July 5th, 2011 at 11:00am
Good morning, future winners!
The eclectic Athens, Georgia label Mylene Sheath — the origin story/name is explained here — has a taste for driving, droning, exploding epic/ethereal metal and they’re wagering a few Decibel readers do, too. In fact, they’ll see your jaded skepticism and raise you a couple exclusive streams from the upcoming Beneath Oblivion/Angel Eyes split and throw in a pretty goddamn generous give away — you know, just to make things interesting.
Here’s what’s at stake:
One Grand Prize Winner will receive a TEST PRESS of split 7″ w/alternate hand-screened jackets exclusive to the test presses (limited to 10 copies in existence), plus copies of the 7″ on red vinyl (limited to 100), clear vinyl (limited to 200), and grey vinyl (limited to 200). Also included in the prize pack is a Mylene Sheath turntable slipmat, issue #3 of The Mylene Zine (featuring an interview with Ian MacKaye), and a Mylene Sheath T-shirt.
First Runner Up takes home a complete set of the 7″ on red vinyl, clear vinyl, and grey vinyl, and a Mylene Sheath turntable slipmat.
Second Runner Up walks away with a copy of the 7″ on red vinyl and a Mylene Sheath turntable slipmat.
Third Runner Up receives a copy of the 7″ on clear vinyl.
Angel Eyes: “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” by Decibel Magazine
What you need to do: Send your name, address, and T-shirt size to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, July 12. Also, for a more extensive listen, be sure to visit the label’s great Facebook plateau. And if you want to know what they’re having for breakfast…
July 5th, 2011 at 9:30am
Here are the new heavy metal CD releases for this week.
Draconian – A Rose For The Apocalypse (Napalm)
Exhumed – All Guts, No Glory (Relapse)
Harm’s Way – Isolation (Closed Casket)
Intensus – Intensus (Metal Blade)
Morta Skuld – Through The Eyes Of Death : The Early Demos (Relapse)
Murder Death Kill – Instigate Infiltrate Annihilate (Mediaskare)
Shadowside – Inner Monster Out (SHP)
Stream Of Passion – Darker Days (Napalm)
Unearth – Darkness In The Light (Metal Blade)
Whitehorse – Progression (At A Loss)
July 4th, 2011 at 3:06pm
After the initial self-reproach for having never heard of Kansas death metal cryptids, Troglodyte, it was kinda OK that their 1990 Florida sound had kept itself a mystery, scrawled somewhere on a Post-It on whoever is covering Fox Mulder’s desk these days. Like, the only people who know about this sort of shit are the types to hack police radios and spend six evenings out of seven baiting dumpsters in the hope of photographing Bigfoot fixing himself a baloney sandwich in the half-light. Troglodyte, for all intents and purposes, are a single-issue interest group: a death metal band who’ve had the testicular swingers to say, “Fuck Egypt, and fuck Lovecraft… We’re rolling with the sasquatch.” And more power to their elbow. Nobody else sings about Bigfoot, and in this day and age you’ve gotta have a shtick.
So when Decibel’s own Sauron’s Eye, cryptozoological searchlight and managing editor, Andrew Bonazelli, sent over a heads-up that Troglodyte allegedly sound like Carcass/Origin/Obituary it well and truly rained-off the afternoon’s middle-distance staring competition—especially when it was noted that the cover was “fucking wonderful”.
It was simple trigger-word arithmetic, and was at least worth a look to see how Welcome to Boggy Creek with its Ape-Man Tearing Regular Joe Apart illustration was going to scan as a promotional vehicle for summer log cabin rentals in rural Missouri. Seeing as they’re streaming the whole album on their website it, crucially, took little effort to check out if the music could compete with the cover, too. In fact, unless you work with heavy machinery you can do it right now.
And you can order it here.
It’s a shame that Troglodyte are coming out of Kansas; they’ll probably always be in the shadow of Origin, who for the connoisseur represent a passable impersonation of the genre’s frontier of awesome. Littered with b-movie samples and having the good sense to make the album’s centrepiece/“Bohemian Rhapsody”-track to be a paean to the Hendersons’ travails with the skunk ape, yeti dude, …Boggy Creek is great fun for low budget Cannibal Corpse schlock-mosh without taking shit way too seriously. Slipknot fans, who just can’t bear to see a human face singing back to them (and who can blame them given some of the Hallowe’en cake sour-faces that hide under the Iowa Nine’s masks) can maybe man-up and listen to something that doesn’t have a middle-eight penned for-MTV-dipshits, ‘cos yeah, these dudes were masks too!
And moreover, Welcome to Boggy Creek really does rekindle metal’s affinity with the monster. There can be few more suitable artistic bedfellows than b-movie horror and sloppy joe, viscera-first/brain-idle metal. Maybe it’s that lack of effort to the THC-baked cerebral cortex; a grunt and slam death joint and, say, like the 1988 remake of The Blob fill that somnambulant pre-sleep zombie state like nothing else. But from Anthrax’s underrated doozy “Medusa” to the lion’s share of Mastodon’s catalogue, Benton’s in-the-flesh sighting of Florida’s own Skunk Ape, metal is nothing if not obsessed with monsters. Fuck it, maybe if we can encourage the likes of Ghoul and Impetigo to get googling cryptids and get wholly conceptual we could have a modern classic in the making.
Failing that, just somebody somewhere, someone worthy, please pen a jam about a giant spider kingdom, a rabies-having dolphin child, a half-squid/half-horse Transylvanian consumer of livestock… Or at least just send the memo out to artists that other than necro noir illustration, this is how we’d like our NWOSDM album covers to look. Thanks.
Look, it’s the 4th July, unless you work in an emergency room, Dominos or the 7-Eleven, you have the day off, and by all rights should be hungover/stoned/largely incapacitated: go get some brews, smokes or whatever and watch something under-produced and awful (great).
The Blob (1988)
The Legend of Blood Mountain (1965)
July 4th, 2011 at 2:02pm
The boom in metal’s popularity may have irritated some tr00ly tr00 fans, but by and large, I’ve embraced it, if only because it means I have easier access to the music. Listen up, children, there used to be a time where pop-punk was the most extreme music the record store would carry. Maybe, just maybe, there would be a Judas Priest greatest hits album, but only because “Breakin’ the Law” was on Beavis & Butt-head.
MyMetalClub.com will help you avoid metal-shunning music stores and guide you to the hallowed sanctuaries where heavy metal, black metal, grindcore, and all the other stuff your mother hopes you never ever start listening to is well stocked and ready for your enthusiastic little fingers. Better yet, the website only partners with independent record stores, not big box dumping grounds, so you can support businesses that haven’t lost site of the importance of the community of bands and fans. And the site has detailed news about album releases, so you can get tipped to Black Sabbath Live at Hammersmith Odeon, Slayer on vinyl, Monster Magnet’s special edition box set and the like. My favorite feature is the Metal Store Locator. Pop in your zip code to find the nearest place to blow all your cash on the good stuff.
July 4th, 2011 at 6:00am
July 1st, 2011 at 4:03pm
Every other Friday, Waldo the African Grey Parrot, frontbird of thrash-grind immortals Hatebeak, will get you caught up on the week’s latest “extreme” releases.
Happy Fourth. Get with it, America rules.
The wizards of gore are back. EXHUMED release the comeback record All Guts, No Glory. This thing beaking rips. Mostly, comeback records are kind of a disappointment, but if one can get over the goofy cover, what’s inside rules. Odes to gore, death and just general disgustingness abound, typical fare for Exhumed. Great production, and the new lineup rips these tracks. There are some dual guitar harmonies that smoke. Every track is a bloody punch in the face, which will leave a gore-soaked fist print on your fractured cranium. Check the opening blast on “Necrotized”; drummer Danny Walker brings the meat. So Let It Be Rotten… So Let It Be Done… In Fucking Deed. 9 Fucking Pecks.
UNEARTH are going to release the utterly bland Darkness in the Light. I know Metal Blade has knocked a few out of the park with this band, but your old boy Waldo finds this birdshit pretty mind-numbing. I know a lot of people like this crap, but I don’t get it. I suppose they are okay as far as sterile metal goes, and this is no different. If you’ve heard Unearth, you know what to expect, and this won’t let you down. It’s kind of hard to hate on this particular release because it’s not that it’s bad; it’s just the whole scene that surrounds this band is so birdbrained. The CD comes with a beer bong, although that may be pre-order only, and I believe there was a shirt/CD combo. Fans should get stoked for that; I mean, it is kind of cool. I dunno, I think someone should cover them up. 6 Fucking Pecks.
You like MEGADETH? You like Peace Sells, But Who’s Buying? The reissue is pretty slick: liner notes by Lars Ulrich (which should deter anyone from buying it), various mixes of the songs, live tracks, and 3D lenticular art. If this is your thing, it’s kind of cool, although I have NO idea of why someone would need all of this material.
Not to be on Relapse’s nuts this week, but MORTA SKULD will double as an awesome release AND my old-school pick that should be checked out. Through the Eyes of Death is early American death metal at it’s finest, and this collection has both of the band’s 1990 demos. Death metal in it’s most primitive form that is both thoughtful and punishing. This band has been ignored for a little too long. 8 Fucking Pecks.
June 30th, 2011 at 9:10pm
Admittedly, I’ve never been big on checking out heavy metal’s nerve center for news, Blabbermouth. Once in a while, I’ll take a peek at the site and see what’s going on, who’s in the studio, who’s on tour and even indulge in a little bit of gossip, but I personally don’t have the time or feel drawn enough to be keep abreast of every single little slice of information, however humongous or miniscule, the world of metal creates on a minute-to-minute basis.
While B-mouth does a good job of culling assorted news and crap from all corners of the heavy music world, at the same time, for every bit of useful or compelling information provided (like the photo report earlier this week of Behemoth’s first rehearsal since Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia), most of what they’re do is direct you to a third party site featuring someone else’s video or audio interview or live footage. In doing so, they sometimes come up with the most hilarious of headlines and this has quickly become my favorite part of the site. Far too regularly, Blabbermouth’s headlines are completely reaching for newsworthy-ness and, thusly, end up sounding ridiculous enough – whether jerks like me take them out of context or not – that they rightfully end up on the carving block. To that end, we present this week’s 10 most eye-catching Blabbermouth headlines.
10. JUDAS PRIEST REQUESTING “UNLIMITED QUANTITIES OF CHOCOLATE” AT SOFIA ROCKS FESTIVAL
In pouring over the various riders, it has also come to light that Whitesnake’s David Coverdale has instituted an absolute backstage ban of onions and broccoli. I can die a completely fulfilled and satisfied man with the knowledge that Priest suck cocoa residue from between their molars while onstage and Coverdale isn’t farting on the high notes.
9. EPICA: NEW VIDEO INTERVIEW AVAILABLE WITH YVES HUTS
That an Epica video interview with their bassist isn’t what drew our attention. That anyone gives a flying fuck about a video interview – or video anything – with anyone in Epica besides frontwoman Simone Simons is the real news here.
8. AUGUST BURNS RED: “DON’T DOWNLOAD OUR ALBUM ILLEGALLY”
Included with this particular news post is video footage of the band going to a Hot Topic at a mall somewhere in Texas and buying copies of their own album. I don’t have anything else to add.
7. ROB ZOMBIE: BASSIST PIGGY D’s SKULL FACE MASK STOLEN IN SPAIN
Even ol’ P.D. himself was shocked by the fact this was considered news by anyone and made a point of saying so with a Facebook post that read: “If a stupid missing mask makes Blabbermouth, it’s a slow news day. Rock ‘n’ Roll needs some excitement. QUICK, someone do something interesting.”
6. IN FLAMES FRONTMAN DOESN’T GET BOTHERED BY CRITICISM OF BAND’S NEW MUSIC
Good to know. Let’s see how long it takes before the “In Flames Frontman Starting To Be Bothered By Criticism Of Band’s New Music” and “In Flames Frontman Goes Postal After Too Much Criticism Of Band’s New Music” headlines turn up.
5. TONY IOMMI: “I TALK TO OZZY OSBOURNE ABOUT THREE TIMES A WEEK.”
In other news, Iommi also calls his parents on the phone during the holidays, talks to his wife in bed and regularly texts Geezer Butler to organize rehearsals.
4. SLIPKNOT: VIDEO FOOTAGE OF SID WILSON’S CROWD DIVE FROM SWITZERLAND SONISPHERE
We were hoping for headlines pertaining to jerky fan-shot footage of slutty Swiss chicks flashing their boobs, drunk Germans passed out in their own puke and piss and other festival clichés, but this was all they had available.
3. BRET MICHAELS SAYS HIS LATE GRANDMOTHER APPEARED IN FRONT OF HIM
Apparently, she was carrying a bag of his pre-Rock of Love credibility. It may have been a small bag to begin with, but she’s still proud of him, even in the afterlife.
2. SPIRAL ARCHITECT DRUMMER SAYS ALBUM IS STILL YEARS AWAY FROM RELEASE
Next year’s headline: “Spiral Architect drummer says album is still years away from release.”
1. MICHAEL ANTHONY “CURIOUS” ABOUT NEW VAN HALEN ALBUM, “PROUD” OF CHICKENFOOT
Number one on our list with a bullet.
June 30th, 2011 at 11:40am
Finnish “heavy metallers” Lordi have gone 3-times Platinum (90,000 copies sold) in their native Finland, Gold (30,000 copies sold) in Sweden, Gold in Germany (100,000 copies sold) and have probably earned sales medals throughout Europe. Pretty neat considering Lordi are nothing but a bunch of fakers. Check out this clip from 2006. The horror-masked Finns are rambling through one of their moronic tunes and guess what? Milli Vanilli showed up. No, Fab Morvan and Rob Pilatus didn’t join Lordi on stage for a heavy rendition of “Blame It on the Rain”. Though that would’ve been really funny. Rather, Lordi’s backing track began to skip. Actually, that’s funnier, but a backing track? For a heavy metal band? Insane.
But what’s worse, however, is that the Europeans in attendance didn’t seem to mind the band “performing” on stage were actually “performing” and not playing. They cheered as much as they jeered, not realizing whatever Euro they spent to watch Mr. Lordi and his crew of Finnish fuck-ups was to listen to a CD play on really big speakers, while a group of idiots postured like Jim Henson’s excrement on stage.
I think it’s time for the faking to end. On stage and in the studio.
June 29th, 2011 at 10:44pm
If you say you don’t know who Derek Riggs is, we can probably forgive you. But if you say you don’t know his work, you are clearly looking for a fight.
The creator of arguably the most iconic mascot in all of music, Riggs’s art made him at one point practically the 7th member of Iron Maiden and his work has appeared on everything form your cousin’s lower leg to a goddamn 757.
Metal Band Art understands the kind of royalty we’re talking about and has released both parts of their interview with the man. Here is a snippet about his fallout with the band:
Whenever Iron Maiden comes up amongst my art friends, we always lament the fact that you do not do artwork for them anymore. Is there any chance you would ever do anything for them again?
It doesn’t look like it. Our ideas about what make a good CD cover are getting further and further apart. Also over the last few pictures they have become increasingly dishonest to work with. They have taken to promising one amount of money and then, when the picture is done they only pay about half of that. For the aircraft picture “Fright 666″ they wanted to only pay me if they used it. So they expected me to do three or four weeks work for nothing just incase they felt like using it. How kind of them. They got the short answer, and they had to pay me in advance to get me to finish it off.
June 29th, 2011 at 3:49pm
There’s little more annoying on this planet than the immoral majority telling you how essential, transcendent and (huh-huh) seminal a particular extreme album is, when you know that it’s overrated as fuck. Hence, our new Wednesday morning column, “Disposable Heroes,” in which one brave soul sails against the current to inform all you clones why you can’t spell classic without “ass.” For this week’s inaugural installment, Kevin Stewart-Panko calls indifference on At the Gates’ Slaughter of the Soul.
When the Deciblog’s editor-at-large proposed the new “Disposable Heroes” column, I immediately thought about how I could easily ramble on about all the albums the metal world holds in such high regard, and how they are little more to my ears than steamy skunk roadkill resting upon piles of cowshit. OK, maybe that’s a bit harsh and dramatic, but fuck, I took a quick scan at our Hall of Fame list and easily found myself in double digits when it comes to the number of albums I could speak negatively of. It’s like Frank Costanza used to say during Festivus’ Airing of Grievances, “I got a lot of problems with you people. And now, you’re gonna hear about it.” Too bad ol’ Jerry Stiller wasn’t talking about some of the most overrated albums ever to emerge from the metal underground.
I figured one of the challenges facing myself and any one of my colleagues in doing this column on a regular basis is remembering what ticked you off about the work in question in the first place. I’m going to wager that, despite our differences, that you’re like me and don’t keep albums you don’t like hanging around the house. As far as I’m concerned, unwanted slabs either get traded, sold to welcoming used record stores (if you’re ever looking for a bunch of my unwanted metal, check out The Beat Goes On in Hamilton, Ontario) or given to friends, acquaintances or strangers. Basically, albums I don’t like are found a better home than the one I could or would provide. The difference here is that since Slaughter of the Soul’s release, I have bought and been given, sold and traded copies of this album on various editions and formats numerous times in numerous attempts to get into it and understand just what has transfixed metal land’s majority share. I have owned this album on cassette, CD, CD reissue, have sat through The Flames of the End three-disc DVD release, and have seen the band live a couple times in an endeavor to figure out what I might be missing as my musical tastes ebb and flow. Again, just to make sure, Fearless Leader Mudrian, the same fellow who referred to At the Gates as “the greatest death metal band ever” on the cover of issue #41, sent me a ZIP file of the album. Another format. Another whirl go ’round. And still, another bout of not understanding what the fuck has gotten you people so excited.
When Slaughter was initially released by Earache in 1995, I was editing and pumping out issues of a popular underground fanzine. Because this was back before email correspondence was de rigueur, any editor of a somewhat prominent (i.e., one that was legible and actually released more than one issue every two years) fanzine could generally expect a handful of daily phone calls from label reps and press people. They’d chat me up about the latest promos they sent out, asking what I thought about so-and-so’s new album, if I could get so-and-so some review space and possibly a feature interview. Things ran on a lot more of a personal basis back then; you actually spoke to people and developed relationships with label employees. This meant one had to consider the reactions of people you were somewhat engaged with when slagging something in print (something I’d usually fail to consider and generally find myself getting bitched at about). One also had to be tactful, and learn how to choose and use measured words when delivering unfavorable opinions over the phone when some label character asked the inevitable, “So, what did you think?”
“It’s alright. Reminds me a lot of Kreator,” I remember saying about Slaughter of the Soul to Earache’s then-North American press dude (who coincidentally is still a good friend to this day). Now, like most people with their heads screwed on straight, I’m a big fan of Kreator’s first four albums. So, it’s not like I considered that an insult; just an indication of where I thought the album was coming from and that it didn’t blow my ass out of the water. To this day, it’s not like I’m of the opinion that Slaughter of the Soul is a terrible pile of musical AIDS; it’s just that I don’t see the big deal. Of course, the album has since been recognized as the jumping point for the whole melodic death metal movement—along with Dark Tranquillity’s The Gallery and In Flames’ The Jester Race—and I would be a bitter denial fiend to claim there weren’t any classic riffs/songs to be had here. The main riff to “Blinded by Fear” will bang any head that doesn’t bang. The first part of the title track—fucking awesome! The first couple of riffs to “Suicide Nation” are pure Swedish gristly dirtiness. “Nausea” is probably the best example of how to execute the melding of melody and death.
But what I find often happens with the majority of Slaughter of the Soul’s songs is that they start off all powerful and mighty, but that initial forward thrust usually ends up being surrounded, drowned and consumed by other sections, sequences and riffs lacking in similar impact. A perfect example is “World of Lies.” It commences with that mid-paced shuffle riff and the almost tribal beat beneath it before degenerating into a series of speedy melodic death metal riffs that not only lack similar punch or distinction, but are often unmemorable and sound too much like the album’s other melodic death metal parts. Not to mention that totally uncalled for little spoken word part. “Under a Serpent Sun” cherry-picks from a swath of Swedish death and thrash influences, but stitches it together without any lack of real direction. Then, there’s “Cold,” which is just terrible from beginning to end. Granted, there are decent attempts at intra-song dynamics with the continual swing from mid-paced to faster parts, but one of the issues I’ve always had with this album is how it was unable to maintain a consistent thrust from the beginning to the end of a song. And as the album goes on, I find more and more that songs start out perfectly decently, but soon find themselves spinning down a drain of mediocrity.
There are other incidental reasons to hold Slaughter of the Soul in the light of displeasure. Could my ongoing lack of love for the album be rooted in what it eventually created? There’s no denying the record became the posthumous gateway drug for so many bands consisting of hardcore kids with star tattoos and lobe spacers to borrow and steal from throughout the 2000s. Am I angry Slaughter of the Soul inadvertently transformed what the world once understood as metalcore to a collection of their riffs re-jigged or stolen outright and cobbled together with breakdowns? Am I pissed—like some people I know still are—because bands like Darkest Hour and the Black Dahlia Murder took the Slaughter blueprint and ran with it while their obvious influence toiled in relative obscurity for years? Nah, that ain’t it. I’m still fine owning and loving Metallica’s first-decade Metallica as I am Diamond Head. You can’t blame At the Gates for what they wrought—why hate the creator (pun intended) for what he spawned? The simple fact of the matter is, try as I might, I just can’t get into this album.