Sucker For Punishment: Taking the High Road

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

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As a metal writer you often meet young bands that are so desperately hungry to get out on tour and live the road dog life in their van, going from city to city, crashing wherever they can. Just to live the live of a touring metal band and do what they love to do most in the world. Once you make it to that one short rung above that of a local band, though, it’s a serious, serious grind that separates the grown-ups from the children, the true test of ones mettle, ‘scuse the bad wordplay. The highs can be fantastic, while the lows can be deflating.

Vancouver phenoms (and Decibel favorites) Anciients embarked on their first full Canadian tour last week, and despite playing on a Saturday night in June, pretty much the perfect time for a metal show around these parts, the turnout was a little lower than hoped. They were coming off a night where they and touring mates Black Wizard made an absolute killing playing to a packed bar as part of that city’s big Sled Island Festival, so to go from that to maybe 30 people in a 400-capacity room has to be a real letdown. Plus the fact that Black Cobra had been turned away at the Canadian border hurt things as well, especially considering that duo’s sterling reputation as a first-rate live band.

But give Chris Dyck, Kenny Cook, Aaron Gustafson, and Mike Hannay credit, they strode onstage and played just as well as I’d seen them in a beyond-capacity venue at Roadburn in the Netherlands two months prior. It was a scorching hour-long set heavy on selections from their excellent 2013 debut album Heart of Oak (“Overthrone”, “Faith and Oath”, “Raise the Sun”, “Giants”, “The Longest River”) and climaxing with a whopping, ambitious 12-minute new song that sounded even better than when I’d heard it back in April. It was a performance searing enough to compel those still hanging around at two in the morning to buy whatever the band was selling, and that’s where you got to see the sincerity in a guy like Cook, who shook the hand of everyone who came up to him, looking them in the eye and engaging them in conversation. It’s little instances like that where you sit back and think, yeah, their main tour support couldn’t show up with 18 shows and several thousand miles to go, there’ll be more than a few miserable sleeps in the van ahead, but these guys will be fine.

If you live in Canada, be sure to catch Anciients and Black Wizard when they roll into your nearest city. Here are the remaining dates:

06/26 Montreal, QC – Il Motore
06/27 Ottawa, ON – Maverick’s
06/28 Sherbrooke, QC – Le Magog
06/29 Rimouski, QC – Cactus Show-Bar
06/30 Fredericton, NB – The Capital Complex
07/02 Moncton, NB – The Caveau
07/03 Charlottetown, PE – Hunter’s Ale House
07/04 Halifax, NS – Michael’s
07/05 Trois-Rivieres, QC – Rock Cafe Le Stage
07/06 Quebec City, QC – L’Agitee
07/08 Kingston, ON – The Mansion
07/10 London, ON – Call The Office
07/11 Toronto, ON – El Mocambo
07/12 Sudbury, ON – The Townehouse 1H
07/13 Sault Ste Marie, ON – Canadian Nightclub
07/14 Thunder Bay, ON – Crocks
07/17 Regina, SK – The Exchange
07/18 Edmonton, AB – Pawn Shop
07/19 Armstrong, BC – MetalFest

It’s another monstrous week for new releases. Welcome to summer. Here’s a dozen eclectic selections to choose from, including one particularly big one.

Allegaeon, Elements of the Infinite (Metal Blade): If you’re going to sound like every other melodic death metal band that ever was, you might as well come up with melodies that stand out, and give the Colorado band credit, the restraint the guys show on their third album is mildly impressive, in an early In Flames sort of way. “Dyson Sphere” is a real standout, the polished death metal reined in just enough to create room for those guitar hooks and harmonies to leave a good impression on the listener. With a new At the Gates album on the horizon it’s easy to say, “Why bother?” but this is actually a laudable effort.

Alraune, The Process Of Self-Immolation (Profound Lore): The Nashville black metal band is being mentioned in the same breath as Ash Borer and Krallice, but as potent as this five-track album can be at times – the sprawling “Kissed By the Red” is an immediate standout – there’s still plenty of catching up to do. As it stands, though, it’s a fairly strong exercise in raw black metal, capable of hypnotic, swirling, blastbeat-driven passages, but always mindful of melody. The potential for great things is definitely there. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Auroch, Taman Shud (Profound Lore): I made the mistake of listening to the latest album by the Vancouver band right after the new Incantation album, reviewed below. Even though this project by Mitochondrion’s Sebastian Montesi and Shawn Hache is cut from a slightly different cloth, more indebted to the technical inclinations of Gorguts and Cryptopsy, its very dry tone strips away any sense of majesty the music could have had. Structurally there’s plenty for death metal fans to like here, nimble arrangements dynamic enough to keep listeners involved, but there’s the lingering sense that this record could have ben even better than it is. Listen and purchase via Bandcamp.

Cannabis Corpse, From Wisdom To Baked (Season Of Mist): “Baptized in Bud”. “Individual Pot Patterns”. “Pull the Carb”. Oh, I get it. They’re parodies of actual death metal songs, but with weed jokes stuck in. Okay. In other words, the death metal version of this sketch.

Cemetery Lust, Orgies of Abomination (Hells Headbangers): Savage, filthy thrash/death metal with no shortage of tongue-in-cheek humor, this album might have a tendency to get a little repetitive after 15 minutes, but with songs like “Cum on the Cross” and “Sexually Transmitted Death”, the Portland band doesn’t fail to leave a stupid smile on your face.

Corrosion Of Conformity, IX (Candlelight): It doesn’t seem fair to the guys, but every time I hear a new Corrosion of Conformity album these days, I think, damn, I wish Pepper Keenan was back in the band. That’s how great that band could be when it wanted. Woody Weatherman’s doomy Southern rock grooves are still potent at times on this new record, and the trio can swing as it always has, but the vocals leave a lot to be desired. Imagine how absolutely killer it’d all sound if songs like “Brand New Sleep”, “Elphyn”, and “The Hanged Man” were sung with some semblance of authority instead of Mike Dean’s thin whine. Yeah, Mike and Woody are the originals, but as a foursome with Pepper COC was a force, and although it’s good to see him doing steady work with Down, his presence in this band is sorely missed.

Incantation, Dirges of Elysium (Listenable): I always say it, when it comes to songwriting skill in death metal, look to the progenitors, the bands that have been around 20, 25 years. The pace might be more measured and a lot less “extreme” than bands half their age, but it’s always for the better, not to mention by no means less punishing. We have yet to hear from Cannibal Corpse this year, but at the moment Incantation has come through with one of the stronger new albums by a veteran death metal band, right up there with Autopsy and Vader. In Incantation’s case, their forte has always been creating an effective contrast between the full-on assault of death metal and the more disciplined sounds of doom, and Dirges of Elysium is at its best when both sides have equal footing, as on “From a Glaciate Womb” and the towering, 16-minute “Elysium (Eternity is Nigh)”. Trust these old masters to show the rest of the genre what’s what.

Kobra and the Lotus, High Priestess (Titan): Hyped (and funded) to the nines, Gene Simmons protégé Kobra Paige and her perpetually rotating lineup of backing musicians had not shown any potential whatsoever on her first two Kobra and the Lotus albums, but that’s all changed on effort number three. Clearly following the NWOBHM revivalism of Huntress and Christian Mistress, with a few fashionable “occult” references tossed in for good measure, the band’s prefab quality is obvious, but easy to ignore as soon as you hear Paige belt out her vocals on these ten songs. A full-throated singer more akin to Lee Aaron than the rather shrill Jill Janus of Huntress, the classically trained Paige sells tracks like “Warhorse” and I Am, I Am” convincingly. However, if Paige and her wealthy backers wanted to make this project seem more credible, they should have chosen to grind it out with the Holy Grails and 3 Inches of Bloods of the metal scene rather than tour with KISS and Def Leppard, playing to people twice as old as their target audience. So while this album is a modest success, Kobra and the Lotus should tread carefully, because metal fans sense falseness and cynicism immediately. Money helps, but in metal taking the easy route rubs working class audiences the wrong way.

