Decibel’s Top 5 Thrash Metal Logos

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, lists On: Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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5. Sabbat
Brit thrashers Sabbat were among a select few to come from the island to have made a genuine impact. To this very day, Dreamweaver remains singular. The group’s logo also has similar import. Like most thrash metal logos, it’s readable at a distance yet it has an edge to it. Each letter in Sabbat has a purpose. The way the “S” zigs, the points at the top of the “B” stems, and the way the “T” crosses back into the word Sabbat. Typically, the logo is outlined, which only adds to its visibility. Sure, there are plenty of thrash metal logos that look more “metal” or have more “edge”, but few of them have balanced like Sabbat.

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4. Dark Angel
Cali thrashers didn’t get their logo right until the Leave Scars release. The first two iterations—first with We Have Arrived and second with the purple awfulness of Darkness Descends—weren’t fully realized, to be honest. The word “Dark Angel” is plenty killer. The way the letters angle into one another is pretty genius. Though the fill under the “N” in “Angel” is strange—now fixed with the revitalized Dark Angel—but what really sets this logo off are the demon wings. Again, by Leave Scars the wings had come in and were detailed to such an extent that young ‘bangers were quite intimidated by what might be powering them.

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3. Slayer
Like most bands with tenure, there are several versions of Slayer’s logo. From Show No Mercy through Reign in Blood, Slayer used slightly different stylings of its SS/sword pentagram logo. The early versions sported dripping blood, while the later versions omitted the blood and cleaned up the lettering and sword work. While personally I prefer when the SS/sword logo was paired with the single-headed eagle—again, a nod to WWII iconography—it’s the version that appeared on the group’s Def Jam records that seal the deal. Certainly, it wasn’t the logo from Diabolus in Musica or the crayon version that appeared on the cover of Christ Illusion.

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2. Voivod
Instantly recognizable and instantly horrifying—a sort of Mad Max like machine of a logo—is Voivod’s Rrröööaaarrr-era brand. Voidheads will certainly argue with me on this one, however. There’s the totally cult To the Death logo, or the Nothingface circuit logo, or the art nouveau aspects to the Angel Rat logo, but none of them hold a candle to what first appeared on Rrröööaaarrr. When paired with the evil robot head, it paints a vastly different picture from most fantasy-themed logos of the day. There were no swords, crests, shields or heraldry in Voivod’s logo. No, just full-on sci-fi techno death. And for that reason, this is why Voivod sits so high up on our list.

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1. Metallica
The Kill ‘Em All logo should get the nod here, but we’re giving full props to the Ride the Lightning brand. It’s 3D-esque, where the entire word “Metallica” is tilted from the bottom up. The tilt gives it a heightened sense of import. True, the logo has a double stroke to make it pop, but the edges are just plain mean. The classic “M” and “A” signal the beginning and end. And it’s highly legible, not just by ‘bangers in denim and spikes, but by defensive moms and pops. When they saw the logo “back in the day” they knew it meant danger and/or undesirable music made by wayward early 20s men. The Kill ‘Em All logo returned for …and Justice for All only it was debossed.

Honorable mentions: Seventh Angel, Holy Terror, Sepultura, Death Angel, Corrosion of Conformity, Forbidden, and Toxic Holocaust.

Visit our Top 5 Logos list posts:
1. Decibel’s Top 5 Black Metal Logos (HERE)
2. Decibel’s Top 5 Death Metal Logos (HERE)
3. Decibel’s Top 5 Doom Metal Logos (HERE)

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

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, June 20th, 2014

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Sometimes it’s really hard to do this column here, you know? There’s just nothing I want to crap on, or it’s generic, or it’s a well-known band that everyone knows will be good. Looks like it’s a noise rock kind of week.

GODFLESH release Decline and Fall on Avalanche, and I gotta say, I beaking love it. It’s Godflesh all right, hearkening back to the Streetcleaner days. None of the break beat dub mix of stuff they were known for in their latter days.  Released on their own label, this four-song EP is pretty mean-sounding. I’m really digging the guitar sound on here, and while the sound in general isn’t too updated (the drum machine still sounds like a drum machine), the songs don’t come across as too same-y. If by some reason you’ve never heard the band and are curious, there are heavy industrial parts with some noise fuckery and Justin Broadrick’s bark. Peck this up; hopefully the full-length will be this good. 9 Fucking Pecks

Check out The Grasshopper Lies Heavy’s Every Man for Himself and God Against All. I was really expecting not to dig this, you know, just based off of the name itself, but color me pleasantly surprised. This is a wall of noise from a Texan three-piece with no vocals. Typically when I see no vocals, it kinda turns me off, but this is some crazy stuff. It’s heavy noise rock, with additional noise thrown in for good measure.  It’s hard to classify this: there some pummeling riffs and, while chaotic, there’s a structure here that most bands can’t seem to achieve. There are parts Zoroaster (a little) and it’s just, well, fucked. This is totally out of left field, and I for one am pretty glad to see that this type of stuff is coming back in a BIG way. Awesome.  8 Fucking Pecks

In the same vein (sorta), is the Beige Eagle Boys’ first LP on Reptilian. You’re Gonna Get Yours. Harkening back to the Cherubs, again, this is mid ’90s noise rock with WAY more teeth. Bass grooves with some larynx-shredding vocals, this is distorted to all hell, but has semblance of songs. This is the face of noise rock now, but leaner, more raw, and definitely more hardcore.  This is pretty fucked up. I mean, listen to their cover of Don Henley’s “Dirty Laundry” and tell me that doesn’t kick you squarely in the dick. 8 Fucking Pecks.

STREAMING: Corrupt Moral Altar “Line Check”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Friday, June 20th, 2014

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“It’s been an accomplishment for us to complete the recording of our debut album and work with people that we never thought we’d have the opportunity to create music with, and it’s an honour to sign with Season of Mist and to be part of such an eclectic label and team,” says UK grind/sludge hybrid Corrupt Moral Altar. “We would like to take this opportunity to issue a formal volume warning with our forthcoming album, and Corrupt Moral Altar takes no responsibility for the end of the world. Seriously though, we are looking forward to touring the hell out of this record and ruining ourselves in the process. If you have seen our shows, keep coming. If you haven’t seen our shows, we are just getting started and you will soon.”

If you could a bit of hyperbole in Corrupt Moral Altar’s quote, well, it’s probably more like humor. There’s no way the group’s new album, Mechanical Tides, could signal, be responsible for, or contribute to the end of the world. That is unless you’re talking about all the waste that goes into the production of Corrupt Moral Altar’s physical products like vinyl, CD and t-shirts. Or, the gas they expend while trucking around on tour. Or, radioactive waste they released into the Pacific while hanging out and causing chaos in Fukushima a few years ago. OK, now we’re exaggerating. But it’s fun while it lasted.

Actually, what’s no fun is Corrupt Moral Altar’s “Line Check” track. Brutally uncompromising–how often have you heard that?–the cut is a punch and kick to the face, a sonic body slam of nasty proportions. So, buckle up buttercups. You’re about to experience Corrupt Moral Altar. TSIF!

** Corrupt Moral Altar’s new album, Mechanical Tides, is out July 22nd on Season of Mist. It’s available HERE for the brave at heart and non-conformist at mind.

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Whore of Bethlehem

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, June 20th, 2014

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Because every day another band records another song.  Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck.  Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm.  Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.

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As we did last week, today we focus on a band that came to our attention at last month’s Maryland Deathfest.  Guitarist Phil King gets enthusiastic when talking about metal, specifically describing the ins and outs of his black-glazed death project Whore of Bethlehem.  The band consists of a handful of Texas extreme metal vets who come together to make a Christ-raping racket with hints of Behemoth and other death-heavies sprinkled over the top.  The band’s debut full-length, Upon Judas’ Throne, has been available digitally since May, and Whore of Bethlehem are gearing up for the album’s physical release.

We’ve got a full album stream right here for you at the Deciblog, and while you listen you can get to know the guys via their thoughtful interview responses below.  Don’t mess with Texas!

Phil, what did you think of MDF? How much did you see, and what were your favorite performances? Have you come out for MDF in the past?

Phil: I really enjoyed MDF, and for me being able to see some of the classic metal bands like Candlemass and Asphyx was pretty amazing. Asphyx really blew me away live, just like Candlemass and many other bands. There were so many bands I went to go see, and certainly none of them disappointed.

Among my favorite performances were Asphyx, Candlemass, Agalloch, Mgla, Immolation, Inquisition, Taake, Tankard, and our good friends in War Master. Unfortunately the only stages I got to see were between Edison lot and Ram’s Head Friday thru Sunday, so Ryan and I missed out on Crowbar for the pre show as well as Impaled and Visceral Disgorge over at the unofficial venue.

I’ve personally never been to a MDF in the past, and it was really awesome to see this one. Outside of the music it was great to see multiple labels, merch of all kinds, and the other metalheads from all over the world to talk to and do a little networking. I met up with my friend from Kylla Custom Rockwear, among many others. That’s the best part about some of theses massive shows is being able to just hang out with others that love the music. Major musicians included.

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What do you think of the current metal scene in your area?

Ellis: The Austin and San Antonio metal scene are as healthy as ever, especially when it comes to extreme metal. There are metal shows almost every week, and the venues and people here are very receptive of the metal musicians

Phil: The local scene in Texas is alive and well. There are a large number of bands from all over the area, and a lot of them are well known. Obviously larger known Texas bands like Devourment, Imprecation, War Master, Infernal Dominion, and Head Crusher are here but there are a number of really solid up and coming talented bands that it’s always a pleasure to share the stage with. Cleric from Dallas, Id from Austin, Flesh Hoarder from San Marcos, Vex from Austin, and Morgengrau from Austin among many others. There’s no shortage of good metal that’s for sure and people should take note!

What was it like recording this first complete full-length? Good experience? Rough? Weird?

Phil: Recording the first full length was actually pretty solid. While this is the first release for Whore of Bethlehem, many of us have played in other bands and done full length or EPs in the past. I personally have two solo projects, Brunanburh and Cocytus, which were home recorded and got me used to the process involved. Ryan and Rene both played in Scattered Remains, and Rene has done recordings with Disfigured, and Flesh Hoarder among others as well.

We’ve all been around the block a bit and this isn’t our first band, for me however it certainly feels like the first band with all the right motivation and backing to really get things going somewhere real. It’s a lot of hard work and takes more than one person to bring it all together, and we all work really well together with that in mind.

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Do WoB members have some favorite bands or musicians who inspire your direction?

Ellis: My favorite local Austin band is Id. They play extreme metal unlike any other band around, and their bassist Alex is inspiring and very tasteful with the parts he plays.

Phil: We all have a lot of similar, and yet very dissimilar musical tastes when it comes to inspiration. For me and my writing style for Whore of Bethlehem I pull a lot from Blood Bath, Immortal, Amon Amarth, and Behemoth as influences. Sounds almost like it wouldn’t fit, but I believe we have a very organic blend between black metal and death metal in Whore of Bethlehem. Most of that is due to Ryan, as most of the songs of the debut album were written by him long before I joined the band. I added some flare when I joined, and helped round out the last few songs for the album.

