Tag Archives: Master

020 Maryland Deathfest 2015

Chris and guest host Billy discuss the brutality of Maryland Deathfest 2015. Billy had an all-venues pass, so he ended up seeing many more bands than Chris did. Hanging out with Chris Dick and the gang made another Memorial Day weekend even more memorable! We were sad that Spence couldn’t join us, but next year will be different, he assured us. Here’s a smattering of our top picks of the weekend:

Tombs at Deathfest 2015

Tombs at Deathfest 2015

Vallenfyre, “Splinters” from Splinters (2014, Century Media)

            Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh is certainly exorcising his demons in Vallenfyre, replete with mega-doom chordage and guttural vocals. We thought their 2011 debut A Fragile King was pretty swell, but the recent Splinters album pushes the gloom envelope even further into doomdeath territory.

 

Master, “Smile as You’re Told” from The New Elite (2012, Pulverized)

Paul Speckmann may be the ultimate death-metal musician. Having recorded a handful of albums in the ’90s, he began working with the guys in Krabathor and ended up moving to the Czech Republic to join the band—how metal is that?!? This DM king was hailed loudly ‘n’ proudly on the Edison Lot stage.

 

Triptykon, “Tree of Suffocating Souls” from Melana Chasmata (2014, Century Media)

The mighty Celtic Frost lives on in Thomas Gabriel Warrior’s Triptykon, a doom/thrash/death amalgam that puts the “e” in extreme metal. With a limitless audience in the Internet age, Warrior is now more legendary than he ever was before, and his band slayed with effortless abandon in Baltimore.

 

Suffocation, “Entrails of You” from Suffocation (2006, Relapse)

Death-metal institution Suffocation delivered the goods like they always do, with frontman Frank Mullen hilariously chatting it up between songs and doing a blastbeat motion with his hand that was mimicked by the crowds for the entire weekend.

 

Obituary, “Violence” from Inked in Blood (2014, Relapse)

            One of the headliners that we were the most excited to see, Obituary did not disappoint, in a way. They covered a few new songs plus the usual suspects from their back catalog with dark, chugging riffage and John Tardy’s famous growl, yet they just didn’t seem as tight as we expected.

 

Razor, “Sucker for Punishment” from Open Hostility (1991, Relapse)

Other than seeing huge Razor backpatches on fans’ battle vests throughout the crowd, we really didn’t know much about Razor. This Canadian thrash band only gets together for festivals and one-off appearances, so the crowd was beyond stoked to see them. Kudos to Relapse for their reissued albums!

 

Goatsnake, “Elevated Man” from Black Age Blues (2015, Southern Lord)

Despite having the most gilded pipes of the weekend, Goatsnake vocalist Pete Stahl was the only band member at the fest who wore a Polo shirt onstage—which made him more metal than the unwashed hordes. This set was the only one to feature both harmonica and tambourine as well.

 

Winter, “Servants of the Warsmen” from Into Darkness (1990, Nuclear Blast)

What happens when a ’90s band is asked to play MDF but has only one album? They play that one album, and Winter has become experts at reproducing their sole release. Influential doom from a truly cvlt band, but we wish they had—at the very least—a sophomore album in the works!

 

Neurosis, “At the Well” from Honor Found in Decay (2012, Neurot Recordings)

Since they announced their retirement from extensive touring, Neurosis has become extremely sought after to play festivals. They’re also one of the few metal bands that started in the ’80s that have actually gotten better over the years without simply retreading their back catalog. Smothering doom!

 

Amorphis, “Black Winter Day” from Tales from the Thousand Lakes (1994, Relapse)

Sunday’s headliners brought the frigid folktales of Finland to us sweaty festivalgoers. Amorphis played their pivotal Tales album in its entirety, and frontman Tomi Joutsen entraced the crowd like the professional that he is. All this, plus an urgent cover of “Vulgar Necrolatry” from their early days as Abhorrence for those Privilege of Evil adherents!

 

Cacophonous shout-outs to Chris Dick, Billy Gamble, Kevin Stewart-Panko, Sean Palmerston, Gordon Conrad, Ian Christe, Magnus Henriksson, bootleg patch vendors, and the lovely staff at Crazy John’s and Zombie BBQ! Here’s to MDF 2017!

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010 Sweetish Death Metal vol. 2

Continuing our SDM series (this happens every 5th episode because there is too much great death metal out there for us to cover in single-band episodes), this episode’s theme is “new material from the genre’s leaders”: every one of these albums was released in 2012. Plus, this is really a tribute to all these classic DM bands!

“Sarcophagic Frenzy” from Cannibal Corpse’s Torture (Metal Blade)
Hard to believe that Torture is Cannibal’s 12th studio album since their 1990 debut, Eaten Back to Life! These Buffalo, New York natives later moved to Tampa to pioneer the “Tampa Death Metal” scene and record with producer Scott Burns at Morrisound Studios. Cannibal still sounds as vital as ever, despite the band’s creative nadir in the late ’90s after founding vocalist Chris Barnes departed to form Six Feet Under. Drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz and bassist Alex Webster are the only original members still in the band. Watch them slay on the Decibel tour this summer with Napalm Death and Immolation!

Grave

Grave

“Encountering the Divine” from Grave’s Endless Procession of Souls (Century Media)
This is Grave’s 10th studio album since their 1991 debut, Into the Grave. This Swedish group is considered royalty among old-school Swedish death along with Unleashed, Entombed and Dismember, and guitarist/vocalist Ola Lindgren is the only original member still in the band.

“Gathering the Batallions” from Unleashed’s Odalheim (Nuclear Blast)
Odalheim is Unleashed’s 11th studio album since their 1991 debut, Where No Life Dwells. Like Grave, this is another Swedish band which paved the way for the NWOSDM movement. Bassist/vocalist Johnny Hedlund and drummer Anders Schultz are the only original members still in the band; in fact, Hedlund played in an early line-up of Nihilist, which spawned Entombed.

“The Gods Who Light Up the Sky at the Gate of Sethu” from Nile’s At the Gate of Sethu (Nuclear Blast)
This is Nile’s 7th studio album since their 1995 debut EP, Festivals of Atonement. This band is from our home state of South Carolina in Greenville and quickly gained recognition for their wild Egyptian mythology references. Guitarist/vocalist Karl Sanders is the only original member still in the band. As opposed to Unleashed, this guitar solo from Nile is all about speed and fretboard gymnastics, though the song gets slightly theatrical near the end.

It is such a joy to play guitar in Nile.

It is such a joy to play guitar in Nile.

“Red-Skinned Scapegoat” from Cryptopsy’s Cryptopsy (Cryptopsy/Candlelight)
This self-titled record is Cryptopsy’s 7th studio album since their 1994 debut, Blasphemy Made Flesh. One of Canada’s most popular metal bands, Cryptopsy hail from Montréal, and guitarist Jon Levasseur and drummer Flo Mounier (considered one of metal’s top skinsmen) are the only original members still with the group. This self-titled album is considered a back-to-their-roots release of the tech-death that made them famous. Last year, they also released a two-CD compilation with three new songs, The Best of Us Bleed.

“18 Days” from Six Feet Under’s Undead (Metal Blade)
Undead is Six Feet Under’s 9th studio album since their 1995 debut, Haunted. Their 10th album, Unborn, was just released in February of this year. Vocalist Chris Barnes—who left Cannibal Corpse to head SFU—is the only original member still in the band, which once boasted Allen West of Obituary and Terry Butler of Death. Depending on whom you ask, SFU is both worshiped by fans and reviled by critics worldwide. Stay tuned, as there’s a SFU episode in our future!

“Redirect the Evil” from Master’s The New Elite (Pulverised)
The New Elite is Master’s 11th (or 12th, depending on which you’re counting) studio album since their 1990 debut, Master. Guitarist/vocalist Paul Speckmann is the only original member still in the band and is without a doubt one of the hardest working musicians in the metal underground. He hails from Chicago and was a member of Warcry when they were included on the fourth of Metal Blade’s ultra-famous Metal Massacre compilations. He moved to the Czech Republic to pursue his band—how metal is that?!?

Does Asphyx's rehearsal space smell like beer and farts too?  Photo by Dario Dumancic (moltenmagazine.com)

Does Asphyx’s rehearsal space smell like beer and farts too? Photo by Dario Dumancic (moltenmagazine.com)

“Der Landser” from Asphyx’s Deathhammer (Century Media)
Deathhammer is Asphyx’s 8th studio album since their 1991 debut, The Rack, not counting the Crush the Cenotaph EP or the Soulburn record. Vocalist Martin Van Drunen and drummer Bob Bagchus are the only original members still in the band. This group is considered among the top Dutch death/thrash bands of metal’s early years along with Pestilence (Martin Van Drunen sang on the first two Pestilence albums, including their 1989 sophomore release, Consuming Impulse, which was just inducted into the Decibel Hall of Fame by our friend Chris Dick).

“Transcend into Absolute Dissolution” from Incantation’s Vanquish in Vengeance (Listenable)
Vanquish in Vengeance is Incantation’s 9th studio album since their 1992 debut, Onward to Golgotha.
Guitarist John McEntee is the only original member still in the band. Compared to other Northeast DM bands like Immolation, Suffocation and other bands whose names end in -tion, Incantation have consistently released strong DM that never veers off-course. Incantation are also featured in our Episode 011: Best of 2012, so please check that out!

Vanquish in Vengeance album cover.

Vanquish in Vengeance album cover.

“Broken People” from Autopsy’s All Tomorrow’s Funerals (Peaceville)
All Tomorrow’s Funerals is a remastered collection of all four OOP EPs, rarities, and brand new studio recordings from these Bay Area death metal mavens. What we find fascinating about this band is that their sound really hasn’t changed much from their humble beginnings: still raw production, grumbly vocals, etc. This song is a brand-new track from this compilation and still sounds like early ’90s DM! How do they do that?!?

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