Decibrity Playlist: Watain

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Ester Segarra

In our September cover story, Erik Danielsson told J. Bennett that “it will be interesting to see people’s reaction to [The Wild Hunt].” Those comments were made shortly before Century Media hosted a pre-release private listening party, but Watain‘s frontman could have easily been talking about public reception, particularly now that his band’s fifth full-length has been out for over a month. So on the eve of his band’s (mostly) US tour, Danielsson was kind enough to address, via playlist, at least one of the responses he’s heard thus far: “Many of those who have heard The Wild Hunt seemed to have been surprised by the musical diversity of the album. This diversity is a consequence of many things, mainly spiritual in nature. But of course, being in many ways a retrospective album, it is also a reflection of what music has echoed through our world for the past 15 years. What follows here is a selection of songs that has meant very much to me ever since Watain started, songs that have burned their way into my heart and soul.”

Feel free to listen along here and if you haven’t already, pick up a copy of The Wild Hunt here.

Bestial Warlust’s “Bestial Warlust” (from 1994′s Vengeance War ‘Till Death)
In 1995 I bought a compilation called Blackend, which had just been released by some UK label. I suppose it was meant to be a kind of summary of the black metal scene at the time, which in a way it was, regardless of how many bands were left out. It had a lot of crap on it, but also a few real gems such as Unanimated, Samael and Sigh. But there was one track that took over the whole experience for me, and that was the one with Bestial Warlust called “Satanic”. I remembered I had seen their album Vengeance War ‘Till Death at the local metal store so I went there and listened to it over and over again until the owner eventually taped it for me. Through discovering Bestial Warlust, I also got into bands like Slaughter Lord, Destroyer666, Gospel of the Horns and all the other killer Australian bands proudly carrying the torch of Rok and his mad fellows.

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Tormentor’s “Tormentor II” (from 1988′s Anno Domini)
“Hideous music of the dark burns sounds for me as I stuff your nasty body into the dirty hole.” I don’t know what the fuck was going on in Hungary in 1988, but needless to say something was very, very wrong. Two years after Chernobyl, one year after Under the Sign of the Black Mark, Attila Csihar (whose life story I hope someone makes into a biography one day) and his band truly established a new level of backwardness and insanity within black metal. And listening to this, it comes as no great surprise that Euronymous some years later would ask him to replace his dead vocalist.

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Bathory’s “Twilight of the Gods” (from 1991′s Twilight Of The Gods)
I think I was too young to realize that it might be considered strange that Bathory had made such a drastic musical turn between Blood Fire Death and Hammerheart. I still think of it as a natural evolution, genuine artistry at its best! The song “Twilight of the Gods” embodies everything that I admire about the later era of Bathory: the melancholy, the jaw-dropping guitar solos, the unique atmosphere, Quorthon’s “I don’t give a fuck if I miss a tone, I still sing like a god” attitude, and so on. Definitely some of the most dramatic and emotional music I have in my record collection. By the way, compare the atmosphere and lyrical themes on this album with Tyr by Black Sabbath, released one year earlier.

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Thorns’ “Aerie Descent” (from 1992′s Trøndertun demo)
I first heard Thorns on the legendary Nordic Metal compilation, and still to this day I firmly believe they belong as the most important bands to emerge out of the Norwegian black metal scene. What Snorre lacked in loyalty he sure made up for in terms of writing songs that out-darkened most of his contemporaries. Unfortunately Thorns only ever recorded two songs in their original sinister form, this and “Funeral Marches to the Grave”. But those two songs still remain as some of the most disturbing music ever to come out of Norway, and whenever I hear them, I am taken back to a time when black metal was–not only for me but for everyone involved, it seemed–something that those belonging to it would kill and die for in a heartbeat.

