BACON BLOODY BACON: Matt Bacon on Why Your Band Needs A Concept

So I was talking with my friend A&R legend Rayshele Teige today and I was picking her brain for an idea for this article. She suggested I talk about the notion of your band having a concept, a clear distinctive “thing” that makes them interesting and differentiates them. She stated that “the concept has to feed the purpose” and without a clear concept you aren’t going to get anywhere. Then I looked up at the KISS poster in my living room with Gene, Paul, Ace, and Peter staring down at me and I realized she was completely right. So many bands just want to play music but don’t have a clear idea of what the basic concept behind the band is. I’m not talking about your concept in terms of “Oh we play black metal fused with folk” that’s cool and all but it’s not enough to differentiate. The entire focus of marketing band should be around your concept, be that lyrical, visual or whatever. You want people to say, “Oh that’s the band who do X” and X can’t be a genre because that isn’t memorable for people most of the time. Continue reading

Khôrada – Salt

When frontman John Haughm left the mighty Agalloch in 2016 to follow a more blackened direction, the heartbreak was soon complete when the remaining members officially laid the idolised beast to rest. Two years later, through the detritus comes Khôrada, lending itself to the apocalyptic post-doom of the parent but with a more emotive, folksier bedrock. Continue reading

Nullingroots – Into The Grey

In recent years there has been a boom within the Black Metal scene of bands embracing a more melodic, often delicate and ambient side to the genre. Where bands such as the likes of Alcest and Agalloch (although vastly different, they share some ground in Black Metal’s evolution in recent times) adopted more ambiance and earthy atmospheres were surprising and evolutionary, nowadays such acts are much more commonplace, and thus the cream of the crop becomes harder to stand out. Continue reading

Fen – Winter

Of all the grandchildren of heavy metal subgenres, one of the most precocious and still burgeoning is atmospheric black metal. As my colleague Richie HR noted in his recent new column for Ghost Cult, it seems that even the most mainstream bands are reaching for opportunities to expand their sonic palettes to include the more unconventional, and extreme styles. However, time and time again we return to the underground to seek greatness, from those who follow their own path, and eschew typical glory. One of those bands is Fen. Continue reading

Baroness, Coven, Warning, GNOD, Schammasch, Les Discrets, Oranssi Pazuzu Booked For Roadburn 2017

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The ultimate underground music and culture festival of Europe will return next year as Roadburn Festival has made its first announcement of bands for 2017. Continue reading

Self Spiller – Worms In The Keys

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Starting off on a very limited run of just 500 copies, Self Spiller have evidently decided that Worms in the Keys (Varia) should not stay restricted from the world any longer and reissued the LP.  The project led by Jason Walton of Agalloch, alongside fellow band member Don Anderson, is an ambitious piece comprising of 14 members from across the globe. Most of the contributors can boast some serious history, with Sigh’s Dr. Mikannibal and Mirai Kawashima, the latter also playing for US based Necrophagia part of the fold. All this comes together to form an unusual; unique; almost indescribable sound that virtually defies categorisation.

Comprising of layer upon layers of different pieces, the album takes capsules of previous work spanning 6 years from the artists, brought together by Walton and layered into an avant-garde culmination of sound. Rather than feeling fractured and disconnected however, the many different pieces of music have been arranged in a way that seems to make sense together (well, sort of). The result? A surprisingly enjoyable piece, although not altogether flowing. Numerous voice layers backed with distorted guitars break suddenly into classical piano or a jazzy saxophone sections. If you were hoping the vocals might provide some form of story to tie it all together, think again. The snippets make a disturbing and broken narrative that is virtually impossible to piece together into a fully formed entity.

Worms in the Keys is brave and bold project that has been executed with extreme skill to form what is an oddly enjoyable album that is hard to turn off. Do I remember any of the songs? Well, no. Snippets stand out but it’s often hard to grasp whole tracks even while listening to the album. It really is a piece that demands either your full attention or nothing at all. Those that do take the time to give this album a try will find a record that it has bridged avant-garde madness while remaining fun. It may not be the most memorable of pieces as a whole, but it is refreshingly engaging as it challenges everything you thought you understood about modern music.

 

8.0/10

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CAITLIN SMITH

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.


 

 

 

 

 

Agalloch and Helen Money Book June West Coast Tour

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Agalloch and Helen Money will be teaming up for an upcoming tour dubbed Serpens In Cvlmination Western Hemisphere Tour MMXV. Dates are posted below. They are supporting The Serpent & The Sphere opus, released last year via Profound Lore.

Jun 05: WOW Hall – Eugene, OR (w/ Yob, Ufomammut – No Helen Money)
Jun 06: Midtown Barfly – Sacramento, CA
Jun 07: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
Jun 08: SLO Brew – San Luis Obispo, CA
Jun 09: Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
Jun 10: Casbah – San Diego, CA
Jun 11: The Rebel – Phoenix, AZ
Jun 12: Hotel Congress – Tucson, AZ
Jun 13: Sister – Albuquerque, NM
Jun 14: Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
Jun 15: Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 16: Neurolux – Boise, ID
Jun 17: The Crocodile – Seattle, WA
Jun 18: Venue – Vancouver, BC
Jun 19: Victoria Event Center – Victoria, BC
Jun 20: Star Theater – Portland, OR

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Helen Money Supporting Agalloch On June North American Tour

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Helen Money will be supporting Agalloch on their forthcoming North American tour in June. She is supporting her current release Arriving Angels, out via Profound Lore, which was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio and features drummer Jason Roeder (Neurosis, Sleep). Cellist/composer Alison Chesley, a.k.a. Helen Money, merges her classical training with a lifelong affinity for punk rock and a taste for heavy metal. In addition to her own material Chesley has also performed and/or directed string arrangements for artists like Anthrax (Worship Music), Russian Circles (Geneva), Broken Social Scene (Forgiveness Rock Record) and Yakuza.

Helen Money Tour Itinerary (all dates may be subject to change):
Jun 06: Midtown Barfly – Sacramento, CA
Jun 07: Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA
Jun 08: SLO Brew – San Luis Obispo, CA
Jun 09: Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA
Jun 10: Casbah – San Diego, CA
Jun 11: The Rebel Lounge – Phoenix, AZ
Jun 12: Hotel Congress – Tucson, AZ
Jun 13: Sister – Albuquerque, NM
Jun 14: Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
Jun 15: Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 16: Neurolux – Boise, ID
Jun 17: Crocodile – Seattle, WA
Jun 18: Venue – Vancouver, BC
Jun 19: Victoria Event Center – Victoria, BC
Jun 20: Star Theater – Portland, OR

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Bloodstock Festival Adds More Bands, Tickets On Sale Now

Bloodstock 2014 as of march 10

Bloodstock Festival (aka Bloodstock Open Air or BOA) has added five more bands to its already stacked line-up for 2015. New to the bill are reformed sludge metallers Raging Speedhorn, prog-metal exports Xerath, Trepalium, Villainy and Godsized. Taking place August 6th – 9th at Walton on Trent, Derbyshire UK. Tickets are on sale now by phone (24hr ticketline at 0871 230 5584 )or online and include an array of camping and VIP ticket options. Camper van pitches are now all sold out.

Already announced to the bill over four massive stages are major acts such as Friday’s headliner Trivium and special guests Sabaton, Saturday’s headliner Within Temptation and special guests Opeth, Sunday’s headliner Rob Zombie and special guests Black Label Society, also Cannibal Corpse, Ihsahn, Sepultura, Orange Goblin, Death T.A, Nuclear Assault, 1349, Napalm Death, Dark Angel, Armored Saint, Belphegor, Overkill, Ensiferum, Agalloch, Korpiklaani, Pro-Pain, Enslaved, Wolf, Delain, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Godflesh, Lawnmower Deth, Mordred, Ethereal, Onslaught, Oaf, Pritchard Vs Dainton, Conan, Planet Of Zeus, Bast, Saille, Batallion, Destrage with more bands to be announced in the coming weeks.