Inside The Shredder’s Studio # 14: Skeletonwitch

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

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Here at the shredder’s studio we usually have one chair in the virtual office. Today, we need to pull up two. Nate Garnette and Scott Hedrick agreed to spend some time with us and walk us through their many influences. Please welcome the dual shredders of Skeletonwitch to the shredder’s studio, our 14th episode!

Even better, you can witness the shredding in person this fall. Skeletonwitch has all the forthcoming tourdates on their Facebook page — do go check them out.

NATHAN’S PICKS:
Sepultura – “Beneath The Remains” from Beneath The Remains

I was convinced that Max was the best guitar player ever and that a B.C. Rich Warlock was the coolest guitar ever. Fast-ass picking hand with quick and nimble fretting right from the get go! It has a sweet half-time headbanger part that wrecks my neck every time, a crazy little flanger soaked up-tempo rock part that I must have rewound a hundred times per listen, and Andreas’ solos range from weird to even weirder. I love cranking this album after about three months of not listening to it.

Massacre – “Dawn Of Eternity” from From Beyond

The beginning is this slow, doomy riff that they bring back later in groove form, which is a perfect idea, and he almost raps the lyric: “From beyond enters the horror, of a dark and hideous nature. The fall of man is now at hand.” That part kicks my ass all over the place. Chance and I always “slam” that part out when we crank it in the van. I love the speeding single note death metal riffs, and the groove is fucking top of the pops for me. Well done Massacre, well done!


Overkill- “Hello From The Gutter” from Under The Influence

Overkill still reigns as my favorite thrash band of all time. The riffs are either doing the New Jersey stomp on my skull, or tearing that skull from my already broken neck. They way this song starts is a big selling point. It’s not just a typical bar chorded intro (like I do all the time). It has this picked “country chord” as I would call it, and it’s tough as fuck. It has fast ass, killer runs on the tail end of the verse riffs and badass solo-age. The biggest influence is the audible level of bass guitar. If you don’t have killer bass presence and tone, you don’t have shit. Just ask D.D. Verni, I bet he’d agree.

Amon Amarth – “The Last With Pagan Blood” from The Avenger

My first taste of melodic, epic death metal. The interaction between the two guitars sends chills down my spine. These riffs create this feeling of “hell yeah, we kicked your ass” and then turn around and put you in the dirt because they sound so sorrowful.

Annihilator- “Alison Hell” from Alice In Hell

We have this “Hard N’ Heavy” VHS that has an Annihilator segment on it that we put on after practice. I am really into very quick and nimble, thrashy riffs. Even the little, weird breaks in the song do it for me. It has the ability to be super technical, yet still be able to breathe which shows some of that Canadian Class and tasteful songwriting. The solos are also outta this world. I’ll never be able to play one.

SCOTT’S PICKS:

Since I’m running out of ways to tell everyone how much I love Tipton/Downing, Schuldiner, Jon Oliva, and Denner/Sherman, I’m going to take the pass less traveled and tell you guys about some of my non-metal influcnes. Besides, I’ve always been “the weird one” in Skeletonwitch. May as well embrace it. Haha! Here goes:

The Jesus Lizard – “Monkey Trick” from Goat

The first time I heard the Jesus Lizard was like my first kiss: disorienting, slightly scary, and so awesome it was all I thought about for weeks. This band changed my notion of what “heavy” is. Duane Dennison seems to have limitless creativity. Where in the fuck is he pulling these riffs from? Dissonance never sounded so catchy.

This track has all my favorite elements of The Lizard. You get two seconds of pummeling and then it’s cut abruptly to make room for a bass line that’s so heavy only the Melvins can pick it up. Dennison and McNeilly join in, doing what they do best; fucking ruling. Eventually David Yow escapes from the insane asylum and starts babbling and we’re off to the races. Bonus points for the best scream ever laid to tape. It occurs at 1:06. Trivia fact: That scream is not from any of the members of the band!

David Bowie -”Moonage Daydream” from Bowie At The Beeb

I’ve been a huge Bowie fan since my impressionable teenage years and I can’t listen to any Bowie without reminiscing. My sister and I would leave school in a *cough* Ford Contour and somehow it would take us two hours to get home when we only lived two miles from the school. Bowie, Alice Cooper, The Stooges, and The Stones were the core of our soundtrack.

However, as much as I love Bowie, this track is all about his guitarist, Mick Ronson. If you don’t know who that is….

1) Shame on you!
2.) Look at this picture

When is the last time you shredded a Les Paul while doing eight seconds on David Bowie? That’s what I thought. On to the song….

This version is from a live performance at the BBC studios. I can’t remember the exact year, but all the recordings are from ’68-’72, so it’s in the sweet spot. Every member of Bowie’s band is absolutely crushing it here. The sound of those drums is thunderous! The bass driving! Hurrah for a real budget! The BBC never skimps, but here, Ronson is the real star.

First of all, his tone is incredible. Check it out at 1:12 and 1:17. Is Brian May his fucking guitar tech? Did you catch the pick slide he did back at 1:02? Talk about swagger. It sounds like Ronson is barely able to contain himself, and then 3:37 hits and he is untethered.

There is a lot of talk about civilian space travel in the near future and it’s all fucking rubbish. It exists. Here, right before you, is evidence that Mick Ronson rode a Les Paul to Mars and came back. At 3:57 he officially left the earth’s atmosphere. By 4:10 he’s on the red planet. Absolutely incredible. You can just imagine Bowie and the other musicians in the Beeb just shaking their heads.

Television – “Elevation” from Marquee Moon

If you listen to Skeletonwitch on headphones on you may be a bit surprised by how often Nate and I do not play the same thing. We enjoy complementary guitar parts rather than doubling a single part. How does Nigel Tufnel put it? “Simple lines intertwining?” This is one of my favorite Television songs. The guitars are doing entirely different things at the beginning but the bass provides just enough glue to hold them together. Kudos on the excellent time keeping by Richard Lloyd’s picking hand. You have to have a steady hand for that. Not too much drinking the night before playing this song!

Television was one of several bands that pushed me to take this approach to guitar lines. It wasn’t necessarily a conscious choice. Funny enough, as I listen back to Elevation I now hear parallels between the guitar solo on this track and some of my own playing. What a mind fuck! Did I rip off Tom Verlaine? I suppose if we really think about that, who DIDN’T rip him off in some capacity?

Check out Verlaine’s solo at 3:02 and the opening of my solo on “Where the Light Has Failed” at 1:49. I also see some similarity between his solo at 3:06 and my solo “Cleaver of Souls” also at 3:06. Weird! Am I crazy guys? Can you hear the influence too?

I love the little “chordy” riff right before the chorus (1:02-1:06). Not sure what they’re doing there, but I’m glad they’re doing it. Next is the chorus. I love the quirkiness of the timing and shards of staccato chords mixed with the major sounding, epic string bends that follow it. It’s as if they knock you off balance and then steady you again.

The Hellacopters – “The Devil Stole the Beat from the Lord” from Grande Rock

They had the riffs, the solos, the motorcycle boots, and, oh yeah, they had the songs! Nicke Andersson is a massive influence on my playing and not just because he’s a fellow lefty, although I do fucking love that, too. And let’s not even go down that (lefthand) path about how influential he was to death metal, because we could write a thesis on that alone.

Somehow the ‘Copters started off sounding like Motorhead and ended their career sounding like Cheap Trick, without making it feel odd or contrived, at least to my ears. I picked “Devil Stole the Beat from the Lord” for all the newbies who may have never heard The Hellacopters before. It has all the classic elements: excellent riffs, super catchy chorus, those monster string bends that bookend the song, nice keyboard lines, a great solo, and plenty of spots where you can windmill strum your guitar like Pete Townsend on trucker speed!

Besides what I already mentioned, here are a couple moments that really blow my dress up:

-The way the second guitar joins in at :07 and the rest of the band joins at :10. They come in in the middle of the main riff before it even finishes its first cycle. Listen to KISS much, guys?

-Check it out at approximately 0:50. Notice how each guitarist, panned hard left and right, does palm mutes off-time from the other? I listened to this song for probably four fucking years before I noticed that. It’s the little things, guys.

-At 1:37 is a classic Hellacopters octave part. It’s added in there to spice up the verse riff. I believe it’s from the Keith Richards school of “never play the same thing twice” (but not because you’re so fucked up that you can’t remember how you played it the first time, which is Keith’s other school).

-At 3:13 they double-down on the chorus, add a couple extra chords, and some nice single note runs which sets up the outro perfectly!

These guys are going to make some serious bucks when they do the reunion thing on the Euro festival circuit.

MC5 – “Gotta Keep Movin” from High Times

A high energy rock and roll band that defined the wildest aspects of American counterculture. They were rock as fuck, punk as fuck, political as fuck and energetic as fuck. Probably my favorite rock band of all time. I was born 30 years too late, but that didn’t stop the MC5 from still having profound effect on me as a youth.

The guitar playing on “Gotta Keep Movin’” is shit-hot and singer Rob Tyner belts out “Atom bomb, Vietnam, Missles on the Moon, and they wonder why the kids are shootin’ up so soon.” I wonder what he would be singing about right now if he was still alive. America needs a band like this again, flaws and all.

John Fahey – “On the Sunny Side of the Ocean” from The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death

I’ve been obsessed with this guy for a couple years now and see no end to my obsession in sight. Check him out!

Read previous installments of Inside The Shredder’s Studio:

#1: Elizabeth Schall of Dreaming Dead
#2: Mike Hill of Tombs
#3: Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy
#4: Alex Bouks of Incantation

#5: Kurt Ballou of Converge
#6: Mark Thomas Baker of Orchid
#7: Andre Foisy of Locrian
#8: Eric Daniels of GSBC and Asphyx
#9: Kevin Hufnagel of Gorguts
#10: Marissa Martinez-Hoadley of Cretin
#11: Eric Cutler of Autopsy
#12: Woody Weatherman of Corrosion of Conformity
#13: Carl Byers of Coffinworm

Sucker For Punishment: Fight Like It’s 1985

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

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After parting ways with vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza in 2004, Exodus took a huge risk in hiring the unknown Rob Dukes as the band’s new frontman, but it was a risk that paid off well. The confrontational, provocative Dukes injected the band with a level of manic energy not seen since the classic Paul Baloff days, and aided by some relentless touring and three very good studio albums Exodus was able to achieve a sort of creative rebirth, attracting a younger audience while at the same time winning over the old fans with this revamped lineup.

Things seemed to be going so smoothly for the band that it came as a very big surprise that Dukes was fired during the recording of Exodus’s tenth album. Even more surprising, though, was the news that Souza was back in the fold and would commence recording the vocals for the new album immediately. Contrary to what people might assume about who was behind Souza’s hiring – many speculated that Exodus’s new manager Chuck Billy masterminded the whole thing – founding guitarist Gary Holt insists that Souza was simply the best option the band had, and everyone had no desire to go through the painstaking audition process to find a new voice.  So hatchets were buried, the slate was wiped clean, and both parties amicably and eagerly joined forces once again.

Although Dukes was a phenomenal frontman, perfectly suited for Exodus, there’s something about hearing Zetro at the helm once again that’s so pleasing, especially to any metal fan over the age of 40. It feels right. I managed to catch the reunited Exodus at their performance in Montreal this summer, and it was admittedly a great pleasure to hear that gravelly, nasal voice performing such songs as “The Toxic Waltz” and “Strike of the Beast”. Based on that alone, you had to think that Souza’s return on record would be just as impressive, or even more, and that’s indeed the case on Blood In, Blood Out (Nuclear Blast), which bursts with the fun and energy of Exodus circa 1985 yet at the same time exudes the breadth of the post-2000 incarnation of the band.

Presented in a robust but deliberately organic sound by producer Andy Sneap, the songs have bite and attack to them, drummer Tom Hunting punctuating each track with his precise and strong double-time beats. The riffs by Holt and Lee Altus sound as nimble as ever and Souza clearly relishes his return to the band, sounding strong and charismatic. However, this record is all about the strength of the songwriting, which is leaner than the band’s ambitious last few albums, tracks like “Salt the Wound”, “Blood In, “Blood Out”, and “My Last Nerve” keeping things simple and incessantly catchy. It’s exactly what anyone wants from these great thrash progenitors, a record that holds up well against the most beloved Exodus albums. I’d even go a little further and call this the best Exodus album since 1989’s Fabulous Disaster, not only a return to prime form, but a welcome return of a familiar face and voice.

Also out this week:

The Acacia Strain, Coma Witch (Rise): I’ve been getting this band’s albums for the past decade, and for the life of me I can’t remember how a single song of theirs goes. That’s one hell of a commitment to mediocrity, guys. This seventh album comes close to putting that streak to an end, though, as “Holy Walls of the Vatican” and “Cauterizer” are snappy enough metalcore tunes to keep listeners awake. Such is the state of mainstream American metal these days that that statement can be considered high praise.

Arabrot, I Modi (Fysisk Format): After mastermind Kjetil successfully beat cancer this year he wasted no time in recording a quick little follow-up to last year’s masterful Årabrot, and the resulting six-track EP is yet another assertion that Årabrot is one of the most original, vital, exciting noise bands working today.

Bethlehem, Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (Prophecy): Don’t bands ever think before they settle on an album title? Seriously, naming your record “Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia” is the worst possible thing you could do to your marketability. Then again, gothic black metal sung exclusively in German isn’t exactly marketable to begin with. Once you get past that asinine title, however, you’ll discover a shockingly beautiful exercise in gothic metal aesthetics, full of bombast and melodrama. I have no idea what the fellow is singing about, but the cadence and coldness of the German language goes perfectly with the music, adding some welcome mystique in the process.

