Gearified by Matt Olivo: ESP Eclipse LTD EC-1000T

By: James Lewis Posted in: featured, gear, repulsion On: Saturday, January 24th, 2015


**Matt Olivo is the founding guitarist of extreme metal trailblazers Repulsion, whose Horrified LP ranks as Decibel’s #1 grindcore album of all time. Because we know that every reader ever plays guitar, we brought his print column to the Deciblog. In issue #120 Matt gave his feedback on ESP’s Eclipse LTD EC-1000T guitar, which “offers a worthy Les Paul ghost.”

This month, Gearified takes a close look at a solid offering from a worldwide leader in metal instrument manufacturing, ESP Guitars. We’ve kept a close eye on this aggressively growing crafty crew for some time now. This Japan-based company has been producing smart-looking quality instruments for decades now under two labels: the (Japanese) luthier-built “ESP” moniker, with production models falling under the “LTD” brand. LTD’s are mass-assembled in a variety of mostly Asian countries, but under strict standards and guidelines from the original ESP luthier designs. The result is quality-built axes for all price points, from plebe to pro. Speaking of pro, ESP endorses metal megastars James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, as well as Tom Araya, the late, great Jeff Hanneman, Alex Skolnick, Nergal, Max Cavalera, Alexi Laiho and many more. Impressed yet? Read on…

The Eclipse body shape is a Gibson Les Paul copy, plain and simple. The familiar hump over and hook under are a near match. The control configuration is exactly the same, save for a shared tone control. Gibson’s classic trapezoidal fingerboard markers are replaced with ESP’s reminiscent “flag” shape, and even the three-on-a-side conventional Les Paul headstock has been emulated. The EC-1000T also features appointments very similar to Gibson’s elite Les Paul Custom line to include 3-ply body edge binding adorning the front and back, and premium hardware and pickups. Ours came in a flawless snow-white gloss finish, trimmed with blingy gold hardware. The look of the EC-1000T is, as you can see, quite familiar and traditional. However, the ESP-designed features are all modern.Gearified 14.10 ESP Eclipse White

Under the Hood
The EC-1000T was designed to shred, plain and simple. The smart pairing of a lightning-fast thin-u-shaped mahogany set neck and extra jumbo frets on a perfectly selected ebony fingerboard gets the party started in style. The all-mahogany body thickness matches the density and mass of a real Gibson Les Paul. Tone woods are complemented with a pair of DiMarzio PAF 36th Anniversary pups, and the result is a strikingly bright-sounding guitar with loads of sustain and dynamics well suited for hard rock, metal and blues. A premium TonePros brand locking TOM bridge/tail piece and LTD branded locking keystone tuners keep the EC-1000T in tune and intonated on a pro level. The amount of choice features and appointments on a guitar of this price point is as jaw-dropping as it is mouth-watering!

The slinky neck profile and XJ fretted fingerboard conform quite comfortably into our claws. Chording and rhythm playing in the lower positions feels properly solid, as the snug build brings all of the components together in a cushy chorus. String tension is easy-feeling due to the shorter scale (24.75”), so climbing up the glossy finished neck for leads and bends is effortless. Control layout is modified from the Les Paul traditional VVTT layout, and what ESP provides is a modernized and streamlined VVT in a curved line, with the bridge pup first in line. We found this to be intuitive, and thus a faster means to control volume on the pup we all use the most (bridge).

As aforementioned, the PAF DiMarzios paired with the tone woods bring home a nice mid-range-to-bright tone. Perfect for rock and NWOBHM, and even punk. Add a bit more gain on our Marshall JCM 800 half-stack and the thrashing ’80s showed up—chugging riffs like a belt sander to someone’s face, and leads that scream and wail with loads of sustain and pleasing shrill.

ESP’s LTD EC-1000T is a solid player and looker. The price is right, and the tone shreds. Go check one out today—Gearified commands it!


