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‘Looking at a lot of history and myth, women have been treated as a “temptress” or “seductress” – forcing “pure” men to commit evil. Even in this day and age, a lot of people treat women as monsters.’ -PR
Running out the door to see Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble play up the street so I am not writing the longest intro for this, but Pope Richard is a positive force in the underground metal scene and likes a lot of my snarkiest Twitter posts about politics that a lot of people think go too far, haha. Blackened Death is an incredible label more people should support and he is a major force behind it. Fucking A+ stuff that breaks stereotypes about metal as a haven for hate groups while still pushing very classic elements and the cutting edge? Look no further!
I also was a dungeon master as a kid and at several points in my life have actually OWNED every Dragonlance book save two or three harder to find joints like Murder In Tarsis (have it now) and Love & War (have it now as well, haha). Of course I was thrilled to see Pope Richard has a musical project called Takhisis! This was a metal band name that needed to exist. The record fucking slaaaaayyyys as well, doomy self-made perfection that rocks hard but is just rough enough around the edges to keep it feeling more hungry and coming for you.
Read our chat BELOW in the Abyss.Add to My Radar
“I believe that the main running thread during graffiti’s infancy in the mid-1960s, and its subsequent expansion during the following decades, was the underlying element of this movement being a youth-driven one.” – Freddy Alva
New York City. New York Hardcore.
Everyone knows that both the place and musical style have had a legendary impact in shaping wider culture and tastes around the globe. New York is forever the hub of America, the place where the Statue of Liberty (our strongest symbol of hope and justice despite what assholes like Trump’s failed Muppet fascist buddy Stephen Miller would have you believe) looks benignly outward welcoming and holding her torch high.
Everyone knows Judge, Sick Of It All, Madball, Burn, Killing Time, Skarhead and countless other influential and aggressive acts who have rallied crowds, raised adrenaline levels and blown minds for years. When it comes to the huge impact of graffiti on the world, the parallels are most often shown between hip hop music and graf artists. Some cool documentaries exist as well. When it comes to the rise of NYHC and the impact and synergy between fans and players with the graffiti world, the story is still more clouded in the wider mass consciousness.
A fantastic new book aims to change that. Urban Styles: Graffiti In New York Hardcore (DiWulf Publishing) is a crucial and comprehensive guide featuring photos, interviews from key players and lots of informative info related in an at times informal but very real and insiders style manner. It is our immense pleasure today to share with our readers an interview with author Freddy Alva, a long time scene member and expert who has shaped this labor of love into a very special moment for fans of New York, the music, street art and the people.
Freddy was very active in the DIY culture of hardcore from the outset; he was a fixture at such venerated venues as CBGB during the heyday of their Sunday matinees. Along with friend and fellow NYHC stalwart Chaka Malik, Freddy covered the music scene through his fanzine New Breed and eventually released a well-known and highly revered compilation cassette that featured some of the most influential bands of the time, The New Breed Comp. A recent documentary sharing the same name has been released to critical acclaim.
.The wrongs I committed to support my addiction…I paid for in mental scars that I can never wipe from my mind. All I can do is make sure, every day, that I never, ever make the decision to bring that awful garbage back into my life to ensure that I never have to see or experience anything like that ever again. And through being of service to people who are in the shoes I used to be in today, maybe I can use these awful experiences as a deterrent for others to stop before they go through the hell I experienced.
…I did not “kill” my girlfriend. I did not “use” with my girlfriend. And I certainly did EVERYTHING I could to save her when I found her….but it was just too late. – Blake Judd
We talk about mental health stuff briefly after a celebrity dies and the rest of the time try to ‘trigger’ one another with memes. No wonder some people choose to drop out of society any which way they can. Not that every conversation in life needs to be “are you ok?”, but generally it seems rites of separation are more commonplace than a gathering of those with allegiance to forging deeper opportunities in metal to make the extremity mean bonds, healing and conversation . At live shows I usually see unity for the most part amongst metal crowds. Though cynicism might mainly be in the world of online trolls, it is good to address stuff head on rather than in the self churning bowels of the comments sections of metal sites and Facebook at times.
I just saw Katie Von Schleicher live in a small venue and was taken out of my daily stress and into a reflective moment, moved by the soulful music. Life is such a fast house of mirrors sometimes and we shine in some and stumble through others, cutting ourselves and fragmenting in the eyes of those around us. Sometimes the process is completely painful and other times it leads us to seeing ourselves differently or more completely as shards are swept up.
