Search

metal stuff

It's stuff, about metal

Author

archdruid grulog

American Metalhead

And Justice for Oli?

There have been murmurs in certain sections of the metal community that are snowballing into a bit of a roar as of late regarding the events surrounding the tragic death of All That Remains guitarist Oli Herbert on October 16th of 2018.

For those readers not familiar with the story thus far – a brief synopsis:

  • ~ October 9th  – about 1 week before Oli died, he and his wife Beth met with a notary (one of Beth’s friends and an ex-stalker of Oli’s) to update his will.
  • October 16th – Oli is found dead in a pond on his property, the notary/Beth’s friend is present when the police show up. Police sources say the death does not appear suspicious.
  • November 5th – A Public Memorial for Oli is scheduled by his wife/family for Sunday the 11th.
  • November 8th – The memorial was cancelled, no reason was given.
  • November 10th – Beth releases Oli’s initial Toxicology reports and cause of death, clarifies that the Oli benefit was cancelled due to ‘numerous threats to her person and property’
  • November 15th – a month after Oli’s passing, the Hartford Currant announces the police are investigating Oli’s death as suspicious

A Facebook page called “Justice for Oli Herbert” seems to be spearheading the effort to get the information out – I figured I’d actually practice some due diligence and see what this is all about. I’m a fan of All that Remains’ first two albums, so this did pique my interest. After reading through posts on the page, it seemed like a pretty clear-cut case that Beth was guilty.

They’ve even got some indie metal sites establishing a timeline of events, and some pretty damning “character defamation” information that, while it doesn’t establish guilt (and is 100% circumstantial) – certainly paints a picture of Beth as a personality disordered bitch who made Oli’s life miserable.

But then I dug a little deeper, and went through the group’s photo albums and older posts. I started noticing a couple things seemed out of place for a ‘pursuit of justice’.

 

 

The author(s) of the web page seemed to be slandering Oli’s widow Beth based on her attendance at “neopagan” religious ceremonies, specifically Beltane and Mabon.

It struck me as a bit odd that a website allegedly out for justice would be openly listing attendance at an alternative religious ceremony with derogatory information about their target – all of which has NOTHING to do with the case. Especially when they’ve got things like #burnthewitch in the title.

Neopagans who attend these festivals, properly called Wiccans, also refer to themselves as witches. A more prominent example of someone in the metal community who celebrated these festivals and was part of this heathen community is the recently deceased Jill Janus.

 

 

This sort of thing is why it’s always a good idea to check a source – the “Justice for Oli” page is single-handedly dictating the media narrative surrounding Oli’s death, and they’ve resorted to religious discriminatory slander (among other things) within a month of Oli’s death.

Something about that didn’t sit right with me, and I contacted the page admins and let them know about it (a note to the JFO group – you know who I am and you know how to contact me) – but then I started questioning everything they said.

Boy, am I glad I did. Contrary to their claims – the page “Justice for Oli” is not making the case any more clear. Quite the opposite – their entire existence seems to be an exercise in muddying the waters surrounding the case.

As of 11/19, it seems that they’ve managed to confuse some 8,000+ people with their intentionally misleading rhetoric, as well as an underhanded all around approach to the investigation. I’d like to take the time to point out what they’ve got correct and where they’ve been intentionally misleading the public, weaving lies in with the truth to make reality a bit more opaque.

What We Should Be Questioning

A) The circumstances of (and immediately surrounding) Oli’s death

I’ll admit, I was curious when the “JFO” group first popped up. Oli’s death on October 16th, 2018 was certainly outside the pale. Details in the reporting of his passing were sparse, and the ‘meat and potatoes’ of the matter was that he apparently wandered down to a pond on his property, slipped in, and drowned.

Healthy 44 year old men, typically, don’t just wander off in the middle of the night and drown in a lake on their property.

oli and dogs

Quite the opposite, photos of Oli kayaking indicate he was pretty comfortable in the water – that pond in particular. That means he’d be pretty familiar with navigating the banks of the pond, etc. I’d imagine it also means he’d be pretty good at swimming, especially since he’s not wearing any sort of safety gear like a life preserver.

So we can safely say it’s a good idea to question why a person who was familiar with a particular area near water (he lived there for years), who involved himself in activities that required him to be pretty adept around that body of water, dies in that body of water in a manner that suggests the exact opposite. Legit, 100% good question.

October 15th, last mesages

When you factor in one of the last text messages from Oli (from October 15th), it becomes apparent that at some point he wasn’t feeling quite like himself. The response is unintelligible, to the point where it appears something is chemically wrong with Oli – and this is within 24 hours of his passing.

I don’t think there’s any way to really make sense of it, and it implies there was either a problem with Oli’s cognitive function, motor skills, or both. Any one of those things would be enough to impair him once he got near the water.

B) The people who cry Foul Play

Justice for Oli Herbert” came into being around October 24th, 8 days after Oli’s passing. The authors of the page choose to remain anonymous, but they claim open association with (and it’s safe to assume participation from) a man named Drew Johnston – who was thanked by Oli in the linear notes of one of All that Remains’ albums.

drew-and-beth-in-linear-notes.jpg

So, we’re hearing from sources pretty close to Oli – seems legit right? This guy wasn’t just friends with him, they were close friends and corresponded regularly. If I’m not mistaken, Oli even participated in Drew’s wedding.
drew johnston toxic

This is where it gets interesting. By his own accounts, Drew was Oli’s social media manager – and represented him in that position for over a year, as well as essentially teaching Oli to use it.

In the same post/chain, we also see there is an inherent bias on his part – there’s no love lost between these two, and it obviously extends to well before Oli’s unfortunate demise.

As with the Decapitated case, it’s important to question the motives of an accuser because they might have a background (i.e a history of lying to the police to get friends out of legal trouble in the Decapitated case) that makes them an unreliable source.

C) What is the context of the initial statement from Beth denouncing Drew Johnston?

beth-drew-johnston.jpg

This particular post/action has been cited by the “Justice for Oli” page as a major indicator of guilt. After all – why would she act preemptively on poor, innocent Drew Johnston – one of Oli’s closest friends and the person who managed his social media accounts for a year?

Maybe the the person being referenced held a grudge that predated Oli’s death, and very openly stated he had “dirt on their toxic relationship”.

drew-johnston-toxic-e1542661132720

Maybe she thought he was a “clinger” whose only interest in associating with her now deceased husband was the accumulation of sub-cultural capital (in metal, generally we call it credibility) – that he would then use in a toxic way?

Memorial announcement

Or maybe she didn’t trust the type of guy who would use his dead friend’s social media to insult said friend’s wife due to a pre-existing bias.

46399543_10155655335660824_2252240597588901888_n

Maybe they had a beef that went back quite a ways? My friends haven’t always gotten along with my girlfriends, nothing really out of the ordinary there.

46498056_992357104289256_3526391355171405824_n
This exchange happened the day after Oli’s death – it’s obviously not Oli posting under his account. Perhaps a certain social media manager/representative?

I can comfortably say that this mutual dislike obviously extends back for years. Nobody makes that more clear than the folks at JFO themselves.

D) What is the context of the infamous “Say Cheese, Honey” photo/post

cheese suspicious

This is the photo that brought a LOT of people on board with JFO’s message. It’s a photo of the area where Oli’s body was found, posted by Beth with the caption ‘Say Cheese Honey”.

First Thoughts – That looks shady as fuck.

Most people (myself included) can’t imagine a context where saying this would be remotely OK. Fortunately for us, the comments section of one of “Justice for Oli’s” posts provides us with a clue.

46498056_992357104289256_3526391355171405824_n

Soooo… someone took control of Oli’s social media to accuse his wife of murder the day after he died, and she responded. I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty comfortable assuming it’s Drew Johnston.

If not him, someone in the Justice for Oli group. How do I know this? Both Oli’s official page (which Drew had a hand in operating by his own admission), Drew’s personal page, and the Official JFO page admins openly claim to be working together regularly on the JFO page. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who’s taken back the reigns of Oli’s social media page.

Let that sink in for a second.

Beth was not directing this in any way, shape, or form at her now deceased husband – she was directing it at Drew Johnston (the person who was pretending to be Oli the day after his death) while he was operating her dead husband’s facebook page.

Is it still a fucked up thing to say? Sure is.

Does it make her any more guilty or innocent? Nope. 

Does goading a woman by using her dead husband’s social media, then taking her angry response out of context and posting it online to slander her seem shady as fuck? Yeah dude, it’s fucking gross, and worlds more toxic than anything they’ve proven Beth has done.

Kinda makes me question what Drew and Company’s definition of “Justice” really is.

E) The circumstances surrounding the release of the initial tox report/cause of death.

official tox cod

Once again, standing by itself the statement seems a bit odd. Once again, a little context bring a lot of clarity to the situation.

hell to pay

At this point, Beth was certainly aware of the “Justice for Oli” page. She even took (per JFO’s own post/declaration) control of Oli’s facebook page long enough to tell the creators to take it down. Needless to say, she had seen a lot of the things that were being said about her.

swordfish

She probably also saw people posting screenshots of her social media, and then using it to goad on conspiracy theories that she had poisoned her husband, and then dragged his body down to the lake to make it look like an accident.

supporting conspiracy theories

In that context, we can see that Beth was well aware of the allegations/theories that were already starting to spread about her.

If people were accusing me of murdering a loved one, I’d feel a certain sense of vindication when preliminary lab results proved it wasn’t true. I might even make it public.

I’m not saying that’s what did or didn’t happen – but I am saying that when you reintroduce context suddenly all these “odd things that don’t add up” make a lot more sense.

E) Changing Oli’s Will 1 Week before his death?

the will

Yeah, that’s another one that looks shady as fuck. This is a good thing to question. “Justice for Oli” has been presenting the timing of this event, coupled with the participants, as a clear indication of malice aforethought.

45941407_272360696752540_7614224451638394880_n

Here’s the thing – Oli and Beth were getting ready to go through a divorce. You know one thing that ALWAYS changes when you want to divorce someone? How much of your shit you want them to get when you die. Changing your will is a normal part of the divorce process, and from what I can gather Oli was a willing participant in the divorce.

The notary herself, Wendy, is questionable. And JFO is doing a good thing raising the question – why was the notary (a friend of the widow) for the will present at the crime scene a week later when the police showed up?

There actually is a simple explanation – when you’re dealing with legal stuff, it’s nice having a close friend who’s a notary. And it’s pretty common knowledge it’s not good to be alone after a loved one has died, perhaps Beth called her close friend Wendy simply for moral support after discovering her fucking husband died?

To recap everything we’ve discussed so far

The Justice for Oli team, although claiming to be looking for justice – seem to think that the best way to go about doing that is by knowingly distorting the truth to get people on board. Because there’s a big difference between these two images:

cheese suspicious46498056_992357104289256_3526391355171405824_n

So, besides the whole religious discrimination as defamation thing – my major issue with the whole thing is this – “Justice for Oli”, how exactly does lying to the public to get them ‘on board’ with your cause further justice?

If you’re demanding the truth come out – doesn’t that kind of imply you shouldn’t be giving a distorted version of the truth?

Realistically, this is the sort of due diligence Metal Injection, Loudwire, Metal Hammer, Metal Insider, Kerrang!, The PRP, Louder Sound, Lambgoat (especially Lambgoat, fuck those guys), Billboard, Ultimate Guitar, MetalSucks, Blabbermouth, etc. SHOULD have been practicing. There’s a huge story here, and they’re all literally promoting lies and slander without offering up the truth. Or questioning anything.

I understand why they didn’t – the whole fucking thing is a rats next of toxic personalities and conspiracy theorists. But here’s the thing – that sort of cancer doesn’t just go away if you ignore it. It grows. Within less than 1 month, they’ve gained nearly 10k followers – with 2k of those coming between November 16th and November 20th. This isn’t just growing, it’s snowballing.

At some point, there has to be some reason injected into the clusterfuck of insanity – because I guarantee we’re going to hear about this again.

Hopefully, those “journalists” at the sites I mentioned pull their collective heads out of Jered Threatin’s ass long enough to do their jobs as members of the media and actually fucking report on something worthwhile. Every single image was sourced from the “Justice for Oli” group.

The information is literally in plain sight – this needs to get out before it gets buried.

Advertisements

Ricky Danger’s Top 10 Grindcore Albums

danger
Author: Ricky Danger

10: Carcass- Reek of Putrefaction

carcassCountry of Origin: England
Years Active: 1985-1996, 2007-Present
Label: Earache Records
Official Site: https://carcass.bandcamp.com/
Year of Release: 1988

Let’s kick this list off with the godfathers of goregrind themselves, Carcass. Carcass are, in many ways, one of the most important bands for grindcore, both through their rejection of traditional grindcore politics for a brutal, ravaging, horrific take on the genre as well as their own contribution of normalizing vegan advocacy in the already rebellious, anti-authoritarian, punk rock political ethos of grindcore. The band would go on to change their style numerous times, break up and then get back together, and spark numerous imitators during their long, long career. Still though, this fast, violent, and gut-splattered debut still holds up as their best.

9: Wormrot- Voices

wormrot
Country of Origin: Singapore
Years Active: 2007-Present
Label: Earache Records
Official Site: https://wormrot.bandcamp.com/
Year of Release: 2016

Outside of that one Tom Waits song, the country of Singapore is painfully underrepresented in the world of music. Thankfully, though, we have Wormrot to bring an end to that. The band seem to have just torn through their discography, maintaining the same style of traditionalist grindcore and the same grisly form of aggression throughout, signing to Earache Records after only 9 years and 2 full-length albums. Musically the band aren’t exactly the most innovative by any real means, but that doesn’t make their discography any less energetic, heavy, or well executed.

 

8: Agoraphobic Nosebleed- Altered States of America

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}
Country of Origin: United States
Years Active: 1994-Present
Label: Relapse Records
Official Site: https://agoraphobicnosebleed.bandcamp.com/
Year of Release: 2003

“Altered States,” from my experience, tends to be written off as some kind of novelty record, the full length equivalent of “You Suffer,” due to it’s 99 tracks that take up 21 minutes altogether. In my opinion, though, if you stop looking at it like 99 ridiculously short songs and one, 21-minute composition, the Springfield MA band’s cybergrind masterpiece is actually quite the album. As brutal, fast, and pummeling as grindcore should be, Agoraphobic Nosebleed add another layer of insanity: by using a drum machine instead of a live drummer, they are LITERALLY able to have their music move at inhuman speeds. The band perfectly pair their dark sense of humor and knack for finding bizarre samples to use (I think about the phrase “thar she blows out my fucking dickhole” honestly more than I should) with their delightfully over the top and overblown cybergrind sound.

 

7: Painkiller- Guts of a Virgin

painkiller
Country of Origin: USA
Years Active: 1991-1995
Label: Independent
Official Site: https://www.allmusic.com/artist/pain-killer-mn0000744399
Year of Release: 1991

On the topic of weird things, this next album basically epitomizes them: a combination of free/avante garde jazz and grindcore should be, in theory, gimmicky bandcamp bullshit at best. However, like virtually anything John Zorn touches is, it is some fantastic, experimental, and genuinely surreal music. This album is almost like the audio equivalent to Nobuhiko Obayashi’s “House,” which for me makes the bad acid trip that is this album all the better. Perfectly melding the chaos of free jazz and grindcore into a dynamic, merciless, and constantly jarring 24 minutes of music, this is a perfect album for all crate-digging connoisseurs of the musically surreal.

6: Nails- Unsilent Death

nails
Country of Origin: USA
Years Active: 2009-Present
Label: Nuclear Blast
Official Site: http://abandonalllife.com/
Year of Release: 2010

 

Nails are without a doubt one of my favorite modern metal bands overall. Despite only having been active for about 9 years, I feel as if the band has cemented their place in extreme musical lore already. While all of their albums are absolutely fantastic, my personal favorite is their explosive 2010 debut album “Unsilent Death.” Featuring 10 tracks and only clocking in at about 14 minutes, Nails made their mark on the grindviolence scene from the second this ravaging instant classic hit shelves. One of my greatest writing crutches is refer to an album as the “musical version” of some other piece of media or an experience, a habit I am trying to break. However, I will allow myself this one: this is the album version of being killed by some cheap mask-wearing, drill-wielding killer in a straight-to-vhs 80s horror movie that was made by the Church of Satan and features actual death.

 

5: Napalm Death- Scum

113721428
Country of Origin: UK
Years Active: 1981-Present
Label: Century Media
Official Site: http://napalmdeath.org/scum/
Year of Release: 1987

What grindcore list would be complete without the grandfathers of grind themselves? It’s really difficult to talk about the history of grindcore (or metal as a whole, to be frank) without mentioning the OGs themselves: sonically relentless, and fiercely political,  Napalm Death took the pure sociopolitical rage of the hardcore scene and helped it take the next logical step, with a little help from the brutality of death metal. The band has never ceased their experimentation with other subgenres, but at the root of their sound will always be the phenomenal blueprint they lay out of the subgenre.

 

4: Discordance Axis- The Inalienable Dreamless

discordance
Country of Origin: US
Years Active: 1992-2001
Label: Hydra Head Records
Official Site: https://discordanceaxis.bandcamp.com/album/the-inalienable-dreamless
Year of Release: 2000

Artsy kings of the underground, Discordance Axis created a technical, chaotic, and refined spin on grindcore that no other band has ever truly been able to replicate. Almost comparable to what The Dillinger Escape Plan did with metalcore, Discordance Axis’ unique style and sound within their genre has earned them status as legends, even among people who aren’t typically fans of it. Notoriously elusive and camera-shy, the quintet’s mysterious and electric nature only adds to their draw and appeal, although to call it a clutch would be to lie: their music goes above and beyond on its own.

 

3: Contrastic- Contrastic

contrastic
Country of Origin: Czech Republic
Years Active: 1993-Present
Label: Independent
Official Site: https://contrastic.bandcamp.com/
Year of Release: 2000

 

Speaking of bands who have earned themselves the status of legend, in our number three spot is Contrastic, a deathgrind band like none other. Hailing from the Czech republic, Contrastic have always gained a fair amount of attention within the underground community, turning heads with their Disney coloring page themed album cover and getting fans to stay for their bizarre brand of deathgrind, complete with hyperactive energy, heaviness and brutality, a tongue in cheek attitude, and the occasional break for a  upbeat synth segment. Even though they could easily be written off as a gimmick band, Contrastic create some truly fascinating experimental deathgrind on this release.

 

2: Brutal Truth- Need to Control

brutal
Country of Origin: US
Years Active: 1990-2014
Label: Earache
Official Site: https://brutaltruth.bandcamp.com/
Year of Release: 1994

A criminally underrated album, this release is one of the few that I would truly feel at ease referring to as “artgrind” or “post-grind” or something along those lines. The sophomore release from Dan Lilkers (Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, Stormtroopers of Death) oddball grind project, this album goes leaps and bounds beyond the group’s debut album released two years before it, this is really a project that’s artistic vision and musical prowess speak for itself- and I suggest you all let it.

 

1: Pig Destroyer- Prowler in the Yard

pig
Country of Origin: US
Years Active: 1997-Present
Label: Relapse Records
Official Site: https://pigdestroyer.bandcamp.com/
Year of Release: 2001

At the very top of our list we have grindcore giants Pig Destroyer, with their debut full-length album and, I would argue, magnum opus. This 22-track exercise in brutality matches it’s ferocious, violent, depraved vocals and instrumentation with equally depraved lyrics. The album centers on a short story of a young girl being stalked by a depraved lunatic told through brief but nauseating vignettes and introduced and concluded by strange tracks that paint grotesque scenes through some kind of text-to-speech. This album does exactly what a grindcore concept album should: it applies the grind mentality of heavy, ravaging, and extraordinarily brief to how it conveys it’s narrative, and because of this, the lyrics and music work together perfectly to form one horrifying piece of music.

Grulog’s Essential Stoner/Doom – Conan Interview

Photo Credit(s) – Matt Negus
Author: Grulog

I’ll tell you, 2018 has been a stellar year for doom. Something I didn’t see coming, but certainly can’t complain about.

So ah, yeah. The other day I was scanning my email – and I saw something to the effect of “would you like to review the new Conan album and interview the lead singer?”

Fuck yes, I’d like to listen to the new album a month before it comes out and interview the lead singer. I’d take either of those options and call it a win. Holy shit. I’ve been stoked for the new fucking album since it was announced.

beloved grulog

I was stoked enough when Metalsucks took my suggestion to review the new single “Vexxagon” (thanks Kayla!) – now that I’ve had a chance to peruse the whole album I can tell you it’s a contender for my favorite release of 2018 – easily in my top 5.

32804673_2102985469988210_2959725941506441216_n

I’m actually not big on reviewing albums, but when it gets a little closer to the release date (9/14/2018, on Napalm Records) I’m thinking I’ll break my own rule and write something up.

