Dismember – Under Blood Red Skies (2009)

Dismember - Under Blood Red Skies (2009)

Review by Daniel Maarat

This DVD set of two filmed concerts and a documentary was the final release from “death metal legends and fucking idiots” Dismember. The sound quality and performances of the concerts are adequate, but fans will be disappointed that they aren’t from the prime period of the band in the early nineties; both were filmed after the departure of drummer, primary songwriter, and producer Fred Estby before the final, lukewarm album. Not entirely filling in his shoes was Thomas Daun of Repugnant and Ghost. Shitting in his shoes. I only made it all the way through both concerts and resisted the temptation to play Dark Recollections with the help of a six pack of Coors Banquet. More interesting is the included documentary, Death Metal and More Mental Illness. This also lacks contribution from Estby except for some footage from the 2006 Masters of Death tour with Grave, Entombed, and Unleashed. The performance of “Pieces” is better than the two included shows. The interviews with the Best Voice in Death Metal* Matti Karki and lead guitarist Dave Blomqvist provide good information for die hard fans.

Blomqvist says that Dismember never cheated with quantization, cut and paste digital trickery, or drum triggers while playing live. Live, they constantly had to stomp on the dimed Boss Heavy Metal 2 pedals at the end of guitar parts to prevent their ridiculous tone from frequency masking everything else. The only time they turned down the distortion was on their Nuclear Blast mandated sellout as death metal “was not in anymore” album, Massive Killing Capacity, which they admitted “sounds like shit.” Otherwise, Dismember never followed trends and kept true to their Autopsy, Sepultura, Repulsion, Morbid Angel, and Iron Maiden influences; Mental Funeral was their “riff bible.”

Karki reveals that most of his lyrics were written at the last minute; his vocals are from higher in the vocal registry than traditional Cookie Monster death growl, almost a harsher hardcore punk bark. Performing them in the studio “killed and devastated” him. We feel his pain through the presented footage of an overweight Swedish man in his underwear.

The drunken goofiness that satiated Dismember’s touring bleeds: A dozen minutes of the band headbanging, set lists written on bare backs, Swedish imitations American, and British accents. The film climaxes with a hen on the side of the road. Recommended for boredom.

*http://www.deathmetal.org/news/new-york-times-on-the-best-voices-in-heavy-metal/

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Upcoming tours: Cradle of Filth

Cradle of Filth - Promo Picture

Less valuable to us than yesterday’s Voivod announcement is this upcoming Cradle of Filth tour. This legendary traditional heavy metal masquerading as black metal act will be headlining the “Inquisitional Torture” tour, supported by Ne Obliviscaris and Butcher Babies. This tour is presumably intended to promote the band’s latest album (Hammer of the Witches), which came out in July and was undoubtedly of little interest to our previous editor. These concerts are probably not worth your time, unless you really like throwing rotting vegetables at stages.

The tour dates follow:

Jan. 26 Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of the Living Arts
Jan. 27 Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Jan. 28 Baltimore, MD @ Baltimore Soundstage
Jan. 29 Raleigh, NC @ The Ritz
Jan. 31 Charlotte, NC @ Filmore Charlotte
Feb. 1 Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade – Heaven
Feb. 2 Orlando, FL @ Venue 578
Feb. 3 St. Petersburg, FL @ State Theater
Feb. 9 Memphis, TN @ New Daisy Theater
Feb. 10 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
Feb. 11 Houston, TX @ House of Blues
Feb. 12 San Antonio, TX @ The Aztec Theater
Feb. 14 Eaglewood, CO @ Gothic Theater
Feb. 15 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Feb. 17 Los Angeles, CA @ Avalon
Feb. 18 San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
Feb. 20 Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
Feb. 21 San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore
Feb. 23 Seattle, WA @ The Showbox 
Feb. 29 Ringle, WI @ Q and Z Expo Center
Mar. 1 Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
Mar. 2 Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
Mar. 3 Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
Mar. 5 Detroit, MI @ St. Andrew’s Hall
Mar. 6 Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theater
Mar. 7 Montreal, QC @ Corona Theater
Mar. 8 New York, NY @ Webster Hall

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Pipes & Cigars – Dark Fired Kentucky Burley (2015)

pipes_and_cigars_-_dark_fired_kentucky_burley

Burley arrived in 1868 as a mutant of existing strains that possibly constituted an atavism resurrecting the strength and other characters of the pre-cultivation Nicotiana Rustica, but remains prized to this day for its large yields owing to its sizable leaves. Some say that most tobacco sold has an origin in the Burley family, including most cigarettes, but its participation in specialized pipe blends has been less assured. Long a favorite of the “codger” blends and their fans, the Burley flavor is both distinctive and a chameleon that takes on anything around it, making it good for shoring up and stabilizing a blend — including reducing burning temperature — but possibly not for standing out as a flavor like the big stars and condimentals such as Virginia, Perique, and Latakia do. Still, classic blends like Granger and Prince Albert made the Burley flavor work for generations of American men.

Enter Dark Fired Kentucky Burley. What you need to know is that this lightly smoke-cured Burley resembles the Dark Burley used by Cornell & Diehl in so many of their blends, but with its curing comes more sweetness and less of that slightly odd green vegetation flavor that Burley often expresses. This blend is perfect for an all-day smoking, tasting like a mixture of dark and light Burleys, Virginias and Dark Fired Kentucky, but having the simplicity of being a single ingredient. Since it is full-strength in nicotine, it serves well as an all-day smoke, and the increased mellowness brought on by the smoke curing makes it ideal for this role. It also serves well in blending, as blender Russ Ouellette succinctly expresses:

This is a little-known component that I use for a variety of purposes. It is a dark tobacco, similar to Burley that is cured over open fire, giving the tobacco a smokiness that is much more subtle than Latakia, a deep earthiness, and a decent wallop. I like to use a bit in a Latakia-based blend to give it a touch of sharpness, or to add body to Virginias. High in nicotine, moderate burning quality.

Mixed with sweet Virginias, this tobacco produces a blend that can be smoked for hours without exhaustion as it alternates between the sweet and sour flavors of its components. Smoked straight, it provides a depth of texture within a single flavor that has multiple contrasting attributes. My Prince Albert (yes, in a can) has languished since the discovery of this remarkable, flavorful ingredient. For those who like the codger flavor, this is essential smoking, and for anyone else who likes natural tobaccos at full intensity, it is worth trying if not blending. When touched off with a little Latakia or another full-dark dark fired blend, it introduces a sturdy body behind those flavors which normally float suspended over the rest owing to their outlier status. Although it makes English blends taste like the singed results of a fallen empire, in Oriental-forward varieties it creates a tangy, soft taste that is as enigmatic as it is appealing. For kicks, mix it with a little Five Brothers to get a full-bore all day smoke in the oldest American tradition. I feel sorrow that I discovered this tobacco so late, as with a cellar of this and a few good briars I would be happy for a long while.

Strength: 5/5
Aromatic: 0/5
Flavor: 4/5
Room Note: 3/5

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Paganizer / Skinned Alive split hits shelves in 2016

paganizer_-_skinned_alive_-_split

Death metal bands Paganizer and Skinned Alive will unleash a split album on vinyl in early 2016, featuring two songs from each band. Released via Brutal Art Records, the split LP will feature art by Roberto Toderico and be limited to 250 copies.

Tracklist

    Paganizer

  1. Bred by demons
  2. The hammerhead
  3. Skinned Alive

  4. Gallery of the Impaled
  5. Human landfill

Paganizer belts out mid-paced old school death metal with a focus on hook-laden choruses, reminiscent at times of old Pestilence and Kreator, with a fair amount of the ancient speed metal feel present in riff fills. These songs march along and keep the energy high but not excessive which is a welcome counterpoint to the lightspeed bands that blend into a blur in the background! These two tracks show the same style, but the second picks up the pace and has even more speed metal references. They use more of a stop-start approach to songwriting in the style of bands that influenced Meshuggah, but know when to break this pattern to allow riffs to interact and themes to expand to prime us for the restoration of order with the chorus.

Skinned Alive on the other hand sounds more like an uptempo version of Asphyx with influences from Swedish death metal in its tendency to use longer riffs with a broader space of intervals in them, making them technically melodic without overdoing the melodic tendency through tuning/higher register playing like the melodeath and retro-Maiden bands do. The clear crust heritage of bands like Carnage shines through in the percussion, but like Dismember they know how to write a heavy metal style catchy choruses. Riffing here also shares a space between middle death metal, speed metal and classic heavy metal, where the Swedish bands were more hard death metal. These songs move systematically toward intensity and then conclusion, avoiding the generic verse-chorus loop despite relying heavily on a verse chorus structure upon which to add additional riffs, Slayer-style, as divergent themes. Like Sodom or Destruction, this band knows how to build up to a good chorus and then work it into brain-programming, toe-tapping, pure motion music.

In other Skinned Alive news, the label Brutal Art Records announced that the split between German death metal legends Fleshcrawl and Skinned Alive will feature four tracks from each band, instead of three, in the CD release. For more information, pursue the link above.

For the Paganizer/Skinned Alive split, pricing is as follows:

  • 70 – Clear / Neon Green – 6,00€
  • 80 – Blue / Black – 6,00 €
  • 100 – Purple / Orange – 5,50 €
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Orcrypt Mercenaries of Mordor (2015)

orcrypt_-_mercenaries_of_mordor

This style is emerging as the new front for underground metal: a Paradise Lost-style lead rhythm melody laced doom metal as if played by a war metal band at death-doom paces. This takes last season’s favorite, the Incantation-derived “cavern metal” band, and adds to it melody and more distinctive traditional riffing, but keeps the same morbid subterranean atmosphere.

Orcrypt add to this formula that ability to wield classic, catchy choruses in the style of Pyogenesis or later Sodom, so that like war metal songs rumble through a series of riffs and then break into a clarity that resembles the moment on Pink Floyd album when storyline and music united. This is done within a riff vocabulary that would fit alongside later Emperor, early Mayhem, Revenge, Blasphemy and Order from Chaos. The result avoids the off/on hard/soft approach of bands from Pantera through nu-metal, and instead works up to the catchy choruses with embedded melodic rhythm leads among the surly and rapacious war metal/black metal riffing. This creates a haunting anticipation that flowers in the choruses, which are less frequent than with purely verse-chorus bands.

Pacing follows that of a doom-death band: breaking from slow to fast, to return to a mid-paced option that leads into the slow. This perpetuates the dark ambiance and enriches it with a sense of internal motivation. Orcrypt know how to remove everything but the essential in songs and then later, where it has no negative impact, work back in noisy leads and vocal accents. The result is both dark underground and has the power of traditional heavy metal.

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Obscure Oracle sneak previews “Pray for Nothing”

obscure_oracle_-_live

Texas heavy metal band Obscure Oracle has released its latest work, a track which takes us back to both the early 1980s and its grandiose power metal, and an improved version of the melodic death metal of the mid-90s. “Pray for Nothing” features 1980s style choruses with less repetitive verses than bands of that nature would use, sliding into melodic guitar riffing that would have At the Gates envious, but used sparingly like an Iron Maiden/Judas Priest era band would have used. This track foreshadows great things to come from this original Texan band! Because it is a sneak preview, you cannot hear the track at this time, but you can catch the band live just a few months ago:

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Autopsy debuts “Waiting For The Screams” from Skull Grinder

Autopsy released a single from Skull Grinder today, giving me an opportunity to taste something of what the album might be like. If “Waiting For The Screams” is any indicator of upcoming content, this album is going to be overtly influenced by traditional style doom metal. Much of its runtime is given over to shouted vocals over slow, relatively consonant riffs reminiscent of Black Sabbath, interspersed with some passages of more standard death metal riffing more like what I’d expect from Autopsy. The band claims not to have made any stylistic changes, but this sounds to me like a more accessible and melodramatic Autopsy than the one that produced Severed Survival and Mental Funeral. I guess we’ll see what the full album is actually like.

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Upcoming tours: Voivod

Promotional picture of Voivod by Valerie Gagne from their official site
Two tours of note today. First, and presumably better, is Voivod’s impending US tour. The band is currently traveling through Europe with Napalm Death and Obituary as part of Deathcrusher 2015. This February, they will join Vektor and Eight Bells for what is mostly a tour of the eastern USA, with some later dates in the Midwest. If an interview from February 2015 is to be believed, an album (and one that may be more overtly progressive rock oriented than usual for the band) is coming some time next year; the splits with At the Gates and Napalm Death that it mentions appear to have released without issues. The tour dates follow:

2/06 – Providence, RI – Fete Ballroom
2/07 – New York, NY – Gramercy Theatre
2/08 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Neck Tie
2/09 – Morgantown, WV – Mainstage
2/10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar
2/11 – Asbury Park, NJ – Stone Pony
2/12 – Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club
2/13 – Washington, DC – Black Cat
2/14 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter
2/16 – Raleigh, NC – Kings
2/18 – Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre
2/19 – Sanford, FL – West End Trading Co.
2/20 – Ybor City, FL – The Orpheum
2/21 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
2/22 – Knoxville, TN – The Concourse
2/24 – Chicago, IL – The Abbey Pub
2/25 – Cudahy, WI – The Metal Grill
2/26 – St Paul, MN – The Amsterdam
2/27 – Omaha, NE – Waiting Room
2/28 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird
3/03 – Ferndale, MI – The Loving Touch

I could theoretically make it to the Rhode Island show, and I am certainly interested in doing so, but we’ll have to see how things shape up in the next few months.

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Vox Day SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police (2015)

Vox Day: SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police

Vox Day: SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police

Science fiction author and video game designer Vox Day has written a handbook for dealing with SJWs including who they are and how to identify them, how they think and act, and how to defend against them and counter-attack. His writing style is easily digestible, and the information he presents is conveniently organized into enumerated laws and steps, such as the three laws of SJWs (the first of which doubles as the book’s title), the stages in an SJW attack, and the points to keep in mind during an attack.

SJWs are bullies who wield social pressure as a weapon.

Since his intent is practical, he gives only a brief overview of the ideology and history of SJWs. In his words, “knowing everything there is to know about shark DNA or what fish grizzly bears prefer to eat doesn’t do you any good when you find yourself nose to nose with a hungry one.” This focus is a strong point, as the result is a succinct instruction manual.

In the universities, in the churches, in the corporations . . . free speech and free thought are under siege by a group of fanatics as self-righteous as Savonarola, as ruthless as Stalin, as ambitious as Napoleon, and as crazy as Caligula.

They are the Social Justice Warriors, the SJWs, the self-appointed thought police who have been running amok throughout the West since the dawn of the politically correct era in the 1990s. Their defining characteristics:

  • a philosophy of activism for activism’s sake
  • a dedication to rooting out behavior they deem problematic, offensive, or unacceptable in others
  • a custom of primarily identifying individuals by their sex, race, and sexual orientation
  • a hierarchy of intrinsic morality based on the identity politics of sex, race, and sexual orientation
  • a quasi religious belief in equality, diversity, and the inevitably of progress . . .

The information in this book will be useful to metal band members and concert organizers who are the targets of SJW attacks. Vox demonstrates, using numerous examples of attacks, that the worst thing these targets can do is apologise, as doing so simply hands the attackers “a confession to bolster their indictment.” In fact, if one learns only a single thing from this book, it should be that SJWs can’t be reasoned with at all: do not engage them in good faith, do not expect them to be honest in any way, and just plain do not take them seriously. This should come naturally to members of an artistic movement fascinated with aggression and violence. And yet, #metalgate has shown us that heavy metal is in the SJWs’ crosshairs.

The reason for this is that metal has been infiltrated by SJWs, whose primary allegiance is always the Narrative, which is the nebulous and frequently changing concept of social justice to which they all adhere, regardless of inherent contradictions and absurdities (see the First Law). To them, the goals of a movement or institution will always be secondary to this, though they mask this insincerity by wrapping themselves in its superficial trappings. When they look at a band like Disma, they ignore what would be most important to a metalhead — the musical, artistic and philosophical content — and instead search for anything about its members that violates their Narrative, then point and shriek hysterically until a crowd forms. Fundamentally, SJWs are bullies who wield social pressure as a weapon.

If you have any SJWs working under you, fire them.

For a work that deals with such bitter and unlikeable people, the tone of this book is surprisingly positive, and the message is hopeful. Referring to an organized campaign against SJW control of a Science Fiction award, Day says “the importance of Sad Puppies is that it shows how even in a field that has been dominated by SJWs for more than two decades, they are weaker and less numerous than most people believe.” If their weapon is social pressure then a successful resistance would consist of simply not bowing to it. Since they always lie, even to themselves, they operate with a false understanding of the world, which puts them at a disadvantage to those who are honest.

Target the enemy at every opportunity. Hit them wherever they show themselves vulnerable. Play as dirty as your conscience will permit. Undermine them, sabotage them, and discredit them. Be ruthless and show them absolutely no mercy. This is not the time for Christian forgiveness because these are people who have not repented, these are people who are trying to destroy you and are quite willing to harm your family and your children in the process. Take them down and take them out without hesitation. If you have any SJWs working under you, fire them.

The truth is that SJWs care so much about the institutions they control that they will destroy them rather than relinquish control over them. They will consume metal, video games anything else by using their crazy ideology in order to assert individual self-importance. When confronted by them, don’t apologise, but instead counterattack by ruthlessly pursuing and defending truth. In other words,

Forgive me not
This knowledge makes me strong

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Jag Panzer to record The Deviant Chord

Jag Panzer seems to be in a period of heightened activity. After a string of previous and upcoming live concerts (including a scheduled appearance on the next “70,000 Tons of Metal” cruise), the band recently announced that they would be recording their next studio album, The Deviant Chord, in May 2016. This will hopefully build off a long and storied career. Jag Panzer initially achieved fame with 1984’s Ample Destruction, which was one of the formative works of the US power metal scene. Despite long periods of inactivity, the band has been able to successfully revive themselves on multiple occasions, most notably with a string of albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as well as 2011’s The Scourge of the Light. The main vocalist (Harry Conklin) also went on to form Satan’s Host, which later took on a life of its own through exploration of extreme metal tropes.

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