Thursday, December 6, 2012

Malicious Intent on the Facebooks

Sadly, none of us hosts the Malicious Intent radio show any longer (I haven't for well over a year and a half while Mark of the Beast and Wulf haven't for about a year, I think).  In lieu of an ACTUAL radio show that we host, we have a Facebook page on which we'll post songs (both new and old) that we have been blasting, up-to-date news items, and other random bullshit.  Feel free to leave the most grim, frost-bitten comments that you can summon.

Malicious Intent on the Facebooks

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Why So Serious?

As any casual listener can infer, Metal bands often take themselves very seriously.  Even as an avid Metal listener and musician for the last 15 years, I've often felt the same way.  One of the first images that comes to mind when thinking of overly serious Metal musicians is the now infamous clip from Gaahl's (of Gorgoroth) interview in the documentary "A Headbanger's Journey".  When asked what the "primary ideologies or ideas that fuel Gorgoroth's music" are, Gaahl succinctly replies (after an unusually long silence), "Satan" without any indication that he is being anything other than dead.fucking.serious. 

But it goes well beyond that:  stages splattered with blood and adorned with pigs' heads, identities forever shrouded under cloaks, interviews that never stray from Satanic and/or Anti-Cosmos ideologies, and never ever smiling for any reason ever.

Sure, you can make the argument that there are artists across all spectra of music genres who take themselves very seriously, and even those who take themselves too seriously.  The difference, in my humble opinion, is that metal is an inherently over-the-top and absurd genre of music.  As much as I love metal, I am usually the first to say that just about everything concerning the Metal genre is ridiculous: the lyrics, subject matter, vocals, images, blastbeats, guitar shredding, etc. Basically just one extreme after another! From an insider's perspective, these elements are simply commonplace and are what we love about the genre.  To my non-metalhead friends (i.e. outsider's perspective), these elements are laughable at best.

But I digress.

I really wonder how many Metal bands there are that take their image and music very seriously because that's simply what Metal bands are expected to do.  I think there is a certain amount of inauthenticity attributed to Metal bands (especially of the Black and Death ilk) who don't take themselves seriously (or seriously enough).  There are obviously some exceptions.  Barring Anal Cunt style buffoonery, there are bands like Exhumed, Immortal, Darkthrone, Impaled, Cephalic Carnage, Cemetary Rapist, and a few others who are all self-deprecating and/or playful with their own images in different ways.  I think the aforementioned bands are all bands who are at least conscious enough to realize that, while they love what they do, they understand how ridiculous it is.  But of course, this is the exception and not the rule.

From a more cynical point of view, one might even say that it is good marketing to take yourself too seriously.  Look no further than the early 90s Second Wave Black Metal in Norway.  You had your church burnings, your homicides, your Satanism, your paganism...they seemed pretty fucking serious about everything.  And look what happened?  That scene blew up in a huge way making most of them international Metal superstars. 

I'm not trying to put down anyone who does take their own band seriously (or even too seriously).  Obviously, for most musicians music is art, art is self-expression, and self-expression, if done right, is a reflection of your soul.  To me, that certainly something you're allowed to take seriously.  However, what I'm saying is that I think it's valuable to have a bit of objective perspective once in a while, and to laugh at yourself.  Who knows?  Maybe these bands laugh at themselves all the time when they aren't in front of interviewers or fans.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One Man Metal

Noisey, a sub-site of the uber-hipster king of irony, Vice Magazine, recently completed a surprisingly unironic video interview trilogy entitled "One Man Metal".  These videos focus on three "One Man" Black Metal projects:  Leviathan, Xasthur, and Striborg.  I was a little skeptical at first, but the interviewer seems like a veteran metalhead.  In fact, to prove his sincerity to Wrest of Leviathan, he gets a tattoo of the "Howl Mockery at the Cross" album cover. 

Anyway, there are some really interesting interviews with all three artists:  really fragile moments with Malefic, emotionally dark moments with Wrest, and some awkward moments with Sin Nanna. 

You can start the unholy trilogy here.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Moshing in Bangalore

(photo credited to Hindustan Times) recently posted (OK, it was a whiiiiile ago) an article about Metal fandom in the tech-world of India.  Unfortunately, the author, Jason Overdorf, follows some of the same mistakes made by other media sources with limited knowledge of the genre (Dire Straits?  Metal?  HAHAHA).  Nonetheless, it is still a good read.  The author attributes the recent boom of modern underground metal in India to the availability and speed of the internet at engineering colleges.  Subsequently, this has not only increased fan support of the metal underground in India, but also the amount of Indian Metal bands getting recognized outside of India.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Death of the Hydra Head

While I was well immersed into the world of underground Metal by 2000, I was still naïve and impressionable in terms of my metal tastes.  I obsessed over sub-standard bands like Deeds of Flesh or Thyrfing.  I thought Vinnie Paul was one of the best drummers in Metal.  I thought "Re-Load" wasn't THAT bad of an album.  And sure, I had become accustomed to the expected sounds of 99% of Death Metal, Black Metal, and (insert standard sub-genre here) Metal bands. 

But then, seemingly all at once, I was catapulted into a kaleidoscope of sounds:  ISIS, Discordance Axis, Cave In, Phantomsmasher, and Old Man Gloom among others on the Hydra Head roster.  What was wrong with these people?!  Were they, like, on a lot more drugs than your average metal musician?  How was it even possible to BE on more drugs than your average metal musician?!?!

Unfortunately, I was only ever able to answer the first question:  From what I could tell, they did not give a fuck what anyone else thought about them or their music.  They were bands and musicians that were brave enough to break away from the stale and standard sounds of most of their metal brethren.  Instead, they forged their own myriad musical paths.  In other words, they let their freak flags fly.  To this day, bands that are or once were on Hydra Head are still some of my favorite bands.

Thank Satan there was a label that was brave enough to foster them.

R.I.P. Hydra Head Records

I still want to know where you guys got your drugs.

Friday, October 5, 2012

We'll Do It Live! Fuck It!

I had a laugh recently when The Dillinger Escape Plan posted a note dating back to a gig in 2008 on their Facebook page.  The note was passed to them by the management of a venue and it reads, "If they dive in the crowd with guitars or climb the truss or get anyone else to climb it I will cut the power."  If you know anything at all about the violent acrobatics contained in a DEP live setting, you should find this just as hilarious as I do.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Interview with Wizard of Accursed Wound!!

Interview conducted via email in August, 2012.

WULF: To my knowledge, this is the first Accursed Wound interview...tell us a bit about the band as far as its origins and its members. What do you hope to accomplish as a group?

WIZARD: Thanks for having us!! The band is relatively new, we’ve been playing together for a year now. Aaron (Orc) and I (Wizard) have been musical cohorts for a while now and share a passion for all types of metal. We recruited our friend Dean (Aeden) specifically for this project, he’s insane. We met Simon (Grimhilt) in a tavern during our travels and he joined our cause. Sei played keyboards for us on the record but isn’t a regular member, Aeden might take on that role for live shows. As far as a band goal?... We’d like to continue putting out fantasy themed black metal records and possibly some ambient instrumentals.

WULF: While I hate asking about a band's inspirations as it's usually the same answers every time, I'm curious as to what are some of Accursed Wound's main inspirations, both musical and literary?

WIZARD: I really can’t speak for everyone on this front, however, I can say that we all love hard science fiction and fantasy and we are all very much into dark themed role-playing games. Musically, me and Aaron were big into thrash, grindcore, sludge and extreme shit in general but also loved the emotional power and dramatic effect of classical music... Prokofiev, Bartok, Holst, Stravinsky. So the obvious next step was to put out something close to symphonic black metal, we are big fans of the greats like Dimmu, Bal Sagoth, Nile, Emperor. We gave it our best shot to put forth an authentic sounding record that could tell a tale we could all agree on, so naturally dark fantasy. Thanks for that question.

WULF: Your lyrics involve grim tales of dungeon exploration, morbid sacrifices, demons, trolls, the undead, etc. Would you care to elaborate what drives you to record such macabre visions, as well as perhaps some of the overall themes depicted on the album? Does the band promote a specific philosophy or message? What is the most ideal way for the listener to experience your music?

WIZARD: umm... Some of the lyrics are sort of compiled fragments from old D&D campaigns I’ve played. But the majority of it is basically a story of a necromancer or lich from the underworld who is gaining power on the surface, destroying villages and raising an undead army. The trick of it all is that a spell has been cast, so while humans are fighting their above ground crusades, the undead army is growing, when the dead are hauled back into the city they awaken and ransack the place. There’s also a bit(Dungeon Crawling) on heroes who have been contracted to venture down and kill the Lich only to be raised as undead warriors themselves. So yeah, i’d love to see this made into a film... or better yet a D&D adventure module. Maybe we’ll include a module with our next record! ...And finally i would say first that the best way to listen to any metal record is to read the lyrics along with the music, I remember doing this with Butchered at Birth when I first got into metal, because i couldn’t understand the words. It made the record awesome and more listenable for me. I’d say Listen to Embrace the Forge in a low light subterranean environment.. or driving recklessly at high speeds. Nothing in between. haha

WULF: Are there any future plans to perform live or tour? What is the black metal scene like in your region of the US, and do you associate with it?
WIZARD: We have played this material out live only twice and since the band is kind of spread across the country right now we don’t really know. A regional tour is definitely something we’d like to do, though it might involve new members or stripping down to a smaller group. Regardless of the difficulties there will be more live shows. We are’nt really involved in the scene here, since we are so new, but there’s definitely a lot going on here in the bay area, of course classic thrash and garage but also some pretty sick heavy metal.

WULF: Braden Young mixed your album, who is he and what is your connection to him?
WIZARD: Basically we know him through Simon(Grimhilt). Three of us were already going to be in Lawrence, KS (where we grew up) over the winter so we just asked him to record us and he agreed. It was pretty strait forward, we played through the songs and then overdubbed our parts again. Braden was really particular about perfecting all the parts, I think it made the album alot more solid. The whole project definitely woundn’t have happened without him. He also hooked us up with Brommer, who did the cover art.

WULF: Besides any possible live shows, what are some of the band's future plans? Do you have any more music on the way?

WIZARD: We have 8 songs that still need to be recorded so look forward to that. Definitely the ambient stuff and of course adventure modules! I’m really considering that right now.

WULF: Thanks so much for this interview!! Any final comments?

WIZARD: I guess I would say to all the metal heads and metal musicians out there, keep listening to and creating stuff that you believe in. If you believe in that candy coated corporate shit then good for you, but know that you’re seen as a fan of easy listening. Thanks Wulf.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


(Warning: gratuitous pseudo-intellectual masturbation)

Something Corey Taylor of Slipknot (ugh...I know, but bear with me) said during one of those lame-o history of metal shows on VH1 struck my fancy.  He said, "Metal is probably the last bastion of real rebellion, real masculinity...real, real men basically getting together and beating their chest."  If you ignore the slightly homoerotic implication (notice: I didn't include the part where he talked about guys taking off their shirts), his apparent endorsement of archaic notions of masculinity, and the fact that the speaker is Corey Taylor of Slipknot, you realize that he has a really interesting point.

From my experience, the newer generations of male metalheads don't generally fit the mold of "traditional" masculinity.  As I mentioned in a previous post, most fellow male metalheads that I've come into contact with (friends, acquaintances, bands, etc.) are overwhelmingly nice; as well as introverted, empathetic, soft-spoken, and shy.  These are certainly not traits that traditional masculinity embodies, nor are they traits that are reinforced by media and society as being "typical" male traits.  These are traits that in our society are seen as "subordinate" (i.e. female) traits relative to the hegemonic masculinity hierarchy. know...that's how are lovely patriarchal society works: men aren't supposed to have emotions because emotions are a sign of weakness, you ding dong!

However, I think through our (metalheads) collective desire to be a part of that "traditional" masculinity narrative, we have created a hyperreal masculinity within our music.  By that, I mean a masculinity that is amplified to a ridiculous degree on steroids and fuckloads of bacon.  I would say this hyperreal masculinity is reproduced in 95% of Metal.  I mean, just think of all the metal lyrics that are practically cartoonish in their portrayals of rugged individualism, misogyny, war,  physical aggression, and metal fraternity.  I mean, Christ! How many different Manowar songs could I quote right now?!

"Brothers stand beside me, as I battle on
Know my words are true.
There's a battle for true metal.
They're marching; they're marching on
Me and you!"
- 'Die for Metal', by Manowar

"Woman, be my slave
That's your reason to live
Woman, be my slave
The greatest gift I can give
Woman, be my slave"
-  'Pleasure Slave', by Manowar

"Blood and death are waiting like a raven in the sky
I was born to die
Hear me while I live
As I look into your eyes
None shall hear a lie
Power and dominion are taken by the will
By divine right hail and kill"
- 'Hail and Kill', by Manowar

I could add about a million more, but I'll stop here because Joey DeMaio told me to.

So I think our desire to be a part of the "traditional" masculinity narrative (and maybe even frustration from being excluded from it), we channel our energies into participating in and creating a hypermasculinity within metal.  There is no place that we ritualize and perform this masculinity more than at Metal shows.  For example, I believe one purpose of the mosh pit is an animalistic way to show alpha male status.  How many times have you wanted to go into the mosh pit, but have been scared shitless because there is that one 6'3, 250 lb. Death Metal meathead just roving around waiting for the next person to enter so he can pummel them into oblivion? 

Hyperreal masculinity in Metal, in my opinion, is also why there is a severe lack of a female presence in Metal.  Why would most women want to be actively involved in a subculture that promotes a mega-masculinity?  I mean, obviously the coolest, most awesome girls already listen to Metal (such as our very own Cate the Great), but for the other 99%, Metal is a tangled mess of man sounds.

I think as time goes on, this hyperreal masculinity is becoming less and less present in metal.  While notions of masculinity have become multivarious (yet still with the patriarchy of hegemonic masculinity), Metal has become more homogenized and liberalized; as well as less worldly and more transcendental.  While there isn't really a direct connection between the two, the fact is that while "traditional" masculinity is becoming less ubiquitous within the Western world (or at least dissected and criticized),  Metal bands have become more comfortable exploring the internal world (i.e. emotions) rather than the external world.  Therefore, the hyperreal masculinity within Metal is also becoming less ubiquitous.  Time will only tell just how this aspect of metal might change in the coming years.

And in conclusion...boners.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Releases and Rumors

I think the latter half of this year is shaping up to be the better half of 2012 in terms of new metal releases. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, sludge/noise supergroup Old Man Gloom (featuring members of Cave In, Converge, and ISIS) reconvened earlier this year to play a string of shows in the NE United States at the beginning of May.  Around that time, they also announced a new album called "NO".   The band already had a short run of copies available for the shows, but it won't be widely released until June 26th via Hydrahead Records.  In the meantime, check out this hilarious interview with Old Man Gloom from back in the day.  P.S. I definitely think naming the album "NO" was just to intentionally play a joke: "OMG NO"...tee hee hee!

This next piece of information seems to be under the radars of most of the metal news websites I frequent:  Cult of Luna are (finally!) preparing a new album!  They have not released a new album since 2008's "Eternal Kingdom".  According to their website, they are currently in the recording process, so hopefully we can be expecting the new album by late this year or early next year.

Mysterious, Orthodox Satanists Deathspell Omega are releasing a new EP entitled "Drought" that will come out on June 22 via Season of Mist.  You can stream a song here.  I'm not sure how I feel about the new song yet, but like most DsO releases, it will probably grow on me.  Their last album "Paracletus" was my favorite of 2010.

Those southern psychedelic sludge hooligans, Baroness, will be releasing a new double album entitled "Yellow & Green" on July 17th via Relapse Records.  From what lead man John Baizley mentioned in interviews, the album will be more catchy, more straightforward, and less aggressive than previous releases.  You can hear a new song here.

A new album by Egyptian-themed Death Metal masters, Nile, will be released this year as well.  The album is entitled "At The Gate of Sethu" and will be out on June 29th via Nuclear Blast.  You can hear a new track here.

There have been rumors that a new Pig Destroyer album will collectively smash our brains to pieces this year.  If a new album does come out, it will be PxDx's first since 2007's "Phantom Limb".  Here some new songs performed live here.  

Finally, I haven't heard too much new information about the new Gorguts album, but there aren't any sources saying a new album WON'T come out this we'll be optimistic.

So that's all I got for now!  Considering every band listed here is a favorite of mine, 2012 could be an incredible rest of the year for (my tastes in) metal!

- Judge Dredd

Thursday, May 24, 2012

'Grim' Kim Kelly's NPR Article

Seasoned and well-respected metal writer Kim Kelly recently wrote an article for NPR.  The scene is set at Maryland Death Fest while she muses on stereotypes regarding metalheads and also the way in which American Metal is differentiated from that of Europe, etc.  It's a good read!

You can check it out here.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Being that Metal is an international phenomenon that transcends race, class, gender, culture and everything else*, one might think it difficult to really pinpoint common characteristics amongst its brethren.  However, there is one element that I have found to be not quite universal, but surprisingly common, is how fucking NICE everyone is.

I couldn't recover the exact quote, but I remember reading somewhere that Devin Townsend (the Mad Scientist of Metal, badass extraordinaire, etc.) said something like, "Metalheads are some of the sweetest people ever" (seriously, he said SOMETHING like that).  I can't agree more!

Sure, you have your meathead Death Metal dudes ("I only listen to metal that makes me feel dead, and now I'm going to crush your skull") and ninja-dancing Metalcore dudes ("I only listen to metal that is 100% breakdowns and now I'm going to karate-kick your face in."), but for the most part, most fellow metalheads I meet end up being incredibly amiable, if not also warm, soft-spoken, and shy.

How can this possibly be?  How can the fans of some of the most angry, brutal, scathing, grim music on this planet be some of the sweetest people?

Well, I have a few theories.

My first theory is primarily based on my own experiences, but I can't help but think there are many metalheads who feel the same.  For me, the very act of listening to and/or playing metal is a sort of a ritualized purification of my negative energy.  This aspect of the metal experience served me well through my angsty and hormonal teenage years.  All my frustration as a result of a devastating shyness around the opposite sex was filtered through the likes of the chaotic quantum physics of The Dillinger Escape Plan,  the post-modern madness of "City"-era Strapping Young Lad, and the Romanticism of Opeth.  All three (and, of course, many more) served as a healthy way to channel all this frustration.

Of course, now that I'm older and am more self-aware, my taste in metal has become more specific and I listen to it for different reasons.  There is still the element of the "purification of negative energy", but instead of venting adolescent frustration, it's more of an escape from the drab day-to-day experiences and existential weight on one's shoulders.  A term I refer to as "the weight".  Listening to metal is like a primal scream at "the weight".  Even though it's still "there", I feel a little better letting it know that I'm still "here". 

SO, to summarize: using metal as a way to get rid of negative emotions allows us to be nicer to everyone else!

My second theory is similarly related to the first one.  Metal is an escape.  Just like a good book or movie, metal creates a different world and world view for us to magically pass through.  Having possession and knowledge of this escape allows us deal with "the weight" on a regular basis by...uh, completely ignoring it.  This doesn't ring any more true than it does in traditional and power metal that covers fantasy topics about elves, ancient mysteries, rainbows and all that shit.  By having these worlds created for us to delve into at our leisure, we can better ready ourselves for the mundane day-to-day experiences and treat everyone that much more pleasantly as a result!  It may sound like a cheap high, but it's the little things that count, people! 

My third theory also has to deal with the general content of metal.  A great majority of metal is decidedly "dark".  For 15 years I have been listening to songs about murder, suicide, war, Satan, etc.; but am I a sicker individual for the fact?  No.  In fact, I think that very aspect has had the opposite affect on me.  While most metal isn't necessarily "life-affirming" (sometimes just the opposite), exposing one's self to the darker side of the human experience allows one to appreciate the greater, happier things in life like friends, family, nature, travel, good food, etc.  Yay!

Let me be clear that I don't think these theories necessarily apply to everyone in the metal community. Furthermore, I would be an idiot for claiming that everyone in the metal community are nice, warm individuals.  These are just what I have experienced and observed from years of being a metalhead.

In any case, everyone should remember:  'tis better to kill with kindness than with an axe to the head.

*OK, I'm exaggerating a little.  In my hometown, the audience of an average show consists of 90% young, white, low to middle class dudes.  However, I suppose that probably says more about the general demographic of NE Kansas.

- Judge Dredd

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Attention Metal World: I'm Not A Kid

It's time to rant, and as a note, a rant deserves to be unrevised and unedited to reflect its immediacy.

I'm not sure if anyone else feels the same way I do, but to me, one of the most maddening aspects of being a fan of heavy music is the fact that I am (not me personally, but I include myself as part of the third person singular and plural) constantly referred to as a "kid".

In interviews and articles I constantly hear and read Metal artists, journalists, and other industry people refer to Metal fans as "kids". As in, "We think the kids will really like how brutal our new album is."

You may have not noticed, but I'm not a kid. I'm twenty-seven years old. I am developing a career. I'm living in a foreign country while the rest of my family is in the United States. I pay my own rent. I maintain my own bank account. I buy my own groceries. No matter that I don't always want to admit it, but I am a full fledged ADULT.

What makes people in the Metal industry believe that 95% of their fanbase consists of dependents under the age of 18? Or even 51% of their fanbase? What makes old-as-fuck bands that have been around for more than 15-20 years think that their fanbase is largely made up of teenagers? I have news for you: a good-sized portion of your fanbase HAS ACTUALLY AGED WITH YOU.

Now, I do realize that I may be arguing semantics. I am no way an expert on the etymology of "kids" in the heavy music world, but I would bet good money that that term actually came from Hardcore Punk back in the 1980s. Knowing what I know about the hardcore punk scene back then, I would imagine that the great majority of its fans were actually 18-20 or younger. Back then, Hardcore Punk was in its embryonic stage. Now, I think it's dubious at best to assume that the majority of fans of a 40 YEAR-OLD style of music (in the case of Metal) are "kids".

Let's get to the heart of the matter. I feel insulted in just about every way possible to be referred to as a "kid". I would like to think that I have mentally, emotionally, and spiritually matured well past being a "kid". And Satan Almighty, does that hangover hurt a helluva lot more than it did when I was 16. Even if "kids" is a catch-all phrase for fans of Metal music, why can't we simply be referred to as "fans", which would be the logical choice anyway.

In fact, I'm going to take this a step further and get all psychological on yo' ass: What if people in the Metal industry refer to their fanbase as "kids" because they don't want to admit to their own lack of overall maturity and have to demean their fanbase by calling them "kids" to feel better about themselves and their profession...?

Alright, obviously that's being just as overgeneralizing as referring to all of your fans as "kids"...I guess you get my point now.

- Judge Dredd

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interview with Nihilifer of Erebus Enthroned!!

This interview is part of a series I'm doing in order to explore the dark and intriguing world of Australian black metal as well as spread the word about The Devil's Arcana, a 2-day black metal festival taking place on March 30-31 here in Sydney, Australia.

Interview conducted via email on March 28, 2012.

WULF: It has been over half a year now since you released the excellent "Night's Black Angel" has the reception been for the album up to this point? I understand the album was written over the period of 2-3 years... have the positive reviews been sufficient in fueling your creativity to hopefully produce a new album quicker this time around?

NIHILIFER: The reception for Night’s Black Angel has been positive indeed, which is humbling and pleasing. The few less then positive reviews and opinions out there we’ve stumbled upon really have only served for both our own introspection (at other’s insight) and amusement (at their lack of insight). I suppose it is normal for a band to spend a lot of time on their first album should they be serious enough to put that much effort into it. We have been working on the second opus with more focus and direction than the debut because we now have more of a taste of the process, from which even more hunger has set in! As said before positive reviews are humbling but are definitely not what fuels our creativity. You can expect something with the boldness and brilliance of a phoenix! The surface has been scratched and the entrails of this Ill creation will be further revealed, as tortuous serpents with flaming tongues.

WULF: Are there any more details you can elaborate on with the new album? Also, which Russian horde are you releasing your 7" split with? In interviews you have mentioned that both of these productions are still in the works, so any new news or information you can share is most welcome!

NIHILIFER: All I can really elaborate in regards to the second album is that the song writing has taken a a less straight forward direction. There is still much of the definition that made the songs on Night’s Black Angel what they are, but an obscure fluidity has weaved its way into what has been created thus far. This split 7” will be released soon, we’d prefer it if we kept the details of who it is with and what label is releasing it to a strict minimum for now, as I’m sure it will be appreciated when it is released. It will be a special release and the artwork I must say is other/underworldly!

WULF: I'm always more interested in a band's literary influences (if any) than musical ones. Obviously Satanism and the occult are major inspirations, but are there any specific writers or literature that are especially influential in the creation of your music and/or lyrical themes?

NIHILIFER: As far as literature goes, we do draw some inspiration from writers (as well as art) but most inspiration is drawn from a more personal and profound source. We have interests and draw some subtle influence from various sources ranging from Milton, Nietzsche, Crowley, Lovecraft (the concept of the Dark Gods though not the fictionalisation of them), Steiner (the theosophical works dealing with the Antichrist in particular), the Qabalah (mainly dealing with the nature of Evil and the Infernal Habitations), ONA, and modern Left Hand Path orders such as Temple of the Black Light and Dragon Rouge. We have drawn inspiration for both music and lyrics in deep dream states and from the concept ever present in almost every world mythology, the conflict between Darkness and Light, Chaos and Order. However, most of our inspiration really derives from our own personal resonance with the force known as Satan/Lucifer and His/it's/their role for each of us striving toward the great primal perfection in perpetual paradox – Chaos Trisagion.

WULF: You are set to perform at The Devil's Arcana show this weekend. What can the audience expect from this live ritual? What are you hoping to accomplish? You've mentioned that your most memorable show so far took place in Melbourne sometime last you feel that The Devil's Arcana will match this previous show in intensity and negativity?

