Remember our Black Dahlia Murder Contest? Yeah, us either, but that won’t stop us from announcing the winner! His name is Keifer, and that’s good enough. Winner. The contest was to find us the most disgusting, grueling, blasting death we’ve never heard of. Keifer won by bringing our attention to Cerekloth.
Here is some dirty, filthy, slow death from Denmark. Cerekloth’s new EP, Halo Of Syringes, is available streaming on the line, below, and it growls for itself.
Little may Keifer know it, but he’s accomplished something pretty incredible by finding a good band from Denmark. Nothing good has ever come from Denmark, except Kind Diamond, and he moved to Texas. Disneyland After Dark? What a joke! Danes didn’t even invent the Danish, which isn’t even that good of a pastry. Denmark is Scandinavia’s cum rag, and that’s about as vile as it gets, so we’re happy to support Cerekloth!
By: shane.mehling Posted in: featured, toursOn: Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
This is still some weeks away, but now is the time to book your flight to the west coast or Texas to see one of the premier doom bands in the world sweep across the plains and possibly rattle California into the ocean.
Australia’s Mournful Congregation is coming to America at the end of November for the very first time to support their new epic The Book of Kings and if you miss this because you live in fancy New York City or Braselton, Georgia you have no one to blame but yourself.
There are only ten dates scheduled, and we can assume each one will sound like you’re attending the funeral of the Earth itself, so if you miss this you’re going to regret it until we experience some sort of re-Pangaea and you can just walk to the outback.
Aldebaran and Anhedonist will be joining the Congregation with others dropping in throughout the tour so check here to see who else you might catch.
Also, The Book of Kings comes out on November 8th. Buy it with every fiber of your being.
What makes Tom tick? You’ve been doing Evergrey for more than 15 years now. Tom S. Englund: I don’t know, man. Must be as simple as the love for creating music and music in general. That and, of course, travelling the world numerous times as a result of the chords I play and write of course feel great when you look at it like that.
Do you ever see yourself in a different music role? Songwriter for other artists or producer? Tom S. Englund: Yeah. That is something I have already done both as the owner of a studio once as well as doing different projects and music for many different type of settings be it commercials for TV or something else.
I asked the previous questions because I can definitely see “Wrong”, for example, working with a Christina Aguilera or P!nk vocal. The hook is there. The lyrics are there. Tom S. Englund: Well first, thanks! That is a real compliment. You just have to be in the right place at the right time to get lucky enough getting a song onto a major artist like that. In our small ‘metal world’ chances of having a number one hit is slim to none.
How is the line-up different now that you don’t have Jonas Ekdahl, Henrik Danhage and Jari Kainulainen? You lost songwriters, which I’m sure made you a little nervous. Tom S. Englund: Of course, me and Rik [Zander; keyboards] were nervous. Who wouldn’t be? We were most nervous about if we could write songs on our own. Even if I wrote most since forever, the other guys’ impact have always been extremely important. So, when we released [Glorious Collision to] fantastic reviews and fan-responses, we were relieved.
What was your primary motivator going into Glorious Collision? Do motivators differ album to album? I mean, you contractually bound to deliver music, but I’m curious what personal factors go into making an Evergrey album at this point. Tom S. Englund: Yeah, as I said, we just made music to see if we could to start with. Then, when we felt confident enough I guess some sort of childish revenge thoughts got in there as well. But now it’s like any other album that we still are very proud of having made.
Evergrey’s always has had a melancholic angle to the music. What I’m trying to say is Evergrey isn’t just a Helloween or Maiden clone. There’s a soul behind it rather than a few key records by bands from the ‘80s. What do you attribute this to? Tom S. Englund: That is hard to answer with a simple correct answer. I think it has to do with everything from my upbringing to the fact that my voice sounds the way it does. Then, of course, the lyrics play a important role in giving it a special feel.
Do you have a favorite track now that the album’s lived with you for the better part of 2011. Tom S. Englund: Favorite to play live is “Frozen”. On the album, I would say “The Phantom Letters”.
I think your voice is different from other heavy metal singers. A little bit of soul and rawness in there. How do you think you’ve changed as a vocalist since, say, The Dark Discovery?
Tom S. Englund: Well, since I started singing three weeks before the recording of the first album I would hope I have gotten a bit better then of course the knowledge of how to write melodies and lyrics have grown on me as well!
The production on Glorious Collision is very rich and warm. Was that a goal going into the record sessions for the album? Tom S. Englund: The goal for this album would have been to get each song to sound exactly as it needed to sound. Before we have more worried about the overall sound and sort of base everything on the same sounds. On this album we have really worked on each song. Also the drums are something we put a lot of work on. Since we didn’t use any triggers there was a lot of emphasis put on the microphone technique.
I particularly like the drum sound. I know robo-perfect drum sounds are preferred at the moment, but there’s also a counter-movement. Like people recording drums that, well, sound like drums. Tom S. Englund: Yeah, that was our major intention too. The kids need to know how drums sound for real. Otherwise, they will be so disappointed when they get their own first kit.
How was your stateside headlining tour, in retrospect? Tom S. Englund: We have had a great time and with two Texan dates left the overall impressions are that we have started to get the Evergrey-ball rolling again. We had been away for six years and thus in some places the turnout was not fantastic. But for the most places it was really great and to know that the fans are still is extremely rewarding.
I caught the Philly date. I was so impressed I said to a friend of mine, “Evergrey would be a major contender in the states if they had a few high profile supporting slots.” The fans in attendance knew all the lyrics, sung along with you, they were passionate. Tom S. Englund: Yeah, that is pretty much our view on things as well. We need to tour with a band of Dream Theater’s size, maybe Opeth or even Avenged Sevenfold. To show people what we are about ’cause I think many people have a preconceived view on us that not necessarily is true. We are at least aiming to convert as many as possible.
** Evergrey’s new album, Glorious Collision, is out now on SPV Records. Order it HERE.
Do we have your attention now? Good. First, we need to address a few things about this photo, which we must admit, we find quite hilarious.
#1) No live animals were harmed. These taxidermied critters—a stoat and a squirrel—had previously met their demise before they had bottles of what was, at the time (July 2010), the strongest beer in the world—an unbelievable 55% ABV—stuffed into them.
#2) This is real, not a joke. The beer in question is called The End of History, and it was made by Scotland’s Brew Dog. Only a dozen bottles were made, which sold for ridiculous prices. Sorry, freaks, it’s no longer available.
#3) We have no idea how a beer can be “brewed” to 55% ABV, because yeast just can’t survive those conditions.
That out of the way, we can tell you that this insane endeavor was spurned by a “friendly” competition between Brew Dog and German brewer Schorschbräu (who have recently released a 57.5% ABV beer, Schorschbock 57—take that Brew Dog!). This video pretty much tells the whole sordid tale, in typical Brew Dog fashion.
Brew Dog, if you couldn’t tell already, are one of the most irreverent craft brewers in the world, always stirring up trouble. But they back it up by making damn fine beers like Punk IPA, Trashy Blonde, Hardcore IPA and 77 Lager, as well as other ridiculously high ABV beers like Tokyo Intergalactic Fantastic Oak Aged Imperial Stout (18.2%), Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32%), Sink The Bismarck! (41%). None of which are stuffed into any dead forest creatures.
The question remains, however, if the Brew Dog crew will once again rise to the challenge that Schorschbräu has thrown down, and come up with a beer that further stretches the bounds of what may be considered a “beer.” And will there be taxidermy involved?
As an unabashed booster of the original version of Quietly, Undramatically, I have to admit I was a bit skeptical when I heard Woe mastermind Chris Grigg was embarking upon a full remix of the record. The end result, however, definitely won me over, bringing a new level of epic-ness and clarity out of the album without sacrificing any of the aggression and intensity I loved in the first place. En route late Friday night to a Philadelphia practice space where he and Woe’s new line-up would be wrestling their way through some intense new jams Grigg called Decibel up to share a few thoughts on Quietly, Undramatically, past and present.
When some people hear a black metal band is remixing an album, they might assume the band is going back to make it sound shittier, running tracks through an old boombox, etcetera.
I guess a remix might go against some traditional black metal crappy sound is better aesthetic, but I draw a distinction between black metal that is the result of a deliberately raw production designed to craft a certain sound and atmosphere and the original version of Quietly, Undramatically on which the rawness was the result of inexperience.
Hindsight is 20/20 is probably a fairly common sentiment amongst artists of all stripes. How did you end up going from that to doing a full overhaul of a record, which — from what I’ve seen, anyway — garnered near universal acclaim?
As time went on I just realized the record didn’t really achieve what I wanted it to achieve, you know? I felt bad that I took responsibility for something that mattered as much to me and the other guys involved as Quietly, Undramatically when I wasn’t quite experienced enough to make it sound the way it deserved to sound. When it came out, of course, I thought it sounded great. But as people started picking it apart I realized a lot of the criticism had merit — the record lacked a sense of everything fitting together. Certain songs did not have the intensity they should have had. Ideas and atmospherics were just not all the way there and I could see the production was the cause of it. All kinds of shit, basically, that made it sound very demo-ish to me after awhile. Now I listen to things differently. I know how to get the sounds that I want. I know where I made mistakes setting up mics, and how that can sometimes result in a disgusting, horrible high-frequency mess. I know the mistakes I made with preamps. And I know what to look for in correcting those mistakes. So I had been playing around with a remix — just for my own ego, I guess — and I was very happy when the opportunity came about to redo it as a full release.
