INTERVIEW: Emerald (Switzerland) – Dark Art Conspiracy

INTERVIEW: Emerald (Switzerland) – Dark Art Conspiracy
Speaking for Emerald: Al Spicher (drums)

Emerald Band Shoot by STEMUTZ.COM, 08.12.2016
© Stéphane Schmutz / STEMUTZ.COM

Interview by Carina Lawrence / Dark Art Conspiracy 

Can you tell us about how you came up with the name Emerald?
Al: The name is taken from the Thin Lizzy classic “Emerald”. We still think it’s a cool name, even though there are some other bands acting under the same name. If you choose a name this short and catchy, there’s always a big chance that it is already taken. But back in 1995 you couldn’t just google a name and check if it was still available. So we just went with it!

You have been going for more than two decades now, how would you say your sound has evolved in that time?
Al: I guess it evolved just the way any band’s sound is supposed to. The first songs were pretty simple and the abilities of each member were rather limited. Over the years the songwriting became more mature and everyone got more experienced.
Each line-up change also brought some new influences to the mix, which led to more diversity in our sound. We certainly got heavier and more open minded over the years but we always stayed true to our roots!

Following on from that, how much has the metal music scene changed, especially in your home country Switzerland since your formation?
Al: The metal scene in Switzerland definitely grew stronger within the last years. Back in the mid 90s classic heavy metal was completely shut out. In our region, Emerald was pretty much the only band playing this kind of sound. In the beginning it was rather hard to find good gigs to play since the demand for this kind of music was rather small. But nowadays there is a good and healthy underground metal scene growing here in Switzerland with lots of cool bands playing all different kinds of metal and lots of small new metal festivals popping up each year.

So you are releasing your seventh album, ‘Reckoning Day’ on the 24th March, what can you tell us about this new release?
Al: For us, “Reckoning Day” marks some kind of turning point since it is the first album with a whole new line-up and the first sign of life after 5 years of silence. Some might even call it a comeback album because no one heard or saw anything of us within the last years and considered us dead. It was indeed very quiet after the departure of former singer Thomas L. Winkler, but we’ve always been active, writing songs and planning our return to the surface… plotting our day of reckoning, so to speak!

What was the writing and recording process like for the album?
Al: The writing process was very unusual since it was the first time that we had to write everything without having a singer in the band. We just wrote and recorded some instrumental demo songs and added some of our own demo-vocals while we were searching for a new singer.
In 2014, American singer George Call (Aska, ex-Omen) joined our band and agreed to sing on all songs on “Reckoning Day”. So we went to the Little Creek Studio here in Switzerland where we recorded all songs in instrumental versions under the supervision of producer V.O. Pulver (Gurd, Poltergeist, Destruction…). Then we sent the tracks to Texas where George was supposed to record his vocals. Since George was very busy with some other projects, it took him more than a year to finally start working on our songs. In the meantime, as we grew more and more impatient, we started looking for a new singer here in Switzerland and finally found the great voice of Mace Mitchell, who was very eager to finish the vocals on our record and become a permanent member of Emerald.
George Call still delivered the vocals for 2 songs that appear on “Reckoning Day” as well as a third song which will be used as a bonus track on the limited edition version.
As you can see, the whole process was pretty tedious. It never took us five years to put out a new record before. But now it’s finally here and we are really happy with it!

How would you say it compares to the rest of your back catalogue?
Al: Well, the new album is always the best, haha! No, of course that’s always a matter of opinion! But we certainly think it is a step forward and the logical continuation of the path we chose on the previous albums. It features a much broader range of musical influences and some excellent vocal work from Mace Mitchell and George Call.
One thing that’s unique on this record is the 7 track mini-concept “The Burgundian Wars” on the second half of the album. It is based on the novel “Der Löwe von Burgund” from our keyboarder Thomas Vaucher and tells the story of the conflict between Charles the Bold and the Swiss confederates.
Oh… and the new album has definitely the best sound we ever had, thanks to the great production of V.O. Pulver!

As well as a new album you have a new band line-up, how are things going so far and how would you say the dynamics have changed following this?
Al: You could say that Emerald 2017 is a whole new band! From the very first line-up only band founder Michael Vaucher (guitars) and his brother Thomas Vaucher (keyboards) are left. I consider myself as one of the “old guys” as well since I’ve been playing the part of Emerald’s drummer for already 10 years now. The rest of the bandmembers all joined the band within the last four years: Julien Menth (guitars) in 2013, Vania Truttmann (bass) in 2014 and Mace Mitchell (vocals) in 2016. All three of them brought a lot of freshness and enthusiasm into the band, which was exactly what the rest of us needed.
I think I can speak for everyone in the band when I say that we now have the greatest line-up ever! The dynamics in Emerald have never been this powerful before and it has never been this much fun to play in this band. I believe that, in this constellation, we have a great future ahead of us!

