Search results for 'call of the void':

Encrotchment With Eddie Gobbo From Jar’d Loose: Week 15

By: Eddie Gobbo Posted in: encrotchment, featured, nfl 2014 On: Thursday, December 18th, 2014

crotch

Please North Korea, threaten a terrorist attack over ALL Seth Rogen and James Franco movies from now on.

Vat on the Pats

This past week, the inevitable happened: The New England Patriots claimed their sixth straight AFC East title, and are on the fast track (for the millionth time) to the playoffs, with a bye week, and probably home field, in Belichick’s hoodie pouch.

I’ll admit, I wanted to pick the Dolphins to win the AFC at the beginning of the season, but couldn’t. Honestly, I think the way the Pats are playing right now, they might be set for an even 10 straight AFC East titles before all is said and done with the Brady era.

But ENOUGH with the division titles already! It’s time for New England to win a Super Bowl for the first time since 2005. Everything is working in their favor this year. The entire AFC should look easily beatable through New England’s heart-shaped glasses. Now it’s up to them.

This week, I picked the brain of Nick Thornbury, guitarist of New Hampshire-based Vattnet Viskar, to get his opinion on this seemingly Super Bowl-or-bust playoff run the Pats are about to embark on. Thornbury admits that there’s a growing frustration with the Pats not pulling down a title in a decade.

“So, get this: out of the four major teams in Boston, the Pats have actually gone the longest without winning a championship now. How fucked up is that? It’s not frustration as much as worry, I’d say. Everyone is aware that Brady’s time is coming to a close, and who knows what happens then? For a team that usually plays so well, there probably should be/have been a couple more championships here. I just try not to think about those Super Bowl games against the Giants.”

Well, the Pats don’t have to worry about the Giants this year. But there’s a bunch of usual suspects, new and old, that they’re certain to have run-ins with by the time they get to Arizona.

“As much as I hate to admit it, I’d have to say [we have to look out for] Denver. Just knowing that the Pats destroyed them in the regular season doesn’t give me total confidence. Seeing as all it would take is Peyton having a big day, and a couple of big mistakes from the Pats to send them to the golf course, probably crying, I’d like to avoid that possibility for sure. I hate Peyton as much as any self-respecting New England fan, but it’s stupid to overlook him.”

I’ve been very vocal in this column over the past few months saying that the Pats NEED to look out for the Colts in the playoffs this year. I LOVE the way Andrew Luck is playing, and the Colts are having a quiet season made for spoiler teams, especially since they’ve lost two straight to New England. I expressed this concern to Nick:

“I’m not really [worried about the Colts], honestly. Luck is great, and I think Indy is definitely on the right track with their team. But this is when I think the experience, or resolve, or whatever you’d like to call it, of the Pats really would pay off. Of course, they did lose to suck-bag Joe Flacco a couple of years ago, so I could definitely end up eating my words.”

If you follow the Sports Illustrated Power Rankings as closely as I do, you’d find that the Pats are atop the league this week. Arguably, they are the most well-rounded team in the NFL right now: great coaching, an MVP-caliber QB that can win in a shootout if necessary, good defense and good special teams, and arguably the best position player in the league, tight end Rob Gronkowski. Nick argues that the potential weakness of the team is the offensive line.

“We’re pretty well-rounded, finally. Getting Revis on defense has been HUGE. He helped shore up that whole side of the ball. I’d have to say the offensive line [would be our weakness].  They can be pretty inconsistent at times, and when people start getting to Brady, it’s all downhill from there. The teams with really good pass rushers definitely worry me.”

Mark my words: watch out for a guy named DeMarcus Ware in the playoffs, Pats fans. Other than that, y’all might be golden to let Brady do his thing, which as we all know is win, and swear uncontrollably on the sidelines.

Bless Vattnet Viskar for this interview. They fucking rule! Check them out late January/erly February in the Midwest and on the East Coast as they come up to my neck of the woods to record their new album with my friend Sanford Parker (who’s not a football fan).

Thank You, Sir. May I Have Another?

Multiple reports are starting to come out saying that every time Andrew Luck gets sacked, he congratulates the guy who sacks him (there’s several audio clips of it going around now). Andrew Luck is seriously at this point one of the weirdest good players in the NFL. It’s almost like he is one of those kids who’s out-of-his-mind mentally disabled, but a genius at the same time. Like the guy in Cube.

A psychologist would probably look at Luck’s strategy as a form of reverse psychology. If you show a person trying to hurt you that what they’re doing doesn’t hurt, they will do the opposite to try and hurt you (which in this case would be NOT sacking you). Luck’s offensive line actually sucks. Just ask Trent Richardson why his production in Indy isn’t as good as it has been in Alabama and Cleveland. What camouflages the lackluster o-line is the fact that Luck arguably has the quickest release in football. Also, he may be the best quarterback on the scramble in the game. He’s having fun now, like a kid who likes getting hurt at a hardcore show. It’s making him feel alive. Once he blows out his knee from a hit and get shelved for a significant amount of time, he’ll be the guy who stands on the side of pits holding up his forearm to protect him from karate kicks.

Buc Fucked

I smell something very interesting coming down the pike in the NFC South these next two weeks that will have massive implications for the playoffs and the 2015 NFL draft.

As much as they don’t want you to believe, every team in the NFC South wants to make the playoffs. After this week’s destruction of the Chicago Bears, it would appear that New Orleans is the favorite to win the division. All the Saints have to do is win out and they’ll make the playoffs. They play Atlanta this week at home, which I’m fairly certain they will win, and end Atlanta’s playoff chances (and rightfully so). Carolina, however, has Cleveland at home this week. Can Johnny Manziel go on the road and lead a Browns team to a win in a hostile environment smelling the playoffs? I don’t think so.

So, it comes down to the last week of football, in which Carolina goes to Atlanta and the Saints go to Tampa. Carolina is going to smell blood and win this game, even though the Falcons will have everything to play for, and nothing to lose, in beating them. Then there’s the Tampa Bay Bucs. It will be like a Super Bowl for them in front of their home crowd.  Them beating the Saints will keep them out of the playoffs. And Tampa can do it. There’s a new regime in Tampa under Lovie Smith, which will surely be back for next season. They’d love to go into next season on a high note.

