Nov 302009

Dawn in Portland

No, I’m not talking about the weather.  This time of year it blows just as hard in Portland as it does here in Seattle.  I’m talking about recent releases from two passionate Portland bands that are most definitely worth checking out:  Siberian Nightmare Machine from American Me and An Awakening from Those Who Lie Beneath. Both bands are signed to Rise Records, both are hot shit, and both are playing at Portland’s Club Satyricon on Dec 2.  Today we’ll talk about American Me and tomorrow we’ll cover Those Who Lie Beneath. Continue reading »

Nov 292009


Seattle upstarts I Declare War entered the studio on Friday (Nov 27) to begin tracking their second CD. They’re recording at the Red Room in Seattle with Chris Common, who plays drums with These Arms Are Snakes and co-owns the studio with Matt Bayles.  IDW guitarist Evan Hughes is writing a studio blog about the process, complete with photos and promises of video material to come. Unlike a lot of similar blogs by other bands, this one is well-written and very interesting.  So check it out here.

IDW’s first offering, Amidst the Bloodshed, was a promising start — brutal, punishing deathcore, played with passion and high energy. A new track (“New Age Holocaust”) now up on the band’s MySpace page makes us anxious to hear the new CD when it’s done. The guys practice what they preach. As advertised on one of their killer shirts: “If it ain’t broke, blast beat the fuck out of it.” IDW’s still unsigned, but we’re hoping for good news about a label soon. They’re totally committed to their music, they deliver the goods, and they deserve more exposure.

They also put on a sweet live show. In fact, if you’re in the Seattle area on January 16 and in the mood to bang and mosh, get yourselves over to Studio Seven for an IDW performance and video shoot.

And in the meantime, here’s the band’s last official video. (No creepy stalkers at the shoot on 1/16 we hope.)

Nov 282009


I’m not really sure this post is metal.  You can be the judge.

The Seattle Times reminded me this morning that actor and martial arts icon Bruce Lee would have turned 69 yesterday but for his untimely death in 1973 at the age of 32.  He was born in San Francisco and grew up in Hong Kong, but he moved to Seattle in 1959 and spent 3 years at the University of Washington where he met his wife.  He’s buried in Seattle’s Lake View Cemetery on Capitol Hill.

Next to his grave is the grave of his son Brandon Lee.  Brandon died in 1993 at the age of 28 from an accidental shooting during the filming of The Crow, in which he starred as an undead rock musician bent on revenging his own death and that of his fiancee.  (The Crow is a cool movie, by the way, and featured songs from bands like Pantera, Helmet, Nine Inch Nails, and Rage Against the Machine.) Brandon was to be married 17 days after he died.  His tombstone is inscribed with a quote he liked from the writer Paul Bowles, which had been printed on the wedding invitations:

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless…”

Nov 272009

Dark Tranquillity

Blabbermouth reports today that Dark Tranquillity have chosen “We Are the Void” as the title of their ninth album, due for release in Europe on March 10, 2010 on Century Media Records.  The album is being mixed by Tue Madsen, who has handled similar duties for Behemoth, Kataklysm, and The Haunted, among others.

Honestly, your Authors don’t really think announcement of an album title qualifies as news.  But we’re all Dark Tranquillity fiends, we had the pleasure of seeing them play a riveting set when they passed through Seattle last year, and frankly, anything related to a new CD from one of the architects of Swedish melodic death metal is going to draw attention on this site.  Until that release, we’ll have to content ourselves with the performance DVD they released in the U.S. about 10 days ago (“Where Death Is Most Alive”).

For a recent interview with vocalist Mikael Stanne, who talks about the DVD, the forthcoming CD, and other DT topics, go here.  In that interview, Stanne says they’re working on a headline tour of the U.S. to begin after the new album drops.  Here’s hoping it includes a stop in the Emerald City . . . .

And yeah, that’s them in the photo along with a couple guys from The Haunted about to play in a soccer tournament last spring.

Nov 272009


Yeah, I know.  It took me a long time to come to the point.  But if I’d tried to put all this into one long post, you’d have gone back to the bong, that six-pack of PBR, or the latest episode of Metalocalypse before finishing.  If you’ve stumbled on this site for the first time today, what follows will make (slightly) more sense if you read Part 1 and Part 2.

Just about anything packaged that you buy to eat or drink comes with a label that identifies the ingredients.  Often, one of the components will be vaguely described as “natural flavors” or “artificial flavor.”  Turns out there are companies you’ve never heard of that generate mountainous piles of cash manufacturing flavor additives for food and beverage makers. Some of those flavor additives are made using natural ingredients and some are synthesized from stuff you would never think of putting in your mouth. Those companies are constantly searching for new flavors that might become a hit with consumers and sometimes all they try to do is mimic flavors that have already become a hit. They identify chemical compounds that when mixed together in the right formula produce a taste that people already like and will keep buying — at least til they get tired of it.

My favorite example from the New Yorker article that prompted these posts is the flavor company that was being paid to analyze dips made from natural ingredients and then develop chemical compounds that could be injected into a “slurry” of starch, oil, and salt to create stuff that tastes (for example) like guacamole. Or the makers of energy drinks trying to capitalize on the popularity of Red Bull by having the flavorists intentionally make their shit taste bad, because that’s what consumers have been conditioned to believe energy drinks are supposed to taste like.  So what does this have to do with metal? Continue reading »

Nov 262009

Turkey image

Happy Thanksgiving to all you hornheads out there who are indulging in that quitessential American tradition: surfing the web before, during, or after your Thanksgiving feedbag.  And here’s hoping that your Thanksgiving food will be something that was once alive, as opposed to a dozen Twinkies and a six-pack of PBR.

Yes, it’s a national holiday but No Clean Singing is open for business, because we’re here to serve you.

Last night was Thanksgiving Eve. (That doesn’t roll off the tongue quite like Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, does it?).  And our buds over at Seattle’s Showbox in the Market decided to host a night of live metal to commemorate the occasion — the “Into the Mouth of Hell We Tour” show, making its first stop back in the U.S. after a series of dates in Canada. The NCS triumvirate were all in attendance, and here are some notes from Nov 25, 2009, at The Showbox: Continue reading »

Nov 252009


In the first part of this post, courtesy of Raffi Khatchadourian’s article in The New Yorker, I introduced you to Givaudan, the biggest manufacturer of flavors and fragrances in the world.  (For those of you who already knew about Givaudan, hot shit!).  This company and others like it manufacture flavors for addition to processed food and beverages.  They are constantly searching for new flavors, mixing and matching the chemical building blocks of known tastes, as well as mimicking existing flavors that are proven favorites with the livestock consumers.  Take Red Bull and other energy drinks, for example. Continue reading »

Nov 252009

Taibbi image

Earlier this year, the brilliant journalist Matt Taibbi wrote an article for Rolling Stone called “Inside the Great American Bubble Machine.”  It was all about how Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs has been the driving force behind every major stock market bubble since the Great Depression, including the one that led to the market collapse from which our economy is still trying to recover.  The opening paragraph of that story has stuck in my head ever since:

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

Regardless of what you think about Taibbi’s thesis, you gotta admit that’s a pretty great opening blast.  As journalistic lead paragraphs go, it’s definitely metal.  In fact, there are some great potential band names in there, don’t you think?  Vampire Squid, The Face of Humanity, Relentless Jamming, Blood Funnel, Smells Like Money.

Oops.  Looks like two of those names (IMO the best ones) are already taken!  There actually appear to be bands already out there called Vampire Squid and Blood Funnel.  And they claim to be metal bands.  Don’t know if they’re worth a shit, but they’ve got good names.

Fortunately, based on a quick Google search, the other Taibbi names still seem to be available.