Decibrity Playlist: Orange Goblin

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, September 26th, 2013

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If you read Jonathan Horsley’s interview with Ben Ward last week, you’d have learned that the dudes in Orange Goblin recently quit their jobs in order to commit full-time to the band. You’d have also read that the UK quartet was about to embark on a massive North American tour that starts tomorrow in New Orleans and will crisscross the continent into November. Given the extensive amount of traveling to be done (we hope he can find a TV for this weekend’s Breaking Bad finale), Ward was kind enough to tell us about some of the records that will soundtrack his band’s epic road trip. As he explains, “We spend a hell of a lot of time sitting in a van when we tour and there are times when you can’t sleep, you don’t want to talk to anyone and if you’re in Utah or most parts of Canada, there isn’t a great deal to see either! So, you need your iPod and some decent headphones as a form of escape. Personally, I also need the following albums.”

You can listen to his picks here. Be sure to pick up a copy of last year’s A Eulogy for the Damned–the record responsible for these recent happenings–here while tickets for the group’s tour can be had here.

Slade–Whatever Happened To Slade (1977)
Not the most obvious choice of all Slade’s albums. I’m a massive fan of pretty much everything they did, but 1977’s Whatever Happened To Slade is arguably Slade’s heaviest album. It’s a bit of an underrated classic I think and got a little forgotten in the UK as the glam rock scene came to an end and the punk scene took off. There isn’t a bad song on it and when I put this on loud and close my eyes, it makes me think I’m back home cranking it on my stereo. My favorite track would probably be “When Fantasy Calls”, which I would love to cover some day. There is also a song on it which Noddy Holder wrote specifically about touring the US called “Gypsy Roadhog”, which is also a cracking tune.

Goblin–The Fantastic Voyage Of Goblin (2007)
This is a compilation album of the best of the ’70s and ’80s Italian prog rock band that was responsible for a lot of the soundtracks to Dario Argento’s horror movies. They are actually back together at the moment and will play Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Film Fest in October. I have all the soundtrack albums but prefer this compilation as it condenses all the best stuff on to one album, which is great for touring! This provides something different for me–it’s very sinister and macabre and just listening to the songs make me want to watch classic films like Suspiria, Profondo Rosso (Deep Red), Dawn of the Dead and Tenebrae. I was fortunate to see them live in London a few years ago and they were amazing, all those great soundtracks played out to a backdrop of the original movies. Claudio Simonetti is a genius! We actually use the Suspiria theme as our intro music each night so you may recognize it!

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Johnny Cash–American IV: The Man Comes Around (2002)
People always expect us to be listening to loads of metal and doom on the road, but it’s actually the opposite. When we’re playing live every night, I want to listen to something relaxing during the day. I’m a massive Johnny Cash fan and would be happy listening to any of his records, but this is the one that I keep coming back to. Probably the best known of his American albums due to the success of the “Hurt” video, I think this album is the sound of Johnny bidding us all a farewell. There is so much raw emotion on this album that it’s hard not to get goosebumps every time I listen to it. Each track seems to be an ode to his wife June, who died shortly after the album was released. The production is simple but effective, Rick Rubin knowing exactly the power that Johnny Cash can convey with just his voice and a guitar and I think this album will go down as a classic.

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AC/DC–High Voltage (1976)
This is a great album to put on to start getting yourself fired up before a show. This album, along with Powerage, is the ultimate party starter for me. It’s classic rock and blues based but it also has a real snotty punk attitude that seems to suggest that Bon and the boys are about to kick your head in! There are so many anthems on this album and the lyrics that Bon wrote all that time ago still ring true today, especially on “It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer”. You can’t help but laugh at some of his lyrics either–”The Jack” and “Can I Sit Next To You Girl” are comedy gold. The man was a genius and his like are greatly missed these days.

Captain Beyond–Captain Beyond (1972)
Captain Beyond’s self-titled debut album could be the best debut album ever made. It starts off great and just continues to get better as it goes on. So many classic songs that have inspired not only Orange Goblin but a whole crop of bands of today from Down through to Scorpion Child! “Mesmerization Eclipse”, “Dancing Madly Backwards”, “Raging River of Fear”, “I Can’t Feel Nothin’”, etc., etc., the list goes on–every song is amazing! It’s a total “driving” record as well, perfect for travelling through the sun drenched desert of Arizona or Southern California and definitely an album I can’t do without when on tour. I was gutted when Rhino and Lee Dorman died in the past few years as Captain Beyond was one band I was hoping to see reform with the original lineup. I heard Bobby Caldwell has plans to do something but I don’t think Rod Evans will be involved so it’s not really Captain Beyond for me!

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Bathory–Under The Sign Of The Black Mark (1987)
Lastly, an album that I’ve loved since I very first heard it. It was actually the first Bathory album I owned so it’s always been special to me. I love the raw production and the sense of evil in every song. Strangely, I also find that there is a calming, hypnotic feel to the album, same as with Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas and Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger. About 15 years ago, I was a huge fan of black metal and I still have a lot of love for the early pioneers. I think Quorthon played a massive role in defining the way black metal should sound, particularly on songs like “Woman of Dark Desires” and “Equimanthorn”. This album is a must have for metal fans of any genre.

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*Photo by Ester Segarra

**Orange Goblin tour dates (tickets here):

09/27/2013 One Eyed Jacks – New Orleans, LA
09/28/2013 Red 7 – Austin, TX
09/29/2013 Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX
09/30/2013 Club Dada – Dallas, TX
10/01/2013 Sister Bar – Albuquerque, NM
10/02/2013 Yucca Tap Room – Tempe, AZ
10/04/2013 The Catalyst – Santa Cruz, CA
10/05/2013 The Satellite – Los Angeles, CA
10/06/2013 Soda Bar – San Diego, CA
10/08/2013 The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA
10/09/2013 Oakland Opera House – Oakland, CA
10/10/2013 Oak Street Speakeasy – Eugene, OR
10/11/2013 Fall Into Darkness Festival – Portland, OR
10/12/2013 The Highline – Seattle, WA
10/13/2013 Rickshaw Theater – Vancouver, BC
10/15/2013 The Palomino – Calgary, AB
10/17/2013 The Pawn Shop – Edmonton, AB
10/18/2013 Amigos – Saskatoon, SK
10/19/2013 Windsor Hotel – Winnipeg, MB
10/20/2013 The Aquarium – Fargo, ND
10/21/2013 Triple Rock – Minneapolis, MN
10/22/2013 Reggie’s – Chicago, IL
10/23/2013 Pyramid Scheme – Grand Rapids, MI
10/24/2013 Now That’s Class – Cleveland, OH
10/25/2013 Rockstar Arena – Dayton, OH
10/26/2013 Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA
10/27/2013 London Music Hall – London, ON
10/28/2013 The Opera House – Toronto, ON
10/29/2013 Mavericks – Ottawa, ON
10/30/2013 Foufounes Electriques – Montrea, QC
11/01/2013 Empire – Springfield, VA
11/02/2013 Saint Vitus – Brooklyn, NY
11/03/2013 The Note – West Chester, PA
11/05/2013 Strange Matter – Richmond, VA
11/06/2013 Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC
11/07/2013 Broadway’s – Asheville, NC
11/08/2013 The Earl – Atlanta, GA
11/09/2013 Exit/In – Nashville, TN

***Order A Eulogy For The Damned and A Eulogy For The Fans/Orange Goblin Live 2012 DVD here.

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

Past entries include:

God Is An Astronaut
Primitive Man
Gorguts
Exhumed
Ulcerate
Pelican
Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Howl
Kings Destroy
Zozobra
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Coliseum
Woe
Anciients
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
Intronaut
BATILLUS
Inter Arma
Helen Money
Misery Index
Ancient VVisdom
Holy Grail
Rotten Sound
Ancestors (Part 1) (Part 2)
Kowloon Walled City (Part 1) (Part 2)
Aaron Stainthorpe (My Dying Bride) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Early Graves
All That Remains
Bison B.C.
A Life Once Lost
Fight Amp
Witchcraft (Ola Henriksson) (Magnus Pelander)
Vision of Disorder
Grave
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Dawnbringer
Ufomammut
Shadows Fall
Horseback
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Torche
“Best of” Meshuggah
Astra
Pallbearer
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

Inside The Shredder’s Studio #8: Eric Daniels of GSBC and Asphyx

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

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There are few guitarists on the planet that get the shredder’s studio worked up as much as former Asphyx and current Grand Supreme Blood Court guitarist Eric Daniels. He writes the riffs that awaken your inner caveman.

Eric was kind enough to drop in from across the pond and tell us how he started playing and share his thoughts on some of the best riffs in a career full of them. Please welcome the great Eric Daniels to the shredder’s studio.

***

I started listening to metal when I was 13. I really liked the sound of heavy guitars and pounding drums. When I was 14, I started to play electric guitar. I did not take any lessons, ‘cause the lessons did not interest me very much. I learned to play the guitar in my room at my parent’s place. I earned my first guitar during school years with a paper route I worked together with my brother.

When I started, I tried to play songs from the early Saxon and Judas Priest albums. Quite hard to learn the riffs, especially when I had no lessons, but I never gave up. In time, it became too soft for me– I wanted to play more brutal stuff.

When Venom’s Welcome To Hell was released, I was sold, knocked out. THAT was the style I wanted to play.

Later on, I played the early Metallica albums, SOD and Anthrax. They had a tight playing style that I really liked. Not very technical riffing, but very efficient, and with feeling. Of course, it wasn’t brutal enough. I kept the tight playing, combined with my guitar sound, and that’s my style today.

I always compose riffs the way I like them, and with feeling inside. It’s a big honor that people like them and experience them the same way I did when I wrote them. It’s magic!

And Thus The Billions Shall Burn – Grand Supreme Blood Court (at 1:37min): I wrote the main riff on a Sunday morning after a strong cup of coffee. I started to play half the riff, and in no time, the second part was there. I like the atmosphere. It’s one of my best riffs.

Forgotten War – Asphyx (at 2:25min): This riff is one of my favorite crushing ones. Simple but effective. I still like this one so much. It breathes pure death metal.

Food For The Ignorant – Asphyx (start of song): This riff was written in the rehearsal room. I write most riffs at home, but some spontaneous riffs occur during jam-sessions during rehearsing.

Fed To The Boars – Grand Supreme Blood Court (start of song): These riffs have power and push forward. The song kills, and I like the doom parts a lot, too.

Feeding On Angels – Soulburn (complete song and riffing): Another style of black/death we did at the time. The song has atmosphere, and I like the riffs very much. This is an album I still like.


***

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
#6: Mark Thomas Baker of Orchid
#7: Andre Foisy of Locrian

Milosz Gassan & Max Furst (Morne) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

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** Morne’s third album, Shadows, is a best effort from our favorite funeral doom outfit from Beantown. Come to think of it they’re the only funeral doom band from Boston. So unique was previous album, Asylum, we had to catch up with guitarist Milosz Gassan and bassist Max Furst to see why, in 2013, Morne are still so downbeat. Hey, the economy’s starting to rev up and rent in Boston is still astronomical.

How is Shadows different from its predecessors?
Milosz Gassan: We were at a different point in our lives with this record, different feelings, and with different emotions. Day to day life is the main influence on my writing. I was in a different point in my life when I wrote Shadows and that naturally affected the music and lyrics.

Max had described the new material as more “straight forward and succinct” during the writing process. Is that what you were going for and is the material, in the end, how you envisioned it?
Max Furst: It’s definitely a more stripped down sound than Asylum. Asylum had a very deep, warm atmosphere in the production. Shadows feels darker, more cold and bleak.
Milosz Gassan: We wanted this record to be very simple. Stripped down to the core. No dead weight.

How are songs assembled, as a general rule? More on feel or are you following a protocol to write?
Milosz Gassan: There really is no protocol or writing rules in Morne. We write the way we feel is the most natural approach to take. It’s all about the artistic freedom we give to ourselves.

Morne has a cross-genre quality to it. Raw like punk/crust but regal/despondent like funeral doom. Where does Morne fits sonically?
Max Furst: I personally don’t feel like we fit in anywhere 100 percent of the time. We’ve always strived to do our own thing and we never let the expectations of any one scene influence our musical output.

Is Morne more about feeling than actual categorization of style?
Max Furst: I guess you could say that Morne is a continuously evolving creature. Even if there are elements that change along the way, there will always be a common thread throughout everything we do.

How important is atmosphere? Some think atmosphere is fluff, for others atmosphere’s 90 percent of the substance.
Max Furst: Atmosphere is absolutely important, but if all emphasis is on aesthetic rather than on actual songwriting, the whole structure of the song caves in on itself. Riffs are the foundation of a good song. Without a riff, you have nothing.

What role does the keyboards play compared to the guitars?
Max Furst: Asylum was a very keyboard-heavy album. It played a much more important role for those songs as it does on Shadows. There are subtle keyboards present on Shadows, but only to accent atmosphere and depth to the songs.

How is doom perceived now compared to, say, 10-15 years ago?
Max Furst: As far as I can see there is a much wider audience for doom bands in 2013 then in the 90′s. Bands that were playing to 20 people in 1995 are selling out 2000+ capacity venues today.

What’s Shadows about, actually?
Milosz Gassan: Shadows is about moving forward and casting away the past. I think it’s a very dark record but it also gives some sort of hope. It’s about realizing what’s really important in our lives and what really matters to us.

You have very striking covers. Simple yet effective. How important is the cover art to Morne and what it’s communicating?
Max Furst: As simple as the artwork may be, it’s always been a challenge to find imagery that we feel represents the band in the way we want it to.

What’s 2013 look like for Morne?
Max Furst: Only time will tell. Hopefully we’ll be visiting the West Coast in the near future.

** Morne’s Shadows is out now on Profound Lore Records. It’s available HERE direct from the label. If you don’t like ordering from Canadians you can probably find it at Target, but we recommend you order from Canadians. They’re ridiculously friendly.

Seeking Wisdom from Seeker

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, interviews, videos On: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

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Seeker are heavy, technical, and here to eat all your stuff. Lock up your women, children, and refrigerators, and when you’ve done that, kneel at the feet of vocalist Bryce Lucien and prepare to receive some serious wisdom.

 

Here we are, on tour as we have been for the better part of the last year and a half, with our new album Unloved coming out in five weeks. To say I’m excited to get the album out would be a pretty huge understatement. As we enter this next chapter of our band I’ve been reflecting on what we’ve learned since we began touring, and I feel like it can be broken into three things:

 

1. 40′s always taste better at 3pm, in a venue parking lot. Nothing makes you feel quite as pathetic as the disgusted looks of venue staff and local bands, who do not approve of your early afternoon drinking habits. It hurts so good.

 

2. People in colorful neon merch, people in hardcore crews, people in flat bill caps, and people with 50’s dad haircuts all REALLY like to feel safe and hate it when you allow water bottles, guitar cabs, mic stands, yourself, etc to leave the stage during songs.

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3. 220 pound ginger bass players eat everything as evidenced by the picture above. Don’t let them.

 

Take this knowledge now and go forth. You are all my children.

 

 

***Pre-order packages for Unloved are available now at VictoryMerch.com. Stay tuned for a new music video and tour announcements from Seeker, coming soon. Unloved drops October 29th.

Listen to Mutoid Man “Scrape the Walls”

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

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Christ on a motherfucking crutch do we have a treat for you this morning, loyal readers: An exclusive premiere of a churning, kinetic track off what promises to be a seriously off the hook brilliant upcoming debut album from Mutoid Man, the new collaboration between Stephen Brodsky (CAVE IN) and Ben Koller (CONVERGE).

We asked Brodsky for a little background info on the song — “Scrape the Walls” — as well as a thumbnail sketch of the Mutoid Man origin story, and here is what he sent along:

“[This is] the first Mutoid Man song we wrote! It’s about people who lose their minds worrying over money. To come up with all this stuff, Ben and I riffed-out at a rehearsal space in Brooklyn for about a year. The material picks up from where we left off with the Cave In Shapeshifter/Dead Already cassingle, written with Ben in the band. The two of us ran with that sound and formula and took it as far as we could go.”

Keep up with the band on Facebook. For more information on the record and another streaming track, head over to Magic Bullet Records.

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Interview: Mick Harris and Shane Embury recall Napalm Death’s debut Peel Session

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, September 23rd, 2013

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How did Napalm Death get its first Peel Session?
Shane Embury:
“I joined Napalm in July ’87, so the first thing I ever did with Napalm Death was a Peel Session—even before we had played live or anything, strangely enough. At that time, the BBC would have contacted Earache and this guy Martin Nesbitt was working alongside Digby Pearson, and Martin was also manager of Carcass a little bit later. Martin was a really close friend of ours and [the offer] came through him as far as I can recall. We were obviously aware that Peel was into the band because he was always playing Napalm Death. We knew he was fully behind Napalm.”
Mick Harris: “I remember coming home one day and my Mum said, ‘You’d had a telephone call from the BBC’, and I said, ‘From who? Who?’ And she was never good at messages, she still isn’t. Haha! She’s like, ‘Somebody called for you.’ I’ve had this for so long, ‘Somebody called for you’, and then she’d forgotten the name and hadn’t taken the number—but she actually got this one. It was John Waters, Peel’s producer, and he left a message saying I was to call back. I did, got no joy and left a message, and he got back the following day and said, ‘John wants you to do a Peel Session. How does this date sound?’ I can’t remember when it was, August ’87, something like that, and I said, ‘We don’t have any equipment.’ He said, ‘That’s not a problem. Here is a number, John Henry’s equipment hire, give them a call and tell them what you need, be here at so-and-so, Maida Vale Studios, and good luck. John’s really looking forward to having you.’ I remember calling Shane, calling Lee and Bill: ‘Look, we’ve just been offered a Peel Session.’ That was it. There were no rehearsals—Napalm didn’t rehearse.”

Did you not rehearse at all before the session?
MH: “Bill came up on the morning of the Peel Session. I am pretty sure he came up on the morning of the session; he would have got a train up [to Birmingham]. That was it. We went down in the van, we had probably already discussed what songs we were going to do. We were well aware that the Peel Sessions were four slots, four tracks, 20 minutes. “We arrive, we got all the gear. I just remember, y’know, London is so fucking built-up, going doing a residential street then stopped and there was this building, it was the right address, there were the four of us, our driver, and we knocked on the door and they opened these gates to this courtyard and there was this huge warehouse set out at the back of these houses, with everything; drums, keyboards, amps, cabs, percussion … It was all there. I think they had already been given a list. I think I had gotten in touch with Earache, told them what our requirements were and Earache had forwarded that on. I hadn’t booked the equipment; Earache had done that. We got there and it was already in cases. Shane had his bass and his distortion pedal. I had my drumsticks and my famous bass drum pedal that I always used, this Premier thing that I always said that I couldn’t do a proper blast-beat without this Premier-bloody-pedal that had been repaired, I dunno, so many times! It was just one of those things, you get attached to them and that was my pedal. So I took that and my drumsticks, Bill would have taken his guitar the Russian Big Muff pedal that he was using at the time and that was it. We loaded up and went to Maida Vale Studios and unloaded.”

So here you were, Napalm Death in the BBC’s flagship music studio; what was it like getting down to business?
MH: “We just thought that were were going to go in there and just smash it; we are going to grind! Dale Griffin was the engineer who pretty much did all the Peel Sessions there at that point; he approached me and said, ‘Right, do you wanna write down titles, composers, blah blah blah.’ And we were like, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna do 12 tracks.’ And he’s like, ‘No, I don’t think you understand, there’s no time for 12 tracks.’ He was really conservative was Mr Dale Griffin and hated the Peel Session music. And here he was, just about to record, and I’m telling him we are going to do 12 songs. He said, ‘No no no, you obviously don’t understand, we’ve got 20 minutes, four slots.’ And I said, ‘Well, we’re doing 12 songs in five-and-a-half minutes.’ ‘Don’t be ridiculous!’ That’s what he said to me. I will never forget it. We just blasted through the tracks. There’s no overdubs. It was done live. That is what it caught; the perfect Napalm Death live recording. And the vocals, we shared the mic, me and Lee, and that’s quite a story in itself. We started to do the first vocal and then we’re interrupted. They’re all laughing; they can’t believe this growl and screaming business. They’d only heard about 30 seconds. But next thing you know, there’s someone else peering through the control room window in the studio; it was only Danielle Dax, who was doing a session for the Annie Nightingale show. And they were like, ‘Okay, lads—do you wanna have a go at that again?’ Me and Lee get the track done and then all of a sudden through the headphones we get told by Danielle Dax’s producer, ‘Oh, you want to be careful with your vocals, singing like that boys, you’ll ruin your vocal cords.’ You can imagine! We just nailed it. We did the session so quick; Dale just had no idea. I think I just blew him away with 12 songs in five minutes. He was a character, though, in those sessions. He mixed it quick. There was no messing about. It was in and out and I think we were back down the M1 stopping at the services to piss about as we usually did, playing the silly trick of trying to get a half-pence of petrol in and pissing off the person at the till for a receipt. Half-a-pence of petrol; that’ll get us back to Birmingham. That was Peel Session number one, as I remember it.”
SE: “It was a tall recording studio, tall ceilings, traditional separation with mics everywhere, pretty hi-tech gear from what I can remember, with a big desk. The engineer or the main producer was a guy called Dale Griffin, who was the drummer from Mott the Hoople, and their recording techniques were very much rooted in the ‘70s. So he said, ‘Yeah, we’re going to set you up, you’re gonna record live.’ I think we did the vocals afterwards. To us, that wasn’t a big deal. We just went for it. They were tripping-out on the fact that Peel Sessions were like four songs but at that point, for the first Peel Session, we had very short songs, so we did four songs for each song for that particular recording session. That freaked them out but I remember it being pretty easy going. Then Micky was fucking around as usual making loads of noise . . .”

And it sounded awesome. Was this the ideal environment to record a grind record?
SE: “We just did what we did at the time and I don’t think we were trying to make a point or anything. We just did what we did and it was recorded in a certain way that makes it sound even more ferocious. I think the techniques they had definitely amplified our sound, and I think the bass sound we had on that first Peel Session is still the best bass sound I’ve ever had. I don’t know what they hell he fucking did but there was something about it. And it’s got a lot of energy to it. We were tripping-out that it was the BBC. We were just having a lot of fun; we were very young, just kids. I say kids, but late teens, and to us it was just one big funny experience. It was just this big studio with long corridors and had that look of an old ‘70s Doctor Who episode. The décor looked like it was built in the ‘60s or ‘70s and no one had given it a fucking drop of paint since. Dale Griffin and the rest of the guys who were recording us were obviously tripping out, like ‘Who the fuck’s this? But I did later hear that he thought we were one of his favourite sessions that he recorded, which was cool considering that what he does and what Napalm Death does is like poles apart.”
MH: “That sound in there, I dunno—people say that it is one of their favourite Napalm recordings and I guess for me, the reason why is that you’re doing it live bar the vocals, so it does capture that band. You are not playing to a click; I’ve never played to a click. The drum sound is cavernous. That was so good about Maida Vale; it was just this big room, and half of it was carpeted, or let’s say soundproofed, some was wooden, and it just had this special sound that resonated and continued to resonate. Shane had a killer grind bass, as I always called it. He almost had the Membrane’s Death to Trad Rock bass sound, almost had it! I remember what bass pedal Shane was using but can’t remember what amp he used that day. I certainly remember the pedal, the Frontline Super Distortion. Find one of them? You’ll be lucky. It’s not like they were sought-after. It was not like they were a big company. It was just the pedal that I brought for Shane the day that he came prior to joining, prior to F.E.T.O.


What was the session’s impact?

MH: “Peel, I think, played it a week later, and repeated it not once but twice, and it was like, ‘Wow, he’s really into this—which we knew he was after Scum. Major respect to Peel, because as I’ve always said: no Peel, no Earache, the whole thing wouldn’t have worked, full stop. It would never have happened. I owe everything to John Peel, personally, as far as the music that he played; took me on a huge journey. And giving us that chance, giving us that coverage; you can imagine, still being a kid and him pulling you in to do a Peel Session. He just exposed you to such fantastic music. Peel was the music teacher, full-stop, end of story. My cousin introduced me to punk and as he was moving on to university he told me, ‘You should check out John Peel’s radio show.’ And that was ’79, I remember, just before going to school and starting my first year of senior school, comprehensive. He said, ‘I’m off to uni. You should check Peel out ‘cos there’s some good music on there.’ And he knew that punk was what I wanted, he said, ‘I can’t help you anymore; I’m off to uni, so check in check it out.’ It was the original show, which was the Monday to Thursday, which used to run 10pm ‘til 12 and I used to always be there with my twin-deck and then I’d probably edit those tapes the following day, saving up pocket money—you’d go to Rocker’s Records, which was really the only record shop in Birmingham where you could get good independent label stuff. They’d make an effort to go out there and source these records. Today they are one of if not the only record shop remaining in Birmingham city center. Being approached by Peel … what can I say? It was ace.”

**Order Grind Madness at the BBC here

STREAMING: Valkyrja “Madness Redeemer”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, September 23rd, 2013

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The last time we spoke with Valkyrja they were hot on the trail of releasing second album, Contamination. Since then, the Swedish black metallers have been remarkably quiet, but that’s all about to change on November 11th. Why November 11th? Well, if you have your history book opened, it’s the date Diocletian tried to restore the Roman Empire in 309 CE. No? That’s not it? What about November 11th, 1992? That’s when General Synod of the Church of England agreed to allow women priests. OK, maybe you’re into cold weather and its role in history. Like the Armistice Day Blizzard, where 144 people from Kansas to Michigan were frozen solid?

Alright, enough Wikipedia look-ups. November 11th is the day Valkyrja release The Antagonist’s Fire on W.T.C. Productions after a single-album stint on Metal Blade Records. For that, we’ve coordinated directly with Valkyrja a worldwide premiere of new song, “Madness Redeemer.” True to form, Valkyrja’s “Madness Redeemer” is a mature venture into the netherworlds of Swedish black. Melodic yet dripping with dirt, blood, and the Dark Lord’s malignant fingerprints. Of course, we’ll leave the judgments–true or not–to you, but give “Madness Redeemer” a few rounds. Let it bore into you like mango worms (not for faint of heart) and eat you from within.

** Valkyrja’s new album, The Antagonist’s Fire, is out November 11th on W.T.C. Productions. Pre-order available soon, but in the meantime, check out diehard versions of Contamination and the CD of The Invocation of Demise by clicking HERE.

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

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, September 20th, 2013

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Okay, I’m back for a bit. Let’s just get into it, shall we?

CARCASS released Surgical Steel this week after a decade or so of relative inactivity. I’m really digging this. The front end of the record is loaded with more of the heavier songs, so some fans may find the latter half tedious, as it has more melodic songs a la Heartwork. This birdbrain thinks the whole thing is worthwhile, as the guitars really carry a clarity and punch. Some of the earlier tracks could easily have come from the Necroticism cutting room floor (although they don’t sound like throwaways). The real hardcore grind fans will more than likely be disappointed with this, as it is heavy and there are blast beats, but it’s most definitely not Reek. But lemme tell you, it’s most definitely not Swansong. Hey, how about Parrotsong? That’s a good title. Good comeback, boys. 8 Fucking Pecks.

What a barnburner ULCERATE’S latest effort Vermis is. Your ol’ boy Waldo doesn’t typically like tech-metal, but this thing is moody, brooding at times, and mean as peck. It’s always been my feathered opine that Destroyers of All was a much-overlooked death metal record, and hopefully this will bring them to the forefront. There really are jarring events on this, but this is where the record excels. Some tech bands favor clean precision, but Ulcerate prefer to make a loud, dark, mean cacophony of noise and chaos. To describe this record as a tidal wave is almost an understatement; it most certainly is a force of nature. Kick this shit and kick it LOUD. 9 Fucking Pecks.

Can a parrot yawn? Well, I kinda did. I fell asleep faster than someone putting a cover over my cage when I heard SATYRICON’S self-titled release. Not that this is bad—it’s not at all—just REALLY predictable. But you all should know that all parrots aren’t really into black metal at all. The problem here that that this record takes too few risks and just seems like it’s treading water. The production is glossy and way too slick, but hey, Hot Topic fans need to listen to something too, amirite? A lot of this really kind of comes off same-samey and almost seems as it’s one song strung out over multiple tracks. I’m sure fans of this band won’t be disappointed; as I said, it’s not bad, just kind of bland, like a glass of warm milk. 4 Fucking Pecks.

Get to Know Crossover Thrash Freaks Activator

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Thursday, September 19th, 2013

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Activator is a relatively new four-piece from New York playing New York-styled crossover/hardcore/thrash in a New York state of mind. Their self-titled debut album was just released a couple days ago and features all the stuff 80s and 90s Lower East Side dreams were made of all lovingly caressed by a modern thrashing edge. Feel free to assault your ears with two preview tracks at the ass end of this ridiculous interview I conducted via email with this band of very good sports.

Introduce yourself/selves. What would you say is your worst habit – the one you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to change for years?
Shannon: Shannon Moore, frontman/vocalist. As faulty as I can be, I’m not sure how to single out my worst habit. The bad things about me are usually also the good things about me.
Jared: Jared Drace, guitar. As you can see, Shannon’s worst habit is not being able to give a straight answer. Mine is probably telling the truth.
Willie: Willie Paredes, bass. The worst habit that I can’t break has been showing up for Activator rehearsals and shows all these years. Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.
Sunny: Sunny Leejean, I play drums and have a habit of ramping our songs up to just under warp-speed during our shows, that and candy.

You’re a band from New York City that plays New York Hardcore. Isn’t that a little on the obvious side? Isn’t there at least one transplanted beardo living in Williamsburg you couldn’t find to form a band Pitchfork would go on to describe as “the future of indie rock”?
Shannon: I’m pretty sure none of us really identify Activator primarily as a New York Hardcore band. But no, we couldn’t find a “beardo transplant living in Williamsburg” that was willing to rehearse in Manhattan. I mean, I guess you can call Sunny a transplant, but I don’t think he’s physically capable of growing facial hair.
Jared: I think we’re more of a metal band trapped in a hardcore band’s body, our influences are all over the place from thrash to NYHC to punk rock to soul to classic rock to prog metal, etc. That said, if you couple the fact that my facial hair is coming in pretty good after about two years of non-shaving, along with the droves of friends telling me to move from Manhattan to Brooklyn, there may just be an outside chance that Activator becomes the future of indie rock.

Why the name Activator? Does your moniker hold any specific meaning or significance?
Shannon: The name Activator doesn’t really have any significance at all. It sort of started as a joke between myself and Jaleel Bunton from TV on the Radio about a certain way funk musicians played music. I kind of wanted to incorporate that nastiness into a metal band. But mostly I really just didn’t want the typical metal or hardcore name consisting of negative overtones or disease, etc. I just wanted a name that didn’t mean shit.
Jared: I was doing this little acoustic-comedy thing called Rooftop Quality around the time I met Shannon and he already had the name Activator, so once we started hitting it off musically, he said to me, “We can either call it Activator or Rooftop Quality,” thus Activator as we know it was born.

deciblog - activator cover

What the hell is happening on the cover of your new album? Why is the murderess waiting around to be found out by transit cops? In reality, considering the justifiably paranoid seriousness with which New York polices the transit and public works systems, how long do you think before this chick gets nabbed by the law? If Unsane can’t even do a subway car blood bombing, then c’mon?!
Jared: If you really look at it closely, you’ll see that the woman isn’t even real, she’s actually just some “killer” street-art. The murderer is meant to be unknown or up to the listener to decide. Our friends at Version Industries came up with the whole concept after repeatedly force-listening to the album. I’d like to think the dead body had something to do with the rats with the glowing eyes. Also, we have a neat little sound-designed intro at the beginning of the record that kind of ties in with the image and the rats and the subway and the violence. We’re obviously big-time conceptualists.
Shannon: Shout out to Chris Spencer and Vinnie from Unsane. Why we never did a show together is beyond me, but I totally blame it on Chris.

Obvious question: who’s your favourite band from the 80s and 90s eras of NYHC?
Shannon: Bad Brains and Cro-Mags are pretty much the status quo. But I had serious love for and influence from Leeway, Sheer Terror, Into Another, Maximum Penalty, Gorilla Biscuits, pretty much any band Mike Dijan was in because he has some pretty nasty riffs. Burn and Quicksand too, if you can count them as hardcore.
Jared: I kind of missed out on the heyday of’ 80′s NYHC, was more on the GNR/Aerosmith tip back then, but obviously started appreciating all the bands Shannon mentioned after the fact. As far as the 90′s go, I saw Fury of Five at the local dive in my hometown Mt. Vernon, NY in ’95 and the singer, who was this hulked-out monster, handed me a demo after their set and I just thought it was the heaviest thing ever, even compared to all the Death Metal I was jamming to at the time. From there I got into a bunch of those next-generation hardcore bands and still very much enjoy the early stuff from 25 Ta Life, Merauder, VOD, Fahrenheit 451, District 9 and No Redeeming Social Value. I guess looking back, it was kind of a dim time in the scene as compared to the ’80s, but I thought there was some good music and shows happening.
Willie: The 80′s, Cro-Mags. The 90′s, none.

Tell us about your forthcoming album. How long did you work on it? How long did it take to record? How did you get a motley combo of Jim Williams and then Matt Snedecor involved?
Shannon: It took forever. I can’t remember how long it took to write and record it but it was a pretty lengthy process. Jimmy actually is a good friend of ours and played drums for us for a little while in 2008/2009. I really liked the idea of doing the vocals with him because for one he’s a vocalist himself in Maximum Penalty, secondly because he was already familiar with our material from being in the band & finally that he’s honest to a fault and is somewhat lacking in tact, so I knew everything he said had merit.
Willie: I met Matt in 2003 at the Hit Factory where my old band Natural Selection was recording. We hit it off immediately & have been boys ever since. Also, I’m one of the owners of Brooklyn Tattoo and have been tattooing him for almost as long as we’ve known each other. Knowing the Activator album was looming, I may have forgotten to charge him for few ink sessions in an effort to get him on board.
Jared: The recording process started in 2011 with the recording of the drums at Jimmy’s Night Owl Studios in Manhattan, then we did the guitars & bass with Matt over a few sessions at his place in Jersey. Lastly, we went back to Night Owl to do the vocals. The mix took the longest amount of time as it was a massive undertaking for Matt to make some cohesiveness out of tracks that were recorded in different studios by different people. Also, I kind of went crazy with notes and revisions on all my guitar tracks, solos, harmonies, etc., sorry Matt! Finally we had Alan Douches at WWSM in upstate NY master the album earlier in the year. Definitely an unorthodox way to go about making a record, but I think we did alright with the money and resources we had available. We’re eternally grateful to Jimmy and Matt who made us a pretty sweet record, and who have never met in person.

Do you think you’d be able to outbid me if the grand prize was a Crumbsuckers reunion show in the victor’s basement?
Shannon: Good question. But no one in the band has a basement so that victory is yours. Hopefully we’re invited.

Who, at the height of their powers, do you think would win in 1) a fist fight and 2) a Ralph Macchio/Steve Vai/Crossroads-styled axe-slinging competition: Cro-Mags or Merauder?
Shannon: 1) John Joseph alone is one of toughest dudes I’ve ever met. 2) There are different versions of both bands. First version I would probably give to Merauder, guitar-battle wise but after that you have Rocky George and now A.J. Novello and I can’t really see anyone fucking with either one of those guys, forgive me Jorge! R.I.P SOB
Jared: We played with Merauder at Santos Party House a while back and they had a replacement drummer that was driving in from Philly who had never played with or even met them before and they crushed! About a year earlier I saw them open for one of Willie and I’s favorite bands ever, The Haunted, at BB Kings, in what was a super-awesome yet criminally under-attended show. Around 1996 my guitar teacher took it upon himself to show me some of those beginning arpeggios from that epic Macchio/Vai Crossroads solo once he started to sense I knew was I was doing, needless to say I could barely play a hacked-up version of it. Wait, what was the question?

Do you own a copy of the Project X 7”?
Shannon: This sounds like a trick question. But no, I wasn’t particularly interested in Project X even though Walter was involved. But that’s kind of a rare and hard to find 7″, at least I think it is.

Your drummer was born and raised in Russia, I’ve been informed. What are the major differences between life over there vs. over here? What kind of culture shock did he experience after coming to NYC? What do you know of/has he told you about the hardcore/crossover scene over there? Do they still talk about Chernobyl as much as we do?
Sunny: Haha, the culture-shock wasn’t too bad, but I was really surprised that it was so hard to find open-minded metal musicians until I joined Activator in 2009. Nobody talks about Chernobyl anymore I guess because it’s in Ukraine and it’s not Russia anymore.

Your singer is/was involved with the hip-hop world. In what capacity and what would you say are the most hilarious differences between the two scenes?
Shannon: To be honest. The indie rap scene is largely made up of people who are really into both genres. So I didn’t really see that much of a difference. Most of the EL-P shows have mosh pits and band shirts just like any other rock show. As far as what’s hilarious about them both is that it’s just another form of nerd culture.

Did you ever roll your ankle walking across the floor of CBGB’s? Were you brave enough to use the “facilities” without wearing a biohazard suit?
Shannon: I’ve rolled way more than my ankle at CBGB. For a brief moment they made pizza and it was usually under-cooked I thoroughly remember eating a slice and seriously having to take a shit. But there was noooooo way I was gonna take a shit in there. There wasn’t even a door.

Best “Porcell” band?
Shannon: I would like to say Gorilla Biscuits but I don’t think he was in it long enough to be called a Porcell band. I guess I’ll go with Judge.
Jared: I think Shelter was the headliner of that Fury of Five show in Mt. Vernon, so I’ll say them.

What’s next for Activator once the album is released?
Jared: We’re doing an album release show October 3rd at Union Pool in Brooklyn, currently ironing out the line-up for that and we’ll probably have some more shows in the area plugging the record in the months to come. We’ll see how people respond to it once it’s out there which will probably dictate the majority of our future plans. Aside from that, probably just start working on the next one.
Shannon: Hopefully someone besides us will like our record. I guess we’ll have to figure out the rest from there.

Activator on the interhole: here

Decibrity Playlist: God Is An Astronaut

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, September 19th, 2013

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It’s hard to believe (for me, at least) that God Is An Astronaut is already into its second decade as a band. In fact, the Irish post-rockers just dropped their seventh full-length, Origins, earlier this month. The record marks a return to Rocket Girl, which also happened to license the first album I heard from these guys, 2005′s All Is Violent, All Is Bright. Pat O’Donnell (The Fountainhead) not only produced the band’s latest effort, but joined the newly-minted quintet on vocals, guitar and keyboards for the recording while co-writing many of its songs with GIAA guitarist/co-founder Torsten Kinsella. So O’Donnell was in prime position to fill us in on some tracks that he and his cohorts were listening to and inspired by during the recording of Origins. While we hope to see them back in the States soon, you can still feel free to listen along here.

Can’s “Future Days” (from 1973′s Future Days)
40 years old and still sounds so fresh! I’ve always loved Can for their innovative approach to making music. This track constantly twists and turns with its hypnotic rhythms, woven melodies and clever use of sounds. Truly a seminal work for its time, still relevant and still one of the tracks I always go back to.

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Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song” (from 2001′s Amnesiac)
I could have chosen any track off the Radiohead album In Rainbows but instead chose this track from the much maligned album Amnesiac. From the piano intro, the soundscapes become apparent and the mood moves along with such a cool groove. When we were recording “Reverse World”, I kept thinking about this track and how it evolved and resolved.

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Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” (from 1975′s Physical Graffiti)
Yes, an obvious choice, but obvious for many good reasons. During the recording of Origins, we always talked about riffs and we also spoke about our fusion of styles. On the track “Calistoga”, you can hear Torsten’s rock background fused with my more atmospheric leanings. “Kashmir” has all of this and more. Also, really love the orchestration, it’s a monster of a track!

The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “If 6 Was 9″ (from 1967′s Axis: Bold As Love)
When I was a kid I saw the film Easy Rider and always loved the scene with this track in it, so atmospheric. I’ve always loved music that has a cinematic quality to it and the guitar intro of this track really puts you into a space and then blossoms into full blown psychedelia.

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Nine Inch Nails’ “Something I Can Never Have” (from 1989′s Pretty Hate Machine)
This one’s for Torsten! He’s always been influenced by Trent Reznor’s work, especially his unsettling sounds and use of dynamics. NIN takes you on a real roller coaster ride. On Origins we sometimes felt like we were sculpting sound rather than just playing guitars and keyboards.

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Tinariwen’s “Tenhert” (from 2009′s Imidiwan: Companions)
A beguiling and intriguing track with a haunting quality. I’m fascinated by their mix of North African rhythm, traditional vocals and blues guitar. It flows and develops in a way that makes it impossible to stay still. If your body doesn’t sway to this mesmeric fusion of styles, then you have no soul!

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*Photo by Derval Freeman

**Order a copy of Origins here.

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

Past entries include:

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