Decibrity Playlist: God Is An Astronaut

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, September 19th, 2013

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It’s hard to believe (for me, at least) that God Is An Astronaut is already into its second decade as a band. In fact, the Irish post-rockers just dropped their seventh full-length, Origins, earlier this month. The record marks a return to Rocket Girl, which also happened to license the first album I heard from these guys, 2005′s All Is Violent, All Is Bright. Pat O’Donnell (The Fountainhead) not only produced the band’s latest effort, but joined the newly-minted quintet on vocals, guitar and keyboards for the recording while co-writing many of its songs with GIAA guitarist/co-founder Torsten Kinsella. So O’Donnell was in prime position to fill us in on some tracks that he and his cohorts were listening to and inspired by during the recording of Origins. While we hope to see them back in the States soon, you can still feel free to listen along here.

Can’s “Future Days” (from 1973′s Future Days)
40 years old and still sounds so fresh! I’ve always loved Can for their innovative approach to making music. This track constantly twists and turns with its hypnotic rhythms, woven melodies and clever use of sounds. Truly a seminal work for its time, still relevant and still one of the tracks I always go back to.

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Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song” (from 2001′s Amnesiac)
I could have chosen any track off the Radiohead album In Rainbows but instead chose this track from the much maligned album Amnesiac. From the piano intro, the soundscapes become apparent and the mood moves along with such a cool groove. When we were recording “Reverse World”, I kept thinking about this track and how it evolved and resolved.

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Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” (from 1975′s Physical Graffiti)
Yes, an obvious choice, but obvious for many good reasons. During the recording of Origins, we always talked about riffs and we also spoke about our fusion of styles. On the track “Calistoga”, you can hear Torsten’s rock background fused with my more atmospheric leanings. “Kashmir” has all of this and more. Also, really love the orchestration, it’s a monster of a track!

The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “If 6 Was 9″ (from 1967′s Axis: Bold As Love)
When I was a kid I saw the film Easy Rider and always loved the scene with this track in it, so atmospheric. I’ve always loved music that has a cinematic quality to it and the guitar intro of this track really puts you into a space and then blossoms into full blown psychedelia.

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Nine Inch Nails’ “Something I Can Never Have” (from 1989′s Pretty Hate Machine)
This one’s for Torsten! He’s always been influenced by Trent Reznor’s work, especially his unsettling sounds and use of dynamics. NIN takes you on a real roller coaster ride. On Origins we sometimes felt like we were sculpting sound rather than just playing guitars and keyboards.

nin

Tinariwen’s “Tenhert” (from 2009′s Imidiwan: Companions)
A beguiling and intriguing track with a haunting quality. I’m fascinated by their mix of North African rhythm, traditional vocals and blues guitar. It flows and develops in a way that makes it impossible to stay still. If your body doesn’t sway to this mesmeric fusion of styles, then you have no soul!

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*Photo by Derval Freeman

**Order a copy of Origins here.

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

Past entries include:

Primitive Man
Gorguts
Exhumed
Ulcerate
Pelican
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Howl
Kings Destroy
Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

STREAMING: In Solitude “Pallid Hands”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

InSolitude-Sister

It might be a calculated risk on Albert Mudrian’s part to feature Swedish upstarts (OK, they’ve been truckin’ since 2002) as cover stars on the new issue of Decibel (available HERE), but looking back on previous cover icons his choices have proven, largely, correct. Though it’s easy to point fingers and say, “Hey, this band on that label and they have a new album out and that’s why they’re on the cover,” well, cover decisions aren’t always so linear. They can be difficult or emotional decisions. Case in point: Paradise Lost (available HERE). A band with a long history but almost zero U.S. label involvement until their recent pact with Century Media. Albert could’ve gone with another cover, but he went with his emotions.

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Which is why I’m pretty stoked on the Swedes getting the November 2013 cover. They have an “it” factor. Not just ’cause they’re Swedish (and I’m biased by being part Swede), but ’cause they get it. They’re involved in the music to be involved in the music. There’s very little pretense (from my end at least) as to why they rule on record and they give an excellent story in J. Bennett’s In Solitude treatise on the band. Plus, any band that joins Repulsion on stage for a cover of Bathory’s “The Reaper” (see HERE) is A-OK in my tome of tomes.

