REGENTS MAY NOT BE METAL, BUT THEY LIKE METAL

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, listen, lists, videos On: Thursday, November 15th, 2012

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Regents features current and ex-members of Sleepytime Trio, Maximillian Colby, Frodus, the Exploder, Battery, Combatwoundedveteran, Thursday, United Nations and Decahedron playing the sort of screwy and spazzy post-punk punk rock you’d expect a band featuring current and ex-members of Sleepytime Trio, Maximillian Colby, Frodus, the Exploder, Battery, Combatwoundedveteran, Thursday, United Nations and Decahedron to be playing. As well, the legendary J. Robbins is involved on the band’s latest album, Antietam After Party, acting as both engineer and playing bass. The album’s title is in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam which cursory glances at history sources tells me was one of the turning points in the American Civil War. Take a brief listen to what the band sounds like here:

http://rgnts.com/music/

Here’s a taste of what they look like when they’re sounding like that:

Here’s what they look like when they’re standing still:

In order to up the relevance of dropping mention of Regents here, we felt we needed to up the metal content. Thus, we asked a few of the members to let us know what their favourite metal albums are. This is what they came up with:

Jason Hamacher (drums)
So, I was running through the woods when it hit me: I’m 36-year-old child-raising, home-owning, wife-having, metal-loving, harDCore-playing, stage-diving adult. The sound track to this epiphany was my Metal Mix 1 playlist. It starts with Slayer followed by Metallica, Megadeth, & Entombed. Basically, I was exercising to my 8th grade music collection and wasn’t sure how that made me feel. There is music that affects us no matter how old we are. Here are three of my favorites:

Slayer- Seasons in the Abyss. I had a seriously rough asthma attack the night MTV debuted Slayer’s “War Ensemble” on Headbanger’s Ball. I was sleeping over at my friend Brian’s house and forgot to bring my inhaler. My breathing became more difficult as we quietly thrashed to Wrathchild, Vio-lence, Megadeth, Nuclear Assult, & Metallica videos while Brian’s parents slept in the room next door. Headbanger’s Ball was literally taking my breath away. The only medicine Brian had was Alka-Seltzer. As we dropped the tablets into water as “War Ensemble” came on TV. We were amazed how fast it was was and how awesome the drum fills were. Enthralled by Slayer, I sat struggling to breath hoping Alka-Seltzer Cold and Cough would cure an asthma attack. Near the end of the song I drank the Alka-Seltzer, blacked out, and hit Brian’s kitchen floor. I was slightly hurt, still couldn’t breath, and arose a Slayer fan for life.

Metallica – Ride the Lighting. “For Whom The Bell Tolls” was the first song I played with a guitarist, the legendary Brian Biegert of Satellite Beach, Fl. We were 12 and had I convinced my 8th grade science teacher to let our band play in the school cafeteria as a science experiment. The experiment had something to do with sound waves and I couldn’t tell you what we were measuring. We brought all our gear to school and set up during class. I used my parents comforter as a (failed) drum rug, and we put the Peavy combo amps on a lunch table. We blasted our classmates in the face with our Metallica experiment and ended up getting a B.

Sepultura – Beneath The Remains. The cover of this album is a skull with flowers!!!! Beneath the Remains was one of the first metal records I heard that started with an acoustic intro and busted into a thrash attack. I thought that was the best. I used to play it in the car to scare my parents. Brian and I used to blast this and mosh in our bed room. Florida Tank-tops in the pit!!!!!

Dave NeSmith (guitar/vocals)
Quiet Riot – Metal Health. Well I know this is quite the mainstream choice having been one of the first metal albums to make it to the top of the charts. But I love this record for how rounded it made my future likes in music. My Mom took me for my first record buying outing and with my allowance I was able to get three tapes. My choices were this record, Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down and Berlin Love Life. I listened and loved all of them. It makes me laugh now at how different each one was. But Metal Health was the only one that got “TURN IT DOWN!” yells from my parents. Too late. The rebellion was already started.

Sliang Laos – Never Released. To my knowledge, the Richmond, VA greats Sliang Laos never got their LP out the door. Which is SUCH a shame. At first I just had a tape of this incredible band and now I have the mp3s. Are they metal? Definitely influenced by it, considered “mathy” and dark. nd heavy… oh my dark lord they are heavy! At one show the singer banged and scraped on a huge metal pipe while the rest of the band devastated the crowd.

Lukas Previn (bass)
Sleep – Holy Mountain.
It’s like smoking with gandalf and him showing you riffs.

Entombed – Wolverine Blues
A true showing of style beating out the desire to fist a thousand notes into every bar.

Varg Vilkernes
This isnt a band, but this one dude has had more of an impact on Black metal than most bands ever could. Do a Wiki on him and hold on.

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Under the Running Board -
One time their old drummer hit me square between my eyes with a hurled drum stick at the end of their set at the Space in Worcester, Mass.

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin 1
Hey wanna record the most influential shit in about a week then finger-fuck a girl with a fish?


Shit, even Mike from Darkest Hour digs ‘em

[photos 1 and 2: chuck powell; #3 nathaniel shannon]

Decibrity Playlist: Aaron Stainthorp​e (My Dying Bride) (Part 2)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, November 15th, 2012

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To celebrate the release of A Map Of All Our Failures, last week My Dying Bride vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe (that’s him in the middle) went through the first half of My Dying Bride’s discography to tell us about an album that he was listening to while writing/recording each LP. As he told us, “They have not necessarily influenced the sound of our recording, but they’ve made life in the music world very much worth living and I thank them all for that.” Now, starting with 1999′s The Light At The End Of The World, we present the second half of his picks, which you can listen along to here.

The Light At The End Of The World (1999) :: Depeche Mode’s Violator
Electro pop misery from England—what’s not to like? I was a member of their fan club once upon a time and still have a 7″ flexi disc for signing up, what a treasure!

The Dreadful Hours (2001) :: Mazzy Star’s Among My Swan
The effortless beauty and innocence in Hope Sandoval’s voice still pulls my heart strings today. What initially sounds like a summertime LP, all glowing and golden, soon turns to utter misery with a picnic of melancholy thrown in for good measure.

Songs Of Darkness, Words Of Light (2004) :: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds’ Murder Ballads
The only LP in my entire collection where every single song on it is brilliant. A supreme wordsmith backed by a top notch band performing tunes of deviance and destruction—with Kylie! What more do you want?

A Line of Deathless Kings (2006) :: Trouble’s Run To The Light
A doom classic before they went a bit stoner. Weirdly effective vocals from Eric Wagner with crushing guitar work and pounding drums from the rest of the boys make for one seriously morbid release—from a Christian band no less.

For Lies I Sire (2009) :: Swans’ The Burning World
If the likes of Celtic Frost and Candlemass helped instigate the birth of My Dying Bride, then Swans kept the engines firing on all miserable cylinders. So good, we even covered one of their tracks. A masterpiece.

A Map Of All Our Failures (2012) :: Grinderman’s Grinderman 2
Sees Nick Cave back with Warren Ellis and the lads in much dirtier form with screeching violins, manic guitars, frenzied vocals and all manner of cacophony afoot. It’s nasty and naughty and doesn’t give a fuck—hail to that!

*Order a copy of A Map Of All Our Failures here.

**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include:

Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

Full Album Stream: Grand Supreme Blood Court

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

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The phrases “Van Drunen” and “side project” will cause more than a little excitement in these parts. The death metal frontman handled vocals on two prestigious entries in Decibel’s Top 100 Death Metal Albums (available here). He also toured with the mighty Bolt Thrower and fronts war-themed badasses Hail Of Bullets. The dude is like the Lebron James of death metal.

Grand Supreme Blood Court is basically a hybrid of Asphyx and Hail Of Bullets so know two things: there will be no musical surprises and it will be fucking awesome.

Decibel is happy to offer a stream of Bow Down Before The Blood Court in addition to a liner’s notes worth of material from drummer Bob Bagchus on the album. Stream the album below and get in touch with Martin, Bob and the rest of Grand Supreme Blood Court here. The album is available for preorder from Century Media.

Grand Supreme Blood Court was formed during a phone call conversation between Eric Daniels and Bob Bagchus. Eric was eager to play death metal again. Blood Court was never formed with the idea to bring something new or fresh into the scene — hell no. It was formed to play the old style death metal we all like: pure and simple. Nothing more.

Eric really wanted to play with Bob Bagchus (drums) and Martin (vocals) again in a band for old time’s sake. Martin and Bob agreed since Eric is a long time friend and Alwin Zuur was asked to handle the second guitar. Theo van Eekelen was asked to handle the bass roars. Songs were made and in a short period of time 11 tracks were ready to be recorded. GSBC signed a worldwide deal with Century Media. Influences vary from Slaughter (Canada) to Necrovore to Hellhammer.

Nobody expected something else, right?

1. All Rise: Mid-paced/doomy track which contains riffs that existed for quite awhile. Finally shaped into an extraordinarily heavy track.

2. Bow Down Before the Blood Court: Title track, a faster/mid one which existed before we entered the studio. We were still in the rehearsal place and started to jam again — this was the result. We packed our stuff, went to the studio and recorded the thing right away.

3. There Shall Be No Acquitance: Faster track with an extremely crushing, doomy head-bang part in the middle. Inspired by old Possessed. This one is relentless.

4. Veredictum Sanguis: A mid-paced track in the Hellhammer/Slaughter-style. The opening riff is a crusher. No fast parts here, the middle slow part is in the best Black Sabbath-style. A band we all love!

5. Behead the Defence: A short, fast track which existed for some years. Straighter than straight and very much in your face death metal.

6. Grand Justice, Grand Pain: An instrumental which was a soundcheck for the drums right before recording the album. I did some mid-paced double bass and suddenly Eric started to play along with it. I heard it on the headphones and told him to play that riff endlessly. So this song is actually the sound-check, but it turned out to be a heavy bomber. Theo played some bass lines as an intro for the song and there it is.

7. Fed To The Boars: Could be the most brutal track on the album, especially lyric-wise. Some people might misinterpret the lyrics, and some people even think we might get into trouble with it. It’s a total anti-religion track, and we name the beast by the name here. Century Media wasn’t sure about printing the lyrics, but luckily they hate censoring as much as we do. Martin did some really great pig squeals in the slow part of the track…Guess who will be eaten there…

8. Circus of Mass Torment: A pounding two-beat track which roars like a tank battalion. It was supposed to be a 7″ track only, but since we all thought this was too good to be only used as a 7″, we decided to put in on the record itself. Eric and I made the song, and the day before we had to record it, Alwin made some changes. I heard the changes late at night and at first thought, “What the fuck?” but wrote the changes and extensions quickly on paper, went to the studio the next day, recorded the damn thing and praised Alwin later on! The changes made the track very special and gave it the right creepy atmosphere. It stands out, as a matter of fact. Martin did a diabolical laugh which really fits the concept.

9. Public Castration: What do you do with rapists and child molesters? Torture them, carve their balls and let the public kill them. The lyrics say what every court should do in those cases: let the public/victims be judge, jury and executioner. The music is from Alwin’s old band. He took his laptop to my house once — Martin was at my place as well, we had some beers and listened to his older stuff. This track really stood out, and both Martin and I wanted to use it for Asphyx. But since Asphyx had already enough material for Deathhammer, we decided to use it for the Blood Court instead. It’s a chopping up-tempo track.

10. Piled Up for the Scavengers: One of the faster tracks on the album with a catchy middle break, which even has a bit of melody in it. The riffs are inspired by old gods Necrovore. Yet again, a brutal straight forward death metal song with the old style D beat.

11. …And Thus The Billions Shall Burn: A very epic track which is close to 10 minutes. The main riff has such a creepy atmosphere due to Alwin’s higher notes. It’s the kind of riff that makes you think your grave is already waiting for you in the cold night. Eric did a marvelous job again with his end-time solo at the end of this epic monster.

Chris Naughton (Winterfylleth) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

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** In most cases, Decibel features “all the metal that’s fit to print”, but there are times when metal’s meta, so when letters are falling out of the margins and don’t have a home, they go to the Deciblog. The following interview is the full transcript for the Winterfylleth feature in Decibel #98 [available HERE].

The last time we spoke regarding The Mercian Sphere you had to go on record to correct controversial statements made by a former member. Have those issues been resolved?
Chris Naughton: Yeah, I think so. To be honest, it was a bit of a ‘storm in a tea cup’ issue that should have been left to the members of Winterfylleth to deal with. But people love a story, and it got blown way out of proportion. It’s funny how something from an insignificant local music forum has stood to define who we are as a band for the first few albums of our musical career. We’ve said a lot about this controversy in other interviews and been as open as possible with it, so that people ‘get’ who and what we are about. I think we’ve consciously chosen to be quite up front about it all, and not hide behind some veil of smoke and mirrors. The reason being is because mud sticks and it’s important we don’t let it. A lot of the major magazines have had in depth interviews and chats with us about it and we have the backing of all of them now. We’ve been invited to play festivals such as Wacken, which are very sensitive to these kinds of things and generally I think the mind set of people who used to think ill of the band is changing. If people still don’t get it, then I’d encourage them to come to us directly. We can be contacted easily enough through any number of social forums, or the record label.

What does it mean for the British press to embrace Winterfylleth? I saw that BBC Radio 1 had debuted “Void of Light”.
Chris Naughton: Yeah, I think it’s great. Daniel P. Carter who runs the BBC 1 rock show has been a fan of the band for many years and has played our music before. It’s reassuring to know that there are still people out there—like Daniel—who care about underground music and who actively bring your music to a wider audience through their shows. We wouldn’t be where we are without that kind of support, or the support we have from the press. So it means a lot for people to back what we do and vote with their feet in supporting our music and our shows.

Do you think the United Kingdom and Ireland black metal scenes are as exciting as they were a few years ago? I realize Primordial and several others have been around for a while, but the new generation of bands garnered a lot of attention for their music and message.
Chris Naughton: Absolutely! When we spoke a few years ago, we were talking about a scene in its relative infancy; one that was starting to bring through some great bands with strong ideas. We are now a few years down the line and we are starting to see these bands flourish even more so. Look at A Forest of Stars, for example. A great band who are finally (on their third album) starting to get the plaudits they have deserved since day one. Similarly, we have bands like Wodensthrone who have stepped up a notch by joining us on Candlelight and unleashing their incredible second album Curse onto the world. If anything I would say that it is now that all the British bands are starting to hit their stride and bring their music to the world in a way they have never been able to before. On top of that there is this great undercurrent of bands like Cnoc An Tursa, Fyrdsman and Nine Covens coming through that represent a scene that is bearing some real fruit.

I also remember you had issue with people viewing the The Saint George’s Cross flag—I believe that was the flag—with suspicion. Has that changed much at all? I realize as a pro-British band you’re entitled to fly whatever iteration of the British flag you like as it relates to Winterfylleth and its musical/lyrical disposition.
Chris Naughton: People are idiots sometimes. It’s just that mob mentality of not wanting to seem small minded or ‘in the wrong’ to your peers, and jumping on a bandwagon you know nothing about. The St. George’s Cross is the flag of England, our home country. People seem to have this impression—because of everything the read or are told in the UK media—that our nations flag is some kind of racist/fascist symbol. It’s just this idea about ruling through fear and the link between fear and power in practice. There was this Italian writer/political theorist called Antonio Gramsci who brought forward this idea about what he termed a ‘Cultural hegemony’. The idea being to perpetuate the ‘ruling-class domination’ of a culturally diverse society by one social class, who manipulate the culture of the society—the beliefs, explanations, perceptions and values—so that their ruling class view becomes the worldview that is imposed and accepted as the cultural norm. This worldview then becomes the universally valid dominant ideology that justifies the social, political, and economic status quo as natural and inevitable, perpetual and beneficial for everyone, rather than as artificial social constructs that benefit only the ruling class. Such is the state of the political and social landscape within the UK. Ultimately, I think that media does this to aim towards the centralization of our governments into the EU and to impact upon people’s ability to form identity within their own society. Eventually, this would lead to all of Europe being led and controlled by less people than ever before; impacting more and more social control over people who have taken to the idea naturally due to the impression of this cultural hegemony over them. It’s all pretty logical when you consider it; it’s just that most don’t. So when you see the flag issue as the tip of the iceberg, you can see Gramsci’s theory playing out in practice.

OK, onto music. What do you see are the major differences between The Mercian Sphere and The Threnody of Triumph?
Chris Naughton: I don’t know if there are any major differences between the two albums. The new album is still a Winterfylleth album and it still sounds like us. The differences as I see them are more in the dynamics of the album. On this one we incorporated more lead guitar work and a bit more melancholic melody within the songs. Also we’ve got a few slower numbers on the album to contrast the faster blasting songs. Production wise there are parallels, as we opted to work with Chris Fielding again at Foel Studios. I think the difference and perhaps the beauty are to be revealed the more you listen. There are layers of guitars and vocals that will unwind the more people listen.

A lot of bands suffer the sophomore slump. You know, unable to repeat the greatness of the debut. The Threnody of Triumph is your third album. What did you do on The Threnody of Triumph that you didn’t want to repeat from the first two albums?
Chris Naughton: Do you know what, loads of bands are too disparaging of their back catalog and seem to get into this cycle of saying things like “this is the best thing we’ve ever done, it totally destroys our last album”, etc. For me, I think we’ve always made consistently good albums and have applied all our current skills and knowledge into them at the time of their creation. The only things we’ve really done differently across them all is to learn and be aware of what aspects, nuances and tweaks to listen out for when we are recording and mixing the songs. Ultimately, you learn to be better at, and get more out of the process each time you do it. So, I think this one represents a process we were more informed about and in control of. In terms of approach, to be honest it was quite similar to the last, but in terms of pre- and post-production, we learned a lot of lessons that we applied this time. For example, how loud the kicks will be in the raw mix and the post master, so how to mix them properly. Just little bits like that really.

Then again, you formed only five years ago. Three albums in five years is a pretty strong start to a band. Is that part of being young and hungry or is the prolific nature of Winterfylleth more part of the overall pro-British message?
Chris Naughton: It’s been a pretty natural pace to be honest. I think an album every two years is enough to keep people interested without swamping the market with too much stuff. I’m not sure it’s geared particularly around promoting a pro-British message (as you put it). Our music is about celebrating, and bringing relevance to our countries rich history in order to re-engage people with the real world and with social discourse. We do things naturally and keep spreading the ideas with shows and touring in between times.

The songs on The Threnody of Triumph have a sense of flight. Was this an important factor in their composition? To have movement, lift, and a forward momentum.
Chris Naughton: I think the songs have a consistently fast pace on the most part, and what we wanted to do was have dynamics working in and out of that as a base this time around. I like songs to keep moving and to be interesting with peaks, troughs and accents, so as such we reflect that in the music we make. I think it makes for more listenable albums, rather than a constant wall of one tone.

I like that the album has a quick tempo. A defined direction. But just as the album starts to lose a bit of luster—perhaps due to its lack of variety—“A Soul Unbound” hits. In fact, this is the first song on The Threnody of Triumph that I connected with. Where does this song fit in the overall layout of The Threnody of Triumph?
Chris Naughton: The first five tracks before “A Soul Unbound” represent: a song based on a tempo we’ve never used before (“A Thousand Winters”), a song with breaks downs and choral sections unlike the others (“The Swart Raven”), and acoustic track with layered strings (“Æfterield-Fréon”), a faster, riff oriented song (“A Memorial”) and a song in a different tempo and key with sung choruses (“The Glorious Plain”). So, I’m not sure I understand the lack of variety bit. Perhaps a lack of familiarity is more apt. “A Soul Unbound” then acts as a transitional/bridging song between the beginning lyrical concepts and the ending ones. In that the soul is now unbound from the body and is moving onto its fate after death.

What do you think you got out of Chris Fielding as a producer? I really like the vibe. It’s warm, aggressive yet inviting. I want to come back to it, even though it’s harsh as hell at times.
Chris Naughton: Working with Chris is a genuine privilege as he is easy to work with and, as a fan of metal, ‘gets’ what you want to do with your songs while helping you to achieve it in the best way. When you are so focused on your own album it’s great to have his independent view on things, as his suggestions are based on working with new bands every few weeks and are usually a breath of fresh air in uncertain situations. You only have to look at the quality of his recorded output to see why we keep going back to work with him. Also, we aren’t from ’90s Norway, so we’ve not tried to restrict the instruments in any way. Hence the warmth and tones we have on the album. Chris is great at capturing the live sounds of the instruments and I think that really adds a feeling to the albums.

What is meant by The Threnody of Triumph? A threnody is a hymn to a dead person, but I suppose it could mourn a country, a culture, a lifestyle.
Chris Naughton: The concept is about a deathly ode—or threnody—to those ones who have died, and is about how our ancestors viewed spirituality in the sense of how the soul and the body were connected. The album also has a broader concept about celebrating the lives of those who you love that have passed away. So, as such we felt that a contrast between the darkness of loss and the epic-ness of celebration needed to come together in the songs, so that had an influence on the music writing. I hope the lyrics complement this and come across in the finished product—where we contrast darker, faster black metal with soaring leads and rich vocal harmonies. There is always an undertone of social relevance within what we do, and the aim is that people can come to understand history and its implications on humanity. The aim is then to make people more active is some of the social discourse that underlies some of the content.

I heard you recorded some English folk songs. Will those be acoustic or re-interpreted as Winterfylleth originals? That’ll be an EP, I suppose. On Candlelight or through your own label?
Chris Naughton: We did indeed. They are traditional English folk songs, as imagined by Winterfylleth. They are similar to the acoustic songs on the albums, but taken way further. There are sung vocals, layered vocals and more acoustic instrumentation used within them. It’s going to be part of a wider compilation that Roman from Drudkh is putting together. I don’t want to give too much away at this point, but its shaping up to be great.

While I missed you at Graspop, a lot of the press folk in attendance indicated you were one of the best bands of the fest. Are you aiming to get on the road a bit and do proper tours worldwide?
Chris Naughton: The band is looking to undertake some touring to support the new album in 2013, so we will be planning that quite soon. We are also playing at Damnation Festival in November and have recently booked to play Hammerfest V in March 2013, so we have a good few things on the horizon. For now we will be getting into the rehearsal room to polish up on the new album songs, so we can bring some of those out in November.

OK, final question. Man City or United?
Chris Naughton: Huddersfield Town! But if you are a Manc, then it’s the done thing to support City, as historically to support United has been seen to be a ‘glory supporter’. So City.

** Visit and Like Winterfylleth on Facebook.

** Winterfylleth’s new album, The Threnody of Triumph, is out now on Candlelight Records. It’s available HERE. Or, you can search out the various Tsatthoggua albums. If you have a weird band name fetish, of course.

GIVEAWAY: Flourishing Complete Digital Discog + Tee

By: adem Posted in: contest, featured, heavy tuesdays On: Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

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Since Brooklyn trio Flourishing is releasing the digital version of its latest 3-song EP, Intersubjectivity, via The Path Less Traveled today we figured it would be a good opportunity to give some stuff away to mark the occasion.

And by “some stuff,” we mean the band’s entire digital discography, plus a killer T-shirt. Musically the lucky giveaway winner will receive:

A Momentary Sense of the Immediate World EP (2010)
The Sum of All Fossils (2011)
Intersubjectivity EP (2012)

Intersubjectivity is three songs (twenty-plus minutes) of seriously noise-damaged death metal. In fact, this is so tweaked and fucked up at times—think Godlfesh’s urban blight of industrial noise and ambient fuckery—that we’re not sure it really much fits into the whole death metal paradigm. Other times, though, there’s no denying the incendiary death metal violence inherent in the music. Let’s just say it’s not by-the-books DM and leave it at that.

And that’s perhaps the most engaging thing about it. There’s a sense of experimentalism about the almost psychedelic arrangements that keeps the tunes from feeling stagnant. There’s never any loss of intensity, even when the band flies off on some tangent. Oh hell, just go listen to it for yourself here.