For this and other quality-made instruments, point your porn box to:
Gearified 14.10 ESP Eclipse Black

Melnick, Not Capote: Exclusive In Cold Blood Premiere!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured, uncategorized On: Friday, January 23rd, 2015


They’rrrreeee back…

This afternoon we’ve got the exclusive stream of the first new songs from In Cold Blood…and the Cleveland metallic hardcore guerrilla outfit — founded and still led by ex-Integrity legends Aaron and Leon Melnick alongside former and current members of Ringworm, Homewrecker and Meposkapheles(!) — are seriously not fucking around on these two salvos of unadulterated aggression and top-shelf progressive hardcore. It is, no joke, some of the best, most intense stuff the band or the Melnicks have ever committed to tape.

The Blind The Eyes/Straight Flush seven-inch will be limited to 666 copies and available in three color variations housed in an incredible looking three-panel fold-out collage designed by Ethan McCarthy (Primitive Man). For preorder information visit the A389 Recordings official website and/or Bandcamp page.

Also, as a bonus, here is the video Hate5six captured of In Cold Blood’s recent performance at the A389 XI Anniversary Bash in Baltimore.

Live From Dubai: Exclusive Nervecell Video Premiere!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Friday, January 23rd, 2015


Next week Unique Leader is set to reissue Psychogenocide — the 2011 sophomore LP from uber-brutal Dubai-based death metallers Nervecell — and to get both our visual and aural learners hyped for it Decibel has got the exclusive premiere of the band’s video for “Amok Doctrine” below.

Preorder Psychogenocide here.

Devin Townsend Interview: Part 3

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, January 23rd, 2015

DTP Cloud Photo 3

Over the past two weeks, we gave Mr. Townsend some blog space to explain his straining relationship with new metal and the direction he envisions for himself.  Today, we have the opportunity to find out which professional avenues the pop-progger absolutely refuses to follow.  Townsend also laments the problems of a repetitive lifestyle and the copy-of-a-copy types of art it tends to create, as well as the unlikelihood that he will ever reach a large percentage of the world’s 15-year-old female population.

Other than playing shows, what have you been doing since you wrapped up Z2?

I went to L.A. two months ago because some people in my world thought, “This [uncertainty] is dangerous for your future, so you need to go write with somebody.  So I went to L.A. and I wrote with a team who produced all the Nickelback stuff recently, Daughtry, all the American Idol people who win, and I wrote a song with them.  And I hate it in such a way that is hard for me to quantify.

Hate the song or hated the process?

Both.  I really like the guys, I think they’re really talented, but I told them yesterday or the day before that I’m not putting it out.  There’s no fucking way I’m putting it out.  I can’t spend twenty-five years sticking to my guns to try and sell people this.  It’s everything I dislike about music, with my voice on it.  It’s fucking disgusting.  It’s not their fault, but with my voice on it, it’s just not where I’m at.

So I told everybody that I’m not putting it out, and now we have to pay for it, but what are you gonna do?  To put that out, all of a sudden you have to pay fifty grand to put it on active rock [radio] and then you have to go and do interview and try and sell something you don’t like.  I have honesty Tourette’s, man, and that’s gonna cause me nothing but grief.  But I tried it.  With that whole scene, you pay to get a Number 1 song.  This is how it works:  these are the chords you can use in the summer, these are the chords you can use in the winter, here are the topics that sell…


Oh my god, dude, it’s a formula.

I’m sure it is, I just didn’t realize it was that rigid.

Neither did I.  We’re talking about, well, U2 had a chord structure off The Joshua Tree that works every time.  You go on active rock radio and you see what’s popular, you get the tempos and the chords, and there’s people who make millions off of that.  I don’t begrudge it because I actually think it’s fascinating, and I think a lot of the people who are involved with that… it’s brilliant.  But for me, music is about expressing the unexpressable, and as I get older, man, what I feel the need to express becomes less and less poignant to others.  It’s a shame.  When people are like, “Nothing you’ve done is as good as you did when you were younger.”  And I’m like, “You may be right.”  But what I’m doing now is exactly what I feel like I should be doing.  So what do you do?  Do you go write a fucking pop song and cash in and then spend the rest of your life thinking, “I could have stuck to my guns but instead I sucked a cock…”

Like the actor who does only indies but once every five years does an X-Men movie.

