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

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases On: Friday, September 7th, 2012

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What’s up, Motherpeckers? It seems the fall is a little dry, at least this part anyway, so let’s plow through this.

We’re going to start with the fucking evil HOODED MENACE, Effigies of Evil. This is old school death metal, and I mean old school. Slow, mean, nasty, heavy: These guys don’t need blasts to make one’s bowels quiver. Raspy low vocals over killer grooves with the occasional two-part guitar harmony thrown in. If you’re already a fan, you know what to expect; if you’re not, expect heavy, doomy riffage with very traditional Euro death vocals. If I had one complaint, it’d be that the production here is almost TOO good. I mean, you want a band like this to reek through your turntable, to make you dirty just listening to it. You really can’t hear the bepatched denim jacket here; that is EOE’s only real downfall in this bird’s eyes. Anyway, I digress. The new HOODED MENACE is really good, so go check it out. 7 Fucking Pecks.

Need therapy? Remember the mid ’90s, when there were noise rock bands and a lot of them got signed to majors? Well, the Helmet/Jawbreaker-y THERAPY? is at it again. They never really gave up, but in this feathered opine, they should have. Gone are the days of grunge and the music influenced by it. This band was kind of cool back in the day (see above video), but now kind of just comes off dated and goofy, and A Brief Crack of Light drives that point home again. Anyway, this thing sounds like a cross between, well, Helmet and Jawbreaker. Watered-down noise-rock grunge with no teeth at all, it’s about as fierce as a wet rag, and although it moves, the riffs never really seem to match up, with lyrics that are intended to be edgy, but aren’t really. Do yourself a favor and got get their record Nurse; or better yet, go get some old Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop, or something like that. Stay away from this. 2 Fucking Pecks.

Fuck yeah, haarp. No, not the high-frequency active auroral research program; the band from New Orleans. Slow and thundering, mean and punishing, although calling them slow seems unfair. haarp are not a doom band; slow yes, but not doom. It moves, it grooves. This three-song full length, their second, clocks in at 40 minutes and is punishing, slow, low and heavy with screamed guttural vocals. This is music that could only come from NOLA; it’s twisted and sick. Something primordial crawled out of the swamp, and that something is Husks by haarp coming out on Housecore Records. 7 Fucking Pecks.

So, my old school peck here today will be COP SHOOT COP (buy drugs, shoot drugs, buy drugs, for those not in the know) because that Therapy? record really pecking bummed me out. Two bass players, noise, punk, jazz and whatever.

STREAMING: haarp “Bear”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Friday, September 7th, 2012

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According New Orleans-based sludge doom outfit haarp, their music is a weapon. Not the kind of weapon the U.S. government has in the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (H.A.A.R.P.), but more the ancient Celtic god kind; a weapon of enchantment. Though we really wouldn’t say our experience with haarp—stylized in all lowercase letters—is enchanting in a Disney sort of way. Rather, they wow in their ability to transport us to realms distorted and down-tuned and hook-laden.

“When writing Husks,” says haarp skinsman Keith Sierra, “we tried to continue the development of our sound by adding some influences we haven’t touched on in the past while still maintaining the feel and sound we have cultivated over the past few releases. We think the results paid off, and that the album is a natural progression of our sound.”

Natural progression + cultivation of new influences = rad! So, enjoy a cold one on yourself while you enjoy a loud one on us and Housecore Records.

** haarp’s Husks is out September 18th, 2012 on Housecore Records. Husks is on CD HERE and LP HERE. Get it or be sent to Alaska on your own dime to be a human H.A.A.R.P. experiment.

Bonin’ the Interhole: Dead River Runs Dry

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, September 7th, 2012

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Bands like Gojira and Godflesh might be major brand names ‘round these parts, but mention them to your average Metallica-loving broseph and you’re likely to get a squinty-eyed, the-fuck-you-say? half-nod.  But Decibel just won’t quit.  We dig deeper, danker, darker and dirtier (though rarely fitter or happier) to turn up a few otherwise overlooked gems.  While Throw Me a Frickin’ Bone lays it out all hard-copy-like, every Friday the Deciblog brings you the stealthiest bandcampiest demos, EPs, singles, one-offs, full-lengths, and start-up acts that catch our attention with Frickin’ Bone 2.0:  Bonin’ the Interhole.

I need to buy a plane ticket to the land down under.  Like, now.  Based on the music I hear coming out of that deranged Pacific continent, I imagine black skies unlit by a dripping red sun, leafless gray trees draped with slaughtered koalas, and incorporeal wraiths fading in and out of the mortal plane to terrorize any humans crazy enough to live, work, or travel through such a country.  TV wildlife specials and steakhouse chains be damned!  Anyplace it would take me almost a day to fly to had better be as extreme as the above description.

New ghoul-conjurors Dead River Runs Dry add to the bleak horrors rising from the Australian hellscape.  They rot ears with a familiar brew of blackened hatred, and it’s expertly realized.  For now, you can hear their four demo tracks at their Bandcamp page.  Continued recording has been promised.  You’ve been warned.  Read more for some insight into the ensuing Aussie destruction.

Dead River Runs Dry members have been active in a lot of other projects.  Can you describe how they led you to working in Dead River Runs Dry?

We’ve all known each other for some time due to our involvement in various Australian bands and figured it was time to collaborate in this configuration.  So far it’s worked out well and we’re pleased with it. Other projects we’ve been in are readily discoverable but Dead River Runs Dry represents a different focus to them. It is an entity of its own.

How was the demo material written?

I wrote the material in the space of a week and sent it to the others for their input. There was no ‘grand plan’ other than I couldn’t ignore what had inadvertently been tapped into. Given the experience and more importantly, the nature of the other members, I’d be a fool to deny their contributions and the material is stamped with them.

What ideas were influencing the music and lyrics?

Themes such as misanthropy, desolation and bleak, ruthless hatred are common in our material. Any musical or lyrical reference to “positivity” or “glory” is an imagining of potential or a glimpse into personal experiences – gnosis or reverence if you prefer. It remains brief because the reality is that such things won’t last. A lot of anger comes from seeing the potential for an altered existence and due to constraints, shackles and the position that we as mere humans chained to this reality find ourselves in, are in many ways powerless to do anything about other than extracting what we can from our own insights and applying it to our own paradigms.

How/where were the songs recorded?

Drums, guitars and bass were recorded in a home studio called Scabby Road with the combined forces of myself and my friend Mat Taylor. Vocals were invoked from the void by Murmur via correspondence. One thing I learnt from the sessions was that we respond well to pressure. We were against the clock (aren’t we always?!) and that added element of stress helped yield the results you can hear on the recordings. I like that way of doing things because you tend to not over think things to the absolute. Only spontaneity is real!

What other bands are exciting you right now?  Anything unusual having an impact on your music or mindset?

This a band whose members for some time have all involved themselves in various paths, practices and explorations so at this point we’re not sure what constitutes unusual in the ‘normal’ sense…one thing we can all agree on is that there’s enough fire to sate our collective appetites in regards to Dead River Runs Dry’s output, if you know where to burn. That’s a vague answer I know, but it’s something I don’t really like to discuss too openly because I think it reeks of desperation when bands try to overwhelm you with whatever they’re into. Which isn’t to say I couldn’t do that if I wanted to. Fark! How cryptic!

As for bands – lately I’ve into releases by Swans, Mongrels Cross, Blut aus Nord, Leviathan, Rowland S. Howard, Karjalan Sissit, Ben Frost’s “By the Throat” album, Edward Artemiev’s soundtracks for Tarkovsky and Bleakwood among many, many others.  Readers would benefit from checking out Paroxysmal Descent, Order of Orias, Greed & Rapacity, The Veil, Denouncement Pyre, Nocturnal Graves, Impetuous fucking Ritual, Cauldron Black Ram and Stargazer if they’ve not already, of course. Those last two I mentioned feature members of  Mournful Congregation and it’s definitely worth your time to listen to any project that has their collective or individual input on it.

Is a full-length recording on the way?

There’s enough material for an album and we’re planning on recording it at the end of this year. Maybe a split release as well.

What path does Dead River Runs Dry take from here?

The one less travelled.

America’s Workforce: Horrified

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, stupid crap, uncategorized On: Thursday, September 6th, 2012

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So, the other day, Repulsion’s bassist/vocalist/friend of Decibel, Scott Carlson sent us a link to a rather peculiar little article from the Washington Post with the comment attached, “Our music is truly Repulsive.”

Check it out: Is Listening to Music Making You Worse at Your Job?

Now, why out of all the bands that have existed in the history of grindcore and/or death metal, the researchers zeroed in on Repulsion is beyond us, but when you take a look at a link from the British Psychological Society’s blog site giving a bit more background into the study, you can see the psychologists did their share of research not only into Repulsion, but just why the average (wo)man on the street might literally lose their shit upon hearing the songs the Mudrian family is probably using to lull their daughter to sleep at this very moment. As someone who, during a more promising time in my life, was working on a Ph.D. in the Psychology of Music and wasted a good chunk of my early adult-hood doing stuffy lab experiments that ultimately sucked every inch of fun out of listening to and experiencing music, I can always appreciate an unintentionally hilarious clinical assessment of the music we hold so dear to our blackened hearts. Which is why I loved this line taken from the BPS blog:

The fast-tempo ‘extreme guitar-based’ music of Repulsion, the researchers explained, is like ‘a cacophony of sound, in which the segmentation of each individual sound from the next is difficult to identify.’ This means it has less acoustic variation from one moment to the next, which helps explain why, even though disliked, it had a less detrimental effect on serial recall than Infernal’s [the band used as an example of music the study's subjects enjoyed] pop song.”

And you gotta love the writer’s assumption that Korn is so universally loathed that they would help improve cubicle performance everywhere.

South Pole Discharge: John Darnielle’s Metal Covers Set Is Nigh

By: nick.green Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Thursday, September 6th, 2012

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John Darnielle has delighted readers of Decibel since the magazine’s inception with his South Pole Dispatch backpage column, and we are certainly grateful to have his humorous, provocative and thoughtful commentary gracing our pages every month. But Darnielle has a long, colorful history of writing about metal, both as the mastermind behind the long-running Last Plane to Jakarta webzine, as well as the voice of indie-rock mainstays the Mountain Goats. Anyone responsible for “Marduk T-Shirt Mens Room Incident” and “Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton” has to have a little hesh in him.

Darnielle’s metal fandom is so well-known that when word leaked that the Mountain Goats were going to record with Erik Rutan, rumors spread that 2011’s All Eternals Deck was going to be a full-on death metal album. Alas, that was pure horseshit/wishful thinking, but Darnielle will be flying the death metal flag proudly this weekend at the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC with a one-time-only all-metal covers set. That’s right: 20 years of Darnielle writing about Darkthrone has reached its next logical step with Darnielle performing the music of Darkthrone. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get Darnielle to give up the goods on the planned set list, but he took a little time out of his hectic schedule to talk about Cannibal Corpse, writing about metal and adapting some of his favorite songs to a Mountain Goats-style performance.

Your webzine Last Plane to Jakarta hasn’t been updated since November of last year – what gives?
I’m just too busy. I’ve sort of stopped doing it at the moment. Even going to the poetry model was sort of a reflection of that. All magazines are facing this problem right now. When I used to read record reviews, I wanted to find out what records sounded like and to hear what people thought about them. The general availability of high-speed internet has rendered my descriptions of music fairly useless. If they’re entertaining, that’s good. But what created my passion for writing about music is sort of gone, because everybody can just listen to whatever they want at any time. The nature of reviewing music has changed so much that I have to think about it more before I really want to do it. If I wasn’t busy doing the Mountain Goats and writing other stuff, I’d be updating the site at least once a week. I don’t have the time to do it in any way that would be fulfilling. I could probably churn something out regularly, but that’s not my style. We did that for a period of, like, four years – I’d write a 1,000 or 2,000 word piece every Sunday night. When it started to feel like a grind, I had to stop. The whole point of Last Plane to Jakarta was that it was a passion project.

Is it true that you were once planning on putting together a ‘zine where you’d review the entire output of an artist in a single issue?
My friend Joel had an idea called “365,” where you picked a song that you’d listen to exclusively for a year. You’d live with that song you picked out, you’d write about nothing but that song for an entire year and you’d publish one ‘zine at the end of the year documenting the experience. I thought that was a brilliant idea. I’ve had a lot of ideas for discography-type ‘zines. That kind of intense focus is something that I really miss about the ‘zine culture. It used to be, “I have a ‘zine about cookies. That’s it. I review them wherever I go.” Do you remember those big rock ‘n’ roll family trees? They were extremely ornate and really well-researched. They were these giant pages that traced everybody who was ever in a band. Something like that with a single band per issue – I thought that’d be really cool. But it goes back to your earlier question: When would I ever have time to do that?

Between Last Plane to Jakarta, South Pole Dispatch and your book on Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, is there anyone who left who is surprised to discover that you are so enthusiastic about metal and extreme music?
I don’t mean to dis the good people who interview me, but that question comes up in literally every interview I do: “So: You play acoustic music and you listen to heavy metal?” I was really stoked when the Mountain Goats went to work with Erik Rutan, because he listens to a broad range of music. Genre partisanship is something you generally outgrow by the time you’re 18. Everybody who loves music listens to all kinds of music, but there has always been this weird thing with extreme music where people assume that maybe if you like something that’s outlying, that’s all you like. It’s a really entertaining idea to consider. Maybe there is someone out there that’s like, “Nope, I only listen to thrash.” But the possibility seems really remote. Music is a continuum of sound and personal expression, not team sports.

Did you gush like a fanboy when you met Erik Rutan?
Are you kidding? I wrote to Erik Rutan when we were in the studio and he wrote right back. I was like, “Guys! Erik Rutan just responded and he’s totally into it!” We were all freaking out. Have you seen the Cannibal Corpse Centuries of Torment DVD? When this interview is over, I need you to go watch it. No matter how you feel about Cannibal Corpse, you will love them by the end of the documentary. They documented their first drive from Buffalo down to Tampa to record with Scott Burns at Morrisound back in ’87. They had one of those big ol’ bulky VHS cameras and they filmed themselves going south to record an album for Metal Blade. We became obsessed with this documentary and we recreated the Cannibal Corpse drive down south on I-95 when we went to go work with Rutan. Generally speaking, Erik records death metal. And death metal is recorded discreetly, in parts. You don’t track multiple instruments at once when you’re recording a death metal record. You track the drums. Then you track the guitars. And so on. It’s half math, and half music – a whole different discipline. When we play live, we have three sets of cans in isolation and we play all together. Nobody has ever gone down to Erik Rutan’s studio to do that. So there was a lot of time spent figuring out how to do this thing that they don’t usually do. Erik has an amazing work ethic, too. That guy can go laaaaaate. [Laughs] It was totally fun. Really great.

