INTERVIEW: GOJIRA’S Joe Duplantier on touring hard and his New York State of Mind

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, January 21st, 2013

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When the Deciblog caught up with GOJIRA frontman/guitarist Joe Duplantier last week, he was clocking up the road miles across Canada on in a tour that’ll see the French progressive/death-ish metal quartet take in the west coast of America before snaking along the south and terminating in New York.

Supporting their fifth album, L’Enfant Sauvage, in the company of The Devin Townsend Project, this tour is especially a big deal for Duplantier; not only should it cement his band’s rep as titans of rhythmically complex, cerebral metal, but it winds up in his home town. Having relocated from Bayonne, France, Duplantier is now a bona-fide New Yorker, and the change of scenery has done him the world of good.

How important was it that you carried on with your U.S. tour after the Lamb of God tour was cancelled when Randy Blythe was detained in the Czech Republic? Did it give you a greater sense of independence?
Joe Duplantier: It was very important for us to tour the States at that moment; we had a couple of options, even before this, to tour. We needed to do a headline tour in the US when the album was out. It was really important; the UK, the USA, and France are really our markets, Scandinavia too, so we really felt we needed to do this tour. Then Lamb of God came along with this offer and we really couldn’t turn it down—it would be suicide to go on tour on our own while they were touring. So, yeah, we decided “Yes, let’s do it” and when it got cancelled, just a couple of days before the tour was supposed to kick off, we were like, “Let’s go—let’s do it!” There was no promotion. There were no venues booked. We needed something and we were able to do it pretty easily because now we have a name, people were expecting us to tour anyway so it turned out pretty good. We had to tour in a shitty van with a small crew, because they were just club shows. But we did it and we were glad we did it. It was just the east coast, bits of Canada, Chicago, so the tour we are doing now is the first real headlining tour in the US and it’s a big deal.

And, as I understand it, the tour finishes in Brooklyn, your home town?
Joe Duplantier: Yes, exactly! I am pretty excited about that. I have about a million guests on that show!

How does that feel to be a guy whose home town is Brooklyn? does it feel like home?
Joe Duplantier:
It does, actually. Y’know, since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by the city, by New York in general. It’s like an explosion of energy, culture and entertainment—there is a lot going on in New York, and so many different people. I live in a building in Brooklyn and it’s full of people from all over the world. I think there are just one or two real Americans; there are people there from all over the world, Puerto Rico, Europe, Asia . . . And I feel really really good because most of these people are away from their families and we stick together; the whole neighbourhood is really friendly, and there is something wild and chaotic that I can’t explain. For me it’s really good. I feel pretty intense inside and I needed some place like that. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it but since I moved there, in like a year and a half ago, I really call New York home now. I feel at home, definitely. There is a lot going on, which is really good for me, for my spirit. I call Brooklyn home.

Where would you recommend do go eat in New York?
Joe Duplantier: Well I live in Bed-Stuy and that neighbourhood has a reputation for being a little bit shady but I try to dig that neighbourhood because the people are incredible. There are lots of cafes and bars. This neighbourhood is called Fort Greene, and every Saturday morning there is a very nice market where you can get all sorts of things from the farms around New York. There is this place that is right across from my street called Colador Café—I love to hang out at this place

Growing up, I always looked at New York as being this cinematic place—Woody Allen movies and so on—was that the same for you?
Joe Duplantier: Absolutely—of course! The first time I went to New York I was 12, and since then, at least once a year, I have spent about a month a year in New York, and I realized that it was not just in movies; New York is a huge scene for a lot of things to happen. There is the Woody Allen aspect, definitely, in Manhattan and Brooklyn, but there are a lot of other aspects that I was not expecting at all—humans, people! The people are really warm and friendly, and get together all the time; there’s a life, a real life, and it’s a little scary when you first get to New York. It’s a little hard, a little cold, and you wonder how you’re gonna make friends, how you’re going to fit, and when it comes it’s really amazing. I grew up in the countryside, and of course I am really close to my home town, to nature, but I kind of needed this. I needed something else, and I am glad I moved on. It was not an easy move but it worked out pretty good.

Does it pose any logistical problems for the band?
Joe Duplantier: For the band it’s not a big problem. We get together to compose. I go back to France; they come to New York. We go on tour in the States and we go on tour in Europe: We feel as if we have a base in North America now.

Have you noticed much difference in the lifestyles between Parisians and New Yorkers?
Joe Duplantier: The wine is better in Paris, I can say that. And it’s cheaper, too! [laughs] I love Paris. I was born in Paris, and I call Paris home also, but there’s a difference. Things are more relaxed in New York. There are fewer rules. Paris is a little more stiff, in my opinion, while New York is a little more rock ‘n’ roll, a little more relaxed. It’s really easy to accomplish things. If you want to have a business, you can have it in the blink of an eye in New York. It’s a place where you can make arrangements with landlords, that kind of stuff is more flexible. France has a pretty unique situation for social security, and all that kinda stuff. In France, the taxes are kinda high but then the government has your back on a lot of stuff—the roads, the houses, and all that—but in America and New York it’s a little more brutal. I don’t know, for me it’s nice to have a little bit of both.

Do you think this will have an effect on Gojira’s sound or do you think that any influence New York has on your ideas will be diluted by the fact you are always traveling?
Joe Duplantier: You’re right, the fact that we are traveling so much affects us much more than me living in New York. By the way, we composed the whole album [L’Enfant Sauvage] in France; I did pre-production in our small practice space in the south of France, away from everything. It’s really remote. The fact that we produced the album in New York, of course, had an influence; the guys were taking the subway every morning, like it had an impact and I am glad we chose New York for that. It added that [energy]. It’s very energetic, and it also influences you, the things you see in the streets. I mean, you see homeless people, high buildings, concrete everywhere, it’s kinda oppressive and hard, like our music; our music needs to be oppressive and hard, so it fits pretty good. But the fact that we travel is the main thing. Our music started to change and get less naïve when we started to tour all over the world, and confront ourselves. That had a huge impact.

Is that when you get most of your ideas, when you are on the road? And not maybe just in the literal sense of hearing the riff in your head, but in terms of knowing what feelings or thoughts you want to express musically? Joe Duplantier: Yes, sometimes, it’s funny. From a certain point of view, yes, from the other, no. It depends how you see it. At least for me, as a singer and a writer, it is crucial, essential; it is the core of everything that is being expressed. You could have the exact same riff in a different context and it’ll sound different. Of course depending on your state of mind and what you want to express generally in your life. For example, me moving to the States was something that I could not avoid. For a long time I wanted to do that, and the fact that I could was just to be close to myself, to my heart. I don’t know why it is New York—it could be Bangkok, India—but it’s me just trying to be me as much as possible. Just like the other guys, like my brother Mario likes to surf with his friends when he has free time, and if he can do that as much as possible it’ll be more powerful and people will get that.

Is that your greatest creative strength, that trust between each other? It’s weird because I can’t think of too many other bands whose principal songwriter could move to the other side of the world and it not really affecting the band.
Joe Duplantier: Yes, I think you’re right; it’s very precious. And we have our hard moments, of course, but I’m really glad that our brotherhood is not affected by this crazy life that we have now. There are a lot of tensions; we are on top of each other in a bus, sometimes it’s a van. It’s a hard life but we just get stronger with this because we know how to form the tensions into something positive. We talk a lot. We try to be as respectful as possible—because we’re different. We are part of the same band and stuff but we are still four very different people . . . And I think we love each other, and this is important.

It seems that to survive in this lifestyle it’s important to retain that childlike enthusiasm for touring, for playing music and traveling. Is this the case for you?
Joe Duplantier: It’s an interesting question. Sometimes we are tired of touring and sometimes, when it goes well and we have the proper crew and the bus, the enthusiasm comes back really strong, in just one second. But we always have something to hang on to. There is always something that we are very excited about . . . It could even be something like the merch doing well! [laughs] . . . Just one little thing, and it’s like, “Yeah, man! We made a thousand bucks!” It could be anything, but we always always remember our first days when we were nothing to the audience and we didn’t exist; then we were like, “One day we will play with Metallica!” And now we’ve played with Metallica. We’ve always remembered that we are living the dream and, of course, when the dream comes true it is not a dream anymore; it becomes reality and you have to deal with that, and you have to have new dreams. Right now, our new dream is to have a good backline in America. [laughs] Everything is going pretty well. It’s slow. We’ve never had a big explosion and the band is doing well with one song on the radio. We’ve never had that. But it’s going very well, slowly but steadily. It’s a steady progression. This is really, really good for the spirit.

It’s always better to go slow rather than rushing things out—especially rushing material and hurrying an album. That break after The Way of All Flesh, when you were sorting out management, etc. must have done you good.
Joe Duplantier: We think a lot when we do something, more than we have in the past. I think that we have a lucky star because we did a lot of things without thinking at all, like, for example, on the first album we didn’t have any record company, management, nothing, and we could have easily have said, “Let’s just give up. We’re playing death metal in the 21st century let’s just give up.” Some people were saying, “Come on, man, you’re singing in English? You’ll never make it in France—give up!” And we never give up. We just worked. But now we have to put more thought into every step we take; the choice of management, the record company . . . Like before signing this deal with Roadrunner, we had the option to go completely independent, to record all our music ourselves and put in on the Internet. We seriously thought about this. We thought a lot. We had about one thousand band meetings and talked on Skype with people. I think we made the right decision. We really need a push from professionals, and even though the music industry is in the shit right now—it’s in the toilet—at least people in the record company and the management know how to promote a band and improve their situation, so we can use that help, definitely. I am glad we made that decision.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Have you been writing?
Joe Duplantier:You know, these last couple of months I have been really tense; we have been touring constantly, so, we had two weeks break before this tour and we were trying out best just not to think too much. What we are trying to do right now is to reinforce the crew we have right now and the gear, and the organisation around the band. Even the communication between us and our partners, our management, record company: We are still trying to figure out the best way to communicate and to be more efficient. Right now we are more focused on being a stronger team, well-organised. This is very, very precious to us. But, of course, we have tons of projects. We’ve put them on the side because this album is doing pretty well. We have a lot of shows sold out whereas a couple of years ago we were struggling to fill a small venue. We feel there is something happening for us right now so we just try to stay strong and get stronger; then we will think about all the crazy projects, like having a metal ballad! [laughs] And all that stuff. I cannot even talk about all the projects we have because there are too many of them.

**GOJIRA official web
**GOJIRA Facebook
**L’Enfant Sauvage is out now, order it HERE
**GOJIRA US DATES w/The Devin Townsend Project
Jan. 23 – The Fillmore – San Francisco, CA
Jan. 24 – Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA
Jan. 25 – Henry Fonda Theatre – Los Angeles, CA
Jan. 28 – Marquee Theatre – Tempe, AZ
Jan. 29 – Sunshine Theatre – Albuquerque, NM
Jan. 31 – Granada Theatre – Dallas, TX
Feb. 01 – White Rabbit – San Antonio, TX
Feb. 02 – Warehouse Live – Houston, TX
Feb. 04 – State Theater – St. Petersburg, FL
Feb. 05 – The Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Feb. 07 – Rams Head Live – Baltimore, MD
Feb. 08 – Irving Plaza – New York, NY
Feb. 09 – Mr. Smalls – Millvale, PA
Feb. 12 – House of Blues – Chicago, IL
Feb. 13 – Phoenix Concert Theatre – Toronto, ON
Feb. 14 – Le National – Montreal, QC
Feb. 15 – The Palladium – Worcester, MA
Feb. 16 – Theater of Living Arts – Philadelphia, PA

Esa Holopainen (Amorphis) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, January 21st, 2013

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How will the new album, Circle, differ from Beginning of Times?
Esa Holopainen: Our producer Peter Tägtgren has brought lot of old school ideology back to band. I guess that we have needed sort of encouragement to go for slightly more extreme sound world. It is more low bass-ed, guitar-oriented and there’s shit load of varieties on Tomi’s vocals.

Sounds like you’re exploring a bit more. Longer, more progressive, and possibly heavier songs? Is this a return to mid-‘90s era Amorphis?
Esa Holopainen: [Laughs] This is what people has asked after every album we’ve now done. I wish I could say so, but we have to keep focus on what’s happening today and that’s what counts most. I mean we did some great things in the past and wish to keep that same spirit up in the band, but same time we want to go ahead and take new challenges. I can say that we are highly influenced on what we did and during recording process we did compare to the old albums like Elegy or Tales… I know that Peter is trying to get some of that old shit on the album, so let’s see how he succeeds with this.

How’d you end up with Peter? And why Peter Tägtgren, by the way? You’ve been pretty comfortable with the Finnish dudes—Mikko and Marco—since moving on from Simon.
Esa Holopainen: We needed refreshment. Four albums that we’ve done with same team, Marco producing vocals, Mikko mixing the album and recording at the same Sonic Pump Studios was formula that we needed to break down. We sat down last spring and went through with different ideas with different producers and usually the good ideas are much closer than you think. This was the case with Peter. I remember talking with Peter years ago about him producing us or going to his Abyss Studio to record something. We met him at 1994 when we did a tour together with Hypocrisy and been friends since them. Swedes are our neighbors, so we generally get along well with them. He always told that if he would produce us he would come up with this ’70s ideology mixed with the brutality and melodies that we carry.

How many farm animals appear on the new record? Those sheep from the studio report sounded brutal!
Esa Holopainen: I think the only animals on the album are six of us in the band. We had a blast in Petrax Studio where we recorded the drums. It’s located in the country side of Finland and is surrounded by a farm. There was nothing else to do that focus on last arrangements and recording. Plus eating and drinking.

Did you record the album in a jam room environment or was it sectioned off by member?
Esa Holopainen: Not really no. We had pretty clear structure on most of the songs, but some of the intro parts we came up with [were after] getting stoned and jamming.

OK, what part of the Kalevala will you explore this time?
Esa Holopainen: I think Amorphis and the Kalevala are intrinsically tied at this point. We didn’t want to take any particular story out from Kalevala and gave Pekka Kainulainen free mind of coming up with a theme and storyline. The lyrical subject is modern storytelling inspired from the Kalevala. Timeline goes from dusk till dawn and tells about desperate man who gets hope from old spirits.

Just who is Pekka Kainulainen?
Esa Holopainen: Pekka is Finnish artist who does performance art, paints, writes poems and besides this he is an art teacher. In his art he uses mythological methods to construct a story. We met him through Tomi Joutsen and really liked his art in every form and started to talk about him writing for Amorphis.

The workrate this time around has been quite quick. One year after Beginning of Times. Are these totally new songs or things you’ve been working on for a while now?
Esa Holopainen: These songs we started to rehearse [this past] summer. I started to write first songs in the beginning of 2012. It helps that we have lot of members who write and come up with ideas, so it’s not just one guy who does everything. But once you’re focused on what you do it’s easier to keep up the pace of work and motivation than writing piece of a song and coming back to it a year later.

What do you want fans to walk away with after hearing the new album?
Esa Holopainen: Getting new experience and after listening the album having the feeling that they want to share the musical trip again. Today, kids don’t have passion for albums anymore, they want everything fast and immediate. I wish that some kid, blessed with brains would listen the whole album through, getting something from it. Old fans do, I’m pretty sure of that.

Any working titles for songs you can give?
Esa Holopainen: Typical, really stupid ones like: “Mehtä” (forest), “Nosestuff” (nose tobacco), “Pelimanne” (gypsy folk player), “7jarko” (seven Jarkkos), etc.

Oh, and what’s the title of the new album?
Esa Holopainen: We don’t have title yet but you can call it Stabbing Gypsy Folk Player. [it's called Circle---CD]

** Amorphis’ new album, Circle, is out April 9th on Nuclear Blast Records. “Circle represents integrity. Back in the days, when there was something special to talk about, wise men used to sit in a circle. Not everyone was invited to join them. But in this story, the protagonist was invited among the wise men’s circle,” says Tomi Joutsen. Yeah, that sounds rad.

** Visit and like Amorphis on Facebook.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: Cross the Border Into Satanic Hell

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, free On: Friday, January 18th, 2013

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

It is difficult to imagine a more Decibel-friendly premise than the one upon which the digital comic series Satanic Hell is built…

Broke and directionless, the three members of the industrial metal band Satanic Hell arrive in Texas for a chance tour set up by a mysterious promoter named Sam. Death Priest, Dante, and Exodus quickly find trouble in the bizarre world of Texas, now an authoritarian state controlled by a council of religious fanatics.

…and it only gets friendlier as the band cobbles together a Metal Militia in later issues to take on the fanatical Reverend Scudder behind enemy lines.

The first issue of Satanic Hell is currently free through the comic’s official website. A few panel images — requisitioned via Facebook — are below. (Kreator represent!) Satanic Hell also somehow manages to Tweet occasionally from inside the Christodom.

Happy 100 Call & Response: Mr. Ed Guesses Scores Given Old Decibel Reviews

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, stupid crap On: Friday, January 18th, 2013

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Have you heard?  Decibel Magazine just launched its 100th issue!  We’ve kinda kept it quiet, only hyping it every other day or so for only the past several months.  Turns out we’re hosting a celebration show in Philly this weekend!  Who knew?  I wonder who will headline…

As this extremely extreme monument edged closer to becoming reality, dB think tank Nick Green came down with a serious case of the good ideas (a chronic condition with that dude):  Since EiC Albert Mudrian assures us that he can divine any review’s numerical score from the tone of the review text itself, why not test this claim with a variety of selections from the past 100 issues?  Thus was born this exclusive Deciblog special edition Call & Response.

We sent our most beloved extreme music addict six old reviews, identified only by title (with the score and author’s name removed).  He responded to them with pithy anecdotes and, in at least one case, without actually reading the review!

The Mars Volta – The Bedlam in Goliath
Score:  3          Author:  Brent Burton                        Published:  #42, April 2008
The Mars Volta, it seems, worked on their latest record until it was so full of jazzy, funky, neo-progressive nonsense that it couldn’t hold another note. It is everything against which punk rock was directed. Which is too bad, because these guys are obviously talented, and if 2003 debut De-Loused in the Comatorium is any measure, capable of some interesting songwriting.

On Bedlam in Goliath, however, everything takes a back seat to vocal and instrumental pyrotechnics. The band’s fourth proper full-length is so showy and dense that it’s easy to forget that it contains actual songs. The problem, of course, is that they can’t leave well enough alone. They pile off-kilter rhythms on top of off-kilter rhythms—many of which are performed at breckneck tempos. Guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez treats each song as if it were an opportunity to show off everything he knows. And vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala sings as if he’s paid by the word. Just when you think it can’t get any thicker or
more obtuse, they’ll throw in a swirling synth or a snaky sax.  Everything about this record stinks of overindulgence.

It’s easy to imagine these guys hearing one of Miles Davis’ dense jazz-rock albums and thinking, “This would be great if only it were faster and more complex.” But it wouldn’t. It would be impenetrable. It would sound just like The Bedlam in Goliath.

Albert Says:  5.  I remember Bonzo dragged me to see them at the Electric Factory in, like, 2005. They were awful, but I was I drunk enough to heckle “’One-Armed Scissor,’ Motherfucker!”

Bring Me the Horizon – Suicide Season
Score:  8          Author:  Kirk Miller                Published:  #50, December 2008
The best moment of this year’s Warped Tour (yes, there were actual best moments) happened in Long Island, when U.K. metal newcomer Bring Me the Horizon found themselves performing on the stage next to pop starlet Katy Perry… or, more specifically, next to the stage where she was just about to perform. Intentionally or not, BMTH cut into the “I Kissed a Girl” singer’s set by a good 10 minutes, encouraging the audience to start a circle pit around the sound tech, eliciting an audience chant of “We will never sleep! Sleep is for the weak!” and, in general, scarring the minds of 13-year-old pop fans forever.

So the guys have energy and sass—do they have chops? Yep. Sure, the whole of Suicide Season leans on familiar hardcore tempos and repeated choruses, making the band’s assault easy to digest; it’s not pop, but it’s certainly on the lighter side of the metalcore spectrum. But the underlying viciousness is ever-present, with “The Comedown” and “Football Season Is Over” sneaking into DevilDriver territory (thanks to vocalist Oli Sykes’ screeches, a vocal tic he otherwise avoids). At their best, the songs are memorable noise, chock full of easy-to-chant choruses, most specifically on “Chelsea Smile” (“Repent! Repent!”) and “Diamonds Aren’t Forever” (the “sleep is for the weak” track).

Admittedly, the screamo closer/title track is, well, “so gay” (to quote Ms. Perry’s other hit), but otherwise, Bring Me the Horizon are a welcome visitor to these shores… and, hopefully, a bad pop concert near you.

Albert Says:  8. This author HAS to be Catherine Yates. She’s the original Kirk Miller of the reviews section.

Jello Biafra with the Melvins – Never Breathe What You Can’t See
Score:  5          Author:  J Bennett                  Published:  #2, November 2004
Theoretically, this is one of those records that should, at the very least, be “okay.”  But, as much as I’d love to, I just can’t get it up for this one. Honestly? Jello Biafra fronting the Melvins doesn’t really sound like that hot of an idea. I like “Holiday In Cambodia” and “Too Drunk to Fuck” as much as the next snide asshole who was too young to get into the Dead Kennedys before they broke up, but I guess I like my Melvins over here and my Jello Biafra over there. Preferably way over there. With Fred Schneider and Johnny Ramone. But that’s judging a book by its cover, I suppose. It’s when you actually put the album on that the real disappointment starts. Swear to god, on “McGruff the Crime Dog,” Biafra implores us to “take a bite out of crime.” “Wholly Buy Bull” is the kind of Ventures’ carnival music that doesn’t sound good when Mr. Bungle actually pull it off at three times the speed; mid-paced, with Jello’s cartoonish warble railing against “the Evil Empire” (while one can certainly appreciate the similarities between the Reagan and Dubya administrations, something tells me Jello has had this one on the back-burner since the Gipper was running guns out of the Oval Office), it just gets tedious. On the other hand, it is the Melvins, and there is a song about McGruff the Crime Dog. Not to mention another one called “Voted off the Island.” So it’s got that going for it, which is nice.

Albert Says:  5. Pretty sure this is Bennett. He only reviews, 9s, 5s and zeros.

Kittie – Never Again
Score:  8          Author:  Andrew Parks           Published:  #19, May 2006
Anyone else remember when Kittie were hyped on one of MTV’s “You Hear It First” segments? That geek chic blowhard Gideon Yago––or maybe it was the best bald TV personality ever, Matt Pinfield—was all like, “whoa, this Morgan Lander chick can scream and shit!” (Plus, she’s hot in a damaged girl way, said his inner dialogue.) As if it were a revelation that a woman can rock, let alone lead a savage metal quartet with a screaming, screeching single called “Spit.” They’ve lost half their lineup in the decade since (everyone but Lander and sister/drummer Mercedes), but this digital-only EP (download it from iTunes to get all four tracks) props 2006 up as a promising year for the quartet.

A clear teaser, it shows four distinct sides: the Pantera scream/Sabbath stomp/slight guitar solo side (the title track), the Rice Krispie crunchy, melodic modern rock side (“Breathe”), the schizo, Morgan-got-range side (“This Too Shall Pass”), and the sorta soaring power ballad side, with a hefty bottom end and persistent riffage (“Everything That Could Have Been”). Here comes the clichéd pun to cap this review off, then: Kittie have their claws sharpened, so you best watch out for their LP later this year. Meeee-yow! You heard it here first, folks.

Albert Says:  7. Fuck you for making me remember Gideon Yago.

Static-X – Cannibal
Score:  6          Author:  Daniel Lukes                        Published:  #31, May 2007
If you ever needed proof that the cliché “any publicity is good publicity” is bullshit, then the vicissitudes of Static-X—never media darlings in the first place—over the last couple of years should suit you fine. What puzzles is that in these days of “nü-metal sucked all along” orthodoxy, they’re still on a major label. Fact is, for anyone who cares to look beyond the big hair, dumb lyrics and “evil disco” shtick—or will admit that we’ll probably find Trivium or Killswitch as mockworthy in five or so years (or even now)—Static-X have always been a pretty decent band, whether grinding out straight-up Prong/White Zombie/Ministry industrial metal, or indulging in Korn/Deadsy-style balladry à la “Cold” or “Just in Case.”

Reports on Cannibal promised a heavier outlook, and in some respects Static-X have noticeably moved with the times. This fifth (!) album not only sounds decidedly thrashier, but is definitely also the least pop-metal they’ve ever been: “No Submission” could almost be a mechanized Deicide. Most notable in their (understandable) desire to appeal to the “we grew up on milk and Maiden” crowd is the fact that Cannibal is plastered with (widdlesomely impressive, actually) solos, courtesy of returning member Koichi Fukuda, who on “Cuts You Up” even sounds like Bill Steer! Those who aren’t ashamed to ’fess up as fans will find moments to enjoy here—the lead-laden Celldweller techno rave part in “Behemoth,” the classic Static-X groove of “Destroyer” that could be right off 2001’s Machine—but there’s also much energy-lacking, uninspired Static-by-rote filler, and on the whole Cannibal tends to smack somewhat of that typical syndrome of bands going for “heavy” over “creative, interesting or different,” as if the two options were mutually exclusive.

Albert Says:  6. This is amazingly prophetic: “Fact is, for anyone who cares to look beyond the big hair, dumb lyrics and “evil disco” shtick—or will admit that we’ll probably find Trivium or Killswitch as mockworthy in five or so years (or even now).”

 [Pay close attention to this last review for two reasons:  a) the second paragraph might be the best writing in the history of writing; b) the final sentence paired with Mr. Mudrian’s guess give me the giggles, and I see no reason you shouldn’t share in the mirth.]

Pendulum – Immersion
Score:  1          Author:  Shane Mehling          Published:  #77, March 2011
This review was initially written in the span of the first six-and-a-half-minute song. It was like a fugue state that ended with a compendium of insult after insult that picked apart the generic, almost abusive electronica-rock rubbish that was expelling from my speakers. And this was before I heard the vocals.

What can I say about Pendulum’s Immersion that hasn’t been said about shitting your pants in a restaurant? This is the kind of music that you hear in foreign movies and think, “The radio sucks, but at least I’m not in that dance club right now.” I would love to be more erudite, but the bottom line is this is music for stupid babies.

I mean, would I rather listen to modern R&B? Like actually choose to listen to the new record by Maxwell instead? Actually, I think I would. Hell, I’d rather hear a mob of women laugh at my failure to maintain an erection than plow through “Watercolour” again.

The reason I’m not giving Pendulum a zero is because maybe, like certain forms of extreme music, there is a level of skill and taste that I’m just not accustomed to and can’t appreciate. Possibly if someone more versed in the genre pinpointed the highlights and explained why these are revolutionary or awe-inspiring, I’d realize that I just wasn’t giving Immersion a fair shake. But the reason I’m giving it a one is because if I’m wrong, I don’t want to be right.

Albert Says:  2. I’m not confident in that at all. Something tells me we did something dicky with the rating as we are want to do with a writer mentions the number in the body of the review. Also, is this Frank?

Interview with Switchblade

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews On: Thursday, January 17th, 2013

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Let’s face it: there are too many bands out there releasing too much music for any one magazine-blog-social media platform combo to cover it all adequately. Or at least cover it all to the adequate degree that all those bands and PR people would want to be covered. Stuff gets lost in the shuffle the same way kids’ allowance money and faux-meat lunches get lost in a McDonalds Playland ball pit. So, in the grand tradition of goofy interviews posing as informative interviews (see previous editions and examples here and here), we present to you Sweden’s ever-morphing avant-garde, progressive, noisecore, sludge metal duo, Switchblade putting up with some dumb-ass questions so as to promote their Swedish-Grammy nominated album from last year [2012].

If you had a gun held to your head and had to give the history of Switchblade in less than 100 words, what would you say?
We started out as a 4-piece in 1997, turned into a trio in 2000 and finally turned into a duo in late 2009. So, now it’s me (Tim Bertilsson) on drums and Johan Folkesson on guitar and multiple amps. We have released six self-titled albums so far. We have always worked under the “less is more” motto.

Very good, and with 43 words to spare! If you had a bigger gun held to your head and were demanded to detail the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to Switchblade, what would the story be?
There have been quite a lot of things that have happened to us over the years; things that have been exciting on many different levels. Sharing the stage with some of our favourite bands, recording at fantastic studios, releasing albums we’re proud of, etc. It’s hard to name just one thing.

Pretty wishy-washy answer, dude. OK, if you had a cannon held to your head and were demanded to admit the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to Switchblade, what would you come clean about?
I can’t really think of anything really embarrassing we’ve done or that’s happened to us. We don’t work in embarrassing ways.

You’ll never convince anyone of that. You name your albums after the year they are released. What happens if you have more than one release come out in a year – head-exploding confusion?
Well, we’re pretty slow when it comes to writing music so the risk of releasing more than one album during a year is minimal.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever knowingly eaten in your entire life?
Hmmm, there was a “punkstew” we were served in Belgium over 10 years ago that literally tasted like cigarette smoke. I will probably never forget that meal.

Switchblade only has two members. Is this because:
A) You’re both difficult to work with?
B) You don’t want to split the little money the band makes any more than need be?
C) Fewer people to divide more beer between?

Answers:
A) I actually think that both me and Johan are fairly easy to work and get along with. We have never really had any fights or arguments in the band in the 15 years we’ve existed.
B) It’s rather the other way around. We have never made any money from the band, to be honest, and now we’re just two people sharing all the costs.
C) I don’t drink, so Johan gets all the beer to himself these days, unless we bring David (Kongh) along who is a pretty thirsty guy as well.

At what point did you decide to basically go virtually instrumental and why? I’m going to assume this coincides with you naming your songs by numbers instead of titles? How often do you get confused about which “II” you’re playing at practice or live?
Well, let us get the facts straight here… We have never released any instrumental albums and on our latest album there is quite a lot of vocals. If we’re doing show as a duo we have sampled vocals, but most of the shows we have David (Kongh) doing guest vocals. And we gave up on regular song titles back in 2001, so we have now released five albums since then though our latest album ([2012]) does have titles like “Movement I”, “Movement II” and so on, which are then divided into subtitles for every major part of each track. We usually have internal titles for each track, so we’ve never really had any problems with keeping track of the songs.

Duly noted. I got you momentarily confused with someone else, but thanks for not ripping into my fleeting idiocy too hard. Next question: Would you do a month-long tour of the U.S., providing direct support for your favourite band in venues/clubs that hold minimum 300 people and where you’re guaranteed to make twice the amount of money you would on a regular night with the trade-off being that you had to give up having sex for a year?
Yes.

Do you agree with the thought that touring bands should have an off-season like in pro sports and that this off-season would be from like November to March, when it’s wintertime and fucking cold out? What’s your favourite way to keep warm on a long, cold Swedish winter night?
Well, we more or less stopped touring during the winter months after doing a tough three week tour in early 2004. There are just too many things that get a lot harder while touring during the winter. Coffee is always the preferred way to stay warm.

With meatballs being a delicacy in your home land, allow me to ask, what’s the most ridiculous way you’ve seen Swedish meatballs prepared?
I don’t eat meat myself, but I’ve seen Americans make gigantic meatballs in tomato sauce which is just wrong.

What’s the most outlandish and fantastical best case scenario for the release of [2012] your imagination can conjure up? Don’t be shy!
I don’t know really, but that the album just got nominated for a Swedish Grammy award a few days ago is something we never dreamt of. The album also got us booked for the next Roadburn Festival which we’re very excited about.

[2012] has been out since 2012 on Denovali Records and Trust No One Recordings.
www.switchblade.se

P.S. Here’s a press item from the band’s website announcing their Grammy nom:

The Switchblade [2012] album has been nominated for a Swedish Grammy award in the category Hard Rock/Metal. Also, Jonas who did some vocals on the album is nominated twice in the category since the Dead End Kingsalbum by his regular band Katatonia is nominated as well. The winner will be revealed at the awards ceremonies at Cirkus in Stockholm on February 20th.

The nominees in the Hard Rock/Metal category are:
Graveyard – Lights Out
Katatonia – Dead End Kings
Sabaton – Carolus Rex
Switchblade – S/T [2012]
Witchcraft – Legend

We here at the Deciblog wish them luck and hope to hell that, at the very least, Sabaton don’t win.

STREAMING: The Resistance “Face to Face”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Thursday, January 17th, 2013

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Guitarist Jesper Strömblad has dusted more bands than any prominent guitarist from Sweden. From In Flames and HammerFall to All Ends and recently resurrected Ceremonial Oath, Mr. Strömblad’s hasn’t had it easy. Same goes for his co-axeman Glenn Ljungström. First he bolted from In Flames and then Dimension Zero. But if any two guitarists command attention, either separately or together, it’s Strömblad and Ljungström, who recently formed The Resistance with ex-The Haunted throater Marco Aro and ex-Repugnant drummer Chris Barkensjö.

But don’t confuse The Resistance to a supergroup. They want to be known more for the blistering, melodic death than the respective awards of its membership. Comments Strömblad simply: “This is gonna be some good violent fun!” Yeah, we can agree with that. Sit back and blast “Face to Face.” This little ditty comes off of The Resistance’s upcoming Armoury Records four-track EP, Rise From Treason.

** The Resistance’s new EP, Rise From Treason, is out January 29th as a CD, a 7″ and a digital download on Armoury Records. Nab them HERE or listen to Dimension Zero’s “Stayin’ Alive” on repeat for eternity.

Decibrity Playlist: Ancient VVisdom

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, January 17th, 2013

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The dudes in Ancient VVisdom’s have already put together a pretty impressive resume considering they only got started in late 2009. For starters, the Austinites have put out a split and debut full-length and hit the road with Ghost and Blood Ceremony (and, along with Pallbearer and Royal Thunder, will be supporting Enslaved starting January 30th). Even self-proclaimed misanthrope Frank Lemke (just ask Wet Nightmare) seems to like them.

So with his band’s sophomore record on the horizon (February 5th to be exact), AVV’s own Nathan Opposition passed along his “Old and Enlightened” playlist. According to the frontman, “I chose these songs because they have all played a major part of me becoming a songwriter. They may not be what you may consider ‘heavy’, but I tell you this, these songs are full of useful knowledge and power. Each one of these songs have particular unlocking abilities in the mind that have helped inspire generations of musicians, writers, painters, poets, playwrights, and artists in general. I keep this spirit alive!”

You can listen along here.

The Doors’ “Break On Through (To The Other Side)” (from 1967′s The Doors)
This classic, mind-altering song will open your mind to experience your subconscious. This is a song that has stayed with me through the years and consistently gives me the will to be weird every time I hear it. It is a song that stands the test of time and will transcend generations to come.

The Beatles’ “Think For Yourself” (from 1965′s Rubber Soul)
Unlock the answer within you…or not, your choice. This song kicks off with an absolutely excellent guitar tone that leads into catchy vocal harmonies. These lyrics hold a clear message about true individuality, encoded in melody for the mindful listener.

Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ In The Wind” (from 1963′s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan)
A little mellow I know, but I don’t care, this song has always been a favorite of mine. Stripped down structuring with very powerful lyrics combo in full effect. A commentary of the time I suppose but these things said can still apply today. Words of vvisdom from the wise elder, he’s trying to tell you something here.

David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?” (from 1971′s Hunky Dory)
A portrait of a world gone mad from the genius mind of the master. If anyone would know instinctually how to operate an Unidentified Flying Object and get himself the hell out of here, it would be David Bowie. As I’m sitting here pondering to myself, is there a way off of this island?

13th Floor Elevators’ “Slip Inside This House” (from 1967′s Easter Everywhere)
Pure energy flowing from a stream of consciousness. This song will take you into a metaphysical trance and you will see macrocosmic and microcosmic universes. Seek the path of enlightenment. Roky will help lead you there.

*Pre-order a copy of Deathlike here and check out the “Deathlike” single here.

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

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)

Anchors Aweigh: Clamfight full album stream and interview

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

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Clamfight has a much better ring to it than, say, Mollusk Warfare (and we already have Insect Warfare). We’d quickly exhaust our nautical jokes in a sentence or two so we’ll leave it at the headline.

Here’s the scoop: for your listening pleasure below is Clamfight’s new album I Versus The Glacier. This writer digs it. Following the stream we spent a few minutes with drummer and vocalist Andy Martin contemplating their Molly Hatchet fixation.

Listen, read and learn about this New Jersey based band. Then, go turn some loaves into, um, clams? Check out Clamfight on Facebook or Bandcamp. I Versus The Glacier will be released by Maple Forum on Jan. 22.

Why the name Clamfight?

It came about through the lethal combination of post jam session beers, 22-year-olds who think they’re funny, and Skinemax. I’ll be the first to admit it’s a dumb name and we’ve actually had label types tell us “change the name and we’ll talk” but changing the name to “Black-insert-medieval-weapon-or-mega-fauna-here” was never really an option. We’re serious about our music and I Versus the Glacier is an intensely personal record for me, yet we don’t take ourselves all that seriously as people. With a name like Clamfight it’s kind of impossible to forget that no matter how much of ourselves we pour into the music, we’re still grab-assing in the truck before the show, and for that matter, probably during and after the show as well. Basically, for Clamfight the grab-assing is almost as important as the rocking-your-face and our name’ll help you remember that.

For those new to the band, how did you start playing together?

Joel, Louis, and I started playing together in junior high. Joel had hair like Kurt Cobain and wore a lot of cardigans which in 1993 was pretty clutch, and Louis lived around the corner. They found Sean in guitar class I believe, which is also where they found that Louis’ sausage fingers were more suited for bass than the sort of intricate pick sweeps and dive bombs that would one day define Clamfight’s sound. We bashed our way through a few different line ups, many, many firehall shows, and a lot of hardcore infused breakdown-metal before our old band ended in 2002 and Clamfight began. Mercifully somewhere along the way we’d gotten into better music (Clutch, High On Fire, Eyehategod, etc) and strategically misplaced our basketball jerseys and my sweet ass cornrows.

Can you walk us through writing and recording I Versus The Glacier?

Sean and I do the lion’s share of the writing and the other guys come in more heavily on the editing side of things. We knew we wanted to make a more cohesive record than our first one, Volume 1, and we wanted to make the most no bullshit heavy record we could. Because of that we had to cut a few songs right off the bat that had a more fuzzy rock and roll vibe, and replace them with songs we wrote to fit the keepers, which was something we’d never done before. The heavier stuff is always way more fun to play live so cutting the fuzz-jams didn’t hurt all that bad.

After that it was back to Steve Poponi at the Gradwell House in Jersey to record it-he’d gotten a pretty solid record out of us on the first one when we hadn’t initially set out to make a record, so we were pretty excited to see what he could do with the new stuff. Steve’s also done live sound for us in Philly so he knows how we should sound and how to bring that out of us in the studio. After that we more or less moved into Gradwell for a long weekend and had a blast banging out the rhythm tracks and some of Sean’s solos and then dropped in to do the rest of the leads, fixes, and my vocals whenever we had the time. That’s another great thing about Poponi and The Gradwell House, they have a massive live room so we were able to record the majority of the album with all of us playing live in the same room and for us at least that’s the way to get the best energy out of us. We’re a live band, and if the record doesn’t feel at least a little sloppy and chaotic then it just wouldn’t be a Clamfight record.

Why do you call your tunes “music for fat dudes and the buxotic women that love them”

We were being harassed via email by a promoter for a show bio and I blurted that at him rather than give him one of those “Clamfight is blending genres to create a new breed of sonic nihilism for a new millennium” bios that are so staggeringly douche-chill inducing. Somehow it ended up sticking and we’ve rolled with it ever since. It’s actually pretty apt, a friend of mine said about our shows, “this looks like Bear night at the Gay Bar” and also because buxotic is my favorite adjective for my favorite ladies, RIP Russ Meyer!

You’ve know each other since childhood. Do you ever get sick of each other?

Short answer: No because any time we have a disagreement we strip naked to the waist and settle it Arkansas Luggage style (a process I can’t describe because the Deciblog’s a family site).

Longer answer: Of course we do. Be it in the bands we had before Clamfight or in Clamfight proper, everybody except Sean (dude has both great hair and the patience of Job for our shenanigans) has kicked everybody else out at least once. That being said we always came back to each other because frankly when you’ve grown up together, and been there for each other through the really, really bad times as well as the good it gets pretty easy to step back, take a breath, and say “sorry I was being a dick last night.” That and ruthless ball busting. Ruthless ball busting is key to how we relate to each other.

Are you fans of Molly Hatchet? (Eds: See the cover art)

Yeah man. Josh Wright, a really great tattoo artist who’s currently working in Seattle, did the cover art for us and I do believe one of my first comments to him was “holy shit, I need a van so that can be painted on the side of it.” But to take this question way too seriously we grew up in pre-internet South Jersey, where the biggest party of the year was when the local classic rock station scored Blue Oyster Cult for the Fourth of July. Bands like Molly Hatchet, B.O.C, Skynyrd, Boston, and Foreigner are just as much of part of our DNA as Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Sleep.

Clamfight photo by Victoria Bowman-Steinour

CONTEST: Feel like a Viking. Win Turisas swag!

By: Chris D. Posted in: contest, featured On: Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

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It’s been ages since we hosted a contest where a band donned warpaint and rampaged heshers from sea to shining sea. In fact, we can’t recall if we’ve ever hosted a contest by a band as visually unique as Turisas. Sure, those old Darkthrone or Khold photos were cool, but Turisas take the “corpse” out of corpsepaint and replace it with “war”. Now, typically warriors painted their faces to look intimidating. That was the idea. Turisas has, well, a modern take. No, they don’t look like weird traffic signals to European roads, but let’s just say their warpaint is particularly expressive. Almost art-like, if you will.

To celebrate Turisas invading the shores of Vinland (that’s probably Canada) and the grand ole US of A, Century Media Records and Decibel have teamed up to give three (3) lucky long-boaters, OK, warriors a Turisas shirt, a Stand Up and Fight poster, and a Stand Up and Fight CD. That’s right. Even if you already have a Turisas t-shirt and the Stand Up and Fight CD—you digital music folks don’t know what you’re missing here—you definitely don’t have a Stand Up and Fight poster. For your bedroom wall. For your garage. For your man cave. Whatever. It’s unique.

What do you have to do to win this swashbuckling prize of Finnish magnitude?

Oh, just send us an email HERE.

Remember, three (3) sword-polishers will win:
1. One (1) Turisas shirt
2. One (1) Stand Up and Fight poster
3. One (1) Stand Up and Fight CD

Turisas is on tour in February and March 2013. Joining them are: Stolen Babies and Firewind. It’s called, Guards of Glory North American Tour. Epic! See dates below:

** Visit and like Turisas on Facebook. The group’s new full-length, Stand Up & Fight, is out now on Century Media Records. Order it HERE or face hordes of horny priests on Lindisfarne.

STREAMING: Holy Grail’s “Riding the Void”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

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Do you guys like totally ripping heavy metal? No? Well, okay, guess I’ll go away…

Haha, just kidding! You nerds will never be rid of me. As a special Tuesday treat, here’s the new Holy Grail record, in its entirety. Our own Adrien Begrand has been losing his shit over this since he heard it, and he’s Canadian, so he KNOWS good classic metal when he hears it. Hailing from the very un-metal environs of Pasadena, California, they bring a refreshingly modern take to traditional metal instead of just rehashing old Tokyo Blade tunes. Yeah, there are some metalcore elements, but their primary influence is Judas Priest, not Killswitch Engage. Just listen to the guitar interplay of Skwisgaar Skwigelf and Toki Wartooth – I mean, Eli Santana and new guitarist Alex Lee. Just try not to air guitar. I dare you. Grab your bullet belts and jean jackets, because you’re about to go INTO THE VOID!

I’m going to stop trying to be clever now. This is pretty rad. You should listen to it.

**Holy Grail’s new album, Riding the Void, is out on January 22 on Prosthetic. They just had a bunch of their stuff stolen out of their van, so you should order it here and support an awesome band.