INTRODUCTION: Rex Tremendae Majestatis

Tonight Southern Decay Media is honored to announce a new contributor.

rex

Rex Tremendae Majestatis is a composer and an eclectic musician. He has has traveled far and wide performing everything from black metal to blues to choral singing. He firmly believes that music’s quality is independent of genre. He approaches listening with an open analytical mind and is quite opinionated about what he concludes.

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SHOW REVIEW: Blood. Fire. Death: Watain, In Solitude, Tribulation, and Hod at Red 7 10/30/13 Austin, TX

Contributed by Jake Holmes

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It seems as if weekday metal shows are quickly becoming the norm in Austin, Texas.  In the last month or so alone, I’ve seen Deicide, Neldoreth, Teratism, Dying Fetus, Old and Ill, and Watain (the subject of this review) amongst a ton of other amazing bands, resulting in killer times and the need to load up on caffeine the next day at work in order to be coherent on three hours of sleep.  TheWednesday Watain show at Red 7 wound up being one of the best I have ever seen, which is not a statement to be taken lightly.  I’d witnessed live Watain rituals three times before the Devil’s Night 2013, but none of the three performances even came close how insane their most recent show was (which is to say nothing against the previous three shows, which all ruled).  My group and I got there early to watch every band, getting caught in the rain as a result (which was quite a harbinger of things to come, as you’ll see).  After milling about and buying some merch (Hails and thanks to Zolrak of Nodens for selling me Conqueror, Slaughter, and Vomitor patches), it was time for the show to start at approximately 8:30pm.

The sole Texan support came in the form of San Antonio’s Hod, who appropriately started the night with a black/death barrage that no Texan metal showgoer should be a stranger to.  Hod wasted no time thrashing through a set of material drawing from their “The Uncreated Demo” and their “Limb Splitter II” split released on Ossuary Industries, and even included a brand-new song that was dedicated to a Texan band of black metal comrades who were in attendance (HAILS!).  As per usual, songs like “And The Smoke Will Rise” and “I Am Destroyer” were played, with vocalist Beer Reebs’ croak ringing in loud and clear over the chainsaw guitar riffing of guitarists Danny “Blackwolf” Luebben and Carl “Lord Necron” Snyder.  Additionally, the raspy shout of bassist Trans Am accented several anthemic sections of songs and his four-string attack was very prominent in the mix.  Locking everything in was drummer Del, bringing an element of speed to the band that allows the other stringed instrumentalists to pick away with maximum power.  It was a savage way to kick off the evening, and Tribulation continued the evening’s intensity with some death metal mayhem of their own.

Sweden’s Tribulation came out in a full attack, bringing an extreme metal melting pot to the stage that drew influences from old-school Swedish death metal and hyperspeed thrash metal to kick the audience’s teeth in with their furious set.  Bassist/vocalist Johannes Andersson gruffly delivered obscure lyrics while picking away at his strings, holding down the rhythm in unison with wide-eyed drummer Jakob Ljungberg.  The guitar gymnastics between Jonathan Hulten and Adam Zaars were the highlight of the set, with everything from flashy solos to buzzsaw riffing being showcased — displaying that Tribulation are the opposite of a “one-trick pony”.  The beyond-energetic Hulten had a presence akin to Mezzadurus (of Blood Storm and session for Absu during the ’90’s) with manic eyes and fingers that flew across the fretboard like darting spiders.  The band also made use of several cleaner-toned instrumental sections to transition from one song to the next, not unlike what one would hear in an old-school horror movie.  These transitions enhanced the aura of the performance greatly, creating a chilling vibe that fit these metallers like a spiked glove.  Although their performance wasn’t to everyone in my group’s liking, I enjoyed it a great deal, and look forward to the next Tribulation appearance on American soil.

In Solitude are a rising name in heavy metal, although they are much stylistically different than the other three bands on the bill.  They’ve been compared to Mercyful Fate (which, to these ears can mainly be heard in the guitar riffing of their first album) and with the new album, “Sister”, they have been incorporating influences from classic goth rock bands into their old-school heavy metal sound. They had a great crowd and are very popular here in the States (their latest LP seems to be sold out just about everywhere I looked when I went to buy it for a friend — apologies, Mr. E.) and thus their performance seemed to be very much anticipated leading up to this show.  However, after the high-speed attack of Hod and Tribulation, and compared to the chaos of Watain that would follow them, In Solitude’s performance did not quite measure up to the notably high bar of energy that was set by the other bands on the tour.  You should chalk this one up to personal preference on my end since I am not a huge fan of In Solitude on record (not that I want to disrespect them — they’re all great musicians and clearly live and breathe for metal), and the crowd was clearly enjoying involved in the music to a great degree. In any case, if you were already an In Solitude fan, it is likely that you greatly enjoyed the show.  With that having been said, there was little that could prepare us for the madness that was to come.

The stench of blood, fire, and death heralded the arrival of Uppsala’s Watain, the controversial bringers of black metal tradition.  Describing the performance’s atmosphere of the pouring rain and chanting voices is challenging — it was such a perfect environment that reproducing it would be next to impossible.  The fact that this show took place on the famed Devil’s Night (the night before what we Americans refer to as “Halloween”) only added to the intensity of the performance, which was unlike any other show I have ever witnessed.  The Mayhem-like riffing of “Devil’s Blood” blasted the crowd with a black metal baptism, which was further emphasized with lead vocalist E. anointing audience members with a chalice of animal’s blood.  The setlist contained material that spanned the band’s career, with the material from “Sworn to the Dark” seeming to have the strongest response from the crowd.  In particular, “Storm of the Antichrist” and the title track drew a maelstrom of shouting from the manic devotees watching, who were thrashing around whilst soaked in blood and water.  The songs from Watain’s latest opus, “The Wild Hunt” were also cloaked in the same blackened presence that one has come to expect from Watain — keeping the violence in the air strong and the momentum flowing.  All of the guitar parts were played accurately and faithfully, blasting out every tremolo-picked riff and furious guitar solo such as the one in “Reaping Death”.  Vocalist E. roamed the stage in the manner of a wolf craving blood, delivering endless blasphemies of black metal with admirable conviction.  The band was on fire (more on that thought later) and were clearly feeling the spirit of the Devil’s Night throughout the entire performance, which made the whole show unforgettable.

Unfortunately, all good (or evil) things must come to an end, and there was some sort of issue with the PA in the middle of “Outlaw”, forcing the show to end early.  However, given as how I had just seen Watain play for over an hour in one of the most maniacal settings I could imagine, I was still completely satisfied with the show itself.  This was also the case for everyone I spoke to at the show, many of whom were either excitedly talking away about the show or in slackjawed awe at what they had just witnessed.  One thing was certain about that show — no one in attendance will ever forget it.  This, my friends, was one for the ages.

I’ve used the phrase “Blood Fire Death” several times throughout this review, and there is no more fitting phrase I could think to describe that night.  Of course it happens to be the title of one of the best Swedish metal albums of all time (I won’t even mention by whom since you should know this already), which Watain obviously hold in reverence, but those three words have a much deeper meaning in terms of their approach to black metal.  While Watain are notable for being caked in blood and cloaked in the aura of death, they also have a flame burning inside them at all times on-and-off-stage, in addition to the fires that are lit during live rituals.  Their conviction through their worship is most respectable, and if you happened to miss the performance, you absolutely have to see them the next chance you get.  It won’t be the same without the pouring rain on the Devil’s Night, but it should be pretty damn close.

