We’ve sang the praises of trailblazing Philadelphia transcendental slayers Hivelords many a time in this space and so when the band offered to document a recent descent into studio madness for its upcoming full-length Anthropic Records release, we of course eagerly agreed.
The reality-refracting entries are below…
Part I: A Nash-ing of Teeth
Spoiler Alert: There’s an egg shaker in Metallica’s “Sad But True.” It’s there. Go and listen to it right now…the main riff right after the intro. “THE” riff. This was just the first nugget of esoteric knowledge that Mikey Allred greeted us with at the door of his home and studio, Dark Art Audio. We had just trucked 16 hours through the night from Philadelphia to Nashville, the city we built; Music City: The City by the Bay. Based on the merits of Mikey’s previous work with Inter Arma, Yautja, Across Tundras etc., we made the long-ass trek seeking similar tonal supremacy. This matter was decided before it was considered.
The whole fuckin’ time it was dark out. Drums were first. Snare? Too bright, we had to darken it. Cymbals? “Dark.” Two 16” toms? Dark thunder. Want that kick to sound heavy? Put something heavy in it…like a pile of denim jeans with a brick on top of it. We shuffled through for a suitable click track tone, and with no irony whatsoever settled on Bob Rock’s egg shaker. Mikey complimented Will’s Traditional Chinese “Sunset” drumming style and tone.
Photo by Sean Bolton.
After dialing sounds and getting a track down, we showed Mikey the classic film Miami Connection. Watch it now [ http://www.videobash.com/video_show/miami-connection-1986-514287 ]. Amid the hoary belly-laughter, we got some crucial inspiration from Dragon Sound. On the morning of day 2, Will banged out the drums with an idiot’s fervor and the accuracy of a renowned typist. And now the dimmer switch to your world just turned left. Soon it will be night, and then we’ll live forever.
By this time, we had already consumed eight plus bags of dollar tortilla chips purveyed by the local Freddy Kroger. With oil on our fingers and salt on our broken desperate lips, we began tracking guitars. Evan was up first. After a few equalization adjustments were made, we dove into it like a noble cat being thrown violently out to sea. The tubes were warm, but the notes were frigid. While his performance was cold steel precision in its effortless execution, we frowned in pleasure to hear the pronounced Italian accents of Evan’s guitar, as well as his spot-on gondolanian phrasing. Lydia followed suit on day 3, her Persian techniques flourishing as the tracks began to take shape, demonic harmonies withering in full swarm.
We spent the late evening at a local watering hole with buckets of Bud Heavy, viewing MMA matches amongst thick clouds of cigarette smoke and giant-sized Jenga pillars crumbling around the room like some sick Parthenon. In this last great bastion of humanity we stewed, all adrenaline anxiety like a pacing fighter, unsure of glory or failure but certain in blood.We knew we were missing something…or someone…
-W, E, L, T
Part II: Upon Arrival At the Grim Structure
(K) I took a plane down from Philly. Mom Nature knew I was coming because she threw all the turbulence her tired arms could muster that day. She even knocked a piece clear off the wing while Cappy was takin’ er down. The plane that is, not Mom. Think of the plane as a rebellious tweenager listening to Evanescence too loud on her iPhone21. That’s what I did while I spilled my meaningless guts into an airplane bag.
The Van picked me up proper and the Dark Arts were only a few clicks east. I arrived in the middle of Lydia burrowing a scuzzy riff in my left eardrum to sting my brain a bit, and a prompt meeting with eggy-weggs flourished. They were all out of milk-plus but the Ultra Violence reigned. Mikey came to greet me with a cat in his arms like a pleasant criminal mastermind, and I knew we were mates. Also, the way equipment was set up throughout his whole house it looked rig to explode at any moment so you wanna make friends with the guy holding the detonator.
A more riveting chess match I have never seen when it came to Mikey doing battle with equipment inteferences, intoning kerfuffles, and phase anomalies. But before long it was Tyler Strong. His Punk bass playing manifested itself through Mikey’s immortal sound-calisthenics, and a song was rumbled through, only for his pitch-perfect ears to find a chink in our grotesque sonic armor. The setback was made miniscule by the unbelievably quick reversal of fortune provided by Our Recorder.
We wound down that last night with some hefty spirits and Cards Against Humanity. We were at a fever pitch of 90 proof laughter when we did the inevitable, took something awesome and added extreme leather and space travel. As your turn ends you choose an accent for the next person (Australian, Marlon Brando in The Godfather, Stoner Surfer Guy, whatever, you think of something better). Don’t try to play that fucking game with us unless you’re ready to humiliate yourself.
The Last Day
Tyler faced a whiskey bottle and rose from a sour crypt in perfect time to start the day on schedule, a feat I must mention out of sheer awe because he played pretty much perfectly. The bass tone was so offensive to elitist suburbanite moms they held a Tupperware Conclave and banned our record before it was done. Mikey really knew how to bring out the darkest in us.
By the time it was my turn, I was ready for impending doom. I usually don’t recall a live performance because that reality is so dissonant from my norm. But this time, I remembered being in a comfortable home, looking at a tasteful dining room set winged by an old wood piano and chestnut armoire. Sunday dinner with Grandma’s Ghost. I felt so warm and droll, and a pit opened up in my stomach that sucked in the harrowing undercurrents of a vacant paradise. Someone trudged through life here. Someone died somewhere else but ended up here. I will do the same. I am the same. I am vapor. I was real but now I am something else. Our Recorder spoke to me, whispered the secrets of the correct incantations. He offered distortion vessels to aggravate the timid and contented alike and I did bury them under it.
A sour birth…a sour…..birth.
A. Sour. Birth.
When I came to, there were jubilant monsters in a condensed wooden amphitheater listening back to five days in Nashville. You don’t know what you’ve done, Mikey. You knew what you did, you knew what you were doing, but you don’t know what you’ve done.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Mikey Allred, his partner Chelsea, his cats Oz and Rupert, all of his dogs, Bob Rock, Metallica, Bud Heavy, The Yeungling Distribution Center, the insightful employees at Kroger, Shannon Void and Anthropic Records, and anyone & everyone who have supported and continue to support our darkening movement.