Dissection’s “Black Dragon” (from 2006′s Reinkaos)
The memories I have from the years surrounding Reinkaos are still too important and valuable to speak too openly about. But I know I am not alone in remembering how the air would grow thick and a sudden darkness would descend whenever we got to hear bits and pieces of what was to become their most important album. Every song on that album had an immense impact on my life, and still has.

dissection

Current 93′s “I Have a Special Plan For This World” (from 2000′s “I Have a Special Plan for This World” single)
When one of our security boys quite randomly introduced me to this song, it turned my entire world upside down. I hope it does the same to all of you. It has been a very precious companion on many a late night since then. Make sure you read Thomas Ligotti’s fantastic lyrics.

Fields of the Nephilim’s “Sumerland (What Dreams May Come)” and “And There Will Your Heart Be Also” (from 1990′s Elizium)
Hard to pick one single song off Elizium, which is an album that requires a perception of its totality in order to be fully appreciated in all its magic and otherworldliness. So here are two. It is probably the album that together with De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas, Storm of the Light’s Bane, Ride the Lightning and Use Your Illusion II that I have been listening to the most in this life. Some people call this “goth”, but to me this is really music that transcends genres. So these two closing tracks off Elizium seem suitable for wrapping up this list of songs that are indeed “just songs”–but also, in the grand scheme of things, shards of a divine disaster. Distortions in the plan of god. Embers of a secret fire that would not die.

fotn

*Photo by Ester Segarra

**Watain tour dates:

Oct. 8–New York, NY–Irving Plaza
Oct. 9–Philadelphia, PA–Underground Arts
Oct. 10–Worcester, MA–Palladium Upstairs
Oct. 11–Montreal, QC-Foufounes Electriques
Oct. 12–Toronto, ON–Opera House
Oct. 14–Detroit, MI–The Magic Stick
Oct. 15–Chicago, IL–Bottom Lounge
Oct. 16–Minneapolis, MN–Triple Rock Social Club
Oct. 18–Denver, CO–Marquis Theatre
Oct. 19–Salt Lake City, UT–In The Venue
Oct. 21–Seattle, WA–Studio Seven
Oct. 22–Vancouver, BC–Rickshaw
Oct. 23–Portland, OR–Hawthorne Theater
Oct. 25–Oakland, CA–Oakland Metro
Oct. 26–Los Angeles, CA–VEX
Oct. 27–Phoenix, AZ–Rocky Point Cantina
Oct. 28–Albuquerque, NM–Launch Pad
Oct. 30–Austin, TX–Red 7
Nov. 1–Atlanta, GA–Masquerade Hell
Nov. 2–Charlotte, NC–The Casbah
Nov. 3–Baltimore, MD–Baltimore Sound Stag

***Order The Wild Hunt here.

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

Past entries include:

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)

Metal MBA: Fatality’s tips for successful crowdfunding

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

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Everyone is trying to crowdfund their metal projects these days. But what is the right way to, essentially, ask strangers for money to help do something you love? Toronto thrashers Fatality did it right. Today, they’ll tell the Deciblog faithful how they did it and what they learned.

***

Hello friends! This is Adam Zlotnik, bass player of Toronto-based thrash band Fatality. This summer, my band had our first ever crowdfunding campaign to raise money for our new album, 62-day North American tour, and a professional video. We successfully raised more than $5,600 in 35 days from fans and friends.

It started when we noticed crowdfunding being used by other musicians and artists alike to fund their projects or creative ventures. We began to pay close attention to the artists who were raising money and the keys to their success. Watching their videos and observing just how compelled fans were to help out their favorite musicians was inspiring. Fatality has always felt close with our fans. We also have a knack for producing homemade videos and utilizing social media to entertain them. We always been proud of our independence, which gave light to the idea of crowdfunding.

We figured, why not use these essentials to try financing our new album through our dedicated fans?

***

First timers – take some time to look at current and past campaigns on sites like Indiegogo or Kickstarter and take notes. What are they doing that you could do better? How much can you realistically raise? Look at the core of their campaign. Use existing ideas for perks/incentives. I guarantee that you will be able to get some great ideas for your own band or venture. One notable campaign that inspired us was Canadian band Protest the Hero’s Indiegogo campaign which raised more than $300,000 for their new album.

Most of the success of Fatality’s campaign stemmed from a carefully crafted plan. I can’t stress enough the importance of a good plan for achieving ANY goals that you’ve set out for yourself or band. That might sound obvious to most but the breadth and depth of your plan can make or break your campaign. An easy way to start is by asking the simple questions:

· What is it for?

· How much do we need?

· How will we promote this campaign?

· Who will we target?

· How will we manage the funds?

· How long do we need?

***

Then, break it down to the specifics and create a timeline.

Fundamental sections to be included in your plan should comprise of the following:

Video: The biggest factor to the success of our campaign was our video. This is the primary way to connect with fans and get them on the same level. Give them a clear understanding of exactly who you are, what you’ve already done, why you need the money, and most importantly, what they get out of it.

DON’T CHEAP OUT. If you’ve spent the time to carefully craft a script, video segments, and scenes why would you skimp out on the production? Find a friend in film school, anyone with a professional camera and lights to make sure you get it just right. If you have to, hire somebody. Include it in your budget! If you’re asking your fans for money, how can they be confident in giving it to you if your video is half-assed? Make sure you nail this part or I can guarantee your campaign will be greatly hindered.

It’s not always true but humor is a good factor to include in your video as long as it doesn’t take anything away from your key points. Humor can help your video spread easily through social networks. You want people to share your story.

Transparency: This is the hardest part of a good campaign: explaining your plan for their money. I label this as transparency because that is exactly what you need in your numbers and description. You need to explain clearly and explicitly what you will do with the money earned. Give a solid breakdown in order to gain trust. Also, give them more than just your idea. Show them. If you’re doing an album: give them the name, show them the artwork, where you plan to record it, who the producer will be and why.

Incentives: Choosing incentives that are actually desirable can be tough. The first basic incentive for contributing to Fatality’s campaign was a copy of the new album prior to release. The “exclusivity” in getting something before anyone else was an important factor constructed into the value of said incentive. For our campaign we chose to release our first single from the album Psychonaut as well as the artwork. Being able to hear at least one song allowed fans to sample the production and album so they weren’t buying into something they didn’t know.

It’s important to make incentives available at every level possible. From a $2 perk to a $500 perk or even greater depending on your campaign is important. You want everyone and anyone to be able to give something.

If your perks require shipping be sure to include it in the cost or be very specific about the shipping terms. You don’t want to ask for more money to cover shipping at the end of your campaign or fans will lose confidence.

Marketing: For those who have never launched a crowdfunding campaign, the first 48 hours and the last 48 hours are key in demonstrating urgency. At the moment of launch for your campaign, get your team (band etc.) ready to start spreading the word. If you’ve constructed a good plan, it will likely include a list of potential contributors (hint) that you can contact directly and explain the essence. Social media was key in spreading the message of our campaign.

This is where your video comes in handy. A good video is brief and explains the essentials of your campaign and is easy to digest. Asking your fans that cannot contribute money to simply share your video can go a long way as well.

Updates: Once you’ve launched your campaign, it is far from over. Use feedback from your fans or contributors to improve. For example, they may want to know what single you’ll be using for a music video. Tell them, and release that single. This will help keep you engaged. Notice what perks are doing well or bad and update them. You want to offer perks your fans actually want. If you notice no one cares for your $125 music lesson, change it to something more desirable.

I wish you all success on your next or first crowd funding campaign.

Get in touch with Fatality here.

STREAMING: Germ – Butterfly

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

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Tim Yatras is Australia’s answer to Dan Swanö. From Austere and Nazxul to Woods of Desolation and Ilium, the Wollongong-based multi-instrumentalist has had his hands full over the last decade. True, he may not have the visibility of Swanö, but his contributions to all types of metal is noticeable and commendable. In fact, he’s mostly a drummer, but the kit doesn’t seem have restrained Yatras too much.

His latest—well, from 2003—project is Germ, a one-man band project is not to be confused with punk legends Germs. The song presented, “Butterfly,” shows Yatras in inspired form and comes off Germ’s latest full-length, Grief. His uplifting guitar lines clash unexpectedly against desolate screams. It’s like black metal mixed with British new wave. And then there’s Audrey Sylvain (Amesoeurs, Peste Noire) contribution. She sounds like a ghost dispossessed. Creepy yet somehow basking in the glow of a fading sun.

Grab the soul of a long departed relative and stare together at the bronze autumnal sky. Feel the warmth of death approaching on the winds of seasons changing. Germ is your sonic vessel.

** Germ’s new album, Grief, is available for order by clicking HERE. We had to break out the frame to get the full URL from Eisenwald’s store, but the link gets you where you need to be. Hand-in-hand with Germ and leaves transforming from the green of summer to the color bursts of fall.

For Those About to Squeak: October 2013

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen, stupid crap On: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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I have a pet hamster. His name is Ozzy. He is adorable but terrified of everything. However, over the course of his cohabitation with me, he’s become acclimated to the sounds of heavy metal, probably due to the fact that I play it for 16 hours a day. I’ve discovered that he actually has quite discerning taste, and reacts differently to the different things I play. So, in this column, I’m going to play him some of the latest metal singles, record his reaction, and then offer my scientific interpretation of what his behavior means vis-à-vis the song.

carcass_opt

Song: Carcass – “Zochrot”

Reaction: The subject pokes his head out of his hutch. Climbs his ramp to the second story ledge. Pulls himself on top of his tissue box. Turns around in a circle.

Interpretation: Yes… At last, my time has come! After studying the forbidden texts hidden within the folds of my bedding, I have uncovered a spell that will deliver all that I desire upon me. I must prepare my preparations. The Deliverer of Food plays noise at me once more to distract me. But I shall not be distracted! More the fool him, in fact – the clean, precise melodies and steady beat only help focus my work and hasten both my freedom and his undoing. I can see what I must do clearly before me. However, I must hurry. It must be done tonight, as Saturn ascends the heavens.

gwar_promo_opt

Song: Gwar – “Madness at the Core of Time”

Reaction: The subject drops down from the top of the tissue box. Dashes down to the floor of the cage, starts picking up his food pellets and stacking them carefully in each corner of the cage.

Interpretation: Ha! This only further invigorates me! It reminds me of the battle cries of my ancestors, a horde of noble hamsters sweeping across the plains of Asia and laying waste to every sunflower seed and sapling in their path. Just as those that came before me were underestimated by their victims – until it was too late – so shall I build the pyre of my captor’s destruction as my unsuspecting foe watches on.

Ester Segarra

Song: In Solitude – “Sister”

Reaction: This subject climbs to his perch. Stands on his hind legs, ears perked, for the entire length of the song. Shakes out his fur and jumps to the floor of his cage. Runs into his hutch.

Interpretation: I have waited many moons for this opportunity. Squeaked the right incantations, sacrificed the proper corn kernels. And yet, and yet – as the moment of my glory waxes, I find myself transfixed. Unable to perform the final cantrip that will bind my captor in excruciating pain and free me from this accursed cell. This song, it fascinates me. Reaches into my very rodent soul and shows me glories that I had only previously experienced in commune with my Satanic master. Something about the way the rumble courses through my fur prevents me from moving. It is like the infernal divine is speaking directly to me. I must listen…

Blast! All that preparation was for naught. The moment has passed. I have lost. I curse my captor to the very tips of my claws.

Crucial Blast Fall Showcase

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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We can make this introduction brief: Crucial Blast is hands down one of the most innovative, adventurous labels currently operating in the world of extreme music, specializing in capturing sounds from that nether region where ethereal beauty intermingles with disquieting darkness. As such, the first day of October seemed the perfect time to query label head Adam Wright about his upcoming plans for boundary-pushing. Here is what he sent along…

Oh, also, one quick note: If dark ambient isn’t your thing, be sure not to skip the final three tracks of filthy black metal and extreme prog insanity…

HUSERE GRAV You Are Transparent (10/1/13)

The mysterious Husere Grav — pronounced “Huss-urr-ee Grahv” — first rose out of the ashes of black metal duo Homunculus in 2006, and over the past eight years has released some spectacular pieces of utterly dread-filled industrial blackness. Following up splits with Meditations, TRTRKMMR and Robedoor and the 2012 CD Ten Graves, Husere Grav’s latest full-length offering comes via the Crucial Blaze imprint, a seven-song album of macabre ambiance and ghostly black drift that combines the charnel perfume of early 90′s black metal with the desolate early industrial sounds of the Broken Flag label and the subterranean reverberations that Lustmord pioneered on albums like Heresy and The Monstrous Soul.

