Monday, May 13, 2013
On the surface, A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH are impressive. But you'll want to dig deeper and immerse yourself in all the sonic and lyrical layers, because the band isn't afraid to plume the depths of darkness that humanity is capable of. It's murky stuff, but someone has to do it.
Sal Abruscato and Matt Brown have followed 2011's incredible introduction And Hell Will Follow Mewith Lay My Soul to Waste, which keeps the band's patented signature formula of slow, deliberate sludge and head-down doom intact and as flawlessly executed as ever.
Think Alice in Chains, only harder, angrier and with a more perverse view of the world, as if they were reared in a row house in Bensonhurst, as opposed to the rainy landscape of Seattle, all the while feasting on a steady diet of Black Sabbath records.
A PALE HORSE NAMED DEATH arrived with And Hell Will Follow Me. They have firmly implanted their roots in the metal scene with Lay My Soul to Waste. It's a metal album that headbangers who enjoy a walk on the darker side of life will end up revering and responding to.
Sunday, May 5, 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
In conjunction with their forthcoming tour supporting Clutch (starting this Wednesday May 1st in Richmond, VA), The Sword today release their new video, "Cloak Of Feathers." The video, directed by Rich Ragsdale, is the second clip from The Sword’s fourth album, Apocryphon (Razor & Tie).
Friday, April 26, 2013
Fans of your former bands like Integrity and Iron Age might be surprised by the strong apocalyptic folk (Death in June, Nature and Organization, etc.) sound of Ancient VVisdom’s music. Do you think there’s much crossover between the fan-base of your hardcore/metal bands and Ancient VVisdom?
Nathan: I’d say it’s about half and half—there are definitely people who know us from other bands that appreciate what we’re doing now. And then there’s a ton of new people we’ve met doing shows and being out there with the crowd and hanging out.
Ribs: Yeah, I like to see the new fans that weren’t into hardcore or anything like that. The older crowd likes our stuff as well. Metal kids like us too. It’s a diverse audience—sixteen to sixty-two, that’s our demographic!
Michael: Our fan base is very international!
Nathan: We’ve played for people around the world for a very long time and now these people are no longer acquaintances, they’re just buddies of ours. People we’ve grown up with who have seen us play with a number of different bands and projects have watched us evolve our sound and try different stuff. Those people have definitely become familiar faces in a strange land.
What inspired you to write this type of music? Was there a specific “a ha moment” or was it just a natural progression of ideas?
Nathan: It’s just my writing. In any other band I’ve been in, I’ve been a drummer or someone playing other people’s songs and Ancient VVisdom’s songs are ones that I’ve written personally.
Michael: Even the heaviest bands have that interlude. Like, Sabbath will have that acoustic interlude, or Zeppelin will do it. I guess we’re just taking that interlude and turning it into full-length songs.
Nathan: There has to be a balance.
Michael: And the lighter sound pushes the heavier moments up even harder. There’s a lot of synth on the new record, some distorted guitar, and the layers give it a heavier sound. I don’t know—I guess it’s our duality.
One of the unique things about your music is the use of unorthodox instrumentation (standing percussion, chains, machete, stand-up bass, some synth) sometimes played by guest musicians in the studio. Can you tell me a bit about how you started incorporating this kind of instrumentation? How do you adapt your playing for live shows?
Nathan: We do that because it’s an enjoyable sort of thing, you know, having different friends of ours who are musicians collaborate on tracks. We had our buddy John Winsor play cigar-box guitar on “Deathlike,” which is an unusual instrument to use in this type of music. We’ve used railroad spikes and chains and all these different things. I think for me, it’s a more interesting percussive take on drumming.
As for playing live, I get what you’re saying—it’s almost like you feel you’re naturally missing something because you don’t have all those layers. I feel like we really capture that well and one of the biggest compliments we’ve gotten is when fans say we’ve captured the same sound live. The way we layer things when playing live helped with that dynamic. Like, there will be a part where TA isn’t playing, perhaps, and then when he does play he drops it really heavy. We do certain tricks like that to make up for the layering not being there. We’re actually thinking of getting a keyboard player, and there’s definitely talk of getting more instrumentation within the band. But that comes with time, that comes with money, that comes with budget.
Michael: It’s an ongoing growing process, you know—musically. The records are always going to sound different. We’re always going to continue to grow.
Speaking of the albums sounding different from one another, it feels like “A Godlike Inferno” was Luciferian/Satanic while “Deathlike” has the stamp of Azrael on it. Was this a conscious decision during the song creation process?
Nathan: My lyrics are something that I really spend time decoding, and finding what I want to say to people; what I want to project to the world, what I feel is powerful and invokes a sort of spirit to the world. So “Godlike” was a take on my Luciferianism, my view on Satanism, and my view of horror as well. It’s not just about a spiritual side of things; it’s about a fantasy side of things and a fun side of things, and an evil side of things as well.
But with “Deathlike,” I was writing from a more realistic place, using a more reality-based sort of thought process, and there’s more of a meditation on life and death, something I think really makes sense to people.
Some people can be shut off by the Satanic concepts. See, for me, I’m inspired by that sort of concept; I’m enlightened by that sort of concept. But for some people, they’ll take a look at that and say “Oh I’m going to write this off right away.” I’d rather open my mind and open other people’s minds and expand what people can understand and not shut any people out. So this time around, I decided to leave a lot of entities out of this record. That’s not to say I won’t bring them up again for future records!
Michael: I think “Deathlike” is more understated, you know—it’s not as in your face.
Nathan: The message is still there, it’s the same message, but it’s not so right out in the open.
Michael: “I’ll make you believe in Satan”—it can’t really get any more in your fuckin’ face than that!
Nathan: “My name is Lucifer, please take my hand!” I was writing from that spot, trying to be as offensive and over-the-top, you know—shocking to some people, or empowering to some people—when writing “Godlike.”
On “A Godlike Inferno,” the track “VVorld of Flesh” is an ode to Brazilian psychedelic/Satanic horror icon Coffin Joe. Are there any other figures from the world of horror films that inspire you?
Nathan: More so than musicians, probably! You know, Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Coffin Joe… I’m really into old horror films. We all like our own things in different ways, but we find a common ground there. Horror is definitely influential in my lyrics and in my messages, as an image of what our band is. I’m very driven towards the horror side of things.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
When I put this album on I expected to like it but FUCK, it’s even better than I expected! “Witchwood” delivers cool organ and guitar riffs one after the other. The hair on my arms looks like I sprayed them with aqua net… standing straight up through this whole song. It swaggers along as loose as a truck stop hooker and the first two words sung are “Black Magic…”, I can’t get past this song. This is a fucking brilliant track and on top of the awesome musical grooves, vocalist (and organ/flute) Alia O'Brien delivers an excellent melody that stays glued to your brain for hours afterwards.
BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE, WAY MORE! ... We’re just getting started! Here comes “Goodbye Gemini” and I’m just shaking my head… I can’t believe it. The flute work at the opening is sick but this thing just explodes into a catchy hook rich rock and roll face ripper! This will be their encore number for years to come.
Next up we have the Wicker Man tribute and bong-reacher “Lord Summerisle”. Just puff and let this track take over. It will certainly make the crops grow. “Ballad of the Weird Sisters” captures some of the best flute work from Alia I’ve heard. She is the Hendrix of flute players. Never has a flute been played with so much soul. There is so much soul and groove from all the players on this album. Everything is perfect… stars aligned… Magic!
The title track, "The Eldritch Dark" shows why Sean Kennedy should go on the list of the top all-time riff masters. He is just stellar throughout this record and Lucas Gadke has achieved at capturing one of the best bass sounds ever recorded. Furthermore, this is some of the best bass guitar work I have heard on any record so far this year. Anyway, back to The Eldritch Dark… yeah this song has some sharp teeth and is sure to be a favorite.
“Drawing Down the Moon” happens and I can’t believe there have been so many great songs in a row. All killer, no filler. The closest this album gets to any filler might be the instrumental track, “Faunus” but it rocks too, I just like songs with vocals so… and it’s only a couple minutes anyway.
The last track is the ambitious 8 minute epic “The Magician”. I don’t remember hearing Alia play organ this well before. It seems she has really been putting in some hours on the Hammond because she’s ripping here. A great choice for an album closer.
This record will propel Blood Ceremony into major rock star status. I feel bad for whatever band has to play after them live. I would not want to have to follow this material. I would fake a belly-ache and go home.
So stop what you are doing and order this album now. I hope Rise Above/Metal Blade printed a ton of copies because this is going to fly! 5/5 Stars
Legendary Horror Rockers Goblin to Perform Live Score of Dario Argento's 1977 Masterpiece "Suspiria"
Marking their first-ever performance in North America, Goblin’s horror rock maestros Maurizio Guarini and Claudio Simonetti will fulfill fans’ dreams and nightmares as they perform their notably eerie soundtrack for Suspiria live during a screening of the classic and revered horror masterpiece.
Says Anselmo of the epic performance, “Goblin is, in my view, one of the ultimate horror bands in the history of the genre. I still listen to them often, especially on tour. To have Goblin play the Housecore Horror Film Festival is like I'm living in a strange, dark dream, where nothing is quite geometrically correct, but I want to keep delving further while Goblin dirges onward underneath the bleak imagery.”
Formed in the early 1970s, the progressive rock group is best known for creating the suspenseful and tense soundtracks for horror movie classics including Joe D'Amato's Buried Alive (aka Beyond Darkness), George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, and Dario Argento’s Deep Red and Suspiria.
"We are beyond excited to bring the sounds of Goblin and Suspiria to the United States for the very first time! And to be able to perform the score before a live audience while they watch Dario Argento's masterpiece on the big screen is incredible,” says Maurizio Guarini of Goblin’s involvement. “We are thrilled that Philip Anselmo has asked us to come perform at the Housecore Horror Film Festival. It will certainly be an event for everyone to remember."
With Suspiria, Argento was able to create a new level of terror by playing with the viewers’ imaginations via his use of screaming, vibrant colors and the horrifying, heavy sounds created by Goblin. The release of the horror classic was a watershed moment for artistic direction in horror films. Rarely before had a horror directorleveraged such stylistic flair to expose the depths of our darkest thoughts.
"There are few bands more technically adept at creating an actual atmosphere of tension, occult speculation, or delicate knife-twisting suspense, than Goblin. Their use of sonic keyboards and electronic soundscapes is beyond unique,” says Anselmo.
“All hail the mighty Masters of The Macabre timbres!" he adds.
The Goblin/Suspira screening joins an already heavy list of festival performances, screenings and special events that have been announced to date, including concerts from Down, Crowbar, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, EyeHateGod, and Warbeast; special guest appearances by noted and notorious filmmakers Coffin Joe, Jörg Buttgereit, and Jim VanBebber; and Void ov Voices – another one time only, metal-meets-horror event with extreme metal vocalist Attila Csihar (best known from iconic black metal band Mayhem) using sonic manipulations to create a live soundtrack for The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Many more bands, special guests, films, and special events to be announced over the next few months.
Well worth the wait, BLOOD MOON RISE delivers not only a collection of catchy doom ballads, but a flowing tapestry of cursed, psychedelic heavy metal. The album reflects JEX THOTH's expanded vision, while incorpora- ting celebrated elements from the band's self-titled debut.
BLOOD MOON RISE constructs an entire realm, one where past and future exist simultaneously, where the lines of sleep and awake are forever blurred, available to all those willing to let go their minds. A dark, winding road filled with ear warming, soul crushing tunes; an evocative journey guided by the unmistakable voice of the band's visionary namesake.
Mixing shamanistic and futuristic sounds with harsh and more subtle tones, BLOOD MOON RISE, cradles and sways, dooms and dances, shivers and quakes. Some tracks send you floating away, while others bind you firmly to the earth. BLOOD MOON RISE stretches from classically fuzzed out and slow n' heavy, to strong and epic, to tranquil and ominous. Reverent while maintaining an original sound, JEX THOTH embrace all that is good from the past and shuttle it defiantly into the future. Intrepid, bone-shaking rock 'n roll, Produced by Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Black Mountain).
The classic song craft, weaving melodies, rich tones, and crushing drums on BLOOD MOON RISE will have even the most sober of listeners comple- tely transfixed. Addictive, timeless rock.
JEX THOTH have completed four successful European Tours along with a number of notable European festivals: Tuska, Roadburn, Rock Hard, Hell’s Pleasure, Doom Shall Rise VII, Hammer of Doom, Hammer Open Air, Heavy Days In Doomtown, and Stoned From The Underground.