Mastodon, Once More ‘Round the Sun (Reprise): I find myself weirdly conflicted with Mastodon’s current musical incarnation. I loved Remission and Leviathan as much as anyone a decade ago, really dug the psychotic Blood Mountain, and the wonderful progressive rock tendencies of Crack the Skye. And I fully acknowledge the best thing the band could ever do to finally score a crossover hit was to streamline its sound, which The Hunter admittedly did very, very well, both musically and commercially. Never mind the fact that replicating the band’s studio vocals has yielded inconsistent results in live settings. So this sixth album smartly decides to stick to what made The Hunter appealing to so many, featuring songs that are mostly short bursts rather than sprawling epics, with very strong focus on vocal melodies by Troy Sanders, Brent Hinds, and Brann Dailor. That’s all well and good, it’s nice to see a contemporary American metal band make a concerted effort to improve in the lead vocal department, but on this album it all seems to come at the expense of the riffs. Yes, vocal hooks are great, but from the instrumental side nowhere is anything as towering as “March of the Fire Ants”, “Blood and Thunder”, “The Czar”, or even “Curl of the Burl” to be found. By no means is it a total loss, though, as “Tread Lightly” and “The Mother Load” are tremendous hook-oriented tracks, while “Diamond in the Witch House” is a welcome return to the more ostentatious side of the band’s work. But although it’s no real surprise that the band has chosen the if-ain’t-broke route, the fact that Once More ‘Round the Sun is the first Mastodon album to offer no real surprises is a little deflating. With far too much new metal to choose from, merely “good” just doesn’t cut it. A Mastodon album should be great.

Mournful Congregation, Concrescence Of The Sophia (20 Buck Spin): It might be classified as an “EP”, but this being Mournful Congregation”, it’s still a whopping 30 minutes of first-rate funeral doom, highlighted of course by the wondrous, beautiful title track. No band succeeds so well at funeral doom as these Australians, and they are in masterful form here once again. Stream and purchase via Bandcamp.

Nunslaughter, Angelic Dread (Hells Headbangers): Finally, a proper new album by the Nun’s Laughter boys, and typically it’s the kind of crazed yet catchy hybrid of thrash, death metal, and hardcore punk that they’ve been doing for years. Nothing’s changed, and nor does anyone want it to. It’s a big, dumb, Satanic joy by a consistently fun band, and probably the strongest album I’ve heard from the band to date. Jeff Treppel premiered the album here yesterday. Give it a listen!

Rog & Pip, Our Revolution (Rise Above): Musical partners going back to their days with ‘60s band The Sorrows, Roger Lomas and Philp “Pip” Whitcher continued making music in the 1970s under a number of guises, and this collection curated by Lee Dorrian offers a very entertaining glimpse of the duo’s more heavy rock-leaning music from the 1970s. Listening to these tracks all these years later, it’s nothing exactly revolutionary nor ahead of its time, but tracks like “Evil Hearted Woman”, “Doin’ Alright Tonight”, and “Warlord” are splendid, highly entertaining blends of early heavy metal, glam rock, and psychedelic rock. It’s a great little nugget well worth seeking out.

Septicflesh, Titan (Prosthetic): Here’s one band that’s always so much better on record than in person. Performed live, the Greek band’s songs are often overwhelmed by shrill backing tracks, but the actual studio product is a much more even balance. Septicflesh has always been mighty consistent in the album department, and this ninth full-length once again offers slickly recorded death metal accentuated by orchestration, and more often than not effectively so. The symphonic bombast on “Order of Dracul”, for example, is wonderfully over the top, towering and theatrical, and will leave you wishing you could see Septicflesh perform with a full orchestra just one time, because those backing tracks do not do this music justice. In the meantime, stick with the albums, including this darkly majestic piece of work.

Not metal, but worth hearing:

White Lung, Deep Fantasy (Domino): The hotly tipped Vancouver punk band made a name for itself with a pair of blazing, independently released albums in 2010’s It’s the Evil and 2012’s Sorry, but with a new high profile deal with perpetually trendy label Domino and the full attention of America’s indie cognoscenti, White Lung is taking aim at a broader audience than the punk crowd while trying to retain that punk credibility. Although what the band is doing on Deep Fantasy is no different than what was going on in Olympia or D.C. 20 years ago – a decided riot grrrl-meets Dischord feel runs throughout this record – and despite the fact that Mish Way’s vocal affectations gets a little too Courtney Love/Brody Dalle for comfort at times, the blend of feral energy, taut musicianship, and most crucially, plenty of wickedly catchy songs makes for a scintillating 22 minute listening experience.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

STREAMING: Nunslaughter’s “Angelic Dread”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews, listen On: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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None more slaughter, the slaughterest of the slaughter, Nunslaughter have an actual full-length out now after approximately 600 EP’s, singles, and splits. It sounds like Nunslaughter. What more could you ask for? In case you don’t believe me, we have THE ENTIRE ALBUM streaming for you below. Angelic Dread has 31 blasphemous blasts, half of which are new and half of which are re-recordings with significantly better sound. Let vocalist Don of the Dead tell you about it himself – if you can read it while banging your head furiously.

What took so long between albums?

We initially had no plans to write another full length album. During the years since our last album Hex we wrote and recorded a few dozen songs for split 7″s and EP’s. That kept our focus from a full length but after writing for a few months we realized we had a full cohesive album written. We decided to go for it and give a full album another shot.

What’s the meaning behind the title of the album?

The album as a whole does not have an overall concept unless you count Satan, Death misery and the dead. The lyrics contain anti-Christian lyrics and disturbing thoughts about mankind and the human condition.

Any personal favorite riffs or lyrics?

My personal favorite lyrics are in the song Three Nails One Liar. The title track has a strong riff and that is why we decided to use ANGELIC DREAD as the first song and the title of the album.

What inspires your lyrics?

I have a deep seeded resentment for Christians. This is the basis for most of my lyrics. I also use my disdain for humanity and disgust for the human race to create songs that reflect my views on life. This album above the others has some very personal words / lyrics and entire songs. Writing the lyrics had a cathartic effect and it helped me through a rough spot in my life.

Why did you decide to do a disc of re-recordings?

During our live shows we play songs from the entirety of our recording career. It became clearer and clearer to us that many people did not know some of the songs in our set because the format that it was released on was no longer available. It was either because they were released in limited quantity or because it was released over a decade ago. We did not want people to be excluded so the re-recording of these older NunSlaughter songs was the easiest way to do it.  Plus VENOM did it for Cast in Stone so that was good enough for me.

***Angelic Dread is out today on Hells Headbangers. Satan bids you to order it here.

All Hail Beer City: Joe Petagno Skate Deck Giveaway!

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: contest, featured On: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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Here’s the deal: The legendary Joe Petagno — AKA the creator of the Motorhead “Snaggletooth” mascot, amongst other iconic images — has drawn three custom exclusive skateboard graphics for Beer City Skateboards and Records. Beer City has been around for over twenty-one years making the highest quality skateboard decks as well as putting out all kinds of records for sick, seminal bands like DRI, Verbal Abuse, Raw Power and more!

Decibel has partnered up to give away one of the “Snake” models pictured below. All you’ve got to do is shoot an email to petagno@decibelmagazine.com with the subject line “Snake” and your name/contact info in the body. The deck is made in the USA from seven ply hardrock maple and sweet as fuck.

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Check out a couple more of these amazing decks, which can be ordered here, after the jump. For more info on Petagno, check out a excellent rare interview here.

Get Yer Witch On: Hekseri Premiere

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

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The superb Boston/Norway black metal outfit Hekseri will be conjuring its unique brand of “witching metal” opening for Behexen at Martyrdoom this Sunday and to get you ready we’ve got an exclusive stream of “Der Hexenhammer,” a searing, turbulent track off the band’s new CD single Soul’s Prison is Flesh.

“‘Der Hexenhammer’ is about the hellish situation surrounding the book Malleus Maleficarum, which was one of Christianity’s essential justifications for the persecution and prosecution of witches,” Hekseri co-founder Iron Meggido explains. “Of course the song is from the witch’s perspective.”

Of course!

Hekseri plays O’Brien’s Pub in Boston this Friday and Martyrdoom on Sunday. The band’s second full-length, Of Witches, Wisdom, and Death” will be available soon.
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Vampires, Vicars and Hot Fuzz: The Deciblog Interview With Dani Filth

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: exclusive, featured, interviews, listen On: Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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No matter how many people think black metal has gone mainstream or become hip because a few dozen bands from Brooklyn have small label deals the reality is that the vast majority of the population doesn’t know a thing about it. They’re listening to .38 Special or Lana Del Rey. If there is a black metal musician they’ve heard about it’s Dani Filth, known to family and friends as Daniel Lloyd Davey. For the past two decades Filth has traveled the globe and shocked generations with Cradle Of Filth and his Gothic-inspired blend of black metal.

Filth recently reunited with early collaborator Paul Ryan (no, not the Republican congressman) to release the collection of early Cradle of Filth rarities Total Fucking Darkness. He talked to Decibel about his upbringing and career and the back story of arguably the most infamous shirt in metal history.

A full stream of Total Fucking Darkness follows the interview. As you learn a bit more about Dani’s past spin the music he helped make twenty plus years ago.

How did you get interested in music?

I’ve been in bands – some of them awful – literally since I was 14. There was a punk band called PDA and a rock metal band. The Lemon Grove Kids were sort of an indie-skater band that did a few dates with some big indie bands. I always wanted to do something heavier. I lived in a very picturesque, quintessential English village: it was a tea on the lawn, “Hello, Vicar” kind of place. When I went to sixth form I got in with a different group of people. I grew up on thrash metal and that obviously progressed to bands like Death, Bathory, Celtic Frost and Deicide and all the Morrisound bands. What influenced Cradle of Filth was Morrisound on one side and the Scandinavian assault like Cadaver, Carnage, Dismember, At The Gates and those things on the other. In England, we had the Charlotte Brontë vibe with Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride. We added keyboards and cherry picked our sound.

You mentioned tea on the lawn and Hello Vicar. It reminds of the movie Hot Fuzz where a secret group of Satanists try to win a town beautification contest every year. Is there something about an environment like that that leads to a band like Cradle Of Filth?

I know that town. I visited it by complete accident with my wife and daughter. We were sitting in a pub and it was the same view as one of the shots in the movie. I was having weird déjà vu and on my way to the toilet there’s this plaque with the actors and the landlord. What I liked about (Filth’s hometown) Hadley was a great school and kids. It had everything you need to enjoy yourself as a kid but it was shut off from the world. You’d need to get a bus to the bigger towns. We all went through a skateboard phase and a metal phase. There was this witch craze vibe because it was one of the villages the Witchfinder General used. There were things like gallows hill and a monument to a Protestant priest who was burned. That vibe rubs off on you. My wife and I lived in a house that was frequented by (Witchfinder General) Matthew Hopkins. It was built in 1615.

How did the ideas for Cradle of Filth come to you?

It was like brutality and melody combined with dripping Gothicism. I’ve always been into the occult and knew two girls in school who said they were practicing witches. So it just became my life’s path. As soon as the second wave of black metal came we were the only people in this country to embrace it. We were always shirked by the Norwegian contingency. But things were growing and it was exciting. We eventually became good friends with the guys in Emperor and Immortal. But we were the only band, really, from our country. There were a handful of other bands but they never got on the map.

This band has sort of been bred in isolation. Most of the band members grew up in little villages that were like satellites around larger towns. Whenever we’ve recorded we’ve always been happier in out of the way places. Nothing has ever had the same atmosphere as being locked in the countryside somewhere concentrating on your art. We thrived on isolation.

Was there a point where you think the band really took off?

It was probably about 1996. Vempire came out. The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh came out and it was a slow process and a year of that we were in court (Eds: more on that later). Vempire got a massive response and got us a really good manager. We went out to headline a tour with In Flames and Dissection and Dimmu Borgir opening. Those two albums were like fired out of a black metal cannon.

As your band was taking off the whole Scandinavian scene was kind of shutting down.

We did our own thing. There was a tour (Gods Of Darkness II) a few years later with Gorgoroth and Old Man’s Child. So I guess even though we were rebuked at first we never gave two fucks outside of the people we know. We went on out on our own tangent. I think our records were different. Everyone else was brimstone and fire and we were part of that but we were more cinematic.

Vampires are now part of the cultural currency. What about them fascinated you?

Well, this is pre Twilight and Buffy and all of that crap (laughs). Growing up my main love was English literature and I was going to be a journalist. I took a year or so out, a stopgap period. My girlfriend and I lived in a creepy old Georgian manor. Part of the study of English literature is to read the 19th century, people like Stoker and Stevenson and Oscar Wilde. I was also into Poe and Lovecraft later.

I grew up on Hammer horror movies. You also have to remember around 1992, when the band blossomed, was the year of the Gothic horror blockbuster: Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Interview With The Vampire. Because of those huge films a lot of others got made. All of this rubbed off on us.

Do you believe in ghosts?

I think so. I think I’ve seen a few. I saw a woman on a bridge who disappeared. We used to live in the house I mentioned. The house was split into three properties and was pink. You might laugh — “Dani lived in a pink house” — but it’s Suffolk pink. It was made by mixing paint with pig’s blood. My wife would sleep in the front room. She swears to God that she woke up and it was absolutely freezing and she could see her breath. She was frightened and hid for an hour. The cats went crazy there. We had a cat called Lilith who would sit and look straight into a corner and hiss. We had friends who came over who saw shadow people walking around…

Did your parents talk about ghosts?

Well, back in the 70s people embraced it. The big Devil craze was going on. It was all about “Satan Wants Your Children!” and Dennis Wheatley novels. People were thinking about demonology and Satanism and it was everywhere. The Daily Mail was uncovering covens of witches. Most it was bullshit but people really fell into it. And I was an impressionable child.

I remember the first time I saw a “Jesus is A C–t” shirt in the mid to late 90s. It was pretty hard to shock me with a t-shirt but it succeeded. How did that shirt come to be? Even if people don’t know the band they know that shirt.

We had one prior to that which accompanied Total Fucking Darkness which said “Fuck Your God.” We were young and we weren’t going out of the way to shock. If you read the lyrics on Principle, Vempire or Dusk they are very ornate. But sometimes we do get out of bed on the wrong side and want to be uncouth. That was one of those moments. We were sitting on the lawn of (Cacophonous and Mordgrimm records founder) Frater Nihil’s house. I think our old drummer said “Christ, he’s a cunt.” He was a talking about someone. And I just said “Jesus Is a Cunt.” It was out of context and everyone laughed. We thought it would be a shocking background for a show. That was it, really.

That seems to be the story of Cradle Filth. Press a small volume of a demo or a shirt and they go all over the world.

People in East Anglia are very superstitious and small town and not quite as liberal as London, especially back then. My wife was working at a t-shirt place and we still couldn’t find anywhere to print these up apart from this small place in a village called Woodbridge. They snuck the production out the back door and told us not to say anything and have cash in hand. We had 150 at best, black and white.

If the story is true and I end up with Peter at the gates that will be the thing that tips the scale to Hell. “Remember that t-shirt?” “No.” “Bye!”

Have you ever played a show where you haven’t seen at least one of those shirts?

Probably but I can’t remember.

When you go back and listen to this old material how does it sound to you decades removed?

Paul Ryan left the band in 1995. We had literally split in half because of legal wrangles with Cacophonous. That was the last time I saw Paul except at festivals. In the interim he’s become a renowned agent. A mutual friend got us back together over a few beers and a curry. We got kind of nostalgic and he suggested we reboot this for the times. A lot of people had asked for it and he had material no one had heard. We were only going to do 666 copies and a double vinyl with a bunch of photos and rare flyers. Since then the whole thing has just grown. It was an important release because it got us a booking agent. Back then, there was no Internet and no one except on the stock exchange had mobile phones (laughs). We sold more than 1,000 copies and for an underground that’s a mean feat.

Since the split was acrimonious what was it like to bury the hatchet with Paul?

It’s in a good place and he’s actually co-manging my other band Devilment. He’s negotiating a deal on our behalf. We kind of got close again. He said “if I was flipping burgers I would have some resentment” but like I said he’s become a prolific booking agent. He left us back then to manage our way through this legal wrangle but we’ve laughed about it. Who cares; life is too short.

It’s funny to hear that Cacophonous thought there was no future for the band.

Well, it’s not that they didn’t see a future but that we thought they were ripping us off. We took them to court over it.It was so complicated because we had two managers. In 1995 we recorded Dusk…And Her Embrace. But it’s not the Dusk people know. It’s a version that hasn’t seen the light of day. We kind of won the legal dispute. They asked for Vempire with a different lineup than the three people who left. We gave it to them as our settlement. It enabled us to have the rights to the songs on Dusk so what came out was a totally different version.

You live close to where you grew up before you became famous. Do you run into people you knew? Are they cordial? Is it comfortable?

It’s very comfortable. A few years ago they did a poll about Suffolk County. It was an icon thing – who will represent us prior to the Olympics? They were looking for someone to represent the county and I won it! It was all over the news. And there were pictures everywhere that said: “would you vote for this guy? He looks horrible!” The poll was a bit of a farce but I got more recognition out of it.

People are always asking why I don’t live in the London where the action is. When I come back from tour the last thing I want is action. My wife and I have a nice big townhouse but we are looking to move ever further in the country. Right now we are in Ipswich. We literally want to live in the village where we grew up.

That poll probably helped crank the ratings up.

It made the news nationwide and they were debating it all over the radio.

Has your daughter taken up music? What’s family life like?

It’s cool. She’s probably heard Bathory more than anyone except Quorthon. But she’s not into it at all. She’s a teenager and is into Mumford And Sons. We have a mutual understanding. Our house is like the Addams Family house anyway. She is very good at art.

If Dani Filth is your father do you just go the opposite way and conform?

(laughs). It’s just like any other family, really, just a bit different. This all could become embarrassing to her though.

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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