Are You Morbid? returns to the radio

are_you_morbid-radio_showAre You Morbid?, the radio show by newer generations to keep the music of the underground years alive, has returned from the dead. This show briefly thrived on two different radio stations during the 2010-2011 time period and became notorious for its love of the old school spirit in metal, whether past or contemporary.

The new show will be Monday nights from 11PM – 12:30 AM on KUOI FM Moscow 89.3. However, listeners worldwide can tune in via the live stream at http://kuoi.org:8000/kuoi.m3u. You can also watch the show happening live via the KUOI web cam

For those who enjoy classic metal radio, Are You Morbid? utilizes the format of long blasts of music centered around a theme, briefly interrupted by DJ explanations and topical commentary. During its previous life, the show gained listeners worldwide for its quality selection of death metal and black metal.

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Interview with Andrés Padilla (Underground Never Dies)

andrés padilla-underground_never_diesRecently the word got out about a new book that’s going to explain the metal underground. This book, called Underground Never Dies, is edited by Andrés Padilla, the longstanding publisher and chief writer of Grinder Magazine.

Like several underground books before it, Underground Never Dies does not attempt to summarize the underground from a single point of view. Rather, it lets many different voices speak and, like harmonization in song, a truth emerges.

Cover art by Mark Riddick graces the entrance to this all-star production of underground metal analysis and opinion. In these pages, you will find people that you know of, or will want to know of, who helped build the underground into what it is.

We were lucky to get a chat in with Andrés as he prepares to launch this challenging work. Thanks to Andrés Padilla, Grinder Magazine and Doomentia Records for helping us secure this interview.

Click here for the full interview.

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Interview with Andrés Padilla, author of Underground Never Dies

andrés padilla-underground_never_diesRecently the word got out about a new book that’s going to explain the metal underground. This book, called Underground Never Dies, is edited by Andrés Padilla, the longstanding publisher and chief writer of Grinder Magazine.

Like several underground books before it, Underground Never Dies does not attempt to summarize the underground from a single point of view. Rather, it lets many different voices speak and, like harmonization in song, a truth emerges.

Cover art by Mark Riddick graces the entrance to this all-star production of underground metal analysis and opinion. In these pages, you will find people that you know of, or will want to know of, who helped build the underground into what it is.

We were lucky to get a chat in with Andrés as he prepares to launch this challenging work. Thanks to Andrés Padilla, Grinder Magazine and Doomentia Records for helping us secure this interview.
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The most difficult question first (sorry!): what is the “underground”?

From a Thrasher’s point of view, it’s a very particular phenomenon developed in the early eighties when the roar and corrosion of Metal began to sprout all over the world. Ignoring rules, norms and standards, this trend and way of thinking opened up its way in a pure, honest and caring manner. Personally, the underground has been the path I have followed all my life, not only musically (I also listen to other music styles) but also in the type of life and philosophy to follow. Since the metal stench entered my blood it has never left. On the contrary, it has grown and strengthened my vision for this movement that in spite of any dogma, represents a way of life not only for me, but for many other devoted followers of this sound, which becomes my daily sustenance.

Underground is devotion and commitment; it is to follow your own path, not accepting the mainstream as your food, rejecting the rules of the religion – Christianity , impose your own voice, make your mark, teach others that way which means to believe in yourself. It’s a “fuck you” to the system.
Musically it is the opposite to the establishment. This is where the mind has a space to open freely and go with the corrosive and distressing death metal sound, which in my case is my favorite style.

It may have been born in the eighties, but not everyone who was there at the beginning has continued its traditions. I feel lucky to have never given up this way of life and even to this day, have supported its development and growth, either by editing a fanzine for 25 years as well editing and distributing discs and demo tapes. Although the rise of the Internet has dramatically changed the way it’s distributed and spread out, the underground has mutated over time, trying to keep his old philosophy and aesthetics. Long life to Death Metal!

How did the idea of this book come to you, and how did you embark on the course to write it and publish it?

Before finishing school I started to make my own fanzine. Up to this day I continue, sending letters, talking with underground bands, exchanging demos/CDs/LPs/videos etc. has been my way of life. I never wanted to look for a job in an office. Metal has been my best ally and daily food since I started listening to it in the mid eighties.

So if you ask me how I got this idea, well, it just came to me, I never looked for it! Everything came naturally. I like thriving, without losing its philosophy, and after 25 years doing fanzines, I wanted to do something more challenging, something that defined a little better what my life linked to music has been like, even if it’s been behind a desk. I’ve always believed that nothing is impossible, only death is unavoidable.

Then, as there is no worldwide publication that has managed to piece together an overall concept about this repulsive and dark phenomenon, I wanted to be the first madman to embrace every corner of the planet and display it in a book with a ton of posters, photos and comments that may finally tell, what, how and when all this happened. Underground Never Dies is just that, an incredible journey into the past where you can explicitly revive what was a unique time.

About the way it’s going to be published, maybe it was fate or luck that made me send a copy of my first book — Retrospectiva al Metal Chileno 1983-1993 — to Doomentia. Lukas (founder) loved my work and when I told him I was doing a new book about the worldwide Underground, and in English, he gladly accepted to publish it.

Do you think “underground” (perhaps like “outsider”) is a cultural identity more than a marketing category?

andrés_padilla-grinder_magazine-underground_never_diesAbsolutely, at least for me. I am very different from other normal people who wake up every day to go to an office or accept system standards. So this phenomenon for me has its own identity, and even though throughout its developmental years many people have left to take on another identity, I know that we are thousands who still believe that this sound must be kept in a low profile, away from the mainstream and with a unique identity.

And I’m not talking about the aesthetic aspect, because personally, even though I really like the aesthetic that surrounds it, if anyone sees me on the street probably they will not think I listen to Death Metal. For me the image is not everything. It is the thinking, actions and congruence with yourself. The rest does not matter. Now, I will not dress like a Glam Rock fan of the eighties. No way!

How important do you think “non-commercial” attitudes are to the underground?

They are important to sustain its aesthetics, spirit and coherence with the environment. However, commercial attitudes are also valid. It is impossible to make a ‘zine and give it away for free, to spend thousands of dollars on a disc and then give it away. Money is in the middle of it whether we like it or not. Always. Moreover, we grew up on the grounds that money is everything. Unfortunately we are doomed to follow that path until humanity reaches its end. I prefer to make music or a magazine and sell it than belonging to a stupid company and take orders from an asshole boss.

Do you think the underground was a product of its time, when there was no Amazon and import CDs weren’t in regular stores, or does it still have relevance today?

To me, Underground is a concept born out of many factors, like our interest in something intangible like belonging to a music scene. We, are the ones who keep this alive. The bands, zines publishers, fans attending a concert, etc. All this makes the Underground continue thriving over time and avoid death to changes in humanity, like technology. Underground will always exist, but it is not going to go towards you, it is you who has to go to it.

What defines or identifies an “underground” band? Is there a specific sound, or is it an attitude, or a social position like being on an underground label, small pressing runs, etc.?

Arguably, in Thrash, Death, Speed, Black, Doom, etc, all trends derived from this devotion. Yes, there are patterns, pre-established rules and forms which we interpret as good or bad. Underground is devotion. And when it’s honest and pure, it is recognized. Who does not recognize it, then, they are on a different path.

How long did it take you to write the book? What is your process for writing?

From the first interviews, trips and design, I think it has been three long years. The first stage was the longest, perhaps collecting the information (posters, photos, etc.) and checking my personal collection amassed over the years of editing fanzines. Much of the material had been stored and forgotten.

underground_never_dies-andres_padillaThen it was about organizing the book concept and selecting the best of the material, trying not to be like any other work which has published about it. After several years, I think I arrived at the final concept. The experience of having done something similar, only dedicated to the scene of my country, was fundamental. That book, Retrospectiva al Metal Chileno 1983-1993, edited along with a 12″ vinyl disc (made by Iron Bonehead Prod, Germany) was very well-received worldwide.

Who’s going to print the book, and where/when will we be able to buy it, and for how much?

Doomentia Czech label will be responsible for publishing and distributing the book through its network of contacts and labels within the Metal realm. We all know who they are! If you’re reading this, it’s because you know! I have to confess that thanks to the Internet, now with a few clicks anyone can have the book. Hopefully the printed copies reach the right people. I have no idea what the price will be, but if you calculate a hardcover book with over 400 pages infested with posters and photos of the eighties, plus a 12″ gatefold with bands like Slaughter Lord, Incubus, Necrovore, Mutilated, Dr Shrinker, Fatal and more, then the price is more or less imaginable. I hope that the material is ready and available for December 2013.

You mention on your flyer that the underground was a way to fight transformation into a mindless sheep. This sounds straight out of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or “They Live.” Is it really that bad?

The promotional poster you speak of, contains quotes taken from the people interviewed in the book. That phrase you mention is something you will have to interpret when you read the book and the complete response of the interview. That mystery I leave it for when you have the book in your hands. Each individual has his own version of what happened in these corrosive years, when Metal was a threat to the system. In my case, I lived through Metal in chaotic times for my country with a military dictatorship. I think that counts and left a huge mark in our youth.

Where does the underground live today?

Worldwide. It has never ceased to exist. We are the ones who should feel a natural devotion to go after it. Those who don’t feel that, simply do not belong in this cult. This will cease to exist only when there are no more humans on earth.

Can you give us a small biography of yourself and your past writing experiences?

Since 1988, I have been editing fanzines, corresponding with bands, tape traders, attending concerts and festivals worldwide. I saw the birth of Death Metal since it started wearing diapers. With 25 years of experience in this art, I think I have enough to identify which smells more rotten than the other. This is all I have done in my life.

