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Sucker For Punishment: Housecleaning – I Mean, Gift Guide!

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

fanks

As a Canadian I can’t help but marvel at American Thanksgiving. The sheer brilliance of it: make it a Thursday holiday, which’ll in turn compel people to take Friday off, and just like that you’ve got a four-day weekend. Unless Remembrance Day or the February statutory holiday falls on a Thursday, we don’t exactly have that experience here up north. So to my American buds, I salute your country and its knack for fun little loopholes like that.

Anyway, Thanksgiving is always the official start of the holiday spending season, and because we are now in that deadsville new release period of the year, for a little fun I’ve slapped together a little gift guide for Decibel readers, featuring plenty of stuff that’s either appeared in my mailbox over the year, my email inbox, via social media, or which I’ve simply gone out and bought as a fan. Either way, there should be something you like here. So enjoy, and have a fabulous Thanksgiving while the rest of the world wonders why Twitter is so dead on a Thursday.

New Music:

The new release schedule might be entering its December dormancy, but good music is still trickling in. Primordial’s Where Greater Men Have Fallen (Metal Blade) is a very welcome return by the Irish pagan metalers, featuring some of their strongest material to date, not to mention the best production on any Primordial record to date. Powerviolence band Full of Hell have teamed up with noise maestro Merzbow, and the resulting album, fittingly titled Full of Hell/Merzbow (Profound Lore) is a wickedly intense, sneakily catchy 24-minute piece of work that meshes some rather ambitious grindcore and abstract ambient work with great creativity. Listen and purchase it via Bandcamp. And then there’s the mighty AC/DC, who after an eventful year for all the wrong reasons, cap it all off with Rock or Bust, their best new album since Fly on the Wall 30 years ago. I’ll review it in full next week when it comes out, but in the meantime go stream it at iTunes and think about whom you want to buy it for.

Music BluRay, DVD, etc.:

It’s been a fairly slow year for metal video releases, but a handful have stuck out for yours truly. Gojira’s Les Enfants Sauvages (Roadrunner) is as good a live album/concert film as I’ve seen in recent years, a near-perfect snapshot of one of the best live bands in the world in action. Meshuggah’s The Ophidian Trek (Nuclear Blast) works better as a live album than as a concert film, but is still an essential purchase for fans of the band. Meanwhile Rush’s gigantic R40 box set compiles the band’s last five BluRay releases, and as a tantalizing bonus, tosses in two hours of bonus material, including video footage of a complete performance of “2112”.

Wait, cassettes are still a thing?

I refuse to buy into the idea that cassettes are a viable option as a music medium in 2014, but once or twice a year I will make a rare exception, and the one cassette I didn’t hesitate to buy is Gatekrashör’s self-titled debut album. Not only is it a ferocious, riotous dose of filthy speed metal in the tradition of Exciter and Nasty Savage, but the Calgary band have taken upon themselves to faithfully recreate the cassette design of the highly influential Canadian underground label Banzai Records, whose old tapes have become collector’s items, and for many of us old-timers and old-at-hearts, fetish objects. You see this tape, and you go, I must own that. And you definitely should. Purchase Gatekrashör on cassette here.

Yes, metalheads do read books:

2014’s been fairly lively when it comes to metal-themed reading material. Mike “McBeardo” McPadden’s Heavy Metal Movies is yet another hugely enjoyable release by Bazillion Points, whimsically delving into the connections between metal and cinema. For those looking for more serious subject matter, Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult, by Dayal Patterson (Feral House) is a well-researched, exhaustive history of black metal that, despite its curious (condescending?) ignorance of USBM, nevertheless is a worthy inclusion to any kvltist’s bookshelf. Handshake, Inc. has come through with a pair of essential books too: Extremity Retained: Notes From the Death Metal Underground, by Jason Netherton of Misery Index, is a massive, 480-page history of death metal that fully deserves to stand alongside Daniel Ekeroth’s Swedish Death Metal and our own Albert Mudrian’s Choosing Death. Then there’s Dan Lilker’s Perpetual Conversion, which chronicles the life and career of arguably the coolest guy in all of metal, with all the charm and likeability of the man himself.

The great, prolific Martin Popoff continues to churn out the books, but none in 2014 was better than The Big Book of Hair Metal: The Illustrated Oral History of Heavy Metal’s Debauched Decade (Voyageur Press), a coffee table-sized volume that chronicles the rise and fall of glam/pop/hair metal with studious attention to detail, featuring loads and loads of insightful quotes from many artists. I can’t recommend this one highly enough, it’s a total pleasure.

The notion that metalheads are gentle souls just like anyone else is hardly news to those of us in this scene, but that doesn’t make photographer Alexandra Crockett’s Metal Cats (powerHouse) any less adorable, as musicians pose with their favorite felines. Plus the proceeds go towards helping save cats, so why not?

Two years ago Decibel illustrator Mark Rudolph released Satan is Alive, a wonderful comic book tribute to Mercyful Fate, and this fall he’s followed that up with Morbid Tales! A Tribute to Celtic Frost. Featuring illustrations and commentary by far too many artists and metal writers to mention, this is a no-brainer, a must-own. I pre-ordered a copy, and you should too. Get it here.

Lastly, if you read Decibel, you know who John Darnielle is from his monthly South Pole Dispatch at the end of every issue. Not only is he an incredibly talented Decibel writer, a wickedly sharp metal fan in his own right, and a rather famous indie musician, but he’s also a best-selling author now. His novel Wolf in White Van (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) has met with universal acclaim, and was nominated for the National Book Award, and although I haven’t read it yet (it’s in my possession as of today!) I’m very optimistic. His book about Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality contains probably the best writing about teen alienation I have ever read, and I expect Wolf in White Van to be as enjoyable a book, if not more.

Movies!

Metal fans love horror movies, and I saw my share in 2014, and I haven’t enjoyed a horror film in 2014 as much as Dead Snow 2: Red Vs. Dead. It expands on the original Dead Snow to a loopy, gory, hilarious degree: not only are there Nazi zombies, but Soviet communist zombies as well, plus a group of geeks led by Martin Starr (?!) who help do battle. And then there’s the horror movie love scene to end all horror movie love scenes. It’s a total blast, and comes out on DVD and BluRay on December 9.

When it comes to more serious fare, no flick in 2014 comes close to the ambition and vision of Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin. Starring Scarlett Johansson and featuring a mesmerizing soundtrack by Mica Levi, it’s not the usual effects-ltden sci-fi movie mainstream audiences expect, but takes its cue from Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, going for something a lot more vague, more meditative, and quieter. It requires you to think, to absorb, to lose yourself in its mind-blowing beauty. This is one you have to see on BluRay.

As for re-releases, the Criterion edition of David Lynch’s 1977 masterpiece Eraserhead is, hands down, the finest BluRay movie release of the year. The restored visuals are stunning, the supplements are thorough and highly entertaining, and best of all, that weird, weird story about Henry Spencer, his deformed baby, and that Lady in the Radiator is as thought-provoking and disturbing as ever.

What about gear?

If you write on a personal blog well enough and long enough, promotional items practically fall into your lap. One day I was asked if I wanted to review a new pair of headphones, and seeing that freelancers can never say no to free stuff, I said yes. Well, it turns out that my pair of LSTN Troubadours is easily one of my favorite things of 2014, giving me exactly what I want out of a headphone, and what I was in need of, quite frankly. I don’t want that battery-boosted sound that the more popular modern headphones provide, I’m always interested in something more understated. LSTN is totally old school and organic, in both its aviator-style design and its sound. Featuring wood, housed speakers that fit comfortably over the ears, it’s all about warmth, and whether on the iPhone or listening to the turntable, my ebony Troubadours feel great and sound even better. It lacks that bass boost that other headphones give, so if you listen to more rock/folk/classical than electronic and hip hop, these are an excellent fit. I can’t recommend these highly enough. Check them out here.

The ultimate 2014 album guide!

I can’t write a gift guide and not include the current issue of Decibel now, can I? Metal fans wait all year to check out and argue over Decibel’s annual 40 extreme albums list, and more than a few use it as a guide to figure out what albums they’re going to purchase for themselves over the holidays that they might’ve missed. So if you haven’t seen it yet, buy the new issue here.

Reality check:

On a more humanitarian note, the folks in Ferguson, Missouri are having the worst year ever. Amidst the murder of an innocent youth by police, the prosecutor’s shoddy parody of justice, the tear gassing of peaceful protesters, the violence and looting, the Ferguson Public Library remains open for the youth of the community, and is always accepting donations. Go help them out.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

Wino Issues Official Statement, Re: Norway Deporatation

By: andrew Posted in: breaking newz, featured On: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

wino

At this time, I feel it is necessary to release an official statement of the facts in regard to my recent deportation from the country of Norway. First, I want to apologize to all Saint Vitus fans, and to my band members and crew for my lapse in judgment that ultimately resulted in me missing the last six shows on our Born Too Late 35th anniversary European tour. On November 9th before noon just over the Norwegian border, I was arrested for possession of an illegal substance.  I take full responsibility for the consequences of my actions. The other members and crew were unaware of my substance use. I was truthful with the authorities, and initially sentenced to 16 days in jail, minus the three initial days immediately following my arrest. On those days, I was in solitary confinement, with no reading or writing material and fed solely bread water. Despite these conditions, I was treated respectfully and cordially by all Norwegian authorities. Initially, I believed I would be fined, allowed to continue the tour, and upon its end, I agreed to return to Norway to finish my sentence. I was disheartened to realize that I was to be deported straightaway back to the U.S., and not allowed to finish the tour. I sincerely regret the inconvenience and loss incurred by everyone involved with these gigs, the inspiring co-headlining Orange Goblin, our booking agent, promo folks and the venues, and of course, fans and ticketholders. I want to salute the members of Saint Vitus for carrying on with these shows without me, and proving admirably the class of true road warriors they are. Again, my deepest apologies to all. After several productive years of sobriety, the rigors of almost nonstop touring and life’s circumstances led me to develop a dependency that has become detrimental to my health, and now, my freedom. As of now, I am currently off the road, and actively engaged in treatment.

And THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES…

I will continue my course of creating music and art. Early next year you will see the release of WINO AND CONNY OCHS’ new full-length recording, “FREEDOM CONSPIRACY” on Exile on Mainstream Records. Also on the near horizon: A  full-length Wino solo acoustic recording, the launch of my art and music web store, and my no-holds-barred biography.

Thanks to all who Believe!

Wino, November 18th,2014

 

(h/t J. Bennett)

(photo: Jose Carlos Santos)

Encrotchment With Eddie Gobbo From Jar’d Loose: Week 9

By: Eddie Gobbo Posted in: encrotchment, featured, nfl 2014 On: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

encro

Don’t blame me. I voted for Gibby Haynes.

Slow, Still and Swaggin’

I’ve been a sports fan since 1984, when I came out of Dan Marino’s womb. I’ve been a metal fan since 1994, when I seen Cannibal Corpse in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, staring Dan Marino. One of the first dudes I remember meeting in the Chicago music scene that rocked the metal/sports lifestyle, like me, was Dave Hofer, author of the new biography of bassist and heavy metal legend Danny Lilker, Perpetual Conversion.

I used to watch Hofer from afar. He would rock a Pittsburgh Pirates hat on the regular. I assumed he was from Pittsburgh. Turns out he was from the suburbs of Chicago, and his wife (then girlfriend) Missy was from Pittsburgh. As you can guess, Dave and Missy are both “Stillers” fans as well. (Two people recently emailed me to point out that I’m spelling “Steelers” wrong; I’m doing it purposely to reflect the accent of yinz in Pittsburgh, ya jagoffs!!!)

The Stillers are playing amazing football right now, led by the most productive receiver in the league, a guy named Antonio Brown. Is this team a legit AFC Championship threat? An unbiased Hofer thinks so:

“Last season, the Steelers hit their stride too late in the season and finished 8-8. This year, they’ve made good adjustments much earlier in the season. Big Ben’s played lights-out the past couple of weeks. I could see them in the Super Bowl, easily.”

The last time the Stillers went to the Bowl, I ran into Hofer wearing a yellow shirt that said, “Ike Taylor: Swaggin’ U.” He told me that Missy had it made for him. Apparently Ike Taylor, when he introduces himself on Sunday Night Football, says “Swaggin’ U” instead of the normal [insert legit university name here]. This fact was confirmed a few weeks later when the three of us watched a Stillers SNF game together. I’ve been pissed lately because Baltimore Ravens LB Terrell Suggs has ripped off Taylor’s gimmick. On SNF , Suggs introduces himself as, “Hacksaw: Ball So Hard University.” I’m such a badass sports journalist that I actually recorded Suggs saying it this past week , uploaded it to YouTube, and have the clip for you right here.

I had to ask Hofer if he too was aware of/offended by Suggs doing this:

“Sadly, yes. I am aware of this. Weak imitation.”

Now, unlike Hofer and myself, there’s one man that has been very anti-Stillers lately: my dad. For the last several weeks, he has been wrapped up in gambling on them. The problem isn’t that they aren’t winning; it’s that my dad thinks they are too “slow” to watch. When we were watching them play the Jags a couple weeks back, my dad rose from his couch during a Stillers drive and yelled, “YOU’RE SLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” at his big-screen TV. It reminded me of a grade school gym teacher yelling at the fat kid in the back of the line when the class is running laps. The following week, in a big matchup against the Browns, the Steelers ran the ball three consecutive times, gaining four yards each. My dad again rose from his seat and said, “I can’t watch this anymore. This team bores me,” and stormed out of the room. What does Hofer think?

“I don’t think they play slow or sluggish. The Steelers offensive m.o. is to take the lead, and then start running the ball to wear down the defensive line of their opponent, as well as drain the clock.”

I see both sides of the argument. The Stillers are a methodical throwback offense. They like the run game, the short pass, the scrambling QB and the old reliable tight end. But yes, by NFL standards these days, they lack the certain dazzling speed most NFL teams have. I believe this actually leads them to wins. They are not what defenses are used to facing these days.

To all you parents out there, let this be a lesson: Never yell at your TV in front of your children. Address all grievances with your television in private, or in a session with a licensed Cable Guy present.

If you’re looking for a great holiday gift for the metalhead in your life, look no further than Hofer’s new book, Perpetual Conversion. As an avid reader of rock biographies, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s frankly the first of its kind: a biography of the life of a metal legend who existed exclusively in the underground. I’m proud to say it was written by a friend of mine, and a man that bleeds both black and/or yellow, depending on how much beer he consumed while watching the game.

perpetual

In the Cards

Welp, we’re officially halfway through the NFL season, and the best team in football is the Arizona Cardinals (The SI Power Rankings tell me how to think).

Good for the Cards! I guarantee their preseason mindset had a lot to do with them being the NFL’s only 7-1 team. They knew going into the season that they were in a division with arguably the two best teams in football, Seattle and San Francisco. They had to have their game tight, like Kobe on game night. Mistake-free football on both sides of the ball was the only way they’d might be in the conversation come December. And in said conversation they are.

What’s weird about the Cardinals is that their overall team stats actually lack luster. They are ranked 23rd in the league in yards per game (330.4), and only 14th in points per game (24.0). They’re also not in the top 15 of any major team defensive category. Bruce Arians has them playing an interesting style of football. It’s basically bend, but don’t break, but make SURE you win. The Cards will not shut out a team, nor will they blow out a team, and that’s OK (as Stuart Smalley would say). They’ve won three games by exactly 11 points this year, and the rest have all been wins by less than 11. Every one of their toast-of-the-league counterparts all have several wins where they’ve LEVELED teams. But that’s just the 2014 Cardinals. They are neither feast nor famine. They are just a team that wins (with a hard schedule coming up, so they better hold steady).

Shout-out to Carson Palmer, a man who everyone assumed would be retired, backing up some rookie, or packing lunches at this point. His stats aren’t strong, but his leadership is. And lastly, watch Arians jog to mid-field after a win. It’s Baywatch-esc!

FinTrolling

Now let’s meet the Arizona Cardinals, Jr., the Miami Dolphins. Like every girl in Miami, they’re hot. For the first time under coach Joe Philbin, the team has an identity not associated with bullying; they’re a fast, young team, with an efficient offense. Let’s not discount this giant feat. A team getting an identity is not easy. The last time the Fins had an identity, it was a weird one. Coach Tony Sparano had them playing a mafia-style wildcat, with RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams getting direct snaps. That worked for a few weeks, until the entire league figured out how to defend it in unison (stack the box every down).

Is QB Ryan Tannehill a superstar? No. But in the last five weeks, he’s played like one. Frankly, he’s played the best football of his NFL career. I attribute this to his offensive line not calling in sick like they usually do. If you watched a Dolphins game last year, it was like watching missionary position fetish porn. Tannehill was on his back THE WHOLE TIME! The Fins gave up a league-worst 56 sacks last year. This year, sacks are down, Tannehill is up, and therein lies two more porn references.

Here’s the problem: I see this Dolphin wave of success coming a halt, and quick. The Fins’ next three games will be unbelievably trying. The results could make, but will more than likely break, their season. This Sunday, they draw the Lions at Ford Field. They wont be able to run with this team in a shootout. This is rub of having an offense without a second gear. Shootouts kill you. Then they have a short week, playing the Bills on Thursday. The Bills are going to want to hit this team Rob Ford-on-a-pipe style. The Fins will probably come away with a win, but at the price of embarrassment, unanswered questions and someone more than likely getting seriously injured, also like Rob Ford. (Did you vote this week, by the way?)

Then the Fins go to Denver. Ugh.

6-5 going into December with match-ups against the New England, Baltimore and the two with the Jets (who will probably take one) is not conducive to a playoff berth. This week in Detroit is the Super Bowl for the Fins. They lose, no playoffs. It’s as simple as that. Gear up, Gloria Estefan employees.

Are You There, Mark? It’s Me, God

Welcome to Hell. I’ll be your tour guide.

[English Accent] Me Mum Never Lets Me Listen to Fucking Punk Rawk.

And finally this week, the Dallas Cowboys are currently in London preparing for their tilt against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Someone in the Cowboys front office, who probably has had sex with Jerry Jones, came up with the ingenious Twitter hashtag for all things Cowboys-related in England: #CowboysUK. As bad as that hashtag is, it doesn’t come close to the onecurrently being used by their personal English chef: #CowboysUKcook.

Pick of the Week

New Orleans -3 over Frisco

Decibrity Playlist: Giant Squid (Part 1)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, November 6th, 2014

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Giant Squid‘s debut LP, Metridium Fields, was re-recorded in the very early days of Decibel and we’ve been following the group’s musical trajectory ever since. Fortunately, the band is still going strong, having released a new album at the end of October. While guitarist/vocalist Aaron John Gregory described the record as a “giant love letter to the Mediterranean and specifically Bronze-age Greece,” the essay he penned for us below is his epic love letter to music. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did. Be sure to pick up a copy of Giant Squid’s latest LP, Minoans, here and stay tuned for part two next week.

How I discovered some important music while growing up in the suburban wastelands of Sacramento (open an ale, grab some headphones and keep an open mind).

I owe my entire musical existence to punk rock. Seriously. Well, maybe Nirvana before punk. And actually, probably Master of Puppets before Nirvana, but I didn’t know that yet when I heard it, cause my initial reaction to that album was pretty much total fucking terror (story below). But the scars that Puppets left on my eight year old self most likely resurfaced into something useful much later on. And even before that, it was The Monkees and Beach Boys all day long–mostly “best of” tapes for both–so I’m sure they too planted some important seeds in my early musical consciousness because I rocked the shit out those bands on my Grandpa’s Sony boombox cassette player growing up.

One thing was sure: I actively wanted to listen to music when I was really young and just fed my desire with whatever was catchy and close at hand in my sheltered, suburban life growing up in Carmichael, CA, a suburb of Sacramento. Mostly all my parents had laying around was 90% Jimmy Buffet, so pickings were very, very slim. But as I got older and started to put myself out there, Sacramento turned out to be not such a bad place to grow up and discover important music.

My Dad one day took me skiing. I was about eight. I fucking hated skiing. My Dad fucking loved skiing. Skiing scared the shit out of me, but I wanted to make the old man happy and not be a pussy, because we all know that skiing in the ’80s was super manly. Before we hit I-80 East towards Reno, we stopped at Tower Records in Orangevale, CA, right by Sunrise Mall. He wanted to grab some album that had just come out. I wanna say it was something cool like 38 Special, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks or The Kinks (which was about as cool as my Dad’s musical taste got), but I’m sure it was just another fucking Jimmy Buffet album. I can’t remember. But my Dad, among many things, was a generous dude and asked If I wanted something too. Here’s where my memory becomes crystal fucking clear. There was an endcap display of tapes, all with the craziest, darkest, most alluring picture on the front: hands in the sky playing a graveyard of tombstones as if they were marionette dolls. The top of the display repeated the image in a huge card board cutout and read: Metallica Master of Puppets. I’ll take this one.

On the first ski run of the day, I ate shit so hard and so ugly that my left leg twisted sideways at the knee, well beyond where even my childish rubber bones were capable of going. The pain was excruciating. I remember the panic and regret on my Dad’s face. One of the clearest memories I’ll ever have of him. The ski patrol came up and put me on a sled, hauled me down the mountain and Dad got me back to our Dodge camper van–one of those pop top versions with a side bench, little bathroom, sink and fridge. Now, my Dad was young. If I was barely eight, then my Dad was like 29ish. So I don’t necessarily blame him for doing what he did next. It boiled down to, “Are you okay? Yeah? Maybe rest here in the van a bit, listen to your new tape. Here’s a bottle of water and some vanilla wafers. I’m going to go get a couple more runs in, that okay?” Sure pops. Again, I can’t blame him. I ate snow on the first run half way down the bunny hill. My old man wanted to bounce black diamonds in his one-piece ski suit and aviators. So he bailed, but not after putting in my tape.

Now see the first paragraph above. Everything up to this point in my musical life was “Last Train to Clarksville” and “Little Surfer Girl”. My new tape starts to play. The gorgeous acoustic intro of “Battery” starts. I’m thinking, wow, this is really pretty. I did good on this pick. Then, well, ya know, “Battery” really starts, and I’m sure I spiritually shit myself. I remember so clearly just being fucking frightened. Laying on my back on the van bench, knee killing me, cold and alone, fucking “Battery” blasting. I made it only about ten or fifteen minutes in before pussing out and turning the stereo off, which would put me at about “The Thing That Should Not Be”. No wonder I aborted the mission.

Back then, I shelved the tape and didn’t revisit it ’til I was in sixth grade, most likely to impress, or scare off, the jocky neighborhood kids who listened to NWA and 2 Live Crew. I still have that exact tape to this day. And still think it’s one of the greatest, heaviest, most perfect albums ever made.

Nirvana: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” came on the radio when I was 13 and quickly my Appetite for Destruction and Master of Puppets tapes started collecting dust. I don’t need to say anything else about Nirvana. It’s all been said a million times before. What I can say is that I fucking loved Nirvana. My walls were wallpapered with posters and pics of the band. I bleached and then died my long hair with red Manic Panic. I wore shitty cardigans and tattered jeans.

About this time, the internet was just barely becoming a thing. The kid across the street had a computer and a program called Prodigy, which worked sort of like an internet browser by having internal message boards. I started going over there and writing other fans to trade live bootleg tapes via the mail. CDs were picking up momentum and some European companies were releasing live bootlegs on disc. After a while, one badly recorded Nirvana concert sounded like another, and years later I got rid of most of them. One CD in particular though was called Seventh Heaven, which I still have today. Earliest released version of “Rape Me” and two devastating versions of “Aneurysm” live.

When Nirvana played the Bosnia Rape Victim Benefit at the Cow Palace, my best buddy’s Mom drove us out there. When Kurt walked out on stage, I was only two people away from him, or should I say, two people away from the front barrier. At that moment all of the Cow Palace surged forward. I was a scrawny 15 year old. I lasted about six songs before feeling like I was going to shit and puke at the same time. I looked behind me and there was a mountain of a man, like a biker if an oak tree could be a biker. He looked at me, saw me turning green, asked if I needed help, which I most certainly did, and grabbed me. Somehow, against thousands of people seemingly pressing down on him, he was able to turn around and push me through some of the crowd and away from the stage…directly into the “mosh pit”. From there I battled my way to the bleachers and sat down, sad, watching the rest of the show. They played a bunch of jams from the yet-to-be-released In Utero.

That’s the concert above. As Kurt walks out, imagine me about eight feet in front of him. So fucking stoked to have seen him live. Fast forward 15 minutes in and watch them them plow through “Milk It” for the first time probably ever live.

Punk rock: About the same time I was really into Nirvana, I discovered punk rock. My first show ever was The Dead Milkmen at the legendary Cattle Club, about a year before that Nirvana gig above. I think my second gig was NOFX at the same venue. I had some Angry Samoans tapes, a couple Circle Jerks and D.I. tapes and finally some Dead Kennedys albums. I loved it all. Fast, pissed, easy to understand. But most of these bands were also damn fucking goofy, even when they were trying to really convey something lyrically of importance. Then, a neighborhood kid who had spent most of our time growing up together being the biggest thorn-in-my-side bully asshole, asked if I knew who the Subhumans were. And of course, when I didn’t, he made me feel like the fucking know-nothing poser that I surely was, of course…ahem. So, I went out to the local record shop just down the street that had a surprisingly well stocked punk rock section and promptly stole (sorry Mom) my first Subhumans tape, EP-LP. Fuck the bully for being such a fucking prick through elementary and junior high, but god bless him for exposing me to such amazing music.

The Subhumans changed my life.

I was vegetarian for over ten years after listening to the incredible peace-punk messages deeply entrenched in the Subs’ songs. I fucking rejected authority (high-school teachers), questioned my country (wore a shitty American flag upside down on my lame bomber jacket) and started really wanting to get good at bass, which was my instrument of choice then. Because the Subhumans weren’t just lyrically captivating in their anarcho-socio brilliance, they were goddamn progressive rock! No, they were still punk, punk as fuck! But they intermixed other genres of music like British style rocksteady reggae, Black Sabbath style doom licks and oddball time changes like early Genesis. They had a 16 minute song that took up the entire second side of an LP! And all of it was never contrived, never self-serving, never corny. It stayed pissed, dark, abrasive and was fast as fuck at times, while still slowing down to allow the band to stretch its musical prowess. Bruce, the Submhumans’ guitarist, will go down as my biggest influence today. His tendency to bounce around half-step driven, odd time, punk dirge riffs is the foundation of anything I attempt to do on guitar more than 20 years later.

For me, a metalhead looking to listen to Subs for the first time should start at From the Cradle to the Grave and then Worlds Apart. All of their albums are flawless, but those two records in general are the highest level of craft punk rock has ever achieved and are basically progressive rock masterpieces. I dare anyone to argue that point. The first Subhumans video is the 16 minute side B track from Cradle to the Grave, the second is Worlds Apart in its entirety.

Here’s a video of Giant Squid covering a Subhumans song at a Citizen Fish show we played a while back. One of the most fun moments I’ve ever had on stage.

About this time, I finally had a real solid band with a slew of songs. We were called Eggs in Your Face. It was a combination of dumbed down Nirvana simpleness and F.Y.P. snarkiness, all put to a 1-2, 1-2 fast punk beat, and it fucking ruled. I played bass and did “back up” vocals. My other Nirvana obsessed friend, Jason Divine, played guitar and sang and wrote the lyrics. Jordan, who was from another band that I was trying to get going called The Retards, played drums. The Retards, despite the dumb-as-fuck name, thought we sounded like the Submhumans or Minor Threat, at least in spirit. But Eggs in Your Face just sounded like three brats who were outside your house throwing eggs at your car.

One day, Jason and I both got pulled into the principal’s office separately when a little comic strip trading scheme we had was discovered. Sophomore year we both had art class at different periods. I’d draw some ridiculous Eggs In Your Face themed comic, usually us kicking dogs or blowing up the school, and placed it in his bin. Then he’d come to class second period and find it, laugh, then one-up me with something funnier, which I’d find next time I came in. Back then, Jason could draw circles around me, so shit got really good, and really crass, very quick. Of course the hippie art teacher eventually found it and reported it, hence the visit to the principal’s office. This was all pre-Columbine; we would have been expelled if it was ten years later, or worse. The principal asked if we really wanted to kick dogs or blow up the school. Of course we said no. I fucking love dogs. So we were off the hook, but were told to cut that shit out. So we channeled our ridiculous ideas through our band.

The video above is a pretty rad live recording of us playing at a party. I dare you to get three songs in. “Bring Dynamite to Your School” is one of my faves.

Soon after, towards the end of my junior year in high school, I met the dudes who would go on to create Giant Squid with me. But first we had to trudge through years of figuring it out. We started a band called The Pedestrians, which then changed its name to The Chinese Connection (simply after the Bruce Lee movie and for no other reason) and eventually The Connection. All incarnations played fast-ass punk with jarring breaks into upbeat rocksteady reggae. Yup. The Pedestrians played countless local shows at every coffee shop, parking lot, friend’s garage, pizza parlor, bowling alley and even during lunch at our high school. By the time we were The Connection, we sort of knew what we were doing and started recording in studios to 1″ tape. By the time we matured into The Connection, I tried to become Mr. Social Commentator. Again, listening to way too much Subhumans and Citizen Fish.

The video above is a snippet of us playing at a pizza place in Davis, California, 1996. Thanks to Ryan Bird for uploading this recently and several of the other videos below.

*Stay tuned for Part 2 next week

**Photo by Lauren Wiest

***Order a copy of Giant Squid’s Minoans here

****For past Decibrity entries, click here

Heavy Metal Horror Roundtable: Trap Them Meets Fangoria!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Friday, October 31st, 2014

Trick or Treat 9

Horror and metal. Metal and horror. One couldn’t quit the other even if it wanted to. Which, as anyone who has attended either a horror con or metal show recently can attest, neither does. Except maybe those djent dudes whose non-role-playing-game media consumption is limited mostly to scouring Nova physics + math specials for potential new riff patterns and humorlessly waiting to pounce on un-trve science jokes in episodes of The Big Bang Theory.

Or at least that’s what I’ve assumed, anyway.

Point is, each fanbase has dual citizenship in the other and as what is in effect a gigantic nation of gutter culture connoisseurs, recommendations for cool new shit can be hard to come by.

So to help Decibel readers celebrate today’s holiday in style, we’ve brought together two of the brightest lights in horror/metal for a (virtual) roundtable discussion on which horror films best match the various and sundry subgenres of metal.

Our guests are Brian Izzi, the inventive guitarist/songwriter behind the sturm und drang of one of the single best extreme metal bands of the last decade, Trap Them, as well as the proprietor of the primo horror blog VideoCult. (Be sure to check out his sick Halloween 2014 mix…) And in the other corner we have Sam Zimmerman, the brilliant, endlessly incisive managing editor of Fangoria online, who also happens to sing for the great new metallic hardcore band Dead Ringers and plays catch-me-if-you-can all day on Twitter.

Oh, and by the way, copies of our April 2012 zombie issue are still available!

Now, without further ado…

Swedish Death Metal

Izzi: Entombed covered the Phantasm theme on Left Hand Path. Phantasm has a Tall Man. Sweden has Tall Men. I think that’s all we need to know here.

Zimmerman: A band like Entombed always sounded primal to me. Visceral and melancholic. Something like a ferocious being who accepts its nature, but is appropriately brooding about it. I’m using this space then to point to a new film I think everyone should see: Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook — out in November — is viscerally frightening. It’s about monsters, but also the darkness we harbor inside ourselves and ultimately keeping such for a healthy balance, not eradicating it.

Black Metal

Zimmerman: Mired in occult imagery, Black Death could go either way, which seems integral to the pagan and satanic influenced subgenre: Confronting both the mystic, as well as the harsh realities of those that dabble in it. Also, HAXAN or ultra-blasphemous movies like Alucarda, Don’t Deliver Us From Evil, and School of the Holy Beast.

Izzi: City of the Living Dead. A priest is impaled, Ouija board misuse, someone throws up their own guts, a drill through the head, and so much more. Combine that with a haunting Fabio Frizzi score and there’s nothing more evil.

Doom

New Child Bite Video with King Buzzo, Primary Colors and Killer Music

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, listen, videos On: Friday, October 24th, 2014

CBnew

Detroit wildmen Child Bite are currently touring the wide United States, playing this Sunday at the Housecore Horror Film Festival and continuing with dates through the Midwest and East Coast (dates/locations below).  Today we get to show you their brand new (read: just finished yesterday) music video for “Ancestral Ooze,” a song from their forthcoming Strange Waste EP (out November 25th) on Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records.  The video, a tribute to the 1987 underground horror flick Street Trash (which, incidentally, was also referenced by the whole premise of a recent episode of new show Gotham), features Buzz Osbourne as the dealer of brightly colored beverages that cause people to meet their ends in various exquisitely gruesome ways.  The video was written and directed by ex-DEP guitarist Jeff Tuttle.

It’s Friday morning.  You’re not ready for this.  But, oh, you’re so ready for this.  Enjoy!

Child Bite Fall Tour Dates

10/26 Austin, TX @ Housecore Horror Film Fest w/ Superjoint, Corrections House
10/27 New Orleans, LA @ Circle Bar w/ Acid Witch, Author & Punisher
10/28 Louisville, KY @ The New Vintage w/ Acid Witch
10/29 Evansville, IN @ PG
10/30 Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
10/31 Chicago, IL @ The Empty Bottle w/ Bloodiest
11/01 Grand Rapids, MI @ Spoke Folks
11/02 Ypsilanti, MI @ Crossroads
11/04 Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
11/05 Baltimore, MD @ Club K
11/06 Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
11/08 Brooklyn, NY @ Death By Audio w/ Doomsday Student, White Mice
Also, check out more Child Bite at their Bandcamp and Facebook pages.

Sucker For Punishment: Fight Like It’s 1985

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

exidis

After parting ways with vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza in 2004, Exodus took a huge risk in hiring the unknown Rob Dukes as the band’s new frontman, but it was a risk that paid off well. The confrontational, provocative Dukes injected the band with a level of manic energy not seen since the classic Paul Baloff days, and aided by some relentless touring and three very good studio albums Exodus was able to achieve a sort of creative rebirth, attracting a younger audience while at the same time winning over the old fans with this revamped lineup.

Things seemed to be going so smoothly for the band that it came as a very big surprise that Dukes was fired during the recording of Exodus’s tenth album. Even more surprising, though, was the news that Souza was back in the fold and would commence recording the vocals for the new album immediately. Contrary to what people might assume about who was behind Souza’s hiring – many speculated that Exodus’s new manager Chuck Billy masterminded the whole thing – founding guitarist Gary Holt insists that Souza was simply the best option the band had, and everyone had no desire to go through the painstaking audition process to find a new voice.  So hatchets were buried, the slate was wiped clean, and both parties amicably and eagerly joined forces once again.

Although Dukes was a phenomenal frontman, perfectly suited for Exodus, there’s something about hearing Zetro at the helm once again that’s so pleasing, especially to any metal fan over the age of 40. It feels right. I managed to catch the reunited Exodus at their performance in Montreal this summer, and it was admittedly a great pleasure to hear that gravelly, nasal voice performing such songs as “The Toxic Waltz” and “Strike of the Beast”. Based on that alone, you had to think that Souza’s return on record would be just as impressive, or even more, and that’s indeed the case on Blood In, Blood Out (Nuclear Blast), which bursts with the fun and energy of Exodus circa 1985 yet at the same time exudes the breadth of the post-2000 incarnation of the band.

Presented in a robust but deliberately organic sound by producer Andy Sneap, the songs have bite and attack to them, drummer Tom Hunting punctuating each track with his precise and strong double-time beats. The riffs by Holt and Lee Altus sound as nimble as ever and Souza clearly relishes his return to the band, sounding strong and charismatic. However, this record is all about the strength of the songwriting, which is leaner than the band’s ambitious last few albums, tracks like “Salt the Wound”, “Blood In, “Blood Out”, and “My Last Nerve” keeping things simple and incessantly catchy. It’s exactly what anyone wants from these great thrash progenitors, a record that holds up well against the most beloved Exodus albums. I’d even go a little further and call this the best Exodus album since 1989’s Fabulous Disaster, not only a return to prime form, but a welcome return of a familiar face and voice.

Also out this week:

The Acacia Strain, Coma Witch (Rise): I’ve been getting this band’s albums for the past decade, and for the life of me I can’t remember how a single song of theirs goes. That’s one hell of a commitment to mediocrity, guys. This seventh album comes close to putting that streak to an end, though, as “Holy Walls of the Vatican” and “Cauterizer” are snappy enough metalcore tunes to keep listeners awake. Such is the state of mainstream American metal these days that that statement can be considered high praise.

Arabrot, I Modi (Fysisk Format): After mastermind Kjetil successfully beat cancer this year he wasted no time in recording a quick little follow-up to last year’s masterful Årabrot, and the resulting six-track EP is yet another assertion that Årabrot is one of the most original, vital, exciting noise bands working today.

Bethlehem, Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (Prophecy): Don’t bands ever think before they settle on an album title? Seriously, naming your record “Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia” is the worst possible thing you could do to your marketability. Then again, gothic black metal sung exclusively in German isn’t exactly marketable to begin with. Once you get past that asinine title, however, you’ll discover a shockingly beautiful exercise in gothic metal aesthetics, full of bombast and melodrama. I have no idea what the fellow is singing about, but the cadence and coldness of the German language goes perfectly with the music, adding some welcome mystique in the process.

Blut Aus Nord, Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry (Debemur Morti): Coming off the triumphant 777 trilogy that saw French musician Vindsval establish Blut Aus Nord as one of the most creative forces black metal has seen in the last decade or more, you had to wonder where he’d take the music next. After Sect(s), The Desanctification, and especially Cosmosophy expanded the project’s musical palette to thrilling effect, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Vindsval decided to get back to basics, but still, there’s a prevailing feeling on Saturnian Poetry that it’s a regression after several exciting years of progression. The third installment of the Memoria Vetusta series (whatever that is) that originally started in 1996, this album sticks to the black metal basics of tremolo picking, blastbeats, and screeched vocals, which compared to Blut Aus Nord’s recent work is hardly groundbreaking, nor exciting. Thankfully Vindsval is an adept enough songwriter to execute this rote, overdone style in a way that still feels authoritative and better than most black metal of today – the superb one-two punch of “Henosis” and “Metaphor of the Moon” an example – but there’s absolutely no way, in this writer’s opinion, that this record even comes close to the last three. When Vindsval goes forward, I’m with him. When he steps backward, he loses me.

Horrendous, Ecdysis (Dark Descent): I knew nothing about this Philly band before their second album landed in my inbox, but once I heard Ecdysis I was shocked by just how well these guys sneak the hookiest heavy metal riffs into their death metal. At times it’s extraordinary how mindful Horrendous is when it comes to the power of a good hook. When they happen upon one, they let it carry the song, instead of making it a mere fragment of 50 other riffs, melodies, and breakdowns. They find a groove, and stick to it, creating dynamic, engaging songs. Imagine that. I remain torn when it comes to the dry, Martin van Drunen-style vocal growls, as they feel like monochrome set against a Technicolor backdrop, but thankfully the instrumental arrangements more than make up for that shortcoming. Besides, “When the Walls Fell” is the best metal instrumental I’ve heard all year. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp. 

Inter Arma, The Cavern (Relapse): One of America’s most exciting bands has slapped together an interesting “EP” release, comprised of one long 45-minute track that veers exuberantly from black metal, to sludge, to progressive rock, to Americana, and back. So few underground American bands have the guts to combine as many styles as Inter Arma does, and although an album of shorter, more concise songs would be an easier listen than this sprawling epic, this is still a great glimpse of an exceedingly creative band hitting its stride.

The Melvins, Hold It In (Ipecac): Being a huge fan of everything Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover did with the boys in Big Business rounding out the band, I’ve been wary of everything they’ve done since. Yet, typical of these sludge lords, they always come through with something weird and highly entertaining, whether as Melvins Lite, reuniting with old band members, or in this case, teaming up with Paul Leary and JD Pinkus from the Butthole Surfers. The fact that Hold it In is playful is no real surprise, but that it feels leaner than any Melvins record I have ever heard is. The emphasis is no longer on pure heaviness, instead on just creating good, fun rock ‘n’ roll, and on this album you can totally hear the influences of the first to KISS albums creeping into the Melvins’ music more than ever. It’s not without its weird moments – the 12-minute “House of Gasoline”, for instance – but the more laid-back fare like “You Can Make me Wait”, “Sesame Street Meat”, and “Piss Pisstopherson” dominate the proceedings, offering a glimpse at the lighter side of this great band. It might not be a classic album by any stretch, but it’s a very welcome addition to what’s become a wildly diverse discography.

Menace Ruine, Venus Armata (Profound Lore): Like Occultation, whose new album also comes out this week on Profound Lore, Montreal’s Menace Ruine offers a surreal perspective on heavy metal that focuses on a haunting female voice. What separates this project apart, though, is how it constantly keeps the listener at an arm’s length, retaining an air of mystery throughout. Geneviève Beaulieu sings classical-inspired melodies in a very arch voice, while multi-instrumentalist S. de la Moth creates a murky, haunting musical backdrop derived heavily from black metal, gothic post-punk, drone, and once again, neoclassical. The music’s impenetrability makes this a difficult album to enjoy, especially when compared to Occultation’s bewitching new album, but if you can get past the pretension and let yourself warm up to the music, it proves to be a worthwhile, delightfully gloomy experience. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Occultation, Silence In The Ancestral House (Profound Lore): The cryptic Brooklyn trio’s debut album Three & Seven caught my attention two years ago, enough for me to single them out as one of that year’s better new bands, but it still felt as if there was plenty to improve upon, plenty of promise to live up to. The follow-up does just that, thanks partially to producer Kurt Ballou – who always does his best work when stepping away from his hardcore production, which can get predictable – but primarily to the maturation of this band’s songwriting. The juxtaposition of Edward Miller’s classic heavy metal riffing and expressive solos with Viveca Butler’s Siouxsie-derived singing is spellbinding to hear, the two sides creating a very unique tension. It’s a terrific example of a metal band taking traditional sounds, thinking outside the old parameters, and showing enough creativity to create something that stands out. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

October 31, Bury the Hatchet (Hells Headbangers): The inimitable King Fowley has brought back his October 31 project for its first album in nine years, and in what should be no surprise at all, it’s a deliriously fun rampage through horror-obsessed thrash metal. Loaded with weird tales, macabre music, and loads upon loads of palm mutes and d-beats, this is an old-school blast. Jeff Treppel premiered the album here yesterday, so be sure to give it a listen.

Revocation, Deathless (Metal Blade): The talent in Revocation is undeniable, and was so obvious when the Boston band started making serious waves five years ago. Dave Davidson is arguably the best metal lead guitarist of his generation, and he has a knack for combining melody and aggression better than most of his peers. Five albums in, though, Davidson and Revocation still have yet to create that one album, hell, that one song that can galvanize audiences and lift this band into the upper tiers of the genre like so many of us expected to happen. Instead, this new album serves up more technical exercises and milquetoast attempts at melody that might please Guitar Centre loiterers but make no effort to win over the casual listener. They’re so close, too. The reaction to this style of music should be immediate; no one should work this hard to find merit in the songs. This isn’t a prog record. Where’s this band’s “Laid to Rest”, “My Last Serenade”, “Blood and Thunder”? But no, we’re left with another album with plenty of chops but with lame attempts at hooks that feel more like lip service than inspiration. I was among the writers proclaiming Revocation would be the next big thing, but a half decade later it’s time to file this band among the long list of modern American metal bands that showed huge initial promise but always failed to produce anything but ordinary, wasting everybody’s time in the process.

Scar Symmetry, The Singularity (Phase 1 – Neohumanity) (Nuclear Blast): The Swedish band has always been made fun of for embracing pop-derived melodies and incorporating them into their brand of melodic death metal, and the fact that I cannot help but hear Winger in this new sixth album won’t exactly help things. But while Winger is commonly thought of as a typical “hair metal” band from the late-‘80s, they were actually anything but. Underneath the lasciviousness and power balladry was a band with incredible musical chops that had an uncanny knack for smartly combining pop music and progressive rock. With this new album – the first in an apparent trilogy – Scar Symmetry similarly finds an even balance between melody, dexterity, and yes, brutality. Because the music is so hook-oriented, so much more than anything the band has done in the past – which is saying something – it will be greeted with scorn by those who claim metal should only be ugly and not “trite”, but this band deserves praise for going all-in, and coming through with a flamboyant yet, oddly enough, subtly extraordinary album.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

It’s Good to Have Goals and Dreams Can Come True – An Interview with David Rodgers of Southwest Terrorfest

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews On: Thursday, October 9th, 2014

deciblog - swtf cross

Around this time last year, we spoke to Godhunter guitarist/vocalist David Rodgers as he was in the process of putting together the second edition of Tucson, AZ’s Southwest Terrorfest (go here to read all about it). At the time, under the Deciblog’s interrogation hot lamps, Rodgers mentioned that one of the bands on his “booking bucket list” was Neurosis. Well, guess what he went and did? Rodgers managed to score the Bay Area legends at this year’s version of the fest alongside the likes of -(16)-, Pelican, Goatsnake, the Body, the Atlas Moth, Author & Punisher amongst many more all set to slowly drop the citizens of Tucson (and beyond) into a cauldron of bubbling hot tar come October 16, 17, 18 and 19. We got in touch with Rodgers as he balanced busyness and elation to talk about the bigger and better version of this year’s fest.

Tell us about how last year went. Was it a success in your eyes?
I think we did 75-80% [of our goal]. Thursday was really good, Saturday was awesome, Friday was OK, Sunday was not good. Not a lot of people showed up on Sunday and it led us to refining a few things like having fewer bands and making for a little less time for people to actually be there.

Would you say those were two of the bigger lessons you learned? How were they applied to this year?
Those were definitely the two most important items. I think we had too many bands last year and some of them just got lost in the shuffle. Some bands played too early in the day when people were still hungover when people don’t necessarily want to see a band play at 2:30 in the afternoon. I know some places like at MDF, people are out at like 11am or noon all bright-eyed and ready to go, but we’re not there. So, we trimmed that back a little and looked at what did work. It worked really well to bring in bands that don’t regularly come through town. Like Kylesa had never been to Tucson before, so a ton of people came out to see them. With Red Fang, [guitarist] Bryan [Giles] is from here, so they’ve played here a lot, but they’ve never played at a big place like The Rock before and it was the most people I’ve ever seen out for them. So, we figured we’d get really good bands that don’t come through Tucson a lot and narrowed it down to no music before 6:30pm. We’ll let people get through their day, get some dinner or whatever, then start up.

At what point did you start working on this year’s version and in light of what happened on Sunday, was there ever a point you were feeling discouraged about the whole thing?
That would have been all day Sunday and probably for a couple weeks afterwards I didn’t know if I wanted to have anything to do with it again. I’m pretty tough on myself; I’m one of those people where even if I win a race, it’ll be like “I didn’t win the race fast enough.” So, it was hard in the moment to see the successes we had because I was concentrated way too much on Sunday not turning out the way I wanted it to. There were bands that had really good crowds on Sunday, but the crowd kind of ebbed and flowed and nobody really stuck around through the whole day. It was like a bunch of kids showed up to see ACxDC and then half of them left and didn’t come back. Or people were there to see Theories, but it was only death-grind kids and that was the only band they wanted to see that day. I’d say by December, we started talking about it. I had come off of a boil a little bit and the other guys were like, “we did really well for most of it, we just kind of blew it here. So, let’s just fix that and do it again, but better.” So, by January and February we were right back into the thick of it and booking again.

Last year you told me that one of the bands on your “booking bucket list” was Neurosis and you got them for this year? What were the circumstances behind that? Was it a matter of you hammering away at them until they said yes?
No, but here’s kind of how the process went. We moved venues this year; we’re not at The Rock any more. We didn’t have a problem with them; they’re great people, it’s just that we knew that if we wanted to step up the headlining bands a little bigger we couldn’t do it there because it’s a limited venue and there’s no backstage area at all. One of the good things that happened last year was that the people who run The Rialto, which is sort of the main theater downtown where everyone loves to play, got really interested in the fest and I think they were at the Kylesa and Red Fang shows. They approached us and asked us what we thought about bringing the fest downtown. That had always been our intention from the start; to get it to where it was big enough to have it downtown so everyone could walk between venues, hotels, restaurants and bars and it doesn’t become a thing where people have to drive to and park their cars. So, once they got on board, we sat down with them and literally just made up a wish list. They had a couple bands they threw on to the list.  They also wanted to get Sleep, so we pursued Sleep and High on Fire, but I think High on Fire is recording an album this month and couldn’t do it, so we kind of have them on the shelf for next year, hopefully. And then I threw out a couple names for the list, which were Goatsnake, which I thought was a more realistic chance, and Neurosis, which was our number one choice. So, as it is, I know Ron Martinez who runs Crawlspace Booking and books for Neurosis now. I’ve done shows for his bands in the past and he knows I’ve been doing this stuff for years. I talked to him and asked him to talk to the guys and see if it was something they would be interested in if the money was right. With Neurosis, it has to be something they’re interested in. You could throw a boatload of money at them, but if they’re opening for Papa Roach or some shit, they’re going to say no. They want it to be something that’s unique and something that’s sort based around them because they’ve reached that status now. So, we talked money, it went really smoothly and quickly and Neurosis was actually the very first band confirmed this year. The good part about that is that once you reach out to the rest of the bands and you say, “by the way, Neurosis is the Saturday headliner” everything really falls into place after that.

With that in mind, and I don’t know if you’ve even thought this far ahead, but does this make it that much more of a challenge for you next year?
It will be a challenge, but we’re not going to try and one-up ourselves every year though. One thing we refined was the mix that we had last year. The Sacred Reich day was all fast, thrash and death metal bands and Sunday was a lot of punk, hardcore and crust stuff. We kind of did away with doing different days and said, “let’s just have a theme and once we get a couple of headliners, we’ll see where that theme is going.” Once we got Neurosis and Goatsnake on board it was looking like it was going to be a ‘slow’ year in that none of the bands playing are blazingly fast. Next year, we’re going to do a fast year. So we already have bands lined up and I’ve talked to a couple people who are interested in it. Neurosis is definitely a legendary band, but luckily there are a lot of bands out there who have that same gravitas as Neurosis and for what it looks like we’ll be doing next year, I think people will be just as into it.

Last year you also talked about possibly and eventually working with the city, like shutting down streets and outdoor stages and stuff. Obviously that’s not happening, but I did notice the Tucscon Weekly did a big profile on you and the fest recently. Are you finding “non-metal” parts of the city getting friendlier with you?
Absolutely. That was how we got in with The Rialto and once we were in with them, the folks at Hotel Congress, which is literally across the street and has been around for hundreds of years – it’s where John Dillinger got caught and it’s always written up as one of America’s best bars and venues – once they saw we were at The Rialto and doing the after shows at The District, they came over to me and said that The District won’t be open next year and that they wanted the after shows. It’s really cool that the downtown set that doesn’t normally pay attention to underground metal have looked at it and see exactly what’s going on. We have an awesome music scene in Tucscon, tons of really good bands and what’s crazy is the way they cross-pollinate. You may have heard of a band called Sex Prisoner that’s on a389; their drummer Gilbert is the guitarist in this completely different super-indie garage band band called Prom Body which have been in Pitchfork and the New York Times. The folks downtown are starting to realise that these guys that play in bands that regularly play there have these other bands that are just as popular, but are from this other heavier genre that they ignored before. For the folks at Club Congress who generally don’t get behind metal shows – I think Red Fang, the Sword and maybe Helmet is the heaviest it’s ever gotten there – to get behind this is a huge step forward. And this year we have people who are flying in from Australia, Germany and South America and making reservations at Hotel Congress and other hotels downtown.

With time are you finding the process of booking and doing this getting smoother and easier as you go along?
It’s definitely gotten easier. You make a few new contacts, talk to this booking agent, meet new people and start putting puzzle pieces together. Some of the things do get a little ridiculous at times. The SWTF email inbox at this point is probably 96% bands that want to play that aren’t from this genre at all. Like we got Neurosis, so I don’t mind if a sludge band or whatever writes asking if there are any spaces left. I get it. But there’s a real funny one right now where I’ve had a 40-50 email exchange with a Russian folk band that, in the beginning, I said “thank you, but no” to. I think they took the ‘thank you’ as a ‘yes, I want to book you.’ They then started writing me about when they should expect their plane tickets and hotel reservations and all that and the whole time I’m writing them back, “Guys, I’m not bringing you to America.” I know there’s a way to do it with visas and whatnot, but I’m not there yet. So, even if they were in the genre that I wanted, I couldn’t do it. It got to the point where they started getting really snippy with me, as if I was backing out on a deal with them. So, it was kind of mean of me, I know, but at that point I introduced them to this Nigerian prince I know that had $40 million that he needed to clear and told them if you send this guy your info, he’ll put money in your account, use that money to buy your plane tickets and we’ll be waiting for you [laughs].

Having said that, in the future are you looking at bringing bands from overseas that you’ll eventually have to do paperwork and visa applications for or don’t you want to deal with the hassle?
Yes. I’d love to book Bolt Thrower and Electric Wizard and if I ever do that, I know I’ll have to figure it out. I don’t know if we’re quite there yet, those are obviously super-expensive bands as well and I have to know I can consistently sell enough to provide for bringing those bands over as well. But we have talked about the future and about how at some point one of us is going to have to learn to do work visas and whatnot. It’s just more paperwork; I’ll work it out.

October 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th
Rialto Theatre | The District Tavern
Tucson, Arizona

Thursday night: Kickoff show at The District:
10:00 – 10:30 Conqueror Worm (Tucson)
10:45 – 11:15 Twingiant (Phoenix)
11:30 – 12:15 Oryx (NM)
12:30 – 1:30 -(16)- (CA)

Friday night: Main show at Rialto:
6:30 – 7:00 Godhunter (Tucson)
7:15 – 7:55 Eagle Twin (UT)
8:10 – 9:00 Pelican (IL)
9:15 – 10:15 Goatsnake (CA)

Friday night: After show at The District:
10:30 – 11:00 Spiritual Shepherd (NV)
11:15 – 11:45 TOAD (Phoenix)
12:00 – 12:30 BlackQueen (WA)
12:45 – 1:45 The Atlas Moth (IL)

Saturday night: Main show at Rialto:
6:30 – 7:00 Sorxe (Phoenix)
7:15 – 7:45 Author & Punisher (CA)
8:00 – 8:40 The Body (OR)
8:55 – 10:45 Neurosis (CA)

Saturday night: After show at The District:
10:30 – 11:00 Windmill Of Corpses (Prescott)
11:15 – 11:45 Secrets Of The Sky (CA)
12:00 – 12:30 North (Tucson)
12:45 – 1:45 Primitive Man (CO)

Sunday night: Main show at Rialto:
6:00 – 6:30 Sex Prisoner (Tucson)
6:45 – 7:15 Obliterations (CA)
7:30 – 8:00 Baptists (Canada)

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Die in Hell!: Author Lewis Dimmick Uncovers Hardcore Hero Tom Capone’s Mutilated Metal Roots

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

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Last year we excerpted a couple selections from Lewis Dimmick’s excellent book This Music over at the Metalnomicon. He came back not long ago to take us behind the scenes of hardcore megaliths Sheer Terror. Today he returns with another great guest essay on Beyond/Quicksand guitarist Tom Capone’s metal roots and his uber-brutal Mutilator fanzine…

In 1985, Tom Capone, renowned guitarist for New York Hardcore legends Beyond and post-hardcore trailblazers Quicksand, published a single issue of Mutilator fanzine. It documented the proliferating world of underground metal: thrash metal; death metal; satanic metal; power metal; deathcore thrash.

Playing fast and destroying wimps and posers are dominant themes throughout the issue.

As the title of the fanzine might suggest, Tom was something of an outcast in high school. Mutilator was his creative outlet: interviewing bands; trading tapes; writing letters — you know, on paper, delivered by a postman, that guy with the funny outfit who’s always getting bitten by a dog — typing out interviews on a manual typewriter; learning to cut and paste layouts together.

“Seeing other zines was what inspired me to do my own,” Tom tells me. “I ordered the Hellhammer demo from a zine called Kick Ass Monthly. That demo made Venom sound like Mickey Mouse. No one knew about all these underground bands. They were doing really advanced stuff. It was genius.”

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The initial batch of Mutilator was fifty copies. Dutch East India Trading, a prominent distributor, saw a copy and was impressed; they asked for two hundred more.

STREAMING: Nightbringer “Ego Dominus Tuus” + Naas Alcameth (Nightbringer) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Monday, September 22nd, 2014

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** U.S. black metallers Nightbringer are an entity unto themselves. The Colorado-based trio make music unlike any other. The group’s new album, Ego Dominus Tuus, is a haunting reality check of the darkness that is around us and the darkness that consumes us. Claustrophobic, uncompromisingly intense, and yet very musical (think Classical), Ego Dominus Tuus is the answer to brow-beater, mouth-breather black metal. Nightbringer brings sophistication to the genre. Nightbringer brings the genre to new places, some real, some ritualistic. Either way, Nightbringer is America’s answer to black metal. All should hail! All should bow!

FULL ALBUM STREAM AT BOTTOM OF POST!

Is Ego Dominus Tuus merely the follow-up to Hierophany of the Open Grave or is it something else entirely?
Naas Alcameth: Musically, there is much departure from previous works I would say. The core elements that are the foundational musical identity of Nightbringer are still present, of course, but there is a lot that has changed. The approach was much more refined this time and more time, and emphasis was given to the dynamic of the guitar, bass and keyboard lines while keeping with the overall goal of composing movements highly evocative of images appropriate to the subject matter: darkness, night, strife, furor, majesty and so on. Lyrically ,there are of course some shared subjects between Ego and some of our previous releases given that they are all inspired by certain esoteric traditions, and such traditions, at their core, aren’t transient, yet it is not reiteration of what has already been said. That would be somewhat pointless. You could say that this path we are undertaking, spiritually speaking, like any true path, is something that begins to change at the onset, or more accurately it changes you, and with the first attempted step, mystery gives way to little truths and what you thought was truth gives way to more mystery in an ongoing process. This all sounds very nebulous and vague perhaps, but it is the best way I can explain this inner movement, and it is this process which inspires esoteric art, which is what we consider Nightbringer to be, so, not unlike this process, each offering from us musically is like an epiphany, another ray of light, refracted through the prism of our souls from the same light source, way-markers upon a very long path that we have just barely set foot upon.

There’s an uncommon density to Ego Dominus Tuus. Is Nightbringer’s goal to occupy sonic space and consume it?
Naas Alcameth: I think it is less of a goal and more of a habit, a natural consequence of our preference for grandiose and elaborate compositions. I have said in the past that I view our approach to compositions akin to a mason’s approach to constructing cathedrals. We are building cathedrals of sound with the same intention that a mason constructs a cathedral of stone—for the glorification of our Lord. The compositions are often complex and high-arching in order to relay the same sense intended with the cathedral. The symbolism and intent is the same, albeit who or what we praise is not. With that said, one can just as effectively relay this spiritual gravity by carving a few lines in a single stone. Minimalism is an art unto itself and when done with mastery can move the soul as profoundly as the most elaborate work.

Musically speaking, Nightbringer doesn’t sound too tied to the tropes of black or death metal. There’s almost a classical sense to the band’s musical approach. Comment on this, please.
Naas Alcameth: The old black metal influences are present still of course, but I agree with your statement overall. This has everything to do with our love of classical music. We have much appreciation for individuals such as Bach and Rachmaninov to contemporaries such as Legitti and Arvo Part. I am also a huge fan of Elend. It is also no coincidence that our black metal influences are those few old bands who incorporated this same classical approach.

Is there something deeper with the title, Ego Dominus Tuus, which translates to something like “I am your lord”?
Naas Alcameth: Certainly. The meaning is manifold. At the surface it is both commandment and revelation and says much about where one stands, at various points along a dark initiatic path, in relation to the God(s). It also ties directly into a certain divine name that serves as cipher for a hermetic process of tribulation that is represented as a hierarchical trinity.

What significance does religion have to humanity at this stage in our history?
Naas Alcameth: Keeping in mind that word ‘religion’ is somewhat inadequate as a description of what we are speaking of, given the inevitable associations that come with it, I would say that it mirrors the current state of man and the cyclic stage he finds himself in, i.e. the Kali-Yuga. It is an inevitable process of movement away from forms that may have at one point housed sacred truth to forms that are all but completely profane; we find such forms wanting, empty. It is like building a temple to house and nurture a flame, in order that others might come to be within its light, yet becoming so entranced with the edifice itself that the flame becomes forgotten, and so it is now long gone out from the temple (this could very well also serve as an allegory for spiritually inspired music as mentioned above). The temple may be empty, but we remember, while most continue to tend to the temple not even realizing a real flame was ever present, or in their ignorance mistaking sentimentality, “social progress” and the like for the flame. Most do not even bother, as the light of the modern world is enough to light their lives. Science and a purely human reason have replaced the sense of the sacred. For such people, the quantitative has become the temple, and no other truth exists. In truth, this ‘flame’ I am symbolically speaking of cannot go out. It is everywhere and in all things eternally regardless of how dead the world has become to it.

Do you see separation between Abrahamic religion and other religions of the world, ancient and contemporary?
Naas Alcameth: This is a vast topic that can only be briefly touched upon here. In approach and spirit, yes, most certainly there is a separation. To be sure, one can find similarities, but it should be stressed that the Abrahamic religions adopted and adapted (some would say stole) some of their more foundational myths from the Babylonians before them (see Herman Gunkel) and took much of their philosophy from the Greeks. When it comes to the more esoteric aspects of the Abrahamic faiths, things become complex, though even here there are differences. I will leave it at that, since it is hard to say more without going into much more detail.

There are references to magic in your music. What is magic?
Naas Alcameth: Let me now reiterate something I have recently stated elsewhere, that for us to even begin to speak of these things in this context, to try to lay bare and relay the profound mysteries of magic, is to speak with a vast measure of inevitable falsehood, as the only way to truly know something is to be it, and we are in no position to speak on such matters with a voice of authority, as to do so will ring hollow and only serve to make mockery of what we tell you we believe to be sacred. We can only speak of the shadow of the thing but not of the thing itself, by way of symbol and allegory as well as the innate inborn intuition and lastly and most importantly, by the most fleeting of glimpses of what we have indeed experienced, in dream or in practice, but of nothing else, and to do otherwise runs the risk of quickly becoming absurd, an unintentional sophistry but sophistry never the less, something we have painfully come to realize and cautiously reassess. So let me sum this question up by quoting someone who could indeed speak with an authoritative voice on the matter of magic…

“Magick is the transmutability of the Quintessence of all nature.” ~ Andrew D. Chumbley

And now let me follow it with this…

“Always we want to learn from outside, from absorbing other people’s knowledge…. The trouble is that it’s alwaysother people’s knowledge.” ~Peter Kingsley

How does Yeats play into the title?
Naas Alcameth: The title was inspired by Yeats conception of the Daemon. This Daemon and one’s ‘otherness’ is central to our beliefs as relayed within the lyrics.

Black metal isn’t often literary outside of the usual suspects. What have you been reading lately?
Naas Alcameth: I have been reading some of the works of Algris Uzdavinys, Peter Kingsley, Johannes Nefastos and have most recently started going through Chumbley’s Dragon Book of Essex.

Tell us about the cover art by David Herrerias. How does it relate to the music?
Naas Alcameth: The album cover depicts the hierarchical triad, the enigma of the sacred name and path spoken of above. David is involved with many of the same esoteric currents we value which only further strengthened the symbolism used. He did an absolutely brilliant job.

What do you think of the current state of US black metal and where it’s headed?
Naas Alcameth: I am mostly ambivalent towards the scene in general. I like the bands I like, and am very appreciative of the good black metal that does surface, regardless of location. For me that is really enough. I can say that I have been really impressed with Funeral Presence.

Why is darkness so unfrightening now? Or perhaps darkness is merely light in another guise.
Naas Alcameth: Aesthetic has become unfrightening perhaps. Darkness? No… People have adopted this idea that darkness is simply an idea, a concept as effuse as a daydream, opposed to something real. Darkness is as real and alive as you or I, so much more so. There is a tendency not to fear what you are simply not aware of, what you truly do not know and have no real reference to even begin to know. True darkness, in its most profound sense, is the very heart of all fear. Those that experience this darkness experience what it actually means to die, to die in the most profound possible way, and none but those that have learned how to “die before they die” could possibly be in darkness without fear. Some of us have come close to this darkness in dreams (especially in dreams) or during meditation, or during hallucinations and those of us who have respect the magnitude of what this is and understand a fear that is far beyond the mortal fear of physical harm. This darkness is the dispersion of who you are (what you think you are is more correct). It is the slipping away of everything, literally everything, and all you know to be you. It is complete and utter annihilation, and yet it is also the road to salvation. This all sounds very melodramatic, but the truth of it hums just beneath the surface of your waking reality, and all one needs to do is to deprive one’s self of all senses for a duration of time to begin to understand, to feel this truth. Even still most will rationalize the significance away afterwards, like treating a burn (as the darkness burns all who enter) with an anesthetic until the significance is buried under the numbness of reason. Learn to be still (so that you may feel this darkness), learn to be silent (that you may hear it speak) and learn to die (that you may for the first time live). This is what we seek. Nothing less.

** Nightbringer’s new album, Ego Dominus Tuus, is out September 30th on Season of Mist. It’s available HERE (domestic!) for Pre-Order. We recommend clicking the link before Eschaton brings us all down.