See you next time, Austin.

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jgsdm

Jake Holmes is a Central Texas heavy metal writer who lives by the pen and will (likely) die by the sword.  Originally from a suburban town outside of North Austin, Holmes moved to San Antonio during his college years.  After several years and thousands of miles driven to see shows in San Antonio and Austin, he returned to the Austin area due to his graduation and continued to see as many shows as humanly possible.  His interests include going to shows, blasting Carnivore as loudly as possible on the way to shows, and sleeping upon his return to his home from shows.  His “dislikes” include hearing loss, traffic, and unnecessary bonus tracks on album reissues.

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SHOW REVIEW: Deicide, Disgorge, Necronomicon, Disfigured at Infest, Austin, TX 10/24/13

Contributed by Jake Holmes

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Note:  This review is dedicated to the memory of LSK, who passed the day of this show.  She had played in Antaeus, Secrets of the Moon, Vorkreist, Hell Militia, and several other extreme metal bands in Europe.  As such, this review should be read while listening to Antaeus’ “Blood Libels”, Secrets of the Moon’s “Privilegivm”, or any other album that contained her bass work.  

October was a month that was packed with killer shows, and the “No Salvation 2013” tour on the 24th was one of the highlights.  The Austin date of the tour featured local favorites Disfigured, Canada’s Necronomicon, the brutality of California’s Disgorge, and the mighty Florida death metal legends Deicide coming together to deliver death metal damnation to a packed house.  The stage was set at Infest, a place that I have written about before as a place that I enjoy going to often.  The venue was full with extreme metal worshippers throughout the night that kicked off with a rousing performance from Disfigured.

Texan warriors of blistering death metal, Disfigured, opened this show at the hour of 7:45.  As of press time, this show held a place of infamy as the second-to-last show Disfigured will ever play, which was a bittersweet bludgeoning to a receptive audience.  The TXDM veterans played as a four-piece, with brothers Adam and Mike De Leon leading the crowd in an old-school set that included material from both their full-length albums (2008’s “Blistering of the Mouth” and 2011’s “Amputated Gorewhore”).  Adam De Leon’s bass attack in particular was notable for the vicious tone that erupted from his amp during solo sections, grinding in distorted power.  Mike De Leon is well-known throughout the Texas scene for his intense stage presence, and Thursday’s show was no exception as he frantically strangled his guitar and bashed out riffs in unison with second guitar player Phil King (also of Whore of Bethlehem).  There was mosh pit that took place throughout most of Disfigured’s performance, with death metal fans colliding into each other to “Mortician’s Madness” and “Eternal Flame”.  Closing with a one-two punch of “Chopped in Half” (not an Obituary cover) and “Cyanide Suicide”, Disfigured’s second-to-last show was one of their strongest performances that I’ve seen from the band, assuring that their legacy in the Texas death metal scene will be a positive one.  Disfigured’s last show ever will be on November 30th at the Triple Crown in San Marcos with Shawn Whitaker, Eviscerated, Ballgag, and Diminished.  If you’ve ever jumped in the pit or headbanged to “Herpes Face” in the past, it’ll be one show you can’t miss.

Necronomicon followed Disfigured to a very positive crowd reaction, and also altered the alliteration in the bill by not having a name that started with “D”.  Although they seemed to be very popular with the audience, their refined take on a black and death metal fusion was not completely fitting to my personal preference.  Necronomicon’s sound could be compared to a mix of Dimmu Borgir (with several programmed keyboard interludes blasting during quieter parts of songs) and the death metal era of Behemoth with a confident stage presence that recalled Vader and Immortal.  In fact, several of the aforementioned interludes included backing vocals that were a dead ringer for the croak of Abbath.  In any case, they were very energetic and knew how to work a crowd, so more power to them.  In fact, as mentioned by their frontman Rob “The Witch” Tremblay that their live bassist had learned their set in 24 hours and flown out to play with the band on tour, which is certainly worthy of respect (as a bassist, I doubt I could do that myself without a whole lot of tablature and even more caffeine).  If you happen to enjoy the style that Necronomicon play, then you will absolutely enjoy their music and should check them out live if they visit your area.

Ultra-brutal death metallers Disgorge followed Necronomicon to completely demolish Infest with an insane dose of death that left few survivors in its aftermath.  The California metallers have recently returned with several newer members, although you wouldn’t be able to guess that based on the synchronized intensity in which the band performed.  Frontman Angel Ochoa (also of Cephalotripsy, a personal favorite of mine in brutal death metal) gurgled out songs like “Womb Full of Scabs” and the title track to the devastating “Cranial Impalement” release with great power and a commanding presence that got the mosh pit churning.  Disgorge songs tend to feature hyper-technical riffing and mind-bending drumming while still throwing in neck-cracking slow sections for a dynamic that is certain to captivate any brutal death metal fan.  The band do not even seem to know the meaning of the phrase “wrong notes”, as they attacked with a precision that was barely within the scope of human comprehension.  Several songs featured lightning-fast lead bass breaks that showcased a grinding, mechanical tone delivering a whirlwind of notes that flew by in an eye’s blink.  As previously mentioned, Disgorge’s drumming — courtesy of Ricky Myers, also of Austin’s Sarcolytic — was in a universe of its own, making use of every cymbal and tom in a flurry of percussive passion without the slightest hint of error.  Each member of Disgorge contributed to the band’s savage performance, with the five band members acting as a single unit that crushed any opposition.  Disgorge absolutely crushed that night, and will hopefully return to play Texas again in the near future.

Due to circumstances that will not be discussed here, Broken Hope did not perform on the Austin date of this tour.  This news was met with disappointment from many Texas metal fans, as Broken Hope has a significant TXDM following.  I myself had seen them open for Obituary in Dallas last year and found them to be a much better live band than on record.  That having been said, Deicide wasted absolutely no time in conquering Austin, obliterating any trace of holiness that may have wandered within earshot of Infest.  Although I admittedly am not a huge fan of Deicide’s material after their first two albums (both of which sum up death metal perfection and if you have not heard them, you need to rectify that immediately), the songs had a much greater impact in a live setting, and it is safe to say that I was blown away.  Not to neglect the classics, Deicide played a good chunk of songs from the self-titled debut and “Legion”, including “Dead But Dreaming”, “Sacrificial Suicide” (“TAKE MEEEEEEEE!”) and for their final work, the masterpiece of “Deicide”.  As this was the final date of the tour, Benton brought members of every band on the tour package up on stage to all bellow along to one of death metal’s all-time greatest “self-titled” songs, bringing the tour to a memorable conclusion.  Deicide were clearly on fire on the closing tour date, bringing an energy that made every song of the set relentless in its own way.  Benton’s grotesque growling was accompanied by guitarist Kevin Quirion’s backing screeches, adding a dimension to many songs (particularly the older material, which has some of the most sinister vocal tracking imaginable) while drummer Steve Asheim utilized the entirety of the skills in his percussive arsenal.  Benton’s sarcastic-yet-affable stage banter kept the show going during breaks between songs, bantering with the crowd and tossing picks into a sea of grabbing hands.  Glancing upward into the sky as he sang in the manner of Lemmy or Jon DePlanchett of Necrovore, Benton blasphemed through song after song with fury, whether he was singing brand-new curses or decades-old evocations.  The band maintained a level of power for the entirety of their set, and mosh pits were plenty (I myself was almost trampled during “Dead by Dawn”, which would have been totally worth it) as metalheads reacted to the darkness of the performance.  As “Deicide” concluded, the tour came to an explosive finish at the early time of about 11:45, which was a relief for us working stiffs who had to be up early the next morning (although we still had sore necks and blow-out voices to deal with — again, totally worth it).

With over twenty years of confronting all that is holy (over twenty-five if we include the Amon years), Deicide proved that they can still pack a punch like few other death metal bands can.  If you happened to miss this show, you’d be wise to catch Deicide on their next time coming through Texas.  Cheers to everyone who made this show possible!  Up next from yours truly is a review of the blood-and-rain-soaked Watain show on the Devil’s Night, October 30th (which absolutely RULED!).  Catch you guys around!

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jgsdm
Jake Holmes is a Central Texas heavy metal writer who lives by the pen and will (likely) die by the sword.  Originally from a suburban town outside of North Austin, Holmes moved to San Antonio during his college years.  After several years and thousands of miles driven to see shows in San Antonio and Austin, he returned to the Austin area due to his graduation and continued to see as many shows as humanly possible.  His interests include going to shows, blasting Carnivore as loudly as possible on the way to shows, and sleeping upon his return to his home from shows.  His “dislikes” include hearing loss, traffic, and unnecessary bonus tracks on album reissues.
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SHOW REVIEW: Mala Suerte, Solomon, and Fogg at the Lost Well Austin, TX 10/18/13

Contributed by Jake Holmes

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Dear readers, I must confess I have been on a massive doom metal binge lately.  I’ve been cranking the hell out of a ton of The Gates of Slumber, Hour of 13, Saint Vitus, and Austin’s own Old and Ill (who put on a killer show at The Grand last Monday — SUPPORT!) to name a few, and it just happens to be my luck that there is never a shortage of doom metal shows in Austin.  Friday’s show at The Lost Well (formerly the Frontier Bar) proved to be the perfect way to feed my doom fix, with performances by three slow-riffing bands that showed different takes on the school of “Tune Low and Play Slow”.  A friend and I arrived right around the time that the first band started playing, an enthusiastic group of ‘bangers by the name of Fogg.

 
Dallas’ Fogg clearly worship at the altar of Tony Iommi (and who doesn’t?), and their unashamed Black Sabbath devotion just so happened to hit the spot with me, having grown up on the classic catalogue of the Birmingham metal gods.  The free-flowing nature of the first Black Sabbath album in particular was apparent in the Fogg’s riffing and soloing (see “Wicked World”, “The Wizard”, etc), with a guitar tone that was a dead ringer for Sir Iommi’s (I don’t even think he’s been knighted but the British government should get on that ASAP) and several bass solo sections that used a distorted, higher-end sound.  In fact, right as I walked in to watch their set I was treated to a faithful rendition of “Lord of this World” (with trade-off vocals from the bassist and guitarist on the chorus), from Black Sabbath’s “Master of Reality”, one of the more powerful odes on that album.  The drums were played with great energy on a relatively small kit, and Fogg’s drummer made the most of every piece of his arsenal (my friend also gave kudos to his Utah Jazz shirt).  The band managed to be instrumentally tight and yet loose enough as to not fall into sloppiness nor overly-tight sterility — a balance that is very important to the type of bluesy doom that they played.  Parallels to the “Satori” album by Japan’s Flower Travellin’ Band could be made in Fogg’s jamming style, and the overall impression I took away from Fogg’s performance was a positive one, bringing me back to my nascent times as a metalhead when I was just discovering the greatness of Black Sabbath.  When the old-school heavy metal of Fogg ended, the monumental Solomon emerged to bulldoze the audience into dust with their furious frequencies.

The minimalist doom of Solomon took the tone of the evening into a suffocating aura that was practically deafening to anyone in witness. The band features Miguel Feliz, former bassist of The Roller, an Austin doom/sludge band who hold the distinction of the second-heaviest band I have ever seen live in terms of overwhelming sound (the first being Tom G. Warrior’s Triptykon in 2010 that started off with a bowel-rumbling rendition of “Procreation of the Wicked” — UUUGHH!).  Solomon’s sound could be said to be a continuation of The Roller’s steamrolling doom with long-held chord passages and a massive tone from the stringed instruments that washed over the crashing of the pounding drums.  In addition to providing gut-turning bass drones, Feliz also sang in a raspy, echoed tone, with a presence akin to the mystic Scott Wino, one of the most revered names in doom.  The band grew increasingly intense as the set went on, culminating in Feliz swatting the microphone stand and smashing his bass against the floor.  This unexpected instrument bludgeoning came as a surprise to the audience, but did leave a powerful impact with the sudden violence.  The destructive doom set did fly by quickly, clocking in at around fifteen minutes, a blink of an eye in doom-years.  Our first impression was that we had walked in late and missed some of the set, but a conversation with an audience member confirmed that the set was indeed a short set.  Regardless of set length, Solomon left a positive impact with their monolith of distortion, and I will certainly be keeping my eye out for future shows.  Once the carnage from Solomon’s set was cleared out, Mala Suerte took to the stage to deliver doom damnation.

Austin’s long-standing doom icons Mala Suerte were the headliners of the night, providing a 45-minute set of well-composed sludgy doom that brought the evening to an ideal conclusion.  The band has been a fixture in the Austin doom scene since their inception in 1999, and these headbangers have not lost one ounce of live power over the years.  Not content to keep within the confines of churning doom tempos which could run the risk of repetition in the hands of less-skilled songwriters, Mala Suerte mix things up by throwing in speedier influences that force the listener into a fast headbang before inducing whiplash by returning to a rumbling dirge. Gary Rosas’ vocal stylings are gruff and lower in tone than the classic doom singing of Ozzy Osbourne or Bobby Liebling, and his bellowing fit perfectly within the context of the growling guitar riffs and thunderous rhythm section.  Additionally, Rosas is an animated frontman, gesturing and moving around onstage and keeping an active rapport with the crowd, instead of staring at them in silence as some frontman are known to do.  Songs such as “Rivers to Ruin” and “Labyrinth of Solitude” conveyed tales of misery and woe (the band’s name does translate to “Bad Luck” after all) to the accompaniment of tasteful instrumental passages with several standout sections.  The four instrumentalists of Mala Suerte were clearly on the same wavelength, locking in with uninterrupted groove to effectively present their hymns of sorrow to the audience.  The band’s last song of the evening, “The Recluse” was one of the highlights of their performance, allowing the band to close the forty-five minute set with a song that encompassed the sound of Mala Suerte.  It should go without saying that anyone in the Austin area who enjoys doom metal should witness a Mala Suerte performance at least once, and Saturday’s show proved that Mala Suerte are completely worthy of respect.

If you had a doom metal itch that needed scratching, you could no better in Austin than to check out this show, and I left with a one hell of a sore neck —  the eternal testament of a good metal show.  Hails and horns to Mala Suerte, Solomon, Fogg, and the Lost Well for their roles in this show, and I look forward to the next one!  See you around!

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jgsdm
Jake Holmes is a Central Texas heavy metal writer who lives by the pen and will (likely) die by the sword.  Originally from a suburban town outside of North Austin, Holmes moved to San Antonio during his college years.  After several years and thousands of miles driven to see shows in San Antonio and Austin, he returned to the Austin area due to his graduation and continued to see as many shows as humanly possible.  His interests include going to shows, blasting Carnivore as loudly as possible on the way to shows, and sleeping upon his return to his home from shows.  His “dislikes” include hearing loss, traffic, and unnecessary bonus tracks on album reissues.

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ALBUM PREVIEW: Toxic Holocaust – Chemistry of Conciousness

Contributed by Tristan Spears

In a hot mess of a 3-way between Motörhead, Bathory, and Discharge, the prodigal son was born. That sons name is Joel Grind. This is the release of his band, Toxic Holocaust’s new album, Chemistry of Consciousness. Which comes out October 29, 2013 in the U.S.

Chemistry of Consciousness is a fucking massive attack from the get go!

As in your face as a game of Russian Roulette!

A fucking Riff Riot!

I’ll give you a Thrash by Thrash breakdown of the first few songs and leave the rest of the album to your anticipation, as I do.

The first track, Silence, holds nothing back with its Face Fisted Thrash N Roll  Kamikaze.

Track 2- Awaken the Serpent- is like grinding your face against a buzz saw!

Track 3 – Rat Eater – Joel has definitely captured the essence of old school black metal like Bathory and Venom in this ball buster.

I’m a sucker for a epic solos and good shreds. Joel doesn’t do that and never has. So don’t expect any “New/out of the box” kind of shit from this album. It’s just and addition to the already blistering resume to how great Toxic Holocaust is.

If you can imagine a “Raw yet Polished” thrash album… well you cant! Not one that can compare to the blistering machine gun assault that Toxic Holocaust will lay down before you on Oct 29, 2013

Pre-order HERE in several formats and package deals!

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tristan

Tristan Spears was born into a religious family and found his escape in metal at young age. At 15 he hit the open road and traveled all over the U.S. and Canada bangin as many chicks as possible to the best metal every written. Six years ago he arrived in Austin, TX and made it his home. In 2010 he started Motorbreath Entertainment as way to help his friends bands get good shows. It took off quickly and he has booked such acts as Destruction, Exhorder, WARBEAST, Heathen, 3 inches of blood, and many, many more

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SHOW REVIEW: San Antonio vs. Houston, Vol. IV – 9/28/13 Korova, San Antonio

Contributed by Jake Holmes


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September 28th, 2013 is a day that shall live in infamy for the Texas metal scene, for this was the site of the fourth battle between San Antonio and Houston.  No, I’m not referring to the clashing of muskets or street brawls (more on that sort of shenanigan later), but rather to a series of shows thrown by San Antonio promoter Broken Board that places extreme metal bands from both cities in a single venue, to “battle” over an evening.  This time, the matchup was formidable with San Antonio’s troops consisting of black/death metallers Hod, the grotesque Ballgag, the dark Absvrdist, and the ripping Headache; on the other hand, Houston’s lineup contained a grinding lineup of circle-pitters P.L.F., the confident Turbokrieg, the stripped-down Mindboil, and black/thrashers Peasant.  This, folks, was going to be one for the ages.  Houston’s Bolt Thrower-channelers War Master unfortunately had to cancel shortly before the show took place, but the lineup of the 28th proved to be killer regardless.

Going into battle with a sore neck from the Cleric show at the Lost Well the night before (SUPPORT!), I arrived at one of my favorite venues in San Antonio — The Korova.  Rather than split up the show between the upstairs venue and the basement, the venue was organized to have about half the bands play on the main stage  and half play on the floor, which was a fine arrangement in the end.  Most of the bands on the floor stage were grind-oriented, and being eye-level with grind bands always contributes to the atmosphere (even if anyone with a mic stand in front of them runs the risk of getting their teeth knocked in if a pit starts).

The punky Headache were the first band of the night, juxtaposing furiously quick grindcore with droning breaks.  A significant highlight of Headache’s lineup came in the form of the drumming; the skin-bashing was very powerful for the entirety of the set, whether the song at the moment called for crawling slow beats or rapid-fire snare attacks — with both styles illustrating captivating contrast.  Their guitarist/vocalist used a shouting vocal style that had an air of conviction behind it with backup from the bass guitar, strengthening the power of the stringed section while the drums pounded away.  This solid instrumental backbone got a few crowd members thrashing around, a solid signal for what was to come later on in the night.  Headache showed to be a fitting beginning to an energy-fueled show, kicking things off in a positive manner.  Upon the last hit of the drum, it was time to venture over to the main stage for the first Houston band of the evening to step up to the plate — Peasant.

Peasant had a style that seemed to be rooted in early ’90’s black metal with an added dose of speed metal and a rock and roll attitude for good measure.  Vocals were delivered in the form of a subtle rasp that could be compared to The Black Lourde of Crucifixion’s performance on Grand Belial’s Key’s “Mocking the Philanthropist”, while the instrumentalists raucously riffed with power and force.  Several sections could be compared to the rocking punch of Midnight while others were more intricate with tricky guitar parts and the occasional solo that utilized both guitar players to the band’s benefit (one of whom, Ben, would play a set with Turbokrieg later on in the night).  Peasant were the only band of the evening whose style didn’t have a noticeable connection with grindcore (along with Hod, whom we’ll get to shortly), and while there certainly isn’t anything wrong with a whole show full of the genre, it was a welcome change-of-pace which kept the show rolling smoothly (and bonus points go to playing the main riff of Tormentor’s “Elisabeth Bathory” during the soundcheck — if my ears didn’t deceive me) .

One of the more interesting bands of the night was Absvrdist, who have been rapidly gaining ground as a formidable act in the San Antonio underground with a sinister take on modern grindcore.  Especially notable was the blistering tone of the bass guitar, kicking the power of the syncopated grooves (when present) up a considerable notch.  The tone brought to mind the clashing of mechanics in a factory (such as the kind that could result in the loss of a limb if one is not careful around them), and combined with the meticulously-precise percussion made the rhythm section a highlight of Absvrdist’s sound.  Their animated singer would growl and shriek, and while the vocals were low in the mix, one could tell that he was clearly giving his all into the performance.  The single guitar was responsible for dissonant and obscure riffing, taking the band further out of the realm of conventional grindcore and into vexing new territory that was rewarding for the listener.  The drumming was some of the most accurate I have ever seen, with Lyle Cooper standing tall as one of the best of his class.  As the set came to an end, Absvrdist showed that they are definitely a band worth keeping an eye on.  With the Absvrdist performance finished, it was time to move on to the mainstage, with Mindboil ready to attack.

The barebones Mindboil was a guitar/vocals and drums/vocals duo that cranked out a relentless set of hyperfast grindcore with the added bonus of pitchshifted vocals from drummer Frank (formerly of P.L.F., Insect Warfare, and a number of other killer grindcore bands).  The vocal effect was not turned off during the set, leading to incomprehensible stage banter during the brief pauses between songs and making intermissions much more interesting.  The riffs were cranked out from the electric guitar by Seattle M. (also of Turbokrieg) at such a frantic pace it was as if the band leader was catching up on a procrastinated quota.  The face-ripping riffs were many in number and consistent in style, the sonic equivalent of a school of piranha stripping a cow to the bone in seconds.  The set, as was the case with many of the grindcore-oriented bands of the night, went by in a flash, with minimal distractions that could prevent the proverbial impact from hitting at maximum force.  For the last time of the night, it was time to return to the floor stage for brutal bludgeoning by Ballgag.

The return of San Antonio’s Ballgag also marked the point in the show where things started to get crazy.  I’d run out to my car to drop off some merch (courtesy of Tomas of Morbosidad and his wife who had a merch booth set up — hails and thanks!) while Ballgag were setting up and returned a few seconds into their set, where I was greeted by an unexpected amount of bodies crashing up against each other in front of the band.  The music of Ballgag was a mix of death metal and grindcore that was straightforward in execution with shrieking vocals to accompany slamming, violent riffs that worked the mosh pit into a frenzy.  In a way, it reminded me of the attitude of Austrian favorites Pungent Stench with its twisted sensibility, and made for a very energetic live show.  The vocals kept at an impressively high shriek that did not falter as the bodies in the mosh pit came within striking range, and the band kept conducting the violence in a way that made for a hell of a time.  Ballgag’s reunion appears to be an ongoing process, with several shows lined up in the San Antonio area, and if the idea of brutal death metal fused with grind that is guaranteed to get a pit going sounds like a good time, you owe it to yourself to check them out.  With this deathlyintermission finished, it was time to resume the Houston grind attack that took place on the mainstage, with the ever-entertaining Turbokrieg cranking away.

Turbokrieg is always a blast to see live, with their thrash-influenced style of grind that never gets old.  Both members of Mindboil remained onstage (with Seattle switching to bass), prompting vocalist Sleazy T. to introduce a song as a Mindboil cover, in one of his many gems of tongue-in-cheek banter (another example: “Here’s a new song…it’s really good”).  Speed is the name of the game with Turbokrieg (they couldn’t exactly play funeral doom with a name like “Turbokrieg”, after all), and they excel at warp-speed tempos without the need to hit the brakes during the set.  Guitar work was delivered courtesy of an axeman named Ben (also of Peasant, War Master, Dissent, and Nibiru) which was a constant source of blazing rhythms and occasional solos while the bass and drums held the frantic beat down.  As has been the case with every show I’ve seen of theirs to date, Turbokrieg ended with their cover of Metallica’s “Hit the Lights”, played faithfully but at a higher tempo, as one would expect from the whiplash-inducing Turbokrieg.

The battery between bands was reaching its peak once San Antonio’s Hod emerged to decimate the main stage with extreme metal fury.  The five warriors of metal delivered a familiar set of black/death anthems that stirred a frantic mosh put for the duration of the performance.  Chiefly focusing on post- “Serpent” material (as has been the case for several years), Hod played fan favorites such as “And The Smoke Will Rise”, with vocalist Beer Reebs passing the mic off to shouting audience members.  Sometime in the middle of Hod’s set, the battle theme of the show became a bit too literal, as an all-out brawl took place as the mosh pit turned into a clash of chaos.  Fortunately everything was ironed out and no one appeared to be seriously hurt, and then it was time to resume headbanging to “Demoralizer” and “In The Den of Wolves” (among others).  Hod concluded with the aforementioned “Demoralizer”, leaving a hell of a challenge for the final band on the bill.  Thankfully, the final assault came from no scraggly amateurs, but rather Houston’s own barons of blasting, P.L.F.

The ultra-violence of P.L.F. (a.k.a. Pretty Little Flower and Pulverizing Lethal Force) concluded Saturday night’s showdown with a full-on tactical strike of pure grind fury.  The band is one of Houston’s most respected grind entities, winning over a legion of fans with their nonstop riffing and circle-pit-inducing beats.  Not to disappoint, P.L.F. were at the top of their game on Saturday, with their set standing out as one of the best of the night.  Vocalist Dave Callier (also of the excellent deathrashers Oath of Cruelty and the newest incarnation of Morbosidad) led P.L.F. to grindcore dominance at the show, giving the crowd exactly what they wanted — riffs, riffs, and more riffs. The tone of the bass was interesting in that the range of its frequency was geared more towards the high end of the spectrum, with a curious scraping sound to solo sections which benefitted the band’s kick-to-the-teeth approach.  In P.L.F.’s world, everything is fast, distorted, and intense, which is exactly what grindcore should be.  At one point, Callier stated that the band had not practiced for about four months, which seemed unbelievable as P.L.F. seemed at the top of their game throughout the performance.  An encore was provided in the form of an Excruciating Terror cover, bringing the fourth battle of San Antonio against Houston to an explosive conclusion.

So the burning question remains: Who won the battle?  San Antonio, or Houston?  Given as how I had a blast throughout the entire show (and am also horribly indecisive), I will offer my answer that the (fourth) battle of San Antonio vs. Houston ended in a draw.  Thanks to Broken Board, The Korova, and all the bands who played that night!  We hope to do battle again very soon.  See you there!

 

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Jake Holmes is a Central Texas heavy metal writer who lives by the pen and will (likely) die by the sword.  Originally from a suburban town outside of North Austin, Holmes moved to San Antonio during his college years.  After several years and thousands of miles driven to see shows in San Antonio and Austin, he returned to the Austin area due to his graduation and continued to see as many shows as humanly possible.  His interests include going to shows, blasting Carnivore as loudly as possible on the way to shows, and sleeping upon his return to his home from shows.  His “dislikes” include hearing loss, traffic, and unnecessary bonus tracks on album reissues.

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REVIEW: Total Abuse, Austin TX

Contributed by Jake Holmes

 

For this week’s installment of my column, I decided to write about something different than the death/thrash/black/doom metal that dominates about 95% of my show-going experiences.  This is for two reasons — one namely because I had a blast at this show and the other being that I haven’t been to a show where I wasn’t part of the bill in some time (as of the time of this writing).  So I’ve decided to review in retrospect a noise/punk show that a few friends and I went to a few weeks ago.

 

Now dear reader, I will confess, I am pretty much a newcomer to experimental and noise music and its many related subgenres.  While I could talk anyone’s ear off about the merits of ’80’s speed metal demos that were probably recorded on a boombox in someone’s basement, I’ll admit that I am but fledgling to more sonically harsh realms. I’m familiar with some early noisecore, power-electronics, and other noise-related acts, but for the most part I am but an interested party looking to learn more about acts who take sound to its furthest possible extremity.  As such, this review will be more focused on a newcomer’s introduction into a different musical (or anti-musical) world, so consider that your disclaimer.

 

We arrived at the club at about an hour before doors, and decided to drive around passing time (having grown up in a Texas town with not much to do, this is a familiar activity) until we were able to get in to the venue.  Once we arrived, we observed the uniquely-monikered Breakdancing Ronald Reagan vs. Breathing Problem, who initiated the night’s showcase.  Breakdancing Ronald Reagan vs. Breathing Problem played a five-minute set of harsh noise and power-electronics that is nigh-undescribable to anyone not familiar with the style or the band itself.  The project’s style is an atonal aural assault on the eardrums, with white noise and decibel levels that pushed the limits of the audience’s hearing close to the threshold of pain.  The vocals consisted of single-syllable distorted shouts, the perfect accompaniment to the sonic representation of conflict that came from the electronic contraptions being manipulated by the sole instrumentalist of the band.  The vocalist added to the violent atmosphere by bashing the mic stand against the ground on numerous occasions, allowing a purposefully-unpleasant “thud” to be felt beneath our feet.  The death-by-volume set was extremely unsettling and disturbing, and yet captivating as well, drawing in interested audience members who were fascinated by a physical representation of the answer to “how extreme can sound become?”  As the set was approximately five-to-seven minutes in length, this section of the review is accordingly brief.  However, Breakdancing Ronald Reagan vs. Breathing Problem does play as part of a noise showcase on October 23rd at Chain Drive, so if their performance sounds like an experience you’d like to have, you can check them out there.  After this observation in harsh noise ended, it was time for Officer Problem continued the night’s mayhem with a devastating set of noisecore.

Officer Problem’s biography stated an influence by Sore Throat and early AxCx (R.I.P. Seth), and they were without a doubt one of the most chaotic bands I’ve ever witnessed, bashing and beating their instruments like they’d walked into the wrong neighborhood.  The band used a three-piece bass, drums, and vocals/effects lineup that was about as pure of audio violence as you can get.  For anyone who reads my column regularly, you’ll notice that I tend to notice the bass first and foremost (because as I’ve said before, I am a bassist), and Officer Problem’s bass had one of the nastiest tones I could imagine — assisted by occasionally detuning the instrument while maniacally picking away.  By the end of the set, that bass had suffered just about every cruelty one could imagine outside of being rendered outright FUBAR — the guitar was flung around, thrown down, stepped on, and even headbutted!  If I may provide a personal commentary for a minute; I’ll say that as a performing bassist, I tend to be overly paranoid about breaking a string on-stage even though it A) has never happened to me and B) I’ve never seen it happen to a bassist onstage.  After Friday’s show, those fears were laid to rest, having seen a bass go through hell and back with its four strings completely intact by the end of the set.  The drumming was equally insane, with Officer Problem’s drummer smashing and blasting away at his kit and piercing his skins with drumsticks at the end of the performance.  This hysteric frenzy was brought to a peak when he threw himself into the kit and then the crowd itself, spastically kicking around like a man possessed.  Officer Problem’s vocalist utilized a blood-curdling shriek that amplified the effect of the instrumentalists clanging in clamor.  The anti-music of Officer Problem is clearly not for everyone, but for those open to unconventional approaches to audio violence, I would definitely recommend checking out a show if they are playing near you.  Personally, I loved just about every second of it, so I will be keeping my eye out for future shows with Officer Problem.

 

Around this point, the venue PA music took a strange turn from Hellhammer to an hour-long barrage of crunk music, so my friends and I hopped outside to relax for a bit.  I’ll use this space to state that I really dug the venue, The Annex at Club 1808.  Club 1808 itself was hosting a rapper by the name of Li’l Keke (whom I actually saw live once during a bizarre night of unplanned youthful shenanigans — long story), and the Annex was the venue right next to it.  The main room was very fitting, with a hallway leading out to a backyard, which gave the show at the Annex a major house show vibe, which I always appreciate.  The sound was also great all night, even when the bands themselves were playing lethally-distorted noise.  We went inside so that my friends could acquire drinkables, which coincided with everyone else on the outside swarming the floor of the venue in anticipation of a beatdown by Austin hardcore band Recide.

 

The confrontational Recide (whom I misread as “Reicide” for the first few weeks of knowing about them) have been kicking around for a few years now, and I enjoyed the band’s energetic hardcore which had an old-school approach to it (which is pretty much the only hardcore I can tolerate) with a machine gun-speed power chord blasts and punky drumming.  They were able to whip the now-packed room into a frenzy, with people moshing and throwing themselves in whirlwind motions, causing everyone in my group to suddenly find ourselves dodging bodies and beer cans getting flung around.  For punk and hardcore shows, this is the exact kind of atmosphere I have a great time at; where the energy levels are at a youthful high and no one — even if they’re just watching the band — can stand still.  The vocal style was a forceful shout that accompanied their singer distorting his face with rage as he stomped around the floor of the mosh pit while the band played away at their instruments, providing a hardcore backdrop to the frenzy below.  The bass, guitar, and drums worked well in unison with each other in punk rock power, rhythmically locking in throughout the performance to allow Recide’s hardcore message to be communicated with the best possible impact.  The set went by quickly and was highly appreciated by the audience, who reacted positively for the set’s duration.  After Recide’s performance, more crunk music from the PA followed, so we hung out outside until the hour of insanity was upon us; Hell was empty, and Total Abuse was here.

 

The first Total Abuse show since 2011 was also my first experience with the band, and to say that it was a positive experience would be an understatement to the point of injustice.  The Austin sadists of sound had reunited for this show and proved that they were not even slightly rusty; instead operating on the level of a finely polished blade ready to gut anyone who happened to be displaying signs of weakness.  There was an absolutely dictatorial presence about singer Rusty Kelley, who stood high above the crowd, shrieking and yelling expressions of rage and hatred above the backing of the high-octane band accompaniment.  Musically, Total Abuse played an aggressive combination of hardcore, punk, and noise taken to boundaries so extreme it was almost beyond comprehension — which is meant in the most complimentary way in this case.  The audience was completely enthralled, transforming into a fast-moving pit of bodies that behaved as channelers of chaos, thrashing in line with the commands barked by Kelley.  The stage was only a few inches off the ground, but this did not stop people from diving from the stage, colliding with those who were equally in-tune with the madness that was taking place.  This was punk rock that had been dragged into a dark alleyway and beaten down by nihilistic noise commandos as part of an initiation until joining forces in feedback-laden ferocity.  There were no pauses that could have disrupt the flow of the set, as the band played tightly with almost no silence between songs to deliver their message with maximum efficiency.  The exercise in obscenity ended as viciously as it began, with Total Abuse bringing the performance to a furious finish after striking away at their instruments one last time.

 

According to the lineup posted on Facebook, there was one more band on the bill, Captive, who feature members of Total Abuse and Rayon Beach.  Unfortunately, Total Abuse’s performance left us completely wrecked, so we decided to call it a night.  My apologies to Captive, and for anyone interested, you can check out their SoundCloud here:

 

https://soundcloud.com/captivetheband

 

It’s always a good show when you wake up the next morning feeling like you were hit with at least twelve tons of bricks, and my bodily turmoil at sunrise was proof that I had a blast.  Cheers to Total Abuse, Recide, Officer Problem, and Breakdancing Ronald Reagan vs. Breathing Problem, and to Austin Noise as well!  See you around!

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jgsdm
Jake Holmes is a Central Texas heavy metal writer who lives by the pen and will (likely) die by the sword.  Originally from a suburban town outside of North Austin, Holmes moved to San Antonio during his college years.  After several years and thousands of miles driven to see shows in San Antonio and Austin, he returned to the Austin area due to his graduation and continued to see as many shows as humanly possible.  His interests include going to shows, blasting Carnivore as loudly as possible on the way to shows, and sleeping upon his return to his home from shows.  His “dislikes” include hearing loss, traffic, and unnecessary bonus tracks on album reissues.
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A Brief Review of Death In June in Chicago 9/16/13

Contributed by Malaking Gulo
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Now I didn’t realize how big the fanbase is for Di6 until I came to the venue and actually had to wait outside for 30 minutes. But then again, this is in Chicago. Due to the long wait I actually ended up missing the supporting act, a band called Et-Nihil as I recall. I was fine with missing them since I hadn’t listened to any of their music yet.

Now I need to give a little background with my experience of Death In June before seeing this show. Several years back I wanted to broaden my horizons with music. I had heard about “neofolk” and that Di6 was a prominent band for that type of music. I was intrigued and found the album Rose Clouds of Holocaust. I had listened to the album once but at the time it didn’t stick and eventually I forgot about the band until a few years later. Only recently did I pick up All Pigs Must Die and actually fell in love with the sound. The sombre and melancholic melodies that would gradually turn to noise.

I was very ecstatic when Di6 would be playing in Chicago once again after 10 years. Now since getting into the music I hadn’t explored their discography further than Rose Clouds of Holocaust, All Pigs Must Die and songs on youtube I would cycle through at work. This meant that half of the songs I would hear I would’ve never heard before the show. This didn’t mean each of the songs didn’t strike me as hard as the songs I knew, just that I didn’t have the familiarity.

When I finally got into the venue I hit the merch table. I already knew at least 2 things I wanted. A patch and CD I hadn’t heard yet. Many of the CDs were actually sold out, but I got exactly what I wanted.

I was to the right and not too far from the stage when I found a spot to stand. The venue was filled. I only wished people would support the underground metal scene as much people did for Di6. It was about another 30 minutes until Di6 came onto the stage. When they started though, they started fierce and strong. It was a different feeling than I usually get a metal show. The way both members pounded the drums and used chimes as well was very invigorating. It was about 15 minutes in before both members took their masks off and played just with military drab parkas. Douglas wore shorts under his parka, which a got a chuckle out of me and picture from a guy in front of me.

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Di6 played damn near every one of their popular songs. Douglas P, the main contributor of Di6, took requests halfway through. Very eager to please his “Chickadees” as he referred to the audience. About an hour in, both members left the stage to signal the end of the set but nobody in the audience stopped clapping or cheering. Nobody moved from the spot they were standing in. It only took a minute or two for both members of Di6 to reclaim the stage and take up requests once more. They played All Pigs Must Die and it really made me happy to hear it live finally. They never got around to playing The Enemy Within, which is probably my second favorite tune of theirs after APMD. Di6 ended the show with a looped tape that kept playing for about 5 minutes after the group left the stage for the final time of the night. An amazing performance. One that I won’t forget any time soon.

One thing that did concern me though, was the threat of anti-fascist action on the show. I was relieved to find no indication of any anti-fa action throughout the whole night.

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malaking gulo

3 years ago Malaking Gulo descended upon the heathen state of Illinois. Malaking has attended various shows and gatherings within the Chicago underground metal scene. The scriptures Malaking provides are those of past and future shows, and matters of opinion on current events of the underground. Malaking’s compositions will adhere strictly to the law of the true metal underground. Lastly, Malaking will always remind us that ALL POSERS MUST FUCK OFF AND DIE!!

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9/14/13: Death In June, Awen, Gabhar and Dj Deathchurch – Austin, TX

By guest contributor The FurnaceDoor

DiJAwenGabhar

Downtown Austin is starting to look more and more like some sort of playground of the rich. With gleaming spires jutting up from formerly vacant lots of the old long gone downtown warehouse district, like some strange fruit shooting up from the caliche. Fostered by privilege and nurtured by greed. Growing upwardly, cutting, and blotting out the evenings dusky sunset sky with its pink and orange kissed puffs of cloud that dotted the darkening firmament. Like some cruel jigsaw wielded upon face of God. Replacing the natural, cruelly torn away from tired eyes, with a strict patterned line of geometric rectangular facades of glass, concrete and steel. Perhaps these buildings could be appraised as graceful, playful even, and striking to the trained visual eye. If perhaps, the appraisal was conducted one building at a time. Ignoring the others as one is surveyed one at a time. But lumped all together as my ride passes Whole Paycheck east to Infest they have all the grace and achievement of a cardboard box. Dropped off at the park on fifth street I walk towards the old former Antone’s building on 5th and Lavaca. A building that I must have been subconsciously avoiding for the 15 years I’ve lived here, until tonight. The venue in its current state identifies itself as a dive-y punk rock bar/venue that looks huge when empty. So I wondered if they would benefit from the fact this was the only Texas date Death In June would be playing. Bands that mean the world to me rarely sell a venue out, and at a hefty amount for the admission I was uncertain of the turnout.

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Well, well. I don’t even cross the street fully and wouldn’t you know it some friends from the south, Rachel and Ariel intersect with me and the shit talkin’ good times begin! Why? We’re punks after all! Self-identifying ourselves as deathrockers. Goth-punks, if you will. We wander idly for a spell at the side of the building that faces Lavaca for one hot minute. There isn’t even a sliver of a line at the entrance yet and we got 40 minutes before the doors are slated to open. Rachel and I spot Gregory from the opening band Gabhar by a side entrance close to where the main stage is placed inside having a quick smoke, before diving back into the pre-show rituals bands must go through before they are ready to perform. We chat briefly about some folks who threatened to show up and shut the show down tonight. They, the self-proclaimed anti-Fascist activists, canceled the proposed direct action on the venue. Because so many activists in Austin identify as PAGAN and would be inside the venue to see the show. It would be like the dog finding out that it’s tail truly is what it’s chasing! So. Thankfully. No need for awkward arguments about how I must be apart of something that I’m not. No need for me to fight a verbal hot, tense, bellowing match with someone who is out to prove they are fighting the good fight. Saving the world from obscure musicians so cops can safely walk the streets at night pepper spraying women and children, as they ignore domestic violence calls across the land. Yeah. I know that was absurd, but to me, so is the concept of a thin blue line.

Once inside we go through a very arduous and tedious ritual of checking ids, handing over tickets or cash, and getting patted down for knives. There’s some bumming about that from some folks but it makes sense to me. As the world becomes more ill in the head, the frequency for violence out of the blue hangs in the air of every day life. I had in fact opined that, guest in our nation or not, Douglas P. should probably carry some pepper spray. But not for the purposes I had previously listed above. That would be rude! No. Because unfortunately we are a nation with a very proud and growing population of sociopaths. Growing larger at a very robust clip. After it is discovered that sometimes, a flash drive is indeed just a flash drive, I am free to roam. Shortly, I discover the crowd is teeming with folks I’ve known down the years since moving here in 1998. Now, by know means am I popular but I make friends easily with all types and had a entertaining time talking with folks. About everything from Bill Fucking Murry(!) to why I chose the U.S. flag totenkopf patch over the gay pride flag totenkopf patch. U.S. flag one is probably gonna get me into more trouble, that’s why! Now if I can just successfully roll a saving throw vs. turns chickenshit I will put it in a very conspicuous place on my denim….

So I rarely drink and was have good ole aqua fresca watching friends slowly blur their boundary lines, get more comfortable with the brutal concrete surroundings, and upping the antes on our usual verbal antics. So the feeling of no time transpired until I saw friends Gregory, Megan, and their new guitarist Steve filed up onto the stage. Gabhar is a four-piece all acoustic martial folk group with songs about balance with nature, restoring pagan heritage, and the sorrow and rage expressed by those who mourn the loss of old ways. Ways currently eroded by the greed of the elite, the blindness of fools, and a sleeping giant that is us. If only, collectively, with resolve, chose to awake and shrug off these self-appointed kings and queens from our shoulders. This is my second time seeing them but they are founded in 2007. The first time I’d seen them (and Awen as well) was at a local neofolk & “military pop” night called Total War that I had DJed in Austin with Oliver Sheppard.

4Gregory of Gabhar

Before Gabhar hit the stage I had a chance to speak with Oliver aka Deathchurch about posting his DJ sets later. I see him as something as a guru when it comes to many music related things. DJing and writing columns for online publications to be more specific. He was giving me the downlow of a list of bands Mr. Pierce did not want played. I won’t bore you with what I remembered of that list. Rather, I will just impress upon you that my requests for Art Abscon(s) and anything from the KAPO! record had to be denied play time.

Up next on stage is DFW area’s Awen. Erin, Katrin, Eric, and Per. Martial drumming and a sampler/sequencer triggering sounds of industrialized death and war produced mayhem. With not so much a singer, but an orator warning any who will listen to stand steadfast in an ever shifting world of fog and deception. Urging you to stand straight and tall against the winds of tyranny. A tyranny produced by a construct so bloated and out of control with its self that it is about to collapse under its own weight. Awen’s message is quite simple: speak the truth, accomplish all deeds talked of, and above all stay loyal to the things you understand and respect. Sounds quite stern and authoritative? Yes. Possibly handing ammunition to those self-proclaimed activists who would cry Fascist? Sure. But to paraphrase Rick James “Cognitive dissonance is one hell of a drug.” I can understand from the outside looking in that the military chic of Awen’s attire is quite confusing and will cause a lot of argument to what they are all about. So let me attempt to lift the veil for you. They ended their set with their own take of the old protest rally chant of “Si su Puede.” Look it up.

2previewpreview (1)Awen

Death in June’s live sound is something I have had some real conflict with over the years when comparing some thoroughly psychedelic dark folk studio albums -with a sound that surrounds your mind and lifts you up to another plane with the anthem-ic fanfare of trumpets- versus a very stripped down primitivist approach of just acoustic guitar and percussion. You can end up feeling like too much is missing. But Meagan from Gabhar has made a gif of the Rule of Thirds album cover with Douglas P. wearing sunglasses and the text “deal with it!” Because Doug is the fucking boss and has balls big as the state of Kansas, traveling the expanse of the world with his partner John Murphy playing only as a duo. So I dealt with it by preparing myself through a rite of initiation accomplished by listening to the radio sessions from the Something Is Coming live album and watching a few live clips from 2012. Once dealt with and gotten over with it was like a very intimate stripped down performance in my living room. Just to be there hearing songs you know by heart played with passion. Because how else? His songs are deeply personal. And yes, he is of course political. This was evidenced by frequent ad-libbing to address the crowd (“drink a Texas wine”) and address, also, the very bleak world politics of war (“Who is Klaus Barbie? Who is Osama bin Laden”). I came away after the performance finally realizing no matter what you may be able to nail him with in regards to personal prejudices he very may well have OR NOT HAVE. Is that Douglas P. is and has always been anti-war, and has always been anti-tyranny. SO DEAL WITH IT!

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.gif by Megan Keith

Did I sing to almost every Death In June song played? No, but the words I could remember were sang with gusto perhaps to the annoyance to a few folks nearby. Well sorry, loved this band since about 1996. I can’t help it. Most people were silent and stern looking. I wasn’t sure they were even having fun, but fun is something different from individual to individual. Mine was boppin’ my head around with a shit eating grin singing along whenever I knew the words. My friend Rachael swinging and dancing and swaying around in drunken delight nearby. The show started with, if I remember correctly, “Till The Living Flesh Is Burned” and well damn, I didn’t really think I would be writing this so my memory is hazy, as I did not take notes. Here are the rest of the results of my holistic cat-scan in no order: “Fields Of Rape”, “Fall Apart”, “Leper Lord”, “Rose Clouds Of Holocuast”, “Runes And Men”, “Giddy Giddy Carousel”, “Little Black Angel”, “Death Of The West”, “Peaceful Snow”, “He’s Disabled”, “Tick Tock”, “All Pigs Must Die”, “Ku Ku Ku”, “But What Happens When The Symbols Shatter”, “Luther’s Army”, “Death Is The Martyr Of Beauty”, “Touch Defiles”, “He Said Destroy”, “The Maverick Chamber”, “Life Under Siege”, “The Enemy Within”, “Symbols Of The Sun”, “This Golden Wedding Of Sorrow”, “Leopard Flowers”, “Hail! The White Grain”, and for the encore “Heaven Street” and “C’est Un Reve.”

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A great evening. I was quite ecstatic with the immense pleasure of finally seeing a band that has influenced me heavily, close to two decades now, in regards to my own art. And if I hadn’t seen it I would have felt a bleak tugging at my soul – like a black hole- this time around, and felt poorer of spirit for the mistake. Because after all, we are only getting older and the West surely is dying.

Arrivederci, piggies.

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Christian Eason aka The Furnacedoor is a ATX musician/DJ/graphic-designer/music writer/webcaster, whose webcast the Sunken Lantern’s Waltz can be heard every Monday from 1pm-7pm at KAOS Radio Austin.

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Oliver Sheppard’s Interviews with Gabhar and Awen
Kaos Radio
Funeral Parade
Audio archive of Crisis/DIJ 2-hour Retrospective by Furnace Door

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Southern Decay on Facebook
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 DiJAwenGabhar

 

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ALBUM REVIEW: Joel Grind’s Yellowgoat Sessions

Contributed by Tristan Spears of Motorbreath Entertainment

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Earlier this year, the Yellowgoat sessions were unleashed upon us all.  You can preview and purchase it from Hell’s Headbangers or get it on cassette here,

The intro track, Ascension, brings on images of waking through the Norwegian forest on a dark moonlit night and stumbling upon an incantation in the name of our dark lord.

Then out of the flames rises the first track, Hell’s Master of Hell. It rips with all the rawness of Bathory and early Venom.

Keeping with the raw of the old school, track 3, Vengeance Spell is more in the lines of early Motorhead with simple rhythms that call to you and perfectly placed solos to create the perfect package.

The 4th track, Foul Spirit Within, leans towards Satyricon’s Fuel for Hatred era while still keeping Joel’s style of blackened thrash and originality.

Cross Damnation opens with what sounds like a possessed priest, then busts into probably the best track on the album, delivering an old raw feel with its non stop rock’n’metal riffs.

I’ve given you the first 5 tracks to The Yellowgoat Sessions. I could give away the rest, but this is by far an album that belongs on the “I MUST CHECK THIS SHIT OUT” list of any true metal fan. I’m just sayin… The riffs on the album definitely hold up to anything Joel has done so far.

Be sure to check out the new Toxic Holocaust album, Chemistry of Consciousness. Comes out October 29th on Relapse records.  Preview and pre-order it here.

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tristan

Tristan Spears was born into a religious family and found his escape in metal at young age. At 15 he hit the open road and traveled all over the U.S. and Canada bangin as many chicks as possible to the best metal every written. Six years ago he arrived in Austin, TX and made it his home. In 2010 he started Motorbreath Entertainment as way to help his friends bands get good shows. It took off quickly and he has booked such acts as Destruction, Exhorder, WARBEAST, Heathen, 3 inches of blood, and many, many more

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Southern Decay on Facebook

For those into boobs, metal, and helping out defenseless animals, Motorbreath Entertainment is hosting it’s TITTIES 4 KITTIES benefit this Sunday, Sept 22nd at the Dirty Dog on 6th Street in Austin, TX benefiting Austin Pets Alive.  Wet t-shirt contest, metal, and charity.  What a wonderful mix!  Donations are accepted at the door.  Go on out and have some fun.

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