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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

Photo courtesy of Raymond Ahner.

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

#5 Kurt Ballou of Converge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Road Rituals: Blood Ceremony Tour Diary, Part 1

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: diary, featured, tours On: Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Live in Gainesville, Florida

***As chronicled by Alia O’Brien, singer/flutist/organist for Canada’s finest occult rockers, from their current tour with Kylesa, White Hills, and Lazer/Wulf. Remaining tour dates listed below; preorder their phenomenal new LP, The Eldritch Dark, here

Two days and ten degrees (Celsius!) stood between our homes in Toronto, Canada and our first date supporting Kylesa on their Ultraviolet tour alongside White Hills and Lazer/Wulf. We pulled up to the High Dive in Gainesville, Florida at the end of a particularly long haul that left us in famished pursuit of nourishment beyond Waffle House “salads” and shameful McBreakfasts. The balmy weather and beautiful patio at the venue provided us with the perfect environment to get to know our soon-to-be partners in road warriordom, and it was not long before our appetites got the better of us and conversation turned toward the almighty FOOD. We received a tip-off from L/W that lead us to Flacco’s, a delicious sandwich joint located around the corner from High Dive. Cuban sandwiches all around and with veggie-rich variants for the meat-avoiders among us. Fully sated, we met up with merch master Shane of Monster Press, who hooked us up with a bountiful offering of brand new Blood Ceremony tees. We were officially ready to get out on the road!

Conjuring suds in the streets of Orlando

Conjuring suds in the streets of Orlando

Our second destination was Orlando, where we managed to sample a few craft beers and take in the local wildlife (namely day-drunk tanning bed victims, although we also spotted a few anoles) before a flash storm ushered us into the venue. We also engaged in the very un-brutal act of frolicking by a public fountain that had been transformed into an overflowing bubble bath via liquid detergent. When you’re on tour, opportunities to bathe are scarce, so you take what you can get. We were all in good spirits at the end of the night so we capped off our second show with a good old fashioned tailgating session.

Merch table madness with buzzard!

Merch table madness with Buzzard!

Unfortunately, our foray into parking lot bacchanalia came to an abrupt end when six police officers on bicycles pulled up and curtly asked: “Do any of you want to go to jail tonight?” The general consensus was “no,” and so all vessels containing alcohol were sadly vacated onto the asphalt. It was great while it lasted! Special hails go out to Buzzard, our new party spirit animal and a stand-up fellow, and to Matt for putting us up and providing us with midnight snacks and coffee and bananas for the road! Ye rule!

Photo booth villainy

Photo booth villainy

Our gig at Churchill’s in Miami introduced us to the world of freelance parking lot attendants: essentially, we paid a gentleman to ensure that our beloved van would remain safe. The vehicle emerged unscathed, so perhaps it was a worthwhile investment! The crowd was wild and rowdy, which made for a fun and memorable show, and local support from the crushing ladies and gentleman in Shroud Eater added an additional layer of radness to the night. At the stroke of midnight, Sean, our guitarist, turned a year older, and so we ended our evening with a hearty, Jameson-fueled Pentagram singalong as we drove into the night.

Enjoying some "Purple Haze" craft brews in Orlando

Enjoying some “Purple Haze” craft brews in Orlando

Our next show in the historic cigar-rolling district in Ybor City lay in stark contrast to our Miami excursion. No parking “insurance” purchase necessary! We took a stroll through town with our new buds in White Hills, and discovered a mutual interest in rummaging through vintage shops. Lucas picked up some green Lennon shades at a store called La France, and now closely resembles Uncle Acid’s family practitioner. Long stretches of highway driving provide ample time for journal writing, and so we’re wrapping up this entry while winding westward through Florida toward Louisiana. 666 kilometers currently separate us from the heart of all that is weird, magical and musical in America. New Orleans beckons, and we heed its call!

666 km to NOLA!

666 km to NOLA!

BLOOD CEREMONY
w/ Kylesa, White Hills, Lazer/Wulf
05/21 Denver, CO Marquis Theater
05/22 Salt Lake City, UT Urban Lounge
05/24 Santa Cruz, CA Catalyst
05/25 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
05/27 Portland, OR Star Theater
05/28 Seattle, WA Chop Suey
05/29 Vancouver, BC Electric Owl
05/31 Calgary, AB Dickens
06/01 Regina, SK The Exchange
06/02 Winnipeg, MB The Pyramid
06/03 Minneapolis, MN Triple Rock Social Club
06/04 Iowa City, IA Gabe’s Oasis
06/05 Chicago, IL Bottom Lounge
06/06 Grand Rapids, MI Pyramid Scheme
06/07 St. Louis, MO The Firebird
06/08 Columbus, OH Ace of Cups
06/09 Lexington, KY Cosmic Charlies
06/11 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
06/12 Ottawa, ON Maverick’s
06/13 Montreal, QC Il Motore
06/14 Brooklyn NY Northside Fest (Music Hall of Williamsburg)
06/15 Albany, NY Bogie’s
06/16 Boston, MA Middle East Downstairs
06/18 Philadelphia, PA Underground Arts
06/19 Washington, DC Rock & Roll Hotel
06/20 Asheville, NC Asheville Music Hall
06/21 Atlanta, GA The Earl
06/22 Savannah, GA The Jinx

Cobalt Rising

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews, tours On: Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

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First-class “war metal” masters Cobalt are about to set out on a short (and, no doubt, highly volatile) east coast tour — see dates after the jump — which gave us the perfect excuse to check in with vocalist Phil McSorley about the past, present, and future of this great and glorious band…

“Erik [Wunder] has been working hard on getting other members of the band spun up for the shows. We’ve been a two-piece since the beginning, and we’ve developed kind of a psychic link between ourselves, allowing us to write music. He has gotten two great musicians who understand the gravity of our feeling, and they are ready to help us dump a million tons of shit on the world. I have been back and forth to Iraq twice since Gin was recorded, and have been working as a Drill Sergeant since then. I have finally scraped together the time to put everything I have into a live Cobalt tour, so expect a savage display! There’s years of combat and anger and hate built up just for these eight shows, and they’re going to be something that may never be experienced on that level ever again. Erik has been working with Man’s Gin and has a new album coming soon, which will blow everyone away. I am recording ugly and raw black metal for a new project of my own as well, but the combination of both these worlds is what Cobalt has always been, and this crystallization of the band will be worth the wait.

“From the upcoming tour expect this…

“This will be one of only a few times that all the instruments of the songs have been played at one time, together. The albums were recorded as separate instruments, so these songs have never actually floated through the air.

“There is an unimaginable amount of energies and motivations behind these shows that can not be explained except through a display of the most violent and primitive release.

“Cobalt will record a new album following this tour, ending a silent hiatus of several years.”

EXCLUSIVE: From Hell premiere “Unholy” from forthcoming LP, Heresy

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, May 20th, 2013

FromHell_JoshGroul

“Thrash, Gothic, D-beat” . . . From Hell can spin their sound any number of ways, but, the truth is, they are probably having a bit of mischief with a description of a sound that pulls in as many different directions as there are explodo-throat moments of fierce, faceripping freak-outery on debut album, Heresy.

Released on Jun 25th through Paper + Plastick, Heresy clocks in at a lean 17-minutes, and kicks off with “Nemesis of Neglect”, effectively a portentous intro, a mood-setter with acoustic guitar layered over some noise and a confessional movie sample that soon gives way to the scratchy, metallic über-violence of “Terror”. There is a lot of action on Heresy, but that Gothic influence, as quoted on their Facebook page, comes across to a degree on the downbeat “Crucifix in a Deathhand”.

As far as a bio goes, From Hell keep it vague: they’re from Detroit, M.I. and they mine a dark, unkempt metallic hardcore sound that calls to mind bands like Trap Them and Integrity without the reliance on the physicality of the former or metaphysical hugger-mugger of the latter. “Unholy” is short and sweet but it gives an accurate indication of the bill of fare. And it’s yours to download/stream below.

“Unholy”:

Pre-order Heresy here
Incidentally, you can download their demo from the band’s official BandCamp page here

PIC: JOSH GROUL

STREAMING: ZED “Desperation Blues”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, May 20th, 2013

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There are times when you need to strip away the blastbeats, the growling, the hyperbolic horror movie cover art, the hyper-aggressive posturing and just rock. Plain and simple rock. Clutch does it. Maybe they jam a bit, but the core is tried and true rock. Same with Zakk Wylde when he isn’t over using pinch harmonics and his trademark vibrato. He rocks, too. So, when ZED came to the blood-soaked and grime-filled Scrum room of the Deciblog and presented new album, Desperation Blues, we all—actually, just one of us—nodded in approval.

Formed in the San Francisco Bay Area, ZED blends the classic rock you’ve heard a zillion times on any “Z” rock radio station with the punch of, say, Clutch, the angularity of Rage Against the Machine, the hey-it’s-cool-man vibe of Queens of the Stone Age. Classic-Contemporary hard rock from the Left Coast, which for a Monday morning is exactly what most of us need to get the day going. Maybe ZED and some Coconut Water.

So, check out ZED’s Desperation Blues. It’s OK to rock with your cock out. Or, if you’re female, J. Bennett would approve of rocking with your tits out.

zed_desperationblues_cover_decibel_2013

“We spent over a year writing and fine tuning these songs, finding the right balance between heaviness and aggression, groove, and blues. This album, to us, is the best of all worlds, combining our different influences into one cohesive sounding set of songs that pounds you while making your head bob and ass shake. This is the best work we’ve ever done as a band and as individuals, and we’ve set the bar for ourselves for the next album.”

** Desperation Blues is available for pre-order from ZED’s store HERE. The album can also be ordered on Amazon and iTunes.

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

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, May 17th, 2013

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What’s up, beaks and geeks? Your old boy Waldo is gearing up for the U.S.’s biggest metal party of the year. And while I’d LOVE to do a Maryland Deathfest-centric blog, there just aren’t enough new releases by those artists this time around; but, you know, fuck it, right?

ZOMBIEKRIG release Den Vanstra Stigens Ljus, and while your boy Waldo doesn’t know much about these Swedes, this record is pretty fun. It’s their second full-length and it’s got that fun thrashy vibe, mixed in with a little Swedish power metal. I’m not saying it’s the best record of the year, far from it, but I was totally prepared to hate this and actually had a little fun listening to it, which in and of itself comes as a shock because, well, I’m a renowned avian hater. This is OK. 4 Fucking Pecks.

What does one say about a new ANVIL record? Well, most know what this is going to sound like tacky metal, sometimes proto-thrash that has its roots in blues-based metal. This is not my thing at all. I mean, just because you had a documentary doesn’t mean you deserve to be a rock star; even their contemporaries took a one-way train to nowhereresville. Maybe it’s me, but this guy’s voice just grates on my nerves. I really don’t want to dislike this, but I definitely don’t like it. Plus, the record cover sucks. 2 Fucking Pecks.

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Relapse is pushing Blood Drive by ASG. And while I won’t say I don’t like it, I can’t say that it’s pecking awesome either. I first became aware of them after doing a split with Red Fang, and this fits neatly into that kind of heavy, hard-rocking mold. It’s not bad; there just seems to be something lacking. That being said, there are screaming guitars, pounding drums. I know, sounds good, right? There’s something missing that I can’t put my beak on. Maybe it’s the clean vocals, maybe not. This is cool, but again, not amazing. 5 Fucking Pecks.

KYLESA, Ultraviolet. Never one to stray away from doing something different, and one certainly can’t say that all of their records sound alike. This one definitely strays from the path, not so much that you can’t tell it’s Kylesa, though. Clean guitars, heavy drums and riffing, and I think they were a three-piece when they recorded this. Although the presence of the band is still there, there are some moments that kind of shock the listener into wondering what record they are actually listening to. This is a dark record, and you can tell it comes from a dark place. The vocals here are wailing, drenched in reverb, and at times come across as the caterwauling of some tortured animal. Fans will not be disappointed, but this is a left-side step. 6 Fucking Pecks.

Decibel’s Jeff Hanneman Tribute Issue Now Available

By: mr ed Posted in: featured, flexi disc, RIP On: Friday, May 17th, 2013

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It’s impossible to be hyperbolic about the legacy of Jeff Hanneman. Our own Justin Norton comes right out and says it in this month’s cover story: “Every band ever featured in this magazine owes [Slayer] something.”

Hanneman and Slayer have coursed through Decibel‘s lifesblood from the onset, from two Hall of Fames to two exhaustive cover stories. For #105′s long-form tribute, we compiled a moving retrospective obituary, some of Jeff’s most biting quotes, and a litany of heartfelt remembrances from Exodus, Phil Anselmo, At the Gates, Metallica, Testament, Autopsy and countless other contemporaries to give the man the wake he deserves. Pay your final respects and grab a copy of the new issue here.

In more celebratory news, July not only brings a Royal Thunder flexi disc, but the debut of Decibel on Instagram and Tumblr. So, get exploring!

 

Streaming: Steve Von Till’s 2000 Debut, As the Crow Flies

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, May 17th, 2013

SVT gaze

The man-boys in Converge suggest we shouldn’t have any heroes.  Ironic, that, since they qualify as heroes themselves.  Another hero whose deeds we love to celebrate is Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Steve Von Till.  The man has helped guide the forces of nature his band channels into masterpieces of world-ending ferocity, and this alone makes him an astonishing example for musicians and artists of all strains.  But the recordings that have endeared him to yours truly fall under his name alone.

The first time I heard As the Crow Flies, Mr. Von Till’s debut solo album, I didn’t know what to make of it.  Not because it was quiet and unterrifying; I listen to a lot of simple, melodic music, so I had no high metal horse to come down from.   The dream-state undulations, the nocturnal, misty quality of each song left me without specific moments to grasp and anchor myself.  It took a few more listens before the record became one of my favorite listening experiences that I have gone back to frequently over the last decade.  Subsequent solo albums If I Should Fall to the Field and A Grave is a Grim Horse have had different but no less addictive impact.

Now, Neurot Recordings is re-releasing that first solo record, and we at Decibel are bringing it to you in full right here on the Deciblog.  We got a chance to speak to Steve about his recollections involving the songs’ creation, which you can also read below the album stream.  [Note:  Steve's comments appear basically as they were spoken, while the writer's questions were cleaned up significantly to sound less like he was a drooling sycophant.]

First, what do you recall about the way As the Crow Flies came together?  How were you feeling about that material at the time?

In some ways I think I fell into making a solo record by default or happenstance rather than design.  I had no idea I was recording one until I had a majority of the material.  I had been collecting home recording gear for several years before that and was living in an apartment on the ground floor of a 1900 Victorian in San Francisco.  It was a noisy place to live, so I would wait until my housemates were asleep and the streets were quiet, and with a half-inch 8-track tape machine and couple shitty microphones I just started putting down these ideas.  I didn’t know what they were.  Some of them sat for a couple years, some of them sat for only a few months before I realized, if I look back at all these reels of tape that aren’t ideas I was hashing out for Neurosis or Tribes of Neurot, I’ve got this strange grouping of songs that seem to fit together.  [They’re] more melancholy, acoustic, quiet recordings; “while the rest of the world is sleeping” kind of material.  Once I realized that it was a collection, then I had to decide, “I guess I’m going to release this under my own name.”  It’s something I never thought I would do.  It didn’t seem important.  But I think the music ended up demanding it.  With the help of a couple friends I threw together some mixes and finished some pieces up… I can’t recall exactly, I probably wrote an additional piece or two once I realized I was actually writing a record.

When I put it out there, it was actually quite terrifying in some ways because it was unlike Neurosis, where I have a bunch of brothers by my side and we all have each other’s backs and make a shitload of noise and cover up all the insecurity of being exposed out there on a limb.  It was the beginning of something which I realized was a life-long quest, to also be able to craft emotionally powerful songs, that are not part of the epic bombast of Neurosis but actually concise tight pieces that still evoke strong emotion and put the listener in a place.  I guess, primarily, it’s something that I needed to express, something that was calling out for release. 

So you knew when you were writing the songs that they weren’t ideas for Neurosis or for Tribes of Neurot, but it didn’t occur to you that it would become a solo thing?