As for the T-shirt that’s up for grabs, well, man, what can we tell you about that? Um, it’s brand new! And look how reddish-maroon it is! Red is the new black we hear.

So, now we get down to the details as to how you can make all this good stuff your very own. First you have to send an email here with something clever like “Flourishing Decibel Giveaway” as the subject. And in the body of the email, it wouldn’t hurt to put a friendly message in there to the fine folks at The Path Less Traveled along with your contact details. One lucky winner will be chosen at random and notified shortly thereafter. You have exactly nothing to lose by entering this, so do it now.

Laina Dawes’ Soundtrack to Your Cultural Emanicipation

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, lists On: Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

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The forthcoming What Are You Doing Here: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal is such an exquisitely rendered, inspiring melange of memoir, cultural criticism, extreme music history, and fiery, righteous polemic it only seemed natural to offer up some Deci-space to author Laina Dawes for a list of five albums the spurred on her musical/intellectual evolution. Predictably, Dawes’ exegesis is both entertaining and edifying…

1. Kiss, Double Platinum (1978)

I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I loved that horrible made-for-TV movie KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. All I can remember — I was seven — was that they were scary and that excited me. For my eighth birthday I requested and received their greatest hits double-vinyl, Double Platinum, and I loved it to death. C’mon, “Deuce” was the shit back then! Between my older sister and I, over the years we eventually obtained all of their solo albums, but I was drawn to “Space” Ace Frehley’s one because I liked the guitar work — and it was sonically harder than the schlock found on the other solo albums. A few years ago a fellow music journalist sent me some rare solo stuff that Frehley had done right after he left KISS and it was incredible — dirty, bluesy, groove-oriented hard rock that was ten times better than what the band was producing.

2. Judas Priest, Screaming for Vengeance (1982)

Growing up in rural Eastern Ontario, we didn’t have — and my parents still do not have — cable TV. When I was eleven or twelve, I would go to sleep at 9:30 on a Friday night, get up at midnight and if the reception was good enough, watch this Canadian music program, The New Music on one of the few channels we could get. The show was incredible by today’s standards, as it only focused on ‘alternative’ music: the underground punk scene, new wave, heavy metal and later, rap. I discovered Black Flag, X, Agnostic Front, and during one episode they showed snippets of Judas Priest’s ‘new’ video, “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin.’” I was immediately hooked on the loudness, the leather, K.K Downing, the flashing lights and Rob Halford’s vocals, who sang like I had never heard a singer sing before.

After sourcing what album the song came from via Circus Magazine, I was able to save up enough of my allowance to buy Screaming for Vengeance on vinyl. One of my older brothers is an artist, and he drew the cover art, I colored it in and I think I put it on my bedroom wall — why we did this makes no sense to me now, but we lived way out in the country so I guess we were bored! I now know there are better albums, such as Sad Wings of Destiny, but that album was the one that made me a lifelong Priest fan and really turned me onto harder stuff. And you can’t beat the Halfords’s unhinged wailing on the title track.

Kylesa’s Laura Pleasants’ track-by-track preview of “From the Vaults, Vol. 1″

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, November 12th, 2012

kylesa band

On November 16th, Savannah sludge/metal/psych/punk/other band Kylesa will release From the Vaults Vol. 1 through Season of Mist. It’s been two years since the release of Spiral Shadow, and given you’ll will have to wait until the spring for a follow-up, those of you jonesing for a fix of heavy-and-trippy should check out this out.

Featuring the more obscure moments of the Kylesa canon, From the Vaults Vol. 1 is the first in what will be a meticulously curated series of releases that should not only appeal to avowed completists, but also to neophytes wanting a taste of what the band’s genre-warping sound is all about.


You can pre-order From the Vaults Vol. 1 HERE

Here’s guitarist/vocalist Laura Pleasants’ track-by-track take on the release:

STREAMING: Hell Militia “Deus Irae”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, November 12th, 2012

hellmilitia_blackmetal_decibel_2012

France’s Hell Militia have been kicking (unfortunate) Euro ass since the early aughts, so it stands to reason there’s a “sizeable” contingent of believers into the group’s three full-length albums, the most recent of which is Jacob’s Ladder on the Season of Mist label.

Jacob’s Ladder reveals the inner side of Hell Militia,” says the non-corpsepainted Hell Militia in a prepared statement. “Violent and dissonant, urban and religious, the new Hell Militia is a mix of old-school black metal and modern black metal.” And they’re pretty on-target with that blurb. Jacob’s Ladder has enough of the Mütiilation’s never-stop-the-madness stuff combined with the high concept black of homeland homies Deathspell Omega or Blut Aus Nord to compete with the best of ‘em. The album strikes a blasphemous balance. Even the album art is “different” yet “different”. Although Season of Mist would have you believe there’s “accessible songwriting” to be found on Hell Militia’s third full-length, it’s not of the Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth approach. It’s dissonant, angular, and altogether conceived from a different astral (possibly nefarious) plane. What else would you expect from dudes who moonlighted in Mütiilation and the ultra-caustic Arkhon Infaustus?

Recorded at SOS Studios in Germany—also home to alt-black sensation Secrets of the Moon—Jacob’s Ladder‘s brutal art is best displayed on near album’s end track, “Deus Irae”. Normally, we would’ve suggested a track 1 or track 2 pull, as that’s where the gems are posited for prime indoctrination, but with Hell Militia it’s all backward. Like life. So, imbibe in Hell Militia’s roaring hate. Better to do it now before the “pig” comes again.

** Hell Militia’s new album, Jacob’s Ladder, is out November 16th on Season of Mist underground imprint Underground Activists. It’s available HERE, or you can go get that Gatling gun replica you’ve been fawning over recently. Now, that’s some real “war metal”.

The Lazarus Pit: Believer’s Sanity Obscure

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, lazarus pit, listen On: Friday, November 9th, 2012

Into the woods

Welcome to The Lazarus Pit, a biweekly look at should-be classic metal records that don’t get nearly enough love; stuff that’s essential listening that you’ve probably never heard of; stuff that we’re too lazy to track down the band members to do a Hall Of Fame for. This week, we have, by special request of The Editor in Chief, the Jesus thrashing madness of Believer’s Sanity Obscure (REX Records).

I hope you guys like your thrash metal with some ultra technicality, because Believer make Dark Angel look like Hirax. Emerging from the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, as a melodic metal outfit in the mid-80s, the brainchild of drummer Joey Daub and guitarist-vocalist Kurt Bachman (the only two constant members of the band), they quickly took their place at the forefront of the Christian metal scene by virtue of being not terrible. They also had crossover potential which led to them hooking up with Road Runner – despised their confirmed beliefs and Bible-based lyrics, they weren’t as preachy as groups like Sacred Warrior or Messiah. Plus, they could seriously shred.

Let’s be honest here – killer music will get metalheads to overlook just about anything, whether it’s religious views they disagree with or, you know, burning down churches and killing someone in cold blood. Believer approached their music with a level of inventiveness, ambition, and experimentation matched only by peers like Anacrusis and the aforementioned Dark Angel. Although their debut, Extraction from Mortality, had some pretty rad thrash going on, it wasn’t until their sophomore effort, 1990’s Sanity Obscure, that they started twisting time signatures like steel-plated balloon animals. Their highly complex approach wasn’t nearly as catchy as bands like Metallica or Megadeth (hence their comparative lack of success), but they pull it off with gusto.

It’s apparent immediately that the listener is in for something different, considering that this starts with the sounds of a music box dissolving into discord. Then the thrash starts, but it’s pretty idiosyncratic – both guitars playing riffs that almost contradict each other with a ferocity that rivals death metal’s. Apparently this song inspired the music for a level from the videogame Doom, which is pretty novel. “Wisdom’s Call” brings in some arpeggio runs before kicking ass, while “Nonpoint” mixes melody with stop-start rhythms. Subsequent tracks follow along the same lines, with one notable exception, which is, ironically, probably their most lasting legacy: “Dies Irae (Day of Wrath).” This particular tune is one of the earliest recorded examples of symphonic metal, using orchestral parts and operatic female vocals that presaged both Nightwish and S&M. It’s unlike anything else on the record, or really anything else at the time, and it alone would cement this album’s importance even if nothing else did.

Believer would go on to release one more record, which went even more experimental, before going on hiatus for a decade or so. They returned with a couple, somewhat strange (see this magazine’s reviews) records, and they’re still a going concern. Whether it’s their Christian connections or arriving a little too late in the thrash cycle to gain attention, though, they just never really gained the status as innovators that they deserve. It’s insane that they’ve been obscure for this long – don’t miss out on this classic.

Official site

Buy it here!

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: OK’s Lost Empires

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, November 9th, 2012

Lost Empires Group 1

Because every day another band records another song.  Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck.  Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm.  Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.

This summer, a new Oklahoman sextet smeared their punked-up melodeath into the shape of a six-song, sub-23-minute EP.  Lost Empires’ blend of spacious riffing, hardcore sneer, and florid keyboard accents subtly recall Year of Our Lord’s similarly colorful meanderings on the band’s debut recording, Death and Evil Beasts.  At this moment, they are out touring the States, so head on over to their Facebook or Bandcamp pages to find out if they’re coming through your area.  And while you’re there, get a listen to (honestly, the stronger) half of the EP.  But first, find out what Lost Empires are all about by reading guitarist Brad Blanco’s thoughts on the band’s origins, personality, distaste for female circumcision.

Who are Lost Empires, and how did the band come together?

