Interview with Mike Majewski of Devourment

July 9, 2008 at 9:33 pm (Interviews) (, , , , , )

Mike Majewski live

Mike Majewski

Devourment vocalist Mike Majewski is an easy guy to find. He’s frequently on different death metal discussion boards, chatting about old school death metal, women, and a whole lot of video games. Despite his presence online, he rarely discusses his band, so I decided to get some info about the band’s next album, artwork, merch, and those crazy horse photos on the band’s Myspace.

First off thanks for the interview.

Any time.

Biggest question first: Give us an update on Devourment. Do you have a studio picked out yet? Realistically would you be able to give a time estimate?

Pretty much. We always recorded with Braxton Henry and the one time we strayed from him, we regretted the shit out of it. Not gonna make that mistake again, he is an amazing engineer and producer. We aren’t as far along as we’d hoped, but realistically we are looking at late 08, early 09.

Speaking of art, I know Seagrave re-did the maggot for you, are you pleased with that? Are you yourself going to do any other art for the album?

Yes, its absolutely amazing. He just re-imagined the design while staying true to the concept, the man is brilliant. We are going to make the next album layout a who’s who of underground artists. Seagrave is already known, and I won’t spoil any of the others, but lets just say there is gonna be art from several major underground artists, some already in our possession, some in progress. I’m stoked

Describe some of the new songs.

What we are really shooting for on the new one is variation. We want each song to have more of an identity than that of Molesting and Butcher. We will stay true to our style, but we are going to expand as well. We don’t want to continue with the same formulas that we, and a lot of other similar bands are currently doing. We are focusing a lot more on intensity. There will be a couple of trademark groovier songs, there is one that is pretty much straight grind. We are losing a bit of convention to keep things interesting. Are we gonna piss off some of our old fans? I hope not. Are we looking to make new fans? Not really. We just want to be smart about what we are doing and surprise some people.

What kind of production are you going for on the new album? Would you be happy if it sounded like Butcher the Weak?

Butcher is a chapter for us and I love the production on it. The next one for me has to have a much beefier guitar tone, perhaps a bit less bass distortion. Ruben upgraded his rig quite a bit since then, so its pretty much taken care of. I’d like the vox slightly louder in the mix as well.

Any chance of the recording sessions being filmed? You could be 3:3 for CDs/DVDs…

For sure. We did that for Butcher the Weak which is on our second DVD. The studio experience for us is as good as playing live. We all get along great, we have a blast and documenting it is pretty much essential.

Is Ruben going to do vocals on this album? Would guitar solos ever fit in Devourment?

I want him to. I think I could probably convince him. I have a lethal weapon at my disposal so it would be a shame not to utilize it. Solo’s? Nah, not us. I’m not opposed to some leads though if it feels right.

What kind of misogynist slogans are you cooking up for the next line of Devourment shirts?

Haha. Actually you’ll probably be seeing less and less of that, even in the lyrics. Again, trying to expand and not repeat ourselves. Not entirely though, you’ll definitely see some whore bashing lyrics. I had some girl troubles since Butcher came out so I gotta vent a little at least.

If you had to choose only one, would you rather continue being a vocalist for Devourment or continue to create images and logos for other bands?

That’s actually a tough one because my first passion is art. But I’d choose vox. There is no better feeling than knowing you will have an insane crowd no matter when and where you play. That’s the dream man.

What was the deal with the horsehead photos on your myspace?

The captain

The Captain

HAHAHAHA. That’s the Captain. He found this place in Tokyo that sold masks and he said it was instant, he had to have it. His theory is that all woman are whores and need horse cock, so he shall now be known as Captain Horse. The Horse may be making some live appearances from what I hear.

What was Japan like? What were some of your impressions?

Dude, there is no words. It’s the best place I have ever been. I have never witnessed a friendlier, more organized civilization than I saw there.

Did you do anything differently after the UK customs fiasco?

We just try to find out the stipulations of getting into the country trouble free. We weren’t properly informed about the UK’s requirements, so we paid the price. Live and learn.

Do you think Brutal Bands will help you finance a US tour after the new album?

Hmmm. If it happens, I’d like to think so. Seriously they are a great label but I’m not sure that we would ever do a major tour. We have to break it up because of our jerbs.

What merch do you have right now, what’re you doing in the near future? Who should be contacted, and how?

It would do you no good to contact anyone else in the band, as they have an aversion to fan mail. I do not however. At the moment we have 2 new cool maggot designs, by myself and Mark Riddick, so we’ll push those for a while.

If you could remix 1.3.8. and make it sound like any Roadrunner death metal album, what would you choose?

Cause of Death

You have legions of fans who buy any shirt you do art for, but do you ever feel held back? Have you ever explored painting? Would you ever try a non-violent piece?

At times a bit. The reason I haven’t been doing color lately is because I have been trying to improve my skills there. I have gotten better at that though and did some recent color pieces that I feel are my best. As for non violent stuff, I have a whole portfolio of fine art, pastels, figure drawing, airbrush, pencil, you name it. I went to art school for 2 and a half years.

OK, now for the fun. One or the other?

Here in After or XBOX 360?

Son of a bitch.

SMN or your own forum?

Can’t decide. I go to both for different reasons and I like them and the members equally.

Your mother’s love or the breakdown in “No Jesus, No Beast”?

Pssh, sorry ma.

If you were forced to switch vocal cords with King Diamond or Varg who would you choose? By the way, Devourment is headlining Wacken the next day…

Haha. Gotta be the King, I worshipped him throughout highschool and still do.

Ask yourself a question I didn’t…

Hey Mike, what would you change about the current metal scene?

More Unity!

And thank you!

Thank you man

Links:

Devourment Myspace

Mike Majewski’s Art Myspace (logos, shirt art, etc)

Devourment homepage

Brutal Bands (Devourment’s label)

Video of Devourment playing “Babykiller” live

Advertisements

Permalink 2 Comments

What are drum triggers, and are they for cheaters?

July 4, 2008 at 10:48 am (Essays) (, , , )

Drum triggers have received an unfair beating (pardon the pun) in reviews and discussion forums. I’ve seen countless reviews attributing magical powers to triggers, often claiming triggers make drummers faster. This is unfair and ignorant. There are instances when using triggers can either hurt or help a drummer, but they aren’t inherently cheating devices.

Microphones or drum triggers can be used in live or studio situations. There is usually be a blend of the two techniques in either situation. The original approach to drum amplification or recording is with microphones. Usually, this involves dedicated microphones for the bass drum(s), toms, some cymbals, and an overhead microphone. The signal can then be recorded analog or digital, though purely analog recordings are becoming more and more sparse.

Drum triggers are small transducers that are placed on the drum, each one dedicated to its own drum. The trigger sends a digital signal to a drum module, which can then export the digital information to a P.A. system or recording software. A sample for each drum is selected. Simply put, “digital” means something is either off or on. So a trigger is either “firing” and producing a signal, or not.

Therein lies the complaint with trigger systems. A drummer can lightly tap a snare, or smack it with a 2 foot wind-up, but the module will report the same signal. High quality microphones will pick up a light tap or strong hit with greater fidelity, producing a nuanced and dynamic signal. This is the only place the “cheating” accusations truly belong: a drummer can merely feather-tap the double bass pedals and the module will produce an optimized and consistent signal. So there is no auditory reward for a powerful drummer with stamina who uses triggers.

Triggers are still a double-edged sword. The inconsistencies in timing will become much more apparent. With microphones, a flurry of double bass can become blurry and the drummer can sometimes scoot by on less than perfect playing. Triggers expose flubs and off tempo hits more clearly than microphones.

It should be noted that in metal, most drummers trigger the bass drums for live performances. A mic’ed bass drum is very difficult to mix, and will more often than not sound like a muddy thud. Triggers in a live mix can be tricky, but they provide much greater clarity and a great bass drum sample can make the whole band sound better. Another note: I can think of no recording or performance I’ve heard that has utilized triggers for cymbals. Metal cymbals don’t work well with triggers.

A third option in the studio is sound replacement. After recording digitally, each drum hit can be replaced with an optimized recording of that specific drum. For example, if a drummer hits a snare weakly, the bad snare hits can be replaced with strong sounding samples. The end result can sound identical to triggered drums. For an example of this, check Necrophagist’s Epitaph.

After reading all of this, you may want some examples of triggered and mic’ed drums on different albums.