Not at all, not back then.

SVT on a log

In the Decibel cover article on Neurosis [Dec. 2012, #98], you characterized your old Neurosis material by saying:  “Proud of what it was, but glad we’re past that.”  Do you feel the same way about your solo music, or does it have a different quality for you?

I try to always look forward.  I always hope and believe and trust that my best work is still ahead of me.  I can always hear the growing pains through each stage, whenever I look back.  I hear decisions I would never make now.  Not to say I’m not proud of it.  I’m totally proud of it, and I think the music, of all the things I’ve been blessed to be part of, continues to stand on its own and has its place in the world.  But I don’t think I had found my voice or craft quite at that point, at least not as much as I think it evolved in the following couple solo releases.  [On those records] I had a chance to work more by design rather than accident.  After the first one then it was like, alright, I have a solo project now.

So with the later solo recordings, did you feel that you were able to work with more intention, knowing more where you were headed?

Somewhat.  Definitely more than the first one.  I mean, I’m always open to destroying things and changing things and I try not to limit the vision or the scope of what something will become until it takes form.  So in that way it’s similar to that first process, just with more conscious effort.  They’re still based on home recording, for the most part, and intimate recording settings.  I have a studio at home and I hash out ideas and when I feel the inspiration I can go try things, and destroy them or put them away for later.  But it definitely wells up and then all of a sudden starts flowing out.  That’s for any project.  Ideas sit and gel and nag at the back of the mind and then at some point they just start vomiting forth.

SVT hairy eyeball

I spoke to Scott Kelly last year, and he told me that he compartmentalizes what he writes, so he always knows which project he’s writing for when he works on an idea.  Do you feel that way?

I’d say I agree with him.  There’s definitely different mindsets.  Neurosis isn’t really written [like anything else].  You can bash around some ideas by yourself, but it’s the mystery and magic of everybody destroying it, deconstructing it and adding to it – everybody bringing their strengths to the table.  That gives it life.  With Harvestman, it’s more like turning on all the equipment and see where we land.  With this, it’s more songcraft, which in some ways is a challenge because I didn’t grow up writing songs.  I wouldn’t call what Neurosis makes “songs”.  They’re more like these moving pieces.  You don’t ever have to repeat something, there’s no verse-chorus scenario.  While it’s definitely not conventional or traditional – and it’s probably the same for Scott, too – we definitely have a huge place in our hearts for the great songwriters that have moved us, be they country or folk, rock or punk or whatever.  That whole idea of crafting something that can be as moving [while being] quiet as other things can be loud.  It’s a challenge we felt the need to meet.

As the Crow Flies seems very simplistic at first listen, but there really are layers of instruments at times.  Was that something that you envisioned, or did you just have other musicians try some things out?

It happened in such a variety of ways on the different recordings.  I definitely remember recording “We All Fall”.  I don’t even know if I had my 8-track at that point, that might have been 4-track cassette.  I didn’t have a mike stand, so I had a crappy mike duct taped to a guitar stand in front of me sitting on my bed, and I had a Radio Shack PZM microphone balanced on my knee for the guitar track.  And that just kind of became the whole song, there with those couple of mikes.

For a small period of time I played with the folks in Amber Asylum, and “Twice Born” was a song I actually wrote when I was playing with them, and we performed it live a few times.  So that one had kind of a feeling of having worked it out with other musicians, and I recorded it with them.  At the time, they were doing some other recording and that song just sat on tape for a while.

Most of them, I probably just put down the guitar and the vocal, and then if I heard something, I tried it.  There’s probably a synthesizer on one song, just a drone, or a simple piano.  I didn’t have a lot of gear, I wasn’t at a proper studio, but someone left an electric piano at my house so that ended up on a song.  I had the strings [played by the women of Amber Asylum] brought in because they’d worked on the other song pretty well.  Those ladies were players, they knew how to interpret the song, so I just gave it to them and they knew what to do.  But most of it was just the guitar and the voice, and the words, trying to find a trance state in that simple space.  It was definitely primitive recording.  I’m glad it turned out, and [Jeff] Byrd was able to mix it and make it sound like a cohesive album. 

