VH1 “journalist” launches smear campaign against Bard Eithun

VH1 logo
VH1 affiliated journalist (and I feel guilty for using that term, because seriously, it’s VH1) Zack Sigel apparently was inspired by the recent Disma controversy, and has set his targets on Bard “Faust” Eithun in what is almost certainly an attempt to get his current projects (Blood Tsunami, Studfaust, etc.) pulled from the upcoming Martyrdoom Festival. Unlike Craig Pillard, Faust admittedly does have a criminal record to his name, having been imprisoned for the murder of a homosexual some years ago, but this doesn’t make the apparent goal any more noble. Whether or not Faust is the same person he was 20 years ago, witch hunting is not going to actually reform him, or usher in any sort of actual justice or utopian tolerant social justice city on a hill. Most of this article, however, isn’t a call to action against Faust, although the passages specifically condemning Faust’s actions come off as passive-aggressive at best. Instead, Sigel dedicates most of the article to whining about metalheads not immediately condemning bands for their ideological stances. Ironically he also pushes Deafheaven, despite their own ties to right wing movements, but odds are he won’t be turning on them for that any time soon, lest the ensuing cognitive dissonance explodes and kills everyone in a 500 mile radius.

We’re probably enabling him by acknowledging this article, but if nobody calls out this sort of pseudo-tolerant hypocrisy, everyone gets burnt.

11 Comments

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Album anniversaries – Seven Churches

possessed-seven_churches
A landmark in underground metal has been allowed to be 30 years old for some time now. We can’t have that, can we? Seven Churches is sometimes labeled the first “death metal” album by members of the press. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say that, but it’s a crucial link between earlier speed metal and more advanced recordings that would come out only a year later. Musically, this fits in well with many of its immediate proto-underground contemporaries, like Bathory, Celtic Frost (at least on their faster material), and perhaps Show No Mercy era Slayer, although it benefits from an especially clear and powerful production given its vintage. Later works by the band more closely resemble extreme, souped up speed metal than the more evolved recordings of the late ’80s, but this album came in at just the right time to directly influence many aspiring (or at least aspirating) metalheads.

8 Comments

Tags: , , , , , ,

Deathgasm (2015)

Theatrical poster of Deathgasm

The combination of metal and horror films presents a challenge because you cannot have two strong forces without having one trigger the other. In Death Metal Zombies (1995) it was a recording send from an on-air contest; in The Lords of Salem director Rob “Zombie” Cummings features a terrifyingly enigmatic piece of music that, played over the radio, invokes demons. In Deathgasm, a downtrodden teenage metalhead in New Zealand uncovers an ancient hymn for summoning a dark deity, and launches (nearly) the end of the world.

As with all in the genre of New Zealand horror, Deathgasm features a tight integration of absurdist humor with its horror plot. Like reading Mad Magazine, watching this film requires the viewer to be attentive to background details for extra laughs, but there are also outright comedic lines delivered at pivotal points in the plot. Much like the best underground films of the 1980s, Deathgasm also serves as a revelation of society from a metalhead’s point of view: boring, pointless, disorganized, with people already possessed by ideas before the demons even get the glimmer of personality transubstantiation in their beady little eyes.

Once having accepted that the plot will revolve around a teenage metalhead, his band, and an ancient curse, the viewer can proceed to enjoy this film for what it delivers: buckets of gore, wry laughs, and an honest sense of terror for these characters caught in an absurd world gone even more nonsensical. Protagonist Brodie just wants to make it through high school and away from his horrible foster parents, maybe picking up axe-slinging sweetheart Medina along the way, but his world has collapsed… and then the demons arrive.

Tightly scripted, and filmed with an eye for the natural beauty of New Zealand as well as as a pervasive creepy suspense that makes ordinary settings look threatening and surreal, Deathgasm applies perhaps the lightest touch working metal into the film as both topic and soundtrack, immersing us in the world of the metalhead facing a demonic horror that, like the adult world around him, is both incomprehensible and threatening. Look for the classic metal tshirts and other details of the underground metal world.

Unlike many horror films, Deathgasm follows more of the adventure movie plot (think: Die Hard, the apex of the genre if you ask me, which you didn’t) in that it involves humans attempting to surmount disbelief and low self-confidence to take on supernatural forces. Its characters, while caricatures, also reveal some of the truth of our varied social roles in this wonderful modern society. Rising to the inevitable conclusion, this film spills buckets of blood and guts and makes its audience identify with the struggle for survival against forces beyond our control.

7 Comments

Tags: , , , , ,

Dismember – Under Blood Red Skies (2009)

Dismember - Under Blood Red Skies (2009)

Review by Daniel Maarat

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

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

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

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

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

No Comments

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Upcoming tours: Cradle of Filth

Cradle of Filth - Promo Picture

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

The tour dates follow:

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

18 Comments

Tags: , , , ,

Pipes & Cigars – Dark Fired Kentucky Burley (2015)

pipes_and_cigars_-_dark_fired_kentucky_burley

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

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

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

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

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

21 Comments

Tags: , , , ,

Paganizer / Skinned Alive split hits shelves in 2016

paganizer_-_skinned_alive_-_split

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

Tracklist

    Paganizer

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

  4. Gallery of the Impaled
  5. Human landfill

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

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

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

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

  • 70 – Clear / Neon Green – 6,00€
  • 80 – Blue / Black – 6,00 €
  • 100 – Purple / Orange – 5,50 €
No Comments

Tags: , , , ,

Orcrypt Mercenaries of Mordor (2015)

orcrypt_-_mercenaries_of_mordor

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

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

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

3 Comments

Tags: , ,

Obscure Oracle sneak previews “Pray for Nothing”

obscure_oracle_-_live

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

2 Comments

Tags: , , ,

Autopsy debuts “Waiting For The Screams” from Skull Grinder

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

1 Comment

Tags: , , , , ,

Classic reviews:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z