Sucker For Punishment: Some say gift guide, I say housecleaning

By: Adrien Begrand Posted in: featured On: Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

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It’s that time of year again, what my American buds call Thanksgiving, what we Canadians call the other Thanksgiving, and what the rest of the world calls The Weekend Where The Internet Suddenly Feels Abandoned. Seeing that the whole Black Friday gimmick is always the unofficial start of the holiday consumer frenzy in America, it’s an opportune time for publications to post “gift guides” that cater to their readers. From my own perspective, not only does a Thanksgiving week gift guide give me a chance to throw out a few cool suggestions of my own to readers, but it also gives me a brief respite from the new release reviews and allows me to do a little housecleaning by writing about some things I never had the time to write about all year. Namely, books. Lots and lots of books. So why not start off with that?

One of the best metal and hard rock writers in the business, Martin Popoff keeps himself busy, and this year he’s churned out even more titles to add to his perpetually expanding bibliography. His three best this year are of the coffee table variety, and all are superbly done. Rush: The Illustrated History is the latest in Voyageur Press’s outstanding series of band retrospectives, tracing Rush’s history from its inception to the band’s induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame this year, loaded with photos and featuring detailed reviews of all 19 studio albums written by Popoff, Jeff Wagner, Gary Graff, and more. 2 Minutes to Midnight: An Iron Maiden Day-By-Day, meanwhile, takes a similar approach to Mark Lewisohn’s colossal Complete Beatles Chronicle, offering as detailed a look as possible at not only what Iron Maiden did and accomplished in their career, but precisely when. Replete with live shots, memorabilia, and valuable quotes from the band, it’s a fun timeline from 2500 B.C. (!) to April 2013, a fantastic addition to any Maiden fan’s collection. Co-edited with Malcolm Dome, The Art of Metal explores the varying and continually evolving art of metal album, poster, and shirt art, and while at 224 pages it only scratches the surface, it’s nevertheless a beautifully laid-out book, loaded with many of the genre’s most indelible images. Including the cover for Kick Axe’s Vices, which makes me smile.

If you’re reading this post, you probably like metal. If you like metal, there’s a very good chance you like beer. And if you read Decibel, and love metal and beer, then you’re probably familiar with the monthly Brewtal Truth column by Adem Tepedelen, Decibel’s resident beer/NWOBHM authority. He’s got a new book out based on that column called The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers, and is it ever a fun one. Neatly laid out and featuring friendly, vividly written descriptions and critiques of dozens upon dozens of microbrews – all with a metal slant of course – he’s never condescending to the reader, each write-up rich in expertise but at the same time very easy for neophytes to understand. You’re going to find more than a few new favorite beers in this book, guaranteed.

Easily the most thoughtful book I’ve seen about heavy metal/youth culture this year is Beth Winegarner’s The Columbine Effect: How five teen pastimes got caught in the crossfire and why teens are taking them back. A talented music writer, journalist, metal fan, and concerned parent, Winegarner examines five teen subcultures that are constantly misconstrued as bad influences – metal, goth, videogames, paganism, and role-playing games – and talks to teens whose lives were changed for the better by those scenes, offering well-researched, compassionately written portrayals of her interviewees and lucid, convincing arguments as to the positive influence those subcultures have on young people. It’s a tremendous book, a must-read for teens and parents of teens alike. It’s being released on December 1, and can be ordered here.

Make all the wisecracks about the collective IQ of Pantera fans that you want, but as long as there are Pantera fans, there’s money to be made off them, and two books came out in 2013 that will interest those who dearly miss Dimebag and the great American band. Official Truth, 100 Proof, by former bassist Rex Brown, is a strange one. On one hand, it’s a typically unflinching account of his life and especially his time in Pantera, but quotes from other people are cut-and-pasted into the text throughout the book, ultimately looking like it can’t decide whether it wants to be an autobiography or an oral history. Still, it’s admirable that Brown allows people to “interject” with their own spin on the tale, and his everyman approach to writing will appeal to those who listen to his music. Meanwhile, Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell, by veteran writer Neil Daniels, is a very good unauthorized biography of the band, well researched and taking more of a critical perspective rather than dwelling on the dirt. If you’re a nerd like me, a book like this is always enjoyable.

