In League with Santa: A Metal Holiday Gift Guide

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen, stupid crap, videos On: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

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If you’re like me, you’re super lazy and wait until the last minute to buy gifts for people. If you have a metalhead in your life, though, it can be difficult to find that perfect present. After all, it just doesn’t seem that clever to get them yet another set of Death reissues. Don’t worry, though – this year, I’m here to help out! Here are some suggestions, broken down by the specific subgenre your loved/hated one is into.

BLACK METAL: SCOWLER, BY DANIEL KRAUS (NOVEL)

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Author Daniel Kraus is a friend of our people, having included an entire black metal subplot in his previous book, Rotters (for credibility, here’s a playlist he put together for that book). There’s no actual metal in this one, but it doesn’t need it. A harrowing tale of a family trapped on an isolated farm by their brutal, escaped-convict patriarch, this descent into insanity and violence will keep you glued to the page all night. And man, does it go to some dark places. Dark, dark places. Plus evil toys! Give your favorite black metal mutant this with some Wolves in the Throne Room or Agalloch and watch them wrap themselves in a cocoon of grim bliss.

Here is the black metal song from his previous novel:

Buy it here!

POWER METAL: RAVINE, BY STJEPAN SEJIC & RON MARZ (COMIC)

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Croatian artist Stjepan Sejic lists Nightwish and Rhapsody of Fire as his favorite bands on his deviantART page, but one look at this, his pet project, and you could’ve guessed that anyway. Dragons, magic-using geeks, chicks with wings coming out of their heads, more dragons, burly dudes with swords, hot babes with spears – yup, it’s all there. As you may notice from his deviantART page, Sejic is definitely ESL, but he has industry pro Ron Marz touching up the dialogue for him. He’s incredibly talented, and for $15 (practically the price of three regular issues these days) he’s giving you 150 pages of all the drama, romance, and treachery you usually only find between members of Finnish power metal bands. The second book comes out next year. Until then, bestow the first volume upon your favorite power nerd with some Blind Guardian and Helloween.

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Buy it here!

DEATH METAL: ZOMBICIDE SEASON 2: PRISON OUTBREAK (BOARDGAME)

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There are tons of board games about zombies, because nerds, but this is far and away the best of them. It’s a cooperative game where you and your friends band together to try to survive an onslaught of the undead in a multitude of scenarios, and some of them get pretty hairy – especially when you find yourself locked in a prison yard with a toxic Abomination. Which is exactly as bad as it sounds. The game’s designers are French, and apparently have pretty good taste in music: they’ve included not only a Nathan Explosion-looking metalhead as one of the core characters, but also splattered references to Hellfest all over the board. While the game looks complicated, it doesn’t take long to learn. Your death metal-loving buddy might give you a weird look when you give him a boardgame, but pretty soon you’ll be hitting zombies with chainsaws to the tune of Exhumed and Carcass and having a blast.

Buy it here!

CLASSIC METAL: PHANTASM II (MOVIE)

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For a movie with no actual metal in it, Phantasm II may be one of the most metal movies ever made. The survivors of the first Phantasm (which it isn’t necessary to have seen; this is pretty self-contained) set out on a journey across a weird, quasi-post-apocalyptic America with the express goal of fucking up The Tall Man (a very creepy Angus Scrimm), the villain from the first movie. Basically, it’s a horror revenge flick, which is awesome on its own, but add in extra-dimensional dwarves in Sunn o))) robes, grave robbing minions that look like the Sodom mascot, a flamethrower, four barreled shotgun, 1971 Hemi-Cuda musclecar, graveyards, mortuaries, chainsaw fights, flying silver spheres of death, and the most bad ass ice cream man in cinema history, and you have a pretty horns-in-the-air night at the movies. The new Blu-ray from Scream Factory presents this classic in gorgeous high definition, the way it was (probably not) meant to be seen. Give this to your favorite Judas Priest or Iron Maiden fan and watch them headbang the whole time.

Buy it here!

DOOM METAL: BOOZE.

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I don’t actually know much about this stuff, but I understand someone wrote a book about good beers.

Jar’d Loose Celebrate ‘The State’

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

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So the much-beloved MTV sketch comedy show The State premiered twenty years ago today (!) and to honor the anniversary Chicago avant noise rockers Jar’d Loose have churned out a nutty/awesome cover of the Craig Wedren-penned theme song:

Original here. A Jar’d Loose Deci-premiere from last year here. Also, the band is doing short tour in January. Dates after the jump.

Weird moments in metal #1,327: Richard Pryor’s Black Death

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, stupid crap, videos On: Monday, December 16th, 2013

RICHARD PRYOR

The late, great Richard Pryor was many things. With his game face on he was the funniest man on the planet; Jerry Seinfeld said he was the Picasso of comedy. Pryor was a proper maverick who offended a whole bunch of squares who needed offended, and fittingly turned up in the weirdest of places, perhaps none weirder than David Lynch’s Lost Highway, in what would be Pryor’s last film role. When all was said and done, he was a roman candle of a man, a lifestyle extremist whose demons drove him to spectacular misadventure. Famously, Pryor covered himself in overproof rum and set fire to himself after freebasing cocaine. Pryor should have been a singer in a band.

In 1977, he was—albeit in a skit. It’s strange the things you turn up when idly sifting through YouTube for Relapse Records’ channel; this footage from the short-lived Richard Pryor Show shows an armor-plated Pryor descend to the stage in some hypertrophied Tina Turner wig and cape a la Tim Burton’s Batman, grunting some indecipherables in a delivery most consonant with extreme metal’s vocal style. Sure the band sound kind of like some deconsecrated P-Funk band, halfway between Alice Cooper and Funkadelic, but with corpse paint and hoods they’ve got the look, and Pryor’s got the voice. It’s no surprise that NBC cancelled it after four shows. Pryor was too much, too good for network television. Still, the show won an Emmy for Outstanding Art Direction. It should have been for this . . . Black Death

Of course, there are many similarities to This is Spinal Tap but, remember, The Richard Pryor Show pre-dated Rob Reiner’s film by seven years. Black Death making their appearance from the coffins is probably a nod to Screamin’ Jay Hawkins but it’s not unreasonable to suggest that this is where Reiner got Tap’s pod sequence from. It begs the question: who else took something from this? Finding this on YouTube is a pretty funny; watching it on 1970s primetime TV would have blown minds.

**According to the MetalArchives.com there are seven other bands called Black Death. Despite releasing just two demos, the Norwegian Black Death are the most deserving of our attention.

Peter Wiwczarek (Vader) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, December 16th, 2013

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** As a longtime Vader devotees, Decibel had no clue (OK, I didn’t) debut album, The Ultimate Incantation, was recorded with the legendary Tomas Skogsberg at Sunlight Studios first. The sessions were scrapped and Vader landed at Rhythm Studios with Paul Johnston (Benediction, Cerebral Fix). The rest is history, so it goes. We tracked down Vader lead dude Peter Wiwczarek in August and have now just emerged with the details. Enjoy old-school death heads!

I don’t think too many people knew you recorded The Ultimate Incantation at Sunlight. Was that more pressure from the label or part of the opportunity to record a full-length for a Western European label?
Peter Wiwczarek: There was never any pressure from Earache. It was rather an opportunity to record our debut album at the famous Sunlight. We knew many fabulous LPs [had been] recorded in this studio, so the whole of Vader was more than happy. Besides, it was in Sweden, outside of Poland, and this boosted the whole story even more. We were ready to record for several months. Vader had never worked in a professional studio before, so we were kinda virgins. Two demos—which we made in Olsztyn between 1989-90—were made in a typical radio show studio. We came, we played, and all was done in 1-2 days. It was not a ‘whole day’ session because the radio station needed the studio for their own work. This time, with the Sunlight sessions, we had two weeks just for recordings and then some more days for the mix. We had no idea about the coming problems when we were leaving Poland by ferry in winter. Our hearts were beating fast and minds were hot from expectations.

Do you remember much about your time at Sunlight? Or what Tomas Skogsberg thought of Vader? You were pretty different from the Swedish bands recording at Sunlight.
Peter Wiwczarek: Hard to say. Thomas was a great man and an extraordinary creator in his studio. He was far from being a fan of death metal though. He was totally able to record a good sounding metal album… if Vader was a band that played like Entombed or Dismember. We were slightly different and problems appeared, apparently. There was no real acoustic drum kit in the studio. Not one of us was expecting or had worked before on such equipment. We had nothing to say, but had to keep recording on what we had available. We owned no professional equipment yet. That came few years later. We had to use rented stuff and what was provided to play in the studio. My guitar was maybe good enough for live performances, but far from being studio-ready. Doc brought some cymbals and pedals and that was it. We had no money for pro instruments. All we had in-studio were electronic drum pads and a combo amp for guitar. Vader was all about blastbeats… and that electronic drum kit was not made for that. Nobody was crying though. I read some stories years after that: “Vader were drinking all the time and that was the main problem,” which is not true. We were drinking in Stockholm, of course. A lot, I can even say, but never in the studio! Every morning we were fresh and ready for work. Every night was for Satan. We were still young and surrounded with old and new friends, so it had to happen, right? We were pretty much prepared and ready with the whole album and what we really needed was to record the tracks well. There was additional problem: nobody mentioned ‘judging’ us before. We had no open budget for that session. The whole team (me and Doc and his girlfriend, who came with us after China broke his leg and Mariusz) was living in our friend’s apartment. We slept on the floor and ate mostly canned and instant soup, which we brought with us from Poland. If we drank alcohol it was bought mostly by the Swedish dudes. It was definitely not an easy time. But we were so happy and had much fun, too.

What was it like for a few Poles to venture outside of Poland to record? Pretty different times compared to today.
Peter Wiwczarek: Pretty much indeed. It was not a first time for me though. I was in West Berlin and in Moscow three times before. However, it was in Sweden when we touched ‘The West’ for the first time. Poland was pretty much grey in those years and here we saw so many colors—if you know what I mean. Record stores with LPs and t-shirts, pro guitars available in music stores… just like that! Even for myself, it’s hard to imagine those feelings today. We were feeling like gods!

So a few tracks from the Sunlight sessions ended up on Youtube. “The Final Massacre” and “Breath of Centuries.” What do you make of people hearing something they probably never should’ve?
Peter Wiwczarek: I kept the whole session and still have it. Years ago, a couple of friends of mine asked me to copy the stuff “just for private use.” They promised to keep it far from the public. As you see… promises are only promises. It is hard to trust even friends today. However, some fans like this version better than the official one after a few Sunlight tracks became public. What can I say? I did not like that sound at all and was so happy when Earache had pretty much the same feeling. We sounded too ‘plastic’ with no power, no bottom.

By the way, how’d you end up at Rhythm Studio with Paul Johnston? I gather there was a sense of dissatisfaction with the Sunlight result.
Peter Wiwczarek: Sure. It was good decision though. It cost the company twice as much money. It was still far from a good sound—in my opinion—but we were not ready for any better. If we had our own backline, for example, a better one of course… but we did not. However, [what] we all experienced in Sunlight before helped a lot in England. And Doc had a regular drum kit—finally! The studio was in a village area, so no more drunk nights. We made a few trips out to see the area. It was the summer season, too. All work went smoothly.

Was your experience at Rhythm Studio different from Sunlight? Again, times were different and Eastern Europe was almost like another world in the early ‘90s.
Peter Wiwczarek: I just mentioned that above. We were already ‘experienced’ after the session in Stockholm and were ready for real studio recordings. Equipment in Rhythm was far better for us: real acoustic drums, Marshall heads. Though I still had my hand-made guitar. Besides, we were living in a Bed & Breakfast hotel five minutes walking distance from studio. Good sleep, good food… it was more like visiting family. All songs were tested in Sunlight before. It was way easier to work. And my son Oscar was about to come into this world. He was finally born on 22nd October, which is my birthday, too. I did not know about this in Sweden yet. Poland was still grey in 1992, but changes were about to begin.

Do you think the full Sunlight sessions will ever see light of day? I ask because Earache reissued The Ultimate Incantation in 1999. Would be cool to see and hear both versions.
Peter Wiwczarek: I know that this session will see the light of the sun sooner or later, more for the fans than for the music itself. I really want to release this album on an exclusive DLP (with additional Sunlight tracks) in the way that we could not do in 1992. I’m sure the contract should let us do it soon. I have plenty of nice material from those days which would be perfect supplement for such a release. By the way, the huge biography of Vader is about to be out soon, too. Jarek Szubrycht (the writer) and me were collecting materials and interviews for many years. The book is named This is Total War and should be out (first in Polish) in Spring 2014. It is 10 chapters long and about 500-600 pages. The bigger part of this book focuses on the early days. The Ultimate Incantation re-release would be perfect.

What’s Vader up to now? Besides considering re-issuing The Ultimate Incantation with the Sunlight sessions, of course.
Peter Wiwczarek: Re-issuing is nothing but fun and additional stuff. We are working in the studio on the new album. This is the real priority at the moment. The whole thing is named Tibi Et Igni (For You And Fire translated from Latin) and will be ready in late February 2014. Parallel to that, we’ll re-issue other Vader works, which were never released on vinyl before. We did Sothis and Black to the Blind two years ago as beautiful, exclusive, limited to 500 copies special editions through Night of the Vinyl Dead records from Italy. Now we are working on Live in Japan and De Profundis. As you can see: there is never enough of Vader.

** Visit and LIKE Vader on Facebook.

STREAMING: Hammercult “Metal Rules Tonight”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Friday, December 13th, 2013

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Israel and thrash metal. Not two things associated with one another. Now, Israel and black metal, well, that’s something more common. If only marginally. Turns out Hammercult, not to be confused with HammerFall, Hammer Fight, Hammer Horde, or Hammer Witch, is the latest sensation from the Levant. Where’s the Levant? Near Turkey. Near Iraq. Near Egypt. OK, enough National Geographic.

Hammercult have been plying the waters of the Israeli metal scene since 2010. They won the Wacken Metal Battle in 2011 (whatever that is) and are now poised as Sonic Attack’s (SPV sub-label) next wonderkids. Also, Hammercult guitarist Elad Manor moonlighted as a live guitarist for stateside bashers Warbringer. Truly, the stars (of David; sorry, had to) have aligned for Hammercult.

Musically, the Tel-Aviv-based party animals are equal parts classic records you’ve heard over and over again. And broken vertebrae to while toxic waltzing with your home slices. Sort of like old Running Wild and Kreator on steroids. Wait, I didn’t say that. Frontman Yakir Shochat did: “A lot of other young thrash acts simply emulate their idols, but we play thrash the way it should sound today: extreme, ultra-hard and enhanced with other stylistic devices such as death metal, punk, black metal and hardcore. It’s like a mixture of old Running Wild and Kreator on steroids!”

OK, you be the judge and jury. Or, the hammer and the nail.

** Hammercult’s Steelcrusher is out February 4th, 2014 on Sonic Attack. No buy link yet, but you can lick (yes, lick) them on Zuckerbook. Click HERE.

BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, December 13th, 2013

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It was as easy to predict as the Seattle Mariners’ annual late-spring implosion: Decibel’s Top 100 Black Metal Albums of All Time caused some consternation amongst black metal fans. Shocking. This is, however, a crowd not hard to provoke. They seem edgy, a little overly serious and prone to interhole-induced fits of rage. Which makes some sense based on the music that speaks to them. After all, it’s a genre that requires a certain acceptance of what 99.9% of the population finds totally unlistenable.

So, what the hell does this have to do with craft beer? Nothing, actually, I just wanted to antagonize black metal fans. But, seriously, the real point is that there are beer equivalents to black metal. These are brews so far out on the fringes they test basic tolerance levels. Just like with black metal, if you find yourself immersed in these beers, it was a journey undertaken purposefully. Whether they’re sour, unusually bitter or boozy beyond belief, they require acceptance of characteristics that most people find, well, off-putting in a beer. Like this one from Jolly Pumpkin.

LA ROJA
Wild Ale
Jolly Pumpkin
Dexter, Michigan
7.2% ABV

The first taste of a sour beer for someone who hasn’t had the style before requires a certain suspension of whatever notions one holds about what a beer should taste like. This is not a particularly sour beer, so it’s a good gateway beer for the sour curious. However, since this is made in the traditional Flanders (a region of Belgium noted for sour beers) way, it’s not just the tangy acidity of this complex brew that’s challenging. As a “wild” ale, La Roja was fermented with brettanomyces, the kind of wild-occurring yeast strain responsible for fermentation back in the days before people understood bacteria and mold and the way they could transform a sweet beverage into a fizzy alcoholic beverage. So, whereas today brewers pitch specific ale or lager yeast into their brews to ferment them, back in the day, the wort (sweet, unfermented liquid) would be left exposed to air and airborne yeast (brettanomyces) would work its magic.

The tricky thing about brett is it adds some unusual and, for some people, unsettling flavors. Though it alone doesn’t make a sour beer, it does add tartness, as well as aromas of leather, cherry and, uh, horse blanket or barnyard (some people refer to it as “funk”). It’s a love-it-or-hate it kind of thing. Adding to the challenging flavor experience is the barrel aging typical for this style. This is where the beer picks up its vinegary/sour cherry tartness from bacteria that live in the barrels. It also picks up some wine-like notes from the oak. When it comes time to bottle, La Roja ends up being a blend of beers aged for different lengths of times, so that the complex and austere nature of the older beer can be balanced by the fruitier, rounder notes of fresher beer. Once bottled, it is dosed with yeast to create a secondary fermentation in the bottle which further adds complexity and carbonation.

Poured from the bottle, it looks like any other amber, but your first sniff will disabuse you of that notion. It’s sharp and tart smelling with notes of oak, leather and funk along with bright, tart fruit aromas. The taste is a whole other adventure. If given this and told simply it’s a beer, the first sip would be unsettling and might lead to an immediate drain pour. It’s not that it tastes bad, per se, it just tastes nothing like what we North Americans recognize as beer. It’s kind of how most people reacted to their first listen to Hellhammer back in the day: “not music.”

That said, La Roja and other sour beers are worth exploring and getting acclimated to. Once you get past the fact that these aren’t typically hoppy, malty ales (or lagers), you’ll find a lot of really interesting flavors and subtleties beyond the sour. Then you can start discovering your own favorites. Which will come in handy when Decibel inevitably puts out Brewtal Truth’s Top 100 Sour Beers of All Time. Of course your favorite won’t be on there (at all!) and a bunch of hipster sours made in Brooklyn will be, so you’ll have to post on beeradvocate bitching about it.

Adem Tepedelen’s new craft beer book, Decibel Presents the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits, is now available in the Decibel online store.

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Oslo’s Shevils

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, December 13th, 2013

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There’s always been a hardcore softspot in Decibel’s metallic heart for the raw and the punk.  This writer admits to rarely getting stoked for such sounds, often preferring to hear artfully concocted studio recordings and leave the unkempt, wild fury on the stage where it’s most powerful.  But somehow Norway’s Shevils buried into these ears and convinced them to keep listening.  The sound is full-bore hate-punk, all brutal-fun and bruisingly mean.  Instrumental performances are clear and cutting, and Anders Voldrønning’s vocals carry the rage through every arrogant minute.  The band released Lost in Tartarus on vinyl We’re happy to air these killer tunes for you at the Deciblog.

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When we asked guitarist/bassist Andreas Myrvold all about the band, he spat out some of the most contradictory – and therefore interesting – answers we’ve seen in an interview for quite a while.  It’s hard to take it all seriously, since he hardly seems to.  Regardless, queue up some new Shevils and welcome another weekend!

Fill us in: who are Shevils? Where do you call home, and what are the backgrounds of your members? What brought you together to play this music?

Our home is the Norwegian capital, Oslo. We live in the best country in the world, so there is very little drama in our backgrounds, we`re just spoiled social-democrats with lots of oil-money. We formed the band because we have a passion to make the best music possible.  None of us really knew each other that well before joining Shevils. The main reason for playing in a band is to get revenge. We want to bring hurt to everybody and everything that have let us down, and to the world in general; this place really sucks. At the same time it isn`t that bad; some parts of the world is soft as snow.

What’s with the band name? Is it based on the obvious “ladies are mean to me”, or is there further influence going on there?

We all try to figure out who we are and make our own stories based on selected memories. For my part; ladies are mean to me, but I am mean to them, it all balances out in my mind. You could say that the Shevils in the band are the members, although none of us have any kind of irregular sexuality. “Irregular” is probably a really offensive term to use, let’s just say none of us are transsexual, just mirrors of humanity in general, whatever that means. I`m sorry that I suck at LGBT do and don`ts; I don`t wanna offend anyone except those who could use a good offense. A friend of mine told me a couple of months ago “Andreas, you are such a misanthrope”. And I just had to agree, but more precisely I`m a misogynist. Up until that point I thought I was just a hedonistic narcissistic nihilist. It was such a relief to have good friends pointing you in the right direction and confirming you as a person. That our band name already reflected those parts of my personality; I doubt it was a coincidence.

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How did the ideas for Lost in Tartarus come about? Were the songs written by individuals or in group jam sessions?

I will have to admit that Christoffer have written a good deal of the riffs on this release, but I did write some myself as well. Anders did most of the lyrics, except one really good line I came up with on the spot in the studio. Anyways; some ideas are made individually, and some are made by jamming, and all ideas are perfected as a group. We share writing credit on all songs, because everybody contributes with everything they play and do in the band. It all looks smooth and slick on the surface, but behind our perfectly crafted promotional agenda and million-dollar punk-image, we are actually quite DIY.

Is there a focused direction on the album, or is it more a collection of separate songs?

The original plan was to make a concept album, and still there are some traces of that in both the music and the lyrics. But we kinda scrapped the idea because a concept album just seemed a bit outdated and cheesy. Our goal became to make the best out of every track, and let the themes in the lyrics overlap, instead of making a big deal out of it. All tracks were written for the album, and we dropped a lot of good ideas that didn`t fit with the other songs. The themes we deal most with are frustration about life and the things you can`t have. We`re not rebels, we`re consumers, and we`re never satisfied. Villainism is a harbinging [sic] lifestyle; an antidote to the straight edges and the hardcore cliché. Of course, I condone concented [sic] violence, and the album is about the not-so-straight edges; the lack of edges and straightness, and again; this has nothing to do with LGBT, we`re talking H&M and M&Ms and S&M, in that respective order.

Where did that great album art come from?

The album art is made by Chris Faccone and Shelby Cinca from America. All we did was to provide an album title, and they just made an amazing cover. It`s based on our earlier cover art, but the artwork is still expanding onto new t-shirt designs, future posters, releases and maybe even buttons and stickers. Our next generation of merch will be epicdary [sic]. The cartoonish and surreal nature of the artwork is supposed to highlight the absurdity of existence, obviously. I bet the actual motifs have some deeper meaning, but I have no idea what the artists were thinking, and that is kind of the point.

How/where did you record these songs?

All songs were recorded in our hometown, in the studio of our good friend Marcus Forsgren, acting as both producer, mixer and bass player. He is pretty much your local messiah. We spent a lot more time than expected in studio, and there are no funny stories to be told about that process. There was absolutely almost no consumption of alcohol, drugs or other criminal and/or shocking behavior/scandals. In fact, the whole idea of playing in a band gets uncooler for every passing hype. By now, the too-cool-for-school guys are promoters, photographers and music journalists. We all know who actually earn the money in the music industry.

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Are you playing this material live? How often?

We are playing the record track-by-track, back-to-back on our current national tour. We play live as often as we can, every weekend this month.

What is the next step for Shevils?

All we want to do is play great shows and record more kick-ass music. On our current path, our next goal is to give a great big metaphorical middle finger to the people that fucked with us, and have fun in the process. We hope to be able to do that in the near future. A side goal is to give our fans and audiences a fabulous and colorful experience. Let there be rainbows and unicorns. This has been a half-pretentious pleasure, I would like to thank you for your time, and may the force bless you and your kin.

Find out more about Shevils here at their official website.

My Awesome Day Job x 2. The Extended Andrew Carter Interview.

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, interviews On: Thursday, December 12th, 2013

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Andrew Carter. Who the hell is Andrew Carter? Well, if you ever want/need anyone to blame for giving me a start in the world of (ahem) “professional music journalism,” you can blame him as he was one of the principals who gave me my first paying gig at Terrorizer some 16+ years ago back when he was assistant editor. Since then, he’s worked in many capacities in the music biz: writer, journalist, management, promotions and all the usual suspects. Hell, he was even one of the early contributors to the first few issues of Decibel before veering off into the world of entertainment law and prosthetic invention. I’ve known Senor Carter longer than most people and he remains one of the rulingest fellows to ever walk the face of the planet. As an accompaniment to the “My Awesome Day Job” piece appearing in the current issue of Decibel (get it HERE), I’ve decided to run the entire interview I did with AC here on the blog because it’s an interesting and fascinating story from an interesting and fascinating dude who’s probably crossed paths with this fellow and these dudes at some point.

What do you do?
I work as a music affairs lawyer for a large movie studio in Los Angeles, the name of which I’m going to omit, just to be on the safe side.

What does music affairs mean?
I’m in the business of putting music into the feature films and television shows we produce and acquire. With any movie or TV show that you watch, when you hear music in it, it’s going to be one of two kinds. The first is the original score that we hire a composer to write; the second part is the licensed part which is music that already exists. We have to go to the music publishers and record companies and negotiate a written licence to get permission to use that in our show. And every one of those things requires a written agreement and what our department does is negotiate all of that and makes sure every piece of music that appears in a show, however large or small, is covered from a legal standpoint.

Does that involve going back through TV shows you’re going to release on DVD and taking care of the music licences and publishing for the re-release?
That’s exactly what my department does. There are people who work more specifically on the television side and that’s going to be a never-ending job. I work on the film side and a large part of my job is to literally go back and look at the music in every single film that the studio has ever put out or acquired since the late 1920s. We look to see if the music in the film has any issues or restrictions that would prevent us from being able to put the movie up for sale on iTunes or for streaming on Netflix. Generally, we’re not going to have a problem with the original music that’s written for the movie or TV show because the studio will own the copyright for that. But if a movie or a TV show has licensed music, we need to go back and look at the licenses to see if there are any deficiencies from our standpoint in the language that would prevent us from going ahead and putting it up online or something like that. If there are, we contact the music publisher or record company who owns the song and negotiate a buy-out of the remaining rights that we need. Once we do that for every outstanding, deficient license on a given movie, the movie would then be cleared for distribution on different media. You just need to go movie by movie, license by license.

So what did you have to do, start with Birth of a Nation or something and work your way up?
I came in about a year into it. The first couple of years was just research and we were just going through the movies we had and figuring out what was clear for distribution right away. Some of the first people on it were asked to look at our biggest movies first because those are the ones that generate the most revenue and we started working backwards from there. Generally now, we work off a very, very long list that is consistently being updated by the folks over in the home video department.

So you’re not working in any real order outside of popularity.
Yeah, we work in the order based on whatever the home video department wants us to get to.

What have been some of the more interesting negotiations you’ve had to deal with?
Let’s see, how can I answer this? Sometimes, it’ll be an older movie with a fairly obscure song in it and sometimes finding people can be very difficult. There will be someone who had a big hit in the ‘60s or ‘70s and their portion of the song wasn’t retained by a publishing company that’s still in business or they haven’t assigned it to a publishing company or record company that answers the phone. Sometimes people disappear and you just can’t find them. Other times it just takes months. It’s situational, but most of the time our job is to make deals and sometimes deals can be more difficult and other times it’s pretty easy. A lot of the time, the negotiation for a buyout for whatever remaining rights we have is kind of like the negotiation that happens when you’re trying to put licensed music into a new production and it asks the question “how much does music cost for these things?” and the answer to that is “how long is a piece of string?” It depends on how much of a song you want to use. It’s one thing if, let’s suppose you’re shooting a scene in a bar and you have music playing in the background and the two main characters are sitting on barstool and talking and the music is more incidental. You wouldn’t necessarily want to license something that was a bigger hit, but you might want to use something that people would recognize. Let’s suppose it’s a short 15-second scene and most of it is a close up of two characters talking. The price for that use is going to be…you get a quote for the 15 seconds from the publisher for the underlying composition and then you’ll get a corresponding quote from the record company for the master recording. More often than not, those fees tend to be identical. The publishers and record companies will frequently work together to make it easier and so that there’s no one-up-manship. However, it’s a different thing entirely if you decide you want to use a major classic rock song by a major classic rock artist and you want to use all three-and-a-half minutes of it over the opening credits. Then, you’re looking at something very different. Then, it becomes a matter of what is the scene, where is it being placed in the movie, how integral is the music to the scene and if the scene is controversial. For example, in Silence of the Lambs there was the song “American Girl” by Tom Petty and it was the last song the girl was listening to before she was abducted. Petty’s camp was approached about using the song, but that’s the sort of thing you have to disclose and so “American Girl” sort of ended up being a really scary song for a lot of people for a long time because of it becoming associated with that part of the movie. Sometimes if a scene is more controversial that can drive up the price of a song. Another one is Reservoir Dogs; I don’t think anyone’s ever heard “Stuck in the Middle with You” the same way after seeing that movie. It’s all situational and a lot of the time how big a problem something is going to be, or how much something is going to cost, is going to be dependent on what its use is in the actual production.

With the shift towards bands looking at publishing as a revenue stream over record sales, does that make your job a little easier with people approaching you and people tracking you down to collect or get their music into movies?
Normally, what happens is that if a band is signed to a publishing deal, the publisher is in touch with the studio all the time and they send out sampler CDs and MP3s with their new acts that are available for licensing and all that. When you actually make the deal, you’re generally making it with the publishing company as opposed to the artist directly, unless they administer their own publishing. Now what usually happens, we make sure that the artist or the song writer signs off on the usage because it could be something where if you have an artist who absolutely hates a certain TV show to the point where they would rather turn down money than have their music on it, we want to know that beforehand. Once again, it also circles back to what the actual use is. If there’s an exceptionally violent scene or a scene involving a sexual assault, some people might not want their music used. For the most part, it’s pretty safe to presume that song writers and artists like having their music used in movies and TV because it’s validating in a way that someone thinks your music is so cool that it works absolutely perfectly in a particular scene and it’s kind of neat that the music you worked so hard on becomes part of this little world someone else is creating from scratch. But yeah, we do have artists who send their stuff in directly and we get piles and piles of stuff, but in general, on the film side, you have producers and music supervisors who make a great deal of decisions in terms of the outside music that comes in. On the TV side, we have creative people who handle that and those people are extraordinarily connected and have extraordinarily good ears. In the event that a producer needs a specific song, we can get five or six options very quickly.

Is there anything else that I missed that you feel needs mentioning?
I enjoy that job because I get paid to be a full time music and film geek everyday, all the time. You get to see the entire history of a movie studio through the eyes of its music files and it’s really something to watch how things have evolved over the years. For a long, long time, you’d have a lot of movies that didn’t contain any licensed music at all because it costs money. In the late 1960s, Easy Rider was one of the movies that really changed things. That was one of the first movies that really exploded and contained a significant amount of licensed and current music. All of a sudden, in the ‘70s it became more common for directors and producers to use current music and Saturday Night Fever was the real game changer. The story behind Easy Rider was that the original plan was that Crosby, Stills and Nash were going to write the original score for the whole movie. Then, there was some kind of internal struggling over that and what started happening was that the editor started putting in songs that he liked when he was editing footage, using them as placeholders. So, that incredibly iconic scene of Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda riding their bikes over the opening credits while “Born to be Wild” was playing – it was the editor who did that and everybody thought it was such a great idea that they kept it. And that happens a lot more than you think; editors with a really good pair of ears can end up helping producers make important decisions.

Ok, let’s move on to your invention of the Carter Cuff. It actually has a name now! Last time I saw you it didn’t.
The Carter Cuff had been the working title, but when I finally launched the website this year, I had to come up with one. It was like I was just scribbling down names forever and eventually that one came up. I wanted to stick to the Motorhead rule of no more than three syllables.

You’re going to have to go back to the beginning to explain the background behind this whole endeavour.
Back when I was 14, during the last week of eighth grade, I was involved in an electrical accident. I climbed an electrical tower in an abandoned steel mill in Pittsburgh and brushed against a live wire. I was very lucky not to be killed, but my left hand was burned so badly that they had to remove it about three inches above the wrist. I also had exit wounds on my back and lost the entire fifth toe off my left foot. That made for an exceptionally lousy summer.

Dude…[laughter]
I think I had five major operations in six weeks and a sixth one a year later. Aside from that, the things that really sucked were that my two biggest things at that point were playing ice hockey and electric guitar. So overnight, I lost both of those. In many ways, I’ve actually been able to make a living within music, although not as a player and in many ways, maybe that was for the best. But over on the hockey side, I was a left-handed shot, so all of a sudden I went from being a left-handed shot to no shot at all. Also, the injury to my foot made skating, and stopping in particular, difficult and painful. It got to the point where not only had I lost the ability to play hockey, it hurt to even go on ice skates.

That’s weird about the toe. You wouldn’t think that it played that big a role considering its size in proportion to the rest of the foot.
When you actually look at how far down the entire fifth toe goes, it actually does a lot of work, a lot more than people think. When I was going through rehabilitation, I had to re-learn how to walk properly and still to this day, when I’m doing exercises where I’m standing on one foot and doing some kind of balance thing, I have much harder time doing it on the left foot. You lose a very significant part of your anchoring. Anyway, I had stayed physically active and remained pretty good about going to the gym, but for the longest time, the limitations I was dealing with were with the prosthetics that were available to me at the time. I could do upper body exercises where I could push up like a military press or push forward like a chest press, but had terrible difficulty with any exercise where I was pulling toward me or pulling down and those are actually the vast majority of upper body exercises. I dealt with that for a long time by over-compensating and really building up my legs and doing the arm exercises that I could. Eventually, I finally got sick of it and figured there had to be something that worked. I went to my prosthetist about four years ago and asked if there was maybe some sort of arm band that I could use. The problem with the prosthetics at the time was that they were held on by a series of straps and you have to reach out to grab on to something and the terminal device you’re wearing will close around it. If you pull the arm back toward you the device will open and you can’t really hold on to things. Also, there’s the problem with the actual prosthetic shell that goes on your arm being pulled off or twisting and becoming painful. Those were the problems I was working around, so I thought that if I could come up with some sort of arm band that would do two things: 1) wrap around the prosthesis to keep it stable and, 2) if I could put some metal rings on the outside of this thing, I could attach the cables from weight machines and weights directly to it, that would eliminate the problem of me having to grab on to anything. Not only that, I would be able to connect where my arm actually ends or any other part of the arm to make a particular exercise more effective. When I asked my prosthetist if anything like that existed, he said it didn’t.

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Were you surprised that nothing did?
Yeah. I was so surprised that I asked to look through the product catalogue and he brought this thing out that was the size of a phone book, about 800 or so pages, and I went through it page by page and, sure enough, it wasn’t there. I realised that if I wanted one I was going to have to do it myself and that’s when I decided to set about designing it. I knew what I wanted pretty early on. The other thing that I was pretty conscious of – and this something that prosthetics has gotten better about recently – is that for a very long time prosthetic and orthotic devices were very functional, but from an aesthetic level they just looked bad. I wanted something that looked really neat and would be functional. I wanted something that looked like it was stolen from Judas Priest’s dressing room or something. My initial ones were made entirely out of leather with the idea it would break in and be comfortable; like a baseball glove. That did end up being the case, so when it came time to getting someone to make something for me out of leather, I started thinking about my options and I realised my best bet was to go to a bondage shop. There’s a shop here in L.A. that does a lot of custom work and there’s a hilarious story about the first time I went there. When you walk in, it’s kind of a two story thing and it’s like the clothing is downstairs and the heavy stuff is upstairs. The owner of the place who does all the custom work, was upstairs and when I got up there he was with a couple of clients so I had to kind of stand there for the better part of 15-20 minutes just kind of browsing all this stuff and waiting. Finally he was done, so I went over and told him, “You probably get this a lot, but I have a really, really strange request.” He folded his arms and gave me this look and said, “Try me.” So, I told him what I wanted and at the end of it he turned his head and said, “You know what? I have never actually heard that one before, but I can absolutely do it.” The first one I had worked right away, but then I realised after using it that there were a couple design flaws. So, for the first year I think I had a new one made almost every month. I’d get a new one made, go to the gym and start using it and either tear something or this or that wasn’t quite right. It was just making new prototypes every month. And during that year and the other thing that became apparent very quickly is that…I work out in a gym where there are a lot of lawyers and a couple of people came up to me really early and said I needed to go talk to a patent lawyer, now. So, I went ahead and met with a patent lawyer and we did a search and, as it turned out, this device hasn’t been invented yet and I’m in the final stages of the patent process in the United States. And on the international side, applications have already been approved and I’m just waiting for final approval from Canada and Europe.

Have you found yourself having to make modifications for different prosthetic and amputation needs? Is the Cuff adjustable and do you have a similar Cuff available for other limbs?
I haven’t done anything for legs just because it’s not my area of expertise. I think that a version of it could be done, but the real thing that the device does is that if someone can’t grab onto something, this gives them the ability to do just that. Whereas, when you’re dealing with legs, you usually don’t have your leg grabbing and holding on to something, per se. A lot of the time a leg exercise is pushing against something or pulling something and you can use a cuff that goes around the ankle. The mechanics of this sort of device for legs would be very different. But what we’ve found is that when you’re dealing with amputees, every device might have to be different because of the length of the arm or what kind of prosthetic they’ve got or whatever, that’s one where you’re looking at having to get something more custom-made. For example, there’s a guy I know who has all of his arm and wrist, but he was born without an actual hand. So, we’re going to get one for him that runs all the way down the length of his arm, whereas somebody else with an amputation above the elbow will need a different version depending on whether or not he’s even wearing a prosthesis.

Are you having these mass produced or is the bondage guy still making them as one-offs?
Right now, it’s only prototypes; they’re all made as one-offs and aren’t being sold to civilians. The only place I’m selling them right now are to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. What happened was that after a year of testing this thing, I had been able to prove it worked and correct the design flaws. I got to the point where I was comfortable enough to let someone other than me use it, but I also wanted to find out for sure if anyone had really beaten me to the punch. So, the way to do that is to go to the place where all the newest and best prosthetic and orthotic technology goes first which is Walter Reed. You have the wounded soldiers who’re coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and they, rather deservedly, get first crack at all the newest stuff. I was able to arrange to go there and demonstrate the device in the gym at their facility and it pretty much stopped the entire gym cold; everyone came over to see this thing and it was an instant hit. They are my one client and that was about three years ago now. Other than that, I’m looking to license the device off to another company to handle manufacturing and distribution. I can handle getting one at a time done, but I have a full time job as a lawyer and my day is generally split into two parts: from 4:30am to 9am is Carter Cuff time, and from 9am until I’m finished, it’s lawyer time…

And I’m guessing it’s always time for metal, even if it’s in the background?
Yes! Absolutely! Weekends, depending on what’s going on, tend to be filled up with a lot of Carter Cuff business as well. You have to make time and unfortunately one thing that has really taken a hit is the amount of shows that I’m able to get out to. That really got knocked down. It’s really hard for me to get out to shows on weeknights any more because you cannot do this and cheat the house on sleep. So, rather than seeing like a show a week, I’m probably going to 15-20 shows a year and most of them tend to be weekends. But anyway, when I was demonstrating the Carter Cuff at Walter Reed and running through the series of exercises I can do, a guy rolls up in a wheelchair. He was a Special Forces soldier who had stepped on a mine in Afghanistan just 44 days earlier. He was missing both of his legs and one of his hands and he came up to me and said, “Whatever that thing is, when can I have one?” It was nice to be able to help that guy.

Wow.
Yeah. It was really nice. In many ways, in doing this, I’ve always had great appreciation and respect for how hard a band that is starting up and they have to maintain their day jobs while they rehearse at night and play shows on weekends and tour and end up putting all this money into something that takes a long, long time to get that money back. It’s given me a lot more appreciation of how hard that is. In some ways the parallels are there because you end up spending months and years woodshedding and developing something to the point you want to try and license it off or sell it to someone who can then manufacture and distribute your product on a much wider level.

Aside from the patent stuff and having to do modifications, what’s been the most unexpected result of creating this?
Actually, and this is a huge one, the funny thing is that the market for amputees is going to be a very small fraction of who this device is actually useful for. The vast majority of people who are going to end up using this device are going to be fully able people who are temporarily injured. Its biggest value is as a rehabilitation device. So, let’s suppose someone breaks their hand, has wrist surgery, carpal tunnel, arthritis or is recovering from a stroke and just can’t grab on to something temporarily or permanently, this is something they can strap on and use with those various rings along the outside of it. That’s the funny thing, I invented this to solve my own problem, but it turned out that the much wider applicability is going to be fully-able people who are injured or have some sort of chronic condition. So, it’s this weird device that’s going to be a niche product within prosthetics and in many ways a lot of products in prosthetics are niche products, but it’s funny that ideally something like this will be hanging on the wall at any physical rehabilitation facility in the states because of how many hand, arm and shoulder operations there are and how people need to start working their way back from them.

What the licensing deal process been like?
In terms of getting this onto the map, I was completely under the radar until towards the very end of the patent process because the easiest way for someone to steal your stuff is to put it up online where everyone can see it. This was all completely off-line and under the radar until February of this past year. I went to a prosthetics convention in Orlando and did a presentation and launch there and it was very well-received and hopefully something long term will come out of that business-wise. But what it also led to was the super hi-tech prosthetic hand I wear day-to-day, which is called the Michelangelo, the company that makes that has hired me as their hand model.

No shit?
Yeah. When I first got it, I did went down to Toys ‘r’ Us and bought a Fisher-Price ring stack and a bunch of children’s toys and would just sit there and practice using it for a couple hours every day. I was able to get very good with it very quickly because there is a learning curve. I just took the Neil Peart approach of ‘Do it a thousand times and you’ll get it right.’ So, they picked up on that and they’ve brought me back to work another prosthetics convention in June as a hand model during the day and during down time I was able to demonstrate the Cuff. I’m actually doing that again next month. This is very unexpected because all I did was try to solve my own problem and it’s led to side gigs in the fitness and prosthetic industry. And I’m now in better shape at 43 than I was when I was 23 and every limitation I had as a result of the amputation is gone. The last time I had a fitness assessment they do this thing called a Body Age where they poke and prod you and run you around in circles and figure out our real age – if they didn’t know what your real age was and all they had to go on were statistics. My body age is 28.

Alright, it’s time we talked about metal a bit.
I should point out at this point that I’ve been a Decibel subscriber since issue one and I even have the prototype.

Dude, you used to be a writer back in the single digit-issue days!
True, and I still faithfully read every issue. So, in terms of what I’ve bought this year that I really like are Anciients, Amon Amarth, Clutch, which is my favourite record this year so far, Electric Wizard, Kvelertak and the Melvins, of course. The Melvins covering Venom was the greatest thing! Palms, which sounds like the Cure on a lot of drugs. I really like the Portal record and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. And with older stuff, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Blue Oyster Cult box set reissues of all the Columbia records. In terms of music I listen to when I train, what I find is that the stuff I do tends to be so high intensity that I need to have some of my oldest and best friends in my headphones when I’m doing that so it tends to be a lot of Slayer, Judas Priest, AC/DC and Kiss and a lot of stuff that’s in twos and fours that just slams out. A lot of stuff in odder time signatures or stuff that’s blast beat after blast beat tends to be not as effective for me because I like stuff with unbelievable groove to it.

Anything else about the Carter Cuff you wanted to mention?
One of the things that got left out on the factual details side of things is that for a while the first cuffs were made out of leather, but now they’re almost entirely made out of ballistic nylon. That’s the stuff they make Tumi luggage out of; really strong nylon and we can line it too. There are actually versions of it where we have a layer of foam inside in case it was going to somebody where it wasn’t going over a prosthesis. The difference is that you can take the nylon version and throw it in the washer and it’s also lighter. It may take a bit longer to break in, but overall it’s a little better. There are still parts that are leather, like the shoulder strap that goes around the opposing arm, but one of the big evolutions is that it started as entirely leather, but now it’s almost entirely nylon except where leather is needed for comfort and/or strength. So now, as opposed to something that looks like it was stolen out of Judas Priest’s dressing room, it looks like something that was stolen out of Nine Inch Nails’ dressing room.

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Yeah, that’s good because I don’t know if you’re ever taken a whiff of the leather arm bands Ben from Goatwhore wears when he plays live… Oh man…they literally smell like the bottom of the worst hockey bag in the history of the sport.
Oh, that reminds me! We haven’t talked about hockey, which we need to do. As things developed over time, what I realised as I got more involved with the prosthetics industry, is that there actually is an attachment out there that would enable me to hold a hockey stick. Now, it turns out that the prosthetic technology, as far as how things fit, has gotten better. So now that I’m in all this better shape I figured I’d give it a shot again. I’m finishing up a skating class – I figured I needed to start with that – and as it turns out I need to do extra work on my left foot because it was my weak side anyway and I’m also working on skating with four toes instead of five, but I’m getting there. Next up is starting an instructional hockey class and I’m looking to graduate to playing pick-up hockey. My eventual goal is to join a men’s league sometime next year. I’ve been practicing my stick handling and shooting on dry land for the better part of a year for when it happens on ice. It’s been very liberating and it’s a long-unsettled piece of unfinished business to come back and actually play hockey and enjoy it. It’s funny now that as I’m re-learning how to do everything, I still have the enthusiasm of a 13-year-old but I have the patience and the drive of a 43-year-old so I’m paying more attention and savouring every moment I’m out there.

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What are your predictions for the coming NHL season?
I think Pittsburgh, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles should all be right back in it. I think those are the four favourites right there; but you can never really count Detroit out. I think Minnesota have put together a great team and have had a year to gel and they’re going to start to ascend. Philadelphia had an unbelievably bad year, I was very surprised to see them crash and burn, but being from Pittsburgh, I was happy about it, but I was still surprised. It’ll be interesting to see if Toronto will be able to maintain the momentum they’ve built up. They’re not going to sneak up and surprise anybody anymore.

The Leafs? I’m sure they’ll find some way to fuck it all up in the end. They always do.
But I’m a big Randy Carlyle fan though, because he had his Norris Trophy season in Pittsburgh when I first started watching hockey, so I’ve got a soft spot for him. Even when he coached the Ducks, I had a hard time rooting against him because he’s cool. I think right now, your teams that were in it last year will be right back in it. I actually do think this past year’s playoffs was as good as it gets. I was really hoping for my Kings-Penguins final, so I was upset having both of my teams vacuumed out of the conference finals like that.

www.cartercuff.com

photos by Ashley Walters

Decibrity Playlist: Wolvserpent

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, December 12th, 2013

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Wolvserpent was busy on the road in support of its recently released sophomore LP Perigaea Antahkarana, but it was guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Blake Green’s other job that made him wary of even taking the time to put together a playlist for us. We’ll let the man himself explain the side effects–which, fortunately for us, he was able to get past–of his latter gig: “When I was first invited to provide a playlist for Decibel, I had to politely decline. My new night job as a front of house sound engineer had rendered my enjoyment of music impossible. I found myself preferring darkness and silence to my usual darkness and music, giving my ears a break from the cymbals, guitars, drunks and assholes. Lucky for me as since that time I have overcome this very real occupational hurdle and my love and enjoyment for music has been rekindled. I am sure it has nothing to do with working at better clubs with better bands, but I am glad either way.”

Green’s playlist covers his band’s favorite selections, including four that cover 20th century/classical influences on the new record (which you can pick up here) and four spanning the dark/ambient/metal side. Feel free to listen along here.

Arvo Pärt’s “Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten” (1977)
A highly influential composer from Estonia. Master of minimalism and breath. This piece is based on early chant music and is an elegy mourning the death of English composer Benjamin Britten.

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Lou Harrison’s “Double Concerto For Violin And Cello With Javanese Gamelan: I. Grandly, but moderate” (1981-1982)
An American composer known for integrating non-Western styles into his compositions. Often using just intonation as opposed to equal temperament.

Henryk Górecki’s “Symphony No. 3 (Symphony of Sorrowful Songs): I. Lento—Sostenuto tranquillo ma cantabile (1976)
An avant-garde Polish composer famous for using slow repetitive progressions. The second movement of this piece uses the words of a teenage girl that were written on the wall of a gestapo prison cell invoking the protection of Mother Mary.

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Krzysztof Penderecki’s “Polish Requiem: II. Kyrie” (1980-1984)
Another amazing Polish composer/conductor. Polish Requiem is a beautifully horrifying piece. Written to accompany the unveiling of a statue at Gdańsk shipyards commemorating those killed in the Polish anti-government riots in 1970.

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Nortt’s “Havet Hinsides Havet” (from 2007’s Galgenfrist))
Oppressively subtle ambient darkness. One of my all time favorites.

Catacombs’ “At The Edge Of The Abyss” (from 2006’s In The Depths Of R’lyeh)
A magnificently slow and densely repetitive masterpiece.

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Worship’s “Graveyard Horizon” (from 2007’s Dooom)
One of my all time favorite funeral doom albums.

Bathory’s “The Wind Of Mayhem” (from 1985’s The Return……)
What is there to say? BATHORY!

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*Order Perigaea Antahkarana here.

**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here.

Past entries include:

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

Watership Down: Stream the new RABBITS collection

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

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Like bizarre stuff? Like cool covers of hardcore classics? Then you will dig our full album stream of Singles, Other Shit from Portland’s RABBITS. Take a listen below and then read the “virtual” liner notes compiled for your friends at Decibel. You can check our RABBITS on Facebook and pick up a copy from Eolian Empire.

RABBITS has been a band for about 10 years (our first show was in 2004). We realize we’re still pretty unknown to most people and don’t have widespread appeal, but that’s not going to stop us! We’ve wanted to release some of our non-LP material that hasn’t been as widely distributed, including some of the punk and hardcore covers we’ve been playing for years. After our European tour with Arabrot our booking agent asked if he could release a cassette of our 7-inches in the Czech Republic, and that eventually morphed into this SOS collection. We decided to do a US version on our recently rebooted EOLIAN EMPIRE label.

We divided the tape into the traditional A-side originals, B-side covers. With the originals we wanted to capture a little bit of everything we do, whether it’s no-nonsense tracks like “No (More) Depth,” which is a re-recording of a last-minute song from our Relapse debut Lower Forms, or “Slow Mars” which is a jammed-out, extremely altered version of one of our oldest songs, or the live radio performance of “Lungs,” a very old song that we end most shows with and play differently every time.

We started playing punk and hardcore covers one summer about five years ago when we were kind of burnt out and just wanted to have fun playing. The first ones were “Evacuate” and “I’d Rather Be Sleeping,” and slowly over the years we built up a sizable catalog. Anytime we went into the studio we’d knock out a few covers, usually without any plans for releasing them. We’ve always thought of ourselves as a hardcore band and not a metal band, so playing those songs maybe helped get that point across a little more. Or maybe not.

But learning those songs definitely had an effect on us. We simplified and streamlined our songs, and got way more into hooks. Anyway, we love all those songs and bands, it’s stuff we grew up listening to and inspired us to make the music we do, and it’s fun to see how people react when we play them. When we played “Hard Times” opening for Rorshach some people kinda lost their minds, it was wild. And to this day we think we sealed the deal with Relapse when Matt Jacobson saw us play “I’d Rather Be Sleeping,” and rumor has it that someone from Poison Idea got a copy of our version of “Think Twice” and approved. We did our best to not fuck the songs up too much. We hope that shows through the fuck-ups.