Exclusive: Napalm Death Video Premiere

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: exclusive, featured, videos On: Friday, January 23rd, 2015

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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

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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!

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CONTEST: Heiress

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

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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: justin.m.norton Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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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

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. . . 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.

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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.

Welcome to the Manger: Exclusive Video Premiere!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, videos On: Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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We’re not going to waste a lot of time on the intro here — better you just get on down there, press play, and check this musical/visual nuttiness from Dead in the Manger and David Hall out for yourself. More information on the band’s upcoming LP Cessation can be found here.

“This is probably the first time I’ve made a video for a band without talking to any of the members,” Hall tells Decibel of the video’s origins. “I sort of just got an email one day from the label that asked if I’d be interested in making a video for a black/grind metal band. I listened to the track and really dug what I heard so I agreed. The only real info and guidance I was given was the name of the song, “II,” the album title, and the album’s artwork. From listening to the track and taking the cover artwork as inspiration, I decided to try and create a depressing and degraded, impressionistic, moving version of the cover, and use some found footage, stuff that I shot, and mix it together to make a scratchy, black-toned void that hopefully assaults the eyes as nicely as the music assaults the ears. After a few botched attempts I arrived at the version you see now.”

Track Premiere: VON, “Rise of the Ancients”

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

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Seminal American black metal band VON has been very active ever since reuniting in 2010, following an 18-year absence. If you know your USBM, you’ll know that a pair of full-length albums, 2012’s Satanic Blood and 2013’s Dark Gods: Seven Billion Slaves, and you should know that there’s plenty more on the way. Not only is the full-length album Dark Gods: Birth of the Architects due in March on VON Records, but the band is in the midst of releasing a limited edition series of comic books, fittingly titled Dark Gods, written and drawn by VON visionary Jason “Venien” Ventura, all of which accompanied by a special CD single.

We’re elated to premiere “Rise of the Ancients” from the latest issue of Dark Gods, which comes out on January 26. A murky, harrowing track that plays to the band’s strengths, combining raw black metal with the foreboding tones of doom, it’s the perfect funeral dirge for this frigid, lifeless time of year. And if that wasn’t enough, if you keep listening to the clip below, you’ll hear the B-side, an exclusive demo recording of the towering track “Behold!” Either way, give these tracks a listen, they’ll put frost on the cockles of your blackened heart. And if you read Decibel, you’re into frosty cockles.

Be sure to order the single and comic right now here.

LAVA IT OR LEAVE IT: Brothers of the Sonic Cloth’s “Lava”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

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Look at those three up there. That’s like 1000 combined years of grizzled. Fronted by Tad Doyle of the legendary TAD, a dude who’s only gotten heavier as he’s gotten older (sonically, that is), alongside scene veterans Peggy Doyle and Dave French, Brothers of the Sonic Cloth are heavier than a really heavy thing. Their debut was mixed by Billy Anderson, of course. With seven tracks of sludge and trudge to enjoy, these spiritual brothers provide doom as can only be offered by those who have been there. Enjoy the first of those songs below.

***Brothers of the Sonic Cloth comes out February 17 on Neurot. You can preorder the CD now (vinyl will be available later on).

March Decibel Featuring Leviathan Available Now

By: mr ed Posted in: featured On: Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

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Black metal and baby bottles? No, we haven’t employed Anne Geddes as our cover photographer, and no, we haven’t lost our minds. It’s just the latest step in the tumultuous, unbelievable journey of Jef Whitehead, the one-man trailblazer behind USBM institution Leviathan.
Just four years ago, Whitehead was arrested on multiple criminal charges, his legacy and life in jeopardy. Since then, with the vast majority of the accusations dropped or disproved, he’s reinvented himself as a sober, dedicated father, and reignited his prolific artistic passion in the form of Leviathan’s triumphant Scar Sighted, one of the young year’s most uncompromising and provocative extreme music albums. J. Bennett talks at length to Whitehead — who does not routinely grant long-form interviews — for this stunningly candid cover story.
This month’s flexi disc veers 180 degrees from lacerating black metal, as London doombringers Orange Goblin bash out previously unreleased track “The Test” via silver on (what else?) orange plastic. Snap up all the new orange and black in the March issue, which also features a Living Colour Hall of Fame, Venom Q&A, and the exclusive stories behind 20 classic LPs we’ve struggled to induct in the HOF.

Dawn of “Uncreation”: Exclusive Disgrace Premiere!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

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Courtesy many of the same scene levelers who brought you Twitching Tongues and Nails now comes Disgrace, a quartet that seamlessly marries true blue classic American death metal buzz n’ pummel to premium metallic hardcore for a sound that is worthy of the predictably sick Dan Seagrave cover artwork.

This morning we’ve got the exclusive premiere of “Uncreation” off the band’s debut LP True Enemy, out in March on Closed Casket Activities.