Blut Aus Nord, Memoria Vetusta III: Saturnian Poetry (Debemur Morti): Coming off the triumphant 777 trilogy that saw French musician Vindsval establish Blut Aus Nord as one of the most creative forces black metal has seen in the last decade or more, you had to wonder where he’d take the music next. After Sect(s), The Desanctification, and especially Cosmosophy expanded the project’s musical palette to thrilling effect, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Vindsval decided to get back to basics, but still, there’s a prevailing feeling on Saturnian Poetry that it’s a regression after several exciting years of progression. The third installment of the Memoria Vetusta series (whatever that is) that originally started in 1996, this album sticks to the black metal basics of tremolo picking, blastbeats, and screeched vocals, which compared to Blut Aus Nord’s recent work is hardly groundbreaking, nor exciting. Thankfully Vindsval is an adept enough songwriter to execute this rote, overdone style in a way that still feels authoritative and better than most black metal of today – the superb one-two punch of “Henosis” and “Metaphor of the Moon” an example – but there’s absolutely no way, in this writer’s opinion, that this record even comes close to the last three. When Vindsval goes forward, I’m with him. When he steps backward, he loses me.

Horrendous, Ecdysis (Dark Descent): I knew nothing about this Philly band before their second album landed in my inbox, but once I heard Ecdysis I was shocked by just how well these guys sneak the hookiest heavy metal riffs into their death metal. At times it’s extraordinary how mindful Horrendous is when it comes to the power of a good hook. When they happen upon one, they let it carry the song, instead of making it a mere fragment of 50 other riffs, melodies, and breakdowns. They find a groove, and stick to it, creating dynamic, engaging songs. Imagine that. I remain torn when it comes to the dry, Martin van Drunen-style vocal growls, as they feel like monochrome set against a Technicolor backdrop, but thankfully the instrumental arrangements more than make up for that shortcoming. Besides, “When the Walls Fell” is the best metal instrumental I’ve heard all year. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp. 

Inter Arma, The Cavern (Relapse): One of America’s most exciting bands has slapped together an interesting “EP” release, comprised of one long 45-minute track that veers exuberantly from black metal, to sludge, to progressive rock, to Americana, and back. So few underground American bands have the guts to combine as many styles as Inter Arma does, and although an album of shorter, more concise songs would be an easier listen than this sprawling epic, this is still a great glimpse of an exceedingly creative band hitting its stride.

The Melvins, Hold It In (Ipecac): Being a huge fan of everything Buzz Osbourne and Dale Crover did with the boys in Big Business rounding out the band, I’ve been wary of everything they’ve done since. Yet, typical of these sludge lords, they always come through with something weird and highly entertaining, whether as Melvins Lite, reuniting with old band members, or in this case, teaming up with Paul Leary and JD Pinkus from the Butthole Surfers. The fact that Hold it In is playful is no real surprise, but that it feels leaner than any Melvins record I have ever heard is. The emphasis is no longer on pure heaviness, instead on just creating good, fun rock ‘n’ roll, and on this album you can totally hear the influences of the first to KISS albums creeping into the Melvins’ music more than ever. It’s not without its weird moments – the 12-minute “House of Gasoline”, for instance – but the more laid-back fare like “You Can Make me Wait”, “Sesame Street Meat”, and “Piss Pisstopherson” dominate the proceedings, offering a glimpse at the lighter side of this great band. It might not be a classic album by any stretch, but it’s a very welcome addition to what’s become a wildly diverse discography.

Menace Ruine, Venus Armata (Profound Lore): Like Occultation, whose new album also comes out this week on Profound Lore, Montreal’s Menace Ruine offers a surreal perspective on heavy metal that focuses on a haunting female voice. What separates this project apart, though, is how it constantly keeps the listener at an arm’s length, retaining an air of mystery throughout. Geneviève Beaulieu sings classical-inspired melodies in a very arch voice, while multi-instrumentalist S. de la Moth creates a murky, haunting musical backdrop derived heavily from black metal, gothic post-punk, drone, and once again, neoclassical. The music’s impenetrability makes this a difficult album to enjoy, especially when compared to Occultation’s bewitching new album, but if you can get past the pretension and let yourself warm up to the music, it proves to be a worthwhile, delightfully gloomy experience. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Occultation, Silence In The Ancestral House (Profound Lore): The cryptic Brooklyn trio’s debut album Three & Seven caught my attention two years ago, enough for me to single them out as one of that year’s better new bands, but it still felt as if there was plenty to improve upon, plenty of promise to live up to. The follow-up does just that, thanks partially to producer Kurt Ballou – who always does his best work when stepping away from his hardcore production, which can get predictable – but primarily to the maturation of this band’s songwriting. The juxtaposition of Edward Miller’s classic heavy metal riffing and expressive solos with Viveca Butler’s Siouxsie-derived singing is spellbinding to hear, the two sides creating a very unique tension. It’s a terrific example of a metal band taking traditional sounds, thinking outside the old parameters, and showing enough creativity to create something that stands out. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

October 31, Bury the Hatchet (Hells Headbangers): The inimitable King Fowley has brought back his October 31 project for its first album in nine years, and in what should be no surprise at all, it’s a deliriously fun rampage through horror-obsessed thrash metal. Loaded with weird tales, macabre music, and loads upon loads of palm mutes and d-beats, this is an old-school blast. Jeff Treppel premiered the album here yesterday, so be sure to give it a listen.

Revocation, Deathless (Metal Blade): The talent in Revocation is undeniable, and was so obvious when the Boston band started making serious waves five years ago. Dave Davidson is arguably the best metal lead guitarist of his generation, and he has a knack for combining melody and aggression better than most of his peers. Five albums in, though, Davidson and Revocation still have yet to create that one album, hell, that one song that can galvanize audiences and lift this band into the upper tiers of the genre like so many of us expected to happen. Instead, this new album serves up more technical exercises and milquetoast attempts at melody that might please Guitar Centre loiterers but make no effort to win over the casual listener. They’re so close, too. The reaction to this style of music should be immediate; no one should work this hard to find merit in the songs. This isn’t a prog record. Where’s this band’s “Laid to Rest”, “My Last Serenade”, “Blood and Thunder”? But no, we’re left with another album with plenty of chops but with lame attempts at hooks that feel more like lip service than inspiration. I was among the writers proclaiming Revocation would be the next big thing, but a half decade later it’s time to file this band among the long list of modern American metal bands that showed huge initial promise but always failed to produce anything but ordinary, wasting everybody’s time in the process.

Scar Symmetry, The Singularity (Phase 1 – Neohumanity) (Nuclear Blast): The Swedish band has always been made fun of for embracing pop-derived melodies and incorporating them into their brand of melodic death metal, and the fact that I cannot help but hear Winger in this new sixth album won’t exactly help things. But while Winger is commonly thought of as a typical “hair metal” band from the late-‘80s, they were actually anything but. Underneath the lasciviousness and power balladry was a band with incredible musical chops that had an uncanny knack for smartly combining pop music and progressive rock. With this new album – the first in an apparent trilogy – Scar Symmetry similarly finds an even balance between melody, dexterity, and yes, brutality. Because the music is so hook-oriented, so much more than anything the band has done in the past – which is saying something – it will be greeted with scorn by those who claim metal should only be ugly and not “trite”, but this band deserves praise for going all-in, and coming through with a flamboyant yet, oddly enough, subtly extraordinary album.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

STREAMING: October 31′s “Bury the Hatchet”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

October 31

Sometimes you just want to play some damn heavy metal. Members of October 31 play in Deceased, Overlord, and Twisted Tower Dire, but this is a much more primal proposition, a chance to bang out some straightforward, satisfying jams in the vein of Iced Earth.  I mean, look at those guys above. What ELSE are they going to play? It’s been nine years since the last time they last appeared, and it’s been long enough. Fortunately, they have a new record, Bury the Hatchet, and just in time for Halloween! You can hear our exclusive premiere below (in festive orange and black!).

***Bury the Hatchet comes out on Hells Headbangers on October 14 (someone dropped the ball there). You can order the CDs, vinyl, and T-shirt here.

STREAMING: Necrophagia “WhiteWorm Cathedral”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

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Originally slated for a 2012 release, Necrophagia’s new album, WhiteWorm Cathedral, is finally seeing the light of day through Season of Mist. Main maggot Killjoy (aka Frank Pucci) isn’t one to let the products of his darkest and bloodiest desires get the best of him, so he let WhiteWorm Cathedral stew in a pot of human remains, werewolf semen, and nude chicks over the course of two years. The smell must’ve been unbearable.

Anyway, the result is more harrowing than ever anticipated. As one of death metal’s godfathers, Killjoy knows how to make our hair stand on end. He’s been doing scary shit since 1983. WhiteWorm Cathedral is ugly, nasty, and dirty. It’s death metal done without care for process or prettiness or perfection. Necrophagia’s always stood for old-school values, and they’re all present in the horror that is WhiteWorm Cathedral.

Sure, tracks have been previewed by others, but Decibel, thanks to Killjoy and Season of Mist, have been granted the full album premiere. Enjoy WhiteWorm Cathedral to the best of your abilities. If you get nauseated, vomit, and eat your vomit, we’re not responsible. Just a warning.

** Necrophagia’s new album, WhiteWorm Cathedral, is out October 28th on Season of Mist. Pre-orders are available HERE. Do it before Killjoy comes to your house and forces you to click the button. Trust us, you don’t want that.

A Very Heavy Metal Halloween: Nivek Ogre

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

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Even those who don’t find the exquisite cacophony of Skinny Puppy all that alluring would be hard pressed to deny frontman Nivek Ogre is a singular artist and consummate performer. We’re talking about a man who on a trio of instant-classic albums a couple decades back — Rabies (1989), Too Dark Park (1990) and Last Rights (1992) — basically redefined sonic abrasiveness even while teasing real beauty out of the sinister chaos he himself helped set in motion. Of late Ogre has continued to evolve his sonic attack and, perhaps a bit more surprisingly, revamped and re-imagined his considerable skill-set for the silver screen, turning in a series of intense, luminous performances in films such as Repo! The Genetic Opera, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams, The Devil’s Carnival, and Queen of Blood, the follow-up to director Chris Alexander’s super-textured, avant garde creepfest Blood for Irina.

Ogre was recently kind enough to chat with Decibel about his trip down this new — and, as we shall see, complimentary — avenue of expression…

I imagine all those years of live performances with Skinny Puppy — a very theatrical, cinematic band — must’ve helped inform your transition into the world of acting.

Well, I definitely had quite a bit of body/gestural work to draw on. Acting, though, was still very difficult at first. There are some similarities between the two worlds, obviously, but working in front of a camera — which picks up every nuance, every detail — can be a very intimate thing and requires its own box of tricks. That’s a huge difference from rock n roll where the stage and the volume and the decibels create this huge divisive wall between you and the spectators, crew, and everyone once the show begins — everything you do up there is over-exaggerated and very big to reach back into the audience as far as possible. In my case I was very lucky to be given an easing step into acting with the character of Pavi from Repo! the Genetic Opera — we recorded all the vocal stuff ahead of time, so in front of the camera I wasn’t having to worry about lines so much as just bringing the character down in size from what I’m used to on stage to something that would work on film. It provided me the time and space to focus on what was for me the hardest aspect of the enterprise. The other great thing about Repo is that I was lucky enough to able to come up to Toronto for a month after we recorded everything and take this Lon Chaney Sr. route of just hanging around behind the scenes and learning as much as I could about the way certain things are done, set etiquette, everything. And I was totally up for checking it all out — still am! Filmmaking remains an amazing, intriguing process to me.

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Before Repo was acting a possibility in the back of your mind? Or was it just something that came up with this role that you tried and happened to enjoy?

Full Album Stream: Inferion’s This Will Decay

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, October 13th, 2014

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Florida and death metal are practically synonymous. Most of that has to do with the legendary albums cranked out of Morrisound in the 90s by Obituary, Death, Cannibal Corpse and other luminaries. But don’t forget Miami, which is the home of Decibel favorite grinders Maruta and birthed Hall Of Fame inductees Cynic.

Let’s showcase a little more metal from the Sunshine State. Decibel is streaming Miami-based Inferion’s new album This Will Decay to get you through your Monday.

The album is due October 21 from Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. Inferion has been around since 1995 and released eight albums. The band showcases the talents of Nick Reyes, who writes music while serving in the Army.

You can preorder the CD from HPGD.

Interview: Crucifixion BR

By: jeanne.fury Posted in: interviews, uncategorized, videos On: Monday, October 13th, 2014

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Brazil’s Crucifixion BR recently signed a deal with Horror Pain Gore Death Productions to release their debut full-length Destroying the Fucking Disciples of Christ. The Deciblog emailed with drummer Juliana Novo (aka DarkMoon) and singer/guitarist Marcio Guterres (aka Lord Grave War) to learn about all things heavy south of the equator.

Tell us a bit about how, when, and where Crucifixion BR came together as a band.

Lord Grave War: Everything started back in 1995 in Rio Grande, a small city in the extreme south of Brazil, when the band was called Hellish Prediction. I wanted to change the name to Crucifixion in 1996. I was thinking about the spiritual evolution of myself as a person. “Crucifixion” is a song from [Sepultura’s] Morbid Visions. I heard this Sepultura album and kept reflecting on the meaning, the reality of crucifixion. I wanted to be the vocalist only, then I met Juliana, gave her a little help on drums, and she gave me a little help on guitar. We kept improving, and the band ended up with me on the guitar and vocals and Juliana on drums. Then insanity started. And we had a lot of bassists working with the band.

DarkMoon: I was an ordinary guitarist when I met Marcio, and he was a drummer, then we switched positions…and it worked very well! There weren’t any female drummers in our city in that time. Among the bassists we had, there was a bassist from Sweden, the former bassist of MZ.412 and Painful Pride, who joined the band while he was here in Brazil for four months. He recorded two demo CDs with us in 2002 and took part in a few gigs. It was a cool experience.

What are some of Crucifixion BR’s musical influences?

Lord Grave War: Mostly black, death and thrash metal, also some heavy metal bands from the ’80s and beginning of ’90s.

DarkMoon: Lots of bands such as Sepultura (old), Morbid Angel, Emperor, Behemoth, Satyricon, Dimmu Borgir, Mayhem, Immortal, Dark Throne, Rotting Christ, Slayer, Deicide, etc.

DarkMoon, what inspires you to be creative and challenge yourself as a drummer?

DarkMoon: I get inspired by many male drummers from diverse styles in metal. Since I started to play drums, I’ve admired Dave Lombardo, Pete Sandoval, Nicko McBrain, Gene Hoglan, Iggor Cavalera, Nick Barker, Hellhammer, Steve Asheim, Raymond Herrera, Inferno, Max Kolesne… Honestly, I like to shock people (mostly guys) with my style of drumming, while being a woman who is left-handed playing on a right-handed drum kit. I have much pleasure in developing my own style and trying to get faster each time. I’m an autodidact.

What’s the black metal scene like in Brazil? Are there many venues that book gigs with black metal bands?

Lord Grave War: Our black metal scene has many bands fighting nowadays for recognition, but frankly I listen to Brazilian black metal bands from the ’80s and ’90s. Brazil remains insane towards heavy music! Death metal, thrash metal, heavy etc. It’s a big scene here so there are many fucking cool bands. [Gigs] exist, but that’s a fight at the same time to take part in them. Anyway keeping it with insane passion, fighting always not to let it fade away.

DarkMoon: There are a few extreme concerts every now and then. There are many extreme metal bands coming from the U.S. or Europe to tour in Brazil, and sometimes with support acts, so that helps unsigned bands to show their work to potential fans. Our scene is very competitive, and there are many bands in Brazil. There’s also many who just copy the style of a certain mainstream band, having no creativity to compose. There’s more musicians than just fans, I guess. Everyone wants to start a band, even if there’s no future for this style in Brazil.

You just got a U.S. record deal with Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. How did that happen?

DarkMoon: Back in 2011 I was emailing our press kit to many labels around the world, and among the answers I got, there was a reply from Mike Juliano of Horror Pain Gore Death Productions, asking me to send the physical CD. I sent it, and asked him a month later if it ever arrived. He said, “No, sorry.” And I said, “Would you accept a few samples online?” He was okay with that, but didn’t answer anymore in that year. When our official video [for "Eternal Judgement"] was released in January 2014, I emailed him the YouTube link and asked again about releasing our album. We were almost making a deal with another local label to release the album, when he replied to me asking if we had ever released it. He missed the last email with the YouTube video. Then we got this thing going. I hope we can grow up together and everything will be okay in this new step of our battle.

The label will soon be releasing your debut, Destroying the Fucking Disciples of Christ. Tell us a little bit about the album, and what we Americans can expect to hear.

Lord Grave War: This album has been finished with so much effort from us all. I produced it together with Sebastian Carsin at the Hurricane Studio. There’s a mix of songs from Crucifixion BR roots, having a few songs composed in 2002, and others later. This is an album that shows what we are, focusing on obscure black metal music but at the same time without being afraid of mixing the old-school death and thrash metal from the ’80s and beginning of the ’90s.

DarkMoon: There’s also a final track that is a tribute to Venom, we covered the song “Schizo” from the album Welcome to Hell, and I guess it turned out with a bit of our identity. We started recording the album in 2008 and finished it in 2011. My drum parts were recorded in three days. The rest took a lot of time because of the studio schedule, and Lord Grave War also recorded the bass parts. I guess it’s a bit hard to define our style, ’cause we have a big mix added to our music. Anyway black/death metal would be the style that fits us most.

Do you have any upcoming tours planned? Do you think you’ll get to America anytime soon?

Lord Grave War: We are starting a tour of Brazil in October, passing through a few states such as São Paulo and Minas Gerais. We are very excited to be playing in the land of Sepultura in Belo Horizonte city. The interaction with the crowd is gonna be great, intense energy, keeping the humble spirit and passion. I hope it’s gonna kick ass.

DarkMoon: We would love to be touring in America. I know there’s a huge death/black metal scene in there. This is part of our plan for next year. But I think we will be touring in Europe first because it’s easier, not needing Visas, you know. Anyway we hope to catch the attention of the promoters and festivals up there.

New Violence From Old Lines

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Monday, October 13th, 2014

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No Child Left Behind, the latest record from guitarist Mitch Roemer’s post Pulling Teeth/Ruiner crusty hardcore behemoth Old Lines, is out tomorrow and we’re streaming the whole damn thing below for our class-cutter readership. Which is okay, apparently, ’cause the press materials here tell me Old Lines uses its music as “a device to speak their mind in a direct, albeit confrontational way, invoking discussion, thought and circle pits.”

So…there you go. Click play and get smart while you get pummeled.

Enjoy! (And check out Waldo’s review here.)

STREAMING: Ghost Brigade “The Knife”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, October 13th, 2014

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Finland’s Ghost Brigade might be the best band you’ve never heard of. True, they’ve been around since 2005 (debut album, Guided by Fire, received rave reviews in 2007), but Jyväskylä-based sextet haven’t toured much and most of their respective catalog has resided on import status here in the US. And true import status means jack in today’s content-everywhere world, but certain conditions must be met—largely marketing and some blind luck—for a band like Ghost Brigade to hit you over the head.

Well, Decibel hopes to aid in Ghost Brigade’s hammer to the face (we were trying to slide in a Cannibal Corpse reference there) with the streaming premiere of new track, “The Knife,” off new album, One With the Storm. A combo of Isis, Sólstafir, and Deftones, the Finns reside in a no-man’s land of heavy, reflective, heavy, and reflective. Or, at least that’s how we at Decibel hear the Northerners.

Season of Mist is much more eloquent: “Finland’s Ghost Brigade haunts the spaces between worlds. Their heavy, mournful music is the sound of dusk; mining the distinctive Finnish sound of sorrow and the vast, heavy drone of the post-metal cosmos. Plaintive vocals sing songs of loss, and cloak both a sonic and emotional weight that resonates deeply.”

OK, it’s Monday morning and likely work is already crushing our collective constitution. Time to cut ourselves back to normality with “The Knife”.

** Ghost Brigade’s new album, One With the Storm, is out November 7th on Season of Mist Records. It’s available for pre-order HERE on vinyl, CD, and collector’s edition boxsets.

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

By: admin Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, October 10th, 2014

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Here we go. Let’s just peck it right up. All positive reviews. Hmmm…

HORRENDOUS releases Ecdysis. The title refers to the process of molting, and you know I don’t know ANYTHING about that.  Having made some waves in the underground typically makes me more judgmental on a release, and I definitely was, but you know what? I beaking like this.  As the name would imply, this is a nod to old-school death metal, more in the Swedish sort of vein, but my god of empty nest, the RIFFS. This is thick and hooky, and the melodies and solos come across as natural, not something wedged in there just for the sake of variation. The vocals are raspy and present, and my peck, the riffs… I just can’t get over the riffs. I know they are touring right now, so do yourself a favor and go get this, go see them, or both.  Swedish-style old-school death with melodic solos. I love this. 8 Fucking Pecks.

Need some death? REVOCATION don’t have it on their new one, Deathless; well, yeah they do. It’s heir first with Metal Blade, and their second in two years. One may preening ask what, if anything, new does a band have to say in two years? The answer is plenty. This is not a retreading of last years’ s/t album, although it DEFINITELY sounds like Revo. This is technical death thrash, and the first thing that’s noticed is how it digs in and doesn’t really let up. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t sound like them. They have a bag of tricks, and they visit that bag plenty, but it’s no boring retread. This can be down right hooky at times.  A band that’s never been four to the floor, Revocation maintain their aesthetic, yet still make an interesting record that has life and pushes their already diverse envelope in different directions. 8 Fucking Pecks.

OLD LINES release No Child Left Behind on No Sleep , and this is a grinding banger, with just enough crust and D-beat thrown in to keep it interesting. This is certainly a record to show that hardcore can indeed have an edge. A little grind with some punk thrown in. This whole thing has a punk edge. Probably not everyone’s thing, and there’s a looseness here that only can be associated with something like this, but in that looseness lies an intense energy. Keep an eye out for these guys. 7 Fucking Pecks.

Shameless self-promotion: PIG DESTROYER release Mass and Volume on Relapse. Originally recorded during the Phantom Limb sessions, these two tracks are rife with doomy heaviness and amplifier worship. Obviously, I can’t say that it’s great, but it’s great (ESPECIALLY the bass playing). Who knew parrots could suck their own dicks?  I won’t rate it, but check it out.