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Demo:listen: The Watcher

Make way for new Bostonian heavy metal doomers The Watcher whose two-song 7”/three-song Bandcamp debut Your Turn to Die undeniably crushes, casting potential like a witch curses the blood of those about to burn her. Indeed, The Watcher’s own provenance seems to grant the trio and their debut a certain kind of contextual atmosphere. From New England, here comes The Watcher and their jaw-dropping debut.

 

Your Turn to Die

Your Turn to Die by The Watcher

According to M. Furst, guitarist and bassist of The Watcher, what would eventually become Your Turn to Die started to come together “in early 2016.” Furst says, “I was on the recent rebound from leaving a band I had played with for nearly a decade. Most of my prior bands were in the darker and heavier realm of metal, so I wanted to do something more straightforward and fun. It was also a challenge to myself to compose and perform the music as much on my own as possible. I’m a bass player by trade and this was my first attempt at playing guitar for a band of this style. It was definitely a technical stretch for me but I thoroughly enjoyed it.” 

Furst writes that later that year in 2016 drummer C. Spraker joined the fold. Furst says, “I had tried playing with a few other musicians by that point but nothing panned out. People simply weren’t interested in doing a band like this and it was hard to get anyone to commit, [C. Spraker] was the only person willing to give it a shot. By that point we had already known each other for almost 20 years but never formally played music together so it was a good opportunity to bridge that gap. We jammed the songs pretty steadily for about a year before eventually tracking what became the demo EP.”

“Recorded at Dead Air Studios” back in “November 2017,” reads The Watcher’s liner notes. Furst goes on to explain: “By late 2017, [C.] and I had been working on the songs for almost a year. At that point I decided I wanted to push forward and track the demo without a singer. This was partially with the intent of using the demo to find a vocalist, but also because I wanted some tangible document of our hard work up to that point. I also hoped that perhaps people would take me more seriously if I could present a solid demo for them to see it wasn’t just a vague concept for a band, it was more or less a complete thought.

“From there it was about 3 years of searching around for a singer,” Furst continues. “That entailed me pursuing every avenue I could think of and growing increasingly more hopeless with each dead end I was met with. Over time the project slowly just got put on the back burner while we focused on our main band.”

Crucial and sick as it is, The Watcher rule so hard because their vocalist has a great voice and knows how to sing. Somehow, it’s like M. Furst knew P. Reed was out there. 

“This past summer I decided to give it one final attempt before shelving the project for good,” remembers Furst. “On a total whim I contacted Reuben [Storey, of recent Demo:listen fame], which led to meeting [P. Reed].” According to Furst, The Watcher’s vocalist [P. Reed] “has played guitar/bass in quite a few bands around Olympia over the years, handling occasional vocal duty as well, but I believe this is his first time being featured as a lead singer.”

Furst says, “I’ll never forget how floored I was when he sent me the first demo of ‘Your Turn to Die.’ This was back in July of 2020. After literal years of trying to find the right person to help complete the songs, I immediately knew I had found them. I couldn’t have hoped to partner with a more talented and easy to work with individual. He absolutely nailed it from the start and undoubtedly gave the songs their crowning touch.”

From there, Furst says, Your Turn to Die “came together pretty quickly. [P.] did a few scratch vocal tracks for the songs and we made some very minor adjustments on things but he more or less hit the target with his initial scratch tracks. Once things felt right, he went into his brother’s studio out in Olympia and did the final takes. I did some additional overdubs here in Boston and then worked with Will at Dead Air (who engineered the original session) to do the final mix.”

Furst makes sure to credit drummer C. Spraker’s performance as the source for “a lot of the energy.” Furst says, Spraker’s “a phenomenal drummer. He would always understand the patterns/ideas I wanted to incorporate into the songs and he would execute them with precision each time, usually adding his own flare to things (tastefully). That definitely comes through in the music and I think it’s important to give him credit for that.”

Furst admits having “gone through the full spectrum of emotions regarding” the recording session for Your Turn to Die. When you have 3 years to sit on something and ruminate, self-doubt is inevitable. I can say that we accomplished the main objective I wanted to achieve which was creating a big and full sound. I didn’t want to try and sound ‘retro,’ I wanted to keep it real and true to what we got. The songs are all written on a down-tuned guitar. I was a bit nervous of how the end result would be, but the lower notes are used sparingly and it helps to give some extra depth to the songs. [P. Reed]’s vocals compliment that perfectly and ultimately crystallizes what became the overall sound.” 

Regarding the 7” and the missing song, the slightly more aggressive “Until It Bleeds,” Furst says, “To be totally honest, the 7” was a bit of an afterthought. I was originally just going to do a run of cassettes (it was a demo afterall), but the songs came out way better than I had anticipated and felt I owed it to us all to do a proper vinyl release. I liked the idea of doing a two-song 45, something simple akin to many of the classic NWOBHM singles. So ‘Until It Bleeds’ was omitted simply due to time constraints. It’s caused a bit of confusion, and disappointment, for some people but what’s done is done. No regrets!” Furst laughs, then says there’s no plans for a repress of Your Turn to Die, but hints that “perhaps it will be included on another future release.”

Considering the crux of this mighty debut, Furst says, “I think the themes on the EP are quite fitting for the times we have been living in, particularly this past year. We are experiencing forever-world changing events in realtime. Global meltdowns on an actual biblical scale. That doesn’t harbor just your typical sorrow and sadness, but literal “doom” in the truest sense of the word. You can either go out hiding and cowering from it all, or you can face your fear, stand strong and march onward through the darkness. We’d like this EP to be a testament to the latter. Accepting your mortality, embracing your inevitable demise, and entering into the unknown unhindered!” 

Furst admits, “Just getting the EP out to the world is a major accomplishment for us and we’re still riding that wave. The fact that it’s been so well received is encouraging for sure so we’d love to do more. I’m hoping to release a full-length at some point but we’re still a ways off from that. In the meantime we’re just going to keep writing and working on new material until it feels right.”

In the meantime, we’ll know these songs by heart a hundred times over.

Get Your Turn to Die straight from The Watcher

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Decibel’s Limited Edition 10th Anniversary Metal Flexi Collector’s Box Pre-Order Available

For a full decade the Decibel Flexi Series has brought you exclusive tracks from extreme music’s best bands. As we continue to celebrate this new milestone for all things extremely extreme, Decibel is proud to announce the release of our all-metal Decibel Flexi Series Limited Edition Collector’s Box! Coming in at approximately 8” x 8” x 4.75” and weighing nearly two pounds, this ultra-sturdy, ultra-deep, ultra-metal box is built to house only the heaviest floppy vinyl and capable of holding over 100 sleeved flexi discs. For an extra layer of protection, each box comes packed with 12 custom sleeves. And when we say limited, you damn well better believe we mean it: Only 200 of these will ever be manufactured and once they’re gone, they’re gone for good. If keeping your collection in the most appropriate of materials wasn’t enough, if you pre-order between now and Sunday, April 11 at 11:59 PM EST we will throw in a grab bag of five FREE random flexis to help bulk up your collection.

If you’re looking to stay old-school with your Flexi Series collection, the original Deluxe Edition Flexi Collector’s Box is making its return to the Decibel Store after a two-year hiatus! Built to hold approximately 50 of your favorite dB-curated tracks, it also includes 12 custom flexi sleeves.

Don’t get boxed out, pre-order yours today!

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Demo Premiere: Morbid Sphere – Demo II

Including members of Anicon, Ruin Lust, Yellow Eyes and the eternal House of First Light collective, Morbid Sphere brings together four of New York’s most dedicated underground extreme metal musicians. With E. Priesner on drums, J. Wilson on bass, S. Bennet on guitars and A. DeMaria on guitars and vocals, one can see that—even on paper—Morbid Sphere is sizing up to be an intriguing and colossal project.

photo by Charles Nickles, courtesy of CVLT Nation

After their captivating live debut in 2019, Morbid Sphere weren’t heard from again until the release of their first demo at the start of this year. Now, less than four months later, Morbid Sphere returns with two more songs of their own unique force of towering, torrential and despotic death metal. 

Morbid Sphere’s first demo cover

Drawing influence from “the sonic absurdity” of bands like Incantation, Infester and even modern contemporaries like Spectral Voice, Morbid Sphere play long-form, shapeshifting black death. Demo II, released this morning digitally and in the form of 100 tapes, was recorded by Nolan Voss last October and mastered by Dan Lowndes as Resonance Sound. Less raw than its predecessor, but twice-as-heavy and startling in its profundity, Morbid Sphere are not a force to be reckoned with. Better to fall on your knees and submit. Pendulous, maddening and completely unlike anything you’ve heard before in the realm of black and/or death metal, this is Demo II from Morbid Sphere.

Demo II by Morbid Sphere

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Album Stream: Impure – ‘The Carrion Feast’

Formed in 2017, Saint Louis plaguebringers Impure have explored the inexorable darkness with their black/death creations. After releasing the Satan’s Eclipse debut LP in 2019, Impure smudged sacrificial blood on 2020 with their Damned… EP. Now Impure are here to summon cataclysmic winds with a new 7″ release. Decibel Magazine escaped hell’s fiery grasp to bring you this stream of the full release.

Limited to only 300 copies, the 7″ release of “The Carrion Feast” is an exclusive expression of Satanic fury. Vocalist/drummer Horned Father Of Desecreation blasts and belches blasphemy. Meanwhile, guitarist/bassist Satyrannical Lord of Assault punctuates the demonic distortion with solos and greasy groove. Consider the raging solo in “Into Cataclysm” a sonic blood offering from Gabriel Forslund of Swedish thrash metal band Antichrist. While the two tracks composing the Impure 7″ are battle-hardened black/death metal, there’s an undercurrent of depraved rock & roll. The 7″ release balances those elements carefully with a meaty mix that packs a punch. Primarily recorded by Brian Scheffer at Firebrand Recording, their was additional recording courtesy of Sasha Stroud in Brooklyn.

Impure share the following in a statement: “12 months since being Damned, we return with the shining horn of Satan to bring you two feral tracks of Ultra Brutal Black Metal: “The Carrion Feast” and “Into Cataclysm.” While the pandemic reaps its tolls, we in IMPURE have been working alongside it. A new chapter of IMPURE has begun and this single is but a small taste of the pandemonium to come.”

Start your sapphic initiation and press play on Impure’s “The Carrion Feast” below. The 7″ release officially released today (April 2nd) for all my fellow black metal and death metal deviants.

The Carrion Feast by Impure

Order “The Carrion Feast” on 7″ at Bandcamp HERE

Visit Impure’s website for news and updates HERE

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Track Premiere: Gosudar – “Awakening of the Realm”

All it took was two tracks from the cavernous and diseased maw of Gosudar to get the global death metal underground in a world-wide frenzy. Since the release of Gosudar’s two-song demo, Demo ‘18, the debut album from these morbid-minded Muscovites could not come out soon enough. And if this is your first time hearing about Gosudar—well, get ready for a monstrous sound there’s actually no preparing yourself for. 

According to Sergey Milenin, guitarist and vocalist for the Russian trio, who speaks on behalf of his bandmates Renat Kurmakaev on drums and Vadim Ivanov, lead vocalist and guitarist, “Gosudar is about the transformation of personality under the influence of anti-cosmic forces of the unlimited power. It’s about the destruction of a person, who appeared as a conductor of these will, the sacrificial gift of the priests to the tyranny.” They go on to say how their debut album, Morbid Despotic Ritual, out May 28 on stateside label Rotted Life, “leads you through an eschatological abyss of the absolute power, where the new Middle Ages begin in the prophecy of the Third Rome.” 

In cooperation with Rotted Life Records, we pried open the door to Gosudar’s cold, torture chamber to procure the second of the six absolute skull-obliterators that compose their forthcoming full-length bloodbath. Out at the end of this month on all relevant formats, Morbid Despotic Ritual stands on its own with intimidating strength and blunt charm. All violence and meat-hook catchiness on the outside, but completely dead on the inside, Gosudar are deeper and realer than hype. They’re death metal true.

“Awakening of the Realm”

Morbid Despotic Ritual by Gosudar

Get Morbid Despotic Ritual from Rotted Life Records on May 28th

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Album Premiere: Celestial Sanctuary – Soul Diminished

Based in Cambridge, England, Celestial Sanctuary are Tomas Cronin (guitar, vocals), Jim Rutterford (bass), Matt Adnett (guitar) and James Burke (drums). No, you’ve never heard of the musicians behind Celestial Sanctuary and that’s the point. They are new blood; according to their labels, “the beginning of The New Wave of British Death Metal.” Mass Extinction, their auspicious two-song demo cassette, dropped in 2019 on CD through an underground Portuguese operation before getting reissued several times, including by one of the English quartet’s current labels, Redefining Darkness. Now, after a perfect amount of time, Celestial Sanctuary return with their debut full-length, Soul Diminished, out this Friday on Redefining Darkness and Church Road Records. 

Alternately up- and down-tempo, but always intentional and brutally performed, Soul Diminished packs nine tracks of really heavy-knuckled death metal punishment. Built on catchy riffs, fresh ideas and dedicated executions, Soul Diminished is essentially just getting roughed up by four English dudes for forty-some minutes. When you come crawling back, make sure it’s in time to get one of the records. A second pressing of the sold-out variants are on their way, according to their labels.

“From the start of the writing process, the intent of this album was to bring the identity of British Death Metal into the 21st Century,” writes Celestial Sanctuary. “Don’t get me wrong—we’re the same as every other death metal band in that you can trace our DNA and know pretty much exactly what has inspired us, but we’re conscious of injecting something putrid of our own and pushing forward. Lyrically, the record is introspective and conceptual. It’s a story about a soul trapped in a body [whose] destiny is already sealed. You can make of it what you will—whether it’s a victim of human trafficking, factory farming or drowning in mental illness. We’re a 21st century band, so we ain’t gonna put out songs that glorify misogyny, rape or violence towards women or any gender for that matter. That shit’s so dead.”

Soul Diminished

Soul Diminished by Celestial Sanctuary

Get Soul Diminished on 12″ vinyl LP from Redefining Darkess (North America) and Church Road Records (UK & Europe).

 

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Premiere: Father Befouled & Exaugurate – Purging Holiness split 7″

On May 7, Maryland murder factory Rotted Life will release Purging Holiness, a limited 7” split between Atlanta’s long-blasting blasphemers Father Befouled and one of the most promising new death metal acts from the States, Exaugurate, who also call the deep south of America home. Coming off their debut EP, 2020’s Chasm of Rapturous Delirium, Exaugurate pit their uniquely atmospheric but pointedly malicious ferocity against the long-standing murky primacy of underground veterans Father Befouled. Ultimately both the victor and the victim are you. 

Justin Stubbs (Encoffination, Infestment, etc.), frontman for Father Befouled, tell us the magazine that “Father Befouled recorded this song in December 2019, right before the world shut down.” He continues: “We wrote this one specifically for the split after our European tour in 2019. We are extremely excited to share this with our friends Exaugurate, who we consider THE sickest new death metal band of the new decade.” He goes on to say that he and “CE from Exaugurate go back several years and have been talking about a union forever. We feel like this is a very strong FB song, showing where we are heading going into our next material. Once it’s safer we cannot wait to get out there and play… shows with Exaugurate will be a must.”

Purging Holiness 7″

For the physical manifestations of this 7″ annihilation, you can expect a gatefold with spot-embossed logos in two variations: 250 on black and 100 on red & black splatter. Sick and timeless cover art by Alex Shadrin. Layout and design by Justin Stubbs.

Get the split 7” May 7 from Rotted Life Records.

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Album Premiere: Isgherurd Morth – Hellrduk

Featuring members of Necrophagist and Kamlath, Isgherurd Morth are a new avant-garde black metal trio whose debut album Hellrduk simultaneously glorifies and obliterates the genre’s expectations. Out this Friday on UK’s Repose Records, Hellrduk comprises five tracks of vast and wildly imaginative progressive black metal with some graceful hints of a certain blackgaze magic. An incredibly auspicious beginning, Hellrduk sounds like the three musicians behind Isgherurd Morth poured every ounce of their talent into making their debut album as wild and as rewarding as they could.

According to PITOM, aka Peter Shallmin, the band’s bassist, Isgherurd Morth “is a spontaneous deal, a quick decision between three experienced and mature creative minds in the same flow of ideas.” He continues, “Having a serious practical musical background, we express our desire and knowledge through many extreme music forms being picky to composition and its development, to catch and keep the real groove through the difference of intervals embodied in Hellrduk: emotionally intense, ethereal and to be absolute[ly] unpredictable!”

Hellrduk

Hellrduk by Isgherurd Morth

Get Hellrduk this Friday from Repose Records.

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Full Album Stream: Thronehammer – Incantation Rites

Formed sometime in the early days of last decade, Thronehammer tower as a mighty German doom band with one Kat Shevil Gillham, an English woman, on vocals. Since their demo came out in 2012, on through their debut full-length, 2019’s Usurper of the Oaken Throne, Thronehammer have carved epic and crushing doom slabs from the metaphysical mountains of time’s cruel passing and all the jagged pain and low, rolling misery that abounds within this godforsaken bourn.

Now, “just under two years after” Thronehammer’s debut album, the German-English doom cabal release their follow-up full-length, Incantation Rites. According to Kat Gillham, Thronehammer “finished the writing for [Incantation Rites] during the first lockdowns in Germany and England” while she “worked on [and] refined the vocals throughout the summer of 2020 in Durham City, England.” She goes on to explain how Incantation Rites was “recorded at a few different locations in Nuremberg/Würzburg/Bamberg, Germany, where most of the band live” and she “tracked the vocals for the at a local studio […] called Rocking Horse.” The same studio where she recorded vocals for Thronehammer’s debut album, as well, she says.

Kat says, “Feels quite surreal that we managed to record a new album between two countries during a global pandemic but well we did it and the album is released just under two years after the debut.”

Kat describes Incantation Rites as “a much more varied and multi-faceted album with lots of twists and turns.” Kat says Thronehammer’s new album “will take the listener on a journey through various epic sonic soundscapes, but the core elements of our sound and what made the debut album so successful are still there which is HEAVY DOOM METAL and mostly clean sung vocals, although there [are] more harsher and growled vocals on the new album which really fit in certain parts.” She admits, she “felt some parts just demanded harsher/growled vocals instead of the clean sung ones.” Since their debut album, Kat says, Thronehammer “have expanded [their] overall sound, brought in some new influences whilst remaining true to the Thronehammer sound and musical vision of the band.”

Incantation Rites

 

Get Incantation Rites now from Supreme Chaos. 

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EP Premiere: Sandstorm – Desert Warrior

Yes, that cover is awesome and, yes, the four songs on Desert Warrior definitely back it up.

Desert Warrior is the second and latest EP from Vancouver-based vintage metal defenders Sandstorm since their debut EP Time To Strike came out two years ago almost to the day. Once again the trio returns with their hammered-true riffs, sticky melodies and ridiculously righteous vocals. Many modern hard rock/heavy metal bands seem to strive merely to sound anachronistic, but Sandstorm succeed in writing songs that even back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s could’ve become memorable scorchers that would’ve stood the test of time. You’ll know we’re serious when “Evil Wins” comes on. As timeless as rock itself, Sandstorm’s Desert Warrior comes out this Friday on Dying Victims Productions.

“With full force we present our second battle, Desert Warrior, an EP packed with our heavy metal thunder,” says Sandstorm. “This fight started long before us, but we picked up the axe and carried on. Put on your leather and join our heavy metal quest, max the volume and rock your best.”

Desert Warrior
Sandstorm – Desert Warrior by Dying Victims Productions

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