FEAR FACTORY – “Mechanize”

An unexpected triumph for the band’s (obviously) more important half

“Yeah, of course you’ll say it will be something like two of your best albums”, all of us thought when Burton C. Bell was telling the press how the new Fear Factory will mix the heaviness of “Soul of a New Machine” with the more mature songwriting of “Obsolete”. Turns out, for our complete amazement, that the bastard wasn’t lying at all!

OVERKILL – “Ironbound”

Thrash metal that my fill your small town stadium, but not an arena

While Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and to a lesser extent Anthrax are UEFA Champions League worthy, Exodus, Testament, Kreator and a few other similar bands are good enough for the Europa League, Overkill have always been like a Premier League middle of the table team – with some traditions, a legion of loyal supporters but no glamour whatsoever.



Sort of stripped down but still an awesome album

“We are no fuckin’ jukebox”, the angered Dicky Barrett shouted in 2002 as he got tired of fans asking the band to play “The Impression that I Get”. The weight of touring and all the insanity revolving around the music industry took their toll and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones had to take a few years off before the band could find back the drive to play music again.


EVERGREEN TERRACE: Anarchy = chaos = problems

One of Europe’s biggest hardcore happenings, the Persistence Tour, kicked off last Friday. What better occasion to hook up with Evergreen Terrace, who are touring all over Europe alongside Ignite, Biohazard, Agnostic Front, Walls Of Jericho, Death By Stereo and No Turning Back, and ask them a couple of questions. After all they also have a brand new and simply awesome album called “Almost Home” that came out just a few months ago. So – guitarist and cool clean vocals guy Josh James is good enough to answer:


CLUTCH – “Strange Cousins from the West”

A nice reminder that this band does exist

Yes, this album came out in the summer, but you also may have noticed how I write about things that aren’t exactly brand new, have you? And in this particular case some website’s lack of attention towards this album is borderline criminal!


BORN FROM PAIN: Political ideas definitely have a place in the scene

Having been a Born From Pain fan ever since “Reclaiming the Crown” was “the new one” I can’t help being very excited about their upcoming show here. Even though I’ve already seen the band three times. Not long before the show, we get in touch with guitarist Karl and we talk “Survival”, Zeitgeist, conspiracy theories and pretty much everything the band stands for today.


MISERATION – “The Mirroring Shadow”

Uncompromising, yet quite polished brutal death metal

A Swedish death metal band each of whose members is also part of 2-3 active projects is not a rare thing to see, keeping in mind every third person in that country seems to be a musician. And while side projects and supergroups often suck, this is not the case with Miseration.


THEM CROOKED VULTURES – “Them Crooked Vultures”

A super album by a super group leaves us super happy

When you are 1/3 Led Zeppelin, 1/3 Nirvana and 1/3 Queens of the Stone Age, fan and media attention, a record deal and the following huge record sales come on their own without you trying too hard.


NO TURNING BACK: We toured the world without any help from anyone

The second birthday of I Hate Mondays Radio is the occasion around which one of this fall’s most exciting hardcore shows is going to happen. Headliners of the cigarette smoke free еvent are the Netherlands’ No Turning Back, whose frontman and only remaining original member Martijn was nice enough to answer a few questions of mine.


DESTRUCTION OF A ROSE – “Suspended in Time”

You might as well have already heard this

You have read so many times how melodic metalcore is so big at the moment and how it suffocates everything around it. And of course when you read a review of such an album, the band is not “one of those” and “stands out with something”.


MAXIMUM PENALTY: This record is our testament

One of the New York hardcore scene’s living fossils, Maximum Penalty reminded us of its presence with an absolutely killer new album titled “Life & Times” that was released a month ago. Joseph Affe (guitars) has been in the band all along and during this time he has seen pretty much everything that went on in hardcore since its birth right up until today. And he obviously has nothing against telling me about it.



Lightning strikes the same place twice with Jesse Leach

Back when Killswitch Engage’s “Alive or Just Breathing” came out, it was one of those rare musical moments when a new album made everything else sound obsolete. And obviously frontman Jesse Leach who left after that album had a lot to do with that magic, as the debut album by his new project The Empire Shall Fall carries pretty much the same charge.


HYPOCRISY – “A Taste of Extreme Divinity”

Peter Tägtgren obviously can make a good album even in his sleep

There are a lot of bands that are actually the one man project of a super-active musician that also has dictatorship talents. But the number of people, who can pull off being in that position in more than one band and in the same time manage to be one of Europe’s most sought after and busy metal producers, sums up to one - Peter Tägtgren.


FREDDY MADBALL: I give respect to religion

Freddy Cricien, whom we all know well as the frontman of Madball, is dropping his debut solo album as a hip hop artist. “Catholic Guilt” features appearances by Slaine, Vinnie Paz and… Rancid among others. The man in the center of all the lights, Freddy Madball, doesn’t hesitate to explain to me what is it like being one guilty Catholic that shares a love for both hardcore and hip hop at the same time.


THROWDOWN – “Deathless”

A slower and more melodic, yet catchy as hell album

We all miss Pantera – I do, you do, Odd Crew do… The opinions on Throwdown though, vary from “Awesome! They sound like Pantera” to “They suck! They sound like Pantera. Well – this can be pretty much said about their new album too, although it is kind of different.


EUFOBIA: What you can give for this music is important, not what you want to receive from it

A lot of time has passed since Eufobia’s debut album, “Cup of Mud”, came out. A great deal of this time was filled by numerous concerts in Bulgaria and other places (mostly other places, though) , but lately the band lacked any activity. And as I was sitting there thinking how a good band like that most probably broke up due to the usual reasons, the duded announces the upcoming release of their second offering – “Insemination”. And Niki (vocals, guitars) is good enough to fill me up on what has been going on with the band lately…


THE DESTRO – “Harmony of Discord”

Angry Texans strip down half their music to make it interesting

The Destro’s big and loud “Fuck you!” for all present trends and cloned whatever-core bands today is actually the good ole heavier groove metal with a more death metal twist. Something unheard of? No. Is it cool? Yeah!


THE RED CHORD – “Fed Through the Teeth Machine”

1:0 for intelligent song writing

Now having only one guitarist, The Red Chord didn’t hesitate to announce that their new album will be more-direct sounding than “Prey for Eyes”. This might have led some people to worry that the band might end up offering something way simpler and less interesting, but there is no need for such thoughts in this case.


SKINLAB: We always had to try harder than other bands

Seven years after their last real full-length Skinlab released a new album called “The Scars between Us” this September. Right after that the band was left by its guitarist Glenny Telford, who was later replaced, but the band still had to cancel their US tour due to vocalist Steev Esquivel’s throat infection. But then again there isn’t anything more metal than standing up to challenges against all odds, and as Steev tells me, this is exactly the band’s plan.


KATATONIA – “Night Is the New Day”

А мonotone soundtrack to autumn cuts the line of good albums

Yes. It is not a surprise that Katatonia release an album not in the summer but when the autumn has already killed all warmth and joy from life. A lot of melancholy and doom is radiated by “Night is the New Day”. And this is exactly what is expected from it!


SUPERBUTT: We are no prophets and nobody is

On November 19th the Hungarian dudes from Superbutt will play in Bulgaria once again, eight years after their memorable first coming here. During that time their sound has seriously evolved and improved, as is shown by their last album “You and Your Revolution” which is truly killer. Those who read this blog (and this is pretty much me) maybe have noticed that I write that every other album is worth the sometimes prolonged wait. Well, András Vörös isn’t lightning fast in answering too, but this actually ended up being quite a good interview… And, calm down. They are no Debercen fans.


MAXIMUM PENALTY – “Life & Times”

This might as well turn out to be their best album

A lot of time passed since February 2008 when Maximum Penalty unleashed the first songs from this album in the internet. Well, the slight postponing obviously paid off because “Life & Times” turned out really great.


SLAYER - "World Painted Blood"


The release of a new Slayer is one of those moments when grown up men turn into a bunch of complaining kids. One guy says it is not fast enough, another one finds it a disgrace to the band that delivered “Reign in Blood”, someone else finds the guitar sound to be too thin, and there is always the dude who digs up the names of bands that “play thrash metal that is way more adequate of the times” whatever this might mean…


BARONESS – “Blue Record”

Two years after “Red Record”, the band become PFC Levski fans

The cover looks familiar? Yes. This is because Baroness’ frontman and guitarist is John Baizley, creator some quite characteristic artwork for bands like Darkest Hour and Pig Destroyer, for example. Artsy, huh?


New A-MORAL and CROWFISH coming next year

I have the impression that bands from Varna play Sofia shows less often than before so I use this chance to catch up to events by asking the man/scene of Bulgaria’s seaside capital Joro (Crowfish/A-Moral) what I can think of. And he answers!


CUT OFF – “Demo 2009”

Band releases demo for free download, saves stores from long lines

I wasn’t truly enthusiastic to write a review of a demo recording in the beginning, but Cut Off convinced me by saying that the release of the actual album is put off far enough in the future so this article wouldn’t seem stupid. And the demo itself is put for free download by the band themselves so – help yourself.


RIVERBOAT GAMBLERS - “Underneath the Owl”

A somewhat old but still awesome album by the Texas punk rockers

Yes, this album isn’t really that new. But on the other hand the Bulgarian internet is not overflowing with reviews or any kind of articles about Riverboat Gamblers, so why not? No one reads this blog anyway, he-he…


NINE ELEVEN: We could be killed if we play in the USA

Sadly we did this interview over e-mail so I didn’t have the opportunity to at least ask in a direct conversation about the few statements in it that I don’t really agree with (which would have been fair). Now it would be lame to put sarcastic remarks in brackets after every other word. But here is what Richard from Nine Eleven wrote me, probably from his job’s computer during work hours:


SYBREED – “The Pulse of Awakening”

European industrial metal with all its faults

The big Larry King gives a piece of advice in his book that we should try to be honest and not pretend to be more knowing than we are. So I will admit that what led me to this album wasn’t my total knowledge of the metal scene, but rather its cool artwork combined with absolute boredom.


KNUCKLEDUST: Our scene is very underground. And we like it that way!

Hate City Fest 2009 is probably the best hardcore show to take place in Bulgaria in quite a while. A packed club, cool bands, awesome atmosphere… Obviously things can work out great with the right kind of organization and the right bands. The cherry on top of course were England’s Knuckledust who wiped the floor with the audience last. Before that their frontman Pierre finds time to talk with me as well.



Metalcore hardly could sound fresher than that

It takes some extra skill to stand out in any way from the millions of metalcore bands nowadays. But a band in that style with enough balls to cover un-orthodox bands like The Offspring and Operation Ivy stands out at least with that.


FYELD – “Not Blond Enough to Survyve the Holocaust”

A good result of the long time spent searching for a way out of the desert

To be a survivor of the nu-metal wave long after its quiet death isn’t the best starting position for a band. Back in 2003 when the first Fyeld album came out we still cared what Korn and Limp Bizkit do, nowadays – we hardly do.


REDOUND: 6 years ago there weren’t any big-mouthed know-it-alls in the scene

The first official video by Envy… oops… Redound is about to come out any moment now. The shooting at a playground in Sofia’s zh.k Belite Brezi went smoothly despite one of the first Autumn rains that fell on the city that day. For this interview though, only drummer Alex appears and is good enough to give quick and straight to the point answers to my (thankfully more than usual) questions.



Arnold unites heavy music and stupid laughter in one

Metal music is brutal, serious, heavy with messages that it unloads on the listener, black metallers never smile and so on. Only that there are bands like Austrian Death Machine that prove total comedy sure can coexist with brutal riffs.


VENDETTA: We want to put out another album before retiring

Vendetta’s reunion is definitely one of the coolest things to happen in the Bulgarian hardcore scene for quite some time now. And as I find out from my conversation with Dido and Shuta right before a rehearsal of the band, this reunion is going to last for quite a while.


NEWS MODEL ARMY – “Today is a Good Day”

“Carnival III”, “High II” or just another album by these Englishmen

The euphoria that such a cult band is back together can last only for a limited amount of time. Two albums and a few tours later you are just another active band that plays shows and releases albums like everyone else.



A successful lean towards a more melodic side for the American punkers

I guess it is kind of an adventure to be a band with an pro-anarchy attitude in a place like Richmond, Virginia where redneck sons and daughters of former KKK members wielding guns aren’t that uncommon. So, a few of the extremes in Strike Anywhere’s views seem logical.


O.H.: In this country justice is the missing thing

It is Friday night. The promotional show for O.H.’s debut album titled “Justice” is about to begin. I, vocalist Joro and drummer Bambi go in front of the mandatory place for interviews with bands that play in The Box – the MRF headquarters. The dudes explain what they can about the band. And what I get around to asking…


HATEBREED – “Hatebreed”

Hardcore leaders show first signs of variation since 2002

The label “the AC/DC of hardcore” wasn’t put on Jamey Jasta and co for no reason. There are quite a few people who joke that the band has been re-recording one song for years (and it isn’t far from the truth either). So what? Isn’t the music good anyway?


FYELD’s tractor has gained momentum and cannot be stopped

The waitress, probably born in a small, quiet and peaceful Bulgarian town, brins us the beers waaaay after we ordered them and in the meantime Levski are getting their asses handed to them by SS Lazio. For the dudes in Fyeld, however, the Bulgarian reality isn’t a reason to complain. According to them Bulgarian’s have been closing their eyes to their own qualities due to complexes and exactly this is one of the topics touched by their brand new album “Not Blonde Enough to Survyve the Holocaust”. Bobz (guitars, vocals), Emo (guitars) and to a lesser extent Timo (programming and… guitars) tell me about their new creation.


RAISED FIST – “Veil of Ignorance”

Scandinavian band shows a different face of fast hardcore

We all know where the cradle and the Mecca of hardcore music are and this has definitely left its mark on the sound of most bands. Well, Raised Fist also inevitably reveal where their father land is with their sound only that in this case we’re talking about… Sweden.


Everyone and their dog has a blog nowadays. I was trying to help myself until now…

It is just that a few months ago Slayer released a new song and there I was – in the middle of the office where I work, realizing there isn’t a single person around I can talk to about this. And Slayer excite me far more than all the kinds of political, criminal and what not total bullshit news that everyone around is so invested in (I work a t a big daily newspaper in Bulgaria).

So, here you will find exclusive interviews with bands and album reviews (the latter sadly being the more frequent posts at least for now). I will update this once every working day of the week. I do not have the goal of posting news here – you can find the copied and pasted press releases on thousands of other sites.

The blog’s name is Stefan Topuzov’s Music Vault because its idea is basically to be the place for things I personally find interesting and bands that I like. The other key word is “music” that is there instead of metal, hardcore, punk or whatever for a reason.

Have fun reading now!


DETHKLOK – “Dethalbum II”

The cartoon band delivers an even more serious album than before

Ever since seeing Metalocalypse’s first episode some two years ago I have been left with my jaw dropped in amazement by the awesome music that was written only for the soundtrack of a cartoon show. And the following issue of an album and assembly of a real band that tours performing these songs was completely logical.


ALICE IN CHAINS - "Black Gives Way to Blue"

Awesome album, yet somewhat stumbled by Staley’s absence

“All Secrets Known” is the slow, dragging beginning that carries your conscience to an all new frequency as Jerry Cantrell’s vocals sound over the awesome opening riff. There is no way you could remain indifferent to this song.


SETTLE THE SCORE: Fashion trends ruin hardcore

I get around talking to Settle the Score’s vocalist and guitarist in between the other bands playing at their second Sofia show. Bud and Andre have nothing against talking about their impressions from the Bulgarian scene, how different it is from the German one, and of course – what the hell do they eat.


DYING FETUS – “Descend into Depravity”

The death metal leaders show no mercy once again

For the 18 years they have been together Dying Fetus really made a name as one of the leaders in their style even though their real popularity rather recently. A new album by one of the world’s best modern death metal bands could not be put aside for later.


MEGADETH - "Endgame"

Mustaine releases his best album since “Rust in Peace”

For a man who has a whole Wikipedia page dedicated with his feuds with half the metal world all the praise Mustaine voices for Megadeth’s new guitarist Chris Broderick in every interview, seems a little awkward.


SKINLAB - “The Scars Between Us”

Californian groove metallers make convincing a comeback

It would be an exaggeration to say that this is a long awaited reunion but after the few years dedicated to Re:Ignition, Steev Esquivel and Snake decided to reform Skinlab. And with “The Scars Between Us” they have all the chances to become every Machine Head fan’s second favorite band again.



New Yorkers bring back “metal” and “core” in “metalcore”

There were times when the word “metalcore” didn’t stand for a bunch of skinny kids with emo haircuts whose appearance makes even the otherwise cool Iron Maiden and In Flames rip-off riffs sound bad. Luckily, Merauder still live in these times.