BLACK METAL SCRABBLE: Lamentations of the Ashen’s “Hiraeth (Torpor of the Persiflage)”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

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Okay, I’m going to be honest with you guys here: by the time you’ll be reading this, I’ll be relaxing on a tropical island, listening to AC/DC bootlegs, and lamenting absolutely nothing except maybe sunburn. Still, I know most of you poor bastards are stuck in much more inhospitable climes. To that end, I have the latest from Bon Vincent Fry, a.k.a. one-man New Mexican black metal crew Lamentations of the Ashen, a guy who probably knows something about sunburn and inhospitable climes (the latter of a mental variety). Check out the frosty goodness below.

***Libertine Cyst comes out digitally February 24 and on tape March 3, the latter courtesy of Fragile Branch/Sylvan Screams Analog.

STREAMING: Carach Angren “This Is No Fairy Tale”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

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“The long wait is finally over,” says Carach Angren to Decibel. “We proudly present you our fourth full-length musical horror story telling the utterly dark tale of two children on a quest to escape total darkness. As the music and lyrics take you from chapter to chapter you will learn about the inevitable outcome…This Is No Fairytale!”

For the better part of the last seven years, the Dutch black metallers have carved a niche for themselves in a scene fraught with Satan and his little red friends. Instead of pentagrams and upside down crosses, Carach Angren propose new, if no less dark topics. Like interpreting the legend, The Flying Dutchman, or taking on the real-life horrors of World Wars I and II, as well as the Vietnam War.

With corpse-painted faces, symphonic bombast, and evil recast, we present the full-album premiere of Carach Angren’s This Is No Fairytale.

** Carach Angren’s new album, This Is No Fairy Tale, is out February 24th on Season Of Mist Records. Pre-orders are available HERE.

Full Album Stream: Hacavitz — “Darkness Beyond”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, February 16th, 2015

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In the new edition of Decibel with our tour headliners on the cover J. Bennett gets into a fascinating conversation with Liturgy frontman Hunter Hunt Hendrix (aka Triple H) about just what constitutes “black metal,” among other topics.

There’s no need for any investigation or atom splitting when it comes to this band. Hacavitz is from Mexico and they’ve been playing black metal — or a blackened version of death metal — for the decade-plus they’ve been around. They were featured on a split called Apocalyptik Blasphemy of the Revolutionists. These guys do not fuck around and do not write manifestos.

Dark Descent will soon release their new album Darkness Beyond and we have a full stream below. Here’s what the label is saying: “The group has shed its death metal influences in favor of superbly crafted black metal hymns. Ferocity and grimness permeate.” Preorder it here.

Commune With Sweet Jesus

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Monday, February 16th, 2015

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Counting members of such forward-thinking hardcore acts as Have Heart, Fucking Invincible, Verse, and Soul Control amongst its ranks, Sweet Jesus‘ vivifying and powerful debut full-length You Destroy Yourself pays homage to late 80s/early 90s D.C. emotive hardcore without sliding into pure imitation.

Today Decibel brings you a taste of what’s to come with the exclusive premiere of the track “Same Man,” featuring guest vocals from none other than Shawn Brown of Swiz/Red Hare/Dag Nasty fame.

Check out a couple more tracks over at the Atomic Action Records Bandcamp page.

Unorthodox Redux: Exclusive Indecision Doc Clip!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Monday, February 16th, 2015

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What It Once Meant — the documentary detailing the life, death, and (semi) resurrection of Indecision, hands down one of the smartest, most audacious, uninhibited hardcore bands ever — is a real triumph of an often fumbled form: Poignant and funny, harrowing and inspiring, the film opens up a window on a unique assemblage of individuals making the most of a unique moment in time; creating, against all odds, something great and immutable that blazed — and continues to blaze — a trail much further into the world and future than any of its builders could have anticipated.

Masterfully interwoven and balanced by director Derek Morse, What It Once Meant might just be the single best advertisement for the value and potential of DIY this side of Dischord Records. Pick up a copy here from MorseCode Recordings and check out an exclusive outtake below.

Holiday Playlist: Db Does VD

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Saturday, February 14th, 2015

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So Decibel assumes at this point you’ve got your dozen roses, the perfect card, maybe some wine. All these have been easily attainable and, really, almost unavoidable for the last four to six weeks.

Valentine’s Day mood music, on the other hand, has remained maddeningly elusive for those inclined towards the extremely extreme.

Until now.

