The pre-order is now open for the tape version of Aquilla‘s upcoming debut album Mankind’s Odyssey. The cassette will be released on the moment of Planet Earth’s autumnal equinox (23 September 2022 at 01:04 A.M. according to the calendar of the planet’s local civilization). Pre-order here. A vinyl version is planned for the midwinter solstice as well, stay tuned!
Aquilla is a heavy metal band that was founded in 2015 in the heart of Poland and it’s capital city – Warsaw. The band’s main theme is a blend of science-fiction and 80’s aesthetics. Every aspect from lyrics to stage performance is connected by the band’s original lore, a sci-fi universe that is highly inspired by both old-school and nowadays pictures such as 2001: Space Odyssey, Dune, Alien, Blade Runner or Interstellar. Aquilla aim to bring to the audience a futuristic story of a mankind that has left Earth and ventures through the unknown in order to find a new place to live long and prosper. This epic story was begun already on the EP pair consisting of The Day We Left Earth (2017) and Saviors of the Universe (2019, released on cassette by Jawbreaker Records), and is now given not just another chapter, but a taken to a whole new dimension in the form of the band’s first full-length album, Mankind’s Odyssey.
In order to highlight and better present the band’s futuristic and grand vision, Aquilla puts great pressure on keeping the energy level high, bringing back the 80’s nostalgia live shows as well as always striving to capture this power on their records. This is something you don’t want to miss if you are into fast-paced, old-school sounding heavy metal with extraordinary high-pitched vocals.
This cassette version of Mankind’s Odyssey is available on 3 different tape colors: Cosmocrystallic Orange (limited to 50 copies), Hyperspeed Red (limited to 100 copies), and Solar Yellow (limited to 150 copies). All three variants come with a sticker.
The band never really took off back in the 80’s, but despite the unexpected loss of their lead singer, they are now back and stronger than ever. Guitarist Anders Olsson tells us the legend of Neptune.
When did you become part of Neptune, and how?
The first time I ran into the guys in Neptune was when they were out looking for a support band for a gig they arranged for invited record companies, as I recall, it was sometime during the fall of 1984. For some unknown reason, they asked the band I played in if we were interested to take that slot, which we did. About half a year later I was contacted by Neptune and asked if I was available because Jan Granvik had moved on to Glory North and they needed a new guitarist to take his position. How did your reunion happen? What led to that decision? And how was the response, both initially and now, a few years later?
In late 2017 we were contacted by Cult Metal Classic who had found out that there were quite a few songs by Neptune that never had been released on either CD or vinyl. A few days after Cult Metal Classic contacted us, the band meet up for the first time in 35 years to talk about memories and collect what everyone had left in tapes and photos from the 80’s. All said and done, it didn’t take long before we gathered all the material needed for the Land of Northern release, and then we were just waiting to get the album in our hands. Need to say, at this time there were no plans to restart the band even if I think a few of us started to think about it.
Once the information about the album release came out, we received a lot of positive responses on both email and social media from all over the world which really came as a surprise for us. As we got closer to the release, we had the idea of shooting a video to promote the album release. We arranged some equipment in a warehouse and with some simple lighting, a smoke machine, and a few cameras, we were some 35 years later once again standing next to each other playing our songs.
Well, if only performing playback to our old tapes, we really felt, let’s do it. Let’s see how far we can take this, and not long after that, various offers to play at festivals and venues started popping up. We were taken by surprise. We really tried but struggled to get a sensible setlist at such short notice. The demand we put on ourselves meant that two guys from the original lineup chose to step down and the rest is history. Since then, have we released 2 EPs and another full-length album, and if the pandemic hadn’t gotten in the way, we would probably have been out playing a lot.
Ray Alex tragically passed away not long after the reunion was made official. How could you possibly recover from such a loss?
At the time when Ray Alex passed away, we already had a festival booked in Greece and we were in discussion with Muskelrock and The Abyss. To get the machinery going, we had started recording several songs for an upcoming album, where Ray had recorded some demo-vocals for us to get a better grasp of the song structure, 2 days later he was gone.
We took a two-week break to rethink what to do. I think Roland, being Ray Alex’s younger brother felt this is over, we can’t take this any further. But after some mourning and thinking, we decided to cancel the Greece gig but do the Muskelrock festival and The Abyss gig, to honor Ray Alex. Once these gigs were done, the Neptune machinery was up and running, and it couldn’t really be stopped.
Do you think Neptune’s story would have looked different today if the band had actually managed to get a record deal some time back in the 80’s?
Probably, it’s known that we never manage to land a record deal at the time, and we were really lousyat tape trading, it actually took many many years before the demos started getting any word of mouth. The first real evidence that the demos had been traded someway is the collector’s item; Metal Knights – The Resurgence of Swedish Steel where the song Enemies was included, but that was nearly 20 years after the song was recorded.
If we had one or two records released during the 80s, we would probably have held out until the Grunge came and knocked out many 80’s metal bands like a viral pandemic. And if we had released a real physical album during the 80’s, we would have had a much better legacy to build on today. As it is now, there is a lot of mysticism behind our demos and even if they have managed to spread far and wide, it is by no means a good basis to stand on as if you had one or two real physical albums released in the 80’s.
Better late than never: in the last 5 years, a full-length album, 2 EPs, the Land of Northern compilation, as well as the Legends From the North box from Jawbreaker Records have materialized. Will you continue to produce releases in the same tempo? Or what other plans do you have for the future?
Absolutely, as of today, we have more than 25 songs demo recorded and I’m pretty sure that 7-8 of them, if not more have the quality that we want and expect for an upcoming album release. It’s too early to say anything about a release date, but I’m hoping for an early spring date in 2023. With that said, it’s not a secret that we wanted to play live as much as possible and that the pandemic put a bit of a halt to that, and the number of bands that now are fighting for a slot in these festivals and venues is massive.
What’s the connection between Neptune and Gotham City?
That Neptune and Gotham City connection happened before my time, but here are my findings.
The original Neptune was on hiatus while Tommy Mikk was doing his military service. In one way or another, Ray Alex and Jan Granvik continued to work together, and a really short-lived lineup of Neptune started sometime in late 1984 or early 1985. Worth mentioning, this lineup wasn’t approved by the original band members, because the band was only on hiatus. Björn Melander had just recently left Gotham City and moved to Stockholm to seek new opportunities when he got appointed as a bass player in this “Ray & Jan” version of Neptune. To quickly start up the band, they took two older Neptune songs; Burglary Man and Enemies as well as two songs that Björn brought with him; Poem and Afraid of the Beast. Incidentally, Poem was a reworked version of Gotham City‘s Fight and Die.
The songs that Björn brought to the band were partially recorded with Jonas Östman just before Björn left his hometown Umeå. The foundation of the songs (drums & bass) was recorded in Umeå and the vocals and guitars were recorded in Stockholm. Enemies and Burglary Man, were re-recorded with this new but very short-lived lineup of Neptune. All these recorded versions can be found on the Land of Northern album. Earlier versions of Burglary Man and Enemies can be found on the cassette Join the Battle on the Legends from the North box. So, the Gotham City connection is mainly Björn Melander and the style of songs he brought to this short-lived setup of the band and of course Jonas Östmanson drums on these two songs.
Get the Legends From the North 3-tape box set now! The 3 tapes in the box spans 40 years of Neptune’s career, from 1980 all the way up to 2020. In total, the three cassettes contain 38 songs, including several demo tracks that have never before been released to the public ear.
The debut album Power Dive from Germany’s brightest shining metal stars Acid Blade is available digitally and on tape through Jawbreaker Records starting today. Acid Blade plays old school heavy metal (NWOTHM if you like) and are ready to kill! Listen to the album digitally through your favorite streaming platform and/or order the cassette version from Jawbreaker Records today.
Armory‘s new concept album Mercurion is now available on tape, out through Jawbreaker Records. It’s a furious speed metal journey through the cosmos, with a grand sci fi story evolving throughout the album’s 45 minutes and divided into two sub-phases. Enjoy the ride and see you all in space!
This cassette is limited to a total of 300 copies: 50 copies on cosmocrystallic blue tape, 100 copies on spacey turquoise tape, and 150 copies on milkyway white tape.
I know that many of you missed the chance to grab the Mystic Storm LP that came out on Jawbreaker Records in October 2021. But fear not, as the second pressing just arrived at long last, so now you have a new chance.
Mystic Storm hails from St. Petersburg, Russia, and plays a unique style of thrash mixed up with ultra heavy Bolt Thrower riffs, powerful vocals and wild speed metal melodies. The lyrics mostly concern leather-clad barbarian warriors and ancient evils from the world of Robert E. Howard and are sung in the Russian language. Musically traces can be heard of Manowar, Heavy Load, Bathory, Ария, Powerlord, Vio-Lence, Sentinel Beast and Immortal – but all mixed up in a fresh new way. This might be the best underground album to surface during the 20’s.
The second pressing of the LP comes with an improved design compared to the first pressing, available on white or black vinyl. Same great artwork and music though! The first pressing sold in less than a month, so make sure to be fast as a shark if you want a piece of sorcerous thrash metal!