Archive for the death metal Category

Cryptopsy – “Once Was Not”

Posted in album review, cryptopsy, death metal, experimental, technical metal, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 26, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

Perhaps it’s a worn topic by now.  Cryptopsy’s surprising foray into trendy deathcore simplicity threw their fans, and most of the extreme metal community, for a loop.  Their pseudo goth/bondage attire and feau-hawks, though appalling, served as the perfect compliment to their new-found bitchy attitudes and staunch assurance that deathcore was their new genre of choice.  Now, I have this idea.  Maybe I should say, a hope.  A hope that their latest musical output, The Unspoken King, is nothing more than an elaborate hoax, meant as a parody to the recent surge of so-called heavy and brutal deathcore bands.  For, how could a band that had just released Once Was Not, one of the most exhausting yet ultimately beautiful death metal albums, spit out this simple garbage?  Every time I listen to Once Was Not, I’m forced to ponder this baffling phenomenon.

Once Was Not is not without its detractors though, something else that I can never quite understand.  Being that extreme metal is such a revolt against typical music, it is surprising to see this album continuously lambasted for its experimental nature.  To recreate another Blasphemy Made Flesh or None So Vile would be a disgrace to those albums and is always behavior typical of a band that is burning out (Immortal, I’m looking at you!).  Though, based on many of the critical responses for this album, it seems that people wanted and expected this, especially given Lord Worm’s triumphant return as vocalist.  To me, Once Was Not is the necessary evolution of Cryptopsy, capturing the brutality of their older works while instilling a greater sense of scale and complexity.

The overarching theme of war is both sonically and lyrically conveyed without fail.  Their use of unorthodox sounds and composition, while the butt of most criticism, are probably the most integral characteristics to this album’s believability as a testament to war.  How else should war’s unpredictable and chaotic nature be conveyed than by instrumentation set to the same tune?  Starting with the framework of death metal, Cryptopsy takes the genre’s staple characteristics – blast beats, growled vocals, heavily distorted guitars – and re-imagines them into the context of the album.  Riffs are highly unique for death metal, conveying anything from impending doom (“Angelskingarden”) to contemplativeness (“The Pestilence That Walketh in Darkness”).  Flo’s drumming is at it’s best, working alongside the guitars with unyielding complexity. Meanwhile, Lord Worm’s raspy snarls are in top-form as he narrates the various atrocities and eventually forces the listener to grasp the utter horror that results from war.  Perhaps the most perfect symbiosis of music, lyrics, and consequent imagery comes with the final track “Endless Cemetary.” We are presented with the end of a battle, perhaps even the war itself:

“Cold blue lips frame (a) yard-wide grin
that Calls to flesh, to let it in,
and thus indulge its Yearning
come the unDawn

Roam the endless Cemetary of what once was,
(where) the Allfeeling is never truly Gone”

As if he were speaking from the cold and blue lips of Death itself, Lord Worm changes his vocals to a shrill, black metal shriek after the music builds in order to deliver his final, horrible message:  Ultimately, Death has won.  Just as he finishes screaming, the music immediately ends, with this abruptness being yet another reminder of the randomness of death in a war environment.  In effect, we’ve become another member of the endless cemetery, experiencing the suddenness of death in musical form.

Maybe in retrospect, after the horror of The Unspoken King, some of Once Was Not’s harshest critics can look back and see this experimental and technical Cryptopsy in a new light.  Here we see a band that set out to tackle the worn topic of war in a holistic approach, embodying the topic’s spirit both in concept and in sound.  Rather than the “experimentation” that occurred on The Unspoken King, Once Was Not actually pushes the boundaries of death metal.  Not through implementing trendy pig squeals and slower Korn-esque songs, but with immensely difficult and complex songs that force the listener to dig deeper in every consecutive listen to fully appreciate them.  Here’s to hoping that the next Cryptopsy album follows in this fashion!

Max

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Bloodbath – “The Wacken Carnage” review

Posted in Bloodbath, death metal, DVD review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

Playing at the biggest venue in metal, Wacken Open Air, is a fantastic accomplishment that many bands can only fathom. To perform for nearly 70,000 roaring metalheads in your first live gig is truly a unique achievement which few bands can claim. Swedish death metal outfit Bloodbath is no ordinary band however. Touted as a conglomeration of death metal elite, Bloodbath lives up to the reputation. The live band consists of drummer Martin Axenrot (Opeth, ex-Witchery), bassist Jonas Renske (Katatonia), lead guitarist Anders Nyström (Diabolical Masquerade), vocalist Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth), and guitarist/vocalist/drummer/microphone technician/costume designer/all-around-badass Dan Swanö (Edge of Sanity, Pan.Thy.Monium, Katatonia).

To commemorate their first, and reportedly last, concert, Bloodbath released a DVD entitled The Wacken Carnage. The DVD features a handful of tracks from each of their previous releases, including several from their debut EP, Breeding Death. Without hesitation, Bloodbath opens the concert immediately bringing forth vivid memories of old school death metal bands such as Entombed, Dismember, and Suffocation. Akerfeldt makes this ode to old school death metal apparent when describing the goals and aspirations of Bloodbath. ‘Brave New Hell’ starts off with a classic drop beat on drums, which the band affectionately calls the “Stockholm Beat,” and ‘Furnace Funeral’ contains a rendition of Entombed’s ‘Left Hand Path’ guitar solo.

Fans of Åkerfeldt in Opeth must be forewarned, for Åkerfeldt drops the guise of a tender-hearted proghead; instead, he sounds as if he came straight from hell on a demonic mission. While not overly adventurous, the instrumentation on the DVD is accurate, aggressive, and blends perfectly with Mikael’s demonic vocals. Tremolo picking and blast beats are plentiful, but not overused. Renske on bass is barely audible at times, but this does not necessarily hurt the overall quality of the performance.

The latter half of the album contains the most important tracks, those which truly display Bloodbath’s passion and knack for creating top-notch death metal. ‘Bastard Son of God,’ a blazingly fast track which forces me to headbang, showcases Bloodbath’s songwriting talent. The scream issued by Swanö and Åkerfeldt before the last chorus of the song ranks as one of my favorite moments in metal. ‘Breeding Death,’ although over a decade old, is still fantastically vicious, with both gut-wrenching passages of brutality and inviting melodic lines. The encore, ‘Eaten,’ is a very appropriate way for the bloodstained band to end their set. Inspired by the infamous case of internet cannibalism (Google: Armin Meiwes), ‘Eaten’ is clearly the fan favorite, and rightfully so. The track is simply a wrecking ball, nothing too technical, but devastating nonetheless.

Most songs on the DVD seem to present as a combination of Dismember’s Like an Everflowing Stream and Entombed’s Clandestine with less emphasis on lead guitar. While Bloodbath is clearly trying to reminisce and pay homage to the Swedish bands that produced classic death metal, they create a unique, memorable sound via precise and passionate musicianship.

-Matt

Two Reviews

Posted in black metal, death metal, metal reviews, Skeletonwitch, Witchaven with tags , , , , , , on June 2, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

Kratornas – The Corroding Age of Wounds

I was taken aback when I first started listening to The Corroding Age of Wounds. It felt kind of like I was being attacked. Not by some person or animal, but by pure, sonic rage. Suffice to say, Kratornas, manned by Bruno Zamora, takes the “more kvlt than thou” attitude to a whole new level. In its own right, this is impressive, though the song writing itself could have used a bit more work, as the eight-track album felt like one single track pummeling. Despite a lack of distinguishable songs, the frenzied, bombastic drums, wretched vocals, and surprisingly conservative guitar work on this fifty-minute evisceration do not let up once!

According to Kratornas’ Myspace page, the root of Bruno Zamora’s rage stems from “Self-Praised Pvrists, Primitive Monkeys, Trendy Clones, Sub-Human Kvltists, and Elitist Squatters who think their opinion matters.” I would argue that The Corroding Age of Wounds would serve as the perfect soundtrack to the frantic decimation of these persons. If you have an unending hatred for the above individuals definitely buy this album. If you are one of those individuals all I can say to you is “run.” [Editor’s Note: Click on this link if you would like to know more about Kratornas: http://www.kratornas.com]

– Cameron

Witchaven – Terrorstorm

With the popularity of bands such as Skeletonwitch, it comes with no surprise that there are and will be band clones. Enter Witchaven and their premiere effort, Terrorstorm. While Witchaven could easily pass as a significantly less commercial Skeletonwitch, excluding some hardcore influence, this is by no means a bad thing. Within the delightful genre of blackened trash, bands like Skeletonwitch, and Witchaven, exude an indescribable “live show” presence within their recordings, in that their records are void of superficiality. While some of the tracks on Terrorstorm shine brighter than others, like “Black Thrash Assault” and “Ardent Lust,” the stand out track is “Absolute Profit,” with a chugging intro reminiscent of Motorhead and a fantastic chorus that would go great with any cheap beer.

While not particularly memorable, Terrorstorm does induce a healthy dose of head banging and beer chugging. The most important aspect of this opus is that it does not overstay it’s welcome, which is a problem some blackened/death ‘n’ thrash bands have (e.g. Blood Tsunami). If you are an appreciator of blackened thrash, this album is for you.

– Cameron

Metal Songs That Make Me Lose My Mind (Part 1)

Posted in Absu, avant-garde, black metal, death metal, Drudkh, Equilibrium, folk metal, Mayhem, Suffocation, viking metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

Everyone knows the feeling.  You know…that feeling when a song just clicks.  You get a rush of adrenaline, a shiver runs up your spine, and little goose pumplets form on your skin.  From that moment on, that song will always make you want to sprout wings and soar above everything or unsheathe a weapon and lay waste to all evil fiends in your path.  Nearly uncontrollable energy is bursting from the aura surrounding your body.  Well, I personally cherish the moments when a song can elicit these powerful emotions.  Thusly, I present you with a collection of songs that truly make me lose my mind.  (As an aside, I limited it to one song per artist.  I also included the specific time in the song that gets me excited/turned on.)

Absu – The Coming of War

The Sun of Tiphareth is an odd album in the Absu discography.  It marked a departure from the death metal sound of their prior album and early demos in favor of slower, epic black metal.  Immediately after The Sun of Tiphareth, Absu added a thrash element to their albums.  While they were able to execute this black/thrash sound in a most excellent fashion (Tara…holy shit…), the sheer quality of this release makes me wish they would return to the slower sound for at least a song or two.  I’ll always remember Absu playing “The Coming of War” as the finale to their set when I saw them play live.  Despite the sound being utter ASS in that venue, the ridiculously epic riff broke through and made me a fan of this track.  My favorite Absu song?  Perhaps.  “She Cries the Quiet Lake” and “Night Fire Canonization” provide some competition, but it’s definitely up there.

Moment in particular: 2:44-4:13

Suffocation – Effigy of the Forgotten


I don’t gravitate towards death metal all that often.  However, when I’m feeling the need, I usually order up some tech-death.  Suffocation wholly fulfills my tech desires with their seminal Effigy of the Forgotten album.  While the album is full of moments that blow me away, it is the tempo/riff change during the title track that wins out in the end.

Moment in particular: 1:23-1:58

Mayhem – Key to the Storms


Does Ordo Ad Chao stack up to De Mysteriis or Deathcrush?  Many say no, but I wholly disagree. De Mysteriis perfectly captures the atmosphere and the madness of the Norwegian black metal scene and consequently, has been one of the most lauded black metal albums of all time.  Mayhem made the correct decision though and moved forward.  Every consecutive album was an entirely new creation that built upon their established formula and took risks.  And now Ordo Ad Chao, arguably their most disturbing album and the first to feature Attila Csihar since De Mysteriis.  The songs have a raw, improvisational feel that is executed flawlessly.  Whether it be the surprisingly technical drumming, the avant-garde riffs, or the unsettling vocal performance by Atilla, I always find myself consumed by this album’s sound, time and time again.  “Key To The Storms” contains some of the most profound moments of sheer madness and raw emotion that I’ve experienced in any album.  Perhaps some may find Attila’s descent into insanity during the latter half of the track silly.  I do not…  In fact, I find it believable and therefore all the more unnerving.

Moment In particular: 1:57-end

Equilibrium -Des Sängers Fluch

While Equilibrium’s first album Turis Fratyr maintained a delicate balance between creating epic melodies and crafting a beautiful atmosphere, Sagas focused way too much on usurping the already perfect epic vibe of Turis Fratyr.  The result was a whole lot of sugary sweet and familiar folk metal melodies that sounded overblown and consequently, ruined the awesome vibe that could have been created.  That being said, I cannot deny some truly epic moments hidden within.  “Prolog Auf Erden” always sends chills down my spine and the single off the album “Blut Im Auge,” is undeniably catchy.  However “Des Sängers Fluch” is probably the only song on the album that recreates the atmosphere of their first album.  Brilliantly paced, the song takes its time building up to the various explosive, high-energy moments.  And, oh my…they are beautiful.

Moments in particular: 3:37-4:36, 7:08-end

Drudkh – Sunwheel

I believe an explanation of my recurring fantasy with Drudkh will help explain my love for this song.  Whenever listening to Autumn Aurora, Drudkh’s second full-length, I imagine myself experiencing them live in concert.  I’m standing near the stage outdoors, the band and the crowd is surrounded by nature, the skies are grey but sunlight is shining through a hole in the clouds, there is a light rain and the air is warm.  Let me tell you…If I were to experience this in real life, my body would cease to function because of the overload of positive stimulus.  To have the full effect though, they would have to be playing “Sunwheel,” my favorite track off Autumn Aurora.  The riff that breaks through about a quarter of the way though, as well as the ensuing guitar solo, are legendary.  These evoke a feeling of pride and happiness in me that is insurmountable.

Moment in particular: 2:29 – 4:03

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3.  Coming soon!

-Max

Acheron (RIP) – Interview

Posted in Acheron, death metal, interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

In light of Acheron’s recent break-up, we have decided to reprint the interview we performed with them last year.  Formed in 1988, Acheron has been a seminal act within the death metal scene.  Acheron was known for their outspoken Satanism and their no-bullshit approach to the death metal sound.  A farewell tour has been announced, though.  So, don’t miss your chance to see them live!  And without further adieu, here is the interview in its entirety.  RIP ACHERON

Members of the Pantheon crew (Max, Adam, and Ryan) interviewed Vincent Crowley and Kyle Severn of the legendary death metal band Acheron this past November at their show in Madison with Cardiac Arrest and Myiasis. Transcribed from audio interview.


M: I heard that your new album The Final Conflict – Last Days of God is a concept album. What’s the basic story or message behind the album?  And have you ever done a concept album before?

V: Basically, it’s about a new age where all the major religions, which we call the holy trinity – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity – have been in control for so long.  We try to show their true hypocrisy. And there’s a secret society which has throughout the years been keeping [opposition] at bay to [consolidate their power]. So they feel it’s time to just let [the other religions] fight amongst themselves and get rid of them in a lower arena.

We’ve done a concept before.  The first album we did was called The Rites of the Black Mass and that was of the actual black mass. We also did an album called Those Who Have Risen which is concept of the group called Hekal Tiamat which is a temple of the vampire. It explains what vampirism stems from.

A: What were your primary influences for this concept?  I mean, it’s a pretty epic concept…what did you draw from to come up with this idea and put it all down?

(Some talking between Vincent/Kyle)…Life!  Everything around us.

V: I actually started writing some of the songs 10 years ago after the Those Who Have Risen album.  And I just felt the tension, ya know?  We kinda put this on the backburner and I moved up to Columbus.  And then, when 9/11 hit, it was like…wow, I should’ve put this album out a couple years ago!  And that’s kinda the basis of that.  When 9/11 came along, how many people really even looked and saw people who were Islamic around very much?  You very rarely would see that.  Now it’s like, every street corner. It’s almost funny because I think people are so politically correct that they don’t want to associate Islam with the “bad” Islam.  The fact is, religion is poisonous.  And we let it poison us.

K: …uh…Yeah! (everyone laughs) We did a big interview for a DVD recently and that’s become somewhat of a dumb joke between us.  He (Vincent) goes off on something then it goes to me and I’m just like…”yeah.”  It’s like, what else do I say, you know?  (Laughs)

M: For your new album, the cover has this creature on it. What is that, a Cerberus? Is there some symbolism in that?

V: Yeah, absolutely. The three-headed wolf is the beast that destroys the religions.  If you notice on the cover, each head has a collar with the religious symbol around it and there’s an “X” through each one.  The 6’s on the head represent the beast destroying it.  The Cerberus… it’s ironic, we weren’t going for that. It’s ironic with Acheron being a Greek mythological region. But, it just fits.  It works real well.

K: (pause)…Uh…yep.. (everyone laughs)

M: I noticed your first 4 albums have an intro every track.  What was the reasoning behind that and why have you stopped doing that?

V: The original reasoning behind the intros was to get that ritualistic feeling and the atmosphere. But the fact is, a lot of metalheads want the meat right away.  They want the punch in the face.  So, even though I wanted to get the occult feel to it, we thought okay, we did this for 10 years…let’s do something else.

K:  We also didn’t want to change the style except to bring a little more agressiveness. After we did the Wolfen Society side project, which just kinda balls-out/in your face, we wanted to make the band more “meat and potatoes,” thrashy, aggressive. That’s more of my style.  I don’t play all that fancy drum shit.

V: (laughs) He does, he just won’t admit it. If you just listen to the new style, we have a lot of elements from the past albums. We have sporadically added keys. The first decade was more of the ritualistic part of Acheron, this is more of the philosophy: the more Satanic, in-your-face lifestyle.

A: You guys took 6 years between albums. What was going on in those 6 years that made you decide to release the album after all that time?

V: (to Kyle) You can answer this.  I hate talking about record labels…

K: There was no plan to take that long of a break. Black Lotus had us for 3 records. When we did Rebirth we already had around 75% of The Final Conflict written and done. Then Black Lotus had problems and they folded.  They didn’t tell us right away.  And finally they’re like “well, we’re done, we’re not a label anymore” and we’re like fuck, you know?  Now we gotta search. Nobody was interested. We weren’t asking for a ton of money.  But, we need the recording costs taken care of and expenses and whatnot. And nobody was willing to fork out any money. This is right at the time the digital shit was hittin’ real hard and record labels were taking a hit. It wasn’t til we were like, well let’s just demo it and shop it around. That sparked some interest. That showed the style that we were going for. I think the demo did its job. We did get kinda lazy, but I mean we got discouraged a little bit. We think Rebirth was a good record and it didn’t have any US distribution.

M:  None??

K:  Naw, not like it was supposed to. Black Lotus was going under; we didn’t know that, so everything just started funneling out. We tried to get on some tours and properly do the touring for it. We went to Poland for that record but really minimal stuff. It was just kind of a bummer. And I was real busy with Incantation, you know, shit I was doing Funerus at the time too. It’s just we wanted to do it, but not go out and lose our asses. We’re not a new band that can afford to go out and do that.  I’m not doing that for free.

V:  In the end, it paid off because we were more pissed.  (laughs) We went in there, we had the right attitude, we had a label…

M: So, you could kind of fuse that anger into the album?

V: Yeah absolutely. It’s funny, people listen to Rebirth and then the new album and people say “wow, I like this new one better!”  And Kyle and I think Rebirth is a good album, too!  But there’s just something about this new one that punches you in the face. Maybe it was taking a little bit of time and not letting the industry dilute what we really thought about the metal scene.

M:  So you mentioned that you didn’t have any US distribution. This is interesting considering that you’re a US band.  Do you find that you have a better audience, especially live, overseas than you do here?

V:  Absolutely. You find our stuff in obscure mom and pop places or catalogs. It’s hard to get that push in the states. Most of us have always been bigger in Europe and other countries.

K:  This record should help close that gap between now and the next record. This record was released on Displeased… come to find out they don’t really have US distribution either. So, we think ok, your album sells the most in the first 30 days after release, even in the first three months and it’s like fuck, there’s no US sales. And when we’re getting tons of mail from people saying that they’ve gotta pay an outrageous import price to get it from Displeased, we can’t have this again.

V: We purposely talked to Ibex Moon about doing a license deal and we’re sweetening the package. I mean, our fans are gonna get a cheap price for a lot of stuff.  I think that really shows that we’re not doing this for a bunch of money. We’re trying to get it out to our people. We’re trying to do it so we can go do tours. Bookers at clubs want to see it in stores. Plain and simple.

K: Being that Ibex has a good US distribution, we figured that’s what we need to get it out there. So like you said, to sweeten the deal we went ahead and shot a video and we added over an hour’s worth of video footage on the making of the record. Everything from in the studio and then some interview stuff.  We threw in some live shows that we did from Brazil too.  That’ll be available for the first 1000 pressings. The preorder is on the 10th of November and the release date is the 23rd.  But we’re working on doing some full tours, just trying to do some long weekends and hitting some festivals.

V: We really need to get the fans to be proactive. They gotta start talking to the magazines, they gotta start talking to the clubs and saying they want us.  We played Chicago last night and I talked to a lot of people that were like “Why have you never been here? We want you to come”.  Well, you’ve gotta tell people you want us to come.  It has to be the whole support system like it was back in the day. Morbid Angel and Napalm Death…they didn’t just become as big as they were due to nothing.  It was a very close-knit network of people in the scene that didn’t do it for money, they did it because they love metal. We have to bring that back.

K: And the bands gotta work together. Cardiac Arrest is doing these dates with us and they’re fucking good guys.

M: Yeah, they sound damn good!

(Unbeknownst to the interviewers, the drummer for Cardiac Arrest has been sitting behind us.)

V: The drummer is very sexy. (everyone laughs)

K: Oh yeah, look at that sexy guy.  And he loves Jesus!  (he’s wearing an “I love Jesus” shirt).

M: I’m pretty young.  How is the scene back then compared to how it is now?  Is it a lot shittier now?

V: When we liked a band and wanted to get in touch with them, we had to physically write them.  If you liked a European band, you had to write a letter, send it, and wait for a response. If someone wrote you, you had to give them all of your information.  It became more of a personal thing.  It wasn’t just “buy our cd.”  Where now, it’s like you could communicate with us, but it’s more like “I can talk to this guy in a second.”  There’s no personal touch to things anymore.  To this day, if a band comes out with something, I want the cd.  I want the lyrics.  I want the photos.  Now we get fans going, “the album rules! we downloaded it for free!” (everyone laughs) It’s like ”uh, thanks man!”  I understand people are low on money and stuff.  But every cd that you don’t buy that you like, there’s the chance that that band won’t record again because the label will say “you’re not selling albums, you’re not gonna do another album”  I’m not saying you shouldn’t check it out and see if you like it, but if you do, buy it!  If you really like it then support those bands.  Because this ain’t no money making machine, its something that you do from the heart.  We’d rather play in front of 20 hardcore fans than a bunch of trendy guys that don’t even know who the hell we are.  Sometimes that’s hard to do.

K: But at the same time, I love playing for new kids who don’t know who the hell we are though too and then they end up liking us.

M: To kinda transform their taste?

K: Yeah, it’s what every band shoots for.

 

V: We played in Columbus recently and we see these young kids doing some “kung fu theatre” and it’s like what the hell’s going on here? (everyone laughs)  And it’s like, well they’re getting into it so whatever.  And we got the one’s on the side who are just watching and its like “as long you guys don’t fight each other and just watch the show, it’s cool.”

K: I guess to answer your question, the scene goes in circles through different eras.  I mean, we’re talking when the band started in the late 80s, that’s 20 years ago.  A lot has changed over the times.  I didn’t even start playing until the early 90s, 91/92 myself and that’s when death metal was really friggin big.  All the Swedish bands were getting super popular, the bands from the new york/new jersey area, and all the florida death metal scene.  It was just friggin huge.  It was just a wave from everywhere.  It was really strong until the mid to later 90s and then the black metal trend kinda came in, still a big scene, but it hurt the death metal scene a little bit.  Then you get in the 2000s and it seems like its gonna come back and its still not bad.  I really think people are fucking lazy sitting in front of the computer.  I personally think too many people are sitting around jerking off to porn.

V: Hey!  There’s a time and a place!  (everyone laughs)

K:  Well, wait till you come home from the show or something.  At least go out and try to get laid and maybe pick up a metal chick.  We know there’s probably not chicks but at least try you know.  (everyone laughs).  That’s the thing, incentive is out the fucking window.

V: There just needs to be a unity.  There needs to be support for this music.  And the fact is that years ago, people listened to our type of stuff.  And they were like, this shit is intense, this is like bizarre, this is over the top.   It’s not like we’re playing Winger and all of a sudden, 20 years later, they’re going “God, theyr’e wusses over here.”  We can still stand up next to these new guys.  It’s not like we’re not hitting everyone in the face just like everyone else is.  And I don’t mind the newer bands, I just don’t like trends.  I don’t like it when one sound comes out and 15 bands are just the same thing.  That’s just what I don’t like. But if you like metal, you like fucking metal, go out and go to the shows, you know?

A:  I know it’s kinda early and the album just came out, but is there anything in the works yet?  Do you guys know what your plans are for the next year/two years.

V: Well, I’m going to India and I’m gonna help out the homeless people…  (he and everyone laughs).  Did you actually believe that?  No, we’re actually working on new stuff right now.  Our goal is….sometime next year?

K: Well, we have touring plans for the spring of next year.  There’s a possible European tour in Feb/March and a states tour after that.  So, we really hope that happens.  We have been writing new stuff and we have a few new things.  It would really be nice to at least be demoing a good portion of the record by summertime of next year.  To get in the studio in the fall, we’d really have to be busy writing over the summer.  It could be possible to do a Spring release.  If we could at least get a Fall of 2011 release, we’d have to record early in that year or the end of next year.  But we need to set a goal and be like okay, this is our deadline.  We don’t really work like that, but we don’t want to waste the years.

V:  There will not be a 6 year wait.

K: Yeah, that’s for sure.  I mean we already got a few tunes and Vince has got a lot of riffs.  I’ve just been busy with a lot of stuff.  We just don’t get to practice that often.  But when we do, we try to make the most of it.

M: Concerning your side project, Wolfen Society, I noticed you haven’t released anything in that for 8 years or something.  And it says on Metal Archives that it’s still active.  Is that true?  Do you guys have any plans to continue with that at all?

V:  We’ve been talking about this for 10 years.  You know, Ahriman is doing Dark Funeral.  He’s been busy.  And Ricktor, our guitar player, is in prison right now.  (laughs)  He’ll be out in 6 months.  Actually, right before he went in he told me, “when I get out, we gotta do the new Wolfen Society!”  Would we do it again? I’d be up for it.  But we’ve been saying that for the last…6 years on and off.  I don’t see it happening, but who knows?

K:  It’s gonna take the initiative for those guys to really step up because there’s a lot of talk.  The only reason it happened in the first place is because of Vince.  Vince contacted everybody.  We were all into it, the timing worked out.  And we made it happen.  Stuff was already written for the most part.  You know, with Ahriman, Ricktor and Thomas, those guys just added their own personal touches.  But the structures, me and Vince got down.  We just feel if we did it again and we wrote the structures, it would just sound like Acheron.  You know, at one point, some tracks on the latest record were originally meant to be Wolfen Societys songs.  Until we realized that was kinda the direction we want Acheron to go.  So, if we do a new Wolfen album, we want some riffs, some structures from Ahriman.  It’d be friggin great because I’d like to hear something not black metal written by him, something that would fit more with Wolfen.  Wolfen is more death metal I  guess.

V: Ahriman is a death metal fan. He’s not like one of these black metal people who only listen to black metal.

K:  But, he really contributed good with his black metal style of playing.  It was really cool the way he added it over the stuff that Vince wrote.  So really, I just need him to write something and send it to us.

V: I guess the best thing to say is it ain’t going to be the same EP we did.  It’s going to be a whole different thing.

K: Yeah, it’s a project.  We’ll make whatever the hell we want.  If we wanted to come out with a friggin country album…little Johnny Rebel or something.  (everyone laughs)  It would be cool, but will it happen?  Probably not?  I’m down for it.  I know Vince is down for it, but Ahriman’s in Sweden.

M:  Yeah, I was just going to ask how it was working with a guy from Sweden.

K: He flew over and stayed with us a couple times, same with Tommy.  We all just put our own money and time into it, just to get together.  We’re all friends.  It was cool.

V:  Riktor and Tommy, they’re in the hellfire club.  They’re from Wisconsin, originally.  So, they had a trip too.  Its not like it was down the street, it took a lot of effort just to do that little EP.

V: And with the budget labels give nowadays…

K:  Unless we could hook up something with Regain.  I mean, they’re dishing out some money.  Throw us some airfare and studio costs, and we’ll take care of everything else.  Screw it, fly me to Sweden, I’ll take a vacation.

M:  What are you guys listening to, out of curiosity?

K: The Born again demos.  Black Sabbath, born again.  Unreleased track and the unmixed versions of that record.  That’s what we were listening to on the way here today.  Love that shit.

I just listen to everything I grew up on.  We listen to a variety of stuff, old school rock and roll, heavy metal.  ZZ top…

V:  I like everything from death metal to classical to southern rock, which Kyle loves me playing.  Old school outlaw country we love that.

M:  You guys fans of Bathory at all?

V: Oh yeah, of course.  Bands like Bathory, Celtic Frost, Destruction, Kreator, Sodom, Hellhammer, that’s what I grew up on.  Venom was like the whole beginning of everything for me.  Death, I still listen to them just as much as I did back when I was a kid.

M: That just reminded me, didn’t Richard Christy drum for you guys at one point?

V: He played on an album actually. He played on our ‘Antigod, Antichrist’ album.

M: Have you been keeping up with his Howard Stern things?

K: We talk to him.

V: Yeah, not saying we approve…(laughs)

K: Myself, I’ve personally known Richard for a long long time, back when he lived in Springfield, Missouri.  It’s just cool that he’s doing what he wants to do.  Back then he was living in his warehouse playing in Public Assassin.  Then he made the move to Florida, jammed with Acheron, and jammed with a bunch of bands.  Then he got Death and then he kept progressing and he always did little movie skits.  Always was into those parodies, and he loved doing that shit.

V:  One thing about Richard, too, I have to tell this story…this is a classic story.  He is so down to earth, the nicest guy, and he’s a brutal drummer.  We did a tour with Dark Funeral in Mexico.  He’s going to love that I’m telling this…what he does on Howard Stern ain’t gonna match it.  I was in the back with the Dark Funeral guys and he was up with the keyboardist at the time, Aaron, and they’re talking.  We were all just talking in the back, drinking and shit.  Richard just stands up and goes, “Well its official!” And we’re like, “What Richard?”  And he goes “I just shit my pants!”  Ahriman goes “Is he joking?” [Richard’s] like “I thought I was gonna fart, but it came out all mushy.”  That tells you Richard in a nutshell.

M:  I think that’s a pretty good ending right there!  Thanks a lot guys.

V:  Buy the album!

http://www.myspace.com/acheron

Two Mini Reviews

Posted in black metal, death metal, immolation, metal reviews, satyricon with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

Satyricon – The Age of Nero

Satyricon’s latest release, The Age of Nero, presents a solid take on modern blackened metal. From the lo-fi black metal of their early work, Satyricon has adopted a more rock beat and clean sound. Although a continuation of Satyricon’s departure from the growling discordance of pure black metal, The Age of Nero nonetheless presents a decent piece of Norwegian metal.

The album opens with “Commando”, a pulsing, chugging song that holds strong but fails to especially impress. Get past this somewhat weak opening and you’ll find some excellent metal to be had on this album. “The Wolfpack,” “Die By My Hand,” and “Black Crow on a Tombstone” show Frost’s drumming ability, throwing out a heavy, fast beat reminiscent of early Satyricon and Gorgoroth. Satyr strums out a solid cascade of guitar riffing, cranking the music into epic swells and falls. With “My Skin is Cold,” the duo presents a taste of a more traditional melancholy, a feel of something a bit more black. The medieval vibes of earlier works come into play strongly in “The Sign of the Trident” and “Den Siste,” echoing the rhythmic feel of “Angstridden” and other older work.

Though by no means a return to old school black metal, Satyricon has produced a respectable piece of metal in a vein entirely their own. They play with a more marketable, cleaner sound to be sure- but nonetheless put forth a potent piece of very heavy music.  The Age of Nero is above all else a solid, well-wrought album, a redemption from the lows of Now, Diabolical that hearkens to roots and affirms Satyricon’s place in the continuing evolution of metal. -Reis Galvan

Immolation – Majesty and Decay

This was my first foray into all things “Immolated” and I have to say I’m impressed. My initial vibe from this band was a subtle mix of Domination-era Morbid Angel (i.e. “Where the Slime Live”) and Celtic Frost, though I’m certain their influences run closer to the latter. After a prerequisite atmospheric intro track, “The Purge” produces some of the best lyrical/ vocal offerings I’ve heard since Death’s “Living Monstrosity.” Seriously, check this shit out: “ More and more, / growing and growing / Spreading and spreading, / taking and ruining / The CANCER is growing, / the CANCER is spreading.” If that’s not enough for you, “A Token of Malice” and “Majesty and Decay” absolutely kill due to an astonishing amount of   guitar-induced metallic oppression. This album is definitely worth checking out.-Cameron Davis

Blessed Are The Sick

Posted in Cynic, death metal, Meshuggah, progressive metal, technical metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2010 by GRAMPS Pantheon

The goal of Pantheon Magazine is to provide you, the music-listening hordes, with literary nourishment. With this goal in mind this article will discuss two bands who exemplify all things prog and metal…

-Cameron Davis

Meshuggah – “Chaosphere”

Highlights:

“The Mouth Licking What You’ve Bled”

“New Millennium Cyanide Christ”

“Sane”

The Prog:

The bass-heavy, polyrhythmic grooves presented in the album are reminiscent of funk and the guitar solos come straight from jazz.

The Metal:

The album is a testament to the delicate art of “head banging.”

A Mandatory Listen? NO

Chaosphere is an amazing album, but it is by no means a perfect one. Though the rhythms are mind blowing and the vocals are beyond perfection, some songs fall short. The final track “Elastic” includes an eight minute period of pure static which, in my opinion, deters from the general aesthetic of the opus.

Cynic – “Focus”

Highlights:

“Veil of Maya”

“Celestial Voyage”

“I’m But A Wave To…”

The Prog:

An amazing integration of jazz and extreme metal. Also, the vocoder used on the album was light years ahead of its time.

The Metal:

Cynic stands as god in the technical death metal community. Their Focus album is as necessary as Necrophagist’s Epitaph.

A Mandatory Listen? YES

Focus is the perfect album! There is no weak moment in this cosmos-altering masterpiece. I am not kidding, this album is quite possibly one of the finest moments in extreme metal history. Listen to it, own it, and let it reshape your musical reality.