Search results for 'the beast of the apocalypse':

A Very Heavy Metal Halloween: Adam Ahlbrandt

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

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Ask writer/director/provocateur extraordinaire Adam Ahlbrandt for his job description and here is what he’ll tell you:

“I make audio/visual filth, gore, death and sleaze.”

This is no idle boast as anyone who has seen either Ahlbrandt’s uncompromising, viscera-festooned feature-length films – Cross Bearer (2012); The Cemetery (2013) — or his nightmarish music videos for band such as Today Is The Day, Burnt By The Sun, Circle Of Dead Children, and Agoraphobic Nosebleed can no doubt attest. (Last year we praised the death metal heavy soundtrack of The Cemetery here.)

Though Ahlbrandt is hard at work on his next splatter platter — The Sadist, starring legit scream queen Linnea Quigley and featuring a score by Steve Austin of Today Is The Day — the hardcore auteur was kind enough to help kick off our Halloween month coverage with this list of songs he’d most like to adapt for a horror film. Enjoy!

When I’m writing I usually put on music to help me escape reality and envision the story I’m working on. So when Decibel asked me to do this list, I had a million ideas already in mind. It was hard to leave things off. Bands like Gorguts, Exhumed, Deafhaven, Isis, Discordance Axis, Sun 0)))… All are constantly in my CD player. Below are a selection of songs that I’d love to put in a movie or do a music video for, out of an impossibly large reservoir. These thirteen songs are a few that I’ve found myself listening to and dreaming about getting to put during the most vile and violent scenes…

13. “43% Burnt,” The Dillinger Escape Plan

This song is a sonic killing spree. It plays like a circus tent machine gun massacre. The unrelenting time changes and sheer speed would be perfect score to watch a wave of human bodies turn into distorted mounds of mangled flesh. I imagine that in the ensuing melee stampeding elephants trample through the packed tent, setting the bangle tigers free from their steel cage. The once sturdy bars crumple under the crushing weight of the hysteria stricken beast. With the lion tamer pinned under three thousand pounds of writhing elephant the tigers stalk among the panicked mass, picking off the young and weak. Rounds pump through the fleeing attendees as Bobo gets his rocks off on wholesale slaughter, shrieking with glee each time a .308 slug slams home into it’s target…

12. “Sophistic Demise,” Fleshgod Apocalypse

Sucker For Punishment: Heavy Metal Breakdow-ow-own

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

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This was a week where the heavily hyped albums and hive mind faves were few and far between, forcing a metal critic to – gasp – do some actual digging. And there is indeed some interesting stuff out there, including work by some old German veterans I’d counted out long ago, a children’s deathcore band that just might be growing up, and a really cool black metal nugget from Greece.

Betraying The Martyrs, Phantom (Sumerian): There are flashes of inspiration on this latest album by the French kiddiecore band, moments that cleverly combine deathcore and the symphonic death metal of Fleshgod Apocalypse, but there’s always so much going on that it winds up feeling far too busy for its own good. And the less said about the obnoxious, overly loud sound of this record, the better.

Demonic Resurrection, The Demon King (Candlelight): The Mumbai band is back with another helping of blackened death metal, and this record shows some decent growth, its melodic passages starting to sound more confident. The singing lacks the kind of strength needed to effectively serve as a counter to the harsher, more extreme parts, but a track like “Facing the Faceless” shows that these guys are on the right track.

Grave Digger, Return Of The Reaper (Napalm): A week after Judas priest’s 17th album came out, Germany’s grave Digger is releasing its own 17th album, yet on this continent you won’t see anywhere near the same excitement. Strictly a European phenomenon with only a small cult following over here, gravel-gargling singer Chris Boltendahl and his bandmates have been churning out albums with regularity, so much so that it’s been easy to take it all for granted. Of course, it didn’t help that the band’s last few albums have motored along complacently, but it’s a very pleasant surprise to find Return of the Reaper so energetic, impassioned, and catchy, stacked with fist-pumping metal anthems from start to finish. There’s no reason anyone who enjoys Priest’s Redeemer of Souls shouldn’t feel the same about this record. To ignore it would be foolish.

Illuminate Me, I Have Become A Corpse (Tragic Hero): If you play this sort of Converge-derived hardcore and can’t even come close to competing with the real thing, what’s the bloody point?

Kult of Taurus/Erevos Aenaon, Born of Fire, Forged By Death (Forever Plagued): This split release is one that’ll interest fans of underground black metal, as the two Greek bands have joined forces. Kult of Taurus come through with four raw, savage, fleeting takes on their black metal sound, while Erevos Aenaon is a revelation, these four tracks evoking the primitive fury of early black metal, executed with awe-inspiring power.

Lazer/Wulf, The Beast of Left and Right (Retro Futurist): It’s awfully lazy to quote a band’s press release, but the Athens, GA band’s explanation for this album is so convoluted that it’s best to quote directly: “We wrote the album to be a palindrome – that is, it’s the same backwards and forwards. The album is in two distinct halves, Left and Right, and we wrote them to be the “opposite” of each other. On the full 9-track version that’s on CD, track 1 uses the exact same chords, riffs and drum tracks as track 9 but one is major and the other is minor; track 2 lyrically opposes track 8; track 3 uses the rhythm of track 7 backwards (we even recorded the guitars for track 3 backwards and reversed them to the version that’s on the album); track 4 uses all the same drum parts and melodies as track 6 but the song structure is backwards, and 5 is the center track – no song opposes it, but it incorporates parts of the songs on either side of it.”

Good lord. But does it work? I suppose if you’re an obsessive student of music theory you’ll get a huge nerdy kick out of the whole structure of the thing, but what’s far, far more important is one’s instinctual reaction to the music. Personally, I find it at times jaw-dropping in its dexterity, coming across as more playful than arch, but still at times these compositions leave me grasping for any hook to latch on to, only to have that happen intermittently. The musical chops on display are undeniable, but epic tracks like the “Choose Again” pieces are in sore need of hooks.

Novembers Doom, Bled White (The End): The ninth album by the Chicago death/doom mainstays often treads very familiar territory, but it’s when the music strays from the usual well-worn path that the album gets truly interesting. Three great examples are “Just Breathe”, “Clear”, and “The Memory Room”, which step away from the harsher elements to make room for more sumptuous melodies, and the end result approaches the melancholy majesty of vintage Katatonia. I always wish Novembers Doom would explore this side of their music more fully instead of merely dabbling, but as it stands this is another reliable, enjoyable effort by a consistently good band.

Pelican, Arktika (self-released): The Chicago instrumental post-metalers have always been a very strong live act, and that’s been proven on this recording of a show they did in St. Petersburg, Russia last year. The energy is palpable on these tracks, which, typical of Pelican, ebb and flow with a level of confidence that seems to benefit immensely from the spontaneity that live performances bring. Zach Smith premiered the album last week, and I highly suggest you give it a listen.

Suicide Silence, You Can’t Stop Me (Nuclear Blast): The death of Suicide Silence vocalist Mitch Lucker was horribly sad – as reprehensible as driving while drunk is, nobody deserves to die at such a young age – so a few more eyes than usual are on the popular Los Angeles deathcore band as they try to rebound. As I always say, extreme metal screamers are a dime a dozen and easy to replace, but Suicide Silence did something brilliant, taking on Eddie Hermida from longtime deathcore stalwarts All Shall Perish, and on this fourth album you cannot deny his charismatic presence is a massive, massive improvement. Coupled with songwriting that, for the first time ever from this band, shows genuine growth and competence, this is one of the more pleasant surprises of the summer. Considering that I absolutely loathed this band’s previous work, this is very high praise.

Unaussprechlichen Kulten, Baphomet Pan Shub-Niggurath (Iron Bonehead): Although it’s not exactly the most exciting death metal album of the year, these Chileans at least deserve credit for creating a sound that dips into vintage thrash as well as doom, which gives the music some welcome contrast and respite from all the blistering extremity, which at times can be as impenetrable as the band’s ridiculous name.

Volumes, No Sleep (Mediaskare): If you play this sort of Meshuggah-derived “djent” music and can’t even come close to competing with the real thing, what’s the bloody point?

Not metal, but worth hearing:

Weird Al Yankovic, Mandatory Fun (RCA): It’s a testament to the demented talent of the man that Weird Al has been able to make his parody gimmick last this long. It’s not exactly easy to keep up, with pop music being so ephemeral in this day and age, but the man comes through with renditions of recent hits that range from all-out groaners (Lorde’s “Royals” turned into an ode to tinfoil) to instances where the parodies turn out better than the originals (the hilarious “Tacky”, the witty “Word Crimes”). Of course, there’s the usual polka medley that’s always a blast, but the real fun is had on his original compositions, whether mimicking Crosby, Stills & Nash (“Mission Statement”) or coming through with an absolutely inspired Pixies imitation (“First World Problems”), all pulled off with incredible versatility by Yankovic’s crack band of 30-odd years. It’s all so very stupid, but joyously so, and further proof that nobody skewers – and sometimes improves – pop music like Weird Al.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

Tales From the Metalnomicon: James Newman

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, lists On: Friday, March 29th, 2013

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Welcome to Tales From the Metalnomicon, a twice-monthly column delving into the surprisingly vast world of heavy metal-tinged/inspired literature and metalhead authors…

Tales first encountered the infernally enchanting work of James Newman when the stalwart badasses over at Shock Totem re-released his uber-excellent “ode to 1980s horror” The Wicked last year, and subsequent forays into his “coming-of-age thriller” Midnight Rain and human-psyche-plumbing Animosity proved every bit as satisfying. Now, as Newman prepares to unleash his insane-sounding fourth novel Ugly As Sin upon the world it seemed as good a time as any to query the hard rock/heavy metal enthusiast about the soundtrack to his apocalypse…

There was a time in my life when I was proud to call myself a Horror Writer. Horror is what I grew up reading/watching, and I used to dream of being “the next Stephen King” — which hasn’t happened yet, in case you were wondering. It never failed to piss me off when I read interviews with writers I admired, and they insisted that they weren’t horror writers. They sounded ashamed of it, and I took that shit personally.

We live and learn, though. We change as we grow older. The things that we used to consider so important fall by the wayside and no longer seem like such a big deal. Now I understand completely where my favorite authors were coming from. Make no mistake: I will never apologize for my love of the macabre. I still write horror often — although usually in the short form — and I have no doubt that every piece of fiction I write for the rest of my life will have one foot planted firmly “in the darkness.” I can promise that you won’t be reading any romance novels with my name on the spine. But straight-up horror is no longer the only thing I write. And these days I’m just fine with that.

There is a point to all of this. Honestly. It just took me a while to get to it.

Just like horror isn’t the only thing I write, the hard rock and metal I grew up listening to isn’t the only kind of music I dig these days. It’s certainly not the only thing I have playing in the background as I’m working on my latest project. In fact, the older I get, I find any music with vocals tends to be distracting. Instead of focusing on whatever story I’m working on, I find myself wanting to sing along, bang my head, and pump my fist in the air. There are exceptions to every rule, however…

You’ll notice multiple genres are represented here. Some of it is spooky, some of it rocks, and some of it just gets my juices flowing and makes me want to create.

Create what? Well, that depends on my mood…

I’m not sure if I’d go so far as to say that I prefer Dio-era Sabbath over the band’s output with Ozzy, but I do love the two incarnations equally. All the same, this album has long been my favorite Black Sabbath album. Such a brilliant collection of classic heavy metal tunes, full of raw, blistering power but also moments of eerie beauty.

STREAMING: Valdur “Blast Beast”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

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Deep in the heart of east central California—that’d be Mono County or to be more specific Mammoth Lakes—lies one of the most enigmatic black metal outfits this side of France. Although Valdur aren’t particularly coy about revealing where they’re from, they’re pretty tight on who they are. Formed in ’03 but fiercely independent—their close affiliation with Bloody Mountain Records is no secret—Valdur have crafted two full-lengths and numerable one-off singles and EPs, the latest of which is The Hammer Pit EP.

To kick off the final moments of 2012—yes, we’re still here; no apocalypse—we’ve teamed up with Valdur’s unnamed emissary to premiere new track, “Blast Beast.” One listen in and it’s pretty evident Valdur have designed its last song of the Year Of The Dragon with uncompromising effect. The guitars swirl like a wicked blizzard at night, the drums blaaast! an unheard of brutality, and the vocals sound like they come from the blackest depths of the Mammoth Mountain. And then there’s that ominous horn-like sound permeating the soundscape. The end of the world or the beginning of an evil era, Valdur certainly understand black metal’s key dynamics without making them sound tired.

So, as 2012 clicks to a close, ‘spin’ “Blast Beast” from Valdur’s upcoming as-yet-untitled long-player. It might be the last black metal you’ll ever hear. Oh, wait. 12/21/2012 already passed, right?!

** Valdur’s new EP, Blast Beast, is available directly from the mighty Valdur as a digital download. Go HERE to seal your fate in swirl of chaos and impending doom. Now, don’t argue, just do it!

INTERVIEW: Terrorizer’s Anthony “Wolf” Rezhawk on the real zombie apocalypse

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, April 13th, 2012

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Speaking to Terrorizer frontman Anthony “Wolf” Rezhawk just before comeback LP Hordes of Zombies dropped, there was a lot that needed thrashing out. Firstly, there was the prospect of the Californian grind crew getting back together again after founding member Jesse Pintado’s death in 2006. Also, drummer Pete “Commando” Sandoval’s well-publicized back trouble, which has kept him off the Morbid Angel drum stool in recent years, was sure to be a problem.

Hiring Rezhawk’s Resistant Culture bandmate, Katina Culture, on guitar, Terrorizer reformed in 2009. This is the unabridged story of how they pieced the band back together, and why they used the undead for a muse.

Putting Terrorizer back together must have taken a long time, and a lot of consideration, how did it come about?
“Yeah, after Jesse passed away it was really a time to just mourn his death and put aside any ideas for the future. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what was gonna happen, but in 2008, at the end of 2008, I got a phonecall from Pete and he asked me if I was interested in doing a demo and it was at that time that we had the conversation whether we should do this and continue with the legacy, or not. He said that he still had that fire burning in him. He said, ‘Hey, I’m the last original member here and I feel that I want to continue’. Also, he felt that Jesse would have wanted it to be that way, so after talking about this for a little while we agreed to get together and record a five-song demo, which ended up being a full album. That’s pretty much how it happened. It was one of those things where you just jump into it and see what’s going to come out of it.”

At first, I guess it would have been more important how it felt rather than how it sounded?
“That was one of the reasons why we got Katina; she had already played with Jesse in my other band, Resistant Culture. They had spent countless hours playing together, and he really enjoyed playing with her so it was a natural thing, it just felt like that would be a good way to continue because there were some connections there, some family-type connections as far as the music was concerned. Personally I wasn’t that worried that the music wasn’t going to be all there it was more of the spirit, getting to that point to see how it was going to feel, but gladly it just all worked out super-smooth, y’know.”

The Beast of the Apocalypse — “Henosis”

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: listen On: Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

There’s a whole lot of scary to live up to when one christens a band The Beast of the Apocalypse, but on Henosis these down and dirty Dutch black metallers give the Dark One a run for his money. The Dictionary of Spiritual Terms defines henosis as “the soul’s purification, accomplished primarily through philosophy, culminates in noetic vision and finally in mystical union,” but I feel more like Beelzebub just sent me an awesome-yet-unsettling mix tape.

“The self-titled track, ‘Henosis,’ is for us the perfect balance point on the album as it captures best what we wish to convey with our music — primitive, mystical atmospheres and states of complete frenzy,” H.T. Mozes, one half of the TBOTA duo, tells Decibel. “The inspiration from this peculiar track comes directly from our interpretation, on various planes of understanding, of the One, Henosis.”

Right. Well…check out the track for yourself below. Album artwork after the jump.

Henosis by Decibel Magazine