Tales From the Metalnomicon: Kier-La Janisse

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews, king fucking diamond On: Friday, April 12th, 2013

time-enough-at-last

Welcome to Tales From the Metalnomicon, a new twice-monthly column delving into the surprisingly vast world of heavy metal-tinged/inspired literature and metalhead authors…

In her exquisitely rendered, frequently disquieting, always edifying new book House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films well-respected critic, festival programmer and King Diamond devotee Kier-La Janisse writes of a childhood visit to a garage sale during which she pleads with her mother for the quarter necessary to purchase a copy of Peter Benchley’s novel Jaws.

“She conceded, with the caveat that she be allowed to read it first to make sure it was ‘acceptable reading’ for a child my age,” Janisse writes. “I expected this. What I didn’t expect was to get the book back marked up with a ballpoint pen, words changed, and entire pages scribbled out. I still think this book is my mother’s masterpiece of repressive zeal.”

Janisse continues:

Of course, the ink didn’t deter me: If I held the pages up to the light I could read through it. Like all things buried, these dirty truths come to the surface one way or another.

House of Psychotic Women is not unlike that light. Its lushly illustrated pages illuminate and elucidate, summoning hitherto obscured patterns and subtexts of both classic and obscure entries in the “apocalyptic hysteria” celluloid subgenre into view, deepening appreciation for those films a given reader has seen, piquing interest in the dozens they haven’t. (The appendix compendium will almost certainly blow the minds of most outré junkies.)

KierLaJanisse

“I was always drawn to these films, but for a long time I never gave it much thought beyond, ‘Yeah, I like these movies with crazy women in them,’” Janisse tells Decibel. “Once I started writing the book, though, it was striking to me how the central problem of so many of the women in so many of these films is the same problem, which is issues of identity — basically, the expectations others manufacture for women, the expectations they manufacture for themselves, and then the consequent ways they act out when the inability to meet those expectations becomes clear.”

Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Odela Exposes its Proggy Bits

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, April 12th, 2013

Odela Moth Eater cover (TOP)

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

Odela Moth Eater cover (BUM)

In the maverick spirit of bands like Melvins and, more recently, Slayer, this Friday we bring you Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack Lite.  Recently we heard this tidy little instrumental EP by French rock composer Christophe Le Roux and really enjoyed its playful heaviness, sonic clarity, and dedication to narrative cohesion.  There’s no monumental revelation here, no high-five-inspiring sicker-than-thou brutality, just some well recorded moments that allow you to transcend the mundane and live in the ethereal realm for about 10 minutes.  We liked the music enough to present it here for your taking or leaving, and we asked the man behind the freaky topless bug lady to tell us a little more.

What is your music background?

I studied music theory in France at the CEMMI (which no longer exist). The course was mostly based on jazz improv but I’ve always had a preference for written music, especially sophisticated guitar riffs and odd time signatures.

What influenced you to make Odela’s music?

I guess my biggest influence is Dream Theater, but I find inspiration in anything really.  To name a few bands that everybody knows [which] I’ve listened to a lot in the past decade: Paradise Lost, Pantera, Sepultura, Opeth, and most recently Animals as Leaders.

Your Bandcamp page says you are French… how did you end up recording in Canada?

I have dual citizenship, both French and Canadian so I moved to Canada (Calgary) and lived there for 6 years. Recording in Canada was pure destiny.

Was the music fully composed before you recorded, or did anything change during the recording process with Alan Sacha Laskow involved?

Yes the music was fully composed except for the choir voices during the outro of The Moth Eater. That being said, Sacha has contributed so much to the end result thanks to his expertise in sound engineering; he turned what was on paper into real music and went far beyond my expectations.

How did the cover image for the EP come about?  What do you like about it being attached to your music?

I first came across Mariella’s artwork at a Jung People CD release concert where she had a few paintings on display. I was blown away by her talent so I searched online to see more of her stuff, and that’s when I found the image of The Moth Eater. I like the morbid and beautiful character of this picture.

Some of the songs on the EP are very short – are they absolutely complete, or are any of them ideas that could be  expanded further?

I feel the songs are the right length. I’m a huge prog fan but I chose to do something rather short and pretty straight forward on this EP – though I do intend to write real long and proggy pieces in the future. I’ve actually had a few people telling me the songs were too short; I take this as a compliment and constructive criticism.

What non-musical ideas do you think enter into your composition/performance process?

The general idea behind the music is the dramatic ambience that I’ve tried to recreate throughout the riffs, the harmony and the low tuning. “Orphan in the Playground” is about solitude.

What hopes do you have for the Odela project in the future?

I hope I get the chance to do a full length album in the near future as I have a lot more music to share with the world! But right now I have other priorities and I’m working on other projects. I would love to see Odela’s music featured in a movie or a video game.

North. Interviewed.

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews On: Thursday, April 11th, 2013

deciblog - north album cover

Hmm. How did we miss this one? Did we miss this one? Was it only I who wasn’t paying attention and missed it? Either way, Arizona’s North has a “new” album out. It’s a wall of crushing, psychedelia-tinged post-Neur-Isis mania entitled The Great Silence, though “new” is a bit of a misnomer as it was actually originally released last year. Whatever. In an industry where people are sacrificing their first born for decent first week sales numbers, we’re sure a little promotional nod a few months after the fact won’t hurt. I’ve always said, what would you rather have? A shitload of sales right out of the gate, then being forgotten by most of the public a few weeks later, or a consistent handful of smaller weekly sales over the course of a longer period of time? While you mull that over, here’s an interview with guitarist Matt Mutterperl.

How did North come to be? And how does a band from Arizona come to use the moniker North anyway?
[Bassist] Evan [Leek], [drummer] Zack [Hansen], and our previous guitarist Ty had been in previous musical endeavors for a little while. After their previous band dissolved, Evan “formally” asked to start a new band, to which Zack agreed only if he could drop-kick Evan in the stomach. Evan actually did get drop-kicked in the stomach, who repeatedly stresses that it did not hurt, and they were off in a new direction. Seriously. I was invited to practice one day since I had known Ty through a mutual friend, and had showed him some of my own riffs, and that was that. The three of them had already demoed some material, which I don’t believe I have anymore. It’s floating around the internet somewhere, I think. Our name? From the 1994 movie of the same name starring Elijah Wood. I’m fond of it because it’s simple, not offensive, and not awkward to say: contrast “North” with a canonical example like “Anal Cunt.”

I notice at one point, on your bandcamp page for What You Were it reads “North was…” Was there a break up in there somewhere?
Not a break-up, although we have lost some members. I feel like “North was” is the most accurate way to say it, but it doesn’t matter much.

What was the original goal/philosophy behind the band when you started and how has that changed since?
There wasn’t any kind of specific aim other than to make loud, heavy music, and I think we’ve stayed true to that even if we’re the only ones that may think so. Every time we set out to write, there’s always a new theme/pattern/riff/idea that we explore, regardless of where it goes. As five people who are genuinely interested and invested in making music, we do our best to stay motivated and improve ourselves. That’s also something that hasn’t changed in the last 7+ years.

deciblog - north live

How long was The Great Silence in the works in terms of how long it took to write and record?
That was in the works for about four years. “Pulse,” “Patience,” and “Paradox” were the first songs we wrote way back in 2008/2009, only they were all played together in a piece originally titled something transparent like “Megasong.” The last song we wrote was “Origins” in 2011. Recording only took about week.

Was there anything you were consciously or deliberately trying to do different on the new album from past recordings? How would you characterise The Great Silence in comparison to your other releases?
We always try to do something different on every album, whether it ends up being subtle or not so subtle. I think that’s a shared goal for most bands, but for us it’s been stark in some areas; our first two records were instrumental, for example. On What You Were, we had a dedicated keyboardist and it was our first album with a vocalist. For The Great Silence, we were at a point where the future of North seemed questionable, so there was more of an emphasis to “leave it all out on the field,” to quote high school football coaches everywhere. Thankfully now, we’re inspired enough to not suffer through that kind of low morale. Happens to all of us, it’s just in how you manage it.

How does North on record compare to North live?
I wouldn’t say there’s a real marked difference. We may or may not be much louder than the volume you play our records at, but trust and believe we’re always trying to be. We don’t try and get too improvisational live, although that element is subtly there if we’re feeling daring.

deciblog - north live 2

How much touring have you done since the latest album’s release? Any dumb/awesome/horrifying tour stories to share?
We toured through the south, both coasts, and some of the mid-west, which added up to about six weeks of touring. The worst situation was at the end of our August tour when our van’s rear end, which had been spitting oil for a while now, was deemed unsafe to drive. Kyle and Evan had to stay back in Salt Lake City, and then drive the van from there back to Tucson. The rest of us had school or work and had to fly home. The Midas we were at was exceptionally accommodating and donated $1000+ in parts, however. Some of the most awesome situations were camping at Emigrant Lake in Oregon the night of a meteor shower, playing an outdoor block party, and on a personal note, getting to see all the people that we never get to for reasons related to distance.

Do you have any new material in the works? What’s up in your immediate future?
We’re currently working on new material for an EP or split, whichever materializes first. We’re trying to get louder, gloomier, and more precise, like sharpening the edge of some kind of a sad, sludgy knife. Opinions vary. This summer we’re planning on doing some touring mostly around the west side of the country, and hopefully putting out a new something-or-other for everyone to hear.

North on Facebook (also from where the live photos were lifted)
North on bandcamp

Decibrity Playlist: Anciients

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, April 11th, 2013

anciients

The dudes in Anciients will release their debut album, Heart Of Oak, on Tuesday. Just in case Jeff Treppel’s lead review in our April issue or Kevin Stewart-Panko’s profile the following month weren’t enough to convince you of the Vancouver quartet’s awesomeness, guitarist/vocalists Chris Dyck and Kenny Cook passed along some of the records they’ll be spinning as they hit the road on the Death To All tour starting this weekend. As Dyck explains, “Although most of the time we have Kenny’s iPod set to shuffle, these albums will most definitely be all up in the van. These are a few of our faves to drive to—there are a ton more albums we dig, but most of these get a lot of play and I don’t see that changing any time soon. We listen to a ton of metal and a ton of classic rock [so] that [is] the vibe nine times out of ten…ELO to Mayhem, Thin Lizzy to Suffocation. If it’s good, we recognize it and dig it…haha.”

While we’ll compile all of these tour playlists into a master road warrior playlist one day, in the meantime we’ll turn things over to Chris and Kenny. You can listen along here.

Mahavishnu Orchestra—Visions Of The Emerald Beyond (1975)
I chose this record because it has been one of my favorites since the first time I heard it. The musicianship is completely mind boggling, the way they switch through odd time signatures is amazing and the combo of John McLaughlin (guitar) and Jean-Luc Ponty (electric violin) is outstanding. I still don’t understand how they are able to sync up on some of those runs. What does it the most for me on this record is the insane drumming. Michael Walden just destroys on this recording, it’s like controlled rages of awesomeness that never stray from the pocket and just the all around tone of his playing is godlike. I really enjoy this album from start to finish—just give the first two tracks a listen and you will get the overall picture.—Kenny Cook

MO

Craft—Fuck The Universe (2005)
If I listen to any black metal a lot, it’s this record. It’s most definitely a record that puts you in the mood to crush things, like riffs and such. “Demonspeed” would have to be the track for me off of this album…either that or the title track.—K.C.