My first impression of the album came from listening to “Midheaven”, the one MP3 file posted on the Neurot Recordings website [and still is].  Was there a reason that song was chosen to represent the album in that way?

Can’t remember.  I listened to it the other day because I had to pick different songs to split the sides for the vinyl, since it won’t be in the same sequence –  I don’t usually like to go back and listen but I was forced to sit and kind of vibe on it for a little bit – and maybe I was thinking that was the darkest and most… not that any of it’s aggressive… but that has a certain…

Edge to it?

Yeah, so maybe my thoughts at the time were, if I was trying to invite people who had no idea what to expect from a member of Neurosis doing solo work and they’re about to be stunned with some acoustic music [laughs], maybe I thought that was a lead-in to it, but I really can’t recall.

When, in the lifespan of the Neurot label, was As the Crow Flies released?

Right in the beginning.  That was number six, NR6.  The only things before that were the things we started the label with, which was Souls at Zero and Enemy of the Sun reissues.  We skipped NR1 for when we got Pain of Mind together, and NR2 for whenever we get Word As Law together.  We skipped them just to save a spot for our stuff to be in sequence all in the beginning.  [Crow] came out the same time as the Galloping Coroners, a Hungarian band that we put out.  They were the first non-Neurosis releases, Galloping Coroners and my solo record.

What was the drive behind starting the Neurot label, and what do you feel the effects have been?

The drive was, initially, to simply create our own home that would be our home forever, and that we would eventually be able to bring everything back to the source.  After the first few releases, we had the idea of following in some of our heroes footsteps, some of the great labels we grew up with – SST, Touch & Go, Dischord – and maybe we could find likeminded artists and create a bigger community for otherwise outsider music.  [We wanted to release] stuff that has some emotional intensity and some unspoken spiritual connection that’s all tied together, some sort of unifying force.  We just started out with the obvious thing:  people that were inspiring and around us, [our] friends.  We were going to do it totally different [from] any sort of scene pigeonholing people, and you can see pretty clearly by the Neurot catalog that we’re all over the map in our tastes and appreciation of emotionally intense music, whether it be ambiance or experimental or heavy.  And now it’s just to continue to provide a viable platform for intense musical vision, to work with people we want to work with.  It almost goes back to the old school values of buying the art straight from the craftsperson.  It seems different ‘cause they’re mostly pieces of plastic, but [it’s all about] getting the music straight from the artist.  [We’re] working with distributors and PR companies that aren’t part of the business of music, that aren’t part of the corporate world.  They’re truly in it for the love and the right reasons.

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Old School Hardcore Thursdays with AC4. This Week: Visual Aggression

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, lists, uncategorized, videos On: Thursday, May 16th, 2013

deciblog - ac4

Today marks the final installment of Old School hardcore Thrusdays with the members Umea throwback punks, AC4. Check out parts one and two, if you should so desire. This week, I asked bassist Christoffer Jonsson and guitarist Karl Backman to list off the albums they spent as much time longingly staring at back in the day as much as they did listened to.

Top Five Old School HC Album Covers
Karl:
Exploited – Troops Of Tomorrow
deciblog - ac4 ExploitedTroops

Fallout – Home Killed Mea
deciblog - ac4 fallout

Disorder – Perdition (8 songs on a 12″ is sort of an album)
deciblog - ac4 disorder

ANTI – I Dont Want To Die In Your War
deciblog - ac4 ANTIminiLP82

TST – TST (the first LP)
deciblog - ac4 tst

Christoffer 138:
Poison Idea – Feel the Darkness
deciblog - ac4 Poison-Idea-Feel-The-Darkness

SS Decontrol – The Kids Will Have Their Say
deciblog - ac4 ssd

Cro-Mags – The Age of Quarrel
deciblog - ac4 cro mags

GISM – Detestastion
deciblog - ac4 gism

Anti Cimex – Raped Ass (5 songs on a 7″ is sort of an album)
deciblog - ac4 anti cimex

Young Wasteners – We Got Ways
deciblog - ac4 young wasteners

And here’s AC4′s latest video for “Curva del Diablo”: