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Cattle Decapitation – The Harvest Floor

Slaughterhouse-Four
The Making of Cattle Decapitation’s The Harvest Floor

By the time the late ’00s had rolled around, San Diego’s deathgrind rubber-burners Cattle Decapitation were already years deep into a career of shattering musical land speed records, visually confronting audiences who’d thought they’d seen it all and poking holes in death metal tropes via a message that, in part, spoke out against animal cruelty while calling for a culling of the cancer of humanity from its host, Planet Earth. While the topics explored on their five previous records and the then-forthcoming The Harvest Floor may not have possessed the prescience of vocalist Travis Ryan bellowing “Bring Back the Plague” on 2019’s Death Atlas (only to have the world shut down at the hands of the plague less than three months later), THF certainly went out of its way to continue foisting the band’s favorite topics onto center stage: pointing out the folly of humanity; stepping outside our own meat sacks for a few minutes to empathetically view how mankind is viewed by non-mankind; and, generally, underscoring how everything is fucked.

One other thing The Harvest Floor did was take the elements that Cattle Decapitation had used in their extreme music boundary-stretching and blow everything into the stratosphere. Simultaneously, they managed a tight grip on the leash of control in the face of unhinged chaos. This allowed the band to improve upon their treasured red-lining while chiseling a holistic work that careened into as many of the listener’s senses as allowable. The overtly dark and ominous depiction of humanity being sent to slaughter (imagined by Ryan and manifested by visual artist Wes Benscoter) was matched by a sonic approach that subverted tradition with literate technicality, frenetic rhythmic pulsation, some Naked City-like quick-change sensibility and ridiculously over-the-top guitar work forced into death metal’s then-two-and-a-half-decade-old maw.

In addition to blasting the technique, extremity and sweep-picking upward with flare gun urgency, Cattle Decapitation were also learning how to wrangle their tools into the creation of actual compositions. And as more cohesion took shape, it was augmented by experimental layers of noise, classical, and vocal instrumentation courtesy of an impressive collection of guests and producer Billy Anderson’s unrestricted open mind. Once everything was paired with Ryan and Benscoter’s bleak and wry conceptual dystopia, the impact was positively pipe bomb-like.

As they themselves describe it, The Harvest Floor was where Cattle Decapitation started to come into their own and go all-in on their future—a future that has delivered nigh on 15 years of rubbery genre-defying/defining death metal that not only scythed their own path, but indebted today’s hyper-tech heads. To celebrate this crowning achievement of precision, forward thought, and all systems being locked and loaded, we corralled Ryan, guitarist Josh Elmore, drummer Dave McGraw and ex-bassist Troy Oftedal onto a Zoom call, let them have it, and watched the sparks fly the same way they were flying in those claustrophobically cramped, wretchedly humid and stale beer-scented practice spaces many years ago. Welcome to our Hall, gentlemen. The conditions are a slight step up from those old rehearsal rooms in the Clairemont, Sweetwater and National City areas of San Diego, but definitely better than the human slaughterhouse depicted on the album’s cover.

Need more Cattle Decap? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with the members who performed on The Harvest Floor, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.

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Five For Friday: July 1, 2022

Greetings, Decibel readers!

Any week that has a new Hulder release is a great week in my book. But for those of you who don’t enjoy straightforward black metal of the highest quality, we do have some top-shelf traditional metal, 1985-enjoyer metal, headbanger-faceripping metal (if you know, you know), and the soundtrack to you painting your nails black with sharpie back in 10th grade. But in a cool way.

Enjoy!

Haunt – Windows of Your Heart

From our premiere of “The Garden“:

“Seattle industrial noise trio (previously just a duo), Haunted Horses, are not going to bother with melody or subtlety or generally playing nice. No, they wield their music like a harsh punishment meted out to promote behavior correction. Or just wreck eardrums.”

Stream: Apple Music

Windows Of Your Heart by Haunt

Hulder – The Eternal Fanfare

The Hulder stanning from me will continue EVEN IF morale improves. She’s my favorite black metal artist working today, and if you want something that sounds a little like Svartalvheim-era Ancient and Shadowthrone-era Satyricon, you should like it too. My only complaint is that it’s only an EP and not a full album. Something to make us look forward to more!

Stream: Apple Music

The Eternal Fanfare by Hulder

Ironhawk – Ritual of the Warpath

Mid-1980s worshipping metal, before the legions of black and death bifurcated. This is the kind of music where if you listen to it while sleeping, you’ll wake up wearing spikes and bullet belts. I don’t make the rules, pal, I’m just calling it like I hear it.

Stream: Apple Music

Ironhawk – Ritual of the Warpath by Dying Victims Productions

Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain

From Sean Frasier’s piece in Decibel #214:

“you can drown any worries of you had about this being a “grown up” Municipal Waste record. Despite an absence of thrash puns in the song titles, it’s still packed with gleeful gore and campy wordplay. They’re still the same Gooftroopers of Death who wrote a concept split album about Kurt Russell movies (Tango & Thrash) and recorded a triumphant anthem about flying kites”

Stream: Apple Music

Electrified Brain by Municipal Waste

Vinterdracul – The Lee Variations

I hope you like vampires. Because this band REALLY likes vampires. And I’m not knocking it, vampires are cool! And so is this album, as it takes the feeling of today’s LLN-worshipping black metal bands and combines it with the technique of old-school deathrock and post-punk. Perfect for a night of 1970s European vampire flicks. One of the band members uses the name Batweilder.

Stream: Apple Music

The Lee Variations by Vinterdracul

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Album Stream: Get Weird, Wild and Wacky with Thirteen Goats’ Servants of the Outer Dark

A few things you should know about Vancouver trio Thirteen Goats that go to show that band and Servants of the Outer Dark, their debut entry into the death/thrash sweepstakes, is an oblong and bizarre beast that you can take with a grain of salt as much as you can a right cross to the chops:

1) Their moniker refers to the band’s loose concept and mascot ‘Shepherd’ (pictured above) who is apparently a space and time travelling demonic entity and antichrist figure who wears a goat skull mask. He supposedly appears whenever evil deeds are afoot, which for some reason or another gives the band license to write about pretty much anything. The other 12 goats represent his infernal disciples, as well as symbolizing the “baa-nality” of evil.

2) Guitarist/vocalist Graham K. Miles is a classically-trained Shakespearean actor with a master’s degree in theatre from New York City’s New School for Drama (formerly the Actor’s Studio Drama School). Think Fame, except with more lattes and fewer brown people.

3) The band’s bio had this to say about the title track of their new album: “This song is an homage to my favourite Stephen King villain. I hope Stephen King doesn’t sue us, but if he does, I plan to take that as a sign that we made it. He didn’t sue Anthrax, so I’m hoping that means we’ll be all right.”

4) The band’s tagline, as spotted on their Bandcamp page, “This ain’t your dad’s death metal, but we kept the best parts.”

This morning, in order to celebrate the Canada Day release of Servants of the Outer Dark (that’s tomorrow!), as well as the band’s devil-may-care attitude, we’re presenting the opportunity for y’all to check out their alchemical style reminiscent of Cannibal Corpse, Misery Index, classic Megadeth, melodic Swe-death and all eras of Death and Carcass. When we asked the band to pimp their own ride, Miles responded by saying:
Servants of the Outer Dark is a record about the awesome transformative power that exists in the darkest corners of the human experience. It’s about how the things we shy away from often have the greatest power to create change—for better or for worse, depending on how we confront them. Every song on the album ties into that theme in some way—whether it’s through the lens of high fantasy on the title track, or politics and religion on songs like ‘Return to Ruin’ and ‘Unholy Mass.’ Whether we’re writing about dark wizards causing inter-dimensional chaos, the bloody history of Eastern Europe in the 20th century, or making someone’s head explode in a pressurized chamber, we’re always exploring what happens when established structures are destroyed and what that process leaves behind.
“For us, that’s also a huge part of what metal is all about—challenging established systems, institutions, and values to eliminate what doesn’t serve us anymore and create space for better ways of doing things. It can seem ugly and scary at first, but it’s ultimately cathartic and necessary. We’re trying to do that with our music as well—we’re very proud of our influences, but we’re out to take the ideas they’ve inspired in us a step further so that we can keep improving the state of heavy music and help it stay relevant and exciting.
“Finally, this album is our shot at making the music we always wanted to listen to when we were younger. We grew up on metal—it always spoke to something in us that felt ill at ease and out of touch with the rest of the world. Metal helped us feel more seen and less alone. We sincerely hope this record allows us to pay that forward to a new generation of fans, and that we give them a good reason to bang their heads in the process.”

Servants of the Outer Dark by THIRTEEN GOATS

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Video Premiere: Dumb Waiter’s “Climbing Up a Broken Ladder” is Like Screaming at a Wall

We’re all very aware of the DIY ethos and how grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns can create opportunity. It’s sort of how Richmond, VA avant-noise weirdos Dumb Waiter came to be in 2012. As humorous legend has it, guitarist Nick Crider had booked a Lightning Bolt show and wasn’t content to just be the gig’s promoter and be standing in the crowd; he wanted to share the stage with the chaotic noise rock duo. The biggest hurdle standing in the way of this coming to fruition was the fact that Crider wasn’t in a band. In true DIY spirit, he contacted his buddy and drummer Nathaniel Roseberry with the intent of putting together a “noise power violence band” for the show. Roseberry brought a couple of his friends (saxophonist Tristan Brennis and bassist Keith Paul) along and Dumb Waiter was born. Five albums later — including the forthcoming Gauche Gists — and the band has moved from spontaneous and noisy power violence to a decidedly more measured and avant-garde brand of jazzy, experimental math rock that exists in a sphere similar to Secret Chiefs 3, Mr. Bungle, Morphine, Ex Eye, Noxagt and Naked City.

Today we present you fine folks with the premiere of the “Climbing Up a Broken Ladder” video, which could be construed as a brief collision of the TV show Wipeout with some of Red Fang’s more destructive visual moments. Says Crider about the creation of this video:
“Making this video was fun. I got to take a road trip with my partner, stayed in some weird places, saw some of my best friends in Orlando and played pool at the cork room. There was another aspect that was hard work. I had to conceptualize the work, find the right location (a ton of site visits), design the costumes, gather the crew, build the set, make sure to have the right equipment and pick up materials. There was yet another side that was painful. Getting into a mental space to run through walls, worrying about money, worrying it wasn’t going to turn out and ultimately punishing my body by breaking through wall after wall (the walls weren’t too bad, but the body-to-pavement wasn’t too fun).
“Some might call me a masochist. I overbook myself, exhaust my schedule, strive for unattainable perfection and over analyze every move. To top it all off, I show my frustration by running through walls. One might argue that I don’t have to do any of this. Originally, this performance was meant to represent humanity in some grandiose Sisyphusian gesture. It was to be a modern rendition, with less time/reward in between the meaningless tasks to represent a seemingly faster modern life. Leaving all of Camus’s words to be applicable. My partner and I had spent a lot of energy in making the characters somewhat androgynous and lacking of racial cues to further represent all.
“After I gave myself a chance to step away from the project and come back to it months later I had realized how painful and personal this video felt to me. To me the performance represents my self-deprecating drive and my inability to compromise or acknowledge reward. Not running through the wall is more damning than continuing forward. It represents being unable to accept that there’s another wall in front of me. An aloof hopeful hopelessness.
“A special thanks to Adrienne Shurte, Nicholas Johnson, Sarah Haselwood and Bill Morrison for both physical and moral support.”

 

Gauche Gists by Dumb Waiter

Gauche Gists was recorded by Kevin Bernsten (Full of Hell, Magrudergrind, Weekend Nachos, Noisem, Pig Destroyer) with technical help from Matt Redenbo (Eyelet, Black Lung, Misled Youth) at Developing Nations in Baltimore. Mastered by James Plotkin (Sunn O))), Isis, Pelican). The album will be released June 24th via Ossein Records on limited edition cassette as well as a limited pressing of 100 copies on citron-colored vinyl with hand-numbered inserts. Preorder here.

 

UPCOMING SHOWS
June 24 –  Richmond, VA @ Fuzzy Cactus w/ Toxic Moxie, Blush Face
July 11 – Richmond, VA @ The Camel w/ Night Idea, Floral

 

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*photos by Joey Wharton

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Streaming: Getting Violent and Rotten with Rottenness’ Violentopia

While we’re not going to spit out assumptions and say something to the effect of ‘death metal bashers Rottenness need no introduction by now,’ Decibel has regularly charted the trials and tribulations of the band across the expanse of time — or at least since they reunited back in 2012. This includes their stint as a bass-less trio, when their lineups were fully based in Mexico and their porno-grindy past through to the band living off the avails of Latin pop super-star Ricky Martin — lone original member and head honcho Jaleel Castillo bank rolled the band for a few years via his former day-job as Martin’s assistant tour manager — and their existence now as a powerhouse quintet based on both sides of Trump’s invisible wall getting ready to release their third album, Violentopia on Poland’s Selfmadegod label. In advance of the album’s release tomorrow, we’re offering you the opportunity to give ‘er a whirl a few hours ahead of schedule. Check out the stream below. We asked for a bit of a rundown on the latest happenings in the rotten world of Rottenness and for a bit of a blurb about Violentopia. The band responded with:
“We are not changing anything from our past. We still play good old-fashion brutal death grind, if you want to call it that. We started on our last US tour decomposing the new songs and the extra free time gave us the chance to work on them for quite a while. I really enjoy the way the new members have created their own parts and it made the sound more brutal. Traveling back and forth for a couple of years we could develop what Violentopia is and were very, very happy with the result.
“This time we had the pleasure to work with cool people from the metal scene. Thanks to Matti Guey (vocals) who invested time and effort to get the correct contacts who helped us produce the material. We don’t have enough words to thank for the time and work Rob Caldwell (mixing) and Davide Billia (mastering) at MK2 Recording Studio did.
“So far, the sound is amazing and reflects the band perfectly. We released our first single, ‘Gringocide,’ ripping through a variety of slamming chords, blast beats, catchy hooks, as well as a shredding guest guitar solo from Andy Nelson (ex-Abysmal Dawn, Enfold Darkness). Prepare yourself for the gringocide!!
“Founding member, Jaleel Castillo (guitars) has revamped the lineup with the additions of Matt Johnson (drums), Karl Schmidt (bass/vocals) from the mighty Gorgatron, Ray Nevison (guitars) and still kicking and coming up with sick lyrics, since 2014 is  Mr. Matthias ‘Matti Güey’ Joyce (vocals). These members came together to record the band’s most blisteringly furious, ambitious, and eclectic record to date.
“Upcoming, the band will present the new album at the Chicago Death Fest in July, our first showing on American soil for 2022, but we haven’t lost the hope to play in front of good people very soon in the future.”

Violentopia by ROTTENNESS

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Come to Grief guitarist Terry Savastano details Apple Music playlist choices

To celebrate the release of their beautifully miserable new full-length of sludge and doom, When the World Dies, out tomorrow on Translation Loss, we caught up with Come to Grief guitarist Terry Savastano to get him to guest curate a playlist for us over at Apple Music.

You can check out the playlist here, and today you can also read some explanations from Savastano about why he picked each song. Read on to find out why he picked cuts from Free, Skynyrd, Slayer, Celtic Frost and many others.

1. Ramones – “I Don’t Care”
Sums up how I feel quite often.

2. The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Manic Depression”
See above.

3. Celtic Frost – “Visions of Mortality”
The heaviest from one of the heaviest. So inspiring.

4. The Stooges – “Dirt”
The dirtiest from the dirtiest. Stooges’ Funhouse is the ultimate sex record.

5. Black Sabbath – “Under the Sun”
My favorite song from my favorite band. Pretty much the template for how I live my life.

6. Free – “Soon I Will Be Gone”
Probably play this at my funeral. Very moving. Such an underrated band. I worship Free.

7. Motörhead – “One Track Mind”
I prefer the “classic” Motörhead lineup, but this song conveys where I’m at, totally.

8. West, Bruce & Laing – “Out Into the Fields”
So moving. Brings a tear to my eye every time.

9. Radio Birdman – “Dark Surprise”
Spent a weekend in Vegas and this was the soundtrack. Read the lyrics if you can.

10. Paradise Lost – “Falling Forever”
Very much in line with my thought process. Great vocals, heavy as fuck guitars and right-on subject matter.

11. Lynyrd Skynyrd – “I Need You”
Man, could they write a ballad. Song goes right through me. I love all the RVZ Skynyrd. Super important.

12. Saint Vitus – “The Lost Feeling”
My biggest inspiration when starting to play “doom.” Certainly would not be typing these words if not for Saint Vitus.

13. Thin Lizzy – “Don’t Believe a Word”
Difficult to select just one Thin Lizzy track as they are all great and special in their own way.

14. Slayer – “Kill Again”
In high school, people thought I was a Satanist because of the long hair and Slayer and Mercyful Fate T-shirts. Jocks stayed away from me. Kill again, indeed!

15. Poison Idea – “Made to Be Broken”
My favorite track from my favorite hardcore band. Hugely inspirational. Live life YOUR way.

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Streaming: Kissing the Sky with Gramma Vedetta’s The Hum of the Machine

Gramma Vedetta are a London-based duo consisting of Daniele on guitar/vocals/synth and his buddy Marco handing bass/backing vocals/synth. In addition to covering all the bases from Pink Floyd psychedelia and Seattle’s grunge heyday to the Melvins’ acerbic slant, Orange Goblin’s biker rock thunder and a smidge of Jethro Tull indulgence, the gentlemanly pair of gentlemen appear to be part of the growing contingent of folks from this generation who are looking back to the ‘70s and ‘80s to scratch their sci-fi itch. If Gramma Vedetta had their way tele-coms would replace smartphones, interplanetary exploration would take but an afternoon and we’d discover that every planet miraculously had the same atmosphere as Earth’s, we could make the jump to hyperspace on those days we’re running late, our skin tight all-white body suit uniforms would leave nothing to the imagination and Gil Gerard would still be employable.

In lieu of that utopia, the band are here to offer their take on stoner rock/metal via third release and debut full-length, The Hum of the Machine. Set to the sounds of their massive groovin’ ’n’ shufflin’ increasingly proggy style, the album tells the story of “a man who seeks to remain unique in a world where compliance ensures you a place in the upper echelons of society,” which is a familiar storyline and has the band remaining faithful to 50% of pre-CGI, dystopian-themed sci-fi. When asked for a bit of insight into their work, they responded by saying:

“We’re proud of what we achieved with The Hum of the Machine. This album is a complete audio and visual experience. Each song has been crafted with great attention to detail and top-notch production. Talented illustrators helped us to translate our sounds into images. We have written it and recorded it but still, we can’t stop exploring it. With this album we have reached a higher level of songwriting, developing our own sound, different from everything you ever heard before. Fans of heavy riff, early ‘80s science fiction, progressive rock and stoner rock will feel at home with The Hum of the Machine. These are songs for thinking, but also to sing along. Try ‘Robots for War’ or ‘Starlight Portal Show.’ We’re pretty sure about that and we’re extremely stoked that this is being released.”
Why not throw Soylent Green, the original V TV series or THX 1138 on the big screen, crank the stream of The Hum of the Machine (located below) and let it beam you up, somewhere?

The Hum of the Machine is out on May 27th via Mandrone Records. For info and orders, check out:

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Streaming: Deaf Club Keep the Hits Coming with Bad Songs Forever

Just before last Christmas, we introduced y’all to Deaf Club, the latest in a long line of bands and projects from Justin Pearson, Brian Amalfitano, Scott Osment, Jason Klein and Tommy Meehan. This latest amalgamation saw the quintet further tapping into their mutual ability and desire to create spazzy grind-punk that mimics the sound of swarms of murder hornets and angry crows — I’m trying hard to avoid saying locusts! — attacking Devo, Melt-Banana, Daughters and the showroom at the Moog Factory. Back then, Deaf Club was on the cusp of the release of their debut, Productive Disruption and given their collective work ethic and time provided by the pandemic slowdown, they were also able to knock out an EP entitled Bad Songs Forever due out May 6th.
Featuring three originals and a cover of the Pixies’ “Broken Face,” Bad Songs Forever continues to….well…why not let the band decode the insanity. Says guitarist Brian Amalfitano: “With Bad Songs Forever we tried to dial into and sort of code the language of modern digital anxieties as a sound. It’s artificial intelligence created by primitive humans who have to rush to power down the monster before it grows out of their control (like HAL9000). It’s an earworm torture device blasting like LRAD sound canons, ready to annoy the neighbors, the cops and your family all at once.”
We’re remain hopeful  this bunch of fellas will stand with flesh and blood during the rise of the machines, and have created enough sonic chaos and dissent from within to help mankind beat the robots at their own game. If not, at least we can experience Deaf Club at “a heightened state of controlled chaos” as they “continue to meld d-beat and thrash sensibilities with unhinged battery acid buzzes, disgruntled rhythms, and tongue-in-cheek lyrics spit cynical and sharp.” Even Joey Santiago of the Pixies approves, remarking upon hearing the cover: “Love it! Going to steal that Feedback Pedal Effect.”

What think you?

Bad Songs Forever by Deaf Club

Bad Songs Forever was recorded by Alex Estrada at Pale Moon Audio and Tommy Meehan. Mixed and mastered by Brent Asbury. Album art and design by Paul Rentler. Pressed on limited edition color vinyl, released by Three One G and Sweatband Records. Preorder from Three One G Records, here. Go see them live at any one of the following locales:

May 6  Vegas, CA @ Backstage Bar
May 7 Tempe, AZ @ The Beast
May 8 Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
May 9 Tulsa, OK @ The Whittier Bar
May 10 Dallas, TX @@  Rubber Gloves
May 12 Austin, TX @ Oblivion Fest
May 14 San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
May 16 El Paso, TX @ Madre
May 17 Tucson, AZ @ Club Congress
May 18 Los Angeles,CA @ The Smell
June 8 San Diego, CA @ Bring By Brick
June 9 Los Angeles, CA @ Resident

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*pic #1 by Geoffrey Nicholson, pic#2 by Becky DiGiglio

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Track Premiere: Aussie Ragers Battlegrave Grow from Humble Beginnings to Cavernous Depths

Countless times you’ve heard musicians and bands describe how a certain song/album/project happened “organically.” Chalk the ongoing existence of Australian blackened death thrashers Battlegrave in that category, if not at the top of that particular heap. Originally formed in 2016 by longtime pals Clint Patzel (guitar/bass/keys) and Rohan Buntine (vocals/lyrics) with the goal of writing a single song together, by the end of the following year, the pair had the To Hell With War EP under their belts. A year later, they found themselves writing much more than one song and hiring Kevin Talley as drummer for their self-released a debut album, Relics of a Dead Earth. June 30th will see the pair, now part of the Bitter Loss Records roster and joined by skin-slapper Samus “66Samus” Paulicelli (Decrepit Birth, ex-Abigail Williams), issue their second album, Cavernous Depths. Today, we present an advance look at this new release in the form of a stream of “The Black Vortex.” When asked about the track in question, the duo informed us:
“‘The Black Vortex’ is one of the album’s real bangers. It is fast and aggressive in the typical Battlegrave style, but carries with it one of the album’s most hooky and groove-laden choruses. It features a furious drum performance from 66Samus and showcases Daniel Mackie’s soloing chops on three occasions, culminating in a divebomb for the ages. Lyrically, the track tackles new territory for Battlegrave, telling the tale of a lone pilot traversing deep space before descending perilously into a black hole. What lies beyond? Enter yourself and discover your own truth.”

Discover the track, and more, below

Cavernous Depths by BATTLEGRAVE

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Video Premiere: Hyperia Showcase Beery Guitar Playthroughs and Wedded Bliss with “Experiment 77”

Recent Calgary-to-Vancouver transplants Hyperia are all about thrashing in a style inherent to ‘80s basketball shoes, shredded denim, battle jackets and those studded gauntlets that may look cool, but are likely more responsible for  forearm rashes than being a gateway to one-night stands. Imagine classic Megadeth, “Toxic Waltz”-era Exodus, Annihilator and Anthrax alongside Exmortus, Havok, Warbringer, Violator, Crisix and others with a new-school take on an old-school sound.
Silhouettes of Horror, the band’s second album, was officially released into the wild a couple weeks ago and amid the classy, bouncy, melodic thrash, shredding solos and unnervingly cheerfully bright vocals comes darkness (songs about various abuses and real-world horrors) alongside the light (songs about the partying lifestyle, riffs that sound like they emerged from a partying lifestyle and an ABBA cover). What also comes to light about this quartet is how one-half of the lineup — guitarist Colin and vocalist Marlee Ryley — are a married couple. So, we figured this would be a neat little topic of discussion to accompany the videos below: a guitar play-through of “Experiment 77” (which goes to show it’s not all dour and sour in the Hyperia camp) and official promo video for the album’s first single, “Operation Midnight.”

Take it away, married folks!

Have you found that being a married couple in a band together to be a rare thing, or have you come across other couples in similar situations?
Marlee Ryley: We have actually noticed quite a few bands that have couples in them! Often times they aren’t married, but we’ve actually been surprised about the number of bands with members who are least in a relationship with each other. We definitely do still have people curious about it though, especially how the dynamics play out with the band. Normally people think it’s really cool though!

What are the details of your story? Was it metal that brought you together?
Colin Ryley: We actually met in a different band called Loremaster in 2012 through a mutual friend who reached out to us individually asking us to join his band. At that point, we never really talked to each other, as we would mainly show up for practices and shows and never really hung out much outside of those limited engagements. It wasn’t really until after the band broke up that the mutual friend told me Marlee had a thing for me [laughs]! After Loremaster broke up, Marlee also joined my main project at the time, Skymir, on keyboards. We got married in 2016, had a 13-month honeymoon across 23 different countries, and then decided it was time to come home and start playing music again, which was the inception of Hyperia in late 2018.

At what point did you decide to jump into being a band together? Did you have people encouraging/discouraging you?
Marlee: I think since we had already been in two bands together, it was kinda a normal thing already for us. Music is both of our main passions in life and it was only natural for us to share it together, rather than being in two separate bands and never seeing each other. I also think since we had been in bands together since the start of our relationship, none of our friends found it that weird, so everyone was super-encouraging!

Have you had discussions with the other guys in the band about them potentially feeling like collective third wheels when it comes to lineup dynamics?
Colin: Neither of us is one to be overly affectionate in public and, at this point, all of Hyperia is one big family, although perhaps we are the parents [laughs]. I don’t think anyone in the band really feels like a third wheel. Often I wonder if they forget we’re married at this point since we’ve all been around each other so much, especially during Covid.

Are there any written or unwritten rules given the interpersonal structure of the lineup? For example, when you get hotel rooms on tour is it a given that you guys get a bed together and the other dudes take the other bed…?
Colin: I guess that’s one thing [laughs]! As I said before though, we all see each other as a family, so if there’s only one bed, we’d have no problem sharing. I think the other members of the band just see Marlee as a sister which makes everything feel less third wheel-ish. I think a conflict that happens sometimes is that since we both seem to agree on most topics, it comes across as us taking each other’s sides, even if we both agree for our own separate reasons. This isn’t to say we don’t disagree a lot as well, but somehow this goes unnoticed.

When there is band-related conflict, how do you prevent it from carrying over to your personal lives and vice versa? Have the others ever been caught in the crossfire of a conflict?
Marlee: It can definitely be a little tough. For both of us, Hyperia is a huge part of our lives, so we definitely carry over some things to our personal lives. We are lucky as a band to be super-communicative and transparent with each other, so whenever we have a conflict, it’s usually hashed out and resolved within 30 minutes of “bitching” at each other, followed by a hug. Communication carries over to our personal lives as well, which also minimizes conflict within Hyperia. At the end of the day, the show must go on!

Given the amount of time a band takes to practice, write, record, tour and do business stuff, when was the last time you had a non-Hyperia related conversation? What do you do to try and take time as a couple away from the band and have you been successful at it?
Marlee: We both have other passions in life away from music such as hiking, camping, hanging out with dogs and watching TV/movies together. Lately, Hyperia has been the main focus of our conversations, especially with all the logistics involved with releasing an album and planning show schedules, but I think both of it enjoy the band so much that it’s something we enjoy talking about and figuring out together.

What advice would you give for any couples who are gun-shy about being in a band together?
Colin: I’d say it definitely takes commitment and work! You need 100% communication with your partner and the rest of the band. And you have to be sure you want to be committed to the other person, or else risk conflict or termination of the band. You get what you put into the band and the relationship and if both of you are equally as passionate about making music together, it can be a super rewarding and beneficial experience. Also, expect to spend A LOT of time together, so make sure you’re up for that!

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