The Proselyte: The Deciblog Interview and Full Album Stream

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, tours On: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

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Back in the day there were shiny things called songs. Albums were filled with good songs rather than two or three wankfests. Now, in the hands of the right band long songs can be potent (see: Sleep and YOB). But heavy songs that are infectious with less real estate are also a very good thing.

One band doing songs right is The Proselyte from Cambridge, who mix pop with Decibel approved influences like Floor, My Bloody Valentine and Converge. We liked their recent album Our Vessel’s In Need so much we tracked down guitarist/vocalist Nicholas Wolf for an afternoon conversation. We’re also streaming the full record below. If you need even more proof you can see them this month when they tour with The Atlas Moth.

How would you describe your music to someone who isn’t familiar with it?

We’re black sheep in everything we do. We’ve toured with crust bands and bands that do classic 70s riffs. We want to write dirgy music that’s difficult to digest but put so much pop sensibility on it that you have to like it. We want to make it indigestible but with a sweet aftertaste.

My understanding is that these songs were written in a blizzard?

Our drummer Alec (Rodriguez) works at New Alliance Studio in Cambridge. It’s been a staple in the Boston music community for a long time. Nick (Zampiello) did all the Isis and Pelican stuff and has been a go-to guy in heavy music. When we book we do it on a friend schedule – we just have to make sure they don’t lose money. We booked time way ahead and then the giant blizzard happened. We had a discussion whether or not we do this because the governor (Deval Patrick) was thinking about declaring a state of emergency and telling everyone to stay put. We just decided to say fuck it. We had a film crew there and they suddenly thought it would be more interesting. There were three of them stuck with us in a windowless building.

That environment can’t help but bleed into your music.

The ideas were already together and we knew what we were going for. But the circumstances surrounding the recording can definitely be heard. Not everyone goes to make a record and ends up sleeping on the control room floor because it’s illegal to drive. We tried to open the door at one point and the drifts broke the top door hinge off. We screwed the hinge back in and cabin fever set in. You can hear it on the record.

Floor was a big influence, correct?

No one is going to deny that Floor is heavy as fuck. But it’s essentially just detuned pop music. You can throw it on when it’s nice out and in the winter it also shines. I’m not going to say we’ve reached that but it’s definitely what we aspire to do. I like to make music that makes sense to the listener. Alec and I have been harmonizing for so long that it comes easy. We come with some notes on our iPhones and put together lyrics that work and turn them into melodies. So we’re definitely melody based.

Brad (Macomber, bass) and I grew up surrounded by talented people. When I got to the age I’d go to local shows. I’d see bands like Converge and Cave In at VFWs and gyms in the suburbs. The bar was set very high very young. Cave In was only about five year older. I was taught that if you want to go for it you need to practice, keep doing it, get better.

You must have seen Converge in their formative years?

I saw them several times pre Jane Doe when it was an entirely different style. That record changed the game not just for them but for everyone. To get to see a band like that in their younger years taught me if you aren’t bleeding, somehow injured, out of breath or dehydrated at the end of a set you don’t deserve fans (laughs).

How do you feel about the comparisons that you are heavier version of 90s music? Do you have things in common with Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden?

There’s a stigma to that music so when the comparisons do come they can be a deterrent. But I’m 31 and grew up with that stuff and you can’t take away what you listened to. I learned to play guitar from Superunknown and it does affect how I write a guitar lead. I only worry that there is a stigma in that I don’t want people to think it sucks (laughs).

The same people would make that criticism probably haven’t sat down with Songs From The Vatican Gift Shop. That’s a really good record.

Well, we don’t have a sound we’re going for. We’re a sonic based band. There’s a lot of diversity and tone on the record. If I want to have an inaudible squall I have a box for it. So I can listen to stuff that I liked growing up and add those effects to my arsenal.

How do you think people will perceive the band?

I think we translate well in a recording. I think seeing us live will put it in perspective. We are an aggressive band but the recordings have sheen to them. We won’t make vocals sound like crap. Some people really like it and some people really hate it. No one thinks it’s o.k. It’s always a yes or no and never a maybe.

An intense like or hatred is better than middle of the road.

I thrive on knowing you either really like it or don’t care for it at all.

The cover of the record reminded me of Edward Gorey.

The artist (Bill Crisafi) gets that comparison all the time. He’s very interested in all things Gorey and New England. It came from this house that was recurring in a dream I had for the better part of my life. It was new England colonial house. I feel like I’m going to drive past it in Salem or somewhere else in Massachusetts. I described it to him and the shifty idea of what it looked like. Without any edits it was perfect.

Why the single light in the window?

It’s an SOS. You need to let anyone viewing it know what it might be in shambles but someone is living there. There’s still light but it’s struggling.

What’s the song “An Irish Goodbye” about?

In Boston, an Irish goodbye is when you get so drunk you just disappear without saying goodbye to anyone (laughs). The next morning you are like “did I just disappear?” I seem to notice more people pulling the Irish goodbye more than in the past. I’ve definitely pulled my share in the past but now I write songs about it.

We put Floor in our Hall Of Fame and got some grief from purists about it. Was it the right call?

Absolutely. They’re an integral part of extreme music.

See The Proselyte:

10/04 Columbus, OH (no Atlas Moth)
10/06 Des Moines, IA – Vaudeville Mews
10/08 Denver, CO – Moon Room
10/09 Salt Lake City, UT – Shred Shed
10/10 Boise, ID – The Shredder
10/11 Spokane, WA – The Hop
10/12 Seattle, WA – The Highline
10/14 San Francisco, The Hemlock
10/15 Los Angeles, CA – The Complex
10/19 El Paso, TX – The Sandbox
10/20 Austin, TX – Mohawk
10/21 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s
10/22 Oklahoma City, OK – The Conservatory
10/23 Kansas City, MO – Czar Bar
10/24 Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen

Nader Sadek and Decibel Join Forces for “Malefic”

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

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Is there any heavy metal story more heroic and heartening than that of Nader Sadek?

Seriously. Here is a serious connoisseur of extreme music and culture — not to mention an extraordinary visual artist — who came up in a time and place — that would be Egypt in the eighties — where his interests were neither appreciated nor sanctioned; a man who made his way out into the world, mixed it up in the New York City art scene, got a gig as a stage artist for fucking Mayhem before serving as artistic director of his own eponymous death metal monolith manned by current and former members of Cryptopsy, Morbid Angel, Ava Inferi, Cattle Decapitation, Mayhem, Death, Sepultura, and Behemoth.

Ponder that insane journey for a moment.

Now, we’ll never be able to give Sadek the horns-up ticker-tape parade down Broadway he deserves, but Decibel is offering him — and you! — perhaps the next best thing: His band’s upcoming leveller of a four song EP The Malefic: Chapter III will be released as a free CD insert in our December issue (#122). Subscribe here.

We recently caught up with Sadek for a brief chat on Malefic, the inner workings of his musical outlet, and why he chose distribution via Decibel

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So In the Flesh was an excellent release, but The Malefic: Chapter III definitely feels like some next level shit.

Watch A New Video From Instrumentalists Jakob

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, videos On: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

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New Zealand trio Jakob have a strong release history behind them, but they have been largely absent over the past several years due to injuries that have kept them from playing and recording.  All that is done now, and the band unveils the video for “Blind Them With Science”, the lead-off track from their forthcoming Mylene Sheath release Sines (October 17 in New Zealand and Australia, October 21 in Europe and the United States).  Check out the video below, then read up on the band’s drive and direction on the new record.

Can you describe (in more detail than your online bio) what injuries the band members suffered and when, since your last album?

In September 2008 I [Jeff Boyle, guitar] had arthroscopic surgery on an elongated ulna bone in my right wrist. Basically it means the ulna keeps growing and starts to tear the ligaments that are attached to the bones surrounding it. In April 2010 Maurice [Beckett, bass] broke his left metacarpal 5 bone. At the beginning of December 2011 Jason [Johnston, drums] lacerated his ‘little’ & ‘ring’ fingers to the bone, which meant his main tendons had to be retrieved and reconnected.

Were there particular emotional/conceptual or musical ideas you were interested in exploring with this new music?

I think with this album we were mainly trying to move forward musically. We were really conscious of not stagnating and recycling old ideas. It’s definitely the most crafted album we’ve done so far. As much as we originate ideas quite organically, we worked on elaborating on those ideas in different ways. Like with “Blind Them With Science” we wanted to get some riff action on because we hadn’t really done anything like that so far. And it was kind of a tip of the hat to some bands we had toured with like ISIS, Pelican & Tool. We also wanted to take these songs in a more cinematic direction, using string sections, pianos and samples to bring in other timbres to create a more cinematic mood. A lot of the time with our ambient parts I’m kind of playing guitar with a mind to appropriate a string section anyway so this pretty much just an extension of that.

 Over what length of time was the music for Sines actually written?

Some of the songs that made it onto Sines have actually been around in one shape or form since 2008. “Magna Carta” & “Harmonia” both originated from the writing sessions we did when we got back from touring with ISIS in Europe. The ideas for “Blind Them With Science”, “Emergent” & “Resolve” were originated in 2010. “Darkness” and “Sines” were the last to be written in 2012.

How do you think the band members have grown in technique over the time you have worked together?  Has this altered the sound of Jakob over time?

We’ve all developed our techniques over the years for sure. A big part of that has been in doing other musical projects. Maurice started a solo project called Desbot which has since turned into a band, Jason played with the Tiki Taane Live crew and I worked with Rhian Sheehan on a couple albums. I think when you start creating music with other people, parts of their style can work its way in your own. We’ve definitely taken pieces of what we’ve done with these other projects and brought them into this new album.

Where does Jakob go from here?

We want to get into some touring again now that this album is finally all done and about to be released. We’ll definitely head back over to Europe and USA next year for pretty extensive tours. And we’re already talking about the next album which I think we’ll try and record quite simply this time. Mainly we’ll keep trying to progress and evolve musically.

For more Jakob, check out their official webpage and their Bandcamp site.  Pre-order the album at iTunes or at Bandcamp, or head over to Mylene Sheath to pre-order the CD or 2XLP.

Sucker For Punishment: Needle Groper, Pinkeye Poker

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

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The situation surrounding the release of Witch Mountain’s latest album is not one you see very often. It’s one thing for a metal band to lose a singer – a real test of a metal band’s greatness is how difficult it is to replace the singer – but to see a band whose career was transformed by the addition of a supreme vocal talent suddenly part ways with that singer mere days before the release of a highly anticipated new album is surreal to say the least. But that’s what happened with the Portland band; after a tremendous victory lap tour across North America with Nik Turner’s Hawkwind, the formidable Uta Plotkin has stepped down, leaving three of the best doom albums of the last decade as her legacy.

Mobile of Angels (Profound Lore), her third and final work with Witch Mountain, is a slight departure, one that benefits the record immensely and after a few listens asserts itself as the superior work. While Plotkin’s booming voice, which can range from guttural growls, to high-pitched shrieks, to lower-register bellows, to moments of tenderness and soul is the focal point, it’s never the sole reason Witch Mountain is what it is. Guitarist Rob Wrong, the band’s central composer, is just as key, and the contrast, the give-and-take between Wrong and Plotkin is what ultimately makes – erm, made – this particular foursome so special. Wrong’s style of doom metal is far more rooted in blues than, say, fellow Oregonians YOB, and the way he trades solo licks with Plotkin’s voice on “Can’t Settle”, or how he helps accentuate her devilish blues vocals on “Your Corrupt Ways (Sour the Hymn)”, is a marvel to hear.

Four of the five songs here take their own sweet time, as epic doom metal has a tendency to do, but deep down these tracks are very deliberately traditional, old-fashioned. The only difference is that they’re played slowly, anchored beautifully by Nathan Carson’s precise, extremely disciplined drumming. Two tracks make the most immediate impact, starting with opening cut “Psycho Animundi”, which follows the lead of the 2012 tune “Bloodhound”, focusing more on menace and confrontation, Plotkin’s forceful, husky voice commanding your attention before giving way to the expressive solo work by Wrong. Much different, and more revelatory, is “The Shape Truth Takes”, which closes the record. A blues ballad in the tradition of Deep Purple’s “Mistreated” Plotkin’s sensitivity achieves a similar effect to that of Anneke van Giersbergen’s groundbreaking work with The Gathering, bringing a level of femininity to such a masculine form of music that stops you dead in your tracks. It’s the prettiest and most restrained track Witch Mountain has ever done, producer Billy Anderson helping build the seven-minute song to a majestic climax. Better yet, it’s a remarkable high note for Plotkin to end her tenure on. She will undoubtedly be missed, but with that perennial strength of Wrong as the songwriter, people have every reason to believe this band will be back on its feet very soon. If Wrong can create chemistry with the next singer that works as well as Plotkin did, then that’ll be even better.

Stream and purchase Witch Mountain’s Mobile of Angels via Bandcamp.

This week’s a big one, with a few more year-end list contenders. Read on:

1349, Massive Cauldron of Chaos (Season of Mist): Good for 1349 for putting out albums at a consistent enough rate and touring North America regularly enough to make them a fairly popular black metal band on this continent, but aside from their cover of Pink Floyd’s “Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun” is there actually any music of theirs that has any worth? This sixth album is yet another example where the whole process feels like a checklist rather than a memorable piece of music. Requisite black metal clichés, tropes, and playing styles are ticked off one by one, and it’s all done rather convincingly, save for the songwriting, which rarely rises above tepid. The song “Mengele’s” is a great example, with its snappy riff and head-bobbing groove, but like the incomplete title you’re left feeling oddly unsatisfied. Mengele’s what, guys? Mengele’s what?

Black Crown Initiate, The Wreckage of Stars (eOne): You hear moments where this young band could potentially swipe the torch from the once-mighty Between the Buried and Me, but for now this album merely follows the lead of BTBAM and Opeth a little too devoutly rather than coming up with its own ideas. It’s a good effort, but this band is clearly still growing, and I’ll be very curious to hear what these guys come up with next.

Butcher Babies, Uncovered (Century Media): Listen to these attention-seeking hacks massacre ZZ Top’s “Beer Drinkers and Hell Raisers”, and you’ll lose all faith in humanity. And Tank’s “Crazy Horses” cover is what you should be listening to, not the nu-metal shit these children are doing here. Shame on Century Media on pushing this garbage and ignoring a talented band on its roster like Wolf.

Death Penalty, Death Penalty (Rise Above): This band might be new, but it boasts a pedigree no new bands can boast, featuring former Cathedral guitarist Gaz Jennings and singer Michelle Nocon and drummer Frederik Cosemans from Belgian doomsters Serpentcult. Named after Witchfinder General’s Death Penalty, the greatest doom album by a band not named Black Sabbath or Candlemass, it’s also a fitting comparison, as Jennings finds a comfortable middle ground between hard-charging NWOBHM riffs and towering doom grooves. Nocon was already renowned for her great singing voice with Serpentcult, but she shows even greater range on these nine old-school rampagers. If “Howling at the Throne of Decadence”, “Written By the Insane”, and “Eyes of the Heretic” don’t leave you convinced this is one of the best new bands of 2014, the Tank-style jam “Immortal in Your Hands” will. In a month where Electric Wizard’s Jus Osborn was very outspoken in his dislike for Rise Above/Cathedral boss Lee Dorrian (be sure to read the Decibel cover story), Dorrian has quietly countered with the far superior album.

Decapitated, Blood Mantra (Nuclear Blast): It hasn’t been easy for Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka to rebuild Decapitated after the devastating 2007 crash that killed drummer Witold “Vitek” Kieltyka and seriously injured then-vocalist Adrian “Covan” Kowanek. Slowly but surely the guitarist got things back together with 2011’s impressive Carnival is Forever, but this follow-up, the band’s sixth full-length, is a monumental step forward. Vogg’s brand of technical death metal was always highly unique, but this time around those idiosyncrasies dominate instead of sharing the stage with traditional death metal ideas and forms. “Brutality” gives way for quirkier experiments, whether in Sepultura-inspired grooves or Meshuggah-style stuttered syncopation, yet never for a second feels derivative, instead using it all as a springboard to something he and the band can call their own. And the more adventurous this album gets, the better it is, as on “Red Sun”, the taut “Nest”, and the spectacular “Blindness”. This is a sensational piece of work by a stalwart band that finally, truly feels reborn in the wake of tragedy.

Electric Wizard, Time To Die (Spinefarm): The eighth album by the doom favourites is a strange one, alternating between moments where you feel Jus Osborn and Liz Buckingham recapturing the past glory of the classic Dopethrone and instances of pure tedium. At its best the record thunders and swings with force and grace (“I Am Nothing”, “Sadiowitch”, “Lucifer’s Slaves”), but far too often the songs slip into boring, extended jams that make no effort to leave an impression on the listener. Even worse is the overall tone of the record, which tries to sound abrasive but ultimately feels like an exercise in lo-fi gimmickry, with vocals by Osborn that sound like he just doesn’t give a shit anymore. Where’s the power this band is renowned for? They’re badly underachieving on this album, and someone at Spinefarm should have told them to come back with something befitting the Electric Wizard legacy. Despite its handful of good moments I’m not buying this music for a second, and neither should you.

Evergrey, Hymns For the Broken (AFM): Evergrey always has a good following, but it also seems as if they’re taken for granted, or worse, ignored by the hipper-than-thou underground set who refuse to find merit in strong heavy metal melodies. Well, sorry, kvltists who think metal should be “extreme” and “ugly” all the time, but this is a great band that so consistently mines the more ornate, gothic side of the genre, coming through with music that’s grandiose, epic in scope, and perpetually in keeping with what makes metal metal. Sure, Tom Englund has a habit of drifting into schmaltz, but what is gothic metal if not a bit schmaltzy? This is one hell of a good album (“King of Errors” is an absolute gem) that dives into melodic melodrama with shameless abandon. It’s a beautiful thing.

Gatekrashör, Gatekrashör (self-released): As I always say, I love any young band that looks and sounds permanently stuck in 1984. Of course, it’s important for heavy metal to keep moving forward, but it’s just as important for bands to keep the traditional flame alive, to keep the vintage sounds and ideas alive, whether derived from late-‘60s proto-metal, to those formative 1970s sounds, to the energy of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Or in this Calgary band’s case, the classic sounds of the great Canadian imprint Banzai Records. These four guys get it, from aesthetic to music, a charmingly lo-fi onslaught of speed and energy inspired by Jag Panzer, Agent Steel, Liege Lord, and most of all, Exciter. It is derivative, and revels in it, celebrates it. Anyone into whatever Hells Headbangers puts out will absolutely love this sucker, from “Force of the Blade” to the brilliant “Heavy Metal Rangers”. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Khold, Til Endes (Peaceville): The most interesting aspect of this latest album by the Norwegian weirdos isn’t the comically evil vocals, nor the cookie-cutter black metal riffing, but the hardcore punk element that permeates the music. When this album cranks the punk, wither via atonal riffs or straightforward grooves, it starts to set itself apart from the usual black metal conventions. Of course, that’s only flirted with. Had this band gone all in, then maybe it could have yielded something worth people’s time.

Meshuggah, I; The Ophidian Trek (Nuclear Blast): Meshuggah’s 2013 North American tour was something to behold, a masterful exercise in dexterity and awe-inspiring power by one of the best and most influential bands of the last 20 years. Now the band’s served up a cool little memento in the form of The Ophidian Trek, which was filmed at Wacken Open Air 2013 and features the exact same setlist. As with any other live DVD shot at Wacken, it can look a little sterile with little interaction between the band and its audience, but in Meshuggah’s case it works to their great advantage. These guys are so clinical in their approach, the music meant to be cold and precise, and it’s delivered impeccable here. Meanwhile, the long out-of-print I EP from 2004, featuring the stupendous 20-minute composition of the same name, finally sees a proper re-release in a special expanded edition. Personally I found this EP to be far more exciting experiment in cut-and-paste composition than the very disappointing Catch Thirtythree, and it’s great to see it back in this nifty edition that comes appended by a couple of live tracks and the studio track “Pitch Black”, which was originally released last year by Scion.

Nightbringer, Ego Dominus Tuus (Season of Mist): For anyone interested in finding the best black metal album this week, look no further than these Colorado guy. Always a consistently good band, Nightbringer is in strong form on this latest album, the sound suitably ferocious and overwhelming, but with plenty of melodic departures that range from classically inspired to good old progressive rock. At more than 70 minutes, it’s a challenging, strenuous listen, but while it would have benefitted greatly by having at least half an hour lopped off – the album would have left a much more immediate impression – this is nevertheless an example of a band completely understanding how to capture the sheer power of classic black metal, remaining firmly rooted in tradition but still plenty capable of carving out its own identity.

Sempiternal Dusk, Sempiternal Dusk (Dark Descent): Hailing from Portland, Oregon, this band plumbs the depths of primitive death metal, eschewing technical dexterity and “extremity” for churning, ritualistic grooves and brooding ambience. Lumbering along mightily with as keen a sense for melody as sheer force, this is the kind of death metal that remembers to create a sense of death so vivid you can almost smell the stench.

Sparky, #Humanimation (self-released): My patience has worn thin with “progressive” metal that shows no real progress at all, but this Canadian band has come through with one weird record, a total headscratcher that’ll have you dancing. Instrumentally as taut as King Crimson yet as playful as Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, Sparky remembers to incorporate a sense of fun to the music, and that levity makes this sneakily catchy music all the more personable. Crazily vibrant and always mindful of the importance of a good hook, this is one modern prog album that’s a total blast. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

White Empress, Rise of the Empress (Peaceville): Paul Allender’s first new band after leaving Cradle of Filth is in some ways cut from the same cloth from his old band, combining icy extremity with symphonic touches. However, so much more so than that band, White Empress has such a strong command of melody, creating an exceptional dynamic between harshness and hooks. Better yet, Allender has teamed up with the powerful-voiced Mary Zimmer, who after the short-lived 2000s band Luna Mortis had drifted away from the metal scene. Well, she makes a big, big splash on this record, which will appeakl to not only Cradle fans, but anyone who craves symphonic metal with more power and force than the frillier bands out there.

Not metal, but totally worth hearing:

Tove Lo, Queen of the Clouds (Island/Universal): Ready for some pop? Swedish singer-songwriter Tove Nilsson has been slowly making a name for herself over the past year thanks to the gorgeous, self-deprecating single “Habits (Stay High)” which has slowly become one of 2014’s from-out-of-nowhere pop hits. Her full-length debut arrives on the wave of some substantial Stateside hype, and featuring a whopping 19 songs, Queen of the Clouds swings for the fences. Whether singing about timebombs, liking ‘em young, or being “charming as fuck”, Tove Lo makes an immediate impression with her buoyant, confessional tunes, fitting neatly between Robyn, Lykke Li, and Ellie Goulding, coming across as playful, daring, and impeccably developed as so much Swedish pop is. And look out, the deliriously profane “Talking Body” could be huge. Get on this album before the rest of the world does, and you know that’s so going to happen.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

STREAMING: Bludded Head’s “Reign in Bludd”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews, listen On: Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

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So there’s a lot of depressing music out there, much of which we cover in this magazine, but very little of it was made by someone who had stage IV melanoma. Nevada Hill did, and along with Ryan Williams, John Teague, and David Saylor, created some pretty fucked up Harvey Milk-style noise rock inspired by his harrowing experiences. Bludded Head’s latest EP, Reign in Bludd (nifty title, maybe it’ll catch on) comes out next week, but you can hear it in its entirety below. Hill was even kind enough to write notes about each of the songs for us during one of his hospital stays, so get some insight and listen to some messed up music. Enjoy?

1. Shitsucker Blues

Original riff conceived by playing a terrible version of the blues. Looking for that Harvey Milk mysticism simple but decadent on the minimalism. I was very depressed and terrified that I was going to die. Written during one of the darkest times I have been through in my life. It was snowing a lot; I remember it being very cold and alone. I was sick most of the time because of the radiation. I felt very alone. Lyrics were created on the spot in the studio. Memories of Parkland Hospital. A man that only spoke Spanish excreted six days of faeces from his bowels in the bed next to me. Title of the track is a rip from the stones ‘Cocksucker Blues’ I joke that its ‘cocksucker blues’ of 2014. It’s white boy blues.

2. Fuckitdry

Simple odd riff. I wanted something different in the set. Trying to break my own rules. As I claimed earlier the title is from friction with no lubrication. Throwing caution into the wind with mixed results.

3. Pouring Rain

Is the companion piece to ‘Fuckitdry’. I think of the first three songs as a triptych. Pouring rain is a good bookend. The riffs are me trying to write like Bedhead/Slint and Pinkish Black/Great Tyrant. Its odd that Jon Teague later on became our drummer. Gillian came up with the name of the track. It’s that part in the movie when it’s pouring rain. Half about being locked in a room having to pee with a women that is a sleep and the other half are more memories of Parkland Hospital. The song wasn’t even rehearsed until the first night of our East Coast tour. We played it seven times before recording in Chicago with  [Matthew] Barnhart my hero.

4. Pea

Written by Stephen Immerwahr from Codiene. I had a routine going back and fourth from Parkland Hospital five times a week to receive twenty million units of interferon a day. I just bought the Codiene box set from Good Records and was listening to Frigid Stars on repeat in the car. I thought about how funny it would be for me to cover this song with stage four melanoma. It makes me laugh on the inside. Once we were planning on recording in Chicago I wanted to do 4 tracks. I thought covering the song would be good for sense I have actually tries anything like it before. Before we recorded I told Barnhart that I didn’t want to record it because I didn’t know the correct chords. He of course somehow knew the band and got the tab with the lyrics. I said, “Fine we can do it if we finish on time”, as we only had a day to do four tracks. Then we finished the other three tracks. I was hoping that he had forgotten our arrangement. Alas he did not and came up to me again asking if I was ready to record ‘Pea’. I finally caved in and did it in three takes. This track wouldn’t have been possible with out Matt. Thanks to Codiene for letting us use the song. It is beautiful.

 

***Reign in Bludd comes out on October 6 courtesy of Sleeping Giant Glossolalia. Preorder the album here. Check out the band’s website here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Album Stream: Stench – Venture

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, September 29th, 2014

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It might not be “pungent” stench but plain Stench will do just fine, too. Decibel backed the initial offering from this Swedish death metal trio and we’re streaming their second album Venture, available October 7 in the United States.

Venture is the follow up to the debut In Putrescence, but it’s been about four years since we last heard from the trio.

“We have been boiling down our material to the bone in pursuit of the essence of this type of music,” guitarist Jonathan Hultén says. “Our conclusion is that the simple and repetitive riffing is holding the key, and is enhanced by more or less subtle choirs and sound textures. Primitive, yet atmospheric.”

