(As the title says, this is an interview with Michiel Dekker and Robin Kok of The Monolith Deathcult. I feel sure they are in this photo somewhere. I also feel sure you will thoroughly enjoy this interview. Speaking for myself, I laughed, I cried, I experienced the whole range of human emotions. And that was just while I was writing the questions. If somehow you don’t know about TMDC’s new album Tetragrammaton, read Andy Synn’s review here. The excellent photos accompanying the interview were taken by Raymond Groenink.)
Thanks for taking these questions. Not that you have anything better to do, but I’m trying to be polite. Is it working?
Robin: About as polite as an Anal Cunt song.
I’ll count that as a “Yes”. I was told you have a new album that’s now out. Is this true? I’d just like a little warning so I can make sure my bomb shelter is well-stocked and ready for occupancy.
Robin: I would like to officially state that whoever is spreading this misinformation, is spreading malicious truth.
Very well then. I understand the new album is named Tetragrammaton. I did some research, and it seems that “tetragrammaton” is the ancient Greek word that refers to the Hebrew theonym יהוה (transliterated to the Latin letters YHWH), which is considered in Judaism to be a proper name of the God of Israel used in the Hebrew Bible. Some people might think you’re putting on airs. Why did you pick this as the name of the album?
Robin: Mainly so we could wallow in our own grandiose pseudo-intellectual wank and get interview questions that are marginally more interesting than asinine tripe such as “could you please introduce the band to us” or “tell us about your new album” or “Thanks for taking these questions. Not that you have anything better to do, but I’m trying to be polite. Is it working?”. We picked this title for several reasons. 1) To keep in line with Trivmvirate (III = our third album), we needed a word that meant something to do with ‘four’ without actually being ‘four’. Tetra- means ‘four’ of course, so that’s that covered. The four letters could mean YHWH, but what they don’t tell you at bible study is that it really means TMDC. So no, we’re not putting on airs: we’re in full-on self-congratulatory mode!
Michiel: We also chose tetrAgrAmmAton as album title because of the triple A in it, to emphasize our major role in the music scene as we know it and because AAA stands for “PRIME” which is of course a reference to the narrator on this album.
What drew my attention to Rituaal were the band’s members: They consist of guitarist/vocalist Justin Stubbs from Father Befouled and Encoffination, drummer Jake Rothlisberger from Nashville’s Mourner, and vocalist/guitarist Mike Meacham from Loss – killer bands, all of them. That trio formed Rituaal a little over a year ago and recorded two songs in September 2012 that will be released as a 7″ vinyl EP by Portland’s Parasitic Records this summer. Recently, Rituaal put up both songs for streaming on Bandcamp — “Ordo Walpurga” and “Datura at the Astral Sabbat”.
Imagine a musical black hole deep in a gravity well that’s inexorably sucking all light and matter down into its powerful vortex, and that will give you some sense of “Ordo Walpurga”. It’s a massive, groaning dirge of distorted chords and ponderous drum and cymbal hits, emanating a morbid melody and echoing with the cavernous roars and disemboweling shrieks of the vocalists.
“Datura at the Astral Sabbat” vibrates with unholy blackened energy. What begins as a ritualized chant of abraded vocals and thumping percussion accelerates into a buzz of tremolo-picked guitars and then slows to a crawl, still shrouded in distortion and breathing with the life of shimmering occult melody. This trade-off between ghastly doom/death and blackened misery continues until this beast gasps its last horrific sound.
Deafheaven’s new album Sunbather will be released by Deathwish on June 11. Today the band premiered the 10-minute title track on a site called Fader. I like it very much. A transporting astral symphony with vocals by a man being turned inside out. This is it:
Previously, the band debuted another track from the album named “Dream House”. I already wrote about it here; I like it, too. It’s now available on YouTube. And this is it:
Heads up folks: If the blindingly orange cover art didn’t tip you off, we’re discussing Shining (Norway), not Shining (Sweden), whose latest album Andy actually reviewed here in December of last year. Also, this review is written from a really weird perspective of someone who is not really able to be neutral, but instead really worshipped Blackjazz – thus I found myself drawing quite a few comparisons between these two very different discs. Just a fair warning.
I think listening to Shining is one of the things I do when I want to pretend I am smarter than I actually am, the other being attempting to occasionally put up a coherent couple of paragraphs here at NCS. It’s an intellectual exercise designed to prove that I’m not just some drooling idiot, though trying to string together some sort of descriptor of what these guys do and why it appeals to me feels like a futile effort because, frankly, almost everyone in Shining is highly intelligent and qualified on their instruments and I am as dumb as a rock.
As one of the people who absolutely fell in love with their Blackjazz release – I have a very layman’s understanding of how these guys meld jazz song structures and musical theory with heavy metal and the occasional prog flourish. I just can’t explain exactly what is going on and I think that, even in the group’s uglier moments when what they are doing seemingly makes no sense, that is what draws me to them. It was the humongous challenge of trying to understand the cacophony of Blackjazz that had me constantly coming back to it, so the prospect of seeing what the band would do next, either expounding upon their initial construction or changing it up with One One One, was exciting as all hell.
If there is one charge that you could never level against Shining, for sure it would be that they are resting on their laurels, because One One One is a very different album from Blackjazz.
(NCS writer Andy Synn still seems to be under the impression that the best way to promote his band Bloodguard is to praise the competition. Go figure.)
So you’re all still voting for us on that Bloodstock poll, right?
I only ask because we’ve been selected as part of a limited number of bands to compete for a slot on that ever-so-badass Northern Darkness Festival which Islander posted about a little while back, and might be needing some more votes for that pretty soon…
So in return for your continued loyalty here’s three more cool bands, one of whom I was already aware of, another I discovered through the competition entries, and the third… well we’re doing some dates with the third band next month, so there’s a little bit more of a self-serving agenda behind their inclusion!
UNDER BLACKENED SKIES
Situated firmly on the thrashier end of the Melodic Death Metal spectrum, Under Blackened Skies (pictured above) are a real workhorse of a band who I’ve seen live several times now, and who always bring their A game. Impressively tight, yet with a savage sound always teetering on the edge of chaos, they’re the sort of band I could see Carnal Forge fans falling head over heels in love with.
Here are two new videos that appeared over the last 24 hours. Get your melodic death metal on.
The new album from Sweden’s Darkane is named The Sinister Supremacy. It’s their first album in five years and features the return of vocalist Lawrence Mackrory, who last appeared with Darkane 14 years ago on their debut album Rusted Angel. The album also includes eye-catching cover art courtesy of former Soilwork member Carlos Holmberg. It will be released by Prosthetic Records on June 28 in Europe and July 2 in the U.S., and it’s available for pre-order at this location.
Yesterday gave us the premiere of the album’s title track in the form of a lyric video. The words feature such loving phrases as “Violence is all I can see”, “I feed on your fear”, and “Murder is all that I crave”. But don’t worry, there are words of comfort as well, such as these: ”In blood red ecstasy devoured by lunacy / This malicious demonocracy / Death resides in me”.
Okay, the words may not have much touchy-feely in them, but what about the music?
More and more bands are opting to go the label-free route, which has helped many to get their music out there, but unfortunately means they don’t have a PR campaign behind them like they would from a label. This series is dedicated to those kinds of bands. Part Two will come tomorrow, with a definitive prog focus.
Boreworm - Black Path
When Scorned Deity came to my attention through a post here at NCS, I instantly mused to myself that hopefully a band of their caliber would be part of a thriving scene with other like-minded bands. Soon after, I heard about Boreworm, another bright young act from Michigan who confirmed that good things are happening there. Boreworm’s take on blackened death metal has all the fury of Hate Eternal but truly shines through because of their sad melodic flirtations and a knack for knowing when to break up the madness with slower passages.
The heaving darkness and bite of black metal emerges in layers throughout, with its appearence lending Black Path a uniquely sinister vibe. They also extend the influence to grimly make-over deathcore breakdowns with faster drumming or reverberating chords that give a lingering, atmospheric black metal feel.
I concede that I may get more excited about metal on a daily basis than most fans because my tastes are perhaps more wide-ranging than average. The diversity of metal is one of its great attractions to me, and so today I’ve gotten excited about the three items in this post that are dramatically different from each other. As the French say, Vive la différence.
This post includes two new songs (one captured on video) and one new video for a song released earlier this year. The bands are A.M.S.G. (Canada), Dreamshade (Switzerland), and Mendel (The Netherlands).
A.M.S.G. (“Ad Majorem Satanae Gloriam”) are a “Holocaustik Canadian Terrorist Black Metal” band from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. If you couldn’t guess already, they are not your friend.
The mastermind behind A.S.M.G. is Angelfukk Witchhammer, a member of Gloria Diaboli as well as the now-defunct Rites Of Thy Degringolade and Ouroboros, and the band also includes drummer Kaos Abhorrer. I happened upon them last fall and reviewed (here) their 2010 EP, The Principle Of Evil Becomes The Ideal Of The Promethean, which I liked a lot.
In the spring of 2012 a four-man Chicago black metal band named FIN self-released a demo album entitled Fated By Will and Iron. The album is now going to get the attention it deserves because it’s scheduled for an official label release on June 11 by Disorder Recordings, a relatively new imprint established by Jeff Wilson, guitarist for Chrome Waves, Wolvhammer, and formerly Nachtmystium. In this post, we’ve got a review of the album and a song stream of the title track.
At a very high level, FIN combine a variety of styles, mixing them to varying degrees within each song and transitioning from one to the next in a way that gives the music vibrancy. One of those strains (perhaps best exemplified in “Guilty of War Crimes”) is a bestial, warlike assault that’s in keeping with the martial themes of the song titles. Distorted, swarming tremolo riffs mix with thunderous double-bass, crashing cymbals, and a seething acid-bath of vocal expression to unleash a holocaust of hellfire. During these passages, listening is like being caught in a hurricane.
There are rarely any genuinely subdued moments on the album, but FIN do shake things up by transitioning within songs into squalling chord progressions and thumping drum rhythms. In these decelerated “black ‘n’ roll” segments, guitarist M.K. delivers some juicy riffs (still distorted and still vibrating with unholy energy), and heads will bang.
Bandcamp has hit a new milestone. Thanks to our blog brother MaxR of Metal Bandcamp, we learned this morning that there are now 80 labels who have established beachheads on Bandcamp, with a total of 3,715 albums featured.
No one follows metal happenings on Bandcamp like MaxR. In addition to publishing reviews by a growing cadre of writers, he has methodically been assembling a list of all the metal labels who have availed themselves of the platform. Even better, he has compiled all the labels, alphabetically arranged, into a table with links that will take you to each label’s offerings. We’ve reproduced that table after the jump. This is a work in progress, and if you’d like to be notified by e-mail when he updates the listing of labels, go HERE and click the “Subscribe by email” link at the bottom
I suppose every true metal fan knows about Bandcamp by now, but I’ll say again what I’ve said many times before since discovering the existence of Bandcamp when it was in its infancy: Every band and every label needs to be there, at least for the purpose of streaming music, if not for selling it. Doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t have your music available elsewhere — it’s not an exclusive option. But it’s a very good one, and in this day and age, if you’re not giving fans a chance to hear your music before they buy, then you’re going to miss sales (wherever you sell your releases) and you’re inviting piracy even by some people who consider themselves scrupulous.