STREAMING: Evocation “Corporal Jigsore Quandary”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

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The stars have aligned. The planets in strange conjunction. The winds of time are flowing in reverse. What would the odds be that Swedish death metallers Evocation—long ago resurrected by revenge—are releasing a covers EP, Excised and Anatomised, a mere month before reanimated death metal lords Carcass are set to release the follow-up to Swansong, while a rejuvenated At The Gates prepare for yet another reunion tour, just after Napalm Death stormed the pearly gates of the United States on the second iteration of the Decibel Magazine Tour, which justly came after album-dormant Bolt Thrower went through Fatland on their first-ever headlining tour, meanwhile Edge of Sanity sits in eternity aching for either A) a reunion announcement without Dan Swanö or B) Dan Swanö announcing Crimson III? We have no idea, actually.

Needless to say, the coattails of death metal are being ridden unbeknownst by Evocation on Excised and Anatomised, where the Swedes go through ripping renditions of “You Suffer,” “…For Victory,” “Terminal Spirit Disease,” and “Enigma.” Oh, and they not-so-coyly render “Corporal Jigsore Quandary” cool, which if you click the Soundcloud link below, crank up your crappy laptop speakers to 666 (cliche, right?!), and worship the gods of old you’ll concur. Is it as good as the original? That’s for you to decide, but the featured photo (see above) is from 1992 at Gothenburg’s famous Valvet club. So, we’re kind of melding two old things in with the new to drive home a point. Evocation is releasing Excised and Anatomised on vinyl only (digital can fuck off).

“The Carcass track was probably the most demanding track to cover on the EP,” says guitarist and overall good dude Marko Palmen on covering the Carcass classic(k). “The first guitar solo ‘Human Jigsaw’ (originally recorded by Bill Steer) on the track landed on my table to perform on the EP. I’m normally a rhythm guitar player but once in a while I also make a solo. But this solo was really over-the-top when it comes to complexity for me. I had to bring home the guitar from the rehearsal room and more or less practice the solo for two months before nailing it in the studio. In the end it was definitely worth it, now I can tell my children in about 10 years that ‘Listen kids, Dad did the solo on this track!’ And to be honest I believe we will be awarded with a Grammy nomination for that performance. [Laughs] Otherwise, the Carcass track was also a challenge in many other ways. First of all the arrangements for almost everything on the track are atonal and don’t follow any logical structure. That makes of course the work covering the track so much more difficult. And then the lyrics are more or less like reading from an autopsy protocol with words that one has never encountered before and that makes the lyrical work quite challenging as well. But in the end when we nailed the track we all were very pleased with the result. I think we all felt quite bonded to the track and loved the way it turned out. Overall it was a great experience doing some cover tunes. One gets a unique view into the mind of another creative artist and that will probably leave lasting impressions with us for our future musical career.”

** Evocation’s Excised and Anatomised is out August 20th on Century Media Records. Pre-orders are available HERE. If you’re not interested in that perhaps we can interest you in an eBay search on ultra-boring UK death metallers Decomposed, which would be HERE.

Secret of the Ooze: An Interview with Oozing Wound’s Zack Weil

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, videos On: Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Oozing Wound by Joe Martinez -  62A1473

Thrill Jockey are known mostly for their weird post-rock and experimental psych acts like Trans Am, Barn Owl, Eternal Tapestry, and Tortoise. And that stuff is great, and we cover it, but it’s always a slightly uncomfortable match with the magazine. Recently, though, they’ve expanded into full-blown metal madness with Liturgy, the Body, and now Oozing Wound. The Chicago-based trio’s debut, Retrash, may be some of the filthiest crossover thrash you’ve ever heard, much less on a label that has released records from David Byrne. The album doesn’t come out until October, but we figured we’d let singer/guitarist Zack Weil introduce himself –and this definitely won’t be the last you hear from them. Check out a couple tracks from their debut demo, Vape and Pillage, while you read.

How does it feel to be the heaviest band on Thrill Jockey?
Feels like being the ugliest girl at the ball.  Everyone’s looking at you and judging you in comparison to the more attractive ladies, but they’re all too prissy to take home.  So we get the wolves and we get to party.

How did you put together all of your various influences and arrive at Oozing Wound?
It was completely thoughtless really, just because we listen to ABBA and shit doesn’t mean we want to play it.  I don’t want to see people sitting out there listening and taking in ambiance, I want ‘em rocking the fuck out.  You can probably hear the Fleetwood Mac in our shit stronger than the Sabbath.  It takes all kinds.

For that matter, how did you arrive at the NAME Oozing Wound?
It’s pretty hard to take something seriously when it’s called Oozing Wound.  We figured it gave us carte blanche to do whatever we wanted. It’s also something that sounds bad when your parents say it so that’s a plus.

What, specifically, are you screaming about, anyway?
Congress (Democrats and Republicans), bad drivers, hospital infections, bands that move to a specific place in hopes of making it big, a drug dealer mocking his new client, Joseph screaming at fetus Jesus wondering where the hell he came from, a mad hatter who becomes addicted to the mercury poisoning from making hats, what I figured Rambo is thinking in Rambo 4, and the Juggernaut which people would purportedly throw themselves and others under as a means of sacrifice.  Every song is in character like my boy Randy Newman.

Is there an underlying philosophy behind the band?
To slay.  Cut out everything that gets in the way of that.  Mostly allow the song to write itself, if you have a good riff it leads you to where you need to go.  Too many songwriters get in the way and fuck it up.

What’s the craziest thing that’s happened at one of your shows?
Kyle once got so overheated at a show that he puked on his drums during one of our songs.  He never stopped and puke flew off his snare drum when he hit it.  It was the most punk rock thing that ever happened.

Why should people choose Oozing Wound out of all their choices for noisy thrash?
Most bands suck, we don’t.  As, Old Dirty Bastard once said, “This ain’t no commercial shit.”

Oozing Wound – 1 @ Rotted Tooth Fest, Chicago (July 20, 2013) from Vitreous on Vimeo.

***Retrash comes out October 15 on Thrill Jockey. Chicago residents can taste the ooze August 24th at Town Hall Pub and at the record release show October 24th at the Empty Bottle.

“A Smoldering Torch in a Troglodyte Cave”: Sadgiqacea/Hivelords Tour Diary 2

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: diary, featured On: Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

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We’ll make this into concise as possible, so as to allow readers to break on through to the other side that much quicker: A) False Prism and Cavern Apothecary – presented by Sadgiqacea and Hivelords respectively — are two of the best, most intriguing mindfuck metal releases of the year thus far. B) The bands are currently on tour together. C) A mysterious scribe amongst them identified as “The Portalist” has sent along this account of the ensuing madness. (Part One lives here.)

July 14th: Welcome to Columbus, home of Amateur Comedy Nights, two dollar falafels, and very large speaker cabinets. “Get up in front of people and make them laugh” so beautifully melted into “Blow all eardrums to bits” and “Bartender! Pour me a Fog…an’ make it a triple!” A Hive-minded liquor sermon set up the coffins, and Sadgiqacea-whirlwind duo knocked ‘em down. How do you clean such a heavy mess? Call in Bridesmaid — they’ll sweep the damn floor with a double dose of bass broom boom wall to wall. After the show, Aaron and Faye treat us like the gods we aren’t for a second straight year; we thank them greatly. Cheers, Ohio.

July 15th: Dad’s Hats. Ahem: DAD’S HATS. Indianapolis, you sure know how to preach somethin’ evangelical, but that storefront next to the Melody Inn whips sinless and sinners alike. Dad’s Hats is the best name for a business — independent or corporate — in the Known Universe. Digression phase; dead. The show kicked ass. Everyone had work the next day but came out and stayed out. Brilliant stuff, really. Kata Sarka dealt a sickening spine-twist bones-crackle to the evening with deft metal precision. And cheers to the bartender, fed us beers and roof-of-mouth scalding pizza all night long. Bloody grins all around.

July 16th: Drove through the night to get to Chi-Town. Found out the Windy City is called such for reasons other than actual wind. Refreshing, like a midday drench in Lake Mish. Onward to Dylan of Neverender and Emperor Cabs’ pad for a burger, sahhsidge ‘n pahndin’ beerse. An afternoon well spent in any time period. Got to the Cobra Lounge like a pack of hungry Bear Grylls, lookin’ for some snakes to kill and cook. Neverender riffed us silly, the type of band you listen to while grilling, chilling, riding, rolling, loving and hating. Sadge and Hive next did thoroughly darken every dim corner of the room. Roman Ring to boot: unreal technicality. Time traveling between blastbeats and grisly slides, sweeps, legatos and anything else required by virtuosos. Grand.

Huge thanks to Dylan for having us over for the remainder of the night, and for showing us Nicky’s. Best damn yeeros, period.

July 17th: Madison is so tight. Like, brought vice grips to the party tight. Swim in a lake, meet a guy across the street. Guy says, “You in a band? I already know the answer to that. What do you play?” We respond: “Some doom, some black metal, some stoner, some sludge…y’know, heavy stuff.

“Black metal…like Darkthrone?”

“Pretty much.” “You say heavy stuff…you guys like Boris?”

Oh, it’s on. Have a cookout in Christopher’s yard, Amplifier Worship blaring. We’re talking lives here, people — lives! By the bucket and for the taking! Synchronicity in its finest form. Now go, go to the venue and tear the heart out from under it. Sure thing, man. Play the show, hang with Panther, chyeah. All in a day’s smirk.

Swimming through trash, speed-boat rides and blue lagoons: It’s Red Fang’s Euro tour report

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, August 5th, 2013

Bryan at Blue Lagoon

Listen, we have seen Red Fang’s promo videos. We’ve witnessed their love of the grog. And at the risk of sounding guilty of cynical lifestyle profiling, surely asking Bryan Giles to compile a tour diary sounded overly optimistic. How reliable a witness could the Red Fang guitarist/vocalist be after being jammed on a van for six weeks straight on another continent, only to be let loose around showtime under the summer sun and in the proximity of the rider? You couldn’t blame a man for missing out on some of the details. Shit, no. But here’s how Giles remembers Red Fang’s summer in Europe:

SPAIN
“We flew straight to Madrid. I believe we flew in, landed and played that same day. Yeah, it was great, Sonisphere was startling; jet lag then playing in front of a big crowd like that. We had days off towards the beginning of the tour but I think we did fourteen shows in thirteen days towards the end there, and that got pretty tiring. It was always pretty exhausting because the first ten days of the tour we didn’t have a van, it was all flying from one city to the next. We’d play show, get very little sleep, go to the airport, play a show then straight to the airport. I guess in that way it was pretty good that we started out that way because if it had ended that way we’d have all got crazy. Once we got to our van we had bunks, so we sorta had a home. But [flying] was the difficult aspect of that tour, for sure. The van we had this time out was like a small bus; it had nine bunks but it was pretty cramped. There were seven of us living in it, and you’re living in parking lots. But this is the first time we travelled in Europe with sleeping accommodation in the van; usually we are sitting bolt-upright in molded plastic seats, and that’ll wear you down, too. That was our saving grace—we could sleep. I would like to say I was mature enough but no: I partied pretty hard . . . I did take some days off. I took about a week off on the tour when I was ‘on the wagon’, as they say.”

GREECE
“Greece is great. That was our third time to Greece and the crowds there are really enthusiastic, very supportive. It’s good for the ego—people jumping around and stuff. The guys who were taking care of us gave us this amazing seafood, probably one of the best tour meals I’ve ever had; copious amounts of seafood right on the Mediterranean. We got to swim in the Mediterranean—the first time for me—and it was full of trash. But still, it felt great. Once you swam out past the trash it was beautiful.”

S. Craig Zahler (Wraiths of the Broken Land; Realmbuilder) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, August 5th, 2013

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** S. Craig Zahler was part of Decibel’s oral history on the illustrious rise and untimely demise of stateside metal bible, Metal Maniacs. Mr. Zahler interests, however, span more than writing reviews and making publicists fret. He’s a noted author, a script writer, and singer/drummer for doomy epic metal outfit Realmbuilder. The Metal Maniacs oral history is available HERE.

You were known to most metalheads as a metal “journalist” while at Metal Maniacs. But your skillset extended beyond writing reviews and interviews. How’d did you get into authoring books and writing screenplays?
S. Craig Zahler: I was writing fiction in some form since I was very little, long before I did any criticism. I was a “journalist” mainly because I am a metalhead and a vocal fan with a lot of opinions, and I wanted to support what I liked and point out some garbage (and still do, I have reviews on Metal Archives and write some for wormgearzine.com). Eventually, writing about music improved my skills as a writer and also enabled me to write actual music, which I do in Realmbuilder, where I also sing and play drums.

Did one come before the other? Books before screenplays, for example?
S. Craig Zahler: I worked on scripts in college, and then it was back and forth, though actually, the first pieces of fiction that I took to proper completion were theater pieces that I also directed. This was avant-garde stuff influenced by guys like Richard Foreman and Eugene Ionesco.

There’s heavy interest in your screenplays. What’s it like to have a producer or director option your work?
S. Craig Zahler: Yes, there is a lot of interest…and there is also a lot of fear since my pieces are quite dark and very unlike 99.999 percent of what’s made in Hollywood. I’ve optioned or sold or been hired to write a lot of different pieces–more than twenty different scripts of mine have been in play in the last six years, and I have had a lot of heroes give me compliments about my work. Still, only one piece has been made–Asylum Blackout–and I wrote that when I was a kid and don’t like it nearly as much as most of this other stuff. The end result of all of this is why I am taking things into my own hands and directing one of my pieces, a horror western entitled Bone Tomahawk, which will star Kurt Russell, Peter Sarsgaard, Timothy Olyphant, Jennifer Carpenter, and Jim Broadbent.

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You’re also in Realmbuilder. Two albums have come out on vinyl and CD. What’s Realmbuilder up to now and how can fans get more info?
S. Craig Zahler: The third Realmbuilder album of doomy epic metal, Blue Flame Cavalry, will be coming out later this year on the same label, I Hate Records of Sweden. We update our Myspace page on occasion, and I Hate also posts notices. I recommend for curious folks to go over there and check out our tunes.

What are you working on now?
S. Craig Zahler: A lot. I’m in pre-production for Bone Tomahawk. I’m writing the script adaptation of my own crime novel, Mean Business on North Ganson Street, to which Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx are attached. I’m prepping a sitcom I wrote called Villain-Super, which has been revived by a big company. I’m doing a revision of my script The Brigands of Rattleborge, which has Park Chan Wook (Old Boy) is attached to direct. And I’m also pushing my new novel, Wraiths of the Broken Land, a horror western which is the darkest thing I’ve ever written.The book is now available from the publisher–Raw Dog Screaming Press–as well as places like Amazon.com in both hard back and trade paperback editions. This novel (my second published) has received support and accolades from authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Ed Lee, as well as praise from Kurt Russell (who is a great, great guy…and obviously likes my writing!) and booklist. I recommend it to people who are into westerns or horror or dark crime fiction.

Current Playlist:
Blue Oyster Cult – Spectres
Thin Lizzy – Thunder and Lightning
Reverend Bizarre – Crush the Insects
Morningstar – Kalevala Mysticism
Cirith Ungol – One Foot in Hell
Triarii – Muse in Arms
King Crimson – Red
WWIII – WWIII
Dio – Dream Evil
Kraanium – Post Mortal Coital Fixation
Craniotomy – Fresh Supply of Flesh Just Came In
Black Sabbath – Tyr

** S. Craig Zahler’s novel Wraiths of the Broken Land is available HERE. Previous Realmbuilder albums are available HERE. Visit S. Craig Zahler’s official website HERE.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: D. Harlan Wilson

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, August 2nd, 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…

The metal-loving elite purveyors of literary insanity over at Raw Dog Screaming Press are celebrating their tenth anniversary this weekend at DogCon 2 in Columbus, Ohio. Scheduled amongst many alluring events, readings, and talks, was one particular presentation that caught the Metalnomicon’s attention: “Desire, Morality, and Arena Rock in the Publishing Industry” by the great bizarro writer, teacher, and editor D. Harlan Wilson.

We reached out to Wilson to see if he might give Metalnomicon an exclusive preview. He graciously agreed. Dive in below. For more up-to-he-minute info on DogCon happenings, follow Raw Dog on Facebook.

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The publishing industry is like a hair band: Only a few groups get to sing power ballads under the stadium limelights. Unfortunately the most famous hair bands are often the worst, whereas the best never make it out of brewery corners and nightclub basements.

What does it take to get “the deal?” To garner national, or even international, coverage? One way to go is to try and find your very own Colonel Tom Parker, but even Colonel Tom couldn’t have made it far without a legit Elvis Presley. There’s an adage in the publishing industry: there are no bestselling books, just bestselling authors. You can just as easily substitute “authors” with Elvises, Bon Jovis, Springsteens, David Lee Roths, etc.

Now brace yourself for some cold water, because you need to take your idea of the bestseller and flush it. That’s right, yank you faux-platinum album off the wall and drop it in the john. Writing a book, marketing yourself to publishers, and then marketing your book to readers isn’t like playing Rock Band. No, slipping a fifty in with your manuscript doesn’t work on editors the same way it doesn’t work with DJs receiving new music down at the radio station anymore.

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Decibel exclusive: New Malevolent Creation song!

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, August 2nd, 2013

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It’s been three years since we’ve heard a peep from death metal originals Malevolent Creation (with Invidious Dominion, in 2010). Decibel is lucky to get our hands and ears on a new track called “Face Your Fear.” Drummer Gus Rios tells us that it’s the first of many the band is writing.

Stream “Face Your Fear” below and then check out a quick q and A from Rios on what we can expect soon from the Florida lifers.

What has the band been up to?

We took almost a year off. The band toured a lot for Invidious Dominion and wanted to not only take a break, but kind of let demand for the band build up again. We did a few shows in Brazil and Mexico, but other than those, we have been laying low. Til now!

Are you working on a new album?

Yes! This is only ONE song of many Phil (Fasciana, guitar) and I are working on. We are still debating how we are going to go about releasing new music. For a band like ours with 11 albums and more than 110 songs, it’s just not making sense to record 10 new songs. We are thinking (still not 100%) that doing EPs might be the way. That way we can concentrate on writing five really good songs and play them all live as well. We don’t want to be a band that has to rely on its past. We want to write songs that are good enough that people will want to hear them live, as well as the “classics.” And realistically we would only do about five songs off of any new album anyway due to the extensive catalog.

Can you tell us a bit about the new song?

The music came about the same way it has since 1997. Phil and I get together and just jam. I record the jams and we listen for gems that we then develop into a song. Then we send it to Brett (Hoffman, vocals) and he does his thing. Phil and I never hear what Brett has written until he records it. It actually makes it a little more exciting because we know Brett always delivers something great and elevates the song to another level. I recorded, produced and mixed the track in my studio, Riversound Productions. Brett lives in Buffalo, NY and did his vocals with Jim Nickles (a former member of MC no less!) at his place called Shredly Studios. I had a friend named Eric Koondel master it. He had mastered another album I recorded and it sounded great. The production is very old school in the sense that we did not use ProTools for editing the piss out of everything. What you hear is what we played! The drums are natural, except for the kick drum sound is a sample replacing the mic’d kick…just like the Morrisound days. And we used an actual guitar amp to record! What a concept?!

Are you hunting for a label or planning to self-release material?

There are quite a few options and having your own studio really helps. So we’ll see what happens. In any case, new music will be coming out before the end of the year or very early next year with plenty of touring to follow!

Get in touch with Malevolent Creation.

BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, August 2nd, 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 we’re feeling a bit nostalgic. Deschutes and other breweries from the craft beer “Class of ’88″ have released a handful of collaboration beers celebrating their 25th anniversary. This is the very same year I became a legally imbibing craft beer drinker, though, despite living in the Pacific Northwest, I didn’t cross paths with any of these breweries’ beers until a few years later. A little brewpub (part of the local McMenamin’s chain) that popped up a block from my apartment in Eugene, the High Street Brewery & Cafe, was my gateway. We drank for cheap there: pints were less than $2 when it first opened. But more importantly, we learned about styles like porters and pale ales and amber ales and we came to discover how amazing well-made craft beer could taste. So, with this, we’re celebrating our own 25-year anniversary of drinking craft beer.

CLASS OF ’88
Barley Wine
Deschutes/North Coast/Rogue
Bend, OR/Fort Bragg, CA/Newport, OR
10.2% ABV

We’re not typically pouring barley wine down our drinkhole in August, but we’ll gladly drink a huge-ass double IPA, and there doesn’t seem to be much difference between one of those and this. OK, this does have a significant malt presence—like a barley wine should, of course—but the refreshing, lightening presence of fruity/foresty aromatic hops steers this clear of the likes of Rogue’s br00tal Old Crustacean.

The scent right out of the bottle is round, sweet and filled with summery stone fruit aromas. There’s some caramel and roasted nut notes in there, too, but this is really about the fruit. Not surprising considering the inclusion of Cascade and Mosaic hops. The taste is similarly fruity (with hints of toasted coconut, caramel and nuts), but in a way that’s atypical of many barley wines. This has a freshness to it that makes slugging it back, even in the heat of summer, pretty doable. There’s a fair swack of bitterness on the finish, but it’s perfectly balanced by this beer’s sweetness, which is present without being cloying.

This nostalgia for 1988—obviously a significant year for craft beer if it saw the birth of North Coast, Rogue and Deschutes, among others—got us thinking about what kind of year it was for metal. While thrash heavyweights like Metallica (…And Justice), Anthrax (State of Euphoria), Slayer (South of Heaven), Megadeth (So Far So Good) and Testament (The New Order) released some damn fine albums, the level of ridiculousness in the hairband mainstream had reached a fever pitch. To quote Mr. Burns’ novel-writing monkey: “It was the best of times, it was the blorst of times.”

Certainly the trajectories that (real) metal and craft beer were taking were different at the time. The above-mentioned bands all put out those landmark albums via major labels. They had long since ceased being “local” phenomenons. There was obviously an underground movement still chugging away, but the meat of the metal scene in 1988 (including Death Angel, Queensryche, Rigor Mortis and Danzig) was major label funded and nationally distributed. Those sorts of “alliances” wouldn’t figure into the craft beer story for another decade. And, to this day, nothing gets a beer geeks panties in a bunch more than a craft brewery having even the slightest hint of affiliation with one of the macrobrew megacorps (see: Widmer, Redhook, Goose Island, et al.).

But back to the beer at hand. There’s no mention of who did what in the creation of this beer, and I can’t say that it is particularly reminiscent of any one of their individual releases, but it’s a good, solid barley wine and certainly representative of the kind of quality all three breweries have demonstrated over the last quarter century. Buy this because it’s a tasty brew, not because it’s anything gimmicky. In fact, buy two. Drink one now and put the other down for the next 25 years when hopefully all three breweries will be celebrating their 50th anniversaries.

Subscribe to Decibel for the exclusive CARCASS flexi disc

By: mr ed Posted in: featured, flexi disc On: Friday, August 2nd, 2013

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Carcass are back, and like John McClane, they’ve returned with a vengeance. The forthcoming Surgical Steel is the death metal icons’ first album of new material in 17 years; we delivered a glowing 9 out of 10 first-look lead review in the September issue, but that’s just one of many exclusive tools of the trade coming from your friends at Decibel.
In the October issue, Carcass take over the Flexi Series with “Zochrot.” This brand new song will not appear on Surgical Steel; the Flexi Series will be the only place you can hear it. And “Zochrot” will not be streaming on the Decibel website, so exhume and consummate by 9 a.m. EST on Tuesday to ensure your subscription begins with this killer new B-side.

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: The Cold View

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, free, interviews, listen On: Friday, August 2nd, 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.

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Summer is festival season, a time for raucous death metal and the good times to be had by crackin’ a cold one and thrashin’ off your denim and patches.  And right in the middle of all this hot-weather-related catharsis, Decibel‘s here to cool things down slow the pulse.  Considerably.  After some scorching temperatures in the mid-Atlantic region, a very real heavy mist has settled in to remind us that maybe we’re not so far removed… from Weeping Winter.

German depressive A.A.S. mimics funeral doom motifs on his project The Cold View, and has done a powerful job of it without recording with an abysmally tuned electric guitar.  Weeping Winter is the sound of sinking slowly, without hope or even desire of salvation.  Stark piano melodies hide behind buzzing drones while the saddest, most hateful 80-ton turtle growls its darkness over everything.  After descending through several levels of consciousness and becoming slime, Decibel contacted A.A.S. to get his perspective on the bleak music he has made.  Stream Weeping Winter here or from Bandcamp while you read his responses… until you’re too depressed to read anymore, that is.

Can you give us some background information about yourself?

There is nothing special to tell about my non-musical life. Music is the center of my life. I am mainly into different styles of Black Metal, Drone, Doom, Funeral Doom and so called Progressive and Post Metal stuff. Although I also like fast songs, solemn music is my favorite style.

How did you start working on Weeping Winter?

In 2005 a friend worked on a small Death/Doom project Bestial (bestial-metal.com) together with me. This was my very first experience of creating music. After a downtime of a couple of years, in November 2011 I was experimenting with some professional and semi-professional Linux audio software which led to the first The Cold View track, “Empty November”. I gave a raw mix to the mentioned friend who meanwhile runs the Berlin-based recording studio Blockstudio (blockstudio.de). He encouraged me to go on and so the concept album came into being. In the end he also did the final mixing and mastering.

Did you decide at the beginning to write one track per month, or did that happen on its own?

After I realized the potential in what I was doing I wanted to create a concept album dealing with the cold season. Part of the concept was to create one song per month and to capture the special emotions, nature and weather conditions I was experiencing in this time. It worked out very well. The time line was more a guideline than a barrier.

Can you speak specifically about the circumstances and natural influences that drove these songs?

The songs and their lyrics are very personal and intimate. They are influenced by the darker side of human life and my interpretation of occurrences of nature. The lyrics are not very philosophical but spontaneous emotional expressions. Personally I see more depth or intensity in melancholy and darkness than in cheerfulness and light. But the music was also a release for the creative pressure I had inside.

What instruments did you play on Weeping Winter?  The absence of guitar seems very interesting for an album like this.

The album is created by sequencers, synthesizers and vocal recordings. I used single guitar chords as basis for many layers of synths and effects. In this way some of the drones and noisy ambient sceneries came into being. So it’s right to say that real guitar playing is absent.

What plans do you have for The Cold View?  Is it a continuous project, or do you think you achieved its purpose with Weeping Winter?

In fact I think I achieved the purpose I wanted to. But nevertheless I want to go on with The Cold View. Eventually I will record another album with a quite different style. There is a possible concept already in my mind. I would like to mainly work with acoustic guitar. But it shall not get an acoustic album. I would also use many layers, filters and effects. This time with real guitar playing.

What are your favorite depressive artists/albums?

When it comes to Doom my favorites are Ahab, Esoteric, Shape of Despair and Pantheist. I also could mention bands like ColdWorld, Herbstnebel, Austere, Woods of Desolation or Katatonia.

What non-extreme music excites you?

I think I am quite open minded for different styles and influences. It excites me when a band is able to combine different styles into an eligible interplay. I love acoustic guitar so I also have a liking for non-political Neo Folk bands like Tenhi, Weh, Quellenthal or Nebelung.