Decibrity Playlist: Rotten Sound

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

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Not only does Rotten Sound have a new EP coming out later this month, but the Finnish quartet is also celebrating its vicennial. So when bassist Kristian Toivainen suggested putting together a playlist with picks from a certain year, it took us back to a feature we used to have in the magazine. Back in the day (circa 2007), the Upfront portion used to have a section called “Will Consider Trading”. The concept was simple enough: a Decibel writer picked a year and put together a mix tape highlighting that twelve month period along with a brief intro and one sentence explanation for each pick. Apparently great/grind minds think alike, as what he sent along is in the spirit of our printed playlists. Check out Toivainen’s introduction and picks below and feel free to listen along here.

I think it would have been too boring to list the best grind albums or something like that, so I wanted to do something else. Because Rotten Sound is celebrating the band’s 20th anniversary this year, I decided to take a trip back to 1993, the year Keijo [Niinimaa, vocalist] and Mika [Aalto, guitarist] formed the band. I have no idea if they were listening to any of these albums in 1993 (and I was only 10 years old, haha), but I realized there were a bunch of classic albums that came out that year. So here’s what I picked.

Eyehategod’s “Blank” (from Take As Needed For Pain)
This is probably my favorite Eyehategod album. Really heavy and pissed off.

Sleep’s “Dragonaut” (from Sleep’s Holy Mountain)
Black Sabbath worship at its best.

Entombed’s “Wolverine Blues” (from Wolverine Blues)
All of the Entombed albums have their unique touch and this album really brought rock ‘n’ roll to death metal (well, of course there was also Xysma). All time favorite.

Carcass’s “Arbeit Macht Fleisch” (from Heartwork)
Heartwork was actually the first Carcass album I got my hands on. It still has a special place for me, although I listen to Symphonies of Sickness or Necroticism more often when I’m in the mood to blast Carcass. For me this is also the best melodic death metal album, together with Slaughter of the Soul.

Death’s “Overactive Imagination” (from Individual Thought Patterns)
I remember being really blown away by this album. It was the most technical stuff I had heard at that point.

Neurosis’s “Raze The Stray” (from Enemy Of The Sun)
On this album Neurosis was on their way to the perfection that they gained on Through Silver in Blood. Really atmospheric and dark stuff.

Dismember’s “Reborn In Blasphemy” (from Indecent & Obscene)
Can’t get enough Swedish death metal, so I am happy that this was released in 1993. Great songs, great sound and Matti Kärki is one of the best death metal vocalists ever.

Napalm Death’s “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” (from the Nazi Punks Fuck Off EP)
Every playlist has to contain something from Napalm Death, so here you go! I believe this is the only thing they released in 1993.

*Order a copy of Species At War here.

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

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)

Living In The Eighties: Metal Covers The Decade Of Pop

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen, lists On: Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

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Since the New Year is the time of self-reimagination (or big promises that aren’t kept) it’s a good day to look back into the storied skeleton closet.

While metal took over the planet in the 1980s via Metallica and Iron Maiden (after Black Sabbath set the stage for a decade) pop ruled the charts. You might have been spinning your brother’s copy of British Steel, if you were even alive, but the rest of the nation was listening to shitshows like Tony Basil’s “Mickey” and Juice Newton’s “Queen Of Hearts.” Nonetheless, there were plenty of interesting gems among 80s pop music later resurrected and given new life by metal artists.

There was a dark undercurrent to certain 80s pop perennials utilized in at least some of the following songs. On the top we offer the originals; on the bottom, the metal reworkings. There have to be more so please add them in the comments. Limp Bizkit (George Michael) and Marilyn Manson (Eurythmics/Depeche Mode) are disqualified. Happy New Year!

—–

Celtic Frost covers Wall Of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio”:
Tom Warrior was always an innovator, taking his music to places that seemed ill-advised if not foolhardy. Who the hell else would open an album with a metal cover of Wall Of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio” four years after the song charted in the United States? The real treat of Celtic Frost’s version is the way Warrior works in his trademark “uhh!” and the goofy voice that says “eating barbequed iguana!” Perhaps a reader can clear up if that’s Martin Ain or Warrior.


—–
Deftones cover Duran Duran’s “Night Boat” and “The Chauffeur”
Dig under the surface of the Deftones catalog and you will find a long-abiding love of the band that released “Wild Boys” and “Union Of The Snake.” Duran squared actually has a solid back catalog, including their influential goth-tinged debut and the chart-topping Rio. Deftones borrowed from both records. Their cover of “Night Boat” accentuates the song’s underlying ominous tone while the “Chauffeur” cover captures the sense of longing and futility oozing from the Duran original. Check out the rare footage of Deftones playing an old hole in the wall in Richmond, Virginia named Twisters.




—–

Fear Factory covers Gary Numan’s “Cars”
Fear Factory was criticized for this cover but could there be a better song for them to reimagine? Numan’s track is a dystopian rant about consumers who are so checked out that they live their entire lives in transit, safe with their air conditioners, radios and oversized coffee mugs. Fear Factory’s music at its best is about what happens when the consumer becomes consumed; man and machine unite and personality disintegrates. Watch The Matrix or read Baudrillard to explore this rabbit hole further. Even better, Numan trades vocals with Burton C. Bell, linking the song directly back to the past.


—–
A.C. covers the ‘Three’s Company’ theme:

Technically this show aired beginning in 1977 but it’s as much a product of the 80s as the 70s, especially with syndication. Also, the A.C. version is done in about 45 seconds. RIP, John Ritter and Seth Putnam. Perhaps they are chatting now on an apartment ottoman in the afterlife.


Say What? Not So Long Long Converge Quotes

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

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Often, there is a lot of left over content that doesn’t quite fit the narrative or direction of a story. Case in point #1: Converge for dB #96. Case in point #2: Throughout the interview process, the members of Converge had rad stories to tell, but somehow the quotes never quite made the cut. So, this is a little like looking back—on Converge’s newest album, All We Love We Leave Behind—and peering into the future—Converge will headline Decibel‘s 100th Issue Jubilee on January 19th—with one of the magazine’s favorite bands.

THE ROARING ’90s
Jacob Bannon: “I think we’re pretty under the radar. We’re a weird band to get into. We’re too punk for the hardcore kids. We’re too hardcore for the metal kids. We’re too weird for the punk kids. We don’t really get a typical audience. We challenge all those sub-genres. As people, we came up during a really inspiring time for independent and aggressive music. When we started this band—I was 12 or 13-years old—we had thrash occurring in its heyday, the Golden Age of hardcore, we were around for the rise of the second wave of black metal, the rise of contemporary punk, and the rise of indie music from bands like Slint and Sunny Day. We were there to see the later era Dischord bands—like Hoover—come around. We took it all in. The same day. I remember driving around in Kurt’s car. We’d listen to Fugazi, and I’d be like, ‘Oh hey, I got this album called Forest of Equilibrium.’ We’d drive around in his old station wagon listening to Cathedral, but I remember his tape deck was broken. It’d flip sides randomly. You couldn’t even tell it was a different song. [Laughs] Earache, at the time, was releasing their most important records. On any given day, we were listening to Cathedral, Sonic Youth, Fugazi, or Entombed. Our band is weird amalgamation of things. I don’t know if bands get that any more. There’s so music that’s derivative of other things. There’s not much out there that’s wholly inspired or truly unique. We don’t sound like a lot of bands because of that.”

WHAT’D HE SAY? EXTREME GLOSSOLALIA
Jacob Bannon: My vocal style—that I happen to like—is borrowed from bands like Rorschach, The Accüsed and Starkweather. These emotional, really abrasive vocalists. It’s kind of a rarity now. When we were coming up down there were tons of bands that had that same approach. Groundwork and Honeywell. I see criticism of our band, and it’s one of the things they comment on. Like ‘It could be great if I could understand the vocalist.’ I have to wonder if they really get aggressive music. When I was sitting in math class—pretending to pay attention—listening the first Deicide record I couldn’t understand anything except the “Dead by Dawn” chorus. [Laughs] I’m a massive fan of John Tardy. He made it an art form not to say anything. But it was beautiful. He made it this awesome thing. I remember being turned onto Diamanda Galás and more experimental music. They kind of opened my eyes on how vocals were treated. So, yeah, it’s either kind of cute or incredibly sad that people don’t get our band. It’s a little bit of both.

EVERY MORON HAS A VOICE
Jacob Bannon: The voice thing, I go back and forth on. I was watching this documentary the other day. They touched upon the fact that you used to go to a show or a festival and you were the audience. Now, it’s changed. The perception has changed. They go, they pay, but they’re the artist. They’re there to document their experience as an artist, and then reflect it as a critic or blogger. It’s not about your emotional outpouring or performance. It’s more about their perception of it and their recording of it. To me, that becomes a little strange. A sense of entitlement emerges. You’re not afforded that opportunity as an artist. Sure, you can go to their blog and see photos or read what they wrote, but you can’t be critical of it as an artist. The sheer volume of information is overwhelming. Everyone’s a journalist. And that’s where I draw the line a little. Not everyone should have a voice ’cause, let’s face it, not everyone has something really relevant to say. There are writers and bloggers out there that I read on a daily basis. I think they’re really interesting, but the sea of crap out there is overwhelming. That’s the main issue with the Internet. It’s this open forum for everything. What ends up weeding out people from the Internet is time. There aren’t many people willing to work on their own time for long periods of time. They’re not truly inspired. You see that a lot. Blogs three years ago will have 65 posts and slowly it’s less and less. Then, it’s like two posts in a year. Then, no activity. True artists, writers, or creators will stay dedicated to something for longer than a year. But this is just my opinion. I’m completely aware these are subjective opinions that I’m making. For example, I find music that’s offensive to my personal tastes all the time, but I don’t go to message boards and say, ‘God this is the worst thing! These people should have their vans flipped over, they should explore and their family should die.’ That doesn’t appeal to me. I change the record. I don’t like the hyper-critical aspect of specific sub-cultures. I don’t acknowledge it. I think truly creative people don’t have time for it. I have friends on a regular basis that are affected by these things. They say, ‘Have you read this?!’ A lot of times I just don’t care. It’s an opinion of your band or your art, but it doesn’t matter. What does matter if it brought you emotional or creative fulfillment when you created it. That’s it. I mean, once you release a record you lose ownership of it. For example, the day Led Zeppelin released Houses of the Holy, the songs were no longer wholly their own. The intention, the emotional content, how people will connect with them, how people will relate to those songs in their own lives are things you don’t have control over. You might as well not even reflect on it. Do I get pissed about somebody interpreting my music or art in the wrong way? No. I can’t spend the rest of my life correcting them or how my art should be perceived? No. That’s pretentious bullshit. I’d rather put out something, make it cut and dry as possible, and if I get something positive out of it, then great. That’s the measure of success. It’s not how many records you sell or how many people you connect with on social media. If you want to keep that as pure as possible, then it’s best to not acknowledge criticisms or praise of what you do.

ALWAYS PERSONAL
Jacob Bannon: All the subject matter is personal subject matter. I felt the need to get out there in an artistic way. Stuff I didn’t need in me anymore. I use art and music for that purpose. I mean, how many death metal records have celebratory titles? You don’t have Corpsegrinder Fisher writing about getting a new puppy. I think a lot of the trouble comes when you start channelizing music. Look at us or Cannibal Corpse or some random political-punk band A or B. They’re not wholly defined by what they put out there. That’s not their whole life. People will identify with you. People will identify with the darkness you’re feeling. A common bond can be established that way. As far as our titles and our art are concerned, the new title just felt really powerful to me. It summed up a lot of feelings in a small fragmented sentence. That’s why I wanted it to be the album title.

BANNON THE DESTROYER? OR BARBARIAN? YOU CHOOSE
Jacob Bannon: I co-own Deathwish. That takes a lot of time. I enjoy doing that immensely. It’s not an enormous cash machine like kids think it is. It’s a positive place for people. I create fine art. I do the band. I do solo work. I’m a licensed MMA judge in the state of Mass. Even though they’re all entrepreneurial efforts, I need them all to get by. It’s a typical middle-class American story. It’s relatively simple to become poor but incredibly hard to become rich. But it’s harder to stay in the middle. I didn’t come from money. I put myself through school. I just finished paying for school last year, and I graduated in ’98. Sometimes I think about what would I be like if I did this or that in 25 years? That’s hard, too. I’m so wrapped up in what interests and motivates me now. If I wanted I wanted to make money, I’d quit everything I’m doing and get a corporate design job. I’m definitely qualified for it. But I’d be so unhappy as a person. I don’t think I can work that way.

** Converge’s new album All We Love We Leave Behind is out now. Order it HERE. Converge is on the cover of dB #96. Order it HERE. Converge is playing Decibel‘s 100th Issue Jubilee on January 19th. Get tickets HERE.

INTERVIEW: Scott Ian speaks words about his “Speaking Words” tour

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, December 31st, 2012

Scott Ian

Anthrax main-man Scott Ian isn’t about to quit metal and hit the after-dinner speaking circuit or anything, at least not just yet. But following a successful one-off spoken word show in London last November he has booked a 16-date spoken word tour of the UK. He’s calling it Speaking Words, because a spoken word tour sounds too “fancy pants”, and it’ll give him a chance to air some of the stories accrued over a 30-plus year career as a touring musician. Who knows: this could be the start of something big, Scott Ian as a stand-up comic or talk show host. Who knows But if not, well, it’ll be pretty cool to hear all about how Anthrax’s ordinarily inflappable riff-master ended up with a load of shit in his pants the first time he met Lemmy, and all that sort of thing.

Have you gone mad, public speaking is terrifying?
Scott Ian:
“Y’know it’s weird, I know a lot of people are terrified but I don’t find public speaking terrifying for some crazy reason. Maybe there is something wrong with me [laughs].

Is this something you’ve wanted to do for a while?
Scott Ian:
“Yeah, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’ve always been trying to figure out how can I do this, how would I ever make this possible. I’ve seen Rollins do it all these years; I saw Rollins, maybe on the first time he ever did a tour I went to see what it was going to be about. I mean, I am a huge fan of Rollins’ music and I had read all his books at the time, so I really knew that he had a point of view and something he needed to express and he did it really well. It’s something that I always wanted to do and I finally had the opportunity this year; doing this one-off show in London. I was approached by the band’s agent, who basically put it together, and asked, ‘Are you interested in doing this?’ And I said, ‘Absolutely. I’ve been kinda waiting for this to happen but I didn’t know how to kick-start it.’ I did the one show in London and I enjoyed myself so much, I had such a good time with it that I was like, ‘Can I do more of this? How do we do more of this?’ They came back and said, ‘There’s a lot of interest in it, do you wanna do a tour?’ I was like, ‘Sign me up! Let’s find a window when it works and go and do it.’”

Where did you get the material from? Was it something that you had sketched out in advance?
Scott Ian:
“No! I did absolutely zero rehearsal. I didn’t even know how to prepare for it, truthfully. The show was booked months in advance, and I had all these months to think about it, and think, ‘Okay, I’m going to put a whole show together . . . ‘ Because I am friends with a lot of stand-up comedians and a lot of writers, and I am a big fan of comedy and certainly live stand-up comedy. I’ve seen my friends do it and I think that it’s the most challenging thing in the world just to sit down, write jokes, get on stage and make people laugh. I mean, I think that’s the hardest thing in the entertainment industry. It doesn’t get any more raw than that, and I am certainly not a joke writer nor am I a stand-up comedian but I just feel that my life is in so many ways ridiculous. The last 32 years of my life spent in a metal band; I’ve got so many stories, whether it’s shit that I’ve done, people that I’ve met, stories that I know from other people . . . I’ve kinda been in this bubble for so long. I sit around in bars with my friends and I’ll get around to telling stories, as we all do, and most of my friends are in this industry or connected to it somehow, so we all have stories and we all sit down and tell stories to each other and crack each other up. I always felt that people need to hear this stuff. This shit is hilarious. It’s just a really fun thing for me to do, to relate to people on that level. That’s what it is. That’s what the material is; it’s shit that I have been through in my life.”

How much of it is biographical?
Scott Ian:
“I don’t go as far back as the whole, ‘I grew up in New York and this is what happened to me as a child . . .’ It’s not that. Maybe someday I’ll get into that but right now it’s just a lot of crazy stories and crazy shit, and just stuff to share that I think an audience of people who are a fans of my band would be interested in. In fact, you certainly don’t have to be a fan of my band or a metal fan because the stories are just so inherently ridiculous [laughs], and inherently funny, that it doesn’t matter if you listen to this kind of music. Some of it is about me meeting my heroes through the years . . . If you have any sense of humor at all I tend to think that you’ll find some humor in this.”

How did the London show go?
Scott Ian:
“At the London show, I did no rehearsal and I kept getting more and more stressed out about it as it got closer. I was really starting to stress out about it, like, ‘What the fuck am I gonna do? I don’t know how to do this. I have no fucking idea what I am doing. I gotta get on stage in a couple of days.’ And then my wife and I, and my son flew to London and got in about three days before the show. I got in a panic about two days before; I had really no clue. I had planned sharing some stories. I was going to invite my friends over and regale them with my witty tales: I never did any of that. My wife Pearl just said to me, ‘You know these stories. All this stuff is in your brain.’ And that totally calmed me down, ‘cos I do know ‘em, it’s not like I was going to walk on stage and forget everything that had happened to me over the last 30 years.”

And there was a Q&A, too, right?
Scott Ian:
“I winged it. I mean, I just walked on stage and an hour-and-a-half flew by. So I said, ‘All right, let’s do Q&A.’ And that added almost another hour on because people ask questions and those questions lead me down other paths and they open other doors to tell stories. And I had been pretty clear about it, people could ask me anything they want.”

Is that not a bit dangerous? Was there not something that you’d dread getting asked?
Scott Ian:
“No. I don’t care. If it’s something I don’t wanna answer I’ll say, ‘Sorry! I’m not answering that one.’ It’s hard for me to imagine what someone would ask that I would be afraid of answering.

Can you see this Speaking Words business taking your career to weird new places, like Rollins. Could you see yourself acting or writing?
Scott Ian:
“Well I pretty much write all the time. I think the actual impetus for me to start to stand up in front of people and do this was I started compiling a lot of these stories earlier this year, and like writing them out long-form, literally typing them out, because someday I will do a book so I might as well start now having all these stories and anecdotes and things like that . . . In case I ever forget. I’ll already have that part [of the book] done. And it was kinda during that that I thought it would be fun to share this with people, get on stage and talk to people about it but still not really having any idea of how to do that because . . . Well I guess I could have called my agent and said, ‘Hey, I want to do a spoken word show.’ And we could have worked it out. But it just seemed so out of the ballpark. It’s just weird how it worked out that my agent put on these three shows; they did one with me, one with Chris Jericho, and one with Duff McKagan. It was just his idea to do this, that all three of us had something to say, and I was like, ‘God, this is such perfect timing for you to come up with this idea. I’m always writing, and I already do write for DC Comics; I’ve got one series for them about Lobo and I am writing another one about The Demon, so I always get to write. As far as acting? That’s a whole different ball game. Of course, I would love to try it, but, [laughs] I’m not going to go out there and start going to acting classes, going on auditions. That’s not something that I am interested in at all. But if the producers of The Walking Dead called me and said, ‘We want you to be on the show’ I’d go do it and figure it out as I went but it’s not something I am actively pursuing or anything like that.”

Of course you’ve already appeared on The Walking Dead, albeit briefly.
Scott Ian:
“Yeah, but that’s pretty easy though! For me it was, anyway; I have been dreaming about that my whole life.”

**Scott Ian’s Speaking Words tour kicks off on 24 May 2013 at O2 Academy, Oxford
www.Scott-Ian.com**

Top 5 Funeral Doom Songs

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, December 31st, 2012

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It is time to celebrate the death of 2012 with the Top 5 Funeral Doom Songs (of all time, perhaps). There is no rhyme or reason to this list, actually. Just five songs that always find their way home during the long cold nights of winter. If it’s not snowing or cold as a medieval cellar where you live, then move!


5. Esoteric – Beneath This Face
The Brits have long been at the business of making mind-altering, highly repetitive (a funeral doom weighting trait, I believe) despondent stuff since the mid ’90s, when they released a 2CD mind-fuck called Epistemological Despondency. And they’ve been on a slow roll since, releasing Paragon of Dissonance last year to much (about 10 people worldwide) acclaim and appreciation. “Beneath This Face” comes off the The Maniacal Vale effort. One word: vocals. Otherwordly menace. A song for Sauron’s funeral, perhaps?


4. Evoken – Descent Into Chaotic Dream
The Americans have been at it far longer than most Finns, which is a feat in and of itself. But Evoken have, it seems, aged gracefully. Regally, in fact. “Descent Into Chaotic Dream” is off Evoken’s Decibel-approved Atra Mors full-length. Part My Dying Bride, Part Monumentum, all Evoken, it’s the kind of song for late nights looking at stars or down at fresh graves. Either way, transcendental!


3. Shape of Despair – In The Mist Part 1
One of the newjack funeral doom outfits to come out of Thergothon, Skepticism and Unholy’s loins, Shape of Despair met with wild applause when they launched Shades of… in 2000. Fronted by funeral doom heir apparent Jarno Salomaa and sided by the ever-amazing Tomi Ullgrén, the Finns went on to produce three full-lengths before going dormant. They’re still active in a Finnish way. Anyway, this song is beautiful. It haunts every second. Like an undead waltz with some HP Lovecraft monster on vocals. Miika “Azhemin” Niemelä would only be on Shades off… sadly. He’s rumored to be living a life of solitude in Northern Finland. Now, that’s the lifestyle!


2. Colosseum – Towards The Infinite
I’m partial to “Saturnine Vastness” off debut Chapter 1: Delirium, but “Towards The Infinite” gets a nod for being the first funeral doom song with an official, label-sanctioned video. Short by Colosseum standards, the song, however, carries the Finnish funeral doom torch, but instead of being sparse and limited in scope, it’s wide open thanks to Juhani Palomäki’s (RIP, bro!) classical compositional touch. That it sounds like a Morbid Angel song (off Covenant, I think) slowed and throwed to near death is truly Finnish icing on the coffin. And again, the vocals. Palomäki abyssal growl is like no other. Full of emotion, hate, despair. Believe!


1. Thergothon – Who Rides The Astral Wings
The point of origin. The dark of darkness. The pit of space. Finns Thergothon (Hall of Famers if they’re to be found, I think) started it all. Well, Skepticism was there, too. But somehow Thergothon’s debut album, Stream from the Heavens, resonated and became a cult classic. An expensive one, too, before the reissues landed. It’s tough to argue which Thergothon track elicits the most funereal response, but “Who Rides The Astral Wings” is only song to repeatedly make feel like Scott Koerber’s basement has a hidden door to impossibly desolate realms. I know it’s there. I just can’t find it. Scott?!

For Those About to Squawk: Waldo’s Pecks of the Year

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, December 28th, 2012

waldo NYE

Well boys and girls, we’ve survived the apocalypse, and there’s not much coming out soon, so I’ll review my best of this year. In case you missed my expertly honed reviews, you should check these out. I will put a caveat that these are in no particular order.

Napalm Death, Utilitarian
Grind, grind and more grind. This is their strongest outing in some time. Fast and concise.

Goatwhore, Blood for the Master
This is a fine slab of blackened thrash. And, oh yeah, they hate God.

Evoken, Atra Mors
Transcendental doom. Not unlike dISEMBOWLEMENT, this slab of meanness moves, and breathes life into a sometimes stagnant genre.

Pig Destroyer, Book Burner
This is the best record ever, of all time, period. (You think I’m biased?)

Zombiefication, Reaper’s Consecration
Like some old school in your death metal? These brown metal dealers bang your brain with retro vengeance.

Phobia, Remnants of Filth
This slab of grind starts up like a pit bull, never lets go. Blasts, sore throat vocals and general filth–this does not disappoint.

Locrian, The Clearing/The Final Epoch
This is called “ambient black metal,” and it very well may be: moody and dark, bordering on evil.

Deathspell Omega, Drought
Oft discussed and never seen, this EP of brutal black metal smacks you in the face, repeatedly, like a whole bunch.

Municipal Waste, The Fatal Feast
Thrash anthems to beer, the man, and mutant space people that exist on human flesh. What could be better?

Mares of Thrace, The Pilgrimage
A sludge-doom amalgam that both rocks and slays at the same time

HAARP, Husks
Sludgy swamp-influenced doom, There is no easing into this record. Put it in and turn it up to the maximum volume.

Dying Fetus, Reign Supreme
Slams. This is death metal, pure and to the point. This is nasty, vile, troo death metal made to kick you in the dick.

Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay
Epic. It’s Neurosis, goddammit. There’s not much here that will shock anyone, but prepare to take a fucked-up journey with Neurosis as your tour guide.

Afgrund, The Age of Dumb
Although the record cover is dumb, the music is short, blistering and to the point.

Gaza, No Absolutes In Human Suffering
Nihilism, short and to the point. These guys hate Jesus, life and you, and go a long way to prove it sonically.

Black Sheep Wall, No Matter Where It Ends
Dark and twisted, BSW are the definition of doom, and this release will flatten you like a monstrous steamroller.

Dragged Into Sunlight, Widowmaker
This is just fucked-up, swirling eddies of black, disgusting hate.

Author & Punisher, Ursus Americanus
One foot in industrial, and most definitely heavy, this one-man machine blurs the edges of traditional music to bring you one spiteful package.

That’s it for now, I’m SURE there’s a ton I’m forgetting, but hey, I smoke seeds.–Waldo

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Argentina’s Mortuorial Eclipse

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, December 28th, 2012

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

War-painted four-piece Mortuorial Eclipse hail from Argentina and roll out a ferocious storm of blackened death metal enhanced by cavalry-ready symphonic flourishes.  That word again is enhanced.  Not drowned or muted or unmanned.  Like horned batwings on a ravening demon, the orchestral elements lift the music over the scrambling crowd of human meat and allow more havoc to be wreaked, more terror to be spread.  The extra instrumentation is so good, it could be Greek, or Roman-Canadian, or even South Carolinian-Egyptian!

Decibel caught up with guitarist/vocalist Nefass to talk about the bands origins and trajectory.  From his answers, it sounds like debut record The Aethyrs’ Call is just the beginning of what we can expect to hear from this monstrous band, and that can only be good.  Listen to “Brotherhood of the Serpent” right here, and check out the band’s ReverbNation page for more info/music.  Support Argentinian brutality!

Who are the musicians who make up Mortuorial Eclipse?  What do their musical backgrounds bring to the band?

Nowadays ME is composed by Baal Herith (orchestrations and keyboards), Nefass (vocals and guitar), Kobal (drums), Thav (live guitar).   Nefass has been part of Necropolis (death metal), Devius (progressive death) and Inferi (black/death). Baal Herith was part of many projects and has a long career as composer, especially scores and classical music. Kobal is founder member of Corporal Dissection (death) and Thav is leader of the well-known local black/death band Inferi and also is part of Blood Parade [for] some time.

What was the band doing in the years leading up to this first full-length record?

The recording of this album was a long progress and was cut by a small tour we did in Brazil. For this album we chose songs from the different stages of the band and this year was the right moment to close a cycle. From the genesis of Mortuorial Eclipse we have been searching for a musical identity and a sound that transmits what we want to. This is our first step towards that.

Do you feel that Mortuorial Eclipse has the support of a metal scene in Córdoba, or have you paved your own way?

Yes! Even though the extreme metal scene in our city is not too big, we had the support of the metalheads from the beginning; of course there [are] a few people that criticize everything new and different from the standards but we don’t care about them.

How did the band settle on its “symphonic blackened death” sound?  Specifically, what turns you on about the symphonic elements?  How are decisions made about when to push those elements forward and when to pull them back?

From our first composed song we knew that the symphonic element would be an important component for the band, but on 2010 when Baal Herith become part of the band ,we decided to give it even more leadership and a main role on our music. Since that moment we modified all songs and we started a different way of composing our material. Of course it was not easy and we are still searching the best way to combine the extreme metal with the symphonic orchestrations, keeping the essence of each style and breeding a chaotic harmony between them. During The Aethyrs’ Call recording we realized that it was the beginning of a long journey and that there is much more from where it comes.

How long was the writing/recording process for The Aethyrs´ Call?  What was the experience like?

This first album contains songs made in all the stages of the band.  It was a long period of selection and much material was discarded. The orchestration arrangements and recording were also a hard process but very productive.  Regarding guitars, bass and drums – everything was great but it took more time that we expected; it’s not strange considering this is our first professional work and we were very exigent with the performance of every detail.  With the vocals [things were] very strange, we had changed the vocalist shortly time before a tour, and after that we had to start recordings, thing that never happened with this singer and that was the reason whereby we decided that I should try to record vocals. Matias Takaya, from AV Studios , was The Man who led me through this hard process and [surprised us] with cool results.  The final touch, but one of the most difficult and important, was given by Arek (Malta) Malczewski (sound engineer of Behemoth, Decapitated).  He mixed and mastered the CD at Sound Division Studios in Poland.

How did you get with the label Ishtar Gate?

We created it. It’s a label we (members from others metal bands and me) created some years ago with the target of [organizing] gigs and releasing material in our city. If you want things to be done correctly, do it yourself…

What kinds of reactions to your sound are you getting from audiences?  From friends and family?

Friends and family are very proud of the final product because they know how hard it was for us to make it. We are having a great and unexpected [reception by] the local audience and a big reach to people from all parts of the world, [which] is very important for a first album even more considering it’s a self production of an underground metal band, from an underground country.

Where does Mortuorial Eclipse go from here?

Now we are searching for labels and distro for our album around the world, we are working hard on making it reach as far as we can. We will make a video the first trimester of 2013 and we are closing some gigs around our country to spread our material locally. After that we are starting to work on a tour through Europe for 2014. We are already composing new music for the successor of The Aethyrs’ Call.

Chances are…Behind the Scenes at A389 Records

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, uncategorized, videos On: Thursday, December 27th, 2012

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Chances are you know about Scion’s involvement in the world of extreme music (as well as garage rock and electronic music scenes). Chances are some of you have even gone on online to whine about a huge corporation like Scion/Toyota digging their claws and worming their tentacles into our sacred little world… after picking up your free Wormrot and Revocation EPs and downloading those two new Witch Mountain tracks, no doubt. Chances are you’ve attended one of the many fests, showcases and shows Scion has organised; I know I have. Chances are you’re aware that Scion have a series of video mini-docs focusing on underground labels and have previously featured Moshpit Tragedy, Profound Lore, Prosthetic and Relapse. Chances are you’re aware of the heart-on we have for Dom Romeo’s A389 Records. Well, worlds are colliding my friends as the Deciblog presents Scion A/V’s feature on A389, including interviews with Romeo, live footage of Integrity, Seven Sisters of Sleep and the Love Below, as well as footage of Dom’s home set-up and his transgression of child labour laws in getting his daughter to help package pre-orders.

Music For The People:

One Man, 100 Releases:

Spreading The Word:

And if you can’t make it out to Philly for Decibel’s 100th Issue show, check out the annual A389 Bash in Baltimore that same weekend:

Decibrity Playlist: Ancestors (Part 2)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, December 27th, 2012

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To celebrate the Mayan apocalypse, last week Ancestors shared the first half of its end of the world playlist. Doomsday or not, we automatically scheduled the second half of the Los Angeles quintet’s picks to run this morning to help satiate this guy‘s voracious appetite for the written word. But, in the off-chance we manage to survive, you can not only read about the band’s picks, but can also listen along here.

The Turtles’ “Eve Of Destruction” (from 1965′s It Ain’t Me Babe)
Flo and Eddie had a knack for taking serious subjects and making them fun and/or funny. Probably why they ended up collaborating with Frank Zappa later on. Although I don’t think they wrote this song, they picked a good one. This is a great and catchy song from a great band.—Justin Maranga

R.E.M.’s “It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (from 1987′s Document)
Obviously this song was going to be here. And you might be saying, “R.E.M. sucks.” Well keep it to yourself, because they’re one of my favorite bands of all time. They were incredibly influential and I can’t think of one band that was more adept at writing pop hooks while always managing to be artistic and creative. While this is far from my favorite R.E.M. song, it was the one that I obviously had to throw on here.—J.M.

Armageddon’s “Basking in the White of the Midnight Sun” (from 1975′s Armageddon)
Keith Relf was badass, and not just because he electrocuted himself on his guitar. This song has an end of days vibe to me. Also, the drummer from Captain Beyond (Bobby Caldwell) played on this record.—Nick Long

The Clash’s “London Calling” (from 1979′s London Calling)
Another obvious one, but it’s such a great song. And such a great album. This record has had enough said about it that I could never say anything new, so I’ll just shut up. The ice age is coming.—J.M.

U2′s “New Years Day” (from 1983′s War)
I only recently swallowed my hatred of Bono (and The Edge for that matter) in favor of ignoring their existence and listening to U2 anyway. And I’m glad I did, because their output up through The Joshua Tree is really incredible. This playlist was originally going to be a New Years playlist, but then we realized that clearly there won’t be a New Years this year. But this song still seemed to work.—J.M.

Neurosis’s “Through Silver In Blood” (from 1996′s Through Silver In Blood)
To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what this song is about. But I’ve always felt that Through Silver In Blood (the entire album) sounded like the perfect soundtrack to the apocalypse. So I’m throwing it on this playlist. I’m sure you already know how untouchable this band and record are.—J.M.

Blind Willie Johnson’s “Dark Was The Night, Cold Was The Ground” (from 1993′s The Complete Blind Willy Johnson)
Not much to say here. It’s an instrumental. Incredibly contemplative and dark. I felt like it worked in this playlist.—J.M.

Charley Patton’s “You’re Gonna Need Somebody When You Die” (from 2007′s The Very Best Of Charley Patton)
Charley Patton was the father of the delta blues and I firmly believe that without him music today would be very different. That earns him a place in most playlists in my book.—J.M.

Andrew Bird’s “Yawny At The Apocalypse” (from 2007′s Armchair Apocrypha)
Another instrumental. Beautiful. Andrew Bird is one of the most talented musicians out there right now. The song title is obviously a play on Yanni at the Acropolis but whatever.—J.M.

Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” (from 1992′s The Future)
Yes, another Leonard Cohen song. I wanted to end the playlist with something hopeful. This song has some of my favorite lyrics of all time. There’s a lesson to be learned here. “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”—J.M.

*Order a copy of In Dreams And Time here.

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

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)

dB post-Christmas hangover content: Win ‘We Got Power’

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: contest, featured On: Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

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Ah, to be a metalhead on the biggest holiday of the year. We’re imagining that you got a new fleece from Eddie Bauer instead of the rare Xasthur LP you hoped would end up under the tree. Your incontinent grandpa is still asleep on the couch. You are now hiding in your room scanning metal blogs.

Lucky you. We’ve teamed up with our good friends at Bazillion Points to give away two copies of We Got Power!, a collection of the crucial 80s fanzine convering Southern California hardcore founded by David Markey and best friend Jordan Schwartz.

Like much of what Bazillion publishes it’s part work of art and part extreme music history lesson. The hardbound book features 400 first-generation L.A. hardcore punk photographs and complete color reprints of the fanzine, in addition to essays by hardcore luminaries (if such a thing exists).

We have two copies for the best two answers to this seemingly simply question:

What is the essential Southern California hardcore album?

Answers are due by January 14, 2013 to accomodate folks who are still on vacation. Please post responses in the comment section and then post a link to the contest on Facebook and Twitter if you fancy social media. Happy Holidays.