STREAMING: Gamma Ray “Born To Fly” and “Master Of Confusion”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, March 24th, 2014

gammaray_powermetal_decibel_2014

Power metal isn’t a frequent sight on the Deciblog. For that we (kinda) apologize. There are times when powerful metal, with soaring vocals, eagle cries, and shiny battle armor rules our respective roosts. But most of the time it doesn’t. Power metal, at least of the Euro variety, is, well, too Euro. We do have a soft spot for vintage Helloween, however.

Which is precisely why we decided it was high time to partner with Gamma Ray–you know, Kai Hansen was once a Helloweener–for the premiere of not just one song but two from new album, Empire Of The Undead. Take that naysayers. Turns out Empire Of The Undead almost never happened. The recording studio, Hammer Studios, burned down with everything in it. Luckily, the Gamma Ray masters survived. From the fire Hansen and Gamma Ray arise!

“If this could not stop us, nothing ever will,” jokes Hansen. “We got rid of a lot of shit that we gathered there. Unfortunately, a lot of good equipment as well. Anyhow, we look towards the future, we saved the production and we can continue now in this new place.”

OK, let Gamma Ray lighten your manic Monday. Oh, and we weren’t kidding about eagle cries (anyone remember Lost Horizon?)

** Gamma Ray’s Empire of the Undead is out April 1st on Eagle Rock Entertainment. It’s available for pre-order HERE. Eagle cries sold separately.

STREAMING: Insomnium “Revelation”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen, videos On: Friday, March 21st, 2014

insomnium_deathmetal_decibel_2014

“We haven’t changed our style dramatically”, vocalist and bassist Niilo Sevänen explains. “Fans can rest assured that it is still classic Insomnium. Of course there’s also some new flavors here and there, and maybe it’s even more diverse compared with the last album. The easy stuff is easier than before, the heavy stuff is heavier. The contrasts between the songs are probably bigger than on any of our previous albums.”

The truth is we’ve heard Sevänen say this before. Probably starting with second album, Since the Day It All Came Down, and about every album since. And each time, Insomnium’s come out and destroyed all expectations. Remember, “Mortal Share”? Killer. Remember, “Down with the Sun”? Stupidly good. Remember, “Through the Shadows”? Untouchable, really. So, for new album, Shadows of the Dying Sun, the Finns will transcend space, time, and expectations. Which is why we’d like to share with fans of melodic death metal (even old-school fans of NWOSDM and NWOFDM) the new Insomnium cut, “Revelation”. Your weekend just got a lot better, if we may say so ourselves.

** Insomnium’s new album, Shadows of the Dying Sun, is out April 29th on Century Media. It’s not available for pre-order yet, but link to nab previous Insomnium titles is HERE.

BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This (or Something Like it) Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, March 21st, 2014

Mikkeller-Invasion-Farmhouse-IPA

Apologies first off, if you go looking for this specific beer and can’t find it. Consider it an example of the kinds of beers that are subject of this week’s online Brewtal Truth. The topic at hand is “gypsy brewing,” or if you find that term offensive, “itinerant brewing.” Basically, if you’re a brewer, but you don’t want to actually spend all the money on equipment and a building to brew your own beer, you can pay breweries that are already up and running to brew and bottle your recipes for you. That would make you a gypsy, er, itinerant brewer, since you have no actual brewery yourself. This is a concept that not only frees the brewer from the financial constraint of building and maintaining a brewery, it also allows him/her to collaborate with different brewers, literally, around the world. So, not surprisingly, the brewers who have chosen this path tend to be quite creative with what they produce, and many don’t really produce a “core” lineup, instead opting to do whatever strikes their creative fancy. Mikkeller, the subject of this week’s Brewtal Truth, does exactly that, producing scads of beers at dozens of breweries around the world. Other itinerant brewers include Evil Twin, Pretty Things and Stillwater Artisanal.

INVASION
Farmhouse IPA
Mikkeller (Anchorage)
Denmark
8% ABV

We selected this particular beer because it was made by Anchorage Brewing, who is a particular favorite of ours. Anchorage is known for its use of brettanomyces yeast to ferment its beers and, indeed, this follows form. Beers fermented with brett aren’t everyone’s bag, as this “wild” yeast tends to produce some unusual flavors. And when brett goes awry (as can sometimes happen, since it’s a bit unpredictable) it can create some really unpleasant flavors. When it’s good, though, you’ll find notes of fresh-cracked pepper, tart fruit, leather and funk. ANd when it comes to brett, Anchorage knows how to play to its strengths. This is no different.

Invasion is called a “Farmhouse” IPA, because, quite frankly, it tastes more like a saison (or farmhouse ale) than an IPA. And the smell of this hazy, bright golden ale is pretty unusual, as well. What it has in common with an IPA in its current state is a fair swack of hops. That’s about it. The smell is quite funky, with bright notes of cannabis, pineapple and that classic brett descriptor, horse blanket. It’s alternately incredibly inviting and slightly off-putting.

Still, a brett-fermented IPA is hard to say no to. And this one delivers everything the aroma promises. First of all, probably due to the fact that this was bottled about 18 months ago and brett continues to develop and evolve, it is remarkably dry and hides its 8% ABV shockingly well. Some double/imperial IPAs of this strength can be quite sweet, but this is almost austere, it’s so dry. What you get is an incredible mouthful of fruity/spicy hop character, a whole lotta fruity/leather funk and a crisp, dry and bitter finish. It’s like eating a semi-ripe pineapple sprinkled with pepper. You get a nice pineapple flavor, but with no sweetness and a whole heap of peppery spice. It’s very well carbonated and incredibly refreshing.

Again, apologies for the fact that this probably isn’t that widely available (Western B.C., you gotta grab what’s in stores NOW!), but what we can tell you is that if all this sounds good, then seek out any Anchorage beers. This is very representative of every Anchorage beer I’ve had. And though this has Mikkeller’s name on the label (and maybe it’s actually his recipe), this particular beer wouldn’t have been brewed as expertly at probably any other brewery.

Beer’s made by itinerant brewers can be pretty interesting. They aren’t necessarily always this collaborative, but free of the responsibilities of the overhead costs of a brewery, there’s lots of opportunity to brew beers that are a little (or a lot) off-center.

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.

Spell Song Premiere: “Possessed By Heavy Metal”

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, listen On: Friday, March 21st, 2014

Spell band Photos - web-5 (best)

Candles?  Flowing hair?  Human bones?  Leather?  Bullet belts?  A moustache?  Song titles like “Shocker” and “Possessed by Heavy Metal”?  We all know what this leads to…

Vancouver rollickers Spell used to be called Stryker, and under that earlier name the trio released an EP and a split full of trad-heavy love.  Next month, they’ve enlisted the help of Hard and Heavy Records to release The Full Moon Sessions as reinvigorated entity Spell.  The album seems to be meant as a tying up of loose ends and is intended to beckon prospective fans toward more new material that the band is working on.

When asked for details about the album, vocalist/bassist Cam Mesmer said, “This record, recorded, mixed and mastered under a series of full moons, is a summation our musical process over the past 6 years, as well as a window into the direction we have been taking more recently which will be fully realized on our next release.  If your town still has the bollocks to host cool live shows in unique spots, get in touch and we’ll bring our music to you!”

Decibel also asked – mostly in jest – about the band’s favorite places to score a burger, a question that seemed to raise a bit of unexpected ire:  “Whatever good burger joints there may have been here in Vancouver are quickly getting evicted and bulldozed to make room for faceless corporations and condos, so your best bet these days is to hike up the mountains or out along the coast somewhere nice and grill up your own burger over the fire, that’s what we do.”

On April 19th (Record Store Day) you’ll be able to hear the whole air-guitar-worthy boogying album, but right now you can hear “Possessed by Heavy Metal” on the Deciblog.  And if you’re Canadian and a real planner-aheader, keep scrolling to find out when Spell might be playing in your area later this year.

Happy Friday!  Get “Possessed”!

 

“Full Moon Sessions” record release shows:

Friday, April 25th, Nanaimo BC:

Saturday, April 26th, Victoria BC:

Friday, May 23rd: Surrey, BC

 

“Spellbound” Canadian Tour Dates:

Friday, August 22nd: Penticton, BC

Saturday, August 23rd: Calgary, AB

Sunday, August 24th: Edmonton, AB

Monday, August 25th: Saskatoon, SK

Tuesday, August 26th: Regina, SK: O’Hanlon’s

Wednesday, August 27th: Winnipeg, MB

Saturday, August 30th: Montreal, QB

Sunday, August 31st: Quebec City, QB (w Funeral Circle)

Monday, September 1st: Ottawa, ON (w Funeral Circle)

Tuesday, September 2nd: North Bay, ON (w Funeral Circle)

Wednesday, September 3rd: Sudbury, ON (w Funeral Circle)

Thursday, September 4th: Kitchener, ON (w Funeral Circle)

Friday, September 5th: London, ON (w Funeral Circle)

Saturday, September 6th: Toronto, ON: (w Funeral Circle)

Monday, September 8th: Thunder Bay, ON

Tuesday, September 9th: Brandon, MB

Wednesday, September 10th: Moose Jaw, SK

Thursday, September 11th: East Coulee, AB

Friday, September 12th: Banff, AB

Kevin Stewart-Panko’s 7 Inches of Pleasure, Pain and Mediocrity

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, stupid crap On: Thursday, March 20th, 2014

deciblog - jukebox

I get sent a lot of shit* to review; more than I can fit in any one place at one time. But because folks out there take the time to send me their wares, I usually feel obligated to give some sort of mention, nod, kudo or deliver a full-on scathing, hatchet job to those releases that find their way to me. It’s kinda like Adrien Begrand’s column, except without the comprehensiveness, quality critiquing or good taste. I had a bunch of 7″s sitting around waiting to be listened to. I listened to them. I then asked myself, “now what?” So, here I am writing about them. Let’s get a move-on, shall we?

*Please note my use of “shit” as an indirect noun, not an all-encompassing adjective.

deciblog - death of kings

DEATH OF KINGS
KNIFEHAMMER
(BORIS)

The cover art to this falls somewhere along a point between mild-mannered Troma flick poster and comic book and definitely redlines on the awesome side of that scale. Hell, the fact that a purple Viking knight is actually wielding a knifehammer tips the scale in that direction. Without a doubt. The band doesn’t do as bang-up a job defining themselves musically as they do artistically, but I still enjoyed their up-tempo, serviceable thrash. Who wouldn’t enjoy some old-school Megadeth bounce touching knob heads with borderline Swe-death/thrashers like A Canorous Quintet, Carnal Forge and even At the Gates.
www.facebook.com/deathofkingsmetal

deciblog - greber

GREBER/HIROSHIMA VACATION
SPLIT
(SUBURBAN WHITETRASH)

Two-man walls of noise is the theme here. Cambridge, Ontario’s Greber exists on the low end of things with their guitar-less line-up giving them a sludgier feel during those moments they slow down to a proverbial, but not complete, crawl. Rhythmic, pulsing and noisy, their three songs are like the most convulsive soundtrack to the dirtiest sex you’ll ever have during your 20s. On the higher register comes New York state’s Hiroshima Vacation who crack along all lo-fi and Spazz-like with throat lozenge vocals. They’d make good bedfellows for a 5 track expulsion on the next This Comp Kills Fascists release, whenever that’s going to be *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*
greber.bandcamp.com
hiroshimavacation.bandcamp.com

deciblog - agathocles

HOLIDAY SUCKERS/AGATHOCLES
SPLIT
(S.B.S./COFFIN FEEDER/ROTTON TO THE CORE/ GRINDHEAD/EPROD23/ SINISTER UPHEAVAL)

Holiday Suckers are from Indonesia and play powerviolence. At first glance, that description sounds like they might be a band that could be fun for a whirl, if not a crutch in helping you score scene points in the perpetual dick-swinging game of “who’s heard the most obscure band” because they hail from somewhere exotic. Good luck listening to them without contracting a big ol’ headache. From the St. Anger drum sound – which I’m guessing they didn’t spend a shit ton of months, money and psychoanalysis to achieve – to the clangy guitars clunking out unrecognisable riffs (despite two of their four tracks being covers), the band come across as more novelty than anything else. Agathocles on the other hand… well, you know by now whether you love or hate mince core and it’s not like these three songs are going to change opinions either way. I wonder this though: is the Belgian’s constant stream of releases got to the point of inside joke yet? Are they secretly laughing at collectors who get themselves in a tizzy every time they put something out, knowing that something “new” is going to follow 15 minutes later?
holidayxsuckers.blogspot.ca
www.agathocles.com

decoblog - spewtilator

SPEWTILATOR
GOATHROWER
(BORIS)

If I told you this Atlanta-based band had a bunch of songs about poetically killing posers, lyrics like “Drown in weed and alcohol as man’s empire falls” and “Sorcerer of hellish riffs. Faces melted. Don’t need no fingertips to fucking shred” and played a death/black/thrash/grind combo, would you be surprised? Probably not, unless this was your first day here. If meat and potatoes metal had a house band, it’d be Spewtilator; they’re not ground breaking, are certainly listenable, enjoyable enough and offer no surprises while not pretending to try and be anything they aren’t.
spewtilator.bandcamp.com

deciblog - terlarang

TERLARANG/TERSANJUNG 13
GILA BABI TERSPLIT
(S.B.S./BURNT POTATO/BE NICE/GRINDFATHER PRODUCTIONS/GRINDING REBELLION/DEATHMUTT/GRINDHEAD/DELUSION OF TERROR/COFFIN FEEDER)

First off, why the hell does it take the involvement of so many labels to get two bands – granted, they hail from Malaysia and Indonesia, respectively – to do a seven song 7”? As you can see, the cover shows a punk/crust burn out dude blissed out on a cocktail of booze and smokes as well as Unholy Grave and Napalm Death vinyl. So, with those conspicuous clues handed to you on a silver platter, you don’t have to do much wondering as to what this sounds like. Or do you? Terlarang is stripped down grind combined with smatterings of old-school metal melody underneath all the bang and clatter. They’re like Spoonful of Vicodin/Population Reduction/et al mixed with old Mercyful Fate and I bet you weren’t expecting to read that sentence. Tersangjung 13 is all about mid-period, death metal-ish, pre-Diatribes Napalm, though played fast, loose and lo-fi like they’re playing intense tribute to the Scum-era.
Terlarang on Facebook
Tersanjung 13 on Facebook

Decibrity Playlist: Fight Amp

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, March 20th, 2014

jvdfightampbootsaddle1

Last we’d heard from Fight Amp, the trio was just off a red-eye after spending 30 days last fall playing 30 shows across Europe with Black Tusk. Now that the South Jersey natives are set to hit the road yet again–a brief jaunt of seven shows in seven days–guitarist/vocalist Mike McGinnis passed along five current band’s that influence him (consider it a close cousin to bassist/vocalist Jon DeHart’s hangover playlist from 2012). But before we get to his picks, we’ll let him get you primed for his group’s upcoming tour (dates below): “We’re super stoked to be doing this limited run of Northeastern US shows with our southern brothers in Whores. These are our first shows in the states outside of Philadelphia since our run with Today Is The Day, KEN Mode and Black Tusk last year. We’re a few months off a European tour with Black Tusk and can’t wait to hit some of our usual haunts again. We’re rolling out some of our new material and feeling real good about doing this quick round of killer shows. Also, Whores are on a roll right now and are not to be missed. Second fucking wave.”

If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of Fight Amp’s last record, Birth Control, here.

Pissed Jeans
You know, we’ve been from the same city for some time and we hardly cross paths with these dudes. That being said, they influence the hell out of my guitar playing and lyric sheets. One of the best live bands around and their last few full lengths get pretty regular play on my home stereo. Hot Snakes/Pissed Jeans in Philly was probably my top show in 2012.

Whores
Our noise rock brothers from Atlanta. Can’t say enough good things about this band’s sound and songwriting. It’s simple yet super well-written. Thinking of these guys often makes me rethink some of my own riffs and remind myself that sometimes less is more. All killer, no filler, live precision.

Ecstatic Vision
New band, but extremely high on the list of bands that influence me right now, even including non-contemporaries. I work with their guitar player Doug Sabolick and seeing how hard this dude works on his art form drives me to work even harder at mine. It doesn’t hurt that this band is as dialed-in as it gets and isn’t afraid to test the waters outside of metal. These dudes are on the brink and will be talked about a whole lot in the next year.

Creepoid
I could interchange Creepoid and Ecstatic Vision between two and three easily. Another band I work closely with and have had ties with for years. Their current round of success is well deserved, and they influence the hell out of me to keep working and writing new material. These guys are writing potential hit after hit, just put out a record on No Idea that is front to back awesome with no filler, and as a “shoegaze” band, they aren’t afraid to reach into their heavier punk influenced side. Best band in Philadelphia at the moment.

Melvins
I don’t think I really need to say much about this one. Been my number one for years, influences my guitar playing immensely, and the fact that I can put this on a list of contemporaries after all these years is pretty damn amazing. Bullhead live in its entirety was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen in my life. Their “sometimes people like us, sometimes they don’t, we just do what we do” attitude continues to influence my own attitude when it comes to Fight Amp.

*Photo by Jonathan Van Dine

**Tour dates (all with Whores):

March 26th – Syracuse, NY @ Badlands w/ Blood Sun Circle
March 27th – Allston, MA @ O’Brien’s Pub w/ No Way, Livver
March 28th – Brooklyn, NY @ St Vitus Bar w/ No Way, Creepoid
March 29th – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie w/ Rye Coalition
March 30th – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar w/ Multicult, Passage Between
March 31st – Chesepeake, VA @ Roger’s
April 1st – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter w/ Hellbear, Prisoner

***Past entries include:

Cynic
Melt-Banana
Junius (Part 1) (Part 2)
Alcest
East Of The Wall
Enabler
Wolvserpent
Drugs Of Faith
SubRosa (Part 1) (Part 2)
Vattnet Viskar
Skeletonwitch
Ihsahn
Earthless
Watain
Orange Goblin
God Is An Astronaut
Primitive Man
Gorguts
Exhumed
Ulcerate
Pelican
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Howl
Kings Destroy
Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

Coprolite Crüe: The Deciblog Interview With Shitfucker

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, videos On: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

SF

Shitfucker caught our attention with their 2013 Hells Headbanger’s release Suck Cocks in Hell, which received an “8″ in the pages of our print sibling. The record contains some of the most infectious, rocking songs that have crept from the underground in a dog’s age.

Shitfucker took it up another notch with the wonderfully low-fi video for “Sex Dungeon,” which wrecks Roger Meno’s Euro Disco 80s hit “I Find The Way” as much as Buffalo Bill damaged “Goodbye Horses” with his famous mangina dance. Mötley Crüe will be going out on their final tour soon; if they want to make it a shitload more interesting they’d bring this band.

Zyklon T. agreed to an e-mail interview from somewhere in Detroit and gave Decibel his thoughts on modern metal. Disclaimer: if you are politically correct or lack a sense of humor forego the following interview, as it will likely trigger a Twitter outburst, and we’re tired of those. Also, don’t watch the video below at work unless you’ve saved well or have an understanding boss.

How did Shitfucker start playing together?

Shitfucker was formed by three teenage wastes in 2005 with the intent to play loud, evil hardcore punk. The main influences were Discharge, Disclose, Gloom and The Shitlickers. Around the time of the second demo “Human Disorder,” I joined on second guitar. Soon after our drummer Kaos left to join the band Anguish. Butcher SS went from guitar to drums and I became the only guitar player as the band returned to a power trio. After much drugging and boozing Butcher SS was unable to cope with the loose and lethal lifestyle and had to go to the funny farm! Styx Chizzler was Demonbitch’s roomate and we forced a top hat on his head and a studded leather harness on his chest and made him the new drummer. Demonbitch has remained constant as bassist and vocalist.
 
Did you listen to Venom’s Welcome To Hell nonstop on replay throughout childhood?

No. I’ve never heard that one. I’m only into post-Possessed era Venom. Calm Before The Storm, Prime Evil, Temples Of Ice….The Wastelands! That’s one of their best albums and I bet you’ve never even heard of it! The cover is total garbage, it’s great! I refuse to even check out Welcome To Hell cause every white girl with hipster glasses and a bad haircut who thinks they’re a witch and has a Tumblr also has a Venom Welcome To Hell tote bag.
 
Did any of you graduate from high school or were you already nomadic at that point?

Yes. I think at least two of us graduated. It was like the movie Rock And Roll High School but if Shitfucker was The Ramones and all of the other students had Down’s Syndrome. That’s the closest thing I can relate it to. Ripping it up on top of the desks in a special ed classroom.
 
Detroit is in such bad shape; can your band be part of the revival of the Motor City?

Maybe we think places like Portland, L.A. And Austin are in bad shape? Too gentrified with hipsters, posers, and yuppies! We like the abject violence and numbing horror that we live in. It’s an outsider town and and we are an outsider band making outsider music. Too be honest, a lot of our savage and sleazy attitude comes from our forefathers of 70′s Motor City rock! Alice Cooper, The Stooges, Ted Nugent, MC5, Grand Funk Railroad…none of those bands gave a fuck what anybody thought. People called Alice and Iggy gay all the time but they’d just rock’ n roll and then get off stage and fuck your girlfriend. That’s how we live as well. KISS named it “Detroit Rock City” for a reason motherfucker.

Do you play much outside of Detroit? Or if you toured would you just black out the whole time?

We play outside of Detroit when we feel like it. If we get offered a good string of shows or a festival that is in line with our vision of metal or punk then we usually do them. We’re not out there trying to “make it” … playing Milwaukee on a Tuesday night or anything like that like. No disrespect to Milwaukee, great place I’m sure … Jeff Dahmer’s from there, but you get my point. As far as blackouts, you can’t plan a blackout … they just happen some nights … so yes there is always some possibility of time traveling on tour.
 
Are all three of you gainfully employed?

Two out of three of us have jobs. Demonbitch and I work as tray wipers at Wendy’s. He’s in charge of the yellow trays and I’m in charge of the brown ones.


 
What does Shitfucker think of the modern metal scene?

Modern metal? Like Korn and Slipknot and stuff like that? Disturbed? Is that what magazine this is? The one with Golden God awards? Sorry…I don’t know much about modern metal.
 
What’s the ideal scenario to listen to your album Suck Cocks In Hell?

It’s a good choice for a night of auto-erotic asphyxiation. Tie a belt around your neck and then the door and jack off throughout the record and when you get to the outro stab yourself in the stomach just as you cum and then shoot blood and gism all over your turntable so when the cops show up they’ll find the record still playing, covered in bloody semen, the shiswastifa spinning away! Let the law and your family know what kind of sick shit you’re into. Let them see what Shitfucker has done to you.

Is Suck Cocks In Hell a great choice for a date night?

A date rape night maybe.

Do you subscribe to Decibel?

No. I’m not into modern metal.
 
Have you ever snorted ants like Ozzy on Mötley Crüe’s tour bus?

No, but I’ve smoked a joint on Electric Wizard’s.
 
The play on the Swastika (the band’s logo) earned you a banned album cover in Germany and some criticism in the States. What would you say to the people who don’t like it?

I would first say “Hey, you like Motorhead?” and they would invariably say yes cause hey, who doesn’t like Motorhead? And then I would remind them of the swastika that was originally in the famous warthog design that appears in the spikes on its helmet on the original cover of their first album.Then I’d say why don’t you go tell Lemmy that “using Third Reich imagery is never cool?” Of course people don’t fucking care if it’s Motorhead … this sort of hypocrisy has replayed over and over in metal with tons of bands so really who fucking cares? Everybody will interpret our imagery in their own way and that is totally acceptable. But you gotta be pretty fucking stupid to think we’re Neo-Nazis.

Thousands of people have already viewed your “Sex Dungeon” video. Does that depress or encourage you?
 
Very encouraging! A lot of really, reeeaaalllyyy important people have said a lot of really nice things about it so far. A lot of “industry” types seem to really be re-tweeting it. We’ve gotten so many compliments on our acting alone. It’s just been a dream come true.

Have you ever actually participated in a real scenario like the one depicted in your video?

Yes. I actually cut off Demonbitch’s head and fucked it.
 
Why are you guys always getting naked?

What? We’re not always getting naked. Taking your cock out of your pants isn’t getting naked. I guess Demonbitch gets naked sometimes. It’s shocking and we find it funny to see square reactions to it. It pisses people off. Plus it looks cool not to wear a lot of clothes. It’s wild and free … the spirit of heavy metal! Why did Quorthon wear a loin cloth? Why did Wendy O. show her tits? Why does Gezol wear a thong?
 
Were you bummed that your album wasn’t on more “best of 2013″ lists?

Yes. I thought this would be the year we took home a Grammy and a Golden God award.
 
What’s your favorite male hygiene product?
 
Razor blade. You can shave your head into a mohawk, trim your beard into a mustache, cut up a line of coke, slit your wrists with it or use it for the cover of a metal record. It is the most relevant product to our interests.

If Deafheaven asked you to tour would you join the bill?

I honestly don’t know what that is? Their name sounds like a nu-metal band. Do they have a DJ who wears a Burzum shirt?
 
Would you ever do a pink album cover?

Why don’t we put a rainbow on the cover while we’re at it? You may think we’re faggots but I guarantee you a lot of the pink we wear is pussy. Women all over the world have sucked us. I ain’t nobody’s bitch son. I’m a fucking black leather Master … gonna make you my slave.
 
Would you commit hari-kari if someone confused you with a hipster?

Haha…no. But I think we are far too fucking ugly, filthy and lecherous for anyone to ever say that about us.

Decibel Hall of Fame Feature Kick-Starts Agnostic Front Reunion

By: adem Posted in: breaking newz, featured On: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

AF_CFA lineup

There have been many proposed Hall of Fame features that have been derailed by inner-band animosity and grudges, but our recent spotlight on Agnostic Front’s groundbreaking NYC crossover masterpiece, Cause for Alarm, in the March issue, actually brought the five musicians that played on the album back together. Guitarists Vinnie Stigma and Alex Kinon, bassist Rob Kabula and drummer Louis Beato have been rehearsing together recently and have announced that, along with vocalist Roger Miret, this reassembled Cause for Alarm lineup will play two shows at the Black N’ Blue Bowl in May. Beato gave us the lowdown on how the Decibel Hall of Fame feature helped inspire the reunion.

“When Roger posted the link to Decibel‘s Hall of Fame [feature] on Facebook, Rob and I were on [FB] as well sharing comments. Then Rob mentioned a reunion and Roger responded in favor of the idea. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Moments later, a private message from Roger appeared that included Rob, and that’s when Roger said he had to delete the thread from public view. He [had] mentioned Black N’ Blue Bowl on that thread, and they hadn’t released any details for [the event] yet. Then, in just a few minutes, plans to celebrate the Cause for Alarm album induction [in the Decibel Hall of Fame] with a reunion performance evolved. And what perfect timing. The BNB Bowl was the perfect event [for the reunion] and we are all very pumped for these two shows. Thank you Decibel for the kick in the ass.”

Details regarding the reunion and the two scheduled appearances also appeared on the Agnostic Front Facebook page:

“Vinnie Stigma, Alex Kinon, Rob Kabula and Louis Beateaux have been practicing for this year’s Black N’ Blue Bowl!!! They will be joined by Roger Miret to complete and perform Agnostic Front’s cross over classic “Cause for Alarm” album that was recorded 28 years ago with this original lineup! This celebrates the record’s induction to Decibel magazine’s hall of fame in it’s March issue! Tickets are available NOW!!!”

Details about the dates and advanced ticket sales can be found here
Saturday, May 17th
Sunday, May 18th

Sucker For Punishment: They Are (They’re Them)

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

snider

One of the best ideas the music industry has had in the last couple years is the mini box set. Either consisting of a band’s entire discography or a certain era in its history, these reasonably priced little collections of CDs in replica vinyl sleeves, usually housed in either a clamshell box, cardboard sleeve, or something slightly fancier in a few cases, have been a godsend for those who have been meaning to explore the back catalogs of classic rock and heavy metal bands, and a bevy of sets have come out as of late. Judas Priest, Rush, Blue Öyster Cult, Deep Purple, ZZ Top, Van Halen, Yes, Scott Walker, Fields of the Nephilim, are only a handful of veteran artists given the mini-set treatment, and in a few weeks Black Sabbath will follow the trend, downsizing the epochal Black Box set into something more affordable.

This week Twisted Sister is joining in on the fun with a little set that focuses on three albums that have largely gone forgotten over the years. Unfairly dismissed by shortsighted North American writers, editors, and programmers as “hair metal” – the band will readily admit they’re far too ugly to qualify as hair metal – the work of Twisted Sister has only just started to regain a little traction again thanks to the maturation of Generation X and a subsequent critical reassessment of their two best albums, 1981’s rampaging debut Under the Blade and 1984’s wildly successful Stay Hungry, both of which were reissued in splendid fashion a few years ago. Also reissued were the New York band’s other three albums, 1983’s You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll, 1985’s Come Out and Play, and 1987’s Love is For Suckers, but seeing how those records aren’t exactly as in demand as the other two, it’s easy to understand why Armoury chose to package them all together in one box set.

Needless to say, the set is a mixed bag, but it’s still enormously fun. You Can’t Stop Rock ‘n’ Roll is far and away the best album of the three, a thunderous disc that had more in common with the burgeoning New Wave of British Heavy Metal than anything American at the time, its dense, colossal tone offset by some tremendous rave-ups like “The Kids Are Back”, “I Am (I’m Me)”, and the raucous title track, all of which hint at the explosive hooks of Stay Hungry less than a year later. The savage bite that made Under the Blade to appealing remains as sharp as ever, however, on tracks like “Like a Knife in the Back” and “I’ll Take You Alive”. It’s your prototypical transitional album, a stepping-stone that put Twisted Sister on the cusp of a breakthrough. Unbeknownst to them, that breakthrough would eventually do them in.

Released 18 months after the massive Stay Hungry, the Dieter Dierks-produced Come Out and Play pulled out all the stops, but felt far too forced, unsure of which direction to take next. On one side, the band cranked up the balls-out heavy metal that made them great in the first place, the savage title track eaaily its best moment, speeding along at a breakneck pace. On another side, though, was an unwillingness to let go of the cartoonish appeal created by their fun music videos, as “Be Chrool to Your Sceul”, complete with a cameo by a then-self-exiled Alice Cooper, went for laughs but fell flat. The re-recording of their deliberately unironic cover of “Leader of the Pack” sailed over the kids’ heads, while the deeper cuts tried to play up the “us against them” shtick, only to feel half convincing, if that.

The failure of Come Out and Play and the swift ascendancy of heavy metal as a whole rendered Twisted Sister passé by 1986, and by the time Love is For Suckers came out in the summer of 1987, the band was a shell of its former self, flogging an album that was originally meant to be a solo record by singer Dee Snider. Produced by Beau Hill and featuring half of Winger playing on the thing, it was the only time the Twisted Sister brand (not so much band) tried to hop on the glam bandwagon, and that decision contributed to Twisted’s demise shortly thereafter. The album wasn’t a total waste, as “Wake Up (The Sleeping Giant)” remains a great anthem, and the single “Hot Love” is fairly cute from a pop perspective, but it remains as depressing a note for a band to go out on as anyone could conceive.

Still, despite its weaker moments, this set is absolutely well worth the cheaper price. For a short while Twisted Sister was one of America’s foremost heavy metal bands, and these albums – one minor classic, one misguided follow-up, and one disaster – help tell a fascinating story of five lovable dirtbags’ steady rise and swift decline, a cautionary tale for all other bands since.

Also out this week:

Coffinworm, IV.I.VIII (Profound Lore): Has it really been four years since the vicious When All Becomes None? Either way, it’s great to have these Indiana deviants and miscreants back with new music, and this album is every bit as hostile, aggressive, and as unsettling as you’d expect. Typical of Coffinworm, it incorporates bits and pieces from various metal styles, but unlike other kitchen-sink “extreme” bands, this music has character, even when veering crazily from doom, to black metal, to death, to thrash in one song. Much of that is a credit to the band’s songwriting skills, but even the lyrics stand out, with tracks like “Of Eating Disorders and Restraining Orders” and “Sympathectomy” managing to convey putridity, malevolence, and a little gallows humour. And is that tambourine on the shockingly groovy “Black Tears”?! Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Dodsferd, The Parasitic Survival of the Human Race (Moribund): Whenever I see the word “moribund”, I immediately picture endless piles of black-sleeved promo CDs that used to pollute my mailbox. Beyond Leviathan, Satan’s Host and Horna, too many of the label’s bands bled into one another to the point where I could hardly care. Dodsferd was one of those bands that always went in one ear and out the other, the morbid malevolence of Greek musician Wrath coming across as too monotonous to bear. So although this new album sees the band shifting into a fairly straightforward and derivative punk rock direction, it got my attention, and worked its way into my head. It’s still not a great album by any stretch, but it sticks out, and I guess that’s something.

Don Jamieson, Hell Bent For Laughter (Metal Blade): Gay jokes about Rob Halford? Really, pal?

Earth Crisis, Salvation Of Innocents (Candlelight): If you like your hardcore straight edge, vegan, and utterly predictable, then, please, have a blast with this. The rest of you, don’t even give this a glance and go straight to the new Ringworm album, reviewed below.

Gus G., I Am The Fire (Century Media): In which Ozzy’s employee ditches all traces of Firewind’s power metal fun, instead pandering to the mainstream rock crowd with lazy, bloated post-grunge arrangements. Embarrassing, and a waste of Mats Leven’s formidable vocal talents.

Hark, Crystalline (Season Of Mist): Led by guitarist/vocalist Jimbob Isaac, formerly of Welsh stoner greats Taint, this latest power trio project treads similar territory, only this time no boundaries are set, with more freedom for songs to develop. The end result is not only a ferocious hour of sludge heaviness, but one that’s interspersed with clever little progressive leanings, not to mention the best hooks Jimbob has ever come up with. It’s those melodies that let this otherwise dense sludge breathe, working wonders on such standouts as “Black Hole South West” and “Mythopoeia”. It’s the kind of stuff that’ll appeal to fans of that Georgia sludge sound (Mastodon, Kylesa, Black Tusk, etc.), as well those who prefer more rock-oriented fare like Clutch and Torche, a spot-on contrast of brute force and catchiness.

Menace, Impact Velocity (Season Of Mist): I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard this new project by Napalm Death guitarist Mitch Harris. Instead of carrying on with grind/death metal, he’s embraced the spacey progressive sounds of Voivod, Tool, and Dredg, creating something dreamy, melodic, and just a little peculiar. Not all of this idea sticks, and some folks will not like his detached singing style, but I like its boldness. Harris is trying to create somethnig new, and it’s a modest success.

The Pretty Reckless, Going To Hell (Razor & Tie):
I wasn’t going to review this
But I thought I’d take a chance
Although you’re not clad, this isn’t half bad
Now put on some fucking pants.

Ringworm, Hammer Of The Witch (Relapse): Aside from Converge, Baptists, and a few others, it’s hard to find new hardcore worth giving a damn about anymore, but as boring as the genre has become you have to credit Cleveland veterans Ringworm for being able to make their music sound fresh after all these years. The fact is, for all the aggro crossover bluster this band is potent rock ‘n’ roll at its core, and that energy, groove, and yes, musicality, leaps out on this potent new album.

Twilight, III: Beneath Trident’s Tomb (Century Media): The subject of enormous buildup, constantly delayed, and finally released months after the band itself completely imploded, the greatly hyped third album by the black metal supergroup is finally out. Featuring Neill Jameson from Krieg, Stavros Giannopoulos from The Atlas Moth, Leviathan’s Jef Whitehead, and producer/sonic manipulator extraordinaire Sanford Parker, this project took on an even more heightened profile when word got out the great Thurston Moore had joined in 2012, and typical of any heavily hyped yet long delayed album, Beneath Trident’s Tomb collapses under the weight of such unreasonably lofty expectations. Compared to the structured and at times ingenious post-punk direction of 2010’s Monument to Time End, The new record is much more abrasive, hostile, and nonlinear, with a more industrial influence looming over every song. At times the change of tactic yields brilliant results, as on the sensational “Oh Wretched Son” and the Killing Joke-inspired “Below Lights”, and Moore’s layers of noise tie it all together like Jeff Lebowski’s rug, but try as these guys might, not enough of the record coalesces as well as those tracks. Still, as an exercise in anguish and hostility by this mercurial band, it’s quite remarkable. It was created during a rough period in several members’ lives – Whitehead’s sexual assault trial, Moore’s divorce, Jameson’s battle with depression – and much like Metallica’s St. Anger, it’s a difficult, tortured yawp that might not represent these musicians’ finest work, but nevertheless had to be made.

Vampire, Vampire (Century Media): If you’ve been following my writing for any length of time, first, THANK YOU, and secondly, you’ll probably know that any metal band that sounds like it comes straight out of 1984 is all right by me. For these Swedes, it’s all about copping underground proto-thrash, from Hellhammer, to Sodom, to Destruction, and they capture that ugliness awfully well on this debut album. Sure, the Cramps reference in “Ungodly Warlock” is a little distracting, but this is otherwise a simple yet immensely pleasing little record.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

Exclusive Sneak Peek at Danny Lilker Biography “Perpetual Conversion”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

danny in the crowd NJ (photo by howie abrams)

Danny Lilker is a goddamn legend in the metal scene. His long history includes stints in bands as diverse and influential as Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, Storm Troopers of Death, and Brutal Truth. Now on the verge of his 50th birthday, he’s announced his retirement from the touring life, and what better to celebrate his accomplishments than a oral history covering his life and career? Dave Hofer has put together such a book, Perpetual Conversion, and it’s packed with rare photos, interviews with the man himself and people that have worked with him (like Scott Ian and our own contributor Kevin Sharp), and even reprints of old reviews of his projects. It’s a pretty impressive undertaking, and you can get a gander for yourself just how much the book covers by clicking on our exclusive preview of the book’s index at the bottom of this post. It’ll be coming out later this year courtesy of Paper & Plastick. Hofer was also kind enough to tell us a little bit about the process of putting together Perpetual Conversion.

cover_press_2014 2

What prompted you to write a book about Danny?

Long story short, I ended up selling merch for Brutal Truth on their first tour back, which was in the UK in February of 2007. I went with them to Europe a year later and it was on that trip the idea was hatched. I got home from that tour and emailed Danny saying something along the lines of, “So, that book idea . . .” September of 2008 was the official start of the process in that it was the first of three weekend trips I took to Rochester to interview Danny.

He’s a figure in metal that’s appreciated by the die-hard fans and many of his peers, but I don’t think gets the recognition he deserves as far as his influence on the genre. His discography is awe-inspiring.

What was it like working with him?

Totally easy. One of the recurring themes in the book is how laid-back and easygoing Danny is, and he was open to answering any questions I had. He’s also been interviewed about a million times, so he’s no stranger to the process. We had some long days of interviews, but generally we’d just start with coffee, move onto some brews, bullshit for a few hours, take a break, eat, talk some more and then watch TV or go hang out somewhere at night. Oh, and we’d smoke weed.

Were any of the interviews particularly hard to obtain?

Not really. Again, Danny was super helpful. Early on in the process he sent out an email to a bunch of people saying, “Hey! Do you want to be interviewed for a book about me? If so, email Dave.” Some of the interviews I did were a result of this, while others were just seeking out contact info and cold calling, so to speak. As the interviews with Danny progressed, I started noticing some names coming up repeatedly, so those were ones I really sought out.

The biggest bummer was that I couldn’t get Billy Milano. He  just wasn’t into being interviewed. I have to stress that he was in no way a dickhead about it, because I know he as a reputation of being an asshole, but I love SOD so I was a little sad on that front. I met him one of the times I was selling merch for Brutal Truth and he was totally cool then, too. It didn’t cripple the book, so I can easily look past it.

Some other people I had to hound a little bit, like Dig from Earache, but I can understand: here’s some random dude trying to write his first book and emailing you out of the blue. I know I’m not the first thing on anyone else’s to-do list.

 What’s your favorite thing that happened to you while working on the book with Danny?

It’s not directly related to the book, per se, but at one point Lock Up was playing in Chicago and Danny was filling in for Shame Embury. The way that day worked out was that the band got to the venue a few hours before they could load in and relax, so I ended up picking up Danny, Tomas Lindberg and Nick Barker from the venue and taking them to my apartment so they could shower. Tomas and Danny cleaned up while Nick and I smoked weed and bonded over our love of NWA. Surreal.

Do you have any personal stories about Danny you would like to share?

The most rewarding aspect of working on Perpetual Conversion was getting to spend time with Danny. We’re not best buds from back in the day or anything, but just meeting him and finding out that he’s a kindred spirit in a lot of ways is very cool: we both love metal that’s on the brutal end of the spectrum, have a silly sense of humor and aren’t easily offended.

Did you have a favorite section of the book?

The SOD and Brutal Truth sections, because those are my favorite bands of Danny’s. I also have an interest in the business side of the music business, so I tried to include as much relevant information about labels, distribution, contracts, etc as possible. Seeing how much the industry has changed in the last three decades is astounding.

What do you think is Danny’s ultimate legacy to heavy metal and music in general?

The title of the book kind-of sums it up for me: Perpetual Conversion. Danny’s contributions to music are constantly evolving, which is crucial to survival. If you can’t adapt, you’re dead in the water.  To more specifically answer your question, though, one crucial aspect of the book is Danny’s open-mindedness, especially in the ’80s when punk/hardcore and metal were very divided. He was one of very few people who didn’t give a shit about what scene someone was from as long as the music was good. He was an integral part of crossover, which we all take for granted today. OK, who am I kidding? It’s definitely Speak English or Die.

Click here for a sneak peek at the book’s index!