Video Premiere: QAALM – “Existence Asunder”

Los Angeles-based atmospheric doom act QAALM has joined forces with Toronto-based record label Hypaethral Records to unleash their debut double LP titled Resilience & Despair.

The first single, “Existence Asunder,” will be released as an edited version of the epic 20-minute album track featured with an accompanying music video. Resilience & Despair is scheduled for release in early 2022, with specific details regarding pre-order and limited edition vinyl versions coming in the next couple of months.

Despite featuring current/former members of notable metal bands Act Of Defiance, Harassor, and Seven Sisters of Sleep, QAALM has no musical comparison, having forged a sound unlike any of its member’s previous efforts. Combining the crushing heaviness of sludge, the melancholic harmonies of funeral doom, with the atmosphere and intensity of black metal, QAALM has created a gloomy, depressive, and unique interpretation of the doom metal genre.

Exclusive video premiere of QAALM’s “Existence Asunder” Edited version of the 20 minute album track, from the upcoming full length “Resilience & Despair” out March 2022 on Double Vinyl LP on Hypaethral Records + CD & cassette on Trepanation Recordings. Directed by Vicente Cordero courtesy of Industrialism Films.

Press play and succumb to “Existence Asunder.”

Get more info about pre-ordering QAALM’s Resilience & Despair HERE

Follow QAALM on Facebook for news and updates HERE

The post Video Premiere: QAALM – “Existence Asunder” appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Album Premiere: Swamp Coffin – ‘Noose Almighty’

Rotherham-based sludge trio Swamp Coffin formed in 2016, and have been polluting the UK with darkness ever since. For the band’s debut LP, they returned to engineer Owen Claxton of Top Floor Audioworks. Claxton helped shape the band’s Flatcap Bastard Features. But Swamp Coffin’s new album Noose Almighty is an even filthier beast. Part NOLA sludge, part Conan’s pummeling doom. Add a muscular flex of hardcore from the hotbed of Sheffield and Leeds. I hope you’re a glutton for punishment, because Decibel Magazine has access to the album a few days early. Listen to the exclusive stream before the album’s November 26th release date from APF Records.

Despite the bleak-as-fuck themes, the album boasts vitality. Noose Almighty isn’t party sludge, and it doesn’t exactly smile its way to the grave. Think more like the glum sense of humor of The Abominable Iron Sloth. In “Barbarian Windsor,” drummer Dave Wistow creates sledgehammer rhythms with bassist Martyn White. Meanwhile, vocalist/guitarist Jon Rhodes leads the trio from heroic riffs to tar-pit breakdowns. The album’s title track is an explosion of raw-hearted catharsis. “Knuckledragger” earns the song name with a primordial groove. Closing track “Welcome to Rot” is the record’s longest song. Like Black Sabbath warped by hardcore and contemporary cynicism, it’s a haunting conclusion.

“After what feels like an eternity,” begins vocalist/guitarist Jon Rhodes, “it’s an amazing feeling to finally have Noose Almighty out in the wild. We once described it’s predecessor Flatcap Bastard Features as a horrible little twat of a baby. By that same standard, Noose Almighty is a nasty biting toddler that will happily wake you up by sticking both it’s thumbs in your eyes. The whole album is bigger and more vicious, and it’s a hugely cathartic record for us. We’re incredibly proud of it, and we hope you love it as much as we do. Bastard Club for life.”

Join the Bastard Club and stream Noose Almighty below.

Noose Almighty by Swamp Coffin

Pre-order Swamp Coffin’s Noose Almighty HERE

Follow the band on Facebook for news and updates HERE

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Khemmis: 5 Albums From Each Member That Inspired “Deceiver”

Rocky mountain riff-masters Khemmis release their new album Deceiver on Friday. Their first three albums have all claimed spots on Decibel‘s top 40 list, including the coveted throne as top album (Hunted in 2016). So a Khemmis release date is basically a bonus holiday at Decibel. Deceiver is the band’s darkest and most personal album to date. Their evolution since Absolution‘s stoner doom genesis is a path of creative freedom, songwriting prowess, and technical growth. They retain the shadowy doom and capital-H Heavy Metal on Deceiver, but continue to push their sound into shadowy new territory. There’s also an emotional sincerity to their music that gives each clean or growled note intangible heaviness.

Khemmis was kind enough to share some of the music that influenced them during the writing and production of Deceiver. Read the list from  each member below, and stay tuned for the album release on November 19th from Nuclear Blast Records.

PHIL PENDERGAST (Vocals, Guitars)

Massacre – From Beyond

This kind of putrid thrashy proto-death metal was a constant part of my musical diet in 2020. There is something wonderfully escapist and lunk-headed about this record that helped pull me out of depressive slumps or overthinking, existential crisis, and back to the guitar. I tried to tap into a similarly primordial, lizard-brain headspace for a couple of riff sections on Deceiver. I also drew inspiration from some of the darkly psychedelic production aspects of this record when we were crafting the longer, more drawn-out transitional parts on the album. If you haven’t heard this one in a while, turn down the lights and crank it up!

Katatonia – Dance of December Souls

I had never listened to this particular Katatonia record before late 2019, when I put it on for an evening walk during that magical part of the year where the leaves are still crisp on the ground and the first snows are falling. Sometimes a record just blends perfectly with a moment in time, and this was one of those perfect pairings. We had enough ideas percolating for Deceiver by then that I had a vague sense of what it might feel like, style-wise. And here was this record that combined a sort of melodeath influence with death-doom in a way I hadn’t really heard before, aside from what we were writing. There was something kindred there, in the spirit of this album, that reassured me this type of sound would work and pushed me towards making certain melodic or arrangement choices that I otherwise may not have, in an effort to reach for something similarly evocative.

Ibrahim Maalouf – Kalthoum

It might have been a function of the books I was reading at the time, but I found myself drawn to a lot of Middle Eastern music during the darkest days of quarantine, early on in the pandemic. I was particularly drawn to a few different jazz artists from this region, and did basically nothing but read and listen to these albums for about two months. Of those records, Kalthoum by French-Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf had probably the greatest influence on the new album (though I would not say it was my absolute favorite of these records — that honor goes to Tunisian Oud player Anouar Brahem’s Souvenance). Several tracks feature bombastic, horn-led melodies that create a very heavy groove against the rhythm section, and I tried to recapture this feeling in a couple places on Deceiver. The verse riff on the first track, “Avernal Gate,” would be one example. In fact, quite a few melodies on the album are based on musical scales and modes that you hear in this kind of music, which lends the record a slightly different and more mysterious harmonic language than our past albums.

Judas Priest – Sin After Sin

Over time, I have developed a really deep appreciation for this era of Judas Priest (along with Sad Wings of Destiny and Stained Class; I could have picked any of these albums). This is the sound of one of the best bands to ever do it, and my personal heavy metal heroes, stretching out fearlessly into the unknown, totally unencumbered by expectations, success, or genre barriers. While they soon went on to write the blueprint for capital-H Heavy Metal, and have more or less kept to that sound ever since, here they cannot be so easily defined. “Sinner” flat-out rocks and foreshadows what is to come, while “Call for the Priest” and “Here Come the Tears” bring the theatricality. “Dissident Aggressor” goes so hard that it practically invents thrash and death metal in 1977. Across this album, Priest are completely unafraid to take you to the highest highs (seriously, Rob Halford’s final harmony part on “Sinner” and opening scream on “Dissident Aggressor” are way up there!) and lowest lows, while remaining totally authentic to themselves. I have always thought that we should strive for a similar freedom of expression with Khemmis, and Deceiver is really the first album where we have been confident enough in ourselves and skilled enough in our craft to fully attain that vision.

Tom Waits – Mule Variations

If you are unfamiliar with this album, for all intents and purposes, Mule Variations is basically a career-spanning greatest hits collection, except that every song is new (or was, in 1999). Now, this is a great album, and the sense of setting that Waits creates in each track is inspiring enough to me as a songwriter to include it here. But the remarkable thing about this record, to me, is that Tom Waits has been such a restless artist his entire career, constantly reinventing himself to deliver a body of work that is unparalleled in its breadth and depth. Given that, it must have taken a lot of guts to look back, embrace all of these earlier versions of himself, and deliver material in each of these styles that is just as vital and emotionally resonant as anything he’d done before. That courage is admirable. As artists, it can be really tempting to either create new works that actively defy what you’ve done before, or attempt to simply recreate past glories. Only those who are truly comfortable in their own skin can expand out while embracing their legacy, as Waits did here. Now, I am not going to claim that we have anything approaching a “legacy.” But I do think that with Deceiver, we have matured enough as artists and as people to recognize and play to certain strengths of our sound without abandoning experimentation or the drive to innovate. We can still make a pretty damn “doomy” album without being just a doom metal band, and it doesn’t have to sound anything like Hunted or Epicus Doomicus Metallicus. It can just sound like us, here and now, the imperfect but honest expression of our past, present, and future that we all are, as human beings.

Zach Coleman (Drums)

Darkthrone – Plaguewielder

I listened to a lot of Darkthrone, again, over the last year. I specifically spent more time with mid-era albums like this one. All killer! Fenriz is such a creative drummer and one of my favorites.

Twin Tribes – Ceremony

This was recommended to me by a friend who knows I’m really a goth at heart, and I’m sure glad. Great riffs, programming, and excellent lyrics. Definitely seeped into my subconscious when working on Deceiver.

Tim Hecker – Harmony in Ultraviolet

This has become a go-to album for me when I need something meditative. For me, It’s sonic escapism that makes me want to create. This in turn, eventually makes me rethink whatever I’m working on, including drum parts.

Swallowed – Lunarterial

It’s easy to get possessed by the atmosphere of this record, and I’m not immune. But it’s the madman style of playing that keeps me coming back. That absolute freedom and focus on capturing a certain type of performance over perfect form/tempo/technique has always been something I’m into. But it was more on my mind in the studio because I’d been listening to this record so much.

Slowdive – Souvlaki

This album is a masterpiece and has been a constant companion for me for most of my adult life, but I really started digging back into shoegaze when the pandemic hit. I love how quiet and loud, restrained and bold, less and more the whole thing is. The drumming perfectly serves the songs while also moving them along.

Ben Hutcherson (Guitar, Vocals)

YOB – Clearing the Path to Ascend

Everything this band does is incredible, but this album is the one I return to most often. Mike [Scheidt]’s approach to playing guitar is an endless source of inspiration for me. He runs a masterclass in storytelling with the instrument and in using the entire range of the guitar in a way that disrupts the “low notes for riffs, high notes for solos” dichotomy. No other guitarist can cause me to weep with sorrow as well as with joy with a single chord shape.

Weakling – Dead as Dreams

John Gossard’s playing and compositional style has been a massive influence ever since I heard this record my freshman year of college. I did not understand what I was hearing. The vocals were terrifying. The songs were so, so long. Nineteen years after I first heard it, I still find new points of inspiration in this record. When writing Deceiver, I think the oppressive, visceral atmosphere of Weakling (as well as Asunder) manifested in a much more explicit way than on any of our other releases.

John Prine – John Prine

This is our most introspective and darkest album to date, and that necessitated a willingness to just be and to let that being come through the music and lyrics. Prine has a catalog filled with beautiful songs that are ostensibly about fictional characters but are somehow also very much about his life. That balance between the universal and the personal is one that we have always sought to find in our own songwriting.

Run the Jewels – RTJ4

This album is an incredible piece of art that shows how you can write music about the horrors of the modern world while not wallowing in a sense of helplessness or shallow nihilism. The willingness of Mike and El-P to open their hearts and put their anger and hope into a collection of songs encouraged me to let the “big picture” shape the music and lyrics I wrote for this album without hesitation.

Necrophagist – Epitaph

Muhammed Suiçmez changed my world when I heard Onset of Putrefaction, but even that didn’t prepare me for Epitaph. The leadwork that he and Christian Münzner laid down on this album provided a blueprint for combining technical precision with classical compositional sensibilities. While I doubt you’ll ever hear as many sweep arpeggios in an entire Khemmis album as these two played in any single song from Epitaph, the way they approached leadwork as a compliment to a song’s overall story remains a guideline when I begin composing a lead.

Pre-order Deceiver from Nuclear Blast HERE

Follow Khemmis on Facebook for news and updates HERE

The post Khemmis: 5 Albums From Each Member That Inspired “Deceiver” appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Full Album Stream & Interview: DREAM UNENDING Tide Turns Eternal

Let’s start by prefacing, Tide Turns Eternal is so good, it took two Decibel writers to bring this Dream Unending feature to you. My colleague, Chris Dick, and I both are big fans of the record.

Chris in his own words about the album says, “When Decibel initially heard Dream Unending’s Tide Turns Eternal, a few thoughts came to our aging minds. While others have picked up and elaborated on the so-called Peaceville 3, there really hasn’t been one in recent memory (last 10 years) that captured what the trio—Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Anathema—as a collective had intended sonically. Indeed, we’ve had our favorites—from Saturnus and Novembers Doom to Draconian and Mourning Beloveth—but they pivoted on different things that made them unique. Dream Unending, a “fever dream,” developed by Derrick Vella (Tomb Mold) and Justin DeTore (Innumerable Forms) is similar. The daring Canadian/U.S. duo isn’t so much about exacting the sound out of albums like Gothic, As the Flower Withers, and Serenades. Rather, it’s more space and time winding their deft hands through Dream Unending’s debut full-length Tide Turns Eternal. This just feels like it had life in another time.

From ‘Adorned In Lies’ and ‘The Needful’ to ‘Dream Unending’ and stunning title track, Tide Turns Eternal stretches outward hazily. Perhaps the sentiment explored—with a modicum of brutality—is more like a foggy cemetery on a cold autumn day. Or, a dream that feels nostalgic and melancholic but somehow tangible enough to wake the sleeper. Surely, fans of the Peaceville 3, as well as vintage Septicflesh and Ras Algethi, will hear and feel this. Even the cover art, colors (blue and orange), and font are something ripped out of the heart of Peaceville’s short-lived vanity label Dreamtime. That early ’90s foreign feel is real!”

To echo Chris, Vella and DeTore’s efforts as Dream Unending wonderfully convey the aura of early gothic doom. In addition to these metallic tropes, the duo constructs a massive world for the listener to live in for 45 minutes. Much of that world comes from Dream Unending’s inclination towards more non-metal talents like The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Dennis Wilson, and Gene Clark (among many others). DeTore and Vella’s ability to use every bit of sound to their advantage—while being hundreds of miles apart—speaks to their expert musicianship and innate ability to pull from their influences. The worldbuilding coupled with the life-affirming narrative of Detore’s lyrics and the powerful spoken word and clean lyrics makes Tide Turns Eternal an incredibly immersive experience.

Listen to an exclusive stream of Tide Turns Eternal and read an in-depth interview with Derrick Vella. Also, pick up a copy of the record ahead of its release this Friday through 20 Buck Spin.

At what point in writing did you and Justin realize the project was starting to take shape and become its own entity?

Derrick Vella: Probably by the time I started writing the track, “Dream Unending.” It’s the longest song on the album and has that big spoken word part in the middle. That song, by the time it got to be about 75% done, I remember sending it to Justin. I said, “Hey, I wrote more for the song. Let me know what you think…”

I was really worried the clean part was going to be a bridge too far for him. Especially the way it happens. You have this huge clean section and at this point, we didn’t know there was going to be a voiceover—that didn’t come until later. As that part ends, an overdriven guitar comes in and slides up to this one note. It’s really great and I loved it when I wrote it, but I was worried it might be too cheesy. I remember sending it to him slightly terrified that he’d say, “Yeah, I can’t get into it.”

Then he said, “No, this is perfect. You have to keep going.”

I think that point is when I knew I could just be comfortable writing almost whatever I wanted. I think by that point, we said, “We have something here.”

So what was the rest of the writing process like? What were some highlights?

Vella: I bought a twelve-string electric guitar and that changed everything for the record. It just opened up another door to make the record sound amazing. Buying gear is funny, because buying gear is fun, and it also kind of motivates you or makes you feel inspired. There’s, like, a cost-benefit analysis to it.

Being left-handed, finding a twelve-string electric guitar is tricky. I blind-bought a guitar from a shop in California, and they shipped it within a week. It was a Japanese manufacturer and it’s like a Rickenbacher clone. I thought, “This is my greatest blind buy purchase ever.”

But by the time I got it and started using it for Dream Unending, all of this stuff was mostly written. It was sort of like, “Okay, I’m going to take out the six-string clean guitar here, and I’m going to use the twelve-string clean guitar instead.”

With new songs going forward, I have the pleasure of writing them on the twelve-string, which gives me a bit of a different perspective, I suppose. I think that’ll help differentiate the first record from whatever comes next.

What sort of specifics does writing with the twelve-string versus the six-string present for you guys?

Vella: What I like about the twelve-string is all the low notes are doubled with a thinner string, so it’s “octave out.” So you can play these single-note things that might be lower, but they still have higher resonance because of the octave difference. Playing full chords on it sounds way more musical.

It’s easier, at least in my head when I’m playing with a twelve-string, because I’m not thinking about it in any live scenario. I have unlimited possibilities. So if we’re playing something in C sharp minor, I can throw a capo on whatever fret on my twelve-string and just play a variation of chords up high. It’s just such a musical-sounding thing. The more strings, the better. [laughs]

If I could play the harp, I would play the harp, but I think that might be a tough mountain to climb. I don’t have room for a harp here and I can’t afford a harp. I figured a twelve-string guitar was a safer bet than buying a banjo and then trying to use a banjo on the album. I think that might have sucked.

I have to imagine it would have sounded a little different with a banjo or a harp, for that matter. Dream Unending seems to be more shaped by non-metal influences than any sort of death metal or doom metal. In some other features, you’ve said the music draws from Pink Floyd, The Cure, Cocteau Twins, Dennis Wilson, and more. What sort of things do you glean from these artists that influence the heavy music that you and Justin are writing?

Vella: For lack of a better way of putting it, world-building is a thing people do on albums, even if you’re not thinking of it consciously. For example, that Dennis Wilson record, Pacific Ocean Blue and No Other by Gene Clark. Those records are just like, you step inside the world of a broken man for 45 minutes. It’s overwhelming in its mood and it’s overwhelming in its sound.

Both of those records have a lot of things happening. They’re very nice headphone listens. You know immediately what the mood is supposed to be. I always appreciated that and those aspects I find you can apply to Dream Unending.

Bands like Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and other 4AD artists have a knack for filling in every possible little space with sound, even really stripped-down parts. They don’t sound thin or anything. There’s conviction in every little thing. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t leaving any stone unturned with this record.

It’s the same with listening to a Cure song. When it’s really good, you’re enjoying it, and then another part comes on top and you’re like, “Oh, that’s really nice.”

You’ll have these driving, metallic riffs or slow and brooding metallic riffs that sound good and evoke a feeling, but then something will come over the top and just push it into a new height. I always really like that stuff. In my head, it was almost like, “How could I create a band where I never have to play overdriven?”

If we played a live show, I could only play clean parts and just be happy. That would be fun. I think stuff like that and definitely writing some of the cleaner parts makes you think about those bands. A lot of clean overdubs on the record remind me of Robert Smith’s playing, and that’s not a total coincidence. I really like The Cure.

I think also just talking to Justin about all of that music—we talked more about non-metal records, probably more than metal records after a while. Then we were just talking about guitar players we like and how that can factor in for writing solos and how we approach clean parts.

The other thing that really helped push it from a sound and atmospheric perspective was the engineer that I always work with, Sean Pearson. We dial in these sounds, and it creates all these heavenly tones and all of this really nice extra sound.

What does this world-building or writing for this project as a whole present to you on a mental or an emotional level that’s different from your other projects?

Vella: I think the thing that helps is that Justin and I seem to really understand each other from an emotional, mental, and spiritual aspect. We both are people who would like to be hopeful about things. We’re both people who aren’t religious but are in our own ways. We have our quirks, and we have our feelings about our place in the universe and what it means to have a soul. Justin was Krishna for years, and then he left that somewhat disillusioned. I can’t speak for him though.

I’ve never really subscribed to anything, but the older I get, the more I do question that this can’t be it. This just can’t be it. I refuse to believe it. But, what’s the answer? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone can have the answer.

I give it up to people who have a very staunch faith that is subscribed to something. I wish I could have that. Could you imagine going to bed and just knowing exactly what’s going to happen? Like when you die, really believing that would be the most comforting thing in the world. But I can’t get there, so I find other ways to achieve bliss or peace with myself.

I think people will just hear it and say “Oh, it’s a doom band. It must be depressing…”

It’s actually not. The record is not a depressing record at all. There’s conflict on the record, but there’s also clarity for lack of a better way of putting it. If you read the lyrics in the order of how the record goes, it’s like you’re listening to someone searching for something–asking questions or confronting their own feelings about things.

That’s why we kind of consciously used the part with the clean speaking and the clean singing at the end of the album–to send these direct messages in a call and response with the main narrator of the record, which is Justin. It’s messages of hope or advice. That was the thing with the record: let’s make something that is hopeful, life-affirming, and positive.

Instagram says Dream Unending is a “Dream Doom band from Tama IV.” Do you also have Sci-Fi, or specifically Star Trek references?

Vella: Justin and I are both huge Trek Heads, especially him. I think The Next Generation is both of our favorite. We’re both big Deep Space Nine fans–just Star Trek fans across the board. That was the thing we definitely bonded over.

We always make references to this one episode from Next Generation called “Darmok,” and that’s where the Tama IV thing comes from. It doesn’t necessarily play in, but interestingly enough, the guy who did the voiceover in the song “Dream Unending,” is an actor and voice actor named Richard Poe. He actually was on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He had a very small role for a few episodes.

I actually knew his voice from the audiobook version of East of Eden by John Steinbeck, which is my favorite book ever. When I first read it, I remember I was so enthralled by it. When I couldn’t read it because I was maybe walking somewhere or doing chores, I picked up the audiobook version and it had his voice. I just loved his voice. I think I ended up finishing most of the book on audiobook because I was way more engaged.

So then, I just went on Richard Poe’s website and wrote in the contact section a little note. He got back to me later that night. I told Justin about it and he was like, “Yeah, it sounds cool…”

Then he heard him and he says, “Man, this guy’s voice is timeless!”

Then, later on, Justin came back and said, “You didn’t tell me he played Gul Evek on DS9. That makes it even better!”

The “Dream Doom” thing is just funny. You call bands like Cocteau Twins and whatnot “Dream Pop.” I’m like, “Well we’re ‘Dream Doom’ then.”

We mentioned a few other parts of the album already. Are there other moments on this record that are big individual highlights for you?

Vella: Yeah, I would say so for me, almost every part is a highlight. I look forward to almost every part of the record when I listen to it because I still listen to it once in a blue moon.

The song, “The Needful.” That guitar solo at the end—I still love that solo. There’s a part in that song where everything breaks, and it’s just bass. Then after these two heavy guitars come in, kind of playing this monotonous riff. Then halfway through that, this clean overdub comes in, and I just love how that sounds and how that ends. I love how it all breaks into the next riff.

That’s not just a writing thing, that’s like a mixing thing. I always look forward to the Richard Poe part. I always look forward to my friend McKenna, who sang these couple of clean lines near the end of the album. It’s very important to us that side B of the record—which is those two songs, plus the small instrumental between the two–couldn’t be shown early. That should only be experienced for people who actually listen to the record.

I remember my bandmate Payson from Tomb Mold said, “I’m not trying to be that guy, but the last five minutes of the album are my favorite part. It’s just so good, you can’t let that come out early. That needs to be a surprise for people.”

I think for me, what I find most endearing is what parts strike other people.

I really like Justin’s lyrics. I think that is what will separate it for people who can really lock in on what this record’s vibe is or what it’s trying to say. For some of the lines, I’ll just text Justin, and say, “These lines are amazing.”

I needed him to help me make this record. Of course, I needed his help. But it’s almost like if I wasn’t in this band and this record existed and I heard it and read the lyrics, I couldn’t even tell you how much I needed it.

I’m in my own head all the goddamn time, I deal with a lot of self-hatred, and I get down on myself. I am constantly suspicious of everybody around me. I just assume that I exist to be an inconvenience for people, and that’s a really poor way of thinking about yourself. Yet, here we are. I can’t break it. And even, like, I don’t know why I do it. I just do it. Knowing Justin and knowing how he is, we’re so similar.

We speak this sort of language and we just understand each other. When I read his lyrics, they resonate with me so much, and it makes it that much sweeter. I think if you’re anyone who has any sort of self-doubt or anything, I think maybe you’ll take something from this record, that would be great. Or if you’re just like, “Yo, that riff slapped.” I’ll take that too.

You mentioned what you’re hoping people take away from the record once it’s out. What do you take away from it as this album comes to the finish line?

Vella: I can’t believe I did it. The amount of playing I had to do, the amount of writing I had to do, the amount of retention I had to have. I would scribble out these horrible-looking tab sheets for parts I couldn’t remember so if I got in the studio and was stuck, I had a reference.

When Justin tracked the drums, I didn’t know what he was going to play, which was fun for me. It was like a surprise that also shows trust. Justin’s belief in it definitely motivated me to do a good job and I am forever grateful for it. It’s a thing where I don’t feel like I’m deserving of it, and yet I have it, and I can’t take it for granted.

The album is good, not because I wrote a good record. The album is good because Justin’s playing and Justin’s vocals on it are amazing. Sean did an excellent job recording all my guitars. Arthur did an excellent job recording Justin’s drums and then mixing and mastering the goddamn thing. The record is amazing because of Matthew Jaffe’s artwork, because of Jesse Jacob’s logo, because of the layout by Joce, also known as, Chimère Noire, and it comes out on a label that I have no doubts about.

I guess I wrote the thing, but who cares? That’s nothing. Everyone else made it what it is and to know they find joy in all this is a really wonderful feeling.


The post Full Album Stream & Interview: DREAM UNENDING Tide Turns Eternal appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


EP Premiere: Minenfeld – ‘Night Raid’

Minenfeld‘s tour of death metal duty started in 2017. The explosive German quartet’s war-themed anti-life anthems are heavy and severe. It’s the sonic equivalent of splashing through a bloody and muddy trench. On the band’s upcoming Night Raid EP they offer two tracks of rumbling, riotous death metal and battle crust. The EP is scheduled for launch this Friday from killer label Lycanthropic Chants. Decibel Magazine is honored to share these tracks before they venture into combat on November 12th.

After some ironically cheerful intro music, the title track is a full-out riff barrage. The song’s churning, mid-paced first half recalls Hail of Bullets and later-era Bolt Thrower with a scuzzy edge. Once the song charges into war the energy remains rabid until the final shot fires. The second track “The Sea of Madness” begins with the buzz of flies and distant tortured cries. From that ambient unpleasantness, Minenfeld’s tempo speeds into a blast of shrapnel. Harsh bellows reverberate as riffs crush skulls like tank tread. The song’s doomy denouement adds an atmosphere of bleakness to the death metal bloodshed. The song feels like searching a smoky battlefield for survivors, and finding none. That emotional response is absolutely intentional.

Night Raid is a tale of futility, of hopelessness and despair—and our first cohesive record to date,” Minenfeld shares. “Two grim and pounding tracks present the story of a soldier who escapes death, only to become one with soil and corpses. There is no beginning, there is no end; the graves of today will be the battlegrounds of tomorrow.”

Strap on your battle helmet and listen to this blast of rotten death metal below. Pre-order one of the limited copies from Lycanthropic Chants.

Night Raid by Minenfeld

Pre-order Night Raid from Lycanthropic Chants HERE

Visit Minenfeld’s website for news and updates HERE

The post EP Premiere: Minenfeld – ‘Night Raid’ appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Track Premiere: In Loving Memory – “Sun of Ebony”

Melancholic and melodic doom/death band In Loving Memory have been silent since 2014. But after many years—and several lineup changes—the Spanish project has emerged with a new album on the haunted horizon. The Withering is their resurgent offering, a damning portrait of humanity’s self-destruction. It’s heavy in terms of riffs and in thematic heft. And the band has a perfect home for the album: funeral doom label Funere. But we don’t need to hold our breath for a sample from the album. Funere shared “Sun of Ebony” with us before the album’s January 12th release date next year. So we’re sharing it with you.

The lyric video for “Sun of Ebony” is a winter walk towards the apocalypse. Synths soar over the crunch of the guitars as dark melodies lure listeners into the blizzard. Like the music video, the song has splashes of color: lachrymose harmonized guitars, the formidable roar of Juanma B and the lachrymose harmonized guitars between him and fellow founding guitarist Jorge A. The pensive rhythms create an unrushed march into the grave.

“”Sun of Ebony” was the 8th song we wrote in the process of creating The Withering album,” In Loving Memory shares. “All the songs of this record have the same theme: the end of human life on the Earth by different causes. With the “Sun of Ebony” we wrote the lyrics based on the slowly extinction of our sun, so the Earth would freeze.

“The writing process of the album was different than in our previous records,” they continue, “because we didn’t rehearse the songs and then record them. We wrote and recorded at same time, with no kind of rehearsals. Sometimes we brought the melodies first and recorded some rhythm parts and vice versa. It was quite a funny process because we were able to change change riffs on-the-fly and put them in another place of the song, so we realized easily how the structure of every song was unique and special, or not.

“For the video lyric we chose an all-audience oniric version of the lyric idea so we have some different characters that represent the sun, the winter, the reaper and the humans.”

Dive into the dying sun and listen to this new In Loving Memory track below.

Pre-order In Loving Memory’s The Withering from Funere Recordings HERE

Follow the band on Facebook for news and updates HERE

The post Track Premiere: In Loving Memory – “Sun of Ebony” appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Album Premiere: Gold Spire – ‘Gold Spire’

Hyperbole is part of advertising and promotion. Maybe that makes us numb to genuine superlatives like this one: Gold Spire is the most daring death metal band I’ve heard in 2021. The Swedish project formed after Påhl Sundström’s former band Usurpress concluded. Joined by his brother Erik (drums/keyboards), the Sundström duo recruited the talent to make their progressive vision a reality. Heval Bozarslan of Sarcasm and Third Storm seized the microphone as vocalist. They added the talent of progressive rock bassist Petter Broman. Then there’s jazz saxophonist Magnus Kjellstrand, who also adds flourishes of flute.

Gold Spire’s eponymous debut is a strange and wonderful journey of dismal death/doom and golden-tinged progressive jazz. If you’re uncertain how those disparate sounds share sonic space, skip forward to “Headless Snake” or “Skull Choir.” The band summons storm clouds and sunlight. The tracks that aren’t rife with distortion and Bozarslan’s growls aren’t just pensive interludes. They are treated with the same care and detail as the album’s boldest genre-bender, “Fetid Waters.” If you like all eras of Opeth, you will succumb to Gold Spire’s extraordinary creations. The band is an inspired melting pot of influences and creative impulses that gives death/doom a welcome stylistic revision.

“It has been almost 2 years in the making, but finally our debut album will see the light of day,” the band shares. “When we first started out we had this vision, but we were unsure if we’d be able to pull it off. That is why exposing it to the world is both intriguing and a bit nerve-racking. But now it’s your turn: grab a cold one, put your feet up and let it run from start to finish.”

Press play and surrender to the album’s otherwordly skull choirs. The debut album releases November 5th from Chaos Records.

Pre-order the album from Chaos Records HERE

Follow Gold Spire on Facebook for news and updates HERE

The post Album Premiere: Gold Spire – ‘Gold Spire’ appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Track Premiere: Converge – “Coil”

We couldn’t be more stoked (and trust us, that’s an understatement) about the latest from ConvergeBloodmoon: 1, out November 19 via Epitaph Records. The fact that the band is collabing with Chelsea Wolfe, Ben Chisholm, and a laundry list of other musical greats has us routinely screaming into a pillow with joy, waiting for the record to drop.

If you’re like us, and you can’t wait any longer, check out the little slice of heaven that is “Coil” to tide you over.

“’Coil’ turned out to be one of my favorite songs I’ve ever been a part of,” says vocalist Jacob Bannon. ‘There is an infectious, slow build that ends up becoming theatrical in tone. Lyrically, it was a true collaboration, with all of us expanding on each other’s ideas as they came to be. I believe Chelsea’s vocal was the starting point in that for this one. Kurt really pushed vocal harmonies to a new level as well. Encouraging many of Steve’s ideas while we were in the studio tracking together. This one really has every one of us firing on all cylinders creatively.”

If you hadn’t already gathered, this is not going to be your usual—albeit great—Converge album. While the band have always strayed from the confines of hardcore and metal to bring us something more experimental and unique, they really go all out with the collaborations, psychedelic undertones, and musical range on this record.

“We wanted to do something grander than the typical four-piece Converge music,” Bannon says of the project. “I’ve been a fan of Chelsea and Ben’s work for some time. I bought the Apokalypsis record from Aquarius Records in San Francisco, and Ben and I started communicating here and there. He had roots in this world of music, so it started to make sense that we could all work together in some way.”

Thrilling in its apocalyptic grandeur, Bloodmoon: I is a collaborative work in every way—to the point that Wolfe, Bannon, and collaborator and Cave In vocalist/guitarist Steve Brodsky found themselves writing lyrics for each other.

“That’s one of the keys to the album,” Ballou points out. “Sometimes when there’s a collaborative group, it just sounds like such-and-such a person doing the thing they do in their band while the other people are doing the things they do in their bands. So for Jake to write lyrics for Chelsea or for Chelsea to write lyrics for Steve, it forces each person to approach the vocals in a way that’s unique to the project.”

What we have on our hands with Bloodmoon: I and “Coil” is the best possible thing that could have come out of our fucked-up timeline and COVID—a record that brings collaboration to the table and puts egos aside, blessing (or cursing) us with some of the best music to come out this year, or maybe this decade.

Pre-order Bloodmoon: I and get merch here. 

See Converge and Cave In perform special classic album-sets from (Jane Doe and Until Your Heart Stops, respectively) at Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest: Los Angeles on December 10-11, 2021 at the Belasco in Los Angeles, CA. DeadguySacred Reich, Gatecreeper, RepulsionGhoul and tons more are on the bill as well. Full daily lineups and ticket options including “Metal & Beer VIP Sampling Experience/Early Entry,” “Metal & Beer” ticket and the “Just Metal” ticket, which starts at just $40, are below!

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

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

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

The post Track Premiere: Converge – “Coil” appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Interview: ‘Blood Of Gods’ Publisher Stacy Buchanan

Hopefully it surprises zero of you that Decibel loves DIY zines. We have a shirt that reads “Only Print is Real” for a reason. It took exactly one issue of Blood Of Gods to get me hooked on the zine’s passionate discourse about wine and heavy metal. I know, I know. You think we spelled beer wrong. Despite Decibel‘s affinity for craft beer, there’s a goblet at extreme metal’s table suitable for wine as well. Blood of Gods explores the stuck-up stigma surrounding wine with a combination of self-aware humor, fantastic artwork, and thoughtful features. Almost every page belongs in a frame, boasting artwork from illustrators the caliber of Decibel‘s Mark Rudolph. Get wine recommendations from Watain. Interviews about vineyard collabs with black metal wine connoisseurs. Genre and bottle pairings from literal tastemakers. It’s brilliantly executed, and even inspired me to learn more about my local vineyards.

Blood of Gods publisher Stacy Buchanan gave Decibel insight into the zine’s origins and the similarities between wine and metal. Scroll down to read that interview in full. The fourth issue of Blood of Gods is out now. The first two issues sold out, so get on it.

What was the spark of inspiration that started Blood Of Gods?

Stacy Buchanan: I used to be more directly involved with music, having worked at Century Media in their Los Angeles and German offices back in the mid-2000s. I also did a fair amount of freelance writing for magazines like Thrasher and Alternative Press before that. During this same time, my hometown of Walla Walla, WA had blossomed into a wine and foodie haven. A number of amazing restaurants and loads of wineries were crafting world class wines, transforming it into a tourist hot-spot. When I returned to find my hometown suddenly culturally enriched and packing some “best kept secret” cachet I was a little taken aback by its evolution. However, many parallels between my former world in the music business and the wine industry quickly became apparent: trends in style, distributor dealings, media habits, general fandom, and more.

It was mildly humorous at first, but then the frequency and sheer number of comparisons became startling. The [Blood Of Gods] zine originally started as a pithy commentary on how these two seemingly different realms actually have lots in common, admittedly a bit more of a kitschy novelty. But, as the old precept goes, what started as a light-hearted joke grew to the point where it became more serious. There was still loads of humor in the zine, but there was also some heart and sincerity to it. Higher profile names lent some more legitimacy since there was also some interesting insight and educational components as well. Like most great albums and wine, balance is key, versus being a one-trick pony. So I hope the zine maintains a well-roundedness as it grows and evolves.

When did you first become passionate about heavy metal, and how have your tastes transformed over time?

SB: Growing up I had an older brother and a couple uncles who were huge hard rock fans proudly serving in the KISS Army, so there was always loud riffs around as far back as I can remember. Using that as my starting point, I was naturally drawn to more extremes: crazier, faster, weirder, heavier. You can pretty much list the heavy hitters from the hay day of Roadrunner Records, Metal Blade and Century Media as my bread and butter growing up.

But being into skateboarding early on was also a big influence. I really connected with the attitude and spirit of punk and hardcore bands you’d find on Victory Records, as well as Epitaph and Fat Wreck. The DIY mentality really inspired me. But the highest honors go to Relapse and Hydrahead—the bands on those labels took the ‘creative’ and ‘intense’ axis and rocketed it into the stratosphere. Plus, seeing Botch a bunch of times as a teenager was influential.

I think fans of heavy music also have a wonderful encyclopedic tendency, wanting to learn and know more about the niche they’re so passionate about, and I’m no different. As I’ve gotten older I’ve reached for older albums often regarded as classics, or followed the trail of breadcrumbs for various styles or scenes. But your question is great in that it illustrates how tastes, or at least interests, can change over time and the same can be said of wine.

There are plenty of metal anthems about beer and liquor, but too few about wine. How do you personally try to encourage metalheads who think wine is a highfalutin luxury beverage to learn more?

SB: I’d say it’s a combination of two things: first, demystify the stereotypes about wine, or at least demonstrate that most of the cliched stereotypes are really just a super small slice of the pie despite them dominating the general public perception. It’s like an average Joe assuming that all metal bands murder people and worship Satan because of the Scandinavian black metal drama of the early ’90s. Secondly, I’d like to show how much heavy metal and wine actually have in common. Also—this is maybe most important—how each is deeply passionate about their respective craft. That spirit is the same to me. The excitement, the nerdism, the joy, the appreciation, the expressiveness, the fun, and the desire to know more. They are completely equal between wine and metal.

Craft beer has been embraced by the metal underground with Decibel‘s festivals and tons of collaborations between bands and breweries. What are some of your favorite band/vineyard collabs?

SB: You’re completely right; metal and beer is a match made in heaven, er, hell. That combination is ubiquitous; beer knows how to party and have fun. Meanwhile, wine is on the sidelines wearing a monocle or some shit. I can’t lie, it’s this perception that’s always been a chip on my shoulder, going back to your first question about what initially inspired the zine. All these great metal bands with their style, aesthetic, and attitude have their fingerprints all over beer, but it’s mostly been sorely missing from wine. I’m a fan of any band who actually rolls up their sleeves, gets dirt under their fingernails, and does some honest work at a winery as part of their collaboration.

What’s sometimes tricky is there are the musicians and artists who are actually into wine, and then there is the marketing shtick where a band just slaps a cool label on a bottle of swill, but their fans will eat it up. How many bands with their own beer have actually harvested the fruit, hops, or grains that go into “their beer?” Or spent countless hours in the fermentation cellar? That’s not to say bands who don’t do those things are false or disingenuous, it just feels a bit more cut and dry as a marketing angle to leech off the brewery’s and band’s respective audiences. Again, totally fine, just a horse of a different color. But I digress. Of course, Maynard James Keenan is the first name that comes to mind. He’s very thoughtful, smart, and magnanimous. However, I think people would have their mind blown at how hard he works and how skilled at each level of winemaking he is—not just working at the winery, but growing the grapes, managing the vineyards, working with the land. Plus, his operation is essentially a full-blown farm, not just a typical winery.

Most metalheads probably know Tool’s Maynard James Keenan owns a vineyard, and that’s about it. Who are some metal musicians that might surprise fans with their wine knowledge?

SB: Sindre Solem from Obliteration and Nekromantheon first comes to mind, as he’s in the most recent issue. For starters, his wine knowledge is extremely high, especially for more premium names, but also his bands are uncompromisingly underground. Erik [Danielsson] from Watain really impressed me with his thoughtfulness about wine as an almost magical libation—from its alchemical creation to its ritualistic enjoyment. Sigurd [Wongraven] from Satyricon has a successful winery (named Wongraven) that’s quite a large producer in Europe, so he’s pretty skilled at the production and business side of things. Riley [McShane] from Allegaeon is very knowledgeable about wine, as is Zachary [Ezrin] from Imperial Triumphant. I’d love to have Gaahl (Gaahl’s Wyrd, Gorgoroth) in an upcoming issue as he seems very keen to natural, low-intervention wine. Maybe more “metal adjacent,” but Les Claypool of Primus has a winery that’s a bit more focused on Pinot Noir.

The artwork throughout Blood of Gods is wildly imaginative. How much direction do you give to your collaborators for those art pieces?

SB: Thank you! It’s been an honor to have such talented contributors. Sometimes I have a specific idea that’s very detailed, but other times I just say, “Heavy Metal and wine… GO!” My process is pretty fast and loose, so sometimes there’s little time to have art that is exactly tailored for an article or an interview. But I’m getting better at being more organized, so that will hopefully change in the future. However, the spontaneity has also generated some completely unanticipated gems. There have been notable comic book artists, some well-known tattoo artists, and some completely new faces, bringing everything from watercolor work, digital illustrations, pen and ink, colored markers, and more. I always try to have the artistic style and motif varied in tone so readers can see the same concept through completely different lenses and perspectives—which, again, is kind of the point of the zine: looking at these two worlds from a different angle.

The zine has expanded to 56 pages for the newest issue. What are your favorite things about print publications, and what’s most challenging about putting one together?

SB: I love the engagement with the reader—you, the publication, have their complete attention. They are 100% invested when they are holding something physical and reading through the pages. It feels like a subtle repudiation of the disposable and transient nature of most things online. It can be very irritating to discover some new blog, website, or a fun account to follow, only to see it flame out almost as quickly as it appeared. Print has more energy to it. Not to sound too “new-age-y,” but I believe people’s time and enjoyment can really imprint on something physical. I love the creative process; the initial stages of idea generation and brainstorming. That gets me really excited. Deadlines are definitely the most challenging, especially when you start to realize that there are dozens of people involved to varying degrees in each issue. For me, shipping wine—especially in this newest issue—was the biggest challenge. I had wine shipping all over the place, even internationally. Timing its arrival—because it requires someone 21+ years old present to sign for it—was brutal.

What are your plans for Blood of Gods for the rest of 2021 and beyond?

SB: By the time folks are reading this, the fourth issue—aka the ‘Fall/Winter 2021’ issue—will be out. We had originally planned our first issue release party to take place October 2021, but the Covid Delta variant forced us to postpone to the Spring. However, it is going to be a doozy. It will take place in Walla Walla on April 15th of 2022, and we’re very excited about the special guests and fun lined up. Otherwise, there is a lot of unused art, sketches, interviews/reviews/features and more that were either shortened or unused due to space constraints that will manifest (finally). But I can’t spill all the beans now. However, I think people will dig it; it has sort of a “behind the scenes” vibe to it, and it’s not just filler cutting room floor stuff. The content is totally stellar, just couldn’t fit in due to space limitations. The first two issues are sold out, so they will likely be reprinted or a part of this project in some way. There is also the seed of an idea to have a Blood Of Gods wine created from a producer/people who we’re fans of. Nothing huge, maybe just a single barrel, approximately 20-25 cases made, but the idea is super exciting.

Order the newest issue of Blood of Gods HERE

Follow Blood of Gods for news and updates on Instagram HERE

The post Interview: ‘Blood Of Gods’ Publisher Stacy Buchanan appeared first on Decibel Magazine.


Album Premiere: Organic – ‘Where Graves Abound’

The Alps are known for known for being the highest mountain range in southern Europe, stretching across eight countries. Their peaks and clear alpine lakes are popular destinations for hikers and campers. But one listen to Organic‘s old school death metal and you can picture the Alps as mountains of decaying corpses. One whiff of the riffs from the band’s new album (Where Graves Abound) could turn the lakes into contaminated cesspools. Decibel Magazine was granted permission to share the entire album two days ahead of its October 22nd release from Testimony Records. The album will be distributed by Cargo Records (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), Shadow Kingdom Records (USA), and Season of Mist for the rest of the globe.

After a surprising choral opening, “Ropedragger” reveals the band’s battle plan: crusty buzzsaw riffs courtesy of Stockholm’s Swedeath campaign. The album cover’s war imagery (courtesy of Vladimir Chebakov) sets the tone for the trench rot ahead. “Schizophrenic Execution” features guitarist Benni Leiter’s savage melodies at Gatling gun speed. In “Fall, Rot” and “Caged in a Tomb,” drummer Lukas Hofer introduces some sly mosh beats to the fray. Throughout, vocalist Max Careri feels like he’s using the album cover’s helmeted skull as a microphone. His war-weathered growl commands each song as the guitars slice through steel and lay waste to circle pits.

Engineer Lukas Flarer of Sound Control Studio captured performances that are feral but disciplined. The album was mixed and mastered by Obey Mastering (Sweden), who allow the title track’s clean guitars room to resonate before mowing them down with the machine gun fire of “Die Schwandzdirn.” Where Graves Abound disturbs the tranquility of the Tyrolean Alps from the first chainsaw rev to the final stab of “Knives.”

Press play and sprint into the war-torn wasteland of Organic’s Where Graves Abound now.

Organic • Where Graves Abound by Testimony Records

Pre-order Where Graves Abound from Testimony Records HERE

Follow Organic on Facebook for news and updates HERE

The post Album Premiere: Organic – ‘Where Graves Abound’ appeared first on Decibel Magazine.