As a matter of fact I’m listening to the new album as I write this, and I must say it’s as pleasant a listen the twentieth time as it is the first. I think (like the rest of their discography) this is one that’s going to age well.

K1024_802_Conan_RGB

Conan brings the fucking heavy. Hail Conan.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Basics

702669

Band Name: Conan
Label: Napalm Records
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Years Active: 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2009-present
Metal Archives Entry: https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Conan/96731
Official Site: http://www.hailconan.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hailconan/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HailConan
Members: Jon Davis (guitars/vocals, 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2009-present), Chris Fielding (bass/vocals, 2014-present), Johnny King (drums, 2017-present)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Interview

 
Hey Mr. Davis, thanks a lot for your time – and all hail the mighty Conan!
I’ve been a fan of you guys for several years now. In particular, I think there’s a bit of a Pavlovian association with the Conan comic series – every time I see one of your album covers it reminds me of the art style in the comics (particularly Horseback Battle Hammer). Your sound is pretty much the sonic interpretation of how I always imagined Conan to be – just a constant fucking powerhouse. So first and foremost, thank you for that reminder, and for doing what you do.
Please bear with me on the first question – it’s in 3 parts, and I kinda have to set the pins up before I knock them down.
1) It seems like, with every album post-Monnos, you guys have thrown in some tempo changes/faster parts as a sort of “palate cleanser” (either in songs, or with the new album with a truncated track of it’s own). I noticed it in the O’Neill era, then Lewis seemed to bring a jazz-influence in with some of the fills and faster parts. Now Johnny King seems to be bringing more of (what I’d refer to as) a “classic extreme metal” angle/sensibility to the table with “Existential Void Guardian”.
My questions are;
a) Do you go into the writing/recording process with these sorts of breaks in mind, or do they just kind of happen (planned v.s. organic)?
(Jon Davis): Actually, those faster songs are the easiest ones to write as they always seem to come together while we are fucking around in the studio. We just start playing something ‘un-Conan’ and Foehammer came about, then Revengeance came about when we were trying to play Grim Tormentor but faster. Paincantation was just me playing one note really fast and Johnny joined in. I think the version on the record is actually the first take.
~~~~~~~~~~
b) Do you pick new members based (at least in part) on their particular styles and influences – or is it based on something else (and you just give them the creative room to explore during the writing/recording process)? Perhaps a combination of these things?
(JD): Well of course we choose members based up their individual playing abilities and I’ve always just wanted to know if they can play heavy. Anything else is a bonus. It’s funny because Johnny almost was overlooked for the role. He got in touch when we thought we had settled on someone else and we almost said no, just so we didn’t mess this other guy around. But I’m glad to say that we took our time and invited Johnny down for rehearsal, and he was perfect. Paul and Rich were perfect too, in their time, but their time has come and gone now and we’re really enjoying having Johnny in the band.
~~~~~~~~~~
c) Is the inclusion of these “palate cleanser” type sections for the benefit of the fan/listener (ensuring the “caveman battle doom” continues to hit the listener to full effect), or more for yourselves to keep things fresh?
(JD): I don’t think we think about it too much really. I think that it IS important to keep things interesting but putting faster songs in into Conan seems pretty natural really. I listen to fast music (I’m listening to Wolfpack on a very bumpy flight to Auckland NZ currently for example) so writing a faster riff here and there feels perfectly normal.
~~~~~~~~~~
2) I heard through the grapevine you guys are doing a set of Australian tours with the mighty Bell Witch. I must admit, I haven’t been this jealous of the Australian people since the age of 16 – when an exchange student informed me that his school had a bar adjacent to it, and he was able to drink there (legally) after school. How did the Bell Witch pairing come about, and is there any chance those of us in the states will be blessed with such a powerhouse lineup for the “EVG” tour?
(JD): I think drinking right after school would have ruined me but it doesn’t seem to have done Australia any harm. I doubt Conan will tour the US with Bell Witch, but you never know. This pairing was the idea of the booking agent I think, or maybe I suggested them, I honestly don’t remember. Either way, they are an INSANELY cool band and we’re very happy they agreed to join us.
~~~~~~~~~~
3) I read a while back after watching one of your live shows a reporter to nearly soiled himself (I think he discovered the fabled “brown note” isn’t that much of a fable). There isn’t a question there, I’ll just never get a chance to say that in an interview again. But it does act as an interesting segue to my next question – when you write and record songs, are you doing so based on how they will sound on the album, or in a live environment?
(JD): More so in a live environment. Early on we never really gave it much thought, but as time has progressed and we have toured more, we notice different reactions from the crowd and I think our writing has followed. We’re a metal band at heart, all this doom and stoner metal bullshit is just dressing. With that in mind we really enjoy affecting a crowd, giving them songs they can go crazy to – I got bored watching people nod their head slowly to Krull all the time, the faster songs have always been more fun.
~~~~~~~~~~
4) I feel like I already know the answer to this, but I have to ask – do you guys mic your amps in the studio?
(JD): Yes, obviously this is essential when recording.
~~~~~~~~~
5) Is there anything you’d like my readers to know – be it about the upcoming album, forthcoming tours, or otherwise?
(JD): Well, we are pretty busy in the latter part of this year and hopefully next year too with some touring and festivals. I guess we’ll be over to the USA soon enough, so keep an eye out for announcements.
~~~~~~~~~~
6) Lastly, a selfish question – being a resident of Upstate New York (near the Pennsylvania border), is there any chance we’ll see see you touring anywhere in New York besides near the city?
(JD): Now, my geography is not too good within the USA. We played Rhode Island and also (I think) Rochester on our last tour. Does that count? I’m on a flight without wifi so I can’t check on a map, so I’ll have to keep this answer vague sorry!
~~~~~~~~~~
I have been stoked for the release of this album, and have had it on pre-order since it went up on BandCamp. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions, it’s been a pleasure!
(JD): Cheers Corey, I enjoyed answering these questions.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fuckin a right – Jon, if you’re reading this… Rochester is close enough. Your geography is spot on.
conan1
As of today (8/20/2018) Here’s when/where you can catch Conan on Tour;
30.09.18 UK – Sheffield / O2 Academy
02.10.18 NL – Eindhoven / Effenaar
03.10.18 DE – Bochum / Rockpalast
04.10.18 DE – Hamburg / Logo
05.10.18 DE – Berlin / Musik & Frieden
06.10.18 PL – Wroclaw / Firlej
07.10.18 PL – Warsaw / Poglos
09.10.18 LT – Vinius / Rock River Club
10.10.18 LV – Jelgava / Melno Cepuriso Balerija
11.10.18 EE – Tallinn / Sveta
13.10.18 FI – Helsinki / Blow Up 4 Festival
15.10.18 SE – Stockholm / Kraken
17.10.18 SE – Malmo / Plan B
19.10.18 DK – Copenhagen / Stengade
20.10.18 NL – Leeuwarden / Into The Void Festival
07.11.18 AU – Canberra / The Basement
08.11.18 AU – Melbourne / Max Watts
09.11.18 AU – Sydney / Manning Bar
10.11.18 AU – Brisbane / Crowbar
12.11.18 NZ – Wellington / Valhalla
13.11.18 NZ – Auckland / Whammy Bar
16.11.18 RU – Moscow / Aglomerat
17.11.18 RU – St. Petersburg / Zoccolo
23.11.18 UK – Nottingham / The Loft
24.11.18 UK – Leeds / Temple Of Boom
25.11.18 UK – Newcastle / Byker Grave Festival
26.11.18 UK – Glasgow / Audio
27.11.18 UK – Manchester / Rebellion
28.11.18 UK – Coventry / The Arches
29.11.18 UK – Cardiff / Clwb Ifor Bach
30.11.18 UK – Milton Keynes / The Craufurd Arms
01.12.18 UK – London / Boston Music Rooms
02.12.18 UK – Oxford / Buried In Smoke X-Mas Weekender

Grulog’s Essential Appalachian Black Metal

The People of the Appalachians (A mountain range stretching from Southern New York to Alabama) have been subject to some pretty nasty stereotypes for hundreds of years. The terms “redneck”, “hillbilly”, and “hick” were all coined to cast the people living in the area in a negative light.

A good example of the acceptable prejudices levied against the people of the area would be the 1972 film “Deliverance” (set and filmed in Appalachian Georgia), which portrays Appalachians as backwards, uneducated, inbred, and dangerous.

While these things aren’t true, the movie does display the poverty of the region rather accurately. Many families in the area live on less than $5,000 per year before taxes (which sets their food budgets slightly lower than $1 per day). Another term from the area is “dirt poor” – a lot of people don’t realize the term literally means you’re not rich enough to own a floor. One of my neighbors growing up was raising children in an old trailer with no floor, no running water, and no electricity. The county of my birth, Delaware, is the poorest in the state of New York, and has an economy that (last I checked) was 10 years behind the rest of the country.

This sort of absolute poverty can certainly make for an interesting culture. One of the most distinctive variants of American folk music comes from the area. Combine a strong folk/music and culture with nature, isolation, and mountains – and you’ve got the perfect formula for black metal.

While the region is too large (and difficult to travel) for there to be a scene with a distinctive sound – the Appalachians are home to one of the best kept secrets in USBM. Possibly, due to bands like Panopticon gaining popularity, not quite as well kept as it used to be – but still rather obscure even to the seasoned metalhead.

~~~~~

Panopticon

Label: Bindrune Recordings
Years Active: 2007 – Present
State of Origin: Kentucky (early), Minnesota (later)
Official Site: https://thetruepanopticon.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

2018’s “The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (I and II)” is a delight. Panopticon reminds me of an Eastern-American version of Saor, the incorperation of American folk music into the black metal style is seamless and tastefully done. Panopticon has managed to take Black Metal’s fixation on nature and give it a very Appalachian slant.

After an hour of fantastic blues-oriented atmospheric black metal, you’re treated with another hour of melancholy infused American folk music.

Certainly a contender for my album of the year.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

En hvit ravns død

~~~~~~~~~~

Slaves BC

Label: The Fear and the Void Recordings
Years Active: 2010 – Present
State of Origin: Pennsylvania
Official Site: https://slavesbc.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

Another Appalchian BM band with a 2018 release – these guys weave elements of doom and death metal into a dischordant web of excellence.

“Lo, I am Burning” can be a difficult album to listen to all the way through at times, but it’s ultimately rewarding. I guess you could say it’s a grower more than it is a shower.

The album sounds like it was written as an emotional purge for band members who desperately needed it.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

Lo

~~~~~~~~~~

Twilight Fauna

Label: Unsigned/Independent
Years Active: 2011 – Present
State of Origin: Tennessee
Official Site: https://twilightfauna.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

Another Appalachian Black Metal project that focuses on fusing American folk music with Atmospheric Black Metal, Kentucky’s Twilight Fauna is a bit more raw. There’s a distinct focus on the stories/history of the region I find refreshing.

Twilight Fauna is not easy listening. It’s thought provoking, challenging, and possesses the power to transport the listener to a different place and time.

>———–<

Recommended Listening

The Last Ember

~~~~~~~~~~

Falls of Rauros

Label: Bindrune Recordings
Years Active: 2005 – Present
State of Origin: Maine
Official Site: https://fallsofrauros.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

There’s a wonderful use of atmosphere and a good positive feeling to it – but it’s still unquestionably Black Metal. They juxtapose elements of darkness and light – it’s black metal, but it’s something else as well.

>———–<

Recommended Listening

Falls of Rauros – Silence (Lyric Video Fanmade)

~~~~~~~~~~

Nechochwen

Label: Nordvis Produktion
Years Active: 2005 – Present
State of Origin: West Virginia
Official Site: https://nechochwen.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

When you’re talking about Appalachian Folk Music, there’s a very heavy influence from the Native Americans who lived side by side with the original settlers of the area.

West Virginia’s Nechochwen include traditional Native American melodies and themes into an otherwise intense black metal assault. There’s an element of prog in there (real prog), and the unexpected transitions from melody to dissonance are expertly executed.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

The Serpent Tradition

~~~~~~~~~~

Appalachian Winter

Label: Nine Gates Records
Years Active: 2008 – Present
State of Origin: Pennsylvania
Official Site: https://appalachianwinter.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

Besides the occasional dulcimer or banjo on albums – AW doesn’t really incorporate a lot of folk music into their style. Instead, it’s a synth heavy symphonic Black Metal onslaught with cultural/folk themes in the lyrics. A bit cheesy at times, it almost draws from power metal in terms of the “epic quality” of the symphonic end of things.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

Appalachian Winter – Deep Within the Mountain Forest

~~~~~~~~~~

Order of Leviathan

Label: Unsigned/Independent
Years Active: 2012 – Present
State of Origin: Kentucky
Official Site: https://www.facebook.com/OrderOfLeviathan

>———-<

A very polished, very heavy sort of black metal – OoL sound like a fucking Scandinavian band to me. Very, very good Melodic Black Metal – it should sate the musical thirst of the trvest of the trve.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

Order Of Leviathan – An Endless Dusk (2013)

~~~~~~~~~~

Merkaba (Kentucky)

Label: Unsigned/Independent
Years Active: 2010 – Present
State of Origin: Kentucky
Official Site: https://merkaba.bandcamp.com/

>———-<

An atmospheric/ambient black metal project from Kentucky – the best way I can describe these guys is this: Imagine if Bell Witch took shrooms, and then decided to play Black Metal instead of Funeral Doom. It’s very stripped down, pretty raw, and very good.

>———–<

Recommended Listening:

Merkaba – Eyes Lose Focus

~~~~~~~~~~

So, there’s a preview of the black metal musicians who are embracing their Appalachian heritage and dispelling some of the stereotypes about people from the area.

And kicking out some pretty killer American Black Metal. Fuck yeah.

– Grulog

Grulog’s Essential Funeral Doom: Slow

Every once in a while, you stumble across a musical act that transcends artistic boundaries. To call people like this musicians alone wouldn’t be fair or accurate – they’re artists in the real sense of the word.

I listen to a fuck-ton (actual measurement) of metal – a bare minimum of 8 hours a day while I’m at work (and then, to mix things up, I listen to metal when I go home) – and I’ll tell you, I can count the number of metal bands who fall into the “artist” category on one hand.

32804673_2102985469988210_2959725941506441216_n

Slow is one of those bands. I’m not here to review any albums – anything worth saying in terms of album reviews has already been done by minds much greater then my own (minds such as Cody motherfuckin Davis of “Metal Injection” and Master of Muppets from “Angry Metal Guy”).

In fact, unless a band approaches me I prefer to focus on the artist and how/why they do what they do. The reader can decide for themselves whether or not to check it out, and enter into the experience without any pre-existing bias.

And for a band like Slow, I feel like anything less would be doing my readers a disservice. This isn’t a “singles” band, this is a “listen to the whole album in one sitting and then contemplate your life” band.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Basics:

3540375410_logo

Band Name: SLOW (Silence Lives Out/Over Whirlpool)
Country of Origin: Belgium
Years Active: 2007-Present
Metal Archives Entry: https://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Slow/3540375410
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/slowdooom
Myspace: https://myspace.com/slowonline
Bandcamp: https://slowdooom.bandcamp.com/
Members: Déhà (Instruments, Vocals), Lore (Lyrics, Concepts, Bass)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Interview:

What is the significance of “Silence Lives Out/Over Whirlpool” (SLOW)

(Déhà) : When I started this project twelve years ago, it was a counter-project for Yhdarl (my other very dark, suicidal-theme band). I wanted something which was metaphorical for what I wanted : a complete drone soundscape (Whirlpool), that is not violent (Silence). Out/Over is the meaning of “it goes everywhere”, if you will. I must admit I was very young at the time, but it still makes sense to me nowadays.

~~~~~~

What made you choose Funeral Doom as the artistic medium for your work in Slow?

(Déhà) : I chose funeral doom because I wanted a way to express feelings that are a bit ‘trippy’, without necessarily being depressive (like album I and II). Starting from III, I was getting a little more influences from death/doom, but I stuck with funeral doom because I simply love this kind of music. There’s nothing more than this.

~~~~~~

Lore did a phenomenal job capturing the essence of the music lyrically with Oceans (enough so that I had difficulty believing more than one person was privy to the project). Even the cadence of the words is perfect. What made you approach her specifically to write lyrics to Oceans?

(Lore) : Thank you.

(Déhà) : Lore did the most perfect job for Oceans. In the beginning, she was just ‘for help’, but after the amount of emotions she put into this album, as well as time and focus, there was no way I could not propose her to join the band. It became so evident to me. Obvious even.
She got it all right at first listen. That’s quite a sign, isn’t it?

~~~~~~

Listening to your work in Slow from Gaia forward there’s definitely a progression in sound, with everything from guitar tone to the application and use of synth. Would you consider that to be due to growth as a musician, access to more and different equipment, a combination of these things, or something else?

(Déhà) : I believe yes, but mainly simply by going further in the music. I & II are, for me, the first “period” of the band (being instrumental and more drone-ish), III & IV are the second period, and starting from V, we have something else. I can’t stress enough the time spent to control my studio (hence production). It’s, I believe, a normal evolution.

~~~~~~

All of your albums with Slow seem to take grand (and universal) archetypes and weave a story into and through them. 

-With Gaia, the synth kind of carried the narritive in place of vocals. 
-With Mythologiæ there’s a progression using mythological (greek, if i’m not mistaken) archetypes to give subconscious form to the journey of an individual.
-With Oceans, the journey/struggle of the individual is at the forefront and the ocean seems to be the metaphor.

My question is: Do you purposefully approach an album from the position of taking a larger theme and weaving a narrative throughout?

(Lore): I can’t speak for the previous albums as I wasn’t involved with the making of them, but with Oceans it was definitely the goal. Music is both very personal and universal – I find it important to find the right balance in that. We both want to express our thoughts and emotions, we want to tell our story, but in a way that the listener is able to understand everything and project these feelings onto himself. Making an awesome album has become almost easy nowadays, but making an album that truly touches people with its story and lingers in the mind is a far greater challenge.

~~~~~~

One constant I’ve noticed on every Slow album is this – there seems to be a thread of hope in all the doom. It manifests itself differently on different albums – on Gaia it was purely the synth, on Mythologiæ it kind of traded back and forth between the guitars and the synth, and on Oceans (interestingly enough) the guitars themselves seemed to carry it.

A lot of Funeral/Death Doom bands seem to focus purely on despair/darkness (which is fucking awesome), and the ones who do try to add that contrast end up sounding cheesy and almost campy. If your albums were a slow moving storm, there’s always a ray of sunlight in the eye. I have to ask, do you add these aesthetic qualities to your music purposefully?

(Déhà) : I believe yes. I like to believe that Slow is mostly narrative, whereas other bands are a simple, crushing smash of despair in the face. Everyone can interpret it in his or her own way. I find Gaïa being insanely positive, for example.

(Lore) : I don’t know… I think it comes naturally rather than we spend a lot of time thinking about and perfecting aesthetics. It is what makes Slow Slow in the first place. Everything is very sincere, it is not merely an image we are trying to create of ourselves. We feel very deeply, both positive and negative feelings, and try to express this in our music. There’s always a spark of light somewhere in the darkness, if you choose to look for it hard enough.

~~~~~~

It seems like, with the advent of the internet, a lot of artists simply write songs until they have enough to fill an album, and then release it. I’m certainly not the first person to notice it, but the “full album” is a disappearing art-form.

With Slow, it seems like your focus is more on writing the album as a whole (musically and conceptually) – where each of the individual pieces is part of a greater narrative and the albums are meant to be listened to in their entirety. Am I imagining this, or is that the case? 


(Déhà)
: This is the case indeed. Every album for Slow, as stated, is narrative and brings forth a story. Gaïa… Well I believe it speaks for itself, as well as Mythologiae and the (definitely greek) content, while Oceans….

(Lore)
: I agree with Deha. We aim to create ‘a whole package’ rather than ‘just an album’ because it gives everyone so much more satisfaction. The songs on Oceans are indeed meant to be listened to as one full song – that way you will truly hear how the story unfolds.

~~~~~~

Is there anything else you’d like readers/listeners to know or to keep in mind in regards to Slow?


(Déhà)
: We are working on album VI right now, which is going to be a little different, but will contain the same crushing doom music. I would dare say that it is be a bit more ‘experimental’.

(Lore)
: That we are very thankful for all the reactions and support we receive from them. Furthermore, what Deha said. We are constructing a small monument as we speak, so keep your eyes and ears wide open.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

So, VI is being recorded as you read this, and Lore is taking over bass duties and arrangements. Fuck yes.

Lorebass

The Bloggers Who Cried Nazi

If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.
– Joseph Goebbels (an actual Nazi)

So, yeah. The “Metal Bubble” of 2016-2017 has popped. We’re over-saturated with mediocre metal by numbers. As such, there’s been a decrease in metal-related news.

Enter Metalsucks.

Due largely to a massive decrease in traffic over the last year or so (see below), Metalsucks seems to have latched onto this new formula where they cry “Nazi” anytime someone from ANTIFA digs something up to stir shit.

metalsucks stats

I think this is also largely due to a bit of a confirmation complex – somewhere along the line in Vince and Axl’s social circles, they associate with a section of the metal community (and probably people outside the metal community) who subscribe to the ideology of the American political left.

After a quick glance at their own words (and their actions) I think it’s safe to say it’s a mildly radicalized faction of the middle to upper class that self identifies as the radical left.

Which is totally cool. I love people who subscribe to extreme ideologies too, I totally get it.

(There’s also the argument that I’ve touched on in other articles, where the large influx of scene tourists from a social class not typically associated with heavy metal have been slowly trying to co-opt black metal (entryism).They’re relatively easy to identify, look for an American “black metal” band that uses the term “post metal” to describe themselves.

Slightly less cool.)

On the bright side – my prediction that 2018 would be the year of black metal was correct. Silver Linings.

I do think they’re victims of a phenomenon we’re all familiar with – an oft-repeated lie becomes the truth in the minds of both the listeners and the speaker.

1

Continue reading “The Bloggers Who Cried Nazi”

Lost in Vegas: The Music Critics Metal Didn’t Know it Needed

First, I need to get something out of the way.

HOLY FUCK LOST IN VEGAS READ MY BLOG, AND TWEETED A LINK TO IT!

Ok, I’m good.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seriously though, I’ve been a fan since they reacted to Megadeth’s “Holy Wars”

Their excitement is infectious, you can see they “get it” right away.

I’m pretty sure every metalhead, to some degree or another, gets a thrill seeing someone who isn’t a fan of the genre experience that level of excitement (as of today that video has over 1 million views).

They’re more of a phenomenon than just a channel, and their incredible popularity in the metal community has spawned some copy-cats in the metal industry (like this entire new segment called “metal reacts only” from Metalsucks) and elsewhere trying to soak up a bit of the limelight. I think there’s even a youtube channel with 2 metalhead dudes reacting to non-metal videos.

Often imitated, never duplicated.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ll probably never get a chance like this again, so I’d like to take a second to recommend a few songs I think Ryan and George might like. Trying to go by genre here, maybe make a poll?

  • Thrash: Testament – “The Pale King” (fan favorites aren’t always the best example of what an artist is capable of, their new album has the production quality you guys seem to prefer) v.s. Metal Church – “Needle and Suture”
  • Power Metal: Unleash the Archers – “Tonight We Ride” or “Awakening” v.s. Blind Guardian – Voice in the Dark”
  • Melodic Death Metal: Soilwork – “Stabbing the Drama” v.s. In Flames – “Trigger” v.s. Solution .45 – “Gravitational Lensing”
  • Black Metal: Immortal – “Sons of Northern Darkness” v.s. Cradle of Filth – “Nymphetamine” (If you guys like getting shit from so called elitists, simply mention Cradle of Filth)
  • Folk Metal: Eluveitie – “Call of the Mountains” or “Inis Mona” v.s. Cellar Darling – “Avalanche”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Make sure you check out more of their reaction videos here, and if you like what you see subscribe to their channel (and their twitter). They’re already over 300,000, and react to videos largely based on viewer recommendations.

Death to all but metal.

Metal Stuff’s 2017 Review: The Year in Metal

The Good

It was a good year for metal releases.

I think the metal community got spoiled after last year’s “metal bubble” and the Thrash revival. Compared to the incredible amount of good music that got dumped on us anything is going to seem lackluster, but 2017 was a good fucking year for heavy music (once you accept that 2016 was a happy fluke).

Metal Stuff Top 15 albums of 2017

15) Suffer in Paradise – Ephemere

Suffer in Paradise - Ephemere

Quality Funeral Doom from Russia, this album was my “October surprise” for 2017. The synth is a little weird at first, but the contrast lends to the overall atmosphere of the album.

 

14) Loss – Horizonless

Loss - Horizonless

I actually didn’t like this album the first time I listened to it. Glad I gave it another chance – guess it’s more of a grower than a shower. Not necessarily a bad thing, albums like that tend to stand the test of time.

 

13) Nortt – Endeligt

Nortt - Endeligt

Holy fuck. This solo Funeral Doom project from Denmark never disappoints. His last album (Galgenfrist) was released 10 years ago, and the decade long wait for the new album was more than worth it. Dark, gloomy, cold, and most importantly heavy as fuck.

 

12) Belphegor – Totenritual

Belphegor = Totenritual

I’ve been stoked for this album since Belphegor released the video for “Totenkult – Exegesis of Deterioration” 2 years ago. Another album that was well worth the wait.

 

 

11) Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis

Akercocke - Renaissance in Extremis

A lot of people didn’t like the clean vocals on the album. I’ll admit, Jason isn’t getting any younger – and time has taken a bit of a toll on his vocal chords. But as a whole, that doesn’t really take away from the album for me. The band is as sharp as they’ve ever been, and while the cleans in some sections seem a bit strained, I almost wonder if that’s intentional – because if you listen to other tracks (like the one below), the cleans are pretty fucking good. I dunno, judge for yourself.

 

10) Tie (Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black and Morbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained)

I couldn’t choose, both bands released some quality material this year (in both cases, also significantly better than the previous release). Straightforward, in your face death metal with no bells or whistles.

 

9) Kreator – Gods of Violence

Kreator_-_Gods_of_Violence

Right on the tail end of the Thrash resurgence, Kreator dropped an excellentalbum that (like most albums released in the first half of the year) seems to have been left out of people’s top albums of the year. Why/How is beyond me, this album is quintessential thrash.

8) Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper

Bell Witch - Mirror Reaper

Probably the Funeral Doom release that received the most hype this year (for good fucking reason), the album has lived up to and surpassed any expectations I had. Mirror Reaper seemed to dance on that “invisible line” in the doom metal spectrum between Funeral Doom and Drone (not a bad thing)

 

7) Eluveitie – Evocation II

Eluveitie-Evocation-II-Pantheon

I know, I know. It’s a fucking acoustic album on a top metal albums of the year list. Since recruiting like 20 new members, it’s cool to see these guys bouncing back stronger than ever.

The band already has a full-on folk metal album in the works, and I’m as excited as a pig in shit. If the entire album holds up to the teaser single below, we’re in for a treat next year.

 

6) Mesmur – S

Mesmur-S

These guys need to cough up some merchandise so I can throw more money at them. This was another album that caught me completely off guard this year. Pure sonic embodiment of despair.

 

5) Funeris – Dismal Shapes

Funeris - Dismal Shapes

Argentinian Funeral Doom mastermind Alejandro Sabransky delivers another masterpiece. This guy just writes riffs that satisfy my addiction to heavy music. Punishingly heavy – this really is an album you need to lay down, turn off the lights, and let wash over you.

 

4) Frowning – Extinct

frowning - extinct

The sophomore release from German solo Funeral Doom act Frowning was one of the two albums I was most excited to hear this year. I’ll tell you something, Val doesn’t disappoint. This is pure Funeral Doom that doesn’t sacrifice the residual aggression and heaviness of Death Doom. I really can’t say enough good about this album, or this artist. This is what Funeral Doom is supposed to sound like.

 

3) Temple of Void – Lords of Death

Temple of Void - Lords of Death

This was the third album that caught me completely off guard and blew me out of the water this year. Dark, crushing riffs – if a “holy shit” level of heavy is what you’re looking for then look no further.

 

2) Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With

DF - Wrong one

This is another album that got a lot of beaming reviews, but failed to make most people’s end of year lists. Odd, considering the hype leading up to the album – and how well the band delivered.

1) Unleash the Archers – Apex

UTA - Apex

Favorite album of the year hands down. Hands fucking down. There’s literally nothing I can say about this album that hasn’t already been said. The musicianship is solid, and they’ve managed to capture that “American Metal” production delivering a crystal clear sonic assault directly to your ears. Brittney Slayes vocal chords are simply amazing, I’m a rather big fan of the layered harmonies on a lot of the songs. Even the concept of the album (yes, I’m a sucker for concept albums) is fucking awesome – a stone giant sleeping in a mountain is summoned by an evil sorceress to gather her sons from around the world so she can sacrifice them and gain immortality – told from the viewpoint of the stone giant. Catchy and fun while undeniably heavy and metallic, this is an album you shouldn’t miss.

Honorable Mentions:

Alestorm – No Grave but the Sea, Pallbearer – Heartless, Septicflesh – Codex Omega, Obituary – Self Titled, Myrkur – Mareridt, Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard, Skyclad – Forward into the Past, Decapitated – Anticult, Suffocation – …of the Dark Light, Code Orange – Forever, Æther Realm – Tarot

The Year of OSDM

As predicted last year, metal moved forward from a year of thrash to a year of old-school death metal. It’s not some ground breaking revelation, that’s the order extreme metal evolved in organically.

Once you accept the fact that everything is cyclical, it makes perfect sense that the next phase of metal releases would include the original death metal pioneers.

I’d say releases by Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Decapitated, Six Feet Under, Suffocation, and Autopsy certainly support my ongoing theory that extreme metal movements will mirror the original evolution of the sub-genres.

At this point I would like to predict a major swath of Black Metal releases next year. Dark Fortress, Isahn, Immortal, Shining, Watain, Dimmu Borgir, and Nachmystium all have material in the studio and are all expected to release albums next year – so we’ll see.

Other cool shit

There’s a new fucking Demons and Wizards album coming out next year. New Eluveitie as well.

Be excited.

Be very excited.

I don’t think there was a single bad Funeral Doom release this year. Obviously, the big story here was Bell Witch’s new album – I think there was better FD released this year, but I gotta hand it to these guys – Mirror Reaper was an excellent fucking album.

 

The Mediocre

There were bands that, by all rights, should have released some groundbreaking fucking material that just decided to coast this year.

Arch Enemy released “War Eternal Part II”, but decided to call it “Will to Power”. For fucks sake, they’ve got Jeff Loomis and this is the best thing they could come up with? Oh, and that thing when Amott said there’d never be clean vocals on an Arch Enemy album? Yeah, that’s gone. Goddamn it. I love every fucking member of this band, which is why I’m probably a little over critical, I just hate to see a super group of this magnitude cashing out so soon.

Empire of Sand by Mastodon was another one that really bugged me. “Show Yourself” was utter garbage.

Also disappointingly mediocre – TBDM, Dragonforce, GWAR, and Trivium.

 

The Bad, the Really Bad, and the Ugly

Shit went down when #rapegate hit heavy metal. Decapitated, Suicide Silence, Inanimate Existence, Twiggy (Marilyn Manson’s guitarist), Anthrax’s old guitarist Dan Spitz, Shining. I’m sure there was more. Oh yeah, Gene Simmons – that one caught me totally off guard.

Deaths:

  • 1/28 – Geoff Nicholls (Black Sabbath)
  • 2/13 – Trish Doan (Kittie)
  • 4/5 – Paul O’Neill (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
  • 5/17 – Chris Cornell (Soundgarden)
  • 7/14 – David Zablidowsky (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
  • 7/20 – Chester Bennington (Linkin Logs Park)
  • 9/22 – Eric Eycke (Corrosion of Conformity)
  • 10/21 – Martin Eric Ain (Celtic Frost)
  • 10/22 – Daisy Berkowitz (Marilyn Manson)
  • 11/1 – Scott Wily (Vital Remains)
  • 11/7 – Whitey Glan (Alice Cooper)
  • 11/9 – Chuck Mosley (Faith No More)
  • 12/13 – Warrel fucking Dane (Sanctuary, Nevermore)

 

Black Sabbath disbanded too.

So yeah, there’s all of that. I probably missed something.

Weird fucking year.

 

Warrel Dane (Nevermore/Sanctuary) Dies unexpectedly at 56

*update* apparently, the initial mistake in Dane’s age was made by BOL, who has corrected the error.

OS correction

The web address of the post shows the initial mistake. Apparently this is due to a conflict of information on Wikipedia, where his birth is listed both as 1969 and 1961, but only sourced for 1961

wikipedia48wikipedia61

 

The news broke out this morning (via Brazilian news outlet BOL) that legendary metal singer Warrel Dane died of a heart attack at the age of 56 (some sites are reporting he was 48, ). The singer passed in his sleep in a hotel room in Brazil, where he was recording his second solo album.

WD1

The guitarist for Sanctuary (Johnny Moraes) stated that Dane started feeling out of sorts around midnight (the singer’s health was already frail due to a combination of diabetes and alcoholism), and when the heart attack they began doing cardiac massage (guessing that’s a bad translation from Portuguese, and they were really doing CPR). Paramedics were called, but Dane was gone before they arrived.

Warrel-Dane-Curitiba-abr-2015-por-Clovis-Roman-DSC_0000-290x290

Admittedly, he wasn’t looking that good lately. I’m guessing Diabetes and alcoholism don’t mix well with staying in Brazil (an area famous for, among other things, it’s delicious sugarcane rum and wild parties).

Holy fuck.

This one hits pretty hard.

The guy had some strange combination of mercury and molten steel running through his veins. Seriously though, he wasn’t just a metalhead – he was a metalhead’s metalhead. That’s about the highest praise I can give someone.

I’d try to put together a greatest hits compilation, but for fucks sake it would include every goddamn song he ever put out. The guy left more excellence coiled in porcelain in the morning than most people exude in their entire lifetime. Seriously.

His vocal ability was eclipsed only by his ability to pen lyrics – the man was a poet.

Fuck, they had just finished the instrumentals for the new Sanctuary album and were getting ready to record vocals. Not to mention gearing up for a tour with Iced Earth to promote it.

Metal lost a legend today. He never compromised, never bowed to trends, and never sold out.

Rest in Peace, Voyager.

centurymediaofficial

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