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GOD IS DEAD… “Who’d win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?” “Lemmy! …God?” “Wrong, dickhead! Trick question. Lemmy is God!”


To the untrained eye, it may appear an odd choice to refer to Motörhead vocalist and bassist Lemmy Kilmister—with his furrowed brow, signature mole, and haggard ferocity—as “transcendent,” but transcend he did. He transcended the dichotomy of mainstream vs. underground, transcended the often combative division between punk rock kids, metalheads, and rock ‘n’ roll devotees, and transcended the worldly limitations that imprison the spirits of mere mortal men. To legions of fans, Lemmy was more than a man: he was a gravel-voiced, Jack & Coke swilling, mutton-chopped and mustachioed god.

In lieu of our regularly scheduled News Or Noise broadcast, we here at New Noise would like to take a moment to pay tribute to three very different luminaries who, despite their heartbreaking departures, continue to light up the punk rock scene, the world of rock ‘n’ roll, and the farthest-flung edges of the known universe…

When we received the news that on Dec. 28, Lemmy had finally succumb to prostate cancer, it was not the man’s death that shocked us, but the reminder that he was—after all the superhuman debauchery and inexplicably unflagging passion—a man. Despite having to cancel the occasional tour date due to his failing health, Lemmy embodied the deity we worshipped right up to the moment when he shuffled off this mortal coil. He has transcended good and evil, Heaven and Hell, God and the devil, and finally claimed his rightful throne in Rock ‘n’ Roll Valhalla. Amen.

ock ‘n’ roll is notoriously unkind to its disciples, but the transition from late 2015 to early 2016 was especially rough for those who live and breathe alternative music. From Stone Temple Pilots’ Scott Weiland and Lou Reed muse, Holly Woodlawn, to Bryn Merrick of the Damned and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor of Motörhead, the music community was cast into mourning repeatedly over just a few short weeks.



CAN’T QUIT YOU… Though Teenage Bottlerocket drummer, Brandon Carlisle, tragically passed away back in November, the punk rock community has yet to catch its collective breath. Carlisle was one half of the dynamic duo that willed the Laramie, Wyo., pop punk outfit into existence—alongside his twin brother, Ray—as well as a particularly kind and fun-loving presence in the scene. Both his bandmates and their many fans entered a period of quiet reflection: Carlisle could never be replaced, so how could Teenage Bottlerocket continue? The band remained mostly out of the public eye, while fans murmured under their breath, torn between a longing for the band’s eventual return and the knowledge that things would never be the same. Injecting new hope into the bleakest of circumstances, Teenage Bottlerocket returned on Jan. 18, posting an announcement on their website that they would indeed press on, not in Carlisle’s absence, but in his honor. In their message, the band—speaking as one collective unit—said, “There’s no way Brandon would want us to throw in the towel, to let this band that he spent his life building just end. Fuck no. Brandon would want us to keep playing, always. The decision was made based on that, and so here we are. We’re still a band. We’re going to keep rocking and we’re going to do it with Brandon in our hearts.”

We know there’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said—and probably said better—about David Bowie. If Lemmy was some sort of god sent to rule over our heavy metal plane of existence, Bowie was an alien, studying the earth’s many cultures and replicating them in his own incomparable fashion. The results were often beautiful and always strange. He paved the way for queers and weirdoes the world over to embrace their quirks and idiosyncrasies by elevating his own to the level of art. He was an imperfect man and an imperfect artist, but his very existence encouraged critical thought about our own imperfections. His Jan. 8 release, Blackstar, seemed an especially poignant offering even before the public announcement that—unbeknownst to anyone but his close friends and family—he had been waging an 18 month war against liver cancer. On Jan. 10, that war ended, and Blackstar’s true nature was revealed: it is an instrument to help ease the pain of a loss rendered unexpected by his silence. It is a fitting gift. This enduring enigmatic quality, the otherworldly secrets we all knew lurked behind his heterochromatic eyes, had always been at the core of our devotion.

Blackstar may not be Bowie’s last opus, as it is rumored that he prepared sevWhat better way to salute a fallen brother than to get back up and carry his eral more records to be released posthumously. Regardless, The Chameleon memory into the future? We wish Teenage Bottlerocket—along with their himself has undergone his final transformation. In a way, it has brought him full circle: he has once again become stardust. new drummer, Old Wives’ Darren Chewka—the absolute best.






shines a light on the joys and heartaches that lie at the intersection of FqP the LGBTQIA+ community and the world of alternative music. While queer representation is often refracted through the prism of normative curiosities and concerns, FQP features queer voices saying whatever they want, however they want. Don’t fear the realness.

these people whether we like it or not. […] Fear is the foundation of patriarchy, of the state, of capitalism, and it’s inescapable when you are trying to explore outside your bubble of friends, of safety.



The synth-based aural assault of Oakland’s SBSM could be considered no wave or dark wave or noise or postpunk, but their experimental and impressionistic musical ruminations defy easy categorization. The crew steering the SBSM ship—electronics captain and second vocalist in command Sep, vocal skipper and electronics first mate Rola, and chief officer of the drums Rosie— strike a harmonious balance between evocative artistry and critical politics. Off stage, Sep and Rosie helm a radio show called “Scream Queens” via 104.1 FM Oakland—which will soon spawn its own magazine—on which Sep says they “play and promote music, art, poetry, zines, and pretty much anything creative that people who aren’t straight white cis men do.” Sep is also the proprietrix of two solo projects, “a goth pop video thing called Placentaur” and an “industrial project called Spitting Images.” SBSM’s last release—the excellent JOY/RAGE EP— came out in April of last year, and they have been “writing new songs,” Rosie says, “which I assume we will record hopefully by summertime. Heavier stuff.”


Sep: I feel like people in California have this perception of the rest of the U.S. as being this scary homophobic [and] racist blob. In some ways, that reputation is real, but that shit is all around us everywhere, within metropolitan places and [spaces] we occupy in them: queer scenes, radical scenes, punk scenes. We’re dealing with oppressive behaviors and mindsets everywhere. When you deflect those problems onto things outside of your own environment, it gives you an excuse not to work on what needs to be taken care of at home. Rosie: Well, the reality of doing something new that requires resources—and sometimes, even social capital—can be stressful. How do you do tour right? Will people like your band enough to book you? Who will come to your shows? Will you be stuck somewhere where you will be ripped off because you are considered vulnerable as a “female” or whatever? Failing is already scary, and let’s be honest, this system was made for us to fail. It still protects creeps and cops, and we have to interact with

Sep: Even with this interview, we’re not talking so much about our music as much as we’re being asked to talk about the friction we feel against cis white males, a narrative that is always kind of obvious. Trying to elaborate on the obvious begets more emotional labor. We’re really open people and show our hearts, but we’re not a display window for “oppressed queer people of color.” I’m trying to move in a direction that shows my optimism about the things we do and the things that we hold up above us. I don’t really give too big a fuck about what “boring normative dudes” are doing. I know that what SBSM stands for is far more important, and honestly those dweebs need to catch up to us, not the other way around. Rola: I think we’ve been fortunate in that, more often than not, people have been thoughtful and generous when interviewing or reviewing us. One huge thing about being part of this band is the connections we’ve been able to make. I feel pretty blessed sometimes thinking about all of the creative, thoughtful, and super smart queer people of color we’ve been able to meet, perform with, get to know. These connections have strengthened me and grounded me in my intentions and politics.


Sep: The music is all experimentation and it doesn’t sound like most other bands. This could have been means for disconnection, but what ended up happening was us building relationships with other bands based on similar politics [and] intentions,

as opposed to how we snugly we fit into a genre together. It feels like some kind of intersectionality thing that I can’t necessarily explain. A thing that goes unnoticed is that we are not professionals in any way. I don’t see our equipment as devices I’m trying to master as much as I see them as tools that create a platform for expression. Rosie: Being in the band has been an exciting and challenging journey. Everything from learning your instrument to playing your first show unprepared, to touring, interviews, meeting amazing people, recording, and doing it all together—the three of us—for the first time. I learned how to play the drums by being in this band. […] Since I have been influenced by noise rock, math rock, and no wave, I have always wanted to play the drums in a way that didn’t feel simple or overused—something to add to the ugliness, the thundering, the noise of our band—and so, I spend a lot of time trying to expand beats or break them apart. Just trying to fuck shit up.


Rosie: I am a Pisces. Rola: I am also a Pisces. On the ongoing ocean theme, Sep calls me a psychic jellyfish. And I think Rosie and I have a Pisces connection. Sep: I’m trying to get my mermaid tail back these days. If you know of any sea witches who can help out, please send them my way… Tired of being of “part of this world.” To fuck more shit up with SBSM, check out the extended column on!




necessarily stuck in a cycle of replicating the past, though. They also call on a wide array of contemporary influences, from the more soul-oriented Breakestra to pop rockers Junip to fellow purveyors of grimy hard rock, Elder. Jonsson’s voice is hypnotic, his quasi-mystic lyrics delivered in the meaty part of the production mix. “For lyrics,” he adds, “I look up to guys like Nick Cave, Tom Waits, and Jim Morrison.” Greenleaf deliver on strong, innovative songwriting as well, whether it’s the Thin Lizzy and blues tinged “Howl,” or “Funeral Pyre,” a psychedelic metal track.


Greenleaf have long been considered something of a side-project for Demon Cleaner’s Daniel Lidén and Dozer’s Tommi Holappa. With the knotted fury of an icerimmed fist, their upcoming record Rise Above the Meadow—available Feb. 26 via Napalm Records—shatters the notion that the hirsute Swedish quartet is anything but a balls out, front of the line force to be reck-

oned with in the world of heavy music.

Gygax from Ventura, Calif., may have set up their metal outpost in a sunny state, but thematically, the band dwell in a shadowy world of Dungeons & Dragons. This is savagely good heavy metal, risen from the ashes of Gypsyhawk to whet the taste buds of anyone on a Quest for Fire. One of the early quarter’s most anticipated metal records, the Creator-Destructor release of Gygax’s Critical Hits on Jan. 22 is sure to rock the scene.

time with incredible musicians and best friends.”

Gygax first came together in a very organic manner. “I always had the idea for Gygax, but I wasn’t really searching anything out for at least a year after Gypsyhawk was done,” vocalist and bassist Eric Harris states. “However, [guitarist] Bryant [Throckmorton] and I wanted to continue to pursue ideas that we had after Gypsyhawk, and we luckily chanced upon [guitarist] Armand [John Lizzy]. Armand was our introduction to [drummer] Justin [Dempsey], and the rest is just a great




“We stopped calling Greenleaf a ‘side-project’ ever since we released our last album, Trails and Passes, and started touring more constantly,” vocalist Arvid Jonsson says. Jonsson’s plaintive vocal style forms the album’s strong emotional backbone. Open-

Then, there is their band name: in the early Gary Gygax days of D&D—he’s the guy who co-created the game—there was a much bigger emphasis on demonic, abyssal powers. Thus, fear was struck into the hearts of many ‘80s parents that their D&D obsessed children would drop out of school and become dopers dedicated to cleaning up after Umber Hulks and Hook Horrors in the Underdark. In reality, roleplaying games make you better at math and encourage socialization among painfully shy nerds. “I like that we have a song called ‘Demons’ on here,” Harris says. “It made it that much easier to write about a topic that was already in a monster manual.” When asked why so many kids today are such iPhone addicted losers that they wouldn’t know the difference between TSR Games and Wizards Of The Coast if

ing with the churning, “A Million Fireflies,” there is a gratifying ‘70s sound splattered all over Rise Above the Meadow “We’re always inspired by good older ‘70s rock stuff. Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, King Crimson, and so on,” Jonsson explains. “And then, we have the blues and stoner stuff like Kyuss and Freddie King.” Jonsson and his fellow sons of Borlänge, Sweden, aren’t

The release of Rise Above the Meadow marks Greenleaf ’s first record on Napalm after a handful on Small Stone. Jonsson downplays the influence of one label over another. “It’s not a giant change,” he says, “but we are very happy on Napalm so far.” The proof comes through right away. Rise Above the Meadow is an accomplished record and a testament to the form. “Nowadays,” Jonsson says. “Greenleaf is everyone’s main band and focus, even if we still have other musical mistresses on the side.”



INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST ERIC HARRIS BY MORGAN Y. EVANS a six-legged Ankheg photobombed their Instagram—and then, ate them alive— Harris possesses a refreshingly inclusive attitude for a member of the genre that’s most often typecast as gruff and insular. “Hey, man. They aren’t losers,” he says. “Maybe it’s just up to us to engage in

Ankheg awareness. Just remember to do your part and always be cool. #ankhegawareness2016. The world takes all kinds; I’m happy that there are people who don’t like what we like. Keeps things in balance, you know?”


Los Angeles metal might be synonymous with the Sunset Strip hair metal heyday or the nu metal of Coal Chamber to most folks, but it is also the breeding ground of the rare California heavy metal Yeti. We must all hail this rare creature, or at least crank the music of blues-infused metal masters All Hail The Yeti if one cannot be sighted. On Feb. 12, the band will commemorate their 2012 self-titled release with a Minus Head Records reissue featuring unreleased demos. They are also on the cusp of releasing a brand new record on April 8. Looking backwards and forwards simultaneously can lead to a car crash, but the band are stoked. “We are so excited about the future,” vocalist Connor Garritty gushes. “Minus Head has come onboard at the perfect time for us. We wanted more out of our career as musicians and a band. Minus Head knew exactly that. From the

initial conversation, we were on the same page.” Right now is the calm before the storm. “It feels great that we have the support and love we need and the new record coming in April!” Garritty says, relieved. “We have been playing a few new songs in our set for the last couple tours, but we’re looking forward to adding some more. It’s all a big surprise, so you’ll have to come see what we have up our sleeves.” Releasing an old record and a new record simultaneously is an opportunity to reflect on the Yeti’s winding journey. “Every day is a new experience, and just being able to say we made it to today is a victory,” Garritty says. “We have come such a long way since the inception of this band that it’s almost unbelievable that we are still here keeping our dreams alive. Member changes, management failures, accidents,




INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST CONNOR GARRITTY BY MORGAN Y. EVANS fights—everything positive and negative that has happened made us who we are now. We learn something new every day. Once that stops happening, it’s time to

hang up the gloves, so to speak. This is a journey that I want to be on for as long as possible. Keeping focused, grounded, and humble are the first steps!”

to pay homage to all the great heavy blues and rock bands of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s,” says bassist Andrew D’Cagna. “These bands shaped who we are as individuals and we feel this kind of music is truly timeless. It is a much needed breath of fresh air in a world polluted by sterilized digital music.”

have become a recognizable staple of our sound,” says D’Cagna. “We pride ourselves on being able to incorporate them into our music, but at the same time, we are always very careful when we write music to not overdo or over exploit that aspect of our sound. Too much of any one thing is never good.” The band not only write great songs, they also channel a certain vibe that is very important to the type of music they play. It’s another integral part of their sound. “Darkness is just as important to our music as the use of vocal harmonies,” D’Cagna explains. “Without an air of darkness, we would not be Brimstone Coven. It has and always will be a crucial element to our songs.”


The band—D’Cagna, vocalist “Big John” Williams, and drummer Justin Wood—selfreleased two albums, Brimstone Coven and II, before Metal Blade became interested and released those two albums as a single selftitled in 2014. Now, the time has come for the band to release their debut long player for the label. Black Magic dropped on Jan. 29, and is an excellent slice of occult themed hard rock.

Brimstone Coven play darkly beautiful music that references hard rock of the past, while putting their own original spin on

these classic sounds. It’s their main reason for existing as a band. “[Guitarist] Corey [Roth] started Brimstone Coven as a way

The band also have an ace up their sleeves, using three part harmonies to great effect. “I would say that three part harmonies

In June of 2013, three friends got together and formed Muscle Beach. There may not be very many muscle beaches near Denver, but these powerhouse musicians certainly help fill that void. The band is comprised of drummer Roy Jones, vocalist and guitarist Justin Sanderson, and back-up vocalist and bassist Derek Arrieta. Their first fulllength, Muscle Beach, came out on Sailor Records at the tail end of 2015. This release is jam packed with 11 brutal tracks that are face-melting fast and fierce.

For a trio, the group’s sound is intensely full, though there was a time early on when they wanted to add a fourth member. As Sanderson shares, “We wanted a vocalist so I could just play guitar and maybe do backup vocals, but that didn’t really pan out.” Instead, they trudged through with Sanderson on main vocals and Arrieta chiming in for backup, and it’s worked out ever since.

Arrieta says that “all the songs on both the EP and the full-length were written musically first with no real focus on lyrics.” He adds that they would keep in mind vocal patterns and cadence, but wouldn’t nail down the words until the song was structured. “We’d tweak and fine-tune them all a bit so there would be some consistency,” he continues. “They just had to be dark and/or brutal.” Topics range from zombies to getting rid of a dead body to alien invasions, and more. Needless to say, Muscle Beach write those feel-good, posi jams.



It’s time to feel the darkness and get down with Brimstone Coven.


This latest LP marks the first time they’ve worked with a producer, and it was none other than metal legend Dave Otero. Jones says that “we wanted to hear Muscle Beach on the record how we hear it, and he did great at pushing us and coaching us to get it right.”


The band claim that the process of building a full-length really helped to reinforce—or just officially establish—a clear Muscle Beach sound. Arrieta describes that sound as “consistent, charging, drive-y energy behind it; we like getting people pumped,” but he clarifies the “exercise pun” is not intended.

The band are planning a West Coast tour for March that starts in Pueblo, Colo., and ends in Laramie, Wyo., meanwhile hitting SoCal, the Bay Area, Oregon, and Seattle. They’re also working on touring the East Coast at the end of summer. Keep an eye out for them on the road this year!


For more flexing and posing, check out Muscle Beach’s extended interview on!




It can prove difficult for any modern day pop punk band to break the mold. Toronto based Like Pacific rise up to this challenge with a refreshing mix of positive vibes and catchy music. Despite their positivity and a deep appreciation for the music they play, they’re not fond of every current pop punk fad. “I would get rid of this fucking tie-dye shirt trend,” bassist Chris Thaung admits. “It’s ugly and should’ve stayed dead in the ‘70s.” Since signing with Pure Noise Records, the band have made a name for themselves touring the States alongside A Loss For Words, Seasons Change, and labelmates Forever Came Calling. Their newest release, Distant Like You Asked, will drop Feb. 19, and Like Pacific will start off 2016 with literally their biggest shows to date. “State Champs, Neck Deep, and Knuckle Puck are probably the cream of the crop

in the current pop punk game right now,” says Thaung. “We’re incredibly lucky and honored to be on this tour with them. […] We’ll be playing a bunch of new songs off the new album, and we’re going to work hard on warming up the crowd and setting the tone for the rest of the night.” Aside from touring, the band have spent the past year writing Distant Like You Asked. “Unlike our previous releases, we actually got to take a bunch of days and do preproduction with Sam Guaiana,” Thaung explains. “He pushed us hard on this album and finally got us out of our comfort zone. We also got to work with Derek Hoffman—who did Seaway’s Colour Blind—for ‘Worthless Case’ and ‘Hang.’ […] We have worked with both guys over the years as a band, and we were lucky to have them both be a part of the same record.”


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST CAMMIE GILBERT BY RIDGE BRIEL Newly signed to (now) major label Century Media Records, Oceans Of Slumber are one of the most unique bands on their roster. Labeled as “atmospheric progressive metal” and based out of Houston, Oceans Of Slumber are quickly making their stamp on the metal world, starting with the Blue EP, a collection of drastically reimagined covers released in late 2015. “‘Kashmir’ is a song many of us have had on repeat throughout our entire lives,” remarks vocalist Cammie Gilbert. “While Led Zeppelin may have conflicted feelings on their link to heavy metal, we attribute our style of doom, death, black, and progressive metal styling to their influences. We explore it with our full range of musicality and Southern black metal brutality, adding softer elements to some parts and heavier elements in others.” They also have a new album coming March 4 entitled Winter, which will see the band take on dark, grandiose styles. “Winter is the first look and experience with Oceans Of Slumber on a deeply personal level,” Gilbert says. “Lyrically, it’s the culmination of life’s events and the acknowledgements of the harsh realities that exist in this world today. It is our desire to make a connection and provide a catharsis to those familiar




with these hopes, losses, and longings, unifying us with our listeners across these intensely melancholy, and at times, truly tragic themes.” Relatively new at 4 years old, Oceans Of Slumber have friendships within the band that span over a decade. “Equally in and out of other bands, Oceans Of Slumber’s original lineup formed when several of the guys shared a rehearsal space and were in-between other projects,” Gilbert explains. “Over time, life for the band brought about more transitions, leading to keyboardist Beau [Beasley] and myself joining officially, adding more expansion and new avenues for musical exploration.” There simply isn’t a band out there that sounds like Oceans Of Slumber. They are incredibly talented and unique amongst the grating sounds of death, black, progressive metal, and grindcore. “We write in the direction that feels the most stimulating and with the fewest limitations,” Gilbert says. “As avid music listeners, we are always expanding our musical experience and incorporating not just technique, but a mood and aura as well.”



INTERVIEW WITH BASSIST CHRIS THAUNG BY MATTHEW SAUNDERS With Distant Like You Asked, the band hope to land a full-run spot on the Vans Warped Tour, a “bucket list” item for their members. “We got to play a couple dates

between 2013 [and] 2014, but we want to do the whole thing,” Thaung says. “We want to earn our stripes.”



INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST CHRISTIAN PRINCE BY NICHOLAS SENIOR It takes all of five seconds to see why Mouth Of The South recently became Rival Choir; this is a whole new animal with a ferocious, chaotic metalcore sound and deeply personal, conversational lyrics. This Denton, Texas, based group’s rebooted debut, I Believe, Help My Unbelief—out via Facedown Records on Feb. 5—is a refreshing listen. Guitarist Christian Prince is the new guy in town, and his insertion into the lineup near the end of Mouth Of The South helps explain why the transformation occurred. He explains, “We ended up scrapping 11 songs of material when I joined the band, because everything I was writing was so different. Everybody was on the same page, like it might be kind of cool to just go in a different direction. We all just decided that was what needed to happen. […] We just morphed into a new thing. Before I joined the band, I was having a really hard time coming up with things on my own, but when I started to write for this band, it just somewhat flew out of me. It just felt like maybe I was supposed to write it.” Much like the writing process, everything about Rival Choir feels like it happened for a reason. It’s surprising that I Believe, Help My Unbelief, on which the musical punch

and lyrical passion come together so well, was mostly an accident. Prince elaborates, “Honestly, I didn’t know what the album was about until after I wrote it. [Vocalist] Josiah [Lyle] wanted to have more of a raw and honest dialogue between him and God.” Prince can’t help but feel fortunate. “For me and where I was before I joined, it all worked out too perfectly for it not to have been divinely inspired. It just felt like a God thing.” With a new name, a fantastic new album, and a renewed sense of identity and focus, Rival Choir will be trekking through the East Coast and Midwest in February with the mighty Oh, Sleeper. With the mighty power Rival Choir packs into I Believe, Help My Unbelief, perhaps there is some divine inspiration behind it after all.


For more preaching from the choir, check out Prince’s extended interview on!

Musician Chris “Krier” Loporto has been a drummer ever since he was young. After playing in various bands throughout his life, he decided to switch things up in 2015 and started the New Jersey rock-inspired four piece, Can’t Swim. Now, the band’s new EP, Death Deserves a Name, will drop Feb. 26 via Pure Noise Records. After finally finding some free time from his job as a drum instructor, Loporto bought a laptop and started to teach himself how to play guitar. A few months passed and some songs started coming together, all of which featured Loporto singing, something the musician had never done before. “I never envisioned like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll be the singer,’” he confirms. “I never wanted that. I never thought that would happen. This was something I was doing to pass the time. I had a couple of things on my mind I thought were best to write about. I never owned a guitar,


but being around band members messing around, I was familiar with the instrument. I never had a lesson or owned one of my own, until now.” Death Deserves a Name owes its title—and title track—to a decision Loporto and his now ex-girlfriend made several years ago to terminate a pregnancy. “‘A death’ being that person, and it ‘deserving a name,’ because it never got a chance to have a name,” Loporto explains. “It’s kind of a very pivotal point in my life; everything changed after that. That’s also why I thought it was a good fit to name the whole thing that, because it really encompasses the rest of the sound and what the songs are talking about.”


Pure Noise recruited the band only two weeks after Can’t Swim finished the EP’s demos. At the time, all four members had never been in the same room together, but

things seemed to take off nevertheless. “We’re super excited how fast everything is moving and how positive the feedback has been,” Loporto says. “We definitely didn’t

expect any of this to happen, but we are happy and we’re going to try to do the best that we can.”

decomposes into a chugging classic death metal riff. Over the course of the song’s nearly nine minutes, it devolves further into an extended outro that gets quieter but no less heavy, adding to the sense of foreboding before the riffs come kicking down the door again. Sometimes, the band just layers a haunting clean guitar on top of the riffs, forcing all of the horror on you at once, as on “From the Eventide Pool.”

share. “There are little themes and motifs that are reworked and appear in different ways throughout the record,” Skarajew says. “As a single work, it functions as though it has a dream-like quality, with intense moments of light and shade.”


INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST MATT SKARAJEW BY MIKE GAWORECKI Australian death-doom-ambient outfit diSEMBOWELMENT are still revered in some metal circles even though they broke up shortly after releasing their debut album in 1993. Now, Inverloch—which features one half of diSEMBOWELMENT in guitarist Matt Skarajew and drummer Paul Mazziotta— are set to release their debut full-length, Distance | Collapsed, March 4 on Relapse Records.

Continuing the sonic journey they began with the 2012 Dusk | Subside EP, Distance | Collapsed creeps along at the pace of a John Carpenter film score, with brutal death metal riffs played at doom metal speeds. It ebbs and flows like a horror film too, punctuating long, suspenseful passages with sudden bursts of violence. After opener “Distance Collapsed (In Rubble)” slowly swells in, you’re hit with a full-on blastbeat assault that slowly

New Jersey’s ROMP possess a carefree attitude that is noticeable on their EP Sorry, Not Sorry—recently rereleased with a bonus track, “Burrito,” via Bad Timing Records. Guitarist Lucas Dalakian says the secret recipe for his perfect burrito is “rice, beans, guac, pico de gallo, [and] cheese. I barely eat, so whatever your heart desires.”

should be,” she explains. The EP perfectly showcases ROMP’s attitude, rooted in enjoying oneself through hardships. Klarer continues, “ROMP is all about having fun. While the content can be serious and sad, we make sure that our music is fun and makes us feel good when we play it.”

Listening to ROMP sends a surge of positive energy throughout one’s body. Lyricist and keyboardist Madison Klarer looks at her songs through an encouraging lens. “When I’m writing the lyrics for the songs, it’s usually really personal and is often stuff that is kinda bumming me out at the time, but I always try my best to look at situations positively, because in the end, everything works out and we end up where we


For their yet-untitled debut full-length— coming this spring, also via Bad Timing— ROMP are branching out. “The new record is a little bit more aggressive than the EP, and I think that’s because we have all become a bit more confident with what we are doing,” Klarer states. “I think it was the same process, but our style has developed a lot. I’ve gotten better at articulating my ideas and we all have gotten much more in sync with each other.” In a certain way,

Skarajew says they took the album’s name from a late 20th century Russian poem that deals with loss, displacement, and the ravages of a war-torn state. “For me, the poem functioned also on different metaphoric levels, the loss of history and the sense of the past dissolving,” he explains. “It felt very relevant to me at this age, so that was a creative inspiration. It was also an interesting acknowledgement of our own musical past being left behind, somewhat.” Distance | Collapsed’s sound is unique and yet timely all the same. While shoegazy blackened metal is all the rage, Inverloch are going for something far more sinister and hypnotic. They’re taking the death/ doom of their forebears and turning it into a cinematic aural nightmare for us all to


“Sonically, I feel we have absolutely captured the dramatic feel of contrast that we love so much,” he adds. “We’re all super happy with the final product; the mix is huge and so much more refined than the EP, but delivers the intensity of our contrasting moods to a greater extent.” As much as Distance | Collapsed is a singular work, Skarajew says he felt “an obligation to deliver a death/doom record that holds up to the past, that has value, relevance, and quality.” Inverloch are their own beast, to be sure, he says, but in the end, it’s still “old-school death/doom.” “Yes, it has its antecedents in the old band and we’re very proud of that,” he asserts, “but it is 25 years forward now, and we are simply making the kind of music we still love.”



INTERVIEW WITH MADISON KLARER AND LUCAS DALAKIAN BY SEAN GONZALEZ ROMP are showcasing their ability to develop more mature ideas while maintaining their cheery soundscape. “I’m super

proud of [the new record],” Klarer concludes, “and I can’t wait to start playing it a ton on the road.”





With decades of making music under his belt—including a significant stint with celebrated emo heavies Texas Is The Reason—one would think that winning over audiences and fans would be relatively simple for singer-songwriter Garrett Klahn. “Not much has changed for me,” he admits. “It’s always been a grind for me. There’s not been a lot of stretches when it wasn’t. I only know the world of hoping people come to shows, hoping people are interested enough to buy a record maybe or have a chat afterwards. I do have a lot more patience with it than I did when I was younger.” But for Klahn, who released his self-titled solo LP Jan. 15 via Rise Records, it’s neither a tedious cycle he’s trapped in nor an absolute labor of love. “I think I’m somewhere firmly right in the middle,” he jokes. “I’ve never thought of doing anything else. Music has been such a constant in my life that I’ve

never really had enough time to think I should slow down and try anything else. For better or worse, there was always something else I could jump in to. I’m in a slow-paced race and I hope I never see the finish line.” For this record, Klahn enlisted a group of collaborators from two camps: New York and California. The Angelenos—a band called Golden Boy—accompanied Klahn on the short, mid-recording jaunt to Europe that he booked because “the songs needed some time to breathe,” and also stepped in to help him finish the record. “The folks in my hometown of Buffalo who worked on the record are longtime friends and musicians,” he adds, “but also business owners and fathers and husbands.” With what Klahn describes as a “tribe” behind this new endeavor, he is optimistic that the record will get a fair shot from fans of heartfelt rock music. “A lot of people worked really long and really hard on this record,” he asserts.





Y .


Fans of warm yet rough around the edges acoustic tunes with punk rock heart will definitely want to hear Kyle Trocolla. The Two Fisted Law guitarist’s debut

solo record, The Stranger—out now via Altercation Records—deserves a place next to your favorite tearjerker and road dog albums. It’s full of beer-soaked narratives,

San Jose crushers, Spinebreaker, had one simple goal when they started their band: to be heavy and fuck shit up. “Our motive from the start was to be ridiculously loud, with crushing riffs,” says vocalist Alex Herrera. “That isn’t so common in San Jose. We wanted something that you can bang your head to and mosh your ass off.” However, the band are still big on repping their scene. “San Jose shows us love just

about every time we play anywhere,” he adds.




Guitarist Elliot Morrow also felt the need to start a band that was extra heavy. “I was listening to a lot of Sleep, Saint Vitus, and Pentagram at the time, and Alex was listening to a ton of death metal, so we decided to start a band with a little bit of both,” Morrow says. “Ended up a bit more death metal than I expected, but we like to throw in some slow dragging doom riffs here and there. We honestly just wanted to start something really heavy and really nasty sounding.” On their new album Ice Grave, out now on Creator-Destructor, the band—which also features guitarist Cole Kakimoto, bassist Josef Alfonso, and drummer Brian Do— definitely achieved their goal. It’s a brutal dose of old-school death metal—of the Swedish variety—with hints of hardcore in the mix. “We had an intention to be death metal with hints of doom, but we










“In my world, a fair shot is 70 to 100 seaters,” Klahn says. “If I had a string of those over a couple of months, I’d be bouncing up the walls, I’d be so fucking happy. I just keep telling the label and the booking agent that the answer is always

‘yes.’ I’m wildly proud of this record; a lot of people have said that it sounds like me, which is about the best compliment that I could get.”

ambition, and heartache. “After playing mostly loud, fast, distorted punk rock for the past 20 years, when I decided to release an acoustic record, it was like learning to write music all over again,” Trocolla recalls.

sense of it and some will feel what you feel,” he continues. “Also, if you write what you actually believe in, it’s hard to care about those who don’t like it, because you’re not writing for them anyway.” Where does this positive attitude stem from? Trocolla says, “My encouragement comes from my wife, who is still willing to listen to me write and play these songs on our couch for the thousandth time; it comes from my brother, who still comes to as many of my shows as he can get to; and it comes from fellow musicians and friends who listen and enjoy these songs.”

Trocolla is already known as an awesome lyricist, and The Stranger will only further this reputation. “For me, the narrative is how I deliver the interpretive image, so I don’t think one is mutually exclusive from the other,” he explains of his lyrical approach. “Songs like ‘Roll On’ or ‘Alive in Tucson’ are written about bigger ideas than just the stories that they tell. ‘Roll On’ is a song about the ups and downs of love; each verse is literally about someone I have known or an experience I have had, but the literal scenarios are how I convey the themes.” “If you convey sincerity and you believe in the things you write about, people will get a


Trocolla’s plans for 2016 include writing new material for eventual release on vinyl, putting together a tentative 7” split, and playing his first SXSW as a solo artist. “Playing shows and meeting new people is my favorite part of being a touring musician,” he says, “so I will be wandering all over the country playing shows.”




INTERVIEW WITH ALEX HERRERA AND ELLIOT MORROW BY THOMAS PIZZOLA are hardcore dudes in a hardcore band that plays death metal,” says Herrera. “Our roots will always show through no matter what genre we play.” In addition, Herrera’s lyrics tackle some nonstandard death metal topics, which are more

in line with the hardcore scene. “I write in a somewhat typical death metal way with underlying meaning having to do with racism, homophobia, sexism, feminism, transphobia, the fight against police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement, and religious greed of all kinds,” he says.


Muncie Girls vocalist and bassist Lande Hekt has a knack for complementing bright, melodic punk compositions with lyrics addressing serious topics. This is evident on From Caplan to Belsize—out March 4 via Animal Style Records in the U.S., Specialist Subject Records in the U.K., and Uncle M Music in Europe. Hekt laughs and admits that while writing for the album, “I learned that, as a person and a songwriter, I’m quite negative. I tried to focus some of the concepts of the songs on particular things. I’ve written a few songs about political stuff—I didn’t want to write a whole record about how sad I am in my bedroom, you know what I mean?” “I’m a working-class person, so my opinion should really make up the majority of the population,” Hekt says. “It does matter what I and my peers have to say, because we represent the population.”

From a listener’s standpoint, From Caplan to Belsize should be relatively easy to digest. There’s a certain degree of intangible timelessness. “I didn’t mean to write like that; it’s good that it comes across that way,” Hekt says. “When I write about personal stuff, I don’t even think about anyone really listening to it. Obviously, I know people will,


INTERVIEW WITH GUITARIST ANDREW KLINE BY JANELLE JONES “We are all busy with our other bands and responsibilities, but we plan to make World Be Free a priority,” assures guitarist Andrew Kline. Those other bands just happen to

be veteran hardcore heavyweights Judge, Gorilla Biscuits, Kline’s band, Strife, and Terror, so you know there’s definitely some good pedigree here. The first order

Combining psychedelia with the mysticism of black metal seems like a good fit, yet it’s extremely rare to see bands embrace both concepts. Finland’s Oranssi Pazuzu are the exception. “We weren’t metal musicians to start with,” bassist Ontto says. “There’s actually been a lot of cosmic themes and hypnotic stuff in more traditional black metal, starting from Burzum—at least, to me, it sounds like that. We’re also into space rock and psych stuff, so we wanted to include parts from all the worlds that felt inspiring to us.”

sound like, we found out we had a good mutual understanding about it.”

For their new album, Värähtelijä—which means “resonator,” and drops Feb. 26 via Svart Records—they tapped famed producer Julius Mauranen, best known for his work with opera musician Vesa-Matti Loiri. This may seem like an odd choice. “I can see why that might sound weird,” comments Ontto. “He was surprised when we first asked him since he hadn’t done metal bands in his career. But when we talked more about what we wanted it to


Heading into their fifth year as a band, Muncie Girls recorded From Caplan to Belsize over a year ago. “There was just more to think about, and we wanted to do it right and not rush anything,” Hekt explains. “Everything I wrote still kind of stands, pretty much. My relationship with the songs isn’t that different. This year has gone so quickly, and it feels like I just wrote them. And I haven’t written much lately, because we’ve been so busy, so they’re still the most recent set of songs I’ve written.”

When asked what sets the new album apart from the others, Ontto replies, “It’s the logical next step after [2013’s] Valonielu. In a way, it’s in the same vein, but Värähtelijä is more prog, more moody, more occult, and space rock oriented. I think it stands out as the most hypnotic album we’ve done.” In July, Oranssi Pazuzu announced that the album would have eight songs, yet the final product only has seven. “The eighth song was a long and mellow ambient track that we recorded, but we sliced it up in the mix and dropped parts of it in the album,” Ontto clarifies. “The songs come together with a lot of jamming, so it’s not that hard to translate that into a live setting,” Ontto says of their live show. “We do have one problem, though: our space guitar maestro, Moit, isn’t able to tour due to family commitments, so live he will



that I’ll show people, but I don’t write thinking, ‘Oh, well, everyone can find something in this lyric.’ I think, ‘No one is going to understand what this

means, but fuck it, I’ll just do it anyway.’”

of business for the band was putting together their debut LP, the powerful and pummeling The Anti-Circle—out Feb. 5 on Revelation Records—which shows the band already hitting their stride with great songs such as “Promises Made” and “Breakout or Busted.” Says Kline, “We worked on the songs for almost a year before we hit the studio.” He adds, “We really tried hard to keep the band under wraps, as we didn’t want anyone to have preconceived notions about what World Be Free sounded like based upon our other bands.”

Next to sign on was Sammy Siegler of Judge, CIV, and Youth Of Today on drums. Arthur Smilios of Gorilla Biscuits and CIV joined as they were about to record the album. Siegler, Kline explains, was the one who really stressed that this band had to be a priority for everyone involved and not just a secondary side-project. “He wanted us all to put our hearts into making the best record that we could,” he says.

The initial idea for this project came from vocalist Scott Vogel of Terror, who had visions of starting a more melodic hardcore band with Joe Garlipp, formerly of Envy and Vogel’s bandmate in Despair. Kline says he came aboard without hesitation after hearing the idea and he and Garlipp began writing songs shortly thereafter.

If there are any fears that this is just a one-off deal, the guitarist divulges that they’ve already begun working on new material. Similarly, even though they all have other things going on, they are intent on being a touring band. Their first outings will be short tours on both the West and East coasts in February. “I can’t predict the future,” says Kline, discussing prospective tours and shows, “but I know what I would like to see and that’s a bunch of smiling faces stagediving and singing along. Let’s hope for the best.”







be replaced by Niko Lehdontie from Domovoyd and Kairon. Luckily, Niko’s one hell of a guitar wizard. Also, we have





our secret weapon, [keyboardist and percussionist] EviL with his sound altar ‘Mohlo.’”






INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER EUGENE PARKOMENKO BY NICHOLAS SENIOR Not all retro acts are cut from the same cloth. Most modern practitioners of retro heavy rock and metal seem to be building temples to the mighty Black Sabbath. While that is a worthy sonic template, Vancouver, B.C., classic metal apologists, Black Wizard, prefer to create their own witches’ brew. The group’s Listenable Records debut, New Waste—due out on Feb. 12—sounds both joyously retro and wonderfully fresh; it recalls numerous classic touchstones, yet it feels completely honest. And it’s a whole hell of a lot of fun.

what’s most impressive about the band is that none of those references really matter; Black Wizard are amazing because the music is killer. The band clearly want to write music that they love, and that joy booms through the speakers.

Black Wizard are their own riff-y beast. Drummer Eugene Parkomenko agrees, “Yeah, we have been backed into the whole ‘Sabbath Worship’ corner so many times. I guess we just got sick of it, especially because our influences are so much broader than that.” It’s a fair frustration, because one listen to New Waste showcases a band who employ a broader appreciation of rock and metal through the ages. Listeners can pick out bits and pieces that recall Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, as well as classic prog. Ultimately,

There are more than a few hints of Motörhead’s legendary influence in Black Wizard’s sonic potion. Parkomenko hopes the band can honor the late Lemmy Kilmister’s legacy. “I’ve been a huge Motörhead fan since my early teens,” he says. “If it comes through in our music, I think we’re doing something right. I hope we make Lemmy proud, wherever he is now. RIP.” Black Wizard’s music makes the listener want to imbibe and jam along, so surely, Lemmy is pleased.

New Waste is infused with the sense that recording this record was the most fun the band have ever had. Parkomenko adds, “This record was the first time nothing felt forced. It was amazing. Everyone was really on the same page. We had a blast!”

Black Wizard are gearing up to hit the road. “There are so many shows being booked; it’s kind of insane,” Parkomenko says. “A cross-Canada tour is almost all confirmed for the month of June. That will be a nice 25 show run. Also, we have Euro and U.S. runs in the works. There’s also a few fests and rad shows with ‘certain’ huge amazing bands that we aren’t allowed to announce yet, but you’ll know soon enough!”






INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/GUITARIST JADRAN “CONAN” GONZALEZ BY RIDGE BRIEL California’s Exmortus have pulled out all the stops for Ride Forth, their second album under Prosthetic Records and fourth overall. “On our new record, we like to emphasize that ‘we are slaves no more’ and we ‘ride forth’ as an unstoppable force,” says vocalist and guitarist Jadran “Conan” Gonzalez. It would be the easy way out to call this a typical, run-of-the-mill thrash album, but it’s not. An absolute onslaught of thrash and power metal guitars, thundering drums, and early ‘90s death metal vocal styling, Ride Forth is fun, heavy, and fast as all hell. “Each of us has our own favorite styles and genres, which we express in all of our music,” Conan states. “Classical music is an obvious influence, aside from ‘80s metal and hard rock. One would expect chaos when writing for Exmortus, but in reality, it’s very fluid, and most importantly, fun! The only challenge is perfecting the Viennese style of classical music into the metal sound.” Exmortus have included a cover of Beethoven’s “Appassionata” on the new album, after previously covering “Moonlight Sonata (Act 3)” on their previous release, Slave to the Sword. “The music is indeed hard to play,” says Conan,” but the hardest part might be transcribing and orchestrating parts for each instrument. Aside from taking instrument range, key, [and] tuning into consideration, I think [drummer] Mario [Mortus] had a lot of fun writing his own drum parts into the mix.” But their classical influence doesn’t just stop at the covers: it’s evident in all of their music. “I like to incorporate a lot of the classical style into our music, [whether it’s] melody, harmony, counterpoint, and even

the overall structure,” Conan explains. One great example of the structure resides in the track “Hymn of Hate.” The instrumentation has heavy nods toward classical styles, with special mind paid to crescendos and melody. Exmortus’ music has evolved immensely over the years. “[When playing our songs live], there are mixed feelings among the old fans, since each album has a different sound,” Conan explains. “That’s due to our maturing and collaborating with different members as the years go by. Our music is rather personal, and there is much truth in our fantasy setting, so there will always be a sense of evolution when listening to our music chronologically.” You would think writing this complex music would keep Exmortus off the road, but that’s not the case. On their upcoming tour with Warbringer, Enforcer, and Cauldron, they literally only have a single free day in a solid two months of extensive touring! “This is the grind,” exclaims Conan. “It’ll definitely take a toll on us at some point, but we help each other survive the harsh winter. We’re sharing gear with Warbringer, we’re packed warm, and [we’re] fortunate enough to have friends from all over the States and Canada providing us with great hospitality in their warm homes.” Of course, being in a thrash metal band, one needs fuel: “As for alcohol, we’ve been trying out local varieties in all the cities we hit up, but the collective fave is good ole Jack Daniels,” Conan reveals. “Drinking to [late Motörhead frontman] Lemmy [Kilmister] as of late, RIP!”






INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST ADAM GILLEY BY RIDGE BRIEL From the lakeside city of Kenosha, Wis., Product Of Hate are a band with a stark, clear message. “Our name is a mirror reflection of the world,” states vocalist Adam Gilley. “Locally, nationally, internationally, there are a lot of really vile attitudes toward different people and groups of people that are really uncalled for. The music we create is, in many ways, a reaction [to that].” But their name wasn’t always as such: they used to be known as I For An I, before they found out there was a Canadian band with the same name. “‘Product of hate’ was a lyric, so when it became apparent that we should rename our band, the answer was right in front of us,” Gilley explains. Their new album Buried in Violence— out Feb. 5 via Napalm Records— is an instant groove/thrash metal masterpiece. It’s packed with stuckin-your-head riffs and choruses, impressive songwriting, and progressions that keep the album feeling dynamic from start to finish. The drum technique in particular employs a similar drumroll to that of Chris Adler from Lamb Of God. “We’ve been fortunate to play some one-off shows with them; to be compared to them is certainly flattering,” Gilley says. “When it comes to individual influences, some of my favorites are [Pantera’s] Phil Anselmo and [Slipknot’s] Corey Taylor, but as a band, it’s all over the place. [Bassist] Mark [Campbell] loves Primus, [guitarists] Cody and Gene [Rathbone] are into everything from Iron Maiden to Southern rock. We covered Ozzy’s ‘Perry Mason’ on this




record, so you could say we have a mutual appreciation for his work and the players who’ve surrounded him over the years.” Aside from that cover and the brand new tracks, some of Buried in Violence’s tracks are older material. “Our songs ‘Blood Soaked Concrete’ and ‘Unholy Manipulator’ are among the oldest of the bunch, dating around seven or eight years old,” Gilley elaborates. “They appeared on our 2010 release The Unholy Manipulator EP and resurfaced for this record. We remixed and remastered them alongside new songs we recorded specifically for this album. Not many know this, but there’s a third song from that EP, ‘Eyes of the Damned,’ that’s included as a bonus track at the end of the Japanese release of the album.” While recording Buried in Violence, they may have borrowed from the past, but their ideas also reached forward, beyond the here and now. “There are six or seven songs we’ve actually saved and set aside for our next record,” Gilley reveals. “With our older material, what’s old to us is still new to the world.” Despite their ridiculous levels of talent, perhaps the most awesome aspect of the band is that they’re all original members who have been playing together for over a decade. “It’s a family,” Gilley says, “and we consider our listeners to be a part of that.”




INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST NATE BLAUVELT BY HUTCH Fused from the corners of Southern California, God’s Hate are here to establish their mastery of ‘90s style metallic hardcore. Vocalist Nate Blauvelt explains how they started in October 2013: “I had been wanting to play shows again, preferably in a heavy hardcore band. [Guitarist] Colin Young and I started writing a three song demo for fun. He wrote and recorded all the music, while I wrote the lyrics.” God’s Hate have had two 7”s, Divine Injustice in 2013 and Father Inferior in 2015. Nurturing their outstanding relationship with Closed Casket Activities, the band are preparing to release Mass Murder—a punishing condemnation of the state of this Union—on Feb. 5. God’s Hate played their first show in January 2014, which spurred a rigorous addiction to live shows. While their two 7”s demanded accolades, their appearances on top tier fests have garnered reverence. They began 2016 with an explosive set at FYA Fest. “Bob Wilson put on a fantastic fest full of young bands, a lot I hadn’t heard of, which is awesome,” Blauvelt recalls. “Shout out to Bob Wilson, Florida hardcore, and Malice At The Palace.” Blauvelt runs down the remaining list for 2016: “We have United Blood in Richmond Va., which always brings out the best current bands in hardcore with a couple surprise headliners. It is definitely my favorite fest and weekend of the year. Shortly after that, we have a Japanese tour with Twitching Tongues and Palm. This really crosses one off my bucket list. In May, we have Rain Fest. June, we have Sound And Fury. Both festivals are huge staples in current hardcore. Growing up on the West Coast, we couldn’t be more excited to be playing Sound And Fury.”

God’s Hate blend heavy metal and hardcore spirit, calling back to the ‘90s. Blauvelt harbors no hesitance in lauding their obvious influences: “Hatebreed, Merauder, All Out War, Dying Breed, Stigmata, and various death metal bands.” Young produced Mass Murder mid 2015 at The Pit in Van Nuys, Calif. The music mixes more layered elements than just chuggachugga riffs, weaving in guitar harmonies and energizing time changes. The metallic influence builds tension and atmosphere, while the mood of stress and enmity echoes the lyrics. “I wouldn’t consider any of my lyrics negative,” Blauvelt argues. “The lyrical content of Mass Murder ranges from religion and government corruption to my own personal struggles. All of my lyrics are very personal. All of my songs are about specific topics and events. For instance, the song ‘Mass Murder’ is about my view of the government brainwashing the masses into thinking we are in a constant state of fear. Other songs, like ‘Crown of Power’ and ‘Righteous Fear,’ are a reflection of myself. I’d like to think I have more of a realistic outlook on things than a negative one.” All of these ideas confront the audience immediately via the cover art by Scott McGrath. “Scott took the wheel and really hit a home run,” Blauvelt says. “The inside of the gatefold art is done by Marc Nava, who tattoos at Port City Tattoo in Costa Mesa. I gave him a vague idea and he blew us all away with the finished product.” The finished product centers on the American flag, surrounded by explosions and decay, reflecting Blauvelt’s lyrical motivation. “[Government and religion] manipulate us into supporting war and supporting a corrupted justice system so they can turn a profit,” he concludes.







INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST JOHN PETTIBONE BY NICHOLAS SENIOR Going from promising to prolific is one hell of an accomplishment, but for Seattle’s post-metal soon-to-be royalty, Heiress, it’s just another part of the process. Just about a year after their excellent Of Great Sorrow, the band are back with Made Wrong, another excellent slab of punishing doom-meets-hardcore tunes. The resulting album—due out on March 18 via The Mylene Sheath—is a masterclass in exploring space amidst the noise. Not even considering the possibility of rest, the band have already half-written another record. What sparked the band to get back to writing so quickly? “We actually had a majority of Made Wrong written while recording Of Great Sorrows,” says vocalist John Pettibone. “[Guitarist] Wes [Reed] is a machinegun of riffs and always has ideas and song structures at every practice, and I can’t help but put my thoughts into songs. It all came naturally to us.” Made Wrong consists of seven jarring tracks that showcase the band’s explorative, experimental, and introspective sides. It’s clear that this was a very personal record for the band, as the songs clearly strike a nerve. “My family and home life really was the inspiration,” Pettibone explains. “I’ve created and felt a lot of destruction and pain through my journey, as do many of us. Whether it be intentional or by mistake, we try to rationalize it and learn from it, but I’ve tended to use it as fuel to get me through my days. Now that I am a father, I’ve come to the realization that letting go of that toxic environment is best for growth. Things I’ve held sacred for so long have less meaning. Made Wrong is the idea we are raised to succeed in life, but in my reality, I’ve been raised to survive.”





Made Wrong is the band’s most focused release yet, and Pettibone’s struggles to survive are a definite part of that focus. Pettibone agrees that Made Wrong is the band at their tightest, but laughs at the idea of focus. “We are just a mess of structure and layers of bands we love,” he says. “Call us thieves, if you will, but if there is an ‘Heiress sound,’ then credit goes to greats like Neurosis, Enslaved, Warning, Deadguy, [and] Grief. In our own strange way, we make it work.”

The mid ‘90s Yuppicide albums brought a mix of NYHC bounce with a rugged punk and Oi! sound. They were hard to define, but always confrontational. Their lyrics represented larger issues through smaller stories. Their live show—with their flair for costumes and unbridled energy—secured their legend. Some reunion shows and a 2012 EP, American Oblivion, woke their audience from the dead. Now, they’ve released their new full-length, Revenge Regret Repeat, via Dead City Records.

Made Wrong features visually striking art that highlights the beautiful contrasts Heiress traffic in: there is color in the darkness and many shades of gray. Chet and Rachael Scott, who are close friends of the band, did the wonderful and atypical art. “The dahlia manifests in great diversity, and we felt that it’s a perfect reflection of the band,” Pettibone expands. “Added in is lucifer crocosmia, a plant that has a very striking look and appeal, whose roots are difficult to control.”

Of the writing process for this album, vocalist Jesse Jones says, “It took us a while to get the songs written. We are all busy with family and work. Our producer, Glen Lorieo, had some great ideas. We have a very democratic approach where everyone can voice their opinion. But, the player has the final say on their instrument.”

Heiress are certainly creatures who understand the appeal of going outside the norm. Unlike post-metal bands who strive to marry the pretty orchestral music with a few crushing doom riffs, Heiress’ sound has veered down the road of dark, moody hardcore. They are a passionate posthardcore band first and foremost, who just happen to utilize doom metal and sharp contrasts to accentuate the striking music. Heiress don’t have any big tours lined up just yet, but the band plan to play a good number of local gigs in and around the Northwest. On the strength of what may be the next great post-metal record, 2016 looks to be a big year for Heiress.


Guitarist Steve Karp chimes in with excitement. “I’m glad we took the time to bounce ideas off Glen ahead of time,” he says. “I hauled my entire live rig into the studio and recorded the guitars in a monster 11 hour session.” As far as the eclectic tapestry of genres woven into the Yuppicide sound, Karp relays, “We seem to suffer from a kind of ‘musical multiple personality disorder.’ We have bits and

pieces of many different kinds of music that fall under the bigger umbrella of ‘punk rock’: Oi!, D-beat, garage punk, U.S. ‘82 hardcore, 2 tone.” “Insolence” depicts the balance between work and fulfillment. Jones describes the track as “about being frustrated in your work. Corporate cubicle life is a reality for a lot of us.” Karp elaborates, “I’ve found that it’s necessary to separate oneself in a sense, to seek ‘fulfillment’ from one’s own interests. Let’s face it: a lot of the people don’t give a damn about their workers. We’re replaceable cogs in their eyes.” Jones explains that he wrote “Political Game” about “how lobbyists control legislation. They donate huge sums of money so that the congressmen end up with high paid jobs at the corporations.” Karp shares the cynicism. “Sometimes, I’m hopeful, because there seems to be a groundswell of people tired of a system designed to enrich the wealthy and keep us worker drones in a perpetual state of fear and anxiety,” he says. “And then, at other times, things seem hopeless because of the apathy of the masses.”





I N T E R V I E W W I T H C O - VO CA L I ST / K E Y B OA R D I ST CA R LY C O M A N D O BY J O H N B. M O O R E A lot has happened to the indie punk duo Slingshot Dakota since their last record three years ago: co-vocalists, keyboardist Carly Comando and drummer Tom Patterson, got hitched, eloping mid tour; they decided to focus on the band full-time, quitting their day jobs; and they circled the globe several times while touring with folks like fellow Pennsylvania punks, Title Fight. The also found time to work on their latest full-length, Break, which is coming out on Topshelf Records March 11. “We wrote Break during that time and worked a lot at our respective parttime jobs,” Comando says. “There was a point in time where we thought we were going to take over the coffee shop Tom was managing, but when we sat down and really thought about it, we agreed that we still had a lot of traveling to do. We didn’t want to commit to a business that would require us being at home, so we opted out.” Passing on being small business owners may have been the right decision, because Break is quite likely Slingshot Dakota’s finest moment. The record is a compelling listen from start to finish; solid, catchy songs with big hooks that aren’t afraid of the “pop” label. Written primarily in 2014, two of its songs came together right before the band entered the studio, yet you’d be hard-pressed to name which ones were last minute additions, as the album flows seamlessly. “The general theme we were going for was to create solid, catchy songs. We wanted them to have a punch, whether they were upbeat or more laid-back,” Comando says. “We wanted each one




to stand out on its own… Every song has a different theme, but each once fits into the album’s title and has to do with some sort of breaking point.” Based in Bethlehem, Pa.—Patterson’s hometown and Comando’s adopted one—the band are close enough to the powerfully eclectic Philly punk and indie scene—in the midst of its national coronation—but still far enough away to be part of the Lehigh Valley sub-scene. “Many towns have cyclical scenes,” Comando explains. “There is a natural ebb and flow, up and down cycle to it. One year, there are a ton of bands and people supporting the scene. Then a few years later, no one.” But Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley always find a way to keep the art and music scene alive, even when the venues and styles are constantly changing thanks in part to all ages spaces in surrounding cities like Allentown. “There is something incredibly special about our music scene,” Comando adds. Another bonus to Camando and Peterson ditching their day jobs last year is that they now have plenty of time to tour. They’ve already set aside the spring to hit the road, hoping to tour for the rest of the year and then make some stops in Europe. That’s the plan at least… “We have tour booked for the spring, and ideally, we hope to tour until next spring or until we decide to stay home and write our next record,” Comando says. “Honestly, we just want to tour as much as we can on these new songs.”


INTERVIEW WITH HALEY WESTEINER & MELYNDA JACKSON BY TIM ANDERL From Portland, Ore., progressive doom trio Eight Bells unleash their sophomore album, Landless, via Battleground Records on Feb. 12. The LP is a continuation of ideas conjured for their debut, The Captain’s Daughter, which introduced a band familiar and flirting with Victorian mystery, ‘70s prog-rock grandeur, and a ravenous desire to introduce these elements to modern heavy music. Vocalist and bassist Haley Westeiner says, “Lately we’ve been talking about heavy music throughout the ages, such as monastic chanting; long, drone-y songs from the Middle East that play more off rhythmic complexity than melodic modulation; [and] old dark folk groups from America such as the Carter Family. These, to me, are profound influences. I do like metal, but I am not specifically from ‘the metal scene,’ or at least not that only.” The trio is rounded out by vocalist and guitarist Melynda Jackson, formerly of SubArachnoid Space, and new drummer Rae Amitay, also of Immortal Bird and Thrawsunblat. They recorded and mixed Landless with Billy Anderson, with Justin Weis picking up mastering duties.  The result is a deep-diving record that introduces vivid and unsettling ideas. “It is a continuance of the ideas from The Captain’s Daughter,” Jackson says. “The theme involves time, being lost, the transient nature of emotions, and being found. I thought of a person lost at sea for The Captain’s Daughter. For Landless, I wanted to think of a person who has found land, but realizes it isn’t much better

and the sorrow that comes from that discovery.” Westeiner adds, “Landless could be thought of literally, in terms of humans pushing out others from their place of settlement, or metaphorically, in terms of not having a substantive base under you with which to thrive in a given circumstance. The alienation that results from feeling that nothing is yours and everything can be taken in an instant. People with the experience of ‘landlessness,’ or any kind of deep insecurity, often pass on the emotional experience to their children, and it plays out in myriad ways. We seem to be kind of a rudderless society right now where there’s not a lot of insight in individuals about why we, for example, consume in the ways we do, [even though] we know that our consumption practices threaten life on this planet.” Eight Bells embarked on a U.S. tour in late January, including three weeks supporting the legendary Voivod. “I feel so fortunate to be playing in a band of this caliber and that we were able to be on such an artistic yet also heavy bill,” Westeiner admits. Voivod are truly innovators in the metal scene and their influence is apparent in the younger progressive metal bands that I often hear now.”





INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST L-G PETROV BY RIDGE BRIEL Only a year and half since the release of their critically acclaimed debut, Back to the Front, Sweden’s Entombed A.D. are proud to bring you yet another slab of greatness entitled Dead Dawn, which will be released in Feb. 26 via Century Media. How did they manage to complete it in such a short time? “We just tried out different riffs when touring; sound checks were great for that sort of thing,” says vocalist L-G Petrov. “When we are at home, we can work with the songs day or night, so it was pretty smooth. Of course, it took a little bit of time to get all the things together, but with a little help from Satan, it all came together in the end.” Come together it did. Dead Dawn is an album full of instant classics, such as “Down to Mars to Ride,” which is sure to become a live staple. The concept of the album is bleak as always, just like we like it. “[The concept is] basically the end of the world and all the shit going on today,” Petrov says. “We are not political in any way. It’s all going to hell,” he laughs, “and don’t we all want to go there and have a warm welcome!” Petrov and bassist Victor Brandt also play in Firespawn, who just released their debut album entitled Shadow Realms. When asked how they juggle their busy schedules, Petrov replies, “Victor is a riff machine! [Since] music is the thing we do 24/7, it never gets boring and you just want to make more metal! It helps that Firespawn is a lot faster; it would be boring if they sounded the same [as Entombed




A.D.]” For now, it remains as mostly a studio project. “We have some gigs with Firespawn, but at the moment, we have a lot of shows and tours with Entombed A.D.,” he clarifies. On their next European tour, the band will be the odd ones out, being the only death metal band among the dream lineup of Behemoth, Inquisition, and Abbath. However, Petrov expects a warm reception. “I think it will be a great tour,” he says. “People are talking about it a lot and we will make sure the crowd will headbang. Metal people are metal people. It’s going to be fun to see old and new faces, with or without corpsepaint. Gonna be some evil parties on the tour bus for sure!” These parties will surely necessitate stocking up on their drinks of choice. “I prefer vodka myself,” Petrov notes. “Victor is a fanatic about IPAs and exclusive beers; it’s his big hobby. We often save a lot of beers on the tour bus, then, we drink them all on the days off. It’s always good to have beer and hard liquor on the bus especially when friends visit, keep them happy!” For their live set, Entombed A.D. will be joined by Guilherme Miranda, guitarist and vocalist of the Brazilian thrash band, Krow. “He’s a great guy [to play with live],” Petrov says. “We are going to put one or two new songs in the set; the rest will be 45 minutes of old songs.” Be sure to check out Dead Dawn in February!


INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST/BASSIST ERIK GRAWSIÖ BY RIDGE BRIEL “Twenty years in the business! It’s kind of strange when you think about it,” exclaims Månegarm vocalist and bassist Erik Grawsiö. The Norrtälje, Sweden, four piece just recently celebrated their anniversary playing a retrospective concert in Stockholm and releasing a new selftitled album via Napalm Records, perhaps the best album of their career so far. “I can’t remember our ‘vision’ when we started out, we just wanted to play music and have a good time,” Grawsiö says. “I can’t say we’ve had any doubts, though, not regarding the music industry at least. We’ve always had the goal to keep on rockin’, have fun, and do our thing.” It’s very rare to see that kind of dedication in the metal industry today. Even more rare: three of the four bandmates are original members. “I think it’s important that you share the same ‘overall’ goals, dreams, and visions,” says Grawsiö. “Sometimes, we don’t agree of course, but then, we talk it over, try to get along, and point out the best solution. It is Månegarm that is important in the end, not personal interests.” This feeling of camaraderie is prevalent in the metal world; even when members leave and join other bands, usually it’s not on the worst of terms. “Maybe we’re lucky, we mostly have the same thoughts and ideas about most things, which makes our collaboration much easier,” Grawsiö adds. “We have also been good friends for many years now and that really helps as well.” Månegarm bridge Viking, folk, and black metal, not only embracing mythological concepts in their lyrics, but expanding their instrumentation with flute, violin, cello, and even more exotic instruments like saz, hurdy-gurdy, oud, and torupill.

“It’s [definitely] more challenging,” says Grawsiö. “We’re used to the traditional setup of guitar, bass, and drums. It’s a challenge—[but] in a good way—to arrange the other instruments like violin and flute. We have composed many acoustic songs with violin, flute, cello, and female vocals, though, so we’re pretty used to that challenging and fun task.” Compared to the band’s earlier works, Månegarm strays even further away from the black metal sound—fully embracing Viking and folk metal and featuring sporadic acoustic tracks—yet it’s also one of their heaviest. “The new album is a very diverse album that shows a lot of our different ‘styles,’ which was the plan from the beginning,” Grawsiö explains. “We wanted to make an album that [encompassed] the whole Månegarm sound as much as possible. It just happened unintentionally that there’s no real black metal song on the album.” Of course, it’s written in the Viking metal code that you must be a beer and mead drinker. “My favorite beer right now is called ‘Punk IPA’ by Brewdog,” Grawsiö says. “And as a really big Motörhead fan— and because it’s so damn good—I really like a nice, cold Jack & Coke,” which is now officially called “The Lemmy.”





2/19 Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom 2/20 Hartford, CT @ The Webster 2/24 Pittsburgh, PA @ Carnegie Music Hall 2/25 Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion 2/26 Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre 2/27 Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave 2/29 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue 3/06 Missoula, MT @ The Wilma Theatre 3/07 Seattle, WA @ Showbox SODO 3/08 Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory 3/10 Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory Concert House

3/11 San Jose, CA @ City National Civic 3/12 Anaheim, CA @ City National Grove of Anaheim 3/13 Tucson, AZ @ The Rialto Theatre 3/15 Colorado Springs, CO @ City Auditorium 3/16 Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater 3/18 Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom 3/19 San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre 3/20 New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre 3/21 Birmingham, AL @ Iron City 3/23 Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor

FEB 19 ! DELAIN- Lunar Prelude

Available as LTD Digipak CD and Download! LTD Golden 12” Vinyl exclusively available via !



FEB 26 ! THE UNGUIDED - Lust and Loathing Available as LTD Digipak and Download!


A timeless Rock Masterpiece where every Track is enchanting!

FEB 26 ! GREENLEAF- Rise Above The Meadow

Available as LTD Digipak, LTD Vinyl and Download!



Perfect Balance between raging Metal parts & airy Post Arrangements!

FEB 19 ! ADEPT - Sleepless


Available as CD and Download!













Some bands are guilty of using the occult to further their own private agenda. Ævangelist live and breathe the occult. With one member in Illinois and one in Oregon, Ævangelist is the mystical duo of Matron Thorn—from Benighted In Sodom, Crowhurst, and Andacht—and Ascaris from Shavasana and the live incarnation of Benighted In Sodom. Together, they create some of the best occult black/ death metal out there today. The intricately woven layers of experimentation on their new album, Enthrall to the Void of Bliss—out now via 20 Buck Spin—may be intimidating on the first listen, but as you dissect them, the band’s genius emerges. “We are in the eternal presence of our muse,” they explain, “from whom the spring of inspiration flows into the earth on which we walk and is ever quenching the thirsting crops that will become our next harvest.” Their muse is aided by their intense workaholic schedule. “Both the fifth and sixth Ævangelist albums are being committed to the mortal realm as we speak,” they assure. “The next album is entitled Æschatologica Omega: Perdition Axiom.” They also plan to put out several 30plus minute long singles in the interim. It’s a challenge to make even a three minute track—whether it’s pop, black metal, or a full EP if you’re a grindcore band— and creating songs over 10 minutes takes even more skill and patience. Yet, when crafting the almost 40 minute “Dream an Evil Dream” and the nearly 15 minute “Abstract Catharsis,” the band’s approach was somewhat spontaneous: “They form as they do; uninhibited by definition and certainty, one might find much to be cre-















ated with purpose. Singular tracks are often meant to convey a more direct statement of what full-lengths are designed to elaborate deeper throughout. A level of improvisation is always welcomed to bring an organic synthesis to [the] one or two riffs that songs may originate from.” Illustrator, designer, and musician Stephen Wilson of Unknown Relic contributed the cover of Enthrall to the Void of Bliss. The band speaks highly of him, commenting, “Stephen is one of the most hardworking and genuine people functioning among a multitude of pretenders. […] As artists, we take our personal relationships with our collaborators very seriously, as we try to align ourselves with the passionate, whose art reminds us of our own limitless capacity for human emotion. To create what Stephen has made, we are certain, requires sacrifice and suffering.” Playing live is a different beast for Ævangelist. They only play a couple times a year, but their shows are more than just a live recreation of their records. “Live appearances are special occurrences when the magick of creation is presented forthright and via both audial and visual mediums,” they note. “This transference of dark energies from the Netherrealm requires a vast psychological exchange on our part, and we only wish to be vessels of the brightest emanations from the void. We are thus bound to the wisdom and direction of the constellations that align favorably for us to open the gates to the other side once more.” Their music has transcended its medium, reaching out to people from the platform of magick.


INTERVIEW WITH DRUMMER RAFAEL MARTINEZ BY RIDGE BRIEL Most people are familiar with the concept of how bands work: vocals, bass, guitar, drums, give or take a few instruments. Some only play live, while others record all of the instruments for studio releases, but rarely set foot on stage. Then, there are two man live and studio bands like Black Cobra, the duo of drummer Rafael Martinez and guitarist and vocalist Jason Landrian. While two pronged majestic creatures like this are few and far between, Black Cobra are known for a ferocious energy that a lot of four or five piece bands can’t compete with. On the eve of releasing their highly anticipated new album Imperium Simulacra on Feb. 26 through Season Of Mist, Black Cobra are ready to take back the stage after a short absence from the scene. When asked where they were for so long, Martinez replies, “After [2011’s] Invernal came out, we started the tour cycle for the album and spread out the schedule a little bit more. When [2009’s] Chronomega—the previous album—was released, we did something like 180 shows in 10 months. We ended up going to Australia twice, did Europe and North America a bunch of times, then stayed home for a bit to write the new album.” In 2016 and beyond, Black Cobra’s “plans are to go ape all over the planet!” Imperium Simulacra is a brutal record: an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, resulting in perfect chaos. The title track embraces a faster hardcore style, while “Fathoms Below” edges toward the band’s familiar sludge tendencies. “All the touring we did

around the world over the past four years definitely helped raise the bar on our playing,” states Martinez. “Seeing so many different bands in different countries opened our eyes to new styles. We are always enthusiastic to approach new things and keep them interesting.” It’s up for debate whether writing music as a two piece is easier than the alternative. Martinez reveals, “It’s a double-edged sword, like a lot of things in life. We can make decisions a lot quicker, since there aren’t a lot of people to work with, but there’re only two instruments to work with. It’s a bit challenging, but we like our sound and the chemistry that we’ve created.” As the album cover indicates, Imperium Simulacra is heavily influenced by science fiction—much of which is no longer totally fictitious. “We’ve been reading a lot of Philip K. Dick and Ray Kurzweil lately,” Martinez explains. “So much of the computer world 30 years ago was a fantasy, and now, we are living with portable phones in our pockets. I watched the entire ‘Twilight Zone’ original series to draw inspiration. Although it was science fiction, what I loved about the series were the moral implications and the characters’ decisions in situations we would never encounter in real life. There’s a lot of the human element involved, as opposed to sci-fi that’s just ray guns and blowing up planets.” Be sure to check out the new album, and catch Black Cobra live “for an evening of hot, animalistic rock ‘n’ roll!”



he aptly titled Dissonants—set to drop Feb. 26 on Rise Records— marks the third full-length release from Australian post-hardcore group Hands Like Houses. “[The title] is a play on the word ‘dissonance,’” says vocalist Trenton Woodley. “The world we live in is more or less loosely controlled anarchy and chaos. We are all individually so different, inconsistent, and complex that it’s impossible to truly know anything outside our own perception. […] If I say ‘I am dissonant,’ I am saying that I coexist within my own freedoms and that of those around me. We are Dissonants.” The early stages of recording Dissonants seemed to go smoothly. “We wrote and recorded ‘I Am’ over five days in the studio with Erik Ron,” explains Woodley. “It was meant to be a standalone single, as a taste and transition into what would come after, as well as a chance to get back into the front of people’s minds after 18 months since [2013’s] Unimagine. But, as we sunk our

teeth into the vibe of the song, the energy, and then saw the amazing response, it felt almost natural to include it on the album as an introduction to the energy and vibe of Dissonants. The line ‘I am dissonant’ was actually a cheeky allusion to the album we’d later announce, so we wanted that term to already be familiar.”

“The pressure, the frustration, and perhaps, even the guilt—justified or not—of not giving ourselves more time to write and prepare, it came out all at once and very nearly broke us.” Unfortunately, due to a packed touring schedule, time and preparation weren’t on Hands Like Houses’ side. “We had a meeting with our manager a week from the end of the studio time,” says Woodley. “He pretty much came out and said exactly

what had been floating around in the back of our minds: the album was sounding great, but it wasn’t ready, and it wasn’t even close. In 2015, we had 10 months of touring and recording booked, all away from home, and to have to sacrifice yet another precious month of time was hard to comprehend. The pressure, the frustration, and perhaps, even the guilt— justified or not—of not giving ourselves more time to write and prepare, it came out all at once and very nearly broke us. There was a point that evening where we ceased to be Hands Like Houses as we knew it. But we agreed to sleep on it, come back in the morning, listen to the songs, and figure out what we could do.” Their plan of action led the Aussie band to reschedule their headlining tour and revisit the studio with a fresh approach. Everything seemed to fall back into place once Hands Like Houses synced up with producer James Wisner. “James is a genius,” Woodley explains. “Recording at 96khz with his very particular signal flow meant

that the whole album has this open, crystal clear dynamic ‘feel,’ while still being in your face and emotionally intimate.” While it may have taken its toll on Woodley and his bandmates, Dissonants seems to have been well worth the work, as Hands Like Houses have taken on a much more positive outlook toward their newly revamped material. Woodley says, “Taking the extra time, pushing the album back, and getting it right over getting it done meant that we were able to walk away knowing we’d made the right call and had an album we could be proud of.” As the album gets ready for release, Hands Like Houses can finally look forward to their headlining tour—rescheduled for October through December of this year—where many of these new tracks will make their live debut.


For more on Hands Like Houses’ Dissonants saga, check out Woodley’s extended interview on!






Former IMMORTAL front-man ABBATH unleashes the fury of a Nordic blizzard at full force with his crushing debut album. 'Abbath' is the black metal album of 2016, and returns him to his rightful place as the face of the genre.

Winter is coming!

on CD, Ltd. CD Digibox, Ltd. Lp, Ltd. Cassette, & digitally.

DESTROYER 666's new manifesto 'Wilddire' is one of 2016's most forceful heavy metal albums. This is epic fucking metal packed with ragers that hunt you down, give no quarter, and leave nothing but ash in their wake.

coming Mar. 11

coming Feb. 12

coming Mar. 25

coming Mar. 25

coming Mar. 25

coming Mar. 11

SKUGGSJA Piece For Mind & Mirror

URGEHAL Aeons In Sodom

ROTTEN SOUND Abuse to Suffer

WORMED Krighsu

NECRONOMICON Advent of The Human God


The epic sound of Norway's Norse history as told by Ivar Bjørnson (ENSLAVED) and Einar Selvik (WARDRUNA).

A misanthropic blast from the Nordic abyss and monument to the origins and purity of True Norwegian Black Metal.

A punishing barrage of hyper-aggressive extremity from the titans of modern grindcore!

'Krighsu' delivers ferocious and technical modern death meta on hyper drive with maximum concussive force.

Lethal symphonic, blackened death metal that demonstrates how truly powerful extreme metal can be.

'A Year With No Summer' is a quiet storm, and establishes the band as a progressive, melodic and expressive hard-rock force.






usically and lyrically, Manic—due out Feb. 26 on Bullet Tooth Records— represents Knockout Kid’s struggle with mental illness. While other members’ struggles with anxiety and depression plays an important part, the core of the music is guitarists Jake Fuerst and Karl Nickolov recent diagnosis of manic depression.

“It’s been a struggle for me and Karl for sure,” Fuerst says of their diagnoses, “but more of a struggle for [drummer] John [Jacobs], [bassist] Nick [Collis], and [vocalist] Wade [Hunt] who have to deal with us when we’re not acting… let’s say, the most appropriate.” Despite the struggle, Fuerst speaks highly of his musical companions, whom he frequently refers to as his best friends. “I’m so glad that the whole band has been such a strong unit through all that,” he says. “It’s easier to deal with those things when you’ve got people on “It wasn’t that we wanted to write a your side who don’t give up.” record about our diagnosis,” Fuerst reveals. “We were just all going To Fuerst, Manic breaks down preconceived through a lot of shit and this came notions about how people should discuss out. The songs all came out really their troubles, but Nickolov says it’s also introspective and had a split feel to about self-discovery. “The truth is that them. Half were really manic and you need to find out who you are, and it’s upbeat, with the other half being a complicated situation that takes years to more subdued and almost depressive. achieve,” he explains. “Find out who you are. We called it Manic because it fit, and Respect it. Control it. If people are relating to we even ended up splitting the record our struggle with finding ourselves, that’s all with the first half being the Manic I’ll ever need.” side and the second being depressive.” “I wouldn’t say this album is us finding ourselves,” Feurst corrects. “More us starting the process of trying to. You’re going to spend your whole life finding yourself, and hopefully, this album helps you begin the process. It’s not that we figured it out. It’s that we’re trying.”


For more personal revelations, check out Knockout Kid’s extended interview on









he technical death metal luminaries in Obscura are back with a stunning new album, Akróasis, out Feb. 5 via the mighty Relapse Records. Metal fiends around the world have waited close to five years to hear new music from these German shred masters, who’ve spent most of their hiatus rebuilding their lineup and preparing the killer new material they’re finally ready to unleash upon the masses. “When we released the previous album, Oblivion, in 2011, we had been on tour for around two and a half years straight,” vocalist and guitarist Steffen Kummerer explains. “Touring around the globe, North America, Central America, in Europe, even in the Middle East, we played in Dubai, in Asia, wherever, […] and there was no way of writing new music at that time. We also had to deal with our day jobs: I was still at the university studying, and also working to pay the rent at home and pay all the bills. Finally, around 2013, 2014, we started to write a new record with the old lineup, but we figured that two of

the guys weren’t very comfortable with the riffs that I came up with and vice versa. Also, our guitarist back then, [Christian Muenzner], had a real hard problem with his left hand. He’s a super talented guy, but he has focal dystonia—some kind of nerve problem—and he was not able to use his middle finger. Playing this technical stuff isn’t very fun with only four fingers.” Although their drummer and lead guitarist’s split with Obscura was amicable, Kummerer laments the prolonged delay this disruption caused in their release schedule. He and remaining bassist, Linus Klausenitzer, were left to rebuild the band and begin work on new material alone. “Of course this cost a lot of time,” Kummerer says. “I would say from summer 2014 on, we worked with what we already had, Linus and myself wrote, like, 15 songs in total.”

The songs they began shaping that summer would morph into Akróasis, the most dynamic and technical record in Obscura’s already dazzling discography. From the opening seven minute assault of “Sermon of the Seven Suns” to the awe inspiring prog tapestry of the title track and the death metal beat-down of “Ode to the Sun,” there’s never a dull or rehashed moment. By the time you reach the epic album closer, “Weltseele,” rife with pummeling time changes and real symphonic string arrangements, you’ll have come one step closer mastering the art of akróasis—Greek for “listening”—yourself. The uncanny performances from Obscura’s new lineup, especially the phenomenal polyrhythmic drum work of new sticksman Sebastian Lanser, were once again captured by longtime producer and friend, V. Santura, at Woodshed Studios in Germany.



Watch out for Akróasis this winter, a stunning blend of technicality, innovation, and a veritable smorgasbord of death metal delights. Of course, would you expect anything else from Obscura?




“V. Santura is actually one of my closest friends, and he was somehow involved in every release we’ve ever done since the first demo,” Kummerer reveals. “When we started to record albums, we always tried to get the most brutal and heavy sound, but I guess we reached that level pretty much on the last album. I was looking for a more natural and organic sound. The brutal stuff is very similar, in my opinion, to the last record, but we improved on the silent parts. When, for example, an acoustic guitar or the orchestra is coming in, we tried to get a little more out of that sound. Everybody was involved somehow to give the musical identity of each member a chance to shine. That’s how I try to get the vibe going and the flow, so that everything sticks together, even if the songs are pretty different.”




or those who are new to Australia’s Deströyer 666, they combine the technicality and speed of Judas Priest and infuse it with second wave era black metal. Although it doesn’t feel like it, it’s been a whole seven years since their full-length. Defiance—which was released in 2009—was very highly acclaimed and served as a turning point in black metal as a whole. To ring in 22 years of slaying the masses, Deströyer 666 will release their new album, Wildfire, on Feb. 26 via Season Of Mist. “I wasn’t in a hurry this time around,” says vocalist and guitarist K.K. Warslut says of writing the new record. “Many of the tracks were skeletons of songs before Defiance was recorded, but they didn’t get the push they needed to get finished. I take much of the blame for that on my own shoulders. I wrote it alone for the most part, and that may have left me too little stress on when it would get finished. I was too busy enjoying life to dedicate fully to sitting around twangin’ my geetar.”


For those who have been patiently awaiting Wildfire, the wait was worth it. The most





ferocious album of Deströyer 666’s career kicks off on a high point with opener, “Traitor,” and refuses to come down. “Unlike previous albums, it’s not a lot of my usual vitriol against the modern world,” says Warslut. “Only two songs require me to dust off my soapbox. One of them is ‘Hounds at Ya Back,’ which deals with the V.L.A.D., [Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Act 2013], laws recently passed in some states in Australia. These laws are one more step on the way to the total surveillance state that’s sweeping the Western world.” The laws mentioned were passed by the Parliament of Queensland to severely punish members of criminal organizations that commit serious offenses. If you’re caught under the applicable offenses, this act mandates a further 15 years imprisonment for members of the organization and 25 years for office bearers. “The track ‘Die You Fucking Pig’ is about decadent religious practices,” Warslut adds. “For the most part, the rest of the album is a

celebration of my lifestyle over the past many years.” As for the recent death of Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister—from whom Deströyer 666 borrow a lot of their rock elements, and possibly their umlaut—Warslut gives the legend his proper due. “I reckon Motörhead is a part of most metalheads’ lives, as it damn well should be,” he says. “Lemmy’s life, times, and attitude were a benchmark of sincerity and honesty in an otherwise intellectually and morally impoverished segment of Western society. He also showed that hedonism does not necessarily make a character depraved. The music and lyrics speak for themselves, and I couldn’t say much more than, ‘Gimme some fuckin’ Motörhead.’”



SIGHTS & SOUNDS IN STORES NOW “Sure to be the best melodic hardcore album you’ll hear all year.”


“There’s something special about Reading’s metal newcomers.”






hey say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and for many, their first impression of The Dirty Nil will be something along the lines of “Holy shit, that’s loud.” The Dundas, Ontario, trio are preparing to release their debut full-length Higher Power via Dine Alone on Feb. 26. It has an appealing density driven by buzzsaw guitars, frenetic compositions, and an overall sense of somewhat calculated chaos. It’s rock ‘n’ roll the way it’s meant to be: loud, fun, a little unpredictable. And according to bassist Dave Nardi, it’s a natural direction for the band. “I think we just took a lot of things to their logical conclusion, and really looked at what we’d done in the past and what we do live, and said, ‘Let’s make the biggest possible version of that,’” he says. “There’s not a whole lot of auxiliary f lourishes, no tambourines, organs, or acoustic guitars padding things out. We made a point of it really just




sounding like the band, but if the band was playing through, like, 200 amplifiers at the same time.” Through headphones, Higher Power’s minimalism allows Nardi’s muscular bass lines to shine, along with guitarist Luke Bentham’s dexterous riffing and Luke Fisher’s thunderous drum fills. Still, it sounds so huge, going in blind, one might think The Dirty Nil are at least a quartet, if not a five piece. “It was just taking care in the guitar and bass tracks and finding the right tones and making sure they were meshing,” Nardi continues. “I used a minimum of two bass amps at a time; for Luke, we used a variety of things, really carving those tones so they sit well with each other. We wanted things to sound big without losing that sharpness—we didn’t just want it to be a cloud of guitar.”

The Dirty Nil’s fiery aesthetic is the byproduct of hard work and professionalism. “At the inception of the band, none of us could really play all that well,” Nardi admits. “I was usually hammered at every show. We were all usually six or seven beers deep for every

recording session, so things were a little slower, a little groovier and shakier. It’s hard to play fast and tight when you’re shitcanned,” he laughs. “I think, as we’ve grown and have been playing together for so long, we’ve all progressed on our instruments. We still like to have fun, but take things a little more seriously live and in the studio now. The environment has

changed and it’s allowed us to play at the level we always wanted to play at. We’re a little more dexterous, can play things a little faster, and it’s not always gonna be a complete train wreck like it would’ve been.” Live is where The Dirty Nil shine and accrue the most fans. It’s sweaty and rowdy and fun. Bentham runs around the stage like a man possessed. The Nil’s next tour is with Creepoid and Restorations, and Nardi is looking forward to being part of such an eclectic bill. “All the bands are still rooted in punk, coming from the same place just doing different things with it,” he says. “I think that’ll be cool. I think the audience will be able to find the common thread with all the bands—I don’t think it’ll be a confusing watch.”


To keep getting down and dirty with The Dirty Nil, check out Nardi’s extended interview on!





egend has it that, in 2013, Bl’ast! guitarist Mike Neider found some old tapes containing an unheard recording session of the 1987 classic It’s In My Blood in an abandoned storage locker. Dave Grohl—in league with Southern Lord Records—remixed, re-mastered, and put his magic on them, resulting in the phenomenal Blood! album. “Remixing Blood! was long deserved and a rare opportunity, especially how it turned out,” says Neider. “[Even after all this time], you never know what the hell will go on with Bl’ast! It’s not an easy thing, but we love to do it!” Perhaps most noteworthy is that the tapes featured current Alice In Chains frontman, William DuVall, on second guitar. “Unbelievable. To hear it evolve like it has and transcend the original release is amazing!” Neider says. “We are stoked [DuVall] is a part of Blood!”

two song EP called For Those Who’ve Graced the Fire—their first new material in over two decades. Neider played guitar and mainstay Clifford Dinsmore handled vocals, while Grohl sat in on drums and Chuck Dukowski of Black Flag sat in on bass. The temporary rhythm section was filling in for new recruits, bassist Nick Oliveri of Kyuss and drummer Joey Castillo of Wasted Youth, who were both busy touring with Queens Of The Stone Age.

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of Bl’ast! was that the music helped bridge together people in the hardcore, punk, skating, and surfing demographics. Persevering the lifestyle of those scenes is part of the reason why Bl’ast! came back. “The [world wide web] has broadened the hype to surf, skate, and jam,” Neider says. “It now has the power to change lives by career, lifestyle, or fulfillment. It always has and always will bring out that positive aggression like no other!” Bl’ast! were also known for their insane shows and parties, which helped them—even after all these years—in negotiating a contract with Rise Records. “Craig [Ericson, owner of Rise Records] attended Bl’ast! parties before we even had a release out,” Neider recalls. “He’s always been a Bl’ast! fan and wanted to release some stuff with us. Rise Records will have three releases out with Bl’ast! by the end of 2016!”

Gaining momentum, Neider has more plans for both new and reimagined Bl’ast! releases in 2016. “It’s getting brutal,” he says. It’s been a whole 27 years since the release of their last full-length, Take the Manic Ride, which is their only album that hasn’t yet gotten the rerelease treatment It’s In My Blood and The Power of Expression have received. “We wanted to release that more than anything else and improve on the quality of the mix,” Neider explains. “We cannot find the original tapes for a remix, and Keep an eye out this year for more new Bl’ast! remastering it wouldn’t be satisfying enough. Live free and destroy! We considered a re-recording of it, but I didn’t Inspired by this new-old release, the gang want to offend the sign of the times. I’m still got together in October of 2015 to release a pondering on what to do with that record.”












The king back wit s of thrash a h a new c re lassic!


ost bands might crank out one truly great, career-defining album in their lifetime… If they’re lucky. Anthrax, however, are not most bands. New York’s esteemed thrash metal representatives in the Big Four compendium—alongside Slayer, Megadeth, and Metallica—already have several certifiable masterpieces under their belts. Now, after some 35 years in the game, the band are set to release their latest masterpiece and 11th studio album, For All Kings, Feb. 26 on Megaforce Records. Where this album sits alongside classics like Among the Living and Persistence of Time is a debate worth having, but anyone with functioning ears will agree that For All Kings is definitely up there with the best of em’. “People are saying that this sounds like classic Anthrax,” bassist Frank Bello says fondly “but new classic Anthrax. It’s really one of our heavier records, I think.” Heavy, infectious, anthemic, sing-in-the-shower ready—you name it, For All Kings has it. The …Kings saga began in 2013, when drummer and song architect, Charlie Benante, began compiling riffs and outlines while recovering from carpal tunnel surgery. “I would make demos and send them to the guys,” he says. “If I send a demo of a tune and everybody has an idea of what it is, when we actually do get together in a room, we’ve already gone from point A to point C or D, so it’s a lot better nowadays, I think. I guess the first time I went to L.A. to work with Scott on it, we just started to play it and arrange it, and it just started to take shape from there.” “The ideas were just flowing and flowing,” says guitarist, lyricist, and unofficial beard leader, Scott Ian. “We came out of that first session with four really great ideas and strong arrangements. Some of that stuff never got messed with again; like, those were the finished songs.

