Throw Me a Frickin’ Label Hack: Mesmerized by Misery

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, free, interviews, listen On: Friday, December 7th, 2012

MbM Band Pic

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.

Mesmerized by Misery is a (relatively) newly formed melodic deathcore band from Germany who are currently pushing their 25-minute, five-song EP called Nurturing the Vultures.  They shouldn’t have to push too hard, given that it’s a free download at their Bandcamp site and from their official website, and because it kicks a pretty sizeable amount of rear-cheekage.  Powerful riffing, evil rasp ‘n’ growl vocals, tight percussion, and some wicked album art add up to a sweet noggin-banging package.  Get a load of “Ego Sum Aeternitas” right here while you check out what guitarist Thomas A. had to say about occasional soloing, South America, and various apple beverages.

How did MbM form?

It was while at the With Full Force Festival 2009 in Leipzig that our vocalist Martin and bass player Dennis decided to form a band.  At that time it was rather an idea than a specific plan. But after some time the idea took shape and all the members for the project were found, we then found a rehearsal room and began jamming and writing our own songs.  At the time our songs were very simple structured and more core influenced until we realized that we wanted to create something different,  something heavier.  This was before the time of Mesmerized by Misery.  After some lineup changes and a pause due to our drummer having problems with his sinews, in spring 2011 Mesmerized by Misery finally rose from the ashes of the former project.

How much has the band performed live?  What have some of your experiences been like?

Well, our band doesn’t exist long enough to look back on a long history of live shows but still we already played several shows sharing the stage with different bands, sometimes even genre-transcending which was a very interesting experience. We’re happy to say that we have made only positive experiences throughout all our live shows until now. After the time-consuming process of songwriting and the recording of our EP “Nurturing the Vultures” we concentrate on playing live as often as we can for now. The best live experience we had yet was our first show as Mesmerized by Misery. We were very excited to perform our set in front of a live audience for the first time and to step into the public with the band. After all, there were 140 people attending the small show and we had a great time.

What music is influencing you right now?

There are several different bands that influence us.  The Black Dahlia Murder and Neaera are among our main influences but we all listen to a bunch of different subgenres in metal so everyone of us has slightly different influences. I think whatever is influencing us at the time we try to incorporate into our music, be it wittingly or unwittingly.

What was the writing process like for the songs on Nurturing the Vultures?  Any stories that stick out?

Our writing process is always very similar, I (Thomas) come up with most of the guitar riffs and with a song structure. After that our drummer Jano writes his drum parts and Martin, our vocalist comes up with lyrics, adjusts them to the structure of the song and we all jam along. Finally we refine the song structure and sometimes add new riffs or harmonies afterwards. A story that sticks out is the writing process of our song ‘Shadows of Darkness’. We played that song for a couple of months and one or two weeks before we recorded our EP we changed the chorus and added a solo to it.

Solos are pretty rare on the EP, but when they come out they’re really effective.  Can you comment on their spare placement in the music and what you like about them?

When I write a solo, I try to pick up and intensify the atmosphere of the song. If you put three solos in a song, they can lose their effect and it ends up in showing off skills.

Do you have future recordings planned, or songs around that you’re currently working on?  What direction would you like to take your music?

Since we released our EP on September 15th 2012, there is no current planning for further recordings but we aim to produce a full-length-album one day. Right now we are working on new songs, one of them is almost done so you can expect some new stuff in the near future. At the moment it’s unimaginable for us to commit ourselves to a certain direction, we still try to put as much energy as possible into the band, we hope the best and we’ll se where our journey takes us.

If you could join the perfect tour, who would you share the stage with, and where would you want it to go?

Well, my first thought is a South American tour with The Black Dahlia Murder. When it comes to metal, people in South America are not that spoiled like people in Europe or the US.  Shows in these countries seem to be pretty intense especially due to the dedicated audience.

For us Americans who haven’t yet been to Germany but dream about indulging in your local food and beer, what would you suggest we should eat/drink while listening to Nurturing the Vultures?

That’s an easy one! There are tons of things in our local area you Americans should try. We’d recommend “Schnitzel mit Kochkäse” (Schnitzel with a kind of soft, spreadable cheese) and a glass of “Apfelwein” (a wine made out of apples) or if you don’t drink alcohol like me, a glass of “Apfelmost” (freshly squeezed apple juice) with it. Theses things are an evergreen in our regional cuisine.

GET YOUR ASS TO THE EARTHSHIP: AN INTERVIEW WITH EARTHSHIP

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, uncategorized On: Thursday, December 6th, 2012

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Well folks, my recent birthday has officially put me more than past the halfway point to the grave. You’ll be rid of me soon (“not soon enough,” I hear some of you screeching). Usually, people in my age bracket (but not tax bracket) pull up the parking brake on their listening habits and start grousing about how music was better in the past and about how there’s nothing of worth being made these days. All those motherfuckers can take their immaculately-manicured laws, their picket fences and 2.5 kids, their tucked in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame souvenir t-shirts and 50+ inch flat screen televisions and shove it all up their creaky old buttholes. There’s tons of awesome shit out there to be experienced, if you choose to open your ears. One of the most awesome bands I’ve come across in the past few months has been Berlin’s Earthship. Part sludge behemoth, part quirky math metal monster, part psychedelic thrash, the band’s second album, Iron Chest, has recently seen the light of day on Pelagic Records and it’s well worth whatever eartime you can give it. I caught up with drummer Dennis Böttcher for an email chinwag and here’s what he had to say.

How do you feel Earthship has changed since being pared down to a trio? What have you had to do differently to compensate for the lack of second guitar to keep things as heavy as you’d like/want?
Well, first of all it´s easier to communicate `cause there are only three stubborn people left to get along with haha…But seriously, as you said the main problem was to maintain the punch of two guitars. Therefore [guitarist] Jan [Oberg] is using two full-stack amplifiers now which he can switch between, or blast them both. So, as far as the carrying of the equipment goes it still feels like there is a second guitar player in the band. Also, Jan is using some effects such as an octaver and harmonizer to do the double lead stuff as good as possible. It´s safe to say that playing as a three piece is more work for all of us ´cause there´s no time during a song where anyone could sort of “hide” behind a certain part or another instrument. It just has to be focused and intense all the time. As much as we miss [former rhythm guitarist, The Ocean member and Pelagic Records CEO] Robin [Staps]‘s playing and his company, it’s better like this for everyone involved. And we’ve all known each other for so long that whenever we do get to hang out it always feels like a family-vacation or something…

It sounds as if the vocals have improved greatly since the first album and you’re experimenting with them here and there, like in “Athena.” Was this something you had to work a lot on to get to the point where you felt comfortable?
I guess it all comes down to more confidence in playing the songs off the first record live and getting more used to singing while playing the guitar or drums. That simply took time and practice to get comfortable with and it gives the songs a little more depth on another level. So, we tried to push that a little bit further and played around with some ideas in the studio without having some kind of masterplan of where we want to go. Some vocal lines developed in this phase of recording and there are still some parts where combining the playing with the vocals is tricky, especially in my case, being responsible for the drumming and the clean vocal parts live. But it´s a challenge, and that’s what one should be aiming for as a musician. But anyways, thanks man…glad you like it!!!

I read your bio and the explanation of the album’s title and I don’t get it. Can you explain it for people who are a lot dumber than you are?
We all might have been in a little bit of a mind-expanded state when we came up with that…haha! For me it works on a subconscious level; everyone’s got an iron chest inside of himself where he locks his trials, pain, humiliations and what not and that’s ok ´cause that’s the way we react to these things. And having a key on the front cover hints towards the important question: what, or better who (obviously, not any sort of religion), is the key to opening my personal iron chest? The door opens both ways. By having your soul secured in this chest, nothing won’t ever harm you anymore, but you´ll lose touch with the outside world and won’t be able to have experiences which might show you new perspectives. So you can either say “fuck all that” or you could say “fuck all that, but now show me something.” The choice is yours… Really, it’s a bunch of hobby philosopher’s bullshit…

How would you describe your “riff writing philosophy”?
As the song goes: “One bourbon, one scotch, one beer”!!! It’s mainly Jan who comes up with something new and we jam around on that tune or he´s got some riffs that belong together and we arrange them. We´re just trying to create songs we all dig and not to pay too much attention to what people may favor. It’s all about coming up with the music you wanna listen to yourself…

How did writing and recording Iron Chest differ from [first album] Exit Eden? Do you have any interesting or fantastical tales from your time in the studio?
On Exit Eden, Jan had most of the songs and riffs already written. We rehearsed them pretty shortly before the recording session and changed a little bit here and there, in order to keep some kind of spontanity involved, which we love. Later on, Jan and I sat down to write the lyrics and the vocal arrangements. We wanted the record and the riffs to sound as dissonant and unconventional as possible. Speaking of Iron Chest, there were only a few songs fully arranged before hitting the studio. All of the rest was jammed out a few times with the microphones fully set up, and then we pressed the record button. That gives the album a great live vibe I think. Theres still some spontanity but in a more fitting way ´cause we all play together now for quite a long time and know each other. You could say that Iron Chest is a way more homogenous record than Exit Eden. Studiowork was pretty focused… like drunken focused..

Despite hailing from Germany, Earthship’s sound has a bit more of an “American” feel to it. I don’t know if you agree with that, but have you found a difference between how different people from different countries have responded to your music?
Like I said before, we don´t try to sound like this or that… be it American or whatever else. But fair enough, all of the bands who made me pick up the drum sticks in the first place were American bands who had that certain bluesy groove going. Speaking of crowd perception, it´s pretty hard to tell. People in the east seem to dig our kind of music quite a bit, but even in “spoiled” places like Germany, UK or France there have been some good reactions. As long as I see some bobbing heads in the crowd I´ll take it as a compliment!

What’s next for Earthship?
Since at least two of us are stuck in full-time jobs, we´ll have to see how we manage touring. We all would love to tour more and there are plans for a European tour around Easter. What happens before or after that, we´ll just go with the flow. Besides we´re already are working on new stuff to put out as soon as possible.

www.pelagic-records.com
www.wearetheearthship.com
[all photos taken from their Facebook page]

Decibrity Playlist: Kowloon Walled City (Part 1)

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, December 6th, 2012

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Back in October, we provided a glimpse into the making of the new Kowloon Walled City record Container Ships (check out part 1 and part 2). Now, to celebrate both its Tuesday release and the fact that it’s REALLY fucking good, the band was kind enough to send along a tour van mixtape full of tuneage. And in keeping with the days when high speed dubbing was a real time saver (especially for those 120 minute cassettes), each side is themed. First up? A.M. Gold jams for the van, courtesy of vocalist/guitarist Scott Evans and bassist Ian Miller. We’ll let Scott take it from here:

“You just played a show full of screaming-dude bands at jet-engine volume. Now you’re driving eight hours to do it again and it’s your turn to pick the soundtrack. The last thing you want to hear is more dudes screaming. No, you want real chord progressions under string sections and great singers. You want smooth adult contemporary jams, like Mom listened to. You remember it: the days got shorter in autumn, and on crisp October afternoons, you’d leave your BMX bike on the lawn and lay on the sofa in the wood-paneled family room, reading The City of Gold and Lead again while Mom cooked spaghetti and sang along to Linda Ronstadt, and everything was okay. Those days will never return, but at least there are only two goregrind bands on the bill tomorrow night. Ian and I love this shit. Here’s some of our favorite A.M. Gold jams.”

Feel free to easy listen along here.

Bread’s “It Don’t Matter to Me” (from 1973′s The Best Of Bread)
When I listen to The Best of Bread, the testosterone drains out of my body. So pleasant! There are so many great jams on here, like “Make It With You,” “Baby I’m-A Want You”, “Diary” and “Everything I Own”. There are a few rockers too, but fuck that. It’s hard to pick a favorite song, but I’m going with “It Don’t Matter to Me”. The strings, the jazzy bridge, the almost pathetically selfless lyrics—they all hit the spot.—Scott Evans

Gary Wright’s “Love Is Alive” (originally from 1975′s The Dream Weaver)
I could go the rest of my life without hearing the title track again, but The Dream Weaver is a gold mine of deep cuts. The only other song to chart, “Love Is Alive”, is a bona fide banger. Even if you’re not familiar with the O.G. version, you may recognize the hook from 3rd Bass’s “Wordz of Wisdom”. To prove that white former child actors can bring the funk, I submit this 1976 Midnight Special rendition, featuring a young Steve Porcaro destroying on Minimoog alongside angelic cowbellistas from another dimension. Dream Weaver is especially welcome on post-show drives, as there are no guitars to be found on it anywhere. Plus that album cover! Glorious.—Ian Miller

Buckingham Nicks’ “Long Distance Winner” (from 1973′s Buckingham Nicks)
Every tour van has Rumours and Fleetwood Mac onboard. That’s just science. But 1973’s Buckingham/Nicks deserves the same treatment. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks recorded this before they joined Fleetwood Mac, and it is so goddamn good. I don’t mean that in an ironic “it’s crappy but good” way—you know, the way people get about C-level proto-metal—but I mean it’s genuinely great. The songs are full of the hooky songwriting juice that B/N injected into the Mac, the performances are perfect and the record sounds beautiful. Almost every song on this record is amazing, but I’m picking “Long Distance Winner”, which I can never hear enough.—S.E.

Loggins And Messina’s “Angry Eyes” (from 1972′s Loggins And Messina)
These guys are best known these days for being punchlines on Yacht Rock, but L&M’s eponymous 1972 effort is surprisingly solid. Lots of quality guitar-pickin’ augmented with the best session cats early-’70s LA session culture could provide. “Good Friend” sounds like a Dream Weaver outtake, but “Angry Eyes” is my number one jam. It’s basically a verse and chorus, four-plus minutes of inexplicable jamming (including an EPIC FLUTE SOLO), then another verse and chorus. That’s songcraft, people!—I.M.

10cc’s “I’m Not In Love” (from 1975′s The Original Soundtrack)
You probably know this song even if you’ve never heard a 10cc record. These guys were smart and experimental and weird, and they did a lot more than smooth A.M. jams, but “I’m Not In Love” is smooth as shit. One cool thing about this song is the simple, weird, arrangement—this could be a Radiohead song. Watery Rhodes, backing vocals, that one little bass drum pulse, and that’s it. And all those layers of vocals were recorded and manipulated with analog tape in 1975. Three weeks just to track backing vocals! Here’s a great article about the making of this song.—S.E.

Hall And Oates’ “She’s Gone” (from 1973′s Abandoned Luncheonette)
On their first three records, H&O were still trying to figure out how to present their Philly soul-inspired sound to a new, mostly white audience. There was a lot of experimenting going on, which resulted in some serious misfires (like most of War Babies). But side one of Abandoned Luncheonette has the highest hit-to-miss ratio of any of the early stuff, as it includes “When the Morning Comes”, “Las Vegas Turnaround” and (of course) “She’s Gone”. Bernard Purdie played drums on all those songs, and they’re all awesome. Coincidence? I don’t think so.—I.M.

Seals And Crofts’ “East Of Ginger Trees” (from 1972′s Summer Breeze)
On any night in San Francisco, you can find a band of dudes who look pretty much like this—except they can’t sing or write songs to save their ass. WRONG. It’s easy to pick a Seals & Crofts mega-hit like “Summer Breeze” or “Diamond Girl”, and those are great too, but I’m picking “East of Ginger Trees”—still folky and chill, but with an early King Crimson or Jethro Tull vibe. While you listen to it, picture these dudes opening for Black fucking Sabbath and Deep Purple at the California Jam in 1974.—S.E.

*Order a copy of Container Ships here.

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

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: Burnt Books — “Selfish Friend”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

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It’s been a shitty year for literacy in the world of extreme music. First there was Pig Destroyer’s worth-waiting-for Book Burner. Despite the title there were plenty of words to go around with a J.R Hayes story short tucked into special editions.

Now, we have the upcoming At A Loss debut from South Carolina-based experimental punks Burnt Books. Fortunately, you can tell the bands apart, even from a distance. Pig Destroyer look like a bunch of serial arsonists and Burnt Books look like, well, a bunch of friendly baristas.

Fortunately, they sound nothing like one of those Starbucks mix CDs. Burnt Books recorded their eponymous debut in mid-2012 with producer with Phillip Cope (Kylesa, Baroness, Dark Castle). The album will be released on January 29th, with a vinyl version to follow. Stream the track “Selfish Friend” below and get in touch with the band here.

See Burnt Books live (lighter optional):

12/12/2012 New Brookland Tavern – West Columbia, SC
12/13/2012 house show – Richmond, VA
12/14/2012 The Sidebar – Baltimore, MD
12/15/2012 The Bikery – Philadelphia, PA
12/16/2012 Death By Audio – Brooklyn, NY
12/17/2012 TBA
1/25/2013 Tin Roof – Charleston, SC
1/26/2013 New Brookland Tavern – West Columbia, SC

Oliver Palotai (Kamelot) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

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What distinguishes Silverthorn from Poetry?
Oliver Palotai: My intention behind Silverthorn was to bring more melodic elements back into our music. Poetry for the Poisoned is a good album, but at certain parts too dark and monotonous. I always ask myself how often I would listen myself to a CD I create or co-create. While Poetry didn’t get too many spins, things look completely different with our latest release.

Why did Roy leave? I’ve read about three different reasons, but I’m sure you must’ve had some inkling prior to his pre-tour departure.
Oliver Palotai: Roy was pretty much burned-out from the whole touring-recording-promotion cycle. Some have the strength to do this a lifetime, others not. What was really going on, we don’t know.

Is there a song on Silverthorn you feel particularly close to?
Oliver Palotai: Not really. I am happy that so many people confirm there is no weak song on the album. At least a special relationship exists with “Song For Jolee”. That is the first song I wrote for the album, and the song we send out to a limited choice of singers to record their version on. Tommy Karevik’s version blew us all away, and the decision was easy from then on.

You’ve enlisted Tommy as your new full-time vocalist. What does Tommy bring to Kamelot’s table?
Oliver Palotai: Strength, discipline, and lots of fun. It feels good to have a singer on board who has himself and his needs so much under control. Still, we joke around during tours and in the studio like never before. He’s a great person and musician.

Did you write Silverthorn with Tommy in mind? The vocal patterns are very Kamelot.
Oliver Palotai: Thomas Youngblood and me wrote about 70 percent of the songs before Tommy was confirmed. He then added a lot of vocal melodies afterwards, and naturally we re-arranged some of the parts around his voice.

How much of Silverthorn is Tommy’s?
Oliver Palotai: Quite a lot. Most of the vocal melodies, indeed, and the greater part of the lyrics.

Tell me a little bit about the concept and its main character Jolee.
Oliver Palotai: It is based on the concept of classical tragedy, transferred into the 19th century. A wealthy family experiences a tragic accident, and the events unfold upon that. Jolee is the daughter, killed by one of her brothers. We describe the whole story in a 44-page booklet in the special edition.

When you write Kamelot material is there a drama threshold? I mean, when do you know to hold back on the orchestration, the stories, the image, etc.? I realize this is a form of rock ‘n’ roll, but I’m sure you have limits.
Oliver Palotai: Good music is about tension and release. If you exaggerate too much, you wear people out. This is something you keep in mind as songwriter and producer all the time. Kamelot’s style just allows you to go more into extremes. Which is fun.

So, you kept the Kamelot production team in place. Do you find it’s less of a risk working with Sasha and Miro rather than use another producer or set of producers?
Oliver Palotai: They are an important part of the whole production. Many things are understood without saying. It’s a great team and there was no reason to change it.

What are the next steps for Kamelot? Tours and more tours?
Oliver Palotai: Tours for Silverthorn just began. We are also working on the second video, and are slowly planning the next live DVD. So there’s lots to do.

** Kamelot’s new album, Silverthorn, is out now on SPV/Steamhammer Records. It’s available HERE. Or, you can try out that new Virgin Steele record, but throwing caution to the wind can sometimes backfire.

Life to False Metal

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Eternal Tapestry

Because man can’t survive on metal alone, but indie rock is super boring and autotuned pop makes me want to kill myself, here’s a rundown of some recent/upcoming, Decibel-friendly metal-adjacent releases.

Tusmørke - Underjordisk Tusmørke (Termo)

A lot of the press releases and reviews of Underjordisk Tusmørke toss out terms like Krautrock and name check Can and Amon Duul II, and while there are trace elements of that, really that’s a fancy way of dancing around saying that Tusmørke basically sound like Satanic Jethro Tull. But that’s a good thing! Ian Anderson’s flute prog is awesome, and Satan is awesome, so really the only way they could screw it up would be to drop the ball on the songs. Luckily, they don’t. Creepy and catchy without being kitschy, these Norwegians wrote the soundtrack to the most bitchin’ solstice party ever. Plus you get their excellent debut EP tacked on the end, so there’s really no excuse not to share in their exultations to the Wicker Man.

Eternal TapestryA World Out Of Time (Thrill Jockey)

The Krautrock comparisons fit Eternal Tapestry much better, what with their offbeat, expansive jams. Elements of Hawkwind, Faust, and Neu! intermix in these awesome, head-spinning sojourns into the galaxy of 1970s sci-fi book covers (song titles courtesy of classic speculative fiction stories and books), but there are a few unexpected elements – most notably some obviously appropriated riffs, like the familiar melody of Seals and Crofts’ (or Type O Negative, depending on your preference) “Summer Breeze” reappropriated into “The Apocalypse Troll”’s warp tunnel. Grab A World Out Of Time before the copyright lawyers realize what’s going on and pull it from the shelves.

Majeure - Solar Maximum (Temporary Residence)

One of the two best halves of Zombi, AE Paterra makes homemade synthesizer epics the way your grandma used to. His second solo full-length doesn’t quite click in the way that its predecessor, Timespan, did – the shorter song lengths don’t let his compositions breathe as much as they want to. Still, he’s one of the three best people doing the John Carpenter/Tangerine Dream retro soundtrack thing right now (his partner Steve Moore and the unfortunately-named Perturbator are the others), and he wrestles a lot of emotion out of his cold machine. Plenty of cool keyboard goodness to bask in, especially now that the days are short and winter is coming.

LIVE REVIEW: Neurosis + Godflesh, HMV Forum, London

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, live reviews On: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

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There really is no good reason for anyone to be bummed out about missing out on an ATP weekender when the days following the main event habitually throw up bills as awesome as this. A weekend spent emptying your bank account, taking drugs unknown to the over-30s and known only by weird acronyms, enjoying the Hi-De-Hi!-gone-hipster vibe of an off-season holiday resort in Wales where the temperature is barely above zero? Uh, thanks but no thanks. This is a reward for having the common sense to stay at home, not compensation ‘cos you couldn’t raise the funds or find the friends to fill a chalet.

Home comforts aside, watching Neurosis and Godflesh live in concert is one of the more intense ways to spend a Sunday night. Both bands received a similar musical education, albeit on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Their sounds are equally powerful but couldn’t be more contrasting. Neurosis pushed the slo-mo button on hardcore-punk and metal and stretched their sound out into dense, apocalyptic epics, a process that has taken years: Godflesh took the iconoclastic route to metal, grafting discordant riffs onto an industrial chassis of pounding beats that owe more to vintage Public Enemy than anything “metal”.

It’s funny that GODFLESH were once considered “futuristic” because their rhythm came from a drum machine. Their whole reason for sounding like they do was not to sound all Buck Rogers or like the Jetsons’ favorite metal band (surely the aspiration behind all that cyber-metal guff that cited Godflesh as an influence), it was and still is all about articulating the grim reality of growing up in an environment where factories choked the sky, about the paranoid claustrophobia of urban living and the threat of indiscriminate violence, the boredom and alienation, all of which are inherent to city living. Justin Broadrick now lives in rural Wales but has admitted that the feelings that precipitated Godflesh have never left him.

Since their 2010 comeback, Godflesh have never sounded better than they do tonight. They cut four songs from their set and started later so that latecomers didn’t miss out, but a shorter set suits them. Of course, it wouldn’t be Godflesh without a moment spent sweating the technical stuff. They’ve got to be the only band whose most unreliable member is a machine. Broadrick and G.C. Green take the stage and the intro tape is cut—y’know, this is the time for action—there’s still a quick, awkward tune-up, and a computer that has to be coaxed out of screensaver mode; it’s kinda sweet, and it’s the only light moment or sign of human frailty in a set of spectacular, brutal economy, that’s brought jolting into life with the staccato beat, skronk and howl of “Love is a Dog From Hell”.

Godflesh were louder the last time they played here, with Goatsnake and D.R.I. in support, but tonight there’s a purity to the mix that renders the primal groove of the anthemic “Like Rats” and the morose “Christbait Rising” undiluted in power and impact. “Streetcleaner” follows, with Green and Broadrick silhouetted against a visual background of religious iconography and abstract urban landscapes, upon which we can concentrate our eyes while the inner ear is pummelled. The chaotic pulse of “Crush My Soul” concludes a set of such intensity that no one could complain about its brevity.

NEUROSIS arrive in London in much the same shape as the last time they were here. Only on that occasion there was a novelty about Josh Graham having the day off with the rest of the band playing under the total exposure of the summer sun. There is no such compensation for Josh Graham’s absence tonight. Some people downplayed the departure of their visual artist, but anyone who knows anything appreciates that the visuals are a huge part of the Neurosis live experience. Even back in 1997, when they were playing European modest club dates on the back of Through Silver in Blood and supporting Entombed, the visuals left a powerful footprint in the memory—even complementing “Locust Star” with ogreish archived footage of R. Budd Dwyer’s public suicide seem artistically sure-footed.

Neurosis still have that otherworldly aura about them that suggests they can call upon the supernatural to assist them, but there is no escaping that tonight they are five dudes under dark blue stage lights, the sense that their live ceremony is under construction. They throw themselves into “Distill (Watching the Swarm)”, Jason Roeder’s drums tumbling through a wash of guitar and Noah Landis’ homebrew synth samples, see-sawing back and forth between reflection and explosion. They largely forego their classic canon and draw heavily instead from Honor Found in Decay, trusting tracks such as “My Heart for Deliverance” and “Bleeding the Pigs” have the requisite power and grandeur. There’s nothing from Through Silver in Blood, no “Stones from the Sky”, but we do get “Given to the Rising”, “Left to Wander” and “Times of Grace”, the sight of a band raging in the shadows. By the time they sign off with the protracted squeal of feedback we’re left with the impression that we’ve caught Neurosis in the middle of an evolutionary stride.

**Order the following poster HERE**

Mill Town Metal Memoir

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, live reviews, uncategorized On: Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

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Toronto rock journalist Brent Jensen’s No Sleep ‘Til Sudbury is a smart, sweet memoir of the joys and travails of growing up metal in tiny Espanola, Ontario — …A Fine Paper Town, as the welcome sign notes — weaving a portrait of youthful discovery/rebellion into a larger macro story of metal’s mid-eighties coming-of-age moment. It’s a good time and Jensen was kind enough to offer Decibel excerpts from two chapters, centered around Metallica and Iron Maiden, respectively.

For more information, visit the official No Sleep ‘Til Sudbury website, or seek out Jensen on Twitter and Facebook.

And so without further delay, let the tale begin…

I caught Metallica live in the metropolis that is Sudbury when they were touring the Master of Puppets record in 1986. They headlined this show, an off-date from their opening slot on Ozzy’s The Ultimate Sin tour, with Metal Church and a Canadian hard rock band called Kick Axe opening. The Sudbury Arena probably held about five thousand odd people, and I think it was about half full.

Kick Axe came and went, and the three recollections I have of them are that 1) the drummer had these unusually long, tubular drums in his Ayotte kit, 2) the band played a smashing cover of Humble Pie’s “Thirty Days in the Hole”, and 3) the singer’s name was George. I only noted this at the time because the name George seemed so un-rock for a lead singer.

So Metal Church was second on the bill. I had bought their debut album way before this show, but I didn’t care for it very much then. I liked the songs “Hitman” and “My Favourite Nightmare”, but I wasn’t big on much else the record had to offer. It seemed to me that the record was a bit dull, and the “Highway Star” cover version at the end was noticeably out of place compared to the rest of the track list. The production didn’t seem so lively, and I really overlooked the whole record. The lyrics in “Hitman” were well suited for young passive-aggressive headbanger fantasy engagement, dumb fantasy akin to those old Chuck Norris movies like The Octagon that featured ninjas and throwing stars, and loads of improbable action. The same dynamic was deployed – a manufactured outlet through which to channel the aggression of youth, in a healthy, regular non-Columbine way.

Subcribe to Decibel, Get the Evoken Flexi Disc

By: mr ed Posted in: flexi disc On: Monday, December 3rd, 2012

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If you know Decibel, you know we hold chameleonic U.K. doomsayers Paradise Lost in the highest regard. So, it’s an extremely extreme honor that Garden State funeral doom heroes Evoken are taking their maiden voyage in the Decibel Flexi Series by covering PL’s crushing “Rotting Misery,” which initially appeared on their 1990 debut, Lost Paradise.

Jersey’s most hypnotically depressive quintet recorded the cover specifically for the Flexi Series during the sessions for acclaimed fifth LP, Atra Mors, which ascended to the #3 spot in our Top 40 Albums of 2012 feature. Evoken are, of course, among the incredible openers slotted to decimate the Decibel 100th Issue Show celebration at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer on Saturday, January 19, for which tickets are going far faster than these dudes play.

If you’re not an existing subscriber, ensure that your Decibel void caress kicks off with the metallic-silver-on-black Evoken flexi via signing your life away by 9 a.m. EST Wednesday, December 5.

Decibel Exclusive: Jeff Walker Speaks About the New Carcass Record!

By: mr ed Posted in: breaking newz, featured On: Monday, December 3rd, 2012

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After 17 years of recording silence, death metal legends Carcass have returned to the studio to track their first new LP since 1996’s Swansong. The record, produced by Colin Richardson, will be released sometime in 2013 through a yet-to-be determined label. Bassist/vocalist Jeff Walker exclusively provides Decibel with a few details.

Please tell us the full recording lineup.

“Bill Steer (guitars), Jeff Walker (bass/vocals), Daniel Wilding (drums). For live we’ll obviously add another guitarist—we have someone in mind but we are not interested in a ‘name’ player.”

In a previous email correspondence, you mentioned that this record is a mix of all five Carcass LPs.

“It is and it isn’t—we’ve taken stylistic cues from all the albums because it’s in our blood, but it’s no rehash or mess of ideas. I think it sounds almost like the missing link between the third and forth albums but with some groove in there. I’ve jokingly christened some parts ‘Trad Blast’ and some ‘Death Sleaze’… don’t think for a minute this is just some nostalgic throwback album—we’re setting up another 17 years of ideas for other bands to copy and clean up on [laughs].”

Does that mean we’ll be hearing some death metal vocals out of Bill for the first time since Necroticism?

“Yes, already in the can. It’s more along the lines of how I envisioned him backing me up on Heartwork. That said, my own vocals have a hell of a lot more range than they did in the past solely down to the luxury of having time to record them—I did all the vox for Heartwork in two days and it shows! Also, (hopefully) Ken [Owen] will make an appearance—we just need to tidy a few loose ends before the mix.”

Why do this now over four years after the initial Carcass reunion?

“Good timing, eh? Twenty-five years we first recorded Reek of Putrefaction. The incentive was off Bill. I’d verbally expressed an interest in doing something but I needed Bill to have the desire and hunger again and that’s exactly what has happened. He recalled watching Dan Wilding play on tour with us in 2008 and something about him struck a chord and he wanted to work with him. There was something about him that kind of reminded him of Ken, on a personal level as much as his playing. We’ve done this recording firstly for ourselves—there’s no label backing even as you read this—in fact me and Bill have spent a small fortune out of our pocket to see this through—it’s more of an artistic/personal statement than anything.”

Photo by Tim Tronckoe