Zach Smith

Decibrity Playlist: Starkweather

May 28, 2015

Back in 2005, I talked to Starkweather guitarist Todd Forkin about his band’s then new album for issue #16.  It was one of my first freelance pieces for the magazine after leaving the friendly confines of 1032 Arch.  At the time, Croatoan was the band’s third LP and first since 1995’s Into the Wire.  While the Philadelphians have dropped another LP and split in the intervening years, April saw the re-release of their first two records via Translation Loss. So 113 issues later, it’s fitting in some way that vocalist Rennie Resmini closes out this little series after the break. To every one who has contributed to or read even one word of these playlists over the last three plus years — thank you.

Decibrity Playlist: Monolord

May 21, 2015

Doom may not be “stimulating” in the same ways as say grindcore, but that doesn’t mean the former is any less adept at meeting the definition than the latter–they just succeed in different ways.  Take Monolord.  The trio’s tunes may not never be classified as anything close to pharmaceutical grade amphetamines, but they’re nevertheless replete with riffs that rouse and get the blood pumping.  On the topic of stimulants, the Swedes decided to base their playlist around one of the more mild–and most popular–ones:  coffee.

Decibrity Playlist: Gruesome

May 14, 2015

Even though Gruesome “pays homage to death metal’s most celebrated founding American acts, Death” (according to a press release), the band’s tastes in the genre don’t stop and end there.  That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given that the group features members of Exhumed (Deci-fav Matt Harvey), Possessed, Malevolent Creation and Derketa.  So while Savage Land, the quartet’s debut, may sound very Schuldiner-esque, guitarist Dan Gonzalez was kind enough to tell us about some other death metal bands. 

Decibrity Playlist: Sigh

May 7, 2015

It’s been over 20 years since Sigh’s debut album dropped in 1993. Not surprisingly, not only has the extreme music landscape changed since then, but so has the Japanese outfit’s musical output.

Decibrity Playlist: Tribulation

April 30, 2015

We’ve spilled plenty of ink about the new Tribulation record such that any further gushing about The Children of the Night here probably wouldn’t add anything new to the discourse.  Chris Dick talked to the band for a feature in this month’s issue (more of which you can read about here) and the quartet scored the lead review and best new noise in our preceding tome.  If you’ve perused either piece, however, or had the pleasure to listen to the group’s excellent third full-length, you might be interested in hearing about ten albums that helped form the entity known as Tribulation.

Decibrity Playlist: Obsequiae

April 23, 2015

While it was a pretty brutal winter here on the East Coast, we have no doubt that our friends in the North Star State had a much rougher go of it weather-wise.  Or, as Tanner Anderson told us last month (more of which you’ll be able to read more about very soon in print), “I haven’t seen my testicles since November of last year.”  Fortunately none of that stopped the Obsequiae frontman from finishing up his band’s excellent second album, Aria of Vernal Tombs, which is set for release next month.

Decibrity Playlist: Royal Thunder

April 16, 2015

While Royal Thunder‘s sophomore effort may be an early contender for album of the year, it’s way too early to tell if Crooked Doors will forever change lives.  Why the hyperbole?  Well, RT guitarist Josh Weaver was kind enough to tell us about some records that changed himforever.  “I’m sure I’ll be kicking myself thinking of other albums after I submit this,” explains the axeman.  “[But] these bands and albums played a huge role in influencing the music that I write and play today. I am forever thankful for these albums and hope they have as big of an impact on you as they did to me!”  In the meantime, we’ll continue to be grateful for the musical stew that this recipe has created in the form of the Atlanta quartet. 

You can pick up a copy of Crooked Doors here (bandcamp) or here (physical) and be sure to catch the band on tour in a city near you in the very near future.

Check out a Royal Thunder song stream, their Decibrity playlist, and upcoming tour dates after the jump. 

Decibrity Playlist: Karl Agell

April 9, 2015

If he hasn’t already, I hope Karl Agell gets to read Scott Seward’s “Filthy 50” list from our September 2007 issue (again, probably my favorite Decibel feature ever) and starts downloading compilations from The Day After the Sabbath (Rich has only put together a mere 117 at this point).  After all, the former Corrosion of…

Decibrity Playlist: Sannhet (Part 2)

April 2, 2015

Last week, we brought you the first part of John Refano’s “Kill Yr Idols” playlist and then were lucky enough to see him and bassist AJ Annunziata and drummer/sampler Christopher Todd headline Saint Vitus in honor of the release of Sannhet‘s sophomore LP Revisionist.  Now that we’ve recovered from the celebration, here’s part two, which…

Decibrity Playlist: Sannhet (Part 1)

March 27, 2015

I’ll just come out and say it: Sannhet‘s Revisionist is one of my favorite albums of the year so far. So I was stoked when John Refano–that’s him below–agreed to participate in this little series we’ve been doing for three (!) years now. I’ll let the guitarist/loopist explain what “Kill Yr Idols” is all about:…

CONTEST: The Wounded Kings

March 19, 2015

It’s been a pretty good stretch for doom lately, from Pallbearer and YOB garnering much deserved critical acclaim last year to Crypt Sermon, Elder and Brothers of the Sonic Cloth dropping strong releases already in 2015 with plenty more (Monolord!) on the way. There’s also that whole top 100 doom metal albums thing that no…

Decibrity Playlist: Child Bite

March 12, 2015

It’s been busy times for Detroit’s Child Bite. The band has been writing new songs in anticipation of hitting the studio with Philip H. Anselmo down in NOLA later this year. Then there’s the fact that the group will appear on the upcoming musical “supplement” to the Morbid Tales! An Illustrated Tribute to Celtic Frost…

Decibrity Playlist: Ruby the Hatchet

March 5, 2015

I’d been stoked to hear the new full-length from Ruby the Hatchet ever since I saw them open for Floor in early 2014. Now that it’s dropped, I’ve been jamming Valley of the Snake on a daily basis — it’s one of the more enjoyable “debuts” (it’s the band’s second record but first label release)…

VIDEO PREMIERE: Old Man Gloom “The Lash”

February 24, 2015

Last we heard from Old Man Gloom, vocalist/guitarist Aaron Turner and drummer Santos Montano were telling our very own KSP about their Ape of God shenanigans. Not only has everyone except the small corner of the world called the internet forgiven and forgotten, but the quartet thankfully has managed to keep its sense of humor…

Decibrity Playlist: Melechesh

February 19, 2015

Ashmedi is no stranger to this blog, having authored a 17-part “biographical column and chaotic metaphysical thoughts” series that ended in 2011. Now that his band Melechesh has returned with its first album since 2010, we’re happy to welcome his voice back in the form of a playlist. There’s no theme per se, but it’s…

Decibrity Playlist: Karma To Burn

February 12, 2015

One of the more pleasant surprises for me so far this year has been Karma to Burn‘s new LP. I’m a big fan of Almost Heathen (especially these two neck snappers), and the reason Arch Stanton–much like 2001 precursor–works is simple: the riffs. Just check out “Twenty-Three” below (yes, all of their song titles are…

PREMIERE: Undead “Voices”

February 5, 2015

Undead is Listenable Records‘ latest signing, but beyond that, there’s nothing else we can tell you (seriously, we asked) other than we’re pretty sure it’s not one of the ten other bands going by the same name on Encyclopaedia Metallum. What we can offer, however, is a premiere of “Voices”, which at least gives a…

VIDEO PREMIERE: Hate “Leviathan”

January 27, 2015

It’s only been two years since its last slab of blackened death metal, but Hate is back with album number nine in the form of Crusade:Zero. While the LP–which was recorded at Bialystok, Poland’s Hertz Studios (Vader, Decapitated, Behemoth)–doesn’t drop for another couple of weeks (February 10th in the US via Napalm Records to be…

CONTEST: Heiress

January 22, 2015

Our friends at The Mylene Sheath are not messing around in 2015 (not that they did before). The label’s first release will be Heiress‘s sophomore effort, Of Great Sorrow, and happens to have been recorded by none other than Tad fucking Doyle. Not only should you check out a few tracks below, but don’t miss…

CONTEST: Woods of Desolation

January 15, 2015

Yesterday was a big day for music nerds, especially critics. Even though we’re already two weeks into 2015, end of the year fever never really subsides until the Village Voice’s annual Pazz + Jop poll hits. Ever wanted to know what some of your favorite Decibel scribes enjoyed most during the year? Well, now you…

INTERVIEW: Justin Jackson (Rosetta: Audio/Visual)

January 8, 2015

Christmas Day 2014 brought Rosetta fans–and really to anyone who likes a good story–a special gift in the form of Rosetta: Audio/Visual. The 65 minute documentary not only delves into the Philadelphia quartet’s history, but happens to capture the group at its most critical juncture. At its heart, the doc is just a story about…

Decibrity Playlist: Primordial

December 11, 2014

Primordial dropped its eighth LP late last month, another stellar entry in an already impressive oeuvre. To celebrate, frontman Alan Averill (aka A.A. Nemtheanga) sent us a playlist that, as he describes, “might be something a little different.” After perusing his picks, it’s hard to disagree. We’ll let him take it from here: “I always…

CONTEST: Axegressor CDs

December 4, 2014

Axegressor hails from Finland, home of Decibel HOFers like Amorphis and Skepticism. As you can tell from the video below for “Command to Last”, even though the quartet might sound nothing like those fellow countrymen–it’s more thrash than anything else–like most Fins we’ve encountered in our worldly travels, the band seems to know how to…

VIDEO: The Flight of Sleipnir’s “Beacon in Black Horizon”

November 20, 2014

Back in October–on Halloween in fact–we streamed “The Casting” from V, the latest (and appropriately titled) effort from The Flight of Sleipnir. Even though the record isn’t out until the end of the month, we’re pleased to premiere the Colorado duo’s video for “Beacon in Black Horizon”, the eight minute-plus opus that closes out the…

Decibrity Playlist: Giant Squid (Part 2)

November 13, 2014

Last week, we brought you the first part of Aaron John Gregory’s “epic love letter to music.” When he left off, Giant Squid‘s vocalist/guitarist was in some baby cephalopod bands (The Pedestrians and The Connection) and listening to tons of Subhumans and Citizen Fish. Now, of course, the Californians have a fantastic new record out…

Decibrity Playlist: Giant Squid (Part 1)

November 6, 2014

Giant Squid‘s debut LP, Metridium Fields, was re-recorded in the very early days of Decibel and we’ve been following the group’s musical trajectory ever since. Fortunately, the band is still going strong, having released a new album at the end of October. While guitarist/vocalist Aaron John Gregory described the record as a “giant love letter…

Decibrity Playlist: Bastard Feast

October 30, 2014

We have a lot of love for Bastard Feast around these parts. Adrien Begrand lauded the band’s latest album, Osculum Infame, in his Sucker for Punishment column, Dan Lake interviewed the quintet earlier this summer and the Oregonians snagged a local spot opening for Carcass and company on this year’s Decibel tour. Now with the…

Decibrity Playlist: Encoffination

October 23, 2014

As previously expressed in these pages, the concept behind the new Encoffination record is “the glorification of death: an offering to the embodiment of death’s creation, and to sing the wretched hymns of death’s omnipresence, to kneel to death’s crown as we all shall fall under death’s eventual grasp…If the last record were a tool…

Decibrity Playlist: Obituary

October 16, 2014

When Obituary returned in 2005 with Frozen In Time–at that point, its first album in eight years–Decibel was still in its infancy. Fast forward to today, and we’re about to throw two tenth anniversary shows on Saturday night while the death metal legends are about to drop their ninth studio effort, the long-time coming Inked…

Decibrity Playlist: Revocation

October 9, 2014

When Revocation‘s David Davidson told me about his band’s upcoming album Chaos of Forms back in 2011, the guitarist/vocalist was pretty excited about using his past experience with horn and big band arrangements to compose a horn section for “The Watchers”. Between that and his focus on jazz while at the Berklee College of Music,…