Search results for 'call of the void':

STREAMING: Fides Inversa’s “Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews, listen On: Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

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Fides Inversa play black metal in a Primordial style, and they sure take it seriously. I mean, check out the interview below. I had to read it like three times to understand what they were talking about, and I think it basically comes down to “the devil.” Still, their music is pretty rad, so not only do we have the aforementioned interview, but we have an exclusive premiere of their new album, Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans. Get your literate black metal on.

Why did you choose to label your songs by Roman numerals?

For the very same reason that moves a writer to enumerate the chapters of his book.

There was simply no necessity to give a proper name to the various songs since they are nothing but steps on the same path.

Does the album have any unifying concept?

The opus takes form from a study and a spiritual immersion inside the most awful manifestations of the Numinous.

The album title is an expression used by the German theologist Rudolf Otto to describe the human experience of the holy, that in its complete otherness takes the mind from dreadful terror to great fascination. The sounds and the revealed words that constitute this work are the result of an empirical research of the divine through mystical reflections and practices both silent and violent at times. Trying to dissolve the eternal dualism into the absoluteness of the void, real epiphanies may occur, and — as you can read inside the album — the Numinous could be finally perceived as the Morning Star rising in the heart, and the whole experience does include the splendor of the terrific fascination that first freezes in a chamber of fear, where His rage and madness are more than vivid, and than attracts to its meaningful void, where Death is grace and potentiality with flaming wings.

Does your music have any underlying philosophy to it? Influences?

This project took light to express a double necessity, spiritual and artistic, both aiming to explore the mysteries of opposition residing in the cultural substratum of spiritual traditions, universally recognizable as bringers of illuminate knowledge. Trying to circumscribe this thought to a single philosophy would be simply paradoxical, since its foundation is based in the very core of man. Through speculation one could catch a beam, through the Arte one could shine himself.

Influences are innumerable for those whose eyes are wide open, even in a world where the secular and the matter are the law, but fortunately it’s full of enlightening works of art out there, through mediums of every genre. The Devil speaks many tongues.

What has the reaction been to your music in your home country of Italy, a heavily Roman Catholic nation?

None.

The christian-catholic forma mentis is surely entrenched into the popular culture, in a hypocrite way of course, but it does not manifest to the extent to restrain forms of expression little known like black metal.

This influence reflects on politics and social evolution enchaining the progress to the limits of a fake morality, but is there a country where this phenomenon is not present? I think we could recognize this as a problem of modernity.

 

***Mysterium Tremendum et Fascinans comes out October 31 on World Terror Committee. Check out their Facebook here, and keep your eyes peeled here for the eventual preorder.

The Deciblog Interview: Paul Di’Anno

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews On: Monday, October 20th, 2014

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“A lot has been written and said about me through the years — most of it bad, some of it untrue.” That’s the opening of the 2010 Paul Di’Anno biography The Beast, which reads more like a gritty LA noir novel than a musical memoir. If you were to read the book — a combination of the Mötley Crüe biography The Dirt and the Marquis De Sade — you’d think avoiding Di’Anno was in your best interest. Even if you didn’t, plenty of Internet stories would steer you in another direction.

Di’Anno sang on two of the greatest metal records ever: Iron Maiden’s eponymous debut and the follow up Killers before he was replaced by Bruce Dickinson, in part because of hard living. Three decades later, those albums blow away much of the metal that followed and their place in the Maiden discography is still fiercely debated (yours truly ranks them very favorably). Di’Anno has crafted a solo career and fronted many other bands but his sets still weigh heavily on that timeless material.

When Decibel caught up with Di’Anno in England he couldn’t have been more of a gentleman. He told us The Beast — and the Web — don’t tell the true story about Paul Di’Anno. Join us in a discussion about Jack Daniels and the human voice, the horrors of customs in 2014 and fronting Maiden tribute bands.

How are things going?

I have a little break from touring because that’s all I seem to do. I’m finishing all the lyrics on the new album and hope to have it out by the end of the year. It’s a pretty busy time with new management; I have all kinds of shit going on right now.

Do you ever tire of touring? You’ve done it relentlessly your whole life.

No. I have a bad knee and everything but if I sit at home I have the attention span of a goldfish. I can’t get into it. I haven’t seen my family for such a long time and they are in the states. I can only get over to America when I have a work visa; I’m not allowed over there otherwise from being a bad boy many years ago. I’d love to spend time with my family but I try not to think about it and tour.

Weren’t you thinking of retiring about a year ago because of that injury?

Not really. I’m going to need an operation on my knee. It just keeps getting worse. But some days are worse and some days are o.k. This morning I tripped over a vacuum cleaner and pulled my knee out and it’s all full of fluid. It just happens – it’s a war wound from the road. It’s getting old, really.

What is it like to play and tour with people who grew up with your recordings?

Well, I try not to waste too much time thinking about it because you’d drive yourself nuts. What happened with me is that my plan backfired but it’s also been good as well. Iron Maiden was doing nothing to celebrate (the anniversary of the first album) so I did. And now, people keep booking me for that.

I got to be honest it’s a bit frustrating sometimes because I’m not getting a chance to do my own stuff. I use different bands in different countries so I can bring this to the fans. But I can’t keep doing it forever.

In the states there are countless bands that could do it. We have certain bands in Europe and Australia. I just try not to think about it and get over there. My voice is actually getting somewhat better as I get older and I’m amazed because I don’t take any care of it.

What do you think about where metal is these days? Do you listen to black metal or death metal?

I’ve heard some death metal stuff and it’s not really for me. I grew up with thrash. But the death metal stuff, I find it a bit of a joke. Some of the music is great but the lyrics, eh. If these people did come face-to-face with me they’d shit their pants or run home to their Mom.

When you are performing the Maiden stuff what do fans tell you about it? They are two of the best records and I feel like they sometimes get glossed over in the catalog.

Well, peers like Pantera, Sepultura and Metallica say they are the two best Maiden albums. I think they were fantastic, pivotal albums that set the world on fire. But the way I do them now doesn’t really sound like Iron Maiden. Our sound is a lot heavier. Sometimes it could sound like it’s Sepultura playing it to make it interesting. If I’m going to carry on playing these songs I need to put a bit of a twist on them, y’know?

How do you approach the vocals? You mentioned you don’t take care of your voice.

(laughs) I’m having a cigarette now! This voice was made on cigarettes and Jack Daniels. People overanalyze it like: “I need 20 cups of tea or I’ll cancel the show.” I’ll never do that. I’m just me. On this DVD I hit some amazing high notes and it never happened before tour. When we were on tour in Poland they wouldn’t let us get off stage and we were even singing Judas Priest. It was absolutely hilarious. I gave them the first part of a song and was hitting all the high notes.

What is the DVD project (The Beast Arises) about?

The guys in Poland were brilliant and it was a real pleasure working with them. We starting doing this DVD in a club and it went smoothly and well, which is a miracle. We played about six or eight shows all over Poland. We did most of the Maiden stuff and a few songs from my catalog. It’s a good representation of what I do live around the world. With the Architects Of Chaoz (Di’Anno’s new band) we do the same thing but ease off the Maiden stuff a little, just four or five songs in our set. So I get best of both.

How do you adjust to playing with different bands around the world?

Most of them I’ve played with over a few years. One of my bands is Children Of The Damned and they are a cover band. Sometimes I find it quite funny, like you are really living someone else’s life. It works out fine, though. Most of these guys I’ve done tours with around the whole world and we know each other well.

We’re trying to go to Canada but it could work out better there with work visas. It’s a bit paranoid over there. Since 9-11, I mean, America used to be a joy to go and see. It’s bloody hard work for people to go there. C’mon, in England we got bombed and stuff like that. America is a great country but the bureaucracy is a pain in the ass.

Did you have problems at customs?

All the time. It’s amazing. I’m used to it. When we crossed over from America into Canada there were bloody guns pulled at the border. One of the boys had a knife so he got kept for like an hour. I wanted to go to Canada to see some friends and the same thing happened. It’s just a pain. You need to keep your borders safe but, c’mon, I’m a bloody metal musician, not an Arab terrorist. It can get on your nerves a bit. A lot of European people go there and also think it’s a rigamarole and why bother. Once you get through it’s fantastic but in ways it’s like the Russians who look like they want to kill you every five minutes (laughs).

I can only imagine some of the changes you’ve seen as a touring musician.

I think England has some of the best security of all time but it doesn’t seem so oppressive. I don’t know how to put my finger on it. I’m always so nervous when I fly to America. Even with a work visa I always wonder to what’s going to happen. I do like to get to Miami to see my wife and children.

Have you ever been recognized by a fan at a border crossing?

Oh shit, yeah. About six years we were in Puerto Rico. I arrive in San Juan and it’s a weird place because you get your luggage and then go through security. They detained me overnight and it was very strange. It was weird because half of the guys working security were coming to the concert and it was cancelled. I was sent back home, without prejudice, I might add. They didn’t do their homework but they did take great care of me. I had to stay in a holding cell with some immigrants.

Have you seen the movie Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr.?

Yeah.

Why is it I’m thinking they leave you alone in a call overnight then come back and Paul has befriended every inmate and is telling jokes?

That’s what happened with those guys! I have to tell you border security in Puerto Rico is awesome. It was a genuine mistake. I was more pissed for the fans. We finally made it there a few years later and it was fantastic.

There have been a lot of stories about you out there about your conviction (for benefits fraud) and your health and you wrote about addiction in detail in The Beast.

How long ago was that? That biography was a long time ago.

If people piss me off they get punched in the face. I don’t fuck around with people. You get some idiots out there and I don’t have the patience for them. So I have a bit of a reputation for saying what I want.

So in many ways you’re the same Paul Di’Anno from Iron Maiden?

A bit older, a bit heavier. I’ve never been someone to take any shit and I’ll come off worse a few times. If people are slagging me off — unless they have a good reason –expect some retaliation.

What songs from the back catalog do you enjoy most playing?

Since Clive (Burr, original Maiden drummer) died I’ve been dedicating “Remember Tomorrow” to him because that was such a blow. It broke my heart. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. I haven’t had a lot of time to grieve. Sometimes it’s really difficult to sing it. I love doing “Killers” and “Phantom Of The Opera” … they run into each other in the set. And we put “Charlotte The Harlot” back in the set recently.

When Clive passed my manager at the time sent me a text and I was stunned. I got on the phone with my wife and told her when was going on. Even now I find it difficult to talk about. I couldn’t make the funeral because I had to fly back to Brazil that day. I wrote a small eulogy, which Clive’s wife read at the funeral. I’m sorry, I can’t talk about it…

What are some of your best memories?

He was a lunatic. Me, him and Dave (Murray, guitarist) always used to go out together. And he was such a fantastic drummer; I think he was the greatest heavy metal drummer in the world. He left me in hysterical laughter most of the time. And he was the ultimate professional.

Are you still living in Brazil?

I’ll never leave. The people are wonderful and I like the weather and I’m a football fanatic, and I mean real football, not what you call football. It pisses me off that you call it soccer. I love the atmosphere. I like Brazil more than any country in the world.

You’ve been at this your whole life. Will you ever stop?

I’m going right to the boneyard — from the stage to the boneyard. It would be awesome to die on stage. But I guess you have to stop sometimes. If the voice goes out I’ll have to think about settling down.

Decibel Magazine 2015 Tour Lineup + Dates Announced!

By: andrew Posted in: breaking newz, featured, the decibel magazine tour On: Monday, October 20th, 2014

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The Decibel Magazine Tour has established itself as the extreme music destination of the spring, bringing metalheads a thoughtfully curated lineup that celebrates the genre’s proud and diverse global legacy. The fourth installment is no different, as Swedish melodeath legends At the Gates join forces with U.S. hardcore heroes Converge and U.K. death/doom supergroup Vallenfyre, with yet one more very special opener to be announced this December.

Last year, Decibel brought you Carcass’s first sustained domestic tour in five years, as the reanimated death metal legends introduced North America to long-awaited comeback album Surgical Steel. In 2015, we’re stoking fans’ salivary glands again, offering the first live taste of death metal icons At the Gates’ incredible 19-years-in-the-making At War With Reality. Presented by Century Media, IndieMerchstore.com, Nuclear Blast Mailorder, Handshake Inc., Lace Music, Deathwish Inc and Profound Lore, the 2015 Decibel Magazine Tour will slaughter the souls of North American concertgoers for 15 unforgettable dates, offering a bounty of extreme trailblazers making their best music right now.

“Super-stoked at finally getting to be part of the Decibel tour!”enthuses At the Gates frontman Tomas Lindberg. “A great mag, with great people behind it! And finally being able to rip out new stuff in front of a U.S. club audience? Sweet! The bill looks amazing, too! The most relevant hardcore band on the planet and the fiercest old-school death metal band on the same night as us? Excited!”

Four-time Decibel cover stars Converge continue to not just push, but outright obliterate the boundaries of extreme music, most recently with our favorite album of 2012, All We Love We Leave Behind. “We are excited to be part of this fantastic and diverse tour,” says frontman Jacob Bannon, who designed the tour logo and art. “For me, At the Gates are one of the most important bands in contemporary heavy music. It will be an honor to tour the country with them.”

Boasting present and past members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and At the Gates, old-school death-dealing supergroup Vallenfyre can’t wait to debut songs from 2014’s critically acclaimed sophomore stunner, Splinters. “This will be Vallenfyre’s first U.S. tour, and what a tour,” beams frontman Gregor Mackintosh. “I think this is the most diverse and exciting bill of any metal tour I have seen this year. Great to be a part of it. We will be injecting some British filth into your unsuspecting American ears. Cheers.”

We know you can’t wait to GO to war with this lineup either, so here’s your chance to score a great deal and avoid standing in line. There will be a number of VIP premium packages available in each market, providing you with a limited edition T-shirt, 18 x 24 tour poster, “Skip the Line” pass, exclusive digital tour issue of Decibel Magazine, a coupon for 15% off a purchase on Indie Merch’s webstore, and free digital sampler from Century Media. The price of this package is less than you would spend on a ticket and a tour shirt at the show! More details, including ticket info, are available at www.decibelmagazinetour.com

2015 DECIBEL MAGAZINE TOUR DATES

Friday, March 27            Los Angeles, CA            The Wiltern

Saturday, March 28        San Francisco, CA        The Regency Ballroom

Sunday, March 29           Portland, OR                   Roseland Theater

Monday, March 30         Vancouver, BC               Commodore Ballroom

Tuesday, March 31         Seattle, WA                       Showbox at the Market

Thursday, April 2            Salt Lake City, UT          The Complex

Friday, April 3                  Denver, CO                       Summit Music Hall

Saturday, April 4             Lincoln, NE                      Bourbon Street

Sunday, April 5                Minneapolis, MN            Mill City Nights

Monday, April 6               Chicago, IL                       House of Blues

Wednesday, April 8        Toronto, ON                     The Phoenix

Thursday, April 9            Montreal, QC                    Metropolis

Friday, April 10               Boston, MA                        Royale

Saturday, April 11           Philadelphia, PA              Union Transfer

Sunday, April 12              New York, NY                  Webster Hall

 

Hails to our partners!

www.centurymedia.com

www.indiemerchstore.com

www.nuclearblast.com

www.handshakeinc.com

www.lacemusic.com

www.deathwishinc.com

www.profoundlorerecords.com

 

Sucker For Punishment: Burning Like a Flame

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

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It’s got to be a surreal adjustment for certain popular metal bands who headline huge festivals in Europe and come over to North America to play venues the tiniest fraction of the size. For some bands, you can tell they’d rather be egotistically drinking in the adulation of 75,000 people in a field in Germany instead of 500 people crammed into a pub in the middle of nowhere, while others are perfectly happy making eye contact with their audience, interacting in a cozy setting. Then you get the bands that don’t give a damn where they play, and those bands are always the best, no matter what the setting.

I’ve seen Swedish bands Amon Amarth and Sabaton play so many different venues, from tiny bars, to theaters, to cruise ships, and of course we’ve all seen festival footage of both bands. Sabaton played to more than half a million people in Poland last year, for crying out loud. With both bands, it never, ever matters where they play: they love to perform, they give their all, they entertain, and their adoring fans love them for it. That was certainly the case a couple nights ago as both bands, along with perennial crowd-pleasers Skeletonwitch played a sold-out show to a rollick group of headbangers on the local university campus.