You will be playing an all-metal cover set at Hopscotch this weekend. How did that idea come about?
When we were invited to play Hopscotch, I just wanted to do something different that would justify showing up at the festival. I play some music festivals, but I don’t really go to them. And if I did, I expect that I would just see a bunch of bands playing their usual sets and that would be really boring. So I wanted to do something that would be entertaining for me. I’ve also learned by working on a couple of projects over the years that if you announce you’re going to do something and book it, you can kick-start your creativity. Otherwise, you get these weird ideas and short of actually making an arrangement to do them, you’re busy enough with other distractions that they never really materialize. But if you get the idea to hire a lap steel guitarist to play on your record and you write to him and ask when he’s available, then you’re locked into doing it. And then Bob Barrone shows up and puts down three amazing lap steel parts on your record, which is actually what happened with All Eternals Deck. So the all-metal covers set was an entertaining idea that I had that I decided to pitch. Of course, there’s a week to prepare for this performance and I still have four songs to learn. [Laughs]

What challenges have you encountered scaling these covers for a Mountain Goats-style performance?
Well, with most of the songs I picked, they’re deeply anchored in the rhythm section. I’m playing all of them on piano. If I played Stride piano or a boogie-woogie style, I could probably anchor them pretty easily with my left hand, but that’s not normally what I do. If you listen to anything that’s in a D-beat style, that’s really hard to compensate for on piano and keep the song moving forward. I have some people helping me out with this set, though. Figuring out how to make the stuff with a more galloping rhythm work without cheating the tempo down is tricky. I’m radically transforming some of the songs. I’m doing a Summoning song, and Summoning is big, big drum sounds and giant riffs. I’m playing the same notes, but the vibe is completely different. The funny thing about this set is that if you book yourself a show, you’re basically saying, “I have this great thing that I want to show you.” That’s what it means, right? This is more of an experiment in front of people. I will be shocked if there’s more than two people in the crowd who can identify more than two of the nine songs I’ve worked up. There’s a Summoning track and a Darkthrone song – that’s all I’m going to say. It would be no fun if people knew what was coming.

This is very important: Will there be any Prostitute Disfigurement songs in the set?
No. I’m a death metal partisan – I like a lot of black metal and I love a lot of NWOBHM acts, when genres were getting really blurry and no one knew what was coming next. Like Venom. Or Mercyful Fate – that’s one of my Top 5 favorite bands. Death metal is what I listen to more than anything else. If you try and put those riffs on piano, there’s so much going on with the drums and everything else, that you almost have to rework it. What I’ve done with the one pure death metal song in my set is write my own chords – it’s a totally different song now. Prostitute Disfigurement is your classic meat-and-potatoes death metal. I have this compilation called Brutally Sickness from Indonesia that has 50 bands like that. They all sound a little different, but they’re all playing the exact same style of metal. I don’t know what I can really do with that. I do feel a little guilty that I didn’t pick a Heinous Killings song, because that guy is really sick. And he’s married! If you ever read the liner notes on Heinous Killings albums, he always thanks his wife “for being understanding,” which I think is the best thing ever.

When word erroneously circulated that the last Mountain Goats full-length All Eternals Deck was going to be a “death metal album,” you responded by tweeting “tMG can’t play DM until I master guttural death growl i.e. ca 2015.” Have you moved the timetable up on this?
People are constantly asking me, “Why don’t you make a death metal record?” You could only actually want to hear that if you didn’t like death metal. Death metal is a lifelong discipline. Hanging out with Erik Rutan, I really got a sense of how much it takes to play that style of music. You can’t be a jazz pianist and think, “What the fuck, I’ll play some death metal!” It’s not like that. Death metal is a lifetime commitment. You decide that you want to play a style of music that speaks to your spirit and you dedicate yourself to that pursuit. I was joking when I said “2015.” I would have to change my life to play that kind of music. I would have to become a real guitarist first, then learn the death metal style. I play folk guitar. I play chunky rhythm chords and I can sit in with anybody and do that. But to do what those guys do? It’s hard and very earnest work. Not to mention that the people who think they want to hear me play death metal are generally not death metal fans. By the time I got halfway through the first song, they’d all be like, “You know, I do not like this kind of music.”

Decibrity Playlist: Grave

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, September 6th, 2012

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It’s obvious that we have quite a lot of love for Grave around these parts. Don’t believe me? Just check out Greg Moffitt’s review or Jonathan Horsley’s profile in our September and October issues, respectively. While the Swedish death metallers just released their new album Endless Procession Of Souls last week, guitarist/vocalist Ola Lindgren had other ideas about what direction to take his playlist (which we’ve compiled into a Spotify playlist). In fact, we’ll just let the band’s founder explain:

“It was very hard for me to think of a subject for this playlist, and I didn’t want to just go for the obvious ‘favourite death metal albums’ or something similar, especially since Greg Mackintosh had some of my classic faves in his list already. I decided to do something different, but I couldn’t do it without including some of the bands from his list since they simply have to be in mine as well. I guess it’s true that great minds think alike. So here is my playlist, featuring five of my favourite, non-death metal albums.”

Depeche Mode—Ultra (1997)
Heavy, soft, dirty and clean thrown together and mixed to perfection. One of my all time favourite productions, and it has a song for whatever mood you’re in. Not to be confused with or compared to the early synth-pop Depeche—this is a giant.

Alice In Chains—Dirt (1992)
A classic, which, in my opinion, doesn’t have much to do with the whole grunge scene. I’ve always liked AiC for their heaviness and dark lyrics combined with brilliant songwriting. Grave covered “Them Bones” on our 2006 release As Rapture Comes.

The Cult—Sonic Temple (1989)
Straight forward rock at its best. I will never get tired of these songs no matter how many times I hear ‘em. Bob Rock’s production to bring this album together was the perfect match at the time. I’ve always thought about covering a track from this album—maybe for the next Grave release.

I Blame Coco—The Constant (2010)
Killer debut from Sting’s daughter Coco Sumner. Don’t really know why I’m into it so much, it’s just great songs and a great voice. I will probably not score too many cool points with this.

Queensrÿche—Empire (1990)
Epicness of the epics. Everything about this album rocks, and I think every band in the genre wishes that they would’ve came out with something like it. The production is just so perfect in every sense—and the songs too. Bear in mind that I hated and despised this when it came out hehe…

*Pick up a copy of Endless Procession Of Souls here and catch the band on tour:

Sep 20 The Casbah Charlotte, NC
Sep 21 Masquerade Atlanta, GA
Sep 22 Headliners Music Hall Louisville, KY
Sep 23 Screamin’ Willie’s Columbus, OH
Sep 24 Howard Theatre Washington, DC
Sep 25 Bogie’s Albany, NY
Sep 26 B.B. King Blues Club and Grill New York, NY
Sep 27 The Altar Bar Pittsburgh, PA
Sep 28 Trocadero Theatre Philadelphia, PA
Sep 29 Palladium Worcester, MA
Sep 30 CLUB SODA Montreal, Canada
Oct 01 The Opera House Toronto, Canada
Oct 02 Peabodys Cleveland, OH
Oct 03 BLONDIES Detroit, MI
Oct 04 Mojoes Joliet, IL
Oct 05 Station 4 St Paul, MN
Oct 06 People’s Court Des Moines, IA
Oct 07 The Gothic Theatre Englewood, CO
Oct 08 The Complex Salt Lake City, UT
Oct 10 El Corazon Seattle, WA
Oct 11 Hawthorne Theater Portland, OR
Oct 12 SLIMS San Francisco, CA
Oct 13 Ace of Spades Sacramento, CA
Oct 14 City National Grove of Anaheim Anaheim, CA
Oct 15 Marquee Theatre Tempe, AZ
Oct 16 House of Rock El Paso, TX
Oct 17 Trees Dallas, TX
Oct 18 Scout Bar Houston, TX
Oct 19 Backstage Live San Antonio, TX
Oct 21 The Firebird St Louis, MO
Oct 22 Blackened Moon Lansing, MI
Oct 23 Broadway Joes Buffalo, NY

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

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)

CONTEST: Win Yellowtooth CDs!

By: Chris D. Posted in: contest, featured On: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

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First off, Michigan City is not in Michigan. It’s actually in Indiana, has views of the Chicago cityline, is closer to Gary, Indiana than anyone—even Michael Jackson—would ever want to be. Second off, Michigan City houses newly—as of 2008 at least—spawned sludge-doom outfit Yellowtooth. If you have yet to hear of Yellowtooth and their brand of Midwestern groove doom, well, today may be your lucky day.

Decibel and Orchestrated Misery Recordings have teamed up to offer anyone who emails us a chance to win shrinkwrapped copies of Yellowtooth’s new album, Digust. That’s free end-of-days doom sludge crossover metal for 5 (Five) lucky fuckers. This stuff is made out of urban decay, misery, and smog from Gary’s infamous stacks. Yellowtooth as a sonic compatriot to Winter’s Into Darkness and Eyehategod’s Dopesick.

Email us: HERE.

Contest ends September 12th.

** Like Yellowtooth on Facebook. Klicken Sie HIER.

** Yellowtooth’s Digust is out September 11th, 2012 on Orchestrated Misery Recordings.

Inside The Shredder’s Studio #2: Mike Hill’s Favorite Riffs

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, lists On: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

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We’re chuffed to have a dB album of the year award winner take over the shredder’s studio this Wednesday. In this second installment, Tombs guitarist and vocalist Mike Hill tells us about the riffs that led him on a musical path of totality. While you are at it make sure to check out the new Tombs track “Ashes,” available exclusively as a blue flexi disc in the October issue.

Take it away, Sgt. Hill.

I watched USA’s Night Flight regularly when I was a kid back in the 80’s. Movies like Another State of Mind and Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains planted a seed that someday I should try my hand at playing music. Back then, I was dead set on playing bass. When I heard the mightiness of Ozzy-era Black Sabbath, I knew that guitars, cranked through massive amps, were going to be part of my destiny. Below are some of the riffs that set me on the path.

Black Sabbath – Iron Man

I’ve often cited the Ozzy and Dio eras of Sabbath as influences, but it all comes down to “Iron Man” for me. This lumbering behemoth made me look at music in a totally different light. I was a big Zeppelin and Rush fan prior to that, and though both of those bands are amazing, “Iron Man” connected with me on a physical level.

Black Flag – Life Of Pain and My War

A few years after I discovered Sabbath, I started dabbling in punk rock. The Rollins years were the main line to what is was all about to me. This was the only band that mattered to me when I started listening to punk and hardcore. Yeah, Circle Jerks, Bad Brains and Dead Kennedys were groundbreaking but these two tracks communicated directly to my reptilian brain stem. These tracks are the soundtrack for numerous bare-lightbulb-nights watching the minutes click by as the sun rises.

Slayer – Raining Blood

I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t agree that this song rules. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard dudes warm up with this song in soundchecks across the country.

Celtic Frost – Dethroned Emperor

A list like this wouldn’t be complete without Celtic Frost. This is one of the heaviest jams by one of the heaviest bands.

Bolt Thrower – …For Victory

The first few Bolt Thrower records are genius, genre-defining records. The title track on “…For Victory” is a study in power, the sound of Roman Legions and Thunder Gods.

Morbid Angel– He Who Sleeps

I saw these guys play a one-off show out in Flushing, Queens on a night off of the Pantera tour. It was in a really small club and they tore the place apart. Seeing them perform this track live in that setting was one of the most intense metal moments of my life.

Iron Maiden – Ides of March / Wrathchild

When I was a kid, I discovered Iron Maiden from reading Creem. It was a piece about the so-called New Wave of British Heavy Metal and they profiled the “Killers” album, likening it to Deep Purple’s “Machine Head” record. I collected my allowance that week and hit the record store, scoring the cassette version of “Killers.” These were the tracks that introduced me to Maiden. For me, it was all about Paul D’ianno. It’s only been in the last few years that I have even warmed up to Bruce Dickinson.

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STREAMING: Ofermod “Mystérion Tés Anomias”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

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The last we had heard of Swedish black metal terrorists Ofermod, they were busy promoting their 2008 debut Tiamtü full-length and acting all anti-cosmic gangster—rumor has it headcheese Michayah Belfagor (aka Mika Hakola) has been involved in all sorts of untoward activity—while the rest of the world spun and burned like Belfagor and his unmerry cohorts had something to do with it. Four years later and Ofermod—which means ‘Bravado’ in Swedish—haven’t amounted to much, but that hasn’t stopped French outfit Season of Mist from mining the group’s repertoire for black metal gold. Namely, the Mystérion Tés Anomias EP, which originally saw light in 2005 on the Norma Evangelium Diaboli label.

Now, what a Swede is doing penning album titles in French is beyond us, but this little ripper from the mid aughts should be enough to remind that black metal, when parsed properly, can be a superb spark to any shitty need-to-conform day—whether that’s at the office or in the back of the class or hauling trash—we all adhere to make bucks to survive. No, Mystérion Tés Anomias won’t supplant a paying job or replace an inheritance, but it’s certainly angry and nefarious enough to purge all those dark feelings inside.

Anyway, Decibel and Season of Mist have hooked up for a comet-like stream of Mystérion Tés Anomias. That’s right, starting today and ending September 11th, 2012, Ofermod’s first EP will stream until A) the world ends or B) we take it down due to label commitments. Soak in Mystérion Tés Anomias for all its worth. Unless you own the 2005 original. Then you’ve already soaked in enough Ofermod for two of us.

** We recommend a copy of Ofermod’s Mystérion Tés Anomias HERE. We wouldn’t want to cross Michayah Belfagor, ’cause knowing that Swede, he’d fly over to the US and pelt our precious offices with Surströmming and stink-eyes.

STREAMING: Family: “Bridge & Tunnel”

By: adem Posted in: featured, heavy tuesdays, listen On: Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

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We’re sorry to do this to you, but this little premiere we’re going to bust out today, is going to make the next several weeks drag on as you anxiously await the release of Family’s debut album for Pelagic, Portrait, on October 30. We can guarandamntee you we will be spinning our advance copy incessantly. We tell you this mostly because we want to make you feel bad.

What’s all the fuss about? Well, Family are a Brooklyn-based quartet—half native New Yorkers, half Southerners—that have taken a cue from Mastodon and sprinkled some freshly ground classic rock on their meaty version of modern metal. It has groove, it has rage, it has some serious bludgeon capacity. There are even progressive touches to the arrangements that cohesively bounce through all kinds of tempos, riffs and moods. We hear Unsane splatter-scrape, Soundgarden throb and maybe just a touch of 21st century dirty-knees blues.

Who is responsible for this ruckus?, you may ask. Here’s who: guitarists Steven Gordon (of MetalSucks notoriety) and Joshua Lozano ( who’s also played with Cobalt and ex-Swans vocalist Jarboe), drummer Jody Smith and bassist/vocalist Kurtis Lee Applegate.

The tune we’ve bestowed upon you below, “Bridge & Tunnel,” is a good indication of what the rest of Portrait has in store. There are plenty of dynamic peaks and valleys both within each song and from song to song on the album. We are particularly fond of the part two minutes in where Family digs into a grinding riff and drummer Smith decides to kick in the double bass for a spell. Like the entire album, it features a good mix of crunchy and smooth(ish). Hell, see for yourself.

Since we feel a little bad for teasing you with this track, we’ll go ahead and send you over to the band’s Facebook page, where you can also stream a second track, “Bopsky,” from Portrait. Not sure if it’ll make the wait until Oct 30 any easier, but at least it’ll give you an additional peek at what is sure to be one of our favorites of 2012.