NIHILIFER: For those that have seen us before and for those that have not, don’t expect anything! We always want a certain spirit of Chaos to be evoked within our live rituals. For us, a live performance (or a ritual) is about harnessing the potent power and vibration of music to presence dark and sinister energy to either direct it or freely let ourselves be directed by it. I have mentioned this before in an interview but it is very much like germinating seeds that have been sewn into us and within the songs themselves. A potential power being awakened by an influence both external and internal. I cannot say yet in regardless to The Devil’s Arcana matching the intensity of the Melbourne ritual, but a new song shall be unveiled to the public during our set and just as the other songs have been sewn with potent seeds, so has this new abomination and it is my prediction that they shall bloom in a violent array provoking much tortuous energy.

WULF: Before a live performance the group partakes in some sort of ritual involving "dead blood" (according to a 2012 interview with Cvlt Nation)...I understand that this is very personal for you, but is the blood your own or is it blood of an animal (similar to what Watain does before a live show)? Also, is this ritual based on traditional magic(k)al rites, or is it of your own creation?

NIHILIFER: The blood we use is of an animal (most of the time it is from a pig, worn in moral opposition to certain groups of people we stand against a bit more than everyone else). The rituals we undertake prior to performing are not directly drawn from Ceremonial Magick but do bare similarity to the process of a Magician removing himself from mundane consciousness into another realm. Of course, you may notice we are a band that wears corpse paint. We see this not as a formality to adhere to a Black Metal image but as part of these conscious rituals to shatter the ego and make the husk of our beings conductive to certain things we call upon. It is worn to celebrate and welcome forces that belong to the realm of Death. A manner of certain techniques is employed by each member at their own behest to arrive into a receptive state of consciousness.

WULF: Does the band adhere to astrological principles as well? In the same interview, Nihilifer spoke of planetary correspondences amplifying the band's ability to channel during the live ritual...what role does astrology play in the band's own organization/preparation?

NIHILIFER: We neither show disinterest nor swear by astrology. It is an esoteric science we see just as much value in as others but don’t worry ourselves by chaining our lives to it. I recognise the potency of some things like astrology and divination however, I personally would rather experience things in a chaotic manner and as far as astrology playing a part in the band’s organisation/preparation, it borders on the minimal to naught as we all wish to be guided by the free flowing energy known as Chaos. I mentioned that I was aware of correspondences between the dark and deathly planet Saturn and the aggressive Mars, amplified by the full moon. This is one detail I dwelt upon following the powerful ritual in Melbourne last year.

WULF: I'm from the United States, only living in Australia temporarily. Is there a chance we will be seeing you in the New World at some point in the near future, or plans to travel to Europe?

NIHILIFER: Where there is will, there are ways. We do indeed aspire to travel internationally to perform. There are no plans as of yet, but the night of Erebus Enthroned is young!

WULF: I hate to ask, but your name is similar to the British black metal band Hecate Enthroned...obviously you are both very different bands, but was Hecate Enthroned inspirational to the creation of Erebus Enthroned, even in name only? I've been curious ever since I'd heard of you guys and noticed the Greek mythological connection in both names...

NIHILIFER: I can’t really give you a straight answer on this one. The name was coined by an ex-member and when I joined it didn’t click straight away that it was similar to that band from England (not a fan at all of them). I had made the connection afterward but never thought much about it or even cared one bit! Bias aside, Erebus Enthroned is a much stronger name even on face value with its memorable use of alliteration. Erebus is a primordial personification of darkness. The name symbolises the coronation of a new dark, orderless order.

WULF: That's all the questions I have! Any final comments?

NIHILIFER: Agios O Phosphorus! Join us on the 31st of March to celebrate Chaos and Death!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Interview with VK of Vassafor!!

This interview is part of a series I'm doing in order to explore the dark and intriguing world of Australian (or in this case, New Zealand) black metal as well as spread the word about The Devil's Arcana, a 2-day black metal festival taking place on March 30-31 here in Sydney, Australia.

Interview conducted via email on March 26, 2012.

WULF: Something that is consistent with your band imagery is the pentagram-like symbol that appears on your t-shirts and logo. What does it mean? Also, without getting too much into personal beliefs, would you describe Vassafor as a Satanic band, or just heavily influenced/interested in occult themes? As with most bands of the black metal genre, I'm curious as to if there are any specific authors or literature that has inspired your music.

VK: Vassafor is Black Metal and black metal is by definition Satanic….otherwise it isn't BM to me. The symbol is a stylized representation of the demon's face and also of His gateway. It is also the back piece I have had tattooed on me for many years now. My sources of inspiration certainly aren't limited to authors only, but a lot of writing that has influenced me is nonfiction ie ONA texts, scientific books about physics or astronomy, modern primitive-ism style books, historical books as well as vedas, sagas, epics from certain cultures. Of fictional authors I have always loved the language and imagery of Baudelaire and Nikos Kazantzakis among others.

WULF: Who is the operatic female vocalist for the song "Dreadnaught" off of your 2007 self-titled EP? Her voice is gorgeous, as is the piano arrangement. Did you play this piano part yourself? How did you get in contact with the opera singer, and is she a fan of Vassafor's music?

VK: I work as a sound engineer and had a job at Auckland University's music conservatorium where this woman was a 3rd year student. "Thy Hand Belinda/Dido's Lament" has long been one of my favorite pieces of music and when she broke into it as part of a weekly critique session it was amazing. A tutor accompanied her on the piano. I had already been writing Dreadnaught with this as an accompanying piece so I could't help but think that Satan was smiling that day….

WULF: I read in a recent interview you did with Subcide Webzine that the lyrics to the song Vassafor were inspired by a vision you had while under the influence of psychedelics. I know that perhaps they do not serve as the best creative catalyst while in the studio, but do you find that using psychedelics helps prepare you for a live ritual? How do you prepare before a live performance, and is it something that the rest of the group takes part in?

VK: I rarely do those kinds of drugs anymore. No real urge to do it & actually find it is far more difficult to get good results than any other way for me these days. I create music at will, fairly effortlessly now so I have nothing getting in the way of music vomiting out of my subconscious. What helps us as a band prepare for live ritual is creating the same environment every time we play together of dread and darkness to stimulate our atmosphere. Playing without breaks in dim light at absurdly loud volume, often we wear spikes and bones as we rehearse and I do it as I record….its got nothing to do with how it looks but everything to do with how it makes me/us feel while we are playing or recording….

WULF: According to the same interview, you mentioned that your new album will be called "Obsidian Codex". Is this still true? Unfortunately I haven't listened to your 2010 demo, so I'm curious as to how or if Vassafor's musical style has evolved since the lineup has changed dramatically from 2007. Also, would you care to elaborate on this new album's lyrical themes?

VK: Obsidian Codex continues on the same evolution that all the recordings so far have done. More Vassaforian than ever, more variety in the scope of writing but definitely the darkest recording yet from us. The doom is slower and more apocalyptic, the faster blasts are more violent and savage and there is more chaos present than before. I think the most satisfying elements for me are that I have been able to write some songs that are more stylized than I have been able to achieve in the past. For example the final track Makutu is a song with no guitars but 2 basses and has a more Hellenic/Necromantia style feel to it as a tribute to the kind of BM that has influenced me so much, yet it still sounds like a Vassafor song. Same with Nemesis, our most epic song yet recorded, which drips evil venom yet moves at a funereal speed, most of the time anyway. The lyrics are still the same vein as the majority of past songs and releases we've done. But a few vary, for example of the 2 songs already mentioned, Makutu is a transcript from a sorcerer who was put to death in 19th century NZ for the laying a death curse upon people. His spell is the majority of the lyric. Nemesis is also based on an event in our not so distant past where a warrior was part of a raiding party versus a rival tribe/village and came back days later to find his people wiped out. As they had been picked off as well it was soon just him who remained as the last of his clan, so he became the thorn in his enemies side and would go and kill their children, then leave their partially eaten remains to be found. Total psychological terror! So the lyric is more about the mentality of becoming a Nemesis to those in your way among other aspects….

WULF: Before I came to Australia and started investigating the metal scene of Oceania the only extreme metal band I was familiar with from New Zealand was Ulcerate, who of course now are gaining a global following in the underground. Now I am listening to your band and am excited to see what else your country has to offer in terms of quality extreme metal. How has the success of bands such as yours and Ulcerate's influenced the NZ scene, and are there any other NZ bands you would recommend checking out?