So, it’s with absolute pleasure and forthright support that I (rather Decibel) present new In Solitude cut, “Pallid Hands.” Time to revel in digital flesh.

** In Solitude’s new album, Sister, is out October 1 on Metal Blade Records. It’s available for pre-order HERE. Choose your bundle and wait for October to fall.

Let’s help Jason Becker

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: breaking newz, featured On: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

becker flyer v11

The folks who work hard to bring you the extremely extreme each week might be cantankerous but that doesn’t mean we don’t look out for our fellow man.

Case in point: the gifted guitarist Jason Becker, who was struck with with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which most readers know as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The disease is horrifying: it kills nerve cells that control muscles and eventually robs the affected of the ability to walk, speak and breathe.

Becker wasn’t supposed to live past 25. Yet here he is at 44, still fighting and hoping for a breakthrough. Let’s do our part to help kick this disease.

Our Bay Area friends should consider attending a benefit for Becker tomorrow night (Sept. 19th) at Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco. There will be a special screening of a documentary on Becker’s life to benefit Jason and ALS research. You can learn more on the flyer above and purchase tickets here. Scott Ian of Anthrax and his wife, Pearl, will provide the music.

Friends and readers outside of the Bay Area — you can help, too. Please consider making a donation to The ALS Association.

TRACK PREMIERE: Domovoyd’s “Lamia”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, free, listen On: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Domovoyd band photo by Rainer Paananen

I have no idea what a “Domovoyd” is (presumably something in Finnish or maybe a type of mushroom), but a lamia is a creepy snake person thing, and there are some definite serpentine tendencies to their music. It coils around your cerebral cortex, then sinks its fangs right into the pleasure center and injects 200 mL of psychedelic venom straight to the source. I hear Monster Magnet’s more demented trips in here, along with Sleep’s epic dronescapes and Electric Wizard’s occult trance, but mostly I hear people unafraid to venture out into the frontier of the mind’s eye. That’s the kind of weirdness I can get behind. “Lamia” offers the perfect gateway to that experience, and there’s another 47 minutes of magic beyond that on Oh Sensibility, their full-length debut. In fact, just posting one track is kind of cruel. The first hit is free, but the rest will cost you. And you’ll want the rest.

***Oh Sensibility comes out October 11 on Svart in both CD and LP. You can preorder the CD here and the LP here. Meanwhile, check them out on Facebook here or download their first couple EPs for free on Bandcamp here.

EXCLUSIVE: WARBRINGER “Hunter-Seeker” lyric video

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, videos On: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

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As you may or may not know, Californian next-gen thrashers Warbringer will be dropping album number four—IV: Empires Collapse—on Oct 29th through Century Media. The band have been on the road pretty much constantly since 2011’s Worlds Torn Asunder, and in that time have augmented their lineup with guitarist Jeff Potts and bassist Ben Mottsman, both plucked from Pittsburgh thrash crew Mantic Ritual.

IV: Empires Collapse marks Mottsman and Potts’ debut on record, and was recorded under the watchful eye of producer Steve Evetts (The Dillinger Escape Plan/Sepultura), and mixed by Brett Eliason. Courtesy of the good folk at Century Media, here is an advance lyric video for “Hunter-Seeker”. Not only should this give you a flavor for the roughhousing on offer throughout IV: Empires Collapse, but it will surely help all those rivetheads looking to take their audience participation to a whole new level beyond just screaming “HUNTER-SEEKER” into John Kevill’s face before executing a perfect wedge-monitor backflip.

Musically, you should know what to expect from Warbringer by now; the core of their sound is an uncooked mix of Teutonic and Bay Area thrash, but with weird atonalities and punked-up parts. Evetts and Eliason have kept Warbringer dry and raw, which is what you should want and expect from any thrash band worth their salt. Kevill describes “Hunter-Seeker” as a “ripping thrasher”, and the Deciblog sees no reason to argue with that. Enjoy.

**Warbringer on Facebook
**Warbringer are touring the U.S. supperting Overkill and Kreator. Dates below:

10/30/2013 Soundstage Baltimore MD
10/31/2013 The Trocadero Philadelphia PA
11/1/2013 The Palladium Worcester MA
11/2/2013 Club Soda Montreal QC
11/3/2013 Opera House Toronto ON
11/4/2013 Altar Bar Pittsburgh PA
11/5/2013 Al Rosa Villa Columbus OH
11/6/2013 Mojoes Joliet IL
11/7/2013 Granada Lawrence KS
11/8/2013 Gothic Theater Englewood CO
11/9/2013 In The Venue Salt Lake City UT
11/11/2013 Rickshaw Theater Vancouver BC
11/12/2013 El Corazon Seattle WA
11/13/2013 Hawthorne Theatre Portland OR
11/14/2013 Fillmore San Francisco CA
11/15/2013 The Grove Anaheim CA
11/16/2013 Marquee Theatre Tempe AZ
11/17/2013 Sunshine Theater Albuquerque NM
11/18/2013 Trees Dallas TX
11/19/2013 Backstage Live San Antonio TX
11/21/2013 Diamond Pub & Billiards Louisville KY
11/22/2013 Empire West Springfield VA
11/23/2013 Stage 48 New York City NY
11/24/2013 Stage 48 New York City NY

STREAMING: Inquisition “Darkness Flows Towards Unseen Horizons” (Lyric Video)

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen, videos On: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

inquisition_blackmetal_decibel_2013

Lyric videos are a bit of a mystery. They probably started with pop music on major labels for no other reason than to have a video on Youtube for nerdballs to copy/paste into lyric sites (with typos) as a way to pump up their online cred factor. Well, folks, lyric videos have, fittingly I might add, filtered down to the underground, where voices roar, grunt, and growl. If lyric videos had a place, it’d be with death, black, thrash, doom, and whatever metal. That way you can read the difference between “All I Had I Gave” and what you thought you heard in “All The Head I Gave” (sorry, Crowbar).

Anyway, we have the good cosmic fortune of premiering the new lyric video for Inquisition’s “Darkness Flows Towards Unseen Horizons” off new album, Obscure Verses for the Multiverse. Now, if you’re familiar with Inquisition, no need to read on. Just click play. If not, Inquisition is a two-man black metal project of celestial origins (actually, originally Colombia now Seattle), where blast beats, sick riff configs, and gurgling vocals are the order of the day. In short, Inquisition is the best band you’ve never heard if you’re in the latter camp. If you’re in the former, they’re certainly better than Werewolf Bloodhoof, who’ve been huge on the forums lately.

** Inquisition’s new album, Obscure Verses for the Multiverse, is out October 25th on Season of Mist. It’s available HERE in a few different horizon-burning versions. And by different, we mean digibooks bound in cow leather. And goat leather. In clear and black vinyl as well. And in a box on CD.

INTERVIEW: Ben Ward of Orange Goblin

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews, tours On: Monday, September 16th, 2013

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Prior to the release of 2012′s A Eulogy for the Damned, the Deciblog met up with Orange Goblin and found a band that was pretty much a long-standing institution turned part-time concern. Breaking bread over a table henged with pint glasses of cider and beer, the English quartet were talking about making their first studio record for five years, riffs and inspirations and all that sort of thing. But also they talked about how band business was tantamount to a holiday away with the boys. These were guys with jobs, wives and kids, who made everything else fit around Orange Goblin’s touring schedule and vice-versa.

Fast forward a year or so and it’s all change. The Deciblog is in the Red Lion in Leytonstone, (whose location is only relevant to Decibangers outside of London’s transport Zone 3 because this was the pub where Paul DiAnno first met Steve Harris) and vocalist Ben Ward is gearing up for a full headlining tour of North America, telling us all about how they all quit their jobs to do all this full-time.

How is Joe getting on after wrecking his achilles—will he be fit for the tour?
“Yeah, I think so. He’s got the cast off and is in one of those plastic, Robocop-style boots, which is just protecting the tendon, making sure he doesn’t bend it too much. But it’s meshed back together again, and by the time we head to America, I think he is going to be absolutely fine. He’s going to have a little bit of physio.

In Person Aural Devastation: Author & Punisher Live

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, videos On: Monday, September 16th, 2013

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Decibel has made no secret of our love for the idiosyncratic have-to-see-it-to-believe-it one-man doom behemoth Author & Punisher. And these insane videos from the band’s recent performance at the Fillmore basically speak for themselves. So…further comment is probably unnecessary. The new record, Women & Children, is available here. Bonus: The Lynch-ian video for “Terrorbird” after the jump.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: Lewis Dimmick

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured On: Friday, September 13th, 2013

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

Man, Lewis Dimmick truly delivers something special with This Music, an exquisite collection of lyrical, poignant, often very funny vignettes detailing his coming of age in the 80s New York City hardcore scene. Naturally, there are pitstops in punk and metal along the way — see, for example, “Slave to the Power,” which hilariously details fourteen year-old Dimmick attending a Iron Maiden show at Radio City Music Hall (!) with his mom (!!) in 1985 — and the pieces in the book delving into the hope, elation, and struggle of going from observer to participant via his band Our Gang will no doubt touch hearts and raise spirits, but perhaps nothing gets to the sense of otherness more fully than this exchange:

I explained to my Uncle Bob, when he asked how many records we had sold, that only five hundred were pressed, that this music was meant for a select audience.

He asked if by select I meant the deaf.

What Decibel reader can’t relate to that?

Check out a couple excerpts from This Music below then pick your copy here.

dazed and confused

we sold our souls

BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, September 13th, 2013

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

This week, since the focus is still on hops, we’re back in the Pacific Northwest. Don’t worry, this’ll be the last one on the subject for a while. We couldn’t help but buy C-Note from Portland’s Lompoc Brewing when we saw it on the shelves at the Beer Junction recently. It was the name, the label art and the concept behind the beer that totally grabbed us. And it provided the perfect opportunity to talk about mega-hopped beers like this. The name is actually both a play on the fact that this has 100 IBUs (International Bittering Units, a way of measuring the bitterness in the beer) and all the hops in it are “C” hops: Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus, Challenger. Now that is a brilliant concept for a beer.

C-NOTE
Imperial Pale Ale
Lompoc
Portland, OR
6.9% ABV

There are three “C” hops (let’s call them the Big Three) that are largely responsible for the classic piney/citrusy West Coast Pale Ale/IPA smell and flavor: Cascade, Centennial and Columbus. This trio was basically the taste of the hop-forward craft beer revolution in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Dozens of new hop varieties have been created since then, but those three have been and continue to be mainstays. The rest of the “C’s” in this lineup aren’t necessarily as notable, but they have their own unique characteristics and, accordingly, their uses. Columbus and Chinook provide, for example, lots of bittering power, but less on the fragrant, aromatic side. And this beer, with its 100 IBUs has a heapin’ helpin’ of bitterness (a typical American style IPA will be 40-70 IBUs). Surprisingly, though, bitterness is well integrated and balanced to such a degree that, you really wouldn’t notice it as long as you’re a fan of big, hoppy IPAs. It does tend to linger on the back of the palate for quite a while.

As noted in the beer’s specs above, this is not actually an IPA, but an Imperial Pale Ale. And, ironically, it’s actually not very pale. It’s more of a deep copper/amber/reddish hue. You can readily smell the up-front Big Three when you first open it. They are unmistakable: pine needles, grapefruit and floral spices. It smells like an IPA for all intents and purposes. Where it differs stylistically, it’s hard to pin down. Perhaps it lies in the malts used to brew it, because the hop content screams IPA. It also doesn’t fully taste like an IPA—the malt notes are more caramely and round, rather than crisp—but in a blind tasting, I could be convinced this was an IPA.

So, what do seven varieties of “C” hops have to offer this beer? A lot. First, a really nice fresh aroma filled with notes of fruit and forest. Second, a complex melange (there, I said it) of fruit flavors—from berries to melons to marmalade. Lastly, a punch of bitterness on the finish that cuts through the ample malt backbone. We can’t pick out the characteristics of each one specifically, but together they’re a symphony of hop goodness. In C, of course.