White Wizzard’s Top 5 Obscure ’80s Metal Albums, Part II

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen, lists On: Monday, July 8th, 2013

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By Jon Leon (White Wizzard)

5. Watchtower’s Control and Resistance (1989)
Possibly the most over-the-top falsetto vocals of all time…Mixed with some of the most technically proficient playing I have ever heard. Everyone talks about Voivod, who are great, but I think this album is superior to anything any technical metal band did in the ’80s. On pure musicianship, it is hard to beat this one. Some will have a Geddy Lee-like effect in not being able to handle the high vocals. I love it and think it fits perfectly. A must-listen, if just to appreciate the arrangements and playing. Incredible.

4. Savatage’s Power of the Night (1985)
No album captures the essence of the middle ’80s feeling of pure metal better than this album. It is so damn good—it is amazing that this does not get mentioned more. Hall of the Mountain King got them more airplay on MTV and is the album more people talk about—but for my money, this album is the best that they ever did, and one of the best of the ’80s period. The opening track is just a perfect heavy metal song. Every tune rocks your ass off, and Criss Oliva (RIP) just destroys on lead guitar. Another huge influence on me as a kid. This band should have been bigger.

3. Wrathchild America’s Climbin’ the Walls (1989)
Man what a bad-ass band these guys were. Originally called Wrathchild, and then sued by a shit glam band that nobody knew about from the UK for the name. They had to add the “America” to the name, which just sucks. What a fucking amazing album this is. “Smothered Life” is such a winner. Every song kills. Shannon Larkin is just an insane drummer. Sadly after this album and the fantastic follow up 3-D, they changed their name to Souls at Zero and changed their sound. And gave up after. As a wide-eyed, naive young pup, I went to see Souls at Zero right before they split in Palo Alto, CA–and right after, Shannon Larkin joined Ugly Kid Joe, HORRIBLE! I asked Brad the bassist/singer why the hell Shannon joined that horrendous band (whom they were opening for that night, WTF?), and he just hung his head and said “I don’t know” and went to the table to eat his catering. He looked so bummed. They played to 10 people, and it was depressing. They were my heroes in my early days of discovering music, and sadly never were to be seen again. Well except for Larkin, who joined Godsmack. Fuck you, Shannon! You left the best band you were ever in. Miss these guys. Get both Wrathchild America albums, and Souls at Zero’s self-titled album, if you can find them (all out of print, I think). Atlantic did not push them, and after Shannon left, it was over. RIP one of the greatest bands to never make it. Huge influence.

2. Blue Murder’s Blue Murder (1989)
John Sykes went and recorded a masterpiece with this album, and then nobody noticed. [Agreed---CD] I think the pants they chose to wear may have did them in, along with the bass player’s haircut. It was the later ’80s and towards the end of metal. They looked like a lot of the idiots in hair metal and may not have been taken as seriously as they should have been. Every song is strong. The fretless bass adds an original feel and touch. It is a pure crime that this album is not more known and appreciated. Go buy it and turn it up, LOUD.

1. Crimson Glory’s Transcendence (1988)
Hauntingly beautiful album. Just stunning. Midnight is criminally overlooked in the mainstream. His vocal performance on this album is only beaten out by Geoff Tate on Mindcrime for the greatest of all time on any metal album, in my opinion. The rest of the band is amazing as well. Fantastic arrangements and sonic landscapes. Purely ahead of their time. Power metal owes everything to “Red Sharks”. The title ballad is breathtaking with harmonies at the end that sound like Scorpions circa In Trance (1975). The guitar tones and playing are mesmerizing. Simply the greatest obscure metal album of the ’80s. Go get it and play it over and over.

** White Wizzard’s new album, The Devil’s Cut, is out now on Century Media/Earache Records. It’s available HERE. Or, you can figure how to reunite (officially) George Lynch, Don Dokken, Jeff Pilson, and Mick Brown, have them put out an album like Tooth and Nail, and go on tour without a single problem. Which offer to you want, kind spandex-loving sirs?

