STREAMING: Persekutor’s “Power Frost”

By: Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Thursday, September 5th, 2013



Romanian black metal trio Persekutor’s Angels of Meth was the best album nobody heard in 2006, an anger brownie with hatred frosting. Unfortunately, a protracted legal dispute between the band and its former label Thousand Year Reich over rights to the masters has cast an official stateside release in doubt, and the only official copy is rumored to be in the “unfiled” section of Fenriz’s vast demo archives.

But the past is the past, and Persekutor is the future. Decibel is happy to provide an exclusive stream of “Power Frost,” the A side from the band’s upcoming “Power Frost” 7”. Magic Bullet Records will release the single on November 29, 2013 — learn more on the band’s Facebook page.

Check out the song below, a sly nod to Pure Holocaust-era Immortal. A short interview with guitarist and vocalist Vlad the Inhaler follows.

You and longtime bassist Ion “Iron Slasher” Slăsescu both make your living tending to goats in Romania. How is the goat herding business after the last major outbreak of hoof and mouth disease in nearby Bulgaria in 2011?

Hoof in mouth is serious problem. Trying to pull foot out of mouth, might hurt goat. Leave foot in mouth, goat starve. Is same in Bulgaria we assuming. But we are hearing Bulgaria goat have extra mouth in back with no teeth so maybe not big problem for them. Will be asking fans on next Bulgaria tour.

When we last checked in, your drummer Kutná Whora had been kicked out of the band and replaced with a series of session musicians. This 7″ marks the debut of drummer Doktor Impossible. What’s his story?

Kutná Whora not kicked out. This is Internet rumor spread by teenage masturbation club on heavy metal message board. Yes. True story is Kutná Whora leave PERSEKUTOR to join Jandarmeria Română. This is military police of Romania. Like Russian army but less sodomy.

Doktor Impossible is a machine. Literally, he is machine. We name him Doktor Impossible after Sisters Of Mercy drummer Doktor Avalanche. But is very possible to have real human drummer on next release! Are talking to famous US and A drummer about possibility, he is into it. Not Tony Laureano, too expensive.

How did you end up on the same label as Charles Manson?

Charlie is big time PERSEKUTOR fan from Angels Of Meth days. He try to text us from secret mobile phone under prison mattress but we are not havings mobile phones so did not receive. Then he is mailing us drawing of big cock with swastika on it, say this is self-portrait 2010. We try to ask if he meaning this is self-portrait of penis, or if penis is supposings to be him. The shaft is saying “PIGGY” but Iron Slasher change to “PERSEKUTOR,” put on wall in practice barn. Looking good there next to naked photografications of Aletta Ocean and Black Angelika.

Your rivals Negură Bunget released a special edition of their last record in a hand-crafted box with a rope and actual soil from Transylvania. How can you top that?

This band is traitors. Givings away of Transylvanian soil is same as giving away secret location of Jandarmeria Română sodomy tent. I have idea what they can do with rope.

Outgoing Romanian president Traian Băsescu has served two full terms and is ineligible for reelection in 2014. Will a shift in political power positively affect the climate for black metal in Romania, and what impact might it have on your longstanding legal battle with your former label Thousand Year Reich?

All politicians is big fat liars. You are US and A journalist so you are knowing this situation already. Yes. Băsescu suspending by Romania parliament of 2007 for corruptive purposes. Votings of impeachment happening like Bill Clinton, but Băsescu not even getting mouth sex from Monica Blewinsky. No big surprising—Romanian people know he is pig same like other pigs but voting for him anyway. Cannot speakings about Thousand Year Reich as usuals, but WE are making the climate for Romanian black metal. Always WE, no other persons. After goats is feeding, climate is right.

Metal India: An Interview With Demonstealer Records

By: Posted in: featured, interviews On: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013


Metal has always been a global phenomenon. However, one of the communities we don’t hear too much about outside of some fine work by filmmaker Sam Dunn is India.

