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Decibrity Playlist: Lazer/Wulf

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, August 21st, 2014

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Despite teases here and there, it’s now been five long years since the last Irepress record (yes, I realize this is a Lazer/Wulf playlist–I’ll get there next sentence, I promise). Given that the group is one of my favorite acts around, it’s high praise that stumbling upon Lazer/Wulf has helped satiate my craving for new material. Not only did the Georgia trio put out one of the most eclectic and interesting instrumental(ish) records you’ll hear this year with The Beast of Left and Right, but Phillip Cope, Laura Pleasants and Carl McGinley (aka Kylesa)–three folks whose musical tastes I respect–put the sucker out on their Retro Futurist Records. So when we hit up bassist Sean Peiffer and guitarist Bryan Aiken for some suggested essential listening, it didn’t come as a surprise that their picks were all over the place. Once you’re done perusing their selections, pick up a copy of Lazer/Wulf’s debut LP here.

Trans Am’s “Television Eyes” (from 1999′s Futureworld) ­
Bryan: Every day should begin with Trans Am, and often does for us. This groove practically raises the sun, dries your sheets and brushes your goddamn teeth for you. No argument can be made for synth-rock being super rad without invoking this band–these three dudes justify an entire genre. A lot of their early stuff slams and some of it is too ambient to be appropriate for this list, but “Television Eyes” is the dissonant compromise. It’s a gentle, caffeinated cloth across the forehead. Good morning.

The Fucking Champs’ “Esprit De Corpse” (from 2000′s IV) ­
Bryan: The Fucking Champs are fucking essential, both individually and as a group. And as their discography ages, it’s becoming more important to talk about. Nobody touches today what they did with only two guitars and a drum kit. Or three guitars and zero drums, if that’s what it took. Symphonic and major and intelligent, but with zero pretension. It’s like watching Drunk History: equally refined and sloshed. Every song is another harmonizing eagle triumphing across your brain cervix.

Mercyful Fate’s ­”A Dangerous Meeting” (from 1984′s Don’t Break The Oath
Sean: The other guys may disagree with me on this one, but Don’t Break the Oath is the perfect driving album. This song in particular brings about a feeling that I am embarking upon an epic quest. We have to listen to it loud to cover up my attempts to sing whole songs like “The King”. Because it is going to fucking happen.

Bryan: I do not disagree, and it does happen.

Decapitated’s ­”Day 69″ (from 2006′s Organic Hallucinosis)
Bryan: It’s true, though–Lazer/Wulf agrees on few things. But Decapitated is the monolith upon our common ground. This band alone validates the single­ guitar metal model with creativity and ferocity. To say nothing of Vitek’s legacy, there’s something about Vogg’s songwriting that jettisons bravado and shred worship in favor of…well, fucking songwriting. Unstoppable.

Aphex Twin’s ­”Bucephalus Bouncing Ball” (from 1997′s Come To Daddy EP) ­
Bryan: Brilliant idea for a song, man. He’s made a lot of great, dark tunes, but this one is so damn inspired. Since the second half draws from the sound of a bouncing ball, there’s a visual component to the music. You can see the song as you hear it.

Sean: It was awkward at first, sending my young mind into swirling chaos. But as I grew into a man, it just seemed right. We will cover this song at some point in our lives, so L/W officially calls dibs.

Cinemechanica’s ­”Get Outta Here Hitler” (from 2006′s The Martial Arts) ­
Bryan: Further essential listening. File it under math­rock and be damned, but Cinemechanica rips through that genre into something rabid and urgent. This whole record is amazing, and our mutual love for it is how Lazer/Wulf found each other. Here’s an instrumental song they did, which I’m picking only because a) it kills, and their use of double drums remains unparalleled to this day and b) they’ve since swapped singers from this album toward something way tougher. The new shit is tough as Nails. I don’t know when they’re going to release their new album, but you’ll know, because the Earth damn blew its brains out.

Dysrhythmia’s ­”Room Of Vertigo” (from 2009′s Psychic Maps) ­
Bryan: There’s no understating the importance of Dysrhythmia in the instrumental world. It’s not mopey or flashy or post­-anything. Nor is it unlistenable madness. They just write great songs that work on the surface level, but offer a transformative depth to those who look for it. Remember those Magic Eye pictures? They’re all pretty and shiny, but then there’s a fucking boat hidden somewhere in there? That.

Zu’s ­”Carbon” (from 2009′s Carboniferous) ­
Bryan: I wish I didn’t love this so much. It’s so unlikable. A saxophonist, bassist and drummer, all piloting mosquitos into your stupid eyes. But it’s so joyful and confident and Italian. 100/10.

Sean: We had the pleasure of playing with the Italian syncopation masters in Pisa. I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea they were off hiatus. I was excited then, and even more excited now that they’re recording again with Gabe from The Locust on drums. Carboniferous is on steady rotation when we’re on the road.

Dying Fetus’s ­”Praise The Lord (Opium Of The Masses)” (from 2000′s Destroy The Opposition) ­
Sean: At 17 years of age, a young man hears–seemingly–the most extreme music ever created. He would never be the same. A treasured classic of utmost brutality, Destroy the Opposition is still the go-­to record for nostalgic, head-slamming fun.

Bryan: Yeah, this record is a total watershed for me, too. The opening track both introduced me to and galvanized my love for no bullshit death metal, back when I required “melody” and “pacing” and “structure” and all that pussy shit. Absolutely warlike.

Soundgarden’s ­”4th of July” (from 1994′s Superunknown) ­
Bryan: But before anything else, this is the song that started it all for me. It started me. I was nine years old and I knew I loved music, but I didn’t know what instrument was mine, or what type of music I belonged to. So try to find that place in yourself before you listen to it. Hollow everything out, and know nothing of the world but Ninja Turtles and the Jurassic Park theme. Then…those chords. That dread. I became, if not a man, a guitarist that day. Superunknown is still my favorite record of all time.

*Pick up a copy of Lazer/Wulf’s The Beast of Left and Right here

**For past Decibrity entries, click here

Decibrity Playlist: Young Widows (Part 2)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, August 14th, 2014

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Last week, we brought you the beginning of Evan Patterson’s “dark country and folk” playlist. In two-and-a-half years of doing these, it’s safe to say that his picks–most of which originated on 7″ singles–are some of the more obscure, yet fascinating, we’ve encountered. While Part 1 tackled tracks from 1956 to 1963 (don’t miss the fuzz on Marty Robbins’ “Don’t Worry”), Part 2 covers tunes from 1966 to 1971. Young Widows‘ guitarist/vocalist even threw in a bonus playlist that you can check out after perusing his 13 other selections. What a guy. While you’re at it, be sure to pick up a copy of his band’s latest LP, Easy Pain, here.

Fred Neil’s “The Dolphins” (from 1966′s Fred Neil)
While Fred Neil is more folk than country, his voice is as dark and as low as folk could get, and has gotten since. Even though he was a part of the Greenwich Village scene, I see him as being a bit more of a country singer. He wrote songs for Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison in the ’50s, and was a fill-in, on set singer for Elvis’s early films. “The Dolphins” is off Fred Neil’s self-titled third album, which features his more well-known number “Everybody’s Talkin’”. Later in 1969, “Everybody’s Talkin’” was made famous by Harry Nilsson. I like thinking that “The Dolphins” isn’t actually about dolphins, but after Fred Neil retired from music he moved to Florida to refocus his life on the preservation of dolphins. Wild. I’m betting most of his time was spent lounging on a sailboat until he died of skin cancer in 2001.

Nancy Sinatra’s “Lightning’s Girl” (from 1967′s “Lightning’s Girl”/”Until It’s Time For You To Go” 7″ single)
The first time I heard “Lightning’s Girl”, I was floored by its arrangement and production. The kick drum might be the best sounding recording of a kick drum I’ve heard. The dark fuzz guitar, string section, choogling bass line, king-of-the-jungle operatic background singing and the threatening lyrics are a combination unlike any other. The powerful and direct Nancy Sinatra, daughter of Frank, doesn’t beat around the bush with Lee Hazlewood’s pitchfork in her hands. They were out to kill with this song, and kill they did. “Lightning’s Girl” is a theatrical song and again, Hazlewood has no rules or guidelines with his writing or production. A Billy Strange arrangement and an absolutely epic country song.

Mickey Newbury’s “How Many Times (Must The Piper Be Paid For His Song)” (from 1968′s Harlequin Melodies)
Mickey Newbury…well, he just dropped in to be one of the most prolific songwriters to ever walk the face of this tiny planet. He has influenced many, many artists and songwriters. His legacy will continue to influence many, many more. In this song, the tension between the hollow percussive plucked fiddle strings and Mickey’s charred dense voice is unlike any I’ve felt while listening to a song. “How Many Times” is off Mickey’s debut album Harlequin Melodies. From beginning to end, a perfect country album.

Roy Drusky’s “Such A Fool” (from 1969′s My Grass Is Green)
Roy Drusky had too many records. I discovered him last year when I purchased his New Lips album for a dollar. From what I can tell, the album is a collection of singles that came out in 1969 and prior. It features “Jody and the Kid”, one of the first Kris Kristofferson songs to ever be recorded. When Drusky stretches out “Such a Foooooooooool,” I can’t help but smile.

Jody Reynolds’ “Endless Sleep” (from 1969′s “Endless Sleep”/”My Baby’s Eyes” 7″ single)
Like Sanford Clark’s “The Fool”, “Endless Sleep” is a bit of a rockabilly country crossover. The original 1958 version actually features the same guitarist as “The Fool”, Al Casey, who was a sidekick to Lee Hazlewood on his early productions. I prefer the darker, more haunting and reverb drenched harmonica 1969 version of this song. I can only imagine that this is a true reflection of Reynolds’ tiresome attitude–he had to be sick to death of performing the song for well over a decade. A group from Vancouver called The Poppy Family did an even darker cover version of “Endless Sleep” in 1969 that I might enjoy more, but it doesn’t fit this playlist’s theme. The 1958 version was Jody Reynolds’ first single and his second was the song “Fire of Love”, which later was covered by MC5 and The Gun Club. The Gun Club even named its album after the song. Reynolds eventually started working with Hazlewood and in the late ’70s had signed on to write songs for this singer named Elvis, but Elvis died just before recording any of Reynolds’ tunes.

Karen Dalton’s “Same Old Man” (from 1971′s In My Own Time)
Like Fred Neil, Karen Dalton is a Greenwich Village folk artist. The song was arranged by Steve Weber. Weber was a founding member of The Holy Modal Rounders. The droning strings, the traditional banjo and her incredible creeping voice together make a sound that I can’t get enough of. “Same Old Man” is from her album In My Own Time. The album is more upbeat, bluesy folk–it’s great, but “Same Old Man” is a truly unique folk song that will be held timelessly above the rest.

Bonus playlist of inspiring voices:

Love’s “Signed D.C.” (from 1966′s Love)
Captain Beefheart’s “Blabber ‘N Smoke” (from 1972′s The Spotlight Kid)
Roxy Music’s “In Every Dream Home a Heartache” (from 1973′s For Your Pleasure)
Iggy Pop’s “Mass Production” (from 1977′s The Idiot)
Public Image Ltd.’s “Flowers of Romance” (from 1981′s The Flowers Of Romance)
Wipers’ “Romeo” (from 1983′s Over The Edge)
Crime & The City Solution’s “Hunter” (from 1988′s Shine)
Scott Walker’s “Face On A Breast” (from 1995′s Tilt)
The For Carnation’s “Emp. Man Blues” (from 2000′s The For Carnation)
Smog’s “Song” (from 2001′s Rain On Lens)
Angels of Light’s “Evangeline” (from 2001′s How I Loved You)
Mark Lanegan’s “Hit The City” (from 2004′s Bubblegum)

*Photo by Amber Estes Thieneman

**Pick up a copy of Young Widows’ Easy Pain here and check them out on the following dates opening for Minus The Bear:

10/21 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
10/22 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
10/23 Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
10/24 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock
10/25 Des Moines, IA – Wolly’s

***For past Decibrity entries, click here

Decibrity Playlist: Young Widows (Part 1)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, August 7th, 2014

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Given how well our last and only playlist from a Louisville native turned out courtesy of Coliseum’s Ryan Patterson, we had high hopes for one from his brother and fellow Derby City dweller Evan. While the former focused solely on Killing Joke and caused me to listen to “Total Invasion” on repeat for months, the latter focused his energies on dark country and folk. Not surprisingly, Young Widows‘ guitarist/vocalist did not let us down. In fact, he gave us such an extensive list of picks that we’ve split his tome into two parts. We’ll let Evan take things from here:

“When asked to make a playlist for Decibel, I thought about all the music I’ve been affected and inspired by. I thought about Crime & the City Solution’s record Shine, Swans’ Soundtracks for the Blind, Angels of Light’s We Are Him, Mark Lanegan’s Bubblegum, Iggy Pop’s The Idiot, Love and Arthur Lee’s entire catalog and their dark crooning voices. I thought about Tangerine Dream’s Sorcerer and Phaedra, Throbbing Gristle’s Greatest Hits, Silver Apples’ first record and Ennio Morricone’s vast collection of film scores. Then I thought about the dark county and folk records that I’ve been collecting the past few years.

Being from Louisville, Kentucky, I’ve always strayed from or, even better, rebelled against giving these genres of music any of my direct attention. Louisville is somewhat of a subcultured island in a sea of suburban families and farms. These surroundings could make a young punk downright despise country and folk music, but I have true love of all music and don’t align myself to just one club.

Most of these records were found and/or discovered through hours of digging through 45s at a hole-in-the-wall record store called Highland Records that carries exclusively used vinyl. The owner of the store chain smokes and complains about ‘the kids these days,’ but when I ask him to play a stack of singles that I’ve never heard before, he perks up and rattles off a good story about damn near every song. Every Saturday and Sunday, the owner shuts down the shop and heads 20 miles east to Simpsonville, Kentucky to run his all-vinyl flea market booth. The Simpsonville booth has an even larger selection.

After researching my selection of songs for this playlist, I discovered a strong connection between many of these singers and songwriters. In particular, Lee Hazlewood seemed to have his finger on the pulse of exceptionally odd country music. From a time when 7″, 45 rpm, two song singles could make or break an artist, here’s my dark country and folk playlist in chronological order. Enjoy.”

You can pick up a copy of Young Widows’ latest record Easy Pain–which includes two songs that Nick Green described as having “the kind of chimerical Frankenstein inventions that used to only reside in Napoleon Dynamite’s sketchbook or soda fountain ‘suicides’” (one of my favorite sentences in ten-plus years of this magazine)–here.

Sanford Clark’s “The Fool” (from 1956′s “The Fool”/”Lonesome For A Letter” 7″ single)
Luckily for Sanford Clark, Lee Hazlewood was around to write songs for him. “The Fool” maybe should have been the b-side to Elvis’s single “Jailhouse Rock”. It was released the same year and Elvis did eventually end up covering the song. This single was reissued and became Sanford Clark’s most well-known song. Though this version still stands high above the Presley version, Sanford Clark didn’t find much success beyond being a support act for Roy Orbison. Hazlewood and Clark went on to make two albums together on Hazlewood’s record label.

Bonnie Guitar’s “Dark Moon” (from 1957′s “Dark Moon”/”Big Mike” 7″ single)
I’m a sucker for a song about the moon. Bonnie Guitar strutted in just after Patsy Cline paved the way for women in the country music world. Bonnie Guitar can do no wrong, she generally rides the same mood throughout most of her songs. “Dark Moon”, written by Ned Miller, was Bonnie Guitar’s second single and was covered by many classic country crooners, such as Jim Reeves’ hit version.

Red Kirk’s “It’s Nothing To Me” (from 1957′s “It’s Nothing To Me”/”How Still The Night” 7″ single)
Originally written by Leon Payne under the pseudonym P. Patterson. Payne also wrote the gruesome murder ballad “Psycho” and the classic country hit “Lost Highway”, made famous by Hank Williams and covered by many, many others. Loy Clingman was the first to record “It’s Nothing to Me” and Red Kirk was the second. A simple story about a bar fight gone fatal, written from a postmortem perspective. Sanford Clark recorded a Lee Hazlewood produced version in 1967 under the pseudonym Harry Johnson. Much later, Hazlewood recorded his own version on his last album, Cake or Death.

Tex Ritter’s “Bury Me Not On The Lone Prairie” (from 1960′s Blood On The Saddle)
Yes, Tex is John Ritter’s father. Yes, Tex was also an actor. Unlike John, Tex was a country music singer. This song is from his album Blood on the Saddle, and the album has a unique tongue-in-cheek sense of fictional western darkness and horror, unlike any other than I’ve heard. Tex moans his way through this song and about halfway through, I almost get reeled, believing that maybe he did live the life of cowboy.

Tommy Tucker’s “Miller’s Cave” (from 1960′s “The Stranger”/”Miller’s Cave” 7″ single)
Tommy Tucker lived a unlucky life. After recording a few singles, this being one of them, he spent some time in prison for a deadly drunk driving accident. Soon after his release, he died in a house fire due to falling asleep while smoking in bed. He has not received much, if any, recognition as an artist. Though he didn’t write “Miller’s Cave”, he was the first to perform it. The song was later made famous by Hank Snow and has been covered by many others since. One cover in particular is by Gram Parsons’ International Submarine Band, which is thought to be the first country rock album, and put out by Lee Hazlewood’s record company.

Marty Robbins’ “Don’t Worry” (from 1961′s “Don’t Worry”/”Like All The Other Times” 7″ single)
Marty can sing. Almost a little too well for my taste, but when the fuzz bass makes an appearance in this song, I’m sold. Don’t expect to find similar instrumentation in any other of his vast catalog of songs. Supposedly, he wasn’t fond of the fuzz.

Lee Hazlewood’s “Look At That Woman” (from 1963′s Trouble Is A Lonesome Town)
“Look at that Woman” is from Lee Hazlewood’s first official full-length album as a singer, a storytelling concept album called Trouble is a Lonesome Town. This particular song is about his woman, or rather, his ball and chain. It’s a rough and humorous stereotype, but the rhythmic sample of dragging chains and the vocal drop at the end of the chorus is a one of a kind move that only Hazlewood can pull off.

*Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

**Photo by Amber Estes Thieneman

***Pick up a copy of Young Widows’ Easy Pain here and check them out on the following dates opening for Minus The Bear:

10/21 Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop
10/22 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
10/23 Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
10/24 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock
10/25 Des Moines, IA – Wolly’s

****For past Decibrity entries, click here

Decibrity Playlist: Mutilation Rites

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, July 31st, 2014

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Mutilation Rites’ last record, Empyrean, landed on our top 40 records of 2012. To these ears, however, the group’s new LP tops that effort and so we’ve been playing it on a near daily basis since it dropped last week (Daniel Lake also streamed the whole thing here earlier this month). Since the Brooklynites just finished up an East Coast jaunt, we figured we’d check in with bassist Ryan Jones about what he and his bandmates spin in the van while on the road (we’re really going to start a book of these soon). Not surprisingly, his picks span the musical spectrum. Be sure to pick up a copy of Harbinger here.

Eyehategod’s “Anxiety Hangover” (from 1996′s Dopesick)
Because I usually have one. Eyehategod is a staple in our van and this is one that creeps into the mix often.

Dispirit’s “Ixtab’s Lure” (from 2010′s Rehearsal At Oboroten demo)
This is good for a post-show drive on a shitty rainy night when everyone else is passed out and it’s just you and the road. This song weaves you down a murky path to hell.

Skip James’ “Devil Got My Woman” (from 1968′s Devil Got My Woman
Distorted guitars and pummeling drums can get tiring on tour. This is a different kind of heavy that no screaming can conjure.

Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass’s “Spanish Flea” (from 1965′s !!Going Places!!)
We listen to this song in the van to take a mental vacation. To a place where the water is clear, the linens are clean and the children are happy.

Abominable Putridity’s “Skin Removal” (from 2007′s In The End Of Human Existence)
Somebody better call the Slambulance!

Motörhead’s “Born To Raise Hell” (from 1993′s Bastards)
This is the anthem to get us in the mood for the after-party.

Tangorodrim’s “Horror” (from 2002′s Those Who Unleashed)
Israeli Hellhammer worship! Self-described “alcoholic black metal”, these guys would apparently get completely shitfaced and loosely write songs. It’s like they wrote music just for me. They changed drummers after this album and then released a more focused album, but I prefer the earlier material.

The Yellow River Boys’ “Hot Piss” (from 2013′s Urinal St. Station)
Good old fashioned American rock ‘n’ roll!

Blasphemophagher’s “Chaostorm Of Atomization” (from 2011′s The III Command of the Absolute Chaos)
Italian war metal freaks, this is the opening track on their most recent full-length. After a stereotypical metal album intro, complete with computer game Doom samples of demons and fireballs shooting, the song starts with riffs that go straight for the jugular. A band with significantly more clarity in production than most muddy and hissed Blasphemy worship bands, this album is one of my more recent favorites.

Vordr’s “Rhythm Of The Storms” (from 2004′s I)
Finnish ignorance. A slightly more audible Ildjarn, these guys are the kings of the monkey beat. Some people get turned off by the tortured vocals, but I love early Burzum and don’t find these vocals nearly as offensive as that or Silencer or any of that other goofy DSBM people get down with.

*Pick up a copy of Harbinger here.

***For past Decibrity entries, click here

Decibrity Playlist: Misery Index

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, July 24th, 2014

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Misery Index is no stranger to these playlists. In fact, we were in the midst of winter 2013 when bassist/vocalist Jason Netherton regaled us with “bleak tunes that recall those snowbound blizzards from yesteryear.” This time around, guitarist Mark Kloeppel went in a totally different direction to get you in the know about “hard” jams. We’ll let him take things from here: “‘Hard’ is a special set of subtly nuanced cross-genre aesthetic characteristics within extreme music that may be a little elusive to the untrained ear. Basically, we are talking about ignorant, pounding grooves that might make you want to destroy a room or get in a street fight.” Still curious? Check out the 10 tunes below. Just know that Kloeppel’s not the first to make a Wendy’s reference around these parts — that’s how hard we roll at the Deciblog.

After perusing his selections, you can pick up a copy of Misery Index’s fifth full-length, The Killing Gods, here.

Rattenfänger’s “Clausae Patent” (from 2012′s Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum)
Hardest shit ever! Rattenfänger, a side project of our label mates Drudkh, is quintessentially “hard”. Being hard is a subtle thing, as the music evokes in the listener a notion that talented musicians are utilizing a kind of elective ignorance as a purposive composition method. Listen to how the “thrash” beat mid-song sounds just a little to slow. That would be a big no-no for a band attempting to use a beat like that for its original purpose. To play a fast style beat too slow, in this case, is purposive ignorance. Now that is hard!

Goatwhore’s “FBS” (from 2014′s Constricting Rage Of The Merciless)
Goatwhore? More like GoatwHARD. Bands have influences, and Goatwhore’s influence is Celtic Frost, unabashedly deathrolling Warrior after Warrior-style riff. [Guitarist] Sammy [Duet] just doesn’t give a F, and not giving a F is what being hard is all about. That’s not to say Sammy doesn’t have his own style. That dude has written the most rocking riffs I can remember, and his style is distinct. But the Frost is strong in this one, as is the Priest. I digress. On a song with a title like this, you might expect the meaning of the FBS acronym to be repeatedly rammed down your god-fearing throat. Nope. [Vocalist Ben] Falgoust only gives it to you one time mid-song. Hard!

Portal’s “Curtain” (from 2013′s Vexovoid)
Ah, Portal…the big “F you” to computer-perfect precise death metal. It’s almost as if the song was written for the video, which sets nice imagery to visually imagine their other songs. By totally ignoring any sort of trendy standard, these fellas put the clock faces and robes on and put the darkness in you…hard!

Hate Eternal’s “I, Monarch” (from 2005′s I, Monarch)
[Erik] Rutan [guitarist/vocalist] is no slouch. But what does one do when he’s already conquered the throne of the king of all kings? Punch you in the face with tyrannical, narcissistic rage, that’s what! Hate Eternal has put out great tunes before and since this record. For me, this one just happens to be the hardest!

Fulgora’s “Risen” (from 2013′s Risen/Artifice EP)
Better go to Wendy’s and get yourself a Frosty, because you’re going to need it after a track this hard! For me, it’s like VOD went deathgrind. I don’t include Fulgora because our drummer Adam [Jarvis] happens to be in the band. Rather, the riffs these dudes are churning out are next level. This is legit harshcore!

Xibalba’s “Cold” (from 2012′s Hasta La Muerte)
In a world of hipster-djenty-quirky-vegan-douchey “metal”, it’s refreshing to see a band slam liquor and pork chops and then bring the pound cakes. Thank you Xibalba…for being hard!

Dying Fetus’s “Subjected To A Beating” (from 2012′s Reign Supreme)
If you were to sit down with [vocalist/guitarist] John Gallagher for five minutes with a guitar, he would proceed to write more pummeling catchy riffs than you could in five years. This song and album is right up there with the “classic” material. And yeah, I did do some vocals on this track, but that’s not why it’s on the list. It’s on the list for riff número uno in the song. So hard!

Magrudergrind’s “Bridge Burner” (from 2009′s Magrudergrind)
I don’t think you can get much harder than “Bridge Burner”. The main riff is like getting curbed over and over again. I was a little bummed when [drummer] Chris [Moore] left this band. Those chops! That groove! That über-funked-in-the-pocket blast! I thought it was going to be all over. But the dudes pressed on strong, and still bring the pound cakes and the super grind…hard! Definitely your new favorite band, if they aren’t already.

Infestdead’s “JesuSatan” (from 1999′s JesuSatan)
The end of this song makes me want to punch every pony at the petting zoo. This is a drum machine project Dan Swanö used to figure out how to use a Mac to record for the first time. The riffs are spontaneous and pummeling. This is my absolute favorite record from Dan. Every single riff is catchy, rife with ignorance, and, most importantly…hard.

Machine Head’s “Davidian” (from 1994′s Burn My Eyes)
Don’t you even start to talk shit right now. I know, the same guy that was in Vio-lence could be seen sporting a scencester sideways cap and bandana like in some alternative monthly, and uniform code metal attire in your typical Euro metal mag in the same month. I know. Let’s not even begin to talk about the “Red” album or how this video looks for that matter. Victim of the times, victim of the times. This song, though…you cannot tell me, for one instant, that when you hear “Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast” that you don’t want to punch the person standing next you. Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s hard.

So, class, hopefully you have a better understanding of what “hard” is all about. Then again, maybe you don’t. Either way, go support your local record shop, and pick up some hard jams. Might I suggest Misery Index’s The Killing Gods be your first choice. Shameless plug. Go hard or go home.

*Photo by Alyssa Lorenzon

**Pick up a copy of The Killing Gods here

***For past Decibrity entries, click here

Decibrity Playlist: Goatwhore

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, July 17th, 2014

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For the past decade or so, Goatwhore has been one band that you can count on to put out quality release after quality release. The quartet’s latest LP is yet another um, merciless, entry in its oeuvre. So to celebrate both the recent release of Constricting Rage of the Merciless and the start of the NOLA natives’ run alongside Morbid Angel, Dying Fetus and others on this year’s Summer Slaughter tour, drummer Zack Simmons passed along five tracks that everyone should spin. Given his first name, it’s not surprising he has pretty good taste.

Pick up a copy of Goatwhore’s new record here and catch them on tour on the dates below.

Carnivore’s “Angry Neurotic Catholics” (from 1987′s Retaliation)
It’s hard to pick just one song off this record, but this track fucking destroys. It’s got it all: breakneck riffs, genius lyrics and excellent production. Straight and to the point. No fuckery.

Mercyful Fate’s “The Oath” (from 1984′s Don’t Break The Oath)
I remember the first time I heard this song. I was probably about 12 years old and it scared the living shit out of me. I still get goosebumps and that exact feeling to this day. If you want to spook your parents or girlfriend, give this a spin!

Basil Poledouris’s “Anvil Of Crom” (from 1982′s Conan The Barbarian OST)
People use the word “epic” a lot to describe music these days. This song would be my definition of the term. Perfect soundtrack to a perfect film. The ties between this and metal music are undeniable.

Scorpions’ “We’ll Burn The Sky” (from 1977′s Taken By Force)
One of my favorite Scorps songs. The lyrics are actually a poem Jimi Hendrix’s girlfriend wrote for him after he died. This was the last record Uli Jon Roth played on. I saw him live about a year ago and it was the loudest show I’ve ever attended! Painfully awesome!

Def Leppard’s “Let It Go” (from 1981′s High ‘n’ Dry)
Say what you will. This is pure rock and roll! If this doesn’t make you bang your head and crack a beer, then I feel sorry for you! Listen to those damn riffs!

*Photo by Peter Beste

**Pick up a copy of Constricting Rage of the Merciless here

***Goatwhore US tour dates (all dates are Summer Slaughter gigs with the exception of Richmond):

7/17/2014 The Regency Ballroom – San Francisco, CA
7/18/2014 The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA
7/19/2014 House of Blues – West Hollywood, CA
7/20/2014 Nile Theater – Phoenix, AZ
7/21/2014 Tricky Falls – El Paso, TX
7/22/2014 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM
7/23/2014 Summit – Denver, CO
7/25/2014 House Of Blues – Houston, TX
7/26/2014 Scoot Inn – Austin, TX
7/27/2014 Gas Monkey – Dallas, TX
7/29/2014 State Theater St. – Petersburg, FL
7/30/2014 The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
7/31/2014 The International – Knoxville, TN
8/01/2014 Agora Theatre – Cleveland, OH
8/02/2014 Mojoes – Chicago, IL
8/03/2014 Skyway Theatre – Minneapolis, MN
8/05/2014 The Rave – Milwaukee, WI
8/06/2014 Crofoot Ballroom – Detroit, MI
8/07/2014 Rapids Theatre – Niagara Falls, NY
8/08/2014 Irving Plaza – New York, NY
8/09/2014 The Palladium – Worcester, MA
8/10/2014 The Trocadero – Philadelphia, PA
8/16/2014 Gwar B-Q @ Hadad’s Lake – Richmond, VA

****For past Decibrity entries, click here

Past Decibrity Playlists

By: zach.smith Posted in: uncategorized On: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

***Past Decibrity entries include:

Young Widows (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mutilation Rites
Misery Index
Goatwhore
North
Tombs
Sadgiqacea
The Atlas Moth
Arch Enemy
Archspire
Cormorant
Eyehategod (Part 1) (Part 2)
Floor
Iron Reagan
Fight Amp
Cynic
Melt-Banana
Junius (Part 1) (Part 2)
Alcest
East Of The Wall
Enabler
Wolvserpent
Drugs Of Faith
SubRosa (Part 1) (Part 2)
Vattnet Viskar
Skeletonwitch
Ihsahn
Earthless
Watain
Orange Goblin
God Is An Astronaut
Primitive Man
Gorguts
Exhumed
Ulcerate
Pelican
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Howl
Kings Destroy
Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

Decibrity Playlist: North

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

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I first read about North via Catherine Yates’ review of What You Were back in 2008, but it wasn’t until I perused our Managing Editor’s writeup of the record in that year’s top 40 that I thankfully got around to listening. Even though it’s been a while since then, once you’ve read last year’s interview with guitarist Matt Mutterperl, all I really need to tell you about what the Arizonians have been up to recently is that they dropped a self-described “transition” EP Metanoia back in March and that it’s great to have them back. Since the trio will be hitting the road next month, we asked Mutterperl and drummer Zack Hansen to contribute another chapter in our ongoing series of what gets played in the tour van. After you’ve checked out their picks below, get a copy of Metanoia here. What You Were is also being released on vinyl for the first time next month, and you can pre-order that here.

When I’m on the road and it’s my turn to drive, it’s essential that I have a few things: coffee, light assorted snackery, and tunes that keep me engaged and pass the time. Here are my picks.–Matt Mutterperl

The Smashing Pumpkins–Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness (1995)
I first got this album when I was in grade school and I only jammed a few other songs besides the singles. Years later when I revisited it, I listened all the way through it and it was totally captivating. I love this record. We attempted covering “Bodies”, but it’s been on the drawing board for a while, unfortunately. Gets better with every listen through, I think. Perfect to get lost in.

Q And Not U–No Kill No Beep Beep (2000)
I moved to Arizona in the middle of high school, and I had zero friends for a little bit, except for the internet. A forum I was on had mentioned Dischord Records, and somehow I came across Q And Not U. This album was a real eye-opener/taste-shaper/mind-expander. It’s catchy as hell, and usually [bassist/vocalist] Evan Leek and I can sing along to most of it and dance like a couple of hip jerks!

Weezer–Pinkerton (1996, 2010 deluxe edition)
Again, an album that I briefly flirted with as a youth and came back to appreciate later. Pinkerton has that raw, visceral emotion that Weezer’s other offerings don’t really do for me. I can listen straight through, finger-drumming along for almost an hour before we hit the b-sides and live tracks: “Getting Up and Leaving” and “Tragic Girl” are solid tracks that I had never heard before and instantly fell in love with.

Glassjaw–Worship And Tribute (2002)
I’ve listened to this album countless times, and it never gets old to me. From front to finish, Daryl Palumbo’s vocals never let up. Hell, every instrument is shining here. “Tip Your Bartender” quickly sets the tone and all of the sudden I’m on “Pink Roses” and still jamming. I can easily get lost in this piece for it to satisfy part of an overnight drive. This album is timeless to me.

Sleep is such an invaluable resource on the road, you really take for granted just how comfortable the minute sounds of your own room are. Then you have to take into account the guys snoring their skulls off, the hardwood floor, the unfamiliar houses and the non stop ringing in your ears. Most of the time music is a necessity just to get those four hours of sleep you need to get back in the driver’s seat. North plays loud, heavy, and extreme music and so many of my favorite artists and groups are the opposite of that. I think a good contrast is needed. Here are some albums I need to get by on tour.–Zack Hansen

Sigur Rós–Ágætis byrjun (1999)
Such a monumental record, this band can do no wrong in my eyes. When we first started touring, I didn’t drive a lot. I would just throw on this record and ( ), and pass out in the back of the van for hours. I’m not sure I could stay awake through more than two songs, it was just so soothing and melancholic that I had no choice but to shut down completely.

Sylvain Chauveau–Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated) (2010)
I listen to a lot of composers and I think Frenchman Sylvain Chauveau is one of the strangest. Singular Forms bucked the trend of his previous albums and went so completely minimal that it becomes borderline creepy. The vocals make this project and really set it apart from the rest of his work. It’s rhythmic, raw, repetitive, and disconcerting. Doesn’t sound like the most appealing music when you need rest but it works. This is one of those albums where I’ll fall asleep over and over, only to wake up in the middle, only to go to right back to sleep again.

Mouth Of The Architect–Quietly (2008)
One of the most important records of my adulthood. It came out around the same time as our first full length, What You Were, in the summer of 2008. We were on tour for a month and our route was a few days behind the MOTA, Intronaut and Behold The Arctopus tour. We sometimes even played the same venue. All the while I listened to Quietly twice a day at least. It was my go to record when I needed peace and quiet. At the same time it’s not a gentle record, quite the opposite in fact. It’s so depressing and dark, from the opening sample of the wind chimes to the final vocals on “A Beautiful Corpse”. This is the music I needed to shut down the rest of the world for a time.

Braveyoung–We Are Lonely Animals (2011)
We toured with Braveyoung when they were known as Giant in our early instrumental days and they really showed me how tour was supposed to be done. I look up to them musically and as people. They went from putting out such a ridiculously crushing EP in Song to instrumental perfection on We Are Lonely Animals. I could listen to this all day and night, and sometimes do. It’s a nice reminder of the art and true beauty in music. It’s making me sappy as we speak. Their last record Will The Dust Praise You is equally inspiring.

*Photo by Andrew Weiss

**Pick up a copy of Metanoia here and check out the band on the following dates:

8/01/2014 Club Congress – Tucson, AZ
8/02/2014 TBA – Santa Fe, NM
8/03/2014 Denver Black Sky – Denver, CO
8/04/2014 FOKL Center – Kansas City, MO
8/05/2014 The Triple rock – Minneapolis, MN
8/06/2014 Quarters – Milwaukee, WI (with Northless)
8/07/2014 The Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL (with Northless)
8/08/2014 Ottawa Tavern – Toledo, OH
8/09/2014 The Shop – Pittsburgh, PA
8/10/2014 King Fun Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
8/11/2014 TBA – Brooklyn, NY
8/12/2014 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
8/13/2014 Slim’s Downtown – Raleigh, NC
8/14/2014 The Poison Lawn – Knoxville, TN
8/15/2014 Wallstreet – Murfreesboro, TN
8/16/2014 The Forge – Birmingham, AL (with Set and Setting)
8/17/2014 Hey Café – New Orleans, LA (with Set and Setting)
8/18/2014 Hi-Tone – Little Rock, AR (with Set and Setting)
8/19/2014 Lindbeerg’s – Springfield, MO (with Set and Setting)
8/20/2014 The Conservatory – Oklahoma City, OK
8/21/2014 Holy Mountain – Austin, TX
8/22/2014 Lowbrow Palace – El Paso, TX
10/16-19/2014 Southwest Terror Fest III, Tucson, AZ

***Past Decibrity entries include:

Tombs
Sadgiqacea
The Atlas Moth
Arch Enemy
Archspire
Cormorant
Eyehategod (Part 1) (Part 2)
Floor
Iron Reagan
Fight Amp
Cynic
Melt-Banana
Junius (Part 1) (Part 2)
Alcest
East Of The Wall
Enabler
Wolvserpent
Drugs Of Faith
SubRosa (Part 1) (Part 2)
Vattnet Viskar
Skeletonwitch
Ihsahn
Earthless
Watain
Orange Goblin
God Is An Astronaut
Primitive Man
Gorguts
Exhumed
Ulcerate
Pelican
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Howl
Kings Destroy
Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

Decibrity Playlist: Tombs

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, June 26th, 2014

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In case you can’t remember that far back, Tombs‘ last record, Path of Totality, was our top album of 2011. Fast forward three years, and the band’s latest release appears to have garnered near-universal acclaim since it dropped earlier this month. So it’s only fitting that guitarist/vocalist Mike Hill’s playlist focuses on something that, in one way or another, most people have experienced. As the frontman explains about his “Songs for the Heartbroken” playlist, “Everyone has gotten their hearts broken at one time or another. For me, music always played a huge part in the recovery process. Below are some jams that I keep on hand for those heavy times.”

Be sure to pick up a copy of Savage Gold–another of my favorites so far this year–here.

Swans’ “God Damn The Sun” (from 1989′s The Burning World)
This is the number one 4 a.m. track for those moments when you’re in the grips of the intensity of a breakup. This song just doesn’t sound the same during the day.

New Order’s “Ceremony” (from 1981′s “Ceremony”/”In a Lonely Place” single)
This song was written by Ian Curtis, the saddest man in human history. Being involved in an intercontinental love triangle probably gives him the black belt in heartbreak. There is a version of this song on Heart and Soul, the Joy Division discography that came out a few years ago. A while back, I was given this as a gift from a woman that would ultimately break my heart; fitting, however, I like the New Order version better.

Rollins Band’s “Turned Inside Out” (from 1989′s Hard Volume)
This is the soundtrack for the workout sessions that I put in during the dark times of heartbreak. Typically, during these periods I’m on some insane nutritional plan and I’m trying to burn the hard feelings out of me. I can taste the blood and smell the sweat.

Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” (from 1970′s Paranoid)
Though not a love song, this song makes me feel better when I’m living in the shadow of depression’s black wings. The line from the title track, “Can you help me / Occupy my brain?”, also really hits me because, at these times, distraction is really the thing that I’m seeking. Something to get my mind slowed down and pacified.

The Cure’s “Pictures Of You” (from 1989′s Disintegration)
This whole jam is about looking at pictures of a young lady and almost believing that they’re real. I love Robert Smith’s voice and Porl Thompson’s guitar work; they dovetail really well creating this darkly beautiful paean to longing.

Samhain’s “To Walk The Night” (from 1986′s Samhain III: November-Coming-Fire)
This song was the soundtrack to my youth, driving around at night alone, pretending that I was Marlon Brando. It’s the right song for those hours after midnight when the streetlights are blinking and there are no cops around to pull you over for speeding. Glenn has one of the most haunting voices in metal.

*Photo by Jason Hellmann

**Order a copy of Savage Gold here.

***Past Decibrity entries include:

Sadgiqacea
The Atlas Moth
Arch Enemy
Archspire
Cormorant
Eyehategod (Part 1) (Part 2)
Floor
Iron Reagan
Fight Amp
Cynic
Melt-Banana
Junius (Part 1) (Part 2)
Alcest
East Of The Wall
Enabler
Wolvserpent
Drugs Of Faith
SubRosa (Part 1) (Part 2)
Vattnet Viskar
Skeletonwitch
Ihsahn
Earthless
Watain
Orange Goblin
God Is An Astronaut
Primitive Man
Gorguts
Exhumed
Ulcerate
Pelican
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Howl
Kings Destroy
Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

Decibrity Playlist: Sadgiqacea

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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For Fred Grabosky and Evan Void, the dudes behind Philadelphia-based Sadgiqacea, music is only one, albeit rather large, part of their lives. Each is also into art as Grabosky is a freelance illustrator (drawing and inking) while Void, when not also playing in Hivelords and Ominous Black, tattoos at Living Out Loud Tattoo in Lindenwold, NJ (shout out to PATCO). While it’s been a little over a year since it released debut full-length, False Prism, the duo is set to hit the road for the next month-and-a-half or so starting tomorrow. Before they left, Grabosky (drums) and Void (guitars/vocals) were kind enough to tell us about some records that fuel their drawing, inking, painting, sketching and related endeavors, some of which you can check out below. Pick up a copy of False Prism, whose artwork Fred and Evan did, here.

Kylesa–Static Tensions (2009)
I’ll kick this off with an album I believe to be one of Kylesa’s strongest and compositionally sound. Don’t get me wrong, To Walk a Middle Course and Time Will Fuse Its Worth are both such amazing albums to me as well, but when it comes down to it, this is where I considered Kylesa’s songwriting to be in its prime. The overall production quality is increased and feels “cleaner” than the other albums, but that is not why I chose it. From the first second of the first track to the last bit of the final track, this album produces such a lively energy. Every song feels so cohesive with one another, and it’s so damn catchy in a brutally heavy way. I remember hearing “Running Red” for the first time and being like, “Whoa, this roars. That fat palm mute! That mid eastern lick! These tribal drum fills!” I’m a huge fan of the groove aspect of heavy music and this album encapsulates that description entirely. This album also features the artwork of John Dyer Baizley, whom has been an influence on my work.–Fred Grabosky

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OM–Pilgrimage (2007)
Speaking of groove, OM are the kings of heavy grooves. I can’t get enough of it, and can’t play enough of that snake-like time signature in my spare time. I find it’s perfect to make art to. It keeps me fluid with the motion of my pencil while I’m sketching and puts me in a meditative zone that drives me to keep working. They serve as a great influence in writing for Sadgiqacea.–F.G.

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Wolves In The Throne Room–Black Cascade (2009)
This album speaks to me in ways I cannot necessarily explain. For one thing, the direct reference to the Caspar David Friedrich painting Wanderer above the Sea of Fog for the opening track is something I feel personally close to. I share an interest in Romantic era poetry and artwork, and that’s enough for me. Wolves have always been able to move me with their exploration in atmosphere and mood through black metal. I feel there is no other band out there that pulls it off as well as they do.–F.G.

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Cult Of Luna–Eternal Kingdom (2008)
This album is only one of the many that Cult of Luna has produced that I am seemingly drawn to, like a high powered magnet. They have such a way of composing songs. Though much simplicity is at play, every instrument brought into the mix is tastefully placed and layered. I enjoy their cohesive writing qualities throughout each piece, paired up with vein-bursting vocals.–F.G.

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Lantlôs–Agape (2011)
This was a recent discovery that I found myself playing front to back on repeat. As much as I am a fan of straightforward doom or black metal or sludge bands, I can really appreciate a band that is not afraid to step outside of its expected sound barriers, especially lately. This album tends to weave between heavy/punishing long winded howls and hits, to black metal tendencies, to slowed down, heartfelt, clean atmosphere, even some jazz and much more. It’s all wildly entertaining and beautiful. Its composition feels more like a soundtrack than an album, almost as if there was a movie that went along to it. You have to hear it to understand what I’m babbling about. I strongly recommend it.–F.G.

Neurosis–The Eye of Every Storm (2004)
Of course Neurosis will make the top list of my picks, and even though I find Times of Grace to be one of the most influential and heavy/amazing albums, many others have featured it in interviews like these. I’ll say I saved the best for last with absolute conviction here. Something extremely powerful resonates with me upon listening to this incredible spiritual dreamscape of an album. My pen seems to ebb and flow just as the music does. I specifically tend to forget everything and fall away from the earth for the title track. It is at this point I’m subconsciously stippling my life away into oblivion. I absolutely love that windpipe/keyboard melody that creeps in at…well…4:20 as things would have it, haha. This album was the first that Neurosis took matters of recording into their own hands. I’ve always admired their ambition and this album makes it clear that their hard work paid off. It is so beautifully composed front to back.–F.G.

Valdur–At War With (2013)
I don’t think many people heard about this record because it came out a few days before the end of 2013, but I actually discovered it by reading one of the “Call and Response” segments of Decibel. This is a superb release that showcases a brutal black metal band with all my favorite elements of death metal and a chilling atmosphere, especially from the guitars–great production.–Evan Void

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Sorcier Des Glaces–Snowland Reprise MMXII (2012)
I wasn’t familiar with this band until about a year ago, when Sadgiqacea was on tour with our buds Haethen, but this album made quite an impression on me, and quickly found its way into my music library. The re-recording and reissuing of this album was a really nice touch. I’ve heard the original version, and it has its moments, but the 2012 version is definitely sweet as fuck.–E.V.

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Falls Of Rauros–Hail Wind And Hewn Oak (2008)
I discovered this band via our friend Brian of the now defunct San Antonio band Ecocide, while staying with him on tour. This album is so majestic, and cleverly and effectively makes use of acoustic/folk instruments, choral vocals and an almost classic rock/vintage production style. The sadness is overwhelming in some of their melodies. It’s full of great surprises and really fun to listen to! Sadgiqacea, Haethen, and Lonesummer will be opening for Falls of Rauros on August 20th at Millcreek Tavern here in Philadelphia.–E.V.

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Across Tundras–Sage (2011)
A great record from a great band. It sounds incredible, and the amazingly organic production is backed by great songwriting. I love how they incorporate the Western elements, both sonically and aesthetically. We’ll be playing with Across Tundras and Brother Ares in Nashville on July 16th at the pseudo-legendary Spring Water Supper Club.–E.V.

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Ulcerate–Vermis (2013)
I heard about this band from our friend Alyssa who I tattoo with at Living Out Loud. She’s also the one who designed the promotional tour poster we’re using for this tour. I love how Ulcerate has that “spiral” sound–churning, angular riffs over super brutal and super precise drums. It’s surprisingly atmospheric, too! I had the pleasure of seeing them with our friends Inter Arma here in Philly, and both bands absolutely crushed!–E.V.

Thantifaxath–Sacred White Noise (2014)
I heard this band’s debut EP a few years ago, and it most definitely left me wanting more. Thankfully, their new LP is amazing, and I’ve already devoured it with my eardrums. They incorporate odd time signatures and serpentine chromatic passages with a seemingly inhuman level of finesse. I think it’s safe to say that this album has already made it into my favorite albums of 2014.–E.V.

*Top photo by Dante Torrieri of Useless Rebel Imaging

**Order a copy of False Prism here and catch Fred and Evan on tour on the following dates with Hivelords:

Friday, June 20, 2014 – Lindenwold NJ – THE SEX DUNGEON (w/ Windmill of Corpses, Coastal Plain)
Saturday, June 21, 2014 – York PA – THE DEPOT (w/ Police State, Windmill of Corpses)
Sunday, June 22, 2014 – Providence RI – DUSK (w/ Leukorrhea & Coffin Birth)
Monday, June 23, 2014 – Boston MA – O’BRIENS (w/ Lunglust & Plagues)
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 – Portland ME – ST. JOHN (w/ Sylvia, Eastern Spell)
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 – Portsmouth, NH – HOUSE SHOW (w/ Ramlord, Northern Curse, Guilt)
Thursday, June 26, 2014 – Worcester MA – RALPH’S DINER (w/ Krakatoa, +1 TBA)
Friday, June 27, 2014 – Syracuse NY – GORHAM BROTHER’S MUSIC (w/ TBA)
Saturday, June 28, 2014 – Rochester NY – THE BUG JAR (w/ Blizaro, Fox 45 & The Highest Leviathan)
Sunday, June 29, 2014 – Buffalo NY – THE LAIR (w/ Enthauptung & Ancients of Earth)
Monday, June 30, 2014 Pittsburgh PA – THE SHOP (w/ Slaves BC, Night Vapor)
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 – Kent OH – STONE TAVERN (w/ TBA)
Wednesday, July 02, 2014 – Port Huron, MI – SCHWONK SOUND STEAD (w/ TBA)
Thursday, July 03, 2014 – Covington, KY – THREE KINGS BAR (w/ Coelacanth & Drowner)
Friday, July 04, 2014 – Indianapolis, IN – HOUSE SHOW (w/ Windmill of Corpses)
Saturday, July 05, 2014 – Chicago IL – COBRA LOUNGE (w/ Demonitron, Dia Rrhena)
Sunday, July 06, 2014 – Madison, WI – DAS GEWOLBE (w/ Poney, Red Museum)
Monday, July 07, 2014 – Milwaukee, WI – FRANK’S POWER PLANT (w/ Northless & Asatta)
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 – Wausau WI – THE STANK (w/ TBA)
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 – Minneapolis MN – THE TOILET STORE (w/ Morality Crisis, Aziza)
Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Des Moines IA – HULL AVE TAVERN (w/ Agrinex)
Friday July 11, 2014 – Kansas City MO – VANDALS (w/ Keef Mountain +1TBA)
Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Columbia MO – PESTE DE MERDE (w/ TBA)
Sunday, July 13, 2014 – Saint Louis MO – FUBAR (w/ Requiem, +1 TBA)
Monday, July 14, 2014 – Lexington KY – SIDECAR (w/ Arktos & Sonic Altar)
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Huntington WV – HOUSE SHOW (w/ TBA)
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Nashville TN – THE SPRING WATER (w/ Across Tundras, Brother Ares)
Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Atlanta GA – 529 ROOM (w/ The Dirty Magazines, Crawl)
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Knoxville TN – THE POISON LAWN (w/ TBA)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Asheville NC – THE ODDITORIUM (w/ TBA)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 – Charlotte NC – THE MILESTONE (w/ Highchair Tyrant)
Monday, July 21, 2014 – West Columbia SC -NEW BROOKLAND TAVERN (w/ Darkentries)
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Richmond VA – EMPIRE (w/ TBA)
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Roanoke VA – TBA (w/ TBA)
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Washington DC – THE PINCH BAR (w/ TBA)
Friday, July 25, 2014 – Baltimore, MD – TRON’S HOUSE (w/ Lotus Fuckers)
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Brooklyn NY – THE ACHERON (w/ Insect Ark & Sangharsha)
Wednesday July 30th, 2014 – Philadelphia PA – JR’S BAR (w/ Zafakon (Puerto Rico), Meddlesome Bells)

***Past Decibrity entries include:

The Atlas Moth
Arch Enemy
Archspire
Cormorant
Eyehategod (Part 1) (Part 2)
Floor
Iron Reagan
Fight Amp
Cynic
Melt-Banana
Junius (Part 1) (Part 2)
Alcest
East Of The Wall
Enabler
Wolvserpent
Drugs Of Faith
SubRosa (Part 1) (Part 2)
Vattnet Viskar
Skeletonwitch
Ihsahn
Earthless
Watain
Orange Goblin
God Is An Astronaut
Primitive Man
Gorguts
Exhumed
Ulcerate
Pelican
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Howl
Kings Destroy
Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)