Interview: Devolved (Are You Morbid? death metal radio show)

From 1995 to about 1999, the old underground tried to live on in a new modern form. Then it collapsed, and what took over was an indie/alt-rock hybrid of metal that lost the raw aggressive spirit of metal and replaced it with self-pity. Starting in 2006 or so, the revival of the underground began. A new radio show is helping blast that door wide open with a solid diet of underground death metal, black metal, grindcore, speed metal, thrash (crossover), and hardcore mixed in with dark ambient and possibly classical music. Meet Devolved, the voice and choice of music behind the show.

What name do you use on the air?

Devolved. Devolution is real!

Why did you pick an old school death metal, black metal, thrash, grindcore, speed metal, heavy metal and dark ambient show?

Metal helped me see the world in a new light, or at least provided a soundtrack. Perhaps it will affect a few of the listeners in the same way. My generation (what they call the ‘Y’ generation) certainly needs a new light and a new path.

Do you think these genres offer something artistically or politically that doesn’t exist anywhere else?

I can’t say that with certainty. But the best metal does contain a spirit which is hard to find elsewhere. A real love of life, and of death. And that youthful desire to analyze all aspects of reality, even if unpleasant.

What’s a typical playlist?

Mostly death metal with forays into other genres. Autopsy, Suffocation, Massacra, Immortal, and Slayer are perennials. I discover more metal music all the time, both modern and old-school, and incorporate what I find stimulating.

How has response been so far?

A few locals have called in and voiced their support. People also listen to the show online; how many is hard to know.
Do you think there’s a difference between old school underground metal and what’s going on now? If so, what is that difference?
Obviously, but I really don’t know much about the modern ‘scene’. It seems that most of the good releases of the past few years have been composed by musicians who have been around since the formative years. It’s possible that people of my generation are simply incapable of creating quality metal, either for innate reasons or because attention is focused elsewhere.

What defines an underground genre, like old school death metal?

Shared ideals through a shared artistic method. The “underground” aspect is probably a conscious choice to avoid decay and assimilation.
Why do you think there was such a peak in output of old school death metal and black metal in the late 80s through early 1990s?
Seems like intelligent, alienated Westerners finally realized that the rot had reached to the very core of our society, and that by that point halting Kali was impossible. Certain individuals had realized this long before, but it takes a critical mass of aware people for an artistic movement to form around such an idea.

Is something similar going to happen again?

That would be cool. What I see with my generation these days is that they’re either totally lost in their own narcissism, or are working their butts off to rise above the masses of this overpopulated planet. That doesn’t leave much time for art.

What advice would you give someone interested in learning about these genres?

Find people you respect and see what they say influenced them (this is why band interviews are great). Death Metal Underground and DLA both introduced me to a lot of good stuff; frankly I often just trawl through Youtube vids until I find something interesting. Learn more about the craft and composition and don’t be afraid to be critical, selective or ‘elitist’.

I was watching the Combat Records Live at Studio 254, NY tape with Venom, Slayer and Exodus. Slayer were getting loaded and talking about how they liked Bach and Tchaikovsky. When I interviewed Quorthon, he was heavily into Bach as well. Do you think there’s a connection between metal and classical?

Absolutely! The simple explanation is that classical (and baroque) music will deeply affect anyone with intelligence and taste and love of art, or even one of those three qualities. Metal bands were not the only musicians affected, but they incorporated these influences into their own compositions in a way that no one else did.

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Vulcano touring Europe

BRAZILIAN LEGENDS VULCANO will return to Europe once more with a full European tour. The UK-leg will be supported by compatriots Necroriser. Scythian and Sepuku have been announced as supports for the London date, whilst Maw has been confirmed for Birmingham. The Exeter show is also set to be an all-dayer.

Confirmed dates:

April 19th, Thu – Glasgow, Scotland @ The Classic Grand
April 20th, Fri – Birmingham, England @ The Birmingham Ballroom
April 21st, Sat – London, England @ The Underworld
April 22nd, Sun – Exeter, England @ The Cavern
April 26th, Thu – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Spillestedet Stengade
April 29th, Sun – Stockholm, Sweden @ Göta Källare
May 03rd, Thu – Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany @ venue TBA
May 04th, Fri – Berlin, Germany @ K17
May 05th, Sat – Oostrozebeke, Belgium @ Sküll Sessions III
May 08th, Tue – Rennes, France @ Mondo Bizarro
May 12th, Sat – Saint-Maurice, Switzerland @ Le Manoir

Maximum Intolerance magazine

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Hail Satan

From the Times of Malta:

The note, which parish priest Fr Kalċidon Vassallo confirmed was the parish’s doing, comes replete with a hand-drawn skull and pumpkin and warns readers that Halloween “celebrates a culture of death” and “attacks that which is holy”.

In boxed, bolded text, it says: “As a Church, we are warning parents of Halloween’s serious dangers. This feast is a dangerous celebration of fear and the macabre.”

It concludes with a motley list of “other things which draw children towards the occult”. The list includes heavy metal music, negative and fantastical role-playing, sadistic pornography and reading about the occult and Satan.

If you wonder why people distrust religions, it’s because of stuff like this.

You want to find evil? There’s real evil everywhere.

And then some grandstanding idiot, who spends his days comfortably blowing off the actual problems, worries about halloween.

You want evil? How about the toxic waste dumped in the mediterranean sea, the organized crime, the corrupt leaders, the people who walk among us and daily lie cheat and steal, or even Fr. Buttfinger who’s violating young boys down the hall?

That’s evil… but it’s harder to face and harder to win against, where bashing halloween is easy and provides cheap karma points on the social network of do-nothings.

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This is what metal needs

A culture detached from youth culture, ten year (18-28) a/k/a product marathon:

Dr Paul Hodkinson, deputy head of Surrey University’s sociology department and an expert in youth music subcultures, has been re-interviewing a group of goths he first studied in the late 1990s to find out. “They were teenagers and in their early 20s then, and I thought it would be interesting to go back because a number of people do stay involved in the goth scene,” he explains.

Though many people who belong to youth subcultures such as punk and rave tend to drift away in their 20s, Hodkinson says it’s more likely that older goths will want to remain involved in the scene, even though it may become harder to combine with the responsibilities that come with age.

To outsiders, it’s the visual markers of being a goth – long, dyed-black hair, black clothes, pale faces contrasted with dark, dramatic eye make-up –that stand out. Taken on their own, these characteristics might be reasonably easy to cast off. However, Hodkinson says that although the aesthetic and clothing are important, the primary tenets of involvement in this subculture mean being “thoroughly passionate about goth music and style, and some goths would tell you they have an interest in the dark side of life, and a natural tendency towards a degree of angst”.

This means a level of commitment to the goth scene, and friendship groups and identity that develop around being a goth, which result in social lives that “are so intertwined that it would feel very odd to leave it,” he says. – The Guardian

Next time you see some guy in a Pantera shirt, tell him it’s all his fault. Or an Opeth shirted guy. Whichever. They’re the same, when you really think about it: music more like rock music which panders to the assimilators.

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Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany

Documentary which looks at how a radical generation of musicians created a new German musical identity out of the cultural ruins of war.

Between 1968 and 1977 bands like Neu!, Can, Faust and Kraftwerk would look beyond western rock and roll to create some of the most original and uncompromising music ever heard.

They shared one common goal – a forward-looking desire to transcend Germany’s gruesome past – but that didn’t stop the music press in war-obsessed Britain from calling them Krautrock.

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Heavy metal religion

Interesting source:

Industrialization and modernization have had a drastic effect on the Western world. The combined effects of urbanization, commercial consumerism, modern science, and a host of other factors have “left us cold, alone and naked in an uncaring universe. It has stripped us of our ability to commune with the transpersonal, robbed us of our freedom to choose, and forbidden us to look inside our own minds for any kind of release (Schroll 2005:60).” Compartmentalization of the aspects of one’s life in modern society furthers a sense of incongruity and separateness. Professional life is often separate from family life; social life is often separate from religious or community activities. The multicultural and ever globalizing nature of the modern world creates its own difficulties. And strong sense of culture and community are rarely based on geographic location, but more often around a sense of one’s history and the beliefs, ideas, habits, morals, and aesthetics it affords. Thus, to find a sense of commonality one must often leave the neighborhood in order to gather with like-minded people. – Dave’s Metal Blog

He goes on to explain how heavy metal forms an ad hoc culture/religion/values system in the above vacuum. Good stuff.

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New Blaspherian review

I liked this thorough and insightful review:

When listening to this album, a repugnant air permeates constantly throughout “Infernal Warriors of Death”’s duration, in a similar vibe to Obituary’s “Cause of Death” or Incantation’s “Onward to Golgotha”, although the album is far from a mere rehashing of classics. The gut-wrenchingly low guitar tone is enough to level those without proper preparation, while the blasphemous vocal assault of Lord Apollyon represents an ideal archetype of its genre. The riffing style of Wes Infernal, previously a guitar player for Texas legends Imprecation, concentrates on a more “meat-and-potatoes” style of playing that removes any excesses in favor of a disgusting assault on the eardrums, without any hints of “modern metal” clichés such as overuse of breakdowns or soulless guitar noodling. The rhythm section of Joe Necro (bass) and Matt Mayhem (drums) keep in-the-pocket over the course of the entire album, maintaining a blasphemous beat that compliments the guitar riffing. Lord Apollyon utilizes an echoed effect on many of the album’s songs, which only adds to the old-school vibe of the album. – Texas metal reviews: Blaspherian, “Infernal Warriors of Death” on

Between this album, recent BEHERIT, the new DEMONCY, the last and next DIVINE EVE, recent BAHIMIRON and ASPHYX material, we see how old school underground metal not only remains alive but advancing.

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Awareness causes depression

The usual suspects — a media composed of bitter also-rans and half-thoughts — has spewed forth its latest confusion between causation and correlation:

A new study conducted by Melbourne University finds that teens exposed to heavy metal music are more susceptible to depression and suicide.

Dr. Katrina McFerran — who we’ve confirmed isn’t Tipper Gore operating under a pseudonym — looked at the effects of several types of music on teenagers 13-18, and found that there was a higher risk of mental illness.

“Most young people listen to a range of music in positive ways; to block out crowds, to lift their mood or to give them energy when exercising,” said McFerran, “but young people at risk of depression are more likely to be listening to music, particularly heavy metal music, in a negative way.” – Guitar World

What makes someone seek heavy metal? They have realized that morality does not command the world, but power, and have also begun to seek a contrary power that is not afflicted with the terminal small-minded egomania of the modern “equal but unique” individual.

Why might they be depressed? They have realized that our society is falling like Rome fell, and that these things take time, but that the cause is not the damn Vandals but the corruption within. Our society has no values except an immediate and temporary power within the social context. Metal is beyond the social context.

What these dummies should ask instead is: Why are non-heavy-metal-fans in danger of falling into terminal narcissism, egalitarianism, oblivion, selfishness, egodrama and social “nonconformist” conformity?

t’s perhaps the biggest threat to the nation’s mental wellbeing, yet it’s freely available on every street – for pennies. The dealers claim it expands the mind and bolsters the intellect: users experience an initial rush of emotion (often euphoria or rage), followed by what they believe is a state of enhanced awareness. Tragically this “awareness” is a delusion. As they grow increasingly detached from reality, heavy users often exhibit impaired decision-making abilities, becoming paranoid, agitated and quick to anger. In extreme cases they’ve even been known to form mobs and attack people. Technically it’s called “a newspaper”, although it’s better known by one of its many “street names”, such as “The Currant Bun” or “The Mail” or “The Grauniad” (see me – Ed).

In its purest form, a newspaper consists of a collection of facts which, in controlled circumstances, can actively improve knowledge. Unfortunately, facts are expensive, so to save costs and drive up sales, unscrupulous dealers often “cut” the basic contents with cheaper material, such as wild opinion, bullshit, empty hysteria, reheated press releases, advertorial padding and photographs of Lady Gaga with her bum hanging out. The hapless user has little or no concept of the toxicity of the end product: they digest the contents in good faith, only to pay the price later when they find themselves raging incoherently in pubs, or – increasingly – on internet messageboards. – The Guardian

Our society is dying because it has no values in common, and so the selfishness of individuals predominates, and so oligarchy and commerce takes over from where leadership once stood.

Don’t blame heavy metal fans for noticing that, and being willing to face it and be depressed instead of hide their heads in the sand like the rest of you.

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Classic reviews: