Doom, stoner metal and sludge seem to be what the kids wanna hear these days. So this time on the podcast, we talked to Hasan and Dan about the fall fest Autumn Screams Doom, October 25 and 26 at The Ottobar. Specific details of the fest can be found on the Facebook event page here. There is even a matinee Saturday upstairs at the Ottobar, featuring a screening of the movie “Last Days Here,” which is a documentary about Bobby Liebling, vocalist for Pentagram. Details about the day event can be found here.
I have seen only seen four of the bands slated to play, so much of this music will be new to me.
Philadelphia’s Wizard Eye puts on an unforgettable performance. I’ve seen them only one other time. Who doesn’t love a band that features the theremin? They open up the show on Friday, so don’t be late.
One of the most interesting bands playing is Saturday night’s headliner, Loss. This band fascinates me because, although their lyrical themes are very dark and despondent, they also seem to project a sense of hope in their music. In general, I am not a fan of depressing music, but Loss is different. Can’t wait to see them again. It will be the third time for me this year. Read a previous interview I did with vocalist Mike Meacham prior to their show at the 2013 Maryland Deathfest.
Listen to our podcast here and then check out a few videos from some of the bands that will play. We welcome your feedback on the podcasts. We drink a lot along the way and sometimes things get a little weird. Well, mostly I just get weird.
Autumn Screams Doom promises blues inspired, doomy heaviness with a good dose of “hey brothers” and high fives all around. Simply put, it will be two days of freaky, crushing madness. Tickets are $15 for each night (so $30 for the weekend) and the Saturday Matinee is $8. Tickets can be purchased at the ASD website.
I know (the) Melvins play like one million shows a year, but other than the madness that was their performance at Maryland Deathfest, I have not seen this band up close. The Ottobar was the place to be for that Friday night. I’d worked a full day and still wearing my dress from work but decide to go anyway.
The place was packed! So despite the fact that (the) Melvins play a lot of shows all over the place all the time, they also still draw the numbers. I am not sure it was a complete sell out but it was very close.
I loved seeing them in a smaller venue, despite the close quarters with so many people. I loved drummers times two. This show was part of their 30th anniversary tour. I am sure Buzz Osborne never imagined that he’d still be playing in a band he started just out of high school. But then again, maybe that is exactly what he envisioned. By the way, Buzz and I are the same age, which somehow makes me feel more alive.
Here are some photos I snapped and one of me with King Buzzo himself.
|Early Graves @Ottobar 2012. Photo by M. Spiro|
At the time of the show, Early Graves only had two albums in their discography, We: The Guillotine and Goner. So I listened to a few tracks from those albums. I liked it alright; they kind of had a blackened thrash-core thing going on.
What I did not know before the show was that they had lost their original vocalist, Makh Daniels, in a tragic van accident while on tour in August of 2010. Daniels’ voice was deep and rough. Their new vocalist, John Strachan, has a slightly higher pitched and “thrashier” sounding voice. The vocals don’t make a completely different band but they are distinct.
What also did not know, though I could have suspected it from the songs I heard, was that Early Graves’ live performances completely destroy a venue. Everything about their performance that night–from the punchy drums to the crushing riffs and searing vocals–was a flaming ball of utter awesome aural devastation.
So it was with palpable excitement that I awaited the release of Early Graves third effort, Red Horse. I bought the digital copy from iTunes and devoured all 32.6 minutes of it twice in a row. Here is my quick and dirty impression of the album.
Hardcore and thrash are subgenres of metal that can be easily married. A bad marriage results in something barely listenable, but Early Graves merges styles with finesse. Songs like the title track “Red Horse,” with its literal galloping drum beat, possess the right amount of catchy melodic riffing framed by an appropriate structure of visceral brutality capable of branding the chords into your frontal lobe.
Other tracks like “Days Grow Cold” churn through each measure like a guitar-powered locomotive, that pauses briefly to let you reflect before rocketing off again. The track ends like an acoustic balad. Very surprising.
Another track, “Death Obsesssed” wormed its way into my psyche. I found myself playing the song repeatedly before moving on to the next track. There’s something sinister and looming in this song–maybe like death itself–and yet endlessly relentless. This song represents everything that I love about hardcore metal–raw vocals, desperate lyrics, riffs that grab you by the throat and drums that make you want to bang your head.
My favorite song on the album, “Quietus,” is also the longest track. The first two and half minutes plow forward ferociously like much of the rest of the album. Then the song spirals into this melancholic, almost doomy section. The music builds to a soaring crescendo and closes out the album on a thoughtful note.
On the whole, I found the eight tracks on Early Graves’ Red Horse to be thoroughly satisfying and packed with heavy hardcore goodness. As much as one can view hardcore as “catchy” Early Graves has figured out the formula while maintaining music that inspires a respectable mosh pit.
This album is masterful and brutally beautiful. Go check it out.
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.
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?
What is the message that you want people to take away from your lyrics?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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:
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