Inside The Shredder’s Studio #15: Jeremy Wagner (Take 1)

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

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When you invite a a published novelist to the shredder’s studio expect a narrative. Such was the case with death metal veteran and Broken Hope founder Jeremy Wagner. Not only did Mr. Wagner visit the shredder’s studio — he provided your host with a near novella on the riffs that shaped him in chronological order. So, we’ll be cataloging Mr. Wagner’s lengthy sit down — we’ll just need to do it installments. Please welcome Mr. Wagner to the shredder’s studio, take one.

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I’ve attached a personal testimony to each song in order to reveal why these tracks are so important to me as a guitarist. To that end, I’m not merely dropping a standard “six-string roll-call” of tunes that directly influenced me since I became a metal guitarist. Instead, I’m going deeper here and offering my “guitar-related timeline” in this forum. I’m sharing songs that contain guitar work which first fascinated me at a young age — and made me aware that the guitar was a very special and magical instrument that drew me in. Then, on to tracks that seduced me so greatly, that made me want to become a guitarist. Further on, specific and inspiring songs that influenced me in profound ways, and for which I credit for helping develop my personal style of riffing and songwriting. I hope all this is of interest to readers and shredders alike. Thanks for taking a peek inside my experience. The power of the riff compels me.

The Beatles: Blackbird (1968)

I first heard “Blackbird” at a very young age, and it may be the first song I heard that made me wonder: “what’s that instrument?” The song is just an acoustic guitar and Paul McCartney and it’s fantastic. It’s such a guitar song … one of the great “guitar songs” that you first want to learn when starting to play a guitar, like “Stairway To Heaven” and “Smoke On the Water.”


Ten Years After: I’d Love to Change the World (1971)

“A Space In Time” is an amazing album, and the track, “I’d Love To Change the World,” is a superb piece of guitar-work—done by genius Alvin Lee. This album also made me more interested in guitars as a kid. I still have the original vinyl release from my childhood

Led Zeppelin: Black Dog (1971)

When I first heard “Black Dog” as a kid, it blew me away! I remember first hearing Jimmy Page’s riffs in this tune and I couldn’t comprehend “how” he was playing a guitar like that. It amazed me, and made me dive headfirst into Led Zeppelin for a bit.

Neil Young: Old Man (1972)

When I was a kid, Neil Young’s Harvest album was played at home a lot. It’s still one of my favorite albums. “Old Man” really affected me as a kid—and still does. It’s a beautiful song, and the guitar drew me in again.

Neil Young: The Needle and the Damage Done (1972)

Another song off Harvest. Like the song “Blackbird,” Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done,” is all vocals and guitar…and the guitar work here is so fantastic. This is where I started paying more attention to guitar as a kid, and I wanted to hear more guitar-based music.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sweet Home Alabama (1974)

It’s no secret that “70’s-era” Lynyrd Skynyrd is my FAVORITE band of all time. Ronnie Van Zant is one of the greatest lyricists in history, and that Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, Steve Gaines, and Ed King are among the greatest guitarists to ever walk the Earth. That said, the opening riff to “Sweet Home Alabama” must be one of the most famous riffs ever written, and it’s one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard. It floored me when I heard it as a kid, and I wanted to hear it over and over. The guitars captivated me.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: The Needle and the Spoon (1974)

I always thought this song was heavy. Catchy as hell, and aside from Sabbath, no one had riffs like these guys back then.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: On the Hunt (1975)

Fantastic song. Full of hooks and great lead work. Another one I find “heavy” in its own way.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: Whiskey Rock-A-Roller (1975)

The great thing about 70’s-era Skynyrd is that a lot of the lyrics are about being in a band, being on tour, and all the shit that goes with it all. I love it all because I can relate to it since being in band for all these years. That said, I didn’t know what it meant to be in a band as a kid, but I sure knew what a great song and guitar lick was — and this song is full of great hooks that hit me the right way.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: All I Can Do Is Write About It (Acoustic Version)” (1976)

This acoustic version has great guitars…more than that, this specific version has touched me deeply, and pretty much makes me tear up every time I hear it.

Lynyrd Skynyrd: You Got That Right (1977)

This song came out when I was seven years old and it was on the Street Survivors album, which was the last album that the “classic” Skynyrd lineup recorded before the fatal plane crash. This particular song showcased new guitarist Steve Gaines singing, playing guitar, and contributing to the songwriting. Gaines’ contributions included his co-lead vocal with Ronnie Van Zant on this awesome track. Again, the guitars, riffs, and the lead here got my attention.

Led Zeppelin: In the Evening (1979)

As my grade school musical influences continued, I found this track to be one of the heaviest spawned in the ‘70’s. The main riff is a monster. This song was another step toward me getting into heavy music.

Pink Floyd: The Wall (the ENTIRE ALBUM) (1979)

During my grade school years, The Wall probably influenced me more than any album. First, the track “Another Brick In the Wall” was on the radio all time — I’d hear it every day on the school bus, as our bus driver was fond of blasting FM radio to and from school—and I quickly fell in love with the song and knew all the lyrics. Next, my dad’s best friend bought the album, and they jammed the two record-set relentlessly into the wee morning hours. Seeing as I spent every weekend with my Dad and his pal, this entire album was hammered into my brain. I knew every song, every lyric, and every RIFF at the age of nine! I’m pretty sure I can credit this album (and movie) for making me first “fancy” the idea of being a guitarist.

Charlie Daniels: The Legend of Wooley Swamp (1980)

Kevin Sharp can probably appreciate this song and my story here. When I was kid, I was kinda like Donny and Marie Osmond … you know, “I’m a little bit country! And I’m a little bit rock ‘n roll!” I grew up in rural central Wisconsin, so I was exposed to both rock and country music — A LOT. I first heard “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” on the radio. I was around nine or 10. Anyway, I loved the song instantly. The music was so catchy and badass, and the lyrics were like a horror story. It was right up my alley as a kid into scary shit and new music. It made me more curious to find music like this — no wonder I play death metal and write death metal lyrics. I’ll never forget my parents dragging me to a bar out in the country, and there was “The Legend of Wooley Swamp” on the jukebox. I took about five dollars in quarters and played that song 100 times in a row. Haha! The bar was thrilled.

Ozzy Osbourne: Flying High Again (1981)

What more can I say than this was the song that turned me on to Ozzy and the great Randy Rhoads. The solo in this song is one made by gods. Randy Rhoads was a god. Made me want to hear more of Rhoads’ work…I’d never heard such things being done on a guitar before. So heavy, so tasty and shredding.

AC/DC: For Those About To Rock We Salute You (title track) (1981)

I’d heard AC/DC before as a kid: “Dirty Deeds” and “Big Balls” were in my head already. When I heard this title track in 1981, it really hit me as being a bit “heavier” than other AC/DC stuff before. Today, I’m not the biggest AC/DC fan, but I still love this song, and I’d even do it as a cover. I believe it helped propel me towards heavier music.

Judas Priest: Screaming For Vengeance (the ENTIRE ALBUM) (1982)

By the time Screaming For Vengeance came out, I knew what heavy metal was and I was given my first guitar—a Gibson acoustic. Screaming For Vengeance floored me so much! I’d never heard guitars or vocals like that before! Needless to say, my acoustic guitar didn’t interest me much. I wanted an electric guitar—but I would have to wait awhile before getting my first electric. Anyway, this entire album remains as one of my favorite metal albums of all time…I believe it’s flawless. And it truly inspired me to play guitar and be a metal fan.

Metallica: Kill ‘Em All (the ENTIRE ALBUM) (1983)

I fell in love with Ride The Lightning first, and came back to “Kill ‘Em All” later in my teen years. That said, I mention here in order of a “timeline” as it came out first.“Jump In the Fire” is my fave track, but the whole album rules. There was nothing like it at the time…the speed, the vocals, the riffs, the leads, all extreme. By the time I heard this, I was already on my way to getting my first electric guitar.

Yes: Owner of a Lonely Heart (1983)

My favorite part is the very opening riff that Trevor Rabin lays down. It’s fucking heavy! That riff has got to be one of the most famous/cool riffs ever written and recorded! This tune made me yearn to find out how someone could make a guitar sound like that—the tone and distortion, before I knew what “tone and distortion” was!

Stay tuned for future installments with Mr. Wagner in the shredder’s studio.

Read previous installments of Inside The Shredder’s Studio:

#1: Elizabeth Schall of Dreaming Dead
#2: Mike Hill of Tombs
#3: Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy
#4: Alex Bouks of Incantation

#5: Kurt Ballou of Converge
#6: Mark Thomas Baker of Orchid
#7: Andre Foisy of Locrian
#8: Eric Daniels of GSBC and Asphyx
#9: Kevin Hufnagel of Gorguts
#10: Marissa Martinez-Hoadley of Cretin
#11: Eric Cutler of Autopsy
#12: Woody Weatherman of Corrosion of Conformity
#13: Carl Byers of Coffinworm
#14: Skeletonwitch

Jump, Carry On, or Both: 2014′s Best Power Metal

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

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Last week on Twitter I asked to no one in particular, if a publication is going to put out a “Best Metal of the Year” list, why do they all focus primarily on the extreme metal side? Hey, I like Dark Descent, Gilead, and Nuclear War Now as much as anyone else, but there’s a lot more to heavy metal than death metal, black metal, and grindcore. What’s so great about Decibel is that the mission statement is crystal clear from the get-go: it’s always the “Top 40 Extreme Albums”. Non-extreme metal fans don’t exactly have a reason to complain about Decibel, as opposed to a list that claims to offer an authoritative view of the entire metal genre but whose vision is only limited to bands that play underground shows in Brooklyn.

Power metal always takes it on the chin, especially in America. “Because it sucks,” is always the retort by the cooler-than-thou, which is fine. When you write one friggin’ positive review of a Fairyland album you’re forever branded as a power metal sympathizer, but to be honest I’m as picky about power metal as anyone. When it sucks, it sucks harder than any other metal subgenre, but that’s power metal: it’s all or nothing. As someone who has a genuine interest in finding great new metal music regardless of subgenre, I’ve actually had a handful of very good power metal albums come my way over the past year, and because I have nothing better to do today, I thought I’d share five titles that are well worth hearing. And sorry, Sabaton, Edguy, and Unisonic, you’re all great, but you just missed the cut.

Freedom Call, Beyond (SPV):
I love this band. How can you not love a band that implores folks to have a “happy metal party”? Freedom Call is all about joy, and they don’t hide that fact one bit. See them live, and they’ll put a big, dumb smile on your face. Their latest album is yet another strong piece of work, loaded with plenty of double-time speed lifted from Helloween, but better, more explosive hooks than Helloween has come up with in the last quarter century. “Raise your hands, hail for everyone, jump and carry on,” sings Chris Bay at one point. I have no idea what you mean by that, bud, but sure, count me in. 

Grave Digger, Return of the Reaper (Napalm):
Funny how one week after writers wet themselves (justifiably) over the new Judas Priest album, few if any bothered to pay attention to another veteran band putting out their best new music in eons. German geezers Grave Digger have been churning out crap for years, but their 17th full-length, for some crazy reason, sounds fiery and inspired, gravelly-voiced mainstay Chris Boltendahl carrying on about being “hell bent for wengeance” and whatnot. I counted these guys out years ago, but they came through with a real fist-banger. Just try not to be offended by the album cover’s clear rip-off of Dissection’s The Somberlain.

Iron Savior, Rise of the Hero (AFM):
Iron Savior’s eighth album was another very pleasant surprise. As usual it offers up a good combination of robust classic metal and power metal sing-alongs, but these songs are a blast. Singer Piet Sielck is in commanding form on such barnstormers as “Last Hero” and “Revenge of the Bride”, and the band even makes an idea as ludicrous as covering Mando Diao’s dance-punk “Dance With Somebody” miraculously work. There’s plenty of muscle on this album, but the music isn’t afraid to move, too.

Primal Fear, Delivering the Black (Frontiers):
Ralf Scheepers and his band returned with a tenth album that, like Grave Digger, feels a lot more assertive and fun than anything they’d done in the past decade. As usual the guys have the whole 1984 sound down, nailing that Priest/early Queensrÿche thing down impeccably, but the songs all hold up extremely well, especially “King For a Day”, “Rebel Faction” and the hilariously titled “Inseminoid”, Scheepers continuing to hit the high notes like no other.

Riot V, Unleash the Fire (Steamhammer):
What a feel-good story this is. After founding guitarist Mark Reale died in 2012 it would’ve been totally understandable of Riot called it quits, but the surviving members took on a couple of new faces, respectfully renamed the band Riot V, and came through with arguably the best power metal album of the year, hearkening back to the speed metal glory of the 1988 classic Thundersteel, yet forging a new identity with new singer Todd Michael Hall. That this album succeeds so mightily was a huge surprise, but from the songwriting to the return of Johnny the Seal on the cover, Riot V gets it all right.

THEY HUNT HORSES TOO, DON’T THEY?: Free Download of Horsehunter’s “Stoned to Death”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, free, listen On: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

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They make everything heavier in Australia. That’s probably because gravity is stronger down there (or so I’m told). Horsehunter come from down under, and they bring some seriously slow, Sabbath/Sleep-style doom. “Stoned to Death” follows in a grand tradition of epically long songs, and it’s like being between two tectonic plates at the moment of an earthquake. You can download it from the Soundcloud embed below (just click the little down arrow) and enjoy the seismic eruptions whenever you want.

***Caged in Flesh will be rereleased worldwide on March 10, 2015, courtesy of Magnetic Eye. Follow the band on Facebook.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: Damon Root’s Heavy Metal Justice

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

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Today the Metalnomicon welcomes Reason senior editor Damon Root, one of the most thought-provoking, singular voices writing on the intricacies of American law today. He’s also a metal/hardcore devotee and the original articulator of the Suicidal Tendencies litmus test for federal candidates, which, as we all know, has had a profound effect on our nation in several alternate dimensions.

So, anyway, yeah, Root’s new book Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court is a straight up tour de force of eye-opening, epiphany-inducing history parsing. It’s great and everyone interested in the inner workings of the Supreme Court and its profound effect on our lives should read it. But we suspected some metal/hardcore science got excised by the squares at Palgrave Macmillan and, thus, hit Root up for a list of five classic hardcore and metal songs about justice.

The man did not disappoint…

Etched in stone above the entrance to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., are the words “Equal Justice Under Law.” But what actually counts as justice — and why? In Overruled: The Long War for Control of the U.S. Supreme Court I chronicle a century’s worth of legal battles over such questions. But that’s hardly the end of the story. To grapple further with these weighty matters of law and liberty, I turn to the timeless wisdom of heavy metal and hardcore punk. Here, in alphabetical order by artist, are five classic songs that each, in their own way, address the meaning of justice.

1. “The Tombs” by Agnostic Front

Plenty of musicians have written songs about America’s criminal justice system, but only a select few have based their lyrics on firsthand experience. Roger Miret, lead singer for New York hardcore kingpins Agnostic Front, is among the select. After doing time in prison on drug charges, Miret penned “The Tombs,” his own searing indictment of how justice is really served in this country.

“They say man is innocent till proven guilty,” Miret notes. “For sure they meant the opposite in reality.”

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2. “Born to Land Hard” by Cold As Life

STREAMING: Outer Heaven’s “Vile Rebirth”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, December 15th, 2014

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Publicist guy says: “We think you’ll like this — it sounds like Coffins.” So, we decide to check it out because we love Coffins. And yes, we can hear that a bit but we hear even more similarities to Mitochondrian and Decibel favorites Incantation. These are promising comparisons for extreme metal.

Despite throwing out a few names to bait the hook we’ll also say that Outer Heaven doesn’t really sound like these bands as much as they exude a similar claustrophobic vibe. It’s new school death metal with an old school feel without the shelf dust.

Here’s the new track “Vile Rebirth” off their EP Diabolus Vobiscum, due February 10 from Melotov Records. After you stream the track learn more about the band here.

STREAMING: Callisto “Pale Pretender”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, December 15th, 2014

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“Pale Pretender travels heavy hearted through ominous landscapes in a world where more is not enough,” says Callisto vocalist Jani Ala-Hukkala.

Finns aren’t the most talkative of peoples, so it stands to reason Ala-Hukkala is letting the gravity of his statement (and the “Pale Pretender”) do most of the talking here, which is fine for us, ’cause “Pale Pretender” is massive. From the initial deluge to the last killer motif, “Pale Pretender” moves like a glacial monster, lumbering to and fro with purpose.

The last time Callisto blessed the world with its mammoth post-metal was on 2009′s Providence effort. Fast forward five or so years and they’ve returned with Secret Youth, a natural extension (more refinement, actually) of Providence. In Secret Youth, Callisto find themselves at the apex of the genre, able to communicate emotional heft with single strums or vocal movement. They’ve come out of their proverbial shell on Secret Youth, and it’s no less impressive than the catchy echo-plexing post-apocalyptic dirges present on Providence.

It’s always Monday somewhere. Today is Monday. Let Callisto reinforce that it’s Monday with “Pale Pretender”.

** Callisto’s new album, Secret Youth, is out January 30th, 2015 on CD, vinyl, and digital on Finland’s Svart Records. It’ll be available for pre-order shortly. In the meantime, head over to the Svart Shop for some killer tunes on killer formats. Click HERE.

STREAMING: Thulcandra “Exalted Resistance”

By: Chris D. Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Friday, December 12th, 2014

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Steffen Kummerer is better known for his stupidly good guitar and vocal work in the obscenely great tech death outfit Obscura. But Kummerer has a dark side. One that harkens back to the mid-’90s, when Swedish death metal tyrants Dissection reigned the cold winds of nowhere and drank, with pure joy, night’s blood with Elizabeth Bathory.

For the better part of two albums, both adorned in Necrolord Blue, Kummerer and Thulcandra created the best Swedish black/death since Dissection went on hiatus. While there’s a certain level of homage to Thulcandra’s music and visual aesthetic, there’s no denying the magic in albums Fallen Angel’s Dominion and Under a Frozen Sun. Thulcandra are able to get the right vibe, the right sound, and make it (somewhat) their own.

Well, new album, Ascension Lost, continues the Munich-based outfits descent into hells of hell. In short, it’s another fantastic entry, still in Necrolord Blue, by a band that shows no signs of lessening their homage to Dissection and a sound, a Swedish sound, that’s all but lost today.

With great anticipation, we bring you: “Exalted Resistance”

** Thulcandra’s new album, Ascension Lost, is out February 10th on Napalm Records. It’s available HERE as a limited edition digipak. This is a pre-order.

Ex-DEP Jeff Tuttle: Onward and Upward

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What impulse drives Malo Konjche’s music?

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

Greber: Not Named After a Goalie

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

scott

Darth Raider

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I probed deeper about Kelly’s football history.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Birdshit (Cindy Lauper Edition)

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

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

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

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

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

Cut the Fat/Return of the Mac

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

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

http://youtu.be/uB1D9wWxd2w

Something’ Fishy This Way Cums

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

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

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

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

And finally this week…

Pick of the Week

Buffalo +4 vs. Green Bay