Andrew Markuszewski (Avichi) interviewed

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, interviews On: Monday, August 19th, 2013


** Originally slated for an early July release, Avichi’s new album, Catharsis Absolute, is now coming this October. If the stars align. Below is a conversation with Avichi mastermind Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski about what separates Catharsis Absolute from its predecessor The Devil’s Fractal. We also explore the spiritual and personal concepts behind it.

What is black metal to you?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Black metal is chaos evolving.

Do you view Avichi as parallel to what’s happening in black metal or independent of it?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: My view of Avichi is now completely transparent to whatever is currently happening in regards to black metal. I admire black metal and such metal bands for their ferocity and passions, but the basic imagery and re-imaginations of it have obviously run their course nowadays. What I’m trying to do now with Avichi is something perpendicular to everything I know. Really, I’m striving to do as such with everything I do.

What do you think separates solo work from band or collaborative work?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Solo work is the epitome of the individual.

Is it more about freedom of control or is there something less tangible?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: There’s the freedom of control of course, but that is only a part of it. It can also be an intense experience of self-discovery.

Fundamentally, what separates The Devil’s Fractal from Catharsis Absolute?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: The whole energy of Catharsis Absolute is completely different. The songs are more repetitive and hypnotic. The lyrics are more thought provoking and meditative. Also, Catharsis Absolute is the first real solo record I’ve done. I spent a year teaching myself to read drum notation and play drums through various training videos and books, and it’s the first record where I actually played everything. I basically put myself through a Spartan workout of drumming. The first two Avichi records each had a different drummer.

Do you view Catharsis Absolute as a separate entity from its forebears or part of Avichi’s lineage?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: No matter what, Catharsis Absolute is a part of Avichi’s lineage, and although it’s content has jumped across some great chasm so to speak, its evolution feels very natural to me.

Catharsis Absolute has an intro and an outro. How do these bookends relate to the music between them?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: They’re just some piano pieces I quickly put together in the studio on this ancient Steinway. A more gentle way of starting and finishing the record. I ended up using some piano on every song, so it all ends up feeling tied together.

Is there a song you feel connected to for one reason or another?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: “Voice of Intuition.” I really like the way this song came out. I wrote most of the lyrics for the record while in the studio, and I intentionally came in unprepared in many areas. “Voice of Intuition” really showcases some of the best I know ‘in me’.

What kind of topics are you marrying to the music?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Transcendence, ego-dissipation, ego-reacknowledgement—the self unsheathed. Every record always has something to do with the name Avichi itself. The first two records were more focused upon the selfish and brutal aspects of the human condition reflected by traditional satanic and dark imagery. This one is more about the inevitable catharsis of such conditions. I’m interpreting some of my own perceptions of the wheel of life. In a way, all the records have a bit of catharsis to them, but that’s part of who I am. I am dark. I am light. I am both unsparing and merciful. My spirituality is feral. Catharsis is just a part of the relative universe.

Is Avichi your main outlet or do you feel creatively split between Avichi and Lord Mantis?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Creatively, I can enter a studio at any point of time and apply myself to the job at hand whether it’s for Avichi, Lord Mantis, or something else I’m doing. I have no problem maintaining an outlet for both. It does take a good amount of patience from others whom I work with, but I’m also patient with them in return. When I work on Avichi, everything else sort of recedes into the background.

What’s your next move?
Andrew ‘Aamonael’ Markuszewski: Lord Mantis is going to get some recording dates booked soon for the next record. Meanwhile, I’m going to continue drumming when I return from Poland where I’ve enjoyed being with my kin for the last month. I’m not too excited about leaving. Here is where my heart is. Cheers!

** Avichi’s new album, Catharsis Absolute, is out October 1st on Profound Lore Records. It’s not available for pre-order yet, but check Profound Lore’s Facebook for updates.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: 90s Island

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Friday, August 16th, 2013


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

In his latest antagonism 90s Island, reliably hilarious literary raconteur and self-described “luscious beacon of truth” Marty Beckerman (The Heming Way, Generation S.L.U.T.) spins a satirical yarn of two brothers fed up with a present day world of “identity theft, antibiotic resistance, suicide bombers, crazed gunman, cellphone brain tumors, ruining your reputation with one impulsive tweet” — not to mention economic woe — and dreaming of a simpler time when “our biggest national crisis was an overabundance of boy bands and poseurs.”

So the brothers do what any other red-blooded circa-2013 American male would do when seeking to effect change. They get wasted and launch a Kickstarter campaign.

Hell of it is, this drunken bid to create “the first mass retro society” raises far more money than anticipated, and when a South American dictator offers up the southern coast of his nation in exchange for a cut of the proceeds, 90s Island becomes a beautiful reality. And then a nightmare. Kinda/sorta like Lord of the Flies with frosted tips.

It is tempting to cut and paste huge blockquotes of Beckerman brilliantly skewering/paying tribute to the various fashions and manias of that era, but the choosing would be too difficult. Suffice it to say, the novel throws a net wide enough to encompass Hostess Ninja Turtle pies (“FILLED WITH VANILLA PUDDIN’ POWER”), Hi-C Ecto-Cooler, slap bracelets, and a short aside on the all-too-real allure of the 16-bit panties Chun-Li wore in Street Fighter II. We’re talking about a resort wherein the sports arena “contains replicas of the American Gladiators set and the booby-trapped Aggro Crag mountain from Nickelodeon Guts,” a giant marble statue of Kurt Cobain is erected, and Tower Records, Borders Books & Music, Circuit City and Sam Goody are summoned back into existence.

The penalty for reading a post-90s Harry Potter volume on Kindle? Death!


Now, when it comes to music 90s Island does not celebrate — or even mention, actually — what your average Decibel reader would likely consider the extremely extreme bright spots of that decade. It is heavy on the alt-rock/grunge. To his credit the narrator does acknowledge enjoying third-wave ska is “like fetishizing circus music.” Alas, he also muses, “[I]f i could travel to any era in history, I wouldn’t meet Jesus or Shakespeare or Ben Franklin. I’d just go back and catch a Sublime concert before Brad Nowell overdosed” — no doubt the personal hell awaiting many metalheads in the hands of an angry god.

So, yeah, it would have been nice to see 90s Island host a stop on Morbid Angel’s Covenant 20th anniversary tour — perhaps with regulars Hanson and Ace of Bass opening — but there are nevertheless at least two reasons for the Metalnomicon hyping the book:

1. “Fred Durst is the only person banned from 90s Island; some historical artifacts are better left forgotten.”

2. A death metal cover worthy slaughter of aforementioned “poseurs.”

Also, for the record, here is this column’s preferred vision of what a return to the 90s would look like:

STREAMING: Scion A/V interviews Municipal Waste

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen, videos On: Friday, August 16th, 2013


Municipal Waste are no strangers to Decibel-land. Having performed admirably at our 100th Issue show, appeared as chefs on the cover of issue #89 [available HERE] and earned an honorable place on Albert’s mancave mantle, the Virginia-based thrashers are, well, like family.

When Scion A/V approached us to air an exclusive interview with the Wastoids—in celebration for their second appearance at the lauded Scion Rock Fest—we had no other choice. Air it or answer yet another series of inquisitive inquests by drummer/beer nerd Dave Witte on the eve of a print deadline. We’re still not sure how Witte knows our production schedule better than we do, but that’s for another day.

Rage the stream! No time for order!

** For more information on Scion, Scion A/V, and Scion Rock Fest, click the links. It’s OK, you can handle it.

Quebec’s Catuvolcus Premiere New Track!

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, listen On: Friday, August 16th, 2013


Catuvolcus, those purveyors of anthemic historical metal, have been waking ancient Gallic spirit from their home in Warwick for the past six years.  In that time, they’ve dropped an EP and two full-length records.  Decibel‘s only exposure to their sound has been through Gergovia, the band’s second album, and it’s a heavy-as-hell burner of a record.  The music bristles with Franco-Scandinavianisms, a love for black metal drama and death metal aggression filtered through the some very competent composers and musicians.

This October, guitarist/vocalist Pierre-Aleksandr Plessix, guitarist/Deciblog-darling Maxime Côté, drummer Étienne Gallo and bassist Dominic “Forest” Lapointe (both of Augury) stir the gauntleted past again with their new album, Voyageurs de l’Aube.  Mr. Plessix gave us a preview of what we should expect from the album, as well as a full 13-minute track to give us a real taste of the sound.

Listen to “Voyageurs des Brumes (Wanderers of the Mists)” and read below to find out how this song came together and why the band is so excited about the album.  Then check them out at their Facebook page.  Enjoy!

What drove the musical and conceptual processes for this new recording, and how was that different from previous albums?

On the new album I (P-A Plessix) wrote both the music and lyrics as well as the concept, which is a bit different from what we did on the previous albums. It’s still rooted in black metal with progressive touches, but this one has another feel to it, really nostalgic. We also decided to record in a more organic way, so no trigger or drum samples as we did previously.  We wanted something more raw with an old school vibe. Also the concept differs from what I wrote previously.  It’s not about war or battles against the Roman legions, it has a philosophical approach, something I never touched upon in the past.

The album is dedicated to David Gold and Woods of Ypres.  I wanted to pay tribute to this amazing artist from our country… We also recorded a Woods on Ypres cover which will be included on the album. This new song, “Voyageurs des Brumes (Wanderers of the Mists) ” is taken from our new album Voyageurs de l’Aube. Historically, we are in 56 BCE:  the battle of Morbihan has just been lost, so the Veneti (Gaul tribe) warrior has only [one] goal – he wants to leave his homeland for a better one. So it’s a retrospection for the two first songs, and a reflection and action on the third one. He finally leaves Gaul for Albion. As all our lyrics are in French I decided to offer a translation which will be included in the digipack version of the album.

What are you excited about with this song?

Everything! It’s our first release with the new line-up featuring Etienne Gallo (Augury, Talamyus) on drums and Dominic “Forest” Lapointe (Augury, Beyond Creation) on bass. They brought so much to the songs, their experience had a huge impact. There is also an incredible guest performance and might I add a premiere for Catuvolcus: violin on metal parts. This song is the perfect example of what we deliver!

Any surprises during the writing/recording process this time around?

I got a lot of police tickets! We drank a lot of beers! Quebec’s microbreweries are among the best in North America. The best surprise was the joining of Etienne Gallo and Dominic Lapointe to the line-up…these lads are veterans of the Quebec extreme metal scene, so it was such an honor to see them join my ranks. Everything was nice though, we had the opportunity to enter an awesome studio in Montreal, the experience will never be forgotten.  We’ve shared great moments there, great ideas with great people. You were asking for surprises?  I got one this week.  Maxime sent me a final mix of the song with cat sounds mixed into the song…I was like WTF!? I laughed so much!

Grandfather Has a New Album. Get Off Your Lawn and Listen.

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, free, gnarly one-offs, listen, uncategorized On: Thursday, August 15th, 2013

deciblog - Grandfather-1024x682

Featuring ex-members of Family and probably some other bands, Brooklyn’s Grandfather is currently riding a wave churned by positive recommendations from the likes of Steve Albini (who engineered the band’s Why I’d Try debut), Spin Magazine, Brooklyn Vegan and a bunch of other press outlets that people apparently pay rapt attention to. Album number two, titled In Human Form, just dropped a couple days ago and here’s your chance to check the band out. Alex Newport produce this latest record and they’ve been called “the visceral art-crunch of Shellac mixed with the flighty and fever-dreamy melodies of Shudder To Think” by the Village Voice, “orchestral brilliance, gritty post-punk, and cerebral assaults of noise” by someone else and we think they sound like a cross between Tool and post-Until Your Heart Stops Cave In. Why don’t you decide for yourselves? Here’s a stream of the full album and it sounds like this:


To download In Human Form for free and to check out their little corner of the interhole here.

Decibrity Playlist: Pelican

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, August 15th, 2013


One-time cover stars Pelican hail from Chicago, metropolis of the Great Lakes states. While last year saw the departure of guitarist Laurent Schroeder-Lebec, new blood has brought new tunes beginning with the 7″ the band will drop next week. To celebrate, guitarists Trevor de Brauw and newcomer Dallas Thomas, bassist Bryan Herweg and drummer Larry Herweg were kind enough to put together a playlist that focuses exclusively on bands from the good old Midwestern United States. Feel free to listen along to their carefully cultivated picks here. While you’re at it, check out “Deny the Absolute”–one of two tracks on the aforementioned 7″–below and pick up a hard copy from our pals at The Mylene Sheath here.

Pinebender’s “Begin Here” (from 2003′s The High Price of Living Too Long With A Single Dream)
Pinebender are a perfect band by my aesthetic definition: beautifully melodic, emotional music bludgeoningly delivered. The opening cut from their sophomore album The High Price of Living Too Long With a Single Dream (added points for an album title that any and every underground musician can relate to) swaggers with a dirge-y sway, as an earworm guitar melody get buried under waves of distortion that pile on with each repetition of the verse/chorus. Then the bottom drops out you drift slowly back to shore. (Trevor)

Shiner’s “The Egg” (from 2001′s The Egg)
Al from The Life and Times’ previous band. So ahead of their time. This year saw the Shiner reunion supporting the reissue of this LP on vinyl. This is the standout track on the album. The drumming on this track/album is stellar. Highly recommended! (Larry)

the egg

Electric Hawk’s “Depailure” (from 2011′s Electric Hawk)
One of, if not the, tightest and best sounding live band in Chicago right now. Heavy, melodic, and catchy. Can’t really put my finger on what band to compare them to…judge for yourself. Every time I see them play it is like getting kicked in the crotch and getting a music lesson at the same time. (Dallas)

electric hawk

Young Widows’ “The Muted Man” (from 2011′s In And Out Of Youth And Lightness)
If we’re talking about Midwestern bands, I can’t pass up the opportunity to talk about Young Widows. Young Widows have been making some of the most interesting and unique music over the past eight years. This song, “The Muted Man”, is off the full length In and Out of Youth and Lightness and stood out as soon as I heard it. It trudges along and drags you with it, but ultimately it leaves you hanging. This is something that Widows do so well, they build atmosphere and tension just to the point of climax…and then the song ends. (Bryan)

young widows

Sweet Cobra’s “Silvered” (from 2010′s Mercy)
Chicago hometown heroes that Pelican has played with for years. This is their third full length and my favorite. This is my choice track from that album; dynamic, epic, and heavy. Unfortunately, this was their last album with guitarist Matt Arluck, RIP. Word is they just tracked a new album downstate with Matt Talbott from Hum. (Larry)


Bloodiest’s “Fallen” (from 2011′s Descent)
If you ever wanted to hear Neurosis with fast, droning virtuoso finger and tremolo guitar picking, along with tight pounding drums and eerie melodic vocals on top, this seven piece unit nails it every time. (Dallas)


Low’s “Over the Ocean” (from 1996′s The Curtain Hits The Cast)
This band requires zero introduction. I like to think some of our forays into the “less is more” mentality have their roots in Low’s deliberately understated approach. This song has been a longtime favorite, perhaps most of all due to its perfect two note guitar solo, which manages to be as evocative as it is minimal. (Trevor)


The Life and Times’ “Day Six” (from 2012′s No One Loves You Like I Do)
Opening space rock/dirge track on the latest album from these Kansas City/Chicago boys. Pelican has toured with these guys over the years and had the pleasure of having Al guest vocal on our track “Final Breath”. Hope we can work with him again in the future… (Larry)

life and times

Radar Eyes’ “Disconnection” (from 2012′s Radar Eyes)
While most of the sub-scenes in Chicago ebb and flow, the one constant has been the city’s tight-knit garage rock scene. The current crop of bands in that circle are on a creative tear lately–arguably best among them is Radar Eyes, who merge excellent barebones punk song structures with gothic sonic texture and undeniably catchy melodies. “Disconnection” was my favorite song from 2012, subject to an epic quantity of plays. (Trevor)

radar eyes

Califone’s “Slow Rt. Hand” (from 2001′s Roomsound)
This is a song from Califone’s first full length, Roomsound. Califone has been experimenting with country, rock, blues and electronics in Chicago since 2000. This song captures the foot-stomping percussion, the beautiful twangy drone of acoustic guitars and the many other instruments that float in and out of the periphery. Not only is the song well written but the recording itself gives it a live, gritty character that one comes to expect from Califone’s work. (Bryan)


Anatomy Of Habit’s “Torch” (from 2011′s Anatomy Of Habit)
Not for people looking for instant gratification, but if you wait for it, the pay off is immense! A good mix of Joy Division, Swans, and even a bit of High on Fire at the end. One of my Chicago faves for sure. (Dallas)

anatomy of habit

Hum’s “Boy With Stick” (from 1995′s The Pod EP)
Hum was one of the heaviest bands out of Illinois during the mid ’90s. This track is a b-side from the single “The Pod”, which was released just before their second record You’d Prefer an Astronaut. This song is a great example of Hum’s style, which was melodic, spacey and devastatingly heavy. I was lucky enough to catch them at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago in 1998 when they played their last show before disbanding. That experience changed the way I think about heavy music and still inspires me to this day. (Bryan)

*Order a copy of the “Deny The Absolute” b/w “The Truce” 7″ 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)

The Deciblog Interview: Jack Grisham

By: Posted in: featured, interviews On: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013


Jack Grisham’s place in the world of punk and extreme music is secure. In the early 80s, he was the volatile frontman of T.S.O.L. (True Sounds Of Liberty), a band that along with Black Flag and the Circle Jerks defined southern California hardcore. He handled vocals on their debut EP and the eternal classic Dance With Me (he is credited on the back cover as Alex Morgan). After appearing in Suburbia and working with T.S.O.L. on the more ambitious Beneath The Shadows, Grisham left the band. T.S.O.L. went in a different direction with Joe Wood (see Blues Into Metal 3) while Grisham fronted the goth-influenced Cathedral Of Tears and, later, Tender Fury.

Throughout his teens and 20s, Grisham walked on the dark side: the crimes he admits to in his memoir An American Demon include arson, assault, vandalism, and theft. He also married a teenager in Mexico. The memoir is told from the viewpoint of a demon trapped in human form on Earth, perhaps to allow Grisham to revisit his dark past. It’s a borderline miracle or fluke that he didn’t end up in prison.

Grisham went clean in his late 20s and worked methodically to change his life. He still plays the occasional gig or tour with T.S.O.L but in recent years has reinvented himself, first as a hypnotherapist and, after a stint living in car, as a successful author. His new short story collection Untamed was released last month by Punk Hostage Press. He’s also a recent Decibel contributor: make sure to check out his must read elegy for Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman in issue 105. Grisham recently joined Decibel for a career spanning interview.

I understand you were married recently. Congratulations.

I met this girl (Robin) and it was cool because she had a bunch of kids and I have kids. We weren’t even alone for like a month of seeing each other. It was like a Mafia date — the grandma comes and the Mom and everyone. Remember that scene in The Godfather where he’s walking down the aisle and there are like twenty people walking behind him? That’s what this is like. Our dates were eight to ten people dates. It was like a month before we sat alone together. A lot of our contacts were through texting. I know people talk a lot of shit about that but when you start texting someone when you are getting to know them it’s like writing letters. Y’know what I’m saying?

A lot of great novels were built on letters.

That’s what this was — I can’t even see you and you have to turn me on somehow with your intelligence and wit. These were detailed texts where you get to know the person’s intellect. It was nothing like just drooling over a piece of ass.

I’m wondering if your wife read your memoir before you took the plunge. There’s some heavy shit in there.

Let’s not even talk about my wife. Let’s talk about her family. My future mother-in-law read it and wanted to discuss it. It was really heavy for me. I equate myself with a serial killer when the book starts and her mother read it. She was like, basically, what kind of guy does my daughter have? It was pretty fucking gnarly. If you read the book and don’t know me you will get a bad impression (laughs).

I felt that by the end of the book you reached a breakthrough. But I saw a lot of the reviews — people said Jack is basking in stuff from the past, he hates women, and he’s not nearly apologetic enough. How did you react?

I think some of those comments are from people who aren’t smart enough to understand the book. I hate to say that but it’s true. There’s no glorification in the book at all. It’s really told straight and matter of fact. Here’s what happened. What are you going to do? You are writing from the perspective of a character who is reliving that story. We’re not talking Jack now who has regrets. We’re talking about what that person did, a person who lives a selfish, fuck you, I can do whatever I want and don’t give a fuck how it affects you lifestyle. I’m writing from that perspective. Do they just want me to say “well, I feel read bad about this but here it goes!” That’s not how it was back then. I’m sorry. I was self-absorbed, selfish and totally self-centered. I am writing from a demonic perspective. What do these people want me to do?

Maybe they wouldn’t be happy unless you just flagellated yourself.

Well, there has been a change. People who knew me then and know me now say it’s not even the same guy. There has been a spiritual shift and I’m a new man. I barely even understand how I used to act let alone acted like that person. There’s been such a dramatic shift. Does that make sense?

People have written books about horrible things they’ve done and said it’s hard for them to get back into that mindset because they don’t like that person.

That’s exactly it. The first reviews that came out said it was 320 pages of brutality. And I was bummed. Because I worked my ass off on it and that wasn’t what I was looking for. My publisher, ECW, said it was going to take someone smart enough and brave enough to understand. After that most of the reviews were great.

Our culture demands confessionals. But then it wants to punish people for being honest.

It’s ridiculous. You hear from some people that are like “I love Jesus and I’m all better.” But you look at their lives and they haven’t made any restitution for what they’ve done. I’ve spent the last 24 years, since I was 26 years old, paying back for what I did. This is on a daily basis. I post animal adoptions to try to make up for any harm I did to animals as a kid. I do service work, volunteer in the prisons. I’ve been paying back for what I did, not just with cash but with support. So fuck these people who say where’s the regrets.

One of the bittersweet moments in your book is how you left things with your father when he died. Is your mother still alive and do you have a relationship?

I apologized to my mother when I first got clean. At the start no one believed it . Even when it was a year or two years they still weren’t buying it. They’d think “in a minute we’re going to get the old Jack back.” But then I stayed clean. I started calling my Mom every morning. I’ve called her ever morning for the last 20 years no matter where I am. I just call and say I wanted to check in, I love you and I’m o.k. I have an older daughter in her late 20s who also got involved in speed, the police and craziness. I asked my Mom what she did when I was going through that. And she said, sweetheart, I lay in bed at night and I prayed that you wouldn’t die. That’s fucked to put a parent through that. I owe her for that. So that’s why I call. At one point my Mom tried to take an insurance policy on me just so she could bury me if I died. But they wouldn’t insure me because there was so much cocaine in my blood. They came back and said Mr. Grisham we can’t insure you. For a while my Mon didn’t say anything about it. So finally I said, hey Mom what happened to the insurance thing? Then she asked me to sit down. I thought I had AIDS! My Mom just showed me the test.

When a lot of people talk about punk in retrospect it seems like it was a very meaningful and formative experience, the time of their life. For you, it sounds like a lot of it sucked.

A lot of it was cool. When punk started I was stoked. It was crazy and fun as shit. You’d see people in purple hair and get out of your car and talk to them. It was an instant sense of community. Like anything else, you suddenly had people who said “our town is the best, not your town.” It was really fucked. When it started it was like family. Then it got to “You’re hardcore we’re punk.” It stopped being a family and started getting divided and awful. It was terrible. It became the exact same close minded, intolerant, judgmental things we supposedly fought against. Cathedral Of Tears was my way of saying fuck you to all of that. It was this lounge 80s band. I would wear chick’s clothes. I curled my hair into a perm. I wore Michael Jackson shit. I did anything to bum out anyone involved in punk.

Let’s take a step back and talk about Dance With Me. What do you remember about writing and recording the record?

We did it in two days. All the music was recorded in the first day. It was about eight hours in the studio. The next day, we did all the vocals and mixed it. So basically it took 16 hours to do that record. We already had those songs. A lot of people think we switched from a political punk rock band to like this Goth band. But if you look at the front of the first T.S.O.L. EP you’ll notice I have white face makeup, black around my eyes and my hair is standing straight up. I look like a zombie. They just happened to be political songs. We were playing the songs from Dance With Me for a while. But we gave Posh Boy the earlier songs and saved the later songs to for Dance With Me.

Did you like the Dance With Me material more?

I sang on the first record but the only song really wrote was “No Way Out.” I joined the band when they were writing those songs. I wrote all the lyrics on Dance With Me except for two pieces that were stolen, one that was taken from bits and pieces of an Edgar Allan Poe poem. I had more involvement. But I love all that shit.

What’s your favorite song?

Shit, man. (laughs). I like “Sounds Of Laughter” because it sounds big and there are gaps. They are all good for different parts of the show. Sometimes you need to take stuff down and sometimes it’s heavier. Sometimes you want to speed it up. The songs are for different parts of the show and sometimes we run them all together. I don’t sit and listen to any of them. But performing — it’s “The Triangle” “I’m Tired Of Life” and “Sounds Of laughter.” And “Code Blue” — it’s always fun to see the kids going crazy. Back then, “Code Blue” was just another fucking song. It is about fucking the dead but it was in the middle of the set, maybe third.

The song that always stuck with me was “Silent Scream.”

The lyrics were stolen! It was from a book. Ron (Emory, guitarist) stole them and never told anyway. I knew Ron didn’t know who those people (in the song) are!

What’s the book?

I think I remember the guy who wrote it. But he hasn’t sued us yet and I don’t want him to now.

Dance With Me has remained in print. Do you know how many copies it’s sold?

No and they’ll never tell us. Nobody knows what’s going on with it. Who fucking knows? It’s sold a ton of copies. I don’t even like thinking about it.

Did you have any interactions at all with the death rock scene or Christian Death, who were also from Southern California?

I didn’t listen to gothy death rock stuff at all. I listened to early Adam Ant, early Siouxsie, Sham 69, The Sex Pistols and The Damned. I never heard a whole Misfits song in my life. I know a little bit of that “Skulls” one. I’d see (Roz Williams) around but I never hung out with him. I keep to myself. I never went to LA and hung out. I might check out shows. But I was never trendy. I just wanted to hang out with my friends from the neighborhood and get fucked up and cause trouble.

That regional pride comes through in the book.

I like my community. I was telling someone that the other day. I walk around and know everybody. I walk down to the pier. My phone number is in the phone book. I’m fucking listed. This is my home, my family and my friends. This is what I do. I don’t want to be anything else. It was never my goal to be some rock guy. Some of those people are more concerned with being cool than making music.

When you left T.S.O.L. as the band was just taking off were people surprised?

I wasn’t thinking. I wish someone would have just sat down with me and told me to pay attention. But I didn’t. I didn’t think anything of it. When they said they wanted to use the name I said “big deal.” Someone should have said one day you’re going to regret it. But I didn’t. I regret it now.

Tell me more about Cathedral Of Tears. Do people still talk to you about it?

They ask, although not so much. I’ve done so much shit. I get more people asking me about this band I was in called The Joykiller. They ask me more questions about writing and The Joykiller than T.S.O.L.

Do you go back and listen to Cathedral or Tender Fury?

The only Tender Fury record I really like is the last one, If Anger Were Soul, I’d be James Brown. You can get them for 99 cents on eBay. You’d probably dig it. It was ahead of what followed. It has all sorts of samples and shit. It’s when I started focusing on making music and not just being a drunk fuck making music.

I heard about a lot of the difficulties you had writing An American Demon. How did you teach yourself to write?

Writing songs is way different than writing a book. The bottom line is I took an advance for a book and I spent it. I had to learn to write because I was screwed. I do read a lot of early science fiction stuff like Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison. And I give a lot of talks. That was it, basically. My ex-girlfriend helped a lot on my first book with editing. I’d write a chapter and she’d grab a red pen. I have the original draft of the book and the first chapter is totally redlined. By the end chapters have one or two red marks. I learned from her how to do things; she was critical at the time.

That’s sort of a punk rock way of writing: just start doing it.

Well, a lot of people do it like that and out comes shit (laughs). There was stuff I had to learn. I would try to not be “by the rules.” But in writing there is a reason for rules. Some rules need to be followed and others can be broken. But you have to learn them first. With music you can be a passive listener. It can be on in the background and you can tell if people are into it. You can see it. With a book you need to have someone sit down, stop and give you all of their attention. I think I got really lucky; the book was well reviewed. I still don’t call myself a writer. It would seem like a lot of ego.

Was the book optioned?

It’s in the long process of becoming a movie, which means hurry up and sit around waiting. A script has been written and it looks like it could be cool. Now we’re waiting for funding, waiting for something to get going.

Weren’t you living in your car in 2007? Did the advance help you achieve financial security?

No. Not even remotely close. I didn’t get an advance yet. There’s been no money given to me for the film. I live my life broke. I tell people that playing hardball basically means you are broke a majority of the time. Who knows? Maybe there is something down the line. You can make money off a book if it is done correctly. For my new book I’m with Punk Hostage Press — a non-profit.

What was it like writing fiction?
It’s still really heavy. But it’s just stories. A lot of them have to do with parts of me. It’s not like I was stretching that far.

What is the status of T.S.O.L.?

We played my book release party. I basically paid my band to play. T.S.O.L. is going to Europe in August. It’s hard for us to tour because everyone has work and families. Maybe we’ll do a week or two of shows every once and a while. I’m going to concentrate on doing talks and readings. That be most of my time.

Do you still like playing with the band?

It’s great. We don’t even practice. We’re like brothers. I hate to say that but that’s the deal. We’ve been doing this on and off since 1981. That’s 30 something years. Sometimes we won’t see each other for a year until we walk on stage. One time, I walked on stage in Idaho and saw Ron and said “let’s start with this.” And no one says it’s bad or that we should quit.

T.S.O.L. probably seemed expendable when you were young and it’s become the thread that’s run through your life.

It’s not that it was expendable I just didn’t think about it. I didn’t think in those terms then. There might have been some intelligence but it was pretty far buried. I was just completely unaware of what was happening around me. I didn’t even think about what would last or what should be protected. It was a minute-to-minute thing. This is what’s going on now. It was all about what was going on in the moment. There was no thought or plan. I just lived for whatever was going on.

STREAMING: Twlight of the Gods “Destiny Forged in Blood”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013


“The idea came from a discussion over a beer or two with a friend about Primordial possibly doing a set of epic Bathory tracks to commemorate our 20th anniversary,” says steelheart Alan Averill on the origins of Twilight of the Gods. “I realized this was pretty unlikely so he more or less made me a bet to put a band together and do exactly that so I cast the net out and here we are a couple of years later. An interesting journey.”

If that sounds like every band story known to man, well, it probably is. Minus the Bathory part. Minus Alan “fucking” Averill. But like-minded, like-souled, and the instrumentally adept normally form bands to express frustration, kill long hours, and, most importantly, have their voices heard. Though Twlight of the Gods may not be forged in the fires of The Return or Blood Fire Death (or Album for that matter), it is of pure intent. Five guys—from Thyrfing and ex-Dimmu Borgir to Einherjer and ex-Mayhem—with history in black(ish) metal decided it was high time to honor the elders, the mighty men who put heavy metal on the map not down the fjords. Twlight of the Gods is an homage to Dio, Accept, Rainbow, and Manowar. It’s hail worthy and lyrically pointed, as all good heavy metal should be.

So, it’s an absolute pleasure to bring Averill and company to the Deciblog for a streamiere of opening cut “Destiny Forged in Blood.” Bow down to your new anthem of power as the dog days of summer wind down. Raise your fists!

** Twilight of the Gods’ new album, Fire on the Mountain, is out September 27 on Season of Mist. It’s available HERE for pre-order. Or you can get your little Cherrybutt & Firefly tushy over to Amazon if international shipping scares the stitches out of your undies.

STREAMING: No Sir’s “The Future Is Bright”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

no sir sarah davis

Hey, a hardcore band with an ironic album title. A quick click on the “play” button below will tell you exactly what No Sir think about you manage the’s future prospects. And if that’s too subtle for you, they list Albert Camus and David Lynch among their lyrical influences. Sonically, these West Coast punks sound like West Coast punk, with all the requisite noise rock and shoegaze-y toxic coating we’ve come to expect. Plus some grunge! They namecheck Nirvana, and that’s pretty evident when you listen to tunes like “Anxiety Consumption.” So before anxiety consumes you, check out our exclusive stream of The Future Is Bright below.

***You don’t have to wait long for the future; The Future Is Bright comes out today courtesy of  Twelve Gauge; you can purchase it on vinyl in three different colors (supplies are limited, so act now) or via digital download here

Weapon’s Paradigm Shift: The Final Interview

By: dB_admin Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, interviews On: Tuesday, August 13th, 2013


by Kim Kelly

Earlier this year, it seemed as though Canadian black/death Satanists Weapon were still at the top of their game. 2012 saw the release of Embers and Revelations, their most ambitious album to date and their debut for heavyweight label Relapse. They’d hit the road for a successful North American tour with Marduk and 1349, and endured the dissolution of a proposed Nachtmystium/Jarboe run. Previously, they had made a triumphant appearance at the underground wet-dream-turned-shitshow that was San Antonio’s Rites of Darkness II in 2011 to mark their first gig outside of Canada. Logic dictated smooth sailing ahead.
More recently, Vetis Monarch revealed plans for Naga: Daemonum Praeteritum, a 10-year anniversary release that collected Weapon’s three pre-album demos & EPs, and chronicled the band’s first blighted years and move from Bangladesh to Canada. Its May 31 release on Daemon Worship Productions would ultimately serve as the band’s final will and testament, though, as Monarch began dropping hints that this would be the last we’d hear from them. Things were changing. The Weapon frontman cut his hair, began selling off his metal T-shirts, and became even more withering in his usual vitriolic condemnations of “metal warrior” culture.
Nearly a month later, it was official: Weapon had returned to the ashes and dust from whence they came. Bummer.
Once the air had cleared and he began to tire of being badgered with questions about the breakup, we spoke to Vetis Monarch to get his final words on the matter. As per usual, he hasn’t got anything very nice to say.

Some time has passed since you made your final announcement on Weapon’s non-future. How has your life changed since band practice and lyrics stopped dominating your attention?
It’s up to every individual to define his/her own idea of success. To me, Weapon was a successful band. We released a body of work which I am fiercely proud of, and we functioned as a working band without ever apologizing to anyone for what we did and how we did it. Black/death metal was never meant for “nice boys,” and during Weapon’s existence we adhered to that mentality and lifestyle 110 percent.
My life has changed for the better, in that I am no longer starving and struggling to pay my bills, ha ha. Living off of this music is near-impossible nowadays, unless of course you’re playing Swedish girly-ballad rock or whatever is hot right now. The fire in me has not disappeared; it has just shifted direction. I am finally putting my college education to use, and I have immersed myself in the corporate world; a paradigm shift, indeed. Instead of flying Vs and occult literature, now I dwell in KPIs and profit margins. It’s new and exciting.

How have your friends and fans reacted? What about the label?
My friends who really know me have been very supportive, albeit very surprised. This band was all I talked about and committed myself to for the last 10 years, so it’s an adjustment for them as well. The fans were surprised and confused, I think. There was an outpouring of support and best wishes on our social media, which was cool to see.
I’m not sure what Relapse Records thinks about all this, since I haven’t talked to them in quite some time. I can’t imagine they were pleased, but it is what it is. From my side at least there is absolutely no animosity towards them. Relapse Records was a really good label to be on and work with.

The band’s demise didn’t come as much of a shock to anyone that knew you. The signs of an oncoming change were everywhere, and when you broke the news, it served as an emphasis, not a revelation. So, once and for all, why did you decide to end Weapon?
For two reasons: First of all, because I felt myself stagnating. I could sit down today and write a new album, but it would just be a black/death metal record by the numbers. As long as I have been involved in metal, I have vehemently chastised bands that lost the edge but kept shitting out albums because it’s pretty fucking easy to make formulaic records. If I’m going to starve and be broke, I’ll at least do it while I can be proud of the music I make. So, continuing to release sub-par music under the banner of Weapon would have been grossly hypocritical, and I’m not comfortable with that. Believe me, it was not an easy decision to make. It took about six months to wrap my head around this.
Second reason (and less importantly) – in my experience, 90 percent of metalheads have been some of the dumbest and most ignorant people I have ever met. I no longer wish to be even remotely associated with that brain-dead, gasmasked goat culture in any way shape or form. Not that Weapon ever pandered to that specific bottom-feeding niche, but they’re around, and I felt myself being dumbed down by even hearing these so called “elitists” have conversations about their patch vests, the latest third rate war metal franchise or the newest oxymoronic “anticosmic” band ripping off Thomas Karlsson’s words and book cover.

What outside factors contributed to the situation? From an outside perspective that saw only the Relapse deal and the tours, it seemed as though Weapon was doing better than ever.
Weapon WAS doing better than ever; we had a lot going for us in terms of our success. Of course, the internet warriors have speculated that there was too much in-fighting and that I allegedly relapsed on drugs. All bullshit, of course.
I just want to do different things with my life. I have outgrown the “metal lifestyle.” In an old Order From Chaos interview, Chuck Keller talks about the three-album rule – “after three albums, bands start to lose it.” Evidently, we aren’t exempt from said rule.

You’ve always been vocal about your opinions regarding the negative aspects of “metal warrior” culture, and have recently distanced yourself from it even further. What about metal has driven you away, and what about it keeps you from breaking ties completely?
I think it’s this misplaced sense of entitlement that they harbor; a lot of talk and very little to no follow-through. Black metal fans especially are some of the blindest and weakest sheep within metal culture. Original thought is almost as rare as a set of balls. People seem more than content to shamelessly ape the work of others, and then they act like they are part of some exclusive club because “insert name here” wrote a riff on their demo-sounding album, or because they play live in a band that was once notorious. It’s all very high school.
The singular thing that keeps me from breaking ties completely is the music itself. I truly love metal music, especially death/black metal. I am listening to Antaeus as I type this, and prior to that I was listening to Chtle’ilist. And that’s what I am interested in at this point as far as metal is concerned: quality music from quality bands.

Now that you’ve had some time to take stock, looking back upon the band, what would you say was your proudest moment? Do you feel more freedom now, or is it tinged with regret?
Performing at a packed House of Blues on Sunset Strip in Hollywood was definitely a special one. Doing our best record with Relapse Records is up there as well. And of course there are several tales of debauchery and not-so-legal activities that are best kept internal, ha ha…
I wish we had started playing live sooner than we did, but there was always lineup issues surrounding that kinda thing. I think we had a good run. I certainly feel more freedom now because the music is personal again! It’s mine and mine alone, and I am only a listener. I can stroll downtown as a sharp-dressed man with Bestial Warlust blasting in my headphones, and not have to worry about some pothead degenerate yelling “SLLAAAAYYEERRRRRR” at me across the street because he thinks he recognizes me or my Demigod shirt. There is absolutely no regret surrounding that.

What kind of impact has Weapon ultimately had upon the way your life has turned out? What has it cost you over the years to keep this band alive?
Well, more than anything else, I have experienced life in a real band. That’s not something anyone can teach you how to do. It’s dirty, tough, uncertain, chaotic and a ton of fun. Weapon has taught me a lot about the music business, and by extension, about business, period. But more importantly, I’ve learned about my own strengths and weakness – doing something for 10 years with ups and downs will do that.

What advice would you give to a young new extreme metal band that has just started playing?
Do it well, or don’t do it at all. There are more than enough hobby bands as it is.

You’ve buried Weapon. What now? I can’t imagine you being happy without some kind of creative outlet, musical or not.
But at the moment I am happy without some kind of creative outlet. I doubt that I will ever commit myself in a serious band again. Weapon is done. I have moved on. There are many books that require my attention.

The last words are yours. Thanks, man.
This is possibly the last time I will talk to the media about Weapon. Nothing else really needs to be said. Our music will do the talking.