Decibel wanted to get a closer look at what’s going on in India and how globalization and cultural shifts are shaping metal music there. We had the opportunity to talk to Sahil Makhija of Demonstealer Records to get the skinny on what’s going on with our metal bretheren and the challenges of running a label and touring in a country of 1.2 billion. Make sure you check out Demonstealer’s catalog and connect with them on Facebook.

How did you get interested in metal?

When I was 13 or so I was given some Iron Maiden and Metallica by friends who said I should listen to it instead of pop and techno. Once I had experienced the music I went deeper and deeper and I got into much heavier stuff. It came to a point where the same friends who introduced me to metal thought I was listening to noise.

Where do you live? What is it like?

I live in Mumbai, which is a crazy place. It is like New York but dirtier and with way more poverty and lots of rude, obnoxious people. It is, however, a city quite unlike any other. India is a huge country and Mumbai is the commercial hub. It’s also probably the most important city for metal in India along with Bangalore (another Indian city). The history of India and the city is quite vast but the best way to truly understand or experience it is to visit.

What is the metal scene like in India?

Would you believe that we’ve had metal bands in our country as long ago as the 1980s (and possibly the 70s as well)? The scene in India is more or less undocumented from the early days but there were bands in the 80s playing metal. The only one that is remembered is Millennium who started out in 1988 and recorded and released a few albums as well as released music videos, which got airplay on MTV in India. When I found myself in the local scene it was 1998 and it was mostly cover bands largely throwing in one or two of their own songs. For the most part the metal scene has been the bastard child of the Indie scene in India, at least until recently. So from around 2000 onwards there was a wave of Indian bands that started doing original music. I’ve been part of this for 15 years and I could probably write a book on it. We still lack infrastructure here to release music and also to organize tours. It’s not impossible but it’s very tough.

What made you decide to start a label?

It was the simple fact that there was not a single label in India that would touch the music we were making. The only labels here were the major players so it seemed fitting to release my music under my own label. Ironically, my last two albums and the upcoming DR one are being released via Universal Music so finally we did manage to crack that one even though it’s only a distribution deal.

You also run a web portal covering Indian metal, correct?

Nope, but we had one website for all independent music back in the day called and then came who were also the promoters for the Great Indian Rock Festival. Today we’ve got about 10-15 independently run blogs and websites. So people are getting involved and doing things. I’ve had a plan for the longest time to start one but given the amount of things I do it’s rather hard to add one more to it.

Are you facing any issues with censorship or problems with freedom of speech? How does Indian culture approach metal?

Surprisingly, no one really gives a shit here because metal is so small it doesn’t really get in the way of anyone. In India, all the problems start when you make shitloads of money. We have the regular problems just doing a show because you need to bribe everyone from the police to the government officials but that is mostly when you do big open-air shows and festivals. Corruption is rampant here but the people who work in all these offices don’t know, listen or care about metal; they are all into Bollywood. A lot of metal shows happen in universities.

How does the caste system play into Indian metal? Are people able to express their discontent about social structures through music?

While the caste system is prevalent in Indian society it’s not really as obvious in modern society, just in our rural areas where there are no traces of English music let alone metal. Metal in India is music of the middle and upper middle class so most kids don’t deal with caste systems. I think most Indian metal bands haven’t really picked up causes as such because there hasn’t been too much trouble. The thing most bands choose to sing about is terrorism because we’ve been subjected to so much of it over the years. Women’s rights are being brought up due to a very gruesome rape case. A band called Sceptre dedicated their album to the cause of women. Another black metal band called Heathen Beast did an album on the communal riots due to the destruction of a mosque in a place called Ayodhya. So some bands take up causes, others don’t.

Has the expansion of the Indian economy and the increase in foreign companies sending jobs to India been good for the metal scene? Do people have more disposable income?

The economy is growing but the price of living is becoming more and more unreasonable. There are constant price hikes. It’s actually really expensive living in Mumbai so disposable income doesn’t really trickle down to the metal scene here. Another reason is the audience is still very young. Most of the older crowds moved on to something else in life. Since we had no proper scene metal was almost like a ‘phase’ in college and once you finish you kind of cut your hair, get an office job and go for a fancy dinner instead of a concert.

Do bands in India tour extensively?

Not extensively because we don’t have a touring network and venues are a big issue. So there are about three or four cities that have ‘music’ venues to begin with. Like I said, the metal audience is very young. Most venues have a huge cost to stay open due to the taxes, corruption and all that jazz. Most of these places need to pull in crowds that spend lots of money. Metalheads don’t spend money hence most venues are closed off to metal. So what it leaves us with a band having to hire a venue, hire sound, pa, backline and basically be the promoter. In India, we also don’t have vans that we can drive around in due to the massive distance between places. It’s very hard to do any major touring. At best a band can do four or five cities and it’s quite a struggle. Most bands earn and make money of college gigs because they have sponsors and big budgets

Do you get a lot of overseas business?

People are slowly by surely discovering the world of Indian metal. With bands like DR and Kryptos finding a home with international labels and younger Indian bands making trips outside to perform at various festivals and venues with magazines writing about the scene we’re seeing a definite interest in our scene and it’s only going to get more and more interesting.

What is the most popular genre of metal in India, at least based on your experience with the label?

Each city has a popular genre. I would say overall whatever is trending in the world of metal is popular here. Back in the late 90s and early 2000′s when nu metal was huge in the world it was the same in India. We had tons of kids going apeshit over Slipknot and Limp Bizkit. Then came the whole metalcore wave.

Do you think Indian metal will ever get to the level where it is on par with, say, Europe and America?

To be very honest I think when it comes to quality of music being released we’re almost on par. We’re definitely 20 years behind on everything else. The thing is live music, live bands, guitars, drums, bass etc. are all alien instruments to our culture so there is a long way to go for all these to catch up and get the infrastructure and education in place. The bands that have stuck around could be put on any stage in the world and they will hold their own against any international live band.

NFL PREVIEW 2013: Gates of Slumber on the Indianapolis Colts

By: andrew Posted in: featured, nfl 2013 On: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013


by Jason McCash, The Gates of Slumber

So begins another campaign for an NFL club full of much history–from the greatest game ever played to housing two of the greatest QBs that ever played the game in Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning. Many NFL records were and still are held by many players that called the Horseshoe home.

This season, a new-look offense will be in play: run first and run often. With this idea in place, the Colts brought in Ahmad Bradshaw to team up with the muscle of Vick Ballard and the speed and cutting ability of Donald Brown: a three-headed attack that us Colt fans haven’t seen since the pre-Manning era. Because of this new direction, the wide receiver core should have a lot more success. With the addition of Darrius Heyward-Bey and the emergence of Ty Hilton, Reggie Wayne completes a trio that will be lights-out! Wayne is now the Marvin Harrison of this team, and he has earned it. Then there is the new golden goose, Andrew Luck—the man everyone has forgot about because of some cat named RGIII who was drafted to a team in one of the biggest media markets in the U.S. All Luck does is study film, work out, practice, study more film, work out a bit more, then practice again. He played like a pro last season—this season he will play like a Hall of Famer.

Now onto the defense, my favorite part of football. The Colts have fully developed a 3-4 system and now have the players in place to breed success. Ricky Jean-Francois, Cory Redding and Drake Nevis should step up behind captain Pat Angerer (there’s no greater name a LB could have in the NFL, if you ask me), who will be teamed up with our first round pick this season (and Dwight Freeney’s replacement) Björn Werner. Headlines will be made week in and week out with this unit of defensive backs. We have CBs who now can cover one-on-one, and the safeties—oh my god! Bethea, Landry, Brown, Asante—headlines will be made for damn sure.

All in all, the Colts will again win the AFC South and will have a solid chance to represent the AFC in this season’s Super Bowl, coming to MetLife Stadium in NYC! Have a killer season, boys. I’ll have my popcorn ready, and will have a ton of fun supporting the club all year.

