Q&A and Album Stream: Boddicker

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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If you don’t dig deep into the demos reviewed in our print edition you will miss many gems. Case in point: Boddicker‘s nasty little album Crime Upheaval, which reminded us of classics like World Downfall and Misery Index with Brujeria theatrics. Boddicker is actually the name of the villian in the original Robocop so there’s another reason for intrigue.

Your truly actually didn’t know about the Detroit band until Bonazelli sent a link requesting that I check them out. And he hates almost everything, so it’s quite an endorsement The Deciblog tracked down “Clarence” Boddicker for a Q&A; he also agreed to let us share the album. “We wanted to make something pulverizing and terrorizing,” he says. “We wanted something mean sounding that is filled with crime, anarchy and filth. We’re just a good time outlaw rock and roll band with blastbeats.”


How did the band come together?

Roughly two years ago. We were all members of the black market. We worked in liquor stores and sold guns and drugs and decided we wanted to be in a band. We met through the underground going to shows and through other nefarious criminal activity.

So those guns in the press photo are very much real?

Yes. We stole them and don’t really don’t know what the fuck they are. We just took over a gun store and grabbed them.

And Boddicker is a nod to your Robocop fandom?

It’s a way of life.

Did you see the remake?

I’m not paying for that bullshit.

I saw it for free on an airplane.

Did you get paid for it afterward?

Was there any musical chemistry or was it just criminal?

Three-fourths of the guys were in a sludge band for a little bit. That went away after a while, sort of fell apart. Basically, the guitarist moved and didn’t have his own shit so it didn’t go anywhere. We decided we wanted to do something filthy and gross and that’s where we came up with Boddicker. We were influenced by 80s UK grind and crust, old school death metal and powerviolence. I think Eyehategod is one of the few things we all agree upon.

Listening to the album I pick up a Terrorizer and Assuck vibe.

I’m glad you said that. A lot of the shit we get is that we sound like Nails. And that’s fine because they are great, but that’s not really where we are coming from. So thank you for getting it. Obviously, if we got an offer for a split or a tour with them we’d totally jump on it.

What’s the worst comparison you’ve received?

Well, nothing has driven us nuts because no one has said anything shitty. But it’s like some people don’t get it. Our first demo reviewed in Decibel got compated to Man Is The Bastard, Infest and Spazz. And it’s just like — those three bands don’t sound anything alike? I wouldn’t say that’s where we’re coming from but it’s all subjective.

The more underground you get the more you are lumped in with bands that presumably influenced you.

Absolutely. Everyone is guilty of doing that — I am. But we just need to roll with it. The point I want to make is that we come from old school influences. I don’t want people to think we just heard some Trap Them or Nails and started a band. I think the next time we’ll rip off Bolt Thrower’s guitar tone or something.

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I love that in one of your splits (with Kata Sarka) you have a weighlifter combined with a black metal face.

Dude, that’s David Lee Gorgoroth!

Who is he?

This guy was working at a pizza place and a dude told him: “You are so grim but you are a total rocker. You are David Lee Gorgoroth.” It was just an inside joke that took a life of its own.

The guy is pretty jacked.

(Laughs). It’s just David Lee Roth’s body combined with black metal facepaint.

STREAMING: Napalm Death “Cesspits”

By: Chris D. Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen On: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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Napalm Death. Three decades of grindcore! The Birmingham-based bashers are no stranger to Decibel, having graced a covers, tours, and being uniquely positioned in the heart of hearts and mind of minds in our senior leadership. It’s with absolute delight that we’re able to premiere “Cesspits” off new album, Apex Predator – Easy Meat.

“Sometimes you have to ponder long and hard for an album title, but following the Rana Plaza disaster of last year (collapse of a textile sweatshop building in Bangladesh), it spurred me on to try and craft an exposé of slave labour in the modern world (and the surrounding conditions propping it up),” said lead throat/lyrical conceptualist Barney Greenway.

“Some in power like to declare that slavery is consigned to the history books. But if you look beneath the surface it is alive and well in many different forms – it just has a different face now, and exists in ways that may seem ethically ambiguous. Using the terminology of evolution particularly interests us, so in this case the ‘Apex Predator’ represents those who bring the slavery to bear (and capitalise from it), and the ‘Easy Meat’ is of therefore those who feel they have no option but to comply.

Fittingly, the music on Apex Predator – Easy Meat is punishing. We feel it’s more ambient, more expansive, more unsettlingly discordant than ever, and importantly, still extremely rampant at excessive speed. We hope in every respect – both musically and lyrically – this album will make your eyes burn with the harsh sonics and harsh visions of the dumping ground of globalisation.”

OK, enough words. Time to grind!

** Napalm Death’s Apex Predator – Easy Meat is out January 27th, 2015 on Century Media Records.

STREAMING: Varathron “Untrodden Corridors of Hades” + Stefan Necroabyssious interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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** Greek black metal legends, Varathron, are readying new album, Untrodden Corridors of Hades, for the blackest of legions. We summoned our inner Hellas and ancient spirit to commanded lead Varathron sorcerer Stefan Necroabyssious to answer important questions as a preface to the streaming premiere of the entire “Untrodden Corridors of Hades” album.

What was your main inspiration going into Untrodden Corridors of Hades?
Stefan Necroabyssious: The absolute darkness! We are dedicated to the stygian forces! This album is pure evil. Psalms with strange and bizarre riffs that can make you travel beyond the known dimensions. It’s an awesome dream, an abysmal reality, a prayer to HIM!

What’s your favorite track and why?
Stefan Necroabyssious: I like all of the tracks equally. Every Varathron song, since our glorious beginning in 1988, has its own memories and stories to tell. Every track has an identity. The new album contains seven endless sins and I love them all!

Tell us about the cover art. What is Varathron conveying?
Stefan Necroabyssious: The new cover, rest of the illustrations and layout was done by my great friend from the past, Mark Riddick. His awesome art with the goat head and the seven columns represent the seven sins, the seven tracks of the album. It also illustrates the Greek element of our ancient history. The dark god—Hades—is one of the many faces of our ultimate lord! Both music and Mark’s art transfer an utter message, the prevalence of evil!!!

What’s different about Greek black metal now compared to the early ‘90s?
Stefan Necroabyssious: Well, in the old glorious days, the unholy trinity—Varathron, Necromantia and Rotting Christ—created the unique Greek black metal sound. Back in those days the bands had beliefs and true passion for unholy creations. The zines, the flyers, mailing and tape-trading were the only way of promoting in our scene. Later things changed. Big labels started giving a lot in marketing techniques and promoting a ‘pseudo image’ for many bands. The entire philosophy of this music collapsed with their ways. Desire for pure creation, spread of beliefs and true attitude and feelings started transforming into fake icons and idols all in the name of profit. Of course, we still exist and fortunately the dark flame is still alive and immortal among many bands worldwide. I salute my true brothers and warriors against the filthy music industries!

What do you want black metal fans to walk away with after listening to Untrodden Corridors of Hades?
Stefan Necroabyssious: We want to strengthen their lust for darkness and offer them a voyage into obscurity that will haunt their souls forever. All these atmospheric melodies and bizarre riffs are an astral trip, a road to the higher occult meditation! OBEY!

** Varathron’s new album, Untrodden Corridors of Hades, is out soon on Agonia Records. It’s available HERE on CD, deluxe CD and LP.

Sucker For Punishment: Grand and Morbid

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

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Anguish, Mountain (Dark Descent): What I get most out of the second full-length by the Swedish doom band, aside from the lovably goofy cover and the simple yet enjoyable music therein, is just how well vocalist J. Dee enunciates. It’s a lost art, especially in extreme metal, and even though the lyrics are your usual mystical gobbledygook, it’s nice to understand a harsh vocalist for once.

Bloodbath, Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville): I used to always wonder why so many people got so excited for Bloodbath when founding members Anders Nystrom and Jonas Renkse created infinitely better music when working under the Katatonia banner. Granted, comparing the sleek, melancholy gothic doom of Katatonia to the ferocious Swedish death metal of Bloodbath is like comparing apples and oranges, but from my own perspective, why get excited for cheap PBR when you have a classy Trappist beer as an option? But you know what? Sometimes PBR goes down beautifully and can scratch an itch that a Trappist just can’t reach, and compared to present-day Katatonia, which seems lost in its increasingly mellow musical direction, the simplicity of Bloodbath hits the spot in 2014. A lot of the credit goes to Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost, who assumes the role previously held by Mikael Åkerfeldt, and shines as the new frontman, charismatically delivering some phenomenal death growls atop some typically raging and rampaging arrangements. In the end, it’s the songwriting of this supergroup that makes this album such a blast, striking a fine balance between hookiness and brutality that only the old masters of the sound can pull off.

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band, Black Power Flower (Napalm): What is it about Brant Bjork’s albums that make them so much more likeable than anything by his former Kyuss bandmates? The total lack of pretension? The faithful adherence to that classic desert rock sound? The celebration of musical simplicity? Either way, his solo efforts are always a great pleasure, and this new project – I have no clue who is in the Low Desert Punk Band – is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of anyone who was underwhelmed by that Vista Chino record last year. Anyone who can write a song called “Boogie Woogie on Your Brain” and pull it off convincingly is all right by me.

Burial Hex, The Hierophant (Handmade Birds): The latest by multi-instrumentalist Clay Ruby is a typically spellbinding collection of brooding pieces, this time an eerie yet flat-out beautiful amalgamation of gothic post-punk, krautrock, and dark ambient, experimental in nature yet always rooted in structure, or at least just enough to challenge but never alienate the listener. It might not qualify as “metal” by metal’s traditional standards, but it achieves its grandiose power through extremity nevertheless, and the way it conveys sorrow, anguish, and devastation will appeal to anyone interested in extreme/experimental music in all forms. Purchase the album here.

The Deathtrip, Deep Drone Master (Svart): The new project featuring Aldrahn from Dødheimsgard and Zyklon B boasts that it’s derived from the same avant-garde   minimalist black metal as Thorns – this album was mixed by Snorre Ruch, too – and while that is indeed the case, in no way does it measure up to the work of that band, nor that of Dødheimsgard either. There are some moments that grab you, namely the ones that ditch the speed for simpler, mid-paced tempos, which allow room for Aldrahn’s tremendous vocal inflections, but too much of this album sags to warrant a full recommendation.

Dire Omen, Wrestling the Revelation of Futility (Dark Descent): Rote black/death metal by this Canadian band, stifled by terrible production and made pointless by unimaginative riffs and the usual incomprehensible, gurgling vocals. There’s nothing wrong with being incomprehensible if there’s personality in the music, but that just isn’t happening here at all.

In This Moment, Black Widow (Atlantic): Kudos to this band for capitalizing on a formula that – bafflingly – sells, but the cold hard fact remains that In This Moment’s continuing pandering to the lowest common denominator is one of the saddest things I’ve seen in this business. They used to be a good little band, and although this awful music charts well, it’s all such a waste of their talent.

Monster Magnet, Milking The Stars (Napalm): This is actually a very clever idea by Dave Wyndorf and his band, as they’ve taken the very good 2013 album Last Patrol and completely lre-imagined it all, tweaking songs here and there, adding some new ones, and tossing in a few live tracks as well. This time around the ‘60s psychedelic angle is played to the hilt, which adds a fresh new dimension to the material. This is one rare case where the tired re-recorded album gimmick has yielded something creative and vibrant. Fans of the band, and psychedelic rock for that matter, will love this.

Old Man Gloom, The Ape of God (Profound Lore): There’s been a lot of capital-D dumb in 2014, from sun wheels, to accidental overdoses, to 11 friggin’ grams of meth (get well, Wino!), and for a few minutes the stunt Old Man Gloom pulled with regards to the advance review version of the new album The Ape of God felt like the proverbial last straw. I’d been thoroughly digging what I was hearing, but when the band revealed that the promo was merely a fake in order to hoodwink writers and weed out leakers, I didn’t appreciate being jerked around and having my precious time wasted by a bunch of smug musicians who think they’re being funny. Besides, Profound Lore uses Haulix, nearly all metal labels use Haulix, and with that promo platform a band or label can easily track down the person responsible for an album leak. The “fake promo” idea might have been clever a decade ago, but not in 2014.

In actuality, The Ape of God, even more confusingly, is two separate albums of the same name, and the only way to tell the two apart is by the back cover art and the gatefold color schemes, one yellow, one green. And when all is said and done, in the end these boys, led by Isis/Hydra Head honcho Aaron Turner, have done a great thing in providing not one, but two quality exercises in the noisier, more dissonant side of sludge metal. The yellow Ape of God I – as iTunes categorizes it – is the more direct of the two, and the most immediately appealing, as tracks like “Fist of Fury” and “The Lash” focus more on aggression and speed. Meanwhile, the green Ape of God II is much slower paced, consisting of only four tracks, three going well past the ten-minute mark, and ultimately it’s this album that’s the most rewarding as the band tinkers with dynamics a lot more, employing even more drones and feedback to offset the moments of crusty, distorted fury. “A Hideous Nightmare Lie Upon the World” has a tremendous Harvey Milk feel to it, benefitting immensely from Kurt Ballou’s trademark tone. As for that “fake” version, it’s merely The Ape of God in edited form, featuring some complete tracks, some excerpts, and perhaps a couple alternate versions, and actually gives critics a very good idea of what these two records are all about. But trust me, the real thing is totally worth your time. Check out both via Bandcamp: Volume I is here, and Volume II is here.

Owl, The Last Walk (Zeitgeister): I was fascinated by Owl’s Into the Absolute, which came out back in May, and now the German band has retuned with another EP, this time in the form of a single 25-minute composition. Like the previous release, the unpredictability of the music is half the fun, this time veering between ambient drone and melancholic, early-‘90s British gothic doom, all done with admirable skill.

Satan, Trail of Fire: Live in North America (Listenable): This live document of Satan’s triumphant return in 2013 is energetic enough, and the band’s classic NWOBHM material remains fantastic, but the sound quality is terrible for a live album. You can hear better audio on YouTube video clips.

Sonata Arctica, Ecliptica Revisited: 15th Anniversary Edition (Nuclear Blast): This re-recording of Sonata Arctica’s classic debut album would be utterly pointless if it didn’t sound so damn good. The boys revisited their old material for fun, and prove they can still pull it off brilliantly. It’s not an essential album, but a neat little exercise, so good for them for rediscovering that classic sound their fans love so much.

Soulburn, The Suffocating Darkness (Century Media): Created by a couple of former members of Asphyx, Soulburn tosses in a strong black metal element into the death/doom hybrid folks might expect. It’s clear the guys are going for somethnig more along the Bathory/Celtic Frost vein, but despite sporadically coming up with engaging moments, there’s little here that even comes close to even stand in the shadow of those two formidable bands. It’s not bad, but not special, either.

Thanatos, Global Purification (Century Media): The Greek deathy-thrashers (or thrashy-deathers?) are back with their first new album in five years, and it’s exactly how you’d expect a thrash album with death inclinations to sound. Why do these bands even bother? Don’t you want to sound unique? Do you have any personality to put into your music?

Threshold, For The Journey (Nuclear Blast): My main complaint with Threshold is always that the UK prog band’s music can feel a little sterile after a while, but there’s something about this tenth album that connects a lot more than 2012’s painfully long March of Progress ever did. The melodies feel warmer, the running time is much more tolerable, and songs like “Watchtower on the Moon” and “The Box” work in their nerdily proggy way, Damian Wilson’s singing sounding arch yet soulful at the same time.

While Heaven Wept, Suspended At Aphelion (Nuclear Blast): The criminally underrated Virginia band doesn’t attract the kind of American press it deserves primarily because the music they play is so unrepentantly nerdy, too nerdy for many Stateside tastemakers. But for those with a serious jones for some European flair, some prog/power flamboyance in their doom metal, you can’t go wrong with this fifth album. Moving gracefully from piano balladry, to some gliding Sonata Arctica-style speed metal, to the mournful melodic doom they’ve excelled at from the get-go, it skillfully avoids both schmaltz and overindulgence, always knowing when to say when, a surprisingly classy record.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

Synthtracks: Contact Playlist, Part 2: AE Paterra/Majeure

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, listen, lists On: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

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Because synthesizers are awesome, and movie soundtracks are awesome, we asked the duo of British film composer Paul Lawler and American drummer AE Paterra (Zombi/Majeure), collectively known as Contact, to put together a playlist for us with their favorite soundtrack tunes and some words on each. This week, we have Paterra’s picks; click here to check out Lawler’s. Not exactly metal, sure, but it’s not like metal folks don’t love this stuff. Check out the song “Distant Voices” off of their debut LP, First Contact, below, and then brace yourself for some 80s awesomeness.

Rise to Superstardom – unknown/ library 

I fell in love with hockey in my early teens, all credit due to Mario Lemieux. The guy was unbelievable. This is one of my favorite features on his career. The 2 minute opening sequence always stuck with me: really beautiful voice pads – a pretty atypical sports video soundtrack. The whole thing has some real gems – fast forward to 10:53 for some sweet Hornsby rip-off action. Great flyover shots of my hometown, Pittsburgh.

 

Blade Runner by Vangelis 

This is no surprise. Again, I first saw Blade Runner in my early teens, and to this day I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more perfect marriage of sound and film. Vangelis is always an inspiration. Anything I could say about this has already been said.

 

Thief by Tangerine Dream 

Another great film opening, this time by Tangerine Dream for the film Thief. Masterfully intensifies an already tense scene.

 

No Way Out by Maurice Jarre 

Maurice Jarre’s score to the 1989 film No Way Out isn’t totally outstanding, but I was always more excited for the first few minutes of this one over the last 2 hours of it.  Except when Sean Young was on screen.

 

Stalker by Adward Artemiev

Edward Artemiev’s score to Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker is wonderfully haunting – the overall sound of the entire film is mesmerizing and superbly executed.

***First Contact is out now courtesy of Temporary Residence Limited. You can order it here. Follow the band on Facebook here, and keep track of what Paterra is up to here.

Wino Issues Official Statement, Re: Norway Deporatation

By: andrew Posted in: breaking newz, featured On: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

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At this time, I feel it is necessary to release an official statement of the facts in regard to my recent deportation from the country of Norway. First, I want to apologize to all Saint Vitus fans, and to my band members and crew for my lapse in judgment that ultimately resulted in me missing the last six shows on our Born Too Late 35th anniversary European tour. On November 9th before noon just over the Norwegian border, I was arrested for possession of an illegal substance.  I take full responsibility for the consequences of my actions. The other members and crew were unaware of my substance use. I was truthful with the authorities, and initially sentenced to 16 days in jail, minus the three initial days immediately following my arrest. On those days, I was in solitary confinement, with no reading or writing material and fed solely bread water. Despite these conditions, I was treated respectfully and cordially by all Norwegian authorities. Initially, I believed I would be fined, allowed to continue the tour, and upon its end, I agreed to return to Norway to finish my sentence. I was disheartened to realize that I was to be deported straightaway back to the U.S., and not allowed to finish the tour. I sincerely regret the inconvenience and loss incurred by everyone involved with these gigs, the inspiring co-headlining Orange Goblin, our booking agent, promo folks and the venues, and of course, fans and ticketholders. I want to salute the members of Saint Vitus for carrying on with these shows without me, and proving admirably the class of true road warriors they are. Again, my deepest apologies to all. After several productive years of sobriety, the rigors of almost nonstop touring and life’s circumstances led me to develop a dependency that has become detrimental to my health, and now, my freedom. As of now, I am currently off the road, and actively engaged in treatment.

And THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES…

I will continue my course of creating music and art. Early next year you will see the release of WINO AND CONNY OCHS’ new full-length recording, “FREEDOM CONSPIRACY” on Exile on Mainstream Records. Also on the near horizon: A  full-length Wino solo acoustic recording, the launch of my art and music web store, and my no-holds-barred biography.

Thanks to all who Believe!

Wino, November 18th,2014

 

(h/t J. Bennett)

(photo: Jose Carlos Santos)

ROAD REPORT: Kings Destroy Ride the Pentagram Express

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: diary, featured On: Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

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Brooklyn doom metallers Kings Destroy recently hit the road with Pentagram. Here, in their own words, is what transpired…

Chicago, IL (Stephen Murphy, vocals)

Well goddamn, it was great to head to Chicago for the first show of the tour with Pentagram, Radio Moscow and Bang, plus Iron Reagan taking the stage before us. We loaded our gear into the van in Brooklyn and miraculously drove through NYC and over the George Washington Bridge with no traffic. That never happens. Drove for eleven hours then crashed in Clyde, Ohio. Middle of nowhere. Next day was four more hours to Chicago. Didn’t even bother going to the club — first stop was Kuma’s Corner for a metal burger and some beers. So good. Loaded in and reunited with the Pentagram and Radio Moscow boys with whom we did the Western US this past February. Touring with bands you know and get along with just makes everything a little easier. Loaded in, no soundcheck, hit the stage at 8:20 and ripped off as many songs as we could in our allotted thirty minutes. Reggies was already crowded when we played. By the time Bang, Radio Moscow and Pentagram played, the crowd was boozy and righteous. Great first night of tour.

Minneapolis, MN (Stephen Murphy)

When you tour the US you gain a real appreciation for the vastness of the country. The drive from Chicago to Minneapolis clocks in around eight hours. We woke up early, threw the football around in the fresh air and got our move on… destination Hammerheart Brewery, about 20 miles north of the city. Master brewer Austin Lunn is a great host. He’s also a talented one-man band who records under the name Panopticon. We tasted his beer and he gave us three growlers for the road. Nice! Mill City Nights is a large venue that’s run with great professionalism. We loaded in, got a soundcheck and hit the stage at 8:15. Six songs and an appreciative audience later we loaded out and tucked into watching Bang! These guys were playing in the early ’70s and they are great mellow dudes. A welcome addition to the tour. The first two days have involved about twenty hours of van time. The next few days will be a lot easier.

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Grand Rapids, MI (Christopher Skowronski, guitar)

Internal Bleeding: Carnival Of Death Recap

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: diary, featured, tours On: Monday, November 17th, 2014

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Internal Bleeding recently finished a 30-date North American tour. Guitarist Chris Pervelis shared this funny roundup from his time on the road. You can connect with the band on Facebook and get their new album Imperium from Unique Leader.


Thirty shows — across both America and Canada. That’s quite a test of human endurance — especially when you do it in a van and you’re almost fifty years old.

Our recent tour with Suffocation, Kataklysm, Jungle Rot and Pyrexia was a non-stop merry-go-round of driving, shows, lack of sleep and constant pressure to kill it every night. In short, this tour amounted to long hours of boredom punctuated by a half-hour of playing our brains out.

Instead of writing a long-winded missive on the tour, I’ve made a few top-three lists that will give you a little overview.

Three Best Shows:

• Montreal, Canada: The last show of the tour turned out to be one of the best. The sound was massive, the place was packed and everyone had a great time — plus that Canadian beer made it quite difficult to drive back home.
• Portland, Oregon: A packed house, a broken nose in the pit and plenty of miserable weather made this stop one for the ages. Everything about this show was killer — even the food.
• Rouyn, Canada: Who thought such a small town in the middle of nowhere could bring such an incredible crowd. The stage was an inch of the floor and the crowd was constantly in your face during the whole set. Brilliant!

Three Funny Moments:

• Our bass player trying to educate Tim Hortons employees: Poor Blue (our bass player) — all he wanted was iced coffee and what he’d get was milk with a drop of coffee in it. He spent countless hours trying to explain to the well-meaning employees that iced coffee has to contain actual coffee in order for it to be called that. He’d always come back to the van shaking his head, cursing and shouting out “for the love of God, what’s so fucking difficult about making iced coffee!” He repeated this at every Tim Hortons.
• Watching Oscar throw people off the stage: Oscar Cabrerra is the stage manager for Suffocation and is, hands-down, one of the greatest people you’ll meet in the music industry. He’ll take time to give you tips and advice; he’ll go out of his way for you and he’ll always great you with a smile. But when a fan lingers on the stage for too long, he explodes like a demon and from out of nowhere comes this wiry Mexican dude with an attitude hell-bent on throwing you off the stage in a most unfriendly manner. This happened quite a few times during the tour and it was always hilarious to see him literally throw people three times his size into the air and off the side of the stage.
• Letting Keith drive: Anytime he gets behind the wheel, you can be sure that you are going to receive four to five hours of pure entertainment. He is, bar none, the angriest driver on the planet I have ever seen. The string of expletives that come flying out of his mouth if you’re in his way would make even the most grizzled sailor blush. I’ve never seen so many derogatory words strung together in such an interesting manner — no wonder he is so good at writing lyrics.

Three Lessons Learned:

• Showering in a sink: Probably the most important lesson from the whole tour. When showers are few and far between, all you need is a washcloth, some soap and a sink to be clean, fresh and ready to rock and roll.
• Air bomb targeting: Club toilets are notoriously nasty. Learning how to take a dump without ever having to touch the toilet seat is a skill that comes in very, very handy.
• Bring noise-canceling headphones: Because there’s always that one person in your band who snoring sounds like a million woodpeckers attacking a forest of redwood trees!

Finally, all the bands we played with were just dynamite human beings. That made life on the road a lot easier for everyone. Special thanks must go out to Derek Boyer and Terrance Hobbs for making sure that we always had some beer and booze. Because when you are on the bottom of the list during a tour, your catering budget only has enough room for some food. Terrance and Derek went above and beyond to keep us fortified with alcohol. If you ask me, that’s a true sign of friendship and camaraderie.

Here’s Something From…Nothing

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: exclusive, featured On: Monday, November 17th, 2014

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Today Philadelphia altered reality merchants Nothing follow up the excellent Relapse debut Guilty of Everything — pick up the scarf/beanie bundle! — with a split 12-inch on Run For Cover Records alongside Whirr. (The release also features etched b-side/full-length studio doc DVD…) We’ve got the exclusive premiere of the video for one of those tracks, “Chloroform,” below. Enjoy!

European tour dates after the jump.

Top 5 Unlikely Anathema (Doom Metal Phase) Songs

By: Chris D. Posted in: gnarly one-offs, listen, lists On: Monday, November 17th, 2014

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** Decibel’s Top 100 Doom Metal Album of All Time issue is available now (HERE). So inspired by England’s place on the map (OK, list) and equally inspired by Anathema’s early catalog inclusion, I wanted to Top 5 songs that aren’t on Last.fm lists, have been spurned by Anathema (no remake of “Suicide Veil”?), or have been ignored by doom metallers old and young for whatever reason. Enjoy the sorrow. And don’t forget to tell us which Anathema songs are your favorites. Anathema were, as you know, the bible…


5. “Suicide Veil”
“Suicide Veil” doesn’t really start until 2:30 mark. While the synths could’ve been lifted off of Ian Haugland, the rest of the song is as miserable as a rainy Monday in deep autumn. Vincent’s vocals border on rage and despair and the final minutes of the song are classic Anathema. They group loved to draw out songs—some may argue in unnecessarily—using repetition to drive home simple yet emotionally complex themes. “Suicide Veil” is no exception, except the songwriters use the prolog and epilog to communicate Anathema’s minimalisms. Eternity is a rare gem in doom metal’s slow motion landscape.


4. “Sunset of Age”
This is a classic early ‘90s era Anathema track. The drawn out main riff pairs rhythmically with drummer John Douglas and Duncan Patterson, tumultuous and undulating, while the keyboard swells (in parts) almost unheard in the background. The song is largely different from other Anathema tracks. The beginning and end action sections, while the middle fans out in pure ambience. What really sets “Sunset of Age” apart from other Anathema tracks is its very Anathema like complementary guitar line to the main riff. Listen and be amazed.


3. “Eternal Rise of the Sun”
Recorded during the Pentecost III sessions, “Eternal Rise of the Sun” is proof positive the path Anathema were heading down in ’94 wasn’t getting any happier. More hopeful, yes. “Eternal Rise of the Sun” is secured in awesome by its Near Eastern rhythm and jam-like coda. Darren White’s lyrics are different from his other vociferation of loss and despair. When he opines “Believe in angels, they believe in you / Oh, spread your wings, there is more than this darkness”, it’s clear his influences were starting to come from different places (possibly India). For years, the only place to find this song (pre-YouTube) was on the We Are the Bible 7”, but resurfaced in 2002 on the Resonance 2 compilation.


2. “Mine is Yours to Drown in (Ours is the New Tribe)”
Doom metal has always been about big, monolithic riffs and imposing song structures. OK, not always, but sometimes. “Mine is Yours to Drown in (Ours is the New Tribe)” was the second track on the Pentecost III EP and it doesn’t really feel like Anathema. Sound like, yes. Feel like, the rhythmic plod is more rooted in Godflesh. Throw in a rougher production, a more clinical drum production and “Mine is Yours to Drown in (Ours is the New Tribe)” could’ve been a Godflesh song (circa Pure). The middle of the song is different, however. And this changes everything. When White goes into his unpublished lyrics about Atlantean and druid stuff, the musical movement is right out of Serenades. The heaviness of the Cavanagh riffs can never be understated. They crush. But they also have a delicate side in Danny’s sustain and note choices. The song’s end is bliss.


1. “Cerulean Twilight”
On The Silent Enigma, Anathema axed singer Darren White. Guitarist Vincent Cavanagh took over for White last minute and, to be fair, killed it. There isn’t a single piece of Anathema music before and after The Silent Enigma that’s as pissed, tension-filled, and emotionally crushing as the album’s mid-point trio of “Nocturnal Emission”, “Cerulean Twilight”, and “The Silent Enigma”. “Cerulean Twilight”, in particular, is the most harrowing of the terrible troika. True, the chick scream, Cavanagh’s scathing lyrics, and the brilliant end motif to “Nocturnal Emission” rules dark corners, but “Cerulean Twilight” is a perpetual wave of sorrow, hate, and desolation. Danny Cavanagh’s nightmare strums and note torture is off-the-charts incredible and the 30 seconds of screams under Vincent’s agony vocals level most black metal vocals in the last decade. Hyperbole? Listen to real close to Vincent. There’s no light or hope in his voice. The emotion behind it is so raw and unhinged, it’s a wonder he wasn’t asked to enlist in short-lived UK black metal wonder Megiddo.