Ryan: Every member certainly has their own unique tastes in music, but there were definitely a few important bands that heavily impacted our sound. Vader, Dissection, Angelcorpse, Disincarnate, Morbid Angel, Monstrosity, and Dark Funeral would be the big ones. My goal from day one was to combine my favorite elements of the early 90′s death and black metal bands, which I feel comes across strongly on this album.

Your lyrics seem pretty vehemently anti-Christian. Is this a personal issue for you, or is it just a fitting theme for your musical style?

Phil: I can’t speak to the rest of the band, but for me it’s just fitting of the music. I’m not vehemently against anyone’s personal beliefs and teachings, but I’m certainly not personally affiliated or a fan of religion. I can respect anyone’s faith and belief system as long as they can respect my lack thereof.

James: In Whore of Bethlehem we like to keep things dark, evil, and heavy. I personally have a distaste for religion in general (as do the rest of the members) and target Christianity more so because it is so prevalent here in the United States. Faith is for the weak minded who can’t wrap their brains around the idea that one day they’ll die and rot, period. We try to appeal to a crowd that can think for themselves, and aren’t enslaved by the limitations and boundaries of organized religion. However, we aren’t necessarily bound to that particular lyrical theme. We also have songs like “Castle of Meth”, which is about a drug induced nightmare. Or “Hideous Resurrection” which takes the zombie apocalypse route… Actually now that I think of it, that song is vehemently anti-Christian as well. \m/

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How did the artwork for Upon Judas’ Throne come about?

Ryan: The idea for the album cover was to come across as evil and brutal, but somehow try and be unique at the same time. We chose the title, “Upon Judas’ Throne” because it holds a double meaning. On one end, it kind of glorifies Judas for betraying Jesus Christ. Also, the Judas chair was an instrument used for torture and execution hundreds of years ago. The person would be forced onto a single spike which would impale them through the vagina or the anus. I also believe that it was used primarily as a punishment for prostitutes. The woman on the chair is supposed to be the Virgin Mary, the “Whore of Bethlehem.” We all thought it was clever, and Gwooki did a great job bringing it to life.

No matter how many times I see your band name, I always want to call the band Whore of Babylon… it’s a tough cultural idiom to overcome. Have you experienced these slips of the tongue before? What are your thoughts on your choice of band name?

Ellis: My mother actually posted “Whores” of Bethlehem on Facebook, and that one letter makes a world of difference *laughs*

Phil: I’ve personally never experienced this, but it does get a couple of odd looks from time to time. I think the name is great, and very befitting the material written, even though it may or may not be difficult at times to sell a t-shirt from time to time with the word Whore written on it.

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What are Whore of Bethlehem’s current and near-future plans?

Phil: At the moment we are keeping a steady stream of shows going, spreading from Texas shortly into other states with some big named bands in the local area. We have a self funded debut album , and we’re planning to shop that around to any potential labels that may be interested while working on new material for the next album (we’re about 4 songs deep on that one already).

The website is up and running at www.whoreofbethlehem.com, and we’re working on a mini tour near the end of the year that will go up the mid west through Chicago and Wisconsin among other places. Make no mistake, the WoB train is moving and it’s picking up a lot of momentum as it goes. Keep an eye out for us!

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Damn Kids!: Godstopper Interview and EP Stream

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews, listen On: Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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Godstopper has been a fixture on Toronto’s sludgy/doomy/stoner scene for some time now. Recently, they’ve taken small steps to branch out beyond the city limits. A betting man would wager they’re making that move because they’ve just about had it with Rob Ford’s tarring and feathering of the city’s reputation, the perpetual gridlocked traffic and road construction everywhere you turn, the fact that the average cost of a semi-detached is over half-a-million bucks, or the fact that the already jam-packed Gardiner Expressway – the only major, dedicated east-west route into downtown – will be partially closed for the next two years. Yeah, fuck Toronto. Yours truly got out about 12 years ago and hopefully, Godstopper’s new EP, Children are our Future, will allow them to tour extensively and avoid the city as much as possible in the near-future. Vocalist/guitarist Mike Simpson answers a few questions while you give their new EP a whirl.

Hi! Could you be so kind as to introduce yourselves to the wonderful world of the Deciblog and its readership?
Sure. Hey Deciblog. My name is Mike and I’m part of Godstopper. We’re a band that plays music influenced by sludge, noise rock and alternative rock. I play guitar and sing. I also write most of the music.

What active steps have you embarked upon recently in actually being Godstoppers and stopping God from doing whatever it is God supposedly does?
I’m afraid I’ve been more than a little lazy, as far as the actual act of stopping God is concerned. In fact, I’ll just go right out and say, so that nobody’s hoping otherwise: the name is just a name. We have yet to put a religious agenda into play.

Tell us about your EP. How long was it in the works and did you do anything different on the writing/recording front this time around? What would you say were your most recent influences and inspirations going into this recording?
The EP consists of three songs recorded this past fall, plus one recorded in March. The songs range from a year old to a few months old. This EP is intended to act as a bridge from our previous album, What Matters, and a future album yet to be released. It’s a transition. It was written and recorded in much the same manner as our previous material. Stylistically, I’d say we’ve moved away from feeling like everything needs to have a plodding tempo or a dire message. There’s a greater embrace of vocal melody, with more attention having been paid in that area. Over the past year I’ve listened to a lot of Canadian and local stuff, everything from the Gandharvas to Sons of Otis to Hammerhands, as well as Ehnahre, who we’ve played with out in Boston a couple of times.

