Stoneburner Returns

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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Well, Portland, Oregon sludge stalwarts Stoneburner certainly didn’t rest on any laurels following the release of excellent 2012 offering Sickness Will Pass: the band’s follow-up, Life Drawing — debuted in its entirety below — raises the bar in every possible way…and throws a few sonic curveballs in as well.

So dive on into the sludge, flail around a bit, then head on to Neurot for your very own copy.

Sucker For Punishment: Well, Don’t Die Just Yet

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

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Late last year I finally came around to Portland (by way of Rhode Island) duo The Body, whose album Christs, Redeemers won me over. Yes, it followed the same direction as the lauded All the Waters of the Earth Turn to Blood, but it felt more refined, more powerful. However, the prolific duo of Chip King and Lee Buford had something completely different up their sleeves all the while, something that would instantly render everything they’ve done in the past plain in comparison.

I Shall Die Here (Rvng) sees the pair collaborating with London producer Bobby Krlic, whose work as The Haxan Cloak (especially last year’s album Excavation) explores the darker, murkier side of electronic music, and it is simply a revelation. The Body’s gargantuan doom has been stripped down considerably, adorned with subtle electronic tweaks and glitches, but at the same time feels even more primal, a melding of organic and mechanical sounds that feed off each other, enhancing either side. Deep down it’s a familiar formula – creating a sense of horror via atmosphere and brutality – but as tracks like “Hail to Thee, Everlasting Pain” and “Darkness Surrounds Us” show, it’s done here with such theatricality and artistry, the avant-garde and the gutter not only meeting, but fitting. The only way metal will break new ground in this day and age is by reaching outside the genre’s constraints and employ more nontraditional sounds, and the real challenge in that is to remain true to metal’s tenets while broadening that scope. Deafheaven tried valiantly and ultimately failed in its attempt last year, but The Body has succeeded, finding a perfect bedfellow in Krlic and creating a distillation of metal and electronic music that few have ever been able to pull off. Preview and purchase via Bandcamp.

As it it would happen, another The Body release has been sprung upon us in the last week, this time a new collaboration with fellow sludgemeisters Thou. Contrary to I Shall Die Here, you know exactly how Released From Love (Vinyl Rites) is going to sound: a dense, punishing exploration of the two bands’ common interests. However, while three tracks tread predictable territory – neither bad nor amazing – a fantastic little curveball is thrown in the form of a harrowing, spectacular cover of Vic Chesnutt’s 2009 song “Coward”. That track alone is a must-hear. Purchase it here.

Also out this week:

Anette Olzon, Shine (Armoury): A year and a half after her ugly split with Nightwish, Anette Olzon has released her solo debut, and if you’re aware of her personal pop proclivities, then you’ll know exactly what to expect with this record. If you’re expecting something resembling symphonic metal, however, you’ll be disappointed. This is mildly pleasant, yet overly safe adult contemporary music that references mid-90’s alternative rock – it’s amazing how many people still think trip hop is “modern” – with the odd good hook but nowhere near enough contrast to ground Olzon’s overly wispy emoting.

Black Label Society, Catacombs of the Black Vatican (eOne): Much to my own surprise, I actually liked enough of Black Label Society’s 2010 album Order of the Black to give it a mild recommendation. After years and years of underachieving, Zakk Wylde finally pulled himself up by the bootstraps and sharpened his songwriting. Four years later, he’s sunk back into the lazy rut he was in before, churning out tepid, grungy songs laced with pinch squeals and hookless, marble-mouthed singing. Only two songs on this album work: the spirited “Damn the Flood” and the shockingly strong Skynyrd-esque ballad “Angel of Mercy”. The rest is a cynical, lazy effort, complacent in the knowledge that it’ll be lapped up by Wylde’s devoted fanbase, no matter how awful it is.

Cormorant, Earth Diver (self-released): The California band went through a bit of an overhaul when it parted ways with bassist/vocalist/lyricist Arthur von Nagel, which was lousy timing considering the universal acclaim the second album Dwellings received. Not that anyone should have doubted it, but the guys have returned with a new bassist and vocalist in Marcus Luscombe and a bracing new album that once again serves up a hybrid of black metal, death, doom, pagan, prog, and the more traditional side of heavy metal. At times the music tends to lean in a decidedly Agalloch-derived direction, which is all well and good, but this record is at its best when Cormorant is forging its own path. Thankfully those moments are in abundance on a magnificent album full of power, variety, and color, best exemplified by the raging “Daughter of Void” and the vibrant “The Pythia”. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Delain, The Human Contradiction (Napalm): The Dutch band doesn’t bring anything new to the prom dress metal table, but what sets them apart is how gracefully it pulls off a sound often so awash in bombast and melodrama. With Delain, song craft is of utmost importance, and over the course of the last five years the quintet has grown into a formidable act by keeping its approach simple, following the lead of Within Temptation yet brave enough to let its own personality come out. This fourth album faithfully continues in that direction, delivering pleasantly catchy songs while showing subtle growth throughout, namely in the growing confidence of Charlotte Wessels as a singer and lyricist. She came into her own on 2012’s We Are the Others, and to no one’s surprise she carries the entire album, her likeable persona and tasteful singing a huge reason why tracks like “Stardust”, “Your Body is a Battleground”, and “Tell Me, Mechanist” are so appealing. With the success of this record, and in the wake of Within Temptation’s befuddling, underachieving Hydra, Delain has staked a serious claim to the title of the best such band working today.

Graviators, Motherload (Napalm): Pleasant, Sabbath-derived doom in the vein of California revivalists Orchid, but while it’s a decent homage overall, the songs simply don’t leap out at the listener like they should. You’ve got to step up your game if you want people to spend their hard-earned money on your music. This just doesn’t cut it.

Skogen, I Döden (Nordvis): For all this Norwegian band’s attempts to sound evil, the melodies it brings forth on this new album are so luminous it’s damn near pleasant. So much so, in fact, that every time these epic tracks veer into harsher territory it feels boring in comparison. Stay in the sunshine, guys! You have a good thing going here.

Trollfest, Kaptein Kaos (NoiseArt): Back in 2007 I gave Korpiklaani’s Tervaskanto a 9 out of 10 in an issue of Decibel, and it’s haunted me ever since. At the time the music still felt fresh and downright soulful, with melancholy underscoring the celebratory vibe, but seven years later, I just want humppa metal to die thanks to cartoonish joke bands like Trollfest.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

TRACK PREMIERE: Tusmörke’s “All Is Lost”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

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Tusmörke came out of nowhere (well, Norway) two years ago with a supernaturally good debut album, one that paid homage to Krautrock groups like Amon Düül II and English psych folk like Jethro Tull while investing their retroactivity with an infectious verve. Not metal in the least, obviously, but where else can you find listeners adventurous enough for the prog psych flute action happening here? I loved Underjordisk Tusmorke when it came out (just check out my Pazz and Jop ballot). Now, finally, they’ve put out their second full-length.

Riset Bak Speilet has a darker cover and darker music to match. See the title of the track this post is about. Still, where there’s darkness there is light, and whatever the words are saying (half of it in Norwegian), the tunes themselves brim with life. These hymns to pagan gods are amongst the best music you’ll hear in this year or any other, and I for one am incredibly psyched (see what I did there?) to present our premiere of “All Is Lost” (along with the previously released video for “Offerpresten” down at the bottom, because you can never have too much Tusmörke).

 

 

*** Riset Bak Speilet comes out May 16 on Svart. Follow them on Facebook here. Preorder the album on CD here or LP here.

Enter the Salted Crypt: Exclusive Trap Them Premiere!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

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No need to drag this out…

It is an absolute honor and privilege to present “Salted Crypt,” your first taste of the long-awaited return of one of the greatest extreme music outfits of our time, Trap Them.

And good goddamn was it worth the wait.

“A few years ago, when Ryan told me the title of the next Trap Them album was going to be Blissfucker I knew I had my work cut out for me,” guitarist Brian Izzi tells Decibel. “The title was so intense that I knew I had to write riffs and songs that could live up to the promise. I think ‘Salted Crypts’ is one of those songs. Get scared.”

Stream the track below, then head over to the Blissfucker pre-order page where, amongst a multitude of tempting options, you will find a package that includes an LP, T-shirt, and a subscription to a certain newsstand-leveling monthly heavy metal mag.

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INTERVIEW: Carl Byers from Coffinworm on collaborative catharsis and hating humanity on some level

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, April 7th, 2014

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Indianapolis’ Coffinworm are essential listening for those who like their extreme metal to open up wide and drown any extant optimism in a genre non-specific swamp of sunken riffs and black metal noise ‘n’ hiss. 2010’s debut LP When All Became None was a loose-limbed doom record that was too anxious and fidgety to plant itself in the doom’s slow lane tempo-wise, and scratched around on the coffin lid of underground metal’s dark arts, attracting elements of black metal, sludge, and old-school death metal to the party.

Its successor, IV.I.VIII, is evidence writ large that the Coffinworm sound has been feeding well in recent years, bulking up to support a beyond-heavy sound that’s not at all unlike Today is the Day jamming out Monotheist-era Celtic Frost, that seasick sense of dissonance always lapping against the sheer physicality of bass/drum/guitars at the band’s core. A good few weeks back, we had the pleasure of speaking to drummer-turned-guitarist Carl Byers and he told us how the Coffinworm has turned, and how their sound’s dark evolution can only be healthy for those who created it.

Since the release of When All Became None, you’ve swapped your drum-kit for guitars and shifted the lineup about; how did that come about?
Carl Byers: “Basically, we got the first record recorded and after its release in April 2010, we had a couple of months when we were pretty steady and then one of the guitar players, Tony [McGuire] had left the band. I have played guitar longer than I have played drums, and I already was writing songs and riffs for the band, contributing in the practice room that way in addition to playing drums, so we all talked about it and thought, well, might as well move me to guitar and then bring in somebody else to play drums. We got our friend Josh [Shrontz], who was the one who did the cover art for When All Became None. He was already a friend. That was sort of the beginning of the writing process for the new record.”

Was that all part of why it took so long to get another record out? I heard you scrapped a whole bunch of songs before getting these together.
Carl Byers: “Part of that was getting up to speed with Josh, finding our groove for being able to play together, because even though it wasn’t a huge change, not like having a completely different lineup, it was still very different for me to be playing guitar, playing those parts and trying to write from that perspective. Plus, having Josh come in . . . He and I definitely have a different playing style. Part of us scrapping the songs was us trying to find our voice with that lineup, and then a lot of it was also that everybody had to be onboard with the songs before it would be approved. There were quite a few songs that we would work on for a couple of weeks, or even a couple of months; we would bounce back and forth between several different songs, working on bits and pieces for each one simultaneously, and would get to a place where they were finished or there wasn’t anything we thought we could add, and we just felt that it wasn’t strong enough, or gave us the feeling that we wanted out of any of the songs we do create. There wasn’t really a time where had to have a second record ready, prepared and out, so it was sorta like we just want to make the best possible record that we can to follow-up the first album. We definitely wanted to out-do it. We definitely wanted to have more of our own voice—not that the first record sounds like anyone in particular, but it definitely has influences written all over it. They weren’t intentional but I think we were still trying to find our own writing style, and specifically what Coffinworm sounds like.”

You talk about the feel of the songs, and how that’s got to be right; how do you want your songs to make you feel?
Carl Byers: “It all depends on the mood and the situation; in practice, a lot of it is very clinical, not that it doesn’t mean anything but we are looking to fine-tune and be able to get the songs to the point where, when we do go out and play in a live setting you have enough of a basis to just let go and just kinda get into what is actually happening in the room, the feeling that the song brings out, and what you’re getting back from the audience. Yeah, I mean it’s definitely a catharsis. Any musician, through what he does, playing live or just playing for themselves, feels something that they can’t get out of the world, or on a day-to-day basis through any other means. Everybody has an extension of how they emotionally release or connect, whether that’s through writing poetry or playing metal, or painting or whatever. For us it’s personal but it’s also a way for us to connect with each other and share this really powerful thing that has been a huge part of all of our lives, for a long time since we were kids. Which is sorta basic to say, but, and I can’t speak for anybody else in the band, for me it has always been this great feeling of having this really loud amplifier smashing me in the back with big sound waves, and just raging, just feeling it.”

A Straight Edge “Timeline”

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, April 7th, 2014

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Check out a raging slab of unadulterated, all-star straight-edge hardcore off the upcoming EP A Place Beyond from Boston’s Test of Time below — the precursor to a much-anticipated July full-length release By Design.

“Having been involved in the hardcore scene for about fifteen years each,’Timeline’ is a reflection about the feelings that originally draw you into the scene and how during that time, most of us were awkward and uncomfortable with ourselves,” guitarist Charles Chaussinand tells Decibel. “The second verse dives into having been in the scene for a while, and then the end of the song deals with how the hardcore scene fits in with life as an adult. To illustrate this point, this seven-inch only version of ‘Timeline’ includes guest vocals from Brian Connors (Caught in a Crowd) to start the song, Pat Flynn (Have Heart) through the middle, and Sweet Pete (In My Eyes) rounding out the end. While being personal, the lyrics ring true for anyone, in any stage of their ‘hardcore lives.’”

More info and goodies at both the band’s Bridge Nine and Blogspot pages…

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STREAMING: Sons Of Huns “Bless Those Who Follow”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, April 7th, 2014

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When it comes to describing Sons of Huns’ music we’re at a bit of a loss. Nektar mixed with Black Sabbath mixed with Kill ‘Em All-era Metallica? Steamhammer mixed with Sleep mixed with Ace of Spades-era Motörhead? Sure, any and all of it. The Portland trio’s style also picks up heavy influence from ’70s sci-fi, namely Star Wars. One look at Banishment Ritual‘s cover and Sons of Huns’ font choice, and it’s pretty clear they were wide-eyed tykes while Luke, Han, Leia and Chewy (forget the droids!) were swashbuckling across the galaxy, with the can’t-hit-anything-with-our-laser-guns Empire in hot, “we’re on the short-bus” pursuit.

When describing Sons of Huns’ music, Frank151 had the gall to call them, “brontosaurus rock”. Or maybe that’s what Sons of Huns’ called themselves after too many PBRs and losing eBay bids on out-of-box-but-mint Boba Fett Kenner figs. Actually, here’s Sons of Hun’s Peter Hughes’ response: “My goodness, I don’t know if I can be held responsible for anything we’ve ever said, but you know everybody’s got a dinosaur in them. I guess, that’s just how we feel, like a large vegetarian of mammoth size. It’s just heavy.” So, there you go.

Sons Of Huns are currently touring with Kadavar (HERE).

** Sons of Huns’ new album, Banishment Ritual, is out April 8th (that’s tomorrow, dudes!) on Easy Rider Records. It’s available on CD (HERE), super sweet vinyl (HERE), and digitally (HERE). Click the links. The gods of ’70s hard-speed rock will thank you.

Robert Andersson (Morbus Chron) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, April 4th, 2014

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** When we premiered “The Perennial Link” (HERE) off Morbus Chron’s new album, Sweven, we were pretty bummed. Not about the song–the song is basically untouchable–but that we didn’t get the opportunity to stream more, like the entire album. If you’re wondering why there’s so much chatter about Sweven, well, it’s an incredible entry into death metal’s storied and varied pantheon. No, really.

Morbus Chron was originally inspired by Autopsy. Sweven’s a pretty big leap from Mental Funeral or Severed Survival. What do you attribute to the growth path Morbus Chron is on at the moment?
Robert Andersson: I still want to mention Autopsy. Sure, our sound has changed, but our influences really haven’t. It’s not like we’ve found a new band that we draw inspiration from. Autopsy and Death are still very present in our mix. We’re just twisting and bending those influences in weirder ways. The biggest change though and what has contributed the most to this “transformation”, is that we’ve let our own voice speak the loudest. We’ve filled the album with a lot of ideas that aren’t directly inspired by other bands or music. Not consciously at least…So, this is pretty much the result when we aren’t trying to sound a certain way or fit within a specific genre.

At what point did you figure out Sweven would be pretty different from Sleepers in the Rift?
Robert Andersson: We knew pretty much from the get go that it would be different, but not exactly in what way. Sleepers in the Rift is a good album, but it was written with a strict set of rules. Not everything was “allowed”. You know, whatever we wrote, it had to pass through the Autopsy-filter. With Sweven, the only rule was that there would be no rules. We had free hands. Two very different mind sets, which resulted in two very different records.

Was the album written with a central point or theme? At first, it feels all over the place, but slowly the pieces of the puzzle start to come together.
Robert Andersson: That’s sort of how it felt to write the record, like we were laying a big puzzle. It’s a diverse album that surely can take a few listens to fully grasp, but I think that’s a good thing. Everyone has those albums that are special to them. For me personally, a lot of my favorite albums weren’t at all love at first sight. It took a while to get into them. I get the feeling that people are getting worse at that. When everything is a click away, all that matters is the first 30 second impression. We don’t give ourselves enough time to discover the music. We wanted Sweven to be a coherent piece. Connected in music, lyrics and art. Something that would reward the listeners that actually sat down and experienced it as a whole.

I like how the vocals are sparse throughout. Was that part of the plan as you were writing Sweven?
Robert Andersson: I’ve always written the songs without lyrics/vocals in mind. They’re all instrumentals until much later on. Usually there will be obvious riffs to sing on etc., but this time I had a really hard time fitting vocals on there. Often I found myself thinking the vocals took away more than they added. And that’s why there’s a general lack of vocals, because I’ve only sung when I thought the song really needed it. I like to think that as I grow as a song writer, I’ll eventually find myself not needing to express anything in words anymore. But still, the screams are a big part of the band. So they’ll most likely always be there in some way or another.

Do you have a favorite tune on Sweven? So far I’m torn between “Towards A Dark Sky” and “The Perennial Link”.
Robert Andersson: Boring answer, but I like the album as an album. That’s when I think each song really reaches its true potential. They all add something equally important to the end product. But some parts are extra special. For instance, the outro to “Terminus”, which is one of my favorite moments. Overall, the acoustic/clean parts really hit it home with me.

What’s happening with the album art? Reminds me of something early Pink Floyd. Like a death metal take on Meddle or A Saucerful of Secrets.
Robert Andersson: We’re still working with the same guy, Raul Gonzales, a talented Spanish artist. As soon as we had the concept in place, we began discussing ideas. We provided him with lyrics and demos of the songs and basically told him to illustrate the album how he saw fit. He really nailed it. I couldn’t imagine the album without the art today. Any comparison with Pink Floyd I’ll take as something very positive. I’m listening to Meddle as we speak actually.

Sweven’s about dreams. Sleepers in the Rift talks about sleeping. What’s so fascinating about dreams and sleep to Morbus Chron?
Robert Andersson: Even if the title may suggest so, Sleepers in the Rift isn’t about sleeping at all. Sleepers is more referring to slumbering Aeons. It was just something Lovecraftian. Sweven on the other hand is exactly what the title suggests: an album about dreaming. Why? Well, I’m a tired guy who spends too much time wondering about other worlds. This was a way for me to write a record that was disjointed from anything real. Something alien that I could lose myself in. A total release, like a trip or, you guessed it, a dream.

OK, so you worked with Nicke Andersson and now Fred Estby as producers. What’s the greatest thing they’ve taught you?
Robert Andersson: To bring the best out of us, performance-wise. Not settling for anything half-assed, and not spending lots of time and effort to perfect something that was already good.

You guys have that old-school death metal look. Reminds me of the photos of the early Entombed and Dismember and Unleashed lineups. Is that intentional? Robert Andersson: No, not really. It’s just that metal people tend to lean towards leather and jeans. We are no different!

What do you think of the reception so far? People seem to really like what you’re doing.
Robert Andersson: The overall reception has been very positive. I think we were a bit caught off guard by the fantastic response. Of course we think the album is great, but you can never be sure how well it will translate onto others. A complete hatred for the record wouldn’t have made me doubt its quality, but it feels good knowing that other people are getting into it as well.

Wait. Edvin Aftonfalk is Nicke Andersson’s brother? Say it ain’t so.
Robert Andersson: I’m afraid that is the truth. Half brothers. Both are left handed and both wear a cap.

** Morbus Chron’s new album Sweven is out now on Century Media. It’s available as a bundle (HERE) or as a CD (HERE). We highly recommend it, actually. It’s Album of the Year material.

BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, April 4th, 2014

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We have two beer loves that are in direct contrast to each other: malty German brews and über-hoppy North American brews. These two things have nothing in common taste-wise. They are, of course, brewed with the same ingredients, but the ratios and the particular types of key ingredients used—such as hops, malt and yeast—are dramatically different. German beers, outside of some pilsners, don’t really accentuate aromatic hops much, despite the fact that many of the “noble hop” varieties like Hallertau, Spalter and Tettnang originated here. “Hoppy” beers like we’re used to in North America are not part of German brewing tradition. German beers tend to draw most of their flavors and aromas from the kinds of malt and yeast used. It was quite a revelation when we learned a few years ago that Brooklyn Brewing and Germany’s renowned hefeweizen brewer, Schneider, had teamed up and each brewed and bottled their own version of a hoppy weizenbock. They used the same methods to brew it, but used different hop varieties. Both beers were spectacular and unique, a true New World-Old World collab that virtually created a new style. The Brooklyn version is apparently no longer made, but the Schneider bottling should be readily available and it’s what’s on tap for this week’s Brewtal Truth column.

HOPFEN WEISSE
Weizenbock
Schneider-Brooklyner
Germany
8.2% ABV

According to the Schneider website, this was brewed with “Hallertauer and Saphir [a new breed similar to Hallertauer]” hops. These are not flashy Northwest-style hop varieties, yet in the amounts used to brew Hopfen Weisse, they do add a pleasant citrus fruitiness that complements the inherent spice and fruit character of the Bavarian yeast used to brew it. The first whiff of the big, rocky head head has some really interesting notes to it that are almost indescribable. There are medicinal flavors of cloves, hints of banana, bubblegum and booze, but mostly it’s just a basketful of fruit. Which is to say that it’s quite different than a typical weizenbock.

As you can see from the photo above, the beer is quite opaque, which is how a good hefeweizen or weizenbock should be. They are unfiltered and bottle conditioned (dosed with yeast) so that the yeast can carbonate the beer and add flavor. You want all that “meat” in your glass. Don’t fear the floaters; they’re not only good for you (B vitamins!), they give these kinds of beers the body and complexity that makes them so interesting.

By any measure, this is a big beer. Not one for slugging back on a patio on a sunny day. It’s 8.2% ABV, a little sweet, a little boozy and very full-bodied. Unlike most weizenbocks, though, the pronounced hops in here add a whole new dimension. First, of course, is the lingering bitter finish. Most German beers have a perceptible bitterness to them, but it’s usually just enough to take the edge off the sweetness of the malt. This clearly has a solid swack of hops in it. (At 40 IBUs it’s not in IPA territory as far as bitterness goes, but it’s substantially higher than the 17 IBUs you’ll find in Schneider’s hefeweizen.) The citrus notes are somewhat more subdued on the palate, but there definitely vinous/white wine notes of apple and pear lingering alongside some more earthy/grassy hop notes.

It’s a strange thing to drink a German-brewed beer that is not made “to style.” But, honestly, it’s kind of nice. Apparently there is a burgeoning craft beer scene in Germany now that is bucking the country’s adherence to tradition, tradition, tradition when it comes to brewing. Interesting new hop varieties are being developed and there’s some actual creativity happening. Maybe beers like this helped kick start that. Hopfen Weisse is a good example of the possibilities that await. Personally, we can’t wait to try a doppelbock dry-hopped with some bright and fruity hop variety.

Adem Tepedelen’s new craft beer book, Decibel Presents the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits, is now available in the Decibel online store.

Check Out Turkey’s Chopstick Suicide!

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, April 4th, 2014

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Tomorrow (Saturday 4/5), the Dillinger Escape Plan are playing a Baltimore show with Retox, Trash Talk, and Norway’s black-jazzers Shining.  I plan to show up and receive a megadose of awesome, and I’m betting the Turkish hardcore oddballs in Chopstick Suicide might feel a little jealous about it.

A couple years ago, Chopstick Suicide exploded – sonically, not in popularity – with the violent but strongly musical Lost Fathers and Sons album.  Those eight tracks revealed the trio’s dedication to crafting songs and breaking shit in equal measure, and it’s a treat for anyone in that particular mood.

Now the Eurasians have brought back their game with a new EP, called Captain’s Poolside Stories.  At 3 songs in less than 14 minutes, Chopstick Suicide lay out a clear plan for avant-garde hardcore greatness, with saxophone.  No, don’t run away!  Their sound is familiar but filled with idiosyncratic details (vocals, riff transitions, and that saxophone) that elevate the music past interesting into straight-up enjoyable territory.

Chopstick Suicide guitarist Yagiz got in touch with us to rap about the new recording and to bitch about Turkey’s heavy music scene.  Enjoy Captain’s Poolside Stories and read up on a band that refuses to stay beaten down.

What personalities make up Chopstick Suicide right now?

[Alican] our drummer [and I] have a long past.  We’ve known each other like 10 years.  But it’s not high-school days anymore.  We can’t hang out much.  He’s studying “sound engineering” right now and I have to work most of the time, because we can’t make money or tour (even though we want to).  Our vocalist is also studying fine arts.  Besides that we are all nerds for comic books, fucked up music, alcohol, musical gear, console games, sci-fi.. etc

What have the past couple of years (since your Lost Fathers and Sons album) been like for Chopstick Suicide?

We sacrificed so much for LFaS.  I remember selling my laptop in order to pay [for recording].  If you are a musician in Turkey there’s always blood, sweat and tears at its best.  Our friends supported us so much (and they still do).  This recording was a milestone for us because we got an album deal with the Turkey’s most respected indie label, Peyote Müzik.  But musically I prefer our latest EP [Captain's Poolside Stories].  We played many crazy local gigs.  People like our stage presence, I guess.  We don’t have big extreme festivals here.  If we do, most of the time promoters usually ignore the band’s CV and choose his/her friend’s shitty band.  So we always stick to the local shows.  It’s definitely better.

When and how were these new songs written?  Why did you make the choice to release just these songs as an EP?

[We chose the EP format] because we can’t afford to release this as an album nor do we have the time.  EPs are smarter.  We can concentrate more.  Usually we can’t afford a studio long enough to work on an album.  Also we all have school and jobs.

I started to write those songs last year.  I usually finish a song’s structure then I jam with my drummer.  When he comes in we usually change the structure to a better one.  He and I write together.  Then we add some vocal parts.  Finally we record some demos.  If it’s ok then we are good to go.

Where did that cover photo come from?  On a related note, where did the EP’s title come from?

The photographer who took that photo is a close friend of our drummer.  He’s living in the [United] States.  I guess it’s from a “Burning Man” [kind of] festival somewhere in States.  We loved it and he was kind enough to give permission.  He’s talented fella.  You can check out his stuff from here:  http://johnkilar.com/

The EP’s title [came] from a very dim time of our band. One-and-a-half years ago, while we were all demoing this EP at our drummer’s house, everytime we finished demoing we’d go to a public pool near his house [to] chill.  Back then our drummer was trying to pass some exams for his sound engineering degree.  He was broke.  Our vocalist was trying to finish school and he was broke and I had to fullfill my mandatory army [requirement] for 6 months and was broke too.  Our band was [going nowhere] and every day we discussed our lives at that pool like for a week.  We are better now – I guess, like about 1 mm [better], ha ha.

Have you noticed any changes in your local music scene in the past couple years?

It’s getting worse.  We all know each other and we always try to support each other.  There aren’t many places to have gigs for extreme bands anymore.  Turkish promoters usually ignore your CV and put his/her buddie’s shitty bands as opening acts or festival slots.  Also most of us now work now.  That means more capitalism, less music.

Have you been playing shows outside of Turkey?

Only in Ukraine with Dying Fetus,Morgoth and Artillery.  I tried to book some outside shows but nobody writes back.  I don’t know why, but I don’t care because I’m gonna try anyway.

Have you gotten any feedback from people online that really shocked you?

Most of the people’s feedbacks are sincere.  They really want to help us, like a mother who has an autistic kid.  We change our sound with every record.  Those feedbacks helped me a lot.

What are your plans for CS in the coming months?

Well there is gonna be more music, more gigs I guess and we will try to survive.

For more Chopstick Suicide, including Lost Fathers and Sons and their earlier recordings, head on over to their Bandcamp page.