Things always come full circle. And when they do it’s either super-rad or pretty depressing. For Repulsion’s first visit to Stockholm, Sweden, it’s super-rad. Why? Let’s just say, the extremely extremes of Sweden’s early metal scene influenced Flint, Michigan’s grindcore/death metal revolutionaries Repulsion and, in turn, the dudes from the city whose motto is “Strong, Proud” ended up influencing, well, Nihilist and other teenage acts who are, as they say, household names.
So, it’s great when Repulsion, who were influenced by Bathory, cover one of Bathory’s most vicious tunes with young gun Swede Pelle Åhman of In Solitude fame on the mic.
From Sweden to Flint to Sweden and then rest of world!
History has been made. Watch it!
** Catch Repulsion live at MDF on Friday, May 24th at 8:00 p.m.
As quickly as Maryland Deathfest architects Evan Harting and Ryan Taylor brought the rage to outdoor stages, photos capturing the scene on Saratoga Street emerged, taken from the multi-story parking garage atop the venue. One thing very noticeable in said pictures are glowing cell phone screens being held aloft as folks attempt to capture the likes of Godflesh, Electric Wizard, Neurosis and Confessor for posterity, boasting or YouTube. It’s here I regularly find myself facetiously grumbling, “Hey, fuckos! Put your phones down and enjoy the show! Leave the filming to the pros.”
The pro enlisted by Harting and Taylor to capture the goings-on at MDF since 2009 is London, Ontario-based filmmaker and label impresario David Hall. Under the Handshake Inc. umbrella, Hall has done videos for Fuck the Facts, Rottenness and Jucifer, released our own Andrew Bonazelli’s fourth novel, DTV, as well albums by Sulaco, Surachai and ((thorlock)). One of Hall’s most recognizable projects has been the MDF movies, the third and final edition being recently released to coincide with the fest’s 11th year.
“I emailed Ryan and Evan in September 2008, asking if I could film MDF,” Hall says, regarding becoming the fest’s official eye. “I told them right off the bat I didn’t just want to make a straight-up performance DVD, but to craft a film out of the four days.”
Hall first converged upon MDF VII with a ragtag camera and sound crew to create the epileptically-edited Maryland Deathfest: The Movie. Combining natural progress with Hall’s distaste for convention, the following year brought the improved production values of the sequel. Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III, the final film in the Hall-helmed trilogy, gets down-er and dirtier in capturing the gritty feel of four days of extreme music in Baltimore.
“Shooting is dirty work,” Hall says, putting down the bowl long enough to discuss his process. “You’re downtown with 90 degree weather and insane humidity blasting your ass-neck. You’re drinking, hanging out and partying. People are passing out from heat exhaustion and laying face-down dead drunk on the concrete. You’re sunburnt, hungry, lost in a sea of people; the stink of the porta-potties; the night heat; your feet hurt, but you love every moment of it and are in total metal bliss. There’s a complete hedonism to MDF, and an honor and pride to making time in your life for it. That’s the ethos I try and bring to every aspect of the MDF films.”
Though Decibel’s chronicling of MDF has made it out to be the loud, stinky party it is, it’s actually a labor-intensive weekend for Hall and crew. There’s more to do than making sure a couple of tripod-mounted cameras are running as Die Pigeon Die, Napalm Death, Unsane and Ghoul ooze sweat all over the lenses and, by default, your living room’s widescreen.
“On the surface, it seems pretty straightforward,” Hall says. “You get camera operators, a sound guy, and start filming. But there are a million things that go into executing that plan: considering camera battery needs and charge time; calculating space in terms of memory cards and capture medium; scheduling shooters who are filming sets and doing interviews; making sure they have a good audio set-up, are fed and hydrated. Plus, I have to be on hand to deal with any emergencies during a 12-hour day. It’s a goddamn big job.”
Godflesh “Streetcleaner” – live at MDF X, from Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III
That job has encountered its share of hurdles over the years: batteries dying, malfunctioning gear and lightning storms. Then, there was the clusterfuck that came out the ass-end of a conflict between Hall and former partner David Caruso. The drama is detailed on a June 2011 Deciblog post titled “Don’t Be a Dick: A Tale of Indie Filmmaking, Extortion and MDF.” At the time, David was posting from the heat of the moment about allegedly being ripped off and having footage from MDF IX being held hostage, then deleted. Two years down the line, all he has to say about his former partner – who didn’t respond to our interview requests – is: “Yeah, I can sum it up nice and neat: ‘Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.’ I was able to get some of the ‘lost’ footage back using data recovery software, but in many ways, that footage represents negative energy and bad vibes, and I don’t want to associate the final MDF film with that bullshit.”
Having overcome the disappearance of one’s hard work (“The ‘pre-production’ phase usually takes three or four months, and I’m often taking care of last-minute things up until the night before I leave for Baltimore”) and having to break promises (“I have to get permission and clearance from every band we shoot”), Hall pushed forward, digging in for MDF’s tenth anniversary last year.
“We pretty much reached perfection in terms of coverage and audio,” he says about the final film, “so I was able to achieve what I set out to do from the beginning: present a documentary concert film of the best metal fest in North America with some style, letting the footage and performances speak for themselves. Also, for the editing and post-production process, my co-producer, Richard ‘The Grindfather’ Johnson, watches all rough cuts, makes notes, and we keep refining until the final cut. Richard has been a seriously valuable ally; his judgment is impeccable and he knows so much about music in general. His stamp of approval lends credibility to the finished movie.”
The sound of the third film is pristine, and the video footage captures triumphant celebration, mass catharsis, acting as a memoir for people who don’t see anything weird about hanging out in urban America for the chance to experience extreme music at its energetic best.
“My philosophy is to create a ‘next best thing to being there’ experience,” Hall concludes. “So, I knew I didn’t want just a bunch of wide shots from the back of a room. I wanted shots as close to the action as possible. The whole production process is dictated by the mandate that I want the MDF films to be metal, not be about metal.”
**Maryland Deathfest: The Movie IIIcan be ordered here for a miserly $13.00. Order before June 1st and receive a download link to the audio soundtrack and free shipping.**
Shredding in metal dates directly back to Tony Iommi, who is inexplicably still writing riffs and will be a big part of the new Black Sabbath album due next month. So, we figured it was a good time to invite a new generation of doom shredder into the studio this week.
Mark Thomas Baker of San Francisco’s Orchid shared some of his formative riffs with Decibel. As you might expect, it’s heavy on the 70s and 80s. Orchid’s new album The Mouths Of Madness is available from Nuclear Blast.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mark Thomas Baker to the shredder’s studio!
Ozzy Osbourne “Crazy Train” – The first Ozzy album, Blizzard of Ozz, came out when I was 14. “Crazy Train” was definitely the song that made me start asking my parents for an electric guitar. Randy became somewhat of an obsession for me in those first few years of playing.
*** Black Sabbath – “Turn Up the Night” - I couldn’t believe how heavy this song seemed at the time. That wah guitar sound just killed me. I had to buy my first wah pedal after hearing it.
*** Dio – “Stand Up and Shout” - I remember dropping the needle on this for the first time ever. I was blown away at how aggressive the leads sounded on this, really on fire.
*** Mötley Crüe – “Come On and Dance” – I bought this when I was 15 solely because I thought the guys on the back cover looked like aliens and I couldn’t imagine what it might sound like. The rhythm guitar tone in just fucking insane on this album, so dirty and crushing.
*** UFO – “Lights Out” - Michael was a huge influence on me, as big as Rhoads in my early days of playing. This was one of the ones I’d play for my guitar teacher and ask him to teach me the parts.
*** Iron Maiden – “Hallowed Be Thy Name” - I loved the trade-off of leads in this. Dave and Adrian were huge influences on me. I always used to try to construct leads to sound like two different guys because of them.
*** Judas Priest – “Screaming for Vengeance” - Same as above, I fucking love Priest. Me and my high school buddy would argue about who was better, Downing or Tipton. I think probably Tipton, right?
*** Metallica – “The Four Horsemen” - When I heard this, I finally thought, “Hey, I can do that kind of stuff.” Kirk’s playing was fast and fluid, but it wasn’t a million miles away from what I was able to do, so this is one that made me think I could play in a band too.
*** Deep Purple – “Wasted Sunsets” - The Perfect Strangers album came out after I’d been playing for a few years and I was just floored by Ritchie’s tone and touch on this. Still one of my favorite leads ever.
*** Led Zeppelin – “Communication Breakdown” – I borrowed this album from my friend’s older brother when I was 15. I still remember the chills I got the first time I heard it. Page is the ultimate for me these days. A master composer of music and feelings.
So you can see, I’m a bit old and my influences reflect that.
How would you describe Aosoth to a newcomer? BST: We’re a French black metal band. The project has been created in 2002, but started really being an active band when MKM (vocals) asked me to join as a guitarist and song writer. That led us to record our first EPs and our first album. What originally was meant as a very raw and old-school evolved to something a little more ambient and with diverse influences.
