Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Krampus :Survival of the Fittest

Since its dragon con weekend I thought it appropriate to load some folk metal into my iPod. In my other reviews of this sort of thing we discussed how I play D&d and read Conan and game of thrones styled epic fantasy so I'm the target audience for this type of thing but for some reason it never seems to click the right way , most of the time due an ovabundance of frolicking. I don't like happy music , if the name of this blog didn't clue you into that so dancing a jig at the highland games has no appeal. Folk metal when it should be the soundtrack to the dark ages or Viking pillages turns into dancing around the maypole.the dark ages were to as jubilant as these bands think , they were filled with plagues and rather dismal piss scent squalor led deaths. So I want music which conveys the desperate bleakness of this time.

For what I had heard of Krampus is that they were dark and looked forward into bleak living, sounds good sign me up. Now I'm a goth for way back so when you say dark I'm not fucking around, so I have a high standard for low. "Survival of the fittest " starts of with a symphonic string build that is the soundtrack for final fantasy more so than opening the gates to the netherworld. Then things get rather Eluvietie from their. Before I knew if I was five songs in so like a lot records it seems I'm reviewing theses days we are getting the feel of one long work rather than songs with distinct personalities , the fith song " the bride" breaks from that in some ways it sounds like a singer I can expect to hear this weekend , maybe if the dude from Cruxshadows fronting a Nu metal band. The more Cruxshadows part I like Becuase while this is the most clean vocal prominent song I have noticed, there a different quality to his voice than say Amorphis or Tyr, who are more dramatic in tone.

This album is well produced though in a problem similar to what Eluvietie encounters I think the folk instrumentation could stand a more organic feel, though there is an in flames or dark tranquility feel to some of the guitar it doesn't come off as mall metal as Eluvietie. The absence of the Lacuna coil type cheese melted on some of the last Eluvietie helps out , though some weird electronics elements haunt the corners.

The track " the dance of lies" also stood out on the first listen as the chorus jumped out in one of those bad cop good cop trade offs. The coarse vocals I better than most bands of this sub genre who employ them with little conviction. Though it is here I I notice all folk metal bands seem to be under the impression flutes ,lutes and bag pipes only have a range of certain river dance like intervals to which I can only prescribe a steady diet of Jethro Tull who schools these types of bands on a regular when it comes to summoning the fey. If their is not a folk metal tribute album to Tull. It needs to happen.

So for the sake of rating this rather mixed bag lets look at the rest of the album , the first real song "beast within" blazing along that Swedish Nu metal ...inflames mode until, the little lute break and then jack hammers, the guitar tone is a little to processed nd makes it sound like those 8 bit thrash spoofs, the triumphant gallop in the windup at the end need to extended, well executed just not feeling it. From there the slowed down riff of "rebirth" still moves quickly and the first clean almost emo ore vocals come I. Though by the chorus they are more forgivable and this songs is an improvement from the MySpace metal opener.

There's nothing here I haven't heard before, the point is driven home on "aftermath" which all the lady hawke fiddling can keep from being a little boring even the samples included. This song started making me wonder how the bands p/r people had so well infiltrated metal press. As we have every tired new metal cliched krammed into this one.

By "bride" first song I liked on here it's one wonder It stands out is by "aftermath" I was tuning it out. "Redemption" is heavy at least on paper something out this type of riff age just doesn't make me feel like it is , yes it is well played it heavy is in how it feels oppressive or crushing and here I envision All Shall Perish or some equally as glue sniffing slinging their guitars around like it's tought when it's really hot topic Dokken. There are little shades of things I like being done on this one just not enough.

The last two songs which follow one of the albums other moments "dance of lies" tend to stick to the Eluvietie blue print with liberal doses of guitar slinging. It's shame because I want to like folk metal but you are killing me with the break downs for teenagers. Listening to "tears of stone" I want them to show me again they aren't Eluvietie tribute band, but they can't seem sell me on that despite my wishful thinking. So they get a big fat four for the three goods songs which I can live with out if I need to make space on the hard drive.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Krallice: Years Past Matter

I think by now we all know Colin's connection to behold the Arctopus and Gorguts, So skipping the metal family tree and going into the work at hand. First off their are going to be those who are resistant to some of the more melodic elements involved here. Far from the kind of compromising selling out would entail for these guys, it is a more interesting and palatable listen as some of the jarring shred pyrotechnics found on the last album are toned down to offer more dynamics.

The album starts full on blasting the nasty, the way some of the chords ring to begin to bring Liturgy to mind.The patterns still carry the almost free form jazz like nature of hipster black metal as the forum boards will lament. Mainstream metal press will remain pretty clueless as how to approach this as its progressive in some sense but not djent or Opeth .

By the second song, the changes become more discernible to my ears although this one still drives full speed ahead. The bass is more prominent in the mix here, the accents later in the song are in and out , go to the bathroom and youll miss them especially on a ten minute song that establishes a speedy drone early on. At the seven minute mark it breaks up into more epic proggy territory before darkening into a thunderhead before they storm of speed with lingering feedback.

Vocals are not the bands forte, I can appreciate it's a different frequency of harsh a lower coarse howl more common place in sludge. They do get close to singing on the third track all of the albums songs are named in the same roman numerals, though by counting them this one would be nine, but I'm ignoring this element altogether as it's silly.

The guitar tone is much warmer and like i mentioned earlier it seems as if they have taken a page from Liturgy's play book. The notes ring out more and it's not a tappy and tech sounding as the previous albums. This gives it the breathing room need for the sense of movement which becomes established in moments which book end some of the more blasty bursts.

I think as far as this sort of thing goes, Liturgy and Woe have a more focused sense of indentity. There is an under lying current of technical death metal shoved down below the sonics of the maelstrom here. The tempest fugit of riffs lost at sea here is astounding if you are able to differentiate them . With ten and eleven minutes songs where this type of intensity is maintained over the course of such time, they are lucky to hold my attention, but still managed to. However the three mins of ambiance at the end of this track breaks the album up it doesn't really add to the song in and of its self.

The fourth song starts with tenderly picked guitar and boils over into jack hammer styled cunt pounding already established though their are some rhythmic accents four minutes in and the washes of octaves cascading into the drone are a nice touch and contrast the almost trashy riff following this section. The slower doom paced riff is a relief at this point and feels like I'm listening to a song rather than having the kitchen sink thrown at me.

The fifth song which really begins to sound like the fifth movement , until it establishes its indentity with more of an ascendant gallop. The mix is generally pretty precise and best heard on headphones however the drum mix at times on his one sounds like its powered by the bass, which is unique of this style of music and I'm sure the double bass on this one will impress more technically minded listener the last couple minutes of this one really gets great.

Then on the sixth song we are back to the hyper powered blasting. The riffs morph into something more epic , though on my fourth pass through on this album I'm beginning to understand what doesn't click for me on this. The playing is great , these are no doubt excellent musicians a point I have not really stressed thus far, because the staying power and the timelessness of music doesnt rely on those things, while I dig the gallop of this last song, it's not speaking to me. I don't think it's a coincidence the vocals aren't really given much thought here, is because these guys don't have anything to say. I'm sure in interview views they will default to the old..." we let the music do the talking and the listener brings their own interpretation " which is a cop out for we know how to play notes but we don't know how to say anything with them.

I will give this one a 5.5, even though it's an improvement in production and the sound of what they do is more melodic it's just empty calories. Sure the execution and playing is outstanding it's generally soul less and I would go as far as saying their older material was heavier to had some faked fury to it so you almost believed thee guys were angry tech geeks at least, instead we get math and mechanics.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Xibalba : Hasta La Muerte

These guys have gotten a lot of buzz, from sources like my friend Anrhony over at the Needle drop and frankly I'm surprised how much beat down style hardcore is in this as lot of what I has read about this was calling these guys a death metal band and comparing them to Disma.

Greg Anderson of Sunno))) is on this record and had some production input. But don't be fooled by that as there isn't any hipster indie doom going on. This is like one breakdown building off of another breakdown. In some ways this reminds me of Bloodlet and the time whe. All of those victory records bands were picking up change and starting lawn mowers in the pit back in the mid 90s. They always just seemed like metal bands with short hair and no guitar solos with hurt feelings and social agendas. With time all of that has faded Converge is the only band from that time period who stood the test of time unless we are going to count Hatebreed. So as times change all the things I disliked about the victory records hardcore bands has faded and we just have Xibalba slamming this metal core thing , with out the fashion sense of themyspace metal core bands, this is the real deal no suicide silence or white chapel bullshit here.

This is going to take a few listens as songs have a similar cadence to them. The drums that kicked off the third track " Laid to rest" got my attention. it's impossible not to nod your head to this, though my neck is swaying forward in the same time signature through out, the album does find some variation in the descent into sludge. Is there a genre called sludge core already ? Is it different than the box bands like Eyehategod are in ? Because this feels like southern California and there is no traces of swamp or blues to this.

Again and again the hammer drops here, I kept listening so something must be working,by the end of this I'm going to listen again to separate the songs out in my heads if you have not read how I come up with my scores it's the percentage of songs I like for the most part I compact them into a single number, with albums where it's one slab of heavy like this one it's hard. The more I listen the grasp I am beginning to get on this beast, the bass tone is a major player here as it manages to thump past these guitars which sound like they are tuned down to c, don't quote me on that one as I haven't picked up a guitar to check yet. But this whole albums has ,more rumble to it than your average bear.

I do think this album hits it's best moments when balance with ambiance and the experimental shades like the female vocals on the title track. The powerhouse drumming helps pummel some of these songs through. This is similar in someways to post "Divine Intervention" Slayer song writing is who needs attention to detail in song writing whenwe can just juggernaut our way through, which works on some songs most notably the brutal " Sentenced". But the Sepultura feel to the tribal drumming at the beginning of " the flood" is a good example how if more colors were added this album could have been much darker. The melodic single not drone slathered atop the roomy pound creates a heavier feel to me than coming at you straight on.

I can round this one up to an 8 , Becuase it's moments are so strong and I like the heaviness through out even the blunt nature of this album I respect and foresee is making through the rest of the year on my iPod , it's a good replacement for Ringworm and seems to be growing on me as I have been listening to this a helluva lot more than the Khors album I got of the same night, recommended for fans of this new wave of extra rough hardcore.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Khors : Wisdom of Centuries

I guess the fifth time is the charm for this Ukrainian metal band who in my opinion wears the black metal label loosely and ever looser the pagan metal tag, unless I missed the memo from Mordor and pagan metal is not similar to folk metal and means caught somewhere in between power metal and black metal. I tried on their previous album "Return to Abandoned" for size and at the time it didn't do a lot for me but I think I was coming off of an Agalloch kick . Their most recent release "Wisdom of centuries" is pretty impressive.

To me "return to abandoned" struck me as something more closely akin to Dark Tranquilty than black metal and there were these pseudo signing parts than I dunno, just felt cheesed out. While comparisons to fellow country men Drudkh, will be drawn Ifeel this album is superior to the bulk of of Drudkh's work. While this is my first time giving this one a listen , I'm surprised how seamless the flow of these songs are . Carried by moody melodic guitar, this is not cvlt black metal but large lush and allows the dark edges to spread out like fog in the night.

in some ways their epic proportions remind me of Moonsorrow , though the are less Lord of the Rings, which baffles me why this keeps being called pagan metal aside from the fact they are named after the sun god of their homeland. The riffs are well written and fit together like puzzle pieces meant for each other rather than being forced or having any awkward transitions , asthe one two three go time to get blasty, when then drums do build its the next logical step and the more relaxed passages move just as smoothly. So the arrangements are the albums strong point, all most to a fault as the songs they are stand alone pieces but all parts of one long monolithic composition.
So in the Albums tone, they don't use a wide palate of colors ,we have varied shades of gray and blood red cast on a pitch black back ground.

This similarity of tone makes for a easy listen but hard for me to score this one song by song. I can say the first song comes on pretty balls out, at first this is to the point where I thought they had just picked up for where they left off with their previous album, until the chorus or where a chorus would be which here means time to turn up the epic.from this epic turn the album doesn't look back only inward.

The beginning of "the last leaves" is some of the albums heaviest riffage, the chords are more tenderly picked out in what would be the chorus as guitar is layer in some interesting patterns which almost border on the post rock feel Drudkh leans towards but more majestic and without the drone. Also on this song I was able to pick out the bass where on other songs it got a little lost despite the evenness of the mix.

This song is followed by an interlude which they try to pass off as a song it's barely two minutes of drums and synth,but it leads into "horizon glassy" an instrumental that still feels like another part though the guitar work gives nods to pink Floyd so it forgivable, but could have been a lighter intro to the darker turn the title track takes.the whispered hiss of the vocals is the first time they switch it up vocally as the vocals are delivered with a Nargal like roar through out and this song even has a behemoth like build in the guitars that reminds me of the song "lucifer". Though after I started hearing Behemoth there the I started to hear it every where, though there's a much more organic feel to what they do than Behemoth,and the break down I the second verse of " only time will take it away" took the Behemoth comparisons from mind mind ,though it's safe to say if you are a fan of Behemoth who only flirts with the idea of black metal Khors are a gateway drug to take you a step close to Taake or old Enslaved.

The album end with a minute of ambiance ,so if we are going to count the pink floyd interlude there are six songs or five metal songs however you want to see it. The more I listen to the album, the more i can pick the songs apart, as the wheel isn't being reinvented here. Some of their influences are more more blatantly on their tunics than others so I feel a 7.5 is being generous as the moodier moments I really like.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Metal Head's Guide to Drugs

I've done something like this before with sex and this came up while I was pondering Dead Can Dances pharmaceutical past times, so here is my experiences with various sounds and chemistry as well as my educated sepeculations as to what artist might make for a fitting sound track with these chemicals, while I have a wide array of experience with this area you can assertain the time period in which I quit injecting these due to the time period most of these are from.

O.k, the term psychedelic was derived from l.s.d use ao we will star with that and work are way sideways

Acid/l.s.d- tripping and heavy music has had mixed results for me , some times thing harder than black sabbath came across as unsettling due to the intensity a lot of thrash guitar riffs also sounded like they were being played back wards, testaments practice what you preach album a case in point , I tended to prefer industrial music skinny puppy's last rites album sounded great as did any psychic t.v which sounds like it ws made for the sole purpose of tripping. The more intensive period of time spent with this drug in high school, I commonly used the first mr. Bungle, pink Floyd's animals and the butthole surfers, I think my last trip I listened to Tools lateralus to good effect as well as my bloody valentine, coming Down Alice in chains jar of flies seemed perfect.Under no conditions listen to the song ego the living planet by monster magnet while playing with a ouija board.

Ecstasy - I can understand the appeal of techno here, but no surprise I preferred rock like the cure and radio head whose kid a album seemd perfect, the first time I used the drug I was listening to collision's coarse album which seemed like the gods had intended for me to hear it at that moment. Type o negatives bloody kisses album was great to roll to along with Marilyn mansions portrait of an American family.

Mushrooms-Cocteau twins - heaven of las Vegas album, swans worked to good effects well anything involving Brian eno.

Other hallucinogens ( peyote, mescaline, absinthe) - with these for the most part I was outside listening with head phones seem to recall negative land, neurosis, sonic youths " day dream nation" album and pretty hate machine providing excellent accompaniment. Sepulturas roots album was also a wise choice.

Cocaine - Was never my thing and times I did not mix it with other drugs was uncommon though I seem to remember listening to very up beat music, Depeche Mode seemed common place, danzigs first album , i remember having more of an appreciation for the first wide spread panic while coked up one night which leads me to believe this drug lends it self to bad taste.

Crack- most of the time this was smoked with weed, cannibal corpses the bleeding and the first system of a down, I think the one time I heard insane clown posse I was smoking crack, makes perfect sense.

Heroin- the first time I did it while listening to Kmfdm, so they held a rotten place in my heart, the cures disintegration album, life of agonys second album, Depeche mode, David Bowie's album "outside" genesis "abacab" for some reason

Other opiates... The first Korn album, the navity in black tribute to sabbath most of thE time I couldn't get off the floor so was at the mercy of others when it came to the stereo though the down ward spiral seemed prominent.

Quaaludes ...this is going to be a blanket term to cover every thing including xanex bars ... Radio head , life of agony, Alice In chains,

Marijuana - didn't get stoned and realized music sucked to often, I preferred listening to sabbath, slayer and king crimson, type o negatives October rust was a good choice, dream theater however seemed homo erotic, smoked a lot to neurosis, stark weather, tool,sonic youth, I remember seeing dinosaur junior live and they were too much had to retreat and listen to secret chiefs

Drinking, the basic rock rolls works best as you are more Neanderthal , I think this is why punk rock appeals to so many you never say I wanna get drunk and listen to poly rhythms , so kiss, motley Crüe, guns n roses, ozzy solo, slayer, misfits,

Of course varied combinations cause different results, and I am sure I have forgotten something so other artists I liked to get fear and loathing to are... Massive attack, morbid angel, down, acid bath, bloodlet , ministry, electric hellfire club, white zombie, kyuss, queens of the stone age, outkast, tricky, sisters of mercy,

Ash borer : Cold of Ages

Even with the four and a half minutes of ambiance leading the opening song "Descended Lamentations" I find the California bands new album to be a much more focused effort than say the last Wolves in the throne room. Comparisons between the two band will be drawn, as they are American black metal bands whose songs tend to be more exploratory journeys than their peers in bands like Woe or Liturgy.

The biggest change here is the greater presence of keyboards in the mix and the descent into more roomier passages, making the feral blasty nasties more accented in transition rather than causing you to block out the ferocity as it washes in white noise. Not say those frenzied paces aren't here, they are and done rather well.

Another big change is the production value. This album was released on profound lore, so is not going to be in the too cvlt for school limited to 300 pressings on cassette club, so if that destroys the bands mystique for you then go seek hipster validation elsewhere as you really Won't be intrested on the musical advancements being made here. With better sound quality the band hasn't lost the coldness or bleakness of what they do , it has made the more musical elements decipherable so this makes the songs more accessible. However by the time you reach the last song some of the clarity presented earlier onis drown in favor for the more murky wash of the lo if cult sound,as the drums drop lower in the mix.

The vocals are still howled from the distance, the lyrics won't be included in any deluxe packaging because I doubt there are any. The tormented wails and croaks are like an abrasive glaze over the songs. They are delivered in similar fashion throughout never really varying in any type of rhythmic pattern.

The second song "phantoms" slides right out from the first as if this is once complete work which isn't surprising as their last album felt the same way.The slowed guitar is eerie and would appeal to fans of depressive suicidal black metal as well as adventurous fans of sludge and doom, who have never quite found an entry point into blackmetal

The third song the almost twenty minute "convict all flesh " really bludgeons midway through dropping into a half time power gallop and the simmering into the drone of guitar layered with spooky picked out chords that hover in reverb. The drums build like a blast beat. spawned by free form jazz, they simmer to a boil before spilling over into the chaos. If. I listen to it while laying down with less than three cups of coffee in me the droning nature of this one will literally lull me to sleep.

The closer "removed forms" is very cinematic in the more reserved passages, Ash Borer should score a 28 days later styled zombie movie, Becuase it gives the very bleak feeling like you are wandering a desolate city , lonely as you look up into the empty buildings with windows staring back like hollow eyes. This feeling is then plunged into the more typical tremolo picked blast section , at one point they use a very Motörhead beat which came across as sloppy but not sure if the recklessness is the feel he was going for, over all the drumming is greatly improved from their previous efforts.

The guitars are the stars of this one was the slower sections in the first songs are the only places I took notice of the bass being present. The guitar sound is a pretty dead on mix of having the cavernous reverb to creat the darkthrone coldness, to much better results than most American black metal. The choice of melody the chose to layer is very haunting , in some ways they are more relaxed and tend to gallop and chug at little less.

Coming up with a score for this four song album which is far from an e.p. as these are all lengthy excursions. So I decided in scoring this to look at the moments which grabbed me in each song. A lot of it is aurally numbing and falls into the hyborean method of becoming a drone of blast, in contrast the slower doomy sections come across as stronger and more distinct. I think I will give this one a seven due to the fact while I see this as a step forward for the band, some of the atmospheric builds drone on to long and the sticking to the conventions of black metal in the blasty sections bring a sense of monotony, the band has shown me too many great moments here and makes the blasts seem like they are giving me filler when drawn out for too long, other than these guys are poised to usurp the wolves from their throne room and have in many ways captured the sound of bleakness and made it their own.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dead Can Dance : Anastasis

Even though I have tickets to see them in couple of weeks I had no clue this was coming out until stumbling across the torrent for this so lets get into the first album in 16 years.

Right off the bat on the opener "Children of the Sun" Brendan Perry's voice sounds great, sure there's the whole new age lounge music vibe it conjures. The synth brass in the last minute creates a nice build and as you can expect a collage of varied instrumentation begins to color the edges of the song.

Lisa first sings on the second track "Anabasis" it's no "host of the Seraphim" but slightly moody. This one has taken the most listens to drag me into it, further listens cause me to appreciate the layers in the percussion,I would like to have been a fly on the wall for these sessions as it's often hard to make a clear differentiation as to what instruments are electronically generated and which are acoustic. After 16 years I would have like for a more dramatic return from Lisa and might not have minded if this song fell later in the album.

"Agape" brings out the opium den slink I was waiting for and is automatically classic Dead Can Dance.

"amnesia" starts off in a straight forward piano and drum pattern, very western in feel and lending credence to any goth label they have accumulated or if Leonard Cohen was covering a Sade song.

Kiko- builds from an almost trip hop beat into a sensual slither of sitar.

ironically the percussive "Opium" picks up the pace ever so slightly, Brendan's croon returns and though the lyrics aren't about drug use, they are about escape I do find myself wondering in the songs ethereal pulse about what their drug consumption has been like over the years because like all their other albums this one would be perfect to either get high or have sex to. I have already written a sex and music blog so look for a druggies guide to metal perhaps? Which brings us to why aside from the fact they are awesome am I writing a review on a very non-metal band who at first listen has even less in common with metal than Swans who are at least heavy just in another sense.

Well this along with the rest of Dead Can Dances body of work is dark enough for me to qualify it for this blog, so if the Cure or Fields of Nephillim puts out another album expect for it to get reviewed as well. Dead Can Dance has influenced a multitude of folk metal, and doom metal bands like My Dying Bride, Night Wish, Rotting Christ, and most that have any sort of gothic influence to their sound.

"Return of the She-king" sounds like a pulp fantasy novel with a drag queen Conan as it's protagonist, it has a languid majesty to like the love them from Conan and moves like a procession piece. The effects on the vocal mix gives Lisa's voice more of a Cocteau Twins feel. I was won over on this one where Perry's vocals come in, have always wanted to hear more interplay between their voices.

Perry's voice goes into more dramatic places on this one than Lisa, the crescendo he brings to the first verse of "all in good time" is impressive for a singer of his age to belt like that and his voice has a very warm resonance to it. A simple arrangement of strings behind his voice. In some ways it might be considered anti climactic, but this album is dynamically subdued , I wouldn't call it flat, in some ways it reminds me of Sade's "lovers rock" album in tone as both are subdued through out.

In scoring this album , the only competition Dead Can Dance has is themselves, so measuring this up to their previous work it is indeed comparable, the production value might even be better, in terms of mood it seems more sensual than the transcendental nature of other albums, so I could argue it doesn't have the epic lord of the rings soundtrack feel, perhaps this is due to where in their lives Perry and Gerrad are. I could certainly have stood to have hear Perry playing more guitar, his sense of Bardic Americanna I felt alway created an interesting juxtaposition of sound to their albums. There is something very enduring and bittersweet about listening to this knowing this is more than likely the last time I will hear studio work from them, so it's a very relaxed goodbye. I would have to give this one a 9.5, as I feel when put up against their other other more dynamic albums, it might not be as consistant bwent he marks they do hit side side by side with their best. It could grow on me over time and will probably not be thought of in any different light than the rest of their discography,and let's face even mediocre Dead Can Dance is still better than almost everything else.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Live review: Chelsea Wolfe

There was a decent crowd when Marriages took the stage at 9:30 but not what I expected after friends told me people were being turned away at the door because it was sold out. Marriages took the crowd by surprise, though having Russian Circles drummer Dave Turncrantz sitting in with them was an added bonus to sway things in their favor.

Every aspect of what they did was draped in chorus and delay, lending to more of a shoe gazey sound though , the bass player would go into more intricate math rock patterns at time which bubbled under the murk. Not only was singer guitarist Emma Rundle easy on the eye but her hushed croon set urgently onto top of her twinkling fret board work.

While they never hit on what would be considered metal, they exhibited a powerful grasp of surreal dynamics and musicianship which kept up with the guest guest drummer to win the crowd over.

The dark undertones of what Marriages set,  the blackness of night rolled in with Chelsea Wolfe.  Clad in a black and white ritual robe, her band rumbled into with the opening strains that nodded to black metal before the ebbed back into  "movie screen"  Wolfe used vocal looped vocal delay to sing around her self as the rest of the band employed slides and well tempered space did recreate the almost Portishead like vibe.

From their she used her  desperate alto to weave a spellbinding web of gloom to the proceedings. Her music feels heavy in the sise  ay a doom band might but with out actually delving into metal. Midway into her set she preformed three new songs all of which carried a similar brooding intensity to her older material.Her band served the songs at all times, her guitarist handled the single note melodies, while she took the chords. her drummer was minimal and loose though kept the tension as needed and the keyboardist who doubled as a bassist  seemed to mix and modulate varied effected washes of ambiance rather than play and actual notes or melodies and his bass playing was mainly accenting then kick drum.

One thing the middle portion of the show left me wondering was how the new songs which were played electric were going to translate over as acoustic numbers since the new album coming out this fall is going to be acoustic with string accompaniment. I even went into the show wondering if it was just going to be her with an acoustic guitar, like what I saw from theat glass room session. Granted it was a smart move on her part to present the songs as she did and the magnifying glass I had out from my anticipation were met in full.

The down trodden esoteric nature of what she does translates live like a bar band in a David lynch film, so I think she bewitched the crowd in but her sound which has been branded as doom folk by some is a different taste of catharsis than what your average rock show goer might expect. She is so captivating that her performance couldn't be denied.

 Russian circles took the stage with the ambiance fanfare of Ambiant noise and proceeded to launch into their more driving material, most of their stage prescience lay in the bassist Brian Cook ,who was the only member up front in the crowds face, the few turns they took into the more Ambiant paths were not left to linger on their own for long.

 Their live shows make clear the build of the riff is there bread and butter as they have a fairly simple structure of their songs, they never dip into anything  complex or necessarily progressive, in the sense of say rush or Mastodon's older material, but they transition well and when played as loud as they were preformed Tuesday night the results were rewarding.

Before the first band played I overheard  a conversation about the purchase of ear plugs and how they were being given away at the merch both, and I have to say this caused me to expect them to be much louder than they were, they came no where close as being as loud as some one like Swans or Zoroaster. The mix as it stood allowed for nuance and dynamics, it was loud enough to get the point across when they congealed into the Tool like moments where they came together in tight syncopation to stomp climatic chords home.

Given the nature of the two openers who had provided enough atmosphere for one show, thhe set was built around the heavier numbers from Geneva" and "Empros" a wise choice as the crowd was very responsive and heads bobbed in time through out their set. I can say their performance made me want to load the new one back into the iPod and give it another listen, so mission accomplished.

Katatonia : Dead End Kings

Katatonia, I'm trying to make this work but maybe it time we had the it's not you it's me talk. We've had this relationship for almost ten years now, and I think I have grown in what I need from a metal band and I'm sure if it's fair for me to ask that from you.

This must be the case because I can't imagine you would be capable of writing songs that are boring, but then again I have a widening gap in my tastes and can't say I listen to much that's middle of the road.

"The Parting" isn't the wisest choice choice for an opener it goes in with a limp start but by the chorus sounds more familiar and the lyrics make the formulaic nature forgivable. I will say after my first listen I decided to switch to head phones as the guitar was sounding thin and that was a smart move on my part because the mix is rather delicate. Still after repeat listens the guitar mix on a Toad the Wet Sprocket album sounds thicker, why didn't you have the producer write down the eq levels you used on "Forsaker"?

The second song is a duet with Silje Wergeland from the Gathering, which is a misstep right there because if you are getting a Gathering singer it needs to be Anneke. The song it's self, well I had to listen to four times to make sure I heard right and it really went no where. Then as I try to force it down my ears with repetition, the more subtle elements of the melody grow on me but I'm never grabbed by in the way "viva Emptiness" grabbed me.

"Hypnone" drifts a little closer to classic Katatonia, or maybe I just want it to, the bass could stand to be up in the mix throughout but the bottom is most noticeably lacking in the gaps here. This album could have benefited from the same mix "Night is the new day " got.

"the Racing heart" shows more movement but in some ways comes across like an uber mellow version of " My Twin" which while it was a good song wasn't their heaviest. I do like how the music begins to leave the vocals almost acapella but too little to late.

"Buildings" is the first songs that attempts to come out of the gate with the rock, it goes into the now typical Katatonia verse pattern, some double bass flurries with a chance of rain.

By the time we get to " Leech" I understand the problem with the largely laid back turn of events this album presents. " Night is the new day" was mellow but was dark and melancholic enough to make up for it, this album is like the CW trying to convey the same sense of depression of David Cronenberg film .

Even though " Ambitions" reminds me of something from a Sting solo album at first I like from the first listen.

"Undo you" continues down the more Porcupine Tree road, while friend of mine lamented their is heavy A Perfect Circle winkage going on, I don't hear it as much but I do think they took the cue from Opeth that it's o.k not to play metal for an entire album and guess what that one didn't stay in my ipod either.

There is without a doubt to many string synth pad and dainty tinkling piano parts moping around the corner like a sniffling child. "Lethean" has potential to grow on me but becomes an example where the keys add an atmosphere that has lost it's effectiveness because it's been lurking around the edges of everything like shunned girlfriend and hasn't given the songs any room to breathe.

"First Prayer" I liked at first listen, the guitar does what it should have been throughout this album, going into different places but still having some balls to it and supporting Jonas. Speaking of Jonas, his vocals wander around in a listless manner which they do though don't carry the same hooks or conviction, always doubled and soaked in harmony layers, they don't feel as solemn which effects the mood and tone of the album as a whole.

the Tooly "Dead letters" which was released as the first internet single, is well written and gives me know issue allowing me to give the album a slightly higher score than when I started off into this album.

So i can conclude by saying to Katatonia, we might be able to work things out with some therapy, I'm giving this album a six, which is me being generous and rounding it up you have made tens in the past, sure it could grow on me maybe up into a seven at best. perhaps the line up changes have taken a toll on Jonas carrying the creative weight, this album dishes out lots of more of the same but songs like "Buildings" and " First Prayer" earn it a place in the ipod for now .

Monday, August 13, 2012

Lunar Aurora: Hoagascht

The first German black metal band that has set right with me. This duo has been kicking it since 1994, so they have taken the time to perfect their craft. Aran who recorded all the instrumentation on this is also Tristan of Trist, so the Ambiant and depressive nature of that project is intact here.

The songs at times take on a straight ahead drone similar to Burzum, the only artist who a fit comparison could be drawn. The production isn't as lo if as say early cvlt black metal but it has a raw density to it. The big surprise for me was when I read that all the drums on this are actually programmed, because they have the big sound of live drums, so drum programs have come along way.

Where this album excels this blend of atmosphere, granted that sort of thing is right up Trists alley so it shouldn't come as a surprise, but few bands pull it off as well. While the whole black gaze thing came to ahead most of the bands sacrificed heaviness for more of a post Rick sound. Not the case here, the metal is in the forefront with the atmosphere as a very audible texture hovering like a ghost coming into focus.the juxtaposition of the keyboard sound and the raw guitar , is not unlike the balance NAchtmystium achieved on "silencing machine."

The vocals stay in the same register through out never utilizing higher screams more typical of depressive black metal, not as rabid a snarl as Varg same approach. The lyrics are all sung in his native tongue, while my German is passable , It still comes across as harsh gurgle layered in between the guitars. The songs focus on i'm looking at the moon at night and have a sinking feeling of doom. So this guy is obviously an insomniac who recorded this whole able in the middle of the night.

There are melodies in the distant the guitars stay on the attack and not what I think of as tuneful.The song " wedaleicthn" the guitar takes an almost rock n roll approach, the song moves like one of the Ramones 50s styled jams until every thing collapses into a really dark place before building back up into, the only spot on the album where I was like ok those drums aren't real. Far from prog but a needed twist when this album was starting to have too similar of a drone.

"geisterwold" creeps in with a dsbm vibe but speeds into the mid tempo shamble this album seems to favor. Another album I would say that qualifies as black metal but there's not a blast beat to be found. The double bass picks up in places, but there is a determined trudge, not Ina doom sense, there power to it though pacing is the one draw back as it allows the songs to take on too similar of a feel.

The closer "reng " takes an almost Jesu like tone at first before ,they pick back up into their standard mid tempo double bass. The rain comes in an brings back out his creepy Varg side, but much more melancholy than even post prison Burzum. While their are some beautiful moments the song often remains the same, so this one gets a six. Worth checking out if you like Burzum, but only feel like dabbling in the whole depressive suicidal thing, they're not at that point yet just distressed about being so lost in the woods.

The Faceless :Autotheism

The first thing standing out is it's blatantly the bands most accessible work to date, from the Alice in Chains ...and that's me being kind to not draw Metallica comparisons on the vocals. The very organic feel of the production doesn't play into what I consider the bands strength. The guitar sounds very thin on the faster propeller picked riffs. I be more initially impressed if I hade never heard them before, the Devon Townsend worship gets carried a well as well. The clean vocals really don't get this album off to a good start for me, there's a protest the hero vibe going on as well. The guitar solos which normally don't woo me away from a bad taste a song puts in my mouth sweep pick in to save the day, so if you are into shredding you have to own this one.

This Autotheist trilogy is pretty smooth sailing if the guitar tone when not soloing doesn't irk you and the sappy over wrought prog vocals aren't too much. Before I knew it I was already on the third movement . If ihsahn did this , it would sit better for me because it would be transistionally consistent with the direction he's been heading, these guys took a leap that will have the brootal brood screaming sell out. Right off the bag I liked the anti religious nature of the lyrics which are more biting than the other neon hoodie wearing kids doing this kind of thing.

It is my first listen to the album, maybe the sound varies dramatically when listened to on head phones. As far as the non trilogy songs go, "accelerated evolution" doesn't wow, me and is kinda boring , I guess it could fall somewhere near the ounces of what is considered djent, but to be honest feels empty and the heavy element isn't that convincing.

The metal core, good cop bad cop vocals which were all the rage in the days of maybe loose their effectiveness. I normally prefer melodic singing but think for these songs harsh is better and the cleans are so prevailent they need to be balanced. The solos have started to lose their flare midway into the album.

Will kids fall for this is what I find myself asking. Will the metal press pander to kids and try to act like this is a masterpiece ? The punches of the strummed guitar are pretty cool but it's one of the few well that was different moments. If you are well versed in metal then you will be able to pick out the blatant winks at their idols on this. Which is shocking to me because I was under the impression these guys were on the level with wanting to create new music which combined with their chops put them ahead of all the other tech metal with hardcore hair cut MySpace scene kids.

If I am going to be honest all this disappointment of an album has is a collection of a few moments bookended by a bunch of over but not well produced nonsense so it's easy for me to give it the three it deserves, I'm sure the ignorant fools...called teenagers who don't have an education in metal and like stuff like periphery will be into this. if you are a guitarist who whats to hear a few great solos add a point and a half as you will block out everything else around them. I can't wait to start working on another review as I feel like I need to shower with real metal to was this crap off.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lord Mantis : Pervertor

O.k in keeping with the theme of Nachtmystium affiliated based bands , it makes sense of go ahead and review Lord Mantis who holds bassist Charlie Fell and guitarist Andrew Markuszewski in it's ranks. this mean machine was touched on in one of my future of black metal diatribes, and while it's up for debate how cvlt as fuck Chicago's Lord Mantis reminds me of a more feral Today is the Day, they do rock your face in the most fierce manner possible.

Title like blackened sludge are tagged to the band but the churn of a song like "Septic Christ" seems to fast to be sludge. The drums on this songs have more attention to detail and relentless double bass, helps to defy the sludge label.

The guitar tone is more fuzzed and thick than what typically is thought of as black metal. But " Vile Divinity" is as majestic in it's gallop as any Immortal, OK maybe any is a tall order but it's worthy of rolling 20 sided dice over a bloody bible to. I hear a little Coroner in this one as well, so some German thrash thrown in, Sodom influence tends to be found in rawer thrashier black metal and this song sound more like Nachtmystium than most of the album. I imagine the session for this one came before " the silencing machine" but now listening to this post "Silencing Machine" I can hear how it influenced that album.

the vocals lower on "Levia" into a raspy narrative. the uncanny ambiance of the chords on this songs gives more credence to the black metal label. This songs seethes in it's restraint as the toms build.

"Ritual killer" captures the kinda of gargantuan lumber all of the djent Meshuggah clones would like to ape , but with out all of the mall metal connotations. They aren't content with just beating you with one type of riff nor to the have to blind you with solos to obscure the fact. What I suppose passes for solos are single note melodies that color the back ground rather than hog the spot light. The tempo shift in "ritual killer" alludes to " through sliver and blood" Neurosis, but for the most part this one is singular in purpose.That purpose is blunt force trauma.

Wolvhammer comes to mind at the start of "at the mouth", the like the syncopated vocal out burst when the hit the groove in this one . I also recognize more eyehategod influence and maybe even brutal truth, though if the truth be brutall told I had to have Ben in high school the last time I heard that band. About this point in th album is here the argument for melody and atmosphere in heavy music can be made, as this all starts running together and blast beat at the end adds to the blur.

The Acid bath unfolds on "the whip and the body" , the churn of this one is a slight variation, it could use some Dax Riggs crooning as th bark of the scalded dog loses some of the burn it started with. Like the blog I posted on sex and metal ,I think if you are going to look for it is entitled "now that's fucking metal" and sticking to the theory we are jack hammer dry humming like a dog for dominance rather Than pleasure and the solo at the end of this one isn't erotic.

I will give this one a six because the sheer venom it bites with at first is a lot of fun, but the incessant nature of its bite numbs out and like marathon masturbation it feels good but the grows less inspired the longing it beats you raw.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Horseback: Halfblood

Chapell Hill based Horseback is not a one trick pony. Primarilly the one man show of Jenks Miller, there is an expansive arsenal of sounds being used to construct this unique piece of art. Four of the seven songs are by and large instrumental droning landscapes dwelling in the same neightborhood as This Will Destroy, though incorporating a harsher grim texture of a crime scene created by NON with the finger prints of Black metal's tendrils of influence all over this body of ambient drone.

When actual songs are formed, the clean blues jangle of the guitar creates an organic element set against a collision of Current 93 melting into the wall of an acid trip with memeber of Earth. The duplicitous nature of harsh noise and Americana that makes this the most captivating listen. A song like "Inheirtance" that is more drone that not is unlikely to graduate onto my i-Pod but a song like "Arjuna" really speaks to me. The three other songs with their primary use of harsh vocals works to blend counter balance, some of the most creatively brillant guitar sounds I 've heard in some time. It refrains from taking the easy way of the lowest common denominator reliance on distortion metal can often hide behind. In fact the vocals are often the only actual "metal" elment on this album.

For practical on the go listening there are a few conscise songs would fit into the shuffle mode of most opened minded rockers who lean towards the experimental.
This is the projects 3rd release and the trio of songs on "Half-blood show a move away from some of the more noisy Sonic Youth moments. The 2011 release "Gorgon Tongue" is a collection of sonic noisescapes, but 2010's "The Invisible Mountain" is more song focused and darker not unlike Leviathan's more recent work. The growth evident on "Half Blood" is it exudes a sense of innovation in sound and identity, the heavier "Invisible Moutain" doesn't have. While the 2010 release is an entertaining listen, new ground is not broken in the same way

If I was only going to focus on what I consider to be songs and not soundscapes , then this album would be a 3 song e.p is a 10. To listen to as one complete work you findyourself lost in the drone, which is the goal of that sort of thing, so you might consider that to be a success.But to score this album as whole I would have to give it a six, as the strides it hits are dead on but they could stand to take a page from the play book of Swans and have a more balanced pay off for the listener when it comes to the more obtuse sections.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Swans - the Seer

O.k I have some new readers, who may or may not be aware that Swans are my favorite band. With that being the case, I'm not one to but my heroes on a pedestal for them to shit on, in fact it means with my higher expectations I listen with even more scrutiny. I have been listening to Swans for almost 20 years so those expectations are high.

What Micheal Gira and friends have created in their latest release the seer is a sprawling two hour double album that feels like it continues where "White Light at the Mouth of Infinity" left off, the beautiful dissonance is in perfect balance where on the "My father will guide me up a rope to the sky" album, it felt sweatier and muskier like lumberjacks on acid. Sonic and intense but not as melodically nuances as the seer. Both albums do the Swans legacy proud.

A double album with a truck load of guest artists making this sonic slab. Among the part guest are Karen O, as well as members of Low, the Akron Family and Big Blood. The usual suspects on board Norman Westerberg and Thor Harris , along with the return of Jarboe who lends her voice to a couple of songs, so any hopes on a full scale reunion with her I'm keeping on simmer.

the first strains of hypnotically chiming guitar of "Lunacy" sends you down the rabbit hole of this opus. The sense of familiarity coupled with new sounds, most notably on lunacy a dark melodic tinge like pre radio pink Floyd. It might just be my point of reference but the progressive rock shading doesn't stop their as the syncopation in mother of the world reminds me of king crimson. Swans have always defied labels this album is no exception. As a whole it feel heavier than most of their post children of god catalogue, and would serve as a good gateway drug for any metal head. The bass attacks on mother of the world in a very metallic manner. This album does a excellent job of balancing its drive with the more introspective moments of strummed guitar, often occurring in the span of one song.

The guest performances for the most are understated,The vocals of Low's Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker are layered around Gira in an eerie choir like swell. Karen O steps out of character for more of an Americana approach on " song for a warrior " . Her vocals are phrased closer to some one like Aimee Mann than a real country artist. This song lives up to Gira's claim he wrote them all on an acoustic first.

Jarboe first appears here on the seers return, which is slinky an oddly upbeat as the rubbery bass line propels it. Her vocals are low in the mix shadow Gira's Tom Waitish swagger and when they creep out to the forefront are more of a rhythmic accent. On the nineteen minute A piece of the sky, she only adds some oohs faintly in the back ground and mixed in with the Akron Family,so she is dramatically underused, which is a shame as she cold have added a more interesting ambiance to the part Karen O sang.

Among the other instruments added to the shining collage of ambient noise the songs here have a tendency to coagulate from are mandolin, clarinet,bag pipes, horns, cello, violin,Accordion and bassoon. They never give the "yellow submarine" parade feel to the proceeding but work at sonic textures, what doing acid at band camp might have sounded like.

The noisier passages of ambiance return, almost picking up where songs for the blind left off. At the beginning of the title track they sound like an orchestra tuning their instruments before it ebbs into the pulse of percussion. All this post rock black metal bands who want to play around with Godspeed you black emperor elements, need to use this albums as their text book, as Godspeed ... Owes their careers to Swans. when the title track builds into a cacophonous flurry it which it constricts into a pound harder than any metal album in recent memory.

The tribal percussion leading into the song "avatar" is classic Swans hypnosis, has a very primal drive smoothed over by Gira's cynical croon. In a similar vein to "better than you" but a more transcendent in delivery and the last minute has almost aback metal feel but with out blast beats. The closer "apostate" feels almost post apocalyptic with the feed back creating a siren like effect, minimal and dark the bubbling tremolo of bass lurking beneath floats like a leviathan under the Ambiant noise until they lurch into the song at the four minute mark. Chris pravdica of Gunga Din abilities as a bassist add a lot to this album he works well with the band blending groove with abrasion.

Micheal Gira's vocals sound great , the are more relaxed and don't have the rough hewn grit of " our father.." , maybe it took that record for him to get his voice back to where it wanted to be. The resonance in the lower registers of his baritone is breath taking and has me hoping their set in October will be more conducive for him display this live. The vocals use a lot of droning chants to accent

Gira claims these songs are unfinished, which I guess it depends on if your are going for a more philosophical approach of is any preformed art finished of it's the live performance the further explorations of it. As Gira says...
" now they await further cannibalism and force-feeding as we prepare to perform some of them live, at which point they'll mutate further, endlessly, or perhaps be discarded for a while."

I do recall hearing a variation of the Song the seer when they came through last time, not sure if they really played this 30 minute version, but to the studio versions credit it will remain the only thirty minute song on my iPod , I'm a slave to shuffle these days but it's good to have the album in its entirety as it will work best to fall day when I'm working at home. The only song I don't foresee making the cut is " 93 avenue b blues" which is free jazz like noise John Zorn would be proud of , do appreciate the harshness of it's climax I'm sure Litugury's Hunter Hendrix will find it very inspiring and it's only five minutes of chaotic atmosphere so not too taxing.

My only complaint is it could use more Jarboe , but I liked the last album and she is not even on it,so I will take what I can get . Overall this album exceeded my expectations and is everything I could want Swans album to be, the Karen O song has even grown on me so this album gets a ten, as I keep listening to it and it diminishes my desire to listen to other music which seems trite in comparison.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Chrome waves-S/T

With this weeks news that Sonic Youth front man Thurston Moore going black metal super group Twilight , it makes Chrome Waves self titled e.p seem that much more essential. I like Sonic Youth they provided a sound track to many high school drug binges and subsequent bouts of melancholy, but I feel the same way about Johnny Marr playing in Modest Mouse. Like Twilight Chrome Waves features a Nachtmystium    connection in Jeff Wilson  the guitarist who has also played in Wolvhammer. The band also includes    Stavros from the atlas moth and Drummer Bob Fouts from Gates of Slumber behind the kit .

if we are just looking for a reason to call this black metal ,  you might be able to really go out on a limb and justify this claim with the vocals as maybe  black metal is found in the howling, though it crosses over into that deaf heaven post hardcore grey area so this is not your too troo for school flavor of cvltness , though what American metal really is ? Twilight has more of the scathing chaotic tension to feel more like black metal than these guys, who never build up them momentum, I can have repeat listens of this e.p. with ease due to the lull of its hypnotic octave chords. Sure it's a definable sum of its influences but it's execution manages to capture enough feeling to obscure this fact.

There are some really pretty builds of transcendence that is like a heavy version of the Gloria Record to my ears, these guys all have Mogwai on their iPods as well. They create a drone of sorts in they manner some of the sonic hammer of guitars fall. Some of the octave swells in the guitar progressions are a little post hard core in the vein of like "you fail me" era Converge.Come to think of it the second little instrumental reminds me of Converge as well, perhaps if the were trying to cover " please please please let me get what I want" .

The vocals work as an abrasive layer similar to converges approach, it's a little one dimensional, but the majestic flow, The half time drop back varies this droning nature.the vocal overdubs are well layered and this album has  a very clean production.  The one stand out blast  beat comes  at the end of the song and is a breif tip of the viking  helmet. so if you want to get into black metal but are trying to build yourself up into being able to endure excessive blasting then this is a good sparse entry point, as must of the drumming ,keep things at slower pace but not at a doom crawled march, ating of the riff age makes up for this . The guitar solos soar out from this sonic build to a pretty epic effect.

 That cursed armored truck stomps out almost into a gallops the vocals lower a bit allowing the The subtle keyboard layers really add to it ,every thing on this ep is done ingood taste perhaps almost to a fault as metal is supposed tone over the top, but the songs feel really good to me so even the kind of middle of the road stance this album takes is excused, this is uncharacteristcfor me as nothing sounds dark or ominous, the screams sure are wretched but not hateful, in now way would you ever suspect these guys of burning a church down which is why I was be more likely to lump them in with post metalscreams to be a little more dynamic they stay in the same sonic range through out though.cMy only complaint is at twenty eight minutes the two three minute instrumentals could have been time better spent on another song, even. Cover would have worked .

I have probably given more thought in trying to score this album than I should, if faced with having to conserve space on my iPod the two instrumentals would have to go, so I pondered if if should even count them as songs or are they just an intro and a transitioning interlude? While the wheel isn't being reinvented the actual songs are preformed pretty flawlessly and this album sounds great. It's withstood multiple listens with little effort.I think given the middle of the road nature of albums rather passive aggressive personality an 8 is fair enough.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Interview -Mike Williams of Eyehategod

When I was in High School every Friday  my friends and I would go to the record store and buy albums to play  while we got high. Who ever had the the heaviest album would win. It was during one of these escapades that I discovered Eyehategod, their " Take as Needed for Pain" album helped me  to win that weekend so I was excited to get the chance to relay that story to front man Mike Williams as well as get to hear the perspective of a man who has been in one of modern metal's most influential bands.

We will get  around to the nostalgia , but lets start things off what you  guys are doing currently.  You have the first album in 12 years coming out. It's called "Whiskey Drink"?

 Mike Williams: No. That's not the name, it turned into this big Internet rumor, but it's not true at all we don't even have a name for it. yes we have been playing a new song live " new Orleans is the new Vietnam".But that is totally false and it kinda makes me mad because it's a stupid name.

yeah doesn't really flow with the others. Speaking of creatively do you see this as pick up where you left off?

MW: Right now  we are sorting through new songs and   talking to all the metal labels. We are  trying to see what is going to work out best. As far as the directions it kinda like old "take as needed". We are going to stick to the formula that works. I mean some have more blues to them and some songs are faster,but we are not looking to get experimental and change our sound.

You guys are heading out to Europe for some shows next?

MW: Next Tuesday we head to europe. Then at the end of August dates have some dates on the west coast. We are head lining  with local support for those shows. We played the Open Air Festival and it was amazing. One of the best shows we played. There was all types of music there, some heavy bands like Kylesa, Mastodon and Ghost. It was a  huge crowd and  we were psyched. It was massive the stages were  like miles apart. When we walked over to check Ghost out, we  must have walked for like fifteen minutes.

So did you come from New Orleans like the rest of the band ?

I have lived there now for the good part of thirty years. I'm originally from from north Carolina, and then lived in New York  for three years and took Grey Hound buses to do gigs.

So as far as influences go did you come from a metal background?

Before Eyehategod  as a teenager I was in a thrash band called Crawl Space, but I grew up a punk kid. I started off into Black Flag and Circle Jerks and the got in Slayer, Destruction and Sodom.

Now New Orleans is thought of as the Sludge capital of the world , but when you guys came on the scene that wasn't the case. What was the scene in New Orleans like in the early days?

 New Orleans has always been huge  drinking town so their was no lack of  run down dives to play, but it was still very D.I.Y and we would rent out places like the old veterans hall and book like eight  bands. At that time kids were all into Slayer and Metallica. We never did the galloping thing like Exodus. Jimmy only had four strings. We weren't doing the whole shredding thing, so a lot of people did not know what to think.Then Then it changed when "Bleach" that first Nirvana came out.   Melvins too, we worshiped them but couldn't play their kinda of stuff because we were way sloppier. Those were wild times though, we pushed things to piss people off. crazy shit like wearing a rabbit suit onstage and people would be like what the fuck.

Back when you guys came out there were more bands like D.R.I who crossed over  between punk and metal audiences , which did you guys feel you went over better with ?

Punk well...metal crowds can be very picky for sure. We toured with Pantera and White Zombie in 96. Pantera is on of the best live bands for sure. So the plus was  I  got to see them 60 times but we also  got shit thrown at us some shows, then there were  others where people would be calling  out for songs.

You guys also played a few shows with G.G. Allen, what was that like ?

Those shows were great . We played with him in New Orleans. He got his ass beat. I mean he was a really nice guy when he wasn't on stage.

What about the two other bands I normally think of when it comes to the roots of southern sludge Buzz Oven and Acid Bath. Did you guys play with them much in the earlier days ?

Buzzoven when they came through . Acid Bath is from the swampland  and we had already been around for like five years by the time they formed.

What's the scene like in post-Katrina New Orleans now ?

 The scene is flourishing. I mean the local government and the justice system is till fucked up , but there's all kinds of shows.We used to get skipped and bands would play Houston Texas  instead. There;s alot of new bands bands now and it's pretty awesome.

How has your audience changed over the years or has it ?

Oh it has. There's  people coming out with their kids and  there kids have found out about us from their parents. Of course there's the internet so some of our younger fans came across us on there, it opened up a whole new fan-base.

Yeah it's not like the old days where you would do tape trading out of the back of Metal Maniacs.

It's a different game, that's why in shopping for a record label we are taking our time to get it right. Things have changed. It took years to get me on twitter but I'm on there. now there's all these different passwords to remember, but you gotta do what you gotta do to keep up if  you are in a band shits evolved.

I know you also write , How do you see e-readers like the Kindle changing the publishing industry ? Do you think books are  going to go the same route as music?

mean I dont have any friends that have the reading a book on it seems strange. if kids want to read on it  then that's fine for them, I just like the feel of a book in my hands.

Speaking of  Metal Maniacs you used to work for them at one point?

For the three years I was in New York, But the company that owned it also owned Ebony magazine and a bunch of tabloid like stuff so it's not that they were into metal . But i managed to creep some cool stuff in there like Darkthrone back when their first album came out .

I remember back in the day they wouldn't print stories on Deicide, because they had a problem with Glen Benton.

These two vegan chicks took over and Glen Benton threw like raw meat into the crowd .

You mentioned Darkthrone .I kinda feel like the only new music that's coming out these days with the same scathing misanthropic quality of you guys is black metal. Are you into it at all ?

Black metal ... If some one puts  it on at a party I'll listen to it.  I like Darkthrone, "Panzer Faust" is my favorite dark throne album, Immortal. Hell-hammer,  Sodom, Marduk. I'm not sure if by today's standards they count but Impaled Nazarene. Not really into the whole atmospheric thing...Sorry  I'm a little  distracted War Beast is down stairs recording for house core records.

So after lifestyle changes how is it being back in the saddle?

We never really split up. we had down time when I was in prison, but we have kept at it  we have been to Europe three or four times in the past ten years. I don't do hard stuff  but I still drink.

After the events concerning Randy Blythe, How do you see it effecting bands when they tour as well as the experience for the fans?

I have know Randy since he was a punk kid, when we were on tour we used to stay at his house and he would cook breakfast for you in the morning. So it's a fucked up situations, I'm sure as time goes by more information on it will unfold, but we tend to play smaller shows and things get crazy, So you never know, we are playing Prague and with the bigger festival shows there's like a three foot gap between the stage and the crowd so that's never an issue. I mean security is co as long as they don't fuck with people.