My Favorite Concert Memory: Jason Walton – Self Spiller / Agalloch

Jason Walton, photo by Earsplit PR

Jason Walton, photo by Earsplit PR

 

In 1993 I saw Cathedral open for Mercyful Fate in Minneapolis, shortly after the release of their brilliant The Ethereal Mirror album. I was a massive Cathedral fan. Years earlier, in high school, I hand painted their logo on the back of a jacket and wore it daily. I painted the lyrics to ‘Serpent Eve’ down the sleeve of the jacket. Like I said I was a massive fan. Of course I wore this jacket to the gig.

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As I walked in the venue, I noticed Lee Dorian hanging around in front. I approached him, showed him the jacket and he agreed to autograph it. We talked nearly for an hour about Cathedral, Napalm Death, about my loves and aspirations, and about the differences between America and the UK.

After Lee left to prepare I walked around the venue and saw Phil Anselmo at the bar. I had no idea why he was there and became even more confused when I realized he was talking with Igor and Max Cavalera of Sepultura. A few months previous to this show I had moved from small town Montana to Minneapolis and this was all quite a shock. I was 18, in the city for the first time and it was also one of my first metal concerts. I was star struck and enthralled.

I then approached Igor and he told me about the album they were releasing soon called Chaos A.D. I was truly amazed at how nice Igor and Lee were and at how honest and open our conversations were as well.

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Cathedral played an amazing set and dedicated ‘Soul Sacrifice’ and ‘Ebony Tears’ to me. The overwhelming kindness shown by the bands solidified even further my love for the genre and influenced how I treat fans today.”

 

Best known for his work as the bassist of Agalloch, Jason Walton’s Self-Spiller project has just seen a reissue of his ambitious Worms in the Keys album on vinyl from Varia Records. Catch Jason on tour with Agalloch all summer.


 

 

 

 

 

Rippikoulu – Musta Seremonia

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Does the “underground” really exist anymore? Most Metal fans over thirty will remember some albums being difficult – in some cases nearly impossible – to track down, but these days the most obscure and veiled albums can be heard online without any real issues. Even the arcane releases of the past are being dragged out of the underground and hauled into the light – a case in point being this ’93 demo from a Finnish Black Metal band so fourth-tier that if you’ve heard of them before you were probably in the band.   Finnish Death Metal is often characterised by a crushing Doom-flavoured approach and a preference for suffocating atmospheres over catchy riffs. Rippikoulu (apparently the first DM band to sing in Finnish, which is interesting if not terribly useful for pub quizzes) certainly didn’t buck this trend, the six tracks of Musta Seremonia (Svart Records) consisting of crushing slow-motion riffing, drawn out song structures and an atmosphere of utter bleakness.

 

For a near-unknown demo one year off its twentieth birthday, Musta Seremonia holds together surprisingly well, with a thick sound and merciless song-structures that at times creates a genuinely stifling feel. This is ugly music, as far as one could get from the thrashy-riffing and audible growled choruses that often pass for “old school Death Metal”. Some of the songs are longer than they need to be, but that’s entirely consistent with the atmosphere of prolonged suffering they build up. The same could be said for the lack of variety and generally one-note nature of the composition.

 

No, the biggest issue is, of course, the question of what it has to offer for a new listener now. A lot of bands have played this style of crushing Doom/Death in the twenty years since Musta Seremonia was recorded, and some of them have developed and progressed it further. There’s nothing on here that will be new people who are already familiar with the style, and the overbearing bleakness may not make it the best introduction for the curious, but for what it is Musta Seremonia is pretty hard to find flaw with. Rippi Koulu, Motherfuckers! I’m sorry.   7.0/10.0 Rippikoulu on Facebook   RICHIE H-R