Tales From the Metalnomicon: D. Harlan Wilson

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, August 2nd, 2013

time-enough-at-last1

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.

thedog-red

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.

dhwtkmbio

Decibel exclusive: New Malevolent Creation song!

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

175_photo

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

classof88

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

disc-scan-issue108-circle
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

weeping-winter-cover

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.

thecoldview

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.

An Interview with This is Hardcore Fest Head Honcho, Joe “Hardcore” Mckay.

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, uncategorized On: Thursday, August 1st, 2013

deciblog - tihc-2013-may-announcement

Next Thursday, the eighth annual This is Hardcore Festival kicks off at the Electric Factory in Decibel‘s spiritual hometown of Philadelphia. This year’s line up is probably the most diverse and judging by what we’ve seen in advance to the weekend, 2013 promises to be the biggest in the fest’s history. We caught up with organiser Joe “Hardcore” Mckay for a little history of, and behind the scenes look at, what’s become one of the most popular hardcore fests in America.

What was your original motivation in doing the This is Hardcore Fest?
Well, Posi Numbers Fest in Pennsylvania and Hellfest, which was in Syracuse and later was in New Jersey, had both fallen out in the year before the first This is Hardcore. So, there was an obvious gap and at the time Philadelphia was instrumental – specifically R5 Productions – in trying to keep some kind of thing going when Hellfest fell apart with shows at venues all over the city. I think that showed that Philadelphia could do a festival.

Did you go into doing the fest with promoting experience already under your belt?
I’d been booking shows since I was a teenager. I started booking smaller shows when I was 16 and by the time I was 18 I was booking bands like 25 Ta Life, All Out War, E-Town Concrete and some of the heavier stuff from the end of the 90s at halls in my own neighbourhood. By the time that came around, I had done five years of my own band’s tours, I had roadied for another band for a year, I’d booked US tours and had a pretty decent and active social network just from touring and from knowing people for a long time. It did make it easy when I started making phone calls. Locally, around 2004, I started getting more involved because I started touring a little less and booking more shows in the Philadelphia area. So, it kind of all converged. If there was still a Posi Numbers and Hellfest, it would have been something like where I felt something was already going on, but with neither one of them in place and me doing my thing, it all kind of came together.

In doing shows vs. fests, did you find the organizational and logistical side of things drastically different?
I was doing single shows and tours coming through, but the scary thing for me in jumping from one to the other was that, at the time, I didn’t want to label it with one specific genre in mind. Posi Numbers was all about positive stuff and Hellfest had its intent, but was around when metalcore started to get really huge. I wanted it to be more of an umbrella where more things fell underneath it and no, I didn’t know there was a pulp record called This is Hardcore [laughs]… The hard thing for me was calling it This is Hardcore, keeping it hardcore, but at the same time, not limiting it to one thing. Through the years, something I’ve tried to do is to keep it open to a lot of different bands.

I’m sure you also know there’s a Dutch electronic music film documentary called This is Hardcore.
Yeah, yeah! Someone showed me that, the Dutch rave thing. But the hardest thing in transitioning was in the first two years, the Saturday and Sunday shows were like 12 or 13 bands each and the Friday show was eight or nine bands, so it wasn’t that difficult. It was when I started realising that we needed to have things like extra food and catering, giving the people more things to do [on site] and that kind of stuff. Now, we’re at the point where not only do we have to book the fest, but we have to make sure there’s other stuff to do because kids come and they don’t necessarily want to watch all the bands. I’ve definitely gone from being a show promoter to someone who feels like they have a three-ring fucking circus on his hands [laughs].

At what point did it start to shift towards that three-ring circus?
The first time we had a sell out at This is Hardcore was the first Saturday of the first one. But in 2008, it got to where it was really super-packed most of the weekend. I had actually shifted the fest one weekend forward. A lot of people wrote me saying that they couldn’t come to the fest because of college and the fest coinciding with the first week of school. We moved it one weekend back and, boom, that was it, sell outs ever since. It also helped that we had two or three years of no problems and everybody loving it; we had increased the numbers of bands and had a positive name attached to the fest. Things started to align. The weekend was easier for people to attend, more bands wanted to be involved and we had established ourselves. Once we did that, and that was the year we had Sheer Terror, Ink & Dagger, Kid Dynamite and the Cro-Mags that was a slam dunk and since then it’s been crazy. This year is the most successful year I’ve had with not selling out so quickly that people can’t get tickets. That sounds like such a backwards mindset from what we’re supposed to do. At first, it was like, “We gotta sell this fucking thing out.” Now, we’re at the point where everybody swears it’s sold out, but we’ve released tickets in increments, we’ve done a lot in terms of moving the venue and adding a fourth day so more people can attend. At this point, I kinda miss when it would just sell out so I don’t have to worry about anything [laughs]. Ticket sales are really good this year. I’m not worried about it. But there’s that thought where you’re like, “Hmm, I wonder how tickets are selling?” But it also brings us back to our roots because now we’re going to flyer and all that stuff we never had to do once we would sell out in the first 36 hours.

Are you at all surprised at consistency of fest’s success?
Yeah, I’m overwhelmed. Next year I think we’ll only do three days. When we put together the line up with the kind of money we have and to get the bands we have, it’s kind of surreal to take it to this. But I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen it where Hellfest went to having Public Enemy the year they imploded. You won’t see me reach for the stars like that. I have intentions of going back to three days. I was joking around with a friend who books Behemoth about having three days of hardcore and having Behemoth play on Thursday at a different venue, before it gets out of hand and we’re too big for our britches. I never intended for it to get to this. I’m really happy it’s got to be this way and a lot of it has to do with me not being greedy. There are a thousand ways festival promoters cut corners on taking care of bands…you see the stuff they do, whether it’s selling through merch stores or allowing bands to only sell merch for three hours or limiting the amount of merch they can sell or taking percentages. That’s another big thing: between 2008-2010, we spent on bands in 2009 what we spent on the entire fest in 2006. Incrementally, we’ve tried to put more money into paying the bands so we can get cooler stuff. This year’s the same thing; we take care of the bands as a first priority. Not just booking them, not just giving them guarantees, but feeding them, getting hotels, making sure bands that don’t get to play often get flown in and anything that can make the reunion stuff easier. For the older bands, I want to give them a reason to not say, “Why do I want to leave my house?” [laughs] It’s probably not the smartest business method on my end, but I want to try and treat everyone right. I’m getting tired of seeing ticket prices at what they are for the kids. If I was 18 years old, trying to come up with money for tickets…before it gets out of control, I’d rather slow it down, have it be solid and if we’re not the coolest, greatest, best thing that’s ever been created, then I’m sure someone else is. We sold tickets after only announcing 15 bands; people want to come because of what This is Hardcore has become. It’s been eight years and there are kids who don’t go to hardcore shows for more than two or three years anymore. I don’t ever think This is Hardcore is more than a vehicle for some bands to play in the summer, some labels to release records and for some kids to converge upon Philadelphia to hang out and see a lot of bands. I won’t use the term institution, but I just want to keep the goodness that we do going along. Like, this year, we’re giving away free pizza during Bane, we’re going to have a lot of fun shit to do outside during the fest for the kids who don’t want to see every band. I was literally on the phone with a guy who wanted to run a karaoke tent – I was like “What the fuck am I doing? This is crazy!” I just want everyone to enjoy themselves because there are fests in every major city.

Yeah, but I think sometimes what gets promoted as a fest is just a big show with a bunch of bands. There is a difference.
Yeah. Hardcore in Philly is big for a lot of people. The last fourteen tour dates and different tour packages I’ve done here, the Philly show has been the biggest show on the entire tours. We just did Comeback Kid’s ten-year anniversary in a room twice the size of what they normally do. We did the biggest show on the Nails tour. So, the local scene really supports here and we do have that on our side. I’ll talk to people and they’ll talk about a fest and having like 300 people there, whereas we have that once a month or more here at regular shows. But you need those sort of regional fests for the younger kids who can’t come into something like This is Hardcore. My intention was never to be bigger than anyone else. If you asked me the reason we moved to the Electric Factory, aside from having kids complain that we sold out too quickly, was that the venue we worked before with never seemed to be 1000% on board with us. It was always uncomfortable to be there all weekend with the heat and the crowds and we had to move somewhere. Electric Factory is not only a great room, but we didn’t want to go through Ticketmaster, we didn’t want a barricade and they were very easy to deal with. Every year around this time, I was always waiting for the Starlight Ballroom to call me and be like, “No fest. There’s a problem. We’re not having this.”

Do you have a day job outside of This is Hardcore and promoting shows?
I am a union cement mason and when I’m laid off from that, I work with George from Blacklisted and we rehabilitate houses. I wish to god in some way I could just do This is Hardcore, but I don’t think the stars will align that way, plus it would be a really fucking boring year. Emails and phone calls are cool, but I could never do that full time. It doesn’t seem to work for me as a person. Maybe one day; maybe we’ll get to be like Dynamo in Europe or something, but I would also never want to rely on This is Hardcore for my only income. If I’m trying to make money and book This is Hardcore I’d have to make some decisions I’d rather not have to make.

Last year you moved the fest from the Starland Ballroom to the Electric Factory. Was the switch pretty seamless?
Yeah, it was. You have locals are always like, “It can’t work. That’s the worst venue.” But then: it’s not a tunnel of hot, sticky doom; I don’t think I saw security grab anyone for moshing once; the stage is perfect; the bar was like in the whole balcony; it was air conditioned; last year we had seven food trucks, this year we’re going to have twelve, there’s a huge parking lot. It’s opened up a lot of opportunities and expands what we can do as a festival. It helps that it’s a venue; they have 200 shows a year and the guy who owns the place has been booking shows since the 1960s. They’re concert people. Their mentality isn’t “Hey, there’s a kid around the corner smoking weed, let’s kick them out” or something like that. They’re laid back and it was so much more fun to be there. Their biggest complaint last year was “You have 50 people on stage behind Gorilla Biscuits. You gotta watch that” [laughs]. It’s a completely different world.

Tell us about the This is Hardcore book?
Robbie Redcheeks is a friend and photographer from Philly and he worked on book with someone that never materialised. He said he wanted to do a This is Hardcore book and I was like, “Well, let’s do it, but not just with your pictures. If it’s about This is Hardcore, shouldn’t it be about everybody?” Robbie’s stuff is on the cover and he’s got some of the best pictures in there, but being inclusive and covering all six years from the first venue, it was important to have everyone involved. Then, I got my friend Tony, who works with Megawords Magazine and does a lot of artwork in Philadelphia, to lay it out and it was pretty retarded how quickly he did it. It took me longer to figure out who took what picture and what year it was from than it took him to knock it all out. And without the Kickstarter program, there wouldn’t have been a book. The investment money to do it just isn’t there because it was expensive, but it’s really fucking cool and it looks great. I collect hardcore books – I probably have over 50 at this point – and my favourites have awesome pictures, but they don’t really look that good; they’re smaller and a lot of the time it looks like a ‘zine made into a book. The one thing we did with the This is Hardcore photobook was to make the pictures stand out. There’s a very limited amount of text, a couple things from a couple different people and friends.

deciblog - this is hardcore book-cover-300x225

Was it designed to be an overview of the entire history of the fest, or at least the first six years?
Having a book talking about how great This is Hardcore was/is wasn’t really what I wanted to do. Instead, I wanted to make a really cool photo book, something you could put on your table for your friends to check out when they’re over – something that people are going to look at and say, “Wow, that looks great!” The pictures make the fest look cooler and sells it a lot better than descriptions and people talking about their experiences.

It’s the total a picture is worth a 1000 words thing.
Oh man, especially with this generation now! Putting out a book about anything is a nightmare. If it’s not written in 140 characters, I wonder if anyone if going to pay attention. It was important to be visually stimulating. We’ve been using the same photographers for years and they’re a very big part of This is Hardcore and when you look at the pictures they’ve taken over the six years, it’s like, “Holy shit, that was as cool as I thought it was!”

Have you encountered any negative reactions to Gwar headlining one of the days this year?
A little bit, but I’m not concerned. When I was a kid, Gwar was directly related to the hardcore scene. Dave Brockie is in American Hardcore – not that kids are smart enough to know that Dave Brockie is the dude from Gwar. But a part of what is hardcore punk is being “Fuck you, I’ll get covered in blood and walk down the street after the show” and I think a lot of that is gone in hardcore today. The new generation is very aesthetically stuck in a commercialised world and is very about looking a certain way. It’s like www.yourscenesucks.com has come alive. At first that site was tongue-in-cheek, but it really is something that you see too often. You’ll have five or six different types of kids and no one wants to stick out, no one wants to be silly or have fun or smile. When Gwar plays to their usual crowd, the kids show up, shut up and have fun and I miss that. Gwar was literally one of the bands that got me excited about going to shows when I was a kid. It’s what me and my friends did; we’d all get together, wearing white shirts, and hop on the train together to go see them. Some people are going to be like “Holy crap, this is great!” and some others are going to be, “That’s not a hardcore band,” meanwhile they’re listening to stuff my 16-year-old daughter likes – pop punk bands that have mosh parts.

A couple years ago, there was a promo video that had a segment in it where you were acting out having flashbacks about pushing people off the stage and apparently that’s become one of those This is Hardcore “things.” What’s the story behind that?
The Starlight Ballroom had a very deep stage, but it wasn’t so wide. There’s a social etiquette that comes with getting on stage and if you’re from the sticks or somewhere, you probably don’t really understand that when you get on stage with a band, they’ve got microphones in their faces and cables across the stage and whatever. And what’s become the cool thing is stage moshing where a kid will get on stage, do his cool move, but get tangled in the cords. It’s like are you that fucking retarded that you get on stage and can’t see the microphone cables? So it became a matter of safety, but then people would ask me about physically throwing people off the stage and how safe is that? But it’s supposed to be ‘get on stage and get off,’ don’t just stand there and knock dude’s microphone into his face. As the bigger bands came to the fest, we ended up on stage, policing, keeping people from tripping and knocking shit over. And it was something people would film and people would make GIF’s of me kicking people and throwing kids off the stage. I can say I was a little high strung in those situations because I was a responsible if someone did something stupid, but that became one of the legacy things of This is Hardcore at the Starland Ballroom: Joe on stage throwing kids off, kicking people off.

Are you still involved in managing the stage in the same way?
I get on stage now and then. The cool thing about the Electric Factory is that there are a lot of different ways those guys work and as the production’s gotten bigger we have stage managers and all that. I just try to give the bands more room and space. I was on-stage for Gorilla Biscuits last year, but if things get out of control I’ll get on stage to keep things moving. I’ll be on stage this year handing out free pizza during Bane with a couple people dressed in costumes, it’s going to be fucking hilarious. That’s another thing: we’re giving away $500 worth of pizza during Bane and somebody’s going to complain that they won’t be able to mosh during their set. I can’t win, man [laughs].

Do you already have plans and aspirations for next year’s fest?
Absolutely. Now with Sound and Fury fest being RIP, I have this dream of not doing this in the dead of August anymore. It would be awesome to not do this at the hottest point of the year, but that might screw up everything. There are bands who couldn’t play this year who we’re working on for next year and bands we’re looking to confirm by September.

Who’s on your booking bucket list?
I’d love to do Hatebreed. We talk about that every year, but a lot of those “professional” bands like them and Sick of it All depend on being in Europe for the summer festival circuit and I get it. The days the stars align, Hatebreed will play. We were going to do Rancid this year, but with that French-Canadian fest, they decided not to do it. I had Flag confirmed, but they’re not going to do it now. I have a lot of dorky bands that no one else would give one single fuck about I’d love to see play. I love Starkweather, we had them play in 2009 and I’d love to have them again. The day will come that I’ll be on stage headbanging when Crowbar plays and if someone doesn’t think they’re hardcore or doesn’t like them, that’s their problem. They’re one of my favourite bands. Burn would be cool because younger kids missed out. Crumbsuckers would be cool because… how the hell does Europe love them but hardcore kids in America don’t? Then there’s stuff that’s not really big like No Innocent Victim, Disciple, Face Down…I’d love to do a Hellfest night. We joke around about getting Poison the Well to play, but have them only play old stuff. A dream band that can’t happen would have been Carnivore, but that can’t happen. They’re the band that got me into hardcore.

www.thisishardcore.com

For multi-camera videos of all the sets from TiH 2012, go to their Vimeo page here.

LIVE REVIEW: Dawnbringer

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, live reviews On: Thursday, August 1st, 2013

540303_526975667351558_1862339880_n

It was only fitting that Dawnbringer’s first NYC show was at Saint Vitus. After all, the middle stop of a three-day stint that was “the closest thing to a Dawnbringer tour that has ever happened” brought a band whose last two outstanding records have given it some well deserved recognition to a joint that has helped raise the, um, bar for metal shows in the area. Unsure when I’d ever get a chance to see Chris Black and company up close and personal again, the decision to head out to Brooklyn was a no-brainer.

Untitled

The band’s set kicked off with “So Much For Sleep”, the leadoff track from 2010′s Nucleus. Given that Dawnbringer is basically a studio project, albeit a long-running one, the band–whose live show features Scott Hoffman and Matt Altieri on guitar, Ian Sugierski on drums and Black on bass/vocals–wasted no time finding its footing in a live setting. Sure, they’d played the night before, but this was also a group that until two years ago hadn’t played a show in over a decade (not to mention, unlike Hoffman, Sugierski and Altieri aren’t even in the “studio” lineup). My ears noticed no hiccups, just tight playing.

The show wasn’t sold out, but for a Friday night in NYC, the Chicagoans got a pretty decent crowd whose rabidity made up for the lack of sheer numbers. The hour-plus set was a mix of old and new, leaning a little heavier on more recent material early on when Black announced that they were about to play some songs from last year’s Into the Lair of the Sun God before playing “older songs you’ve likely never heard.” While “My Destiny Is Death” briefly got a pit going, “To Murder The Sun” was the highlight of the show for yours truly. One non-musical observation: from certain angles (none of which are reflected in my poor quality iPhone pictures), Chris Black can easily pass for Albert Mudrian, right down to certain facial gestures…now you know.

Untitled

Unfortunately, I completely missed openers Crypter and Polygamyst, but did manage to catch the last few songs of Kings Destroy’s set, who set the tone with the massive riffs and grooves that emanated from guitarists Carl Porcaro and Chris Skowronski. To make up for my unprofessionalism, I’d point out that I saw a Black Sabbath 1984 Born Again tour shirt, which was made even more remarkable by the fact that owners of two of the best patch jackets I’ve seen happened to be standing nearby. It was only fitting that the owners of said denim treasures appeared to have the time of their lives rocking out to a band that, even though may not play the live circuit anywhere close to regularly, aspires to uphold the musical tradition those jackets proudly display.

Here’s some video footage from a 2011 Dawnbringer show, which at the time happened to be the band’s first in 13 years:

Pick up a copy of Into the Lair of the Sun God over at Profound Lore.

Also, be sure to check out Brandon Stosuy’s in-depth piece on Saint Vitus over at Pitchfork here. You can also check out Chris Black’s Decbrity playlist from last year as well as Saint Vitus co-founder Arthur Shepherd’s after hours playlist.

STREAMING: New Gigan

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

GiganScionPhoto_2013_nologo

We’re fans of musical nuttiness here at the Deciblog. And there’s nothing nuttier — or more impressive — than the colossal mindfuck that is Gigan.

We received an advance copy of their new album Multi-Dimensional Fractal Sorcery And Super-Science (due from Willowtip on October 15 — preorder details to be announced soon). We’re happy to premiere the new track “Electro-Simulated Hallucinatory Response.” Let us know what you think and get in touch with the band here.

STREAMING: Diamond Plate “Walking Backwards”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

diamondplate_thrashmetal_decibel_2013

Diamond Plate couldn’t be more literal. In a few ways, actually. One, the band name refers to, well, a diamond plate or tread plate, as seen on truck covers, trailers, mud flaps, and restaurant floors. They’re “metal,” get it?! Two, when asked for a quote about the track we’re premiering they said, “No click track, no editing, you are hearing the second take of the song. Enjoy!” Meaning, there’s no Pro Tools pretending in the Diamond Plate camp. Just old-school, real-world playing/recording techniques. Three, well, we’ll leave that up to you.

So, yes, Diamond Plate returns with new album, Pulse. Gone is old throatman/four-stringer Jon Macak and in his stead is newcomer Matt Ares. Together, Diamond Plate sounds like the post-aggression period of thrash metal. When Testament went sophisticated on Practice What You Preach, when Death Angel wowed on Act III, and when Metal Church wrote an unsung classic in The Human Factor. Sure, there’s bark to Diamond Plate’s bite on Pulse, but it’s largely subservient to high conceptisms—wait until you hear “Still Dreaming”—and Neil Kernon’s sage-like production.

Prepare to mosh. In a library. In a professor’s study. In maturity.

** Diamond Plate’s new album, Pulse, is out August 20th on Earache Records. It’s available for pre-order HERE in a few different configurations. Do it now before they change their name to “Durbar floor plate.”

STREAMING: Hyrrokkin’s “Anacoluthon”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

9006935722_6adf85b715_k

Kind of funny that the captcha when I downloaded Hyrrokkin’s Pristine Origin was “guitar player.” This power trio definitely has one of those, and he makes all sorts of crazy noises with his instrument. As does everyone else. A saxophone even shows up at one point. A little bit of Dysrhythmia, a little bit of Animals As Leaders, a little bit of Sonny Sharrock. If you’re into weird heavy avant-garde action with actual musicality attached, prepare to be art rocked. Plus, these guys get bonus points for finding one of the few remaining mythological monsters that hadn’t been used as a band name yet. Enjoy this exclusive premiere of “Anacoluthon.”

***Pristine Origin comes out in September on Sick Room records. You can order it here , follow them on Facebook here, and download their debut cassette, Astrionics, at their bandcamp page here