Video Premiere: Avulsed’s “Dead Flesh Awakened”

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: videos On: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Avulsed Photo 2013_05

Avulsed’s supremely excellent death metal splatter platter Ritual Zombi has already received plenty of Deci-love — see Rod Smith’s 8/10 rave in issue 107 and/or my own giddy profile in 108 — so we were more than a little honored when legendary vocalist Dave Rotten offered us the opportunity to premiere the beautiful, nightmarish clip for “Dead Flesh Awakened.” Check out the video below then hit up the band’s official Facebook page to register your joy…or disgust.


STREAMING: Felix Martin “Triangle Tune”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen, videos On: Wednesday, September 4th, 2013


There comes a point where progressive is no longer progressive. It’s a step beyond. For Venezuelan guitarist Felix Martin, he’s taken the six-string and transformed it into a 14-string creating what he calls “jazz metal.” Now, if we’re to rewind history a bit, “jazz metal” was already covered—to some degree—by Cynic, Pestilence, and Atheist. But Felix Martin adds something new to the concept. His 14-string guitar and double hand technique.

“Triangle Tune” (seen below) is off Martin’s second full-length effort, The Scenic Album. It features renowned bassist Nathan Navarro and famed drummer Marco Minnemann (Necrophagist, Steven Wilson) and it’s nothing but pure awesome if you’re into mindfully complex music with a sense of self; not that Phish crap. So scale your summit and be amazed by Martin, Navarro and Minnemann (MNM or M2N).

** Felix Martin’s The Scenic Album is out September 17th on Prosthetic Records. It’s available HERE for pre-order.

Decibrity Playlist: Gorguts

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

Gorguts released its long-awaited fifth album today, the band’s first in over 12 years. To celebrate, vocalist/guitarist Luc Lemay decided to take a breather from death metal and reveal a little bit of his softer side, highlighting five songs/pieces of music that show the “beauty and poetry in music.” Once you’re done checking out Luc’s picks, not only can you turn to Colored Sands for the hard stuff (which Chris Dick deemed “fucking incredible” in our latest issue), but Gorguts will be hitting the road this week for four select East Coast dates that you probably won’t want to miss.

Feel free to listen along here.

Steven Wilson’s “The Watchmaker” (from 2013′s The Raven That Refused to Sing (And Other Stories))
This is such a beautiful song. Every time that I was on a night drive, I would play this song first and then I would bring the record to the beginning, this way I could hear it twice. There’s something very poetic and nostalgic about this music…beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

Philip Glass–Symphony No. 3 (1995)
It took me many, many years to become a Philip Glass fan. Around 1994, I remember I received as a gift a CD with Glass string quartets and it didn’t do anything for me…not that the interpretation was not good, it was Kronos Quartet. But a few years ago, I discovered the soundtrack of Naqoyqatsi, which was composed by Glass and it was a total shock. Pure beauty! It made me revisit his work and I instantly fell in love with this symphony for string. The first movement is just stunning!


Opeth’s “Benighted” (from 1999′s Still Life)
This is such a beautiful and poetic song, it gives me goosebumps every time I listen to this gem of music. I can’t help myself, I need to close my eyes and listen the soft sound of the fingers on the strings with Mikael’s voice painting on this soft and tranquil canvas.


Shostakovich–Symphony No. 4 (1935-1936)
This is such an amazing work of art! Wow! Every time I listen to this symphony, it just brings [out] the Slavic roots in me (having a Russian grandmother)…very emotional. It’s hard to explain the feeling, [but] it’s very special. When Shostakovich’s music first came into my life in ’93/’94, it was totally life changing. It touched me like nothing else before. It had the same impact on me as when I discovered death metal. The second movement from this symphony (28:39) is very dark, mystic and yet beautiful. I just totally adore every single note from the work.

Philip Glass’s “Media Weather” (from 2002′s Naqoyqatsi)
This recitative for cello and orchestra is so poetic and beautiful. I love the way Yo-Yo Ma plays in this piece. To me it sounds like a human voice telling a story, whispering something to my ear. It has a very contemplative mood, and in this movement I don’t hear the typical Glass rhythmic signature…beautiful and unique.


*Gorguts tour dates:

Sep 05 Empire Springfield, VA
Sep 06 Hopscotch Festival, Raleigh, NC
Sep 07 Mojo 13 Wilmington, DE
Sep 08 Palladium Upstairs, Worcester, MA

**Photo by Éric Geoffroy

***Order a copy of Colored Sands here.

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

Past entries include:

Scale The Summit
Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) (Part 1) (Part 2)
Mouth Of The Architect
Kings Destroy
Call of the Void
Saint Vitus Bar
Soilwork (Dirk Verbeuren) (Björn Strid)
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
Anders Nyström (Katatonia) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Rush (Part 1) (Part 2)
Shadows Fall
Greg Mackintosh (Paradise Lost) (Part 1) (Part 2)
“Best of” Meshuggah
Barren Earth
Shane Embury (Napalm Death) (Part 1) (Part 2)

NFL PREVIEW 2013: Early Graves on the Oakland Radiers

By: andrew Posted in: featured, nfl 2013 On: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013


by Chris Brock, Early Graves

Oh, the Oakland Raiders. What a fucking terrible year they had last year, and this year isn’t looking much better. Unlike their Coliseum-sharing pals, the A’s, they have had no luck in turning a totally shit roster into something golden. Instead, we fans have another painful year to watch under coach Dennis Allen (who I am not sure is actually a human being), a GM who looks lost, confused and hungry most of the time, and an owner with perhaps the worst haircut (bowl cut) of all time in Mark Davis. He has that weird skin-peeling thing like his dad, too. Yucky fucking dude. Who married Mark Davis? At least he isn’t Mark Sanchez.

Gone is CEO Amy Trask, the first female NFL executive, aptly dubbed “Princess of Darkness.” Gone is QB Carson Palmer, who racked up a bunch of fantasy numbers in garbage time, and cost the Raiders high draft picks basically going into the 2150 season. Gone is Darren McFadden. Well, he is technically on the team still, but he will inevitably get hurt by Week 3, then sign with the first team that offers him a contract in the offseason. Let’s see, who else is gone? Oh, everyone you have ever heard of, which isn’t saying much since they were has-beens by the time they got to Oakland anyways. Instead, we have an O-line assembled like a MacGyver gadget that didn’t work, a receiving core that’s undersized and under-talented, and aging cornerback-turned-safety Ron Woodson. Don’t get me wrong—I’m stoked to bust out the Woodson 24 jersey I have had since high school—but let’s face it: his playing is as outdated as the Reebok jersey, and the fact that I’m considering wearing it like Kerry King wore his Bo Jackson one in the ’90s. It’s a good look that only Raiders fans understand.

Speaking of aging history, Bay Area television has nothing good to say about the Raiders either, so they keep replaying the illustrious “Tuck Rule” game, and I am immediately dragged back to memories of, for the first time in my life, being completely drunk on absolute hatred for Tom Brady. What a pathetic game, but more pathetic is that I continue to watch the replay every time it’s on, and most pathetic is that I still am hung up on a decade-old game that the Raiders lost and can’t let it go. It was a fucking fumble, Tommy, and Walt Coleman, you are a fucking dickhead. Wow I am pathetic. Maybe I can make the Raiders 53-man roster? What do you say Reggie?

It’s Week 3 of the preseason as I write this. I can only hope that some no-name on the Raiders injures a Chief, Charger, Bronco or Patriot (fuck the Tuck Rule forever) and helps fuck up their playoff chances. That’s a player I can get behind. I am looking at you Nick Roach.

Hope? Nope. Literally the only thing I can hope for is that the crosstown rival 49ers don’t win a Super Bowl. I don’t want to fucking hear it. On the bright side, at least they aren’t the Jets, who are the most pathetic team in football. (Sorry, Andrew, but you know it’s true). It’s going to be at the very least funny to see Matt Flynn get knocked around for two games and replaced by the last man drafted by Al Davis, Terrelle Pryor. Hey, he’s looked OK in preseason–maybe we have a chance?