Considering the buzz surrounding it, did Quietly, Undramatically substantially change life in Woe?
It did, kind of, briefly. The record did well. It got a lot of press. We played Scion fest. We were getting more emails, more Facebook messages, more show requests, bigger crowds out at the shows. I made a lot of friends through it. All of that was pretty cool, but I can’t say it changed things all that much for us long-term. People have short memories. A lot of them are always looking for the next new thing…That’s fine. I don’t care. So I’m not sure where we’re at now in the bigger picture, but I’m still working a day job that has nothing to do with music. I’m still hanging out with the same people. I’m still playing the same guitar. I just know I want to keep moving forward, regardless.
The full version of Quietly, Undramatically revisited is currently streaming at the Candlelight Records Bandcamp page. Woe tours with Mayhem and Hate next month.
By: jonathan.horsley Posted in: featured, toursOn: Monday, October 17th, 2011
OK, so this is is effectively grabbing a pile of kindling and tossing it onto the hype inferno, but fuck it, we should probably remind/advise you that his forthcoming Kvelertak/Skeletonwitch tour is the most exciting thing that’s happening Stateside in the immediate future.
Consider this a public service announcement, or something to that effect. Shit, the dates are posted in the flyer above, but here they are below for those of you (like me, or anyone over the age of 30) who struggle with dark gray gothic typefaces set against a light gray background.
KVELERTAK/SKELETONWITCH—U.S. Tour 2011
10/19/2011 The Early – Atlanta, GA w/Skeletonwitch, Zoroaster
10/20/2011 Tremont Music Hall – Charlotte, NC w/Skeletonwitch, Zoroaster
10/21/2011 Europa – Brooklyn, NY w/Skeletonwitch
10/22/2011 Rocks Off Cruise – New York, NY w/Skeletonwitch
10/23/2011 Johnny Brenda’s - Philadelphia, PA w/Skeletonwitch, Zoroaster
10/24/2011 The Summit – Columbus, OH w/Zoroaster
10/25/2011 Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH w/Skeletonwitch, Zoroaster
10/26/2011 The Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL w/Skeletonwitch, Zoroaster, Gaza
10/27/2011 The Pyramid Schene – Grand Rapids, MI w/Skeletonwitch, Zoroaster
10/28/2011 Belvedere’s – Pittsburgh, PA w/Skeletonwitch, Zoroaster
Kicking off on Wednesday in Atlanta, Georgia, this a co-headlining deal, so nobody gets too bummed out if their prodigious boner is reserved for one or another, plus, on eight of the dates the bill is filled out by Atlanta’s sons, the psychedelic tripped-out Zoroaster.
Sure, you can get all of these details elsewhere, from a press release (from which all these facts are cribbed, obviously), the next fucking blog to the left, Facebook, permanent marker on the wall of the subway… et cetera, but the point is: why get excited?
Well, the thing is about our drab, worthless existence is that it’s enlivened tenfold when bands visit your local dive with a pitch-perfect soundtrack for pouring beers into that dried-out hole in your face. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got to let off some steam, and while November’s Decibel cover stars Skeletonwitch probably only kinda slay for the duration on record (… saying that new LP Forever Abomination‘s the strongest thing they’ve dropped), they’ve never been less than totally welcome in the a face-to-face live setting where you’re encouraged to finish your drink before it gets spilled by the awesomely named Chance Garnette swinging his studded gauntlets about trying to invoke Cronos. The Athens, Ohio crew’s high-pitched, aggro-Venom thrash workouts aren’t going to win the “Bohemian Rhapsody” Prize for Over-Ambitious Artistic Endeavour but sometimes it’s the simple things in life that get you by.
Case in point:
If you haven’t already checked out the exclusive track they cut for our Flexi-Series, (maybe you’d best subscribe), you can get involved by clicking below… Remember, though: no sidebanging.
Now, Kvelertak took a bit of time to make sense. On the face of it, if you did the arithmetic, adding all the key genre references—the punk, metal, rock, black metal—together, of course they should be considered no less than essential. Their eponymous debut was promising enough on initial spins, and putting blastbeats to tuned-down Stooges riffs was genius. But the Norwegian sextet’s full impact was kinda disguised by not knowing where these guys where coming from musically; it took time for the ear to deal with the stylistic jumps between rough-hewn punk jams and nihilistic rough ‘n’ tumble at the extremities of their sound. Having Hoest from Taake and Ryan McKenney from Trap Them guest on the record should have signposted that Kvelertak are a band not to be second-guessed.
It took an afternoon set in torrential rain in a field in Europe for it those jams to make sense. And then it was perfectly clear: it’s difficult to overstate how awesome they are live. Three guitarists, for starters, and then vocalist Erlend Hjelvik, shirtless, gut out (the beer gut being the male party animal’s most commendable war wound), growling and howling. This is a dispassionate and jaded time we’re living in, but it’s performances like this (below) that change all that.
Oh, if you’re quick you can get the U.S. only deluxe CD/DVD Kvelertak here.
But shit, if this tour’s passing through your town, book the next day off work, budget mentally and physically for a hangover and get yourself to one of these dates. Life is short—too short: best fill it with stuff.
By: Chris D. Posted in: featured, listenOn: Monday, October 17th, 2011
When death and his plague exhaling horse come knocking on your front door, the last sound you’ll hear won’t be “…Baby One More Time”. It’ll be the dirge of doom expulsed by Texas/Georgia duo Encoffination. Not unlike the members’ grime-encrusted outfit Father Befouled, Encoffination’s brand of death is unpolished, guts hanging out, but ultimately dangerous. It sounds like march music for Hell’s ‘Abyss Brigade’, all dark, muddled yet rife with intent.
The basis for Encoffination comes from stringer burner/vocalist Ghoat’s experiences working in the funeral industry, and here’s what the death-familiar dude had to say about O’ Hell, Shine in Thy Whited Sepulchres. “Expect pure darkness. Take everything we have done before and turn it up. More death, more gloom, more decay. Guitars will crush, vocals will possess, and the atmosphere ofEncoffination will strangle you. We are adding more texture in the riffs, more things to take you by the throat and steal your breath.”
Encoffination’s new album, O’ Hell, Shine in Thy Whited Sepulchres, is out November 15th via Polish label Selfmadegod Records. Without further ado, prepare for your doom. Encoffination – Rites of Ceremonial Embalm’ment by Decibel Magazine
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 rush the pearly barricades armed with nothing more than a bass, keyboard, drum kit, and 10 guitars, led by Glenn Branca and his Symphony No. 6 (Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven) (Blast First).
This one is a little out of left field, I’ll grant you. Branca is one of those crazy genius avant-garde composers, and he’s more known for his associations with New York’s no wave scene (the label he started, Neutral, released the first few Sonic Youth records). But much like John Zorn, the man has been instrumental in the development of extreme music over the past few decades, even if the influence has only really started to become obvious over the past few years. The composition he’s most known for, 1982′s Ascension, was one of the quintessential examples of someone approaching the rock band format more like a classical ensemble than a blues-based endeavor. However, it’s 1989′s Symphony No. 6 (Devil Choirs at the Gates of Heaven) that really deserves recognition for its contributions to the metallic art – and not just because it’s about Satan.
With a phalanx of 10 guitarists (including Helmet’s Page Hamilton), Branca was able to use the tonality (and atonality) of a wall of guitars to create a deeply unsettling drone piece. The instruments form a swarm of wasps. Sometimes the swarm buzzes in place uneasily, sometimes the drums incite them to hyperkinetic rage until the insects seem like they’re going to burst. Sometimes a lone bee will break off from the pack, forging its own strangely melodic path before rejoining the group. And then the cluster surrounds you entirely. Someone pounds on the piano keys with a hammer – the wasps don’t like that very much. So they fly in unison, threateningly. And then they all die.
Considering how big a thing drone has become in modern extreme music, you can probably see how this satanic symphony was an influence. I guarantee you Mick Barr (Orthrelm, Krallice) has heard this thing, and a good chunk of Temporary Residence Limited’s roster. And hell, Branca outdid most of the acts that followed – how many guitars does SunnO))) use? Probably not 10. To be fair, Branca also hasn’t languished in obscurity like most of the acts covered in this column. He’s a well-respected composer, winning all sorts of art grants and stuff like that. It’s a shame that more metal dudes aren’t familiar with his work, though. Most heshers get excited when bands have three guitars – this recording stomps that into the dust.
My Dying Bride have done something truly remarkable: they’ve piqued my attention, big-style. Maybe it was years of clandestine market research or a visit to some cobwebbed shaman, experimentation with psychedelics or an acupuncture/hypnosis combo, but deciding to record a 27-minute histrionic doom track about a supernatural dog is on the face of it an act of modest genius.
Seriously, after years of diminishing marginal returns making the semi-profound grief-on-wax of 1993′s Turn Loose the Swans seem a dim and distant and rarely revisited memory, this is exactly the sort of shit that gets our tails wagging. Re-recording old material with orchestral instrumentation, as they did earlier in the year with Evinta: no thanks. But this EP, invoking English folk legends of a large wild dog, stalking the moors at night, shitting on your freshly mowed lawn and scaring the cat, has all the Van Helsing/Sleepy Hollow atmosphere needed in the run up to winter. A track that might have seemed ridiculous in the summer now sounds just the ticket now that the leaves are rotting on the ground.
Despite having all the respect in the world the English doom/death band, they all-too-often came across as over-seriousness to the point of parody, like a sort of self-important melancholy wrapped in a frilly shirt and speaking in verses of super-bleak but kinda gauche sonnets. And that’s probably unfair, admittedly: their funereal demeanor is part of what made them such a valued alumnus of the Peaceville Three, with Anathema and Paradise Lost flanking them in the conquest to turn British doom into an international empire. But that’s how they came over, only to be consumed in small doses. The Barghest O’ Whitby is the sort of cinematic epic that Messrs. Stainthorpe and Glencross should be going for, every time.
It’s difficult to compartmentalize the Barghest O’ Whitby as it kinda flows all together, passing the most recognisable landmarks in My Dying Bride’s sound, but also incorporating some orchestral gravitas from new violinist/keyboardist Shaun Macgowan, and, on occasion, genuine aggression. Fans will really dig this, no doubt, but this EP should turn some new heads. The departure from their ordinarily romantic oeuvre to focus on effectively compose a doom/death soundtrack to a centuries old narrative is pretty invigorating.
Truth be told, I spend way too much money on music. Truth be told, and considering my monthly take home, I spend waaaay too much money on music. A couple years ago, as a means of avoiding homelessness, I came up with a plan to curtail my record shopping insanity. Basically, if I’m browsing at a record store, distro, merch table or the vendors at the Maryland Deathfest – the bane of my bank account’s existence – unless I stumble upon an item that causes me to exclaim “Holy shit!!” either out loud or in the dusty chamber of my mind, my wallet stays in my pocket.
Recently, while perusing the bins with a couple of my fellow Canucklehead hacks from hellbound.ca at local extreme music emporium, Hammer City Records, I had a “Holy shit!!” moment. And I’m here to share a little bit of that with you. Please don’t take this to be a review of any kind or a justification of my shitty taste or a usurping of the Lazarus Pit or a why-can’t-this-be-in-the-hall-of-fame whine because this isn’t meant to be any of that.
I originally stumbled across Monsula the same way I did a lot of music back in the late 80s/early 90s: by hanging out a friend’s place, throwing on random tunes, trading records, dubbing tapes all while playing table top hockey. Monsula was a band from the Bay Area that greatly satisfied my love of hardcore punk steeped in aggressive, yet sunshine-y melodies and top-notch song writing – a love that continues to this day if I’m being honest with y’all. When I dubbed a copy of their 1990 debut album for Lookout!, Structure so began a long-term love affair with what has become a severely stretched tape copy of the record and any moment of free listening time over the next two decades. Yeah, it may not be metal, but fuck, listen to goose-flesh inducing tracks like “Ride,” “Pre-Past Tense,” “Indestructible” and the uber-anthemic “Razors” and you might understand my “Holy shit!!” reaction after finding a mint copy of Structure for $10 21 years after the fact.
My admiration for this band and album wasn’t singular. I remember six dudes cramming into a car and driving to a Guelph, a city an hour west of Toronto (and home of Razor!) because we heard Monsula was playing a DIY show somewhere on the university’s campus. We never did find that show or find out if it actually even happened, but I will always remember the backseat mosh pit that started when Raw Power’s Screams From the Gutter came on the stereo. When Monsula did finally make it to Toronto for real, members of that same posse made its way down to the very shitty Parkdale neighbourhood (which is still kinda shitty, but it used to be waaaay shittier) where they were inexplicably booked at a place called, if I’m recollecting accurately, Bob’s Country Bar. No, there wasn’t chicken wire set up in front of the stage, but there were bullwhips, longhorns, saddles and other western paraphernalia mounted on just about every inch of available wall space.
So, after 20 years of stretching the shit out of my original tape copy, I had that “Holy shit!!” moment and am happy to report that I found an original pressing of an album that’s still as fist-raisingly awesome as it ever has been. Mock me if you must, but I fucking love ‘em nonetheless. Here are a few clips of them doing their thing: