By: j.bennett Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, interviews On: Friday, October 26th, 2012


When word arrived that the Darkness would be rolling through L.A. again on their way to meet up with Lady Gaga in South America, we told J. Bennett to grease up his tits for a pre-show rematch with frontman Justin Hawkins. The following conversation took place on Tuesday, October 23, the night before the band’s face-ruling performance at Club Nokia, where Bennett and Henry & Glenn Forever creator (and semi-recent Decibel cover artist) Tom Neely braved the throng of frat douchelords, aging rawk slunts and Z-list celebrities to sing along with highly satisfying cock-rock super-hits like “Love On The Rocks With No Ice,” “English Country Garden” and “Get Your Hands Off My Woman.”

What do you like to do when you’re in Los Angeles?
Hawkins: I used to like eating sushi, but I’ve become vegan recently, so sushi has become difficult. So, I pretty much play chess and screw, that sort of thing… [Laughs] No, not really. I’m going to go have a couple of costumes made. I always go and visit my friend Agatha Blois—she’s like a hero or heroine of mine. I love hanging out with her, and we’ve come up with some great designs together. You’ve seen the shit I wear onstage. She’s responsible for all of it.

I know Agatha. She once left her purse in my car for about two weeks.
[Laughs] That sounds about right. She’s quite fun to hang out with.

Throw Me A Frickin’ Label Hack – Secrets of the Sky

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, October 26th, 2012

record release upcoming copy

Originally, this frickin’ boner was supposed to go out to the tragically unsigned Secrets of the Sky, an Oakland, CA collective who specialize in black-splashed prog-n-doom awesomeness.  Now that Secrets of the Sky are untragically signed to Gravedancer Records, you’re hopefully going to hear a lot more about them in the coming months and years.  Earlier this year, the band offered a two-song preview of now-finished full-length To Sail Black Waters, and the complete album only builds more interesting melodies, textures, and grand crescendos into an already diverse (yet cohesive) palette.  To Sail Black Waters should snuggle into music store shelves on January 22, 2013, but right here right now you can dig on the record’s second track, “Decline,” while reading what guitarist/keyboardist Clayton Bartholomew and vocalist Garett Gazay have to say about their music and their experiences as Secrets of the Sky.

Who are Secrets of the Sky?  How and when did the band form?

Clayton: Well, Chris Anderson (guitar, keyboards) and I first started talking about doing a project together back in 2009 but I would say we actually got our act together in early 2010. We got Lance Lea (drums) to join and basically the 3 of us started writing. We had sort of a revolving door of bass players, but basically the 3 of us wrote the instrumental material for “To Sail Black Waters” and recorded all of the instruments over the course of 6 months or so. I should mention Benjamin Strange, who is an incredible bassist- he did add quite a bit in the brief period he jammed with us. Garett came in on vocals after we put an add out for a singer- he was the first and only guy we tried out and he just blew us away. John Mananquil (bass) was recommended to us and Andy Green (guitar) is an old friend so it wasn’t very difficult to round out the line-up.

What musical/personal ambitions drive the band’s music?

Clayton: I think we set out with a clear idea of what we wanted to do with this band. We wanted to create really dark sonic landscapes and initially wrote the music as if we were writing a movie soundtrack.  We wanted to forego the old formulaic way of writing and try something new. I think we pulled that off on the record. It did take a while to develop and we really took our time getting it right. 

How did you guys end up signing with Gravedancer Records?

Clayton: We were actually working with Josh Eldridge and The MuseBox for PR purposes and looking around for a label. It just so happens that Josh also owns Gravedancer and was interested in releasing the record. We all felt like it was a good fit for us. We like the other bands on the label (Nachtmystium, Yakuza, Chrome Waves (ft. members of The Atlas Moth, Gates of Slumber, etc) and Josh is a really good guy. He spent years at Century Media as their Head of Publicity and Promotions and is a huge advocate of metal that falls into not-so-mainstream categories. So it was an easy decision for us.

Were the songs on To Sail Black Waters written by the band collectively, or by individuals and then brought to the group?

Clayton: Musically, the songs on the record were written and arranged by Chris, Lance and I. Chris and I demo’d stuff at home a lot and sent it to each other to work on. As far as vocals are concerned, Garett handled all of that. Now that we have a full band, we write together at practice a lot more. Everyone is involved in fleshing out their individual parts.

How does the songwriting process affect the recorded outcome?  How (if at all) does the recording process affect the songs? 

Clayton: Hmm. Well, we had the songs pretty polished and ready to record for the most part before going into the studio. I would say we recorded the songs without consideration for playing them live as we added tons of guitar layers and keyboards… which is why we now have a 6 piece band so that we can actually pull it off live! It’s weird, you write and jam the songs in your rehearsal space and they sound a certain way and then you go to the studio and track everything properly and they come out a bit different, usually for the better. So then you have to get back to the rehearsal space and figure out how to make them sound as good live as they do on the record. I guess that’s been our experience anyway.

Two of your songs – “Winter” and “Sunrise” have been around a little while.  Did the remastering have a particular positive effect on the sound, or was it simply to make the album sound more uniform?

Clayton: Ya, we chose to take those two songs and press a sampler as a “sneak peak” or whatever of the record. Mostly for promotional use, booking shows, etc. The record was basically all recorded at the same time except for vocals, which were done in several sessions. After everything was recorded, Juan (Urteaga, Trident Studios) mixed and mastered it all so that everything was uniform, etc. There were some tweaks made to keep everything in line, yes.

Is there a particular lyrical theme or thread that carries through the album?

Garett: To be honest, all the songs are different lyrically. When I joined the band, the songs already had names, for instance there was “Winter”. When I sat down to write lyrics to the song I found myself digging through piles of old poetry for a piece I did in high school that I had actually named, “Winter”, which I used for the song. The reason I did this was I saw how much the guys had put into the songs and I wanted to preserve their vision, but put words to it. Over the course of a few weeks after joining, I was introduced to more of the band’s existing work and began to write new poetry to the pieces. I found them to be perfectly in tune with my own inner vibe and vision as a vocalist. Put simply, the lyrics on the record can be summed up as esoteric visualizations of myself in different metaphorical scenarios that illustrate the true definition of me as a person and as an artist.

Are there musical or lyrical cues that dictate when you use harsh vocals and when you sing?

Garett: You know what? I never thought about it like that, but in retrospect I guess there are. The guys will weave beauty and beast together and I am totally caught up in it. I can only explain it like this; when the head of the snake moves, so does the rest of its body. The changes in vocal element follow I think the vibe of the instrumental magicians in this band.

Is To Sail Black Waters a moment of completion for Secrets of the Sky, or an open door to further work similar to it?

Clayton: That’s a great question… and one that we are still in the process of answering. I think we are looking at it as the first chapter of many more to come and as we write the second record, there will be certain musical themes that carry over. I think To Sail Black Waters defines what we are, and we are looking forward to expanding on that for future releases. Stay tuned!


By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, liver failure, repulsion, tours, uncategorized On: Thursday, October 25th, 2012

deciblog - tour poster

Ok motherfuckers, starting tomorrow, one of the most fun-filled touring adventures of the year kicks off in Springfield, Virginia. A co-heading run featuring grind grand pappies Napalm Death and the travelling bachelor party known as Municipal Waste with the reigning good-time guardians of gore grind, Exhumed offering direct support would normally be enough to top up a good percentage of Decibel’s readership. However, whoever pieced together and booked the different legs of this run definitely had silly string, mischief and alcohol poisoning on the brain when they added space-age thrash kiddos Vektor, Canada’s most offensive offenders the Dayglo Abortions, punker-than-thou heroes Attitude Adjustment and butane-huffing speed demons, Speedwolf to various dates of the tour. The only thing that could be better would be having all those bands do the entire tour together, but that wasn’t gonna happen. So, the next best and obvious move was made in getting the band from Albert Mudrian’s favourite t-shirt, Repulsion and the band you can’t kill, the Dwarves to play one-offs down L.A. way.

As well, a week or so ago, Century Media sent out this press release about the limited edition t-shirts Napalm Death are going to be hawking on this run. Here’s the official word:

On this co-headlining trek, NAPALM DEATH will be selling tour-exclusive t-shirts designed by artist Sean Taggart (CRUMBSUCKERS, AGNOSTIC FRONT). In regards to these special tees, bassist Shane Embury comments: “As everyone should know, we grew up on a steady diet of the musically extreme, be it death/thrash metal or hardcore punk! Two album covers stood out to us back in the day more than any others as being both satirical and serious at the same time–those being CRUMBSUCKERS’ ‘A Life of Dreams’ and AGNOSTIC FRONT’s ‘Cause for Alarm.’ To me, those album covers capture my youth and enthusiasm for what has now become our lives: playing the music we love all around the world. So with this tour coming up with MUNICIPAL WASTE in the US, we thought to ourselves, ‘Why not get in touch with Sean Taggart—the man behind those covers and all of the awesome flyers from CBGB’s back in the day—and ask if he would do an exclusive shirt, just for us?!’”

Sean agreed to make the shirts for NAPALM DEATH since, as he says, “they’re the heaviest motherfuckers ever!”

To get your shirt, be sure to visit the merch table at one of NAPALM DEATH’s upcoming shows. These tees won’t be available online, so this will be your only chance to have this exclusive, wearable piece of art!

I also have it on good authority that Exhumed are going to be hauling around four or five new shirt designs that look pretty f’n sweet and everyone knows that Municipal Waste is always good for putting their name on something unique related to alcohol or skateboarding.

This promises to be a good ol’ time across the board and you never know who might be worming their way around North America, slinging merch and gophering coffee for Exhumed. So, if you have a bone to pick with his shitty taste in music, want to buy him a sparking lime-flavoured water, give him your band’s demo or just stop by to say “hey” and hang out, make yourself known.

Oct 26–Springfield, VA–Empire
Oct 27–New York, NY–Gramercy Theater
Oct 28–New London, CT–El N Gee
Oct 29–Boston, MA–Middle East
Oct 31–Montreal, QC–Les Foufounes Electriques
Nov 1–Toronto, ON–The Opera House
Nov 2–Austin, TX–Fun Fun Fun Fest**
Nov 3–Chicago, IL–Reggie’s***
Nov 4–St Paul, MN–Station-4*

Nov 5–Winnipeg, MB–Osborne Village Inn
Nov 6–Regina, SK–Riddell Centre
Nov 7–Edmonton, AB–The Pawn Shop
Nov 9–Vancouver, BC–Rickshaw Theater

Nov 11–Portland, OR–Hawthorne Theater
Nov 13–San Francisco, CA–DNA Lounge
Nov 14–Santa Ana, CA-Observatory, with REPULSION
Nov 15–Hollywood, CA–House Of Blues, with DWARVES
Nov 16–Tempe, AZ–Rocky Point
Nov 17–El Paso, TX–House Of Rock*

Nov 18–Ft Worth, TX–Rail Club***
Nov 20–Nashville, TN–Exit In
Nov 23–Richmond, VA–Kingdom
Nov 24–Charlotte, NC–The Casbah
Nov 25–Knoxville, TN–The Valarium
Nov 26–Birmingham, AL–Zydeco
Nov 27–New Orleans, LA–Siberia
Nov 30–Atlanta, GA–Terminal West
Dec 1–Tampa, FL–Orpheum Theater
Dec 2–Miami, FL–Grand Central, Barge To Hell Pre-Party**


Decibrity Playlist: All That Remains

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, October 25th, 2012


Since All That Remains released its debut a decade ago, the band has been a model of consistency in terms of the album cycle. In fact, it has dropped a new record like clockwork every two years since 2002, meaning no one should be surprised that full-length number six is set to drop on November 6th. So in anticipation of the release of A War You Cannot Win, bassist Jeanne Sagan—who first joined Phil Labonte and company for 2006′s breakthrough Fall Of Ideals—told us about five records that she’s currently digging. Feel free to listen along here.

Baroness—Yellow & Green (2012)
I’ve been a fan of this band for years now, so this was one of my highly anticipated releases this year. I bought the vinyl so I can’t help but separate the two albums. Some days I get stuck on Yellow, and some days I prefer Green. But overall I like how they have matured as a band and I love that they are more adventurous in melodic rock textures. I wish them a full recovery from the accident.

Red Fang—Murder The Mountains (2011)
This is one of the major party albums for my friends and I. So much so that we even started calling the ritual of listening, hanging out and drinking as “fanging out”. Haha we are definitely idiots but I love this album, it never gets old.

Stick To Your Guns—Diamond (2012)
My favorite album to listen to in the gym. Haha. Awesome songs, awesome message, awesome band. You can feel the passion put into it, which you cannot say about a lot of bands. They give me chills live and keep me motivated.

Aesop Rock—Skelethon (2012)
I dont listen to all that much hip-hop, but sometimes you need to change it up and Aesop Rock never lets me down. His rapping just sounds unique to me. I think he is just really clever at how he presents the lyrics and how they weave around the music. It’s captivating.

Ihsahn—Eremita (2012)
I would consider Emperor to be one of my favorite black metal bands. I think this guy is just a genius. The music is amazing and his voice is amazing. It’s something you can purposely sit down and listen to with headphones. What I especially love is use of horns because that is practically unheard of nowadays.

*Pre-order a copy of A War You Cannot Win here.

**Photo by P.R. Brown

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

Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Shadows Fall
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

Full Album Stream: Venomous Maximus — “Beg Upon The Light”

By: Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Wednesday, October 24th, 2012


Venomous Maximus isn’t a cover band that does a cool version of “Witching Hour.” This Houston band likes riffs, penned a song that’s an indirect ode to King Diamond (see below) and has earned comparisons to Pentagram and Electric Wizard. We’ll gladly take that over a Cronos impersonation.

For your exclusive streaming pleasure, Venomous Maximus has let their friends at dB host their new album Beg Upon The Light. Dial in for some mayhem without mercy. Track-by-track commentary provided below by Gregg Higgins (vocals, guitar), Christian Larson (guitar), Trevi Biles (bass) and Bongo (drums). Beg Upon The Light will be available October 30 and can be purchased here.

1. Funeral Queen – I really love records that start off with an intro. Lucky for us our good friend Beau that used to play in Insect Warfare has been jamming organ and he came into to help. — Christian

2. Path of Doom — I LOVE JAKE E. LEE and man, when Gregg and Christian play guitar on this one, I swear I’m Randy Castillo in the fucking “Shot in the Dark” video! Lots of fun and that’s what makes being low down in streets worth it. – Bongo

3. Give Up The Witch - This is the only song that we had previously recorded that made it on to this record. It always gets a good response live. – Christian

* Songs 4 & 9 (“Father Time” and “Mothers Milk”) - They are both part of the family, mother earth chained in time! – Gregg

5. Hellenbach- One of my personal faves here. Reason being, I get to play the blues (sped up a little, but still the blues!). So much of the blues is lost with double bass playing. I wouldn’t touch it (double kick) with a ten foot pole. – Bongo

6. Moonchild – This one is a rocking BOC / Ozzy riffer! Dark-tinged with tortured vocals. Something of a nod to King Diamond. God bless Texas. – Trevi

7. Battle for the Cross – The opening riff is a rolling, thundering thing, indicative of a woeful, endless existence. Like Conan on that slave wheel. It then gives way to the Dio-esque march, torches burning in tribute to that wee one… – Trevi

8. Venomous Maximus - One of favorite songs to play live. Upbeat and good riffs! – Christian

10. Hell’s Heroes – This song is a tribute to all the men, women and children that have died for their beliefs. – Gregg

Get in touch with Venomous Maximus.

STREAMING: Killing Joke “In Cythera”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Killing Joke 2012

Only a short few months ago, Killing Joke frontman Jeremy “Jaz” Coleman went mysteriously missing. Canceled shows happened and, well, a bunch of (admittedly European) press covered Killing Joke when they would’ve anyway. Turns out Coleman was running around the Western Sahara, working on a solo album and a book. Neat. Coleman’s never been a sedentary type. When Decibel first tried to contact Coleman for the induction of Killing Joke’s self-titled debut into the Hall of Fame [dB #80, HERE] he was uncontactable whilst scampering around New Zealand. His bandmates had no idea how to get in touch as well. They had to call Peter Jackson to see if Coleman was staying in Hobbiton. OK, that’s a not-so-killing joke.

OK, puffery aside, this is “In Cythera”, from Killing Joke’s new long-player MMXII, and a revealing unpublished quote from Killing Joke’s Hall of Fame article [dB #80, HERE] in which Coleman describes the circumstances of the group’s formation back in 1978. The more things change the more they stay the same it seems.

“It started with Big Paul and myself. In short, we did a ritualized prayer and two weeks later we had both Youth and Geordie. Ten weeks later, Europe and United Kingdom knew about Killing Joke. We were very lucky in our first lessons in media. It was the result of the two Johns, as I put it. By the time we got together for our first jam, 10 weeks later our first London gig was sold out. It was all John Peel. He played our first EP [Turn to Red] non-stop. Then he asked us to do a Peel Session on the back of it. Then, John Lydon, from PiL [Public Image Ltd.] and [Sex] Pistols, saying we were the only band thinking for ourselves. It all happened very quickly.”

** Visit and like Killing Joke on Facebook.

** Killing Joke’s new album, MMXII, is out October 30th on Spinefarm Records. It’s available HERE for those interested in what the End Times are gonna be like. Through the lens of Jeremy “Jaz” Coleman, of course.

Video Gold From Metal’s Early Years

By: adem Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, heavy tuesdays, stupid crap, videos On: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012


Metallica were wise to wait several years before making their first promotional music video. Having experienced it first hand—waiting patiently for a metal video to pop up so we could capture it on our VHS recorder—we can attest to the fact that the dawn of music videos in the early ’80s was the worst. Especially the metal ones, which were frequently done on indie-label budgets and generally made no sense at all.

So using those old videotapes as a reference point we dug up some fine examples on Youtube of the kind of crapola that used to pass as promo videos.

The thing we always remembered most about this early Rods video can be summed up in three words: Carl Canedy’s shoulders. We actually really like this song and were stoked at the time to see a video of it since the band were still on Shrapnel Records. But as the video unfolded—and your guess is as good as mine as to what connection the song has to the video—it reminded us more of a really low-budget porno. The backseat scene with Canedy and a nubile around the one-minute mark is fairly creepy. Adding to the overall sleazy vibe is the video quality which looked like it was filmed on someone’s dad’s Betamax camera.

Early conceptual videos usually failed miserably. It’s one thing to have a few hairy biker-looking dudes diddling around with a leather-clad chick in the back of a hot rod while you’re singing about a hurricane, but please explain to us why the centerpiece of this NWOBHM video is a wig-wearing judge who’s really a woman. And why is the judge seated in front of the stage? Honestly, this is lyrically just about the simplest story and some high-concept, video-directing nitwit made it nonsensical.

This is definitely a case of the video concept trumping the actual song content. As far as we can tell, there is no connection between the two. They had an idea for a video and decided that the song “The Damned” would be the best soundtrack. Nonetheless, we offer this up as something of a good example of what could be done if you had no fucking clue as to how to make a mini-movie about a band’s song. Just get the lead singer to do some crazy-ass shit, blow up and smash a bunch of stuff, add a bit of lip-syncing and call it good.

Twisted Sister, to their credit, have always been very self-aware regarding their general image and the absurdity of giant, burly men wearing makeup. They don’t, however, deal in subtlety. If there’s a point they’re trying to make with their music and/or videos, you will be crystal clear as to what it is in no time. In this case, the song is “You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll,” so, of course, some vaguely communist-looking bad guys who use cell phones the size of bricks are trying to, uh, stop rock ‘n’ roll. Sigh.

A few years removed from the Runaways and following on Joan Jett’s mega success with, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Lita Ford committed herself to the metal cause with her first solo album, Out For Blood. Like many, if not most, metal videos of the day, it inevitably involved some poor sap who is randomly hauled off to a mental hospital. There are a dozen other things about this video that lead nowhere—why is the bassist playing an actual axe, for instance?—so it’s best not to try to sort this one out, lest you hurt your brain.

We can imagine how the meeting with the director went when Michael Schenker was deciding what to do for the “Dancer” video. “How about we have a lady dressed entirely in spandex, but also wearing a leather jacket—to make sure people know she’s metal—dancing around on stage while the band lip syncs to the song?” Brilliant! “Oh, and make sure the singer looks really sweaty, too.”

A Very Heavy Halloween IV: Orloff’s Vomitorium

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen, lists On: Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012


There are many things we could say about Apparitions Among the Graveyard Skies, the just released horror-worshipping, gore-festooned debut album from superlative down n’ dirty death metallers Orloff, but here is the fun fact that probably best sums it up: The first 100 copies ordered come with a limited edition barf bag. Which is why Decibel suggests readers procure, say, a small garbage pail or mixing bowl before pressing play on the exclusive stream of “Crimson Deathshroud” below.

And while that fetid little earworm burrows its way into your brain, check out this list of five Orloff-approved Halloween horrors straight from Waldemar de Marnac, the band’s master of “four-string slayings and werewolf howlings.”

1. Horror Rises From the Tomb: Paul Naschy’s best film from the early 70′s. It has everything. Zombies, sacrifices, decapitations, murky atmosphere, and a killer organ soundtrack. This movie alone has had the biggest influence on Orloff.

2. The Skull: One of my all time favorite Amicus horror films from the 60′s that features Peter Cushing in one of his best roles. An occult, dark, horror classic that needs to be seen by more people.

3. Tales From the Crypt: The early 70′s classic anthology horror film. Great for any time of the year — Xmas also — but Halloween is the best time to watch this gem.

4. City of the Living Dead: The most atmospheric early 80′s horror/gore film ever. Still creepy after all these years with one of the most amazing soundtracks ever.

5. EC comics: The classic 50′s horror comics. Great reading during this time of year. Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, and Haunt of Fear. ‘Nuff said!

Related: Orloff on Bandcamp. Razorback Records. And, after the jump, namesake.

LIVE REVIEW: Down and Orange Goblin @ Roundhouse, London

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, live reviews On: Monday, October 22nd, 2012


Bands always make such a big deal about playing the Roundhouse because of who played here in the past. It’s a former railway engine room, with a lot of rock ‘n’ roll history. But any similarities between the 1960s Roundhouse and today’s venue begin and end with the building’s foundations and unalterable architecture.

It’s hard to imagine any venue hosting The Doors or Hendrix and asking customers to pay £3.00 to check their bag into the cloakroom because it’s got a fucking apple cake in it. Then again, maybe our free-spirited forebears would have had something stronger than apples in the cake, even on a Sunday. There is no shortage of psychonauts tonight; but many will have had their buzz crushed by a half-hour wait for the toilet, or by the sucky sound and terrible view . . . Or by being divested of their apple cake.

Down’s Pepper Keenan probably didn’t bring apple cake and doesn’t need a piss so he’s got a whole different take on things. Categorically he is excited to be here, as well he might. It wasn’t so long ago that Down were considered a supergroup, and touring together was a novelty; now they’re their own thing, and besides any enquiries as to where the contemporary Roundhouse’s soul lies, it does hold a lot of people.

Orange Goblin and Down not only share a lot of musical DNA—viz.a mutual ardor for mid-‘70s classic rock, early Scorpions, Skynyrd, Trouble, and of course Sabbath—but they share the same worldview believes jamming hard and living hard to be the only way to live.

How Far Can You Get Into This GN’R Video Without Laughing?

By: andrew Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Monday, October 22nd, 2012


(infinite thanks, adrien begrand, for bringing this to our attention)