IV has more variation compared to III. Was this a conscious decision or something that came naturally during the music making process? BST: The writing process has always been something very spontaneous, as it is based not on ideas we think about and record, but rather on what we feel in the moment. In a way, writing has to be an act that lets something greater speak through us, and we do believe in the divine nature of inspiration, in the case of this band. We did include more diverse influences, as it felt right, it felt like a natural progression, and each album we regard on a step forward on this path we have taken.
What did you mean by this statement, “We’ve spent such a huge amount of time on defining a darker identity,” for IV? BST: Many people have had issues with that part of the statement, so I guess the way it was phrased wasn’t the best. Although the writing process was relatively fast, a lot of time has been spent on finding the right tone for each instrument, in order for the music to have the impact it needed. we paid attention to all the details to make this album something very special, a milestone in our journey. That also applies to the visual aspect, for which we have many people to thank. Benjamin Vierling painting the amazing cover art, Jerome Delgado took and edited the photograph that we’ve been using for the album and the promotion… And there’s also David Fitt and Matthieu Spinazzola, who directed our video. All of that defines the identity of this project.
What role does the low end play in Aosoth? I feel it makes for an uneasy listen. BST: As a sound engineer, I’ve often been frustrated about black metal productions, especially of records that I enjoyed, which had no low end, and no room at all given to the bass guitar. I think it is indeed a great tool to make the listener feel oppressed, choked. This music is supposed to be the voice of something greater, it needs to be powerful, and low frequencies carry a lot of strength.
You’re making your stateside debut at Maryland Deathfest. What can metalheads expect from Aosoth live? BST: Last weekend, our first live rituals since the release of our new album took place in France. It was an opportunity for us to do things a little differently, as our set now consists of a majority of material off IV: An Arrow In Heart. We’re using samples and things like that, to complete that feeling of immersion and oppression. It should be a pretty interesting experience for the listeners, although it might also be unpleasant to some.
** Aosoth’s new album IV: Arrow In Heart is out now on Agonia Records. It’s available HERE. If you’re going to Maryland Deathfest, be sure to catch them Saturday, May 25 at 6:50 p.m.
***As chronicled by Alia O’Brien, singer/flutist/organist for Canada’s finest occult rockers, from their current tour with Kylesa, White Hills, and Lazer/Wulf. Remaining tour dates listed below; preorder their phenomenal new LP, The Eldritch Dark, here
Two days and ten degrees (Celsius!) stood between our homes in Toronto, Canada and our first date supporting Kylesa on their Ultraviolet tour alongside White Hills and Lazer/Wulf. We pulled up to the High Dive in Gainesville, Florida at the end of a particularly long haul that left us in famished pursuit of nourishment beyond Waffle House “salads” and shameful McBreakfasts. The balmy weather and beautiful patio at the venue provided us with the perfect environment to get to know our soon-to-be partners in road warriordom, and it was not long before our appetites got the better of us and conversation turned toward the almighty FOOD. We received a tip-off from L/W that lead us to Flacco’s, a delicious sandwich joint located around the corner from High Dive. Cuban sandwiches all around and with veggie-rich variants for the meat-avoiders among us. Fully sated, we met up with merch master Shane of Monster Press, who hooked us up with a bountiful offering of brand new Blood Ceremony tees. We were officially ready to get out on the road!
Conjuring suds in the streets of Orlando
Our second destination was Orlando, where we managed to sample a few craft beers and take in the local wildlife (namely day-drunk tanning bed victims, although we also spotted a few anoles) before a flash storm ushered us into the venue. We also engaged in the very un-brutal act of frolicking by a public fountain that had been transformed into an overflowing bubble bath via liquid detergent. When you’re on tour, opportunities to bathe are scarce, so you take what you can get. We were all in good spirits at the end of the night so we capped off our second show with a good old fashioned tailgating session.
Merch table madness with Buzzard!
Unfortunately, our foray into parking lot bacchanalia came to an abrupt end when six police officers on bicycles pulled up and curtly asked: “Do any of you want to go to jail tonight?” The general consensus was “no,” and so all vessels containing alcohol were sadly vacated onto the asphalt. It was great while it lasted! Special hails go out to Buzzard, our new party spirit animal and a stand-up fellow, and to Matt for putting us up and providing us with midnight snacks and coffee and bananas for the road! Ye rule!
Photo booth villainy
Our gig at Churchill’s in Miami introduced us to the world of freelance parking lot attendants: essentially, we paid a gentleman to ensure that our beloved van would remain safe. The vehicle emerged unscathed, so perhaps it was a worthwhile investment! The crowd was wild and rowdy, which made for a fun and memorable show, and local support from the crushing ladies and gentleman in Shroud Eater added an additional layer of radness to the night. At the stroke of midnight, Sean, our guitarist, turned a year older, and so we ended our evening with a hearty, Jameson-fueled Pentagram singalong as we drove into the night.
Enjoying some “Purple Haze” craft brews in Orlando
Our next show in the historic cigar-rolling district in Ybor City lay in stark contrast to our Miami excursion. No parking “insurance” purchase necessary! We took a stroll through town with our new buds in White Hills, and discovered a mutual interest in rummaging through vintage shops. Lucas picked up some green Lennon shades at a store called La France, and now closely resembles Uncle Acid’s family practitioner. Long stretches of highway driving provide ample time for journal writing, and so we’re wrapping up this entry while winding westward through Florida toward Louisiana. 666 kilometers currently separate us from the heart of all that is weird, magical and musical in America. New Orleans beckons, and we heed its call!
666 km to NOLA!
BLOOD CEREMONY w/ Kylesa, White Hills, Lazer/Wulf
05/21 Denver, CO Marquis Theater
05/22 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
05/24 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst
05/25 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
05/27 Portland, OR Star Theater
05/28 Seattle, WA Chop Suey
05/29 Vancouver, BC Electric Owl
05/31 Calgary, AB Dickens
06/01 Regina, SK The Exchange
06/02 Winnipeg, MB The Pyramid
06/03 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
06/04 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s Oasis
06/05 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
06/06 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme
06/07 St. Louis, MO The Firebird
06/08 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups
06/09 Lexington, KY Cosmic Charlies
06/11 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
06/12 Ottawa, ON Maverick’s
06/13 Montreal, QC Il Motore
06/14 Brooklyn NY Northside Fest (Music Hall of Williamsburg)
06/15 Albany, NY Bogie’s
06/16 Boston, MA Middle East Downstairs
06/18 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
06/19 Washington, DC Rock & Roll Hotel
06/20 Asheville, NC Asheville Music Hall
06/21 Atlanta, GA The Earl
06/22 Savannah, GA The Jinx
First-class “war metal” masters Cobalt are about to set out on a short (and, no doubt, highly volatile) east coast tour — see dates after the jump — which gave us the perfect excuse to check in with vocalist Phil McSorley about the past, present, and future of this great and glorious band…
“Erik [Wunder] has been working hard on getting other members of the band spun up for the shows. We’ve been a two-piece since the beginning, and we’ve developed kind of a psychic link between ourselves, allowing us to write music. He has gotten two great musicians who understand the gravity of our feeling, and they are ready to help us dump a million tons of shit on the world. I have been back and forth to Iraq twice since Gin was recorded, and have been working as a Drill Sergeant since then. I have finally scraped together the time to put everything I have into a live Cobalt tour, so expect a savage display! There’s years of combat and anger and hate built up just for these eight shows, and they’re going to be something that may never be experienced on that level ever again. Erik has been working with Man’s Gin and has a new album coming soon, which will blow everyone away. I am recording ugly and raw black metal for a new project of my own as well, but the combination of both these worlds is what Cobalt has always been, and this crystallization of the band will be worth the wait.
“From the upcoming tour expect this…
“This will be one of only a few times that all the instruments of the songs have been played at one time, together. The albums were recorded as separate instruments, so these songs have never actually floated through the air.
“There is an unimaginable amount of energies and motivations behind these shows that can not be explained except through a display of the most violent and primitive release.
“Cobalt will record a new album following this tour, ending a silent hiatus of several years.”
By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, listenOn: Monday, May 20th, 2013
“Thrash, Gothic, D-beat” . . . From Hell can spin their sound any number of ways, but, the truth is, they are probably having a bit of mischief with a description of a sound that pulls in as many different directions as there are explodo-throat moments of fierce, faceripping freak-outery on debut album, Heresy.
Released on Jun 25th through Paper + Plastick, Heresy clocks in at a lean 17-minutes, and kicks off with “Nemesis of Neglect”, effectively a portentous intro, a mood-setter with acoustic guitar layered over some noise and a confessional movie sample that soon gives way to the scratchy, metallic über-violence of “Terror”. There is a lot of action on Heresy, but that Gothic influence, as quoted on their Facebook page, comes across to a degree on the downbeat “Crucifix in a Deathhand”.
As far as a bio goes, From Hell keep it vague: they’re from Detroit, M.I. and they mine a dark, unkempt metallic hardcore sound that calls to mind bands like Trap Them and Integrity without the reliance on the physicality of the former or metaphysical hugger-mugger of the latter. “Unholy” is short and sweet but it gives an accurate indication of the bill of fare. And it’s yours to download/stream below.
There are times when you need to strip away the blastbeats, the growling, the hyperbolic horror movie cover art, the hyper-aggressive posturing and just rock. Plain and simple rock. Clutch does it. Maybe they jam a bit, but the core is tried and true rock. Same with Zakk Wylde when he isn’t over using pinch harmonics and his trademark vibrato. He rocks, too. So, when ZED came to the blood-soaked and grime-filled Scrum room of the Deciblog and presented new album, Desperation Blues, we all—actually, just one of us—nodded in approval.
Formed in the San Francisco Bay Area, ZED blends the classic rock you’ve heard a zillion times on any “Z” rock radio station with the punch of, say, Clutch, the angularity of Rage Against the Machine, the hey-it’s-cool-man vibe of Queens of the Stone Age. Classic-Contemporary hard rock from the Left Coast, which for a Monday morning is exactly what most of us need to get the day going. Maybe ZED and some Coconut Water.
So, check out ZED’s Desperation Blues. It’s OK to rock with your cock out. Or, if you’re female, J. Bennett would approve of rocking with your tits out.
“We spent over a year writing and fine tuning these songs, finding the right balance between heaviness and aggression, groove, and blues. This album, to us, is the best of all worlds, combining our different influences into one cohesive sounding set of songs that pounds you while making your head bob and ass shake. This is the best work we’ve ever done as a band and as individuals, and we’ve set the bar for ourselves for the next album.”
** Desperation Blues is available for pre-order from ZED’s store HERE. The album can also be ordered on Amazon and iTunes.
What’s up, beaks and geeks? Your old boy Waldo is gearing up for the U.S.’s biggest metal party of the year. And while I’d LOVE to do a Maryland Deathfest-centric blog, there just aren’t enough new releases by those artists this time around; but, you know, fuck it, right?
ZOMBIEKRIG release Den Vanstra Stigens Ljus, and while your boy Waldo doesn’t know much about these Swedes, this record is pretty fun. It’s their second full-length and it’s got that fun thrashy vibe, mixed in with a little Swedish power metal. I’m not saying it’s the best record of the year, far from it, but I was totally prepared to hate this and actually had a little fun listening to it, which in and of itself comes as a shock because, well, I’m a renowned avian hater. This is OK. 4 Fucking Pecks.
What does one say about a new ANVIL record? Well, most know what this is going to sound like tacky metal, sometimes proto-thrash that has its roots in blues-based metal. This is not my thing at all. I mean, just because you had a documentary doesn’t mean you deserve to be a rock star; even their contemporaries took a one-way train to nowhereresville. Maybe it’s me, but this guy’s voice just grates on my nerves. I really don’t want to dislike this, but I definitely don’t like it. Plus, the record cover sucks. 2 Fucking Pecks.
Relapse is pushing Blood Drive by ASG. And while I won’t say I don’t like it, I can’t say that it’s pecking awesome either. I first became aware of them after doing a split with Red Fang, and this fits neatly into that kind of heavy, hard-rocking mold. It’s not bad; there just seems to be something lacking. That being said, there are screaming guitars, pounding drums. I know, sounds good, right? There’s something missing that I can’t put my beak on. Maybe it’s the clean vocals, maybe not. This is cool, but again, not amazing. 5 Fucking Pecks.
KYLESA, Ultraviolet. Never one to stray away from doing something different, and one certainly can’t say that all of their records sound alike. This one definitely strays from the path, not so much that you can’t tell it’s Kylesa, though. Clean guitars, heavy drums and riffing, and I think they were a three-piece when they recorded this. Although the presence of the band is still there, there are some moments that kind of shock the listener into wondering what record they are actually listening to. This is a dark record, and you can tell it comes from a dark place. The vocals here are wailing, drenched in reverb, and at times come across as the caterwauling of some tortured animal. Fans will not be disappointed, but this is a left-side step. 6 Fucking Pecks.
It’s impossible to be hyperbolic about the legacy of Jeff Hanneman. Our own Justin Norton comes right out and says it in this month’s cover story: “Every band ever featured in this magazine owes [Slayer] something.”
Hanneman and Slayer have coursed through Decibel‘s lifesblood from the onset, from two Hall of Fames to two exhaustive cover stories. For #105′s long-form tribute, we compiled a moving retrospective obituary, some of Jeff’s most biting quotes, and a litany of heartfelt remembrances from Exodus, Phil Anselmo, At the Gates, Metallica, Testament, Autopsy and countless other contemporaries to give the man the wake he deserves. Pay your final respects and grab a copy of the new issue here.
In more celebratory news, July not only brings a Royal Thunder flexi disc, but the debut of Decibel on Instagram and Tumblr. So, get exploring!