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Full EP Stream: Brick by Brick / Cutthroat

East Coast meets West Coast when New York hardcore unit Brick by Brick joins forces with Los Angeles’ Cutthroat for a two-song seven-inch.

Brick by Brick’s side kicks things off with a bang, new single “Evil Remains” featuring Testament vocalist Chuck Billy. Fans of ’90s metalcore will dig what the NYC trio are putting down—no frills metallic hardcore with more than enough opportunities to mosh or throw your body side to side in the pit.

“‘Evil Remains’ is about all things come full circle,” explains guitarist Mike Valente. “The fact is, evil is always the underlying current. Behind every angel is a demon. Behind every hero, there’s a villain. Behind every religious ideology is the devil. Behind every politician is a puppet master. Evil will ALWAYS remain.”

Cutthroat bring an equal amount of intensity with “Overthrow” to their side of the split. The rhythmic, groovy hardcore paired with the band’s politically-charged lyrics is an effective combination. Cutthroat’s less-metallic sound keeps the two tracks distinct, but no less hard for it.

Vocalist Neil Roemer keeps things simple when explaining the track: “I’m tired of seeing ignorant people fight over two evil sides when the whole system is broken.”

Watch the videos for both “Evil Remains” and “Overthrow” below and score a copy of the seven-inch through Upstate Records.

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Interview: Christian Larson Talks Necrofier, Night Cobra and Hell’s Heroes IV

Christian Larson is a busy man. In addition to fronting US melodic black metal outfit Necrofier, Larson sings in heavy metal torchbearers Night Cobra and books Houston’s premier trad metal event, Hell’s Heroes (already sold out for 2022). Decibel caught up with Larson shortly following the release of Necrofier’s latest album, Prophecies of Eternal Darkness, to talk booking, recording, Necrofier and Night Cobra, the pandemic and blacksmithing.

Do you want to give us a rundown of the various bands you’re involved in?
For a long time I played in Venomous Maximus. Venomous ended and I was already talking to [Insect Warfare/Malignant Altar drummer] Dobber [Beverly] about “Let’s do a black metal band,” so after Venomous ended, we kind of put everything into that so Necrofier started really quick. We got an EP out quick and then we were working on the record and life just kept pushing things back until we were going to record and then it was a pandemic.

So you put out Prophecies of Eternal Darkness on Season of Mist earlier this year.
We recorded it summer of 2020 after we kind of figured out “OK, cool, we’re not going to die.”

That is how that felt.
The first month of that shit was “What’s going on?” and then it was “OK, none of us do anything publicly for work so I guess we can all hang out. This will be alright.”

How’s the reception to the record been?
Everything’s been really positive. I think most of the reviews are like 9/10.

The record is selling well, there’s some really good responses through social media and stuff. There seems to be a good response from the black metal community in general, even in Europe and things like that. I didn’t really know how American bands go over there playing black metal.

You guys have that very melodic Scandinavian vibe, so I can see how that goes over there.
Straight up, that’s what we were going for. We were sitting there worshiping at the ’90s Scandinavian black metal altar. I feel like this should go over well with these dudes.

Since most of the writing was done before, there wouldn’t be a pandemic wall but in the process of trying to record this record and get it out, did you ever feel disheartening? Was it a struggle to get the record done because of the pandemic and how it affected your outlook?
At the beginning of it, I didn’t have much to do. Luckily my venue made it and I worked through the pandemic—some parts I was working part time and sometimes I’d be back to full time—but it gave me time to actually work on things without distraction.

I got to focus on a lot. I wrote the lyrics during the pandemic, so I got to spend more time doing things I don’t usually get to because I’ll be distracted trying to figure out a million other things. Doing shows for a living but also playing shows, all that extra stuff that takes up all my time, wasn’t there. It gave me more time to actually do what I wanted to do and get through the mixing process and mastering, there wasn’t any impending “hey, we got to get this done.”

We got to spend as much time as we wanted to. I was kind of worried that we were going to shop a record that I swear every label is losing their mind and no one can tour. That ended up working out well.

Waiting around for the vinyl stuff, we turned in the record and we were like, “When are we going to release this? When are we going to release this? OK, we got a date! Everything’s cool, who cares?” It gets bad sometimes though. We recorded that and we recorded the Night Cobra record this last January. I have two record that aren’t even out and no one even knows it’s happening. I feel like I’ve productively spent my pandemic time but it’s real weird.

The Night Cobra record, Dawn of the Serpent, is that the same situation, written before the pandemic?
We just ended up jamming the whole pandemic because we were like “Cool, nothing else is going on. Practice on Thursday.” We wrote that whole record during the pandemic and then recorded it.

Would you say kind of a similar experience to the Necrofier record where you had the time to work on it so you felt like you had time or did you encounter more issues because you had to write during the pandemic?
Probably about the same thing where it gave us some time. We were supposed to turn it in in March and we weren’t done, so [I asked] “How long is this production time?” and they’re like “10 months.” I was like “Cool, I’m not going to give this to you for another month and a half because I don’t care.”

There’s no reason to rush this, it doesn’t matter.

In general when I do bands, I try to press our first thing. In Venomous, I pressed our first record and EP. Did the same thing, we self did the Necrofier EP, Night Cobra the same thing. I’m used to, you can get tapes or CDs in a couple weeks and vinyl used to be three months and I’m like “Man, three months is a long fucking time,” which sounds hilarious now.

Other than Covid issues, what was the experience like booking this year’s Hell’s Heroes festival? Was it pretty easy to do?
I had a decent amount of bands that were on the one before. I made another day, though. In the past, I’d been thinking about making it two days. I feel like people will travel more for two days and if it hasn’t happened in a few years, let’s make up for it like this. I went with some of the bands I had before and then it was like a whole new list of “Cool, let’s go after this” but since there wasn’t much else going on, it felt good to work again.

It came together almost the way I wanted it, which doesn’t always happen. I also chased down a bunch of dudes—some of them don’t play that often or maybe they don’t play, it’s not like I’m calling someone’s agent most of the time for some of these bands.

It has a nice mix of the Dark Angel, Candlemass, Cirith Ungol bands and then the Sabres and Bewitcher and stuff like that.
Luckily the heavy metal world, I’m into that. The newer bands are somewhat easier for me to do. I have a list.

You’re kind of booking your own personal taste.
I had kind of thrown around the idea of doing it forever but Houston’s not the coolest city. Shows don’t do as well as they do other places. I was really worried about doing it and tried to get it rolling and never did, then Jarvis from Night Demon, when he got Cirith going, I was like, “Can we do Cirith?”

So when I booked Cirith, I went down the list and they there like “Who’s playing this festival?” and I was like “Cirith Ungol” and they were like “OK, we’re in!”

So you wouldn’t want to slow down or anything?
There has to be a balance, so you do this and then I need to take a break from this. Writing-wise, I’ll be like “OK, I got all this done” and instead of rolling into something else, I’m like, “Cool, I’m not going to do anything else for a few weeks or a month.”

In general, in life if you don’t take breaks from everything and relax, at some point it will just overload you and you’ll be burnt out. I didn’t used to think this way. Always doing stuff, if you’re not doing anything, you’re just wasting time. Now I’m like if you don’t take time to take a break and let yourself recharge, you’re just wasting time.

There’s more to life than metal, got to stop and appreciate that stuff too.
Once you finally got to the point where you’re actually doing it, you have all this other stuff that you’re into that has nothing to do with it. It could be cooking, camping… you can’t do this every second of your life.

On some of this stuff, albums, art, I completely obsess. Even the Hell’s Heroes poster, I’ll spend weeks being like “What should we do? What’s the concept?” or with bands it’s way worse.

I’ll pick up weird things at antique stores and be like “We can use this in a video!” or “We can use this in a photo shoot!” [Blacksmith] Jason Tarpey’s made me multiple swords and daggers and he just made me a sickle. In the Necrofier videos, it’s in some of the old-school promo shots, Jason Tarpey made that. When he started doing that, I wanted to commission something and he was like “What do you need it for?” I was like, “I don’t know, it’s gonna end up in band shit somewhere.”

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Full Album Stream: Eternal Evil – “The Warriors Awakening Brings the Unholy Slaughter”

The members of Eternal Evil are only teenagers but their music reeks of the late ’80s. The Swedish quartet worship at the altars of the first wave of black metal and Teutonic thrash, sinking their teeth into the classic style with enthusiasm and gusto on debut album The Warriors Awakening Brings the Unholy Slaughter.

At 10 songs and 40 minutes, The Warriors Awakening has little room for frills or experimentation. Twin guitar attacks and frantic drumming drive the record, backing vocalist/lead guitarist Adrian Tobar’s bark. Even the guitar solos feel appropriately frantic and cluttered, further solidifying Eternal Evil’s retro style.

If names like Kreator, Venom, Sodom and Coroner send a chill down your spine, then Eternal Evil’s The Warriors Awakening Brings the Unholy Slaughter is your jam. It’s out on November 26 via Redefining Darkness—just in time for Black Friday!—but you can stream the album in full below.

The Warriors Awakening Brings the Unholy Slaughter by Eternal Evil

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Listen: Stormkeep Release ‘Tales of Othertime’ Album

Many black metal albums claim to be inspired by mysticism and magic, but few capture the feeling of those two things. Tales of Othertime, the new album from USBM quintet Stormkeep, not only captures that feeling but provides it in spades, recalling the glory of classic melodic black metal.

Stormkeep counts among their ranks members of Blood Incantation, Wayfarer, Lykotonon and Cobalt, so the high-tier musicianship comes as little surprise but Tales of Othertime rules so hard because it’s fun. The band’s galloping, melodic riffs and soaring leads combine gracefully with Grandmaster Otheyn Vermithrax Poisontongue’s lyrics about wizards and fantasy, further amplified by symphonic keys and moments of spoken word.

There are two dungeon synth interludes on Tales of Othertime, but beyond that, Stormkeep move through the album at a brisk pace. It isn’t a record that reinvents the black metal wheel, but for anyone who yearns for the glory days of Emperor, Sacramentum, Dimmu Borgir and their ilk, Tales of Othertime is one of the year’s essential black metal albums.
Tales Of Othertime by Stormkeep

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Video Premiere: Trench – ‘Imminent Power Looming’

Canadian outfit Trench are serving up their heaviest music yet with their latest song, “Imminent Power Looming.” Building on the band’s previous framework of metalcore, death metal, hardcore and beatdown, “Imminent Power Looming” is two minutes of fight riffs and breakdowns, the perfect answer to any mid-week frustrations.

“‘Imminent Power Looming’ aims to re-create the feeling of internal helplessness,” Trench vocalist Jay Breen tells Decibel. “We want to make changes in our world but struggle to find a way to gain control over ones self, and over the future of this planet. It seems at this point in modern human existence we are finally starting to realize we don’t have as much control over our lives as we once thought. We can feel the weight of the powers that hold us down now more then ever. Something that wasn’t tangible before has now become exposed. Becoming aware of the faces in the wall might be the key to the change we seek. Ignorance fuels the fire lit on stolen stone.

“Musically, this track gives you all levels of Trench’s arsenal,” he continues. “Intense electronics coincide with blast beats and lead into an emotional build, all while being punished by unrelenting unique heaviness and intricate musicianship. Writing ‘Imminent Power Looming’ allowed Trench to meticulously experiment sonically and creatively, further pushing the boundaries of our previous offerings.”

Watch the video below:

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Track Premiere: Imperialist – ‘Majesty of the Void’

Forget Satan—we’re talking about space today. California black metal quartet Imperialist explore that vast unknown, alongside other science-fiction topics, with “Majesty of the Void,” a new track from their upcoming second LP, Zenith.

There’s a Swedish flavor to the music despite their West Coast home base, weaving soaring melodies in between blast beats and waves of tremolo-picked, thrashy guitars. That’s not to say that Imperialist inspire thoughts of snowy landscapes and frigid winters; “Majesty of the Void” invokes the cold and lonely feeling of floating in space, particularly when the music slows down and is allowed to breathe, like at the four-minute mark.

Zenith is due November 26 on Transcending Obscurity, but “Majesty of the Void” is streaming now.

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Track Premiere: Phrenelith – ‘Gorgonhead’

Enter a death metal vortex with “Gorgonhead,” the latest offering from Danish outfit Phrenelith. The fourth track on their album, Chimaera, “Gorgonhead” serves as the divider between the front and back half of the album. That doesn’t mean the song is an interlude—Phrenelith hammer the listener with cavernous death metal for the entire run time.

“With its deathly howls and piercing riffs clawing away at the listener with baneful talons, ‘Gorgonhead’ showcases the band at their most ferocious,” Phrenelith tell Decibel. “As we aim for a musical approach that’s as carnivorous as the malformed and abhorrent entity it’s named after.”

Chimaera is out on December 10 via Nuclear Winter but Decibel is streaming “Gorgonhead” right now.

Chimaera by PHRENELITH

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Full Album Stream: Hyperdontia – “Hideous Entity”

Hideous Entity, the second album from international death metal outfit Hyperdontia, is an improvement on the band’s debut album in every way. Picking up in a similar place to the last album but sharpened by an EP and split with death/doom dealers Mortiferum, Hyperdontia drag the listener into a murky pit of doom-tinged riffs, blasting drums and eerie atmosphere.

The tone is set immediately on “Snakes of Innards,” which begins with a crawling riff and restrained drumming before settling into an aggressive, rolling pace. At 40 minutes and eight tracks, Hideous Entity maintains a brisk pace throughout, feeding the listener one riff or creepy melody after another.

Hyperdontia have succeeded in creating a pure, ugly death metal album with Hideous Entity. Listen to the full record below and grab a copy via Dark Descent (US), Me Saco Un Ojo (UK) and Dessicated Productions.

Hideous Entity by Hyperdontia

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Video Premiere: Crystal Spiders – ‘Harness’

Take a quick detour from the work day to the riff-filled land, courtesy of Raleigh, North Carolina trio Crystal Spiders. The trio, which features founding Corrosion of Conformity bassist/singer Mike Dean on lead guitar and production, released their second LP, Morieris, last month. Clocking in at eight tracks, the album sits at the crossroads of stoner metal, doom and heavy psych and emerges from a thick cloud of smoke.

Today, Crystal Spiders share the video for “Harness,” the third track on Morieris, via Decibel. The video is just as psychedelic as the song, ending up in full-on sci-fi territory by the end of its runtime.

“‘Harness’ is loosely inspired by the myth of the fall of Phaeton, a parable to mediate conflicting desires to admire and resist figures of authority,” explains Crystal Spiders bassist/vocalist Brenna Leath. “It’s about the rush and a crash resulting from a prideful desperation to wield power. I love that myth because it feels so inevitable, but there’s an implicit warning to be careful what we wish for; play with fire, and you might get burned.”

Check out the video yourself below; Morieris is out now on Ripple Music.

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Full EP Stream: Nequient – ‘Collective Punishment’

Chicago D-beat crew Nequient are back in the saddle with Collective Punishment, a four-song EP that features a pair of outtakes from the recording sessions for the band’s upcoming second LP Darker Than Death or Night and two live tracks. For those who worship at the altar of nonstop metallic hardcore and the aforementioned D-beat, Collective Punishment is a shot of pure adrenaline.

Decibel had a brief conversation with Nequient vocalist Jason Kolkey about Collective Punishment and Darker Than Death or Night, holding their album throughout the pandemic and the band’s DIY approach to playing music. It’s available to read below—edited for length and clarity—alongside an exclusive stream of the Collective Punishment EP, out November 5 on Nefarious Industries.
Collective Punishment by Nequient

It’s been a long time since you last released music. How do you think this compares to your prior output?
In large measure, we’re just building on and redefining what we were doing already. It would be safe to describe as what we did on the previous as this sort of early ’00s, late ’90s metallic hardcore sound mixed in with some grind, a little bit of thrash, a little bit of death metal—all of those elements are still very much there, maybe even ventures a little farther into some of those different directions and adds a little more in terms of the noise rock, mildly psychedelic influence. I think there’s a little more adventurous musical stuff going on here and there throughout the record, but it’s still a heavy metallic hardcore record at its core.

You did the record at Bricktop Studio?

Bricktop with Pete Grossman. Pete and Andy [Nelson] from Weekend Nachos own that studio but Pete’s the one we’ve worked with forever now actually. He’s actually recorded every official release, every non-demo release that we’ve done so far going back to 2015. We love that studio, we love the whole atmosphere there.

Was it weird to record the EP?
Here’s the funny thing: all the actual tracking has been done forever. This is one of those cases where we went to Bricktop and recorded everything in early 2020.

So you recorded something and everything got fucked.
Yeah. We had wrapped all the tracking by late January 2020 and we were starting to figure out how we were going to handle the mixing and artwork and everything went to hell. Everything got shut down, every aspect got horribly delayed and it eventually reached the point where we just decided to push everything back.

I think that ended up being a sound decision for us. For some bands, they have enough of a dedicated fanbase that they can rely on the idea that if we put something out, people are going to listen to it. We’re not quite there, we need to get out on the road and play the songs for people.

Like you were saying, it works out fine because you want to get on tour with [your record] and take it on tour as a new thing.
There was no way we were going to be able to do anything the way we would want to do it in late 2020 or early 2021. It ended up being the best decision given the horrible set of circumstances. You can see bands on tour right now of course and it’s getting better—especially if you have the budget to do a really good job of maintaining your protocols—but I’m hoping coming springtime, it’ll be a much more hospitable atmosphere to do the touring and be able to do it in the DIY way that we do it.

There’s two live tracks on the EP that were recorded in 2019.
That was the last time we were able to actually tour. We did just a few dates with the band Ox out of Denmark.

Those songs were recorded at a place called the Valdosta DIY House in Valdosta, Georgia by the guy who runs that house. His name is Alan Sifuentes. It’s just a great DIY spot, bunch of college kids hanging out and they just bring in all different genres of music. It’s very hospitable and really cool that he would record and film every set that’s done there.

Given that we knew that was out there, we ended up getting in touch with Alan and sort of talking about could we get ahold of these tracks so we could mix them—our guitarist did the mixing on those. We came up with a couple that we felt were solid enough to put on this EP. The idea was that it would give you a sense for what it’s like to see us live in our natural environment, which is that kind of underground DIY spot.

So you feel then that this is an accurate teaser of what people can expect from your new record when that comes in the not-so-distant future?
The new record should be out first quarter of next year. The two outtake songs do cover a lot of the breadth of what we’re doing on this new record. The first song, “Collective Punishment,” is a typical Nequient song in a lot of ways. It’s going to hit the thrashy riffs, you’re going to get some blast beats, you’re going to get the big, slow, sludgy breakdown and you’re going to get me over the top of it all screaming about politics, in this case mostly about cops. I think every song we try to bring something a little fresh to the table but if you wanted to break down our formula, that could go a long way to it. We’re bringing together those different kinds of subgenres and trying to deliver it in a concise, hooky package that will make you bang your head and mosh.

But then sometimes we do other stuff. The first song, “Collective Punishment,” is mainly written by our guitar player, Patrick [Conahan]. The other song, the main writer of the music was our bass player, Keenan Clifford. He’s very into a lot of post-metal kind of stuff and I think that more expansive vibe starts to come through that song. There’s still D-beat parts and there’s a little bit of a black metal influence, but it’s also got that exploratory nature and it stretches out a little more.

I think that does in fact sum up what we’re trying to do—stay in touch with that more visceral, direct kind of songwriting while allowing ourselves some room to explore other stuff. We can allow ourselves to go to some weird places as long as we still make sure we’re going to hit you in the face with a heavy riff.

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