Fight Amp Studio Report, Part I

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Monday, September 29th, 2014

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By Mike McGinnis

Harsh riffs make for harsh vibes in the studio. Embrace the angst and capture it on 2″ tape. That’s the plan.

It’s been around two and a half years since Fight Amp recorded an album. Halfway through the writing of 2012′s Birth Control, we made another drummer switch and immediately hit the road with Weedeater. When Birth Control was released, we did a last minute tour to support, a couple full North American package tours, and put writing new material on the back-burner until we went through an album cycle and broke in our still-very-new drummer at the time, Dan Smith. Needless to say we were burned out on writing, as Birth Control featured another mid-writing-process member change, just as every one of our previous records had.

Well, after nearly two years of touring and developing chemistry, Dan and both long-time members Jon DeHart (bass/vocals) and myself (Mike McGinnis, guitar/vocals) were feeling ready to showcase what Fight Amputation had become. 2011—2013 featured roughly 70-100 shows a year for us and after hitting Europe with Black Tusk in late 2013, we decided to pump the brakes. It was time to start honing the new material that we had been dabbling with prior to that tour.

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From the inception of the ideas for these songs to the recording itself, this is the first time since the beginning of Fight Amp that we’ve had the same lineup from start to finish featured on a record. We found a sweet spot and chemistry in the writing process and feel like we’ve identified a sound that is Fight Amp.

After a few demo sessions and tons of time in our practice space, the time to cut the record at Gradwell House Studios finally descended upon us. We’ve been recording with engineer Steve Poponi for years, and it’s been a killer experience for Fight Amp. Steve has grown with us, and knows what we want without us having to go through the initial trial and error. He also isn’t afraid to be critical with us, often saying “what the fuck was that” when we decide to throw in that “let’s get weird” curveball. We also have the luxury of living about 20 minutes from the studio, so sleeping in our own beds and making our own hours certainly doesn’t hurt the process. The advantage of staggering sessions to clear our ears and minds is enormous.

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Our goal in the studio is to encapsulate our best live version of a song. We don’t like to use a lot of studio magic (big surprise for a three piece heavy noise rock band) and our number one priority is capturing energy from a great live take. That being said, we spent the first night just getting sounds so we can focus on the energy and performance while tracking.

Drums first. We always end up referencing In Utero in this process, but this time we’re looking for a slightly more on-top drum sound similar to our 2008 LP Hungry For Nothing. Early Melvins maybe? Gradwell, especially when tracking to 2″ tape, can capture one of my favorite studio drum sounds on the east coast. When you put a hard-hitting drummer with a tight pocket behind a great sounding kit in their room, it’s going to sound huge. We went through some examples and mic arrangements, ran some tracks through the tape machine, and landed somewhere we were all really stoked on. Huge and on top. Side note; we landed on the smallest size drums we’ve ever used in the studio.

More sounds, bass next. Jon’s rig for this session: Fender Jazz Bass > Boss DS-1 (yep) > GK800RB > Kustom 3×15 / Fender Bassman 50 > Ampeg SVT 4×10. Always two bass tracks on our records. This is a similar rig to what we used on Birth Control, besides the Ampeg 4×10. We went with all 15″s last time. We floated some ideas, made some comparisons, and found another sound we were stoked on. Always too early to tell, but this might be my favorite bass tone we’ve found yet.

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Guitar sounds last. I always do four total guitar tracks, two during live tracking and two during second guitar tracking. For this session: Gibson SG > RAT > MXR Micro Amp > Peavey Classic 100 > Marshall 4×12 / Acoustic Model 450 > Ampeg 2×15. I always like to mix at least one solid state amp into my setup. Need a little attack to counter that tube and tape warmth. This is my show rig these days, and I’m loving it both live and mic’d up.

Fast forward to Day 2. We got the sounds we like and finally started tracking. But of course after the hours and hours of tone adjustments, we weren’t hitting the songs the way we’d like. Beer, weed, coffee, pizza…. Still a lackluster performance. Pocket issues, tempo problems. We like to keep the click track far away from these songs to allow for natural fluctuations and a live feel, so it can be a challenge landing on a tempo we’re all happy with. We called it early to save some frustration, came back the next day, and there it was; 8 songs tracked on day 3. Killed it.

We wrapped up the weeks sessions with a fourth day of tweaking some small parts, a few punch ins and edits, and some light mixing. Lo and behold, we landed on 8 tracks we’re really fucking stoked on. Fast and slow, down-tuned and up-tuned, bummed-out-harsh-sludgy-noise-rock-hardcore-punk. At our best, with a three piece power trio lineup that has been together for an extended period of time.

Now a layover and sitting on my hands for a couple weeks while we work on vocals and I wait to track second guitars…. Stay tuned.

** Fight Amp’s new album is out Spring 2015 on Brutal Panda Records. Keep your limbs peeled for pre-orders and other cool announcements.

For Those About to Squawk: Waldo’s Pecks of the Week

By: admin Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, September 26th, 2014

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WOW, there’s FINALLY some releases trickling in.

I’m going to start off with a much maligned genre. Get your slam on! INTERNAL BLEEDING release Imperium, and I gotta say, I’m pecking digging it.  This IS slam metal, something they’ve been known for for years, but there’s more to it than just  pure slamz. I mean, don’t get me wrong: there are some GNARLY pecking breakdowns here, but they tread lightly into other extreme territories, all without abandoning their own brutal sound. There are some small melodic passages here and there, but these really fit and never detract from the overall sound of nihilism. The production here is clean and distinct, and each instrument can be heard without taking any bite out of the mood of desperation. This genre has really been done to death, but Imperium prove that you can do this type of thing without giving up the ghost. 7 Fucking Pecks.

I just gotta review a band called COUCH SLUT. I mean, why the squawk wouldn’t I? Well they released six songs entitled My Life as a Woman on the Handshake, Inc. label. To call this noise would be unfair, to call this punk would be unfair, to call this metal would be unfair. To be fair would be to call this a hodgepodge mixture of all three. This is one of those amalgams where you know the members all come from different musical backgrounds, but it blends into one ear-bleeding, sinister package.  This is cool, no doubt, but still feels a little like a band trying to find it’s legs, like it meanders a little here and there. This is one of those bands that one should definitely be on the lookout for. LOVE the artwork, too.  PECK this out (get it?) 6 Fucking Pecks.

Okay, so, let’s address some stuff…

GODFLESH A World Lit Only by Fire. Haven’t heard it, want to hear it, I’m SURE it’s going to be good. Decline and Fall was PHENOMENAL.

PUIG DESTROYER s/t. I ain’t touching this.

MR. BIG …The Stories We Could Tell. Hahaha, REALLY?!?!

ELECTRIC WIZARD Time to Die. I’ll bet it’s good, so like, let’s just go with that, shall we?

RIGOR MORTIS Slaves to the Grave. They’re baaaa-aack. Looking forward to getting my wings clipped for this.

AUDREY HORNE Pure Heavy. Any band with a Twin Peaks reference for their name is usually no good. Once parrots can become president, I’ll veto this sort of thing.

 

New Encoffination Song Stream!

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, September 26th, 2014

Photo by Greg Cristman | www.gregCphotography.com

Cemetery picnickers Encoffination rise again next month with their third full-length album, called III – Hear Me, O’ Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs).  Says vocalist/string-scather Ghoat of the forthcoming set of grueling, buzzing doom:  ”The concept of this record is the glorification of death: an offering to the embodiment of death’s creation, and to sing the wretched hymns of death’s omnipresence, to kneel to death’s crown as we all shall fall under death’s eventual grasp. There will be more of the texture presented on the last record: organs, samples, choirs, and more, all with the same acrid funereal doom we have become known for. If the last record were a tool to teach about death, this record is that creation.”

The album will see release on October 21st on the fantastic Selfmadegod Records. And now, for your listening misery, the first true track of the album, “Charnel Bowels of a Putrescent Earth,” as well as some commentary on that song by the band.  Dooooooooooom!

Since the album was recorded over such a long period of time (about a year), when within that span was “Charnel Bowels” recorded?

“Charnel Bowels…” was the first song recorded. The entire album is presented chronologically. In the past I have sequenced the albums differently, but with III… everything just fell into place as we went.

How did it get its position as first post-intro song on the album?

Other than the above… the first song of each album has started the same, so I kept the theme: a slow, crushing riff accompanied by the funeral bells. With this track I feel like we have a trilogy, starting with ‘Nefarious, Yet Elegant Are The Bowels Of Hell’ from Ritual and ‘Rites of Ceremonial Embalm’ment’ from O’Hell.  I want each album to grab you by the throat and sit on your chest from the first note… to suffocate and not let up. We had to keep the theme going…

Pre-order from Earsplit Distro here, or pre-order from Selfmadegod here.

Exclusive Album Stream: Introducing Laika’s Somnia

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: exclusive, featured, free, listen On: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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So, I was in Winnipeg a couple weeks ago and boy-howdy was it already cold as shit! When I was there in early November last year, there was already a disconcerting and disheartening layer of frost covering the city the morning I rolled into town and I recall snow pelting me one day when I was wandering around outside somewhere trying to get some decent cell reception. I already knew it, but there is more than a little truth to whole “Winterpeg” thing and everyone staying inside and rock and rolling because it’s fifty below at the corner of Portage and Main. Hell, at one point last winter it was colder in the Gateway city than it was on the Moon, or Mars, or some other planet nowhere on Earth has any business being colder than.

This, in a roundabout way, sort of brings us to Laika. The melodic death metal sextet hail from Winnipeg and since their inception in 2009, have (probably, if not hopefully) used winter time to stay inside and rock and roll with the result being an EP and two full-lengths. The latest of which is entitled Somnia and we’re presenting an advance stream of it for y’all today. Set for release next Tuesday on Filth Regime Records, the band takes their name from the Soviet dog who became one of the first animals to travel to space. “In the beginning we were quirky dudes full of pretty insane ideas, much like sending a dog to space, so it seemed fitting.”

For fans of Insomnium, Dark Tranquillity, Children of Bodom, Amon Amarth and Mors Principium Est, I’m told, though I do hear a little Edge of Sanity and some Japanese quirkiness in there as well. But you don’t need me telling you what’s what, the entire album is right here for you to enjoy.

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Encrotchment With Eddie Gobbo From Jar’d Loose: Week 3

By: Eddie Gobbo Posted in: encrotchment, featured On: Thursday, September 25th, 2014

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Did you guys enjoy the heavily NFL-promoted premiere of Madam Secretary, starring Tea Leoni, as much as I did?

Beng Your Pan

Last winter, I played a gig in Columbus, OH, at Carabar and struck up a football conversation with the club’s owner, Ron. He’s a HUGE Pittsburgh Steelers fan. I guess a Steelers fan existing in Columbus makes sense because there isn’t a pro football team there, and Pittsburgh’s a mere two hours away (not to say that proximity is everything in fandom, but it’s something). When I was in Columbus this past summer, I noticed the dudes from the band Bridesmaid had a Cleveland Browns magnetic schedule on their fridge. This too makes sense, considering Cleveland is also a mere two hours from Columbus. Now, when I heard Skot Thompson (not the Kids in The Hall actor), bassist for Columbus stoner/groove-pop kings Lo-Pan, was a big Cincinnati Bengals fan (yes, also two hours away), my head exploded! Three teams repped in one city equidistant from all three?!  So, when the great Lo-Pan came through Chicago this week on their tour with Black Cobra, I couldn’t resist picking Skot’s brain about said issue, among other things:

“There actually aren’t a lot of Bengals fans in Columbus. It’s all Steelers and Browns fans there. I was born into it, basically. My dad and my dad’s side of the family were all from Cincinnati, so I, by proxy, became a Bengals fan…Unless you live in Dayton, Cincinnati or Kentucky, nobody likes the Bengals. It’s really weird.”

It should also be noted that at the start of this interview, Lo-Pan drummer Jesse Bartz walked by us and yelled, “GO BUCS!” I guess there are Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans in Columbus, too (wink, wink).

The Bengals have always been an interesting franchise to follow. First off, they’ve been around almost 50 years and have never won a Super Bowl. I’ve seen several horrible Bengals teams in my day, and only a few good ones. But when they’re on, they’re on. Their mid-2000s team featuring the high-powered Carson Palmer/Chad Johnson offense was a thing of beauty. If you’re in the mood to watch offensive football porn, watch the Nov 20, 2005 game between them and the Peyton Manning-led Colts. Without question, the best Bengals team is history was the 1988 AFC Championship team, led by quarterback and MVP Boomer Esiason. Cris Collinsworth, the guy who tears everyone a new asshole every week on Sunday Night Football, was also on that team. As good as the Bengals were that year, they lost to the 49ers in the Super Bowl. But going against Joe Montana, who can blame them? Well, according to Skot, his uncle can, and did:

“I actually watched that Super Bowl with my uncle, down in Kentucky. I saw him put his foot through the television and throw it out the window of his third-story apartment building.”

As for this season, the Bengals are a surprising 3-0. Quarterback Andy Dalton is playing with a confidence I haven’t seen from him since his rookie Pro Bowl year. It also doesn’t hurt that his team is the toast of their division this year. Between the current states of the Steelers, Browns and Ravens, it’s Cincy’s division to lose. However, as pointed out by Skot…

 “Being a Bengals fan, I really don’t have to watch football that much because it’s pretty predictable what’s going to happen: They’re going to get to the first round and eat their own dicks… if anything goes past that, you’re gold. Now that they’re 3-0, I’m starting to get a little excited, but I’m wondering when they’re going to shit the bed. So far it’s working, though.”

I am very high on the Bengals over the next few years. Dalton signed a six-year, $96 million contract extension over the offseason. Cincy could be a couple years away from legit Super Bowl talk. But let’s not put the cart before the horse. Dalton needs to, at minimum, get his first playoff win this year. Then we can talk the next step.

Before parting ways, with Skot, he asked me a question about my beloved Chicago Bears:

“What’s with the crick in Jay Cutler’s neck? What the hell is that?”

I’m not used to people asking me questions during these interviews, so I ran out of the room screaming.

Check out this track from Lo-Pan’s new record, Colossus, due out October 7 on Small Stone, and check them out on tour in the U.S. with Black Cobra this fall, and the Roadburn Festival this spring. A must-see. They absolutely CRUSH live.

Return of the King

On Thursday Night Raw this week, the Falcons’ Devin Hester ran back his record 20th return touchdown. In doing so, he officially surpassed head pimp in charge, and first ballot Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders. So, now that Hester is the return king, is it safe to say that he’s a lock for the NFL Hall of Fame?

The HOF hates special team players. Technically, there are only three special team players currently in the Hall of Fame. Hester is without a doubt a special team player in its purest form. He has never contributed on a regular basis in any other capacity. That said, he is the undisputed best special teams player ever. Yes, there have been some great field goal kickers in the game’s history. But aren’t field goals supposed to be made? Percentage-wise, field goals from 20 yards out or less out are made close to 100% of the time; between 20-30 yards, around 95% of the time; 85% percent between 30-40; 75% between 40-50 yards; and 60% from 50+. Say a field goal kicker hits 400 field goals in his career (more than Hall of Famer Kicker Jan Senerud) without missing, and the majority of said field goals are between 20-40 yards. Would he deserve to be a Hall of Famer? He has not defied any statistics in doing so. Punt/kickoff returns for touchdowns percentage varies by year, but is somewhere south of 5%. For Hester to fall in to that 5% range 20 times in his seven-year career is INCREDIBLE. Knowing this statistic, special teams player or not, it’s arguable that Hester should not only be a Hall of Famer, but a first ballot Hall of Famer.

Hester’s Hall status actually came up on ESPN’s Mike and Mike show this week. Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter, a man whose opinion I highly respect, said making the Hall is “awfully hard for a part-time player,” but believes Hester should be there. When asked by Mike Greenberg if Hester should be a first ballot Hall of Famer, Carter said first ballot Hall of Famers are players that, “the history of the NFL cannot be written without.” I believe the history of the game now cannot be written without Hester. He holds a record that will more than likely never be broken, especially since kickoffs moved up to the 35-yard line. He will make it to the Hall of Fame one day. First ballot, more than likely not. Such is life on the return line.

Ware, the Line Lives

I want to go on the record saying how much I love the Demarcus Ware/Denver Broncos relationship. It’s like two rich, attractive, classy, late 50s divorcees finding each other after their spouses left them for weak-minded ditzes (“…and we like visiting them better, Mom!”). Ware made a significant impact on Sunday with his sack on Russell Wilson deep in his own zone, and following it up by safetying Beast Mode, who never gets safetied. Ware brings major stability to that Denver line. A good line will force teams to pass, creating more plays for studs like Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and a kid certain for a breakout year, Chris Harris, Jr. (who had a big interception this week).

I know it’s weird that I am singing the praises of the leader of a defense that gagged on it’s own vomit in OT this past week. However, this loss was as close to a victory as a team could have gotten without, well, winning. Denver came back and almost beat the measuring stick (Seahawks at home) in a game that seemed to be out of reach early in the fourth quarter (Pete Carroll was already in obnoxious rejoice mode).  Denver would have lost this game by 20 points if their D from last season showed up. They’re not a cupcake D anymore. The improvements they made in the off season are going to start to pay consistent dividends. Actually, if these teams meet in the Super Bowl this year, this loss should, believe it or not, benefit the Broncos. Smart teams don’t let history repeat itself. Denver’s D will salivate at another chance at stifling a game-winning drive this season. The kind of drives we have a tendency to see a lot in big games. Also, when was the last time Peyton Manning’s lost three consecutive games to a team while he was on the same team? You’d have to go back to the Pats/Colts rivalry of the early 2000s. You can fool him once. You can even fool him twice. At this point in his career, it’s very hard to fool him thrice.

Are You There, Drew? It’s Me, God.

How would you like to be an Oakland Raider next year, young man?

You’re on the Air, Unfortunately

My friend from the DC area hit me up this week, asking me if I wanted an RGIII jersey. They’re on sale in every sporting goods store within a 50-mile radius of where he lives. Somewhere in that 50-mile radius lives Walt, a Redskins fan on drugs. On Monday, he called up DC sports radio station 106.7 The Fan (original name), insisting that Kirk Cousins purposely blew the game against the Eagles (the one where he threw for 427 yards and three touchdowns) to avoid a quarterback controversy with RGIII. You gotta love sports talk radio callers. No you don’t. This week, let’s all chastise an A-hole sports fan of our choosing for the good of humanity.

Bye for now.

Pick of the Week

Kansas City +3 ½ over New England

STREAMING: Pharaoh “The Slasher”

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

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“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

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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: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

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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

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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.