We would get together every six weeks or so, get together again for like three days, and we’d have three or four more things. Seeing each other infrequently, in a sense, kept things fresh.”

album’s second single that’s currently melting the iTunes charts. Of course, you can’t talk about For All Kings’ dazzling performances without mentioning the guitar wizardry of the newest Anthrax recruit, Jonathan Donais of Flash back to 2011: Anthrax had Shadows Fall. “We’ve always been just reconvened with their iconic lucky with guitar players in Anfrontman, Joey Belladonna, for thrax, they’ve all been amazing Worship Music. Only, Belladonna players,” Bello explains. “With was a latecomer to the project— Jon I was so psyched, because which had suffered a series of I’m not usually in the studio false starts and vocalist swaps— when they do leads, but when and was basically a hired gun I got the tracks after to review for the mostly finished album. them, I had to call Jon up to say, That was not the case with For All ‘Dude this is fucking awesome!’” Kings. This time, Anthrax were gifted with a stable—and insane- Frank Bello is not exaggerating ly talented—new lineup. Ian de- here, folks. Everything about For scribes the new album’s creative All Kings is flat out superb. From process by saying, “Going into Jay Ruston’s crisp production to this period of writing without Alex Ross’ uncanny album art— any of the worries or questions easily his best Anthrax collabowe had going into Worship Music, ration to date—and, you know, we could just be Anthrax and get the goddamn amazing songs together and write songs. That and performances, this record freed up our minds; all that brain will go down as one of Anthrax’s space that could be wasted on finest hours. “I really wanted to crap and unnecessary bullshit.” work harder than usual and just make a bunch of tunes that kick Benante concurs, “That helped ass,” Benante says proudly of his me out 100 percent, knowing band’s latest masterwork. “When exactly what it’s going to sound you put the record on and you like in my head. I already heard stare at the album cover, I want these songs with Joey’s voice in that intro to feel like the album mind. Of course, once you ac- cover has come to life and this is tually hear Joey singing these the soundtrack to it.” songs—there were times when the hairs on my arms stood up “There’s never a point where, 20 because I was so happy. There minutes into the album, you get was a lot of excitement during ear fatigue because you’ve heard the making of the record.” the same thing for 20 minutes straight,” Ian explains. “It realSpeaking of excitement, the ener- ly is, for me, the most dynamic gy level on For All Kings is off the album we’ve ever made, and, at freaking charts. Album opener, the same time, it’s the most con“You Gotta Believe,” kicks things textual, because it works so well off in boisterous, fist-pumping together. It’s almost like a concept fashion, while the lead single, record, but it’s not a concept re“Evil Twin,” snaps necks like cord.” you’re back in the Reagan years. The closing how-are-they-still- “At the end of the day, we’re playing-this? barrage of “Zero lucky enough to be playing muTolerance” seals your fate. The sic for a living. We’re humbled longtime musical core of Benante, to still be doing it after all this Bello, and Ian is firing on all cyl- time,” Bello says candidly. “I’m inders, taking cues from their very proud of my band. Everythrash metal roots, but adding body is playing at the top of new pinches of modern brilliance their game. I think we know here and there. Mr. Belladonna’s who we are; we love this music soaring vocals accentuate the al- and you can hear it in the songs.” bum’s many hooks and melodies, especially on the epic titular track and “Breathing Lightning,” the







t’s been over a decade since The Falcon formed in a Chicago diner as an excuse for good friends to make some music together on the side. Red Scare Industries— the label that launched with the release of the band’s 2004 debut EP God Don’t Make No Trash -or- Up Your Ass with Broken Glass—has put out roughly 100 more records in that time, celebrating 10 years in 2014, and coming full circle by reuniting the band to play their weekend long anniversary show. Now, Red Scare is gearing up to release The Falcon’s newest full-length, Gather Up the Chaps, on March 18.

It was friendly chatter that sparked the band, not a premediated attempt at conquering punk with the ultimate Chicago supergroup. “I think it’s kind of silly, I guess,” says co-vocalist and bassist Dan Andriano of the “supergroup” term. “Those kinds of conversations never happen. There’s also an implication that you’re only supposed to be in one band,” he digresses, an idea contrary to his own experience. Andriano splits time between Alkaline Trio, his solo project, Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room, and The Falcon. Other members, co-vocalist and guitarist Brendan Kelly and drummer Neil Hennessy, play together in The Lawrence Arms. Solo artist and singer of the semi-active The Loved Ones, Dave Hause, now fills The Falcon’s second guitar slot.

“It was a little sloppy,” Andriano remembers, but the show reignited their passion.

At its core, The Falcon have always been Kelly, Andriano, and Hennessy, with Todd Mohney— formerly of Rise Against—as their fourth founding member. He left after the first EP, with fill-in guitarists filling his shoes until Hause came onboard for the Red Scare anniversary show. They’re a band of friends that formed to enjoy each other’s company and to release some raucous punk rock at the same time.

The band’s first full-length release was Unicornography in 2006. It was recorded on the sly during stolen studio time that shows through in the lower quality production. “Unicornography was all over the place,” Kelly explains, though it’s still Red Scare’s bestselling record to date. The songwriting varied between absurdism and storytelling, with shout-out punk, hair metal refrains, and ska breakdowns scattered throughout. The kitchen sink approach worked well musically, but the album was thematically scattershot. “The first record we threw together,” Kelly elaborates. “[Gather Up the Chaps] was more meticulously constructed. This is about as primary of a project as any of us have right now.” This dedication is reflected in the excitement he shows while hyping the record.

“The reason The Falcon started in the first place was because Todd is such a rad player,” Kelly reminisces. “All I wanted in my life was to be onstage with him.” That dream didn’t actually happen, with Mohney departing before The Falcon played a single show, but it forged a new musical relationship. The core members are all close friends, but they’re also spread out across the country, making it a challenge to get the three remaining members to Chicago for the 2014 show. They didn’t want to do it without another guitarist. “I sent out an open casting call on Twitter,” says Kelly, and Dave Hause replied. The rest, as they say, is history.




“Dave playing that show was really the inspiration for this record,” says Kelly, who began sending the other members demos of new material after the show. With Kelly in Chicago, Andriano in Florida, and Hennessy and Hause in California, it was piecemeal but manageable, and the timing fit perfectly between their other projects. The Falcon fleshed out Gather Up the Chaps via email and studio sessions, with Kelly and Hennessy laying down tracks that were later filled out by Hause and Andriano. Though working collaboratively, Andriano and Hause were still never in a room together—which is the nature of the band’s sound as well.

wUnicornography’s stray arrows have hit target on Gather Up the Chaps. “This album is sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll,” Kelly says. That sounds cliché on the surface, but Kelly writes from experience. “I’ve grown up living in vans since I was a kid,” he says. “I’ve been doing it longer than I’ve been not doing

it.” He started with Andriano at his side as teenagers in ‘90s skapunk band Slapstick. Life on the road means new beginnings, he says. “It’s a great way [to] convince yourself to keep doing the same nonsense over and over again.” The theme of the new record. To use his words, this is “dick-swinging rock,” but with brooding lyrical lament. “It’s the same fucking bad mistakes, the same great ideas,” night after night and city after city. It’s not self-reflective in the vein of The Lawrence Arms, but explores overindulgence from a spur of the moment perspective. For a band who started as a “trashy punk rock version of Skid Row,” it makes sense that 10 years later, it’s still a battle between party and wellbeing. Where Unicornography was goofy and fun, Gather Up the Chaps’ lyrics are bleak. “Mostly that’s Brendan,” explains Andriano. “It’s a little darker and a little sad,” he adds, addressing how some cope with their problems by burying them under barnburner punk tunes. “Toby said this is the kind of record you have to hide from your parents,” Kelly explains, referencing Red Scare head Toby Jeg. It’s revelry and despair, or as Kelly puts it: “pervy.” “The songs are all pretty smutty,” Jeg confirms. “One of them is called ‘You Dumb Dildos,’ and that’s not even one of Brendan’s tunes. Dan wrote that… Dan’s the normal one.” While Kelly is behind much of the record, both Andriano and Hause contributed songs too. Their voices are unmistakable and—perhaps beneficially for Kelly—will focus some of the critical dialogue on comparisons to Alkaline Trio and The Loved Ones instead of the tired Metropole references. Hause’s triumphant whoa-ohs will undoubtedly remind listeners of his other work, but the context is pure Falcon.

Gather Up the Chaps’ general sound continues where Unicornography left off. It’s bullet speed punk, averaging two minutes per song, each its own musical hodgepodge of acoustic ska breakdowns, singalong choruses, straight-up country, and psychedelic flourishes that complement the energy as overlapping indulgences. In the same way The Falcon brought four friends together to play music, the record brings different genres together into a melodic fury of trashed out punk. With 10 years between records, Kelly set a high bar for his work. “I have to push through all the garbage to get to the that’s really good,” he says. Gather Up the Chaps is the result of intense songwriting sessions where he’d put 12 to 15 ideas down per day. “Once you get super frustrated, you start letting your mind go,” he says. “The next thing you know, you’re writing about taking horses to the glue factory, because you want to get high and sniff some glue.” This is not a throwaway quote, but the inspiration behind “Glue Factory.” Today’s Falcon is more real, ready to get in the van and leg it out. With The Lawrence Arms, Alkaline Trio, and Hause’s solo work all taking some downtime, everything has aligned for The Falcon to take flight. This band formed by friends as an excuse to spend more time together will finally get into the same van. 20 years after teenage Kelly and Andriano drove across the Midwest in Slapstick, they will return to their roots of trekking endless highways, hoisting too many beers mid song, and spending valuable time reconvening with old familiar faces. “It reminds me of the things I initially liked about touring in the first place,” Andriano says. Key among them: hanging out, playing music, and, most likely, testing the levels of overindulgence as they push into their 40s without regret.





he Southern California punk rock philosophers in Ghostlimb are back after nearly four years of silence with Difficult Loves, the band’s fifth full-length album due Feb. 5 on Vitriol Records. The project is the brainchild of Justin Smith, Vitriol Records ringleader and guitar slinger of Graf Orlock and Dangers fame/infamy. Renowned for mixing blistering hardcore with introspective, yet toe tapping punk rock, Ghostlimb’s sound is a Molotov cocktail of punk and metal’s best qualities exploding out of your headphones… which made the four year gap between Difficult Loves and their last album, Confluence, that much more excruciating.


“We weren’t being lazy,” Smith laughs. “Originally, there was a plan to do a split 7” [with French band, Birds In Row]—with one long song for each band—following Confluence. For me, writing longer songs is a challenge, so we spent some time on that, and then, shifted to working on the album as a whole. That eventually fell through, but the longer [song] became the thematic title track on this record. The title is originally from an Italo Calvino book. It is a series of stories about normal people dealing with communication and their commitment to one another. This translates into how we all grow up, the things we choose to commit ourselves to, and how hard it is sometimes to stick to those things when you are dealing with not only theory, but practice. In this way, it is a discussion of youth, being the shitty kid you grew up with who routinely got you arrested, but also how we eventually come out of it unscathed, hopefully having learned something remotely useful.”



This theme of maturity that running throughout Difficult Loves is reflected in the band’s own artistic growth. “Musically, this is more of a broadened look at our sound,” Smith explains, “trying to make

it as melodic as we could, but still as heavy as possible.” Bangers like the album’s first single, “Treason Fluently,” proves that Ghostlimb can still crack heads with the best of them, while songs like “Wall of Books” and closing track, “Life’s Blood,” demonstrate a refined level of songwriting that the band have only hinted at previously. “Ghostlimb stuff comes about from things I think would be too melodic,” Smith says. “Then, I try to reign it in somewhat. The abilities of [drummer] Alex McLeod are phenomenal. There is no real conversation about it, he just gets it and it clicks, and the accents and nuances develop over time.” “The band started 10 years ago, about a year or so after Graf Orlock started,” he continues. “At the time, I wanted it to not just sound like that, but to reflect the more melodic bands I grew up listening to plus metal that I grew up playing. When the band first started, I was really into the mentality of having a 45 second song do everything it needs to do and then fleeing the building, but over time, I came to appreciate the fluidity of something that has time to progress. ‘Wall of Books’ was a simple bridge riff that [bassist] Neal [Paul Sharma] had written and sent me, and it seemed totally fitting to our shared love of things like Leatherface, that style of rock. ‘Life’s Blood,’ in similar terms, is the other direction, more opened up: less hammer in the face, more kick in the kidney.” Difficult Loves is Ghostlimb at their finest. Pummeling and thoughtprovoking punk, meant to inspire and bludgeon listeners at the same time. “We took our time and worked on this one, and I am supremely happy with it,” Smith gushes. “I feel it represents what we have been trying to do from day one in the best light we could muster.”



n a world… where the music industry is slowly collapsing in on itself… and Hollywood’s idea of an “action movie” is trotting out bloated, botoxed actors with skin the color and texture of a rotten sweet potato to act out the same generic storyline over and over… stand one band who refuse to submit to the tyranny of the New Entertainment World Order… Los Angeles grindcore masters and action movie aficionados, Graf Orlock. They were once the world’s finest purveyors of grindcore madness riddled with quotes from their favorite action flicks, but now, the tables have turned… Coming to a record store near you on Feb. 5 via Vitriol Records, it’s Crime Traveler, the tale of a band at the very peak of their ambition who thwarted the evil studio system by writing, directing, and starring in an action movie of their very own. These rebels put it all on the line, incorporating quotes from their own movie into their own record. “There has been an overall theme of the band, with cinema and whatnot, over the last 10 years and it only made sense that eventually we would make our own film and sample it within the record,” states vocalist, guitarist, director, and actor Jason Schmidt. “In the heyday of ‘80s and ‘90s action movies, they always identified some errant ‘other’ that was the target of

those films, whether it be the Soviet Union or economic equality in other Reagan era movies. Anyways, the story is that Canada is a protagonist against the United States, dealing with time travel, and in this case, we took their side.” Graf Orlock thought they had the whole thing figured out, but soon, unforeseen conflict arose and shit got crazy. “The whole process took the better part of a year and was agonizingly slow,” Schmidt explains. “It was rewrite and process, getting people in to help, and then shooting in some international locations. I almost smashed my head through a plate glass window with rage a few times in the process and [co-vocalist] Karl Bournze and I had several altercations, one of which led to his hospitalization in UCI Medical Center with a broken sternum [and] ribs. He is fine now and we never stopped being friends—that’s love.” The weary grindmasters set out with one goal in mind—ultimate domination of their craft—but along the way, they learned the true definition of teamwork. “Working on an album is entirely insular. You can do that with two people or four or by yourself,” Schmidt says. “There is no way to do that with film; there has to be participation across the board from a number of different people. Not that every action is effective, but you have to rely on a group. This in itself brings frustration, but ultimately, it is fun

getting things done and being productive. For the most part, the same group of us have worked together in different permutations for the last decade or so, so things go smoothly. This is the first time we worked on visuals outside of record layouts, so it was a learning process.” Despite venturing behind enemy lines in foreign creative territory, these brave souls found a way to overcome the odds. In the end, their dedication and perseverance led them to sweet, delicious victory. “[The samples] developed organically, first with vignettes that represented parts of the film and then tying together an overarching script,” Schmidt elaborates. “It then made sense that certain things that met the sample criteria stood out: something offensive, violent, or ridiculous. From there, we made sure—at least to some extent— that it kind of made sense. I suppose people will be confused, but that is something we are used to dealing with. The grand scheme was to just

finish our own storyline, and then, apply the way we had previously written songs with other films’ samples. Somehow it worked, and I am stoked on the outcome.” From the band who brought you Crime Traveler: the album—which comes packaged in Crime Traveler: the newspaper—now comes “Crime Traveler”: the movie! “The movie is in post-production, and we are just waiting to go on tour to release it,” Schmidt advertises, “which will probably be in summer when we have a European tour planned with my other band Ghostlimb. This thing is as moronic as they come, let me tell you. The layout references and explains all of the ‘nuances’ of the plot. So, I imagine when people see this thing, the 12 pages of content will be a journey into the mind of maladjusted idiots.” This February… travel into the twisted minds of these maladjusted idiots with Crime Traveler! Don’t hesitate… tomorrow is already too late!















fter 30 plus years of rattling heads and shredding faces around the globe, the metal titans in Megadeth have amassed quite the legacy. The brainchild/revenge machine of legendary axeman, Mr. Dave Mustaine, Megadeth stood tall during the 1980s as the sharpest players in the thrash scene’s hallowed Big Four compendium—alongside the mighty Anthrax, Slayer, and Metallica—racked up platinum album sales in the ‘90s, and have spent the new millennium inspiring the next generation of longhairs to spider chord their hearts out in garages and practice spaces worldwide. Now, on Jan. 22, Megadeth are set to unleash their 15th studio album, Dystopia, via Universal Music Enterprises, and unveil their stellar new all-star lineup.

the band—that Mustaine was forced to rebuild half of his team from scratch. “When Shawn and Chris parted ways with us, it was because they had heard that people were hoping to get the Rust In Peace lineup back together and you know, I don’t blame them for leaving. I totally wish them well with their new band, because they’re great guys,” Mustaine says candidly. “The whole thing with the Rust In Peace reunion, it wasn’t meant to be,” he reveals of the incident that left the Megadeth ringleader and longtime bassist—and second Dave in command—David Ellefson in a lurch.

“Who really fits the Megadeth mold?” was the question Mustaine faced when tasked with finding new bandmates. “There’s not a lot of guys like me left in the business,” he says. “There’s [Anthrax’s] Scott [Ian], there’s [Metallica’s] James [Hetfield], there’s [Slayer’s] Kerry [King], and [Exodus’] Gary Holt, guys from that generation of playing.” This exciting chapter in the sto- Despite this shortage of bonaried Megadeth saga actually be- fide living legends on call, Musgan in the winter of 2014. It was taine wound up recruiting two then—when longtime Megadeth of planet Earth’s top players into guitarist Chris Broderick and the fold—Angra guitarist Kiko drummer Shawn Drover an- Loureiro and Lamb Of God skin nounced their departure from basher Chris Adler—reaffirming

Megadeth’s longstanding tradi- ier moments like “Poisonous tional of guaranteed, world class Shadows,” a haunting ballad with musicianship. hooks, some shred, and some gorgeous piano playing. “We had With the Deth machine fully a bunch of different ideas and we staffed once again, Mustaine and wanted to make sure that they co. could finally get started on worked together,” Mustaine says. recording the beast that would “A lot of people when they do become Dystopia. Taking a cue songs like that go way overboard from the band’s thrash metal with production and shit, so we roots, Dystopia finds Megadeth tried to keep it to a minimum. I dishing out some of their most know a lot of people get into these lethal tunes and tightest perfor- fancy ass studios and use these mances in years. From the buzz- giant speakers, but how many saw riffs featured on the opening of us really have those at home, song, “The Threat Is Real,” to right? I try to keep it real and use the out of this world guitar har- regular headphones when I mix, monies of the album’s title track you know? I think that helps you. and the unstoppable double bass When you talk about hearing drum assault on “Fatal Illusion,” every note? For me, when I lisDystopia packs enough firepower ten with headphones, it’s like I’m to impress even the most fervent there. When I play guitar, I want thrash metal purists. It serves as a you to almost feel like you’re bold declaration that the world’s playing guitar.” state of the art speed metal band is back in business… And busi- Rest assured, Dave, maximum ness is good. air-guitar will be achieved once Dystopia hits shelves this January. Produced by Mustaine and studio wizard Chris Rakestraw in Nashville, Dystopia not only feaFor more explosive insight into tures some of the gnarliest MegaMegadeth’s heavy artillery, head deth tunes in recent memory, but to for the the record boasts pristine clarity extended interview! behind every note as well. There’s plenty of breathing room between the booming fist-pumping anthems and the album’s mood-





Known as the hardest working man in metal today, Devin Townsend is admired by people across the globe for his prolific and high quality releases. He has amassed perhaps the biggest catalog of music in metal today, with 22 studio records, countless EPs and compilations, and the myriad boxsets, blu-rays, and live albums that fans clamor for.


bviouser—his bass-driven project—is one that’s been getting some love lately. “It’s turned out to be one of the harder things to get into than I anticipated,” states Townsend. “It’s heavily influenced by Godflesh; it’s that kind of vibe. Once I get the right personnel, it will rear its head.” Townsend is a man filled to the very brim with ideas, whether they’re full-on concept albums, playing entire albums front to back like By A Thread: Live in London 2011, which featured him playing four albums in four nights, or even producing for other bands like Darkest Hour and Misery Signals. His workaholic tendencies show up on the Devin Townsend Project album he’s currently recording,






entitled Transcendence. “Being that this is a younger band, the risk I run with this project is keeping up with what’s new and hip today,” he says. “I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past couple months analyzing what my musical talents are and what I bring to the table for this next album. So far, it’s very dramatic; I think it has a unique sense of power. It’s definitely a step up from Epicloud, which was more of an experiment for me.”

The concept of the new album leaves a door open for it to be one of the man’s most personal records to date. “The theme that seems to keep coming up in my own personal world is getting over it. Needing to let go of the fears, of the obsession, this need to make everyone happy with what I do.” It’s when he thinks outside of the box that his immeasurable talent really becomes apparent. Out now on Inside Out Music is the re-release of his country/blues rock project’s self-titled debut, Casualties Of Cool, on which he partners with the amazing Ché Aimee Dorval. “We’ve only played three shows ever for this project; the second show is the one included on the DVD,” Townsend explains. “I filmed that show in case we didn’t get a chance to tour or play more shows, to show people what we’re going for. […] If things worked out, I wouldn’t mind splitting up my time with [Devin Townsend Project] to spend more on [Casualties Of Cool].” On top of all that, he has an autobiography coming out called “Only Half There,” and in true Townsend fashion, it will contain an acoustic EP featuring various songs spanning his career. “I spent a little over a year writing it,” he reveals. “The status of it right now is it’s with the proofreaders, it’s all written. […] If people want the Motley Crüe stuff, there are enough books about that out there for them. Not exactly the thrilling exposé you would expect.” “The whole point of what I do is I’m not trying to be empty. I’m not trying to be provocative or trying to say I’m fundamentally different from anybody else,” Townsend concludes. “The things I’m more interested in are the things we’re all connected to and the things we all know.”


For more from the hardest working man in metal, head to to read the full interview!





“To be honest, Saboteur is the record I’ve been wanting to make for years,” proclaims vocalist and guitarist Alex Estrada of Silver Snakes’ new album, out Feb. 5 via Evil Ink Records. “This is the record I wanted to make even before [2014’s] Year of the Snake. I don’t know if I didn’t have the confidence to do it, I didn’t have the skills, the drive to do it, but it just didn’t come together at the time.” Saboteur even includes one song Estrada had written before all the material for Year of the Snake came together, “Charmer.” “It wasn’t like anything I’d ever written before; it wasn’t like anything I’d heard before, so it got pushed off to the side [until] this record started coming together with the experimental aspects of the music, whether it be the samples, the industrial elements.” Not only are there grand musical ideas on Saboteur, it is also wide in its lyrical breadth and subject matter. The lyrical theme—as one might imagine—is sabotage. Estrada doesn’t elaborate too much because he has “a very specific story for myself of what it means,” but he will say that the whole record starts from the initial spark of the idea to sabotage someone

else, and ends with the consequences of that decision. The album closes with one of the record’s finest offerings, the epic eight minute “The Loss.” This song hints at the flamenco music Estrada was listening to for rhythmic inspiration while writing. “I grew up around a lot of Spanish and Mexican culture; my mom was a dancer, my dad’s a musician, and I’ve always loved flamenco music,” he explains. One thing that stood out to him was “palmas,” flamenco clapping patterns, which appear during the final moments of “The Loss” and bring the whole album to a powerful conclusion. Along with a new sound, the L.A. based band also found a new label, Coheed And Cambria’s Evil Ink. “One of the first labels we sent [Saboteur] to was Evil Ink,” says Estrada. “We’d played with Coheed And Cambria once a few years ago, and to date, it was one of the best shows we ever played.” After the album is released, Silver Snakes will be on tour in February and March with Coheed and Glassjaw, hitting some big venues, including NYC’s Madison Square Garden.

Before that big tour, the band signed on to play a residency at Silverlake Lounge, performing at the small dive bar every Monday for four weeks, beginning Jan. 11. Each night, they have different supporting bands and play different chunks of the album. Estrada explains, “We tour more than we play locally, so this is an opportunity for us to get back into the local scene and, at the same time, practice for all the big touring plans we have coming up.” The band’s manager suggested a residency a couple years ago, but Estrada was initially averse to the idea. “We had this weird chip on our shoulder for a long time,” he explains. “Coming out of hardcore and punk bands, we thought it was cheesy. But, as the years have gone by, we’ve shifted into something that more people would refer to as alternative or that kind of ‘90s sound.” They’ve come to terms, he concedes, that they’re not a hardcore or punk band, even though they still embody some aspects of the genre. “As far as the music we’re making, we want to reach a mainstream audience,” Estrada concludes.







iven their not-so-amicable split in 2009—stemming in part from a lawsuit filed between members—the chance of the Violent Femmes ever getting back together once seemed to lie somewhere between Guns ‘N Roses and The Smiths on the likelihood-of-a-reunion scale. While The Smiths’ reunification is still as likely as Morrissey going hunting with Ted Nugent, GNR mended fences, and now, so have Femmes vocalist and guitarist Gordon Gano and bassist Brian Ritchie, moving from playing the occasional festival show in 2013 and 2014 to a full summer tour last year. As it turns out, they spent some of that same summer recording tracks for We Can Do Anything, their first full-length in 15 years, which will drop March 4 via [PIAS] America. So, why now? “Well, it was the right time, because it was the time we were able to do it,” says Gano. “Now, that can sound cryptic or stupid or both, but it’s been many years—so, why now? The differences that Brian Ritchie and I have had are at a point where we were able to come together and do the music—which is what we do well.”

and that predates the lawsuit. […] Even when we started playing together, we had completely different ideas about how we would record, how we would like to approach things, and finally, it got to a place where we could accommodate each other and record in a manner we are both able to be OK with. I know I’m very happy with the results, and I’m quite sure he is too.” As they should be. We Can Do Anything is just as strong as any of the Violent Femmes’ classics. (Their 1983 self-titled debut should be issued to every teenager the first time they roll their eyes at an authority figure.) This latest offering is 10 songs of strippeddown acoustic punk that flow seamlessly from start to finish, even though many of the songs date back decades. “This project was completely different in that I went back into my massive amounts of cassette tapes, every song, every musical idea going

back decades,” Gano says. “That was a rediscovering of an amazing amount of material, so a lot of songs came from that.” Some go back at least 25 years with more recent tracks sprinkled in between. “Foothills” and “Holy Ghost” were both written alongside the team of Sam Hollander and Dave Katz, while “Issues” was co-written by Gano, Hollander, and Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin. There is also a cover of “What You Really Mean,” originally written by Gano’s sister, folk singer-songwriter/ and artist Cynthia Gayneau. “We got along great. The whole experience was just tremendous,” Gano says. “It was a fun, challenging experience, and I’m very happy with the results.” Drummer Brian Viglione left shortly after the album was recorded, but the band didn’t have to go far to find a replacement. John Sparrow—

who’s been playing with the Violent Femmes on various instruments for years—will be taking over the drum throne when they head out on their next tour. While the Femmes have dates in Australia and New Zealand lined up for this spring—with a likely U.S. tour to follow—Gano has a number of other projects on tap as well, including work on two musicals. “One is based on music from the catalog of Violent Femmes songs and other songs that I’ve written that most people wouldn’t know,” he says. “[The other] is very preliminary, so I don’t have many details—I’m writing new music for a new musical and project. That’s something that interests me greatly as well, writing new music for something with a different focus.”


“Everything else we don’t do well,” he adds. The two acknowledge that they had a pretty rocky relationship to patch, culminating in the 2007 lawsuit Ritchie filed seeking half ownership of Violent Femmes’ music and access to royalty accounting. “We had different views, even before the lawsuit,” Gano says. “He didn’t want to record any new material of mine






INTERVIEW WITH VOCALIST LUKE PATE BY TYLER GIBSON The music of Florida’s Frameworks is not immediately identifiable with the traditional “Gainesville sound,” but the city has still made an indelible mark on the eclectic punk four piece. “I grew up to [Against Me!’s] Reinventing Axl Rose and [Hot Water Music’s] Caution. [I had] them permanently on my 512MB MP3 player throughout high school,” recalls vocalist Luke Pate. “The Fest’s artist page was how I found new bands.” “Gainesville always seemed to instill this DIY mentality without [us] noticing,” he continues. “It occurred to me on my first tour when a poorly attended show’s payout was split between the touring bands and the locals. That might not universally

be considered wrong, whereas in Gainesville, that sort of thing is taboo. That kind of ethic has always been [identifiable], even if the traditional ‘Gainesville sound’ hasn’t. Though, bands like I Hate Myself and Assholeparade will always have a huge impact on us musically.” Frameworks formed in 2011, and from their first EP, Every Day Is the Same, it was clear they were unsatisfied with easy categorization. Their heartfelt yet furious marriage of melodic hardcore, post-hardcore, and—yes, deal with it—screamo had progressed even further by the time 2013’s Small Victories EP dropped on 13th Floor Records. It finally gave way to full-fledged musical adulthood on their critically acclaimed debut LP, Loom, for Topshelf Records in 2014. A band’s first full-length is a huge deal, and the moodier, more measured




Loom was received with a lot of positivity, but Pate remains relatively stoic about the possibility of future fanfare. “We’re very optimistic,” he says, referring to their forthcoming new material’s potential to blow up. “Loom was written and recorded in a very narrow amount of time by design, whereas the new material was very crafted and refined,” he elaborates. “There were a few months off after Loom, but immediately, we went back into writing at our own pace.” The product of that writing is Frameworks’ highly anticipated Feb. 5 Topshelf release, Time Spent. The two song 7”—which features a title track and one more called “Worn Out”—is satisfying despite its brevity, and hopefully teases more material yet to come. In the meantime, “Time Spent”—which was pre-released as a single—has grabbed everyone by the throat and reminded them that emotional hardcore is still relevant.

Has the reaction made Pate and the rest of Frameworks even more excited to get new material out? “We’re still as thrilled as we’ve always been,” he says. “It’s just a different shade of excitement to see someone you don’t know excited about your music.” After supporting From Autumn To Ashes and I The Mighty on a few West Coast dates in late January, Frameworks are poised to head out on the road again this spring. Their East Coast tour will last from Feb. 26 until early March, and will feature their labelmates and “friends in Donovan Wolfington.” Pate adds that touring with the New Orleans four piece is “always a blast.” What the future holds beyond that is still unclear, but one thing is for sure: fans are hungry for more Frameworks.



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Swedish Viking metal marauders Amon Amarth are back in 2016 with their 10th full-length album. Yes, it’s about Vikings. In fact, it’s called Jòmsviking, and it’s out March 25 on Metal Blade Records.


urprisingly, though the band is steeped in conceptual music making—just about all of their songs are about Vikings, after all, plus “Amon Amarth” is an Elvish word for Mount Doom in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” and their album covers are filled with swords, fantasy creatures, and barbaric figures in battle—Jòmsviking is the band’s first concept album. “The Jòmsviking were a shadowy and legendary sect of Viking mercenaries, as shrouded in myth now as they were when they fought across Europe and the Middle East,” vocalist Johan Hegg explains. “Ruthless and deadly warriors who fought for the highest bidder, their code was simple: ‘Show no fear. Never retreat. Defend your brothers, and when called upon, avenge their deaths.’” This intense story is perfect for Amon Amarth and their particular brand of catchy yet vicious melodic death metal. While Hegg says he the band used the history of the Jòmsviking as the jumping off point for the album, it also features its own narrative. “The Jòmsviking and their world is the background for the story of a young man who is in love with a girl, but unfortunately, she’s being married off,” he says. “He accidentally kills a man when this happens and he has to flee—but he swears to have revenge and win her back. He can’t let go of the past. He feels that he’s been wronged and his life has been destroyed. The way the story evolves is not a happy story.” If that’s the concept, what’s the music like? While recording 2013’s Deceiver of the Gods— their highest charting album to date—the band said they were going for a more aggressive sound and more of a live feeling. For Jòmsviking, Hegg says their aim was to write music that fit the story, a different challenge altogether. “We had to think more about how the lyrics correspond with the music, and if you ask me, I think we did very well,” he says. “The trickiest part, I guess, was to write the music and lyrics so that they work together as a concept, but can stand alone as well. I think we succeeded.”

There were other changes to Amon Amarth’s tried and true process this time around. After releasing Deceiver of the Gods, the band parted ways with longtime drummer Fredrik Andersson. Tobias Gustafsson—who formerly played with Vomitory—jumped onboard as a guest session drummer to help the band tell the tragic tale of love and revenge contained in Jòmsviking. However, not everything changed: the album was produced and mixed by Andy Sneap, who also helmed Deceiver… and has worked with everyone from Megadeth and Testament to Accept. Amon Amarth notably opened up their sound on Deceiver…, incorporating more thrash and even some anthemic, almost classic rock-ready riffs. When asked if that trend continued with Jòmsviking, Hegg says, “This may be a better question for Olavi [Mikkonen] and Johan Söderberg,” since the two guitarists write most of the music, “and it’s their influences that shine through.” In Hegg’s opinion, those influences have always been there. “It’s just a question of how prominent they’ve been,” he says. If you’re at all worried that Amon Amarth might have felt pressure to top the commercial success of Deceiver…, don’t be. For one thing, Jòmsviking is a concept album about a sect of mercenary Vikings—hardly the maneuver a band makes if they’re going for pop stardom. But if that doesn’t mollify you, let Hegg put your mind at ease: “We never wrote music for anyone else but ourselves, and we have never thought in terms of chart entries when writing albums.” “Our biggest challenge is always to impress ourselves with what we’ve achieved,” he concludes. “Same story this time, but this album also posed a different challenge for us. We’ve never written a concept album before, and it was interesting and hard work to complete the concept and make the music and lyrics work together as a whole.”


Mead, beard rings, runestones, & more!

Johan Hegg is best known as the voice of Swedish death metal kings Amon Amarth. In 2014, Hegg partnered with Grimfrost, a company dedicated to making and selling the highest quality Viking reproductions on the market, ranging from simple pendants to unique high-end axes. Grimfrost’s goal is met through a combination of scholarly knowledge, expert crafting skills, and a lifelong connection to Viking culture. Hegg says,  “We offer more than just products for sale. We like to think that we offer a lifestyle to the modern Viking. Here in Sweden, home of the Vi-

kings, signs from our forefathers are visible everywhere. There are literally hundreds of runestones, burial mounds, and other ancient Viking sites in our midst. We are not able to share our wilderness or all the relics of old around the world, but we can try to pass on how our past and surroundings influence us in our lives as modern-day Vikings. Perhaps too it can inspire others in their own quest for how life should be led.” To get a Mjölnir amulet or some lingonberry mead of your very own, head to! - Shawn “Chaos” Gillingham







agrudergrind started in 2002. Their caustic blend of grindcore and powerviolence ravaged eardrums through 2009 with a few splits and the one-two punch of 2007’s Six Weeks release, Rehashed, and 2009’s Magrudergrind via grind label champs, Willowtip. Magrudergrind’s core combo of guitarist R.J. Ober and vocalist Avi Kulawy moved to Brooklyn from D.C. and added new drummer Casey Moore two years ago. His baptism into this metallic monster was a show with L.A. grindcore heroes, Despise You. Magrudergrind is now perched to unleash a new album on Feb. 12 via Relapse records, simply named II. Moore explains how his initial time in the band was spent honing their new dynamic. “The first six months we were getting our set tight,” he says. “We did shows. We did a tour of South America and Mexico. The shows were all nuts. We would go from playing a good sized club in Sao Paolo that fits 2000 people to the back of a bodega the next night. That tour was an amazing, eye-opening experience that I was lucky to have done. Punk allows people to be in some far-flung part of the




globe, and have an immediate shorthand with some 25 year old kid in Lima, Peru, or God knows where and just talk about Discharge.” The next stage of Moore’s fusion with Magrudergrind was writing new songs in their Brooklyn practice space. “R.J. and I were going to the practice space, working out riffs he already had and new ones,” he explains. “Then, Avi would come in with riffs. We took our time. There wasn’t a real deadline until we gave ourselves one,” he says. That deadline was defined by producer Kurt Ballou having time in his imposing schedule. The band was scheduled during 2015’s recordbreakingly cold New England winter. Ballou’s GodCity is in Salem, Mass., and Magrudergrind were held captive by nature’s whims for five days in February. “It was a blizzard the entire time,” Moore recalls. “We were holed up there, forced to focus on the record we were making. Your normal life is on hold because there’s 80 feet of snow.” Moore relished the chance to spend time meticulously combing through the band’s spastic spurts of calculated noise. “It’s weird to think that a genre that fills the room so intensely is so detail

oriented,” he muses. “We spend a lot of time in the studio on those details. We analyze parts to death.” Moore appreciated Ballou’s persistence and demeanor: “Kurt is rather chill. They prepped me that he was going to work me. Kurt just worked us in a diplomatic way, without being a dick. […] He got the best take out of me each time.” Another master of his craft, Brad Boatright, mastered II and Moore felt a surge. “It was awesome,” he says. “We listened so closely during the tracking, and it did sound really good. When it came back, it popped. It became clear that it was our record, like a lightbulb went on. It was obvious it was done.” 2016 sees Magrudergrind attack stages. Moore runs down the itinerary: “We have the record released on Feb. 12. Then, our first tour starts at MDF in Tilbords, Norway. That show kicks off a five week European tour. Then, we come home before our U.S. tour. We also have tours in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Africa. Three quarters of 2016 are filled. We are proud of this record, can’t wait to share it.”





ittsburgh, Pa., doom and thrash hybrid Dream Death sound as menacing on record as their oppressive name suggests. Dissemination will find the crucial ‘80s band—which re-formed just a few years ago—rising up from a purgatory of rusting American dreams to knock out a grand slam for Rise Above Records on March 4. “I think it’s our strongest material ever, but, of course, every band says that,” vocalist and guitarist Brian Lawrence says. “At the very least, I hope that our fans aren’t disappointed.”


From a creepy music box-esque sample over a narration about death to the commanding shout of “Take your place at the back of the line” that opens the record, there is a lot of mood bolstering these heavy, socially relevant tunes. “I went to visit [drummer] Mike [Smail] one day and he played me this cassette tape that he had,” Lawrence explains. “It was actually an old recording that his dad had, a type of relaxation method to deal with stress. […] We were almost laughing at how perfect it fit the mood of the album. We started calling this guy Dr. DD, and his words taken out of context do indeed play on the death theme of the album, particularly ‘In Perpetuum.’” Dream Death wanted to express how humanity thinks they are in control of their lives, but the feeling is often the result of those in power selling “free will” as a way to maintain power. Smail made sure to push Lawrence to write lyrics that communicated that feeling of complete control over the hopeful masses. “He also mentioned about people becoming prisoners, in a sense, by way of their own actions,” Lawrence adds. Pittsburgh has awesome love for extreme bands—shout out to Slaves B.C.—and their scene seems to ignore the trends in favor of survival. “Although small, the scene is alive and well here in the Burgh!” says Smail. “[We’re] rather like a small family where everyone knows most everyone else. I’m not sure how much we represent the current scene, as we haven’t played—except for a couple of spread out show—in quite some time, but it’s cool to be able to be a part of that same spirit all these years later. It’s nice to still be held relevant now after so many years of just being swept under the rug. It’s making all that work finally seem to be paying off.” Rise Above Records head, Lee Dorian, is a legend, having founded Cathedral and now fronting With The Dead. How did it feel for Dream Death to get the cosmic doom priest’s stamp of approval? “Very cool. We appreciate the fact that he gets what we’re doing,” Lawrence says. “I’ve actually never met Lee in person, but he seems like a stand-up guy. When Cathedral first came out, it was like, ‘Uh-oh, better up our game.’ The riffs and guitar sounds were fantastic. They really injected some new life into the doom scene.” “It’s always nice to have some validation to your work,” Smail adds. “I’m glad [Dorrian] saw fit to release our new record and am grateful for his help in this.” A big highlight of Dissemination is “Expendable Blood Flow,” a grim-as-fuck onslaught. It feels like an aural horror movie filtered through the Bermuda Triangle with the social commentary of old D.R.I. and punk vocals. “That song is the product of a highly detailed dream I had not long ago,” says Lawrence. “I was informed that my physical body had died yet my thoughts lived on. […] When I awoke, I thought that, as crazy as that seems, it’s not all too far from the realm of possibility. If our behaviors, but perhaps not our actual thoughts, were captured in the computer realm and every virtual decision was based on the decisions that we made in reality, then how is that really different from living?”




he new Church Of Misery record, …And Then There Were None—out March 4 via Rise Above Records—is really something. “The Hell Benders (The Bender Family)” is possibly the best album opener since “Incense for the Damned” from Electric Wizard’s Time to Die in 2014. An ominous sample, an almost funky little groove, and then, pure doom! The guitar sounds huge! Welcome to a new splatter platter from Japan’s long-running serial killer-themed sludge vets. While bassist Tatsu Mikami is the only remaining original member, he always finds good talent. This lineup of fresh meat has more potential to tour than that of 2013’s Thy Kingdom Scum. Plus, his chosen few reside on American soil: Blood Farmers guitarist Dave “Depraved” Szulkin, Earthride drummer Eric Little, formerly of Internal Void, and Repulsion frontman and former Cathedral bassist, Scott Carlson, on vocals! …And Then There Were None is a monument to scary, heavy, bluesy grimness. “The album opener is very necessary to blow away and destroy all people who listening to album,” Mikami says. “Beginning is very bluesy, but soon, brutalized heavy guitar riff kick all your ass! I realized this song is best for opener when I began to write this song for big impact. Also, Dave’s guitar is really awesome. You will all understand soon why I choose Dave when people begin to listen this album. I’m still big fan of his Blood Farmers!” Track two, “Make Them Die Slowly,” shares its name with both an obscure White Zombie release and the 1981 exploitation masterpiece, “Cannibal Ferox,” but the track is actually inspired by the freakish John George Haigh’s 1940s acid bath killings. “I always write about serial killers for every one of our songs and I planned to make lyrics about ‘Acid Bath Murderer’ few years ago,” Mikami says. “A corpse is melted by an acid. A trace is lost. A perfect crime was being planned. This is a big impact upon me. I send three or four lyrics for this album to Scott. My lyrics always write crime story, situation explanation about killers. But he said to me that he want to write inner feeling and spiritual aspect of serial killer. It’s big different from my lyrics. So, all my lyrics were thrown away to trash box and he began to start all lyrics newly,” he laughs. One can’t help but wonder: why are we drawn to the darkness? Mikami replies, “We all afraid of darkness, but at the same time, we always interested in what is waiting for [us] beyond darkness.” “River Demon” has some almost boogie-rock grooves. Church Of Misery are influenced by classic rock as much as chugging, muddy, cliff-collapsing riffs. “For [Church Of Misery] music style, everyone knows most inspiration is from early Black Sabbath and other ‘70s rock legends,” Mikami says. “To me, there are two biggest influenced bands: one is Black Sabbath, and other is November—Swedish ‘70s legend—and collecting tons of their vinyl. Yeah, ‘River Demon’ is boogie song, I agree. At rehearsal with Dave and Eric at Maryland, there is no lyrics and this song temporary title is ‘Boogie.’ ‘What’s next?’ ‘Let’s play ‘Boogie!’’ [laughs]. Eric’s drum play on this song is really groovy and I like that drums.” Many consider Repulsion’s lone full-length, Horrified, an all-time classic, but it’s amazing how well Carlson’s vocals suit stoner rock and doom. Was he an obvious choice? “His vocal work was beyond my expectation,” Mikami says. “It really awesome! I hope all Repulsion fan try to listen our new album and hope confirm his great vocal. We are always categorized doom metal [or] doom rock [or] stoner metal. And, of course, I’m not here to deny that, ‘cause I really into this kind of music and I really proud of playing doom!” Mikami grins, “Let there be doom!”








eattle’s 7 Year Bitch have released their first new record in nearly 20 years. The beloved band—who were active from 1990 to 1997—hadn’t been looking to get back together. Instead, their new release, Live at Moe, found them. “It was this little gift that came out of nowhere,” drummer Valerie Agnew says of the album, which dropped Jan. 15 via MOE Recordings. “Here’s this little time capsule bubble of us where we feel like we played at our peak.” When the band first formed, Seattle was the place to be. “When we first started, we were just playing for fun and wanting to play parties, play with our friends at clubs, and put out the first single,” Agnew recalls. “Then, as the years went on, things in Seattle just became even more vibrant, and we signed to C/Z Records. We started playing bigger shows and we progressed; we definitely felt part of something there, for sure. But there were so many levels going on at that same time. Nirvana’s Nevermind came out. Everybody was existing in the same small city, but it was this wide range of experience going




on.” She says that being from the Northwest, “you were either grunge or Riot Grrrl,” but 7 Year Bitch didn’t pledge allegiance to either; they were their own hard-rocking punk entity. Scott Blum—the founder of iMusic, one of the first companies to stream live music on the Internet—used to set up and record hundreds of shows at the city’s iconic Club Moe. Agnew notes that, back in those days, it was called Moe’s Mo’Roc’N Café. Two years ago, Blum was in the process of moving and found some old tapes from a 7 Year Bitch show in 1996. He contacted the band’s old manager, requesting permission to release the tapes as a live album. It would be the first release from his new label, MOE Recordings. At first, the band weren’t too enthused and didn’t have high expectations. However, upon hearing the actual recording, Agnew exclaimed, “‘Holy shit! We sound good!’ We were tight and on it,” she adds. The band’s two other integral members—vocalist Selene VigilWilk and bassist Elizabeth DavisSimpson—were all about it, and reached out to the guitarist featured on the recording, Roisin Dunne, who loved it as well.

Included on Live at Moe is the band’s first-ever single “Lorna,” as well as “The Midst” and “24,900 Miles Per Hour” from their last album, 1996’s Gato Negro, and “The Scratch” and “Hip Like Junk” from 1994’s crucial Viva Zapata! LP. Agnew adds that Blum “did a great job restoring the tapes, because some of them got slightly damaged and he made them sound really rich and full.” According to Agnew, several things make this album special… First, Moe’s was a noteworthy club at which they played a lot. Second, they sounded really good, because they’d just gotten off their last big tour. Third, the band could immediately tell late former

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guitarist Lisa Faye Beatty did the sound that night. “She went on the road with us for years, did our live sound on club tours and some of the bigger tours we did, too,” Agnew explains. Live at Moe has not only forced the band back into the press, but has also inspired a new, active Facebook presence. “We’d been digitally dormant,” Agnew jokes. “There was no activity from us on that front until this project.” Though VigilWilk, Davis-Simpson, and Dunne have had other musical projects, people hadn’t heard anything— online or off—from 7 Year Bitch in nearly 20 years. This record proves that they “were a band that existed,” Agnew laughs. “We actually did play some shows.” 2015 saw reunion tours from Babes In Toyland, L7, and Sleater-Kinney. With the release of Live at Moe, one can’t help but wonder if 7 Year Bitch will get out there and hit the road too… “The short answer is no. That’s not in the plans,” Agnew says. “Then, the longer answer is you never say never. Elizabeth put it this way: [we’d] have to [sound] as good as this live recording. We really feel proud of this and it’s really fuckin’ good, so that means we got our work cut out for us to be able to sound like that after 20-something years.” In any case, “just the process of going through our old archival stuff, looking at it and reminiscing” has been a blast, she explains. “We’ve all stayed friends and in touch with each other, so we did a little bit of that here and there, but really not to this degree. It’s fun to look back at it.”






he nostalgia sector of the meates Protection, Face To Face’s It doesn’t sound like a young efmusical economy has new LP—and their first for Fat fort. But it also has plenty of fire, reached critical mass, and Wreck Chords since Don’t Turn angst, and urgency, too.” many bands who couldn’t Away—which will drop March 4. “Seasoned” is an apt word for the pay their rent at the height of their original runs are finally Vocalist and guitarist Trever approach on Protection. Face To cashing in. A band with the lon- Keith explains that their cir- Face’s penchant for straightforgevity, influence, and pedigree of cling back was largely by design. ward, memorable punk melodies Face To Face could very well just “We’ve taken such big chances appears stronger than ever. Fiery rest on their creative laurels, play throughout our career,” he says. opener “Bent But Not Broken” the occasional album anniversary “[Protection] touches on a lot of and the poppier “Keep Your Chin show or oversized festival stage, things that worked so well from Up” showcase versatility through and generally use their legacy the early days. We tried to use an inherently and purposefully and past successes as a bargain- those techniques in the song- limited arsenal. It’s leaner; there’s ing chip. Last year, the band did writing and arrangements. What no wasted motion. This was parplay 1992’s Don’t Turn Away, keeps it fresh is that we don’t tially directed by Keith and bass1994’s Big Choice, and their 1996 make the same record every time; ist Scott Shiflett—the band’s othself-titled LP in full at a string of although this one is reminiscent er primary songwriter—but also successful shows in Los Angeles, of the early stuff, if you’ve been by the pressure of working with New York, Chicago, Dallas, and following the band—or even if producer Bill Stevenson for the Denver, but rather than a one-off you’re a newcomer—you get a first time after years of collaboratcha-ching moment in the spot- sense of the people we are and the ing with engineer Chad Blinman. light, it felt more like a victory lap journey we’ve made, lyrically, as “In the early days of us making for a group still creating and in- well as in the arrangements and records, we were bumping into novating. That motif largely per- the performances. It’s seasoned. walls in the dark; we had little ex-

perience and we didn’t know how recording worked,” Keith laughs. “We just went in, played music, and hoped for the best. But, as we continued, I became a lot more mindful of the process, because I was frustrated—there was something I didn’t like about each record and wanted to make better.” “Chad was great in the technical sense, but he purposefully, I think, stayed out of commenting on songs,” he continues. “What was nice about working with Bill is that’s his specific forte. I’m a huge Descendents fan, and being able to just sit in a room with a guy who’s written some of my favorite punk rock songs and talk about new ideas was awesome.”


For more face time with Trever Keith, go to to read the full interview!






ith a surname like “Switchblade,” a position as the powerful frontwoman of a radically ferocious political hardcore band, and a knack for crafting expertly cutting tweets, it may surprise people to find out that outspoken force of nature, Sadie Switchblade, is actually rather introverted. She is now revealing this side of herself to the world through Tender Resignation, the debut album from her solo project, Dyke Drama, available now via Salinas Records. “G.L.O.S.S. thrust me into the limelight in a way that was overwhelming and that shocked my system, and I didn’t want to be seen as a two-dimensional person when I know I’m not,” she says. “Being a singer in a hardcore band, it’s kind of like certain elements of my personality get amped-up and put on display. But truthfully, I am kind of a quiet, shy person.” Dyke Drama is not only an opportunity for Switchblade to highlight a different facet of her humanity, but also a conduit for her more personal struggles. “I have always played guitar as an outlet for my inner life, because the process of songwriting is cathartic for me, whether or not people are listening,” she explains. “G.L.O.S.S. is such a public display of violence, and I love that, but Dyke Drama is kind of the balancing weight in my life.” Tender Resignation is six tracks of sardonic introspection and poetically beautiful wallowing. “I’ve always liked wordplay,” Switchblade reveals. “I liked [the title] because it captures the sad and defeated vibe of the songs, but also to tender one’s resignation means to notify your employer that you’re quitting, like putting in your two-weeks essentially. You know, by my standards at least, it’s a soft, tender record, and it’s kind of me resigning myself to losing a love that was never mine to lose, if that

makes sense. Choosing to feel the pain of loss full on, but with fondness and affection for someone, not cruelty and feigned indifference and the misogyny that my male counterparts often write from.” Switchblade says the record “was originally just going to be a home-dubbed tape that I passed out to friends, but then, Marco [Reosti] from Salinas [Records] heard it and offered to put it out as a 12”, and I couldn’t resist. It somehow became SPIN album of the week on my 30th birthday, which was a funny thing, and now we’re doing this high-profile tour in the spring supporting a big-boy rock band. I can’t really talk about it yet, but I’m really excited for some Replacements-esque debauchery and self-sabotage.” It seems that holy-shit-everything’s-happening-so-fast seems to be a recurring theme in Switchblade’s life these days. “This album definitely had the fastest turnaround of any record I’ve ever been a part of,” she recalls. “Joey Seward, who engineered and produced the record, also mixed and mastered it. It sounded perfect to me off the bat.” Seward is a fellow member of the Olympia, Wash., scene and runs Left Field Studios. “Joey is an attic-wizard who has recorded countless bands in the Northwest, like, so so many bands in the DIY scene here,” Switchblade says. “Recording the Dyke Drama album with him felt like a real collaboration, like we were a team, and he guided me through all of the difficult moments. Ugh, I just love him so much. Love you, Joey!” For the newly minted solo artist, this guidance was crucial. “This is my first time playing solo,” Switchblade admits. “In the past, I’ve played guitar and sang in bands and always felt a little guilty for dragging my bandmates through my creative narcissism. Dyke Drama is an engaging project for me, because I have free reign, which is a blessing and a curse. […] It’s kind of like when Luke walks into the

cave in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’  and asks Yoda, ‘What’s in there?’ and Yoda is like, ‘Only what you take with you,’” she laughs. “Fucking hell—recording with this project is like that. It’s all sort of up to me, and Joey is my Jedi master.” Dyke Drama is still unequivocally a punk rock project, but Tender Resignation’s tracks are suffused with jangly folk, twangy country, and heartrending balladeering. “Paul Westerberg is the obvious [inspiration], for his ability to turn a phrase, the loose guitar playing, simple songs,” Switchblade says. She also cites “stuff like Uncle Tupelo, and all of the ‘90s Goo Goo Dolls records,” as well as The State Lottery’s Cities We’re Not From and Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. “That [last] record definitely is inspiring me to try some new ideas on this next album.” According to Switchblade, fans won’t have to wait very long for “this next album,” as she has it written and will head back into the studio with Seward to record it in March. “Overall, it’s a little slower and more crushing than Tender Resignation, more dynamic with the instrumentation,” she elaborates. “It’s going to be called Up Against the Bricks.” On top of recording, Dyke Drama will soon head out on a full-band tour, but Switchblade says it is “just coming together now, so I can’t announce it yet.” This upcoming tour will be Switchblade’s first since she and her bandmates in G.L.O.S.S. got yanked into a mainstream spotlight, which will potentially expand and diversify their crowds’ demographics. When asked if she has anything she would like to let people know before they attend her shows, she responds: “Don’t fuck with me, don’t fuck with trans women, and think about what these songs are about and who they are written for before you act the fool. This isn’t a soundtrack for your bullshit.” Ultimately, while Dyke Drama serves as a window into Switchblade’s poignant internal life, she remains a fierce political warrior: “Black Lives Matter. Fuck the police, fuck the state, fuck the prisons and the downtown developers. There are no good cops. Reform is a lie; body cams exist under the guise of accountability to increase surveillance of poor black and brown communities. A big fuck-off to Warner Music Group, Caroline and ADA Distribution for generating revenue for them, and all of the labels that do business with them—and there are a lot. Shout out to the Emma Goldman Youth And Homeless Outreach Project and the Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter in Olympia. And to all the queer kids out there reading this: I love you and keep fighting!”


For more Replacements-esque debauchery, check out Sadie Switchblade’s extended interview on!




turned out to be one of the most impressive feats of songwriting I’ve ever heard, let alone been a part of. I often describe it as the album I wish Emperor would have written after Anthems. It’s titled Eschatonizer.” Of the comparatively small Colorado music market, Otero concedes, “It probably does create some obstacles, but I love it here and can’t see myself moving away. Aside from elements in my personal life that keep me grounded, it’s just such a great place to live. Working everyday in a creative capacity can be draining, and I haven’t found a better way to recharge than getting out into the mountains.”



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f you’ve listened to Cattle Decapitation, Cephalic Carnage, Cobalt, Allegeaon, Nightbringer, or Vale Of Pnath, then you owe a debt of gratitude to Dave Otero, the fast-rising Colorado based rock and metal producer behind their cutting edge sounds. Otero runs Flatline Audio, a state of the art Denver studio where he’s handled production, mixing, and mastering duties since 2001.


The 34 year old Houston native started out playing in dark metal bands like the critically lauded Dethroned and Serberus in the late ‘90s, but soon found even more success behind the scenes. “I was probably 15 years old and playing in punk bands when I started messing around with my first 4-track,” Otero recalls. “Recording and playing went hand in hand. The transition from just recording bands to actually producing happened once I fully understood what my role could be in making albums.” His experience working with Cephalic Carnage helped Otero decide he




wanted a career in production. “It reaffirmed the path I was already on,” he confirms. “I was only about 19 working on Lucid Interval, and it remains one of the most fun and unique projects I’ve ever been a part of. I’m sure those [Cephalic Carnage] albums and their notoriety helped keep me busy enough to make this a feasible career choice.” Otero has a knack for determining what a band has in mind when they enter the studio. “Much of that comes from digging into the songs and envisioning how I would want to hear it,” he explains. “Of course, there are always discussions with the bands that continue throughout the project, but I’ll often have a pretty good idea after just hearing a couple demos. If I could narrow down the job of a producer to a single idea, it would be to know what songs and elements of songs are ‘supposed’ to sound like.” Otero worked with Cattle Decapitation on 2012’s Monolith of Inhumanity and again on this year’s The Anthropocene Extinction.

“Every project really takes on a life of its own,” he says. “Even different albums with the same band can have a different vibe. The Cattle guys in particular are great dudes and we have a solid working relationship. There’s a lot of creative trust between everyone, which benefits the process.” Another entry in Otero’s impressive resume is Allegaeon. “I’ve done a few albums with Allegaeon now,” he recalls, “the demo that got them signed to Metal Blade, Fragments of Form and Function, and their most recent release, Elements of the Infinite. In particular, I was really impressed with how ‘put together’ they were for the last album. They are all incredible players and come into the studio well prepared, so the process generally goes smoothly.” The band he’s currently working with who Otero feels deserves a special mention is Deathcode Society. “I was blown away by their demos,” he attests. “I contacted them and practically insisted I be involved in the production process. The album

Otero says the secret of creating a great album is that “there is no secret. There’s no single key, no magic trick, no hidden shortcut to making a great album. Of course, there are things to sway the odds in your favor. The basics like hard work, practice, and preparation can’t be overstated. You also have to be able to make decisions based on the entirety of the album rather than its individual elements. That’s a huge one. Many musicians are too protective of parts or songs they’ve written. If ideas come up in the studio that could improve a song, everyone has to be open-minded and make the right decision.” That being said, he’s something of a perfectionist. “I try to only accept what I think is the best performance for the part,” Otero admits. “Naturally, there are always budgets and timelines to deal with and I have to make concessions from time to time to keep things on schedule. I’m not sure that perfection actually exists, but I strive for it.” In this pursuit of almost-perfection, Otero says the biggest no-no in the studio is “being closed minded. Almost any other obstacle can be overcome, but blocking out ideas from your producer and other band members will kill a project fast. It definitely hampers drive and motivation when every little thing is a battle.”



amon Gironès is an extremely talented illustrator from the Catalonia region of Barcelona, Spain. He has been in the skinhead scene for over a decade. His early band Bulldozer released some excellent splits and EPs, and earlier this year, his current band, The Upset—comprised of mates from Secret Army—released a rough and gritty Oi! album, Giving Up Is Not an Option, on Contra Records. Gironès also contributes to the scene through his art, creating flyers and album covers for a litany of bands and premier streetpunk and Oi! labels. “I have been drawing since I can remember,” Gironès says. “I think we all draw when we’re kids, then, when growin’ up, some of us just don’t stop doing it. I think I started drawing ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ and ‘Dragon Ball Z’ characters; those were everyone’s favorite cartoons back then. My classmates used to ask me to draw for them and that’s what they were into. I drew some ‘Dragon Ball Z’ for one of my youngest cousins not too long ago!” Gironès interest in art was not only sparked by cartoons, but also by

comics. “My first contact with comic books was ‘The Savage Sword of Conan,’” he says. “My uncle had the whole collection. Every time I visited my grandparents, I always picked one from the shelves. I especially enjoyed [John] Buscema, [Alfredo] Alcalá, Ernie Chan. Then, when I was a bit older, another uncle gave me some of their old ‘80s comic magazines, like ‘Cimoc’ and ‘1984.’ That was another level, way more adult and opened my mind to a whole world of different styles. The first time I read ‘The Airtight Garage’ by Moebius, it totally blew my mind, even if I didn’t understand half of it.” At 13, Gironès tried to find his artistic niche by taking art classes after school. “It was obvious painting still lifes was not my thing,” he says. “Then, someone mentioned Joso school. It’s the first comic book school in Barcelona, and probably in Europe. That, again, changed my life. Learning from the professionals, people who were publishing in France and the States— it’s something I will always be thankful for from my parents. There, I learned everything I know about drawing anatomy, perspective, narrative, color, and light.” However, comics were not Gironès’ destiny. “As I was studying, I realized comic books were not a option. If you’re not really good at it, you won’t get a place in the French or American markets, where comic books are a real industry,” he explains. “Then, I decided to focus on illustration and graphic design. I always liked ‘70s and ‘80s stuff, books and record covers, especially punk related.” Gironès began contacting bands and labels at 18, in “the early days of the Internet,” which he says “made the contacts inside the scene way easier [to get] than before. I started sending some drawings to fanzines. Then, I can’t remember how I got in touch with [Spanish Oi! label] Bronco Bullfrog. I did some drawings for the CD version of Ultimo Asalto’s first album, and since then, I haven’t really stopped.” Now, Gironès is attempting to make art full-time. “I think it all started with me uploading illustrations on a blog and Facebook,” he explains. “People saw them and started asking for portraits and cartoons. Then, one day, Danny of Toughskins asked me

do the art for Anger Management. Some time later, I was drawing the 45 Adapters for their Complete Works, doing t-shirt designs for Contra Records, signing with Rebellion to do the graphic design for them. Most of the time, it is people who approach me, usually because of some friend’s recommendation. Thanks to all of them!” Gironès says business is getting “better every day, especially thanks to my wife Berta’s support since day one.” Despite all of his success, Gironès admits, “I don’t know if I really have my own style. I guess it’s something that is always developing.” This outlook is apparent in his professional approach. “I try to do something specific for every release. I always ask the band to tell me what they’d like their album to look like,” he explains. “If they don’t know, then I like to read the lyrics, listen to the music. Then, I can see if there’s a general mood that can be translated to an image. […] Most bands have some good creative minds. They usually have brilliant ideas. I just have to make them real.”





TRACK ONE: “‘In Nomie Dei Nostri’ is a song that refers to a black mass ritual.”


TRACK TWO: “‘Ze Nigmar’ refers to the last seven sentences of Jesus Christ that were written on the cross in Aramaic, the spoken language of Christ. ‘Ze Nigmar’ translates as ‘it is finished.’” TRACK THREE: “‘Elthe Kyrie’ translates as ‘Come lord.’ It was influenced by the tragic ancient Greek poet Euripides and, more specifically, his creation ‘The Bacchae.’ This pure Bacchanalian play refers to the coming of a new god. The ritualistic atmosphere of this historical theater drama influenced us lyrically as well as musically, which resulted in this song. Our guest on this track is Danai Katsameni, who is an actress of national Hellenic theater.” TRACK FOUR: “‘Les Litanies De Satan (Fleurs Du Mal)’ is based on Charles Baudelaire’s poem ‘Fleurs De Mal.’ The French singing part was contributed by Vorph of Samael.” TRACK FIVE: “‘Ἄπαγε Σατανά (Apage Satana)’ is a song influenced by a Christian orthodox exorcism; it’s from the perspective of a character of the ritual.” TRACK SIX: “‘Του Θάνατου (Tou Thanatou)’ is a Greek tradition elegy. A call of Charon.”



ew extreme metal bands can say they’ve been around for over 20 years, yet Greece’s Rotting Christ are coming up on their 30th. Originally formed in 1987 as a grindcore band—if you can believe it—they quickly shifted gears into black metal. “More than a quarter century on the road with 13 albums and more than 1200 shows worldwide, to be exact,” vocalist and guitarist Sakis Tolis says. “A whole life dedicated to our precious music and scene is simply because we love it! There is no other credit or secret: if you love something, you will follow it until death!” Rotting Christ’s 13th album—out Feb. 12 via Season Of Mist—is rightfully entitled Rituals. “The whole album is based in several rituals from all around the world,” says Tolis. “[It’s] a multicultural creation with dark esoteric and mystical concepts during its whole duration. It sounds dark [for the band], maybe darker than ever.” Musically, Rituals is one of, if not the most complex album of Rotting Christ’s career. Tolis concurs, noting, “It was a hell of a lot of work. A hell of spiritual writing that I had to carry the weight of as the [sole] composer of the songs, both musically and lyrically.” Tolis offers a short rundown of the album:




TRACK SEVEN: “‘For a Voice like Thunder’ is a song based on one of William Blake’s political sketches, ‘Prologue Intended for a Dramatic Piece of King Edward the Fourth.’ The prologue narration was by Nick Holmes of Paradise Lost.” TRACK EIGHT: “‘Konx Om Pax’ is translated as ‘Hear See Hush.’ A song that is influenced by the most famous of the secret religious rites and rituals of the ancients: Eleusinian Mysteries. [Initiations held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone.]” TRACK NINE: “‘Devadevam,’ a ritual based in Indian chakra, sung in Vedic Sanskrit language.” TRACK TEN: “‘The Four Horsemen,’ based on the apocalypse described in the book of John. This is actually an Aphrodite’s Child cover of their song of the same name.”










L I S T E N A B L E - R E C O R D S . B A N D C A M P. C O M | S P O T I F Y: L I S T E N A B L E R E C S | J O I N . U S . AT: FA C E B O O K . C O M / L I S T E N A B L E R E C S
















"smolder and crush like a crusty heavy metal motherfucker on sure-to-be-short-lived parole‌" — Decibel Magazine Made Wrong Out March 18th on Vinyl, CD and Digital | Produced by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, ISIS, Botch)

Distributed by Redeye Worldwide

'Imperium Simulacra' crushes all in its path under a landslide of low-end riffage and an unstoppable drum assault. BLACK COBRA is back with a vengeance and this is rampaging conquest by volume.

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Coming Feb. 26th on CD, Ltd. Lp, Ltd. Cassette, and digitally.

OBSIDIAN KINGDOM A Year With No Summer 'A Year With No Summer' is a quiet storm, and establishes the band as a progressive, melodic and expressive hard-rock force.

SINISTRO Semente A unique take on doom roColourcentuated with a soundtrack-esque approach that is both devastatingly heavy and graceful.

CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX New Dark Age Dark, solemn, wistful rock and a tting score for a human race crawling to its inevitable end.

THE LIONS DAUGHTER Existence Is Horror 'Existence is Horror' is a crushing assault with a seething intensity that borders on frightful. This is a tting soundtrack to the end of it all.

THE CASUALTIES Chaos Sound 15 blistering blasts of raw hardcore punk with chainsaw guitars, ragged vocals scream, and explosive gang vocals from the street-punk vets.

VENOMOUS CONCEPT Kick Me Silly VC channels the raw blast of classic grind & hardcore and raucous irreverence of punk into a rowdy album that captures the true spirit of the underground.




To carry the reissue message further, Light In The Attic has set up the imprints Cinewax, Modern Classics, and Future Days. The former two are thematic; Cinewax focuses on films and soundtracks—such as “Winter’s Bone” and “Wheedle’s Groove”— while and Modern Classics produces vinyl reissues of music that was originally released in the last 30 years, such as Stone Roses, D’Angelo, and Public Image Limited. Future Days’ outlook is similar to that of Light In The Attic. For each release, their mastering engineers spend an excruciating amount of time cleaning up and fine-tuning the sound of the reissues—which are sometimes taken from a beat-up acetate that’s been scratched to death—all the while trying to retain the character of the original material.



magine a record label with an artist roster that includes the following: Serge Gainsbourg, Noel Ellis, Sly Stone, Francoise Hardy, Mercury Rev, Lee Hazlewood, Thin Lizzy, Philip Glass, and Built To Spill. It’s like every release is a greatest hits collection. This is the situation at reissue specialist headquarters: Light In The Attic Records. Conceived in Seattle in 2001 by founder Matt Sullivan, the independent label released its first reissue— Last Poets’ double album Last Poets/This Is Madness—in 2002, and established a Los Angeles headquarters in 2010. Scrolling through Light In The Attic’s artists page, what immediately comes to mind is, “These guys have good taste.” That is their first requirement for a reissue: it has to be something they personally enjoy and would spend hard-earned money purchasing. Second to that is if it was previously reissued, or wasn’t reissued the correct way. Additionally, it may not have ever had a domestic release or reissue, or it could be a foreign language album that wasn’t released or re-

The parent label also serves as distribution for roughly 50 other labels. This started at the launch of Light In The Attic when they experienced resistance from reT SULLIVAN BY LILY MOAYERI cord stores because they didn’t issued with English liner notes. have a catalog. In order to creThe one thing you won’t see with ate one, they reached out to Light In The Attic is anything like-minded labels to band topredictable. Their catalog covers all genres from soul to rock to indie pop to hip hop and everything in between, including their new artists: The Black Angels, Sylvie Simmons, The Saturday Knights, The Blakes, and Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators. “Licensing and archival assets” says Sullivan, citing the two biggest challenges with reissues. “We’re often trying to find out who owns these old copyrights, which could be the artist, the label, the producer, the family of the artist, next of kin. And then, the source material: are there photos? Old album cover? Audio sources? Master tapes? Vinyl transfers? Vinyl? Cassettes? Another thing is, we want to work with the artist, get them involved, and document these stories and music. A lot of times, these recordings were financial failures back in the day, so it’s pulling ghosts out of the closet that maybe the artists don’t want to talk about and confront. We want them to know we have good intentions, and hopefully, gain their trust.”

gether for distribution, beneficial to all. Now, Light In The Attic has the luxury of picking who they feel could use wider distribution and lending them a hand in that area, such as Mississippi Records, Waxwork, and Sub Pop, to name a few. “Every day, people are discovering music—regardless of how old the records are,” says Sullivan. “We intentionally want to regurgitate that stuff—be it Velvet Underground or NWA—how they originally should have been presented, but also give them context in the present time [for] why people should care about Donnie & Joe Emerson or should listen to D’Angelo’s Voodoo on vinyl. These things are timeless. There’s a reason why these records still sound good 20, 40, 50 years later. They’re special. Music deserves to have a life beyond the collector world, a world that reaches younger people and older people and people who aren’t just heavy musicheads.”








Initially issued on vocalist Chris Dodge’s Slap-A-Ham Records in 2001 and out-ofprint for a decade, Sweatin’ 3: Skatin’, Satan & Katon offers up 67 tracks compiled from splits with 25 Ta Life, Lack Of Interest, Hirax, Black Army Jacket, Gob, and more from 1995 through 1998, plus the Tastin’ Spoon EP, and the original motion picture soundtrack for Gummo.




Spazz were a California band in the ‘90s who defined powerviolence. Angry growls about the degradation of society and corrupt institutions were screamed over thick riffs relishing in influences of hardcore punk, D-beat, crust, and grindcore. Spazz intimidated and inspired. March 22 sees their catalog re-mastered and reissued. Scotty Heath of Tankcrimes Records will be reissuing Sweatin’ to the Oldies and Sweatin’ 3: Skatin’, Satan & Katon. He reflects, “I was listening to Spazz this summer on YouTube. I noticed that it hadn’t been tagged with a link to buy the digital. […] I hit up [guitarist] Dan [Boleri] that day and asked about reissuing the entire catalog on CD [and] digital. Everyone was into it. We’re starting with these two collections.” Both releases come re-mastered “or, in some cases, mastered for the first time ever” by Dan Randall at Mammoth Sound.

The Meatmen are legends. Fronted by vocalist and head antagonizer, Tesco Vee, their lyrics contrasted the profound and militant punk of their ‘80s peers. Dan Harrington, head of Patac Records, discusses the chance to reissue The Meatmen’s Toilet Slave: “Tesco approached me about reissuing this album. The releases Toilet Slave, Pope on a Rope, and War of the Superbikes 2 were previously only available on CD. He wanted them to get a proper vinyl pressing. I am extremely happy with the release. The lacquers were cut from the original album masters and contain some crucial modern Meatmen classics.”

through the Park, Death Angel’s classic sophomore album; and 1990’s Fall From Grace, their third EP and first live album. The thrash community are sure to embrace these revered records, which be released on Jan. 22. While the live album is reissued on CD only, The Ultra-Violence is on 180 gram white vinyl, and Frolic through the Park will be issued as a double LP on red vinyl.

blue vinyl. Pope on a Rope will be on Self Destructo. This has never before been on vinyl, [and is] limited to 500 on red vinyl. War of the Superbikes 2 [will be] on a 10” vinyl, 500 made. These were bonus tracks from 1996 that originally appeared on a CD.” Vee wanted the repress “to look good. So, instead of a shitty blow up of the CD cover art, I had the artwork redrawn and am glad I did. Lansing, [Mich.], artist, Craig Horkey, did the redraw.”

The audio portion was tough to unearth, but luckily, existed in one form: “We had it remastered by Chris Goodman at Baseline Audio in Ann Arbor from an old DAT Tape,” Vee explains. “Since, we didn’t have the old 2” tape, it was the best surviving master. Patac did the rest!” The sound is a polished but harsh punk sound that runs 22 nihilistic tracks. Vee concludes, “I am very happy, finally. [After] more than 20 years, it now appears on beautiful urinal cake-blue vinyl.”

Rob Cavestany, guitarist and songwriter for Death Angel, reminisces about these albums with near-parental pride. “The Ultra-Violence was our debut record, and when I held the album in my hands for the first time, it was the proudest moment of my life,” he says. “Putting our vinyl on a record player and giving it a spin was legit! It put us on the map and also marked the start of a life on the road.” Cavestany also reflects upon Frolic… with a mature fondness, explaining that the album “represents us pushing the envelope of our style and abilities, which became a trademark of our sound. The [songs] hold fond memories of youth and an era when we didn’t know any better. They remind me of good fun, skateboarding, laughter, and us basically learning how to be a band.”





Out-of-print for 15 long years, Spazz’s Sweatin’ to the Oldies crams in 64 tracks from splits released with Charles Bronson, Brutal Truth, Rupture, Floor, and more from 1993 to 1996, as well as Spazz’s debut EP, tracks from various comps, and live cuts from KFJC radio and 924 Gilman St.




Vee himself breaks down the reissues: “Toilet Slave, which will be on Patac, was originally released by my own label, Meat King, in 1994 on CD. Only 2000 were made. Patac will do a run limited to 500 on

Metal Blade Records has announced the reissue of the first three Death Angel albums: 1987’s The Ultra-Violence, which was most people’s introduction to the legendary Bay Area thrash band; 1988’s Frolic

Cavestany looks back and sees a tumultuous, yet prosperous time as Frolic… was developed. “We were just kids,” he recalls. “We still lived at our parents’ houses.  Meanwhile we had meetings with management, lawyers, record labels.” Metal Blade is conjuring up a time of youthful hubris, talent, and experimentation. The Ultra-Violence will now forever live on white 180 gram for all to cherish. These albums remind us—now through the crisp punch of vinyl—of Death Angel’s vicious thrash imprint.


Slingshot Dakota’s third studio album Break — available everywhere on CD, vinyl, cassette & digitally on March 11, 2015 from Topshelf Records.

“New strides with striking conndence.” -A.V. Club “A snapshot of a band growing outwards. Starting as they mean to go on, Slingshot Dakota go from strength to strength” -Upset

Also available from TOPSHELF RECORDS:


It Kindly Stopped for Me


7” / DIGITAL - SPRING 2016

7” / DIGITAL - MARCH 25, 2016

New 2016 releases coming from Happy Diving, Special Explosion, Del Paxton, Enemies, CLIQUE, Field Mouse, Ratboys & more.










illed as “the biggest punk rock party in North America,” tickets for this year’s Punk Rock Bowling and Music Festival went on sale Jan. 9, and cofounder Mark Stern—of BYO Records and Youth Brigade— couldn’t be more stoked for the 2016 installment.

take over the whole downtown area,” he explains. “Everything is in walking distance, so you can just get your hotel and you are right in the middle of everything for the whole weekend. Pool parties, gambling, [the] festival, movie screenings, lounge acts, club shows, you name it!”

50,000 to 100,000 people on other festivals [who] tell me they are nervous to play. I think because it’s a festival of peers, everyone wants to really bring something special to their set.”

Three-day passes for the Las Vegas PRB are 120 dollars each, and VIP festival passes are 350.


For all the logistical challenges of pulling off

But what happens in Vegas couldn’t stay in Vegas any longer. Punk Rock Bowling will then head to Asbury Park June 10–12. Descendents and FLAG will headline the inaugural East Coast festival at The Stone Pony Summer Stage, while club shows take place over the weekend. Tickets are 50 dollars per day. After over 15 years, why expand now? Stern saw a need and filled it. “There are a lot of punks on the East Coast who can’t make the trek across the country to Vegas,” he says. “It’s expensive and a lot of people wish they could make it, but it’s not financially feasible. So, having hung out in Asbury and watching the town really flourish—not unlike downtown Vegas—we thought it would be a great Now in its 18th year, something that began as a way for punk labels to get together and talk shop over some balls and pins has grown to the point where Stern says it was natural to branch out from Las Vegas and institute an East Coast PRB in Asbury Park, New Jersey. “We are trying to keep the lineups a little different in each city, so that has been a challenge,” he admits. “But overall, it’s coming together really well and the response has been great!”


Punks will convene on Sin City May 28–30 for three days of all-ages festival fun featuring over 20 bands—headlined by FLAG, Descendents, and Flogging Molly—five nights of club shows, bowling and poker tournaments, and just the kind of general debauchery you’d expect in Las Vegas. Stern—who started Punk Rock Bowling in 1999 with his brother Shawn—says he is pumped. “We


now two PRB fests, Stern says sharing his love of punk rock is what it’s all about. “I was promoting shows when I was 19 years old,” he recalls. “We ran one of the best punk clubs in L.A. when I was 21—Godzillas, 1982—played music, toured the world, we ran a record label putting out our favorite bands for 30 years, and now, we get to throw the biggest punk rock party in North America. It’s exciting to find new bands, work with old heroes who I have never had the pleasure of meeting before, and just get to see our punk rock community come together every year and enjoy what the whole weekend has to offer.”


Tickets and passes for Punk Rock Bowling 2016 are available now at!

central location on the East Coast. We have a lot of friends out there through The Bouncing Souls, and the response from everyone has been very positive. We can do almost everything out there we do in Vegas… There is a curfew and you can’t gamble, but other than that, I think the setup is going to be great! The people at The Stone Pony are awesome and have welcomed us over there with open arms, so we are all very excited to make this happen.” Not only is Stern excited to see bands like Buzzcocks, Millencolin, Dillinger Four, and Dag Nasty play PRB for the first time, he’s also happy to have his own band, Youth Brigade, play the fest for the first time in seven years. “Bands come out and bring their A game,” he asserts. “It’s not a big festival, and I have bands that play in front of










veryone deserves an intimate music venue where they can relax, raise a pint, and sing along with their favorite bands. A high quality of life emerges in these bastions of creativity and innovation. New York had CBGB, Berkeley has Gilman, and Chicago has the Double Door. Just over the Charles River from Boston, Mass., Cambridge has The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub. Neighboring MIT and Harvard, Middle East is Central Square’s answer to Boston’s defunct punk, metal, and indie haven, The Rathskeller. Originally a Lebanese restaurant, this dimly lit, expansive space has become a cornerstone of the area’s live music scene. The MidEast touts TEENAGE BOTTLEROCKET

four stages, six bars, and a restaurant, and books rad shows almost every night of the week. The tightknit staff continually raises the bar. One golden nugget of this family is MidEast general manager and promoter—and all around good dude—Clay Fernald. He has held nearly every job in the venue over his 13 year tenure, and has enjoyed tons of wild shows. His favorite was The Damned in 2011. “That was unbelievable to see them grace our stage,” Fernald says. He also jokes about an infamous night of stand up with comedian Aziz Ansari: “I hope he remembers when I brought him a Diet Coke on stage!” It’s not always smooth sailing, however. About four years ago, after a raucous Flogging Molly

show at Boston’s House Of Blues, police cited venue security for not intervening during an outbreak of “aggressive mosh pit dance.” This prompted a citywide ban on crowd surfing and moshing. As a solution, The MidEast moved their heavier shows from their 500-plus capacity downstairs to the smaller space upstairs. Now, even during a rowdy show, the chance someone will end up with stitches is slim. Fernald doesn’t mind the change and says, “Bands are actually into it; they would rather play an

“YOU MIGHT PAY AN EXTRA TWO DOLLARS, BUT NOBODY’S PUNCHING YOU IN THE FACE.” exclusive, sold-out show. We just had H2O upstairs and they loved it.” When they host a ferocious band buffet like the Deathwish Records 10 Year Anniversary, The MidEast just hires extra support like Wizard Security—led by an awesome long-haired Gandolfesque fella—to keep neck breaking to a minimum. “You might pay an extra two dollars, but nobody’s punching you in the face,” Fernald adds. “It’s a culture of suing—and no one can afford that.”

These adjustments haven’t stopped The MidEast from stealing Cambridge’s hearts. In their office—which is plastered with screen printed posters from the likes of OFF!—Fernald says, “The Middle East has been supportive of artists and bands, and promoters with crazy ideas from the beginning. And we’ll never change that. That’s something I’m really proud to be part of.” Fernald is also proud to be a part of Boston’s Dropkick Murphys crew, helping with their boxing events and regional shows. He adds, with a satisfied smirk, that he was in attendance at their first show at The Rathskeller in 1996. As they celebrate two decades as a band, Fernald is stoked to help them with big, passionate hometown events. “Seeing them in Fenway…” he says, “it’s just unreal.” Whether you’re craving a night with KRS-One, Mono, The Dwarves, or any band in between, Fernald and The Middle East have you covered. If find yourself in town, check it out—if not for a show, at least for the falafel and a fine, local brew.



WEIRDEST SHOW: A band cut open an actual bag of pig’s blood and used it in their show—like GWAR, but real blood. Don’t worry—grossed out and annoyed, the venue bleached everything afterward. Stop trying to reenact “Carrie,” bands. FAVORITE SHOW: Bouncing Souls’ four night stand of all eight albums. Even my mom referred to it as “That week of that band you like.” DOWNSTAIRS: This sloping space used to be a bowling alley—it has great sight lines for the short kids in the crowd, me included. BEST-SELLING BEER: Harpoon IPA SUGGESTED BEER: Ice-cold Narragansett tallboy BEST-SELLING FOOD: Falafel sandwich UPSTAIRS CAPACITY: 194 DOWNSTAIRS CAPACITY: 575





wrong. I knew my parents raised me better than that and I knew racism was stupid. I already thought racism was stupid, because the same group of guys picked on me for kissing a Black girl on our bus the year before.


hen I was a kid, my brother Eric—the guitar player for Turnover—and I moved around a lot. Our mom was the typical struggling single mom. That means when we left for school, she was at an office answering phones, and when we got home, she was already at her second job bartending. Finding a babysitter was a hassle, so when we moved into a “nice” neighborhood for the first time, she found Josh. Josh was your typical “Dennis the Menace.” He was all smiles when the parents were around and a complete maniac when unsupervised. He was in eighth grade, and he was instructed by my mom to walk Eric and me to our bus safely everyday. I was in third grade and my brother was in kindergarten, but that didn’t matter to Josh. He loved watching us. Josh set up an arrangement with me. If I stole four cigarettes from my mom’s purse every morning, I could hang out with him and his friends after school. That meant smoking cigarettes in the woods, lighting old TVs on fire, and 100 percent access to his dad’s porno collection. It was glorious… But sometimes, the Newport 100s weren’t enough. At times, he would burst into my house demanding alcohol or cleaning products to huff, or make me sit outside my mom’s bedroom door while he sniffed her underwear. “Your mom is fucking hot and I am going to fuck her,” he would boast. I had no witty response to the older cool kid, so I usually just kept my mouth shut and followed his lead. Josh and his friends were the pinnacle




of cool to me. He made me a mixtape of The Offspring’s Smash and introduced me to punk rock. He and his friends were in a gang. Josh, the gang, and I would practice fighting moves for hours in his backyard. They were firm believers in pinning down your opponent and punching their kidneys as hard as you could until they failed. “That’s how ya fuck someone up long term,” Josh would explain. One morning, Josh came to pick me up for school and started raiding the fridge. This was typical. Usually, he would just grab a couple beers or a string cheese, but this morning, he pulled out a carton of eggs. “What are those for?” I asked. 
 “A new family just moved onto the street and we don’t want them here. They’re wicked weird—they’re Muslims,” Josh replied. Being 9 years old in an exclusively white and Puerto Rican neighborhood, I didn’t really know what that meant, but I put on my Chicago Bulls Starter jacket and put two eggs in each pocket. Josh took the carton and distributed the eggs. As we got closer, I got nervous. I had never egged anyone’s house and I didn’t really know who a Muslim was. We arrived at the house. There was a mini van running in the driveway. The house was identical to mine. I felt a nervous knot ball up in my throat as Josh instructed that, on the count of three, we would all throw eggs at the house. I closed my eyes and waited. “One. Two. Three!” Crack! When I opened my eyes, over a half dozen eggs were oozing from the

siding of the house. The gang started shouting from the adrenaline. Josh knew I still had an extra egg in my pocket and instructed me to throw it at the van. I felt bad, because this could be my house! I remember a flashing thought of my mother having to clean the eggs off of it. On the other hand, I didn’t want these guys to think I was pussy. So, I cocked back my hand and aimed at the van—but at that moment, the door to the house opened and an older Muslim gentleman and a woman wearing a hijab exited. The man’s face was not angry, but disappointed. He smiled peacefully and said nothing as his eyes locked with mine. I honestly remember thinking to myself, “Why are we doing this? Is it because this woman is wearing a cloth on her head?” Then it clicked… This was a bad thing, and right then and there, I died. I knew in the deepest part of my soul that what I was doing was very

With all this swirling through my head, and with my tiny hand still cocked back at my ear, ready to throw the egg at the van, I shifted my aim and I turned around to Josh. As hard as I could, I hit that motherfucker square in the chest and bolted as the egg exploded. I don’t think I even made it five feet before the gang grabbed me and held me down while Josh repeatedly punched my kidneys as I cried for help. After a few minutes, the gang let me go and I ran home. I sobbed in my bed all day and called my mom to tell her what happened. Needless to say, I never got to watch Josh’s dad’s pornos again. My mom gave Josh a firm talking-to and we never hung out again, which forced me to give up on my third grade smoking habit. That morning, I learned a valuable lesson about hate and racism. I understood if being accepted and “normal” meant being hateful, I wanted no part of it. Hopefully, this election year, we go into the polls with that same attitude in mind.







Punishingly/defiantly heavy doom for fans of High on Fire, Red Fang, Kyuss, Mastodon










New Noise Magazine - Issue #23  

Featuring: Rotting Christ, The Falcon, 7 Year Bitch, Amon Amarth, B’last, Slingshot Dakota, Death Angel, Megadeth, Frameworks, Graf Orlock,...