On today’s edition of Into the Depths we invite Karl Sanders out of the catacombs for a conversation on how a hippie-admiring kid from San Francisco became a visionary force of nature in extreme music destined to single-handedly summon the improbable subgenre of ithyphallic death metal into being.
From having to pawn their guitars on the way home from the In Their Darkened Shrines sessions and just scraping by while attending the University of Morbid Angel to defying the edicts of Indonesian religious authorities to perform “Kafir!” for 30,000 screaming metalheads in Jakarta, suffice it to say the trials, tribulations, and eventual triumph of Nile makes for a fascinating story.
Benefit shows always have a weird vibe but death metal benefit shows are especially weird. Maybe it’s because the genre is ordinarily used as our portal to antisocial emotional territories, and when there is the attendant poignancy of a good cause it makes everyone feel as if they’ve been given a different script for the night. Death metal shows are ordinarily about blowing away the week’s bullshit build-up through sick riffs and blastbeats, etc. and instead the bar at the Underworld feels pretty quiet for a Friday night/payday. It’s a little too quiet.
Everyone’s acting like they don’t know what to do but we all know exactly why we’re here: We’re here to raise some money to go towards the treatment of Decapitated vocalist Adrian “Covan” Kowanek, who suffered from cerebral hypoxia after being seriously injured in the band’s bus crash in 2007. Covan’s condition has improved but he’s still in a bad way. Drummer Witold “Vitek” Kiełtyka was killed in the crash. It feels shamefully inadequate to say that the Polish death metal crew have had to endure with the most severe adversity imaginable—their burden is off the scale, impossible to articulate.
The last time we featured American heavy metal phenoms Iced Earth on the Deciblog, WordPress wasn’t even cool yet. In fact, evidence of said coverage is lost in some Access database that’s sitting in some office on a tape back-up. So, yeah, we’ve been delinquent in our patriotic (hey, July 4th is two days away) heavy metal duties when and where it concerns Iced Earth. So, instead of a long interview—which you prefer, we think—we have a no-brainer contest.
WIN: 1) 1 (one) signed poster, plus 1 (one) copy of the tour edition of Dystopia, which includes covers of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” and Black Sabbath’s “Mob Rules,” as well as a 2011 re-recording of the classic 17-minute Iced Earth track “Dante’s Inferno”, plus other bonus material.
What do you have to do? Just email us. You can tell us how many rad fireworks you’ve obtained—legally or illegally, state depending—for Independence Day, or why you think we should do a heavy metal special edition issue, replete with a Blind Guardian Hall of Fame, or you can just email us. Your choice.
Email us HERE: email@example.com
Iced Earth are currently on tour with Hellyeah and Volbeat. If you want to go, the dates are HERE.
** Iced Earth’s Dystopia is out now on Century Media Records. It’s available HERE in a variety of formats, geared towards nerdy collectors and possessive must-haves. Remember to whistle “Yankee Doodle” during checkout.
Howdy folks… Waldo here, bringing you all the stuff that’s good to hate.
Ladies and “djentlemen,” we’re going to tear this one apart. PERIPHERY release the very hateable Periphery II, as if one of these wasn’t bad enough. Apparently this is some form of music called “djent,” whatever that means, and boy howdy does it suck. This is your typical Hot Topic fare, some ambient keyboards, some wanky guitar parts, some singing (a la Mike Patton) and some mosh riffs. There are at least some time signature changes–it really seems like these kids listened to a steady diet of Dillinger Escape Plan and Tool, picked the worst parts, got some Pro Tools and went to town. It’s on Sumerian, so if you know what that type of sound is, this is pretty similar. I really can’t explain how much I hate this; the production is pretty dry and this record doesn’t breathe at all. I dunno, if you want to punish yourself, pick this crap up. Soon to be featured on Gossip Girl or something like that. Total useless pap. Go to the mall and punch someone wearing a Periphery shirt in the face. (do not actually do this–ed.) 1 FUCKING PECK
Retro thrash bashers BONDED BY BLOOD are back at it with The Aftermath. I really want to like this, but it’s kind of hard to. Retro thrash riffs that could’ve fit with an Exodus record, like Force of Habit, with some late ’80s thrash vocals thrown in. This takes all of the stalest elements of late thrash and brings them to the forefront. I’m sure they’re a much better live band. The Aftermath doesn’t suck, but it doesn’t rule either. There are actually some pretty crucial riffs on this record, but it kinda misses the mark as a whole. Just like a later-era thrash record, this will be one of those releases that you want to like, but just can’t fully commit to. It’s not bad, but not great. Maybe a more “live” production would help this out. 5 FUCKING PECKS.
The oft-discussed DEATHSPELL OMEGA release the brutal Drought. Black metal isn’t really my thing, but thing pecking rocks; it moves, the production is raw, this has life. Not being too familiar with this style of black metal, I gotta say I really like this. Brutal, brutal, brutal. Discordant riffage, extreme vocals, intense drumming. What more could a bird want? Not too familiar with their old stuff, but believe I’ll squawking look into it now. Pick this up. 8 FUCKING PECKS
ZOMBIEFICATION release the Consecration EP on Chaos. Wow, this is some no-frills old-school death rock. In the vein of Coffins and the like, you can hear the Venom and Sodom through and through on this. No surprises here, but that’s what makes this work. Heavy, nasty and mean. Look for these “brown metallers” to make a splash in the throwback old-school genre because they do it right. Get pecking Zombiefied. 7 FUCKING PECKS
No Old School Peck this week, but you know what? Screw it, if there’s some old-school bird droppings that you think I should feature, put it on some newspaper and send it to me to line the bottom of my cage and I’ll give it a shout. Waldo, out.
Nothing unites the metal community quite like a healthy hit of righteous rage. War, complacency, ignorance, religion, technology, the opposite sex, government subsidies – if something pisses you off, someone’s encoding your disgust into guitar riff magic.
Any good New Ager Rager knows that nature is very, um, fertile soil for dark musical themes. As humans do thoughtless injury to ecological balance, so will the planet’s defenses tear us a collective new one. The birds do it (ask Alfred Hitchcock), the bees do it (we don’t call them “killer” for nothing), Celestiial and Gojira and Agalloch and Blood of the Black Owl and Wolves in their very Throne Rooms do it. Make your peace with Mother Earth, or get eco-spiritually spanked.
Last year, Melbourne, Australia’s Arbrynth got in the game with a lush, vibrant eponymous record that blends modern sonics with atavistic intentions. The quartet writes the shit out of multiple interlocking themes that grow out of their pummeling percussion, guitars that pit introspective clarity against a fiery chug, and a harmonic vocal style rarely attempted in heavy music. Anyone stoked on intelligent, multi-part metal with arms long enough to hug trees and beefy enough to uproot them in a single ferocious tug shouldn’t overlook Arbrynth’s offerings.
Here’s the album’s closing track, “Drinker of Worlds,” to treat yourself while you read what bassist/vocalist Tina has to say about all things Arbrynth. To learn/hear more, visit the band’s website at http://www.arbrynth.net/.
What musical backgrounds do the members of Arbrynth come from?
A little bit of a mix. Previous to Arbrynth all the members had played in metal bands. Pete is heavily influenced by Celtic music as his father played mandolin professionally in an Irish folk band and I had some classical training on violin and my mother was a classical singer.
How did Arbrynth get started?
Pete and Dodds had worked together previous to Arbrynth and decided to start writing again with no specific idea in mind. They put word out that they were looking for a bass player and found me. Junty was an old acquaintance of theirs so when they heard he wasn’t in any current projects he was asked to join as well. We advertised for a vocalist to complete the lineup without much luck, this lead to Pete and Dodds taking over vocal duties and eventually they turned to me and said ‘can you sing at all?’ And that was pretty much how it all started.
How long did you take to write the album? Were any songs a struggle, or exceptionally easy?
Writing is not an easy task for a band that tries to maintain a level of democracy. If someone dislikes a riff we don’t use it. It’s a great thing in it’s way because we all feel like we are involved and own each song, but it can really take a while to please everyone. Some songs seem to write themselves. By the time we wrote “Amidst the Ruin” the song writing aspect was down pat so it was written quickly. “Black Veil” took a very long time. I went overseas for 6 weeks when we were just writing the last riff of the song…. When I got back the guys had written and scrapped about a dozen possible end riffs. They must have been awaiting my return because the first jam I had when I got back we finished it and it’s one of my favourite riffs.
What music has influenced Arbrynth’s writing/recording choices? Any other artistic influences?
The guitarists are really into their folk music, but apart from that, a mix of everything. Some of the bands that we all really like that have probably been main influences would be Amorphis, Opeth and Borknagar. There would be many, many others though.
What themes were important for you to explore/convey on the album?
Natural themes are very important, we all have a great connection to nature and I think we like to keep an element of that in our music. There is a focus on the history and future of humans on the earth and an emphasis of the destructive nature of people. It’s not that there’s a huge loud message in the music, but a lot of the lyrical content is fairly bleak because it talks about the exploitations of the earth and her resources.
How often does Arbrynth play live shows? Any good (or bad) stories from the stage?
We don’t play a lot of live shows simply because we try not to oversaturate the scene in our city. We’ve not had any really terrible stories from the stage, there are some shows which we haven’t played our best and some that I feel we’ve shone. No interesting stories I’m afraid, I’m sure given the fact that at least 4 of us are batshit crazy (not including myself of course) we will come back with many stories if we go on tour someday.
Where is that forest in your photographs?
It’s a Californian redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) plantation in East Warburton. A beautiful town that’s about an hour from Melbourne. Obviously not a great indication of a native Australian forest but it was effective for a photo shoot.
What else are band members doing these days?
Working, writing, paying bills etc. Dodds works as a guitar tech and in music sales so he keeps us up to date with new musical gadgets. Pete and Junty work in trades and I’m probably going to be at university until I die at this rate. We’re about to get stuck back into writing for another album and we’re all looking forward to getting back into the creative side of things.
By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, listenOn: Thursday, June 28th, 2012
Orange County’s Seven Sisters of Sleep aren’t big on going out of their way to get in people’s faces. Then again, I’m speaking from a shaking babies and kissing hands perspective. I’ve never seen them live and judging by the rusty heroin needle guitar tone and sociopathic throat abuse that drives their hammering of metallic hardcore into cubes of sludgy waste, they sound like the sort of band who would enjoy intimidating those who dare come on up to the front. Maybe with live power tools; maybe with open sores; maybe with the shards of broken glass thrown at your eyesholes by the Dark Lord Himself…
Whatever the case, they have a new 7″ that’s been out for a couple weeks now, courtesy our good friends at A389 Records, and if they themselves ain’t gunna do any promotin’, we’ll help because this is pretty sweet. We’ve so had our kneecaps blown back that we’re just now getting around to letting you in on checking it out. So, be a dear and check it out. Then, check out the snazzy packaging. Know that the 7″ package includes three brand new tracks on vinyl, comes with an enhanced CD featuring videos and three bonus tracks from the Children Of God Split 12″, a 16″x23″ poster insert, PLUS an exclusive embroidered 4″ patch! Look for their full length Opium Morals due at the end of the year.
Last week, we brought you Part 1 of our interview with The Day After The Sabbath‘s proprietor Rich. This week not only includes the rest of our interview, but a mini-playlist of five tracks hand-picked by the man himself. And while you’re at it, be sure to check out the latest TDATS compilation (#71), his third collection of tracks featuring female vocalists and no doubt a fitting companion to our August issue.
3. In putting together your compilations, are they all made up of stuff you have or do you do a fair amount of digging around for new stuff? Your compilations focus on obscure bands, but which one has been the most arcane so far?
While I would love to have the time, space and money to own vinyl of everything I use, that’s definitely never going to happen! As my searches progress, I do buy them from time to time. I have original presses of about 30 of my all-time favourite obscure albums and about the same number on CD, which can also be surprisingly expensive and hard to find if the reissues were limited.
English rock historian Vernon Joynson has put out a few essential, and comprehensively huge, guides to 60s/70s psych from around the world and Canadian journalist Martin Popoff has written some great books veering more to the metal side of things. Other than books, I am indebted to the hardworking characters who run rarity labels like Rockadelic and Rockadrome as well as countless others out there on the internet who research, catalogue, buy, rip and share everything they can find. It is a truly collaborative effort and people around the globe contribute to huge databases like RateYourMusic.com, while guys like Robin Wills at purepop1uk.blogspot.com dedicate their lives (and mortgages it would seem) to revealing the most obscure stuff imaginable.
I think the special contribution I make is to crystallize and connect our finds in a way that is interesting to metal fans in particular, also making it quick and easy to hear the music as opposed to just reading about it. The other unique thing I aim to do is to theme the collections in ways that have not been done before. This helps to give historical context and efforts like the Native American comp I’m formulating at the moment are satisfying challenges that always produce interesting results.
As for an arcane favourite, I’ll go with Crank. This band is important to me as they are another of the bands, along with Budgie, that showed the potential quality of what you can find if you look a little further. They were brought to my attention by yet more knowledgeable types on the old stonerrock.com forum and very little is known about them, who the members were or the exact year of recording. Their demo tape from approximately 1969 was found in a murky Kansas studio basement quite recently and put out on vinyl by Rockadelic records. One track in particular called “Don’t Push Me Away” is an absolute stormer, the sadly untapped talent and potential of the guys who recorded it floors me every time.
If you had the power to give ONE of bands you’ve featured on your compilations the recognition it deserves, which would it be and why?
Night Sun. A German band (a country that pops up very frequently on my blog) who made one album called Mournin’ in 1972. The sheer nastiness and aggression of this record never fails to amaze me, but it is equally doomy and progressive. It has it all and demonstrates the innovation that came out of the Krautrock era (the album was produced by Kraftwerk’s early producer, Conny Plank). They were one of the only bands, including any famous ones you care to mention, that could have easily gone head to head with Black Sabbath in the heavy stakes, and in some aspects of their sound, even outdoing them. They only lasted a couple of years or so and pretty much vanished without trace, although a couple of members did contribute to subsequent bands.
To help give our readers a better sense about what your compilations are all about, tell us about five songs from your many, many volumes—why you like them, why they might be into them or anything else that comes to mind.
Mushroom—Crying For You (1970)
This is a brilliant Dutch single that I found while researching some compilations I did for the organiser of Roadburn festival in Holland. Crazy heavy slide guitar!
Captain Beyond—Raging River Of Fear (1972)
One of my less obscure choices that some of you may know, this band featured the original Deep Purple singer, Rod Evans, and one-time Iron Butterfly guitarist Larry “Rhino” Reinhardt, who sadly died this year. Everyone must hear this album, it rocks to an insane level from beginning to end!
Crank—Don’t Push Me Away (1969)
See question 3.
Night Sun—Living With The Dying (1972)
See question 4.
A really talented Israeli band that started out as The Churchills making psych in the mid-’60s and made a couple of great hard rock albums in the early ’70s as Jericho.
Be sure to check out The Day After The Sabbath and, while you’re at it, enjoy another of my personal favorites from all of the volumes I’ve digested so far…
Decibel published its first ever “Women In Metal,” issue this month, which offers an exhaustive look at the enormous contributions women have made to metal music (and the metal industry). If for some inexplicable reason you don’t subscribe then you can snag a copy from our store . If you are wise, you might have already read our profile of Witch Mountain in the August issue. But since we can’t get enough of Uta Plotkin’s voice — Cauldron Of The Wild has been on my playlist since I first heard it months ago — we asked her to contribute a bit more and she agreed.
Plotkin named her five favorite female vocalists and picked five tracks that best represent their style. While the women in metal issue was a first this post might be a bigger first; the first and perhaps only time both Tina Turner and the Cocteau Twins are mentioned in dB. Give Uta’s playlist a listen below and then get her breakdown of her five favorite female voices:
From Uta:I love the human voice because of all the crazy things it’s capable of and the myriad of ways it can express, so I tend to enjoy singers that have a strange quirk. Each of these women’s voices have some special quality that sets them apart for me.
Diamanda Galas is a primal operatic wailer channeling demons in order to exorcise them. Her pureness and rawness are what I love about her voice. She opens her mouth and it seems there’s no filter or self-consciousness, only something demented and dark trapped inside, now gleefully unleashed. She’s an unrelenting force and her power is intoxicating and weird. You won’t hear her full multiple octave range on “Let My People Go” but you’ll get the idea.
Elizabeth Fraser: (Cocteau Twins)
Elizabeth Fraser’s voice has a crystal clear and fluid tone, reaching notes with easy grace. What I love about her voice is what sounds like a kind of warbling bubble caught in her airway that she can activate at will. Listen for the strange trills and precise cracks. I can almost feel the textures she creates in my throat. I love the floating world her voice transports me to. On “But I’m Not”, from Cocteau Twins’ debut album, her voice shines and the lyrics are cool (for most CT songs she makes up nonsense words).
Bjork’s incredible voice has captivated me since the first time I heard it fifteen years ago – her smokiness and range, her versatility and emotiveness. She can crack her voice like a whip and really let it go. Her tone coupled with her accent makes hers one of the most unusual and pleasing voices I’ve ever heard. She’s an otherworldly pixie-alien force of nature. She reminds me of one of my other favorites, Billie Holiday, for her power and intensity conveying emotions, sculpting them sonically.
Johnette Napolitano (Concrete Blonde):
Johnette Napolitano sounds like a woman with experience. She’s earthy, strong and genuine in a way that makes me want to be her friend. Her voice has that worn in texture that I love but doesn’t sacrifice range or belting power. In the chorus of “Heal it Up”, she proves her vocal skills. Just try to sing that in one breath.
I’m pretty sure Tina Turner’s got vocal chords made of steel wool. If I tried to sing like her I’d end up in surgery. One of the reasons I love her voice is I don’t understand how she can sound that way. She’s got raw fire and buckets of soulful energy. Her raspy rockin-ness goes straight to my face, making it crinkle in time to her screeches and howls. “Steel Claw” is one of my favorites because it’s so badass and fast.
Order the most triumphant Cauldron Of The Wild from Profound Lore. Connect with the band here to tell them how much you dig the album.
By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listenOn: Wednesday, June 27th, 2012
We can count the number of times we’ve applied some Deci-clusivity to an unsigned act on the Deciblog. Of course, yammerers and Internet lonely-hearts will cry that we should only spotlight the label-less, the bands fighting for a slice of a slice of a depreciated penny. The problem is this: turn on the demo-powered floodgates and it becomes next to impossible to sort through the good, the bad, and the flat-out horrendous. Actually, we did sort out one killer audio thing that’s come our way recently. New Jersey’s Kalopsia.
OK, they had a full-length back in 2003, but who remembers the label Think Metal? See. And if you do remember Think Metal and the long-player—Exquisite Beauty of the Defiled—issued on said record purveyor, then you deserve a Gutted belt buckle. Anyway, Kalopsia was formed out of current/ex-members of Funebrarum, Dehumanized and Deteriorot, and based on what we’ve heard the group’s newest material kills in only ways American death metal can. As for how Kalopsia define themselves, well, they’re regular Jerseyans who buy coffee at “the WaWa” and refuse to call the “shore” a beach. Even vocalist/guitarist Matt Medeiros thinks Kalopsia ain’t sliced bread, “Unfortunately we’re pretty much normal dudes outside of our weird hobby of blastbeats, mosh riffs and monster growls.” As for the music, yes, it’s meta-normal. Whatever that means.
** Shuffle over to Kalopsia’s Bandcamp site (click HERE) to check out more Kalopsia ruleage. It’s just an album teaser, but it’s 3:44 of santoku-riffs, helicopter double bass, and surprise melodic breaks. Just for you sweeties while the wait for long-player Amongst the Ruins clocks down to August.
We received the message through the usual channels, but this time the priority was urgent. “We’re coming to Seattle,” said Witte, “and I need to go to Brouwer’s.” As the local beer ambassador to the extremely extreme set, we felt compelled to honor this request, so upon Municipal Waste’s arrival in Seattle, a meeting was set up and arrangements were made to deliver drummer to drinking establishment.
Brouwer’s operations manager Matt Bonney intervened just prior to round three and treated us (and himself) to a very special bottle of Imagination Ale—a sour brown Brouwer’s collaboration with Port Brewing that Bonney himself had a hand in creating. This bad boy was aged in both bourbon and wine barrels with raisins, rosemary and honey. And, damn, was it amazing. Unfortunately, beery fun time was temporarily put on hold so we could return Witte to Neumo’s (somewhat tardily, we’re afraid) to attend to his pre-show band obligations.
L to R: Witte, Bonney & humble narrator.
Our own pre-show obligations lay two blocks up the street at the Elysian, where we and our brothers in thrash drank pints of the Bunsen Experimental Pale Ale (made with a new experimental hop variety) and ate poutine. Though this caused us to to miss both local opening acts, we did arrive in time to get bludgeoned by Black Tusk’s throbbing metallic ugliness.
Before 3 Inches of Blood delivered a killing blow of old-school battle metal, we plunged into the guts of Neumo’s to look for Witte and instead found MW guitarist Ryan Waste sitting on a couch with his Witchfinder General “stage shirt” hung out and ready for action. Cue extended discussion of the NWOBHM and before we knew it 3 Inches of Blood had nearly finished pillaging Neumos before we made it back upstairs. We caught their last two songs and were amazed at the strength of Cam Pipes voice. Dude is an old-school wailer.
If it’s indeed true that bands feed off of crowds, then Municipal Waste had a (fatal) feast in Seattle. A few hundred manic thrash fans lost their flippin’ minds for the nearly hour-long set as the band ripped through one song after another. Tracks from The Fatal Feast showed off Ryan Waste’s predilection for NWOBHM riffing and the crowd was as stoked to hear the title track of that album, as they were to chant along during “Born to Party” and “Sadistic Magician.” It was mayhem in the best possible way.
A continuous flow of stage divers launched themselves from the stage while vocalist Tony Foresta did his best Blaine Cook (The Accused) crouch, spitting out lyrics into the raised fists at the front. If there’s a better, faster, funnier, more entertaining metal band out there, we haven’t seen ‘em. Ten-plus years into their career, the Waste are unstoppable. Their dedication to relentless touring has honed them into an unstoppable, beer-fueled machine.
Due to the nearly 12-hour, high-gravity beer odyssey detailed above, we must admit that the end of the set became something of a blur. We know that the frequency of stage divers increased, as did the action in the pit. There was also a well-deserved encore at the end, the details of which escape us. If this seems like we neglected our journalistic duties in favor of consuming beers, then we plead guilty. In our defense, however, we did at least accomplish one mission by getting Dave Witte front and center at Brouwer’s.