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The Killing Gods reveals more comtemplative Misery Index

The fifth studio album for Baltimore’s Misery Index, The Killing Gods, pushes the band into new melodic territory while remaining true to their death metal/grindcore roots. The group also recently performed twice during Maryland Deathfest XII, once at the Ottobar pre-fest show and their main performance at the Edison Lot stage on Sunday.

Misery Index. Photo by Josh Sisk.

Misery Index. Photo by Josh Sisk.

Among one of metal’s hardest working bands, Misery Index has thrived on a steady diet of touring and recording pretty much since inception in 2001. This schedule has not stopped vocalist/bassist Jason Netherton from working on earning his PhD at the University of Western Ontario and from writing a book, Extremity Retained: Notes from the Death Metal Underground. Nor has it prevented drummer Adam Jarvis from being in every single band I know including grinders Pig Destroyer, doom metallers Asthma Castle, and his cousin John’s group, Fulgora. Guitarist/vocalist Mark Kloeppel has provided vocals for the Fulgora project and is the song writing machine for Misery Index. Their new guitarist Darin Morris is not really new at all, having played with both Mark and Adam in the Maryland death metal band Criminal Element.

Mark was kind enough to answer a few questions about the new record and just what’s up with Misery Index today. I’m addicted to the new album, favoring tracks “Conjuring the Cull” and “The Weakner.” It’s a satisfying listen from start to finish. Read on for Mark’s comments.

First off, I am loving the new album! It seems—albeit loosely – like a concept album. What were some of the challenges and triumphs in putting it together? What are you particularly proud of on this record?

We were a bit conflicted in doing a full-on concept record, as we weren’t sure the attention span of the digital age would tolerate it. Those types of listeners need quick, sometimes concise, and more individualized pieces that aren’t necessarily part of a bigger thing. That said, our fellow vinyl spinners are used to the conceptual long haul. The vinyl format sort of caters to more of an epic and literary type exhibition. In our indecision, both styles of artifacts emerged from the creative process. The first sixteen minutes is a concept piece in five parts based upon Marshall Berman’s explication of Goethe’s Faust in “All That is Solid Melts into Air.” We will talk about that later. After that, more individualized songs emerge.

Mark Kloeppel and Jason Netherton of Misery Index. Photo by Mary Spiro

Mark Kloeppel and Jason Netherton of Misery Index. Photo by Mary Spiro

Outside of the conceptual challenge we presented ourselves, production was also a major challenge. Luckily, we had a really strong mixing and mastering team in Steve Wright and Tony Eichler, respectively. In 2010, the metal crowd was more into inhuman “perfect” sounding records. That’s what our last record sounds like. We don’t particularly like that style of production, but it’s easier to churn out when you have an extremely limited timeline. With “the Killing Gods,” we really took our time with the production; not so much the tracking, but the mixing and mastering. We really wanted to stick to natural sounds; relaying the subtle nuances that indicate a human being is playing the parts, without losing the modern production value. The process was laborious, with different members having to periodically bow out of the process due to stress. In the end, though, our production team nailed it…all the way from the sound to the finely crafted aesthetics of the album art by Gary Ronaldson. It is an organic record in the purest sense, and that is what the public wants to hear. They want to hear the actual raw visceral energy that comes out of this music. That’s what you hear on “The Killing Gods.”

Tell me about the songwriting process for The Killing Gods, especially with the multi-part composition “Faust”? How did this piece come together, and why did you decide to present it like this?

Faust is broken into five sections comprising the first fifteen and a half minutes of the record. As previously stated, Faust is lyrically based upon Marshall Berman’s interpretation of Faust in his book “All That Is Solid Melts into Air.” Jason, our bass player, presented this concept, and I ran with it. Berman takes a literary approach to the consequences of modernity versus a nineteenth century Enlightenment drive for progress and the growth of capitalism. He talks about these issues through Faust, and how Faust is a sort of tragic figure in his drive to progress, as he destroys it at the same time.

The piece emerged out of a natural organic creative process over a couple years. Each riff, lead, and transition was mulled over and mulled over again to ensure proper placement and conveyance. I had this vibe in my head that emerged out of a personal darkness I felt a long long time ago. I wanted to embody that emotion and everything attached to it in music, and cast it back out into the universe. It was a cathartic process that, through a bit of strife, helped to cleanse my mind and spirit. Playing that music live now is very rewarding and therapeutic for me, as it allows me to let some of my personal demons evaporate into the air…one hallowed scream at a time.

In terms of presentation on the album, it just sounded, literally, like the right way to begin the record. It really sets a good atmosphere for the rest of the songs to reside. We were curious how we were going to pull it off, and, in the end, Rush’s 2112 format was enough justification. For those not familiar with that record, it begins with the epic 2112, and rounds out with individual songs toward the end. So, we haven’t reinvented the wheel with this or anything. We just took everything we know about good albums into consideration, and tried to do what we are supposed to do.

Let’s talk about the lyrical content. Many earlier Misery Index songs deal with government oppression or corporate corruption. I am not a student of Misery Index Lyrics (perhaps that’s a class Dr. Jason Netherton can teach) but some of the lyrics seem to deal with much more spiritual and metaphysical themes than in previous years. How do the lyrical themes of The Killing Gods line up or diverge from these previously explored themes?

Misery Index at MDF pre-fest, Ottobar. Photo by Mary Spiro

Misery Index at MDF pre-fest, Ottobar. Photo by Mary Spiro

“The Killing Gods” is an intrinsically influenced literary and metaphysical side-step for the band to explicate real world travesty through prose. “The Killing Gods” as a whole follows the means of human control from the metaphysical to the physical (in that order), with a brief sojourn mid record into our collective personal juxtaposition in these realms. The record revolves around themes of religious oppression, military oppression, hidden knowledge, and the intrinsic dark plume billowing in our minds like thick impenetrable smoke. It leaves the listener both digging deeper into their dark recesses and following those emotions as they extrinsically manifest. This record is a study of this bigger picture; utilizing literature, real world events, and tacit knowledge as a means of explication.

Musically to me this album feels more traditional death metal and less “core” but also incredibly melodic. Would you agree? Disagree?

I think I agree. However, I am a little too close to the record to make any kind of distinction or label. I hear a lot of people saying what you are saying. Really, though, this record contains ninety percent of the same elements Misery Index has always had. I liken Faust to the Dissent EP, which is also a fifteen minute five-part epic of sorts. I think the really difference is the vibe. The vibe is dark and evocative. In fact, I have to admit we had some kind’ve spooky things happen in the studio while recording this record. I was recording the vocals for “The Harrowing” and got to a particular word, and, out of nowhere, there was a delay effect on my vocals pumping right in time with the rhythm of the song. It really scared Steve, because he did not turn anything on. When he zoomed out in the view of the session there was an effect spike set to the bpm of the song that was not visible until zoomed out to the millisecond. You can still hear it on the record, as we left it there. There are many other anomalies on the record as well that we left…things that put themselves there. So, when I say evocative, I mean literally. I really do not mean to sound cheesy here. I just can’t deny real events. It appears the manifestation process can drag things with it.

Where did the inspiration from these songs (musically and lyrically) come from? Literature? Film? Life?

When a band is just starting, they take a tremendous amount of time crafting their debut music. There is a lot of trial and error and perfecting of the craft. When the act is signed, they are thrown into this whirlwind year-and-a-half to two-year album cycle. It is a double edged sword, because one really becomes seasoned quickly in that schedule. However, the records are never what they could have been. I believe the music suffers for the sake of having a product to sell. For this record, we wanted to take our experience and write a record the same way we would if we were just starting. The difference is, we have proficiency in things bands starting out don’t have. So, the benefit of time we consciously took, and that organic writing approach probably inspired the record the most.

What are your favorite songs to play live? Old and new…

Conjuring the Cull and The Weakener are really fun live. We are also gearing up to do The Harrowing from the new record. We also like Traitors, Manufacturing Greed, and The Carrion Call. They are ripping songs, get great crowd participation, and very fun to play.

How are you feeling about your Maryland Deathfest performances? Pre-fest versus Edison Lot sets? Small venue versus festival audiences? I saw both performances.