That’s what it was.  I can’t do it.  I can’t do it.  And that’s what people are saying.  “Just do it, and then go write your symphony.”  But I won’t be able to forget about it.  And the metal scene… I’m looking at some of the metal that’s popular this year, and I don’t know any of it!  Because it’s not what I want to hear anymore.  And when you’re in the metal scene and you’re making your money off it, it’s amazing how easy it is to offend people when you say, “I’m not listening to it anymore.”  I heard a band, Fallujah, that I thought were pretty good, and I heard Xerath, I thought they were pretty good.  But, dude, I heard one song from both.

But again, my whole point of view with the audience – and I hope what people take from this interview – I don’t want to fucking lie to you!  For my own sake.  I see guys older than me who are still like, “I’m fucking hard!  This is the heaviest record we’ve ever done!”  Really?  No offense, but how the hell do you keep the interest in that?  And that’s not me being flippant or disrespectful.  Just, seriously, how does that work?  I’ve got tinnitus, my ears are hissing all the time, shit, dude!  I like to go crunch-crunch-crunch, I really do like to play that stuff, but there’s a certain point where I’m tapped in terms of that.  Now I’ve gotta find something else.

That’s why, when I say I want to teach or help people or do some volunteer shit, it’s less about me trying to be altruistic and more about how your capacity for inspiration depends entirely on what is in your world.  And if it’s Groundhog Day for years and years and years…

You’re inspired by the same things over and over.

Eventually you’re just gonna repeat yourself.  There’s elements of my work right now that, as proud of Z2 as I am, I’m like, “You’re repeating yourself.  Now you really have to fucking think.”  At the same time, how do you not let the well run dry while you’re thinking?  I’m not above getting a job if that’s what it took.  It’s just really important for me to be honest with people.  Cash in on your credibility; that was what they were saying.  You’ve got credibility…

So let’s destroy it now.

And you’ll get two hundred grand.  And I would buy a bunch of fucking amps and be looking for work again in a year.

What’s funny is that the material on Sky Blue and Epicloud, there are already people who would consider that…

A sellout.  Totally.  But there’s people, even in my family, who heard this song I did in L.A. and said a lot of the stuff I did on Sky Blue is way more commercial.  The difference is I didn’t write it to get a hit song.  I wrote it because I felt like writing it.  The intention of it, as a result of that, is coming from the same place as everything that I’ve done.  And Sky Blue didn’t sell shit!  Nothing I do sells shit.  I mean, it sells enough, like five thousand copies or whatever.  We sold out the Royal Albert Hall in a day and a half.  Hooray.  But the music doesn’t sell at all.

My reasons for writing things like “Life” on Ocean Machine, or “Sky Blue” or “Stagnant” or “Slow Me Down”…  I’ve been writing this pop shit for my entire career.  My reason for writing it is because I like pop music.  It’s not because I’m trying to get a single.  The songs we put out for singles are never the pop shit.  That’s just stuff that I do.  So the intention that I have when I’m writing that stuff is certainly not to try and convince 15-year-old girls that some 42-year-old guy with shit teeth is their new hero.  I write it because I want to hear it.  Same reason I wrote “Save Our Now” from Epicloud – because I fucking really like lullaby-based pop music with electronic elements.  Love it!  This song, from L.A., is not that.  It’s more heavy, but it’s coming from a place of, “Fund me!  Please give us tons of money!”  Not, “Hey, I really want to write something cool.”  And that’s just stupid for me at this age.  It was worth a shot.

I think it’s healthy to challenge yourself, to be afraid of failing and succeeding, but you have to be really careful with what your intention is.  A lot of times after I did that song, people were like, “You’re afraid of success.”  Maybe I am.  But then I thought, no-no-no… Of course I’m not afraid of success, but the success has to be something I’m comfortable with.  I’m not afraid of succeeding doing something that I love.  I’m afraid of succeeding doing something that I don’t like.