Here’s the rub: Said regime also doesn’t have a legit quarterback entering 2015. Playing hard and gnawing out a win to spite the Saints will also likely cost Tampa Bay the number one pick in the draft. Even if they fall down to number two, they will not have their chance to get the ever-coveted Marcus Mariota out of Oregon. They’d have to settle for the equally talented, but discipline problem, Jameis Winston out of Florida State. There is some validity in the Bucs drafting Winston, because of the close proximity to where he played college ball and the fans that will follow him over. But that said, Mariota is the closest thing scouts have labeled as the total package since Andrew Luck was drafted out of Stanford. The Bucs also know that Mariota would be their starting quarterback and team leader come week one of next season. With a division as spotty as the NFC South, they literally could go from a two-win team to a division winner next year.

The Bucs sit with the number one draft pick for the next two weeks, as they are likely to get pummeled by the Packers in Green Bay this weekend. But that final week, we will see if pride takes over, or intelligence wins out.

My advice to Lovie Smith’s Bucs is the same that Marcellus Wallace gave Butch Coolidge: Fuck pride! It only hurts.

Tailgating: Emphasis on Tail

And finally this week, the finest in Detroit Lions pregaming…

butt

(Photo by Terry Richardson)

Pick of the Week

Oakland +5 1/5 over Buffalo

Ex-DEP Jeff Tuttle: Onward and Upward

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, December 12th, 2014

MKband

Some of us recognize Jeff Tuttle as a recent guitarist with the Dillinger Escape Plan, where he tore ears and brain matter from 2007 until 2012.  Jeff has also been active as a filmmaker (see his new-ish video for a new Child Bite song here) as he continues his musical pursuits in Old Gods and Malo Konjche.  He has launched a killer website that unifies his work in multiple media, which you can check out here:  http://malokonjcheindustries.com/

Tuttle’s colorful rock entity Malo Konjche released a new 4-song EP this month, called Eudaimonia, the lead/title track of which you can check out right here at the Deciblog.  Nothing on the record gets too metal, but it’s all based on loud, noisy rock textured with keyboard accents and a punk edge.  Eudaimonia is a lot of fun to listen to, and at a bite-sized 13 minutes you can spin it a few times back-to-back in less time than it would take you to listen to half of one of our revered doom albums.  And find out what Jeff himself thinks of all of this by reading our interview with him (below the music player).

Enjoy!

Can you talk a little about how you first got involved in the various things you create (film, music, etc.)?

I can’t say for sure how I started down the artistic path. I suppose it’s all very metaphysical and those kinds of things just “spoke to me.” In a very pragmatic sense, I’m drawn toward the challenge of imagining something and actualizing it. If I have tune in my head, I love figuring out how to arrange it. If I envision a monster, I love figuring out the best way to film it. But in a deeper and more encompassing sense, I especially love the therapeutic outlet these mediums provide. Jeff Buckley and Cameron Crowe make excellent clinicians.

How do you go about making contacts for the professional film work you’ve done?

I strongly believe that good things happen to those who make them happen. Moreover, if you surround yourself with likeminded people and work to make something you believe in, you will continue meeting likeminded people. Making contacts is as easy as that. If you try, you may result in failure. But not trying at all only has one outcome. You are the only one stopping you. PMA, man. Get with it.

How would you characterize the time in your life that you were in the Dillinger Escape Plan?

My time in Dillinger was one of the most amazing rides I’ve ever embarked upon. I did so many things I never thought I do, I went to places I never thought I’d see and met so many people I idolized (and continue to idolize) as a kid. In the end, it was clear that it wouldn’t be the creative outlet I wanted it to be, but nonetheless a time I will never forget… mostly because my bones still hurt.

Would you say that, right now, you’re more focused on music or filmmaking?

I’d say I’m more focused on being creative and productive, in any fashion. I feel like studying film and filmmaking has drastically impacted me as a musician and lyricist. It’s been a whole new well of inspiration for me to draw from. And likewise, the deeper I dig into the depths of music, the more I see how these two mediums are connected. Making music videos has been the ultimate combination of my two favorite things in this world. What more could you ask for, besides pizza?

What impulse drives Malo Konjche’s music?

I feel there’s a musical void that lay somewhere between over-produced radio bullshit and under-produced garage rock. Where’s the happy medium? Where’s the huge radio rock with the DIY ethic? When you listen to the classics, most all of them not only lived in this void, they fucking reveled in it. Malo Konjche has a goal: to revel alongside the music we grew up with on a prime piece of real estate in that empty span of nothing.

Greber: Not Named After a Goalie

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, videos On: Thursday, December 11th, 2014

deciblog - greber live

I’d like to take this opportunity to nip something in the bud: Cambridge, Ontario’s Greber is in no way associated with, saluting, paying homage to, or actually even really aware of, former NHL goaltender Martin Gerber. The first indication should have been that the moniker as selected by the two-man sludge/doom monolith is spelt completely differently than the former Mighty Ducks/Senators/Maple Leafs/Hurricanes/Oilers netminder. Topping that off is the fact that the band has gone on record numerously saying their chosen handle is made up and means absolutely nothing.
Anyhow, Greber’s formation comes at the hand of friendship and geography. Bassist/vocalist Marc Bourgon and drummer/vocalist Steve Vargas are based in Cambridge, but play in Ottawa’s Fuck the Facts and Montreal’s The Great Sabatini, respectively (Vargas also plays in Biipiigwan, which is based at various points between eastern and northern Ontario). The two used to be in a band called Tugnut and amidst that band calling it quits and the long distance relationships with their other bands, the two joined forces to live out their fantasies of playing a ridiculously bottom-heavy racket in crusty rehearsal rooms and any shitty basement that’ll have ‘em. After a series of splits and EP’s, they’ve recently issued their debut full-length, Kiln Hardened Psalms via Handshake Inc./No Why/Sludge Hummer Records. Below, Bourgon introduces the band by answering some of my boring questions in his not-so-boring style.

deciblog - greber cover

Let’s get the introductory crap out of the way: hit me with some band history?
We were in a trio years ago and when that band ended we figured it would be fun to keep on playing music together. We’re good friends and just needed an excuse to hang out. Seems legit right?

