Old-School Hardcore Thursdays with AC4. This week: Guilty of Killer Riffs

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, listen, uncategorized On: Thursday, May 9th, 2013

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As I continue on with part two of the three-part old-school hardcore Thursday feature with the dudes from Sweden’s AC 4 (check out part one here), this week I make the not-so-daring proclamation that hardcore is synonymous with Minor Threat. That’s about all I have to say, or should have to say. With that, we asked AC 4 bassist Christoffer Jonsson to list off his five favourite Minor Threat riffs.

1) “Straight Edge”: THE riff. All things considered, pretty much the ONLY hardcorepunk riff that anyone will ever need. It captures what hardcore is and should always be in only two chords played with the exact perfect flick of the wrist. And it’s also basically the same riff used in Poison Idea ”Give it Up”, Anti Cimex ”Game of the Arseholes”, The Shit Lickers ”Spräckta Snutskallar”, Agnostic Front ”Traitor” and AC4 ”Who’s the Enemy?”. There you go: five brilliant and timeless alcoholic bands in opposition to the drug free lifestyle.

2) “Filler”: The first note… Fuck me and marry me young.

3) “Out of step”

4) “Guilty of Being White”

5) “Bottled Violence”

Runner up, ’cause I’m an anarchist: “(I’m not your) Steppin’ Stone”: Not their song, no. But the greatest punk song ever that wasn’t intended as a punk song. Funny, that.

And, so you can do a little compare and contrast:

And in case you’re wondering what AC 4 themselves are all about, check out this little introductory video:

A Few Minutes With AC4 from A FEW MINUTES WITH on Vimeo.

Decibrity Playlist: Call Of The Void

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, May 9th, 2013

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When Call of the Void is not on the road (most recently in support of recently released Dragged Down A Dead End Path), guitarist Patrick Alberts returns to work and, as he describes it, deals with PTSD (“Post Tour Super Depression”). Having never been on tour, I can’t identify other than to say that his feelings still probably encapsulate those who endure the daily grind with no tour break in sight. We’ll let Alberts take it from here: “It doesn’t help that Colorado has amazing weather during the month April and being stuck inside working is not the greatest thing on Earth. That being said, there can’t be good without evil, and working is what enables me to afford touring. Working isn’t so bad, but after three weeks of fun, work is the last place you want to be. I thought a personal twist would not be as banal as a top five, so sorry if this strays outside the format, but I was inspired by a famous Billy Madison quote: ‘I drew the duck blue because I’ve never seen a blue duck before and to be honest with ya, I wanted to see a blue duck.’”

Monday: Defeat

Buried At Sea’s “Migration (Part 1)” (from 2003′s Migration)
Besides Migration being one of the heaviest records ever made, it also happens to sound like the soundtrack to the end of the world, which is what it feels like heading to work on the first day being back from tour. From the opening strike of the Moog, the engine starts in my car and once my brain realizes I’m headed to work, all the lyrics turn into “NOOOOO, NOOOOOO, NOOOOOO”. Try screaming “NO” over the vocals, it works out nicely. Coincidentally, the track time for part one perfectly aligns with how long it takes me to get to work. I will take this moment to also tell Buried At Sea to make more records, damnit.

Tuesday: Uncertainty

NoMeansNo’s “It’s Catching Up” (from 1989′s Wrong)
I’ve been thinking about what the hell I’m going to have to deal with when I get back to work since the day we left. Currently my position at work is being terminated and I have to find a new one. Whatever decision I make, I feel I won’t be as satisfied as I am now. This is very unsettling. Time is catching up with me and it is time to make a decision and possibly take a pay cut or do something I’m uninterested in. Besides that, NoMeansNo kicks ass.

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Wednesday: Acceptance/Fuck It, Good Times

Frank Zappa And The Mothers Of Invention’s “Sofa No. 1″ (from 1975′s One Size Fits All)
Humans have the great ability to adjust and cope in a very short amount of time–at this point any neurosis associated with work has subsided. Time to say fuck it and move along with the ebb and flow of the days. Cool story bro, anyways…Zappa has the ability to make some of the most enjoyable music in the world and the clarity of acceptance matches the feeling of the coolest Frank Zappa track ever recorded. We all need more Zappa in our lives.

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Thursday: Is A Shitty Band

Goatsnake’s “Raw Curtains” (from 2000′s Burning Witch/Goatsnake split)
Cannibal Corpse’s “From Skin To Liquid” (from 1998′s Gallery Of Suicide)

By Thursday, everything is in check and work is now caught up. Also Thursday is the most worthless day of the week, what the fuck happens on Thursdays? Oh, you’re DJing tonight and I should come out? No. So what the fuck do you do when you have a desk job and your PR agent asks you to do a top five list? You fucking listen to every sweet song that you wish you wrote over and over again and fantasize that you are going to make the sweetest top five ever. Everything is better in twos and since each lack vocals, it only counts as one song…lay off dude.

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Friday: Relief

Harvey Milk’s “I Just Want To Go Home” (from 2010′s A Small Turn Of Human Kindness)
Fuck yes, it’s Friday! The worst day, just kidding! It is only the worst day because the anticipation of the weekend makes time slow down so much that even Chris Brown would understand why you hate him for beating the shit out of Rhianna. Maybe it is just me, but the last few hours of the work shift are painfully slow and it is a struggle to stay there to get the full complete eight hours in without saying fuck it is only a few dollars. All I can think about is “I just want to go home.” Fortunately for me, Harvey Milk knew I was doing this blog post three years ago and aptly titled a song for my convenience. They couldn’t have written a song that could make me more antsy to leave work for the weekend.

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*Order a copy of Dragged Down A Dead End Path here.

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

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)

On The Bus with Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, interviews, tours On: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

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Jaz Coleman is known for tackling big subjects in interviews: climate change; the degradation of the food supply; technological singularity and the Renaissance.

Spending some time with him in person — not in a Conga line of press interviews — is a much different proposition, even if he still hints at his scholarly pursuits. Decibel was lucky enough to get to spend an hour on the bus with Jaz prior to Killing Joke’s set last week in San Francisco and can confirm that he’s a gracious host.

On the menu for this coversation: friendship, food and fate. Coleman and Killing Joke later played an amazing career-spanning set featuring early songs like “Wardance” up to the recent “Corporate Elect.” Here’s portions of our conversation on the bus with a legend of alternative and extreme music.

Here you are, back in the States…

Killing Joke isn’t without its drama. My voice went completely at one point but it came back miraculously. It went when I had two shows to do in one day. I just mashed it with medication and we managed to get through it all. Which is good for me because I’ve never missed a show in 35 years. Then, we had stuff stolen from the van.

I think that was mentioned on Facebook.

It’s the first time people have stolen from us. We feel a little violated, to be honest. It’s shocking. They took Youth’s bag with everything in it – iPhone, iPad, credit cards, money. It was pretty horrible. But we march on. You need to keep looking for the good in people.

You mentioned voice problems. What have you been doing to keep your voice up?

There are no books on it. I sing every night. I don’t just do cookie monsters. Killing Joke is pitched and you need to scream in tune. One of my big secrets is to gargle with honey and cider vinegar and warm water. That’s gotten me out of all sorts of shit. Or just leave a kettle on and steam it. When we finish I’ll go to the gym and then steam it until about 10.

What’s your workout routine?

I try to do something every day. I do weights. I do 100 to 500 sit-ups and I run two miles. In 2006, I was almost twice the body weight you are looking at now. I was boozing and everything so I quit then. It’s taken time for me to get into warrior mode. I also box for a workout. The yoga thing doesn’t work for me. I need to hit something.

So, you are touring on the Singles Collection

Well, I’m always the last person to know this because I don’t use modern forms of communication unless it’s a land line. I don’t use computers as everyone knows. I knew a singles collection was coming out when I came on the tour. I wasn’t consulted. But that’s the way it goes with some things.

When you have so much to pluck from how do you pick a set?

From my perspective, Killing Joke has never been a singles band. We were forced into a singles market. They started by just taking one song off the album. But we’ve never been a radio friendly band; it was just the format we were brought up in. We love all of Killing Joke’s music but our hearts are always on the new thing. We know we can beat every album we’ve recorded on each new album.

What are your impressions of being on the road in America in 2013?

The thing that’s really different from three decades ago is that there is no rebellion left. People are just passive zombies. I’m sure the food supply has something to do with it. Thirty years ago, we played in Trafalgar Square to 200,000 people in an anti-nuclear demonstration. Now there’s eight new nuclear power stations being built in England. So many people are unemployed or heavily in debt. People seem worn down and there’s less traveling, just less money. The sad thing is there is much less of a community than when we started. And part of that might be modern forms of communication. If you walk down the street everyone is on their iPhones or in their own virtual world. It’s kind of a fragmented society.

And yet I’m actually recording this interview on my phone.

People have access now to amazing amounts of information, but their attention spans are getting shorter and their ability to focus is gone. A lot of the great thinkers couldn’t achieve what they did through a computer.

They say that most people on computers now won’t read much more than 200 words.

There’s so much going on the world, so much negativity. The most important thing is to try to see yourself as the answer. You lead the way. Don’t worry about other people. You need to be the answer. You lead and others will follow. People probably won’t wake up without a series of shocks.

I find this country has evolved into a heartless place. You wouldn’t dare say the word socialist here.

In some circles that’s probably as bad as being called a racist.

There you go. I dislike Karl Marx but I’m a collectivist. Look, this is how we keep this band together: we split everything equally. Take all the instruments away and Geordie, Big Paul and Youth are my dearest, closest brothers. They are closer to me than my own blood brother. That’s my value system. In the East, they cherish humans being more than properties or possessions.

What’s the secret to keeping your relationships going?

Just keep going and work. But work isn’t the way to describe what we do. How else would I meet my best mates if we weren’t touring or doing recordings? I feel so utterly blessed. It’s all by the grace of God, however you perceive he or she. If you would tell me in my teenage years that we’d be together in our 50s I probably would have believed you. We have interlocking interests outside of music.

There are some records here on the seat…

Youth is such a collector. During our last tour Youth bought so much stuff it looked like the room had been around 100 years. He needed crates to ship it back to the U.K. I just have three pairs of trousers including my stage clothes. So I don’t really have any possessions.

Do you pick up stuff on the road?

I tell people not to give me anything.

Are you seeing the same faces from the decades?

In Seattle, I saw some people I remember from back in 1981. We look at the passing of years together and we just laugh. The majority of the audience was born when we did the tenth album, whatever it was.

The album you did with Dave Grohl (self-titled) was ten years ago.

Well, the universe is speeding up. One of the advantages of that is that you can absorb so much more information.

Do you see yourself on the road in two decades?

(laughs) I wouldn’t take such liberties. I don’t think like that. I’m, just amazed and grateful that I’ve gotten this far. I’ve seen such incredible things and I’ve met the most incredible human beings. It’s been a real privilege and an inspiring life. But I don’t feel like I’ve done everything. There’s so much more I want to do. I don’t get my inspiration from other music. I get it from other people.

I think you are a lot less grumpy in person than after a day of phone interviews.

(laughs) When I do promotions I’m willing to do everything the album company will give me. I’ll do the smallest fanzine, for anyone who wants to interview me. It seems like it’s 600 interviews an album. Even though you get similar questions people do seem inspired to ask interesting things.

The first time I interviewed you, I definitely felt like I had to being my A game.

It’s funny how one is perceived, isn’t it? I might feel the same about you. I can see how Killing Joke has been seen as menacing in the past. But you couldn’t meet nicer, warmer, more open people. The mask is a different thing.

You’ve talked so much about healthy food but the reality is, here you are on the bus…

I try to eat salmon sashimi every day and then people tell me about the mercury I’m pumping into my body. It’s a real problem to get clean food. Processed, poison food is the only option at the moment. My biggest problem is sleeping.

Especially in a van.

I sleep great in these. The tour bus was the only home (Paul) Raven ever knew. If you asked me where the perfect place to die would be it would be one of these bunks.

***

Special Singles Collection bundles are still available.

Get in touch with Killing Joke

Get in touch with Jaz Coleman

EXCLUSIVE: Godflesh clip from Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III

By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, videos On: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

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There’s no introductory preamble necessary for this clip from Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III. You all know that Maryland Deathfest is an obligatory pilgrimage for any self-respecting blastbeat-worshipping Decibangers. And Godflesh are, well Godflesh: The marriage of riff to machine, the sound of urban alienation, of a dead city collapsing in on itself, et cetera.

But here’s one anyway from director David Hall to set the scene:

“As the last band of MDF IX exited the stage, I started to hear the rumors. It was Sunday night at MDF IX, and Ghost (back then they didn’t carry the BC) had just finished entertaining a packed house with their first North American gig. And amidst the swishing robes of the unnamed ghouls came the whispers “Godflesh.” That’s how rabid MDF attendees are: after four days of 50 plus bands crammed up their cake holes they wanna know what’s in store for next year. You invariably hear personal wish-lists of bands to see and MDF faves, and “wouldn’t-it-be-amazing-ifs” but the name I kept hearing from reliable sources was “Godflesh.”

(I think it’s a testament to how much Ryan and Evan lock shit right the fuck down: they know who’s playing a good year in advance.)

Fast forward twelve months. MDF X. I’m standing in the Sonar again downing Maker’s Mark with Steve Austin in a hot-as-fuck Baltimore. I remember walking outside about half-an-hour before Godflesh were about to start and being shocked at how packed the crowd was. The bodies stretched from the front of the stage almost all the way back to the other stage across compound. It was a mass of sweaty, black shirted bodies. I did a quick check of the crew and then carved myself a spot to bear witness.

I don’t remember every song Godflesh played and I can’t remember how long they played for, but from the moment they started to the last squelched-out note of the set, I, and roughly 3000 other people, got lost inside the raw beauty, emotional sting and overall gravitas of Justin Broadrick’s music and words. Godflesh’s set was easily one of my favorite performances of the festival.

Huge props to the film and audio crew – I think they captured the moment perfectly.

*fun fact: if you watch closely you’ll see Steve Austin at the front of the stage losing his shit to the music accordingly.”

Godflesh “Streetcleaner” – live at MDF X, from Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III

**Maryland Deathfest: The Movie III can be ordered here for a miserly $13.00. Order before June 1st and receive a download link to the audio soundtrack and free shipping.**

Decibel’s Top 5 Doom Metal Logos

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, lists On: Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

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5. Saint Vitus. Crosses galore on the second Vitus logo. Three of them. For the Trinity perhaps. The original SVS logo only had one. Three’s a crowd, we say. But this logo is boss. Looks a bit cheap and overdone at first blush, but the barbed letters? Could be heavy metal cliché. Nope. Crown of thorns symbolism. Crosses that dot the two “I” letters? Could be just crosses. Nope. Candle flames. The gigantic “V” with the cross in it? Sacred feminine cock block. We made the last bit up, but you never know. The logo’s still in use today.

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4. Cathedral experimented with a few fonts before settling on this one. But it’s not the Celtic font alone that makes this one a winner. It’s the Celtic font AND mermaid crest. First on the In Memorium in 1990, the logo and crest combo reappeared on 1992’s Soul Sacrifice EP. Together, they harmonize something archaic, stately yet forlorn. Grace in decay. Cathedral continues to use this logo—though if you have the U.S. version of Supernatural Birth Machine you’ll get the band-disapproved ‘stoner rock’ logo—in various widths. They even updated it for The Last Spire album art. Not as cool as the original, but we still like the Cathedral logo because it’s simple yet it conveys so much.

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3. Pentagram. Most ‘70s-era proto-dooomsters or doomsters didn’t experiment too much with logos. Black Sabbath had a different logo on every album, but they never communicated dread. Neither does DC’s Pentagram. The difference here is the Pentagram logo continuously implies angular, if ordered, aggression. From the stems of the “P” and “M” (and shorter “N” and “G”) to skewed “E”, “A” and “R”, the logo, indirectly perhaps, would inspire a legion of longhairs to pull the open and closing logo letters in the most wickedest of ways imaginable.

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2. Paradise Lost. British doom/death pioneers Paradise Lost went through several logo iterations (the Paradise Lost demo logo is sweet!) before settling on this crown jewel. Appearing on two pivotal albums—the Gothic album was inducted into Decibel’s Hall of Fame for a reason—, this logo, along with My Dying Bride’s withered brand, represented fine Peaceville doom/death. The chopped up serif-ed lettering displayed unease while the connecting strands (“P” to “A” and “D”, “E” to “T”) were like the last remnants of ancient drapery. Though Paradise Lost continued to change their logo on albums after Gothic, this defines the marriage of doom and death metal.

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1. Not only is My Dying Bride the perfect logo, but it’s the perfect doom metal logo. What could be sadder than a dying bride? Not much. And My Dying Wife doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as effortlessly. The logo first appeared on the God Is Alone 7” and the Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium EP. It’s earthen, easy to read, and the root-like stem extensions emote elongated pain. Similarly, there’s a death metal quality to the My Dying Bride logo most bands of woe miss. The “NG” in “Dying” and the “BR” in “Bride” are evilly misshapen. This is ace, boys! So is the new Manuscript EP, which uses a simple font instead of My Dying Bride’s signature script. Can’t win ‘em all.

** Check out our Top 5 Death Metal logos HERE.

** Check out our Top 5 Black Metal logos HERE.

TRACK PREMIERE: Set and Setting’s “Spiraling Uncertainties”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

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It’s been shitty and raining in Los Angeles the past few days. Obviously you don’t care, since we have beautiful weather 99% of the time, but these are perfect conditions for Set and Setting. Not because Set and Setting are shitty; they aren’t. If you’re going to listen to heavy post-rock like this, it’s best to do so on an overcast, gloomy day to get the full impact. The term “set and setting” has something to do with LSD, but there’s no real psychedelia to be found here. Just melancholy and endlessly quivering guitars. While a good chunk of the Temporary Residence Limited roster mines these same peaks and valleys, Set and Setting’s debut LP, Equanimity, proves there’s still gold to be found out in those hills. It’s not necessarily the kind of gold that cheers you up upon finding it, but it shines nonetheless. To prove to you it isn’t fools gold, we here at Decibel have an exclusive premiere of “Spiraling Uncertainties” so you can check it out for yourself.

If you dig what you hear, check them out on tour.

6/6 Orlando, FL – Will’s Pub w/ Inter Arma
6/7 St. Petersburg, FL – Octave w/ Inter Arma (ALBUM RELEASE SHOW)
6/26 Tampa, FL – The Orpheum w/ Intronaut, Mouth of the Architect
7/1      Tallahassee, FL – The Shark Tank
7/2      New Orleans, LA – Siberia
7/3      Houston, TX – Mango’s
7/4      Denton, TX – J&J’s Pizza
7/5      Austin, TX – The Frontier Bar
7/6      San Antonio, TX – Ten Eleven
7/8      Tucson, AZ – Plush
7/9      Phoenix, AZ – The Trunk Space
7/10    San Diego, CA – Til Two Club
7/11    Corona, CA
7/12    Los Angeles, CA – Star Bar
7/13    Las Vegas, NV
7/14    Pomona, CA – Characters
7/16    San Francisco, CA – Hemlock Tavern
7/17    Oakland, CA – Eli’s Mile High Club
7/18    Sacramento, CA – The S.A.C.
7/19    Eugene, OR
7/20    Portland, OR – Ash St. Bar w/ The Body
7/21    Seattle, WA – Kraken
7/22    Tacoma, WA – The Dwell Hole
7/23    Vancouver, BC – The Zoo Shop
7/24    Olympia, WA – The Blue House
7/25    Portland, OR – The Woods (generator show) w/ Nux Vomica
7/26    Boise, ID – The Shredder
7/27    Salt Lake City, UT
7/28    Denver, CO – Seventh Circle Music Collective
7/30    Kansas City, MO – Riot Room
7/31    Minneapolis, MN
8/1      Milwaukee, WI – Frank’s Power Plant
8/2      Madison, WI – Dragonfly Lounge
8/3      Chicago, IL
8/5      Bloomington, IN
8/6      Nashville, TN
8/7      Birmingham, AB – The Forge
8/8      Atlanta, GA
8/9      Athens, GA – The Caledonia Lounge
8/10    Savannah, GA – The Jinx

*** Equanimity comes out courtesy of Science of Silence Records on June 4. You can preorder the LP here.

An Unauthorized Guide to Maryland Deathfest XI

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, lists On: Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

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We got semi-retired punk/metal atavist Stevo do Caixão, currently of Tombstones and formerly of the legendary Impetigo, as well as Axeslasher guitarist/vocalist Professor Pizza, and metal scribe Andy O’Connor — sadly, that’s his real name — currently of Pitchfork, Metalsucks, and Noisey, among other publications, to break down the upcoming Maryland Deathfest, debunk old myths and create new ones…

Stevo do Caixão: So this is eleven years of Maryland Deathfest, how does that make you feel? Old? Sick? Like you need more sleep and more money?

Professor Pizza: It makes me feel like it should be in a nicer place than Sonar.

Andy O’Connor: Well, this is actually my first ever Deathfest. So, it doesn’t really make me feel old.

Professor Pizza: Although there’s hella titty bars around Sonar, so that’s awesome.

Andy O’Connor: Isn’t there one where you can bring in fried chicken? This is VERY important.

Professor Pizza: There’s one next to a chicken place where you can indeed bring the chicken inside. If you’re smooth enough you can feed the strippers.

Andy O’Connor: RIP Andy, that’s my Vallhalla.

Stevo do Caixão: I tend to agree, fried chicken is kind of important not only to metal, but to the festival atmosphere in general.

Andy O’Connor: Austin does not bang when it comes to fried chicken. I hope Baltimore has the goods. You know your city got the fried chicken game fucked up when the main alt-weekly devotes a cover story to that very issue.

Professor Pizza: I know it sounds ridiculous, but there’s a tasty fucking barbecue place in Baltimore near the harbor.

Andy O’Connor: Barbecue? That far north? Hella sus.

Stevo do Caixão: So Thursday night is “Just the Tip” night.

Andy O’Connor: My flight gets in around 4:15, may miss the first band. Stoked on Deiphago and their brand of PCP black metal. And Bolt Thrower, obviously.

Professor Pizza: “Just the Tip” night last year was rad. Autopsy had the police pull the plug on them.

Andy O’Connor: Autopsy gets it turnt up. When I saw them at Chaos it was ratchet for a death metal show.

Professor Pizza: I’m pretty much only going for Cobalt and Bolt Thrower on Thursday. Pretty interested to see those Colorado boys considering I’m from there and have never seen them.

Stevo do Caixão: Well, that’s my point. For Abigail and Bolt Thrower night, you could do a lot worse with “just the tip.” And yes, things got crazy last year.

Andy O’Connor: Cobalt will be interesting. Man’s Gin were awesome two SXSWs ago.

Stevo do Caixão: So what are the chances of there being trouble with the law during Bolt Thrower’s set? And with Cobalt being sandwiched between Abigail and Bolt Thrower?

STREAMING: Shining (NOR) “My Dying Drive”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, May 6th, 2013

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For a long while, Shining (SWE) and Shining (NOR) were swappable entities to the uneducated metal hoi polloi. Thankfully, they’re hardly interchangeable sonically (and visually), as one’s firmly razor-deep in DBM and the other is applying jazz, rock, and black into something rather undefinable—they call it ‘blackjazz’—but altogether Norwegian. Guess which one we have on offer? That’s right. The Norwegian Shining, the very same band responsible for blowing minds and confusing brains on 2010′s Blackjazz effort.

Having spent the last three years writing, fucking with, and re-writing new album, One One One, Shining (NOR) have built upon their obtuse fusion, destroyed the foundation, and emerged like extreme metal avant-heroes. In some regards it’s a more straightforward effort, but in others completely not. New video for lead-off track, “I Won’t Forget,” has an ’80s sci-fi feel, but musically it’s like The Dillinger Escape Plan crossed streams with Ministry’s Psalm 69. Yeah, it’s that good.

Without further sax interjections and exclamatory riff-runs we bring you “My Dying Drive.” A play on My Dying Bride? Maybe. See if you can spot the parallels. They may not be there.

** Shining’s new album, One One One, is out May 28th on Prosthetic Records. It’s available now DIGITALLY or for pre-order as PHYSICAL. One One One is already being claimed, by trusted dB sources, as a best-of 2013 album. Don’t trust us. Listen and be floored.

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

By: andrew Posted in: a fucking parrot previewing new releases, featured On: Friday, May 3rd, 2013

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Hey there, beak geeks; it’s been a while. Your boy Waldo has been suffering from a seed allergy.
The theme for this week is old-school, so let’s just dig right into it, shall we?

The most overlooked “tion,” IMMOLATION hit us with a new record called Kingdom of Conspiracy on Nuclear Blast. Right in time for the Decibel tour, eh? This is pretty good. I can’t really understand why these guys have been passed over as a great band all of these years, but this record will not disappoint. A lot of bands try to transcend genres, play technical for technicality’s sake. Not Immolation: They just do what they do best, and that’s being themselves. The production here is clear, but not too crisp or clear. This is like a good steak: hearty, beefy, and you know exactly what you’re getting without disappointing. This doesn’t have the fury or rage of Dawn of Possession, but at a time where most bands would be WAY beyond their prime, Immolation are still going strong. 7 Fucking Pecks.

GRAVEWURM, Infernal Minions: This is some kvlt fvcking stvff here. Not to be confused with “Graveworm,” this, their ninth record, comes across as pretty amateur… or tr00, depending on your take, really. I kinda enjoy this for the sheer fun of it, but it’s not a great or even good record by any stretch of the imagination. For a band that’s been together 23 years, you would think they’d get a little better; maybe I’m just too “mainstream.” The production here is pretty low-budget, but not in an intense, grating way; more like a “we didn’t have any money” way. This is warm-sounding and not frostbitten: pedantic black/death rock riffs that just sort of plod along, with some vocals that sound like they could be done by this guy:

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Get your bullet belts on. SODOM release Epitome of Torture, and, well, it’s a Sodom record, amirite? There’s nothing surprising here. Sodom know how to write a couple of catchy thrash riffs here and there, but this sounds a little watered-down, and that is due in part to the production AND the fact that no one needs another Sodom record. Never considered the braintrust (note how they pronounce the word “epitome”) of the thrash world, they prove it with the subject matter of the songs and some of the riffs (see the self-referential track “S.O.D.O.M.”), but there are some hooks here and there. This doesn’t suck or top anything they’ve ever done. If thrash without teeth is your thing, then be my guest. 4 Fucking Pecks.

I would’ve reviewed the new DEP, but c’mon…

Interview with Death To All 2013 Frontdude Max Phelps

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, interviews, tours On: Friday, May 3rd, 2013

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Admission of personal bias:  I think Max is awesome, because I’ve seen Max do Max’s thing in Max’s band (Exist) and Max’s band is awesome.  I once described Exist’s music as not metal so much as a rad jazz quartet that decided to plug in and rip it up all loud-like.  Those proggy death-flecked jams got Mr. Phelps hooked up with Cynic’s Paul Masvidal and Sean Reinert to augment their band for some tour dates.  That association led to his being tapped as vocalist/guitarist to fill Chuck Schuldiner’s legendary shoes on the 12 dates of this year’s Death To All tour.

Last Friday, April 26, DTA stopped in Max’s Maryland stomping grounds and played Silver Spring’s Fillmore, and the the beautiful space filled with trooer-than-troo metalheads craving some thrash-death of the gods.  I won’t spend time describing the experience – I leave that task to Philly Decibro Chris Dick – but I will say that the atmosphere of the show was fun and fulfilling.  Anciients opened strong, surprise guests Exhumed doused the audience in unexpected ferocity and gleeful gore, and Human-era Death made an earnest stab at honoring the legacy of some truly trailblazing music.

Before the show, Max and I sat down to talk about the tour and his non-Death activities.  Here’s what he had to say:

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How are the shows going?

Great.  A little rough on the voice but I’m getting through it.

Because you’re not used to [growling] as much, or as often?

For as often, and it’s an hour and a half, and I think the other thing is it’s that specific kind of old school death metal… I don’t know how you’d describe it, but it’s that very specific sound, and it’s kinda throaty…

Are you doing something different with this voice than you would do with Exist?

Yeah, I would say it’s different.

Harder, or just different?

A little rougher, maybe, on the voice but I’m using this throat coat stuff and drinking honey in between songs.  [laughs]

How has the vibe of the shows been?  Is it different than when you were out playing Cynic music?

Yes, definitely.  It’s metal as shit.  Obviously with Cynic there’s not as much moshing, maybe you chill out and you watch it more and just absorb it.  It’s different for different shows.  Montreal was crazy, they were just really…

Physical?

Yeah, totally.  LA was actually the same way.  It’s different from show to show, but the reactions are great.  People really, really love it. 

How about among the guys on stage?  You’ve played other stuff together, so does it feel any different between you guys when you’re playing?

I’ve never played with Steve [DiGiorgio] before, but with Paul and Sean there’s definitely a thing that I’m used to, especially with Sean’s playing – he likes to pull back a lot.  It took a few shows for us to really get into the groove.  There are little subtleties and we start to feel out what’s gonna happen here or here, ‘cause it’s a lot different than just rehearsing to the recording or something like that.  Obviously the music’s a lot different, but there’s definitely a familiar thing there because they’re the same players.  

How much did you guys rehearse beforehand?

I went out [to California] and rehearsed with Sean and Paul for a little less than a week, maybe 5 or 6 days, and then Steve flew out for the last day.  I live on the East Coast, those guys are in LA, but we talked through the internet or on the phone:  “Okay, you take this part, for this let’s try to do something like that.”  Of course, half of that shit doesn’t really [make it to the stage], you have to get in the room to really [work it out]. 

Have there been any surprises on the tour?

Well, we opened up in LA with the most Spinal Tap thing everEverything’s been sound checked, we figure all the equipment’s good, but it’s the first show, so we don’t know exactly how it’s gonna go yet.  We’re still working out tightness and everything.  So we’re all prepared to go out there, and Sean does his drum intro on “Flattening of Emotions”, and then we come out after he’s been playing for a few bars, and we kick in.  So Steve gets out there, realizes that something’s wrong with his rig, so he’s standing there with the guitar tech and they’re trying to eliminate every problem – look at all his pedals, [find out] what’s wrong here?  So Sean’s just playing this intro, and it’s kind of an indefinite thing – it can go for as long as it needs to – but it gets to be a little bit of a long time.  So Paul and I just start making noise, just some trippy sort of shit and just jam around.  We can make this work, whatever, no big deal.  So we’re doing that, and it’s going on [and on], and it turns into a Cynic show, right?  Eventually it goes from, “Cool, we can deal with this,” to “Okay, this is getting really awkward.”  Sean, after a while, was like, fuck it, and stops and we just walked off stage and went back out again once they got it [working].

It was pretty funny.  It was one of those things, at the time it was kind of like, oh my god, of all the things that could happen… But it was actually kind of a nice ice breaker.  It was legitimately funny.

What do you gain creatively for yourself playing this music as opposed to Exist or Cynic?

There’s not really a lot of creative input because it’s basically just learn [the parts].  I guess my job is trying to emulate things, for the most part, pretty verbatim and try to create that experience, make it feel as [authentic] as possible.  You can never be somebody else, you know, and it’s foolish to really try to, but within what’s possible, just really trying to make it feel like a Death show.  There are things that fall to interpretation; like the solos, there are certain things that I’ve just ended up interpreting myself and maybe doing a little more of my own thing.  But for the key things, there are definitely these important melodies or ideas that you definitely have to play.  Any time that you’re playing any kind of music, you’re expanding your vocabulary… Even just with the chops thing, the trem[olo] picking, because I haven’t done that sort of stuff in a long time.

Another thing, I think, is really just letting loose a bit, because it’s a fun gig.  It’s been a little bit of a lesson, too, on stage presence and just partying, just kicking some ass and having fun and not to think a lot.  And we feed off of the crowd’s energy too, which makes it really fun. 

[At this point, the VIP meet ‘n’ greet takes over the room, after which Max and I duck in and out of rooms to find a place to finish the interview.  Eventually we make our way to the tour bus to wrap our discussion inadvertently oust guitar tech Scooby from his comfy perch away from the venue’s pre-show hubbub.  Further conversation (and a ventilation system impersonating a jumbo jet at liftoff) enused.]

I was interested in when you first got into Death, and what Death record first excited you.

The first album I heard was Human, actually.  I played in a band in high school that covered – well, we never really did it, I think two of us learned it and the other guys didn’t – we were hypothetically going to cover “Lack of Comprehension”.  It was me and Anup Sastry, he drums for Jeff Loomis right now.  So Human was the first one, and then Spiritual Healing.

What else were you listening to at the time, and how did that fit in?

Then?  I was a prog-head and a metalhead in high school, so probably a lot of Opeth, Nevermore, Emperor, Rush, Tool, maybe some King Crimson.  The Opeth and Death stuff was a segue into more death metal.

And now for some totally non-Death questions.  How far along is the work on the new Exist record?

It is so close.  It’s being mixed right now.  I’ve been hearing rough mixes, and what’s kind of cool is that we had these two days off when we were passing through Iowa which is where our mixer lives – he lives in Des Moines – so I actually got dropped off and spent a day working on it with him, which was pretty cool and a nice coincidence.  So it’s out of our hands, it’s all in the mixing and mastering now.  There’s a lot of logistical stuff we have to figure out.  We don’t even know how we’re releasing it yet; we don’t know if we’re going to try to maybe go with a label or just DIY it, which is definitely a big possibility right now.  We are going to try to have a song up [at the Exist website] pretty soon, so stay tuned.

Have you guys [in Exist] played any shows since you recorded?

No.  The recording was stretched into this long process that ended up being way crazier than [expected].  That always happens.  Anything in music with deadlines is unrealistic, always.  It ended up getting stretched over a really long period, which is why we just finished it.  That’s kind of our fault, too, ‘cause we get really nitpicky.  We’ll have a session just trying to dial one sound or make some weird effect where we’re breaking glass and recording it backwards and putting reverb on it… It’s basically done.

How much music is on the record [keeping in mind that the In Mirrors EP was a half-hour set]?

It’s pretty long.  It’s pushing an hour, maybe 55 minutes or something crazy like that.  Given, there are two re-recorded EP songs on there, but we tried to do some different stuff with them; there are those sections that are improvised.  There are re-recorded versions of “Writhe” and “So We Are” which were originally intended for the album.  The EP was kind of an accident, we just wanted to record something, and it just ended up being so long.  [The new one] is not just one big thing.  It’s [got] songs.  It’s got the improvised stuff, but we’re trying to make it accessible, and maybe we can stretch out more live

And you did one other Exist album before.  Is that around somewhere?

Yeah, the band name [on that other album] is Exist, but it kind of formed out of another band, and it’s a completely different lineup.  It was me and a good friend of mine I grew up playing with, Alex Rüdinger, he actually plays for the Faceless now, and then a bass player.  I actually have pressed copies of it.  I’ve never really talked about it.  It was one of those things we did and then thinks kind of fell apart and we were getting into different stuff.  It’s around.  I don’t know if we’ll ever really try to release it.  It’s very different.  It’s death metal, definitely.

Do you have plans to play Exist’s music at some live shows soon?

I don’t know how soon we would.  The big thing right now is figuring out how we’re going to release the album, and I’m doing this [Death To All] right now, and Weber, our bass player is actually playing for Loomis right now on that Soilwork tour, but he’s actually getting back around the same time as me.  I don’t know.  We might book some sort of Baltimore CD release party or something like that.  We’re all juggling a lot of different things, so I don’t know how soon we’d really be playing shows, but it’s definitely something we want to do.  We want to take Exist and see if there’s a demographic out there for that and see what happens.  I’m excited about it.