Is there a particular story or significance behind calling the new record Children are our Future?
Not particularly…aside from me seeing it as being somewhat humorous, it was more something that just came to me. So, it probably does have significance, but not the kind that has an obvious explanation. There is a lyrical thread relating to the family unit with this band, so that may have something to do with it.

If children really are our future, what does that mean for the future of people like you and I who have long since outgrown childhood?
I always liked that quote from The Breakfast Club:
(Vernon)”When I get older, these kids are gonna take care of me.”
(Carl) “I wouldn’t count on it.”
But seriously, kids are cool. I teach kids music sometimes. They’re pretty smart. I think as long as they can put down their phones at least every once and a while, all of us elder folk will be OK.

Despite being a major North American city and all that business, I’ve always felt that it’s pretty difficult being a band and hailing from Toronto. Agree/disagree and why? How would you say being a band is when you compare it to when you first started or even with other bands you’ve been in?
Good question. I’d say Canada as a whole has a bit of an identity crisis, and that trickles down to Toronto, which has always struggled to define itself. I think that applies to music here as well. There’s no predominant “scene,” and there are definitely more than enough bands going on; every subgenere you can imagine is being played by someone. So yes, there’s a lot of noise being made, and it’s kind of hard to be heard above all that. I’d say that being in this band and others of different genres over the years has provided me personally with a lot of experience that rubs off on the writing of music, and has helped to develop an effective way to express myself. Even though there is a glut of bands, and that number seems to grow exponentially year to year. On the plus side, it leads to a surplus of influences. The internet, of course, provides even more of this. I could gripe about not getting on this or that festival and how it’s all political and about who you know etc. etc. etc. but when it boils down to it, I appreciate where it’s all come in terms of the creative element, which I think is the most important part.

What’s on the docket for the band once the EP is out and about?
Likely some touring of the eastern US once we rustle up some decent shows. Videos, and then more music to be released in short order. It’s going to be a busy time as far as output from the band is concerned.

*photo by Nathan Mills

Godstopper on Facebook, Bandcamp and Tumblr

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Discordant Noise Vs Cancer

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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Daniel Suffering of Philadelphia heavy electronics act WHORID and the ANNIHILVS label recently received some terrible news: After twenty years in remission, his mother’s cancer has returned…just a few months after she lost her job and on the eve of an attempt to start her own business.

To help pay for her necessary treatment and surgeries, Suffering’s friends and peers have put together a truly impressive digital compilation of dark, dissonant tracks from a host of underground luminaries entitled To Overcome Suffering, with one-hundred percent of the proceeds going to the cause.

So if you’d like to simultaneously help someone in need and acquire a creepy-yet-enthralling soundtrack for your day, head here. More information on the whole tragic ordeal can be found here.

Decibrity Playlist: Sadgiqacea

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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For Fred Grabosky and Evan Void, the dudes behind Philadelphia-based Sadgiqacea, music is only one, albeit rather large, part of their lives. Each is also into art as Grabosky is a freelance illustrator (drawing and inking) while Void, when not also playing in Hivelords and Ominous Black, tattoos at Living Out Loud Tattoo in Lindenwold, NJ (shout out to PATCO). While it’s been a little over a year since it released debut full-length, False Prism, the duo is set to hit the road for the next month-and-a-half or so starting tomorrow. Before they left, Grabosky (drums) and Void (guitars/vocals) were kind enough to tell us about some records that fuel their drawing, inking, painting, sketching and related endeavors, some of which you can check out below. Pick up a copy of False Prism, whose artwork Fred and Evan did, here.

Kylesa–Static Tensions (2009)
I’ll kick this off with an album I believe to be one of Kylesa’s strongest and compositionally sound. Don’t get me wrong, To Walk a Middle Course and Time Will Fuse Its Worth are both such amazing albums to me as well, but when it comes down to it, this is where I considered Kylesa’s songwriting to be in its prime. The overall production quality is increased and feels “cleaner” than the other albums, but that is not why I chose it. From the first second of the first track to the last bit of the final track, this album produces such a lively energy. Every song feels so cohesive with one another, and it’s so damn catchy in a brutally heavy way. I remember hearing “Running Red” for the first time and being like, “Whoa, this roars. That fat palm mute! That mid eastern lick! These tribal drum fills!” I’m a huge fan of the groove aspect of heavy music and this album encapsulates that description entirely. This album also features the artwork of John Dyer Baizley, whom has been an influence on my work.–Fred Grabosky

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OM–Pilgrimage (2007)
Speaking of groove, OM are the kings of heavy grooves. I can’t get enough of it, and can’t play enough of that snake-like time signature in my spare time. I find it’s perfect to make art to. It keeps me fluid with the motion of my pencil while I’m sketching and puts me in a meditative zone that drives me to keep working. They serve as a great influence in writing for Sadgiqacea.–F.G.

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Wolves In The Throne Room–Black Cascade (2009)
This album speaks to me in ways I cannot necessarily explain. For one thing, the direct reference to the Caspar David Friedrich painting Wanderer above the Sea of Fog for the opening track is something I feel personally close to. I share an interest in Romantic era poetry and artwork, and that’s enough for me. Wolves have always been able to move me with their exploration in atmosphere and mood through black metal. I feel there is no other band out there that pulls it off as well as they do.–F.G.

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Cult Of Luna–Eternal Kingdom (2008)
This album is only one of the many that Cult of Luna has produced that I am seemingly drawn to, like a high powered magnet. They have such a way of composing songs. Though much simplicity is at play, every instrument brought into the mix is tastefully placed and layered. I enjoy their cohesive writing qualities throughout each piece, paired up with vein-bursting vocals.–F.G.

