Profanatica and Cianide are playing the 2017 iteration of the Destroying Texas festival along with a bunch of shitty scenester bands like Black Witchery. Check them out if you live nearby; Profanatica are still great live despite the last album, The Curling Flame of Blasphemy, being a turd. Tickets are available from EventBrite.17 Comments
Earlier in the Coffins review, it was mentioned how that band was little more than a superficial imitator of bands like Cianide, and that apart from imitating the same types of riffs, achieved little in the way of communication. This has everything to do with how a piece of music is organized. It is is not in the riff itself but the relationship between riffs and in how, in relation to each other, they sketch a landscape. Cianide understands this, Coffins and the multitudes of third-rate imitators do not.
While the tag of “doom” is attached to Cianide, it is only right to call them death metal. Period. A death metal band that sometimes plays in relatively slow tempos using completely diatonic schemes. This is strongly reminiscent of Black Sabbath, which were dubbed “doom” only in hindsight after later acts like Saint Vitus or Witchfinder General. Both of these bands just play simple heavy metal in a style that emphasizes the weight of riffs. Being the talented musicians they are, their song-construction is fluent and their parts inter-related. This goes without saying when it comes to good metal. The term “doom” only makes sense as a genre tags for acts such as Skepticism, Worship or Thergothon which definitely do not follow a death metal or a heavy metal template but operate on entirely different “ideological” (so to speak, but not politically, rather, artistically) premises.
In Death, Doom and Destruction, Cianide bring a more mobile conception of their particular style that emphasizes the dynamics afforded by their mid-paced trudging that allows them to waiver between heavy-trudging riffs ala Celtic Frost and faster tremolo-picked passages. Compared to their early work, this newer album is slightly simplified at the riff-level, although the construction has suffered little deterioration that this listener can perceive. The songwriting skills that allow them channel the rhythmic and harmonic impulse of one section onto the next and to trace a roller-coaster-like curve in the course of these musical pieces is stronger than ever. If anything, I would call this a condensed Cianide.
Cianide are massive stalwarts of American death metal for whom little has changed in twenty years. Their impact is a bludgeoning and brute force one derived almost wholly from the genre’s progenitors; Slaughter (Canada), Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Slayer are touched with the plodding heavy metal of the previous generation to shore up their unwavering sound.
Interview originally from Heidenlarm e-zine #5.
When you formed Cianide, how did you describe the music you wanted to create?
Always was, is and will be: DEATH METAL. Granted we’re probably not the exact textbook definition of the genre, but that is what we’ve always set out to be. Could explain why we’ve managed to outlast a lot of more “popular” or “successful” of the bands that started around the same time we did. Our vision has always stayed the course and to play any other kind of music would just be stupid.
Of the artists who influenced you, which most directly affected your conception of the style of music you create with Cianide?
Of all of our influences the bands that immediately come to mind are FROST/HELLHAMMER (of course!), SLAUGHTER and MASTER/DEATHSTRIKE. Bands that incorporated various speeds/tempos as opposed to just speed for speed’s sake 100% of the time. Another band is POST MORTEM. “Coroner’s Office” is a fuckin’ classic!
The first Cianide album seemed to me to be more grinding than death metal, straying into the ambiguous and underexplored territory where Bolt Thrower, Blood and later Napalm Death wander. a) Do you think this perception is (semi-)accurate and b) what do you see as the differences emerging on later albums?
a. I guess you could say it’s accurate, though at the time we were just doing what we were able to do and not giving a fuck. Looking at the big picture, not a lot of bands call themselves Death Metal and play the sick, slow, dirgy stuff. I guess they call it gay “stoner” now. Remember when it used to be called DOOM METAL??
b. Well obviously we’ve picked up the pace a bit!! Theres only so many times you can hit an open E chord over a slow drum beat. Now were doing open E over faster beats!! Har Har! Seriously, slow heavy shit was just the order for that time for us. Mainly we got Andy on drums and he was more capable to handle faster stuff after Jeff left, so things just got faster from there. We haven’t completely abandoned our death-dirge roots though.
Over the course of development, Cianide has landed – for lack of a better phrase – into the category of “old school death metal,” joining luminaries such as Asphyx and Morpheus Descends. How do you think this music is different in its aim from other forms of death metal?
For us, we’re just playing the music that WE want to hear. If people call it “old school” well fuck, we are old school! I can’t speak for any other bands, but for us, this is the only way we know how to do it. It’s hard to pin down because nowadays bands like Cannibal and Morbid Angel are labeled “old school” but I think you must be referring to an actual “old school” sound. If that’s what you mean, you could say a band like CIANIDE is sort of a preservation of very early death metal. We’re not looking to break any new ground with this, nor do we have any aspirations for commercial success (though that would be nice if it came along!!), just trying to emulate the sound and style of the ancient GODS OF DEATH.
Someone once drew the distinction between hum-along metal like Motörhead or Venom, and “subversive metal,” meaning stuff that tries to be avantgarde, progressive or regressive. It seems to me that no band since Venom has captured the sense of popular and hum-along (really, is there a better term for this? songs that stay in your head and are relevant to aspects of everyday normal life) metal in the same way Cianide has, with bouncy, heavy, catchy songs hammering home simple ideas in smoothly integrated structures. How did you achieve this, and what are your thoughts on the accuracy of these statements? (I am no big fan of the hacked together terms like hum-along and subversive, but for now am not sure what I’d use in their place except extensive tedious descriptions)
I agree with the statement and take it as a compliment! Again we just write what we like and want to hear. Every riff we write has to fucking kill, no filler songs or parts with CIANIDE as far as I’m concerned. Bands with catchy choruses is the style of metal that we grew up with so it only makes sense that we would emulate that. Even stuff like early Death, Terrorizer, Repulsion, Massacre and even Morbid Angel had choruses that you could consider “catchy”. I can appreciate bands that play overly technical, but most of the time I prefer something that sticks in my head and kicks my ass.
Cianide seems to have stayed with no single label for more than an album. Is this true? Are there reasons the band had for doing this, or was this a product of what I call the “usual label chaos,” e.g. labels falling apart, dropping bands at random and going bankrupt?
Our first label, Grindcore merely changed their name to Red Light so our first two releases were basically on the same label. They went chapter 13, so we did DDD with Lost Horizon. That label was basically two friends of ours wanting to do a label. They were flipping the bill and nobody was asking us to dance at the time so we said, “what the fuck”. They went belly up also. Merciless re- released DDD on vinyl and did our latest, Divide and Conquer and are all set to our our forthcoming “The Age of Hell’s Rebirth”. So far so good.
Someone once told me I was not “open-minded” for automatically hating some band that attempted to merge alternative rock and metal; what do you think?
Liking different styles of music is actually just a matter of taste and really has nothing to do with having a so-called “open mind”, which has been such an over-used term ever since the 80’s that it is now pointless and irrelevant to label anybody as such (closed minded). What this egotistical person actually means is, ‘my opinion in music is much better than yours because I have no real convictions and simply like what is deemed “cool” by the mainstream, even though I think I’m hip and into new and crazy things just to impress ditzy college girls’.
Tell that person to stick his alternative/metal/rock/bastard hybrid up his open-minded ass.
Metal has changed in demographic since the so-called “glory (hole) days” of 1988-1994, with a broader and bigger audience now tuning in to even the most antisocial black metal. What changes do you think this demographic has caused to occur in the music itself?
From what I can see, when a band achieves some sort of success be it either underground or commercial, the band will try to write what it thinks is popular in an attempt to “keep up with the times” (ie. Entombed, Morgoth, Mayhem). On the other side of the coin, if a band is successful and stays true to their original ideals, they still will get dismissed by all the death-metal weenies and black metal trendies who are only into listening to shitty bands that YOU never heard of. So in essence, nothing has really changed.
Will you ever work to re-release the old Cianide albums?
There has been talk about re-releasing the first two on vinyl but nothing serious as of yet. We are planning on putting all our demos out on a double cd, with all kinds of extras and shit. Should rule.
A Descent Into Hell seems to me, sonically, to be one of the “heaviest” albums ever created, and not just through production – how did you achieve this, and what was your aim in creating that album? (see disclaimer above about hacked together terms again)
Again, we just do what we do. I think at that time we were tuned to like Z or something. We did all of those songs live, most only in one or two takes. The kicks and snare were sampled though. I remember after we got done doing the first song, the engineers came in and they were like, “everything sounds good guys but we do need more bass” we thought they were serious. Then they started laughing at us and they were like, “jeezzzzus, you guys are FUCKING HEAVY!!” “Decent…” is also a personal favorite of mine. I think it’s impossible to get that sound back again but who knows…………..
Has Cianide toured, or is it more of a band that you do when not leading a normal life?
Tour?? Shit, we’re lucky we play out once a year!! The time for touring is past. We’re smart enough to realize early on that playing underground metal, be it Black, Death or otherwise, wasn’t going to be a very lucrative career choice. Insecure “we’re truer than thou” hard-on’s would probably classify us as hobbyists, and they may be right. A hobby is defined as any activity that one enjoys in their spare time. Though I guarantee you this, we’ll still be doing what we do long after today’s hip-name-to-drops have changed their style/names/haircuts and end up in the washed up file cut-out bins.
To put it bluntly, what are you guys like in real life? Are you closer to maniacs who live out the lyrics to cianide songs, or artists who metaphorically describe what they perceive?
We’re just your above average beer swilling metalheads. What you see is what you get. No tattoos, no gay piercings. Dirty, Ugly, loud and proud!
One other thing about Cianide that is gratifying: a sense of humor. What do you see as the role of humor in “serious” metal? Do you consider Cianide a serious band? If not, what motivates you to have the standards you do in the creation of the music?
I’m not really into “joke” or “message” bands. Injecting humor into Metal can be tricky. It’s hard to do it correct without sounding lame. Obviously we’re not a joke band, but we like to inject some humor, like our thank you lists are always filled with jags. POST MORTEM were the originators of that. At least that’s who we stole it from!! I love who I am and love being a Metalhead. But there are some people out there who take this music and themselves way too seriously who are just rubbers. It’s just music after all. Who know’s though, I’m sure to some people it looks like I take it too seriously. The grass is always greener……………
If you could tour with any two death metal bands in history, which would they be?
Slaughter – original line-up
Master – original line-up
What do you think of the following:
1. Asphyx – I have “The Rack” on cassette…..good heavy death metal
2. Master – The early stuff is immortal…the new stuff ain’t so bad
3. Suffer (SWE) – never heard them
4. Kittie – never heard them
5. Carnage (SWE) – Entombed clones
Do you have any views on religion? How religion effects politics? How this affects us now?
Religion and politics are needed to keep the general population in line. I think they’re both brilliant. You can’t have people just running wild, doing what they want. It sounds good on paper and makes for a lot of cool lyrical ideas, be it Metal, Punk or otherwise, but when you return back to the real world the majority of people out there simply cannot handle the responsibility of being an individual, and I don’t want to deal with them. It’s not my job.
Religion, of course, does make some men better, and perhaps even many men. There can be no doubt of it. But making them better by filling their poor heads with grotesque nonsense is an irrational and wasteful process, and the harm it does greatly outweighs the good. If men could be made better — or even only happier — by teaching them that two and two make five there would be plenty of fools to advocate that method, but it would remain anti-social none the less. If the theologians could only agree on their doctrines their unanimity might have some evidential value, just as the agreement of all politicians that the first duty of the citizen is to obey them and admire them has some evidential value. It may not be true, but it is at least undisputed by all save a small fraction of heretics, which is certainly something. Fortunately for common sense, the theologians are never able to agree. Even within the sects, and under the more rigid discipline, there is constant wrangling, as, for example, between the Jesuits and the Dominicans. Thus the cocksureness of one outfit is cancelled out by the ribald denial of all the rest, and rational men are able to consign the whole gang to statistics and the Devil.
– Henry Louis Mencken
What are your views on wealth, and its ideal relationship to individual humans?
People who go around saying, “money isn’t everything” are usually already rich and never had to work hard to achieve their wealth/success. Give me enough money so I don’t ever have to work again in my life and I’ll show you one happy, fat little man!!!
Do you support or reject anti-bestiality laws?
Hey, whatever blows yer skirt up!
What in your view are the a) strengths and b) weaknesses that metal took on by going “underground” instead of attempting to be a mainstream genre?
For one thing, since all true metal is underground it is not scrutinized and kept in check by the politically correct mainstream. Bands can say and write whatever they feel without any pressure of pissing this one off or offending others. Imagine how lame your favorite metal bands would become if they had to kow-tow to the whole music industry just to create music. I have one word for people who may disagree with this: METALLICA!! I love the fact that metal is underground. The people who want it know where to get it. It sucks for the bands who I’m sure need to play to eat, but that’s not my problem.
What do you think of nu-metal? Can metal ever be in the mainstream, like it was with Black Sabbath?
Any band can get big if marketed properly and shoved down the masses throats. For instance, if MTV tells their audience that Christraping Black Metal is “cool” and says that the bandmembers are “cute”, all Black Metal bands would get huge and you would not like them anymore. Sabbath were/are huge, but in their day, they never got any radio airplay (except for “Paranoid” late at night), let alone videos. They just did it through word of mouth and constant touring. As for nu-metal, it’s just like the 80’s. Instead of big- hair you have buzz-cuts. Instead of eyeliner you have piercings. Instead of glamed out clothes you have tribal tattoos. The music is just a watered down, bastardized, marketed and hyped version of the real deal.
Does metal keep evolving, or is it cyclic?
Everything is the same, just different haircuts!!
What’s the next Cianide album going to be like?
Just like the last one, except HEAVIER!!
Will you ever do a live album?
Hopefully someday. Guess you need to play live to do that!!!
What is your stance on mp3 trading of rare materials?
It doesn’t affect me either way, if I hear something I’ll just go out and buy it.
I’m the same way, if I like something, I’ll go and buy it. I have other things to do on my computer than sitting there waiting for a song to download, like looking for porn!! I do think it’s good for people to hear what a band sounds like from their website etc before they go out and buy it. It’s just another medium.
Did Cianide have any demos? If so, what were they?
We did three official demo’s: “Funeral” in 1990, “Second Life” in 91′ and “Cianide Kills” in I think 1993. We also had 2 different three-song promos for DDD and Divide……, but those weren’t really for sale. Everything will probably be on a single release for CURSED PRODUCTIONS if we can get off our lazy asses and get started on it.
Are reactions to Cianide different in Europe and Asia versus the USA?
Reactions seem to be pretty much the same everywhere. We’re regarded as throwbacks from all over!!
Are there any metal zines or websites you read, and, if so, what makes them useful to you?
The only zines I’ll plug that come to mind are Metal Curse and Midwest Metal cuz they are cool!
Will metal survive the wave of hip-hop music in America?
It already is as far as I can tell. Rap is already regarded as a joke whose core audience is rich, white, suburban kids. Hip-hop and rap do provide a very important service to us Metal fans however for which I’m truly thankful: BY KEEPING A GREAT MAJORITY OF ALL MORONS, MEATHEADS AND FUCKUP’S OUT OF OUR SCENE!!!! Every time I happen to turn on some MTV special or video, I get a big smile and feel great inside. That’s right dummies, keep being spoon-fed your entertainment you mindless fools! Yo Dawg!!! Bling Bling!! Comedy!!
Does metal’s being different from jazz, blues, hip-hop make it a cultural or political statement?
The fact that underground metal is the only form of rock and roll that has yet to be turned into a marketable mainstream commodity surely says something. It almost happened to death metal in the early 90’s. Then Nirvana killed that, thankfully!! STAY UNDERGROUND!!!
Anything I forgot you’d care to add?
I think you covered it all my man!!
Thanks for the interview. Visit the official CIANIDE WEBSITE at www.cianide-metal.comNo Comments
Recorded back in the hazy 1990s, The Dying Truth is a morbid sort of grindcore-influenced death metal that takes a death-doom pace with an eclectic but primitive approach to riffs.
The re-issue of this death/doom classic from 1992 with its original intended track order and “Funeral” (Demo 1990) and “Second Life” (Demo 1991) tracks as bonus.
Release date: May 18th.
Cianide A Descent Into Hell (with bonus tracks)
Rising from the depths of “The Windy City”; Chicago’s finest death/doom threesome Cianide delivered its first death blow to the underground in 1992. After some initial praise from 1992’s “Dying Truth,” Cianide assaulted eardrums with what many consider their finest hour, “A Descent Into Hell.”
Pure, unadulterated death metal and almost 20 years after its initial issue; 1994’s “A Descent Into Hell” is finally available on CD once again. Almost 80 minutes (includes 1993’s “Kills” demo and two unreleased tracks) of true death metal that Cianide has been delivering for almost a quarter of a century.
“Cianide plays TRUE death metal exclusively!”No Comments
4 new releases in the works:
KING (Colombia) “Forged By Satan’s Doctrine” CD (DG-065)
AVENGER (Czech Republic) “Bohemian Dark Metal” DIGI CD (DG-066)
NOCTURNAL TORMENT (USA) “They Come At Night” CD (DG-067)
CIANIDE (USA) “The Dying Truth” CD reissue (DG-068)
Ray Miller from Metal Curse has pulled off a massive video interview with underground longtimers Cianide, who specialize in primitive but brainy doom-death with strong Motorhead/Hellhammer undertones. In it, they discuss metal, the truth of the old school, the cluelessness of the nu-skule, and the complete inability of modern society to conceive of anything so packed with potential as death metal:No Comments
CIANIDE premiere track from new album, their first in six years, set for release tomorrow!
Widely revered Chicago death metal cult CIANIDE are premiering a new track, “Dead and Rotting,” today at Metal-Army.com alongside an interview with the band. “Dead and Rotting” comes from CIANIDE’s brand-new album on HELLS HEADBANGERS, the appropriately titled Gods of Death, set for release tomorrow worldwide. The link to the track premiere can be found here: http://www.metal-army.com/?p=22698.
Already, CIANIDE’s Gods of Death is being hailed by the international metal press, even landing the band a covetted feature in next month’s issue of Decibel. Here are some snippets of the buzz currently circulating around Gods of Death:
• “Will make peers like NUNSLAUGHTER or JUNGLE ROT weep” – Terrorizer [4/5 rating]
• “Death metal at its most primitive, primeval, and downright punishing, ugly as sin and reassuringly predictable. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – Decibel
• “Exactly what it is intended to be: a well-done homage to early Celtic Frost” – About.com [B+ rating]
• “Comes from the oldest style of death metal…will confirm that the underground isn’t dead; it’s just overshadowed by the drama of the emotional-like-emo people” – Examiner.com
• “Cianide stay the course and leave an even longer trail of corpses” – Blabbermouth.net [8/10 rating]
• “Monstrous” – Popdose [10/11 rating]
• “Death metal as it should be, at its ferocious, bestial zenith” – Metalcurse.com [10/10 rating]
• “Proves that Cianide still has what it takes to be one of the more important driving forces of the underground metal world to date” – Apochs.net [9.5/10 rating]
• “For those who prefer their metal keeping its direct link and inspiration all the way to the glory ’80s, Cianide is one of the most obvious answers” – Dead Void Dreams webzine [9/10 rating]
• “A worthy effort from a band whose return is most welcome” – Metalreviews.com
• “Lots of bands are now jumping on the bandwagon, but these guys have been doing old-school since old-school wasn’t cool” – Wormwoodchronicles.com
• “This is the way death metal was meant to be: thick, groovin’ and brutal” – Brutal Control webzine
• “A superb death metal album that delivers exactly what you want: no-frills deathliness with no fancy trickery on the production or mix” – MetalTeamUK.net
• “Operate in a space between BOLT THROWER’s chugging surety and the more ominous, cavernous resonance of INCANTATION…one of our most devout, unsung US death veterans, and worth experiencing if you want nothing more than to ball your fists up and feast on human misery like a streetfightin’ troglodyte” – From the Dust Returned webzine
About Metal Army: Metal-Army.com is the new number-one online destination for the metal community! Featuring all of metal’s latest news, reviews, etc and guest writers that include Oderus Urungus (GWAR), Rob Dukes (EXODUS) and UFC fighter Dan Hardy (amongst others), Metal-Army.com is home to the best that metal has to offer. Metal-Army.com also hosts monthly bar nights across the country where metalheads can go to hang out with fellow metalheads, have some drinks, and see some of their favorite musicians spin their favorite metal songs during special DJ sets. Past DJs have included members of White Zombie, Exodus, Testament, The Cult, Neurosis and more! The next Metal Army Night is scheduled for August 9th at Idle Hands Bar in New York City at 9PM!
For more info, consult www.hellsheadbangers.com and www.myspace.com/cianidekills.No Comments
Some new reading for y’all:
- Beherit – At the Devil’s Studio 1990: more like the later EPs, a sonically-experimental take on these songs that were more Blasphemy like on The Oath of Black Blood but gained some power in their austere, minimal, aloof presentation on the second album.
- Cianide – Gods of Death: A big improvement over Hell’s Rebirth; a more self-conscious album, this one deliberately merges their Motorhead, Celtic Frost and Master origins in a new, streamlined form of the oldest of old school.
- Ejacula radio on KPFT 90.1: for those of you in Houston and awake from 3 am – 6 am on Friday mornings, this is the dark and shadowy metal show that has stalked this realm for 19 years.
These made it to Examiner to keep that source alive; despite having terrible software, distant editors and mostly celebrity content, Examiner is a great place to promote metal and make it into mainstream news.No Comments
We who still love metal walk a fine line between the sold out nu-hardcore stylings of metalcore, and the tendency to hop on the bandwagon of the old school too much; the previous Cianide, Hell’s Rebirth, walked too far on the old school side — when a band loses direction, they imitate successful techniques and patterns from the past without knowing what those patterns evoked in the listeners.
Despite pretending the contrary is true, Cianide is intensely emotional music. It brings on the spirit of doom and fate from old Celtic Frost, the fire-blooded desire to seize life by the throat and live the hell out of it of Motörhead, and from ancient death metal and doom metal a contemplative inner sense, a wondering where we fit in this big picture.
Hell’s Rebirth skipped the emotion for the equivalent of lots of songs about being in a death metal. Gods of Death, despite the less-than-promising self-referential title, is a quality mature effort from these veterans. It is not a concept album but a collection of songs that somewhat self-consciously attempt greater internal variation than previous albums, evenly mixing the “Metal Never Bends” style of bounding, energetic death metal of the type early Master did well, and the brooding drone of Hellhammer and the doom-death style it influenced. The songs are still simple; the solos still squiggles of graffiti on walls of unyielding tone.
If anything, this album reverts to the hardcore roots of death metal and eschews the “nu-hardcore” post-1980s prog-punk and pop-punk styles that are so popular in metal now. In both style and substance, Gods of Death is an affirmation of the past and a recognition that style alone did not define it; the spirit and the soul of the artist made 1990s death metal what it was, and they not only live on but move forward on this chunk of oxidizing steel.