By: dB_admin Posted in: featured, toursOn: Tuesday, June 4th, 2013
by Kim Kelly
As far as American black metal goes, Cobalt have got the market cornered on that classic “convoluted, vaguely threatening backstory” angle. The Colorado duo emerged in 2003 after the demise of Phil McSorley’s solo project, Grimness Enshroud, and quickly armed themselves with a sparse but jaw-dropping catalog. Through Cobalt’s raw, artful compositions and tendency to lay bare their own faults and demons, the concept of “war metal” finally shed its inherent flaws and became tangible, far removed from gas masks and goat worship. Their music’s visceral, innovative appeal won over underground ‘heads and critics alike, and at the height of the well-deserved furor over 2009’s masterful Gin, they disappeared. Multi-instrumentalist Erik Wunder relocated to Brooklyn, whilst vocalist, lyricist and sometimes guitarist McSorley, an Army sergeant, shipped off to Iraq. All remained quiet on the Cobalt front until a few months ago. Panties were twisted, eyebrows were raised, and “Order Now” buttons were feverishly clicked as news of their first ever tour spread like wildfire, and a handful of dates popped up around their Maryland Deathfest performance. Once the dust from that already legendary gig had cleared, I hopped in the van Almost Famous-style to sling their merch, document the proceedings and keep the boys from killing each other.
It’s the first day of tour, and everyone is hung over except Josh Lozano, the straight-edge ’90s throwback (and Fashion Week/Man’s Gin/FAMILY member) who’s filling in on guitar. MDF is a cruel mistress at the best of times, and the usual pre-tour organizational scrum is hitting us hard. After a failed pub visit, misplaced equipment and some goat stew, we’re finally all present and accounted for, and are on our way to Pittsburgh’s Smiling Moose. There are five of us crammed into the van they’d rented from Batillus’ Fade Kainer, plus all manner of gear, backpacks and Josh’s seemingly endless supply of granola bars. He and Mutilation Rites’ Michael Dimmett (who’s filling in on bass) spend the next four hours bickering, while Erik and Phil hunker down up front with some Profanatica CDs and a Boyd Rice biography. A backseat viewing of The Waterboy commences, and, for now, peace reigns.
There are a lot of disparate personalities involved in this run, but somehow it works. Erik Wunder is always smiling and seems over the moon to be reunited with his oldest friend, Phil, who is unfailingly friendly and polite, if a bit reserved and wary. Josh is goofy and endearingly Eeyore-esque, which gives Michael, who’s armed with a rapier wit, churlish disposition and seasoned DIY background, plenty of ammunition for backseat squabbling. Everyone else has done time on the road before, but for Phil, this is his first touring experience and a rare vacation from his grueling military duties. While he’s unquestionably a billion times tougher than any of us will ever be, it’s very different from his regimented schedule – after all, deriving order from chaos is the name of the game – but he seems up for the challenge.
The Smiling Moose is a small club at the top of a rather intimidating flight of stairs. The promoter, a nice young dude named Jon, helped us haul everything up and apologized profusely for the lack of drink tickets, then Lord Mantis rolled up and tour started feeling like tour. The show went well; despite the Melvins’ playing across town, there was a respectable amount of people there to be happily harangued by Lord Mantis’ disgusting black tar sludge and McSorley’s manic, blood-smeared attack. Someone unsuccessfully offered me heroin, but besides that, it was a pretty sober night. The first of many broken microphone stands was left behind as we loaded out into the rain and dithered over sleeping arrangements. A Primanti Bros run was deemed essential, and, bellies groaning, a jumble of us packed into the Chicago dudes’ hotel room and got snuggly. Phil stretched out on the floor while the rest of us figured out how to fit six people into two beds and a rollaway camp bed. We already smell terrible.
Hot dogs, an honest-to-fuck beer cave (!), and Lord Mantis’ ritualistic bestowal of the storied “poop shirt” upon Erik and Phil started off Day 2 on a high note. Michael won’t shut up about how awesome the Ethiopian food is at the Harrisonburg venue, the Blue Nile. The rest of us are skeptical, but it turns out he was right (I’m a five-year-old and demurred, but everyone else licked the communal plate clean). A few tense moments erupted after Erik discovered he’d lost his bag somewhere; the grinding stress of touring has a knack of magnifying little problems into BIG FUCKING PROBLEMS, but everything sorted itself out eventually. The venue was small but welcoming, as was the audience itself, and the bill for tonight was stacked sky-high. Earthling and Inter Arma both kill it, of course, and while the crowd seemed confused during Lord Mantis’ set (what about a scruffy tattooed beast-man snarling “I smell your pussy” is hard to understand?), the troops rallied for Cobalt. Erik’s love of Tool is becoming more and more obvious as he loosens up behind the kit. The band’s getting tighter, and more comfortable. The machine’s clanking into gear. There’s blood in the air tonight.
The scabs on Phil’s forehead get gnarlier every day, and another microphone stand bites the dust. Watching him onstage in tiny venues like this is exhilarating, and a bit frightening; he radiates tension, visibly grappling with his own rage and hate, clutching at his head and screaming at the sky like it’s listening.
Rumors of a party and promises of a place to crash found us chasing our own tails across town. We ultimately escaped the stoned confusion of it all to beat a hasty retreat to Waffle House and cram into another cheap hotel room. Seven bodies, one room, and a lot of dirty socks is either the premise for the lamest porno ever…or a Cobalt/Lord Mantis slumber party.
Your friends at Decibel have teamed up with A Pale Horse Named Death to entertain you this summer. We’ll be hosting a blog series for the next five weeks detailing production of a video for their new album Lay My Soul To Waste and premiering the “DMSLT” video at the end.
In the first installment, video director Aaron Beaucher gives us the story behind the project. Images follow after the post. Enjoy and get in touch with the band here.
When I was first approached by A Pale Horse Named Death (APHND) to conceive some ideas for a music video for their sophomore release Lay My Soul to Waste, I was pleasantly surprised by their openness and collaborative spirit. Thanks to an introduction made by a mutual friend, APHND frontman Sal Abruscato contacted me early one Saturday morning to discuss the video project, and I was really relieved to learn how down-to-earth and real he was. He was very open about his artistic perspective, which helped to round out some of my ideas for how to visually convey the story of the song. As a fan of Sal’s work with Life of Agony, I knew I wanted to shoot a dynamic performance piece, and Sal was intrigued by the stop-motion animation that permeates our studio’s website at neo-pangea.com, so he wanted to include animation in this video.
We talked about a few tracks on the album and decided to shoot “DMSLT” so that we would be able to enhance the live performance footage with animated effects in time to align with the release of the track. The song has a heavy focus on personal demons, the world around us being total shit, and wanting to end it all. Lyrically, it’s very bold, so I wanted to take a more metaphoric, subtle approach to the theme visually. Without giving too much away, the concept involves taking key points within the edit that we will print out and reshoot using chemicals, then reapplying them as overlays on the footage – something we will definitely document in greater detail in later posts.
The band had a bit of a long haul down to Philly for the shoot, but they came ready to rock. Matt Brown wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and help out with sound on the set to get things just right. APHND is definitely a blue-collar, hard-working band, and once the music started blasting and cameras started to roll, they really came alive.
A lot of great digital camera technology has developed during the past decade. I have been shooting primarily with a Canon EOS 7D for the past few years, and we used it for a majority of our shots. Since GoPro cameras are so small and mountable, we did some creative mounting and captured some great footage from guitar necks and cymbal stands. Johnny kept knocking the card out of one of the GoPros we mounted on the snare, so I had to risk losing a finger by holding it in my hand.
By noon, the guys had switched from coffee to Pabst Blue Ribbon, and we had gone from tripods to handheld cameras for the remainder of the shoot. By the end of the day, I think the guys were glad to see the crew sweating just as much as they were. Be sure to check back next week for another glimpse behind the horse!
We asked Toronto’s premiere purveyors of “true, unadulterated heavy metal” Cauldron to keep tabs on the havoc and devastation left in the wake of the band’s epic America’s Lost tour and dudes did not disappoint. Part I lives here. Part II is posted below. Purchase the excellent Tomorrow’s Lost here. A handful of remaining dates are posted at the end of this entry.
Carrying on from the first half of our adventure, Cauldron set its sights on Western Canada and the United States. While en route to Edmonton we stopped to gas up in Lashburn, Saskatchewan. We piled out of the van and were met by a couple standing outside the station, smoking. Using their powers of observation they asked us one of the daily questions we received all tour — Are you guys in a band? Other questions frequently asked — Have you ever watched trailer park boys? Have you seen the movies Fubar and Fubar 2? Did you know that you’re really tall? Anyway, we decided to have a little fun and replied with a round of sarcastic No’s. The lady was persistent and kept asking what our band was called. Ian turned around and barked “Nocturnal Mortuary!!!” which nearly knocked her backwards. Mildly annoyed she said, “You guys are lying to me! You guys are playing in Edmonton tonight aren’t you? Well so are we” — they happened to be in a band, too — “and we’re gonna tell our friends not to go see you play.” To which Jason replied “Good ’cause we’re sold out anyway!” Then we drove off before they could cut our break lines.
Lantern are a two-man death metal band from Kuopio, Finland, whose debut LP, Below, is the sort of warped and twisted 40-minute head-trip that should be mother’s milk to all those Decibangers who were weaned on the impenetrable darkness of bands such as Demilich and Demigod. Formed by a surprisingly mellow dude with a a reassuringly brutal nom de guerre , Cruciatus, with Necrophilos on vocals, Lantern are old-school in ethos, with the necro atmosphere always trumping the brutality of the jam. But don’t mistake Lantern for some by-the-numbers NWOSDM revivalist act.
Taking cues from ’70s prog, Cruciatus isn’t afraid to take Lantern off-piste, with weird atonal passages and half-riffs that mutate over the course of a seven-minute song. There are hooks, then moments where Below sounds like the haunted cousin of Deicide’s Legion. Below is released on June 25th through Dark Descent. Check it out below.
Here is the Lantern’s keeper of the flame, creator-in-chief Cruciatus on the making of Below.
This is your first full-length record, and judging from your Subterranean Effulgence EP, Lantern’s sound has become more epic and more abstract.
I know! Subterranean Effulgence was more like this compilation of so-called neat tracks but this is like all greenery and rambling, like you said, very epic, almost like one 40-minute long song. I don’t know—it just turned out like that, naturally, and I thought that people might think that it is too weird for an album but so far the response has been pretty nice.
Better being too weird than too normal. But the name, Lantern, is abstract in itself: How did you come up with it?
I dislike all those very brutal names, and I wanted to give the listener something to think about; Lantern has all these different philosophical meanings, like illuminating the darkness and all that. It just sounded right, at the start when I cam up with that name, and at the moment that I came up with the name I came up with the logo and everything just clicked.
The name can be as weird as you like so long as it looks good as a logo, right? But the philosophical meanings behind it, do they allude to the fact that lanterns are only used in the darkness and even then hardly light things up that much—there is plenty that is left in the darkness. Is that alluding to the music itself, that a lot of it leaves something to the imagination.
Yeah, you understood it correctly. It’s not like showing everything immediately; it’s about shedding the horror slowly and what’s half-hidden in the darkness.
Cruciatus and Necrophilus’ pre-Lantern DM band, Cacodaemon:
How would you put Lantern into context with Cacodaemon? Does this feel like it’s completely a different beast, musically and thematically? Yeah, I think of Cacodaemon as an apprenticeship of sorts. It was much more chaotic than Lantern. Lantern is more subtle . . . Or you could even say sophisticated. I don’t know, maybe it is more controlled nowadays; it is not as rowdy. When I ended Cacodaemon and started with Lantern I didn’t actually know what sort of music would come out of this. We jammed out the first demo in the studio, and I didn’t know how our vocalist would sound with all of this. You know the fourth song on the album, “Manifesting Shambolic Aura”? That was the first Lantern song ever written, and that was literally chanted out; I just had a few ideas, everything came together naturally.
Does that one have special significance to you?
Yeah, I guess so. The name Lantern is mentioned in the lyrics, and it started it all. It was a manifesto for my musical continuation, uhh, so to say.
It sounds like genres outside of metal have as much of an influence on Lantern as traditional death metal.
Yeah, strangely enough, ‘70s progressive rock started to creep in to my composing when I started with Lantern. That’s one of the notable influences. And with Lantern, I let all these maybe stranger influences run a bit more freely than before. I didn’t really Cacodaemon was more old-school and traditional; Lantern isn’t bound to anything. I do whatever I want, and that’s where the Lantern sound comes from.
Which bands in particular were influencing you? Mercyful Fate have always been important, and from the progressive side, you could say that Camel, even Yes, and bands like that—usually, the influence is compositional, like how you can do things differently. It’s not like it’s a direct progressive rock influence but more about how you can compose it . . .
What’s the writing process like? Usually it’s very slow. I write some riffs and take it from there. I’ll return to them and decide what’s good, what’s bad, and usually I’ll write the lyrics at the end. I write it all myself, at least for now. Our rhythm guitarist who plays at our gigs [St. Belial] offered to give me some riffs but maybe that’s a project for the future, I don’t know. I’m such a dictator; I like doing things by myself, and Necrophilus let’s me do all the work for him! Before this interview, I was writing some new riffs, and usually I have these song titles or themes that I write in my notebook, and build the atmosphere around them, sometimes just a couple of words that inspire me, and usually Lantern songs take about half a year to be completed but some of these songs came together in a day, like “Demons in my Room”. I have been recording everything myself but I have been thinking about getting some help [with the production] because it is a pain in the ass to compose, record and mix everything yourself.
It might start with a riff, or those ideas—the themes, key words—that you put down in your notebook, but with Lantern, is the emphasis more on the atmosphere of the song than the actual physical riff?
Yeah, I’ve said on many occasions that atmosphere comes first and foremost to me in music, sometimes at the expense of the riffs. To create the proper atmosphere is the key thing to Lantern’s music.
Most death metal bands champion the riff over everything else, and you’re kind of the opposite. Are you comfortable with being labelled a death metal band?
Hmm, yeah, it’s mostly death metal. But it has so many black metal elements as well, so it’s hard to tell. But I guess it’s okay to label us a death metal band, most of the time. It’s a tough one . . .
But it doesn’t matter so much anyway. Do you find that with extreme music the boundaries are coming down?
Yeah. Actually, someone said a huge compliment on Facebook, just a few weeks ago, saying that Lantern sounds like some of the bands from the early ‘90s, like when the boundaries were really thin and you didn’t care if you were black metal or death metal, you just played good music and that was all that counted. I think that was a really good compliment, to say that we were returning to the age where it doesn’t matter which category you belonged to. I guess it doesn’t matter as much any more.
Who has been exciting you lately in metal? Desolate Shrine are absolutely fucking great. Finnish friends’ bands, you get to follow them really closely. But I’ve been listening to Aesoth and Ascension, and some of these black metal acts are really exciting. I’ve discovered black metal again. I’m trying to think who else—Horrendous, their album, The Chills was absolutely brilliant. Black metal has shown more potential for me recently than say a few years ago. I was on hiatus from black metal for some time, and concentrated on death metal more. I don’t know if there is a renaissance going on but there are a shit-load of good bands. The scene is definitely not dying.
You’ve played a few live shows now, how does it feel to bring Lantern to the stage? It’s really great, actually, and we want to play much more, and maybe outside Finland if that is possible. We’ve played four times now and it’s progressing. I think we’re becoming a really good live band, like some songs are much better live than on the recording, especially with the EP songs, like “Revert the Living into Death”, you really want to start banging your head in rehearsals when you are playing that end part. When we started I had no opinion on whether we should play live or not, but after a few years we just started having this idea that we should play live. We didn’t originally design Lantern to be a live band; we just wanted to record something and try some things out.
Has it helped you that it’s taken you a bit of time to get this album out? Has it helped you develop your sound?
Yeah, it’s been very important. Like I say, the first demo was almost half improvised—that was like a testing ground—and the EP was maybe closer to our sound on Below but the album’s sound determined what Lantern was going to be. We wouldn’t have been Lantern if we had recorded an album in the first two years, I guess. We had to have those four years before we started to record the album. It was vital, I’d say.
Lantern sound like a band who will change with each release. What would you like to add to your sound?
The thing with Lantern’s music, and hopefully the listener will think so too, is that we haven’t repeated ourselves. The songs are different, and I’d like to continue that. I’d like each song to be different, and it feels like that trend is continuing with the new stuff and with the new writing. It will be different but still Lantern.
The way you finish the album, with the epic “From the Ruins”, suggests that you’re going to open it up and go even more epic in the future.
Yeah, I have some seven-minute songs coming up, so I think that is going to be a standard length for Lantern’s music. But still, “From the Ruins” is on a different level. That is a very special Lantern song. I like to give the songs a bit of air, and I still improvise in the studio. I let them grow once I’ve finished the drum tracks, when I’ve finished the guitar tracks, and I may not have a complete song when I enter the studio so there is always the space for jamming out.
What is it that binds Finnish death metal together? If there is one quality consistent with Finnish DM bands is that, more or less, they’ve got their own sound.
There’s something in that drinking water, and Demilich come from the same town as us, and Antti is a brilliant friend of ours. Everyone says Lantern sound quite different but the same on other levels. We’re doing things our own way, and that’s the key element of Finnish death metal, at least for the old bands and the new old-school bands, like Desolate Shrine and all of these bands.
There is a lot of mysticism in the lyrics—what themes did you want to express? Well in death metal, usually people write lyrics about killing and all this gore, but I think death and dying and killing are three different things. What inspires me most is my near-death experience from 1999. I almost died of hyperthermia, and that’s a really personal experience for me and I started to think about death differently. And I dunno, I’m trying to express that through music. But it’s not all serious pondering about death. Some of the lyrics are like old Italo horror writing, or H.P. Lovecraft-type horror.
How near was near death? I’d say I was an inch before from being ready to die. My body temperature was at the limit for surviving. But, yeah, I was young back then and you can get a little bit [stupid] . . . It had something to do with alcohol. We were just hanging out with some friends and I passed out, and they didn’t help me as much as I should have, and luckily I survived . . . And hopefully learned my lesson.
Do you have any theories about what happens after death? I believe that it doesn’t end here, like life is something that the human doesn’t understand, all of theses planes of existence. I think that death is more than just the decaying. But I don’t know what that is, like I say the human mind can’t comprehend everything.
Did it change your perspective on life? I guess so, it is one of those things that I cannot express in words directly, but I think that I have been thinking quite differently about existence after that. I think spirituality in the music is important because it is a grounding for yourself to contemplate things, and think about life and death and even understand somethings about yourself through writing your own music. That happens to me occasionally, like I’ll write some strange lyrics and then understand the meaning of them a few years later.
By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listenOn: Monday, June 3rd, 2013
Do not adjust your volume. Despite a roster of luminaries from the Chicago metal and avant-garde scene, including Jef Whitehead (Leviathan), Sanford Parker (Minsk, Twilight), Bruce Lamont (Yakuza), Drew Markuszewski (ex-Nachtmystium, Avichi), and jazz cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, this project from visual artist JR Robinson starts off squarely on the noise/drone end of the extreme spectrum. But don’t worry – even though You’ve Always Meant So Much to Me begins quietly, it doesn’t stay that way. It builds until, a little over halfway through, it erupts into crashing, monumental doom, and you finally understand why Robinson brought in all those monsters of metal. Apparently there’s a visual component, but we don’t have that; we do, however, have a premiere of the full (single track) debut of Wrekmeister Harmonies. So put on your headphones, close your eyes, and prepare to be forcefully transported to the land of the ice and snow.
[Sorry, you missed it! Check out this music video instead, though – it's pretty cool.]
***This LP-only release is pressed on virgin vinyl and presented in a super deluxe old-style tip-on gatefold jacket with exclusive artwork from Simon Fowler (Sunn O))), Boris, Earth, Wolves in the Throne Room). It comes out on June 11, courtesy of Thrill Jockey, but you can preorder it here
** The Black Dahlia Murder’s Trevor Strnad details the band’s new album, Everblack, in this track-by-fucking-track run-down. Whether you’ve followed the Detroit-based outfit from their humble Motor City beginnings to the mountainous perch from which they gaze down lovingly and loathingly (that’s a word, shut up) at fans and critics alike, Everblack’s a monster of cross-genre brilliance. So, click play and read along. Sadly, Trevor didn’t include a bouncing dot to punctuate the description to the tunes. Next time, bros.
TRACK 1. “In Hell Is Where She Waits For Me”
The opening sequence of this song puts the listener at Elizabeth Short’s funeral, looking over the shoulder of her killer, who is silently (and anonymously) in attendance. It tells the tale of his brief love affair with The Black Dahlia and his motives for cutting her down in such a grisly, vengeful manner. I’ve wanted to do a song dealing with the actual murder for some time; I thought it would be nice gesture for the fans. When I heard that somber intro and thought immediately of funeral procession, I figured now was time as there was no better way to reassure fans that we haven’t strayed from our sound or intent (nor been negatively affected by the line-up changes) than to drop an actual Black Dahlia Murder song on them. It even has that old Unhallowed feel to it. The song is pretty manic vocally and is gonna be doozy to perform live. Better start my tongue push-ups!
TRACK 2. “Goat Of Departure”
This second song is a real blast heavy tune… fast paced and very melodic. In my mind this is a quintessential Brian Eschbach penned BDM song—nice powered wig (read: classically-influenced) riffage and an ultra-catchy chorus to boot. Lyrically, it deals with the origins of the goat as a symbol of evil and how the lamb came to represent the Christian… the goat of departure was cast out into the desert bearing the sins of man on his back… he was the original scapegoat. It talks about the beginning of the ‘horns’ hand sign that we metal heads know and love… the emblem of our very pride and joy.
TRACK 3. “Into The Everblack”
This song is fucking cool… part futuristic (the chugging syncopated verses) and part old school (the slow ominous chorus). Lyrically speaking the song is about death without salvation or any notion of heaven. It’s saying that when you die you are just dead and nothing happens… You rot and worms crawl into your face. There is a nod to Entombed’s Left Hand Path in the middle of the song where I have incorporated the headstone inscription from the album’s artwork. I thought it would be a cool gesture for any old school fans who were paying attention.
TRACK 4. “Raped In Hatred By Vines Of Thorn”
So obviously about The Evil Dead, a horror movie near and dear to many a metalhead’s heart. Horror and metal have had a long marriage and this is far from the first time a death metal band has commented on the subject (Deicide, Death, and Embalmer spring immediately to mind) but here we have focused on the particularly violent vine rape scene. In my version the woman is pregnant and her baby is eaten from inside of her before she is torn in two by the bewildered vines. Horror, Pain, Gore, Death… the whole nine yards, as they say!
TRACK 5. “Phantom Limb Masturbation”
This one is slightly influenced by the documentary called Whole. It is about sick people who harbor the desire to have their limbs removed in order to feel more “complete.” These people have some kind of incomplete body map and it causes them to view their limbs as unnecessary and uncomfortable. The character in the song fantasizes from the time he is young about having his arms crushed by a passing train or his legs bitten of by the jaws of a hungry shark in captivity… constantly dreaming of the day when he’ll have a reason to get the extraneous limbs removed for good. This is definitely the heaviest song on the record and has a somewhat Morbid Angel-esque quality to the verse riff that I absolutely love. This is where the slime has been living lately.
TRACK 6. “Control”
“Control” is a concise, catchy number by the amazingly talented Ryan Knight. Ryan has the tendency to write our most melodic songs of recent years, and this one is no exception. My goal here was to take the listener to one Jeffery Dahmer’s apartment… Room 213, to be exact, where he would attempt to zombify living victims in order to keep them as his brain-dead sexual companions. The motivation for his murders was that of control; he feared being abandoned so greatly that he would kill to maintain his company. He drilled into their skulls and poured various chemical concoctions in to dissolve portions of the brain with varying degrees of success. Jeffery Dahmer, this bud’s for you!
TRACK 7. “Blood Mine”
Another Ryan Knight rocker, this one takes the listener below the surface of the earth where a legion of vampires are farming captured human beings for their blood-crazed consumption. They force the terrified humans to reproduce and basically treat them as livestock. I think this is a banger for sure and the chorus is catchy as hell… Feed on the weaklings!!! Harvest this nectar of life!!!
TRACK 8. “Every Rope A Noose”
This is definitely the wildcard song of the album… it has a vehement black n’ roll feel that was something we hadn’t attempted before. The lyrics are written in that total nihilistic black metal attitude… fuck everything and kill yourself.
TRACK 9. “Their Beloved Absentee”
One of the most melodic numbers, this is one of the best song on the album in my opinion. I love the soaring melodies and chunky NYDM style passage near the end. This one is about how God is a twisted and perverted voyeur that enjoys to silently watch as us humans suffer and slowly destroy ourselves.
TRACK 10. “Map Of Scars”
This last song is very dramatic and frosty affair, steeped with Swedish sounding black metal guitar work and an ultra-heavy symphonic intro and outro. The lyrics deal with two girls who have a penchant for mutual mutilation… they masturbate in blood and are covered from head to toe with gnarly scars as a result of their wild and shameful fetish. It talks of their fall from innocence to their corrupted world of promiscuity and filth where they currently writhe.
** The Black Dahlia Murder’s new album, Everblack, is in stores June 11th on Metal Blade Records. Order it HERE or face being metalknapped, blindfolded, thrown into a rusty van, and dropped in the middle of Brightmoor. Trust us, it’s not worth it.
Holy hell! I’m FIRED the peck up about this band from Baltimore. NOISEM release Agony Defined on A389, and man, is this a ripper! Part old-school Kreator, part old Pestilence at times, these kids — and I do mean kids — get this deathy thrash thing down pat. This thing moves and breathes, and has a stellar production from Kevin Bernsten of Triac fame. Recently opening the Maryland Death Fest, and soon one of the Scion Fests, one should be on the lookout for this monster of a CD/12-inch. There’s enough variance here to not make it samey and boring like a lot of the newer thrash bands. This has one foot FIRMLY in the death vein, and the other in amped-up thrash. Do yourself a favor and check this out. My favorite release of the year so far. 9 Fucking Pecks
Well, I’m on a tear with things I like this time. Seventh Rule release the industrial sludge of AUTHOR & PUNISHER’s Women and Children, and your fine feathered friend has been looking forward to this since the latest release of Ursus Americanus. This is hard to peck down, really, at times sounding like Godflesh or Swans, at times kinda veering off into uncharted sludge territory. This thing is pecking PUMMELING. A one-man band from California who performs with servos and moving machinery that he engineered, the live show is nothing to squawk at either. Industrial, sludge, doom, noise terror. 8 Fucking Pecks.
BLACK DAHLIA MURDER‘s Everblack. Well, one should know what to expect from this melodeath band, this being their sixth release and all. And, well, there’s not much to say about it except that it’s a BDM record. That being said, it’s not derivative or boring. This thing is pretty mean, and melodic at times. The production here is a little dry, but not too dry; everything can be heard clearly and it does have feeling. There’s something in the production I don’t really like that I can’t really put my beak on; maybe it’s a little midrange? It’s hard to really peg down, but it could be my avian ears are a little blown out. This is a fine release, and one the band should be proud of. How many death metal bands can say that their sixth record is great, or even good? Not many, but BDM can certainly fly that flag. Go on with your bad self. 7 Fucking pecks.
Man, I feel almost too positive here. Until we meet again. Waldo out!
By: Dan Lake Posted in: featuredOn: Friday, May 31st, 2013
We all come to grips with death in our own way. Personal loss has informed much of our favorite music, and last month a much more widely experienced sense of loss affected the heavy music community when Jeff Hanneman passed away. Artist Justin Bartlett’s tribute to the late guitar hero came about as an online art project called South of Hanneman, as well as a series of t-shirts designed to celebrate Jeff’s life and impact.
The website itself is visually flashy, including a video and various web effects. Bartlett – whose work been featured front-and-center by Dragged Into Sunlight, Lord Mantis, and Decibel‘s own 2012 tour advertisements - enlisted the help of other artists to realize his vision for the sight. Mark Riddick is a longtime freelance illustrator whose work has been used by Coffins, Dying Fetus, and Suffocation, and he has designed an incredible “Angel of Death” shirt. Antichrist Kramer’s paintings have graced albums by Inquisition and Vasaeleth, and the collage-style tee that he created is pretty amazing. Farron Loathing, poster master for our beloved Maryland Deathfest, loaded up a sweet serpent-n-flames design. London-based French spit up a great two-color “Altar of Sacrifice” design.
All proceeds from shirt sales will go toward charity, though the artists involved are still open to suggestions as to which charity Jeff would have been proud to benefit. We’ll all come to grips in our own way, and Bartlett & company’s approach give us lots more reasons to throw horns again.
Addendum: At the request of the artists, when Tweeting or Instagramming about the project please include “#southofhanneman”. They will use this to try to keep track of the chatter that the project stirs up.
Also, I should probably mention that Justin told me, after reading the post, “I think I might be getting too much credit there! These two guys, Jeff (who did the video) and Andrew (concepts and organizing) came up with the idea – but I just made it bigger by asking the other artists.”
The ninth annual Chaos in Tejas fest begins in Austin, TX tonight. I have barely recovered from last weekend and Maryland Deathfest, but ever since attending CIT for the first time last year, I made the promise to myself that sleep, work and all that other crap can be worried about later when there’s more live extremity to be experienced.
As you can see, there’s a fair amount of crossover with MDF what with Bolt Thrower, Manilla Road, Abigail, Terveet Kadet, Infest, Tragedy, Kromosom and Ice Age. But CIT has its share of highlights (Los Crudos, Final Conflict and Left For Dead) anddoes quite a bit in bringing bands from overseas, especially a shit ton of European and Japanese hardcore bands, though this year appears to be the lightest in terms of content from the Land of the Rising Sun. Oh well. I recently tracked down CIT’s head booker, Timmy “the Texas turd” Hefner for a Gmail chat about the baby he’s been nurturing for nine years with all the short forms and punctuation lapses you’ve come to expect from internet conversations left in for shits and giggles.
Deciblog: OK…so, let’s start from the start. What was the impetus behind starting Chaos in Tejas? Timmy: Well, I did a fest together with Ken at Prank Records about 10 years ago. The following year me and him started working on another one, but he realized he was just too busy and it didn’t make sense for another one just yet with releases and such not coming out around then for new bands and since we had already started i just decided to do my own
Deciblog: Tell me about the humble beginnings of the first CIT fest. Timmy: Started with just like 22 bands over like 3 days and only one venue. Now it’s 150 bands and like 10 venues so it’s def grown. Also it was mostly punk when it first started and def has branched out since then as well.
Deciblog: Aside from being mostly punk, would you say there was a common theme or philosophy about the bands you were booking or what you were trying to accomplish with the fest? Timmy: I guess punk in mindset was more important then punk sounding and it still is. I mean Dead Moon played one of the early ones and I find them more punk then most things people consider punk. They have been doing their own thing for like 30 years and self-releasing records and recording their own music. Deciblog: In branching the fest out, have you ever had difficulty when approaching non-extreme music bands when trying to book them? Timmy: A bit but not so much at this point. Deciblog: When the fest was small and still featuring mostly punk/HC bands, did the first wave of metal bands you booked have any reservations? Timmy: Yeah, a bit. The politics, or lack thereof, in metal is hard with the punk community which is built on politics for the most part and i def get it and understand. Deciblog: Is the number of bands you bring from overseas something that’s always a goal for you? Timmy: Yeah for sure. The fest has made me able to fly over small bands from Japan and Europe that otherwise couldn’t tour here, which is great. I def grew up on Japanese HC as well as HC from all over. Deciblog: How long did it take before you had the know-how and $$ to do it “properly” in terms of getting bands visas and all that jazz? Timmy: I’m still learning! Haha… The visa process is always a learning process and you never know when they will ask for more flyers or more contracts etc, etc. Deciblog: With regards to the Japanese bands, what’s the process like dealing with them, especially when language is a barrier? Timmy: Always tricky for sure. I have a lot of really good friends over there, been there like 7 times. So usually I have a friend help me out if they can’t speak English. Deciblog: Do you speak any Japanese? Timmy: Nah, I wish. Took classes for a minute but got busy and didn’t go back.
Deciblog: Is CIT something you do full time, year round? If not, what do you do otherwise? Timmy: I’m a booking agent at Ground Control Touring. That’s my real job so to speak. Deciblog: How long does it take to put together the line up each year, generally speaking? Timmy: Kind of the whole year off and on. Like a lot of the bands playing this year I was working on for last year and they didn’t happen, so they just got pushed up to this year. Deciblog: How difficult was it to coordinate the fest once it moved to using multiple venues around downtown? Timmy: I mean of course more work but since i deal with all of those venues year around it’s not so bad
they are all great and know how to run their own shows which helps a lot and all are super close to each other.
Deciblog: What bands are still on your “bucket list” that you’d like to bring to CIT? Timmy: Not a ton honestly: Motorhead, Gauze, the Feelies…hmmmmm i’m sure more Deciblog: What’s been your most memorable or interesting CIT moment? Timmy: Memorable is hard with so many. I mean it’s fun to put together my dream line ups, but i think maybe Cock Sparrer and Bastard. They are 2 of my all time favorite bands. Bastard had never played the US ever and Cock Sparrer had never played Texas ever and had been like 15 years since they played the US even. I had never seen either and both were dreams come true. Deciblog: How much are you able to balance out having to work all weekend with taking the time to see the bands you want to see? Timmy: Def running around all weekend, but I make time to see the stuff I have never seen or really love Deciblog: What do you feel CIT does differently than other fests? Timmy: I guess one way it’s mostly different is it’s a bunch of stuff you can’t normally see, one offs and reunions. I try and make it special. Also, I love that it’s all in clubs with no big outside stage. Music like stuff on Chaos doesn’t need to be outside at 2pm.
As someone who takes the subway every day, I’m disappointed in myself for never having thought to pair albums with various lines. So I give loads of credit to Kings Destroy vocalist Steve Murphy for not only coming up with the idea (not to mention his preference for express trains and disdain for the L), but executing it. As you’ll quickly figure out, his band’s roots stem from the very city whose subway cars he has obviously spent a lot of time riding. So, in honor of A Time Of Hunting, the band’s latest record that was just released on Sanford Parker and Bruce Lamont’s War Crime Recordings, we welcome you to ride along with him through four of the five boroughs. Feel free to listen along here.
Void/Faith–Split (1982) D train
The D train runs express in the Bronx. If you stand up front and look out the window at the tracks rolling by at 50 mph, you see SMITH and SANE spray painted on every single I-beam. SANE bombed the Brooklyn Bridge before passing away too young. His brother SMITH is a living legend. This album, especially the Void part with its raw, noisy, discordant and shockingly dark tones, from 1982 is a perfect way to spend time on the subway.
Bl’ast!–The Power Of Expression (1986) 4 train
These guys produced some of the most crushing music of the era. Again discordant but organized and thoughtful at the same time, juxtaposing deeply thoughtful songs like “The Future” with angry punk/surf songs like “Surf and Destroy”. They blew people away with their loud CBGB matinee. I took the 4 train there that day. It ruled.
Melvins–Stag (1996) N train
Their last foray on Atlantic. Even weirder than usual for them, with lots of trippy parts mixed with their trademark heaviness. Sometimes you’re standing in a crowded subway stopped between stations and the oppression of being locked in a cement and steel vault 40 feet below the concrete jungle sets in your mind and you just need to block it out. You know people are getting pissed off and you could be there for one minute or one hour. It’s part of riding that damned steel tube for transportation. You turn this album up and and check out of reality, man. It’s a dark freakshow and its had a permanent effect on my psyche.
Bauhaus–In The Flat Field (1980) J/Z trains
NYC’s most efficient subway from Queens through Brooklyn to Manhattan. What better way to ride this bad boy to the Lower East Side to have a drink at Motor City than to listen to Bauhaus’ first album, kicking off with “Double Dare” and heading straight through “In The Flat Field”. Roll seemlessly through town with your goth look with the almighty “Stigmata Martyr”. You can’t go wrong with this album and you can’t go wrong on the J train either.
Boogie Down Productions–Criminal Minded (1987) 5 train
The 5 train is a true New Yorkers’ train, servicing a huge part of the Bronx, including the projects that KRS-One lived in. This seminal hip hop album featuring DJ Scott La Rock (RIP) changed hip-hop with its style and message. With samples from AC/DC to James Brown to dancehall reggae
and inflammatory lyrics that ignited cross-borough lyrical warfare, it stands the test of time and has an important place in hip hop and NYC history.
Cro-Mags–The Age Of Quarrel (1986) L train
If you have to ride NYC’s official hipster subway line from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I feel for you. It sucks. It’s overcrowded, it’s not serviced well and don’t get me started on the “ridership”. If you are forced to ride this bastard, put your headphones on and turn the Cro-Mags up to 10. Let the Cro-Mag army invade your skull. This album was written for this subway–”Malfunction”, “World Peace”, “Show You No Mercy” and “We Gotta Know” will have you giving off such a negative vibe that perhaps you will gain some extra space.