Encrotchment With Eddie Gobbo of Jar’d Loose: NFeLd Awards

By: Eddie Gobbo Posted in: encrotchment, featured On: Friday, January 23rd, 2015


Why do they call it football?

A first down is 10 yards.

The field is 100 yards.

They should call it yardball.

After an amazing 2014-2015 season, we have reached our final episode. The final game of Ink-a-dink. All your favorites characters are coming back.

What better way to analyze our season and give rewards to the captains, casers and czars of the league than, you guessed it, Seinfeld-themed awards!

So sit back, get a big glass of Ovaltine, and get ready for the first-ever 2014-2015 NFeLd Awards


The Jerry Seinfeld How Can Anyone Not Like Him? Award


Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Leads team to road playoff win over his own personal Lloyd Braun.

He’s very very good man.


The George Costanza Twix Moment of the Year


Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Jerry: How was that not a catch?

Dez: Maybe it’s because this whole universe is against me?!


The Elaine Benes “Get Out”er of the Year


J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans

Shoves people down. Refrains from dancing afterward (thankfully).


The Cosmo Kramer Hipster Doofus Award


Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers.

…and by the way, that walkman was broke when you gave it to me.


The Joe Davola Kicker of the Year



Adam Vinatieri, K, Indianapolis Colts

You’re under no obligation to shake his hand, but make sure you wear your helmet around him.


The Marty Benson Coach of the Year Award


Pete Carroll, HC, Seattle Seahawks

He’s old. It’s cold. If we win, don’t pour Gatorade on him.


The Del Boca Vista Award Lifetime Achievement Award


Steve Smith, Sr., WR, Baltimore Ravens

Only competition is common sense and a guy in a wheelchair.


The Jerk Store Comeback of the Year Award


James Harrison, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Came out of retirement just to zing a guy.


The Mike Moffat Phony of the Year Award


Jim Harbaugh, HC, San Francisco 49ers/Michigan Wolverines

Leaves the good parking spot in the good neighborhood of San Francisco. Pulls in HEAD FIRST in to a parking spot in Michigan.


The Brentano’s Swarm Award


The Seattle Seahawks defense

When they see your uncle caring the ball, it’s the equivalent of having a 5150 in progress. All units respond.


The Ithaca, NY Jerry Seinfeld Award


The Dallas Cowboys

8-0 on the road in the regular season this year. Road is a MAGOR DETAIL!


The Kramerica Industries “Darin” Assistant of the Year Award


Josh McDaniels, OC, New England Patriots

Sometimes doesn’t wear hooded sweatshirt on sidelines. Kid’s still learning.


The Love the Drake Award


Stuart Scott, Broadcaster

We’d go to your wedding even if it was on the same day as the Super Bowl. RIP.


The Hate the Drake Award


Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Punches Drakette in elevator. He better give us that big screen TV back.


The Jackie Chiles Defendant of the Year Award


Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Susie, call O.J. Simpson. I need to borrow a glove. Tell him it’s for me.


The Jean Paul Jean Paul Snooze of the Year Award


Jonas Gray, RB, New England Patriots

Offends the wakeup guy. Sleeps in and misses the big practice.


The Coco the Monkey Nickname Award


“Pot Roast” Terrance Knighton, DT, Denver Broncos

No T-Bone, but we’ll take it.


The Becky Gelke “You’re So Good Looking” Award


Aaron Rodgers’ Girlfriend, Olivia Munn

The Brunette with the Green Sweatpants!


The H.E. Pennypacker “I’m Gonna Be a Rich Man” Award


Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

Will have enough money to open silver mine in the mountains of Peru, after this offseason.


The Rava Award


Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks

A major young football talent, but should be out on a ledge somewhere.


The Shrinkage Award


Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos

Went from 10 touchdowns last year to 2 this year. Significant shrinkage!


The Schmoopy Award


Joe Buck and Aaron Rodgers

No, you’re Schmoopy!


The “That’s Gotta Hurt” Award


Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Tears ACL and MCL in same game. Fan shines laser pointer on him from stands.


The “You Faked With Me?” Award


Jeff Fisher, HC, St. Louis Rams

Jerry: The punt? The field goal? The kickoff? The cointoss?

Jeff: Fake. Fake. Fake. Fake.


 The Menage a Trois Award


Rex Ryan, HC, New York Jets/Buffalo Bills

First, coach a team into beyond repair disarray.

Get fired.

Then, go to a borderline playoff team in the same division asking for a coaching job.

The old team will want nothing to do for you, and say, “If you want to waste your time with that loser, that’s your problem.”

It’s the perfect plan.


The Snoopy and Prickly Pete Award


Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston

We’ve heard they exist, but we’ll believe it when we see them.

We go on foot from here.


The Cotton Dockers Most Annoying Commercial Aired During Games Award


The Rob Lowe Direct TV commercials

If you’re dating a girl who likes these, dump her.


The Susan Ross “Can We Change the Subject” Award


Johnny Manziel, QB, Cleveland Browns

Exclusive: Napalm Death Video Premiere

By: Posted in: exclusive, featured, videos On: Friday, January 23rd, 2015


Folks, that’s an animated Barney Greenway. Consider us chuffed.

Napalm Death was recently featured on our cover in conjunction with the release of their massive new album Apex Predator-Easy Meat. In our story last month Greenway told us: “I know it sounds sickeningly upbeat but I’ve never gone into a show and been in the doldrums. Even playing in front of 20 kids in Europe – those 20 kids came and those kids deserve the most hard-hitting performance we can give. There is a difference between Napalm and other bands – we will always ride the wave and do what we need to do. That kept us going during the 90s. A lot of bands went to the wayside and we were on this survival raft of two or three bands.”

Little surprise, then, that there’s even a focus on quality when it comes to videos. We won’t make you suffer through another lyric video; instead check out the killer animated video for “Smash A Single Digit” that we are premiering today.

Griever’s Love is on the Rocks

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, stupid crap On: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

deciblog - griever

Next month sees the release of Griever’s debut full-length, Our Love is Different. Set to be issued by the awesome folk(s) at Vitriol (in addition to that awesomeness, let’s not forget about the label’s sympathetic side as it deigned to release this bit of un-spellchecked wisdom), Our Love is Different follows on the heels of the San Diego band’s Inferior EP, a triple-band split release with VYGR and At Our Heels and is a massive skate bowl/melting pot of melodic punk, discordant hardcore, emo straight from the basement of the 90s and melancholic post-punk.

Below, we present a sneak peak at Our Love if Different in the form of a track called “The Tie That Grinds.” Beneath that was supposed to be an introductory-type interview with the quartet, but I flaked on coming up with unique and penetrating queries in the name of promotion and press clippings. At the same time, I didn’t feel like getting into the standard mumbo-jumbo. so, in lieu of a “real” interview, the band was sent the following open-ended asks:

1) Given your new album’s title, how do you think your personal brand or style of love is different than most other people?

2) What’s the craziest/dumbest/most regretful/whatever thing you’ve done in the name of love, whether that love be for another human being/a record in your record collection/your favourite food/etc.?

Listen to “The Ties That Grind” while reading what they had to say…

Wes Sisk [bass]:
1) The older I get, the more I realize how different from most people that I really am. Over the years, I’ve exhausted an immeasurable amount of energy, dwelling on my hatred for humanity, society and this undying struggle that we call life. It consumes me and fills my stomach. When I find a glimpse of happiness, whether it be from a friend, a romantic partner, a piece of art I’ve created or even something as simple as my favorite pizza, I feel a sense of ultimate relief from the black cloud constantly hovering over me. When I find love I find hope that this world isn’t 100% completely fucked up. I cherish it, appreciate it and love harder than I think anybody else can.

2) Dumbest thing I ever did in the name of love: I was 19 and was dating my first ever girlfriend. Pathetic, right? Anyhow, back then I was singing in what was a pretty poor excuse for a HC/punk band, but since we were in such a small town in the late 90’s, we were kind of the shit as far as my hometown turds were concerned. Strangely enough, our shows back then drew crowds of about 150-200 per show. So here I am, 19 years old, in love for the first time and wanting to profess my love for this girl. So, I had this brilliant idea. I booked a CD release show for my band at this really sick indoor skate park. The other bands that played were either gutter-punx-as-fuck or super metal-core. So, this wasn’t any ordinary CD release show. It was for a single of a song I wrote, recorded and released that was about, and for, this girl. At the time, I was very obsessed with the band Avail, so I tried making it sound like one of their songs, failing miserably, of course. From then on, our band was basically the local laughing stock of punk. I actually ended up marrying that girl when I was 20 years old, but things ended quickly when she fucked one of my friends in my truck in the parking lot of the Showcase Theatre during a Strife show, after finding out that I had just shit my pants while en route to the bathroom.

Orlando Ramirez [guitar]:
1) I love my friends and family more than anything. The way I love is the way I want to be loved. Simple, sincere and unconditional. I feel like our generation is so focused on selfishness and building walls between each other. I don’t want to live like that.

2) I had a vacation to Paris planned back in 2009. Had purchased my ticket and everything. On the day of my flight, I was in a bidding war on eBay for a signed test press of Darkest Hour’s, Undoing Ruin. It got down to the wire and I had to decide between catching my flight or winning the bid. I loved Darkest Hour so much [that] I HAD to have that record! I ended up rescheduling my flight for the next day, which cost me a convenience fee of $250 in order to stay home and win the bid. I lost.

Cory Groenenberg [drums]:
1) To me, nothing beats having a few drinks and relaxing with friends. It’s the simple things.

2) I had been talking to this girl in Salinas, CA that I met while on tour. Things were going well and we talked a lot about getting together. I ended up driving up there to see her, only to find out she had a boyfriend AND was acting like she had no idea why I was there. As if we didn’t have plans to get together. So, I turned around and went back home, having wasted 16+ hours and tons of money on gas.

Alex Jacobelli [guitar/vocals]:
1) When the words “our love is different” came to my mind initially, it had a more personal context as to where I was in my life at that point, but I started to think on the words and let them sink in. I guess this could be interpreted in an almost infinite amount of ways, but I think it comes down to figuring out what you love and learning to be the best you in the process. My personal love can be jealous, foolish, and brash, but it’s also strong and burning (pun intended) and drives me when I feel like giving up. To me, it’s the feeling of “me against the world”. Maybe I’m still learning how it’s different.

2) I seriously can’t top Wes’ answer. Maybe flying to Seattle to see Dave Bazan in a house. And people complain about driving an hour to a show!

CONTEST: Heiress

By: zach.smith Posted in: contest, featured On: Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Heiress Decibel Contest Image

Our friends at The Mylene Sheath are not messing around in 2015 (not that they did before). The label’s first release will be Heiress‘s sophomore effort, Of Great Sorrow, and happens to have been recorded by none other than Tad fucking Doyle. Not only should you check out a few tracks below, but don’t miss Shawn Macomber’s profile of the quintet in the pages of our latest and greatest.

But wait, there’s more! Lindsay and Joel are giving away an “Ultimate Pre-order Package Deal”. It includes the following:

– Of Great Sorrow LP on Clear Vinyl w/Grey Center & Gold Splatter, limited to 100
– Of Great Sorrow LP on Translucent Pilsner Vinyl w/Gold Center, limited to 100
– Of Great Sorrow LP on Gold/Silver Swirl, limited to 300
– Of Great Sorrow CD
– Of Great Sorrow pre-order exclusive T-shirt

To enter, simply email us by 5pm on Sunday night (1/25) with the answer to the following question: What’s your favorite Seattle band and why?

If you’re not lucky enough to win, you can still pre-order a copy of the record here.

Streaming: Wolfpack 44 with Jinx Dawson

By: Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

"WOLFPACK 44" promo

Decibel is stoked to premiere “To The Devil…A Daughter,” a track from the debut Wolfpack 44 album The Scourge, featuring additional vocals from Jinx Dawson, frontwoman of the legendary occult band Coven. Coven also released a version of the song on their latest album Jinx (Nevoc Music).

Dawson wrote the lyrics, and Wolfpack 44 guitarist Ricktor Ravensbrück wrote and played all the music. Wolfpack 44 was created by longtime Electric Hellfire Club guitarist Ravensbrück and Kult ov Azazel guitarist/vocalist Julian Xes, below. Notes on the making of the track from Ravensbrück and Dawson follow the stream.

Ravensbrück: “I began this project almost 22 months ago in Chicago, but due to an unscrupulous producer delaying the project and ultimately absconding to LA with the tracks and most of my money — which I only reacquired after getting my attorney involved and threatening legal action — I had to finish it up here in my native Wisconsin with longtime Electric Hellfire Club producer Paul “Evil” Kneevers at his Kneever-Kneeverland Studios. In hindsight I probably should have just done it there to begin with, but the result is a much heavier production and I’m really pleased with it.”

“The collaboration between Jinx and myself began when I’d contacted her about creating a Sigil for the band. Our relationship grew from there and when I’d asked her if she’d be interested in possibly working on music together, an unholy alliance was born. Jinx traveled to Chicago and we recorded a version of the Coven classic ‘Wicked Woman’ and this song. We agreed that both Wolfpack 44 and Coven would release the tracks as each saw fit, and here we are. As a Coven fan since high school, it was a surreal experience first meeting, then working with someone I’d idolized forever. I mean, we are talking about the First Lady of occult rock here! But Jinx is an amazing and sweet person, and we’ve since become fast friends. And I absolutely love the versions that she released on her album, Jinx, and it has been an absolute honor for me!”

Jinx Dawson: “When Ricktor sent me the instrumental track, the vocal and lyrics came to me in a flash. That is how I knew it was destined to become an occult rock classic. When one hears both versions, the song stands strong on its own. Ricktor and the Pack made the sessions wickedly ritualistic. And his charm and guitar playing was most brilliant.”

Ravensbrück: “Previously we’ve had a dark, occult visual sense for the band, and I expect that is what we’ll do again in the future, but for this song I wanted more of a horror-exploitation graphic, so I got in touch with Karl Dahmer, who has worked with bands such as The Mentors, Incantation, Impetigo and others, and he created the cool poster we have here. Definitely a departure from our norm.”

In addition to Jinx Dawson, The Scourge also features guest-appearances by Dark Funeral guitarists Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol, Electric Hellfire Club mainman Thomas Thorn, Demonic Christ’s Dana Duffey and more. The album is slated for a late spring/early summer release. Get more info here.

You can hear the Coven version here and find out more about Coven here.

Through a Speaker Rumbly: Caligari Records

By: Dutch Pearce Posted in: featured, through a speaker rumbly On: Wednesday, January 21st, 2015


. . . tapes mean less risk, warm sound and affordability.”

This installment of Through a Speaker Rumbly features a Q&A with Caligari Records owner, Hansel Merchor. Merchor has been running Caligari Records for about two years now and, in that short amount of time, besides having accumulated hundreds of my own hard-earned dollars, Merchor has released several modern kvlt classics, including Ellorsith’s 1959, UNRU’s Demo MMXIII and Skelethal’s Interstellar Knowledge of the Purple Entity, as well as reissuing the demos of Sweden’s Heavydeath (ex-Runemagick). I took a break from pestering Hansel about his potential distribution of whatever latest cassette the message boards tell me I must own to ask him a few questions about what it’s like being on the other side of the underground tape-trade madness.

So, how’d you get into being a tape distro?

The label started first and the distro started later after people overseas started to ask about where they could buy my tapes locally without paying high shipping prices. That’s when I started trading with other labels and bands that self-release their recordings on tape. The distro was never part of the plan, but it was born out of necessity. The focus on the tape format came from the purpose of keeping things simple and affordable. Put it this way: I am pretty impulsive when it comes down to stocking releases, so limiting Caligari Records to tapes keeps that impulsiveness under control. That may change in the future, though…

What made you decide to start Caligari?

I have always fantasized about running a label. Since I was a kid, that was my dream job, to work for Roadrunner, Earache, Peaceville or Combat, but I always knew that was just a pipe dream and that the music I love did not sell enough to make a living out of it. So to me, at this point, this is a hobby, or almost like a part-time job, since it really consumes a big chunk of my free time. Really, I started the label out of the love of music and, as cheesy as it sounds, it has turned into the idea of being part of an underground movement that subsists solely out of passion.

Are tapes your preferred format?

Not really. I like all formats, with digital as a far behind last. I collect tapes, CDs and vinyl and, to be honest, like them all. To me tapes mean less risk, warm sound and affordability.

Why do you think that cassettes have remained a somewhat popular format for underground metal?

I don’t agree that they have always remained somewhat popular. I think tapes almost totally died in the mid-to-late ’90s with the popularity of CDs only to slowly become somewhat popular again with the reemergence of vinyl. I think that this popularity has a lot to do with the scene we are in, a scene that is very DIY and a scene that is very price-sensitive. And you’ve got to think about the fact that some people, especially metalheads, like to collect physical products that have a strong visual connection. The idea of “collecting” MP3s is as dumb as it gets; CDs are looked down on by some, and vinyl is too expensive for others. So, tapes are a nice analog alternative in between. What I find interesting is the high number of bands that are not interested in CDs at all. Many of the ones I speak to are only interested in tapes and vinyl.

What separates Caligari Records from other distros, both U.S. and foreign?

From a distro perspective, I’ve got no idea. Maybe the fact that I am extremely active with distro updates and I am very quick to answer requests makes a difference. To be honest, I am more concerned with establishing Caligari Records as a solid label than differentiating the distro, but I recognize the fact that the distro and the label are one and the same. At this point, one could not work without the other, as sales from the distro help finance the label’s releases.

Were you surprised when your releases sold out? Are you still surprised when it happens now?

Not really. So far I have been printing between 100 and 200 tapes, so selling out is not such a feat. To those numbers you have to subtract the copies that I trade as well as the copies that I ship to the bands. Ideally, I am left with enough copies to cover all my costs and create enough revenue to finance the following release. That’s the case now almost every time, so the label is self-sufficient and I am quite content with that at this point.


For me, what makes Caligari Records an outstanding label is that Merchor doesn’t focus on just one subgenre. Just in the last few months, take a look at Caligari’s recent releases:

From Denmark, the Hyle’s warm, mellow doom is so perfectly suited for cassette format that any attempt to burn these demo tracks to a CD would likely result in failure and a wasted blank CD. Put it this way: If Electric Wizard is a dirty bong rip, then the four songs that comprise the Hyle’s demo–with two on each side of tape–are like vaping some quality medical grade while riding a ski lift into the cosmos.

Whereas Boston’s Human Bodies are more like dirty thumbs driving into your eye sockets. You’ll beg for mercy the first time you listen to this only to pick up whatever’s left of you off the scorched earth and put yourself through it all over again–assuming you survive the first listen. Indeed, Human Bodies play blackened hardcore that only a place as mean and miserable as Boston could produce.

These Danes call themselves Alucarda after the steamy, late ’70s Mexican horror movie, and theirs is a rockin’, cock-out kind of dusty, doomy rock ‘n’ roll that only metalheads could’ve come up with. Listening to Raw Howls, I can’t help but think of how cool it would be to attend one of Alucarda’s rehearsals sometime. I imagine an orangely-lit, smoky room where raunchy posters of heavily bushed women hang on the walls as the three, presumably stoned and shirtless, members of Alucarda just jam and wail and until they conjure a coughing, blood-shot-eyed Satan.