Triggered (entire drum kit):

Decapitated – Nihility

Behemoth – Zos Kia Cultus

Not Triggered (entire drum kit):

Dismember – Dismember (entire recording was done analog)

Suffocation – Human Waste

Immolation – Dawn of Possession

Bass drum triggered, Snare mic’ed:

Brutus – Slachtbeest

Inveracity – Extermination of Millions

Permalink Leave a Comment

Malevolent Creation – Retribution review

June 26, 2008 at 4:13 pm (Reviews) (, , )

Retribution front

Roadrunner/Roadracer Records were essential to the early 90’s metal scene. Gorguts, Atheist, Deicide, Exhorder, Pestilence, Obituary, and Malevolent Creation released some of their best material on Roadrunner. After the commercial peak of death metal in the early 90’s Roadrunner dropped most of their roster in favor of radio-friendly rock. Metal fans will never forgive Monte Connor, the face of A&R for the label, but a record label is a business, not a foundation for the arts. Instead of being bitter, lovers of extreme metal should rejoice: without Roadrunner bands like Malevolent Creation wouldn’t have had the money to record in top studios like Morrisound in Florida.

Malevolent Creation had worked with Morrisound Studios to record 1991’s The Ten Commandments, but in 1992 they recorded what I feel is one of the best death metal albums ever. The production is unusual for Morrisound: the guitars are blurry and bass heavy while the drums sound have a more wooden resonance, unlike the usual clicky drum sound of the ’90s. The bass is spongy and wet, easily heard occupying the lower register. Bret Hoffman’s vocals are frighteningly upfront, with heavy reverb only applied at appropriate times. Bret doesn’t sound like the “cookie monster”, it doesn’t “all just sound like a bunch of unintelligible yelling”. The usual death metal vocal clichés just don’t apply: Bret is easily understood, and his voice sounds all-too-human.

The band talks of this album’s recording experience being one of their most laid-back. Phil Fasciana, lead guitar, has mentioned in interviews that it was essentially a 2-week party with microphones, but the result was a very tight and disciplined effort from a group of obviously skilled musicians. Every individual performance is extraordinary. But what makes this album above average is the final combination. The guitar parts are heavy at the right times, fast at the right times, but they would lack their attack without Alex Marquez’s drum performance. Retribution catches Marquez at his absolute peak. Retribution shows his ability to blast comfortably as well as perform catchy drum rolls that are guaranteed to have you air-drumming after a few listens. The drum patterns are essential for the rhythmic feel of the album, but Bret’s vocals compound the mesmerizing cadence of songs like “The Coldest Survive”. Sometimes the album’s tempo launches vicious surprise attacks, other times it lurches slowly and powerfully. Check out the groove at 1:09 in “No Flesh Shall Be Spared”: every individual part is good, but the combined result is mind-blowing.

“Slaughter of Innocence” and “Monster” have become live staples, but they aren’t the only good songs on the album. The undeniable groove of “Coronation of our Domain” and “No Flesh Shall Be Spared” compliments the ferocity of faster songs. “Mindlock” opens with my absolute favorite vocal pattern of all time, the combination of drum and vocal patterns make it undeniably catchy.

Malevolent Creation are tireless death metal workhorses, but have never come close to topping this album. Retribution simply set the bar too high. Bret’s voice would never again sound as thick and hateful. The guitar parts would never be as catchy. Marquez continued drumming for Malevolent for one more album, but soon after he lost steam and dropped out of the metal scene.

Over the course of 21 years and 10 full lengths, Malevolent Creation have had three vocalists, five guitarists, eleven drummers and seven bass players pass through their ranks. Retribution closes with a quote from hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski discussing his killing M.O.: “I’ve done it all ways, as far as you’ve known, or heard…there isn’t [sic] too many things I haven’t tried…”. With an endless supply of musicians coming and going, Malevolent Creation have tried many different formulas, but they’ve never topped the lethal combination of musicians on Retribution .

Pictures of the Japanese edition:

Retribution Japanese edition

Retribution Japanese edition

Retribution Japanese edition back

Retribution Japanese edition back

Links:

Malevolent Creation Myspace

Malevolent Creation Homepage (out of date)

Retribution Front and Back high-res scans

Permalink 2 Comments

Children of Bodom – Blooddrunk

June 25, 2008 at 10:19 pm (Reviews) (, , )

Blooddrunk

It is nearly impossible to write a review of a recent Children of Bodom release without mentioning the band’s past. Beginning as a melodic death metal band on their impressively well-developed Inearthed demos, the Finns soon released what most feel are their best works. The group’s first two albums feature a fairly heavy-handed classical metal style. Think Malmsteen mixed orchestra hits and black metal screeches. Follow the Reaper showed the beginning of CoB’s progression towards more accessible, less classical, metal. Hatecrew Deathroll was received with mixed reviews. It was at this point the band, after losing guitarist Alexander Kuoppala, really began to grow in fame and change direction.

Trashed, Lost and Strungout sounded far more rhythmic. The production was very industrial and harsh. Gone were the organic production and dynamic guitar leads of Something Wild, replaced with condensed and chunky riffs with the occasional lead over top. Are You Dead Yet? was the band’s last chance at redemption. Most long time fans were disappointed, though hardly surprised. Alexi and co. had stuck with the money-in-the-pocket industrial aggressive metal, featuring more strained singing, more obscenity, and far more rhythmic chord and low-end riffs carrying the melodies, rather than the memorable leads of early CoB.

This brings us to Bloodrunk. While many are screaming “sell outs!” at this album, you have to admit the progression certainly has been slow and deliberate. It’s impossible to know if CoB are really trying to cash in, or if this is what their creative process honestly results in. But what we’re left with is the most unsatisfying CoB release yet. The production is almost impossible to distinguish from Trashed,… or AYDY?. There are even less leads carrying the melodies. “Hellhounds on my Trail” has a melody that contains a particularly unpleasant batch of notes which sound out of key and make the song nearly unlistenable to my ears. “Tie my Rope” was previously released in a compilation, but it’s the album’s strongest. It has some interesting leads and song structuring. “Done with Everything, Die for Nothing” has a great chorus with octave chords and a tense synth background.. The rest of the songs,however, are interchangeable. Screechy screams, sometimes hoarse singing, juvenile lyrics, and tons of filler riffs. The drumming is competent, but unimpressive. Alexi’s once fluid, lyrical, and overall memorable guitar solos have become inconsistent, predictable and boring.

Live Bodom is just about the only Bodom worth paying for at this point. Blooddrunk isn’t even really good compared to the other “sell-out” CoB releases. Use your money to support a band that needs it, as Children of Bodom will glean plenty of money from young poseurs without a clue.

Permalink Leave a Comment

A Defense of Reviewing

June 25, 2008 at 10:03 pm (Essays) (, )

Wherever there is art, there are reviews. Positive or negative, reviews are a topic of constant contention. The Internet has paradoxically made reviewing more anonymous and personal at the same time: a harsh review can quickly contain, or result in, a personal attack. When faced with a differing opinion, many write the entire concept of reviewing off as a foolish exercise for “would-be” artists.

Most artists who have had their art harshly critiqued at some point have thought “Who are they to review my work?” or “Why should anyone care what they think?” It’s generally easier to write a harsh review than a beaming one, particularly if one of your goals is to maintain an audience. No one wants to read positive review after positive review. Too many “four stars” and “two thumbs up” cause the reader to question a reviewer’s judgment. Besides, admit it, chances are a scathing review is going to be more entertaining than a gushy, positive one.

So the reviewer walks a fine line. Too many positive reviews and the reader will lose faith in his judgment. Too many negatives and he’ll become a hack reviewer, arrogantly striking down art. The Internet is littered with biased reviews, joke reviewers, and inflammatory opinions. Still, the best kind of review is one written from an informed standpoint, yet without a bias.

Why should anyone in the world care about someone else’s opinion? Reviews are important. No one person can hear every album ever written, view every painting, or see every movie. A good review is both a good preview and a good summary. Hopefully a review will help you know what to expect, and afterwards, help you verbalize the art you’ve already digested.

Someone else’s viewpoint can drastically alter your own perception. Just as no one person can consume every work of art, no one person can consume every detail in just one piece of art. Music lends itself greatly to discussion and review. Music is created with layers, all of which are heard differently by each listener. Some people are incapable of hearing anything but the whole product, so the guitars, vocals, and drums form one large amalgam of sound. Others focus on just one instrument. Intricacies of production are lost in highly compressed mp3s and poor speakers. A good review brings all of these delicate aspects under a lens, magnifying both the good and the bad.

In response to a negative review, it’s common to see “that reviewer probably doesn’t have a band” or “at least this band is making music and not just writing about it!” This argument doesn’t hold much water, though, because followed to its logical conclusion, it would mean no one could criticize anything unless they themselves were a master. The truth is, non-musicians know what sounds good just as well as a non-chef knows flies don’t belong in soup. Almost all music, like almost all food, is meant for consumption by many different demographics.

