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Mini-Issue #550.5

Mini-Issue #550.5
June 4, 2010

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Patrick Brower, Editor

Sean P. Gahgan, Editor

Tim Wadzinski, Owner

Steve Shumake, Co-owner

-Here we go with some good ProgPower info and Stephanie’s Ana Kefr interview. – Tim

-ProgPower USA XI Lineup Finalized

The full lineup for the 11th annual installment of ProgPower USA — the largest alignment of progressive, classic and power metal bands on American soil — has been announced for this September’s festivities.

As always, the massive event, held in Atlanta, Georgia, will include a plethora of both stateside and European acts, including headlining acts Kamelot, Accept and HammerFall, along with Turisas, Nocturnal Rites, Tyr and more. This year’s festival will also mark the first American appearances from Paradox, Leprous, Delain, Tarot (featuring Marco Hietala of Nightwish), Seventh Wonder and many more international acts.

In addition to the main two days of the event, there will be two days of pre-fest shows and activities based around ProgPower, including a Mid-Week Mayhem show on Wednesday, September 8th, and a Fest Kick-Off Show on Thursday, September 9th.

There are actually only approximately 300 tickets still available for the fest, so don’t wait! View the full lineup below, and check out the official Web site for ProgPower USA for full details, ticket info, the history of the fest and more:


ProgPower USA XI Itinerary:

9/08/2010 ProgPower USA XI Mid-Week Mayhem

Ross The Boss (New York) – “A Night Of Manowar Classics” with Scott Columbus
Vangough (Oklahoma)
Seven Kingdoms (Florida)

9/09/2010 ProgPower USA XI Kick-Off

Accept (Germany) 10:45 – close
Leprous (Norway)* 9:15 – 10:15
Borealis (Canada) 8:00 – 8:45
Six Minute Century (Texas, USA) 6:45 – 7:30

9/10/2010 ProgPower USA Day 1

Kamelot (US/Norway)
Nocturnal Rites (Sweden)
Turisas (Finland)
Tyr (Faroe Islands)
Seventh Wonder (Sweden) *
Leaves’ Eyes (Norway/Germany)
Illusion Suite (Norway) *

9/11/2010 ProgPower USA Day 2

HammerFall (Sweden)
Tarot (Finland) *
Delain (The Netherlands) *
DGM (Italy) *
Oceans Of Sadness (Belgium) *
StormWarrior (Germany) *
Paradox (Germany) *

* = first ever performance on American soil


by Stephanie Davison (Zatanna7@comcast.net)

-Interview w/ Ana Kefr

It was only a little under a year ago that Southern California based Ana Kefr unleashed their debut album, VOLUME 1 unto the metal world. In that time, they have enjoyed unprecedented success, complemented by an ever-growing fan base. As a way to celebrate this and to commemorate the anniversary of their first album, they have written the single, “Tonight We Watch The Children F*cking Burn.” But in the past few months, the band has made some adjustments, most notably a change in band members. So here I got the chance to converse with everyone in the band. I talked to them about the single, got better acquainted with the new members, and discussed future plans for the band. Oh yes, this is a new Ana Kefr — and they have a lot to say — read on!

DETRITUS: Do you feel like the message of Ana Kefr has changed over the past year?

RHIIS LOPEZ: I wouldn’t necessarily say that the message of Ana Kefr has changed over the last year, but we have definitely evolved and transformed beyond what we started out as. We began as these blackened, winged creatures (I realize how black metal this sounds, I swear it is unintentional). We were fresh, squirming little things, not necessarily pretty to look at, but we had wings — some sense of direction and aspiration. We clung to what we thought were our roots but some of the roots turned out to be sour, others to be stimulating. I feel like we are still shedding that blackened exterior, the shell that was prickly and rough, still polishing out those weak points. VOLUME 1 was a very fresh and green experience for us, birth in the real sense — accompanied by all the birth pangs, sweat, blood and tears that are associated with physical birth. It has us kicking and screaming; at some points I see a sort of infantile helplessness in there, a child still learning to communicate. This has left us. We are still very passionate about free-thinking, reason and rationality, know PETA is a terrorist organization hiding behind a Boca burger, know religion is essentially an irresponsible cop-out. But we’re finding a new way to bring the philosophy into “philosophy-metal,” and this will become apparent with the release of our second album. Rather than shove our fists down the throats of the irrational, it’s time to take off the gloves and hit harder where the contact actually makes a difference. And what does this all mean? I’m not exactly sure. I’m still coming to understand it — and that’s the beauty of art.

D: What drove you to write a song with such a diverse range as “Tonight…”?

KYLE COUGHRAN: Nothing actually drove me to write “Tonight,” it just came up on a sunny day and I wrote it to be straightforward. After bringing everyone’s ideas to the table, the song really took to its form. “Tonight…” is a song to keep your blood pumping. It has its heavy parts and rock to epic. You couldn’t ask for anything more metal. So enjoy it and rock Ana Kefr through your stereos.

D: What is the meaning behind the lyrics to “Tonight We Watch The Children F*cking Burn”?

RL: “Tonight We Watch The Children F*cking Burn” is an interesting comparison of the history of Judeo-Christian mythology/history with the Holocaust and the Nazi movement. While this may sound like it’s another Ana Kefr track bashing religion (which is obviously too easy), the focus is less on the religious aspect and more on the problem of prejudice, genocide and the apparent casual simplicity humanity has for writing off cold-blooded murder of thousands to millions of innocent human beings.

If you have any sense of what is inhumane and have also read the Torah (the first five books of the Bible), you have most likely shuddered in disgust, as I have and still do, at the story of Yahweh ordering the Israelites — upon punishment of death — to ethnically cleanse ancient Palestine. In Numbers 31:7-18, Israel is commanded to take the young Midianite virgins for themselves (i.e., God condones rape), and to then murder the rest of the tribe. I find it an interesting turn of events that Israel’s quasi-mythical beginnings were marked with engaging in the wholesale slaughter of entire nations of people, only for them to (much later) be the victims of genocide themselves. One would think that, with a hard look at history and the circle of events, someone would recognize the great cycle and gain some kind of insight from that. Instead, Israel was thrown back onto Palestinian territory after World War II, based on mythological political boundaries. They then proceeded to invade Egypt and Jordan, basically continuing their legacy of plunder and occupation. If, today, Iran came forward claiming that Allah had long ago given them the land of Iraq and had commanded them to slaughter every Iraqi citizen, everyone would be calling them psychotic zealots and maniacs. Yet this is not the reaction to Israel, who have committed essentially the same thing. This is a violent slap to the face of the entire Middle East — and we wonder why there is no peace! I may not be a fan of Islam, Hamas or any of that nightmare bullsh*t, but I sure as hell would fight HARD if someone tried to break into my room, murder me and steal my things because they were convinced that God gave them the right to do so. Can you imagine if my neighbors proceeded to defend the bastard who tried to do this to me? In this situation, it is clearly barbaric to stand behind the perpetrator, yet we see this justification going on daily in the world. I think it’s disgusting.

I’ve personally spent almost two months in Israel and Palestine and have seen the iron wall, the great separation between the Israeli and Palestinian territories. I’ve seen the tension in the streets, the distrust in the eyes. It’s sad. The newer generations of Israel and Palestine want nothing to do with the conflict, yet they are hopelessly dragged into the problem because of tradition and religion. Turn on American news and we won’t even acknowledge that Israeli soldiers are gunning down Palestinian school children. We report every Israeli soldier shot, but we ignore Palestine entirely. It should be no wonder why there will never be peace so long as we stand firmly behind injustice. And then it is considered “anti-Semitic” if you compare Israel and the Nazis, which is basically forbidding people to even think of the correlations. Israel may not have carried out human experiments or turned human fat into soap, but comparisons don’t have to match on every detail. The fact is that there are very real correspondences between the two, regardless of how uncomfortable that makes Israel feel, and it does not make me anti-Semitic to point that out anymore than it makes me a Christian for being able to recite all the books of the Bible in order. I find it funny that those who attempt to point out these similarities are criticized for being “ignorant.” The real ignorance is on the part of those who do not know the true history of Israel and who do not recognize it for what it is, not those who already can call a spade a spade (which is also an idiom confused with bigotry, but I won’t get into that one here).

The song actually discusses a lot more. All of our songs require novel-length explanations, so the above explanation seems sufficient to get the reader started on where the song is pointing.

D: Ana Kefr has introduced three new members since their first album, so let me take this opportunity to ask some questions. Brendan, what is your take on the message of Ana Kefr?

BRENDAN MOORE: To be honest, the fact that Ana Kefr was a thought-provoking band that spoke loudly against the mainstream uniform thought of religion and politics in particular is what turned me on to the band in the first place. I have always been strongly opinionated and have always enjoyed a good debate. But one thing that has always bothered me when talking to most people, or even watching the news, is hearing and seeing an uncanny onslaught of absolute ignorance based on things that people have merely been taught to believe rather than actually doing any research for anything. It is somberly apparent that it is human nature to be fed information and simply accept it rather then to keep an open mind and to find it for one’s self. We see it as the dominating factor that has plagued modern man from its earliest beginnings to the present day. It is this kind of ignorance that has created the most damage. Damage which includes manipulation, greed, terrorism, and even genocide. The Muslim faith for example uses the term “infidel” (meaning freethinker) as an absolute insult, labeling those who think for themselves as godless swine that should be destroyed. And while most other uniform thinkers are not as extreme in their thoughts as perhaps the fundamentalists who may actually carry out acts of terror against those who oppose them, they still shun those who think differently. This is where we step in. We embrace the term “infidel” for what it means and we encourage everybody to stand up and open their minds. We want people to learn how to be themselves and to come to their own conclusions, not to simply base their thoughts on what their supreme leaders say or what a 2,000-year-old book that has been manipulated and changed over and over again tells them. And what better way to spread our message of open-mindedness then through the power of the universal language of music? It is our hope that those who listen to our music are enlightened by our message of open-mindedness and only then can our music truly be used as a metaphorical yet powerful weapon against those who choose to manipulate, terrify and murder in the name of their personal beliefs. Our music is aggressive, angry, loud, dark, scary, but epic and beautiful at the same time. We will stand up and shout our message, yet show you the beauty of being able to think for yourself. “There exist limitless opportunities in every industry. Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier.” – Charles F. Kettering

D: Shane, you have outstanding timing and delivery on the drums. What kind of musical background do you come from?

SHANE DAWSON: Well, my mother and uncle are both percussionists, and my brother and sister play woodwind instruments. So, I guess you could say that I have been around music all my life. Since I’ve always loved music so much, I joined band in school. I’ve studied music steadily for 10 years now, and the primary thing is all about timing. A percussionist or drummer has to be the best at keeping time because, in most music — rock or classical — the percussionist is the heartbeat of the band. They are the timing. I feel like I was born to be a percussionist.

D: Alphonso, considering how VOLUME 1 had no bass, has it been fun, a challenge, or both, to come up with new material for already-established parts?

ALPHONSO JIMINEZ: It was a new experience for me. It was like learning how to play my instrument all over again. I had a lot of fun learning the songs on VOLUME 1, but had a challenge writing bass lines to an already completely established song.

D: Brendan, obviously you know what you’re doing on the guitar, do you have some kind of classical training?

BM: It’s funny that you mention that because classical music has been in my blood ever since I was born. As an infant, my father would play classical music in my room quite regularly, basing it on the theory that, if you play classical music around a young child, it supposedly enhances their IQ as well as their understanding of the arts. As a possible result of it, I have developed an above-average IQ as well as skill in both art and music. So it’s quite feasible that it worked to some extent. When I entered my childhood, I kind of became obsessed with music scores from some of my favorite movies such as “Superman,” “Batman,” and “Star Wars.” I absolutely loved how the music composed by the likes of John Williams and Danny Elfman could absolutely dictate my mood and make me feel anything from uplifted to frightened by the use of particular chord progressions and dynamics. When I was 11 years old, I picked up the saxophone and joined the band at school. I continued to play saxophone in the wind ensembles of my schools, all the way through college where I had the pleasure of playing and performing many great pieces. We traveled across the United States and even to France, performing scores from Bach to Gershwin. Once I reached college though, I began to focus more of my attention to playing and performing classical guitar, both solo and in the school ensemble. As a member of the school’s classical guitar ensemble, I reached first chair within three months. Soon after that, I began teaching guitar both privately, and for contract classes. I am currently a couple of classes away from receiving my minor in music performance for classical guitar. Since all of my attention was diverted to the guitar, my saxophone began to collect dust in my closet. But once my band mates were informed by our drummer that I was first chair saxophone in the wind ensemble, marching band, and jazz band in high school, they were quick to ask if I could utilize it in some of our newer material. So needless to say, I dusted the old thing off and brought it back to life. That being said, you can definitely expect this next album to be truly unique and I, for one, am absolutely excited about it!

D: Some of the darker parts of the bass really give a sense of falling or disorientation, some of which can be attributed to playing on a fretless bass. What would you say your musical voice is drawn from or a product of?

AJ: When it comes to writing, I like to create motion so you can feel as well as hear it. Breaking away from the music, rather than following the riffs of the guitars, I would rather go with a darker bass line. My favorite feeling in music is the sense of falling without anything to land on, that sense of swaying. I try to use the bass not so much as a bass is typically used, but as something felt, physically and emotionally. I want it to be set apart from everything else.

D: What artists inspire you?

SD: I love a lot of music, old and new. To make a quick list to give a general idea, the top five bands that influenced me the most would have to be Dream Theater, Between The Buried And Me, Frank Zappa, Opeth and Rush.

D: What are the plans for the next album?

KC: The next album is something special, to say the least. Everything you think you know about Ak is about to change. Ak has pulled out all the stops for this next album, going from heavy metal to soft eerie rock to a classical love song. It’s completely outside the box but in the range of the common ear. Hold on, cause the ride is gonna be wild.

D: Thanks, gentlemen for a great interview!

Relevant links:

Ana Kefr

Musesick Records

*** OUT ***

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