When writing about the history of metal it takes some serious cojones to declare your book “definitive”, and not surprisingly, John Wiederhorn’s and Katherine Turman’s Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal falls short of that statement. Clearly painstakingly researched and edited from hundreds of interview quotes, it means well, and has more than its share of fascinating anecdotes, but it dwells a great deal on the obvious scenes and subgenres – thrash, death, black, nu, industrial – and doesn’t delve much deeper (Power? Doom? Hello?), coming off as too America-centric and, aside from Swedish death metal and Norwegian black metal, largely ignorant of metal’s global scope. Scraping the bottom of the barrel, though, is The Merciless Book of Metal Lists, by Howie Abrams and Sacha Jenkins, essentially Buzzfeed-style lists in book form. While the celebrity lists are by far the most interesting, any author who declares that Deep Purple and Ratt are not even remotely metal immediately loses my respect.

The more we Gen-Xers get sucked into the vortex of nostalgia, the more I find reissues appealing, and more than a few have surfaced in 2013 that have dominated my year. Most not necessarily of the straight-up metal variety, mind you, but certainly some that should interest Decibel readers.

Record labels have learned that with dwindling shelf space, it’s attractive to repackage discographies in slim formats and sell at a reasonable price, and there has been a bevy in the last 12 months. Although it came out in November of 2012, far and away my smartest purchase of 2013 was Blue Öyster Cult’s gigantic The Columbia Albums Collection, a stupendous, 16-disc chronicle of a brilliant yet woefully underrated band. Rush’s The Studio Albums: 1989-2007 neatly ties the loose ends in the wake of 2011’s stupendous Sector series, not only compiling their albums from Presto to Snakes & Arrows, but presenting them as snazzy new remasters, and in the case of Vapor Trails, completely remixed and vastly improved. Deep Purple’s eight 1970s albums have been brought together on The Complete Albums 1970-1976, and while none of he albums have been remastered, there’s no real need to, and it serves as an outstanding primer for the second most important heavy metal band of the early-‘70s.

Stepping outside heavy music, ZZ Top’s first ten albums are included on The Complete Studio Albums 1970-1990, which is highlighted by the first ever CD releases of the original mixes of ZZ Top’s First Album, Rio Grande Mud, and Tejas. Scott Walker is a favorite of several Decibel staffers – The Drift deservingly placed in the top 40 albums of 2006 – and his early work is lovingly presented in the form of the spectacular Scott: The Collection 1967-1970, which documents his evolution from pop heartthrob to avant-garde genius. UK gothic innovators Fields of the Nephilim, whose influence on goth metal and black metal is colossal, have just put out a fantastic collection of five albums, which are essential listening for fans of everyone from Katatonia to Watain. The biggie for prog nerds this year, however, is the massive Can Vinyl Box, which features the entire discography of the krautrock legends – even the long out of print Out of Reach – on 180 gram vinyl housed in a linen wrapped box. It’s released on December 2, and is absolutely droolworthy.

Keeping with the vinyl, I’m not the biggest fetishist when it comes to wax, but rather I seek out specific new LPs I know will sound – and look – ace, and have a few personal faves. The art design on Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats’ Mind Control is sensational, and looks especially sweet on white vinyl (I love white vinyl, it’s so darn clean). Purson’s The Circle and the Blue Door is another gem from Rise Above, its warm, deceptively pastoral tones sounding so much better on a turntable than a CD player. Magic Circle’s self-titled debut, Mansion’s We Shall Live EP, and Shooting Guns’ wicked Brotherhood of the Ram are three self-released doom/psychedelic records that sound incredible on vinyl. Anciients’ Heart of Oak benefits greatly from its double album treatment, and boasts a lovely gatefold to boot. Oranssi Pazuzu’s Valonielu, from 20 Buck Spin, looks and sounds tremendous, but far and away the best-looking vinyl of 2013, also from 20 Buck Spin, is the “12 Stars Edition” of Atlantean Kodex’s The White Goddess. Not only is it one of the very best albums of the year in my opinion, but it comes in a lavish gatefold on double white LP (ahh) with a gorgeously etched d-side and a stunning lyric book made to look like an ancient illuminated text. If you can’t find it, the standard edition will do just fine, but if you can, do not hesitate to snag it.

Lastly, I know those goofy “ugly holiday sweaters” are all the rage this year – by far the best is pictured above, courtesy Shredders Apparel – but if you ask me, if there’s one piece of clothing you should get for the metalhead who has everything, it’s this one, from the masterminds at Monolithic Merchandise:

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To all my American buds, have a great Thanksgiving weekend, and remember, if you’re stuck for metal album ideas this holiday season, this year’s Decibel Top 40 list is as good a gift guide as you’ll find, so be sure to pick up a copy now!

I’ll return to the regular new release reviews in a week’s time.

Follow me on Twitter at @basementgalaxy 

This One Clothing Line Will Make All Other Holiday Shopping Redundant (Plus Contest!)

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: contest, featured, free On: Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

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Did you ever wish that someone made high quality T-shirts for you, the discerning metalhead, that were not also catnip for douche bags like Affliction? I mean, one can’t wear band shirts ALL the time. Variety is the spice of life, even if that variety only comes within the realm of black T-shirts. Well, Mick Kenney from next level black thrashers Anaal Nathrakh has exactly what you’re looking for. His recently-launched Misanthropy clothing line features a tasteful selection of shirts and hoodies decorated with all the Satanic imagery one needs to scare the relatives during the upcoming holidays. Instead of celebrating Christ this Christmas, give your hails to the other guy! Look at some of the awesome designs you can proudly sport while being forced to attend mass, like this improved take on the Mona Lisa:

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And here’s our old pal Jesus. Looks like he’s seen better days!

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Pretty sweet, right? How would you like to win the above designs? Well, Misanthropy and Decibel want to give one lucky reader some new clothes to throw over his/her lifeless, flabby husk.  Specifically, the first person to send us the correct answer to the following question:

Some of you may know what movie the band name “Anaal Nathrakh” comes from, but what does the phrase actually mean?

Start googling now! And after you’ve done that, go to the Misanthropy website and buy some gifts for yourself and the entire family.

UPDATE: The contest is now closed. Congratulations to Ian Morris, who provided the correct answer of “Serpent’s Breath.” Your shirts are on the way!

***Check out Misanthropy’s full line of merchandise here, and be sure to keep current with their Facebook page here for new shirt designs and contests.

Chris Reifert Opens Up A Violation Wound

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

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Living extreme music legend Chris Reifert is set to unleash a brand new band christened Violation Wound upon the world and Decibel has both the exclusive scoop as well as streams of two tracks from the upcoming album. So without further ado…

So talk to me a little bit about origins — how long has Violation Wound been percolating?

We first got together around beginning of June this year. I had mentioned the idea of a pure punk band to my friend Joe Orterry, who used to play bass in Fog of War and he said he was into it. At first I was going to play drums as usual, but after thinking about it decided to switch over to guitar. We hit up Matt O’Connell, who is the current Fog of War drummer to see if he would like to go for it and after giving him the rundown of what it would be about, he said yeah. It all fell right into place and next thing you know the volume is up and we’re stockpiling songs as well as empty beer and whiskey bottles!

I love the primal, kinetic vibe on the couple short blast songs I’ve heard.

Yeah, the whole point was to play short but kick ass and memorable songs. Get in….make the point….get out, ya know? The sonic mission was definitely thought out and planned ahead of time.

Did the final product resemble those early expectations?

Mitochondrion post demo track “Writhen unto Abraxas”, and it’s pretty gnarly

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: breaking newz, featured, listen, videos On: Monday, November 25th, 2013

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The Internet is the darnest thing. One minute you could be sifting YouTube to harvest bootlegged footage of metal dudes on cooking shows, the next you could be jamming a new track from band whose oeuvre is every bit as esoteric an experience as seeing Marty Friedman on a Japanese cookery show.

Maybe there is a cosmic link between the two; after all, Friedman was Megadeth’s one-time master of esoteric lead guitar and gourmand of exotic scales, and Mitochondrion sure have a taste for the unorthodox, having realigned death metal’s physiognomy to suit their own complex aesthetic mores. The Canadian trio are not afraid to take a freewheeling approach to epic death metal songwriting, Shawn Hache and Nick Yanchuk laying down a nexus of riffs that tumble into each other and spin around barely controlled. Melody is usurped by rhythmic complexity, feel changes and outré necro motifs. Man, this is great stuff. Mitochondrion are one of a few bands brave enough to expand death metal’s hitherto modest spectrum; it’s a list that includes bands such as Portal, Ulcerate, and to a certain extent you could draw a parallel between Mitochondrion and Deathspell Omega. The latter is ostensibly black metal, the former death metal, but there’s a lot of cohabiting in that deconsecrated middleground.

Anyway, to the track. There is not much in the way of news, no release date or album title or anything—just the song. The title offers few clues as to any concept they might be chewing over for the album’s concept. Abraxas could be referring to Gnosticism (“The word may be related to Abracadabra”—thank you, Wikipedia), the peripatetic cosmic antagonist of the Marvel Universe, cult B-Movie sci-fi, or, less likely but more tantalizingly, the second album from Santana. But this is typically Mitochondrion; they opened their previous full-length, 2011’s Parasignosis, with the Pestilentiam Intus Vocamus, Voluntatem Absolvimus triptych, and referred to biology textbooks under the chapter marked “cell structure” to name their band.

Mitochondrion Live @ Dark Descent Fest from Carm on Vimeo.

**Mitochondrion on YouTube
**Mitochondrion on Facebook
**Order Antinumerology here

Top 5 Reactions to Decibel’s Top 100 Black Metal List (So Far)

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured On: Monday, November 25th, 2013

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It’s no secret, lists create controversy. Like our Top 100 Black Metal Albums of All Time Special Issue (available HERE just in time for Christmas). It’s also not a secret that metalheads are a contentious, shit-talking, and unnecessarily protective lot, claiming personal ownership of bands, albums, and, surprisingly enough, entire scenes when, in fact, they had no part in any of it. That’s why they’re called fans, I suppose. To be fair, I was once part of Clan Proprietary, so it stands to reason what’s on display here is merely generational versions of myself. But factor in the Internet, anonymity, and that most black metal fans probably weren’t around in 1993, I find it particularly humorous that people, like on this Top 5, lay claim to black metal, marginal bands, and what black metal itself means when, in fact, there is no definition outside of “Satanic metal.” Well, maybe these people think differently.

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#5: From Decibel’s official Facebook page
Inquisition are a great band. From the Immortal-isms to aping “Carol of the Bells” riffs for black metal, they do nifty, anti-cosmic things. But this level of comment hyperbole is awesome! What if Inquisition weren’t on the list at all? Would the list be instantly credited. I’d like to think so.

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#4: From Blabbermouth.net.
Black metal isn’t intended for massive coverage in hipster magazines, eh? Maybe you missed Kerrang!‘s near-tabloid coverage of black metal in the ’90s. Or, Spin‘s massive spread on black metal in ’96. Or, maybe that little tome of yellow journalism that was/is Lords of Chaos? Black metal is one of the most successful forms–marketing and sales–of heavy metal ever made. It wasn’t intended for commercial stardom, but that didn’t stop you, me, and thousands of others from buying record numbers of black metal records that happen to be on our Top 100 list.

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#3: From Nuclear War Now!’s forum.
This guy’s obviously a Pole. Graveland and pre-Pandemonic Incantations Behemoth could’ve been on our list, but the Poles were largely subservient to the Norwegians and Swedes. Compare the Polish bands to the Czechs or, singularly, the Hungarians, and they occupy a third position of importance as far as black metal is concerned. And that’s largely to the credit of Pagan Records.

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#2: From Metalsucks.
“If you can’t hear the hatred, you just can’t hear it,” says Metalsucks user Max on black metal. Well, it’s hard to hear so-called hate through black metal’s ultra-limited distribution. I kid. Actually, I don’t. Black metal was never about turning people away. Black metal has always been about sales and revenue generation–following in the fine footsteps of KISS and Alice Cooper–and the bands limiting their music to self-released cassettes or whatever are only doing it to drive interest and the collector’s market. If black metal bands were so misanthropic or nihilistic they wouldn’t release music at all on formats largely popularized by mega-corporations like Sony and TDK and Panasonic. According to Quorthon’s father, Bathory’s sold over 2 million records worldwide. That’s what I call “Northern Exposure.”

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#1: From SMNNews forums.
Well, this guy’s figured us out real quick. In fact, I wonder if someone on the staff leaked the email thread from Albert to the world. I mean, the thought process is oddly familiar to a conversation that’s in my inbox. Actually, none of the staff responsible for compiling the list has heard a single note from any of these records. We paid hilariously large sums of money to “black metal experts” and consultants to compile our list. We suggested Kvist and were turned down… What do we know, right? Inquisition? Who are they? A side project of Cyclone Temple?

Top 5 Second Wave Noise Rock Bands That Inspire Whores

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, lists On: Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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By Whores (and not the kind you’re thinking of, you perverted bastards!)


