Decibrity Playlist: Ancestors (Part 1)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, December 20th, 2012

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While New Years Eve has never been one of my favorite holidays, Ancestors’ most recent effort, In Dreams And Time, was one of my top records of 2012. The previous sentence made more sense when the band was putting together a NYE playlist for us. Nevertheless, the Los Angeles quintet has assembled something even better and more topical with an end of the world playlist to help usher in tomorrow’s Mayan apocalypse. Rest assured that its twenty songs will make the end of life as we know it at least musically enjoyable. Below is the first half of guitarist/vocalist Justin Maranga and company’s picks, with the second half queued up and ready to run whether anyone will be around to read it or not. Listen and weep here.

Tom Waits’ “Earth Died Screaming” (from 1992′s Bone Machine)
Tom Waits has long been one of my favorite songwriters (and musicians in general). Bone Machine is a dark album and this song about the end of the world seemed like a good way to open this playlist. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Tom Waits live a couple of times and it’s been nothing less than incredible. I really like the image of thunder and lightning and then the stars going out.—Justin Maranga

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds’ “(I’ll Love You) Till The End Of The World” (from 1991′s Until The End Of The World OST)
This song plays on a similar theme as the Tom Waits tune that precedes it. For some reason I only really got into Nick Cave over the past few years. I’m not sure what took me so long, but I’ve been a big fan ever since I pulled my head out of my ass.—J.M.

Leonard Cohen’s “The Future” (from 1992′s The Future)
Leonard Cohen is another one of my favorite songwriters or, more specifically, one of my favorite lyricists. This song seems to be Leonard’s take on the end of things. I recently got to see him live and he played for almost four hours. The guy is 78 years old and he was skipping on and off stage. It was inspiring. I also recently read a biography on him called I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen. Highly recommended.—J.M.

Skeeter Davis’ “The End Of The World” (from 1963′s Skeeter Davis Sings The End Of The World)
While this song isn’t actually about the end of the world, but rather it feeling like the end of the world, it’s a beautiful song. Skeeter Davis was a real underrated country singer who doesn’t get talked about much, and that’s unfortunate. She made some really great music.—J.M.

Blondie’s “Rapture” (from 1980′s Autoamerican)
Okay, this song is even more not about the end of the world. But it’s called “Rapture”. She’s not even singing about that kind of rapture, but whatever. It’s a great song. And as cheesy as it is, I love the rap section.—J.M.

The Sisters Of Mercy’s “Black Planet” (from 1985′s First And Last And Always)
I’ve got a huge soft spot for goth rock and death rock. This Sisters of Mercy tune seemed close enough to fit the bill for this playlist. You can’t really go wrong with anything Sisters of Mercy released in the ’80s: two awesome albums and a bunch of EPs and singles.—J.M.

Nine Inch Nails’ “The Day The World Went Away” (from 1999′s The Fragile)
I’ve always been a big Nine Inch Nails fan since I first heard Pretty Hate Machine. I think Trent Reznor has an incredible approach to putting songs together and he gets so many amazing sounds. He also somehow managed to reinvent himself every album but always still sound like Nine Inch Nails. Really an accomplishment (not that he really needs me singing his praises). Why this song made the playlist should be obvious.—J.M.

The Doors’ “The End” (from 1967′s The Doors)
I’ve gone back and forth throughout my life trying to figure out whether or not I like The Doors or just like a handful of Doors songs. I’m pretty sure that I like them. But I’ve always had an unabashed love for this song. I generally gravitate toward The Doors’ darker songs, and it doesn’t get much darker than this. If this is truly the end, I wouldn’t mind going out with this song playing.—J.M.

King Crimson’s “Epitaph” (from 1969′s In The Court Of The Crimson King)
King Crimson has always been one of Ancestors’ collective favorite bands. It would be a lie to say that this love hasn’t seeped into our music a bit. The lyrics of this song really appear to be coming true, whether the end of the world is imminent or not.—J.M.

Aphrodite’s Child’s “End of the World” (from 1968′s End Of The World)
The idea of Demis Roussos luring a young girl to ditch her family to go with him to the end of the world is awesome.—Nick Long

*Order a copy of In Dreams And Time here.

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

Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
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: Stagnant Waters

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

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This is not Christmas music. Here at Decibel we’re always on the lookout for weird and unexpected shit for your listening pleasure. And the self-titled release from French/Norwegian outfit Stagnant Waters fits the bill.

This band looks at the 12-bar structure like highly evolved aliens look at a toaster oven. We’re at a loss to describe this sucker except to say it’s like free jazz, Anaal Nathrakh, Shining (both the self-mutilating and beret wearing versions) and a bunch of other stuff all at once. It’s a veritable buffet table of extremity and weirdness.

Get a taste of the full album below, available from Adversum. The band’s bio follows the stream.

Comprised of Norwegian vocalist Svein Egil “Zweizz” Hatlevik, drummer/electronics operator/clarinetist Aymeric Thomas and guitarist/bassist Camillle Giraudeau, STAGNANT WATERS have recorded a spontaneous, experimental and energetic album, a maximalistic, hedonistic and animalistic celebration of unfettered creativity.

Dive Bombs and Dive Bars # 5 – Ramming Speed’s Guide to America’s Rock n’ Roll Venues

By: frank.lemke Posted in: featured, heavy tuesdays On: Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

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Name: Saint Vitus

Category: Venue

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Behind an unmarked black door on Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint lies America’s kvltest watering hole. “None More Black” doesn’t even begin to describe the interior of Saint Vitus; everything from the walls to the toilet seats are a bleak absence of light, the only respite being the red twinkle of small candles smeared around the room. The staff seems to take their metal very seriously, and the decor is a refreshing change from the kitschy Hooters-meets-TapOut vibe of most “rocker” bars. Expect to hear doom and black metal blasting in the front room and a mix of local and national metal bands playing in the back venue.

Merry Xmas, Here’s Some Free Crap

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, free, listen On: Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

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It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to celebrate the thinly veiled pagan tradition of your choosing! In the spirit of giving without having to actually give anything ourselves (other than some links on the Internet), here are some of the finest recent metal albums available for free download on Bandcamp (a few of them may be “name your price,” in which case consider giving a gift of your own to some great musicians).

Bio CrisisEn Memoria Al Dolor

Out of all the genres to slam together, “atmospheric post-rock” and “anarcho crust punk” seem like a pretty odd couple. Weirdly enough, though, the shotgun marriage works, at least as executed by Bio Crisis. The jangly bits help balance out the angry bits, giving the rage an edge of futility that wasn’t already present by the very nature of, you know, anarcho crust punk. Anyway, at the very least, it adds some really welcome variety to a sound that can get pretty repetitious pretty quickly.

NecronomiconThe Queen of Death

There are at least five other bands with this name, so if you plan on starting a metal band, avoid the works of H.P. Lovecraft – even his more obscure creations have most likely already been taken. That will prevent you from being confused with the old-school German thrash band or the Canadian traditional metal act, especially when you’re from Brazil and play 70s-inspired occult doom. On the heavy end of psychedelia (Pentagram’s early daze come to mind), and damn good at it, I’ll be surprised if these guys don’t wind up on Teepee or Meteor City within the year.

XulMalignance

There is no Dana, there is only XUUUUUL – okay, maybe not. For those who like true metal under their Christmas trees, this is definitely adjective-free death. There is a fair amount of Behemoth influence, which is certainly better than a fair amount of, say, Whitechapel influence. Even If the triggered drums get a little old, well, it’s modern death metal, so I suppose that this is something we just need to get used to. At the very least, this has actual songs, a rarity to be sure.

BONUS STOCKING STUFFER:

Ludicra – Almost everything!

One of the best experimental black metal bands of the past decade, offering all their pre-Profound Lore catalog titles for “name your price” and a bunch of bootlegs for guilt-free free download? Go to the website! Go now!

Soundtrack to Your Insomnia

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, lists On: Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

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“I’ve got a problem with bands that come from an area but don’t reflect where they’re from,” While She Sleeps vocalist Lawrence Taylor says toward the end of the press release accompanying This is the Six, the UK band’s latest hypercharged slab of frenetic metalcore. “I know a lot of bands that will sing with American accents but we want to reflect that we’re not representing anything but exactly who we are.”

Fair enough. But such a declaration does sort of beg the question: Yeah, well…what’s so special about Sheffield?

For an answer Decibel sought out While She Sleeps bassist Aaran Mckenzie, who was kind enough to provide the following list of the top five reasons American metalheads should give While She Sleeps’ hometown its proper respect….

1. Corporation

Corporation is a night club/venue for the metalheads of Sheffield and for anyone into rock music. It’s dark and sticky but the drinks are cheap and the music is loud, playing the likes of Marilyn Manson, Slipknot and Rob Zombie, plus many more. It would be right up your street, people, I assure you. Also many great tours pass through “The City Of Steel” that are pretty much guaranteed to play one of the two great stages inside this legendary night club.

2. The Local Uprising

Every city in the UK has its many ups and downs with its local music scene, but Sheffield right now is at an all time high. There are so many bands coming out of Sheffield at the minute and making a name for themselves out there. Great examples are Dead Harts and In Arms, along with bands that have been out there for years like Bring Me The Horizon. All the great success inspires the local underground scenes and week after week you can attend a local show in Sheffield or the surrounding areas, so there’s always something for you to get down to and get your groove on!

SCOTT IAN’S TV PARTY 2012: Anthrax’s riffer-in-chief on the year in television

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, December 17th, 2012

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First thing’s first: Before reading further, anyone who’s got their TiVo box or whatever all loaded up in preparation for some marathon catch-up TV over the holiday season, be warned that this is a spoiler-heavy review of TV drama in 2012.

OK, so with the disclaimers out of the way, let’s get down to business and welcome Anthrax’s Scott Ian to the Deciblog to discuss some of his TV highlights from the past twelve months. Of course, he’d be forgiven for sticking in his tour de force performance in AMC’s The Walking Dead . . .

. . . which we’re sure we can all agree is the sort of Palm D’Or performance that gets an actor invited on to James Lipton’s show to talk about their craft. But hey, this is Scott Ian’s year in television from the comfort of his easy chair, and in no particular order, except for saving the best ’til last, these are his top shows of 2012.
And remember: **CONTAINS SPOILERS**

Decibel’s “Under the Tree, Under the Wire” subscription offer is back!

By: mr ed Posted in: featured On: Monday, December 17th, 2012

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If you’re as lazy and contemptuous of friends and family as we are, you probably still have some holiday shopping to do. Luckily, Decibel is here to offer you an escape from empty-handed embarrassment. Yes, it’s time for our annual Under the Tree, Under the Wire subscription special.

All you have to do is subscribe to Decibel by December 20 at 10 a.m. EST. We’ll expedite a copy of issue #100 — along with a limited-edition holiday card — so you’ll have it on-hand to give to the future inmate in your life as a physical present. And this one’s assured to ignite a Decibel love affair: Occult crossover troublemakers Ghost grace the cover to commemorate their hotly anticipated major label sophomore effort, and unsung doom veterans Evoken offer their take on a Paradise Lost classic via the Flexi Series. If that’s inexplicably not enough for you, we also offer our revelatory annual take on the most anticipated extreme albums of the new year. Give and receive pronto.

Limited Edition EVOKEN Flexi Disc Available

By: mr ed Posted in: featured, flexi disc On: Friday, December 14th, 2012

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Ever wonder what Jersey extreme doom crew Evoken covering death/doom progenitors Paradise Lost might sound like? We did! So, we asked them to rework the old-school PL classic “Rotting Misery” for our vaunted flexi series. The stunning results can be heard below and—for a limited time—ordered via our webstore here.

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Town Portal

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, December 14th, 2012

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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.

Listening to Danish export Town Portal’s engaging Chronopoly makes us thankful that, while needle-burying misanthropic rage can be a glorious trip to take, we can also appreciate the more relaxed detours into quirky melodies and less dense textures.  Town Portal work both sides of their Blizzard Entertainment-derived namesake: they bring overworld delicacy and proggy wit down through metal’s shadowy dungeon; they ascend back into safer territory with razor-edged messages from Hell itself.  Like many of their contemporaries, Town Portal bring the tech-heavy licks sans vocalist, so if you’re not usually down with the sounds of Dysrhythmia or Don Caballero, for example, then Chronopoly may not be your cup of math equations.  But hey, give “Chronoceros” a listen right here while you read up on the band’s history and current direction, and if you likey then you can check out the whole thing on their Bandcamp page.  This week, take a break from hacking and slashing and raise your mana and skill levels!

Can you give us the Town Portal lowdown?  How did the project come together, and what did you want to accomplish with it when you started?

The band came together in the last months of 2009. Jeppe (guitar) and Christian (guitar) had previously been playing together in a band called Shelflife. They knew Malik (drums) from some teenage jamming sessions, and got him to join. I (Morten) was playing bass in a band called Nightpass at the time, and invited Town Portal to come on tour with us after only having heard a handful of their songs. They accepted the challenge and were forced to take their band from a rehearsal space project to an actual band out there playing for people. When we got home, they decided that it might be a good idea to add some low frequencies to the mix, and I decided that I really wanted to supply those frequencies, and that was that. After recording an EP with that lineup, we played a few shows, amongst others supporting Polvo, before Jeppe quit to move to Hawaii, and we were reduced to the guitar/bas/drum trio that we are today. We have pretty much just been busy either touring, writing or recording ever since.

How do the different members’ musical backgrounds combine to form the Town Portal sound?

By the time Town Portal came together, everyone played in other bands. Christian was playing shoegazey stuff, Malik sported blast beats and obscene lyrics in a death metal band, and I was in a math-pop band. We do have overlaps in our music collections, but certainly a lot of differences as well. Still, as if by some stroke of magic, we really quickly found some kind of musical middle ground, where we all felt that the output was representative of our respective musical ideals. I guess you could describe our ideal song as a surprisingly timed magical kick in the balls, that somehow still leaves you wanting another one. If that makes sense.

What’s important in writing a Town Portal song?  How do songs come together?

I think all songs have some element of surprise to us. Most ideas grow out of some messed up experiment that hits a nerve, and then we build on that and shape a song from it. As with all collective songwriting our music is a compromise of all the different backgrounds and preferences mentioned above. The word compromise in its nature have both negative and positive connotations, but in our case we mostly experience the positive ones, in that we always end up with a different result than what the band’s three individuals set out to create initially, and in most cases this result is something neither of us feel we could have thought up alone. It’s definitely an exercise in letting go of artistic rigidity, but I think we all pretty quickly found this exercise pretty rewarding, making it worth the hassle.

What is your touring experience like?

As we’re writing this we’re actually sitting in the backseat of a van, floating through beautifully fall-colored German landscapes on the Autobahn heading to Paris.  This is the third European tour in the history of our band, but it’s the first one where we’re actually touring with a record and headlining if you will, so that’s a new experience. We booked all tours ourselves, and have no press mechanism to back it up or anything, so each tour is a fight to win just a few more people over in a given city, so that we’ll have a few more to play for next time we come back.  Fortunately we feel like these fights are paying off on this tour. We’re not playing for humongous crowds, but just being able to leave for distant cities, and have 40-50 people come out to see us – that’s crazy for us.

What kind of music/art/etc. is exciting to you right now?

Touring is always a fantastic way to discover new music, with endless hours spent in the van pitching new stuff to each other. This time around is no exception, touring with Baltimore’s/New York’s Feast of the Epiphany A.K.A. Nick Podgurski, who’s not only captivating us with his own music every night, but also the man for obscure recommendations during the day. New York bands like IconChasm and Time of Orchids caught on, and have been in heavy rotation on at least my iPod; both quite orchestral and experimental in their very own ways. As for other art we recently spent quite a bit of time together debating potential artists for the album artwork. Even though we didn’t end up using any of the artists we went over, they’re still a very good example of what fascinates us visually. On is New York painter Dean Monogenis, who works mostly with surrealistic takes on architecture. I guess surrealism is generally a winner for us, whether it’s in visual art or literature, and I think it has a great deal of influence on our music.

My only experience with “town portals” are from the excellent fantasy adventure game Diablo.  How did you decide on the name?

Unfortunately our only experiences with Town Portals are from Diablo as well, even though we’ve often dreamt of having them at hand in real life, i.e. for touring purposes.  And yes, the name derived from Diablo, which we all played as kids and probably all think of as one of the best games ever. At the same time one could imagine a town portal being some kind of 90’s like website, containing a grand link collection for stuff like the local library, public pools and the chess club. Somewhere in between the dark occultness of Diablo and the more grey humdrum online municipal administration, lies the kind of vibe we’re aiming for with this band, which made it a suitable name.

What comes next for Town Portal?

We just finished a small line of Danish shows, and only have one more to go this year. After that we’ll definitely have a hiatus from shows, and focus on writing new songs, possibly for a release next year. We’ve been playing the same songs live for a very long time now, and I think we all feel that the band needs a new creative injection for things to remain fun. Other than that, things are pretty open, and we definitely hope to be back out on the road in not too long to present people the new stuff. Hopefully in North America too some time.

EXCLUSIVE STREAM: ILSA’S INTOXICANTATIONS

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, free, gnarly one-offs, listen, uncategorized On: Thursday, December 13th, 2012

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If you’re like me, chances are if the name “Ilsa” somehow comes up in conversation, thoughts immediately turn to the triptych of ridiculous 70s Nazi exploitation films Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS, Ilsa: Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks and Ilsa: the Tigress of Siberia. If you’re really down with your B-movie trivia and haven’t left your parents’ basement since the Bush I administration, your thoughts might even shift to what was supposed to be the climactic closer to the Ilsa series, the never-officially released Ilsa Meets Bruce Lee in the Devil’s Triangle.

Ilsa, the DC/Maryland-based sludge demons may have a fight on their hands, but with their Intoxicantations album, are making valiant stabs at altering your immediate thought processes. Instead of pnumatic-breasted, sadistic blondes, when you hear the name Ilsa, they want you to think of a miserable mainline injection of Celtic Frost, Burning Witch, Eyehategod and satanic rituals. It’s going to be a tough, uphill battle and they’re going to need all the help they can get, so we present a stream of said album. Here’s your opportunity to listen repeatedly and see how long it takes you before Ilsa becomes synoymous with brutality and beards, like this…

…instead of Dyanne Thorne and these:

Intoxicantations is available from A389 Records.
www.a389records.com