We thoroughly enjoyed both sets. We were able to get the crowd moving, which is most important, and they were poised to do so. Open Airs are a little tougher in terms of hearing each other, but we are pretty seasoned at this point. We can power through just about any situation, or any type of crowd. It helps when they are ready to go, so to speak, and, at MDF, they were.

I sort of would like to add a little more to our presentation, but it needs to be original. We are still brainstorming on that.

Misery Index is now a pretty well-traveled band. Which countries go crazy for Misery Index and which do you feel you still need to conquer? Who would you like to tour with?

Indonesia and Germany are without a doubt our primary markets. Although, we get pretty great responses most places. We really could use a breakout tour in the states that’s not death metal. I still think we haven’t been a part of the right tour over here.

I feel like a lot of times the town that a band comes from does not always appreciate them as much as other regions do, you know, like they are taken for granted in their own backyard. How would you describe your relationship with your local fans and those across the globe?

I think there is a natural ebb and flow of excitement that happens as a band progresses. When they first splash in their local scene, or when they first break out of their local scene, there tends to be a lot of excitement. When they start touring a lot, they sort of become old hat. But, after some longevity, people begin to remember and embrace you as a staple of their community. I think that is where Misery Index is now. I don’t think we have as many local fans, as we have local friends. Since the bands inception, we’ve gotten to know just about everyone in the area in some capacity. What’s strange is when that starts happening abroad. We have a long list of towns and venues across the planet that are like a home away from home now.

After you get back from this next trek to Europe, what are your plans? US touring?

We are confirming a festival in Quebec right now, and are in negotiations for many other opportunities extending through 2015. That’s all I can say at this point. I will say that we anticipate this album doing a lot of good work for us. So we are going to be particular about what we do. That is just to do justice to our legacy, the music, and ourselves.

Also, what do you want people to know about Jason’s book Extremity Retained? What sort of comments have you received about it from people at the Grimposium and at MDF? (PS, that Grimposium looked interesting, but I don’t know how I feel about putting “my music” into an academic setting for analysis. I guess it happens with everything. Anyone want to comment on that?

Jason put that together over three years, and its really just documented tour stories from the originators of this scene. It’s a really great one-of-a-kind thing. I’m really glad he did it; because of the kind of unrestricted access we have to these key players. It’s been pretty neat listening to some of his recorded interviews. I thought those should’ve been released as well. Obviously, it has been received well both in academia and our scene.

Anything else you want people to know about Misery Index at this time?

“The Killing Gods” is out now on Season of Mist records. Go get it, and check our social media sites to stay up to date. Fresh merch designs are available through Indiemerch. Also, We have a music video for “The Calling” coming out soon, and some behind the scenes studio stuff coming out through Gear Gods. Go check it out, and support your local Misery Index!


Czech grindcore outfit Contrastic my MDF surprise

Maryland Deathfest XI is over, and I am having a hard time processing everything. In fact, I am a little depressed.

But I think I will make the effort to mention one of the smaller bands that really affected me. Contrastic, a recently reformed grindcore band from the Czech Republic, played early on Sunday. I had listened to some of their stuff online prior to the show and was really curious. I also was aware that they played opposite of Glorior Belli, whom I also wanted to check out. I had to make some decisions.

Contrastic at #MDF2013. (Photo by Mary Spiro)

Contrastic at #MDF2013. (Photo by Mary Spiro)

Fortunately, Glorior Belli was really boring. So after listening to about two songs from them, I wandered back across the Sonar compound to find Contrastic throwing a heavy metal disco party in the tent.

Generally, grindcore bands are hit or miss for me. Mostly, all I hear is angry screaming and very little recognizable melody. Contrastic has plenty of angry shouting, but they infuse it with funky, jazzy, electronic and industrial samples. The singer was incredibly dynamic and funny, and the band was super tight and on point. It was an amazing blend of death metal with just everything and anything really weird. No rules. There was nothing I didn’t like. The whole place was alive and rocking.

Remember, this is praise coming from a person who listens to a lot of black metal, and hardly any grindcore. Recall, I walked away from Glorior Belli to listen to Contrastic.

