STREAMING: Defeated Sanity’s “Naraka”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

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And so begins the relentless stream of new metal releases of 2013.

First out of the gate is some tried and true death metal courtesy of Germany’s Defeated Sanity. dB is streaming the second track “Naraka” off upcoming album Passages Into Deformity, due Feb. 5 and available for preorder from Willowtip.

The band describes the album thus: “With Passages Into Deformity, fans can expect another quality release from Defeated Sanity. Without compromising the brutality of our sound, we have stepped it up in terms of the overall production. The album has a more old-school vibe to it, with a lot of early ‘90s inspired riffs and slams, but we made it a point to not get away from the technical and progressive stuff as well. People can definitely expect the most balanced Defeated Sanity album yet.”

Check out the new song below and get in touch with the band here.

STREAMING: Denouncement Pyre “Almighty Arcanum”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

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Few metal bands of the world truly frighten. Whether it’s songs of Satan, ancient fjords, circumcised babies, or dismembered women (far more common than dismembered men, mind you), metal bands have covered it all ad nauseam. And we, as metal acolytes, have become accustomed to that which would normally repulse or scare. But, there are times when bands do project danger, a sense of uncertainty, an unbridled noise that scorches the cockles of our clearly corrupt hearts. Case in point: Denouncement Pyre.

Formed in 2003 out of members of Order of Orias and Nocturnal Graves—who rule worlds, actually—Melbourne’s Denouncement Pyre is nothing like the city they call hole. Far from enotecas, sunny harbors, and tramcar dining, these three Aussies have figured out a way into Hell’s Kitchen via a blasting concoction of death and black metals. When speaking to Witching Metal, Denouncement Pyre had the following to say about their sound: “To the point I would say Black/Death Metal, more specifically with chaotic and violent passages mixed with some mid-paced, dark and at times melody driven parts (in reference to the newer material in particular). I think we have a backbone that relates to old school metal and we don’t hide or deny that. Naturally we create music that we would want to listen to ourselves; however we don’t care to re-invent the wheel or exist to pay homage to any scene or band, nor experiment for the sake of being different. Everything we put into our music is to please ourselves, to serve our own purpose, and to convey the atmosphere and ideology that we wish to convey.”

It’s with great Luciferian pleasure that we, Decibel and Hells Headbangers, have the full Denouncement Pyre album, Almighty Arcanum on display. Due to certain limitations, we had to upload it as one track, but we’re working on remedying the situation shortly. Until then, hit play and descend into the darkest depths of your hump day. It’s truly uninviting.

** Denouncement Pyre’s new album, Almighty Arcanumis, out January 22nd on Hells Headbangers. Order it HERE. Or, find yourself right in the middle of a swirling vortex to the lowest rung of Hell. Wait, that sounds kind of cool, right?

Dave Mustaine or Billy Corgan: Who’s Crazier?

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, videos On: Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

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The world of hard rock and heavy metal is filled with brilliant artists, and sometimes that thin line between genius and insanity gets erased. Usually in public. In very embarrassing ways. And there have been a lot of notable crazies in the music industry, but right now, Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine and The Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan seem to be in a heated race to see which washed up rocker can reach the asylum first. Two auteur musicians, both of whom have made some really amazing music (and some really poor artistic decisions), both of them batshit insane in really surprisingly similar ways – but who belongs in a straitjacket more?

ROUND ONE: QUESTIONABLE INVESTMENTS

Both dudes are rich, so they’ve both frittered away their royalties on weird stuff.

Billy Corgan owns a regional wrestling promotion.

Dave Mustaine owns a tiny pony.

WINNER: Dave.

ROUND TWO: RELIGION

Now, I’m not saying that you have to be crazy to be religious. Plenty of totally sane people believe in some sort of deity. No, these guys are notable because of the extremes to which they take their Christian beliefs.

Billy Corgan is way into the crazy hippie stuff. To express his faith, he has recorded an entire album, Zwan’s Mary Star of the Sea, which is basically about Jesus and rock. He also started a website devoted to “Mind-Body-Soul” integration. Also, he’s into psychic mediums.