In the end, one review is just one review. It won’t radically change your mind or change the value of art. But it can help you express what you like and don’t like about a piece. If you’re unfamiliar with an artist, a good review can give you reference points for you to make some speedy judgments. Reviews can be easily ignored, or used to filter through the ever-expanding sea of art.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Interview with Paulo (Guitar) of Copremesis

June 22, 2008 at 10:35 pm (Interviews) (, , , , )

Logo

I’ve known Paulo for more than a year now from a forum we both post at. He would talk about his band pretty often, mostly about how lousy they are. Well, in May he sent me a few tracks off of Copremesis’ Muay Thai Ladyboys album, and I was really, genuinely impressed. Yes, the band doesn’t take itself very seriously, but there’s a level of technicality and brutality that serious bands don’t always achieve. I was really excited to hear that Copremesis would be going on tour with Defeated Sanity and Mucopus up and down the east coast in May before playing Maryland Death Fest 2008. I met Paulo in person at MDF, and he was as friendly and entertaining as he is online. I sent him an e-mail to get his thoughts on his new album, label, and tour experience. I threw in some extra questions to make it a bit more fun. Enjoy, and I wish Paulo the best of luck in the future!

P.S. I’ve been cruising the ‘net for more than 5 years, and rarely have I seen anything more horrific than the layout for Muay Thai Ladyboys. Look at it only if you have a strong stomach, or a penchant for shemales. Salamat, Paulo!

Copremesis formed in 2001 and you just released your first full length. What took so long?

One word: Procrastination. Besides that, we had a couple of line up changes. When Wilson left, first we had to look for drummers. Everyone just thought we were just a joke and no one took us seriously then we remembered Daniel originally played drums for us. So he switched back from Bass/Vocal duties to Drum duties. Another thing was that we had to BUY a drum set. So whatever money we made from the split with Pustulated split and colored logo shirts we had all went to buying the set.

By the time we recorded the drums, Daniel was well on his way to leave for the USMC. There was no pressure from anyone because at the time a lot of people thought we broke up or simply suck. The only label that showed interest of putting out our album at this time was Paragon. All other label interest before the split basically either flaked or lost interest. So we [Alex and I] took our sweet-ass time and just recorded the guitars whenever we have the chance to see each other.

Sad thing is that we did NOT take advantage of this opportunity. The album could’ve sounded much better but at the end result we’re pretty much satisfied with it. There are things that I would like to change but what done is done.

How often did Copremesis play gigs before going on tour? Did you feel adequately prepared for touring?

Prior to the tour, we’ve only played 19 shows in our existence as a band and I think 2 of them wouldn’t be really considered a “show.” Besides being lazy and procrastinating we had a very busy personal schedule from work/school/internship/going to jail/kicked out of the house/etc. We also thought that playing too many shows sucks. We don’t have enough funds/time to do that and people that genuinely like us will eventually get tired seeing us.

Somehow I felt we were pretty adequate for it. The short 4 day mini-tour was PERFECT for a band like us. I know a lot of bands out there are into hardcore touring, for us we just want to tread on this as carefully as possible and lessen as much losses; especially with the rising gas prices/recessions. It’s tvff.

I remember talking to you on the phone two days in to your tour, and you told me someone in the touring package had had an accident with an ambulance. What happened?

HAHAHAHAHA, yeah that was us! And during that day it was Jacob’s (Defeated Sanity) birthday too! Yeah, we were on the Bronx going to the highway for our FIRST DATE of the tour. It was raining cats and dogs. There was this NYFD Ambulance van in front of us, they had a car pulled over because of some accident and in front of that car was a NYPD car! Somehow our driver didn’t notice how wide both our van and the NYFD van was and our side mirror annihilated theirs. At that moment, we just looked each other trying to decide if we should jet it. Alex said that a Cop saw us so we just played it safe and parked. The NYFD and the NYPD took their sweet time. We had to deal with BOTH of them, both had to get the license and insurance and at times looked like they were playing Tug-O-War with the papers. Load in time at the Allston show was 6:00 pm, we got there at 9:45 pm.

Bless Dysentary, Sexcrement, Mucopus and the whole entire time for being patient with us. I remember when we finally got to the highway we were hauling 90+ mph, while it was raining. NEVER AGAIN!

Oh yeah while waiting for the cops and the firemen to come get our info, I went across the street to buy Jacob’s bday cake. I totally forgot to buy plates and utensils. We had to eat it by hand. HAHAHAHA!

How do you feel about the final product of Muay Thai Ladyboys? Are you satisfied with the production? Layout? Performances?

As the artwork, lay out, sound quality [compared to the master] and physical product itself, PARAGON and DGR totally ruled! As for the production of the album, I wish we didn’t procrastinate so much, we could’ve done so much. Lowering my main vocals, fixing the toms [which are barely audible], better kick trigger sample, better compression/mastering. All of these things are learning experiences for us. Now that we have Ian on the boat, I’m sure the future material will sound a lot better.

What are you doing to make that incredibly irritating high pitched vocal for the album’s first song? You pulled it off live, too….

You love that. Yes you do, Sam. HAHAHAHA! I’m speaking “Thai” at that part. On the album we pitch-shifted the vocals up and we did the same for the MDF set but usually we don’t do that. I just go in aZn mode and squint as hard as possible.

Why don’t you wear shoes on stage?

At the Alston show, my shoes were SOAKED. I had to take it off. Personally, I like the feeling of the rug on my feet. Yum! FUNGUS!

NO SHOES!

I heard if you play the silence after Tetsuo backwards and amplify it 30 dB, you can hear a cover of Iniquity’s “Once Encysted and Dormant”. Is that true?

We do not kiss and tell…yes.

In all seriousness, there IS a bonus track on the album. What’d you cover? Whose choice was that?

ITS CREDITED IN THE LAY OUT!!! ITS THERE! HAHAHAHA! You don’t even have to squint!!! Here’s a clue: JAPAN.

What are the future plans for Copremesis? Do you have any albums left on your deal with Paragon records? Would you ever tour again, or was it too stressful?

We are working on new material for 2 splits. 7″ with Buckshot Facelift [Super pissed off Grindcore from Long Island] and a 3 way split with Cesspool and Gorged Afterbirth. We’re still looking for a label to put these two out. Especially the 7″ with Buckshot. We’re aiming to record this late fall.

We only have a one album deal with Paragon. They’ve been really generous to us and a blessing. Nothing is written in stone yet. Personally, it’s too early to say for now but I could see ourselves releasing a 2nd full-length with them. That also depends if they dig the new material/direction.

Now for the fun part of the interview: One or the other

Iniquity or Malignancy?

This question hurts. IniQuitY does have my favorite album of all time but their later releases aren’t to par with that. In the other hand Malignacy have only gotten better and improved at each releases and has so much riffs that people wouldn’t notice if we stole 40 or 60 of them….so I have to decide…that I hate you, Sam.

Brodequin or Copremesis?

Brodequin, no contest. I get tiny penis rage whenever I listen to this band. We are no where in their league of pure ping-blasting brutality. We are not worthy!

Fry’s persistant unrequited love for Leela or Jurassic Bark?

Wow. Its like “HEY! CHOOSE WHO LIVES! YOUR BESTFRIEND OR THE GIRL THAT YOU LOVE BUT WILL NEVER LOVE YOU BACK…”

I’m sorry, Sam but I am a romantic, Fry’s undying love for Leela wins it for me. PLUS, Seymour and Fry got to chill a little longer in the movie! [I know you hate that movie because of that reason hahahaha]

And I’m perpetually in the same state as Fry. I need to move on. I hate women and I can’t stop loving them.

Maryland Death Fest or Wacken Open Air?

I would totally pick WOA. More diversity, awesome beer, OPEN AIR! Plus, EUROPEAN WOMEN!!! Though, it lacks the super awesome death/gore/grind acts that MDF packs.

Tagalog or Human Remains?

“RICH AND CREAMY! JUST THE WAY I LIKE IT!” I would deny my nationality over Human Remains. YES. WONGH.

Bob Vigna or Danny Nelson?

Both awesome dudes. Bob wrote an e-mail one time to my mom trying to convince her to let me go to see an Nile show. It didn’t work but the gesture was awesome. Danny Nelson is more like of a big brother to us. He gives us advice like on Transformers, GI JOE, Star Wars and all the best things in life.

Wicked riffs vs Brutal Howls? Baldy Bob.

Personally: I’ll take Danny, he’s help us a lot. Band wise and personal issues also.

Thanks, Paulo. Now ask yourself a question I didn’t think to ask.

Did you get laid at MDF?

No. *sigh*

Any closing words?

Thank You so much, Sam! This is one of the most entertaining interviews I’ve ever had so far! This rules!

As for closing words for ya’ll out there: Remember, you only have what you have on your hands. Do not let it go because eventually, everything must die, even dreams. Live life happy, it’s too short to be pissed off all the time. Regrets, we all have them, make choices that lessen that.

Come full circle.

Links:

Copremesis Myspace

Paragon Records

Return to the Pit photos of the band’s MDF set

Permalink 1 Comment

Portal – Seepia review

June 20, 2008 at 10:41 pm (Reviews) (, , , )

Portal band photograph

The Australian Portal have a small and devout fanbase, but remain mostly obscure even within the already obscure realm of death metal. Even though Australia has an active metal scene, it’s difficult for bands to leave and tour due to travel expenses. Therefore, Portal have a relatively low chance of ever being a household name. After a hiatus, Portal have resumed playing gigs in Australia, but even now they remain (willfully?) in the shadows.

I remember the first time I heard this cd, I had received it in a shirt trade with the band’s old bassist Werm. What he sent was actually the remastered version, though on my first listen in my car I was instantly put off. Even with the best sound systems, the guitars sound scratchy and flat. Their other releases, including a more recent full length, Outre, retain this signature guitar sound. The drum sound on Seepia is what pushes the production from unique to frustrating. The bass drums are all but non-existent, and it sometimes feels more like a noise cd than death metal. I believe the band captured their best production on the Lurker at the Threshold EP, which has more powerful drums and a slightly more controlled sound. The easiest way for me to describe the effect of this CD is to compare it to the video game series Silent Hill. If you remember, those games always had a faint layer of static obscuring the horror, some fuzz blocking out the monsters. Sometimes what you can’t see, or hear in this case, is scarier than what you can.

The production is so strange and creepy it really hides the actual music. The guitars are generally just a wall of scratching, as though they have the gain on 10 and are just sliding their hands up and down the fretboard. This will continue for minutes until finally, like in “Tempus Fugit”, they stop palm muting and hit some chords. Even scarier is when they accurately tremolo pick individual notes at the song’s end. After so many riffs of just scratch and hiss, the isolated notes are jarring and attention grabbing. I haven’t ever paid much attention to the vocalist, who calls himself The Curator. This band’s music has no place for a Frank Mullen, so his indistinct and monotone vocals fit perfectly.

If you go to the band’s website, myspace, or flip through the liner notes, you’ll see that there are no faces to this music. They hide who they are and their appearances. The band wears garb that looks like a mesh between Steampunk and the Silent Hill monsters. I’m not one for theatrics ala Behemoth or Immortal, but in this case distancing themselves from this music was a great artistic choice. This album is definitely better when digested as art more than music for listening purposes. There’s no standout single, no riffs you’ll remember, or anything like that. Listening to Seepia is more akin to running through a series of shadowy rooms, catching glimpses of ghastly things here and there, but in the end you’ll emerge without any distinct memories. All you retain after Seepia is the sense that you stumbled into something that is horrifying and unsettling.

Note: I’ve included some digital pictures of the digipack version of this CD. I think it’s pretty hard to come by, and the layout is really cool. I didn’t photograph every page of the booklet, but this will give you a feel for the vibe the band creates. Click these for super hi-res photos (they’re a bit blurry, sorry).

Seepia frontThe booklet opened up
Seepia CD Open digipack

Links:

Portal myspace

Portal Official Website

Permalink 3 Comments

Bloodbath – Unblessing the Purity

June 19, 2008 at 8:30 pm (Reviews) (, , )

Unblessing the Purity art

The arrival of Bloodbath’s latest four-track EP seemed to surprise everyone. In January of 2008 Bloodbath released a press release stating that Per Eriksson had joined on guitar, and Opeth’s Mikael Åkerfeldt had re-joined the band after departing in 2003. In February 2008 the band released the cover art and tracklisting for Unblessing the Purity. And by now, mid-March of 2008, the EP has been circulating for days.

Unblessing the Purity‘s production immediately grabs your attention. It retains an intense thickness, with clearly and brightly triggered kick drums, an absolutely massive guitar and bass distortion sound, while remaining very cohesive. Åkerfeld’ts voice sounds horrific. Deep, wet, thick and commanding, every time he vocalizes he steals the show. Mikael has written some fantastic vocal patterns for these songs.

No longer an early Swedish DM tribute band, Bloodbath have evolved into modern death metal in its most commendable form. The guitar riffs are catchy, harmonized, and intense, without the muddy bassy “sunlight studio” quality emulated on Bloodbath’s first two releases. Martin Axenrot provides some very interesting cymbal and double bass work. When “Axe” blasts, it sounds completely comfortable and perfectly timed, making the blast beats worthy of anticipation as opposed to sloppier players (ahem, Flo…) who you wish would just stop blasting.

Anders Nyström writes some excellent heavy low-end riffs, but the standout moment on this EP comes in the second song “Mouth of Empty Praise”. Anders releases a haunting and captivating lead at 56 seconds into the song that is guaranteed to grab your attention. It melds beautifully with the rhythm guitars, before melting back into an instantly likeable stop-go assault of a riff. Anders has written some great songs for Katatonia, but his melancholic and haunting leads at their most effective over the canvas of Bloodbath’s brutal death metal.

While all of the individual members made obvious contributions to the four songs on this EP, what’s most important is the overall effect. The songs feel completely cohesive, brilliantly structured, and are the perfect length. Much like Suffocation’s Despise the Sun, Bloodbath’s Unblessing the Purity is ideal at its length. While these four songs are stunning, it was a smart move to quit while they were ahead. The end result is a mouth-watering taste of modern Swedish brutality. If you think the EP is too short, just put it on repeat… you’ll be “Blasting the Virginborn” for hours!

Links:
Bloodbath Myspace
Bloodbath Official Website

Permalink Leave a Comment

Useful music links

June 19, 2008 at 5:56 pm (Links) (, , , )

  • Metal archives:

Metal Archives
This is the number one site on the web for band information. I doubt there’s a metalhead out there who hasn’t used this site, in fact if they’re anything like me they use it daily. If you ever can’t quite remember what label released an album, what year it came out, what the band’s line up was, or any other trivia, check here first. Metal archives also has reviews for albums, the album art, band logos, etc.

  • Last.fm (Previously known as audioscrobbler):

Last FM
Much like “google”, “scrobble” is a made-up word that has found its way into the lexicon of internet nerds worldwide. LastFM works like this: you install a plugin to iTunes or Winamp, and everytime you listen to a song it gets scrobbled to your profile on the LastFM website. Every Sunday LastFM releases your charts, showing your most played artists, songs, etc. These charts can be embedded as images to blogs,forums, etc, and are a way of showing off your mp3 collection as well as your personal taste. LastFM also offers links to Youtube videos of bands, pictures, discussion boards, and more. By browsing your musical “neighbors” you can generally find bands that you’ve never heard, and are likely to enjoy.

  • Blabbermouth:

Blabbermouth metal news
The CNN of metal news. Blabbermouth is updated constantly, but features some bias. Roadrunner Records runs Blabbermouth, so expect a lot of articles about Dave Mustaine, Opeth, and other Roadrunner bands. They do a lot of news on mainstream bands but plenty of smaller bands get articles too. I have this site set as my homepage, so everytime I start Mozilla, I get an update on the music world. Blabbermouth is also equally famous for their comment system. News articles get vicious replies and heated debates start in many of the postings.

  • Soulkiller Webzine:

Soulkiller
A primitive version of Blabbermouth. Not a check-daily site, but they post some news you don’t always see on Blabbermouth.

  • All CD cover, tray, booklet scans

AllCD covers
A great site that has hi-res scans of CD and DVD covers, inlay trays and back covers. This site covers all genres of music, not just extreme metal. Very useful for looking at out of print CD inlays and for saving the images, incase you want to use some as a slide show screensaver or as desktop backgrounds.

  • More metal CD scans

Truemetal.org Wallpaper
This is a more basic site, but it still has some great hi-res scans of some of the best art out there.

Permalink Leave a Comment

A quick intro to this blog

June 19, 2008 at 2:57 pm (Introduction) ()

Hello anyone and everyone,

I’ve started this blog for a few reasons. I’ve always liked writing reviews of music and I’m interested in trying to review different media, so I plan to give book/tv/movie reviews a try. I also want to build up a portfolio of different writing pieces (short stories, etc) that I would like to get feedback on. I only have a handful or articles right now to post here, but I hope you’ll continue to check back as I get further and further into the world of writing.

If you ever want to share an opinion, on what I have to say or how I say it, leave a comment! I’ve enabled anonymous commenting for the time being. If that leads to too much spam, I’ll have to switch to users only commenting. I’m sure that I’ll have to tinker with lots of settings like that in the beginning.

In the midst of more focused and serious writing, I plan on writing some shorter and more conversational posts. I spend a lot (too much?) of time on the Internet, and I often stumble on some pretty cool websites, clips, etc. So keep an eye peeled for my “week in review” type postings as well.

Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you soon

-Transient

Permalink Leave a Comment

« Previous page