Without further ado, here is the Decibel staff Valentine’s Day playlist…

Kevin Stewart-Panko

Type O Negative — “Unsuccessfully Coping with the Natural Beauty of Infidelity.”

Sez me: “To each his own, but I’ve been a long time proponent of polyamorous and non-monogamous relationship styles as they seem more realistic and manageable than being inextricably tied down to one person and way of being. However, I understand that one-on-one partnerships are the accepted norm and when a big ol’ romantic softie like the late Pete Steele gets his heart ripped to shreds by the crumbling of a traditional relationship dyad, watch the fuck out! In the manner of a total artist and true gentleman, he poured his grief into song and out came one of the most baldly honest, heartbreak and revenge anthems of all time. ‘I know you’re fucking someone else! (He said he knows!)…'”

Jeanne Fury

Andrew WK — “She Is Beautiful”

Ensiferum Premieres New Album on Spotify

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured, listen, uncategorized On: Friday, February 13th, 2015

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Finnish Viking metal quintet Ensiferum return with their sixth album One Man Army next week, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until the February 20 release date to hear the thing. In this day and age, who in the hell has the patience to do such a thing?

The band and Metal Blade have partnered with Spotify to premiere a new One Man Army track every day in advance of the album’s release, which is especially great news considering that this record is Ensiferum’s strongest work since 2007’s Victory Songs. You can listen to the tracks as they appear daily below, or you can subscribe to the countdown playlist here. And brace yourself for the Euro disco break in “Two of Spades”. You have been warned.

Izah Stream New Album: Sistere

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, February 13th, 2015

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Later this month, Dutch sextet Izah will release their first full-length document of sludgy aggression through the always dependable Nordvis Produktion.  It represents a major step in a very long road for the band, and its four gargantuan tracks make that point crystal clear.  But these aren’t the sprawling teases that some bands employ in the service of art – Sistere’s songs drive ever forward with an engaging brutality quotient with just enough thinking-man moments to leaven the dough.

While you listen to the album below, make sure you hear all about Izah in our interview with guitarist Roel van Oosterhout.

Izah has been a working project for quite a while… how did you all start playing together, and what were the years leading up to Sistere like?

It was pretty hard getting this band together. When Sierk (vocals) and I (Roel, guitar) founded the band there wasn’t much of a sludge or ‘post’ scene here yet. We placed some online ads describing what direction we wanted to go with this band and what some of our influences were. Most people that responded had never heard of the bands we mentioned and thought we were going to be some kind of Dream Theater-like band. And most of them thought we were crazy for downtuning our guitars to B as well. Needless to say these weren’t the people we were looking for. After we started playing in a basic line-up we kind of DIY-ed an EP that got us quite some attention and shows for a pretty long period of time. From then on several people left and joined the band, mostly because of differences in ambition. Once we had a stabile line-up we started doing more shows, working on new material and saving up for decent recordings. We released a split EP in the meantime and started the recording of Sistere a while after that. This time however we did feel like we had something that was worth releasing on a bigger scale, so we started looking for a suitable label. This took almost a year, which was pretty frustrating. But in the end we’re glad we did it and eventually got with Nordvis.

What do you enjoy most about the music you play?  What do you feel you can say with this music that you could not say as easily in another way?

There is no message that we carry out as band. We just deal with our personal lives and observations by creating music. If anything, that is the driving force or concept: life. The songs are meant to reflect parts of it, like sonic stories. Hence the up and down dynamics and the dark/light contrasts; there are no real stories without ups and downs or darkness and light. Sometimes a very specific period in my life forms the inspiration for a song, other times it’s just the general notion, but this theme is usually present. This also makes for the fact that to me playing music can be just as confrontational as enjoyable, it’s not always ‘fun’. Still, however, it feels meaningful, to myself in the first place, and sometimes to others. The connection that arrises then exists on a whole other level than can ever be achieved with words.

How do you write your music, individually or collectively?  Do songs grow sequentially or do you build them from various ideas?

I write the songs by myself at home. Sometimes I build them up from various ideas I have lying around and see if they can connect. Other times I build them up from zero and see where the song takes me. I then gradually try every part out with the whole band at rehearsals. Sometimes the whole sounds as I envisioned it and sometimes it turns out sounding completely different from what I had recorded at home. This can be for the better or the worse. After a lot of deleting, rewriting and trying out different things the song usually gets to a shape that feels right. Then we collectively start working on the details: adding samples, creating effects, adjusting volumes etc. At that point we start recording rehearsals so we can listen to the new track as a ‘listener’ and not as a musician. You always perceive a song differently when you’re playing it then when you’re just listening. It has to be right on both ends.

Do you have any favorite parts of the album, or very enjoyable/frustrating/strange experiences from the recording sessions?

It was really quite intense seeing this album take form. There’s a great intensity in playing live, but also in laying down a track exactly the way you’ve intended it. There’s so much more audible detail in a good studio recording than you can ever get in a live setting, which makes recording music a whole different deal from playing live. Experiencing the songs for the first time in this way actually had me biting my lip a couple of times. After laying down the main tracks for the album we had quite a long break from recording before picking it up again. This break proved to be quite fruitful in the end, as it was where the ideas for a lot of finishing touches took shape. The brass section at the end of “Sistere” for instance was one of the last things that were added and it’s one my favorite parts of the album.

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The album art for Sistere is very cool.  Where did it come from?  How does it fit with the songs?

Basically each person in the band has his own interests and ways of creatively expressing himself. I create the music, Sierk the lyrics and Twan (guitar) creates all visual output like the covers and merch artwork. Nature is one of his main personal sources of inspiration, so when he creates his visual interpretation of the music, it will often contain natural elements. And although the music or lyrics themselves don’t necessarily deal with nature, we do feel that his artwork catches the essential atmosphere of it. In the case of his art for Sistere it was especially the depicted path through the forest that made it a perfect fit for me, as it represents a journey much like the album itself does.

What non-musical things are you interested in that influence your music?

People, art, alcohol.

How much does Izah perform live?  Are there any shows that have been particularly memorable?

The frequency of performances varies quite a bit – twenty in one year, four in another. Playing with some of our heroes like Mono, Wolves in the Throne Room or Cult of Luna has been quite memorable, but so was playing with good friends and connecting with people at shows. One of the particularly interesting shows was something called Deaf Metal, a small metal festival for deaf and hearing impaired people. We were accompanied on stage by visual music interpreters who translated the lyrics into sign language and also captured the rhythm and feel of the music into dance and movement. The venue had a vibrating floor so people could feel the rhythm and intensity of the music and VJ’s created a visual interpretation.

With an early 2015 release for Sistere, what are your plans for Izah over the coming year?

First up we’ll officially launch our album at Roadburn on April 12, which we’re very excited about. It’s always been a dream of us to play Roadburn and now the time is right. Also we’re planning to be on the road later this year, but no concrete dates to be announced yet. Furthermore we’re working on new material which is starting to come around quite nicely.

For more on Izah, check out the band’s official website and Facebook page.  To find out about other Nordvis releases, well… ditto.

Interview with Barishi

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews, tours On: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

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I originally got my hands on Barishi’s self-titled, self-released, full-length album via guitarist Graham Brooks who was filling in for fellow Vermonters, Vaporizer during a tour with Vattnet Viskar. After figuring out who the hell I was, he passed along a copy of the record and Bob’s yer fucking uncle. That was about a year ago and the band is back with an EP entitled Endless Howl which comes off the back of a surprising and successful – relatively speaking, of course – crowdfunding campaign. The band play layered and luxurious progressive metal, though the new EP rages a lot harder and sees them heading down an angrier and more vitriolic avenue. Go check them out for yourself as they’re a week into a month-long tour with Felix Martin and his 14-string guitar as we speak. Below, Brooks introduces the band to the Deciblog.

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Can you outline the band’s history for us?

We formed in 2010 as an instrumental trio trying to play King Crimson-esque fusion. We did that for a couple years and just naturally started to get heavier. We met our singer Sascha [Simms] through a mutual friend and hit it off immediately. I think that is when we really started to develop as a band. We did a little touring and started to play out a lot. In 2013, we released a self-titled full-length. We’ve spent the last few months recording this EP.

Vermont has this reputation/impression of being a home for counter-culture and free-thought, as well as being a magnet for idealistic youth at the university in Burlington and the various liberal arts colleges around the state. But there have been very few bands that have made as much impact on the broader extreme music scene. Are there bunches of super-talented players/bands in your neck of the woods that the rest of the world hasn’t heard of chomping at the bit to be discovered? Who are some of the more promising local bands?
There are a ton of really talented metal bands in Vermont right now, and there have been for a while. There is a “Metal Monday” at Nectar’s in Burlington, which has blown up into it’s own awesome scene and seems to be bringing these sweet bands out of the woodwork. In Burlington alone there is a treasure trove of talent: Vaporizer, Vultures of Cult, Abaddon, Boil the Whore, Savage Hen, Brave the Vertigo and Gorcrow are a few that come to mind. In the town we live in, Brattleboro, there is a sweet math-y band called Decapathon, an awesome stoner/sludge duo called Smokehound and, of course, Witch.

I could have just looked it up, but what the hell is a Barishi anyway?
A Barishi is a shaman in Siberian and Mongolian cultures who specializes in bone-setting.

Tell us about your new Endless Howl EP. Was the plan to do an EP after the full-length or did something lead you down the path towards a shorter release?
We wrote all the songs on Endless Howl during the recording process for the full-length. I think the songs are a better representation of us as a live band. They’re a little grittier and a little less proggy. I think that we started to change pretty quickly while we recorded our full-length and you can hear the results of it on the EP. We wanted to have something that represented how we currently sounded, but didn’t have the budget for another full-length.

What sort of response did you end up getting for the full-length?
Overall, the reviews were very positive. We were honored, no question about it. There were a few lukewarm responses, but all with valid critiques, so we really can’t complain. We’re really looking forward to seeing reading what people think about the new EP and the feedback thus far has been great!

I’m assuming whatever popularity you were able to generate from the album spurned the idea of being able to do a crowdfunding campaign for the EP. Were there any ethical discussions about crowd funding within the band? How successful was the campaign?
We were on the fence about doing a crowdfunded campaign. We were always against the idea of having a rewards system where someone would donate fifty bucks or something like that and just get a CD as a perk. We wanted people to be able to donate an affordable amount and get something cool in return for the price that we’d sell the item at a show. We made close to $3000 with the campaign, which was truly humbling. We still covered the majority of the cost out of pocket. Like a lot of metal bands we are all are working minimum wage jobs and living below the poverty line. Running a campaign was really our only option to get our van together and record the EP.

Was there anything about the EP – writing/recording style or methodology – that was outside the box for the band?
Not really. We’ve always written songs in the same room with everyone having input. I think we consciously tried to have a stripped down approach to recording. We really wanted the EP to have some serious punch and think we definitely got it, so mission accomplished! It sound great and we’re quite certain that the listeners will agree.

How would you characterise the material of the new release vs. past works?
I would say that the EP is more immediate sounding than the exploratory nature of the first album. The songs are less proggy and and more concise. We are always trying to improve as songwriters and I hope it shows with this recording.

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You’re going to be on tour with Felix Martin for about a month. How did you score that run? I’m assuming you haven’t toured this extensively in the past, so what are you anticipating and did you seek any advice from more seasoned tour folk that you know about how to manage?

We got the tour through Tone Deaf Touring and it will be our longest run to date. I have done some touring as has our bassist Jon [Kelley] with different bands. I had the pleasure of hosting King Parrot from Australia while they were working on their newest album and they definitely imparted some sage wisdom about life on the road.

Anything else you feel I missed or you want to add?
We’re stoked for this tour and are very grateful to all the folks who donated to us and to Tone Deaf Touring and Metal Injection for hooking this up. Please check out the full-length album and Endless Howl EP on our bandcamp page. Thanks for the questions.

Barishi on Bandcamp
Barishi on Facebook

Brett Netson Returns to Scavenge Some Cults: Exclusive Premiere!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Thursday, February 12th, 2015

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Former Caustic Resin guitarist/vocalist (and ex-Built To Spill-er) Brett Netson went and done got himself a brand new rock quartet — that’d be Brett Netson & Snakes — and Decibel has got the opening single from the band’s ridiculously killer, utterly fucking triumphant Scavenger Cult EP.

Here’s the breakdown:

The Scavenger Cult EP features three glorious, sprawling anthems created with drummer Steve Gere (Uzala, Built To Spill), stereo bass contributions from Ian Waters (Kid Cordiroy, Boise Cover Band) and Josh Galloway (Cerberus Rex), with additional bass, synth contributions and all guitar and vocals courtesy of Netson. Recorded on 2” 16-track tape with Jason Ringelstetter at Tonic Room in Boise, Idaho, mixed to 1/2″ tape by Steve Lobdell at Audible Alchemy in Portland, Oregon with analog mastering at Salt Mastering in Brooklyn, New York, Scavenger Cult will see release on March 24th on LP and digital in the US through Think Indie/Coalition distributor and BandCamp. Europe, Australia and New Zealand through TYM Records on sale now.

And here’s the track:

Preorders for Scavenger Cult, including three different mixes (digi/analog) of the release w/bonus live tracks and poster by Noble Hardesty, all available with the purchase of the vinyl, now available here. (Preorders will be shipped first week of March.)