Video Premiere: Karma To Burn’s “57”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, tours, videos On: Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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Post-holiday doldrums. The coldest time of the year, especially with climate change. It’s time for your favorite band to get the 30-year-old van out of the garage and challenge ice storms and snowpiles to play for your benefit.

West Virginia’s favorite sons Karma To Burn will be one of the brave soliders taking to the road in the dead of winter.

As they kick off their ambitious North American tour (thirty-plus shows) tonight, they’ve shared their new live video for the song “57” off Arch Stanton, which is available now.

Check the video out below and then go see them when they play your town — their itinerary follows.

KARMA TO BURN NORTH AMERICAN TOUR 2015:
1/07/2015 Ripper’s Rock House – Akron, OH
1/8/2015 Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
1/09/2015 31st Street Pub – Pittsburgh, PA
1/10/2015 Hard Luck Bar – Toronto, ON
1/11/2015 Casa Del Popolo – Montreal, QC
1/12/2015 Higher Ground – Burlington, VT
1/13/2015 Geno’s Rock Club – Portland, ME
1/14/2015 TT the Bear’s – Cambridge, MA
1/15/2015 The Shaskeen – Manchester, NH
1/16/2015 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
1/18/2015 Metro Gallery – Baltimore, MD
1/19/2015 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
1/20/2015 Pour House Music Hall – Raleigh, NC
1/21/2015 The Earl – East Atlanta, GA
1/22/2015 Siberia – New Orleans, LA
1/23/2015 Mangos – Houston, TX
1/24/2015 Mohawk – Austin, TX
1/25/2015 Double Wide – Dallas, TX
1/27/2015 Launchpad – Albuquerque, NM
1/28/2015 The Nile Theater – Mesa, AZ
1/30/2015 Loaded – Hollywood, CA
1/31/2015 Bottom of the Hill – San Francisco, CA
2/01/2015 Starlite Lounge – Sacramento, CA
2/03/2015 El Corazon – Seattle, WA
2/04/2015 Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC
2/06/2015 Hawthorne Theatre – Portland, OR
2/07/2015 The Shredder – Boise, ID
2/08/2015 Area 51 – Salt Lake City, UT
2/09/2015 Lost Lake Lounge – Denver, CO
2/10/2015 Replay Lounge – Lawrence, KS
2/11/2015 Fubar – St Louis, MO
2/12/2015 Red Line Tap – Chicago, IL
2/13/2015 123 Pleasant Street – Morgantown, WV

Streaming: Mansion, ‘Uncreation’

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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One of yours truly’s favorite musical discoveries of 2013, enigmatic Finland doom collective Mansion made an immediate impression on the debut EP We Shall Live, and turned in a stunning live performance at the Roadburn Festival last April. The band had been working on new material throughout 2014, and eight months after the seven-inch release Congregation Hymns Vol. 1, have served up another helping of Kartanoist-themed dogma in the form of the spellbinding new record Uncreation.

Comprised of four tracks but clocking in at 37 minutes, Uncreation actually qualifies as a proper album rather than an EP, and is plenty good enough to hold up alongside the best albums of 2014. It’s a shame that it came out so quietly and under the radar in mid-December, but it’s never too late to listen to great music. Besides, that’s what January’s for: catching up on music you might have missed throughout the previous year.

Once again, Uncreation finds the members of Mansion delve into the doomsday cult philosophy of Alma Kartano, who created the Christian sect in Finland in the first half of the 20th century and preached asceticism and warned of the impending wrath of God. It’s a brilliant idea by the band, whose straight-faced approach to the themes lends some delicious mystery to the hypnotic psychedelic doom arrangements. The singer, who has taken the nom de plume Alma, embraces that role fully on record and in concert, and dominates the four tracks on this record with her steely enunciation and solemn, hymnlike singing, especially on the foreboding title track. But then a track like “Divining Rod” comes along, in which she whips herself into a frenzy, her lines crescendoing into cries of ecstasy and religious fervor. Alma and Mansion sells this idea convincingly, which you can hear for yourself below via Bandcamp.

Uncreation is now available on 12” vinyl and as a digital download. Purchase it here.

Gearified by Matt Olivo: Peavey ReValver 4

By: Bruno Guerreiro Posted in: featured, gear, repulsion On: Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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**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 are bringing his print column to the Deciblog. In issue #124 Matt gave his feedback on the Peavey ReVavlver 4, which “promises virtual insanity.”

We’ve all had the fantasy. You know, the one where you own a state-of-the-art recording studio that’s stacked with every metal amp north of hell. The tracking process then becomes one of selectivity, taste and style instead of “oh, that’s good enough—moving on.” Well, thanks to the staggering accuracy of today’s amp simulation software, it is possible to have that (virtual) recording studio, and if done properly, no one will know the difference. Legendary American amp masters Peavey poured their knowledge of all things amplification into their sonic sim app, ReValver 4. This month, we took a very skeptical look at it, and were surprised by what we found.

Environment
ReValver 4 is a full-feature, professional audio app that happens to be free! That’s right—it costs exactly fuck-all to obtain it. Just download to your Mac or PC and install; then you’re up and running with the two included amp modules, the RIR 2 Lite cabinet simulator, a handful of ACT modules and some effects. From within the app, users can demo all available amp, effects, cabinet and ACT library “modules,” then buy them from the Amp Store, with prices ranging from $1.99-$7.99 for single purchases. The Amp Store generates a license for your purchase and automatically loads it into an available USB thumb drive (not included) connected to your computer. Then, the purchased module is activated and functional. With this method, you selectively build your own amp closet with just the gear you want. Purchase bundles are also an option if you want a wide range of amps at a better price value.

Oh, right—what’s an ACT library?! ReValver 4 boasts this insane feature that utilizes serious white-man magic to process your incoming guitar signal to sound like a handmade acoustic guitar (or a dobro or a classic Les Paul, Strat, etc.). Pretty convincingly, too, and downright handy if you need that instrumental texture for the tune you’re working on, but don’t own the axe.

Under the Hood (The Metal Lowdown)
OK, here’s a few ReValver 4 amps that gave us righteous tone boners: the Angel (ENGL), Peavey 6505+, Michael ACM 900 (Marshall), Peavey Budda Superdrive, Flathill Dual (Mesa), Peavey XXX II and the Herr Demon (Diezel). Every last one of these beasts are instant gratifiers. In addition, the (multitudes of) cabinet modules have mic’ing options, including an incredible collection of virtual mics with placement choices. As if having this level of control wasn’t enough, ReValver 4 enables limited modification of every module’s virtual circuitry. The feature allows users to view an interactive schematic and change electronic components or tubes for tone-changing results!

Summary
Nothing beats having the real thing, but with over 40 amp and cab modules at your fingertips, Peavey’s ReValver 4 software can offer a highly respectable, flexible and full-featured virtual alternative. We reckon ReValver 4 is a valuable tool for home and pro audio production, but if we ever catch any metal musician plugging an axe into a laptop on stage, there will be blood and hair on the walls. Keep it amped! Nuff said.

Price
$0.00

For more info on ReValver 4, go to: http://peavey.com/products/revalver/

For add-on modules, prices vary.

Somethin’ Else: Classic Metal Artwork Reimagined as Jazz Covers

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

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Well this is a new one, and a great one at that.

In this Tumblr era of clever and creative reinterpretations of metal album covers, from animated to absurdly funny, Rafael Melandi has come along and trounced them all with a new series of illustrations that take classic metal album art and re-imagine them through a decidedly 1950s jazz era lens. It’s as if Reid Miles or S. Neil Fujita were hired instead of Larry Carroll or Derek Riggs, and the results are astounding. And in some cases, even better than the original artwork, blasphemous as that may sound.

A creative director at an advertising firm in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and an avid metal fan, Melandi tells Decibel, “I’m a big fan of jazz, and, as a designer, I’m fascinated by the Blue Note-era style and aesthetics – from album covers to concert posters. I find that those jazz records covers have the same force and intensity as metal albums do – not needing to represent them with shocking images like blood, gore and ‘scary’ illustrations like metal. It’s powerful and strong using only simple elements.

“If Metallica or Slayer were bands from the late 50’s? How could their sound be represent by art covers at the time? Could it have the same impact and strength? That was my inspiration. Trying to bring the same power and transcendence and curiosity of those classic metal album covers with the tenacity, strength and simplicity off jazz covers. Despite the metal aesthetics is established as it is, it could be powerful at any time and era.”

Color us impressed. Very, very impressed. Check out a few examples of Melandi’s work below, and you can find the complete series here.

Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, you need to commission t-shirt designs from this man, stat. And by that I don’t mean hire some hack to copy this brilliant idea.
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WOLVES IN THE COUNCIL ROOM: The Wolf Council’s “Send Help for the Rest”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

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Apparently a council of wolves only consists of three beasts (which is maybe why they aren’t considered a pack). This particular trio of wolves have instruments, and they seem really into the Melvins and Kyuss. That’s the best kind of lupine! Preview the first track from their upcoming self-titled album below. Don’t worry, you won’t need Liam Neeson to protect you.

***The Wolf Council comes out February 24 on Static Tension. Preorder it here.

PALLBEARER added to 2015 Decibel Tour lineup!

By: andrew Posted in: breaking newz, featured On: Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

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If you thought the fourth annual Decibel Magazine Tour lineup was already unbearably intense, you may not be able to cope with this news. Joining the likes of living legends At the Gates and Converge and death/doom supergroup Vallenfyre are none other than our 2014 Album of the Year honorees, Pallbearer!

The Little Rock quartet expanded the horizons of doom with sophomore stunner Foundations of Burden, and will add to our most diverse lineup yet, a bill that champions a vast swath of extreme music, from melodic death metal to crushing doom, frantic hardcore and beyond.

Tickets for the 2015 Decibel Magazine Tour are available here. Get them while you still can.

A Copulation Most Foul: Exclusive Sextrash Stream! (NSFW, Obvs)

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

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If any album boasting song titles like “Genital Tumor,” “Alcoholic Mosh,” and “Obscene Symphony” can be reasonably compared to a precious stone then, sure, Brazilian proto-blackened death metallers Sextrash’s raw, deliciously-nutty-meets-brutal-as-fuck 1990 full-length debut Sexual Carnage is one helluva singular hidden heavy metal gem.

Put another way, when the band’s label calls the record — which features ex-Sarcofago drummer D.D. Crazy — “beyond essential Brazilian filth,” they aren’t too far of the mark.

You’ll have to wait a week to get your grubby, horndog hands on Greyhaze’s gorgeously packaged remaster/reissue, but we’ve got the exclusive full stream today along with a few memories of its creation from bassist Krueger.

Preorder Sexual Carnage here. Connect with Sextrash via Facebook.

Krueger on…

Recording the album…

During the time we recorded Sexual Carnage, we were four dudes looking at a big dream, to be as extreme a band as we could be. Everything flowed naturally during the recording of the album. We had Sexual Carnage in our blood! I remember [vocalist] Oswaldo [AKA Pussy Ripper] and I had this huge argument before starting to record but in the end of the day, we focused on the task at hand at got the album done. We were still kids and this was our second time in the studio, I believe.

The band’s influence and legacy…

We always feel honored about Sextrash’s legacy. We get really excited when we see that big bands that like us and even consider us an influence. When I saw that Impiety had covered our song “Black Church” that was a big deal to me. I think that’s why we’re still up and running to this day.

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The relationship between D.D. Crazy and Sarcofago…

Metal Yoga With André Foisy #6: Start A Yoga Practice in 2015

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured On: Monday, January 5th, 2015

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People have been writing to ask about starting a yoga practice. Some common themes, or excuses, come up in these messages. The end of the messages usually end like this: “I’d do yoga, but…”

• I’m not flexible;
• I need to get into shape before I go to a class;
• I need to lose X number of pounds;
• I’m afraid that I’ll be forced to listen to shitty music;
• I have some stink foot from my combat boots and I don’t want to take my shoes off

I can’t do anything about your feet and I can’t tell you about what music a teacher might play during class, but I suggest that you just start a practice and not get caught up in the details.

If you follow the steps in this post, then you’ll be well on your way to starting a practice regardless of what kind of physical shape you’re in.

1) Start by blasting Bongripper’s Hippie Killer album. This will get you in the zone and will help you to forget about whatever music that you might associate with a yoga class.

2) Next, put on some comfy clothes and find a spot to sit in. Sit in that spot with your legs crossed and your eyes closed.

3) Focus On Your Breath: Sit for 5-10 minutes and practice breathing deeply and slowly. The foundation of the yoga practice is the breath. The ujjayi breathing style is how you should breath throughout most of your practice. Advanced yogis can make their ujjayi breath last a really long time. Some yogis have allegedly stopped their heartbeat on purpose with this breathing style. Here’s a video of the famous yogi BKS Iyengar demonstrating Ujjayi breath (in some rad tiny shorts) in front of a microphone:

4) Practice Meditating: Spend a few moments sitting and meditating. For people brand new to practicing yoga, and specifically for those of you who are out of shape or disconnected from your body, I suggest focusing on exploring your current physical sensations: are there any places in your body that are really tight? Are there parts of you that feel really open?

If you notice that you’re really weak and tight, then that’s ok: this is a good place to start.

5) Try some basic postures: Next, pick a yoga pose and work on it. If you have tight shoulders [trust me, you probably have tight shoulders], then I suggest trying this shoulder opener pose:

For some general beginner yoga poses, check out Yoga Journal’s website. Down Dog, Cobra, Mountain, Dolphin, and Triangle are some common poses that you might encounter.

Have fun trying out some poses on your own, but don’t do any dumb stuff. Stay away from handstands or advanced poses until you’re in shape and warmed up. Don’t try walking up the stairs backwards like my teacher Steve Emmerman when he emulated the The Exorcist’s Spiderwalk scene:

Whatever pose you try, don’t do anything painful. Being uncomfortable is ok. Pain is not ok. Get it?

When you get into a pose, stay in the pose for at least four deep, slow ujjayi breathes and as many as eight breaths.

6) Corpse Pose: After you’ve practiced, end by laying on your back, breathing deeply, and sitting still. This is called savasana, or “corpse pose” and it’s your chance to be chill after you’ve worked your body and maybe your mind. Repeat step three when you’re in this pose.

7) Finally, congratulate yourself and check out Unwound playing “Corpse Pose.”

Here’s a link to my yoga practice soundtrack as of late: Runhild Gammelsaeter & Lasse Marhaug’s “Quantum Entanglement” LP from Utech Records. Get it!

If you have other questions about starting a yoga practice then type your question below.

Parker Jameson (Starkill) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, January 5th, 2015

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** Chicago-based melodic death metallers (think: Children of Bodom meets Arsis meets Iron Maiden) Starkill are ready for world domination. New album, Virus of the Mind, is a significant step forward for the young bucks, blending black, death, and power metal together to form a sonic attack few have the wherewithal to pull off successfully. We chat with frontman/shred-god-in-the-making Parker Jameson.

Why are you excited for Virus of the Mind?
Parker Jameson: We’re excited to release Virus of the Mind because of how fresh and currently representative of us it is. We’ve added so many new elements and have grown and changed as a band, and all of this resulted in the production of a killer album.

What was writing Virus of the Mind like?
Parker Jameson: Unlike our first album (which contained many songs that were years old), this album, overall, took about a year or so of development to create. It was actually kind of unique in that there were various stages of refinement and writing, interrupted by stretches of touring. Last year we compiled lots of riffs we had written over the years, as well as several fresh brand new ideas, and made a tentative Top 10 list. Then, we started building the riffs into fully developed songs, adding lyrics and drums and key parts. Then we took a break to do the Krisiun/Arsis tour. Then we came back with a bunch of fresh ideas and added new things, and tweaked what we thought was previously good and made it even better. This same thing happened after we toured with Wintersun, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Amorphis, and Turisas. Being on the road with such incredible musicians and songwriters really shed light on newer directions we could take our relatively young style to. And, on top of that, two members of the band were replaced. So that also brought in two entirely new styles of writing to critique and contribute to the work we had already done.

Virus of the Mind is “darker”, right?
Parker Jameson: Virus has a darker mood for sure. Fires of Life had an overall theme of triumph and battle and conquest, but this album dropped that motif in favor of a more introspective and reflective vibe. The lyrical content is more melancholic and relatable to different people in different ways, the guitar work and drums were approached from a different angle, and most obvious of all is the introduction of clean vocals. That really opened up new doors… I know it’s cliché to call successive albums more mature, but I think that’s just the right word to describe the album.

Why did you decide to open up the vocal dynamic?
Parker Jameson: Some of my favorite metal bands like Nightwish, Wintersun, and Dimmu Borgir have awesome clean vocals and it’s always been something I wanted in our music, but I never really explored and experimented with my vocal style. Until very recently, I wasn’t comfortable recording it on record. Touring with Wintersun and watching Jari night after night planted some ideas in my head, but it wasn’t until we toured with Amorphis that I knew it absolutely had to happen and knew where Virus of the Mind was going. Not just Tomi’s vocals, but their entire sound inspired me to add new elements to our music. The voice is such a cool instrument, and it really allowed us to take listeners to a wider range of places.

What are your favorite songs at this point?
Parker Jameson: I think both the title track and Winter Desolation. I think they very successfully captured the things I had to say when writing them, musically and lyrically. Plus, the guitar solos are tasty.

What is the new album about lyrically?
Parker Jameson: The album title and title track take their name from an article by Richard Dawkins entitled “Viruses of the Mind”, in which he compares religious beliefs and activities to biological and computer viruses. It’s an interesting and thought provoking read, but the general idea is that, like viruses, concepts, such as religion and faith, can be spread from human to human, inducing activities such as unshakable faith in things despite total lack of evidence, aggressive behavior towards other faiths, and the idea that certain “mysteries” are not to be solved, but their insolubility is to be enjoyed. The title track is a reflection on the current world, where so many people are plagued by these mind viruses, being manipulated, and that more people need to view their own perceived controversies with an open mind and logically break down and assess their lifestyle. The other tracks generally contain ideas of facing and confronting personal struggle. The artwork really captures all of these ideas in a really surreal way, with a person entering her own mind to explore her thoughts, with all of her troubles, worries, and “viruses” (represented with the crown of thorns, fortresses, cobwebs, etc) surrounding her mind, making it a difficult journey.

What was it like working with engineer and producer Chuck Macak?
Parker Jameson: This was our second time in the studio with him, and it was super easy. He’s detail oriented, gets the best takes out of us, and had solid constructive criticism. Having been friends for the past two years and really knowing our style, he took the album exactly where we wanted it to go.

Any fun studio stories you want to share? OK, grueling stories, too.
Parker Jameson: In all honesty, it was a pretty smooth experience. We went in, took our time, and had a clear idea of what we wanted. There was serious recording business in one room, a SNES going in the other room, that was it for five weeks. The worst part was probably our studio diet of Ramen, Taco Bell, McChickens, and cheap beer… One little fact that’s cool is we got James Malone of Arsis to contribute vocals to a section on “Winter Desolation”. I hit him up after realizing his style of screams would fit really well, and he was nice to enough to contribute.

What does the classification of “shredder” mean to you and Starkill?
Parker Jameson: Fast. Guitar solos. Before I started listening to bands with singers, I was always listening to Paul Gilbert, Satriani, Malmsteen stuff, and to me I just think every song needs one solid solo. There’s a lot of incredible guitarists and bands with ridiculous fretwork going on all the time, but that to me sounds a little congested. I like verses, I like choruses, and I like dedicated sections of songs where the guitarist gets 20 to 60 seconds to unleash and be more intimate and up front in the mix. It’s just the equation that I like best for music.

Are there influences on your orchestral work? Soundtrack composers, Classical composers, etc.
Parker Jameson: I think on this album it was mostly passive. I do spend a lot of time listening to James Newton Howard, Michael Giacchino, James Horner, and that type of stuff. But on this record, I never started a project thinking “I’m going to go hardcore Hans Zimmer on this track”. This album is more guitar oriented than the last record, as well. “Skyward” and “Into Destiny” do have some pretty blatant Bach Baroque structured parts, though. Harpsichord always rocks. It brought a Hatebreeder-era Bodom feel to those tracks.

How do you think fans will react to Virus of the Mind?
It’s an incredible album. I think most people are going to love it. That said, I think a very small minority might be expecting Fires of Life 2. That’s not what we did. Fires of Life has already been done. We created something fresh and it’s exciting to have done so.

Wait, you’re already writing the follow-up to Virus of the Mind?
I can’t write on the road; it just doesn’t work. I have to have a DAW open and a keyboard and piano, so whenever we have time off, I am writing and recording. When Tony and Shaun joined the band, maybe 80% of the album was written. They helped a lot with the remainder, and polished the bits already there, but now we time to tackle the next project, and with a fresh start and fresh minds, we’ve already started writing some incredible tracks. The writing and recording never ends!

** Starkill’s new album, Virus of the Mind, is out now on Century Media Records. It’s available HERE.

Get a Free Orange Goblin Flexi by Subscribing to Decibel

By: andrew Posted in: featured, flexi disc On: Friday, January 2nd, 2015

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Over the last 20 years, Orange Goblin have established themselves as a pillar of the international stoner/doom order. Last year’s epic full-length, Back From the Abyss, was the latest permutation in the always-evolving U.K. quartet’s unimpeachable discography, and if you (understandably) want more, we’ve got it, via the Flexi Series.

Ben Ward and crew bash out previously unreleased track “The Test” via silver on (what else?) orange plastic. Set to appear in the March issue, this flexi is the latest in the series’ proud lineage of doom, asOrange Goblin join the likes of former labelmates Cathedral, Electric Wizard and the Gates of Slumber. Boasting riffs for days, “The Test” is singular to the Flexi Series. Earn a passing grade: subscribe by 9 a.m. EST on Monday, January 5 to ensure receipt of this ripping new flexi.

If you have any questions/problems with subscribing, don’t hesitate to email contact@decibelmagazine.com and we’ll take care of you. Domestic subscribers can expect to receive this issue within the next two to three weeks. All current subscribers will receive the flexi as well.