INTERVIEW: The Bad Larrys

(This interview is between Edward Dinsley and The Bad Larrys)

[E] Your debut album, "Hodads" sounds amazing! How did you hook up with Pete Lyman?

Davis: Pete Lyman was actually recommended by Chris Karn, a friend of my who is also my sales rep at Vintage King in LA.  I had been working on this weird little instrumental project in my attic called “The Ivory Moans” at the time and really wanted to put something out independently that sounded great.  It kinda had this blacksploitation/spy feel to it.  This was years ago and the first time I had worked with Pete. We have continued working together for anything I put out. 

[E] You have a very distinctive sound. The surf element definitely gives you an edge. Why surf?

Davis: Well I think everybody in the band had this love for western music, whether it be heavy psych nuggets, spaghetti western zingers, or just straight up garage rock.  A lot of that shares surf rhythms and vibe overall if you pick it apart.  It just oozes cool and vibes really well between all of us musically. 

Jaret: I think it was the original idea, to play mostly surf stuff, when I had walked into the band. I had a bunch of more psych-garage sounding riffs or progressions and they all worked together really nicely and naturally. Now, if we’re not playing surf, the tones are still there and that is where all the vibe hangs on. Spring reverb and light echo with Fender guitars with whammy bars is all edge.

[E] There is a voice mail clip at the start of "Bottom of the Bag"-who is that? Where is it from?

Davis: That’s actually a friend of my brother, Adam, named Albert.  Albert got drunk and wouldn’t leave the bar so Adam left him there and went all the way back to Delaware without him.  Adam’s phone died and when he woke up his friend had called him crying and begging for a ride.  We thought it was hilarious and a good Philly reference, but the song is also about friends you have to babysit while drunk.

Jaret: Damn, I thought that was Adam the whole time! Sounds like Dave locked him out haha. 

[E] What is the local music scene like in Philly? Who are your favorite bands to play with? 

Davis: The local scene is has a lot of industrial music, psych and garage music, there’s also a lot of alternative and post punk sorts of bands too.  The thing that Philly always has had in spades are killer jazz, hip hop, and RnB bands, although that’s not necessarily our “scene”, it’d be ill representation of Philadelphia not to give those bands a big nod because those musicians are killer. 

Well most the bands we have played with in Philly we honestly haven’t gotten the chance to play with again.  Half the band just moved to Philly and we rehearse and record out here, but we all just started playing venues in Philly together last year so we’re pretty new. 

Jaret: Lot’s of cool dude bands but mostly everyone we’ve met has been warm and receptive to our shit. Matt Kelly rules, always tons of fun to play with that dude and his rotating lineup. Tough Shits are the shit.

[E] Who are your main influences individually and as a band?

Davis: I really like the pulpy, greasy, and extremely edgy rock and roll bands/performers: Chuck Berry, Link Wray, The Sonics, Bo Diddly, Howlin Wolf, The Cramps, Personal And the Pizzas, Shannon and the Clams, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Elmore James, Roy Orbison to name a few.  Y’know, rockin music either from or inspired by the mid to late 50’s/early 60s? Compilation albums are also huge for me too along with a lot of punk and proto punk lately.  I could sit and name hundreds of artists, but I won’t.  They’re my little secrets.   I also love reading a lot of cultish mystery/horror and beatnik novels and watching Netflix and b movies alike.  Traditional tattoo art and flash paintings have a huge influence on my aesthetics also. 

Jaret: The band’s influence is definitely a good, harmonious blend of all of our tastes. I’m into a whole wacky slew of shit but all of my influence from this band comes from King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall and especially FUZZ, CFM, and Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers. Ballsy guitars and fast pacing. 

[E] Did you record live off the floor in the studio?  

Davis: Yeah, we used very minimal overdubs some vocals and guitar solos here and there. The main thing we needed overdubs for was aux percussion.

[E] How do you get your sound? What kind of gear do you use?

Davis: I would say it’s a healthy combination of using mostly analog signal paths before we get into the computer.  I work at a studio in Philly called Drowning Fish where I have a ton of analog gear dating back to the forties, and a four track ampex that we had restored that was supposedly Kieth Richards’. I also use mostly vintage microphones and amps.  I think the main thing that gives us our sound is taking risks while recording live and committing to decisions that cannot be undone.  Like sure, smash this snare through an old compressor on the way in, fuck it.  We usually take a Memphis approach of bringing things into the red.

Jaret: The guitars are my old Jaguar, and Sean’s American Strat through a ‘69 Fender Bandmaster Reverb, a ‘69 Super Reverb, a ‘66 Dual Showman with 2x15s, an old Roland Space Echo, and a ‘66 Fender Reverb Unit. Not too many pedals for the album, all the fuzz was a Death by Audio Fuzz War, a bit of Boss Blues Driver/OCD boost and amps all pushing past breakup. I think we used one of Davis’ old Gretsch’s for the right channel guitar in Deep Space Radio? 

[E] We have lots of waves up here on Vancouver Island. Any tour plans as of yet?

Davis: We’re all trying to work it out scheduling wise, if we were able to get signed and get some more support we’d probably be touring more and sooner.  That said we do have a lot of regional east coast dates, but working things out independently just takes a little extra time.  I actually have a friend in Vancouver who wants us to make it out there, Vancouver to San Diego LETS DO IT!  We all want to quit our jobs so....

[E] A 7 inch with select tracks would be a welcome release. Are you planning to make any vinyl pressings in this format or otherwise?

THE ENTIRE BAND: We do have 100 tapes on the way from Wiener Records!! Vinyl is super expensive, so we’re looking for somebody who wants to support us before we make that plunge.  The whole band reallllllly wants to get this pressed so talk to us! 

The Bad Larrys

REVIEW: The Bad Larrys - Hodads (Self-Released)

I hadn’t heard much about Phillie's The Bad Larrys when I first gave this impressive slab a spin apart from the fact that they had been dubbed “proto-punk” and “psych-surf” by their peers. Surf? Wow. That’s different. Hodads, however, while definitely incorporating the aforementioned elements totally transcends any well meant attempts at describing their crazy varied sound. It’s hard to pin down a band that so effortlessly flows between genres and mixes things up with such tasty results. The Bad Larrys have absolutely left no stone unturned on their debut LP offering up a banger of an album chock full of well crafted hooks and debauched party anthems. But, if you think they’re going to stop there you’re in for one hell of a shock.

Hodads plays less like an album and more like a collection of radio ready hits destined for raunchy Netflix soundtracks. Let me make myself clear; this is not a bad thing in the least. On the contrary, The Bad Larrys are on to something huge and come riding in on a tsunami dripping with reverb and aching to break. There honestly isn’t a weak link on this record and the more I listen, the more I can’t get it out of my head. It’s just that good.

Mastered by Pete Lyman (Red FangThe Jesus Lizard), the album comes off sounding highly polished while retaining its notably vintage tone. Thanks to the equipment at Davis M. Shubs’ disposal and home studio of Drowning Fish, the band were able to lay down some seriously timeless tracks that groove so well together you’ll be left wondering how they haven’t been scooped up by a major label already. All in good time, I suppose.

Stand outs like “7 Foot Vultures” and “I Like You Anyway” flow between the mournful and whimsical in a way that makes perfect musical and lyrical sense. It’s amusing how fun the band sounds on tunes like these, making die hard converts out of even the most jaded among us. If I wasn’t won over from the start, The Bad Larrys definitely got me with the next track (and ode to early onset alcoholism), “Fired in the Morning”.

With lines like, “How did I come in here like Jean Harlow/and waltz right out like the walking dead?!” what’s not to love? An apt description of my early twenties, this track will have you raging into the wee hours on any given weekday and wishing you had picked up that extra 15 pack before 11.

I would be remiss if not to mention album closer and The Bad Larrys’ latest single, “Rama, Mammon, Abraxas, Ahriman”. Tempered with tantalizing keys and kaleidoscopic guitar shots, the revolving main riff is as heavy as the album gets. Vocalist Sean Flynn demonstrates a certain unbridled poise throughout Hodads but really lets loose on the chorus here. Flynn howls the song’s refrain with all the punk rock fervor of a young Glen Danzig while still managing to keep up his signature Strokes-esque style.

If you’re not already convinced, Hodads is a must for every dedicated music enthusiast. It really is a solid product that vibes easily with psych/stoner and straight ahead garage rock fans alike. Maintaining a healthy balance in mood, the outcome is a fine recording complete with just enough street cred to keep things edgy yet dance-able. If The Bad Larrys are any indication, psych/surf/garage is the new mainstream and make no mistake; you’re going to want to get in on the ground floor.


Keep up with everything about The Bad Larrys on their Facebook here.

INTERVIEW: Cam of Motherslug

(This interview is between Keith, The Odd of Direnotes and Cam of Motherslug)

[K] Who is Motherslug? What brought the band together?

Motherslug have been kicking around for six years now. Nick and Cyn are the remaining founding members, I joined after they had been jamming for almost a year with Ferg and Matt and that was the lineup for the first EP. Ferg left just prior to Three Kings in Darkness and we picked up Regan a couple of years before we released Electric Dunes.

[K] Space/scifi is a reoccuring theme on 'The Electric Dunes of Titan', how did you come up with this? What influenced you to take this route?

The title to the opening track was the last thing to fall into place and it really encompassed the feel of the album. I read a lot of classic fantasy and sci-fi; Asimov, Frank Herbert, LeGuin, Poul Anderson, Hoyle, Moorcock. In fact the title Cave of the Last God is taken from the last chapter of one of Larry Niven's books, 'The Magic Goes Away'. I guess I like the mythology of space, the great unknown void is a blank canvas and the generally dystopian nature of our inevitably high-tech future lends itself to doom.

[K] How would you say Motherslug has evolved since the initial EP?

When we started out we wanted to be the heaviest band on the planet, I'm sure most heavy bands strive for the same goal. But it became apparent that we didn't want to be playing the heaviest songs without those moments of light. It is the contrast, the mellow melodies juxtaposed against some crushing riffs that creates the heavy. We do have those moments in the earlier songs but we never realised them to their full potential. Over the years our song writing skills have improved and our shared experience of being in the band breeds a musical familiarity so we work together much more efficiently to mold a song exactly how we want it.

[K] What is the origin of the name 'Motherslug'? How did you or your bandmates manage to come up with such a unique name for the band?

Motherslug is taken from the title of an Acrimony song - The Mother of all Slugs!

[K] Motherslug isn't exactly you're typical run-of-the-mill stoner/doom metal group, there is a good bit of rock in the sound as well. What are some of your influences?

Yeah there's a quite a mixed bag in there. We all dig the core influences of stoner/doom; Kyuss, Floyd, Sabbath, Zeppelin. Regan draws a lot of influence from players like Jimmy Page, Eddie Hazel, Hendrix, Robin Trower, Sir Lord Baltimore, Cactus, Captain Beyond, Randy Holden, Blue Cheer, MC5. I grew up with Kiss and Devo, got into punk around '84 with Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Crass and Suicidal Tendencies and then real alternative stuff like The Birthday Party, Beasts of Bourbon and The Cramps. Early 90's Monster Magnet, Metallica  and Danzig. Through the late 90's I got into Cold Meat Industries, Deutsch Nepal, Lustmord and used to make my own lo-fi fucked up noise tapes. Modern day influences are Chelsea Wolfe, THAL and Scott Walker but I drag all of that musical baggage from over the years with me when I'm pondering a lyric or melody.

[K]What is the metal scene like overseas, in Austrailia?

Melbourne is the capital of live music in Australia, lots of good venues, dozens of great bands. There is a decent small scene up North in Brisbane but the rest of Australia is dead. We play with heaps of great bands you should look out for; Merchant, Dawn, Jack Harlon & the Dead Crows, Boracherro, Hobo Magic, Seedy Jeezus, Arrowhead.

[K] Outside of creating music, what else do the members of Motherslug do with their time?

Regan drives a van and work with old ladies at a charity shop. Nick does weird shit with spreadsheets, Cyn is an accountant and I am a Producer at a games company, I make video games.

[K] What was it like placing so well on so many metal Charts, Lists? Did you ever think Motherslug would be what it is today?

We were stoked to see the album get such a great response from bloggers and reviewers around the world. It made a lot of 'best of year' lists, it hung around in the Doom Charts over three months and has sold incredibly well for a total d.i.y. release from the arse end of the world. It is a testament to the production skills of John Bartels to pull the recording back from the brink and not only make it sound great but he made it sound like Motherslug - it sounds stupid but recording a live band and getting it to sound like the band is not an easy task. We were ready to trash the tapes and start again.

[K] Biggest pet peev when it comes to the music industry?

Heavy music is largely ignored by radio and media in this country despite there being a large audience for it. It's an uphill battle to get that broader recognition and we can already see from the release of Dunes that we have a larger following overseas than we have here in Australia.

[K] If Motherslug was an animal what would it be?

A slug, obviously. 

[K] Any upcoming tours/shows in support of 'The Electric Dunes of Titan' planned?

We had our launch in November last year, have played a couple of shows since and have a gig next week with 24 bands on three stages at Filthfest. Rather than go on the road and flog these songs to death we have decided to put our efforts into  getting the next album rolling. 

[K] Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions, anything else you'd like to say at all?

Thanks for taking the time to interview us, have a good one.

QUICK REVIEW: HAR - Visitation (Blood Harvest)

First off, Visitation’s intro is as creepy as they come. I’ve grown used to patiently waiting through some pretty lengthy prologues in my time but this gets to the point immediately. It features an instrument native to HAR’s homeland of Tel Aviv that while completely unknown to me, grabbed my attention straight away. It sounds to me like an arghul played in a drone like fashion, layered with haunting funeral bell and steeped in a mire of guttural groans. Weird and slightly disconcerting, it sets the scene for a relentlessly blackened EP that delivers at every turn.
Album opener, “A Shadow Henosis” is a cacophony of dissonance consisting of disembodied wails, foreboding guitar and outright ruthlessness. The mix is both terrifying and transporting. Evoking images of desolate lands and ancient evils, HAR have unearthed a timeless ambience with this track.
The diversity continues with the aptly titled, “From the Blood of a Whirling Dagger”, a decrepit whirlwind that features the dual face melting tactics of guitarists Daniel Atai and Shaul Pollack. From the outset, this song absolutely pummels with furiously paced blast beats and above average vocal work.
Closing on a high note, “Conjure the Black Flame” comes screaming out of the gate with all of the vengeance of a stirred Balrog. I’m hard pressed to find fault with any of HAR’s musical choices on this track as it is crafted with all of the diligence at their command. Again, the ethereal shrieks and howls trademark of Visitation return here and add a depth of hellishness to an already ominous vibe. With its ambitious intent, the song is quite simply brilliant and leaves little room for debate.
What I appreciate most about Visitation is its varied tempos, mid range vocals and almost complete lack of ego. This is raw black metal at its finest. Despite its overall top notch production, Visitation still manages to come across as unrefined as the best in its genre. This is no small feat considering the specifically lo fi demands of purist listeners. In a time where cassettes are being recorded in dank basements to decidedly minimalist effect, this is a welcome change. It proves that today’s generation of black metal can be just as sinister sounding as its predecessors without sacrificing tonal quality.


INTERVIEW: Jani of Svartanatt

(The following is an interview between Sammi Spells and Jani of Svartanatt. See her original review here.)
[SS] Hello! Thank you so much for taking time to sit down and answer some
questions for me! Please, introduce yourself.

Hey im Jani, singer and guitarist in the band.

[SS] What are some of your influences?

I dont listen to music so often actually but i have to thank Kurt Cobain cause it were the grungewave with Nirvana that got me interesed of start to play guitar in a age of 9. I got hooked when i heard the bleach album a raw mix of punk and rock. I usually get ideas to write songs at night. melodies and riffs just pops up in my head.

[SS] Who is your personal favorite musician of all time?

Its a hard one. Theres so many good musicians. Kurt Cobain and Phil Lynott maybe one of them.

[SS] What attracted you to the sound of the 1960s-1970's southern rock sound exactly?

I have been listening to 60-70’s rock since i was 10 years old and got stucked when i first heard bands like The baker gurwitz army, Thin Lizzy and Lynard Skynard some years later. Im not so much in it for some special sound. Our band just sounds like we do. If its loud enought and we got some crunchy sound then we’re pleased.

[SS] How did you guys come to be?

It were the year of 2014. I called up Daniel Heaster( drummer) and asked if he would be interesed of playing drums in a band. I had earlier seen him play in other bands and i really liked his way to beat on the drums. We both are from same city ”Gävle” so i knew him little before we started our band svartnatt. Then i hooked up up with Felix Gåsste and Mattias Holmström on a concert in Stockholm i saw some cool dudes headbanging on stage (Felix Gåsste&Mattias Holmström guitar &bass). After the show we took some beers and i asked them both if they would be interesed of play bass in a band:). Some days later we meeting up in Daniel Heasters rehearselroom and svartanatt were born! Martin Borgh(Organ) is old friend of mine that i asked some months later to join the band.

[SS] Do you have any particular writing process?

I always put the chords and melodies together as one sort of package then i tryin to figure out some cool drumbeats. Last of all i write the lyrics that is the most difficult challenge.

[SS] How do you handle nerves before a live show?

I never got nerves. I have been standing on stages since is was 11 years old so thats probably why. Its just fun.

[SS] In your downtime, what are some things that you enjoy?

When i dont write songs i hanging around with my family and friends. I love Bowling, must be the best sport in the world, you can drink beers while you playing.

[SS] What's the greatest thing about being in a band? What are some things
you could do without?

its an adventure to travel around with these fellows in the band and visit new citys and meet people that want to hear our music its just lovely. We always have a great time together!
One gig shows. When we travel for about 6-7 hours to do one show and next day is the same way home. It shows that we’re a hard-working band!

[SS] If you weren't a musician, what would be your ideal career?

Its because the music im still standing on the ground. I cant think of anything else to work with? Im musicteacher to so :).

[SS] What does the future hold for Svartanatt?

2nd of March we’re releasing our 2:nd album ”Starry eagle eye” and we’ll be touring as much as possible and hope to get in touch with some booking agency.

[SS] Is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?

Thanks for all support! Stay tune fore some more r’n’r!!! Keep on rockin!!!

REVIEW: REPULSIONE - Desecrating (Wooaaargh)

Quite literally, Repulsione scared me. I'm no stranger to Grindcore, I actually own a few Grindcore releases myself, but after sliding on my headphones and expecting the same-old run-of-the-mill stuff - I was thrown off so badly by the fuzzed out Bass that it made me jump. And, that is a pretty good representation of what you'll get on the entirety of Desecrating. It's the musical equivalent of being beat over the head with a shovel - just a particularly disgusting one.

I'm not going to pretend I even know what is being said here, what any theme is, nothing. There are some scant hints, but the majority of the vocals are screamed at you with incredible speed and aggression, or so slow and low you can't hope to get what is going on. I mean, it's Grindcore, you could be listening to anything at any time and rarely catch a single work through an entire album. So, Repulsione hits that check-mark and then some.

Composition is not bad but I can't decide if I tolerate or hate the double bass on Desecrating. I do enjoy originality, but the tone is just, as I said, fuzzed to hell and back. It's like listening to a buzzsaw an inch from your ear - I am not exaggerating in the slightest. It's okay for a couple of songs, but because of the tone being what it is, how the band seems to want one bass to act as a guitar and the other to act as a straight forward bass - it just throws everything out of whack. The standard acting bass occasionally evens things out, but it can't help but feel like it's all a little off - even for Grindcore.

At times, Repulsione gave me a headache. I had to stop the album occasionally just to take a break, even on songs I enjoyed like 'An Infamous Beast'. Maybe it all sounds better in a live environment and the band was trying to stay true to that? Or, maybe there should have been more effort put into the intermingling of the instruments.

Again, the songs are good, really well done, but the fuzzed out bass should have just been a guitar - especially if Repulsione was just going to obliterate the sound associated with bass guitar. It's absolutely crushing, no nonsense Grindcore. It is utterly brutal, but when it comes to the point where I got to take a breather to save my brain from imploding - a few points might be lost. Then again, it might just be what this band is going for. If Grindcore is strictly about in-your-face aggression, Repulsione are the crème de la crème of their chosen genre.


REVIEW: The Dahmers - Creepiest Creep (Lovely Records)

If you are one that likes the Horror Punk Genre, The Dahmers is a band that made me want to dance while listening to them. Listening to them, I am definitely reminded of the Misfits. This being said, The Dahmers reminded me a lot of the energy of the Misfits. I have to say that of new music, they are really good. I tend to be partial to music from the 70s-80s as that is what I listened to growing up, but I just have to say "wow" to The Dahmers.

'Creepiest Creep', the first song on the EP, reminds me a lot of a blend of the classic rock blended with punk. This has not only strong vocal, but the music itself will have you wanting to listen to even more of their songs. Truly my favorite song on this EP, definitely give props to The Dahmers on this song. I am usually not one that favors any form of Punk. I will listen to it, but I truly enjoyed listening to this song. I am, yet again, not disappointed when I started to listen to the second song on their EP 'Reoccurring Dreams'. Even though this song isn't more than a little over a minute long, they definitely get their point across with this song.

'Without A Face', the next song on the EP, was not exactly my favorite. I'm not saying that it is bad, only that it isn't my favorite. Of course that being said, that is because I truly favor their song 'Creepiest Creep'. 'Kiss of Dario', the last song I listened to by The Dahmers, is a really upbeat song that had me wanting to dance yet again. I was not disappointed listening to them.

Listening to this EP, it is composed of many songs that I could see being used in comedy horror movies. That isn't a bad thing either. They really know how just to keep the listener on their feet. I definitely hope to hear more from The Dahmers in the future. Great vocals, and absolutely great music.


REVIEW: Towards Atlantis Lights - Dust of Aeons (Transcending Obscurity)

 Powerfully emotional, Towards Atlantis Lights draws from historical moments and blends folk, doom, death, and black metal elements together in order to bring their story to life on Dust of Aeons. And, by story, I mean an epic spanning four tracks, one of which is a whopping 30 minutes (The Bunker of Life) and the other over 16 (Alexandria's Library). It's a somewhat short run time on paper, but the density and captivating nature of the yarn spun here makes every moment worth it.

Pleasantly, for a story-based album, Dust of Aeons features a bevy of vocal work. Good vocal work, at that. The fusion of unconventional folk-like clean vocals and crushing death metal vocals works incredibly well. It also provides a counter balance for the, occasionally, simply written songs. Then again, speed and over-complication is not exactly  great thing when your opening track lasts longer then your standard television program. As a guitar player, I could only imagine remembering the entirety of this album would be a superhuman feat at best.

But, that isn't to say Dust of Aeons doesn't feature a bevy of memorable riffs or compositions. Everything here is massive, monolithic, and when it isn't, the writing is teasing you with moments of death and black. The transitions between slow sorrowful doomy riffs, to crackling black, or crushing death, are done bafflingly well. How Towards Atlantis Lights manages to just change without some stop, or break, beforehand is beyond me. It's just about beyond anything I've ever heard before (at least when it comes to doom). Outside of this, there is a lot of piano work - a staple, I'm noticing, in doom's pieces to provide some variety when harsher writing isn't called for. But, despite my disdain towards the use of it - I can't deny that Towards Atlantis Lights, much like Et Moriemur, has done masterful things with the instrument.

I'll be honest, I hate most musicals but Towards Atlantis Lights isn't that, despite it having a narrative. The entire album feels like an experience, but doesn't sacrifice creative merit or provide emotion or atmosphere strictly though lyrics and vocals like your standard story-based album would. Every component is important in expressing what the group wants to say, and how they want you to feel about it.


REVIEW: Shambles - Primitive Death Trance EP (Blood Harvest)

Since 1997, Thai grind core mainstays Shambles have continually put out brutal slabs of doom heavy demos (and even a full length release, 2016’s Realm of Darkness Shrine). With a particular emphasis on brutal, Shambles delivers yet another relentless offering in the form of Primitive Death Trance.

As a four song EP, the album is deceptively short but quick to make its point. The band makes no bones about what they came to accomplish-total aural submission. While certain tracks appear to beat an idea to death (see album opener, “Daemon”); the EP stretches each song’s limits creating more of a full length feel. It’s something Shambles does incredibly well.

The deeply resonant guitar tone Issara Panyang brings to the table is nothing short of jaw dropping. He really manages to lay down some seriously low end here, evident especially on the title track, “Primitive Death Trance”. Not to be outdone, percussionist, Thinnarat Poungmanee adds his own unique flair to the mix courtesy of his distinctive cymbal work. His ride shots ring out so clearly you’d swear he was playing in the jam space next door.

Essentially, Primitive Death Trance is a purists’ album. Forget about technical prowess, if you’re looking for the next Animals as Leaders you won’t find it here. Chord to chugged chord progressions are the order of the day for Shambles and they seem content to keep it that way. There are no frills to be heard on this release which are at times to the production’s detriment. Things get off to a muddy start sonically from the outset and the dense mastering leaves little room for clarity. On one hand, this makes for a challenging listen yet on the other generates a healthy dose of heavy.

All in all, where Primitive Death Trance lacks in originality and studio chops it more than makes up for in unrefined integrity. However, exposure to bands like Pissgrave and Necrot would do Shambles and their sound a world of good. Sometimes, less is more but finding that happy medium somewhere in between is more often necessary than not.

Do their songs need work? Yes. Is there room for improvement? Definitely, but at least they’re out there doing it. In a country not exactly known for its contributions to the metal world, Shambles is staking their own claim. And that is something I can get behind.


ARTICLE: Writing Band Interviews for the Beginning Metal Blogger

So you started your own blog, or you took on the responsibility of interviewing a band or artist for a web-zine or blog you write for? It can be a daunting thing for the uninitiated, even after years.There have been a lot of negative articles published about writing interview questions, simply searching on Google brings up a plethora of terrifying articles about how you'll somehow mess up, or a band will hate you, just because you write something that has been asked before. On the other hand, it'll also bring up a load of advice that is put out there by people who are inexperienced or just don't like asking bands or artists about anything do with the actual music at hand. Some even claim that if you interview the wrong member of a band, it'll somehow ruin you. For one, that doesn't make a lick of sense, and two... if you happen to part of any outlet that has that viewpoint, it's probably not a place you should stay for long.

See, interviews are a very circumstantial thing. Not only does it depend on the band, the member or members being interviewed, their personalities, and their experiences but it can also come down to things like local vocabulary, grasp of the human language (if a band or artist doesn't speak or understand English or another language completely), or even the time they have to respond. Some people love to talk about the things they love, the things that inspire them, what they are doing, and so questions like 'What are your influences?' or 'What are your favorite bands?' don't seem like drivel to them. Some don't like this, though. Because after a long while of interviews or being on the road, it seems like a question they've probably heard a thousand times. Or, perhaps, they find some offense in it because they think you didn't do your research. Whatever. In reality, it comes down to the fact that you aren't only asking these questions for you. These questions are being asked because your readers. Right? And any band that expects new fans, should be willing to answer even the most common of questions. Because these aren't only being read by the interviewer, but their audience as well. Personally, I've yet to interview a band so jaded. But, the road worn are out there. Again, this is entirely circumstantial and it's something neither you nor the band or artist at hand can avoid: just ask or answer the questions to the best of your ability. If someone is offended, or misunderstands, it can't be avoided.

Now, on the side of people who ask about things that don't have to do with a artist or their musical ambitions. I understand that it's probably the best way to ask the non-typical questions. I've had my fair share of nonsensical questions (I asked Ondt Blod what animal they would be, as an example), and sometimes a response could warrant a reaction that is really funny or really interesting, but on the other hand it might get one you don't desire or piss someone off unexpectedly. Jokes, as well, are hit and miss. I've tried a few, made a fool of myself, and I felt a bit weird about it (I still posted the full interviews, however). But, your best bet is to mix these random funny or weird questions in with some more solid and informational ones. This way you have some more substantial questions to keep things nice and interesting, and avoid having nothing if something happens with the others. Again, talking from experience.

As for questions I don't think anyone should ask, I'd have to go strongly with 'What is a good/bad experience you'd had with a show?'. Only because, sometimes bands have just not toured or not toured enough to even have a story, some don't even play live. This is especially true if your writing for your own, or a blog that focuses on underground releases. I mean, it can be a great question, but it can also be a bad question. I have asked it a few times, and it has gotten some interesting results. Othertimes, it doesn't amount to much of anything. I suggest that, if you do ask it, you make sure the band at hand has some experience with shows. This doesn't mean it's always been good or bad, however. Totally circumstantial.

So, what's a newbie to do? In my experience, just take risks and ask the questions you feel you want to and that your readers would be interested in. Don't be afraid of a negative experience, because they will eventually happen at some point for you no matter what you do. There are too many numerous personalities in, even underground, metal to worry too much about it or dwell on one thing. Sometimes it won't be the best set of questions in the world, but there is also the chance that it could be, for you and your readers. Nothing is going to be perfect right off the bat, and sometimes a band or artist is new and really likes those typical questions because they read them being asked to their favorite artists. It could be something they are you really like. You never know.

To make you all feel better, here is the worst/dumbest questions I've ever asked:

Do you feel like sludge metal is perhaps a subgenre that doesn't often get as much attention as other extreme metal genres?

Why? Because the band was not a sludge metal band, but instead a hardcore band with sludge influences. In my defense, I felt the band leaned heavily towards sludge metal.

A friend of mine said they had something along the lines of a ‘Necrosexual encounter’, you have anything to do with that?

Why? Because the joke fell FLAT. Either it didn't transfer well into text or The Necrosexual just didn't get it.

How do you achieve such a large sound with only three members? Especially during live gigs?

Why? The answer is clearly just because they play loud music. Because, duh, this is a metal/rock blog and everyone plays loud music.


REVIEW: Lumnos - Ancient Shadows Of Saturn (Flowing Downward)

Over time, Black Metal has whipped back and forth with experimentation. A few years back, you'd find all manner of genres crossing with it. You had no idea what to expect, at times you could get anything from techno-Black metal, Blackgaze, all the way to Pink Floyd-like progression, and even hip hop (New York's Romantic, for one)? That would slowly fade away, aside from a few choice examples, as people most likely saw that the experimental was mounting higher then the traditional stuff. That and some of it just was not good, or completely shat on the genre as a whole. But hey, it's 2018, and we're starting to see a nice little resurgence going on. And, thankfully, it's been pretty good.

Lumnos is one such experimental project, put forth by Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Putrefactus. His idea, which I've seen in the past but done much differently, is 'Cosmic Black Metal'. And, as a complete and utter science fiction geek (with like a half-dozen incomplete SciFi novel attempts under his belt), I couldn't be more happy to get my hands on something like this. Yes, and how appropriate that I binge watched the Star Trek TNG movies right before this.

Simplicity and hypnotic repetition seem to be the key factor in what makes 'Ancient Shadows Of Saturn' so engrossing, almost entrancing. Putrefactus uses a combination of synth and reverb-laden guitars, both pushed back in the mix far enough to feel like the music is being presented within a vast space. When vocals are present, they are distant, definitely retaining the black metal vibe - only slow, 'airy', and lacking the aggression you'd expect from more traditional examples within the genre. How appropriate it is then, that Putrefactus would bring in a session vocalist for some dicey clean vocals later.

It isn't too surprising that I, and surely you, will find Lumnos to be almost like progressive rock or metal in nature - as a lot of the techniques used here are used within those sub-genres as well. But, this really isn't anything new, and the progressive elements work extremely well within a 'cosmic' theme.

I suppose the biggest problems with the 'Ancient Shadows Of Saturn' is the overall lack of vocal content. I find this is the element that truly makes this 'Black Metal' is the vocals. Otherwise it's more or less just DIY prog-rock. But, vast expanses of time can by without a sign - and things feel very... instrumental. When they do kick in, they are fantastic - mystifying and enigmatic. That is, aside from the clean vocals, which just don't seem to be all that well done or captivating. They are almost out of place, but so brief that it doesn't really seem to matter in the long run. Still, perhaps Putrefactus could have done without their inclusion or perhaps found a more suitable place for them.

It feels like Putrefactus is on the right track here with Lumnos. Creating something different can be a little difficult to do properly and he seems to have taken the time and done it right. I'm happy to see more solid examples coming out of the gate when it comes to the recent wave of black metal experimentation. But, lets have more like Lumnos - less Black Metal 'Hip Hop' this time.


Keep up with everything Lumnos on their Facebook here.


(This interview it between Keith, The Odd of Direnotes and Corey of NEST)

NEST is a two-man hardcore band, with definite sludge elements, from Kentucky. Recently they have released their full length 'Metempsychosis' through Sludgelord Records. You can read our review here (and laugh at how many times I refer to them as strictly sludge metal). 

[K] So, what is the story with NEST? How did it come to be? 
COREY: If I can remember correctly Kyle and I just struck up a conversation about it when I moved up here. I had known Kyle through the Lexington music scene for years because my old band They Yearn For What They Fear would play lexington frequently. I had always been aware of his various projects (which all were good) and wanted to work with him. Finally got the opportunity to in 2015 and we wrote five songs and recorded a demo at Sneak Attack Studios here in Lexington and the rest is history.
[K] What was the process behind 'Metempsychosis? What kept NEST pushing forward? 
COREY: After we got through recording the two tracks for the Spiked and Abandoned 7” we kinda just decided to hold up playing shows and just focus on writing a new record. It honestly took about a years time (of playing and writing on and off) to get the songs fleshed out that are on the album. As for the title of the album, Kyle had always had that in mind from as long as I can remember. I tried to write lyrics around the theme but a lot of stuff was going on in 2017 that was personal for both of us. I think I did a good job of staying true to the definition of what that word means and then weaving in our own personal struggles to create a ‘variation on a theme’ so to speak.
Dedication to the material kept us pressing on. This record took a lot out of us emotional and physically. This entire album is a tribute to just getting through 2017 all together. 
[K] A lot of NEST's themes seemed to be based around the human condition (depression, loneliness, anger, etc) - is there any personal experience behind this? 
COREY: Of course-Not to reiterate myself, but 2017 was a nightmare of a year. 
[K] What's the story with Sludgelord Records, how did NEST come to be signed? 
COREY: I basically just sent the album off for a potential review from the blogspot. Aaron was gracious enough (and enjoyed it enough) to offer a digital release on the label. I was very stoked and honored to be asked, not only is he a good guy, but the blogspot has been around for years and has a very strong following and presence.
[K] As I'm Canadian and the scene is a little different over here, I'm curious as to what the metal scene is like in Appalachia? 
COREY: Its great! There are a lot of bands that are doing great things in the scene. Eastern Kentucky as a whole has always had a very great and diverse music scene. People here are not afraid to take risks and create truly heavy music. I could list bands (active now and previously) for days that have contributed to the longevity of this thriving scene. Its just a easy going place full of humble and creative people.
[K] Are there any struggles associated with being a metal act in Appalachia? 
COREY: The lack of proper venues and house spots to have metal shows, and then getting noticed seems to always be a struggle (but isn’t that the case anywhere).
[K] Do you feel like sludge metal is perhaps a subgenre that doesn't often get as much attention as other extreme metal genres? 
COREY: I think it gets its fair share of attention. I don’t think of us as being a sludge band though, to me we are more of a DIY hardcore band with some 90’s grunge influences (especially on this new album). I’m a huge Smashing Pumpkins fan (let me rephrase..EARLY YEARS only) and a fan of just grunge music from that period in general so I tried to keep all those artist in mind when crafting a drum beat or projecting a influence on Kyle. Don’t get me wrong though the stoner/sludge/blackened atmosphere is clearly present within the songs as well.
[K] Whats the story behind NEST's album art? 
COREY: It kinda just happened randomly. Kyle was searching around on the internet one day and came across this fractal artist Jan Robb and the stuff just blew me away. It really spoke to the mood and vibe that we were trying to create with this album (lyrically and musically).
[K] What does NEST strive to be?  
COREY: We strive to make music that is very raw and powerful. I would personally enjoy if we became something bigger than we are now, but all of that happens in its own time.
[K] What kind've formats can we expect to see 'Metempsychosis' released on? 

COREY: CD and cassette for the time being. We are going to make the announcements sometime soon for both of those formats, but we would really love to see it get a vinyl release. We are in hopes that a label will take interest and make this a realty.
[K] What is the future for NEST? Any plans to promote 'Metempsychosis' (shows, tours, etc)? 
COREY: Yeah, we have plans to play more shows and maybe tour a little in the future. Our main focus right now is to get the album released and generate some word of mouth through PR and whatnot. Kyle and I are busy people and have day jobs and other projects we are involved in. We have also talked about starting writing for the next record in the coming months.
[K] Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, any final words? 
COREY: I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Thank YOU though for allowing us to be featured on the website. It’s very much appreciated.

REVIEW: Iperyt - The Patchwork Gehinnom (Pagan Records)

A strange mixture of Black, Death, and Industrial metal; Iperyt is a five person group from Poland- with names like People Hater, Hellhound, Black Messiah, Shocker and... Vincent  (of whom, I'm thoroughly convinced is most likely a hardcore MF who doesn't need no nickname), I couldn't have hoped to guess. But, that doesn't matter. What matters is: does the band and their music work? I'd give you the answer now, but then you wouldn't read the rest of the review - would you?

Immediately, The Patchwork Gehinnom throws a sermon at you about some vaguely important topics that relate to the modern world at hand. The band seems to put a lot of importance in it's messages, which can even be seen on the albums artwork - a not-so-clever mockery of the Baphomet that has a masked man pointing to satellites burning and the like - but I feel like it's all been kind of said and done at some point. I mean, in an era where even pop-stars like That Poppy are making a mockery of Baphomet imagery it all seems a little typical rather then shocking. This goes almost tenfold when it comes to metal. I mean, I get it, but when Grindcore has bands that should about incest, getting pink eye, and other unpleasant things (S.C.A.T., Anal Floss is Boss, and Vaginal Cadaver) - the over saturation lends to a certain numbness. But, this is coming from a passive-aggressive Canadian man. Iperyt could very well be the anthem you are looking for. Lord knows the band at least knows how to back it up with some solid tunes.

There is almost nothing by-the-books here, I can't really say I've ever heard anything quite like what I have on The Patchwork Gehinnom. It's strange, as I've mentioned, but Iperyt has a way of bringing a plethora of jarring elements, all that is black metal, electronic music, and industrial, into one tight little package - the band calls it Terrorcore, I call it Iperyt. The drums, shamelessly and intentionally synthetic at times, work as an anchor to all the chaos; as noise grinds onward and guitars scream out, if not following their machine-like patterns. Vocals are death-like, but follow a somewhat spoken-word format. It fits in well with Iperyt's sermons; the fact that the band is telling you something directly rather then expressing them.

Usually I'd complain about all this, something about the purity of music and invasive nature of computerization and whatnot - but The Patchwork Gehinnom isn't made in hopes of hiding any skill based shortcomings, the band seems to have constructed it in hopes of defining themselves. And this here? It is all definition. There is no denying the originality of the sound that has been made here. It's all their own.

With experimentation, there are bound to be hiccups - and to me that is in the execution of blast beats on this record. My god, they are awful and really show what little Iperty had to work with. They are jarring, repetitive, one-off samples, and not even pleasant to a guy who listens to some genuinely far-reaching stuff on the daily. Luckily, they are not too prevalent, aside from the track 'Phantom Black Dogs'... which also happens to be the first track on The Patchwork Gehinnom. Honestly, I don't know what the band was thinking here. Either it was personal choice, limitations, or both.

It's pretty great to still come upon bands that do something different, Iperyt has most certainly kept on with their ambitious sound over the years. It's no surprise that The Patchwork Gehinnom is about to drop on vinyl. It's a curiosity for those who enjoy the obscure, far reaching fringes of genre experimentation. And, one of the rare genre experimentation albums that doesn't feel completely alienating to those who are willing to listen.


Keep up with Iperyt on Facebook here or their record label, Pagan Records, here for further news on Iperyt and more!