5. Fight Amp – “Bad Listener”
We met Fight Amp through a local Atlanta promoter when we first started out, and they have since become practically part of our extended family. They are one of the best working bands today, and I’d rank them with some of the greats. In addition to being an incredible band, they are some of the most real, down-to-earth people in the world. Forever our brothers.


4. Hawks – “Cottonmouth”
I continuously cite Hawks as my favorite ATL band. I will continue to name-drop them until the world listens. I love everything about this band. From the interesting songwriting to the visceral live shows, they cannot be topped.


3. Pissed Jeans – “Loubs”
We don’t know Pissed Jeans socially, but here is another band that just absolutely crushes live. Their records are of course fantastic, but I got a chance to see them in Philly right after Honeys came out, and I was knocked out by their combination of raw power, tongue-in-cheek piss taking of “lead singer” tropes and confrontational aesthetic. I’d love to be onstage with them in the future. Just flawless.


2. Metz – “Get Off”
I got the Metz record and loved it, but I caught them at 529 here in ATL and was thoroughly intimidated by the intensity of their performance. I hope that is taken in the spirit in which it is intended. It’s pretty much the highest praise I can give. I cannot stand bands that do the whole disaffected statue thing on stage. We actually will take parts out of songs if they are too difficult to play, because I refuse to stare at my navel during our shows. Go see Metz. Jesus.


1. Dope Body – “Weird Mirror”
We’ve played Baltimore four or five times now, and I have no idea why we’ve never been put on a bill with them. Maybe we’re too pedestrian. I don’t know. I wouldn’t necessarily classify them as noise rock, per se, but I think they are certainly in the same universe. Intense, dare I say catchy songs, combined with a swagger that I’m always a sucker for. This is a band to watch.

** To stream Whores new music product Clean, click HERE. Your day will be better for it.

** To visit Whores at Brutal Panda’s website, click HERE. Your evening will be better for it.

** To visit Whores on Zuckerbook, click HERE. Your night will be better for it.

BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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If there’s one thing that Germany seems to love it is adherence to tradition. Germans love their metal old-school and their beer made from just four ingredients: water, malt, yeast and hops. Which is the way its been brewed since the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law) was established in 1516. So for nearly 500 years Germany has more or less adhered to this “law,” even though breaking it in 2013 isn’t exactly going to get a brewer arrested. Instead of dinking around with mega-doses of hops, foodie ingredients and whiskey barrel aging, German brewers have perfected a handful of styles (primarily lagers).

For the North American craft beer-assimilated palate, these beers may seem boring. But there are some interesting brews to be found in the various regionally different styles. Wheat beers, which are actually ales, are primarily found in the southern Bavarian region of Germany and they are made with a yeast that imparts some pretty excellent flavors. People who may have tasted an American version of say a hefeweizen (cloudy wheat beer) that’s brewed with a conventional English ale yeast (such as Widmer’s Hefeweizen) are typically surprised by a German, or German-style, that is brewed with the proper Bavarian yeast. With the Bavarian yeast, you get interesting flavors of banana, clove and bubblegum.

So, imagine all those interesting, incredible flavors ramped up to bock or doppelbock strength. (Bock is a strong lager style at 6% ABV and doppelbock is an even stronger version at 8% ABV.) Then you have what’s called a weizenbock, a robust, (typically) dark ale with loads of flavor and a fair bit of sweetness. This is a true sipper, but man is it flavorful. We love this style of beer in the cold months of the year, and certainly one of our favorites is Schneider Aventinus. You can imagine our unfettered glee, then, when we discovered a local liquor store with bottles of Aventinus Eis Weizenbock 12% ABV!

Eis Bock is a style you rarely see in North America. We’ve talked about it a bit in a previous Deciblog post, but even rarer is an eis weizenbock. This style is made by brewing a weizenbock and then lowering the temperature on the fermented beer to a point where some of the water content starts to freeze. Since alcohol freezes at a much lower temperature, once the ice is removed, the beer becomes more concentrated and the ABV goes up. This is also known as freeze distilling, and it’s the same process BrewDog and others used to make “beers” that were like 56% ABV. But at a strong, yet reasonable 12% ABV, this 16-oz. bottle is a true cold-weather treat.

It’s drinking a special beer like this that we appreciate just how goddamn obsessed with tradition the Germans are when it comes to brewing. They can keep Doro Pesch, but if you see a bottle of this, we suggest you grab it.

Adem Tepedelen’s new craft beer book, Decibel Presents the Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers: An All-Excess Pass to Brewing’s Outer Limits, is now available in the Decibel online store.

Label Hack Update: New EP from Theatre Nocturne

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, listen On: Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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Back in May, we were floored by the savage stylings of Theatre Nocturne and their Anhedonia EP.  The band returns in January to release a new 6-song stomach unsettler, entitled Depictions of Life and Death.  Theatre Nocturne, through their vocalist Justin Foley, have this to say about the new work:

Depictions of Life and Death tells the story of a cleansing, a purification, decadent intrigue, and self-murder—ultimately creating a character that embodies the true essence of freedom itself.”

Push play below to get a listen to “Immortal Savage Nature” from the new EP.  Says Foley:

“‘Immortal Savage Nature’ … foretells the birth story of this ‘being’, through the eyes of Death himself, as he stalks and then destroys the embodiment of Life—endowed with such illustrious beauty. It all takes place within the confines of an eternal Paradise. Although the lyrics have a conceptual storyline, they still hold well to self-reflection and the personal recollection of events and emotions. So take from them what you will and let the music infuse, furthermore…indulge.”

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Throwin’ Frickin’ Bones on the Interhole.

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, uncategorized, videos On: Thursday, November 21st, 2013

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We threw them a frickin’ bone a couple months ago, and now they’ve taken that bone and jumped eyebrows deep into the fray. Iowa’s Green Death is set to release a CD/DVD combo with the kicker being that they’re doing it all by their lonesome. Hell, at the time of the following interview with vocalist Sol Bates, they didn’t even have a drummer. But as one of the hacks around here wrote, “this Des Moines outfit plays a classy brand of classic thrash a la Testament, Heathen and Pantera with a little Type O Negative in there as well as singer who can sing and everything,” and we figured they have to be either crazy or insane to take on this project independently, so why not throw ‘em a bone on the blog too?

So, you’re an independent band releasing a CD/DVD combo. Are you fucking nuts?
Completely! You pretty much have to be insane at this point to be in the music business, especially doing metal. We figured if we were going to do a full length album, we wanted to do everything a lot of our favorite artists do, which is release a DVD to go with the album. We are also hoping to release the album on vinyl, but that may come a few months after the CD/DVD release.

What was the reasoning going into this project? Did you look at each other at any point and say, “Are we fucking nuts?” How many times did you have to fight the cold feet feeling?
We knew going in to the creation of the band that we wanted to do what a lot of other bands wouldn’t do as independent artists. We hired the best artists for our album cover and album artwork. Eliran Kantor (Testament, Sodom, Hatebreed) painted The Deathening album cover and Mark Rudolph did other album and stage art. We wanted to do a lot of music videos (four, so far), and we wanted to document the creative process (studio footage, interviews). We basically decided to do what our favorite bands do, regardless of whether we had a label backing us or not. There are plenty of times that we have asked each other, “Are we completely insane to do all of this stuff?” That answer is usually “yes”, but we do what we love and what we would want to see if we were a fan of the band.

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How long were the writing sessions for The Deathening? What did you discover about yourselves as a band during the creative process?
We split this album up into three separate writing/recording sessions. One session took place in September of 2012, which became our first EP, Dawn of the Death (three tracks). That first EP writing session was basically over the Summer of 2012. The next writing/recording session took place in February of 2013, which became our Death Monks EP (five tracks). The final session takes place in October of 2013 (five tracks) and we will re-mix the previous EPs and combine them with the new tracks for the full length album. We have been writing the last five tracks since the Death Monks EP was released. We have discovered throughout this process that we have a very strong writing chemistry between myself, Erich (lead guitar, drums) and Sparky (rhythm guitar). We also discovered that we won’t let anything stand in our way of reaching our goals.

What was the recording process like? Where did you do it? What was the goal going into it? Did your guitarist playing drums throw any additional snags into the process?
We recorded everything locally here in Des Moines, Iowa with Griffin Landa at The Establishment Recording Studio. We split the recording up in three sessions to make it easier on ourselves since we were working most of the time without a full band. Costs add up when there are only four people paying for everything (art, studio time), so it made sense financially as well to break it up so we could pay for it in segments. The initial goal when we recorded the first three songs was just to have something to show for our efforts after our last band ended and to prove to ourselves that no one would stop us even if we didn’t have a full band at the time. No one really knew we were up to anything new, so we just surprised everyone with this new band, and announced we were recording an EP almost immediately after it came together. Other than being more work for Erich, having him play drums was actually beneficial, since the songs were all written and demoed with his drum parts anyway – it gave us a little more creative control and focus by not having an extra person bringing his own interpretation to such a crucial part of the sound. Plus, as a drummer, Erich’s not too shitty.

It needs to be asked: what was the initial thought that went into calling your band Green Death? Do you cringe every time you see/say/think of/tell some woman you’re trying to sweet talk/etc you play in a band called Green Death?
Not at all, it just means that our appeal is more selective… telling chicks around here that you play in a metal band will either send them running, or they’ll ask “you mean like Nickelback?” Our name sort of answers the question before it’s asked.

While we’re sort of on the topic, can you give us a bit of a band history? What does Green Death offer for you that your previous bands didn’t or couldn’t?
Parker (bass) was in a few other bands before joining us full time in March of 2013. The rest of us were in a five-piece band called Only for around 10 years (and lots of other bands before that). We put out several CDs, played countless shows throughout the Midwest, etc. We were what I would consider a “modern metal” sound, although there were elements of thrash. After that band ended, we really wanted to go back to our roots and play whatever came naturally. Thrash and death metal were what we grew up listening to, and it was the most fun to play. We also love Danzig and Type O Negative, so we try to mix in that style with the more extreme style to create something unique. I feel like when we chose the name Green Death, it really helped us focus on a theme and provided a better direction than our previous band/bands.

deciblog - green death cover

Tell us about the DVD. What’s the content going to consist of? What was the filming process like? How long did it take and would you have had the album out earlier if you hadn’t decided to do a concurrent DVD project?
The DVD will contain interviews, some live footage, and our music videos. We may also have some bonus footage from our studio sessions from the first two EPs that I filmed. We have been working with our videographer (Rick Burger at Stang Films) throughout this last year, so it hasn’t delayed the album portion in any way.

The Deathening. What the hell does that even mean or refer to?
Look for it in next year’s Merriam-Webster!…No, it’s a silly made up word that I thought we needed to have for the album title to signal the end of this year long process. We had Dawn of the Death as the first EP, and then Death Monks (Des Moines…get it?) for the second EP , so we needed something with “death” and “ending”…The Deathening was the first thing that came to mind.

I’m assuming you don’t have a drummer yet? Why do you think it’s been such a challenge to nail down that elusive fifth member/drummer?
We had a full-time drummer for around six months who joined after we put out the second EP, but being in an independent band is tough. We aren’t making any money doing this, and you see very little reward, so it’s tough finding someone with our level of commitment. We don’t play the local flavor of music in the region, so that also limits your pool of drummers. We are currently auditioning drummers, so hopefully we will find someone. Whether they end up a full time guy or just a live guy to play shows, we’ll still continue putting out music and playing out. We’ve discussed having a cardboard cut out of Peter Criss and playing to studio recorded drum tracks if we have to.

What’s the scene in Des Moines like? What sounds/styles seem to go over best? Are there any local bands we should keep an eye out for? Does the impact of Slipknot still loom large over the city’s extreme music sound and as far as influence is concerned?
The scene in Des Moines is getting a bit better in recent years, but 80’s cover bands and tribute bands still do better than originals, and there are still some bands out there with an obvious Slipknot influence. There also seems to be an indie rock thing that gets a lot of attention. As far as good metal bands in Des Moines, we have Dark Mirror (thrash), Agrinex (black metal), and Painface (death metal/rock). Painface has the original vocalist of Slipknot, Anders Colsefni, who appears on our song “Possessions” both on our Dawn of the Death EP and upcoming full album.

Once this album is out, what’s the plan?
To get a drummer!…In all seriousness, the plan is to hopefully jump on a small tour after the album comes out this fall, and continue to put out EPs and music videos as the ideas come to us. We will operate independently until we get some label interest…or go bankrupt…

Describe the Green Death philosophy in one non-run-on sentence without using semi-colons.
It’s a grueling death march until the end!

Listen here:
https://soundcloud.com/greendeath/split-the-skies

And, some videos:

www.greendeathband.com

Decibrity Playlist: SubRosa (Part 2)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, November 21st, 2013

subrosa

Last week, we brought you the first part of SubRosa’s playlist covering all things Salt Lake City. I could go on and on about how great their latest record, More Constant Than The Gods, is (one of the “exceptional candidates for the top spot” in this year’s top 40 according to the powers that be), but they are also good people. In the wake of a recent rough patch, the band sent out a handwritten thank you note to each person generous enough to donate. It’s a gesture that I’d guess many donors felt unnecessary but will forever appreciate. Plus, as you’ll read about in the six selections below, they take care of their own. Check out MCTTG below and pick up a copy here.

Light/Black’s “One Good Turn Deserves Another” (from 2013’s Light/Black)
Light/Black is a collaboration between four exceptional people: husband and wife team Levi Lebo and Carri Wakefield (lead guitar and bass respectively; Carrie also fronts the band with her beautiful voice), Danielle Mariott on guitar and Josh Asher on drums. Carri is a former SubRosa member and played in Stiletto with Rebecca. She has lent her talents to many SLC bands, as has Levi. Danielle Mariott has been a long-time supporter and member of the music community and Josh Asher has been playing in bands since he was a wee lad. Their deep and wide river of sound drives you forward, grasping at the vocals as they beckon just beyond your reach, both menacing and delicate. I love the atmosphere in this song, built with carefully subtle guitar work.–Sarah Pendleton

Lindsay Heath’s “Painted Queens” (from 2013’s upcoming Holy Medicine)
Lindsay Heath is one of the most talented and versatile musicians, composers and drummers I know. Using her deep intuition about how to shape melodies that burrow into your soul, Lindsay makes magical, enchanted music veined with world-wise themes and deep sorrow. SubRosa violinist Kim Pack plays on Lindsay’s upcoming record, Holy Medicine, and is featured on this video of “Painted Queens” (check out the 3:22 mark) (though note that there will be a more updated version of this song on Holy Medicine). Continuing the incest, I also have played drums for Lindsay’s project a few times and she let SubRosa use her piano to record the piano parts on “No Safe Harbor”.–Rebecca Vernon

Making Fvck’s “A Slave To The Lazy Boy” (from 2013’s Making Fvck)
Making Fvck is a musical creation reminiscent of the Paleolithic culinary art of hurling a box of cake mix into an active volcano to produce something that every doom/metal-seeking wildebeest would love sinking its teeth into. This brilliant three-piece spotlights Jessica Bundy’s brutal low-end fluidity on electric cello creating a serendipitous relationship with the other two members’ aggressive riffs, driving rhythm, and confrontational vocals (provided by Jeff Wells and Kory Quist). My first listen of this track provided a much-needed burst of sonic adrenaline.–Kim Pack

Oxcross’s “Sisyphus” (from 2013’s upcoming TBA)
Oxcross is my favorite band in Salt Lake City right now and features Taylor Williams on vocals/guitar, Jeff Anderson from Top Dead Celebrity on guitar, David Jones (bassist from SubRosa’s No Help) and SubRosa’s current drummer, Andy Patterson. Oxcross are disciples of the song, corralling unruly, heavy, catchy riffs into a cohesive pattern belying thought and calculation, polish, and refinement among the visceral uproar and chaos; a much harder task than just letting riffs run wild. Taylor’s vocals are one of the highlights of the band, with their meaty melody lines exemplified in the harmonies of “Sisyphus” from their upcoming album (not a final mix).–R.V.

Sure Sign Of The Nail’s “mov.1” (from 2011’s Ruminascentions EP)
This is Sure Sign of the Nail’s longest song off their three-song EP, Ruminascentions. It’s heavy, dark, a little groovy, and the ending makes you feel a bit uncertain and maybe even a bit put off. They definitely capture a unique sense of heaviness. Plus, their name really brings it all together (if you know what it means).–Christian Creek

Worst Friends’ “Pill” (from 2013’s upcoming Business Ethics)
Worst Friends is a three-piece (Elliot Secrist, Jarom Bischoff, Mike Cundick) whose live show makes me feel galvanized, frazzled and frantic, as if I’m being pelted with endless math problems I have seconds to solve. As started by jazz trained, music-theory toting geniuses, Worst Friends will put your socks in an algebraic twist. This unmixed/unmastered track was recently posted as a preview of their upcoming album. Enter epic breathtaking shift at 1:27.–K.P.

*Order More Constant Than The Gods here.

**Past entries include:

Vattnet Viskar
Skeletonwitch
Ihsahn
Earthless
Watain
Orange Goblin
God Is An Astronaut
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)