STREAMING: Scale the Summit’s “The Migration”

By: Jeff Treppel Posted in: featured, listen On: Monday, June 10th, 2013

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Scale the Summit are pretty much the epitome of the hoary old cliché “nothing ventured, nothing gained.” After all, who would’ve thought that playing instrumental prog rock in the 21st century would be a remotely sane move, much less a valid career path? it seems to be working pretty well for them  – although it helps that, unlike a lot of their fellow Musicians Institute alumni, they can actually write songs in addition to their obvious technical mastery. They’ve been pretty prolific to date with said songs, knocking out four full-length records in space of a six-year existence. The Migration is the latest of those, and while it doesn’t offer any real surprises, it also doesn’t screw up the amazing, intricate style they’ve made their own. No guest vocalists, no dubstep drops, no djent. Just emotionally-charged beauty in the vein of Joe Satriani and Dream Theater (in their streamlined mode), expertly coproduced by Between the Buried and Me’s Jamie King. But don’t take my word for it – listen to the full album  stream below.

***The Migration comes out on June 11 courtesy of Prosthetic. Preorder it on physical media here, on iTunes here, or from Bandcamp here

Tour Dates:

6/5      Seattle, WA – Highline*
6/6      Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theater*
6/7      Calgary, AB – Calgary Metalfest*
6/8      Edmonton, AB – Pawn Shop*
6/10    Winnipeg, MB – Osborne Village Inn*
6/11    St. Paul, MN – Station 4*
6/12    Chicago, IL – Double Door*
6/13    Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class*
6/14    Rochester, NY – Bug Jar*
6/15    Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus*
6/16    Syracuse, NY – The Lost Horizon*
6/17    Montreal, QC – Il Motore*
6/18    Toronto, ON – Wreck Room*
6/19    West Chester, PA – The Note*
6/20    Boston, MA – Great Scott*
6/21    Baltimore, MD – Metro*
6/22    Charlotte, NC – Tremont Music Hall*
6/23    Nashville, TN – The End*
6/24    Atlanta, GA – Drunken Unicorn*
6/25    Orlando, FL – The Social*
6/26    Tampa, FL – The Orpheum*
6/27    Metairie, LA – Cypress*
6/28    Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s*
6/29    Austin, TX – Red 7*
6/30    Dallas, TX – Club Dada*
7/01    Lubbock, TX – Jake’s Sports Cafe**
7/02    Santa Fe, NM – Warehouse 21**
7/03    Denver, CO – Marquis Theater**
7/05    San Francisco, CA – Slim’s**
7/06    Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy**
7/07    San Diego, CA – Soda Bar (w/ Castle)
7/08    Tempe, AZ – Yucca Tap Room
8/03    Camden, NJ – Yestival @ Susquehanna Bank Center (w/ Yes)
# with Intronaut
* with Intronaut & Mouth of the Architect
** with Intronaut & Castle

Watain “The Wild Hunt” Track By Track Preview

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs On: Monday, June 10th, 2013

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** The “Wild Hunt” listening party was held at Duff’s in Brooklyn, New York on June 8th. Century Media hosted, with Erik Danielsson acting as infernal master of ceremonies. The track-by-track review was written on first listen at Duff’s.

Track 1: “Night Vision”
Big slow intro build. Heavy metalesque segue, twin harmonic leads cutting the dirty distortion. Tympani drums signal the oncoming assault. Raw mix, up front, clear ’80s production. Lots of space, buried guitar solos. Chaotic.

Track 2: “De Profundis”
More direct, tremolo Swede vibe. Vocals feel like venom on skin. Could be a Sodom song—tight and riff simple—if it was done by a more musically adept Sarcofago. Then it goes into a Dissectionesque march, but still very much Watain. Triumphant mid-section. Very soundtrack-like.

Track 3. “Black Flames March”
The trademark Swedish tremolo riff returns. Windswept in feel but also evil and grimy. The mid-section breaks open, spacey and focused on a drum/vocal call and response. Nice solo transition into a rocking movement that could’ve been on Tormentor’s Anno Domini record.

Track 4. “All That May Bleed”
Reading the lyrics to this song as it plays gives it a new dimension. It rolls along, powerful and purposeful. Erik’s rolling the “r”, too. There’s a violent mid-section; feels like something out of South America but sounds like no one. The tight thrash riff that explodes out of the brief solo is Germanic. The amount of production “things” is also of note. Whether it’s the bubbling bass or background noises, there’s more here than a “song.” “All That May Bleed” is the 7-inch single.

Track 5: “The Child Must Die”
Very much in line with the black/death of Unanimated. Erik’s vocals clear and commanding, a sense of climatic danger. The drum production is of notice. Huge and impactful. The coruscating melodic guitar could be on a Mörk Gryning record, like Maelstrom Chaos. The rocking end, with the bass and guitar lines guiding the song to its inevitable resolution.

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Track 6: “They Rode On”
Introspective. Singing! Very singer/songwriter. Pensive. Will surprise. Feels a bit like a Root song from The Book, without the Bohemian vibe. Or maybe something like Bay Laurel would do on Days of Joy. Very Swedish in mood. Great end of Side A track. Guitar work is fantastic. Feels like Erik’s invoked Quorthon. But this is very much individual. It’s a genuine song construction. The solo is fucking brilliant. Slow and melodic, lengthy it takes over before Erik’s vocals return.

Track 7: “Sleepless Evil”
Brutal. Some kind of nasty, barely unbridled version of German/South American death. The alternating tremolo guitar the only indication this song of Swedish origin. Horror movie piano break. Dynamic. Big production. Drums sound massive. Guitars churn. Thrashy break into a more black metal assault. Solos clash, break. Direct and uncompromising. Consider this a response to track 5.

Track 8: “Wild Hunt”
This is the single. To me. Ritualistic. Choir vocals. Sort of what Bathory did on Blood Fire Death. Dark, slow and melodic. There’s menace present but it’s an ancient menace. Something finally awake after a long slumber. Solo is great. Depressive yet engaging. Funeral march-like. Again, feels like Bathory on Hammerheart. Erik’s singing. A bit of a Pink Floyd feel. Outro is great. Big and reflective. Strange flamenco finale.

Track 9: “Outlaw”
Pulling in ancient voodoo/religious vibe. Unleashes hell. Fast, spitting black. Cool thrash solo, weird prog movement. Solo’s chaotic, wild, recalling the late ’80s. Oh, there’s a Maybe Voivod if they worshiped the devil and dined on the dead. Not evil just noisy and different. Voodoo vibe comes back. Maybe inspired by the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom soundtrack. Ends suddenly.

Track 10: “Ignem Veni Mittere”
Instrumental. A break. Shows Watain’s melodic side. An evil bit closes it out. They’re developing at a frightening pace. While one one hand, they’re brutal and uncompromising, on the other they’re nostalgic, reflective, and musical. The marriage of the two styles will surely bring more interesting things in the future.

Track 11: “Holocaust Dawn”
Brutal yet experimental. Choirs. Waltz part with tremolo guitars. Arabic section, with talking and atonal strings. Fast blasts dominate. This is Watain in 7-minute frame. This the past, the present, and future of Watain. Certainly, it’ll divide the purists, but the purists see only out of one eye. Sadly.

** Watain’s The Wild Hunt is out August 20th in North America.

Tales From the Metalnomicon: John Edward Lawson

By: Shawn Macomber Posted in: featured, interviews On: Friday, June 7th, 2013

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

Reading the work of Raw Dog Screaming Press founding editor/bizarro author extraordinaire John Lawson might be best described as taking a very scenic shortcut into an Altered States-esque surrealist landscape without having to invest in a sensory deprivation tank. Metalnomicon, naturally, is more than a little pleased to have the heavy metal loving boundary pusher here today to give us a peek at the soundtrack to his escape…

The path I took to becoming an author was somewhat crooked. I started out as a child excelling in visual art, and learned to use music to block out the world and concentrate on my craft. Later, as a teenager entering adulthood, I shifted focus to making music and even became a certified audio engineer at Omega Studios. Between sessions in the studio I indulged my side passion, writing, and received much more notice for it than I ever did in music. Over a dozen years later I’m a full time author and member of the editorial staff at Raw Dog Screaming Press, where I’m lucky enough to work with such author musicians as S. Craig Zahler of Charnel Valley and Realmbuilder, Donna Lynch and Steve Archer of Ego Likeness, Michael Arnzen and Jason Jack Miller who collaborated on the Audiovile project, and Eckhard Gerdes of Scuff Mudd.

As you can see there’s an enclave of creators who are successfully working with both sound and the written word.

The moment where it all clicked for me was 1990 during a trip to England, where I heard Napalm Death after years of struggling to find music that spoke to me. Ever since then I’ve listened to brutal music while working. In general it’s stuff like Six Feet Under’s Undead album — listening as I write this! — or Killed the Fixtion. Especially their song “Pulse.” But I like to mix the old with the new, and include such as Sepultura’s Arise, …And Justice For All, Earth AD by the Misfits. They’re still in regular rotation as I put words on the page.

My next book being released is an artbook called Verminomicon, A Field Guide to the Vermin of Yuggoth: Abominations of a Haunted World. You’d think for a project like Verminomicon I wouldn’t need any more inspiration beyond the incredible — and horrific — sculptures created by artist Tony Debartolis for the book. However, I mixed lethal doses of death metal and dark drum ‘n bass to keep me charging through crafting all the Lovecraftian-style purple prose. The playlist included Mantis, Substep Infrabass, The Relic, Hypocrisy, Arch Enemy, and Carcass. I anticipated needing something more atmospheric and moody, but creative forces can be counterintuitive.

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Redefine “Death Metal Percussion” with Goatcraft’s All For Naught

By: Dan Lake Posted in: featured, listen On: Friday, June 7th, 2013

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How many extreme-minded riff lovers do you think headed to the Deciblog today for a treatise on classical piano composition?  Not the standard purview of a magazine proclaiming the virtues of black-thrashing terror, I’ll grant you, but this spring Forbidden Records has brought us an album that, by all outward signs, should be a lo-fi Satanic hymnal but turns out to be 45 minutes of haunting, apocalyptic dirges for piano (and very occasional ambient flourishes).  The project is called Goatcraft, a disturbing moniker – does it refer to the craft of building goats from other raw materials, or creating new exciting forms out of goats? – which would have trouble getting any more workmanlike in its appreciation of the dark arts.  The album is called All For Naught – again, none more nihilistic.  The cover art lays Old English font text over a black and white sketch of a lone goat atop craggy nighttime peaks.  The promotional materials call the genre “necroclassical”.  There are songs with titles like “Call Me Judas”, “Infinite Death”, and “Vestibule to the Abyss” (and, er, “Goats Will Riot”).  The pianist making all the ebony (and ivory) racket is called Lonegoat.  Lonegoat is from Texas.  Okay, that last bit doesn’t quite spell frosty darkness, but Absu hails from the Lone Star abyss and you accept that just fine.

Cover Art

Enough trying to convince you that Goatcraft belong here.  All For Naught is simply engaging music, layered with cascading (not Cascadian) melodies, persistent rhythm structures and dark tones.  What initially sounds like the overenthusiastic pounding of a keyboardist who just hasn’t gotten around to learning the guitar yet opens up over the course of its dozen tracks to reveal an accomplished musician with a taste for majestic horror.  I have a few piano-playing acquaintances with no interest in extreme metal who reluctantly gave All For Naught a shot, and they were very complimentary of what they heard.  “I listened to that CD last night,” one such doubter told me in a low voice, all dry and grudging skepticism.  “It was actually really good.”

The album is streaming at Bandcamp, and you can hear it right here from the Deciblog.  We’d love to hear what other web-connected metal maniacs think of this music.  Enjoy your very non-metal day!

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Get a Van for Getting in the Van: An Interview with Greenvans Owner Andrew Reitz

By: kevin.stewart-panko Posted in: featured, interviews, uncategorized, videos On: Thursday, June 6th, 2013

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I don’t exactly remember how I stumbled across Greenvans, but if Andrew Reitz had been offering the use of 15-passenger vans at affordable rates exclusively to touring bands, it would have made my touring life a fuck of a lot easier. I would have avoided doing month long tours in minivans out of necessity, for one thing. It’s about time there was a service that won’t nickel and dime you on milage or tear you a new one via claims of mandatory daily insurance, like most conventional vehicle renters, and actually understands a touring band’s needs, unlike most conventional vehicle renters. If you’re in a band and don’t already own your own touring chariot, here’s an introductory interview with your new best friend.

How did you get started in the van rental business? What were your humble beginnings like and how are things different today?
To be honest, Greenvans started out accidentally. In 2007, I bought a van and trailer for my band’s first full US tour (this was the band that eventually became Defeater). We toured for two months, it was a mild success, and then like every band that buys a van thinking they are going to tour all the time, I was left with a van sitting unused in my driveway. I thought about renting it out to bands, but I wasn’t comfortable letting strangers drive my baby. A few months later some friends in a band called I Rise were in a bind, they desperately needed a van, and I desperately needed some extra cash. I rented them my van for two weeks, and that was the beginning of Greenvans. My friend Anthony and I got together and started brainstorming about the possibility of starting a business around what was such an obvious need in a market that we both understood. We both had toured, so we knew first hand that finding affordable transportation as young band was next to impossible. We wanted to offer a service that so many bands needed but didn’t have access to because so few companies understood or cared about the needs of a touring band. From there it was a slow, uphill battle as we grew from one van, to two, to three, etc. We made a ton of mistakes early on, but learned important lessons that shaped the way our business works today. I wouldn’t say that it’s EASY now, but we have certainly gotten better at what we do. The only thing that’s different now is that we’re not fighting an uphill battle every day, only a few days a week.

Do you “get in the van” (c’mon, you knew it was coming!) much yourself anymore?
Haha, yeah. I get in the van whenever I have to. Unfortunately I don’t have the time to go on tour anymore, but whenever a van needs to get delivered to a customer and there’s nobody else around to do it, I have no reservations about putting on some music and cranking out a cannonball overnight drive. Anthony and I have made A LOT of trips across the country in the last 6 years for Greenvans. Some fun, some not so fun, but those trips always leave us with good stories.

Is there a story behind how you ended up with the name Greenvans?
We started out renting biodiesel and veggie oil vans, so we were primarily a “green” company. The first van that I bought was a diesel van I had converted to run on Waste Vegetable Oil. The original idea for the business came from renting WVO vans to bands so they could save money on fuel and take part in an eco-conscious initiative. Since then we’ve had to grow our fleet beyond just diesel vans and incorporate gas vans because of the demand. A lot of bands do prefer the basic gas option and we can charge a much lower rental rate for them.

What sort of client range do you have? By that, I mean who are some of the bigger names that have used Greenvans?
We work with everybody from small local bands doing weekend runs to full time touring bands. Every Time I Die, Terror, Parkway Drive, The Joy Formidable, H20, Unearth, Shadows Fall, The Chariot are some of the bigger bands that have rented vans from us. Oh….and Snoop Dogg. Not even kidding.

What does a band that isn’t based in proximity to your Massachusetts homebase have to do if they’d like to rent from you? I noticed you have a new location on the west coast. Any plan to get into the Midwest so as to cover as much of the country as possible?
We do whatever we can to make rentals work for bands who aren’t close to Boston. We’ll deliver a van anywhere….obviously the further you get from us the more expensive it gets, but we try to keep our delivery rates as low as possible. As long as we get fuel, tolls, transportation for the driver, and the driver’s pay covered, we’ll get a van to you. We just opened up a west coast office in Huntington Beach, CA this year thanks to our friend Chris at No Sleep Records. He’s been kind enough to let us share some of his office and parking lot space, though I’m sure he’s regretting it now that we’re actually using it. Chicago is on our radar for our next location, but we’re still a year or two away from making that happen.

What happens in cases where bands from other countries rent your vans? Do you have a staff of drivers on hand to drive bands who need help behind the wheel?
We don’t have a “staff” of drivers on hand, but we’re fortunate enough to be in a circle of friends that have a lot of tour experience. We have SO many friends that spend their lives on the road in bands, as TMs, merch dudes, drivers, whatever, and they are always eager to find other touring opportunities. I don’t have a hard time finding drivers for international bands. We don’t require all international bands to hire drivers, but it usually ends up being the easiest option. Sorting insurance can be a little difficult and expensive, but we know how to get it done if we have to.

What sort of maintenance do you have to perform on the vans in your fleet? Is there a certain scheduled point you take a van out of commission? What happens to the vans you no longer rent out?
Maintenance and safety are our most important concerns. We’re VERY serious about keeping our vans in excellent mechanical condition because bands have a high expectation for safety and reliability. Our shop spends most of its time (and our money!) on tires, brakes, oil and fluid changes, front end work, etc. All normal wear and tear items, but we also do more serious engine and transmission work from time to time to keep our vans lasting as long as possible. We usually run them to 150,000 or 200,000 miles before we take them off the road, at which point we either sell them at auction or to local dealers. Obviously things happen on the road, but one of those things that we’ve learned to deal with over the years, and have gotten quite good at, is going above and beyond to make sure bands don’t miss shows when something goes wrong. We’ve been in business for just over 6 years, probably logged well over 2 million miles on all of our vans total in that time, and I think only 5 shows have been missed because of mechanical problem. If a van breaks down and I have to put a band in a limo because it’s the only vehicle I can find to get them to their show, I’m going to do that. (and, yeah, I have.)

Obviously, Greenvans is different from the major name rental companies. But what makes Greenvans different from other indie companies?
There aren’t a lot of other independent companies that do what we do….honestly because it’s difficult, it’s expensive and it’s risky, but regardless, we LOVE what we do. I think I’m constantly toeing the line between being a small business owner trying to make a living, and a dude that used to be in a struggling band that wants to help other dudes in struggling bands. I couldn’t tell you specifically what makes us different from other rental companies in the music business, but compared to some of the standard rental companies out there I like to think that our customer service and the relationships we build with bands is what sets us apart. I enjoy interacting with bands, and I take great personal satisfaction when a tour goes well, and when something goes wrong that I can’t fix in a way that the band is happy with, I’m pretty disappointed, and that’s what drives me to be better at my job. My outlook on band life and touring is that successful bands put together good teams: They have managers, labels, booking agents, merch companies, etc that handle a lot of the hard work that goes into growing a band. I see Greenvans as part of that team for most of our customers, and it’s an important element that a lot of bands overlook. We’re really good at dealing with tour transportation, so it’s fun for us to be a part of a group of talented individuals working hard for something they believe in.

What vans/trailers do you have available in your rental fleet? I notice you have diesel and waste vegetable oil rentals available in addition to standard gasoline vans? How popular are you finding these alternatives to be?
All of our vans are Ford E350 15-passenger vans. We have a few trailers, 5×8, 6×10, and 6×12 sizes. The majority of our vans now are regular gasoline vans because Ford stopped making vans with diesel motors, so we started buying newer (2011, 2012) model year gas vans while we wait for Ford to reintroduce the diesel motor in it’s new models. We do still have a few diesel/biodiesel/waste vegetable oil vans that we rent out as well. These are good alternatives for bands that want to stick with an environmental initiative as well as save money on fuel on long trips. It’s not an option for everybody, most bands just want your basic, most familiar Ford 15-passenger gas van and above all else they want to spend as little as possible.

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I also noticed you have a sponsorship option at reduced rates. Please describe what’s going on there?
The sponsorship program was a way for us to get creative in figuring out how to reduce our rental rates while still covering our operating costs. We partner up with various music industry related companies and wrap some of our vans with their ads. The companies get great exposure on the road and at shows, use the vans for their own events throughout the year, and in exchange bands can rent these vans for lower rates than the standard unwrapped vans. GHS Strings, Jensen Loudspeakers, Amplified Parts, Clayton Custom Pics are a couple of the companies we work with to keep our rental rates low for bands.

Without naming names (unless you’d like to), describe the worst condition one of your vans has ever been brought back in? Describe the biggest rental nightmare you’ve had to deal with? What happens in cases like these?
One of the biggest rental nightmares I’ve ever dealt with was a band that decided to leave a van at the Milwaukee airport without telling me….even though it was supposed to be returned to New York about 4 days earlier. I had one of our guys on his way down to meet the band and pickup the van. The band’s manager called about an hour before the meeting time and said they were stuck in a blizzard in Canada. Ok. That’s fine. Maybe it would have been cool if you called to tell us this earlier, but it is what it is. My dude headed home, I lined up another friend in New York to pick up later. So a day goes by, haven’t heard from them. I call the band, I call their manager, no answers. Two days later I got their manager’s assistant on the phone and he’s like “oh, are you calling to schedule the pickup in Milwaukee?” Um, no dude, I’m calling to find out where my van is cause it’s 2 days late and you’re supposed to be in New York, not Milwaukee. The assistant is just like “oh, yeah, the tour ends in Milwaukee, so that’s where the band is flying out of and that’s where we need the van picked up.” I have a momentary panic attack thinking I royally screwed this one up, so I go back through my email, I look at the routing they gave me, I check, check and double check all the rental dates that were confirmed, look at the contract, the invoice. Nope. I’m right, a one-way rental to Milwaukee was never discussed. These dudes basically stole my van for 4 days and just thought it would teleport itself back to Boston. I have to get somebody to fly to Milwaukee on a day notice and drive almost halfway across the country. When I sent the manager an invoice for the $1500 or so that it cost to retrieve, he emailed me all bent about how high the price for the pickup was and if there was anything I could do to give him a better deal. Needless to say I billed his card and wrote him a very friendly email explaining that he was an idiot.

What sort of goals do you have for the future of Greenvans?
We want to get better at what we do every day. Our biggest goal is to continue to grow our fleet and our brand name, but it’s most important for us to do that without sacrificing the level of customer service and attention to our customers that I think defines Greenvans. As long as we keep making progress and growing our company without losing sight of our original motivations, then we’re headed in the right direction.

Check out the Greenvans website here

A Haphazard Chronicle of Cobalt’s First (And Last?) Tour: Part II

By: dB_admin Posted in: featured, tours On: Thursday, June 6th, 2013

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by Kim Kelly

Richmond
We’ve got a super-short drive today, so we wasted as much time as possible before hopping back in the van and firing up The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Josh brought along a bunch of brainless DVDs, so between those and Michael’s unwavering dedication to picking on Josh, it went quickly. Richmond is a great city and tons of awesome people call it home, so we were all really looking forward to the show, especially since hometown hessians Battlemaster were due to play. We killed off some time with gargantuan milkshakes and a badly needed Kroger run (we were all on the brink of scurvy), then sluggishly hauled everything through Strange Matter’s heavily-stickered doors and into a towering inferno. Summer in Richmond is no joke, and the lack of air conditioning dragged morale down a few notches (though we were very grateful for the healthy food they kindly stuffed down our grease-slicked gullets).

Lord Mantis hadn’t been able to squeeze onto the bill, so they were watching hockey somewhere near Philly while Cobalt carried on their Virginia campaign. A new local black metal band called Crater opened and Asheville’s Shadow of the Destroyer pummeled punters with a blast of cold, abrasive black metal before Battlemaster took the stage. Andy Horn is one of metal’s best frontmen, and his band’s bizarre world mix of sci-fi, fantasy and epic nerdery, coupled with blistering black/thrash, is always a joy to witness. The crowd ate it up, but thinned out as it got later and later. Technical difficulties plagued the somber acoustic interlude “Throat” and threw things off course for a few minutes, but the band quickly recovered, and the remainder of the performance went off without a hitch. We crashed at Tim from Forcefield Records’ place, ensconced in a circle of oscillating fans.

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Philadelphia
Phil ended up in the backseat with Michael and I today, and felt comfortable enough by now to open up about his job and his life with the Army. He’s a very private person, so details are unnecessary, but suffice it to say, he’s seen some insanely brutal shit and been through unfathomably intense experiences, especially during his time as an Army scout in Iraq. Phil’s a genuinely nice, respectful, trustworthy guy, and fixating upon his military career does him a disservice; his reluctance to talk about those things in interviews or to fans makes sense. He did mention, grinning, that he likes to blast Angelcorpse and Krisiun at his soldiers during training to keep them rattled, but beyond that, seems to keep his metal and military lives very much separated.

Now that he’s back stateside, he works as a drill sergeant. He wakes up at 3 a.m. every day, spends every waking hour making life miserable for new recruits, breaking them down and building them back up, turning snot-nosed high school kids into war machines. He’s done with work at 10:30 p.m., goes home to spend time with his family, then gets up and does it all over again. It’s a small miracle that he was able to take time off to do this tour; he put in the request three months prior, and is headed back to Georgia to get ready for work Monday morning. Half-joking, I asked him when he has time to sleep. “I, uh… don’t.” He was serious. As he said, his entire life is “family, music, Army.” There’s not much room for anything else, and that he’s carved out this week’s worth of time speaks volumes about the depth of his commitment to Cobalt. He keeps saying how humbled and appreciative he is that people care enough about their music to come and watch them play, but that he isn’t really enjoying the act of touring. You can tell that all he really wants is to be home with his wife and his Vlad Tepes records, but instead he’s here. One hopes that their fans can appreciate that kind of sacrifice, if nothing else.

He changed the subject soon enough, anyway, and just like that, we were back to chattering about farts and black metal. Baltimore traffic slows us down, then DC traffic does a real number on us, so we rolled up later than expected… to absolutely no consequence. The other bands were still loading in as we arrived, and the show itself didn’t end up starting ’til late, since “punk time” is alive and well in West Philadelphia. The Millcreek Tavern was an odd choice for this show, but we got to see the best new band in Philly, Hivelords, smear a gnarly blend of whacked-out doom and filthy black metal all over the joint, and a decent number of diehards stayed out to rage ‘til nearly 2 a.m. The band has really gelled by now, and seem totally comfortable onstage; it’s a shame I’ve got to leave them tomorrow, because those NYC dates will undoubtedly be the best yet.

Judging from what Phil’s said, this will be Cobalt’s first and last tour, so if you missed them this past week, you missed them forever. Cut ‘em loose, and watch ‘em fly.

Decibrity Playlist: Howl

By: zach.smith Posted in: featured, interviews, listen, lists On: Thursday, June 6th, 2013

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While bands seem to really like doing these playlists, there is one theme that has become prevalent over the last 18 months: what gets listened to in the van while on tour. We’ve had the likes of Ufomammut, Intronaut, BATILLUS, Anciients and Kowloon Walled City (Side A of their list being my personal favorite) tell us about what helps them get through endless drives in what I can only imagine are constant tests of patience and endurance. As this week’s guest demonstrates yet again, what gets jammed in the van can sometimes be what you least expect. Fresh off the release of his band’s sophomore record Bloodlines, guitarist Joshua Durocher-Jones of Rhode Island’s Howl filled us in on what (at least musically) helps the quintet cope on the road. Feel free to listen along here.


The Atlas Moth–An Ache For The Distance (2011)
Our buds in The Moth are some of the best tourmates you can ask for and An Ache for the Distance is an utter masterpiece. It is so well written, layered and heavy, with the just the right amount of psych to really let you zone out and melt into the dash while driving through the middle of the country. To paraphrase from the title tack, we follow the open road.

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Neil Young–After The Gold Rush (1970)
I am a giant Neil Yong fan and had a hard time picking one of his records because his discography has so many different styles and moods that you can always find one that fits your current state. That being said, there is something truly special about putting this record on first thing in the morning as you are about drive down the highway for hours on end.

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The Fucking Champs–VI (2007)
This is another band whose entire catalog I worship. Their songwriting and use of harmonies have been major influences on my guitar playing over the years and their choices in tone and production continue to blow me away. Time flies on the road when you have a Champs anthem up all the way!

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Ginuwine–Greatest Hits (2006)
[Vocalist/guitarist] Vincent [Hausman] picked up this CD along with D’Angelo’s Brown Sugar at Earshot Records in Charleston, South Carolina when our iPod tape adapter died. Sometimes you need to unwind after a long metal show and there is no better way to get everyone in the van feeling super smooth and sexy than putting on “Pony” and “In Those Jeans”, which just so happen to be back to back on this compilation. It may be possible that these were the only albums played in the van for the two days straight when we were on the hunt for a new adapter.

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At The Gates–Slaughter Of The Soul (1995)
What can anyone possibly say about this album that hasn’t been said before? Without a doubt, the greatest melodic death metal record of all time gets many rotations in the Howl camp.

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Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats–Blood Lust (2011)
I found out about these guys and their first record not too long before our Spring tour and was excited to share it with the rest of the band. Their creepy vibe and incredibly catchy riff writing won the van over and Blood Lust was requested over and over again. I cannot wait for the new album Mind Control to drop as I’m sure we will be blasting it all summer on tour!

High On Fire–Blessed Black Wings (2005)
Never have we met a HOF album we didn’t like, but for whatever reason Blessed Black Wings is the perfect storm of pure fucking metal. From start to finish Matt Pike destroys his fret board and Steve Albini’s production works so well for this set of songs. When this hits the stereo there is no head left unbanged.

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Taylor Swift–Red (2012)
Disposable female pop stars are a huge guilty pleasure of mine and Taylor Swift’s most recent album Red is filled with giant pop hooks. When I’m in the driver’s seat and controlling the iPod, I love to torture the rest of the dudes with a few tracks.

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Crowbar–Sever The Wicked Hand (2011)
It was an absolute honor to open for Crowbar on the first Metalliance tour in 2011, and the monster that is Sever the Wicked Hand was brand new at the time. We would be moshing the van to it by day while watching Kirk and the boys blow our minds with jams like “The Cemetery Angels” night after night. It was the last tour we went on before locking ourselves in the basement to write Bloodlines and watching their crushing set for a month definitely impacted the writing sessions in the heaviest way possible.

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Judas Priest–Painkiller (1990)
Of course every metal band blasts Priest, Maiden and Sabbath in the van and I don’t need to explain why. But it is also important to be well-versed in the classics because you never know when you might be confronted post-show by a venue’s Heavy Metal Karaoke. After downing a few pitchers, our own Timmy St. Amour has been known to bring the house down with his spot on Halford.

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*Order a copy of Bloodlines here.

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

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

STREAMING: Sacrilegious Impalement’s “Down For Grim Lord”

By: justin.m.norton Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

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For your streaming pleasure this Wednesday we have a new song from the Finnish black metal band Sacrilegious Impalement. It’s a smoker in 1349 fashion.

Stream “Down For Grim Lord” below and get in touch with the band here. Lux Infera is available from Woodcut Records.

More on the band, in their own words:

Formed: 2005 AMSG, in Lahti, FINLAND by Impaler Von Bastard.

First exhale was done in 2006 when Total Annihilation demo was released. Soon after that demo quickly sold out the band recorded their storming self-titled mini-album in 2007. 2008 saw the release of the misanthropic 7″ EP World in Ashes. In 2009, the band released their first full-length album Cultus Nex, which gained a lot of attention among the people over the world following underground black metal. In 2011, the band released the follow-up album, II – Exalted Spectres, which was once again a great proof of their increasingly stronger path.

In 2013, it will be time for the pearly gates to be punished again by an unholy pact with Woodcut Records, and yet another stab in the eyes of the holy, the third full-length Sacrilegious Impalement album, III – Lux Infera (which stands for “The Light of Those Down Below, the Dead”). Like a fist from Hell up the arse of the “king” up high, 9 songs from beyond the dormant realms to scar angels in their graves.

In spite of several changes in lineup within these years, Sacrilegious Impalement have grown stronger every year and through every release. The band’s rows contains or has seen members from Evil Angel, Exordium, Neutron Hammer, The Crescent, Urn, and Vitsaus among others, but the core of Sacrilegious Impalement is Von Bastard (guitars, main songwriting), Tooloud (bass), Revenant (drums) and the new vocalist/lyricist Wrathprayer. Known for their intense and fierce live rituals, Sacrilegious Impalement have played live in several notable shows, like in 2010 replacing Marduk as the headlining act at Firebox Metal Fest III, Armageddon fest (Lawless Darkness record release show) in London with Watain, Von, Nifelheim, Repugnant, etc., a tour with Finnish legends Black Crucifixion, and more many more to come.

STREAMING: Pest “Faced Obscured By Death”

By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listen On: Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

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I think I’ve said it before and I think I’ll have to say it again. Black metal, on the Deciblog, isn’t represented fairly. Why? I’ll leave that question up for Lord Belial (or one of his cronies) to answer. Nevertheless, the Deciblog needs more black. Whether it’s shiny black, flat black, or none more black, times like these—hot, humid, summer shit—need more fuel to Hell’s eternally burning fire. To help the Deciblog descend into the depths of darkness, we’ve enlisted Sweden’s Pest. Fresh off a one-album stint on Season of Mist, the Swedes have returned with full force on Poland’s Agonia Records.

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New long-player, The Crowning Horror, is a spiked fist to the cross. While previous efforts recalled some of metal’s finest (Bathory, Celtic Frost, Kreator), The Crowning Horror plays the retro card with caution. It’s for certain a casket full of reckless abandon, but it’s not subservient to the gods of yesteryear. It has a presence. Like Watain. Like Tribulation. Only not like either band at all. Pest is direct. Ten merciless tracks of death, destruction, and leather. Burnin’ leather.

Some say Hump Day sucks. Not at the Deciblog. Hump Day is Pest. And Pest is Hump Day. Viva death! Viva Pest!

** Pest’s new album, The Crowning Horror, is out June 18th on Agonia Records. It’s available HERE. Or, find yourself shackled to a church pew with Torn Flesh’s Crux of the Mosh playing on endless repeat.

A Haphazard Chronicle of Cobalt’s First (And Last?) Tour: Part I

By: dB_admin Posted in: featured, tours On: Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

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by Kim Kelly

As far as American black metal goes, Cobalt have got the market cornered on that classic “convoluted, vaguely threatening backstory” angle. The Colorado duo emerged in 2003 after the demise of Phil McSorley’s solo project, Grimness Enshroud, and quickly armed themselves with a sparse but jaw-dropping catalog. Through Cobalt’s raw, artful compositions and tendency to lay bare their own faults and demons, the concept of “war metal” finally shed its inherent flaws and became tangible, far removed from gas masks and goat worship. Their music’s visceral, innovative appeal won over underground ‘heads and critics alike, and at the height of the well-deserved furor over 2009’s masterful Gin, they disappeared. Multi-instrumentalist Erik Wunder relocated to Brooklyn, whilst vocalist, lyricist and sometimes guitarist McSorley, an Army sergeant, shipped off to Iraq. All remained quiet on the Cobalt front until a few months ago. Panties were twisted, eyebrows were raised, and “Order Now” buttons were feverishly clicked as news of their first ever tour spread like wildfire, and a handful of dates popped up around their Maryland Deathfest performance. Once the dust from that already legendary gig had cleared, I hopped in the van Almost Famous-style to sling their merch, document the proceedings and keep the boys from killing each other.

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Pittsburgh
It’s the first day of tour, and everyone is hung over except Josh Lozano, the straight-edge ’90s throwback (and Fashion Week/Man’s Gin/FAMILY member) who’s filling in on guitar. MDF is a cruel mistress at the best of times, and the usual pre-tour organizational scrum is hitting us hard. After a failed pub visit, misplaced equipment and some goat stew, we’re finally all present and accounted for, and are on our way to Pittsburgh’s Smiling Moose. There are five of us crammed into the van they’d rented from Batillus’ Fade Kainer, plus all manner of gear, backpacks and Josh’s seemingly endless supply of granola bars. He and Mutilation Rites’ Michael Dimmett (who’s filling in on bass) spend the next four hours bickering, while Erik and Phil hunker down up front with some Profanatica CDs and a Boyd Rice biography. A backseat viewing of The Waterboy commences, and, for now, peace reigns.

There are a lot of disparate personalities involved in this run, but somehow it works. Erik Wunder is always smiling and seems over the moon to be reunited with his oldest friend, Phil, who is unfailingly friendly and polite, if a bit reserved and wary. Josh is goofy and endearingly Eeyore-esque, which gives Michael, who’s armed with a rapier wit, churlish disposition and seasoned DIY background, plenty of ammunition for backseat squabbling. Everyone else has done time on the road before, but for Phil, this is his first touring experience and a rare vacation from his grueling military duties. While he’s unquestionably a billion times tougher than any of us will ever be, it’s very different from his regimented schedule – after all, deriving order from chaos is the name of the game – but he seems up for the challenge.

The Smiling Moose is a small club at the top of a rather intimidating flight of stairs. The promoter, a nice young dude named Jon, helped us haul everything up and apologized profusely for the lack of drink tickets, then Lord Mantis rolled up and tour started feeling like tour. The show went well; despite the Melvins’ playing across town, there was a respectable amount of people there to be happily harangued by Lord Mantis’ disgusting black tar sludge and McSorley’s manic, blood-smeared attack. Someone unsuccessfully offered me heroin, but besides that, it was a pretty sober night. The first of many broken microphone stands was left behind as we loaded out into the rain and dithered over sleeping arrangements. A Primanti Bros run was deemed essential, and, bellies groaning, a jumble of us packed into the Chicago dudes’ hotel room and got snuggly. Phil stretched out on the floor while the rest of us figured out how to fit six people into two beds and a rollaway camp bed. We already smell terrible.

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Harrisonburg
Hot dogs, an honest-to-fuck beer cave (!), and Lord Mantis’ ritualistic bestowal of the storied “poop shirt” upon Erik and Phil started off Day 2 on a high note. Michael won’t shut up about how awesome the Ethiopian food is at the Harrisonburg venue, the Blue Nile. The rest of us are skeptical, but it turns out he was right (I’m a five-year-old and demurred, but everyone else licked the communal plate clean). A few tense moments erupted after Erik discovered he’d lost his bag somewhere; the grinding stress of touring has a knack of magnifying little problems into BIG FUCKING PROBLEMS, but everything sorted itself out eventually. The venue was small but welcoming, as was the audience itself, and the bill for tonight was stacked sky-high. Earthling and Inter Arma both kill it, of course, and while the crowd seemed confused during Lord Mantis’ set (what about a scruffy tattooed beast-man snarling “I smell your pussy” is hard to understand?), the troops rallied for Cobalt. Erik’s love of Tool is becoming more and more obvious as he loosens up behind the kit. The band’s getting tighter, and more comfortable. The machine’s clanking into gear. There’s blood in the air tonight.

The scabs on Phil’s forehead get gnarlier every day, and another microphone stand bites the dust. Watching him onstage in tiny venues like this is exhilarating, and a bit frightening; he radiates tension, visibly grappling with his own rage and hate, clutching at his head and screaming at the sky like it’s listening.

Rumors of a party and promises of a place to crash found us chasing our own tails across town. We ultimately escaped the stoned confusion of it all to beat a hasty retreat to Waffle House and cram into another cheap hotel room. Seven bodies, one room, and a lot of dirty socks is either the premise for the lamest porno ever…or a Cobalt/Lord Mantis slumber party.

TO BE CONTINUED…