Full Album Stream: Heretic Cult Redeemer

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

heretic cult redeemer - band 2

Check out all this sonic extremity that German label/distributor Iron Bonehead is trying to drill through your thick skull!  On Friday, we brought you a tasty helping of ugly old school death from Abyssous.  This morning (as some of us return to work from a sun-baked Labor Day weekend) we serve up an entire platter from Greek occult black metallers Heretic Cult Redeemer.  The band has existed for several years, but due to various difficulties they are only now releasing their self-titled debut album.  Including former and current members of such acts as Acrimonious, Necrovorous, and Embrace of Thorns, HCR grind out a dour 3/4-hour dose of simmering, atonal exploration of the inner cosmos.  The approach is neither too orthodox nor too obtuse – consider it the Goldilocks Zone of 21st century black metal.

Decibel infiltrated the Cult for a few questions, hoping to unlock some of their hermetic mysteries.  No luck on that, but here are the band’s answers anyway.  While you dissolve into a pixellated being of negative energy, find out what HCR have to say about… well, we’re not entirely sure.

The band’s ideology is very specific.  Does the style of music you play rise naturally from this ideology, or do you just happen to enjoy/connect with heavy music?

We try to compose dark and emotional music. Every genre can inspire us, if it [can] fulfill our way of expression. At this moment it’s heavy music.

You’ve mentioned that these songs were finished years ago.  Do you feel the songs carry the same messages now for you as they did when they were written, or have the developed new or additional meanings over the years?

Our songs have multiple meanings for us. Of course, through the years, we have infiltrated our experiences and moved forward. We create a path [in which] everyone makes his own images and emotions. All these through the conioum speach [sic] of Heretic Cult Redeemer.

How does the songwriting/recording process in HCR compare to the members’ work in other bands?  Any clearly different approaches to the music or to each other?

HCR is our first priority! We share the same vision and all these years we built a strong structure between us, so there’s nothing to stand in our way.

Does the band’s ideology include any routine personal practices to connect more fully to what’s around you?

Our world has many and different aspects of reality. All the material universe is a giant magnet that attracts phenomena. We [are] trying to receive that energy with any possible way.

What is inspiring you right now?

We are in [the] rehearsal room, ready for some live appearances and of course promoting our debut album. Some new material came to surface, but we are in the start of the proccess.  Our inspiration comes from different art forms that combine dark philosophy, occultism and gnosticism and filtered to [our] band’s direction. Of course our experiences are connected and affect HCR musical approach.

Have you had much interaction or support from other bands in your region?

We interact with the other bands here, but we have support from individual persons.

Where did the album art come from?  How much input did you have with it?

The whole idea of the album art is exclusively ours and it’s fully connected with the lyrical concept of the album. The artists that created from thin air our vision are Manster and Geo Arvaniti.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: Ian Christe of Bazillion Points

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, August 30th, 2013


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

Bazillion Points Books boasts such an absurdly badass catalog it is difficult at times to believe the publishing house actually exists outside the fantasies of discerning connoisseurs and devotees of underground rock and metal. But real it is, and they’ve now got five years worth of wicked literary manifestations to serve as irrefutable proof. Our comrades and partners over at Metal Sucks already marked the anniversary with an excellent and exhaustive interview of publisher Ian Christe, so the Metalnomicon chose instead to ask the author, Sirius XM radio personality, and all around heavy metal renaissance man to muster up a Bazillion Points soundtrack. As you will see below, Christe knocked it out of the park…

Hello! If after repeat listening you discover that this playlist suits you, you’ll be qualified to spend the morning heaving heavy boxes of books at the Bazillion Points HQ. We have worn ruts in a lot of records working around the clock for the last five years!

HELLHAMMER — “Messiah”

This morning, the rooster crows, the purple cloud passes, and “Messiah” rips open a new day. Tom Gabriel Fischer came to me with ONLY DEATH IS REAL: An Illustrated History of Hellhammer and Early Celtic Frost nearly one hundred percent complete. He didn’t just have an idea or a couple cool stories — he had wrung himself out for years already writing the book. Jesus, what a powerhouse that man is. He’s also prone to saying profound things. Once he told me, and I’m paraphrasing as best as I can remember: “I didn’t choose this path. I didn’t choose to be ridiculed and faced with great difficulty. It chose me. It was the only option available, it was all I had, there was no other alternative.” Must be nice to have everything you do and say mean something!


AC/DC — “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)”

BREWTAL TRUTH: Drink This Now!

By: adem Posted in: featured, liver failure On: Friday, August 30th, 2013


Given the opportunity to write about craft beer every month in Decibel has been eye-opening. The idea that our “Brewtal Truth” column would have lasted more than four years (and counting) and even spawn a book—The Brewtal Truth Guide to Extreme Beers, out in November—is pretty amazing. Now it’s time to bring a little “Brewtal Truth” to the Deciblog. Each week we’re featuring a different craft beer that you should drink now. These aren’t so much reviews as recommendations. We won’t post anything here that we haven’t happily poured down our own gullet. There’ll be a new one every week at noon Eastern time, a little something to get you thinking about your imbibing options for the weekend.

Most people associate well-hopped beers with IPAs or maybe an American pale ale (APA), but bodacious amounts of aromatic hops are being used in many different styles—from imperial stouts to hefty lagers. Typically aromatic hops are used in New World-style beers. All beers typically have some hops, but it’s those show-off aromatic hops that provide all the crazy fruity/spicy/foresty notes. Beers are brewed with them primarily to bring out these characteristics, and secondarily for their bittering ability. Thus they can add interesting characteristics to practically any style of beer, as long as whatever they have to offer enhances the beer. Brewers have been playing a bit with adding copious amounts of these aromatic hops to Belgian styles that typically have little hop presence. Some are called “Belgian IPAs” while others are called “White IPAs,” depending on what style of Belgian beer is being given the IPA treatment. Stone took a different approach with their Cali-Belgique IPA. They basically brewed their Stone IPA (which, like all Stone beers, is aggressively hopped) with a Belgian Yeast and dry-hopped it with a slightly different hop variety. Would it turn out like Belgian’s alt-metal wannabes Channel Zero, a quartet who proudly import American douche-culture to their home country? Read on.

Belgian IPA
Escondido, CA
6.9% ABV

As noted above, the thing that makes this “Belgique” (or Belgian) is the use of a Belgian yeast to brew it. There are many different kinds of Belgian yeasts but most impart some rather bold, spicy/funky notes. One sniff of this brew and you can immediately identify the telltale aromas. This doesn’t smell like a typical West Coast IPA. Hell, it doesn’t smell like any IPA, where the aromatic hops generally get center stage. Here, they share the spotlight, but are definitely present. This rich orangey-yellow brew is crystal clear and has bright citrus, mandarin and stone fruit notes mingling with the yeast aromas. It smells refreshing and exotic.

We’ve had other Belgian IPAs and frequently it has been a Belgian-styled beer (which are typically on the sweet side) mega-hopped with aromatic hops, so you get something like a hoppy version of Duvel. Which is great, but also a little on the sweet side. This, on the other hand, drinks like a true IPA, which is dry, crisp and refreshing. The Belgian yeast Stone used apparently is renown for brewing quite dry beers and it works here perfectly. You get a hint of fruity sweetness up front—with notes of pineapple and lemon—yet it finishes remarkably dry and bitter (but not too bitter). The net result is a hefty, flavorful beer that refreshes and drinks like a brew half it’s size.

The IPA is a British invention, but this brew is so far afield from the style devised in the late nineteenth century that it’s barely recognizable as a distant relative. The English brewers who hopped-up their pale ales did so to prevent spoilage on the long journeys to colonial India, but now hops are used to spice up practically every style out there. Even typically modestly hopped Belgian brews. Which makes us think of this grindcore blast from Leng Tch’e which features a guest spot from Napalm Death vocalist Barney Greenway—it’s a little Belgian, a little English. Definitely drink this now, while the last hot days of summer remain.