Earthen Grave signs to Ripple Music for debut album

earthen_grave-earthen_graveTraditional and yet untraditional, doom metal band Earthen Grave plan to unleash their first album, Earthen Grave, on Ripple Music for worldwide release on July 9, 2013.

Featuring ex-Trouble member Ron Holzner and classical virtuoso Rachel Barton Pine, Earthen Grave craft 1970s style doom with the addition of progressive touches and Pine’s elegant but savage violin fretwork. On top of this, the band modernize their sound with a throbbing intensity that is unique to their interpretation of metal.

Originally released in 2012, Earthen Grave was originally released on Claude + Elmo music (and can still be purchased here) but sees re-release with four new tracks and a cover of Dio’s “Stargazer,” complete with the violin talents of Pine, who plays a new type of violin-like instrument called “the Viper.”

In addition to the new album, Earthen Grave launches on a US tour with the following dates in addition to others soon to come:

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Death Melodies Series: Dmitri Shostakovich

The Death Melodies Series (DMS) continues with the modernist composer Dmitri Shostakovich.

Dmitrij_Dmitrijevič_Šostakovič_(Дми́трий_Дми́триевич_Шостако́вич)

At the age of nine it became apparent that Shostakovich was a child prodigy on piano. He was also impassioned for composition. His first major musical achievement was his first symphony when he was nineteen.

He had successes and failures in the Soviet Union. In 1936, Stalin attended a premiere of Shostakovich’s opera Lady Macbeth and was noted that he laughed at the performance. Soon after, critics insulted Shostakovich to the point that his commissions were substantially decreased and he became poor.

Shostakovich had a rather saddening life. During the Great Purge in the late 1930’s, many of the composer’s relatives and friends perished. In 1960, Shostakovich decided to join the Communist Party to become the General Secretary of the Composer’s Union. However, his health started to decline soon after. He was diagnosed with polio and encountered many falls that crippled him. Shostakovich was keen to excessively drinking vodka and smoking cigarettes, which led to his death. In 1975 he died of lung cancer.

I decided to share Shostakovich’s first violin concerto. It was written when there were severe censorships and hostilities from the Russian government. Shostakovich didn’t publish this concerto until after Stalin’s death.

http://youtu.be/vcTZ6ckxVUA

 

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Pathogen – Miscreants of Bloodlusting Aberrations

pathogen-miscreants_of_blood_lusting_aberrationsIf you were to combine the full military power approach of bands like Krisiun or Angelcorpse with the catchy and slightly dissonant songwriting of Master, the result might be like Pathogen. This band has its own personality however which comes out in this battle-force release.

Miscreants of Bloodlusting Aberrations aims to be rhythmically compelling and to add some additional interest in its tendency to massage a maze of related riffs out of the midst of a riff salad so dense it would defy mapping. The result is like urban exploration: entering a building late at night through a forgotten basement window, and wandering in the dark with a flashlight and .45, until you find that one room that takes your breath away.

Pathogen hustle through songs that are a mix of death metal, heavy metal and war metal riffs driving toward a culmination in dissonance and chaos. Drums are mostly influenced by the speed metal bands of the mid-1980s, but vocals come from the recent school of high-speed rasp punctuated by deep gutturals. The result is very much a hybrid, but true to the spirit of its many influences and the genre.

Where this album gets confusing is that it is a riff-maze of familiar patterns and repeated types of themes, so it is best listened to as a kind of concept album formed of a snapshot in time when all of these different songs overlaid each other in concept and overlap in music. Infectious and warlike, Miscreants of Bloodlusting Aberrations captures the spirit of high-speed metal and gives it a unique spin.

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A Transylvanian Funeral – Gorgos Goetia streaming from Forbidden Records

Forbidden Records has begun streaming the new A Transylvanian Hunger album, Gorgos Goetia, from their bandcamp website.

Combining the traditions of early-era Darkthrone and the melodic tracks from Gorgoroth, Gorgos Goetia represents a descent into the dark and restless mentality of black metal, and shows no mercy to the newer traditions which have usurped an honorable lineage.

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Divine Eve debuts new track “Sword Called Fate”

divine_eve-iconAfter three years of radio silence since their last EP, Vengeful & Obstinate, Divine Eve are returning with a new full-length to be out on Dark Descent Records in 2013.

This Texas band rocketed to influence in the early 1990s by releasing a Swedish-tinged doom/death masterpiece, As the Angels Weep, which showed a band with potential among the many confused offerings created as death metal bloomed.

Equal parts raging death metal and raging roadhouse heavy metal with a darker Motorhead flair, the music of Divine Eve emphasizes both dark places and an uncanny energy emerging from confrontation with them.

Vengeful & Obstinate shows the band refining their songwriting and picking up some new themes, using this added proficiency to make the tunes have more momentum and be more memorable.

While no date has yet been set for the release of the finished product, the release of this sample track is a tantalizing hint of what is to come for all fans of doom-death and related music.

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Interview with Lord Necron of Hod

hodSan Antonio’s Hod are no strangers to the metal scene. Seemingly playing live every weekend in Texas, they’ve amassed a strong underground following since their inception in 2007.

I received an exclusive listen to three of the songs that will be on their sophomore album Book of the Worm. Fans of their first album Serpent will be appropriately pleased with this stronger display, which is a natural progression from their earlier material. The most noticeable difference is that the drums are played faster than their earlier recordings. The riffs flow like they did on Serpent, but with more dynamics.

Carl “Lord Necron” Snyder shed some light on the band’s progressions throughout its existence:

In 2007, Hod released its debut demo, Cry and Piss Yourself, which led to Ibex Moon Records releasing your debut album Serpent in 2009. How would you say your music has progressed since Serpent?

The band has jelled together more. I believe the writing flows better. The band has a better and vision and identity of where it is going. Also we have a quite a few lineup of changes which has left me as the sole riff writer of the band up till now. So our next album Book of the Worm was placed on my shoulders to finish up and do all the guitar tracking. The good news is Blackwolf our new guitarist is bringing some devastating riffs to the table for new material.

You’ve been involved in the Texas Metal scene since it began, involving yourself numerous bands. How would you compare the early days to the Texas scene today?

The 80s and early 90s had much better turnouts for shows. Local shows were way more attended than nowadays. But I think now it easier for your music to reach more people with the internet. So more people are listening, but less are attending. MP3 culture is a double edge sword. So much is available but people do not get absorbed into albums like they used to. Kids download entire discographies of bands, and fly through the albums. How can you really grasp an album that fast. We used to buy maybe three albums tops over a two week period and just listen to those records over and over. But I admit quality control was better back then too. How are you going to say getting Seven Churches, Bonded By Blood, and Hell Awaits at the record shop compares to getting 25 albums on MP3 by some obscure bands that you are never going to listen to again.

HOD is known as one of the most hardworking bands in Texas, playing live every weekend it seems. This appears to be a 180 since your Thornspawn days. Has playing live often strengthened the band?

Of course playing live strengthens the band. Your band can only improve by taking the stage. Real bands play live. Real men take to the stage. This nonsense of just releasing music and never performing live is boring and a waste of time. The true power of metal is to hear in its organic form live. You cannot beat that feeling. Keep your bedroom bands in the bedroom, and stop trying to compete with real bands. I hate it and it needs to be put to a death.

The Texas scene is looking forward to your next album, Book of the Worm, can you shed some light on it for our readers? Lyrical themes, progression in sound, etc.

We all know what to expect from Hod. Death and Darkness. More Lovecraftian themes and influences in the lyrics for sure. It will be better produced for sure. The guitar tone is crushing! The tempo is faster. It’s like Serpent x 100. Beer’s vocal performance is just deranged and his delivery has really improved.

Will all of the songs featured on the “Uncreated” demo be on your full-length? Is there label lined up already, or is this demo to get a new one?

Yes they will. That is why the demo is being printed up super-limited. The demo is to showcase the material for the album. We are not sure what label we will go with. We are in no rush just to get it out. We will make sure when we sign with a label it is what we want. Also, we wanted the people that had been loyal to Hod to hear some of the new stuff.

What have been Hod’s most successful/memorable shows?

The tour with Marduk was quite an experience. They set the bar high every night and it opens your eyes to what you have to do to make an impression in the metal scene. Canadian Metal fans rule. Of course Houston scene is awesome. Austin is strong too. Mesa Arizona was killer when we toured with Monstrosity. Sorry for no specifics. It kinda all runs together at this point.

What advice would your give to the younger metal bands that are emerging in Texas?

Just practice hard and be ready to lay it all on the stage. Don’t get up there unsure of yourself. Don’t waste your time and more importantly the audiences’ time. Be prepared. Because most likely it will not go smooth. Record a kickass demo too! Don’t worry about freaking getting signed right off the bat.

You live and breathe the old school, what are your all-time favorite albums?

  • Morbid Angel – Altars Of Madness
  • Possessed – Seven Churches
  • Slayer – Reign in Blood
  • Mayhem – De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas
  • Deicide – self titled debut
  • Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales
  • Venom – Black Metal
  • Bathory – Under the Sign of the Black Mark
  • Sarcofago – INRI
  • Dissection – Storm of the Light’s Bane
  • Sodom – In the Sign of Evil
  • Kreator – Pleasure to Kill
  • Voivod – RRROOAAARRR
  • Mercyful Fate – Melissa & Don’t Break the Oath

To name a few…..

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Centurian – Contra Rationem (Listenable Records, 2013)

centurian-contra_rationemAfter some time absent from making music, Centurian returns with another album of ripping music made in the style of later Morbid Angel infused with the type of battering riffing that made Master’s On the Seventh Day… such an underground favorite.

This is precise high energy playing in that rhythmic but phrase-based style innovated by Morbid Angel, Vader, Mortuary and Massacra. Its strength is its intensity, but its weakness has in the past been knowing when to tone it down for a bit of variation. On this album, the band use more variation and melody to break up the unrelenting intensity of this approach.

Contra Rationem develops through an inner conflict based on the collision of extremely violent riffs, and the doubts and ambiguities of this situation revealed by changes in the intensity. This saves it from being a blowhard full-ahead band in which turning everything up to “11” makes that the norm, and by so doing removes its power. Centurian break up their forward assault with guitar solos, use of melody, dirge riffs and most importantly, abrupt shifts in direction. The result is that these songs negotiate internally and develop, instead of being presented as a final state that must be pounded into your head.

The most obvious influence here is Morbid Angel, especially the post-Covenant era, but the chant-heavy choruses and ripping speed riffs in many ways recall the best days of Destruction. There are no broken beats or trudging progressions because this album prefers to stack riffs against one another and then reach a natural conclusion at which point a total break from the expected occurs. The result naturally merges the listenability of speed metal (Destruction) with the power of the unexpected in death metal (Morbid Angel).

Centurian’s strength is their sheer momentum and pounding frenetic energy. Their weakness is the converse of this, which is that sometimes songs come across as hasty exercises in all-ahead-go, and as a result are less memorable than the finely-sculpted classics of death metal which removed extraneous complexity to create unbreakable moods. However, this is a small weakness, since this album shows great creativity in riffcraft which results in songs that shape themselves as distinct from one another.

For those who want a death metal album of the warlike style that made Morbid Angel and Vader such perennial favorites, Contra Rationem is a good place to begin the search. It avoids both the newer style of “carnival music” that has infested death metal and the faux retro style that insists on playing everything so fast the audience falls asleep, and uncovers in this band a more developed musicality and sense of mood.

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Satan – Life Sentence

satan-life_sentenceBack in the 1980s, the wisdom was that Satan had something to do with the founding of speed metal, along with Blitzkrieg and a few others who got into the choppier, more muted strum side of NWOBHM.

Having two members go on to avant-progressive speed metal act Skyclad did not hurt the legend. Thirty years later, Satan return with Life Sentence, an album that is musical enough for power metallers but uses the same efficient mix of speed and classic riffing that made Judas Priests’s Painkiller such an enduring favorite.

In addition, this band has internal quality control, which is something that seemed to go out the window with the rise of MP3s. This album fits together as an album, not as a concept album but as enough and varied interpretations of a style to make a consistent but not repetitive package.

Riffs on Life Sentence are of known general types but are not recognizably derived from anything else, and while they are generally used in pop-style song structures, tend to illustrate the theme of each song in sound. In addition, Satan use riffs as archetypes and vary them for fills or changes in song direction. This distinguishes them from many of the more template-based heavy metal bands.

The strong underpinning of riffs supports a subtly jazz-influenced percussion that mimics the guitar while trying to stay as much in the background as possible until it is time for a strategically interesting fill, at which point it explodes. Over this the melodic vocals of Brian Ross, who also sang in Blitzkrieg, surge in both full operatic style and a more surly half-chant.

Lead guitar fireworks are minimized but like everything else on this album, appear when it helps push the song along. However, songwriting on its own is strong, with each song having a clear theme that is played out in the tension between verse and chorus riffs. Nothing sounds hasty or ill-thought; it all fits together and moves as one.

For metalheads who like musicality but might want something more aggressive than your average power metal band, Satan offer a powerful competitor that does not fall into excesses, but keeps its own spirit alive. Life Sentence does not sound like it came out in the 1980s, but also, evokes much of the strength and beauty of the music of that era. This should be a major contender for the thinking metalhead vote in 2013.

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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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