STREAMING: Enforcer “From Beyond”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Friday, March 6th, 2015

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One look at the cover art for Enforcer’s new album, From Beyond, and it’s pretty clear the Swedes wish they were living in 1983. From the sci-fi D&D skull creature to the Tempest-ized Enforcer logo, it all screams early ’80s. Get under the presentation and, well, it’s still ’80s. “From Beyond” jets like a V-8 Mustang GT with the windows down and the sun shining. The riffs of Joseph Tholl are the fire, while drummer Jonas Wikstrand and bassist Tobias Lindqvist are the pound. Vocalist Olof Wikstrand has a classic quality, somewhere between John Cyriss and old Kai Hansen.

“The intention of the song writing of From Beyond was to continue the path we started with Death By Fire,” says Olof Wikstrand. “To exaggerate our own sound and to write direct and uncompromising metal songs. In opposite to most of the other new bands, we don’t decide to play a certain type of music and therefore limit ourselves in the song writing. We do whatever we want and feel totally free in composing songs. In the beginning of our career the lyrics were more concentrated on teenage fantasies about living wild and screwing girls and similar things. But the older you get and the more you experience of all these fantasies you had as a kid, the more you realize how earthly it is.”

Alright, break out the Rubik’s Cube, the Hutch BMX, or your dad’s garage-bound IROC-Z. Whatever it is that brings you back to the ’80s, let’s do it with Enforcer on “From Beyond”.

** Enforcer’s new album, From Beyond, is out April 7th, 2015 on Nuclear Blast Records. Pre-orders are now live (click HERE). Choose from black or clear vinyl or CD. Heavy metal is law!

Video Premiere: Krysantemia’s “Finis Dierum”

By: Dan Lake Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen, videos On: Friday, March 6th, 2015

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Today we bring you an exclusive video premiere by Italian death/thrashers Krysantemia, celebrating the advent of their third album, Finis Dierum, on Memorial Records.  The band’s blustery/blistering confluence of influences has seen them perform alongside Obituary, Rotting Christ and Kataklysm, and is right now crisscrossing Europe in support of warmongers Marduk.  The new album was recorded at the renowned New Sin Studio and produced by Luigi Stefanini (Adimiron, Vision Divine).

Krysantemia Artwork

About the video, the band says:

“The video ‘Finis Dierum’ came to life in an old shed, whose iron structure withstood the earthquake of 2012 in Emilia (Italy). The concept was to create a final transmission to the world, telling what has led to the destruction of the world itself. The desolation of the environment is a key element for both the video and for the chance to have a lot of plan sequence recreating the dynamic aspect of the piece.  Down the hall are projected images that represent some recent events or not, that give the idea of ​​what can be a cataclysm, a war, an end.  The whole video was shot at night, but suddenly the structure alarm sounded by mistake. As a result we were kicked out of the building by the security crew, as they thought we were thieves!”

You can preorder Finis Dierum at iTunes here.

To get more Krysantemia online, check them out at Facebook, Twitter, or at their official website.  To find out more going on at Memorial Records, visit the Facebook or label website.

 

Holy Shit, We’re All Fucking Old!: Matt Jacobson Talks About 25 Years of Relapse (Part II)

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: exclusive, featured, free, interviews, listen, repulsion On: Thursday, March 5th, 2015

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Ok, this is the second part of our interview with Relapse’s El Presidente, Matt Jacobson. Go here for part one from last week and a bit more of a thorough explanation about this being done in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the label, even if the last part of this half of the interview does veer off a bit into what Matt does over the course of a business day outside of Relapse.

What sorts of challenges have been most important in shaping Relapse?
I assume, when you ask about challenges the obvious one is about downloading and all that [laughs]. Well, especially looking back and thinking about how things were when we first started, it’s pretty insane how much the music industry has changed over 25 years. It’s pretty staggering. One of the obvious things is the transition from people buying CDs and cassettes and a little bit of vinyl to the modern way, which continues to change. Initially, I remember reading about the impact of Napster and all those things and I was expecting it to affect us, but at the time it hadn’t. At all. Things were actually remaining the same; it was so much so that we were starting to think that maybe this wasn’t going to impact the metal world because metal heads are so die-hard and it’s a lifestyle and they want the physical thing and all that, y’know? But for whatever reason, it was just a delayed change. About two years after it hit the mainstream industry, then it hit us. That was definitely a challenge; to navigate the new economics. It’s a much different picture.

I don’t know if you have figures, but do you have any idea what percentage hit indie/underground culture took in terms of sales? And was it at the same rate or proportion as the hit the mainstream took?
I don’t know for a fact, but I would guess not quite as much. But also, things have changed quite a lot, but we’ve been fortunate because we’ve always had a direct consumer element to our business and that has really been a big advantage through those turbulent times. When I look at things overall, our volume of business has remained fairly steady, but the issue is what revenue streams make that up. Largely, we’ve seen things shift from one place to another, but there was a time when there definitely was a decline. Also, there were a number of challenges we had to get used to and make changes to in order to make fiscal sense. The way that we were back when Mastodon and Dillinger Escape Plan first came out, we had like 30 people in our warehouse and all of these things, and as we experienced the difficult times and the impact of those shifts, it made us take a really close look at every aspect of what is a very complex business, especially in retrospect. Now that I have other businesses to compare it to, man Relapse is fucking complicated as fuck! From all the different sides of consignment, international distribution and all these different sales channels and the accounting necessary to do all the royalty statements. We had to lower our overhead to become more efficient. When we looked at every aspect of the business, it was like, “Wow, we are really not very efficient with this and we haven’t re-evaluated the way we do this in a really long time. We just have too many people.” Unfortunately, it’s the reality of the way the world has changed. So, at a certain point we had to downsize pretty substantially. The sad thing about it is that our output has remained the same with half the number people. I, as a business owner felt kinda dumb, thinking about how we could have been more efficient all along.

What sorts of challenges have come up for Relapse that the average person on the street wouldn’t think about or even realise you have to deal with on a regular basis?
I think the single biggest thing people don’t realise is how capital intensive this business is. We’re fronting the money for the recording, which in the scheme of things is a small percentage of the expenses associated with putting out records. The biggest expenses are all the manufacturing and shipping. We have to manufacture these records and ship them all over the world and it’s all on consignment. It’s all on us. So, if we over-ship or over-manufacture, it’s an enormous risk. If you miscalculate what you’re going to need for any given record by 10 or 20%, it may not seem like a big deal, but if you multiply that by all the records you put out every year, all of a sudden you have all this capital that’s locked up and you still need to pay the electric bill and send out royalty statements and, especially in the business of music, we’re dealing with art and trying to guess how popular this art is going to be. We’ve become pretty good at it, but it’s really fucking difficult and it ends up being based on variables of variables. I used to joke to one of our old accountants that I just wanted a hot dog stand because it’d be so simple. We’d know how many buns and hot dogs we’d need to have and sell to be able to pay our bills. On the inventory side of things, we realised at one point we had hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars tied up in inventory and a lot of is probably never going to sell. And that’s brutal.

In the beginning you were going from release to release and probably not worrying so much about the finances. At what point did considering sales, money and return on investments start playing into the bands you’d sign and the records you’d put out?
This is one thing that’s interesting; I never started Relapse to make money. I started Relapse to put out cool records and to share the music that I loved. Relapse was really an extension of me as a tape trader and the buzz I used to get off of sending my buddy in New York or Germany a demo that, based on his tastes, I knew he was going to love. And when he did, I got such a buzz off of that. So, we have always just signed bands and put out records we think are awesome. There are a lot of companies that have the profit motive as their number one motive, and most companies are like that. For better or for worse, that was never our number one priority. My goal has always been to balance art and business with the emphasis on art. So, when we look at a band, we’ve gotten fairly good at determining what category they’re going to fall into in terms of what their potential is and what scale of investment is appropriate. We’ve also refined things so we will put ‘x’ amount into the campaign across the board and if it starts to gain traction, we’re able to respond pretty quickly and fuel that more. The hardest thing is to gain traction, but once you do you can build momentum. We just have to make sure we have a balanced approach. If we’re going to put out a harsh noise record, you can’t put the same amount of resources into it as you would a Dillinger Escape Plan record. That’s the most extreme and obvious example, but in a nuanced way, that’s what we have to do; balance the potential of extreme grind albums versus, say, a Red Fang album. That being said, I also want to emphasize that I don’t impose a glass ceiling on any of those things. We always want bands to surprise us and do better than we expected. Our systems are set up so that if it does gain that traction and we feel things growing, we can jump on it and fuel it further.

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Let’s talk about Release for a bit. What led you towards doing the imprint in the first place?
In the beginning, we were really into the idea of different imprints and the different series, like the Underground Series. And with release it just felt like we wanted to do things that we firmly outside of the metal realm and the heavy music realm and we thought it would be fun to create another identity to do that. I think we put out some amazing records, but unfortunately most of them didn’t gain any traction and they weren’t financially successful and therefore it became evident it wasn’t responsible to approach the Release stuff in the same way and with the same enthusiasm as the Relapse stuff.

Do you think that had to do more with the content of what you were releasing; that a lot of it was harsh noise and not as musical?
It was pretty diverse. If you look at Amber Asylum and Subarachnoid Space, those were way different than the Uneasy Listening Campaign with Merzbow and a lot of the harsher stuff. Interestingly, Merzbow sold really well. In a lot of ways, our system, if you will, were really kind of geared towards the heavy music and when we were trying to promote things that weren’t that, we ran into challenges. One of my most frustrating moments was when I ended up confronting Alternative Press magazine because they would never review the frickin’ Release records! When I questioned them about it, they were like, “Well, we really don’t do a lot of metal” and it was like, “Oh my fucking God! This isn’t metal! Are you even listening to any of these records?” It was really agitating and we just weren’t getting the separation that we wanted and on top of it our marketing machine was kind of calibrated for the metal stuff and didn’t get much traction for the stuff outside of that.

A lot of the Release stuff seemed to be on the cutting, outrageous edge of layout and design. Did the stuff that you did with Release act as like experiments for both music and packaging?
Umm…yeah, I think there was a little something like that there. In that world, it was more common to have crazy packaging and we certainly did play around with it; like the Merzbow Pulse Demon on the weird reflective paper and the Tribes of Neurot CD with the crazy flaps that held it in and the Release Your Mind compilation. But musically, with things like Trial of the Bow, Terminal Sound System and Malformed Earthborn, we had some really fantastic fucking records.

With you being in Oregon these days and having your hands in other businesses, how has you’re your role at Relapse changed?
Well, my role has evolved over the years. At one point, I filled the mail orders and answered the phones and dealt with almost every aspect. I used to say that I did everything in the company and did it long enough until we could hire someone who could do it better than me. So, I would say that my role is…it’s interesting because sometimes when you’re dealing with underground culture, sometimes some of these words are looked at negatively, but my role is that of an executive of a company; overseeing the operations and dealing with things on the executive level. It’s funny, years ago I remember being at a show or at a fest and some guy came up to me and was like, “Hey, do you have such-and-such title in stock?” and I’m like, “Dude, we have thousands of titles, I have no fucking idea!” But it was so interesting that that person thought that I would know every item we had in inventory, forget what position I’m in. I still either veto or green light every band we work with and my role isn’t that much different than it has been in the past except that we are a more mature business.

What has your reaction been like when you’ve sat back and reflected on 25 years – shock, surprise, or have you been too busy to think about it?
I am pretty darn busy, but we had started talking about this in preparation of celebrating it, so I have thought about it some. Though, I’m sure as we do these interviews and get further into it I will be reflecting further. So, it’s a fucking trip, man! First and foremost, it makes me feel old – 25 years, holy shit! I’m really proud that we’re still in business because a lot of businesses of any kind can’t make it to 25 years. We’ve weathered a lot of change and transition and difficult times and learning curves; none of us had done this before. There’s no school for how to run an underground, independent music label. But I’m really proud and am still in a little bit of disbelief. I still can’t believe we put out Neurosis albums; they were one of my favourite bands before we signed them and I’m just totally stoked and proud with how many great bands we’ve been able to work with, incredible records we’ve put out, and how an impressive number of them have become bookmarks in one way or another. That’s pretty incredible.

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Tell me about your pizza place.
It’s called Sizzle Pie. We opened the first one in 2011 and we have two in Portland, one in Eugene and now have two concession stands at the Moda Center where the Trailblazers play. This has been the second season we’ve done that and it’s been pretty awesome. What’s been crazy about that is that the ownership of the team approached us about it. In a lot of cities, you have to pay a fee to get in and you get stuck in some pretty shitty situations, but they invited us and it’s been pretty awesome. We’re working on some other things; we’re building a delivery kitchen right now and we also have a bar – well, it’s supposed to be a bar, but it’s got pretty good food, a 6000-square-foot patio and a space that can transition/transform into a performance space, so we do shows there occasionally but we’re not a venue. That’s called the White Owl Social Club. I also have a couple other projects that are in the works, but nothing else that’s up and out there.

As far as Relapse goes, I don’t know how far you look into the future, but what do you see for the future?
I’ve been thinking mostly about this forthcoming year and kind of properly celebrating our 25th anniversary and planning some things for that. Beyond that, I don’t know if there are going to be any headline grabbing, huge changes. We’re going to continue to do what we’ve always done: hopefully put out killer albums from killer bands, make awesome packages and just kind of continue to build the cult. It’s kind of just sticking to what we are and adapting as necessary.

What do you have going on in terms of celebrations?
The first is going to be at Maryland Deathfest where we’ll have a pretty impressive array of bands playing, including Amorphis doing the Tales From the Thousand Lakes set, Agoraphobic Nosebleed playing their first ever live show and Cephalic Carnage doing songs from their first three records. Nothing else is locked in yet, but there will probably be a series of special shows and maybe a couple things bordering on festivals. I think there are probably going to be two things in the US and one abroad and we’re going to try and make them something special. We’re also working on a beer collaboration and we’re going to have a bunch of limited edition items. As you already may or may not know, every record that comes out this year will have a limited edition amount on silver vinyl to commemorate the 25th, so there will special versions all year long and we’ll also be doing a bunch of vinyl reissues and those will include the silver edition. There are a couple things that aren’t locked in yet, so I can’t say 100% yet, but there’s going to be some pretty fucking awesome, limited edition, non-music merchandise, let’s say, that we’re going to make available.

Cool, more Devourment thongs and booty shorts?
[Laughter] How did you know?

Again, here’s the press release and link to a 180 song compilation spanning the entirety of the label’s history.
“As part of the continued year long celebration for Relapse Records 25th anniversary, today the label has released a free 180+ song sampler spanning the label’s entire history. The sampler features one track from almost every artist that has ever released an EP or full-length with the label since 1990 including Mastodon, Neurosis, Obituary, Red Fang, Death, Dying Fetus, Necrophagist, Suffocation, Baroness, Dillinger Escape Plan, High on Fire, Torche, Pig Destroyer and many more. The sampler can be streamed and downloaded via Bandcamp HERE.

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www.relapse.com

Exclusive Premiere: Sick of it All’s “Get Bronx” Video!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Thursday, March 5th, 2015

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Decibel Hall of Famers Sick of it All don’t require much of an introduction, so let’s just say it’s an extremely extreme honor to present the exclusive premiere of the NYHC legends’ video for “Get Bronx” off the recent hardcore scorcher The Last Act of Defiance and get on with the show…

REPULSIVE MORTALS: Mortals/Repellers “Split”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Thursday, March 5th, 2015

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If you like filth, boy do we have a split for you!  New York sludge/hardcore/softball aficionados Mortals and Philadelphia crust scumbags Repellers have teamed up to deliver four tracks of total nastiness straight to your face. You know why this is so fucking good? Groove, and lots of it. Both bands traffic in unpleasantness, but it’s easy to headbang to. So summon your inner smoke snake demon and enjoy the badass.

***Mortals/Repellers comes out March 10 on Broken Limbs. You’ll be able to order it here.

Decibrity Playlist: Ruby the Hatchet

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, March 5th, 2015

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I’d been stoked to hear the new full-length from Ruby the Hatchet ever since I saw them open for Floor in early 2014. Now that it’s dropped, I’ve been jamming Valley of the Snake on a daily basis — it’s one of the more enjoyable “debuts” (it’s the band’s second record but first label release) I’ve heard in recent memory. So on that note, the Philadelphia quintet was kind enough to tell us about their favorite inaugural albums. The list is not only pretty diverse–which makes sense when it has five contributors–but pairs well with Pallbearer’s similarly themed playlist from way back in 2012. If you haven’t yet, you can read all about RtH in our latest issue, not to mention pick up a copy of the group’s LP here.

Judas Priest–Rocka Rolla (1974)
My very favorite Priest album! Although, I must admit, I am a debut album junkie…there is something so striking about the rawness and excitement of a band’s first album. But with all of my first album sentiment aside, Rocka Rolla kicks serious ass. This album was monumental as an inspiration for me both vocally and vibe-wise. I would listen to it over and over on a cassette tape in my ex-boyfriend’s ’87 Mercedes until it pretty much broke (the tape and the car). Despite issues with production value, I love that every instrument on this album has room to breathe while working together to orchestrate pure gold. Rob Halford is such a powerhouse and Rocka Rolla in particular built upon my infatuation of soaring vocals in heavy music. Halford’s operatic belting and wailing combined with his lyrical content and those deeply shaking guitar riffs always leave me satisfied.–Jillian Taylor (vocals)

Heart–Dreamboat Annie (1976)
Two words: Wilson sisters. They are magic and there is no doubt what they were put on this earth to do. Ann Wilson is in my book for all-time range and writing influence. It is no exaggeration to say that Dreamboat Annie is fire. I love everything about it from the memorable riffs to the lioness vocals topped with perfect harmonies–and that mini-moog synth filling in the space so perfectly. A faultless mix of heavy hitters and slow, poetic thought pieces. Can you imagine the first track on your debut album being “Magic Man”? And what a huge motivator, to see some ladies wailing just as hard as the guys! I would probably trade my first born to have been at one of those Heart/Zeppelin concerts, but don’t tell that to my future husband.–J.T.

Metallica–Kill ‘Em All (1983)
A total classic and one of the most groundbreaking debut albums ever! In 1983, nothing sounded like this. I wasn’t born when Kill ‘Em All debuted, but the first time I ever heard it was hanging upside down on a Gravitron at some carnival in Asbury Park, NJ with my sister in the ’90s. Some metal dude was at the controls blasting “Jump in the Fire” and I just remember feeling wild and infinite as we screamed for him to spin us faster. I don’t think I was ever the same after that…there was thrash in my blood. There is so much energy on that record, and regardless of debates on lineup and sound quality, it remains one of my favorites ever.J.T. 

The Mars Volta–De-Loused In The Comatorium (2003)
Looking back, I realize now that when I first heard this debut, I was in dire need of exactly what it delivered.  Progressive, conceptual albums were so prevalent in my formative years of listening to music, and around the time this came out, I was drifting away from them for one reason or another.  De-Loused shoved me back into that world, and I will always be thankful for that.  In my opinion, the best albums are the ones that can fuse multiple genres together into a cohesive work, and De-Loused has that in spades. Drifting seamlessly between rock, jazz, prog, electronic, ambient, Latin and punk, to this day, it’s unlike anything I’ve heard. After the success of At the Drive-In, Omar and Cedric could have rehashed that, but instead they used it as a foundation to build something more sonically expansive and daring.–Mike Parise (bass)

Wolfmother–Wolfmother (2005)
This album was a major turning point for me when I first heard it. Mostly it was an answer to a question that a naive 19 year old was brewing on. Why didn’t anyone currently make music that sounded like my favorite classic rock albums? At the time I had just finished high school and was really getting into classic rock. Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, Cream–the list goes on. However, it really bothered me that everything I was getting into had already had its time. I would never see any of these bands live and in their prime. That sucked to think about. At that time the only access I had to new music was through skate videos. Toy Machine’s Suffer the Joy had just come out and Johnny Layton had the ending part sound tracked with Wolfmother’s “Dimension”. At first I thought it was some Sabbath track I had not heard so I quickly went to the computer only to discover it was a new band from Australia. Fuck yeah! Australia rules and they have the world’s deadliest everything. Spiders, sharks, snakes and now Wolfmother. I was even more sold when I went to pick up the CD, and was exposed to Frank Frazetta’s painting that they used for the cover art. At the time it was everything I was hoping to discover and it definitely pointed the compass in the direction that I have been heading in since.–Johnny Scarps (guitar)

Serpent Throne–Ride Satan Ride (2007)
I’m sure most of us have seen Last Days Here, the documentary of Pentagram’s Bobby Liebling. When I first saw it, I had not ever heard of Pentagram, so naturally after the film was over I did some internet digging and found out that the guys who made the film also played in an instrumental ’70s riff worshiping metal band called Serpent Throne. I found a track or two streaming online and was instantly hooked. Then I found out that not only were they from Philly but they were playing a show that same night. Best day ever.–J.S.

Scorpions–Lonesome Crow (1972)
Anytime I ask someone if they like the Scorpions, they give me this sort of vacant look and pause for a moment.  I can see them forming all sorts of opinions behind their behind their eyes while they question whether I’ve lost my mind or not. That’s when I usually cue up “I’m Goin’ Mad” and sit back and watch them slowly eat their fist. While some bands may have not survived existence in the ’80s that doesn’t mean that their back catalog is crap too. The first few Scorpions records are proof of that. Lonesome Crow was their first album and it found the band exploring all sorts of directions. It’s also the only Scorpions album to feature Michael Schenker as a full-time member, who would leave after the first album to join UFO. I admire the bravery of Klause Meine’s vocals on this album. He really gets into some wild parts that most vocalists wouldn’t dare attempt. In my opinion it keeps the spotlight on the whole band, instead of only Schenker’s ridiculous shredding. Don’t get caught up in the winds of change and give Lonesome Crow a shot.–J.S.

Crabby Appleton–Crabby Appleton (1970)
Crabby Appleton is a tasteful and crafty mix of blues, country, funk and psyche. This album is has everything from ripping upbeat funk/psych jams to beautiful slow ballads. This record is easily one of the best kept secrets of 1970. My favorite track is “Peace by Peace”.–Owen Stewart (drums)

The Band–Music From Big Pink (1968)/The Band (1969)
These two albums are really part of the same batch.  When they released these two in 1968 and 1969, they were an antithesis of what was going on in the rock world of the late 1960s. Here was a group focused on songs and musicianship and truly authentic, having honed their chops as a backing R&B group. In my opinion, in terms of the best bands at the time, England had the Beatles and America had The Band.  The secret was in their chemistry, quirky and balanced sound, and humility–their willingness to share leads and not overplay and self mix was a revelation to many rockers who were languishing in the psychedelic sound by the late ’60s. When I understood their greatness over a decade ago, I felt like The Beatles and Clapton at the time; utterly depressed at how great their group was and how much lesser we all were, and how much we all wanted to be in there with them.Sean Hur (organ)

*Pick up a copy of Valley of the Snake here

**For past Decibrity entries, click here

Streaming: Byzantine’s “The Agonies”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

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While you might hear an awful lot about society’s ills in metal you don’t hear about the plight of rural America too often. But the harsh realities of Appalachia provide much of the inspiration for Byzantine’s take on thrash, particularly on “The Agonies,” the song we’re premiering today.

Frontman Chris Ojeda explains:

“The Agonies” is a street term for withdrawal symptoms from pain pills. This song is a continuation of the topic of rampant drug abuse in my home state of West Virginia and particularly the area that I was raised in. Last album, we released the video “Soul Eraser,” which focused on the meth problem. “The Agonies” is about prescription pill abuse. My state has the highest mortality rate from RX pill abuse in the country. It is literally crippling our economy. In the chorus, we have the line: “These WV hills can sedate you.” On our debut 11 years ago, our biggest song “Hatfield” had the line: “These WV hills can’t sedate me.” We go back to our first album to let people know that things have changed — for the worse.

Stream “The Agonies” now and preorder To Release Is To Resolve — details are available on Facebook. It’s out April 7.

Exclusive: Tomas Lindberg on At the Gates Swedish Grammy Win!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

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Last week in a rare over-ground win for underground art and authenticity the preconceived notion-smashing At the Gates comeback record At War With Reality won the Swedish Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Album of 2014.

We, of course, would like to believe this is at least in part the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s way of stealthily endorsing the upcoming Decibel magazine tour, but regardless of intent it seemed appropriate to check in with ATG frontman/living extreme music legend Tomas Lindberg to offer our congratulations and ask him what it was like to reach a whole ‘nother level of recognition…

As a band that has been so consistently and unrelentingly extreme and outside the mainstream, was it surreal at all to win a Swedish grammy?

It was very surreal, indeed! We have always seen ourselves as an underground death metal band. But I guess our goal to prove our relevance in the present day made a little mark — a mark bigger than we thought. It´s been a very strange year, with a lot of stuff happening for us that we never saw coming — big headline tours, billboard charts, the grammis, etcetera. Overwhelming, really. I still can´t quite get my head around all of it actually. But as long as we try to keep out feet on the ground — by keeping our day jobs, etcetera — I Think we´ll manage to understand it eventually.

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Were you on hand for the ceremony?

Yes, I and Adrian, our drummer, were there.

What was that experience like?

Through a Speaker Rumbly: Metallica to Reissue 1982 Demo on Cassette

By: Dutch Pearce Posted in: featured, through a speaker rumbly On: Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

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We interrupt your regularly scheduled headbanging to bring you an exciting revelation. This year, on Saturday, April 18–known to the western world as “Record Store Day”–American thrash metal legends Metallica will reissue their demo, No Life ‘Til Leather. What’s more, the demo will be reissued on its original format, a limited-edition cassette!

1035x1035-metallica1Metallica’s own label, Blackened Recordings, will handle the reissue, with extended CD and LP versions to follow later this year. Incidentally, this is the first time the demo will see an official release. Whether Metallica are reissuing their nearly 33-year-old demo on cassette in an attempt at seeming “hip” again, as some cynical metalheads have already suggested, or that the veteran metallers are just going through a midlife crisis and wish to relive their early days of DIY tape production as accurately as possible is ultimately besides the point. No Life ‘Til Leather is a piece of metal history, and one of the most highly sought-after cassettes in the world of metal memorabilia. No longer will metalheads have to remain lashed to YouTube or forebear the abnormalities of mp3 rips to jam this illustrious demo.

Back in 1982, Lars was still (sort of) in high school, Mustaine was still in the band, Hetfield was living on original bassist Ron McGovney’s couch and Metallica sounded way more like the NWOBHM scene that influenced them than the Thrash Metal Gods we’ve all come to known them as. Looking back, the No Life ‘Til Leather demo is one of the most important releases in not only American metal history, but in metal history the world over.

Through a Speaker Rumbly reached out to Scott Koerber, one of Decibel’s inveterate metalhead correspondents, to see what this reissue meant to him. He had the following to say:

“Metallica could do no wrong in the ‘1980s. It’s all right there: heaviness, speed, melody, aggression, heaps of atmosphere. Three decades of horsemen, electric chairs, tolling bells, puppet masters and sanitariums, and I still can’t get enough. Metallica was a HUGE part of my junior high school life a million years ago in the ’80s, and yet those records still continue to haunt and mystify me today. I cannot wait to see what else they unearth with these special releases and demos!”

By jamming this demo on its original format, reissue or not, even simply holding the cassette in your hands, you are sojourning back through time, or, at the very least, folding time in on itself. These seven songs that comprise the No Life ‘Til Leather demo were recorded to tape; they were mailed out–by Lars himself–on tape; and they will be resurrected and jammed once more and forever on tape.

“No life ’til leather!” Record Store Day is gonna kick some ass this year! Long live analog! Long live Metallica!

 

Mammoth Mammoth’s Chris Holmes Tribute

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: uncategorized On: Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

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Who can ever forget that moment in Penelope Spheeris’s The Decline of Western Civilization Part 2: The Metal Years, when then-W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes did an interview while drunkenly floating in a swimming pool, presumably guzzling vodka while his embarrassed mother sat nearby? Although that interview was staged, it remains one of the defining portraits of excess from the Sunset Strip metal scene of the 1980s. Nearly 30 years later, that sort of mentality among metal bands is long gone. Sure, some try to be as hedonistic still, but the amazing thing was that back then so many of those old bands lived incredibly hard yet backed it up by making some truly great music at the same time. That doesn’t happen much, if at all, anymore.

Australia’s tremendously underrated foursome Mammoth Mammoth love to channel that booze-fueled heavy rock ‘n’ roll of old, and they’ve chosen to pay loving homage to Holmes in their new video for the raucous tune “Lookin’ Down the Barrel”. Watch it below, and be sure to pre-order the excellent new album Volume IV: Hammered Again, which comes out April 7 on Napalm Records.