Full Album Stream: Satanico Pandemonium – “Espectrofilia”

As a metal enthusiast who has lived through all the currently available formats via which we can currently consume music—vinyl, cassette, CD, MP3, streaming—I feel well qualified to assure readers that there’s nothing as good as vinyl. I don’t know what the magic is, but that’s what sounds best to these experienced ears. So, no surprise that when Travis Barnes was starting his new label, Things From Beyond, he wanted to take what was previously only available via digital streaming—Mexico City stoner/psych/doom quartet Satanico Pandemonium’s Espectrofilia album—and give it life on vinyl.

Espectrofilia will be the second vinyl release from these Mexican occultic doomsters—guitarists Miguel Castro and Sergio Oscura, bassist/vocalist Daniel Garcia and drummer/vocalist José Cosmo—and third overall since 2019. The band mines the super drop-tuned regions of the genre with tons of fuzz, sludge and shouted vocals in Spanish. It’s dark, heavy and haunting.

Here’s what the occult-obsessed band had to say about their third release, which will be available on vinyl in February 2022:

“Espectrofilia relates to the feeling of looking at nothing, thinking about your own death, trying to figure out what the shadows that come behind you mean while the light at the end hits you and how scary it could really be to die at a time so overwhelming. Turn on a joint, and regain calm is the premise of this trip. It’s an EP that we recorded under an apocalyptic context, accepting that we are surrounded by ghosts in each present.”
You can pre-order the limited edition vinyl here, or if you can’t wait, buy it digitally here.

In the meantime, have a listen to the vinyl test pressing.

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Arcturus – Aspera Hiems Symfonia

To Hell and Bach
The Making of Arcturus’ Aspera Hiems Symfonia

The story of Arcturus is largely the story of Steinar “Sverd” Johnsen. At just 15 years of age, Sverd, along with Marius Vold, formed Mortem, a band that delivered septic death metal devoid of sophistication or refinement. Recording several songs in March 1989 under the watchful eye of Øystein “Euronymous” Aarseth, the Slow Death demo is the lone output by the first Mortem iteration. The band fizzled quickly, which paved the way for a new project that Sverd, Marius and Slow Death drummer Jan Axel “Hellhammer” Blomberg dubbed Arcturus.

The music of Arcturus pivots on Sverd’s keyboard work, which was immediately apparent on their 7-inch debut, 1990’s My Angel. This was intentional: Mortem’s dissolution was the direct result of Sverd dropping guitar after becoming consumed with the myriad possibilities of keyboards. He was listening more to classical composers such as Bach, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, masters who inspired obsession with his new instrument. Fascinated by the bombastic, overwhelming sounds of church organs, he wormed his way into a situation that proved crucial to his creative development.

Sverd was close with schoolmate Erik Wroldsen, then in thrash band Decadence and later Red Harvest. Wroldsen arranged for the aspiring keyboardist to enter the Bakkehaugen Church in Oslo—where Decadence practiced in the basement—for surreptitious workouts on the huge pipe organ upstairs. Sverd remembers that “after some rehearsals, I decided to confess to the organ player in the church, and the result was that I got my own key to the church. The only rule: Do not bring any others and stay away when there is activity there.”

As self-critical as he was ambitious, Sverd felt the keyboard he used for My Angel—a Technics KN800—didn’t suit the newer material that Arcturus were writing. He had his eye on an Ensoniq SD1, but it exceeded his budget. Resourcefully, he crafted handmade chainmail for a role-play group in Oslo called Ravn to raise the needed funds. It took him one month to assemble thousands of steel rings and 800 meters of wire into the required armor. Along with chainmail, Sverd hand-crafted nail bats (the one Count Grishnackh wields in an infamous picture is one of Sverd’s), and soon the mission was complete: He could finally afford the Ensoniq. This piece of equipment formed the basis of Arcturus’ sound for the ensuing 10 years.

While Arcturus rubbed shoulders with, got drunk with and even included members of various legendary black metal bands, they weren’t exactly a satanic endeavor. Arcturus were instead focused on nature, the cosmos, literature and psychedelia. Their attitude was firmly progressive—there was nothing they would not attempt. Depressive dirges, Faustian mischief and squishy electronica all feature somewhere in the strange Arcturus mélange.

Along with Ved Buens Ende, Fleurety and Beyond Dawn, Arcturus strove for expansion beyond black metal’s strictures. 1994’s Constellation EP, a raw work of symphonic blizzards and aurora borealis brilliance, firmly established the Arcturus methodology. Its follow-up, Aspera Hiems Symfonia, authoritatively capitalized on that approach and remains an influential cornerstone of Norwegian metal. Its title translation—“Harsh Winter Symphony”—is an apt descriptor for the blazing bombast and orchestral intensities of its 41:28 runtime.

At the time of Aspera’s recording in the summer of 1995, Arcturus held within their ranks one of the most impressive metal lineups ever assembled: Sverd, Hellhammer (Mayhem), vocalist Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg (Ulver), bassist Hugh Stephen “Skoll” James Mingay (Ulver, Ved Buens Ende) and Carl August Tidemann (Tritonus). Aspera’s eight monuments of icy wickedness, released on the tiny Ancient Lore Creations label in June of 1996, are celebrated here as foundational canon of the initial Norweird surge.

Need more Arcturus? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with the members who performed on Aspera Hiems Symfonia, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.

The post Arcturus – Aspera Hiems Symfonia appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Blast Worship: Will Cope

Where they from?
Vilnius, Lithuania. Wow, I’ve covered bands from a whole lot of countries in the two-plus years I’ve been writing this column but this is the first one from Lithuania. Anyway, what’s your favorite Christmas song? Mine has to be “Christmas Time Is Here” from the Charlie Brown Christmas Special. I just love that it’s a sad song. Like that’s what the holidays are all about for me, being sad and smooth jazz.

Why the hype?
Well, you know who isn’t sad? Will Cope — they’re FUCKING PISSED. This is some serious tough-guy grindcore in the vein of Despise You, Ground and Choke. Honestly, it’s pretty shocking that this band isn’t from either New Jersey or California. Tornados of fight riffs, skank blasts and mongo vocals abound, all utilized to pour vicious concrete down your throat while you scream for mercy. Sorry, I had some really strong coffee this morning.

Latest Release?
An Attempt out in the U.S. on No Time Records. This album really excels in what I feel is one of the hallmarks off the false grind micro-genre and that is having a pervasive sense of personal loathing. The instrumental “Daredevil” is the dread of daily living personified before firing off into the salvo of “Not a Fan.” Other highlights include the menacing “xWIZARDxBLIZZARDx” and the ultimate beatdown fight riff of album closer “Low Pressure.” This album follows your favorite album home and beats them up in the driveway.

An Attempt by Will Cope

The post Blast Worship: Will Cope appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Bringing The Swan Song Tour Down Under With THE PLOT IN YOU

“I learned where we do best. We definitely do the best in Melbourne and Sydney.” Following the success of their most recent album Swan Song, US quartet The Plot In You have set their sights on Australia, with plans to bring the Swan Song tour to this country and New Zealand in September 2022. The […]


OOOTH Release Music Video

Johannesburg based punk infused rockers Oooth release the video for their track Need Some Rest, the 6th video taken from their 2021 SAMA nominated release Nothing’s Gonna Change. Guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter Jason Oosthuizen delves into the inspiration behind the lyrics,“This past almost 2 years have been a struggle for everyone, more than ever […]


AC/DC Tribute Fund Raiser

Some of Melbourne’s finest local artists are gathering this Friday, December 10 to pay tribute to the immortal AC/DC and raise funds for Dementia Australia.  This special live event will see an all star band performing two sets of live classics and rarities, including tracks  in celebration of the iconic Live at Donnington’s 30th anniversary. With all profits going […]



Known for traversing borders and experimenting with contradictions and taboos, Hangman’s Chair recently contributed the track Judge Penitent to rap legend Joeystarr‘s Deezer France exclusive podcast Gang Stories. Shedding light on the incredible lives of gang chiefs and shady personalities of the criminal underworld, the podcast deals with the dark side of humanity – and Hangman’s Chair managed to artfully portray this […]


HEAVY Turns 10 At The Bendy January 26

It’s not every year you turn double digits, so HEAVY has decided to celebrate by throwing another party! Following yesterday’s announcement of the 10 birthday bash at Frankies Pizza on January 29, HEAVY is now proud to release details of a special event at the Bendigo Hotel in Melbourne on January 26. Joining us for […]


Exit Interview: A Final Chat with Early Graves

In the late 2000s, Early Graves were set to take over the extreme music underground with their blend of hardcore and thrash, a sound that was both a perfect stylistic fit for the times and also a timeless tribute to fast, heavy music. Then tragedy struck, and vocalist Makh Daniels was killed in a van accident while the band was on tour. Overnight, they went from a carefree group of dudes playing heavy tunes to dealing with the horrible reality of witnessing a friend’s death.

However, somehow, despite it all, the band pushed on, releasing a 2012 record to follow up their first two, though doing so was unimaginably hard without Daniels. Now, after decades of making music together, the band are finally calling it quits, and they’re doing so on the Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles stage, with one final, epic show. We absolutely could not let this opportunity pass us by without talking about their legacy, what they are leaving behind, and what they are moving towards.

We caught up with Chris Brock and John Stratchan to reminisce before they play their final show for screaming, nostalgic, slightly inebriated fans.

Goner by Early Graves

What made you all decide to play your final show at Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles?
John Stratchan: I’d spoken to Albert in about 2019, and I told him that we were pretty much gonna call it a day with Early Graves, and that we were doing a European tour, and then we wanted to do, like, an East Coast run and then some West Coast shows and cap it all off at the end of the year with a Decibel fest, and he was into it. Then, COVID screwed everything up royally, and we figured we might as well just go out on top and have a really good final show with some bands we like.

What made you all finally decide to call it quits?
Stratchan: Well, we all have different ideas about what we want to do. And this is a band that is always always operated as all of us or none of us, and we’ve tried to do it otherwise, and it just doesn’t work. We had a lineup that kind of fractured at some point, and when we all started to get close again, it was like, “Alright, we’re gonna do this. We’re going to do this tour,” but now, it feels like it’s time to move on to new things.

Y’all have definitely faced some challenges as a band, but you’ve still made some killer albums. What are you all most proud of about your musical career?
Chris Brock: Shit, I’m proud that that we were able to put out a third record after some serious challenges, and that we were able to come back from all that. That’s a big point of pride for me, coming back from our singer passing away and putting out a third record. I would say just getting another album out was the best thing we’ve done, and definitely something to be proud of.

It was also amazing to get to play the shows we played after the album was released. All of a sudden, we were playing shows with bands like Nasum, Cannibal Corpse, and Napalm Death. Getting to play with your heroes was very cool. Looking back, I wish were able to get on the same page again and make another album, and it seems crazy that it’s been eight or nine years since we released an album, but you get older, and time really starts to fly.

Stratchan: I would just add on that getting out there and doing the record Red Horse was an act of not allowing tragedy to completely ruin our lives. It was hard, and it was super painful, but it was one of those things where you either back away and crawl in a hole and never come out, or you make an album and keep going, and I feel like it was a big deal in this case, because, in most cases, [the tragedy] would have ruined bands. When something happens like that, and you see you friend pass away in real time, it’s enough to collapse someone’s brain. so, for us to get things together and push on was hard, and I think that speaks volumes, more so than just the album itself.

It sounds like even though this is a bittersweet thing, it’s mainly coming about because all the tragedies and hardships fractured the band, and now, you feel like it’s time for the next chapter.
Stratchan: Most of us are getting old. I’m almost 40, and we’re all getting to that time in our lives where everybody’s got kids or wives, everybody’s got domesticated; even though we’d still love to do the band, it’s all or nothing, and a couple members feel like they can’t keep moving forward with it, and I respect that.

Brock: But to clarify though, don’t make it sound like we’re domesticated and not doing anything. [laughs] We definitely have some new stuff in the works; it’s not like we just had kids and got married, and that’s it. We’re all great friends and have been forever; it’s just at some point, there’s weird Juju about it, and it’s time to move on, but it’s not time to move on from music. There’s still plenty of shit to do.

That was gonna be my next question: what else do you all have in the works, either collectively or separately, that we should be on the lookout for?
Our bassist [Matt O’Brien]  and drummer [Dan Sneddon] have a band together called No Lights. It’s kind of post-punk stuff. The drummer is also in Kowloon Walled City, and they just released a new record a couple of months ago. Then a couple of us are starting a not-quite-titled project that was most of our focus for 2019, and then 2020 put a pause on that, but now going back at it. It’s really aggressive music, kind of similar to Early Graves. I’m really looking forward to getting that one off the ground.

Are there any final words you want to share about your last performance, or your time overall as a band?
Stratchan: For me, just thank you to anyone that ever gave a fuck about us. It’s been one of the biggest pleasures in my life to be in this band and put out stuff that people may have connected to. Thank you to everyone who has ever supported the band, and thank you for reading this.

Brock: He nailed it; also thank you to Makh. I met him in 2006, and we forged a friendship, and after his tragic passing, I was left with the band and a lot of wonderful memories.

Catch Early Graves final show at Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles on December 10-11, 2021—featuring special classic album-sets from Converge (Jane Doe) and Cave In, (Until Your Heart Stops) as well as appearances from DeadguySacred ReichRepulsionGhoul and tons more Full daily lineups and ticket options including “Metal & Beer VIP Sampling Experience/Early Entry,” “Metal & Beer” ticket and the “Just Metal” ticket, which starts at just $25 with the DECIBEL unlock code, are below!

Purchase Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles Two-Day tickets
Purchase Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles December 10 tickets
Purchase Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles December 11 tickets

Converge (performing Jane Doe in its entirety)
Sacred Reich
Early Graves (final show)
Night Demon
Ripped to Shreds

Cave In (performing Until Your Heart Stops in its entirety)
Crypt Sermon

The post Exit Interview: A Final Chat with Early Graves appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Rocking Out With WOLFMOTHER

“I didn’t wanna get deep and meaningful. I didn’t wanna be carrying the weight of some kind of profound lyricism. I just wanna write something that is gonna be good to play at soundcheck after you’ve driven eight hours.” Wolfmother have always very much been a musical outlet driven by Andrew Stockdale. His vision, drive, […]