks at me cryptically and sardonic. "No it's not, the contribution at the basic tones is required and not only to them. Rhythmically one must grow and must become more mature". The speech then goes on around the figure of the bassist in the music world. Pascal tells me that the bigger bassists are not to be searched in metal but in another league, in the jazz genre, for example. Yes ok, but metal bassists are not that bad right? and Pascal laughs again .  Backing vocals: it's the first album that Pascal's backing vocals find wider relief. Pascal is very enthralled, also because to enrich vocally the band, with more nuances, supporting Matthias Borer is a great task. Bass solos? "no, not really, but however something in that direction yes, there will be some short bridges with only bass and guitar that will launch then the riff walls". 

And finally i'm really honored to chat a little bit with Mr. Winkelmann. Mirrorlike question: are Mr. Pulver and you glad to work with Darkmoon again? "yes", tells me Frankie smiling "the guys are cool, the cooperation is harmonic, everyone knows everyone well, we all know what we have to do". He too underlines the good performance of the new drummer, and he is really happy that works proceed in the planned time . The good evolution of the Little Creek's equipment is also considered  by Franky.  " Yes" , he tells, "the guys are "grown up", are matured, everything's getting more interesting, songwriting is better".... ehh...?- i ask- Is it possible to be better than ..of bitterness and hate?. a 10 out of 10, given by us fully deserved. A cd with so long breath, so much it was listened by the fans. Frankie smiles and points out that this album perfectly reflect the current era, with 8 songs totally new, with an improved structure. Also those 3 or 4 skeptics by nature will be convinced?, i ask. "ahh tzz  those there will always be!" says promptly Frankie. If Darkmoon is not the best band in the world, which is the best band for Franky?  The Beatles. And Abbey Road comes to my mind. Curious to crash into The Beatles in the place who is preparing an an apocalyptic syndrome. But the revolution that The Beatles has lighted still is running under the surface.

After having recorded the bass lines,  VO is now occupied with vocals: it's time for Matthias to reach the microphone in the other room. He lays down the vocal lines for My Misery like a warjet flies its combat route. Powerful, roaring, impeccable. Top- grade Death metal vocals.

On the way home i  think again of Christian's words commenting the title of the album:  mankind is on the edge of a bitter catastrophe, if things don't change. No matter if in 2 or 200 years... mankind is really running a risk". 


Fall will come.

dalia di giacomo





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