It’s kind of absurd for a band like Sabaton to be an opening act these days; after all they are the biggest power metal band on the planet right now, and can very easily attract sizeable audiences as a headliner in North America. That said, it makes for one hell of a one-two-punch alongside Amon Amarth, and did Sabaton ever make their fleeting 45-minute slot count with a rousing set loaded with fan favorites and the odd new tunes. “Resist and Bite” and the crazily jaunty “To Hell and Back” held up very well alongside “The Art of War” and “Carolus Rex”, while staples “Primo Victoria” and “Ghost Division” brought the house down. A perpetual ham, mohawked singer Joakim Broden was in his usual good spirits, maybe a bit more than usual seeing it was his birthday that night. “End of passion play, it’s my birthday today,” he cracked during an impromptu “Master of Puppets” cover. That’s Sabaton in a nutshell. They’ll do anything to coax a smile out of a metal crowd, and they always pull it off.

Amon Amarth, meanwhile, is the AC/DC of death metal. Everyone knows what to expect from the guys, they have a tendency to gleefully self-plagiarize yet somehow manage to come through with catchy songs time and again, and that’s all anyone ever wants from them. The same riffing styles, the same melodies, the same subject matter (Vikings, Vikings, Vikings), and the same jokes (“If you don’t know the words, just yell along. It’s death metal, no one understands anyway”), and they are beloved for it. The band has been on a real career upswing since 2008 though, and it’s gotten to the point in Canada where the albums are doing so well that they’re starting to outgrow the venues they play, consistently selling out.

While the poor guy in line in front of me was devastated the show had sold out – prairie folks are laid back enough to assume walk-up are always available – the filled-to-capacity club had a great, festive atmosphere during Sabaton, and especially as Amon Amarth took the stage. The bulk of the 90-minute set focused on the last five albums, with only the staple “Death in Fire” representing the band’s early work. Which is perfectly fine by yours truly, as Amon Amarth has been on fire since Twilight of the Thunder God six years ago. Rightfully, Twilight and last year’s excellent Deceiver of the Gods were given the most focus, and those tracks went over hugely, the crowd responding with a furious mosh pit and, thanks to the absence of a barrier, plenty of stage diving. All the while towering vocalist Johan Hegg loomed over the kids like the Viking gods he sings of, his long beard and drinking horn attached to his belt cutting an imposing figure. From the early run of “Death in Fire” and “As Loke Falls” to the climactic “Cry of the Black Birds” and “War of the Gods”, the energy between band and audience was electric, and sent into overdrive during the encore of “Twilight of the Thunder God” and the requisite “Pursuit of Vikings”. All expectations were met, tons and tons of Viking-themed merchandise was sold, and everyone went home happy and exhausted.

As it happens, Amon Amarth, Sabaton, and Skeleltonwitch will all be part of Decibel’s big 10th anniversary celebration in Manhattan and Brooklyn later this month. It’s not every day you get two metal bands of this caliber touring together, and you owe it to yourself to see this bill if it comes your way. Here are the remaining dates:

10/10 Toronto, ON The Sound Academy
10/11 Montreal, QC Metropolis
10/12 Quebec City, QC Imperial
10/14 Burlington, VT Higher Ground
10/15 Hartford, CT Webster Theatre
10/17 Albany, NY Upstate Concert Hall
10/18 New York, NY Best Buy Theatre
10/19 Columbus, OH Newport Music Hall
10/21 Chattanooga, TN Track 29
10/22 Knoxville, TN Bijou Theater
10/24 Charlotte, NC The Fillmore
10/25 Jacksonville, FL Freebird
10/26 Birmingham, AL Iron City
10/27 New Orleans, LA The Civic
10/29 St. Louis, MO The Pageant
10/30 Joliet, IL Mojoes
10/31 Detroit, MI Royal Oak
11/01 Milwaukee, WI The Rave
11/02 Des Moines, IA Wooly’s
11/04 Lincoln, NE Bourbon Street
11/05 Oklahoma City, OK Diamond Ballroom
11/07 Austin, TX Fun Fun Fun Fest
11/08 El Paso, TX Tricky Falls
11/09 Tucson, AZ Club XS

On to this week’s new releases!

Abazagorath, The Satanic Verses (Eternal Death): The New Jersey veterans stick to rote, formulaic black metal on this third full-length, but despite its severe lack of originality – some Emperor here, Immortal there – this is nevertheless some strongly performed melodic black metal, heavy on speed and intricacy with a good mix of florid melodies and prog-leaning arrangements. If only the band followed through with more material as interesting as the instrumental “A City Visible But Unseen”.

Alunah, Awakening the Forest (Napalm): Is there a doom band that sounds dreamier than Alunah? That’s a big reason I love this English band: they play heavy music rooted in the tradition of Saint Vitus, but the focus isn’t so much on brute force but grace. The songs don’t plod and thud. They glide and swing, the guitars enveloping rather than crushing. By the time the tender singing of guitarist Sophie Day enters the fray, that’s it: you’re entranced. The songwriting as always been good, but this third album is a step up from 2012’s White Hoarhound, the melodies much more confident, the use of dynamics stronger, especially on such tracks as “Bricket Wood Coven” and “Heavy Bough”.

Audrey Horne, Pure Heavy (Napalm): After the astounding career turning point Youngblood in early 2013, which saw the Norwegian band abandon its boring “modern hard rock” in favor of a more classic sound reminiscent of early-‘80s Rainbow, I still feared that the guys might revert back to their old ways. Fortunately, it’s steady as she goes on the follow-up, as Audrey Horne continues to mine that sound from 30-plus years ago. It fits these guys perfectly, singer Toschie performing with verve on standouts “Out of the City” and speedster “Into the Wild”, guitarist Ice Dale (also of Enslaved) relishing his role as the showboating lead shredder. It’s nothing but good, catchy heavy metal like us oldsters remember, and it’s a total delight because of it. The band has embraced this change of direction fully, and it fits them perfectly.

Godflesh, A World Lit Only By Fire (Avalanche): As much as I loved Justin Broadrick’s shoegaze/metal project Jesu – and I loved it – there came a point where I realized that he’d taken that idea as far as it could possibly go. It was around when I saw Jesu perform in 2012, where I very nearly fell asleep standing up. The man should have stopped after Conqueror, and this was apparent when I saw the reunited Godflesh pulverize an audience a year later. I was more of an admirer of Godflesh than a fan – over the years I’ve tended to enjoy that minimalist industrial concept in bits and pieces rather than via full albums, but the energy, the ferocity that night was something to behold. After a teaser EP this past summer that felt decent enough but not exactly earth-shattering, A World Lit Only By Fire delivers the latter in surprising, spectacular fashion. A conscious return to the throttling sounds of seminal 1990s albums Streetcleaner and Pure, this new album is so straightforward in the way it sticks to that classic combination of massive riffs, martial electronic drum beats, and the post-punk edginess of Killing Joke. As much as it might seem like a regression, this record benefits immensely from modern production, as Broadrick has these ten tracks sounding even more colossal than anyone could ever have hoped. It’s simple, but sometimes the simpler approach is the best one.

Lo-Pan, Colossus (Small Stone): The Columbus, Ohio band is in fine form on this fourth album, once again finding a comfy middle ground between the heavy rock of Grand Funk Railroad and the searing garage rock of the MC5. Throw in a vocalist who actually makes an effort to sing, not growling nor yarling, and you’ve got a good little reminder of how satisfying music this simple can be when it honors its roots and tries to create something new at the same time.

Orange Goblin, Back From The Abyss (Candlelight): It seems as if Orange Goblin has been gaining serious traction in North America, at least in the B and C markets. The British veterans have stepped up the touring on this side of the Atlantic, and from my perspective, every time they hit the smaller centers, more and more people are drawn to the shows. And good for them for quickly following up 2012’s A Eulogy For the Damned with a record that’s even better. Typical of the band, it’s very much in keeping with the Orange Goblin aesthetic, which is essentially beer-fueled, sludgy rock ‘n’ roll, alternating between Motörheady speed and bluesy swing, led as always by the burly-voiced Ben Ward. Had this album been 34 minutes insead of 54 minutes, it might’ve had an even more immediate impact – for a band like this, less is definitely more – but this is still a hugely enjoyable record, led by “Sabbath Hex”, “Heavy Lies the Crown”, and the wicked “Devil’s Whip”.