This is my favorite black metal record ever, easily. The vocals, the guitar sound, the drumming, the bass tone…everything. Such catchy parts mixed with such dissonance. An amazing record, every song rules. The title track and “Demonspeed” are my jams for life. I feel like punching through concrete when I listen to this in my Kia, it’s so rockin and so badass at the same time. A nearly perfect metal record in my opinion.—Chris Dyck

craft

The Steve Miller Band—Greatest Hits 1974-78 (1978)
This is record I used to listen to as a kid when my mom would drive me to school. It’s the epitome of a greatest hits record, every song is great. You may want to skip “The Joker”—we’ve all heard that enough for one lifetime—but so many other songs are choice on here, “Serenade” being the best.—K.C.

“Serenade”, “Swingtown” and “The Stake” specifically, this collection of Steve Miller tunes is essential as fuck! It is classic and always, always finds its way into the mix. I’m 35, so I have been listening to this album for all my life…crucial cruisin’ tunes.—C.D.

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Death—Human (1991)
The greatest Death album, and one of the greatest death metal albums of all time. Every song is brilliant…”Together as One” is my jam. This lineup was a total game changer in my opinion—this smooth, techy, brilliant, clear sound…so stoked to do this tour and see these guys lay waste to thee classic death songs on the reg. Childhood dream realized…yup.—C.D.

death

Steely Dan—Can’t Buy A Thrill (1972)
The first record by this supergroup of serious musicians. Definitely one of my favorites for sure—love the Denny Dias and Skunk Baxter guitar harmonies, very epic. I always thought “Reelin’ in the Years” was a Thin Lizzy song when I was young because of the guitarmonies. I have always loved the way they threw lap steel in to the mix. Perfect feel good road tunes.—K.C.

Since my brother started bringing Steely Dan to work years ago, our whole family has kinda really made it like our hangout tunes, haha. This album has several classics. What can even be said about Steely Dan—too good, amazing in every way…no comparison…so fucking smooth!—C.D.

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Neurosis—Through Silver In Blood (1996)
Our friend Bonnie turned us on to these guys a few years back. Of course I have always entire known about them, duh, but never really, really got to into them. But…once I heard this album, I actually woke up quite a bit…like this record is every art/beard metal bands bible. It humbles me now every time I hear it. The title track, “Eye” and “Locust Star” are essential…beyond heavy. One of the greatest live shows I have ever witnessed…inspiration forever, truly an original band…so rare to find, and they are loud as fuck, so massive bonus points for that.—C.D.

neurosis

Graveyard—Hisingen Blues (2011)
Graveyard—Lights Out (2012)

Amazing band. I just had the pleasure to see for the first time a month ago. Been listening to them for some time now and it’s just all around killer bluesy rock and roll. The vocals are just ridiculous—this dude has some serious pipes. These two records will be getting some well deserved play time through the stereo in our van.—K.C.

I got into these guys in the last couple years hard. Super classy stoner rock—evil, catchy, [done by] amazing musicians and heavy without distortion all over the place. This album is fucking mint. We just saw them in Seattle…wow. Sweden for the win once again—perfect camping/shotgunning beers album also.—C.D.

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High on Fire—Death Is This Communion (2007)
This is my favourite record by HoF. Crushingly killer and perfect for the highway.—K.C.

“Rumors of fucking War”…period. The greatest song to get stoked to of all time.—C.D.

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*Pre-order a copy of Heart Of Oak here.

**Anciients tour dates (* for Death To All shows):

4/13 Hollywood, CA @ House of Blues w/ Masters of Steel*
4/15 Engelwood, CO @ Gothic Theatre*
4/18 Detroit, MI@ St. Andrews Hall*
4/19 Cleveland, OH @ House Of Blues Cleveland*
4/20 Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s*
4/21 Chicago, IL @ House Of Blues*
4/23 Montreal, QC @ Club Soda*
4/24 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza*
4/25 Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts w/ Believer*
4/26 Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore (Silver Spring)*
4/27 Worcester, MA @ The Palladium*
4/28 Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre*
5/15 Billings, MT @ Railyard
5/17 Des Moines, IA @ House Of Bricks
5/18 Indianapolis, IN @ Indy’s Jukebox w/ Glorior Belli, Wolvhammer
5/20 Pittsburgh, PA @ Belvedere’s w/ Glorior Belli, Wolvhammer

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

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)

STREAMING: Purson “Spiderwood Farm”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

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We’re certainly entering strange space when a band like Purson is beloved by metalheads of sundry stripes and sick permutations. Self-described as “Vaudeville Carny Psych,” Purson—if lines between music styles, genres, and eras mean anything—could be the missing link between Mellow Candle and Black Sabbath. Or, Fairport Convention mixed with iconoclasts Coven. However, you want to pull back time and scatter long-settled dust to compare Purson’s sometimes smokey, sometimes sultry, mostly bucolic (wait until you hear “Tempest and the Tide”) heavy folkisms what really matters is that it rules. Not kind of. The ruleage is in absolutes.

Most bands like to take stabs at once was through irony (the worst kind) or sheer appropriation (cute, but temporal), but Purson have depth of character and wide sound palette all their own. Sure, much of the band’s likeability may come from Rosalie Cunningham’s genuine voice(s). She’s hard to ignore, really. But take a deep look at the music, and her bandmates (and their influences) aren’t just off Uncle Monty’s turnip cart. They have skill, really transportive abilities that hover in the nether regions above and below the convergence points of folk, rock, hard rock, psychedelia, jazz, and pop. It’s the Canterbury sound brought frilly cuffs and wildly muted colors frolicking into the present.

So, you can image we’re pretty chuffed to be ground zero for the premiere of Purson thriller, “Spiderwood Farm,” which is naturally named after some obscure ’70s band and about something tangentally scary, as Miss Cunningham so eloquently details: “Spiderwood Farm is a protest song of sorts. Spiderwood council are trying to evict the tenants of the farmhouse. They have been dead for over a century but the ghosts are rather comfy there. The dark needs a comfortable bed, so they said. Hopefully our monster riffs can change the council’s mind.”

** Purson’s new album, The Circle And The Blue Door, is out April 30th 2013. It’s available HERE if you don’t mind sharing your time with the ghosts of Spiderwood Farm. Also, don’t forget to check out a different version of “Spiderwood Farm.” It’s, uh, fuzzy. Click HERE.

FULL ALBUM STREAM: Pensées Nocturnes’ Nom d’une Pipe

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

SOLEIL

Black metal has seen more than its share of weirdos. It’s a genre that seems to attract idiosyncratic loners, especially since Varg proved back in the 90s that you really don’t need more than one person in the band.  The French cabaret black metal act Pensées Nocturnes consists entirely of the single-monitored Vaerohn. And to his credit, it doesn’t just sound like one dude with a keyboard. His fourth album, Nom d’une Pipe, embraces the macabre in Grand Guignol style. In addition to blast beats and shrieks, keep your ears peeled for bass, accordion, trumpet, horn, tuba, saxophone, English horn, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, piano, flute, trombone, violin, and cello. Possibly the kitchen sink, too, but that would just be obvious. Enjoy the full album below for a limited time!

***Nom d’une Pipe is available now from LADLO Productions. Get it here

Visual Violence: Brent Eyestone

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, listen, lists On: Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

mbl156

Decibel‘s coverage of the debut LP from Richmond, Virginia dark thrash stalwarts Iron Reagan has been fairly comprehensive — last month Chris premiered a stand-out track off Worse Than Dead in this space and there is a short profile of the band in the print issue on stands now — but one aspect of the album we haven’t quite delved into is the uber-sick cover artwork created by Magic Bullet Records proprietor/Highness guitarist Brent Eyestone, a true punk rock renaissance man who graciously agreed to walk us through the inspirations and processes that led to this slab of Visual Violence…

Oddly enough, in spite of 86 mutual friends (by Facebook’s estimation), probably dozens of the same shows, and less than 50 miles from my doorstep to his here in Virginia, Tony Foresta (Municipal Waste, Iron Reagan) and I actually didn’t even meet each other until about three years ago — out in Indianapolis of all places. Later that summer, I was dating one of his friends back in Richmond and we got the chance to hang out quite a bit. I quickly learned how passionate he was about specific kinds of music and it was very easy to hit it off and bond over a lot of mutual bands and records that had accumulated in both of our collections for the better part of three decades. Toss in a bunch of fun hangs out in nature with grills and beverages during those summer months, and I had come to appreciate Tony’s friendship and kindness quite a bit.

Fast forward about year or so later: Ryan [Parrish] quits Darkest Hour and immediately starts new bands with Tony — Iron Reagan — and myself — Highness, Bleach Everything. Everything starts making sense and getting even more incestuous accordingly, with Iron Reagan also nabbing fellow Darkest Hour-bailer Paul Burnette and Phil Hall from Municipal Waste. All of a sudden we’re all in these new bands and super excited about what’s happening.

Iron Reagan gets off to the fastest start, having a demo out within what felt like weeks of the first practice. It’s completely great and, naturally, I let both Ryan and Tony know how much I appreciated the sounds they were making with Iron Reagan.

Around the same time, I was releasing a slew of new records on Magic Bullet. This brings us to the first album that influenced the decision-making behind the Worse Than Dead cover:

1. BIG CHINA & LITTLE TROUBLE Lo-Panning LP (Magic Bullet Records)

1bcltmock

INTERVIEW: Steve Ramsey on keeping the devil out of Satan’s resurrection

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, April 8th, 2013

Band-Satan

That Satan were one of the most slept-on bands of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal because of their name is a cruel irony. For a genre that adopted the devil as chief muse and aesthetic patriarch, Satan should have fitted right in; acceptance should have been instant. But while Satan, too, were a product of Venom’s hometown, Newcastle, England, their approach was wholly different.

Formed in 1979 when guitarists Steve Ramsey (also of seminal UK folk metal band Skyclad) and Russ Tippins were still at school, Satan were all about incorporating melody and technicality into NWOBHM’s innate speed. History, politics and justice trumped the for-the-album Satanism of their Geordie peers and the scene at large.

Satan were named after Satan but they were never in league with him. Ramsey and Tippins guitars were the rapier not the hammer; shit, they could really play. But many couldn’t get over a band called Satan coming out with a debut LP Court in the Act that showcased highfalutin’ musicality while paying no genre union dues in its lyrical themes. Calling the band Satan while singing about justice, Native Americans a la Maiden on “Broken Treaties”, Vikings on “Blades of Steal” (a la Maiden again), running from the law (a la . . . There are plenty of artistic parallels with Maiden) . . . That was all taken for cognitive dissonance by a music press that lumped them in with the then nascent extreme metal scene.

Satan were never that: they were straight-up, Heavy Metal, progressively cavalier, and that, as Steve Ramsey tells the Deciblog, helped screw everything up. Satan changed their name (Blind Fury [see bottom], Pariah, The Kindred), changed their line-up, lost momentum, and eventually succumbed to obscurity.

But Ramsey is not bitter. With the imminent release of Life Sentence (Satan’s first studio album since 1987’s Suspended Sentence), and a headlining appearance at Live Evil Festival confirmed for October, he has way more to look forward to than to regret.

Decibel’s Top 5 Death Metal Logos

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, lists On: Monday, April 8th, 2013

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carcass_logo_decibel_2013

5. Carcass – Carcass has had a few logos over their storied and infamous career, but none of them evinces the manic, electric quality of the group’s music quite like this iteration. Its angular, slightly italicized letters, the long stems of the two “c”s and “r,” and the near interlocking of the double “s” imparts an urgent feel. The static, or whatever it is, that emanates from all sides gives the logo a hurried look, as if Carcass are aching to go somewhere; probably six feet under with their medical dictionary in hand.

darkthrone_logo_decibel_2013

4. Darkthrone – OK, we’re partial to this logo for several reasons. Sure, it showed up as #1 on our Top 5 Black Metal Logos post (HERE) and Darkthrone were really a death metal act for only one record (the iconic Soulside Journey), but few logos are as complete as this one. The hidden pentagram. The murky, root-like drips dangling off the crudely scrawled letters. The near-symmetry of the “horns” and “legs.” Yeah, logo designer Tomas Lindberg was on-point when he conceived this piece.

atthegates_logo_decibel_2013

3. At the Gates – There’s an ecclesiastical vibe play here. The trinity of arched windows, stained glass, and vertical design give the logo a regal look. At The Gates smartly improved upon Alf Svensson’s Gardens of Grief logo for debut album, The Red in the Sky is Ours. Not sure who designed this iteration, but it’s probably one of the more unique logos to ever grace an album cover. It’s religious by being anti-religious. Read the lyrics to “Kingdom Gone” and you’ll get what I’m saying.

morbidangel_logo_decibel_2013

2. Morbid Angel – One of the more classic death metal logos. The Morbid Angel logo is highly recognizable, readable, and it has two devil tails, a pitchfork, a pentagram, and an inverted cross. There’s no real way to candy coat Morbid Angel’s intent. From first glance to close inspections, the Floridians wanted to convey evil at every crenelation. It might look a bit dated now, but there’s no denying Morbid Angel’s logo class.

unleashed_logo_decibel_2013

1. Unleashed – When Unleashed formed, few could’ve expected such an awesome logo. It’s been slightly revised over the years, the most recent alteration was on last year’s excellent Odalheim effort. Regardless, the original Unleashed logo is a death metal original. Symmetric—well, almost—with angry, angular lettering, tons of dripping ooze (evil, of course), and a massive inverted cross. The hoi polloi never needed a second look at this monster. The inverted cross immediately communicated, “I am evil.” Didn’t matter if they couldn’t read the rest.

** The five runners-up: Obituary (those hooks!), Death (a little goofy in retrospect but still a Kam Lee classic.), Incantation (oh, the roots are alive! alive!), Bolt Thrower (stained glass with a board game feel. fuck yes!), and Dismember (imagine if this was “Dismemberizer”?! glad that sheet of paper was short.).

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

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, April 5th, 2013

old waldo

Spring has sprung, and so have the new metal releases.

GHOST BC release Infestissumam, their second full-length. And while this band maybe loved by some, hated by some, this is pretty blasé and mediocre, really. Calling this metal is a bit of a stretch, as the previously released singles — the “Secular Haze” and “Year Zero” tease — sounds fairly similar to the rest of the record. The most surprising thing here is that Papa Emeritus changed his name to Papa Emeritus II. This is that watered-down ’70s occult rock that shouldn’t surprise anyone, owing more to Witchfinder General and Blue Oyster Cult than Mercyful Fate. This is a concept album based loosely on the birth of the Antichrist and, well, it’s OK. No real moments on here where one says “FUCK!” Not to say that this is bad; there’s just no real kick in the dick, and most of the tracks blend together and come off samey, even with the addition of organ. Fans of this band will not be let down, but those awaiting an initiation to the Ghost cult won’t be swayed so quickly. 6 Fucking Pecks.

Every now and then, a band comes along that rules. They mix punk, metal and horror themes. SNOW WHITE’S POISON BITE is not that, and Featuring Dr. Gruesome and the Gruesome Gory Horror Show just plain sucks butt. Tell Victory to cut it the peck out. 0 Fucking Pecks.

Rewind the clock way back, because FLOTSAM AND JETSAM have a new record called Ugly Noise. This is definitely no Doomsday for the Deceiver, or even No Place for Disgrace. These thrash metal veterans are one of the more underrated thrash bands of their time; former bassist Jason Newsted helped write some of these tracks, and as a whole, this record seems a little more focused than their mid-late ’90s fare. There are some real beak-scratching moments on this, though: use of samplers, etc. Out of the gate, this promises a unique meanness that only they could, but then they ruin it. Do we really need another Flotsam and Jetsam record? The answer is no. 3 Fucking Pecks