LIvE Reviews! • Deftones • Lamb of god • Summer slaughter
Karnivool - Korn - Soulfly - Devin Townsend Skeletonwitch - integrity - Deftones - Lamb Of God - Wintersun - Annihilator Arsis - Gorguts - 65daysofstatic
BARONESS LON G DIS TAN CE CALLING THE OCEAN
w w w.w e s t e n d - f e s t i v a l . d e
03.10.13 FZW DORTMUND Ka r t e n a n a l l e n b e ka n n t e n Vo r v e r ka u f s s t e l l e n u n d u n t e r e v e n t i m .d e
EDITORIAL It’s almost a year ago when I got approached by Scratch The Surface chief editor David Alexandre to submit some ideas to breath some new life into his ailing publication. Little did I know that the seeds from what would be Ghost Cult were sown. The idea was to focus on the more experimental and forward thinking rock and metal bands and we felt that a different name was in order. After some deliberation Ghost Cult was chosen and David asked me to become chief editor of this venture. The rest is history as they say… In the past 12 months lots of people came and went, all contributing to the behemoth Ghost Cult has become. I’m very grateful for that. I also would like to thank all our media partners for working with us. An extra special thanks to our very talented crew and my partners in everything Ghost Cult, Keith Chachkes and Ross Baker, for their willingness to put up with my crazy ideas and relentless work ethic. Onto GC Issue 12 then. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to Sara Teramo, our previous designer. She was responsible for the design of issues 9 to 11 and she did a tremendous job. Having that said, I’d like to officially welcome Yvette Blonk to our ranks. She’s a very talented and experienced designer, and I’m sure that with her talents the digimag will reach new heights. As always there is a fresh amount of articles waiting for you, our beloved readers. This time around we have interviews with Dream Theater, Korn, Devin Townsend, Soulfly, Annihilator, Karnivool and Skeletonwitch just to name a few. There’s also the monthly complement of reviews on the latest album releases and several members of our crew have a host of live events as well, including Deftones and The Summer Slaughter tour. Before I go, one final thing. In the upcoming we’ll organise a series of contests where a host of different items can be won, including T-shirts, album packages and much more. Please keep an eye for this on the GC website, Facebook and Twitter pages for more details. Enjoy reading Issue 12 and you can expect Issue 13 to emerge at the end of October. Until then!
CREW CHIEF editor Raymond Westland
senior editors Keith Chachkes Ross Baker
Content editors Noel Oxford Pete Ringmaster Angela Davey
Graphic design Yvette Blonk
Caitlin Smith, Sean Pierre-Antoine, Lynn Jordan, Lynn Smith, Omar Cordy, Dan Bond, Dan Swinhoe, John Toolan, Ian Girlie, Jodi Mullen, Christine Hager, Sannette de Groes, Jason Guest, Jonathan Keane, Emma Quinlan, Susanne Maathuis, Lorraine Lysen, Kaat van Doremalen, Matt Hinch, Mat Davies, Sean M. Palfrey, Matt Ford, Rei Nishimoto, Matthew Tilt, Laetitia Abbenes, Leticia Mooney, Chris Tippell, Sarah Worsley, Steve Tovey, Tom Saunders, James Williams, James Conway, Melissa Campbell, Falk-Hagen Bernshausen, Laurens Ruiter, Saskia Hemmen, Helena Rosendahl, Bill Half, Tiago Moreira, Gilbert Potts, Dane Prokofiev.
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ISSUE#12 Contents Haken â€“ The Mountain
INTERVIEWS 65daysofstatic 6
Album REVIEWS 35 Album REVIEWS
Annihilator 8 Arsis 10 Devin Townsend 12 Dream Theater 14 Gorguts 18 Integrity 20 Karnivool 22 Korn 24 Skeletonwitch 26 Soulfly 28
Live reviews 42 Deftones 43 Lamb Of God 45 Summer Slaughter 46 Wintersun 48
Top 5 Records that changed my life (Luc Lemay/Gorguts)
3 Inches Of Blood
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A Cinematic Feel Words: Susanne Maathuis
Traversing the waters between electronics and post rock, described as Mogwai meets Aphex Twin, Sheffield’s 65daysofstatic are going strong for years. With a new record coming up, a big European mainland tour on the horizon and a fascinating project in an art gallery, Ghost Cult Magazine felt it was time for a chat with the band’s creative mastermind, Paul Wolinski. How was the recording process for your latest album, entitled Wild Light? The guy that co produced it is called Dave Sanderson, we worked with him in Sheffield in his studio for quite a long time, but we took him and moved to a new studio in the middle of nowhere which used to like an old church. We got ourselves out of our comfort zone a little bit. he approached recording in a very different way to us, so we knew there would be a little bit of healthy conflict, so we really pushed ourselves to get the record better than our previous records. I think we pulled that off.
Your new record balances the sort of rock and digital type sounds quite well. We’ve always had sort of electronics and live band together, and on some records the one is more prominent than the other, but usually that’s never been our choice it was just the way it was recorded. With this record we really wanted to get that balance exactly right, because compared to our other records it’s really quite stripped down and hopefully a lot more focused without losing any of the intensity. It was vital to get every sound down perfect, regardless of whether it was an electronic bit or a guitar of a piano, everything was treated with equal importance.
You said that you got yourselves away from the world a bit in that studio, did it help focus? and are you going to do this again? I think so, it was interesting. We’ve made a record like that once before and it didn’t go so well, but we were a lot younger and our priorities probably weren’t in the right place, we kind of misunderstood what was really the best approach to making a record because we were still learning. But now we’re just so much further into doing this and it feels like we’re getting better. It felt
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like the sensible thing to do. We were very close to recording it in Sheffield in the same old studio, I think we ultimately made the decision because that was the interruption. We knew that if we stayed in Sheffield we’d still be connected to our own homes everything the morning and evenings and just the general world that we know. We knew how that experience was gonna go and we knew how the sounds in that studio would sound like. It would sound a lot like our old records and we really wanted to push past that. That kind of tipped the balance and made us make that decision to just go away and just cut off all distractions. I think it paid off.
A lot of bands that mix electronic sound with band sounds, it’s quite difficult to get the balance right live. How will you guys solve this and keep this interesting? Actually what we’re doing right now is building the new live show, to incorporate all of the new songs. We get accused of playing to backing tracks quite a lot, which is disappointing because we put so much work into making it not that way. I’m certainly not a purist. If somebody told me that daft punk or something just press play on a machine and do nothing, I wouldn’t really care because the kind of show they put on isn’t about the liveliness of the music. And also with electronic music some things are gonna be better, they need that mechanical element to them to work. If you translate it all to live people on synthesizers it won’t have the same sort of preciseness to the rhythm. It can sometimes be a good thing but it can also be a bad thing. And also with us there’s the added complication that we do all play a live instrument as well, so for us there’s sometimes literally not enough people in the band to do everything that needs to be done. The solution we’ve found so far is basically taking loads and loads and loads of stuff on tour. The stage is loads of drums and lots of midi controllers that are all hooked up back to computers and pads and keyboards and things. We just sort of share out the electronics. As far as the audience is concerned we could probably make it a lot easier for ourselves and just hit play. People probably wouldn’t notice that much difference but it’s important to us to keep as much of it as live as possible. And because we’ve been doing this for years now that’s always a problem, and so in writing this new record it was on the forefront of our mind. Like you said the electronics on this record are a bit more real sounding and kind of looser, and having that sort of tone to the record will allow us to play those electronics live in a much more interesting way then on our previous record where the electronics are so precise, it’s quite hard to play that live.
Your music seems to have a really cinematic feel about it, is this something you consciously think about? And if so what kind of movie would your music soundtrack? We’ve actually been thinking on this quite a lot since we did a thing called silent running a couple of years ago. We wrote a soundtrack to an old film for a film festival. We approached it like proper soundtrack work, rather than playing some music over a film. We ripped out the old soundtrack and build a full one. It ended up being very well received and we toured it a Little bit and wrote a record. The experience of doing that was really interesting. It’s only in hindsight but at the time it was a big discovery because when you;re writing a soundtrack it’s playing a completely subservient role to the image. You don;t really want to grab the attention you’ve got to move in secret. While as out songs have always been described as cinematic and I agree with that, but actually they’re always written to demand people attention and to get in the way. They work as a stand alone thing and not need any images at all. I think our music works really well with visuals but it;s not in the same way as music and film works together. The installation was very effective but it’s not in the same way as a film and music work together. I’d love for 65 to score a film, that has yet to be made, because we would produce something that works in
Cordy combination with the image. It might stand aloneWords: in it;s Omar own right, because good soundtracks can do that too. But the primary role is to serve the image. Putting our exciting songs onto film, I’d like to think ti would work, but at the same time it;s not quite the same process. I guess any film that would sue out music, especially the last record, would be some sort of futuristic post apocalyptic bleak fad film. I think that’s a pretty good world to be sound-tracking, no it’s not it’s a terrible world to be sound-tracking. But it’s what we’re doing.
Finally, what touring plans do you have in support of the new album? We’re doing a few dates in the UK and then we’re going to Europe for ages and ages, like 6 or 7 weeks. In the Netherlands we’re playing Amsterdam and Groningen. The reason bands keep going to Groningen is because they have one of the best venues, the Vera, you can wish to play as a band, You get this beautiful food cooked for you and they have these apartments for bands above the venue. Most places in the Netherlands take pretty good care of you though.
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A Tribute To The Old Guard Words: Raymond Westland
In their many years of existence Canadian thrash metal outfit Annihilator survived all the trials and tribulations that left many other bands by the wayside. Feast, their fourteenth (!) studio album is about to see the light of day and it may very well be their strongest effort in a long time. Ghost Cult had the pleasure to talk things through with the band’s resident mouthpiece, the ever chatty and jovial Jeff Waters. Feast is a particularly inspired effort. Are you happy with it? I certainly am. As as artist you’re sometimes lucky when it all comes together, be it painting, singing or whatever. Sometimes you want to do something good and when you’re busy with it you seem to hit the nail on the head. When you listen back it doesn’t contain your best work. Sometimes it just works. Bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Slayer and also we in Annihilator have great records and we have our share of not so good records. Different times, different places, you know. Maybe we were lucky with Feast and maybe we were inspired. A lot of it comes from that my partner in Annihilator, singer/guitarist Dave Padden, said that we should
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take a break for three years from writing music and focus on other things. We did a lot of touring, I worked in my studio, give guitar clinics for Gibson and Epiphone and we played the 70.000 tons of metal cruise, all these cool things. The break breathed a lot of new life in the Annihilator music and that’s probably where a lot of the inspiration came from. I’ve been writing music for the band since 1984.
One of the standout songs on the new album is ‘Wrapped’, which features Danko Jones. When you mentioned that song I had to smile, because that’s one of my favourite songs. Back when I was younger I had some lessons in classical guitar playing and a bit of blues and jazz. Not much, just a little. When people describe our music some people get it right when they say a combination between thrash metal and classic heavy metal. That’s pretty much the only correct description of our music. Everything else is just zooming into one album or one aspect of Annihilator. Heavy metal is made out of blues, classical music, jazz, rock and roll, punk, everything really. You have The Scorpions doing rock ballads, the music Ozzy Osbourne did with Randy Rhoads features a lot of classical guitar playing and the likes. You can put any kind of music you want with traditional heavy metal. When I discovered thrash and speed metal I mixed it into the Annihilator style. I’ve been on press trips for this album for the past six weeks and I was always waiting for journalists to say
which songs they really like. ‘Wrapped’ was always the least liked song, so you mentioned it, I was like “alright he got it”, because it’s a Guns N’Roses/Rose Tattoo-type song mixed with heavy metal with Danko Jones singing on it and writing the lyrics. That’s what Annihilator is all about. We can do a traditional thrash metal song, but also do something different and mix things up. Some people like it and some people don’t.
It’s the left field songs that give Feast its juice in my opinion. ‘No Surrender’ is another perfect example. That songs stands out a lot too. The intro of ‘No Surrender’ has this funky Living Colour/Red Hot Chili Peppers type of off-beat sound. The verses in that song kinda stick with that musical theme. The rest of it is really heavy. It was one of those things I really didn’t notice when I was writing that song. Just after the whole thing was completed it occurred to me it contained influences outside the traditional Annihilator box. We’re known for including offbeat type of songs on our albums throughout the years. On the last couple of records those type of songs were missing. There weren’t any ballads or any anything really melodic. It was nice to include some curveballs on Feast, the type of songs people didn’t expect from us. Our Japanese fans are clamouring for a melodic album for years. I still have to deliver on that. Perhaps it might be something for a solo project, haha.
With every Annihilator album you take on many different roles, including the one of producer, mixer, main songwriter and guitarist. How do you prevent losing your mind? That’s true and the reason behind it is pretty simple. I have my own studio since 1994 and I got into gear, reading books from other producers and studio engineers and how weird as it may sound, it turned into my hobby. It started out as something I had to do, because when metal music lots a lot of its commercial staying power back in the early nineties you had to start thinking about business just to survive. For most bands it was already too late, but I was smart in the way that I invested in a house and my own studio. I produced all the Annihilator since 1994. I don’t particularly go nuts because I enjoy every aspect from the process, but there are some negatives as well. First of all you get severe tendonitis because of all the guitar playing and spending so much time behind the computer. I had to deal with 6 years ago and I luckily recovered from it. Another element is that’s hard for your ears to stay objective, because you’re listening to the same stuff over and over again for four months and that’s where an outside producer or mixing engineer could certainly help and thirdly you really can get nuts because of the intensity of the whole process, haha. What I’m doing now is recording the albums and take a lot of breaks, you know taking a week off. The whole process becomes very efficient, because you have the get the same amount of work done in a smaller time frame. It keeps your brain and ears in good shape. Another aspect is that you’ll save a lot of money when you do everything yourself. It’s basic economics really.
Dave Padden is your partner in everything Annihilator for quite some years now. How was your working relationship with him developed over the years? When Dave came in 2004, he was just “another” singer. We had a lot of different singers and musicians in the band throughout the years. Looking back every singer was good for the time they were in the band and without them things would have been much different. When Dave joined the band 10 years ago things were different, because he was a guitar player and not really known as a singer. When he auditioned I really liked the versatility of his voice, so I decided to give him a chance. I stuck with him and worked with him long enough to see him developing into a killer guitar player and singer live. He’s a very talented guy. He came from being scorned and criticised to becoming an integral part of some of our best albums. After four or five years I realised he became more of a partner and I start phoning him to ask for his input on touring, equipment and endorsement deals. So we’re half a band nowadays, you get two out of four, haha.
Finally, there’s a whole new generation of thrash metal bands that are good at what they do, but some of them are more interested in emulating bands from the 80’s, than giving the music their own twist. What do you make of that? There are some good things about that. When there’s a band that is good at what they do and they reach a certain audience, it’s good for metal business as a whole, but I understand where you’re coming from. On our last album I wrote a song called ‘The Trend’, which is exactly about what you’re trying to say. I just find it so funny that band that were up and coming in the late nineties and early 2000’s when their music got stale and old and people were starting to look for something new, they would change everything from their music to their looks and they were suddenly oh so metal. I come from the Overkill, Exodus, Testament and Annihilator kind of school and I always considered us to be the little four, so to speak. We had lineup changes, difficult times, but we always kept going, come what may. There’s a band on Earache, called Evile, which are cool. They pay tribute to Megadeth, Annihilator and many other bands in the same way I pay tribute to Exodus, Judas Priest and Slayer in my music. You’ll always find bands that will jump on the bandwagon deliberately and there are quite some successful bands out there that have just done that. You know, us bands that have been there for a all these years know this and we just keep on going and have fun while doing it.
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Another Lesson Learned Words: Keith (Keefy) Chachkes
It has been a few years between albums for tech nical death metal merchants Arsis, but 2013 proved to be well worth the wait for new tu neage. Unwelcome (Nuclear Blast) is one of the strongest, most unpretentious metal albums of the year so far. We chatted with front man/band mastermind/guitar virtuoso James Malone all about the record, the balancing growing up and the music business, plus making a killing on Craigslist buying underrated guitars and playing them on tour. Jim! Thanks for chatting with Ghost Cult today. Please tell us about the making of Unwelcome. It was after Suffer For The Devil, our touring cycle started off pretty normal. But them in January- February 2011, the tours just really started slowing down. I moved and took a job, and I that had benefits for the first time in years. And a tour came up for Firewind in late 2011, but I had to stick with my job, and keep those benefits since I had to get some shit taken care of, and I hadn’t playing that
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much guitar. So I took a break to handle personal shit. When I was really in a position to really focus on music again, I don’t know, I was really inspired. Noah (Martin) and I started writing and by mid-February, and by mid-March it was all done. I was writing it and I busted out most of the writing in a month or two. I was really inspired, with a really good vibe. We knocked it out really quick.
Do you think it’s harder to make choices like that, where you put your personal life ahead of the band? Oh yeah! Well I’m definitely in a different position then when I made my first album as a full-time college student. I lived with my parents, and I had all the time in the world. I didn’t have to worry about anything. But then ten years goes by and you learn you have to be an adult about things. If you are smart you can find a way to do both. I wasn’t smart for a long time and I’m a little slow sometimes. (laughs) The choices you make when you get older in order to make all aspects of my life come together.
Does it change the creative process for you, writing a new album with new guys in the band? Yes, a big difference being a huge stylistic shift between We Are The Nightmare and Suffer For The Devil. I mean Ryan Knight’s
together to achieve a common goal. You definitely stepped your game up lyrically on this album with a lot of personal themes. Was there anything going in your life that you can talk about when you were writing these lyrics? Prior to writing the album, I went through a lot of personal changes myself, that definitely influenced the album. Certain behaviors I was engaging in... you know, self- realization, becoming more self-aware, that kind of junk. As long as the lesson is learned then, that is the main thing.
I have to ask you, what inspired you to record the ‘I Wear My The Sunglasses At Night’ cover by Corey Hart? To be really honest with you, Noah really wanted to cover it forever. We never got around to it finishing it. We would always say ‘I think this would make a great death metal cover... yadda yadda yadda’. We were finishing the pre-pro for the album and Noah had actually done the intro and some of the verses, and he recorded the intro, put in the blast beats and it was awesome! And we figured ‘oh, I guess we are covering this song on the album.’ And we go into the record it and even our producer (Mark Lewis) was like ‘I don’t know about these lyrics dude. What are you trying to talk about here?’ so he didn’t even know it was a cover. And a lot of early reviews, people had no idea that it was a cover. I thought it was pretty hilarious myself. (laughs)
Have you added any new gear to your rig for the album and upcoming tour? style is way different from Mike Van Dyne. Not that any one is worse or better than the other. But that is the stuff you have to keep in mind. Those are questions to ask ultimately. Because you want whatever you are recording to sound good live. You write to people’s strengths and weaknesses. Shawn (Priest), our new drummer, he can do anything you want him to do on drums. He can just go balls out all the time. Lots of different things opened us up to some different types of sounds. Like with this newest album, Sean, can pretty much do anything I can imagine. So that opened us up for some new sounds, since Sean is the most brutal drummer Arsis has ever had.
How much did the music you wrote change once Sean and Brandon Ellis factored in to the recording?
I’m a stripped down guitar player as far as gear goes, and never been into technology. The last couple tours I played an early 90s gen Marshall pre-amp/power amp. It’s definitely outdated technology, but sounds great. I recently bought a couple of guitars from early 90s! (laughs). The brand was GTX. They were basically a sub-brand of Kaman guitars. Kaman had GTX and Hammer, and Hammer took off and this line never did. Basically, it’s like a Jackson or BC Rich rip-off, like super (Fender) Strats. They sounded great, but had crappy pickups. I’ve had a couple finds on Craigslist.org and eBay. So I will get those guitars, put in new pickups, and I will try some of those on the tour, and see how it goes. I also got a Peavy Tracer. Back in the 80s, every Peavy guitar was made in the USA and Tracer was American made. American made guitars sound better than anything you might want in Guitar Center.
Brandon contributed quite a few leads on the record that definitely brought out an aspect to some songs that wasn’t there originally, since I wasn’t playing all of the solos. Sean had a lot of suggestions as far as different arrangements. He would always suggest something, and say ‘hey man, that part is really cool, but it would be even more brutal if we did this’ So he was very involved in that aspect. I would say that everybody had input inspirations for entire songs, Noah also has a lot of good ideas as far as arrangements go. This is also the first album where anyone beside me wrote lyrics. So Noah even contributed quite a bit of lyrics. So it was really a group effort. We all get along pretty well, and worked
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interview Devin Townsend
A Career Retrospective
Words: Raymond Westland
Arguably the most productive musician in metal is everyone’s favourite Canadian Devin Townsend. His current project is the Retinal Circus DVD package, which can best be described as a career retrospective packaged as a high school musical. Ghost Cult chatted to the maestro himself about his latest project, the logistics and challenges surrounding it and his incredible productivity. Can you takes us through the motions of coming up with the concept behind The Retinal Circus to the point where you have actually performed it? Sure, I’ve been making music for so long and the main hurdles I’ve run when dealing with any public exposure is that many of my projects are so different from each other. There is the cyber thrash/death metal stuff, pop, rock, silly music and everything in between. So when a new record is presented to record stores and magazines people have difficulty with how to label my music. So when I signed on to the new management I have now, the main problem we were facing was in terms of how we should make my music more visible. What I said to them is that the aesthetics of each album may be different but the intention is the same and that’s being true to whatever I wanted to do. So they came up with the idea of using the platform of a circus to essentially present my back catalogue in some way to people in one space. The logistics of that took approximately a year and there were close to a 100 people involved with it. The whole thing was wrapped in a dubious story, but a story nonetheless and all the things that went into articulating that. We worked on it up until the point of rehearsal. We essentially rehearsed the whole show with all the performers in a period of only two days due to financial restraints. That’s essentially how it went. It was chaos, then incredible chaos and then unbelievable chaos and then it was over. After that it came down to mixing and coming up with the artwork and that was another hurdle to get over.
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Given the little time and limited resources you managed to put on quite a show. It went well, but it’s fair to keep in mind that I did a lot of editing not only to the audio, but also to the video to try make it as close as possible. to the original vision behind Retinal Circus. During the actual show there were syncing issues with the video, people coming in at the wrong time and some of the gear went down. I had a debate whether it was more important to leave the show exactly as it was or to make it as close as possible to how I envisioned it. I decided to do the latter thing, because it’s my thing. Every time I put it on I saw the mistakes and I viewed those mistakes as unnecessary distractions.
You also included two Strapping Young Lad songs in the setlist. This is quite remarkable because you commented that the S.Y.L book is closed for you and that you moved on as an artist. Why this decision? True, I’ve said that many times in interviews and it’s fairly well documented why I don’t want to do any new Strapping Young Lad material anymore. I’m not ashamed of S.Y.L and it’s still a huge part of my life. The reason why I don’t want to do it anymore has more to do with people wanting to force me to do certain things and that’s absolutely the wrong way to approach me. The best way of me not doing things is to demand it from me. My nature in reacting to that is a big phat no. I have no interest in being told what to do. Strapping Young Lad is a representation of me, just as much as Ki, Ghost, Ziltoid or Infinity. There’s no difference, it was just a different period of time. Including ‘Detox’ and ‘Love?’ on the Retinal Circus seen from the point being it a retrospective, is just obvious to me.
The concept behind Retinal Circus does lend itself for an annual event or even a dedicated festival. Is this something you’d like to pull off? Well I hope that people will see it for what it is. For me it’s very much like a high school musical with a very dubious story. It worked in the sense of what I set out to do with the retrospective. If it does turn into an annual thing or a show I hope that people will see that if enough resources can be put in such a project, we can actually do a real show with new music and a proper story. In that situation we could do wonderful things and I hope people will see the potential in this. In terms of the Retinal Circus itself getting repeated or becoming an annual thing I can see it, but it’s not of a great interest to me now.
You’ve been incredibly productive the last few years. Are you afraid you might saturate the market too much? Yes, very much so, but then again I think my solution is that I’m very invested in being productive. That’s something I really enjoy. I’m not a psychiatrist so I can’t comment whether this mindset is really healthy or not, but I really enjoy making music. As a result of that, amidst my daily routine that includes family, chores and work, it’s just something that happens. I spent the last eight months deciding what to do with this creative impulse. Do I make music and don’t put it out or do I try and diversify what I do? What I decided is to slow down with that actual musical output, which is very liberating for me. The project I’m working on now, called The Casualties Of Cool, is something that has been in the works for a long time and taking my time on it is very satisfying. So when it comes it out it will be more indicative of who I am than any of my previous records. I also decided to diversify my creative activities. I did this radio show, the Ziltoid TV thing and I’m doing this improvisation gig with a bunch of jazz/fusion musicians next week. It’s allowing me to diversify my interests and that’s a solution I think. Do I saturate the market? Sure I do. Because of my level of output you either put it out or you don’t. I suppose it’s better to put it out.
You had a pretty fruitful producer’s career going on back in the day. Would you consider picking up producing other bands again some day? The productions that I did were helpful in the sense that it taught me how to record and how to mix records. It taught me how to deal with the logistics and the technology that comes with it. When I have an idea it’s very intuitive to facilitate it. However, I hated producing, man. I just don’t care. That’s the thing when you’re a producer, you have to care. The only thing I really cared about was the end result and finishing the process. The psychological aspects of producing I found so trying, because in the majority of the time I was working with people who were much younger than me and I don’t have any desire to be a father figure or a mentor or whatever a producer needs to be in order to create these records. I found it to be really frustrating. There was an element in it that was successful in terms of how I approached bands in my intuitive nature of how I approach production and I learned how the personalities of the musicians tie in with the music and how the lyrics tie in with the concept so on and so forth. That was the direction I went with it. If I can avoid producing other bands, I certainly will.
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interview Dream Theater
A lo n g F o r T h e R i d e
Words: Helena Rosendahl
Progressive heavyweights Dream Theater are generally seen as the flagship of the progressive rock and metal scene. With the departure of drummer Mike Portnoy many thought the band was done for, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Their latest self titled album is a clear sign there’s still chemistry around and that Petrucci and Co are in a really good place. Helena Rosendahl spoke with frontman James LaBrie about the new album and everything surrounding it on a sunny afternoon in London.
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Your first release featuring new drummer Mike Mangini from its inception, truly his ‘Right of Passage’ into the band, what has been your collective intention with the album? Well I think that as a band what we realised is that with A Dramatic Turn Of Events, leading up to that album one of the original members left (Mike Portnoy left the band), and then we did the auditioning. We found a guy that we knew from the very start was going to fit like a glove and I think from that point it was a matter of us doing what we do, let’s write a great album, this is really necessary. But Mike Mangini wasn’t involved in that writing process for A Dramatic Turn Of Events, but granted he came in and he came in and still did a phenomenal job when it did come down to him doing his tracks. I’ve known Mike Mangini for over fourteen years, he played drums on three of my solo albums; first two Mullmuzzler albums and Elements Of Persuasion. So I’ve known him for quite some time. And so I also knew that he’s the man.
this for 20 years plus, they’ve got a chemistry going on here so you know, I’m gonna sit back but at the same time I’m also going to be involved and really enthused”, which he was. That wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t done fifteen months out on the road with us, so that was a crucial step. So moving right to that point, now usually what we do is we discuss where we think we want to go or what we think is necessary or what we’d like to see be included within this album, the next musical journey.
You said in a recent interview that this album is the “most cohesive” work you’ve ever done. Keyboard player Jordan Rudess has also claimed that he and John Petrucci now feel “like free”. From your standpoint, how has the creative experience differed now? It feels completely different. I know what Jordan is referring to and I would say that granted, Jordan and John Petrucci are the main composers but at the same time it’s a much more collective effort now, more so than it’s ever been. John Myung is really coming to the front, I’m coming to the front with what I represent, Mike Mangini speaks for himself in that you have to remember somebody like him, he’s been doing this just as long as we have, we’re all from the same place of inspiration and influences; growing up at the same time and schooling and all that musically. The way that this band writes quite a bit is there’s a lot of spontaneity and Mike Mangini is all about that. He hears a riff or a chord progression come from Jordan, or even a groove you know, stemming from John Myung and he’s just like (air-drumming) on it and playing it and you’re looking over and going “Oh my god it’s awesome!”You know what, there are a lot of moments on this album were actually what you hear is one take on the drums, right there when the part was constructed. Like immediately ‘bam-boom’ and he’s got it down. He’s just instinctual, he’s an intuitive player, I mean he has a full understanding of what this means. So I think you know Jordan is definitely right, there is a chemistry of freedom too with John and him so that it doesn’t feel like there’s a pressure or a need for any one of us to say: “Well what about me? Wait a minute here you’re not listening to me!” No, we listen to every one of us and it’s the sum of the parts you know? It’s really why I think the last two albums sounded the way they are is because it is a collective effort, it is all about truly being a band in a writing environment.
Is that because you had that ‘working relationship’ already in place? Yeah, just ‘cos I love his personality, he’s one of the easiest guys to get along with, you know, he has such a great attitude. He’s a phenomenal drummer; the best, I feel, on the planet and I don’t think I’m alone on that one. I think what really helped was we had an entire world tour (A Dramatic Tour Of Events). When you’re out on the road that’s when the true colours of someone really starts to show themselves and not only that, you get much more in-tune with, no pun intended, the musician and you understand how he works, he reacts, he interacts, and I think that by the time we went in to start thinking about what we wanted to bring this album he was fully on-board, we knew that it was just going to be a phenomenal ride with him – which it was – he showed up from the very first day that we started writing and he was ready. At the same time, what was really great about him was he’s very respectful, like he understood, you know, that “these guys have been doing
Dream Theater harkens back to more your traditional songwriting as featured in Images & Words, with shorter, song-orientated pieces and less emphasis on keyboard and guitar duals - was this deliberate? Yeah I think we did go into this saying let’s really think about the crafting of songs. Not that we don’t do that on every album, of course we do. It has to make sense, it can’t be a superfluous, self-indulgent ride, otherwise you’ll have no audience. But I think with this one that we knew that what – like those three assured, or necessary parts that we knew had to be included within the album being the opening track, the instrumental and the epic.It was really about the songwriting and even as far as what everyone was doing as a section is going on, it’s not just a matter of “yeah just keep in moving forwards” it’s like “what’s really happening while we’re going through a verse or a particular section that is very technical
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interview or complex? What can we do to make it more memorable?”, something that you can really feel has been ingrained within you and you’re walking away with. But I think all these ‘attention to detail’ approaches do benefit us in the end and really make this album. You know, I mean it is still really Dream Theater but it has something different and it’s great that you’re picking up on that, it is about our ‘core roots’ and it’s also about the rawness, like the way it was more of just being aggressive and heavy and having great melody hooks and all that.
I understand that you once again recorded your vocals separately with engineer Richard Chycki in Canada. Why do you prefer this approach? I don’t like anyone to be around when I record my vocals, it’s the same with John Petrucci when he’s doing his solo’s or tracking his rhythm guitars, he doesn’t want anybody around. That’s just the way that I work best, I work where it’s just me and the engineer, it’s my interpretation, it’s my bringing, conveying what I feel it emotionally says to me. If anyone else is in the studio I find it to be a distraction.So yeah Richard Chycki and I have a huge history, we’ve known each other for 25 years. We were in a band in the 80’s together called Winter Rose and so we have a great connection and a great chemistry with one another. And the thing is that Rich, he knows me probably just as much as the guys in Dream Theater as a vocalist. He knows how I like to work, he knows how I like to really be patient in the way that I find the voice that is right for that particular section, and it’s just worked wonderfully for the last two albums under those those principles. What’s funny is that I worked under those principles the first few Dream Theater albums and then we started bringing in John and Mike (Portnoy) and if I could go back it would’ve been: “let’s not ruin a good thing here, let’s keep like I know I can work my best.” Not that I’m ashamed of, or I feel that I didn’t do something vocally there that I shouldn’t have but it’s just that I know that this is the best way to work.
You have sold over 11 million releases worldwide, reaping countless critical acclaim and accumulating a staggering amount of truly dedicated fans. Do they feel creatively limited by the pressure of pleasing such a significant, fanatical fanbase? I don’t like to speak on behalf of the band but I will comfortably say, no, I don’t think so. I think that the way that we introduced ourselves as the band, and I wasn’t even on the first album, from the second album onward and the way that we’ve maintained such an amazing relationship is because of what we represent as a musical entity. There are no limitations, we are expected to be unpredictable, we are expected to push the envelope, to be experimental and that’s the ultimate in creative freedom. I mean, that’s the only way that we can exist. So I don’t think that we’ve ever, ever found ourselves
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in a situation and gone “well you know…what do you think they expect from us?” I mean granted that you might think that but it’s not something that you stay focussed on or concerned with. It’s really a matter of what we feel and I’ve always said that each album of any band for that matter, is almost like a crystal ball, looking into what was influencing them at that point, what was going on in their lives, what were they intrigued by, what were they disturbed by, what was their emotional state at that point. And I think that each album is a very strong reflection of that. You have in any given band 3 guys, 5 guys, 6 guys, each person has their own personality, each person has the way that they react and communicate. It’s a matter of learning that from one another and I think that’s what really makes any band really click because we’re not all the same in a sense and that comes through musically quite a lot clearer, it’s an energy that’s indescribable and a union that’s indescribable.
You’ve got big touring plans for 2014, with numerous dates already announced – could we see a live DVD on the horizon as well? We have a new DVD coming out November 5th, so that’s Live at Luna Park which we recorded down at Buenos Aires and so that is going to be our latest and I think it is our most complete DVD that we’ve ever done to date. So behind the scenes there’s a documentary which also supports the actual show part of it. We shot two nights there so we almost have 5 1/2 hours of show, of footage. It comes out November 5th, but we also have it coming out at sometime around September 19th it will be aired at theatres around the world. So at that point it will be heard in 5.1 which is the ultimate for a band and their music like this, and in that environment too it’ll be truly an exciting experience.
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Colored Sands In An Hourglass
Words: Raymond Westland
With the release of Obscura (1998) and From Wisdom To Hate (2001) Gorguts set the bar for technical death metal. Sadly the band dissolved shortly thereafter only to emerge again almost a decade later with Colored Sands. Luc Lemay confides in Ghost Cult regarding the trials and tribulations that befell his band and where they’re at now. Gorguts disappeared from the scene almost a decade ago. What happened? After Steve McDonald (former Gorguts drummer) passed away in 2002 I decided to move away from Montreal, because I was done living there. I wanted to be closer to where I was raised and be closer to nature in a way. After Steve’s death I wasn’t interested in playing music anymore. I was very content with the musical legacy of the band at that point and I was ready to start a new chapter in my life. I started to make a living out of woodworking. Back in 2006, Steeve Hurdle asked me to join Negativa. I joined his band on the condition that everything would be low key. It was all about having fun playing music for me. After a rehearsal Steeve pointed out that it would be cool to make a new Gorguts record to commemorate Gorguts’ 20 years of existence. I was all for it and from that point the idea came to play with John (Longstreth – drums), Kevin (Hufnagel – guitar) and Colin (Marston – bass) and create a new record. The rest is history as they say.
Colored Sands took quite some years to be completed. How so? When I decided to put Gorguts on hiatus back in 2002 we were signed to Olympic Records and they were taken over by Century Media, so suddenly they owned my contract. Although I didn’t play music anymore I had to go through a lot of red tape. Stupid as I was I signed the new contract without reading the fine print. So when I approached Century Media about doing a new Gorguts record they were totally into the idea, but I wasn’t happy with the old contract, so I asked them whether we could negotiate better terms to make the contract more up to date. They agreed to, but in the end we didn’t see eye to eye on things and we mutually agreed it was better to go our separate ways. Dissolving the contract was a very time consuming and complicated legal affair. As a band we
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decided to push on recording Colored Sands, regardless of how long it would take to settle the legal affairs with Century Media. While the music was already written it took me years to write all the lyrics.
Colored Sands is a combination of technical death metal and more atmospheric parts. How did you manage to make it all stick? It was a matter of adapting to a new musical vision and playing with new musicians. When writing the new record I wasn’t interested in sticking to traditional song structures. At the time I started to listen to more progressive bands like Opeth and Porcupine Tree, so that certainly had a major influence on my writing. I really love Steven Wilson’s music, be it his solo work, Blackfield or Porcupine Tree. I really love the atmospheric songs on Deadwing. PT’s The Incident record as a real eye opener for me when I was working on Colored Sands. I wanted to translate that style of writing into my own music. As you may know all Gorguts albums have their own distinct personality, we never made the same album twice. I wasn’t interested in making an Obscura or From Wisdom To Hate part II. The main Gorguts elements are certainly there on Colored Sands, but we made our atmospheric side a little more prevalent this time around.
When you look at your musical career, and Gorguts as a whole, you had to deal with lots of personal loss, legal hassle with record labels and the sort. How did this change your outlook on being a musician? It certainly helped me develop a tough skin dealing with such things. At the end of the day it helps to realise that you’re making music for the right reasons. You do this for the sake of writing music and to not to be a cash cow for said label. For me it’s all about finding my fulfillment as a composer and a musician. Plainly put, creating music makes me happy. Choosing experimental death metal as the means of expressing myself reduces the chance of making a hit single next to zero, so you have to be in this for the right reasons. Compare it to being a writer or a poet. You simply know it will be a struggle. When I chose to become a musician I accepted the consequences and that’s why I’m still doing this. Nowadays it seems that there’s more appreciation of forward thinking music in metal. Is this something you notice as well? Most certainly; nowadays our Obscura record has almost an iconic status with lots of people, which I find very flattering of course. When we wrote the music for Obscura back in 1993 and 1994, I remember sending cassettes to labels in the hope of getting a record deal. They didn’t know what to do with the music and most
of them never replied at all. Nobody liked it. It was a typical love it or hate it thing. Some of our older fans still maintain that Considered Dead and The Erosion Of Sanity are our best records. I respect their opinion and both albums are good records in the time they were made, but I could never write an album like Erosion... again. I don’t see the point of doing that again. As a composer I’m not interested in writing the same type of music like I did 25 years ago. It doesn’t fulfill me as an artist.
You were a part of the Death To All tour. How was the whole experience for you?
It was simply amazing. Chuck Schuldiner and his music were the main reason why I picked up a guitar and started a band. Scream Bloody Gore was a big part of that. They could have chosen any other band to open for them, but they picked us, which was a great honor for us. We all got along great and the sense of camaraderie was amazing. Sharing the stage with a lot of my idols, like Gene Hoglan, Sean Reinert and Paul Masvidal, was a dream come true and the crowds were so receptive of what we’re doing. It was a special moment for me. The financial bit was poorly organised and it brought me in a lot of trouble, but I’d rather stick to the good memories of sharing the stage with some of my heroes and keeping Chuck’s musical legacy alive.
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Riding The Snake Words: Christine Hager
With their latest release, Suicide Black Snake (A389 Recordings), experimental hardcore outfit Integrity once again underlined their position as one of the most forward thinking bands in their field. Ghost Cult scribe Christine Hager caught up with front man Dwid Hellion to pride his mind on all things Integrity....
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Dwid, since living in Belgium, have you picked up any other languages and would you ever consider incorporating that into an album?
majority of our discography is to my own personal liking. However, a couple of our records I feel are not quite up to the standard.
A couple of years ago I wrote an Integrity song called, ‘Black Heksen Rise’. The word, “Heksen” is a Flemish word meaning “witches”. Obviously this was juxtaposed with english, but I like the effect that was given.
The vocal style on the title track of your latest album Suicide Black Snake reminds me a lot of Rwake; perhaps inspired by you guys? Have any bands ever expressed to you the direct influence something you created had on them and if so, who are some examples? Sorry, I am unfamiliar with Rwake. I was actually inspired by Howlin’ Wolf on the title tracks vocal delivery. Rob Orr (guitarist) and I wanted to intermingle more of the Delta blues sound into the new album, Suicide Black Snake. A bluesy vocal seemed to fit the title track. Yes, some bands have confided to me that they were inspired to varying degrees by my music. It is not really my place to mention their names within this interview and that sort of emulation doesn’t really interest me anyway. I create for myself, and I aim to entertain myself first and foremost, the rest of the audience are simply eavesdropping.
Why have you chosen to give your music away for free through your label Holy Terror? Spreading the virus of our music. This is our terrorism through music. Besides, people will download anyway. The frugal, selfentitled youth culture demands a free handout, so why not offer them the best quality rips directly from the source of the music? I think it makes perfect sense. When in hell, act as the natives. Parents always seem to have some sort of subversive influence on their offspring’s taste.
What musical interests would you say you passed on to yours? Conversely, how has being a parent affected your music? My children do not listen to the same type of music that I do. They prefer more uplifting, mainstream music for their entertainment. I listen to a lot of music that is quite rotten and horror ridden. I assume my children may subconsciously rebel against the music that their old man listens to. haha All of my kids do enjoy playing music, so i guess that may have been an inherited trait. Thankfully, they don’t have the same contempt as I do.
What artwork have you been working on lately? Is the print work on Suicide Black Snake yours and if so, what did you use for the cell like texture on the bottom corner?
Would you ever record and album using an up and coming engineer who might have some new ideas or with so many years under your belt, do you prefer to have someone who knows the formula to give you what you want in as little time as possible? Doubtful, I am not really interested in trying to change my music to fit in with any current trends. My music is my own private entertainment. This often irritates people, because they feel an uncontrollable desire to follow whatever trends are currently en vogue. And anyone who isn’t following must be a threat to their conformity. The freedom afforded to me by not being enslaved by these fickle trends is priceless. I despise triggered drums and I am not very open to an outsider dictating to me how my music should be. In the past, I have actually quit record labels for this type of intrusion into the writing process of my music.
Currently I am working on an illustrated book, Vermapyre and a 45+ minute film for Dragged Into Sunlight. I have also been building guitars using household items for the Necromancy record label. Yes, I created the collage on the cover of Suicide Black Snake. I believe you are asking about the section of brain that the skull is licking as if it were a hallucinogenic frog. I created all of the artwork for the new CD/LP (the CD version has an additional booklet with more artwork). Some of the artwork is manipulated images that already existed, others are solely my creation. All of the images are weathered, worn and abused to reflect the music.
What’s next for Integrity following your tour?
We have some recordings that we are working on. In January Integrity will perform in Baltimore at the 10th annual A389 festival.
Have so many lineup changes over the years made it more difficult to make music, or would you consider it essential to creating the work you’ve come up with to date? Integrity has existed for twenty-five years. That is quite a long time. Some members have left to pursue university/careers, others have lost interest in our music and went on to make other music, a few have left to join more popular bands, and a couple have been fired for being parasites. The fresh blood is definitely invigorating to the writing process and has definitely enhanced the bands evolution. The best Integrity albums are when I am working with a very creative guitar player who is willing to try new ideas. A good
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Prog From Down Under Words: MAT DAVIES
2013 is turning out to be quite a special year for Australian progressive metallers, Karnivool. A critically acclaimed new album Asymmetry adding significant numbers to an already burgeoning fan base, more side projects than is probably healthy for one band, a sold out homecoming Australian tour already under their belts AND several highly commended European festival appearances to boot, this is already turning out to be a pretty special year for the Aussies. Ghost Cult caught up with guitarist Mark Hosking in Melbourne to reflect on the band’s 2013 so far and the months ahead....
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How do you feel you have progressed sonically since your first release? I think that we are constantly progressing and evolving with each release. On our first CD our songs tended to be a little longer, but as we’ve gotten older we’ve made a conscious effort to streamline our music a bit more and really focus on the songwriting aspect. The bottom line is that the more you practice at something, whether it’s technical ability or composing, you get better at it. At this point we’ve recorded 4 full lengths and an EP so we’ve definitely had a good deal of practice in the compositional department haha. I think that we have developed our own sound, it’s always a work in progress though. If you stop trying to evolve with each release your music can start to sound bland or predictable. We always want to push ourselves to do something different with each release but at the same time still maintain our core sound.
How do you keep your sound fresh from album to album?
You have a reputation for tackling serious topics, particularly social injustices in your lyrics; do you feel it is a musician’s duty to deal with important world topics?
We like to try new things and we’re not afraid to experiment within the metal genre so I believe that helps to keep things fresh. We also collectively listen to a lot of different types of music so I think that helps to rejuvenate the creative juices. The fact that Dan, our other guitar player, has been writing some songs also broadens our sound because he is able to write and have it still sound like Revocation but still have his own personality be present. We also have a new bass player now and he’s able to add things on bass that we’ve never had before. For instance, there’s a bass tapping part on the bridge section of the song ‘Fracked’ that really takes that part to the next level.
What do you feel makes you distinctive from the masses of metal being released every day? To me, it’s the variety of influences that comprise our sound. So many bands just stick to one thing, which is perfectly fine. We are kind of like a melting pot in the sense that we draw inspiration from so many different genres of metal as well other completely different genres of music outside from metal Where do you draw your influence from when writing your music? Personally I can be influenced by a wide range of things. Sometimes it’s a new CD that comes out that really kicks my ass or sometimes it’s revisiting an older band that I hear in a new way that can be inspiring. It doesn’t have to be just music either. I could be away on a trip and get inspiration just from being in a new environment. Even just looking out my window on a raining day might conjuring up some feeling in me that makes me want to pick up the guitar.
Was the choice to release your latest album as a selftitled album significant?
I think it depends on what you are trying to achieve in your music and the message that you want to convey. The older I get the more injustice I see in the world and it is deeply troubling to me, I’m very much compelled to write lyrics regarding these injustices because they are important issues to me that I feel need to be addressed. I feel like we are living in such a backwards dystopia so writing lyrics is how I react to it from an artistic standpoint. However, at the same time I realize that other musicians write more about their personal experiences as their form of coping with problems in their own lives so I definitely respect that approach, I’ve taken that approach myself on songs in the past and most recently on the song “The Gift You Gave.” Other artists may just want to create in a purely abstract way or take the escapism approach which I also have respect for. As Nietzsche once said “We have art in order not to die of the truth.” I think those words still ring very true in today’s day and age.
The artwork is very unusual. Can you explain what it is about? Orion, the artist who created the album cover and inner panels, had a conversation with me about the lyrics and what the self titled name meant to us. From there he ran with that and came up with a rough version which he sent back to us for approval. I’m really excited for the finished product, the online representation doesn’t do it justice. We’re planning on printing it with metallic gold ink so the border around the artwork with have this reflective shimmer to it, should be pretty cool once it’s all printed up.
Any big plans for the future with Revocation?
Yes, we feel that our lineup has never been stronger and the whole band really feels like a cohesive unit at this point so I think self titling the record is symbolic of that. I also feel that this is some of the best material we’ve ever written and it also feels like the most complete musical statement we’ve made as a band so naming the record Revocation is reflective of that.
We will be embarking on the Summer Slaughter tour this summer to support the new record so that will be very big for us. The crowds will be huge and I’m guessing the audience will be pretty diverse since the line up has a lot of different types of bands. We’re really excited to play the new material live and can’t wait for people to check it out. Hopefully we’ll be getting back over to Europe as well, we’re looking forward to raging with you guys again!
Could you take us through some of the major themes of this album? Lyrically there isn’t one particular theme or strict concept; it’s more of a combination of different topics or personal experiences that have meaning for me. There are 3 songs on the record that deal specifically with the media though. I’m very disgusted by the way information is presented to the public and quite outraged at what passes for “news” these days.
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Born Again Words: ROSS BAKER
It has been a year of mixed blessings for Korn. The absence of guitarist Brian “Head” Welch led to the band refining their songwriting approach with the high point being controversial Dub Step injected “Path Of Totality”. Now Welch has returned to the fold, Ghost Cult’s Ross Baker caught up with bassist Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu to discuss Head’s return, religion, and new album “The Paradigm Shift”. “The Paradigm Shift” still retains some elements of the Dub Step sound of “Path Of Totality”. Why did you move back towards a more organic sound? “Well there are still some electronic aspects on the record but a lot of it was due to having a second guitarist to write with again. We had some ideas for material before we did the shows with Head but once he got back in the studio we knew the magic was there. He and Munky are each other’s right hand man. I think Munky missed Head the most when he was gone as it was harder for him. He had to learn to play all of Head’s parts as well as writing everything himself! He did a great job but having Brian back totally takes things to another level.”
I have heard “Path Of Totality” and the Dub-Step direction was influenced by Jonathan’s solo work? What made you approach Skrillex and Deadmau5? “Yeah, Jon listens to a lot of that stuff. I think it’s cool too. It made me think of new ways of developing as a bass player. Most bassists play with the drums, but I like to play against them which I think makes Korn unique. We decided we wanted to use more electronics and look at new ways of being heavier. I think this band has always about smashing down boundaries since day one. When we first came out nobody was doing what we were. Some mixed hip-hop and metal, but not in the freaky way we did. We got Skrillex in because his shit is off the chain. We love that guy! Deadmau5 too! That’s one thing we have always done with this band, chosen great artists to work with no matter what genre they fall into.”
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I have heard that you are currently very into funk now? Where has that come from? “Yeah Jon loves stuff like Sly and The Family Stone. We all go through phases of listening to different stuff. I’m not gonna bust out any Bootsy Collins basslines, but I dig it. I think it’s important to listen to lots of other stuff. It keeps us fresh.” ￼
What was it like having Brian “Head” Welch back writing with you guys on this album?
“It just happened naturally. Brian was doing his solo thing, but he kept in contact and dropped by when we did some shows in California. We got talking and thought it would be cool for him to come play a couple of songs with us. We weren’t thinking of having him rejoin at that time but the response from the fans has been awesome! He has really improved as a musician! He can do all this crazy finger picking and stuff I’m not used to playing so it was definitely a challenge. I think he made us all up our game on this record!”
Is the title itself a reference to the change of direction you have taken in a musical sense or does it have a spiritual meaning? “It’s a bit of both I guess. All of our beliefs in this band are different. What is important is how we all fit together better. We have better friendships now than when we started the band and we are certainly better musicians. I think we are more open and honest this time around. We all have families and kids and don’t need any of that crazy drug shit going on. We don’t need to be drunk out of our minds after we play a show. Head is a much calmer person now than he has ever been. I think he got maybe too far into the religious stuff, but if it helped him then that’s cool. Some of us believe in things others don’t, but we all get along and can deal with our shit now!”
I have heard you are looking to bring back the “Family Values” tour, is that right? Who can we expect on that bill? “Yeah we have a couple of names ready for that. We have Asking Alexandria and Hollywood Undead who will be doing some shows with us in Denver when it kicks off. Promoters always used to be bugging us to tour with all these different artists but we are happy where we are at. We know there are a lot of festivals and touring packages for fans to spend their money on, but I think there is room for this. Metallica have their Orion Festival thing and there have been the Ozzfests but I think we bring a package that can compete with anything else out there!”
What do you expect the fans’ reaction to be, given that the new album is clearly modern Korn and no throwback to the debut? “We aren’t interested in repeating ourselves and we aren’t the same guys who made those records. I love those songs and we will still play them but we want to stay true to ourselves. Some fans may not get it, but for everyone who doesn’t there will be three who will. I think there are about five songs on this album which could be singles and we have worked real hard on these songs. We also had to change the way we played the old songs when Head left but now we will play each song exactly how it sounds on the record. That’s what fans can expect from Korn live now. I think that’s what they want!” “Never Never” is the most pop moment of your career.
Have you experienced a bit of a backlash from fans expecting something heavier? “We expect some people to hate that song but we needed to do it. You can’t please everyone Everyone gets pissed off sometimes.”
What is your relationship like right now with former drummer David Silvera? He has been vocal in the press about you guys and apparently expressed interest at rejoining. “I’m not really down with what people talk about on the Internet. I haven’t spoken to David in a long time, but it’s not up to me anyway. We have Ray (Luzier) who is a badass on drums and we are happy with him. It would be cool to do something with David one day if the time and conditions were right, but that’s not my call.”
How if at all have your and Head’s religious beliefs changed things for the band? As well as your own lives? “We are a lot more focussed on family life now. We love the band but there has to be a balance. I think we are better at expressing how we feel to each other rather than fighting about the petty bullshit we used to take so seriously.” What is next for you guys following the release of “The Paradigm Shift”? “We just want to tour our asses off. We will be doing some big shows in Europe in the spring. We want this record to be the biggest thing we have ever done. “Love And Meth” is the first single we put out, but there will be more. I would also like to collaborate with other artists and singers. I think James Hetfield would be a great choice! We just want to keep working with great artists and producing music that people spin out on. I think we made a lot of people change the way they thought about things.”
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Unleashing The Serpents Words: Tiago Moreira
Blackened Thrash Metal act Skeletonwitch are back with a brand new album. Recorded with the prominent producer Kurt Ballou (Converge), Serpents Unleashed comes out in a special moment in Skeletonwitch’s career. The band is also celebrating the tenth anniversary. More than enough reasons to chat with the guitarist and founding member, Scott Hedrick. How do you recall these first ten years of activity with Skeletonwitch? Could you name some highlights that the band had along this ten year road? It actually went really fast, really quickly. I can’t believe it has been ten years already. Makes me feel old. [laughs] It seems just like yesterday we were playing in a pile wood stage that we built in the yard of our house when we were just college students... All of a sudden here we are putting out another record. It’s been really great. I really wouldn’t change anything about it. We never knew where things would go... We just love to play music and being in a band, and those things progress. Every time we couldn’t believe that we had another tour or we signed with a record label or even going to Europe for the first. We kept our heads down while working hard and sometimes we look over the “trenches” and... Holy crap!!! We had a lot of highlights, but one that I want to mention is when we did our first big tour with Danzig (one month tour). Being a part of that tour, hanging out with him and receiving complements from the man himself... It was a really big honour since we’re really big Misfits and Dazing’s fans. I’ll never forget those moments. This is what matter for us, and not being on Top 200 of the Billboard charts. Of course we’re proud of that, but we treasure the moments like we had with Dazing way more.
If you had to compare this Serpents Unleashed to the other four records, what would you say? I would say the production is the closest where I always wanted to be. Without a doubt I would say that all the members of the band are most happy with the final result. Not to say that we were unhappy in the past, but we’re always looking to make it better. If you look to the work Kurt Ballou (producer) does, it’s easy to see that he as a knack to bring records to life. I think this record is the closest you can come to the energy of a Skeletonwitch’s live show.
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We often hear from people that we’re a live band, that you have to see us live. I think this time we finally capture that on record. The record has teeth. It’s really in your face and alive. I think people will notice that right away, since the first moments of listening to the new record. On our side of things, with the songwriting, we’re very much a song oriented kind of band. We may not repeat parts a lot, like in a traditional songwriting format, but we are always worried on writing memorable tunes. A lot of time you see an extreme metal band just trying to be extreme and in that process losing focus on writing just good songs... We, definitely, don’t work like that, and I think this is probably the best batch of songs that we’ve released as a band. Nate for the most part has been our main songwriter. I would contribute with some parts, riffs, ideas and so what. With this record I contributed way more... I actually wrote songs from beginning to end, a thing that actually never happened before. On that level I feel very proud too.
It was awesome to see new approaches on the band’s sound, like in the beginning of ‘Unending, Everliving’. How important is trying new things in this band? I think it’s important that we just try what we feel what comes natural. In other words, it’s good to try new things but also we shouldn’t do it if it doesn’t feel right. We will not write a song in a weird time signature if it doesn’t makes sense. It’s more about pushing the boundaries of writing really good songs. And trying to pushing the boundaries can put you in a way where it’s kind of easier or in a way where is really complex. Maybe we will have a eight minutes songs in the next record. Who knows?
Why did you guys choose to work with Kurt Ballou? How it was that experience in Kurt’s Godcity Studio? From the beginning we knew that we wanted to have Kurt Ballou producing our record, and that almost happen earlier since he was about to work with us in our third record, Breathing the Fire, back in 2009. Back then it didn’t work because his schedules are insane. Him always touring with Converge and working with a large number of bands.Finally everything worked this time and we had the chance of working with him. We told our label and everyone else that Kurt was the guy that we wanted. They tried to come up with some alternatives but we said right away “No! We want this guy so shut up!” The experience was really good. Kurt is really funny. A lot funnier that you actually might think, since sometimes he comes across of being a really serious guy... That’s not really the case at all. He is a hard worker and got everybody focused on recording the record. He doesn’t want people in the studio getting all drunk and partying, what is a good think since we get carried
Wry Wits and Smash Hits
Words: Matt Hinch
away sometimes. Besides that it was really easy to work with. We understood our sense of humour and fitted in really well. It take a couple of days to get used to each other, but after that it was like we were old friends.
You guys believe in the Phil Anselmo’s words: “Get out and play! Get in the van and go around as many times as you can and from there build your fanbase”? Absolutely! That is what we have been doing for the past ten years and I believe that’s the way you should do it. I believe there’s no other way around it, but I also think it’s the most fun way to do it. A band does not exist in a laptop. It’s so good go around the world and play in front of people.
The artwork is freakin’ amazing. How it was working with John Baizley? You guys gave him total freedom? Well... sort of. John always asks for the music and the lyrics. Before he starts to work on the artwork he heard the record and read all the lyrics. Usually after that he draws a rough sketch and send it to us explaining what’s going on, explaining his vision and everything else. We reply with some feedback and it goes back and forth for some time, to where come
a time where basically everyone is happy with the product. After those moments he moves forward and starts to add ink, etc. You don’t ask an artwork to John and then the things come right back and falls into your lap. It’s a process where there’s a lot of back and forth, but yeah... We had a lot of freedom. It seems stupid, to me, have a guys talented like John and don’t use his skills and visions.
Finally, let’s talk about the ‘Burned From Bone’ video. It’s such a great idea of using that “behind the scenes” footage instead of that stupid concept that is the lyric video. I hate those things. I think they are so cheesy. Records labels always try to do that kind of stuff because they think people like it, but I think they’re deadly wrong in that specific case. About the ‘Burned From Bone’ video: we always try to get as much footage of the studio as we can, and we all took footage with our phones... Because we don’t have a nice video camera. [laughs] When we got there and we’re recording footage with our phones, Kurt said “Why I don’t record a video of you guys playing the same song? You can use it later if you want.” So, it was his idea and he think it was really nice one. He recorded the footage and then we had someone to edit everything.
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Only The Beginning
Words: Keith (Keefy) Chachkes
Since emerging as a teenager from Belo Horizonte, Brazil in the mid-80s, Max Cavalera has been on a mission. That mission has been to make killer heavy music with no compromises or limitations. He has been an innovator and a trendsetter at every stop along the way through his projects such as founding Sepultura, Nailbomb, and now in Soulfly. Almost thirty years down the road, Max is still flying in the face of convention, mashing sub-genres, and following his own muse. With his new album Savages, a new label in Nuclear Blast, and playing a band with his son Zyon, you could say everything has come full circle for him.
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You have come back really quickly with Savages following Enslaved last year. Why the fast turnaround between albums? It felt good to bang out another record quickly. It’s not always the goal, but it was good to write some new music right away. We like to keep it moving. We had everything planned to do a new record for the new label Nuclear Blast. The deal with Nuclear Blast came through perfectly. My son,Zyon, came in to play drums. We had Terry Date on board to do the record. And I really love what Terry did with it. He did a great job, with a raw sounding record. And we just went for it. It was great to have all of these great fucking people on the record! I love the guest appearances the most. ‘Ayatollah of Rock N’ Rolla with Neil (Fallon), ‘K.C.S.’ with Mitch (Harris) from Napalm Death, Jamie (Hanks) from I Declare War on ‘Fallen’, and my son Igor on ‘Bloodshed’ For me Savages is a combination of both worlds. It has the grooviness of the first Soulfly album and it also has that extreme death metal sounding songs. A lot of people liked Enslaved, so I didn’t want to get rid of it entirely. A lot of people wanted me to go back to the killer grooves of the very first Soulfly album. So I decided to write an album that has more of that. And I also like the songs are quite long, like six minutes, seven minutes, ten minute long songs, like ‘Ride The Lightning’, and ‘Master of Puppets’, on those old Metallica records. The songs don’t even feel like seven minutes, to listen to them. Time just flies when you listen to it. It makes you feel good, and the songs are killer. Overall, I’m really happy with the record and I’m very stoked and I can’t wait to even play these songs live. It felt like the right record to make. Like I said, it’s a combination. ‘Fallen’ is a perfect song, with Jamie from I Declare War. To me it’s pretty much a death metal song. It’s got all of the elements of death metal. And ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ is a pure, thrash/grind/death metal song. But I didn’t want to make that same record again. I wanted to do something totally new. But a song like ‘Ayatollah of Rock`N Rolla’, it something totally new. I never did anything like that before. It starts with like this country, cowboy riff, and Neil starts talking over it and it was so killer! And of course that line in the chorus Ayatollah of Rock`N Rolla is from ‘Mad Max’. It’s probably my favorite song on the album. I don’t want to make the same record over and over. So Savages got new things on it that no one has heard from me before, and I am really glad about that.
I think it is very difficult in music, especially in metal, to reinvent your self all the time. Do you keep that in mind from album to album? I kind of just go with it. I don’t think about that stuff. I just roll with it. If I think about it, it will make me crazy. I just make records. I don’t have a favorite one. They all fit together and they are all a part of my history. They are all a little different, which is great. I have been doing this a long time and I have a lot of records under my belt. What I am interest in is to keep going. I have a vision for my music, I see it going for a long time. We don’t have to write stupid radio songs. We write what we like, we play what we like. And the fans really connect with that. We are playing what we love. They know we are not writing stupid bubblegum, radio songs, concerned
with getting played on the radio. That’s not what we’re here for. We are here for the heaviness, for the metal that we love. Because I love metal. Metal is in my veins and it is what I love. I want to keep doing this for a long-ass time. To me, this is only the beginning.
You have produced the vast majority of Soulfly’s albums yourself. What was it like to turn over the reigns to Terry Date? It was just the right time and the right place. Terry has been coming to Soulfly shows forever. The last time was in Seattle with Five Finger Death Punch. He came to the show and he was just hanging out. I said to him “Man! When are we going to work together?” I kind of gave the question to him. And he said ‘just call me!” and we’ll do it. So when it came time to make the record we called him. He gave me a great deal because he really wanted to work with me. We first met with the Deftones when they did Around The Fur I came into to do ‘Headup” Terry is a really a rocker man. He loves metal and he loves rock. He is a real professional. He has done so many amazing records like the Pantera records, Deftones, the Soundgarden records like Badmotorfinger. Those are heavy records. Just classic, fucking records. I was really excited and very motivated to work with him. So a lot of the writing for Savages had that in mind. I was thrilled that Terry was in charge of the record. I knew working with him, it had to be good. And he didn’t disappoint me. To me it’s my favorite sound. This is the best sounding Soulfly record. Best guitar sound, best drum sound. Terry has done an amazing job and not to put any others down, even me but this is the best one. The other records are good, but it doesn’t compare to Terry’s stuff. Terry is just a master.
When did you know Zyon was ready to be a full time member of the band? Well, we took him to South America to drum for Soulfly. People in Brazil loved it. I remember the Sao Paulo crowd loved him man. They were amazed at how good Zyon did. The energy he brought to the band was great. People really were amazed at how good the old Soulfy songs sounded. Especially right after David Kinkade. I don’t have a problem with Dave Kinkade, but he really couldn’t play the old Soulfly stuff. So touring was really hard with David. And that really sucked. It was really a problem for him and really, and he could only do the extreme stuff, And even then, he had problems with that. For me it was really a risk to put Zyon on the record. To me another musician wouldn’t have done that. Someone else would say I’m gonna someone more professional, get a more experienced drummer, and not waste a record on a kid. I went with my gut feeling, said I am gonna take a risk with my son. His heartbeat opened Chaos A.D.’ twenty years ago, and now he is recording a full record with. It is a great story. And as a father, I couldn’t be more proud. He took it very seriously, worked very hard on the songs. We worked on the songs for two months before we hit the studio. He worked hard and he pulled it out. I’m very proud. Eventually we’re going to have to find a new drummer, because he has a band with his brother Igor, Lody Kong, and I don’t want to steal him from that. But it was a risk to use him on the record and I’m a person who likes to take risks.
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My whole career is full of them. To call the album Roots, that name was a risk. A lot of people didn’t like the name at first, in including the Roadrunner people. They didn’t want me to call it that. They thought it sounded like a reggae compilation album name, and I agreed with them, where they were coming from. But I told them, ‘after we put this record with the name ‘Roots’ on a Metal album, the word roots will never be looked at the same again. And even now there is a program on Liquid Metal called Bloody Roots of Metal. Roots is everywhere now and it’s connected to metal, not just reggae. Using Zyon was a risk. But I stand by my choice with Zyon, and for this record, he was the perfect drummer. He was new blood, young energy and had exactly what I needed for this record.
You’ve spent almost your entire career on Roadrunner Records. Why the move to Nuclear Blast now? Nuclear Blast really had the best offer. We talked to Napalm Records, Century Media, all of them wanted to sign Soulfly really bad. Which to me is a sign that the band is in a great state. It made me happy that we have a desirable band. But Nuclear Blast, their offer was great. They are a metal label that believes in metal and fights for metal. I had a great time at Roadrunner, but Roadrunner isn’t Roadrunner anymore, not from the glory days. It was the best move to go to Nuclear Blast. Gloria was already looking to leave actually. We had already talked about leaving and it turned out, this was the perfect time for us. I love being with Nuclear Blast! I love what they have done so far. I visited their office. I drove to California and met everybody in the office, Charles (Elliott) and everybody there. It actually reminded me of the old Roadrunner vibe. And now we have Monte there as well. And working with Monte again is killer, because Monte has been with me my whole life, my whole career. I couldn’t imagine making this record without Monte. It’s a label that loves metal. And so to me Nuclear Blast has the old Roadrunner vibe like when I was in the old Sepultura days. And Roadrunner, once they got fucking Nickelback, all they wanted was another Nickelback and all this bullshit. The label got lost and they didn’t know what to do with it. And they lost their passion for metal. And it sucks because I had a lot of good memories from that phase, but life goes on. I’m happy with this new phase and happy to be on Nuclear Blast.
What is the status of your project with Greg Puciato and Troy Sanders? We enter the studio in September with Josh Wilbur. We don’t have a name yet, which is lame, I have to agree. It is sooo lame that we don’t have name! Maybe we should call the band Lame? No it’s not lame. It’s the opposite of lame, it’s fucking killer! It’s really bombastic. Three singers, me, Greg, and Troy singing on every song, that’s gonna be huge! Just for that factor, it’s killer enough for the curiosity, that it’s going to be good. It’s a very unique experience to have these three singers on every song. That in itself, is gonna be sick. This just doesn’t happen every day. We have all the songs written and the songs sound great. They sound amazing and I can’t wait to find a name for this fucking thing, finally, once and for all and release the album next year. Hopefully, we will even do some touring for it!
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Album Of The Month A Storm Of Light Nations To Flames
High On Fire’s relentless pummeling (‘The Fire Sermon’) and even Killing Joke’s industrial-tinged aggression (‘Dead Flags’, ‘Omen’). The machine gun drumming and raw shredding, topped with Graham’s throaty bark create a frantic, chaotic weight that reaches almost headacheinducing pressure at times. At 50 minutes, the album could do with being a couple track shorter, but after the relative hiccup of As The Valley Of Death Becomes Us, Our Silver Memories Fade, ASOL have returned with all guns blazing. Brooklyn, New York-based post metal collective A Storm Of Light have just released their fourth album, Nations To Flames (Southern Lord), and upped their game significantly. Released through their new label, Southern Lord, Nations To Flames was produced by Travis Kammeyer and features guest appearances from Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil and Will Lindsay of Indian & Nachtmystium.
A Nation To Flames is a solid and crushingly heavy record, one that fans of their early material will feel at home in, and new ones will enjoy. Dan Swinhoe
For anyone who heard 2011’s As The Valley Of Death Becomes Us, Our Silver Memories Fade, this record will be a shock to the system. Gone are the rock/melodic influences; in its place is a return to the band’s heavier roots. Frontman/guitarist/ keyboardist Josh Graham has said the album is “bringing back the intensity” of their debut and letting their influences show through more. And intensity is the right word. From the opening rumble of ‘Fall’ to the instrumental closer ‘The Year Is One’, there’s very little let up. The former Neurosis & Red Sparrows man, along with Domenic Seita (bass guitar), Billy Graves (drums) and Andrea Black (guitar) have created a pounding, searing, slab of relentless post metal. Neurosis and early Mastodon are the clearest reference points, but there are plenty of other influences that can be felt through; the sludge of Crowbar or The Melvins (‘Fall’, ‘You Are The Hunted’),
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Armed For Apocalypse
Who says that heavy has to be played on a seven or eight string guitar? Returning to defying this trend are Armed For Apocalypse, a four-piece from California who are creating a blisteringly heavy track on just six strings. Returning with their second album, The Road will End (Ironclad Recordings) grinds its way through 40 minutes of pure sludgecore destruction. For hardcore sludge fans, this record may not quite be the booming, rolling wall of sound you can expect from the genre, although songs like ‘The Well’ and ‘The Road will End’ do churn out riffs with nuclear impact and precision. There’s a hefty dose of metalcore influences running through this record, picking up a crushing pace that causes to the record to trip and stumble headlong before hitting the brakes for the occasional devastating breakdown.
Ah, “Occult Rock”. The most oversaturated strand of the already dripping sponge of Doom, featuring some of the most generic, over-promoted bands in recent history. Chuck in a ‘Master Of Reality’ logo font, some boobies and a pentagram on the cover, and I wasn’t overly enthused going into Spiritual Relics (Soulseller), Bloody Hammers’ second LP. But 2 minutes into the driving, fuzzy, happy-doom of ‘What’s Haunting You?’ and its COC meets Type O Negative rock and I was smiling. By the end of the acoustic, downbeat melancholia of closer ‘Science Fiction’ I was grinning and nodding. Here is a band capable of producing that oh-so lost art of SONGS! Not for Bloody Hammers the 8 minute, 3 riff borefest, or the ‘Blood On Satan’s Claw’ twangy kitschness of their contemporaries. No, Spiritual Relics is good, simple Occult Fuzz with more than a touch of Desert about it, drawing as much on Fu Manchu as Hammer Horror. The clever touches of Devillia’s organ (now, now) change the stoner ethic and add a twist to the cocktail, for example enhancing the Troubleesque ‘Flesh Of The Lotus’ with a B-movie soundtrack feel. Meanwhile Anders Manga’s strong, clear vocals carry choruses such as the excellent ‘The Source’, which reminds of Hammers Of Misfortune’s masterpiece The Grain, providing catchiness without descending into overt poppiness. Not every track is a killer, ‘Shiver’ and ‘Path Of Sorrows’ pass by in mid-paced stupor, but when the fuzzed out anthem ‘Night Of The Long Knives’, the creepy ‘The Transit Begins’ or the Southern Gothic Type OKyuss stomp of ‘At The Well of Nazareth’ do their thing so well, it’s easy to see Bloody Hammers rising above the Occult Rock mire to establish themselves as a genuine, successful rock band. And, really, there’s nothing wrong with having boobies and a pentagram on an album cover.
The Road Will End
There’s a delicate balance that is prevalent in this record, a shifting pace that creates the precise punctuation that really makes this record stand out. Metalcore and sludge may not be the most obvious choice of ingredients considering their differences but the band seem to have mixed it in solidly. There really is very little I could fault this record on, but I also can’t say this record really appealed to me in any form. The album at points can feel a little like heavy for heavy’s sake and perhaps does lack a bit of the raw emotion that comes within the faults and the cracks. The modern day ideal has left us with squeaky-clean recordings and production, and this record has also fallen prey to our obsession with perfection. Lets hope that when the road ends, we’ll hear some real grime creeping back in for some all out dirty sludge. Caitlin Smith
Devin Townsend Project Retinal Circus
Retinal Circus is the sort of project only Devin Townsend could pull off and get away with. Try to imagine a miniature version of Roger Water’s The Wall - Live In Berlin combined with the typical cheesiness of any given Broadway musical. The whole life performance revolves around a male protagonist called Harold whose quest and dreams form a loose narrative to tie all the songs from the various DT albums together into a somewhat logical sequence. The whole stage show and the entire choreography that comes with it is more than impressive, as it entails choirs, dressed up monkeys, burlesque dancers and a lot of elements from a typical Cirque Du Soleil show. The narrative of the show is provided by Steve Vai, occasionally backed up by Devin Townsend in his role as ringmaster. The overall set list is a good representation of the complete Devin Townsend discography with songs from Infinity (‘War’, ‘Colonial Boy’), Ocean Machine (‘Life’), Ziltoid The Omniscient (‘Hyperdrive’, ‘The Greys’), Synchestra (‘Vampira’, ‘Vampolka’) and his latest four album tour-de-force (‘Juular’, ‘Kingdom’). There’s even a nod to the old Strapping Young Lad days in the form of ‘Love?’ and ‘Detox’ with S.Y.L guitarist Jed Simon making a guest appearance. One could argue that some of Devin’s albums got overlooked, especially Terria, but with so many songs and albums to choose from it’s inevitable that some painful choices had to be made. Other highlights of the show are Anneke van Giersbergen’s vocal contributions and the trials and tribulations of Ziltoid The Omniscient’s dysfunctional family. The whole show is superbly filmed and it’s just pure ear and eye candy. There are some occasional hiccups during the performance, but it does fit the whole exuberant atmosphere of the Retinal Circus. What I really like is the honesty of the behind-thescenes documentary. It makes you really appreciate the gargantuan effort by everyone involved to make the Retinal Circus an experience of a lifetime. In short, this DVD package is a mandatory buy for every Devin Townsend nut out there. Raymond Westland
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Diamond Plate might be one of the more recent additions to the revivalist thrash metal scene but they do not sound like amateurs.With their second album, Pulse (Earache Records), they separate themselves from other thrash revivalists such as Violator and Skeletonwitch while still remaining true to the genre’s roots. Diamond Plate is able to turn back the clocks, but keep it fresh.
Now the dust has settled on the departure of Mike Portnoy and the rest of Dream Theater proved to capable to deliver a fine record without him, the band moved on to greener pastures with newcomer Mike Mangini. This time around he’s fully integrated in the writing process, so let’s see if his contributions brings the new self-titled album (Roadrunner) to the next level. If anything, Dream Theater feels really like a group effort. With the addition of Mike Mangini the band founds its mojo again and that’s his greatest gift to them and the fans. Not to mention he’s one of the best drummers in the business, which he isn’t afraid to show on tracks like ‘Enigma Machine’ and ‘False Awakening Suite’. However, most of the time Mangini rather chooses to go along with the groove of said song, than to interrupt the overall flow with flashy, yet needless breaks and fills. He really knows when to go full out and when to show restraint, as he aptly shows on ‘Illumination Theory’. With the exception of the aforementioned 22-minute behemoth ‘Illumination Theory’, most songs on Dream Theater are between 5 and 8 minutes long. This more song-orientated approach is quite a departure from epic 10 to 15 minute compositions that dominated most of Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence, Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds & Silver Linings. In fact, this album may be the band’s most song oriented effort since Awake and Falling Into Infinity.John Petrucci (guitars) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards) still let it rip on songs like ‘The Enemy Inside’, ‘The Big Picture’ and ‘Along For The Ride’, but their respective contributions actually add weight to the songs and it’s no longer soloing just for the sake of it. Singer James LaBrie has really found his niche within Dream Theater’s elaborate music, now Mike Portnoy is no longer around to push him around.
Italian gothic metallers Ecnephias have been plagued by line-up and label changes since their inception in 1996, alongside not quite knowing their place in the world, and genre hopping more times than most people have had hot meals. However, with a now solid line up and after successfully signing to cult label Code666 it looks like it’s fourth time lucky for the five piece with the release of Necrogod. Before spinning this record, what immediately draws attention is the incredible album artwork created by graphic artist Pierre-Alain D. With such dark, provocative imagery the music certainly has an awful lot to live up to and thankfully the band manage to deliver. Vocalist Mancan’s hearty growls and gravelly baritones are complemented by Sakis Tolis’(Rotting Christ) guest chorals on ‘Voodoo (Daughter of Idols)’ making for a totally dynamic track that proves to be the monster of this opus. The guitars, bass and drums fit neatly together like a well crafted jigsaw puzzle whilst the keys heighten and intensify the overall gothic atmosphere of the music. Lyrically the songs have the potential to be fascinating, focusing on the pre-Christian cults of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Africa, India and South America. This seems to have been too large of a topic for the band to handle though, as there are moments when the songs become uninspired, repetitive and dull – there are only so many times you can hear “oh Hades!” before it gets old.
In terms of lyrics, Diamond Plate falls somewhere between the likes of Municipal Waste and Toxic Holocaust. Their songs are of the more serious sort but they do not always revolve around death or war. Album opener ‘Walking Backwards’ is the kind of song that instantly grabs any heavy metal fan’s attention. It builds up slowly but strongly. The tune sets the feel for the album as a whole. Unfortunately the last few songs on Pulse are forgettable, though solid metal tunes. They are the kind of tracks that one can listen to but not really pay much attention to. ‘Rainmaker’ is a little on the longer side clocking in at over six minutes while ‘Persistence Of Memory’ is an instrumental that feels like it’s an intro that’s gone on for too long. Despite the second half of the album not being as strong as the first half, Diamond Plate still have the chops it takes to become one of the greater bands in the thrash revival. They will no doubt continue to grow musically. Melissa Campbell
Dream Theater may not be as groundbreaking as some of the band’s earlier works, but it does contains enough perks to keep fresh and interesting for both newcomers and longtime fans alike. If anything, this album proves that Mike Mangini fits the band like the proverbial glove. Raymond Westland
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Generation Of Vipers Howl And Filfth
Another album mixed by Kurt Ballou at God City Studios, Generation Of Vipers’ album, Howl And Filth (Golden Antenna), is a brutalizing amalgamation of sludge and doom that wields the trademark God City sound. Opening with ‘Ritual’, the Knoxville, Tennessee act dives right in with a slow gallop. When the guitars really dial in, the heaviness unfolds. A thick, massive sound fills the air; the throaty, menacing guitars are extremely heavy, Josh Holt’s vocals have real urgency and raspiness to them. ‘Ritual’ punches along this path, ranging from the obscenely thick sound to something quieter, like a smoke-filled room’s dense atmosphere. ‘Silent Shroud’ sets off on the right foot -Generation Of Vipers waste no time in raining blows down on the listener in the form of these distorted guitars. These fuzz-laden sounds mix together with unearthly heavy bass. When the act slows things down, layers of texture pour over, giving off a sound that has not only serious bite to it, but contains a post-rock flavor.‘All of ‘This is Mine’ is largely a piano track, with some background noise sprinkled in. A violin plays a chilling tune. Some airy vocals hauntingly speak, behind all of the instruments. The vocals are almost inaudible, but they don’t need to be heard, only recognized. ‘Eternal’ brings much of the same intensity and similar styles of songwriting. There’s not a whole lot of deviation from track to track. It’s the same formula, endlessly repeating, and suffocating the listener in the process. Even if Generation Of Vipers doesn’t deviate from their formula of relentlessly heavy assaults, it’s not exactly the worst thing. The layers upon layers of guitarwork and drum tracks do wonders for the music, even if it isn’t the most painstakingly original piece of music. The most original doesn’t always equate into the best, and sometimes little tweaks to a genre do great things for a band. Generation of Vipers have a sound that it’s easy to tell they worked it over, and made little adjustments here and there. Those adjustments just happen to pay off. Bill Haff
Misconception Of Hope
12 years since their last full-length, Gorguts have seen fit to grace us mere mortals with a new album. Has it been worth the wait? In short, oh yes, yes it has. Densely technical and chaotic, Colored Sands (Season Of Mist) is as punishing as it is rewarding. Whilst it’s far from being a catchy album, Gorguts never sacrifice riffs in favour of technicality, and their music never comes across as “technical for the sake of it”. The opening riff on ‘An Ocean Of Wisdom’, for example, is absolutely monumental, and almost hummable, before dissolving into atonal “melodies” that any fan of Deathspell Omega should be more than familiar with. The fluidity of Gorguts’ compositions on this album is astounding, flowing between eerie atmospherics, dense, rumbling riffs, and mind-bending technicality with ease that would make lesser musicians green with envy.The album itself is also very well structured, making it a compelling listen from beginning to end. ‘The Battle Of Chamdo’ serves as a breather in the middle of the album, it is a composition written by Luc Lemay (vocals, guitar) on piano, and performed by a string quintet. It feels as integral to the album as any of the other tracks, and adds to the vastness of it, despite the fact that the overall sound on Colored Sands is suffocatingly claustrophobic. ‘Enemies Of Compassion’ rapidly ups the pace after the interlude, with pounding drums and some incredible fretboard acrobatics. It serves as a potent reminder that Gorguts are one of the best technical death metal bands out there, and is one of the many highlights on a consistently brilliant album.Colored Sands is a very welcome return for Gorguts, which easily measures up with other entries in their discography. Whilst it may not be as otherworldly and terrifying as Obscura (but then, what is?) it shows that Gorguts have plenty of creativity left in them. The best thing about Colored Sands is that they haven’t attempted to recreate any part of their discography, yet it is still resolutely, undeniably, Gorguts.
Three years on from rampantly evil second album From Our Cold Dead Hands, Sweden’s Infanticide continue their grindcore odyssey with the even more uncompromising third album, Misconception Of Hope (Willowtip). As fans would hope, it’s not a great departure from FOCDH; the production is tighter which gives the band a more open sound stepping away from the muddy dirge of their previous output, but MOH is far from flashy. Johan Malm’s crackling guitars and Simon Frid’s explosive vocals shriek and buzz in unsettling waves. When it comes to the band itself, little has changed, but why would it? Over ten years into band life, Infanticide know exactly the songs they do best and it requires very little in the way of tweaking. On the surface, the total of nineteen tracks looks like a gruelling listen, but in true grindcore fashion most are below the one-minute mark. Unstoppable clattering drums and fierce growls make the unforgiving ‘T.O.I.L.’ and ‘Lacking Relevance’ shudder with fury. The relatively extended ‘.44 Caliber Salvation’ clocking in at a mighty one minute and forty-nine seconds begins with some chilled out stoner grooves before convulsing with a drumming flurry and shocking vocals. Misconception Of Hope in the end becomes an ironic title because such is the improvement on previous albums it creates a high level of anticipation for the follow up. Third time’s a charm but a fourth time could be the full treasure. Infanticide are on the way up.
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Is Light In The Body, There Is Blood In The Sun The fourth album proper from Lux Interna sees them taking their sound away from the dark folk where they have deep roots and into more alternative rock territory. There Is Light In The Body, There Is Blood In The Sun (Pesanta) is still wantonly bleak but with the fuzz guitar on ‘Tongues’ and the intense overall grind there’s an undeniable feeling of Nick Cave in his Grinderman/ Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds guise. Lux Interna continue the revolving door of talent but at the root of it Joshua Levi Ian’s rich baritone is the key component. Bonded with Kathryn Mary’s poignant delivery it’s an irresistible mixture reminiscent of the Black Francis/Kim Deal partnership of The Pixies.The downbeat but oddly throbbing ‘King Winter’ starts the album with a haunting Ian/Mary vocal round over a simple guitar riff and layered percussion. Monstrously beautiful ‘Wounded Stag’ is the highlight of the album with its hypnotic, cyclical guitar piece and lingering vocals. There are times when the slow grind becomes a loud grate and the intensity borders on Swans-style acute disdain. Sometimes the elaborately long tracks struggle to keep the snails’ pace and it’s hard not to wonder if the extended time limit was worthwhile. However, when it goes right, the lush musicianship and haunting melodies burrow into the brain leaving a powerful lasting effect. A slightly new direction may raise some eyebrows but is subtle enough to build on existing foundations. Dan Bond
Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with Scandinavian folk metal, but when a band enters drawing from their own heritage rather than relying on Vikings and Thor, it’s like the first breath after choking. Mael Mordha is that breath of air. Hailing from Dublin in Ireland, this four-piece take their love of doom and throws in a hefty dose of Gaelic folk music. Their interest in Irish heritage doesn’t stop with the music though, from their lyrics right down to their name itself, everything is tied in with ancient Irish events. The Minotaur, now a regular on their albums, makes an increasingly menacing return on Damned When Dead (Candlelight). Bathed in shadow, he breaks the cross in a symbol of religious defiance. This perfectly compliments the sound in this album, which despite being rousing and at points soaring through into epic passages maintains a distinctly mournful atmosphere throughout. Roibéard’s vocals are defiant but desperate, layered with an anguish that only clean vocals can bring. ‘All Eire Will Quake’ sets this perfectly against repeating, insistent riffs and racing distorted tremolo chords. While ‘King Of The English’ and ‘Damned When Dead’ fall back into a hopeless dirge that drips of despair. The words concept album can strike fear into the hearts of many fans with so many falling short of the usual standard maintained by any band. This album however proves that concept can be epic. Centered around the Papal bull of Laudabiliter which was issued in 1155, and the carnage that ruled for years with it, Damned When Dead is a tome to Irelands violent events and bloody past. All coupled with the slow dirge of droning guitars, history lessons have never sounded quite so good!
Enjoy The Quiet is a rather awkward beast. The main feature is a 58 minute professionally filmed live gigat Wacken from Ministry’s last touring line up, including band alumni like John Bechdel, Sin Quirinand the recently departed Mike Scaccia. The set-list contains mainly tracks from Houses Of The Mole (‘No W’, ‘Waiting’), Rio Grande Blood (title track, ‘LiesLiesLies’) and Relapse (‘Ghouldiggers’, title track) accompanied with some tracks from the band’s more illustrious past like ‘Thieves’ and ‘Just One Fix’. Despite Jourgensen and Co giving it their all the crowd response is ambivalent at best. It’s only when the older tracks get played there’s some reaction. Another thing that becomes painfully clear is the almost zombie-like appearance of Al Jourgensen himself. The long years of substance abuse seem to have caught up with him physically. Despite the professionally filmed gig and top notch sound, this live registration is somewhat of a let-down, mainly because of the lack of energy and the reluctant crowd response.
As it stands now, it’s just another live registration that’s only interesting for Ministry completists. A
Damned When Dead
Enjoy The Quiet Live At Wacken 2012
The real magic is with the bonus material. It contains raw and unedited footage from Ministry’s gig at the Wacken festival back in 2006. Despite the raw quality it shows a band that is really firing on all cylinders. The bulk of the set-list comes from the earlier mentioned Houses Of The Mole and Rio Grande Blood with the older tracks being virtually the same as from their 2012 gig. The live registration as a whole is over 75 minutes long and this would have been a better choice for the main event than Ministry’s 2012 gig.
missed opportunity is the best I can say about Enjoy The Quiet - Live At Wacken 2012. Raymond Westland
GHOST CULT #12
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Monarque Lys Noir
Monarque is a one man black metal project from Quebec. Dabbling in the realm of depressive suicidal black metal (DSBM), despite being relatively melodic, Lys Noir (Sepulchral Productions) is unapologetically raw. Much of the melody on the album comes from keyboards that play under the buzz of the guitar. The use of keyboards on the album is very tastefully done, ensuring that any risk of cheesiness is comfortably avoided. Remaining firmly in the background, and allowing the riffs to take centre stage, the keyboard merely adds another textural layer to the album. The compositions are relatively simple and riff-orientated, but that doesn’t mean they’re uninteresting. The first track, ‘L’Appel De La Nuit’, is one of the strongest tracks on the album, displaying Monarque’s adeptness at both atmospherics, and straight up riffing. The transitions between the two sides of Monarque’s sound don’t always feel natural, but on occasion, such as during ‘La Quintessence Du Mal’, he strikes a wonderfully delicate balance between melody and aggression, rather than opting for one or the other. ‘Solitude’ offers a moment of clarity in the middle of the album, offering welcome respite from the harsh guitars. It might be a fairly generic “acoustic guitar plucked over ambient sounds” formula, but it means that when the blasting returns, it sounds fresh to the ear. The more midpaced stylings of ‘Comme Des Vers’ wrap up the album in fine style, giving the listener a memorable riff, and thus incentive to listen again. It’s a good way to alleviate the blasting without resorting to ambient interludes. In terms of criticism, Lys Noir does little to differentiate itself from the relatively saturated black metal scene. As a DSBM album, it isn’t as heart wrenching as Austere’s To Lay Like Old Ashes, nor does it have the distressingly intense atmosphere conjured by Coldworld, or the exquisite melodies of Gris. That said, what Monarque does offer is solid, even if it is unremarkable. This album is still recommendable to those who enjoy cold, raw, yet melodic black metal, or those with an insatiable craving for DSBM. Tom Saunders
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Nine Inch Nails
Twenty five years into their career Trent Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails have railed against the system with furious anger smashing sonic boundaries while delivering iconic dancefloor hits adored by Goths, Punks and Metalheads alike.
No one can forget the fact that they’ve heard Reign In Blood. Or Ride The Lightning. Or Pleasure To Kill. None of these facts has stopped a thrash revival of sorts from happening over the last few years. Although it has admittedly wained a little now, there is still a steady stream of albums coming out that sounds as if they could’ve come straight from the 80s. Luckily, Noisem’s Agony Defined (A389 Recordings) is one of the better ones.
That’s not to say that it’s all sweetness and light in the Reznorian universe. Apart from the uncharacteristically upbeat ‘Everything’ the album is a fantastically bleak and minimal affair which may just be his best since 2001’s sprawling cocaine fuelled double album The Fragile. Yet while that was a multilayered indulgent affair Trent has stripped back the layers of harsh guitars and angst bleeps to reveal a beating heart bass heavy sound unafraid to explore new sonic territories. Early influences like Depeche Mode and “Berlin” era David Bowie make themselves heard and the artwork of Downward Spiral artist Russell Mills may elude to Trent’s illustrious past but while that raw aggression may be missing the dancefloor anthems like the funky ‘Satellite’ are impossible to resist. Hinting both at his past and future Trent has provided us a glimpse into NIN’s future while retaining the melodic sensibilities which saw him take industrial metal from the clubs to the arenas.Featuring cameos from legendary guitarists King Crimson’s Adrian Belew and Lindsay Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac one could expect grandstand soloing an indulgence but both contributors are subtly employed in the context of the album. ‘Black Noise’ even see’s some Kid A style saxophone blasts adding another colour Reznor may use to paint his bleak yet beautiful vision. Some may lament for the fractured death rock anthems, but Hesitation Marks is a fine example of how a musical visionary continues to evolve while retaining an identity all his own. Ross Baker
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Straight off the bat, Agony Defined gets positive marks for clocking in just shy of 26 minutes. In a genre which is now more interested in aping the old school than moving forwards (in fairness, where else can it go?) brevity is always going to play in an album’s favour. A solid, 26 minutes of thrashing riffs, peppered with “Slayer solos”. No nonsense here. It also helps that most of the songs on the record are good too. Although a lot of them do sound similar, songs like the incredibly short’ Desire And Disgust’ (1:17) manage to shred through riff after riff at a scarily fast pace, even allowing a brief moment for the bass to take centre stage. The slower riff that heralds the beginning of ‘Mortuary’ makes a nice change of pace from the breakneck speed of the previous song, giving the record an injection of groove. Although speed is essential to thrash, it would be great to see Noisem slow it down a bit more often, as they clearly have the riff-writing chops, and it would be nice to be able to enjoy some of them for a bit longer. Moments like that riff where Slayerslows it down in ‘Angel Of Death’ are part of what makes the song so memorable, and such an enduring classic. Speed is important, but variation is nice too. Credit where credit is due though, the (proper) hardcore influenced chug, and subsequent slowdown on ‘Severed’ is great, as is the almost doomy moment on ‘Split From The Inside Out’, more of that please! Thrash maniacs who like their music fast and violent should find plenty to love here. It’s refreshing to hear a thrash album in 2013 that isn’t trying to be funny, or ironic, or “party thrash”. A short, no nonsense album with good riffs is about as much as you can ask for from thrash these days, and Noisem deliver that in spades. Tom Saunders
From the get-go, Primitive Man thrusts the listener into the black mire known as Scorn. This re-release on Relapse Records is a damningly heavy release, full of wretchedness; a wide spread of monolithic riffs and sludge induced tones. There is no sunlight where this album goes: it only keeps going down further into the dark.
Having emerged as an exciting young black metal band amidst the infernal chaos of the early 90sNorwegian scene, Satyricon have, over the years, dared to do what many of extreme metal’s purists would scold them for; change. Needless to say, the band have faced more than their share of criticism for the shifts in their sound, and while it’s true that their much rawer early material is still generally regarded more favourably, there is still a huge audience for Satyricon, and one which will be awaiting their newest offering with baited breath.
It’s not a Led Zeppelin reunion, but it’s the next best thing in terms of modern music: Texas hard rockers Scorpion Child. Although the band has been around for seven years, they have started to garnermost of their attention within the past year. They’ve played sets at some of the biggest festivals out there including South by Southwest, Rock on the Range, Rocklahoma, and Mayhem Festival. Their debut album Scorpion Child (Nuclear Blast) is a solid start to say the least.
With an eleven minute opener, the title track is full of noise and these gigantic one note riffs that clang away like a chisel into stone. Feedback overcasts the track, and what rises out of the ashes is something completely wicked and menacing. It is a crawl that seems to last forever, digging its nails in deep and ripping at the earth. Foreboding isn’t even applicable, here: these riffs are massively huge and command attention with its icy grip. The track eventually picks up momentarily as this deep, crushing bass lays down some fierce ripping. Rags’ is much of the same; another punishingly heavy track that follows a strict line of heaviness. Ethan Lee McCarthy’s vocals are bellowing, demonic growls that pierce the music. Falling in line with the thick bass, these vocals are inhuman; matter-of-fact growls that showcase how evil, twisted, and full of fear the music actually is. The two noise tracks, ‘I Can’t Forget’ and ‘Black Smoke’ aren’t exactly placed as filler. They are there with a purpose; this wretched, demonic environment Primitive Man spewed forth needs more moments without the harshness. That isn’t to say these noise tracks aren’t harsh. They are something wicked and fierce, and contain much more structure than typical noise endeavors. ‘Primitive Man have set their sights on the excruciatingly slow sludge sound and exceed all expectations on that front. Scorn is an album that punches as hard as it can with extremely dark, bone-chilling riffs and quite possibly the heaviest bass sound. The album suffocates and crunches its way towards the finish line,
First song proper ‘Tro Go Kraft’ is a relatively sedate yet ominous opener, more reliant on cold, restrained atmospherics with a subtle, sinister undercurrent than on full blown blast beats and terror. In a sense, this reflects the feel of the entire album; whilst Satyricon is by no means a return to the days of Dark Medieval Times or Nemesis Divina, it is very heavy on atmosphere. Satyricon finds the band looking back, in many respects, whilst moving forward in others. Holding onto the best qualities of their more commercially successful recent works, and certainly not denying us a few surprises this time out, Satyricon are also nodding to their past. They don’t arrive there, but they are certainly acknowledging it, and perhaps song titles such as ‘Ageless Northern Spirit’ and ‘The Infinity Of Time And Space’ - almost parodical in their black metal essence - represent a conscious effort to bridge the gap between the past and the present. Worth the wait? Absolutely.
Album opener ‘Kings Highway’ sounds a song one would choose to use in a movie scene involving driving. It’s not just the title; but also the force behind the song and the glamorization of the road. It is also very much Zeppelin with singer Aryn Jonathan Black wailing like Robert Plant. This is something listeners will pick up on throughout the entire album. Antioch’ is where the band begins to show a bit of a softer side. Even though it’s not as hard as the previous tunes it’s nice to just get lost in the sound and let the guitar wash over the listener. There are some similarities to be noted between the track and ‘2112’ off of Rush’s landmark album 2112, namely the fifth part ‘Oracle: the Dream’. After ‘Antioch’ though, it’s right back to the party up until the final track ‘Red Blood (The River Flows)’ which is despite what the title suggests, is a rather low-key and mellow song. It is also longer than the others clocking in at over 13 minutes. Overall the album is one you can get lost in and that’s not a bad thing. Repeat listens do not bore the listener as is sometimes the case with modern albums. The only thing the band really needs to be aware of is that there are negatives as well as positives in being so often compared to Zeppelin. Melissa Campbell
seemingly driven by pure, unrelenting force. Bill Haff
GHOST CULT #12
Words: Sean M. Palfrey
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Immediately Ensemble Pearl’s sel
If you’re wondering if this band comes from Belarus, because of your football knowledge, well… You’re wrong. Hamburg, Germany is the correct answer in this particular case. The three fellows in Shakhtyor are delivering their first work, with this self-titled album (Cyclone Empire), and the most visible “ingredients” are the many genres (stoner, doom, sludge, etc.) derived by the mighty institution that Black Sabbath is, with some few chunks of the most out of fashion genre on the underground metal scene today, post-rock. Anyway, this four track album is better seen as an effort put out for a band that’s trying to find their own sound. Being in that horrible position where most of the bands never get out, I might say that is a really nice effort put out by the band. One of the Shakhtyor’s most interesting aspects is, without a doubt, the range set of patterns and landscapes they created from the first to the last minute. Sure, they’re all connected and it’s hard to be astonished in the sense that one can see why they changed from one pattern and/ or landscape to another. But when’s that, by any means, wrong? It’s not! After all, they do it in a pretty solid way taking care of the essential foundations that those kind of changes require. In this work, that receives a jam-approach, it’s very notorious that the members are comfortable working as a unit, mixing all their works into a big demolishing unit. As fun and easy-banger this record might be, the lack of true identity and a left field in this debut album puts the band in the “It Can Be Something” shelve. I mean, it’s easy to pinpoint things like Neurosis,Cult of Luna, Isis, Pelican and so on. I have no doubt that a song like the opener ‘E. Jasper’ will bring a handful of fans to this band, because of the cool guitar effects that everyone seems to love in this genre and the mood’s transformation. Yes, it is pleasant but doesn’t have the own identity needed. The normal debut album with the plus of being a nice journey. Tiago Moreira
Skeletonwitch is the kind of band that makes you feel good, no matter what. Many people can say the band does not bring anything new to the table and to be completely honest… It’s kind of true. From day one they had the good sense of doing their music always focussing on getting good songs, one thing that most extreme bands have lost. That ladies and gentleman, sets this band apart. Celebrating ten years, Skeletonwitch approaches the new record, Serpents Unleashed (Prosthetic Records), with numerous of good factors: the maturity they collect of thousands of miles on the road playing together, thinking that is important to write good songs and with a brilliant producer like Kurt Ballou, the guitarist and producer of Converge. Serpents Unleashed is probably the best work the band have released over this ten year road, and one can’t stop thinking about how the band’s modus operandi played such an important role to get to this point. Recognized for being the kind of band that makes a huge impact live, the guys were smart enough of getting a producer like Kurt Ballou that helped the band getting the kind of energy that are common on live shows. Going back to the songwriting issue, we need to talk about some of the new stuff the band adds this time around. Let’s talk about the fantastic doomish environment on ‘Unending, Everlasting’ that explores a new way to approach the band’s world. Let’s talk about the way the band writes a song that’s extremely cold and cutting edge, like is the case on ‘This Evil Embrace’.Serpents Unleashed is the irrefutable proof that Skeletonwitch is the kind of band that we can trust even with our eyes closed. The only thing is that the bands chose to prove that with their best record to date. Shit, this is good and... It’s really fun! Tiago Moreira
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Vulture Industries The Tower
Released by Seasons Of Mist, The Tower is Vulture Industries’ third album. It’s also the third round of press that will compare them to Arcturus, which is both fair and unfair concurrently. See, vocalist Bjornar Nilsen sounds like Trickster G/Garm/ Kristopher Rygg. A lot. So much so, I actually Googled just to check it wasn’t another alter-ego. It isn’t. We can move on now. Elephant discussed. Other than the Rygg doppelganger thing, the Bergen troupe do evidence several other musical nods to their Masquerading-brethren including a similar mix of avant-garde off-kilter enhancement however, in expanding their sound, professionalism and establishing their own narrative and sense of the Carnivale, with the rich sounds of The Tower, Vulture Industries are moving away from direct comparisons to stand in their own right. Vulture Industries clearly know what they are trying to create, and their image, artwork and overall package is extremely coherent and appropriate while the music has the right gin-soaked cravatandbraces vaudeville feel emanating from its pores. While producer, vocalist and songwriter Nilsen is star of the show, one minute sounding powerful and soaring on ‘Blood On The Trail’ the next wringing out deranged and disturbed Danzig-ian overtures on the 9 minute epic ‘The Hound’, it would be remiss to overlook the talents of the rest of the band. Clearly more than competent, and providing riffs, melody and clever slick dynamics in this foray into the sleazy and experimental, mixing Victorian Music Hall with adventurous and progressive metal all underlined by a sense of the theatrical, the rest of the Vultures are no mere sideshow players. Dubbed as avant-garde Black Metal, it needs stressing that while there are roots in the experimental Norwegian scene that spawned …In The Woods and Ved Buens Ende, there is little or no black metal evident on the album, and that suits the Vultures, as whether it’s the tumultuous title track, the seedy Alice Cooper-meets-Nick Cave’s True Blood sleazy drawl of ‘The Dead Won’t Mind’ or the Mad Hatter Steve Tovey
A fitting name for a fitting band, Testament are exactly that to their preferred genre of metal and their hordes of fans would certainly agree. Missing out on the ‘Big Four’ by the skin of their teeth (along with a few others we should add), Chuck Billy and co have been through more testing times than most and yet they still remain to tell their tales of thrash, a story conveyed all the greater when heard live. Dark Roots Of Thrash (Nuclear Blast) is a live 2 side CD (and DVD) that documents one of these moments, their show at Huntington, NY’s Paramount to be exact, and whilst the musical gold still gleams bright, it’s far to shiny to feel real.
Imagine a lone asteroid floating about aimlessly in deep space. Giant, writhing worms dwell beneath its thin crust of rock and dirty ice, and these gargantuan non-arthropods occasionally pop up to the desolate surface to soak in the UV rays emanating from nearby stars. Then, when it’s feeding time, they seek out and cannibalize one another. The resulting cacophony of tortured, inhuman shrieks set against the depressive backdrop of the vast and cold void would be akin to how Vermis; the Relapse debut and fourth full-length album from New Zealander experimental death metallers Ulcerate—sounds like.
Erupting from the speakers with a dirty barrage and a clatter akin to Trap Them, title track and opening number ‘Pelon Juuret’ reaches for the throat, rips it open and roars down the gaping hole. Its successor, ‘Vihan Lapset’ isn’t far behind, swinging gut-punches and sonic upper-cuts with a Wolverine Bluesramped-to-11 aggression and swagger.
Dark Roots Of Thrash
Blasting through a catalogue of ten albums worth of music, or 19 songs of it anyway, Testament blister out classics such as ‘Burnt Offerings,’ ‘Over The Wall’ and ‘Disciples of the Watch,’ with the youthful vigour reminiscent of the old book who penned these songs all those years ago. As a live outfit, there’s no denying the awesome power of the Californian legends, but this LP comes across as more of a greatest hits compilation than a gig recording. Produced to the hill, the random splices of audience chatter are there to hear, but they feel out of place next to the polished (as much as they can be) sounds of Billy and his band of speedy musicians. Dark Roots Of Thrash reads more like a Testament through the ages rather than a document of band during a live performance but whilst the desired effect may not be achieved with this CD, it is still a worthy homage to an amazing and time-testing band. On DVD however, this translation should work better as the visual aspects of the show give the music some situational context and it’s this version you should go for it you’re wanting to feel some live atmosphere. If you just want to listen to some great music however, then Dark Roots Of Thrash is a worthy recipient of your hard-earned pennies. Emma Quinlan
With the exception of the style of harsh vocals employed, Vermis sounds like leftover/hitherto unreleased material from Deathspell Omega’s Fas - Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum recording sessions. The music is organic and utterly out of this world; atonal guitar melodies evoke deeply suppressed memories of being abducted by UFOs while the pounding of drumming beast Jamie Saint Merat, which is governed by irregular time signatures, sounds like the heartbeat of an android experiencing an artificial adrenaline rush. Jamie’s frequent and skilful use of cymbal chokes conjures a tense atmosphere too, which complements the dissonant guitar melodies well. The near-indiscernibility of one track from another, however, could be seen as a flaw to some. Also, extraterrestrial metal is no longer as fresh and exciting as it was when it first appeared in the early 2000s. These are but minor complaints though, because ultimately, Vermis is still a satisfactory walk in the crater-ridden and giant-worm-infested park. Dane Prokofiev
It’s clear that on Pelon Juuret (Relapse) Finland’s Unkind aren’t here to mess around. Dubbed ‘atmospheric hardcore’, in a tag that doesn’t do them justice, Unkind don’t sit quietly in their, or any, box. ‘Laki’ recalls Entombed at their rawest, while ‘Olemisen Pelko’ channels Kvelertak at their most vitriolic. But when you think you have them pinned as a more-hardcore descendent of the Sunlight sound, they take you down a dark alleyway, and rather than beat you bloody, take their time unnerving and disorienting with the menacing ‘Viallinen’, a glorious slab of ominous post-hardcore, building Neurosislike to a violent scream. This is no knuckledragging neanderthalathon, Unkind have a subtlety and depth to them with expertly layered open guitar chords and top strings jangling and discretely adding melody to the raging waters of the riffs. Added to the subtlety is a very clever use of album dynamics. Pelon Juuret tells a story, and moves, draws you in, spins you around, then leaves you unnerved, flowing from riotous, furious crustiness to considered discomfort, before picking things up with the anthemic ‘Olemisen Pelko’ and just when you’re up, it lets things out with a tense, brooding instrumental closer (‘Saattokoti’) swirling with synths and plucked stringed instruments. Unkind not only stand out from their peers, but do so without sacrificing their malevolence. Aided and abetted by a full and unrestrained production, pushed on by vitriolic vocals, Pelon Juuret is an energetic mix of D-Beat with clever atmospheric touches, exercising enough restraint that the ‘post’- touches enhance and don’t take over. As if anything could take over the fury… Steve Tovey
GHOST CULT #12
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R E LIv
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The House Of Flies)’ which invoked a rapturous response from the crowd. Chino and Co closed their set in style with ‘Seven Words’. Playing a gig on Monday evening may not be the most ideal time of the week, but The Deftones gave it their all and they really underscored their position as one the finest live acts in (alternative) rock and metal today.
Three Trapped Tigers,
Live At Oosterpoort Groningen, NL It doesn’t happen very often that one of my favorite bands comes playing in a venue only 30 minutes away from me, so when I caught wind the Deftones were playing in Groningen I really had to see them. The Oosterpoort itself is one of the most prestigious venues here up north, so that gave some additional grandeur. With the venue being half full London-based Three Trapped Tigers opened the musical discourse of the evening. They kept the middle road between instrumental progressive rock, jazz and post rock. King Crimson, Tides Of Nebula and 65daysofstatic are good reference points there. Despite the intricate nature of their music and the splendid execution, they really failed to make an impression on me. Great
Deftones and Three Trapped Tigers Oosterpoort Groningen, The Netherlands September 2nd, 2013 words: Raymond Westland
musical skills goes a long way, but it doesn’t hurt to work on your presentation skills too, gents! After a short break it was time for the Deftones to take the stage. The venue itself was surprisingly full for a Monday evening and this amused Chino Moreno and Co greatly. The band started their set with vigorous renditions of ‘Rocket Skates’ and ‘Diamond Eyes’. Chino may have chilled down over the years, but his vocal chords are still in top shape. His interaction with the crowd were surprisingly humble and without the usual rock n’ roll rhetoric. It was quite refreshing to be honest. It took a while before the audience really warmed up, but with ‘By Quiet And Drive (Far Away)’ and ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’ things really got heated up with the first slam pits of the evening being a fact. After that, Chino and Co shifted back a gear and the emphasis was on their more moody and atmospheric material, mostly off White Pony and Koi No Yokan. Splendid renditions of ‘Digital Bath’, ‘Rosemary’, ‘Leathers’ and ‘Tempest’ really gave me goose bumps. These songs were alternated by more up tempo tracks, like ‘Elite’, ‘Swerve City’, ‘Poltergeist’ and ‘Minerva’. My personal highlights of the evening were ‘Passenger’ and ‘Change (In
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Lamb Of God And Sylosis Live At Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Wolverhampton UK
Crammed into one of the biggest venues ever to hold a club show you can’t help but notice that metalheads are a foul mouthed bunch. You’re unlikely to see a room so emblazoned with the word ‘Fuck’ unless Justin Bieber unleashes his ‘Anne Frank was a Fucking Belieber’ t-shirt; don’t laugh there’s still time.
Lamb Of God And Sylosis Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Wolverhampton UK August 13th, 2013 Matthew Tilt
Profanity scouting over and Sylosis take the stage to a huge reaction, kicking straight into an excellent set of thrash. Too bad then that the drums are tuned up so high and set up to dominate the sound, tearing Josh Middleton’s intricate soloing from each track and often reducing them to a crushing rumble. They survive purely on the energy of the audience who offer up deafening screams and vicious pits to show support. Middleton’s crowd control is spot on, clearly enjoying himself and holding the stage like a pro. Sylosis could have headlined tonight, scratch that, should have headlined tonight. A fan-baiting statement maybe, but Lamb Of God fail to stand up to the challenge set by their support. They hit the stage hard but open with a garbled version of ‘Desolation’, sounding anything, but tight as Chris Adler fluffs plenty of beats – something made all the more obvious by the fact that the drums are still way too loud – and Randy is a barely audible blur, flitting across the stage and throwing the horns to the fans. There are highlights; ‘Walk With Me In Hell’, ‘Laid To Rest’ and ‘Redneck’ all the hit right spots, as does the thunderous closer ‘Black Label’, but they’re punctuated by terrible renditions of ‘Ruin’ and ‘Now You’ve got Something To Die For’ as well as some truly awful stage banter. It’s telling that so many were already outside as the set ended, that so many flittered in the doorways before heading to the bar, that, considering this was a sold out event, the whole thing felt a little empty. Photos: Falk-Hagen Bernshausen Photo Editing: Blueberryheaven
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R E LIv Summer Slaughter Live At The Palladium Worcester, MA
Another Summer Slaughter tour descended on America and Ghost Cult was there! Sure, kids on the interwebs bitched and moaned about how “extreme” the so-called “most extreme tour of the summer” really was this go around, but who really cares. Either you went and rocked out, or didn’t go and complained. The metal scene these days is far too diverse for such elitist attitudes to keep thriving, and no one is denying that the early years of the tour had some of the most brutal bands assembled on one stage ever. On the the other hand, when you can bring the current crop of some of the most exciting progressive bands in heavy music out on the road for two months, and criss-cross a country like the USA, you are doing it right my friends. The early day definitely leaned towards the straight up heavier bands and the crowd at The Palladium was pretty full from the start. Thy Art Is Murder is a brutal sounding deathcore band from Australia. Their set was really quite surprising. Impressively heavy, they got the crowd moving a lot. Vocalist CJ was really active, running all over the stage and several times jumping into the barricade. If their goal was to get noticed on this tour, it worked in spades. Aeon was up next and most of the early crowd was in the house expressly to see them. They certainly lived up to the hype of being super crushingly hard and talented. The floor was filled with moshers and everyone else not hurting people, or themselves, were compelled thead-bang like crazy. For a band that was playing on US soil for the first time, you could tell they were just amped up personally. The highlights of their set were ‘Aeons Black’ and ‘Forgiveness Denied’, which the crowd went nuts for. Following Aeon would be impossible for most bands, but Revocation is not most bands. Plus, being practically a hometown show for the boys from Allston, MA, coupled with the playing of their freshly minted new jams from Revocation (Relapse), made them feel like a headliner. As per usual, they were tight, heavy and a lot of fun. And yes, they closed with ‘No Funeral’.
! w e v ie
Then the day started to get kind of weird. The Ocean were up next and quite a bit of the early crowd went for a smoke break or whatever, since there was re-entry into the venue until 7 PM. While the band definitely had their own progressive metal loving fans in the house, there was a definite separation in the vibe between the fans and it showed. The Ocean performed admirably, playing a fairly interesting and heavy set, opening with ‘The City In The Sea’. Still, there were people just not feeling it and front man Loic Rossetti took exception by jumping into the barricade, giving the business to a bunch of uninterested fans, including my buddy Jeff. Too bad they were kind of miscast for this tour, or perhaps improperly positioned to go over too well, since they played great. I look forward to the headline tour. Cattle Decapitation followed and the death metal lovers filled up the floor again and smashed the shit out of each other with glee. I guess sometimes it takes the brutality and grind of the heaviest sounding bands to bring people together. Vocalist Travis Ryan stalked the stage like a maniac, and the band tore through a set of their best material such as ‘Lifestalker’, ‘Forced Gender Reassignment’ and ‘Your Disposal’. Their chaotic set made for a pretty cool scene, and marks another high water mark for a band that is rising to the top of the American death metal heap. Another band worthy of praise on this day wasUnearth, also an almost hometown act. They put on a performance worthy of their best ever, for this was their sole appearance on the tour, since Norma Jean had a conflict and had to miss out. You wouldn’t think the progenitors of metalcore would have been able to hang with this fickle crowd, but Unearth brought the thunder. They will have a new album out soon on eOne Records after a long run on Metal Blade, and I for one am greatly looking forward to what they do next. It was interesting to have Periphery and Animals As Leaders play back to back leading up to the finale of the show. Whether you are on board with the djent movement or not, you can’t argue against both of these bands being supremely talented, a big concert draw for this tour, and quite a nice bridge to the end. Periphery, obviously due to their melodic vocals, are they more accessible and catchy of the two groups. I have seen them mature a lot over the years and it’s been a much more noticeable growth period for them
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Summer Slaughter! Words: Sean Pierre-Antoine
than others of their ilk. They haven’t forgotten to have fun live either, which I think is what sets them apart. As for AAL, their shows are an exercise in the perfect modern temperament of progressive music and a humility that is sorely lacking from a lot of today’s bands, and music their fans. They played a brilliant set, changing up the tracks a little more than in recent memory. Waves of music nerds and djento-philes were losing their minds over Tosin Abasi’s usual guitar-heroics. However, it was drummer Matt Garstka who really stood out on this night. He just crushed the drums, and not only had all of the intricacies the parts down cold, but he really seemed to hit harder than most of these modern drummers do nowadays in age of triggered everything. He was especially inspired on this night and the crowd responded in kind. A small portion of the crowd had filed out before The Dillinger Escape Plan came out and laid waste to the minds of everyone in The Palladium. I can’t tell you why anyone would leave early, because even if they are not your cup of tea musically, they are one of the best bands in the world in terms of live performance. They stage looked down right barren to me, with only a massive TDEP banner that hung behind them, their gear and some well placed video screens and strobe lights. As soon as the band started to play ‘Prancer’ it felt like a shockwave ran through the crowd. For the fans in the building, the kinetic energy released by the band members, especially Greg Puciato and Ben Weinman, seemed to be absorbed and released back into the floor itself. As usual the band was just ridiculously tight and over the top in every way as performers. It’s hard to believe they can do the things they do physically, and still manage to play the
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songs so well. They ran through a bunch of songs from their new album One Of Us Is The Killer as well as all their hits. Right away, Greg destroyed one of the video screens during ‘Milk Lizard’, and some of the visual effects were lost, but no matter. With Greg and Ben leaping off of amps, and into the crowd, their legendary showmanship came to the fore. Bent on not becoming a caricature of themselves, Greg in particular, seems intent on making show every TDEP show different from the last. Late in the set he ran off stage, and reappeared in the balcony where the guys in white shirts keep a close watch on the moshers. Watching the terrified face of security staff while Greg implored the crowd to fill in below him, and watching him unmoved by their concern was fascinating. As he leaped into the crowd, the entire venue seemed to take a collective deep breath, until he landed on the up-stretched hands of the crowd, twenty-plus feet below. He then ran back to the stage as the band destroyed all of their gear and walked off without even a pause. Another astounding finish by the reigning ‘most dangerous band’ in heavy music brought the night to an end.
Summer Slaughter Live Report The Palladium Worcester, MA August 8, 2013
Words: Keith (Keefy) Chachkes
Wintersun , Fleshgod Apocalypse, Arsis and Starkill Live At The Sinclair, Cambridge MA
This show was a tasty treat for the listening senses. It’s not often that every individual band on a bill brings different and complementary sounds. Usually you go to a show and expect most of the bands to either sound similar or just have no real logical flow as to the running order, or just be so disparate sonically that you’re wondering if the bands’ names were pulled out of a hat at random. With that being said, that was far from the situation here.I was dubious originally about openers Starkill from Chi-town, but they were surprisingly cohesive as far as metal that’s both extreme and appeasing to the ear goes, despite a rather corny name and outside aesthetic that has all of the grizzled and ugly among us snickering at their black nail polish and silky locks. Imagine if Dragonforce actually did something productive instead of tossing riff salad all year, couple that with harsh (but accessible) vocals in the vein of Arch Enemy, Dawnless, or Children Of Bodom. Y’know, basically the type that you could call ‘extreme power metal’ or whatever. It’s nothing I haven’t heard in some form or another, but since I haven’t found a good new band of this sort that knows how to craft an uplifting melody that doesn’t sound like it came from the freezer section in Hot Topic, I guess I’m just reminiscing about my olden days when I used to flip the horns at a moment’s notice. Women dig it.Next up were master poets and riffmasters in Arsis, who I’ve been dying to see since I decided to plunge beyond We Are The Nightmare and go exploring into their groundbreaking album, A Celebration Of Guilt, which is among the top technical/melodic death metal releases I could name off the top of my head. While I wasn’t willing to drop trou and head to Worcester to see them open for Sonata Arctica (new album I haven’t heard and a generally unsatisfying live report from friends is a deterrent), a much shorter journey was naturally refreshing news. And seeing how the set list was leaning mostly towards the aforementioned album, including my favourite song of all time by them,
‘The Face Of My Innocence’ (rerecorded for modern generations to enjoy, I suppose?), I was quite stoked. ‘Maddening Disdain’, ‘Seven Whispers Fell Silent’, and an abbreviated version of ‘A Diamond For Disease’ also made an appearance, in addition to two new cuts from the new album, Unwelcome, and if they’re any indicator, we’re in for yet another stellar release. Here’s to more of that. Fleshgod Apocalypse just about out-classied veryone by virtue of wearing operatic/orchestral regalia, ties and all, drummer included. However, the corpsepaint and cursing (gosh you’re a pottymouth, Christiano) and playing death metal lost them some points. The inclusion of a live pianist and soprano singer Veronica Bordacchini in flowy robes, however, brought them back to elegance, so it was a night at the opera, in a sense. This feeling of viewing the musicians from afar and people-watching rather than mixing myself up in the churning bodies was enforced by the fact that the set list consisted of nothing from Oracles or Mafia, which contain songs that I feel like moshing to. Not to say that the new material is bad by any stretch, but it’s grander and more cinematic scope (sans blastbeats, because Hans Zimmer doesn’t mess with those) makes it harder to just lose yourself and see red. If someone brought out folding chairs and those binoculars on a stick, I’d be all too ready to take a seat and politely clap rather than wonder why a ‘Wall Of Death’ wasn’t on the menu. Finland’s heroes of progressive everything-metal in Wintersun certainly had some tough acts to follow, but they’re Wintersun and consequently at lv.99 so they had nothing to worry about. Hyperbeams of melody, earthquakes of powerful rhythms, and why am I talking about Pokemon now?All that need be said is that Wintersun packed the house. Unfortunately friends couldn’t make it because hell, who knows when a band that just recently had their first U.S. tour when the world was supposed to ‘end’ is gonna come back, much less headline and perhaps play all or 95% of their discography? Deciding that just sitting back and viewing Jari as he conducted the crowd of dorks like a makeshift choir during the more epic bits of ‘Death And The Healing’ and a battalion of guerrilla Vikings during ‘Beyond The Dark Sun’, and more subtle nuances that my brain doesn’t feel like distinguishing/ remembering because I was chillin’ and soaking it up like a sponge but for sounds, lame as that er... sounds. So remember, kids; Metal is good, and you should check it out if you haven’t. Why are you even reading this in that case? Go listen to Wintersun.
Wintersun, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Arsis and Starkill The Sinclair, Cambridge MA, August 9th, 2013 Photos: Meg Loyal Photography
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Top 5 Records that changed my life Luc Lemay/Gorguts
Scream, Bloody, Gore
When I was about 16 or 17 years old, on a winter day, I hitchhiked to visit a friend of mine. I showed up to his house, and he was not there as planed. So I went downtown to shoot some pool and I ran across a few guys that I’ve met earlier in a local gig. They played in a cover band and they were playing songs from SLAYER, MEGADETH, etc… I was really impressed by them. Then they invited me to go see their rehearsing room. There I met a friend of theirs who I was sharing on music tastes with. I was more into HELLHAMMER, BATHORY, CELTIC FROST and POSSESSED. So he asked me if I wanted to buy a tape from him. He had got that tape not long a go and he told me he couldn’t stand the vocals…that tape was SCREAM, BLODDY, GORE. I remember hitchhiking back home during the night…I didn’t care if it took forever to get a ride, I was standing by the highway listening to my Walkman. I didn’t care cause I had just met Chuck Schuldiner. From that instant I knew I wanted to be a guitarist / signer and write Death Metal music
SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartet No. 8
In the fall / early winter of 1993, the year that The Erosion Of Sanity came out, I got a visit from a friend with which I was sharing a lot of music. She came to my apartment and brought me a gift for my birthday. I remember it was a CD in a nice black box. At that time I had been playing violin for maybe 6 or 8 months. I was a hard worker and I was mainly listening to baroque music back then like VIVALDI, BACH and TELEMANN. Already I was writing short melodies and I was very fascinated by orchestration and I was very much intrigued by how 4, 5 or more instruments were able to play all different parts at the same time and make it work. When I opened the box, it was a CD by SHOSTAKOVICH. The string quartets 3, 7 and 8 performed by The Borodin String Quartet. I remember when I heard the Allegro Molto form the Quartet No.8 I was totally blown away and I got totally obsessed by this music. That made me work ever harder on the violin. It made me discover the Viola to which I’ve switched a few months later. That made me write my first String Quartet which got me admitted to the composition class at the Conservatory and it made me write the Viola solo in : Earthly Love on OBSCURA.
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Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (Metamorphosen) When we decided to move the band to Montréal in 1995, I was very excited about the idea that I could see a lot of concert there. That summer I was admitted to college, a private school, where I studied Viola for about a year. My Viola teacher had played in the MSO a few years earlier and she came to a class one day offering me tickets to go see a PENDERECKI concert. She was aware that I was a big fan of PENDERCKI so she brought me 4 tickets. All the 4 members of GORGUTS at the time (the OBSCURA line-up) went to the concert along with her. It was PENDERECKI himself that was conducting and I remember, Big Steeve and I were sitting on the tip of our seat trying to capture every details of the concert. It was totally life changing. Seeing such a dark piece performed by the composer himself. One year or 2 later, the Concerto was finally released and I ran to the store to buy it. I was listening to this CD sooooooo much. It influenced me to write that year my first Flute Concerto for Chamber Orchestra and a few months later, a friend of mine was performing the GORECKI sonata for 2 violins at the Polish embassy in Montreal. He invited me for the private recital and I was able to meet PENDERECKI in person for the first time. Life changing…..is the least I can say.
PORCUPINE TREE The Incident
One day my girlfriend came home with a CD that a working colleague had lend her for a few days, That was Deadwing from PORCUPINE TREE. I was immediately really absorbed by this music and it was like a breath of fresh air for me. The first song, the title track had an immediate impact on me. Back then I had not discovered any new music for a long, long time. Then my girlfriend introduced me to this colleague and I went to is place. He is the biggest Steven Wilson fan that I know and he introduced me to all of his discography. I felt like I just discovered a gem! The day that: The Incident came out I bought it right away….it was just such an fresh discovery for me…it sounded exactly like what I was aiming to listening to. Not long after they came to Montréal and I went to their concert. That was absolutely life changing for me! Seeing all the projections and having them perform the whole record live…WOW!!!!!!!! It had a huge impact on me while I was writing Colored Sands.
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Birthday Cake by Jupiterâ€™s Playground
and graphic design
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