Rigor Mortis, Slaves To The Grave (Rigor Mortis): The story behind Rigor Mortis’s first album in 23 years is impossibly tragic. Just as the Dallas band was wrapping up the recording, they threw a bash to celebrate guitarist Mike Scaccia’s 50th birthday, but while he was onstage performing with his longtime friends, Scaccia suffered a heart attack and died shortly thereafter. In honor of their buddy the rest of the band launched an online funding campaign to help them finish the album in a way that honored him in fitting fashion as possible. Indeed, they’ve done a very nice job of it on this exuberant record. Devoid of frills but performed with the kind of energy that feels like the work of thrash acts half the band’s age, best exemplified by the ferocious “Curse of the Draugr”. An appropriate, robust swan song for a popular guitarist who died far too young.

Stench, Venture (Agonia): In its perversely restrained approach, you can sense this second album by the Swedish band is trying to accomplish what Morbus Chron did so well on this year’s extraordinary Sweven, but while the ambition is there, the execution isn’t. The songs still feel rote, dalliances with post-punk sounds feel half-formed, and as is the case with so many extreme metal bands, the vocals lack personality, feeling more like an afterthought, adding nothing to the music. You can sense good things in this band, but it hasn’t happened yet.

Viathyn, Cynosure (self-released): This week’s biggest surprise comes from the burgeoning Canadian metal hotbed of Calgary, Alberta, where Viathyn has emerged with a shockingly strong album of progressive power metal that is guaranteed to interest fans of Symphony X and Angra. We’re so used to hearing work by unsigned young bands that sound nowhere near fully-formed that when a self-released album comes out that actualy feels like it’s already realizing its potential, you can’t quite believe it. But this is an exceptional piece of work, robust yet lively, fun but not cartoonish, proggy but always built around a strong hook. Cynosure already sounds like a band in full stride, and it deserves to be heard. Stream and purchase it via Bandcamp.

Winterfylleth, The Divination of Antiquity (Candlelight): Winterfylleth can always be depended on for some quality black metal rooted in Scandinavian tradition but always exploring their own English heritage. Nothing changes on this fourth album, and while that can be a detriment, these tracks hold up exceptionally, especially the more melodic fare like the nine and a half-minute epic “A Careworn Heart”.

Not metal, but worth hearing:

This is as exciting a week for new non-metal music as I’ve seen all year, and of the four titles I can’t decide to single out, there’s at least one that will appeal to anyone. Steven Ellison, AKA Flying Lotus, is a mad genius of a composer, and You’re Dead! (Warp) is a spellbinding 38-minute journey through jazz fusion, progressive rock, hip hop, and IDM. The equally talented electronic artist Dan Snaith is also in prime form on Caribou’s rich, vibrant, pop-friendly Our Love (Merge), his best work since 2003’s psychedelic classic Up in Flames. The great singer-songwriter Mary Timony, best known for her work with Helium and most recently Wild Flag, is back with a new band called Ex Hex, which unlike her past projects focuses on hard-driving, punk-infused powerpop on Rips (Merge). Think The Cars meets the Ramones. Meanwhile, Zola Jesus’s latest albumTaiga (Mute) sees Nika Rosa Danilova continuing to gradually shift her sound towards something more accessible with largely entrancing results, although I still consider last year’s Versions to be her best work.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

Metal Yoga With André Foisy #5

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, videos On: Monday, October 6th, 2014

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André Foisy plays guitar in Locrian and is a certified yoga instructor who teaches in Chicago, including a monthly candlelit yoga event set to dark ambient metal. You can find his yoga teaching schedule and more information about him on his website, Facebook page, and you can find past instructional videos on his YouTube channel. In this post, he talks to Brittany McConnell (Wolvserpent) about her yoga teaching, her practice and what she listens to while doing yoga. You can find out more about her yoga practice on her website.

André: What led you to developing a yoga practice?

Brittany: I started practicing yoga because of a back injury as a teenager. I was working on a farm and threw my back out. A friend suggested I try yoga, that it might help. I started on my own with books and a few classes. Soon, I found a good class with a knowledgeable teacher and began going once a week for instruction. I saw improvement with my injury so I became more regular with my own practice at home.

André: Has your yoga practice changed the way that you think about and play music? If so, how?

Brittany: Over the years, playing music has come to feel like one of the yoga practices. Music, like yoga, operates on many levels – the physical, mental, emotional, instinctual, intellectual, energetic, etc. So, the practices have been very helpful in a practical sense – the physical practices tend to my body so that I am healthy and can play more efficiently with less pain or injury. The other practices tend to the other layers of existence. They have helped me to grow more sensitive to the way that music affects me. Practicing yoga has also made me more aware of my aim in playing music. Music has become, like yoga, a tool for gathering my fragmented, scattered attention and consolidating it so that I can direct that attention to what I will – in this case, a creative endeavor. Practicing yoga also reminds me of the need for community – for like-minded people to be together and feel free to express themselves. This has changed how I experience the music community as well.

André: Do you have any suggestions for Decibel readers who are interested in developing a yoga practice?

Brittany: Yes, do it! If anyone has that urge to investigate a yoga practice and what it might do for them, follow that urge. Find a good teacher, read some books, talk with friends who practice and ask to practice together. One of the best things to do is start by learning a few basic poses and incorporate them into your daily life. Develop a consistent practice for best results.

André: Do you think it’s important to find a good teacher?

Brittany: It is important to find a guide, someone who has been through some of the difficulties that comes with practice. A good teacher can help bypass some of the pitfalls of practice like injury, breakdowns, discouragement, etc. This person should be trustworthy so that you can confidently progress in practice.

André: Do you have any suggestions on how to find a good teacher?

Brittany: Sure, I would suggest to first ask around. If you know people who go to yoga classes, ask them about it – what they like/dislike about class. A good recommendation can be really helpful in finding a teacher that fits your needs. It might also be helpful to consider what you are looking for in a yoga practice. Make a list of why you want to try yoga (stress reduction, strengthening, flexibility, spiritual practice, self-inquiry, healing an injury, stamina, etc.). Or, you may not have a clear idea of why you want to try yoga and that’s okay. A sense of curiosity is very helpful in finding what you are looking. Search for yoga studios in your area. Browse websites – see how their presentation, language and mission statements fit with your views of the world and what you are looking for. Call the studio and ask questions. Tell them you are new to yoga and wanting to try it out. Most places will be so happy to talk to you and help you find a class that is appropriate. Many studios have classes specifically for beginners to introduce students to the practice with little or no previous experience.

And be brave – go try some classes. Grab a friend, if you can find a willing accomplice, and head to a class. Try a few teachers to see what different people have to offer. It’s helpful to attend class with the same teacher several times – they may be having an “off day” and it might be a different experience another time. A lot of finding a teacher is intangible. It’s like other relationships, in my experience. A lot of what makes things “click” cannot be spoken. There is a sort of rapport or there is not. You know when you have found your teacher.

André: How would you describe your teaching style?

Brittany: My teaching is anchored in the lineage of studentship, supported by intelligent alignment and offered up with humor and humility. I utilize both form and flow in my teaching: held poses, core work and vinyasa (moving from one pose to the next in succession). My teaching is rooted in a Yogic philosophy of intrinsic goodness which holds that the physical body is a vehicle for transformation, devotion, creativity, expression and service. I aim to honor each student and their needs – to meet each person where they are and see how these practices can serve them most effectively. I place an emphasis on the practice as sanctuary to create a safe and supportive space. This includes an emphasis on “good company” to build a sustainable community for practice.

André: Can people passing through Boise take a class with you? How can they find out about it?

Brittany: Yes! Please come to class whenever you are in Boise.

André: What are your top heavy albums to listen to while practicing yoga lately?

Brittany: I have not been listening to music when I practice lately. But, here are some albums I’ve enjoyed practicing with in the past:


Mammifer – Mare Decendrii
Yob – Atma
Jex Thoth – Jex Thoth
Budhist Monks of Maitri Vihar Monastery – 7 Hundred Years of Music In Tibet – Mantras & Chants of the Dalai Lama
Menace Ruine – Alight in Ashes
Black Boned Angel – Bliss and Void Inseparable
Asva – Futurist’s Against The Ocean
Om – Advaitic Songs
(in no particular order)

Here’s a yoga pose for everyone to work on to keep your neck strong and loose:

I suggest that you stay in this pose for about as long as the first track, “Threshold Gateway,” on the most recent Wolvserpent album available here.

Encrotchment With Eddie Gobbo From Jar’d Loose: Week 3

By: Eddie Gobbo Posted in: encrotchment, featured On: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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Did you guys enjoy the heavily NFL-promoted premiere of Madam Secretary, starring Tea Leoni, as much as I did?

Beng Your Pan

Last winter, I played a gig in Columbus, OH, at Carabar and struck up a football conversation with the club’s owner, Ron. He’s a HUGE Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I guess a Steelers fan existing in Columbus makes sense because there isn’t a pro football team there, and Pittsburgh’s a mere two hours away (not to say that proximity is everything in fandom, but it’s something). When I was in Columbus this past summer, I noticed the dudes from the band Bridesmaid had a Cleveland Browns magnetic schedule on their fridge. This too makes sense, considering Cleveland is also a mere two hours from Columbus. Now, when I heard Skot Thompson (not the Kids in The Hall actor), bassist for Columbus stoner/groove-pop kings Lo-Pan, was a big Cincinnati Bengals fan (yes, also two hours away), my head exploded! Three teams repped in one city equidistant from all three?!  So, when the great Lo-Pan came through Chicago this week on their tour with Black Cobra, I couldn’t resist picking Skot’s brain about said issue, among other things:

“There actually aren’t a lot of Bengals fans in Columbus. It’s all Steelers and Browns fans there. I was born into it, basically. My dad and my dad’s side of the family were all from Cincinnati, so I, by proxy, became a Bengals fan…Unless you live in Dayton, Cincinnati or Kentucky, nobody likes the Bengals. It’s really weird.”

It should also be noted that at the start of this interview, Lo-Pan drummer Jesse Bartz walked by us and yelled, “GO BUCS!” I guess there are Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans in Columbus, too (wink, wink).

The Bengals have always been an interesting franchise to follow. First off, they’ve been around almost 50 years and have never won a Super Bowl. I’ve seen several horrible Bengals teams in my day, and only a few good ones. But when they’re on, they’re on. Their mid-2000s team featuring the high-powered Carson Palmer/Chad Johnson offense was a thing of beauty. If you’re in the mood to watch offensive football porn, watch the Nov 20, 2005 game between them and the Peyton Manning-led Colts. Without question, the best Bengals team is history was the 1988 AFC Championship team, led by quarterback and MVP Boomer Esiason. Cris Collinsworth, the guy who tears everyone a new asshole every week on Sunday Night Football, was also on that team. As good as the Bengals were that year, they lost to the 49ers in the Super Bowl. But going against Joe Montana, who can blame them? Well, according to Skot, his uncle can, and did:

“I actually watched that Super Bowl with my uncle, down in Kentucky. I saw him put his foot through the television and throw it out the window of his third-story apartment building.”

As for this season, the Bengals are a surprising 3-0. Quarterback Andy Dalton is playing with a confidence I haven’t seen from him since his rookie Pro Bowl year. It also doesn’t hurt that his team is the toast of their division this year. Between the current states of the Steelers, Browns and Ravens, it’s Cincy’s division to lose. However, as pointed out by Skot…

 “Being a Bengals fan, I really don’t have to watch football that much because it’s pretty predictable what’s going to happen: They’re going to get to the first round and eat their own dicks… if anything goes past that, you’re gold. Now that they’re 3-0, I’m starting to get a little excited, but I’m wondering when they’re going to shit the bed. So far it’s working, though.”

I am very high on the Bengals over the next few years. Dalton signed a six-year, $96 million contract extension over the offseason. Cincy could be a couple years away from legit Super Bowl talk. But let’s not put the cart before the horse. Dalton needs to, at minimum, get his first playoff win this year. Then we can talk the next step.

Before parting ways, with Skot, he asked me a question about my beloved Chicago Bears:

“What’s with the crick in Jay Cutler’s neck? What the hell is that?”

I’m not used to people asking me questions during these interviews, so I ran out of the room screaming.

Check out this track from Lo-Pan’s new record, Colossus, due out October 7 on Small Stone, and check them out on tour in the U.S. with Black Cobra this fall, and the Roadburn Festival this spring. A must-see. They absolutely CRUSH live.

Return of the King

On Thursday Night Raw this week, the Falcons’ Devin Hester ran back his record 20th return touchdown. In doing so, he officially surpassed head pimp in charge, and first ballot Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders. So, now that Hester is the return king, is it safe to say that he’s a lock for the NFL Hall of Fame?

The HOF hates special team players. Technically, there are only three special team players currently in the Hall of Fame. Hester is without a doubt a special team player in its purest form. He has never contributed on a regular basis in any other capacity. That said, he is the undisputed best special teams player ever. Yes, there have been some great field goal kickers in the game’s history. But aren’t field goals supposed to be made? Percentage-wise, field goals from 20 yards out or less out are made close to 100% of the time; between 20-30 yards, around 95% of the time; 85% percent between 30-40; 75% between 40-50 yards; and 60% from 50+. Say a field goal kicker hits 400 field goals in his career (more than Hall of Famer Kicker Jan Senerud) without missing, and the majority of said field goals are between 20-40 yards. Would he deserve to be a Hall of Famer? He has not defied any statistics in doing so. Punt/kickoff returns for touchdowns percentage varies by year, but is somewhere south of 5%. For Hester to fall in to that 5% range 20 times in his seven-year career is INCREDIBLE. Knowing this statistic, special teams player or not, it’s arguable that Hester should not only be a Hall of Famer, but a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Hester’s Hall status actually came up on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show this week. Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, a man whose opinion I highly respect, said making the Hall is “awfully hard for a part-time player,” but believes Hester should be there. When asked by Mike Greenberg if Hester should be a first ballot Hall of Famer, Carter said first ballot Hall of Famers are players that, “the history of the NFL cannot be written without.” I believe the history of the game now cannot be written without Hester. He holds a record that will more than likely never be broken, especially since kickoffs moved up to the 35-yard line. He will make it to the Hall of Fame one day. First ballot, more than likely not. Such is life on the return line.

Ware, the Line Lives

I want to go on the record saying how much I love the Demarcus Ware/Denver Broncos relationship. It’s like two rich, attractive, classy, late 50s divorcees finding each other after their spouses left them for weak-minded ditzes (“…and we like visiting them better, Mom!”). Ware made a significant impact on Sunday with his sack on Russell Wilson deep in his own zone, and following it up by safetying Beast Mode, who never gets safetied. Ware brings major stability to that Denver line. A good line will force teams to pass, creating more plays for studs like Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and a kid certain for a breakout year, Chris Harris, Jr. (who had a big interception this week).

I know it’s weird that I am singing the praises of the leader of a defense that gagged on it’s own vomit in OT this past week. However, this loss was as close to a victory as a team could have gotten without, well, winning. Denver came back and almost beat the measuring stick (Seahawks at home) in a game that seemed to be out of reach early in the fourth quarter (Pete Carroll was already in obnoxious rejoice mode).  Denver would have lost this game by 20 points if their D from last season showed up. They’re not a cupcake D anymore. The improvements they made in the off season are going to start to pay consistent dividends. Actually, if these teams meet in the Super Bowl this year, this loss should, believe it or not, benefit the Broncos. Smart teams don’t let history repeat itself. Denver’s D will salivate at another chance at stifling a game-winning drive this season. The kind of drives we have a tendency to see a lot in big games. Also, when was the last time Peyton Manning’s lost three consecutive games to a team while he was on the same team? You’d have to go back to the Pats/Colts rivalry of the early 2000s. You can fool him once. You can even fool him twice. At this point in his career, it’s very hard to fool him thrice.

Are You There, Drew? It’s Me, God.

How would you like to be an Oakland Raider next year, young man?

You’re on the Air, Unfortunately

My friend from the DC area hit me up this week, asking me if I wanted an RGIII jersey. They’re on sale in every sporting goods store within a 50-mile radius of where he lives. Somewhere in that 50-mile radius lives Walt, a Redskins fan on drugs. On Monday, he called up DC sports radio station 106.7 The Fan (original name), insisting that Kirk Cousins purposely blew the game against the Eagles (the one where he threw for 427 yards and three touchdowns) to avoid a quarterback controversy with RGIII. You gotta love sports talk radio callers. No you don’t. This week, let’s all chastise an A-hole sports fan of our choosing for the good of humanity.

Bye for now.

Pick of the Week

Kansas City +3 ½ over New England

Decibrity Playlist: Winterfylleth (Part 1)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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Instead of rambling on about how great the new Winterfylleth album is and coming up with some clever way to introduce what Chris Naughton decided to cover in his playlist (spoiler alert: it’s one of my favorites), we’ll just let the guitarist/vocalist handle the intro himself:

“Considering topics that would make for an interesting playlist relating to Winterfylleth led me down thought paths to a number of things. History, England, heritage, war, society, politics and even activism came up, but to distill it back to its purest essence and consider the original spark for what led to Winterfylleth’s creation, it primarily has to be landscapes, and then allied to that a link with local history/ancestry as well. Landscapes evoke such a visual, mental and physical reaction within people – and indeed within me and my bandmates – particularly if beheld in person. The coming together of so many different elements to formulate this visual/physical experience is not unlike the making of an album, with each bit of a landscape contributing to the overall beauty of the view, like instruments and layers contribute to the sounds on an album. I can remember walking around the Peak District, Snowdonia or even places like Alderley Edge in the early days of our band and feeling inspired to write music to capture that awe and the epic beauty in nature and in the surroundings. I think we managed to achieve that in our own way on the three albums we have made to date, and, to a potentially greater extent on the release of our upcoming fourth. It happens that we weren’t the only people to have felt this compulsion and what I wanted to share with you are some songs by bands we love or that have inspired us; ones who also capture the very essence of their environment and their history through the music they make and the imagery they portray.”

After you check out his picks, be sure to pre-order a copy of The Divination of Antiquity, here (out October 7th) and stay tuned for the rest of his selections next week.

Enslaved’s “Roots Of The Mountain” (from 2012′s RIITIIR)
Having had the privilege to tour with Enslaved for three weeks last year, we got to see one of our favorite bands play every night while touring this album. The track “Roots of the Mountain” stuck out as such a massive moment in their set and is a real highlight on the album. I’ve had countless conversations with friends about the merits of new/old era Enslaved, but to me they’ve always continued to get better and better. This track shows just how good they are.

Drudkh’s “Summoning The Rain” (from 2004′s Autumn Aurora)
I heard Drudkh back in the early 2000s when they were a small, obscure black metal band from the Ukraine through our friend Martyn Patterson – “Doomlord” to many folks we know. To this day, I think it remains my favorite of their albums and was probably among the catalysts for wanting to start a black metal band in the first place. I’d heard all the old classic black metal albums coming up through the years, but it was this album in particular that really spoke to me in the way it could link melody and folk influence into what is essentially quite an aggressive style of music. The track I’ve selected here is a particular highlight for me and really typifies the Drudkh style. I would also recommend the album Blood in Our Wells if you care to look into their discography any further.

Primordial’s “The Coffin Ships” (from 2005′s The Gathering Wilderness)
Primordial is a huge influence on Winterfylleth and really instilled in us a sense of just how a band affects people both emotionally and physically with their music. I dare you to see a Primordial live show and not well up a little bit watching them play this song. Written about a defining point in Irish history – the Great Famine – this is the story of a national tragedy that could have been avoided, but due to greed, religious indoctrination and imperialism, was not. This is their tale of heartbreak and loss about how their people were treated and what it left them with. A stark reminder of a big lesson our respective world leaders should learn (but choose not too), particularly with all the devastating conflicts going on at the moment. It’s also an amazing riff driven track as well.

Ulver’s “Capitel I: I Troldskog faren vild” ["Chapter I: Lost In A Forest Of Trolls"] (from 1995′s Bergtatt – Et eeventyr i 5 capitler)
Ulver, like Enslaved, is a band of two eras – although Ulver arguably took it even further than Enslaved when moving into their modern style. Again, I’ve heard positives for both old and new material and again I actually love both, but for different reasons which I won’t go into now. We all have a huge soft spot for the black metal material and particularly Bergtatt, which is a very atmospheric album that really sticks out because of the clean vocal passages and the flowing writing style of the songs. I’m on the team that would encourage Ulver to put aside their ill feeling towards their older material and play some shows with it. The fans would love it and I think it needs to be heard in that environment. They managed to start playing live after many years of not doing so; now we just need them to take it one step further!

Hate Forest’s “The Gates” (from 2003′s Purity)
This is probably my favorite black metal song of all time, to the point where Winterfylleth actually did a cover version of it earlier this year that came out on a split 12” EP with Drudkh. It’s pure savagery from start to end and is just amazing riff after amazing riff. Having gotten to know Roman (the guy behind Hate Forest and Drudkh) in recent years, it has been really interesting to discuss his perspective on his nation’s history – him being from the Ukraine – and how that has fed into the music they have made in both Hate Forest and Drudkh. It has also been quite eye opening as well in the sense that he lives 30-40 miles from the frontlines of conflict between where Russia is invading his country and his folk are trying to preserve their livelihoods and way of life. A strong reminder of just how close to home these types of things can be.

Bathory’s “One Rode To Asa Bay” (from 1990′s Hammerheart)
Bathory doesn’t need much explanation. Masters of the clean vocal chant and pioneers of folk influenced (black) metal, they are just fantastic musicians and an essential listen to anyone into the style of bands I’m talking about here. Hail Quorthon (RIP).

*Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

**Photo by Ester Segarra

***Pre-order a copy of Winterfylleth’s The Divination of Antiquity here.

****For past Decibrity entries, click here

Witch Mountain: An Outgoing Debrief with Uta Plotkin

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews, tours On: Thursday, September 18th, 2014

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While the news has had time to sink in with the passing of time, it was a big ol’ shocker when Witch Mountain vocalist Uta Plotkin announced she was stepping away from her post after five years of fronting the Portland doom heroes. According to drummer Nathan Carson, he and the other members [guitarist Rob Wrong and bassist Charles "Charles Dingus" Thomas] received the disheartening news via phone shortly after returning from a European tour a few months ago. Plotkin and Witch Mountain are on the tail end of their pairing – opening for Nik Turner’s Hawkwind across North America – and from there the band will begin seriously entertaining CVs from hard-working, golden throat-ed individuals willing to jump into the fiery fray surrounding their recently released fourth album, Mobile of Angels. You will definitely be reading a lot from the remaining members about their present and future, so we tracked down the departing Plotkin and somehow managed to get the normally reclusive vocalist to answer a few questions about her departure from the band.

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So, you’re leaving Witch Mountain after this next tour. What were the factors leading to this decision and when did you make it?
I’ve been feeling restless for about a year. I joined Witch Mountain in 2009 looking for a learning experience and just experience in general. I had started my band, Aranya a year earlier and was new to the scene and new to running a band. I worked fanatically those first few years, but as I passed out of my twenties and into my thirties, I found my priorities changing and my inner vision shifting from something ecstatic and all-encompassing to something more personal. With three albums behind me in Witch Mountain, I feel I’ve accomplished what I needed to here and as it’s taking up more of my time, it’s harder to justify neglecting other parts of my life and creativity.

Was it a difficult one to make and was it difficult bringing it to your band mates?
Of course, this was a difficult decision that kept me up nights. I’m making big changes in my life and that’s never easy or comfortable. Luckily my bandmates took the news with maturity and understanding.

Are you leaving the world of metal/music? What are you going to be heading into and what is the next chapter of your life looking like?
I don’t intend to stop making music, metal or otherwise. This next year will be an incubation period for the next phase. After this fall tour I’m moving onto my friend’s farm in Oregon City where I’ll have plenty of time and space to work on a solo album and continue my training in web development and programming. Also, Aranya might record one more album early next year before I go hermit.

What would you say were some of the high/lowlights during your time in the band and what aspects did you like/dislike about being in a touring band with a rising profile?
Writing and recording with Witch Mountain has been a special treat. Rob and I write well together and recording with Billy Anderson demonstrated to me what a good producer can do to take your music to the next level. Being in Witch Mountain made me a better and more confident performer. As far as touring, getting to see more of the world through the lens of underground music was something I’d dreamed of for a long time. But the pace and intensity often overwhelm me. The attention too, despite being mostly positive, makes me uncomfortable, which doesn’t bode well for me as we gain in popularity. I’m a private person and the internet is not for private people. Over the last few years too, I’ve been turned off by the business of music, its falsity, its cynicism, its shameless, empty bragging and how it makes some people treat and talk about others. But I’ve met too many positive and inspiring people in music to let that get me down for long.

With your time in Witch Mountain, how do you feel you changed as a person, what lessons did you learn that you feel you’ve been able to apply to your everyday life and what mistakes do you think you’re now better equipped to avoid?
This is a hard question to answer right now. I feel very different than I did six years ago but the changes just kind of feel related to getting older. Ask me again in a year when I have a better perspective on all this. One thing that hasn’t changed though is the principle that guides my life better than any other I’ve come across, and that’s to follow my heart.

Witch Mountain + Nik Turner’s Hawkwind (remaining dates)
09/18 – Chicago, IL @ Beat Kitchen
09/19 – Rock Island, IL @ RIBCO
09/20 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
09/21 – Saint Paul, MN @ Turf Club
09/22 – Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramid Cabaret
09/23 – Saskatoon, SK @ Vangelis Tavern
09/24 – Calgary, AB @ Palomino
09/26 – Vancouver, BC @ Venue (early evening show)
09/27 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey
09/28 – Portland, OR @ Star Theater

deciblog - witch mountain dates

And if you think your singing voice has what it takes, check them out on Bandcamp and contact them via Facebook.

Sucker For Punishment: Fire Up the Chain Saw!

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

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When a veteran band finds its second wind working with a certain producer, it’s totally understandable if they decide to stick to that same collaboration for an extended period. Cannibal Corpse went through it in the wake of the stunning success of 2006’s return-to-form Kill; realizing they had found a perfect partner in producer Erik Rutan they proceeded to record two more albums with him, 2009’s Evisceration Plague and 2012’s Torture. While there’s nothing wrong with settling into a comfortable routine with a producer a band knows well, as long as the music holds up, it’s even more admirable when a bunch of old fogeys, many of whom are very set in their ways, decide to change things up, force themselves outside their comfort zones, and try something new.

For the band’s 13th album Cannibal Corpse decided to work with Mark Lewis, best known for producing DevilDriver and The Black Dahlia Murder, and true enough, he puts the five members through their paces on A Skeletal Domain (Metal Blade). It’s not as if Cannibal Corpse ever lacked energy or ferocity, but there’s a snarl, a bite to this album that Torture might have lacked. The new songs attack, it’s as simple as that, with guitarists Pat O’Brien and Rob Barrett sounding taut and unrelenting, driven by Paul Mazurkiewicz’s strongest drumming to date. Most interestingly, it’s O’Brien who emerges as the star of this album, as his five tracks are among the highlights. “High Velocity Impact Spatter” is built around nimble, sneakily catchy staccato riffs, “Sadistic Embodiment” is pure Slayer worship to the point where it shames anything Kerry King has written over the past decade. The title track features a terrific, doomy riff that’s a neat little departure for the band, “Funeral Cremation” is classic, chugging old-school death metal, and the brilliant “Hollowed Bodies” alternates from massive headbanging grooves and dexterous tech death flamboyance.

Barrett steps up in a big way, too, as his “Ice Pick Lobotomy” and “Kill or Become” feature the wickedest hooks on the record. In fact “Kill or Become” has the potential to be a real fan favorite thanks to a crazily catchy chorus that will have everyone hollering, “Fire up the chain saw!” And an album like this needs hooks like those, anything to make it stick out among all the other strong death metal albums out there, of which there’s been no shortage this year. A band can’t rely on shock value alone, and over the past decade Cannibal Corpse has greatly improved its songwriting while moving from profane lyrics to darker, but no less graphic, storytelling. It’s always satisfying when the progenitors of a certain style of music come along and embarrass bands half their age, and A Skeletal Domain proves that Cannibal Corpse is still as relevant and vital to death metal as they ever were.

Also out this week:

Aevangelist, Writhes In the Murk (Debemur Morti): There’s nothing wrong with a band making every effort to create the scariest, most harrowing metal album imaginable, but this release by the Florida band is so scatterbrained, so unnecessarily busy that its ambition is its ultimate undoing. While there are moments where you’re struck by a quirky combination of death metal and dark ambient music, it’s always just that, a fleeting moment in a song that’s too long on an album that’s far too long. It’s an interesting curiosity, though. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Albez Duz, The Coming of Mictlan (Iron Bonehead): Equal parts Fields of the Nephilim and Type O Negative, this second album by the German band suffers greatly from a lack of originality, the vocal affectations of Alfonso Brito Lopez doing the same old mopey Andrew Eldritch shtick that Peter Steele did and not bringing anything unique to the music. Stop imitating and be yourselves, guys. If you can’t, then stop wasting everyone’s time.

The Contortionist, Language (eOne / Good Fight): These guys continue to play their instruments very well, but mimicking Between the Buried and Me is getting really, really old.

Crucified Barbara, In the Red (Despotz): In the tradition of Girlschool and Rock Goddess, these Swedish woman have always excelled at scorching, classic heavy metal, and this fourth album is as bruising and energetic as you’d expect from them. Led by Mia Coldheart, who can belt out the vocals with the best of them, the foursome tears through eleven songs that range from the searing “I Sell My Kids For Rock ‘n’ Roll”, to the impassioned “Don’t Call on Me”, to the powerful “To Kill a Man”. It’s heavy rock ‘n’ roll at its most badass. Don’t miss out on this one.

Ides of Gemini, Old World New Wave (Neurot): The Los Angeles trio has improved with each release, and this follow-up to 2012’s Constantinople continues that graceful evolution. A stark blend of black metal-derived guitar riffs, rigid, martial beats, and the haunting, gothic vocal harmonies of bassist Sera Timms and drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson, this album washes over the listener, feeling simultaneously comforting and unsettling. Better yet, there are moment that see the band exploring more hook-oriented material, such as the contagious “Black Door”, which makes you wonder just how much the band’s 2013 tour with Ghost B.C. had an effect on them.

Iron Reagan, Tyranny of Will (Relapse): Throwback thrash for the ADHD set, two-minute blasts of fun crossover tunes led by Tony and Phil from Municipal Waste. Personally I greatly prefer Municipal Waste, but this is some effective, lively DRI worship by some of the best thrashers in the business.

Myrkur, Myrkur (Relapse): What’s even funnier than watching underground extreme metal denizens get their collective knickers in a twist over the “validity” and “authenticity” of supposed one-woman black metal project Myrkur is just how pedestrian this oddly hyped Relapse release sounds. There are times when the pretty voice works well alongside the harsh arrangements (“Nattens Barn” is promising), but from the faux-lo-fi sound to the awkward songwriting, this record is nowhere near the level it should be, considering the amount of attention it’s getting. Skip this and wait to see if whomever’s behind this thing is capable of something a lot better.

Noctem, Exilium (Prosthetic): Once again the Spanish band feels it’s necessary to drown out some decent black/death metal with triggered drums that totally overwhelm the music. It’s a real shame, too, because the guitar work is at times exceptional, but the band would rather distract you with migraine-inducing blastbeats that hammer in your head ad nauseam. Again, a total waste.

Reverorum Ib Malacht, De Mysteriis Dom Christi (Ajna Offensive): This is by far the worst metal album I’ve heard all year. But if you want to spend 71 minutes listening to incoherent, lo-fi racket by these “Catholic black metal” fellas, by my guest.

Shooting Guns, WolfCop Soundtrack (RidingEasy): In the wake of 2013’s gargantuan Brotherhood of the Ram, the Canadian band was commissioned to channel their inner Goblin and create the soundtrack to the often brilliant B-movie WolfCop. Being a band with riffs up the wazoo, they pulled it off in typically boisterous fashion, serving up a good 18 tracks that are mostly song fragments, alternating from the riff-oriented to synthy ambient sounds, that hold up on their own very well. Although it’s not the band’s defining work, and their inspired doom cover of Gowan’s “Moonlight Desires” for the film hasn’t been included, there are some wicked jams here, enough to leave you hoping they’d do more soundtrack work in the future. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Slash, World on Fire (Dik Hayd): You’ve got to hand it to Slash, he’s quietly built a good thing with his collaboration with singer Myles Kennedy and backing band The Conspirators, creating consistently strong barroom rock ‘n’ roll. There’s none of the comical ambition of Axl’s Guns ‘N’ Roses, just good, simple, energetic tunes that evoke the ‘70s and ‘80s, smartly avoiding the post-grunge trap that many retro rockers fall into. That’s no excuse for the man and his cohorts to carry on for a whopping 17 songs, but thankfully there are songs like “Wicked Stone” and “Shadow Life’ to leave immediate impressions.

Sons of Crom, Riddle of Steel (Debemur Morti): I wish the music on this Swedish band’s debut album reflected the rather snazzy cover art more accurately, but instead this attempt at epic/Viking heavy metal falls short of the mark. There are moments where you can sense this reaching the level of Atlantean Kodex, but the songwriting lacks focus, the production lacks the bombast this music needs, and the singing just isn’t consistently strong enough.

Stallion, Rise and Ride (High Roller): A year ago I raved about the self-released debut by this German band. It’s only fitting that Stallion’s new album comes out on old-school label High Roller, and Rise and Ride continues the momentum that last release started. They’ve since expanded to a proper four-piece band, and you hear it on these tracks, which continue in the same spirited, Exciter-derived direction as before, with singer Paul hitting the high notes like this style of music demands. The lovable “Canadian Metal” from last year’s Mounting the World makes a repeat appearance, but the rest of the tracks are new, highlighted by “Wild Stallions” and “Wooden Horse”. I sense a pattern.

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This is usually the spot where I throw in a new album that’s not metal but might be of interest to open-minded metal fans out there, but instead this week I’m singling out the spectacular new Criterion BluRay release of David Lynch’s surrealist cult classic Eraserhead. Part dark comedy, part dystopian nightmare, what has helped Eraserhead endure for nearly 40 years is the fact that Lynch has fully explained the film’s meaning beyond, “a haunting dream of dark and disturbing things.” Instead, he leaves it up to the individual to decide for him or herself what this weird tale of Henry Spencer, his grotesquely deformed offspring, the Lady in the Radiator, and the Man in the Planet is all about. It’s a beautiful piece of art, immaculately shot over several painstaking years, made even more disturbing thanks to the innovative soundtrack by Lynch and Alan Splet, which critics have smartly connected to the subsequent dark ambient movement. This new restoration looks absolutely gorgeous, and comes with equally beautiful packaging, tons of extras, and even a calibration guide created by Lynch to make sure the film looks as great as possible on your screen. This is a must-own.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy 

INTERVIEW: Pit Full Of Shit

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews On: Thursday, August 28th, 2014

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If you’ve been to shows around the NYC area–particularly at The Acheron or Saint Vitus Bar, both in Brooklyn–then chances are you’ve seen Frank Huang. More often than not, he’s armed with at least one video camera to capture that night’s show for everyone else’s viewing pleasure. After noticing him time after time at gigs, we finally caught up with the man himself about his work, his life and music in general. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out his blog Pit Full of Shit.

For those who may not be familiar, tell us a little bit about Pit Full of Shit. How did the idea come about? When did you you first get started and what was the first show you shot?
I started shooting live video when I was back in Taiwan around 2007. It began with a school project I made for my friends’ band called Horsemen. I was trying to shoot a short documentary on them. At the time, there was this series of shows called “Metal Monster”, and the band was one of the organizers of the show. So I went in and shot the second show of the series in which Chthonic played. I believe it was the peak of the series. After the show, I found I really liked filming bands and the music, and I felt that since I knew how to shoot video, these bands deserved to be documented. Plus, I could also show our scene to the world (aka the Internet). After that, I kind of just fell into this abyss and never got to get out. I got some really good experience when I was over there, not only shooting local bands but also bands like Abigail, Unholy Grave, Misery Index, Exodus and Death Angel. I’m still good friends with some of the people in those bands, and that really helped me start up when I first moved to States.

Pit Full of Shit didn’t start until I moved to NYC in 2011. I met Frank Godla from Metal Injection and Meek Is Murder at Revocation’s Chaos of Forms record release show at The Studio at Webster Hall. We were both shooting the show, and he suggested that we edit our footage together and post it on Metal Injection. After that project, they offered me a channel on Metal Injection, and that’s how Pit Full of Shit came about. But two years later, MI decided to change its server and all of my videos were gone, and that was when I started the blog. Right now I still post videos both on my blog and Metal Injection, but the source is from my own YouTube channel instead of MI’s server.

Most of your live footage is from shows in and around NYC — how long have you lived around here? What’s your favorite local venue to see a show and to shoot a show?
I moved to NYC from Taiwan in the summer of 2011 for grad school, so it’s been around three years now. If you look into the videos I’ve shot, you will find that in terms of venues, Saint Vitus Bar and The Acheron are the two places I shoot at the most. I can’t really pick just one from those two. Both of places took care of me pretty well when I first started in NYC, are very, very friendly, and believe and are very supportive of the things I do, which means a lot to me personally.

Taking another step back, tell us about some of your formative music experiences — in particular, when and how did you first get into the more extreme side of things?
Well this sounds really corny, but I started listening to Marilyn Manson when I was in junior high school which led me to Slipknot. (This is Taiwan we are talking about, I didn’t really get to find that much information on extreme music, not to mention the Internet wasn’t that cool at that time. Hell, I even liked Limp Bizkit. But it’s 2014, it’s way much easier to find underground music now.) But I always felt like I wanted something heavier. When I got into college, my friends showed me bands like Chthonic and Arch Enemy, and that was when I started digging more extreme music. Bands like Dark Funeral and Naglfar were my favorites at the time, and shooting shows exposed me to a lot of other music too.

There’s a group in Taiwan called Raw Noise Attack. They were the ones that got Abigail and Unholy Grave to play in Taiwan, and they also introduced me to bands like Electric Wizard, Church of Misery and so many other thrash or grind bands that shaped a lot of my musical tastes nowadays.

How many shows a month do you think you shoot? What’s been a favorite recent show you’ve been able to share with everyone? All time?
I would say I shoot about 10 to 15 shows a month, but it really depends on what’s going on. Sometimes I shoot five or six nights a week, sometimes one night in two weeks. It really depends. I would say my favorite recent show was Eyehategod with Iron Reagan and Strong Intention at The Acheron. All time for now I would give it to Gorguts at Saint Vitus Bar–that set completely blew my mind.

Can you tell us more about the equipment you use to shoot shows and the process more generally?
For cameras, I mainly use my Canon 60D. If I’m doing a multicam shoot, I have a Sony VG10 and a GoPro. Soundwise, I use a Sony PCM-D50, which is a really old sound recorder I’ve been using since the beginning but it’s still amazing and a Zoom H4n for board sound. And for editing I use Adobe Premiere Pro and PluralEyes for sound syncing (it’s life saver). Sometimes I try to do different things too, like I shot Eyehategod in Super 8mm film earlier this year.

What are some of your other videography/filmmaking endeavors (music videos, documentaries, etc)?
I’ve actually done music videos for bands like Phobia (and here), White Widows Pact, Bezoar, Call of The Void, Rituals, Noisear, Skelptarsis and Scattered Purgatory from Taiwan. The latest music video I made was for Phoenix’s Funerary, which premiered on Noisey.

Do you ever feel that you’re missing out on the “live experience” by being behind the camera instead of in the crowd? Do you try and mix it up and not shoot every show you go to?
Yes I do, haha, but if you see me at a show with my camera, you would most likely see me headbanging to songs all of the time, so I’m not missing out that much. And sometimes when I do a multicam shoot, I will be at the front of the stage, which to be honest can be really annoying sometimes.

I actually tried going to shows without my camera, but I found I would feel very uncomfortable, and normally after the show I would be like “Fuck, I should’ve shot that show.” So normally I shoot every show I go to, unless there are special reasons like the venue charges a ridiculous amount of money just to bring in a camera, which is totally stupid and greedy in my opinion.

What do you otherwise like to do when you’re not going to shows?
Movies. I’m a film school graduate and it gets me excited that NYC has so much to offer in terms of movies. Especially places like the IFC Center, Lincoln Center and BAM [Brooklyn Academy of Music], which always come up with some of the best programs on indie, classic or even cult movies.

For those who haven’t had a chance to go there, what’s so special about Saint Vitus?
Saint Vitus Bar is a place for everyone who loves metal–you can’t really go wrong when you have a King Diamond portrait in the middle of the bar. They play all good songs in the bar, the drinks are very nice and don’t miss out on their buns!

And to me it feels like home. The people who work there know about the music, they are involved in the scene and most of them play in metal bands too. So they actually understand what is like being a metalhead. And they also book some of the best shows in Brooklyn. But don’t be an asshole and ruin other people’s good time, they will be total jerks to you if you do so. But just in general in life, DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE.

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What are some tunes you’ve been spinning recently?
2014 has been an awesome year in terms of new releases. I’ve been obsessed with the new Gridlink, Indian, Eyehategod, Coffinworm and Triptykon records. But I’ve been going back to SubRosa’s More Constant Than the Gods for the past week.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Be nice and respectful to all the videographers and photographers you see at any show.