STREAMING: Pharaoh “The Slasher”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Thursday, September 25th, 2014


“This album is a schizophrenic array of heaviness,” says the Pharaoh dudes from their hometown of Somerville, New Jersey. “Musically and lyrically it gathers from a lot of our separate influences as a band yet each song is its own. We have definitely showcased growth and way more of what we can do as a heavy band and it probably isn’t what people will expect. That is a good thing.”

Indeed, variation or variation on themes is always a good thing when you’re talking about heavy, sludgy, slightly doomy music. Pharaoh shouldn’t be confused with their like-named peers (if heavy metal is a peer to sludge) a state over in Pennsylvania. No, sirs and madams. There are no high-pitched screams or high-throttle guitar histrionics to castles in the sky or wolves in New Jersey’s Pharaoh. The Garden Staters are far more grounded and not nearly as toothy. The music of Pharaoh is more like slowly drowning in a stinky swamp. If drowning in a stinky swamp can be related to.

Alright then. Give in to Pharaoh. Give in the urge to fight back. It’s pretty much useless. “The Slasher” is off Pharaoh’s upcoming album, Negative Everything. Cheerful stuff, right?

** Pharaoh’s Negative Everything is out October 31st on A389 Recordings. It’s available for pre-order HERE. For $16.66, natch.

Decibrity Playlist: Winterfylleth (Part 1)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, September 25th, 2014


Instead of rambling on about how great the new Winterfylleth album is and coming up with some clever way to introduce what Chris Naughton decided to cover in his playlist (spoiler alert: it’s one of my favorites), we’ll just let the guitarist/vocalist handle the intro himself:

“Considering topics that would make for an interesting playlist relating to Winterfylleth led me down thought paths to a number of things. History, England, heritage, war, society, politics and even activism came up, but to distill it back to its purest essence and consider the original spark for what led to Winterfylleth’s creation, it primarily has to be landscapes, and then allied to that a link with local history/ancestry as well. Landscapes evoke such a visual, mental and physical reaction within people – and indeed within me and my bandmates – particularly if beheld in person. The coming together of so many different elements to formulate this visual/physical experience is not unlike the making of an album, with each bit of a landscape contributing to the overall beauty of the view, like instruments and layers contribute to the sounds on an album. I can remember walking around the Peak District, Snowdonia or even places like Alderley Edge in the early days of our band and feeling inspired to write music to capture that awe and the epic beauty in nature and in the surroundings. I think we managed to achieve that in our own way on the three albums we have made to date, and, to a potentially greater extent on the release of our upcoming fourth. It happens that we weren’t the only people to have felt this compulsion and what I wanted to share with you are some songs by bands we love or that have inspired us; ones who also capture the very essence of their environment and their history through the music they make and the imagery they portray.”

After you check out his picks, be sure to pre-order a copy of The Divination of Antiquity, here (out October 7th) and stay tuned for the rest of his selections next week.

Enslaved’s “Roots Of The Mountain” (from 2012′s RIITIIR)
Having had the privilege to tour with Enslaved for three weeks last year, we got to see one of our favorite bands play every night while touring this album. The track “Roots of the Mountain” stuck out as such a massive moment in their set and is a real highlight on the album. I’ve had countless conversations with friends about the merits of new/old era Enslaved, but to me they’ve always continued to get better and better. This track shows just how good they are.

Drudkh’s “Summoning The Rain” (from 2004′s Autumn Aurora)
I heard Drudkh back in the early 2000s when they were a small, obscure black metal band from the Ukraine through our friend Martyn Patterson – “Doomlord” to many folks we know. To this day, I think it remains my favorite of their albums and was probably among the catalysts for wanting to start a black metal band in the first place. I’d heard all the old classic black metal albums coming up through the years, but it was this album in particular that really spoke to me in the way it could link melody and folk influence into what is essentially quite an aggressive style of music. The track I’ve selected here is a particular highlight for me and really typifies the Drudkh style. I would also recommend the album Blood in Our Wells if you care to look into their discography any further.

Primordial’s “The Coffin Ships” (from 2005′s The Gathering Wilderness)
Primordial is a huge influence on Winterfylleth and really instilled in us a sense of just how a band affects people both emotionally and physically with their music. I dare you to see a Primordial live show and not well up a little bit watching them play this song. Written about a defining point in Irish history – the Great Famine – this is the story of a national tragedy that could have been avoided, but due to greed, religious indoctrination and imperialism, was not. This is their tale of heartbreak and loss about how their people were treated and what it left them with. A stark reminder of a big lesson our respective world leaders should learn (but choose not too), particularly with all the devastating conflicts going on at the moment. It’s also an amazing riff driven track as well.

Ulver’s “Capitel I: I Troldskog faren vild” ["Chapter I: Lost In A Forest Of Trolls"] (from 1995′s Bergtatt – Et eeventyr i 5 capitler)
Ulver, like Enslaved, is a band of two eras – although Ulver arguably took it even further than Enslaved when moving into their modern style. Again, I’ve heard positives for both old and new material and again I actually love both, but for different reasons which I won’t go into now. We all have a huge soft spot for the black metal material and particularly Bergtatt, which is a very atmospheric album that really sticks out because of the clean vocal passages and the flowing writing style of the songs. I’m on the team that would encourage Ulver to put aside their ill feeling towards their older material and play some shows with it. The fans would love it and I think it needs to be heard in that environment. They managed to start playing live after many years of not doing so; now we just need them to take it one step further!

Hate Forest’s “The Gates” (from 2003′s Purity)
This is probably my favorite black metal song of all time, to the point where Winterfylleth actually did a cover version of it earlier this year that came out on a split 12” EP with Drudkh. It’s pure savagery from start to end and is just amazing riff after amazing riff. Having gotten to know Roman (the guy behind Hate Forest and Drudkh) in recent years, it has been really interesting to discuss his perspective on his nation’s history – him being from the Ukraine – and how that has fed into the music they have made in both Hate Forest and Drudkh. It has also been quite eye opening as well in the sense that he lives 30-40 miles from the frontlines of conflict between where Russia is invading his country and his folk are trying to preserve their livelihoods and way of life. A strong reminder of just how close to home these types of things can be.

Bathory’s “One Rode To Asa Bay” (from 1990′s Hammerheart)
Bathory doesn’t need much explanation. Masters of the clean vocal chant and pioneers of folk influenced (black) metal, they are just fantastic musicians and an essential listen to anyone into the style of bands I’m talking about here. Hail Quorthon (RIP).

*Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!

**Photo by Ester Segarra

***Pre-order a copy of Winterfylleth’s The Divination of Antiquity here.

****For past Decibrity entries, click here

Full Album Stream: Phobocosm’s Deprived

By: Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, September 24th, 2014


Dark, depressing death metal in the vein of Immolation, Incantation and Deathspell Omega? Yes, please. Montreal-based Phobocosm have been around since 2008 but a full-length album has been elusive, even if they’ve played with Ross Dolan and co. at festivals before. They finally made it to the studio and the resulting music is beyond heavy; it feels more like drowning than listening.

Deprived will be released on September 30 via Dark Descent, who’ve had a banner year of albums. The eight-song, 48-minute album was mixed and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, Krallice) and features artwork by Chimère Noire (Portal, Abyssal). We don’t know the names and background of the folks responsible for writing the music but, hey, this is metal after all. Initials will suffice.

Stream the entire album below and order it here. If you happen to be located in Canada, Phobocosm will play two release shows with Dark Descent bands Thantifaxath and Adversarial in Montreal on September 27th and in Toronto on October 4th.

Sucker For Punishment: Is That All There Is?

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, September 24th, 2014


There were around 60 new metal releases last week, but this week we’re scraping the barrel. This silly industry is weird that way. In my digging I realized that the new Divider album is terrific, well worth investigating, but aside from that, it’s as bleak as it gets. Next week though; hoo, boy.

Aside from Divider, personally I recommend you look outside the metal genre for this week’s best new albums, including ones by Leonard Cohen, Aphex Twin, and especially Goat. But if Stryper live albums are your thing, then please, be my guest. Read on:

Beak, Let Time Begin (Someoddpilot): An album concept doesn’t get much more epic in scope than an “interpretation of the origins of the universe,” and according to Beak, the origins of the universe included a lot of yelling. Facetiousness aside, though, the Chicago post-metal outfit actually does a very admirable job creating moments of seismic heaviness that are offset by quieter, meditative passages. It’s an album smart enough to know when to hold back, and that restraint makes the powerful moments leave an immediate impression. Fans of the proggier side of metal will definitely gravitate towards this one.

Death Valley Driver, Carnivore’s Oath (Diminished Fifth): The Eastern Canadian band has followed up their 2013 album with a quick, four-song EP, but rather than feeling like leftovers these new tunes show remarkable growth. The swing and swagger is still there, but there are more hooks to be heard, which only makes their hybrid of sludge and classic heavy metal all the more appealing. They’re approaching Orange Goblin levels of excellence here. Preview and purchase it via Bandcamp. 

Deep Purple, Graz 1975 (Earmusic / Eagle Rock): Deep Purple’s exploration of the vaults continues with this complete live recording from Graz, Austria in 1975, which has been released in its entirety for the first time. Recorded shortly after the release of the Stormbringer album, this is not only a valuable snapshot of Deep Purple’s Mark III lineup with co-lead singers David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, but one of Ritchie Blackmore’s last shows with the band, right before he bolted and formed Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio. So yes, that means another ferocious, 20-minute “Space Truckin’” jam, and some tremendous performances of Stormbringer tracks, including “The Gypsy” and “Lady Double Dealer”.

Disasterhate, Mirroring The Abyss (Club Inferno): When it comes to new band names these days, you either get arbitrary get the usual “metal” words bunched together (is there a band called Witchwolf yet?) or even better, broken English attempts to sound badass but ultimately make no sense. Italy’s Disasterhate definitely falls into the latter category. Musically, this debut album is a mildly intriguing blend of thrash and ‘90s groove metal, pushing the right buttons, serving up chugging riffs and well-timed vocal melodies. A song like the goth-imbued “Toxic Sleep” shows the kind of potential this band has, but not enough of the rest of the album holds up as well.

Divider, All Barren (Glory Kid Ltd.): Although the Long Island band has been around for a good eight years, this is their debut album, which at least proves that it’s not always a good idea to rush into things. Consequently Divider arrives sounding fully-formed, briding the sheer heaviness of Neurosis and the ferocity of Converge. When tossing out comparisons, referencing Neurosis and Converge should never be done lightly, either, but this record absolutely measures up to those lofty standards. Anchored in dense, crusty guitar tones, the songs veer from lurching doom, to nervous hardcore energy, to martial, Godflesh-derived paces, never lingering too long, often saying what needs to be said in less than three minutes. The best is saved for last, though, in the form of the nearly seven-minute “Silently Marching”, which takes the music into sprawling, psychedelic territory, capping off a striking, unforgettable album. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp. 

Onkel Tom, H.E.L.D. (SPV): The side project of Sodom great Tom Angelripper is back with its first helping of booze-fueled thrash tunes in some 14 years. Sung entirely in German, it seems a fun little outlet for Tom, but aside from the ballad “Ich bin noch am Leben” (“I’m Still Alive”) its paeans to alcohol and flatulence wear very thin, very fast.

Stryper, Live At the Whisky (Frontiers): As last year’s very impressive No More Hell to Pay proved, these old Christian rockers can still play. No matter what you think of Stryper’s proselytizing, it’s no different than any Satanic metal band’s equally overbearing lyrics; if the music gets you, enjoy it on that basis alone. And this live album recorded in Hollywood a year ago is plenty potent, the band sounding tight, singer Michael Sweet sounding as powerful as he did 30 years ago. And “To Hell With the Devil” and “Soldiers Under Command” still absolutely scorch, enough to coax even the grumpiest anti-Christian kvltist’s fist in the air.

Not metal, but better than pretty much all metal that comes out this week:

Goat, Commune (Sub Pop): What Swedish band Goat had going for itself when the debut album World Music snuck up on people including yours truly in July 2012 was that sense of novelty that always goes over well with the indie crowd.  Its strange blend of vintage heavy rock, krautrock, psychedelic, and afrobeat was not only irresistible, but completely unlike anything else out there, and its very uniqueness was why it was able to become quite a little crossover success. Two years later, the challenge now is to a) prove to audiences that the first album was no fluke, and b) sound fresh enough to keep fickle listeners interested. Although the band is drawing from the same influences that permeated World Music, the sound on Commune has been expanded more, power chords and fuzzed-out bass giving way to more sprawling, spacey arrangements. The whole thing might be slightly less consistent and revelatory than the previous album, but “Talk to God”, “Words”, and “Gathering of Ancient Tribes” show this band has not lost its potency at all.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy 

STREAMING: Castle Freak’s “Still Rotting”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Castle freak

When a band names itself after a straight to video 1995 Stuart Gordon fright flick, you can rightfully expect some lo-fi death metal goodness, most likely with samples from horror movies. Castle Freak don’t disappoint. Menacing, evil, and poorly recorded, this is some seriously quality old-school death. Their latest EP, Still Rotting, is even coming out on cassette for that extra bit of authenticity! Check out the entire thing for yourself below.

***Still Rotting comes out October 7 on Tridroid records. In the meantime, you can preorder the cassette here and download their demo here.

Cough, Grind, Cough, Grind: Exclusive Die Choking Stream!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014


We’re big fans of Philly grind-punkers/Decibel tour vets Die Choking around these parts — some readers may recall our in-depth interview from earlier this year — so it is an honor and a privilege to be granted the opportunity to offer up this exclusive full stream of the band’s new blistering, un-fucking-relenting EP, II. Check it out…

Preorder II here. A cool bit on the story behind the track “Tonsil” is here. Tour dates after the jump.

All Murder, All Guts: Samhain Live

By: Posted in: featured, live reviews, tours On: Monday, September 22nd, 2014


Glenn Danzig’s fame has never waned. But in today’s constantly connected world he’s stayed famous for the wrong reasons: getting very publicly knocked out after a backstage argument in 2004; suing his former bandmates and buying cat litter at the wrong place. It’s easy to forget why people cared in the first place: Danzig wrote some of the best songs the American underground has produced, songs that have influenced generations of metal and punk bands. Take away the poorly timed pictures and Internet memes and Evil Elvis would still loom large. And, he’s never become a flat out joke like one time bandmate Jerry Only and the circus version of The Misfits, even if his explanation of the famous knockout strains credulity.

Danzig has dusted off his old Samhain material for a series of seven exclusive shows this fall. You can’t call it a full on reunion without bassist Eerie Von, even if Baroness guitarist Peter Adams faithfully recreated Samhain’s sound along with original members London May and Steve Zing. But the evening offered a chance for Danzig to show off his sometimes overlooked middle period and remind us why his music matters. Danzig’s work with The Misfits and as a solo artist gets more attention but the Samhain songs are among his best, pairing a Goth sensibility with punk and metal long before it was fashionable and popularized by bands like Decibel cover stars In Solitude.

Samhain stood in front of a glowing orange backdrop of the November Coming Fire cover and spent 80 minutes playing most of of their too short catalog. The evening started with the entire Initium album, Samhain’s first and most beloved record. Slower songs like “The Shift” sounded best; blusier material can be presented more authentically by someone pushing 60 than rippers like “He Who Cannot Be Named.” The highlight was “Archangel,” a song Danzig wrote with Damned crooner Dave Vanian in mind. Danzig played guitar to give the song extra heft and his vocals were especially soulful.

The second part of the evening showcased material from November Coming Fire, including the first ever live rendition of “Kiss Of Steel” and a rousing encore of “Halloween II.” The exclusion of “In My Grip” was an oversight — it’s one of Samhain’s best songs — but otherwise the set was perfectly arranged.

Danzig has said this is the last time Samhain will ever play although musicians are known to backtrack, especially if money is involved. If it’s indeed the end take what could be your final chance to hear a collection of timeless songs.

Samhain 30 San Francisco Set List:

Initium / Samhain
Black Dream
All Murder, All Guts, All Fun
The Shift
The Howl
Horror Biz

Intermission (Misery Tomb)
I Am Misery
Unholy Passion
All Hell
To Walk the Night
November’s Fire
Kiss of Steel
Let The Day Begin
Mother of Mercy

(Encore) Halloween II

Samhain 30 remaining dates:

October 26 – Austin, Housecore Horrofest
October 29 – Philadelphia, Electric Factory
October 31 – Washington D.C., Howard Theatre
November 1 – New York City, Best Buy Theatre

STREAMING: Nightbringer “Ego Dominus Tuus” + Naas Alcameth (Nightbringer) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Monday, September 22nd, 2014


** U.S. black metallers Nightbringer are an entity unto themselves. The Colorado-based trio make music unlike any other. The group’s new album, Ego Dominus Tuus, is a haunting reality check of the darkness that is around us and the darkness that consumes us. Claustrophobic, uncompromisingly intense, and yet very musical (think Classical), Ego Dominus Tuus is the answer to brow-beater, mouth-breather black metal. Nightbringer brings sophistication to the genre. Nightbringer brings the genre to new places, some real, some ritualistic. Either way, Nightbringer is America’s answer to black metal. All should hail! All should bow!


Is Ego Dominus Tuus merely the follow-up to Hierophany of the Open Grave or is it something else entirely?
Naas Alcameth: Musically, there is much departure from previous works I would say. The core elements that are the foundational musical identity of Nightbringer are still present, of course, but there is a lot that has changed. The approach was much more refined this time and more time, and emphasis was given to the dynamic of the guitar, bass and keyboard lines while keeping with the overall goal of composing movements highly evocative of images appropriate to the subject matter: darkness, night, strife, furor, majesty and so on. Lyrically ,there are of course some shared subjects between Ego and some of our previous releases given that they are all inspired by certain esoteric traditions, and such traditions, at their core, aren’t transient, yet it is not reiteration of what has already been said. That would be somewhat pointless. You could say that this path we are undertaking, spiritually speaking, like any true path, is something that begins to change at the onset, or more accurately it changes you, and with the first attempted step, mystery gives way to little truths and what you thought was truth gives way to more mystery in an ongoing process. This all sounds very nebulous and vague perhaps, but it is the best way I can explain this inner movement, and it is this process which inspires esoteric art, which is what we consider Nightbringer to be, so, not unlike this process, each offering from us musically is like an epiphany, another ray of light, refracted through the prism of our souls from the same light source, way-markers upon a very long path that we have just barely set foot upon.

There’s an uncommon density to Ego Dominus Tuus. Is Nightbringer’s goal to occupy sonic space and consume it?
Naas Alcameth: I think it is less of a goal and more of a habit, a natural consequence of our preference for grandiose and elaborate compositions. I have said in the past that I view our approach to compositions akin to a mason’s approach to constructing cathedrals. We are building cathedrals of sound with the same intention that a mason constructs a cathedral of stone—for the glorification of our Lord. The compositions are often complex and high-arching in order to relay the same sense intended with the cathedral. The symbolism and intent is the same, albeit who or what we praise is not. With that said, one can just as effectively relay this spiritual gravity by carving a few lines in a single stone. Minimalism is an art unto itself and when done with mastery can move the soul as profoundly as the most elaborate work.

Musically speaking, Nightbringer doesn’t sound too tied to the tropes of black or death metal. There’s almost a classical sense to the band’s musical approach. Comment on this, please.
Naas Alcameth: The old black metal influences are present still of course, but I agree with your statement overall. This has everything to do with our love of classical music. We have much appreciation for individuals such as Bach and Rachmaninov to contemporaries such as Legitti and Arvo Part. I am also a huge fan of Elend. It is also no coincidence that our black metal influences are those few old bands who incorporated this same classical approach.

Is there something deeper with the title, Ego Dominus Tuus, which translates to something like “I am your lord”?
Naas Alcameth: Certainly. The meaning is manifold. At the surface it is both commandment and revelation and says much about where one stands, at various points along a dark initiatic path, in relation to the God(s). It also ties directly into a certain divine name that serves as cipher for a hermetic process of tribulation that is represented as a hierarchical trinity.

What significance does religion have to humanity at this stage in our history?
Naas Alcameth: Keeping in mind that word ‘religion’ is somewhat inadequate as a description of what we are speaking of, given the inevitable associations that come with it, I would say that it mirrors the current state of man and the cyclic stage he finds himself in, i.e. the Kali-Yuga. It is an inevitable process of movement away from forms that may have at one point housed sacred truth to forms that are all but completely profane; we find such forms wanting, empty. It is like building a temple to house and nurture a flame, in order that others might come to be within its light, yet becoming so entranced with the edifice itself that the flame becomes forgotten, and so it is now long gone out from the temple (this could very well also serve as an allegory for spiritually inspired music as mentioned above). The temple may be empty, but we remember, while most continue to tend to the temple not even realizing a real flame was ever present, or in their ignorance mistaking sentimentality, “social progress” and the like for the flame. Most do not even bother, as the light of the modern world is enough to light their lives. Science and a purely human reason have replaced the sense of the sacred. For such people, the quantitative has become the temple, and no other truth exists. In truth, this ‘flame’ I am symbolically speaking of cannot go out. It is everywhere and in all things eternally regardless of how dead the world has become to it.

Do you see separation between Abrahamic religion and other religions of the world, ancient and contemporary?
Naas Alcameth: This is a vast topic that can only be briefly touched upon here. In approach and spirit, yes, most certainly there is a separation. To be sure, one can find similarities, but it should be stressed that the Abrahamic religions adopted and adapted (some would say stole) some of their more foundational myths from the Babylonians before them (see Herman Gunkel) and took much of their philosophy from the Greeks. When it comes to the more esoteric aspects of the Abrahamic faiths, things become complex, though even here there are differences. I will leave it at that, since it is hard to say more without going into much more detail.

There are references to magic in your music. What is magic?
Naas Alcameth: Let me now reiterate something I have recently stated elsewhere, that for us to even begin to speak of these things in this context, to try to lay bare and relay the profound mysteries of magic, is to speak with a vast measure of inevitable falsehood, as the only way to truly know something is to be it, and we are in no position to speak on such matters with a voice of authority, as to do so will ring hollow and only serve to make mockery of what we tell you we believe to be sacred. We can only speak of the shadow of the thing but not of the thing itself, by way of symbol and allegory as well as the innate inborn intuition and lastly and most importantly, by the most fleeting of glimpses of what we have indeed experienced, in dream or in practice, but of nothing else, and to do otherwise runs the risk of quickly becoming absurd, an unintentional sophistry but sophistry never the less, something we have painfully come to realize and cautiously reassess. So let me sum this question up by quoting someone who could indeed speak with an authoritative voice on the matter of magic…

“Magick is the transmutability of the Quintessence of all nature.” ~ Andrew D. Chumbley

And now let me follow it with this…

“Always we want to learn from outside, from absorbing other people’s knowledge…. The trouble is that it’s alwaysother people’s knowledge.” ~Peter Kingsley

How does Yeats play into the title?
Naas Alcameth: The title was inspired by Yeats conception of the Daemon. This Daemon and one’s ‘otherness’ is central to our beliefs as relayed within the lyrics.

Black metal isn’t often literary outside of the usual suspects. What have you been reading lately?
Naas Alcameth: I have been reading some of the works of Algris Uzdavinys, Peter Kingsley, Johannes Nefastos and have most recently started going through Chumbley’s Dragon Book of Essex.

Tell us about the cover art by David Herrerias. How does it relate to the music?
Naas Alcameth: The album cover depicts the hierarchical triad, the enigma of the sacred name and path spoken of above. David is involved with many of the same esoteric currents we value which only further strengthened the symbolism used. He did an absolutely brilliant job.

What do you think of the current state of US black metal and where it’s headed?
Naas Alcameth: I am mostly ambivalent towards the scene in general. I like the bands I like, and am very appreciative of the good black metal that does surface, regardless of location. For me that is really enough. I can say that I have been really impressed with Funeral Presence.

Why is darkness so unfrightening now? Or perhaps darkness is merely light in another guise.
Naas Alcameth: Aesthetic has become unfrightening perhaps. Darkness? No… People have adopted this idea that darkness is simply an idea, a concept as effuse as a daydream, opposed to something real. Darkness is as real and alive as you or I, so much more so. There is a tendency not to fear what you are simply not aware of, what you truly do not know and have no real reference to even begin to know. True darkness, in its most profound sense, is the very heart of all fear. Those that experience this darkness experience what it actually means to die, to die in the most profound possible way, and none but those that have learned how to “die before they die” could possibly be in darkness without fear. Some of us have come close to this darkness in dreams (especially in dreams) or during meditation, or during hallucinations and those of us who have respect the magnitude of what this is and understand a fear that is far beyond the mortal fear of physical harm. This darkness is the dispersion of who you are (what you think you are is more correct). It is the slipping away of everything, literally everything, and all you know to be you. It is complete and utter annihilation, and yet it is also the road to salvation. This all sounds very melodramatic, but the truth of it hums just beneath the surface of your waking reality, and all one needs to do is to deprive one’s self of all senses for a duration of time to begin to understand, to feel this truth. Even still most will rationalize the significance away afterwards, like treating a burn (as the darkness burns all who enter) with an anesthetic until the significance is buried under the numbness of reason. Learn to be still (so that you may feel this darkness), learn to be silent (that you may hear it speak) and learn to die (that you may for the first time live). This is what we seek. Nothing less.

** Nightbringer’s new album, Ego Dominus Tuus, is out September 30th on Season of Mist. It’s available HERE (domestic!) for Pre-Order. We recommend clicking the link before Eschaton brings us all down.

Mysticum (all members) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, September 19th, 2014

photo by Peder Klingwall

** Mysticum have mystified black metal purists for decades. The Norwegians’ debut album, In the Streams of Inferno, split black metal into tiny shards, its fans wondering what the fuck in its wake. Originally slated to be released on Euronymous’ Deathlike Silence Productions, the ground-breaking, genre-defying release found a home on American black metal label, Full Moon Productions. Even today, now reissued by Peaceville Records, In the Streams of Inferno makes black metal cower under its innovation and otherworldly presence. The Norwegians, inactive for a spell, are now back with follow-up album, Planet Satan. No less frightening, elusive, and powerful than its predecessor, Planet Satan is another album for black metal to digest and misunderstand with great frequency. Perhaps not. It’s been 18 years between albums. Actually, time doesn’t matter. Mysticum still mystifies!

(photo by Peder Klingwall)

What’s Mysticum up to lately? New album, Planet Satan, is coming out soon, right?
Mysticum: Yes, Planet Satan is being released by UK company Peaceville Records the 27th of October. Besides the upcoming release we’re just about to enter the rehearsal studio again and rehearse the new songs and also make more new music for further releases, so great things are happening with the band nowadays.

Will Planet Satan be a continuation of In the Streams of Inferno or something entirely different?
Mysticum: In many ways it will and in many ways it also reminds us of the debut because the style of it is the same in much of it. It also is a lot like the later stuff like “Eriaminell” and “Black Magic Mushrooms”, so there is nothing to fear about this release. This release will surprise you over and over again and your favorite song will probably change all the time. We are satanically proud of this release and think it our best work.

In the Streams of Inferno was re-reissued this year. What’s different about the Peaceville version?
Mysticum: The whole thing is different, like the artwork that includes more pictures of the band and individual pictures of each member. The front cover is giving away the atmosphere of what Mysticum is about in that album and the audio of the album is re-mastered to get the more correct sound that was actually meant for it. We were much younger at the time this album was recorded and very eager to get it out as soon as possible because of all the delays made be the tragedy of Euronymous. The guy mixing the album was not into any kind of metal music at all, but more into pop and rock so he did not have a clue about what we wanted so that’s why it sounded that way. Now Mathias and Tom at Strype Audio did the re-mastering and the sound turned out as good as it can possibly get we think. Yes the reissue also contains the very first live show we did under the name Mysticum.

What do you think of the album after all these years?
Mysticum: We still think it kicks shit and no one actually has understood what we are about to clone us and that is a good thing we think, or perhaps it is just the respect out there keeping it from being cloned. It is raw cold and a massive sound and gives away an atmosphere we’ve not heard before, so we’re very satisfied with it still.

The Norwegian scene became insular after Euronymous’ death. What do you recall about Norway, as a scene, from 1993 to, say, up to the release of In the Streams of Inferno?
Mysticum: Yes, it got insular because people were pretty much shocked about what happened to him. It was the greatest tragedy in black metal history and it divided the Norwegian black metal scene and the hatred grew insanely huge against the ones involved in the participation of his murder. People from the Norwegian scene got involved with the Swedish black metal mafia “the inner circle” and things went really crazy… People wanted to avenge his death. This whole shit really delayed our release of the debut album at that time which was supposed to be titled Where the Raven Flies.

Do you remember why you changed the album title from Serpent Mysticism and then Where the Raven Flies to In the Streams of Inferno?
Mysticum: Serpent Mysticism is something we totally have forgotten about and I can’t still remember that title [Laughs] Where the Hell did you get this from? But the title seems very realistic because of the earlier band name Sabazios, which was an old Greek snake worshiping sect. Thank you for reminding us about this.

Mysticum had an unorthodox approach to black metal. What was your vision, if you remember?
Mysticum: Our vision about that approach now called industrial black metal was to make music like we did and actually more like you hear it on the later stuff and the up-coming album Planet Satan. Industrial sounding guitar and electronic/computer programmed drums and samples were the idea, mixed together with black and death vocals and a bit of psychedelics too. Unorthodox yes but who the Hell gives a shit but us. [Laughs]

At the time, a lot of people didn’t know what to make of In the Streams of Inferno. Now, it’s a cult classic. Is there such thing as the right place at the right time?
Mysticum: It was very ‘new’ at that time and the normal kind of Norwegian black metal was still growing, I guess. I think as you mentioned in the last question it was unorthodox and perhaps a bit ‘blasphemous’ towards this Norwegian black metal receptive that had developed and that is why Euronymous probably liked it so much because he could sense the value and dark position out of this essence we were cooking up. He said that he believed this was going to be huge in the right time further into the future and the morons complaining about this did not understand shit about what all this was about. [Laughs] He was a brilliant man.

I’m sure the drum machine threw people. What do you remember about the decision to use a drum machine rather than, say, a drummer like Hellhammer, who was briefly part of the lineup?
Mysticum: I answered parts of this question on your last question, so I’m not gonna repeat myself again. Hellhammer was never part of Mysticum, but we rehearsed with him for a little while to see how it sounded and we thought that it was not cool with organic humanized drumming so we went back to the old ways with programmed drums. Hellhammer also wanted to turn Mysticum into Mayhem at that time, but we turned down that offer too.

** Mysticum’s new album, Planet Satan, is out October 27th on Peaceville Records. Pre-orders can be made HERE if you’re sci-fi and into the blackest metal from the outermost parts of the galaxy. Yes, this is all true.

Let Abazagorath Rekindle Your Spirit of Hate For Mankind

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, September 19th, 2014

abazag featured

New Jersey-based brazen black metallers Abazagorath have sprinkled the last six or seven years with splits and an EP, but October 7th of this year will see the release of their first album in ten years.  What does the band have in store for you on their nearly-dawned The Satanic Verses?  How do you feel about losing limbs, face flesh and copious amounts of blood from your neck?  Abazagorath promises all this (with occasional interludes so you can fully absorb what is happening to you) and threatens to turn your brain into an inescapable hall of dark rituals.

A month ago, Invisible Oranges threw us all a bone with a premiere of the new album’s lead track, “Mahound,” and now you can hear “The Angel Gabriel” here at the Deciblog.  Read below and find out about the band’s plans, influences, and why the next album will not take another ten years.

Can you talk a little about the members of Abazagorath, what your lives consist of, and how that affects the band’s recording/performing schedule?

The black cult of ABAZAGORATH consists of three demonic entities: Warhead (Thermonuclear Drums of Doom, Verbal Hate Amplifier), Ciemnosc (6 String Razorwire Decapitation) and Aversario (Subsonic Volcanic Emanations). As far as our personal lives it’s no one’s fucking business what we do in our personal time, all you need to know is Abazagorath practices on a weekly basis and we continue to create music we enjoy Christ Raping US Black Metal.

What was the drive behind starting Abazagorath in the first place?  What do you think has changed musically/conceptually about your songs over the past 10 or 20 years?

In June of 1995, ABAZAGORATH was formed with the intention of creating original Black Metal with a dark and haunting atmosphere. ABAZAGORATH reflects the initiates’ deepest fantasies of hatred, war, melancholy, darkness, evil, the occult and death.  The sonorous magick of ABAZAGORATH represents a union of warlike ferocity with an eerie, mystical aura. As far as the songs over the last 19 years, real simple we have all matured as musicians. But it is also due to a desire from all the bands members to create and release music that is constantly fresh and constantly taking things a step forward. Abazagorath is a band that has never done the same album twice and we have always been looking for ways to advance and improve our sound while still retaining the fierce, hateful, uncompromising attitude that has defined Abazagorath throughout our career.

What bands or experiences do you think have influenced your writing/playing style?

VENOM was my personal inspiration and what got me into Black Metal, but you can hear early 90s Norwegian / Swedish Black Metal as well as the original early to mid-80s Black / Thrash movement in our music. While we still refer back to these points of inspiration, we are not content to churn out a mere re-hash of these styles, but are trying to build up on the influences to create something that is not so simple to classify as just stereotypical Black Metal.

How did The Satanic Verses come together?  What was the writing process like for these songs?  Was recording a straightforward or difficult process this time around?

The writing for the new album was just like the last 2012 self-titled EP. The guitar tracks were recorded with a drum machine and then handed out to each member to learn. I would add my own drum style and Ciemnosc would then add harmonies, solos, etc. Once everybody learned the material we would start practicing the material live.  The recording was straight forward and relatively easy. All the drums were done in one take, plus we had the luxury of recording at Ciemnosc’s studio Wrong Planet.

What tour plans do you have to support The Satanic Verses?

As far as shows for the year we only have 2 live rituals scheduled. Signature Riff presents Friday December 5 The Acheron Brooklyn, NY (Abazagorath record release), with fellow Eternal Death artists Sangus and One Master. We will also be playing Baltimore MD Saturday Dec. 20 with long time war brothers Bloodstorm and Kult Ov Azazel. I am currently working out tour dates for 2015 so stay tuned.

Do you anticipate an extended break after The Satanic Verses, or do you expect more     immediate future work with Abazagorath?

NO.New material is being crafted and honed to lethal precision and previously unreleased hymns may force their way unto the world. Once again the Horns of ABAZAGORATH will Impale the Heavens!!!   Arrogance & Wrath….

The album can be ordered from Eternal Death here.  Be sure to check out all things Abazagorath at the band’s Facebook page and their Bandcamp site.