By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listenOn: Monday, February 9th, 2015
It took us a good 10 years to get it right, but Rwake is really just pronounced “wake”. Good to know since Relapse is re-issuing the group’s debut demo, Xenoglossalgia (The Last Stage of Awareness), with stunning limited 3D art with 3D glasses. We can finally sound intelligent while descanting about Dostoyevsky’s formative years, vegan offal, and Rwake.
It’s been 25 years (1998) since Xenoglossalgia (The Last Stage of Awareness) saw light of day. Seems like an eternity ago. Fans of Absence Due to Projection and Rest (as well the albums in-between) can expect a heavy helping of sludge with a southern dose of Nordic symphonic black. If that makes any sense. Few bands outside of Rwake fused doom, sludge, psychedelia, and black metal grandeur.
Remastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, High On Fire, Integrity), Xenoglossalgia (The Last Stage of Awareness) sounds amazing considering the Rwake team engineered, recorded, and mixed their tunes on a limited budget. Actually, if you don’t believe us, why don’t you stream the album in full below. It’ll bend your little mind.
** Rwake’s Xenoglossalgia: The Last Stage of Awareness is out February 10th on Relapse Records. It’s available in LP (HERE), cooler LP (HERE), and CD (HERE) for a modicum of Zenny coins. If you get the Zenny coins reference, you’re alright in our book.
By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listenOn: Friday, February 6th, 2015
Last week, we debuted the track “Caravan” from Monolith’s soon to be released album Against The Wall Of Forever. It turns out that there is a pretty decent audience for the band’s proto NWOBHM sounds. So, our friends at the new label Funeral Noise Records (a spinoff of death metal staple Gore House) asked if we’d like to offer our readers a peek at the entire album and we said yes.
Below, stream the entirety of Against The Wall Of Forever, which will be in stores on February 10. Pre-order bundles are still available here.
By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listenOn: Friday, February 6th, 2015
It’s not often a new band drops jaws. Dutch black metallers Kjeld, from Friesland, are one such band. Corrupting the good minds of northern Netherlands (and Germany) for the better part of their eight years as a band, Kjeld is modern yet reflective on new album, Skym. They play “Proud and pure Frisian black metal since 2004!” Which means there’s a sense of triumph, rebellion, and individuality in their music. Although, Frisian sounds like a hair style, it’s actually a region where the ancient ancestors first started to tame the sea by building hills for homes. Sounds peasant-like, but they were defending themselves against the roar of Mother Nature when most peoples were flinging poop and fighting over caves.
“Kjeld’s music could best be described as deeply rooted in the Scandinavian Black Metal tradition,” says Kjeld in a collective growl. “Where cold melodic passages and brutal assaults nicely merge into their own magickal blend. Ancient rituals and traditions (lyrics are in the Frisian language) combine with intense musicianship on the highest level! The CD version comes in a deluxe 6-panel digipack with booklet and the LP comes as a deluxe gatefold 180-gram 2-LP with vinyl-exclusive bonus track!”
** Kjeld’s killer new album, Skym, is out March on Hammerheart Records. Pre-orders are up and active. Choose from digipak CDs to 2xLPs (black and splatter) by clicking HERE. Cold the winds of Frisia are waiting!
The 2015 Decibel Tour is still just under two months away, but it’s cold and terrible out (grim in a bad way), and you deserve some righteous news before the weekend. We have six outstanding, hand-picked regional openers who will get the party started in advance of At the Gates, Converge, Pallbearer and Vallenfyre’s trail of fire. Hopefully you’re lucky enough to be in the vicinity of one of these super-sized tour dates. Let’s get to know these animals.
San Francisco, CA
Saturday, March 28
At the Gates, Converge, Pallbearer and Vallenfyre have travelled a lot of miles in many directions on the extreme music spectrum. In an era where bands greedily mash genres into context-free pulp, it’s refreshing to hear one that manages their influences with grace and actual innovation. So, who better to open the San Francisco show than (deliberately) label-less Cormorant? “Diversity has always been a huge part of our sound,” says guitarist Matt Solis (one of team dB’s most productive editorial acquisitions last year). “It’s not out of the ordinary to hear melodeath, hardcore, OSDM and doom influences in just one of our songs! Plus, being from the Bay Area, we’ve played shows with all types of bands for all types of audiences, so we’re used to being the odd man out.” The San Rafael four-piece traded vocalist/bassist Arthur von Nagel for counterpart Marcus Loscombe in 2013, but didn’t lose a beat on last year’s third full-length, Earth Diver, which continues to broaden their never predictable/always arresting sound. “We’ve been incorporating a lot more doom into our sound in the last few years,” Solis says. “Maybe we could get together [with Pallbearer] for a Candlemass cover or something!”
Monday, March 30 Taman Shud, the title of this Vancouver, B.C. three-piece’s second full-length, may translate to “ended” or “finished” (it was written on a note in an unidentified, poisoned Australian corpse’s jacket pocket in 1949), but the blasting, unrepentantly dour death metallers are just getting started. Last June’s Profound Lore debut turned/twisted/decapitated heads with what we called “baneful guitars, blasting drums and grunted adoration for [Lovecraft’s] At the Mountains of Madness” back in the July issue. Guitarist/vocalist Sebastian Montesi is excited to bring “something entirely different” to a lineup that ping-pongs schizophrenically between melodeath, hardcore, old-school death metal and doom. While Auroch are understandably looking forward to sharing the stage with labelmates Pallbearer, volatility fuels them. “This past September, we played Incubate Festival in Holland, and of the 300 bands, only 30 or so were heavy metal,” Montesi notes. “We enjoy playing our music to a broad variety of people, and feel it translates well.”
Tuesday, March 31
Joe Axler has been a vital component of Seattle’s metal scene for over a decade—most prominently in Decibel-approved blackened death metal squad Book of Black Earth—but the drummer is taking a different approach with Theories: catastrophic deathgrind that has stolen its share of thunder opening for the likes of Cattle Decapitation and Pig Destroyer. And since grindcore is by and large absent on this iteration of the Decibel Tour, Axler’s looking forward to blasting early birds into submission. “I feel as though there are so many bands in the world and so many styles and subgenre styles of music that any time you go on tour or see a smaller tour package, promoters will fill the bill with every band in their respective towns that sound exactly like the touring bands,” the Queens native points out. “This gets so boring! This bill is extremely eclectic and is composed of all bands that I myself and the rest of Theories are fans of! It makes for the kinda show that we would wanna see, start to finish; we’re super honored to be able to be a part of it!”
IN THE COMPANY OF SERPENTS
Friday, April 3
The world is easily impressed by two-man bands “making as much noise” as a more conventional guitar/bass/drums/didgeridoo setup. In this case, the world is right fucking on. Denver duo In the Company of Serpents administer lethal doses of “grimy, viscous sludge” influenced by, well, basically everything grimy and viscous in our Top 100 Doom Metal Bands of All Time issue. Pallbearer may make you cry later in the evening, but ITCOS will make you cry for mercy. Frontman Grant Netzorg is most excited to see the “grim and driving” attack of pond-crossing savages Vallenfyre, but notes, “Every band on this lineup brings visceral, no-bullshit heavy music to the table, regardless of what genre they might be classified as. I think audiences are less polarized by genre these days as well; if it’s heavy and genuine, people don’t care as much what sort of bow you put on it, and this sort of lineup is a testament to that.” Expect paralyzing slow jams from last December’s EP, Merging in Light.
Thursday, April 9
Gorguts, Cryptopsy, Kataklysm, Beyond Creation: When it comes to death metal, it’s safe to say Quebec knows what the fuck it’s doing. So, no pressure on Montreal upstarts Phobocosm, who unleashed debut Deprived (Dark Descent) last September. Except we really mean that. The quartet eliminates all pressure by maintaining the lowest of low profiles, going only by their initials and embracing full immersion in their craft. But they’re not operating in a vacuum—they just sound like a vacuum, their relentless barrage more often than not bringing to mind the terrifying Portal. Guitarist S.D. imagines that Phobocosm will fit right in to the Montreal show’s lunacy. “I think there’s a significant dose of old-school death metal and doom in our sound, so at least a good portion of the audience shouldn’t really be taken aback by our performance and by our music. They might even like what they hear.”
Saturday, April 11
This Neill Jameson guy, he’s everywhere (ugh). Flip back a few pages for his caustic new monthly Low Culture column. Consult the Deciblog for his painfully honest missives about life as an independent record store clerk. Hit his Facebook page for deep thoughts on Deafheaven blankets. But you wouldn’t be exposed to all of that if it weren’t for the man’s music, and last year’s Transient (number 15 on our Top 40 Albums of 2014 list) is evocative of untraditional influences that far exceed that of the stereotypical USBM miserablist. So, he should be right at home opening the Philly show: “I’ve become tired of doing the same thing over and over for 20 years,” Jameson notes. “Seeing a bunch of kids in corpsepaint playing a sports bar behind a Bud Lite sign gets old after a minute. Plus, my own musical tastes are fairly diverse, which is showing through into my own writing, so doing a diverse billing can be exciting. Or tragic. We’ll go with exciting.” As for why the kids should show up early for Krieg’s set and not get stoned in the parking lot, “There’s a court a few blocks away so there’s a lot of police. Seeing us is a modicum better than getting arrested, I suppose.”
Nightmares about my nonexistent children being killed by a falling flatscreen. Thanks, Super Bowl commercial.
Season in Hell
So, it’s several days after the big game. The dust has settled. We’ve watched every obnoxious and sad self-filmed fan reaction to Malcolm Butler’s miraculous end zone interception that the internet has to offer.
I don’t think it was the best Super Bowl ever, as a lot of fans have said this past week. But I will say this: Could we have asked for a more fitting Super Bowl? It was every bit as dramatic as the regular season. God, this season was like giving birth, wasn’t it? Ray Rice. Adrian Peterson. What about Jim Harbaugh leaving the NFL with his tail between his legs? Deflategate. The ending to the Packers/Seahawks game. Luck taking down Manning. It was like this year was scripted by the writers who wrote Dallas in the ’80s. Super Bowl 49 was where our metaphoric J.R. was shot.
Here’s a few things I want to note that I feel have been neglected by the mainstream sports media who make millions more than I do for doing this shit.
Madden: Real and Spectacular
Well, the technological video game police state of America has officially arisen and taken over. Madden (the video game), for the first time ever, predicted the exact score of the Super Bowl to the number (New England 28, Seattle 24), officially making it the smartest football brain in the world.
Does anyone else find it ironic that more people take the Madden video game seriously, at this point, than John Madden himself, who has 50 years of playing, coaching, analysis, food and cigarette-smoking experience to his name? You have been rendered obsolete, Mr. Madden. Goodbye.
Will the REAL Kate Hudson Please Give America an Erection?
Katy Perry (real name Kate Hudson) graced us with her presence at the halftime show this year. Couple things: When Perry shows up somewhere and looks hot, can America stop saying “Russell Brand fucked up” in reference to him leaving Perry several years ago? We don’t know what happened behind closed doors. She could have beaten him. She could have been a crackhead. WE DON’T KNOW!
I’d be nice if marriages could exist on attraction alone. But we all know other things come into play, like breast size. And that’s one department where Perry is obviously lacking. Speaking of which, can dudes stop commenting on Katy Perry’s breasts? We get it, they’re huge! Same thing with Anna Nicole Smith, Kate Upton, etc.. I’m from the Midwest. Dudes here are fucking obsessed with huge tits and asses! I gotta deal with that shit every day. Like what you like; I don’t need the commentary.
Also, I’m kind of frustrated at the NFL turning the halftime show in to one big jerk-off sesh for crusty old men. You should have seen these old dudes I was at a bar with two years ago during the halftime show when Beyonce performed. They were staring at the TV salivating like they were in prison and saw Clarice Starling walk by. I’m sure Taylor Swift will do the halftime show next year and come out in a 1950s bathing suit that will remind all these old dudes of, well, the 1950s. And isn’t that at the end of the day really what all old guys want?
Time: Of the Essence
We all know at this point that the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl. They shouldn’t have. It all worked out for them in the end, but I think it’s important to address something that seemingly no one has addressed since their victory: horrible clock management on the Pats coaching staff’s part.
On the Seahawks’ last drive, the Patriots had all three of their timeouts. There was a miraculous, David Tyree-style catch from Jermaine Kearse, which made Tom Brady look like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day on Day 3.
As much as you don’t want to, you are now defending a first and goal situation with less than two minutes left. You have to start using your timeouts defensively. The Pats allowed Marhsawn Lynch to rip off a nine-yard run, not calling a timeout afterward. The odds of the Seahawks scoring a touchdown on the one-yard line were in the 99% range. You have to call timeout in that situation to preserve time for your gamer QB to drive down the field, attempting to get in field goal range for Stephen Gostkowski to send it in to OT.
Instead, the clock kept rolling, and I begin to pull my hair out, because I’m about to lose hundreds of dollars, because I bet on the Patriots.
Then the infamous play call from hell happened. As for said play call, yes, I too feel it was the worst play call in the history of sports. It’s sad, but that play actually doesn’t tell us a lot about Pete Carroll’s Seattle Seahawks and who they are (as one would expect), but about Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots and who they are. Belichick forces opposing coaching staffs to be insanely cerebral when facing him, many times to an uncomfortable level. This is why he has such a staggering record against coaches in his career that are flashes in the pan. He mentally beats them. Carroll shat on himself with that play call because he was obviously thinking about how Belichick would defend said play. He was certain that Belichick would slam the goal line defending the run, thus throwing the ball would be the best option. However, throwing the ball on the one-yard line is NEVER the best option. That’s Football 101 for ya.
Seattle fans: I know that almost a week’s gone by and it still hurts, like when you lost your virginity. I would have jumped off a ledge if I was you. I feel for you guys.
As for Carroll, frankly, if he didn’t win a Super Bowl last year, the 12th Man would have called for his head this offseason, and he would have been run out of Seattle.
Sadly for Carroll, he has used up his Bad Play Call card in the eyes of the fans and Seattle media for the rest of his days there. The gloves are off from now on.
Also, don’t be surprised if a couple players on his team start turning against him over time and look to jump ship. Super Bowls validate not only careers, but players’ lives as well. Carroll, who took sole responsibility for the play call in question, literally threw a life-changing event away with a nonsensical, too-cool-for-school call.
And yes, I do not have the Seahawks making the playoffs next year. It’s Arizona’s division to lose now. This stench will stick with the ‘like a lingering skunk smell after a doctor-recommended tomato bath.
Bye, For Now
So, this concludes Encrotchment for the 2014-2015 football season.
For better or for worse, this was without a doubt the most controversial football season in the history of the NFL, and I’m glad I got to narrate it for you every step of the way.
I’d like to thank Andrew Bonazelli (Jets fan) and Albert Mudrian (Eagles fan) from Decibel for allowing me to do this and, most importantly, never censoring or stifling any of my outlandish and nonsensical opinions.
I’d like to thank the plethora of dudes in bands I’ve interviewed over this season, who gave me great perspectives of the teams they love, a lot of which while on the road and hung over out of their minds.
Most of all, I’d like to thank you guys and gals for reading. It was an honor and privilege for many of you to invite me into your homes via your computer screen on a weekly basis.
Assuming Decibel renews my contract, I will be seeing you a week before next season starts to give you my picks for the upcoming year ahead.
Every depressive suicidal black metal dude we went to high school with is dead. Well, not really, though we probably could’ve seen it coming if it were true. What I mean is, Xasthur groaner Scott Conner got a new gig playing dark bluegrass. And where the fuck are Striborg and Nortt? I feel sad sometimes, dammit, and I want to curl up naked in a dusty, piss-stained corner of a bathroom with a puke-smeared bottle of tainted liquor and hear music that speaks to my inner darkness!
Welcome Vardan. He’s a one-man DSBM machine who’s been cranking out cranky hymns for years, and recently Moribund Records has been slipping us hits of this stuff like we’re addicted. (It’s not addiction, I can stop whenever I want.) It’s only February, and already the guy’s releasing his second album of the year, called The Night, The Loneliness. He dropped a few albums last year, and another few the year before that.
This morning (no, it’s night, it’s always night…) you can check out a full stream of The Night, The Loneliness and read a few lines of opaque thoughts from the man himself.
Do you have local support, other like-minded musicians working in your area, or do you really feel like you’re alone with the music you make?
I’m alone, in some next works I will have the help of Reverend John Hex.
Is there a particular recording set-up that you always use, or do you change things for different sessions?
Drums, bass and synth are the same, I change only the guitar sound from album to album using 4 different amps.
Do you put yourself into a particular mood to create the vocals, or does that come naturally when creating this music?
Screams come naturally when I feel my inner sensations… nothing can be planned.
Do you think there’s an outward aggressive quality to your music, or is it entirely an inward, depressive experience?
The music comes from myself, sad attitude maybe helps the final result
Promotional materials suggest this is your 23rd album, but it appears that not all of these have gotten an official release. Can you talk about when your various albums have been recorded and in what format they exist?
Yes, over 23 works recorded (around 35 in total), hard to see all released but Moribund help me to see more stuff as official. The recordings are from 1997 to 2015.
What kinds of things (musical or non-musical) are exciting you right now?
I like play and listen BM, for now this is what I need.
What do you see on the Vardan horizon for the coming year?
I hope to get again the help of Moribund to see other stuff out. For Vardan I’m recording new stuff divided in six parts, I think I will have six new albums during the next time…
Most of the promotional methodologies of the digital age are platforms I don’t quite get and don’t think I’ll ever be able to hang with. In addition to the constant fishing for complements that are disguised as update/progress reports (“We’ve got two-and-a-half new songs written and we can’t wait for you guys to hear them!” or “Check out our guitar player recording 30 seconds of scratch tracks!”), there’s your barrage of usually useless information via Twitter and pointless Facebook status updates, which mean nothing unless your album is coming out today, you’re appealing for help because you flipped your van on the way to a show, or the Canadian border patrol denied you entry into the Great White North. Then, there are the absolutely pointless lyric and playthrough videos that do little more than hog up real estate on the interhole.
However, when a band I admittedly enjoy cracks off with one of the above, and I want to help them out by opening up my Thursday afternoon spot as a promotional intermediary, I guess I’m stuck between a rock and a lame place. Vancouver’s Expain is a band I’ve mentioned in this space previously, back around the time of the release of their full-length, Just the Tip. They play a quirky brand of thrash that employs as much humour as prodigal musicianship. As well, they know how to put together a decent cut-and-paste thrash collage. Six months or so down the line, they’re still pimping their self-released debut and in doing so, have created this latest playthrough video of guitarists Pat Peeve and Eric Morrison doing the unthinkable: playing their own songs the whole way through! Sure, there are a few elements that make this particular exposition a bit more interesting than your basic fret-watching; like the different faces Peeve pulls off (from falling asleep and deep concentration to mild amusement and the agony of dropping a three-pound deuce) and why it is that Morrison is wearing bondage wrist cuffs while playing guitar (doesn’t that shit get in the way?), but it’s still a playthrough video. Better you listen to the album, which is below.
By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, listenOn: Thursday, February 5th, 2015
Undead is Listenable Records‘ latest signing, but beyond that, there’s nothing else we can tell you (seriously, we asked) other than we’re pretty sure it’s not one of the ten other bands going by the same name on Encyclopaedia Metallum. What we can offer, however, is a premiere of “Voices”, which at least gives a musical face to those hooded and shadowy figures above. Based on those four minutes and fifty seconds, it’s a pretty good look.
By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listenOn: Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
We will never miss a chance to host some new music from our friends in Sandrider. They were the band, after all, that premiered a song here on the ways one might conceivably become the ultimate urban legend.
If our math is correct this is the third time they’ve made a streaming appearance on the Deciblog in the past two years or so. And with good reason — their grunge-tinted metal does Seattle proud even if many people still only look at the city’s music scene from a rear view mirror.
Streaming today is the track “Rain.” It will appear this spring on a split with Kinski which is available for pre-order from Good To Die Records. Sandrider contributes three tracks on side A.
By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listenOn: Wednesday, February 4th, 2015
How have you spent the past decade? Think you’ve been productive? Sabertooth Zombie might have you beat: since forming roughly 10 years ago in Northern California the hardcore meets Americana meets classic rock band has released 15 albums or EPs. Fifteen!
Today, we are streaming “Gardens Of Loss” from Human Performance IV, the fouth and final part of the — you guessed it — Human Performance series.
Human Performance IV was recorded and mixed by Sam Pura at The Panda Studios (Self Defense Family, No Sir, North) and mastered by Piper Payne (Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros). The album is out March 3 on the San Francisco-based label Twelve Gauge. A full track listing follows the stream.
Human Performance IV
1) The Headache
2) Coffin Coast
3) Gardens of Loss
4) Crazy Endings