Tag Archives: podcast

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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014 Best of 2013

[Editor’s note:  Spencer was really lame and did not post this on time.  Metal Urges as a whole practiced due diligence in preparing, recording, and even writing this post on time.  Shame on you, Spencer]

We’re back with another year-end list, and this time we’re almost on time! This was another big year for reunions that resulted in new albums (for starters, Carcass and Broken Hope, both of whom made this list), old bands with amazing albums (Monster Magnet, Flotsam & Jetsam, Year of No Light, Gorguts, Immolation, Pyrexia, Autopsy), and relative newbies that totally owned the place (In Solitude, Watertank, Purson). There was a supergroup of note (Corrections House), and even a well-publicized swan song that didn’t suck (Cathedral). And no Converge this year to screw up our list, yay! Hopefully you’ll agree that our list meets and exceeds your expectations of what qualifies as metal…

Devourment:  their future's so bright, well. . .

Devourment: their future’s so bright, well. . .

#10: “Heaving Acid” from Devourment’s Conceived in Sewage (Relapse)

This quartet from Dallas, Texas has been slaughtering souls since 1995. Produced by Hate Eternal’s Erik Rutan at his Mana Studios in St. Petersburg, Florida (not Russia), Conceived in Sewage is their 5th full-length (4 studio albums plus 1 compilation) and their 1st for Relapse Records. Put yer deth on, minions!

Batillus or Predator?  Perhaps some other hydra-like beast.  You decide. Photo by Greg C

Batillus or Predator? Perhaps some other hydra-like beast. You decide.
Photo by Greg C http://www.gregcphotography.com/

#9: “Concrete” from Batillus’ Concrete Sustain (Seventh Rule)

Pronounced “Leh-nerd Skin-nerd” (just kidding, it’s “buh-TILL-us”), Batillus is an industrial metal band from New York City. Originally started as an instrumental trio in 2007, later incorporating black/death metal vocals, synths, and samples, Concrete Sustain is their 2nd full-length…and it is a whopper!

#8: “Pouring Out the Hatred” from Grime’s Deteriorate (Forcefield/Mordgrimm)

Grime is from Italy, but not the ancient Roman-laden parts: these guys hail from Trieste, a port city in the northernmost corner of the Adriatic Sea bordering Slovenia. They play Grief/Noothgrush-styled sludge doom, replete with creepy voice samples and absolutely smothering chordage. The cover art for Deteriorate is by Jason Barnett, a Texas-based street artist who’s also done covers for Noothgrush and Cleric.

Grime

Grime.

#7: “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny” from The Ocean’s Pelagial (Metal Blade)

Based in Berlin, Germany, The Ocean is more of a collective: guest musicians contribute to each album, along with the core members of the group, led by guitarist Robin Staps. Pelagial is their 7th full-length and is a concept album about the ocean: each song is named after a deeper layer of water, and the music gets denser and darker as the album progresses. The cut we chose, “Mesopelagic: Into the Uncanny,” is the 2nd track and is very melodic, since it’s closest to the surface.

Th Oceans contained in a pool.  Wow, that's like poetry, man.

The Oceans contained in a pool. Wow, that’s like poetry, man.

Doom kings we call Kongh.

Doom kings we call Kongh.

#6: “Rendered Into Lard” from Broken Hope’s Omen of Disease (Century Media)

After a decade of inactivity, Chicago’s death dealers Broken Hope reunite with a new vocalist and release their 6th full-length and one of their best, Omen of Disease. The deluxe CD comes with a bonus DVD chronicling the band’s career—which is absolutely essential for any death-metal fan—and included is a chapter on Joe Ptacek, their original vocalist who died in 2010.

#5: “The Portals” from Kongh’s Sole Creation (Agonia)

Formed in 2004, Kongh hail from Nässjö, a small town in southern Sweden (hometown of the Backyard Babies, if that matters). Their 2nd album, 2009’s Shadows of the Shapeless, was one of our top albums of that year, but we didn’t really dig this new album until the 5th or 6th spin. Sole Creation is so different from Shadows: where Shadows was more post-hardcore doom like Lento or Callisto, Sole Creation is more head-down doom like Yob mixed with High on Fire.

#4: “In Remorse” from Author & Punisher’s Women & Children (Seventh Rule)

One-man band Tristan Shone does it again with his 5th full-length, Women & Children. It’s less brutal industrial than last year’s Ursus Americanus, but still just as infectious. We have an exclusive interview with Tristan to be featured as a future episode, so stay tuned!

#3: “In Awe Of” from Cult of Luna’s Vertikal (Indie Recordings)

Hailing from Umeå, Sweden, Cult of Luna has long been a proponent of the harsher end of atmospheric post-hardcore. Vertikal is their 7th full-length and the first in which they’ve slowed things down to incorporate more melodic sections, like Jesu or Hyatari. They also released a companion EP, titled Vertikal II, with extra songs and a Justin Broadrick remix (!).

#2: “Winter” from Secrets of the Sky’s To Sail Black Waters (Kolony)

An amazing band from Oakland, California, Secrets of the Sky burst onto the scene with their award-winning debut, To Sail Black Waters. They were originally signed to Gravedancer Records, but the label went under and ripped off the band in the process; Kolony Records emerged from the dust to release the majestic new album. To Sail Black Waters is what we wish Novembers Doom became, instead of the overtly melancholic doom that they’ve choked out over the past few albums.

And our #1 pick: “The Granulating Dark Satanic Mills” from Carcass’ Surgical Steel (Nuclear Blast)

The godfathers of UK grindcore & melodic death metal return with their first album in 17 years! Surgical Steel sounds more vicious than their genre-defining 1993 opus, Heartwork—may be their best album EVER. We’ve got a big surprise planned for Episode #015 as a continuation of our death metal theme…so stay tuned!

Best Carcass ever?  Hmm. . .

Best Carcass ever? Hmm. . .

 

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011 Best of 2012

Neurosis

Of course they’re on our list. They’re still Mad Max’s favorite band. (Neurosis, duh.)

We’re back with our Best of 2012 list, only four months late this year. Maybe next year, we’ll cut it down to three months? 2012 was yet another banner year for diverse metal offerings, and TONS of great metal releases struck our collective fancy, from well-established bands (Napalm Death, Paradise Lost, Morbid Angel, Deftones) to not-so-well-known-yet acts (Author & Punisher, Abiotic, Inverloch, Dragged Into Sunlight, Mother’s Green). Our list mixes the familiar with the unknown, and without further ado…

#10: “Rise Up” from Testament’s Dark Roots of Earth (Nuclear Blast). Is it just us, or have Testament gotten better with age? Even more amazing is that four-fifths of the band is the original line-up: Chuck Billy, Alex Skolnick, Eric Peterson, Greg Christian, and they added the mighty Gene Hoglan as drummer—who actually played with them previously on 1997’s Demonic during their lean years.

#9: “Wrong Side of History” from Kowloon Walled City’s Container Ships (Brutal Panda). KWC are a post-core/-rock quartet from San Francisco who’d probably be on Hydra Head if they were still around. On tour now with Zozobra (who also has a new album out, starring Adam McGrath and J.R. Conners of Cave In).

#8: “Ash” from Abstracter’s Tomb of Feathers (The Path Less Traveled). Like many metalheads, we have an affinity for Bay Area bands, and Abstracter blew our minds this year. They play Neurosis-styled, build-and-collapse doom but more in the vein of Mindrot, -16-, and Yob. “Ash” is 16 minutes long (our longest podcast cut yet), so get ready to DOOM!

#7: “The Innsmouth Look” from Chowder’s Passion Rift (I Voidhanger). Chowder play amazing, vocalless prog-doom from Maryland that’s a crooked cross between Rush and Karma to Burn. Their label, I Voidhanger, will be an interesting one to watch for cool bands. Chowder is not the greatest choice for names, mind you, but does that make their fans Chowderheads (“Chowdah-heads” for all you New Englanders)?

Haarp's brilliant and heavy Husks

Atmospheric and doomy, Haarp’s album cover previews their smart and arty brand of heavy doom, Lou-zianna style.

#6: “bear” from haarp’s Husks (Housecore). With a little “h” but a big sound, haarp are another New Orleans band molded after Eyehategod and Crowbar, but slower—more akin to North Carolina’s Weedeater but with longer songs. Three tracks only on this current album Husks, and our song pick “bear” is almost 9 minutes long. On Phil Anselmo’s label, Housecore, natch!

#5: “Curses Scribed in Gore” from Hooded Menace’s Effigies of Evil (Relapse). Here’s a Finnish band whose sole purpose is to emulate all the classic death/doom of Winter, Cathedral, and Candlemass. Special thanks to Mark & Jason for getting us into these dudes with Episode 048 of Requiem Metal Podcast!

 

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell

Don’t worry. The Mystery Machine is out back idling. Ready for the getaway. It’s okay that you’re freakin’ out right now. That makes two of us.

#4: “iDeath” from Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell’s Don’t Hear It…Fear It! (Rise Above/Metal Blade). This oddly named band hails from England and is named after a real-life British naval officer from the 17th century. An obvious titular nod to Sir Lord Baltimore, this wily trio play psychedelic rock/metal like the MC5, Status Quo, et al., plus they have a man-sized red bird as their mascot!

#3: “Raise the Dawn” from Neurosis’s Honor Found in Decay (Neurot). Our third Bay Area band on the list, Neurosis always produces quality, thought-provoking music and has been a major influence on Isis, which in turn were the inspiration for countless more bands. They have always had exactly the same line-up, with the exception of Noah Landis, who joined in 1996 and quit just recently. This is their tenth studio album, and they show no sign of early retirement.

#2: “Vanquish in Vengeance” from Incantation’s Vanquish in Vengeance (Listenable). This perennially solid band is also featured in our next episode, Episode 011: SDM Vol. 2, and we spend more time talking about them there. Hands down, one of the very best American DM bands!

 

Katabatic

Pondering Portuguese heaviness. Move over Os Mutantes: Katabatic is the new psychedelic.

And the #1 song of the year: “Wonder-Room” from

Katabatic’s Heavy Water (Raging Planet). “Katabatic” is an adjective describing the cold, fast wind that travels downslope from mountaintops. The band Katabatic are a four-piece from Lisbon, Portugal that play almost vocalless atmospheric doom in the vein of Isis or, more obviously, Pelican. The light/dark shift in our song choice, “Wonder-Room,” just blows us away like those katabatic winds!

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003 Best of 2011

End of Level Boss Eklectric

Episode 003 Best of 2011  is Chris’ year-end list as submitted to Exclaim! Magazine.

I love compiling annual lists because (1) it chronicles my own self-discovery of new metal, and (2) it turns on Spence to new bands so that we can share a true hive mentality for at least one episode! This year, my list seems to be even broader than before, mixing relatively disparate subgenres into one big, Jean de Crèvecœur-esque melting pot, to borrow one of my fave S. statements. It runs the gamut of death, doom, stoner, grind, goth, prog, and tech metal, and the countdown is…

#10: “A Thousand Martyrs” from Vallenfyre’s A Fragile King (Century Media). Paradise Lost guitarist Gregor Mackintosh steps up to the mic for the first time for a godly death/doom album with beaucoup PL guitar flourishes.

Junius

#9: “All Shall Float” from JuniusReports from the Threshold of Death (Prosthetic). Finally getting the exposure they deserve, Junius are prêt-à-porter for metal fans weaned on The Fixx. Would be a top play on Robert Smith’s iPod if there were any justice in the universe.

#8: “Eyes” from  Alaric’s Alaric (20 Buck Spin). A throwback death-rock band made of members of Bay Area grind/crust outfits? Hell yeah! Alaric answers the burning question of why modern metalheads should indeed worship Killing Joke.

#7: “Midnight Serenade” from Arch/MatheosSympathetic Resonance (Metal Blade). Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos reunites with original Fates vocalist John Arch for 54 minutes of pure prog-metal bliss. Loved Dream Theater back when “Hold Me Under” was on the radio? This is for you.

#6: “G.U.T.” from Believer’s Transhuman (Metal Blade). You may remember this Pennsylvania tech/death-metal band from their salad days on Roadrunner in the early ’90s. They’re back with suntans, two decades of musical maturity, and poised to teach you whippersnappers a lesson in brutality, tech-style. All this and day jobs, too.

#5: “In Death’s Path” from Deadfall’s New Light (Self-released). Deadfall are proponents of the relatively new djent subgenre, onomatopoeia for the start-stop guitar sound popularized by Meshuggah. Expert instrumental tech-metal that makes us wonder why they’re not signed to a label yet.

#4: “Of This Flesh (Novus Deus)” from Nader Sadek’s In the Flesh(Season of Mist). A conceptual artist-turned-musician, this Egyptian-born guitarist plays guttural death metal with Steve Tucker (Morbid Angel) on vocals and Flo Mounier (Cryptopsy) on drums. The best death metal album of the year, hands down.

This is the actual packaging of Graf Orlock’s Doombox EP. It contains a CD and a 10″. Take it out of the sleeve and insert tabs. You will amaze your friends!

#3: “There There” from Thou’s The Archer & the Owle (Robotic Empire). This unconventional Baton Rouge doom outfit combines death, black, sludge, and ambient metal into a heady brew of awesome. Irrefutably the most phenomenal doom band in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

#2: “1993; A Week Before Graduation” from Graf Orlock’s Doombox (Vitriol). Film school dropouts Graf Orlock—Gorlock to the converted—wed movie samples to punk/grind blasts, with all lyrics cribbed from movie scripts. The Doombox packaging is a full-sized pop-up ’80s boom box. Like Killwhitneydead covering Napalm Death…utterly titanic.

And the #1 song of the year: “Thee Absurd” from End of Level BossEklectric (Exile on Mainstream). Wrongfully lumped in the stoner genre, End of Level Boss are so much more. Their bad-ass band name veils rippling, EBow-ed chords and rock melody with enough hooks to land a school of trophy sport fish. Undeniably the years’ most creative metal album!

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002 Faith No More

For Episode 002, our first exploration of a single band, we choose seminal artists Faith No More.  Huge impact on the metal world, even today?  Check.  Volatile mix of metal styles and genre crashing?  Check.  Riffs?  Check.  Thunder and lightning?  Check.  In this episode of Metal Urges, listen as we put forth the argument that not only are Faith No More important to us, the band holds a high place in the Metal Pantheon.

Storied past and misty future, this band pumps out quirky, riff-laden voyages of texture and attitude.  Smart song structures and smarter lyrics, the music is thought provoking and demands repeated listening.  By the way:  if you don’t have a copy of Angel Dust. . . you suck.

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001 Metal Origins


Whom do you blame more? Araya or Mustaine?

To commemorate the maiden voyage of the Titanic, dear listeners, here is Episode 001 Metal Origins.  Like the juggernaut of the sea, this episode is huge, clocking in at around 90 minutes.  We recorded this way back in January, but now that our blog is finally up, here it is for your enjoyment.  Now let’s all keep a look out for icebergs.

In this episode, Chris and Spencer talk about some of the bands that sucked them down in the mire of the metal genre.  As you know, metal is full of extremes, like those blow-your-mind blast beats, the crushing riffs of down-tuned guitars, and the howls and growls of your favorite metal front-men (or women!).  It sounds like symphony to us, but to your dad, your spouse, or your dorm-room bunk-mate, it probably sounds more like cacophony.  You either love it or you hate it, but how did you get so into it!?  What’s your story?  When did you first feel it in your soul that Slayer really is the best thing you’ve ever heard?

Here’s a few pages of our own story here at Metal Urges.  Perhaps you will find some common ground with the Metal Urges dudes.  Leave a reply to tell us about your own experiences as you began to take the left hand path towards the unholiest of musical genres.  Or you could just tell Chris and Spencer how full of crapola they are.

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