Blake Judd is back with a very unexpected EP called Resilient. They have signed a new 2 album global deal with a new home that includes the Resilient EP as well. Full announcement in late August / early September, but the Resilient EP achieves Blake’s goal of creating an album experience in 3 songs. I have heard it and longtime fans will be thrilled with the variety. Early darker experimental black metal is paired with some of the deepest places you have heard different incarnations of the band go to yet, but as a logical extension of where things left off on the previous few releases.
All photos courtesy of Nachtmystium.Add to My Radar
Casting Ships are a Kingston, NY based nautical folk punk band who grew up on hardcore and cut their teeth on a deep love for the scene. The band is now a duo made up of Rob Samps on vocals and guitar and Nikki Mayone on cello. They are about to drop one of the gems of the Summer with new release From The State Of New York on Burning Capital Collective. The five song EP was recorded Nada Studios by the great John Naclerio (My Chemical Romance, I Am The Pilot) and will likely turn the head of anyone unfamiliar with the group who hears it as well as please older fans.
I caught up with Samps and had a lengthy chat about the record, the country and a LOT more. Casting Ships are about to open for famed ex-Faith No More and Bad Brains vocalist Chuck Mosley and will have cds available at the show. They have a lot of other stuff on their plate as well.
We don’t really pander to people with short attention spans like a lot of sites these days. If a conversation is interesting but long, chances are we will go way above other sites word counts here. If that offends you, don’t be the daft twit who writes tl;dr on our Fbook page. If it wasn’t for you, go back to twiddling your thumbs liking 800 random Instagram photos and speaking in emojis as you post your 800th Snapchat dog ears/nose selfie.
For those of you who can handle a nuanced hour long conversation, by all means come aboard BELOW.
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Wilderness Dream released their most recent effort, Paralysis Rise on July 14 (you can grab a digital copy of it over at Bandcamp for $7). Leading up to the release of the album, I had the opportunity to sit down with Wilderness Dream guitarist and vocalist Ben Murray, who is also the label head of Creator-Destructor Records.
Ben is a cool guy who has been involved in the scene in various bands and through his work with Creator-Destructor Records for over ten years, and with Paralysis Rise and Wilderness Dream, he shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, him and his fellow Wilderness Dream thrashers are dropping the melody for speed and brutality on their latest studio effort.
Check out what Ben had to say about the album, Creator-Destructor and what’s next for Wilderness Dream here.Add to My Radar
Apex is choosing to accept your fate and make the best of it! – Brittney
Don’t be mistaken, the title of this article is not implying that Apex from Canada’s much raved about Unleash The Archers is a failure by any means, rather that it proves they have so much to give that they can climb the metal stairway to heaven immeasurably from here. Apex is already an album of the year contender to a few of my friends I have spoken with.
Formed in 2007, the power metal and thrash hybrid band eschew boring classifications and instead just boldly mold themselves into their own metal unit, a true heavy metal band like Judas Priest, Sister Sin, King Diamond, Accept, Huntress, Valient Thorr, Ross The Boss Band, Tower, The Agonist or any real deal blue blooded defenders of the faith out there.
Let’s catch up with vocalist Brittney, who I personally always say has some of the best pipes in the game these days, and get the scoop on the new album Apex.
Read onward BELOW!
The first time I heard Drug Honkey was almost a decade ago now! It stuck out from a pile of boring emo-goth promo cds like a cancerous growth – Death Dub. ‘WTF is this?’, I thought. I took the cdr home from my then editor’s apartment and soon was lost in a swirl of cacophony and acidic rage amidst a Scorn-like clatter of urban blight and very cool, weird atmosphere. The vocals sounded like they were sung by a demon punching up through concrete but the music was both smothering and spacious. Fuck yeah!
I remember thinking how cool it was that there were still some underground bands who took the lessons of Godflesh to heart that you can do something outside the template of what is standard metal and add some punk freedom into the recipe to create a unique experience. This was a nightmarish but addictive sound and perfect with a spliff for those already halfway into an existential crisis who figure, ‘Fuck it, let’s go full bore.’
Cue 2017 and the band are still around and getting better reviews, and deservedly so, than ever for new album Cloak Of Skies on the label Transcending Obscurity. Cloak of Skies boasts seven tracks, including a remix by the legendary Justin K. Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu) and a guest saxophone feature from Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles). Cover art was hand-painted by renowned artist Paulo Girardi (Inquisition, Power Trip).
Let’s catch up with Paul Gillis and learn more about this current era of a long running project who do things their own way! Read it BELOW.Add to My Radar
I was introduced to Dying Fetus through “Homicidal Retribution,” a track off the band’s 2007 release War of Attrition. By the time the line “You are fucking worthless, I don’t give a fuck about you!!” was growled out, I knew I was a fan. Now, ten years later the band returns again with their 8th studio album, which promises to smash faces and beat in skulls.
Ahead of the album’s impending release on June 23 via Relapse Records, I had the chance to talk with Dying Fetus drummer Trey Williams about Wrong One To Fuck With.
Check out the full interview here.Add to My Radar
“I enjoy writing songs so much that even my shitty songs are meaningful and important to me.” – Trevor Church
I was going to go jogging today but actually ate so many chickpeas trying to re submerge into healthier dieting that I feel like I may puke. That could also be because I had a bunch of Prosecco with the chickpeas but anyway, to make a long story short I am instead lying in bed guilt listening to the first Carnivore record (remastered and expanded soon for a Metalville re-issue, incidentally).
Anyhow, a few weeks ago I was eternally cucked when I had to miss Beastmaker, Geezer and friggin’ Black Sabbath at Gramercy at the last minute. All I can do is wallow beneath the dripping head of a vaguely familiar looking demagogue that Kathy Griffin was waving around yesterday and pray that if I lap up some of the droplets of falling gore that my metal points will rise again like a health meter in some early 90’s side scrolling fighting game. But wait, the Gods of metal have intervened and today brings a chance to redeem myself by sharing with you the good news of Beastmaker’s crushing new opus Inside The Skull !
Songs like “Evil One” and “Now Howls The Beast” not only deliver everything a true metal fan could want in a song, but will also be sure to appease fans of the band’s cool earlier songs.
Read more BELOW.Add to My Radar
A lot of bands can be like a family, functional or dysfunctional. The fans become extended family tree members through involvement and the branches grow. In the case of Michigan exports Greta Van Fleet, three members of the band are brothers! Talk about learning to share!
We recently interviewed hard rockers Paralandra who have a father / daughter team in the band and they manage to get along. I can’t imagine it is always easy for brothers, but the band certainly have a unified sense of energy to their classic rock influenced ear burners. Hey, it works for my cousins in Texas band Hawk Vs. Dove. People have been raving about GVF’s Black Smoke Rising, with comparisons to Led Zep and The Black Crowes coming to mind. That said, the guys are also set on making their own mark while drawing from the well of soul, rock and blues stomp of lore and yore.
Read more BELOW.Add to My Radar
Swedish doom band Below return with new Metal Blade release Upon A Pale Horse, an album that will land on you like ton of bricks yet carry you to heights of feeling usually reserved for metal classics at the same time. A more traditional heavy metal influence courses through the veins of this doom outfit than, say, death-doom or the currently all the rage alternative melodic metal/doom of Pallbearer (for example), but it is certainly as powerful in a different way.
In many ways it is terrific to hear a band who carry on and bolster the durability of classic time-honored metal forms, while finding endemic roads of their own amidst well tread riff lands. Below are one of the best bands Metal Blade has in their stable for fans of true metal, certainly no flavor of the week signing like some labels toss out these days to appeal to trends. This is just a cool and real group for die hard metal followers.
Zeb from Below took time out to fill me in on the new album, uh, BELOW.Add to My Radar
In the microcosm of friends that I live in there are many women coming together to support and exalt one another in the arts. This is a marked shift from what you see in pop culture which is women competing with one another, exploiting their selves and each other for success, and approval from our patriarchal culture. – Sera Timms
Ides Of Gemini are one of the more deserving bands in the underground, always searching for both revelatory experiences and the breaking of new ground within their art. While the band have benefited from strong support from major players within the scene, from early support from Neurot to a tour with Ghost to finding a new coveted home with Rise Above Records, the band have also faced their share of setbacks that have forced their momentum to sort of develop via ebb, flow and word of mouth despite their hard work. Original drummer Kelly Johnston-Gibson incurred a career-threatening injury while on tour in the US in 2015, causing founding members J. Bennett and vocalist (and then-bassist) Sera Timms to reassess their next move. After enlisting Scott Batiste of Saviours as a stand-in drummer for a short West Coast tour, things clicked and Scott soon became a permanent member. The band then expanded to a quartet for the first time, as Sera relinquished her bass-playing duties to newcomer Adam Murray.
The band have never shied away from making their own path and now return with an album called Women, a simple celebration and study of the sacred feminine perfect for these times when the President sexualizes his own daughter while cutting off all funding to UN Family planning or when just the other day one of the premiere and most dedicated writers in metal – who happens to be female – was attacked deplorably by a site for having a disability . It is great to see some bold art from a band that is far more respectful and also features a woman in a primary – not token/ fashion appendage – role. Sera’s drifting vocals on the hook of new song “Mother Kiev” are positively consuming yet far from predictable, while many still gush about the band’s bold recent take on “Strange Fruit” as a doom dirge. You can hear a mid tempo new track “The Rose” now at Cvlt Nation.
Women is produced by the talented Sanford Parker and features guest appearances from Tara Connelly of Clay Rendering (on Queen Of New Orleans) and Marriages and solo singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle (on She Has A Secret), a personal favorite of mine. Nicola Samori’s cover art looks like something out of a museum, delicate and yet strong and romantic despite being interpretively marred by a partial smear. But perhaps that is up to the viewer or listener to decipher if the art or songs indicate damage, obscurity or survival.
Read my latest interview with the band, this time with vocalist Sera Timms, below.Add to My Radar
Gridfailure is one of our favorite current projects out there in the extreme musical weirdo multiverse, the experimental and totally mental brainchild of scene lifer Dave Brenner (ex-Theologian, ex-Heidnik) . Since May of 2016 Brenner has already released two albums, a split with Never Presence Forever and several collaborative releases with even more on the horizon! There is really no rule book, which makes this one of the more exciting acts to follow currently.
The latest Gridfailure release Hostile Alchemy features guest contributions from a wide cast of allies including Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Ionophore, Cardinal Wyrm), Mark Deutrom (Bellringer, ex-Melvins), Jeff Wilson (Wolvhammer, Abigail Williams, Chrome Waves), Faith Ciavarella, Pete Tsakiris, Benjamin Levitt (Megalophobe), Christian Molenaar (Those Darn Gnomes), Alexei Korolev (The Company Corvette), and more. Some sections of the album sound like listening to distant jazz while drowning in a swamp, the hallucinations mounting as oxygen is cut off to the brain and you fade to black. Other songs are like the half remembered film score from a two week old nightmare you haven’t been able to shake off. This is probably the music that Morlocks in the X-Men universe screw to by candlelight in the sewers beneath the underbelly of New York City.
“As Gridfailure was spawned from creating horror music, the underlying themes of terror and impending harm are always going to be there,” Brenner says.
Read more below.Add to My Radar
None or Unknown
The gnarliest punk album of the year just dropped. Love Is A Lie, Filth Is Eternal from Filth Is Eternal (formerly F'd and B'd) reminds us that there was a time when Seattle bands were considered dangerous, when Mudhoney might jump on your face and half the roster of Sub Pop didn't look like even Starbucks wasn't gentrified enough for their tepid, pale faced indie rock bullshit. Filth Is Eternal plays an explosive blend of go for the throat, not a moment wasted punk n' roll married to Sonic Youth flirting dissonance and with tones ugly enough to make Fudge Tunnel blush and The Bronx seem like Captain & Tennille. Fronted by an actual snarling wild animal over some of the best riffs and beats you have ever heard. This record reminds me of a show I played in 1997 with my old band Fuse where I got wasted on unclean tapline Rolling Rocks and bottom shelf whiskey after getting a tattoo and ended up rolling on a country bar floor half nude and bleeding and smearing black grime and tattoo inky residue and blood everywhere, waking up the next day feeling kind of aroused and ready to fight literally anything but also half dead. Sirhan Sirhan is gonna get out of jail and be all stoked to enter polite society and this shit will play and it will retrigger a hypnotic trance and make dude go all Winter Soldier on some dudes. If your band doesn't bang as hard as the ending of "The Dog", just quit now.