Sunday, February 14, 2010

AOSOTH - Angeldust 616

AOSOTH is the band where komrade mKm, a kvlt underground figure for his unholy crusades with suppreme black metal outfit ANTAEUS, is currently focusing on. Album#2, "Ashes Of Angels", is out now @ Agonia Records, and is a more lethal and inspiring assault than their debut. It was a fit occasion to have a brief conversation with Him, about his current musickal whereabouts and whatnot.

What happened in the AOSOTH kamp since the debut album?

Well, considering the delay in the pressing of the first album & this new opus, a lot did happen. We mostly had to go through a lot of internal session changes, the band did perform live here & there in europa & we had to change all band members more than once. That somehow did limit us when it comes to composition but the actual line up is rather impressive & our two last gigs in trier & ghent were a blast we have the new album out, also a split ep with french Malkhebre out on art of propaganda, all is going fine FOR ONCE.

that's a change from antaeus huh?

ahah quite a change indeed, though we had all those problems with individuals not coping with what we had to go through or the way we are (bst & I) but in the end, I'm taking more decision now when something is starting to get wrong, I dont want to loose time anymore. this fucking tour with SECRETS OF THE MOON really did get me bitter & now, I'm just even less tolerant & more willing to have serious individuals. this fucking tour with SOTM really did get me bitter & now, I'm just even less tolerant & more willing to have serious individuals.

so is aosoth a real band now?
somehow, let's say that it has its core, BST for all music & myself for the propaganda & the whole aura. Our actual session member are very devoted to the act, they just dont compose, but one could tell they are REALLY giving their best & that's also why we do credit them on the album as "live crusaders", they went through hell & tons of issues with us & they did manage to do it with rage & passion. But in the studio, it's still us two so far.

so who's the other guys?
as of today Inrvi from VI, a band from our area, amazing guitar player & very devoted to all sickness Jens from Asphyxiate, a belgium guy on bass I had to meet through Antaeus, very skilled & also a die hard & Tom from Ritualization on drums, but he might not be available on the future gigs due to his numerous bands, he's currently in the usa as session for Merrimack.

what about antaeus?
Still on hold... yet we did met with Seth & we had some talk about doing something in the future. But he's still strict on the fact he doesnt want to perform live. Time shall tell. We wanted to do a special tshirt but it has to be finished, that would be the only release for the year to come

so your vokills sound a little bit different than on the first aosoth i can really define what it is though. can you help me pinpoint that?
well simple, on the previous album of aosoth, lyrics were really intended to be more "traditionnal" in the structure, & very Order Of The Nine Angles oriented, while the new recording has a closer process to "blood libels" lyrics wise, more self introspective & thus nearer to what was done in Antaeus than the earlier Aosoth. also getting older, I guess my voice is just being worn out & sicker.

isnt it lower on the mix too?
mmm dont think so, seems fine to me, but I guess the guitars are just more violent and "out there", that might be the reason why you find it lower in the mix. the instruments are definitly more sharp on this & less "black thrash" influences.

what about the drums?are they all programmed, or is it a mix of programmed and real ones, like in the debut LP?
mostly programmed this time, still has some real parts in it, but it's just a restriction budget wise in the end, since we do perform those tracks live, for those who do seek live performances on stage, they can see that all is done, it's nothing like "impossible", we just had to go for the solution that would allow us more time for the mixing & also vocals.

can you tell us a bit more about the lyrics? any old leitmotivs and new cuts?

with "blood libels" & the artwork, I did a mistake I wish I could erase or change now : enclosing the lyrics. Considering the number of individuals who ended up pissing me off with those, I am not willing to discuss an "expression" of mine. It's somehow like a recording of an happening where I let myself all exposed & burning in torment.

so the lyrics are not printed on the retail version?
the retail version is very sober, minimalist so to speak. The result is better on the lp version of course, all this black dominance on the print & this white vinyl, am very satisfied with the result.

music-wise i think it's less thrashy/oldschool and more strictly BM?
indeed, the first album was somehow written to be performed live, while the second one is more personal, more dissonant, yet having a very instinctive writting at first. I guess one could hear the evolution in between the first track & the last (before the anta cover) since they were written in this chronological order.

you told me privately why you did re-record inner war, but tell the story again for our readers.
to make it short & maybe more clear, the initial version is still something I wouldnt reject. But on a personal level, I always wanted to give it a proper recording & not the demo recording in a cave without having more than one take to do it. We were rushed & I also think that's why it has such chaos in the original version. Yet since this tracks means a lot to me & we do perform it with Aosoth, it was needed to get "inner war" a second version, the ten years after & still RAGING at least now, instruments are tuned & I do prefer my vocals on this one, and I seriously dont care about the "cyfaws was better & all the bullshit", I wanted it that way, we did it. that's all .