Lyrically, Contrastic seem to be tackling lots of social and political ills. The electronic samples give their songs a modern, cyber depersonalized sound, which seems appropriate. I didn’t find any of their CDs (maybe I was not looking in the right places) but would like to find some. I did pick up their t-shirt. If you like Pig Destroyer but have not heard Contrastic, I urge you to give them a listen. Keep an open mind, because I think you will dig them. I’ve included a few tracks.

INTERVIEW: Ahumado Granujo brings groovy grindcore to Maryland Deathfest

Cybergrindcore may not be a metal subgenre hybrid that you have heard before or that is easy to explain, until you listen to Ahumado Granujo. Take the danceable heart pumping synthetic beats you might hear at a downtown rave and mix them with the grinding riffs of grindcore and the throatiest vocals of death metal and you have this amazing and weirdest addition to the 2013 Maryland Deathfest lineup.

Ahumado Granujo (Facebook image)

Ahumado Granujo (Facebook image)

Czech Republic import Ahumado Granujo plays MDF on Friday, May 25. Rarely does one encountered such an intentional collision of dissimilar musical styles so expertly executed.  I sent my standard questions to Ahumado Granujo and their drummer Pete, aka Kazeto, kindly replied.

Who’s in the in current lineup?

We have a fresh meat at the mic – MDF is going to be his third show with our band. But don’t expect any vocal changes, it should sound pretty much the same as the fans are used to.

So the current line up is:
Wokatej – vox
Jurgen – guitar
Beherit – bass
Pete – drums

What do you consider to be one of your band’s most essential recordings? And why?

I think it’s the first album SPLATTER TEKK because it combines some violent blasts with nice dancey grooves.

How does your band feel about playing Maryland Deathfest? What have you heard about this festival?

It’s a big honor for us to play at MDF for I guess it’s the most famous metal festival in the USA.

What other bands playing MDF do you hope to see perform?

My personal must-see is the Melvins

Will you be doing other shows as part of your stop at MDF or is this appearance exclusive?

We’ll play two more shows in New York and New Jersey and then we head down to Mexico with another Czech band INGROWING. (See tour listing below.)

Will there be any unusual or special merchandize you will be selling while at MDF?

As long as we haven’t released anything new recently, the merch should be standard.

Is there anything else you hope to do while you are in Maryland? Eat crabs? Go to the Chesapeake Bay?

This is going to be my first visit to the USA ever so it strongly depends on the suggestions of the people we’re about to meet.

Is there anything else you want people to know about your band? Any new records coming up? Special tours? Etc. Anything at all?

Thank you for your support! I hope you’ll have fun at MDF!! If you’re interested about AHUMADO GRANUJO or INGROWING, here’s the complete list of USA/MEX tour dates:


TOUR 2013


May 21 New York, NY Saint Vitus Bar
May 22 Secaucus, NJ The Blue Room


27 Mayo Pachuca De Soto Salon Alcatraz
28 Mayo Monterrey Bar Montezuma
29 Mayo Toluca Beat Club
30 Mayo San Luis Potosi Tio Mich
31 Mayo Leon After Revolution Bar
01 Junio Mexico City Billiar Billis

Misery Index choosing quality over quantity

Misery Index, Baltimore’s death/grindcore heroes, have been bludgeoning eardrums with their own homegrown brutality since 2001. And while I don’t imagine they will be slowing down any time soon, they also have earned the right to pick and choose when, where and with whom they to play.

Next month, Misery Index heads out on tour with Cannibal Corpse (for the second time this year) and Hour of Penance (a band some have called the Italian Behemoth). On December 1, this tour comes to Washington, DC’s Rock and Roll Hotel.

From Aug. 19, 2012 Ottobar show.

Misery Index has had an exciting 2012 with successful tours abroad in places like Brazil and across Europe and even Tel Aviv! They also had to construct a DIY tour when this summer’s inaugural Shockwave Festival tour, which was supposed to go across North America, fell apart in a matter of days. I was able to catch up with bassist Jason Netherton and guitarist Mark  Kloeppel via email.

Here’s a quick Q & A.

This was an eventful and confusing summer for you guys? What happened with the Shockwave Festival? And how did the mini tour go?

The Shockwave experience was certainly interesting to say the least. Nothing like that has ever happened to us before, but it does happen. Gojira had to pull some dates together after Randy Blythe went to jail in Czech, for example. Luckily, we know those Fear Factory guys. So, we got a call from them saying it was canned before we travelled too far out. Our guitar player, Mark Kloeppel, on the other hand, was filling in on bass on the Canadian dates for Cattle Decapitation. Their bass player couldn’t do those dates for whatever reason, and Mark had been flown out to the west coast to jam with them. They ended up flying him back home. As of right now, we have a mountain of merch we have to sell online and on tour. It was a bad situation, but it could have been a whole lot worse. Special thanks goes out to our fans that made our last East Coast run a blast. Without you, we can’t do what we do. Keep grinding!

You mentioned a live album in your email. What date range of live shows will that include?

The live album is from one show in Munich from the European tour we did in February with Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth. A friend of ours, who happens to be an engineer, recorded the set from the board and with room mics. We thought it came out great. and so did the label. So, we are releasing it. We really love that something so spontaneous came out that well. Hearing it really made us feel good about our playing ability in adverse conditions. Because, let me tell you, monitors were completely non-existent on that tour. The hired crew for that tour were great, but just weren’t experienced enough with gear they were given to use.

Will that album be released on your own label or through Season of Mist?

Yes, Season of Mist will be releasing the live album and our next full-length.

What other plans do you have for the rest of the year? How about 2013?

Misery Index will be direct support for Cannibal Corpse this November with Hour of Penance on the bill. This includes a “boat-show” up in NYC, and a stop at Rock and Roll Hotel down in DC. Later next summer, we may be included in some festivals that are yet to be announced. In the meantime, we are preparing to record the next record.

Your drummer Adam Jarvis plays in a gazillion other bands. I have seen him in Pig Destroyer, Strong Intention, Asthma Castle and now read that he is also in a band called FulgoraHow do you manage that? 

Misery Index has reserved itself to only do worthwhile events. Let me explain that further so people don’t get feelings hurt. We’ve been heavily pounding the pavement since the inception of the band. We used to play 180 shows a year, which is taxing on your body and your home-life. We simply don’t want to do that anymore. We love what we do and the music, and we just don’t want to get burnt out. We want Misery Index to last.

Misery Index being more selective about its events freed up a lot of time to pursue other interests. Adam loves drumming, and people love Adam’s drumming. He is an amazing drummer, and he only takes on projects he is genuinely interested in. To answer the question, I’d say we all just prioritize and communicate about our engagements.

What other projects are the other members of Misery Index involved in?

Asthma Castle, Strong Intention, Quills, Cast the Stone, Clenched Fist (tribute to Sepultura), Pig Destroyer, various guest vocal spots, etc. One of us is writing a book, but details about that cannot be released at this time.

I love the limited edition Baltimore T-shirt design on your merch page.  (I ordered one!) How important has Baltimore been to your existence and/or success?

Baltimore is our home-base. It’s rough-around-the-edges character has an impact on all the music that comes out of that area. There’s a genre-wide singularity about it you can’t put you’re finger on. You don’t really notice regional auditory cross-pollination in your and your peers’ music until you begin to travel a lot. Bands like us, Dying Fetus, Next Step Up, Bet the Devil, Visceral Disgorge, etc. have a distinct Baltimore style of sound. It’s slightly different from bands of the the same ilk from different places.

Aside from that, the scene there has really supported us through the years; all the people with Maryland Deathfest, Ottobar, Sidebar, Orion (Sound Studios), Wrightway Studios, etc. have had a major impact on the way the band has evolved, and has been allowed to evolve. It’s a big city with a small town vibe, and they seem to like us there. We certainly like them.

Anything else you want people to know about Misery Index?

Jason Netherton started Misery Index in 2001 with Kevin Talley and Mike Harrison. In 2005, Mark Kloeppel got Misery Index a full endorsement by ESP Guitars before actually knowing if he was in the band. Darin Morris is also a skilled sound-engineer and has played a part in some major label releases.
And according to Blake Harrison of Pig Destroyer, Adam Jarvis is afraid of ghosts!

****Well, know we all know how to scare Adam on Halloween.

Here’s a track from the last Misery Index full-length recording:

This track is a little slower but one of my personal favorites:

Grindcore 101 with Pig Destroyer’s Blake Harrison

When it comes to music, my opinion is based on a binary system: either I like it or I don’t. Pig Destroyer is a band labeled as grindcore that I had heard many people mention, but I had never checked them out. I didn’t know if I liked them or not.

As far as grindcore goes, Misery Index, Napalm Death, Godflesh, Bolt Thrower, and As I Lay Dying are all bands labeled by someone as grindcore, and all bands that I have been caught listening to between long stretches of death and black metal.  And I love Dillinger Escape Plan, but I am not sure they are grindcore. They are core-something though.
In my world (that is, this made up world of blogging about music), genres and subgenres matter. I appreciate the not-so-subtle differences between melodic death metal, technical death metal and blackened death. But grindcore? I wasn’t sure. So I asked the experts. 
Blake Harrison provides “noise” (read: sound samples) and some vocals for Pig Destroyer. He’s been providing the band with appropriately disturbing sound bites since 2006. Blake schooled me on the dark ways of grindcore , discussed their new recording, Book Burner, set to drop on Oct. 22 and talked about the short story included in the liner notes called, The Atheist, written by vocalist J.R. Hayes.

I was fortunate enough to preview Book Burner in its entirety. Even though grindcore is not my go-to subgenre of metal, there are several of the 19 songs included in the standard edition that I really liked and had to play repeatedly to appreciate the full impact of. I mention a few of my favorites below.

If you buy the deluxe edition of the recording, you also get seven more tracks: all covers of songs by seminal punk bands like Black Flag, Minor Threat and Negative Approach. I love punk, so I am curious to hear those.

Here’s my email Q&A with Blake Harrison. Enjoy!

I have listened to Book Burner and several of the songs are real stand outs for me (“The Diplomat,” “Iron Drunk,” “The Bug,” and “Baltimore Strangler,” for example). But grindcore is a subgenre of music that I probably know the least about. How do you describe grindcore and what about it do you think people (some people) find so appealing? Why does it appeal to you?
B- Grindcore is subversive, it’s the extreme of the extreme, it borrows from both extreme metal and hardcore punk. It appeals to us because it’s something we grew up on, we love grind and play it because we love it.

Grindcore seems pretty challenging both thematically and structurally to write. Any writer will tell you that it is HARDER to get your point across in a short story or article. How do the typical earmarks of this subgenre (short songs, haiku like lyrics) affect how you compose the songs? How difficult is it to write lyrics for this type of music? What is written first: the music or the words?

B- The music, it’s not done intentionally, I mean when we dig into a riff and feel that when it’s time to be done, it’s time to be done. The songs aren’t short because of any reason per se, it’s just we feel we’ve said what we’ve said.

What is the message that you want people to take away from your lyrics?

B-Desolation, loneliness, isolation, despair, you know upbeat, fun themes like that.

Why was J.R.’s The Atheist included with this release?
B- JR approached us with the story as a companion piece for the record. We read it and thought it was amazing. It’s not a part of a greater whole for example there’s not really a “theme” to the record.

When I began reading The Atheist, I first thought that it was going to be a personal essay. I quickly realized it was a work of fiction, a fantasy. But what can you tell me about how much J.R. (or any of you) identify personally with the protagonist? I know that I did. I have felt and thought these things about religion many times.
B- I can’t speak for everyone in the band, but sometimes yes. Religion is a personal thing and can get to the core of many people and one of the things about this, is it strikes that chord in me. I’m sure there’s SOME part of JR that identifies with it, I mean, he wrote it, but I can’t speak personally for him. Personally, I think that religion is responsible for most of society’s ills.

Will The Atheist story continue?
B- Hahaha, who knows, we just finished the record so we don’t really have too much in the way of what we’re going to do in the future. I can say that if JR feels he wants to continue the story, he will.

What does Adam Jarvis (also drummer in Misery Index) bring to Pig Destroyer’s performances and to this recording? He is among the fastest drummers I have ever witnessed!
B- Adam is an amazing talent and a great guy. He really stepped up to the plate and brought his “A game” on this release. I think he brings a great energy to the band and makes us faster and more fierce.

All of you seem to be involved in multiple projects. How do you manage that, and how does it impact Pig Destroyer?
B- It can be a juggling act at times, but we don’t do the band full time, I mean we all have jobs, relationships, families etc. It takes some careful timing and a lot of communication to get all of this together and make sure that we have the time to do what we do.

Why has it taken nearly four years to put out this new recording since Phantom Limb and Natasha?
B- We had a lot going on, it may seem like we weren’t up to much, but we built a studio and practice space, we took some time to play some shows and support Phantom Limb, we had to work in a new drummer. I know to a lot of people it seems like we were being lazy, but we were working.

You’ve got a slot for Maryland Deathfest! While you are there, what other bands playing are you hoping to see? What do you think of the additional punk/hardcore stage scheduled for Baltimore Soundstage?
B- There’s a lot, Infest, Asthma Castle, Integrity, Loss, Necropsy, Repulsion, TOOH, Down, Ilsa, Iron Lung, Magrudergrind, Rotten Sound, Weekend Nachos. I think the addition of the other stage is great. I just hope I can get to see everyone that I want too.

I am looking forward to the Oct. 19 show at The Ottobar. What specific items will you have for sale there?

B- Hopefully our new record hahaha, new shirts, some hoodies, new cds, hats you know, normal stuff.

After the Ottobar you are headed to the UK. What is the grindcore scene like there and in Europe in general? How do people react at your shows?

B- The grind scene in Europe is hit or miss, much like the states, but we’ve gotten great reception in the UK. Most people only come out if they are fans. It’s really great, and the outpouring of support has been amazing.

What else do you want people to know or understand about your new recording or anything else at all?
B- We just hope that people like it and understand it, I mean ultimately, we do this for us, but it’s nice when people get it. I’d also like to say thanks to the fans for bearing with us, it’s been a long road, but we’re here and back again, and the fact that people still want us to be is incredible.


Pig Destroyer’s Facebook page.

Buy tickets to Pig Destroyer’s Oct. 19 CD release show with Ilsa here.

Check out the title track from Pig Destroyer’s new album, Book Burner below:

New Pig Destroyer song released!

Have you ever had one of those days where everything is excrement? Pig Destroyer quite possibly wrote the soundtrack to that day. Their new album, Book Burner, will be available in the US on Oct. 22, but Relapse Records knows you PxDx fans can barely wait to sink you teeth into this meaty grindcore masterpiece.

The deluxe edition of this release will include 2-CDs, a 19-song compendium of misanthropy. And if that were not enough to set your teeth on edge, the package will also include bonus disc collection of punk covers called The Atheist.

Pig Destroyer have several shows coming up in support of Book Burner, including an appearance at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest. Those days include:

Sept. 28:      Calgary, Canada Noctis Fest
Oct. 18:       Brooklyn, NY MetalSucks/Metal Injection CMJ showcase @ Public Assembly
Oct. 19:      Baltimore, MD Ottobar (w/ Royal Thunder)  (CD Release Show)
Nov. 1:       Brighton, UK The Haunt
Nov. 2:       London, UK The Garage
Nov. 3:       Leeds, UK Damnnation Festival
Jan. 19:      Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer w/ Municipal Waste, Repulsion, Tombs
May 23 – 26:    Baltimore, MD Maryland Deathfest XI

You can pre-order Pig Destroyer’s new recording here. But until then, they have thrown you a bone. Gnaw on this lyrical video below.

Countdown to MDF X: (16) Nausea

Grind core band Nausea from Los Angeles will play the main room of Sonar at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest on Sunday evening, May 27.  Although Nausea self-describes as grind core, to me they sound more like a hardcore punk band. Their vibe is definitely an old school, fun, circle-pit inducing kind of thing. Earlier recordings exhibit more of a death metal influenced.

Nausea is comprised of founding members Oscar Garcia on guitars and vocals and Eric Castro on drums, and two new members, Leon del Muerte on guitar (Exhumed/Murder Construct) and Alejandro Corredor on bass (Dia de los Muertos). Nausea were kind enough to reply to a few questions that I sent them. Here’s what they had to say. 
What will be on the set list?
The setlist includes music from pretty much every release, from “World Downfall” to “Images of Abuse” tracks. We have new songs, but we’ll wait to play them until they are ready and released.

What other shows to you have scheduled either before or after MDF?

Right after MDF,  on Wednesday, May 30, we have a show in LA’s Black Castle with the mighty Nasum, Landmine Marathon and Early Graves. On  October 27, we go to Mexico City to do a show with our friends in Anarchus. Hopefully next year we can play some summer shows in Europe and a couple East Coast dates.

Will you have any special items for sale at the deathfest?
We have some new cool shirt designs for MDF.
Do you have a special message for your fans?

Thanks for sticking around all this time, GRIND ON!

Check out these Nausea songs! I particularly like the one from the older demo.

Countdown to MDF X: (18) Agents of Abhorrence

Agents of Abhorrence is a three-piece grindcore act from Melbourne, Australia. They play Sunday afternoon, May 27 at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest.

Members include Ben Andrews (guitars), Max Kohane (drums), and Grant Johns (vocals). This group plays really fast, short songs. Just as you are getting into them, they are over!

It should be fun to see how many songs they can cram into their 30 minute set. Because I could not find a ton of information about this band, this preview is as short as one of their songs. If they respond to my request for more information, then I will update this posting.

Here are a couple of longer songs to give you a taste of what they are like. I am sure they are lovely fellows, but this pushes my limits of grind core. That’s probably part of their appeal.

Countdown to MDF X: (19) Backslider

Need a small band to play you some big, fast music in under a minute? Philadelphia’s grindcore, fastcore, something-core act Backslider should fit the bill quite nicely. This two-piece, comprised of Logan on guitar and vocals and Patrick on drums, will kick off the final day of the 2012 Maryland Deathfest, Sunday, May 27.

Backslider put a smile on my face because they reminded me of all those un-named punk bands I watched tear up smokey clubs and basements in the late 80s. All the spit and vinegar is there, except these guys are, at times, just a bit doomier and sludgier.  Don’t plant them too deep, water them just a little, and they might grow into something like Dragged Into Sunlight.

Check out their Bandcamp here. Don’t worry, it will take less than two minutes.

I am not sure, but this video seems to be sped up a little. Either way, it’s totally worth watching as the moshers and the drum set nearly collide on several occasions.

Countdown to MDF X: (32) Hellbastard

The moment I first listened to Hellbastard, my heart began to race, and I had that eerie feeling as though I was hearing the voice of a departed loved one. That “departed loved one” was evidently my youth, misspent listening to crap. I felt sick and ashamed that I had never known of this UK band until now.

Founded in the mid 80s, Hellbastard set out from the beginning to merge the lyrical, integrity of 70s era punk with the balls-to-the-wall aggression of non-industry-approved heavy metal. Their earliest demo, Ripper Crust, possesses that deliciously fuzzy heavy metal guitar distortion, the frenetic drumming, some occasional feedback, and that forgivably low-fidelity audio production. The vocals, unlike black metal or “traditional” punk, are much more clear and shouted in your face. They are pissed off, and they want you to know why.

Later albums, such as the unbelievably Slayer-esque EP They Brought Death, reveal the fact that someone has thrown more cash into production, but the punk and metal spirits never wane. Hellbastard stay true to their prime directive: to rock you into submission. One source even described their sound as Crass’s political lyrics plus Slayer’s music, and I would say that’s spot on. Unlike a typical punk tune, which might be over and done with in about a minute, Hellbastard take their time with each song, enjoying the riff, building the rage, and letting the listeners experience full-on, head banging catharsis.

The current members of Hellbastard include founder Malcolm “Scruff” Lewty (Vocals/Guitars) with Tom McCombe (Guitars), Paul O’Shea (Bass), and Josh “Buda” Harris (Drums). The group’s history is bi-modal with one active era from about 1985 to about 1992 and then another from 2008 until now. Interest in Hellbastard was sustained in the interim by their inclusion on numerous complications representing the crust and grindcore genres.

Hellbastard has produced a 12″ vinyl split with American crust band Dresden and are slated to have a new EP, Sons of Bitches, out sometime by the end of 2012 or early 2013.  The song, “Arcadia,” below, appears on both. Hellbastard plays the 2012 Maryland Deathfest on Saturday afternoon, May 26. I’ll be up front, weeping and apologizing.

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