How Punk Thrashers Fucked and Bound Found its Filth, Switched Up Monikers, & Created an “Eternal” Sophomore Album

So Fucked and Bound is now Filth is Eternal.
“It was a tough decision to change the name because we all believe in free expression and valued the feral intensity of the previous moniker,” guitarist Brian McClelland tells Decibel. “But we also believe in the work that we had done with those concepts just as much. We decided that, ultimately, we wanted to live.”
And live the Seattle quintet certainly does on its incandescent sophomore LP Love is a Lie, Filth is Eternal — a brilliant and enlivening piece of extreme music that deftly bridges the gaps between Disfear-ish D-beat, old school dark thrash, mid-career Napalm Death punk grind, serrated sludge, and Sonic Youth-esque noise swagger.
It is, in short, the spirit of Fucked and Bound, intact, rehoused in a nastier, sharper, more lithe musical body.
Decibel spoke with McClelland about Love is a Lie — out this fall, preorder here — the band’s multi-layered evolution, pandemic living, and what it means to not just survive but thrive…
So, even as a confirmed devotee of your past work, I have to say Love is a Lie, Filth is Eternal feels like a watershed moment. It’s amazing. And it’s accompanied by this switch in monikers to Filth is Eternal. Can you talk to me a little bit about how the thought of changing the name evolved into action — and whether it is connected to the musical evolution on display here?

Hey, thanks so much. Love is a Lie, Filth is Eternal was a process. We wanted to write different kinds of heavy songs. We wanted to dig a little closer to the truth. We were able to welcome Matthew Chandler and Rah Davis to the band and were excited to build on the strength of a new team.
We’ve had this record completed for a little while, but even after it was finished, we kept building the meaning of the songs. Initially, we did twenty tracks and whittled the selections down to what we felt were the best. We wanted to make the track list perfect. We took the time to redo the artwork, and to shoot videos for some of our favorite tracks. We did all of this as we were reissuing our first album, Suffrage.
Gearing up to get those records back in the wild again with Quiet Panic, we were starting to see the walls closing in. During the pandemic, social media was a mess, flagging us as sexualized and violent, and shutting down our reach. We’ve always been a very live, word of mouth kind of band and without being able to perform our new record, and facing a hostile climate online, we were staring at the very real possibility of this album dying on the vine.
Considering “Filth is Eternal” is both the band’s new name and appears in the title, it would seem the phrase has some resonance for you. What’s the provenance and how long has it been kicking around the right side of your brain(s)?
Love is a Lie, Filth is Eternal began as a simple declaration. Rebellious in its truth, it resonated at us every time we got together to write and prepare for recording. Scrawled on the wall at our warehouse venue in South Lake Union, it became a mantra that we came to know, meaning that when love has become so cheapened by those that abuse its goodwill, we shall turn from it and again embrace the filth from which we came as our true salvation.
How soon into the writing process did you realize there was change afoot in the house of filth? Did these songs flow as I’m hearing them? Or did you go in with the conscious intent to expand the horizon?
When we started writing, it was a simple thing. Songs were a minute or two, and each had to have a moment. Those songs were vital and exciting. Then we started breaking our own rules, songs got longer and heavier. Some got noticeably darker. We could at times feel the weight of the world bearing down. All the while, we kept at it as members of the group went through changes. We’ve traveled the world together, lost friends and family, and made new ones. These things all bled into the writing in a way that none of us really expected. The whole time, we just wanted to do what we love, and make something for others.
Press materials note this record was “accelerated by isolation.” Can you expand upon that idea a bit?
Yes. We had an epiphany in the quarantine induced daze. Like a lot of our friends, we were debating what to do. Were we going to keep grinding with no relief in sight? Could we even get together safely? What was even the point.


We had worked for a long time to get this album ready, and we had built a great team. A hit some roadblocks not being able to play live, but we kept moving. Getting to work with our friends at Two Minutes to Late Night helped us keep the momentum going. With much to consider, we felt like we owed it to our community to do what we came to do.


Suffrage by Filth is Eternal

Decibel has been in the Tad Doyle luv biz for a while, and I see you worked with him on Love is a Lie. Did that experience live up to expectations?
It always does. TAD is a monolithic force. He’s a guy that truly knows what heavy is. We had the pleasure of working with him previously in He Whose Ox is Gored and always love to visit him at Studio Witch Ape. He has a skill for finding the root of the feeling that you’re working on and helping you see it more clearly. TAD is a living legend.
We’re coming out of a minor cataclysmic moment — both for bands and humanity itself. But now tours are being announced and venues are opening back up. You’re armed with this extremely aggressive and weirdly beautiful record. How, if at all, do you think the experience of the last year plus is going to affect how you moved forward as individuals, as artists, as a band?
Personally, I hold a quiet anger for some of the things that we’ve all had to experience together, but I realized that it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do with it. Part of the idea of Love is a Lie, Filth is Eternal is that there is always some corrupting force eating away and the things we know and love, but we always have the power to love these things anyway. No one can take that away from us.
Anything I missed? Again, I imagine this is a very gratifying and exciting moment for you — would love to hear about any aspect of it…

This is a beautiful moment. We love that the world is opening back up, and though it’s been difficult, we all get to be here to see it open up again. For that, we are thankful. Sometimes, I didn’t think I would see the day, but tonight, I want to scream and writhe with joy in the arms of the one I love. Tonight.

The post How Punk Thrashers Fucked and Bound Found its Filth, Switched Up Monikers, & Created an “Eternal” Sophomore Album appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Transcendence Awaits: Cop Problem/Painbody Frontwoman Deb Cohen On Her Heavy Metal Yoga Practice & Classes

Deb Cohen — who more discerning extreme music aficionados may know as the the force of nature vocalist behind such seriously under-appreciated acts as Cop Problem and Painbody — first dipped her toe in the yogic waters five years ago to bring some variety to her exercise routine.

What she found at Palo Santo in South Philly was something much greater — and not so far removed from her life in brutal sonic transcendence.

“More often than not, after a pretty intense yoga class, I realize that for the past seventy-five minutes, I haven’t really thought about anything other than practicing yoga,” Cohen tells Decibel. “Sometimes I even have moments during practice where I don’t really think about much at all, I’m just present. Listening to and playing extreme music, specifically, singing and screaming, are other activities that naturally put me in a meditative frame of mind where I’m not consciously thinking about anything. I’m just doing what I’m doing. So combining yoga and heavy music, two things that allow me to access that pure awareness, makes total sense to me.”

Now a teacher herself, Cohen aims to help others in the greater Philadelphia area achieve that same “pure awareness” via Heavy Metal Mondays at the Palo Santo — “heavy metal jams and an all-levels Vinyasa Yoga flow.” (Book here.)

“There are definitely parallels between teaching yoga and playing in a band, especially fronting a band,” Cohen said. “When teaching yoga, aside from instructing people on how to move from one pose to the next, you’re creating energy and directing that energy in the room. When playing live music, and creating any art for that matter, you’re essentially doing the same thing.

“Yoga asana — or the physical practice of yoga — is just one part of yoga practice as a whole life practice,” she continues. “There are a lot of other concepts in yoga philosophy that run parallel to how I approach music. Specifically the ideas on service and speaking the truth. While practicing yoga gives you the tools to improve yourself, it’s not just about becoming efficient at bettering yourself for selfish gain. It’s about connecting to your higher self so that you can be of service to others. Part of that includes speaking the truth, which to me means not only expressing my personal truth, but shining a light on social and political injustice. That’s something that attracted to me to hardcore and punk in the first place, and it’s a thread that runs through all of the music I’ve been a part of.”

To give you a taste of the not-Hell that awaits, Cohen was kind enough to curate the following heavy metal yoga playlist!

1. YOB — “Pain Like Sugar”

YOB is a no-brainer for me as far as including them in my yoga playlist due to the spiritual themes that run through much of their music, specifically Eastern Religion and Philosophy. So not only is the content closely related to yoga philosophy and practice, but the music itself has a driving, trance-like quality that lends itself to entering a space where you can still the mind and turn inward. I chose this track because it’s one that I really dig and the runtime is on the shorter side as far as their tracks go, but really any YOB would serve a yoga playlist well depending on the mood and energy I’m trying to build for a certain flow.

2. Godflesh — “Like Rats”

While Godflesh may not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of yoga, I think “Like Rats” specifically has a dark, filthy, driving quality that is perfect for a fiery yoga session in a sweaty, dimly lit yoga studio in the heart of gritty south philly. While the content of the track may not necessarily have a direct link to yoga, the music absolutely provides a groove that you can lean into when breathing through a tough pose. I like to throw this in early to help set the tone.

3. Cannibal Corpse — “Evisceration Plague”

Again, Cannibal Corpse probably isn’t something you’d expect to hear during a yoga class, but the class I teach is Heavy Metal Monday, and I try to stay true to heavy metal tracks that I like, tracks that immediately make me grimace in riff approval, and tracks that have a deep groove that you can focus on to get out of your thoughts. So why not include one of the sickest tracks from one of the longest running and consistently ripping death metal bands of all time? I think it’s required of me.

4. Inter Arma — “Transfiguration”

Inter Arma’s music provides a fitting soundtrack for staring at the dark parts of yourself that want to tell you can’t do something or that you can’t handle discomfort while you’re holding a tough pose and your muscles are trembling. “Transfiguration” is a sonic surfboard that carries you through those waves as you continually adjust, reconnect to the breath, push past doubt and transcend the mind, even if for just a moment. In essence, you’re cultivating the skills that can lead to your own transfiguration.

5. Kevin Hufnagel — “Ashland”

At the end of physical yoga practice, we enter Savasana, which is Sanskrit for Corpse Pose. This represents the death of our practice where we let go of anything that happened during practice and really rest; reap the benefits of our practice, so to speak. “Ashland,” and truly any track from Kevin Hufnagel’s solo record bearing the same name, sets the proper tone for Savasana. While Dysrhythmia and Gorguts don’t quite work for this part of the practice, the beautiful and ethereal sounds of “Ashland” from one of the most talented and prolific guitarists in heavy music today are a perfect way to end metal yoga.

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Pranic Power: Chaka Malik on Orange 9MM reissues, Burn, Ghost Decibels, & the Prophecy and Peace Found In Extreme Art

Energy finds a path.

It creates — or adapts to — a conduit.

The process is a beautiful thing, but it ain’t always pretty.

This is, after all, how people get electrocuted.

But it’s also how they can be galvanized…changed…united with kismet…turned on, for lack of a better term.

One could argue this is precisely what occurred in a New York City hospital room sometime in the mid-1980s when one of the most visionary artists in one of the most visionary scenes in the history of rock n’ roll music — that’d be the hyper evolutionary, boundary-smashing late 80s into mid-90s New York City hardcore-to-post-hardcore blossoming — first found his creative mind plugged into a synergistic power source that would radically shift his path and, ultimately, the paths of countless other sufferers, strivers, and seekers.

Chaka Malik had, alas, looked the other way briefly while watching his younger sister and she’d accidentally sprayed some sort of cleaning product into her eyes. (Sometimes energy-infused destiny asks an innocent bystander to take one for the team — don’t worry, no permanent damage!) To help him deal with his fear and guilt as the doctors did their examinations, the future Burn/Orange 9mm/Ghost Decibels frontman borrowed his mother’s portable radio.







Scratch Acid.


Sure, energy finding a path to a young heart that had already been primed for unorthodoxy by a pair of headphones and his father’s record collection, as epic as it was eclectic, has an easier gig than energy en route digging into the aural canyons of a AOR-bred normie, but…c’mon: We all can agree the jump from underground jazz and Rush to Scratch Acid is a deliciously exhilarating leap off a artistic cliff.

Riveted, Malik’s attention was for primed for a commercial that led him to Crucial Chaos. And hardcore. And Some Records. And his first pilgrimage to see Trip Six and Underdog at CBGBs where the fabric of the normal life we are carefully sold began to truly tear.

“CBs was one of the hottest places I’ve ever been,” Malik tells Decibel. “Around the time I was really there a lot I also worked at a store called Prana Foods. Prana, that’s the light within the breath, right? Oxygen, yeah, but then it’s also something that’s active inside of the oxygen that you could allow into your body that invigorates you. Some people are better at absorbing this substance than others. Most people don’t even know it’s there. A lot of people that get involved with yoga access it through the asana and the pose and the relaxation, they end up getting more pranic energy into their body. You can also find it through exercise, through meditation. And I think that the inside of that that literal pressure cooker CBGBs at that time — the way energy was activated and nourished and channeled in there — was pranic. It brought things to a boil, which in my opinion created fertile ground for very unique music, whether you’re talking about Cro-Mags or Quicksand or Beastie Boys.

“In my mind that transcendence is your ability to bounce,” he continues. “If the cosmic was a trampoline, when you take your arrow and you throw it against the trampoline, how high does it bounce? And how long can you continue to get it to bounce like that? In general, I don’t think a lot of us take art as seriously as is necessary for it to bounce in a way that fulfills true potential. But inside that CBGB pressure cooker, people caught the energy and spirit and shaped it in their own ways. And it was beautiful and powerful. If you’re not listening to what the energy and the spirit of the people are saying, you’re missing the point, right?”

The energy and spirit of Malik’s own work is a powerful example of this: Known primarily as a dancer and skater in the scene, Malik made the jump from observer to participant when he joined forces with Absolution guitarist Gavin Van Vlack for Burn, recording one of the great, most seminal and forward-thinking EPs in the storied history of New York City hardcore. (Not to mention, as we told y’all before, one helluva recent reunion record…)

Then — much as Gorilla Biscuits and Beyond gave way to Quicksand; and Youth of Today gave way to Shelter; and Underdog gave way to Into Another — from the ashes of Burn rose the many-headed beast of Orange 9mm, an amalgamation of sharp, coiled riffs, high-wire act grooves, and Malik’s idiosyncratic lyrics and cadence that existed somewhere in the left field space between early hip-hop, hardcore, and soul.

“I was at the right space when Orange 9 came along,” Malik says. “I had a lot of pranic energy and my horizon for what could potentially happen had expanded. It’s not always that way. A lot of times you have a vision but not the right energy. Or, conversely, a huge amount of energy but no vision. When [guitarist] Chris [Traynor]” — now in Bush! — “and I got together the energy was right, the vision was right, the scene was right, the environment was right. One of our managers at the time, Doc McGhee, would say, ‘Luck is when preparation and opportunity meet.’ And if all we had to do to prepare was completely immerse ourselves in positive energy and music? Well, fuck…count me in! Easy decision.

“Was the energy we had because a riff it an F sharp at just the right time?” he adds. “I don’t fucking know. You allow it to happen. You open the door. You see what comes in. You get fucking stoked. And you welcome it.”

The partnership between Traynor produced two fantastic — if occasionally somewhat schizophrenic — post-hardcore classics, Driver Not Included (1995) and Tragic (1996), and then Traynor bounced to play second guitar in Helmet. After a bit of musical chairs that saw bassist Taylor McLam move to guitar the band released the extraordinarily eclectic Pretend I’m Human in 1999.

Check out an exclusive stream of “Alien” here:

Thirty Something Records · 08_Alien

Pretend confounded many fans and critics upon release, but a new deluxe reissue — out June 18; preorder here (U.S.), here (Euro), or here (cassette) — that brings the guitars to the fore make it a perfect ahead-of-its-time candidate for reevaluation.

“I think that whatever we did at the time happened for a reason and I’m thankful for every situation that was involved with that — every person that laid their hands on it to put it together,” Malik confirms. “But I did always feel like the guitars were just too low and it just wasn’t a very impactful sounding record. The aesthetic was leaning towards less rock intensity and, in reality, Orange 9 is more of a rock band than an electronic band. We need the hairy edges. We need that stuff. I know that the reissue has really brought us much closer to where I would have wanted to be.”

At the same time, the remaster has not dulled the heart of the record — which is definitely a following-the-muse, wildly unencumbered piece of refracted rainbow art.

“That’s what I love about art and music,” Malik says. “I love the new. I guess because I learned how to do all this shit by…doing. A cover song just seemed counter to like what my personality in music is. Maybe I should change that. Maybe it’ll help my musicality to learn a crap ton of cover songs. Or just maybe one cover song! But I’ve never approached life like that and I probably won’t start now. That’s what Pretend I’m Human is — a search for the new.”

Malik continues to strive and self-actualize in inspiring and liberated ways: There’s the captivating bedroom pop perfection of his Ghost Decibels. (Good breakdown of his GD influences here.) He’s got a holy-shit-is-this-actually-happening new hardcore band with Greg Bennick of the legendary Trial. A pandemic jam he did with Swim the Current called “Cognitive Dissonance.” A dark, sexy, soul-synth project with Ann Marie Hedonia dubbed Sex Prox-Z.

Haunted Houses by Ghost Decibels

Oh, right, and then there’s his fascinating and unique take on the podcast form, Eff With Me, wherein Malik chops it up with guests such as his former Orange 9MM bandmate Traynor, Quicksand/Deftones bassist Sergio Vega, and Converge vocalist Jacob Bannon:

In the stop of this expansive, liberated artistic journey, Pretend I’m Human feels less and less like an outlier than a bridge.

“I wholeheartedly believe that you are prophesying in your art, whether you know it or not,” Malik says. “So, for me, listening back to something I’ve done or having a conversation about it like this can be so weirdly fucking enlightening. It’s like going through a box in your parents’ house and finding an object you’d forgotten about but realizing instantly that it helped set you on the path you’re on. So it’s important, in that respect, to look back. It’s like that bumper sticker, ‘How’s My Driving?’ Am I using all that emotional and intellectual wisdom I built up through my life to drive down the right road? It can honestly help to hear how people who weren’t part of the creation process engage with your art — it can help reveal that prophecy, you know?

“So, yeah, there is a bridge there. Around that time I just remember feeling like, ‘Okay, this sounds like shit that I was playing as a 13 years old kid when my dad got us a Korg drum machine and a Casio CZ-3000.’ You know, back when I was fucking around in the nascency of hip hop –when hip hop was still a fun thing and wasn’t being guided into certain areas to sell products or ideas yet. I feel like, Pretend I’m Human sounds like that more than it sounds like anything else to me. But the truth is, I literally was just looking to just put together some lyrics and stuff that would try to just connect with myself.”

Perhaps for this reason, Malik has no regrets about Orange 9MM: It did what it was supposed to do, he believes, and — like everything he pours himself into — it was a quest to create something infused with that pranic energy; something that is not matter but matters. Aesthetically Malik’s works may be wildly different, but as a body of work, nothing is out of character.

“We create our realities,” Malik says. “I firmly believe that. I think a lot of people come either from scenes or intellectual landscapes that don’t seek to create meaning or more fulfilling realities — and their egos and points of view reflect this. You can say what you want about hardcore and cliched lyrics about backstabbing and all that, but it’s always meant something. You can’t deny it. No one gets into hardcore to be who they are or to settle, you know what I mean? They go into that heat, that pressure cooker because they want something more.

“I feel like for me, I live in my head for better or for worse. I always wanted to have peace of mind. You’ll never have peace of mind living in the world, in my opinion. I mean, that’s just true. So, whether I’m doing a hardcore record or a Ghost Decibel record or a Sex Prox-Z song, one of the challenges for me is I’ve just got to get my prana, because I’m just playing with tones that I like and that can allow me to maintain my peace of mind. One of my friends told me Ghost Decibels “sounds like satanic meditation,’ which I found to be funny because I’m not a satanist by any stretch of the word. I’m just looking for positive energy and peace, however it comes.”

The post Pranic Power: Chaka Malik on Orange 9MM reissues, Burn, Ghost Decibels, & the Prophecy and Peace Found In Extreme Art appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Future Triumph Meets Past Glory: A LOVEBITES NWOBHM Playlist

On the effusive, soul-stirring new EP Glory, Glory, to the World Tokyo shredders LOVEBITES charge forward in a musical body that is modern and symphonic but powered by a heart and soul that radiates pure New Wave of British Heavy Metal fire.

To celebrate the release of this slab of new what’s next metal, Decibel reached out to LOVEBITES bassist Rosana Miho for a playlist — and we were not disappointed!

1. Iron Maiden

A band that represents the NWOBHM, and should be called the face of heavy metal. The band’s sound is one of a kind, with a punk-ish roughness in the good old British rock vein. The central figure, bassist Steve Harris, has been one of my biggest heroes since I started playing bass. From Iron Maiden, I learned the importance of the bass sound that resonates behind the guitar harmonies and that gives it character. My slightly trebly sounding fingerpicked bass style is nothing short of Maiden’s influence. In live
performances, I sometimes mimic Steve’s “machine gun bass” out of respect.

2. Tank

This is a manly band with a strong punk element in NWOBHM, with distorted vocals over aggressive blasting riffs, and a rugged and rough sound that can be likened to Motörhead. Of course I didn’t know them in real time myself, but their [Decibel Hall of Fame] debut album Filth Hounds Of Hades was well-received in Japan at the time. One of the reasons I like them so much is that they have evolved from their early punkish style to a more legitimate heavy metal band with twin guitars since their third album This Means War. The title track of their fourth album, Honour And Blood, is a great song that is aggressive yet sad, and contains the best of NWOBHM.

3. Grim Reaper

This is a traditional heavy metal band that is particularly melodic in the NWOBHM genre. It should be noted that the singer, Steve Grimmett, has a wonderful singing capability. He has a great command of the mid- to high-register — and his raspy singing shines through. Every song title is lined with words that metalheads love, and the chorus sings the song title in high spirits. I’ll never forget the feeling of unity with the audience when I spun the classic song “See you in Hell” at a DJ event. It made me realize that I wanted to create a song that could be sung in chorus with the audience just like theirs. The essence of this is slightly captured in “Journey to the Otherside” by LOVEBITES.

Photo Credit: Kitetsu Takamiya

4. Chariot

Chariot debuted in the late NWOBHM era, and their second album, Burning Ambition, released in 1986, is a masterpiece. It is full of simple, rough, but straightforward and beautiful melancholy riffs, and it is a concentrate of the greatness of British metal. The first song, “Screams of the Night,” is a must listen for all metalheads. The bass guitar obbligato and the unison phrases between the bass and guitar are wonderful. I can’t help but be attracted to this song, which must have been borne out of respect for the older NWOBHM bands as they debuted later in their career.

5. Tygers of Pan Tang

The guitar hero of the NWOBHM, John Sykes, shines in this young band. The second album Spellbound is the best, but the third and fourth albums are also great. The fourth album after the departure of John Sykes is a bit poppier, but it is still a good British hard rock album that you can enjoy. I like bands that have a wide range of songs like them, and I find it a pleasure to be a part of LOVEBITES’ similar ability to play different types of songs.

The post Future Triumph Meets Past Glory: A LOVEBITES NWOBHM Playlist appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Video Premiere: Burning Tongue — “Cult-De-Sac”

We love looking at each other through keyholes. They ought to make keyhole glasses, they’d sell a million of ’em, because that’s how we prefer looking at each other. — Tom Waits

The above quote surfaces as Burning Tongue* vocalist Chris Marotta unspools the disquieting sociological inspiration behind the ferocious blackened crust punk track “Cult-De-Sac,” a “suburban paranoia” detailing “a seemingly normal man’s descent into madness” from the forthcoming Prisoners Cinema — a ticking time bomb in the extreme music scene set to blow this October courtesy Aqualamb Records.

The good news? You don’t have to wait that long for detonation — we’ve got an exclusive premiere of the “Cult-De-Sac” track below. Check it out and then scroll on for more interesting philosophical and practical behind-the-scenes thoughts from Marotta.

“The song itself came from our own experiences growing up in idyllic northeastern suburbs where neighbors were mostly cordial but also nosey and two-faced,” Marotta continues. “Everyone had a theory about this person or a complaint about that family…but to their face, everyone put on a big smile.

“It was shot in the neighborhood that I grew up in. It’s one of those places that looks idyllic and every house is cookie-cutter but isn’t really a community. Growing up there everyone kinda talked shit or complained about each other. Unlike the movies, no one is bringing you a Jello cake to welcome you. It’s all just a facade. Even as a kid I could sense this ‘paranoia’ amongst the neighbors…even for the banal shit.

“In a serendipitous twist, the filming of the music video proved this point. We filmed a few shots in the street and in the car that raised eyebrows amongst the neighbors. You’d see them standing outside in these socially distanced gatherings and as you would drive by they would eye us with suspicion. You’d find out later that they were asking other neighbors about what was going on with ‘the guy in the robe’ and the car they didn’t recognize. Meanwhile, I grew up in this neighborhood and in many cases had been there longer than any of them. People have this tendency to put all these different pieces together and we make up a story about someone that bears no resemblance to the truth.

“On the other side of that coin, you would find out years later that ‘Oh yeah…that guy down the street who played with your kids…he ran a prostitution ring.’ Or the friendly neighborhood cop who did D.A.R.E in your school but eventually brutally murders four guys during a drug deal AND THEN becomes Jeffrey Epstein’s cellmate. How much do we actually know about our neighbors? How many secrets are hidden underneath perfectly manicured lawns? Especially in places where those who have money and power live, like the suburbs of New York City. DARE officer story is true, by the way…**

* Formerly, Blackest.
** If you want a full download on the fucked up nature of modern policing, Radley Balko’s essential Rise of the Warrior Cop was just reissued this week.

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Excavating “Mystical Extraction”: A Gonemage Track by Track

During the warping of Cara Neir into a video game dimension within “The Trimjrtle Sanction,” a mysterious occurrence took place with the transference of Garry Brents’ corporeal self into pixelated subjugation. A phantom ego was plucked from this event and splintered off into a nostalgic dream realm. Unaware of its human body and pixelated form, it wanders and spirals into other paths while its pixelated counterpart remains in Cara Neir’s gauntlet and timeline in parallel.

Early on in this unnamed dream realm, Galimgim encounters a few mystical beings — first, a glittery deceptive man called the Dust Merchant who siphons souls from video game dimensions and sells them in cartridges in other realms. Another is a cloaked woman known as The Curator. She reveals that she’s the one who summoned/fractured Brents’ identity into this realm to take place as the new Curator while she tends to other dream realms, for reasons undisclosed as of yet.

Do I have any idea what the fuck any of that description of the origin of Gonemage means?

Hell. No.

But you know…whatever works. Mystical Extraction — out now via Tomb Tree Tapes — is an extremely weird, yet weirdly enjoyable, highly original take on black metal that sometimes feels like Lords of Chaos by way of The Wizard.

The soundscapes are lush, the textures are rich, and it sounds as if the final boss can riff like a motherfucker.

So with all that craziness in mind, we hit up Gonemage mainman Galimgim for further explanation…

Mystical Extraction by Gonemage

1. “The Gullying and the Purple Hoax”

This song opens up with a blasting frenzy of black metal with an underlying fuzzy 8-bit synth counter-melody. The song bounces back and forth going into totally off-kilter sections before ramping back into a tremolo-riffy black metal finish. This song sets the tone as a related sound from my main project Cara Neir and our latest 8-bit concept album Phase Out. But to those unfamiliar, that album is more of a chaotic, arcade platformer while this project sets itself apart carving its own video game-like path in a dream realm/dungeon crawler. More of a black metal influence and melancholic atmosphere. Story-wise, this starts off with a phantom ego being splintered off from my identity and summoned to this dream realm; this is meant to run as a separate and alternate timeline to Cara Neir’s lore.

2. “Chained Castle”

Continues the tone set from track 1 but introducing more melodic sensibilities with the blackened synth-punk choruses. My alternate ego learns more about how they were brought here: by a mysterious protector of this dream realm known as “The Curator.”

3. “Dust Merchant”

A total love letter to shoegaze/post-punk with a strong black metal overtone throughout it all. Perhaps ‘blackgaze’ could fit as a quick description, but instead of how most of those bands having black metal featuring shoegaze or post-rock elements, this is more of an alt rock-structured song featuring black metal and shoegaze elements. I know that’s splitting hairs, but that’s my take. Story-wise, this Dust Merchant figure is a shady character who siphons souls from video game dimensions and sells them in cartridges in other realms. My character narrowly dodges him for now.

4. “Dream Moat”

Venturing deeper into what I’ve described in the previous song but this time breaking it down further into a hazy shoegaze track with pop sensibilities. Healthy amount of reverb and bright chiptune melodies floating around. Thinking of The Depreciation Guild as my biggest influence during these types of songs/parts. This is where my alternate ego learns they’re about to assume the role as the new ‘Curator.’

5. Uncast

Kicking it back up a notch, but continuing some of the melancholic vibe from the previous songs. Waltz-like late 90’s/early 2000’s black metal influence here. The Curator bestows her gifts and abilities to my character and suddenly bids a bittersweet farewell to tend to other dream realms.

6. “Ipinta”

Finishing it off with the most longform track of the album. Wearing my biggest influence on my sleeve here in early Ulver, but with subtle chiptune melodies blended throughout. Drops into this clean early Kayo Dot-esque break, at least, that’s the vibe I was feeling when writing/recording it. At this point, my character is barely getting used to being this curator/dream denizen and realizes that it’s suspiciously lonely here so they get the spark to conjure some NPCs, if you will: in the form of toads, sprites, rabbits, and mice, just for starters. This song and album ends with that uplifting note, yet a bit of a cliffhanger. Was it naïve to play ‘God’ and conjure beings to this place? What happens with the Dust Merchant or the original Curator? More to come in future chapters for Gonemage.

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Track Premiere: Our Place Of Worship Is Silence — “Disavowed, and Left Hopeless”

In search of a bit of straight outta the abyss cacophony?

Look no further than the dark and mesmerizing of Our Place Of Worship Is Silence, whose third full-length Disavowed, and Left Hopeless — preorder here — offers up a top shelf collection soot-encased metalscapes that bridge the most sinister elements of black and death metal.

The record drops August 27 via Translation Loss but we’ve got an exclusive stream of the title track below…

“’Disavowed, and Left Hopeless’ encompasses the soul of this album,” drummer/vocalist Tim tells Decibel. “Musically, it is contemplative while focusing on our signature relentlessness. Lyrically, it is very attacking in nature, which is standard for us. Nothing can be shielded against these exhales of confrontational rage. The writhing agony of this song may exacerbate those feelings of confusion and bleakness, or leave you feeling right where you should be.”

Disavowed, and Left Hopeless by Our Place of Worship is Silence

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(Still) No Longer At Ease: The Story of Highly Influential NYHC Legends Beyond Finally Told

Jackson Browne was a mere 29 when Running on Empty dropped.

Bruce Dickinson, 28 when warned us of “Wasted Years.”

Ted Leo recorded “Timorous Me” just after rounding into his thirties.

Ray Cappo belted out the ultra-prescient “A Time We’ll Remember” at the tender age of 22.

But when it comes to wise-beyond-one’s-years insights into the ephemeral nature of life, living, and self-actualization Tom Capone and Kevin Egan may have them all beat with the epic metal-tinged hardcore jams such as “What Awaits Us,” “Time Stands Still,” and “Ancient Head” that they wrote in their teens through the under-loved yet insanely influential Beyond.

“In a world that moves so fast,” Egan screams, “I try real hard to make things last.”

Enter What Awaits Us: A Beyond Story, a highly personal, beautifully rendered documentary directed by Egan that takes a deep, revelatory dive into the ripples of that short-lived band — both in his life and then through the scene at-large as the No Longer At Ease (1988) lineup (Egan, Capone, Alan Cage, Vic DiCara) went onto redefine underground music via Quicksand, 108, Burn, Bold, Shelter, Inside Out, Handsome, 1.6 Band, and more.

Along the way we hear from a who’s who of NYHC — Walter Schreifels, Gavin Van Vlack, Sammy Siegler, Porcell, Alex Brown (RIP) — offer further insights into a band that, from one perspective, should’ve been much, much bigger, yet from another vantage point, really could not be any bigger.

The film offers up an inspiring story about the magnifying effects of fate and determination; about the beauty of a scene with primal origins dove into wondrous evolutionary flux; about reconciling the feats of youth with the rage, rage, raging against the dying of the light of middle age. There’s definitely a DIY vibe to the shooting and editing which only serves to further drive home this underlying theme.

The vibe here is equal parts bemused and reflective, the soundtrack is next level great, and even long-time devotees of NYHC lore will enjoying noshing on several tasty new morsels: What Awaits Us is highly recommended, essential viewing.

For more information click here.

No Longer At Ease by Beyond

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Track Premiere: Honey — “Dancing With Death”

Last summer we hyped a track from rising Philly thrashers Honey — “Uh, did everyone else also sleep on Jay Laughlin of Turning Point going full-on, glorious speed metal?!” — and now the band builds on that auspicious arrival with an absolutely killer full-length Forever Fire, out May 28 courtesy Hellmind Records. (Preorder here.)

If you love Teutonic thrash, early Sepultura, or the darker, meatier outside-the-Big-4 offerings of the late 80s/early 90s this has album of the year written all the fuck over it for you.

Below, we’ve got an exclusive stream of the track “Dancing with Death,” but before you smash that play button check out what Laughlin has to say about the jam…

“After the fucked up year we all experienced in 2020, getting to make this record was the first real bright spot for me in a long while. I wrote ‘Dancing with Death’ after most of the other songs had already been written. Most of our other tracks we had at that point were super fast and kinda short. After talking with Greg (bass) one night he suggested going for a more mid-tempo type approach and this is what I came up with. It starts kinda mid tempo, but by the second half I couldn’t stop myself from getting back into the fast stuff. By the time the opening riff comes back in at the end of the song it’s right back to going full speed. I love the contrast from the beginning to the end of this tune.”

Forever Fire by Honey

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Nancy Barile’s Soundtrack for Punk Rock Rebellion

I had a bad introduction to DC hardcore at the riot at SOA and Black Flag in Kensington, Philadelphia. I saw Minor Threat as my first “date” with [SSD songwriter/guitarist] Al [Barile], and then again at Irving Plaza, did a fateful show with them at Buff Hall — where Ian was hit by a stolen car, Al’s van was smashed, and the Ghetto Riders Motorcycle Club did security.

Like Serpico, it seemed appropriate to begin with a snapshot of the end of this stellar playlist curated by writer/award-winning educator/hardcore punk trailblazer Nancy Barile to mark the release of her fantastic new memoir I’m Not Holding Your Coat: My Bruises-and-All Memoir of Punk Rock Rebellion: There is something about the elegant and unorthodox path these songs take that beautifully entwines with the narrative of her book, which itself is an inspiring, powerful tale of evolution and self-actualization in a world that runs interference against both.

In other words, I’m Not Holding Your Coat is not simply an edifying read for devotees of 80s punk hardcore or alternative teaching theory. Yes, the book covers that ground in fascinating and revelatory depth, but it also transcends such specifics to demonstrate the ways durable value structures can be applied to myriad seemingly unrelated pursuits, creating far-reaching ripples of positive and lasting change. It is a showcase for how the unlikeliest triumphs can be the sweetest and most profound. Barile has written a book that will — no exaggeration — change perspectives, mindsets, and, yes, lives.

“The punk thing for me, and I imagine most of us, was a way to find connection, because, for a variety of reasons, we felt marginalized in society,” Ian MacKaye writes in the introduction. “We used music as a gathering point of a currency or a secret language, and this made it possible to more easily spot a fellow traveler. It was entirely possible to spot someone on the street, and know that they knew that you both knew something special.”

If that sentiment resonates with you so, too, will Barile’s book and the following playlist…

1. The Rolling Stones: “Paint it Black”

Like many children, I watched Ed Sullivan on tv. Even as a child of about seven years old, I recognized the difference between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. The Stones were darker, more dangerous, more primal. I was immediately drawn to them.

2. Temptations: “Ball of Confusion”

I began to recognize that music could be political and that it could be social criticism. I learned every word of this song, and I loved singing along.

3. David Essex: “Rock On”

I went to Catholic high school. I start to rebel against the draconian rules, the crushing conformity, the gender bias. As a freshmen on the first day of school, I felt disenfranchised and out of place, but when I walked into the school cafeteria and heard David Essex’s Rock On on the jukebox, I felt at home.

4. Ohio Players: “Fire”

As I said, the jukebox was a huge influence in my life, and this song was one of my favorite to play and dance to during the summer of 1975.

5. David Bowie: “Life on Mars”

My sister had a stereo I was forbidden to go near. She’d play her records in the basement, and when she went to work, I’d sneak down and listen to see which were the songs I heard floating up through the floorboards that I liked. Foghat and J. Geils — not so much! David Bowie, yes! I worshipped David Bowie, and he became a huge influence on me—my friends were also Bowie fans and he showed me that being different was cool.

5. Sylvester: “(You Make Me Feel) Mighty Real”

I was all in on punk, but I’m not going to lie… I loved some disco songs and this one was in heavy rotation in my dorm room. I’d sneak out with my gay friends and dance to the wee hours of the morning to this song.

6. Patti Smith: “Gloria”

I worshipped Patti Smith, and she was a strong role model in my life. I loved her music, and I followed her lead in discovering new art, literature, fashion. If Patti talked about a book, I ran out and got it. I even became a pen pal with her mother.

7. The Clash: “Janie Jones”

Another hugely influential band in my life, the Clash taught me about politics and standing up for what I believe in. I “ran into” the Clash in New York City with my little brother, Danny.

8. Joan Jett: “Bad Reputation”

Another powerful female influence in my life, I admired Jett’s work ethic, and I met and became friends with her guitar player, after meeting him in New Jersey.

9. Bad Brains: “Big Takeover”

Some friends of mine told me about the Bad Brains. They said that once I saw the Bad Brains, I’d be transformed. They were right.

10. Minor Threat: “In My Eyes”

I had a bad introduction to DC hardcore at the riot at SOA and Black Flag in Kensington, Philadelphia. I saw Minor Threat as my first “date” with Al, and then again at Irving Plaza, did a fateful show with them at Buff Hall — where Ian was hit by a stolen car, Al’s van was smashed, and the Ghetto Riders Motorcycle Club did security. Ian helped me frame the book, helping me to answer the question of why I was still talking about hardcore after forty years.

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