We Are All South of Hanneman Now

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured On: Friday, May 31st, 2013

South Han shirt

We all come to grips with death in our own way.  Personal loss has informed much of our favorite music, and last month a much more widely experienced sense of loss affected the heavy music community when Jeff Hanneman passed away.  Artist Justin Bartlett’s tribute to the late guitar hero came about as an online art project called South of Hanneman, as well as a series of t-shirts designed to celebrate Jeff’s life and impact.

The website itself is visually flashy, including a video and various web effects.  Bartlett – whose work been featured front-and-center by Dragged Into Sunlight, Lord Mantis, and Decibel‘s own 2012 tour advertisements - enlisted the help of other artists to realize his vision for the sight.  Mark Riddick is a longtime freelance illustrator whose work has been used by Coffins, Dying Fetus, and Suffocation, and he has designed an incredible “Angel of Death” shirt.  Antichrist Kramer’s paintings have graced albums by Inquisition and Vasaeleth, and the collage-style tee that he created is pretty amazing.  Farron Loathing, poster master for our beloved Maryland Deathfest, loaded up a sweet serpent-n-flames design.  London-based French spit up a great two-color “Altar of Sacrifice” design.

All proceeds from shirt sales will go toward charity, though the artists involved are still open to suggestions as to which charity Jeff would have been proud to benefit.  We’ll all come to grips in our own way, and Bartlett & company’s approach give us lots more reasons to throw horns again.

Addendum:  At the request of the artists, when Tweeting or Instagramming about the project please include “#southofhanneman”.  They will use this to try to keep track of the chatter that the project stirs up.

Also, I should probably mention that Justin told me, after reading the post, “I think I might be getting too much credit there!  These two guys, Jeff (who did the video) and Andrew (concepts and organizing) came up with the idea – but I just made it bigger by asking the other artists.”

Chaos in Tejas Fest: the Gmail Interview

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, uncategorized On: Thursday, May 30th, 2013

deciblog - cit flyer

The ninth annual Chaos in Tejas fest begins in Austin, TX tonight. I have barely recovered from last weekend and Maryland Deathfest, but ever since attending CIT for the first time last year, I made the promise to myself that sleep, work and all that other crap can be worried about later when there’s more live extremity to be experienced.

As you can see, there’s a fair amount of crossover with MDF what with Bolt Thrower, Manilla Road, Abigail, Terveet Kadet, Infest, Tragedy, Kromosom and Ice Age. But CIT has its share of highlights (Los Crudos, Final Conflict and Left For Dead) anddoes quite a bit in bringing bands from overseas, especially a shit ton of European and Japanese hardcore bands, though this year appears to be the lightest in terms of content from the Land of the Rising Sun. Oh well. I recently tracked down CIT’s head booker, Timmy “the Texas turd” Hefner for a Gmail chat about the baby he’s been nurturing for nine years with all the short forms and punctuation lapses you’ve come to expect from internet conversations left in for shits and giggles.

Deciblog: OK…so, let’s start from the start. What was the impetus behind starting Chaos in Tejas?
Timmy: Well, I did a fest together with Ken at Prank Records about 10 years ago. The following year me and him started working on another one, but he realized he was just too busy and it didn’t make sense for another one just yet with releases and such not coming out around then for new bands and since we had already started i just decided to do my own
Deciblog: Tell me about the humble beginnings of the first CIT fest.
Timmy: Started with just like 22 bands over like 3 days and only one venue. Now it’s 150 bands and like 10 venues so it’s def grown. Also it was mostly punk when it first started and def has branched out since then as well.

deciblog- chaosintejas2005

Deciblog: Aside from being mostly punk, would you say there was a common theme or philosophy about the bands you were booking or what you were trying to accomplish with the fest?
Timmy: I guess punk in mindset was more important then punk sounding and it still is. I mean Dead Moon played one of the early ones and I find them more punk then most things people consider punk. They have been doing their own thing for like 30 years and self-releasing records and recording their own music.
Deciblog: In branching the fest out, have you ever had difficulty when approaching non-extreme music bands when trying to book them?
Timmy: A bit but not so much at this point.
Deciblog: When the fest was small and still featuring mostly punk/HC bands, did the first wave of metal bands you booked have any reservations?
Timmy: Yeah, a bit. The politics, or lack thereof, in metal is hard with the punk community which is built on politics for the most part and i def get it and understand.
Deciblog: Is the number of bands you bring from overseas something that’s always a goal for you?
Timmy: Yeah for sure. The fest has made me able to fly over small bands from Japan and Europe that otherwise couldn’t tour here, which is great. I def grew up on Japanese HC as well as HC from all over.
Deciblog: How long did it take before you had the know-how and $$ to do it “properly” in terms of getting bands visas and all that jazz?
Timmy: I’m still learning! Haha… The visa process is always a learning process and you never know when they will ask for more flyers or more contracts etc, etc.
Deciblog: With regards to the Japanese bands, what’s the process like dealing with them, especially when language is a barrier?
Timmy: Always tricky for sure. I have a lot of really good friends over there, been there like 7 times. So usually I have a friend help me out if they can’t speak English.
Deciblog: Do you speak any Japanese?
Timmy: Nah, I wish. Took classes for a minute but got busy and didn’t go back.

deciblog - chaosintejas2012-2

Deciblog: Is CIT something you do full time, year round? If not, what do you do otherwise?
Timmy: I’m a booking agent at Ground Control Touring. That’s my real job so to speak.
Deciblog: How long does it take to put together the line up each year, generally speaking?
Timmy: Kind of the whole year off and on. Like a lot of the bands playing this year I was working on for last year and they didn’t happen, so they just got pushed up to this year.
Deciblog: How difficult was it to coordinate the fest once it moved to using multiple venues around downtown?
Timmy: I mean of course more work but since i deal with all of those venues year around it’s not so bad
they are all great and know how to run their own shows which helps a lot and all are super close to each other.

deciblog - chaosintejas2011

Deciblog: What bands are still on your “bucket list” that you’d like to bring to CIT?
Timmy: Not a ton honestly: Motorhead, Gauze, the Feelies…hmmmmm i’m sure more
Deciblog: What’s been your most memorable or interesting CIT moment?
Timmy: Memorable is hard with so many. I mean it’s fun to put together my dream line ups, but i think maybe Cock Sparrer and Bastard. They are 2 of my all time favorite bands. Bastard had never played the US ever and Cock Sparrer had never played Texas ever and had been like 15 years since they played the US even. I had never seen either and both were dreams come true.
Deciblog: How much are you able to balance out having to work all weekend with taking the time to see the bands you want to see?
Timmy: Def running around all weekend, but I make time to see the stuff I have never seen or really love
Deciblog: What do you feel CIT does differently than other fests?
Timmy: I guess one way it’s mostly different is it’s a bunch of stuff you can’t normally see, one offs and reunions. I try and make it special. Also, I love that it’s all in clubs with no big outside stage. Music like stuff on Chaos doesn’t need to be outside at 2pm.

Decibrity Playlist: Kings Destroy

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, May 30th, 2013

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As someone who takes the subway every day, I’m disappointed in myself for never having thought to pair albums with various lines. So I give loads of credit to Kings Destroy vocalist Steve Murphy for not only coming up with the idea (not to mention his preference for express trains and disdain for the L), but executing it. As you’ll quickly figure out, his band’s roots stem from the very city whose subway cars he has obviously spent a lot of time riding. So, in honor of A Time Of Hunting, the band’s latest record that was just released on Sanford Parker and Bruce Lamont’s War Crime Recordings, we welcome you to ride along with him through four of the five boroughs. Feel free to listen along here.

Void/Faith–Split (1982)
D train
The D train runs express in the Bronx. If you stand up front and look out the window at the tracks rolling by at 50 mph, you see SMITH and SANE spray painted on every single I-beam. SANE bombed the Brooklyn Bridge before passing away too young. His brother SMITH is a living legend. This album, especially the Void part with its raw, noisy, discordant and shockingly dark tones, from 1982 is a perfect way to spend time on the subway.

void

Bl’ast!–The Power Of Expression (1986)
4 train
These guys produced some of the most crushing music of the era. Again discordant but organized and thoughtful at the same time, juxtaposing deeply thoughtful songs like “The Future” with angry punk/surf songs like “Surf and Destroy”. They blew people away with their loud CBGB matinee. I took the 4 train there that day. It ruled.

Melvins–Stag (1996)
N train

Their last foray on Atlantic. Even weirder than usual for them, with lots of trippy parts mixed with their trademark heaviness. Sometimes you’re standing in a crowded subway stopped between stations and the oppression of being locked in a cement and steel vault 40 feet below the concrete jungle sets in your mind and you just need to block it out. You know people are getting pissed off and you could be there for one minute or one hour. It’s part of riding that damned steel tube for transportation. You turn this album up and and check out of reality, man. It’s a dark freakshow and its had a permanent effect on my psyche.

Bauhaus–In The Flat Field (1980)
J/Z trains

NYC’s most efficient subway from Queens through Brooklyn to Manhattan. What better way to ride this bad boy to the Lower East Side to have a drink at Motor City than to listen to Bauhaus’ first album, kicking off with “Double Dare” and heading straight through “In The Flat Field”. Roll seemlessly through town with your goth look with the almighty “Stigmata Martyr”. You can’t go wrong with this album and you can’t go wrong on the J train either.

flatfields

Boogie Down Productions–Criminal Minded (1987)
5 train
The 5 train is a true New Yorkers’ train, servicing a huge part of the Bronx, including the projects that KRS-One lived in. This seminal hip hop album featuring DJ Scott La Rock (RIP) changed hip-hop with its style and message. With samples from AC/DC to James Brown to dancehall reggae
and inflammatory lyrics that ignited cross-borough lyrical warfare, it stands the test of time and has an important place in hip hop and NYC history.

boogie

Cro-Mags–The Age Of Quarrel (1986)
L train
If you have to ride NYC’s official hipster subway line from Manhattan to Brooklyn, I feel for you. It sucks. It’s overcrowded, it’s not serviced well and don’t get me started on the “ridership”. If you are forced to ride this bastard, put your headphones on and turn the Cro-Mags up to 10. Let the Cro-Mag army invade your skull. This album was written for this subway–”Malfunction”, “World Peace”, “Show You No Mercy” and “We Gotta Know” will have you giving off such a negative vibe that perhaps you will gain some extra space.

*Order a copy of A Time Of Hunting here.

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

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

STREAMING: Kalmah’s “Deadfall”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

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For your streaming pleasure today we have a track from Kalmah’s new album Seventh Swamphony. Listen to “Deadfall” below.

Preorders are available in the band’s webstore. The album will be released via Spinefarm on June 18.

From the press release: Finnish death metal legion Kalmah are pleased to unleash their seventh studio offering this June, titled Seventh Swamphony. Recorded at Tico-Tico Studios in Kemi, Finland, the follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed 12 Gauge release was mixed and mastered at Sweden’s Fascination Street Studios by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Soilwork, Paradise Lost, et al) and showcases the Oulu outfit’s signature brand of frantic, yet melodic death metal tempered here by a new-found epic mournfulness.

Road Rituals: Blood Ceremony Tour Diary, Part 2

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: diary, featured, tours On: Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Pre-show vampification

Pre-show vampification

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

Many people that we met in New Orleans insisted that the city is alive, and a short stay in America’s most haunted city suggests this is true. We arrived at our hotel early in the day and used our abundant time to explore the French Quarter. Condensation rained down on us from the awnings of music clubs and cafes; a byproduct of the soupy air that envelops the neighborhood and its inhabitants.  “You haven’t really been to New Orleans unless you’ve gotten drenched,” a local assured us, and we quickly realized that humidity is one of the defining features of the city. Sean and I couldn’t resist taking a tour of the city’s most notorious haunted buildings, and our guide was quick to point out that the high density of weird happenings in the city hinges upon its dankness, as spirits tend to linger in misty climates.

At night the French Quarter hummed with a distinct pulse as its streets filled with music. We were excited to offer up our own sounds to a city with such a rich musical history, and what better venue to play than One Eyed Jack’s? With its arched stage and dramatically-lit green room, it still retains traces of the glamour of old fashioned show business.

BC 2

Vampification redux.

 

The day after the show, we wandered the streets with members of Kylesa and Lazer/Wulf, sampling some of New Orleans’ famous cultural wares: jambalaya at Coop’s Place, various Abita brews, and some live traditional jazz. Brad, Lazer/Wulf’s drummer, performed the Herculean feat of sampling Louisiana’s hottest hot sauce, and lived to tell the tale! As our stay drew to a close, we found ourselves reluctant to leave: the city had cast its spell over us.

BC 3

This sauce will haunt your ass.

 

The weirdness followed us to Texas, where we happened upon the Monolithic Dome Institute on our way from Dallas to Austin. Founded in the 1970s, the Institute is both a campus and experimental community. Although fully functional, there was absolutely no sign of life in the neighborhood, save for a lone goat tied to a stake outside of one of the homes. The entire complex felt a bit like the set of The Prisoner. A mile out from the Institute, we encountered an abandoned gift shop called the Starship Pegasus–also a Monolithic Dome. Not quite as majestic as the Enterprise, but an excellent photo opportunity!

BC 4

“I am not a number!”

BC 5

The Pegasus was infested with fire ants, not tribbles.

 

In Austin we played an open air stage to an enthusiastic and packed house. Afterwards, we moved to a bar called Valhalla, where we blasted the Who and early Priest on the jukebox, sampled various local beers, and played a bit of pinball. Special thanks go out to Cece from Phobia for bringing delicious vegan cupcakes for Kylesa and ourselves, and to Gary from Mala Suerta and his friend Brent for hosting us for the night, and encouraging us to stay up until 6AM drinking and listening to doom metal.

BC 6

Cece from Phobia and her friend Mia made these. So sweet!

BC 7

White Hills at the merch booth in Austin.

 

Our journey from Austin, TX to Albuquerque, NM began smoothly, but ended in near disaster.  We spent the night in Littlefield, the birthplace of Waylon Jennings, and were making good time in the morning, so we decided to take a break to visit Billy the Kid’s tombstone in Fort Sumner. A bit of lunch and we were back on the road.  An hour east of Albuquerque, however, and our van begin to swerve from side to side.  Within a few moments, a sound like a canon shot erupted toward the rear of the van as our tire blew out.  Our drummer, Mike, calmly steered us over to the highway shoulder as we rattled at 55mph on the wheel’s rim.  Once we had stopped, we got out and were able to assess the damage.  One touring van; three tires.  Lucas and Mike volunteered to make the one mile hike to the nearest rest stop as Sean and I stayed with the van, trying to locate the car jack, and wondering how many rattlers and scorpions we’d encounter under the blazing New Mexico sun.  Assistance arrived when a state trooper pulled up to help us change the tire.  We thanked him and gave him a t-shirt and a copy of our first album, which he blasted out of his squad car as he peeled away.  We were able to make the gig in time. One way or another, the show must go on!

BC 8

Minor setback on the road in Fort Sumner. Freedom isn’t free!

BC 9

Another minor setback.

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

Brent Eyestone, Graham Scala & Ryan Parrish (Highness) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

highness_crossover_decibel_2013

How’d Highness come together?
Brent Eyestone: Highness is a name I’ve wanted to use on “something” over the course of several years. There’s been just about as many lineups while the ultimate realization was being formed. Originally, the band was to be half of the All-American Rejects and half of Forensics when Mike, one of their guitar players, was recording Ben Weasel just up the road in MD. He had allotted extra time to go in and work on Highness material, but technical issues ate up all those days and we never got around to it. The songs written for that version also had the current aim toward working catchiness into an overall heavier feel toward new results. The current lineup really took shape when I brought a batch of new songs to Graham, who I played with in Forensics. After working on them, the consensus was essentially, “fuck it, let’s stop Forensics so that we can focus on these songs and getting the right people to realize the sonic potential of it all.” That night we called Eric and before I could get the full question out, he butted in and told us he’s on board with what we’re trying to do with this sound. We played with some close friends on bass and drums for a while, constantly refining and shaping what we had. It was stalling for a bit, so when Ryan quit Darkest Hour and mentioned he wanted to play with Graham and I, we did some shuffling that resulted in him on drums and Brandon Evans on bass. All of the sudden, half of City of Caterpillar was in the band, which made the inner nerd in both Graham and myself hit the proverbial inhaler.

Full-time band or more of a project?
Graham Scala: It’s neither and it’s both. We’ve got a good number of miles between us all and the five of us may only grace the same room a few times a year, but there’s considerably more energy and dedication devoted to this than there would be if it was just something we were doing to kill time while waiting for something bigger to come along.

Does Highness differ from your previous bands?
Graham Scala: It’s been over a decade since I’ve been involved in anything remotely as melodic as this. I can play heavy or weird music ’til my fingers fall off, but to involve myself with something so accessible without feeling like I’m working too far afield from my previous work has been a satisfying challenge.
Ryan Parrish: Highness is by the far the most unique sounding musical endeavor I’ve ever participated in. There are so many diverse influences and creative voices at work here, either in the practice space writing music or on the artistic side, for instance the album art (done by bassist Brandon Evans). There’s nothing like this out there I’m aware of and I hope to keep pushing all aspects of this band that direction as we grow.

Is there a message to Highness?
Brent Eyestone: I’m a big fan of music that stirs a listener around a bit inside, but leaves a silver lining with a slight touch of urgency chasing it. While the messages are open to interpretation, I do hope that meaning is found for people on a personal level… and that one foot keeps getting put in front of the other toward each supporter/listener getting that much closer to a fulfilling experience on their own terms.
Ryan Parrish: Lyrically, that may be a question best answered by Eric Richter. But, sonically, I believe our message and intent is to create something that has a very heavy, energetic fullness to it while simultaneously easing the listener with atmospheric soundscapes and beautiful guitar and vocal harmonies.

What is it about music that keeps you and fellow Highness musicians interested in forming bands, doing collaborations, and so forth?
Graham Scala: One point of overlap between us is the degree to which our tastes are expansive. I can’t speak for anybody else, but when I hear something that resonates with me, I want to do it. So with Highness I got to tick off “play with a bunch of people whose music I’ve listened to for half my life” from the list of bands to start. If I can just get my psychedelic country band, my Bolt Thrower ripoff, and my ambient dub projects going maybe I can catch up with the rest of the list.
Brent Eyestone: My dad put it best a few years back: “In all the years I’ve known you and watched you grow, I’ve never seen you more happy than when you’re writing music with your friends.”

Where can interested folk acquire Highness’ music? Wait, didn’t give the entire album away for free? OK, I guess physical copies are available.
Brent Eyestone: Hold is available in physical formats via CD and 180 gram LPs. We encourage everyone to get them via their local record store first and foremost. Barring that, US listeners can get it direct from Magic Bullet Records and international listeners can get copies via Dischord Records. Digitally, it’s available from iTunes and all the usual suspects. We also occasionally team up with online sites to give away songs and/or the whole thing for free, so keep an eye out.

** Visit and LIKE Highness on Facebook.

Studio Report: The Body

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured On: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

body_2

The Body’s Lee Buford is a man of few words, but he makes up for it with his band’s sheer amount of recorded output. They’ve hunkered down in Machines with Magnets in Providence, Rhode Island, and they are using their time in the studio to its fullest. “We’re recording three records right now at the same time. We started the Thrill Jockey one last Sunday or Monday [May 19 or 20th], and we did most of that stuff. The choir can listen to it and figure out what they want to do, have a couple days to check it out. We’re going to do their overdubs beginning of next week. We’re here technically until [June 6].”

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention – there’s a choir. Their tour mates, the 24 member all-female Assembly of Light choir, will be making an appearance on their first full-length for Thrill Jockey (tentatively due in October). “I’m friends with Chrissy [Wolpert] who does it, so when we’re in Providence, we like to do stuff with them. Plus it sounds awesome.”

The duo of Buford and Chip King are doing pretty much everything else on the album, even down to the producing and engineering. As the whole choir thing implies, the as-yet-untitled record won’t be your typical doom project. “It’s a lot weirder, probably. Pretty weird. Like a lot more overdubs, drum machines and a lot of tape loops and stuff. But it’s in the same vein, I guess, it’s kind of hard to make something not sound like us after this long.”

the body maraca

As for the other two projects, expect more unexpected material. According to Buford, “One of them is more electronic-y, more sampled drums and stuff, and the other is a collaboration with our friend Neill [Jameson] from Krieg.” You can expect those from RVNG and At a Loss recordings, respectively.

Jameson should be providing some vocals for the Thrill Jockey release as well. Other collaborators include Scott Reber of noise project Work/Death and, really, whoever else happens to be around. The Body don’t really plan things out; they just kind of let it happen. So basically, expect something at some point, and expect it to be weird and undoubtedly some of the most punishing music you will ever hear.

http://thrilljockey.com/thrill/The-Body

Slayer Bundle Available Now

By: andrew Posted in: featured On: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

bundle_slayer0513_grande

We’ve been bringing you exclusive and comprehensive Slayer content since issue #2, featuring our first-ever Hall of Fame for Reign in Blood. Now’s your chance to get all of their cover appearances in one affordable package. Thrash over to the webstore and pick up our version of the Big Four.

Better Living Through Metal: Featuring Iceage

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, lists On: Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Iceage2_byKristianEmbdal

Iceage may be young bucks creating some of the most intriguing/enlivening post-punk noise rock out there these days, but spinning the excellent You’re Nothing we had a hunch the much-lauded Copenhagen quartet might have ingested some metal along the way, too — and wound up getting this uber-sophisticated list of five extremely extreme favorites from drummer Dan Kjær Nielsen…

1. GISM — Detestation

I don’t even know if you could call this metal, but i think it is some kinda heavy and one of my absolute favorite records of all time at all. I don’t think it needs any explanation if you listen to it.

2. Abigail — The Lord of Satan

DevilDriver Studio Q&A

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, May 27th, 2013

devildriver_groovemetal_decibel_2013

You started recording in December 2012 and finished in April 2013. That’s a long time to track. Who are you? Metallica? I’m kidding. It was done in pieces, correct?
Dez Fafara: [Laughs] Yes it was. The first part was that we had the demos and went on a two month run in the states and I wrote the lyrics daily on the road. It was a different application from my normal way of writing, which is often in seclusion as I’ve found that isolation produces the best out of a writer. Every day, I would call back various band members to the back lounge of the bus and show them the songs, go over directions as well as make arrangement changes and we would all note them. This I found interesting to hear immediate feedback on a line or a chorus idea. The second part—when we got off that tour the band flew directly to Audio Hammer in Florida and began finding tones and preparing to track while I went home to my studio and finished off second verses and kept refining chorus ideas. The third part—is I recorded vocals at my studio I recently built at my house—which, as you can imagine, (not being away from family) added a very positive killer vibe on the record! Most of all you will hear first takes, as it was firing off incredibly during the sessions! While I was taking small breaks Mark would drive the two hours to LA to touch up guitar leads and doubles, etc. The fourth part—DevilDriver left for a European run with Cannibal Corpse and during that tour we had four weeks to listen down to all that we had done and make notes. (Which we’ve never allowed ourselves the time to, actually live with the record.) So, when I got home from Europe three days later Mark flew back out to my pad and we completed notes that both the band and mark had made regarding vocals as well as song structure. Taking our time with this record was essential in its making! I do believe, and have never said this regarding a new record but “it’s our best work.”

Where did you record DevilDriver album number six?
Dez Fafara: Music at Audio Hammer in Florida; vocals at my home studio.

What did you learn from Beast that you didn’t want to do on the new album?
Dez Fafara: This production on the new one is so different from Beast. It’s a whole new level for the band. Mark took almost four days to get these guitar tones and as long to get drum tones too. That’s unheard of in this day and age of hurry-up-the-clock-is-ticking! [Laughs] Everything from the real raw, almost abrasive biting new guitar tone we have, the massive but tight tone of the drums, even the snare sound is something special. Also, the vocal tone is totally different from beast as we utilized gear that we used on the Last Kind Words, DevilDriver’s third record, and instead of taking hours and switching mics, etc. Mark and I nailed it within a half hour and then starting tracking at 11 a.m. the next morning.

What were the sessions like? Any snags?
Dez Fafara: No snags! Just pure getting down on the music and recording it! This record was smooth sailing! And has a positive/cohesive vibe all over it that you can hear!

devildriver_groovemetal2_decibel_2013

Any fun stories of being in the studio? Debauchery, weirdness, “ghosts in the machines,” or is it all business?
Dez Fafara: On my end it was “Let’s fucking do this!” At home, I’m a morning kinda cat.
I would wake up go downstairs to my studio drink coffee, then Mark would arrive [at] 10 a.m., we would go over what we were doing and I would do my thing, then hit the mic. Most of the whole record vocally is first takes, one takes, and very little stacking of vocals in fact. All the verses especially are single tracked. (No one does that. Most singers in metal stack themselves over and over to achieve heavy. It’s not honest and it’s something I wanted to avoid at all costs.)

How would you describe the music? A continuation of Beast?
Dez Fafara: Album six is far from Beast, far from Pray for Villains, which were both very different records. DevilDriver never wants to make the same sounding record, so we change it up. To try and compare it with our past efforts would be hard to do. Raw in-your-face aggressive guitars that aren’t over-produced! Huge hooks, both riff wise and vocally, grooves… man, it’s got groove! There’s choruses you can sink your teeth into on this one! The drumming is fantastic and in the pocket! All in all, it’s our best effort and show cases the California groove at its best!

When will the first song premiere?
Dez Fafara: I believe July. That’s turning out to be difficult as there are six songs in the running for first up and any musician will tell you that’s fucking rare!

The new album’s your first for Napalm Records. Any expectations? You were Roadrunner artists for 10 years.
Dez Fafara: Yes! Napalm and DevilDriver are a match made in heaven right now, filled with passion for what we do and they have been stellar, aware, and on top of it so far

OK, give us the album title. Or maybe a few song titles?
Dez Fafara: Nope, too early.

And finally, what separates DevilDriver the live band from DevilDriver the studio band?
Dez Fafara: Focused in the studio! Focused and showing teeth onstage! Nothing changes. We attack both with the same furious nature!

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