Blues Into Metal #3: Joe Wood

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews On: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

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Guitarist and vocalist Joe Wood is best known for his time in T.S.O.L., including the classic Change Today? album – a hybrid of punk and blues that I consider one of the best Southern California punk albums in the early-to-mid 80s. The album’s highlight is “Flowers By The Door,” a near-perfect song that is still moving and powerful decades later. Wood also appeared on the underappreciated Revenge album (a song was featured in the cult classic The Return Of The Living Dead). T.S.O.L. later ventured into glam metal, which divided fans but led to two records Wood still loves (more on that later).

T.S.O.L. eventually reunited with original vocalist Jack Grisham and Wood returned to blues, working day gigs to support his family and fund his passion. Wood is an example of creating a life in music and the journeyman’s road in both underground music and blues. Since returning to blues he’s opened for B.B. King and other legends and fronts his band Joe Wood And The Lonely Ones. He also started painting blues legends; his artwork has been featured in local showcases. Wood, who still lives in Southern California, talked to us about his career and writing the perfect song. I was pleased to learn he owns a deck of Robert Crumb’s Heroes Of The Blues trading cards.

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How did you get into blues?

I had an uncle who was a convict. He would get out of prison and visit my family. He gave me a guitar and told me to learn to play the blues. I wanted to learn to play the guitar and he said blues is where I should start. That’s when I was 16 or 17. I got a later start. The T.S.O.L. thing was kind of a fluke. They were like “do you want to go on tour” and I was pretty much homeless, so I did what I had to do.

What blues records did you learn from?

The first was Lightnin Hopkins. I started studying blues really heavily after touring. I wanted to be in a great roadhouse blues band. For me, it all starts with Jim Morrison and The Doors. Morrison was just doing blues songs, basically. I love writing and poetry and I’m a big reader. The Doors didn’t do the typical I-IV-V blues; they did rock songs with a blues tone. I studied The Doors and then went to Lightnin Hopkins, but I wasn’t good enough to play it. So I went to Buddy Guy and John Lee Hooker, would study another guy for a few months, then move on.

Most people who get into blues start with rock and work their way back. It sounds like you did the opposite.

That’s correct. Look at the Change Today? record. The sounds, songs and melodic tone all come from implementing the blues into the T.S.O.L. sound. That’s what changed everything. If you throw blues into punk rock you come up with classic rock, almost (laughs).

What have you been up to since you left T.S.O.L.?

I’ve been writing and recording songs as fast as I can, which isn’t that fast (laughs). I did a solo recording and then I decided to go back to blues. I was doing blues when I was hired for T.S.O.L. (Guitarist) Ron Emory started playing with my band which is how I got the job. They broke up when (vocalist) Jack (Grisham) wanted to do Cathedral Of Tears. I’d already done the punk thing, y’know. So I decided to go blues at 22. It’s always been my music even if I loved punk. Ron started sitting in with my band and (bassist) Mike Roche started coming to the shows. We were going to start a new band and the manager said let’s call it T.S.O.L. That’s how that happened – either a mistake or the greatest thing I’ve ever done.

I’m a big fan of the early T.S.O.L. records but it seems like there was an emphasis on Change Today? on musicality and songcraft. “Blackmagic” and “Flowers By The Door” are unforgettable.

Ron and I were a great team. As far as “Flowers By The Door” — I wrote that by myself but he wrote the hook. On “Blackmagic” he wrote the music and I wrote the words. It was such a good partnership. We wanted to be great musicians. When I started in the band we wanted to make good, melodic music. I didn’t care at that point what anyone else liked. And I paid the price for two years: getting in fights and getting bottles thrown at me and having people yell “Code Blue,” which they still do to this day. We eventually became our own band and it was great, but drugs became a huge problem. This was when record companies were really big. They had a lot to do with the direction of Hit And Run and Strange Love. There was just touring, touring, touring.

Did it hurt you when people said things like ‘the new T.S.O.L.?’

I’m going to be honest with you. I moved away from home when I was 13. I was on the road with a rock band. I didn’t give a shit what anyone said. I was having a ball. It was a great time to be in a band, right before the Seattle thing. It was great times. Yeah, on Hit And Run and Strange Love we had makeup artists and rock star stuff. The punk rockers didn’t like that but I was just a musician. The drugs kind of took over my life. It’s funny; I never wore my hair big except for those photos.

Do you think a lot of people who were critical didn’t know what it’s like to make a living as a musician?

That’s the thing. In 1978 I was at The Masque the first time The Germs played. There were no fans when I started. The fans were in bands. I always went my own way and did what I wanted to do. I love Hit and Run and I think there are great songs on Strange Love. Guns N’ Roses opened for us and then we opened for them. When you are listening to music and involved in music you change. I get bored very quickly. I like to experiment. That’s not commercial. People want to hear what they are used to. When you go see The Rolling Stones you want to hear “Time Is On My Side,” not the new stuff.

What struck me about Change Today? is that the themes are blues themes. “Blackmagic” has the occult and love tied together. On “Red Shadows,” there’s the sensation of being followed…

It’s all blues. We’re talking about the things that move you and turn your life upside down. Women are the most powerful thing in the world. Look all the way back to Samson. Sometimes, I wrote so much, if it sounded good I’d let people come up with their own meanings. I’ve heard so many interpretations of our song “John.”

I’m spontaneous. With the band I have now we don’t rehearse. We just do it. I like to get into a hypnotic beat that begins and ends with the drums – they are instilled in everyone. A lot of people didn’t get my stuff. It means a lot to me when people ask me about what I was trying to do.I love simplicity in music like Joe Cocker. I like saying what you need to say. I hate progressive rock with a passion. It always confused me and got me down. Right when you are getting to like it they change.

What are some of the reactions you’ve heard over the years to “Flowers By The Door”? I think it’s your best song.

It was the biggest song we ever had because it got put on a ABC school special about teenage suicide. It ran throughout the show. I had one guy camp out on my front lawn for a few weeks. He was a troubled kid. To this day his family writes letters saying that song saved his life. I don’t want any more than that, man. I wrote the song in ten minutes sitting on a back porch.

Is the front cover of Change Today? a Tarot deck?

It is. Ron came up with that cover. It looked great.

Do you think in retrospect the image speaks to the themes of that record: fate, chance, destiny…

Blues is always singing about sex and death and a little in between.

After T.S.O.L. ended how did you find your way back to blues?

I don’t have a pension. Blues guys can play till they are 80. This is what I’m going to do. I’m not going to become a welder or a lawyer. Once I got back into it I decided to be the best blues musician and singer I could be. I’m not a natural like my son who plays drums. I would play gigs but I also sat in my garage for five years practicing. It was also one gig a week for about three years at a blues joint.

What was the hardest thing to learn after being on the road with a successful band?

Well, money, for one. I had to work during the day and play at night for many years. I didn’t want to beat a dead horse and continue to play T.S.O.L. I couldn’t make it better than it was at its peak. Once you lose members the chemistry changes. So, I did just about everything from laying brick to roofing. My big thing was a gig doing show power for big outdoor events, things like Madonna. I never did the touring stuff but I laid cable and worked my way into a manager position. I did that until I fell and crushed my back and needed a bunch of surgeries.

Since you were successful with T.S.O.L. was it hard to go back to regular work?

It was, but I had a baby boy. It wasn’t about me anymore. It was about him. If your passion is music and you want to have kids and you aren’t getting huge royalty checks you better be able to work (laughs).

A lot of blues artists have day jobs.

They weren’t living like kings; they were gigging five nights a week in juke joints. I knew my road was going to be hard. But I couldn’t keep playing “Blackmagic.” Once in a while I’d go to Brazil and do (T.S.O.L.) sets because I could play for 25,000 people singing all the words in all my songs because my records were the only ones released in South America at that time and the payday was huge. I didn’t mind doing those sets. I’ll still play “Flowers By The Door” at my little blues gigs. I don’t turn my back on it. But I can’t be the 24-year-old Joe Wood. I’m 53 now. The songs that I sing now, I think, are just as important.

What’s the difference between gigging to a small crowd versus a massive audience?

Small gigs are always better. With big gigs it’s much harder to connect. I also don’t like playing outdoors. I like small, dark places. I think my ultimate thing would be playing 500-seat capacity places with good lighting, so everyone gets into the show and performance.

Do you want to play for the rest of your life?

Yes. I kind of have to. It’s not a financial thing. It’s just become part of who I am. That’s why B.B. King does it. He doesn’t do it because he needs the money. Believe me, if I didn’t have to do this, if it wasn’t ingrained in me, it would be really easy to just relax. It’s just who I am.

Get in touch with Joe Wood on Facebook
Visit Joe Wood’s website for gig and artwork information



Read Blues Into Metal 1: Jason Ricci
Read Blues Into Metal 2: Up Jumped The Devil (with Adam Gussow)

Road Rituals: Blood Ceremony Tour Diary, Part 4

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: diary, featured, tours On: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

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Window display at Sonic Boom in Toronto: trying to pelt the glare into submission with invisible oranges.

***As chronicled by Alia O’Brien, singer/flutist/organist for Canada’s finest occult rockers, from their recently completed tour with Kylesa, White Hills, and Lazer/Wulf. Order their phenomenal new LP, The Eldritch Dark, here

As we drove away from Calgary, missing the devastating floods by a matter of days, we said our goodbyes to the formidable Canadian Rockies. Winding mountain roads gave way to one long two-lane strip that led us toward Regina, SK. Here, our drugs of choice were take-out Thai curry and the club’s Galaga machine, which provided the fuel necessary for us to churn out a solid set to the enthusiastic gathering of prairie ‘bangers. Limited lodging options demanded we throw caution to the wind, and so we took our chances on a down-and-out motel that had multiple entries in the bedbug registry. We emerged bite-free and victorious! Relieved, we grabbed some celebratory breakfast smoothies, and hit the road once more, this time headed toward Winnipeg, MB. Here, some family friends of Sean’s kindly treated us to a much-needed dose of home-cookery. And so our first string of Canadian dates drew to a close. We stocked up on Tim Horton’s one last time (farewell maple dip donuts!) before crossing the border on our way to Minneapolis, MN.

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Lazer/Wulf left Winnipeg behind in smoldering cinders!

We played St. Paul’s last year while on tour with Ghost, and were happy to see some fans return for the gig with Kylesa, including a few of our buddies from DISCLAND, a record shop that has given us a lot of love over the years. Sadly, we didn’t have time to hit up Mickey’s Diner, an American fast food institution that we stumbled upon last time around. Having made it past the halfway point of the tour, all of the bands were decimating their sets, with Lazer/Wulf getting things going every night with half an hour of unhinged thrash madness. In the words of one of our Vancouver buddies, “they sound like Captain Beefheart’s Magic Band playing thrash metal!” We capped off the night at a karaoke bar where Lucas put his own tour-specific spin on ‘No Sleep ‘til Brooklyn’ (no sleep ‘til Savannah!), followed by a late-late-night visit to a vegan burrito joint, where the moribund staff barely concealed their bitter hippie-hostility towards anyone who dared to sample their food. Hung over and zombified, we hit up the same restaurant the next morning in the company of our gracious host, Lucas, and were thankfully met with a much less bleak scenario. The staff was even blasting Motörhead and Ghost on the stereo!

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Returning to the site of the hippie-pocalypse.

Playing Chicago is always a treat for us, not only due to our supportive fans, but also because we spent two weeks there recording our second album. Although we didn’t get to cram our gullets full of Kuma’s burgers and Hot Doug’s dogs this time around, we were grateful for the hospitality shown to us by the folks at Bottom Lounge. Next up was the Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids, a club filled to the brim with pinball machines, including the much-coveted Addams Family game. Special thanks to the local fellow who bought me a round! As we discovered last time we were in town, the club is located around the corner from a beer guzzler’s paradise: Founders Brewing Co. We engaged in a stately pre-show drink & nosh session at Founder’s with Lazer/Wulf and White Hills, and each ended up taking home some of their Doom Imperial IPA. To pass up a bottle of DOOM would have been a crime!

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Founders grimness.

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Nick of White Hills and our own Mike sneakily plotting a drummers’ coup.

This tour brought us to St. Louis for the first time, and our stay was made memorable by a fan that brought Sean the ultimate gift: a film strip from Jean Rollin’s “Raisins of Death” signed by Jean Rollin’s son! Next up was Columbus, where we reunited with one of our partners in Noctis debauchery, Zack of Nunslaughter and—more recently—THE WINGTONES! The Columbus crowd was notably maniacal, which made for one of our best sets of the tour. After playing to some die-hard fans in Lexington, we hightailed it home to Toronto, where we were finally able to behold the massive window display that the folks at Sonic Boom (Toronto’s biggest indie record store) put up to promote The Eldritch Dark. Before the show, Lucas and I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Laina Dawes, author of ‘What Are You Doing Here?’ We were grateful for the enthusiasm that our hometown crowd showed us, and had a blast hanging out with all of our friends, even if it was just for one night!

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Shred-off in Lexington: sudden death overtime.

Onward to Ottawa, where we met up with our old friend Razvan (evil overlord of the monastery!) and his girlfriend Sheilagh, who greeted us with a massive homemade spinach and goat cheese lasagna for the road. We spent the night at the majestic home of Derek and Jenn Bradshaw of the Crossing Boredom radio show, and their banana-obsessed pug. Our final Canadian gig took place in beautiful Montreal. Prior to loading into the venue, we made a quick but crucial detour so that Mike could get his smoked meat fix at Schwartz’s Deli. On our way back to the van, we coincidentally ran into our friend Annick “Morbid Chef” Giroux, who was in the midst of sampling some squid ink paella that she kindly shared with the omnivorous members of Blood Ceremony. (On a side note, we’ll be playing at Annick’s Wings of Metal festival alongside Manilla Road, Midnight and SATAN among others on August 30th/31st, and all Deciblog readers who can attend should attend!) One more pit stop at the Dieu du Ciel brew pub with Sean’s brother James left us suitably lubricated, and so–filled with delicious food and strange brews—we bode farewell to our country in the best way possible: with plodding riffs and frenzied trills!

STREAMING: Witherscape “Dead for a Day” (Lyric Video)

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

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Dan Swanö. The man. The myth. The machine. The dude’s got more bands, projects, one-offs, production credits, and engineering nods than anyone in the so-called ‘biz.’ Well, he’s returned, with buddy and guitarist extraordinaire Ragnar Widerberg in tow, on new outfit Witherscape. Those in the Swanö Swanclub have known about Witherscape for a day or two, but the rest of the scenerati need to know the guy who helped kick off Opeth and Katatonia’s careers, as well as co-write some of the best alt-death metal of all time (let’s hear it for Unorthodox and Crimson, right?) is back to writing music and blowing brainal matter.

Witherscape, in some respects, could be seen as a combo of Edge of Sanity’s “poppier” moments and Nightingale’s story-bound songwriting. That Swanö growls is quite awesome, too. He’s got one of the best voices in death metal. But he’s also unveiling a new “voice,” something he likens to the great late Ronnie James Dio. With three voices rocking our argyle socks off and Widerberg riffing and soloing like he’s the next guitarist in Soilwork’s upcoming (but totally fake) project honoring Phil Collins’ early ’80s work, Witherscape is certain to impress the non-jaded and non-snooty fuckers.

How the song came together, well, it’s another one of those Dan Swanö moments, where he writes a song in a single, quickened session. Not unlike the three songs he banged out for Steel in like 15 minutes.

Here’s what the Swanman has to say about “Dead for A Day”: “‘Dead For A Day’ is one of those songs that just wrote itself. I was strumming on the acoustic guitar one morning and it just poured out of my fingers. At first, I had no idea what to do with the song since I felt it was perhaps a bit too commercial for Witherscape, but after I played the demo to Ragnar he insisted that it must be on the album! I love how the song moves between the mellow verses à la Crimson I and II to the more brutal, yet melodic chorus, in the tradition of ‘Uncreation’ and ‘Twilight’ through the groovy but ‘undanceable’ 9/8 section that leads to one of Ragnar’s best guitar leads of the album.”

** Witherscape’s new album, The Inheritance, is out August 6th on Century Media. Order it HERE with a t-shirt or HERE without a t-shirt. If you fail in your quest to get some new Swanö, we’ll have Lou Reed read Diabolique’s “Butterflies” lyrics. If you’re wondering what Witherscape and Diabolique have in common, well, Kristian Wåhlin used to front Diabolique and he’s also known as Necrolord, aka the guy who created covers for Witchery, Dissection, and, uh, Emperor. As for Lou Reed, fuck him!

STREAMING: Pyres’ “Year of Sleep”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

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Yesterday was Canada Day! In order to celebrate that entirely meaningless (to us US-based folk) event, we are pleased to bring you an exclusive full album stream of Toronto-based swamp metal soldiers Pyres’ debut Year of Sleep, courtesy of Granite House Records.

Proof positive that you don’t have to be from warm climes to ooze out quality sludge metal, the quartet fully indulges in their Mastodontic and Baron-ish tendencies as they set fire to everything in their path. No weird time traveling space journeys here; just 40 minutes of rock. But don’t take my word for it; check them out below. Then when you’re done with that, go ahead and preorder the album on either delicious caramel/black swirl (limited to 100) or plain old black (limited to 200) vinyl get an immediate digital download. Streams are
good to sample with, but something this heavy needs to be experienced on a proper turntable. So turn up the bass and prepare to get crushed.

***Limited vinyl pressing comes out July 23 from Granite House Records. You can preorder it from them or http://pyresburn.com. And check out the Pyres Facebook page for updates!

Cauldron: The Final Chapter

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: diary, featured On: Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

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We asked Toronto’s premiere purveyors of “true, unadulterated heavy metal” Cauldron to keep tabs on the havoc and devastation left behind in the wake of the band’s epic America’s Lost tour and dudes did not disappoint. (See earlier posts here and here.) We couldn’t resist beginning the third diary entry at Orion Fest before going back in time to earlier dates.

Purchase Cauldron’s excellent Tomorrow’s Lost here. Final two dates of the tour are listed on the poster below.

Myles: Upon our arrival in Detroit we made haste for Orion only to end up waiting in multiple line-ups with boxes or merchandise in hand to get our passes and actually get onto Belle Isle. Two hours later we finally arrived! Having already missed the legendary Dehaan performance, I made sure to catch Flag. It was energetic and raunchy sounding, just like I hoped it would be. After their set we were hanging out in the artist area, taking advantage of the free beer situation and discussing which member of Metallica might be introducing us when out of the corner of my eye I spotted Robert Trujillo standing over by Infectious Grooves’ trailer. I took this opportunity to awkwardly introduce myself to him and then said, “So I hear that one of you guys will be introducing us tomorrow. Do you know who that will be yet?” He gave me a look that was either puzzled or panic and then told me that they were all busy and that they introduce bands when they have the time. Then one of the members of his entourage got his attention. He mumbled something incoherent at me and sauntered off with the rest of the group leaving me in the dust looking slightly unsure of what just happened. Then I turned to look at the other Cauldron guys and they were laughing at me.

Ian: One of Jason’s childhood friends Jason Gauthier came with us for the weekend. Gauthier came with his Metalli-dar on because he spotted Hetfield from about a mile away standing sidestage watching some band in a tent. About ten minutes later we went to the artist area and Gauthier said, “Shit boys, it’s Kirk!” Sure enough Kirk Hammett was driving by in a golf cart. We didn’t get to meet him but he did yell at us to get out of his way. The next day we were ripping around in a golf cart and passed some guy in a beanie going the opposite direction. Gauthier yelled out “Lars!” to which he got a peace sign. And of course Trujillo left Myles standing there by himself with his head hanging low.

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INTERVIEW: Shanda Fredrick of Demon Lung on doom, horror and life in Sin City

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, July 1st, 2013

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Demon Lung‘s debut LP, The Hundredth Name, is a doom album constructed around a grand concept. Yes, it is a doom LP that incorporates some of the genre fundamentals and takes its cues from Candlemass and Coven’s ceremonial sense of theater, but lyrically it follows a tantalizing narrative wherein (loosely speaking) Satan’s long-lost kid is cast out to Earth to learn God’s tongue, speak it in reverse and undo creation. Et Voila! Armageddon.

Gnarly, huh? But it’s the sort of fate you’d envisage for mankind if you grew up in Las Vegas. Just ask Demon Lung’s vocalist Shanda Fredrick. Born and raised in the neon fleshpot, she is perfectly placed to deliver the story through Demon Lung’s riff-heavy dark hymns. Here she is on putting together the record’s concept, and tell us just what it’s like being one of few metal bands in Vegas . . .

The concept for The Hundredth Name is awesome, how did you come up with that?
Our drummer, Jeremy Brenton, had the idea for a while, and it’s actually based on a horror movie, Warlock, starring Julian Sand. It’s a classic ‘80s horror movie; it has cheesy effects but the story is just epic. He has always thought it would be funny to do an album concept about that story, and when it came time to do our album we were kinda limited on time to get it all put together so we were like, ‘Oh, great, we have this idea already,’ and we just fleshed it out. What was nice about it was that it was sort of like putting a puzzle together. It made the whole process a lot easier because we were just trying to match a mood and not like going out of our way to create something original but something that goes along with the emotion and mood of the story.

White Wizzard’s Top 5 Obscure ’80s Metal Albums, Part I

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, July 1st, 2013

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By Joseph Michael (White Wizzard)

5. Savatage’s Edge of Thorns (1993)
This is one of my favorite albums to listen to on LSD. Great vocals, guitars, and songs. RIP Criss Oliva. The solo on “Edge of Thorns” is worth the price of the album alone.

4. Marty Friedman’s Dragon’s Kiss (1988)
This is the guitar bible. Period. “Thunder March” should be the national anthem.

3. King Diamond’s The Eye (1990)
When I mention this album, I get blank stares, but this has some of the best songs—plus amazing theatrical pieces like “Two Little Girls” and “The Trial.”

2. Steelheart’s Steelheart (1990)
This is some of the most bad-ass butt rock out there. Like Winger, but on steroids… The vocalist is hitting four octaves with power.

1. Phantom Blue’s Phantom Blue (1989)
Hot metal chicks in tight spandex playing harmonized, sweep-picked arpeggios. I actually fell asleep next to one of the sisters on a couch at a party in Hollywood when I was 19.

** White Wizzard’s new album, The Devil’s Cut, is out now on Century Media/Earache Records. It’s available HERE. Or, you can drop some serious cash on Marq Torien’s smooth-up-in-ya pants by clicking HERE.

For Those About to Squawk: Waldo’s Pecks of the Week

By: dB_admin Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, June 28th, 2013

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The masters of the macabre are back, and finally getting their due. AUTOPSY are dropping the utterly filthy The Headless Ritual. To be honest, they aren’t breaking any new ground here, but this is a pecking cool record. If you’re a fan of these guys, you will not be disappointed. If you’re not a fan, you should be. Their unique brand of stoner death metal is, well, unique. There are barked vocals, mid-paced passages, blasts and, of course, death metal. Heavy and disgusting. You’d need a dust buster to get the crust off of this. The production here is cleaner than a lot of the prior releases, and in this case it helps to augment the blow. This is pure death metal the way it needs to be played: raw and nasty. Go “peck” this up today. 8 Fucking Pecks.

Holy peck, want something heavy? COFFINS’ The Fleshland will fulfill that desire. WOW. Considering they only had a handful of splits and a couple full-lengths, this birdbrain wasn’t sure how the debut on Relapse would go. Well, it’s beaking HEAVY. Death rock more in the death vein, the new lineup doesn’t disappoint. These songs are so low that I’m sure there’s frequencies that only rocks can hear. Now a four-piece — think Celtic Frost tuned to “Z” — these Tokyo doomsters will kick you in the dick indeed. And as your fine feathered friend has seen them live, I can attest that they are heavy as peck. The cleaner production gives a bit of clarity; older fans may gripe a little, but pay no mind, as this is as heavy and brutal as any of their previous offerings — and maybe heavier. Get run over by a steamroller and you’d still feel better than after listening to this. Excellent. 8 Fucking Pecks.

Polish trio SQUASH BOWELS release Grindcoholism , and after years of slugging it out in the bowels of the underground (see how I did that?), they’re finally getting a little attention now that Selfmadegod is pumping this. This is death/gore-grind, I mean, it’s hard to be more descriptive than that. Heavy, fast, deep vocals that sometimes that go into pig territory, plus blasts. These guys have been around forever and this isn’t going to win very many new fans, but it’s fast, raw and heavy. Kudos for the name. A solid release. 6 Fucking Pecks.

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Greece’s Rejection

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, June 28th, 2013

Rejection band photo

Because every day another band records another song. Because 83% of those songs are unlistenable and you can’t be bothered to sift through the dreck. Because metal is about not giving a shit and waking your own personal storm. Because music is universal, expression is boundless, and even indie labels (whatever that means these days) don’t know everything, Decibel brings you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack.

Rejection logo

Extreme music fans can be fickle when it comes to groove. Maybe we associate it with mainstream rock and demand that our Christ-roasting, alien-hailing, face-necrotizing soundtracks eschew this most recognizable structure if it expects to rule with authority. After immersing hours/days/weeks of blinding putridity, though, a bit of injected groove can feel like the savior of all heavy music.

Greek ‘bangers Rejection most certainly sound like some of their influences (read below; though they didn’t mention Meshuggah, and it’s hard to believe the Swedes’ music didn’t play some role in this groove), but they’re good at it and deserve a little extra attention. Which they’re getting, now that they’ve done some touring outside of their native country and had a chance to experience crowds who had not yet heard their material.

Back in April, Rejection released their second full-length album, called Subject 43. Check out their single from that album, “This Crumbling World of Ours (Life as a Slave)”, and read up on the band’s past and future in the brief interview below. If you’re intrigued, go on to Rejection’s Facebook page, or check out this other tune they’ve got up at YouTube. Happy grooving!

When did Rejection get started? What brought you together to play this music?

We started this band in 2004, and the first few months we were playing covers. Me and Nontas (drummer) are the two remaining members from the original line-up. When we started this whole thing we were into bands like Korn, Slipknot, Mudvayne, Machine Head , Fear Factory, Sepultura and many others. In the beginning we tried to combine this kind of sound with a more experimental type of music.

How do you write songs? Do members write individually and bring them to the band, or do you work together on them?

Usually, everything starts with a guitar riff, we jam with this and we build the whole song. So guitar and drums are the driving force. Sometimes in the end the vocalist may need a few changes in order to place better his voice.

How would you compare the new album, Subject 43, to its predecessor, Hollow Prays?

Subject 43 is definitely heavier and more straightforward. Every song lasts almost three minutes. It was our goal to write a very heavy record, but catchy as well. Our first record was a combination of groove metal, with a more experimental touch (influenced mainly from Tool). Hollow Prays included 2-3 seven minute songs, and long interludes.

What does Subject 43 refer to? Is there a thematic thread running through the album?

Subject 43 is a concept, and refers to a guy who’s being a subject of experiment. So the songs describe this whole process that lead this guy to insanity.

How was your European tour this year? Were those shows very different from the shows you’ve played more locally?

It was a very cool experience. It was actually the first time we toured outside Greece. We played in some good clubs with local bands from every country. The best shows we played were in Romania, England and Germany. The crowd had energy and positive reaction to our songs. I think it’s a way different situation from the shows we play in Greece, because (especially) in local shows people know us. When you play outside your country you have to “win” the crowd.

Do you feel like you operate within a Greek heavy music scene?

Not really. We’re doing our own thing, and we hope for the best. I don’ feel that [there] exists a metal scene in Greece. There are some great bands, but everybody operates on [their] own interest and need.

You mentioned lots of member changes within the bands first few years of existence. How stable is the band membership right now?

I hope to be stable from now on. We’ve already changed bassist and vocalist, but now I think that the band is in the right direction.

What are your plans for Rejection in the near future?

We are now planning a Greek tour for September, and we hope to do a European tour next year. Also, we are currently looking for a label for worldwide distribution and management. If everything goes right, I hope to tour the U.S as well, sometime soon.