THEOLOGIAN Some Things Have To Be Endured (10/15/13)

EXCLUSIVE STREAM: Craven Idol “Towards Eschaton”

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, September 30th, 2013

Craven Idol pic

Ladies and germs, pray silence please for Craven Idol’s Towards Eschaton. Pull up the easy chair, pull on the headphones; you’ll no doubt find the north Londoners’ debut long-player an extreme metal album of rare power. This here’s a bona fide contender for album of the year, a soundtrack for those evenings when your ouija planchette is jiggling all over the board.

Taking cues from Australian black thrash, Bathory, Venom, Teutonic thrash bands like Poison, Craven Idol have a sound that’s brutal yet creepy, a sound that shifts constantly between death and black metal, thrash and Heavy Metal but always thick with apocalyptic fever. Towards Eschaton transcends genre and easy classification. There are monastic chants, guitar solos, blasts and oohs! Fuck, there are even melodies if you’re the sort of sicko who gets off on that sort of thing.

Towards Eschaton drops on October 15th. Courtesy of Dark Descent Records, you can check it out below. Enjoy.

**Order Towards Eschaton here
**Craven Idol on Facebook

STREAMING: Valkyrja “The Cremating Fire”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, September 30th, 2013

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Last Monday, Decibel and Valkyrja teamed up to premiere “Madness Redeemer” (click HERE) to great applause and buxom ladies defiled. Well, what you didn’t know was that the evil that courses through our collective veins—ours is more like Snake Mountain-type evil, if we’re being honest; Valkyrja’s is something that would make 1990-era Glen Benton run back to church—is that Decibel and Valkyrja planned not just one but two premieres. We’re that chuffed on The Antagonist’s Fire, actually.

It’s true this writer had a bonafide boner over Contamination, but The Antagonist’s Fire is Valkyrja all mature; like that perfect moment when a corpse reaches its apex ripeness; like that perfect moment when the night takes over the day; like that perfect moment when you realize Valkyrja are cut from the same Swedish cloth as Dark Funeral (early), Unanimated (all), and Dissection (all), only they’ve got their own thing happening. Yeah, we’ve heard The Antagonist’s Fire in its entirety and it rules every autumn.

We even got a quote out of Valkyrja frontman A.L., which is sort of like getting Fenriz to talk in 1991: “‘The Cremating Fire,’ the second preview of the third album,” says A.L., “is an ovation to the heralding storms and their blades whose edges bring inevitable and concluding end. A dedication to the hungry ones who carry perdition’s fire within their hearts.”

** Valkyrja’s new album, The Antagonist’s Fire, is out November 11th on W.T.C. Productions. Pre-order available soon, but in the meantime, check out diehard versions of Contamination and the CD of The Invocation of Demise by clicking HERE.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: Despumation Press

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, September 27th, 2013

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Welcome to Tales From the Metalnomicon, a twice monthly column delving into the surprisingly vast world of heavy metal-tinged/inspired literature and metalhead authors…

Writer/editor extraordinaire Kriscinda Lee Everitt‘s brand new Despumation Press “seeks to champion writing that explores the diverse themes metal customarily addresses using language in such a way as to evoke the feeling of listening to the music.” The imprint recently opened up submissions for its first metal-thology Song Stories, and to mark the occasion the Metalnomicon asked Everitt to compose a playlist that might help guide potential contributors toward acceptance while simultaneously giving literary metalheads a glimpse of what is to come. Graciously, she agreed, and sent along the following slate of whimsy, brilliance, and darkness…

For more information visit the Despumation Press official website, Facebook page, or Twitter feed.

Any of these songs can provide a story, but there are literally thousands of songs to choose from. And stories are great, but this is a collection of metal stories, and just being based on a metal song isn’t enough to make the story “metal.” When I read your story out loud, I want to hear the metal. Trying to figure out how to structure your story? Listen to the song; use its rhythm and tempo to hammer out the plot and timing.

Are you at a place where the topic or action seems particularly “metal” to you? Read it out loud. What does it sound like? Are there some consonants that sound more pounding, or sharp, or burning, or stabbing? Are there some vowels that drone on, drag out? Use those words, but don’t sacrifice meaning. How about your setting? Does it evoke the plodding of the drums and bass? Does it look like the vocalist sounds?

I know, right? It’s harder than you thought it’d be.

This is what I’m looking for. Stories that celebrate a song’s theme and sound; stories that read like a live show. Stories that make the reader feel like they’ve just spent twelve hours with a warm beer in their hand, satisfyingly half-time nodding to the bowel-shaking pulse of a double bass, or like they’ve just crawled out of a pit and are wondering if maybe something is broken. It’ll be a challenge for the writer, but I think any writer would welcome it. It’ll also be a challenge for me, as an editor, to sort it all out and find the songs/stories that really embody metal as fiction. It’ll be interesting to see where this leads.

Here are some samples as to how a writer could think of songs as stories…

Death: “Together as One”

Give me a story about Siamese Twins. There’s not exactly any real plotting going on here, so you’ll have to make that up. But don’t give me the fictionalized Happy-Time Adventures of Eng and Chang Bunker. A living hell has begun… Give me that.

Venom: “Don’t Burn the Witch”

How about a story of a witch burning, or a witch saved from burning by some bastard? Again, the plot’s yours to create, but sticking with the imagery here would probably preserve the metal cheese of the song. Eye of lizard, wing of bat, testicle of man, tongue of eagle, brain of rat, Jesus Christ’s left hand… If this wasn’t in a scene, I’d be truly disappointed.

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Carcass: “Captive Bolt Pistol”

BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, September 27th, 2013

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Given the opportunity to write about craft beer every month in Decibel has been eye-opening. The idea that our “Brewtal Truth” column would have lasted more than four years (and counting) and even spawn a book—The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers, out in November—is pretty amazing. Now it’s time to bring a little “Brewtal Truth” to the Deciblog. Each week we’re featuring a different craft beer that you should drink now. These aren’t so much reviews as recommendations. We won’t post anything here that we haven’t happily poured down our own gullet. There’ll be a new one every week at noon Eastern time, a little something to get you thinking about your imbibing options for the weekend.

OK, the hop fixation of the last several weeks’ posts is officially over. For now. We move on to what is being marketed by those beer-style shunners at Dogfish Head as a “continually hopped India Pale Ale brewed with Syrah grape must.” Which in layman’s terms is basically a beer/wine hybrid, something that Dogfish Head has become more and more enamored with since it introduced the concept with brews like Midas Touch and Raison D’etre. This “style” (we use the term loosely, because it’s not really a style) isn’t so much about pleasing both wine and beer drinkers as it is an opportunity for a brewer to see what kind of flavors he/she can introduce. Dogfish Head prez and founder Sam Calagione apparently came across the idea for Sixty-One after pouring a splash of red wine in his pint of 60 Minute IPA at a get-together with friends. It’s now part of the brewery’s year-round lineup.

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SIXTY-ONE
IPA?
Dogfish Head
Rehoboth Beach, DE
6.5% ABV

If this is indeed an IPA (and we contest that on a number of different fronts) it’s the reddest IPA we’ve ever seen. It’s like French rosé red. Only with carbonation. And the smell? Well, tons of fruity wine notes, with a hint of malt and a little sprinkling of hop sauce in there, too. Someone could pretty easily wave this under our nose if we were blindfolded and convince us it’s a sparkling wine. Without trying to sound like a pompous wine nerd, it has aromas of ripe berries and plums. It in no way smells anything like an IPA of any description. Which is our first point of contention regarding this beer’s IPAness. Actually make that two points: since when are pale ale’s red?

If there’s enough syrah grape must to turn this pale ale red and overcome all typical beer aromas, especially from a beer that’s been “continually hopped,” you can bet that it’ll be present in the taste. And it is. In a very unexpected and goddamn excellent way. First of all, this is a very dry beer. There is little in the way of residual sweetness which is likely the result of a yeast strain that takes its job of gobbling sugar seriously. This is a good thing, as it prevents this from tasting like a wine cooler. But that is also another point we use against in denying it tr00 IPA status.

A lot of the fruit notes detected on the nose are definitely there on the palate as well. Again, the grape flavors dominate, but they arrive quite innocently, do a little dance across the tongue and then get swished away by perhaps the lone characteristic of this beer that’s beer-like: a nice bitter hop bite. So, the end result is a tart, dry, refreshing and pleasantly bitter malt beverage. Not an IPA. Still, we could drink plenty of these, especially on a warm, sunny day. Calagione could easily make a whole line of these brews featuring different kinds of grape must and hop varieties. How about Mosaic and Viognier, or Sorachi Ace and Pinot Blanc? DFH has the blueprint dialed in. They just need to drop the “IPA.”

Secrets of the Sky – Full Album Stream! Video! Tour Dates!

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, tours, videos On: Friday, September 27th, 2013

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I love me some Secrets of the Sky.  I loved their album To Sail Black Waters when I first heard (half of) it last year.  I loved it more when the other half made it to the Soundcloudosphere (beyond the stratosphere, just underneath the Bandcamposphere).  I love it now that it’s being released by Kolony Records.

How much do I love it?  If you’re a subscriber, it’s possible you already know how much.  If not… well, I’m not entirely comfortable being so candid with the non-paying public (at least one member of which thinks I actually don’t know or idolize Kurt Ballou).

In a week, SotS and other cool Californian band In the Silence embark on a tour for you left-coasters (see dates at the end of this post) which promises to wet the panties of slick gloomy-prog lovers who can get out to the shows.  Not sure if you’re into it?  Scroll down.  Press play.  Commence the love.

There are only four songs on To Sail Black Waters, and I believe that all of them have been accessible somewhere on the web at some point in the last few months.  Now, though, Decibel gives you the whole tomato, the whole ball of bread dough, the whole nine cheese sticks (none of which are actual sayings, all of which are making me hungry).  Beneath the music player, stick around for the follow-up interview, a video for their song “Decline”, and a complete listing of the coming tour dates.

Can you talk a little about the label process?  How did you start looking for people to release your stuff, and how did you happen to get shuffled from one to another so quickly?

This has been a point of confusion for a lot of people, but basically we finished recording the album I guess around the end of 2012. We spent four months waiting on press work via Gravedancer, who were supposed to issue the digital version, but long story short is the dude who ran that label burned us pretty hard. He got us for some money, but what is worse was he continually lied about the release and eventually stopped responding about 2 weeks before the digital was supposed to come out. So that left us in a huge bind and around March we reached out to a few people to see if we could salvage the situation. Ken Golden from Sensory Records put us in touch with several labels who were interested, and ultimately we decided on Kolony based on their eagerness to work with us and the high level of communication they gave us. All in all, it worked out perfectly and we have been really happy with Kolony.

Do you think the band is still very attached to these songs, or have members moved on to new ideas yet?

It’s true, we have been working this record for a long time… but it’s just now getting a lot of attention and that makes it feel new all over again. We are still happy with it… and the fact that it has seemed to resonate with people is humbling and exciting to us. We do have the majority of a new album written given the amount of time we have had since recording To Sail Black Waters, though it probably won’t be recorded for a while. We are focusing on touring more extensively in the first half of 2014 and then we will probably hit the studio to lay down the next installment.

What music is exciting you these days?

We are all into different types of music, not just heavy stuff but a sampling of our playlist would look like this:

Chris- Gojira, Garett- Watain, Clayton- Alcest, Andy- Baroness, Lance- Goatwhore, Ryan- Kiss

SOTS-ITS