BREWTAL TRUTH: (Don’t) Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, August 9th, 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. Normally we won’t post anything here that we haven’t happily poured down our own gullet, but we will occasionally make an exception—like this week—just to spotlight a beer worth mentioning for one reason or another.

Since the AC/DC beer recently became available in Canada (but not the US yet), it seemed like we ought to take it for a spin. As we’ve pointed out in a previous Deciblog post, there are a lot of AC/DC-inspired craft beers out there. Clearly, this is a band that goes well with beer. Some prefer the copious-amounts-of-cheap-stuff route, while others like to go more-expensive-and-more-flavor. To each his or her own. It’s probably not hard to guess who this officially branded brew is geared toward. For $2.50 Canadian (in BC), you can get a 500ml (that’s a pint, more or less, in America) can. The question is, would anyone want to drink a lot of this? Or even a little?

AC/DC
Euro Pale Lager
Brasserie de Saverne
France
5% ABV

It’s worth noting that the AC/DC “Australian Hardrock” beer we sampled was brewed in…France. By a brewer with not a particularly sterling reputation for beery excellence. There are obviously brewers in Australia capable of making this same exact style of beer, which would at least lend the slightest whiff of Down Undah authenticity to it. But no. What’s worse—and we haven’t even gotten to the taste of the beer yet!—is that on the website for the beer, it is shown as being brewed in Germany, so at least you would have the German Beer Purity Law preventing the addition of cheap adjuncts. But that beer apparently hasn’t made it to Canada yet. No, we get the French version made with god knows what.

Nothing but disappointment awaits with the crack of the pull-tab. The first thing we do with any beer is take a good sniff of whatever scents have just been released. This smells of canned peas. Deep sigh. Poured from the can it produces little in the way of head. In fact, we feel embarrassed for how ineffectually it fills up a glass. It tastes of dirt and corn and has a dry finish that leaves a sour taste in our mouth. This barely qualifies as a beer. They should just put a little target at the bottom of the can with a note saying “Puncture Here,” because this kind of utterly tasteless “brew” is good for one thing only: shotgunning.

It’s really not that hard to make a moderately decent beer. It just takes a small amount of quality ingredients and a modicum of skill in the brewery. Admittedly we don’t spend a lot of time tasting our way through various adjunct-laden lagers, but we haven’t experienced a beer this unappealing since we bought a sixer of Heidelberg tallboys and drank them warm in a cabin on Oregon’s South Santiam River. That must have been 20 years ago. This is a good-looking can filled with utter swill. You’ve been warned.

And since AC/DC have slapped their name on a canned beverage pretending to be beer, we leave you with a Spanish band pretending to be AC/DC. Which, honestly, we prefer considerably more than the beer.

Summer Slaughter Slays Silver Spring, MD

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, tours On: Friday, August 9th, 2013

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 Last Friday, August 2nd, I spent most of the day in a Washington, DC suburb to take in one of the oddest summer festivals around: Summer Slaughter 2013. Past years have found this tour loaded with distinctively death metal acts, abounding with brutality and breakdowns. This year’s edition of the tour certainly included a fair bit of snarling death with Sweden’s Aeon and Cali’s Cattle Decapitation, but also flaunted the techy Revocation, the progressive compositional approach of The Ocean, the goofy crowd pleasers Periphery, the magical string ‘n’ skin shredders Animals as Leaders, and the acrobatic oddball explosion of the Dillinger Escape Plan.

With so many different styles on offer, everybody in attendance came to experience the heavy bliss with their own personal tastes emblazoned on them like signs (or t-shirts). The blustery -core of Rings of Saturn and Thy Art Is Murder drew their own young crowds, many of whom sported earlobe gauges of all sizes and sh… well, they were all circles, actually. Circle pits were foretold and fulfilled, though the area’s most recognizable mosher – Chicken Suit Guy – never showed his feathers; one fan suggested that his absence was due to the lack of real death metal on the bill. The crowd was heavily surfed by grinning girls, beaming boys, and one dude and his entire wheelchair made their way overhead.

Upon arriving at the venue, my first concern was getting a chance to talk to members of the various bands, so I missed the bulk of the sets by opener Harvester and follow-ups Rings of Saturn and Thy Art Is Murder. What I heard sounded appropriately brutal, and the young’uns seemed satisfied. Then Aeon unleashed their dense death storm upon the venue and shit got real. The shift in heaviness was palpable and appreciated. Revocation tore through their set with an impressive fiery energy, while vocalist/guitarist David Davidson continually demanded more participation from the audience. The Ocean made their short set time work for them, hitting all the highs, lows and Neuro-heavy moments with equal grace and aggression. The pacing of their set contrasted starkly with most other performers, stretching out into breathing songs rather than one overwhelming beatdown.

