Normally, we preface a streaming tune with some irreverent (but oddly salient) details of the band and song we’re streaming to the Deci-faithful. This time, however, we’re going to let Philadelphia’s Ladder Devils own Matt Leo (ex-Minor Times) do the talking (note: salient details oddly missing) via a Post-Apocalyptic Movies Top 5, which is absolutely brilliant as there are only 143 days left before the world ends.
1. 28 Days Later:
Favorite movie of all time. Empty London scenes kill me. Soundtrack kills. Story rules. Danny Boyle is the man.
2. The Road:
The only thing I like more than the end of the world is Cormac Mcarthy. Actually, I think Cormac Mcarthy may be the end of the world. Awesome because the actual apocalypse is a total footnote. “Things were really hard…Then the whole fucking world ended… and then some real shit went down.”
3. Mad Max:
I’ve actually given this some thought. If it goes south tomorrow, my first order of business would also be to soup something up, and start wrecking everything.
4. 12 Monkeys:
Bruce Willis pulls his own teeth. Brad Pitt wants you to get out of his chair. Terry Gilliam has been making me ill at ease since I saw Time Bandits.
5. A Boy and His Dog:
The love interest gets eaten. Solid.
** Ladder Devils’ new album, Nowhere Plans, is out June 26th on Brutal Panda Records. It’s available on vinyl (500 copies) and in vinyl+t-shirt combo packs, which are kind of radical if t-shirts are part of your wardrobe. Clicken Sie HIER.
** Ladder Devils will release their record and support a rejuvenated Harkonen on June 16th at Kung Fu Necktie. Starts 7 p.m. sharp! Also performing are Whores and The Atlas Moth. Click HERE for details. So salient.
We are of the opinion that Iron Maiden exists today not so much to make music, but to provide a steady source of work for people around the world. Maiden has, in its own way, become an economic heavy metal juggernaut spreading dineros far and wide via merchandising, albums, tours and all the residual backdraft from their enormous fame, such as books like author Neil Daniels’ upcoming Iron Maiden: The Ultimate Unauthorized History of the Beast, which will be published June 26 by Voyageur Press.
Other bands have certainly sold more records, but Maiden’s fame and power within their genre is unmatched. Probably because, unlike, say, Metallica, they actually manage to put out good albums with some regularity and still have a fairly decent grasp on reality. (Other than that whole “our singer flies us to our gigs in our private plane” thing…) And as they roll on into their fourth decade as a band, the magnitude of their influence continues to spread. Not many other metal artists beyond Black Sabbath have had decade after decade of influence on the genre. Thus, books like this (and others sure to come in the future) will continue to mine “the Beast” for its riches.
Daniels’ Iron Maiden band bio is a 200-page hardcover packed with more than 400 images, including live performance and candid off-stage photographs, as well as memorabilia, gig posters, T-shirts, backstage passes, buttons, and tickets. Maiden artist Derek Riggs, who is responsible for the incredible imagery that is a staple of the band’s massive merchandising empire, even created the book’s exclusive cover art.
Yep, the Beast will flexing its economic might (and, of course, excellent musical chops) this summer, in fact, on a two-month U.S. tour, with Alice Cooper and Coheed & Cambria in tow. And Daniels’ book is perfectly timed to, well, make some hay from that high-profile jaunt and the interest in the band it will bring.
Iron Maiden on tour:
6/21 Charlotte, NC, USA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
6/23 Atlanta, GA, USA Aarons Amphitheatre at Lakewood
6/26 Boston, MA, USA Comcast Center
6/27 Wantagh, NY, USA Jones Beach
6/29 Philadelphia, PA, USA Susquehanna Bank Center
6/30 Washington, DC, USA Jiffy Lube Live
7/2 Newark, NJ, USA Prudential Center
7/4 Milwaukee, WI, USA Marcus Amphitheater – Summerfest
7/5 Chicago, IL, USA First Midwest Bank Amphitheater
7/7 Ottawa, CANADA Bluesfest
7/8 Quebec City, QC, CANADA Colisee Pepsi Arena
7/11 Montreal, QC, CANADA Bell Centre
7/13 Toronto, ON, CANADA Molson Amphitheater
7/14 Sarnia, ON, CANADA Bayfest
7/16 Buffalo, NY, USA Darien Lake Performing Arts Center
7/18 Detroit, MI, USA DTE Music Theatre
7/19 Indianapolis, IN, USA Klipsch Music Center
7/21 Cadott, WI, USA Rock Fest
7/24 Winnipeg, MB, CANADA MTS Center
7/26 Calgary, AB, CANADA Scotiabank Saddledome
7/27 Edmonton, AB, CANADA Rexall Place
7/29 Vancouver, BC, CANADA Pacific Coliseum
7/30 Seattle, WA, USA White River Amphitheatre
8/1 Salt Lake City, UT, USA USANA Amphitheatre
8/3 San Francisco, CA, USA Shoreline Amphitheatre
8/4 Sacramento, CA, USA Sleep Train Amphitheater
8/6 Phoenix, AZ, USA Ashley Furniture HomeStore Pavilion
8/9 Irvine, CA, USA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
8/10 Irvine, CA, USA Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
8/12 Albuquerque, NM, USA Hard Rock Pavilion
8/13 Denver, CO, USA Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
8/15 San Antonio, TX, USA AT&T Center
8/17 Dallas, TX, USA Gexa Energy Pavilion
8/18 Houston, TX, USA The Woodlands
Today, in honor of the recent release of the sublimely malevolent Serpent Sermon, Decibel presents an in depth interview with Marduk founding guitarist Morgan Håkansson delving into his roots as a musician as well as the past, present, and future of his much-revered black metal war machine.
Last month Christ Dick streamed “Souls for Belial.” Marduk is profiled in the latest issue of Decibel. My previous podcast with Suicidal Tendencies’ Mike Muir is available here.
For fence-sitters who’d like a little teaser/appetizer before taking the plunge, check out a few snippets of my conversation with Håkansson after the jump.
Sitting in on rehearsals when London (-ish) death-grind crew Oblivionized first started it was kind of hard to see where they were going. Powered by former drummer Jonathan Rushforth’s hyper beats, with guitarist Sammy Urwin riffing under the creative direction of vocalist Zac Broughton, it was technical death metal at a time when technical death metal had practiced itself into self-parody. But, shit, that was the real early days. Broughton was known then for his work with Iconic Destruction, a solo production of Xasthur-esque misery, but he was scheming on a sound that’d take in more of extreme music’s inhospitable textures, chiefly grindcore, en route to finding themselves as one of UK underground’s most brutal, inventive and potentially explosive bands, at a time when the scene is enjoying a renaissance.
Oblivionized don’t sit on a riff and ride it till it it’s dead, or disappear into a tech ghetto of clickety-clack sterility. And, shit, even though Broughton wasn’t wholly happy with the recording, debut EP Abhorrent Evolution still caused structural damage at Decibel HQ towards the end of 2011. It’s high time we caught up with vocalist Broughton to see what’s up.
You played last night with Wormrot. It was a show you put on, how did it go?
Yeah, me and Sammy put it on. We had the Atrocity Exhibit come down, Atomck, Human Cull, and of course we played as well. It was a really great night. We thought if we were going to put it on, best make it a free event and we got a lot more people than we expected. It went really well. You know you can’t really make money putting on a band like that, usually you have to lose a bit of money, but we did a deal with the Unicorn where they paid the headlining act and all the supports come for free. It was all built-in [the deal] so the bar paid Wormrot.
Is that the way forward for booking underground shows, getting the bar to pay the headliners?
Yeah, well to not lose money. We [Malignant Manifestation, Broughton and Urwin's promotion outfit] used to put on shows at the Purple Turtle and always go short and lose money just to actually have the bands play. Like, I always think there needs to be some money when putting on some gigs because, as a promoter, you end up losing out. It’s a bit of a sad situation, for most gigs— well, if you do a gig in London at a gig where you’ve got to pay the venue, you have to pay them, pay for the band and as a promoter you always lose money. But if you’ve got the venue paying the headliner from the bar and the rest of us playing for free, it’s a bit of a no-brainer. I think it’s the way forward.
Well it means that more underground bands can play to a full house.
Exactly, it was heaving last night. I think the Atrocity Exhibit came on at 8pm, and it was packed already, like a full venue, and by the time we went on it was twice as full. For Wormrot it was ridiculous, there was hardly any room to stand.
Oblivionized as a live band—I remember when you were just a three-piece and playing live was never really something you only ever talked about.
When we started off, it was Iconic Destruction, which was just me, but Geoff [Bradley] used to do guitar solos on it. But then we thought just to start a band to do some more technical stuff. We had a demo, and we had some interest, people talking to us, but it was just a project. Then we finally got a line-up together; we had Jon [Rushforth] from Gorerotted, and Sammy [Urwin] from Regurgitate Life… We had a five-piece by the end of 2010, and that was cool—we started gigging. But now it’s all changed. We did Abhorrent Evolution, the EP, and then did another promo/demo. We played a gig in Leeds, and we had a bit of a falling out with our drummer at the gig, we’d been pushing him a bit hard lately, played Italy, and drove to Leeds as a four-piece. I thought the band would have ended back then, but Lordaeron, a Derby based death metal band were falling apart at the same time so we got their drummer. We’ve still no bassist but that’s what it’s been like all year. We did a tour with Human Cull in March, another tour in the UK during April and played a European Tour with Black Veins, playing France and Belgium… It was pretty cool
Have your expectations for the band changed? Considering at first it was just a project, but you’ve been playing more shows and building a name.
It’s hard. You get a bit disenfranchised ‘cos you’re pushing yourself really hard to play something really hard, really challenging and technical, but then there is so little reward for it. Usually, the more simple music is, the more popular it is, so I guess what we do is looking for unpopularity. We’ve got quite a lot of followers on the Internet, a lot of people are talking about us. But being technical doesn’t really give you much of a fanbase. We keep on getting gig offers, though, and you don’t want to let anyone down. We’ve got to push ourselves harder. Once you put out an EP, everybody wants and album. And we want to get to that stage, like when we lost our drummer we could have jacked it all in but it would have been a shame after putting so much work into it.
What about your sound? You’ve labeled yourselves as technical death-grind, but where does the death metal stop and the grind come in?
When we started we didn’t really call it anything but then all of the reviews were saying, “Oh, it’s like technical death metal with elements of grindcore.” We hadn’t given it much thought. I mean, when I write music I don’t listen to anything. I try to focus on what I am writing instead, because if I listen to a great album you get influenced by it just like everyone else, and you get really into what they other band sounds like. For me, I want to sound like myself, so I just really have to focus on what I am doing rather than borrowing ideas.
What made you go technical though? Iconic Destruction was more Xasthur-style and then Oblivionized came at it from somewhere like Origin…
Cryptopsy was the main influence. It was like we thought, “Let’s be really fast, really technical, but do it our own way.” Reviewers said technical death-grind and we thought, “cool!” It’s definitely technical death metal but the vocals aren’t death metal. Our ethic more than anything is more like a grind band. We get a long a lot more with grind bands, personality-wise, and have played a lot of shows with grindcore bands. And even hardcore bands, like Black Veins.
Is that just because of your ethic and world-view?
Vocally, I am not really interested in singing as a guy in my mid-20s singing about decapitating woman. It feels a bit immature to me, and personally I’d rather sing about something that is relevant to myself. I do a lot of metaphorical stuff, like the imagery, that’s a bit more stark and bleak, just to make it a bit more interesting. That’s really something we try; I try to have something to say rather than just doing what Cannibal Corpse do but much meaner.
That sort of sexual violence in lyrics means that cheap shocks come at the expense of inclusiveness. And it’s a small enough scene with (even unintentional) misogyny deterring half your potential audience.
I’m not comfortable with misogyny, racism or homophobia in any way—it feels really repugnant to me. When I hear bands like Prostitute Disfigurement, who’ve got a song “It’s Better to Rot Away Than Be Gay”, it’s just… immature, and then all the brutal death metal bands singing about decapitating woman, fucking stumps, and all this, it just seems a bit childish. It’s a shame, because sometimes I’ll listen to a band’s music and it’s awesome, but then I’ll read the lyrics, look at the album cover and it’s got a guy with his head up someone’s vagina—that’s all a bit silly to me.
It makes it really difficult to justify as an art-form; some bands put all the effort into being technical and brutal and then undo it all by coming across like a fart joke.
Exactly, it’s toilet humor. You read the lyrics and it’s like a fart joke when there could be so much more there, so much more depth. I want people to read my lyrics and get something out of it. I am not trying to give anyone an opinion through the lyrics or anything. I don’t set out to be like “This is what you should think.” With a lot of punk bands it’s like hearing one side of an argument but I try to be more open, like here is something that you can interpret how you want. I like to something a bit more interesting. Like Discordance Axis, I like reading their lyrics. People want to know what they are listening to. I think it’s more important for someone to get an emotional attachment to something rather than to have something that’s sort of throwaway. I mean, everyday I get introduced to another slam band, called Fuck Stump or something, and it’s all a bit… I dunno, I have heard it all before, it’s immature and it’s playing it safe. You get that in every scene, though, people playing it safe.
Well there are a lot of bands that don’t really engage in the scene, there’s that detachment from a lot of those slam bands that kind of cheapens the music with irony.
It makes it such a boys’ club too. Every time I go to one of those shows it’s just Nikes and guys and a few terrified looking girlfriends. I find that a bit of a shame. I think if you look at the Wormrot show last night, it was good to see that it wasn’t some total sausage fest. I mean, if I went to a gig where there’s five girls on stage singing about chopping my cock off I’d be a bit put out. I think that is what has happened [with brutal death metal].
What have you got on the go at the moment?
We’re going to be recording soon for a split with Plague Widow, then we’ve got plans for three other splits, one with Human Cull and the other with Fuck the Facts. I want to do a few splits with bands that I really like.
It helps introduce you to new audiences.
It’s good. I like having a cross-section of stuff, where you get a split where the bands are quite different from each other, a bit varied in style. I hope people appreciate it, because a lot of people are asking us to put out a full-length, and I don’t think we are really ready. I think full-length albums have become a bit throwaway. A lot of bands have come out of nowhere and released an album through some label and it’s a bit, like, I look at them and they haven’t even done an EP, they’ve done a demo and re-recorded some of the songs for the album—I think that it’s important for bands to cut their teeth a bit, do some releases, do some touring before releasing an album. You want to make an album that is really what you wanted. We did our EP last year, Abhorrent Evolution, and our album is definitely not going to sound like that at all.
What didn’t you like about the EP?
There were a lot of good things about it; I thought the songs were pretty good, and Scott Hull mastered it, but like the last track’s a bit long, all the tracks are a bit long. I wouldn’t do low growls, I’d have stuck to high screams. We hadn’t really gigged much when we did that and when we played live, the low bits were damaging my voice. I think the gutturals slow down the music. If you listen to a band like Converge, and you’ve got high shouts and screams, or a band like Pig Destroyer, it feels really fast. It sounds more passionate. But there’s a lot of growth that needs to be done. If we had jumped straight into doing an album there would have been elements that I wouldn’t have liked about it. We’re going to wait until we’re really 100 per cent sure, really confident that it’s going to work.
Formed in 1980, California’s Malice is absolutely cult—full-lengths In the Beginning… and License to Kill were both ushered out by major Atlantic Records to lukewarm reception in the mid-’80s—but ask any hesher in the sub-25 age range, and they’ll likely have no idea who Malice was or is. Unless, they bought the mid-aughts re-issues while on an exploratory binge, but let’s not digress too much. Malice’s return to the ever-moving spotlight—with Helstar vocalist James Rivera—will change that, especially now that the thirst for vintage metal is unbelievably unquenchable.
As the first full-length since ’87, Malice’s new album, New Breed of Godz, can be seen as a continuation of the closing track, “Godz of Thunder”, from In the Beginning…. Malice have re-found their fire, for sure. And it seems they’ve started to re-spin Judas Priest in earnest, which is also inline with the re-activated group’s previous Defenders of the Faith-inclined oeuvre. From the opening motorcycle engine rev to Rivera’s histrionic Halford-isms, New Breed of Godz can be viewed as an homage or the album Judas Priest should’ve made post-Ripper.
Sit back, click the arrow, and enjoy the blazing sounds of “Hell Rider”, re-worked and modernized. Ralf Scheepers certainly is.
** Malice’s new album, New Breed Of Godz, iz out June 19th on Steamhammer/SPV Records. It’s available HERE for pre-orderz, which is perfect ‘cauze Judas Priest ain’t coming out with anything relevant in the foreseeable future.
Welcome to The Lazarus Pit, a biweekly look at should-be classic metal records that don’t get nearly enough love; stuff that’s essential listening that you’ve probably never heard of; stuff that we’re too lazy to track down the band members to do a Hall Of Fame for. This week, we discover what it’s like to party in a Gothic snow globe with Entwined’s Dancing Under Glass (Earache).
So, while it would be misleading to describe this British band as “international men of mystery” (too many of them thank their “mum and dad” in the album credits for that), there ain’t a whole lot of information out there about them. Here’s what the Internet knows: they were based in Colchester, they open for Morbid Angel on their 1998 tour (not exactly the ideal band to open for), and they pretty much had the one release. Hell, even their former label, Earache, has no idea what became of them (at least according to a 2008 post on the Ask Earache blog). What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect any band history here; if the liner notes are any indication, Entwined were just five British blokes who loved heavy metal, released an album into an uncaring void, and vanished with as little fanfare as they appeared.
To be honest, it isn’t much of a surprise. Dancing under Glass came out around the time that Paradise Lost were breaking out the synthesizers, My Dying Bride had succeeded in making their fan base 34.788%… complete in not caring, and Anathema were exploring the fourth alternative to quality. In that environment, a fairly standard Gothic metal release, released by a label at its nadir, wasn’t exactly going to light the world afire. Even so, the record doesn’t quite deserve its dismissal to the dustbin of history.
Putting aside the anemic production (which wasn’t too unusual for the time), there’s a hurdle to overcome when popping in this particular disc: Stephen John Tovey’s vocals. He isn’t exactly terrible, but he basically comes off as a gravelly, slightly off-key version of Sentenced’s Ville Laihiala, only without the charisma or emotive ability. This is a band that could actually have been improved by growling– it’s not like the lyrics stand out enough to warrant a featured role. Still, it’s the music underneath that makes this a worthwhile listen. While not particularly innovative, these songs are executed with a level of finesse that belies the band’s brief existence. Catchy, dark, and melodic, tunes like “Shed Nightward Beauty” (which starts off with some Steve Harris-style basswork and proggy keyboards) and “The Forgotten” worm their way into your head.
While not as groundbreaking or flat-out weird as some of the previous entries in this series, Dancing Under Glass still sounds pretty good 14 years later. Entwined combined several different important phases of their country’s metallic history, from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal to the Peaceville Three, and they did it well. Next time you feel like brooding in a cemetery, instead of grabbing a Lacuna Coil disc, give these guys some consideration.
When a few talented dudes out of the American South filter recent faves ASVA, Death Grips, Arbouretum, Demdike Stare, and Wolves in the Throne Room through their long-burning love of Godflesh, Spacemen 3, Lungfish, Darkthrone, Talk Talk, Neu!, and Carcass, said dudes are destined to MAKE something noteworthy. In this case, they actually called their band MAKE, and the sound they developed sidles up pretty close to the gaping chasms of hopefulness espoused by fellow mountain-climbers Red Sparowes and Isis. And as far as scene-MAKErs Matt, Scott, and Spencer are concerned, their heady concoction wound up in just the right ears – the band will spend the coming week sharing the stage with UK grotesqueries Dragged Into Sunlight for a northern mini-tour. Dates ov destruction (starting tomorrow) are:
Sat 6/9 Chicago IL – Ultra Lounge Sun 6/10 Indianapolis, IN – Melody Inn Mon 6/11 Pittsburgh, PA – 31st Street Pub Tue 6/12 Rochester, NY – The Bug Jar Wed 6/13 Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie Thur 6/14 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus
For those of you too far flung from the tour’s path (or locals too busy groping your own asses to get to a show), here are a couple jams from the band’s album Trephine that’ll MAKE you sit up and take notice as you MAKE your way through the guys’ answers to a few probing questions. Think I should quit all the stupid band name word play? MAKE me.
When the band started, was the original idea driven more by a desire to play live or to write/record new music?
Matt Stevenson (drums): The formation of the band was very spontaneous. Essentially, Scott, Spencer, and (ex-guitarist) Daniel decided that they wanted to form a somewhat doom-oriented band, and I was asked to play drums. The main desire behind the creation of MAKE was to explore writing within a realm of music that we had all held an interest in for some time). Of course, we all wanted to play live and hopefully record, but I think the main drive was simply to explore something new musically.
How was Trephine written?
Matt: Trephine as a whole was more assembled than written. A little less than half of the album is songs written when the band was still a four piece, and the rest was written bit by bit over the course of a year following the departure of Daniel. As with almost every song we write, the tracks were formed by the band as a whole. After we had accumulated about an album’s worth of material we began to map out the album’s track listing while Scott and Spencer collaborated on lyrics and themes.
Scott Endres (guitar, vocals): Classic snowball effect. One thing led to another. A song title evokes a theme; the theme evokes an image, a title, etc. We didn’t really know what we were doing until it was too late to change course!
What were your goals with the Trephine songs? What concepts/feelings/etc. were important to you in the formation of those songs?
Matt: When writing new material, we tend to either build upon a raw idea that someone brings to practice or mine songs from extended jams. Once we have carved out a rough idea of how a song might look, we then focus on particular aspects of the song that we find interesting and begin to fine tune each part. I would say that in all of our songs we do (at times unconsciously) try to maintain a strong feeling of weight in terms of sound and groove, with perhaps a sense of darkness sans hopelessness.
Scott: Collectively, at the time, I don’t think we had specific goals for specific songs. To be honest we were in a bit of a blind flux without Daniel. Most of the material we wrote as a three-piece back then was just throwing ideas at a wall and hoping something stuck. We were unsure if we could still pull off “MAKE” as a three-piece and the only real goal, if you want to call it that, was that at the end of the day the new material sounded (at least to us) like us. I personally feel like we got lucky in that this limitation has subsequently helped further solidify our personality as a band instead of having hindered us.
Spencer Lee (bass, vocals): My personal goal with all these songs was catharsis; releasing some really horrible anxieties that have built in my head about the world and a lot of the people on it. Everything that I’ve brought into our collective writing process, both materially and conceptually, has been an attempt to convey those feelings. I’m not exactly sure how to explain them. I guess it’s a weird, conflicted clash of humanism and misanthropy.
What art or experiences informed and inspired Trephine?
Matt: Speaking for myself, the motivation for Trephine’s creation was a very common one, and that is just to have created something expressive. The album’s title is appropriate for the conceptual theme of the album, but it is also fitting simply as a metaphor for what the process of writing provides for us as individuals. Every day we are immersed in music and art created by others, and with each new interaction we take something away for ourselves. Being able to release our reflections of this constant input is vital to our well being, and any period of artistic inactivity has been marked with general dissatisfaction. And of course, there is the conceptual inspiration for the album which came largely from Scott, which was brought about by a death in our local music community.
Scott: Trepanning was something of a personal metaphor for me (i.e. letting the demons out from within) after dealing with some pretty heavy anxiety, but as Matt just illustrated it’s a pretty universal concept that every living human can relate to. I’ve always felt the existentialists had the most attractive philosophy for a nihilistic atheist such as me. I don’t feel like a negative reaction to a negative situation is ever going to lead to positive results, so the challenge is to search for the paths which will. As Camus pointed out, one should embrace the absurdity of life and move forward passionately, not despair running away from it or fighting against it.
Spencer: Weird psychology, antitheism, and a list of bands and artists that is way too long to even start.
How long did it take to record the album?
Matt: We spent five or six days at Track & Field Studios here in Carrboro, NC, and it was a very enjoyable experience. We managed to lay down the basic tracks with a day or so to spare, which afforded us the opportunity to go over and add more layers to the songs as well as record some improv which was to provide the material for the interludes (e.g. “After The Dust Settles”).
As for the working atmosphere of recording, there was very little tension in the studio, which was a pleasant surprise. We all get along great as a band, but one always expects some issues to arise in recording situations. I think the key was that we tried to maintain a continual and honest dialogue concerning how we each felt during the recording process. While we’re glad that we were able to take five days off from work and produce an album, we very much would like to take our time with the next one. I think we are all very proud of Trephine given what we were able to put into it, but we have learned so much in terms of song writing and planning since then, and we are excited to explore the new avenues we have been working in on record. In particular, we have tentative plans for an EP which would be a single, loosely structured piece focusing on slow development. Beyond that, we are working on a new album which we are taking our time with to create a more fully realized and cohesive work.
Relating to our recent efforts, the environment in which we’ve been working in lately has been very loose and open, and consequently largely fruitful. We are basically operating by “anything goes” just to see what can happen. While all of us in the band have a great deal of shared tastes, we also each reside in very different spheres of musical interest at any given time, and we’ve realized how interesting and satisfying it can be to draw from those disparate interests in the creation of new music rather than attempting to find our way to a middle ground. Of course, in doing so there is at times the fear of losing touch with what could be called our sound, but I think we are finding that regardless of what we do, it will inevitably sound like MAKE.
Scott: I’d just like to add that the relative ease was due to the professionalism and talents of Nick Petersen who engineered and co-produced the record. He is a very creative, patient, calm, understanding and open-minded musician’s musician and producer.
How often to you play live shows? Excited about the Dragged into Sunlight dates?
Matt: We’ve been playing on average every other month or so. We try to keep the number of local dates low simply because of the time constraints they place on us. When we were a new band around town, we tried to play as often as possible, but after doing that for a couple of years we found that we had to do more rehearsing than writing, and as such we were rushing out new songs and not really taking the time to let the material mature. However, the shows we do play are enjoyable, and we can always count on the local metal scene to be out in force. We are very excited to be joining Dragged Into Sunlight for the second half of their tour. MAKE had been planning on touring the Northeast for some time, and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that.
Scott: We’ve all had Hatred For Mankind on heavy rotation for a long time now so this was an incredibly satisfying bit of luck to come our way. It’s funny too…because their music, artwork and overall image is so daunting we didn’t know what to expect from the guys themselves but we just opened the Raleigh show for them last night and they’re the nicest, sweetest dudes in the world! Fuck. Don’t tell them I said that though…ha!
Spencer: Couldn’t agree more about the tour with Dragged Into Sunlight. Personally, I think Hatred For Mankind is a landmark achievement in metal, and their live set is absolutely astounding as well. It’s a real honor to be kicking out the jams with those guys for a bit.
What other interesting things are MAKE members up to?
Matt: I’ve been working as a booking agent lately, which has been an interesting and eye-opening experience. Beyond that, I dabble in school from time to time while cobbling together a living.
Scott: I’ve got an ambient/noise/drone side project called The Pod which is my home-recording outlet for things which just aren’t appropriate for a band environment. That said, Matt and I have been discussing doing a more organic and psychedelic electronica-inspired project if we ever get the time. Finding time for MAKE is hard enough right now.
Spencer: I play in a band called Systems that has been around in our current incarnation for about four years. We’re working on our second album right now.
I’ll admit it; I hadn’t heard of Chicago’s Jar’d Loose until the press folk the band hired to spread the word spread the word right into my lap one day. I’ll also admit that there was a pretty good chance I would’ve passed on checking the band out because of that horrendous name they’ve saddled themselves with. But to quote some guy who’s a much better writer than I, “What’s in a name?”
So, when I finally got around to wrapping my ears around an advance of their forthcoming debut, Goes To Purgatory, I was taken aback by their sinewy take on noise rock and how it both reminded me and didn’t remind me of the 90s and bands all the way from Karp and Helmet to Janitor Joe and The Jesus Lizard. It’s at this point I mumbled a quote originally spoken by one C. Montgomery Burns: “I know what I hate and I don’t hate this.”
Check out a track from their album, to be released July 10th, entitled “Last Living Roach.”
If you’re interested, take a looksee at the hyperbole of the band’s official press release, below:
Goes to Purgatory
Cassette Deck Media
July 10, 2012
Chicago upstarts Jar’d Loose announce the release of their debut album, Goes to Purgatory, out July 10 on Cassette Deck Media.
From a city of musical innovators, Jar’d Loose present the next chapter in their hometown’s history of heaviness. Jar’d Loose’s sound is all their own — thoroughly rocking yet left-of-center, totally new yet aligned with the spirit of their musical ancestors, from The Jesus Lizard to Entombed.
At the core is teeth-clenching momentum — brutish, hellbound noise-rock driven by Pete and Eva Bialecki’s chugging freight train riffs and Phil Hardman’s bare bones beats, built for maximum headbanging. Leading the charge is frontman Eddie Gobbo with a voice like no other. Former frontman of The Muzzler, Gobbo holds court with a tormented, raspy punk snarl that’s one of a kind — unhinged and real, spitting lines like “I’d give my right eye / The left one stays with me / I’ll take the land of the blind / There I will become king.”
Atop this foundation, the band takes startling left turns. Riffs transcend all expectations, making detours into unforeseen realms — what starts as a fist-banging dirt rock anthem shape-shists into an ebullient refrain or a haunting death rock dirge. It’s Jar’d Loose’s ability to rock out hellishly then pull the listener into strange new dimensions that makes Goes to Purgatory one of the most exciting debuts to hit the streets this year.
Goes to Purgatory was recorded and mixed by Pete Grossman (Weekend Nachos, Harm’s Way) at Bricktop Recording in Chicago, and mastered by Carl Saff (Unsane, Red Fang) at Saff Mastering in Chicago.
1) Last Living Roach
2) Rotten Tooth
5) Hell’s Mothers
6) Right Eye
7) Go Down with You
Coming Like a Nightmare
Eddie Gobbo – vocals
Pete Adam Bialecki – guitar
Eva Bialecki – bass
Phil Hardman – drums
P.S. Take note that the band’s drummer is named Phil Hardman. Dudes, “Phil-Fucking-Hardman”! How could they not be awesome?
We may not write about these Canadians very often, but it’s undeniable that Rush has had a profound effect on legions of artists that we do cover. So to celebrate next week’s release of the ubiquitous band’s 19th (!) full-length studio album, we compiled a “best of” Rush playlist that features tracks hand-picked by some of the many musicians who have been slappin’ da bass over the years.
If we learned one thing, it’s that most of the artists below had a difficult time only picking one song. Just ask Anthrax’s Joey Belladonna, who managed to whittle his list down to three: “‘Fly By Night’ is the first Rush song I ever sang. ‘Tom Sawyer’, I got to play drums in my own band and sing at the same time—great fun, killer song! ‘Lakeside Park’—when I got the live album, I was so into that record from top to bottom.” As you’ll see from the explanations below, however, it’s pretty clear that everyone who participated agreed with the frontman’s ultimate conclusion: “I love Rush!” As usual, we’ve compiled the picks (which run in chronological order based on album release date) into a Spotify playlist.
“Anthem” (from 1976′s All the World’s a Stage)
I choose “Anthem” because it was one of my all time favorite songs on All the World’s A Stage. I would play drums along with that record—it really shaped the drummer I would later become. I’ve been a diehard Rush fan for quite a long time now, they still give me chills when I hear or see them live. It would be hard to choose a favorite Rush record—I love so many—but my favorites would be Hemispheres, A Farewell To Kings, Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures. (Charlie Benante, Anthrax)
“Xanadu” (from 1977′s A Farewell to Kings)
This has all the elements of Rush and what they do in one song. It has the classic 7/8 Rush rhythm in it, an insanely epic intro and all three guys playing awesome parts that make this song so interesting and catchy every time I hear it. I like how once the song gets going, you get to hear the arrangement basically three times. Live, they would multitask to make it happen with both Alex and Geddy playing 12 strings, synths, etc.—performing this song live gave us those classic photos of them playing the doublenecks. Lyrically, it’s a classic literary reference to a famous poem, but what I get out of it is be careful for what you wish for, because it might come true. The person in the story becomes immortal but then finds himself waiting for the world to end. And for anyone into mystical stuff, the album version is 11:11 minutes long. (Shane Clark, 3 Inches Of Blood)
I was watching Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert on TV way back in the day. I had never heard of Rush, then the band played “Xanadu” live! It fucked me up for life! That song has everything great about non-commercial songwriting—it gives me goosebumps and makes me feel good inside. I really don’t know why, maybe for me it was the first prog tune that wasn’t dark and chaotic. All of the parts really flowed together as opposed to the normal mathematical prog trainwrecks within the same magnum opus that I was accustomed to and loved. The bass lines are very moving and Geddy was singing with a lot of soul. Love that band. King’s X was managed by their manager Ray Daniels for a few years back in the day, but we never got to tour with them—contrary to the rumor that we did. I wish! (dUg Pinnick, King’s X)
“The Trees” (from 1978′s Hemispheres)
Such an amazing journey this tune takes you on—from the classical guitar intro to the turbulent meat of the tune, shifting from 4/4 to 6/8, then on to a nice analog breakdown. It’s epic, truly one of the most fun to play! (Sean Reinert, Cynic)
“Cygnus X-1 Book II” (from 1978′s Hemispheres)
There are truly too many great things to say about the record Hemispheres as a whole, but since I am restricted to the song, I’ll have to pick the first track, “Cygnus X-1 Book II”. This song has the technicality that really exceeded anything they had written at the time, and is timeless. I love that with this song, they showed they were reaching for new heights in their songwriting and arranging, and the outcome was pure magic. Geddy’s vocals are incredible, he truly went balls-out on tracking this tune. It still gives me goosebumps every time I hear it. (Chris Corey, Last Chance to Reason )
“Freewill” (from 1980′s Permanent Waves)
To me, “Freewill” marks the perfect link between where Rush had been and where they were going. For example, Geddy starts out singing in a register that was low for him at the time but would become his comfort zone later on, while in the bridge of the song, he reaches some notes that are his highest ever, recalling the bands early to mid-’70s material. The presence of keyboards creates a more textural atmosphere than earlier guitar driven tunes like “Anthem” and “Fly By Night”, but retains the energy of that period (the next album, Moving Pictures, would have more keys, paving the way for the band to delve into a far more polished, keyboard-based sound in the mid-’80s). This track’s riffs are very clever, yet not so much that they go over listeners’ heads and the band’s playing is stellar. But it is Neil Peart’s lyrics that are my favorite element of the song. At a time when hard rock lyrics were more along the lines of “Pull the trigger of my love gun” and “Let me cut your cake with my knife” (with respect to Kiss and AC/DC), here was a song about listening to your inner voice, questioning authority, finding your own truth and not blindly buying into beliefs, religious or otherwise. (Alex Skolnick, Testament)
“The Spirit of Radio” (from 1980′s Permanent Waves)
“The Spirit of Radio” was the first time I had heard of Rush. I was only six when Permanent Waves came out in 1980, so it was probably a few years later when I gave it a proper listen. I loved the intro, which seemed totally crazy to me at the time with the bass stabs and drum fills on weird accents. It has all the sensibilities of a radio-friendly pop song, and then just when you think it’s entered the “safe” zone, it reminds you what sort of a band Rush really are: complex, melodic and above all, a band that has always written music on its own terms. I always heard the guitar arpeggio phrase that repeats as a keyboard line, but maybe Alex Lifeson took it on guitar because Geddy couldn’t play it with his feet… (Adam Wakeman, Headspace/Ozzy Osbourne)
*Stay tuned for the second half of our “best of” Rush playlist next week. Special thanks to Ed Stenger!
**We update one Spotify playlist for each new Decibrity entry, so feel free to subscribe to that here. Past entries include:
It’s been a good year for 16, a band known for writing about bad times. They finally have a steady lineup (for now) and their new album Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds was praised in the July issue of this magazine. So it seems like the right time for 16 to dig into their vaults (or in this case, garages and shoeboxes) to find unreleased material.
Fortunately, what they’ve found is far better than a few castoffs. Decibel received an exclusive peek at three tracks written by 16 more than a decade ago shortly after they recorded Zoloft Smile , perhaps the best (and bleakest) statement in the band’s long career. All have a distinctly Zoloft vibe and sound like they could effortlessly fit on that album.
The songs will be released in August as a 12-inch EP from Last Hurrah Records. If you like 16 chances are you’ve been bummed out before and this beauty will put you in better spirits. And there are no plans to release this in another format for now so this might be your only chance.
The EP was prepared for vinyl by former White Zombie guitarist J. Yuenger. The A side features the three songs below at 45 RPM; the B side features an etching by artist Lindsey Kuhn. You can stream the EP below and preorder Lost Tracts Of Time from Last Hurrah. After the tracks, vocalist/lyricist Cris Jerue shares a few memories about these “found” songs.
Were these tapes/files lost? If so how did you find them?
They were ‘lost’ but I knew where they were. I had the songs on the original reel sheathed in soft gold linen then secured inside one of Ted Nugent’s old gun vaults. That vault was locked inside an empty storage container that only I had the combination to. When I quit 16 in 2003, I tattooed the combination into my arm and went into hiding. No, seriously, I found the CD inside a box in my Mom’s garage when I was looking for some checkered, slip-on Vans.
When were these songs written?
1999 or maybe 2000. It was right around the time Fred (Durst) ruined Woodstock. I was so mad at him.
What were the sessions like?
These would have been the first songs to be used, eventually, for an album after Zoloft Smile if we hadn’t broken up. That’s the way we did it (except for Blaze of Incompetence): record three songs at a time, over a two to four year time period until we had enough material for an entire album. Then we’d tweak, change and fix them in the studio during final mix and sequencing. It’s a really backward way to do it but we enjoy doing it. When 16 reunited in 2007, we started talking to some labels about rereleasing Zoloft Smile with these three songs as a bonus but we couldn’t find anything that we all agreed on. So, we’re going to release them by themselves with Last Hurrah on a beautiful piece of one-sided, colored vinyl and settle the Zoloft reissue later.
What do you remember about these sessions?
It was weird that Bobby (Ferry, guitar) wasn’t there but having Phil (Vera, guitar) and Tony (Baumeister, bass) write without him opened up a new sound for 16 that won’t ever be replicated. That’s why these songs are so unique. I knew Phil could sing so we started doing some back-up vocals too which we hadn’t done before. After this recording, we stalled again when Tony quit and these songs disappeared. We replaced him with a sweet beard named Nial McGaughey and bought a new van as an incentive to tour but we didn’t actually have anywhere to go. After months of collecting dust, I drove it back to the lot and ran away from it. We had to start flying our groupies into town.
Of the three, which is your favorite song?
I like ‘Drink Faster’ because of the tempo and it reminds me of a time when I was drinking screwdrivers and tequila sunrises for breakfast. For 16, it’s pretty fast, fun and it has this inside joke thing in it about Shaquille O’Neal when he was a Laker. ‘Time’ gives me the goosebumps because there are references to my son and me being a shoddy father. ‘Twists and Wrong Turns’ reminds me of the mental mind-fuck that is working at night, staying up all day doing drugs and then going back to work at night.
Are you happy to see these songs being released?
I sure am. I think they’re really good 16 songs that deserve to see the light of day and be adored by multiple people.