Bode Preto – Inverted Blood

bode_preto-inverted_bloodIt’s not often that a new band appears that warrants much attention from these old, somewhat jaded eyes. Indeed, there are still good releases that pop up from newer bands — even releases that are good enough in my opinion to support by buying them. In today’s age of over-saturation it’s really difficult to wade through the muck in an effort to find that diamond, if one even had the luxury of time to want to.

So when I received a message from Mr Adelson Souza, former member of the renowned Brazilian early 90s band The Endoparasites, I was quite shocked to say the least. Being a fan and vinyl collector of what was coming from Brazil in the 1980s and early 90s my interest piqued…and wasn’t this guy just making the rounds on the latest Grave Desecrator album Insult? That release is a phenomenal thing, and ranked high enough for me to actually buy the LP/CD combo from Hells Headbangers Records.

Adelson says he’s left Grave Desecrator and if I was interested he would send some advance early mixes of the currently new material, songs not at all near completion, with his new band called Bode Preto (in Portuguese, meaning Black Goat). Hell Yeah! Of course I wanted to check that out — and then I sort of went on with my own thing until one day that material showed up and life changed, again.

What hit me so unexpectedly was this barrage of music coming from just two men, which hurled me back into about 1987’s fetid Brazilian tape-trader jungle metal, but at the same time carrying a dominant genetic stamp throughout it that was distinctly Bode Preto’s. That usually just doesn’t happen — new bands are usually so hyped up and full of their own bullshit, sporting ripped off cover art and/or bastardizing someone else’s logo and when it boils down to the main body of their “art”, the music, well, to me it’s a meaningless string of riffs and rhythms sewn together to make a “song” with no conviction and leaving the listener feeling shafted and devoid of feeling.

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That might be OK for some, but not for me — and that’s where Bode Preto comes to play so solidly. I feel Bode Preto — and that’s what I want from music. It’s this way with any medium, or should be. These guys simply let their art do the talking and we garner from it what we will. I don’t think hell is supposed to sound this good though. The song “Elytron (Succubus)” for me denotes a truly classic release. I urge you to tap into that drumming which was not recorded in any studio, but simply a plain room, and absorb the feeling, and you’re on the path which has at least as many layers as Dante’s Inferno, if not more.

The exceedingly rich tradition from which Josh and Adelson come collectively, being from Brazil, shines right through not only musically but lyrically since Inverted Blood‘s lyrics have roots in the socio-political (almost punk rock oriented) outlook and expression of their artistic countrymen from the 1980s. If you want to boil it down to Bode Preto being an outlet for Josh S to comment on the world he sees, then you’re pretty much hitting the coffin nail on the head.

His (Josh S) life experiences, having traveled throughout Brazil and Europe working in theater/dance and music of varying styles, are what has spurned this beast of a release which he summarized in a recent conversation with me as being “the perfect way to express my true nature and view of world, and I will take good care of that as someone that works on a garden. Like Quorthon to Bathory or Lemmy to Motörhead.”

GOATPRAYER RECORDSListen to this release and think about how Adelson was originally approached as a session drummer…Having listened to the skeletal ideas, Adelson was apt to project his unique mind’s eye to the arrangements and ultimately became that new member. A quest to create led him to travel thousands of kilometers from home to spend a week with Josh — revealing a level of conviction to which I don’t think Josh was initially expecting. Josh found his “minute man” in Adelson and the resulting nine-track album is worthy of support by every extreme music fan if you’re worth your salt (or brimstone or whatever).

By the way, this is NOT a modern Sarcofago either, as I’ve heard some people mistakenly state, being very far from that indeed, even if Fabio Jhasko did honor the request to record some excellently placed solos on a few of the songs. I hold to my belief that the overall feeling of Inverted Blood in total gives me goose flesh akin to when I first span Cogumelo’s Warfare Noise Volume 1 compilation album in the 1980s — and a vibe akin to that glorious times era — but that’s as far as it goes. If you want cookie cutter moron metal, you’ll not be parting with your money for this album. Money is tight, I know, music is a luxury too — chances are you have a few crappy releases in your collection -– so sell them to some dumb kid and buy this album.

Interestingly enough however and I guess a bit more progressive towards the fans being able to obtain the album (compared to the old days when you had no choice but to get off your ass and physically trade records with anyone from Brazil), the band has licensed Inverted Blood thus far to three companies in three different formats. UK based Goatprayer Records was first to make available a professional cassette tape version in an extremely limited quantity of only 50 hand-numbered pieces, which I assume would be marketed to the hardcore collectors and fans in such limited number (mine is number 18).

KETZER RECORDS RELEASE ADVERTThe European continent and outlying areas have a handsome jewel case version on offer from the German Ketzer Records who were the next to release the album, and the first to release it on CD. It’s here that one gets the more conventional aesthetic, I say that for those who were too young to appreciate vinyl or just don’t do the cassette thing. This was to be the second purchase for me of the same album…is the message getting through now?

Brazil’s Läjä Records, in conjunction with DeathNoise Productions, were next on the list whom released a superb digipak edition, the final result was a third purchase of the same album. Something I rarely if ever do. In fact I bought two copies of this awesome digipak so I could give one to a friend as a surprise.

Läjä’s Mozine had this to say about the band and the album: “I decided to put out this record, first because after releasing the Skate Aranha 10″ (Josh’s old band) I started friendship with Josh. When I heard Bode Preto I was shocked with the band. For a long time I didn’t listen to something so real, brutal and raw. I feel true in each second I listen to Bode Preto and it’s a kind of band I would like to play. Läjä Records is not really a record label 100% involved with black metal and metal, we are more to brutal and raw hardcore and rawk, but, this record and band is so, but so good that is above a particular style.”

LäJä Rex DeathNoise

Definitely get yourself a decent set of headphones for when you can’t blast this gem out in the open –- adding further layers to the experiences that await. Inverted Blood is the culmination of all those experiences to produce the final product (ie: music, image, packaging, feeling and more). Extreme music needs that kind of intensity if it’s going to hold its head high above the chaff. I expect, and hope, to hear much more from these guys in the coming years.

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Heavy Metal invades college

heavy_metal_in_academiaAs further indication of academia embracing heavy metal, The Toledo Free Press reports that Bowling Green State University’s Department of Popular Culture is hosting a 4 day long conference on the subject. Dubbed “The Heavy Metal and Popular Culture International Conference”, it will feature lectures, discussions, and demonstrations on a wide range of subjects, ultimately relating back to heavy metal.

“The focus [of the conference] is on heavy metal, music and culture and it’s completely scholarly,” [organizer Brian] Hickam said.

The topics covered range from “Metal as a Cultural Practice” (Hessians?), “Heavy Metal as Resistance”, to “Landscape and Mythology as Heavy Metal Fashion”, and “Reactions to Crossover/Thrash Metal in Punk and Metal Scenes”, among others.

Of particular note is the lecture: “Metal After Metal Studies: What Comes Next?”, which recognizes the fact that metal has become relatively stagnant in recent years, even though its media popularity has never been greater.

“What we’re seeing is that while innovation is still possible of metal, we’re not seeing much in the way of historical progress,” [the author] said. “It’s quite possible heavy metal will simply exhaust itself.”

The symposium will be held April 4-7. Prospective participants can visit the department’s website for more information.

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Interview with Revel in Flesh

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Revel in Flesh brought their high-intensity Swedish style death metal into the light and terrified the meek with onrushing riffs, hints of melody, uptempo choruses and savage vocals attacking from the wings.

Although this band hails from Germany, they are full-on metal maniacs in the style of old school death metal. This makes them a rarity since they’ve avoided both becoming candy-retro and slipping into the “modern death metal trap” which involves intricate songs about nothing.

Instead, Revel in Flesh keep slashing out the vintage-style Swedish death metal and in doing so, keep the metal flame alive. We were lucky to catch guitarist/vocalist Ralf Haubersson for a quick interview.

What do you think made Swedish death metal exceptional?

Hi Brett and DeathMetal.org diehards! I can speak only for myself, but I think the Swedish way of classic Death Metal transmits more emotion and energy. It’s not about the technical path, but the massive saw-like guitar sound gives a killer boost. Raw energy, but also dark intensity. Just take a listen to some of the Sunlight Studio classics from back in the day and you’ll be captured by that special feeling. It’s a special sound and style; it’s a love-it-or-hate-it thing!

You’re a German band making Swedish death metal. Since bands all over the world make Swedish death metal, this leads me to ask: what about this style drew you to it?

Well, to be honest with Manifested Darkness we didn’t have the agenda of sounding as Swedish as possible. The thing we have in common with the classical Swedish output is the use of the HM2 distortion pedal and the five half–tone downtuned guitars. If we might play another “sound” we won’t sit that much in the IKEA category, Ha! Ha! I see REVEL IN FLESH as a band that is truly dedicated to the roots of classic Death Metal. Simply the way we grew up with in the 90s. For example on the new album we’ve done covers of DEATH and AUTOPSY as bonus tracks. Without those two masters of the genre there wouldn’t be any Death Metal in the way we hear and love it today. But about your question: We do not (!!!) deny our roots, but I think we try to add an own sort of charm to REVEL IN FLESH since you do not need another copycat band nowadays.

Your style of death metal is stripped down and more rhythmic than noodly or math-riffy. Do you think this is a newer type of death metal, like new school old school as in on Immolation’s Majesty and Decay, or is this how death metal always has been?

I do NOT (!!!) like this kind of “math–like” feeling in Metal. I think Death Metal has to give you a kick for some serious headbanging. It’s about delivering emotions and energy; not about showing egoistic bullshit on your instruments. I think it’s ok, when songs have some kind of depths and things to discover, but on the other hand –- especially today with a thousand releases a month –- it’s important that you have some first hand catchy moments, that rips into the ears of the maniacs on a first contact.

About taste: My fave IMMOLATION record is and most likely will always be Dawn of Possession; love all aspects of that album –- starting from cover, sound etc. — so I guess you easily figure out my taste in Death Metal, Ha!

What bands do you draw from as influences when making your music? There seem to be three influences: Swedish death metal, melodic heavy metal style death metal, and someting like Motorhead. Is that true? Do you have influences from all three, or is this me projecting?

Speaking honestly you’ve been one of the first writers that mentioned MOTÖRHEAD in an album review of us. I don’t think that we have a sort of “Death ‘n’ roll” style like ENTOMBED had on some of their records; but in the end it doesn’t matter how people categorise our album; it only matters if it’s good or not, but most of all REVEL IN FLESH is under all aspects a Death Metal band; but of course you get influences and inspirations from all kind of stuff; but we don’t think that much about it. We simply do it!!! For example my comrade Maggesson does a lot of songwriting also for his other band DAWN OF DREAMS and throughout the years you acquire your own style in melodies and arrangements; you always hear your own basics in riffing etc. Shorty said we do not have one blueprint of influence, but I think it’s not a secret that we stick to our roots in the classic Death Metal way.

Do you think old school death metal has come back to stay?

Within the Metal genre everything comes and goes and COMES AGAIN!!! Today there’s a lot of hype on the “old school” matter; maybe this will change again sooner or later. Personally I see it like this: Good music is meant to stay forever. For example: I remember being at an age of 14/15 when I got “Like an Ever-Flowing Stream” by DISMEMBER in my hands for the first time. It was like WOW!!! Today I still have that WOW feeling, when I have that album spinning rounds in my stereo –- it’s timeless and I think that also in the years to come there will be a dedicated sort of fanbase to this kind of subgenre of Death Metal, as you might know: Evil never dies!

One-half of Revel in Flesh came from Immortal Rites (now deceased). What did you learn from that experience, and why did you move on?

Well; actually I’m the only REVEL member that has had a backround in IMMORTAL RITES. I played in IMMORTAL RITES from circa 1996 – 2011. We did two longplayers and one demo CD. I formed a lot important impressions in this period like first gigs, first real studio experience, friendship, parties etc. –- throughout the years we’ve played single shows with bands like UNLEASHED, GOD DETHRONED, DISSECTION, DISBELIEF, DESASTER and many more. The band fell apart due lack of time and motivation of the other bandmembers; mostly caused by normal circumstances in life like marriage, children, jobs & career. I’ve continued because I love METAL and I also like the aspect of being creative in that way within that scene. It’s a passion and it prevents me from going berserk in the shit caused in daily life. Musically IMMORTAL RITES had a more melodic and mixed style of Death Metal, but deep in my fan heart I always wanted to a totally pure and classically inspired Death Metal band under all aspects like sound, arrangements, lyrics & artwork. It took me many years, but REVEL IN FLESH is to me the band I always wanted to have; so in some way it’s good to be Metal retard, Ha! Ha!

What does Revel in Flesh have that the other situation did not?

Heart, passion and bloody dedication!!! Writing music with Maggesson is like a real flow; it feels pretty good. There’s not much discussion; we simply let the things flow and see what happens.

How do you create your version of the legendary Swedish style distortion? Did you use any other production techniques in making this album?

As I’ve told you already; we use the classical Boss HM2 distortion pedal like all the Swedish bands do as well. We experiment a lot with the guitar sound at VAULT M. Studios, which is owned by our guitarist. We also got some healthy advices by Dan Swanö (EDGE OF SANITY etc.) as well. He’s our man for that kind of sound. The particular rest of our sound/production will be kept as a secret!!!

What is it that appeals to you about death metal? From a financial, social and political standpoint, you’d be better off making dubstep.

Yeah! Death Metal won’t get you laid, Ha! Ha! Man, we simply love this particular style of Metal with total dedication. 3 members of REVEL IN FLESH are already in the age of 30 +, so this ain’t a youth sin anymore. We listen and support this music with all aspects for many years and YES, it’s most certainly NOT (!!!) about money. Death Metal is financially a minus business under all aspects; if you play this style you simply havwe to like it from the heart!!!

Revel in Flesh has only been active for three years, but has already put out two albums. How do you write and record so quickly?

To outsiders it might look like we have a sort of rush; but it’s not that way. After finishing Deathevokation in January 2012 we’ve had a real flow on songwriting and wrote and recorded 14 tracks within 11 months. Of course it was a lot of work and time consuming stuff, but it felt more like enjoying what we do. Simply a good feeling. We usually write and record directly at VAULT M. Studios, it’s a totally productive way. So far (!) we have not been a conventional rehearsal room writing band; but this may change with the input of the other bandmembers in the future. Time shall tell!!! We simply do what we like to do and don’t think in any sort of competitive or business way.

Please tell us what’s ahead for Revel in Flesh. Will you tour? Human sacrifice? More recordings?

Yeah we will play with MOTÖRHEAD and ask Lemmy about his opinion on your review, Ha! Ha! I’m just kidding…We have several weekend shows within Germany already scheduled and we will do a sort of minitour inside Germany with Swedish PUTERAEON. It’s currently in booking process. Some festivals like DEATH DOOMED THE AGE, NRW DEATHFEST etc. are booked as well. So far we never played outside Germany, maybe this will change with the new album.

There are plans for two split Eps as well in 2013; simply keep yourself updated on REVEL IN FLESH by checking our pages at http://revelinflesh.jimdo.com/.

Thanx Brett for the nice chat and all the support for REVEL IN FLESH on your webtomb. Drink beer & listen to real Metal!!! HAIL THE DEATHCULT!!!

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Non-profit old school metal zine Codex Obscurum launches

codex-obscurum-zineCodex Obscurum fills a void left open when the old school fled to the basement in advance of encroaching hardcore hybrids like metalcore and nu-metal: the print zine that exists to promote a community against impossible odds.

For those who weren’t there, back in the “old days” (like, 20 years ago), zines were the most common means of spreading information. You couldn’t buy death metal in regular record stores, society hated it and often tried to ban it, and most people regarded metalheads as declasse outcastes who should be viewed with suspicion.

Enter the zines. For the price of postage, sometimes plus a little more for printing costs, although most were paid for (unknowingly) by corporate stooge employers, you would get fifty pages of xeroxed hand-drawn mayhem delivered to your door, including interviews and reviews of your favorite bands, and the all-important advertising by mail-order distros that you otherwise did not know existed.

Codex Obscurum fills this void with its release this week. To get a copy, you “mail-order them, old school style. No profit, you’ll just be paying for postage costs.” The publishers describe it as “a New England based old-school print zine dedicated to music, art, and all things dark.” And it looks traditional: fifty xeroxed pages of wisdom, chaos and brilliance.

To order, send $3 plus shipping via BigCartel.

Direct all further questions to the staff through their Facebook page.

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Morgengrau “Extrinsic Pathway” stream

morgengrau-extrinsic_pathwayAustin, TX old school death metal band Morgengrau prepare to unleash their debut album, Extrinsic Pathway, onto an unsuspecting world.

We are fortunate to be able to stream the title track for future listeners of this band that stays true to the old school of 1988-1992 death metal but also has its own style, sometimes informed by other metal genres.

Comprised of musicians who are both old hands and relative newcomers of strong heart, Morgengrau tore apart Austin and Houston with recent shows, leaving audiences worried about the possibility of a sonic apocalypse. Now, they intend to bring the same sound to your cars, workplaces and living rooms with a CD out on Blind God Records on April 2, 2013.

If you like many others prefer your metal to be old school, with no weebly guitars, pig squeals, breakdowns or mechanical-sounding sweeps, check out “Extrinsic Pathway” below:

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Exhumed and Suffocation tour dates 2013

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Nearly 20 years ago, some bay area thrashers mixed death metal and grindcore with the kind of energetic heavy metal that has always sold out big halls, and came up with Exhumed. Since that time, Exhumed has delighted metal fans across the globe with its accessible but gore-obsessed form of death metal.

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Tech-death blasters Suffocation meanwhile have transitioned from old school death metal to a more modern sound, and are delivering technical chops and skull-pounding beats with unparalleled aggression. Old-schoolers may not find the new direction to be to their taste, but it seems popular with the newer generation who expect their metal to have some hardcore in it.

Don’t take it from me — you can experience these bands live and up close and personal on tour.

EXHUMED w/ Suffocation, Jungle Rot, Rings of Saturn, Adimiron, Lord of War *

  • 4/04/2013 89 North – Long Island, NY
  • 4/05/2013 St. Vitus Bar – New York, NY
  • 4/06/2013 The Note – Philadelphia, PA
  • 4/07/2013 St. Andrews – Detroit, MI
  • 4/08/2013 Station 4 – St. Paul, MN
  • 4/09/2013 Wooly’s Des Moines, IA
  • 4/10/2013 The Marquis – Denver, CO
  • 4/11/2013 The Venue – Boise, ID
  • 4/12/2013 The Hop – Spokane, WA
  • 4/13/2013 Studio Seven – Seattle, WA*
  • 4/14/2013 Hawthorne – Portland, OR*
  • 4/15/2013 Metro Opera House – Oakland, CA*
  • 4/16/2013 Th Vex – Los Angeles, CA
  • 4/17/2013 901 Live – Tempe, AZ *
  • 4/19/2013 Trees – Dallas, TX
  • 4/20/2013 Korova – San Antonio, TX
  • 4/21/2013 Chameleon Room – Oklahoma City, OK
  • 4/22/2013 Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
  • 4/23/2013 Reggie’s Chicago, IL
  • 4/24/2013 Peabody’s – Cleveland, OH
  • 4/25/2013 Empire – Springfield, VA
  • 4/26/2013 WreckRoom – Toronto, ON
  • 4/27/2013 Cub Soda – Montreal, QC
  • 4/28/2013 Webster theatre – Hartford, CT
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“Metal Music Studies” journal launches academia into heavy metal

metal_music_studiesWith its first issue due in 2015, the realization of Metal Music Studies represents a long and difficult path from the origins of metal study in the 1980s but shows how far metal has come.

Other than a handful of academics, few have chosen to explore the subcultures and values of metal music, preferring to group it into the broader cloud of popular music. The past few years have seen a convergence of academia and the more literate of popular metal journalism, with academic symposiums and publications intermingling with popular books on metal and its history.

Metal Music Studies promises a bridge between these two worlds. “To publish high-quality, world-class research, theory and shorter, timely debates that serve as a bridge between the Academy and the wider genre of metal music writing,” it states as part of its goal.

It further notes a desire to be a hub for for the International Society of Metal Music Studies (ISMMS), and “vehicle to promote the development of metal music studies as an interdisciplinary, international subject field.” This academe-speak means roughly what you might expect, which is that since metal music studies does not fit neatly into any particular field, it must bridge multiple fields, including ethics, musicology and philosophy.

The journal states its purpose to “be the focus for research and theory in metal music studies – a multidisciplinary (and increasingly interdisciplinary) subject field that engages with a range of parent disciplines, including (but not limited to) sociology, musicology, humanities, cultural studies, geography, philosophy, psychology, history, natural sciences.”

For those of us who have labored for years under a desire to see metal music given more serious study, and who have believed that this art form has more to communicate that adolescent rebellion and profitability, it is gratifying to see this journal getting ready to launch.

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Interview with Morgengrau

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Morgengrau rose from the ashes of underground metal and resurrected the ancient ways of old school death metal, hailing back to the 1980s and its fertile ferment of fusion between speed metal, death metal and the various hybrids. Sounding in part like a late 1980s speed/death album and in part like a crushing death metal venture from 1992, Morgengrau carry on the tradition of death metal and give it their own unique stamp.

Extrinsic Pathway is the band’s first full-length release and hits the stores on April 2, 2013. This album features all of what you might expect from older death metal, but also keeps true to its own vision of what the future and the past should hold in common. We were fortunate enough to get a chance to speak to Erika, Morgengrau‘s guitarist/vocalist, about the nature of death metal and where Morgengrau fits into this complex formula.

What made you enjoy death metal, and want to be in a death metal band?

The ferocity of death metal has had me since I first heard bands like Possessed, Malevolent Creation and Cannibal Corpse. While I’ve drifted in and out of enjoying other genres, death metal has been a constant. It speaks to me at a deep, intrinsic level more so than any other musical form. I think it’s natural for humans to create more of the things they love. This is certainly my story. I’m not looking to reinvent the genre or forge brave new paths into the realms of extreme music. Morgengrau is about writing songs springing from the dark places inside us, songs we identify with and enjoy hearing and playing.

Can you tell us a bit about the musical history of the band members? Who plays what and where are they from?

We’re all lifer metalheads, with some of us farther along the road than the others. Multigenerational, shall we say. I’m the oldest with the most bands and experience under my belt. I’m also the only non-native Texan in the band. For those who don’t know, I started out in 1995 up in the Boston, MA area singing for neoclassic group Autumn Tears. Kind of a bizarre beginning, now that I look back on it. Since then I’ve worked my way through progressively heavier projects: Ignitor, Bracaglia, sessioning for Vesperian Sorrow and regularly playing in Drifter, an Iron Maiden tribute. In Morgengrau, I’ve finally created the right band for me where I have full creative control and leadership. This is the first band in which I’ve done more than vocals. Learning to play guitar and sing has been quite the learning experience for me.

The others have had shorter but more focused careers. Reba drummed for a technical death metal band called Manifestation for about 5 years; Jake played bass with avant garde black metallers Humut Tabal and now plays in Plutonian Shore, a very traditional black metal band based in San Antonio. Morgengrau is Nick’s first band.

You list Asphyx, Pestilence and Immolation as influences for at least how you want the album to sound. But there’s a lot more influence in there, ranging all over the place. Can you tell us what else influences you?

I’m terrible at describing my own music; I use what others say they hear to describe it. A number of reviews so far have mentioned it as having “progressive” elements which is a shock — I don’t like progressive metal and certainly wasn’t aiming for that. Simply proves how everyone experiences music a different way. For me, it is what it is. I listen to a lot of Immolation and Finnish death metal like Torture Killer, Winterwolf and Demigod. That definitely lends a flavor, however, I’m acutely aware of avoiding becoming a clone. Morgengrau needs to stand on its own. When I write, I think about what attracts me to certain songs verses what repels me. What works, what doesn’t work. Why do I go back to certain songs time and again? What makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck?

How long has Morgengrau been around? How did you all find each other? Is it hard to find people who want to be in old school bands, as opposed to the new school styled ones?

Morgengrau officially formed in July 2010. Reba and I had been jamming cover tunes for a while and asked Jake to join us in the summer. Very quickly, we realized we made a good a unit. I’ve known Reba since ’04 when I met her at an Ignitor show. I prefer to hang out with guys, but when I saw Reba banging her head like a maniac, I knew we’d be friends. I met Nick in 2009 at a Belphegor show, and Jake shortly after. They were both going to school in San Antonio at that time. The whole process of coming together was inspiring, as it seemed ridiculous at first for a 40 year old to be asking 20 year olds to join a band, yet it worked amazingly well. There’s a whole group of young kids in Texas who are into old school metal for all the right reasons. Unlike when I lived up Northeast, down here I’m surrounded by musicians with whom I can connect and trust. I’m very particular about who I’ll have in my band. No drama or critical life dysfunctions. I’ve been in bands with that and it’s the worst. No thanks.

Extrinsic Pathway suggests someone reaching out, or finding a way through life that’s outside of the internal dialogue of a human being. Is this a concept song or album? Can you tell us what it’s about?

The inspiration came from Reba, who mentioned the phrase after hearing it in class. It’s a medical term — part of the blood clotting process triggered by outside damage to a vessel. I realized it could be used to describe walking the Left Hand Path. Most of us who walk it have been damaged or driven to the dark side in some way. It’s our way of protecting and defending against that unwanted outside insult. We’re all hurtling towards our own personal armageddon. You must ask yourself – “When the time comes, will I go standing and proud, or mewling and crawling on my belly like most everyone else?” Walking the Left is my way of embracing and preparing for that ending, however it comes. That awareness gives me incredible focus and strength. My bandmates feel similarly, in their own ways. The concept should ring true with other listeners, I imagine.

The cover of Sepultura “Inner Self” is phenomenal. You’ve also covered Pestilence and Asphyx. Why these three? Why did you pick “Inner Self”? Is it a “message thing”?

Thanks for the compliment. Before we started writing original material, like most bands we jammed a lot of cover tunes. Asphyx‘s music is simple, catchy and easy to play. I’d not played guitar for almost 20 years so when I picked it back up in 2009, I needed something fun with which to brush off the dust.

Pestilence is my favorite death metal band of all time. Consuming Impulse will be forever timeless. Sepultura wasn’t on the roster until Jake, Nick and Reba started banging out “Inner Self” at the end of practices just for fun. We weren’t planning to make part of our repertoire but it quickly stuck. The song means a lot to Jake, as more than any of us, he’s experienced a coalescence of self over the last few years. When we first met, he was unsure of his path, figuratively dipping his toe into the Acheron, while still clinging to old beliefs. We’ve watched him shed his weak skin for a more confident hide, to begin living a life beholden to none but him. What a pleasure it has been, watching his transformation. It’s one of the reasons why he handles vocals on “Inner Self” — that is his song, in many ways.

The first half of Extrinsic Pathway shows what seems to me is an affinity for mid- to late-1980s speed metal type stuff, which Sepultura and Slayer overlap, since they’re sort of half-death/half-speed. What do you think it is about that time period that’s so appealing, both to Morgengrau and the rest of us out here?

It’s a time of life thing. The late 80s were when I, as a teenager, truly found who I wanted to be as a musician. The riffs and sounds of that time are permanently imprinted in my psyche. This was the Buffalo scene at its heyday, so everything was about Slayer, Sepultura, Death, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse and Obituary. That time was truly magic. The ferocity of this new music was withering. I remember going with my boyfriend to Mark “Psycho” Abrams’ house to get a copy of Deicide‘s debut album which we’d won from his radioshow. We sat in the car after getting it, holding it, mute, afraid of it. Same thing with Morbid Angel‘s Altars of Madness. Music of such incredible intensity, that went straight to my core, ripped my soul out then fed it back to me, bloody and shredded. If I can capture even an nth of that feeling in my songs, I’ll consider myself successful. I want a young person to hear Morgengrau and feel something of that same, frothing insanity which marked all our days back then. There will never be another time like it.

It sounds like a conscious effort was made to vary up song structure and offer different conclusions to riffs so that each song grows a bit. What appeals to you about this idea?

That’s just good songwriting. It’s easy to write a bunch of singular riffs and stitch them together like a patchwork quilt. Some people love that kind of music but personally, I hate it. It feels like a epileptic fit. Songs have to flow. The transitions need to make sense. Dynamic is critical, otherwise the ear goes numb. Let’s not forget the importance of the concept of “hook.” If you can’t keep the main riff in your head after the song is over, it might as well not even exist. Bands get all wrapped up writing these complex, super fast, theory-based riffs to prove their musicianmanship. That does not a good song make — those tunes never sound like anything other than WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP WHOMP in the typical shitty live setting. All I want is for the interested to get our music on first listen, so they come back for more.

Can you tell us where you produced this album, and how was your first time as a band in a studio? What techniques did you use to get that nice thick early 1990s sound?

Two words about studio time: fucking hell.

To elaborate: We recorded at Amplitude Media here in Austin. It was close and flexible, which in the end was fortunate as we didn’t move along nearly as fast as expected. I’d never recorded anything from the ground up. Reba had one demo under her belt. Nick and Jake – no experience to speak of. We got the click track going and off we went… into the sterile land of first album territory where the fan reaction is, “What the fuck happened? The demo was so ferocious!” I instantly understood how that happens — you think the “right way” is to record to a click and you’ve NEVER EVER used one in practice, so that click sucks all the life out of the songs. So… no click. Sure there’s some timing stuff here and there, but the songs sound alive, and that’s the key.

Four rhythm tracks with my Mesa cabinet double miked got us that fat sound. We used a Rectifier Roadster and a custom Brugera for amplification. All those tracks took a long time. It was very taxing — I’m certainly not a one take kind of player.

Everyone had their own personal freakout moment during recording. Rather unifying, in the end. The day I had mine it was hot (it was a good 108º outside, probably 90º in the studio), I’d had a long, shitty day at work and had received some rather horrible personal news a few days before. I sat down with the guitar to start on rhythm track 3 for “Antithetical,” sweat was pouring down the back of my neck and my arms and an ant was walking up the neck of my guitar. I just about started screaming. I wanted nothing more than to quit. But how could I? I had three other people believing that I could do it, that this would happen. So I shoved the panic down, ignored the ant and the sweat, and got it done.

Once we got to vocals, things smoothed out. Reba floored us with her backing tracks. She has a hell of a voice! On “Extrinsic Pathway,” “Antithetical,” and “Polymorphic”, that really deep roar under mine is her. The day she cut her tracks will forever remain one of my fondest memories. There she was in the isolation room, all 5’4″ of her, never having recorded vocals before, and suddenly this enormous demonic roar coming pouring out of the monitors and knocks us all off the couch. Jake was just open-mouthed. At that point, I started laughing and could not stop. It was such an amazing moment. What a hidden talent she has.

We mixed and mastered with Devo Andersson and Endarker Studio. Devo’s a friend whose work I hold in high regard. Mixing from a distance was challenging but worth it. There was no way I was going to let everyone’s blood, sweat, and almost-tears be wasted by cheaping out on the final stages. We finished the album late, vastly overbudget, way stressed out and exhausted… and it was worth every penny, minute, and ounce of energy.

What’s next for Morgengrau? I know that most of your team have other projects, both musical and otherwise. Are you going to tour? Gig around Austin, TX, which I believe is your homebase? Sacrifice goats to the Dark Lord Ba’al and His Legions of Necrocaprous Antagonists?

Hipster abuse. Shameless self promotion. Spamming teh Interwebz. Cat memes — ok, just kidding. We’re going to play as many strategically important shows as possible. There are gigs in San Antonio and Houston booked, then we’re heading to NYC to play Martyrdoom in June. I have to give thanks to Vinny and Signature Riff for such an amazing opportunity — we are so excited! Touring is definitely on the wish list, but with our various job schedules, might be tough. Never say never, though. One thing I will avoid is overplaying — we see that so much in TX. There’s always that one band that’s on every goddamned bill. After six months, nobody cares. It’s important to keep anticipation up. New material is in the works, and we continue to work on stage presentation. If you’re going to do it, do it big and do right, and with passion.

Do you think old school death metal is returning? Other than technique, what makes OSDM different from “modern” death metal, metalcore, deathcore, indie-metal, post-metal and bounce metal?

You forgot crabcore. I’ll tell you, the day someone sent me that Attack Attack video at work I nearly had to go into the bathroom and drown myself in the toilet. That’s METAL? And those are MEN? I’ve got more testosterone in my wizened left ovary than all five of them combined. WHAT HAPPENED?

I think old school DM is already back. Bands like Funebrarum, Disma, Cruciamentum and War Master are merely a few of the great examples of new death metal done the right way. It helps the old greats are still around with more enthusiasm than ever — last night, I saw Imprecation, Master and Incantation — that’s about 100 years of death metal experience rolled up into one show. Immolation‘s new album sounds like it’s going to be killer.

What makes it different? Shit, where to begin? Good songwriting. No jerking off on the fretboard. Solos that complement the music, even if they’re only five notes. Lyrical focus on destruction, the occult, anti-Christian sentiments, war, suffering, darkness. Musicians who would sooner kill themselves than get on stage wearing a white belt. Long hair or no hair, nothing in between. Pointy guitars. Blood, our own or yours, we don’t care. Steaks and hamburgers, none of that vegan shit. Going on stage blind because you’d sooner die than play wearing your glasses. Songs that generate circle pits. Self-knowledge. Willingness to sacrifice all. Passion without drama. Lifetime commitment. Honesty.

I could talk your ear off, but you probably need that ear for the next album. I appreciate the time you put into this and know our readers will as well.

I’ve always got an ear for DeathMetal.org. Thank you, Brett and your readers, for the support. Come walk the Extrinsic Pathway with us… Hail Metal, hail Death!

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Suffocation release European tour dates

suffocation-band_photo

Explosive death metal band turned modern metal experimenters Suffocation take to the stages of Europe again this summer, playing the following dates:

  • 13th May 2013: London (UK) @ O2 Academy Islington
  • 14th May 2013: Brighton (UK) @ Audio
  • 15th May 2013: Manchester (UK) @ NQ Live
  • 16th May 2013: Dublin (IRE) @ The Pint
  • 17th May 2013: Glasgow (UK) @ Classic Grand
  • 18th May 2013: Plymouth (UK) @ White Rabbit
  • 19th May 2013: Nantes (FRA) @ Ferrailleur
  • 20th May 2013: Paris (FRA) @ Glazart
  • 21st May 2013: Rotterdam (NET) @ Baroeg
  • 22nd May 2013: Copenhagen (DEN) @ Pumpehuset
  • 26th May 2013: Helsinki (FIN) @ Nosturi
  • 29th May 2013: Berlin (GER) @ Lido
  • 30th May 2013: Krakow (POL) @ Kwadrat
  • 1st June 2013: Leipzig (GER) @ Conne Island
  • 3rd June 2013: Vienna (AUT) @ Viper Room
  • 4th June 2013: Ljubljana (SLO) @ Gala Hala
  • 5th June 2013: Bologna (ITA) @ Freakout
  • 6th June 2013: Rome (ITA) @ Traffic Live
  • 7th June 2013: Aarau (CH) @ Kiff
  • 8th June 2013: Munich (GER) @ Backstage
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