Cattle Decapitation returned to the gore-hammer death attack, with Josh Elmore working out some serious guitar licks and Travis Ryan deriving his stage presence right out of the 28 Days Later Infected Handbook. Norma Jean ducked in and out of slow, tortured grooves. A ton of kids bounced like deranged motorized pogo sticks through Periphery’s set and lost their shit over the technical wizardry of Animals as Leaders, though these same kids made comments to each other like, “I’ve never heard Dillinger Escape Plan.” “Yeah? I’ve listened to some. They’re okay.” Fine with me, I guess. More space up front for the rest of us. This Decibel hack screamed back at Greg Puciato and Ben Weinman like a green fanboy, and loved every second of it.

When I met up with the bands, I asked them all similar questions (Hall of Fame style), which I have edited for your enjoyment below. You’ll hear from Cory Brandan Putman, Jeff Hickey and Chris Day from Norma Jean (NJ); Zeb Nilsson from Aeon (A); David Davidson from Revocation (R); Robin Staps from The Ocean (O); Travis Ryan, Josh Elmore and Derek Engemann from Cattle Decapitation (CD); Jake Bowen from Periphery; Tosin Abasi and Javier Reyes from Animals as Leaders (AAL); and Ben Weinman and Liam Wilson from the Dillinger Escape Plan (DEP). Every single dude was cool to talk to, and I hope they continue to kill from the stage for the remainder of the tour.

This is Hardcore: Through the Eyes of Hardcore Guys

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, listen, stupid crap, uncategorized, videos On: Thursday, August 8th, 2013

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Today’s the first day of four of 2013′s This is Hardcore Festival. Last week, we spoke to owner and operator, Joe “Hardcore” Mckay about his background, the fest’s humble early years and most everything else concerning the annual Philly throwdown. Read it here. This week, we tracked down members from a few of the 54 bands performing this year to ask them a neat and tidy question: as briefly as possible, what comes to mind when you think of This is Hardcore. We got it all, from the astute to the absurd. Go!

“At first I thought we were playing at a porno convention. Our show should turn it into one.” -Oderus Urungus of Gwar

“Brave vision, immense logistical skills, and a task only a madman would undertake.” -Dan Yemin from Kid Dynamite/Paint It Black

“TIHC Bridges the gap between a festival vibe and a small old-school show atmosphere. It’s great to see an event grow so big on home cookin’.” -Sick of It All

“THIS IS HARDCORE: So crucial that I think of it before the Pulp record. “ -100 Demons

“”’Hey Joe, where’s the BEER?’, ‘Hey, Joe. Sorry we’re late’ , ‘Good evening Philadelphia, are you ready to lose your fucking minds?’ , ‘Hey Joe, is there more beer?’” -Ringworm

“Quality.” -Nails

“A yearly ritual pilgrimage to a Hardcore music Mecca in which practitioners of the Hardcore lifestyle leave offerings of screams, sweat, and even blood.” -Wisdom In Chains

“A religious experience.” -Suburban Scum

“A rare opportunity to see so many amazing bands, new and old – TIHC bridges not only generations of hardcore but also the distance between us all.” -Panic

“My dad always told me if you can’t say anything good yourself, quote someone. ‘I get silly when I play in Philly’.” –Rock Bottom

LISTEN: Rosetta’s The Anaesthete

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, listen On: Thursday, August 8th, 2013

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As many notable websites have pointed out this week (Grantland and HitFix to name two), it’s been ten years since The O.C.–and one of the best first seasons of television ever made–premiered on August 5, 2003. While I would have loved to come up with a post that actually related to Sandy Cohen and company, something a little more relevant for our purposes also happened that same month and year, at least if Wikipedia is to be believed. You see, Philadelphia’s own Rosetta played its first show on August 20, 2003, an anniversary rendered even more topical as the band self-released its fourth full-length, The Anaesthete, early this morning (though too early for me to give any immediate thoughts).

Music aside, what’s interesting about The Anaesthete is that it marks a business experiment of sorts for the band. After having seen its first three full-lengths released by Translation Loss, Rosetta financed the record entirely on its own, so each download purchased will go towards helping them get out of the red and, once in the black, possibly allow them press the record in North America. As the band wrote last month on its blog (which you should definitely check out as the group will sometimes answer fan submitted questions), “This is a big risk for us, but we feel that our listeners are a trustworthy bunch on the whole. Moreover, we want to find out whether releasing music completely independently is a sustainable way for a small band to operate. You get to decide what the album is worth to you, and pay that amount.”

So take a listen above and then name your price to pick up a digital copy of The Anaesthete here. If you can, also be sure to catch our hometown heroes this month supporting KEN Mode. They don’t play live all that often, so see ‘em while you can (and guys, feel free to play “Au Pays Natal” on Friday).

8/8 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter (w/ Weedeater)
8/9 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
8/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
8/11 – Cambridge, MA @ Middle East Upstairs
8/12 – Syracuse, NY @ Gorham Brothers Music
8/13 – Portland, ME @ Geno’s
8/14 – Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
8/15 – Albany, NY @ Valentine’s
8/16 – Newark, DE @ Mojo Main
8/17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Smiling Moose
8/18 – Columbus, OH @ Kobo Live
8/19 – Royal Oak, MI @ Genesis
8/20 – Cleveland, OH @ Now That’s Class
8/21 – Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
8/22 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock
8/23 – Joliet, IL @ Mojoes (w/ Grace the Damned, no Ken Mode)

Low Fidelity: The Reality Of The Record Business, circa 2013

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: diary, featured On: Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

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Neill Jameson is best known to readers as Imperial, frontman of the excellent USBM band Krieg. Along with Blake Judd, Wrest and Thurston Moore (!) he’s also part of the black metal project Twilight. I got to know Neill during an interview about three years ago and we’ve kept in touch since. As our readers know black metal doesn’t pay the bills unless you live in a small European country. Jameson pays his rent by working in a New Jersey record store. His social media posts on his daily experiences never fail to make me laugh. He graciously agreed to tell our vinyl-loving followers what really happens in a record store. — jmn

There’s a certain romance about record stores, an idea that the employees sit around and listen to music they love and meet and have intimate discourse with others who share their passion. Let’s end this horseshit idea.

Somewhere along the line I fucked up. This is about one way: the fact that somehow I ended up managing two record stores in southern New Jersey. The main one is located in a shopping mall that’s been on the verge of shutting down for years.

This isn’t the first record store I’ve worked at over my three and a half decades and I’ve come to learn my share of useless shit (Did you know every single living person in the 1970′s owned Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours?). I understand what goes into keeping an independent store open in the age of digital downloads, smug kids who think they deserve something for nothing, online gouging and the shift in pop and underground cultures. These are some of my observations.

With the declining economy people need quick money. This coincides with the rise of cheap entertainment, namely reality shows. Outside of exploiting teens who don’t understand the proper use of condoms (or are just shitty at pulling out) and the barnyard antics of lower culture there’s been a rise in shows with a simple premise: your old shit is worth a fucking fortune. Every time some asshole in Pawn Stars brings in a record that is worth good money, some hapless asshole brings in a box of moth eaten records to my store that look like two wolverines fucked on them and expects whoever they’re hoisting this shit on to pay out.

The majority of my conversations go like this: “So you buy records?” “How much do you pay for records?” There are many variations, always in the same rehearsed cadence. For a while I thought it was because my area is full of economically depressed winners who stopped living circa 1979. As I’ve traveled and gone to other stores I see it’s everywhere. People are desperate, which I understand, but rarely does something worth purchasing come through our door.

Even rarer is someone being o.k. with what you offer them. They will go around the store and pull the same records they are trying to sell and ask if they will be getting the amount they see on the price tag. Well, you need to make money to keep the lights on, which means you need to make money from what you sell. I thought this was taught in high school business classes. I always tell people if they want the most money they should sell online. This is generally met with bovine stares because they never thought the computer was for anything but cat pictures.

I like to think I enlighten and enrich people’s lives with this information but this is met mostly with being told that they need the money “now” or “don’t want to fuck with that.” I guess Amazon and eBay take patience. I’ve heard some great excuses before, including a man who said he needed it for an operation (the smell of cheap booze showing he was already self-administering anesthesia). Generally, people who want to sell interesting subcultural records sell them online so it’s no surprise I have 23 copies of that Lionel Richie record where he’s wearing the tacky green sweater but I’ve only come across Sore Throat or Venom records from a personal collection a handful of times.

In order to stay afloat, most stores operate across a broad spectrum of websites: Amazon, eBay, and Discogs. These can be fabulous resources to reach customers, at least until USPS doubled the shipping rate. The problem arises when you add the human element, and this applies for buyers and sellers.

Sellers have to deal with someone buying something without seeing the creases, surface marks and body fluid stains first. Poison Idea was right about record collectors being pretentious assholes: if you aren’t painstakingly clear about the condition of something when listing it, chances are you’ll get a refund request.

Amazon and eBay no longer offer a great deal in seller protection, so scams occur somewhat frequently. We get records sent by people looking to upgrade on a semi frequent basis, if we’re lucky to get the record back at all. All sorts of shit can happen to the package while in transit and trying to collect insurance is like pissing in the wind. I’m convinced some postal workers have a fetish for fucking on top of the boxes judging from the condition some things come back in.

There’s a flipside. This one is the fault of the noble music peddler. The greedier of us will take note of supply and demand and gouge the Lord Jesus Christ out of things that are readily available. Amazon at Christmas is a good example. New record that your distributor has a ton of but is unavailable on Amazon? That bitch is now $39.99, fuck you and your $19.99 on another site. Do some Google research on an Amazon seller called “Any Book” for good examples of this.

The absolute worst time that a customer’s desperation to own something RIGHT THE FUCK NOW is on our yearly holiday, Record Store Day. There are a lot of great brick and mortar stores that abide by RSD’s loose rules to not fuck the fans who want their chosen bands limited releases, and those are stores that deserve your money. Then there’s stores who keep the best items aside to throw online a few hours into it when people are in a frenzy and willing to spend $50 on a 7-inch that’s been available for five hours. The excuse? Trying to beat the asshole that was first in line to then do the same unscrupulous shit and flip it online as well.

There’s a video on YouTube called “Shit People Say in Record Stores” and this guy captures the anger of our day-to-day experiences. People are very predictable and you grow to be able to predict what they will say before they say it.

Our most frequent visitor is an open mouthed shell of a man. His wife drops him off to buy herself time away from the ghost she married. This man walks around remembering what it was like to be alive. He will talk to you about how he once owned “everything” in the store (including the entire Doom catalog I’m sure) and regale you with stories about youthful sex in graphic detail. He will think that you look up to him and he’ll start to come in frequently, to chat.
After this man comes the old woman who has a bunch of shit locked in some room somewhere that she wants to bring in for you to purchase. The memories she is selling smell like the chemtrails that led Jaz Coleman to flee to Iceland. These people are mostly harmless and not malicious but really fucking irritating nonetheless.

Then you will get the pebble in your shoe, the burn when you piss: the know-it-all. He will tell you he is friends with half the bands in your new release section. He will argue with you about facts that you never gave a flat fuck about in the first place. He will bitch about your prices and announce where to go online to download things for free to a full store. He is the generation that I want off my fucking lawn. He comes in not for the love of music but rather to pick a fight with whatever poor sap is behind the counter.

I wanted to think that it was just my store that attracted assholes but the more record store employees I speak to the more I realize that these people are a part of a culture. Our culture.

Oh, and occasionally people come in, smile, buy shit, and leave. But who wants to hear positive shit?

People generally think of record store clerks as judgmental, aloof assholes who laugh at your purchases. In a lot of cases it’s true. As someone who spends a lot of time at various record stores and shows I’ve found that at least half of the stores I go into are like this. The clerk will snort if you bring up something displeasing. You’ll be ignored if you ask for help.

Understandably, not everyone has constant good days so that’s an excuse, or perhaps the clerk is just beaten down. There are cases where the person behind the counter is just an elitist asshole who has become the archetype that fucks up the rest of the party for us. As I’m not a very conversational person I just try to avoid interaction with them as much as possible because I still enjoy record shopping.

I still believe in brick and mortar record stores, just like I still believe in underground record labels. It might be my age but these stores have always played a role in my personal history. I know that the same holds true for many of you.

It’s a sinking ship and I know I’m swabbing the poop deck. For someone to open a record store now it means they’re truly in it for the love of music and it’s a goddamned brave move. Places like Sit and Spin in Philly and Black Mess in Baltimore are places where you can discover a lot. They do it because they’re passionate and it shows.

There seems to be a new documentary on indie stores closing their doors every six months and they’re meant as a battle call for people who are passionate about music to come, grab a bucket, and bail the water out of the ship. Dry your eyes after that last beautiful analogy, brothers and sisters, and do your part. We might be the last generation who can.

Follow Neill on Twitter
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Buy (digital) Krieg stuff here

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

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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

scraigzahler_author_decibel_2013

** 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.

scraigzahler_wraiths_decibel_2013

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.