Okay, Perturbator’s Dangerous Days is obviously a retro 80s electro album, but it’s got a giant fuckoff pentagram on the cover and robots and a woman in a sexually compromised position, and that if that isn’t metal, what is? Besides, and this is the important thing, the vibe is metal. It may be synthesizer-based with dance beats, but it’s dark and creepy and overwhelming and clearly influenced by 80s horror and science fiction movies. It’s even got Satan manifested as a computer. If open-minded metalheads can accept bands like Zombi into the fold, why not this? The vinyl and CD editions are sold out already, but stream it below and then get a digital download at Bandcamp for whatever price you want (don’t be a cheapass). Shit, it’s more metal than the latest Wolves in the Throne Room.
By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
Those who enjoy the antics of kaleidoscopic everything-and-the-kitchen-sink chaos metallers Look What I Did may or may not be aware of two things: 1) Zanzibar III: Analog Prison, the band’s long-gestating, much-anticipated rock opera follow-up to the straight-out awesome Atlas Drugged is “perilously close to having a release date” and 2) frontman Barry Donegan is suddenly, insanely fucking ripped.
Obviously, these tantalizing tidbits require a two birds/one stone response. Which is why this morning we’ve packaged together the video for a nutty Zanzibar track entitled “Brigham Young And David Koresh Rally The Troops On The Moon” along with a weightlifting playlist for metalheads curated by Donegan — who, by the way, offers online consulting with custom training plans to anyone, anywhere interested in getting into the other shred. (Hit him up via Facebook.)
By way of introduction, here are some thoughts from Donegan on getting hardcore into physical fitness and weightlifting:
When they released the DVD Majesty five years ago The Black Dahlia Murder proved that not only did they understand their fans, they understood how to make a watchable documentary. On their second DVD Fool ‘Em All our tour co-headliners take it another step. Not only do they make you laugh, they make you care about what happens to them. Fear not: the nudity, intoxication and stupidity are still there. Tazers also show up on the tour bus. But what makes Fool ‘Em All work is that in the end it’s about the bond a band shares on the road and in life.
Fool ‘Em All finds The Black Dahlia Murder in the period right after our “Mature Themes” feature appeared in the July 2013 edition. They’re on the road with the Vans Warped tour, playing to different audiences. The editors made the smart decision to focus not just on the nuttiness (although there is plenty). If there was any flaw to Majesty it was that you didn’t learn much about the band outside that they like to behave badly. Fool ‘Em All expertly shows what makes each band member tick. Vocalist Trevor Strand is a death metal addict and record nerd who geeks out when he hangs with L.G. Petrov of Entombed. Guitarist Brian Eschbach is the brains behind the madness who keeps things afloat with unusual business savvy. Bassist Max Lavelle is the friendly guy who lifts weights in his downtime and Ryan Knight is the guitar savant who gives BDM a new level of musicality.
The star of Fool ‘Em All is undoubtedly new drummer Alan Cassidy. You can’t help but like the guy. He does a horrible job of trying to pick up women and is teased restlessly. He enters a drum competition and wins over a crowd of non-death metal fans. And he never seems less than genuinely thrilled to be playing drums for what he calls “his favorite band.”
Yes, there are plenty of tour antics but those are best saved for viewing. The 3-D gimmick is also used just enough so it’s funny without being aggravating. By the close of Fool ‘Em All you feel like The Black Dahlia Murder are a bunch of old friends. You wouldn’t want them dating your daughters, but you’d have them over for a beer.
Order Fool ‘Em All from Metal Blade.
WATCH AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT OF FOOL ‘EM ALL HERE. NOTE: THIS WILL ONLY BE UP FOR 24 HOURS
By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, June 16th, 2014
** When I cornered Lantlôs braintrust Markus Siegenhort (aka Herbst), I didn’t expect him to be so un-German. Whatever that means. Like the meaning behind the word “lantlôs” Siegenhort is more like a global guy, his music unmoored from the traps of what has been and will continue to be German black metal. Not that there’s anything wrong with German black metal. Lantlôs’ new album, Melting Sun, is just a step in a different direction, more influenced by Hum and Deftones than anything particularly evil and/or Teutonic. The interview with Siegenhort appeared in DB #116 [HERE]. Here’s the full transcript.
There’s a pretty big change in sound from Agape to Melting Sun. Why is that?
Markus Siegenhort: When I started this band I was 16-years old. I’ve changed so much as a person. With all my points of view, my habits, I’ve gotten older. I see things differently. Since my music is 100% connected with my personal life, it had to change. No conscious decision. It’s just an evolution.
It feels like an evolution, actually.
Markus Siegenhort: Right. It’s change. It’s progression. It felt alright to change. I’m kind of glad we’re not recording the same album over and over again I guess we’re trying something new and innovative. For us.
Well, the big thing is Neige is no longer screaming or part of Lantlôs. Why is that?
Markus Siegenhort: With the new material, I felt our old singer—Neige from Alcest—would suit it. He has a great voice. We really didn’t want screaming vocals on this album. It would feel odd. It didn’t suit the music. He also lacked time. So, we parted ways. I told him I wanted to do the singing. By experimenting in the studio, I eventually became more confident in my vocal abilities. It all felt natural. I felt confident enough by the time I was recording the vocals. Totally. That’s for certain.
What is influencing you at this stage? Musically.
Markus Siegenhort: What has influenced me for a long time is Kayo Dot’s Choirs of the Eye. It’s such a huge production, there’s so many influences, it’s so flowing, the arrangements are perfect. It left an impression on me. Something I could take away, like different structures, slow parts. I know the album has aged, but it left an impression on me. The Deftones also left an impression on me. Two or three years ago. There’s lots of ‘90s stuff like Hum. Some of their songs. I like Smashing Pumpkins. Stuff from today is good, too. Like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart. All the old shoegazer stuff gives me shivers. Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. The sunny and flashy stuff from the ‘90s. It finally reached me. Dreampop, shoegaze, and noisy stuff had an impact on this album. It’s kind of a ‘90s thing.
Melting Sun feels very organized. Musically and lyrically.
Markus Siegenhort: I didn’t write logical things, actually. They’re just words that provoke strong images in me. If I get a feeling in my chest, I feel the need to print it to paper. They’re just words on paper. They give me feelings. They’re not logical though. They’re not physical either. They’re feelings I have. The words, or titles, reflect my feelings. I can’t explain why I chose the titles.
It’s a bright album. Much different from your previous records. The artwork reflects this, too.
Markus Siegenhort: Some people told me it’s a very dark album. I was like, “Pfft!” I don’t see many dark moments at all. I was totally astonished when I heard that. It’s a 100% summer album. I wrote it about trips we had in the mountains, during evenings in the summer. We’d have BBQs, with great people, all those things. I sensed the energy of summer and sun for the first time when I wrote these songs. When I was younger I felt the world was shit. All of a sudden, the world brightened up. This album is a dedication to those days, to the sun, to this very ethereal way of experiencing summer. I think you know what I mean.
How much did drugs, or the after effects of drugs, influence you this time around?
Markus Siegenhort: Well, sometimes I would get high. I’m not promoting it and I’m not too proud of it, but it had a strong impact. Look at the title. Look at the imagery. It’s all pretty spaced out. It’s pretty obvious what has influenced me.
So, this is your first full band, right?
Markus Siegenhort: Sort of. It’s basically me writing the songs. My drummer [Felix Wylezik] didn’t help me with the songwriting, but he helped me a lot with the production. Sounds, arrangements, and those kinds of things. We produced the album together. We worked a lot together. It’s more me and my drummer. The other guys are more helping out with live shows.
Where did you do the production? It sounds great.
Markus Siegenhort: We recorded this on our own, in my own studio. I did the mix and the production. I feel like the songs depend a lot on the production. We were going for something organic and thick. Nothing too over-produced. There’s some drum triggering, a tiny bit on the snare. The rest is totally natural. The guitars, there’s no digital stuff. No synthesizers. It’s a proper sound, coming out of an amp. We tried to keep it natural and powerful. The whole production took a year, with some breaks. I gave a lot for this. A lot of sweat to work this out. We were always enhancing, discarding things, putting vocal lines here and there. It was worth the work. It was a lot of fun. I’m very satisfied with the result. It’s our best production yet.
** Lantlôs’ new album, Melting Sun, is out now on Prophecy Productions. It’s available HERE. If heavy, dreamy, and awesome are things you dig, well, search out Lantlôs.
Natten Med De Levande Finntroll, Finntroll’s new album, translates to “Night With The Living Finntroll”. It spans a massive 19 tracks across the group’s discography. Captured in 2008 at Amsterdam’s Melkweg Concert Hall, the Natten Med De Levande Finntroll show went down as one of the group’s best. It’s fitting then that Finntroll’s original three–Trollhorn, Skrymer, and Tundra–see out the group’s 17-year history in proverbial style with their first live album. Luckily for us Finntroll didn’t call it Finnalive or Troll Lives! or Exit Stage Troll.
OK, we’ve rambled enough. Imbibe in the free-wheeling, perpetually inebriated Finntroll in the flesh, stinking codpieces, furry boots, and whatever else they wear on-stage. Bring on “Ursvamp”!
** Finntroll’s new album, Natten Med De Levande Finntroll, is out June 17th on Spinefarm Records. It’s available HERE if your pointy ears dare!
By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, June 13th, 2014
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.
Taking time off from real work in the service of metal is undeniably satisfying, and when it’s Maryland Deathfest I’m… um, servicing… it can feel like there’s no greater calling. Perks include shredding ears with top-shelf bands from around the globe, supplying the Decibel and Bazillion Points crews with bottled water and meeting musicians and music-lovers who are (mostly) beside themselves with the excitement of dozens of merch tables and the gritty-grimy euphoria of heavy music camaraderie.
This year, I happened to be skulking around the Decibel table when Alx from Barren Oak dropped by with his band’s recent EP, Dead to All Sensory Perception. I’m always happy to give new music a spin, and was especially intrigued when he described the band as “some post-metal and black metal with two basses and no guitar.” Turns out, the EP delivers just that – an interesting blend of playing styles that suffers not at all for its strange instrumentation.
In a subsequent email, I asked Alx to talk a bit about his experience with Barren Oak, which he was certainly happy to do. His initial response included some of the band’s stage quirks (“Our live performances used to have baskets of sour candy and razorblades on stage”) and Alx’s file sharing background. Check out Barren Oak’s sound and find out more about the adventurous trio by reading below.
Black metal featuring bass is already a new-school concept, but two basses? How did the members of Barren Oak get together and decide to record this material as a guitar-less trio?
Aside from the Greek black metal band Necromantia, which focused on an extended range bass guitar as the primary sound catalyst, there haven’t been many other bands I’ve heard of that use that arrangement. With extended range basses that have 6 or more strings, bass guitars can do more than carry the rhythm and bust out the odd solo, and can be used as a melodic lead device. I was writing some solo project material in 2010 on a 7-string bass and decided to try playing it with a drummer. “Blissful Self Violence” (track #1) was the first track written, and the melodic tapped part in the first half of the song naturally flowed into the darker second half as we jammed it out. Over the following months, we wrote some more songs and tried out 3 different guitar players, but it wasn’t until Andrew played bass with us that we felt that the right sound had been achieved.
How and when did you start playing augmented basses?
I played piano for many years, then guitar and bass around 2000. Four strings felt too limited to me, I kept coming up with ideas that led to me running out of frets and strings. The 6 string bass was nearly enough, but with an extra higher string I was able to produce chords and get the sound I wanted out of my guitar. Paired with some rack effects, I have a large range of freedom in sounds. Jean Baudin (Nuclear Rabbit) and Chaoth (Unexpect) are hugely inspiring to me in showing what is possible in the world of extended range bass playing. I bought a Conklin 7 string bass in 2009 and I’m still very pleased with it.
Alongside the more obvious black metal sections, you include occasionally jazzy runs and post-metal bits… what musical avenues are you interested in pursuing within the context of Barren Oak?
Our philosophy is to never place limits on what can be done in the context of songwriting or performance. We find inspiration through many different kinds of music, and it sometimes feels like we’re boiling the ocean when trying to put it all together. Dead To All Sensory Perception is a prelude on what’s to come. We are open to testing out new ideas as they come up, but will always return to the introspective solace of black metal.
What inspires you vocally? I’m especially interested in the clean vocals and what turned you on to singing that way.
Bands like Empyrium and Agalloch inspire me in how I shape the few clean vocal sections we have. I enjoy singing clean vocals as much as harsh vocals, and try to give equal attention to the intensity of both. I shape my harsh vocals to be cutting and visceral, not monotonous like an Inquisition sound. It works well for them, but not for what we’re going for. I write some lyrics in Russian because I think it is a beautiful language that at times, fits the music better than English.
Can you reflect on the ideas and writing process that drove each of the three main songs on Dead to All Sensory Perception?
The overarching theme in all the songs is expanding upon the imagery that goes through one’s head while they are contemplating suicide. Most of the lyrics were written either late at night when my mind won’t stop, or while riding public transportation. There’s a common link of depression and hatred inherent in both of those, I guess. My writing process usually starts with getting a rough version of the lyrics down, then the riffs pretty much seep out of the words. It’s a bit autistic like when someone sees sounds and hears colors. I hear music when I read what I’ve written.
Why the candy and razorblades at your live show? What gave you the idea to do that, and what do you like about continuing the tradition?
We did it as a joke for about a year, in response to the “most evil fuck off band” pissing contest that many black metal bands play into. Two straw baskets on stage filled with razorblades and sour candies (warheads, fireballs, and sour patch kids). Eventually the baskets got destroyed and all the contents ran out, but not before a few people cut themselves. Metal is about freedom and self-expression to us, whether that be realization of suicidal thoughts or trivial whimsy.
Do you have a particular philosophy about music sharing, based on your history with the digital file sharing scene?
The “buy it if you like it” sentiment is the only thing that makes sense in the age of digital file sharing. I have always made the releases of any band I played in available on the internet for free download. Better to properly encode and name the tracks than have some dickhead re-encode from a low bitrate source. File sharing is what exposed me to musical concepts I otherwise would have never come across, so even if I made a career out of music, I would be a hypocrite to speak ill of it. Some say that file sharing has oversaturated the online music world with a lot of mediocrity, but I would argue that it’s a good thing. It turns people off to recklessly downloading any random release they see, but instead they’re prone to read up or ask a friend who knows before choosing to download. If you’d like to download instead of just stream, head over to http://psychocydd.co.uk/ and find our EP. If you like it, buy it on Bandcamp or get the physical CD through our webstore.
For more Barren Oak, check out their Facebook page here.
By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen, stupid crap, videos On: Thursday, June 12th, 2014
So, this band from Vancouver called Expain (formerly known as The Almighty Excruciating Pain), who are as indebted to thrash as they are to quick-change jazz, Weired Al Yankovic’s discography and dusty recordings of the old Doctor Demento radio show, has a new album coming out. It’s self-released (well, sort of, as it was aided in part by a crowdfunding campaign), called Just the Tip and if you, like a good friend of mine does, have a real problem with humour in your metal, you’d best slump your shoulders in defeat and take a long walk around whatever po-dunk town you call home because, well, the album is fucking called Just the Tip. And if that doesn’t ‘tip’ you off, slink on over to the photos section of their facebook page and try and find a shot where someone isn’t mugging or pulling some goofy pose for the camera. And if that doesn’t drop enough clues in your lap, know that the band also have their own comedy webseries.
The occasion of this particular blog post is to premiere a track from said album entitled “Allegiance to Pain” which, considering I’m telling you about this and you can listen to the track below, is technically what’s up. However, in rooting around and finding out bit more about this band, I stumbled across their cover and video and John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Let the ridiculousness begin!
By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, June 12th, 2014
The Atlas Moth‘s new record is one of my favorites so far this year. But, as you’ve probably heard by now, the artwork and packaging–two things that some bands still care about–is something to admire in and of itself. So vocalist/guitarist Stavros Giannopoulos was kind enough to tell us about some other albums whose covers and packaging he backs. You can also glean some pretty insightful and interesting art-related tidbits about his band’s last two efforts. Pick up a copy of the Chicagoans third LP, The Old Believer, here.
5. Brightblack Morning Light–Brightblack Morning Light (2006)
I am self admittedly a sucker for 3D glasses. The vinyl version of this came with an old school cardboard pair sporting weed leafs on it, so I was immediately sold. One of my all time favorite records and is quite awesome to listen to and check out the artwork through the specs.
4. The Ocean–Precambrian (2007)
Honestly, any of their packaging could have made this list, but I picked Precambrian as it was my introduction to the band. It’s a multi-disc set, with the first disc being a fan CD, a much under used effect in my opinion. A high gloss booklet, spot varnish, die cut–this is the real deal in the packaging world. We just toured with The Ocean back in March and [guitarist] Robin [Staps] and I had many chats about our feelings on physical packaging. In this day and age of file sharing, there should be great lengths taken by bands to make someone actually want to buy a CD. This is an ideal that The Ocean have been behind since day one and I agree strongly with.
3. Pink Floyd–Animals (1977) and Wish You Were Here (1975), etc., etc.
The undisputed kings of fantastic album artwork, brought to you by album artwork God Storm Thorgerson. I can’t really narrow down a particular piece of Storm’s as my favorite, but either of these will get the point of across. The greatest part of his artwork was the fact they are not graphic designs but staged photos. The guy on fire on the cover of Wish You Were Here? He was a dude they set on fire. The pig flying in the sky on the cover of Animals? A giant pig balloon released into the sky and a photo taken of it. All of his works were sets built and photos taken. I highly suggest everyone on the planet sees the documentary Taken By Storm. Watching him work meticulously for decades on rock album artwork and realizing how much of it was practically done and completely real gave me an even deeper respect for a man that already had all of my respect.
2. Led Zeppelin–In Through The Out Door (1979)
I would say that this wouldn’t have been number two until we started getting the artwork for The Old Believer together. In the previously mentioned documentary, Taken By Storm, Storm and Robert Plant are interviewed about the artwork for this record being water reactive. When the album cover got wet, the regular sepia tone photograph turns technicolor. I had never even known about that, let alone the fact that something of that nature was an option! I talked to Chris from Profound Lore about the possibility of doing that for our next record and he put me in contact with Rich from A to Z Media, the company that presses all PFL releases. Rich went to work on trying to find the paper stock and while on the search he came across the water reactive paper that we wound up using for The Old Believer. Storm at one point was going to work on the artwork for An Ache For the Distance and I was planning on reaching out to him again to see if we could work out something for The Old Believer, but while we were on tour in Europe last year, he passed away. The record itself is lyrically and emotionally based in the loss of loved ones, so I feel like using this kind of effect was The Atlas Moth’s way of paying tribute to the man.
1. Tool–Ænima (1996), Lateralus (2001) and 10,000 Days (2006)
What do I really need to say about these? I recall in junior high when Ænima came out, a friend of mine brought the CD to school and a group us were trying to figure out what the guys from Tool were watching that guy do. Ah, to be young again. I recall ditching a class in high school to go buy Lateralus the day it came out and sitting in a Best Buy parking lot getting stoned and listening to the record while thumbing through the see-through plastic anatomy booklet. Tool is meticulous down to every detail of their band and it’s quite inspiring to me.
*Photo by Mark Dawursk
**Order a copy of The Old Believer here.
***Past Decibrity entries include:
Eyehategod (Part 1) (Part 2)
Junius (Part 1) (Part 2)
East Of The Wall
Drugs Of Faith
SubRosa (Part 1) (Part 2)
God Is An Astronaut
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
All That Remains
A Life Once Lost
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)
The summer doldrums are setting in. Fear not: the longest day of the year is coming soon (June 21) and we can quickly begin the reset to short days and plenty of darkness. And, we have a fuzzy, riff packed full album stream for your listening below.
Wo Fat’s The Conjuring will be released on June 17th on CD, vinyl, and digitally. The vinyl edition — 180 gram vinyl with deluxe jacket and poly-lined sleeves — comes in transparent red or black, each limited to 250 copies. Get a copy here from Small Stone and learn more about Wo Fat.
Jonesing for some blackout-dark, dynamic-as-fuck, gloriously oppressive, progressive-yet-unabashedly-brutal hardcore reminiscent of Blacklisted and early American Nightmare?
What a coincidence! We’ve got an exclusive track off the straight-up awesome upcoming full-length debut from soon-to-be scene levelers My Fictions streaming below.
“Stranger Songs is an LP we’ve been working on for over two years,” guitarist/vocalist Ryan Boone tells Decibel. “It’s our darkest, heaviest material to date and I think we’re all happy with the end result. ‘Mt. Misery’ opens the album and might be my favorite track on the record. It has a lot of the D-beat elements that people might expect from our band, but with this song in particular we experimented with some lower, darker chords and tried some new things.”