More details: The album was recorded by Jonas Wikstrand (Enforcer) at Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm. It will be available in a digipack CD, digitally and in a 12″ vinyl (black, limited picture disc and a color version). Get more details from Agonia Records while you listen.

Fight Amp Studio Report, Part I

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Monday, September 29th, 2014

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By Mike McGinnis

Harsh riffs make for harsh vibes in the studio. Embrace the angst and capture it on 2″ tape. That’s the plan.

It’s been around two and a half years since Fight Amp recorded an album. Halfway through the writing of 2012′s Birth Control, we made another drummer switch and immediately hit the road with Weedeater. When Birth Control was released, we did a last minute tour to support, a couple full North American package tours, and put writing new material on the back-burner until we went through an album cycle and broke in our still-very-new drummer at the time, Dan Smith. Needless to say we were burned out on writing, as Birth Control featured another mid-writing-process member change, just as every one of our previous records had.

Well, after nearly two years of touring and developing chemistry, Dan and both long-time members Jon DeHart (bass/vocals) and myself (Mike McGinnis, guitar/vocals) were feeling ready to showcase what Fight Amputation had become. 2011—2013 featured roughly 70-100 shows a year for us and after hitting Europe with Black Tusk in late 2013, we decided to pump the brakes. It was time to start honing the new material that we had been dabbling with prior to that tour.

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From the inception of the ideas for these songs to the recording itself, this is the first time since the beginning of Fight Amp that we’ve had the same lineup from start to finish featured on a record. We found a sweet spot and chemistry in the writing process and feel like we’ve identified a sound that is Fight Amp.

After a few demo sessions and tons of time in our practice space, the time to cut the record at Gradwell House Studios finally descended upon us. We’ve been recording with engineer Steve Poponi for years, and it’s been a killer experience for Fight Amp. Steve has grown with us, and knows what we want without us having to go through the initial trial and error. He also isn’t afraid to be critical with us, often saying “what the fuck was that” when we decide to throw in that “let’s get weird” curveball. We also have the luxury of living about 20 minutes from the studio, so sleeping in our own beds and making our own hours certainly doesn’t hurt the process. The advantage of staggering sessions to clear our ears and minds is enormous.

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Our goal in the studio is to encapsulate our best live version of a song. We don’t like to use a lot of studio magic (big surprise for a three piece heavy noise rock band) and our number one priority is capturing energy from a great live take. That being said, we spent the first night just getting sounds so we can focus on the energy and performance while tracking.

Drums first. We always end up referencing In Utero in this process, but this time we’re looking for a slightly more on-top drum sound similar to our 2008 LP Hungry For Nothing. Early Melvins maybe? Gradwell, especially when tracking to 2″ tape, can capture one of my favorite studio drum sounds on the east coast. When you put a hard-hitting drummer with a tight pocket behind a great sounding kit in their room, it’s going to sound huge. We went through some examples and mic arrangements, ran some tracks through the tape machine, and landed somewhere we were all really stoked on. Huge and on top. Side note; we landed on the smallest size drums we’ve ever used in the studio.

More sounds, bass next. Jon’s rig for this session: Fender Jazz Bass > Boss DS-1 (yep) > GK800RB > Kustom 3×15 / Fender Bassman 50 > Ampeg SVT 4×10. Always two bass tracks on our records. This is a similar rig to what we used on Birth Control, besides the Ampeg 4×10. We went with all 15″s last time. We floated some ideas, made some comparisons, and found another sound we were stoked on. Always too early to tell, but this might be my favorite bass tone we’ve found yet.

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Guitar sounds last. I always do four total guitar tracks, two during live tracking and two during second guitar tracking. For this session: Gibson SG > RAT > MXR Micro Amp > Peavey Classic 100 > Marshall 4×12 / Acoustic Model 450 > Ampeg 2×15. I always like to mix at least one solid state amp into my setup. Need a little attack to counter that tube and tape warmth. This is my show rig these days, and I’m loving it both live and mic’d up.

Fast forward to Day 2. We got the sounds we like and finally started tracking. But of course after the hours and hours of tone adjustments, we weren’t hitting the songs the way we’d like. Beer, weed, coffee, pizza…. Still a lackluster performance. Pocket issues, tempo problems. We like to keep the click track far away from these songs to allow for natural fluctuations and a live feel, so it can be a challenge landing on a tempo we’re all happy with. We called it early to save some frustration, came back the next day, and there it was; 8 songs tracked on day 3. Killed it.

We wrapped up the weeks sessions with a fourth day of tweaking some small parts, a few punch ins and edits, and some light mixing. Lo and behold, we landed on 8 tracks we’re really fucking stoked on. Fast and slow, down-tuned and up-tuned, bummed-out-harsh-sludgy-noise-rock-hardcore-punk. At our best, with a three piece power trio lineup that has been together for an extended period of time.

Now a layover and sitting on my hands for a couple weeks while we work on vocals and I wait to track second guitars…. Stay tuned.

** Fight Amp’s new album is out Spring 2015 on Brutal Panda Records. Keep your limbs peeled for pre-orders and other cool announcements.

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

By: admin Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, September 26th, 2014

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WOW, there’s FINALLY some releases trickling in.

I’m going to start off with a much maligned genre. Get your slam on! INTERNAL BLEEDING release Imperium, and I gotta say, I’m pecking digging it.  This IS slam metal, something they’ve been known for for years, but there’s more to it than just  pure slamz. I mean, don’t get me wrong: there are some GNARLY pecking breakdowns here, but they tread lightly into other extreme territories, all without abandoning their own brutal sound. There are some small melodic passages here and there, but these really fit and never detract from the overall sound of nihilism. The production here is clean and distinct, and each instrument can be heard without taking any bite out of the mood of desperation. This genre has really been done to death, but Imperium prove that you can do this type of thing without giving up the ghost. 7 Fucking Pecks.

I just gotta review a band called COUCH SLUT. I mean, why the squawk wouldn’t I? Well they released six songs entitled My Life as a Woman on the Handshake, Inc. label. To call this noise would be unfair, to call this punk would be unfair, to call this metal would be unfair. To be fair would be to call this a hodgepodge mixture of all three. This is one of those amalgams where you know the members all come from different musical backgrounds, but it blends into one ear-bleeding, sinister package.  This is cool, no doubt, but still feels a little like a band trying to find it’s legs, like it meanders a little here and there. This is one of those bands that one should definitely be on the lookout for. LOVE the artwork, too.  PECK this out (get it?) 6 Fucking Pecks.

Okay, so, let’s address some stuff…

GODFLESH A World Lit Only by Fire. Haven’t heard it, want to hear it, I’m SURE it’s going to be good. Decline and Fall was PHENOMENAL.

PUIG DESTROYER s/t. I ain’t touching this.

MR. BIG …The Stories We Could Tell. Hahaha, REALLY?!?!

ELECTRIC WIZARD Time to Die. I’ll bet it’s good, so like, let’s just go with that, shall we?

RIGOR MORTIS Slaves to the Grave. They’re baaaa-aack. Looking forward to getting my wings clipped for this.

AUDREY HORNE Pure Heavy. Any band with a Twin Peaks reference for their name is usually no good. Once parrots can become president, I’ll veto this sort of thing.

 

New Encoffination Song Stream!

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, September 26th, 2014

Photo by Greg Cristman | www.gregCphotography.com

Cemetery picnickers Encoffination rise again next month with their third full-length album, called III – Hear Me, O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs).  Says vocalist/string-scather Ghoat of the forthcoming set of grueling, buzzing doom:  ”The concept of this record is the glorification of death: an offering to the embodiment of death’s creation, and to sing the wretched hymns of death’s omnipresence, to kneel to death’s crown as we all shall fall under death’s eventual grasp. There will be more of the texture presented on the last record: organs, samples, choirs, and more, all with the same acrid funereal doom we have become known for. If the last record were a tool to teach about death, this record is that creation.”

The album will see release on October 21st on the fantastic Selfmadegod Records. And now, for your listening misery, the first true track of the album, “Charnel Bowels of a Putrescent Earth,” as well as some commentary on that song by the band.  Dooooooooooom!

Since the album was recorded over such a long period of time (about a year), when within that span was “Charnel Bowels” recorded?

“Charnel Bowels…” was the first song recorded. The entire album is presented chronologically. In the past I have sequenced the albums differently, but with III… everything just fell into place as we went.

How did it get its position as first post-intro song on the album?

Other than the above… the first song of each album has started the same, so I kept the theme: a slow, crushing riff accompanied by the funeral bells. With this track I feel like we have a trilogy, starting with ‘Nefarious, Yet Elegant Are The Bowels Of Hell’ from Ritual and ‘Rites of Ceremonial Embalm’ment’ from O’Hell.  I want each album to grab you by the throat and sit on your chest from the first note… to suffocate and not let up. We had to keep the theme going…

Pre-order from Earsplit Distro here, or pre-order from Selfmadegod here.