Dave Mustaine’s not pulling out the Tarot cards, but he refuses to perform at festivals with Satanic bands, won’t play old songs that he deems “too Satanic,” and he doesn’t seem particularly fond of gays, soooo…

WINNER: Billy. Christian fundamentalism doesn’t really surprise me anymore, but new age bullshit is always hilarious.

ROUND THREE: THE MUSIC

They are musicians after all, right? Which means they channel some of their crazy through their art.

Billy Corgan has done some really pretentious things with his music (for example, the current 44 song Teargarden by Kaleidyscope song cycle), but his real mania lies in his massive underground vault of unreleased material. He’s basically a squirrel, but instead of acorns he hordes songs. Even now that they’re rereleasing the Smashing Pumpkins catalog, he’s just putting out a bunch of demos instead of the bushels of unreleased songs he has piled up. Here’s a convenient list of the 250-odd original compositions he’s recorded but never released or even played live.

Dave Mustaine, on the other hand, has released most of his material, but he tends to like to bring in some of his extracurricular activities to his music. For example, did you know that Endgame was based on an Alex Jones film? Also note the 24 fanfiction in the booklet for United Abominations.

WINNER: Billy. It’s never a great sign when you can compare someone’s behavior to Prince’s.

ROUND FOUR: STATEMENTS TO THE PRESS

All rock stars say ill-considered things in interviews. These guys take it to another level.

Billy: “The Pumpkins, as a business, is a creative enterprise that’s constantly generating new waves of energy, through music, through cultural fucking-with… through the Tarot.”

Dave: “There’s so many houses without a dad that it’s just terrible. I mean, you know how they used to say there should be a license to have a baby? Well, as far-fetched as that sounds, I really think that, if the parents aren’t going to stick together, they shouldn’t make that kind of commitment to life. I watch some of these shows from over in Africa, and you’ve got starving women with six kids. Well, how about, you know, put a plug in it? It’s like, you shouldn’t be having children if you can’t feed them.”

WINNER: I mean, come on.

ROUND FIVE: CONSPIRACY THEORIES

THIS is the real meat of the thing. The previous sections could conceivably be written off as the results of decades of drug abuse or just general rock star behavior, but this is where the rubber (room) meets the road.

List of conspiracy theories Billy Corgan believes in: Chemtrails, the New World Order, the TSA as Gestapo, HAARP,  Genetically Modified Foods, “criminal wars,” mind control, all news as propaganda

List of conspiracy theories Dave Mustaine believes in: Chemtrails, the New World Order, birtherism, FEMA camps, global government, basically anything involving Obama taking away our guns/freedom

Billy’s Alex Jones interview (Summary here):

Dave’s Alex Jones interview (Summary here):

Billy’s onstage conspiracy rant:

Dave’s onstage conspiracy rant:

WINNER: Dave. I mean, Billy’s hat in that Alex Jones interview was pretty nuts, but I think “Obama was behind Aurora” pretty much clinches it.

OVERALL WINNER: Dave. Looks like the “Sweating Bullets” video was pretty prophetic, huh.

Enter A Sweet, Sweet Deci-Hell, Courtesy Metalcakes

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, interviews On: Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

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“The weak pale in the face of both baking and metal!” Metalcakes proprietor Kathy Bejma declares when asked how she first came to realize heavy metal and cupcakes belonged in the same mixing bowl. “Plus ovens are like little mini hells accepting your sacrifice of unborn chickens, butter, and sugar…Occasionally I’ll get the How dare you attempt to reduce the mighty genre of metal to a fucking cupcake comment, but I don’t really care. What are you doing to thank your favorite bands for being awesome? Oh! Illegally downloading their music? Good for you, asshole!”

Skeptics of crossover desserting should consider the following before rushing to un-tasty judgement: Edible Autopsy. Cupcakes of the Tyrants. Below the Cookies and Cremains. Twist of Candy Cane. Baptized in Fire and Frosting. Black Sweets of Vengeance.

That’s right. Bejma’s creations are manifestly more brutal than anything Cupcake Wars ever threw at an audience.

And now the extreme music’s very own Cake Boss has honored Decibel 100 with the extremely extreme Deci-Hell Metalcake, a demonically delectable amalgamation of chocolate, Hell Hath No Fury Stout, black cherry puree filling, Philadelphia Cream Cheese frosting, and a few cherry Pop Rocks on top to — as Bejma put it — “literally add some decibels to the cake.”

The recipe, for those who dare taste the forbidden cake, is written in digital blood after the jump…

Meathooks, zombie surgeons and chainsaws: inside Autopsy’s “Feast for a Funeral” comic book

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured On: Monday, January 7th, 2013

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Gorehounds, gut-sifters, and comic book ghouls will no doubt be aware that Bay Area death metal titans Autopsy have been immortalized in in Feast for a Funeral, a band-authorised comic by E-Comix.

As you’d expect from Autopsy’s generously gruesome back catalogue, and gather from the promotional video trailer for the comic [below], Feast for a Funeral has a narrative that’s 100 per cent NSFW or your money back, and is predictably unrestrained by any concessions made to decency, subtlety, good taste, and so on.

Apparently Feast for a Funeral “. . . details how Hell came on Hallowe’en night for Johnny and his girlfriend, Heather. Their head-over-heels endless love and foreplay would be replaced with meals on meat hooks, and ghosts greedy for murder once a ouija board, spell book, and radio were used for incantations and magic. Dead surgeons have returned to practice forbidden surgeries. And these monsters with masks are eager to practice evil. It will not be just another drunken Hallowe’en night for Chris and his friends dressed in costumes. They have unknowingly resurrected psychopaths that were once a cult in search of eternity. Consuming the flesh of their patients, these satanists searched for the secrets of our souls. And now Chris and his friends have just made the guestlist.”

Well, that’s nice ain’t it. Feast . . . comes across a bit like Severed Survival meets Halloween, taking slasher flick tropes and stitching them to the awkward lurching corpse of classic horror of yore (The Evil Dead-style misadventure in disturbing ancient supernatural malevolence, etc.) is sure to trigger interest from the freakier Autopsy completists out there.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that one of Peaceville’s roster has been chronicled in a comic—to mark the release of Darkthrone’s 2010 LP Circle the Wagons, French artist Nagawiki rendered the gruesome twosome Nocturno Culto and Fenriz in B&W panels. It was pretty gnarly, and you can check that out here.

E-Comix have also published a 28-page comic for Dying Fetus. Entitled Supreme Violence, it’s a (marginally) more tasteful piece of merch than a thong emblazoned with the band’s logo or sweat pants that beg the question as to what one’s lounge wear has got to do with slamming-brutal death metal? Supreme Violence is written by Vince Brusio and inked by Mats Engesten, and while we’re not wholly privy to what’s going on with this one narratively, the cover depicts a baby toting a hunting knife which, as you know, is every day care center’s worst nightmare.

Sure, Feast for a Funeral is obviously gonna be pretty niche, even in a world of niches. But maybe this whole Metal Band x Comic Book crossover could work on a grander scheme; bands and graphic comic art could be a real winner, and it certainly worked for KISS and Marvel. And who wouldn’t be interested in Alan Moore writing a conceptual dystopian revolutionary story arc featuring Napalm Death as an underground anarcho sect? Or a J.R. Hayes penning Se7en-style Pig Destroyer one-shot for someone like Jock to draw?

**Order Feast for a Funeral here
**Order Autopsy Born Undead DVD here
**Autopsy on Facebook

STREAMING: Azure Emote “Puppet Deities”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, January 7th, 2013

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If you’re well-heeled in the arts of underground death metal—is there another kind, actually?—the name Mike Hrubovcak should ring a bell. Right. Hrubovcak, not to be confused with his brother J.J., is sort of a Renaissance Man. The frontman’s throated for Vile and Monstrosity, as well as his own weighty projects in Divine Rapture and Azure Emote. Apart from telling tales of colossal death via some seriously powerful growls, Hrubovcak’s also a cover artist. He’s penned rad covers for Sinister, Grave, Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Inhume, and a bunch of other perverts who delight in (mostly) spread eagle dead chicks as art (aka “sweat pants death metal”).

But today we’re not talking about the many things on Hrubovcak’s CV. No, today is singularly devoted to Azure Emote. Started in 2003, Azure Emote issued its debut long-player in 2007 (Chronicles of an Aging Mammal), took a little break, and is back in avant-garde death metal action with the 2013 release of sophomore effort The Gravity Of Impermanence. While label details are currently being “sorted”, Azure Emote isn’t just of note for its wayward, left-of-center death but also for the people Hrubovcak’s brought on-board to flesh out his hair-brained ideas.

Check out this list: Mike Heller (Fear Factory, System Divide, Malignancy), Ryan Moll (Rumpelstiltskin Grinder, Total Fucking Destruction), Kelly Conlon (Death, Monstrosity), Pete Johansen (Tristania, Sins of Thy Beloved, Sirenia), Sandra Laureano, Melissa Ferlaak Koch (Visions of Atlantis), plus Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), Jonah Weingarten, J.J. Hurbovcak (Hate Eternal, Vile, Diving Rapture), and Jason Ian Vaughn Eckert (Aurora Borealis). That’s right. Like Mike, his session ensemble aren’t slouches at their respective professions. And, yes, that’s Hrubovcak cover. Sweet, no?

So, sit back, click the arrow, and be prepared to be transported to places of pulchritude and mortal desistance, aka Monday morning in America.

** Azure Emote’s new album, The Gravity Of Impermanence, is out mid-2013 on an as-yet-unnamed label. But for now nab debut album, Chronicles of an Aging Mammal, as a digital download on Bandcamp or iTunes for a fair price. Get it ’cause it rules!

Tales From the Metalnomicon: Dustin LaValley

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews, lists On: Friday, January 4th, 2013

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

Gonzo dark fiction author, screenwriter, martial arts sensei, serious connoisseur of heavy metal and hardcore — there’s a lot thrown into the mix when it comes to the literary force of nature that is Dustin LaValley. Dip even a toe into his ever-growing oeuvre, however, and you’ll quickly begin to see how the Hiram Grange Award-winning author weaves these disparate elements together to create an atmosphere of startlingly idiosyncratic, exquisitely harrowing (semi-controlled) chaos.

Below LaValley gives Tales From the Metalnomicon the lowdown on the inspirations behind/soundtracks to three of his greatest hits…


Lowlife Underdogs

“And I know this ghost — I have seen it before” — Converge, “The Saddest Day”

Lowlife Underdogs is my first published collection of short fiction. Weird horror would make a good summation. The stories, ranging from social commentary on the foster care system (“Baby Crane Adoption Agency”) to religious fanaticism (“Bologna Jesus Phenomena”), to misunderstandings of philosophical texts (“Tampton Clark”), to surrealist horror and straight-up human-derived horror in the title story, were written over a span of two or three years and then collected.

I always write while listening to music — almost always something fast and heavy or slow and heavy… But I also like to throw in some blues, like Robert Johnson, the man who sold his soul to the devil for his guitar skills. There would be no hardcore, doom, sludge or stoner metal without true blues or jazz.

It’s hard to pin down a specific record or band I listened to while writing these stories. I was on a rotation of Nailbomb, North Side Kings, One King Down, Unsane, Helmet, Snapcase, Mr. Bungle, and Acid Bath among others. Looking back, I’d have to say that the overall chaotic tone of Lowlife Underdogs was largely influenced by Converge — how epic is “The Saddest Day”!? Their ability switch between the polyrhythmic sound and slower tempo, of being balls-out and then suddenly, bringing in a note of slow, beautiful sing-song is reflective of the composition.



Spinner

“You would look so magnificent – Crawling on those bloodied knees” — Isis, “Poison Eggs”

Subscribe to Decibel, get the new Cathedral flexi disc

By: mr ed Posted in: featured, flexi disc On: Friday, January 4th, 2013

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Coventry’s mighty Cathedral are retiring in style this spring, following the release of swansong The Last Spire. And your friends at Decibel have the first new music from Lee Dorrian’s doom institution in nearly three years, debuting via our Flexi Series!

It’s unclear if “Vengeance of the Blind Dead” is a nod to the cult Amando de Ossorio film series we’ve profiled in the magazine, but we can tell you that the song–which will not appear on The Last Spire–is the recording debut of none other than Repulsion veteran Scott Carlson on bass. “Vengeance of the Blind Dead” will be served cold, metallic gold on black. If you’re not already a subscriber, achieve equilibrium by signing up here by 9 a.m. on Tuesday to ensure your flexi goldmine begins with this unearthly delight.

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Black Table

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, free, interviews, listen On: Friday, January 4th, 2013

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

The rumors are true.  All band names have been snapped up, and now we’re left with odd word combo leftovers.  Today we bring your attention to Black Table, a terrifyingly bleak and not easily classifiable gut-punch out of New York and New Jersey.  Not Black Altar, or even Black Meal Staging Surface (okay, yeah, that’s worse…), but Black Table.  Far be it from me to make fun – my best recent shot at a new band name was Interminable Whaleslap – but a band with music this stirring and well executed should at least have a moniker that gets out of the kitchen.

Black Table have released their new EP, Sentinel, at their Bandcamp page, and boy is it a broiler.  Do you like any of metal’s trends of the past decade (other than shitty slamcore)?  Blackened rasps, sky-scraping post metal, doomy paces, technically inspired arrangements…  Black Table offer all this and more in Sentinel’s 25 rousing minutes.  The quartet graciously took some time to talk about their background and forward momentum with Decibel, so while you bang your bod to the EP’s title track, scroll further to get the skinny on this Northeastern crew with a simple furniture fixation.

Who are Black Table?  How did the band come to be?

Mers: We are a four piece experimental metal band that started in 2010 from NY and NJ. I’m the vocalist and one of two of the guitars. It began with Ryan and I but, eventually Mike joined, then Matt in the winter of 2011.  I convinced Ryan to sit down and play guitar with me one night and we came up with a few songs over a short time. We programmed the drums and I laid down vocals. It wasn’t there but we could see potential. Mike was our ideal choice for a drummer, but we had to wait for him to be available because he was in multiple projects at the time. Once he joined us, everything started coming together really quickly. We decided to look for a bassist after we had 3 songs written and Mike suggested Matt, who was down to do it, lucky for us. Ryan was in Randall Flagg for about a decade until they broke up in 2010. Mike has been in multiple projects like Mabus, Randall Flagg, and Ryan and Mike have another band called Empier. Matt was in Mabus for ten years right til the end. I’m a student but I’m taking time off to focus on the band. I’m working towards a degree in cultural anthropology. Mike teaches private drum/piano lessons and also performs in several jazz groups. Ryan is graphic designer in NYC. Matt does graphic design in the Hudson Valley as well as some electrical work on the side.

What does the music on Sentinel represent to you?  What did you hope to convey with it?

Mers: Sentinel for me is handful of vignettes of historical events, existentialism and looking back to nature and our pasts to understand our relationships and process as organisms. Each song is thematic, has landscapes and tells a story. I’m really into myths, science and history – I love to research shit. The EP tells the story of Joan of Arc who was burned twice and thrown into the Seine and the hypocrisy of Christianity and politics, Jesse James taking the American Dream and holding it in a mirror to the people, life on earth originating from a dead star and the naturalness of death.    

Mike: Sentinel is a very important release for me, especially since it’s the first professional recording I’ve done in about 5 years. I really wanted to go all out on this record, and show all of our individual strengths and how we have all matured as musicians. All of us like completely different styles, genres, and sub-genres, which creates this melting pot of ideas. We never sat down and said, “Let’s do a black metal section, then a mathy section,” instead, it just all came out naturally. I really believe that Sentinel represents all of four us in different ways. The musicians we have become derive from the music each of us listen to and appreciate, and it comes out in our playing. Ultimately, the EP represents all of our separate musical quests into one cohesive vision, and I was hoping to convey the idea of genre freedom on this record, by tastefully sampling from different metal sub-genres.

Ryan: This recording was exactly what I wanted to do. I’ve been in a few bands, and I think for the first time I can say, I really didn’t filter myself. I did everything I creatively wanted and didn’t worry about how it would be perceived. It’s an amazing and scary feeling all at the same time. I think as a whole we became aware quickly that what we were doing was pretty unusual. We knew we were onto something when people would ask what genre we were and we really couldn’t figure it out. We still don’t really know haha. We have so many influences among us it’s hard to say which have the biggest effects on the songs. The one thing I love is we don’t have any formula we really just write and work on songs until the songs are done. We just like writing stuff that’s interesting to us and then we hope other people will enjoy it. That’s the scary part.

How does songwriting work for the band?  Are songs written by individuals or with the group banging out parts together?

Ryan: Mers and I would tag team the initial writing process. One of us would disappear with the computer and write and record a section. Then the other would listen, give it the thumbs up or down, and we’d discuss (fight) what we think should happen next, themes, concepts and then the other would record a complimentary part or a new section, and it would go back and forth like that for a few days, maybe weeks, maybe longer continually revising and refining.

Mers: Months haha. Yeah, I prefer to write and refine parts alone in our office. I need that space to focus.

Ryan: Our writing process takes a long time, we want things to be right, we try not to rush it.

Mike: After Mers and Ryan have the skeleton, we jam it out a little at practice to help Matt and I develop our parts. Then all four of us would go home, work on our ideas, and bring them to practice next time. We worked really hard on demoing all 4 songs before we went into the studio to record “Sentinel.” There were countless nights where Ryan and I would sit at his computer and program the drums/clicks, often times ripping our hair out trying to decipher what pulse and time signature we were in for certain sections. This painstakingly slow process helped us get the song forms solidified so practices could be more efficient, especially since half of us live in the Hudson Valley, and the other half live 90 miles away in Jersey City.

Do you have the support of a music scene?  Seems like your location is right in the middle of some great doomy/black stuff.  Are you connected with other area bands doing similar work?

Mers: We have had generous support from CT and NY. The CT Black Metal community really welcomed us which was humbling. Lord Vial of The Legion booked us for the Winter is Coming Festival 2012 before we had done a show live yet, just based on our demo song “Heist”. One of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and solid supporter of the scene, really intimidating to look upon though, I would not fuck with him haha. Agalloch, Ritual, Evoken and Vattnet Viskar played that fest as well, that was a real honor. We reached out to Vattnet Viskar, who we really admire and Chris Alferie has done a lot to help us out in any way he can, he also does our PR via his company GrimSleeper. Chris Thompson of CT Battle Stag Records knew Mike from Empier and has supported us with shows at the Heirloom Arts Theatre and is releasing our EP on a 12″ vinyl in February. Precious Metal, curated by Curran Reynolds was our first show and we had the opportunity to play one of the last 4 shows Precious Metal will be doing after a successful 6 years.

Being in a band is a community effort; everything we get to do besides our music is due to other bands, bookers and fans who surprised us with such overwhelming support and friendship. I really didn’t expect that. All I envisaged was getting to play some live shows to 1 or 2 apathetic kids; I really thought no one would give a fuck. Haha.

As for bands doing something similar to us, we are a pretty weird band, but we have run across bands that are doing their own thing extremely well, like Swordmasters of Ginaz, Protolith, Torrential Downpour, Dead Empires, Meek is Murder, So Hideous and Ferocious Fucking Teeth.Ryan: I think the scene in the tristate area is amazing; it’s like a real family.

The thing that’s great is the scenes are now converging because of facebook,  bandcamp, etc. and I feel like bands in Europe are as close as the bands in my area. There are so many good fucking bands from all over making great albums right now: Sonance an experimental/noise/doom band from Bristol, C R O W N atmospheric/noise/doom from France, Falls of Rauros black metal from Maine, The Bell Witch doom from Seattle and Alaskan atmospheric post-metal from Ontario. I could really name 100 bands that I think are doing amazing stuff. I find new bands every day that I’m blown away by, I love the Internet.

Are there plans now for music beyond the EP?

Mers: Definitely. On tour I brought up an idea for a full concept album that we might do and if we get it right, it will be exciting and challenging and something we haven’t seen yet from anyone else. One of the things we are into is creating an experience with music and trying to find new ways to that. To create a world or a dimension that is more than just aural. We have a merch kit that we made called “DeepWell”; it’s a 20 minute track of ambient droning of guitars and distorted drums and bass that comes with a candle, mirror, incense and scroll with a spell on it for revealing a past life. It’s essentially a ritual that uses all the senses to put the subject into an altered state. I wasn’t sure anyone would be interested in it, but it’s our best seller and people ask for it specifically.

Ryan: Of course, this is just the beginning for us. We have ideas, plans, and secrets for future projects. The one thing we really want to do is keep things clever and interesting, I don’t think we’d be happy releasing another recording very similar to Sentinel. We want to challenge ourselves to make new and unique work.

Do you have any particular goals for the music or for the band over the next year?  Longer?

Mers: We would like to tour at least 2-3 times this year, with a handful of  weekend trips. We are aiming to go down to SXSW and book some shows outside the festival. It would be great to have our friends Swordmaster of Ginaz, So Hideous, Gradius or Dead Empires join us on that. I’d also like to do a few film projects for our songs as well.

Mike: Tours to Texas, Canada, and California are definitely short-term goals we would like to achieve this year. A more long-term goal for us is to make it overseas to Europe in 2014-2015. Personally, I would love to play some shows in France with the bands Crown and Cathedraal.

Is there any particular art/literature that’s influenced your musical direction?

Mers: Songs in “Sentinel” were written with landscapes and moods in mind at first with a visual and aural journey from start to end so lyrics I write last, kind of like a narrative on the music. Specific inspiration came from by H. P. Blavatsky’s order of the elements, Pythagoras, The Hávamál, and images of the old American West.

Have you been playing these songs live?  What has your stage/touring experience been like?

Mers: We have played 18 shows so far since August 2012.

Mike: Everywhere from Rhode Island to Nashville. At first we did a lot of local shows, then we graduated to weekend tours and finally our most recent east coast tour this past December. Our stage experience has been pretty interesting, considering we have 4 huge cabs and a pretty big drum set. I remember that it took us 45 minutes to set up at our first show, and we only played 3 songs (20 minutes) haha. Since then, we’ve eliminated some equipment and streamlined our set up to make it quicker. Touring for 9 days also helped us in that regard, and really tightened up our live show.

While booking our most recent tour (December 2012), I was truly shocked at how supportive and helpful everyone was. For instance, I stumbled on “The Owl Farm Collective,” and booked a show at their Hymen House venue in Nashville. Every band and person there was so positive and supportive, and we really had a great time. There was no cover or anything, but we made enough money on merch sales to pay for gas to our next show, 9 hours away! I’ve been in touring bands before, and we always had some sort of problem on the road, or we had to pay for most of the gas out of pocket. However, this past Black Table tour was so refreshing because every show went really well and we broke even, which is huge for us. We are all really grateful for all the people we met and their hospitality and we can’t wait to go back out on the road. 

Mers: Def. We are very careful about booking though, every show we do is because we feel it fits or makes sense and I think that guides us towards like-minded people and bands. This made booking a tour a little easier; as we had help from great people we met through the scene.

Ryan: Shows have been great. Nothing has blown up, been stolen, or barfed on yet haha. We’ve been really lucky to play with a ton of talented and interesting bands. We love playing with bands that have soul and really craft their work. A lot of the time they’re all sorts of genres like doom, emocore, experimental noise, technical death metal, instrumental punk, you name it. It’s all great! Good music is all that counts. I love playing a show with a band I don’t know and they’re awesome, then I buy their CD and shirt and come home telling everyone. It’s the best!

Mers: Yeah, we get a lot of band boners haha.

Seven Inches into the New Year, with Feral King and Lonely Ghost Parade

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, free, gnarly one-offs, listen, uncategorized On: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

deciblog - 7inch cover

The Lord Herself knows Zao has kept it super-low on the spotlight front since the release of 2006′s The Fear is What Keeps Us Here. The promotional push for Awake? was zilch and the only “concrete” mentions of this supposed new album they have waiting in the wings for 2013 comes via Wikipedia and hardcore fans posting anticipatory messages on the band’s Facebook page. So, while the uncertainty ambles on, why not check out some Zao-related stuff?

Here, courtesy of Phil at Last Anthem Records, is a stream of a split 7″ due out soon, if it already isn’t available. This record features tracks from Feral King and Lonley Ghost Parade and you can read a little about who’s who below, and listen to your hearts’ content.

Tracks one and two: “Supraorbital” and “Scaenger” by Feral King (former members of Spitfire/The Takeover). www.feralking.bandcamp.com Recorded at Double O Studio (VA) with Tim Gault (Moutheater).

Track three: “Stand In The Fire” by Lonely Ghost Parade (former members of Zao) www.lonelyghostparade.com Recorded at the Treelady Studios (PA) with Dave Hidek and Garrett Haines.

For more info and ordering: www.lastanthemrecs.com