I have never been part of a company, nor have I been employed by one, except for a radio station in Santiago for three years, but at that time it was only two days a week on the radio, so I wouldn’t call it being employed by them. The program was called “Ground Beef”, and was devoted to Metal . We played stuff like Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Nihilist among many other killer bands. It was a fun experience hanging out with some international acts when they played in Chile.

Will you be covering the internet, for example pre-1995 websites like the Dark Legions Archive?

The book mainly talks about the beginnings of Metal, but at the end it has a brief chapter on these issues, the emergence of the Internet and databases such as these and many others, like Metal Archives.

Thank you for this interview. Our readers will enjoy it!

Thank you very much to you for this tremendous space and support to spread this work that has required three years of my life. I hope that when it’s published, the public can appreciate it.

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Entrevista con Andrés Padilla, autor de Underground Never Dies

andrés padilla-underground_never_diesRecientemente se corrió la voz acerca de un nuevo libro que va a explicar el metal underground. Este libro, llamado Underground Never Dies, es editado por Andrés Padilla, el editor y escritor desde hace mucho tiempo jefe de la revista Grinder.

Al igual que varios libros que estén bajo tierra antes, Underground Never Dies no intenta resumir el metro desde un único punto de vista. Más bien, permite muchas voces hablan y, al igual que la armonización en el canto, emerge una verdad.

Arte de la cubierta de Mark Riddick adorna la entrada a esta producción de estrellas de los análisis de metales bajo tierra y opinión. En estas páginas, usted encontrará personas que usted conoce, o tendrá que conocer, que ayudó a construir el metro en lo que es.

Tuvimos la suerte de tener una charla con Andrés mientras se prepara para lanzar este trabajo desafiante. Gracias a Andrés Padilla, Revista Grinder y Doomentia Registros por ayudarnos a asegurar esta entrevista.
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The most difficult question first (sorry!): what is the “underground”?

Mirado desde el punto de vista de un Thrasher, es un fenónemo muy particular que se desarrolló a inicios de los ochenta cuando el rugido y corrosidad del Metal empezó a brotar por toda la orbe. Ignorando reglas, patrones y normas, esta tendencia y manera de pensar se abrió camino de una manera pura, honesta y solidaria.

En lo personal, el underground ha sido el camino que he seguido toda mi vida, no solo en lo musical –aunque también escucho otros estilos-, sino que también en la vida y tipo de filosofía a seguir. Desde que el pestilente metal entró en mi sangre no se ha ido más. Todo lo contrario, ha crecido y potenciado mi vision sobre este movimiento que a pesar de cualquier dogma, representa una manera de vivir no solo para mi, sino que para muchos otros devotos seguidores de este sonido, que se transforma en el alimento diario de mi existencia.

Underground es devoción y compromiso, es seguir tu propio camino, no aceptar al mainstream como tu alimento, rechazar las reglas de la religion – cristianismo-, imponer tu propia voz, dejar tu huella, enseñarle a otros ese camino que significa creer en uno mismo. Es decir fuck you all al sistema. Musicalmente es lo contrario y opuesto a lo establecido. Es donde la mente tiene un espacio para abrirse libremente y dejarse llevar por el corrosivo y angustiante sonido del Death Metal -que en mi caso es mi corriente favorita-. Puede haber nacido en los ochenta, pero no todos los que la vieron nacer han seguido su tradición. Me siento afortunado de nunca haber abandonado esta forma de vida y hasta el día de hoy, haber apoyado a su desarrollo y crecimiento, ya sea escribiendo en un fanzine por más de 25 años, como así editando y distribuyendo discos o demo tapes.

Aunque la aparición de Internet cambio drásticamente la manera de distribuirse, manifestarse y procrearse, el underground ha mutado con el tiempo, tratando de mantener su antigua filofosía y estética. Long life to Death Metal!

How did the idea of this book come to you, and how did you embark on the course to write it and publish it?

Antes de salir del colegio commence a armar mi propio fanzine. Hasta el día de hoy, mandar cartas, hablar con bandas subterráneas, intercambiar demos/ cds/lps/videos etc ha sido mi camino. Nunca quise buscar un trabajo en una oficina. El Metal ha sido mi major aliado y alimento diario desde que comencé a inyectarmelo a mediados de los ochenta. Entonces, si me preguntas cómo llegó esta idea. Bueno, simplemente llegó. No la busqué! Todo se dio de manera natural. Me gusta avanzar en la vida, sin perder la filosofía, y con 25 años detras de fanzines, quise hacer algo más desafiante, algo que definiera un poco más lo que ha sido mi vida ligada a la música –aunque sea desde el escritorio-. Siempre he creido que nada es imposible, lo único inevitable es la muerte. Entonces, como no existe una publicación en todo el mundo que haya logrado juntar un concepto global sobre este repugnante y oscuro fenómeno, quise tartar de ser el primer loco en abrazar cada Rincon del planeta y manifestarlo en un libro con una tonelada de afiches, fotos y comentarios que podrán finalmente decir, qué, cómo y cuando sucedió todo esto. Underground Never Dies es simplemente eso, un incredible viaje al pasado en donde podrás revivir expl+icitamente lo que fue una época irrepetible.

Ahora ómo va a ser publicado. Quizás fue el destino o la suerte que me hizo mandarle una copia de mi primer libro a Doomentia. Lukas –fundador- alunió con este trasbajo y cuando le dije que estabaarmando otro referente a Underground mundial, y en Inglés, él aceptó encantado en publicarlo.

Do you think “underground” (perhaps like “outsider”) is a cultural identity more than a marketing category?

andrés_padilla-grinder_magazine-underground_never_diesTotalmente, al menos para mi. Me siento muy diferente al resto de los normales que se levantan a diario para ir a una oficina o aeptarlas normas del sistema. Entonces este fenómeno para mi tiene una identidad propia, y a pesar de que a traves de sus años de creimiento, muha gente ha abandonado y elegido tomar otra idendidad, sí se que somos miles los que aún creemos que este sonido debe mantenerse siempre en bajo perfil, lejos del mainstream y con una identidad única.

Y no estoy hablando del aspect estético ya que en lo personal, a pesar de que me gusta mucho la estética que lo envuelve, si alguien me ve en la calle seguramente no va a pensar que escucho Death Metal. Para mi la imagen no lo es todo. Es la forma de pensar, los actos y la congruencia con uno mismo. El resto, da lo mismo. Ahora, tampoco me voy a vestir como un Glam Rock de los ochenta. No way !

How important do you think “non-commercial” attitudes are to the underground?

Son importantes para mantener su estética, espíritu y coherencia con el medio que nos rodea. Sin embargo, actitudes comerciales también son válidas. Es imposible hacer un fanzine y tener que regalarlo, invertir miles de dolares en un disco para luego regalarlo. El dinero está de por medio querámoslo o no. Siempre. Es más, crecimos con el fundamento de que el dinero lo es todo. Lamentablemente estamos condenados a seguir ese camino hasta que la humanidad llegue a su fin.

Prefiero hacer musica o una revista y venderla a pertenecer a una estúpida empresa y aceptar órdenes de un jefe imbecil.

Do you think the underground was a product of its time, when there was no Amazon and import CDs weren’t in regular stores, or does it still have relevance today?

Para mi Underground es un concepto que se dap or muchos factores. Nuestro interés en algo intangible como pertenecer a una escena musical. Somos nosotros, quienes mantenemos vivo esto. Las bandas, los editores de zines, los fans que asisten a un concierto. Etc Todo eso hace que el Underground siga escabuyéndose con el paso del tiempo y haya podido evitar la muerte ante cambios de la humanidad como la tecnologia. Siempre va a existir Underground, pero este no va a ir hacia a tip por si solo, eres tu quien tiene que ir hacia el.

What defines or identifies an “underground” band? Is there a specific sound, or is it an attitude, or a social position like being on an underground label, small pressing runs, etc.? Podría decirse que en el Thrash, Death, Speed, Black, Doom etc, todas tendencias derivadas de esta devoción, sí hay patrones, reglas o formas pre establecidas y que nosotros entendemos por buenas o malas. Underground es devoción. Y cuando es honesta y pura, se reconoce. Quien no la reconoce, pues, está en otro camino.

How long did it take you to write the book? What is your process for writing?

Desde las primeras entrevistas, viajes y diseño, creo que han sido 3 largos años. La primera etapa fue la más larga, quizas la de recopilar información (afiches, fotos, etc) revisar mi colección personal de material que he juntado en largos 25 años editando fanzines. Mucho material estaba guardado y olvidado.

underground_never_dies-andres_padillaLuego ordenar el concepto del libro y tartar de seleccionar lo major del material, intentando no ser parecido a ninguna otra obra que se haya puvlicado al respecto. Luego de varios años, creo que llegé al concepto final. La experiencia de haber hecho algo similar, slo dedicado a la escena de mi país, fue clave. Ese libro Retrospectiva al metal Chileno 1983-1993, editado con vinilo 12” (hecho por Iron Bonehead Prod, de Alemania) fue muy bienacogido en todo el mundo.

Who’s going to print the book, and where/when will we be able to buy it, and for how much?

La etiqueta checa Doomentia estará a cargo de publicar y distribuir el libro a través de su red de contactos y sellos amigos devotos al maldito metal. Todos ya sabemos cuales son! Si estás leyendo esto, es por que lo sabes! Hay que confezar que gracias a Internet, ahora con un par de clicks cualquier persona podrá tener el libro. Ojalá que las copias que sehagan, lleguen a las personas idóneas. El precio no tengo idea de cuánto va a ser, pero si calculan un Libro con hardcover más de 300 páginas infestadas de afiches y fotos de los años ochenta, más un 12” gatefold con bandas como Slaughter Lord, Incubus, Necrovore, Mutilated, Dr Shrinker, Fatal, etc el precio es más o menos imaginable. Espero que el material esté listo y disponible para Diciembre del 2013.

You mention on your flyer that the underground was a way to fight transformation into a mindless sheep. This sounds straight out of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” or “They Live.” Is it really that bad?

El poster promocional del que hablas, contiene citas extraidas desde los mismos entrevistados. Esa frase que mencionas, la vas a tener que entender cuando leas el libro y la respuesta completa del entrevistado. Ese misterio lo dejo para cuando tengas el libro en tus manos. Cada individuo tiene su propia version de lo sucedido en esos corrosives años, cuando el Metal era una amenaza para el sistema. En mi caso vivi el Metal en tiempos caóticos para mi país con una dictadura military. Creo que eso cuenta y nos marcó mucho en nuestra juventúd.

Where does the underground live today?

En todo el mundo. Nunca ha dejado de existir. Somos nosotros, quienes debemos sentir la devoción natural de ir tras el. Quien no la siente, simplemente no pertenece a este culto. Este solo dejará de existir cuando ya no hayan más humanos en la tierra.

Can you give us a small biography of yourself and your past writing experiences?

Desde el año 1988 he estado editando fanzines, escribiéndome con bandas, tape traders, asistiendo a conciertos, festivals por todo el mundo. Vi nacer el Death Metal desde que comenzó a usar pañales. Con 25 años de experiencia en la material, creo que tengo la suficiente fascilidad de identificar cual huele más putrefacta que otra. Esto es lo único que hecho en mi vida. Nunca he participado de una empresa, ni he sido empleado dealguna compañía, con excepción de un programa de radio en una estación de Santiago port res años, pero en esa época iba solo dos dias a la semana a la radio, no podría citarlo como pertenecer a una empresa. El programa se llamaba Carne Molida, y era dedicado al Metal. Pasabamos desde Morbid Angel, Cabbibal Corpse, Nihilist hasta Pantera.

Will you be covering the internet, for example pre-1995 websites like the Dark Legions Archive?

E libro habla principalmente de los inicios del Metal, pero al final incluirá un capítulo breve sobre esos temas, la irrupción de internet y las bases de datos como esas y muchas otras como Metal Archives.

Thank you for this interview. Our readers will enjoy it!

Muchas gracias a ustedes por este tremendo espacio y apoyo a difundir esta obra que ha demandado 3 años de mi vida. Espero que cuando salga, el public pueda apreciarlo.

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Interview with Paul Speckmann as Master releases The Witchhunt

paul_speckmann-master_abomination_deathstrike_funeral_bitch_speckmann_projectAs the old joke in Hollywood goes, any time you say “This person needs no introduction,” you must immediately follow that with a lengthy introduction. So it is with Paul Speckmann, who both needs no introduction and also needs a more in-depth introduction because he’s done so much for metal that it’s easy to lose sight of it all.

We are fortunate to be able to interview Mr. Speckmann on the eve of his tenth album, The Witchhunt, which will see release later this year and is a faithful and sped-up version of Master’s characteristic style.

In this interview, we ask Mr. Speckmann about his songwriting style, the changes in master over the years, the meaning of his music and where Master fits in the death metal family tree. His answers are as always thoughtful and honest, with a few surprises that we could never have guessed were coming.

Please show your appreciation for Mr. Speckmann by reading and commenting with your favorite “Speckmann stories”: how you discovered Master et al., what influence it had on you, where you think it fits in metal, and how you think his art has changed the outlook of the extreme metal populace.

Here’s the interview. Ladies and gents, Mr. Paul Speckmann, of Master, Abomination, Deathstrike, Funeral Bitch, War Cry, Speckmann Project and many more!

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Glorious Times team releases Nuclear Death profile

glorious_times_coverThe book Glorious Times portrayed the experience of being involved in the early metal underground in a way that no one else has attempted before or since. It awakened in many of us a desire for such times again, when truth mattered more than commerce and popularity.

Despite being initially scoffed at by publishers, Glorious Times exceeded all expectations and became a metal institution. The publishers, Alan Moses and Brian Pattison, have stayed active in the underground by promoting shows, writing reviews, and pushing forward bands that seem to have that sense of connection to reality that defined the early underground.

As part of their continued activity, Moses and Pattison have released a profile of longstanding band Nuclear Death. According to Pattison, the material had been slated to be part of the first printing of Glorious Times, but for scheduling reasons was never part of that issue.

Instead, it’s now available for free download thanks to the Glorious Times team wanting to update Facebook friends with a reward for their loyalty and continued attention to both Glorious Times and the underground.

This multi-page spread features a unique story by Lori Bravo of Nuclear Death, previously undiscovered pictures from the era, and the classic zine-style layout which made Glorious Times a hit with the oldschooler crowd as well as new generations looking for an alternative to corporate media.

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Jill Funerus diagnosed with heart attack

jill_funerusJill Funerus, wife and bandmate of Ibex Moon label head and Incantation guitarist John McEntee, and composer of songs for Funerus along with McEntee and Sam Inzerra on drums, has been diagnosed with a heart attack in response to recent health problems.

Funerus began in the early 1990s in Pennsylvania as a Swedish death metal-influenced doom-death band. Jill Daily, who uses the stage name Jill Funerus, went on to become the bassist for this band influenced by Entombed, Bolt Thrower, Obituary and Carcass.

After terminating in 1994, the band resurrected itself with a new line-up in the early 2000s, and with the help of John McEntee (Ibex Moon/Incantation), rose again in a new form and began gigging. The band are known for being professional and easy-going at the same time, in addition to making crushing grinding doomy music.

Our thoughts are will Jill, John and their family and friends at this time.

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The origin of all underground metal

discharge-hear_nothing_see_nothing_say_nothingSuppose that you’re a dying society (“the human race was dying out / no one left to scream and shout” – the Doors) and that you decide to give it one last hurrah. To try honesty instead of manipulation.

You might come up with punk music. It strips out everything that reeks of manipulation. The good production, gone; the complex chords, gone; any pretense of musicianship, out the window.

But then people realize that you’re going about it backward. You can’t change your methods to change your goal. You have to change your goal. That means you’re thinking about composing music in a new way, not just how you’re going to play differently with something rather familiar.

This lets loose the dogs of war.

No longer is music carved from a known pattern; the song is the pattern, and it obeys no rule other than its content. Face value is made secondary to internal value. Like it is in human, whether we have souls or not.

This is what Discharge did to the world of punk — and later, to metal:

Musically, punk’s first wave hadn’t been all that far removed from regular rock’n’roll. “God Save the Queen,” with its hummable melody and simplistic chord changes, is clearly a relation, albeit distant, of Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones. The difference is in the attitude, in Johnny Rotten’s adenoidal snarl.

Discharge’s revamped version of punk bore little resemblance to anything that had come before. It was faster, harsher, and often almost entirely lacking in melody. The riffs were generally three-chord affairs, but they were played at warp speed, accompanied by a rumbling bass and a merciless, galloping drumbeat. The songs rarely topped the two-minute mark. As Garry Maloney, who drummed on some of the band’s best recordings, explained to a ‘zine called Trakmarx, “We just embraced speed—the concept—not the drug—took it to its logical limit.”

Away went the blues scale, playing in uniform musical measures, and having pop song format work for you. Instead, the new vision was the lawless chromatic scale, a lack of key and thus of soaring bridge and chorus, or even any fixed song format. It was repetition made into its own undoing, a type of ambient music made from noise.

Rock ‘n’ roll died with Discharge. Others, like Amebix and The Exploited, followed. On US shores the Cro-Mags and thrash (DRI, COC, Cryptic Slaughter, Dead Horse, Fearless Iranians From Hell) further put metal into punk. With metal’s phrasal riffs and punk’s lack of structure, music got closer to ancient times.

Suddenly, the melody determined the song, and since the songs were topical, the melody was determined by the idea. Like ancient Greek dramas, where the chorus sang poetry as the story was acted out on stage, the new punk-metal hybrid entered the world of motifs and mimetic meaning, where art imitates life to tell the story of a journey or adventure and how it changed those who sallied forth.

The end of the second song, nearly eight minutes in, elicited a weak cheer, a few claps, and a robust chant of “D.R.I.”—a local thrash band on the rise, which had played earlier that night.

This was the new legion, thrash and underground metal (death metal and black metal), and it ushered in a new era. Where music was plain-spoken like punk, but mythological like metal. Where it took metal’s criticism of human behavior and used that to explain punk’s extreme political dissidence. Where people started looking at what they’d die for instead of what they’d live for.

Since that time, metal and punk have both gone through many generations. None have gotten very far from those originals who broke free however. They had to destroy before they could create and, when the dust of destruction and subsequent self-destruction finally settles, creation will begin anew.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DmSbqmJaig

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Interview with Abominant

abominant-onward_to_annihilationKentucky death metal band Abominant recently released its tenth studio album, Onward to Annihilation, in a style of death metal we don’t see much anymore: fast, melodic and yet riff-based and chaotic. This band is well-known in the underground, having released albums in the 1990s on feral label Wild Rags and toured across the country.

Onward to Annihilation shows Abominant nurturing the style that kept them going back in the 1990s, which uses fast riffs in complex patterns but always returns to a triumphant chorus which outlines the purpose of each song. The trademark Slayer-ish fast guitars and Dark Angel-styled drum breaks are also present.

You can hear Onward to Annihilation below in an exclusive live stream provided by Clawhammer PR and Abominant. It takes just a few seconds of your time to sample and explore this dark work of twisted death metal. (Your browser will show only the OGG files if Firefox, but both sets if Opera, Chrome or IE.)

In a time when the music industry is in upheaval, and most bands are changing styles and outlooks in order to chase the trends of the day, it’s gratifying to see some bands remain constant and constantly improving themselves. We were lucky to have a few moments with bassist Mike May, who was able to fill us in on all things Abominant, including the past and plans for the future.

Stream Abominant Onward to Annihilation here
MP3 OGG
1. We Are Coming
2. Conquerors of Dust
Left to Rot
Battlescarred
Onward to Annihilation
Hold Your Ground
Beside the Dying Flame
Legions of Hell

For starters, I had to do a double-take when I saw that Abominant is on your 10th album. How have you managed to stick together as a band, face adversity and still enjoy what you’re doing after all these years?

We just don’t know how to do anything else? We are all just fans and friends that love to play metal and love to do it together. Some guys work on cars or hunt or play fantasy sports. We write death metal songs, simple as that.

I don’t think anyone in the band has any delusions of being famous or changing the world musically. We just like to drink beer, have fun and play death metal.

Pretty much by choice we never miss a practice and if any of us do, our week just seems less fulfilled. Whether anyone likes us or not, or if we ever put out another CD, I think we’ll still be getting together to do what we do.

Can you tell us how Abominant formed and what your influences were at the time? In other words, what inspired you to become Abominant and
how did you come together?

From say 1990 to 1993 Tim and I were in a band called Sarcoma. Mike and Jim had a band called Cataclysm. Also ex-members Buck and Craig had a band called Effigy, which were all the death metal realm.

All of those bands eventually fell apart and the six of us were pretty much the diehards that wanted to keep it going.

Worked out for the best in the long run. Weed out the weak and whatnot…. I was a big fan of the other guys’ bands prior to hooking up with them as well.

Overall I’d say alot of our main influences are shared in the 1986-1990 transition from thrash metal to death metal. Bands like Possessed, DarkAngel, Sacrifice, Bloodfeast, Kreator and so on really were happening at the time most of us were learning to play and we all still listen to that stuff pretty religiously.

I will say that as time rolls on we still get influenced even up to today, and no secret that black metal has come into the fold much more since we got Jim in 2005. We all listen to alot of different styles of metal, and its not like we love EVERYTHING, but it is very cool to be have extended conversations about which era of Darkthrone is our favorite and ten minutes later we’re talking about the new Candlemass while we listen to old Scanner cds. Variety is the spice of life.

Is there a “Midwestern sound” to death metal?

As a fan, I’d almost relate it to the “Chicago” sound. Bands like Master, Cianide, Macabre, Deathstrike and some outside Chicago like Repulsion and Impetigo is what I think of when you talk about “Midwest” sound.

It seems kinda true that most metal comes more from the burbs and bored teenagers rebelling against the middle class life than coming from inner city areas where punk and hip hop seem to have deeper roots, so i guess maybe thats a factor.Both Mike and Jim are natives but I was raised in Denver and Tim was born in Thailand, so i think our location has very little to do with our sound.

Do you consider yourselves a death metal band, or have another take on it?

Personally, Yeah… I would call us death metal, although by “scene police” standards, we would be called more “black death” which is also fine. Since we started, it seems that the death metal name has been leaning more toward ultra brutal bands, which i think usually end up being heavy on the DEATH but light on the METAL, which is sad. But I mean younger bands were introduced to Cannibal Corpse/Suffocation as their starting point in the same way I evolved from KISS to Sabbath to Slayer, so i cant really even blame them, its a different time, you know? We were kind of using the term “Goat Metal” for the longest time to blur what exactly we were doing, but in the end as long as it includes the word METAL, I think we’re fine with whatever.

Your songs show wide-ranging influences from within the metal genre. Is this a deliberate attempt to include the whole genre, or is this the product of your many influences? How have those influences changed over the years?

As I said, we all go all over the map as far as listening to metal goes, and I feel that every genre has its merits, but it also seems every genre is cluttered with mediocrity too.

As far as writing different styles, we just don’t want all of our songs to be the same and variety is also one of the things that keep us going. Not everything always works but at least we try stuff and dont want to limit exactly how an Abominant song is supposed to sound.

If you’re talking mainly about “Hold your Ground” from the new album, we had been playing “The Mob Rules” live for about a year after Dio died and ended up recording it for “Battlescarred”. After having so much fun with it and feeling so natural about it, I think we all wanted to take a shot at a straight up “Heavy Metal” song. I think it came out terrific and think if we set our sights on it, we could do a whole album in that style.

We have a new song that is kinda similar although a little more Mercyful Fate in style and I love playing that one.

I will say that we all really love blasting and fast Slayer headbang parts so I dont see us playing traditional heavy metal full time, but it is alot of fun, especially live.

How do you like working with Evan and the DeathGasm Records crew? (Did you have to explain what a “DeathGasm” is to any family members…?)

Working with Evan has been great. He stepped up right after Wild Rags and I had known him long time before that. He’s always supported what we do. I think our first album together Ungodly (2000) was pretty “next level” both for us and for him as a label, and what a way to start out!

Evan has booked us shows in Marietta and we’ve stayed at his house, so it really is very much a friendship. He knows what we’re going for and even what other bands we like so we just really couldnt be much happier. I also like alot of the stuff he puts out like Nominon, Manticore, Avenger so its its a good fit for Abominant overall. We havent had alot of backlash from the label name…personally, I think it sounds cool.

When you recorded “Onward to Annihilation,” what technique did you use to get your guitar sound? Have you changed much in how you produce albums since the last nine?

I know most of the guitar was a PRS going through a brand new Peavey head, but aside from that , you’d have to ask Tim.

He gets new stuff just about every six months it seems, so I would be surprised if ANY of our albums used the exact same equipment.

After hooking up with Scott at Velocity things really have just become more laid back and also more practical for us. Scott is a death metal guy, a hell of a drummer and inspires to be a great studio guy, which I think he is.. but I imagine 10 years from now he will be a fucking guru. Nothing negative to say about working with him at all, wish he was doing this in 1996!

Are you going to tour for this album?

Naw, as we get older and have families, touring just doesn’t work for us. Responsibility is our downfall :)

I wanna say 2008 we did like 24 shows, and that was our most ever, but we normally like to play out only around 8 -10 times a year.

We are all kinda reclusive, and I personally hate hanging out in bars, so I don’t guess we’ll ever get to be road warriors, but I like to think we are pretty solid when we do play live.

If you’re fans of the old underground, does it still exist? Who’s keeping the flag flying these days? Bands, zines, labels, etc.

I like alot of the more METAL death metal bands like Sathanas, Gravehill, Ares Kingdom, Cardiac Arrest, Mausoleum and so on (old guys I guess!) but even locally I think most of black/death bands here are putting out releases in 2013 or just did in 2012. So there still is stuff going on, but I dont know if theres much of a fan base for it.

Some of my favorite records are the newest releases from Immolation, Asphyx, VoiVod , Absu, Darkthrone, Autopsy and so on, so I dont go by the “only stuff in early 90s” like some people do.

Hells headbangers seems to be doing quite well and releasing cool stuff, and I like most of what Dark Descent puts out as well.

Where do you think Abominant will be when album 15 rolls out?

We average about two years for a record, so I’m guessing we’ll all be pushing 55 by our 15th album!

As it seems now, doing this for another ten years seems pretty viable and realistic, and barring any tragedy and/or line up shifts, I for one am looking forward to it! You can purchase the album for $6.89 here!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC6feSmom3A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPwLppaGe04

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hn2Xo4t2iRM

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Gorguts – Colored Sands

gorguts-colored_sandsTwo of the worst fates in the world: to not know why people like what you do, and to get thrown into the big bin marked “not bad” that contains 99% of human endeavors which are quickly forgotten.

Colored Sands, which sees release today, attempts to recapture the magic of Obscura and From Wisdom to Hate. On the surface, one would see these as a collection of techniques: off-time riffs, odd chord voicings, “deep” lyrics and an affinity for classical music.

Unfortunately, that’s all Gorguts took from their back catalog.

As said above, this reviews damns this CD with the faint praise of “not bad.” It’s much better than the rest of the tek-deth genre, but that’s sort of like saying that chainsaw dismemberment is better than Evola. The real problem with Colored Sands is that it’s transparent.

You can imagine a group of guys sitting in a room thinking, “How do we make a death metal album edgy?” For starters, they throw in the list of techniques I mentioned. But then they use very similar rhythms, song structures, riff types and even sequence of chord voicings.

We could call this “the Opeth effect”: for an instant audience, make music that sounds difficult but in fact is moron-simple and predictable, because it allows people to pose at being elite. It’s in full effect here, as bad as on the second Cynic album. It’s progressive music for pop fans.

Most of us had higher expectations because Gorguts traditionally held themselves to a higher standard. But what’s here is 50% traditional death metal and 50% tech-deth dressed up as prog, and it’s boring. The best part is the brief classical piece in the style of the Russians, which is both populist and not all that exciting in the convention of that style.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igkV8F4-fc0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALRfZPBj4iY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZlzOOllYdA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pl_LfGnckLs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWe8gkBRiJM

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