Darkthrone – The Underground Resistance (reconsidered)

darkthrone-the_underground_resistanceA few days ago, we published a controversial review of the new Darkthrone album, The Underground Resistance. Wherever this has been mentioned, it has generated quite a backlash from people who want to assure us that they indeed do not find it so devoid of benefit, and want to remind us that we’re simply dour sourpusses who hate anything except the avantgarde.

I am aware that human beings specialize in denial, and that our method of handling denial is transference and projection, by which we invert accountability and place it on those who do not conform to social expectations, which is a vast tolerance of everything and anything that some living breathing human has put out. As a result, I don’t expect much from the first wave of reviews anywhere, but I’m also not the kind of jerkoff editor who will cut his writers off at the knees.

This left only one solution: listen to The Underground Resistance myself.

This is more difficult than it seems. I do not believe youth is the sweetest time of life; in fact, I hate nostalgia. But when I was developing (or clarifying) the most important ideas and truths I have found in this life, it was a reasonable guess that Darkthrone might have been on the stereo (back then, we used big hulking stereo amplifiers with CD players to reproduce sound from a primitive form of MP3 file stored on a physical medium with reflective bits). In fact, I can remember a number of important discoveries in which Darkthrone featured prominently by being the soundtrack to some dark and some light realizations, and at least one Darkthrone tape (ah yes, youngsters; unless you were rich, you had a “cassette tape player” in your car, to which you dubbed CDs using your big hulking stereo, and then played primitive analogues of MP3 files using magnetic flipped bits on chromium dioxide-covered plastic tape) that lived in my car during a dark era when I drove many miles at night under the threat of an uncertain future.

When I had triumphs, I threw on Transilvanian Hunger, which was a cry to war for a generation. When I studied late at night, Soulside Journey was often on the stereo (low volume, using an anachronistic physical volume knob — crazy shit, man). I remember first “getting” the black metal ideal when listening to Under a Funeral Moon, and realizing this was the revenge of the naturalists. It wasn’t bad production; it was organic sound, a blaze of it, in which the message hid like a signal/noise ratio refinement experiment. It was deliberately obscured, esoteric music in which one could hide the truths that a dying society could no longer face. I loved it, and still do, but I really hate nostalgia. Nostalgia says the best days were past; that’s nonsense, since we learn every day and constantly get better at being who we are. That last sentence contained the main point of this article.

The context in which Darkthrone exists for its longtime listeners is hard to express, however. It’s somewhere aligned with worship and built on trust. We entrusted our hopes, fears, terrors and anger to Darkthrone back in the day, and in exchange vested in them a belief in them as musicians and people. They were no longer just a bunch of guys bashing on guitars, but sages, deliverers of wisdom. Maybe this is wrong, but black metal is a somewhat messianic genre to which children run when they start to realize that the modern world is not a train to Utopia, but a train wreck of false illusions and trends which the majority of people are too zombie-drugged on consumerism and ideology to notice. We the children of this dead world were seeking some reason to keep going and to thrive, and Darkthrone gave us those reasons among other black metal sages.

As a result, it’s impossible (think of Heisenberg) to simply listen to a Darkthrone album. Too much comes with it: history, context, emotion. For many artists, this is good. For example, Robert Fripp and Brian Eno are still making ambient music and their faithful buy up each one and revel in the new space discovered. Some bands find niches and are able to keep improving. Others flatten out, having lost the point of what they were doing, and instead try to become inclusive and patch together all their influences and all the stuff they know makes people happy to listen to their songs. The result is like a hotel room, in that it fits everyone’s specifications but no one’s needs.

When I first listened to The Underground Resistance, I was tempted to consider Jon Wild’s piece inaccurate. Darkthrone have made an album of pleasant music that is equal parts Iron Maiden, Celtic Frost and random death metal and speed metal era influences. I caught Slayer references, something that sounded like a Destruction cadence, and many riff types from the last four decades of metal. I doubt any of this is wholly and completely lifted, but I could be wrong. The fact is that they’re of the same archetypes. However, that has no bearing on whether the album is good or not. If someone were to assemble songs of classic riffs, and give those riffs new life by putting them together in a song which was evocative of some emotion or concept, then that would be a victory. Originality doesn’t matter, because no matter what you’re doing, Haydn did it four centuries ago, or Mozart slightly later. That’s the great farce of music. It’s not about discovering some new theory about making music, but about making music, and much as you’d write a story or sculpt a figurine, using those skills to shape raw material into something which reminds us of something truthful in life. The best art becomes “classic” because it did that better than anyone else.

However, as time went on, I realized Jon is both far off — and dead on. The problem with this album is not the recycled riffs, or the style, or the goofy vocals. It’s that it has nothing to express except that a metal band made an album out of things they knew would work. We know Fenriz and Nocturno Culto can put together a great catchy album in their sleep, and have it humming it all year if they want. Here, they seem exhausted, a couple of old buddies who got together on the weekend to jam and when it was done, cut the tape and mailed it off. This tendency is most clear in the fills that connect riffs to one another. They are obvious in the sense of being very basically musically, not adapted to the song, not possessed of grace. They just tie together some riffs and do an adequate job, and that’s apparently all that’s required.

Remember above how I said the main point of the article was encoded in a sentence about nostalgia? We should always be growing in knowledge and power, and moving toward being better at what we do. Darkthrone still have this in them; for some reason, they’re tired of exercising it. In doing so, they’ve become a cult of their own entropy. There’s nothing wrong with this album except that it has nothing to recommend it. It is competent; it’s fun to listen to; I never want to hear it again. It is people who gave up on their own future and now are doing what the world expects of them, just like going to a job. Our world is broken and failed indeed if it has condemned such talented people to such a fate, but I hope they pull out of this tailspin because they as people and Darkthrone as a concept are worth doing better than this.

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Interview with Sleepwalker of A Transylvanian Funeral

A-Transylvanian-Funeral2CCWe previously posted an article on the exploits of Sleepwalker from Forbidden Records, Forbidden Magazine and from the black metal band A Transylvanian Funeral. That article can be viewed here.

Sleepwalker has decided to come out from the shadows to indulge us further regarding his projects:

Since creating Forbidden Records you’ve released numerous albums and splits. What are some of your favorite releases that you’d like our readers to check out? 

93! I would have to say that they are all killer and out of print. Each release has had its own relevance and meaning. I was really happy to put out Thornspawn / Black Angel, two legendary bands, along with re-issuing Kult ov Azazel’s demo material. That is not to make light of Immolith or Draconis Infernum, as their tape releases were killer companions to the CD counterparts. I hope to re-issue the older A Transylvanian Funeral material soon as well, so I suppose fans will get a chance to hear that material again…

How has Forbidden Records grown since its inception? 

This month, March of 2013, marks several ‘firsts’ for Forbidden. The distro is growing in size and I am able to mark all of our CDs @ $5. I would rather they sell and be enjoyed than try and get every last drop of money from the fans. The new A Transylvanian Funeral and Goatcraft albums out this month are our first Pro CD, Redbook quality release, and I was able to hire Clawhammer to help out with the press push. It has grown to the point where I almost can’t do it all myself, which is great. I have also expanded into selling occult amulets and talismans, as well as occult books from Crowley, Summers, Mathers, etc.

The occult and metal have always been a huge part of my life so it is a natural progression. Forbidden Records is also still a recording studio, as it really began, although I rarely invite clients into its doors and remain private. When I have, I have been very selective and not disappointed in the outcome.

Why did you start Forbidden Radio? 

Forbidden Radio started for many of the same reasons Forbidden Magazine started. I was operating a studio under the name of Third Eye Audio and writing a magazine when I put out the first A Transylvanian Funeral album. The magazine was fun but I found myself with more and more responsibility online while the print version sat on a self and the interviews I secured went nowhere. I understand the difficulties of running a zine so I opted to leave and start my own,  since I had an album I wanted to promote, why rely on someone else to promote it for me when I can do it myself on in my own zine? With Forbidden Radio, it was the same situation. Many have great mp3 collections they have downloaded via Limewire or whatever it is these days to listen to them mutter incoherently in to a $20 radio shack microphone makes my skin crawl. I am not hoping that DJ Tonedef is gonna pay his internet bill this month and be able to do the show and  promote my songs. No way! Just another case of DIY. There are a lot of great internet DJs out there and I had opportunity to be one but I know I don’t  have the time or interest so I made Forbidden Radio, where bands can upload their mp3 and be in the queue of songs being rotated. There are no DJs, no advertisements nothing but streaming aggressive music.

It’s very admirable that you run Forbidden Magazine. The internet has garroted most DIY publications. Why did you elect to print physical copies of your magazine instead of stockpiling it all online? 

I don’t know, to be honest. I enjoy making things, tangible products as opposed to files and software. I have all the magazines online in PDF form for  people to read in whatever form they want but I have always been a reader, I still collect books. I work in a bookstore. It is in my blood to turn pages. Blogs and webzines are a dime a dozen but they are usually more current and up to the minute, which is nice, but a zine that interviewed Mayhem in 1990 is more appealing than a webzine that interviewed Mayhem in 2012. Printed zines are not disposable like the junk food internet is. Labels like to see their material represented in print as do the bands. Fans can go either way but if a fan collects Inquisition records, patches, buttons and zines with their interviews he has something to work with in printed form, online, not so much. The online he has to share, he can’t claim his territory with the online interview and  add it to his collection. He is forced to share. I like giving people the ability to mark their territory, to not share, to have something of which only 100 copies were made, revert to primal animal character instincts, etc.

You have interviewed numerous bands for Forbidden Magazine. I noticed in some interviews you inquire about occult influences. What are your thoughts on the occult? 

forbidden_records_

I have always had an interest in things occult, or ‘hidden’. My mother was an accomplished numerologist and had an uncle who was a successful hypnotist and psychic so I was exposed to things that others may not have been, all of which were positive, of course. I don’t consider myself a satanist or devil worshiper as other who do not know me or my character do. I do not discuss my spiritual practices as that only weakens their potency but anyone who is familiar with  Crowley’s 28 Theorems should know that I adhere to their principles and methodology. I have experienced far too much amazing ‘changes in conformity with Will’ to believe anything less than the Truth in Magick and the Higher Self. Crowley says the same thing that Chopra and Robbins does: we live in abundance, change your paradigm and become a receptacle for your desires. Get out of your own fucking way and let the power flow through. While I study and practice Thelema, Tarot and  Western Hermeticsim, I also find the practice of Chaos Magick to be of worth, as the complex systems of the Golden Dawn, QBL and Enochian can be so multi-faceted that it become unproductive. Sure, you may become a wise old mystic after 20 years of studying and meditating upon the QBL but that understanding is of little practical use when you can’t manifest a parking spot or get a better paying job. I was initially drawn to the work of LaVey as a teenager, as most rebel youth are, the ‘practical’ or ‘materialist’ sense of LaVey’s Satanism is appealing to me as well, as I spent years of my life without money, without direction, without the power that money brings, like being able to print a magazine, put out albums, buy mixing boards, etc. Unfortunately, LaVey puts his Satanists on an island, disconnecting them from the infinite universe and its 100 trillion stars. That is where I switch gears and find myself picking and choosing amongst different faiths and making things work for me. I guess that makes me a heretic of some sort or another.

You appear to be a workhorse. Is it strenuous to operate so many projects at once?

Yeah, it is and I try not to bitch about it too, as I would ‘do’ than ‘want’. I just had the conversation with a friend that I would rather be hard to work with and show a strong track record of success as opposed to be ‘easy going’ and get nothing done. The hardest thing is not making time to go the gym, to be honest. I miss working out and having that time to myself, for myself, alone. When the time comes that a project is suffering because I am trying to juggle too many projects, I hope I am smart enough to give some one else the reigns, hence my hiring of Clawhammer for March’s releases. I don’t gamble at casinos, but I do bet on myself and Forbidden to get shit done. I have watched so many young bands rely on other people to get them somewhere they want to be instead of taking it themselves…fuck that shit! I am humble but when I look at what I have done, it feels good. I wrote a pretty heavy introduction to Forbidden Magazine III, reminding bands that if they work forty hours a week at a shitty day job, why can’t they work just as hard for their precious fucking art? I just can’t  wait on handouts from anyone and the zine, the label and the band all kind of fit together well anyway. Malcolm X said that no one can give you anything, if you are a man, you take it.

What are the influences for A Transylvanian Funeral? 

I have a lot of influences musically. Mayhem was the first band to turn me onto black metal. I hear so much new music from Forbidden Magazine it is hard to gauge what makes it through my subconscious filter into my guitar… I think the sound has changed enough over time that it hasn’t grown old, and it was always my intention to reinvent my sound or creative process with each album. I enjoy all extreme music but find myself listening to completely different stuff for pleasure, when I am driving, for example, this week I have been listening to old Wax Trax! stuff, before that I was listening an album that I mixed of a local psychedelic / rock band. There are parts of me that just like playing Black Sabbath songs standing in front of my amp, rattling the windows, too.

Being the sole member of A Transylvanian Funeral, how would you place in juxtaposition your new album Gorgos Goetia to previous works? Is there a personal rumination promulgating in your music?

I am certain that I do have a message or proclamation that I am making in my music, it is just that it changes from song to song, album to album. Gorgos Goetia has a focus on the creative energy of Magick, its power and properties but every song is not necessarily about Magick, unless of course you reference Crowley’s Theorem #1… When I started writing for Gorgos Goetia, I didn’t want a drum machine, so I got a shitty drum kit and beat the hell out of it the best I could. I didn’t want layers of guitars, so I recorded one track and used a delay for fake stereo. Minimal production in terms of EQ, compression, gates, etc. Anyone who has heard the previous album, ‘the Outsider’, can hear keyboards, pianos, samples, drum machines, multiple guitars, elaborate reverbs and a very coherent flow of songs from start to finish. I wanted Gorgos Goetia to be more disjointed, less of a comfortable listen, harsher on the ears and more a collection of songs that a ‘concept’ album.

What are the themes of the title and lyrics for Gorgos Goetia

CoverAThe themes vary but are based in Magick. ‘Moonchild’ has little to do with the novel and more to do with the novel’s point, the birth of a Magick child, the creation fashioned from a union between the Will and the Universe. Potential + Preparedness = Creation. ‘The Supreme Rite of Transmutation’ is a celebration of power, a giving of thanks and acknowledgement of the divinity within. ‘Night Hags’, on the other hand, is based on a story I read from one of Montague Summers’ collection of witchcraft and vampire legends about these vampire slaves, or ‘night hags’, as he were referred to, that would enter the home and steal the body of a soon to decease corpse. I enjoyed that story, because in it, the hags didn’t use ‘black magic’ to steal the body, they simply left a bottle of rum outside the door and when dying’s family were all drunk and fast asleep, they simply walked in and took his body. Depending on your perspective of things, they can appear either mundane or magickal. Many times, I have a song title in my head and work from that point forward, ‘Hymn to a Gorgon’ was one of those instances. From that song, I derived the album title, Gorgos Goetia, which is a difficult translation from Greek to ‘terrible sorcery’. I plan to release a collection of all lyrics from A Transylvanian Funeral in book form, as they have never been released previously, other than in PDF form and two songs with Plutonian Shore, ‘Moonchild’ and ‘The Supreme Rite of Transmutation’.

The split Alchemical Manifestations has received good reviews. Why did you choose to do a split with Plutonian Shore?

Plutonian Shore was visiting Tucson and contacted me, wanted to hang out and we did. They came over and we sat in the studio listening to Snotarar and talked about Magick and putting out an album together. We both had material to release and it seemed natural. It was great meeting them and we are both fans of each others music, I just hope to repeat the experience sooner than later. I just heard today that they sold out of the cassette version of the split but I still have copies of the CD available. I also wanted to share a split with a band that operated differently from my own. They are a full band with two guitars and keyboardist, play live, etc. where as I do not, etc. We vary in methods but share similar results or goals, so it made for an interesting and contrasting split, which I think creates more listenability and interest.

A Transylvanian Funeral has never played a show and has declined summons from others to do so. Will A Transylvanian Funeral ever perform live? 

atf2I doubt it but I never say never. I don’t disrespect what other people do but feel disrespected when someone asks me to play a bar and doesn’t take the time to research who they are contacting. A mass email to 1000 bands inviting them to ‘pay to play’ is garbage and I will not suffer a fool. If and when I do play live, I would like to document the event, video, audio, etc. and make a nice release out of it as it will probably not occur again. I just find I get more done alone. Maybe I spent too many years playing with people whose ideas did not coincide with my own and things would be different if I were different but if it isn’t broke, why fix it? Plus I would need to do it in Texas as all the potential members reside there currently…!

Thank you for taking the time to enlighten our readers about your exploits. What advice would you give others that are interested in creating their own record label, performing solo in a black metal band, or establishing their own magazine? 

Thank you for taking the time to write the interview and push my material, it means a lot to me! If someone is reading this and wants to do the things mentioned, remember that your success is your responsibility, not a label’s, not a magazine, not a DJ or promoter or club or a drummer or his three girlfriends. There is a power and a means to use that power to get what you want in life. Trust your instinct and be prepared to get knocked on your ass more than once. Once you decide to stand back up and keep fighting, that’s when life will give you more of what you want. 93!

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Stratovarius release new track “Halcyon Days”

stratovarius-nemesisLong ago, back when people mailed out physical promos of albums, I got an album in the mail from Stratovarius. I could tell from looking at it that it was power metal. I put it on the shelf behind the grindcore.

Power metal is interesting. Musically, it’s essentially speed metal (just like most “thrash metal”). The difference is that there’s some death metal technique, borrowed from Judas Priest’s Painkiller, that gives it some heft. However, there’s something else about it.

The music uses vocals designed to inspire and take people through a range of emotions rather quickly. It’s more like traditional heavy metal, but much more emotional, like Queensryche turned up to 11. There’s also something else, and it took me many years to recognize it.

In the American south, we have many gospel music traditions. Gospel music is what happens when you take hymns and treat them like 1920s jazz. They lose the classical music feel, and get more emotional and have a bit more of that “inspirational” feeling.

I’m not saying this is an influence on power metal, only that it sounds that way. This is not new for metal. Early gospel music influences include “War Pigs” from Black Sabbath, which fits the song format nearly perfectly. It’s worship music.