Since this is your first time on the Deciblog and given the millions of bands out there these days, what do you feel has Greber standing apart from those millions? Why should a dude think twice about spending his beard shampoo money on a Greber record or gig?
Depends on the beard shampoo, I suppose. We are doing something that NO ONE has EVER done before. Just bass and drums you ask? That’s right! Name one band off the top of your head that has only bass and drums. Didn’t think so. Our past musical endeavour was pretty far out so coming off of that, we were just out to make some heavy shit that makes you laugh at how ridiculously crushing it is. Hopefully we succeed, but if not, it’s a great release for the both of us and it’s something that we’ll continue to pursue. If you decided to grow a beard, which shampoo would you use? Damn dude, you could be the next Frank and Oak model on the Lambgoat ads! (I’m serious, let’s talk)

Were there ever any initial reservations about limitations or restrictions in deciding to a two-piece band? What have you found to be the more salient pros and cons of Greber vs. Fuck the Facts/The Great Sabatini?
It’s a different beast entirely. A ton of time and scrutinization goes into what we do seeing as we only have one melodic instrument and to be honest, we’re still figuring it out. With only having two members it’s easier to decide on something during the writing process, but at the same time, having only one other person to bounce your ideas off of is a limitation as well. With FtF, everyone’s opinion gets factored in which takes a lot longer, but in the end the songs are something that not one of us every pictured. It’s pretty sweet. So, I guess the pro IS the con, if that makes any sense. The songs we write take less time to finish but they undergo less of a transformation. Oh shit, and loading gear. That’s fun with just the two of us.

On a related note, with your being separated from your other bands/band members by geography, aside from the obvious ability to spend more face-to-face time in Greber, what does this band offer to you that you other bands don’t? Was there a particular “a-ha” moment when you realised you were on to something with Greber?
I think that we have practice with Greber as much as we practice with Fuck the Facts/The Great Sabatini, respectively. We’re always pretty busy practicing for our other bands and it’s usually only before shows/recording that we get to bang out the hits together.

The new album was pieced together over the course of a year or so, was it not? Walk us through the creative/writing/recording process, if you could be so kind.
It was actually pieced together over the span of four years. We suck. We wrote the songs over a few years, recorded the drums a few summers ago, and then finished with the bass/vocals/theremin/turntables this summer past. The next one won’t take as long hopefully. Manowar wrote and recorded Kings of Metal in under a year. Fucking gods right there.

When you look back on the creation of Kiln Hardened Psalms, what do you wish had more time to do/could have done differently/avoided/etc.?
Nothing. I’m stoked on how it came out. Wish it was done sooner but fuck it, it’s done now and I couldn’t be happier. Ask me in a few years when I think it sounds like shit and the songs are lame.

What’s the story behind the album’s title?
Just based on an old story between friends. Nothing too deep. A sort of trial by fire at the risk of sounding lame. Ahh shit, too late.

Is the CD really limited to 50 copies? Sure, creating demand is one thing and CD sales are down, I’ve been told, but that hardly seems like a financially swift plan. What gives?
Fuck it, we don’t want to be looking at the damn things for the next five years, so we figured do a limited run of them to bring on our east coast tour. We’ll have a butt ton of vinyl that we are releasing through No Why Records which is a new label run by our good friend Mark McGee. Should be available soon.

How difficult is juggling the recording and touring schedules of Greber and your other bands and the rest of your life when, at best, your musical endeavours are breaking even?
It’s definitely tough, but that’s the gig. Is it worth the cost of travel, lost time from work, eating plane ticket costs etc.? Absolutely! I suppose if I can find a legit job that I enjoy doing as much as this music bullshit I would do it in a heartbeat. But as of right now, KNOUPE. People will always tell you how hard it is to do this underground band thing and they’re right. That being said the rewards outweigh the bowls of shit you eat to get them so I guess that makes it just about even.

What’s been your sketchiest tour experience of the last calendar year?
When I was in Mexico with FtF some huge skinhead dude was trying to get me to show him my passport. He looked like Bane with a sloped forehead. Nothing came if it and that was pretty much it. Tough life, eh? I think I saw Bill from The Acheron there handing out flyers. I might have been drunk. Hey Bill, did that happen?

What does the new year hold for Greber?
We’ve already got most of a new album written and we are going to be recording some new material for a split with Anthesis (who I would recommend checking out). When all that will be out, I do not know. Steve is expecting his first kid in January as well as heading out to Europe with The Great Sabatini in the spring and FtF will be busy with exotic high-roller touring plans and getting our new full-length out so Greber might not be doing all too much. We’ll see, maybe I’ll grow another arm.

Order shit here
Watch some beer-soaked shenanigans:

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Encrotchment With Eddie Gobbo From Jar’d Loose: Week 14

By: Eddie Gobbo Posted in: encrotchment, featured, nfl 2014 On: Thursday, December 11th, 2014

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Darth Raider

Welp, Raiders fans: I hate to say it, but I think I’m going to be retiring Oakland Raiders talk for the rest of the season. With three weeks left, and teams fighting for their playoff lives, I don’t see how a two-win team could be worth mentioning. That said,  I’m going for one last dip in to the Black Hole this week. What better man to lead me in one last time than heavy metal legend Scott Kelly?

If you don’t know who Kelly is, I don’t know why you’re reading Decibel. He and his band Neurosis are probably one of the main reasons this publication exists. Neurosis are one of the most influential bands in underground heavy music. The John Madden of metal, if you will. I caught up with Scott on tour with his new supergroup, Corrections House. He was still riding the high of the big Raider win over the San Francisco 49ers the day before, which Scott explains is as big a win as Raiders fans could have hoped for.

“Beating San Francisco this week was everything [for the Raiders] besides getting a chance to keep San Diego or Kansas City out of the playoffs. This could actually fuck San Francisco’s year. We’ll see how it shakes out”

I immediately jumped on Scott about Jim Harbaugh potentially taking the Raiders coaching job this offseason.

“I don’t know. I’m kind of on the fence about it, seeing how his team has declined this season. You start to wonder if what they say about him is true: that he’s got this really small window period of winning before he starts wearing people out. San Francisco looked like shit, and they shouldn’t have. They have a lot of great players. There’s no way we should have beat them yesterday, but we beat them pretty soundly. Our rookie quarterback carved them up. I’m actually still in shock over it.”

It’s so odd that the Raiders could have willed such a huge win this week when the prior week they got blown out 52-0 by the St. Louis Rams. Scott actually brought an interesting explanation for that one-sided loss to the table:

“Given the cultural situation of what was going on in St. Louis that particular week, it makes sense. I played football for seven years. I know what football is like. If you come out and you are really focused, you can kick the shit out of a team up and down the field in all facets. I do think the Rams are better than us, but they’re not 52-0 better than us.

I probed deeper about Kelly’s football history.

“It’s a really emotional game. Momentum is everything. My last two years of Pop Warner, I was on an undefeated team. We’d just go on these rolls. Sometimes we’d win big. Other times we’d be down, and something would happen: a hit, a turnover, or the other team would just start collapsing from the pressure. You’d feel the tide turn. Just as clear as I could feel music now, I learned how to feel the tide turn in a football game.”

Probing deeper into Kelly’s football upbringing, I quickly found out that he actually was born and raised in my hometown, Chicago, and gravitated towards the Oakland Raiders organically before, ironically enough, setting up shop in Oakland years later:

“I was actually a Bears fan first. And then I fell in love with the Raiders in Super Bowl 1977. I saw them. I was 10 years old, and I was like, ‘Fuck, man.’ It was like one of those weird moments, like the first time I heard Black Sabbath. Then strangely, my life led me to Oakland, which is odd.”

Multiple times, I’ve seen Scott Kelly rock an Oakland Raiders jersey on stage while performing live, which I always thought was super cool, especially since late guitarist Slayer Jeff Hanneman used to do the same.

“What it really had to do with was practicality. If you’re on tour and you’re in a van, you can rinse a jersey and dry it easily between shows. I liked that. The next logical thing was to get a Raiders jersey, because I’m a Raiders fan.  Somebody else pointed out the Slayer connection somewhere down the line, which I thought was pretty cool. Hanneman always wore it with pride, like me.”

It was a blast talking to a legend like Scott Kelly, picking his brain about a sport we obviously both love, and hearing about the time he smoked weed with GWAR and Raider tight end Todd Christensen (but that’s something you’ll have to ask him when you run in to him on your own time).

Check out Corrections’ House new cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” here, and catch them on tour in the U.S. now!

Birdshit (Cindy Lauper Edition)

Philly lost to Seattle in a great matchup this past Sunday, and I noticed a few things about these great clubs.For one, Eagles coach Chip Kelly is getting bummed because he can’t get off as many plays per game as he’d like to, even though his team runs about 60 per game already. In order for a play to get snapped, the game’s refs needs to fully set and line up. Frankly, their fat asses aren’t getting to the line of scrimmage quick enough to start the play. I caught Kelly chewing out a few refs last week for not lining up quick enough.

I love the Eagles to win the division, and possibly even get the second bye behind the Packers. From there, it’s hard for me to think that they won’t get upset by a scrappy team in the playoffs. Their unique style of football is still in the incubation stages. I also question whether Foles or Sanchez is the right QB to run said offense. What about getting RG3 cheap this off-season and working him in the mix?

As for the Seahawks, their defense is booming right now. They haven’t allowed a touchdown since Nov 16, which is pretty staggering considering they’ve played the Eagles, 49ers and Cardinals in that stretch. Another thing is their quarterback is back to being the smartest player in the league again. Russell Wilson knows his defense is clicking on all cylinders now. They will subdue the other teams’ offenses to the point where literally Wilson just has to not make mistakes and they will win.

For example, Wilson threw the ball away to avoid a sack upwards of a dozen times this past Sunday. Throwing the ball away to avoid a loss is one of the smartest plays a QB can make. Plus, Wilson knows how to do it with receivers in the area, so intentional grounding penalties aren’t called on him.

I made it pretty clear last week that Seattle is about to go 3-1, if not win out to close the season. Huge win for Seattle, resulting in them now owning a tiebreaker over Philly.

Cut the Fat/Return of the Mac

I don’t care what anybody says: New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is the most overrated coordinator in the NFL. He actually has decent personnel on his defense. Yet every week they struggle.  They are currently the 31st-ranked defense in the NFL. It’s also super annoying when they actually have a defensive stand and Ryan goes crazy, like his great football mind willed it. I can’t even begin to tell you how insanely horrible their defense looked in the most important game of the season this past week against Carolina, losing 41-10 (giving up 17 points in the first quarter). When Rex Ryan became a head coach five years ago, the league was looking to fast-track Rob Ryan into the head coaching mix. Not now. He will be fired at the end of this season, and be on the fast track to being a singer in a Bob Seger tribute band.

The best coordinator in football, as much as people don’t like to admit it, is New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Props to McDaniels for being run out of Denver in 2010, after trading away Jay Cutler, Tebow, and other messes. McDaniels is only 38 years old. He is maybe an offseason away from another head coaching try, and this time it’ll be permanent. I think he’ll be a great fit in San Francisco. McDaniels is going to be a MONSTER head coach one day.

http://youtu.be/uB1D9wWxd2w

Something’ Fishy This Way Cums

Did anyone notice something weird in the Rams/Redskins game this past week during the coin toss? My ex-roommate Mike Buha emailed me that Jeff Fisher sent out the six players the Rams acquired and drafted in the RG3 trade a couple years back to to take the opening coin toss. Total dick move by Fish. However, does anyone else think this is badass?

Rams: keep this guy. He’s out of his mind, and has the kind of George Costanza insanity that could lead you to greatness.

The Rams are literally one player away from being a top five team in football next year. The only problem is that one player is the hardest position to fill in all of sports. You guessed it: tailback.

Vikings Fan Kills Himself, Can’t Stand to See Blair Walsh Attempt Game-Winning Field Goal (Video NSFW)

And finally this week…

Pick of the Week

Buffalo +4 vs. Green Bay

Horrendous interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, December 8th, 2014

horrendous_deathmetal_decibel_2014

** 2014, the Year of the Horse. 2014, the Year of Horrendous. While Horrendous’ previous full-length, The Chills, sent death metallers back to the grave (whatever that means), new album Ecdysis made the stateside trio a household name (admittedly small number) and a contender for top spots on Year End lists. Trust us, the word on the street (and in Decibel) is real. Like death. Ecdysis is death metal reborn!

The definition of Horrendous is “extremely unpleasant, horrifying, or terrible”. Would you call the music of Horrendous “extremely unpleasant, horrifying, or terrible”?
Horrendous: Hmm…generally, no, at least I sure hope our music is not terrible. However, there are certainly times when we aim to evoke a horrifying atmosphere with our music. We just thought it would be a cool band name, and “Morbid Angel” was taken, so we went with the next best thing.

How would you describe making music at this stage in the band’s lifespan? Easy, hard, rewarding, annoyingly necessary?
Horrendous: I would say it is a very rewarding experience. Though it is a long and arduous process, I think the three of us are at a place where we all feel that we are indispensable to the writing process and that our creative input is valued. With this type of relationship, the three of us are able to musically synch-up and avoid the ego boundaries that can sometimes plague group songwriting. With these boundaries erased, we are free to experiment musically and express our creative energies through what we are writing. These moments are the best aspect of songwriting for me—getting lost in our work and letting the music take us places we didn’t know existed.

How would you compare Ecdysis to The Chills?
Horrendous: Overall, I’d say Ecdysis is more varied, diverse, and complex. It embraces a more vast array of influences than its predecessor, but I feel you would probably need to look at the album as a whole, not just individually by song, to really notice that. It’s more complex; we packed in more riffs, made the bass even crazier, and the drums are undeniably more intricate. There’s probably even more leads, as well. We really obsessed over every note, every drum hit, etc. during the recording process. Overall though, I think we retained our signature sound. This is not a different band or anything like that.

Do you worry about how people will perceive your “maturity” on Ecdysis?
Horrendous: I like that you put ‘maturity’ in quotations here. To me, Ecdysis is more mature than The Chills in terms of songwriting, structure, complexity and creativity—not because of any perceived shift in style that the band experienced. I think a good deal of people mistakenly equate maturity with adding melody or creating more palatable, textured (read, ‘sophisticated’) music when this is not always true. I view our maturity solely through the lens of how much we have grown and developed our sound as a band, not by abandoning a particular style or subsuming another. In this sense, I think we still have room for a good deal of evolution in the future. Having said that, I do wonder how Ecdysis will be received. I know some fans will be disappointed that we didn’t create The Chills part 2, but I also think that a lot of people were ready for something else after so many years of revivalist bands. Ecdysis may be a ‘grower’ for some people, and I think it may take them a little time to get over the initial shock of not having their expectations met before they can digest the album.

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but everything from ’89 – ’94 is classic lately. Even if it was terrible in ’89 – ’94, it’s considered gold. Like the Cancer records or the lone Sororicide record. Terrible records, by and large, yet considered cult classics.
Horrendous: This is an interesting point that I never really thought about; probably because I didn’t experience the original death metal movement until at least a decade after it occurred. There’s definitely an element of rarity, and people wanting what they can’t have or easily find. Whether or not that ties in with the modern digital age/culture where people can basically have access to whatever they want whenever they want or not is up for debate. There’s sort of something mysterious and compelling about discovering a movement after it happened, and slowly discovering just how many bands were part of the style. Like, what other bands am I yet to discover, and yet all of this occurred 20 or more years ago? It’s like a little time capsule. Combine all these facts, and there’s an intangible element of mystery and allure surrounding the whole thing.

There’s a lot of adventurous stuff on Ecdysis. Was there a turning point musically where you felt, “This feels and sounds good. Let’s roll with it!”?
Horrendous: I think the musical turning point had more to do with our personal evolution as musicians and music listeners than anything else—we never set out to write songs that were meant to adhere to a particular sound or style, and other influences slowly creeped into our work. Another dimension of our songwriting is related to our abilities as songwriters during any given time frame. We are always pushing ourselves and a good deal of our progression comes from being able to play either more technical or compositionally complex/informed music. Increased skill and creativity leads to increased experimentation, and that leads to more adventurous songs. What I mean here is that The Chills, for example, is not less adventurous (compared to Ecdysis) due to a decision to keep the album purely old school; the realm of adventure/progression we tapped into on Ecdysis simply wasn’t in our collective musical consciousness at that time of The Chills.

Where do you think Horrendous will go from here musically? I know you guys have different influences.
Horrendous: Believe it or not, the three of us already started writing new material for the next album. I can’t say for certain where we will be going musically, but if that writing session is any indication, we will probably be taking what we did on Ecdysis a step further for the next album—not necessarily in terms of progressing (I promise LP3 won’t be an avant-garde jazz record or anything) but clarifying our sound and making everything sharper, bigger and better.

Where’d the cover come from? Reminds me of a more literal Zdzislaw Beksinski piece.
Horrendous: The cover is a result of us working with Brian Smith. I discovered Brian pretty much by fluke one day while researching art and artists. So we can thank the ever-changing Google search algorithms for altering the course of history in this regard. But yeah, I took a look at his work and just loved his style, so we contacted him and asked if he would like to make us an album cover. We gave him some general ideas of what we wanted, and brainstormed together, and then he let it rip.

The title, Ecdysis, isn’t exactly easy to pronounce. Americans in particular will have trouble with this one. What the hell does it mean and how does it relate to Horrendous’ music?
Horrendous: [Laughs] It’s really not that hard, but yes I’m sure 50 percent of people will pronounce it incorrectly, and 90 percent of people will have to look it up. Ecdysis is a word that refers to transformation and growth, or the shedding of layers/skin/form. It’s a metaphor that relates to the album by way of the lyrical content, as well as the album art. It could also be applied to our music in the sense that the concept of Ecdysis concerns a natural process of progression and maturation. Not that we “shed” any aspects of our pre-Ecdysis sound, but that we are growing into our own sound.

Lyrically, where are you taking Horrendous? By the song titles and the cover, it’s not all fun and games, right?
Horrendous: Definitely not fun and games. [Laughs] Honestly, it saddens me to see a lot of bands making a mockery of the metal genre, or acting as some type of metal parody. I don’t really get that—in some ways when I see these bands it makes me think that they missed the point when they listened to the genre, though maybe I am just taking it too seriously. I know time and cultural evolution can make things from the past seem cheesy, but I doubt that metal bands playing during the ‘classic’ period were in any way joking about it. That being said, our lyrics reflect this philosophy on metal. For the most part, we try our best to say something worthwhile in our songs and use the music to explore topics that we find meaningful. That is not to say that we don’t have homages to tried and true metal topics (songs on The Chills like “The Ritual” and “Monarch” from the new record, for example), but we never let these songs fall into parody. As far as the lyrics on Ecdysis are concerned, most of the songs focus on both identifying and transcending aspects of society that we see as detrimental to the human experience. Some songs are more literal in their indictments of particular institutions or trends of behavior, while others are meant (both musically and lyrically) to conjure the experience of living in a world that is frequently hostile, chaotic and illogical. In this sense, I think the music on the record compliments the lyrical themes—the music explores the psychological turmoil of living in the world that I described, and is in many ways a tangible expression of the resulting existential crisis. Some corners of the album certainly have pockets of hope for transcending these issues, but the lyrics, music and album art show that the process of change will be a painful one.

OK, Horrendous think differently. You had a yellow shirt with your logo on it. Really, do you not understand?
Horrendous: Yeah, I guess we like to be a bit different. What’s the point of only retreading old paths? It’s fine to be into a particular style/niche, but it’s also cool to branch out a bit. We were pretty keen on having the second press of our demo tape be on pink cassettes, for example. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. Anyway, yellow shirts aren’t completely unheard of, but they’re pretty rare, and we thought it would be a cool, limited edition type of shirt. They’re pretty popular though, so maybe we’ll keep them around longer than we had initially intended. Metal can often be a sort of conservative scene, but sometimes novelty pays off.

What do you make of the reaction to the songs premiered so far? People seem excited.
Horrendous: Yeah, so far the vast majority of people seem pretty impressed and are pumped to hear the album. That’s a great thing. Of course, some people don’t like the songs, and that’s OK. It would be great to please everyone, but that is impossible regardless of what songs we write. We can’t wait for everyone to hear the album in its entirety—we are so proud of the result. It does seem like a lot of people understand the songs so far and appreciate their complexity, which we are also very happy about.

** Horrendous’ new album, Ecdysis, is out now on Dark Descent Records. It’s available HERE in vinyl and CD formats. There’s no reason for any metalhead to miss out on Ecdysis. It’s stunningly good.

Sucker For Punishment: Grand and Morbid

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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Anguish, Mountain (Dark Descent): What I get most out of the second full-length by the Swedish doom band, aside from the lovably goofy cover and the simple yet enjoyable music therein, is just how well vocalist J. Dee enunciates. It’s a lost art, especially in extreme metal, and even though the lyrics are your usual mystical gobbledygook, it’s nice to understand a harsh vocalist for once.

Bloodbath, Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville): I used to always wonder why so many people got so excited for Bloodbath when founding members Anders Nystrom and Jonas Renkse created infinitely better music when working under the Katatonia banner. Granted, comparing the sleek, melancholy gothic doom of Katatonia to the ferocious Swedish death metal of Bloodbath is like comparing apples and oranges, but from my own perspective, why get excited for cheap PBR when you have a classy Trappist beer as an option? But you know what? Sometimes PBR goes down beautifully and can scratch an itch that a Trappist just can’t reach, and compared to present-day Katatonia, which seems lost in its increasingly mellow musical direction, the simplicity of Bloodbath hits the spot in 2014. A lot of the credit goes to Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost, who assumes the role previously held by Mikael Åkerfeldt, and shines as the new frontman, charismatically delivering some phenomenal death growls atop some typically raging and rampaging arrangements. In the end, it’s the songwriting of this supergroup that makes this album such a blast, striking a fine balance between hookiness and brutality that only the old masters of the sound can pull off.

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, Black Power Flower (Napalm): What is it about Brant Bjork’s albums that make them so much more likeable than anything by his former Kyuss bandmates? The total lack of pretension? The faithful adherence to that classic desert rock sound? The celebration of musical simplicity? Either way, his solo efforts are always a great pleasure, and this new project – I have no clue who is in the Low Desert Punk Band – is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who was underwhelmed by that Vista Chino record last year. Anyone who can write a song called “Boogie Woogie on Your Brain” and pull it off convincingly is all right by me.

Burial Hex, The Hierophant (Handmade Birds): The latest by multi-instrumentalist Clay Ruby is a typically spellbinding collection of brooding pieces, this time an eerie yet flat-out beautiful amalgamation of gothic post-punk, krautrock, and dark ambient, experimental in nature yet always rooted in structure, or at least just enough to challenge but never alienate the listener. It might not qualify as “metal” by metal’s traditional standards, but it achieves its grandiose power through extremity nevertheless, and the way it conveys sorrow, anguish, and devastation will appeal to anyone interested in extreme/experimental music in all forms. Purchase the album here.

The Deathtrip, Deep Drone Master (Svart): The new project featuring Aldrahn from Dødheimsgard and Zyklon B boasts that it’s derived from the same avant-garde   minimalist black metal as Thorns – this album was mixed by Snorre Ruch, too – and while that is indeed the case, in no way does it measure up to the work of that band, nor that of Dødheimsgard either. There are some moments that grab you, namely the ones that ditch the speed for simpler, mid-paced tempos, which allow room for Aldrahn’s tremendous vocal inflections, but too much of this album sags to warrant a full recommendation.

Dire Omen, Wrestling the Revelation of Futility (Dark Descent): Rote black/death metal by this Canadian band, stifled by terrible production and made pointless by unimaginative riffs and the usual incomprehensible, gurgling vocals. There’s nothing wrong with being incomprehensible if there’s personality in the music, but that just isn’t happening here at all.

In This Moment, Black Widow (Atlantic): Kudos to this band for capitalizing on a formula that – bafflingly – sells, but the cold hard fact remains that In This Moment’s continuing pandering to the lowest common denominator is one of the saddest things I’ve seen in this business. They used to be a good little band, and although this awful music charts well, it’s all such a waste of their talent.

Monster Magnet, Milking The Stars (Napalm): This is actually a very clever idea by Dave Wyndorf and his band, as they’ve taken the very good 2013 album Last Patrol and completely lre-imagined it all, tweaking songs here and there, adding some new ones, and tossing in a few live tracks as well. This time around the ‘60s psychedelic angle is played to the hilt, which adds a fresh new dimension to the material. This is one rare case where the tired re-recorded album gimmick has yielded something creative and vibrant. Fans of the band, and psychedelic rock for that matter, will love this.

Old Man Gloom, The Ape of God (Profound Lore): There’s been a lot of capital-D dumb in 2014, from sun wheels, to accidental overdoses, to 11 friggin’ grams of meth (get well, Wino!), and for a few minutes the stunt Old Man Gloom pulled with regards to the advance review version of the new album The Ape of God felt like the proverbial last straw. I’d been thoroughly digging what I was hearing, but when the band revealed that the promo was merely a fake in order to hoodwink writers and weed out leakers, I didn’t appreciate being jerked around and having my precious time wasted by a bunch of smug musicians who think they’re being funny. Besides, Profound Lore uses Haulix, nearly all metal labels use Haulix, and with that promo platform a band or label can easily track down the person responsible for an album leak. The “fake promo” idea might have been clever a decade ago, but not in 2014.

In actuality, The Ape of God, even more confusingly, is two separate albums of the same name, and the only way to tell the two apart is by the back cover art and the gatefold color schemes, one yellow, one green. And when all is said and done, in the end these boys, led by Isis/Hydra Head honcho Aaron Turner, have done a great thing in providing not one, but two quality exercises in the noisier, more dissonant side of sludge metal. The yellow Ape of God I – as iTunes categorizes it – is the more direct of the two, and the most immediately appealing, as tracks like “Fist of Fury” and “The Lash” focus more on aggression and speed. Meanwhile, the green Ape of God II is much slower paced, consisting of only four tracks, three going well past the ten-minute mark, and ultimately it’s this album that’s the most rewarding as the band tinkers with dynamics a lot more, employing even more drones and feedback to offset the moments of crusty, distorted fury. “A Hideous Nightmare Lie Upon the World” has a tremendous Harvey Milk feel to it, benefitting immensely from Kurt Ballou’s trademark tone. As for that “fake” version, it’s merely The Ape of God in edited form, featuring some complete tracks, some excerpts, and perhaps a couple alternate versions, and actually gives critics a very good idea of what these two records are all about. But trust me, the real thing is totally worth your time. Check out both via Bandcamp: Volume I is here, and Volume II is here.

Owl, The Last Walk (Zeitgeister): I was fascinated by Owl’s Into the Absolute, which came out back in May, and now the German band has retuned with another EP, this time in the form of a single 25-minute composition. Like the previous release, the unpredictability of the music is half the fun, this time veering between ambient drone and melancholic, early-‘90s British gothic doom, all done with admirable skill.

Satan, Trail of Fire: Live in North America (Listenable): This live document of Satan’s triumphant return in 2013 is energetic enough, and the band’s classic NWOBHM material remains fantastic, but the sound quality is terrible for a live album. You can hear better audio on YouTube video clips.

Sonata Arctica, Ecliptica Revisited: 15th Anniversary Edition (Nuclear Blast): This re-recording of Sonata Arctica’s classic debut album would be utterly pointless if it didn’t sound so damn good. The boys revisited their old material for fun, and prove they can still pull it off brilliantly. It’s not an essential album, but a neat little exercise, so good for them for rediscovering that classic sound their fans love so much.

Soulburn, The Suffocating Darkness (Century Media): Created by a couple of former members of Asphyx, Soulburn tosses in a strong black metal element into the death/doom hybrid folks might expect. It’s clear the guys are going for somethnig more along the Bathory/Celtic Frost vein, but despite sporadically coming up with engaging moments, there’s little here that even comes close to even stand in the shadow of those two formidable bands. It’s not bad, but not special, either.

Thanatos, Global Purification (Century Media): The Greek deathy-thrashers (or thrashy-deathers?) are back with their first new album in five years, and it’s exactly how you’d expect a thrash album with death inclinations to sound. Why do these bands even bother? Don’t you want to sound unique? Do you have any personality to put into your music?

Threshold, For The Journey (Nuclear Blast): My main complaint with Threshold is always that the UK prog band’s music can feel a little sterile after a while, but there’s something about this tenth album that connects a lot more than 2012’s painfully long March of Progress ever did. The melodies feel warmer, the running time is much more tolerable, and songs like “Watchtower on the Moon” and “The Box” work in their nerdily proggy way, Damian Wilson’s singing sounding arch yet soulful at the same time.

While Heaven Wept, Suspended At Aphelion (Nuclear Blast): The criminally underrated Virginia band doesn’t attract the kind of American press it deserves primarily because the music they play is so unrepentantly nerdy, too nerdy for many Stateside tastemakers. But for those with a serious jones for some European flair, some prog/power flamboyance in their doom metal, you can’t go wrong with this fifth album. Moving gracefully from piano balladry, to some gliding Sonata Arctica-style speed metal, to the mournful melodic doom they’ve excelled at from the get-go, it skillfully avoids both schmaltz and overindulgence, always knowing when to say when, a surprisingly classy record.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

For Those About to Squawk: Waldo’s Pecks of the Week

By: admin Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, November 7th, 2014

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So much not thrilling going on this week. I dunno, maybe my beak is sore from all of this typing, I have a (ahem) hunt-and-peck approach to typing, you know…

BLOODBATH are releasing Grand Morbid Funeral; get your HM-2 pedals a-ready for the stompin’. It harkens back to the so-called glory days of early death metal, in this case the more Swedish/Sunlight Sound era. This record doesn’t feature Opeth frontman Mikael Akerfeldt, and offers Nick Holmes from Paradise Lost on vocals instead. Aside from this (can you tell I had no transition there?), the band really has lost no steam since 2008’s The Fathomless Mastery. But we’re not here for all of that, are we? GMF is just, well, really old-school, Bloodbath is more or less a project really allows the band to experiment a little, and they don’t, but sticking to a formula in this case isn’t a bad thing. That being said, Bloodbath don’t follow a blueprint necessarily, as it can’t be said that this sounds like their previous releases. This is “heavy, organic, raw, sludgy death metal,” says their press release, and it doesn’t miss the mark. The songs here are pretty well-crafted, and I gotta say, although I’m not the HUGEST Bloodbath fan, this is pretty ripping and I’m pecking digging it. 7 Fucking Pecks.

OLD MAN GLOOM are putting out Ape of God, but all of the promos that have been going around have been proven to be false to avoid leaks, so I’m not sure what to review, so I’ll just post this.

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Dr. Zaius is an “Ape of God.” Get it?

SSS come at us with Limp.Gasp.Collapse, and while I’m normally a fan of these guys, I’m having a hard time finding this one in my ear holes all of the time. This crossover act has short bursts of speed mixed in with the occasional mosh riffs. This is normally right in my cage (wheelhouse); I just find this one a little trite. The vocals seem off (energy-wise) and the guitars don’t really have enough bite. You know when thrash bands get to like their third or fourth record, and the record isn’t bad, but just like a little stale? It sounds like that. The riffs are good, but I think the production lends to a bit of sterility that I wish wasn’t here. Not to say that this sucks, because it doesn’t; just wish the production lended to having more life. 4 Fucking Pecks.

VENGEANCE RISING, Released Upon the Earth reissue. UGH. (Formerly) Christian “grindcore.” Grindcore being a VERY loose term here. FURTHER proof you can be old-school and STILL suck. 1 Fucking Peck.

Sucker For Punishment: Blackest of Times

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

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The year is starting to wind down, but a smattering of noteworthy new metal releases are still trickling in over the next month, including a couple this week. Read on!

Apostle of Solitude, Of Woe and Wounds (Cruz del Sur): More people should be getting excited for the first new Apostle of Solitude album since 2010, but it seems to have arrived with barely a whimper. Was the promotion not as on the ball as it should have been? Is the wonderful traditionalist label Cruz Del Sur not cool enough for the Brooklyn crowd? Either way, if you skip this record by the Indiana band, you’ll be missing out on one of the better doom albums of the year. What makes these guys so good is the inspired use of melody. They boast an outstanding singer in Chuck Brown and his talents are not wasted one bit, the vocal melodies big and bright, adding vivid color to a genre that tends to lack a lot of good male singers. “Blackest of Times” and “Die Vicar Die” are perfect examples, as Brown, who bears a strong resemblance to Diamond Head’s Sean Harris, brings some welcome showmanship to the already enthralling doom arrangements.

Cavalera Conspiracy, Pandemonium (Napalm): The latest collaboration between Max and Iggor Cavalera finds the ex-Sepultura members exploring the more atonal side of extreme metal, adopting mechanical-sounding riffs and martial drum beats. If anything, it steps outside the complacent little niche Max had carved out for himself these last 20-odd years, but despite the strength of tracks like “Cramunhao” and “Apex Predator”, this thing quickly becomes far too overbearing for its own good, awash in noise and repetition.

Doombringer, The Grand Sabbath (Nuclear War Now!): Not only does this Polish band create the kind of death/black metal hybrid that positively reeks of death and horror and violence, but the songwriting is smart enough to tone down the extreme histrionics and let the music breathe and develop naturally, dynamically. It’s plenty punishing, but the way it incorporates theatricality and flamboyance into the music, whether it’s in a melodic flourish or garish chanted lead vocals, gives it so much more personality than your average extreme metal band. The end result is a debut full-length that feels fully formed yet brimming with potential for better things in the future. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Falls Of Rauros, Believe In No Coming Shore (Bindrune): The Maine band might still have a way to go before they can match the pagan black metal majesty of Agalloch, but this latest effort shows they’re well on their way. Mournful melodies contrast with anguished cries and arrangements that gracefully shift from rampaging paces to more contemplative passages. Best of all are the lead guitar solos, which shamelessly venture into hard rock territory, opting for expression and soul rather than shredding, making the music stick out even more, especially on “Spectral Eyes”, which is a keeper. This is definitely worth investigating. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Ladder Devils, Clean Hands (Brutal Panda): A huge, huge Drive Like Jehu/Shellac vibe runs through this entire new album by the Philly noise band, but at the same time the intensity of those aforementioned band is dialed down just enough to create a more brooding feeling. It’s all about the contrast between the introspective and the incendiary, and these guys pull it off in very impressive fashion. Chris Dick posted the album here yesterday, and I highly recommend you give it a listen.

Laster, De Verste Verte Is Hier (Broken Limbs): The more aggressive moments, which make up the bulk of this fine album by the Dutch band, are good examples of black metalat its most searing and atmospheric, but the longer it goes on, the more outside influences like neoclassical and gothic rock start to emerge as undoubted strengths. Concluding track “De Verste Verte is Hier” is a black metal/goth/post-punk hybrid on the level of Twilight, Nachtmystium, and Lurker of Chalice, enough to make you wish that, as strong as this record is, more of it had followed this direction.

Lordi, Scare Force (AFM): The Finnish GWAR clones are back with more of their lightweight, cartoonish heavy rock. Nothing has changed since they charmed their way into the hearts of millions back when they won Eurovision in 2006, but in this case that works against them, as this album mimics the excellent The Arockalypse but fails to equal the energy and goofy appeal of that record.

Piss Vortex, Piss Vortex (Indisciplinarian): The Danish band proves to be a lot better than their stupid band name implies, a decent sounding combination of unrelenting grindcore and experimental noise.

Psychostick, IV: Revenge Of The Vengeance (Self): Psychostick always cracks me up, and their live shows are a riot, but on record it’s always the same every time: a little goes a very long way. Some of this album’s better moments are parodies of Weird Al quality (nu-metal ballad “Blue Screen”, the loving ode “Bruce Campbell”), while others have fun being just plain stupid (“NSFW”, “Quack Kills”), but 21 tracks is far too long for a comedy album, and the cover of Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” falls flat.

The Skull, For Those Which Are Asleep (Tee Pee): So there are two different version of Trouble, but mercifully only one of them is using the name. There’s Trouble, led by founding guitarist Bruce Franklin, and then there’s The Skull, a Trouble-sounding band featuring three former members of Trouble, most notably singer Eric Wagner. While Franklin’s Trouble struggled to regain classic form on 2013’s The Distortion Field, The Skull feels so much more assured. Part of the credit goes to Wagner, whose distinctive voice adds mystique and soul to the classic doom sound, former Pentagram guitarist Matt Goldsborough steps up with some beautiful, fluid riffs and solos that churn and groove in a way that’ll immediately get longtime Trouble fans salivating (see “Send Judas Down”). Jeff Treppel premiered this fine album on Monday, and it’s one you should totally be hearing.

Spiders, Shake Electric (Spinefarm): I’m a longtime admirer of this Swedish band, who have skillfully avoided the oversaturation of the whole Scandinavian retro rock trend by bringing some actual personality to the music, creating something that leaves a lasting impression. The 2012 debut full length Flash Point was an excellent blend of Stooges-level heavy rock and Suzi Quatro sass, and not only does the new follow-up continue right where the last album left off, but it dials up the grit considerably. The guitar tone is filthier, and there’s far more attitude in Ann-Sofie Hoyles’ singing. Toss in some wicked hooks that would fit well on the first KISS album and some rambunctious, intense jams reminiscent of the MC5, and you’ve got an album that brings some much needed energy and belligerence to modern rock ‘n’ roll.

Not metal, but essential listening:

Bob Dylan, The Basement Tapes Complete / The Basement Tapes Raw (Columbia/Legacy): A nonconformist like no other in rock ‘n’ roll history, Bob Dylan, turned his back on popular culture during the peak of the psychedelic movement in 1967. While Sgt. Pepper captured the zeitgeist like no other record during that “Summer of Love”, Dylan and his old backing band The Hawks – soon to be renamed The Band – were holed up in a house in West Saugerties, New York, casually recording covers and new compositions, amassing a mythical body of work that would go on to be as influential as The Anthology of American Folk Music. Aside from a slickly retouched double album in 1975, the much-bootlegged The Basement Tapes never saw a proper release until this week, and the official product turns out to me totally worth the wait. Presented in two formats and featuring immaculately restored audio, both the six-CD Complete and the two-CD Raw are spectacular in different ways. Raw is a perfect replacement for the old 1975 release, wonderfully curated, featuring 38 of the best tracks from those sessions. Complete, meanwhile, is a Dylan fan’s dream, assembled chronologically, loaded with never-before-heard songs, allowing folks to hear this project take shape, from relaxed jams of country and blues standards to some of the most inventive work of Dylan’s storied career.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

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.