Collectively what are your main musical influences?
Al: Well, there’s one band we can all agree upon: Iron Maiden! Apart from that, everyone in the band has his/her own personal favourites. That leads to a wide range of influences that includes bands from the hard rock, punk, heavy, power, prog, thrash, symphonic and even modern metal sector.

How is it to be signed with Pure Steel Records?
Al: It’s a cool underground label that stands 100% behind everything we do. For them, heavy metal is not just business but a lifestyle. We’ve been part of the Pure Steel family for more than 10 years now and are very happy for everything they have done for us so far. They never treated us like just another number in their roster. They are big fans of every band they sign.

Are there any plans for a tour in support of the new album?
Al: We certainly want to do another tour, yes, but so far we don’t have any specific plans.

What else has Emerald got planned for the year?
Al: We already have some great gigs confirmed and hope to play some festivals across Europe this year. Apart from that we are already working on our next album and want to hit the studio again as soon as possible.

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Al: First of all, I’d like to thank you, Carina, for your interest in Emerald and the opportunity to share my thoughts with you! I’d also like to thank all Emerald fans worldwide for their loyalty and endless support! You rock!!!
And I promise it won’t take another five years to release our next album. We are back, stronger than ever and ready for the next 20 years of Emerald!
Let’s raise our horns up high!!!

Thanks for your time!
Dark Art Conspiracy


1. Only The Reaper Wins
2. Black Pyramid
3. Evolution In Reverse
4. Horns Up
5. Beyond Forever
6. Through The Storm
7. Ridden By Fear
8. Mist Of The Past
9. Trees Full Of Tears
10. Lament Of The Fallen
11. Reckoning Day
12. Reign Of Steel
13. Signum Die
14. Fading History
15. End Of The World (Bonustrack)

Total Playing Time:: 62:08
Total Playing Time with Bonustrack: 67:15 min

Line Up

vocals – Mace Mitchell
guitars – Michael Vaucher
guitars – Julien Menth
bass – Vania Truttmann
drums – Alex Spicher
keys – Thomas Vaucher

Special Guests
vocals – George Call – “Evolution In Reverse”, “Through The Storm”
guitar solo – Slädu – “Horns Up”
backing vocals – Alexx Suter – “Beyond Forever”



#darkartconspiracy #metal #interview

VESCERA Reveal Details for “Beyond The Fight”

The release date of the new VESCERA album „Beyond The Fight“ on CD is April 7th, 2017. The pre-order phase will start on March 24th, 2017 in our webshop.

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The outstanding singer MICHAEL VESCERA signs a worldwide deal with Pure Steel Records, after his solo project, Michael Vescera finally has formed a real band. His new album ´Beyond The Fight´ with the EX-NITEHAWKS musicians Mike Petrone (g), Frank Leone (b) and Fabio Alessandrini (dr) will be released by Pure Steel Records!

So you will get now finest melodic Metal with US-american influences. Of course the production is superbe and supports the heavy melodic songs at its best! If you are into melodic Metal with a really heavy edge it is a must to listen to “Beyond the fight”!


1. Blackout In Paradise
2. In The Night
3. Stand And Fight
4. Dynamite
5. Looking For Trouble
6. Vendetta
7. Troubled Man
8. Never Letting Go
9. Suite 95
Total Playing Time: 37:26 min

Michael Vescera – vocals
Mike Petrone – guitars
Frank Leone – bass
Fabio Alessandrini – drums

#darkartconspiracy #metal #news

Nighon to release second album in May, first single out now!

Nighon’s second album ‘The Somme’ was recorded in the spring and summer of 2016. The drums were recorded at Soundspiral Audio, with Juho Räihä. The rest was recorded at Nighon’s home studio. Mathias Lillmåns (Finntroll, Magenta Harvest, Chthonian, etc.) has co-produced the album with Nighon. He is also featured on the song “I Fear For Tomorrow”. The album was mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordström and Henrik Udd at Studio Fredman, Gothenburg Sweden.

The album is a concept album with stories from World War I, World War II and the similarities between those and the crises we see today in our world. The sound is much more extreme than previous Nighon compositions, widening the contrasts even more than before. The album is supposed to be heard in it’s entirety non-stop. The single “The Greatest of Catastrophes” is a blend of the outbreak of World War I and the Ukraine crisis. The video was filmed during the winter 2016 by Kasper DalkarlDavid Viklund and Stephanie Blomqvist.

The Somme is released May 5th 2017 by Inverse Records.

The brand new music video “The Greatest Of Catastrophes” is available here: It is also available on Spotify in this location:

Nico Häggblom – Vocals
Alva Sandström – Vocals
Björn Johansson – Guitar
Michael Mikander – Lead Guitar
Mats Ödahl – Bass
Mika Paananen – Drums

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The Somme (Album 2017)
The Greatest Of Catastrophes (Single 2017)
Ex Tenebris Lux (Single 2015)
Cor Oblivionis (Album 2014)




#darkartconspiracy #metal #news #inverserecords





SHADE EMPIRE have revealed a brand new video for ‘Anti-Life Saviour’  ‘Anti-Life Saviour’ is the first track to be heard from the bands soon to be released fifth studio album.

Since forming in 1999, Shade Empire are revered for their unspeakably brutal guitar patterns and ingenious arrangements, creating a sound unique and closely related to symphonic black metal.

Further album details will be revealed in due course.


#darkartconspiracy #metal #news

Doom Metal act REFLECTION return after 8 years!

Pitch Black Records is thrilled to announce its 50th album release with the signing of legendary Greek Epic/Doom Metal act REFLECTION!

REFLECTION, the driving force of Hellenic Epic/Doom Metal, will be celebrating their 25th anniversary next year and they are now back, with their fourth album, “Bleed Babylon Bleed”! It’s been eight years since the band’s last offering, making this an eagerly awaited release; and with a new vocalist in their ranks this becomes an even more anticipated release!

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As this is quite a special release, label founder, Phivos Papadopoulos, felt the need to briefly comment:

“Our 50th release just had to be special. And this is as special as it could get, for a number of reasons! I remember discovering REFLECTION in the early ‘90s and receiving their demo tape after writing to them and how I was blown away by their music. Even more importantly though, since the day we first made contact, a truly unique bond has been formed between myself and the band’s founder and guitarist, Stathis Pavlantis.

A bond that has certainly stood the test of time and has grown more and more throughout the years; we are not just friends, we are family now and the emotions associated with releasing this on my own record label, twenty-something years after we first “met”, cannot easily be put into words. I agreed to sign REFLECTION without even listening to their new album (which I haven’t regretted one tiny bit of course)! Here’s another fine example of that something that makes metal so magical and special I guess!”

With nine track of pure solid epic doom heavy metal, “Bleed Babylon Bleed” has all the elements that have defined REFLECTION’s superb musicianship throughout the years. The band has matured since a long time ago, yet their sound is even more refined now and full-bodied, still incorporating their signature fast to mid and low tempo song ranges. “Bleed Babylon Bleed” is just oozing with atmosphere, epic melodies and powerful emotions as it deals mainly with the Pontic Genocide (as well as genocides in general). The final track marks the album’s culmination as it features a Pontian lyra (masterfully played by Pavlantis) that takes a lead role, beautifully mixed with the rest of the instruments, for an utterly bone-chilling effect.

Special mention should be made to the guest appearance of Mats Leven of CANDLEMASS. Besides his majestic input on this album, this is also of particular importance since CANDLEMASS have always been a primary influence for REFLECTION. Other noteable guest appearances include Albert Bell (FORSAKEN) and Kostas Tokas (RELOAD).

“Bleed Babylon Bleed”, is out on April 7th worldwide on CD and Digital. Pre-orders are up at and A track is now available for streaming and free download at

George Thomaidis – Vocals
Stathis Pavlantis – Guitars
George Pavlantis – Drums
John Litinakis – Bass
Iraklis Loukakis – Keyboards/Backing Vocals

#darkartconspiracy #metal #news

Hellbound Hearts have released a video clip for their new song ‘The light we cannot see’

Hellbound Hearts have released a video clip for their new song ‘The light we cannot see’, taken from their forthcoming debut album ‘Film Noir’ (out 7th April)


Hellbound Hearts lead vocalist and guitarist Danny Lambert talks about the songs on ‘Film Noir’:

Suffering the Radio

“The last great period of British music is a fading memory, replaced with an acceptance and almost macabre celebration of staggering mediocrity, formulaic unit shifters and false celebrity. But there are some who will not accept that all hope is lost. We are the vampires scrambling for the blood….”

Online zine ‘One Metal’ describes Hellbound Hearts as, “the kind of music that should be played with high octane and fervent amounts of passion.” With the emergence of their debut album, ‘Film Noir’, the Yorkshire alternative rock trio have solidified the promise shown on previous eps in a fashion that simply shouldn’t be ignored if you’re a rock fan.
Produced by Matt Ellis at Axis Studios (Black Spiders, Terrorvision), ‘Film Noir’ is a commanding collection of songs that range from feel-good melodies to dark, sinister hooks, whilst all the time packing in stand out singalong choruses and heavy grooves.
Be prepared to go dark… ‘Film Noir’ is released 7th April 2017.
‘FILM NOIR’ Tracklist

1. Suffering The Radio
2. Broken Hearted
3. Poor Disguises
4. The Light We Cannot See
5. Still We Wait
6. Blood
7. Wake Up
8. We Are All Alone
9. Fortunes
10. Silent Horror Movie

#darkartconspiracy #metal #news

Metal/ Rock Music News & Media

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