As a result of this realization, I had never really been a power metal person. I liked Helstar, sure, because Nosferatu is just a killer album no matter how you slice it. The Maiden/Slayer mix on that makes for almost an ideal form of metal. But when you add operatic vocals…

Stratovarius changed some things for me. For starters, I thought that musically it was quite adept and spirited. I also liked the way its focus on epic topics was in a metal tradition that stretches from Voivod through Atheist. Interesting stuff.

In any case, Stratovarius has released a new single in video form. Generally, their stuff is better than the average for power metal, or for metal at this point, and it’s epic enough to fit with the death metal vibe. So check this out, and see what you think.

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March of the Cadavers 2013 Tour: Deceased and Gravehill on the road

deceased_gravehill-march_of_the_cadavers_2013_tourDeath metal early adopters Deceased begin their 2013 tour with special guests Gravehill on the “March of the Cadavers 2013 Tour” tomorrow in Albuquerque, NM.

Long-supportive of both the death metal scene and the primal horror-based heavy metal that went before it, Deceased are famous for being one of the first death metal bands to have recognizable technical prowess at a time when most people thought of death metal as violent incompetents with loud guitars.

Since those hazy early days, Deceased has continued releasing material and has mutated into a crossover between side-projects (October 31, Doomstone) and the band itself, ending up as a classic heavy metal band with death metal technique and horror-inspired, literate and funny lyrics.

Gravehill are middle-of-the-road, ear-friendly high-energy death metal that has made converts of people looking for music to party to — preferably with the dead — across the globe. 2011’s When All Roads Lead to Hell, on Dark Descent Records, won them fans and acclaim in both aboveground and underground metal.

March of the Cadavers 2013 Tour Dates:

Saturday March 9th @ Hooligans – Albuquerque, NM
Sunday March 10th @ Rocky Point Cantina – Phoenix, AZ
Monday March 11th @ Slidebar – Fullerton, CA
Tuesday March 12th @ Los Globos – Los Angeles, CA
Wednesday March 13th @ Elbo Room – San Francisco, CA
Thursday March 14th @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
Friday March 15th @ Aqualung – Denver, CO
Saturday March 16th @ Cheyenne Saloon – Las Vegas, NV.** (w/ AVENGER OF BLOOD & SPUN IN DARKNESS)

** no DECEASED

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Lifeless interview

lifeless-traditional_death_metalWhen you review underground metal these days, bands skim across your desk like frisbees flung by absent-minded demons. Most of them skitter and disappear over the other side as you listen, realize it’s about the same, and then move on. Others stick around because they’ve got some spirit or animating force that makes them stand out, and motivates them to write better music.

One such recent discovery is Germany’s Lifeless. Sounding like a cross between Carnage and Unanimated, this Swedish-style death metal band pound out songs of crunchy riffs interspersed with nocturnal melodies that convey both emptiness and satisfaction with the potentiality of that state. It is adventure music for those who would leave behind the comforts of modern society and explore the abyss.

Lifeless released Godconstruct a few days ago, and while this album is just beginning its arc through the metal media, we were fortunate to get a few minutes with guitarist/vocalist Marc Niederhagemann answering a few questions about what it’s like to be Swedish death metal from Germany in 2013.

You’re from Germany and you play brutal but melodic Swedish-style death metal. How many times a day do you get compared to Fleshcrawl?

Well, in general we are not really compared to them but often mentioned as usurpers of their throne, ha, ha. But Germany is big enough for more than one band doing this kind of music. Fleshcrawl are a cult act from the 90´s beyond any doubts. Sven even did some guest-vocals on our song “Sworn to death”, so everything´s fine.

Although the mechanics of your guitar playing and production are more like Swedish heavyweights Carnage, there’s a lot of classic metal using melodic harmonization from the Iron Maiden school in your work, like Dissection or the second album from Unanimated. Are these influences? Can you tell us what else influenced you?

Of course there are various influences. The old Swedish, American and British DM bands from the early 90s. The all time classics like Maiden, Slayer, Metallica etc. And of course bands like Dissection, Unanimated and Necrophobic who did such a fucking great job in combining Death and Blackness as well. Sound-wise one could easily say we are just a Swedish styled OSDM band but if you listen closely there are all these influences in there too.

Is it hard being a death metal band from Germany? Your country is renowned for its excellent power metal, thrash and speed metal, but fewer death metal bands. How did you end up taking the death metal path, instead of going another way? Are you able to have a local fan-base?

The DM scene here in Germany is quite big and there are a lot of bands too. You are right, in the 90s heyday Germany played just an inferior role in the DM scene but nowadays there are a lot of great new DM acts coming from Germany. Sulphur Aeon, Chapel Of Disease, Deserted Fear, December Flower… the list goes on and on. And there is a big fan base for these bands and their music too.

A fan hearing one of your songs for the first time might first expect them to go in a more brutal death metal direction, but like a Kinder Egg(tm) your songs unfold to have a melodic center. How do you write a song like this — do you start with a melody, an idea, or just a fistful of entrails and a beer?

Well, in general there is no masterplan for us how to write songs. I catch my guitar and play around. Some cool riffs come up that might fit together. If there are enough riffs that could match together for a song, everything is arranged and completed in the rehearsal room by the whole band. Some riffs are added, some melodies come up. Everything comes kind of naturally. Step by step until there is this special feeling that everything´s fine as it is.

Do you think the death metal genre has a values system, or an idea behind it? What makes it different from other styles of metal, and why
is it that some bands seem to “get it” and others do not?

No, there is no special value system behind it I guess. Not in the sense of a movement or the like. I think DM is just honest and pure music. Despite the commercial heyday in the early 90s it has always been a passion to those who are into DM. Fans and musicians. In my opinion DM-heads stay always the passionate kids who just enjoy the whole thing with a kind of childish excitement. Despite of their true age, ha, ha…

If bands don’t “get it” they probably lost exactly this kind of childishness. Dunno…

Do you think death metal is dead, buried under these new more “hardcore” style bands, or do you think it still lives? What made you decide to go against trends and release an old school death metal album, instead of a nice lucrative power metal or metalcore album?

DM has never been dead and it never will be. After being trend it just shrunk and recreated in the underground. Nowadays it´s back with the same power and a lot of new stunning bands. Lifeless was intentionally founded to play OSDM. Modern stuff was never an option. Music should be passion, not trend. If you found a band to jump up on a trend you didn´t get what art, culture and the rebellious force from wich styles like Metal came from are about. If you see music just from a commercial point of few or if you just want to be famous, you should better do Pop-music or some other superficial shit…

What’s it like to experience Lifeless live?

Four aged kids rocking a stage, ha, ha… we rather bang our heads and move on stage than to play everything perfect. Playing live should be just fun for both sides, band and fans…

What are you looking forward to in the future? More tours, more recording? Think you’ll make it to see us in Texas (land of sheep-love and inbreeding)?

Yes, more tours/gigs/festivals of course. The next album to be released in about two years. Of course it would be great to make it to Texas/the US… we´ll see…

In the Swedish death metal style, what are the essential releases you think everyone should own? I use the term “style” because not all of these bands are from Sweden or even close!

  • Entombed – Left hand path/Clandestine
  • Dismember – Everything
  • Unleashed – Where no life dwells/Shadows in the deep
  • At the gates – Slaughter of the soul
  • Dark Throne – Soulside Journey
  • Grave – Into the grave/You´ll never see
  • Desultory – Into eternity/Bitterness
  • Edge Of Sanity – The spectral sorrows

And so on… too many to mention ’em all, ha, ha…

What’s your advice to new bands starting out now who want to make quality metal and put their mark on the metal universe?

Stay yourselves and don´t give a shit about trends and what people think what is right or wrong for you. If you have skills and talent for songwriting being authentic is the most iportant thing in Metal. Don´t try to be something you aren´t.

Thanks for taking the time to consider our questions. Our readers appreciate the responses, as do I.

Thanx for this interview and all your support. See you hopefully soon on a stage nearby…

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Imprecation post new track “From Beyond the Fiery Temples”

imprecation-satan_and_wenchesLegendary Texas occult death metal band Imprecation released a song from their upcoming album, Satanae Tenebris Infinita. Although the band has been around for over 20 years, this will be their first true full-length, following up on 1995’s compilation of demo material Theurgia Goetia Summa.

This track shows Imprecation tending toward a more stripped down and mid-paced style, with more emphasis on song development than vigorously chorded speed riffs. The result is that songs are simpler but focus more on development, and a meshing of vocal rhythms and instruments. All of these tendencies give the band a more ritual and subaltern feel.

Background keyboards help guide this song but are used tastefully in a way that modern black and death metal bands would do well to note. Vocals emerge from Bahimiron/Morbus 666 throatsman Grimlord with searing distortion and an otherworldly detachment from human rhythms. The result is archly removed from the world of normal and “safe” human interactions.

Death metal fans across the world are looking forward to this album, which will be released on CD and vinyl through Dark Descent Records in the Spring 2013. Cover art by Chris Moyen will grace the front of Satanae Tenebris Infinita, which if it resembles this track, will be one of the highlights of 2013 if not a longer time period.

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A new generation of metalheads rises

new_generation_of_metalheadsMetal is not dead, but very ill.  In an age of ironic corpsepaint and essentially overdriven indie rock, it’s understandably difficult to find any one source of this stagnation. Young Hessians such as myself must accept that a finger will naturally be pointed at our generation by those who have performed and contributed during Metal’s greater years. Like it or not, this is a valid concern.

However, we are not our generation. At not one point has Metal ever truly adhered itself to one generation’s ways and trends. There are many trying to assimilate our culture into mainstream acceptance, only to be abandoned and further ridiculed like any passing fad. There have been people like this since the beginning — let’s not lie to ourselves: they are posers.

Yes, you could simply ignore those ironically attending hipsters firmly planted in the back of your local concert venue of choice, faces buried in their iPhones, only moving to order the cheapest canned lager possible (“it adds to the novelty of this angry music!“) or casually bantering with less threatening concert-goers about some acoustic black metal project which “you’ve probably never heard of.” Furthermore, we could shrug off the kids in their Immortal costumes from Halloween, forming grossly intricate mosh pits at Black Metal shows – chalk it up to ignorance? Or you could fight back, starting with the essential actions: distance and better yourself!

This is a call to arms for the youth of Metal. The merciless, yet ultimately heroic art of this music is our culture. We walk alongside the Hessians who formed such a legacy over the past four decades. Any contribution will prove to be more than what is given by the casual and mainstream. Do you enjoy Speed Metal? Start buying those T-shirts and logo patches in bulk, because you’re starting a mail order list. Maybe your town has a history of Crossover, and some open-minded Punks may be willing to help set up D.I.Y. shows for Metal bands. There are many options, and it’s up to you to find your calling.

Many of us were born during the fading times of Death Metal. Give or take a few years, and we are now old as the entirety of Heavy Metal was when we were infants. We cannot let that cycle of decay repeat itself. This our time to pave the way, and if we can set the right conditions? Well, a select few of us are bound to start putting together some strange riffs that sound heavy, yet unfamiliar – exploring new themes of existence, always in a brutally honest light. Next thing you know, Metal has returned.

Jay Cochran is a 21-year-old Hessian insurgent who believes the salvation of metal is not past-worship nor future-worship, but quality-worship. He is in the process of moving to become a fisherman, and draws lyrical inspiration from the terrors of the sea. Jay is a strict and devout Motörhead fanatic, and would love to take a few minutes of your time to talk to you about Lemmy Kilmister.

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Blaspherian vocalist Desekrator rejoins band

blaspherian-death_is_my_saviourTexas-based old-school death metal band Blaspherian have rejoined with vocalist Desekrator who was heard on the Allegiance to the Will of Damnation EP and is preparing to release split releases with Imprecation, Godless, Crucifier and In League With Satan.

Known for their dedication to old school death metal standards like Immolation, Deicide, Incantation and Obituary, Blaspherian make earth-shaking death metal with hints of doom metal. Strictly occult, the music portrays a darker side of humanity that most would rather repress.

After the highly-acclaimed Allegiance to the Will of Damnation EP attracted interest in the underground, Blaspherian recorded a full-length entitled Infernal Warriors of Death in 2011 which received wide praise. The underground awaits their next moves with bated breath.

European fans will get to experience Blaspherian when the band plays the Kill-Town Death Fest (KTDF) in Copenhagen, Denmark. For more information, please visit the band’s Facebook page.

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Birth A.D. – I Blame You to see release in 2013

birth_a_d-i_blame_youDark Descent Records has formed a new sub-label called Unspeakable Axe Records which will release thrash band Birth A.D.‘s first full-length, I Blame You.

Birth A.D. formed in 2008 and released their first EP named Stillbirth of a Nation in 2009, creating their music in a continuation of the original 1980s thrash style pioneered by DRI, COC, DBC, Cryptic Slaughter, MDC and Fearless Iranians From Hell.

Produced by legendary thrash-era knob-twister Alex Perialas, I Blame You shows the band at their most vitriolic and powerful. The band has this to say: “Joining forces with Unspeakable Axe and Dark Descent proved to be the best choice for Birth A.D., as they are about the bands, the music, and doing things the old way (that is, the right way). We plan to cause even more problems with their support!”

I Blame You is scheduled to be released late spring/early summer 2013.

Evil Army/Birth AD live dates, 2013:

Thursday, April 4 – O’Briens Pub, Allston, NY
Friday, April 5 – The Acheron, Brooklyn, NY
Saturday, April 6 – Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA
Sunday, April 7 – The Sidebar, Baltimore, MD

For more information, check out the Birth A.D. website and Facebook page.

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Repo Man re-issued on Blu Ray


Repo Man
dir. Alex Cox
92 minutes, Criterion, $28 (Blu Ray)

alex_cox-repo_man_blu_rayImagine yourself in 1984. No, not the anti-totalitarian novel 1984, but the year. Ronald Reagan is president; the economy is struggling. It’s uncertain whether at any minute the US and USSR will exchange nuclear weapons with one another, annihilating life on earth.

They’ve stopped doing the nuclear drills in schools because even the dimwitted teachers have finally realized what ICBM means. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile: it gets here so fast they won’t tell you it’s coming. There will be no warning, only an artificial sun eating your cities, evaporating your friends and family, obliterating your memories.

Even more, American society is in free-fall. 1968 brought a huge upheaval and now it’s hippies versus people in suits every day but the hippies are more popular. The media generally takes their side; industry sides with the suits. Average people are squeezed in the middle, just trying to find food and lodging in a world that now thanks to technology demands more of them and costs more just to survive.

Those are the obvious challenges. Underneath the skin, there’s a great deal of doubt. We fought wars to end wars; we got a Cold War. Society seems to be falling apart. People in general seem to lack a reason to live except a fear of poverty and death. As a result, the nervousness grows and people become more slavelike to jobs, ideologies, religions, drugs, sex, alcohol, corporations and lifestyle justifications. It’s a Nietzschean feast of schadenfreude and a vast fear and trembling.

Into this mess explodes the hardcore and thrash movements. The formative elements of hardcore punk floated around in the late 1970s between Motorhead, the Sex Pistols, and thousands of nameless two-chord bands, but the genre really blew up in the early 1980s with Discharge, the Exploited, and Amebix in the UK and Black Flag, the Cro-Mags, and Minor Threat in the USA. Riding that wave came the punk rock bands, like Circle Jerks and Dead Kennedys, who offered a softer and funnier version of the same. Following as well were the thrash bands, like Suicidal Tendencies and DRI, who mixed hardcore songs with metal riffs to make short fast bursts of fury and discontent with society.

The best way to chronicle this punk scene would not be to focus on the music, because then you end with a standard rockumentary in which musicians reveal that, if articulating things were their real skill, they wouldn’t be musicians. Instead they express themselves through sound, which is generally more reliable in that it’s harder to cleverly re-define its root terms and subvert it. To chronicle this scene, you have to show what they see, and then play the music so that the two join in the middle.

If any movie showed hardcore for what it was, and also explained the era to those who were not aware of it, Repo Man is that movie. Like its inspiration Naked Lunch, it is a collage of nihilism and post-modern boredom, mixed with the terror of a new kind of totalitarian society based on consumer choice (more like 1984‘s inspiration, Brave New World). The fundamental vapidity of the people around you is what dooms you to conform yourself, or be smashed beneath the grinding wheels of the industrial apparatus. It is a paranoid, unstable time. Repo Man shows us this world through the eyes of a teenage Otto, who is an everyman of the era in that he has connected to fundamentally nothing. His parents are aliens, jobs are pointless and ruled by petty tyrants, school was a blow-out, and even his fellow punks let him down with their selfishness and lack of vision. Adrift, he wanders through the rusted mechanical ruins of L.A. until he is rescued by a mercenary-minded repossessor.

“Repossessor” was a dirty world back then, much like we might view organ harvesters now. Repo men were the people who took your car when you couldn’t afford the payments, and this happened to a good number of people. It could happen in front of your friends and family, announcing to the world your failure. In a society basing itself on capitalism as a means of differentiating itself from the socialist East, this type of failure was emotionally crushing. As you can imagine, a repo man was not the sort of person anyone looked up to. Society’s lepers, they fed off the scraps in the dump of society’s excesses. You can imagine how for most people, a transition to repo man is like living death. But to a punk, society is already a dead man walking and existing in it is already offensively zombie-like. So what’s to lose?

Otto joins the repo team with his mentor, Bud, who is outwardly selfish but ultimately more dedicated to expression of his own frustrated emotions. Together, they raid the L.A. basin for overdue car notes and in the process, encounter a prize beyond their wildest dreams — a car worth $20,000 (now probably $80k). Like the white whale in Moby-Dick, or the holy grail, this car divides people against one another and reveals what characters are really made of. In a world dedicated to self-interest, the question is whether self-interest will win out, or whether a higher (or lower) principle will be found to save the day.

Splashed throughout with energetic punk music from Suicidal Tendencies, the Circle Jerks, The Plugz, Black Flag and Iggy Pop, Repo Man brings punk culture to a wider audience by showing us the absurdity of our time and the helplessness of the characters within it, so long as they adopt its values and behave in the ways it teaches them to. Disturbing, funny, nuanced and accurate in its portrayal of a society that has lost the path to health, Repo Man will explain to you why you walk on the other side of the street from mainstream society, and suggest an esoteric path that will lead you all of the way away.

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