why was the original rushed?
as you could guess, no budget or not much, having the sound guy being very bored after hours of guitars & so on, willing to put an end to the recording & also the other antaeus guys not being interested one second in the vocals recording.

let's finish the interview getting back to the vokills it's for sure the rekording at which you sound the most relaxed you also end some vocal lines raising the pitch which is the kind of stuff i like. even if it sounds cliche, you must have been in a "dont give a fuck what they will say" sort of attitude, right?
indeed, for instance, it's the first time ever I would make some "note" last longer than usual, or just be in 3/3/3 for the structure, way more straight forward & without own limitations, in the end, some tracks will never be performed live, but for the others, I'm rather thrilled to get through such experience. One of my fave track is not on the album btw & shall be re recorded for a split with VI on eternity records, this track is the "angels falling down" demo version was on our myspace, since the demo, we did change the lyrics after performing it live & the new version will be INTENSE.

ok so thank you komrade, maybe a new year wish for our readers?
all hails to those who did support us over the years, they are also part of what is exposed. 616

Interrogation by Panos Agoros 2010 era vulgaris

Disclaimer: This interview has been originally conducted for Metal Hammer Greece. Most of it has appeared as a feature in the "Underground Kommandoz" column of issue#301 (01/2010). It is used with kind permission and blessings.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

XCM Cross Battle Adapter

Yet another cool gadget for the PS3 from XCM!

The XCM Cross battle Adapter allows to plug a wireless Xbox 360 controller into the PS3.

This is especially targeted to FPS/3rdPS fans who prefer the Xbox 360 controller for this genre. I'm part of those so I grabbed it! The Xbox's gamepad suits me better because of the placement of the left thumbstick. When I hold the PS3 gamepad, my left thumb is not in its natural position which is where the D-pad and the Xbox's left thumbstick are actually placed. This can be a serious handicap... Last but not least, with the Xbox 360 you fire with a real trigger and not with a bumper like the PS3's L1/R1!!!

The XCM Cross Battle Adapter also has a rapidfire function which can be enabled for any of the buttons/triggers. COD4 has been recently patched against modded controllers caping the R.O.F. (Rate Of Fire). Rapidfire can still be useful though not only with semi-automatic weapons like all the pistols, the G3, M14, M21 but also with the M16. At Killzone 2 its utility is lesser, it's just useful with the pistols... I don't know what will happen with the Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 though, since Infinity Ward has declared that they will treat modded controllers in a different way.

The "Plus" version also supports Rumble but honnestly it's less good than the Dualshock 3's rumble and the wired Xbox 360 controller's rumble is very weak compared to the wireless...

So far i tested it with COD4:MW and Killzone 2. It works reasonably well with both. I don't know if it my impression but it's possible but there is a latency added, so the response must be a few milliseconds slower than with the PS3, but the I wouldn't swear either.

The biggest issue of the XCM Cross Battle Adapter is that not all games have the option of reconfiguring the controllers, or offer a controller preset swapping L1/R1 with L2/R2 in order to be able to use the Xbox 360's controller triggers for aiming and shooting, and not the LB/RB bumpers. With COD4 you can do it, with Killzone 2 also, but Killzone 2's preset using R2 (or L2) for fire, doesn't have L2 (or R2) for aiming... I've just learned that this gets fixed in freshly released version 2.0, which features a new function for swapping the controller’s triggers and bumpers. This basically means I should have waited a bit longer before I bought the "Plus" version. Oh well...

All in all, the XCM Cross Battle Adapter is a great product for shooter fans. The only thing I don't like is having a lot of wire between me and the PS3 (the adapter's plus the wired gamepad's)...

Panos Agoros 2009

XCM e-setter for PS3

Before the LG M2794DP I had in my office/gameroom a LG L1915S monitor - which was great btw. I could connect my Xbox 360 via a XCM VGA Box and play perfectly well, except for the obvious fact that it was weird switching from a widescreen to a standard one.

As soon as I bought my PS3 I tried the same thing but it wouldn't work. Nothing at all was displayed and it was as if there was a resolution mismatch between the console and the monitor.

The obvious google search revealed that the PS3 is not the best choice for mobility. If you want to carry your PS3 around your home (if you have multiple TV's/monitors), in holidays or at a business trip, you will most likely the XCM e-setter.

The XCM e-setter is an ingenious little gadget which resembles a pocket calculator. What you do is plug it to a USB port, then press the keys and define the output and resolution that you want. From what I understand, it sends to the PS3 the same commands that you would do if you actually had a display and configured the settings with your gamepad. Very simple, very effective and it is upgradeable. As a matter of fact, before you use it for the first time you must update it after visiting the product's homepage.

The ending of my story is that with the e-setter I was able to make my PS3 display correctly on my LG L1915S, but I though it wasn't worth the pain, since the image was not as good as for the Xbox 360.
Panos Agoros 2009

THOMSON TG585v7 modem vs. XBOX LIVE

UPDATE: Thelink for the v7.4.4.7 being broken I have uploaded the firmware here. Enjoy!

The THOMSON/ALCATEL TG585v7 is a fairly popular modem. Thomson's Speedtouch series modems (TG585 is a Speedtouch, eventhough not mentionned anymore as such) have the reputation of being able to synchronize in conditions that others don't. The copper lines of the local telecommunications provider being crap, I chose it as a reasonable replacement to an apparently dead Speedtouch 530, who was going through an infinite restart loop...

When I first opened the box, it sure looked like a nice piece of kit... The web interface menu was pretty slick too. My trouble began as soon as I tried to play CALL OF DUTY 4: MODERN WARFARE on the XBOX LIVE. I couldn't join the lobbies created by most of my friends, getting the infamous "Unable to connect to host" error message. And you know what that means... That there's a NAT problem!
I stayed calm and started the troubleshooting. IT support is what I do for a living, anyway. I've been through the basic NAT checklist, check out what M$ has to say via article#908880.
  1. UPnP was turned on but obviously didn't help. UPnP is made to automagically deal with such issues, especially gaming connectivity issues.
  2. From the Toolbox's "Game & Application Sharing" page I assigned Xbox Live to my Xbox 360's wireless adapter MAC address.
  3. Since none of the above has worked & after doing an extensive search on the internet, I found out that possibly the only hope for salvation was to put the Xbox 360's network interface in a DMZ (DeMilitarized Zone), by assigning the external IP address directly to it. Apparently the TG585v7 wouldn't handle correctly all things NAT.

    Your internet provider assigns you an IP address, each time your modem powers on, it tries to obtain by DHCP (at least you explicitly asked for a static IP) a public address. This IP address is directly accessible/pingable from the intrenet. The devices in your home network don't have that address though. They get assigned private addresses and when they need to get to, or get accessed by, the internet, they are translated to the unique public address. This is what does the NAT protocol, which stands for Network Address Translation.

    Ok, so this is what I did on the TG585. Under "Home Network", there is the option "Assign the public IP address of a connection to a device". That's when the modem started behaving in an eccentric way:
  • the Xbox would normally get the external IP, but upon reboot of the modem, the rest of the workstations don't have internet connectivity anymore!
  • upon shutdown of the Xbox, the external IP would mysteriously get assigned to my laptop or my desktop!

Something was going awfully wrong. At this moment I started having strong suspicions that the firmware was broken. A normal reaction would be to look on the web interface for an "Upgrade firmware" task or option. There is none. Thomson doesn't have a good reputation for providing firmware support for any of its modem routers. As a matter of fact, if you want to upgrade or downgrade it, you will have to search through the forums in order to locate the firmware that you need in some improbable location. And guess what? Since the web interface doesn't offer an Upgrade facility, you'll also need a wizard!

The modem was shipped with version The days when I was investigating the problem, a new firmware version got unofficially distributed, v8.2.3.7. Eventhough most people in the forums were using which had the reputation of being very stable, I decided to give the brand new version a try.

v8.2.3.7's origin was unidentified, and on the web interface's background there's was written "Demo Premium". Oh well, why not? The funny behaviour with the broken external IP handling is fixed in this one. My COD4 @ XBL problems were not! I still got the "Unable to connect to host" error message.

Two people from my XBL friend list had the same modem and they had no such issues, plus I could connect to them without problem, while I had trouble with most of the other players. They both had downgraded to version One of them has even reported to me that his internet connection speed has peaked after the downgrade. Wow. As far as the XBL goes, one of them had to assign to the Xbox the public IP, the other had just to assign it to XBL through the "Game & Application Sharing" page.

I'm a COD4 addict and this situation was driving me crazy! As a last resort , I downgraded to version In the beginning the wizard couldn't find the modem, but then I disabled my antivirus and it did. This version is specific to the UK, so some minor extra effort is required during initial configuration, but no big deal. I configured the Xbox through the "Game & Application Sharing" page, and then I tried inviting to a COD4 lobby a friend with which it was impossible to party up until then. It worked like a charm...

The TG585v7 is a good and stable modem router, but there are things broken between the old 7.* firmware releases and the new 8.* ones . Go figure! Thomson/Alcatel don't give a fuck about gamers? Totally! otherwise, the forums wouldn't be full of people trying to figure out what's wrong. In any case, firmware downgrade isn't something the average user would have to care about...

If you want to downgrade your TG585v7, grab the firmware and the wizard here: . ADSL over ISDN and ADSL over PSTN flavours share the same firmware, so don't worry about bricking your modem by up/downgrading with the wrong one. I have the ADSL over ISDN version btw.

Ok, I hope that I may have helped a few desperate XBL gamers. If you happen to be a TG585v7 user, please share with us your positive or negative experience...

Panos Agoros 2009