Lost Empires are from Norman, Oklahoma and consist of Brandon Davis on vocals, Ryan Kilby on lead guitar, Brad Blanco on rhythm guitar, Luke Enterline on bass guitar, Abe Hartley on keyboards, and Jeremy Hodson on drums.  LE started during the winter of 2010-2011. Our bassist Luke had approached me saying he had found a guitarist and they wanted to start playing some metal. So Luke, Kilby and I got it going, but Luke founded the band.  Funny story: I was unloading my gear to jam with them for the first time and I could hear Kilby shredding from outside the house, so I knew it was going to be good!! Then we got Abe and Jeremy on board, and finally Brandon stepped up to complete the band doing vocals.

How did the EP come about? Are these songs that have been around a while, or were they written specifically with a release in mind?

We were talking about what we wanted to do for a release, full length or EP. As most folks know, recording costs a lot of money, so to get the best bang for our buck we decided on an EP. Hopefully that way the EP would get some folks attention and we could hit the road sooner.  Basically we wanted to start playing shows as soon as we could so we needed a release to support; [an] EP just made sense as the first release.

What was the recording process like for these tracks?

We started by doing pre-production at our practice space to a click track, then once we got the songs down the way we liked them we took our riffs to Watershed Studios in Enid, Oklahoma. Our good friend Barry Johnston was our engineer while our drummer Jeremy was his assistant throughout the tracking.  Once everything was edited, the songs were sent to punk legend Stephen Egerton at Armstrong Studios in Tulsa, Oklahoma to be mixed and mastered.  We wrote a few little things in the studio, but the majority of the EP was already written when we went in to track.

Can you give a track-by-track commentary on what you think/feel about these songs, where they come from and how they turned out?

            “Black Sails”: Kilby wrote this song, he had it I think before we started jamming as a band.  I like this song because it has a kind of deep rich riffing to it. Not super technical or fast, but just solid riffs with some cool guitar harmonies at the end.

            “Life Lessons”: Another Kilby banger, I helped him with some riffs that finished the song out.  This songs starts out in an epic build up which I personally think is one of the best embodiments of what LE sounds like.  When we were finishing this song, it was like we took all the best parts of all the different genres of metal out there and cherry picked what we liked the best and wrote a song.  That’s what we’re trying to do with LE, reinvent the wheel.  Take all the classic, quality and passionate traits from metal that we love and turn that into our own blend of metal.

            “Machete”: Jeremy, our drummer, wrote this song. He has such an original style to the way he writes music, drums or guitar and it really shows on this track.  This song is also very fun to play live.  Machete has our strongest lyrical theme to it also, the lyrics point to the massive suffering caused around the world by forced female circumcision. If you don’t know anything about this you should read up on it because it is especially heinous and demands global attention.

            “Power Goat”: I wrote this song and it is really fun to play live! We needed a “power” song, something that came off super full and saturated live and with thrashy verses, it just rips to play. It is essentially a punk song dipped in drop C tuning.

            “Tower or Flies”: This was the first LE song to come to fruition. Once we started jamming, I was messing around with these riffs and we kept working it until we had this speed demon of a song with this full swanky middle part and a ripping guitar solo near the end. Definitely my favorite song to play live, hands down.

            “Unkindness of Ravens”: This one was a collaboration between Jeremy and I.  This is one of those songs like “Life Lessons,” where we tried to take all the good stuff that we liked from metal and turn that into a new song.  It starts out with this pretty piano part, then blasts into a sort of melodic death riff, then it just turns into a LE song. I remember this song being especially difficult to record for some reason.

That artwork is freaking cool. This is not a question. Just a fact. Respond if you want.

Yes it is, thank you. Our dear and talented friend John “Pino” Hart did this for us. I’ve always been amazed with John’s work and he is insanely talented. You can check out some of his work at http://pinoretread77.deviantart.com/

What music/art/etc. is having an impact on Lost Empires right now?

Right now a bunch of the dudes are in Austin at Fun Fun Fun Fest and I know they will be catching Kvelertak’s set. This band is from Norway and kicks so much ass.  We’ve been listening to a lot of that (Kverlertak) and the new Propagandhi and The Sword just came out so those are high in the rotation also.  We really have quite an eclectic taste in music as far as our individual tastes are concerned.  I like a lot of old country, some of the guys hate it. In my opinion a good song is a good song, and that transcends genres.

What is non-musical life like for LE members?

Non musical life for LE consists of doing a bunch of crap we hate. (Just kidding, work!)  I make maps for an oil and gas land broker and wait tables on the weekend; Kilby works at a call center; Luke is a pharmacist tech; Jeremy does land surveying; Abe is a bartender; and Brandon does something creepy at a hospital.  We serve our time, pay our bills and get together twice a week to write. We go out and drink, hang with our friends and family, check out bands at shows and Thunder the fuck up for Thunder basketball!!!

What are you looking forward to with the band?

I really would like to travel and meet as many people as possible. I love the dudes I write with and I’m looking forward to hitting the road and spreading the good word.  Essentially, traveling and playing as many shows as possible is what we want to do.  Buy us a beer when you see us and let’s talk basketball!