VK: Ulcerate are certainly getting much deserved attention. They have just come back from their 2nd successful European tour and are about to hit the States and have never compromised their music to achieve their goals. Great guys with a fitting attitude, they deserve all the success they are on the verge of reaping…
There are now a few bands from our shores that have made an impact in metal scenes consciousness. The usual suspects should be well known to people who follow the underground. So it makes more sense to mention some of the more obscure bands that also deserve outside attention. Sinistrous Diabolus, Skuldom, Anno Domini Mortus, Corpsefeast and Vanargandr are 5 utterly different sounding musical entities, yet all have a layer of obsidian in their sound. Vanargandr is at the absolute peak of their scene worldwide to my ears, they have been contributing to Vassafor's last few recordings as well. And the pieces of theirs that are part of Obsidian Codex are a perfect compliment to our style….

WULF: Judging by the pictures taken at some of your live rituals, I must say that it definitely evokes the same death-worshipping atmosphere that blew me away years ago while watching the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre from the '70s. The barbaric and horrifying nature of the house where everyone gets killed may at first seem more suited towards imagery conceptualized by a gore metal band like Mortician, but I feel like in Vassafor's case it's much more in the tradition of black metal greats like Mayhem, only perhaps with a New Zealand twist. Do you feel like this is correct? New Zealand is considered by many to be the most beautiful place on earth, and it seems like nature has a strong influence on your wild, yet mystical music. What is the ideal way to experience a Vassafor recording?

VK: We do worship death. Its not for some trend, its what we are about. 3 of our members have large collections of bones from animals and humans so between us we have much more material than we could ever fit on a stage. For the way I've always thought of it I don't want meat on our stage…I've always wanted the cold sterility of bone and ancient death. Mummifcation and preserved dead forms. Timeless and lifeless. We also build altars when we have the venues to control elements properly and thats when we will have the mountains of decaying rats, again, not fresh, but decaying and sludgy. Smell of death oozing and creeping off the altar, invading those in the audience and pulling them into our reality. I have no interest in nature, this music is meant to stand outside of time and place. My ideal place to experience Vassafor is within my dreams…

WULF: You will be in here in Sydney in a few days to perform at The Devil's Arcana black metal festival. What can the audience expect from your live ritual? What are you hoping to accomplish? Also, are you behind the creation of your set design? It's pretty incredible!

VK: While we will endeavor to have as much as we can bone wise, it will be the basic appearance for us. Obviously our full skeletal sculptures and wielded iron pieces won't be traveling with us! But a Pulpit of Invokation will be built and the wave of darkness that we endeavor to create any time we start playing our music will be manifest with or with out the additional visual aspect. I wanted to play our first Australian ritual at a place where our peers could be present and many of the people I wish to play for are able to attend. That is enough. While many may be out of state and unable to make this weekends ritual we are looking at several further gigs in the not to distant future in several other cities. However, Vassafor normally only plays once or twice a year. In NZ people know if they really want to see us then they should travel because we follow no one elses schedule. So if people want to see us and don't, there are no guarantees we will ever play in that place again, we usually don't play the same set twice…

WULF: When is your new album due out? What can you tell us about it? Also, what are your plans after The Devil's Arcana? Are you planning on embarking on an Australian tour, or perhaps touring Europe or North/South America?

VK: We are waiting for Obsidian Codex test presses to arrive. It is unfortunate that we won't have our vinyl available for Sydney but the pressing plant has been horrifically slow. It doesn't matter, it will be out sooner rather than later. We play alongside Inquisition at their Auckland date in early June and have plans for another date in NZ as well. Plans are afoot for a string of US shows later in year and it would appear that talks are going on for us and 2 excellent bands to play in Europe next year. Time will tell if that pans out.
Our primary aim for this year is to record the next songs for a raft of split material we will work on for the rest of this year, starting with a split 12" we will release with Sinistrous Diabolus.

WULF: That's all the questions I have! Any final comments?

VK: see you at Devil's Arcana

to the death…..

Interview with Crowned!!

This interview is part of a series I'm doing in order to explore the dark and intriguing world of Australian black metal as well as spread the word about The Devil's Arcana, a 2-day black metal festival taking place on March 30-31 here in Sydney, Australia.

Interview conducted via email on March 26, 2012.

WULF: I'd like to start off by asking about your band name, Crowned. Obviously it's simple, yet also evocative and majestic. Is there a deeper meaning to the name of the group for you? Is there a specific image you have in mind that you want to convey through your music performance (that also may relate to your band name)?

CROWNED: The name relates to the majesty of both the music and lyrical themes we choose. We feel the simplistic name does, exactly as you said above, evoke something from the listener, and by doing so this creates a deeper meaning within each individual who relates to the band, be it audience or members.

WULF: You have released one demo so far, "Ainulindale". Are you planning on releasing new material soon? If so, is it going to be stylistically similar to Ainulindale, or are you going to incorporate new sounds and experimentations?

CROWNED: We are currently in the final stages of an upcoming album "Vacuous Spectral Silence", to be released through Seance Records. This material likens itself more to the mid era second wave albums such as "Wolfs Lair Abyss, Nemesis Divina and Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk." Instrumentally the music has taken a more furious sound, and has incorporated a few different vocal styles. We have kept what we felt was most important from Ainulindale.

WULF: You've mentioned in a previous interview that you draw heavy inspiration from black metal bands such as Wolves in the Throne Room, Burzum, Drudkh, and other nature-obsessed groups. Because Crowned seems to also draw inspiration from the wilderness, I'm curious as to what inherent characteristics of the wilds surrounding Roowoomba/Brisbane inspire you creatively for your music.

CROWNED: Since the release of Ainulindale we have relocated from Toowoomba to Brisbane and with the definite lack of (being surrounded by wilderness) in Brisbane we have turned our attention to the stars. As we are able to gaze upon them nightly it has become our main source of inspiration. We believe its a natural progression of thought to continue our questions into the firmament.
We do still take trips when possible around the Cunninghams gap area.

WULF: I'm also very interested in your lyrical themes. Does Ainulindale have a unified conceptual theme? Are your lyrics primarily concerned with the actual "Ainulindale" from J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, or are you using this mythical realm as an allegory or metaphor for other, more reality-based concepts?

CROWNED: Ainulindale, the demo, does not have a unified concept, but the song Ainulindale attempts to replicate the creation of the world as told in the Silmarillion. Each part of the song represents the music of the Ainur. Our lyrics aren't primarily concerned with Tolkien, although we do enjoy his writings and his fantasy is a definite influence.

WULF: Would you care to reveal more about yourselves as musicians, or do you prefer to remain anonymous? If you prefer to remain anonymous, why?

CROWNED: We prefer to remain anonymous as we don't believe our personalities have anything to offer to the music. Without knowing of the artist behind the music, the music is left to be judged entirely on its own. We feel its important for the music to speak for itself.

WULF: You're going to be performing live at the upcoming Devil's Arcana festival in Sydney. What can the audience expect from your live show? What do you aim to accomplish with this performance? Are there any other bands you especially look forward to seeing at this festival?

CROWNED: The audience can expect a new appearance and new material from the upcoming album. We aim to provoke a deeper sense of thought, questions to arise that may not have arisen in minds before. We feel a key importance behind constant questioning towards some sort of truth.
Every band at the Devil's Arcana shall be excellent. We especially look forward to the likes of Pestilential Shadows, Erebus Enthroned, Drowning the Light, Moon and Spire.

WULF: That's all the questions I have. I look forward to seeing your performance at The Devil's Arcana! Any final comments?

CROWNED: Thanks for the interview. A silence will be broken & shared unto the world at The Devil's Arcana.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Interview with Maelstrom of Wardaemonic!!

This interview is part of a series I'm doing in order to explore the dark and intriguing world of Australian black metal as well as spread the word about The Devil's Arcana, a 2-day black metal festival taking place on March 30-31 here in Sydney, Australia.

Interview conducted via email on March 25, 2012.

WULF: According to an interview you did in 2008 with Procession of Black Doom, Old was not in the band at that time. While I understand his reasons for leaving were personal, why did he decide to return? When did he leave and at what point did he come back? Did his absence and/or return effect Wardaemonic's songwriting?

MAELSTROM: It came to a point where Old felt he no longer had anything further to add to the band. It was his decision totally, as we never had a problem with his performance or input. He left the band for about a year, travelled and matured. Old returned before our first national tour in 08', which was fortunate as he employs a commanding live presence. We welcomed him back and he set to writing lyrics to songs we had already finalised in rehearsal. Old's live show is his forte, his actual input on the music was limited, although his lyrical and theme contributions (are) great.

WULF: I'm curious about the lyrical themes on your last album, "Echoes of Ageless Flames". The first five tracks make up "Vigil Tenebrae"...obviously they are thematically related, but is the entire album conceptually connected?

MAELSTROM: I believe all lyrics on albums should be connected with some theme or other. Even if they deal with different subjects, it's easy to make a writing or narrative style blend. "Echoes" was no exception. It represents a maturing writing style from Old and Regnator, and whilst dealing with various themes it manages to blend together cohesively.

WULF: I understand that "The Vigil Tenebrae" epic is about the second coming and destruction of man...what are your views on Christianity and/or Satanism? Are you using the Christian prophecy of The Second Coming as a metaphor, or are you more literal in your interpretation of it? Do you feel that we are destined for a certain apocalypse or global armageddon in the near future?

MAELSTROM: Wardaemonic are a purely atheistic band. Christianity is ridiculous and redundant. Satanism , while many bands use it to aid their various purposes, serves as more an opposite to the Christian ideology. I don't believe it's meant to be taken literally. We try to stay at remove from religion as much as possible.
Things of this nature can only be viewed in a metaphorical sense. No-one can predict the future, but well deduced guesses from time to time can often pass as such.
If you look at the frequency at which life on earth has been obliterated in the past, it serves to reason it will happen again, whether biological or nuclear factors play a part: but eventually the expiration of our star will prove our end.

WULF: I hate to ask questions regarding regional scenes, but I don't know very much about the Australian metal scene in general. I'm curious as to if stylistically there are regional differences in Western Australian black metal bands compared to those of Australia's east coast. Does being located on the west coast have an isolating effect among Australian bands related to the rest of the Australian scene as a whole?

MAELSTROM: Being well travelled in the past four years, we've been fortunate enough to have the opportunities to play with many bands from around the country, leaving only two territories from 8 unexplored. Different states and scenes have their differing quirks and styles: yes, based more on the bands who preceeded them i feel. While Victoria thrives more on barbaric war, Tasmania likes it stark and bleak, while in Western Australia we prefer it fast and nihilistic. I'd like to think our proximity gives WA bands a certain mystique, but it's also a fair distance and cost to travel for us to play there.
Wardaemonic are always well received in the East and we try and encourage as many eastern bands to make the journey here as possible. Often they are quite pleasantly surprised with our attendances, despite only having three or four active black metal bands at any one time. A poor showing for a state the size of several European countries (combined).

WULF: The Invisible Oranges blog just recently did a segment on metal bands and their favorite books. What authors or literature inspire your music or lyrics, if any?

MAELSTROM: I know for a fact Old and Regnator are mostly inspired by classic novels and poems, such as Dante's Inferno and it's ilk. For myself and Anharat, plane journeys are oft passed reading eurocentric fantasy, science fiction as well as scientific and theological biographies and texts. A favourite of the past decade for myself has been George Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" saga.

WULF: You've stated previously that in an interview with the Heavy Metal Tribune blog that every Wardaemonic performance is different. You are about to perform live in about a week at The Devil's Arcana festival here in Sydney...what can we expect from this performance? What are you hoping to accomplish?

MAELSTROM: Although tightness and economy are inherit in all Wardaemonic performances, we like to bring an amount of atmosphere and vibe to the stage, mostly carried in our stage personas which we strive to perfect. Every show is an improvement, but also a breathing entity. As we have over two hours of material from which to choose, the set can always be varied without much ado. Newer material will also be debuted at 'Arcana'. Old's total lack of communication with the crowd also helps to separate us from the audience.

We will accomplish as we always have.
Intense, intimate, inanimate and intricate.
That will never differ.

WULF: After the Devil's Arcana festival, Old and Regnator will be leaving the band. Why is this? What are their plans after leaving Wardaemonic? Is Old going to continue with his band Drohtnung? Also, have the rest of the band members found replacements?

MAELSTROM: The loss of our founding members, although not coming as a total shock to us remaining, will be deeply felt by us as well as fans of the band. To say we will be the same band henceforth would be a lie.
Their decision stems from a steady departure from the music in it's current state. We respect their decision, mourn our loss and support their future endeavours, wherever possible. Old will continue with Drohtnung, amongst others, Regnator with Dead Winds and the both with Pestilential Shadows (NSW)
Live members are waiting in the wings, but recording is the priority at the moment.

WULF: What does the future hold for Wardaemonic? It has been almost two years since the release of "Echoes of the Ageless Flames" the band planning on releasing new material soon? Will the band be able to continue without its founder, Regnator, and Old?

MAELSTROM: We will continue to write as a three piece for the time being. Material is currently in the pre-production stages and sounds every bit as intense and relevant as we've come to demand from our craft. I will take the reigns as chief lyricist and carry the Conceptual Continuity forward. Release should take place early 2013. Anharat and Blitz have contributed more and more songs as the band has progressed, the newer songs are shaping up to be the best yet.
We have suffered setbacks in the past, but we draw strength from them, rather than take them to offense.

WULF: That's all the questions I have! Any final comments?


Friday, March 23, 2012

Interview with A. ExI of Corvus!!

This interview is part of a series I'm doing in order to explore the dark and intriguing world of Australian black metal as well as spread the word about The Devil's Arcana, a 2-day black metal festival taking place on March 30-31 here in Sydney, Australia.

Interview conducted via email on March 23, 2012.

WULF: Your band name could have a number of different meanings. Would you care to elaborate on what "Corvus" means specifically, or is it simply a made-up name?

A.: There is no great and complex mystery behind the name, we wanted a title that was both short and ominous. "Corvus Corax" is the latin name for the Raven but that felt too long to us, so we simply cut it down.

WULF: What attracts you to black metal? Why do you choose to play this style of music? Also, how did you get in contact with French label Forgotten Wisdom Productions?

A.: The only people who "choose" to play Black Metal are useless cunts. It's a need, a compulsion, not a want. We got in contact with FWP on the recommendation of a friend we trust, reputation is invaluable when choosing a label to conspire with and Thomas' is beyond reproach.

WULF: The information on Corvus is quite minimal. Is this because you are a relatively new band, or do you prefer to have this information kept to a minimum? I am also curious as to when the group was formed.

A.: We prefer it to be minimal, why cloud what we do with trivial details? i.e. asking when we were formed. Who gives a shit when we were formed? It's irrelevent.

WULF: Who are the members of Corvus, and what roles do they play in the group? Is the recording lineup the same in a live performance? Also, do the members play in any other bands?

A.: There are two of us that control everything. No lineup has ever been 100% concrete beyond the pair of us. Yes we play in other bands, so have all members that have been involved with the band at various points. Another irrelevent detail.

WULF: Your lyrics seem to revolve around occult concepts. Would you care to elaborate on your lyrical themes, and perhaps any other music or literature that you draw inspiration from?

A.: No. I'm not a preacher, I don't want to promulgate or convert people to my beliefs. You can all go fucking rot in whatever spiritual limbo you've wrapped yourselves in for all I care.

WULF: The cover artwork for your 2010 "Corvus" EP is excellent, quite nightmarish and psychedelic (that's at least my impression). Who is the artist? What were you going for with this cover? How does it relate to the lyrics? Similarly, your logo is fucking brilliant. Feel free to elaborate on it as well.

A.: The illustration was done by Balam of PESTILENTIAL SHADOWS, the layout was done by Medan of BA'AL GRAPHICS. Balam also created our symbol for us, which is simply a volatile representation of both our music and our reverence.

WULF: Thus far you have a demo out, as well as a self-titled EP released in 2010 by Forgotten Wisdom Productions. Do you have any plans to release any music in the near future? If so, please describe what's coming up.

A.: There is a split 7" with PESTILENTIAL SHADOWS coming out soon via SEANCE RECORDS. There are other splits and EPs planned for the next year or so. When these will manifest, with which bands and on what labels I can't say at this point. Everything is still very much in flux.

WULF: You are going to be appearing at the end of the month at The Devil's Arcana festival here in Sydney. What are you hoping to accomplish with your live performance? What can the audience expect from this assault? Are there any other bands you especially look forward to seeing at the show?

A.: We are no longer playing this show. It's no fault at all of the organisers, we just couldn't do things the way we wanted to and thus are unable to perform.

WULF: That's all the questions I have. Any final comments?

A.: Fuck off.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Old Man Gloom Announce Shows

As a seasoned metal head, I have "geeked out" in an extreme fashion only a handful of times over the last couple of years. This includes "geeking out" from news items, albums, band formations/reformations, etc.

One of my "geek outs" was concerning Deathspell Omega's most recent album, "Paracletus" (2010). Another one was the announcement of a new Gorguts album, which, besides the mighty Luc Lemay, will feature two of my favorite metal musicians, Kevin Hufnagel (Dysrhythmia, Byla, Vaura) and Colin Marston (Dysrhythmia, Behold...The Arctopus!, Krallice, etc.).

I can proudly say that this afternoon I had another moment of "geeking out": Old Man Gloom is reforming to play a string of shows on the East Coast. For those who don't know the band or have not been lucky enough to hear my rants about them, Old Man Gloom is a super group featuring members of Converge (Nate Newton), Cave In (Caleb Scofield), and Isis (Aaron Turner). They combine elements of sludgy metalcore with ambient/drone. Sometimes they combine both elements into one song, while other songs might be focused on one or the other.

When I was first getting into modern underground metal back when I was 15 and 16, I discovered Old Man Gloom and Discordance Axis about the same time. I didn't listen to anything else for months. A while ago, I listed two Old Man Gloom albums as two of the most underrated and unappreciated classics of the 00s...of course, in my humble opinion. So, in a word, I'm just a little excited.

Since there is no way I'll be able to catch any of these shows, let's pray to the mighty Dark Lord himself that this leads to a new album.

05/03 Allston, MA – Great Scott (feat. All Pigs Must Die)
05/04 Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church (feat. Rosetta)
05/05 Richmond, VA – Strange Matter (feat. Iron Reagan, Balaclava)
05/06 Baltimore, MD – The Ottobar
05/07 Hamden, CT – The Space
05/08 Brooklyn, NY – Europa (feat. The Austerity Program, Psychic Limb)

Hilariously enough, there have been a couple of fake-outs regarding an OMG reunion over the last year or so. One seemed to be orchestrated by producer and Converge guitarist, Kurt Ballou, while the other was a subversive suggestion on a flyer promoting new Hydrahead Records releases.

I Just Want to Check In

I know, I know. I have been missing in action for the past couple of months or so. It's not you, it's me. Just the normal stuff: contemplating the eternal void, crushing posers, and conducting Satanic sacrificial rites. You would be surprised how much time all of that takes up!

In the meantime, I have actually had some time to listen to some metal and thought I would give a few short reviews of some of the more recent albums that have made me enthusiastically raise the horns in triumph:

"Sorrow and Extinction", by Pallbearer - I can really only call myself a fan of a handful of Doom Metal bands (of which, you should definitely check out hometown heroes Samothrace), but Pallbearer just blows me away on their debut full-length, "Sorrow and Extinction". Not that their style is incredibly novel (they owe a huge debt to UK's Warning), but beneath the crushing heaviness and sorrowful melodicism, the riffs and vocals can be downright catchy (check out the end of "Foreigner" for prime example!) Don't believe the hype, believe in DOOOOOOM.

"Koloss", by Meshuggah - Obviously, every metal head and his/her momma is going to be talking about this monster. Considering that, I'll just reiterate what drummer Tomas Haake said regarding the new album: "Organic brutality, viscera and groove all crammed into a 54-minute metalicious treat, best avoided by the faint of heart!" (taken from

"Xes and Strokes", by Beaten to Death- Grindcore is another one of those subgenres of metal where there are a few bands whom I absolutely adore (namely Nasum, Discordance Axis, Pig Destroyer, and Brutal Truth), but I feel like most Grindcore bands don't bring anything new to the table. Luckily, once in a blue moon I'll find a band like Beaten to Death. I think what stands out most is the off-kilter, angular approach the guitarists have. Not to mention a repertoire of dynamics that actually goes beyond blasting and supremely nutty vocalist.

"Dodecahedron" by Dodecahedron - This was my early vote for album of the year. Honestly, after hearing some of these other albums (especially the new Meshuggah!), I'm not so sure anymore. However, this doesn't take away from its depth and labyrinthine complexity. Clearly, this band has taken a huge influence from newer Deathspell Omega. Like that's a bad thing? Musically and tonally tight and dissonant, all members are clearly top notch musicians. A lot of abstract, occult imagery in the lyrics. This album may not turn out to be my top pick of the year, but I'll be damned if isn't in the top five!

Note: Admittedly, these next few aren't what most people consider to be metal, but they are damn near close enough for me.

"Selenelion", by Vaura- Vaura is more or less a supergroup featuring members avant-garde metal bands such as Dysrhythmia, Kayo Dot, and Maudlin of the Well. They combine so many elements it's really hard to describe their sound. Sometimes spacy and ethereal with rolling percussion, psychedelic at other times, and at other times heavy and dissonant. The vocalist, Josh Strawn, has just as wide of a palette mixing in yelling/screaming in with a throaty singing voice reminiscent of Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode.

You can hear the full album stream here:

"The Shadow Gallery", by Primitive Weapons - This album is mean as fuck, but perplexingly anthemic. Noisy metalcore in the vein of Deadguy and like-minded bands from the mid-late 90s. I also get the feeling like these guys may be have some what of an Industrial influence as well (I think I hear some Godflesh). In any case, these guys do right for a subgenre that is long overdue for a kick in the ass.

You can hear the full album stream here:

"Painted", by Narrows - Made up of former members of Botch, These Arms Are Snakes, Unbroken, and Bullet Union. Like Primitive Weapons, these guys are bringing back pummeling mid-late 90s noisy metalcore. The big difference is that Narrows is a little bit more focused on the noise...

"Young & Beautiful" by The Armed - OK, these guys are almost embarrassingly close to being Dillinger Escape Plan clones. Everything from the Morris code rhythms to the vocals. Well, in any case, they will definitely hold me over until the next DEP release!

Interview with S Slaughter of Séance Records!!

This interview is part of a series I'm doing in order to explore the dark and intriguing world of Australian black metal as well as spread the word about The Devil's Arcana, a 2-day black metal festival taking place on March 30-31 here in Sydney, Australia.

Interview conducted via e-mail on March 21, 2012.

WULF: Tell us a bit about Séance Records. How did it come to be established?  Is the label a one-person operation, or is it run by a group?

S SLAUGHTER: Séance Records is collaboration between Wraith & myself. Between us we have been involved with various bands, zines, labels & projects for well over ten years. Séance Records was launched with this previous experience behind us as a label dedicated to black metal and the dark music that we personally love. The label supports the music that Wraith is involved with as well as those of our friends and new bands that we believe in. Séance Records seeks to support and promote Australian black metal via the promotion of live shows and our releases.

WULF: So far you only have one band on your label, Erebus Enthroned.   Are you looking to sign more bands, or are you focusing more on merchandise (such as patches, shirts, etc.) and distribution?   Also, feel free to tell us about any exclusive merchandise you have to offer.

S SLAUGHTER: Erebus Enthroned is just one of the bands on our label. Their debut, ‘Night’s Black Angel’ was our third CD release. Other bands currently on our roster include Pestilential Shadows, Nazxul, Nocturnes Mist, Spire and Crowned. Forthcoming releases include the debut album by Crowned, ‘Vacuous Spectral Silence’, ‘Drowning in the Vampyric Sacrament of the Immortals’ a split CD release featuring Drowning the Light & Vampyric Blood (Finland) and a split 7” union between Pestilential Shadows & Corvus.
We are always interested to hear new music being created & accept demos with the possibility of release. However as a label we aim to keep our roster & release schedule small in order to give full focus and support to each band on an individual level. The bands that we release are bands that fit the vision of Séance Records & that we personally like and believe strongly in. So far our focus has been on Australian black metal due to the strong ties we have with the AUBM scene, however we are open to music from worldwide.
We do release exclusive merchandise, mainly patches for bands in the aim to provide quality pro patches for artists on an underground level. Some of the exclusive patches that we currently have on offer include designs for Sadistik Exekution, Absu, Graveland, Portal, Drowning The Light, Mournful Congregation & many more. An exclusive Abigor, ‘Quintessence’ patch is forthcoming. All of our releases & patches are all available via

WULF: What are you hoping to accomplish with Seance Records?

S SLAUGHTER: The support of bands that we believe strongly in, the promotion of their art to a worldwide audience, the production of quality pro merch for underground bands and live shows focusing on Australian & New Zealand Black Metal. Our live shows are an extension of the label, in part social gatherings for supporters of the AUBM scene to create a memorable experience and wider awareness for those interested in this kind of music as well as a rare opportunity for these bands to play together.

WULF:  Some of the art on your website is fantastic.  I'm especially curious about the art for your logo...who is the artist?

S SLAUGHTER: Much of the artwork for the label and our releases has been created by Balam of Pestilential Shadows including our logo. He is a prominent tattooist in Sydney and his dark style of art perfectly suits the image and vision for Séance Records.

WULF: What is your connection to the metal store Le Cabinet des Curiosities in Sydney?

S SLAUGHTER: We own and operate this store which also sells dark alternative fashion, jewellery, occult items & interesting ephemera. The Séance Records store within is fully stocked with hundreds of current underground black metal & doom CDs, vinyls, patches & shirts. The store provides an outlet to offer underground music not available elsewhere in Sydney. It is a place still rooted in underground traditions that have died off with the decline of indie music stores. Customers can come in & listen to releases, display their posters & fliers to promote bands & gigs as well as sell their demos and share their music. The shop has become a meeting ground for many, a platform for hearing new bands and music in order to further the genre in the underground way which it was founded. The shop is one of the few places left that extensively stocks Australian bands, demos, tapes & zines.

WULF:  Being an Australian record label specializing in extreme metal, what are some of your personal favorite Australian extreme metal bands?

S SLAUGHTER: Whilst we focus on black metal we have always believed that Australia has had a profound and important contribution to extreme metal even from the early days and to list all of the great bands would be hard but some highlights for me include Nazxul, Misery, Mournful Congregation, Stargazer, Cauldron Black Ram, Disembowelment, Myrddraal, Invocation, Portal, Bestial Warlust, Lord Kaos & Abramelin.
Some newer bands that I am currently giving high rotation to include, Spire, Midnight Odyssey, The Crevices Below, Woods of Desolation, Austere, Moon, Thrall, Ill Omen, Temple Nightside, Grave Upheaval, Impetuous Ritual, Wardaemonic & Ignivomous.
Over the waters from NZ try Blood of the Moon, Heresiarch, Diocleatian, Vassafor & Witchrist

WULF:  What can we expect from attending the upcoming The Devil's Arcana festival at the end of the month?

S SLAUGHTER: The Devil’s Arcana like our previous shows is a line up entirely dedicated to current Australian & New Zealand Black Metal like no other. This festival is unique in gathering the largest line up of active black metal bands from this region of the world. The show is also a gathering of those dedicated to AUBM from all over Australia. The show expands the awareness of those interested in black metal, coupling established bands with new bands and even those making their live debuts. The event is equally as important as a social gathering as a platform for music and its propagation.
Those in attendance shall witness 13 bands, each diverse in their interpretation of Black metal. Vassafor from New Zealand headlines the festival appearing on the Saturday with a lineage of involvement with Diocleation and other extreme NZ bands. Their show will be an uncompromising barrage of black metal on the bestial side whilst Nontinuum & Crowned offer a more melodic depressive representation of the genre; Black metal orthodoxy from Erebus Enthroned & Pestilential Shadows; Moon & Spire’s symphonic darkness is contrasted by the raw energy of Wardaemonic, the modern abrasion and dissonance of Order of Orias. The Devil’s Arcana will also be the debut live appearance of Ill Omen, a dark and occult experience that has been highly anticipated. Drowning The Light headline the Friday night show in their final live appearance for the near future. Patrons can also browse the extensive range of merchandise on offer from all bands and stall holders, partake in cheap drinks & plentiful hangovers.

WULF:  Thank you for doing this interview, that's all the questions I have!   Any final comments?

S SLAUGHER: Thank you for this interview and for your support. The Devil’s Arcana Awaits……

Séance Records' Devil's Arcana press release:

Séance Records Presents


13 Bands . Two Nights of Black Metal

MARCH 30TH & 31ST 2012


















The Valve Bar, 900 Princess Highway

Tempe, Sydney, Australia.

Thirteen Turns in the hangman’s noose, thirteen steps drudged to the gallows and thirteen cards in the THE DEVIL’S ARCANA, each a divination unto darkness.

Séance Records presents this special union of Black Metal from Australia and New Zealand to take place in Sydney over two nights in March 2012.

This live event will be a unique underground gathering of dark music and art, conjuring the aural and visual as each act turns a card to reveal greater revelations of His Arcana.

Tickets will be strictly limited; the venue is small and intimate to give each patron the benefit of the best vantage and experience. Two night passes will ONLY be available for pre sale. If not sold out patrons will be able to pay night to night at the door. However to avoid disappointment get in early to be a part of The Devil’s Arcana!

Two Night Pass - $40AUD inc registered postage to anywhere in Australia.

ON SALE NOW!! Order online now from –

Or paypal $40AUD per ticket required to seancerecords @ (remove spaces).

Please be sure to put Devil’s Arcana Ticket in the subject header, specify the qty & your postal address for delivery.

Tickets will also be available from

Le Cabinet des Curiosities, 97 Enmore Rd, Enmore, Sydney

PH: 0295174598

(Credit card taken over the phone and efpos facilities available in store)

Please direct any ticket queries to – seancerecords @

All bands will have merchandise for sale on the night and there will be music/ merch stalls by Séance Records and others to be announced.

The Valve bar offers cheap drinks and food. It is located on a busy main road also close to food, public transport and passing taxis. The venue is a short commute via taxi from Newtown.

The show is over 18s, please contact the venue directly for underage allowances.

Facebook event -


13 cards and 13 secrets to be revealed by 13 covens and so begins…

The High Priestess – TAMERLAN (NSW) Her veil lifts upon the opening of ceremonies as Tamerlan’s crescent moon rises and the Eastern star burns bright as a gem in her diadem to ignite this new band of Symphonic Black Metal bards from Sydney.

Fortitude - NONTINUUM (VIC) – The card of perseverance and inner struggle, to accept the mantra of pain, melancholia and introspection borne on the wings of melodic and atmospheric, depressive black metal. This shall be the first live gathering in Sydney by the brothers of fortitude.

The Moon – MOON (QLD) – The dark nature of human kind inspired by lunar creatures and conjured by the sounds of raw symphonic black metal. Be not fooled by the moon’s beauteous bright for the night lays in shroud dark and fierce.

The Emperor – WARDAEMONIC (WA) – To rule the throne of darkness is to rule the world with chaos and herald this rule with a wave of devastating noise, a dense dark intensity of unrelenting black metal returned from the Western horizon!

The Devil - DROWNING THE LIGHT (NSW) – To unfurl the chains of oppression is to do unto him in all actions and deeds. It is as to drowning the light. To commemorate the release of the band’s thirteenth album, ‘Oceans of Eternity’ the vampyric brotherhood will overturn the thirteenth card to headline Friday night ceremonies with this exclusive and unique live show. Material old and new shall be revealed for this pinnacle of the first night’s proceedings. However yet to come, the remaining cards in this arcane enigma…


Night one is at an end, nocturnal rise with bacchic revelries aside to begin again. Five revealed a further eight to attend..

The Wheel of Fortune - SORATHIAN DAWN (NSW) – Fortunes are raised high and borne low as the wheel turns in its ouroborus cycle of the weaving fates.. and so opens the second eve of musical ceremonies with the debut of sinister melodic black metal from Sydney.

The Hermit – CROWNED (QLD) – Those endowed with the deep knowledge to be attained by solitude and introspection. A silence to be broken and shared unto the world upon the hermits return as songs sung in murky veils of doom paced atmospheric black metal.

The Tower – ILL OMEN (NSW) – Those who dwell in the tower built to touch heaven but who enter through the gates of Hell. Its flames spell only omens of ill fate when drawn from the deck and the catastrophic cries of deathly black esoterica crafted in sorrowful black metal. The vile live debut of this obscure unearthly entity!

The Magus – EREBUS ENTHRONED (NSW) – Of wand and serpent bound in eternity and transmutation, their being is the ladder between divinity and earth, as above, so below. Great mysteries are revealed in their musical spells of chthonic dark energy, extreme intense occult black metal delivered unto the waiting congregation. The magi shall reveal new hymns as yet unspoken.!/Erebusenthroned

Judgment – ORDER OF ORIAS (VIC) – When the dead rise from crypt and sea the final judgment shall be heralded by these extreme illuminations, a loud and resounding malevolent oppression of death tainted black metal. This live ascension will be a true revelation of doom to launch their magnificent new album, ‘Inverse’.

The Star – SPIRE – Each star is a step in the navigation of higher enlightenment; it is the card to define the astral journey of spire’s black peak reaching starward in order to reveal great enigmas through the hypnotic transcendence of this crushingly dark musical entity. Each death chant and bellow resounds in bleak dark noise; doom veiled shadow, ambience and atmospheric black metal. Spire return to Sydney as a shooting star falling to earth on the eve of the new EP release, ‘Metamorph’.

The Hanged Man – PESTILENTIAL SHADOWS (NSW) – Thirteen, the hang mans number as his noose welcomes death with the tightening of thirteen turns. By grim gallow or gnarly tree he hangs in the place between life and death, companion of decay, plague and pestilence. Pestilential Shadows tells his tales of despair, haunting breadths of sinister black metal that touch as death’s chill hands upon the heart. Performing new material from the forthcoming, ‘Ephemera’ album, so explored are death’s great mysteries!

Death – VASSAFOR (NZ) – Death rides a pale horse and his blackened banner signals the great arrival of this mighty force from New Zealand in their first ever live Australian appearance. Vassafor, a monument to heaviness and dank deathly aura headline the Saturday night and complete the thirteen hands dealt in this live ritual. Their crushing musical chaos of bestial black metal and subsonic doom shall ravage as death’s destructive hand cast down to lay waste on all in its wake! Behold as the new musical work, ‘Obsidian Codex’ is unleashed!

Death the final rider, the final card revealed in this black arcana! Remember, Death rides high because in the end we all die the same.. and so ends the Devil’s Arcana until the deck next be drawn.