DevilDriver Studio Q&A

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, May 27th, 2013

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You started recording in December 2012 and finished in April 2013. That’s a long time to track. Who are you? Metallica? I’m kidding. It was done in pieces, correct?
Dez Fafara: [Laughs] Yes it was. The first part was that we had the demos and went on a two month run in the states and I wrote the lyrics daily on the road. It was a different application from my normal way of writing, which is often in seclusion as I’ve found that isolation produces the best out of a writer. Every day, I would call back various band members to the back lounge of the bus and show them the songs, go over directions as well as make arrangement changes and we would all note them. This I found interesting to hear immediate feedback on a line or a chorus idea. The second part—when we got off that tour the band flew directly to Audio Hammer in Florida and began finding tones and preparing to track while I went home to my studio and finished off second verses and kept refining chorus ideas. The third part—is I recorded vocals at my studio I recently built at my house—which, as you can imagine, (not being away from family) added a very positive killer vibe on the record! Most of all you will hear first takes, as it was firing off incredibly during the sessions! While I was taking small breaks Mark would drive the two hours to LA to touch up guitar leads and doubles, etc. The fourth part—DevilDriver left for a European run with Cannibal Corpse and during that tour we had four weeks to listen down to all that we had done and make notes. (Which we’ve never allowed ourselves the time to, actually live with the record.) So, when I got home from Europe three days later Mark flew back out to my pad and we completed notes that both the band and mark had made regarding vocals as well as song structure. Taking our time with this record was essential in its making! I do believe, and have never said this regarding a new record but “it’s our best work.”

Where did you record DevilDriver album number six?
Dez Fafara: Music at Audio Hammer in Florida; vocals at my home studio.

What did you learn from Beast that you didn’t want to do on the new album?
Dez Fafara: This production on the new one is so different from Beast. It’s a whole new level for the band. Mark took almost four days to get these guitar tones and as long to get drum tones too. That’s unheard of in this day and age of hurry-up-the-clock-is-ticking! [Laughs] Everything from the real raw, almost abrasive biting new guitar tone we have, the massive but tight tone of the drums, even the snare sound is something special. Also, the vocal tone is totally different from beast as we utilized gear that we used on the Last Kind Words, DevilDriver’s third record, and instead of taking hours and switching mics, etc. Mark and I nailed it within a half hour and then starting tracking at 11 a.m. the next morning.

What were the sessions like? Any snags?
Dez Fafara: No snags! Just pure getting down on the music and recording it! This record was smooth sailing! And has a positive/cohesive vibe all over it that you can hear!

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Any fun stories of being in the studio? Debauchery, weirdness, “ghosts in the machines,” or is it all business?
Dez Fafara: On my end it was “Let’s fucking do this!” At home, I’m a morning kinda cat.
I would wake up go downstairs to my studio drink coffee, then Mark would arrive [at] 10 a.m., we would go over what we were doing and I would do my thing, then hit the mic. Most of the whole record vocally is first takes, one takes, and very little stacking of vocals in fact. All the verses especially are single tracked. (No one does that. Most singers in metal stack themselves over and over to achieve heavy. It’s not honest and it’s something I wanted to avoid at all costs.)

How would you describe the music? A continuation of Beast?
Dez Fafara: Album six is far from Beast, far from Pray for Villains, which were both very different records. DevilDriver never wants to make the same sounding record, so we change it up. To try and compare it with our past efforts would be hard to do. Raw in-your-face aggressive guitars that aren’t over-produced! Huge hooks, both riff wise and vocally, grooves… man, it’s got groove! There’s choruses you can sink your teeth into on this one! The drumming is fantastic and in the pocket! All in all, it’s our best effort and show cases the California groove at its best!

When will the first song premiere?
Dez Fafara: I believe July. That’s turning out to be difficult as there are six songs in the running for first up and any musician will tell you that’s fucking rare!

The new album’s your first for Napalm Records. Any expectations? You were Roadrunner artists for 10 years.
Dez Fafara: Yes! Napalm and DevilDriver are a match made in heaven right now, filled with passion for what we do and they have been stellar, aware, and on top of it so far

OK, give us the album title. Or maybe a few song titles?
Dez Fafara: Nope, too early.

And finally, what separates DevilDriver the live band from DevilDriver the studio band?
Dez Fafara: Focused in the studio! Focused and showing teeth onstage! Nothing changes. We attack both with the same furious nature!

** Visit and LIKE DevilDriver on Facebook.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: The Devil of Echo Lake

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: Uncategorized On: Friday, May 24th, 2013

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

Douglas Wynne understands we’re living in a post-Clive Davis/Oh God! You Devil world. He knows you can’t just go out to the crossroads howling your rendition of “Me and the Devil Blues” and expect to knock all of us jaded motherfuckers on our asses. So when Wynne invites us out to an isolated recording studio to observe industrial goth metaller Billy Moon cut a (perhaps final) album for the producer/manager he is beginning to believe may be a malevolent supernatural force, it isn’t to subject us to slow walk us toward a Ralph-Macchio-vs.-Steve-Vai climax.

Instead, The Devil of Echo Lake throws the infernal kitchen sink at us — sex, drugs, stalker groupies, witches, a chapel ghost, corporeal manifestations of ancient pagan gods, gunplay, samurai swords, fire, demonic possession, autoerotic asphyxiation, rock n’ roll excess to the nth degree, etcetera. (Wynne also pulls a clever All the King’s Men-esque narrative trick by letting us see a good deal of the action through the outsider perspective of a low-paid studio engineer trying to make his bones with this surrealist nightmare unfolding around him.) It’s an impressive, crackling, no-holds-barred debut from an author who can actually write about rock music without it devolving into No seriously I’m cool! preening clunkiness.

Check out an audio excerpt from The Devil of Echo Lake below. The book trailer is posted after the jump. Billy Moon’s Souncloud page lives here. The Metalnomicon previously noted Wynne’s short story “The Last Chord” in the entry on Dark Discoveries rock n’ roll issue.

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Baroness Appearance at Charleston, SC Record Store

By: Dan Lake Posted in: breaking newz, featured On: Friday, May 24th, 2013

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Do you love Decibel‘s most favoritest non-metal-but-kinda-pretty-metal band?  Live near Charleston, South Carolina?  Or just happen to be passing through the area this coming Monday, May 27th?  If so, make sure you roll on over to Monster Music & Movies for a special in-store performance and signing session with Baroness, scheduled for 4:00 pm on Memorial Day 2013!  The Charleston City Paper calls it “big news [for] headbangers”, which is misleading: it’s good news for anyone in earshot who loves that sweet rock ‘n’ roll sound.  Check out the poster below, and if you plan to be in the area, check it out and report the awesomeness back to all of us who live too far away to enjoy it.  Have fun!

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Oh, hey, and here are some links for extra info:

Monster Music @ Facebook

Monster Music Events Page

Monster Music Newsletter

Contest Alert: Win Heartless 7″ Stuff

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: contest, featured, gnarly one-offs On: Friday, May 24th, 2013

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With a spat of excellent releases from the likes Light Bearer, Amber, Momentum, Northless, Multiple Truths and Protestant, Halo of Flies Records has recently and consistently been knockin’ ‘em out of the park. Another stellar forthcoming release is Certain Death, the new 7″ from Pittsburgh grinding powerviolence-ers, Heartless.

To celebrate the occasion – and to no doubt score a little promo in the process – Halo of Flies bossman, Cory, has made available a Certain Death package available including a test pressing as well as copies on clear and black vinyl. All you gotta do is email Cory directly at halooffliesrcds@hotmail.com with your name and address with “Heartless contest” in the subject line before Monday May 27th and he’ll randomly do the selecting. Please note that this is only open to North American dwellers due to a spike in international shipping rates.

Here’s what the winner will get:
deciblog - heartless 7

This is what Cory himself has to say about Certain Death: “This is the best hardcore 7″ of 2013 from possibly the best, yet most underrated, hardcore band in the US.” Check out the band’s bandcamp page and see if you agree – heartless.bandcamp.com

Here are a few more details:
8 song 7″.
500 copies (US Pressing)
300 on black, 200 on clear.
Pressed at United Record Pressing.
b/w foldover covers and inserts printed at Econopress.
includes download card.

Halo of Flies

Streaming: SLIDHR’s Deluge

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, listen On: Friday, May 24th, 2013

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Sometimes our love for quasi-musical extremes has a flattening effect on the diversity of material we hear.  Dynamics traverse the vast range from loudest to loudest-er, wanton mayhem and terror begin to appear tame enough for family breakfast conversation.  It can be refreshing to hear an album like Slidhr’s Deluge try to save black metal from itself.  I don’t mean some kind of Altar of Plagues mind-warp, which barely sips from the black metal well anyway.  I’m talking about an album full of discernable songs and thoughtful performance choices that still wears the stern monochrome cowl of all the genre master statements.  By pillaging Brown Jenkins hopeless chord degradations and filling the remains with sawed-off vokills and crisp percussion, Slidhr delivers this enjoyable debut full-length eight years after the project started kicking around.

Decibel is happy to present a stream of the entire album for your consideration, along with mainman Joseph Deegan’s track-by-track breakdown of his intent and influences.  Cringe before Nature’s gaping maw!

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Wielding Daggers

I was undecided as to whether the album should have some kind of intro to build up to the first track. Initially this song started abruptly and kicked right in but afterwards I was working on some synth stuff at home and came up with this. Slidhr hadn’t been very active publicly for quite a while so I wanted something special to kickstart the album, both musically and lyrically.

Hex

This song personifies nature as an outcast. One who can only be ignored for so long before we cross a line. Musically it is one of the catchier tracks on the album. As it was the first track that was made available to the public after a 5 year hiatus, it seems to have surprised quite a few people. No bad thing.

Earth’s Mouth Opens

When Earth awakens from its slumber there will be a time of great realization for mankind. This won’t just be a terrestrial event but also celestial and therefore a spiritual one. Through this great suffering our spirits will learn a great lesson. While it has some very fast moments, it is overall more of a mid-paced affair. A lot of aggression blended with atmosphere in the guitar parts.

Symbols Obscuring

There has been a wall of confusion built around us in everyday life. Symbols by nature are used to represent things we may not fully understand, however, when certain powers have control of these symbols they can distort their meanings and use them to confuse us and take their true power for themselves.

Rejoin the Dirt

This is one of the faster songs on “Deluge”. I wanted this one to feel claustrophobic and chaotic and with the drum talents of B. Einarsson, we pretty much achieved that. For me it conjures up the image of Death’s horse approaching. Rendering all life in it’s path powerless and trampling it into the ground.

Their Blood

One word that sums this one up best would be “liberty”. The misguided elites that enslave us will themselves see a day when their tyranny is rewarded with ruin. Lyrically this is one of the most important songs on the album for me. The music is suitably fast and aggressive to compliment the lyrics.

Death of the Second Sun

Events throughout history have always been hidden from us by those who control what is published. Celestial turmoil that once drastically changed Earth is largely unknown. It’s all part of a cycle of deceit. Some of the reviews I’ve seen so far seem surprised by the use of clean vocals here. There really isn’t a lot of it though so it was kind of weird to see that.

Unseen

The slowest song on the album and therefore noticeably different to the rest of the material. It’s pretty different to anything Slidhr has ever done actually, both musically and lyrically. It’s a song for all the poison we are fed in life.

As the Dead

Death is a natural cycle that we will all experience but even in life we can communicate and learn from the dead. This one deals with experiments in astral travel and meditation. Something that is far more widespread than most people may think. It’s a fairly varied track with fast parts as well as some catchier slow stuff.

Rays like Blades

This one is heavily influenced by stuff like Bathory, Celtic Frost and Carnivore. It’s thrashier and more straight forward than the rest of the album without completely rejecting that sound. I always had this one in mind as the closing track for “Deluge”.

Decibrity Playlist: Zozobra

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

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Adam McGrath plays by his own rules, nobody else’s, not even his own. So when he sent over a list that simply included five “sweet” songs, who were we to argue? Not only does his time in Zozobra (guitarist/vocalist) and Cave In (guitarist) give him more than enough cred, judging by his selections (the first happens to be my favorite song so far this year), he also has great taste. Be sure to pick up a copy of the new Zozobra record, Savage Masters, over at Brutal Panda Records. You can listen along here.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ “Push The Sky Away” (from 2013′s Push The Sky Away)
This track could be on the Twin Peaks soundtrack. Hypnotizing and haunting synthesizers with soothing vocals. A legendary artist still relevant and provocative.

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Daryl Hall’s “NYCNY” (from 1980′s Sacred Songs)
Fripp & Hall. Hall & Fripp. This is what it sounds like if Daryl Hall sang from King Crimson. Absolutely devastating guitar shredding. Sounds like some sort of blinding buzz saw. This is also one of my favorite Daryl Hall vocal performances. He strangely reminds me of H.R. from Bad Brains.

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Deep Wound’s “Don’t Need” (from 2006′s Almost Complete)
I’m late to Deep Wound, but I love this pure early ’80s Massachusetts hardcore. Fast, angry and violent sounding. Relentless guitar, derelict vocals and blazing drums.

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Death’s “Voice Of The Soul” (from 1998′s The Sound Of Perseverance)
For whatever reason, this deep cut from The Sound of Perseverance always comes up when I’m shuffling the iPod and I’ve fallen in love with it. Guitar solos ripped from tops of mountains and blood red horizons.

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Sun Araw’s “Ma Holo” (from 2010′s On Patrol)
Music that gives me psychedelic dreams of futuristic neon plastic beach worlds in clouds of mist. A masterful and tasteful use of effects, samples and loops. The song slowly becomes mesmerizing.

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*Order a copy of Savage Masters here.

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

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

Repulsion cover Bathory’s “The Reaper” with Pelle Åhman

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

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Things always come full circle. And when they do it’s either super-rad or pretty depressing. For Repulsion’s first visit to Stockholm, Sweden, it’s super-rad. Why? Let’s just say, the extremely extremes of Sweden’s early metal scene influenced Flint, Michigan’s grindcore/death metal revolutionaries Repulsion and, in turn, the dudes from the city whose motto is “Strong, Proud” ended up influencing, well, Nihilist and other teenage acts who are, as they say, household names.

So, it’s great when Repulsion, who were influenced by Bathory, cover one of Bathory’s most vicious tunes with young gun Swede Pelle Åhman of In Solitude fame on the mic.

From Sweden to Flint to Sweden and then rest of world!

History has been made. Watch it!

** Catch Repulsion live at MDF on Friday, May 24th at 8:00 p.m.

Getting to Know MDF: The Movie Director David Hall

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews On: Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

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As quickly as Maryland Deathfest architects Evan Harting and Ryan Taylor brought the rage to outdoor stages, photos capturing the scene on Saratoga Street emerged, taken from the multi-story parking garage atop the venue. One thing very noticeable in said pictures are glowing cell phone screens being held aloft as folks attempt to capture the likes of Godflesh, Electric Wizard, Neurosis and Confessor for posterity, boasting or YouTube. It’s here I regularly find myself facetiously grumbling, “Hey, fuckos! Put your phones down and enjoy the show! Leave the filming to the pros.”

The pro enlisted by Harting and Taylor to capture the goings-on at MDF since 2009 is London, Ontario-based filmmaker and label impresario David Hall. Under the Handshake Inc. umbrella, Hall has done videos for Fuck the Facts, Rottenness and Jucifer, released our own Andrew Bonazelli’s fourth novel, DTV, as well albums by Sulaco, Surachai and ((thorlock)). One of Hall’s most recognizable projects has been the MDF movies, the third and final edition being recently released to coincide with the fest’s 11th year.

“I emailed Ryan and Evan in September 2008, asking if I could film MDF,” Hall says, regarding becoming the fest’s official eye. “I told them right off the bat I didn’t just want to make a straight-up performance DVD, but to craft a film out of the four days.”

Hall first converged upon MDF VII with a ragtag camera and sound crew to create the epileptically-edited Maryland Deathfest: The Movie. Combining natural progress with Hall’s distaste for convention, the following year brought the improved production values of the sequel. Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III, the final film in the Hall-helmed trilogy, gets down-er and dirtier in capturing the gritty feel of four days of extreme music in Baltimore.

“Shooting is dirty work,” Hall says, putting down the bowl long enough to discuss his process. “You’re downtown with 90 degree weather and insane humidity blasting your ass-neck. You’re drinking, hanging out and partying. People are passing out from heat exhaustion and laying face-down dead drunk on the concrete. You’re sunburnt, hungry, lost in a sea of people; the stink of the porta-potties; the night heat; your feet hurt, but you love every moment of it and are in total metal bliss. There’s a complete hedonism to MDF, and an honor and pride to making time in your life for it. That’s the ethos I try and bring to every aspect of the MDF films.”

Though Decibel’s chronicling of MDF has made it out to be the loud, stinky party it is, it’s actually a labor-intensive weekend for Hall and crew. There’s more to do than making sure a couple of tripod-mounted cameras are running as Die Pigeon Die, Napalm Death, Unsane and Ghoul ooze sweat all over the lenses and, by default, your living room’s widescreen.

“On the surface, it seems pretty straightforward,” Hall says. “You get camera operators, a sound guy, and start filming. But there are a million things that go into executing that plan: considering camera battery needs and charge time; calculating space in terms of memory cards and capture medium; scheduling shooters who are filming sets and doing interviews; making sure they have a good audio set-up, are fed and hydrated. Plus, I have to be on hand to deal with any emergencies during a 12-hour day. It’s a goddamn big job.”

Godflesh “Streetcleaner” – live at MDF X, from Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III

That job has encountered its share of hurdles over the years: batteries dying, malfunctioning gear and lightning storms. Then, there was the clusterfuck that came out the ass-end of a conflict between Hall and former partner David Caruso. The drama is detailed on a June 2011 Deciblog post titled “Don’t Be a Dick: A Tale of Indie Filmmaking, Extortion and MDF.” At the time, David was posting from the heat of the moment about allegedly being ripped off and having footage from MDF IX being held hostage, then deleted. Two years down the line, all he has to say about his former partner – who didn’t respond to our interview requests – is: “Yeah, I can sum it up nice and neat: ‘Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.’ I was able to get some of the ‘lost’ footage back using data recovery software, but in many ways, that footage represents negative energy and bad vibes, and I don’t want to associate the final MDF film with that bullshit.”

Having overcome the disappearance of one’s hard work (“The ‘pre-production’ phase usually takes three or four months, and I’m often taking care of last-minute things up until the night before I leave for Baltimore”) and having to break promises (“I have to get permission and clearance from every band we shoot”), Hall pushed forward, digging in for MDF’s tenth anniversary last year.

“We pretty much reached perfection in terms of coverage and audio,” he says about the final film, “so I was able to achieve what I set out to do from the beginning: present a documentary concert film of the best metal fest in North America with some style, letting the footage and performances speak for themselves. Also, for the editing and post-production process, my co-producer, Richard ‘The Grindfather’ Johnson, watches all rough cuts, makes notes, and we keep refining until the final cut. Richard has been a seriously valuable ally; his judgment is impeccable and he knows so much about music in general. His stamp of approval lends credibility to the finished movie.”

The sound of the third film is pristine, and the video footage captures triumphant celebration, mass catharsis, acting as a memoir for people who don’t see anything weird about hanging out in urban America for the chance to experience extreme music at its energetic best.

“My philosophy is to create a ‘next best thing to being there’ experience,” Hall concludes. “So, I knew I didn’t want just a bunch of wide shots from the back of a room. I wanted shots as close to the action as possible. The whole production process is dictated by the mandate that I want the MDF films to be metal, not be about metal.”

**Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III can be ordered here for a miserly $13.00. Order before June 1st and receive a download link to the audio soundtrack and free shipping.**

Inside The Shredder’s Studio #6: Mark Thomas Baker of Orchid

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen, lists On: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

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Shredding in metal dates directly back to Tony Iommi, who is inexplicably still writing riffs and will be a big part of the new Black Sabbath album due next month. So, we figured it was a good time to invite a new generation of doom shredder into the studio this week.

Mark Thomas Baker of San Francisco’s Orchid shared some of his formative riffs with Decibel. As you might expect, it’s heavy on the 70s and 80s. Orchid’s new album The Mouths Of Madness is available from Nuclear Blast.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Mark Thomas Baker to the shredder’s studio!

*****

Ozzy Osbourne “Crazy Train” – The first Ozzy album, Blizzard of Ozz, came out when I was 14. “Crazy Train” was definitely the song that made me start asking my parents for an electric guitar. Randy became somewhat of an obsession for me in those first few years of playing.

***
Black Sabbath – “Turn Up the Night” - I couldn’t believe how heavy this song seemed at the time. That wah guitar sound just killed me. I had to buy my first wah pedal after hearing it.

***
Dio – “Stand Up and Shout” - I remember dropping the needle on this for the first time ever. I was blown away at how aggressive the leads sounded on this, really on fire.


***
Mötley Crüe – “Come On and Dance” – I bought this when I was 15 solely because I thought the guys on the back cover looked like aliens and I couldn’t imagine what it might sound like. The rhythm guitar tone in just fucking insane on this album, so dirty and crushing.


***
UFO – “Lights Out” - Michael was a huge influence on me, as big as Rhoads in my early days of playing. This was one of the ones I’d play for my guitar teacher and ask him to teach me the parts.


***
Iron Maiden – “Hallowed Be Thy Name” - I loved the trade-off of leads in this. Dave and Adrian were huge influences on me. I always used to try to construct leads to sound like two different guys because of them.


***
Judas Priest – “Screaming for Vengeance” - Same as above, I fucking love Priest. Me and my high school buddy would argue about who was better, Downing or Tipton. I think probably Tipton, right?


***
Metallica – “The Four Horsemen” - When I heard this, I finally thought, “Hey, I can do that kind of stuff.” Kirk’s playing was fast and fluid, but it wasn’t a million miles away from what I was able to do, so this is one that made me think I could play in a band too.


***
Deep Purple – “Wasted Sunsets” - The Perfect Strangers album came out after I’d been playing for a few years and I was just floored by Ritchie’s tone and touch on this. Still one of my favorite leads ever.


***
Led Zeppelin – “Communication Breakdown” – I borrowed this album from my friend’s older brother when I was 15. I still remember the chills I got the first time I heard it. Page is the ultimate for me these days. A master composer of music and feelings.

So you can see, I’m a bit old and my influences reflect that.

Photo courtesy of Raymond Ahner.

***

Read previous installments of Inside The Shredder’s Studio:
#1: Elizabeth Schall of Dreaming Dead
#2: Mike Hill of Tombs
#3: Jon Levasseur of Cryptopsy
#4: Alex Bouks of Incantation

#5 Kurt Ballou of Converge

STREAMING: Aosoth “One With The Prince With A Thousand Enemies” + Interview

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

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How would you describe Aosoth to a newcomer?
BST: We’re a French black metal band. The project has been created in 2002, but started really being an active band when MKM (vocals) asked me to join as a guitarist and song writer. That led us to record our first EPs and our first album. What originally was meant as a very raw and old-school evolved to something a little more ambient and with diverse influences.

IV has more variation compared to III. Was this a conscious decision or something that came naturally during the music making process?
BST: The writing process has always been something very spontaneous, as it is based not on ideas we think about and record, but rather on what we feel in the moment. In a way, writing has to be an act that lets something greater speak through us, and we do believe in the divine nature of inspiration, in the case of this band. We did include more diverse influences, as it felt right, it felt like a natural progression, and each album we regard on a step forward on this path we have taken.

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What did you mean by this statement, “We’ve spent such a huge amount of time on defining a darker identity,” for IV?
BST: Many people have had issues with that part of the statement, so I guess the way it was phrased wasn’t the best. Although the writing process was relatively fast, a lot of time has been spent on finding the right tone for each instrument, in order for the music to have the impact it needed. we paid attention to all the details to make this album something very special, a milestone in our journey. That also applies to the visual aspect, for which we have many people to thank. Benjamin Vierling painting the amazing cover art, Jerome Delgado took and edited the photograph that we’ve been using for the album and the promotion… And there’s also David Fitt and Matthieu Spinazzola, who directed our video. All of that defines the identity of this project.

What role does the low end play in Aosoth? I feel it makes for an uneasy listen.
BST: As a sound engineer, I’ve often been frustrated about black metal productions, especially of records that I enjoyed, which had no low end, and no room at all given to the bass guitar. I think it is indeed a great tool to make the listener feel oppressed, choked. This music is supposed to be the voice of something greater, it needs to be powerful, and low frequencies carry a lot of strength.

You’re making your stateside debut at Maryland Deathfest. What can metalheads expect from Aosoth live?
BST: Last weekend, our first live rituals since the release of our new album took place in France. It was an opportunity for us to do things a little differently, as our set now consists of a majority of material off IV: An Arrow In Heart. We’re using samples and things like that, to complete that feeling of immersion and oppression. It should be a pretty interesting experience for the listeners, although it might also be unpleasant to some.

** Aosoth’s new album IV: Arrow In Heart is out now on Agonia Records. It’s available HERE. If you’re going to Maryland Deathfest, be sure to catch them Saturday, May 25 at 6:50 p.m.