By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listenOn: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
We’re always stoked to get new material from one of the members of our storied Hall Of Fame.
Decibel has received an exclusive sneak peek at the new Cryptopsy song “The Golden Square Mile,” from their forthcoming self-titled, self-released LP (due September 14). Cryptopsy also gave us a little more information about the song, which is available for streaming below.
The song deals with an unexplained killing that took place in Montreal. This is the song that Cryptopsy will most likely choose for their first video of this new release. It’s also the only song in which all of the musicians took part in writing including ex-member Youri Raymond. Hope you enjoy!
Get in touch with Cryptopsy or pre-order the new album here.
By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, videosOn: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012
Not sure if you’ve missed out on “industrial doom metal” one-man outfit Author & Punisher, but if you own a Godflesh record, maybe a pre-suck Pitch Shifter 12″, or think Scorn’s Vae Solis is the only Scorn LP worth playing in the solitary confines of your treasured abode, then we think you need to stand up, wipe off the “I’m jaded” dandruff, and check out Tristan Shone’s music to end all music project.
While Author & Punisher could’ve been an Earache band when the label mattered, the super-sweet aspect of Shone’s DIY robo-pocalypse sound is that everything’s generated from hand-made “instruments”. No, he’s not gluing a computer circuit board to a guitar, but actually crafting—no, engineering—his own sonic methods to destroy earholes. So much so he’s caught the hawkeyes of Yahoo and Wired, the latter a geek institution of the highest order.
Check out the superbly lensed video for “Terrorbird”. Directed by Augustine Arredondo and starring Rob Crow (Pinback, Goblin Cock). And lots of spewing human fluids from parts and sources unknown.
** Author & Punisher’s Ursus Americanus is out now on Seventh Rule Recordings. It’s available HERE to appease the ear systems of cyborgs, audio algorithms of robots, and humans who think they’re mechanical, which includes several of Decibel’s Decibel-award winning staff.
We’re pretty sure that there’s an old cliché that goes, “Your Youtube channel is a mirror to the soul.” You wanna see what’s inside a person, really get a sense of who they are and what they are about? Check out the weird shit they post on Youtube. And—watch this brilliant fucking segue—who at Decibel knows more about weird shit (at least the musical kind) than our very own Scott Seward: the man behind the “Wages of Din” column and a Decicomrade who has yet to meet a squeek, skronk or weird buzzing sound he didn’t totally dig. Witness.
He is our very own arbiter of the unusual and appreciator of stuff that is “difficult,” and for this we praise and admire him. Because he has his own “vintage vinyl” record store, John Doe, Jr., in Greenfield, Mass. (where the above video was recorded) he comes into contact with the kind of obscurities that only someone with an appreciation for the extremely extreme could tolerate love. Like this.
Anyway, a better glimpse into comrade Seward’s soul, or at least his musical tastes, requires a peek at his own personal Hall of Fame. We can guarantee you that none of these will end up in Decibel’s Hall of Fame, but in this video you will witness the rare, the weird, the bizarre and the downright kick ass. We personally have seen a small fraction of these obscurities and we’d like to think we’ve spent our fair share of time thumbing through thrift store vinyl bins. This stack of black wax you’re about to witness will frighten and amaze you. And if he actually listens to any of this shit with any regularity, he’s most certainly more extreme than we.
From what we can tell from the video below, John Doe, Jr. is the place one goes primarily for the unusual—like maybe some Blowhole—a true reflection of its owner’s musical proclivities. It’s probably not where you’ll want to go to pick up anything that ever sold more than about a couple thousand copies. OK, we exaggerate, because we definitely saw a Yes album in there, but check out this glimpse into the depth of JDJ’s unique selection.
We’d like to think that after perusing these vids and the dozen or so more on Mssr. Seward’s own Youtube channel we have glimpsed not only incredible vinyl curios, we have a much clearer picture as to his obsession with the fringiest of fringe dwellers. Youtube doesn’t lie.
It’s strange to be premiering a song off Leave Your Leather On because I’ve been blasting the album for weeks. (It pays to be a big-time journalist.) And yes, I know – I guess these guys forgot about that Limp Biscuit song. Who cares? Stuff still has to get broken in 2012.
And yes, I know they look like a bunch of hipsters. They’re from Brooklyn, so it’s no coincidence. The ironic pineapple drinks even make that sweet stache a little suspect. Of course I hate hipsters as much as anyone else; I’m not soft on that. I’m also quick to judge, and I usually hate things before I know two things about them. Musically, “two things” equates to two notes…
Which means that these hipsters won me over in two fucking notes. They used songs like “Breaking Shit” to do it. This is a driven cut, deep, all edge. Simple riff, garage distortion, and the solo is predictable to perfection. Heavy, noisy, and obnoxious – my three favorite qualities in everything but women.
Seeing as Florida’s output of death metal has slowed to a trickle as scene veterans spend more time on the road, less time in the studio, or just sweat it out in semi-retirement, you could do worse than check in on Finland’s Gorephilia.
Gorephilia’s long-awaited debut LP Embodiment of Death is old-school all right, and eschews the brittle necro fuzz of their Northern European contemporaries in favor of a sound that’s heavily accented with a Floridian drawl. Embodiment of Death is just that: straight up DM a la Morbid Angel/Deicide et al. We spoke to the band’s songwriter-in-chief and guitarist Jukka Aho about the band’s evolution since forming in 2006 to play high-concept Wild West-themed death metal, calling themselves Goretexx—a ridiculous portmanteau of Gore and Texas—before adopting the (relatively) more sensible DM handle Gorephilia and singing about more traditional subjects such as death, gore and Mesopotamian mythology.
Firstly, a bit of background. You started out as Goretexx, which was Wild West-themed death metal: how did that come about? Did Gorephilia exist under different names before Goretexx? Jukka: We’ve always had this habit of making up ideas and concepts for bands. We always started with inventing the name, genre, lyrical themes, artwork of the third album and so on before we even had any songs done. Few of the ideas actually went beyond the brainstorming stage and Goretexx was one of those. Initially we only knew what we didn’t want to sound like and only later slowly started to grasp what we actually wanted to sound like. It was defined by words like “anti-modern”, “anti-technical” and of course the lyrical theme, which didn’t last very long, as no one of us was really interested in the Wild West thing after a while.
Musically, was Goretexx much different in focus than Gorephilia or was it more a lyrical distinction? Jukka: Very much different, I think. It was much more simple in terms of song writing, more straight forward. There was a different way of doing things at the time and we weren’t maybe as serious about it. I consider Gorephilia as a more serious project in many ways.
I guess Goretexx could only go so far, especially the name would have people thinking of weather-proof fabrics … But how important was that period in developing your sound? Jukka: The name was meant to be a combination of Gore and Texas and we thought it was a really great idea to add a second X for distinctiveness, but that was then. But it was important time for Gorephilia’s development as a band and especially my development as a songwriter.
As I understand it, the Ritual Exhumation demo was really Goretexx material under the Gorephilia name; do you still play any of those songs live or are they looked on as the band simply cutting its teeth and learning to write songs together?
Jukka: The thing is, we changed our name first, then after some time and some gigs—like the one “Ritual Exhumation” was recorded in—we “rebooted” the band. After that we decided not to play the old songs anymore, because we wanted to progress and somewhat had come to dislike the old material. I’ve since started liking the old material again and we played one song at a gig last year when our old drummer was filling in for Tommi.
I can hear a lot more American bands’ influence in your sound than necessarily Finnish or Scandinavian death metal: was it a conscious decision to try do something different from your peers, from bands playing old-school Swedish styles? Jukka: Yes, it was partly a conscious decision but also very intuitive. For me, the best death metal comes from USA.
Who were the biggest influences on you? I can hear a bit of Immolation, Incantation in the darker parts… Jukka: Yes, Immolation, Incantation, Sadistic Intent, Suffocation… Personally, Morbid Angel is the single biggest influence. From the contemporaries I could mention Dead Congregation and Slugathor.
What do you make of the current death metal scene? Who or what is exciting you in heavy music? Jukka: Great new releases are popping up all the time. It will be interesting to see what will happen to this new wave of bands. I’m starting to notice maybe a little bit too many bands doing the same thing now, but most of the groups are just doing their first releases like us, so it’s understandable if the true personal sound of many bands is still yet to surface. It will be interesting to see the development. I just hope the Swedes and Finns wouldn’t turn to death ‘n’ roll after the first albums like last time.
What was the songwriting process for Embodiment of Death like? Who are the main songwriters? Jukka: I mainly write the music and Henu writes most of the lyrics. After we did Ascend to Chaos I had nothing ready for the full-length and it took some time to get creative again. After a while I wrote “Gods Stand Aghast” and we recorded it for a Finnish death metal compilation, Metal on Metal IV. Then I just tried different things and brought some songs and riffs to the rehearsals, and a few of them were scrapped and went through a rewrite. When the bulk of the material started to take form we were going for an album under 40 minutes in length. “Exist to Suffer” was re-recorded because we always liked that song very much, but thought the In Death version didn’t do justice to the song. “Bloodspawn” was supposed to be recorded in the Ascend to Chaos sessions, but we couldn’t get it to sound good due to no prior rehearsal.
What were the sessions like for Embodiment of Death? Did you have more studio time than when you did the EP? Jukka: The sessions were great. Everything just came together so easily. We spent three days in the studio. The first day we recorded all the instruments live, second day we did guitar solos and vocals and the third day was spent screwing around with a synth part that we actually decided to remove after it got a little bit out of hand. The EP was recorded in three days also, but it didn’t go that smoothly and we had to rerecord some parts later and it took a very long time to complete.
Is there anything you would like to add to your sound that you didn’t have time or haven’t quite developed yet? Jukka: I’d like our sound to develop in some way with every new release, but it’s too early to say anything about the direction of the new material yet. But we certainly are going to stick with Death Metal.
Does the album deal with any recurring themes or motifs? I was wondering about the song “7 Gates, 7 Spheres”: is that inspired by Greek Mythology? Jukka: Our lyrics always revolve around death in all its forms from different perspectives. There are some Lovecraftian themes and “7 Gates…” was inspired by The Simon Necronomicon and space.
What is Finland like to live in? You have an abundance of truly sick bands, to what degree is the nation’s character disposed to extreme metal? Jukka: Hard to say anything special when I’ve lived here my entire life and haven’t traveled much. Finland is a peaceful and stable place to live, with high prices, lots of metal and drinking. The people are as cold as the weather, except when drunk. These are all common stereotypes of Finland, but there is much truth to them I think.
Tami Luukkonen: Bass
Jukka Aho: Guitar
Henri ” Nemesis” Kuula: Vocals
Jussi Takanen: Guitars
Tommi Makkonen: Drums
Gorephilia’s Embodiment of Death is out now on Dark Descent Records: Order it HERE.
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’s entry is from 1969, opens with a song called “Black Sabbath,” and features a long-haired guy named Oz Osborne – but it isn’t who you think it is. Instead, it’s the satanic serenade of Coven’s Witchcraft Destroys Minds and Reaps Souls (Mercury).
Just to get this out of the way right off the bat: this isn’t metal, so stow your bitching. As you might be able to tell from that band name-album title combo, these guys (and gal) fall pretty squarely into the “occult rock” sound so popular with the kids these days. The Chicagoan hippies beat them all to the punch, though, and by a good 40 years! This is some serious psychedelic goodness, laced with some of the most transgressive Hammer horrific lyrics (and album art) you could get away with during the waning days of the Summer of Love.
The brainchild of singer Jinx Dawson (her real name!), Coven were one of the first, if not the first, bands to use overtly Satanic imagery in their music and on stage. The cover features schools and upside down crosses, while the gatefold depicts a naked woman who was supposed to be (but wasn’t actually) Dawson offering herself up to His Infernal Majesty. In fact, they deserve inclusion here if for no other reason than that they were the first documented act to use the devil horns on stage. Still, they weren’t just a gimmick act. Dawson knew how to use her witchy warble to spine-chilling effect, and even though an organ was par for the course for that style of music, they had it tuned to maximum creepy. While they basically sounded like Jefferson Airplane if they wanted somebody to sacrifice instead of somebody to love, they were certainly capable of knocking out some seriously catchy tunes.
Their “Black Sabbath” wasn’t the monolithic triumph of its more famous counterpart, but it’s still pretty awesome, featuring a very Blue Oyster Cult backing track, evil cackling, and some very Halloween-y words. “Coven in Charing Cross” was genuinely ominous, with its ritualistic chanting and tale of evil wrought upon a small English village. “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” beat Van Halen to the punch by 20 years, with some Doors-style syncopation. “Choke, Thirst, Die” is as menacing as its title, while “Wicked Woman” makes its title character sound pretty appealing. And then they wrap the whole thing up with a 13 minute track that isn’t even a song – it’s a full on Satanic mass, exhorting a new initiate to “kiss the goat” and invoking all sorts of demonic nonsense. Not really something you can listen to more than once, but it’s a gas.
After getting summarily dropped by Mercury following the Manson murders, Coven released a few more albums and went on to some minor success with the song “One Tin Soldier” from the movie Billy Jack before calling it quits in the mid-70s. Dawson resurrected the group for an album in 2008, but didn’t really make much of a splash than either. Still, her band’s influence on groups like The Devil’s Blood and Jess and the Ancient Ones is pretty undeniable, and their satanic shtick was well in advance of Venom. Every time some black metal band gives props to the devil, they owe a debt to Coven for getting there first.
By: andrew Posted in: featuredOn: Friday, August 17th, 2012
In the interest of making sense of the terrible–but, fortunately, non-fatal–accident Baroness suffered Tuesday in the U.K., we consulted former Candiria guitarist John LaMacchia, whose van was decimated on the road nearly a decade ago.
As a fellow crash survivor, what was your gut reaction when you first heard about the Baroness accident?
Shock. It brought back a rush of bad memories from what had happened to Candiria when we were rear-ended by the tractor-trailer in 2002.
You famously put Candiria’s totaled van on the cover of What Doesn’t Kill You… in 2004. Do you think the innate black humor that a lot of extreme music guys possess might help as a coping mechanism?
Absolutely. We needed to write about it. We needed to share our experience with the people that cared the most about us, our fans, friends and peers. Although the band was never the same and consequently broke up due to that one horrific event. We were trying to overcome and persevere, and it was a very effective way of coping with it as a band and on a personal level. It’s actually quite strange that this is happening now. The 10-year anniversary of the Candiria crash is just around the corner, September 9th.
Candiria’s recovery process was painful and prolonged on multiple levels: hospitalization, therapy, lawsuits, etc. What do people who haven’t been involved in a situation like this most take for granted about the aftermath?
All of it. It’s easy to compare what we went through to the suffering that happens day to day in some parts of the world. It’s the shittiest feeling when someone shrugs off all that I and my brothers endured, and are still recovering from to this day due to that accident. Especially since there was a lawsuit and rumors that we are all millionaires now. Which is completely ridiculous.
What was it like getting back on the road to tour for the first time afterwards?
I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure everyone else was as scared as I was. No one wanted to get back in a van, so our answer was an RV. For some reason, we felt a little safer in a bigger vehicle. As for myself, between post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction to prescription drugs at that point and differences in the artistic vision of the band, [all of that] led to me leaving the band temporarily. Looking back, though, I know I just needed to get off the road. It’s just what I needed at that time for my sanity.
What can fans do to help?
That’s a tough one because the highways and roads of this country are just extremely dangerous, and there is not much anyone can do. We are driving these vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds at speeds that are just way too dangerous. At any moment something can go wrong. It can be the tiniest thing: an animal runs across the highway, some form of debris is in the middle of the road or even just a bit oil leaked from another car and that’s it, that’s all it takes. You are no longer in car, but in a death trap that has spun completely out of control and is headed straight for a tree or something to that effect. The impact is unimaginable. It’s not like the movies at all. The force of gravity traveling at 60 MPH is enough to pull a person from the back seat, through the front windshield and about 25 to 30 feet from the vehicle. I should know, I’ve been there. Well, I went out the side window, not the front, according to the police report.
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.
Throw Me a Frickin’ Bone scribe Kevin Stewart-Panko and I have teamed up to bring you the stealthiest bandcampiest demos, EPs, singles, one-offs, full-lengths, and start-up acts that catch our attention and give us goosebumps. We’re like a superhero duo, where KSP’s the superhero and I’m the kid in the homemade cape who won’t leave him alone. He’ll round up jamz and slamz for your perusal in the magazine, and you can turn your attention to the Deciblog every Friday for even more label-less craziness. Consider it official: here’s your first installment of Frickin’ Bone 2.0: Bonin’ the Interhole.
If the Unspeakable Territories EP by Hello Jackie doesn’t frighten you a bit, then you’ve been spinning too much Stolen Babies at wedding showers, or maybe Sleepytime Gorilla Museum at four-year-olds’ birthday parties. Wondering why your well planned surprise bashes never retain guests past the obligatory stop-in-say-hi stage? You gotta cut that shit out. Your friends and family can’t stand your SGM records. They smile awkwardly then duck back into their minivans, roll their eyes, and drive home to relax with an Unexpect LP.
Back to the topic at hand. Hello Jackie. Innocuous name. Scary freaking music. And solid as hell. Zuza’s thunderous riffage, Soha’s tasty percussive patterns, Nowy’s bruise-dark bass work, and Ashka’s haunted piano plinking and alto-croon-to-psychotic-caw vocals turn all of their Unspeakable Territories EP into an alluring/repulsive horror show. Want a better description? Write it yourself. Click below to fill your brain with the best extreme Polish-Irish collab you’ve never heard.
What is the Hello Jackie story? How did the band get together and decide to create hackles-raising death noise?
Zuza: Ashka and I are sisters. We had a band together back in Poland but it broke up and we moved to Ireland. We always knew that music is exactly what we wanted to do for the rest of our lives so even though beginnings in a new country weren’t easy, [the] first thing we have done was a search for musicians. Although it didn’t take us that long to meet Soha (drums) with whom we got along really well from the first rehearsal, it was a good while before Nowy joined us on bass. We played with several random bassists until 2010 but with Nowy on board [it’s] just a perfect match.
What music have you been heavily into during HJ’s lifetime?
Zuza: I personally never really stick to one music genre for a long time. I get bored pretty quickly. As far as I’m concerned there’s always something new and I try [to] search for some unusual stuff. Today it’s black metal, tomorrow it will be 80′s disco. But there are bands like Led Zeppelin, early Korn, DCD or Faith no More that I always come back to. Anyway it’s different for each one of us, everyone is into something else and I guess it really works out for us as a band ‘cause so many influences reflect on our own music as an quite interesting mix.
What is songwriting like for HJ? Is it jam/collaboration or individuals bringing ideas to the group?
Ashka: Basically me and Zuza are creating general construction: riffs, [motifs], vocs, etc, we can say “backbone”. For us every song is a story so it needs a beginning, developing [middle] and the end that make sense, that work with lyrics. We bring it to the guys and then on rehearsal we all work on this, getting the final ”look”, changing, polishing it. Often everything changes when Soha comes up with unexpected rhythms and drumming parts or Nowy adds some atmosphere with his bass lines.
Ashka – what vocal preparation/throat lubrication/demonic possession allows you to spit your potent venom?
Ashka: Every morning Soha and Nowy have to deliver their blood samples so I can mix it with my morning cafe [that’s coffee for us American savages] and there it is. No but seriously for me is just one word – passion. I have a whole spectrum of emotions inside of me and rage is a big part of it so that’s the way I want to express myself right now.
Where are the Unspeakable Territories? Can you reach them by public transit? If so, how does one acquire a ticket if they can’t be spoken of?
Ashka: Fragile soul is the only transit. There are some areas in our lives that simply can’t be reached by words so you have to search for different medium to explore it. Also…[a] CD player won’t hurt as well.
Who did the artwork for the EP? Does the image represent a particular idea, or is it just aesthetically cool?
Ashka: So far I’ve been in charge of all [the] artwork side of Hello Jackie, like flyers, posters, photo editing, CD covers. It’s something I just really enjoy doing and that lets me complete my vision of what Hello Jackie represents. Like with [the] ”Sick” video [see above], I spent over a month creating all the costumes. I was running off my feet but at the and of the day it brings a lot of satisfaction.
What is HJ’s live experience? How have the shows been?
Soha: Each new show brings better experience for both us and the fans. We played few great shows this year, including Metalfest Open Air in Poland, which featured some [of the] biggest names in the metal world. We’re hoping to organize another tour this [year] or next year, possibly around [the] UK or Germany. We’re also planning to make our shows more of a visual experience, but what exactly will it be, you would have to see it yourself.
What comes next for HJ?
Zuza: We are currently looking for a label and gathering songs for debut full-length album. We actually have some more material already recorded for the second EP which we might release soon. But what we love the most about playing music is doing it live, so, like Soha just said, we really hope we will be able to get out there and play a bigger tour next year, and who knows, maybe hit the States one day? We get a lot of positive feedback from our US fans, so we would be absolutely delighted to make it there and kick your asses soon. Plans and hopes for the near future are big! So all Deciblog readers, keep watching our Facebook page for the news. We are sending a big HELLO to all of you!