I caught up with Mike at the tour kickoff show of Gravehill’s West Coast trip with the mighty Singaporean legion Impiety. Check it out here;
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
FESTER has just completed the recording of their first studio album in 17 years! Entitled A Celebration of Death, the album is targeted for a late 2011/early 2012 release through Abyss Records. This is FESTER as you’ve come to know them: Cold as ice and mean as Hell!
Original member Bjørn “Tiger” Mathisen has recruited Thomas Andresen (Algol) on vocals, Jon Bakker (Kampfar) on bass, and Grammy nominated jazz drummer Audun Kleive for session drums. Mortiis has made a hellish and dark remix of one of the songs and there are contributions from Mr. Kyrck and Guido of Ysengrin. The art is done by the infamous Alex Brown of Bad News Brown.
On the selection of Kleive for session drumming, Mathisen had this to say: “He is famous for his ability to become one with the music he plays, and does so in such an unorthodox and dark way. He has never done metal. He listened to the tunes once before he agreed to session them and ended up doing most of the parts in one take. Using only a single bass drum he has helped us create the sinister and lonely mood that we wanted.”
As for what to expect musically on A Celebration of Death, Mathisen is unequivocal about staying the course. “FESTER has kept their old school feel, and maybe even taking it back to the Stone Age. No effect boxes are used on the guitars; just the basic and sick sounds of old guitars, amps and racks from the late 60s and early 70s, produced in the most dark and wicked way you can imagine. The influence of old school metal acts like Celtic Frost, Bathory, etc can be heard on this release too. FESTER has kept its identity from the past. “This is surely an atypical metal sound, but cold as ice and mean as hell!”
Pioneers in the seamless blending of Black and Death Metal, in the early 90s and well known for their obscure, melancholic and dark way of making music, FESTER are now back with their darkest, harshest and most mournful album to date. Having laid the groundwork with Abyss reissues of 1992′s Winter of Sin and 1993′s Silence, FESTER is now poised to commence this new era of darkness. The end is near.
Ruminations are a fairly new avant garde doom/death metal band, formed in the winter (of course) of 2008 in San Marcos California. I’m not sure if they’ve been strictly active for three years , but as two members have until recently been involved in the similar-but-now disbanded Morbid Gods, I would hazard a guess at not. Pleasantries aside, on to the morbidity!
Their debut demo contains 3 songs, and is opened by the violently blasting “Leafs”. It’s definitely not especially doomy, and is harmed to a certain extent by the fuzzy lo-fi-ness of the demo; the drums are overpowering and muffle the riffs and vocals. That said, I don’t hold it against them, it’s a rehearsal demo. I think it would be a pretty evil little number if the production was tidied up a bit. It’s the most overtly death metal song here, and I think it sounds like Portal, though that could just be the fuzzy production. I believe this track was written by former guitarist Nocturnal Holocaust, which perhaps explains why it has a different flavor than the rest of the demo.
From the first contemplative notes of the 2nd song “Emptiness Departured” is where this demo really starts to get going. “Emptiness Departured” and the closing 12 minute epic “Luminescent Twilight Re-Dreamed” definitely display the band’s avant garde characteristics. Airy, ghostly riffs abound, especially in the latter, my favorite song on the demo. Ruminations at times vaguely evoke Thergothon, and in other places Katatonia, but never copy another band too directly. The atmosphere is mournful and and grey, but not too depressive. The best way I can describe it is that this is music for sitting alone and staring at the stars.
Overall, this is a good demo, and I would recommend it to any fan of death/doom, funeral doom, or obscure and strange death metal (and anyone who likes the music I champion in Conjuration of the Sepulchral). However, it would benefit from better production, especially if the band plan to expand on the death metal tendencies explored in “Leafs”. I’ll be waiting for more from Ruminations, and would be delighted to hear more material on par with “Luminescent Twilight Re-Dreamed”.
EXHUMED!!! The undisputed kings of gore-obsessed, Carcass-inspired death metal! And supported by none other than the legendary Macabre! A show like this doesn’t roll through town often, and I was fucking excited!
Cephalic Carnage and Withered were also on this tour, but I arrived late, missing withered entirely and entering the venue as Cephalic began their set. I watched them play for about 30 seconds, then turned around and walked back outside to socialize in the smoking area. I’ve seen Cephalic before, and I can’t say I’m a fan. They’re typically labeled grindcore, but to me their music sounds like mediocre tech-death played at an awkward tempo. However, I do know that General Blaspheme is a fan, so perhaps I’m missing something. In any case I don’t regret sitting that one out.
I headed back inside when I heard soundchecking, knowing Macabre were about to take the stage. The three piece took the stage, and blasted through most of their more well known numbers from their 4 older albums, including “Ice Man”, “Albert Was Worse Than Any Fish In The Sea”, and “Zodiac”, as well as “Nero’s Inferno” off of this year’s “Grim Scary Tales”. In between songs, frontman Corporate Death shared anecdotes about the various serial killers around whom Macabre base their music (most fascinatingly his own account of the trial of Jeffrey Dahmer). Their set was further energized by the parade of costumed serial killer characters across the stage, Albert Fish thrusting a pipe into the crowd and the Zodiac killer firing a capgun to collect slaves for the afterlife (google it). Overall a fairly solid set, though it was blemished by horrible sound problems for a couple songs (Corporate Death’s guitar was cutting in out and giving annoying feedback).
As Macabre closed with “Zodiac”, it was time for the climax of the night. After a brief sound check, the lights dimmed and a ghoulish voice over the P.A. introduced Exhumed. They immediately burst into violence, opening with “As Hammer To Anvil” from the new album, and the classic “Casket Krusher”. The sound quality was fantastic, and every note of Exhumed’s squealing, shredding solos was easily distinguishable through the PA. I was at the center front, and guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey finger’s were hypnotic as he nimbly swept and dove up and down his fretboard. At the end of the first song, both guitarists and the bass player lifted their guitars into the light, revealing a bloody one word stencil on the back of each, spelling out “GORE FUCKIN’ METAL” across the stage.
The set continued, and they gave surprisingly little attention to their new album, “All Guts No Glory”, the only two tracks I recognized being “As Hammer To Anvil” and “Through Cadaver Eyes”. This suited me just fine, because it allowed them to whip out the classics Necromaniac, Slaughtercult, Forged In Fire, In My Human Slaughterhouse, and my absolute favorite, LIMB FROM LIMB! As the latter commenced, a chainsaw was brought on stage and revved above the audience. I could smell the gasoline. The band chewed through 2/3 of the song, and then Matt Harvey led the audience in a chant of “LIMB! FROM LIMB! FROM LIMB! FROM LIMB! FROM FUCKING LIMB! FROM LIMB! FROM LIMB! FROM LIMB!, before finishing the song. After this song it was about midnight, and as a slave to public transport, I had to leave or risk being stranded in the industrial district of downtown Seattle until morning. Nevertheless, Exhumed completely blew me away, and I will definitely be attending the next time they land in the Pacific Northwest.
I’d like to introduce this edition of Conjuration of the Sepulchral by apologizing to the many avid readers who I’m sure have been left crushed and without direction by this column’s absence. Real life has been getting in the way of my illustrious career as a metal sage, but I’ve thought long and hard about my priorities and realized that shit’s overrated. Now back to the death metal.
This week we will be sampling a fine Swedish vintage with a very un-Swedish flavor. Gorement from Nyköping, Sweden. I have never seen them discussed in any magazine like Terrorizer, Zero Tolerance, or Metal Maniacs, or any larger metal site like blabbermouth or metal-rules.net, but they maintain a dedicated cult following among die-hard old school death metal fans. And for good reason; their only album, the magnum opus “The Ending Quest”, is a masterpiece of atypical melanchoic death metal.
Their style is hard to describe; Swedeath cliches are eschewed. No HM-2 pedal Left Hand Path Guitar tone, no d-beat drumming. A very strong sense of melody is present, but so are monolithic grooving death riffs. Hyperblasting madness flows seamlessly into gossamer melodies that evoke soltitude inspire contemplation. To me, the entire approach of Gorement conveys an ancient, inhuman sense of esoteric knowing and despair. It could perhaps be described as the reminiscing of an ancient entity that has seen the rise and fall of countless gods and nations, and knows that all things good things come to an end. Check it out here, and buy Gorement’s “Darkness of the Dead” compilation or the vinyl re-issue of “The Ending Quest” from Necroharmonic Records.