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Lantlôs–Agape (2011)
This was a recent discovery that I found myself playing front to back on repeat. As much as I am a fan of straightforward doom or black metal or sludge bands, I can really appreciate a band that is not afraid to step outside of its expected sound barriers, especially lately. This album tends to weave between heavy/punishing long winded howls and hits, to black metal tendencies, to slowed down, heartfelt, clean atmosphere, even some jazz and much more. It’s all wildly entertaining and beautiful. Its composition feels more like a soundtrack than an album, almost as if there was a movie that went along to it. You have to hear it to understand what I’m babbling about. I strongly recommend it.–F.G.

Neurosis–The Eye of Every Storm (2004)
Of course Neurosis will make the top list of my picks, and even though I find Times of Grace to be one of the most influential and heavy/amazing albums, many others have featured it in interviews like these. I’ll say I saved the best for last with absolute conviction here. Something extremely powerful resonates with me upon listening to this incredible spiritual dreamscape of an album. My pen seems to ebb and flow just as the music does. I specifically tend to forget everything and fall away from the earth for the title track. It is at this point I’m subconsciously stippling my life away into oblivion. I absolutely love that windpipe/keyboard melody that creeps in at…well…4:20 as things would have it, haha. This album was the first that Neurosis took matters of recording into their own hands. I’ve always admired their ambition and this album makes it clear that their hard work paid off. It is so beautifully composed front to back.–F.G.

Valdur–At War With (2013)
I don’t think many people heard about this record because it came out a few days before the end of 2013, but I actually discovered it by reading one of the “Call and Response” segments of Decibel. This is a superb release that showcases a brutal black metal band with all my favorite elements of death metal and a chilling atmosphere, especially from the guitars–great production.–Evan Void

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Sorcier Des Glaces–Snowland Reprise MMXII (2012)
I wasn’t familiar with this band until about a year ago, when Sadgiqacea was on tour with our buds Haethen, but this album made quite an impression on me, and quickly found its way into my music library. The re-recording and reissuing of this album was a really nice touch. I’ve heard the original version, and it has its moments, but the 2012 version is definitely sweet as fuck.–E.V.

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Falls Of Rauros–Hail Wind And Hewn Oak (2008)
I discovered this band via our friend Brian of the now defunct San Antonio band Ecocide, while staying with him on tour. This album is so majestic, and cleverly and effectively makes use of acoustic/folk instruments, choral vocals and an almost classic rock/vintage production style. The sadness is overwhelming in some of their melodies. It’s full of great surprises and really fun to listen to! Sadgiqacea, Haethen, and Lonesummer will be opening for Falls of Rauros on August 20th at Millcreek Tavern here in Philadelphia.–E.V.

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Across Tundras–Sage (2011)
A great record from a great band. It sounds incredible, and the amazingly organic production is backed by great songwriting. I love how they incorporate the Western elements, both sonically and aesthetically. We’ll be playing with Across Tundras and Brother Ares in Nashville on July 16th at the pseudo-legendary Spring Water Supper Club.–E.V.

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Ulcerate–Vermis (2013)
I heard about this band from our friend Alyssa who I tattoo with at Living Out Loud. She’s also the one who designed the promotional tour poster we’re using for this tour. I love how Ulcerate has that “spiral” sound–churning, angular riffs over super brutal and super precise drums. It’s surprisingly atmospheric, too! I had the pleasure of seeing them with our friends Inter Arma here in Philly, and both bands absolutely crushed!–E.V.

Thantifaxath–Sacred White Noise (2014)
I heard this band’s debut EP a few years ago, and it most definitely left me wanting more. Thankfully, their new LP is amazing, and I’ve already devoured it with my eardrums. They incorporate odd time signatures and serpentine chromatic passages with a seemingly inhuman level of finesse. I think it’s safe to say that this album has already made it into my favorite albums of 2014.–E.V.

*Top photo by Dante Torrieri of Useless Rebel Imaging

**Order a copy of False Prism here and catch Fred and Evan on tour on the following dates with Hivelords:

Friday, June 20, 2014 – Lindenwold NJ – THE SEX DUNGEON (w/ Windmill of Corpses, Coastal Plain)
Saturday, June 21, 2014 – York PA – THE DEPOT (w/ Police State, Windmill of Corpses)
Sunday, June 22, 2014 – Providence RI – DUSK (w/ Leukorrhea & Coffin Birth)
Monday, June 23, 2014 – Boston MA – O’BRIENS (w/ Lunglust & Plagues)
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 – Portland ME – ST. JOHN (w/ Sylvia, Eastern Spell)
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 – Portsmouth, NH – HOUSE SHOW (w/ Ramlord, Northern Curse, Guilt)
Thursday, June 26, 2014 – Worcester MA – RALPH’S DINER (w/ Krakatoa, +1 TBA)
Friday, June 27, 2014 – Syracuse NY – GORHAM BROTHER’S MUSIC (w/ TBA)
Saturday, June 28, 2014 – Rochester NY – THE BUG JAR (w/ Blizaro, Fox 45 & The Highest Leviathan)
Sunday, June 29, 2014 – Buffalo NY – THE LAIR (w/ Enthauptung & Ancients of Earth)
Monday, June 30, 2014 Pittsburgh PA – THE SHOP (w/ Slaves BC, Night Vapor)
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 – Kent OH – STONE TAVERN (w/ TBA)
Wednesday, July 02, 2014 – Port Huron, MI – SCHWONK SOUND STEAD (w/ TBA)
Thursday, July 03, 2014 – Covington, KY – THREE KINGS BAR (w/ Coelacanth & Drowner)
Friday, July 04, 2014 – Indianapolis, IN – HOUSE SHOW (w/ Windmill of Corpses)
Saturday, July 05, 2014 – Chicago IL – COBRA LOUNGE (w/ Demonitron, Dia Rrhena)
Sunday, July 06, 2014 – Madison, WI – DAS GEWOLBE (w/ Poney, Red Museum)
Monday, July 07, 2014 – Milwaukee, WI – FRANK’S POWER PLANT (w/ Northless & Asatta)
Tuesday, July 08, 2014 – Wausau WI – THE STANK (w/ TBA)
Wednesday, July 09, 2014 – Minneapolis MN – THE TOILET STORE (w/ Morality Crisis, Aziza)
Thursday, July 10, 2014 – Des Moines IA – HULL AVE TAVERN (w/ Agrinex)
Friday July 11, 2014 – Kansas City MO – VANDALS (w/ Keef Mountain +1TBA)
Saturday, July 12, 2014 – Columbia MO – PESTE DE MERDE (w/ TBA)
Sunday, July 13, 2014 – Saint Louis MO – FUBAR (w/ Requiem, +1 TBA)
Monday, July 14, 2014 – Lexington KY – SIDECAR (w/ Arktos & Sonic Altar)
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 – Huntington WV – HOUSE SHOW (w/ TBA)
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – Nashville TN – THE SPRING WATER (w/ Across Tundras, Brother Ares)
Thursday, July 17, 2014 – Atlanta GA – 529 ROOM (w/ The Dirty Magazines, Crawl)
Friday, July 18, 2014 – Knoxville TN – THE POISON LAWN (w/ TBA)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – Asheville NC – THE ODDITORIUM (w/ TBA)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 – Charlotte NC – THE MILESTONE (w/ Highchair Tyrant)
Monday, July 21, 2014 – West Columbia SC -NEW BROOKLAND TAVERN (w/ Darkentries)
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 – Richmond VA – EMPIRE (w/ TBA)
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – Roanoke VA – TBA (w/ TBA)
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – Washington DC – THE PINCH BAR (w/ TBA)
Friday, July 25, 2014 – Baltimore, MD – TRON’S HOUSE (w/ Lotus Fuckers)
Saturday, July 26, 2014 – Brooklyn NY – THE ACHERON (w/ Insect Ark & Sangharsha)
Wednesday July 30th, 2014 – Philadelphia PA – JR’S BAR (w/ Zafakon (Puerto Rico), Meddlesome Bells)

***Past Decibrity entries include:

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

STREAMING: Entrails — “Voices”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

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For your streaming pleasure today we have a new/old track from Swedish death metal legends Entrails. “Voices” is from the upcoming Resurrected From The Grave demo collection, an 18-track compilation featuring Reborn and Human Decay.

The material was never released and is finally coming out many years later. The album is due next week; preorder it from Metal Blade.

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Blood/Fire/Death: Watain douses Brooklyn

By: Sean Frasier Posted in: featured, live reviews On: Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

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Brooklyn Night Bazaar – June 15th, 2014

Photography by Rodrigo Fredes of PhotoTerco

It was Father’s Day, so I arrived early and called my pops outside the venue. I informed him I was seeing a Swedish metal band named Watain shortly, who would likely spit animal blood at the audience. “Well have fun, enjoy your night,” was his mild reply, like I just said I was going out for Thai food. It’s tough to shock the parent of a metalhead.

It was my first time at the Brooklyn Bazaar, a sprawling indoor space with picnic tables and an arcade in a separate wing away from the stage. Ventilation was problematic so fans huddled below the ceiling fans for some relief from feeling like they were suffocating themselves just by breathing.

Local hallucination-conjurers Kosmodemonic opened the show with a stellar set of blackened doom and psychedelic sludge, jamming out for a too-short half hour. They had some cassettes at the merch table and I’ve learned that they’re limited to 200. Jump on them shits fast, because this is a band to watch. Mysterious black noise project T.O.M.B. followed with a brief set, lead by their anonymous (and hooded) mastermind. A quick Google search brings up the first two options for the acronym: Total Occultic Mechanical Blasphemy or The Old Man Band. I’ll let you guess which one played at a Watain show. [Hint: They appear on page 42 of dB issue #118.] Their abrasive industrial dirges felt like the churning gears of a doomsday device.

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Promising a Bathory-approved “wild ceremony of blood, fire, and death,” the stage crew set up war banners and pyro-rigged sculptures that drew roars from the crowd each time they crawled with flames. Scheduled as a one-off show on North American soil, it’s their only date in the United States before a series of festival appearances throughout Europe. Taking the stage with “De Profundis,” Erik Danielsson screamed and gestured while wobbling side to side, eyes rolled back and face streaked with red. He delivered lyrics like he was the vessel of another (sinister) power, smirking at jokes only he heard, only regaining lucidity between cuts from The Wild Hunt and Lawless Darkness long enough to shout, “Brooklyn, New York!”

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After “Malfeitor” roared to a close, Håkan Jonsson pounded a hypnotic beat while Danielsson drank from a horned skull chalice in front of a bone altar. He held the cup above his head to a chorus of cheers. That elation crashed into shrieks as he spat pig’s blood into the first few rows, with impressive projection. TMZ reported people vomiting and crying, but I witnessed nothing but people proudly showing off their stained shirts. From that chaos they redirected the manic energy into the well-received ballad, “Outlaw.” Watain have been working from this set list for a while for good reason, as the balance between fiery ragers and sky-punchers seems to take the audience’s stamina into account. Thrash and start shit in the pit, catch your breath and bang your head. “Black Flame March” specifically had the whole room chanting and throwing fists in unison.

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There was certainly more fire and blood than the last Watain tour with In Solitude and Tribulation, but it wasn’t the orgiastic gorebath the venue may have secretly feared. A part of me was expecting people sloshing ankle-deep in blood, puke, and puked blood, slipping and sliding while trying to start circle pits. I pictured roadies extinguishing fires spreading on the stage as Danielsson watched the mayhem approvingly. What the crowd got instead was a band transforming a night market into a Satantic ritual, health hazard, and sanguinary spectacle. Those should be black metal prerequisites, according to some. After closing with “Holocaust Dawn,” Danielsson spoke unheard words to the bone altar as the band left in a procession. It was a suitably quiet moment of reflection as fog lifted from the middle of the floor and the crowd waited to provide their final cheers. The end of the ceremony.

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With the crowd swarming to the exits, I knew my arm was doused, but wasn’t aware of the splatter across my face until I hopped in a photo booth. The lines for water to properly rinse off were long enough that I decided I’d rather stink like a slaughterhouse for the ride home than be inconvenienced a whole minute and a half. Sorry fellow subway commuters, I had to lie and tell you it was fake.

***Many thanks to Rodrigo Fredes for sharing his amazing photos. He braved the blood with some very nice equipment.

Sucker For Punishment: Kill Everyone Now, Metaphorically

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

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Way out here in Western Canada KEN Mode is an institution, always good for a pair of shown in your city annually, having built up a loyal following over the past decade. It’s been rewarding to see the Matthewson brothers turn this little noise/metal hybrid into something Decibel readers have become fans of, indie scenesters name-drop, and a band every festival from Roadburn to Hellfest to Pitchfork covets on its lineup. As strong as their records consistently are, their live performances are something to behold, and this past weekend I saw them once again with a packed bar of fellow victims willing to subject themselves to an all-out assault. Jesse Matthewson is one of the more confrontational vocalists you’ll ever see; you can see the whites of his maniacal eyes from the back of the room. Don’t move away, you’ll only upset it more. This was the band’s first show with new bassist Skot Hamilton – the band’s seventh major rager on the four string motherfucker – best known around these parts as the leader of Today is the Day protégés Adolyne, and along with the requisite fan-pleasers including the epic “Never Was”, they debuted a song from the forthcoming sixth album, which is currently in the writing process. What was so striking was how much it sidestepped the overt doom metal influence of the past couple albums, instead cranking up the noise and abrasiveness even more than these unabashed AmRep fans ever did before, bearing a closer similarity to Shellac and Drive Like Jehu. For me, that one crazy, unexpected twist amidst an hour’s worth of familiar tunes was encouraging. No matter who’s playing on bass, KEN Mode always evolves, and if that one song is any indication, the next album should be a fun one indeed. In the meantime, here’s hoping Skot doesn’t spontaneously combust and leave behind a green globule. At least for a while, anyway.

With summer just around the corner it feels like the metal scene is similarly gearing up, as the last new release week of spring is a fairly light load before another big load next week, but it’s not without a handful of very intriguing – and in one instance polarizing – albums to choose from. Read on: 

The Austerity Program, Beyond Calculation (Controlled Burn): A couple years after the unfortunate demise of Hydra Head Records, guitarist Justin Foley, bassist Thad Calabrese, and their trusty drum machine have found a new home at Controlled Burn, and their first full-length album since 2007’s Black Madonna treads the same path they always have, combining the churning, grinding skronk of Big Black with the mechanical power of Godflesh. What struck me, though, is how “Song 32” tosses in a little electronic minimalism to great effect, its restrained moments making the powerful movements even more impactful.

Barghest, The Virtuous Purge (Gilead): The second album by the Louisiana band is a marked improvement in production, finding a good balance between the filth of its earlier material and an overall sound that’s tidy enough to hear everything that’s being played. Most importantly, though, the songwriting is involving, accentuating its rote black metal arrangements with touches of death metal and doom laced with malevolence and misanthropy, with “When the Cross Points to Hell” serving as a sterling example of how potent this band can be when firing on all cylinders. For aficionados of underground black metal, this is one to seek out. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Boris, Noise (Sargent House): To its credit, Boris is never complacent. Eternally restless and prolific, the Japanese trio has developed such a stylistically rich palette from which to work, that you don’t know what they’re going to do next. Whether sludge, avant-garde drone, shoegaze, garage rock, J-pop; nothing is true, everything is permitted. It can result in wildly unfocused and sometimes tedious work as the band explores its latest indulgence, but when the band is on, the results can be electrifying, as on 2005’s Pink and the wonderful 2011 trifecta of New Album, Heavy Rocks, and Attention Please. 19th studio album Noise finds Boris returning to the heavier sludge sounds of Amplifier Worship, but this time around the past pop/shoegaze experiments looms large as well, as the bulk of the tracks here boast a much stronger sense of melody than the band’s earlier heavy work. On tracks like “Melody”, “Vanilla”, and the 18-minute mind-blower “Angel” you sense all those myriad influences coming together beautifully. At the same time, “Quicksilver” rampages like no Boris track has in years, Wata’s guitars filthy, Atsuo’s drumming relentless. You can never say a Boris album is “fully realized” because this band is so restless, so amorphous, but this is as complete-sounding a Boris album as you could possibly hope for in 2014.

Leather Chalice, Luna (Broken Limbs): Billed as a project that fuses black metal and post punk, that all might be true on this new EP, but the two sides don’t coalesce anywhere near as well as other bands that try the same thing. Plenty of promise is shown, however, especially during the 15-minute track’s more contemplative moments.

Lecherous Gaze, Zeta Reticuli Blues (Tee Pee): It’s going to be tough to follow up the rip-roaring “Bagagazo” off the Oakland band’s 2012 album On the Skids, but make no mistake, these guys’ obnoxious Black Oak Arkansas-meets-Nuggets music is just as exuberant on this new record. “New Distortion”, “Animal Brain”, and the scorching cover of “Baby Please Don’t Go” are a few terrific examples of how Lecherous Gaze have this heavy rock ‘n’ roll thing absolutely down.

Musk Ox, Woodfall (self-released): It’s hard to fathom that it’s already been seven years since the gorgeous debut album by classical guitarist Nathanaël Larochette, but in the wake of his guest appearances on Agalloch’s latest album the follow-up is finally out. It might not be metal, but it’s something that will easily appeal to fans of either black metal, pagan, metal, or the symphonic variety, Larochette’s plaintively plucked strings accentuated by violin and cello, adding richness and depth to an othwerwise minimalist record. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Profetus, As All Seasons Die (Svart): Nothing puts the “funeral” in funeral doom like a church organ. One problem with the genre is that the music can become too ponderous for its own good, its attempts at sounding anguished often going too far over the top with tortured growling and songs that go on for ten minutes too long. What this Finnish band does, in contrast, is scale down the arrangements, put keyboards on equal footing with guitars, and most impressively, make enough room for some truly beautiful, expressive guitar solos, as on the majestic “Dead Are Our Leaves of Autumn”. This is a classy, first-rate doom album that doesn’t deserve to slip between the cracks.

Rippikoulu, Ulvaja (Svart): This Finnish band had previously recorded a pair of obscure demos more than 20 years ago, but it’s been resurrected on a much higher profile and reputable stage, and this three-song EP is a solid, albeit unspectacular exercise in doom-tinged death metal. The slow, theatrical title track is particularly interesting, juxtaposing female choral voices amidst the ugliness.

The Soft Pink Truth, Why Do the Heathen Rage? (Thrill Jockey): Black metal can be great. Take the new Mayhem record, for instance, which ingeniously defies convention and reinvents something the band played a vital role in creating. But black metal can be stupid. Very, very stupid. Whether addressing one’s purported Nazi affiliations with an hilarious, rambling, neither-here-nor-there explanation, excusing idiotic behavior by citing “do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” bullshit, getting on TMZ by ripping off W.A.S.P. in front of Brooklyn scenesters who haven’t a clue, or being paid a lucrative sum for reuniting with a homophobic murderer drummer, there’s been a whole hell of a lot of stupidity in 2014. So the arrival of a collection of gay house renditions of black metal classics by musician Drew Daniel couldn’t be better timed, as black metal hasn’t been more ripe and deserving of a skewering in ages. A well-schooled devotee of black metal, Daniel confronts the paradox of the music he loves – as a gay man listening to music clouded by a hateful history – calling this album “a celebration, critique, mockery, and profanation” of black metal. And indeed, Why Do the Heathen Rage? is all of the above, confounding, sloppy, brilliant, and enthralling, as he takes tracks by Venom, Sarcofago, Darkthrone, Hellhammer, and more, rendering them unrecognizable, and often transforming the songs into something completely new and creative. The reaction to the album has been already greeted with extreme negativity from the underground black metal set, so based on that alone you can call this album a success. One thing’s for certain, it’s one of the boldest extreme metal exercises at a time where nowhere near enough risks are taken.

Trepaneringsritualen & Sutekh Hexen, One Hundred Year Storm (Pesanta Urfolk): The Oakland black metal/noise outfit collaborated with Swedish industrial thingy Trepaneringsritualen for a special performance in 2013, which, conveniently, was recorded and has been released on vinyl. It’s exactly what you expect it to sound like, a blend of the melodic and the atonal, contemplative drones accentuated by clattering discord and spooky growling. To everyone’s credit, the hour-long performance ebbs and flows comfortably enough, that is until two people suddenly clap and go, “Woooo!” At that point the mystique is stripped away. It was working for a while there, though.

Wo Fat, The Conjuring (Small Stone): The Dallas trio has always shown great potential with its hazy psychedelic doom, but it all comes together in brilliant fashion on this fifth album. A series of the kind of swinging stoner grooves that get a crowd moving, not just killing one another, this record gets better once the band locks into one of those grooves and just goes, the rhythm section churning away, blues-derived guitar solos bringing expression and genuine soul to the otherwise bombastic music. Justin Norton premiered the album on the Deciblog last week, and I highly recommend you give it a listen. It’s a keeper.

Not metal, but worth hearing:

Lana Del Rey, Ultraviolence (Interscope): Oh yes, I’m going there. Lizzy Grant’s carefully-honed alterego Lana Del Rey was an inexplicable global success, listeners transfixed by her postmodern, self-referential torch songs, as well as her undeniably spellbinding image, part teen model, part femme fatale, singing detachedly about sex and videogames. What makes her second album so extraordinary is its sheer surrealism, how positively David Lynchian it is. It occupies a weird world like that of Diane Selwyn’s dream of Betty Elms, quixotic and pretty but just barely masking a horrible, horrible darkness underneath. You’re swept away by lush, Spector-meets-Badalamenti arrangements and Del Rey’s dulcet singing, but whether it’s on the Lou Reed-esque “Brooklyn Baby”, the ambitious “Cruel World”, or the sensational slow-burner “West Coast”, you keep sensing the blue box will unlock at any time and unleash hell. As for those headbangers who’ll complain that Del Rey is nothing more than a vapid, contrived persona, what do you think your clown makeup-wearing black metal heroes are?

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy