Sucker For Punishment: My soul, it’s breaking!

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

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Despite a pair of albums that will be on my personal year-end list, this week is on the light side, which admittedly is a welcome breather, because it’s a mere ripple compared to the tsunami of new stuff coming out in a week’s time. Seriously, next week looms over me like Ivan Drago. But first things first, here are this week’s offerings.

This week’s essential albums:

Motörhead, Aftershock (UDR): I’ve gone on at length about Motörhead’s 21st album at MSN, as well as another magazine I probably shouldn’t mention here, but to reiterate what I’ve said then and what I’ve been blathering on Twitter for the last month, this is flat-out the best Motörhead album since 2004’s Inferno. Granted, there’s no such thing as a bad Motörhead album, but Lemmy, Phil Campbell, and Mikkey Dee sound particularly inspired on Aftershock. Lem’s full of piss and vinegar, there’s a snaggletoothed bite in Campbell’s guitar work audiences haven’t heard in years, and you can practically envision Dee having a blast maniacally pounding out those double-kicked beats. It snarls (“Heartbreaker”), it dips into the blues (“Lost Woman Blues”), it has fun (“Going to Mexico”), and even shows a little soul (“Dust and Glass”). It’s a joy, and you know with Lemmy’s recent health issues his fans will be savoring this record a little more than the last few. Of course, we’d all love at least one more record as good as this one from him, but this late-career peak will do just fine for the time being.

Ihsahn, Das Seelenbrechen (Candlelight): One of my strangest music critic adventures this year involved Ihsahn’s fifth solo album, or what I thought was his new album. No one had any idea. He was putting something out called Das Seelenbrechen – a Nietzsche quote meaning “the breaking of the soul” – and all I had to work with was a zipped file of MP3s, no background info, nothing, with two days to write a review. Was this an actual album? Studio leftovers? Either way, once I played the music, it turned out to be a fascinating little journey. It starts out in fairly conventional fashion, the kind of progressive metal he’s thrown himself into since After (“Regen” and “NaCl” are spellbinding), but midway through things get very weird as he starts experimenting with time signatures and melody to the point where that great old word “krautrock” can legitimately be applied, climaxing with the oddly pretty “Sub Alter” and the harrowing, Scott Walker-influenced “See”. It’s a wildly uneven album, but Ihsahn is clearly relishing his new role as prog metal auteur. You can understand his willingness to ride the festival circuit with nostalgic Emperor sets: make the rabble happy, then go back to Norway with enough money to fund a couple more crazy, highly creative albums, which is obviously what he most wants to do.

Stallion, Mounting the World (Sarlacc): I’m trying to figure out just why I’m so over the (funeral) moon with this EP by the German duo. Could it be that they sound exactly like the obscure melodic heavy metal bands I used to listen to on Banzai Records and the Moose Molten Metal compilations nearly 30 years ago? Or that the singer sounds exactly like the dude in the weirdo Yugoslav/Canadian ’80s band Warriors? Maybe it’s the way it veers from speed metal to full-on cock rock (“Give it to Me”). Or the song “Canadian Steele”, the best tribute to Canadian metal since Darkthrone’s tune of the same name. Or the fact that they quixotically sing, “I’m moving to Toronto,” clearly having never been to the blandest city in the Western Hemisphere. Then again, it could be the most literal album cover art ever. Either way, this music puts a big dumb smile on my face, and will warm the cockles of any metal traditionalist’s heart. Highly, highly recommended. Stream and purchase it via Bandcamp.

Also out this week:

Beehoover, The Devil And His Footmen (Exile On Mainstream): There are moments when the German bass/drums duo hint that they’re on to something on their third album, guitar-less stoner jams are cranked out, vocals are drawled, but nowhere near enough of this album makes a lasting impression at all.

Cult of Erinyes, Blessed Extinction (Code666): The songwriting struggles at times to be more than pedestrian black metal, the production might be overbearing, but for all its flaws this album is made interesting by the sheer presence of Thierry Dossogne. Performing under the moniker Mastema, the Belgian vocalist shows admirable range and charisma throughout this record, from authoritative bellows, to tortured snarls, to soaring melodies.

Death Toll Rising, Infection Legacy (self-released): Some very good things are happening in Western Canadian metal these days, and Edmonton’s Death Toll Rising have come through with a very impressive second album. While rooted in death metal, they occasionally dip into thrash groove and progressive metal technicality, which you don’t see very often, and which gives the music a good, dynamic quality. Savage one minute, intricate the next, the quality on this record is well above your average self-released album, a true diamond in the rough. Don’t miss out on it. Stream and purchase it via Bandcamp.

Def Leppard, Viva! Hysteria (Frontiers): Looking at the track listing for this double CD set recorded during their Las Vegas residency earlier this year, you can’t help but think, Wow, this sucker is stacked. But Def Lep sound nowhere near as potent as they did a quarter century ago, and despite the strength of so many classic songs, despite the good musicianship, hearing Joe Elliott struggle through them is depressing. It’s unbearable. If you want a definitive live document of Def Leppard, it doesn’t get better than the bonus live CD on the Pyromania deluxe reissue. Back then they exploded with ferocious energy, but unlike many of their NWOBHM peers who are still going strong, they’re sad shadows of their former selves on this release.

Eden’s Curse, Symphony Of Sin (AFM): Like Avantasia, the UK-based band unabashedly dish out progressive power metal at its cheesiest, and there are times, like on “Evil & Divine”, that they’re capable of some knockout hooks and riffs. But just when you find yourself enjoying it, the Genesis-tinged pop of “Unbreakable” comes on, you snap back to reality, and you reach for that Motörhead album one more time.

Lodz, Something In Us Died (Klonosphere): Combine churning post-metal with melancholy melodies reminiscent of Katatonia, and you’ve got the debut album by French band Lodz. It’s a good idea, as that gothic undercurrent makes the painfully obvious Cult of Luna worship more palatable, but these kids need more work when it comes to their clean singing, which is far too weak. Still, though, it’s a decent start.

Meek Is Murder, Everything Is Awesome Nothing Matters (Threshold of Pain): “Eight songs in the first seven minutes” isn’t exactly the strongest selling point, but the Brooklyn band combines noise and grindcore with adequate intensity, its skronks and squeals as playful as they are jarring. Kurt Ballou is behind this one again, so depending on where you stand, enjoy, or be forewarned.

Metal Church, Generation Nothing (Rat Pak): The best band of the 42 that played this year’s 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise was, surprisingly, the reunited Metal Church, who played two sensational sets devoted to their classic 1980s material. Well, it turns out Kurdt Vanderhoof and the guys decided to stick together, and they’ve now put out their tenth album. While it doesn’t measure up to Metal Church, The Dark, nor Blessing in Disguise – how could it ever? – it’s good enough to sound like a veteran band holding their heads high, honoring that classic pre-thrash sound, as opposed to losing the plot entirely.

Monolithe, Monolithe IV (Debemur Morti): Another Monolithe record, another hour-long slog through the deepest, murkiest corners of funeral doom. This music requires a ton of patience from the listener, but as they proved on the previous three albums, once you settle in the French band creates a rather spellbinding, surprisingly fluid suite.

Paavoharju, Joko sinä tulet tänne alas tai minä nousen sinne (Svart): This is by far the weirdest album to come out this week, and of course, it comes from Finland. The third album by the duo of brothers Lauri and Olli Ainala (translated as “Either you come down here or I will rise there”) takes their bizarre cut-and-paste sound and juxtaposes it with a hip hop element, which when combined with the Finnish rapping by Paperi T, actually sounds even more otherworldly. Its highly creative, dissonant arrangements will remind some of Dälek at times, and the darker side of 1990s Tricky at others, the dark, nocturnal beauty sounding like it can only come from a place that doesn’t get much sunlight this time of year.

Prospekt, The Colourless Sunrise (Sensory): The debut by the UK band is robust progressive metal in the vein of Symphony X, built around the strong tenor vocal style of singer Richard Marshall. They still have some growing to do, as the songs tend to bleed into one another, but every so often you get a good track like “Shroud”, which shows this young band’s potential.

Rosetta, The Anaesthete (Debemur Morti): One of the only post-metal bands still worth caring about, the Philly band is in terrific form once again on their fourth full-length, once again balancing robustness and glimmering beauty with a level of skill never seen often enough in the subgenre. Available independently back in August, this record been picked up by Debemur Morti, which is good to see, because the band and this album are far too good to slog it out under the radar. More people need to hear it. Stream and purchase it via Bandcamp.

Reflections, Exi(s)t (Good Fight): Good lord, more children imitating Meshuggah.

Seremonia, Ihminen (Svart): I’ve always liked this weird Finnish band, from their highly unique take on psychedelic heavy rock, to the strange, detached way Noora Federley sings (in her native Finnish, to boot), to their equally surreal live show. The follow-up to their 2012 debut tones down the doom influence just enough to let more of a garage rock in as well, which not only makes for a more dynamic record – think Horisont meets Dungen – but a more energetic one as well. You might not have any idea what Federley is carrying on about, but she keeps you transfixed.

Various Artists, Thriller: A Metal Tribute to Michael Jackson: Yep, another all-star tribute album helmed by Bob Kulick, and this one surreal. Wanna hear Chuck Billy sing “Thriller”? Corey Glover sing “Billie Jean”? A nu-metal version of “Beat It”? Chris Jericho sing a tone-deaf “Dirty Diana”? Paul Di’Anno absolutely butcher “Bad”? Yeah, these covers are every bit as dismal as they look.

Not metal, but worth hearing:

Omar Souleyman, Wenu Wenu (Ribbon Music): The speed at which Syrian wedding singer Omar Souleyman became the hottest thing in indie circles totally smacks of tokenism, but make no mistake, for all its novelty this album of dabke songs – a traditional line dance popular in rural areas of Syria – is an absolute banger. Coming on the heels of a series of acclaimed re-released recordings, producer Kieran Hebden of Four Tet creates a beautiful, lush yet minimal backdrop of percussion and synths on this new album, but for all the musical intensity it’s all about Souleyman’s rich voice, which weaves in and out of the arrangements with astonishing skill. And the translated lyrics are devastating in their romanticism. Don’t let the hipsters scare you off; this must be heard to be believed. Try it out.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy

TRACK PREMIERE: Czar’s “Lurvy”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

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That stark, black and white photo of a line of men dangling from nooses on the cover of No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive doesn’t exactly paint Czar as a cheery band. They aren’t, really – but they also don’t sound as lifeless as one might expect.  they basically play noise rock, but in this case, the emphasis is on the “rock.” While the lyrics and the overall vibe are not what one would label “cheery,” they bring in enough industrial (guitarist/vocalist Jason Novak also performs in Acucrack) atmosphere and straight up classic rock swagger to keep things from getting to suicidal. Like in the track that we are premiering today, “Lurvy,” astute listeners will not only notice some Mastodon prog twisting , but also some post-rock mountaineering. Elsewhere on the record, you’ll even find some up-tempo stuff, grooves, and a Beatles cover! And lots and lots of despair. It’s good stuff. Check it out for yourself below.

***No One Is Alone If No One Is Alive Comes out November 5 on Cracknation records. Check out their website here.

Visual Violence: Freya’s Brendon Flynn

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, videos On: Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Freya

This morning Decibel is pleased to exclusively premiere this video interview with Freya guitarist/visual artist Brendon Flynn in which he discusses the intricate, elegant artwork he created for the band’s most diverse and intriguing offering yet, Paragon of the Crucible:

Preorder Paragon of the Crucible here. Check out a track from the album here. Download a free Freya EP here. Friend Freya on Facebook. Another edition of Visual Violence starring Magic Bullet Record’s Brent Eyestone delving into a recent Iron Reagan cover is here.

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INTERVIEW: Fight Amp’s Mike McGinnis

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

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Even though they are just off the red-eye after spending 30 days playing 30 shows across Europe with Black Tusk, there is plenty juice left in Fight Amp. New Jersey/Philly’s undisputed heavyweight noise rock/HC/punk/sludge/OTHER champs have one show left on the calendar, but Mike McGinnis just wants to keep on going. The Deciblog caught up with Fight Amp’s principal riff-master and vocalist and found him still buzzing for the road, and ready to put some of that nervous energy down on tape.

Here is your chance: plug your post-tour/pre-hibernation show at Kung Fu Necktie.
“We’ve tried to limit what we do here locally in Philadelphia, just so we don’t over-saturate. This is only our third home town show of the year. The first one we were direct support for Weedeater and the second one we were direct support for Pentagram. This one, we just wanted to do a local show once we got back from Europe, the last show of the year with us headlining. I’m really stoked about who is on the bill. We handpicked the bands. We did a split with Ladder Devils on Brutal Panda records; it was a three-way split between us, Ladder Devils and Kowloon Walled City out of San Francisco. Ladder Devils is a Philadelphia band, reminiscent of Young Widows, and our old drummer [Mike Howard] who played on our second full-length Manners and Praise is currently their drummer. Empty Flowers has one of the guys who runs Translation Loss, and the rest of the dudes were in that metalcore band that was on Hydra Head, Cable, which is pretty fucking cool. Braille is a band who we share a practice space with; they are young and up-and-coming dudes. They play in a few noise rock bands like Bubonic Bear and Ape, and they kind of have their own crowd here in Philly. They are an awesome band. When we play Philly it’s all familiar faces; basically, it’ll be a big party. It’ll be a good for us to get home from tour and see everybody, have a good time and hang out.”

Vincent Cavanagh (Anathema) interviewed

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

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** Decibel caught up with Anathema guitarist/vocalist Vincent Cavanagh on the group’s first headline tour of North America. Since we’ve been into the Liverpudlians before they had a full-length [many thanks to tape-traders and Witchhunt Records], we jumped at the chance to talk to Cavanagh, who was clearly having moments of his life while on stage and off. Read on… Anathemaheads.

What’s it like to headline a tour in North America after all these years?
Vincent Cavanagh: It feels like a complete eye-opener. We are here with complete open minds and ready to absorb the experience and everything it has to offer. We’ve been meeting people every night. It feels right. There’s something about this place. It feels natural. Strangely familiar. I like it. It feels good to us. I really hope—I’m quite sure, actually—this is just the beginning of something. We know what kind of shape the band is in. We have a hell of a lot of new material.

Does it feel like the same band from 10 years ago? Twenty years ago?
Vincent Cavanagh: Oh, no. Not even the same band it was two years ago. We’re always fucking changing. That’s the nature of who we are. As people. It’s what drives us. Change. Evolution. Musical as well as personal. The two go hand-in-hand. If what you’re doing is honest or outside of genres, really, then it’s hard to paint yourself into a corner. If you really know us anything we do isn’t really a change in direction. We’re always a few steps ahead. Changing things. For us, we always know what the next album’s going to be like. And the one after that. For us, we’ve got lots of fuel left in the tank, so that’s why this tour feels like the beginning.

Are you kind of happy you waited this long to kick things into high gear?
Vincent Cavanagh: In every cloud… you can always find something positive out of it. That’s one way of looking at it. I’m always looking at things from a positive angle. We’re positive people. We always have been. We’re completely open-minded individuals. We have a very strong identity. With each other, too. There’s so many other areas of musical exploration. And we’ve given ourselves so many ways to explore. We’re improving in the sound, the production, our techniques. The creative process is always the same. That doesn’t change very much. None of have any classical schooling. It’s all auto-didactic. There’s no rule book or study mechanism to write songs. It comes naturally for us. It’s deep and personal. It’s as natural to us as getting out of bed and having a cup of tea.

Were you surprised at the success of Weather Systems? It elevated the visibility of the band a bit, right?
Vincent Cavanagh: Ah, no, not really. It’s all about keeping the momentum going. It was obvious that if followed We’re Here Because We’re Here quickly, people would have a strong interest in the band. That’s exactly what happened. And we’ve just released Universal, which was a lot of work. Now, we’ll be recording the new album in December.

Who will be producing it?
Vincent Cavanagh: Christer [André Cederberg] again. He’s our guy now. He’s our George Martin. [Laughs] Yeah, man. He’s the guy we’ve been waiting for all these years. He’s kind of in the band, in a way. When we’re in the studio, he’s right there. He’s part of the team. He’s part of the sound we’re trying to create.

Oh, so tell me a bit more about Universal.
Vincent Cavanagh: It was a massive budget. I realized, to play with an orchestra like that [Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra], was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. After doing the last three records—We’re Here Because We’re Here, Falling Deeper, and Weather Systems—it felt natural. The next step. The opportunity presented itself in a country where the audience is ideal for the band. Then, of course, the setting itself was a huge incentive. It’s a huge, ancient monument [Philippopolis]. Imagine something that looks Greco-Roman, but derelict. Really beautiful, actually. The orchestra was, well, wow! We couldn’t play that concert and not film it. It was a one-off. How could we not record it? It turned out really well.

What do you make of trying to get away from the “metal” tag and yet you’re touring with “metal” bands?
Vincent Cavanagh: They’re not metal bands. Mamiffer is very far away from being a metal band. Nothing like it. At all. It’s a mix of ambience, field recordings, beautiful piano. It’s completely unique. Alcest, if you listen to them, sound nothing like a metal band. If it was up to me, I’d be on tour with Radiohead. I mean, if you look at our second record [The Silent Enigma], it was very much metal, but it was edging away. Eternity was a different direction. Alternative 4 was a big step forward. Every record is different. For us, what we like to do is change all the time. We’re basically refracting our own personal change through the music. In the most honest way we can. In a way, when our music shifted away from metal, it became more honest. In the early days, we’d play a metal gig and when we’d get back on the bus, we’d be playing The Beatles on the stereo. And Pink Floyd. That’s what we’ve always been into. It’s one of those things when you’re 15, 16, or 17, you want things to be loud and heavy and aggressive. Some of us grow out of that. Some of us. I don’t have interest in genres. A song’s a song.

What do you want fans to take away from Universal and Weather Systems?
Vincent Cavanagh: Like us, to be in the moment. Everything we do is kind of in the moment. Whether you’re singing, playing guitar, or whatever, it’s important to capture the honesty of the moment.

** Anathema’s new album, Universal, is out now. The audio CD is available HERE. The Blu-Ray DVD is right HERE. Imbibe now or forever hold your peace.

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

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, October 18th, 2013

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Sorry I’ve been away for a little bit, but your old boy Waldo took a little trip to his roots and hit the Amazon. I’m back now. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

The term “supergroup”: well, what else would you call a band comprised of Scott Kelly, Mike Williams, Sanford Parker and Bruce Lamont?  CORRECTIONS HOUSE Last City Zero has been described by the band as four solo sets contained in one record, and they’re kind of right. I personally like this record, but it can be a challenge; it goes from proto-industrial to acoustic to head-jarring noise rock. At times this comes off as nothing more than the sum of its parts, and at other times a cohesive unit that is out to both disturb you and murder you in its sleep. Last City Zero doesn’t really pack the same kind of wallop asany of the these musicians’ last efforts in their main bands. Sonically, this will challenge most of its listeners to really open up and allow the listening experience to take them on a journey. That being said, this is a pretty interesting experiment, and at times hits the mark with deadly accuracy. I dunno, I’m digging the peck out of this, but I will say that it’s not for everybody. 6 Fucking Pecks.

IMPALED re-release The Dead Still Dead Remain… well sorta. It’s been out of print forever, making it impossible to find. This is the same record, re-recorded, and while it certainly does sound better production-wise, the original artwork was way cooler. But all in all, this is a pretty good slab of crusty-ass death metal, and fans of this band will not be disappointed. This type of thing always leaves your boy Waldo flat. It’s always weird to see a band re-record material, but at least they did it for the right reasons, and it IS a ripping beaking record, so go pick it up. 8 Fucking Pecks.

HAIL OF BULLETS are releasing their third record, III The Rommel Chronicles. I’m not too sure that a lot of people like these guys, although its hard to see why not. This is brutal thrashy death to a T. III harkens back to their debut release, meaning it’s a bit nastier and meaner in song and lyrical approach. Maybe people do like these guys; I just don’t really know too many of them. The production here has bite and, well, the record is pretty tough. Basing a whole record on Erwin Rommel aside (your boy doesn’t like concept records, really), this is cool. It’s good to know that death metal bands still want to put out records that are brutal. If you’re not really a fan of these guys, do yourself a favor and check them out. You won’t be disappointed. 6 Fucking Pecks

BREWTAL TRUTH: Beer-Soaked Doom at the GABF

By: adem Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, live reviews, liver failure On: Friday, October 18th, 2013

Bonded by Beer crew

Great American Beer Festival, Denver, Colorado
Oct. 10-12, 2013

It would be an overstatement to say that this was the Year of Metal at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, but the handful of extreme music diehards—from TRVE, Surly, Real Ale and Three Floyds pictured above—among the 600-plus breweries present at the festival, definitely made their presence known in a big way, both during the festival and in the many extra curricular events surrounding it.

Thursday, Oct. 10
As detailed in previous coverage of this annual event both on the Deciblog and in Decibel magazine, the GABF is three days filled with literally thousands of beers to sample. To even make an attempt to drink, let’s say, five percent of the brews on tap in any one of the festival’s four sessions would require a drinker to down close to 150 samples in less than five hours. We don’t doubt that it would be physically possible to consume that much beer—about a 12-pack—but with all the lines and walking around, it just ain’t gonna happen. So there you are in an enormous hall filled with more beer than you might ever know in a lifetime and you get to drink a teensy tiny bit of it. It’s, honestly, too much to think about.

Our plan this year was to just hit breweries whose beers we’ve never tasted before, who we don’t have access to due to limited distribution and who, quite simply, we want to try. This led us to one tasty beverage after another from the likes of Kuhnhenn, Fat Heads, Crooked Stave, Boulevard, Destihl, Real Ale and many, many others. One of the best tastes was handed to us by our old pal, Brett Porter, the head brewer for Goose Island in Chicago. GI has gotten some grief from the craft beer elite since it was sold to A-B InBev, but Brett was the head brewer before the sale and he’s still the brewer, so that’s good enough for us. He gave us a taste of his Kisetsu, a saison/saké blend that was boozy, complex and somewhat surprisingly light and drinkable.

The first day’s session of the GABF went until 10 pm, but we buzzed out an hour early to attend a craft beer and metal event, Bonded By Beer, at the nearby Moon Room. Put together by the aforementioned metal-loving crew from Surly, TRVE, Three Floyds and Real Ale, each brought several different offerings which the respectable crowd chugged while watching unrelentingly brutal sets from Denver’s Rottenness, Stillborn Fawn, Primitive Man and Stoic Dissention. We started with a pint of Three Floyds’ wet-hopped (with fresh Michigan hops, no less) Broo Doo and finished up, fittingly, with a can of Surly Hell. Hopefully this will be the first of many such events at future GABFs, where metal-loving craft beer drinkers can get brewtal with some of the best beers available at the GABF (more on that later).

Stillborn Fawn at the Summit's Moon Room

Stillborn Fawn at the Summit’s Moon Room

Friday, Oct. 11
Day two for us didn’t involve another session at the festival. Anyone who attends regularly will tell you that there’s plenty of action to be had at multiple venues/brewpubs/breweries around town, pretty much all day and night. In fact, the craft beer brotherhood/sisterhood is so tight, a lot of the visiting brewers check out the local scene themselves. Case in point when we rolled into TRVE’s blackened bar/brewery an hour before they opened, we discovered folks from San Diego’s Ballast Point and Durango, Colorado’s Ska Brewing already there sampling brewer/owner Nick Nunn’s wares. Nunn set us up with samplers of not only everything they had on tap, but also his first bottled release, Vexovoid, and his upcoming bottle release, Eastern Candle. There were 10 brews in all, and not a single one that wasn’t superlative.

Vexovoid

Bear with me here, but coincidentally enough, the Denver Doom Fest happened to be taking place during the GABF this year. And the Skull, a band featuring three-fifths of the members who played on Trouble’s album of the same name—drummer Oly Olson, vocalist Jeff Wagner and bassist Ron Holzner—were the first night’s headliner at the 3 Kings Tavern on Friday. What does this have to do with craft beer and the GABF, you may ask? Well, Olson works for Allagash brewing in Maine, for one thing, and secondly, TRVE provided the official festival brew, Doombier, a “blackened grätzer.” We enjoyed both immensely. Particularly, the Skull’s excellent versions of numerous tracks from Trouble’s Decibel Hall of Fame-inducted, Psalm 9.

The Skull at 3 Kings Pub

The Skull at 3 Kings Tavern


Saturday, Oct 12

OK, we’ll admit that we weren’t actually around for the last day of the GABF. But it’s worth noting that three of the four breweries responsible for bringing the metal to the festival this year, scored medals of their own in the various categories of competition at the awards ceremony that day. Three Floyds even won one for their Pig Destroyer collab, Permanent Funeral.

Real Ale
Silver: Brewers Cut Altbier, German-Style Altbier

Three Floyds
Gold: Blot Out the Sun, Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Stout
Silver: Permanent Funeral, Imperial India Pale Ale

Surly
Bronze: Pentagram, Wood- and Barrel-Aged Sour Beer

The metal minority made a good showing at the GABF this year. Hopefully this is the beginning of something bigger, as new metal-centric breweries like Black Sky come on line. It wasn’t exactly the Year of Metal at the GABF, but it was a big first step in the right direction.

VIDEO PREMIERE: Seeker’s “When Hope Fails”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, videos On: Friday, October 18th, 2013

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Okay kids, I’ve seen a LOT of horror movies. It’s hard to freak me out. But this video FREAKS ME THE HELL OUT. That’s a real woman and that’s real steel through her flesh and that’s her real skin stretching like that and urgh. It’s way too early in the morning for Hellraiser shit. That said, for those of you who are into body modification – you don’t get much more modified than what’s happening here. I have to admit, it is impressive in its own way. Also there is music, and it’s pretty good. It’s by Seeker, and it comes from their upcoming record Unloved. So if you enjoy technical death metal and pretty ladies hanging from hooks, Victory Records and we here at Decibel are proud to premiere the video for “When Hope Fails.” It’s certainly memorable. I’m going to go watch some kittens now.

 

***Pre-order packages for Unloved are available now at VictoryMerch.com. Stay tuned for tour announcements from Seeker, coming soon. Unloved drops October 29th.

Monolithe: Full Album Stream!

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Monolithe featured

Too many approval-stampers are content to shovel anything slow, synth-shrouded and packed with molasses-dark death growls into a funeral doom-shaped hole in the earth.  One self-important windbag (the one in charge of this Deciblog post) would suggest that “funeral doom” must actually beckon from the grave and whisper oh-so-reasonably that bathing with sharp objects is the last sane course of action.

French slog-sters Monolithe call from a more distant, calculated casket – the type with precise and mathematically significant dimensions.  Without stooping to retell the tale that Clarke and Kubrick cooked up in 1968, Sylvain Bégot and friends reimagine the symbolism of consciousness and metaphysical sentience embedded in the perfect prism, through their own rich metal-infused story.

Now, Decibel (by way of Debemur Morti’s excellent Bandcamp portal) bring you the final movement in Monolithe’s long journey.  Some will see the one track’s 57-minute runtime as a warning; others know that it’s an invitation, to join an intriguing 21st century band on the last steps of a fantastic voyage.  Continue below the Play button to read Bégot’s parting words to this stage in his musical adventure.

Now that you’ve completed the Monolithe cycle:  how did you enjoy the journey?

It has a been a nice ride so far; the way MONOLITHE developed from a concept, an idea to what it is now is great, even though we remain an underground band.

There was a lengthy gap between releases for the Monolithe project about mid-way through.  Can you tell us about what was going on during that time?  Did the time lapse (and your activities during that time) have an effect on the later Monolithe recordings?

Yes there was a gap between the releases of the band’s two EPs, INTERLUDE PREMIER (2007) and INTERLUDE SECOND (2012) during which MONOLITHE was on hold. There are a few reasons for that; One of them is that Candlelight, which was our label at the time, was behaving incredibly badly with no respect whatsoever for us (one release was cancelled a few weeks before what was planned + they never paid any royalty) so that slowed us down and sucked our motivation out. Another reason is that the record that was supposed to be MONOLITHE III at the time (but ended up being INTERLUDE SECOND) has been stuck in the mixing process for so long that I almost gave it up because I lost interest in it, as well as MONOLITHE as a whole. One last reason is that I had some changes in my life, which lead me to leave the music world for a while because I simply wasn’t interested anymore at that point. I came back with renewed interest and motivation in early 2012.

The time lapse did have an effect on later Monolithe records; I had much to express because I didn’t write any music for almost 5 years. MONOLITHE III and MONOLITHE IV were not written together, but both in 2012, during the same wave of creativity.

You mentioned before that you have developed an interest in traditional Middle Eastern music.  Has any of that music influenced your work with Monolithe?  Do you foresee it having an impact on music you make in the future?

Well yes that’s true, I think that this music is very interesting. It’s very rich, layered and hypnotizing.  Even very popular, almost “commercial” music can sometimes have great artistic value. I [am not talking] about that middle-eastern electro-pop crap but about music such as Mohammed Abdu’s: really traditional with a full orchestra or simply one or two old instruments. I wouldn’t say it has influenced me that much, simply because it’s too different from what I do. It’s not a George Harrison kind of thing. But it has at least influenced the classical eastern part in the middle of the MONOLITHE IV album, which has an obvious oriental feel to it. Will it have an impact on my music in the future? Honestly I don’t think so. But why not? Led Zeppelin (with Kashmir) and Killing Joke (with a lot of songs), among a few other artists, have proven that rock or metal are getting along very well with that kind of music.

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As you explored music and “sentience” through your work with Monolithe, do you think you’ve uncovered truths for yourself beyond what you felt before creating this music?

Not really. MONOLITHE is a medium to express certain things through some sort of story. Those things are not meant to be “truths”, they’re mostly thoughts that I’ve been having for a long time. They have not changed since the beginning of the band.

How was recording III and IV different from earlier sessions?

Now if we need to buy something or hire someone, we just pay for it and get it done professionally. We also take our time; we don’t usually get into the studio more than once or twice a week.

And newer fans are getting the opportunity to dig backward into the first half of the Monolithe catalogue?

MONOLITHE’s back catalogue is being reissued with brand new amazing artwork and new mastering. Our debut album MONOLITHE I [was] reissued in August. The sophomore [record], MONOLITHE II, will also get revamped and released in late 2013 or early 2014. And the last scheduled release is a compilation called MONOLITHE ZERO featuring our two EPs as well as two cover songs, one from Skepticism and one never released before.  And of course check out MONOLITHE IV, this one is a hell of an album.

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Join the Crusades

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Thursday, October 17th, 2013

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The upcoming Crusades record Perhaps You Deliver This Judgment With Greater Fear Than I Receive It is now available for pre-order, and we’ve got a sneak peek at what these Canadian anti-theists have been up to with the exclusive stream of a heretical rager entitled “The Torchbearer” below:

Follow the band on Tumblr and Twitter. And check out the intense “album bio” after the jump.

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